Cunningham Family's Adventures Thru the USA


Eucalyptus Tree

There are over 500 species of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus). Some are the size of an ornamental shrub, and some grow to be giant trees.

(Silver Dollar Gum Eucalyptus Tree)

 Large, round, silver leaves add a decorative touch to dried arrangements. Grow indoors and enjoy its air deodorizing effects.

The oil was used in traditional Aboriginal medicines to heal wounds and fungal infections. Eucalyptus is antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal and antipasmodic.

Teas made of eucalyptus leaves were also used to reduce fevers.

Although its oil has been used orally to treat some conditions, the oil is TOXIC when taken full strength and must be diluted for safety.

The diluted oil is taken by mouth for pain and swelling (inflammation) of respiratory tract mucous membranes, coughs, bronchitis, sinus pain and inflammation, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and respiratory infections.

It is also used as an expectorant to loosen coughs, antiseptic, fever reducer, and in vaporizer fluids. Other uses include treatment of wounds, burns, ulcers, and cancer.

Diluted eucalyptus oil is applied directly to the skin for pain and swelling of joints, genital herpes, and nasal stuffiness. Ointments containing eucalyptus are also applied to the nose and chest to relieve congestion. The oil helps loosen phlegm, so many people inhale eucalyptus steam to help treat bronchitis, coughs, and the flu. Laboratory studies showed that the oil contains substances that kill bacteria. It also may kill some viruses and fungi.

Herbalists often recommend using fresh leaves in teas and gargles to soothe sore throats and treat bronchitis and sinusitis. Eucalyptus leaf is used for infections, fever, upset stomach, and to help loosen coughs.

The leaf is also used for treating respiratory tract infections, whooping cough, asthma, pulmonary tuberculosis, osteoarthritis, joint pain (rheumatism), acne, wounds, poorly healing ulcers, burns, bacterial dysentery, ringworms, liver and gallbladder problems, loss of appetite and cancer.

Also being rich in cineole, an antiseptic that kills bacteria that can cause bad breath. Eucalyptus is used in some antiseptic mouthwashes, along with other oils, and the mouthwashes have been shown to help prevent plaque and gingivitis.


Eucalyptus oil is generally safe when applied to the skin of adults. Don’ t apply eucalyptus oil, salve or chest rub to the face or nose of a child under 2. Do not give a child eucalyptus orally, as it is TOXIC. Do not give cough drops containing eucalyptus to children under 6. Ask your doctor before using eucalyptus oil as a chest rub for your child or to inhale steam for congestion.

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.

People with asthma, seizure disorders, liver or kidney disease, and low blood pressure should not use eucalyptus without first talking to their doctors. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use eucalyptus.

How to use

Learn How to Identify Edible Plants

  • Blueberries
  • Ficus Trees
  • Pear Trees
  • Pecan Trees
  • Strawberries
  • Wheat

Ficus Trees

Figs grow on the Ficus tree (Ficus carica), which is a member of the Mulberry family.

Figs range dramatically in color and subtly in texture depending upon the variety, of which there are about 720.

 Some of the most popular varieties are:

  • Adriatic: the variety most often used to make fig bars, which has a light green skin and pink-tan flesh
  • Black Mission: blackish-purple skin and pink colored flesh
  • Brown Turkey: purple skin and red flesh
  • Calimyrna: greenish-yellow skin and amber flesh
  • Kadota: green skin and purplish flesh

Figs are lusciously sweet and feature a complex texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds. Also, they are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure and are a great source of dietary fiber. Fiber and fiber-rich foods also may have a positive effect on weight management by helping to control hunger. Besides their potassium and fiber content, figs are also a good source of manganese and calcium.

Another neat thing is the leaves of the fig have repeatedly been shown to have antidiabetic properties and can actually reduce the amount of insulin needed by a person with diabetes who require insulin injections.


