Living the Snow Bird Life
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.
Beach Visitor - Hawaii from Tonya Ferguson on Vimeo.
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!
Farmer's Market - Hawaii from Tonya Ferguson on Vimeo.
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!
Luau - Hawaii from Tonya Ferguson on Vimeo.
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!