Friday, April 30, 2010

You know your house is a home if

My good friend Sarah invited Wondertwin and I to her home for what we lovingly refer to as a "porch sit" yesterday. Sarah spent several years building this home, which actually has a name - CenterPeace. In fact the name is carved into the mantle over the fireplace in her living room.

Now I'm thinking that if your house has an official name, it's not a house it is a home. And what a beautiful home it is. Though not nearly as beautiful as the woman who owns it.

About twice a year our little group of ladies enjoys a porch sit. The view of the Intracoastal river can't be beat. Wine and appetizers. But most of all great conversation and plenty of laughs. Lots of love all around!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

MiniMe Debuts Online

I started a blog detailing my journey along with my daughter through braces. Yep, we're going through braces at the same time. So this week, MiniMe posted her first blog entry on the blog. She was very excited about her first blog post and spent at least a half hour working on it. She sat at the kitchen counter with my laptop last night while I was cooking asking me how to spell words, etc.

Check her out!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Permission Slips

MiniMe rummaged through her book bag in frustration this morning looking for a permission slip for me to sign to allow her to watch a PG-13 movie at school. When she couldn't find it she started freaking out because she said it had to be signed today or else she would not be able to watch the movie in question - Nim's Island.

No worries. I got out a sheet of paper and drafted my own permission slip.

Dear Mrs. Smith,

Please allow my daughter MiniMe to watch any PG-13 movie on any date at any time at her elementary school. 

Signed and dated NativeMom

PS. Let's face it, after watching all those zombie movies with her teenage brothers, there's nothing Jodi Foster or Abigail Breslin could possibly do on Nim's Island that would be any more shocking or disturbing. 

Native Tan

"Where are you from?"

That's the question I was asked by a man sitting next to me at the bar in a local restaurant my friends and I visited recently. I guess when you live in Florida, visitors naturally assume that everyone else they encounter is also there on vacation.

"I live here. I'm local," I answered.

"Oh, you live here? I guess I thought you were visiting since you're so white."

He meant my skin tone not my mannerisms or belief system I assumed.

I was not offended by his observation. After all, I'm a green eyed blonde. Not all Florida natives look like, er, natives. 

So I answer, "That's because when you grow up in Florida, you become aware of a little thing we call skin cancer. Most everyone I know that grew up here or has lived here a long time has had something cut or burned off them at some point. The dermatology industry is very healthy here - recession proof in fact."

Then I ask "Where are you from?"


Monday, April 26, 2010

Lies Dads Tell

Is this you? Yes, I know it is the Coppertone kid, the iconic image that launched a sunscreen empire. But if you were 4 years old and your dad told you that it was a picture of you, would you believe him?

Well, Danger Mom did. Seems my friend was mortified as a child to find out that a picture of her with her lily white derrière showing for all the world to see was plastered over billboards and products across the Sunshine State. Everywhere she went, there was her naked self staring back at her. It was enough to give a kid a complex.

Only it wasn't her. Just one of those funny, harmless little lies dads tell their kids to amuse themselves.

Funny, huh? Funny that even now that she's in her 40s she still cringes at the site of that half-naked Coppertone girl.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Only 1 Week Left

There's only one week left to enter the Native Mom blog free RV for a weekend give away. With the glorious weather and so many great places to camp in Florida, you'd be crazy not to give this a chance.

Simply send me an e-mail with your e-mail address at as contact info and keep your fingers crossed for luck! The winner will be drawn at random on April 30.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse

My stepson realized how quickly a good deed can go wrong today. He volunteered to help his older brother move some furniture into his new apartment. Middle stepson has a big truck and oldest stepson has a Buick.

In the process of transporting a couch, my stepson's truck broke down. He was stuck on the side of a small, two-lane country back road so of course he called his dad. Then his dad called me.

Off we went to meet up with the boy, AAA card and cell phone in hand. Pappaw on the other end of the phone line helping us diagnose the problem with the big red Dodge as we traveled the hour drive to where stepson was waiting.

But having his truck break down on him unexpectedly was the least of his problems. Seems that his bigger problem was the stupidity that comes with being 19 years old and bored.

He and his brother's friend decided to cure their boredom while waiting for help to arrive by taking their air soft pistols out of the truck's tool box and conducting a little target practice in the ditch nearby.

Enter a soccer mom in a mini-van. She comes across a beat up old truck pulled over on the side of the road with two big tall boys shooting guns next to it. How fast can you dial 911?

