We left Kansas January and returned the end of May.....
We loved our dreamy winter in Florida and a FUN spring run to Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee & Ohio! But alas, it was time to circle back to Kansas and our home sweet hub.
As we moved back in to our space, a blog formed in my head called:
12 THINGS YOU NOTICE AFTER LIVING IN AN RV
Here we go:
#1 - Regular Water Pressure
Regular water pressure feels like a HIGH POWDERED pressure washing MIRACLE WORKER! Especially after several low pressure rv park water systems!
We all had to stare and comment on the amazing power of WATER on dirty dishes. Haha! :)
Speaking of water and #2....
#2 - WATER in the Toilet
In an RV, you manually add water to the toilet, before you can do your business. Sometimes things are um, urgent and people can barely get water in fast enough to do their duty.
We all reach for the side of the toilet to push the button to add water when we first get home. LOL! :D
Hey guys, guess what? These toilets COME WITH WATER ALREADY IN THEM!!!!
#3 - While We Are STILL Discussing Water
Did you know in a home not on wheels, you can run the dishwasher, washing machine, the sink AND the shower at the SAME TIME?!
Shut the front door.
Who invents this stuff?!
#4 - Five Bar Cell Service and Wifi
You mean cell phones and verizon wifi boxes can have FIVE bars of service? WHAT is this phenomenon?
RV parks are notorious for horrible cell service in park and spotty Wifi you share with all the neighbors. NO BUENO!
We can hardly believe how strong our signal gets when we get home. Not always in our metal shed home, but most of the time outside it!!!
#5 - Anybody Home?
I swear, I spend half my time in our home sweet hub, trying to FIND MY FAMILY!!!!
After living in 400 sq feet most of the year, 1600 sq ft feels ENORMOUS.
Guys? Guuuyyyyyssss????? DALE?!
WHERE IS EVERYONE?
#6 - Warp Speed Laundry
It's not until I get home to my full sized washer and dryer that I realize just how HUGE they really are compared to my cute little RV washer dryer set.
We do 2 loads a day in the RV, to stay on top of things. At our home sweet hub I can do FIVE GIANT loads of laundry, in the time it takes the RV washer/dryer to do ONE.
What is this time and speed conundrum?
#7 - Toilet Paper LUXURY
Regular toilet paper is SO SOFT and luxurious!!!!!
Rv toilet paper has to be single ply so it doesn't clog the fancy imancerator system.
I JUST WANT SOFT PAPER FOR MY TOOSHIE, OKAY!? It's the little things people.
#8 - I Want My Bed
First world problems, when you like your RV mattress better than your home sweet hub one.
I WANT MY SOFT BED BACK!
#9 - Pooper Duty
You take your dog out to do her business and by habit, reach for a pooper duty bag!
OH YEAH......NO more pooper scooping when you are home, HALLELUJAH!
#10 - Bake ALL THE THINGS
RV convection oven doesn't bake in the center, and it heats up the whole home, so you learn quickly to grill, OR, do skillet or instant pot meals.
That means when you get home, YOU BAKE ALL THE THINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Casseroles, egg bakes, comfort foods, brownies, cupcakes.... ALL. THE. BAKED. THINGS. NOW.
#11 - A SHOPPING SPREE
When you are gone so many months from what you dub your "Kansas Closet", you find clothes you like again, and get to switch for items you are tired of in your RV closet!
FREE SHOPPING SPREE ANYONE?!
Yes, we all share the RV closet x 6. We just have to be choosy what comes with us! We also all share the "Kansas Closet" upstairs, full of winter clothes we only need when we are here in cold weather.
Downstairs in the laundry room is our "Family Closet". Super handy on laundry day AND when it's time to move in and out of the RV closet, seasonly.
And #12 in our list of things you notice we you live in an RV for a while......
How quickly your heart misses it...............
.......and how BADLY you want to get back in it and go for another ADVENTURE!!!!!!
We are in Kansas for the rest of the summer, barring a few quick trips here and there.
So long until next time.....
Happy Mother's Day!
We spent our morning traveling 2 and a half hours into Amish country, so we could be ready for classes here tomorrow.
The kids made me cards, and made sure I didn't lift a finger all day! It was nice :)
We drove around the countryside to just enjoy a scenic drive, snagged some yummy food from one of the only open restaurants on a Sunday...Park Street Pizza.
Avocado fries, giant farm salad, and 3 kinds of pizza was on our table before we knew it. Mmmm mm good!
Here is what I wrote to my momma for Mother's Day to celebrate her from far away:
When I am tempted to roll my eyes during yet another multiplication flashcards review with the littles, I remember how my mom used to make it a fun game each day after school. 🎵How she'd make a sing song sergeant-esque rhyme of the ones that tripped me up.....6x4 is 24, 6x8 is 48. Sound off!
📖 Or when it was time to learn a long bible verse for church, she'd lay on a blanket with me out in the yard and cheerfully review it again and again, until I knew it well.
When I am tempted to skip due to exhaustion, I remember how every night she would tickle my back and cuddle me, while I drifted off to sleep.
When Destiny and I butt heads and she blows up, I remember how mom would just hug me close and stroke my long hair, when I'd take out all my highschool frustrations on her.
She was a heck of a cook and housekeeper and ran a tight ship. My messy clothing- strewn room, after a running late outfit crisis, made her crazy. It had to be cleaned up and chores done before any fun could occur.
I am now that mom!🤣
Everything I know and do, is based on a bar set really high by a mom who did it all.🙌 I can only hope my children will have half the happy memories of a mom who served them with joy, during their growing up years.
Happy Mother's Day, momma! I sure do love you🥰
Here is what my sweetie wrote me:
GUYS, it is COLD here! High was 55 and rainy, so we cranked the fireplace and chilled the rest of the day in the RV. I love how homey it feels!
We headed into town Monday for Mrs. Yoder's fried chicken buffet, and black raspberry ice cream from Troyers, even though it was FREEEEZING out!
51* high and 41* for the low
We are total total wusses now, after spending all winter in Florida and I totally didn't pack the right kind of clothes, brrrrrr!
Cold, grey and blustery for sure! The kids hunkered down and I headed to class......
No plans on Tuesday, but swim with the kids in the heated indoor pool......
When the sun FINALLY came out our final day there, we drove around and saw all the beautiful countryside! Windows down, just enjoying :)
Isn't this area so beautiful?!
Can you spot our RV in this pic?!
Our final Ohio stop was Findlay for some classes with a brand new builder here! We found a pretty RV park with a big field behind it that was begging for playtime.
We got set up and Pax decided it was time for a game of stick ball! :)
Always nice to enjoy a little down time between classes!
Paxton picked an INCREDIBLE dinner to cook this week. Check it out!
Carnita Tacos with quick pickled onions
Friday was a meet and greet at a local cute coffee shop. Our friends and biz partners, Matt & Liz and their 2 sweet kids were in town so they could connect with their Ohio team too.
We had them drop the kids off, so they could all play while we went to coffee. Destiny is a great babysitter and it's safe to say the kiddos had a great time!
I didn't get any photos of our coffee shop group, but Liz and I did make Dale pull over on the way home to get photos of this gorgeous bridge. A local instagram page share it as well, COOL! :)
We got a phone call bright and early the next day with some sad news from Matt and Liz.....
The river at their RV park flooded during the night and the RV and suburban were half under water. It was to the top step when they got rescued 2 at a time with only the backpacks on their backs.
Here is the deal, they are in a strange place an hour from us in the wee hours of the morning, so once they got to dry ground, they were literally helpless and homeless. Everything they own is back in the RV. Their home on wheels!
Thank the Lord for His provision! The Lawerence had attended a local church Sunday, had dinner Tuesday with the Pastor, and attended Wednesday night church and really connected with the leadership there. This kind shepherd was there in minutes and he and his wife opened their home and loaned their car to our friends until further notice. AMAZING!
Praying it all works out. The "brain" of the RV is fried. All of it was under water! Randomly flashing lights, gages moving, alarms going off, won't start, not at all safe! Totally undriveable.
We hold the note on this RV still, so we are up to our ears in insurance phone calls and arrangements. They keep wanting us to drive the RV to the shop to be accessed. I guess they don't have any idea that a fried RV cannot put jacks up, slides in, OR DRIVE for that matter!
It can't even be towed with all those things down and out. Sigh. God has a plan and we trust it. Just a bit of a stressful situation for all!
We left at 6 am the next morning to beat a line of severe hail storms coming our way. Little did we know, that wasn't going to be the end of it!
After 12 hours of driving, we made it to Kansas City, just in time to enjoy the sunset and a walk. We planned to see our friends Monday, chill at the lake where we were parked Tuesday and go hang out and teach a class Wednesday.
The more we watched the weather, the more concerned Dale got. The more time that passed, the worse the weather forecast. Flood warning for the lake we were parked at, golf ball sized hail, tornado watch and high winds.
After much debate and sadness, the decision was made to not sit in the weather to come for the next 48 hours and instead, head the 4 hours home early in the morning and get the RV and trailer under cover at our home sweet hub.
The last thing we need, is ANOTHER RV with a claim and storm damage! We will just take the car back to Kansas city Wed instead of getting the ol home on wheels back out again. Not ideal, we are terrible car travelers now, but totally worth it!
We didn't beat the rain home, but we did beat the major wind and storms that hit that night both at our house and at the lake where we WOULD'VE been. We slept great knowing all was well!
Check out our now "lakefront" home!
No matter how dreary on the outside, we are so happy to be safe and warm on the inside and greeted by such a cheerful sight!
HOME SWEET HOME
When I last blogged, we had QUITE the travel day adventure, but we made it to DELAWARE................the town of Delaware, OHIO that is!
We were supposed to stay in Plain City, but they called to cancel our reservation. Apparently they had to tow out a ton of the rigs staying there due to heavy rains.
Woah. Not cool. Glad they let us know!
We saw this on FB not long after.......
We got all set up, walked the our new rv park a bit and headed into town for dinner and groceries. MOD pizza was on our minds....
Proud of my little shoppers! They all menu planned with me as we drove and we headed to the store with 5 grocery lists and look, even smiles. :)
Our menu includes:
*BBQ chicken, mac & cheese, baked beans & veggies
*Steak, parsley garlic noodles & salad
*Roasted Red Pepper Sausage Rigatoni
*Cheeseburgers and sides
*Carne Asada tacos with pickled red onion & queso blanco cheese
*Hobo dinners (leftover hamburger patty, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, rosemary and organic mushroom soup as gravy) over the fire with s'mores cones for dessert
Mmm, some good eats this round!
The next morning we headed out for some play time on the RV playground, but first the kids had to get ready.
Love when these guys get creative. Cross Creek RV's pirate ship playground was the perfect inspiration for a day of fun!
That evening, we had class, which was so fun! No pics, of course, I was teaching, remember?! :) We have lots of new excited oilers in OHIO!!!!!
