G-Force Academy

Florida Homeschool Family Fun!

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens makes a wonderful theme for family evening together. Below is a short film narrated by Vincent  Price. I remember this actor well from my childhood. I love his eerie voice!

Dickens’ classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and three Christmas Ghosts that change his perception of life.

My Audio School has an audio version of the popular story. Listen with your kids as you all cuddle under the twinkling lights of your Christmas tree. If you prefer to read click below.

Continue your lifestyle of learning with your kids by visiting
David Perdue’s Charles Dickens Page wonderful page.

Go Make Merry Memories!

December 10, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force Academy, Holidays, Once Upon A Family | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Florida Family Fun 411_Christmas 2011

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Here are some sweet memory making events to enjoy with your family this Christmas season. Visit Our Homespun Holidays where we will be posting more holiday family fun to share with your family.




North Pole Express

North Pole Express

All Aboard for an express trip to visit Santa Claus at the North Pole! Christmas Carolers will be entertaining the passengers with festive songs throughout the journey. Santa will be available to greet every child upon arrival at the North Pole and present each one with a special gift. The round-trip ride with stop at the North Pole will last approximately 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Santa Claus Special

The Santa Claus Special is a day-time excursion that lasts approximately 1.5 hours round-trip. Guests do not get off the train as Santa will be onboard to greet every child and present them with a small gift.

For available dates and pricing visit The Florida Railroad Museum

Universal Orlando Christmas
Holiday Celebrations

Christmas at Universal Studios Orlando 

December 4th, 2010 through January 1st, 2011

No need to travel to New York City for the holiday season! Universal Orlando brings a touch of New York City to Orlando during this holiday celebrations.

Experience a Musical Celebration of Holiday Fun & Excitement at Universal Orlando Resort.

Bring your family and enjoy the Universal Christmas Celebrations from December 4th, 2010 through January 1st, 2011.

Enjoy the Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios, with authentic balloons, floats, and performers direct from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Meet the Grinch in Islands of Adventure, presenting the one and only "How The Grinch Stole Christmas Live." And experience some of your all time holiday favorite performers in the Universal Holiday Concert Series.

Universal Holiday Celebrations Highlights

  • The KidZone Holiday Show: Join the fun with your character friends as they dance to holiday hits in this live show.
  • Barney’s Christmas Show: Sing along and clap along with Barney and friends in A Day In The Park Show. A show your little ones will never forget!
  • Blues Brothers Christmas Show: See the Blues Brothers live performing holiday favorites like "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" and "Blue Christmas" with snow on Delancey Street at the end of each show.
  • Wrap up your day at Universal Studios with the big Hollywood finish of Universal 360–A Cinesphere Spectacular. Through the unique "Cinesphere" technology you’ll experience the sights and sounds of some of Hollywood’s biggest films projected onto huge spheres in the Universal Studios lagoon, plus one of the largest laser displays in Florida, dazzling pyrotechnics and more. It’s the most explosive, jaw-dropping cinematic adventure you’ve ever seen!

Christmas Family Fun in St. Petersburg, FL

Annual Santa Holiday Parade.

Sat, December 3, 10:00am – 12:30pm

St. Petersburg’s 84th Annual Lions Club Santa Parade is Saturday, December 3, beginning at 10 a.m. from Central Ave. and 5th St. NOTE NEW ROUTE THIS YEAR: the parade travels east on Central to 2nd St. then turns left to 1st Ave. N., turns right and goes east along 1st Ave. N. for two blocks to Beach Drive, then turns north to 5th Ave. NE, disbanding near the Vinoy Resort. Free family fun, bands, floats, costumed characters, dancers and much more. Followed by Snowfest in N. Straub Park, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 727-893-7441.


A Real Snow Event – 65 Tons of Snow!.

Sat, December 3, 11am – 3pm

North Straub Park, St. Petersburg, FL

St. Petersburg expects sixty-five tons of snow to fall Saturday, December 3 at Snowfest, a "real" snow event in North Straub Park, 5th Ave. and Beach Drive NE. from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Activities include toboggan slides, climbing wall, art tent, moonwalk, reindeer races, giant slide, glice ice skating, and KiddyLand — an area designed especially for pre-schoolers with inflatable games, cookie decorating, snowball toss, and more. Wristbands cost $5 and include all activities. Call 727-893-7441.

Holiday Lights and Illuminated Park Displays
N. Straub Park and S. Straub Park, Beach Dr. area. Come out to celebrate with the lights the holiday tree and the illuminated displays across the waterfront. Holiday lights and illuminated displays on nightly through Dec. 31. 727-893-7441.


Saturday, December 3, 2011
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is transformed into a winter wonderland
with activities and amusements for the entire family.

  • Visit with Santa Claus
  • Enjoy continuous holiday entertainment
  • Make-n-take holiday crafts
  • Hands-on games and activities
  • Ice skating
  • Fun for the young and the young at heart!

Holiday Parade
At 11 a.m. the will begin at Morgan Street and Kennedy Boulevard,
travel west on Kennedy Boulevard to Ashley Drive,
turn north and end at Ashley Drive and Cass Street
Download a parade application.

For parade and festival information, please call
(813) 251-3378


SeaWorld Orlando special annual event: Sea World Christmas Holiday Celebration

Sea World Christmas Celebration

See fantastic Christmas holiday lights and shows at SeaWorld’s Christmas Holiday Celebration. Watch a special Shamu show, ride the polar express train, see colored water fountains dance and fireworks explode. SeaWorld’s Christmas Holiday Celebration is lots of fun for everyone!

December 31st 2011 and January 1st, 2012

SeaWorld Orlando special annual event: SeaWorld New Years Eve party

SeaWorld New Years Eve party
Put on your party hats and ring in the new year with SeaWorld’s New Years Eve party! See all the special shows that have been going on during the holidays. Then watch a special new years eve show and fireworks at the Bayside stadium.


Trees & Traditions – A Centennial Celebration
December 3, 2011 – Flyer
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Suggested $2 donation

The Pinellas County Historical Society will sponsor an open house with refreshments, children’s activities and crafts, holiday music and carols, tours offering a look back at how Pinellas residents celebrated the holidays from the mid-1800s through the 1950s, and a special visit from Santa Claus! Visitors can also find those one-of-a-kind holiday gifts at the Beach Cottage Gift Shop.




American Victory Ship Mariners Memorial Museum
705 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602

Come aboard the American Victory Ship for the best seats in Channelside to view the Boat Parade of Lights. It’s fun for the whole family and will become a favorite holiday tradition!

2011 Christmas Shows – Begin Thursday, November 10, 2011

The mission of the Holy Land Experience is to communicate the gospel truth of God’s word through our exciting and moving presentations which range from the theatrical and musical to dramatic historical recreations. Performed daily on a wide range of stages these original Christmas presentations can only be seen at the Holy Land Experience! And as always our powerful "The Passion of the Christ – We Shall Behold Him" will be a highlight of your day and should not be missed. And in addition there will be touches of Christmas in some of our popular year-round shows such as "Legna" and the "Women Who Loved Jesus. Make your plans to join in the celebration today at the Holy Land Experience where the Bible comes to life.

Please note, show schedule is subject to change and not all presentations are performed daily.


What is Legna?
A hilarious comedy that features clever retellings of classic Bible stories such as “Daniel and the Lion’s Den” and “Peter and Rhoda.” A thought provoking look at God’s messengers and how they are still at work in the world today. One of the most popular shows from the Holy Land Experience that is unlike anything you have ever seen before.
Come and experience Legna; where lions talk, prison doors are opened and nothing is exactly as it seems. Legna is a dramatic presentation that stirs your heart and soul and offers a powerful reminder of God’s love. Experience the story of Legna and discover the secret for yourself.

