Madalynn’s 1st ear infection

Hello all well after a fussy child and fever for 2 days we are going thru our 2st inner ear infection.  I was quick to think swim lessons were the cause until the doctor explained inner ear infections are viral and swimmer's ear effects the outer ear only and usually doesn't have fever and/or the accompanying sore throat she has:(  I was so worried she had her highest fever to date of 103.5 at the doctors office but is now on antibiotics and tylenol/motrin every 4 hours.  The below info was helpful to me from Dr.sears website.   

Your child has a bothersome cold for a week. Her nasal discharge turns a little green and her cough starts to keep you all up at night. Then one night she is up every hour extremely fussy with a fever. You take her into the doctor in the morning almost certain she has another ear infection.

Ear infections are one of the most worrisome illnesses for both parents and children to go through, especially if they frequently recur. They also are the most common reason for antibiotic prescriptions. Here's a guide to help you understand why ear infections occur, how to best treat them, and most importantly, how you can prevent them from happening too often.


Your child may have 2 or more of these symptoms:

  1. Cold symptoms – keep in mind that ear infections are almost always preceded by a cold. Often a clear runny nose will turn yellow or green before an ear infection sets in.
  2. Fussiness during the day or night
  3. Complaining of ear pain or hearing loss
  4. Night-waking more frequently
  5. Unwillingness to lie flat
  6. Fever – usually low grade (101º – 102º); may not have a fever.
  7. Sudden increase in fussiness during a cold
  8. Ear drainage – if you see blood or pus draining out of the ear, then it is probably an infection with a ruptured eardrum. DON'T WORRY! These almost always heal just fine, and once the eardrum ruptures the pain subsides.

Surviving swim lessons

Well its been a few days since I've written and we had a busy week.  Madalynn's swim lessons are going great the 1st day or two were nerve wrecking for mom and Miss M but now both of us have adapted.  She is learning to float already of course still assisted but its amazing the progress within 1 week.   She is also holding her breath and swimming toward rings under water again along with instructor's push-off but by the end she will be able to do it herself. 

I have read sooo many articles of children drowning in a drainage ditch, a friend's pool with the parents right there, at the beach in shallow water, in the tub or even by putting head in the toilet.  As parents we have to constantly watch our toddlers around ANY amount of water because they are so curious and do not know the dangers yet. 

ISR truely is amazing and if you haven't experience it firsthand check out there site below.  I'd be happy to share info on my instructor in Port Orange if anyone is interested.

Stir-Fry w/Chicken, Pineapple & Peppers-24 minutes

Trying this one tomorrow I usually don't put pineapple in my stir-fry so sounds good, kid friendly and quick.  Total time 24 minutes

1 tbsp. veg oil, 1 tbsp. fresh ginger or 1 tsp. dried 

1 red pepper, cut in strips

1 pd. boneless skinless chicken breast cut into thin strips

1 cup canned or fresh pineapple

1 tbsp. soy sauce-low sodium

Start with stir frying 1st 2 then add chicken cooking 5 minutes add pineaplpe & soy sauce cooking another 3 minutes serve over white or brown rice, top adults w/scallions

American Music Festival

To all of those Lifehouse, Kevin Jonas and Honor Society fans, or those who just like to hear good music outside at one of Daytona's oldest landmarks check this out.  It's this weekend 1pm-10pm Saturday June 26th at the Bandshell at Ocean Walk.  I would recommend bringing a folding chair as this is probably going to attract thousands since it's top names and FREE!!!

Turkey Sheperd’s Pie-20 minutes total

O.k. this is a staple in my household and everyone I've ever made it for has loved it, I didn't create most of these but I tweak them to make them my own:

1 lb. ground turkey

Publix seasoning blend (celery, onion, green pepper) or use fresh which takes even better and throw in some parsley or basil from the garden!

1 pack prepared  mashed potatoes from cold section in Publix(for convenience) or make fresh mashed potatoes 

1 pack dry mushroom gravy (Publix brand) also optional I've made it without and still just as good just adds more flavor 

Mushrooms-fresh or canned up to you, I always prefer fresh but leave out because my husband doesn't like:(

Brown turkey and seasoning blend w/mushrooms in saute pan add 2 tablespoons tomato sauce with a dash of cornstarch or Wondra to thicken mixture

Spread in casserole and top with mashed potatoes, broil for 7 minutes in oven


Top things to do in FL FREE

Top 10 Things To Do for FREE in Florida

The best things in life really ARE free!

By , Guide

We all like a bargain, but is it possible to get something on your vacation or getaway for free? Of course it is. I'm going to show you where and how to see top attractions and interesting places in Florida for free!

1. FREE Sunset Celebrations

Key West Sunset Celebration© Photographer Bob Krist/Florida Keys News Bureau
Florida's sunsets are spectacular, and people in two Florida communities — Key West and Clearwater Beach — think that is reason enough to celebrate! Night after night, the crowds gather a couple of hours before sunset. The atmosphere is festive… live bands play, craftsmen hawk their wares, talented artists sketch portraits, and performers delight the crowds. As twilight approaches everyone seems to pause to enjoy Mother Nature's show-stopping spectacle. Then, as if on cue, the party continues.


2. Visit One of America's Top Beaches for FREE

Fort DeSoto Gulf Pier© Dawn Henthorn, licensed to

Over 1,100 acres is available for free public recreation at Pinellas County's Fort DeSoto Park. Besides the notable distinction of having one of the top beaches in the nation, Fort DeSoto also has won accolades for its "Paw Playground" and pet-friendly beach. There are plenty of recreation opportunities both on land and water — all within easy access. Take a picnic lunch and stay the day… because the sunsets are spectacular!

