Thursday, January 31, 2013

Edison & Ford Winter Estates!

As a homeschooling mom, I was SO excited to visit Thomas A. Edison and Henry Ford's winter homes, museum and laboratory!

Look at these ficus trees!  It took every fiber in my kids, NOT to climb on them!  Edison experimented with them for the use of rubber.  Cool.

Look at the roots!  They looked like snakes.  Too cool.

Edison actually patented 1093 inventions.  That is just incredible.  He gets a lot of credit for the light bulb, not because he was the first one to invent it, but HIS light burned for 1500 hours, when others' burned for only seconds. ;) (And, it only took him 10,000 tries) ;)

Of course there is a cute gift shop.  Hannah posed with a light bulb sucker.

He devoted his entire life to new and original ideas, that we still use and build upon today.

Even Hollywood can thank Edison for his contribution to film.

Emily is standing near a 55,000 watt bulb!  Seriously, that could light a whole town!

This lady gave a great talk about Edison and his phonograph.  She also played some, and showed how the volume was controlled.  They used to literally "Put a sock in it!"  (I did not know, that is where that little saying came from!)
You just never know what you might learn?!

I like this portrait.  It seems to show the 'Thinker.'

This is the Model T, built by Henry Ford.  He did not invent the automobile, but he DID invent the assembly line, allowing the cost of the automobile to be affordable.  The average cost in 1920 was around $800, however, Ford sold the Model T for $400!!

Edison's lab was simply overwhelming.  Can you imagine all the effort and time spent here?!

So many of his old journals, experiments, concoctions, typewriter, and tools to observe.

This is just part of Edison's home.

This is just the front of Ford's home.

They were next door neighbors!  Love it.

As a mom of some pretty creative kids, I hope this might trigger or inspire in them a love for new things, that can help others.  So, the next time you drive your car, cook waffles, listen to the radio, curl your hair or even watch a movie, remember to thank Ford and Edison for their sacrifice and thoughtful ways!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sanibel Island & J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Last Saturday, we drove out to Sanibel Island, west of Fort Myers, FL., that is known for its shells and beauty.

Before we got there, we had to go over a couple of big bridges. (I don't like that very much!)

However, I LOVE the view!

We went to Lighthouse Beach first, with white sand and MILLIONS of little shells!
It was such a beautiful, sunny day to celebrate our friend's birthday, too. :)

Parker thought it was fun to roll around in the sand.

The Harper and Golden families had a great day, playing football, searching for shells, "Ninja" and soaking in the sun.
(see the lighthouse in the background?)

Afterwards, we made a quick visit to the Visitor's Center to find out more about the island.

Isn't this a cute little building?  I love the fun colors.

Before we ended the day at Bowman's Beach, (which was also SO gorgeous), we drove through the Wildlife Refuge.  I was not sure what to expect, but it was free with our National Park pass, so why not?!   Right? HA!

Looking out over this tower, you could see all kinds of birds, ranging from pelicans to osprey to herons.

It was such a perfect place for all these little creatures.  The Lord, in all of His wonderful, creativity, doesn't leave out any detail.  There is a purpose and reason for each bird's shape and form, size of their bills, and even their colors.  Just as HE has given each of us certain gifts and purposes, colors and sizes, there is so much care to His creation.

I loved seeing the natural beauty of the refuge.  Here is an osprey clinging to a fish!  (Todd and the boys wanted to see a 'National Geographic' moment, but it was still cool, nonetheless! HA!

This guy was sunning himself, just as we were on the beach!

What a cute crew of kids!  What a perfect day for a birthday!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your special day!
Happy Birthday Jesse!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Peace River Thousand Trails - Campground Review

In Wauchula, FL., we stayed at this campground for 2 weeks.  Along with our friends, the Harper's and the Haigood's, there were a few grumpy folks, but MORE, much MORE friendly folks!

