Monday, February 1, 2016

Showcase of Citrus Monster Truck Safari

A few months ago we got a Travelzoo deal to take a monster truck safari at the Showcase of Citrus in Clermont.  We finally found a good day to go in January when the weather was cool, but the sun was shining. It was perfect weather! 

Showcase of Citrus is a giant citrus grove where you can pick your own citrus. It's also a tourist "trap" type place with lots of somewhat-tacky, but also really fun things like stuffed alligators. 

And fake sharks to take photos with. Daisy wouldn't get near the big shark, but Amy's too little to be afraid of it. 

There were also animals to see like chickens, pigs, and I think there was an ostrich. Lots of cattle too. 

But the big attraction was the monster truck safari. 

It's best to make reservations for the truck ride beforehand, because there was a big group on ours, but they don't over-pack it, so we were still able to spread out pretty well. 

The "safari" is basically driving around a typical Florida property, great for out-of-towners that think Florida is all palm trees and beaches. We drove past the orange groves, and the driver told us about oranges. Then we drove into a wooded area, and the driver told us about spanish moss. Then we drove into a cattle field, through a swamp, and into another cattle field where we got to feed oranges to "exotic animals" (exotic cattle from around the world). 

Amy fell asleep during the safari, because we ended up going right in the middle of her afternoon nap, and the diesel engine was very soothing. 

It was a fun day, but I doubt we'll ever return. I wouldn't have done it without the bogo deal. It was $24 for Zane and me, and the kids were free (3&under). I also don't know if it would have been as fun on a hot, summer day. All things considered - January for half-price was great! 

TECO Manatee Viewing Center

A couple months ago we visited the Tampa Electric Company Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach, which is pretty close to us. It's completely free and only open during the winter months. 

It was kind of cool to see the electric plant. I had never been so close to one before. It's massive and mesmerizing. 

The canal next to the plant is winter home to manatees. We saw a bunch, estimating over forty, including moms and babies. 

It was a cold day, which was perfect, because the manatees swam into the canal to escape the cold ocean. The canal is brackish and pretty murky, so we could only see the manatees when they surfaced to breathe, which made it hard to count them.

It was fun to walk around the boardwalk.

The boardwalk stretches out toward the bay through a beautiful mangrove forest. 

The mangrove tunnel was my favorite part of the whole experience.

Look how magical! 

It was a fun, little morning activity. There's not a whole bunch of things to do there, but we learned some interesting things about manatees, like their ancestor the Stellar Sea Cow was hunted to extinction in 1768, only 27 years after being discovered. There were lots of educational exhibits. 

I recommend this as a free, fun, family activity!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cruise to Bahamas

In September, to celebrate Zane's graduation from nursing school, Zane and I went on our first no-kids vacation since having kids. We took a 4-night cruise from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas. 

I had lofty goals of editing a fun video of our trip, including all our video footage from our waterproof sports camera that we bought specifically for this trip. 

So instead, this blog post is made up of photos from Zane's phone. 

But life is busy, and our Fall was busy, and I'm posting about our September cruise on the last day of Janaury. 

Our biggest excursion was parasailing in Coco Cay. 

I was basically freaked out the whole time! Even though we were thoroughly strapped in. 

But the rest of Coco Cay was perfect! Such a beautiful island. I recovered with some kind of alcoholic beverage here. 

We really loved our dinner friends. We would probably hang out with them if we lived in the same state, but we're now following each other on Instagram so that's kind of the same thing. 

Mostly, we enjoyed doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, and eating lots of food. 

Nassau was lame, but we got a photo out front of Atlantis, because it's freakin' expensive just to walk inside.

So we over-paid for a sketchy carriage ride instead. Haha. 

I may never touch the video footage or other photos from this trip, but its purpose was successful: a relaxing getaway after a long, stressful three years of school. 

The views and the company couldn't be beat!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Flower Girl Gifs

Thanksgiving weekend was full of family for us. All of Zane's dad's side came into town for his cousin's wedding, where Daisy and her cousin were the flower girls. 

We had a blast! 

Yummy food, lots of laughs with family, and plenty of dancing! And let's just talk about how difficult it is to take a picture of two silly three year-olds: 

Did I mention dancing?

Amy and Daisy were obsessed with the dance floor. They were out there before the reception officially started, and kept on dancing until Grandma took them home. So much space, so many dance moves, so little time. 

Anyone looking for a great wedding venue should check out Kathleen's Garden. It was beautiful!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Life As We Know It

This is just a blog post of random musings for the day. 

My girls are playing with my old stuffed animals, including a knock-off puppy surprise that I got when I was somewhere between six and eight years old. Watching my three year-old play is a perfect example of art imitating real life. The puppies are named "Daisy and Amy;" the third baby is named "Darkish Pink."

Apparently they're relaunching Puppy Surprise. I kind of love how I'm reliving my childhood with my kids. Relaunched versions of Popples and Inspector Gadget are on on Netflix now. I'm hoping for a new Family Double Dare. If our kids are old enough if/when they send out a casting call for that, you KNOW we'll be there. I always wanted to pull the flag from the giant nose. 

Yesterday my one year-old threw away one of my sewing projects and took trash out of the trash can. New rule: put up the baby gate blocking the kitchen and the trash can whenever leaving a toddler in the room alone. 

My spy photo of Amy entertaining herself while I worked at the kitchen table.

This morning we listened to some tunes from my day, including "Bye, Bye, Bye" and "This I Promise You" by NSync. Daisy liked the latter so much that she asked to play it again. During an 80's song, Daisy said, "I don't need dance moves. I've got plenty in my belly." Which is funny enough as it is, but she says it like, "I've got pwenty in my bewwy." 

Last month I didn't think I could live in this apartment another week, so I purged a TON of stuff and rearranged the furniture. Change! I live by it. 

Speaking of change, I got a job. My Etsy shop Dreamy Weamy hasn't been very busy lately since I stopped selling custom pillows, and I have some financial goals (a.k.a. lavish vacation dream). I took a major pay cut from my last job and started working at a local start-up fast food restaurant that I absolutely love, Wow! That's Fresh!  I have much to say about that, that I'll write later. I haven't been in food service in 10 years since my Chick Fil A days, but it all comes back pretty quickly. Plus, I have a different perspective on this side of 30 (okay, I'm still four months shy of 30, but I feel old with all the teenagers). 

One fun part: they all thought I was 18. I can write a whole blog post with their shocked reactions to my age and life experience. 

Ballast Point Park

It's a really hot November here in Florida. My playgroup is still meeting up at splash pads. I'm having serious internal struggles with wearing linen shorts in the Fall. I was kind of hoping I could stop shaving now, but it's not in the cards this season. I'm this close to purging all my sweaters. 

I wish I had splash pads when I was a kid. Our kids don't realize how special they are. When I was a kid, sprinklers were our splash pads. 

Not too long from now we will be in full-Christmas mode. Daisy already thinks it goes straight from Halloween to Christmas. Thanksgiving is a difficult holiday to explain and for her to remember. There's nothing to mark it like costumes or presents. It's one of my favorites though, because there's no pressure. Just food, family, friends, and gratitude. 

Just some thoughts on a November afternoon.