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...
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....
We love going to visit south Florida! Sunshine, beaches, palm trees. It's like a WHOLE different Florida than the rolling hills, and tree arched roads we just left behind in horse country!
We haven't visited Florida in the summer since like 2014 I think it was and we were ready to hit the BEACH and have some fun after such a series farm departure.
The kids hopped in Grammy's pool right away!
We made big plans to spend several days at the beach, eat our favorite restaurants, and do some shopping. We also found out Uncle Chad and Auntie Lauren and the cousins got to come the next day, and stay the weekend too!
After dinner, we headed to the beach to check out the sunset.
We started coughing first, then the stench hit us. PU!!!! Dead fish littered the beach!
Even puffer fish! It was so sad! It is called Red Tide and it's a dangerous algae level that kills fish, burns your legs and takes your breath away.
That didn't stop us from taking photos of the sunset, but it DID change our plans to spend ANY time there.
We spent our days playing games, and just hanging out enjoying each other's company! As tradition dictates, we also went out to breakfast at the local Amish restaurant, Der Dutchman. We always take stairs photos, as long as we have been going there. This time was no different! We knew Papa would want us to keep this tradition going....
Sweet Aunt Torrey stayed up late to dye the girls' blonde streaked hair rainbow mermaid colors! They were so excited!
Uncle Daniel told us about the neatest park and fishing area, so we loaded everyone up and headed down there in the evening.
We stayed one more day after everyone else had gone home, swimming and scoping our RV parks, trying to decide where to live this winter.
We knew we couldn't go to the stinky beach again, so we walked the golf course that evening, and it was so GORGEOUS!
Flokie, Uncle Dan and Aunt Torrey's dog, was CRACKING US UP with the giant white "ball".
Bye Florida family! We miss you already!!!!
Look out world, Ferguson's are heading to South Carolina!
P.S. Don't be TOO scared, I only held the brake and slowly crept forward at a loooong line to the turning lane while Dale quick went back to remove some coffee from his system. It was pretty much terrifying and the kids all screamed and groaned until he came back.
My hands were pure SWEAT by the time he was back up front. I had to collapse on the ground a moment, LOL!
I am a sandwich maker and kid entertainer, NOT THE DRIVER! We all have our own giftings to use, Hallelujah!
I cried a lot of the way to Florida. It's funny, I thought that part was done, but it is still hard to go there and not anticipate seeing my dad, you know?
I also was feeling the pressure of a really BIG decision we needed to make. I wanted the Lord's will, not my own. I wanted to be SURE that I didn't have any regrets, one way or another.
We arrived in Florida late Saturday night, June 16th, and got to wake up to Father's Day at my dad's farm. None of this was planned ahead, just at last minute decision to come down, the Lord knew we needed to, so we even had a week off planned to go into the mountains.
I find it so sweet that the Lord would allow me to be at my dad's favorite place on a day we honor him.....
I found myself keenly aware this Father's Day, of how important a role Dale plays in my children's lives and how big of a piece he occupies in their hearts.
Loosing my own daddy this year, left a hole in my heart and me gasping for breath. Such a huge loss, one that is felt so distinctly with each and every beat of it's broken pieces.
So I say thank you to my sweet Dale, for loving our kids so fully, for pointing them back to Jesus, for correcting wrongs and praising rights, for taking them on adventures they will never forget, for saying yes when playing it safe would've been simpler and for always being able to lighten tense moments with that onery grin and funny banter. You are amazing at all you do and we love you so very much!
To our 2 daddies in Heaven, we honor your legacy. You are missed so greatly. You are remembered. We talk about you all nearly every day and say hi often. (We hope Jesus let's you know) You are loved so BIG by the Ferguson crew! We hold you in our hearts.
So, I had called ahead and had Drea go get Dale a Bettycake (Spider cake is the best!) for the special occasion.
Oh guys, it's the BEST cake I have ever put in my mouth!!!! It's so soft and moist and gooey and the frosting and chocolate ganache are DIVINE!
This cake is FAMOUS in the area!!!!!!!! Of course, we had to have steak and all the manly fixins for my hunny too. :)
Remember that really big decision I mentioned?
You can see on our prayer wall......
DO WE BUY THE FARM?
This place is GORGEOUS, and we have so so many memories with Papa here. Drea is ready to sell, and we want her to be able to, so we must decide.
This has been our winter home for 3 years now! We adore it but we recognize, it doesn't bring dad back. That Florida properties require a lot of care with lawn and humidifers.
We recognize, the more we spent on places we "stop through", the less money we have for fun adventures in travel, which is our first desire. However, we also know property is always a good investment!