Bethlehem’s Miracle Night

The town of Bethlehem comes alive in the Holy Land original musical "Bethlehem’s Miracle Night". Experience the hustle and bustle of a town turned upside down. Follow Mary and Joseph to the lowly stable where God gave His greatest gift of all. Feel the amazement of the shepherds as they hear the angel’s charge to find their Messiah. Join the Magi as they worship and adore the newborn King! Watch as the lives of the innkeeper and his wife are changed forever because of their encounter with the newborn Messiah. All the wonder and beauty of the season as you have never seen before, "Bethlehem’s Miracle Night" is a joyful and exciting celebration of our Savior’s birth!

The True Story of St. Nicholas

Laughs and surprises wait for you in this hilarious show, "The True Story of St. Nicholas". You will visit the tiny village of Patara and discover the amazing story of a 3rd Century bishop who learned it was better to give than receive. Hear the myths that became legends and sit on the first church council (complete with boxing gloves). This may not be exactly how you remember it but you will never forget "The True Story of St. Nicholas!"

Women Who Loved Jesus

Experience for yourself the story of four women who each share a deep bond of love for the Lord Jesus. As their stories unfold you will see the pages of the Bible come to life in this original, Holy Land Experience drama. Gain valuable insight and depth into the Scriptures as you explore their lives and learn how each one has been forever changed by their loving Savior. Their love is their testimony, poured out like fine perfume at the feet of Jesus – "Why I love Him" is the expression of that love as you’ve never seen before!

Christmas Time is Here

A brand new musical production for our 2011 Christmas Season will have you coming along with us on a Christmas Journey. Christmas Time is Here will stir memories from the past as well as putting you in that unmistakable Christmas mood for this wonderful season. From old standards, to moving ballads and songs that make you want to get up out of your seat and join in the fun – Christmas is Time Here is sure to have something for everyone. A combination of concert, drama and fun.

The Passion of the Christ – We Shall Behold Him

Experience the Passion of the Christ – We Shall Behold Him in a way that will change your life forever. New music, new scenes and new drama have been designed to put you right in the middle of the action and make you feel as if you are really a witness to the most important event in all of history! Then be witness to Jesus; returning in all His glory for His bride. See for yourself as His train fills the Temple. Come and see why this incredible Drama is our longest running and most powerful presentation. It is our prayer that once you’ve seen it you will never be the same!

Remember Me – Communion with Christ

Join us for a presentation like no other. You will be ushered to the Lord’s Table where a Disciple of Jesus will transform you back in time to that moment when Jesus and his followers shared their last meal together. You will be given the bread and the cup and allowed to partake as Jesus leads you through the significance of his sacrifice. This service is a special and precious time that you are sure to remember.!

The Great American Christmas

We cordially invite you to join the residents of Pickashaw Parish in celebrating a very special Christmas with a touch of patriotic nostalgia. The time is 1945. The war has just ended and this town is ready to welcome back the troops and start the holiday season all at the same time. So, come and join this cast of unique characters as they spend the day celebrating the many things they have to be thankful for.

Celebrate Jesus – Karaoke

Come and share your love for singing and Praise and Worship with guests from around the world. You select the song, let our MC introduce you and then wow us with your talent. A wonderful time of singing, laughter and lifting up praises to our God.


Santa Parade.

When Sat, December 3, 10:00am – 12:30pm

Where St. Petersburg, FL (map)

Description Dec. 3 – Annual Santa Holiday Parade. Parade travels through the downtown to the waterfront. Beginning at 5th St. and Central Ave. traveling to the waterfront ending at North Straub Park. Begins 10 a.m. The St. Petersburg Lions Club, The Exchange Club of Northeast St. Petersburg, Florida Central Credit Union, The Suncoasters of St. Petersburg and the City of St. Petersburg invite you to celebrate the holiday season with the sounds of marching bands, beautiful floats and most of all to welcome Santa to sunny St. Petersburg. 727-893-7441. Participation Inquiries call: Monday – Friday (8:00 – 5:00 pm) 727/525-5950. Weekends or after 5:00 pm 727/528-7763.


Christmas Jamboree

We attended this event a couple of years ago and had a blast. You can read about it at Our Homespun Holidays.

When Sat, December 10, 10am – 4pm

Where The Pinellas Pioneer Settlement, 3130 31st St. S., St. Petersburg, FL

Description Dec. 10 – Christmas Jamboree. The Pinellas Pioneer Settlement, 3130 31st St. S., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Old Time Christmas decorations, food & crafts. Free admission. 727-866-6401.


Christmas at Gaylord Palms Resort

November 16, 2011 – Jan 2, 2012

Ice slide at Gaylord Palms


ICE! will return to the Gaylord Palms Resort again this year to chill and thrill guests as part of the resort’s holiday celebration. The holiday attraction is one of the coolest and most spectacular in the nation… and it happens in sunny Orlando, Florida.

Hand-carved from nearly two-million pounds of ice, the Christmas attraction has garnered national recognition from USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Southern Living magazine, and Travel + Leisure magazine.

In its ninth year, the popular family experience gives guests a chance to visit a whimsical winter wonderland of interactive environments and larger-than-life, three-dimensional ice monuments and sculptures. The enormous structure used to house ICE! — dubbed "The Florida Fridge" — is cooled to a chilly nine degrees, making it necessary for the resort to provide over-sized parkas for visitors to wear.

After freezing your "noses and toeses," you’ll be ready to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa in the ICE! Cavern, a pre- and post-show area, where the ICE! experience continues. Here additional "Best of Florida Christmas" activities, such as family shows, atmosphere entertainment, special meals and visits with Santa take place.

Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW

A brand new "Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW" will have guests crawling through underground snow tunnels and sliding down rolling hills on the all-new 64-foot pagoda slide. Kids will be able to throw snowballs at Tai Lung from Kung Fu Panda and Lord Shen from Kung Fu Panda 2 and some of their evil henchmen.

"Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW" features real snow — 130-tons of it made fresh daily — where guests can make snowmen and forts and play in over three-feet of the cold stuff in a 55-degree atmosphere.

Holiday Hoopla

December 10, 2011

Beach & Shore Blvds.
Gulfport, FL 33707

Holiday Hoopla is a celebration of arts, crafts, foods, live music and roving holiday characters set in a waterfront atmosphere amid bright, twinkling, colorful lights, and Santa & Mrs. Claus. Stroll the decorated streets filled with up to 200 talented exhibitors and unique shops from 10am-6pm. The festival will provide shoppers with one-of-a-kind gifts that cannot be found anywhere else, and all of your holiday shopping can be done in one place!

Visitors will be enchanted by a variety of festive and fun holiday-themed music, holiday carolers, dance performances, and roving street performers. Many types of entertainment will perform during the Hoopla, from local school bands & Choral groups and local musicians to area performing arts groups. Roving performers include Dickens characters and carolers, Your Total Entertainment street artists and Spotlight Amusements will be on site with children’s amusement rides and games. Oh, yeah, and the big guy in the red suit and Mrs. Claus will be there, too, from 1-6pm, and will be available for photos with children adults and pets!

Boca Ciega Yacht Club’s, 26th Annual Lighted Christmas Boat Parade takes place following the festival. Members spend many hours planning and then decorating their boats in hopes of sharing the holiday spirit with the surrounding communities. The parade will begin by entering the Gulfport Municipal Marina at approximately 6:00pm. It will then travel past the William’s Pier in Gulfport and into the canals of Town Shores Condominiums and Pasadena Yacht Club Estates.


Holidays Around The World

Christmas at Walt Disney World 2011


Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special event held each winter on select nights at Magic Kingdom theme park. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This festive celebration is filled with live entertainment, spectacular fireworks and an oh-so-jolly holiday parade.



