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

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

Florida Family Fun 411-November 2011

There are lots and lots of great events for families to enjoy this month. I might have to split it this 411 into a few posts it’s so big. As always I post what tickles my fancy, is family and budget friendly.

If you have any other events like this please post it by leaving a comment at the end of this post. I would also like to hear about it if you attended any of these events especially if you blogged about it.

*These are not listed in chronological order because that is time consuming and I want to get out and have some fun with my peeps!



November 2011

Free Museum Admission Weekend for Bank of America Customers

Saturday Nov. 5, Dec. 3 & Sunday Nov. 6, Dec. 4

Free admission to participating museums for Bank of America Customers! (includes science centers, zoos, botanical gardens, etc.) and more on the first weekend of every month (Check with your local Museum for available days and times)

Dania Beach

IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum


Young At Art Children’s Museum

Fort Lauderdale

Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale

Museum of Discovery & Science


Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Science and History



Miami Art Museum

Miami Children’s Museum

Miami Science Museum

Museum of Contemporary Art


Miami Beach

Bass Museum of Art


Orange County Regional

History Center

Orlando Museum of Art

The Mennello Museum

of American Art

St. Petersburg

Florida Holocaust Museum

Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg


Tampa Museum of Art

West Palm Beach

South Florida Science Museum

Here are some neat Amazon Kindle FREEBIES. I don’t own a Kindle but I save these on my Kindle for PC.


Circle of Friends Cookbook – 25 Savory Pie Recipes [Kindle Edition]

Gooseberry Patch (Author)


Holy Bible, GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) (with direct verse lookup and book and chapter navigation) [Kindle Edition]

Baker Publishing Group (Author)


Nov. 8 – 13, 2011Carol Morsani Hall

Watch Tony Award nominee Cathy Rigby soar in a timeless production that takes flight at Carol Morsani Hall in the Straz Center. Tickets start at $38.50. Nov. 9 is Broadway Family Night; buy one adult ticket, get one free child’s ticket (12 and younger). Also enjoy pre-show family activities. www.strazcenter.org

Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

America’s Best Idea – the national parks – gets even better with several fee-free days at more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees.*

Canaveral National Seashore
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Dry Tortugas National Park
Everglades National Park
Gulf Islands National Seashore

Mark your calendar for the final fee-free days in 2011:

November 11-13
Veterans Day weekend


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Martha Stewart Living™: Holiday Small Projects

Get holiday ready with help from Martha Stewart Living

· Discover how to choose the correct paint, tools and accessories for your home small projects

· Learn more about our selection of MSL project paints and stencils

· Decorate a frame and tile coaster using MSL project paints and stencils – FREE to take home!


19th Annual Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival

November 19th & 20th, 2011
Saturday & Sunday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Free Admission

Main Street in Downtown Dunedin, FL

If Tampa is on your travel agenda this November, you can not miss out on this terrific craft event in the city’s most desirable suburb of Dunedin. It is here, a short drive from Tampa, along Dunedin’s Main Street, you will meet some of the country’s finest artists and crafters with products all handmade in the U.S.A. Botanical hotplates, ceramic planters, functional pottery, hair accessories, handmade one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces and an expansive Green Market offers something for every taste & budget.

I-275 to exit 39 (Clearwater/Tampa Airport Exit), take Highway 60 (Gulf to Bay Blvd.) to US 19. Go North to State Road 580. West on 580 to Alternate 19, left on Alternate 19 to Main Street.


Florida Craftsmen’s CraftArt 2011 returns to the great outdoors on Saturday, November 19th & Sunday, November 20th from 10am – 5 pm just outside the doors of Florida Craftsmen Gallery, on Central Avenue in beautiful Downtown St. Petersburg.

New this year: CraftArt will be joined by an adjacent festival, St. Petersburg Artscapes, which will feature fine art, photography and sculpture. The two festivals will appear seamless along Central Avenue from 4th St. to 7th St. S.

One of the most eagerly anticipated arts events each year by collectors and patrons, CraftArt features some of the nation’s best established and emerging fine craft artists with handmade works in jewelry, clay, fiber, glass, wood, metal, paper and mixed media.

Enjoy Craft Beers featuring exciting varieties by the Cigar City Brewing Company in Tampa. Sample great food, watch artist demonstrations, bid on raffle items which have been donated by the artists and try your hand at creating a piece of coral for the reef which will be in Florida Craftsmen next summer. The weather is usually fabulous and it’s a great event for the whole family.