Some people report a sensitivity to fig sap. The reactions may show up as a skin rash or for some people, a soreness of the lips and gums after eating a lot of fresh figs. In rare cases, people have a more serious and different type of reaction to fig sap, anaphylactic shock. However, reactions if any, are generally mild. The main sensitivity is to sap of the stem of fig leaves and the leaves themselves. Sap in other shoots is also a problem. For people who react to latex… the unripe fruit may also cause a reaction. So it’s a good idea to wear protective gloves when you harvest the fruit, prune the trees or any other handling of the tree and to wash your hands and arms afterward. With that being said, before eating or cooking figs, wash them under cool water and then gently remove the stem and gently wipe dry.

Another concern is that figs contain measurable amounts of oxalates. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating figs.

How to know if the Figs are Ripe… 

For unripe figs – color is a predictable deep green, firm, small and they stand up from the stem. Another hint to ripeness is the end of the fruit away from the stem is tightly closed. Don’t pick it now. It won’t ripen off the tree.

As ripening figs begin to plump out; the color changes, getting less green and more creamy or yellowish or dark purplish depending on the variety. It will give slightly to the touch and the fruit will begin to droop. But the detail of ripening you can notice up close: The end away from the stem begins to open like a little portal. The fig may even begin to ooze a tiny droplet of nectar from this opening.

Look for figs that have a rich, deep color and are plump and tender, but not mushy. Smelling figs can also give you clues into their freshness and taste. They should have a mildly sweet fragrance and should not smell sour, which is an indication that they may be spoiled.

Figs don’t ripen well after being picked, unlike other fruits. In fact, they don’t keep well unless dried, so for safety…

Once picked, ripe figs should be kept in the refrigerator to slow deterioration, where they will stay fresh for about 2 days. Since they have a delicate nature and can easily bruise, you should store them either arranged on a paper towel-lined plate or shallow container. They should be covered or wrapped in order to ensure that they do not dry out, get crushed or pick up odors from neighboring foods.

Figs can also be frozen whole, sliced or peeled in a sealed container for 10-12 months. Canned figs will be good for a year in your pantry. Opened canned remainders can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for a week. Dried figs can be stored in a sealed package at room temperature for a month. For longer storage, keep them in the refrigerator, 6 months to a year.

Fig Recipes

Fig Cooking Tips

March 16, 2012

It has been a long time since I have sat down and typed, especially an update.

Life has been so crazy and amazing, that time just got away.

So, I believe the last place that I left off… we were in Florida.

After bouncing around for about 4-5 months we were invited to visit some friends in South Carolina and as a twist of fate we ended up settling here…

Who could have ever predicted that we would end up on 35 acres in South Carolina?

We went from a mid-sized 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 3rd floor apartment paying $950 a month to a huge 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 story house on 35 acres for only $600…

I mean this place is amazing… 5 Pecan Trees, 3 Pear Trees, 2 Fig Trees, Wild Blackberries and a Eucalyptus Tree. This place is truly amazing.

We are in the process of planting a huge garden.

With watermelons, pumpkins, onions, radish, strawberries, lettuce, garlic, cucumber, brussels sprouts, white and yellow corn, zuchinni, broccoli, sweet snow peas, rosemary, basil, parsley, chives, lima beans, sweet potatoes, potatoes, cabbage… Did I mention… This is our 1st Garden?

Not only that… but, we got two new Puppies!

Sierra and Meatball.

True Pound Puppies. Aren’t they so cute?

And a cat (to chase mice)

Mr. Spaz kitty…

All rescued from the Darlington Animal Shelter. We have been volunteering at the shelter as a part of homeschooling.

We are also raising baby Dominique Chickens!

And considering bunny rabbits as another renewable food source. Apparently they can produce up to some 800 babies a year. That’s pretty amazing.

We said we wanted to get back to basic’s… -laughs-

I guess that is exactly what has happened.

Now we still are planning our trip but we have decided to be smarter about it. 6 months was not enough prep time. At this point I wonder if another year will be enough time. I wish we could get our hands on some solar panels…

Oh well… at this rate it looks as though we’ll have plenty to keep us busy this summer.

