When I was in my teens and early twenties, a trip to the beach entailed a conservative application of the lowest level of SPF (ever hear of SPF 8?), the latest issue of Vogue, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My friends and I would alternate between baking in the sun, cooling off in the ocean, and flipping through magazines. Oh, to be young.... These days, an excursion to the beach involves a generous slathering of at least SPF 15, a "beach read" that I inevitably end up reading after the kids go to bed, a cooler full of snacks, drinks, and sandwiches and a beach bag packed with enough items that some might think we were relocating to Space. Aside from the fact that I now know better than to sunbathe, I am also way too restless to remain stationary for more than ten minutes at a clip. Enter seashell collecting. It answers my perpetual need to get up and go. Plus, it keeps the kids occupied. Oh, and the best part...seashells are free. I have collected so many over the years that I had about five buckets full of shells out in my shed. On a recent rainy afternoon, my son, Michael, and I methodically rinsed them off and displayed them in mason jars, bowls and vases throughout the house. We were quite pleased with our efforts! So, grab a cute beach basket , an over-sized straw hat, and please don't skimp on the sunscreen.