For information, call Florida Craftsmen at 727-821-7391 or email us at info@floridacraftsmen.net.

501 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Free and open to the public.






$5 Day at MOSI

Presented by Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) at MOSI, Museum of Science and Industry

November 11, 2011

On Friday, November 11, the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) is offering all visitors admission to MOSI for only $5. Five Dollar Day allows guests access to MOSI exhibit galleries, including The Amazing You exhibition, TARGET AMERICA: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause, Kids In Charge! and a 3-D film in The Coleman Science Works Theater. Admission also includes one standard IMAX® Dome Theatre ticket.


November 11th, 12th, & 13th, 2011


Vinoy Park, 701 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Gates open at 11 AM daily – No Re-entry

Dig in to this sumptuous event at Vinoy Park, 701 Bayshore Blvd., St. Petersburg. Kick back with live music, including John Fogerty, Trace Adkins, and Styx, while dining on tasty barbecue. www.ribfest.org

This fun filled three day charity fundraiser features the best barbeque ribbers in the world, national touring bands playing classic and southern rock and country hits.

Ribfest­™ 2011 Headline Acts – click HERE to see All the bands performing on the Main Stage

Check out the Family Fun Zone. Video Game theatre & 4D Movie Ride experience, face painting, carnival games with prizes, putt putt mini golf, make and take crafts, fun with bubbles,, their very own stage and much more. All the events for kids 12 and under are free except for Giant Inflatables.


Farm City Day
November 19, 2011 – Flyer
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pinellas County’s Heritage Village will host a Farm City Day celebration on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is the kickoff for Farm-City Week, celebrated nationally each year during the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Participants will be able to enjoy agriculturally-inspired arts and crafts and play "olde-time" games. Farm-City Day is sponsored by the Pinellas County Farm Bureau. There will be lots of giveaways and “make and takes.” Call (727) 582-2123 for further information.


I had an amazing date with my hubby here. We intend to go back soon and bring our kids and their friends.

Saturday Swing Dance

November 12, 2011 – December 17, 2011

Address: 400 Alt Keene Road, Largo, FL 33770

Weekly Swing Dance in the fabulous GOODMAN BALLROOM (Largo Community Center)DJ plays it all – Big Band * 50s’60’s Rock n Roll * Jump Blues * Rhythm n Blues * NeoSwing! 7-8 PM Beginner-friendly Dance Lesson8-11 PM DJ Dance$7.00 Admission, includes the lesson at 7:00 PM Smoke-Free! All-Ages, FUN!!! Well-lit Parking * Great Dance Floor * Snack Concession * Cash Bar

Christmas Under the Oaks Arts & Crafts Show

Sunday November 13, 2011

GFWC Clearwater Junior Woman’s Club and the City of Clearwater presents the annual Christmas Under the Oaks Arts & Crafts show on November 13, 2011 at beautiful Coachman Park on the waterfront in downtown Clearwater, Florida. Show proceeds benefit the scholarships, grants, and projects our club provides for the community.

"Oaks" in the St. Petersburg Times


The Hyde Park Village Fresh Market takes place at the Fountain the first Sunday of every month, year round, rain or shine, from 11 AM to 3 PM.

With space for over 70 vendors, the Hyde Park Village Fresh Market will feature:

Agricultural products | Fresh, Organic, Hydroponic & Conventional Produce | Plants, Herbs & Flowers | Gourmet Take Home Foods | Fresh Bread | Pasta | Honey | Spices | Ready-to-Eat Foods | Brooklyn-style Knishs | New Orleans-style Crawfish Pies | Kettle Corn | Southern Style Foods | Hand Crafts | Local Art | Handcrafted Jewelry | Accessories | Live Music | Cooking Demos | Outdoor Seating | Mini-Massages | …and more!

2011 Hyde Park Village Fresh Market Dates:

Sunday, November 6
Sunday, December 4

Admission and parking are free to the public and friendly dogs on leashes are always welcome at the Fresh Market and in Hyde Park Village.

The Hyde Park Village Fresh Market is sponsored by Tampa Bay Markets, the St. Petersburg Times, tbt* and Hot 101.5!


