Invite-a-guest

It’s been a little bit since I have last posted.  While I was lost from the blogging world our kid’s have enjoyed Story time at our local library.  And we got ready for our churches invite a guest weekend.  Every year our church invites fellow member from our other churches throughout the US for a great time of fellowship of people of like minded faith.  This was our first year opening up our home to anyone and inviting them.  Guess what? I let my husband invite people I have NEVER met or talked to into my home…for a night!  Crazy to think in this day and age with the world the way it is that we could do that.  But our church whether it be our local church or one from another state we feel comfortable around them and trust them.  Anyhow, Alex is Evan’s cousin and he of course brought his wife and son.  His son Pierce is just a month older than Preston.  The kids all had fun.  We all got off of schedule so my kiddos were a little grouchy, but it all worked out.

The week of them coming I was an emotional roller coaster.  I was nervous, excited, and stressed about having guests. I was searching Pinterest for the perfect ideas about how to be a good host and so on.  I’m sure anyone who has had children or does have children can understand cleaning with them is like brushing your teeth with Oreos.  I just could not seem to get ahead.  And then I broke down.  Full panic attack mode.  The whole hyperventilating and all. =[  I managed to have Olivia get me a plastic bag.  (we didn’t have paper) and I calmed down.  For real people, mental illnesses are not a joke they are real things people fight with daily.  Whether it be depression, anxiety, anger, etc.  Evan told me one day  I needed to go to a third world country so the “little” things wouldn’t bother me so much.  I simply told him. I know.  BUT, while I’m sure it would put things in perspective for me, I do not think it would take away my depression or anxiety.  I tried to explain to him that I realize the things are insignificant and do not really matter, but it still gets to me no matter how much I tell myself that it isn’t a big deal.  I told him it’s like when you have a cold, you try to not cough so much, but sometimes you have to have a complete coughing fit to finally get whatever it is out of our chest.  That probably isn’t the best explanation, but it is all I could think of at the time.  Anyhow, Evan’s mother came over the Saturday they were to arrive to help us.  Thank goodness!  My Grandma watched the kids, and she helped clean.  We got it done in time.  Our guests arrived and we went to have a meal with all the other couples that invited other couples out.  It was a nice time.  Maybe one day we can travel out to the church that they traveled from.  I’m pretty introverted and the thought of new places and people scares me a bit, but knowing I would be with people who think like me makes it a little better!

Now I’ve made new friends and have a clean house (except the toy room and a couple loads of laundry, and need to remop).  Okay so maybe it’s NOT as clean, but better than what it was =] and I’m not as worried for next time we invite guests over night.

On another note, Preston slept from 10-7a last night with only waking up once and soothing himself back to sleep.  It probably was only a one time thing, but I needed it that night.  He’s cutting a couple more teeth.  A 3rd bottom tooth and a 3rd top tooth (molar). OUCH. He has also began to say  Pop Pop! PawPaw, up, Pup, and Dada.

Olivia’s swimmers ear cleared up after realizing she was allergic to the first eardrops she was prescribed, and had an inner infection that was just treated last week.  She was put on a zpack and steroids.  Her tonsils were and STILL are HUGE.  She goes to Dr. Jones, a chiropractor, tomorrow to see about some remedies from him and an adjustment.  At this point Evan and I have realized that probably sometime in March when she visits the ENT again that a tonsillectomy and ear tube placement may be in the near future. =[ We hope this is NOT the case, but if it is we pray this is the answer to her problems.  Everyone we have talked to that has had these procedures say they are glad that it was done.  So if we have to have this done for her I hope we can say the same.

Isabelle is a firecracker like normal.  Her new favorite saying it, “of course” meaning as in, “of course not” or “of course you can” on and on. haha.

Now that I have touched on a little bit of what’s been going on since my last post I better get to reading my kiddos a bedtime story and get their bedtime prayers said and hope we all get a great nights rest!

