Life's Sweet Journey

Friday, June 24, 2016

5 on Friday! FriYAY Catch-Up

Happy Friday Friends! It has been a little sparse around here lately. There has been a lot of life going on, the highs and lows and in-betweens. I figured today was a good day to look on the bright side and catch you up on some of the happy moments that have been happening around these parts... 
1.) We just got home from the beautiful Tennessee mountains! We go every summer to spend a few days with family, who live on a lake in a small town about 40 minutes from Knoxville. We ended up getting to stay almost a week and it was just what my soul needed. Life runs at a slower pace while we are there. We take long mornings to sip coffee, don't typically change out of our pjs until noon and then spend the rest of the day bobbing in the water or out cruising on the boat, just laughing and catching up on life with each other. It. Is. GLORIOUS! Between the hustle and bustle of daily life, the sad events that hit way too close to home here in Orlando and the constant to-do list that seems to just keep growing it was nice to get a little peace and quiet and porch sitting! 

2.) National Outdoors Day was June 11th and we spent it hiking out at Wekiwa Springs State Park about 40 minutes from home. It quickly became one of our favorite central Florida hikes; with all the different environments we got to walk through there was something new to see around every turn. Another great perk?! Jumping in the spring to cool down after you finish your hike! 
3.) It may have topped out as one of our favorites, because it was also the first time we went Geocaching!! SO. MUCH. FUN! If you love to hike and enjoy the outdoors, this is a great way to add an extra element of adventure into your trip!! We can't wait to go again and hope to find our own little spot to stash a cache soon!!  

4.) When we are not out adventuring I have been a reading machine! One of the things I enjoy a lot about being in a book club is reading things I wouldn't normally pick-up, but if the book ends up being something I have gotten angry at (Me Before You), I need to add in a little fluff reading to reset. I just finished Mean Streak by Sandra Brown and it was the perfect book to do just that and made for a great road trip read! I just couldn't pick up After You (this month's book club pick) immediately following its predecessor, but now it's time to dive back in. What has been on your reading list recently? 
5.) One last little adventure- Sweet Babe planned a wonderful surprise a few weekends back. I got home from work and Flo was gone, as was Babe. On the door to the house was a note with coordinates of where to find them! And I was off! I found them nestled under the trees at Moss Park, a county park not far from home base. We spent less than 24 hours in the park, but it was the perfect little getaway. For only $18/a night it really can't be beat when you need a little escape! I love waking up to the sounds outside Flo when we are camping. We spent the morning riding bikes and exploring the park a bit before going home! The spots were well spread out and each one seemed to have a great setup for beautiful, wooded views! We can't wait to go back!! 

Hope your weekend is beautiful and finds you with some space to breathe and time to adventure!! 
Happy FriYAY! 
Linking up with the lovely 5 on Friday Ladies! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Prayers for Orlando: The City Beautiful

Photo source unknown
In light of the recent events that have rocked Orlando, the city that I call home, I will not be hosting this month's #TravelTuesday link up. I hadn't finished the post and honestly did not have the heart to even open it back up right now. Instead, I would like to offer up a prayer for not only our city and the victims and their families, but for all of us. So if you came looking for the link up, I ask that you use the time you would have to link through and visit others posts to please send up a prayer or encouraging thoughts. Pray for your own city, for your community, pray for Orlando, pray for the victims and those waiting tirelessly on hospital chairs to hear news of those healing. Just pray and support one another. Maybe pick up the phone and reach out to someone who may need an encouraging word right now. Spread LOVE!

I pray today for my city.
I pray for Orlando and I ask you to keep this community in your hands. 
I thank you for the helpers. 
Thank you for the first responders, 
for the people who risked their lives to help someone else. 
Thank you for the police officers. 
Thank you for the medical staff. 
Be with all those who saw first hand the images that will stay with them. 
Help to instead replace those images with those of a community supporting one another. 
Lord, be with the families and friends of those who lost their lives, 
comfort them and bring them people to hold them up while their world is crashing down. 
Be with those who are healing, 
Help to ease their pain.
Lord, for those with hatred in their hearts, 
please bring people into their lives who can fill it with light, 
who can help them receive care so that this violence doesn't continue. 
May we all learn to be people who Love the way Jesus showed Love while He was here. 
May we not judge people, 
May we embrace one another as they are, 
May we stand alongside each other, do life together and support one another always. 
Just help us to LOVE 
and Love well. 
I pray these things across Orlando and around the world, 
in Jesus name, 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

June Currently and a Wonderland Giveaway!

June had just begun and I am joining in again for another Currently link up! 
To kick off the month with a little happiness, I am currently hosting a giveaway over on Instagram
Feel free to head over and join in to try and win a de-stressing, adult-coloring-fun adventure in Wonderland!! 
Aside from that, here is a little taste of the rest of my world currently... 
{Planning} Future FloRida ReVa trips and a trip to Georgia with the nieces and nephews at the beginning of August~ Any tips for road trips with kiddos? We usually pack little surprise goody bags for them to open every few hours, but would love any other ideas! 

{Enjoying} Binge reading both Me Before You and After You, though enjoying is not probably the best of terms. I couldn't put them down, so soaking in all that reading time has been enjoyable- but the frustration and tears that came with Me Before You had better balance out once I finish After You!! 

{Buying} Hopefully nothing this month! Ok, so nothing may be an exaggeration, but I am beginning to walk through the book Seven (An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess) by Jen Hatmaker and am starting off small with trying to go a no spend month on my credit card and keep to a $70 weekly cash budget for essentials (food and gas mostly). Wish me luck!! I'm going to need it! 