Meet home improvement experts and check out more than 600 exhibits related to Florida living at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Times: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free admission and parking. www.tampabayhomeshows.com


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.


The Largo Central Railroad, founded in 1991, was built and is now maintained through the work and dedication of the LCRR club members and through generous donations from the people of Largo, Florida. We currently have approximately 1.2 miles of main line track with numerous passing sidings running through beautifully landscaped Largo Central Park. Public runs are held on the first full weekend of each month.

Largo Central Railroad

101 Central Park Dr.
Largo, FL 33771-2112



Sunsets At Pier 60

February 01, 2011 – January 31, 2012

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.

"Sunsets at Pier 60," a Clearwater Beach tradition, offers a variety of crafts and entertainment from 6 – 9 p.m. each night. A beautiful view of the sunset makes for a perfect way to celebrate the end of the day. Enjoy live music, local artists, jugglers, magicians & other entertainers. Parents will also be glad to know that a well-equipped playground provides hours of enjoyment for little ones.



The 36th Festival of the Masters presented by Michaels® is a vibrant, open-air art festival in the Downtown Disney area. Featuring more than 150 award-winning artists, this world-renowned show is a highly anticipated annual event for Guests, artists, collectors and art lovers.

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Showcasing one-of-a-kind and limited-edition painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry and more, this prestigious show is ranked among the country’s finest outdoor art festivals. And there’s a lot more to enjoy, like amazing chalk art, live music, specialty foods and family-friendly activities.

Dates and Times

  • Friday, November 11, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 12, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 13, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Interactive Activities With Michaels
Cultivate your creativity with the Michaels Design Team, offering interactive arts and crafts experiences designed to delight the entire family. Featured activities include:

  • Custom Framing: Explore the different ways you can showcase any great piece of art. Located at Downtown Disney West Side.
  • MiDesign@Michaels™: Enjoy new ways to personalize—in an instant, online—with digital scrapbooking, photo books and more. Located at Downtown Disney West Side.
  • Collaborative Painting: Join the Michaels Design Team and work together to fill a larger-than-life masterpiece. Located at Downtown Disney West Side.
  • Design-Your-Own Friendship Bracelets: Commemorate your trip to Disney by creating customized friendship bracelets with colorful threads. Located in the Downtown Disney Pleasure Island area.
  • Disney Wood-Framing Experience: Start with the basics—and walk away with your own picture frame decorated with fun Disney embellishments. Located at Downtown Disney Marketplace.
  • Michaels at the Waterside Stage: Discover crafty ideas and tips for every age and interest. Come join Jo Pearson, Kate Gribbon, Kathy Kromer, Jennifer Mele and Paula Schweikhard on the Waterside Stage at the Marketplace.


Waterside Stage Performance Times
Friday, November 11, 2011: 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 12, 2011: 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 13, 2011: 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Admission and Parking
Enjoy complimentary admission and parking for the Downtown Disney area.

More Information
For additional details about this event,
view the Festival of the Masters pdf.


Vets & Military can get
Free Meal on Monday, November 14, 2011
at Golden Corral!
On Monday, November 14, 2011 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Golden Corral will be giving out Veteran’s Day free meals to any person who has ever served in the U.S. military. No identification is required to get your free meal!


Ice skating — in Tampa?

Well, at least for a little while. Head over to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for Tampa’s only outdoor ice skating rink. Yes, it’s real ice.

The 44- by 100-foot rink sits on a bed of sand. Above the sand sits a sheet of plastic and a series of tubes filled with a substance colder than freezing, which circulates through a chiller turning water to ice.

For more information, call (813) 251-3378 or visit www.tampasdowntownonice.com

Tampa’s only outdoor ice skating rink opens
Friday, November 11 at 10 a.m.
Admission is only $10 per person and includes skates
90 minute skate
The rink is open daily from Nov. 11, 2011 – Jan. 1, 2012.
Monday – Thursday from 4 p.m. – 9 pm.
Friday & Saturday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday from Noon – 9 p.m.
Holiday Hours:
Thanksgiving Day, November 26 – CLOSED
Friday, December 24 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 25 – 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

  • 1-19 people $10 each
  • 20-49 people $9 each
  • 50-99 people $8.50 each
  • 100 & up $8 each

Contact JR Malone at icerinkeventstampa@yahoo.com for more information.