Speaking of oilers, we met the coolest couple on our trip to Hawaii this winter, we texted them to see if they were close by, and they were. Whoop whoop!
They graciously invited us to their farm for the evening. It was BEEEEEAUTIFUL!
They also have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls, so everyone had a buddy to hang with, and got along so so well. Such a neat family dynamic in this home!
I really appreciated how the big boys, 17 & 15, stuck around and hung out with the kids and adults. That is highly unusual and a breath of fresh air, am I right?! Often the cool teens don't come home, or even if they are home, do not stick around to play or visit with everyone.
I am more determined than ever, to make sure we do this as our family grows up. It's so easy to accept teenager things as "normal" when really, it's simply a choice and upbringing.
Oh my goodness, the evening flew and it got SO late so fast! We had a heck of a time and literally talked non stop, like long lost friends catching up.
Talk about kindred spirits....God is so faithful to continue to connect us with the coolest families as we travel!
Thanks to Jim for snagging this fireside selfie of the whole gang before we left.....
It rained pretty much the ENTIRE NEXT DAY, but we played games, watched movies and when the clouds broke, quick rode a buggy around the RV park before it POURED AGAIN.
We have been doing this long enough, that we can handle rainy days like a champ! ;)
We headed to Plain City the next day for one more class with a new builder and friend, Bekah. Our business partners and friends, Matt & Liz, came too, so we could all connect as a team. I love that they are mobile now. They are the ones that bought our black and grey rv! :)
We drove by the RV park we were supposed to stay at in Plain City, on the way over, the muddy one from above? Yeah, check out these RUTS! So grateful we didn't try to stay here.
Our final day in the area, and guess where we are headed?
Back to our new friends Hicks' for a day of fishing, chilling and using their WIFI to get some work done......let's be honest, sometimes just one gathering isn't enough! :D
We wanted to provide a meal for them this go around, so HOBO dinners seemed like an easy choice for feeding a crowd that includes keto folks.
For ease, this is how we layer our HOBO dinners:
Already grilled and seasoned hamburger patties, cut up
Fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced
Onion, chopped or sliced thin
Seasonings, generously salt, pepper and garlic powder veggie layers
Organic mushroom soup spooned on top for "gravy"
Fresh rosemary sprigs, cut up
We tried our hand at a Keto dessert in the IP and it turned out SO good!
Mocha Chocolate Pudding Cake
Recipe and image from here: https://www.ruled.me/slow-cooker-mocha-pudding-cake/
We added cinnamon, yum. Extra real vanilla extract. 3 squirts of liquid stevia, instead of the mentioned powder stuff. And used the instant pot vs. the crock pot, which we do not travel with.
Non keto peeps can have it with ice cream, keto peeps can do whipped cream! SO fluffy and yummy!
Until next time, friends! May the Lord bless you and keep you, make His face to shine upon you and give you peace and abundant blessings for opening your home to us, not once, but TWICE in 3 days. Haha! :)
The next day was MOTHER's Day!
We all slept in until 10 am, oh man, we have to check out before 11. We quick made smoothies, listened to live church on facebook from Florida, and packed up to head out to Amish country!
More on that soon.....hope your weekend was WONDERFUL!
We had a blast in Alabama with our oil family! We usually park 45 minutes away at a huge lake, but this time, found a little local spot for our short stay in Huntsville.....
Our friends and business partners there, Darren & Angel, always bless us with the most AMAZING meal. They are from Fiji and have ALL the good recipes!!!! This time it was curry and rice, holy amazing. The kids had a ball playing outside, while the adults visited.
Sweet Darren surprised me with MY FAVORITE.....Rosie's Salsa!!! The BEST Mexican out there, for serious. I may or may not have rocked this jug and held it like a baby! ;) (and then ate it for my meals everyday! haha)
Then it was time to work! Angel and her team did a FABULOUS job filling each class....we had a ball! Lots of new oilers coming to Huntsville! :)
We even got to have a Rosie's Fajita dinner after our second night of classes, thanks to Darren dropping it off after work. SO thoughtful!
I loved getting to hang out with Angel and Kathryn more before we left town.....
The next morning, the students of 4 Oaks Academy finished their school year.....WAHOO!
Time to celebrate!
We let the kids pick wherever they wanted to go from dinner to CELEBRATE.....
Is it any surprise they picked Rosie's Mexican?!
You are looking at a future 3rd, 5th, 7th and Junior in HS right here......
Look at how they've changed since we hit the road 4 years ago, April!
They picked the TV foodie famous, Bigfoots Little Donuts for dessert. Hot and fresh off the line, Peaches & Cream, Honey Cinnamon and Funnel cake
We left early the next morning to head to Franklin, TN trying to beat a line of storms....
I just don't think we did this area any justice at all. We sat in the parking lot in Franklin, TN for a quick oil class in the local coffee shop, and from what I hear, missed a TON of cool things to do and see.
Next time, Franklin. Next time.
We always try to think of fun games to play or crafts to do during travel days. Today was, a stamp the playdough guessing game! :)
We headed to our campsite in Kentucky and got all set up....the kids were at each other, and it was pouring out, so no evening walk in the forecast.
We decided to divide and conquer. The girls and I would stay here with chocolate and a girly movie, and Dale would take the boys in to see the Corvette museum. You know, the one that had a sink hole in the center at one point?
At the last minute, Destiny decided to go along. No problem! Papa would be proud. My dad was a corvette fanatic and had 17 different Vettes in his lifetime..
I stayed behind with Avery and we decided on swiss chocolate (Thanks, Elaine!) and Little Women, the movie. Not 25 minutes later, Dale calls.....the boys were fighting and despite being warned, had just lost their privilege of going to the museum that day. Everyone was headed back home for dinner and an evening at home.
RUT RO!!!! Those lessons are hard on EVERYONE involved.
We ate dinner and headed to bed. Tomorrow is a fresh start!
The next day, instead of home church, we headed out to go enjoy our Creator's Creation: Mammoth Cave.
We had just read about this in Paxton's school books and one of my favorite Christian Fictions, so it was perfect timing.
Mammoth Cave National Park Facts:
Mammoth Cave National Park is a 52,830 acre park located in the state of Kentucky in the United States. It is named after the cave it partially encompasses, called Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System, which is the world's longest known cave system. Native Americans have inhabited the cave region for at least 6,000 years. It is believed that the first Europeans to discover the cave system did so in the late 1700s, although it is not known if it was Francis Houchin or his brother John Houchin who officially made the discovery. In 1941 Mammoth Cave National Park was officially established.
There are a variety of different tours available, all varying in sites, length and exertion. They range from 2 -6 hours in length, all offering an incredibly memorable experience. A few of the more popular tours are Frozen Niagara, Fat Man’s Misery, Domes & Dripstones and the Grand Avenue.
The main Grand Ave tour was sold out, note you will need to book FAR in advance for this one!
We picked a moderate difficulty 2 hour tour, Domes & Dripstones, and hung out in the free museum while we waited for the buses.
I was just fine until I read all the warnings associated with this tour about those fearing heights and suffering from claustrophobia......
So glad for this bad boy.
Balance is wonderful for times when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or just feeling anxious about something. It's also good for days kids cannot focus or sit still!
It's grounding and centering and smells wonderful! I dosed myself in it while we waited.
Ahhhh much better! Now if I get nervous, I can sniff my wrist.
We arrived at the cave entrance and the descent down began.......and kept going and going and going.
I have never gone down so many dark, damp, steep, slippery stairs in my life! Avery's eyes were HUGE and her teeth were chattering!
The formations are incredible and vary in size, color and size. The Drapery Room looks like pleated drapes in a pale limestone. The Snowball Room has the appearance of hundreds of snowballs, varying in size. Frozen Niagara looks like a waterfall, frozen in time. These are just a few of the unique formation waiting to be seen at Mammoth Cave. Each area seems to be a doorway into another new world of shapes, colors, sizes and creatures.
When you are done with your descent from the cave, you walk through this nasty soapy stuff that gets your socks wet. It is supposed to help you from spreading a disease to other places since its present in the mammoth cave bats.
Since we were so close to the Corvette museum, Dale decided to take the boys to it, attempt 2. He dropped the girls off at the mall and took off. It was fun!
Avery found some cute magnetic earrings. She wants to get her ears pierced so bad, but we are looking for some improvement in responsibility and clean up first, so these will do.
We pulled out the next day for Ohio!
BUT, not all travel days are fun and relaxing.......
Let's do a little travel day math, shall we?
30 ounces of water x 5 Ferguson stainless steel cups = 150 oz of cold refreshing water
ADD to that equations, the Mother of ALL POTHOLES and that equals....
Over a GALLON of water flying out of said cups, and rushing all over the floor and under slides!
BONUS: We lost all our dash gauges too. But never fear, Mr. Fix It is on the job!
*The floor will be oh so clean when we stop tonight.
*My cup jumped across two open laptops before spilling. Thanks, Lord!
*We may never know why the Lord needed us off the road that 30 minutes but we trust it!
*Dale got it fixed and we are back on the road again!
OHIO - Here we come :)
This is what travel day looks like when a huge, unavoidable, pothole sets off a high pitched sensor alarm for your air ride system, and the part you need is still 2 hours away and no one on the phone can help you shut it off.
3 brave souls remain out front, utilizing noise cancelling headphones from the races. Everyone else is hiding in the back bedroom!?
Never-the-less, we are Alabama bound!
UPDATE 1 hour later:
Dale was pushing buttons on the dash and cleared the error code. (Why didn't the guy on the phone tell us to do that?!)
We still need the new part but don't have to hear the alarm! Hallelujah! :)
When we come to Birmingham, our favorite park is called Oak Mountain State Park and it has the NEATEST things for families to enjoy.
Like a working farm petting zoo, hiking trails, horse stables, places to swim and fish, and even a BMX track to jump your bike on if you are into that sorta thing.
We grabbed dinner at Jim N Nicks, some groceries and called it a day....
Score! $50 worth of blackberries for $10 at Publix. I checked the tag like 5 times. Yup 98 cents a carton!
We saved some out to eat fresh, but the rest went into baggies with other fruits for smoothies....
The next morning we watched our Florida church on the big screen, while it wasn't as wonderful as sitting in the auditorium, we still received the Word of God and powerful messages.
Ones I wanted to remember, so I made a couple new cards for our fridge door....Powerful stuff, right?!
Church inspired fridge words to live by!
I headed to class, again, no pics because well, I am working. Haha! It was a ball, southern ladies are SO FUN and funny to hang out with!!!!
It was about 8 pm when Dale came to pick me up, and he told me about this cute little hole in the wall he read about called Pho 280. He said Destiny had the kids in bed and he was taking me out!
We decided to share the Shaking Beef dish as well as the oh so famous, 24 hour simmered Beef Pho. HOLY AMAZING!
