Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crowley Natural & Cultural History Museum of Sarasota, FL

This was an amazingly fun field trip for the kids and I. We drove in totally not knowing what to expect...well honestly, I was expecting a traditional museum and maybe a little zoo-like area. I was wrong! This place has a nice little shop with very affordable toys and snacks, several pioneer era homestead cabins that are set up as if they were still lived in, and hiking trails and a lovely little boardwalk.

I really need to start bringing bug spray with me on all of the field trips, but luckily the mosquitos weren't ~too~ terrible this time. First, a quick stop at the playground, then we pet some bunnies, then a 500 lb pig named Squirt, then tromped through the mud and water to see the children's loop.

It had rained quite a lot over the previous few days but luckily we don't mind getting a little dirty! The kids loved the sculptures, zip line, the cows that crossed our path, and the huge rope spider web! Then we started off down the boardwalk into the swamp. It was absolutely beautiful. After almost 1/2 mile, I found the baby alligators. All 3 kids had walked right past them! :) After we stopped and were talking amongst ourselves for a bit, some of them started to call for their mama and it was really fun to see in real life. We've seen them so many times on t.v., it was such a different experience to really SEE them. The kids were all pretty tired of walking by the time we got back to the shop and then the car.

Birds of Florida Lapbooks

     It occurred to me the other day while driving Carly to preschool that the kids would probably love to learn the correct names of the amazing tropical birds we see every day around the city and occasionally on field trips. We only recently started experimenting with lapbooks and I was excited to make this into a weekend project for the kids. Once finished, these will be kept in the car for reference on any drives we take. Here are the finished products.
I just printed out a bunch of pictures of local birds I wanted to include and glued them to construction paper, and then to a plain folder that we folded toward the center. Most of the pictures open up so the children can see other variations of the same bird or more pictures of the same kind of bird. So far, these lapbooks have been a huge hit!

Friday, September 19, 2014

My Vegetarian Failure....and I don't really care.

Overall, my first couple weeks went pretty well.

Day 1:We went to Dinosaur World. I was worried about eating out while we were gone but the Chinese food place we stopped at had a vegetable dish that was pretty good. 
Other than that I pretty much ate bananas and Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. Oh, and I love starting my day with Ghirardelli hot chocolate mix with Silk soy milk. It's like a melted candy bar in your cup. NO SODA at all today! And bonus - no caffeine headache at all either!
Day 2:A little rougher day today. The kids and I have taken to eating pretzels and hummus VERY well and I'm excited to try making my own. I really wanted a soda today, and almost had one, but made myself put it back.

Day 3:Gave in and had a soda. Just one. Don't judge me! Ha! The kids and I are really enjoying our fruit smoothies, plus they get whipped cream on theirs so they're extra psyched. I'm enjoying my hot chocolate mix and now my coffee with sugar and chocolate creamer....a lot of chocolate creamer. Damn my sweet tooth!

Day 4:Another rough day....with a headache this time. Really wanted to have a soda again but I'm realizing that it's something besides the caffeine that I'm craving....the burn and bubbles maybe? I didn't have one today though. Josh cooked the kids bacon and eggs. I made him save the grease for my eggs on the 1st. (It stores amazingly in a jar in the fridge.) I mostly had my pretzels with hummus, cereal, and some peas with white rice that was leftover in the fridge because I didn't feel like doing much today.

Day 5:Normal day. The kids decided that they could make their own lunchmeat and PB&Nutella sandwiches so I just munched on apples, bananas, and pretzels with hummus. For dinner I cooked up a couple Boca veggie burgers. The kids tried bites, but ultimately stuck to their sandwiches. 

Day 6:We got up and outside first thing this morning and got some good exercise in! It felt good to get all sweaty and tired in the humid FL air. I whipped up some stir fry veggies and rice for lunch. YUM! This one is my favorite.

 Days 7 to 11 are a blur. I had a lot of stress trying to get Carly's medical records switched to Florida from Colorado so she can continue going to preschool for this year AND had been trying to figure out some way that I could fly to South Dakota for my mom and grandma's birthday's but it ended up not working out. I admit that I ate a few items that list milk as an ingredient and I'm pretty sure I had 2 or 3 sodas. I know. I suck. Apparently my will power is in even worse shape than I had originally thought but I continue on! Yesterday on Day 10, my husband cooked up an entire pack of about needing will power! Also I bought a jug of Arizona Green Tea to try and stave off the soda desire. Coffee is ending up making me very jittery if I drink too much so I need to find other alternatives.

Day 12: So. Hopped on the scale today and realized that I have gained 4 pounds since Day 1. Time to get my BodyMedia Fit arm band back out and start tracking calories along with this special diet. It shouldn't be too hard...I hope. Looking back on the past 12 days, I probably need to shift towards a lot more veggies and a lot less carbs and sugars anyway.
I tried my hand at making my own hummus today. It's not too bad, but still not quite the same as store bought.

Days 13 to 14:I started using my arm band to track calories consumed and burned. I had a few vegetarian slip ups without even realizing until afterwards when my husband pointed them out to me. I made pizza for the kids, got distracted and ate a piece myself. Then later, discussing it with the hubs, I was like, "I know. I know. The cheese on the pizza and eggs/milk in the crust." and he says, "And the meat." I was floored that I didn't even recall or consider the meat!! I think this is my subconscious' way of telling me my body wants meat. HA!