One of the highlights of Christmas at Disney are the Holiday Storytellers. Each country represented around the World Showcase at Epcot has a special presentation of the original of the holiday in their country and how they celebrate. We enjoyed spinning dreidels after learning about Hanukah and playing along with the Norwegians. In Norwegian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘God Jul’ (pronounced goo-you).

A Children's Choir Performs at the Candlelight Processional

Candlelight Processional

Dates: November 25, 2011 – December 30, 2011

During the holidays, Epcot theme park is transformed into an international celebration of Yuletide traditions filled with festive decorations and live entertainment. From Holidays Around The World to Candlelight Processional, delight in the sights and sounds of the season.

Candlelight Processional is a special holiday event held nightly at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot theme park as part of Holidays Around The World. The event retells the stirring story of Christmas with a special celebrity narrator † accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir.


The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Special Event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

November 10, 2011–December 7, 2011 and
December 9, 2011–January 7, 2012

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights on the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park is a breathtaking seasonal display featuring millions of glittering lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music.

The lights are so extensive you may find it hard to comprehend their magnitude. Entire buildings are blanketed in sheets of multi-colored lights, and thousands more lights form twirling carousels, heavenly angels, and even Santa and his reindeer. Approximately every 10 minutes, the lights dim and then dramatically spring to life — dynamically choreographed to traditional holiday music. You have to see the effect to believe it!

Some nights, if you truly believe in holiday magic, the show is capped off with an enchanted flurry of snow.


Snowing in Celebration, Florida


Snowfall and Events EVERY Night through December 31st *
(including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)

Nightly Snow Falls at 6, 7, 8 and 9 PM. Photos with Santa, Strolling Holiday Carolers, an Ice Rink, Entertainment and more!!!

A Celebration tradition! Join Celebration Town Center as they kick off 13th Annual Now Snowing event with a Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 26th from 5:30-9 PM. This special tree lighting event will feature live music, a special entrance by Santa Claus himself, and family fun for everyone.

Now Snowing, Central Florida’s original and premier “Snowing” event, offers an all new ice rink and a schedule filled with surprises. Now Snowing is a month long Winter Wonderland Spectacular featuring strolling Charles Dickens Carolers, photos with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, the Celebration Express train, and nightly snowfall at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 PM.

The ice rink will be open daily from 4:00-10:00 PM through January 2nd – Make sure to ask about Resident Skate Passes or multiple-day skate passes for guests.

In addition to the everyday fun at Now Snowing Nightly, join us for the Orlando Sentinel Celebration of Voices on December 3rd and you can catch a special Radio Disney Holiday concert and filled with surprise performances on December 10th.

Largo Train Rides

February 05, 2011 – February 04, 2012

101 Central Park Dr.
Largo, FL 33771

This is the little miniature railroad that could. Kids and adults can experience rides aboard 1/16th-scale replicas of trains on the 1 1/3-mile track through Largo Central Park, site of the old Pinellas County Fairgrounds and one of the city’s most popular gathering spots. Take a trip on a 1927 Amtrak F40Ph passenger train, a 1960s CSX MP15AC freight engine and a Seaboard freight engine. Public runs are held on the first full weekend of each month. "Birthday runs" can be arranged on other weekends.

Holiday Stroll

Holiday Stroll

Stroll through Storyland!

5:00 – 9:00 pm
Largo Central Park

FREE to Attend!

Come to beautiful Largo Central Park to delight in the extravagant light display as you Stroll Through Storyland.

A million LED lights (85% more energy efficient) brighten the path. The playful scenes they depict will surely dazzle you.

Ooh and ahh when we light up the tree at 7:00 pm.

Take pause at each of the picnic shelters to experience some of your favorite holiday stories.
Treat yourself with a variety of delicious festival foods and desserts.

New this year – take a photo with Santa in the life sized snow globe for $5.

Enjoy live performances on the mobile stage and other special places around the park. Entertainment will feature aerial acrobatics, dancing, singing, and puppets! Performers will include Dance & Circus Arts of Tampa Bay, LHS Madrigal Singers, LHS Band of Gold, Tutterow Dancers, Late Night Brass, Largo Smuppets and more!


All on-site parking is $5:
– Lot One (pass only)
– Lot Two (handicap only)
– Lot Three (opens at 4:45pm)
– Lot Four (opens at 4:45pm)
– Lot Five (Library staff only)
Free shuttle available to/from:
– Largo High School
Wait times vary. Average 10-20 minutes.
Last shuttle leaves Largo Central Park at 9:15 p m
Off-site parking is free:
– Largo High School
– Largo Middle School

This is a free event open to the public

Winter Wonderland

December 2nd, 2011 at 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM

This is a family friendly event.

Event Location:

George C. McGough Nature Park
11901 146th Street N
Largo , FL 33774

Winter Wonderland
Join us and the amazing Southwest Recreation staff as we
have a blast throwing snow balls with real ice shavings,
making winter crafts, going on night hikes, and roasting
s’mores by the campfire-we’re talking some serious fun
for the whole family! Come out for a night of fun, memories,
and a good old snowball toss! Call (727)518-3047 to

Cost: $5 per person, children 2 and under free.


Sunsets At Pier 60

Pier 60
10 Pier 60 Dr.
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767

The Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival is a nightly sunset celebration that takes place in Pier 60 Park on Clearwater Beach, Florida. This free family event features artisans, crafters, street performers and live musical entertainment, weather permitting.


Merry Christmas!

November 27, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411, Holidays | , , , | 1 Comment




Through a tunnel or through a mountain down a bumpy slide you have to go in order to get lost in a corn maze at Mount Dora’s Scott’s Maze Adventure’s.


Fishing pond and zip line for kids along with a truck tire playground and large traditional playground.


We had a blast! We all took turns leading the family around the maze. It was quite interesting seeing how the kids handled leading each other. We had lots of chiefs in that maze including momWinking smile.

The weather was great. It was cool and sunny. One of the things that made the maze extra fun was the games they include throughout. Our first maze was the small one it was a “fortune maze”. There were five places within the maze where you chose a finger to put the found color on. Once you get out of the maze you can look at a chart and match your fingers to a chart and find your “fortune”. Fun!


After a nice break laying on the grass soaking in the warm sun we GOT LOST, AGAIN! This time we did the large maze. It took us about two hours to get out. This maze gave us a unique  “family bonding experience”. It helped us to work better as a team. Zack started using our flagpole to mark arrows on the ground. Mike took pics of the maze map and studied it with Seth as we took turns left and right trying strategize our next turn. Dad held up the rear and Alexa and I had fun taking pictures along the way. We can’t wait to go again next year and try it in teams.



November 19, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, Once Upon A Family | , , , , | 5 Comments

Thanksgiving 2011

The holiday season is upon us and I have been on the hunt for resources to make it fun, meaningful and memorable for our family. I hope the following resources help you to make your family’s Thanksgiving holiday.

Here is a wonderful article by Family Life that will help you slow down and enjoy the celebration Teaching Life Lessons at Thanksgiving.

I wrote some time ago about the resources we have used to celebrate Thanksgiving HERE.

Check out my Autumn and it’s Holidays Board on Pinterest for even more inspiration! Here are a few of my favorites:

Try it Mom’s Caramel Apple Bites


The Old Schoolhouse Digital Holiday Supplements

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Barbara Rainey’s, Thanksgiving a Time to Remember, is a true keepsake to hand down to future generations. She speaks to my heart in this article adapted from her book Thanksgiving a Time to Remember.

The Legend of Squanto Radio Theatre Drama

Focus on the Family presents our Radio Theatre production of "The Legend of Squanto," a fascinating account of the origin of Thanksgiving and one American Indian’s journey to freedom.

