Once we got home from Hawaii, we couldn't get out of COLD Kansas fast enough.....
But we actually we had to hurry up and WAIT.
There was a yucky ice storm and terrible winds that came in the day we were supposed to leave. Dale studied the road conditions and watched all the weather reports and said it just wasn't worth it.
So we paused packing, left out the things we needed for an overnight stay and would decide in the AM if we were a go for launch or not.
It was a GO! Wahoooooo. All these years later, I STILL get excited butterflies when that beautiful diesel fires up.
We thanked the Lord for Dale's wisdom to stay one more day, because we saw no less then 38 cars or marks of cars into ditches, poles and off the highway. It was AWFUL and our big bus wouldn't have been immune to that gusty north wind!
It's 2 REALLY long 12 hour drive days and rest stop nights to get to where we were headed in Florida. The kids did awesome! They read books, played games, helped me menu plan and played playdough several times. We made a bakery! :)
We had an important stop to make before heading to our now Southern Florida winter home, and that was our old winter stomping grounds, Ocala, where Papa used to have his RV friendly country property. Uncle Chad and Aunt Lauren are there still, Chad runs the family furniture store.
We wanted to see everyone, eat our favorite places and drive around a bit, so we found an RV park 30 minutes away, and had a quick overnight visit.
First up, Carriage Trade to say hi! The new trucks and storefront looked awesome.
Then lunch at Brooklyn's Backyard BBQ for my favorite burger of all, the St Croix, cream cheese, sweet and sour sauce, fried banana peppers...AMAAAZING! Kids wanted Twistee Treat while we drove around a bit to check everything out.
We've always loved these arched treed roads in Ocala, so Dale took us for a joy ride. All of a sudden, he made a familiar turn and I literally burst into tears out of NOWHERE. That hasn't happened for a while, it surprised me!
As we drove by the gated drive that was one my dad's beloved "farm", alllllll my memories flooded back and I realized just how different this winter would be. I know we did the right thing not buying it, but that doesn't always mean easy.
Alot of sweet memories at this place......
Tears dried, we headed to Chad and Lauren's for the day and had a heck of a time.....the cousins play so good together!
The adults get along awesome too. ;)
And look at what my sweeeeet little brother got for me when he was bidding furniture for the store.... a cardinal!
AWWW! I LOVE IT!
2 and a half hours later, we pulled into our home sweet winter home. We will get to stay here until April, when the world warms up and we can go travel again.
We set up camp, got groceries, hit the library (priorities) and then went for a bike ride.
The real question is.......who broke Florida?! The high tomorrow is 50* and that's COOL here with the high humidity!!!!🤣
Grammy and Aunt Torrey & Uncle Dan came by to say hi the next day. It was POURING!!! So we literally had home church and stayed in ALL DAY LONG. The kids actually handled it awesome and I think it's because we had so many good books and fun company to make the day go by.
We got a message from some doTERRA peeps we met in a LONG line at convention, that also travel. Jason says, I think we may be neighbors, I will message you soon. Turns out, we are all at the SAME RV PARK!!!!! We made plans to connect after the rain stopped and pretty much the kids were inseparable the REST of the week! SO cute!
We took them to our favorite big grocery store/farmers market, out to our favorite all you can eat fish place, Anna Maria's Oyster bar and hung out in the hot tub until laaate one night.
The Lord just brings us the COOLEST believers to connect with on the road, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with Jason, Kamille and their whole family!
We got the oh so famous Nokomis Groves fresh ice cream and hit the beach for sunset. Brrr, it was COLD and gusty! A drive down Casey Key road, and looking at mansions with the heater one became the better option. ;)
Saturday, the RV park had a parade. Dale told the kids not to get their hopes up, this is after all a retirement village and we may be seeing a whole lot of golf carts. Haha, but you guys, it was the CUTEST RV Park parade ever!
Board Game Theme
It's always hard to say goodbye, but we made plans to meet up again soon!
Florida life is full of sunshine, yummy grilled foods, local seafood, bike rides and hot tub nights. We are loving it and so grateful the Lord is showing us that even in the midst of change and loss, there is new life and new memories to be made!
More to come....
When I last left you, we were zipping back to the hotel to grab our luggage and make our mid afternoon island hopper flight to Maui.
I already am scared of flying, let alone in a TEENY TINY AIRPLANE with only 7 other passengers.
On the outside I looked calm, but on the inside, I was doing THIS!
Look how tiny!
It wasn't bad at ALL, actually pretty amazing to fly low below the clouds and see the islands and whales the entire time!
We got to the Budget rental car place and saw a line around the building. Oh boy! 2 hours later, and 2 LONG waits in line......we had a car to head to our condo.
We had gotten a red mustang, turned the keys back in due to smell and were assigned a second mustang, this one smoky grey, BRAND NEW and a GT to boot! We were pretty happy about that part! The Lord ALWAYS works things out! Hallelujah!
Our love story began with a convertible mustang you know..... :)
By the time we drove across the island and found our hidden condo, it was LATE. We were exhausted and curious about the waves we could hear, crashing right outside our lanai. But of course, it's pitch black and we can see NOTHING! Off to bed in our cute room to wait for sunrise.
Here is the condo pics from the website, isn't it adorable? It's a studio and that lanai has slider doors in, slider doors out AND screen doors so you can pick how much outside you want IN and how many waves you want to hear! It was ideal!
We opened it every morning, but closed it at night so we could sleep. Waves are NOISY!
We had grabbed a few groceries on our way in, and had packed the avocado from the farmers market, so we were able to make a lovely bacon avocado wrap for breakfast. It was heavenly to be in a warm climate and we so enjoyed being on the porch while we listened to the waves crashing underneath us. You just can't beat that SOUND! Ok ok, maybe trickling water of a mountain stream, but STILL! So good.
First order of business, explore the area in our flashy car, go to the local farmers market for some fresh produce and gifts to take home to the kiddos....
Next up, the beach. We lasted about an hour and didn't want to burn, so we went CRUISIN! Top down, music UP. :)
Check out these crazy hair pin curves! After driving a mom mobile for so many years, I was totally loving the sound of this throaty Mustang GT. Dale said it handled like a dream!
It's a great day to explore the island! We stopped at the best look out points and even walked part way down to the Nakalele blow-hole. Not recommended in flip flops, so we only went part way down.
On the way back down the mountain, we stopped for local banana bread and coconut candy that everyone was talking about. It was good, but we decided Bestie Banana Bread still beat it!
We were wind blown, tired and starving when we got back, so instead of cooking we decided to look up a local pizza joint that got rave reviews and walked over to it.
I ate the BEST greek pizza I have ever put in my mouth! Pizza Paradiso if you ever hit Maui. YUM! Great Gelato too.
We enjoyed a leisurely walk home and I took photos of all the flowers in honor of my grandma, who loves flower photos. Haha! They were lovely!
Then we enjoyed a nice tropical drink and watched the moon slip up over the water before calling it a night.
GOOD MORNING! It's Sunday Funday........ :)
*Out for brunch at the infamous Slappy Cakes, check!
*Drive to Kihei to find our honeymoon condo, check!
*Hike oh so rough and rocky - Hoapili Trail. PHEW and CHECK!
That evening we specifically waited to go to dinner until AFTER sunset, so we could catch it in ALL it's glory....
As soon as the beautiful sun sunk behind the mountain, we headed to a little hole in the wall fish market, our favorite kind of place, and had some killer catch of the day.
We decided to go walk around this quaint little town called Lahaina. Cool art galleries, live music and presentations, shops and some hawaiian ice that called our names.....
Just another day in paradise.
We declared the next day BEACH DAY! We had a hearty breakfast on the lanai and set out....
I was laying there reading my book when Dale says, TONYA LOOK!
I gasp, HI DAD! Oh my goodness, all the way to Maui to say hello. :)
Don't understand the cardinal? Read here how the Lord is using them in my life this past year.
A Messenger From Heaven
He was enjoying some tropical and oh so healthy, coconut water! :) I am so blessed to have a Heavenly Father who loves me enough to send me earthly reminders of my earthly one.
We wanted to go out nice, once, for an early anniversary celebration. Going on 17 years! Avery wanted me to wear my "spinny dress" so I packed it just for this.
We read one of the TOP places to eat, Star Noodle, usually had a 2 hour wait or reservation only. I popped on line to check and YUP, not happening. So we reserved the NEXT day at 10:30 am (yes that was the one that had an opening) and decided to call it an early lunch.
Then went on to reserve Kimo's on the water for our dinner. Our sweet waiter took amazing care of us and treated us to a Hula Pie in honor of our anniversary.
I wished we could go dancing in my "spinny dress", but alas we just walked around town and held hands a bit. Still fun and romantical.
I sent this to Avery just to make her smile......
We have now officially reached, the FINAL full day in Maui, and I am sad to go back, but happy for all the fun Dale and I had on this bonus trip. We headed out early for our 10:30am lunch reservation at Star Noodle, and packed up for one more beach day.
Ummm, no wonder Star Noodle has a 2 hour wait, its impressive! Locally sourced, beautifully plated and the attention to detail - just amazing. You share everything family style! I cannot recommend it enough, best food we had the whole trip!
And just like that, it was over. Good night and good bye, Hawaii.
Mahalo! It's been the trip of a lifetime and my heart is full of gratitude. ?
We began our 2 day trip home with the fore-mentioned stop in San Diego and red eye fly out again, to save us from arriving at midnight a whole 24 hours later. Crazy!
I cannot WAIT to hug my babies!!!!!
We came home to THIS.....
This pic was taken before they ripped off one link for every day we are gone. SO adorable!
They were SO excited for their Hawaiian gifts and a little jealous of all the fun we had without them! :D
Now, we do laundry and pack for FLORIDA! Wahooooo!
