Remembering Graceland

It’s hard to believe the world lost Elvis Presley 37 years ago today. In memory, I saw fit to throw back a bit to a trip to Graceland our family took a few years back.

My mother-in-law, Jean had always loved Elvis Presley. My husband remembers her singing along to Elvis many a night from his childhood. We made plans and put the trip on our calendars, but she said she would believe it when she got there.

graceland entrance sign

Well we made it! We had church friends who had family in Memphis and they graciously got us all tickets to Graceland. We were also welcomed with a gift bag full of everything you could ask for from the gift shop. Mom was so surprised.

Graceland Jean excited goodie bag

It was as if Elvis had left the gift for her himself.

Graceland Jean with t shirt

Once through the ticket line, we put our headphones on for the audio tour and lined up for the bus to take us across the street to Graceland. Here it is! It didn’t seen so big from the front but the grounds went on forever.

graceland on the door stoop

Here’s Mom at Elvis’s front door ringing the doorbell.

graceland better shot of mom by front door

We went inside and found everything decorated for the holidays!

graceland dining roomIt’s a trip we will always cherish. Mom passed away a year after our trip from colon cancer. She is now in her heavenly home and we hope she has had the chance to see Elvis “in person.” Miss you mom, say hi to Elvis for us.

graceland mom looking at elvis's head stone graceland mom pink cadillac

The Great Blue Heron

This magnificent bird flew over us while we were on an afternoon paddle out at Blue Springs State Park. I observed him from my Kayak where he landed just a few feet away. I was captivated as he snatched a fish from beneath the lily pads and had himself some lunch.

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Spending a few moments with a Great Blue Heron in his natural environment while floating in a kayak – another day well spent.

The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast

The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast is located in Indian Riverside Park. You can easily spend a day at the museum, then play on the beach and in the fountains.

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The kids loved the pet vet exhibit.

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The building room.

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The body exhibit.

childmuszackonbike childmusbrianand macie in lab coats

The giant play ship!

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Publix shopping exhibit.

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They played for hours and then some. Another day well spent.

Cabin Camping at Lake Louisa

We had a wonderful first visit to Lake Louisa last August. IMG_0001 There are a few mini lakes on the grounds that we explored.IMG_0003 IMG_0004 IMG_0005  Great spot for some family time.IMG_0007 IMG_0010We loved the view from our cabin.
IMG_0011 And enjoyed the fire pit down below. IMG_0012 It was easy to haul all our stuff into the cabins right from the street.IMG_0013The kitchen had everything we needed to cook basic meals.
IMG_0014 IMG_0015 IMG_0016 IMG_0019 IMG_0021 IMG_0025 IMG_0027 IMG_0028 The cabin was super clean and larger than we expected.IMG_0029 IMG_0030 IMG_0031 IMG_0032 IMG_0033 IMG_0034The cabins boarder one of the smaller lakes. The large Lake Louisa is a bike ride away. This is it. Just water and sand. A quiet retreat from the daily grind.
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The Wonder of Cupcakes

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I love pouring over beautiful images on glossy screens, don’t get me wrong, but rolling out colorful fondant, calmly pinching up sanding sugar and dusting it keenly atop my own confectionary creation was a much needed escape from my keyboards. I traveled away from my ordinary day just down the road to this magical place, the county fair, and I met wonder there.

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Fair! - 42

Revisiting St Augustine

We are a family who homeschooled for 20 years. Though both my girls have now graduated High School and are in college, I have never outgrown the lure of adventure that awaits someplace that we haven’t yet explored. I also enjoy revisiting places that held great memories, either by taking a return trip or via a walk down memory lane in photos.

Today is a photo trip : )

Castillo De San Marcos

Did you know that St. Augustine is the oldest city in the nation? It was founded on September 8th,1565 which was 42 years before Jamestown and 55 years before Plymouth. Next year, 2015, will mark the 450th anniversary of this Spanish settlement. The city is already gearing up for a big celebration.20140302-173130.jpgThe “Old City” is home to the national monument of Castillo De SanMarco. It also boasts the oldest wood school house in the USA, now conveniently located near an ice cream shop.