Days 15 to 19:A note about the hummus from Day 12; it was pretty good once I let it chill in the fridge. Last night I had a totally defiant "I give up" sort of night and had a lunchmeat sandwich, a couple eggs over easy and 2 sausage I have lost all control with the soda. The stress of the low calorie diet on top of the veg diet just really started to get to me. I fell off the wagon hard and don't see any reason to stress myself and my family even more. Now just isnt a good time to be doing this little experiment. When Mama's crabby, ain't nobody happy! LOL

Sorry if I disappointed any of you, but now I can move on to posting about other things. :)


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mystery Eggs

On 9-6-14 Father in law found these eggs while we were cleaning up the demo pile behind the house. They move inside when poked. We think they are a lizard of some kind. We know we have anoles and geckos around the house in abundance, but a friend of mine also thinks they may be a skink or salamander also. I hope they hatch ok in my jar!! I will update this post at the bottom when/if they hatch.
They hatched into the teensiest, tiniest little bitty froggies I have ever seen! And these little guys can jump! I went ahead and released them outside so they can find their own mosquito larvae or whatever else itty bitty bugs and stuff they might eat. These pictures show them sitting on the rim of the regular mouth jar. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Spontaneous Museum Stop: Arcadia, FL

Today, the kids and I stumbled upon this little gem during a trip to the Post Office. If they had had a bathroom, we would have definitely stayed longer and looked around much more. I think we will probably go back again some other time with Josh because I saw things here and at the shop next door that I would like to get ;)
(Added Haunting notes at the bottom of this post!)


The Opera House is a an antique mall and museum housed in a second floor theater that is in near original condition.  The antique mall spans 12 rooms and an enormous main stage gallery filled with treasures.  The building is frequently investigated by professional paranormal teams as well.
The entire historic downtown Arcadia main street is filled with antique stores, cafes and the Opera House is the best attraction of all.  It's a wonderful way to spend a day!


Established in 1906.
The Arcadia Opera House was founded in 1906.  In 1905 a large fire destroyed most of downtown Arcadia and the Opera House was one of the first buildings to be rebuilt.   After it was built by John J. Heard it housed his bank downstairs, the Florida Loan and Trust Company. The rooms upstairs surrounding the theater were rented out to help business owners get back on their feet after the fire and to continue to supply services to the residents of the county.  In addition to being a performance hall it was also used for dances, political meetings, movie theater, the local USO,  graduation ceremonies, black face comedians, vaudeville, silent movies and talkies.

Meet the Business Owner

James C.
James C. Business Owner
James is the new owner of the Arcadia Opera House Antique Mall and Museum.  He is originally from New England and recently relocated his entire eclectic inventory to the Opera House.  In addition to the antiques he also has tens of thousands of vinyl albums for the serious music collector.
Who doesn't love The Great Zoltar!?
The Phantom! He kinda freaked the younger 2 out. Lol
I LOVE this cauldron. That's the only reason for the pic. :)
The kids thought it would be really neat to ride around behind a horse like they did before we had cars.
These last pictures are from the antique shop next door, that had a huge inventory of very neat and VERY expensive items. Thank God that my kids are occasionally able to behave and keep their hands in their pockets!
They had some awesome Uranium glassware....and maybe some Vaseline glassware on the bottom right too. Not sure.
I just thought this was a neat piece. 
This photo is horrible but this stained glass is BEAUTIFUL and the darn thing didn't have a price on it! HA! Probably would have been too much anyway.
and they even have a Facebook page!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dinosaur Week

 We had "Dinosaur Week" from Sunday, August 24 to today, Monday, September 1, 2014 this year. It was A LOT of fun! I couldn't really find any printables online that met our study level and had the dinosaur theme, so most of our dinosaur studies were crafts, activities, and t.v. shows or documentaries.
We started off the week with a fossil kit for kids that I was actually pretty impressed with.  I found these at a dollar store and bought the last 2 they had....I would have bought one of all 6 kinds if they had had them. The "rock was just hard enough that the kids had to work at it to get to the bones, but not too crazy hard that they couldn't make steady progress. Plus my girls love getting dirty!
Here is a picture of the completed skeletons with some little toys of Korbin's. :) 
  A few days later we attempted to make salt dough coffee ground dinosaur fossils but it ended badly. The mix was way too sticky even though I added extra flour. We tried some of those dinos that you soak in water and they grow in size......I still wasn't impressed.
 We also found this little gem on sale. I mean, who doesn't love origami? Turns out it was way too difficult for us to do this year. That's ok though. We'll tuck it away for a bit and try again next year.
So basically, we watched dinosaur documentaries, did a lot of drawings and paintings of dinos and had ALOT of dino playtime with a decent sized herd of plastic dinosaur toys. We made sugar cookies with dinosaur footprints too.

As our grand finale and also as a celebration for Korbin's 2nd birthday, we went to Dinosaur World in Plant City, FL and it was WONDERFUL! 
(You can visit their website at the bottom of this post.)

We got to listen to a paleontologist talk about her job and all of the fun things she gets to do. 
I don't think I've ever seen this dino before......did the guy get the horn on backwards? 
Korbin's definite favorite of the whole week has been the triceratops. He can say "ceratops" quite clearly. 
The kids got to try their hand at excavating a skeleton in the huge sandbox with paintbrushes. 
This stegosaurus was enormous, but it doesn't show well in the picture.....I doubt I would be able to reach my arms around that tree in the pic. 
 Here, we dug through the sand to find fossils, shark teeth, and pieces of amber. 
And finally, we prospected for semi-precious stones before hitting the gift shop and museum and heading for home. 
 It was a wonderful and exhausting day!
 And here's the birthday boy with his new little friend, "Topper."