A Day at Disney

  Part of this Florida trip was a surprise stop at Disney for a day of fun.  My kids had no idea what was in store for them, since we had been referring to it as “Going to Dairy Queen” the entire time.  (if we didn’t call it SOMETHING, one of us would’ve slipped up!) Destiny wondered why we’d be going to Dairy Queen in Florida since we have one in Kansas? 

  So first, we went to Ocala to see Uncle Chad and Aunt Lauren, visit the Furniture Store called “The Carriage Trade” that Chad manages for Dad, and visit a couple of their favorite restaurants they wanted to take us to.  We made a day trip of it, knowing all along, we’d drive to Orlando that night and stay in a condo there until the next mornings big “Dairy Queen” announcement.


Let me be a commercial for one minute:

Carriage Trade has over of 4,000 pieces of new & consigned name brand, quality furniture and décor, all in one big 30,000 sq. ft. show room. It is SO fun to walk around and see all the cool stuff.  If you live close by, you should go, you seriously can’t beat these prices!!!!!! 




Watching Uncle Chad hard at work


We ate lunch at Lorito’s , this authentic Italian hole in the wall restaurant.

Oh. My. Goodness.  In-stinkin-credible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


We put away 2 larges in about 10 minutes flat.


We spent the rest of the day hanging out at Chad and Lauren’s so the kids could nap.  Papa gave Tylan a wooden replica of the Sprint Car he used to drive when I was a kid, so you can imagine that kept him entertained the rest of the afternoon!  Look how proud he is!  He gasped when Papa handed it to him and couldn’t believe it was his to keep. “Do I get to take back to Kansas?” Sure buddy.  “WOOOOAH!”



  Sweet Lauren made the girls’ day by French braiding their hair. (I have GOT to learn how to do this, with 2 girls I have NO excuse not to know how!)


They treated us all to Brewster’s Ice Cream for snack time.  What a darling Ice Cream place! We don’t have a Brewster’s which is too bad, it was great!!!! Oldies music, bubbles blowing from the roof top, hula hoops and free ice cream for little ones.


We left after supper and arrived late in Orlando with the kids sleeping in the back of the coach.  We carried them in and put them 3 wide in the bed, away they slumbered, having no idea what the next morning held!!!!!!!!!!!!


 Sweet dreams little ones! Tomorrow will be such an amaaaaaaazing day!

  They woke up bright and early, ready to eat the cupcakes Drea had promised them the night before if they’d lay down and go right to sleep.  (Apparently, Grandma’s have all sorts of privileges we momma’s do not! Like bribing with sweets for breakfast!)   🙂


As they ate, we talked about what kind of fun adventures we could go on while we were in this fun condo for the day.  Papa says he already has some fun plans for us.  Then, real casual-like, “We are going to Disney World today….

The photos, although not the best, tell the rest of the story:

The little kids got it right away, squealing and saying Yay!


 Sweet, responsible Destiny had to think about it a bit longer, saying “I thought we didn’t have any money for extra things right now.”

(Can you tell she has been paying attention during our year of financial discipline?! That, and when she had asked about Disney in the past I told her we’d have to save up all our dollars for a long time before going.)


We assured her that Papa and Drea had it covered and were treating us to a day at Disney.  THEN the smiles came! 


“Wait, we really ARE going?  TODAY?” (Giggles)


“We are going to Disney! We are going to Disney! We are going to Disney!”




Getting 4 adults, 4 kids, a cooler, a diaper bag and 2 strollers into the tram was interesting!



  It took us an HOUR to get into the actual park.  Wow! Guess we won’t be popping out to the coach for lunch and naps after all!



First stop, Mickey Ears and meeting the Princesses:





Look at Avery staring adoringly up at Belle….Pax thinks she’s pretty great too!








IMG_6457Later, we saw Rapunzel, but her line went CLEEEEEAR around the building. The kids were bummed!

All that was forgotten though, when they got to meet Buzz Lightyear!


We stayed from 9 am – 7 pm with happy kids, I couldn’t believe it!  Pax napped on and off in the stroller, and Avery even took a nap!  She must have been exhausted, because she stayed asleep when transferred to Daddy’s arms for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. 




