Saturday, January 31, 2009

Manatees at Blue Spring State Park

As we were leaving the Manatee Festival we realized 75% of the crowd had already gone since we got there late and stayed for the last dog show so I told Richard to drive past the actual Park and see what the situation was. We were able to drive right in although there was only about an hour left before the park closed. We weren't sure where to go but parked at the first lot and walked down to where the gift shop was and found the walkway out to the water. It was a beautiful area DSC05475 and while we initially didn't see any manatees we still enjoyed the view DSC05485 There is actually a roped off area where you can swim. The water is 72 degrees year round and the water is crystal clear.
We noticed another walkway and decided to check it out... We were so excited to see this manatee DSC05480 He wasn't very big but the water was so clear you could really see him well.
About this time the park ranger asked everyone to start packing up to leave but being the rebel I am ~ I walked further down the walkway to the next "viewing area" and man was I ever rewarded for my defiance. I have never seen so many manatees in my entire life. I first noticed this guy who was just a couple of feet away from me DSC05489
Only to look up and see about 30 or 40 more! DSCN0921 They were everywhere and they were not docile. Nate says he thinks they were working on the next generation of manatees and I think he may have been right.DSC05494 I couldn't believe how close they got to us. One of the people out there said that they'll actually come up and bump you ~ just to say "hi." I was a little nervous cause we did see a gator coming in towards us and then lost site of him.
Even this guy was having a good day ~DSCN0926 Can you see the fish in his mouth. He was having quite a time trying to swallow it.
Anyway.. it was hard but we tore ourselves away before the rangers came after us ~ but not before Richard snapped one last parting picture DSCN0913
The manatees hang out here from about November thru March and we'll definitely be going back ~ hopefully soon.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Manatee Festival

Last Sunday we decided to go to the Manatee Festival at Blue Spring State Park. Blue Spring is about an hour and a half NW of us ~ just above Orlando. We had never been before ~ and I have to say in retrospect, this was probably not the best weekend to go. The festival itself was not actually at Blue Spring State Park, but a mile or two away at an empty field. We attempted to drive to the park but were turned around by friendly law enforcement who let us know that the park was filled to capacity and the only option was parking at the fair and taking the shuttle over so park we did. Once we got into the festival we were told that only the people currently in line would be able to take the shuttle over and we were welcome to come into the festival and they would only charge us half price. I figured we might as well since we'd already driven up there. I have to say, it was pretty cheesy. The kids were hungry and between the entry fee and the food we managed to drop $60 within the first half hour. It was a lot of tacky crafters booths and some inflatable stuff for the kids that you had to pay extra for. I think this is the one booth that has stuff we actually thought was okay DSC05434
We walked around for a bit and did get to see one very cool thing.... They had the "World Famous Frisbee Dogs" performing. Between Richard and I, we got some pretty good pictures DSCN0890 DSC05464 DSCN0895 DSCN0888

The kids had their picture taken with "Harley" and purchased frisbee's that were used in the show DSC05464
The guy's name is Laurence Frederick and you can see more about them at
As we were leaving we did see this one very cool booth. This guy carves fish and fish faces from driftwood. His prices were actually pretty reasonable. DSC05474
We thought our day was over but the best part was yet to come.... I'll tell you all about it next time!

Abbi's first trip to the beach

My niece, Danielle and her little Abbi were here last week. It was pretty cold most of the time they were here but we did have one really nice day so she wanted to take Abbigale for her first trip to the beach. abbi 071 Isn't she just the most adorable thing? I think her mom is equally adorable abbi 119
And you can't mention adorable without a picture of Julianne abbi 098 And let's not forget my equally handsome young man DSCN0862
We collected lots of really pretty shells. I've never seen the beach quite like this DSCN0864
We had a wonderful day. Abbi wasn't too thrilled when the water came up and "got" her. She hung on to her mom for dear life but I think she definitely has some sand castle building in her future.

The 2009 Spelling Bee

Nate had the honor of being in the spelling bee this year. He was the top speller in his class and competed against all the other 4th, 5th and 6th graders. He did really well and had some pretty difficult words. He made it through quite a few rounds but on the next to last he and one other guy got out (he lost on Mystique... he started with "mis" and as soon as it was out of his mouth, he realized but it was too late) leaving just last years' winner and one other girl who ended up winning. All in all I was very proud of him! DSC05512
He's the handsome guy in the center back row!

getting back on the saddle

It's been a crazy couple of week folks and I've had tons to post about but no time ~ there's never enough time! Of course, the further behind I got in posting, the harder it was to pick it back up. Tonight I've decided to "suck it up" and just start ~ anywhere... so these next few posts will be in no order whatsoever... If I confuse you, just ask!