If you read our last blog post, you know we've been dreaming of a trip back to Hawaii for nearly 17 years now, and praise the Lord, we got to go this year! We earned a trip through doTERRA for hitting Blue Diamond and decided to extend our trip and enjoy a bit of couple time in Maui, just like our honeymoon. :)
Except not JUST like our honeymoon, because well we have kids to think about back home, and we sure don't look a bit like this anymore! LOL!!!!
We extended our stay in Kansas so that our moms could help with the kiddos. It was also cold enough, I knew the SECOND we got home, we all would be itching to leave for Florida. So I spent the week before our trip packing the RV for Florida AND packing for Hawaii. Not amazing, not fun, but necessary.
I had some great helpers pitching in and many hands make light work. We cleaned and cleaned, saran wrapped and hauled out the 2 Christmas trees. The kids had a lesson in ironing over at Gigi's house, once Daddy's hawaiian shirt showed up in the mail, and we prepped and froze as many meals as we could, so the kids could easily make dinner each night without much work.
I also included some photos of our new mantel decor my mom gave me from a great great grandmother, in this slideshow. Isn't it darling? Love the blue and white! It was the perfect finishing touch up there, YAY!
The kids fort they built one sunny day before our trip. You will see a couple photos of that in this slideshow too. Fire drill with the chain ladders just in case! (thank you Jesus for NO emergencies while mom and dad were gone)
After researching flights forever, we discovered that flying from Ks to San Diego, staying overnight, THEN catching the red eye to Hawaii was much cheaper and a MUCH shorter flight. Some of the flight times were 26 hours otherwise, because of all the layovers and hub jumping we would have had to do ! NO THANK YOU! We did the same on the reverse. It worked beautifully!
Everything went smoothly, except waiting over an HOUR out in the cool night air, tired and cold, for our free courtesy shuttle to our hotel. Meaning we got in SUPER late, ate a quick dinner in bed, slept a couple hours and went right back to the airport on the shuttle. We were tired and felt gross but SUPER excited to arrive in Hawaii that afternoon.
A family friend sweetly wrote and offered to come get us from the Hawaii airport and show us around a bit. She showed up with traditional Hawaiian goodies and proceeded to run us all around the big island for the afternoon. SO FUN!
This part of Hawaii didn't look a thing like I imagined, the big island is full of black barren lava fields and lava tubes, but also, as we drove, jungle and mountains and everything in between. We were taught 11 of the world's 13 climates exist on the big island. So interesting!
The tunnel you see is called a Lava Tube and it's HUGE and left behind from an eruption.
Sweet Mary Ann took us exploring all over the island and while she was at an appointment, had us walk around this darling little town. We saw wild chickens and even a pig running across the road, wandered through art galleries and shops, an old 1920's post office and a ukulele shop too!
Once she was done we headed to an awesome lunch spot with a view and the best darn mango cheesecake I've ever tasted. Then we went to her BEAUTIFUL home overlooking the ocean! What an AMAZING start to our trip.
The longer we drove, the sharper my headache got. I think it was that late night, plus pressure changes of landings and take offs, plus not enough water. (I hate having to get out of a middle seat to pee and use those gross bathrooms) Oils were keeping it at bay but it was going to take some major sleep and water drinking to make it leave entirely.
We made one last stop at a look out point and saw the resort we were staying at below. It looked gorgeous! Our home sweet home for the next few days!
doTERRA booked us at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa and we would go back in a heartbeat. The staff was amaaaaaazing! And the open air design of the whole place was magical.
BUUUT we literally walked to our room and laid down. Haha, traveling is exhausting, my head was pounding, and we were just not capable of socializing. ;)
So Dale went to get us some food and came back with asian wings and a poke (ahi tuna) nacho platter. I was in bed and asleep before 8.
We, of course, woke up before the sun due to our early bedtime, but the sleep was heavenly and my headache was gone.
We woke up before dawn STARVING and were so grateful Mary Ann sent us with one of her Avocados from her backyard trees. We ate it with a spoon and the salt packet leftover from our silverware packs the night before, while we watched the world wake up. It was awesome!
Then we walked around and explored the resort a while. We got wind of a farmer's market on the property and headed over to scope it out.
First thing we heard was the ukulele!
We ordered a hot stone fired pizza, real fruit ice cream, and bought some local fresh fruit and avocados. It was such a neat experience! We bought some fruit and another avocado to take back to our room. I haven't ever tasted an avocado like the hawaiian ones we ate. They were big and soft, buttery and creamy! We couldn't get enough of them....YUM!
We dropped the fruit in our room and went to explore the resort a bit more and see the views out back......
We spent part of the afternoon at the pool and ate lunch there. (what? the pizza and ice cream was counting as BREAKFAST) ;)
Mary Ann ran us over some polynesian donuts that were amazing, isn't she the sweetest!? As the day went on, we saw more and more doTERRA signs going up. So exciting to be here with the top leaders of the company!
We had a doTERRA beach side reception to attend that night with appetizers.....so we headed up to shower and get ready. The reception was at the Manta Ray Restaurant, whose claim to fame is you can watch a 12 foot manta ray eat while you eat too! It was unbelievably HUGE!
I will load a Manta Ray feeding video here as soon as it uploads......
The next day was breakfast then meetings to catch up on the latest doTERRA news. We were excited, kinda like the first day of freshman year. Haha! We were the newbies, but again, just so unbelievably grateful to be here as leaders.
Everyone thinks meetings = boring but it was actually super interesting and the day flew buy. The hotel did a killer job on lunch and even a fun popcorn snack bar that afternoon with cocoa nibs, seaweed powder and a local dried plum powder they offer on just about everything!
That evening was an outdoor dinner and in true Hawaii style, it was a LUAU! It was AMAAAZING!!! Lights strung across the night sky, hawaiian music in the background, delicious prime rib, sushi, sea food and even hawaiian ice. GREAT entertainment!
The next day we loaded up on a bus and headed to the Kalakekua Mountain Reserve on the slopes of the Mauna Lua Volcano!
In the 1800's the Sandalwood industry boomed but a tragic history of exploitation left it nearly wiped out......
With sensitivity to this history, DoTERRA will be restoring the native plains of this area - including Hawaiian sandalwood trees and other plants and potential future oils!
DoTERRA purchased 10,000 acres & 9,000 of those are under a conservation easement. As we preserve this sanctuary we will work closely with Forest management in what is the LARGEST reforestation effort in all of Hawaii by 2020. So proud to be part of this amazing company!
It was a LONG and steep drive and we could see clearly when we passed what they call the rain line. Once up top, we got to plant our very own trees.....
We planted trees, that will be used 30 years from now, for their beautiful medicinal properties. For every tree used, dozens more spring up!
What an honor to represent a company so passionate about safe and green sourcing practices and generosity in all areas.
Our trees have a special tracking number so we can follow its growth and use in the future! SO cool!
Look at the GORGEOUS yummy healthy lunch set up for us when our bus got back down! And another generous gift from doTERRA, 2 oils each - a Hawaiian Sandalwood and a new one to try a sample of, Naio Wood!
Dale and I had to hit the bus right after, to quickly go back to the resort so we could for sure make our afternoon flight to Maui. This was about the time my butterflies came out in full force when Dale informed me of the teeny tiny PUDDLE JUMPER we would be taking over.
But that post, is for TOMORROW!
Woo hoooo! We have been wanting to go to Hawaii again ever since we honeymooned there 16 years ago.
We thought we'd go for anniversary 3 or 5, but we had a house payment and 2 car payments and a ton of kids. Haha! Year 10 we renewed our vows and went to Branson for a little mini honeymoon trip, after a rough patch in both our finances and our marriage. Not in the budget! Year 15 we were in the RV on the road. And here we are, year 16......
The Lord knows the desires of our hearts, and the LORD has provided!
We are heading for tropical paradise with doTERRA for the Blue & Presidential Diamond retreat for work, and we will stay a few extra days for some US time!
While we are there, we will tour the Hawaiian Sandalwood farms and see all dōTERRA is doing to ensure quality and sustainability. Amazing!s, and I praise His name.
Kids are in good hands with family but are also super jealous. They want to pin Hawaii on our travel map!
Someday kiddos, someday! (Only 3 places to go: Alaska, Hawaii and North Dakota)
I share all our adventures here, on the RV Oilers instagram:
God is so good! <3
There is nothing I love more than being in the kitchen, all together as a family. Many hands make light work!
And not having to menu plan all alone? Amazing!
I knew it was going to be a super busy month, so we made up an extra large menu at the very beginning of Dec for lots of options to choose from, you will recognize some of these from other last Kids in the Kitchen post. We still need to do Taco Pie, Pizza Pockets and Wild Rice Mushroom soup in January. And because it's a nutso month, we also made things NOT on the original list, but it's all good! :)
This isn't a dinner, but while we had the local beef lard bucket thawed for fish night, we decided to try our hand at frying some potato chips. One batch was Lawry's and one batch was salt and vinegar flavor.
Pretty tasty but really tricky to not burn or make chewy chips. Better leave it to the professionals from now on! ;)
Dale's famous fish needs no recipe, because there is none. Crappie he caught this spring, crushed soda crackers, Lawry's, a milk bath and viola! We served it with steamed broccoli.
Nana's Famous Beef Stroganoff with steamed broccoli. Good ol' comfort food!
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Slaw. We did a ready made BBQ sauce version to save time, but check out the blogged one, YUM.
We had WAY too many green apples on hand, so it was time to make something yummy with them.
Skillet Apple Crisp serve with vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of caramel. Yummy!
Top Secret Pot Roast - it's so yummy! I pulled in all my helpers for this one since there was lots of wash, peel and chop. Wait until you see the secret ingredient - Game. Changer.
Crock Pot Kraut & Bean Soup - holy amazing! This is such a unique soup, totally delish. We served it at several Christmas functions, it makes a HUGE batch!
Christmas Breakfast Overnight Casserole - gorgeous but not our fav. Couldn't get past all the soft bread.
We served it with Rhodes Rolls Overnight Monkey Bread recipe. It WAY over rose in my tiny pan, but still worked out.
Perfect treat for Jesus birthday celebration!
