AL, TN & KY
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 :)
Alabama 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.
We have a favorite RV park in Birmingham that is a favorite of ours. It has the coolest working farm, playgrounds, hiking trail and even a BMX bike course that is open to the public!
We had to get some cheddar honey biscuits from Jim 'N Nicks!
We have the sweetest friend, that is part of our oil family here in Birmingham, and we got to hang out and do dinner and a class with all her amazing friends. It was a lovely time! :)
We got to have some fun with the kids too......
A field trip to the McWane Science Center!
This museum didn't quit.....cool science experiments, hands on tables, racetrack and displays.
We also got to see a cool IMAX movie on the ocean that made us feel like we were swimming! And the kids rode the SKYCOASTER bike, made a weather report and had hours of fun...... :)
The next day was Halloween, and our Fall family movie and snack night, so we grabbed some amazing goodies from Trader Joe's before we headed home for the night.
During school the next day, sweet Avery slipped up to me and asked what I had planned for their school fall party.
Ummm, just a moment please.
WHAT?! I had no idea they were expecting anything more than our evening party, so I dug all around the fridge and the house and came up with a 4 Oaks Academy Minute to Win It fall party for after school.
Check out our events:
Let the fun begin!
Our events included:
Orange Poopy Party - Orange had to make it all the way to the bucket, as you ran with it in between your knees, and had to land IN the bucket to count. First one to get 4 in the bucket, WINS!
Apple Stacker - Race to the fence, and carefully stack 3 apples, unstack and race back to your partner for their turn. A timed event.
Bite Me Bag - Race down the hill, grab the loaded back with your teeth. Take it back up to your partner, they must run it down, drop it off and get their own bag. First team done, wins the event!
Pumpkin Toss - Pumpkin corn candy toss into a solo cup. Team with the most pumpkins, wins. Tosser and cup holder switch every other shot.
Mummy TP Race - Best Mummy with the most used TP wins!
We had so much fun! In the end, the girls won. :)
The next day, we pulled out for Branson, Missouri! More on that next.....
Fall Run: Ohio to Alabama
As we wrapped up our time Ohio, the temperatures got lower and lower.
Thank goodness for indoor pools and hot tubs to warm up in! :)
Before we hit the road again, we met some doTERRA friends of ours at the greatest barn restaurant. The pizza was divine! I got a picture of the barn, and pretty much didn't pick up my phone again. Oops pics would've been nice!
We left early the next morning, in order to make our 5 hour drive day as easy as possible......
We got stuck in a bit of a traffic jam, and Dale needed a potty break.
He asked if I could slide in for a minute. Ummm, ok??????? This thing is HUGE but I can hold the break like nobody's business.........
I was supposed to just idle, but soon after he left, the traffic jam let up and all the cars moved way ahead of us.
OF COURSE THEY DID!
I hit the gas and off we drove. I hear Dale in the bathroom yell, "WHAT IN THE WORLD?"
Things were going great, all 5 seconds I went forward, then a car darted in front of me, so I braked......
Ummm, turns out these brakes are waaaaaaaay touchier than the old ones, and the slown down was a *bit* abrupt.
The kids screamed.
What? I stopped us in time didn't I?
Traffic went back to a standstill and my family rejoiced when daddy took the drivers seat again. ;)🤣 ;)
As we made our route to Alabama and booked RV parks along the way, Dale mentioned we were going to be close to some friends of ours in Kentucky.
We got WAY back, like 20 years, before Dale and I were married. They were our first grown up, married friends! ;)
We hung out, BBQ'd burgers and then went to church and lunch with them the next day.
Even though SO much time has passed since we then, we literally picked up where we left off, as if no time had passed at all. .....
Love how God brings His children together to support each other in this journey called LIFE! :)
We changed out of our church clothes and headed down to Alabama.
Paxton was hanging around up front and asked for my camera. He said he had a good shot from above and he did. Photog in the making?
I am much happier in the passenger seat with my reading buddy, then I was driving even for a minute!!! :)
We arrived at our new RV park right at dusk.....we could already tell we were going to LOVE this one!
We got all set up, and after a quick supper, we tucked everyone in for a good night's sleep.
Check out these views! Slideshow:
Monday morning dawned like THIS...................
It was so beautiful we did school OUTSIDE!
We don't mind quiet home days, so we laid low a few days to regroup before a busy class schedule.
We made Sophie a new bandana, hung out by the fire, went fishing, the kids played up on some HUGE rocks on the hillside. The photo you see in the slideshow below of Ty and Destiny holding hands is what we call a "Get Along Walk". Let's just say Dale had had enough of the bickering. ;)
Rosie's Mexican restaurant has taken the NUMBER ONE SPOT for the best Mexican in all of our travels. We ate there twice and would've gone 2 more times, had time allowed. The chips, the salsa, the sizzling mexican butter.....
