Sunday, April 28, 2013

School Field Trip - Jacksonville Zoo

Alyzabeth's school made the trip to the Jacksonville Zoo on April 24th and by the looks and stories I heard, they had a fun time!

AA so enjoyed showing me her map of the zoo and each place they visited, what animals they saw and what they missed seeing. Daddy was a trooper too!

Friday, April 26, 2013

River House Celebration!

We hosted a celebration at the River House last Saturday and considering the weather was forecast to be stormy, rainy and COLD, it turned out well. The sun came out briefly and was cool. Very unseasonable. Someone told me it was the coldest day here since the 1920's! I will have to check on that. Most guests did brave the riverside deck with a beverage.
We are so blessed to have so many friends and family come to the party. I did have to "endure" several renditions of people singing "Happy Birthday" but the best came at the end when Patrick belted out a soulful version. Yep, tears! It was a wonderful party and we hope to be doing this again soon when I officially retire. Since Ford didn't have a party when he retired, he promised it would be a joint celebration. Maybe in 2014.
Here are some photos; we only took a few near the end of the evening, so missed several smiling faces!
Russ Kamradt and Brad and Ellen Bloom:

Charlie and Donna Perry (and SIL Jesse joining in on guitar):
Belinda and Harold Daum:
Sharon and Fred Glennon and the Daum's:

Kenny, Pam Davis with SIL, Jesse:
Deb Hester, Patty Johnson and Kathy Kamradt:
Tim and Janice Martin with our daughter Leaa Cruce:
What a treat to hear daughter Leaa singing Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks song Dreams and Patrick harmonizing:

Lots of stories and laughs between Don Hester and Lyndon Johnson:
Werner, Cathy, Sharon Register and Christa having a laugh:
Kevin Tyler, The Daum's and Greg and Jennifer Wood:
 I received many lovely gifts including a book, summer bath robe (from cousin Carolyn), cosmetics, fragrances and a gorgeous blue orchid plant (above) and lots of wine! Thank you!
We had many other guests, just didn't use the camera until near the end: Larry and Kerry Gochnour, Kathy Barrios, Tim Drury, Bobby and Monique Recker, John and Linda Reid, Elaine and Randy Moyer, Steve and Eva Wills, Tina and Tony Williams,  Rose and Bob Sweatland and Mark and Beth Nelson (the EXCELLENT dancers!)
We asked anyone who would like (in lieu of a card or gift) to donate to the Florida United Methodist Children's Home. Six guest did so! Here's our appreciation note to those who did:

Thank you for your kind and generous offering to the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home (FUMCH). All the gifts to the Home went in the mail on Monday, the 22nd. We thank you for your support, helping make this faith based ministry a success. You have helped children in need of a loving family and home! Thank you for coming to our party; it meant a lot to us.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Blender - Ninja!

We did alot of internet research about the best blenders.We have not had a blender in awhile, using our food processor when in need. Lately, we are committed to having a fruit/protein shake for one meal a day in order to cut down on our eating (not necessarily calories as we have learned). A blender is essential to making great smoothies. We freeze any fruit in season, any fruit beginning to show signs of becoming inedible (for us that means, peeling bananas, chopping into slices, freezing to use in smoothies) and the frozen fruit in grocery stores.
We follow the J. J. Virgin ingredients and omit her top seven (7) foods. No dairy. No soy. No sugars, peanuts, corn etc. Just Google anything on her seven foods to avoid and you will understand. We include one cup frozen fruit, one cup non-dairy liquid (usually unsweetened coconut milk), ground flax seed, protein powder and anything else you wish to throw in to blend.
Here's the blender we chose. Part on price (yes, seemed a good buy at less than $50.) and from on-line reviews.
I love it. Quiet. Powerful. So we march on with the plan to eat lighter in the evenings and using the shakes at night when a full meal doesn't make sense for us (AA always get a home cooked meal from her Daddy long before I get home from work). Ford and I have a bad habit of eating after 8 p.m. after AA went to bed. Now we have one of the J.J. Virgin smoothies. No late night over eating anymore.

Pay no attention to the wine glass in the background!!

We have slowly lost weight since starting this a month ago. No more over eating! Next, onto making a green juice drink for Monday mornings - doesn't it just sound yummy! (not!)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Out with the Old; In with the New!

Alyzabeth has used her cute divided dinner plates for as long as she has been with us. The lady bug set was from our Secret Buddy swap. AA loves the little separate areas as she enjoys a "dip" with each meal. It can be ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, BBQ sauce or even yogurt. These have been well used and well loved for over four years. We were in Target and saw some simple divided plates and thought it is time for an upgrade in style!

The new plates have four separate areas; we purchased two red (her favorite color) and two blue. 

Don't they look like the old "TV Trays" that the first frozen dinners came in? Either way, we like the "older" look for AA.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunday Visitor!

Cousin Carolyn spent the night after babysitting the three girls (Dyan, Alivia and AA) for our birthday party at the River House. Normally, we would not have a family member babysit, but Carolyn had graciously offerd to keep them occupied and put them to bed so we could have a night "out" without AA. We are much more comfortable with her babysitting AA; and AA trusts her (and sister Leaa). We had a blast and all went well with the little ones.
Sunday morning, Carolyn and AA were off for a long walk. When they arrived back, they were their usually goofy and silly selves!
See that big bag? They found the "dead ball" area at our Club's tennis courts. More toys for the family dogs!

Love having Carolyn come for a visit!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Finally - Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure!

AA has begged to go see Harry Potter world at Universal's Island of Adventure. She begged a year ago. I said as soon as the hot weather is over (Summer 2012). Fall 2012 came and went and she begged (guilt set in a long time ago). She loves Harry Potter movies and books. She checks out the audio CD's to listen to the books in her quiet times. She has seen all the movies at least 29 times (yep, in those times when she has choice of electronic use - she wants to watch a Harry Potter movie). Remember her Harry Potter Lego obsession? Remember her Gryffindor scarf set from her sister? Finally, I had to pick a day we could at least see how extensive this theme park was. We haven't been to one in ages (unless you count Sea World a couple of years ago). We do not like these mega theme parks. So, knowing full well that the busiest time is over Easter/Spring Break, we went during that time. Absolute MOB scene! We are crazy. Since we were driving south to visit my In-Laws, it was an easy side trip to go for half a day, buy her a wand and get out. Fast. We did it in less than four hours. AA is happy; of course we had to promise to go again. (I have to keep my promises).
We drank pumpkin juice and butter beer. We survived!

Buying butter beer:
Happy girl!

It was a very cold morning (for us); low's in the 40's, then it warmed up to the 70's and very sunny; overall a great day!

Mobs of people!

We bought her a wand; she selected (or did the wand select her?) the Ginny Weasley wand. She wants class dress robes and an owl. Next time.
A very happy girl, skipping back to our car; ready to drive south to Okeechobee to visit with Nana and Grandpa! (love the L.L. Bean reflective triangle on her vest!)