Life on a Dirt Road … Crazy Mother Nature

It was a glorious day. Highs in the upper 60′s. Which is almost shorts weather after the Polar Votex winter we had.

My phone was showing a severe weather alert. Possibly a big thunderstorm. The weather channel suggested we go to the lowest level of our house to the inner most room.

Hubby asked if I wanted to do that.

I laughed and said no. He asked if I wanted to go on the porch and watch.

That’s more like it! Nothing like a good thunderstorm on the porch.

As we finished up dinner we heard the thunder far off.

We started to head to the porch when it hit.

Crazy wind. Then the rain. After that huge amounts of marble sizes hail! I have never seen so much hail.

20140414-152447.jpg

Within 5 min the ground was covered!

20140414-152557.jpg

Then the rain started. It created flash floods down our drive way and ice jams in our streams.

20140414-152729.jpg

20140414-152738.jpg

20140414-152746.jpg

In half an hour it was all over. We went outside and checked out the damage. We were lucky. No large trees down. No damage to the house.

It was an awesome storm. Within a couple of hours all the hail was gone. Our driveway still bears the scars of the flash floods. The grass turned green overnight. All that is left of Mother Nature’s temper tantrum is some minor branches down and a memory of me standing in a inch of hail.
.

20140414-154044.jpg

Crazy Mother Nature.

Posted in Family, Home, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

How Does One Say Good-Bye?

Princess Honey Valentine

Princess Honey Valentine

Our love affair with the BDE (Best Dog EVER) started in February of 2005. We went to Ohio to pick out our new family member. Actually, she chose us. The little wiggly pup made her way onto Kid 2′s lap and fell asleep. Love at first sight.

With 3 of us girls wanting to name her we decided on a long fancy name for our little pup.

Princess Honey Valentine. Honey for short. Beautiful and sweet.

She was so tiny. She barely filled her kennel but she immediately filled our hearts. I have never met another dog who was so filled with love. She loved everybody.  Her tail was always in motion. Such a happy, happy dog!

Honey loved to camp.

Honey getting some love.

Honey getting some love while camping.

She didn’t mind having her face mushed and made to pose for photos.

IMG_4318

IMG_1976

Playing fetch at the beach.

Playing fetch at the beach.

Honey welcoming Mojo into the family.

Honey welcoming Mojo into the family.

One of her favorite pastimes of course was napping.

Sleeping in the camper.

Sleeping in the camper.

Using kid 2 as a pillow.

Using kid 2 as a pillow.

On Mom's shoes.

On Mom’s shoes.

In bed with Kid 1

In bed with Kid 1

Taking a nap on little brother.

Taking a nap on little brother.

Even the kitties liked Honey.

Even the kitties liked Honey.

She was a dog just FILLED with Joy.

Running in the snow

Running in the snow

Always a dog to make you laugh.

Playing dead bug.

Playing dead bug.

Last June we found a lump on her tail. It was not a big deal the vet said, but they did a test just in case. The next day we got a call. It wasn’t just a little lump. It was cancer. Mast Cell Tumor. It was in a location where surgery wouldn’t work. We knew this would lead to the end. We decided our best course of action was to love her as best we could for as long as she had left. To feed her good food. To give her lots of belly rubs. In December the marble sized lump had grown to the size of a plum. We put Honey on Prednisone and it worked wonders reducing the size of the tumor. Honey continued to run and jump and play bucking broncho at meal times, her favorite time of the day.

Slowly Honey Dog lost weight. Her spine started to show as she lost muscle. More medicine was added to her diet to heal her intestines. We kept loving her every day. She still jumped like crazy at meal times. :) She still loved everyone and was the happiest dog ever. We made a conscious decision to give her the best of the life she had left. And I think we succeeded.

But the time has come.

Honey doesn’t want to chase her ball. She can’t control her bladder. Her teeth are worn down and she can’t chew her favorite bones. She is tired and old.

It is time.

Honey, our Best Dog EVER

Honey, our Best Dog EVER

The vet has told us it is time. We have spoken to the children. Tomorrow she will have a fantastic day. She will go to Doggie Day Care. She will come home and have a good dinner. Maybe some apples, too.