We love that in Florida, when everyone else scrambles to find a place to live that isn't full or $3000 a month, we would have a place to come to anytime. (Fun fact: Did you know that Florida population increases by ONE MILLION every winter from the snow birds that come there?) We love that we could own dad's favorite place on earth and hold all those memories close to our hearts.
We have spent the past few months pleading with the Lord for wisdom and making list after list, of both the negatives and positives, of owning a rural property, in Florida.
I guess time will tell.
For now, we are here to enjoy the space and see it again as we decide. I just didn't feel comfortable deciding without walking it and staying there again.
We have never come in the summer before!! It is HOT, but green and pretty too! More on this in a bit....
While we were there, we got to surprise Uncle Chad at work! He had no idea we were coming to Florida instead of taking a week in the Smoky Mountains as planned.....
We also got to go see Uncle Chad & Auntie Lauren's BEAUTIFUL new home. Of course the kids went for a swim first thing!
It starts POURING, in true Florida fashion, but that didn't stop the cousins from having fun!
Check out this HUGE moth!!!! I thought it was a goner, but nope, just resting in the heat before flying away. So cool!
We thoroughly enjoyed our 2 days here, we always do, but it was decision time.....we headed south the next morning.
We had a pretty clear idea of what the Lord was asking us to do......
I use this blog as a journal, so let me take you back a bit about something the Lord has been using to comfort my heart and tie it all together - right here in this space. I want to remember forever, His goodness and care.
My dear friend, Tiffany, once told me, that the Lord uses signs in His nature, to comfort us, remind us of His love and loved ones lost. Her pastor did a sermon on this topic. She mentioned the Cardinal being special to her, and not long after that I started seeing them and breathing a prayer of thanksgiving for my heavenly Fathers love of me.
Then, after my dad passed away, this became even more real to me.
Here is what google said:
"A cardinal is a representative of a loved one who has passed. When you see one, it means they are visiting you. They usually show up when you most need them or miss them. They also make an appearance during times of celebration as well as despair, to let you know they will always be with you."
This Spring, when we came home to Kansas, after wintering at the Florida farm for the first time without dad there, we had cardinals EVERYWHERE at our place. I got to see them outside our big picture window in the living room. I hadn't ever seen them out here before, and I felt so blessed to have my dad checking on us and the Lord showing us His care!!
One day, as I was driving home alone from town, I was particularly feeling the weight of our Florida Farm decision that we knew was coming soon. I tearfully prayed out loud as I took the winding road home:
"LORD, please show me if we are supposed to buy the farm or not. I do not want my will, I want yours. I just do not want ANY regrets. No regrets of buying, no regrets of letting it go. You know our path, you know our future, you know our finances, YOU CHOOSE."
Right as I was saying that last line, this cardinal swoops in front of my car, flies in a line in front of windshield, and then up into the trees next to the road.
A tear rolled down my cheek, I looked up and I grinned and hollared-
HEY WAIT!!!! IS THAT A YES OR A NO?!?!?!??!?!?!??!!
I was talking to Chad and Lauren on the phone a few days later, and mentioned all the red birds in my life currently.
Lauren says, wait like cardinal red birds, or like red bird, red birds?
I said cardinal. She and Chad go WOOOAAAAHHH! We have like 4 in the back yard of our house, which we have never had before in all our years of living at this place. Maybe Dad is saying hi to us too?! We all had chills.
So now that you have a bit of a back story, I can tell you that on the long drive to Florida, I asked for a cardinal sign at the farm. It seemed fitting, as much as the Lord had been using them in my life of late.
I was thinking maybe there would be red birds in the trees everywhere when we arrived or something, hahahah, but no, nothing unusual and no birds that were red in color. Just a beautiful place, full of a million memories!
One morning, I felt a prayer burden to go walk the place as I petitioned the Father for an answer. I needed to walk around and really ask myself some hard questions about ownership, as I acknowledged each memory spot out here.
Back in the day, Dad & Drea's RV was parked under the awning next to the tiny cute apartment....ready for our next summer adventure. We LOVED traveling with them!
Our RV was parked out here, on this foundation of lyme rocks, with railroad ties around it, solar lights, and a little wooden porch got brought out each year as dad worked so hard to prepare it for us each season.
It was AWESOME!
The views out here just don't quit....and it is so so peaceful, since its a gated drive and only those living back here have access.
This swing got used many an hour, after dad got all his "farm" tasks done.
We would just sit there, talking and swinging as the kids played. They loved to come join Papa as he took a break. He would tell them stories, encourage them, talk about Jesus.