We left, promising ourselves we'd come back ASAP.
I had Monday off, so we decided to quick get school done and have an adventure.....
But our morning was interrupted with some EXCITEMENT!
The horses got out of their pasture and went flying by. Dale ran out to herd them away from the main road... he had a oh shoot what have I gotten myself into moment as they ran full boar at him, but they turned at the last minute and kept running.
Here the stable hands were trying to chase them down:
Once everyone finished up their work, we headed to do the hike to Peavine Falls.
Sophie was excited to get included! A lot of parks don't let dogs on the trails, but this one did.
The kids picked the more challenging blue trail and off we went...no, we didn't do all 7 miles! ;) Just the falls and back.
The path was very rocky and we spent a lot of time manuvering over boulders and down steep slopes, but man was it cool!
And then, we could hear it, the FALLS!!!!!!!!!!
We were the only ones there too. So we kicked off our shoes and waded around and enjoyed the peace and quiet before a group found us.
My adventurers had a little less pep in their step back UP the rocky slopes. We had to sit a couple times to rest. Hee hee, everyone is sleeping GOOD tonight!
On adventure days, I think planning ahead an easy supper is CRITICAL to everyone's happiness and success. We had a yummy cold pasta salad waiting for us in the fridge! Here is the recipe.
We added rotisserie chicken, and increased dressing to acommodate the addition. This is a simple and yummy recipe! Season to taste.
Knowing I was teaching class the next night, some of us took a walk down around the lake and enjoyed the sunset.
Before my evening class, we took the kids with an early dinner at Pho 280. They are big asian cuisine fans, and wanted to try it after hearing us rave about the food.
I had the Ramen bowl with soy sauce soaked hard boiled eggs, YUM. Everyone loved what they got! If you are ever in Bham, you have got to go check it out!
I had a lovely class with a back porch full of lively southern belles, and we chit chatted the evening away until all of a sudden it was almost 11pm. MY GOODNESS, time flies when you are having fun!
That evening, while I was gone, Avery made friends with the new neighbors, and Dale told me of their plans the next morning to go pat and ride the horses at the stable.
Sure enough, the next morning, Mr. Hollie offered to take Avery for a ride. He later, let her lead Funny Face by the rope while we were packing up to get ready to go.
Pretty special stuff for my little horse fanatic!
Our kind neighbors took this photo as we pulled out. Until next time!
We are off to Huntsville, AL for some more oil classes with our awesome team here.
Feel so good to be on the road again! There is nothing like hearing the beautiful diesel start up. 4 years later, it STILL makes my heart go a flutter.
We eased back into the swing of things and kept our first day shorter than some, with 8 hours of travel. Kids did a great job working on school and it was almost as if we hadn't stopped traveling for 3 whole months.
Dale found us a beautiful place for the night called Fair Harbor in Perry, Georgia.
Once we get our home on wheels set up, we like to get out, stretch our legs and explore the RV park a bit. This one had horses, a play area, and a big pond for fishing.
We took a nice long family walk before dinner and bedtime. We were going to hit the road at a good time the next day. Travel days go easier when they start early, don't you agree?
Buford, GA, here we come!
We had never been in Buford before, and there wasn't many options in the way of RV parks we could fit at. The Shoal Creek Campground on Lake Lanier looked promising.
We usually don't fit at state parks, but they thought we could swing it......
It didn't take Dale long to realize with the map of S curves handed to us, the route leading to our site, was NOT going to be an option.
So, he backs us back down the hill, around the corner and then proceeds to back back up, into our spot with the trailer, despite their advice to drop it.
Guess they don't know Dale has got some backing up skillsssss....
Thanks to Paxton for recording this video!
IMPRESSIVE. I would NEVERRRRRRRRRR. Thank goodness I married someone who can back like a champ!
We get to call this stunning forest home for the next few days, and I am ECSTATIC! Forest is my FAVORITE....
Once we set up, the kids were begging to go explore!
It was fun to see the kids use their imaginations and hang out together and just chillax outside in the cooler weather.
Hammock shenanigans and a picnic dinner: Chicken Tetrazinni, mmm!
We enjoyed a cozy fire before bed.....
Kids couldn't get out to the fire circle fast enough the next morning, but BRRR was it COLD! We got wimpy over the winter in Florida, I think. ;)
We did school out there, then off they went to play the day away!
I sat out for a long time after everyone else found something to do. It was just so peaceful.
Reminded me of a verse, hearing the trees clap and praise in the breeze.
I Chronicles 16:33a
"Let the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD...."
Check out these sweet buddies, playing orphans and cooking over an "open fire"......
At this point, I headed into town for class at a darling local coffee shop. NO photos, of course! I always get so distracted. Guess that's good, since I am there to share my oils and do my job to empower people to use them! LOL :) We had a lovely time.
Back home for dinner and one more family walk through the park and fire with the kiddos.
We had to head out early the next day for our next location.....
Alabama, here we come!
It has been a fun winter and time has absolutely FLOWN. It's time to say bye to Florida for now!
As it came close to our departure day, our list of "one more thing" & "one more time" grew......
*Eat Der Dutchman for breakfast, one last time
*Go to Mexican with Grammy, one more time
*Do an evening swim (we have meant to do that but just now getting it done)
*Final bike rides around the park
*One more fishing day
*One more afternoon at the pool
We ADORE Florida and hope to one day make it our home 5 or so months a year!
Traveling is too fun, I cannot imagine giving that up at this point. ;)
April 14th came and went without a blog, so late Happy birthday to Dale! Birthday pics in the slideshow along with some lizards, yummy food, pool day, Mexican night, bike rides......
We knew we had to hit the beach, one more time too, and dig our toes in the sand, so we did that before Easter weekend.....
It's just SO lovely here! The beach has this dreamy white sand and teal water. Nice and warm now!
Last Mexican night with Grammy and Uncle Dan, Aunt Torrey had to work. BOO!
The food was delicious as always and we had a great time!
I had a flashback of an old photo while the kids were hanging by the fountain. I found it on our old blog on the way home from dinner.....2014 & 2019
WHERE does the time go?
Aww, such sweet memories!
You know, our first winter down here, staying at a new place instead of at Papa's farm, was something we were anxious about.
But we needed not worry, God knew that we would make amazing new memories down south, too. And we cannot WAIT to come back and make some more......
Until then, we are on the road again heading NORTH to teach some oil classes!!!
Our FREE educational classes are in:
*Atlanta area: Buford, GA
- April 27 - 11 am
Birmingham, AL - April 28 at 3pm, April 30 - evening class time TBA
Huntsville, AL - May 2 & 3 at 6:30pm
Plain City, OH - May 7 & 10 @ 6:30pm
Findlay, Ohio - May 18 at 2 & 6pm
If you are close to any of those areas and want an invite, just say the word. I would love to connect with you! I will message you the address and as my guest, you will receive a FREE gift! :)
Did you have a Happy Easter? Celebrating a risen Saviour with you! What a precious gift, eternal life. We had a wonderful weekend!
First up, Family Fun Day on Friday....
Off to see Breakthrough, what a fabulous film of faith and the power of prayer. Cried the whole way through! It is a must see!
I am loving the theatre down here. We rarely budget to take the whole crew to a movie because for that price, we could just BUY it, right?!
it is only $6 a ticket regardless of when you go, or what ages, and it is a really nice reclining seat theatre to boot!
Some families dye eggs, we used to. NOT in the RV! LOL! This year we picked something different..... ;)
TIE DYE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Outside. ;)
It was messy, our hands were many colors and several outfits had whoopsies. (nothing a little lemon oil couldn't get out, worked like a charm!)
Once we got out old lake swimsuits to wear during the rubber band clipping/rinsing process, I could relax a bit more. It took 2 days in all from start to finish, but in the end, cute and fun summer clothes can be enjoyed!
3 library bags, a ball cap, bandana, swimsuit coverup, 2 kitchen towels, and several t-shirts and tank tops were made before we ran out of dye.
It was a lot of fun! :)
Our church has several service times to choose from, and we like to go on Saturday night. Easter was a bit of a different schedule, so we went late Saturday afternoon, for the 4:00 service.
IT WAS AMAZING! Wow. SO powerful.
We had tickets for early entry so we got to skip some of the crazy lines. We are so thankful to have found a wonderful church home down here for the winters.
They closed out service with this amazing song........ CHILLLLLLLLS
With church done on Saturday, that left Sunday to sleep in, and have some fun before we had to make ham, cheesy potatoes, steamed green beans, etc. We had already made our dessert Saturday so it could get cold.
You might remember the recipe from our old blog, 4 little Ferguson's, all my favorite recipes are there and we use them every week! God is good to give me a digital cookbook for our simple living!
White Chocolate Lemon Blueberry Trifle
We use our doTERRA essential oils for everything! So instead of messing with the zest, we just added 2 to 3 drops of doTERRA's pure lemon oil to our fluff. YUM! You will love it!
Before it got too hot, we played a game outside, like Capture the Flag, except we did it EGG style. Each kid had to go get their 3 eggs, ONE at a time, without getting tagged and frozen by their opponents. We had a ball! Boys won round one, girls round two, then we mixed up teams and kept playing until we were too hot and hungry.
The night before, Dale and I stuffed 3 eggs with 2 kinds of candies from the local farmers market, and a $5 bill per kid. They don't get candy often, so we knew they might be more excited about that than anything. ;)
The girls found the CUTEST tablecloth, paper goods and even a matching pillow, for our outdoor dining area. We eat most our meals outdoors since we all fit comfortably at this big picnic table.....
Avery set the table so nice and made everyone a name tag. She placed some peeps at each spot.....somehow Paxton's didn't make it to lunch?! ;) It was all delish!
Boys headed to go fish and girls headed to the pool to read and relax the afternoon away.....
When the boys got home, we finished up our Easter celebration. We don't do easter baskets for resurrection day anymore, just simple things like a candy treat for our small RV lifestyle. So I hid their chocolate little bunny in the RV and each kiddo got a clue card where to find it.....
Can you figure out the clues?
They found them pretty quickly and then we played "Warmer" until they found the final gift. You know the game, cold, cold, colder, warm, warm, warmer, warmer, WARMER< BURNING HOT, you are on fire....depending on how closely they get to the hidden item?
Well, let's just say things got noisy when Dale started clanging and screeching like a broken fire alarm. They laughed and laughed as they hunted ALLLLL around him. Sneaky ol' daddy had his foot on the rug, on the movie the whole time. They were SO close the entire time they were searching!
We watched our movie, went on a family bike ride and called it a day.
Hope you all had an amazing and happy Easter!
So thankful for a Father who loved us enough to send His son that we might have LIFE...
I cannot believe how fast winter has gone! I guess poolside and bike rides make for a smooth transition from winter to spring? Time flies when you are having fun!
We took the girls to see the movie Unplanned with some friends of ours. It was gut wrenching and eye opening and a wonderful conversation starter.