Celebrate the start of the holiday season at the Enchanted Tree Lighting Ceremony in Hyde Park Village. This free, family-friendly holiday spectacular has become one of Tampa Bay’s most highly recognized events! Highlights include the new holiday light display, Santa’s Cottage, a variety of live entertainment, free cookies, cocoa and cider, drink specials, cigar stand, a street festival and Santa’s Arrival!

Hyde Park Village
1621 W. Snow Circle
Tampa, FL 33606


Holiday Tree Lighting and Illuminated Park Displays.

When Fri, November 25, 5pm – 7pm

Where North Straub Park, St. Petersburg, FL

N. Straub Park, Beach Dr. and 5th Ave. N.E.

Description 5 p.m. activities, 7 p.m. tree lighting Come out to celebrate the tradition of the Mayor flipping the switch and lighting the holiday tree along with the lighting the illuminated displays across the waterfront. Activities begin at 5 p.m. with holiday entertainment:C​community Band and Radio Disney. Blanket Seating and concessions available. 727-893-7441.

Holiday lights and illuminated displays on nightly through Dec. 31.


IKEA Tampa Kids’ Academy!


1103 N. 22nd Street, Tampa Bay, FL, United States, 33605

Featuring FREE activities, a FREE meal and a FREE IKEA Tampa Kids’ Academy t-shirt for kids under 12 years old who attend.* Activities last 20 minutes and start at 11:00am, then repeat at 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 5:00pm and 7:00pm.

November 11, 2011 Students can make a flag to honor our service men and women.

November 21, 2011 Use your hand print to make a festive turkey decoration.

November 22, 2011 Use our PYSSLA craft beads to design and make a special decorative item.

November 23, 2011 Use our DUKTIG baking set to make cookies for your holiday guests.

November 25, 2011 Kick start the holiday season by making your own wrapping paper with our MALA paints.



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

Join us each and every Saturday from 10am to 5pm for Kids Ahoy! We promote education and learning through fun and encourage family bonding and communication. Come aboard, participate in a scavenger hunt, arts & crafts projects, receive a fun snack and free Kids Ahoy! bookmark. It’s brought to you by the Kinder Morgan Foundation and Publix Super Markets Charities.

November 8, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, G-Force 411, Holidays | , , , , , , , | 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

Collect ROCKS Day! Huh?!

Yes, September 16th is Collect Rocks Day.

Although I found no credible source Martha Stewart has rock crafts. If she playing with rocks then I will too! 

My kids have been collecting them well since they could reach for them to stick them in their mouths.

Go for a walk and make sure to bring a basket or tote bag for each person to toss their finds in. when you get home gather the troops for a rockin’ good time decorating.

If you want to make a day of it. Pack a picnic and take the paints, brushes, and any other supplies and make the mess at the park. Invite some friends to join and no doubt there will be some trading of these freshly made collectables.

I am amazed at how many resources and ideas I found to incorporate into Collect Rocks Day. Maybe it’s my love for unit studies. I try to always incorporate our faith into our schooling. And there are a few scriptures that refer to rocks. (Well Duh!) God made the rocks! Share these verses with your kids as you celebrate the day.

He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.

Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV)

Joshua 4:1-9

New King James Version (NKJV)

The Memorial Stones

1 And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying: 2 “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’”
4 Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; 5 and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”
8 And the children of Israel did so, just as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan, as the LORD had spoken to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. 9 Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there to this day.

Exodus 17:5-7

New King James Version (NKJV)

5 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”
And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
7 So he called the name of the place Massah[a] and Meribah,[b] because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

Exodus 33:21-23

New King James Version (NKJV)

21 And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

Matthew 16:18

New International Version (NIV)

18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.

(the Greek word for Peter means rock)

Psalm 18:2

New King James Version (NKJV)

2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

(horn symbolizes strength)

Luke 6:47-49

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

(Jesus is the Rock!)

Matthew 7:23-25

New King James Version (NKJV)

23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Build on the Rock

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

1 Samuel 17:48-50

New King James Version (NKJV)

48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David.

Luke 19:37-40

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[b]

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Here is a short video of Douglas Stahlman’s and his fabled "Scripture Rocks."

Below are some cool pics and links to inspire you

from around the WWW.

Paint with acrylic paints, glow in the dark paints or permanent markers. If you want to be able to change up the design use Chalk Ink markers.You can wipe them clean and start over.