I walked past the fire pit where we spent evenings relaxing around the fire....
We would talk business, goals, dreams, tell stories and laugh our heads off out there, under the night sky.
Many a tether ball tournament happened here. The kids loved the tether ball pole Papa worked to set up for us.
The porch were we ate all our meals, and enjoyed the twinkle lights, birthday parties and more.
Such amazing memories to tuck away in my heart....
There is the barn that houses a playhouse Papa made for the kids in one stall, Christmas dinner under the twinkle lights in the main barn room, that he so carefully hung. Even a family wedding happened here last year!
Here is the swing Papa carefully hung for the kids to play on. First a tire, then we switched to one that is tarzan style! Man, the kids were on it CONSTANTLY!
As I prayed, I knew with tears in my eyes, and peace in my heart that we weren't going to buy the farm after all. That didn't keep me from sobbing at the loss of it all. Just one more change. One more thing to say bye to. Ugh. This year has been so full of that.
But we know, that this beautiful place deserves someone who will live there full time and enjoy it. Take careful care of it, like dad did.
It isn't set up to let sit empty for 8 months at a time. We weren't prepared to deal with mold from 94% humidity, CD sized spiders and critters moving in, a lawn that needs care 12 months a year, plus trimming and weeding. To tighten our budget to allow for a payment, when we really desire to keep traveling and living as we are.
As badly as I wanted it to be a YES, I only felt peace with a NO. That had to be the answer, but where was my sign I asked for?
We woke up the next day, ready to pull out. Ready to say goodbye one last time in case Drea sells it before winter. We were tearing down the RV when Paxton yells,
"MOM!!! There is a cardinal in front of our motorhome!!!!"
I ran to see and sure enough. Right outside the huge RV windshield, on the palm out front, was a bright red cardinal. (not pictured, but this is where he was)
I burst into tears. (Man, I have cried a lot these last few days!) I knew this was my "fleece", my test, and it was answered.....
AS WE LEFT.
I knew my daddy was saying bye, it's ok that you aren't buying this place. I knew my Heavenly Daddy was answering me as I asked.
As we drove down that driveway, we turned to look again and had peace. Sweet surrender and a full heart that comes from obedience.
We headed south to go see our Grammy at her and Papa's house, 2 hours away, and guess who greeted us when we arrived in her neighborhood?
A cardinal flew level with Avery's window before heading up into the trees.
I CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!
It is all Jesus, and I am grateful to be called His Beloved.
This is how I handle stressful days......a little PEACE oil deeply inhaled.
Ok ok, this may be a little TOO deeply, but it worked.
We had our single worst travel day in the history of mobile Fergusons.
I don't know if it was because we had had so many late nights and busy days in a row at the wedding.
Or, if the wind rocking the RV made us all sick (thank God for Digestzen oil), or if it was just us being rusty from not traveling much this past year, but by the time we got to Florida (after leaving at 5 am) we were CARSICK, GROUCHY and EXHAUSTED.
7 hours later, we arrived in beautiful to Sarasota, Florida. PHEW! We made it! (barely)
Dale & I made the decision to get the kids some pizza, have them get on jammies and stay home for early bedtime and some cable tv. (a big treat!)
We headed out for a grown up dinner with Dale's family at our favorite sea food place, Anna Maria's Oyster Bar for all you can eat fish and chips. It was gorgeous so we requested the patio!
It was SO GOOD to be back! Florida feels more and more like home, the longer we spend time here. For the next two weeks, we ate yummo food and played in the sunshine.
We saw Grammy Drea, and ate out with Dale's aunts as much as possible!
The rest of the time, we relaxed and road bikes!
Oopsie, got into a good book and 18 chapters later, someone got a little burnt!
doTERRA toner, Roman Chamomile and Lavender to the rescue. INSTANT relief!
I gave it a couple days to heal up and hit the pool again, this time the back of me got a wee bit red. Oopsie again!
We were just leaving when a nice couple came up and asked, are you the Ferguson's? We read your blog!
What a SMALL WORLD?! We adore meeting our blog reading friends and this darling couple is giving RV life a go. Hi Jena & Charlie! I hope you are having a great trip!
We discovered an authentic, gooey, drippy, Philly Cheesesteaks place. Wow! They fly in the bread fresh daily from Philly.
Gentile Brothers is hidden gem of Sarasota!
We fell into a routine of bike rides every night after dinner and it was LOVELY! Sophie GOES NUTS and jumps around whining excitedly until I get her up in my basket.