We found an amaaaaazing church down here that we are so excited to plug in to, of COURSE, it's right before we go for the season, but at least we know about it for when we come back. AND, online church for travel days is always a plus!
Destiny has grown so much this season, taller then MOM by FAR, and literally outgrew all the things.
SO, we planned a huge girls day and hit the discount stores and the mall. Daddy took the boys fishing and told us to take as long as we like......aww, thanks honey!
Seven hours later, count 'em SEVEN, we were done! PHEW! That was HARD WORK.
We ended the day with some cheesecake factory. The girls have never been!
That's its for now! Our time here is rapidly coming to a close and while I am super excited to get back on the road, I am sad to leave this place that feels so much like home......
Florida life is a good life! We are so grateful to be here, just in time for Aunt Ashley's wedding to her fiance, Clay. We drove an hour and a half to go celebrate with them.
I packed up all our wedding clothes and decided to try curly hair. The bob side is getting longer now, and I hope to be able to switch things up once in a while! :)
Uncle Chad and Aunt Lauren let us use their hotel room to change and then we were off to the ceremony in the backyard of Ashley and Clay's lakefront home.
Everything was stunning!
Check out these cool seating areas!
The center aisle was totally dreamy.......
The ceremony was sweet, touching and funny.....and then, they were Mr & Mrs!
We ate yummy BBQ and desserts, and listened to incredible entertainers, sweet toasts and then the dancing began and lasted well into the night.
Congrats to the Clingerman's! Wishing you all God's best....
You know these days, it seems to be all about the BROWS. Lashes too yes, but brows are back, baby!
I have always been blessed with long eyelashes, and at one point, full brows.....
But alas, as a teen of the 90's, it was NOT "in" to have bushman eyebrows.
IN FACT, we paid perfectly good money every month to have our brows waxed into tiny little strips and drew the rest in.
By the way, this is Dale and I the first summer we met. And the rose photo above is the night he told me he loved me for the first time. I told him I needed to think about it before I said it back!
Haha, what can I say?! I wanted to be sure!! :)
This is also the summer he sweetly asked to kiss me, and I said nope. I was waiting until I had a ring on my finger, and he said he thought I was worth waiting for.
AWWWWWWWWWWW, how tiny are we? Like 17-18? Haha, ah young love. :)
Needless to say, I have spent the better part of my adult life, drawing eyebrows into spaces that literally, no longer grow hair.
And when the bigger brows came fully into style, the time to draw them in, also grew.
It takes like 15 extra minutes on a "bad eyebrow day", and YES, when you draw them in, that IS a thing!
Soooo when my sis in law told me all about her new eyebrows and I got to see them in person, I knew it WAS TIME! It was PAST TIME!
I needed new brows. Hers looked SO awesome!!!!
It was time to go under the blade....
I made an appointment in Ocala, FL at Michelle's Glam Studio.
Michelle was kind and explained what she was doing to this newbie. She was meticulous in making sure I was happy with the shape and fade of my brows and touched up areas several times, until we both agreed, they were just right.
She did both microblading AND ombre powder, so it looked like real brows, but also had nice dark pigment like makeup covered brows.
Everyone wants to know if it hurts, right?
I have never had a tattoo in my life so I found it to be very strange. I could hear the needle scrape (Ewwww!) and the first passes didn't hurt at all, but after an hour of it, then 2 hours, it felt like razor blades and ombre powder pen were scratching and scraping sore, raw hamburger, skin.
She numbed it several times though, and that helped immensely!
My before and after on Michele's social media page:
The end result was the brows I had only dreamed of being able to draw in, and I get to wake up like this! No more spending 15 minutes trying to shade and draw matching 2 eyebrows in. I should've done this ages ago!
You let the first round heal up, follow her directions for cleaning & care, like no swimming, scrubbing, picking scabs etc. before going back for a touch up at one month.
I followed her healing directions to the T! Even buying a hat to hide my brows from the sun (they will fade), saying no to hot tub and swimming (hello! we live in Florida, this was hard!), and being extra careful in the shower not to get them wet.
They dried and flaked and it was GROSS. I was embarrassed to go out in public for a few days!! No wonder she says don't pick, it's tempting. But if you do, it pulls off pigment, and no one wants that!
Once healed, they looked nice, but see how they are a little pale in the middle-back arch where I have no hair left?
No worries, because remember, you go back in at the one month mark to refill all that.
My sis in law, Lauren, was scared to tell me that her touch up hurt badly, since she knew my first round was painful, but funny story......
I fell ASLEEP during my touch up, because it was just relaxing and didn't hurt at all!
Haha, guess I am opposite?!
I love the final results and this touch up round, I tried a new method my step-momma, Drea told me about, she said really coat the tattoo, or in this case the brow, with the little healing cream they give you and keep it moist with it at all times, as opposed to waiting a week to start that part per the salon instructions.
I figured it was worth a shot!
I had minimal itching and ZERO flaky peeling and it healed up a week faster! I am a believer in the moisture method!
And here is my end result:
If I continue to keep my brows out of the sun, microblading lasts 6 months to a year and ombre powder can last up to 2 years! HALLELUJAH!
Do you have eyebrows you love? Or were you a child of the 90's as well? ;)
There is hope for us!
It's Spring Break, baby! Exxxceeeeeeppppttt.....
The 4 little Fergusons already HAD their Spring Break with Grammy, while mom and dad were in Atlanta.
No worries! We have a plan......school as normal and then Uncle Chad, Auntie Lauren, the cousins and Nana are all coming down for a long weekend! YAY!
We had to scramble, but found a last minute adorable rental nearby.
We beat them to their space on Friday and used the code to get in and start making dinner.... a fiesta!!!
Instant Pot Carne asada, mexican street corn, fresh lime mojitos and a frozen layered fried ice cream dessert. YUMMO!
Street Corn Recipe
Fried Ice Cream Dessert
We had a nice time and the cousins loved getting to dig through the driveway to find the sea shells.....
The next morning, we met for breakfast at our favorite place, Der Dutchman.
Waited for the rain to pass, cut up a bazillion local strawberries, then headed to the pool all afternoon.
Dale made us yummy burgers and sides and the kids enjoyed the rv park golf course while we waited for dessert and games....
Have you ever played Tenzi? We picked up a couple sets of dice an some cards at Der Dutchman and were so excited to get to play.
It was a HOOT! We were in hysterics!
We all said our goodbyes and planned to meet (sans rain) at the beach for a day of fun in the sun!
We woke up to cloudy skies, but NO rain, so off to the beach we went. Chad's car full made it first and they found us a great spot right by the water....
Time for some Vitamin D & "Sea"
We picnic'd, read books, built volcanos and sand castles and had a ton of fun! The sun kept peeking in and out but it was a really nice day overall.
The sky got darker, the kids got redder and everyone was ready to call it a day. We headed to the showers and then over to Grammy Drea's house. She heard Chad's were in town and invited everyone, including my mom, to her place for dinner. What a blessing!
Dale started grilling and the kids started playing.....lots of fun things to do and see at Grammy's house!
It takes a special set of ladies to come together, as different pieces of the same family, in so many different combos and ways represented, to break bread and fellowship...💕
Grateful for an amazing night at Grammy's house with Nana and the whole gang!
God is so good. 🙏
Uncle Chad asked for a photo recreated.......2010, 2015 and 2019
Guess who got "the big one" out in the golf course lake after dinner?
This guy! He was so excited!
Our guests went home the next day. What a fun weekend!
Every year doTERRA invites their Silver and above ranked leaders to a leadership retreat on the west or east coast, to connect and learn together.
It has been held in Orlando, FL recently, but this year was in ATLANTA!
Atlanta is about 7 hours from here, so we packed up the kids to head to Grammy's for the week. Packed up ourselves for a looonnng car trip, grabbed our Hawaii themed leaders gifts and headed out! :)
We have a doTERRA friend living at the same RV park as us, heading to the same retreat, so we had her hop in. We picked up my momma in central Florida on the way through and made it a car full. Poor poor Dale, surrounded by women that have to stop to pee often, LOL! He did well.
We checked into our darling apartment on the top floor, grabbed some dinner right next door at Pho24, ate some amazing beef pho (pronounced Fhu), a bbq bahn mi sandwich and my favorite, bubble tea!
Wow, we got to enjoy quite the view!!!!
The temperatures were dropping rapidly and the wind chilled our bones, we knew before we headed out to the retreat tomorrow, we were going to need to try to find a scarf or hat or something.
Coming from Florida, we had NO warm clothes. Thank goodness, Drea had sent me with her sweaters and boots to borrow!!!!!!
We grabbed the car and headed to a cool 2 story Target. We didn't get very far, traffic was backed up like crazy. Apparently Bad Boys 3 is being shot on our block.
We only found a scarf, since they had all their swimsuits out instead, headed back home to call it a night and settle in for some good sleep...
I woke up out of my first sleep to a HUUUUGE explosion and rapid gunfire. I grabbed Dale's arm.
OH NO! I KNEW Atlanta was dangerous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dale ran out to the screened in porch. Traffic and people walked and continued as usual. Hmmm........
Then it hit us, OHHHHHHHHHHHH - THE MOVIE!
We found out they shut down the city streets from 7pm - 7am to shoot the movie.
The war zone continued every hour on the hour. This is NOT how I wanted to start a busy week!
Thank goodness for oils that support clarity and energy, because we needed it. We headed to register, see our team and get the day started. It love the energy of these big events!
We heard some company updates, new products coming soon and then Rachel Hollis BROUGHT IT...so good! We ended the day at the diamond banquet.
Thursday was jammed full of topical break out sessions, then doTERRA rented out the entire Atlanta aquarium for our Luau party. It was amazing! Loved getting to wander around and see all the exhibits!
The next morning we got to walk the stage as new Blue Diamonds. I am so beyond blessed and excited to be doing this with my best friend and moving up in this fabulous company to now represent the top 2%. God is so good!
We got out at 1 and went to Publix to pick up some food we ordered for our team to come hang and eat.....we would be leaving bright and early the next morning!
Silly Dale ;)
Well Atlanta, it's been amazing, but I am so happy to see my Florida home again and be 5ish hours away from home!
Guess who had so much fun at Grammy's they didn't even need us to come home!?
Haha, these guys. I am so glad they had such a great time. Grammy gave them a rave review, so let's hope they were as well behaved as she says they were. ;)
Check out all the fun adventures they had.
The beach, ice skating, putt putt, hibachi grill, a beach day, hair dying with Aunt Torrey....no wonder they didn't want us to come home yet! LOL :)
My mom and brother and the fam come down this weekend to hang out. I am so excited! :)
Time for a Florida update.....we have settled into a nice daily routine of school, swimming, dinner and bike rides with a lot of friends and fun in between.
This blog is a travel journal of sorts. A day in the life of the Ferguson family.
