Thanksgiving and Christmas at the Beach - Collage Friday

 Our week in Florida was restful and fun! 

I'd like to talk about that today, along with some Christmas schooling ideas at the end of the post. 

We're gearing up for a busy and exciting December.

Hang on, because there's a ton in today's Collage Friday!

I was blessed to have called south Florida my home for the first 18 years of my life, and my mom and dad still live there. We spent our time in Naples and Casey Key - two of the nicest areas of Florida (in my opinion!). 

The 11 hour drive down from Atlanta really isn't that bad. The kids watch movies and my husband and I listen to music and pod casts. We've done this drive so many times that we have our travel stops down to a science. 

Christmas in Florida


Since my mom and dad won't get to see the kids for Christmas, they were all decorated for the holiday when we arrived at their house. 

Isn't their tree beautiful? My mom mom has a wonderful eye for decorating!

The kids also got grandma into making rubber band bracelets (grandpa just observed). 

After I took this picture of Anna in front of the Christmas tree I swear I aged 10 years. She just looks so old and so beautiful. 

I am very thankful that my kids have such caring and involved grandparents. I'm pretty lucky, too, to have the parents I do.

* My parents got Grant the best Christmas gift ever - The Wobble Deck. Have you seen this thing? It's quite a lot of fun and very challenging, too! The kids thought it was pretty special to get Christmas presents before Thanksgiving!

A Day in the Everglades

We took one day to ride an airboat in the Everglades. I wanted my kids to experience this "Florida charm". A special shout out goes to Corey Billie's Airboat Rides

I read to the kids all about the Everglades on our drive and once there they saw a lot of wildlife and got to ride through the swamp. 

The mangroves (top picture) were called "The Walking Tree" by the native Indians in old Florida - because of the way their roots make them appear to be walking.

We saw osprey and herons, along with quite a few alligators. Do you see how close the alligator is in the bottom picture? Our guide/driver assured us that gators are only attracted to little boys that are wearing blue {snicker}... since Grant was wearing blue that day it gave him some pause, that's for sure!

On our way home we found a Rita's Italian Ice and had to stop. Our Rita's went out of business several months ago and we've missed it.  Funny thing is that this Rita's in Naples is in the exact place where there was an ice cream shop when I was a little girl. Sitting in that shop I recalled a lot of fond memories growing up. 

It makes me wonder how many people live in one place for the entire lives any more? My parents have lived in Naples for over 40 years. It's great to go "home" to visit.

Thanksgiving at Casey Key

We traveled north to Casey Key a couple of days before Thanksgiving to stay with more family. The weather got a little chilly, but the kids were still able to enjoy the beach and it was warm compared to temperatures at home.

Grandma and Grandpa, two sisters and their familes, and my family made for a big and fun Thanksgiving!


Since we were staying right on the beach we spent most of our time there. 

Grant and Anna each had their share of shell and fish finds. Grant found a completely in tact fish carcass that was quite cool. 

One morning my husband and I decided to walk on the beach. The minute we hit the sand it started raining, and as I was taking shelter under a palm tree, my husband pointed out a beautiful rainbow to me. God's promises are everywhere. I just love how He surprises us, don't you?

My sister gave Anna the job of scrapbooking placemats for Thanksgiving dinner. She did a great job! Making placemats for 11 people was no small task. 

A Fun Pit Stop

The day after Thanksgiving we headed home - but first we had to make a pit stop in Tampa to see my long time blogging friend, Jen.


I had spent time with Jen before, but I had never met her precious children. I will tell you this - Jen and her husband are two very special people - not to mention the fact that they had a dream to live in FL and just made it a reality a few months ago! The minute we pulled into their driveway one of their girls was in the garage beckoning us to come inside.

You can see a picture of all of the kids, another picture of my Anna and Jen's Anna, and another picture of Grant and Jonah - I think those two boys hit it off quite well!

Next time we all agreed we would have to stay longer because we had a good time. 

Christmas Schooling

Anna has one more week of Challenge A classes with Classical Conversations. Next Tuesday she will take a midterm exam over all she has learned. I am in AWE of what she has accomplished this semester. I think SHE is pleased, too. 


Grant is happily building many Christmas LEGO scenes and doing a lot of LEGO writing.

We also receive Professor Carol's daily Advent emails and those have been a HUGE blessing to us. Each day we learn about beautiful music, culture, and art surrounding Advent. It is a beautiful way to start our days.

We are also working our way through the free Christmas Carol Unit Study (here on my blog) and also the Nutcracker Unit Study

The piano is constantly being played - Christmas recitals are in 2 weeks and the kids are furiously practicing. Anna's big children's chorus concert is also next weekend. 

In the evenings I'm letting the kids watch a Christmas movie and drink hot cider - just having fun! 

In 9 days I will be leaving for Ecuador, so I'm trying to enjoy the kids and have lots of family time before I'll be gone for several days.

I'm pinning all of the fun ideas I see out there for Christmas on Pinterest  - thought you might want to follow along! 

Follow Homegrown Learners's board Christmas learning activities on Pinterest.


Please join me for Collage Friday!

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