My Epic Weekend In Pictures: My Family, Bears And Sunflowers

What a fantastic weekend with my family that went by far too fast. It's always tough whenever my family has to go back home to New England's Mansfield, Massachusetts or I have to leave them. Madre and me are always the first ones to cry during our teary goodbye. My parents Madre and Padre (Karen and Mike) and sister Zannie (Suzanne) all visited me for the first time I've had all three of them here in over a year! I always am admittedly tightly wound when my family is able to visit me. I'll be leaning heavily on the pictures to tell my Epic Weekend In Pictures story. I'm so beyond blessed to have my amazing family.

We'll start my Epic Weekend with Friday night. I knew going into the weekend that it would be off with a heavy focus on cleaning my place. I admitted to Padre that it was great timing for me to start getting rid of things that didn't need to be there. I had some stuff in my refrigerator that had been expired for almost a year that I hadn't even noticed they were there. I threw out two chairs that the ex-fiance had brought over years ago. We would utilize these chairs while doing a cookout or football party etc. Even though these blue chairs have been in my kitchen these past 11 months, I don't think I usually noticed them. After awhile I realized maybe those chairs subconsciously make me sad. They don't need to be there, so I threw them away. I can easily replace them with $10 folding chairs whenever I want and be done with them.

Friday night I started the cleaning / upheaval / deep clean process. After a solid hour of cleaning / organizing, I was ready for a break. I went to Minerals Moonshine Tiki Bar and saw my friend Natalee for a quick adult beverage. She was amused by my cleaning trials and fails LOL.

I then returned back home to continue cleaning. I lost motivation pretty quickly. It was a beautiful weather night so I decided to just relax on my deck. I haven't been out there much this summer because it's been so miserably hot, and those annoying raccoons are still bothering me unfortunately.

By approximately 9pm, a huge mama bear walked by my deck with either 4 or 5 cubs! It was an impressive site to watch for sure. They just walked by on their way to the dumpster, where my neighbors did a great job making sure it's locked.

Saturday morning I did pretty well with cleaning my place up. I pounded several Starbucks Treinta Shaken Iced Green Teas. My parents and sister arrived right around 2pm. That gave me enough time to clean and also get a little charcuterie board to lay out on my kitchen counter for them.

I've been trying to get better these past few years about hosting / entertaining my family and other company. The first couple of years here I ran them ragged. Literally. I get so wound up hoping that everyone will have a great time after such a long drive to see me. I've taken them to Buttermilk Falls, High Point State Monument, etc. Trouble is after all that driving, even more time in the car can definitely wear on you. One year a friend looked at my parents and said "what did you do to them look at how exhausted they are!" I felt bad. My Dad reminded me early on that with me literally living in a vacation resort community, for them even just hanging out with me on my deck is a vacation. They love my beautiful mountain views too.

I let them stretch out and relax on my deck for a couple of hours. They were all stiff from the 4 hour car ride here which is of course totally understandable.

I only scheduled them for Moonshine Tiki Bar Saturday night. On Campus, central spot for friends to see them and run into them. We had such a great time with our friends! Tough to believe even my family has been friends with so many of my amazing Jersey friends for several years now.

Sunday our morning was off to an Epic start. My sister Zannie had a tough week last week with cell phone technical difficulties. She spent several hours at the Apple store, long story short. I really wanted to make sure she had a great weekend here in Jersey. She LOVES sunflowers. I took them to The Sussex County Sunflower Maze in Sandyston/Branchville. It's so much fun being surrounded by thousands of sunflowers and seeing some different colors too. My family and I had a couple fun photo opportunities there as well. I personally think the price should still be the normal $10 instead of an increased for Labor Day $20 per person. That honestly slightly hindered our fun. That being said, we still had a blast and a memorable day where we were able to beat the rain.

I then took my family from there to Orange County Distillery's Brown Barn Farm. We had a great time there. By then it was too hot and stuff for us to go to the top of the barn where we love to go, but we still had a great time on the normal floor.

The food truck was new and different, I wasn't feeling it after looking at the prices. We then ended up going to two restaurant fails. One local one I won't name where the bartender didn't even acknowledge us after we talked to her twice. I did once and my sister went up to ask for menus. Still nothing. I won't name them this time, but if that happens again I will so that way you can avoid going through that experience. We then tried going to Aquaviva on 23. They were closed. We ended up at The Cottage. We knew I was taking them there Monday for our goodbye lunch, but this one was a bonus trip for my family.

Sunday night we enjoyed the beautiful fireworks from Mountain Creek all while sitting on my deck!

Monday we did our goodbye lunch at The Cottage. We had so many laughs with our friends Sally, Douglioso and Marky. SO many laughs. It really helped lessen the sting of having to say goodbye to my family. Friends and family can make life so much better! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my Epic Weekend In Pictures. My family and friends are amazing, I'm so beyond blessed. Time to start planning next weekend: NJ Taco Festival at The Fairgrounds!

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