Cupcake Happy Hour

It was Cupcake Happy Hour in St. Augustine. 
We left our place in line to tour Flagler College to participate.
Buy one get one free gets me every single time.

I won't tell you how many we bought, but here we are
making  really good use of our wait time  for a trolley to come around.
The icing was really good - the cake part was dry.
To true icing lovers, this is not really a fatal flaw, but it was just that for
my hubs, who is after  the whole package  in almost every situation.

In another part of town, just outside town, or maybe it was referred to as 'uptown'
we found the Whole Package at Luli's Cupcakes - luscious icing AND super moist cake.
These cupcakes left us panting and licking our paper wrappers and bowls, too.
You see before you 'the Chocoholic' and 'Key Lime'. 
Oh Mamma!

We bought shippable cupcakes in a jar for our parents who held down the fort
and seriously considered them several times from an open refrigerator door.
Considered eating them ourselves, that is. 

***Did I mention that they sold Icing Shots
Tiny cups of just the icing with whatever sprinkle additions. 
For a  $1 !!!


We've Been Away

It's easy to recommend St. Augustine as a nice place to celebrate a 25th wedding anniversary.
We spent a whole week there - SEVEN nights - and decided that might be a little too long to be away.
We got a whole lot of sand between our toes as we jockeyed from beach to beach,
 looking for just the right spot. 
(Found it on the last day at Vilano Beach.)

Visited as many cemeteries as we could - most of them are locked up
unless you're on a GHOST TOUR.
This carving in a tombstone from the late 1700's caught my eye.
"Look at that, hubs - is that amazing or what?!"
"Tombstones just aren't that amazing, sweetheart."

 Endured an agonizing sales pitch for the resort where we were staying
(We ended up giving them the most ridiculous bottom line figures in answer to:
"What would it cost to make you an owner today?" Knowing the salesguy would 
have to politely decline our thrift - but he met it instead. Then we had to turn him down.)
in order to get a $100 Visa which we used to buy our private eco-tour of the bay with Captain Kyle.

We unashamedly became Total Tourist Nerds with trolley stickers, visitor bands,  
appropriately painful sunburns and audio tour devices. 
It was all good - we had lots and lots of company. 
At least I didn't sport a fanny pack.
Here's a tourist SHOULD for free:
People should keep their knees together when riding in a full trolley seat, 
instead of sitting like bullfrogs wearing short pants and tube socks.
And yes, even the elderly should follow this rule, I believe.

Our eyes were trained on the beaches searching for sharks teeth,

and on the skies, too.

More on St. Augustine coming your way soon.
It'll be like the missionary slide show held in the church hall 
on a slow Baptist Wednesday night.


Two Posts - You Pick

Morning Pop-In
If you stuck your head in my door this morning to say a quick 'hello' and maybe grab a cup of coffee on your way to work, you'd smell roasting pork loin. Pretty odd and somewhat disorienting at 6:30 in the morning.

You might set your coffee cup on the crowded countertop and wonder about the multiple boxes of brownie mix or the giant-sized bag of crushed oreo cookies. "She's off the wagon for sure...," you might muse.

If you needed to make a quick trip to the restroom before you left, you'd pass three-gallon drink dispensers and boxes of plastic plates/cups/utensils.  Then you'd remember --- of course! 

There's a big party here tomorrow! 
Our Second Son is turning 18! 

You'd probably call work and tell them you needed a day off to help a friend get ready for a party. I'd weep with gratitude. We'd have a bonding moment.


When Lists Collide

There's a big party here tomorrow! 
Our Second Son is turning 18!  

I'm working a master list that ebbs and flows like the tides, baby! I add items and tasks, then cross them off with no small satisfaction. The list has been around for a couple of weeks now, but it's the last three days before any big event that are what really matters. (This concept, hotly disputed, applies to all sporting events also - the last half/quarter/whatever is all that matters.) That's when the purse list, the pocket list, the refrigerator list and the master list are combined and everything is mapped out to be finished over a three day spread. Things are going pretty well, I'm keeping up and feeling pretty good on this day-before-party-morning. 

Except I just remembered a forgotten dentist appointment - we were a complete no-show / no comment / no call. I'm really dreading the phone call I'm going to have to make in a couple of hours or so. I don't think I'll try to explain that the appointment was on the calendar, but simply  had not been transferred to the Master List, rendering it completely nonexistent. 