Today we will get all caught up on Valentine's Day, Tylan's 12th birthday, some road trips we took, and so much more....
When I last blogged, we were in Ocala to see Chad, before we left, we stopped by our favorite bakery for a "Betty Cake". (secret recipe famous cake, chocolate ganache & frosting amazingness)
It was a little too early in Feb to count this one for Ty's b-day and Valentine's Day was nearly 5 days away, but they personalize it for free, so I told Dale and Destiny to just have them do something fun......
Boy did they!!!! Check out what Destiny requested....
YES, you are reading that right.
Ty is a fart. Love, D
We all had a good laugh though until we were crying!🤣 Even Ty.
Cake was still delish! :)
We always like to have a fun Valentine's Day party and fancy lunch at 4 Oaks Academy school, and this year was no exception. The kids begged for it again!
Our craft time took an interesting turn! ;) LOL!
Lots of fun lunch preparations were made for this multi course meal....so I sent out crafters out to play until I called them in for lunch.
First course, they were served Raspberry Sweeties. You may remember those from the old blog, we got 2nd place in a Driscoll's raspberry contest with those. Super easy and delish!
Next course was chilled Strawberry Soup.
Then, Turkey Munster Sandwiches or Cream cheese Cucumber Dill, vegetable medley and sparkling juice. We got too full to get to the strawberry cheesecake pie I made......Maybe later!😋
Next on the agenda was a Scavenger hunt, they followed the picture clues to their CHOCOLATE treasure!
Last but not least, we headed outside to paint some rocks. We dubbed this our "love rocks" project. Get it? #loverocks
Once they dried, the kids rode all over the RV park hiding them and handing them out to the sweet people around the park.
This project was so fun we had to go to Lowe's and buy more rocks! All the neighbor kids wanted to help too! We kept the painting station out for DAYS!
Remember that yummy Valentine's day pie I mentioned? Here is the oh so easy recipe!
1 qt organic strawberry ice cream
1 box instant cheesecake pudding powder
1 oreo crust
Mix melty ice cream and pudding mix. Scrape into oreo crust. Fridge until cold and set.
Can be frozen for firmer texture.
It was so simple and SO yummy!😋💗
Tylan's birthday is the day after Valentine's Day, and we celebrate by having them be the KING of the day! We wait on them hand and foot, they don't have to do any chores and they get to pick a few gifts or an experience.
He turned 12 this year!!!
Ty picked going to a car museum with his dad, brother and friends from the RV park. But first, we met Grammy, Uncle Dan and Aunt Torrey for breakfast at Der Dutchman. While we were there, he picked a fresh made strawberry pie for dessert! It was a great day!
Uncle Daniel's 30th birthday was a few days later, so Grammy cooked up a scheme that involved us visiting him at his work. We jammed to the live music, played games, ordered pizza and got the band to sing him happy birthday! It was so fun.
Grammy got enough cupcakes to share, so the kids went around and passed them to hungry takers.
We had a blast!
We got to sneak up the gulf a bit to go see our beloved Mrs. B, Mr. B and the whole oiling crew up at Bay Aire RV park for lunch and then an oil class. It was so good to see our Ohio friends in sunny Florida and catch up!
They filled a GREAT class with a ton of happy oilers and future oilers. I think we had nearly 20 there!
And sweet Rebecca sent me home with the CUTEST Dorothy slippers to hang in the RV. We are the doTERRA Dorothy's from Kansas, you know! :)
The kids have made SO many neat friends here at the park, plus our buddies the Knights from Ohio that also do doTERRA are here as well. We are so enjoying this winter home! (here I was worried for nothing) God is good!
The RV park we stay at, has a huge pool, 2 hot tubs, mini golf, a park, amazing places to ride bike, fishing, a work out facility and so much more.
Here my buddy, Pax and I are, enjoying a little mini golf!
Lest you think RV life is all relaxation and roses.....we have had to fix a window, the washer and the toilet is up next once a part comes in.
Haha, big pieces in small spaces make it interesting to work on!
It's also been such a blessing to be close to Grammy so we can pop over for dinner and hang out often. Dad would be so pleased to know life and love and laughter live on despite his absence.
You know, I used to dread Mondays with hubby gone, big kids off to school and a busy scheduled week looming. 😫
Not anymore! So grateful for a leisurely life that includes my love and kiddos home with me!
I walked through the RV and this sight stopped me in my tracks and made my heart overflow with thanksgiving that my Heavenly Father gave me the dreams of long ago as my new reality.....
Praising Him continually!
Until next time.....
Hi from Sunny Florida! We are living the snow bird life and loving every moment of it. This almost 3 weeks has either flown by but also feels like we've been here months and months. I don't know how that it even possible! ;)
There is nothing better than a little vitamin D therapy everyday to keep you healthy and happy emotionally and physically right?! :)
We do school in the mornings, chores, lunch and then the pool for the afternoon. The kids love to ride bike, play on the playground, play putt putt golf, gaga ball or pickle ball with their friends.
Living somewhere so exciting with so much to offer, has also created a problem....
Kids that disappear before basic hygiene and chores are completed!!!!!!
This momma is done calling kids back in to complete the days tasks! I refuse to say the same words and ask the same questions everyday.
I am DONE.
D - O - N - E.
Time to implement a front door check list......
Here is the chore list mentioned. It lives inside the bathroom cupboard for them to check each day.....
At our home hub, we draw popsicle stick chores from a cup and so its the luck of the draw. Here in the RV, this set schedule works better. We've been using this method for 2 and a half years and love it. I can simply go to the chart to see who didn't do a chore properly and call the offender back in. ;)
Neat, right?! So helpful!!!!
Living in an RV means we can't go all out on holiday's and have 4 mailboxes like we used to at the old house, but the kids are LOVING this new cute little Valentine Mailbox from Target!
The mailman comes each day with stickers, erasers, snacks, coupons or words of affirmation and will continue up to Valentine's Day. I am having so much fun planning things to put inside, leading up to our Valentine's school party!
And sweet Gigi, even sent some goodies from Kansas for them to open. They loved it!
We are trying to find a home church down here, so far so good. TONS of good options!
Then we spent Super Bowl Sunday over at Grammy's house. It's so sad that we never have enough food when we all get together... ;) HA!
We had a great time, despite a lack luster game we didn't get into. Did anyone else think the commercials weren't as funny or good either? Boo.
We spent the next weekend at Uncle Chad's. We left the RV behind and went up, sleepover style. They have a budding team there and needed a business overview, so we made a 2 day trip out of it and had a ball!
Our friends the Breuer's called and asked if we could meet up at Anna Maria's Oyster Bar again, but this time for Ella's Golden birthday - turning 11 on the 11th!
Um YES! We ran to Target to find her some cute, but RV-life friendly gifts!
The girls swam in mermaid tails at the pool and Ella LOVES blue, so when we walked by these darling mermaid dolls, we had to get the girls each one. Now named, Sky and Sunset, these mermaids will sit on the girls RV beds and be a sweet reminder of their Florida friend that lives on the road too.
Avery also found her some fun pom poms to hang in her bunk and some stunner shades for the beach as well! :) Sweet buddies!
We enjoyed our first day at the beach since we've arrived. It's been kinda chilly or rainy on the weekends, and well, it just gets busy with school and life. So, when Grammy texted and asked if we wanted to meet, I ditched my grocery list and we went back home to load up.
Destiny was feeling a bit headachey and had body aches, so she stayed home to oil up and was good as new and jealous by the time we got home from having burgers at Grammy's. I am SO grateful for oils that can kick bugs in hours rather than days!!!!!
That's it from here for now! This week should be fun with both Valentine's day school party and Tylan's 12th birthday coming up!
Once we got home from Hawaii, we couldn't get out of COLD Kansas fast enough.....
But we actually we had to hurry up and WAIT.
There was a yucky ice storm and terrible winds that came in the day we were supposed to leave. Dale studied the road conditions and watched all the weather reports and said it just wasn't worth it.
So we paused packing, left out the things we needed for an overnight stay and would decide in the AM if we were a go for launch or not.
It was a GO! Wahoooooo. All these years later, I STILL get excited butterflies when that beautiful diesel fires up.
We thanked the Lord for Dale's wisdom to stay one more day, because we saw no less then 38 cars or marks of cars into ditches, poles and off the highway. It was AWFUL and our big bus wouldn't have been immune to that gusty north wind!
It's 2 REALLY long 12 hour drive days and rest stop nights to get to where we were headed in Florida. The kids did awesome! They read books, played games, helped me menu plan and played playdough several times. We made a bakery! :)
We had an important stop to make before heading to our now Southern Florida winter home, and that was our old winter stomping grounds, Ocala, where Papa used to have his RV friendly country property. Uncle Chad and Aunt Lauren are there still, Chad runs the family furniture store.
We wanted to see everyone, eat our favorite places and drive around a bit, so we found an RV park 30 minutes away, and had a quick overnight visit.
First up, Carriage Trade to say hi! The new trucks and storefront looked awesome.
Then lunch at Brooklyn's Backyard BBQ for my favorite burger of all, the St Croix, cream cheese, sweet and sour sauce, fried banana peppers...AMAAAZING! Kids wanted Twistee Treat while we drove around a bit to check everything out.
We've always loved these arched treed roads in Ocala, so Dale took us for a joy ride. All of a sudden, he made a familiar turn and I literally burst into tears out of NOWHERE. That hasn't happened for a while, it surprised me!
As we drove by the gated drive that was one my dad's beloved "farm", alllllll my memories flooded back and I realized just how different this winter would be. I know we did the right thing not buying it, but that doesn't always mean easy.
Alot of sweet memories at this place......
Tears dried, we headed to Chad and Lauren's for the day and had a heck of a time.....the cousins play so good together!
The adults get along awesome too. ;)
And look at what my sweeeeet little brother got for me when he was bidding furniture for the store.... a cardinal!
AWWW! I LOVE IT!
2 and a half hours later, we pulled into our home sweet winter home. We will get to stay here until April, when the world warms up and we can go travel again.
We set up camp, got groceries, hit the library (priorities) and then went for a bike ride.
The real question is.......who broke Florida?! The high tomorrow is 50* and that's COOL here with the high humidity!!!!🤣
Grammy and Aunt Torrey & Uncle Dan came by to say hi the next day. It was POURING!!! So we literally had home church and stayed in ALL DAY LONG. The kids actually handled it awesome and I think it's because we had so many good books and fun company to make the day go by.
We got a message from some doTERRA peeps we met in a LONG line at convention, that also travel. Jason says, I think we may be neighbors, I will message you soon. Turns out, we are all at the SAME RV PARK!!!!! We made plans to connect after the rain stopped and pretty much the kids were inseparable the REST of the week! SO cute!
We took them to our favorite big grocery store/farmers market, out to our favorite all you can eat fish place, Anna Maria's Oyster bar and hung out in the hot tub until laaate one night.
