Monday, February 27, 2017

A Tale of Two Journeys

The weekend after my trip to Florida offered even more stunning weather. Mom called and asked if we wanted to meet them out at Clark's Hill Lake for the day. We eagerly agreed and planned out a picnic lunch. Unfortunately, Jeff ended up having to go into work for the morning, so the kids and I made the trip without him.

The inlet Mom and Berk ended up at in West Dam was right across from the Augusta Sailing Club, which made for some beautiful views as the boats took to the water.

Rali, McKinney, Joe, Selah, Kaity and Lauryn spent their time exploring the area.

One of the stunning views from our picnic table:

Berk grilled up burgers for us. I brought potato salad and mint chocolate brownies. Mom took care of everything else!

"Please don't get your clothes wet, kids, I didn't bring extras!" Riiiight.

This brave little (huge) duck was pretty aggressive in his belief that we should be constantly feeding him tidbits. You can tell by how close he is to me that he had no fear!

Lauryn, on the other hand, had plenty of fear to go around! She buried her feet in the sand and then announced, "Now the duck can't get my feet!"
We ended our trip by meeting up with Jeff's parents at Dairy Queen before going back home.

Meanwhile, Jeff had gotten off of work, and knowing he couldn't make it out to us in time, headed north into the mountains instead! It was too gorgeous of a weekend to waste.

Here's Gandalf, basking in the perfect autumn scenery:

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fall in Fernandina

Last fall, I took a wonderful trip down to Florida to visit family and just to enjoy some peace and quiet! I've never done anything like it before, but I was inspired by a friend who makes it a priority to carve time out to recharge her batteries. It seems contrary at first glance, though in reality I found that it definitely refocused me and I was a better mama when I returned! My first stop was Blackshear to see my beloved Granny. She, my aunt Belinda and I went to lunch together, then Granny and I spent the afternoon rocking on the front porch and enjoying good conversation.

This is the Pierce County courthouse, where my grandparents were married back in 1955.
I had to get on the road, though, and head down to Jacksonville for dinner with my Aunt Kim and Uncle Tim, their two adult children and respective fiances. The funny thing was, I thought I'd picked some obscure weekend in October to make my trip but I was completely oblivious to the football season. Turns out it was the Florida-Georgia game weekend. In Jacksonville. Grr. I guess living in Athens isn't enough to keep me informed! Anyway, traffic wasn't as terrible as I'd anticipated, and I had some great company in the form of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on audiobook. Following a fun dinner with some of the Floyd crew, I headed back north to Fernandina to stay the night with Uncle Mike and Aunt Ede.

First thing in the morning, I drove downtown, straight for T-Ray's. Y'all, I was not counting calories on this trip. (Not that I ever do anyway.) But that Scrambler was amazing! Bisuit, scrambled eggs, sausage, gravy, cheese ... My arteries are still sluggish from it.

My view from T-Ray's porch.
The first thing I did after breakfast was park Claire and start walking! I couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous weekend to be outside exploring. So naturally I went to the library.

We used to walk from Granny's house to the library all the time. I loved the black and white tiled sidewalks and the concrete goldfish containers along the way.
I basically spent the entire morning walking wherever my feet took me, along the streets and over to the harbor, across the railroad tracks and back. Not having gotten enough of books at the library, I meandered my way through a downtown book store, too, picking up a couple of souvenirs while I was at it.

Seriously, the weather was fabulous!
 I ended up eating a late (much lighter!) lunch at The Patio Place.

 I found the bench at the marina inscribed with Uncle Francis's name, and sat there for a while, writing and daydreaming and watching a lone sailboat out on the water. (At that time the docks were still closed from the hurricane so it was otherwise deserted.)

About that time, I got a call from my great aunt, Joni, letting me know she was home and I could come by whenever. I spent a couple of hours with her and Uncle Ken, listening to their stories and telling my own. When dinner rolled around, I met up with Mike and Ede along with Ken and Joni at Moon River Pizza. Joni couldn't resist teasing Mike with her Florida Gators jacket!

The drive home the next morning was livened considerably by Rosamund Pike's incredibly well-done audio version of P&P.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Selah's Seventh Birthday - Frozen!

Every year, our kids get a choice on whether they want presents from Mom and Dad or a birthday party. If they choose presents, I may do a special birthday dinner and a dessert, but no big party. If they choose party, we have a cake and friends and we give them just one little something to unwrap.

This year, Selah chose a Frozen party!

The cake was a simple white cake with pale blue buttery cream cheese frosting, white fondant snowflakes and a white chocolate "Selah". 
I used blue Jell-O on the inside to make it pretty.
Kaity sculpted Olaf from white fondant, and we made his arms, legs, and features out of chocolate. His nose is a sculpted candy corn.
The party favors were baggies of marshmallows, pretzel sticks, chocolate chips and a candy corn, so that guests could build their own snowmen at home.

I kept the food pretty simple.

The punch was just blended blue Hawaiian Punch and Sprite with "snowballs" of vanilla ice cream. The ice cubes are just blue Jell-O, and that's a dish of Olaf's Warm (Hershey's) Hugs!

A little nod to Hans and Anna's duet here!
I certainly didn't plan it that way, but it worked out really well to be able to recycle a lot of the decorations and accessories from Kaity's party to use for Selah's.

The beautiful birthday girl! Our little Selah. It's hard to believe she's 7 already.

Of course, Lauryn had to wear her Anna dress!

As a very special treat, we hired a friend of Kaity's to be Queen Elsa! Alyssa does various characters for events in our area and she was amazing! Here, she is blindfolding Selah to play Pin the Nose on Olaf.

After the game, Elsa sang a song with everyone - "Let It Go!" and later, "Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?"

The girls made bracelets with the beads Elsa brought from Arendelle. The boys made snowmen with googly eyes and cotton balls.

Singing "Happy Birthday!"

Queen Elsa and Princess Selah!

...and little princess Anna, too!
Kaity and her friend ...

And we made Joe do it, too.