  By 7 it was stormy, they were unsure of whether or not they were going to have the evening parade or not, so we called it a day.  I wish now that we had pushed through for the 9 parade, but man, at the time…we were DONE!  Our rule of thumb is to leave while everyone is still happy.   🙂

  We got back to the condo just in time to take a swim in the big tub and off to beddy-by. 


It was an incredible day!  Thanks Papa & Drea for blessing us with this AMAAAAZING trip!


Sunset Cruise, Sea Sick & Sweethearts

My dad planned a special surprise birthday outing for us birthday ladies: Drea, Lauren and I all had birthday’s in July and August.  I think if you average us out, we all turned 30 this year.  tee-hee 🙂


1095  So Dad announces he is taking us out for Drea’s birthday and Aunt Ashley sweetly offered to babysit the kiddies.

(They had a blast by the way, and asked when I could leave again so she could babysit some more….)

  The surprise was a Sunset Dinner Cruise!!!!!!

  No joke! I was so excited!!!! I mean, you just don’t get date nights like this in Kansas.


We head upstairs on this lovely boat, to the top level, where he has reserved a table for us.  We found this:


  Woah! What a thoughtful Daddy I have. I was so blessed and blown away at this amazing evening he had planned for us, as well as the fact that he bought flowers for all of us and dropped them off at the boat earlier that day.

“Grrrr, Clay! Way to make us look bad!”





My new “I’m Not Mommy Tonight” shoes: My first pair of BCBG’s!!!! (they are TALL)

Man, I love the discount stores here!



The food was amaaaaaazing!   Thick slabs of Prime Rib with both Creamy Horseradish & Dill sauces, Lemon Salmon with some sort of white cheese butter sauce, rice, steamed veggies, salad and rolls.


For dessert we got Key Lime Cheesecake, Red Velvet Cake and Death By Chocolate cake….then the server surprised us with this darling birthday cake!

More dessert? SURE, why not?!


At this point, we were stuffed and waddled out to the back deck to enjoy the view:  First these dream homes, then later, a gorgeous sunset painted by the Creator Himself.





Thanks, Daddy for a great birthday celebration!!!!!!  Between my surprise party in Kansas and this birthday cruise, I can’t imagine a better way to turn 30! 🙂


   One of my goals while in Florida, is to eat as much seafood as possible.  We were supposed to get to take Papa’s boat the 45 minutes it takes by sea to get to dinner, but it was POURING down rain! So we drove there instead, hoping to take the boat out afterwards.  We ate at this great little sea food place.  Oh man, was it ever delicious!!!! 

  Kansas seafood doesn’t taste quite the same now.  🙂



IMG_6469  The rain stopped just as we finished eating, so we headed to the dock to get the boat. 

Check out this “Boat Garage”, they store the boats 4 high. You just call ahead they have your boat down and ready for you to take out for the day.


  Ty was in HEAVEN!  He sat at the front of the boat grinning the ENTIRE TIME.  Every time Papa revved the engine, he’d turn around and just grin from ear to ear.  Little motor head!



Pax had that finger going left and right as fast as he could to show us “Dis” and “Dat!” Sweet big boy!!!!




   It was so peaceful and the view was just stunning!  I would never get tired of watching the sun melt into the ocean each evening.



  995Unfortunately, this was the part that Avery and I got very sea sick, it sure can sneak up on you quickly!  We headed back before anyone had to sea food again. Oh, I mean see their food again.  (I am cracking myself up here…..)

  Once on shore, she was fine.  This Momma took a bit longer to stop swaying inside, but it was all good!


   What a fun way to end the day!

  The last weekend we were in Florida, Papa and Drea offered to put the kids to bed for us, so Dale and I could go walk on the beach and watch the sunset.   Oh my goodness, do you know how long its been since Dale and I could just walk together….no car seats, no diapers bags, no sweet sticky little hands grasping ours or sweet ones walking between us. It was wonderful!

  We kicked our shoes off and strolled along the waters edge, just talking and walking until we could no longer see our blanket in the sand. 


We doubled back just in time to plop down on our blanket and enjoy the sunset.





  Told you I’ll never get tired of seeing the sunset down into the ocean!!!!!! 


Especially in the arms of the one who still makes my heart go pitter patter. 

