Thank you for stopping by! Here you will find a variety of things as I post whatever happens to be going on in our home - recipes, crafts, homeschool, birthday parties, travels, meals in muffin tins and more! I'd love to know what you think so please feel free to leave comments!

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Thoughts on Crocs

It seems to me that every person who has an opinion on Crocs has an extreme opinion. They either love them or really, really hate them. I vowed, shortly after they came out, that neither I, nor any of my children or immediate family would ever, ever wear them. The shape is rather awkward looking and the colors they come in can be a bit on the garish side - neon pinks and greens. Ugh. I totally hated Crocs. Even worse were the cheap knock offs you could buy at Walmart. I quickly hopped on the bandwagon of people making fun of other people who wear Crocs.

On our recent vacation to Florida, I was bitten, rather viciously, by flies that looked similar to the deer flies here except they were yellow. After swatting and killing one from my big toe, I noticed a little trickle of blood running down my toe! Brutal. I was bitten at least ten times on my feet and ankles. I didn't think much after it until later that night at the hotel when I noticed that my feet were breaking out in bright red, but smallish, blisters. I figured after a shower and a good night's sleep, all would be fine. When I woke up, the opposite was true. The blisters had grown and were rather painful and itchy. They didn't put a damper on my spirit though, until I went to slip on my sandals. The straps that go between the toes were rubbing very painfully against some of the blisters that had spread between my toes. 

At this point, I had two choices, stay at the hotel while Steve and the kids went out to Epcot or try to find some new shoes that wouldn't rub against my blistered feet. Our first stop was the hotel gift shop. They had only a couple choices. I could go with flip flops - more rubbing the blisters between my toes or Crocs. The only other option I had was to try to find a different style of shoe at a local Walmart or similar store but that would mean a lot more walking around in my current, uncomfortable shoes and that did not appeal to me at all. I looked at the Crocs again. I couldn't possibly buy Crocs. I had, after all, made a vow. I forced myself to pick up a pair to examine. I was surprised at how little they weighed. The pair I was holding was pastel pink and the holes on top were shaped like Mickey Mouse rather than the usual round holes that Crocs have. I shuddered a little inside as I actually thought that they were cute. I made a vow. I made a vow! But a day at Disney was at stake.

I looked around and saw an employee. I asked her if she had ever worn Crocs. She had. So I had to ask: Don't your feet get all sweaty and uncomfortable in these rubbery shoes? She told me that she found them to be quite comfortable and that they allowed more circulation that a person would think. I pondered a little longer. The price was a little off-putting as well - everything at Disney is pricey. I ran through my options again: miss a day at Disney - including our dinner with the Disney Princesses or buy the shoes. I put one on. It didn't hurt my foot and it felt quite comfortable. I hemmed and hawed a few moments longer before making my decision. I would buy the shoes. They didn't have my size in the pink or the pastel blue but they did have a pair that fit me in tan. Not very girly, but I was getting desperate. I went for the tan but I also decided to get a couple of Jibbitz to "girl" them up a little. I let Laural pick out the Jibbitz. We went with Cinderella for one foot and Tinkerbell for the other.

With my purchase in hand, we walked (I hobbled) over to the food court to remove the tags and install the Jibbitz so I could put them on. Once on, I gave them a test run (hobble). They felt really good on my feet. My inner self balked. No, no, no. How could this be? I hated these shoes! Sigh. I was now the owner of Crocs and the reality was that I already liked them. Further, I'm already contemplating buying more Jibbitz for them. So much for vows about shoes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Dear Daughter

She says the sweetest things sometimes. Yesterday as I was cooking dinner - chicken on the George Foreman Grill - Laural asks me, "Mommy, do you love your grill?" I answered "Yes, I love it. This was the present you guys got me last year for Mother's Day." "Yeah'" she replies happily. Then I said, "But this year, I didn't get a Mother's Day present because we were on vacation in Florida." She looked at me sweetly and said, "But I gave you my heart because I love you." Talk about a melt your heart moment. I was on cloud nine for the rest of the night.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

Between getting ready for a big party and our Florida vacation, we haven't done Muffin Tin Monday in at least a month, so even though I am still recovering from post vacation exhaustion, I decided to go ahead and make a tin for today anyway.

Today's theme: Seeds, Plants & Flowers
Here is what we had:

Top: Almonds and homemade raisins in a little flower cup, flower shaped mini sandwich with cheese flower, grapes on cute food picks.
Bottom: Strawberry flowers on a bed of peas, cheese flowers, flower shaped mini sandwich with cheese flower.
Extras: Flower shaped sauce bottle with orange juice "dressing" for the fruit and a Japanese Flower's Kiss hard candy.

Laural was thrilled to have a muffin tin meal again and for me, well, I always have fun putting them together for her and then seeing her little excited face when I present the tin to her.