And then she will have her final trip in the car.

How does one say good-bye? How do you tell an animal how much they have expanded your life? How much love and laughter they have brought to your family? No one will ever replace her and our hearts will grieve. Many tears have been shed already and so many more will come tomorrow.

We will hold on to each other. We will think good thoughts of our friend. We will imagine meeting up with her when we go to heaven.

The pain of losing a pet is so hard. Doing the right thing so they don’t suffer is so hard.

Any yet our life would have been less if she hadn’t been in it. It was worth it to love her, even if it means to lose her before we are ready.

We will always love our Princess Honey Valentine.

This is how I will remember Honey.  Fresh out of the lake after jumping in to fetch a ball. She LOVED jumping into the lake. :D

Princess Honey Valentine Rest In Peace  The Best Dog Ever.

Princess Honey Valentine
Rest In Peace
The Best Dog Ever.

I love you Honey. xo

 

Posted in Family, Grief, Home, Life, pets, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Spring Time and a Springtime Quilt

The weather has finally turned a bit warmer and the nasty Polar Vortex has relinquished its hold on Michigan. Yay. What that means for life on a dirt road is …. mud. Lots and lots of mud.

Snow Melting

Snow Melting

You see we have such a deep level of freezing in the ground that as the air warms up the huge piles of snow and makes them melt, the water cannot absorb into the ground. (Due to the aforementioned frozen ground.) Therefore it makes mud. :( Ooey gooey squishy makes your white car all brown kind of mud! Luckily for me my new ride has all wheel drive and all that mud hasn’t stopped me from buzzing around. It has slowed me down considering some of the pot holes on the dirt road could make me bottom out if I am not careful. LOL. You can actually tell who the locals are on our dirt roads as we drive like we are drunk and pay no attention whatsoever to which side of the road we should be on. We weave and bob just to find the path with the least amount of mud and potholes. :P Today should be a balmy 55 degrees and hopefully some of this mud will dry out.

Spring also means more animals are wandering around our property. I just saw a very large Tom Turkey and his 5 Tina turkeys by the house munching on sunflower seeds. They ran away before I could snap a picture though. We of course have quite a few birds: Red Headed Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Titmouse, Chickadee, Mourning Doves, Yellow Finches, Cardinals, Nuthatches and a few more I don’t recognize. Oh and I did see a Robin today. Hurrah.

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

I got into trouble with the hubby the other day. I had been throwing old apples out the back door for the squirrels this winter. It was so cold and I thought they could use a little extra food. Well, then I had a couple of pieces of stale bread and I thought that maybe the birds would like that, so out it went. And then came this little fellow.

Opossum

Opossum

He was rather cute, but looked like he needed glasses. Kind of fumbling around among the discarded bird seeds looking for food. Cool, eh? I thought so until a little while later I saw…

Raccoon looking for bread.

Raccoon looking for bread.

Yeah. A raccoon. Very cute. Very smart. Very much trouble if they get too friendly around your house. They have been known to make such a pest of themselves. Hubby was not so happy and so he curtailed my feeding of the wildlife. :P

He was inspired to make a new squirrel feeder though.

Squirrel Jail

Squirrel Jail

It is really cute! The little squirrels go into it and eat the seeds. Alas…the coons like it too so it had to come back into the house until there is more food from nature. Oh well.

Enough about the weather. I know you want to look at quilts right? ;)

My quilt guild had garage sale the other day and I managed to snag some fabric in colors that I LOVE.

Fat Quarters

Fat Quarters

I have such a hard time thinking about what colors and patterns would go together that I am always thrilled to find things all together. With all the grey and mud and dreary that this spring has given us I decided I needed to make a spring time quilt. As you know, I am a new quilter. This will be my 4th quilt I think? Anyhow, I asked around and was directed to a link that showed how to make a Disappearing 9 Patch. The end result looks complicated to a beginner like me, but it was super easy. This first picture is it laid out on my bed as I was trying to set the pattern.

Disappearing 9 Patch

Disappearing 9 Patch

And here it is all pieced together.