1180{SIGH} It was simply wonderful!1182

  So, are you tired of hearing about our vacation yet? Sorry, there is just so much to document! Remember, I plan to make this into a book each year for my kiddos, so bear with me. Only 1 to more post to go, maybe 2: Disney, Avery’s birthday, plus all the leftover pics that I can’t catagorize! See, that’s not so bad, right?!?!?!


Headin’ to the Beach

  Out of the 2 weeks spent in Florida, we only managed to make it to the beach 3 times, even though its only 10 minutes away.  Gotta love life with young kiddos! 🙂

   This was Avery’s first time to be old enough to remember the beach.  Last time we went to Florida, she was this age…..Where has the time gone?!


  Papa and Drea loaded us all up one evening to go to the Jetty to see if we could spot some dolphins.



  We did eventually spot some, but not as close as they sometimes come, Papa said.


Paxton sure seemed intent on staring at the water, I was amazed at his interest.  136

137Oh wait, he’s dozed off again. Poor tired kiddo!


Once he woke up, he loved to look at the water, even copying the big kids by pointing at the dolphins….


We decided to go wade a bit before heading home for bed.  The beaches here are just littered with shells, I couldn’t get over it!


Paxton’s first time at the beach….


Yup, not feelin’ it!



Beach Attempt 2 took 1 1/2 hours to get out the door, 6 adults with very full arms, trudging through the sand….only to stay 30 minutes before the rain clouds rolled in.  Nice.

Beach attempt 3 was a roaring success, with us making it there mid-morning and staying late into the afternoon! Woo hoo!


Our “Camp” for the day





It was a PERFECT day! (Despite the fact that all the Kansans got burnt, even with sunscreen!)



Can we go back now? Pul-eeeeeeease!?!?!?!

More to come Monday….


Florida Fun

  We just got home last night at midnight from an AMAZING trip to Florida thanks to my Dad and Drea.  Nearly 2 weeks of non-stop fun in the sun!  Trip highlights included Uncle Chad’s wedding, a surprise stop at Disney World, swimming at the beach, boat rides and so much more. 

  I will take the next few days to share photos of our grand adventure.  Bear with me though, I took 1200-some photos over the 2 weeks and am still trying to get caught up on bills, mail, phone messages, laundry and unpacking in addition to weeding through said photos.  Not to mention our cupboards are BARE and I need to make and menu and go grocery shopping.

  Check out this table I had Dale set up in our room the week before our trip:


  This is where I packed us. You are going to be so proud of me, out of all these choices, in the end, I only took 2 suitcases and 2 carry on bags for the 6 of us for 2 weeks, thankyouverymuch!  (However, I did have to bring an entire extra suitcase home thanks to some new birthday gifts and clothing bargains.  Too bad the airlines charge $25 a bag, that ticks me off!)

  We got up at 3 am the morning we left.  I was not sure what I was thinking, booking that early of a flight, but there are limited choices out of our small town.  The other flight option put us arriving at 10 pm and blowing the whole first day, so I took a chance that our kids could handle it, and you know what?


They did AWESOME!


016Avery says “Thumbs up!”

Pax napped on a bed pillow across my knees both flights like a little champ. (*Note to you traveling Momma’s, this is my FAVORITE airplane travel tip: Take a bed pillow along! It frees your hands up to help the other kids or read a book. Baby sleeps much more peacefully because they are not hot and sweaty in your arms.)


  The other kids played and colored flight #1, did great during our 1 1/2 hour layover in Atlanta and watched a movie flight #2.  (reason number 1001 to limit daily TV, it’s a special treat and they didn’t MOVE a MUSCLE during this 2 hour flight!)


Apparently tray tables are super fascinating as well.


 028 We arrived right on time to sunny Florida.  Papa and Drea aren’t equipped for 6 extras in their sporty vehicles, so Papa picked us up in their coach. The kids thought that was super awesome!


  Thoughtful Drea loaded the fridge with lunch fixin’s so we were able to eat sandwiches while we drove the hour to their home.  Check out the view!


  Our fearless driver, Papa:


We traveled nice and comfy on the recliner front seat! 🙂

  First thing on the agenda when we got to the house? Unpack, then a dip in the pool.



Traveling is such hard work, everyone was wiped! Pax got sleepy early, so it was off to bed for him well before the sun went down!