This RV park is MASSIVE, so we can go new ways every night and discover new parts. 1300 spaces for RVs and then darling park model housing too.
Lest you think I never cook, I do have a few new Instant Pot recipes we made and loved.
The first is Pioneer Women's Enchilada Dip for Easter snack supper. YUMMO! I used the packets of red enchilada sauce instead of canned because I prefer the simple ingredient list. Tasted great! Leftovers got turned into a layered enchilada casserole, totally divine!
The second is a Baked Frito Pie that we turned into a Frito Platter. Very yummy! Instant Pot makes things more liquidy, so I used the sautee button to boil and stirred in some cold water with corn starch to thicken.
Recipes in slideshow:
Grammy headed to Germany to see her momma and family, but Uncle Dan and Aunt Torrey were still in town. We had them out for burgers one night. GOAT CHEESE stuffed burgers, mind you. Holy amazing!
There is a really cool Amish market nearby, so we grabbed freshly made homemade buns, local tomatoes and corn on the cob too! Avery set a nice table for them, complete with name tags.
Destiny made herself an appointment at the Apple store to get her phone fixed at a nearby mall, so we all headed in. We had NO idea there were such big and fancy malls in the world apparently, because every person in our family stopped and gasped.
The girls when we went IN, and the boys when we went OUT. You will see why in a sec.
First of all, it was just beautiful. Light and airy, and infinity fountains everywhere.
While we waited on the iPhone people, Avery and I slipped away to go look at formals for our doTERRA event in September. It's prom time, and I have learned you either snag one early, during spring prom, or they are ALL GONE by September and not coming out with new dresses until Christmas.
She was in princess ball gown heaven!
I tired on a billion teeny bopper dresses, not made for a mom bod, then narrowed it down to two, and once Dale joined me, he quickly picked his fav once he joined us.
RED of course! For my doTERRA Dorothy team. And the color is nice and happy too! :)
We walked out of the mall, past valet parking, and the boys all GASPED. .....
Toto, we aren't in Kansas anymore!
Right before we left, the girls got to do something CRAZY cool to their hair......
Daddy said it was all good since we have a GO BLUE theme going at our house right now as we run for Blue Diamond in 2018. (thus my blue stripes in mine)
We took advantage of the hot sunshine and warm outdoors to get it done!
I ran out of time to get "after" pics, so that is another blog for another day apparently, SORRY! ;)
A few more sunny swim days and hot tub nights and it was time to pull out and head up to the COLD states. (pretty much everywhere else right now is snowing or un seasonably cold)
Bye again, Florida! We miss you already! Until next winter........
We got back from Leadership Retreat and just like that, it was time to leave Florida.
Because we stayed in Kansas so much longer this year, just trying to heal our hearts from losing our beloved dad and Papa, our time in the sunshine just simply FLEW BY!
We tried to squeeze in some fun with Uncle Chad, Aunt Lauren, Nana and the cousins before we all went our separate ways again.
Oh, and our friends from Kansas and business partners came by and hung out too. They are new full time RVers! SO FUN!
We planned a family skate day and headed into town.......
Let's get a photo of all the skaters!!!
Whoopsie, down went Dylan.
One more stop by the house for final goodbyes and it's time to hit the road.....we have a wedding to attend in South Carolina!
Come on guys, TRY to be normal! There we go......
See you both back here next winter! Love the Florida sunshine!
Then it was time to pack up and clean up my dads beloved Florida "farm" and it all started feeling official.
The heart is a fickle funny thing.... ❤
I cried because I didn't want to come face this place, and now I cry because I hate to go!
The Lord is so faithful to have helped us through our first tough winter without Papa, to hold space for us and put us in a place where memories to flow in and out as gently as the warm Florida breeze. 🌴☀️
It was a safe haven and a place for the next level of healing. I am grateful for our time here!
South Carolina, here we come!
We are loving our time with Nana in Florida! It gives us even more of an excuse to see Uncle Chad and Auntie Lauren too, so we planned lots of shared dinners and fun nights....
We request a Nana Day, all day Sunday. We picked her up for church, then planned to have her for the day. We read in the sun, she napped (and snored haha!) and enjoyed a snack supper before we took her back home.
I don't actually have any photos of this, we were having too much fun I guess?! :)
I did have a little mishap Sunday morning.....
Note to self, if your contact container tips over during the night, it will NOT properly neutralize the benzoid peroxide solution.
FIRE. In my eye ballssssss...
Thank goodness for fun glasses to distract!
Avery wanted pretty curls for church, and we realized we left her corkscrew soft rollers in Kansas, so we improvised and went OLD SCHOOL.