Pieced Disappearing 9 Patch

Pieced Disappearing 9 Patch

Try to imagine how it will look without the fuzzy slippers. ;) I think I will do some free motion quilting on it and keep it this size. For a baby quilt. If someone decides to give me a niece. ;)

I have a few other projects in the works, but no photos of them yet. With the weather warming up I am looking to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and perhaps with my rain boots on enjoy a walk on my mud road.

Thanks for popping by!

Posted in DIY, Fiber Arts, Home, Life, Quilt, Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Quilting Again!!

Life has been really crazy lately. With the holidays and then a family vacation to Florida, and now trying to help Kid 1 get all her college applications filled out…well I haven’t had much time to quilt.

Things are slowing down a bit. ( And daughter has been admitted to 8 of the 9 colleges she applied to. The last one we are still waiting to hear from. ) The weather had been crazy with super cold temps and the most snow ever recorded for a January. This all means that I have had a little more quiet time with needle and thread.

I finally finished my practice 1600″ quilt!! Yay. And we even have more winter to go so I will be able to use it. :-D

Before I get to that though, let me show you my favorite Christmas gift. Remember me telling you about using the TV as my quilt rack in my last quilty post? Well, the best Hubby ever decided to take matters into his own hands. Wanna see my best gift?

20140202-194748.jpg

Isn’t that just the coolest ever? Did I tell you he had no pattern? No siree bob. He just thought it all up and created it! I LOVE that man!! The bars come off so I can hang bunches of different quilts in all stages of creation. Here is a picture of the side. See the hidden Mickey Mouse?

20140202-195205.jpg

I love having all my projects close by. Hubby loves having his TV back. Win – win!!!

So the quilt that I just finished is the blue, white and grey one. I forgot to take a picture of it all spread out. Sheesh! Anyhow, this is the quilt I really struggled with while learning to free motion quilting it. Here is a picture of my beginning stitches. See how big the stitches are? And how rough and jerky the pattern is. Ugh.

20140202-202455.jpg

Like I mentioned before, the thread made a huge difference. I also probably got a little better with practice. Lol. Here is a photo of some stitches near the end. Hopefully you can see they are smaller and smoother.

20140202-203032.jpg

My husband says I shouldn’t point out the flaws. But I think it is good to see where I have been and how much I improved. :)

I was reading a post yesterday from a new quilter who was asking for tips on storage of sewing supplies. I replied back that I use a band aid box from Costco (That translates into a really big band aid box!) to transport my small scissors, thimble, thread and needles whenever I travel. I also posted this picture that shows how I store my embroidery floss and other little things. And a cute jelly jar for buttons.

20140202-203719.jpg

I have another glass jar that holds loose tea bags in my kitchen. It says “tongue depressors” on it. Makes me smile every morning. :D

It has been a very snowy 2014. The most snowiest in recorded history actually. As you can tell by how high the snow is on our 3 ft candy canes. (That Hubby made for me out of conduit pipe! Love ‘em!) This is just a small portion of our approx 800 ft driveway!

20140202-204851.jpg

See that tight turn to the right? Well, last night our plow guys got stuck in that area for a couple of hours. They dug and dug to try to get themselves out. Finally they had to call some other guys with another big truck to pull them out. A couple of trees didn’t make it, but we were just glad we didn’t have to host them until the Spring thaw! ;)

And last, but not least…our dogs Honey (the Lab) and Mojo (the Havanese) took a walk to the mailbox with me today. Honey took the easy path that Hubby dug out. Mr. Mojo is looking on wishing he would have taken the easy way too!!

Thanks for popping by!

20140202-210222.jpg

Posted in Crafts, DIY, DYI, Family, Hobby, Home, Quilt, Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Thanksgiving in California

I was lucky enough to get to spend Thanksgiving this year in California. My newest nephew was making his state-side debut. He was born in Germany and hasn’t had a chance to meet my side of the family yet. So off I flew to meet him. Well and also to visit with my wonderful Sister in law and my brother. I really don’t get to see them often enough.

On the flight from Michigan to California we flew over the Grand Canyon. I have never been there and was really excited to see what it would look like. It took 10 min to fly over, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. First we just saw the beginning with snow on either side. And then to see the depths and layers and size was just awesome. Sadly the pictures are not, but here they are anyway!