Part 1

Part 2


Disney’s Family Fun website is chock full of Thanksgiving Family Fun. You will find recipes, crafts, printables, games, decorations and more. Have fun playing with your kids and making your holiday dinner table special.


You Are There (TV series 1953–1957)

The Sailing of the Mayflower

Walter Cronkite

Original Air Date:  22 November 1953

I am so excited to have found this episode on

My Audio School. Enjoy!


Here is a sweet find for Thanksgiving ideas by the Aussie Pumpkin Patch.

And last but not least a Thanksgiving tradition from my childhood growing up in the Big Apple is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs nationally on NBC-TV to an estimated 50 million viewers and is widely considered to be the "official start of the Holiday Season." It will air from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, November 24, 2011.

Happy Thanksgiving!

"O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving-kindness is everlasting."

1 Chronicles 16:34

Eat Turkey & Go Make Memories!

November 18, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411, G-Force Academy, Holidays, In The Kitchen, Once Upon A Family | , , , , | Leave a comment

*Jesus is the Reason* Operation Christmas Box 2011


What a great way to set the tone for the holidays by than by putting others first. Our family will be putting together a couple of boxes for needy kids to brighten their lives.

You are still in time to do this with your kids. You have until November 21st to drop off your boxes. To learn more visit Samaritan’s Purse.


November 17, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411, Holidays, Once Upon A Family | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

*Jesus is the Reason* World Vision Gift Catalog

Every year our family hosts a Christmas party. It is a BIG party. It has not only become a tradition for our family but for some of our friends too. It fills my heart to bless our friends with this fun night of fellowship in Jesus as they have been Jesus to us on countless occasions.

In recent years we have begun putting out a jar to collect money to donate to World Vision for the purchase of a goat and two chickens. This year we are hoping to raise funds for even more. We just ordered a free fundraising kit and extra catalogs to share at our Samaritan’s Purse, Christmas Child Box Party. Click below to order your own catalog(s) and fundraising kit.



You can also sponsor a child. It’s like adopting one. You not only give financially but you can also pray together as a family and write letters to your sponsored child. What a meaningful and sweet gift to the family for Christmas, to “adopt” a child by sponsorship in the name of JESUS. Joseph “adopted” Jesus! How is your family celebrating JESUS, the reason for the season?

Our family is going to sell cookie dough to help raise funds for our World Vision Gift Catalog.  It’s perfect timing for cookie dough with the holiday season right around the corner. You will have hot, fresh baked, homemade cookies within minutes. Our family is making a variety of homemade dough and mixes.  Would you prayerfully consider buying a tub of cookie dough from us. If you are interested leave a comment below and I will send you the information. Help us help them!


November 10, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411, Holidays, On My Heart | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homeschool Parent’s Night Out with Todd Wilson of Familyman Ministries

I wanted to share with a an event that is being hosted by the PPEA-Pinellas Parent Educators Association. It is now open to non-members. Alf and I are going. It’s only $3! We’ve heard him speak at FPEA Convention. I blogged about it. You can read it by clicking HERE. He’s hilarious and real! He wrote the book LIES Homeschooling Moms Believe. It will make a fun date night. Feel free to pass it on.


Happy Schooling!


Todd Wilson
"The Familyman"


“Reminding Dads of What’s Important”


When was the last time you smiled or really laughed? clip_image004

You started this homeschooling thing because you thought it would be fun. But somewhere along the journey, the fun vanished, leaving behind frustration and feelings of failure.

The problem is not that you don’t work hard enough, but that you’ve forgotten what really matters.

Join us as Todd Wilson reminds us and helps us laugh again. This will be an incredible evening for both homeschooling dads and moms.

You’ll be glad you came. clip_image004[1]

View video interview with Todd and his wife.


Thursday, October 20th-7pm

Grace Brethren Church

6300 62nd AVE N

Pinellas Park

$3 per adult-no Child Care available-please reserve your own babysitter as due to space this is an adult only event. Nursing babies are welcome.

Sign up now as space is limited by visiting


*For any further information or questions contact the event coordinator. Her email link is on the sign up link.

October 14, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411, G-Force Academy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Organized Optimist: Family Mega Chart

I decided to post a series of how we are getting Organized as a family. Check out my Pinterest Board: Organized Optimist to see where I get my inspiration.

I designed this chart to have all we need to know and do in one central place for all the family to see. We have tried it for a month or so. After a few tweaks we will have a new and improved one with color I will send it to print and get laminated at Staples. I plan on using wet erase markers with it.


This chart is 16 x 20. It is a week at glance that includes a spot for our daily family schedule, chores, the zones of the house that get blessed each and a big box for the family scripture memory focus of the week. It has a column for everyone to write their to do’s or places to be. Service Opportunities are where the kids can see the above and beyond available for hire. Weekly chores get rotated on a weekly basis. More on how we do it all in other posts.

happy Homemaking!

October 8, 2011 Posted by | Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force Academy, In The Kitchen, MOMtime, Moni's Homeplace, Organized Optimist | , , , | Leave a comment

Florida Fall Family Fun 411-OCTOBER

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Can you sense it? The holiday season has begun. At least for me it has. We’ve been busy getting our home ready for foster parenting and this week I can finally focus on planning some fun outings for our family. I hope you find this Fall 411 helpful and are able to take advantage of some these activities. This in no way is a complete list of activities going in all of Florida. I just pick the ones that tickle my fancy and are mostly affordable and family friendly.

Leave a comment to add you own ideas and especially if you’ve done any these. I will be adding things as I come across them and following up as we do some of these activities. To receive blog posts directly in your inbox click subscribe box to the right.

Happy Florida Fall Ya’ll!

City of Gulfport’s 101st Birthday Bash



Friday, October 7

Saturday, October 8

Celebration Kicks Off Fifth Annual Oktoberfest with Falling Leaves

On October 7th and 8th, Celebration Town Center transforms before your very eyes as the falling leaves of the season drop on Market Street in the all new Fall Festival known as Oktoberfest. Listen for the rustling of leaves, relax by the lakeside and rock your troubles away, or enjoy the live music with family and friends in this one-of-a-kind themed extravaganza.

On Friday October 7th Oktoberfest will be celebrated in the old-world German tradition featuring the sounds of Dan Witucki & Heimatland Musikanten. Come join in on the interactive live show featuring everything from yodeling to crowd sing-a-long fun.

Then, come back on October 8th as Celebration Town Center welcomes Central Florida’s premier rock and blues band-Mo Geetz and opening act, the incomparable Jordyn Kane. Lead by Micah Read, Mo Geetz band has been featured in both local and national media and was named one of Florida’s top artists by one prominent local newspaper.

Hop on a hayride, ride the Celebration Express Train, dance to terrific live music, paint a pumpkin, or just stroll and enjoy the crisp fall air and enjoy the great savings at the lakeside promenade.

Leaves fall daily at 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 PM.

Parking and Admission are FREE!
Shuttle Bus service is available Saturday only from 215 Celebration Place, Celebration, FL 34747

There is something for everyone at this one of a kind Fall Festival presented by Lexin and sponsored in part by Florida Distributing Company, The Mona Lisa Suite Hotel, Confetti of Celebration, Celebration Sanitation, Axis Magazine, The Celebration Town Tavern, and Yuengling. For more information, visit us at celebrationtowncenter.com

Come early, Stay Late, and have fun at Celebration’s 5th Annual Oktoberfest!!!!





Ruskin Family Drive In

Admission is $5.00 per person, This is for 2 Movies. Children 5 to 8 years old are $1.00 per child. Children 4 years old and younger are free with their own parents. Prices are subject to change without notice. We only accept cash, no checks or credit cards allowed

Now Playing –
September 23 to October 13
Friday thru Thursday

Movie 1:
Dolphin Tale
(7:45 pm) (PG)
Inspired by the amazing true story of a brave dolphin and the compassionate strangers who band together to save her life after being caught in a crab trap, severely damaging her tail. Rated PG for mild thematic elements.