Totally worked like a charm. She was SO excited to show Nana her curls Sunday morning!
We plan to leave town a few days to head SOUTH. It's time to face Papa's house without him there for the first time, and help Drea with any remaining Papa things.
I have butterflies, but I know another level of healing can be accomplished simply by facing that place that holds such sad memories of his final days....
Before we left, we went over to Chad and Lauren's for dinner to soak up some Nana time.
Dale made a DELICIOUS chicken & rice dish for us all, his families recipe from Costa Rica, with a special salsa that you sprinkle on.....
Avery made a no bake Eclair cake, served with Strawberries from the festival....
And just like that, it was time to head south for some sunshine.....
We met Auntie Lauren, the boys, and Nana at the Strawberry Festival Saturday morning! The day was PERFECT, not too cold and not too hot, although we still got sunburned!!!
There was a car show, music, booths and fresh strawberries, of course.
BMX Trick show:
Funnel cakes, lunch and then home....
The kids have been doing extra good at school lately, so daddy surprised them with their favorite local treat, Twisty Treat to be exact.
Destiny went to the car and ate her slushy while we all waited 25 more minutes for our cones. They must have had some techincal difficulties with the machines because we have NEVER waited that long!
Nana came to town for a visit! She flew in from Kansas to see her kids and all her grands here in sunny Florida. We always enjoy when she comes.....
We met her shuttle in a parking lot and took her to a nice family style dinner. She came bearing a comic paper wrapped gift for Tylan, a new Adventure in Odyssey disc, yay!!!
They promptly got to reading!
One of the reasons momma is here is because we all head to Leadership Training here in a bit, to learn more how to use our strengths, lead strong and have some fun with other oilers.
One night is the Into the Deep Blue Sea party, so I've been doing some online bargain shopping in the meantime!
I am sure I'll have loads of pics to share from there once we get back! :) I am so excited to go!
We live in horse country Florida, 2 hours from the nearest beach. We love the sunshine, yet not too hot weather. We love the tree covered roads and horses, southern mansions and the "farm" feel of the area.
One of the newest additions to our town, is a paved walking and bike trail that goes on for MILES.
One particularly nice and lazy afternoon, we decided to go walk it. (We can't figure out a way to get all 6 bikes in our family car, so thats another project for another day) Walking it is!!!!
We set off, and it was BEAUTIFUL!!!!!
There was a cool old house, just off the main trail we went and check out..... SO COOL!
Can you find all 4 Fergusons? :)
Well, we are headed to the Strawberry Festival, so I will write more again soon. Hugs, T
Ty is the MASTER Lizard catcher around here. But this time, well this time takes the cake.....
Meet Boris the Broadhead Skink.
The kids created a nice habitat for him and fed him a huge cockroach. They hung out for a while and then decided ol Boris was probably ready to go home to his family, so we released him back into the wild.
A fun part of living in Florida for the winter, is that my brother and his wife are nearby, as well as my step momma. That means loads of family dinners, cousin play times and even date night OUT! Woot woot!
We love when Grammy drives up to stay at the farm apartment and work with Uncle Chad at the furniture store because it means we get to see her for dinner and church and have some fun.
We always like to go to brunch after church, have you ever heard of First Watch?
Man, they have unique foods. All fresh and local too. This is the Gruyere and Ham omelete, I split this and the lemon ricotta strawberry pancakes with Dale. Mm mm amazing!
That night, we headed out to a great sushi place with Chad and Lauren! It's so nice to have a built in babysitter.....thanks Destiny!
We have a lot of fun with these two!
Speaking of Lauren, she shared a great recipe with me I wanted to tell you about. Now, in true Tonya fashion, I changed it up a lot, but it was so so good.
I'll try to explain what I did:
I added more parmesan cheese, used the refrigerator noodles and the already made pesto, I like cold fresh better then canned. I added porta bella mushrooms sauteed in butter with the julianned zucchini and garlic before dumping it all into the pot and stirring it together with the fresh basil and tomato.
We served it with french bread, olive oil and dipping spices. YUM!
We had a good weekend of star gazing, moon watching, class teaching and preparing for my Momma to come from Kansas for a nice, long visit!
We are finding happiness again, here on Papa's beloved "Florida farm". The kids adore being here, and I think the happy memories are taking over the sting of the loss of our precious Papa.
I love their joy and giggles. The stories around the fire again.
We have been eating our way around the favorite places! Mmm, MOJO's has the BEST black beans and rice!