Florida’s Photos of Nature

Christmas Wreath


  • A lot of Green and Red Construction Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Glitter or glitter glue
  • Red or Green Ribbon


  1. Trace your hand on a piece of construction paper and then cut it out at least 10 hand prints for each wreath.
  2. Next, glue the hand prints together at the wrists, overlapping slightly, in a circle.
  3. At this point you can add hearts like William wanted, or a nice red bow, glitter, stickers, add stringed pop corn by weaving it through the fingers… Whatever you can think to add…

My kids chose red, green, yellow and brown for fall instead of Christmas, even though we were doing a Christmas project. -laughs- They told me “75′ degree weather, did not classify as winter.” It’s not in the teens at the moment so how could I argue? Then they used their hand prints as well as their younger brother and sister’s hand and foot prints… and Little Bill insisted it wasn’t complete without a heart at the top.

Funny Photographs


  • Magazines
  • Heavy Construction Paper
  • Scissors
  • Paste


  1. Draw the shape of the head on a piece of heavy construction paper.
  2. Look through magazines and find eyes, ears, lips and a nose for your face. Maybe you could pick 2 different color eyes or a really big nose and little ears. The choice is yours.
  3. After you cut them out, glue the pieces on to the head that you have drawn on your paper.
  4. Now do you want to add accessories? A mustache, a beard, a cane and a top hat? A necklace, earrings, maybe a silly hair style?
  5. Finally look for arms, legs, shoes…
  6. Be as creative as you can be. The point is to have fun and make a silly photograph!
  7. If you really wanna spice the picture up, You can add an unusual background. Maybe skiing in the desert, or wearing a swim suit in the snow… So on and forth.
  8. Now if you really want to give it so personality, add funny objects, unusual pets, or make the people do silly things.


Homemade Magnets on a Budget

Super easy homemade Magnets, made on a budget…

Takes about an hour or less, depending


  • Decorative paper
  • Plain paper
  • Crayons, Markers or Colored Pencils
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive magnetic sheet
  • Clear box tape


  1. Have the children draw cute little pictures, taking in consideration the size and weight ratio.  Cut them out. You can glue them to some construction paper or some other type of decorative paper, if you want.
  2. Once dry, take the clear box tape and start the laminating process by adding one strip at a time, making sure to leave at least 1/8  inch border of the taping around the picture. I like a little more so I can write the name and year around the border.
  3. Now that it’s all trimmed up, Peel the adhesive covering off the magnet stripping and stick it to the back of your laminated picture. If you can’t find the adhesive magnets, you could cut up an old magnet on the fridge. Then just use super glue or hot glue to hold it in place.

Word of Caution:

To keep the hot glue from ruining the box tape, place hot glue on the magnet first, then allow a few seconds to cool before putting into place.

Elmers glue doesn’t hold in the long run, and it tends to shift the magnet as it’s drying, so I wouldn’t even bother.

Jacksonville, Florida Saturday, November 26, 2011

So Bill, Bill’s Brother Ken and I went hunting in the woods today. We all really enjoyed it.

Well -laughs- at first, Bill and his brother brought the children out to check on his bait and search for animal tracks…

However, Bill accidentally hurt himself and a return trip home was in order.

After a minor reboot, I decided to tag along and they returned to the woods.

At any rate, the first task was to get across this stream… The boys wanted to trample through it but me being a girl, did not. I hate wet shoes. So we walked well out of our way to find a log to cross on.

Man, he made it look so easy. I guess that confidence comes from walking scaffolding in the past. I however, was a bit more wobbly…

And even though it wasn’t a very long way down, I still didn’t want to end up all wet. -laughs-

Once across, the real fun could begin…

My mind started racing with all the new and interesting facts that the kids and I have been working on at home. We have been learning how to track,  how to build a fire and how to start a fire, about snake bites, scorpion stings, about general first aid and  what to do if you become lost. The main thing I forgot about was to my eyes open to whats in front of me. -laughs-

Yes, I about walked face first in to that huge spider.

A golden silk spider, in fact.

And as with most spiders, there is little real danger from encountering this type of spider. The spider will bite only if held or pinched, and the bite itself will produce only localized pain with a slight redness, which quickly goes away, the bite is much less severe than a bee string. Typically, the webs are made in open woods or edges of dense forest, usually attached to trees and low shrubs, although they may be in the tops of trees.