And in the spirit of listing, bullet items to consider:
- Who will be asked to go patrol the yard for dog bombs? (not me - this is a man job and if you've been doing it, you should stop)
-  Yesterday, my doctor prescribed some serious cough medicine which she said will 'knock you out for 6 hours'. Man-O, was I looking forward to that sleep last night! Instead, I coughed like a maniac and wondered, "Who keeps coughing like that?" Oh ... it's me again. I ended up on the couch with Mr. Selfridge, scalding hot tea (to burn the tickle out of my throat) and dry peanut butter cheerios (to scrape the throat tickle away)
- The morning after the party, we're flying away on a 25th anniversary trip! I want to yell YIPPEE, but that's not on the list. I'm trying to cram all my vacation stuff into one carry on bag. Do you know what a challenge this is? Sure, the clothes, but what about hats, books, toiletries and shoes? I asked my husband about the shoes, hoping he'd suggest we check just one bag, and he explained how to solve the shoe situation: "You only need two pairs of shoes: beach shoes and going to dinner shoes." I just nodded and added that bit of wisdom to the list.
- Did I mention that we're leaving  the morning after the party? The trip has its own sub-list with sub-sub-lists for making sure there's enough to eat in this house for three adult-sized males, emergency numbers, accommodation and flight confirmations, and questions about sunscreen. If I buy it here where I can get it for a better price and try to take it down there, will they take it away from me at security? DH, could this be another reason to check a bag???


Out With the Old

A big party is in the works over here. Our Middle Son is turning 18, and we're hoping the throw
a big party for him. We're in party prep mode, and somehow that includes getting the gardens
looking good, even though only a few visitors will really look at them. I should let the gardens go
in favor of cleaner ceiling fan blades, but I just can't do it. 

So I've been clipping last year's hydrangea blooms, and the wind sends them 
rolling away across the lush, green grass. Teamwork! 
Last year was a huge year for my hydrangea bushes - probably more blooms than I've ever seen
in the nineteen years we've lived here. That means there's A LOT of old blooms to clip.
They still have their own beauty, a sort of faded framework, the bloom's structural skeleton 
minus the color for which they're prized. But these are removed with hardly a backward 
glance in hopes of the very best from the bushes again this season. 
It's a gardening sort of faith, don't you think, that we trim what is left over from the last 
season in anticipation of what we hope might soon emerge. Gardeners don't leave the leftover
stalks, dried blooms or seed pods for the enjoyment of the current growing season. 
We trim off the old in anticipation of the new. 

Lord, let me not settle for last season's blooms in my life. Help me keep my eye moving forward in 
anticipation of what You'll do next, trimming off the old as needed, to make room for Your new works.


Mini Greenhouse Bag Tutorial

Every spring, I scrape around the house looking for my seed planting gear.
Not sure how things just sprout legs and run around here, but that's how it goes.
This season, the trays to hold water under the planted seed cups were missing and I had
to raid the linen closet and drag out a lid from a plastic tote to do the extra duty.
While rooting through the closet, I found my stash of empty curtain packaging - you know those heavy plastic zipper bags that are left over after you 
put the shams on the bed, 
hang the drapes in the foyer,
or replace the shower curtain liner?

They make really great seed-starting bags, almost like mini greenhouses!

So here's a very casual photo tutorial --- 
You know my guys thought I was crazy, standing out
in the greenhouse taking photos of myself holding these plastic bags! 

1.  Keeping in mind that this bag is not a toy, 
snip a few slits along the bottom seam of the bag
to allow water to drain.

2. Use a sharpie marker to label the bag according to the seed
 you'll be sowing, because you know you're going to forget. 
Then add a few inches of seed starting soil
Get the good stuff - it's only about $5. 

3. Sprinkle your seeds on top of the soil, 
then add another thin layer to cover them.

 4.  Spray with water until they top is quite moist and zip the bag closed.
Place the bag in a shallow dish of water so it will stay moist, 
even if you forget about it for a day.   
Or two.

5. Do a Happy Dance when your greenhouse bags sprout seeds 
wwwaaaayyyy faster than other traditional methods. 

These seedlings came up only seven days from the first sowing, and
grew very quickly in their cozy bag, even though the night temps dipped pretty low. 
The  same seeds started in a cup on the  same afternoon and covered with plastic wrap 
had only barely started to sprout when I took these photos. 

I'll be doing this every year - and I'll feel all 
'green' and environmentally responsible, too!
Win - Win