Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sebastian Inlet State Park

The South Beach at Sebastian Inlet State Park
Last weekend, we had our first camping trip since being back in a house. We chose Sebastian Inlet State Park for the beach and fishing opportunities and it was the only state park with beach access with Friday AND Saturday night availability. Since it was the last spot available (#17) for the weekend, it was probably a less desirable one due to being crunched between two other sites without much privacy. The proximity to the inlet was superb however. Once the kids were asleep, we were able to use our phones like baby monitors and go do a little night fishing.
Site #17 at Sebastian Inlet State Park
One thing I didn't really remember about this area is how close the reefs are to the shore. It didn't take long for me to rediscover this however, and I got my dive mask on for exploring. The timing of the tides was perfect. We got out on the beach in the morning on Saturday and Sunday right at low tide when the water was the calmest and clearest. The first day I found some tackle on the bottom and a bottle of nail polish. I know it sounds silly, but I was delighted with even these small treasures. And, given that I lost a big fishing weight in the inlet the last time we visited, I felt quite compensated.

Large Lightning Whelk shell
Sunday, we broke camp early so we could just enjoy our day at the beach without concern for the 1 o'clock check out time. We were set on doing more snorkeling having gotten better masks the day before. On Saturday, I spotted some smaller bait fish and sheepshead, but Sunday we saw those plus a number of snook and a school of lookdowns. My treasure find on Sunday was a huge whelk shell tucked in between two rocky outcroppings. The kids keep calling it a conch shell, but I'm pretty sure it's from a big Lightning Whelk. And Kelly found a big, shiny, shark hook that he is hankering to use.

I was delighted to see many different animals over the weekend and not just fish. We weren't the only mammals enjoying a day at the beach; both days we saw manatee and dolphin. I remembered from my college days as a member of the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group that juvenile sea turtles use this area as feeding grounds. We saw a turtle head pop up here and there on Saturday, but Sunday they seemed to be everywhere - little green turtles bobbing to the surface for air sometimes waving their little flippers - so cute!

Both kids got a taste of snorkeling, without the snorkel. They both swam with us in deeper water as we perused the reef areas. They enjoyed the ocean like never before. Even at high tide the waves kept to a gentle roll. They hardly got out of the water at all on Sunday.

Needless to say, we all had a great time. At the moment, this is my favorite weekend spot in Florida and less than 2 hours away from home. I look forward to a return trip.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

For Everything There is a Season

Over there
Over there (Photo credit: planetdavis23)
After selling our home in North Carolina last summer, we spent a few months traveling north to Maine and eventually Newfoundland before heading back down the Eastern seaboard intent on spending the holidays in Florida with family. We did make a few stops along the way to visit with friends. We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with family as planned and then moved back into the RV for three months while we determined our next steps. 
We went to the RV Supershow in January as we considered upgrading our RV and continuing an itinerant lifestyle. Six months of living, working and homeschooling on the road made us realize we needed more space one way or another. We also started checking out the real estate market in the greater Orlando area. We made it a requirement that there be room to park the RV and this limited our choices greatly. After looking at a diversity of properties in a tri-county area, it became apparent that buying was not the right choice at this time; we were unsure of what type of home we truly wanted and where to find it. 
An opportunity to rent a newly renovated home from a family member was presented us during the holidays. This option became more and more appealing as we went through the house hunting process. While smaller than our last home, this option presented us with an opportunity to be settled without a long-term commitment. (After 8 months in an 30 ft travel trailer, 1,500 sq.ft. feels like a mansion!)
Thus we have been settling into our new home for the last three months. It seemed the first 6 weeks was spent unpacking and buying furniture (having sold or donated most of what we had last year during the sale of our home.) These past three months have been very full and I have found them fulfilling as well. During this time, we have hosted family gatherings several times, hosted friends overnight, and started a garden - all these things and more we couldn't have done in our RV.
So I am thankful that God has lead us to this place in time and look forward to what further adventures await us as we move forward.
We still hope to travel and intend to keep an open mind about the future. But having roots somewhere and being more at liberty to spend time with family has its rewards and so we will enjoy them in this season in which we find ourselves.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program: Check

Here the kids are displaying their free books compliments of Barnes & Noble. For keeping a reading journal of 8 books, participants in the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading program can choose one book from a predetermined list. This list includes books of varying difficulty and interest so there is something for everyone. 

GRADES 1 & 2
Bad Kitty School Daze by Nick Bruel 
Jorge el curioso: Un hogar para las abejas by H. A. Rey
Lego Ninjago: Attack of the Ninjadroids by Tracey West 
National Geographic Readers: Dinosaurs by Kathy Weidner Zoehfeld 
Pete at the Beach by James Dean 
Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey 
Snuggle Buddies by Courtney Carbone 
The Never Girls Series: In a Blink by Kiki Thorpe 

GRADES 3 & 4
Just Grace Series: Just Grace by Charise Mericle Harper 
La guerra de la limonada by Jacqueline Davies 
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney 

GRADES 5 & 6
Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon 
Horse Diaries Series: Elska by Catherine Hapka 
How to Train Your Dragon Series: How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell 
I Survived the Japanese Tsunami, 2011 by Lauren Tarshis 
Masterpiece by Elise Broach 
Philippa Fisher’s Fairy Godsister by Liz Kessler 
Schooled by Gordon Korman 
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Jonah Directs: How to Make a House

Jonah made his directing debut last week with the Lego film shorts "Surfing Fun" and "Dinosaur Hunt." Here is Jonah's latest movie release which he entitled "How to Make a House." It's interesting to see his creativity and sense of humor as he determines the content, chooses a title and performs the voice over. I'm sure there will be more to come :-)

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