Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

always on the sunny side

I thought I discovered it first. At 2pm if you stand at the kitchen sink, the sun comes in the window just perfectly. If you close your eyes, you can go to FL. I go most days. It's sunny and warm on my face and feels nice. I showed hubby awhile back and now he goes with me some times. It's just a few minutes. If I had a sandy bucket to put my feet in, I'd stay longer.

It turns out the kids have found their own sunny spot. I did notice after naps (and I say 'naps' loosely), their toys were all in one particular area. It took hubby home during the days over the holidays to figure it out. The kids have a sunny spot they go to too.

(I just noticed that these pictures are from new years day- we stayed in our jammies way to long that day!)

Guess we all need a vacation. The wind chill is 4 today.

Speaking of sunny things. Bee made this tape picture at preschool on Monday and I think it is so sunny and happy. Maybe it's the bright colors or the sun like face in the corner, but I just really like it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

feeling well

This fall we have been fighting off all the germs that Bee brings home from school fairly well. We all take an extra dose of Vitamin C via a gummy vitamin and we eat our yogurt with those live cultures and drink our OJ.

When anyone feels the tiniest bit of a sniffle or dry throat, we all spend a few days drinking elderberry tea. In FL, we had the greatest little herbal apothecary shop, Baileys Naturals, that sold dried herbs, teas, oils and such, including dried elderberries. The owner and herbalist was so knowledgeable about how to use the herbs and oils, and just what to take when. When we ran out of our dried elderberries recently, we went searching. (Our old shop does sell them online, but I needed them today!) We were not able to find any anywhere in town. We finally did find some elderberry syrup. As it turns out this syrup is really what I was boiling the elderberries down to, just a whole lot cleaner, easier and faster.

This syrup is fantastic! I will be getting more and picking some up for my sister who is doing student teaching stuff right now. We have been adding some to our tea each day. My kids love to have tea with me and think it's such a special treat. We sweeten our tea with a bit of honey from the co-op in our old area and some agave nectar. I am almost out of honey, but have a new local source all lined up. I have read that local honey helps with local allergies so we will happily switch sources. My friend Amanda says her parent's honey this last season is the best she has ever tasted. I can' t wait to pick mine up!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

other FL stuff, mostly free

I originally was saving up a few pictures and ideas of things we do/did to do a 'free stuff' we like to do' post, but with moving and such, I am just going to go ahead and write about them so I can move on down the list with my things to blog about. You know I have a list... as would my sister. It's time to post some about our new IN home anyway.

So, here are some free (mostly free) things that we love to do in our area. (ok, now it's our old area- but I am sure there are tons of free things in every community). There may be a lot of pictures coming.....

Lowes and Home Depot offer these great clinics for kids on Saturday mornings where the kids get to build something cool from a kit and then take it home. This is a great thing for dad to take them too, but I have been taking them lately as hubby has had lots of Saturday things to do. They even give the kids aprons and patches for each project. Lou's favorite part is the tiny hammer. Lowes program is on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month and is called Build and Grow. Home Depot is on the first Saturday on each month and is called Kids Workshops.

Barnes and Noble has monthly kids programs (in addition to their weekly kids story times) where they either have a book themed party or have a character come in. Our favorites have been the

Fancy Nancy party and then recently, we went to the American Girls Luau party. They make crafts, play games, listen to a story, have a snack, etc. You can search for events at your local B&N here. FYI: You must register for the party events ahead of time, I always see kids getting turned away and they are pitiful looking.

The zoo sure isn't free, but they often have free nights. Ours has free rides night and since we get a season pass for Lou's birthday each year, it's kinda like it's free. Free rides night is a GOOD deal, the rides are silly expensive. The last time, we got caught in a rain storm and ended up visiting the dingos (who don't like the rain either) for about 30 minutes. Florida rain showers are quick and frequent and heavy. Luckily, the sun comes out and everything is sunny and lovely just a short time later.

Our little town has an amazing parks and rec department. They offer $1 playdough day where you can go play playdough at the rec center. They have $1 painting day, where you can just go and let the kids paint (they clean up!). One ofour favorites is the mommy and me at the gazebo. Each time they have a differnt 'host' to lead some entertainment. They have had a local Music with Mar gal come and lead the kids in songs, we've seen some kids performers, sometimes the waldorf school comes and lead the kids in rhymes and songs. Recently, the local gymnastics studio came and set up a course for the kids to run through. Good free fun.

Our parks and Rec also hosts larger events. recently, we went to snowfest. Silly FL kids didn't mind that it was really just crushed ice. There was even sledding. People waited in line for 30 minutes to go down the 'hill' once. I didn't want to wait in line, it was too hot o I promised Bee and Lou hours of sledding this winter. Lou knew what to do with the 'snow'.... throw it at his sister.

We have so many festivals and street fairs to choose from . Actually, our town has a street fair each month called Third Friday. There is a musical performance at the gazebo (that's how I found one of my favorite bands, Lucid Druid -just checking their website to link up, I see I missed a local performance on friday night, it would have been so awesome to go!), street performers, artists, lots of craft booths, homemade soap, animal rescue groups have pet adoptions, the local resturants bring out tents and serve food. It's a fun evening and we always bump into friends there. (They had a parade last month!)

