Saturday, December 31, 2011

What are you doing New Years , New Years Eve?

We started the day with a video conference with our dear friend, Clare, who lives in New Zealand. It was already 2012 there and we toasted to a new, brighter, more wonderful 2012 than even 2011 has been.
Then E and I biked through our lovely nature preserve and over the river through the sea mist. It was so much fun. A bit Twilight Zone -ish but so mystical and magical. It has all lifted by the time we headed back.
We met our pal, Bob, at Miss Vickies for drinks...the weather is a balmy 78 and accompanied by a refreshing breeze.

I'd do a recap of the year, but all you have to do is read the older blog posts. We had such a great year and some really sad moments with the death of our friend, Chuck who we all assumed would outlive us all. We went from the twin grandsons to the addition of baby Leighton Kaye who is such a gem. I went from 3 design teams to one and E is still cooking up a storm.

I could wax poetic and give you my philosophy on the slow skid to being 65 but ya know what? Life is what you make it. No one can make you feel bad unless you let them. While gossip is sometimes tantalizing, it is far more harmful. You can't change someone's opinion of you. An apology can make a difference and Yes, Virginia , there is a Santa Clause.

With these in mind, I wish you nothing but a wonderful 2012. I know mine will be because, with the help of my dear beloved friends, I shall make it so.

Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Day at Nana and Papa's

And what a wonderful day it was. Baby Leighton came dressed in the pretty outfit Papa picked out for his "Bella baby" and slept through most of the day.
Rob came dressed as Rob and one of these year's I am going to get a great picture of him. Kristen and Chris dressed as the slightly frazzled parents of 3 children under 18 mo. and E wore his bright red Christmas socks despite also wearing shorts. It was about 85 Christmas Day.
E fixed us the best prime rib, 3 cheese macaroni, green bean casserole and numerous other fixings. We fed the boys early and ate during their nap so Kristen and Chris could actually have a nice sit down adult meal. It was voted unanimously to repeat this next year!
The kitchen set and the shopping cart with the dishes and "food" went over far bigger than the rocking horse but the boys did warm to it towards the end of the day petting it but not wild about rocking yet.
As the afternoon went on, it got so warm we took the little guys shirts off and they were so happy. They woke up all hot and sweaty from their naps but cooled quickly.

Landon knew exactly what to do with the corn on the cob.!
The shopping card and the multi colored Mickey Mouse dolls were a big hit with the little guys.
and yes, they have learned how to open and close the sliders.
The day wore out Daddy and little Leighton and I love this shot of them napping together.
I found these stripped hats at Target and Colvin loved his...Landon, not so much.

Baby Leighton had a couple of big flower headbands in her stocking...too cute!

E and I had exchanged our gifts early in the morning and he gave me a beautiful pearls and bronze necklace and earrings and I gave him a nice sweatshirt that he had been lusting after and his new computer chair.

Life is good here in Tarpon Springs...hope all is well with you.

Christmas Eve at the kids

Kristen and Chris had the whole family over for sandwiches, potato salad etc. on Christmas Eve. Leighton was wearing the onesie that Papa picked out for her and the boys were dressed in cute Christmas tee shirts. We bought them corduroy pants and sweater sets but the temps were in the mid 70s to mid 80s the entire two days.
The boys are climbing everywhere and believe the couch to be their Mt. Everest and laugh with glee when they conquer the summit. This is one reason the kids er ah Santa decided to bring them their new two story fort complete with stairs and a slide. Kristen showed us videos of them discovering it on Christmas morning and they are so much fun.
Santa's sleigh was pretty full for the short trip from our house to Kristen and Chris'.

The little guys had more fun taking the ornaments off the tree and handing them out as gifts to all of us. Kristen is not going to work too hard to get the rest of the tree down! lol Oh, and they loved the 31 storage bags I got each of the kids for their cars...and the little guys loved them too!
It really only took the three men about 40 min. to assemble the fort with supervision from Leighton, of course.
and speaking of her royal highness, the kids got her this darling chair for her room...doesn't she look downright regal?
Tomorrow I'll try to get up some of the pics from our Christmas day at our house. Hope your holidays were great.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What a wonderful way to start Christmas

(technical error prevented me from uploading the pictures I had from our dinner last night with Justin and Susie ...same person as Suzie, which is how I spell her name!)