Wauchula is out in the country, with a Walmart, and few other 'main' attractions, but honestly, it is out in the middle of no where! HA!  However, with that said, they have done a fantastic job coordinating all kinds of activities; including musical performances, ceramics, crafts, magicians, pickle-ball tournaments, water aerobics and more.  Their pool and hot tub was SOOO warm, that we had to get out to cool off on some days! :)

Price - $3/n for 2 weeks

Amenities - renovated bath houses, nice laundry facilities, pool, hot tub, playground, pool tables, pickle ball courts, and the Peace River in the back, where you can hunt for their resident alligators.

You just can't beat the price of the Thousand Trails' parks!  Even if they might be a little out of the way, it is such a great place to 'rest' and save money.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fossilling in Peace River

So we were just hanging out at the campground pool, when a sweet, little, spit-fire of a lady asked us if we had gone fossilling, yet?
We had not, so we were totally intrigued!

Off we went!

At the back of the Thousand Trails Peace River Campground, there is a river, WITH ALLIGATORS!, and believe it or not - FOSSILS!

The kids used our colander and some sand shovels to dig into the water bed.

Parker just wanted to dig in the dirt. :)

It was so cool!  We found shark's teeth, turtle toe-nails, and sting ray jaws!

Here is a bull shark's tooth.

Thank you Mrs. Linda for a great adventure, literally in our campground's backyard.


Friday, January 25, 2013

"Count Your Blessings, Name Them One by One"

First, it was Mrs. Ruby who absolutely tugged on our hearts, then the Lord decided that Mrs. Janice would have her chance to love on us, too! :)

Mrs. Janice is from Pennsylvania, but likes to 'winter' here in sunny Florida.  She asked us if we would like to make "Easy Freezer Jam," so I said, "Of course!"  (if the word, "easy" is in the title of the recipe, then I KNOW it's for me!)  :)

We arrived at her Rv, with all the bowls, sugar, knives and paper towels ready for the big project.  All we had to do was bring our strawberries.  Since we picked only 30 pounds of strawberries a couple of days ago, this was NOT a problem!

The kids sliced up a quart of freshly picked strawberries.

Mrs. Janice showed us how to mash them, first.

Of course, Parker couldn't wait to do this job!

 Then we stirred in all 4 cups of sugar.  YUMMY!

She poured in all the smashed-sugary-strawberries into the containers. (She also mixed in the Sure-Jel into the bowl, once it had boiled for a minute)

It WAS easy!  I can SOOO do this! :)  You can too, because the recipe is inside the Sure-Jel box!  There are all kinds of jams to make, and it doesn't require all those expensive pots and pans, clamps and jars!  Just reuse your old sour cream or cream cheese containers.  WHOO HOO!

Thank you Mrs. Janice for taking the time to show this girl (and kids) some new tricks!  You are so sweet, and we are so thankful to have met you and Mr. Mike. :)


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ceramics Class!

Yesterday, I was so excited that Hannah, Emily and Parker were able to take a ceramics class, here at the campground.  I am just awful at anything creative or artsy, so any time I can give my kids this kind of experience, I have to jump on it!  Thankfully, the world is FULL of artsy-creative people, so every now and then, the "Pro's" just happen to be in our neck of the woods, and my children are the beneficiaries. :)

Mrs. Janet is from Maine, and is also a park ranger there in the summer time.

After the kids picked out which figure they wanted to paint, she helped them pick out all the colors.

Parker picked out "Woody" from Toy Story and initially wanted to paint him completely BLUE!
(that's his favorite color) :)

Emily picked out a sweet lady figure.

And Hannah picked out a Disney princess.

The kids worked diligently on their statues for hours.

Hannah was so proud of her finished product.  Mama was pretty proud, too! :)

Parker's "Woody" was indeed unique and beautiful. ;)

Emily also did a fantastic job.  She really took her time and added a lot of detail.

We had Mrs. Janet all to ourselves and she was so patient and accepting of all their decisions.
I was also happy, because it only cost a total of $10!!!  WHOO HOO!