summer days


Summertime calls for treats like Buttercrunch doughnuts and trips to the beach.

It also calls for me to forget the things I should be doing…

unintentional time outs.

I should be blogging more, writing more, submitting queries and illustrations, editing photos, working on my publication calendar and of course doing the weekly chores.

But, lately… I have come to realize that this is the only summer I get when my daughter is 6.

This is the only chance I have to fill her head up with happy childhood memories….classic simmer memories..


So, forgive me please for my absence.


I’m working on putting a happy person into the world for the future.

Today is the day to drop the devices and live.


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summer week one ’14

Every year I attempt to document Summer here, a few years ago it was a daily post, and last Summer it was a round up with an epic fail in between. This year, I am hoping to do a weekly summer activity post,  depending on how much I want to stare at a computer screen.

Sometimes I do. Between Pinterest and browsing all the books at the library, I can be quite content for an hour.

Then the sun comes up and it’s time to start the day.

It’s summer.

I’m exhausted by the end of the day… but- it’s kind of that” happy theme park exhausted”, because this year I decided to make summer different. I want my kid to have happy summer memories, not memories of mommy working behind the computer all day, not mommy texting or checking email on the phone.

So, I leave my computer and phone alone majority of the day. Except for photos, of course…

Gotta have those.

So far: summer in photos:

IMG_1527THE LAST DAY. (Until Fall, at least….)

_DSC1331Homemade mango Ice cream with strawberry chunks…


_DSC1324a nature walk with the dogs… and the dogs got tired.

_DSC1321A little trip to the water park… and some tasty little snacks (that I only allow myself to eat in the summer)

IMG_1616A lunch out for sushi…

IMG_1606and some Thai food, too.

IMG_7100A fishing tournament, and a new friend to hunt crabs with…

IMG_7102blessed with fabulous weather and scenery, and a rockin’ cooler for a prize for winning the tournament division:

IMG_7106IMG_7073Trips to candy stores …

IMG_7080and tasting some pretty weird things… (they were only $1, and more minty than dilly)

IMG_7108Surprising Dad with a few Father’s Day gifts

IMG_1437Outings on the boat…

IMG_7145Kisses from Cockatoos

IMG_7133coloring pages at the library…

IMG_7127and Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas….

This has been Summer.

So far. 🙂




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summer ideas 2014

I have officially re-named my “summer bucket list” . Because , let’s face it: bucket lists are things you want to do before you die, and there is just too much pressure in that.

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As summer approaches in the next few days, with the official start being the actual last day of school, I compiled a list of things to do and look forward too…. many are food related,  and most are just about making memories.This year, my daughter is old enough to hold attention for longer than 7 minutes, so I am incorporating a few geography and history lessons, (to be honest- I’m actually trying to remember all the stuff I leaned in grade school so I don’t feel like a total idiot next school year when she comes home telling me things I should know)

First of all the things we do every summer:

She sleeps in = I get to drink my coffee hot, have devotional time and work on writing projects

We have breakfast together= I’m usually hungry once she’s up

Pool trips and beach trips = I need to lose my goth-like paleness

Backyard camping =  I need to use the camp gear yearly, otherwise my husband will toss it because “it’s never used”

Freeze Yogurt and call Popsicles breakfast

Make crafts= otherwise the craft stash will be trash

Walk the fat dog = he’s a Boston Terrier that is starting to resemble an Orca

Go fishing= need to stock the freezer for emergency sushi cravings (we both love sushi)

Plant our yearly sunflower garden

Water balloon and squirt bottle fights = we don’t have a pool, so this is the low budget way to keep cool

scavenger hunts = AKA help me clean out the garage

picnics= can’t stay inside all day, can we?

fire and police station visits= love on the people that protect, serve and save

treasure hunts= as in our dog dug a big hole in the backyard, I may as well hid something cool in it

tie dye day= recycling the shirts that have spaghetti-O stains

pedal boat rides= gotta squeeze in a mommy workout

pier trip= because that’s just fun

bike rides= AKA mommy workout

finger painting= probably I’ll  have some more stained shirts to tie dye after this

pottery= I love pottery… never to early to start her, right?



