I love you!

I do - I love you, friends!
Thank you for chuckling along with me and our camping adventures!
But, it's nice to be home and crafting again - that's for sure!
This was an incredible productive weekend at my little craft kiosk ....
I managed to make 8 cards - woohoo!

Today's card is from the progressive challenge at From the Heart Stamps,
 a delightful digital stamp company 
with some of the cutest lil digis you'll ever see ♥ 
 I've been playing along with their monthly progressive challenge since last year 
(and even before that)
 and just love the stamps you receive each month. 
 I was too busy to play along in December,
 and as you can see by the late date, almost missed January! :/

Aside from being adorable, the image was very versatile, too ~
could be Christmas, or just winter, or and adorable love card 
based on the sentiments generously supplied with the digi.
I went with the latter - LOVE!

Here's my card submission, inside and out:

 This color combination is one of my all time favorites - 
from the day I put Kiwi Kiss, Pink Pirouette and Real Red together
one year making Christmas cards ♥

Thanks for stopping by ~
I hope your weekend was marvelous!

Big hugs, Bigger Blessings!


January's *Adventure* - Camping!

Hi friends!

You may remember {from this post} that this is the Year of Adventure!
Instead of new year resolutions, I've claimed a *One Word* for many years now. This year's *adventure* is real life, crafting, or surprises along the way!

January's adventures took us camping!
Suffice it to say, I am so not a camper,
especially knowing I'm going to be in a tent, sleeping bag, with dirt and bugs!
This was a big, big, B-I-G stretch for me!
But my wayfaring, adventurous spirit took over 
and we hit the open road with a "come what may" attitude :) 
We found ourselves in a very rural, rustic area of central Florida
on the outskirts of Lake Okeechobee.
With a lack back semblence, there was a distinct feel of a time gone by.
They still say howdy and ma'am and, with a tip of the hat, wish you a good day.
It's just a stone's throw from Miami,
worth the nearly 3 hour, one way drive. 
Far removed from the hustle and bustle of our daily life,
I appreciated the unspoiled way of life.

We found ourselves arriving in the evening after a horrible Thunderstorm
 ripped through the camp with 30 mph winds and saturated the grounds,
making it too rain soaked to pitch tents.
The few of us that braved the storm to get up there
 were granted access to "higher grounds" until morning,
 putting up the tents in the darkness of the night
with just lanterns and moonlight!

 This is what I could see outside the tent ~

Prayers said, tents up, we 'adventured' on.
We set up a make shift "get through the night" camp,
assembled our small stoves and ate around the campfire.
Those of us that braved the first night sat chatting
under a million stars on the chilly, clear {and now rain-free} night.
We huddled into our tents for the night ...
my always reading son dove into his new book
by the lantern's light,
and I later watched him in beautiful slumber by the light of the moon

The next day was postcard perfect -
absolutely STUNNING weather, sunshiny skies and just cool enough 
to make everything wonderful ..
canoeing, hiking the nature trails, merit badge lessons, scavenger hunts,
and so much more. 

A few more families showed up late in the evening 
 just in time for camp karaoke, scary campfire stories and more s'mores!
(I won't post any of the pictures with other scouts, which is most of my pictures) :(

One of my very very VERY favorite things to do is canoe,
and as soon as the sun rose in the mornings
(and since I wasn't in charge of breakfast or scout duty!),
I channeled my inner Nicholas Sparks to venture into God's creation ↓

Be still my heart.

Through twists and turns, strong current and freezing water,
I was one with the river ♥


 For trip one, I cleared nearly 6 miles :)

Back on land .......

 We took nature hikes - THROUGH this!  
Our Den Leader thought it would be 'great experience!'
I think he took Frost's "Take the path less traveled" to heart ...

Eventually, all roads lead to Rome - right?
We would find actual trails and paths, here or there .... 

 Many paths ventured into the wet marshes, a vast beauty of the Everglades
that must be seen at least once in a lifetime ♥
One scout didn't follow the 'blaze' on the trail and
found himself upon this grass ........ except, it's not grass!

Look again - that's water!
      My son wanted to catch mommy a fish for dinner so badly.
We were told at the camp bait shop that the fish weren't biting -
too cold for Florida fish and the water was too high from the previous weeks' rain
but with good spirits (and luckily camp food!) he & the other Scouts had fun :)

 The lake was glassy and smooth, ripple free and eerily calm + beautiful.
I prayed that my son (and the scout friend with us)
would not rock the canoe!
Water mocassins,

alligators basking in the mid-morning son, one on a nest of her eggs.
Great lesson in WE are the visitors, it is THEIR home! 

We were informed that we were in for some bad weather again that night,
and sure enough, 3 am brought howling winds, torrential rain, freezing temps
(by Florida standards, especially since we were amidst many citrus growers).

Some of the families had packed up and headed out,
but my husband's confidence in his new Coleman tent
fantastic 'hurricane force tent staking' and,
apparently, his newfound "Be bold, baby! Be committed!' stanza
was included in the Year of Adventure.    

Just in case, I mapped out the way to the SUV,
flashlight in hand and knew I'd be sleeping with one eye open.
And based on the symphony of dad's snoring in tents around me,
probably not much at all!
Sleep eluding me, I briefly opened the tent fla
to see a crisp, clear night with so many stars lining the sky.
What an incredible gift to behold ♥      

 Sure enough, by 4 am, the rain arrived in full force. 
But, thanks be to God, the tent held up fabulously!
Not a single drop of water made it's way inside. 
In the morning, we surveyed camp and found much it had blown away.
 Anything that had been left out
(tables, tarps, stoves, etc) were all strewn about and not all of the tents made it. 
Many families were soaked through and spent the morning 'drying out' 
everything on tree branches and fence posts.  
My bestie brought out her dad's ancient coffee percolator
and we got the fire going for one of the best cups of joe! ♥ 

The sunrise also brought sunshine, and it stayed with us the rest of the trip!
 With Arrow of Light requirements mostly done,  
we had a lot of free time to explore and trek and hike and play :)
The Scouts voted me 'best on the river'
and my heart smiled :)

What's a little last night's rain going to do to Scouts?
Give them opportunity!
We put our rainboots and waterproof hikers on and explored!

While tromping through mud and muck and whatnot,
I hear my son ....
"Mommy!  Look at this little guy!"
Have mercy.

It. Is. A. Snake!

    Poor thing didn't survive the night,
but still ....... son, use a stick! 

Although we stayed another 2 nights and 1 day,
it rolled quickly into each other and before we knew it - 
time to head for home!
Bugs, rain, reptiles, exhaustion and all things crawling aside,
we had an incredibly fun and adventurous time, unexpectedly so :)  
I was actually as sad as my son to leave for home,
though I missed the girls and the fur babies.

January was so much fun, I can't wait for February's adventure!

Adventure Awaits ...
Find your tribe!