Here are our Christmas Dinner recipes!!!
The Best Meatballs - I grew up with Ham balls at Christmas, but it's very hard to find someone to grind ham these days, so I went with all grass fed beef instead. Still yum! I will share sauce recipe next.
This link will get you the oh so incredible sauce recipe for your meatballs (we just baked the day before and heated in crockpot with sauce all day........
This is also where you will get the OH SO AWESOME Gourmet Twice Baked Mashed Potato recipe!
Meatball Sauce & Gourmet Potatoes
Raspberry Vanilla Jello Salad - Not too sweet, and so pretty!
I asked the good, the bad and the ugly about year 3 on the road.......
We all decided there really is no ugly, not with such a shiny new to us home sweet rolling home, haha - so we will go ahead and do our tradition around the dinner table of sharing the Good, the Bad and the Blessing of our day, or in this case, year.
Here is what the family said about 2018:
Dale: Uhhh, I am not good at these. Me: Just start talking, I will type.
The Good - The new RV! Tonya wanted a blue one with grey interior SO bad, but I knew it was out of our price point until a few more trade ins and upgrades or doTERRA goals reached. I watched online for a year, and still nothing. Until the Lord LITERALLY dropped it in our lap, in the ways only He can. We got the RV of our dreams at an amazing bargain of a price. Praise God for our new, shiny, spacious home on wheels!
The Bad - Oh man. Realizing that your dad's Florida farm property was not for us to buy as planned. I know the Lord spoke, and the answer was no, but that was hard for sure. Lots of tears on that one.
The Blessing - Having a summer we will always remember as a family, when our time under one roof is getting short. Destiny plans to start working summers and we really wanted to make this one count. It did!
The Good - Year 3 on the road has been as fun as Year 1. We actually got out and really traveled again, for fun mixed in with work. So my GOOD would be, well, the WHOLE SUMMER.
We went to:
(Click pic, then arrow through slides)
The Bad - How can there be BAD when we saw so much GOOD?! :)
Actually, the bad is how we all grieved the loss of first Dale's grandma, and then our beloved Papa Clay. God is faithful to continue to heal our hearts.
The Blessing - Oh man, so many.
- Getting to do life, all as a family, without answering to a clock? AMAZING.
- Making our goal of Blue Diamond with doTERRA? Pinch me.
- Getting to share oils and changing peoples lives for my JOB that doesn't feel like one? Surreal.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't give praise and thanksgiving to a Father in Heaven who hand picked this life for us, who nudged us to leap when everyone thought we were nuts, and to go all in on this road life of ours.
I am grateful and excited to see what 2019 holds for the RV Oilers!
The Good - Oh I don't know, 2018 was great because we got to go to New York City. I have ALWAYS wanted to go there! It was awesome. I loved the way it felt, and all there was to do.
I also really enjoyed exploring the ark museum too. We took a lot of fun trips this year!
The Bad - CHICKEN POX. Ugh. So miserable but at least we got lots of popsicles.
The Blessing - I loved our summer of museums and fun cities, but I also loved that we were in Kansas for a lot of months too. Best of both worlds!
The Good - Going amazing places all year and eating AMAZING foods like, fresh steamed dumplings and water ice in Philly, PIZZA by the slice in New York City - wow the best ever. Also, the tiny little fish place we ate at in South Carolina, the cheddar honey biscuits in Alabama from Nick & Jim's, giant fall of my plate pancakes at Billy Gail's in Branson. And I cannot forget the powdered cinnamon caramel donuts from Ohio! Guess I like food this year.
The Bad - Being in Kansas for so long. I love it, and I love seeing my family and friends, but staying in one place so long gets boring...and COLD!
The Blessing - I think it's so nice to be together as a family. I like seeing new places and having adventures as part of my normal day to day life. It's nice. I cannot wait to go to Florida next.
The Good - I love that we got to go see one of my best friends in Kansas city several times, I loved riding horses in Tennessee, I am obsessed with horses! I also had fun dancing at a wedding in South Carolina this Spring. That was soooo fun!
The Bad - CHICKEN POX!!!!!!!! We got them this Spring. I was miserable and had them EVERYWHERE. Ugh.
The Blessing - I love that we are a close family. We live in a small space and get to see each other every single day. I like that!
The Good - I like when we went to Florida to go skating and see my cousins. We saw some awesome orange and white fancy cars at the mall. I liked the giant chicken fried steak in Texas and Mr Mark's corn on the cob. He SOAKS it in butter. That's my favorite. I had a loose tooth, so hopefully next time I can eat it better.
The Bad - I miss Papa.
The Blessing - I love that we can go traveling whenever we want! It's cold in Kansas, I am ready to go to Florida now.
Have a safe and happy New Year everyone! Thank you for being a part of our journey!
Here is to MANY more adventures in 2019......so glad you can come along with us! :)
Love, the Ferguson family xoxoxox
Did you all have a wonderful Christmas & A Happy New Year? We had a very Kansas Christmas and it was a joy from the beginning to the end, when the final cookie crumb was brushed off the countertops.
First up, my BFF and her crew came for dinner and games. So fun!
We also got to keep Kamilyn, my best friends daughter and Avery's BFF, overnight and take her to Wednesday church with us for the kids Christmas party.
With no school in session, we spent the days playing games and reading books, hanging out and having fun. We also cleaned house and cooked lots of yummy food in prepration for Christmas gatherings.
I feel so honored and SO grown up getting to host all the family Christmases at our place this year. Tiny in size, but big in heart.....and cheerful colors are fun too! ;)
First up, my Momma's side of the family:
We ate until we were stuffed and laughed until our sides hurt. The favorite game is quickly becoming Telestrations and 5 Crowns at our house!
Look who found her sister's old fancy Christmas dress and decided to get all dolled up for church Sunday. Avery my fashionista! ;)
Our Christmas tradition includes a night of watching ELF and having Spaghetti, first how momma wants.....with sauce and salad. Then, for seconds, just like Elf.....with candy and pop tarts. The kids love it and it is such a fun tradition! This year we invited Nana to join us after church, which was Christmas Eve EVE.
Games and a tricky gift first, then dinner and our movie. Nana wrapped the kids adventure in Odyssey CD, in SO MANY BOXES, all neatly wrapped in wrapping paper. She said what took her 2 hours was undone in 15 minutes! LOL
Actual Christmas eve was spent at church, then over to Grandma's for dinner....
I will share food recipes in the next blog post, but before church we had prepped some egg casserole and monkey bread to sit overnight so we could bake it easily in the morning. We also made meatballs and cooked them so we could just do sauce and crockpot the next afternoon. Potatoes mashed and in the fridge to bake and jello fluffy salad to chill.
When we got home from Grandma's, the little's wanted to sleep out in front of the tree, so we set up some sleeping bags. Of course, they were up too late and woke WAY too early, but hey, tis the season! ;)
Good morning! It's CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! YAAAAAY!
Kids woke us up at 7am, it felt too early because of how late we went to bed, LOL, but it was fine.
While the casseroles baked, we got Papa Clay's bible off the shelf to read the Christmas Story. We want Christmas to be about Jesus and the GIFT he was to the world, not presents and santa. It's sweetly simple and dear to my heart.
It made me sad, yet comforted, to see his familiar penmanship, filling those pages. Made daddy feel close by....
Dale read the familiar story of the birth of our King, and passed around Frankincense and Myrrh for the kids to drop and smell....
Safe to say, Destiny is not a morning person. ;) The blob on the couch is her.
Time to eat and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!
It was so nice to have the whole day stretched out in front of us, with nowhere to be.....
Kids opened some new movies and games, and then dug into a fun game called Kings Crown, amaaaazing and fun for all ages.
We sent the kids outside to jump off some energy on the trampoline and while they were out, set up a surprise!
SUGAR COOKIES! From a local bakery called Coneflower Sundry. She was selling cookie decorating kits. Yum and still homemade! Win win.
Most of the kids did 4 cookies, and once we saw they were done, Dale and I did a couple too! SO fun!
Dale ate his before I got to snap a pic, but here is Destiny's instagram pic and my 4 cookies I got to decorate!
We had a nosy neighbor come say hi......
We had prepped a lot of our Christmas dinner the day before, but it still had to bake, so we distracted the kids with some arts and crafts. Dale showed them how to make paper SNOWFLAKES! Avery immediately declared we'd decorate the whole house with them.
Mmm, dinner turned out lovely! Meatballs with special sauce, Nana's famous gourmet mashed potatoes, steamed green beans and a fluffy raspberry salad. I will share recipes in our upcoming Kids In the Kitchen post! :)
Dale was so proud to conquer his rubix cube! I was just glad for my husband back. Hahahaha!
We ended the day with Christmas Carols by the fire, before you saw awww, it was awful. Hahahah! We you tubed christmas karaoke carols and they were cheesy and our singing was probably quite terrible, but hey we had fun! ;)
Then, as bedtime approached and everyone settled down, we started talking about Papa and what we missed about him. Then the tears began. Not just little tears, but full on sobs. Poor loves. I held them close, as we talked about Papa and watched this slideshow from his service last year.
The words to this song are so very precious and my heart clings to them.....
"You're with the Son of God
You're with the Prince of Peace
You're with the one we're celebrating
And that thought amazes me
Sometimes I still break down
Grieving that we're apart
But the sweetest gift is knowing where you are....you're with the Son of God."
Got everyone's tears wiped, extra hugs and extra prayers were said, and off to bed they went. I am thankful for another layer of healing for them.
Time for bed, tomorrow is another fun family get together with Dale's immediate family. I will share the Pizza Dip and Brie recipe soon....
For New Year's night we had Destiny over at her cousins, Ty and Pax went to ring in the New Year with Gigi and Nana, and we had an extra girlie here with us, Avery's best friend, Kamilyn.
They set up the RV as an apartment all to themselves, so cute. We had them do a toast at 9pm in hopes that they would go to sleep at a decent time, but alas, that didn't even work. They still were awake until midnight. ;)
OH WELL, we tried!