  The other kids needed  to get to bed too, but first? A game with Papa.


Then, hanging around the pool with Drea and a lizard visit.


Avery says “Bleh.”


  Destiny caught the teeniest little lizard! Somehow during his release back into the wild, the kids accidentally made his tail fall off. Oops! Poor lizard, good thing it grows back. It totally thrashed around and made everyone grossed out, long after the baby lizard ran away to nurse its wounds!



NOW is it bedtime?  3 am was a LONG time ago!!!!

  Nope, the kids are still going strong.  So, how about a quick round of “Golf” out back. 


Oh well, we are on vacation, what can it hurt? But only for a little bit then it’s off to bed, Mr. Sunshine is on his way to bed too!


There is so much more to share, and  I am sorry to leave you before I even get started with this trip, but this is as far as I got on the editing for today. 

  Come see me tomorrow!  🙂  I promise this won’t be like those boring hour-long click and whir slide shows of yester-year. 

There are lots of fun photos to come!!!


Kansas Cornbread Salad

Thank you for all your sweet birthday messages!  I was so blessed to log into my email at the end of the day to find 190-some birthday messages awaiting me. Made my day!  30 doesn’t feel a bit different from 29, guess I was already feeling old and tired?  🙂  Like Dale always says, the number 30 doesn’t make you old, it’s the 4 young children that take care of that!!!!!

On to food, one of my favorite topics, you are going to love this one! 

This salad is so colorful and unique! Plus, it tastes amazing!




  • 8-½ ounces, weight Package Corn Muffin Mix
  • 10 slices Bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
  • 8 ounces, weight Sour Cream
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1 ounce, weight Packet Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
  • 3 whole Large Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 15 ounces, weight Can Pinto Beans, Drained
  • 15 ounces, weight Can Black Beans, Drained
  • 2 cans Corn, Drained (15 Ounce Cans)
  • 1 cup Chopped Red Pepper
  • ½ cups Chopped Green Onion
  • ⅓ bunches Cilantro, Snipped
  • 2 cups Shredded Colby-jack Cheese

Prepare muffin mix, according to package directions. (I do 1 pan rather than 001messy muffin tins)

When it’s done, cool and crumble. Set aside.

Cook and crumble bacon, set aside.

Combine sour cream, Miracle Whip and dressing mix, set aside.

Combine tomatoes, beans, corn, peppers, onions and snipped cilantro; set aside.


In a 9×13 glass dish, layer half of the crumbled corn bread, half of the bean mixture, half the bacon and 1 cup of cheese.  Spread with half of the dressing mixture.  Next, spread remaining bean mixture, bacon, dressing, cheese and end with remaining Cornbread crumbles.  Cover and chill.  




This post linked to:

Made It On Monday

Tasty Tuesday

Everyday Sisters

Back for Seconds

Easy Schmeasy Caprese Salad

Easy Schmeasy Caprese Salad


15-20 vine-ripe Cherry tomatoes (more if using Grape)

1 pound fresh mozzarella , cubed

20 leaves fresh basil

Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

16 oz. bottle Kraft Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette


Cut tomatoes in quarters, or if using cherry tomatoes, in half.  Rip larger basil leaves in half.  Drizzle the salad with Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

I loved it…..annnnd, my family hated it!

Guess even non-picker eaters have their limits, so proceed with caution?????

Nah, make this for yourself and eat on it all week, leaving off the dressing until right before eating. This would be FAB piled on a toasted bagette.


So this has nothing at all to do with this post, but Paxton was making me giggle today with his Full Contact Peek A Boo session…..



Crunchy Poppyseed Chicken Salad


This is so quick and easy and makes for a really colorful, fun salad….

2 bags Broccoli Slaw
2 large Red peppers, chopped
2 cups carrot shreds
1 16 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
4 cooked, seasoned chicken breasts, cubed
2 packages Ramen Noodles, broken into small pieces
(No Spices)
Cashews to taste
1 bottle Kraft Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

Combine all ingredients except dressing and cashews in a large bowl. Sprinkle with cashews. Serve with Dressing on the side.

Serves 6-8.




This post linked to:

Made it On Monday

Tasty Tuesday

Everyday Sisters

4 Eyes Are Better Than 2

Guess who had to get glasses?