Use some permanent markers to write thoughtful words, names and scripture. What a neat way to carry your bible memory verse around. You can just reach into your purse or pocket for it. If you run into a friend you can share it with them and then they can pass it on to someone else. I think this rock thing is gonna catch on!



Use as garden markers


Make them into necklaces. Boys would definitely wear a rock necklace, especially if it looked like a gross eyeball.


Happy Rock Collecting Day!


You can also decoupage paper, fabric or any drawing or magazine cutout to your rocks. Here is a simple recipe I saw on Pinterest by the DIY Divas. I have always just used straight glue but will give this recipe a try when we decorate our rocks.

I just love how you can incorporate these rocks into your home décor by displaying them on a shelf or putting them in a bowl or basket.


 fabric or decorative paper decoupage from modpodgerocksblog.com



matryoshka rocks also from modpodgerocksblog.com


These hot rocks are crazy cool!  I saw them on A Girl and a Glue Gun. All you need is crayons and an oven. Oh, and DUH, rocks!


Go Make Some Memories!

September 12, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, G-Force 411, G-Force Academy, Holidays, Once Upon A Family | , , | Leave a comment

Grandparent’s Day

National Grandparents Day is a secular holiday celebrated in the United States since 1978 and officially recognized in a number of countries on various days of the year, either as one holiday or sometimes as a separate Grandmothers Day and Grandfathers Day.


Here are some resources to inspire you to honor your kid’s grandparents.

There are many coloring pages that can be inserted into cards or just have your kids draw pictures of their grandparents. You can include some poetry or scripture below.


“Grandparents are meant for kisses and hugs,
For watching rainbows and catching bugs,
For baking all of your favorite things,
For books to read and songs to sing.”
Author unknown

Grandparents bestow upon
their grandchildren
The strength and wisdom that time
And experience have given them.
Grandchildren bless their Grandparents
With a youthful vitality and innocence
That help them stay young at heart forever.
Together they create a chain of love
Linking the past with the future.
The chain may lengthen,
But it will never part….
– Unknown Author



Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers
Psalm 103:17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,
Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.
Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
Psalm 145:4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
2 Timothy 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

Photo Crafts

photo frame kids craft

Make a photo frame out of a CD case. Make it extra special by including a CD of special pictures of the kids and their grandparents over the years. A great way to do this is using programs like Moviemaker or Picasa.

Decoupage tray craft for kids

A tray decoupaged with the kids pics would make a precious keepsake. I recommend that you run copies (color or b/w) since paper is easier to decoupage than photo paper. I have used with success just plain old white school glue as the decoupage medium. I can see my mom using it every time her friends come over for coffee. A subtle way for her to brag about her grandkids, not that any grandparent is ever subtle about their love for their grandkids!

Just genius! Take a dollar store frame and and cover with sculpey clay or any air hardening clay would also work. Have kids personalize with stamps. Bake and insert picture for a unique gift. You can use letter stamps to add whatever your kids call their grandparent’s.

Have a Party!

Let the kids be in charge of decorating. Buy all the ingredients for baking cookies but let them wait for their honored guest so they can bake the cookies together! We are planning a surprise party for my mom when she comes to visit next week. We are making a “We Love You Abuela” Poster as part of the decorations.

Don’t forget to take lots of pictures. You will be able to use them for gifts next yearWinking smile.

Handprint Coupons

On each handprint the child writes a promise – "This coupon is good for one hug", "Exchange this coupon for a car wash", "I will help you lay the table for this coupon", "Breakfast in bed" and so on.

  • >Layer them inside a nice box which the child decorate and tie up with a ribbon
  • >Punch a hole in each handprint and attach together with a key-ring fitting

Add this note to the coupons. I am sure it will be a treasured keepsake for any grandparent.

"I miss you when we’re not together
I’m growing up so fast
See how big I’ve gotten
Since you saw me last?
As I grow, I’ll change a lot,
The years will fly right by.
You’ll wonder how I grew so quick –
When and where and why?
So save this print in a safe place
And take it out each year.
The memories will come back of me,
When I was small and dear."

"My dirty little fingerprints
I’ve left on every wall,
And on the drawers and table tops,
I’ve really marked them all.
But here is one that won’t rub off,
I’m giving it to you,
Because I’m thankful for a (mother, father, brother, sister) just like you!"