Here are some pics:
Hope you all had an amazing Christmas and New Year! Thanks for letting me share mine with you.
Here is to a great 2019.......so glad to have you along for the ride. :)
The kids have been helping me make Christmas cookies since they were little and I LOVE IT! Awww, wook how wittle they were. Eeek! I can't even!
Thanks to click list, I ordered all this online and Dale just picked it up. Gotta save my energy for the MAKING part you know!
School is done - the holiday baking has begun!🎁🎄🍬🍪🍰
Cranking some Christmas music and starting things off with a few of our list:
*Spicy Party Mix
*Peppermint Melt Aways
*Rolo Pretzel Sandwiches
Spicy Party Mix - Dale's family recipe, not published ;)
Don't worry, don't worry, I will give you ALL the other recipes, promise!
Peppermint Meltaways - nicely minty and not too sweet, literally melt in the mouth. I did peppermint oil instead of extract since doTERRA oils ARE the purest little cooking extracts from nature . I did 2 drops in cookie and 1 in frosting I believe
Spiced Crackers - we grew up eating these every Christmas! Warning : ADDICTING
Easy Toffee - totally my weakness! So easy too!
Rolo Sandwiches - YUM these were a huge hit. Gorgeous on a goodie plate
We made several batches of each, and even though that meant I had a TOWER of food in my laundry room, it was so wonderful, that no matter what we were invited to, or what we hosted, we had easy treats to make beautiful platters with AND we could plate them up for gifts too!
Tangy Jalapeno Apricot Brie from Pampered Chef - image from them too. Serve with sliced, toasted french bread or crackers.
Hot Pizza Dip - easy and TASTY! Serve with garlic salt baugette slices.
It's not too late to make this quick for your New Year's parties!!!!!
As we approached the one year anniversary (Dec 16) of my daddy's heavenly trip home, I naturally, have been thinking A LOT of his last days on earth.
It is no wonder then, that my Heavenly Father sent a messenger to me. It made me smile.
In fact, 2 times in 2 days.
Cardinals are hold such meaning to me now. The Lord has used them in incredible ways this past summer to speak to my heart!
I would love for you to go read my Messenger From Heaven post from this summer and see why. It still gives me chills and tears.
Go read it and hug your daddy close today!
When I look around me, it is so so clearly evident that God is love.
That He is sovereign.
That He is faithful.
And that He is on ALL the details.....
In 2015, dad was fighting the beast called cancer and we had family photos taken. Our photographer edited and shared our beautiful images December 16, including this real life moment Papa was reading to the grandkids while we had our couples photos taken.
We motioned Destiny in - and here it is - the absolute favorite photo of the entire session.
A moment frozen in time.
Fast forward 2 years, and the day she shared this precious image, becomes the VERY day my vivacious, full of joy & laughter, larger than life daddy, took his final breath on this earth.
Does stuff like that blow your mind a little bit too?
December 16, 2017 at 4:57 am he saw his Jesus, the momma he so badly missed growing up, and all of Heaven celebrated his arrival.
After church on the 16th, we went to go to Papa's final resting place. We know he isn't there, but there is still something that feels honoring to do so. We took a wind chime along with us and found the COOLEST thing at the store!
A red bird to represent the cardinal messenger in our lives.........
How can a heart be so happy that the suffering and pain is gone, yet so completely devastated that someone they've loved so big and so deeply has gone too?
It's confusing. It's messy.
It's like a light has gone out on the bright, shiny, happy world.
But time marches on, and healing comes.
Bit by bit.
Tear by healing tear.
One foot in front of the other.
One whispered prayer, one cardinal visit at a time, the smiles come more than the tears and the memories can be talked about, without taking your breath away.
Most of the time.
As we prepare for a second Christmas without dad, it actually feels like a first. This is the reality part of loss.
No hype of a funeral to plan for. No scurrying of flights coming in, of out of town family to hug.
Just a missing family member who isn't coming back.
Today, I am thankful for Kleenex, Jesus, family & friends and, well, Facebook Time Hop & cardinals, for it all points me to the Heavenly Father's love and care of His children.
He is in it all.
Every. Single. Detail.
The kids are back in the kitchen and at it again, come check out the latest drool worthy dinners.
You just might leave inspired for your next grocery run! This was an extra complicated grocery list session because we were also planning to do holiday baking and made 5 separate grocery lists for each of our 4 Christmas gatherings plus the meals needed between now and then.
First up, Ty made us some awesome Mexican Dump Soup! We used leftover Steak instead of chicken. YUM!
Make sure to shred some fresh mozzarella to serve with each bowl. You cannot beat a fresh grated cheese!
What I love about this recipe, is how FAST and easy it comes together on a busy day.
You can grab the recipe here.
Momma was hungry for ITALIAN, so I picked the Crockpot version so it could cook itself all day! :)
I love how this lasagna tastes like you worked WAY harder than you did. Fun fact, I took small curd cottage cheese and mixed it with yummy italian seasonings to make a more hearty, ricotta style lasagna. Just add it to your alfredo layer in the following recipe from our blog.
4 little Ferguson's Crockpot Lasagna
Miss Avery wanted BIEROCKS, so we spent the entire day making a triple batch of Bierocks, because they freeze BEAUTIFULLY!
We love to serve them with a mixture of mustard, spicy mustard and worchestershire. Then French onion dip, potato chips and carrot sticks on the side.
You can find the recipe here.
Destiny was super swamped this month with doubling up on some school, so daddy took over some of the kids cooking duties. He grilled us a lovely steak, sauteed cubed sweet potatoes and served it all with my FAVORITE brussel sprouts! I could eat BOWLS of just these!
And because, tis the season for soup, we made a yummy Amish cheeseburger soup for dinner this weekend! The girls were busy, so all the guys pitched in. Love men in the kitchen! :)
I also love the hearty veggies this soup has tucked inside a creamy, fresh shredded, cheddar cheese base.
Amish Cheeseburger Soup
And because we all need dessert once in a while, check out this yummy peppermint pattie brownie recipe from my friend, Whitney!
Did you find something new to try? Thanks for tuning in!
We are in Kansas for a few months, hanging around for Christmas and something FUN!!!! More details later. ;)
Because we are home so short, and because majority of the things the kids want cannot come to Florida with us for the rest of the winter, Dale declared a very Merry EARLY Christmas at our house, so the kids have time to use, wear or play before we take off.
We don't like to give a lot of toys and stuff, we like experiences better, but if they need items, Christmas is a perfect time! So we did some shopping :)
Destiny wanted a one piece fuzzy jammie, a soft robe and some nail polish.
Avery wanted non toxic nail polish, so mommy would let her polish again, ;) and even got a nail dryer to go with.
Paxton has a track he needed more pieces to, to make a huge track upstairs, so he got a pack of track and some new cars to drive on it.
He and Ty also got some lazer guns to play with together in the apartment. (bye bye nerf darts, hello lazers!)
Tylan watched everyone open in curiosity. We pretended his second gift hadn't arrived yet but it really had, stay tuned......
So we clean up wrapping paper and Dale hollers from the front porch, that the UPS man had arrived with Ty's final gift. (We had purchased it a few days before and hid it away actually)
A new AWESOME NEW BIKE!!!! (his old one was literally falling to pieces)
He was thrilled and immediately took it around the block.
And the kiddos that had outgrown their roller blades got new ones, but those WILL go along with us to Florida. It was such a cold, snowy day we decided to let them blade in the house since the wheels were so clean and new! And yes, momma skated too, until the tight circle made me DIZZZZZY! ;)
Now, on Christmas day we can focus on Jesus Birthday party and make it a great day, even without all those gifts under the tree. (I did save a few family fun things back for that day!)
Destiny got invited to her first Winter Formal with a group of friends from 9 to 11 pm this past weekend.
Before we decided to go dress shopping or not, we dug through my formals from high school and work parties. Velvet is BACK baby, so she was particularly interested in those.
1998 throw back! (MINUS the straps I had to add to be in school dress code) I was thrilled she wanted to wear it. We made plans for hair, nails and make up and all the fun girlie stuff to happen that day.
Nana brought over the old photo albums with the velvet dress pics and we laughed and laughed as we looked through my highschool days!
Sadly, at the last minute things fell apart, a fight happened, and the group going to the dance dissolved. As did sweet Destiny, in tears! Ugh, I hate that.
We made chocolate, planned a movie night, gave lots of hugs....
At 9:10, she gets a text from the friend she was going with, Hey, can you please still come? Even if the other girls don't?
We leapt into action, and without any hair or makeup help as planned, and had her ready in 30 minutes. We had to skip hair, but she made it in time to still enjoy the evening with her friend, Dominic.
I leave you with THIS. Oh my. What a treasure in time, tucked into that album! LOL
My very bestest friend was going through beauty college and wanted to practice on my mane of hair, just adding a "few" blonde highlights. LOL! Needless to say, after the tears, it grew on me and I had a blonde summer before dying it all brown again.
You are welcome for the chuckle.
Until next time! :)
Frostine says HI from COLD Kansas! :)
Our life sure isn't as exciting when we aren't on the road, but I will say, it's been so so nice to just be cozy at home.
I think my heart is hurting as we approach the one year anniversary of my daddy's passing, (weekend before Christmas) and it's just good to BE STILL. Be near his final resting place. Try again, to have a "first" Christmas in our new apartment.
We've been keeping VERY busy with classes and business events at our place. I don't think we EVER expected to host out here this much!!!!
AND we are hosting all 3 Christmas gatherings this year! I feel so grown up! ;)
We loved finishing this apartment, and it has been such a joy to our hearts to have this place to come home to.
In fact, Dale enjoyed the process so much, he talks about selling and doing it all again. Oh dear.
Haha, know of anyone wanting a darling apartment with RV stall? ;) Super handy! Or RV stall could become finished space or woodworking shop! We have had so many people interested in this unique space.