BTW ~ While I did own a horse at one point ~ this one was not mine but belonged to a friend of mine. This picture was taken back in the mid 1980's!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Winter in Florida

At the risk of alienating my readers to the cold cold north of me, this is how we spent most of the weekend.... hanging out by the pool. DSCN0849 We've been eating at the outdoor table, working on science fair projects, Richard's taken his laptop out there and worked ~ now if only I could move my sewing stuff out there I'd be happy!
It is supposed to get cold this week ~ just in time for my niece Danielle's visit.. but cold here means in the 40's. I do love seeing all the snowy winter pics my bloggy friends have posted and would love to visit the snow ~ as long as I can come back here.
Sending warm sunshiny thoughts your way.....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

National Delurking Day

Today is National DeLurking Day ~ seriously. By law, if you look at this blog today, you are required to leave a comment. If not, the blogging police will come to your house, confiscate your computer and arrest you!
Well, not really but it would be really nice, if just this once you would leave me a comment. I get really nice comments from a handful of you and I'm really grateful for that but then there are those of you ~ and you know who you are ~ that check my blog on a regular basis and never ever even say "hello." So, today is your day. Leave me a message. It's really easy to do and it'll make my day. Thanks.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

In response...

In response from Sandra of Sandra Sews, who wanted to see my fabric purchases from yesterday, here's the booty purchased:
This was Julianne's find and main purchase. Not sure what she (we'll) be doing with it but it will certainly be cute whatever it turns out to be. DSC05171
Julianne and I also found these three purples in the $5/yard bin ~ gotta love those bargains DSC05172 And these will eventually end up as a baby quilt for a new little guy who is presently in him mommy's womb DSC05174 I've got some great minty green that goes with it too.
These were also purchased recently... These three were also from the $5/yd wall cause I'm hoping to do a red/turquoise quilt sometime soon and these will be a good addition to that DSC05173
And last but not least were these purchases DSC05175 These are for a custom order I am working on. It's a beautiful nursery done in pinks and browns with murals of bunnies on the wall. My customer hasn't seen these yet but I think she'll be pleased.

A day of fun

Yesterday my friend Prudence, from Tampa, came over for the day. She had to be here on Monday for business and decided to come a bit early to see me and her brother in Orlando. We went to a couple of quilt shops, made some fun purchases. I found out that my sweatshirt jacket class has completely sold out (Yeah, ME!) so I now have to schedule a second class. We also went to "The Quilt Place" where, if you are not prepared, is completely overwhelming. After shopping we went to Chili's for an early dinner/late lunch. DSC05170 Richard and Nate joined us. Julianne had actually been with us all day ~ and made a few fabric purchases herself.
Prudence brought us some "Famous Amos" chocolate chip cookies and a Dominoes game which I though was so very nice of her. Believe it or not, non of us in this household have ever played dominoes so after dinner we all sat out by the pool and Prudence showed us how to play. It was really fun! After she left we went and ran some errands, came back to the house, ate chocolate chip cookies and played dominoes until we couldn't keep our eyes open. So far I am winning! Again ~ Yeah ME!
All in all it was a really great day. Thanks Prudence ~ I hope you'll come back again soon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A few finished projects

I actually took some time, now that the holidays are over, to restraighten my sewing room. DSC05156 DSC05157 Now I can actually walk in there!
While cleaning I managed to finish up a couple of projects. I had this in the works for a while DSC05158 I was making it for Nate but hadn't made enough binding and then couldn't find the rest of the fabric to make more ~ until I cleaned the room. Now it is done and hanging in the boys room along with these... DSC05160 They were actually from Angie's house and since Nate already had this DSC05161 and this DSC05162 it all fits right in.

The other thing I finished was this wall hanging. DSC05169 I have had the top done for about a year and finally took it over to the quilt shop and quilted it on the Handi Quilter. I used a teal/brown variegated thread which kept breaking but the slower I went, the less it broke so I took my time and I think it turned out well. The pattern is from "Happy Hour" quilts from Atkinson Designs. My dining room is a little more put together DSC05167
I want to eventually get a new side board and hutch. We also are planning on getting new shades for the light fixture and put a valance up on the window. It's a work in progress.

Historic Downtown Cocoa

I'm not sure how "historic" it actually is. There is not much in the way of old buildings, great architecture or anything like that but it is a couple of blocks of really great shops and restaurants. I've driven thru it a million times and not had the chance to stop so the other day, while the little kids were spending time with the big kids, Richard and I decided to take advantage of the time and take a stroll thru the village.
They did have some amazing murals painted on the walls of the buildings... DSC05096 DSC05094
The shops had some great stuff. I could have spent a fortune but I showed genuine restraint. I thought these were unusual and cute DSC05099 And I'd love to try doing something like these painted chairs sometime DSC05100 The one thing I did purchase was this flamingo pin, which I just couldn't resist DSC05166
To remind me of this friend I made while walking the streets DSC05101