Beginning of the Grand Canyon

Beginning of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon opening up

Grand Canyon opening up

I wish this would have shown up better. Real life was much more impressive!

I wish this would have shown up better. Real life was much more impressive!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings. 22 of us were there at one really long table! The food was great. The company even better. We went to Napa Valley and stayed at a cabin with a vineyard.

Vineyard in November

Vineyard in November

Door of an old house on the property.

Door of an old house on the property.

On the property there was also this HUGE redwood tree. I love redwoods.

On the property there was also this HUGE redwood tree. I love redwoods.

Artsy Photo of a Light Bulb

Artsy Photo of a Light Bulb

Outdoor Fireplace. Sadly I didn't have time to use it.

Outdoor Fireplace. Sadly I didn’t have time to use it.

While we were there we were lucky enough to spot the Bobcat who lives on the property! It was very exciting. I was very glad it was during the day and he was running away from us! Sadly no photo of him. :(

The day after Thanksgiving, instead of getting up at stupid o’clock to do some Black Friday shopping, (yes I am one of those crazy people! Just for the record I have never knocked anybody down to get a Tickle Me Elmo nor Cabbage Patch Doll. I am very civilized!) we gathered all 22 of us and headed to the beach. Talk about strange. In Michigan it is usually 10 degrees with a windchill of 4 the day after Thanksgiving. So the thought of going to the beach is a very alien thought. And I LOVED it. With just a light fleece on I was warm. The breeze was brisk, but walking on the beach is just amazing. I have always loved the beach. I tried to get some good shots of the waves crashing on a large rock, but only managed some decent ones.

Goat Rock Beach

Goat Rock Beach

Waves Crashing at Goat Rock Beach

Waves Crashing at Goat Rock Beach

A closer look at the waves.

A closer look at the waves.

Some kids, or kids at heart had made a rather large tee pee out of drift wood. Quite a lot of work, wouldn’t you say?

Drift Wood Tee Pee

Drift Wood Tee Pee

While we were leaving I saw some people jumping off of  a perfectly good cliff. Crazy people!

Jumping off of a perfectly good cliff over the ocean.

Jumping off of a perfectly good cliff over the ocean.

And there were 2 of them...

And there were 2 of them…

I must say. This is NOT on my bucket list. But it does make for good photos. :D

I must say. This is NOT on my bucket list. But it does make for good photos. :D

Upon leaving the sun was shining and the arched rock below made such a nice picture. Can you believe I took this with my iPhone?

Sun shining through and arched rock.

Sun shining through and arched rock.

On the way back to the airport we found that they grow hot air balloons in Napa Valley along with the wine. ;)

Hot Air Balloons in a Field

Hot Air Balloons in a Field

It was a very quick trip. Out on a Tuesday and home by Saturday. Long flights and time changes. And it was SO worth it. As a final photo I will post the main reason for my visit. Meet Alexander. I am in LOVE. <3

Baby Alex. In the little hat and sweater vest I bought him. So he can look like a mini PhD.

Baby Alex. In the little hat and sweater vest I bought him. So he can look like a mini PhD.

Posted in Family, Home, Life, Uncategorized, Vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Little Quilty Progress…A delayed post

Well rats! I had this post all typed up and just had to upload my photos from my phone. Alas, while trying to move the photos from my phone to my computer I managed to delete them all instead. ARGH! So now about a month has gone by and I still have this silly old post to upload. I did manage to find a few pictures of my hexies which I will post. Otherwise everything is old news, but I thought I should still post it! Sorry about that lack of photos. Thanks for popping by!

Post from November …..

Life has been flying by fast! Summer is definitely over! We had our first snowfall earlier in the week. Some nights it has gotten down to 20 degrees F. Brrr. That means lots of fires at night and often throughout the day if we are home. And time to really get back to work on quilting. :D

I finally finished quilting a strip quilt I started over a year ago. I got stumped for a bit. I am doing free motion quilting. Teaching myself actually. I knew this quilt would only be for me to cuddle under by the fire in the winter, so I wasn’t all that concerned about how good it looked. I hate to “practice” quilting on something and just toss it out. So I figured this would be a good way to go.