After several late nights of classes, we woke up to sweet Avery making everyone eggs and pancakes for breakfast! That girl sure knows her way around a kitchen for 10 years old.
She even made french press coffee for daddy!
In other FUN news, we sold our black and grey RV to our dear friends and doTERRA business partners, the Lawrences! We handed over the keys officially. Hope they love it as much as we did!
Speaking of doTERRA, we decided to host a Christmas open house while we were home for Team Dorothy! Everyone pitched in to help make gifts and preparations for our guests.
We even went up to Grandma's restaurant to get the tree set up for her AND for our party! Her place is only open during the day, so it makes for a LOVELY twinkly magical place to rent for evening events.
It took us two carloads to move up there and get set up, but it was magical and I think everyone had a really nice time.
I tell you what, we have been getting the BEST mail lately! Our team and doTERRA family is just amazing!
Speaking of mail, I want to tell you about these canvases before I close.
It's called Canvas On Demand, and I used to use them at our farm house for all my 4 seasons pics I took and swapped out seasonally.
OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! It is a massive 24x36 and is gorgeous and well done!
I only paid $33!!!! ($276 list price) Woah baby. Link here
SERIOUSLY, snag one. I had Pax stand beside it so you could see how big this is.... :)
The 2nd one just showed up for our bedroom. It's not hung yet, but I think it will look nice here! It's a big enough wall that it doesn't look so massive, but it is HUGE! And for only $33 instead of nearly $300?! Total win!
More blogs to come soon, I am downloading pics now.
Much love, T
Did you all have an amazing Thanksgiving weekend?
We had a full and fun weekend of family, friends and even a girls sleepover with Nana.
Wednesday we spent the day prepping food. When you have 60 people at Thanksgiving, everyone brings triple batches of everything!!!!
We prepped several batches of this Bacon Swiss Salad, but won't assemble until right before lunch on Thanksgiving day.
Several batches of these Oreo Pumpkin Cheesecakes.
And for our family dinner Wed night, because I grew up eating this, Double Sensation Pumpkin Pie.
We entertained a special guest from Tuesday night to Monday night.
Meet Benson the Hedge Hog. The kids were in "Hog Heaven!" ;)
I spent a lot of time asking people to wash hands and vacuum cedar chips off the floor! But he sure is adorable!!!!
Thursday we headed over to Dale's home he grew up in, which now belongs to Aunt Lucy!
There were people and tables EVERYWHERE, but here is what stole the show. Haha, the whole hog that was smoked to go along with the 2 turkey's. Aunt Lucy and Uncle Phil run a local butcher shop and have the best, hormone free meat.
After our HUGE lunch, we visited and played games until it was time to get out all the food again for supper before heading home.
The next day, the boys loaded up in the RV and headed to the Sand Dunes for Friday and Saturday, in Wanoka. No photos, because well...Dale. ;)
We headed over to Nana's for the afternoon and then a sushi dinner at our favorite place, Mr. Cao's.
With no boys around to interrupt, we headed to our house for an ice cream sundae party while we watched a girlie movie.....
DoTERRA has the BEST Mud Mask, especially when you add a drop of the oh so luxurious Blue Tansy to it and make it a SMURF mask!
Bentonite clay is very drawing and very warming, so the girls didn't last as long as Nana and I did.
Nana slept over and the next morning we headed an hour and a half to meet up with some our Fercho friends and talk some oils with her family.
We celebrated friendsgiving with a walk around the cemetary where the family was buried as well as ate at the BEST Mexican place for lunch.
This is Grandma Dory, she is 98 and the CUTEST little spit fire you ever did meet. She was a hoot!
We gave the adults some peace and quiet, and took the girls to the park for a few hours before heading back.
We stopped in the large metro area we passed through on the way home, and made a couple returns and got some groceries at Sam's before heading home. I should've known our "quick stop" wouldn't be quick, but I forgot Black Friday lines spill into Saturday lines too. MY GOODNESS!
We got home at dark and the boys got home closer to midnight. They were sandy and exhausted but SMILING from ear to ear.
We discussed home church instead of early service, and decided to see how everyone felt in the am......
But our decision was made FOR us when we woke up to Blizzard conditions and a winter weather advisory. Church services started cancelling left and right!
Nothing says Sunday at home, more than a big brunch, and a jammie day!
The wind was HOWLING at over 30 mph. Towns nearby had 19 car piles ups and it was a mess! So glad for a home day by the fire.
I walked over to check on my kiddos and got some pics of our place all covered in snow...
Sophie decided it was time for us to head to FLORIDA! I told her, not yet. My snow-o-meter is not filled up yet! I ADORE how cozy it makes the house feel. If its going to be cold, it might was well be pretty and white too, right?!
The kids LOVE when I make them homemade Cocoa after hours outside trapsing around in the snow.
I have a recipe we make at Christmas with canned sweetened condensed milk and cream, but for times like these, just a quick batch of the easy stuff tastes great!
INGREDIENTS per 1 cup of whole milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
We are gearing up for a class a day this week, then next week is our team Christmas party. SO MUCH TO DO, so little time. Off I go!
Have a great week! Hugs, T
We have always firmly believed we needed to involve our kids in the daily chores and runnings of the household. And from a very young age, they loved to be a helper and pitch in.
Set the table. Unload the dishwasher. Make their beds. Fold laundry.
Kids are CAPABLE!
I wrote a whole blog post about this on the 4 little Fergusons blog years ago if this topic interests you.
Cleaning House (With LOTS Of Help)
Recently, as everyone in our family reached the age of 8 and above, we have started including meal planning, shopping and preparing of one meal a week, per each child.
This is one of the perks of homeschool! T-I-M-E to do just that.
With home ec being skipped and more kids than ever leaving the nest without a clue about basic budgets, grocery trips and meal prep, we are more determined than ever, to include those things in our daily teachings.
Here is what we are making this go around, plus a couple momma threw in on the back.
Avery wanted to go first with her homemade Tomato soup and grilled cheese. It was super cold and I didn't blame her a bit! Dale and I had a class that night, so no photo of her making it.
You will LOVE this recipe from my momma!
Paxton was next with some AWESOME stir fry! He gets daddy's help, but really does so well staying on task and helping out. I was home that day, so lots of photos to share! ;)
You can find the recipe for this Asian Honey Sesame Chicken and Quick Lo Mein here.
Cold days call for COOKIES......Avery and Pax and I made a triple batch of gooey chocolate chip.
UH OH, we have no milk.
NO worries, we just used EGG -NOG in the recipe instead.
Ty read our school chapter book to us while we baked.....we called it HOME EC! :)
After Destiny's potato and starchy noodle dry casserole, I always give her a hard time about the weird dishes she picks. She can handle my teasing, but I really had to eat crow this time.......
AND a bowl of delicious dinner she made! LOL! :)
Looking at the recipe, I thought it would be absolutely dry and flavorless. NOPE!
Check it out: Tex Mex Pasta
(We don't do much with cream of soups anymore, but we did find a nice organic one in the natural section. )
I require a veggie too, so we picked a Mexican salad to go with the Mexican pasta. SO YUMMY! I don't usually buy bagged salad, but this chopped one? DIVINE!
One night we got home super late from a function but still needed to throw dinner together, thank goodness for this family favorite and staple at our house!!!!
It is a must try on your next menu! :) Ty and Daddy had it put together in 20 minutes!
Creamy Hamburger Casserole
We usually serve it with regular mixed veggies, but this time my shopper grabbed the kind with LIMA BEANS IN IT.
Now you know I am a good eater, and I love to eat anything, but I draw the line at LIMA BEANS.
I was flashing back to my elementary school days when I used to hide them in the milk carton so I could go back for seconds! Shh, don't tell!
Last 2 are from this Momma, so no cooking pics, except from the blog. Go check these out! You will love BOTH!
The BEST Italian Beef Sandwiches, served with Lawry's season salt dusted tator tots and carrot sticks on the side.
Peppered Beef Snow Peas over Turmeric Rice - such a flavorful stir fry. Corn starch helps the flavor REALLY coat the steak like chinese take out does.
Recipe calls for a brown rice bake, have at it. I just did it on the stove this go around, and added turmeric, garlic and turmeric, lemongrass and ginger doTERRA essential oil to the chicken broth before I boiled it. SUPER flavorful!
That's a wrap folks, on another addition of My 4 Chefs: Kids in the Kitchen!
Did you find something you want to make? Inspired to try something new this menu?
Leave us a comment, I will read them to the kids!
Hugs, T and the 4 Fergusons :)
We hurried home from Missouri to try to beat a wintery weather advisory. And thank the Lord, we DID! In fact, look what we woke up to our first morning home.
Big, fat, lazy flakes falling all day, made us want to cozy up near the fireplace and decorate for Christmas early.
The kids were GLUED to the window after shrieking with joy, that IT SNOWED!
It takes us about 4 or 5 hours to move back in, and get the apartment back up and running. Water on. Fridge plugged in. Stripping and washing bedding in the RV. Cleaning both houses. PHEW, it's a lot but it's great and we are thankful for this place and our home sweet rolling home in its warm shed stall next to it.
One of the first things I wanted to do once I got all my 'chores' done, was to get out the antiques we had bought on our fall run. I have been watching for some fun retro pieces. They are harder to find than you would think! So much of it is farm and barn, and our new apartment is all 50's and retro, so it is tricky.
I think these fit nicely, don't you?!
Miss Avery was SO sure it was time to decorate for Christmas now that we were moved in and cozy by the fire. I will be honest, I wanted to too! Sooo, I broke all my own rules about no Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but anymore....I just want to enjoy life in all it's moments.
Live them to the fullest. Throw rules to the wind and just ENJOY Christmas early if I want to.
Besides, if we leave right after Christmas, it will be torn down early too. ;) So decorate we did!
Deck the Hub with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, la la la LA!
We saran wrap our tree every year, so it's super easy to just fluff and dust it and focus on the mantel and other details.
Take a walk through. I have little bottle trees here and there that make me smile. I just think they are SO CUTE!