The Lord just brings us the COOLEST believers to connect with on the road, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with Jason, Kamille and their whole family!
We got the oh so famous Nokomis Groves fresh ice cream and hit the beach for sunset. Brrr, it was COLD and gusty! A drive down Casey Key road, and looking at mansions with the heater one became the better option. ;)
Saturday, the RV park had a parade. Dale told the kids not to get their hopes up, this is after all a retirement village and we may be seeing a whole lot of golf carts. Haha, but you guys, it was the CUTEST RV Park parade ever!
Board Game Theme
It's always hard to say goodbye, but we made plans to meet up again soon!
Florida life is full of sunshine, yummy grilled foods, local seafood, bike rides and hot tub nights. We are loving it and so grateful the Lord is showing us that even in the midst of change and loss, there is new life and new memories to be made!
More to come....
When I last left you, we were zipping back to the hotel to grab our luggage and make our mid afternoon island hopper flight to Maui.
I already am scared of flying, let alone in a TEENY TINY AIRPLANE with only 7 other passengers.
On the outside I looked calm, but on the inside, I was doing THIS!
Look how tiny!
It wasn't bad at ALL, actually pretty amazing to fly low below the clouds and see the islands and whales the entire time!
We got to the Budget rental car place and saw a line around the building. Oh boy! 2 hours later, and 2 LONG waits in line......we had a car to head to our condo.
We had gotten a red mustang, turned the keys back in due to smell and were assigned a second mustang, this one smoky grey, BRAND NEW and a GT to boot! We were pretty happy about that part! The Lord ALWAYS works things out! Hallelujah!
Our love story began with a convertible mustang you know..... :)
By the time we drove across the island and found our hidden condo, it was LATE. We were exhausted and curious about the waves we could hear, crashing right outside our lanai. But of course, it's pitch black and we can see NOTHING! Off to bed in our cute room to wait for sunrise.
Here is the condo pics from the website, isn't it adorable? It's a studio and that lanai has slider doors in, slider doors out AND screen doors so you can pick how much outside you want IN and how many waves you want to hear! It was ideal!
We opened it every morning, but closed it at night so we could sleep. Waves are NOISY!
We had grabbed a few groceries on our way in, and had packed the avocado from the farmers market, so we were able to make a lovely bacon avocado wrap for breakfast. It was heavenly to be in a warm climate and we so enjoyed being on the porch while we listened to the waves crashing underneath us. You just can't beat that SOUND! Ok ok, maybe trickling water of a mountain stream, but STILL! So good.
First order of business, explore the area in our flashy car, go to the local farmers market for some fresh produce and gifts to take home to the kiddos....
Next up, the beach. We lasted about an hour and didn't want to burn, so we went CRUISIN! Top down, music UP. :)
Check out these crazy hair pin curves! After driving a mom mobile for so many years, I was totally loving the sound of this throaty Mustang GT. Dale said it handled like a dream!
It's a great day to explore the island! We stopped at the best look out points and even walked part way down to the Nakalele blow-hole. Not recommended in flip flops, so we only went part way down.
On the way back down the mountain, we stopped for local banana bread and coconut candy that everyone was talking about. It was good, but we decided Bestie Banana Bread still beat it!
We were wind blown, tired and starving when we got back, so instead of cooking we decided to look up a local pizza joint that got rave reviews and walked over to it.
I ate the BEST greek pizza I have ever put in my mouth! Pizza Paradiso if you ever hit Maui. YUM! Great Gelato too.
We enjoyed a leisurely walk home and I took photos of all the flowers in honor of my grandma, who loves flower photos. Haha! They were lovely!
Then we enjoyed a nice tropical drink and watched the moon slip up over the water before calling it a night.
GOOD MORNING! It's Sunday Funday........ :)
*Out for brunch at the infamous Slappy Cakes, check!
*Drive to Kihei to find our honeymoon condo, check!
*Hike oh so rough and rocky - Hoapili Trail. PHEW and CHECK!
That evening we specifically waited to go to dinner until AFTER sunset, so we could catch it in ALL it's glory....
As soon as the beautiful sun sunk behind the mountain, we headed to a little hole in the wall fish market, our favorite kind of place, and had some killer catch of the day.
We decided to go walk around this quaint little town called Lahaina. Cool art galleries, live music and presentations, shops and some hawaiian ice that called our names.....
Just another day in paradise.
We declared the next day BEACH DAY! We had a hearty breakfast on the lanai and set out....
I was laying there reading my book when Dale says, TONYA LOOK!
I gasp, HI DAD! Oh my goodness, all the way to Maui to say hello. :)
Don't understand the cardinal? Read here how the Lord is using them in my life this past year.
A Messenger From Heaven
He was enjoying some tropical and oh so healthy, coconut water! :) I am so blessed to have a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to send me earthly reminders of my earthly one.
We wanted to go out nice, once, for an early anniversary celebration. Going on 17 years! Avery wanted me to wear my "spinny dress" so I packed it just for this.
We read one of the TOP places to eat, Star Noodle, usually had a 2 hour wait or reservation only. I popped on line to check and YUP, not happening. So we reserved the NEXT day at 10:30 am (yes that was the one that had an opening) and decided to call it an early lunch.
Then went on to reserve Kimo's on the water for our dinner. Our sweet waiter took amazing care of us and treated us to a Hula Pie in honor of our anniversary.
I wished we could go dancing in my "spinny dress", but alas we just walked around town and held hands a bit. Still fun and romantical.
I sent this to Avery just to make her smile......
We have now officially reached, the FINAL full day in Maui, and I am sad to go back, but happy for all the fun Dale and I had on this bonus trip. We headed out early for our 10:30am lunch reservation at Star Noodle, and packed up for one more beach day.
Ummm, no wonder Star Noodle has a 2 hour wait, its impressive! Locally sourced, beautifully plated and the attention to detail - just amazing. You share everything family style! I cannot recommend it enough, best food we had the whole trip!
And just like that, it was over. Good night and good bye, Hawaii.
Mahalo! It's been the trip of a lifetime and my heart is full of gratitude. ?
We began our 2 day trip home with the fore-mentioned stop in San Diego and red eye fly out again, to save us from arriving at midnight a whole 24 hours later. Crazy!
I cannot WAIT to hug my babies!!!!!
We came home to THIS.....
This pic was taken before they ripped off one link for every day we are gone. SO adorable!
They were SO excited for their Hawaiian gifts and a little jealous of all the fun we had without them! :D
Now, we do laundry and pack for FLORIDA! Wahooooo!
If you read our last blog post, you know we've been dreaming of a trip back to Hawaii for nearly 17 years now, and praise the Lord, we got to go this year! We earned a trip through doTERRA for hitting Blue Diamond and decided to extend our trip and enjoy a bit of couple time in Maui, just like our honeymoon. :)
Except not JUST like our honeymoon, because well we have kids to think about back home, and we sure don't look a bit like this anymore! LOL!!!!
We extended our stay in Kansas so that our moms could help with the kiddos. It was also cold enough, I knew the SECOND we got home, we all would be itching to leave for Florida. So I spent the week before our trip packing the RV for Florida AND packing for Hawaii. Not amazing, not fun, but necessary.
I had some great helpers pitching in and many hands make light work. We cleaned and cleaned, saran wrapped and hauled out the 2 Christmas trees. The kids had a lesson in ironing over at Gigi's house, once Daddy's hawaiian shirt showed up in the mail, and we prepped and froze as many meals as we could, so the kids could easily make dinner each night without much work.
I also included some photos of our new mantel decor my mom gave me from a great great grandmother, in this slideshow. Isn't it darling? Love the blue and white! It was the perfect finishing touch up there, YAY!
The kids fort they built one sunny day before our trip. You will see a couple photos of that in this slideshow too. Fire drill with the chain ladders just in case! (thank you Jesus for NO emergencies while mom and dad were gone)
After researching flights forever, we discovered that flying from Ks to San Diego, staying overnight, THEN catching the red eye to Hawaii was much cheaper and a MUCH shorter flight. Some of the flight times were 26 hours otherwise, because of all the layovers and hub jumping we would have had to do ! NO THANK YOU! We did the same on the reverse. It worked beautifully!
Everything went smoothly, except waiting over an HOUR out in the cool night air, tired and cold, for our free courtesy shuttle to our hotel. Meaning we got in SUPER late, ate a quick dinner in bed, slept a couple hours and went right back to the airport on the shuttle. We were tired and felt gross but SUPER excited to arrive in Hawaii that afternoon.
A family friend sweetly wrote and offered to come get us from the Hawaii airport and show us around a bit. She showed up with traditional Hawaiian goodies and proceeded to run us all around the big island for the afternoon. SO FUN!
This part of Hawaii didn't look a thing like I imagined, the big island is full of black barren lava fields and lava tubes, but also, as we drove, jungle and mountains and everything in between. We were taught 11 of the world's 13 climates exist on the big island. So interesting!
The tunnel you see is called a Lava Tube and it's HUGE and left behind from an eruption.
Sweet Mary Ann took us exploring all over the island and while she was at an appointment, had us walk around this darling little town. We saw wild chickens and even a pig running across the road, wandered through art galleries and shops, an old 1920's post office and a ukulele shop too!
Once she was done we headed to an awesome lunch spot with a view and the best darn mango cheesecake I've ever tasted. Then we went to her BEAUTIFUL home overlooking the ocean! What an AMAZING start to our trip.
The longer we drove, the sharper my headache got. I think it was that late night, plus pressure changes of landings and take offs, plus not enough water. (I hate having to get out of a middle seat to pee and use those gross bathrooms) Oils were keeping it at bay but it was going to take some major sleep and water drinking to make it leave entirely.
We made one last stop at a look out point and saw the resort we were staying at below. It looked gorgeous! Our home sweet home for the next few days!
doTERRA booked us at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa and we would go back in a heartbeat. The staff was amaaaaaazing! And the open air design of the whole place was magical.
BUUUT we literally walked to our room and laid down. Haha, traveling is exhausting, my head was pounding, and we were just not capable of socializing. ;)
So Dale went to get us some food and came back with asian wings and a poke (ahi tuna) nacho platter. I was in bed and asleep before 8.
We, of course, woke up before the sun due to our early bedtime, but the sleep was heavenly and my headache was gone.
We woke up before dawn STARVING and were so grateful Mary Ann sent us with one of her Avocados from her backyard trees. We ate it with a spoon and the salt packet leftover from our silverware packs the night before, while we watched the world wake up. It was awesome!
Then we walked around and explored the resort a while. We got wind of a farmer's market on the property and headed over to scope it out.
First thing we heard was the ukulele!
We ordered a hot stone fired pizza, real fruit ice cream, and bought some local fresh fruit and avocados. It was such a neat experience! We bought some fruit and another avocado to take back to our room. I haven't ever tasted an avocado like the hawaiian ones we ate. They were big and soft, buttery and creamy! We couldn't get enough of them....YUM!