One of our favorite things about living somewhere for longer than normal is that we can get a LIBRARY card! Eeek! There is NOTHING better than paper books, real ones you can hold in your hand.
We have been lounging around in chairs and hammocs after school and just enjoying! :)
Even MOMMA gets to read! Ahhh, guilty pleasure.
We chalk, we bake, we play after school each day and enjoy the sunshine.
We eat outside a LOT, we miss being able to all fit around the table, plus its SO pretty out!
Look how sweet and precious my family is.....
OH WOW. Nice kids.
How about this one?
Really Ty? ONE more chance guys.....
MUCH BETTER. :)
Mmm! I love having an oven to cook in, Drea lets me use the apartment kitchen. We always have to make Creamy Hamburger Casserole.
Do you remember that one from the blog? Click here.
Speaking of cooking, I have a NEW favorite recipe from Drea. You are going to want to make this!
I bought a 5 pound bag of Brussels sprouts from Sam's.
Cut ends off and wilted leaves and halve.
Drizzle with olive oil and generously salt and pepper.
Roast at 425* until fork tender.
Drizzle with balsamic reduction, add craisins and goat cheese. And walnuts if you'd like.
Serve hot. Mmm, I can eat bowls of this stuff for my WHOLE MEAL!
We took the kids skating on Saturday! As a child of the 80's I grew UP skating all over the tiny town I grew up in.
The kids are used to bladeing, but seemed to transition well to skates. It was a cute little rink and an easy way to pass a Saturday afternoon. They had a ball!
I feel bad, blogging our Valentine's Day activities from half a month ago!! I am THAT behind. Oops! BOGO week was such a blessing and a busy time, so I am giving myself some grace. So many of you joined our Oil Team and I am so excited about that! :)
So for Valentines Day this year, we had a date night earlier in the week at a restaurant called Sky Bistro. Oh my word, it was amazing!
Dale and I got fixed up to meet my brother Chad, sis in law Lauren and step momma, Drea for a FUN night out on the town!
My pixie grow out is going ok, but not great....so I had to quick think of a way to pin back the akwardly long short sides. (does that even make sense? different blog for a different day)
The menu was phenomenal! Upscale asian food, and because of a mix up on our fried rice, we got a FREE dessert platter of bread pudding and some kind of funnel cake fries with drizzle. Mmmm!
My funny little Valentines and the love of my life, hid love notes all over the RV for me to find. Precious! 😍🍓
4 Oaks Academy students attended their second ever, fancy lunch for their Valentine's Day party, and they loved every minute of it....I sent them out to work and play and got started with food prep.
The restaurant was the oh so fancy "La Cruiset a la Rv Désirer". (None of us actually knew what they meat except fancy cuisine in the desired RV, but it sounded ritzy.)
Dale and I carefully set the table, poured the bubbly, and went to see if there was a line at the door for lunch service....yup!
On the kids' assigned spots was a clue, as to where their valentines treat was hidden, around the RV.
The menu included: (you have to read it in a fancy french voice)
*Mini tea sandwiches in both egg salad & cream cheese cucumber dill
*Veggie a la raw (you had to take one of every color, chefs orders)
*Raspberry lemonade jigelette
*Le Puffs of de Cheese
There was a Strawberry Creme Tarte next to each plate, and a glass of Cranberry Bubbly.
Prayer and then CHEERS!! Time to eat!
They sure had some crazy wait staff! One of the waiters even got fired I hear! 🤣😂 (Several times.)
Riiiight, Dale Ferguson?!
After they went on their scavenger hunt for their chocolate hearts (no pics, sorry) it was arts and crafts time!
Last surprise was the Valentine's Olympics!!!! ☀️
First event: Relay Run
Race to rake leaves till the pile is as high as your ankle, run to tag your partner.
Partner has to find a silver torch (spoon), poked in the ground before proceeding.
Run "torch" to your awaiting team and together run with it and clang swing handle.
Second event: Water Relay
Using a spoon or lid, run relay style to fill up your measuring cup.
Fullest at the end of 2 minutes - wins!
Girls pulled the Gold at the last minute by 1/4 a cup.
Third event: Partner Color Guard
Link arms with partner and never let go.
Race from color to color as they are hollered out by the announcer.
You must both touch the color!
So hysterical to watch them, they loved it! :)
My thoughtful kiddos begged to get Grammy a Valentine gift so she would feel happy on Valentine's Day too......look what they picked out!
They displayed it on the table so she was sure to see it as SOON as she got home. :)
It was a happy Valentines Day, all the way around....