Remember our old farm house we lived in before the road?
Well, I had that green, gold and red tree in saran wrap in the shed storage area ever since! So it was time to unearth the old gal, dust her off well and get her upstairs where our red and black movie theatre room was in need of some Christmas cheer.
I am SO excited I didn't sell it as planned. It makes the upstairs feel as festive as the downstairs.
We even found a little rainbow light up tree for our colorful orange bathroom.....
It may be early, but it sure makes my heart happy! I am going to enjoy every minute of it. :)
When do you put up your tree?
Welcome to my 4 Chefs: Menu Plan Monday! Where we share our kids in the kitchen recipes for you to enjoy.
Our children, ages 7-15, are old enough to not only help with supper preparations, but to make the menu, shop for the ingredients and prepare the dishes themselves. This momma is busier than she has ever been, so it's been a welcomed transition! :)
We help as often as needed to complete this balanced meal, and the making of it. Alot of the kids require little to no help, and their confidence has soared over the months we've been doing this.
Here is what everyone picked this go around!
First up was Paxton. It was COLD, and time for some soup. Broccoli Cheese always hits the spot! He wanted to serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches, so I put him to work buttering a loaf of bread.
Our recipe calls for frozen veggies, but we like to steam fresh broccoli and califlower instead. Healthier for us and tastes better too!
Here is the original recipe from our old blog.
We now do organic cream of soups so we avoid MSG and I did a roux with butter and flour and shredded cheddar instead of Velvetta, but do whatever your family likes best!
Destiny and Tylan both wanted to make Tacos, and both insisted they had "Called It" first, so we had them both prepare both their meals.
(insert eye roll here)
We had leftover mashed potatoes from our German Oktoberfest Pizza night, last week.
Totally YUM, check it out here.
So we used the leftovers for some good ol comfort food....Shepherd's Pie!
It was absolutely divine!!!!!!!!! We totally winged it, but used this recipe as the base.
Class nights mean easy dinner before we go, so we did a quick taco night, courtesy of Ty and Destiny! No recipe needed.
We add two rinsed and drained cans of red kidney beans to stretch our 2 pounds of taco meat further. Those kids can put down some tacos! Ty had like 6!!!!!!
I picked a Beef Stew that uses Sweet Potatoes instead of the white ones, less carbs, more nutrients, as well as parsnips and a turnip.
I was super excited to try it and it was absolutely DELIGHTFUL!!!!
I always like to use my doTERRA essential oils in addition to the dry seasonings for that extra POP of amazing flavor and health benefits. Perks of using the world's purest essential oil! :)
You can grab the recipe here! We served it with a crusty loaf of bread and herbed butter.
Last. but not least, was Avery's meal. She picked a Beef Tortellini Skillet with a side salad.
It took quite a bit of doctoring to make it creamy and flavorful, but we got it done by adding garlic, extra seasonings and some extra broth. We also had some leftover bella mushrooms we sauteed in the dish that helped a ton!
They devoured it before I could get a pic of the plates!
You can grab the recipe here.
Here is to another great week of meals! CHEERS!
Did you find something you want to try?
Welcome to a day in the life of an oiler! I shared this with my team last Saturday, and thought maybe you would enjoy a peek into the Saturday of an oiler as well.
When we first bought oils, I thought we would only use them when we were sick. I had NO idea we would use them everyday, in every way, in EVERY ROOM OF OUR HOUSE!
In the shower:
We LOVE that our shower products are oil infused and toxic free!
*Shampoo - this sparkly oil infused shampoo takes a second dose and some extra water to really bubble. (foaming store shampoo has harmful additives that make it suds) It is color safe and smells wonderful! I only have to wash every 3rd day now because of its balancing properties!
*Conditioner will leave your hair silky soft. Allow it to soak while washing your body!
*DoTERRA Body Wash smells like grapefruit and bergamot (citruses) and is an cleansing and aromatic spa experience for your bod! Safe and natural alternative to store soaps. Easier to clean the shower too, NO SCUM!
*HD Clear Foaming Face Soap is a great choice for the shower because of its compact size and how easy it is to use for all skin types. Helps keep skin clean and clear.
*Breathe oil - there is no better way to start your day then a couple drops of lung opening Breathe oil just outside the water spray of your shower.
Alert, lungs open and oxygen flowing for a great energetic day!?
Amavi (Balance) bath bar makes the most incredible leg shaving solution! You can also use the Spa Sugar Scrub, for an amazing dead skin cell slough off!
Our glass shower shines when we spray On Guard concentrate and use this squeegee.
On Guard Concentrate makes 18 bottles of cleaner for a little over a dollar! Safe, natural and kicks those cooties in the butt.
How do you beautify?
Straight out of the shower it's time for the oh so luxurious Beautiful Hydrating Body Mist.
This light hydration makes the skin shine and smell like the light airy beautiful blend.
Next up, Unscented Body Lotion for legs and the thick, amazing, favorite of mine, the replenishing Body Butter for elbows, knees, legs and heels to keep them soft and smooth. Smells amazing and is soooo THICK and luxurious, as body butter should be!
Shining white teeth, good breath and plaque reduction are easily within reach when using the On Guard Whitening Toothpaste (safe for all ages) and the awesome cinnamon-esque On Guard Mouthwash!
Perfect PH in just 4 uses. Wow! Your mouth will thank you!
Great for supporting a healthy immune system too. What a great place to work, morning and night, in the mouth. ?❤
I am so in love with the Essential Skincare line! Face is already washed in shower, so toning and hydrating are a simple step before makeup....
Toner Primary Benefits -
*Aloe, watermelon, and apple extracts tone and balance the skin
*Rich in oligosaccharides, Lentil Extracts increase skin hydration, reduce the appearance of oily skin, tone the skin, and visibly reduce the appearance of pores
*Witch Hazel is a natural astringent that helps remove excess oil from the skin and reduces the appearance of pores
The intensive moisture your skin has been waiting for. doTERRA’s Hydrating Cream is packed with emollient-rich ingredients and probiotics to provide intense hydration and nourishment to the skin, helping reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and aiding with skin barrier renewal for suppler, younger-looking skin. Its rich formula provides a burst of active moisture without leaving an oily residue. Carefully chosen ingredients are designed to rejuvenate the look of mature skin, as well as to help reduce the visible signs of aging due to both natural and environmental causes. Probiotics reinforce the skin’s natural barrier, helping to improve skin’s natural health and beauty. Perfect for day or night use!
I add BLUE TANSY to it for extra skin benefits and went from tolerating the smell, to CRAVING it!
Chamazulene, a chemical component in Blue Tansy, provides the characteristic indigo color and is recognized for its skin soothing benefits. At the same time, the main chemical component Sabinene helps diminish the appearance of blemishes. Uplifting to the mood, Blue Tansy provides a sweet aroma to fill any room. It’s perfect for massaging into skin with fractionated coconut oil or lotion after a long day of work or intense exercise to aid the body in the natural recovery process.
Natural deo tends to be a little stiffer than its un-natural counterpart.
Try using a drop of Balance oil, or a mist of the Hydrating Spray under your arms first, for a smoother glide.
Greening up this part of your life is HUGE!
Your body was designed to breathe, to flow like a river not be filled with aluminum sweat blocking products and become a swamp.
This product works!
If you have odor and need a pit detox, I recommend doTERRA Mud Mask for a while at night.
Root to Tip serum is perfect for preventing fly-aways and dry ends. It's silky nourishing properties will help your hair to shine.
Protects your hair from the heat of the dryer too.
If you have oily hair, avoid roots and focus only on tips.
Saturdays are for deep cleaning! Thank goodness we can do our WHOLE house with ONE product!!
On Guard Concentrate to the rescue....❤
*Tackles the nasties, without the stench of harsh cleaners, instead filling your home with the smell of oranges, clove and cinnamon.
Safe for all ages to use and help mommy! No calls to poison control needed if ingested.
? *This one bottle makes about 16 bottles of diluted cleaner.
? *The straight concentrate is great for toilet bowl cleaning and hand wash dishes. Easy recipes on the side of the bottle!
Heading out the door and we want to protect our family....we oil proactively every day!
We have several safe, natural choices to promote health!
?Kids Line Stronger Blend
?On Guard Touch
Our kids grab a roller and roll on their throat or feet bottoms before we leave the house.
We do this during the sniffley season especially! ?
Any of these will be awesome for supporting the immune systems response to exposure.
Trying a southern BBQ joint for lunch, but that doesn't mean we are skipping our LLV vitamins and gut support....
Life Long Vitality Vitamins provide the nutrients it takes to bring energy and vitality to your body. It is a life giving, life changing product, that will change the way you do your day.
It's also the nutrient equivalent of a $900 plus grocery bill for the month. No kidding! (see next pic)
It is doTERRA's number 1 best selling product for a reason! I dare you to try it.....you won't go back to that comprised, poor quality, one a day. Come with a 30 day money back guarantee. I have NEVER had a return on it!
I am not setting foot in this store until I have sprayed our hands with this awesome On Guard sanitizing mist......
Once inside, I will also spray my cart handle.
On Guard Sanitizing Mist contains the more natural occurring ethyl alcohol, apple extract and on guard oil protective blend!
Doesn't dry out your hands either. WIN WIN! :) ?? W
Home from the grocery store....the germs stop here.?
One of the best ways to prevent sickness in your home, is to have everyone lines up to wash with On Guard Foaming Hand Soap!????
Goes after all the bad bacteria, while allowing the good to remain.
No more dry cracked hands this winter. Just healthy balanced germ free ones!
One On Guard brown refill bottle, fills two white foaming hand soap pumps. No dilution!
I find I drink SO much more water now that we have oils to add......?
This little basket of oils lives right in my kitchen for easy drink flavoring access.
My favorite that makes me feel the biggest change in my day is Frankincense Spearmint water. 1 drop each in 30 oz.
?Another great choice is any combo of citruses.
??Orange and peppermint are lovely for energy!