We dropped the fruit in our room and went to explore the resort a bit more and see the views out back......
We spent part of the afternoon at the pool and ate lunch there. (what? the pizza and ice cream was counting as BREAKFAST) ;)
Mary Ann ran us over some polynesian donuts that were amazing, isn't she the sweetest!? As the day went on, we saw more and more doTERRA signs going up. So exciting to be here with the top leaders of the company!
We had a doTERRA beach side reception to attend that night with appetizers.....so we headed up to shower and get ready. The reception was at the Manta Ray Restaurant, whose claim to fame is you can watch a 12 foot manta ray eat while you eat too! It was unbelievably HUGE!
I will load a Manta Ray feeding video here as soon as it uploads......
The next day was breakfast then meetings to catch up on the latest doTERRA news. We were excited, kinda like the first day of freshman year. Haha! We were the newbies, but again, just so unbelievably grateful to be here as leaders.
Everyone thinks meetings = boring but it was actually super interesting and the day flew buy. The hotel did a killer job on lunch and even a fun popcorn snack bar that afternoon with cocoa nibs, seaweed powder and a local dried plum powder they offer on just about everything!
That evening was an outdoor dinner and in true Hawaii style, it was a LUAU! It was AMAAAZING!!! Lights strung across the night sky, hawaiian music in the background, delicious prime rib, sushi, sea food and even hawaiian ice. GREAT entertainment!
The next day we loaded up on a bus and headed to the Kalakekua Mountain Reserve on the slopes of the Mauna Lua Volcano!
In the 1800's the Sandalwood industry boomed but a tragic history of exploitation left it nearly wiped out......
With sensitivity to this history, DoTERRA will be restoring the native plains of this area - including Hawaiian sandalwood trees and other plants and potential future oils!
DoTERRA purchased 10,000 acres & 9,000 of those are under a conservation easement. As we preserve this sanctuary we will work closely with Forest management in what is the LARGEST reforestation effort in all of Hawaii by 2020. So proud to be part of this amazing company!
It was a LONG and steep drive and we could see clearly when we passed what they call the rain line. Once up top, we got to plant our very own trees.....
We planted trees, that will be used 30 years from now, for their beautiful medicinal properties. For every tree used, dozens more spring up!
What an honor to represent a company so passionate about safe and green sourcing practices and generosity in all areas.
Our trees have a special tracking number so we can follow its growth and use in the future! SO cool!
Look at the GORGEOUS yummy healthy lunch set up for us when our bus got back down! And another generous gift from doTERRA, 2 oils each - a Hawaiian Sandalwood and a new one to try a sample of, Naio Wood!
Dale and I had to hit the bus right after, to quickly go back to the resort so we could for sure make our afternoon flight to Maui. This was about the time my butterflies came out in full force when Dale informed me of the teeny tiny PUDDLE JUMPER we would be taking over.
But that post, is for TOMORROW!
Woo hoooo! We have been wanting to go to Hawaii again ever since we honeymooned there 16 years ago.
We thought we'd go for anniversary 3 or 5, but we had a house payment and 2 car payments and a ton of kids. Haha! Year 10 we renewed our vows and went to Branson for a little mini honeymoon trip, after a rough patch in both our finances and our marriage. Not in the budget! Year 15 we were in the RV on the road. And here we are, year 16......
The Lord knows the desires of our hearts, and the LORD has provided!
We are heading for tropical paradise with doTERRA for the Blue & Presidential Diamond retreat for work, and we will stay a few extra days for some US time!
While we are there, we will tour the Hawaiian Sandalwood farms and see all dōTERRA is doing to ensure quality and sustainability. Amazing!s, and I praise His name.
Kids are in good hands with family but are also super jealous. They want to pin Hawaii on our travel map!
Someday kiddos, someday! (Only 3 places to go: Alaska, Hawaii and North Dakota)
I share all our adventures here, on the RV Oilers instagram:
God is so good! <3
There is nothing I love more than being in the kitchen, all together as a family. Many hands make light work!
And not having to menu plan all alone? Amazing!
I knew it was going to be a super busy month, so we made up an extra large menu at the very beginning of Dec for lots of options to choose from, you will recognize some of these from other last Kids in the Kitchen post. We still need to do Taco Pie, Pizza Pockets and Wild Rice Mushroom soup in January. And because it's a nutso month, we also made things NOT on the original list, but it's all good! :)
This isn't a dinner, but while we had the local beef lard bucket thawed for fish night, we decided to try our hand at frying some potato chips. One batch was Lawry's and one batch was salt and vinegar flavor.
Pretty tasty but really tricky to not burn or make chewy chips. Better leave it to the professionals from now on! ;)
Dale's famous fish needs no recipe, because there is none. Crappie he caught this spring, crushed soda crackers, Lawry's, a milk bath and viola! We served it with steamed broccoli.
Nana's Famous Beef Stroganoff with steamed broccoli. Good ol' comfort food!
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Slaw. We did a ready made BBQ sauce version to save time, but check out the blogged one, YUM.
We had WAY too many green apples on hand, so it was time to make something yummy with them.
Skillet Apple Crisp serve with vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of caramel. Yummy!
Top Secret Pot Roast - it's so yummy! I pulled in all my helpers for this one since there was lots of wash, peel and chop. Wait until you see the secret ingredient - Game. Changer.
Crock Pot Kraut & Bean Soup - holy amazing! This is such a unique soup, totally delish. We served it at several Christmas functions, it makes a HUGE batch!
Christmas Breakfast Overnight Casserole - gorgeous but not our fav. Couldn't get past all the soft bread.
We served it with Rhodes Rolls Overnight Monkey Bread recipe. It WAY over rose in my tiny pan, but still worked out.
Perfect treat for Jesus birthday celebration!
Here are our Christmas Dinner recipes!!!
The Best Meatballs - I grew up with Ham balls at Christmas, but it's very hard to find someone to grind ham these days, so I went with all grass fed beef instead. Still yum! I will share sauce recipe next.
This link will get you the oh so incredible sauce recipe for your meatballs (we just baked the day before and heated in crockpot with sauce all day........
This is also where you will get the OH SO AWESOME Gourmet Twice Baked Mashed Potato recipe!
Meatball Sauce & Gourmet Potatoes
Raspberry Vanilla Jello Salad - Not too sweet, and so pretty!
I asked the good, the bad and the ugly about year 3 on the road.......
We all decided there really is no ugly, not with such a shiny new to us home sweet rolling home, haha - so we will go ahead and do our tradition around the dinner table of sharing the Good, the Bad and the Blessing of our day, or in this case, year.
Here is what the family said about 2018:
Dale: Uhhh, I am not good at these. Me: Just start talking, I will type.
The Good - The new RV! Tonya wanted a blue one with grey interior SO bad, but I knew it was out of our price point until a few more trade ins and upgrades or doTERRA goals reached. I watched online for a year, and still nothing. Until the Lord LITERALLY dropped it in our lap, in the ways only He can. We got the RV of our dreams at an amazing bargain of a price. Praise God for our new, shiny, spacious home on wheels!
The Bad - Oh man. Realizing that your dad's Florida farm property was not for us to buy as planned. I know the Lord spoke, and the answer was no, but that was hard for sure. Lots of tears on that one.
The Blessing - Having a summer we will always remember as a family, when our time under one roof is getting short. Destiny plans to start working summers and we really wanted to make this one count. It did!
The Good - Year 3 on the road has been as fun as Year 1. We actually got out and really traveled again, for fun mixed in with work. So my GOOD would be, well, the WHOLE SUMMER.
We went to:
(Click pic, then arrow through slides)
The Bad - How can there be BAD when we saw so much GOOD?! :)
Actually, the bad is how we all grieved the loss of first Dale's grandma, and then our beloved Papa Clay. God is faithful to continue to heal our hearts.
The Blessing - Oh man, so many.
- Getting to do life, all as a family, without answering to a clock? AMAZING.
- Making our goal of Blue Diamond with doTERRA? Pinch me.
- Getting to share oils and changing peoples lives for my JOB that doesn't feel like one? Surreal.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't give praise and thanksgiving to a Father in Heaven who hand picked this life for us, who nudged us to leap when everyone thought we were nuts, and to go all in on this road life of ours.
I am grateful and excited to see what 2019 holds for the RV Oilers!
The Good - Oh I don't know, 2018 was great because we got to go to New York City. I have ALWAYS wanted to go there! It was awesome. I loved the way it felt, and all there was to do.
I also really enjoyed exploring the ark museum too. We took a lot of fun trips this year!
The Bad - CHICKEN POX. Ugh. So miserable but at least we got lots of popsicles.
The Blessing - I loved our summer of museums and fun cities, but I also loved that we were in Kansas for a lot of months too. Best of both worlds!
The Good - Going amazing places all year and eating AMAZING foods like, fresh steamed dumplings and water ice in Philly, PIZZA by the slice in New York City - wow the best ever. Also, the tiny little fish place we ate at in South Carolina, the cheddar honey biscuits in Alabama from Nick & Jim's, giant fall of my plate pancakes at Billy Gail's in Branson. And I cannot forget the powdered cinnamon caramel donuts from Ohio! Guess I like food this year.
The Bad - Being in Kansas for so long. I love it, and I love seeing my family and friends, but staying in one place so long gets boring...and COLD!
The Blessing - I think it's so nice to be together as a family. I like seeing new places and having adventures as part of my normal day to day life. It's nice. I cannot wait to go to Florida next.
The Good - I love that we got to go see one of my best friends in Kansas city several times, I loved riding horses in Tennessee, I am obsessed with horses! I also had fun dancing at a wedding in South Carolina this Spring. That was soooo fun!
The Bad - CHICKEN POX!!!!!!!! We got them this Spring. I was miserable and had them EVERYWHERE. Ugh.
The Blessing - I love that we are a close family. We live in a small space and get to see each other every single day. I like that!
The Good - I like when we went to Florida to go skating and see my cousins. We saw some awesome orange and white fancy cars at the mall. I liked the giant chicken fried steak in Texas and Mr Mark's corn on the cob. He SOAKS it in butter. That's my favorite. I had a loose tooth, so hopefully next time I can eat it better.
The Bad - I miss Papa.
The Blessing - I love that we can go traveling whenever we want! It's cold in Kansas, I am ready to go to Florida now.
Have a safe and happy New Year everyone! Thank you for being a part of our journey!
Here is to MANY more adventures in 2019......so glad you can come along with us! :)
Love, the Ferguson family xoxoxox
Did you all have a wonderful Christmas & A Happy New Year? We had a very Kansas Christmas and it was a joy from the beginning to the end, when the final cookie crumb was brushed off the countertops.
First up, my BFF and her crew came for dinner and games. So fun!
We also got to keep Kamilyn, my best friends daughter and Avery's BFF, overnight and take her to Wednesday church with us for the kids Christmas party.