{Craving} Some blueberry cobbler, topped high with vanilla ice cream! 

{Pinning} Road-Trip-Fun planning ideas, quotes galore, camping recipes, and some of my Teachers-Pay-Teachers plans from back in my classroom days including a new writing unit out for some summer practice. 

Happy June Y'all!! 
What are you up to currently?! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

BLUEtiful and Easy Blueberry Cobbler!

Because blueberry picking season is at an end yet again, I felt it was only right to commiserate, by sharing some blueberry goodness I still have to look forward to. I had posted this recipe a few years ago and now I will share it again, in all its BLUEtiful splendor! Enjoy!! 
Friends, let me tell you. I have never really been a huge blueberry fan, not since getting sick off of a blueberry muffin my freshman year of high school. That is all a thing of the past!! I am a blueberry freak and this morning finds me lusting after fresh, juicy, ripe, off-the-vine blueberries! Babe and I went by a blueberry farm that a friend and I heard about while picking at a strawberry farm. Well, it was AHHMAZING! 
Acres and acres of endless berries... and they even had honey bees!! I got as close as Babe would let me (dude kinda freaked a little). I was in blueberry heaven!! And after eating blueberries straight from the vine, and being able to be very selective as to the berries I put in my basket, this girl will never be able to buy another thing of blueberries at the store. Alas, blueberry picking season is now over. My little heart is crying! Blue tears! But in the meantime, I will simply dream on that last little bit of blueberry goodness and share with you this recipe that my mom makes every 4th of July! It was the only way I could ever eat blueberries for a while. And it is one of the most delicious things you will ever eat!! 
Apparently it was Gooding's recipe before mom had it, but for the sake of my memories we will call it...

Mama F's Blueberry Cobbler!!
 After acquiring all of the above ingredients {and setting the oven to preheat at 350} the steps go as follows...
1.) Line the bottom of your pan with blueberries and cover with lemon juice. Mom typically uses one large 13X9 pan, but because I was baking with the kiddos I nanny for we used two 8in pans. I had to be able to take one with me!!
2.) In mixing bowl combine flour, sugar and baking powder with your one beaten egg. Use a fork (or your clean hands) to mash all of this together! I like mine pretty crumblie so that it spreads nicely, but that is all up to preference. Really it just needs to be mixed so that there is no remaining flour/ sugar not mixed in. **side note- I usually like to add just a tad more flour and sugar (they just need to be equal parts) because the crust is yummmtastic!!
3.) Spread flour/sugar mixture over blueberries. It may not spread over completely as it will settle between berries. **I make more crust because I like mine pretty well covered!
4.) Pour melted butter over crust!
5.) Sprinkle cinnamon and light brown sugar over crust! **Feel free to use a dosh more of this then recipe calls for; I did!

6.) Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until you notice the top is starting to turn crisp and brown! *Bake time will be shorter for convection ovens. And of course it never hurts to open the oven up to take a whiff and a peek! Amp up the anticipation!!
 7.) Enjoy! So good we had to dig into that puppy before we even got the camera out!!
Yummm!! Blueberry Beauty!!
 *** This is a great recipe to make with kids! The little girl I nanny for requested a baking day and this was perfect! It allowed her to be hands on with every step. I basically just supervised and snapped pictures while her sweet heart baked the afternoon (or 15 minutes at least) away! I love afternoons with her!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Orlando Bestie Adventures!

Some days you start out with huge plans to be super motivated and then life just says, "nah! Not today!! Today was one of those days... 
It all started with the need desire for blueberries! 
And so instead of a super productive Friday I instead ended up with a wonderful FriYAY filled with bestie adventures!! 
Keith Urban is right, "some of the best days of our life is really all the wasted time"!

5 FriYAY Adventure Happies
1.) It all started because my local blueberry upick said this was the last weekend for blueberry picking and I needed berries!!! Seriously though, I have big plans to make a cobbler this weekend for either my brother and his wife's baby shower tomorrow or a cornhole tourny we are going to on Sunday at my bro-in-law and soon to be sis-in-laws. So out to Tom West's I was headed (and I did and I am so glad because the blueberry supply left was growing slim and they have a big event for the last weekend and I just know it would have gotten picked clean!), but I didn't want to go alone. So I tried to coax the bestie into going (Yay, I won- and she LOVED it!), but once I finally had her committed, she told me that first we had to stop for...
2.) Coffee!!! She was taking her mom to breakfast at a little diner down the street from our house. So I crashed their mother-daughter date and enjoyed some yummy fuel for our morning adventure! 
3.) After blueberry picking we had planned to head home to check off some of our to-do lists, but the blueberry farm is soooo close to one of the best restaurants in Orlando, Yellow Dog Eats (pictured above)! And because it is somewhat far from our house, you simply can't be that close and not stop for lunch! 
4.) We then headed back to my house, where we did actually get one pretty major thing accomplished. She helped me go through my closet and purge it of about 50,000 items! There are still 100,000 things left... P.S. I have too many clothes!! We may have been able to get more done if we had focused solely on being efficient, but sometimes you just have to dance to the 90s Pandora and try to see if you can pull of hippie braids! 
5.) And now we are preparing to end our evening with a night at the Hoop Dee Doo Review out at Disney's Fort Wilderness, to celebrate her cousins graduation!

So all-in-all, there were big things to get done, they just didn't look anything like the original checklist, but hey, bestie adventures and days to throw in the towel on the "musts" is even more important than anything that could have gotten checked off a list! 

Happy FriYAY Y'all!!
Hope you have a glorious (and long) weekend, celebrating with friends and family and bestie adventures!!