And today, I am doing 2 drops of Cinnamon bark. Totally YUM! Great for my immune system, blood sugar and circulation.
Just make sure you are using glass or stainless steel cups! No plastic!
We wash our fruits and veggies with an extra diluted On Guard Concentrate spray!
You can also soak fruits and veggies in a bowl of lemon oil water for 20 mins. You will be shocked at the dirty water!
?Another treat is soaking apple slices in On Guard and Cinnamon Bark water! Mmm
When you use the world's purest essential oils, than there are many that can be used in cooking.....
?Simply roll over your doTERRA oil bottle. Does it have a supplements facts label on it like a pantry item? It can be used for cooking!
?Does it have a listed ingredient list? Aromatic or topical use only.
They are the most beautiful little cooking extracts! ???
Tonight we are adding Thyme & Rosemary oil to Beef and Sweet Potato Stew. ?
Hand wash supper dishes get a bubbly On Guard Concentrate scrub in the sink....
Told you you could use this stuff for just about everything!?
All the wee little Fergusons are tucked into bed,
Serenity Softgels & Calmer quiet the noise in their heads.
Relaxed and soothed, they drift off to sleep,
No one even needs to count silly sheep!
On grinder, on thrasher, on yeller, I say,
And you, teenage jitter bug....that is not happening today!
Everyone sighs, as they fall into deep rest,
We all thank the Lord, doTERRA is the BEST! :)
One more load of laundry to start before bed.....
This On Guard Laundry Soap does 64 loads.
On Guard means it's cleaning your clothes and the basin of your washer too!
Have you ever looked up how toxic your soap, softener and dryer sheets are?
(My All Free and Clear got an F rating)
Once I knew the truth, I threw the other brand away and never looked back.
When you know better, you choose better! Your family is worth it.
Bedtime face routine with the most luxurious oil infused skincare line I have ever tried!
Enjoy the new Essential Skin Care line in one easy kit! doTERRA Essential Skin Care is a family of skin care products designed to meet all your anti-aging, skin care needs, helping keep your skin feeling and looking young, healthy, and gorgeous by maximizing the natural power of essential oils. The Essential Skin Care line includes cutting-edge technologies that complement the careful selection of CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils added in generous proportions to each product. Target the visible appearance of aging and prevent future signs of aging with doTERRA Essential Skin Care.
Check it out!
I talk more about it and how to use, in this video!
LUMO Diffuser set to run 10 hours and fill my room with amazing, relaxing smells.....
---->Using 4 Serenity, 4 Wild Orange and 2 Cedarwood tonight!
Serenity is relaxing, wild orange is a natural sedative and cedarwood is helpful for keying in the bodies natural melatonin production.
1 Copaiba soft gel and 2 Serenity soft gels are about to knock me out.....
It was fun to hang out with you today. Did you learn something new about being a daily oiler?
I used to think we would just use oils when we were sick......Boy was I wrong!
We use oils and oil infused products, every day in every ways and in every room of the house!!
I would love to empower you to do the same, and live better, feel better and choose better with safe, natural doTERRA at a HUGE savings to you.
Leave me a comment or fill out a contact entry form and let's CHAT!
It was a long, rainy, boring drive to Branson, Missouri. 10 hours actually without any stops!
We read books, played games, took naps, read more books, played media, more books, more games and some coloring time.....
But even on the longest of days, I still would chose this travel life of ours! ?:)?
Missouri is one of our favorite stops. The Ozarks are just so beautiful, and we adore the family fun this state offers. I have SO many childhood memories in this great state! :)
We love to try new places when we pull into town, so we loaded up for some BillyBob Burgers, what a cute diner!
Branson Landing is a neat outdoor shopping center, we usually go at night for the Fire and Lights show, but this time, we didn't stay long enough to watch it. Brrr!
We did enjoy walking around and getting some yummy butter olive oil before we left. (Tastes SO good to make Dale's famous popcorn!)
We have a new favorite restaurant in Branson, Little Hacienda. Totally classy and modern!
Get the Burrito Supreme with the Queso Blanco over it. I love how they grill their tortillas first.
We had planned to go to our FAVORITE place on earth, Silver Dollar City, on Thursday when you can get in for half price. However, Dale was watching the weather, and when temperatures dropped to a high of 40 and 90% chance of icy mix, we knew that wasn't going to happen.
Thankfully, we found a similar coupon and went on Sunday when the crowds were lower and the high was 50. Still cold, but bearable for a day of fun!
RIGHT into the park, Dale and the bigger kids wanted to do the Wildfire Roller Coaster. There was zero line since the park just opened, so they got right on.
Pax and I hung out and waited for them to go by.....
Time Traveler is the newest coaster, Dale and the bigs LOVED it. Before we divided up by age and rideability, we all road the Lost Mine boat ride.
We had a girls boat vs boys boat contest shoot out, GIRLS WON! Whoop whoop! I took a pic of my high score gun, thankyouverymuch.
Then, we walked through Grandfather's (crazy crooked) Mansion, and the kids talked me into going on the Thundersation rollercoaster with them. I am NOT a rollar coaster rider, mind you, and was very nervous. But I remembered many many moons ago, on our Senior trip, that it was the one and only coaster I could do without getting sick.
We picked the warmest of the days we were here, and still.....
3 shirts, 2 pants, 2 sets of socks, fur boots, coat, hat, scarf, gloves and STILL COLD!
We bought some wassil and hot cocoa in our refillable mugs, and that helped a lot. BTW, those are worth it. They are good for one full year and refills are $1-2 dollars depending on what you pick. Water is free all day long which saves dragging a jug all day!
We hung out over in the Firehouse section as a family before dividing back up again. They have a huge fire station you can have ball wars in, huge cannons and launchers. Super fun!
Kids all went on a nutso launcher ride, up up up and away!
The Grand Exposition is a great place to take your younger kiddos while the bigs do the big kid rides. We spent a good hour over here riding the rides!
We met back up for dinner at the bakery. We had Kalskies? Basically a homemade pig in a blanket, giant pretzel and an even bigger Gingerbread man. That all cost an arm and two legs and we all still were starving, so we went down into the park again and got some awesome sausage, sweet potato skillets to share too.
At this point, all the millions of lights were being turned on, and transformed our favorite place on earth into one of twinkly MAGIC. It just gives me that warm fuzzy feeling in my heart, and I flashback to my own youth, and even more of years gone by of meeting my dad here when the kids were younger.
We watched the glass blowers for a while, then the parade started!
We were all cold to the bone by this point, so we checked the Silver Dollar City app and saw there was ONE more show we could catch, "It's A Wonderful Life". It was wonderfully done! All their shows are, and it comes with the price of your ticket. :)
We had been at the park 8 hours at this point, and time was flying. We were all sleepy, thirsty and ready to head home. But we had to walk past our FAVORITE part, the Christmas tree!
An amazing ending to an AMAZING DAY!
A good nights sleep, and awakening to the pitter patter of rain, started our school day Monday. But the house was warm and the rain made it all cozy!
One more essential oil class, and breakfast at local favorite, BillyGail's before we packed up to head to our next stop. We have to beat the icy weather that is on it's way, because well, buses and ICE, just don't mix!
Have you ever seen a bigger pancake?
Branson, it's been real.
Until next time!
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.....
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......
Time for our FALL RUN! It's so exciting to be back on the road again, our first trip as a whole family in the new RV....
Next stop was Effingham, Illinois for a few days.....we found a cozy little RV park tucked in the trees.
I have been on the hunt for some treasures to finish decorating our apartment with and Illinois delivered! We went to the CUTEST store and viola..... :)
The kids found something fun too! An old camcorder to play with.....
Dale found a little hole in the wall Asian diner for lunch with the boys while I was at class. They loved it so much they took us all back for dinner!
YUM! The soup they served was a melon soup in chicken broth, so interesting.
The next day we headed to Ohio, where we will be for the next few weeks! Lots of classes and fun on the books.
RVTV decided to do a news interview on our travel day.....
We took Family Friday to explore the 577 Foundation. It used to be an old farmstead, now it is the NEATEST place to explore.
The bee exhibit was amazing! There was even a tube to watch the bees come and grow from outside as they built their hive.
The 577 Foundation also has an old cabin, a horse barn turned lending library, fairy gardens, community gardens, kids play area, musical instruments in the woods and even a trail leading down to the river walk. SO FUN!
Avery was so excited for us to play house in this amazing cabin. The oldest free standing wood home, built in 1803!!!!
After that we headed to the gardens.....
There was the NEATEST forest with a fort, stage, musical instruments.....
Our trips to Ohio aren't complete without a stop in Findlay at the Dietsch Brothers Chocolate and Ice Cream shop.
They have been around since the 1920's!
We had classes over in Apple Creek, so we headed there next. Hello, Amish country!
The kids LOVED our RV Park! Cool playground, and I bet in the summer, a super amazing swimming lake!
The kids are learning all the states and capitals in school, we are trying to make it fun by playing it Jeopardy and Go Fish style! :)
The next few days, we taught an oil class for a lot of amazing couples, drove around and enjoyed all the darling farms, and quaint cottages. All the buggies in a row! Lots of yummy farm fresh food and evening walks.
Sugarcreek is such a CUTE place! They call it Little Sweden and have the cutest downtown. It houses the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock!
We are here for another week yet before we move on to do classes in Alabama. We are all loving our new home on wheels and are settling in nicely. We look around and just grin and give God all the glory for providing us with the home of our dreams!
I realized the other day, when someone asked to see pics of our home sweet hub, aka our shed house, that I had never blogged the finished, or almost finished, product.
I got to thinking of the timeline and then it hit me, we finished it up, got ready to settle in for our first fall and Christmas there, and then got the call about my dad not doing well. We loaded up to go live in Florida until further notice, came back for his funeral the week before Christmas, and then well, healing and life.
Better late than never....
Come on in!
Now that you've seen the main room, come check out the laundry room and main floor bath.
This is the back door that leads right out to the RV stall for easy loading and unloading!
