Monarch Butterfly Milkweed Magnet

IMG_0001We use the skills that we gain from attending lectures at the Disney Flower and Garden Festival.  We had learned that the Monarch butterfly is an endangered species and we can help them by planting milk weed bushes.  Last year we planted one milkweed bush that we received from the show in our backyard.  This year we bought six plants from our local home improvement center and began planting them in our front yard.  Before we finished planting all six, a Monarch was flitting around and watching our gardening skills.  I ran into my house and grabbed my iPhone to capture the picture above.

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Clothes and Skin Cancer

A few years back, I wrote about clothes that were great for travel, since they don’t wrinkle.  I still like these nylon clothes, but now I wear them at night.  A few months ago, I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma.  Sounds very scary, but after a few minor office procedures, the cancer is completely gone.

There were many shocking things to me.  First of all, the small bump behind my knee was about the size of a skin tag and perfectly round and not dark.  In fact, it was white and red.  I thought it was a bug bite.  However, I decided to have a whole body check from a dermatologist because the thing was solid and didn’t go away.

The second shocking thing about this is that it was located on my leg and I haven’t worn shorts for decades.  However, I was wearing regular clothing.  Since this incident, I have invested in sport clothes with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30.  When I can find the 50 rating, I am elated.

The third shocking thing about this experience is that it laid me up for six weeks!  Because the location was at a point on my skin that gets a lot of pulling and stretching, I was told not to exercise and even walking was verboten!

The forth shocking thing is the size of the incision.  Lets do the math.  The diameter of the bump was .125 inches.  The resulting scar was 3.0 inches.  So, .125 (x) = 3.0, then x = 24.  The width of the scar was 24 times the width of the original bump.  Give that word problem to your teenager.

The final shock was that recent news has reported younger and darker skinned people are getting skin cancer;  and, they were using sun block lotions.  I have never been a fan of these products, but I am starting to use them on exposed areas.  The sun protection factor clothing doesn’t require you to slather on buckets of chemicals every two hours.  Where it is possible to cover up, I cover up.  Where it is not possible, I apply the best chemical I can find.

I believe that life has a purpose.  The things we experience are meant to teach us a lesson.  Furthermore, we must pass our knowledge on.  So, have fun, but stay safe and encourage others to do the same.

Free Garden Fun

IMG_2343Find this whimsical garden decoration just north of the Orlando airport in the explorations gardens behind the University of Florida Orange County Extension service office on Conway Road.  The parking is free.

Take a free self guided and very educational tour of the shade, formal, pollinator, trial, bog, flowering tree, fruit tree, succulent, tropical, and small vegetable gardens.  The best time to visit is during the week and on a sunny day.  Plan to spend about an hour.  It’s a nice place to visit when you are looking for inexpensive but worthwhile activities while you are waiting to check into your hotel.   When you need to enjoy some air conditioning a bit of shopping and a light meal, it is a short drive to the Florida Mall, the mall at Millenia, or Disney Springs (formally Downtown Disney.)

Help Feed Kids and Enjoy the Rewards

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La Madeleine Restaurant is making donations to the Children’s Hunger Fund.  If you buy a cookie from now until the end of May, they will donate one dollar.  If you donate $5.00, they will give you a sheet of coupons that is worth much more.  The coupons introduce you to many items that you might not have tried if you didn’t have a coupon.  I would call this a win-win-win.  The children win, the restaurant wins, and you win.

Big Rain Day Big Fun Day

There are a few great places where rain will not cancel your fun.  Older children will enjoy a visit to the Orlando Eye, Madame Trussauds Wax Museum, and Sea Life Aquarium complex on International Drive.  Parking there is free both outside in the rear of the complex and inside the covered parking deck just on the North side.
Also on International Drive, Dave and Busters offers a restaurant, bar, big kid video games, and a few covered parking spaces.  Chuck E Cheese, a pizza and game restaurant for the smaller kids, has free outdoor parking.
Younger children will enjoy The Crayola Experience which is located a few miles to the East on Sand Lake Road.  Since it’s inside the Florida Mall, the parking is free.  However, you might want to park as close as possible anywhere in the vast parking lot and then walk through the mall to avoid a long run to the front door.  The entrance is on the outside of the building, so you do have a chance you might get caught in the rain trying to get through the front door.  However, once you pay the modest admission into the Experience, you don’t have to leave for hours, since there is a small cafeteria which has organic milk, and some other healthy options in addition to soft drinks and pizza.  You can wait out the rain, or decide to shop at the mall, being able to exit the attraction through their gift shop and stay completely dry.  After shopping, if you prefer to return to the Crayola Experience, be sure to get a hand stamp before you leave.
All children will have fun as long as you are having fun; so, relax and make the best of the liquid sunshine.