Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Christmas Fun

We had two Christmas parties this past week, the first was the work party and the second was the dinner they have for the whole park.

I didn't remember to bring my camera to either one, so I only have pictures from my phone from the work party.  We had a nice time talking and we did a White Elephant gift exchange that was fun.
There was lots of good food to eat!
I love sharing Christmas fun with those that are around us.  It makes the holidays even more fun.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Goodies

I am really enjoying our new convection oven and have used it as much as possible.  I have especially enjoyed it for making Christmas goodies!  I have so many wonderful memories of doing Christmas baking growing up, then with my own children and now I am having fun still continuing the tradition. 
I am looking forward to the Princess being old enough to help me!  In the meantime, I get to lick the beaters!

Living the life in Florida!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Florida Air Museum

Today Nathan and I visited a museum that I'd been to before, Florida Air Museum in Lakeland.  It was Nathan's first visit and he really enjoyed it.
 The museum has a main building with exhibits and an annex building with bigger aircraft.  From their website: The Museum displays a wide variety of vintage aircraft, ultralights, experimental homebuilts, air racers, military, aerobatic and factory-built aircraft from all eras. The aircraft are supplemented by an interesting collection of engines from WWI to the present day.
My favorite display in the first building was a model of the Spruce Goose because we have visited the real one and it was incredible.
There was some kind of show that was wrapping up while we were there and we asked a gentleman a bit about it  He had driven all the way from Louisiana to see the show.  He restored and flew model planes himself.  He shared some interesting things with us.
 It was a great time, and since I had been here before, I spent a little less time reading signs and a little more looking up close and personal at the planes.

I think we will visit here again, and hopefully catch one of the shows.

Living the life in Florida!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Who Needs A Horse?

We see a lot of ummmm..."unusual" things where we are right now.  The other day we went to Dollar General and there were not one but two horse trailers in the parking lot, complete with horses.  I can't imagine one scenario where I'd be driving a trailer full of horses and absolutely need to take a detour to Dollar General, but what do I know.  I've never driven a trailer full of horses after all. 

I see what I assume is a local person that drives their motorized wheelchair around.  Which isn't that odd by itself but the way this one is decorated in all different types of decorations does make it stand out.  One day it had pinwheels that had LCD light in the center.  And by pinwheels, I mean maybe 15 to 20.  It was like watching a one man parade and gave me a big smile when I passed by.

We see really big trucks with really big wheels on a regular basis.  And by really big truck, I mean bigger than our beast.  I wonder how on earth the people get inside of these trucks.  Do they have to climb up on the wheels first?  Is there some sort of pulley system that gets them inside?  I don't know the answers to these questions, but it is beginning to seem normal to me to encounter these things.  At this point, none of this really fazes me.  

But sometimes I see things that still have me doing a double take.  This cool car was the case today.  I took my cell phone and grabbed a few shots.  Then Austin proceeded to tell me that it was the Cowboy's car.  Ok...I'll bite.  What does that mean?  He tells me the guy who drives it looks and walks like a cowboy.  I guess you don't need a horse to be a cowboy if you have a car like this that does the job instead.
Ah, I love life's random things.  Makes it so much more interesting than the common normal things that we see so often that we don't even really see them.  Pausing to really look is a good thing.  In this case it was at least.

Living the life in still so warm Florida!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Boy and Panther

Another creative sculpture from Brookgreen Gardens.
And the nature shot:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Pledge Allegiance

Another beautiful sculpture from Brookgreen Gardnes.  And the nature shot:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Early Christmas Gifts

We have already received two of our Christmas gifts early.  One was from my MIL, and we have really enjoyed this one.  It is a kitchen island that we bought while in Virginia.  We took out our dining room table and chairs and this sits in that space now.
We love this thing!  We still have some eating space there so we didn't really give that up.  We gained tons of storage space and counter top space with it. 

The other things is a microwave and convection oven combo.  I have wanted this since we bought the RV and am thrilled with it.  I have used it tons since we have put it in, mostly for baking bread, cookies and muffins.

I'm glad that I did get them both early, since they will help me with my Christmas baking!  I think we enjoy both things for a long time.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Parade in Wauchula

Last night we all went to downtown Wauchula, where I sat on Main street in order to watch the Christmas parade.  Nathan and Austin were going to be a part of the parade, helping out with the Thousand Trails float.  My ankle kept me grounded so I went as a sideline cheerleader. 

Since I was going solo for the parade watching, that also meant I got to do much people watching while there.  I love to spend time people watching.  It is fascinating to me.  You can really learn a lot from a place by doing this.  And I came away from this parade, which was beautiful, reminded that so often small towns in America offer a view of some of the best and the worst that our society has to offer. 

I saw much that told me that racism and preferential treatment is alive and well in our country.  No matter how forward we move in these areas, situations like this tell me how far we have to go yet.  My heart was heavy in the moments I was witnessing that.  It is not something that seemed congruent with a Christmas parade to me.

At the same time, those same people who surrounded me also shared what makes our country beautiful to me.  There is something touching about parades that feels almost patriotic to me.  People do a great job of pulling together to make the parade happen.  People do a great job of coming out to support the parade by bringing their families and enjoying the result of the hard work.  I love it when towns pull together in this way.
Parades give people a chance to share what is important to them.
I loved seeing those that were near and dear to me.  Nathan holding the banner and Buddy and Diane:
It was a wonderful night and I was really touched to see our "home for now" represented there.  The Jammers did a great job!  It definitely put me in the Christmas spirit even more.

