Toby Mac comes to Lakeland, FL

We've been in Florida almost 4 years now. And the girls are getting OLD. It's scary to see how fast time goes by.

However, one of the coolest parts of aging children is that they start actually having their own thoughts and opinions about life and culture. One of Kaitlyn's recent favorites is a singer named Toby Mac. He used to sing with a band called DC Talk. They started as a band when I was in college, and were hugely successful. A few years ago they went their separate ways, and have all gone their separate ways in the music industry.

Toby Mac, who I originally thought would fail as a solo artist, simply because all he could do was rap music back then, has developed tremendously as a singer and artist. Kaitlyn LOVES his music, and it has caused me to really listen to his stuff too. I now have about 3-4 of his songs in my ipod as encouragement for my bike commute.

Anyhow, Chris and I splurged a few months ago, and picked up tickets to his show in Lakeland this month. And the day FINALLY arrived to go up there.

So, here are some of the highlights from our time up there:

First of all, you can see a couple pictures of us in line at the show, and inside the building here:
The Joy FM sponsors Toby Mac in Lakeland
Shots of us include #'s 2605, 2607, 2608, and 2818.

And then here are a few shots of us hanging out before, during, and after the show:

Another great thing about the girls new tastes in music, is that it has lead me to discover some bands that I would have never normally listened to.

Here are a few free tunes you might check out. These are some of the musicians that were with Toby Mac in concert.

This guy has the #1 song in Christian radio right now - called Something in your Eyes.
Shon Lock - is the guy in the 3rd picture from the top (above)
You can hear the song here. Click on the "Enter" button at the bottom. The song auto-plays when you click through.
You can download it on itunes here.

And another band that was pretty cool - was a new group called SuperHeRose, click their name and you'll be able to download a couple of their tunes.
The girls really liked SuperFreak and We Got That. The first and second pictures (above) are a couple of guys from this band.

It was a great show, and we had a good time together. Toby puts on a killer show.


Time to create!!

So for a while now I have been trying to figure out how to get my creative juices going. It seems like my creative side has been napping for a while. so I saw this idea for an art journal and thought that would be a great place to start. But I also wanted to include the girls in this art journey. So we all made art journals. They are some books that I have had for a long time and I thought what better use that this!
We each decorated out covers.
This is mine...

This is Keeley's...

And Kait's...

Here is a better look at each of our charms that we hung off the bottom of the cover with jump rings.

There is all kinds of things there. Keeley's is kinda hard to see in the photo but the black bottle caps have letter stickers on them and say "Me!" also the blur charm thing in the silver book plate on her cover says magic. And on mine I added come beads that a co-worker made by hand. They are just beautiful!
Kait's has room for more things that she will add as she finds them!
And this is the first page ineack of our journals. For this page I told the girls what I wanted them to say and then let them decide how to get that done.


and Mine...

Keeley decided to paint her background and then stamp and write over it. I love how she did the square, rectangle and heart and then stamped over them.
Kait and I put printed tissue paper on the background then dripped paint over it. Then Kait added chipboard letters and stamped a script samp over them and embossed it with white powder.
I used a die cut to make the gears and embossed them with several layers of embossing powder and then finished them all a bit differently. one by rubbing black paint on, and the other 2 by adding just a little sprinkling of a different color embossing powder while it was still hot. I like how that worked!
Al has even gotten in on the creating! Here is Al's pages that he has done.

Do you see a theme??

I also decided that a Spring garland that I had made a couple years ago looked a little lonely. So I decided to make a banner garland to go along with it. And I love how it turned out!! Here it is hanging with the Spring banner on my old door that is hung in the entry way of our house.
It is a little hard to see it so here are photos of each of the banners.

On the first one the bunny was cut out of a scrapbook paper. The same paper was used for the bunnies on the third and fifth one as well. The eggs I just cut out of plain white cardstock and then inked them and stamped and embossed them to make them look like decorated Easter eggs.
Them Flower cross picture and little chicks with the flower filled egg were vintage images that I found on the web and printed them in black and white. (because I don't have color ink for my printer right now!) Then I colored them in with water color paints. I love how they turned out! Then the cross that is in the book plate I cut out of cardstock and embossed with gold powder to make it look like a charm!
The trims that I used around the edges are different vintage trims that I had in my stash. Actually the trim on the 4th one was actually flower appliques that I got from my mom. I cut them apart 2 petals each and then glued them all along the back of the banner. I ended up having just enough to do the entire banner! Looks great and you would have never been able to tell that they were flowers!
Thanks for looking at our creative endeavors!. Hopefully we will have more to share in the near future!


Some Common Ground at Common Grounds Park in Lakeland Florida

Now that the weather is starting to really heat up, here in Florida, it's time for most everyone to venture back out into the sunshine.

One of the newest, most-enjoyable places for kids to do that in Lakeland is at the Common Grounds park. This park, which was budgeted at almost $2 million dollars broke ground in October 2007. The park, itself, took almost 4 years of planning to come to fruition. It was scheduled to take almost a year for construction to be completed. It officially opened in January 2009. The park address is 1000 East Edgewood Drive.

Since it's inception, this park has seen heavy traffic from lots of local kids and families.

On the weekends, you can expect a really high turn-out by everyone in the neighborhood. If you want to have a bit of privacy with your family here, you should plan on visiting during a weekday, when other kids are at school. It's certainly not packed, like a Disney theme-park, but it can get pretty crowded on the weekends.

If you're looking for directions to get here, this is the Google map:

View Larger Map

It's pretty easy to find:
Traveling on Highway 37 (South Florida avenue), you would take Edgewood towards the east. Or coming from Bartow Highway, or Lakeland Highlands Blvd., you will head west on Edgewood.

The park itself is on the north side of Edgewood, just across from the Cleveland Heights Golf Course. The park is right next to the tennis courts.

There is no usage fee to play at the park. Kids can play for free to their heart's content. Common Grounds park was designed to accommodate kids of varying ages and abilities, including disabled children as well.

Some of the various features include:
  • A large tunnel, wide enough for wheelchairs, runs under a hill called Gopher Mountain.
  • The park itself is shaped like a giant butterfly, and it includes several sculptures of butterflies.
  • Many of the play structures are non-traditional, modern in design, which kids seem to really enjoy playing on.
  • It is a conservation park, in that it has artificial turf (instead of regular grass) so no water or mowing is required to keep the grounds maintained.

There is free parking on the south side, right next to the tennis courts. There is also parking along the streets running north beside the park (Buckingham Avenue).

To see some Common Grounds park pictures, please check out our visit.

The concept behind this park has even generated interest from other local communities around the country. It seems, lots of families with disabled children, are desperately looking for places where their kids can interact with their friends and peers.