Running time: 1 hour 53 minutes.

Movie 2:
The Smurfs

( 9:40pm) (PG)
The smurfs make their first trip to the big screen in this live-action/animated family comedy. When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the smurfs out of their village, they are forced through a portal, out of their world and into ours, landing in the middle of New York’s Central Park. Rated PG for mild rude humor and action. Running time: 1 hour 42minutes.


First Friday Friends & Fun  

Morean Arts Center for Clay, 420 22nd St. S. 6 p.m. Your chance to play in clay for one low price the first Friday each month. Note: all classes will take place at the Morean Arts Center for Clay, 420 22nd St. S. Individuals – $30; Two people – $50. All materials included in cost. 727-822-7872 or www.moreanartscenter.org


Sunrise Run-Walk-Wave

October 8, 2011

Vinoy Park, 501 5th Ave. N.E., 7 a.m. Registration. Walks begin at 7:15 a.m. Get your weekend off to an active start with a 5K run, 1 mile fun run or 1 mile walk to benefit local charities. Children’s art tent, inflatables, live music and refreshments. Register online at www.active.com or at 4th St. Chick-fil-A, 4241 4th St. N. and receive a free chicken sandwich or kids’ meal! 737-822-7475 or http://www.firsttothecross.com


Saturday Morning Market – *Returns in October* 

Al Lang Staclip_image002dium parking lot, 1st Ave. S & 1st St., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit the largest farmer’s market in Florida for a variety of fresh and organic produce, gourmet baked goods, prepared foods. plants and flowers, arts and crafts or a variety of handcrafted items. The market is held each Saturday from Oct. 2 through May 28www.saturdaymorningmarket.com

October 8 – Gulf Coast Jazz Quartet
October 15 – Pete Merrigan & Friends
October 22 – Ben Bryan Band
October 29 – Kevin Wilder
November 5 – Al Berard Cajun Combo
November 12 – TBA
November 19 – Steve Arvey Band
November 26 – Empty Hats
December 3 – Charles Morris Band


Pops in the Park

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Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 7:00 PM
Vinoy Park

Pack a picnic basket and enjoy a free Pops in the Park Concert under the stars with The Florida Orchestra. Guest Conductor Daniel Boico is on the podium for a program of fun and familiar favorites by Brahms, Dvorak, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky and Strauss, along with selections from The King and I, The Muppet Movie and other favorite popular fare…with the evening ending in Tchaikovsky’s explosive 1812 Overture.

Canned Food Donations: Concertgoers at both Park Concerts are invited to bring canned food donations for Tampa Bay Harvest for their food bank services in the Tampa Bay area.

Young Artists in Pre-Concert Performance at Vinoy Park: The Vinoy Park Concert will have a pre-concert performance from 6 pm to 6:30 pm by two finalists from VSA Florida Young Soloists Competition, who will be representing Florida in the national competition in Washington, DC later this year. Serving the entire state, VSA Florida provides people with disabilities the opportunity to learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts. For further information, call 813.558.5095 or visit www.vsafl.org.

Sat, Oct 22, 7 pm Vinoy Park

Vinoy Park is located at 501 5th Avenue Northeast, St. Petersburg, FL. For directions on how to get to 5th Avenue NE, click here.

Sun, Oct 23, 7 pm Compton Park
Compton Park
is located at 16101 Compton Drive, Tampa, FL. For directions on how to get to Compton Park, click here.


Fall Jubilee
Saturday, October 22
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free – donations support Heritage Village operations

The 33rd Heritage Village Fall Jubilee is the first place to search for gifts for the upcoming holiday season. Giant flea market and book sale a special feature. Handmade holiday crafts, paintings, jewelry, stained glass and wooden treasures are among the offerings as well as musical entertainment, tours of historical homes, and demonstrations of traditional crafts. Free, but donations are accepted to support Heritage Village operations. (727) 582-2123 . (Interested vendors can call (727) 582-2233.)

Free parking and shuttle to event entrance is located off 119th Street between Ulmerton and Walsingham Roads. Free, but donations support Heritage Village operations.

Fall Jubilee Flyer clip_image001[6]                       Flea Market and Book Sale clip_image001[7]


Pumpkin Patch Express

October 29 & 30, 2011

All Aboard for the annual Pumpkin Patch Express! This popular trip takes you to our patch of pumpkins. Children are invited to pick their own pumpkin to take home. Everyone is also invited to participate in the hay ride, Lincoln log building, crafts and other activities offered at no additional charge!


The Pumpkin Patch Express departs at 9:00 AM, 12:00 PM and 3 PM on October 29 & 30.

Boarding begins 30 minutes before departure.

Be sure to allow extra travel time for traffic, parking, ticket pickup and boarding.

The Museum is located 25 miles north of Sarasota and 35 miles south of Tampa off Interstate 75 at exit 229. Our physical address is:

    12210 83rd St East
    Parrish, FL 34219

For more information visit The Florida Railroad Museum


$5 Saturdays at the Museum!

St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 2nd Ave.NE. Trace how St. Petersburg became a city. Regular museum admission: $9, ages 60 and up: $7, Students w/ID: $5, Children 7-17: $5, under 6: FREE. Rates for a family of 4: only $24 (any additional child only $2). 727-894-1052 or www.spmoh.org for museum hours. 


What you need to know to start planning your trip to LEGOLAND Florida, opening in Winter Haven Oct. 15, 2011.

LEGOLAND Florida is an 150-acre, full-day family theme park designed for families with children ages two to 12. It features more than 50 rides, shows and interactive attractions, restaurants, shopping and botanical gardens.

LEGOLAND Florida is located in Winter Haven, 45 miles southwest of Orlando and 45 minutes from downtown Tampa.

One Legoland Way
Winter Haven, FL 33884

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Sunday in October.

General Admission:
Adults 13-49: $75, plus tax
Children 3-12 or Seniors 60-plus: $65, plus tax
Children under 3: Free

Check the website for special pass prices.
Parking: $12
Information: 877-350-LEGO(5346)


Guided Tram Tours

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. 1101 Country Club Way S., Tues. through Sat. 1 p.m. and Sat. at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Ranger guided tram tour through Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. 727-893-7326 or www.stpete.org/boyd


Jungle Boogie  

Boyclip_image002[9]d Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S., 11:15 a.m. Every Wednesday & Thursday, teach your preschooler about Florida’s natural ecosystems, animals and plants with a romp through Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Ages 3-4. Cost: $2.50/child; parents free. 727-893-7326 or www.stpete.org/boyd


Saturday Guided Hikes  

Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Island Drive N.E., 9 to 11 a.clip_image004m. Bring water and a snack for the 2 hour hike through the coastal mangrove and upland ecosystems of the Preserve. Closed toed shoes and a hat are recommended. For ages 6 & up. Reserve your space by 2 p.m. on the Friday prior to the hike of your choice. Free. 727-453-6500 or http://weedonislandpreserve.eventbrite.com 

October 1, 8, 15, 22


Saturday Guided Nature Walks 

Fort De Soto Park, 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, 10 to 11:15 a.m. Enjoy the beauty of Ft. De Soto Park with a nature walk for the entire family including a guided Beach Walk. Free. Call 727-552-1862 for tour information, meeting locations or to register.   www.pinellascounty.org/park/05_Ft_Desoto.htm


Say Good-By to Summer Heat and Hello to St. Petersburg Preservation’s October Music and Movies in the Park!

There isn’t a more beautiful spot then the downtown St. Pete waterfront in which to sit and relax while enjoying a picnic and listening to live music as the sun goes down and you are getting ready to watch a classic movie on the big screen! If you miss October Movies in the Park you won’t have another chance until May!

