We’re home again. It was a great vacation, or is it a vacation while you have a full-time job of caring for five little darlings?

We've planned this trip for months with family and friends, Mary and Carolyn. Mary was Julia’s first-grade teacher and Carolyn is a dear friend and next door neighbor. These two friends proved to be a tremendous blessing and asset in helping with the children.

We spent five nights in this cozy cabin, nestled among the trees. Within walking distance was a nice pond where we spent time cooling off, swimming, splashing in the water.

The children had a blast, Austin, Julia, Rayni and Jesse took to swimming like fish. Elijah preferred to walk at the very edge of the water and dig in the sand. I didn't swim much, just watched the children have a blast.

We took turns serving meals, that way we all had a vacation with meal preparation and clean-up. How would vacation be without ample servings of healthy chocolate to eat with ice cream or any dessert, for that matter? Now talking about some deliciously healthy ice cream, it was completely sugar-free. 

One day we had “Children’s Day”. This Spring, after Mother’s Day Julia had suggested that we also have Children’s Day. Daniel immediately latched onto it. What time could be better than the trip for this special occasion?

We went to a park where kids spent time swinging and sliding. It also takes some practice, I discovered, to use monkey bars. I tried it twice, but I wound up completing the monkey bars without letting go. 

We even had a treasure hunt. I prepared a simple little treasure of juices, homemade party mix and some candy. Daniel wrote and hid all the notes.

Us parents accompanied them on their trek of searching for notes. Soon, we were going from one end of the property to the other, following the bidding of the notes. The children all took turns finding notes. We traversed a hill all up and down, burning calories I guess, after all our good food. Eventually we came to the treasure on the picnic table where we enjoyed a relaxing time together followed by story time for the children.

Funny how it works, we had a nice time. But, for mom and dad it felt like vacation to just be back home again and have normal nap schedules, and to have everyone sleeping in their own beds. For the foster children, it seemed to be especially disruptive to their routine, but it’s all coming back together again.

Check out this sugar-free homemade ice cream recipe!

 8 oz. Cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons vegetable glycerin

⅓ cup erythritol

2 teaspoons pure powdered stevia

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

5 cups milk

4 cups cream

Cream together cream cheese and glycerin. Add erythritol, stevia, vanilla, and salt, mix well, then slowly add milk and cream, blending together well. Freeze in a one gallon ice cream freezer. Enjoy!

Note: If you prefer, you may substitute erythritol and stevia with sugar or any other sweeteners of your choice.

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