The next night, we made chili cheese dogs over the fire and watched the sun go down.
Avery begged us to tell not so spooky stories by the fire! I don't like scary or gory, so we found this website of suspenseful but funny stories.
This one, was by FAR, the favorite of the evening!
"Years ago, a man inherited a house from his great uncle who died in the war. The house sat on a hill outside of town in the next state and rumors were told that it was haunted. The man traveled to the town to inspect the house and found that it was a wonderful old mansion in great condition, but very, very old. So, he decided to move in and enjoy his inheritance.
A couple weeks after he moved in, late at night, the phone rang. When he answered it, a voice said, "I am the Vinder Viper. I will be there in 2 weeks!" and then it hung up before he could say anything. This really shook the man. The next day, he searched the Internet under 'snakes' for 'vinder viper' but found nothing.
A week past with no concerns and again, late one night, the phone rang. "I am the Vinder Viper. I will be there in 1 week!" and hung up. This made the man quite nervous, not knowing what a vinder viper was. He asked around the town, and no one had ever heard of any such viper.
Four days later, late at night, the phone rang. "I am the Vinder Viper. I will be there in 2 days!" The man is getting much more concerned now.
The next night, the phone rang. "I am the Vinder Viper. I will be there tomorrow!" Needless to say, the man is just plain scared now.
The next evening, the phone rang. "I am the Vinder Viper. I will be there in 1 hour!" The man tries to leave, but his car battery is dead.
Nearly an hour later, the phone rang. "I am the Vinder Viper. I will be there in 2 minutes!" The man runs around locking all the windows and doors and calls 911. The police are on their way.
Soon, there was a knock at the door. The man opened the door a crack and asked, "Is that the police?"
'No, I am the vinder viper. I come every month to vash and vipe your vindows,' said the little German man." 🤣
Day 2 dawned like this. Sigh. These views make me happy!
"You can walk in a dream while you are awake: Just walk in the misty morning....."💕
We had 3 different classes at the most darling happy coffee shop you ever did see.....
Angel's Island Coffee
We have 2 new builders here, Caroline and Angel, and several other local members of Team Dorothy. It was SUCH a fun week of classes and getting to see everyone.
If you are in the Huntsville area, go check out Angel's coffee shop, she makes her own chai and it's AMAAZING! And, she holds essential oil classes there once a month or so.
We got to hang out with them one afternoon and ate some AMAZING Fijian lamb. Darren and Angel both originate from there.....
We had such a lovely time!
We had a free day after a morning class, and it was so sunny and lovely out, the kids BEGGED to go swimming in the lake......
Um, children? It's October.
Can we rent kayaks instead?!
We rented two, 2 person, kayaks and Destiny insisted on a petal (paddle?) boat. You know, the kind with petals like a bike.
Dale and I ended up with, the majority of the time, due to its extreme bulkiness and difficult manueverability. Haha, gotta love it!
We had a great time!
Row row row your kayak.....
Before we left, Angel recommended a local donut shop that started in an airstream trailer, but once they got featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, they had to get a store front.
We ate hot off the press donuts TWICE in one day...once for breakfast and then once for snack. TERRIBLE I know, but if you had tasted them, you would've done the same I bet. ;)
Round one we tried honey cinnamon sugar, and funnel cakes.
Round two, cinnamon bun, andes mint and apple cider.
They were all lovely and the hottest tiny little donuts, that ABSOLUTELY melted in your mouth.
Our Alabama adventure, continues in Birmingham! We have class here on Monday and hope to explore the area for a bit before moving on to Missouri next month......
Hey there, 'Bama
So we have been THROUGH Alabama about a million times to and from Florida, but we have never stayed. WHY?! I don't even know. It was SO amazing!
We had two classes in the area, and needed to be close by, so once again we found ourselves with no RV parks locally that we fit at, except another State Park! I love state parks and wish we could use them more, but this summer it's apparently THE place to stay! And for whatever reason, we fit at these, must be a southern thing compared to the coasts where we cannot fit at all!?
ANYHOOO, this state park was AMAZING, and I feel like we are parked at Old McDonald's Farm RV Park..... ?????????
You could feed and pet the animals and everything!
Oh and apparently? Sophie HATES goats! Check out video, LOL!
Sophie goes head to head with Billy.....??
Sophie vs the Goat from Tonya Ferguson on Vimeo.
In addition to the farmstead you could walk through, they had the most beautiful lake there!
We grabbed some BBQ before class at the infamous Jim 'N Nick's. We LOVED the cheese biscuits with honey butter especially. Oh and the fresh lemonade!
We had planned a week in the Smoky Mountains, but felt very lead to head down south to our Florida family and try to move towards a decision of whether or not to buy my dad's "farm" down there.
Praying for wisdom as we drive!!