The “new” stuff I may or may not accomplish…

Theme days:

Be a reporter and make a “newspaper”

Homemade beauty salon at home (I love having a girl)

A day spent making an assortment of homemade cards to keep on hand all year

Christmas craft day= you can never start too early

Pioneer Day= learn about Florida Pioneers, and visit some local landmarks

Australia Day = (hopefully that will end with dinner at Outback)

Butterfly Day= learn about butterflies and plant a  butterfly garden

Art Day= visit the museum and come home to paint our own gallery

China Day= because we LOVE  Kai Lan

I’m going to attempt to hold her attention long enough to read outloud  get through a chapter book together… (that hasn’t happened yet.) My mom used to read Lois Lenski books to me when I was growing up, she used to give special voices to all the characters. She was really good at it; now I realize it’s because she was a PROFESSIONAL ACTRESS….(she “retired”  when she had kids)  they way she read made the characters seem  real.  I’m hoping I can channel a bit of that talent this year….

Of course there are free/cheap movies to see, free bowling, mini golf, playgrounds and other public adventures for summer- but,  unfortunately a lot of those places get bombarded with a stampede of summer camp kids and we usually end up annoyed and trampled after visiting those venues. That’s why I make these lists. It’s kind of a necessity, and a guide when it’s so hot that my brain won’t work- it’s nice to have a list to go down for the dreaded ” Mommy, I’m booooooorrrrrreeeeeed!”

Now: the mommy (aka food) portion of the list:

rock candy= maybe I can make this a science lesson?

solar cooking= may come in handy if there is a hurricane and the power is out a month

homemade cheese= because I love cheese

sea food themed day= sushi, and salt water taffy

homemade cones for ice cream = it’s summer, afterall

Key lime pie= since I have a tree…

BBQ/Picnic food day= mmm, deviled eggs, potato salad, baked beans, ribs, cole slaw, and cookie cake


Now: I most likely won’t get a 5th of this done (remember the epic fail last year?) But, it’s nice to have some go-to ideas when it’s Africa hot outside and the thought of planning something is exhausting. 🙂 Happy Summertime, folks!!!






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favorite things-July

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Summer is coming to a close… and our bucket list is nearly complete. Change is in the air, and the scent of new pencils and crayons will soon replace the aroma of coconut scented sunblock and fresh watermelon slices.

Soon the shelves will be lined with large bags of Halloween candy and rows of bright costumes, beckoning for little children to try on. And, I will get back into my Fall studies, complete with my own new supplies and my favorite pens.  Until then, I have the recent photos from July and the peak of Summertime bliss. Enjoy, folks!


2013-07-17 20.43.50There was pizza, ( and lots of it) at Boardwalk Pizza

untitled (43 of 51)There were moments of catching some rays…

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…and lots of parrot hugs

2013-07-16 16.15.16We did some fishing with these little guys… I couldn’t help but release several of them …

2013-07-17 08.57.38I ate a giant cinnamon bun. And life was good…

2013-07-17 08.57.28And, we found the “unofficial” best slice of Key Lime Pie in the Keys.

2013-07-17 13.56.52I almost got a great photo of dolphins…

2013-07-17 09.22.19And found a bird that was in need of a dryer.

2013-07-16 16.16.57And, I got to see my kid catch herself a snapper. *(we let him go, too)

I hope each and everyone is having a blessed end of summer… I personally am looking forward to the pumpkins and apples being in season….mmmmm!

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summer bucket list epic fail

You know my big summer bucket list? You know, the one I made that had all the fun adventures me n my kid wanted to do? Well, my planning just ran into a few epic fails. Okay, maybe epic is a strong word, but hey, it got your attention, right?

Recent epic fails on the #summerbucketlist

Event #12:

This past school year, my daughter had a school trip to Ci Ci’s pizza, and wanted me to go there with her. (I think I had gone to one 20 years ago…) Since the price was right, we went. So did four bus loads of sweaty summer camp kids. We walked in to a small room packed with assorted kids in color coordinated shirts, smelling like oregano and a mixture of sweaty socks and cheese. Ewww.

Amazingly, there was one empty table.

So… we sat down and attempted to get our share of the kill  pizza.