Anyways, the first thing the boys wanted to show me was the deer spot, which was also what Bill had hurt himself on.

With the bait already set, we waited…

And I took pictures.

At some point we got tired of sitting there and decided to hit the trails. The first thing we came across was boar marks on this tree.

Cool. That is a great sign. So on we went..

With no luck, we returned home.

Overall, an awesome time.

De Soto National Park

Spanish Conquistador Hernando De Soto first landed at Shaw’s point, just west of Bradenton in 1539.

From the mouth of the Manatee River, he led an expeditionary force in search of gold and other riches. Hernando De Soto was searching for the legendary El Dorado at Shaw’s Point. Later it became the name of a legendary “Lost City of Gold” that has fascinated – and so far eluded – explorers since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors. Though many have searched for years on end to find this city of gold, no evidence of such a place has been found.

This interesting story is told in more detail at the De Soto National Memorial Park.

This park has very limited exhibits at its visitors center and a nature trail that overlooks the beautiful Manatee River.

After a quick History Lesson. We had a school lesson about crabs.

While the kids were learning about crab habitats from their Uncle Jake, I took pictures of the mangroves.

Overall, we enjoyed ourselves. Exploring and venturing and learning new things.

Robinson Preserve

1709 99th St. NW Bradenton, FL 34209

Robinson Preserve was a great place to take the kids.

 There are 56 acres of marshland with 2 1/2 miles of kayaking and canoeing streams.

10 acres of uplands complete with 6 nature trails and as many bridges winding around the mangroves.

 The 500 foot boardwalk makes it a great location for bird watching…

and the trails are great for hiking, biking or simply chasing around tots.

While the family went fishing…

Gabbie and I hung back to take pictures of the marsh.

Finally after becoming bored, I decided to go canoeing with the family. That was pretty fun, but Gabbie did add a challenge… Okay A LOT of a Challenge.

But it was so worth it…

Monday, October 31, 2011

Today is Halloween

-laughs- The kids got all dressed up and went trick or treating with some of their cousins.

Lilie went as “Lilith the Vampire”

Little Bill went as a “Military Ghoul”

Nathan went as “Tigger”

And Miss Gabbie went as a “Monkey”

While visiting my Husband’s Brother, we where able to get the clan together.

Over all, I’d say everyone had a great time.

 Happy Halloween Everyone!

Monday, October 3, 2011 – Update

I have been doing laundry for so many days now. I can’t even fathom how much laundry I have washed, dried and carried up 40 steps. Down 40 steps, then up 40 steps, back down, back up, up, down, up, down.  We donated 19 bags of clothes, linens and other laundry type items. I wanted to take a picture so bad because it was an amazing pile. But, the kids must have gotten a hold of my camera, because the batteries died as I was trying to snap the picture.

Anyways, we finally got the house emptied around 1am. As we started loading up the car with the kids, the sky opened up and poured. It felt like the state was sad that we were leaving. Then we had to make one last stop to storage and a quick trip to Wal-mart, so it was 2:30am before we were on the road. About 5am Bill stopped in Jersey for a 2 hour nap. From that point on it was a smooth ride…


we hit North Carolina and then it started.

First, as we were driving down the road his window made this weird noise and then dropped. We just looked at each other like “WTF!” So we had to make an hour… hour and a half (give or take), pit stop. This wasn’t major… just annoying, frustrating even.

When we hit South Carolina we decided to pull off for a few hours for more sleep.

The baby all rested wanted to play. So I let her play by my feet and fell asleep. Mistake. She cleared the change off the cup holder and put it in the ac vent which was discovered the next morning. Then she woke me up because she was stinky. This was fine. However, in my sleepiness I didn’t realize she was stinky until it was too late. Little pebbles flew all across the floor. So, then I got the bright idea to fling them outside with a piece of paper, then turned around to walk to the bathroom and realized I poopie trapped my path.

–Laughs- Poop pelts everywhere.