In the beginning my stitches were horrible! Jagged and huge! The thread kept breaking. I was very frustrated. Then someone told me to switch threads. I was using Coats 30wt thread. I switched to Aurifil 50wt and I am in LOVE! I could just quilt with it so much easier! I think the problems I am still having (other than being new to FMQ) is that I have a basic machine with no speed regulator. I have a hard time keeping my speed even. Also I don’t have a flat surface all the way across. In other words, my machine sits on top of my table so I am constantly picking up the quilt and repositioning it.

I am saving my pennies to buy a Janome with a few great quilting features. I think the right tool for the job would really help.

I have also been plugging along with my Hexies. I can’t tell you how often people imply that I am crazy for doing these. I realize it takes a lot of time and tremendous tiny stitches, but man! I love doing it. I can bring them with me and within an hour complete a flower. So even though the majority of people think I am crazy I am going to keep plugging along, thank you very much. ;)

Hexie Quilt so far.

Hexie Quilt so far.

Hexies in Progress

Hexies in Progress

Extra Hexies Added to a Tea Towel

Extra Hexies Added to a Tea Towel

I recently took a hand quilting class from a local quilter. It was great fun and I learned a lot. Like a need a new thimble. My birthday and Christmas are coming. I hope I might find a little tiny box with a thimble in it. Not just any thimble mind you. A special thimble. A Roxanne thimble. (Did you know they came with names? LOL) This one has to be fitted with a ring sizer so it just fits your finger. The one I use now flys across the room if I move too fast. :/

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So that is the end of the delayed post. Just as an update, my hubby did indeed get me a Roxanne thimble! I can’t wait to use it. Our Christmas tree was just brought into the house today. We will decorate it tomorrow with a cheery fire in the fire place. I LOVE Christmas.

:D

 

Posted in Fiber Arts, Hobby, Home, Life, Quilt, Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Summer on a Dirt Road.

Hmm… I have been really bad about posting this summer, eh? You’d think that with no school and all this free time I would have time to post, but nope. I just am too busy being on summer break to think about posting. :D

So I shall try to catch you up on all the news of Summer on a Dirt Road. In reverse order. ;)

We started from seeds some giant sunflowers. They took FOREVER to grow. And then they kept growing and growing.  But they never had flowers. :( Well, finally this week they bloomed.

Giant Sunflowers

Giant Sunflowers

But you really can’t get an idea of how tall they are. So I asked my daughter to help. She just had all 4 of her wisdom teeth out and was such a good sport to go stand in the garden for me. Can you see her way down there???

Sarah and the Sunflowers

Sarah and the Sunflowers

We figure the sunflowers are about 15 feet tall!!! In front of Sarah you can see our 4 spaghetti squash plants that have over run our garden. We do have a lot of squash and we aren’t quite sure when they are ready to pick. We had one last night and it wasn’t very flavorful. So I think we need to wait longer.

My family came out to visit us. My Nanny, Mom and Quilty Auntie.  I really wanted to finish this rocking chair by the time they got here. Alas, I finished it 3 weeks after they left. LOL. There is a little story to the chair. Do you have a minute?

I love shopping for “Deals”. Salvation Army is a great place to do that. I get Fine Bone China tea cups. Silver plated flatware. All for dirt cheap. Well, one day I was shopping for deals and I saw this rocking chair. It was so sturdy and wonderful. I sat in it and it was so comfy! And it was a great price. So I bought it.

When I brought it home, after my husband rolled his eyes at me asking if we needed ANOTHER rocking chair, he notified me that it smelled so much like smoke it had to go on the porch. So on the porch it went for a couple of weeks. Sitting outside on our porch one day he told me it still smelled really bad and he had to move to the other end of the porch. :( This wouldn’t do. I decided to strip the varnish off and refinish it. Brilliant!

I have learned a lot from this process. #1 I hate stripping varnish. It is hard to get all the spindles clean. So I got frustrated and quit. Then Hubby said, “Let me power wash the strip goo off!” He tried that and ended up splintering some of the wood off. :( Shall we try to sand it? I hate sanding too I have found. Hows about if we paint it? Sounds good. :) But first you have to sand some more. Waaaa. By this time over a year has gone by and my Hubby was threatening to charge me rent to keep my unfinished product in his garage. I finally got my rear in gear.