North Straub Park, Beach Dr. between 4th & 5th Aves. N.E. Live music at 6 followed by movies at dark. Bring a blanket and picnic dinner or purchase one from Saturday Morning Market vendors. Then settle back for an evening of music and a movie under the stars.

Convenient parking located at the BayWalk garage and the Pier parking lots. 727-824-7802 or www.stpetepreservation.org

October 6 Major League (1989) – A great comedy starring Wesley Snipes and Tom Berenger. Music by local favorite Rebekah Pulley.

October 13 Shane (1953) – The Oscar award winning western classic starring Alan Ladd and Jack Palance. Music by Hot Rod Hornets.

October 20 Key Largo (1948) – The classic with Humphreget ready for Halloween, starring Alec Baldwin & Geena Davis. Music by Daniel O’Ryan.y Bogart, Edward G. Robinson & Lauren Bacall. Music by Clearwater Bluegrass Review.

October 27 Beetlejuice (1988) – What better ready way to get ready for Halloween, starring Alec Baldwin & Geena Davis. Music by Daniel O’Ryan.

*I am not familiar with most of these movies. I advise you do google search before you take your kids out to see them. It might nake a nice date  night though.


Saturdays@the Morean
Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Families with children ages 5 through 10 can explore art with open art stations and take-home projects from on-site instructors. Sponsored by Bank of America. Free. 727-822-7872 or


Planetarium Shows 

The Planetarium at SPC – Gibbs campus, 6605 5th Ave. N., Natural Sciences Bldg., SC 205. Friclip_image002[11]day nights, 7 and 8:15 p.m. Cast your eyes toward the skies and view the stars over Tampa Bay in summer. Weather permitting, the show moves to the roof, where you can see Saturn’s majestic rings. Free admission and parking. No reservations required. For ages 5 and up; children under 5 cannot be admitted to the planetarium. 727-341-4320 or http://www.spcollege.edu/spg/planetarium.htm.


Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival

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Admission: General Park Admission
October 1 through November 14

Savor unique foods and fine wines from many other exotic locales. It’s a culinary and cultural potpourri, complete with tasty sounds from the concert series and over 20 international food and wine marketplace

Marketplace Menus & Prices

Eat to the Beat Concerts

The concerts, which are included with Epcot admission, will be at the America Gardens Theatre nightly at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m.


Here are are some resources to make your trip tasty and educational:

Pick up Your Marketplace Discovery Passport
Visit the Festival Welcome Center or any Disney Vacation Club Information Center in the Park to receive your Marketplace Discovery Passport. Use it to travel to a world of flavors at all of the international marketplaces around World Showcase.

When you dine at an international marketplace, you’ll receive a stamp on your passport. Each marketplace has its own unique stamp design, so you can return home with a fun keepsake.

The gals at World of Learning have made a fun and educational guide to this year’s festival. Print and prepare it before you leave. It’s small enough to tuck away in your backpack when you are going to get on some rides. Click Icon to download.

2011 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Tasting Guide

Indulge in the ultimate "Great Taste Test" at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival using our FREE Tasting Guide! This booklet is designed to supplement your family’s experience at the Festival with some fun facts, basic geographical and culinary information on each location represented and some simple mapwork. Perfectly sized to easily carry in the park, our Tasting Guide is arranged geographically and includes menus for each location with an accompanying Great Taste Test. Happy Tasting!


Maze Logo

Want a place to take the family, go with friends, Church groups, Scouts or educational groups? Scott’s Maze Adventures offers a unique and fun time in the country!
Come and explore Central Florida’s only Maze Adventure Park. Located just 30 miles northwest of Orlando, Long & Scott Farms is just a short drive from anywhere in Central Florida.
Our many attractions include a six acre Corn Maze, half-acre Mini Corn Maze, Mist Maze, Labyrinth, 60 foot Super Slide, picnic and play area.

We have a new and challenging maze each fall! Journey through seven acres of live field corn with miles of paths where you will find pictures, clues and games to make learning FUN!

For Information on Admission and Pricing visit Scott’s Maze Adventures




Who Do You Think You Are?

St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 2nd Ave. N.E., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn how to trace your family tree, exclip_image002[13]plore your roots, and figure out who you are and where you came from with former St. Petersburg Times genealogy columnist Donna Murray (Allen). You’ll learn how to obtain documents, military records, research strategies and sort through conflicting information. And you’ll find out how to navigate the web, forums, message boards and find free web sites with Internet Genealogy. (Participants must bring a laptop). $50 per person/series of 4 classes. 727-894-1052 x 200 or James@spmoh.org for information or to register. Registration deadline October 8. www.spmoh.org


clip_image004[4]Williams Park Wednesdays Picnic & Music Series

Williams Park, 330 2nd Ave. N. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Take a midday break under the shade of Williams Park every Wednesday through September 28! Pack a lunch or purchase one from nearby restaurants and enjoy live music, games including Corn Hole Toss, and more! Downtown St. Pete…it’s the place to be! Sponsored by St. Petersburg Parks & Recreation. 727-893-7441


Hunsader Farms 20th Annual Pumpkin Festival


Oct. 15 & 16 – 22 & 23 – 29 & 30, 2011

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

ADMISSION $8, Children 12 and under are free PARKING $5

Everyday at the Pumpkin Festival is loads of fun and consists of:

100+ Craft Booths • Live Music • Pumpkins • Charity Pumpkin Games • Pioneer Trades Village • Hayrides • Pony Rides • Chainsaw Sculptor • Corn Maze Scarecrow Displays • Homemade Ice Cream • Farm Roasted Sweet Corn • Food Galore • Pumpkin Pie • Pumpkin Cannon-hourly• Corn Cannons• Rock Climbing Wall• Power Jump • Petting Zoo • Barnyard Playground • Face Painting • Children’s Train Ride • Juggler • Fresh Produce • Bi-Plane Rides • Remote Controlled Airplanes • Butterfly Experience • Frog Jumping Championship

The admission price includes: craft show, live shows, musical entertainment, hayrides, Pumpkin Cannon viewing, Chainsaw sculptor, playground, petting zoo and Pioneer trades village


Sarasota Pumpkin Festival

October 28-30, 2011

Sarasota County Fairgrounds‎

3000 Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34237-5333

(941) 953-4359‎

Food Booths,Vendor Booths, Games, Rides, Stage, Power, Pumpkin Wall, Hay Rides, Food Vendors, Haunted House, Rock Climbing, Wall of Pumpkins, Concert, Pumpkin Patch, Shows


October 7, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force Academy, Holidays | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Our Homeschool Planners-Part 1

Our family celebrates the start of the new school year by having a special date with each child with just mom and dad. It’s usually a dessert date. A sweet start to the new school year! We talk to them about what they are interested in learning about, their struggles, their strength’s. After the date hubby and I take time to write out a letter of blessing to them.

Alexa 2011-12

We write them another letter at the end of the school year. I am trying to be diligent in sending actual pictures to print on a monthly basis to add to their personal yearbook at the end of the school year.I will include scans of sample of their artwork and special assignments. I have a thermal book binder so I may try using that for textural book. ‘We’ll keep you posted of our progress.

Alexa 2011-12 Blessing 

I wanted to make their portfolios more of a keepsake, a treasury of their favorite and things they are most proud of. We include pics and stats and they get to fill it out themselves. I enjoy digital scrapbooking and have used freebies from Shabby Princess.

Alexa 2011-12 Favorite Things

Setting Goals

 Alexa 2011-12 Goals

We set goals together with the child and then we pray for them.

Alexa 2011-12 journal page

They love having their own calendar to fill in.