There is a small (under a $1) toll road fee to get to Fort DeSoto Park

3. Stroll Amelia Island's Downtown Fernandina Beach

Downtown Fernandina Beach Shops© Amelia Island Tourist Development Council
Amelia Island's Fernandina Beach is a post-card perfect destination that doesn't have to wreck your budget. Whether you see the sights, window shop in the unique downtown, or stroll the historic district in a self-guided walking tour… none of it will cost you a penny.


4. COMPLIMENTARY Wine Tasting & Tours

Wine© Janis Christie/Getty Images

Complimentary tours and wine tasting are offered seven days a week — Monday thru Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. — at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards. Tours are held every 15-20 minutes, beginning with a 12-minute video presentation that shows the growing of Florida's grapes all the way to the wine making process. The tour includes the production area and a spectacular view of the vineyards where the grapes are grown and harvested. Wine tasting is held at a large tasting counter with a selection of award-winning wines offered. The tour and wine tasting lasts approximately 45 minutes.

Also, every January there is a FREE outdoor Winter Music Series every Saturday with live bands.

5. FREE Admission to National Naval Aviation Museum

Blue Angels© Blue Angels, NAS Pensacola
Located on the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, the National Naval Aviation Museum provides hours of hands-on history with countless things to touch, see and experience. See more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft and over 4,000 artifacts representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviation. In addition to free parking and admission, on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings March through November, watch the amazing Blue Angels practice. Also, on Wednesdays there is an autograph session with the pilots inside the museum.


6. Town of Murals FREE Walking Tour

Lake Placid Mural© Dawn Henthorn, licensed to
Lake Placid — affectionately known as the Town of Murals — is where you'll find over 40 murals adorning buildings in the downtown area. That's just the beginning, there are surprises in this little town around every corner. Small parks and green spaces are punctuated with over 60 benches perfect for enjoying the beautiful surroundings. And, helping to keep the downtown beautiful are the one-of-a-kind sculptured trash containers scattered about town — a steam locomotive sitting on its own tracks, a larger than life turpentine bottle, a jail and beautiful butterflies are just a few of the creative containers that stand ready to take on your trash.


7. Tour Florida's Capitol Complex for FREE

Tallahassee Capitol Building© 2006 The Zimmerman Agency

Tallahassee is Florida's capital city, where the state's law makers meet to conduct the Sunshine State's official business. The old and new capitol buildings are within the same block with guided and self-guided tours available for free.

Tour hours for the old capitol building are offered daily except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Reservations at least two weeks in advance for guided tours are encouraged. For more information call 850-487-1902 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              850-487-1902      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

All guided tours for the new capitol require reservations, and tours during the legislative session — March through April — require reservations made months in advance. Tours daily except New Year's Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. For more information call 850-488-6167 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              850-488-6167      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

8. Splash and Play at Daytona Beach for FREE

Sun Splash Park© Daytona Beach Area CVB
So often county parks are off the beaten path, but that is not the case with Volusia County's Sun Splash Park located right on Daytona Beach. And, while you have to pay to drive on the famous beach, the four-acre park includes 95 spaces of its own off-beach parking. The park features an interactive "zero depth" water play fountain, a shaded playground, volleyball courts, picnic areas, restrooms, outdoor showers, Coca Cola-sponsored "cool zone" and two beach access ramps. Sun Splash Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.


9. FREE Admission to Holocaust Memorial

The Holocaust Memorial, dedicated to the memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, is located in Miami Beach. Built of luminous Jerusalem stone and black granite the memorial makes a beautiful statement in the telling of a tragic story.

10. Lake Mirror Offers FREE Day in the Park

Barnett Family Park© Dawn Henthorn, licensed to

Lakeland's Lake Mirror is beautiful enough, but stroll the promenade around the lake and you'll find a treasure trove of surprises — the tiered Hollis Garden and entertaining Barnett Family Park. There is something to please everyone in the entire family.

Hollis Garden is a 1.2-acre tiered botanical garden that overlooks the Lake Mirror Promenade. The garden displays thousands of flowering plants, ornamental shrubs and water features.

Barnett Family Park features elaborate sculptures of native Florida animals and beautiful hand-cut glass Byzantine tiles. A unique themed playground, interactive "zero depth" water play area and large pavilion for picnics and parties completes the family fun.

Local go do with toddlers

Have a toddler you need to entertain this summer or year-round for that matter?

Some places to go: Museum of Arts & Sciences, Sanford Zoo, Marine Science Center for your older kids, the beach is always great entertainment and free, parks with play areas where you can have a picnic, Ocean Walk-get an ice cream and walk by the ocean or hear some free concerts at the bandshell every Saturday of the summer thru August between 5-10pm go to for a line up of performers.  Daytona Lagoon offers another outlet of fun and you don't have to drive to Orlando and go to the larger more expensive parks.  Also many spalsh parks in various areas: a few on A1A between Daytona and Ormond, one by Main Street & one in Ormond By The Sea at


FL Springs

There are many different options when it comes to natural springs to cool off during the summer months in FL. 

Near Volusia County are: Ponce Deleon Springs, Blue Springs, Alexander Springs, Gemini. 

Growing up we went to Ponce Deleon Springs and Blue springs pretty regularly.  The manatees are a well-known staple at Blue Springs and can be found mid November thru March. It also has the largest spring on the St. Johns River, plenty of swimming, fishing, , snorkeling, canoeing & kayaking can be done here.  Go early or call to ensure park entry due to high amount of visitors during peak manatee season.

At Ponce Deleon there is one large swimming pool that remains a constant 68' year round where you can snorkel, float in tubes (they do rent them there) or you can venture out in a canoe, kayak or paddle boat to explore the other water areas.  Nature trails are also popular at this park.

Both of the sites below offer directions, park hours etc.