With no school in session, we spent the days playing games and reading books, hanging out and having fun. We also cleaned house and cooked lots of yummy food in prepration for Christmas gatherings.
I feel so honored and SO grown up getting to host all the family Christmases at our place this year. Tiny in size, but big in heart.....and cheerful colors are fun too! ;)
First up, my Momma's side of the family:
We ate until we were stuffed and laughed until our sides hurt. The favorite game is quickly becoming Telestrations and 5 Crowns at our house!
Look who found her sister's old fancy Christmas dress and decided to get all dolled up for church Sunday. Avery my fashionista! ;)
Our Christmas tradition includes a night of watching ELF and having Spaghetti, first how momma wants.....with sauce and salad. Then, for seconds, just like Elf.....with candy and pop tarts. The kids love it and it is such a fun tradition! This year we invited Nana to join us after church, which was Christmas Eve EVE.
Games and a tricky gift first, then dinner and our movie. Nana wrapped the kids adventure in Odyssey CD, in SO MANY BOXES, all neatly wrapped in wrapping paper. She said what took her 2 hours was undone in 15 minutes! LOL
Actual Christmas eve was spent at church, then over to Grandma's for dinner....
I will share food recipes in the next blog post, but before church we had prepped some egg casserole and monkey bread to sit overnight so we could bake it easily in the morning. We also made meatballs and cooked them so we could just do sauce and crockpot the next afternoon. Potatoes mashed and in the fridge to bake and jello fluffy salad to chill.
When we got home from Grandma's, the little's wanted to sleep out in front of the tree, so we set up some sleeping bags. Of course, they were up too late and woke WAY too early, but hey, tis the season! ;)
Good morning! It's CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! YAAAAAY!
Kids woke us up at 7am, it felt too early because of how late we went to bed, LOL, but it was fine.
While the casseroles baked, we got Papa Clay's bible off the shelf to read the Christmas Story. We want Christmas to be about Jesus and the GIFT he was to the world, not presents and santa. It's sweetly simple and dear to my heart.
It made me sad, yet comforted, to see his familiar penmanship, filling those pages. Made daddy feel close by....
Dale read the familiar story of the birth of our King, and passed around Frankincense and Myrrh for the kids to drop and smell....
Safe to say, Destiny is not a morning person. ;) The blob on the couch is her.
Time to eat and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!
It was so nice to have the whole day stretched out in front of us, with nowhere to be.....
Kids opened some new movies and games, and then dug into a fun game called Kings Crown, amaaaazing and fun for all ages.
We sent the kids outside to jump off some energy on the trampoline and while they were out, set up a surprise!
SUGAR COOKIES! From a local bakery called Coneflower Sundry. She was selling cookie decorating kits. Yum and still homemade! Win win.
Most of the kids did 4 cookies, and once we saw they were done, Dale and I did a couple too! SO fun!
Dale ate his before I got to snap a pic, but here is Destiny's instagram pic and my 4 cookies I got to decorate!
We had a nosy neighbor come say hi......
We had prepped a lot of our Christmas dinner the day before, but it still had to bake, so we distracted the kids with some arts and crafts. Dale showed them how to make paper SNOWFLAKES! Avery immediately declared we'd decorate the whole house with them.
Mmm, dinner turned out lovely! Meatballs with special sauce, Nana's famous gourmet mashed potatoes, steamed green beans and a fluffy raspberry salad. I will share recipes in our upcoming Kids In the Kitchen post! :)
Dale was so proud to conquer his rubix cube! I was just glad for my husband back. Hahahaha!
We ended the day with Christmas Carols by the fire, before you saw awww, it was awful. Hahahah! We you tubed christmas karaoke carols and they were cheesy and our singing was probably quite terrible, but hey we had fun! ;)
Then, as bedtime approached and everyone settled down, we started talking about Papa and what we missed about him. Then the tears began. Not just little tears, but full on sobs. Poor loves. I held them close, as we talked about Papa and watched this slideshow from his service last year.
The words to this song are so very precious and my heart clings to them.....
"You're with the Son of God
You're with the Prince of Peace
You're with the one we're celebrating
And that thought amazes me
Sometimes I still break down
Grieving that we're apart
But the sweetest gift is knowing where you are....you're with the Son of God."
Got everyone's tears wiped, extra hugs and extra prayers were said, and off to bed they went. I am thankful for another layer of healing for them.
Time for bed, tomorrow is another fun family get together with Dale's immediate family. I will share the Pizza Dip and Brie recipe soon....
For New Year's night we had Destiny over at her cousins, Ty and Pax went to ring in the New Year with Gigi and Nana, and we had an extra girlie here with us, Avery's best friend, Kamilyn.
They set up the RV as an apartment all to themselves, so cute. We had them do a toast at 9pm in hopes that they would go to sleep at a decent time, but alas, that didn't even work. They still were awake until midnight. ;)
OH WELL, we tried!
Here are some pics:
Hope you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year! Thanks for letting me share mine with you.
Here is to a great 2019.......so glad to have you along for the ride. :)
The kids have been helping me make Christmas cookies since they were little and I LOVE IT! Awww, wook how wittle they were. Eeek! I can't even!
Thanks to click list, I ordered all this online and Dale just picked it up. Gotta save my energy for the MAKING part you know!
School is done - the holiday baking has begun!🎁🎄🍬🍪🍰
Cranking some Christmas music and starting things off with a few of our list:
*Spicy Party Mix
*Peppermint Melt Aways
*Rolo Pretzel Sandwiches
Spicy Party Mix - Dale's family recipe, not published ;)
Don't worry, don't worry, I will give you ALL the other recipes, promise!
Peppermint Meltaways - nicely minty and not too sweet, literally melt in the mouth. I did peppermint oil instead of extract since doTERRA oils ARE the purest little cooking extracts from nature . I did 2 drops in cookie and 1 in frosting I believe
Spiced Crackers - we grew up eating these every Christmas! Warning : ADDICTING
Easy Toffee - totally my weakness! So easy too!
Rolo Sandwiches - YUM these were a huge hit. Gorgeous on a goodie plate
We made several batches of each, and even though that meant I had a TOWER of food in my laundry room, it was so wonderful, that no matter what we were invited to, or what we hosted, we had easy treats to make beautiful platters with AND we could plate them up for gifts too!
Tangy Jalapeno Apricot Brie from Pampered Chef - image from them too. Serve with sliced, toasted french bread or crackers.
Hot Pizza Dip - easy and TASTY! Serve with garlic salt baugette slices.
It's not too late to make this quick for your New Year's parties!!!!!
As we approached the one year anniversary (Dec 16) of my daddy's heavenly trip home, I naturally, have been thinking A LOT of his last days on earth.
It is no wonder then, that my Heavenly Father sent a messenger to me. It made me smile.
In fact, 2 times in 2 days.
Cardinals are hold such meaning to me now. The Lord has used them in incredible ways this past summer to speak to my heart!
I would love for you to go read my Messenger From Heaven post from this summer and see why. It still gives me chills and tears.
Go read it and hug your daddy close today!
When I look around me, it is so so clearly evident that God is love.
That He is sovereign.
That He is faithful.
And that He is on ALL the details.....
In 2015, dad was fighting the beast called cancer and we had family photos taken. Our photographer edited and shared our beautiful images December 16, including this real life moment Papa was reading to the grandkids while we had our couples photos taken.
We motioned Destiny in - and here it is - the absolute favorite photo of the entire session.
A moment frozen in time.
Fast forward 2 years, and the day she shared this precious image, becomes the VERY day my vivacious, full of joy & laughter, larger than life daddy, took his final breath on this earth.
Does stuff like that blow your mind a little bit too?
December 16, 2017 at 4:57 am he saw his Jesus, the momma he so badly missed growing up, and all of Heaven celebrated his arrival.
After church on the 16th, we went to go to Papa's final resting place. We know he isn't there, but there is still something that feels honoring to do so. We took a wind chime along with us and found the COOLEST thing at the store!
A red bird to represent the cardinal messenger in our lives.........
How can a heart be so happy that the suffering and pain is gone, yet so completely devastated that someone they've loved so big and so deeply has gone too?
It's confusing. It's messy.
It's like a light has gone out on the bright, shiny, happy world.
But time marches on, and healing comes.
Bit by bit.
Tear by healing tear.
One foot in front of the other.
One whispered prayer, one cardinal visit at a time, the smiles come more than the tears and the memories can be talked about, without taking your breath away.
Most of the time.
As we prepare for a second Christmas without dad, it actually feels like a first. This is the reality part of loss.
No hype of a funeral to plan for. No scurrying of flights coming in, of out of town family to hug.
Just a missing family member who isn't coming back.
Today, I am thankful for Kleenex, Jesus, family & friends and, well, Facebook Time Hop & cardinals, for it all points me to the Heavenly Father's love and care of His children.
He is in it all.
Every. Single. Detail.
The kids are back in the kitchen and at it again, come check out the latest drool worthy dinners.
You just might leave inspired for your next grocery run! This was an extra complicated grocery list session because we were also planning to do holiday baking and made 5 separate grocery lists for each of our 4 Christmas gatherings plus the meals needed between now and then.
First up, Ty made us some awesome Mexican Dump Soup! We used leftover Steak instead of chicken. YUM!
Make sure to shred some fresh mozzarella to serve with each bowl. You cannot beat a fresh grated cheese!
What I love about this recipe, is how FAST and easy it comes together on a busy day.
You can grab the recipe here.
Momma was hungry for ITALIAN, so I picked the Crockpot version so it could cook itself all day! :)
I love how this lasagna tastes like you worked WAY harder than you did. Fun fact, I took small curd cottage cheese and mixed it with yummy italian seasonings to make a more hearty, ricotta style lasagna. Just add it to your alfredo layer in the following recipe from our blog.
4 little Ferguson's Crockpot Lasagna
Miss Avery wanted BIEROCKS, so we spent the entire day making a triple batch of Bierocks, because they freeze BEAUTIFULLY!
We love to serve them with a mixture of mustard, spicy mustard and worchestershire. Then French onion dip, potato chips and carrot sticks on the side.
You can find the recipe here.
Destiny was super swamped this month with doubling up on some school, so daddy took over some of the kids cooking duties. He grilled us a lovely steak, sauteed cubed sweet potatoes and served it all with my FAVORITE brussel sprouts! I could eat BOWLS of just these!
And because, tis the season for soup, we made a yummy Amish cheeseburger soup for dinner this weekend! The girls were busy, so all the guys pitched in. Love men in the kitchen! :)
I also love the hearty veggies this soup has tucked inside a creamy, fresh shredded, cheddar cheese base.
Amish Cheeseburger Soup
And because we all need dessert once in a while, check out this yummy peppermint pattie brownie recipe from my friend, Whitney!
Did you find something new to try? Thanks for tuning in!