By Monica Manning Miller and Caroline Manning Miller
This guest post is dedicated to Mrs. Pat Manning of Leesburg, Georgia in honor of her 70th birthday. Mrs. Manning is Monica’s mother and Caroline’s grandmother.
For the past 16 years our three generation family of 13 (2 parents in their 70′s, 3 daughters, 3 sons-in-laws and 5 beautiful granddaughters ages 10-23) have vacationed together. We spend one week together a few hours from my parent’s home in South Georgia on St. George Island off the Florida Gulf Coast.
St. George Island is very beautiful with development kept very low to protect the environment. One old motel, a B&B, and rental houses are the lodging choices. There is a grocery the size of a 7/11, a few t-shirt/bait stores, and a handful of very casual seafood restaurants. Everything is very mom and pop. Don’t go looking for a Starbucks, McDonalds, boutique, golf course, movie theater or cabana boy – not here. You come here to decompress, escape and be with the ones you love. It is casual R&R at its very, very best.
Over the past 1.5 decades, we have perfected the art of 13 people in one house, but everyone does need a little space. We have rented the perfect house for 12 years now. It has:
- 6 master bedroom
- two additional baths
- two laundry rooms
- a kitchen with two dishwashers and two ovens
- three media rooms (2 of which we never use)
- multiple decks and porches round out the creature comforts
Our days are very freestyle. Some are up early for the best shelling and fishing while some wake up in time for a tomato sandwich at lunch. Usually by mid-day everyone has convened at the beach. Afternoons are spent talking by the water’s edge or reading on a shady porch.
We all take turns cooking fresh seafood dinners. The emails fly in the weeks before we leave discussing menus and adding to the grocery list. We do the majority of the shopping before we leave my parents. We pick up fresh seafood, bread and ice cream at the market on the island.
The five granddaughters have a daily chore list including taking turns emptying the dishwashers, trashcans, and sweeping the kitchen and stairs. They are also in charge of clean up after dinner.
After dinner is when the fun goes to a new level. It is time for cards, dominoes, stories, teasing and outrageous laughter. The competition can become quite ferocious.
Our lazy, crazy, happy, joyful days of the beach week fly by. Before we leave, we pull out a calendar to choose a week for the next summer. My husband lovingly calls this our fam”damn”ily beach vacation, but it truly is the best week of the year every year.
This is a dessert we make at least once during the week. It is very yummy and easy for kids to help make. Enjoy warm with vanilla ice cream.
- 2 sticks melted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups self rising flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups fruit (blackberries or cut up peaches are our favorites)
Spray 9×13 pan with Pam. Put fruit in bottom of pan. Whisk remaining 5 ingredients and pour over fruit. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 45 minutes.
Check center of dough to make sure it is done. Sometimes if fruit is very juicy it may take an extra few minutes.
About the authors
Caroline is a 23 year old graduate of Vassar College with a degree in Neuroscience and has been accepted to the Master’s program in Biomedical Science at Regis University. She is currently employed at National Jewish Health in the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.
Monica is the very proud mother to Caroline, a retired caterer, and current trophy wife of 27 years to her loving husband, Dave.