Living the life in small town Florida!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Special Christmas Treat

Since we have lived as full time RV'rs, there are many things that we have to do differently.  Most of these things are small trade offs inn order for us to live the life we want to.  But it's been nice to get some of those things back when we are sitting in one place for a bit.  This being a great example of that:
I have a real (artificial) Christmas tree this year!  And I couldn't be more excited about that.  Every time I walk in the door and see it, I smile.  I love that I can put gifts under the tree, rather than in front of it.
I love that I could put some of the many ornaments that my MIL has given us for Christmas over the years on it.  There are so many memories in those ornaments.
It's is really feeling like Christmas in our rig and I'm enjoying every minute of it.

Living the life in chillier Florida!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Another sculpture at the Brookgreen Gardens and this one has the honor of being the sculpture that took the longest to create.  Nine years in fact.  It is worth it.  And I say that knowing I wouldn't have the dedication to last nine hours on the project.
And a nature shot from the same beautiful place:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wide Open Spaces...in Florida?

I was telling my SIL, Katie, that if they came to visit us they would like it because we are staying at a park that is in the country this winter.  She said she didn't know Florida had "country".  So last week, while driving over to Avon Park, I decided to grab some pictures for her.  As we were driving, Austin and I talked about how so many people truly don't know there are rural areas in Florida so I decided to share them here too.

There are many places where there is undeveloped land.
There are many places where there are farms.

And I'll be honest, it is some of my favorite land to travel in Florida.  It is not maybe the prettiest view.  But it is peaceful.  Excuse the blurriness, because Austin was driving and he doesn't slow down for me like Nathan does.  Something about other people on the road and him not wanting to look lame and all.
And here's another shot of the double rainbow we saw.  This time with the "real" camera vs the cell phone camera.
I will try to get more shots when I have an agreeable driver escorting me.  In the meantime, enjoy some of Florida that does not look like Ft Lauderdale, Daytona or the Magic Kingdom!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Events

 When we first began the RVing lifestyle, we listened to "A Series of Unfortunate Events" on audiobooks while we made the three hour drive from our house to where our RV was set up.  The series is about a family of children that has one "unfortunate" thing after another happen to them.  Lately, I am feeling like I could be a star in this quirky book series.

 I normally get sick ranging from rarely to never.  In the past few months, I've managed to have one weird thing after another happen.  None of them that major except maybe having my gall bladder removed.  Still, each one has been painful and frustrating.  I twisted my ankle while in the OBX.  I then had the gall bladder infection leading to surgery.  We had an attack of the lovely little critters known as chiggers that was surprisingly uncomfortable.  I have had allergy symptoms off and on that range from the mild ones to the my head feels like it is in a vice ones.

 When we first arrived here I got pink eye in a more serious way than I ever have before.  Last week I was stung by a yellow jacket and had a funky reaction to it.  Yesterday I guess I decided to close the loop of unfortunate events by repeating the ankle twist.  Again.

Now I am sporting this look:

The good news is that it is only a sprain and nothing is broken.  The bad news is I can't walk on it so that means no holiday prep and no pickleball playing.  Luckily I do not work until Friday, so I can rest in the meantime.

I've decided I've had enough of this series and would like to begin starring in a new series.  I think something along the lines of Life is Good and my body is healthy and whole would be good.  In the meantime Nathan is waiting on me hand and foot and is even doing the housework.  I have had sweet friends here send me the kindest get well wishes.  I am getting to do some digital scrapbooking which I always love.  I think I'll focus on the gratitude I feel for those things instead of whining about the painful foot.  It is Thanksgiving week after all!

Living the still fortunate life in Florida!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Going Away Dinner at Paul's Kitchen

Since we have been coming to Peace River, we have enjoyed one of the local restaurants here.  The place isn't fancy.  The food isn't really fancy.  But it is good food at great prices and we love the comfortable feeling of the place.  The restaurant is named Paul's Kitchen but I think of it as Paul's House because the place is in what used to be a small house and it just feels "homey" to me.

  The staff is always great here.  Pleasant and efficient.  It is decorated in a simple style, but it neat and clean.  The most remarkable thing about this place though is the size of the meals.  They give you an insane amount of food for the price.  I love it because that means I never have to worry about lunch the next day!
Last night, many of the pickleball players gathered here to have dinner with Keith and Marie who are heading out today.  They are such a popular couple they ended up with a whole crowd, seventeen in all in fact!  Because the meals are so giant, they normally have to give you two plates each to hold it all.  So it was kind of comical seeing all of us trying to fit our meals on the table with so many of us.  They were so accommodating of our giant group, they even gave us free carrot cake for dessert.  I can't recommend this place highly enough.  It is the kind of place I would love to see our oldest daughter Ashleigh own someday!

I didn't get pictures of our time together, but you can read more about it and see pictures at Donna's blog here:  Florida Picklers.  I can be really lazy with picture taking when Donna or Faye are around because they always take pictures too!  And my kids don't hide their faces behind their hands when they are snapping shots so I manage to get a few great pictures of them too.

After dinner, Karen, Buddy, Nathan and I hit the courts to burn off our giant meals.  We had some great games with each of them being very evenly matched.  We are loving our time here this winter so far!  I look forward to many more great times as we move through the season.

Living the life in Florida!