Our local Clearwater threshers team has one free night a year. They also have $2 Tuesdays (and the kids are free anyway) so that's a cheap good time. $2 to park, $4 for two adults, and if you want, they have $1 cheeseburgers or $2 hotdogs. They also have $2 beers... if you hang out with those types.

Of course we have the beach and the bay... but I've shared plenty of photos of both of those. In case you missed it, try here, here , here , and here.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

shell project

I've been thinking about this shell project for awhile... I want a really big shadow box to display shells. I wanted the shells to show different sizes of common shells we find here in FL, like the display boards at the beach. I have the shells and I have a nice identification chart. I don't know if I'm happy with it yet, I had to get it put together though so we can move with it. I have been thinking how to attach the shells and finally settled on the plain old hot glue gun. Surprisingly, so far, the glue working. I wanted little labels identifying the shell's name, but think I have so many shells, that it might be too much. This picture isn't great, I'll take another when we get it to the new house...

what do you think.... too much already going on- I should thin it out, is there room for me to add labels, leave it alone? I'm just not sure.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Look at this

Look at what was in our yard this morning! We have seen raccoons and rabbits out back, but this morning, we found two armadillos. They appear to be the banded type, something I remember a little about from my days teaching 3rd grade. I believe we studied about armadillos when we read Armadillos from Amarillo.

Bee pulled up a chair and watched for several minutes until the little guys ran off.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

preparing for a hurricane

Here's our newly stocked hurricane supply closet. We have lived in FL two years and this is the first time we are following the directions they repeat every evening on the news. I have before picked up a few cans of soup and threw them in the back of the pantry, but we've never had the 4-5 days of food and supplies and multiple gallons of water. I still need to inventory flashlights and batteries. We made a special grocery trip this year just for the food to store away should we have a big storm. I admit I occasionally judge what other's have in their shopping cart.... I was embarrassed at my cart as we checked out. I'm sure others judged my purchases. Nothing fresh, everything boxed, canned, preserved, and convenient. So here we are; toilet paper, cat food, water jugs, canned tuna, canned veges, canned fruit, applesauce, canned soup (guess we'll eat it cold), peanut butter, jelly, crackers, random junk food. The kids can't wait for a hurricane!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July friends

I was trying to make some connection with July 4th and some thing to post about. I can't share about out actual plans and happenings since we are stillllll traveling. Here's the bridge to take us to today's post.... our friend Lulu who has a lovely mama, who writes 4 crazy kings.

4th of July celebrates the US, Learning about the US is a good skill for children, getting to know about the different areas is a good way to learn about the US, Getting letters from different areas helps us learn about them, us sending a letter to Lulu is helping her learn about different areas of the country. Hope you made it over the bridge safely.

We received a letter and piece of artwork from 3.5 year old Lulu and have returned a letter, piece of art (I will write about our apple stamping another day) and a little treasure from our state. She is learning about different areas (of the world actually) by corresponding with people from all over. Bee thought a special trip to the beach to collect shells would be a really good idea and I couldn't help but agree. We gathered shells and made a little bags for them. I hope they like our little treat and like learning about Florida.

Friday, June 26, 2009

see ya friends

Our good friends Erin and Rob just left our house to return home to IN. We had to pack a weeks worth of vacation plans into just a handful of days. When family and friends visit from the midwest, they usually stay for a week at least and we have plans for them: favorite local spots, beaches, parks, favorite local restaurants, our favorite meals to make, and other fun things to do while staying with us. We couldn't do a lot, but we tried to show them in three days how much fun we have living here.

We took them to one of our beaches. It was pretty windy and there were high waves, but we got to see surfers. Lou found a hole and got in it. We kept going over to him and saying that he should come play with us, but he would mumble, "not done yet." I don't know what he was doing...but he wasn't done.

The wind almost ate out kite! Flying a kite at the beach is so fun because it usually goes up in a few seconds and flys so well. It was so windy that the kite came down ripped up. poor kite.

Kayaking is one of my favorite local things to do and Erin and Rob were happy to go with us. The kids love it too. Lou likes to help paddle. Bee got very upset because she got a little wet. Can you imagine. I was hoping that we would see the manatee but they must have been out at the ballgame, wearing Bee's hat.

We ate Cuban sandwiches and kettle corn and rainbow jello. We told lots of stories and really got caught up. Bee and Lou are so happy when we have company, especially their special Aunt E and Uncle Rob. We haven't hung out in over a year and it was long over due!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

do manatee wear hats?

I hope they do because Bee's favorite ball cap fell off at the bay today and fell right into the water. We were on the pier, too high to get it. It sank to the bottom before anybody could think of a way to reach it. The manatee were right next to it so we all joked that the manatee would be wearing it now. Daddy is taking her to the hat store tonight to order a new one. Oh, the crying!