I am so sorry its been so quiet here before this week, I find myself at a loss for words, and participating in a time of quiet reflection, pulling inward quite a bit. I suppose that is healthy and good, right? I just have some guilt for not coming to hang out with you as often. I have had all kinds of blogs floating around, just didn't write, schedule or upload them.
We have been here in Florida a month now, and its not as hard as it first was. The first day we pulled in, I laid in the back bedroom for a long time before I could even step into the front of the RV with all its big windows looking out. My heart was longing for him out there, waving excitedly from the front door as we pulled in, just like years past.
In fact, I pretty much cleaned the whole house, dripping tears everywhere I went, before I could step foot ouside. We had a little whoopsie that dropped me to my knees:
Check out my 4 month old laptop. During travel it slid back, still in the case, and nestled perfectly between the slide out and the wall. Needless to say, we were all a little out of sorts, and no one checked like we usually do, before sliding it out.
Tear tears tears. So many tears that day! I told satan to LEAVE US ALONE.....
I finally decided to step outside, I was ready.....
It felt like a ghost town.
All his little touches were gone. He was such a tidy person by nature and took pride his little second home. Looking around at the closed up tight apartment, the empty RV that wouldn't be driven on a fun summer trip this year.....
There were leaves everywhere, and we realized for the first time, how much work he did on "our spot" to get it ready for us with its little porch and clean raked yard.
So here we are, living on my daddy's beloved "farm" in central Florida, and missing him everyday. (this is dad and Drea's second home, when they came up from their big house down south by the beach, to work the family furniture store with my brother Chad)
At first being here was salt in the wound, but just a few days in, it became comforting somehow, to be surrounded by a place so "HIM". And you can tell he left thinking he would be traveling back up again....
Shoes by the back door. A tool out on the work bench. An RV waiting for the next trip.
When we sit by the fire in this peaceful spot, in the beautiful cool Florida nights, we know he is happy we came and enjoyed this special space....
We can do it for him. He loved it so much, just like last years time hop showed me.
So here we sit, missing him terribly, thankful for the promise of seeing him again one day...
I know life moves on, and we all will too, but for now, I am embracing every layer, every tearful, hard day and every happy, laughter filled day, with my whole being. Trusting my Abba Father to guide my path, and take my broken heart and make it new.
And maybe someday soon, I will stop glancing up in the window when I walk by, to see if he is inside with his feet up in the afternoon....
So I smile through my tears, because I know my daddy is so happy and healthy up there in Paradise with Jesus.....and he wouldn't come back even if he could.
Our human mind cannot grasp the glory he now lives in everyday.
I just wish he could be here again.....I'd sure have a lot to say.
We were heading to Florida, but we had just a few last stops to make....
In lieu of flowers, we asked the community to donate to my dad's alma mater, Central Christian, instead of flowers. We were THRILLED to find out, that just over $3000 was raised. And it was just the right amount for a much needed new commercial dishwasher for the school kitchen. Theirs no longer worked! That is a big problem!
I am so thankful to all who donated, we'd MUCH rather have the gift that keeps on giving like that, as opposed to flowers that wilt and die. Dad would've been so proud!
I showed the kids his senior photo on the wall while we were there. :)
We needed to make one more VERY important stop on our way out of town....
We wanted to pay our respects and see Papa's resting place. The headstone is ordered and will be up when we get back this summer.
Still doesn't seem real that he isn't waiting for us anxiously in Florida....he was always so full of life and joy!
Our trip to Florida was fairly uneventful. We took it extra slow, and stopped more than usual.
A celery spill from a semi that wrecked, that held us up and extra hour......
Ranch dressing, anyone?
OH! And a gas station exercise session outside leads to a jackpot for Destiny - $100!
We make the kids do stretches, yoga and RUN RUN RUN when we stop for gas. This gas station had a HUGE hill down to a nasty drainage ditch. There was a concrete ramp run off, that was dry, and she was walking up and down it, while the little kids ran around.
She looked over, and down between the concrete blocks, she found this bill that had washed down, who knows when, just stuck there! She had just shared with me that she wished she had spending money, and that it was hard to earn anything while traveling. I told her to pray about it!
Guess what? The LORD answers! :)
We did school like normal while bouncing down the road, and the kids performed "Paul Revere's Ride" by Longfellow....
It was a good travel day!
We took 3 whole days to get down, I didn't want Dale pushing hard, he was too weary. We ALL were!
One morning, our hose froze at the spicket, and poor Sophie could NOT get close enough to the heater vent. Haha!
The closer to Florida, the warmer it got, but the more the butterflies flew in our tummies. ☀️🌴🦋 Staying at a place so full of memories of my dad, a place so HIM, is going to be really really tough. Big reality check for sure!
