Life's Sweet Journey

Friday, July 29, 2016

Happy Birthday Flo! 5 Favorite FloRida Moments!!

FriYAY!! Happy Friday Y’all!! We are currently loaded down with 4 kids and a car full of coffee and headed to Georgia for our annual “Aunt-Mel-and-Uncle-Andrew-take-on-the-kiddos” trip!! Believe it or not, this is actually one of our favorite trips of the entire year and one we wouldn’t trade for all the exotic vacations, but we are missing getting to celebrate Flo’s birthday with a Florida adventure!

FloRida Reva has officially been part of the family for a year now! We will be celebrating with a Flo-trip soon, but until then I figured what a perfect time to look back over some of my favorite Flo memories!!

Here are my top 5 favorite moments with Flo:
- Our “get to bring her home” weekend!! She may have been signed and sealed 1 year ago, but we actually didn’t get to pick her up for another two weeks. She had to be checked over, then we had our Georgia trip with the kids and then we finally got to go get her and spend a weekend getting accustomed to all things RV. Still love Lazy Days and all they do to get you set-up properly!

- Flo’s very first trip! If you have never been to Fort DeSoto, go now!!

- Flo’s first out of state trip!! We love Georgia, both in the city and the country!! 

- Our first boondocking experience!

- Manatee Swimming fun in Crystal River!!

The list could go on, but we will stick with those for now! I love all of FloVentures and can’t wait to officially celebrate her birthday in style!! Until then,

Happy Birthday Flo!!

There is also a little shop giveaway going on over on Instagram, to celebrate, so feel free to head over and check it out!!

Happy adventuring friends!! Have a beautiful weekend!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

#TravelTuesday 6// Forever Florida Horseback Riding

Happy Travel Tuesday Y'all!! 

I am working on posting some of our recent Flo adventures, but today I am sharing a little day-cation that took place right in our our backyard! 
It was my soon-to-be-sis-in-law's birthday a few weekends back and, as a surprise, my bro-in-law planned a horseback riding adventure for the 4 of us. Well, I myself and not typically too fond of horses! They are cute to look at and pet, but riding them has never gone well for me. I had never could get the hang of controlling them and having that much "horsepower" out of my control FREAKS ME OUT! So needless to say, I was a little skeptical about how I would ultimately like this little journey. 

Maybe its that whole, "low expectations is the key to life" theory, but I LOVED IT!! It was by far my favorite horseback riding experience to date! 

*Post Update: Groupon currently has some great deals for Forever Florida. From the Thrill Pack- for the zipline experience- to the horseback riding adventure, there are currently some great rates if you book through Groupon.  

Where We Went: 
Forever Florida is this great ranch out in St. Cloud, Florida, which works to preserve some of Florida's natural beauty and history in cattle ranching. They sit on almost 5,000 acres of unspoiled land and our horseback trek took us deep into the heart of it! We were crossing streams, sometimes as deep as the horses rear-end, and exploring the beauty of natural Florida! Our trail ride lasted almost 2 hours and I loved every minute of it. 
Our amazing guide Gabby (I mean seriously, does she not just make you feel like you are an actual cowboy?!) was so helpful and gave me great tips on how to keep my horse in check! But the best thing was, the horses there are so well trained that I didn't even feel like I had to work very hard! My sweet little guy just knew what to do! Gabby also kept us entertained on the trail with stories about Florida's ranching history, as well as the history of Forever Florida itself. I definitely learned some fun facts on our ride! 

Other Options at Forever Florida: 
There are so many fun outdoor adventures to choose from at Forever Florida! There is a specific part of the ranch dedicated to ziplining! Even cooler? They have a zip line roller coaster!! We actually did the zip line adventure package a few years back and it was AWESOME! The coaster is so fun! You can also do zipline racers and jump off a building the same way stunt people do! A huge, and well-worth it, thrill!! 

Gabby was also telling us about the horseback overnight, which she said serves the best cowboy steak you will ever eat for dinner, along with a killer breakfast in the morning. We haven't tried that, but it may have to go on the list! You can also take part in cattle roundups during certain parts of the year or be a cowboy for a day! 