(mama or papa)

It is not manatee season at all, but this little mama, papa, and baby have stuck around this year. We have been told that the natural underwater springs cool the water in the shallow (comparatively speaking) bay. Springs here are 72-74 degrees- ideal for manatee. When the summer heat warms the rest of the bay and gulf, most of the manatee move north for cooler water. They return in the winter when our water is the perfect temperature and the northern water is too cold. They eat seaweed from the bottom and breathe air from the top, so they stay in shallow water area. They also really like to drink freshwater, which the springs are. Our area of the bay is pretty brackish, a mix of salt and fresh water. Friends of our say that if you take jugs of fresh water out in your boat and slowly pour it into the bay, the mantee will come right up and drink your water. That's not legal at all, but now you know. There's your science lesson for the day (and a little criminal justice lesson).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You can touch this truck

How fun is this... Our community sponsored an event called Touch a Truck. They had all kinds of vehicles- semis, tractors, fire engines, armored truck, swat truck, the local news van, garbage trucks, etc all open for the kids to climb through, pretend to drive, and even honk the horn a few times. The drivers of most vehicles were there for answering questions. For a little guy that likes trucks, this was the perfect morning. Bee had a really good time too.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Gone Fishing

Lou got a fishing pole for his birthday and we have been fishing every chance we can get. The creek that runs behind our house has lots of different fish (and gators). The neighbors have a little pier that makes for a perfect fishing spot. The pole came with a plastic fish weight attached to the line. Lou would prefer to use it as is. Bee however knows that we can't catch fish with that. Today we picked up a hook and bobber. We can see the fish, they come to the hook, they seem to play with it a little... but we haven't caught any fish yet. Lou is so insistent on using the yellow fish that we tied it to a line and tied it to a stick. Huck Finn prefers to fish with his stick, Bee is using the real pole.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

lovely garage sales

I really love going to garage sales! The kids seem to enjoy it as well. I'm always on the lookout for sewing supplies, vintage fabric, art stuff for the kids, kids clothes,and cool stuff that I didn't know we needed but for 25 cents is a super deal. The kids and I make it out about twice a month. This area is great, because of the warm weather and heavy population, there are garage sales everywhere, every weekend. We have a little three mile square that we drive around and always find more than we can go to.

Today we found less goodies than normal, I bought an unopened kids art kit for $1.50 and a used one once acrylic art set with nice brushes and a pallet (I thought it was watercolor) for the same price. I also found three sealed boxes of 50 clear page protectors for $1 a box. These were on my shopping shopping list anyway, so I was pretty excited. We almost ended up with a little fish tank, but since the tarantula incident of 2003, I must run all new pets by my hubby first. This was reiterated by the snake incident of 2004. ooops.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

the famers market in our kitchen- waffles

Because I like to cook, but also because I'm cheap, I'm always trying to replicate at home yummy things we have when we are out. The kids and I fell in love with the kettle corn and the farmers market and figured out how to make it ourselves. We also fell in love with the Belgian waffles at the market. I instantly started researching and testing recipes to find one closest to the market man's. I learned that great waffles come from a yeast recipe rather than a batter. I also learned that there are a number of different styles of waffles and the one our guy serves are called 'Belgian pearl waffles' because of the pearl sugar that they are rolled in before cooking. If you don't want to make these yourself, the waffle man at out market ships out special orders nation wide. Here's his website. They are delicious. Ours are close, but not quiet as good as his. Here's our best try:

Farmers Market Waffles- Belgian Pearl
2 ¼ t yeast (1 pkg)
½ warm water
1 ½ t sugar
3 eggs
¼ t salt
1 c butter- melted
3 c flour
Knead, rise 1 hr, divide into 14 pieces
1 c pearl sugar (or crushed sugar cubes)
roll in pearl sugar,knead each ball slightly, rise 15 min
Cook for 2-4 minutes in waffle maker

A few notes about the pearl sugar, flours choices, and waffle maker mixed in with the pictures...

Here's Bee stirring up the eggs

Lou adds the flour- I used a mix of flours, like I normally do in baking (wheat germ, whole grain flour, spelt flour, flax seed meal, and unbleached white flour). We are used to this, but they are SOOO tasty when you use all white flour without my health whole grain stuff mixed in!

sometimes we make a bit of a mess...

Here you can see the risen dough next to the pearl sugar. You can use this pearl sugar from IKEA. I haven't found it at any local grocery stores. OR you can use crushed sugar cubes. This is the first time I have used the actual pearl sugar and think that when I have used up the pearls, I'll go back to sugar cubes. The pearls did not melt in the waffle maker like the cubes do. I also don't like how they keep their shape, it makes it look like the waffles have kosher salt all over them. Also, sugar cues are cheaper.

Here we are rolling the dough balls in the sugar, kneading them a bit to mix some of the sugar in, and letting them rise shortly again.

I do not have a fancy waffle maker, I think it was less than $20 from the kitchen store at the mall. They had a very nice model for over $100! I think I did just fine for less than $20 except that my trays don't come out for washing. You really don't have to cook for long.