Finally, the best gift you can give your mom or dad on grandparent day is a DIY  memory book. My dad passed away 2 years ago and I wish I knew more about him even though I had him with me for 40 years. His old glasses, letters, handkerchief are precious indeed but having his story in his own words and penned by his very hand would be a priceless keepsake.

I am gifting this to myself by giving it first to my mom. I can’t wait to read her answers when she is done. I bet she can answer a lot of the questions in the memory for dad.

Here are some good ones to choose from:

*I strongly believe in do-overs. If you didn’t know about Grandparent’s Day or you haven’t had time to put something special together in their honor then by all means pick a rain date! the point is to teach your children to love and honor their grandparents. Especially in a culture that doesn’t regard the elderly with much respect you can make sure your parents do. Spread the word so others can share the love.


But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.

1 Timothy 5:4

Go Make Some Memories!

September 11, 2011 Posted by | Familia, Family Fun, Holidays, Once Upon A Family | Leave a comment

Social Studies: China-Chinese New Year 2011



It’s the year of the rabbit



 Epcot’s China Pavilion with Mushu 2008

We have briefly studied China before during the Beijing Olympics. We are returning to it. This time we are covering all of Asia. We are kicking of our Asia unit with Chinese New Year! A visit to Epcot’s China pavilion, crafts, and Chinese food are definitely part of our celebration. I am putting together some printouts that I will be using with my kids. I’ll share them with you during the coming weeks.

Here are some resources to help you teach about China and celebrate Chinese New Year with your family.







Happy New Year !



January 27, 2011 Posted by | Disney Fun, G-Force Academy, Holidays | 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.

scan0001 (3)

“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!

scan0001 (2)

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

Bartholomew’s Passage Advent Book

We have been thoroughly enjoying our advent readings. We are reading Bartholomew’s Passage. It is the book that follows Jotham’s Journey. It is a story of the adventure of a boy set in the time of Jesus’birth. Every chapter is a cliff hanger. We all cuddle on the living room couches under soft fleece throws by the glow of our christmas tree lights and advent wreath candles. If you have an oppotunity to purchase these books I highly recommend them! To learn more about the author and his other books CLICK HERE


December 8, 2009 Posted by | Family Fun, Holidays, Once Upon A Family | 1 Comment

Christmas Box: Movie Nights

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” this song is heard throughout the house. The glow of candles and smell of baked goodies fill the air in our home and sets the mood to our Christmas celebrations.

Every year we strive to continue our traditions and add more family fun activities that focus on the of Christmas, our lord and savior Jesus Christ. I hope our holiday traditions and celebrations inspire you.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Go Make Memories!


There are many family fun activities to during the holidays. Check your local community newspapers and your city or county websites. We enjoyed or city’s annual tree lighting celebration. They had many performers on an outdoor stage by the waterfront. It is so nice to see families out in droves sitting on blankets enjoying each other. After the mayor, Rick Baker, lit the tree (which simultaneously lit surrounding light displays all around North Straub water front park we headed over to view an outdoor holiday movie. We thought it was going to be “Miracle on 34th Street” but it turned out to be “The Shop Around the Corner ” We had never seen this movie. It was awesome! We all enjoyed it. It was freezing cold. Luckily, mom was prepared with fleece blankets, popcorn, and hot cocoa. Oh, what a wonderful night we had. Even Flat Stanley got in on the fun too. We introduced him to the mayor and had our picture taken by the tree. Mayor Rick Baker is almost as tall as the tree! It was nice to see him there with his family too. Every Friday and Saturday local merchants and the city of St Petersburg are sponsoring outdoor holiday movies, FREE!