Last night we had the most glorious meal cooked by Justin and Suzie and had a chance to love on and be loved by their two boxer rescue dogs, Cloe (who could use holiday prayers as she is suffering from cancer in her hips and could use some relief through the holidays) and Snoopy who is the lover boy. Justin fixed us lobster in this amazing garlic/mayo stuff and, oh yes, he caught these himself. And then there was the grouper, the redfish and a 3rd fish that Suzie seared that just melted in our mouths. Sigh...happy happy. These two people are so precious to us...what more can I say.

This morning, Christmas Eve, E and I rode our bikes into town for breakfast at Toula's on the Trail and those oh so yummy trail fried potatoes (one of us got those and the other a too healthy seasonal fruit cup) and Eggs Benedict. We made a point of wishing everyone we ran into (not literally...we are pretty good bikers) a Merry Christmas and our favorite were a trio of women, Christmas tunes loud and clear and one had antlers on her helmet...what a joy!

We took care of some chores...fresh sheets on the bed, laundry, the last minute wrapping, and then went up to Loggerheadz to meet our dear friend, Bob, who is celebrating his 60th. b'day today. We shared wings, beer and friendship.

I left before E who is still there watching football with Bob (this is their football 'date' weekly but it got moved from Sunday to Sat because of the holiday) and headed up to my favorite store, TJ Maxx because it dawned on me all I had for E's stocking was the 3 year extension on his new computer don't you tell! It is safely hidden in the kids' garage. So I picked him up a variety of kitchen goodies and got a sweet but lonely snow man to join the rest of our crew. I could not leave that little guy in a store for Christmas.

We're off to the kids soon and then the fun really starts...wishing you all the merriest of Christmases and see you soon with lots of pics of, of course, the little kidlets!

Friday, December 23, 2011

And the presents were hung on the tree with care...

If we hung the gifts we got the little ones this year on our tree, the whole thing would come crashing to the floor! I will be the first to admit, E and I have gotten a bit carried away this Christmas. The little guys are old enough now to have such fun and, hopefully, they won't just focus on how much of the wrapping paper they can cram into their mouths like they did last Christmas.

We shop all year long and put things into a big box on a high shelf in my closet. When we got it down this year both of us were flabbergasted. We put a few things back for the boys' and baby girl's birthdays but not much.

Then we spotted these cute Mickey and Minnie when we met the Millers at Disney for the Epcot food and wine festival in Oct...and then there were the Tonka trucks that Papa said every little guy needs and the stove set which took us almost four hours to assemble and it was an "easy to assemble"

Now the big kids gifts are in this mound too. E does all the wrapping (one year he even wrapped his own boxed as he has far more patience than I do and makes prettier pkgs as a result. And the shopping cart I found a 'real deal' on.
Now some of these gifts stay at Nana and Papa's house like the big bag of Mega Blocks, the grocery cart and the kitchen set (at the request of their parents who went a bit overboard themselves). And our baby Leighton has her fair share. I have started her her own Snowman collection!

And this was the Christmas gift our garden gave us today... this beautiful camellia and the bush is loaded with buds.

Tomorrow we are starting our Lemoncello with some of the lemons from our tree. I was told today that drinking Lemoncello at Christmas is a big Italian tradition but we did not start our own soon enough this needs to 'ferment' a while to be really good. But, we do have a half bottle of some lovely Lemoncello we tried in Italy ten years ago and that our local liquor store carries. So E and I will toast each other with that and drink ours on New Year's Eve

Happy holidays and we sure can't wait to play Santa!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Scrapped the day away at POSH SCRAPS

Diane had errands to run first so Cynthia and I settled in to scrap. Michele, the owner, had given me several sheets of the Kaiser Kraft papers to do some layouts for the store and this was one.
"Bella" is the nickname E has bestowed on Leighton Kaye because he says she is so beautiful...I agree!
I took a picture of the other layout but parts do not look straight so will fix it at the store before I publish a picture of it here.

Jacque surprised us and came by with wonderful news, her husband, Pete, is doing much better and will hopefully be home for Christmas after all. Diane arrived shortly after Jacque and we all headed out to Tony's for lunch in Palm Harbor on Tampa Road (best garlic rolls for miles and miles). We laughed our way there and all through lunch. Nothing beats good food and better company.

Hope everyone is having a great week! We're getting close to the big day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Playing hookey!

Yesterday, we decided we had had our noses to the grindstone far too long. We were moderately ready for the holidays with only a few cards left to address and mail and packages for home to wrap. So, we played hookey the rest of the day. When we taught, we called these days "mental health" days.