As always-

Love,

Miranda

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Pineapple Day 

When you read the title of this post did it cross your mind with all the other useless “holidays” that today was Pineapple day? Well honestly I couldn’t tell you if it is or not. Haha but I can tell you that today was Pineapple canning day at my household. Quick, easy, and delicious. I have canned pineapple before, but today seemed to go so smooth. Maybe I forgot something? OH NO! I did. I forgot the pineapple. That’s how my Monday is going……….come on now. Did you really think I forgot the pineapple? I didn’t. Lol. I didn’t stress so much about my WHOLE kitchen being sanitized prior to canning. I made sure my current working surface was clean and my jars were sanitized. That made it go a lot smoother. DISCLAIMER always follow the USDA, FDA, your local extension office guidelines for proper food preserving. Just because I chanced it doesn’t mean you should too. Like I said I did clean where I would be working 🙂 safety first! 

Anyhow I found a sale for 2/$4 on pineapple a few days ago. While I have seen them cheaper in previous years it has been the cheapest I have found them this year. So I jumped on that deal. I sanitized 10 jars thinking 4 pineapple would fill that. Well 3 pineapple filled 9 pint jars perfect! I decided not to sanitize more jars for the last pineapple. We will just eat it fresh. Mmm. I’ll let you in on why and how you should preserve pineapple by waterbath canning. First find an awesome sale on some pineapple and find 100% pineapple juice. I bought a bottleof 32oz worth of pineapple juice it was organic and I paid just over $5 for it. That’s all the store had 😦 otherwise I would not have paid that much any other time. So keep an eye out for cheap 100% pineapple juice prior to canning. Once you have that prep all of your equipment. Full your canner with water and begin to hear it. Sanitize all your tools from your jars, ladle, jar grabber, knife, measuring cup, lid magnet, etc. Then in a pot put the jar of pineapple juice and add water to make it a 50/50 mixture. Heat it almost to a boil or boil it, but if you bring it to a boil do not continue to boil it. You want it to go into your jars hot so when you add your filled jars to the canner they do not bust from the temperature difference. Trust me it’s no fun to have a jar or more burst. And it’s a mess. Cut up your pineapple and put into your jars using your funnel. Pack them down leaning 1″ headspace. Once you’ve filled all your jars with the fruit add the pineapple and water mixture leaving 1/2″ headspace. Once all jars are filled with the liquid use a knife to get all the air bubbles out. After that you put on your kids and rings. Then slowly put them into your canner and once your canner begins to boil set your timer for 15 minutes and wait. 🙂 BEEP BEEP BEEP. Times up get those jars out of the canner and set on a towel on your counter. And DO NOT TOUCH THEM FOR 24 hours. Then wait for the magic to happen. PING PING. Your kids begin to seal. Such a marvelous sound to all my fellow canners :). A job well done. If some of your jars do not seal put them in the fridge and enjoy in the next day or two. And if they do seal put them in the pantry and when you’re ready to enjoy a pint place it in the fridge to cool prior to eating. Enjoy. :). 
–directions for pint jars in waterbath canner—

My oldest daughter and I love pineapple and she eats an entire pint by herself. And this takes maybe 30 mins if you prep right to do. So quick and easy and worth it. So if you decide to can pineapple I hope you enjoy your Pineapple Day even if it is a Monday 🙂 
  

Waiting for the PING

  
    
    
   

Sun, Sand, & Shades

For the last few years Evan and I have traveled to Florida.  I went quite a few times growing up as a kid with my Dad and Step mom and once with my Mom and her boyfriend at the time.  I absolutely love Florida.  Evan on the other hand had no desire to go.  Until one day 3 years ago I convinced him for just him and I to go for a few days, and he agreed.  After that trip he was hooked.  I about have him ready to move down there for the winters =] Maybe in the near future? Great reason to home school right? Anyhow we left after our 10th—yes, 10th Christmas gathering this past year.  We drove again this year.  It really wasn’t that bad going down. The kids slept, and we had plenty for them to do or watch during the ride.  The ride home, not so much.  Izzy was pretty fussy and we both were really tired driving. But the roads were getting bad back at home so we decided we shouldn’t stop in case they got worse if we took a rest.  Any how, some of the things and places we went were:

Orlando:

  • SeaWorld
  • Ate with sharks
  • Aquatica
  • Discovery Cove (must do for EVERY family) I’ll explain later.