So after stripping, power washing, sanding, sanding some more, painting with an odor killing primer , sanding again and THEN painting (many many coats) with some outdoor enamel my wonderful (non smelly) rocking chair is finished!! TA DA.

My Blue Rocking Chair

My Blue Rocking Chair

While my family was here we were in the end preparation for my youngest daughters 1st musical play “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”. Daily rehearsals and all that. Here is a photo  after the performance. She was a Napkin and a Villager. She did marvelous.

Family Photo after Beauty and the Beast

Family Photo after Beauty and the Beast (The one with the flowers was in the play)

This summer we also went to the 4-H County Fair. The girls entered jewelry and won ribbons. I judged in the craft area. We went to see the animals and the Demolition Derby.

Funky Chicken

Funky Chicken

Piggie Nose

Piggie Nose

Demolition Derby

Demolition Derby

We had a gas line installed so we could switch from propane to natural gas.

Gas Line installed

Gas Line installed

My wonderful Hubby built a bridge so we could continue to create a trail in our back woods.

Wonderfully handy Hubby built a bridge. :)

Wonderfully handy Hubby built a bridge. :)

The garden was growing…

Cherry Tomatoes waiting to ripen

Cherry Tomatoes waiting to ripen

And in the beginning of summer our strawberry patch grew some amazing baby bunnies.

IMG_1359There was a lot more to our summer. But you get the idea. :) I was lucky enough to spend 3 days at a quilt show…but that is another post.

Back to today. It is 73 degrees out with 80% humidity this morning. High will be in the upper 80′s. It feels like a tropical rainforest outside. School starts next week. We have just a few more days to sleep in, spend the day reading books for fun. Eating too much sugar and watching too many movies.  Summer on a dirt road was a blast.  I am a little sad to see it end.

Posted in Family, Home, Life, Remodeling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Super Quick Quilty Post

Just had to let y’ all know he has arrived!!

Who you ask?

My new nephew!! Remember I was making a super secret quilt a bit back?

It was for my soon-to-be nephew in Germany. :D He was a week past his due date, but he is here and healthy. Life is good. My brother was kind enough to send me a few photos this morning with the baby wrapped in the quilt. I told my brother I would be absolutely THRILLED if in 5 years that quilt would be just a bunch of tattered fabric. I made this quilt to be used and loved. It would be the greatest honor to me if it was loved to shreds. :D

Without further ado…

Introducing Louis Alexander. (We call him Alex) And the quilt his Auntie Carol made for him. :D

Alex in his quilt that I made him. <3

Alex in his quilt that I made him. <3

Alicia and Alex

Alicia (my beautiful Sister in Law) and Alex

Roger and Alex

Roger (my super smart brother) and Alex. Look he is smiling.

Posted in Crafts, DIY, Family, Fiber Arts, Home, Life, Quilt, Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Lovin Life on a Cruise ~ A Belated Post (The final post!)

Back again I see. You really deserve a gold star. :) This will be my last post on the topic, promise! I was gone for almost 2 weeks and have so many photos. I am just trying to show you a small glimpse. Shall we get started?

The next day was a Sea day and not many very interesting pictures. I gave my camera to my 12-year-old and she decided she would do a photo journal of all the sinks she saw. Don’t ask me why. I will spare you the photos, but there were a lot. We did the kitchen tour and they are full of sinks. :D

Our arrival into Nassau was pretty impressive. Just look at all the blues in this photo!!

Entering Nassau

Entering Nassau

We were headed out to a little animal park today. First, a family photo.

Welcome to the Bahamas

Welcome to the Bahamas

At the animal park we were able to hand feed some parrots. It was the highlight I think.

Mom feeding a parrot

Mom feeding a parrot

Cousins and parrots

Cousins and parrots

There were also some flamingos.

Flamingos

Flamingos

A VERY large rodent.

Cappybara a very LARGE rodent

capybara a very LARGE rodent

Some prehistoric looking iguanas.