Forever Florida is also a working cattle ranch and sells beef both to the public, but also in the restaurant they have right there on the ranch. That way, when you are done with a long morning of horseback riding, you can refuel before conquering the ziplines! They are often offering discounts for booking two things in one day. 

Where We Ate: 
We decided not to eat at the restaurant and instead headed back into St. Cloud to hit up this BBQ place (you know we love us some BBQ) we had seen on the way there. Meat n Fire BBQ was amazing! A sweet little place where you order at the counter and they bring the food out to you. They have daily specials and I opted for Friday's option of the chopped pork, which came with one side and a drink for about $6.50. Can't beat that; especially considering how delicious is was!! It would definitely me my lunch vote if you head out for a Forever Florida adventure! 

And that was our happy little Florida adventure for this month! 
Where have you been adventuring too?! 
Any local spots that you love near your hometown? 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thursday Things: Summer Sharing and RV Resources

Happy Thursday Friends!!
Summer is in full swing here in Florida; the sun is hot enough to reheat my coffee if I leave it sitting in my car for anymore than 15 minutes without a/c, my sunglasses fog if I wear them from inside my cooled house out into the blazing light of day... 

Don't get me wrong! I LOVE summer- the heat, the hiking, the must-be-in-the-pool-or-spring-if-we-are-outside-for-longer-than-5-minutes weather- but I am also getting very well prepared for the continual rise in temperatures and so is Flo!!

So what exactly might a girl and her RV need to beat the summer heat... 
Summer Must Haves
Chacos- I have gone back and forth forever as to if I should invest in a pair of Chacos or not. Living in Florida we end up doing a lot of wet trails, so I felt they could work well, but then Babe reminded me that they still don't really protect from ants. Well, then I finally went and tried on a pair!! SOLD!!! Chaco Nation here I come! They are amazing! Great support (better than my current tennis shoes), super comfy and my little piggies can breathe!

Adventure Fuel Mug- No morning in Flo is complete without a strong cup of Adventure Fuel!! I love slow mornings sitting and sipping coffee before a full day of fun! 

Our Coleman Travel Grill- Even though Flo does have a stove top and microwave, our Coleman grill is pretty much our main means of cooking when we are in Flo! Seriously, this grill is perfect for camping, traveling, tailgating... it just folds up so nicely, fits perfectly in the storage compartment and is easily set up! 

Sun Bum Sunscreen- Because I am old and can no longer pretend like I can get away with spf 4, and honestly, if you are young and still think you can, save yourself the later wrinkles and invest in some solid sun protection. I am not your mom so you won't have to say it was something your mama warned you about! But if she has been telling you that, well she's correct... your future skin will thank you! And Sun Bum is wonderful! It doesn't feel think and tar like, but still provides amazing protection. I actually tried it originally at a surf expo my dad was at and have been hooked every since. So go ahead and "Sun that Bum"! 

Table Topics- These are to be saved for a rainy day (or when the heat gets too high and there is no nearby body of water to jump into)! I love table topics! They are a fun way to pass the time and find out something new about the people you are with or even ask yourself a question you never thought to ponder. Babe and I love playing our own version of the question game while we hike, but Table Topics has great questions we wouldn't think of! They also have an awesome Road Trip Edition that I am dying to try!! 

Any other outdoor lovers out there?! How do you beat the heat and still enjoy the outdoors?! 
Let's get a head start on the Road Trip Table Topics: 
What was your all-time favorite vacation? 

And in case you are looking for a few more RV resources, here are a few things I am looking into this summer in prep for more road trips: 

RV Checklist- A great source for those looking checklists on anything RV from the buying, to the owning, to the fixing... Prefect for those who (like me) are still learning

Know Where to "Go"- The dreaded dump... yes, that means the potty! We all go, duh! But when you are in an RV knowing where to let it go can be an issue. When you are boondocking, or the line for park dump station is too long, it is helpful to know where the next nearest station is. This is a great resource for needing to know where to go... literally! 

RV for Me- Ok, so that isn't what it's called, but if you were anything like me starting out, you may not know a lot of RV lingo. These guides are written by RV expert Marc Polk and are full of tons of RV info for a little RV 101!  

You can also go check out my favorite RV couple (now turned sailors) for some of their RV and how-to videos, Jason and Nikki Wynn

Hope that was helpful! 
Happy Travels my friends!!

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,