Thursday, April 29, 2010

Free Cookie at Publix

Every time AA is at the Publix grocery store, it is free cookie time.
I avoided this for the first year or so...... Daddy somehow got roped into the free cookie magic. Every trip.
We minimize the trips grocery shopping just to avoid the free cookie chant.... but she will say please and thank you to the Bakery employee (a milestone since she usually clams up and is very shy around other adults).

Thank you for my cookie *** smooch***!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

B&W Wednesday - April 28, 2010

Another professional photograph from this date. I am beginning to list out my favorites to order and finally get up on our walls. Visiting our daughter last Saturday, she had several already framed! I am going to get caught up this week. If you have a quality place on line, to order prints, let me know.

Visit Black and White Wednesday here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Alivia

We love seeing our daughter and the two grands, but sometimes a week or two goes by and we are all so busy with our lives, work schedules and the household chores, we will make a last minute trip to visit and let AA play with her niece.
This visit though, there was no bribing the girls for a photo shoot. They hid. They ducked. They covered their eyes.
Maybe next time at Alivia's birthday beach party....

Happy Birthday Grand-Child! Today you are FOUR!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fly Away Clothing - So Cute!

I purchased a few outfits from Jen at Fly Away Clothing a long time ago. She makes such cute outfits for our little ones. This one has an embroidered Chinese lantern on the top that matches the skirt fabric - love it!

I had AA try this one on May 03, 2009 and thought it would fit her in a few months. Almost a year later and it is still too big (she did wear it to church yesterday).
AA has grown but not tall enough for the top (I keep tucking it up). Look at her here a year ago......

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Amaryllis Blooms

We received two amaryllis bulbs from DH's northern cousin. Each year they bloom, I love seeing the blossoms unfold one at a time. I keep them on the plant stand that my Dad built (one for each of his daughters; a copy of our Grandmother's).

AA helping to water all the plants albeit with the empty bucket!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baking Muffins - Easy and Fun!

We have bought breakfast muffins in the past for the convenience and ease of grabbing them for quick morning meals. AA loves them crumbled over her yogurt too. We do try to schedule some baking time so this past weekend it was a new recipe that Daddy found for us. Oatmeal-Applesauce Muffins (and hidden within is pureed squash!). They were yummy!!

First we made the muffin topping of brown sugar, cinnamon, oats and butter:

Reading the recipe for the batter:

Stirring the "wet" ingredients of milk, squash, oil, applesauce and an egg:

Combining with the dry ingredients:

AA helped more this time; she filled each muffin with the batter herself!

Spooning the topping onto the last three muffins before baking:

Hot from the oven:

Counting all 15 muffins:

Can't wait to eat one!

She was pleased!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

B&W Wednesday April 21, 2010

We love this photo of our three "kids". I am so pleased that we have this wonderful collection all from one afternoon with a professional photographer. This will have to be an annual event!

Visit here to see other B&W photos or to join in!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our Visitor Has Left!

We really enjoy having our cousin (known to AA as Auntie Carolyn) staying at our home.
She helped with the house chores and played with AA. Who wouldn't love a guest like that?
She did find a small rental unit right on the beach so has moved out. She continues to look for a full time teaching position as she substitutes in two counties.

We are looking forward to her first visit back tonight!

Ready to leave..... We will miss her!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Time - Together, Just The Two Of Us...

We took advantage of Aunt Carolyn's offer to watch Alyzabeth so you and I could slip out for a little time together. Quiet time. Our time. Just the two of us enjoying brunch at the Club.
A Champagne Sunday made even more special with my getting to hold your hand.

We love our simple Club. It's not brand spanking new. The stucco and stones are not perfect. The sidewalks have cracks with the occasional brick missing. Brushing against vines and flowers as we make our way along narrow pathways. A place more at home in Europe than sunny, tourist driven Florida.
Yet, wearing its age spots gracefully.

Sitting by the window, we could see sailboats catching the wind on the St. Johns River, the tree Leaa and Jesse stood under exchanging their wedding vows.
The bright, mid-morning sunlight creating shadows.

A brunch of Asian Steak & Shrimp Salad for me.

Salmon with lump Crab in Red Pepper Sauce for you.

And all the while, your eyes were only on me.

I'm jealous of our time together. I love how you insist upon our having conversation when we dine. Expressing a myriad of things on your mind. Details of what's happening in each of our lives. Planning what we should do next.

Sharing dreams.
Sharing time. Just the two of us. Together...

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Last week we were doing this.....