See info below:

Sunscreen Film Festival 2009 Holiday Outdoor Film Series in the Park presents
North Straub Park, Beach Drive and Third St., 7 p.m. Enjoy a different holiday classic beneath the stars on the downtown waterfront every Friday and Saturday during the holiday season. Sponsored by the Merchants of 400 Beach Drive, Progress Energy and City of St.Petersburg.

o Dec. 4 – Polar Express
o Dec. 5 – White Christmas
o Dec. 11 – Prancer
o Dec. 12 – A Christmas Story
o Dec. 18 – Miracle on 34th Street
o Dec. 19 – It’s a Wonderful Life

We have a family tradition we started last year called the Christmas Box. Every few days my husband and I put out a wrapped box with special items inside for a family fun activity or outing. A family favorite is a movie night. We buy a new holiday movie to add to our growing collection or we rent one. We put the dvd in the box along with popcorn, holiday cookies, wassail or hot cocoa, which are a must for your holiday viewing pleasure. Those big holiday popcorn variety tins will make a spontaneous movie night even easier. If you have a portable movie projector light a fire out back and enjoy the cool weather by snuggling up with you hubby and kids under a blanket. Invite friends over and to share in the fun too.popcorn and any other treats we fancy. The kids are always excited to see what fun surprise awaits them inside the Christmas Box. Makes me feel a little like Santa! 

Here is a list of our family favorite holiday movies and some we plan on seeing this holiday season:



December 5, 2009 Posted by | Family Fun, Holidays, Once Upon A Family | 2 Comments

A Hallmark Christmas

As a my friend Tree in Miami  said to me We had a Hallmark Christmas. She is so right. It was the sweetest holiday season filled with family, friends, and fellowship. We are richly blessed! 


My cutie petutie on her way to petite petutie( she’s lost almost 40 #’s! Mary Davis hosted her annual Christmas card party and it was a hit. I actually sent out cards this year with her encouragement and lovely party. The table was gorgeous with dark wicker chargers, and needless to say we were our usual roady selves. Dinner and dessert wre perfect and thejust being able to spend time geting my act together before the Christmas hustle was a true blessing. Mary A. floored me with an invitation to become part of the PPEA homeschool board as the Public Relations Chair!! I prayed about it with Alf and jumped for joy when I was finally approved. I look foward to ministering to our county’s homeschool community in 2008.

We visited Disney and were able to relish in the beautiful holiday decorations. It was Seth (12) and Mikael’s (14) birthday visit.We picked up their birthday buttons at customer service and headed into the park. Before noon they had lost count at about 20 birthday greeting from the cast members. As we strolled down MainStreet a barber shop quartet sag Happy Birthday to them. It was awesome! they chose which parks and rides all day and everyone passed ot in the car within 15 minutes on the ride home.

The boys scouts sold Christmas trees as a fundraiser for a few weeks, Seth wrapped baseball winter league, and Scouts and Karate took their Christmas break the first week of December. the kids had their portraits taken and they came out great. We hadn’t had a professional picture taken since Alexa was 3 months old. they were qui the hams too. Alfonso’s office had their annual family Christams party and the kids ate alot of candy and received Mc’donald’s gift cards. Each dept. decorates witha theme. My husbands office theme was candy cane. they were everywhere; hung form the ceiling wrapped columns they even had a fog machine with peppermint extract on. The lights are all dim except for the glow and twinkle of all the Christmas lights. The winning theme this year was Marvel comics rescue Christmas. They had a short performance for the kids.  My husband waisted no time in touring the offices with his kids. All parents and kids look forward to this day.  

The next day Alexa and I attended a christmas craft party at our girlfriends’ home Korey and daughter Cassidy. they made beautiful and fun ornaments and all the moms got to help and play too. Korey is truly a gracious host and loving mom to all our girls. We are hoping this becomes a tradition. The kids made the artwork for our Christmas cards this year that was great fun. 


The highlight of my Christmas was going away with my honey for our 16th anniversary. Of course we went to Disney! Exactly where we went 16 years ago. My mother stayed with the kids. It was the most amazing and peaceful time. We laughed and walked hand in hand everywhere. We slept in and did what we wanted and ate what we wanted. It was Alf and me alone!!! A cast member at the United States pavillion escorted us to a phone in a vintage type box and it was Mickey and Minnie on the phone singing us a Happy Anniversary song. I tell you I was beaming like a kid. I wish I could go back right now.

When we got back from our “honeymoon” (as the kids call it) Alexa had a formal Christmas tea to attend. It was hosted by Kendra and Angela’s daughters. These young ladies are being trained to minister to the little girls. The table was beautiful and Alexa had a great girlie time. The little girls looked so beautiful. They ate treats and made flower fairies. I came dressed up and so did other moms not realizing they actually wanted us to leave to benefit the hostess’ in training. Oh what a blessing and treat! Mary D, Korey P. and I went to Applebee’s and chatted for almost three hours. I just praise God for the precious godly friends He has given Alexa and I.