Alexa 2011-12 Sept

Monthly Reading Log

Alexa 2011-12 reading log

Weekly Lesson Log

Alexa 2011-12 lesson log

During the Thanksgiving break they have a journal page to write in what they are thankful for and to help them think of ways they can keep Christ in Christmas.

Alexa 2011-12 thanksgiving-christmas break journal page

October 6, 2011 Posted by | Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force Academy, Once Upon A Family | , , , , | Leave a comment

Compartment Food Craze!


I thought I was going all out with my kids lunch when I bought these trays some time ago. Then I saw the muffin tin craze. I loved the idea! I was looking for a way to have better portion control especially for our snacks. and this has been a God send.

What is a Muffin Tin Meal?
Pretty simple here. It’s a meal served in a muffin tin. For
Muffin Tin Mondays we make them for our kids, but anyone can have a muffin tin meal! A muffin tin is also known as a muffin pan, cupcake tin or cupcan pan and for our purposes here, we also use silicone and paper baking cups, pans and tins.

But even that pales in comparison to the Bento. Simply put Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. S6300500

Now the fun or crazy fun comes from a character bento. This style of Bento is called kyaraben. The food is made to look like characters.

They are so stinkin’ cute!

Read, learn, and be amazed. Maybe you will even be inspired to try something new for your family’s lunch box.

Calvin & Hobbes a family favorite!


From Wikipedia

Bento can be very elaborately arranged in a style called kyaraben or "character bento". Kyaraben is typically decorated to look like popular Japanese cartoon (anime) characters, characters from comic books (manga), or video game characters. Another popular bento style is "oekakiben" or "picture bento", which is decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items such as flowers and plants. Contests are often held where bento arrangers compete for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements.

I would not eat this! It’s just wrong to make THAT face into food! LOL!

From Wikipedia:

There are similar forms of boxed lunches in the Philippines (Baon), Korea (Dosirak), Taiwan (Biandang), and India (Tiffin). Also, Hawaiian culture has adopted localized versions of bento featuring local tastes after over a century of Japanese influence in the islands.

         A typical bento                                    Bento served at a restaurant in Japan

I wanted to try this at least once because it is too time consuming for this homeschool mom. As I searched the wonderful www. I found some doable Americanized versions of this fun food.

Check these sites:

Lunch In a Box

Lunches Fit For a Kid

Not Exactly Bento


Happy Little Bento

Ohayo Bento




Photo by Bentolicious

Happy Eating!

September 15, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, In The Kitchen | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Disney Video Planner

Disney now has a nifty new feature to enhance your Disney vacation planning, My Disney Video Planner. After answering a few simple questions it will automatically put together for you a customized video that will show you all you need to know to get ready for your upcoming vacation.


disney custom maps

Like the FREE Disney Customized Maps You can save time by planning ahead your itinerary. But by far my favorite thing about these tools is that they make great FREE souvenirs!

Have a Magical Day!

August 23, 2011 Posted by | Disney Fun, Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411 | , | Leave a comment

Summer School = Fun!

I love History! Get a daily dose with

 This Day in History”.

This is a quick and easy way to keep

learning over the summer with your

kids. Let the kids pick an event that

is interesting to them and research

it. Share it with Dad at the dinner


God’s world News also has a nice

timeline style daily history.


Happy Summer Schooling!


June 10, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411, G-Force Academy, Once Upon A Family | , , , | Leave a comment

Spring has Sprung!

The kids and I are planning our garden projects this week. Everyone is choosing the plants they want to grow and areas that they would like to fix up. I drew a picture of what I want to work on.

The planning and dreaming has led us to learn lots of new things like Self Watering Container Gardens and Worm Composting.

In a few weeks Strawberry U-Pick Season will start and we will be picking lots and lots of berries this season! My girlfriend Betty, whom I affectionately call Bettypedia, will be teaching me how to can my jams. Last year we tried freezer jam and that was crazy delicious. Canning will help me to not only learn a new skill but have fresh jam year round that doesn’t require refrigeration.

Check out Betty’s blog Little Farm in the Big City

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Visit the University of Florida Extension site for help in your lawn and garden. click on your county.

Here is a listing of classes offered to our community. I want to attend a composting class. They give you a FREE composting bin and rain barrel with the classes!


What better place to get in the mood for spring gardening than to attend a local garden festival.


We attended some popular local festivals and markets while Abuelita was visiting


We saw lots of beautiful and inspiring ideas to use in our own gardening adventures. What better combo than shabby chic and country all rolled into one?

From trash to terrific! Look at these wind chimes made out of kitchen lovelies. Absolutely love the the recycled glass ware. At one time they refreshed someone with a cool beverage now they bring refreshments to someone’s garden. But my very favorite are the spoon plant markers. So shabby! So chic!





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My peeps trying to keep up with my excited pace, Koi fish, and some retro vintage planters made from old LP’s. Groovy!


My sweet garden fairy discovered these unique planters made cement in various shapes. check out the cool hanging planters made from some kind of recycled material. I’m thinking of sewing on of these with grain or coffee sacks or better yet, that weed barrier material.


Each kid was given a free butterfly attracting plant.


Stacked pots and pvc pipes with holes in it make great vertical planters, stacked plates and bowls are used here as bird feeders and I guess some water can  go on the dish and the feed in the bowl. How cute are these little glass vases hanging from string that has been embellished with beads and shells?!


We made great memories and came home inspired to learn more about innovative ways to plant and decorate around our yard and home.


Happy Gardening!

May 2, 2011 Posted by | Familia, Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411 | , | Leave a comment

Calm For My Anxious Heart

Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment

I received a free eBook download offer for the book Calm my Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow from Money Saving Mom in my inbox today. I recently cried out to the Lord to lift my spirits. I felt bogged down with too many to do’s while dealing with a week long cold.

I just read the first two pages and I am convinced that I have the unholy habit of discontent. I have allowed myself to be consumed by lies. I had been feeling anxious about running out of time with my kids and questioning if I have done enough to make an impact for Christ in their lives never mind the academics! I suspect most homeschooling moms of teens feel this way. I felt overwhelmed and defeated.

Here’s a quote from the book:

”…like a horse with blinders on only seeing the dirty road straight ahead. She never raised her gaze upward to God or counted her blessings. She had a blurred perspective, an unholy habit of discontent.”

I, I feel, I think, I, I, I! Everywhere I go there I am! the enemy of my soul and family waits to whisper lies that rob me of my peace and effectiveness in my daily calling to serve my family. BUT GOD, OUTSCREAMED THOSE LIES! Like Holy thunder making my heart quiver in reverence and repentance.

It reminds me of the scene in Lord of the Rings where Gandalf gets loud, and big to shake some sense into Bilbo. “BILBO BAGGINS! Do not take me for some conjuror of cheap tricks! I am not trying to rob you. I’m trying to help you..” He had to let go of the ring that has ensnared him. Once He had his attention, Gandalf bent down and Bilbo ran into his arms with a sorrowful heart. Is that not how our Lord is with is HIs children?


Gandalf: "Bilbo Baggins!"


[The very air seems to shake as Gandalf draws himself up to full height. His voice thunders throughout Bag End.]

Gandalf: "Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks. I am not trying to rob you. I’m trying to help you."


[Bilbo starts weeping. He stumbles towards Gandalf, who embraces him gently.]



Gandalf: "All your long years we’ve been friends. Trust me as you once did, hmm? Let it go."



The enemy is the one who almost robbed me! I forgot to remember to fix my gaze on Christ, to trust Him with the sum of my kid’s lives, and to be free to just have fun with them.

Even though I am a little stunned by this revelation, I am humbled and filled with praise that my Lord would deliver to me the answer to my prayer, quickly and with a freebie book by the woman that I am already reading. Her book Intimate Issues and it is wonderful. I don’t have a kindle but was happy to see that you can download a free pc version, which I did. Hope you enjoy it.


