Florida Life- State Parks

Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area, Marion County, FL


In an effort to find a new walking path for myself in my new town, I have been on a quest!

My first stop was the Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area in Marion County, FL.  (Marion County is about an hour and a half from Orlando in case you were wondering!  It is a great county to visit if you are in the Orlando area and wish to explore a more natural Florida.)

Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area

I do want to say that this park is beautiful!  We visited on a weekday in July.  If you are the type that loves to have a park to yourself, this may be your place!  When we visited I only saw three other cars and a couple of park rangers.

The admission was $7 for a car.  It is on an honor system.  You place the money in an envelope inside a drop box and then display your parking tag.  If you have a Florida Parks annual pass, it is good here!

HOURS: In April-October, the park is open from 7 am to 8 pm.  In November-March, the park is open from 7 am- 5 pm.

PET FRIENDLY: No, you are not allowed to bring pets.


This park allows for swimming in the lake.

(I am going to be honest here- I would not swim in this lake but I saw people doing so and apparently it’s a popular spot.  Personally, lakes creep me out- leeches, snakes, hot water, brain eating amoebas, mushy sand and dirt at the bottom, and alligators.  Also, this park is not far away from the local dump so I have to wonder if anything has permeated over?)

There are outdoor showers and changing rooms if you do decide to swim.

If you do not want to swim but want to bring a boat- good news!  There are boat ramps here.

Hiking: My girls and I walked one of the trails that was a mile each way.  It was the trail that takes you from one swimming area to the other.  I loved it and could see myself purchasing an annual pass and frequently walking here.  HOWEVER, when we went to the main set of trails it was a different story.  There was a swampy area to the left.  I am thinking alligators but I have seen alligators in other parks and no big deal, right?  I have to tell you it is a difference seeing lots of gators sunning themselves out in the open in a very populated park vs. not seeing but knowing they are there in a very wooded, secluded spot.  Call me a baby, I’m ok with it.  We continued to walk and then I heard them.  If you have never heard gators, here is one of their sounds, you’re welcome.

Gator Sounds

Well that ended that, we turned around and left that path.

My husband grew up in the Florida everglades and has had his fair share of wildlife encounters.  He had gone down that path the entire way and came back saying, “You know there are wild boar tracks all over this path and did you hear the gators?”


Wild boars!  Ok, that was a little more nature than I wanted to deal with.

Playground: If you are still with me, there are two very nice playgrounds away from the trails.

Picnic: If dining with wildlife is for you, there are plenty of picnic tables, grills, and a pavilion area.

Restrooms: Lots of restrooms that are clean and well lit.

Volleyball: We saw a couple of volleyball nets and areas.  There were also spaces for horseshoes.

Concessions:  I did see a sign for concessions but since we had brought our own food/drinks, I did not go down to see if they were open or what was available.

Final Thoughts: This is a very beautiful space and has a lot of activities for the family.  I might go back (Who am I kidding- I was scared after walking on the trail with the animals and I am pretty sure I am not going back unless I am bringing a boat.)

The quest for my new walking path continues…

Cruelty-free Products

Cruelty-free Cleaning


Bathroom and All-Purpose Cleaners:

81qq7ET4ZOL._SL1500_ Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap: Target 8 oz $6.69

This has been a favorite of mine since I was a child!  Although the company states you can use this soap for EVERYTHING, I no longer do.

I use this for cleaning the bathrooms.  If you mix it with baking soda it makes a very nice soft scrub.

YEARS ago I would use this for laundry but I no longer like the results. (Leaves a residue.)

If peppermint is not your thing, the company has several different scents including a product designed just for cleaning.  (Sal Suds)

Bonus:  The label is an interesting read!


eb61db5e-92f4-4c25-9779-b02e4b4473bf_1.1e55f9434af550f378da73b6acd56fe9Citra Solv: Walmart 8oz $12.44

This truly is a versatile cleaner!  It seems pricey but a little goes a long way!

I like to dilute with water and use to clean floors but it can be used on so many different surfaces.


13967434 Method Dish Soap: $2.99 Target but I have found this on sale for $1.99 at grocer Harris Teeter

I do not know why it took me so long to try this!  I love it!  This does an excellent job for hand-washing dishes.  I like the scent and a little goes a long way.

DIY Cleaners:


For dusting I use a lightweight olive oil mixed with some lemon or orange essential oils and a soft rag.  I store the olive oil/essential oil in a small mason jar.

Windows and Mirrors:

I purchased an empty spray bottle from Dollar Tree and fill it with water and white vinegar.  I have found unbleached coffee filters work well for cleaning mirrors as they do not leave streaks or lint.




DIY Body & Facial Care

DIY Eye Make-up Remover

Yes, you can buy make-up remover wipes pretty inexpensively.  However, I have discovered several brands irritate my skin.  So, I started making my own make-up remover wipes.

You will need:


  1. Something to use as the wipes. I mainly use these wipes to remove eye make-up so I purchase cotton rounds from Dollar Tree.  You can also use paper towels or make or purchase fabric cloths if you wish these to be re-usable.
  2. Witch Hazel – This is pretty inexpensive and can be found at most grocery or drug stores in the medical supply aisle. (Think band-aid aisle.)
  3. Oil– I made this batch using coconut oil but have made wipes before using a light olive or almond oil.
  4. Water
  5. A container to store them 
  6. Essential Oils (OPTIONAL)  For this batch,  I used rosehip seed and carrot oils because both contain vitamin A and C. NOTE: Both oils do have a heavy scent. You may want to test them before you use them.  I have also made wipes using essential oils such as lavender or orange.


1. Mix oil, water, and essential oils together.  (It was 5 degrees this morning, so I did need to melt my coconut oil first.  I just put the jar in a bowl with warm water until it had reached desired consistancy.)

*I used 1 tbsp. coconut oil, 1 tbsp. witch hazel, 3/4 cup water, and about 20 drops each of carrot and rose hip oils.  Adjust as needed.  You do want your liquid to saturate your wipes.


2. Place your wipes in a glass jar or other storage container.  Pour liquid over wipes.20180107_083724

3. That’s it!  During the summer I like to store them in the fridge but the rest of the year I just keep them at room temperature.  I usually make a new batch once or twice a month.