Two local police cars and a Sheriff's deputy arrive within minutes. My son realizes immediately why they are being rushed by the law, drops his air soft gun and places his hands behind his head in one swift motion. His buddy is a little slower on the draw. The officers step out of their vehicles with shouts of "drop your weapon, drop your weapon now!" with Tasers primed and ready.

The boys were handcuffed face down in the dirt while the officers determined whether or not they were budding homegrown terrorists. Nope, just bored stupid kids.

My son says the officers "chewed them up one side and down the other" but also readily admitted they deserved it.

Officer: What the hell are you doing?

My son: Being Stupid Sir.

Officer: You're damn right you're stupid!

My stepson seemed unfazed by the entire experience by the time we got there. In fact, he told us he knew right away why the cops were there when he saw the first patrol car pull up because, and I quote, "some kid at my church got in trouble for the exact same thing."

Maybe I need to introduce him to the idea of "learning from others' mistakes."

Sonic Boom on my Butt

Hope everyone across the Sunshine State enjoyed the sonic boom that signaled the return of the Space Shuttle to our atmosphere this morning (photo courtesy of NASA). I happened to be out walking my two dogs when the Space Shuttle Discovery returned to earth in its usual trajectory over Florida. When the heart-thumping, window rattling, ear splittng KABOOM sounded, my dogs took off like they'd been shot, knocking me on my butt in the process. There I sat in the wet grass, dirt up to my elbows with my dogs retreating rear ends obstructing my view.

I bet this kind of thing doesn't happen to people walking their dogs in Michigan.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Save the Jellies!

Spent a cloudy, overcast Sunday at the beach with MiniMe and Sunshine Girl. It wasn't too hot, it wasn't too cold, but I really need to have some sunshine on my shoulders to enjoy the beach. Not a requirement for merriment to ensue for the little girls with me.

After digging in the sand, collecting shells and catching sand fleas the girls decided to use their energies for a good cause. Saving jellyfish.

I watched as they took their shovels and bucket and carefully attempted to scoop up a jellyfish that had washed up on the beach. There was much squealing and flailing about as part these maneuvers. I wondered what they might do with the jellyfish once they got it into the bucket, hoping that their plan was not to come stick it in my face. But no, I was safe, because their plan was to "save" the jellyfish by releasing it back into the ocean.

Once the jellyfish was in the bucket, they waded into the surf. At this point it finally occurred to them that if they washed the jellyfish into water where they were standing, they might end up with jellyfish wrapped around them. So now they're knee deep in water with a (dead) jellyfish in a bucket and arguing (and squealing still) about the best way to "catch and release." Finally the braver of the two (Sunshine Girl) slowly dips the bucket into the water and MiniMe takes off running back to shore. With the jellyfish now "rescued" the girls excitedly run up to share their good deed with me.

"We rescued a jellyfish! Did you see us! It would have died on the shore but we put it back in the ocean! C'mon, let's go rescue another one!"

I didn't have the heart to tell them the jellyfish were already dead if they were washed up on shore. And I noticed later that they were probably "rescuing" the same dead jellyfish over and over again. But I was very pleased with their collective efforts to "do good."

Enjoy Earth Day this week (April 22) and do something small or large to help save the earth (or a few dead jellyfish if you prefer).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What is this?

I saw this last week in the Matanzas Inlet in St. Augustine. It says Earth Ball on the side of it. I guess it is supposed to be someone's environmentally friendly boathouse? It was so bizarre I pulled over to the side of the road to take a photo. I know that all you Native Mom fans would enjoy seeing it.  I'd be happy to take your guesses on what else it might be. There are no wrong answers and don't expect a definitive answer from me cause I have no idea!

UPDATE 4/19: Thanks to Mimi, my most loyal Native Mom reader, we have an answer to the Earth Ball mystery. The St. Augustine Record recently did an article on the soccer shaped boat and its unusual 69-year-old owner. Click here for more details.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Produce Guide

Florida Agriculture recently posted a Produce Guide for Florida on its Facebook page. Who knew Florida produce had its own Facebook page? So how lame are you if you're not on Facebook yet when even vegetables and fruits are Facebooking?

Anyway, check out the produce guide here

I'm coming up on my third anniversary of vegetarianism. It's been a journey and I've learned a lot. If you know of any produce related special events in your area, I'd love to hear about them and post them on the blog. For instance, Plant City has the Florida Strawberry Festival (too late for anyone wanting to attend, it was back in March). Zellwood has its Sweet Corn Festival in May.