Went back to sleep for a while, Bill managed to get 5 hours in that stretch but the slight cold I have been fighting off for the last 2 weeks finally caught up to him. He woke up feeling like a turd. So we decided to make our way to a gas station to fuel up and grab some cold medicine.

Along the way, we hit a road soup puddle. A nasty road soup puddle too and back on the road we were. I’m not really sure how long after that point it took until our tire blew because I had fallen asleep.

So there we were on the side of the road at 4:30am in South Carolina about the 41 mile marker. 5 miles in any direction from anything.

Thank God, Mom hooked us up with a cell phone before we got on our trip. We made a few phone calls, and with no possibility of money becoming available until after 7 am, we decided to sleep. About 7am we get a phone call from Mom, telling us that she managed to locate a tow company. Hooray. She even said that they were like 2 miles from us at that time and then our phone died in mid-sentence. Okay. Located the car charger… “Unauthorized User.” Which all I could think was “You must be kidding.” So we just sat there again like “WTF!”

Around 8am Bill finally decided he could no longer just sit there and tried to walk back to the last exit we passed which was like 3 miles back, then he walked down the ramp to discover NOTHING!!!! So he came back disappointed. Then he tried to wave down someone, anyone for like 30mins. Finally, I grabbed the baby and stood beside him. Within 10mins someone stopped and about 5mins after that the tow truck arrived.

Really a nice guy. His name was Ron.

So Ron towed us back to his shop where we learned we were within 8 miles of Wal-mart. So they took Bill to Wal-mart where we had bought our tires at before we left. We had bought their insurance for road hazards; the only issue is you must take your tire back to Wal-mart to have it replaced.


Meanwhile, I was lucky enough to get to hang out at the shop… which was wicked B-o-r-i-n-g!

So while we waited…

I decided to take the kids outside to play to kill time. While wondering around their shop, I came across this old sign.

Which was totally true at the time.

Finally they were back, and it took like 30 seconds to put the tire back on. $198 and we were back on the road. Did I mention we started this trip with about $300 + $250 received on Tuesday.  At this point, we have enough to fuel up 2 more times.

Anyways, Gabbie who was super tired from the stop quickly passed out.

Again pretty much a smooth ride…

until we hit Florida.

As it had taken most of the day just to get there, being already like 7pm and we were still at least an hour or more away; we pulled off to eat with our final $10.

As we are having our meal, an older gentleman came into the restaurant. He smiled as he introduced himself to my family.

Made jokes and had all the kids giggling. He pulled Bill aside and asked for our change. Just whatever was in our pocket. It wasn’t much. Maybe a little over a dollar but we gladly handed it off. Loaded up the car and was back on the road. Only to realize about 10mins later that we had to cross the skyway bridge where there is a $1 toll.

Are you seeing the irony here? –laughs-

So then we found ourselves stuck looking for an ATM in a town we haven’t been in… in about 5 years. Another 30mins wasted, we scored our toll and again was back on the road… for about a whole 5mins.

1 hour from our destination the pulley from our power steering snapped and flew off (more like crumbled) and we over heated instantly… Done.

At that point Bill just started laughing. What a trip. Seriously.

Another tow, another $198 that we didn’t have. But we are here. Where ever here is. –laughs-

Photos of Buildings

Wedding Photos 2009

We got married September 6, 2009 on our 9th year together.

We wanted to get married on 9-9-09 of our 9th year but the 9th was a Wednesday and the 6th was a Sunday of Labor Day Weekend…

None the less, we got married in Jacksonville Beach, Fl where we first met.

The wedding started at 6:30am

While I was getting ready

Bill was patiently waiting

We had a Full Moon behind us…

It was so Beautiful

It was such a Honor to have my Uncle Danny marry us

Finally it’s time

The board walk felt a mile long

On this day, I married my Best Friend

They said it was to rain all morning. Instead, it rained around us.

 And then the Amazing Sunrise

It was such a joy to see all our friends and family come together

It was a Breath Taking Sunrise

And a Kick Ass Kinda Day!!!

Cool Bumper Stickers Seen


Family Photos in Plainfeild, Connecticut

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Plainfield, Connecticut

Family Photos

Family Photos in Gales Ferry, Connecticut

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