Iguanas

Iguanas

Cool statues.

Stone Statue

Stone Statue

A white peacock. I wonder if it is an albino one?

White Peacock

White Peacock

It was a small is animal park. Easily doable in few hours. A nice relaxed pace with some interesting animals to see. Others of our party went to Blackbeard’s castle and loved it too.

It was our final night on the ship. We would arrive back at Ft. Lauderdale when it was still dark. For the last night we had a fabulous dinner at a specialty restaurant. I think my Nanny will now be older than 90 due to how many birthday cakes she got on the cruise. We were so very blessed and grateful to be able to spend time will all the family and celebrate a wonderful lady. Here is a photo of 4 generations. My Grandma, my Mom, Me and my kids. How special is that? :D

4 Generations

4 Generations

And finally the view as we arrived back to the USA.

Arriving back in the wee hours of the morning.

Arriving back in the wee hours of the morning.

We were sad to leave the ship. Having meals made for us and dishes washed was a pretty special deal! Half of the family left for home the next day. Some of us were lucky enough to spend a few days in a mansion on the beach! There is another Hobbit Adventure to go with that story, but the story itself will have to wait until another day. However, I do have just a few photos to share.

Our house was just across the street from a beautiful beach. My mom and daughter took a nice walk looking for shells.

Mom and grandchild at the beach

Mom and grandchild at the beach

There were patches along the beach where the shells collected. We had fun just plopping ourselves down and picking through them. My daughter found a sharks tooth!

Seashells

Seashells

We found some interesting things that had washed up on the beach.

Bottle washed up on the beach

Bottle washed up on the beach

Blue Jellyfish

Blue Jellyfish

One of the things my Mom wanted to do was visit the Everglades. We booked a tour with EcoSafari . We did it all! Airboat ride, nature walk, boat ride, driving tour. It was amazing. And the knowledge of our tour guide was astonishing. We really felt like we got to visit the Everglades and REALLY learn about them. We even ate gator nuggets! (Yes, they taste like chicken.) If you get the chance I would highly recommend touring through them.

Here you can see us on the airboat. (That is one of those boats that skims the water and has a huge fan on the back to move it along.) We are in the row closest to the bottom of the photo. The lady standing up wasn’t with us. :) It was VERY exciting.

IMG_1152

On the airboat

IMG_1190

We didn’t feed the alligators

We saw a lot of wildlife but the thing we wanted to see the most was alligators. And that we did. My daughter and I counted 37 alligators through the tour. I am sure there were hundreds more that were there but we didn’t see.

IMG_1168

One big alligator!

Well, there you go. I finally got to the end of my vacation story. I hope you enjoyed it. I had a lovely vacation. I really got to spend quality time with my family and I loved every minute of it. Well, ok. Some minutes were not so enjoyable. (Like not having a hotel room or the police showing up at the beach house. :0) Looking back though, the minutes that I didn’t love while I was in them make very good stories when you are back home.  And I am glad that I can share a little bit of my vacation with you.

Thanks for coming along. I will keep the chairs reserved just for you.

Reserved Chairs

Reserved Chairs

Posted in Family, Life, Uncategorized, Vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Lovin Life on a Cruise ~ A Belated Post Part 2

Hey! You came back for more. :D Did you refresh you beverage? Good. Settle down and we shall continue!

The next day was a sea day. I don’t have many photos of that because I was off doing stuff. Eating. Visiting. Eating. Stuff like that. Here are 2 photos for you though.

By the look of the shoes it must have been the first formal night. :)

By the look of the shoes it must have been the first formal night. :)

Here is one of the amazing sculptures that are around the ship.

Here is one of the amazing sculptures that are around the ship. The turtle. Not the girl. She is mine.

The next day we arrived in St. Maartan. We had an excursion planned, but we got rained out. We were very bummed. It was a Segway ride. Oh well.

Arriving in St. Maartan

Arriving in St. Maartan

Several other ships in port

Several other ships in port

We walked all around the little town. There were some interesting shops.

IMG_0698

Such a neat place

Great hotels right on the beach. Just look at that water! Gorgeous.

IMG_0699

A beautiful beach

Stopped to take a family photo under a pretty tree.