We headed to Dunedin (boy! I sure spend a lot of time in that city) to try a place we were introduced to at the Grape Escape, the fundraiser for the north Pinellas YMCA, that we attended a couple of weeks ago. The owner was giving out samples of their corn shrimp bisque, which btw, is to die for. This is the Olde Bay Cafe and Dunedin Fish Market.
We split a bowl of the other specialty soup on the menu, Mushroom and brie brisque...oh my. It is one amazing soup and we'll be going back to Olde Bay Cafe and Dunedin Fish Market for sure just for this. E and I each got the Catch of the Day which was grouper. When I first got mine, it did not look done to me. I like my fish flaky and a bit on the dry side. But, before asking the chef to pass it over the grill one more time, I decided to try it. PERFECTION. The fish is served cooked to your order on ciabatta with a fantastic mayo spread. And the chips taste home made.
The drink on the menu above is a white sangria and Jacque and Di, I have found us a new place for lunch but we'll have to take the Jolly Trolley so we can all have one and not worry about who is driving.

And then there is the view!
Today, we got all the jobs done we blew off yesterday including putting the little guys kitchen set together . But that is another story entirely.

Hope your countdown to the BIG DAY is going well. Take a deep breath and do something for yourself. Happy holidays.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The holidays are better in the company of family and friends

Suzie and Justin were two of the first of our friends here in Tarpon Springs. We meet Suzie where we often had lunch at Snookers and she took us under her wing from almost our first encounter. She is just one of those women who are care takers with huge hearts. We have met so many wonderful people through her and Justin.
We exchanged wine glasses this year. The ones we are holding here match our dishes so perfectly and we thank them for their thoughtfulness.
Isn't this little chef that Suzie found just perfect.
The evening was pleasant enough for a fire in the fire pit in the lower lawn before E started his wonderful holiday meal for the four of us. Suzie drew our attention to our pine even had a star on the very top all dressed out for Christmas.
E fixed a favorite of ours, Mandarin shrimp over brown rice pilaf. I'll put the recipe on his blog, He Cooks, later this afternoon (LyndaKaye, here is one of the shrimp recipes you have been waiting for!).
He says to take great caution when you flame the shrimp!
We turned on the propane heater and dined al fresco. The lights reflecting on the pool water were so pretty.

And here is Suzie finding a home for the little chef fairy. E is going to build him a shelf between the two plaques on the wall that Suzie also gave us one Christmas.

We've been having such a lovely December this year filled with friends and family and love! Season's Greeting to all of you who read here and thank you.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I love a parade

So, the Chamber of Commerce handout said 11:00 for the parade, the website said 11:00 so we show up at quarter til and guess what...the parade started at ten. We missed the Shriners with their clown outfits and their cars and motorcycles entirely. But that is ok. We'll have even more to share with the little guys and baby girl next year.
This wagon from Aunt Sarah's consignment shop along with the little wooden table and chairs we found there also were our best buys so far! Oh, and we got the boys bucket swings there too!

This is the award winning Tarpon Springs Performance band and the boys seemed to enjoy the drums so much we may just have to get them some for their birthday next year. Do you think their parents will appreciate that? lol
I love how the city employees get involved in the parade. Our friends, Tom and Katherine (who both work for the city) knew about 75% of the parade! I love living in this wonderful small town.

We ran into Kristen and Chris' friends from Mykanos (Our FAVORITE restaurant for authentic Greek food on the Sponge Docks) who had both their girls at similar times to the boys and then Leighton. They were making a date to all get together.

And here is Mr. and Mrs Clause. I've been working hard with the boys to teach them "What does Santa say, he says HO HO HO" but just realized that they have no clue who Santa is...I pointed and HO HO'd but maybe next year. They do Ho Ho Ho when you ask them though.

And this is our beautiful Craig Park down on Spring Bayou where the larges Epiphany Celebration is held each year. The park was decked out and so pretty.
We had our picnic on the shuffle board courts where there were benches for Little Mama and me. This is one of our historical museums in the back ground. Big Bear bbq was there and the boys and I split some bbq chickie and we gave mama the cheese and mac. Katherine was a god send and fed the boys the rest of their lunch so K and I could eat.
Here is one of our city's trucks all deco'd for the holidays. I remember when we would watch the light parade for Clearwater from Rob's old apt. front yard and all the sanitation trucks were lit stem to stern. Sure miss that parade.
We walked around a bit and finally headed home where Landon, Colvin, Kristen and Leighton Kaye all napped the afternoon away. E had made some awesome cookies and we did sample those, of course. Need to bike twice as long tomorrow morning as we did this morning and maybe, just maybe I'll be ok at weight in at WW on Tues.

Hope your weekend is lovely!