Nope, not Avery.  But she sure looks cute!


Nope, not Ty either, but he sure was sad that he couldn’t take his favorite blue pair home. (not pictured)

  It was Destiny!


  She was less than thrilled as she did NOT want to wear glasses. 


  We tried to make the day extra special, by using our Egg money for a Wendy’s lunch, along with 2 free Frosty coupons, for a picnic in the park.


Check out Paxton’s new owie-swollen-gums-teething-face:


See those new bottom 2?  He is currently getting 4 more, poor guy!



A Bacon Cheeseburger seemed to make things a bit better for Destiny.  🙂


  Pray for her when you think about it.  We have been seeing a doctor since school got out, she was lip reading while her teacher was at the board, trying to figure out what she was writing.  She also was struggling with her seat work.  Bless her teachers heart, she pulled her aside and helped her with every assignment the whole last month of school! 

  The doctor is unsure what is going on, because glasses are not taking Destiny’s vision back to the 20-20, as is there job to do.  This tells them something else is wrong, something they have yet to figure out.  They are throwing the word “Specialist” around if it hasn’t resolved itself by summers end. 

  I think you know what $pecialist means:  lots of very very expensive doctor visits in a distant town.  We are believing and praying she’ll outgrow this!!!!

  Until then, doesn’t she look sweet?


I think so.

Besides, 4 eyes are better than 2, right!?!?!



Weekend Fun

 I bought a swim suit this weekend, it’s a 3 piece:

A top, a bottom and a blindfold for you.

BAHAHAHA! Just teasing, I got that in an email and loved it, so I had to share.  🙂 

We had such a fun weekend!  (I trust you did as well.)  We were invited to use a friends pool…….

A “real” one, says my kids.  068

As opposed to our little blow up “fake” one?   🙂


  Boy, I tell you, it took some doing to keep all of those 4 little Fergusons a float successfully!  024


  We haven’t had a lot of practice in deep water, some of the kids not at all.  (Thankfully, Nana joined us.  We love it when she can come along with us for these fun adventures!)

  Destiny and her best friend/cousin, Brooklyn, did fine swimming unassisted. 


Avery played it safe in the very very shallow end, at first only leaving the area when she had on arm floaties AND her tube.  It didn’t always work how she planned, but she soon figured it out with just the arm floaties, doing bobs and back floats with the best of them.



Paxton went head first once, right out of my arms and into the water.  I was sitting with my legs in, so he didn’t go far, but he sure got a face full and scared me to pieces!  

After that, I sequestered him to a raft with me. 

Mean ol’ life jacket turned him into a little turtle peeking out of its shell, so we took it off…..


He loved it, just chillaxin with me, and almost falling asleep towards the end!!!!

  Tylan had quite the mishap:  027

One minute he was floating in the deep water with his floaty, the next? 

Empty floaty, no Tylan. 


You better believe that was the longest 30 seconds of my life.  He was fine, praise the Lord, just had abandoned his floaty to sit on these water-submerged stools behind the fountain;  JUST out of my line of sight.  He was playing so quietly and nicely he didn’t hear me call his name at first.   Jeepers, give me a heart attack why don’t ya!?


  By the time our afternoon of fun was over, both Destiny and Tylan had learned to swim (floaty-free) to the half way mark where Daddy stood and back.  Remember, they really haven’t had exposure to regular swimming pools, so this was extra exciting!!!! 

We were so proud of their brave swimming!



We told all the kids that if they showed bravery and tried their best to learn to swim, they’d earn a popsicle after dinner!

  Brooklyn says “YAY!”, cause she was already a great swimmer!!!!


   We packed our mini camping grill for a Hotdog and Kansas Cornbread salad picnic by the pool.


Next up, reward time!!!!! Popsicles for everyone!088


 We had so much fun that we decided on a repeat performance for Saturday as 090well.  Don’t you just love how water wipes kids out?

  Thanks to the sweet family that allowed us to use their pool……

  You blessed us with a fun and memory filled weekend!  🙂


More weekend photos:




Yes, Paxton is wearing a girl cover up.  Avery didn’t mind, and he was cold.  🙂 

  My sweet Grandma asked me to come photograph her flowers this weekend, they were just lovely!


I love that our Creator is so creative in his Creations!!!!!!