8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Phil 4:8

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Favorites and Cool Finds, On My Heart | Leave a comment

Calvary Couponista Fellowship

There has been a growing interest in couponing in our area. A lot of my Facebook friends were posting their shopping trip savings and a lot more (including myself) were wanting to learn and asking lots of questions. I asked a few ladies form our church if they would share with others what the y know. Within a month we put together a meeting. I have learned much more. I learned a lot more. Our panel of Couponistas all did their couponing different from each other. Their different way of organizing their coupons helped me a lot. I am still trying to figure what will work best for me. What we all had in common is our love for our Lord Jesus and wanting to help and encourage each other to be better stewards, wives and moms.

One of my top five strength’s is Input. You can read my earlier post about Strength’s here. Input goes along perfectly with couponing. Here’s why:


You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information — words, facts, books, and quotations — or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls, or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away. Why are they worth storing? At the time of storing it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don’t feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It’s interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day some of it will prove valuable.

Inquisitive: learning about couponing did not intimidate me, it energizes me

Collect things and information: hello! I’m collecting coupons and information off of websites and blogs

Acquiring and storing: This is the beautiful thing, after a few months I can donate my expired coupons to military bases

With all this said I put together lots of information that was shared at our meeting and then some! Here are the files for you to download. There is a lot of 411 on the internet on couponing. I tried to give credit to the places I received info from. I hope it helps you on your journey.

Happy Shopping!



February 6, 2011 Posted by | Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411, In The Kitchen, Moni's Homeplace, Printables | Leave a comment


Have you heard of WOWIO? some time ago I was fortunate enough to find them when they were offering some very cool hands on books as pdf downloads. I was going through my files and found them. I decided to check if WOWIO had any new good freebies.

They do have some interesting books sponsored by The Red Cross but not the ones I downloaded. However, you can read them online or you can buy the download for only $1.99. I hope to use some of them this semester. Check them out!

BTW, you might have to setup a free account to access these.

Happy Schooling!


Book cover: Great Ancient Egypt Projects You Can Build Yourself by Carmella Van Vleet Book cover: Tools of the Ancient Romans: A Kid's Guide to the History and Science of Life in Ancient Rome by Rachel Dickinson Book cover: Tools of the Ancient Greeks: A Kid's Guide to the History and Science of Life in Ancient Greece by Kris Bordessa

Book cover: Tools of Native Americans: a Kid's Guide to the History and Culture of the First Americans by Kim Kavin Book cover: Great Colonial America Projects You Can Build Yourself by Kris Bordessa Book cover: Great Civil War Projects You Can Build Yourself by Maxine Anderson

Book cover: Great Pioneer Projects You Can Build Yourself by Rachel Dickinson Book cover: Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions You Can Build Yourself by Maxine Anderson Book cover: Tools of Navigation: A Kid's Guide to the History and Science of Finding Your Way by Rachel Dickinson

January 28, 2011 Posted by | Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force Academy | Leave a comment

Geography-Kerala, India

Today we received our first letter from our Gospel for Asia son. How exciting! We picked him because he looks like our youngest son and he shares the same birthday as Alf.

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“What a Cutey!”

Sponser a child at Gospel For Asia.


“Isn’t his handwriting and alphabet beautiful?!

In his letter he mentioned monsoon rains and the paddy cultivation. Huh? What’s a paddy? The picture Nikhil colored for us mentioned traditional boat races. What is that like? Inquiring minds want to know! Hello Google!

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What an excellent use of color coordination and he didn’t color outside the lines!

The kids and I all gathered around the ‘puter and had an impromptu social studies lesson. And guess what?! I didn’t plan it, LOL! Gather your family and learn about Kerala India, “God’s own Country” with us. BTW, God owns all the earth, not just India!

Happy Schooling!

Beautiful scenery and lots of rain!

What hard workers these people are. All this for rice. I am so blessed to have Publix.

Their hands are so skilled.

Below is what we read from good ole Wikipedia on their yearly festival called Onam. This is where the boat races are held. check out the video too!

Onam (Malayalam: ഓണം) is the largest festival in the Indian state of Kerala. It falls during the first month of the Malayalam calendar which is Chingam (August–September) and marks the homecoming of the legendary King Maveli. The festival lasts for ten days and is linked to many elements of Kerala’s culture and tradition. Intricate flower carpets, elaborate banquet lunch, snake boat races, Puli Kali, and the kaikottikkali dance all play a part in the festival.

The most important things about Onam are the onakkodi, the new clothes worn on this day and onam sadya, a feast which is quite elaborate. This is usually a feast served on banana leaves and serves rice along with at least an array of 4 dishes. Traditional pickles and papadam are also served. Dessert is usually ‘payasam’, a sweet dish made of milk, sugar and other traditional Indian savories.

During Onam, people create a multi-coloured floral decoration on the ground in the front of their home called pookkalam. Young children especially girls are often entrusted with the task of gathering and laying out the flowers in elaborate patterns. Competitions are held on onam day to create this floral design. It is usually 1.5 m in Diameter usually in circular shape. A lamp is usually placed as part of the design. In the recent years, the floral designs have evolved from the traditional circular shape to unique designs depicting different cultural and social aspects of Kerala life.

The Vallamkali (the snake boat race) is another event that is synonymous with Onam. Well-known races include the Aranmula Boat Race and the Nehru Trophy Boat Race. About 100 oarsmen row huge and graceful snake boats and men and women come from far and near to watch the snake boats skim through the water.


I’ve never seen such a large boat. Looks like a great time visit Keral, India.


All we needed to know in one video!

January 20, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force Academy, Holidays | Leave a comment


I went to a coupon workshop by True Couponing last month. A few things spoke to my heart while I was there:

  1. Bringing my family’s $600 food budget to $200. This blesses my husband!
  2. How funny, vibrant, exciting and informative the presenters were. They should have a TV show!
  3. The idea that I can bless others from my stockpile. This made my heart skip a beat. I love giving to others! They are a ministry! Their tag line is “Savings for Yourself, Blessings for Others”
  4. The sense of community that this has created.

Even though it has been stressful  getting started, I welcome the challenge. If others can do it so can I! I also have goals for the money saved; college tour travel, Washington DC, Independent Christian Film Festival in San Antonio, Disney Cruise, FPEA Convention, and the list goes on!

Here is a picture of my first shopping trip to Publix. I paid $45 for $175 worth of groceries. My husband and I left that store so fast. It felt like highway robbery in reverse. We were the ones that got away with something! All that cereal was not only FREE I made money on it! I am now a Couponista!


If you are in the Tampa Bay/Orlando area and want to learn more about couponing attend a True Couponing Workshop. For other areas Just Google and You Tube it. There is so much info out there your head will spin. When you google it make sure to put your location in because stores vary by location and you want to find someone who is blogging the deals in your area.

Here are some of my favorite sites for couponing and some that friends have told me about. Put them in your favorites file.

True Couponing

I Heart Publix

Southern Savers

Deal Seeking Mom

My Sweet Savings

Money Saving Madness

Couponing 101

Couponing to Disney (a girl after my own heart. She’s saving for Disney trips!)

Addicted to Saving

I am a Proverbs 31 woman!

Happy Couponing!

January 11, 2011 Posted by | Favorites and Cool Finds, In The Kitchen | 1 Comment

Prep and Landing

Tonight ABC will be showing Disney’s first tv holiday special, Prep and Landing, a 30 minute movie about an elite team of elves that prepare everything for Santas arrival. To view a trailer and lots of funny shorts CLICK HERE

For lots of crafts and activities to do with your family in relation to this movie CLICK HERE

Happy Watching!

December 8, 2009 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds | Leave a comment

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