Inverness:

  • Visited my Grandpa Henry and Sue.
  • Went to crystal river beach
  • Great bonding time

(I think Grandpa really took to Preston) =]

Ft. Myers:

  • Beach
  • Beach
  • Beach
  • Shelling
  • Dolphin sighting
  • finding sandollars
  • fire ant attacks (watch out for those, Izzy STILL has scars from them)
  • visiting the Ft. Myers Apostolic Christian Church

We had about a 2 week stay all together in Florida. I personally did not want to come back, but it is something we look forward to doing this coming year. Maybe we can convince Evan’s parents to go this time. I really think they would enjoy it.  While we were in Ft. Myers my sister in law, Kelli, and a couple of Evan’s cousins (Anita and Jaci) shared our condo with us.

They kids enjoyed swimming at the resort that we stayed at in Orlando, and Preston relaxed in the water so much he fell asleep. =] The weather was absolutely perfect. The day we arrived it was in the upper 80s.  The first few days it stayed in the 80s and then the rest of the trip it was in the mid-upper 70s but little wind and sun! So it felt great. I absolutely love dolphins, otters, elephants. They are my favorite mammal/animals ever.  It has always been a dream of mine to work as a dolphin trainer.  Obviously God had other plans for me, but the dream to swim with dolphins stuck with me.  Evan granted me that dream on New Year’s Day this year.  I’m sure it is apparent to some that I struggle with bits of depression and more so in the Winter time, but ladies and gentleman the smile on my face with this dolphin is pure genuine joy. I stated earlier how Discovery Cove is a must for all families for a vacation and my reasons are this: you get free admission to Sea World AND Aquatica for 14 days from the first ticket used.  So we went to SeaWorld before we went to Discovery Cove and Aquatica also. We at at the underwater grill (or whatever it was called) at SeaWorld.  We ate with a bunch of Sharks (pictures below). Aquatica is a water park. It was awesome! For for buying a ticket to discovery cove you are getting tickets to 2 other parks that give you UNLIMITED amounts of times to go within the 14 day time period. So you could do half days of SeaWorld and not get burnt out from walking all day or missing something.  Discovery Cove had a lot for smaller children also which was a big plus for us.  And if you’re traveling with just adults there are still plenty of activities and slides for adults.  Now for the greatness of Discovery Cove first of all you need to bring nothing except yourself. Literally.  They only allow 1000 people a day to enter so it is not overcrowded. They provide you with a beach accessible stroller for FREE if you need one.  They provide you unlimited use of towels, beach chairs, snorkel gear, wetsuits, and sunscreen.  You also get a FREE locker to store your things.  I strongly advise taking a waterproof disposable camera or buying a waterproof case for your phone. TRUST ME you WILL want to take pictures IN the water there!  We opted to buy the girl’s each a disposable waterproof camera of their own.  And guess what?! A worker told us to go to the service desk to have them write our names on it.  In case they got lost they could see our names and they would SEND them back home to us! This place had it all! FREE FOOD, that’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, SNACKS ALL DAY, and alcohol (if that’s your thing).  The food wasn’t too bad either.  They have a grand reef area where they have over 7000 different fish rays, sharks, etc.  The water is on the cooler side so we opted for the full wetsuits for that, but oh my goodness you guys it was beautiful.  And you can touch the rays.  Olivia took right to snorkeling in the freshwater river and we tried to get her to go in the reef, but when we walked in there was a 4ft (no joke) wide stingray that we about stepped on and she was OUT. Wanted NOTHING to do with it.  Horrified to say the least.  So Evan and I took turns going in there alone while the other did something else with the girls.  Okay they also have an Avery and you get FREE food to have these birds come and eat out of your hands.  Marvelous.  You definitely get your moneys worth at this place, and by buying Discovery Cove tickets you could make an entire family trip out of it with the use of the other tickets for free.  One other thing that I LOVED about this place is I needed to use my Breast Pump since we left Preston with my Grandpa and Sue, I went to the first aid station to have some privacy and a plug in.  When I was done I realized that I forgot to freeze my cooling pack to keep the milk cold.  I asked if they had some ice I could have. Guess what?! Even better than that! They allowed me to keep the milk in their fridge and had special notes for mothers milk in there! This place thought of it all, and its not very often you find nursing mom friendly places.  That was probably one of the best days of my life, ya know besides getting married and having kids. 😉