Go check out what was served in other muffin tins around the world by clicking below.
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Pier in Saint Petersburg

Today we decided to visit The Pier. I'm not sure what you would call it - a mini mall, a tourist trap, a piece of art stuck in the 70's? Basically, it's an upside down pyramid shaped building that houses some shops, restaurants, an aquarium and some other little things.

The Pier

The view of the city from The Pier.
(This pic is wider than the blog. Click on it to view the entire thing.)

Outside, there is a bait shop for the fishermen that also sells 5 fish for $5 to tourists who want to feed the gang of pelicans that hang out in the area. There's also some boat & bike rentals and a place where you can charter a boat to take you out to see the dolphins. There are plenty of place to look out over the bay all around the building.

The Pelicans
I call him Mr. P
This is Big Brown.

Inside, on the first level, there are several little shops, the kind you would typically find in tourist based areas. A t-shirt shop, a collectibles shop and a place called "Just Hats" where Steve finally found a hat to replace the london Fog hat he loved for so many years before it became unwearable (yes, it was due to me washing it, but in my defense, the thing was filthy and nearly unwearable as it was). There was also a food court where we had some over-priced burgers. The ice cream was good though! On the 2nd floor was the aquarium. They had many species of local fishes on display in various tanks plus they had a touch tank where the kids got to "pet" sea stars, urchins, a sea cucumber, hermit crabs and a spider crab.

The girls playing in the Touch Tank.

From the 2nd floor we went up to the 5th level which has a restaurant and a nice outdoor observation deck. It was neat to watch the boats in the bay from up top. The kids loved the big open area to play in and watching the planes take off and land at the airport was pretty neat too.

A sailboat in the bay with a plane taking off in the background.

Steve in his new hat with the kids in the parking area at The Pier.

After we left The Pier, we found a Japanese grocer and I got a few things to try in our bento boxes for when we get home. Red rice, black rice, kamaboko, lotus root and mini corn along with a couple sweets.

After a rest, Ray, Kristin & the kids came to our hotel for some pizza and we hung out a bit.
Laural, Kristin, Austin, Ray & Micah. Georgia moved too fast for me to catch her in this pic.

I need to start getting things packed up so we can head home in the morning. It's hard to believe that our vacation is pretty much over. So sad.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Swimming in the Gulf

Since the weather forecast was a bit grim for the rest of our time in Saint Petersburg, we decided that the only clear day in the forecast (today) would be the best day for a trip to the beach. What an absolutely gorgeous day. The drive was quite nice with many lovely views of the gulf. When we got to the parking area, I wasn't sure what the beach was like due to the trees between the parking lot and the beach. Once we crossed over the foot bridge, we saw a gorgeous white sandy beach and blue-green water meeting the big blue sky. Perfection! There weren't too many people there, so we had no problem finding a great place to put down our towels. After getting ourselves slathered in sun block, we hit the water. Micah got so excited by the water rushing up on the beach and Laural wanted to get right in to the sand with her assortment of beach toys. I slowly made my way out into the water and before long, Laural wanted to join me. Micah wasn't real thrilled about going out into the water yet, so Steve stayed on the beach with him.

I'm not sure what it was, but something sharp kept scraping against my legs - not just my ankles but all the way up to my knee and it totally freaked me out. I moved away from where it started happening and whatever it was followed me so I really freaked. I headed for the beach. I had both kids with me and forgot to shuffle my feet on my way toward the beach and I stepped on a sting ray. Fortunately, I just got a wing and slid off it and it didn't get me with it's stinger. That would have totally sucked. Once I made it safely to the beach, I sat with the kids in the sand and we made sand castles and collected sea shells.

While we sat on the beach, we saw two Coast Guard helicopters and a black military type helicopter fly by.

After we had enough sun and surf, we found a picnic table in the shade and had some snacks. It wasn't long before a laughing gull realized we had food.

A few minutes later, his friends arrived, though he didn't seem too happy about having other birds in his territory.

Before we left, I took a great pic of the area. How awesome is this? I would love to have a house right in the spot I stood to take this pic. (This pic is wider than the blog. Click on it to see the entire pic.)

It was an awesome day at the beach and I really didn't want to leave but if we had stayed any longer, Steve would have been crispy from the Florida sun. It's going to take a couple days to get over his burn. Ouch.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Catching Up With Friends

After resting and freshening up at our hotel, we went for a swim in the hotel pool before heading up the road for an evening with our friends, Jonathon and Jeannette Tinkey and their kids. Jeannette made pizza for dinner. Very yummy!

Laural took to the older kids right away. She and Hannah sat on the couch and watched a video for a little while but mostly, Laural just wanted to show off. Micah was happy to bounce around the house.