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The St. Augustine Light Station tour included a trip to the top of the lighthouse and some nautical hands-on exhibits on the grounds around the lighthouse.

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Mostly though, we just enjoyed time away with the family that weekend.

20140303-120713.jpgJeff and girls st augustine

Throwback Thursday: Revisiting St Augustine

We are a family who homeschooled for 20 years. Though both my girls have now graduated High School and are in college, I have never outgrown the lure of adventure that awaits someplace that we haven’t yet explored. I also enjoy revisiting places that held great memories, either by taking a return trip or via a walk down memory lane in photos.

Today is a photo trip : )

Castillo De San Marcos

Did you know that St. Augustine is the oldest city in the nation? It was founded on September 8th,1565 which was 42 years before Jamestown and 55 years before Plymouth. Next year, 2015, will mark the 450th anniversary of this Spanish settlement. The city is already gearing up for a big celebration.20140302-173130.jpgThe “Old City” is home to the national monument of Castillo De SanMarco. It also boasts the oldest wood school house in the USA, now conveniently located near an ice cream shop.

20140303-120536.jpg

The St. Augustine Light Station tour included a trip to the top of the lighthouse and some nautical hands-on exhibits on the grounds around the lighthouse.

St Augustine Light House20140303-120919.jpg

Mostly though, we just enjoyed time away with the family that weekend.

20140303-120713.jpgJeff and girls st augustine

Indian Riverside Park, Jensen Beach

Indian Riverside Park sits on the Indian River (Intracoastal) in Jensen Beach, Florida and is a favorite among area families. The river is brackish, meaning partially salt water, so we see some salt water creatures such as his horseshoe crab. 488352_10151015765669983_206289238_n 432115_10151015765434983_1102086133_n It’s like a mini ocean with sand, seaweed and sea creatures but a much calmer shoreline. 264928_10151015771799983_764271021_nYou can wade out in the water and it doesn’t get deep for a long way out, and this little fella just ran on out there as far as he could, as fast as he could. But, his caregiver couldn’t swim and there were no life guards, so Tara to the rescue!

293077_10151015783819983_1342419037_n He was waaaay out under the pier here.376691_10151015783609983_1179043275_nTara went all the way out there, fully dressed, to rescue this little boy.578822_10151015786789983_1782715824_n His sister had come over to us in a panic. All’s well that ends well.405319_10151015787079983_183483608_nEveryone ended up having a great in the south Florida sand.
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Florida Oceanographic Center

Florida Oceanographic Center Stingray PlayA visit to the Florida Oceanographic Center affords you unlimited access to a stingray tank and much more, though the stingrays remain the favorite. The Center offers daily feeding times where you can grab a shrimp by the tail and a stingray will come along a suck it out of your hand. Awesome, but not if you’re allergic to shrimp. If you are, like me, then please maintain a shrimp-free experience. If you are a preschooler, you might also be just as interested in the sensation of water as you are the stingrays, which is just a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

Also there to explore are touch tanks with star fish, anemones, snails and such. The “one finger only” rule applies here. Note: If your preschooler likes to carry a toy with them, try not to have the toy visit the touch tank. It happens.

Hands on exhibits can be found outside under a shaded area and inside as well. The grounds are accessible to strollers and wheelchairs alike. You can bring coolers for lunch at a picnic table. If not bringing lunch, definitely bring drinks to stay hydrated. If you forget, there are vending machines for drinks but no snacks for sale.

The second most watched exhibit was the Lagoon Fish Feeding Program. There is a large man-made pond that houses a variety of local fish. At feeding time, they come out to play. There are more fish on display inside in small tanks and aquariums. Keep an eye out for the moray eel.

We like to walk the trails on our trips and many trails in Florida lead to a view of the water, in this case, the beautiful Indian River Lagoon.

The Center offers many educational opportunities throughout the year and hosts a popular summer camp as well. There are numerous opportunities to extend the learning experience, or just take a simple day trip like we did. Either way, a visit to the Florida Oceanographic Center is a day well spent.

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Visit Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center for more information. Print out their Animals on Display page and create your own scavenger hunt form!