IMG_0703

My mom, kids and cousin

Admired some water features.

IMG_0705

I love dolphins! I wonder if hubby would let me get one of these?

I gave my cousin a squeeze! Doesn’t she have a great smile? :D

The oldest grandchild (me) and the youngest. :)

The oldest grandchild (me) and the youngest. :)

As we walked off the main strip I saw this restaurant. I just loved how it was painted. Now this is not a typical cruise line sponsored eatery!!

I just LOVED this building, even though I don't like escargot

I just LOVED this building, even though I don’t like escargot

As we were leaving we saw this ship. It is HUGE. Balconies on the outside AND the inside. Water slides. Rock climbing walls. I cannot tell you just how massive that thing was. Pretty amazing!

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Just a little different than arriving on this little boat, eh?

Sailboat in the bay

Sailboat in the bay

Even though we were sad we couldn’t do our Segway tour we still had a lot of fun and got some shopping in as well.

The next day we went to St. Thomas. We separated into different groups. My kids went with Auntie, Uncle and Cousins on a charter boat to do some snorkeling. I hear they had a fantastic time. Probably the best thing they did on the whole vacation. I will show you that in a bit.

We arrived as the sun was rising.

Sunrise as we arrive

Sunrise as we arrive

IMG_0728

Sunrise

Sunrise

Being up so early is very peaceful. The noise from the ship is very quiet. I often grabbed a cup of tea and sat on the balcony to enjoy.

The port we arrived at is far away from town. Only 1 ship can dock here. They made it very quaint.

The port at St. Thomas

The port at St. Thomas

As we were waiting to clear customs we spied this “little” yacht beside us. It is little compared to the ship we were on, and we all decided we could suffer and take that one for ourselves. :D

The little yacht that we all want

The little yacht that we all want

There are iguanas everywhere. They are not frighted of people and just stay in the sun looking at you. They are probably very used to tourists.

Iguana

Iguana

Hubby and I along with a few other family members made our way to Sapphire Beach. It is a long taxi ride to the beach which is actually a good thing. Being far away from the port not so many tourists come here. This first photo the sun was shining just right and it turned out great. Some of the other pictures are when it was cloudy and then the photos don’t do the beach justice. I would love to come back. The color of the water is perfect. Blues so blue you think they are fake. The water was warm. This was probably my favorite stop on the trip.

Gorgeous Sapphire Beach

Gorgeous Sapphire Beach

IMG_0768

Coral piled high

Coral piled high

IMG_0775

Around the bend away from the beach

We spent the day snorkeling, reading books, visiting and beach combing. Food and drinks were brought to us on the beach so we didn’t even have to move! The Rum Runner drink packs quit a punch, just so you know. ;)

As I mentioned, some of the family took a charter. Here is a photo from them. They said it was awesome. I think they went over to St. John’s and had some of the best snorkeling!

Family on a charter cruise

Family on a charter cruise

And this is what relaxation should look like. :D

The Starfish Girls

The Starfish Girls

One of the other things I liked about this stop was that because we had to take a taxi far away we really got to see the island. How people really live. Not jut the polished for tourist part. We had the chance to talk to the taxi drivers and learn a tiny bit about the island and the people. Next are some photos of the island. Of real life there.

IMG_0847 IMG_0846 IMG_0818 IMG_0806 IMG_0799 It isn’t all beautiful beaches and Rum drinks. People work hard to earn a living. They do live in a tropical paradise and I hope that when we visit there we are helping the island, not harming. I would love to go back and spend more time there.

Here is a view from the top of the island. You can see the main port on the left.

IMG_0837

As we left the island I was really sad to be leaving. I really enjoyed the day and would try to remember the color of the water forever.

IMG_0859If I was ever brave enough to sail on a little boat, I think this is where I would like to anchor. So beautiful.

Sail boats in the bay

Sail boats in the bay

Whew! You did it again and managed to get all the way through! Good Job!

I do have more days to show you. I hope you aren’t bored yet. My tea, however, is cold and low. So I need to replenish. I hope to see you back here for more!

To be continued…

Posted in Family, Life, Uncategorized, Vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment