The day before we left the house for Uncle Mark and Aunt Teresa’s farm, we stopped by Clearwater Beach one last time with Mommy, since she hadn’t been able to be at the beach with us all of the other times…

Daddy and Mommy went on a couple of walks while we were ‘swim-wading’ 😀

Charissa walked out to where we were, then decided to swim back.  She splashed cold water all over us as she started kicking, and someone was quick with the camera 😀

I love this picture…

Susannah and Cassia…best friends?!

Okay…best friends for real 😀

We thought this picture was cute…the way the boys were standing, it looks like they’re holding hands.

That night we went to Coldstone, to celebrate Mommy’s certifications 😀  We didn’t realize that Safety Harbor was having a Third Friday Music Series event, almost like a street fair.  It was really odd to walk through a January street fair, with warm weather and palm trees lining the street, and you’d hear people tell each other, “Happy New Year!”.   To us, New Year’s was a long time ago, and states away 😀

The good thing about living in a big family, is that usually everyone picks a different flavor of ice cream, then you can ‘trade’ with whoever’s flavors you want to try 😀

Which we almost always do!

After ice cream, Mommy took a picture of us in front of the sign of the resort where Mommy’s certifications were.  Then we headed back to ‘our’ house 😀

The next morning, we tried to get around as quick as possible so that we could arrive at Aunt Teresa and Uncle Mark’s as soon as possible 😀  They call it their ‘heaven on earth’, and we girls all agree!   Our time there was absolutely wonderful…we didn’t want to leave!!!

One of the first things we did was feed carrots to the horses.

  We also held the dogs 😀  They have three Bichons…Buddy, Mitzy, and Muffin.  Muffin was a favorite while we were there.

 Poco (a.k.a. Pocahontas)  was very curious and always looking for another carrot.  Once we were standing by the fence, talking, and all of the sudden her huge horse head was right next to my head…it was wonderful 😀

Their farm is so beautiful!  We just loved all of the spanish moss.

This is the gazebo that Uncle Mark built.  We ate our lunch,  and talked and visited out here a lot.  The weather was absolutely perfect. Not too hot, not too cold, no bugs (until the evening), and it was beautiful and sunny.

All of us, out on the deck and gazebo.  Uncle Mark went to pick up some yummy barbecue chicken and ribs as well as barbecue beans and macaroni and cheese…it was delicious 😀    You may be wondering how mac-and-cheese fit into our ‘diet’.  Well…lets just say that we kind of ‘cheated’ on our diet a lot during Florida 😀  We did our best while at the house, but we had a few more treats than usual 😀  The great thing is, though, that Susannah and Anna, two of the girls who usually would have felt sick from eating gluten, were able to ‘cheat’ and not feel sick at all 🙂  GAPS has done wonders.

Charissa and Isaiah with Muffin

We got to have a tour of their house, and see all of the neat remodeling work Uncle Mark has done.  We even saw the horse stall they have on the back of their house that they made for Ivy (Aunt Teresa’s horse) for when it gets really cold.  The fun thing is, when you open up the sliding door, Ivy can stick her head right into the dining room while Aunt Teresa and Uncle Mark are having breakfast 😀

  We also got to see the mirrored wall with a ‘ballet’ bar Uncle Mark put up for Aunt Teresa for her exercises .  We liked to tease Uncle Mark and ask him if he did ballet 😀

Aunt Teresa and Mommy with Buddy and Mitzy

  This little cow’s name is Klondike.  His former name was Dinner, but then Aunt Teresa’s friend, Lisa, couldn’t bear that such a cute little thing would become ‘dinner’, so she bought it off of the farmer and Klondike is one of the best loved cows in Florida 😀

He is definitely a cutie!!!

Bekah loves cows (as you can see by her cow dress she’s wearing!)

She and Noah spent some time out by them, petting and watching them.

The hammock was another highlight for the younger girls and the boys.  They spent a lot of time on there (and flipping each other off of it!)


After lunch, Uncle Mark got out his four wheeler and took  Isaiah for a ride…Noah was too shy at the moment 😀  You can tell that Isaiah was having fun!

A little while later, we went on a walk, and went orange-picking.  Their property has some neat history to it.  They told us about how Indians used to live in an area very near their house, and how they’ve found all kinds of Indian artifacts on their property.

Aunt Teresa and Buddy in his ‘Buddy bag’ 😀

The scenery is just beautiful!

There was a tiny little creek…

…that we hopped over.

Our first glimpse of some of the tangerine trees!

Hi, Buddy!

There used to be a large lake down here, but a drought dried it up.  Uncle Mark said that it was beginning to come back though.

You can see the pier that he built that used to be in the water.   Also, we got to see the deck that Aunt Teresa helped Uncle Mark build before they were engaged…

…and Uncle Mark told us how they worked on it, then he proposed to her on that deck a few days later 😀   Aunt Teresa told us all about the pretty table and meal he had set up for the two of them…and she showed us the ring he made for her.  It was very sweet!

Here we are walking ‘on’ the lake.  We found an old boat paddle that someone must have lost, and Cassia was teasing that it must be an early American Indian canoe paddle 😀

Sandhill cranes

Bekah got to carry Buddy for awhile…she loves animals and really enjoyed getting to try out his ‘Buddy bag’ that we’ve seen in the Tapp-Core video 😀

I love how he looks back at you…it’s so cute.

{walking through the woods}

Tangerines!  These were the first thing we saw, and picked.  Of course we had to try some fresh tangerines right then and there!

When we got to the orange orchard, we filled up several sacks, and tried some fresh oranges.  There’s nothing like a ripe, sun-warmed Florida orange…oh yum!  

Isaiah, eating a tangerine.  We had a ‘tangerine trail’  all along where we’d throw the skins down 😀

A very tall, old tree…I forget how old Uncle Mark said it was.  He told us about a time when he went out to mow the orchard in the summertime at night, because it’s cooler then.  He said that he saw a 10 foot alligator walk across his path while he was mowing.  Thankfully, we saw no alligators, just some goats and donkeys that belonged to the church camp by their property 😀

  After we got back from orange-picking, Uncle Mark got out his 1962 firetruck. The boys loved it…we all loved it!  We heard that Uncle Mark used to take it to McDonald’s, just for fun, and all the kids and dads would congregate around it 😀  He also would take it for a drive, and when he’d see kids in a blackberry patch that he was pretty sure they weren’t supposed to be in, he’d use the speaker on the truck and say, “Hey! Get out of my blackberry patch!” and suddenly the kids would scatter 😀

The boys finally got over being shy, and started trying out the sirens and bells…

Very carefully at first…


…and then full force 😀


All the gauges and gadgets…

We don’t have any videos of this, but after playing with the sirens for awhile, Uncle Mark took us for a ride in the cow pasture.  We were laughing SO hard!  If you can only imagine a firetruck with a bunch of kids riding on it, sirens going, and bewildered cows scampering out of the way as we came ‘charging’ towards them…it was funny!  Some of the girls used the speaker and hollered at the cows, “Cows, cows, move out of the way!”

Trying out the water hose…

Each of us got a turn to drive the firetruck, even the boys, though Uncle Mark controlled the pedal and helped their steering a little 😉   We couldn’t wait to tell our grandma that we had driven a firetruck 😀

{Happy boys}

Isaiah and Noah, little ‘firemen’  😉

We couldn’t resist getting a picture of ‘Big Red’ with ‘Little Red’  😀

The girls had fun getting some neat pictures of the firetruck…


He’s probably reflecting on the bunch of crazy kids that gave him a workout the day before…

That evening, Leah, Susannah and Cassia took over the kitchen and made supper for everyone…it was delicious!

I wish we had some pictures of our bonfire we had that night…it may have been hard to get pictures anyway, but we got to sing for Uncle Mark for the first time.  We sang our Fugue for Fast Food, How Great Thou Art, and  The Gratefulness Song which we have also nicknamed the ‘Exercise Song’ because of the jumping up and down we do while we sing it 😀  (Okay…it sounds weird, but you have to see it to know what we’re talking about!)

 It was SO neat to sing out by the fire underneath the clear starry sky,

…I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder

Thy power throughout the universe displayed…

…How great Thou art! How great Thou art!!

  I can’t describe what a perfectly wonderful day that was.  Our whole vacation was filled with God’s goodness and I was reminded over and over again just how rich my Father in heaven is, and how He is more than able to take care of me!

 Also while we were talking out by the fire, we teased Uncle Mark that he needed to sing for us!   So he started singing,

“Let me tell you a story about the Seven Sisters, 

They came down to Florida with their two little misters…”

Which of course, made us laugh!  We even thought about making the tagline of our blog  “Seven Sisters…and their two little misters”  😀  However, we could not all come to an agreement on that!

 Anna went out the next morning and got all these lovely misty pictures…

 For breakfast that morning, we juiced a bunch of oranges, (and sadly, Aunt Teresa’s juicer gave up the ghost under all that strain!)

 Aunt Teresa made us a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and french toast…it was wonderful!

Anna with Muffin…she especially liked Muffin, and I think Muffin liked her a lot, too!

Isaiah found the remaining coals of the bonfire and tried burning a pizza box…

Also, before we left, Noah got to help Uncle Mark drive his tractor, and try out the controls that made the front loader go up and down.

Muffin, relaxing on the golf cart 😀

One last picture with Uncle Mark and Aunt Teresa 😀  We didn’t want to leave, but all vacations must come to an end sometime.  We had so much fun with them, and learned so much listening to Aunt Teresa and Mommy talk, and loved Uncle Mark’s stories and sense of humor…we miss them muchly!   If you’re reading this Uncle Mark and Aunt Teresa,  here’s a {big hug}  from all of us to you!

On the way back, we met with our friends from Georgia at a Captain D’s to visit, and since she’s a T-Tapper, too, we had to get a picture of them doing a hoedown together 😀  The remaining customers at Captain D’s probably were wondering what those crazy people were doing!

One more highlight of our trip…Noah lost his tooth 😀  He told us that if he lost it on the trip, he was going to tape it into his journal. We all like to keep journals as we go on trips, and we tape all kinds of straw papers, shells, and other souvenirs into them, so he wanted to tape in his tooth!  I’m not sure that he actually did that, but it was cute!

When we got home, we said that we felt like ‘Dash’ on The Incredibles. 


                                                                i love my family!



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Florida Farmgirls – Part 2
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11 thoughts on “Florida Farmgirls – Part 2

  • February 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I MISSSSS Uncle Mark and Aunt Teresa!!!!

    Seeing all the pictures just brings back great memories!

    Thanks Jessica for putting the post together!

    ~Cassia 🙂

  • February 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    You guys look like you had a lot of fun! i soooooooooo want to go swimming! Short sleeves and no coat sounds good too!

  • February 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Looks like you had a wonderful time. 🙂 Now I’m in the mood for tangerines! LOL

  • February 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Oh wow…Looks like you all had lots of fun!
    I liked all the pictures :). Theresa Tapps dogs are SO cute 🙂 I like her backpack thing :).
    The ocean looks absolutely AMAZING!

  • February 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    looks like you had tons of fun 😀

  • February 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Wow, it looks like you all had an awesome time! It is always fun making great memories that you know you’ll never forget, isn’t it?! Thanks for posting all the pictures too – I know it takes time to sort through them all and make a post (you must have had thousands of pictures to go through! 😉 ) It is amazing how warm it can be just 24 hours from here in Wisconsin! Green grass and swimming is almost a forign concept for us this time of year! LOL We did get a “taste of Florida” just this week though…A good friend came up from FL with a bunch of fresh citrus he picked! That was a great treat! Fresh citrus is so much better than the stuff from the store, that’s for sure!

  • February 22, 2012 at 9:51 am

    What a FUN post! Loved getting to see Teresa in REAL LIFE! 🙂 GREAT PICS!!!!!!!

  • February 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    This may seem a bit random, but how do I subscribe to your blog so that I can get your updates in my email box?

    • February 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm

      Hi Becky 🙂 I just realized that we forgot to put the ‘subscribe’ box back on our website…we’ll get it back up on the sidebar soon 🙂


  • February 28, 2012 at 6:31 am

    It looks like you guys had a lot of fun! That last picture made me laugh! 🙂 Your parents taking a walk and holding hands warms my heart…I love sweet love like that!

  • October 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    The Gulf of Mexico. Palm trees. Spanish moss. Citrus fruit.




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