This next layer of healing is a big one, and I am grateful we never walk alone!
You know how you know something might be coming, and think you are at peace and prepared for it, and then it wallops you upside the head, and you realize there is literally, absolutely, no way to ever be ready for these moments?
So its very very very hard to find a place to stay in southern Florida in the winter....we knew we might have to do some RV Park hopping. Not the end of the world, but annoying none the less. And the next closest RV park with openings can be hours away, not condusive for running over for a quick minute to help with dads care.
And the Lord moved mountains again, for us to stay at the RV park closest to my dad's house for the next MONTH straight. Thank you, Jesus! We are less than 3 miles away!!!!
I really really love the setting!!!!! This place rocks!
We always put out this sign my dad made us, but everything becomes more special at a time like this, right? Sigh.
I had to take a photo to share.
The kids FAVORITE part is that we have 2 perfect hammock trees right outside the door. They read out there for hours!
The RV park itself is really nice too. We do family walks at the end of the day and swim most afternoons at the nice pool. We go see Papa as much as possible, while also allowing them their own schedule and time together.
We are making ourselves right at home, putting out a jar for sun tea, and Avery decided our RV number pole needed some Christmas Spirit. Look closely, there are antlers too! Clever girl.
We spend a lot of time out front under the awning, just enjoying the nice weather and some family time after school.
Uncle Chad and Lauren are coming down each weekend, this time kidless. Uncle Chad played so Battleship with Pax and he loved that.
The kids talked me into a $10 ginger bread kit. What a joke! They sure don't make em like they used to,
Did I just age myself? Hahah ;) Its so gross, they used to at least be real cookies, now its like cardboard.
We had Brie Arugula Burgers for dinner, yummo!
When the kids get antsy, we head the 5 minutes to the beach and RUN EM HARD. I still forget sometimes, we are so close to the ocean. We usually winter 3 hours north of here!!!!
I'll update you on dad soon.....the time is drawing near for his homecoming.
3 years ago, in the peak of his cancer battle, my dad felt like the Lord gave him a verse about allowing him 15 more years. He read it in his quiet time, and could never find it again, but it encouraged him and give him fight when he needed it.
The other day dad said to me, I wonder why He changed his mind????
OH my word, break my heart.
I said, Daddy you can still believe for 12 more years! We need our faith to be STRONGER than what our eyes can see! (some great advice from some awesome friends)
I think life can be a little discouraging when your two main things you love are taken from you - your ability to move and your ability to speak and joke as you are accustomed.
I hate seeing my daddy like this, and was praying and praying for a Word from the Lord, not only for him, but for ME too. This is the most discouraging situation! And no answers. So I needed SOMETHING, a nugget to hold on to the the Lord was with us.
And He ALWAYS answers!!! What a blessing!!!!!
Our awesome prayer warrior friends, Pastor Jesse and Edith, often call with a word from the Lord for us. I love when He speaks through them to me!!!
This time, the Lord woke Edith up in the middle of the night with a message for me to give to dad.......
These 2 verses! The very ones he had read years before....
She also said if my dad wants to go home, that its ok for him to want that too. Paradise awaits him. I asked daddy if he wanted to fight for life anymore and he said he wasn't sure.
I know that whether Jesus heals my daddy here on earth, or heals him by taking him to Heaven, that we can rejoice that there is life and hope and healing for us all.
Here and on the other side....
Update: 3 days after I made this post, dad stopped wanting to get out of his bed and sit in the chair. Hospice is saying 3 to 7 days. I almost didn't post this, but somehow, somewhere, this all fits into the story and I need it to be here to read later. xoxo
What a treat to get to have a Girls Day OUT! Well, a morning out anyhow. Dale and the boys stayed home with Papa, and the girls slipped out for farmers market, and a wonderful brunch at a darling old train station building.....
Flokie, Aunt Torreys sweet puppy, came too. We may or may not have tempted him with some french toast bites.... ;)
Look at that SWEET WITTLE FACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Check out these dishes!!! I am such a foodie. I appreciate fresh ingredients, yummy food and attention to detail. This place had it all!
Smoked salmon eggs on a brie smothered bread
Cinnamon roll pancakes
We hit the farmers market, no pics, but I did buy cucumbers for gyros and tomatoes and sweet onions for sandwiches for school lunches that week. YUMMM!!!!!
Sweet sisters, love them and their relationship!
We shopped a specialty grocery store and bakery and headed home to the guys....
It was time to call in a day......Flokie was PLUM worn out!