If you ask me, Floridians are a little obsessed with food-related festivals and special events. You can't throw a rock from anyplace in Florida without it landing in a seafood festival. Send me the dates of your local festivals. I just may eat my way across the state this year (burp!).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Caught in the act

Have you ever caught the driver in the car next to you on the road singing passionately? Funny isn't it. Well a similar thing happened to me this morning only I was the one being laughed at - caught in the act.

I was listening to Book Radio on satellite radio (does that make me a geek or well-read?). This station is kinda like books on tape. This morning it was Bill Bryson's novel, "A Walk in the Woods." Luvs me some Bill Bryson! He's got to be the funniest travel writer ever.

I was cracking up hard enough to bring tears to my eyes listening to this book when I glanced over at the car next to me at the stoplight. The guy was snickering. I have to admit, if I saw someone driving alone in their car laughing this hard, I'd find it amusing and I'd probably think the driver was crazy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This says it all

Here is a picture of our cruisin' kids. MiniMe is the one in the middle. The oldest "kid" of the bunch was the teenager you see completely sacked out on the beach towel in the background. Notice his size 11 feet completely splayed out in different directions. After a day with this perky, silly, energetic group of kids, I felt just like him!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Vacation, vacation everywhere!

My first day back from a week-long vacation, I had a meeting at the Daytona Beach Resort and Conference Center. You know how you feel the first day back at work after a vacation - like you wish you were still on vacation? Well I was feeling that way and that feeling got even stronger while I was sitting at the resort watching all the families wondering in and out of the pool deck, drinks in hand, kids in tow with the smell of suntan lotion.

While I love, love, love living in the Sunshine State, it can sometimes be difficult to be surrounded constantly by people on vacation. When I was a kid growing up in St. Augustine, this fact of life was actually a lot of fun.

Growing up in vacationland as a kid, I learned to have a good time with the tourists. My best friend and I would often take advantage of their cluelessness (why do we leave our brain at home on vacation?). From giving tourists the wrong directions, to telling them tales of manatees nesting on the shores of our beaches, we had a great time being real smart-aleks. But the best trick we ever played on these poor visitors was after a hard rain in the historic district. Downtown St. Augustine tends to flood along the bayfront area during rainstorms. This particular storm had left the parking lot of the fort under water by a few inches. After the rain stopped, my friend and I decided to "wade" across the fort parking lot. Only we got down on our knees and trudged through the water. Car after car would pull up to the entrance to the fort parking lot, see us up to our thighs in water and turn away less they get swamped. We took great delight with every car we scared away.

I'm sure the convention and visitor's bureau really appreciated that.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ta-Da, a winner and a new give-away!

Congratulations to Kim P for winning the very first Florida Native Mom blog giveaway - a free weekend at Perry's Ocean Edge resort in Daytona Beach. I'm moving right along to my next give-away which is a free RV rental for the weekend. If you've ever wanted to give camping in an RV a try, now is your chance. The great folks at Ocean Grove RV in St. Augustine - where I bought our family RV - are providing this great prize to the readers of the Native Mom blog.

We've camped all over the Sunshine State. Beloved loves the rustic campgrounds and I'm ok with any campground that is clean, well maintained and has lots of things for the kids to do. Beautiful surroundings are a plus, but you'll find that at just about any campground in Florida. A few of my favorites include: Wekiva Springs, Anastasia State Park, Hillsborough River State Park, Ocean Grove RV resort in St. Augustine and Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World.

We've camped year-round and have learned over the years how to pack and plan for all kinds of weather. I've also become a great campground cook.

So enter to win the RV get-a-way and think about giving camping in Florida a try!

Update: To enter the RV give-away, see the sidebar to the right with instructions under the Ocean Grove RV logo. Send an e-mail with your name and e-mail address to to enter to win.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Come Sail Away!

Just returned from a week long spring break cruise. Unlike many of the college spring breakers, our cruise involved 9 adults and 8 kids, 5 families traveling together on a Carnival cruise. The kids enjoyed having free ice cream all day long and riding the glass elevators up and down 9 stories in the main atrium of the cruise ship. Luckily there was a piano bar in the atrium so while our kids entertained themselves playing "tag" in the glass elevators, the adults could sit, sip and enjoy the music.

We've done this spring break family cruise for 4 years now. And we finally decided this year that in the future, we don't necessarily need to travel on a cruise ship. We simply have to find a place that offers free ice cream all day long and has some glass elevators for the kids to play in. And if this resort had a few dancing waiters, bonus!