After dinner, they had a cake and we sang Happy Birthday to Derrick who just turned 18! I remember when I first met the Tinkeys and Derrick was just a toddler!

Micah managed to sneak a handful of icing when nobody was looking. He looked pretty happy about it.

Clockwise from the  lower left: Micah, Leslie (Derrick's girlfriend - hope I got her name right), Hannah, Joseph, Derrick, Jeannette, Jonathon & Laural.

We had a great time catching up, laughing and watching video clips of a Christian comedian, Tim Hawkins. Very funny! If you've never seen him, you have to go to http://www.timhawkins.net/video.php and click on the Chick-fil-A video. It's funny because it's true.

Once we get home, I am going to dig out Steve's cassette tapes that he & Jonathon made when they were teenagers and convert them to digital so Jonathon's kids can get hear the things their dad did when he was their age. I'm sure they'll get a kick out of it!

Our 1st road Trip As Four

*Warning: This is a very pic heavy post. Slower computers or connections may not handle it well!

In the past few days, I've been a bit worried about how this road trip was going to go. This is the first time we've gone a long distance since Micah was born. We've taken Laural to Canada 3 times and she did great each time. Micah isn't as easy going. The good news is that he did quite well and only had 1 really bad episode that lasted an hour or so. He just really wanted to get up and moving. After about 20 minutes of running and jumping around, he was fine for the rest of the trip. We left our house at 2:39 PM and stopped for gas and then headed off to Grove City to get the umbrella stroller at Steve's mom's. We officially got on the road at 3:30 PM. It was cold and about 43°F when we got going. It was rainy and quite windy. I was quite happy to be heading south!

Near Pittsburgh. Isn't that a lovely sky?

We made it to Weat Virginia;. The weather was still rotten.

Micah acting silly with a scrunchie.

Laural entertained herself for a while by coloring in a New River Gorge coloring book we got from the West Virginia visitor's center. Somewhere in West Virginia, we stopped for gas and a stretch. When Steve got Micah out of the car, he was soaked! He must have drank a lot more than I realized! We had to change him in the front seat of the car (which was cold with the door open!) and I had to dig through the luggage in the back to find him dry clothes. Poor kid. He wasn't happy!

The kiddos at night about ready to crash out.

The tunnel to Virginia

Welcome to Virginia!

And they're out.

While the kids slept, we drove through Virginia and into North Carolina. We found a place north of Statesville to pull over and sleep a few hours.

Laural started getting restless as she slept, so we woke up and headed on to South Carolina. My camera went weird on me, so I missed the Welcome to South Carolina sign. I took a pic of the Welcome Center sign a few minutes later. Micah woke up here and stayed awake for the rest of the night.

The skies were clear and blue in South Carolina but it really wasn't much warmer than home - about 51°F. It was fun to see the plam trees all over the place though.

Love the palm trees!

Not long after the sun came up, Micah fell back to sleep and Laural woke up.

Hello Georgia!

Since we were running a little ahead of schedule and would need to kill some time before we were able to check into our Jacksonville hotel, we decided to get off I-95 and take the Coastal Highway - Rt. 17. This was good and bad. There were some really neat things to see along the way which kept us awake but there were also some pretty dull stretches that made the drive a little rough at times.

Pretty, but this is one of the longer stretches of Rt. 17 - not so good when you are tired.

One of the more exciting parts was this bridge. It was huge and so high! I'm generally not good with heights, so this brought on some adrenaline!

A view from the bridge.

Lovely flowers along the road. Poppies, I think.

Welcome to Florida!

Once in Florida, we stopped at the Welcome Center for free orange juice, literature and a photo op. The weather was much more acceptable here. It was sunny and 78°F! Beautiful!

It didn't take us too long to get to Jacksonville from the Welcome Center and we were able to check in to our room a couple hours early. After getting out car unpacked, we snoozed a bit and then went for a quick swim in the pool before getting ready to head out to visit some friends. It was a very nice trip with only a few little issues along the way. I hope the drive home will be as easy!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Am A True Procrastinator

It's true. Here we are, 44 hours from our trip to Florida and I am so not ready to go. I have my lists made of all the stuff I need to bring with us, but I have yet to gather everything into one place. Life would be so much easier if I had somebody else to do all these things for me! LOL This will be our first trip longer than 3 hours since Micah was born. At least all our hotel reservations have been made! Steve suggested (jokingly) that we wait to leave until Sunday. I said NO WAY! I am dying to just "be on vacation" so we go on Saturday! If we forget anything, well, then we can just live without it! LOL

Saturday, May 1, 2010

About Grandma's Birthday party

I just posted pics and info about Grandma's birthday party, but I put it in correct order by date, so scroll down a few posts to April 24th to see it. I'm going to delete this post in a couple days. :) Just so ya know. ;-)


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