I rested for a day and then attended Alfonso’s company Christmas party. I remember the day vividly because it was a “fat issue” day. But I remember it for the kind encouraging words I received not what I wore. It gave me an understanding that the Lord has already clothed me more beautiful than any flower in any meadow. The accesories he adorns me with are priceless and won’t tarnish. He has given this verse to me through my dear friend Ines Hourani in Miami. 


I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10 (NIV)

The 4th Annual Home grown Kids Cookie Exchange! There is a nervous excitement that brews in my heart over this event. My dear and sweet friends Dawn Geers and Mary Davis put this on. They are both so encouraging and supportive within the local homeschool community. As a matter of fact Dawn has joined the board as the new treasurer for 2008. I am so excited to be a newbie with my trusted friend. she is known though as the “cookie Nazi!”. She checks her list twice, you gotta make the right amount and size of only cookies. No bars, or popcorn balls allowed. She has softened litle and we kid her about it every year. This is where the nervous comes in. Choosing and baking with the kids is the fun part. And finally getting there and seeing all the cookies and treats made for us is very exciting indeed. It makes it all worth it to spend an afternon of fellowship and ring home cookies to boot. Hope you get an opportunity one day to participate in an exchange.

Now this we were in the final stretch. the King family hosted their annual Christmas party for the Boy Scouts. There was a big fire, warm yummy chili and a game of white elephant for the kids. It was a relaxing time.

The long awaited day for our family is Our Annual Christams Open House. We had tons of friends over, the kids roasted marshmallows and made smores. I made a traditional hispanic Christamas Eve meal; Rice, black beans, and roasted pork with sweet plantains. It was a hit. I was sweating bullets but that it would turn out good being it was my first time making it. Our friends the Busbee’s not only bought their guitar they also bought Mr. Cunningham from our church’s Children Music ministry. He is a wiz on that guitar. He and Barry played as we caroled through our neighborhood.. I hadn’t been caroling in years and it was a delight. Those that came to the door were so grateful. We look forward to next years party.


Christmas Eve was peaceful and relaxing. Of course I also had no energy left after all. Christmas Day at 2 am the kids awoke to open their stockings. We provide little trinkets in their stockings for daylight morning so Alf and I could sleep a little more, yet every year they wake up earlier and earlier. In a few years we will be doing stocking Christmas Eve at this rate.the kids enjoyed their presents and played all week. Alexa got her baby doll bath tub doll clothes and Narnia’s Lucy dagger, vial, and cape (this tuend out to be her favorite gift). Mikael received Heroscape boardgame and a nerf gun. We gave Seth a nerf gun and Nintendo DS’ Drawn to Life. Zachary received Cosmic Catch by Nerf and a shiny new bike! The kids were so happy and we are so grateful to the Lord for providing for these gifts.

The day after Christmas I went after Christmas sale shopping. It was a hoot! We all bought our treat bags for next years Cookie Exchange, and special ornaments. We ate a Ruby Tuesdays at the mall. You know you’ve found good friends when there is never enough time. My darling husband watched 8 kids all day for us. I love that man with a passion!

My Christmas gift from the Lord ad my kids was their school evaluation. Vicky Bueller is an awesome evaluator and she gets me. They all progressed and in some areas 2- 4 years. PRAISE THE LORD FOR HE IS GOOD, MIGHTY AND ABLE!!!!  I was in tears with a heart bursting with joy and gratitude. That moment set in motion a vision for my family that has never been more clear. It has given me the confidence to perservere and attempt crazy things like losing weight and taking dance lessons with my husband. Oh Lord thank you for giving me this life full of abundant grace and joy.


We closed out the year with good friends at the Ruskin Drive-In. Yes, they still exist in some places. We all caravaned there. The kids sat on blankets with goodies and during intermission we all shared brownies and hot cocoa. We had a great time together. The stars in the sky were amazing. We saw Enchanted and Alvin and the Chipmunks. I loved Enchanted. It reminded me that our fairy tale dreams are like heaven and we can live here with our hearts belonging to our King in heaven living our lives as Princes and Princess’ singing songs of worship for Him.

I praise you Almighty God for the trials and joys of 2007 and trust you  for 2008!

Happy New Year!

January 3, 2008 Posted by | Holidays | 1 Comment


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