Still going through 300+ photos.... can't wait to have the printed versions hanging on our walls!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Homemade Apple Pie - Thank You, Ms Rhea

I made my first ever Apple Pie the other day for Alyson's birthday.
She requested pie, not cake and thus I journeyed into the world of baking. Which for those of you who enjoy cooking know, baking and cooking is not the same thing. Cooking allows for a smidge of this and a bit more of that. Baking allows opportunity at each step to fail. Not one to embrace failure easily, I summoned my courage and bridled my propensity to deviate from the recipe. I could smell success. OK, I could smell a fresh baked Apple Pie as reward for my efforts.

Cooking has always been a pleasure of mine. It's my non-prescription stress reliever, a way to channel out other thoughts and concentrate on whether or not I have already added that 1 tsp of salt the recipes calls for.
As a kid I would make grilled cheese sandwiches for an older brother. He likes to tell the story that he bragged on how good they were just so I would cook for him. I like to think that deep down he really did like my grilled cheese sandwiches but just couldn't bring himself to say so. And besides, he may have enjoyed eating them, I enjoyed making them.
You have to love cooking to fully understand that.

So my dear sweet wife wanted pie, not cake, for her birthday. While not specifying a particular pie I knew what kind it would be immediately. It would be Apple. A tribute to her home state of Maine. I thought about Blueberry but the Apple Pie spoke to me. Not that I didn't have my wavering thought of going for a mouth watering Strawberry-Rhubarb. Then I collected myself and remembered that it was Aly's birthday not mine.

Like many households we have an over abundant supply of cookbooks. I could have easily grabbed Aly's well-worn copy of Betty Crocker recipes from the 1950's and sprang into action but my Internet addiction was having none of that. Which to my great fortune, led me to Ms. Rhea. Henceforth known as my homemade Apple Pie mentor.
This 90 year young Michigan grand dame skillfully guided me towards baking nirvana. I'm forever in her debt and I'm soon to add her Cherry Pie to my budding repertoire of baking recipes. Thank You, Ms. Rhea.

I'll spare you the finer details of my baking experience and instead leave you with a link to my mentor's pie making video and the recipe committed to paper which I gladly share.

Oh, least I forget. Yes! Alyson loved her birthday pie and even if she just said that so I would make her another one, that would be OK too.
Like the grilled cheese sandwich, I found my enjoyment in baking it...

Mrs. Rhea' Apple Pie link.

Rhea’s Apple Pie

Filling Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Cups Apples, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs Brown Sugar
  • 4 tsp butter

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Crisco, Chilled
  • 1 Tbs Butter, Softened
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Half & Half, Chilled


  1. In large mixing bowl, add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup chilled Crisco, 1 tsp salt & 1 Tbs softened butter.
  2. Using a cutter, mix ingredients together.
  3. Add chilled half & half, continuing to mix ingredients.
  4. Kneading with hands, form two equal size dough balls
  5. Place dough in refrigerator for 1 hour to chill.
  6. On a well-floured countertop, roll out bottom pie dough.
  7. Using a rolling pin, transfer dough to 8” pie pan.
  8. Lightly sprinkle bottom with flour and sugar before adding apple mixture.
  9. In large bowl, mix 4 cups sliced apples with 1/2 cup sugar.
  10. Add apple sugar mixture to pie pan.
  11. Sprinkle cinnamon over apple mixture.
  12. Sprinkle brown sugar over apple mixture.
  13. Add 4 tsp butter over apple mixture.
  14. Trim excess.
  15. Roll out top pie dough.
  16. Lightly wet edges of bottom pie dough with water.
  17. Add top pie dough.
  18. Seal top & bottom pie dough together.
  19. Crimp edge with finger & thumb.
  20. Make 4 vent slices in top of pie dough.
  21. Lightly sugar top
  22. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 F.
  23. Bake additional 25-30 minutes at 375 F.
Pie is done when bubbles come out vents (use foil to catch drips).
Note: My pie was 9" and I had plenty of dough. I also used 5 Cups of sliced apples.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Our Girls

For my birthday, dear daughter and hubby planned a huge surprise for me! A family friend who is a professional photographer came and took the family photos I have been wanting for the past year. They even ordered matching white dresses for the occasion! Thank you wonderful family!
Here's one photo of our precious girls, Aunt Alyzabeth with our three grands.

So many pictures to go through from the photo shoot, so you know more will be appearing here soon!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

After Easter Dress Sale

I found dresses for 50% off at Belks while AA and I were out shopping on Saturday. Couldn't resist as we have several summer weddings to attend.
AA loves her new Princess umbrella purchased by Daddy and one dress actually matches it! The umbrella is her latest accessory. She has been singing that she is a "happy girl" now!