Now that I touched on that, I’ll get on to our beach days.  The first beach we visited was with my Grandpa and Sue.  It was a man made beach but it was awesome.  We didn’t have intentions of getting into the water so we wore regular clothes, well the kids still went in. haha. I thought Preston wouldn’t like it, NOPE he LOVED it.  Crawled in it. No fear I tell ya, none.  That boy keeps me on my toes, even at the young age of 9 months (at the time of the trip).  The boys took a snooze in the sun and the girl’s played.  We had a nice time with Grandpa and Sue.  So glad they opened up their home for us to enjoy some sunshine with them.

Ft. Myers beach was GORGEOUS.  I love to look for shells and sand dollars and the beach was filled with them. A snowbirds delight =] Everyday we would see dolphins in the water. I kid you not, close enough we could’ve been swimming or WALKING in the water right up to them. The pictures below will show you just how close they were!  There is just something about the smell of the salty air and the sound of the waves that just lets you think of how Mighty Awesome our God really is.  He knows how many hairs are on our heads is enough to try and fathom, but while I was there I thought to myself that’s its crazy that he knows that, but just think he knows of EVERY GRAIN OF SAND. And that there is NOTHING too small that he doesn’t care about.  BOOM–hits you right in the feels right? He created every.single.grain of sand and knows the EXACT amount there is in this world, and cares about it all and us. =] Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.  We found quite a few sand dollars and some other things like crabs on the beach.  This was a different beach experience for me,  I was used to having a hard time finding full/unbroken shells or any sand dollars at all.  So this just topped the trip off. =] And we didn’t have all the birds to bother us like years past.

Another thing we did was a Sea-venture tour with Adventures in Paradise in Sanibel. We got to go out in the water with nets and net sea critters up.  I only found a crab and little fish, but others found seahorses and other things.  We took a boat out to a little island to do this. When I stepped onto the island I stepped right on a fire ant hill.  I still have scars from it.  They HURT. And they go from your toes to your knees in .38749387493 seconds. Okay maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it sure seemed like it.  Isabelle also stepped on an ant hill by a sidewalk one of the last days we were there. She screamed terrible.  I felt awful.  It had me on edge the rest of the day.  To this day she still looks at her feet and says, “Mommy I got bites”. Yes my dear, you still have scars. =[ hopefully soon they fade. While we were on the seaventure one of the guides found puffer fish for us.  It was pretty neat to see.  And of course the girls enjoyed the boat ride itself too.  Such a beautiful area.

In the pictures below you will also see that I purchased the PieFace game at a Ft. Myers Walmart.  All sold out at home, but nope not where the older generation lives. haha. Liv enjoyed it for the first time using it. Then she did NOT want to be pied again. haha

Anyhow that’s really just the tip of the iceberg of our Florida trip. I hope you enjoyed hearing about it. I highly recommend traveling there!  God Bless!

Love,

Miranda

 

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