At the top of the stairs, we find the family room, aka the tv room.
And the game loft!
Rainbow bathroom and bedrooms:
We also are still working on an outdoor entertainment space:
Hope you enjoyed your visit! :)
While we were home, we decided (read that TONYA decided) it was time for some updated family photos. The gal we usually use isn't doing much photography lately, so we tried someone we met at a family wedding.
I dug around in the laundry room closet to see how close I could get to matching us all without shopping. My goal is always a few textures or patterns with several colors being pulled from one of them, but times 6 people, it can be HARD!
This time, the theme pulled from my red and yellow floral top......
Our photographers name is Brian, and he is a full time photographer that is amazing at what he does. His 3Twenty Photography name is a nod to his favorite Bible verse, so cool! I can't recommend him enough. He came out our direction to shoot in our neighborhood, and immediately had the kids laughing and at ease.
Dale and I also needed some updated head shots as well.
I think these ones of us not even looking at the camera are some of my favorites!!!
We also needed some family ones in front of our new to us RV!
You can check out more of Brian's work here:
Welcome to the latest edition of My 4 Chefs!
I have had a lot of good questions about this part of our blog and I want to answer them here before we go on to the yummy food I have to share with you.
Do the kids have to do the grocery shopping too?
YES, they take their list to the store with us and while we are all shopping, gather their part. I want them to learn to price compare, read labels and navigate a grocery store well.
How much help do you give the younger kids? Or do they choose something they can fix on their own?
They can choose whatever they want! Even a "big" meal like meatloaf, mashed potatoes, sides and dessert. (which Ty did last round)
However, we are close by in case they need us, more or less help, depending on age. I have to say, we have already seen a huge improvement since starting this a few months ago, in what they can accomplish without us.
How do they choose what to make? Do you give them options or can they find their own recipes?
They are given free range, as long as its a well balanced meal and includes a veggie! :) They like to look through our cookbooks or go to the 4 little Fergusons blog, where ALLLL our family favorites got blogged for 5 years!
Does everyone cook on certain nights, or who cooks when?
Depending on weather, and depending on whose meal uses the fresh ingredients that go bad the fastest, is how we decide what we are making from our list of menu options.
What age did you start this?
We started this about 4 months ago. We have 4 kids, 15, 11, 10 & 8. We have had them in the kitchen with us, unloading dishwasher, helping make bread or dessert, setting the table for dinner, tossing salad, since they were toddlers.
How much do you all budget for this?
Same as we did when momma was the main chef.
For 4 to 5 meals, plus breakfast, fresh fruits and veggies and snack foods has been running us about $150-200 depending on the area we are in. We can make these meals last for a week to week and a half, with leftovers.
There is nothing better than new cookbooks! I get SO excited to find things to cook from them! Thanks to Grandma Eileen for donating TWO new 5 ingredients ones to our stash! :)
Avery was up first....Pepperoni Pizza Pasta with garlic bread and salad. You can find the recipe here.
Avery loves to cook and bake, so she also picked a dessert!
Whipped Chocolate and Cherry Pie
I found a non red dyed, no HFCS, pie filling. We still didn't love the cherry layer, the whipped chocolate tastes EXACTLY like hot cocoa, so we thought next time we'd make it into some kind of layered whipped hot cocoa layered dessert, or bowls of mousse with tiny marshmallows and chocolate shavings to garnish.
I picked something new and unusual, and it was yummy! (some people didn't like the olives and feta, but they will get over it) ;)
It is amazing hot like casserole or cold like pasta salad: Greek Chicken & Spaghetti
I thought Kalamata olives were more greek than black, so I switched it. Totally a yum move.
Tylan picked Cheeseburger Pockets with carrot sticks. (he wanted french fries, and momma said nope.) ;) Gotta choose a well balanced meal.
Only changes we will make is a better quality american or cheddar cheese, as the velvetta that was purchased, made us a little gaggy because of it's fakey flavor.
You can find the recipe here.
Sweet Destiny made her dinner for the kids while Dale and I were at class, so I don't have pics of her prepping it, but here is the recipe from the 4 little Ferguson's blog!
The only thing I told her was next time she needs to plan to steam some mixed veggies or something to go with it.
Paxton has surprised me the last few times with his choices, and they have been a hit with everyone! We all ranted and raved about the glaze on this Honey Sriracha chicken.
We love to cook with our oils, so we served it up with some turmeric rice.....such yummy smokey flavor. Just cook basamati rice in chicken broth with a hearty shake of turmeric powder, garlic powder and 4 drops doTERRA turmeric oil. So healthy for you!!!
Next time, I want him to plan to steam some broccoli or plan to stir some veggies into the rice for a pilaf.
That is it for this edition of My 4 Chefs! Which recipe do you want to try first? Any other questions you want me to answer in another edition?
doTERRA's Dream Convention touched my heart deeply.
So much so, that I cried the better part of 3 days.
In fact, I was so blown away, that I haven't even been able to process it all enough to share it with you guys. I am never speechless! Haha, this should tell you how amazing it was! ;)
Check out this 2 min intro:
Dale and I took off for Salt Lake on our first week in the new RV, it sure was quiet without the kids along. I kept looking back to see if they were ok! Oopsie.
Other than a massive bug attack on the windshield, it was a quiet 2 day trip over to Utah.
We stopped for some gourmet burgers, hand cut fries and fresh blackberry custard milkshakes at our favorite stop along the way.....
Back on the road again for the evening and a whole nother day...this is no quick trip!
We settled in and checked in on our team as they arrived. 97 from Team Dorothy this year! SO fun! That also meant we didn't get to see all of them....growing pains.
The first night we had a steak dinner with some of our uplines at Ruth's Chris Steak house, it was fabulous as always!
The next am, we registered and got our cute doTERRA backpacks for the week, met the team for lunch and hung out at a come and go welcome reception......
Have you all ever heard of Dot's pretzels? Everyone was talking about them, so we grabbed a bag. HOLY AMAZING! Tasted like the baked ones people make at Christmas to munch on.
The next night was the formal Gala, and a time to celebrate new Diamond leaders. We didn't walk blue, YET, that is planned for next year, but we got to cheer my momma and team leader, Amy, down the purple carpet as DIAMONDS! SO special to see them have walked into the next level of leadership and hit those difficult ranks.
Day 1 started bright and early with a long line into the arena. We found a little extra LOVE while we waited in line! See the water heart?
AND see those fun red shoes?
Have you ever tried Rothy's? I wore them all day and didn't have any blisters on my pinky toe and heel, which I normally do with ballet flats. These ones mold to your feet and are SO awesome!
Rothy’s are made from recycled water bottles once destined for the landfill. Knit by machine and crafted by hand, our shoes are seamlessly constructed using a 3D knitting process that significantly reduces waste. Because we believe doing good should look good, too.
They are machine washable too, just pull out the insole and hang to dry.
Use this link for $20 off:
We found our seats in the Diamond section and enjoyed our Diamond perks! Snack boxes, gifts and up close seating.
And now the learning begins.....
Science, farmers, humanitarian efforts, ministry updates as we fund rescues of sex trafficked kids with O.U.R., education and support with Days for Girls and many many others.
New products! Ground breaking research, it was AWESOME!
Here are some of doTERRA's many farmers from all over the globe. We pay fair wages, on time, no middle men to gouge prices. We drop wells, build schools, staff and fund emergency care clinics and more. That is why over 90% of our farmers will only work exclusively with us, moving towards 100%! They are so blessed by doTERRA. <3
The product showcase is this HUGE series of connected ballrooms you can walk through and learn all about every aspect of doTERRA and try on and smell all kinds of different products. They even had pergolas full of green mandarian, and real roses and they shared about the oils form.
Smelled SO good! Great place to go on lunch break.....
I LOVE the day we get to cheer for all the new Silver, Golds and Platinums! Such a huge accomplishment. Loved seeing our Dorothy family cross that big stage! :)
Hanging out during an evenings...... One night was a big street party, another just one to connect as a team, and one evening, all the teams close by came to hang at our RV.
The next day was another packed schedule as was day 3. Highlights included hearing from 1996 Rawanda Genocide Survivor Immaculee Ilibigiza, and how doTERRA has gone over to help build schools with dorms for impoverished children in her community.
We also heard from Tim Hightower and his wife! Lots of pro-athletes use doTERRA to stay fit and performing at their best!
All month doTERRA had been talking to us about this secret guest speaker, per contract, they were unable to mention this name until the moment they stepped on stage.
WELL, let's just say we had a lot of guesses and some of us were right, but when this quote came on the big screen, the CROWD. WENT. WILD.
I have never heard such a defeaning roar!
He sang several songs and then did a full interview on stage. It was so phenomenal!! He has a real passion for helping others and does so through his laughing man coffee. He and his wife also use doTERRA and requested partial payment in oils! :)
As if we hadn't cried enough during the story of faith and forgiveness Immaculee shared, or the gold leader with Lou Gherigs they wheeled across the stage and honored.......they brought out a performer who wrote and sang a song to be the theme song of doTERRA's healing hand foundation, our doTERRA ministry.
Remember, doTERRA is a 2 billion dollar, DEBT FREE, company with a HUGE servants heart. They give abundantly to the hurting all over the globe and it is a BEAUTIFUL THING to be a part of!
If you only watch ONE video, let it be this one. We saw it in person on stage, and when that kids choir poured up onto stage in white with candles, we all got chills!
This video makes me cry all over again, it's the music video version of what we saw live:
I left this years convention, more excited and empowered to dream and dream BIG with doTERRA, and all the things we can accomplish when we work together......the best is yet to come!
"There are people God out there waiting to be impacted by the dreams God put in your heart."
I am so excited to see all He has in store for us with doTERRA! Maybe He is calling us to help YOU, with natural health and healthy finances too. Head on over to the other tabs on this website to read more, we love to help people and are always praying for new builders to work with.
Well, just like that, it's time to head home. We are exhausted but invigorated.
Can't wait for next year!