What is it about kids without supervision and unlimited pizza that turns them into raging hyenas?  My daughter and I felt like little vultures, watching as crowds of kids piled 5, 6, 7 EIGHT slices on their plates. We watched, waited, and hoped that a camp counselor would approach one of them to remind them that it’s a BUFFET, and you can GO BACK for more.

Instead, we watched as each kid took away half a pizza each until the only pie left was a spinach and artichoke.

That’s when my inner mama bear came out.

I went up to the most managerial looking employee and stated me concern for the lack of proper food for my young. But, I was nice and they brought out a special pizza for us to chose from before the hyenas. ( My germaphobic self is cheering at this point)

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So, we ate our pizza and made it though the pack to even score second plates.

So, why is this event falling into epic fail status? Because, when we left so did the camps. So, mental note to myself: DON”T GO WHEN THEY FIRST OPEN.

More epic fails:

By the time my daughter wakes up and has breakfast, half the morning has gone by and it’s too Africa hot to do anything but swim or stay inside. All those outdoor plans on the list? Untouched.

By the time we get out of the house to go to a destination it’s either: lunch time or naptime. She’s perfectly content everyday to play at home with her toys and play with her bird, draw and swim at the neighbors pool.I offer movies, the zoo, the museum… you name it. Then she tells me she doesn’t like the crowds. My kid inherited my husbands dislike of crowds. Great. Back to the bucketlist.

So… now it’s “uncrowded event” planning, like visiting off season touristy spots, pet shops, nature centers, and flea markets. We also managed to make cookies and bring it to a fire station, which was a feat because each time we went there they were out on a call… it got to the point that my husband suggested we call 911 and say we had a fire so that we could deliver the cookies.

2013-07-09 13.38.00We didn’t end up calling…we finally found them at the station during a break and they gave us a personal tour. It was awesome…( I got to see the kitchen) And they were having massive steaks for supper later that night.

There was even a female firefighter on duty, so guess what my daughter wants to be now? Just like her.

That’s my girl 🙂


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One of my favorite things to do is to go visit “touristy” places where I live.  It never fails to ignite my love for my native state, and it inspires me to get back to my roots and family heritage. One Summer day recently, my daughter and I decided to go visit The Girls Market and Bakery in Delray beach. Sometimes, the pictures speak far more than the written word… and too many times I’ve seen beautiful pictures obscured by poorly worded captions… so, today’s post will be of little words, but lots of visuals.


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and… that is life.

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expanding the family

If you follow my instagram and page feeds; you’ll know that two new baby birds made their way into our home over the week. One is an Indian Ringneck and the other is a little baby Budgie. Now, I have to say; I was never a “fan” of the bin of birds that you see at pet shops, (they are Budgies- although sometimes they are refereed to as parakeets). I wasn’t a big fan until I learned how intelligent and remarkable these little birds they are. Apparently, they can speak just as well, if not better than most large parrots. Crazy, huh? I have a feeling one day I’m going to be an activist to bring awareness to the intellect of cheap pets like hamsters and parakeets. 😉

24 hours after I showed my hubby the video, he surprised me and my daughter  by  asking how much they were, (which is usually a good sign) then he asked where we could buy one.  Of course, they have them everywhere …. but, I’m a little “high maintenance” when it comes to pet birds. I’m not a fan flighty nervous birds in cages. I like the hand fed babies that want to be a part of the family.

For the record, it’s very hard to find hand fed $10 common birds.

But, Miami has everything.

ROAD TRIP!!!! (Actually, it was an hour drive)

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Well, sort of an hour drive. My iPhone’s directions were very inaccurate and they led us to a less than savory part of Miami.


When we finally found our “bird dealer” he was in a parking lot of a CVS. (The whole time, we are thinking we’re going to some guys house) but, there he was in the parking lot,  his car’s  hatch opened to plastic and cardboard containers of assorted baby birds. (I guess he thought I may be a baby bird addict and want more than one?) The first thing I looked at was their crops, which is a sac on their chest, to see if they had been eating. Fortunately, every bird he had was in excellent health. Full crops, alert and lively. My husband was asking me why I was looking at the birds we weren’t there to get, but I was making sure they were all being cared for, not just the species we were there to buy. Apparently, the “bird dealer” was a good bird daddy, and everyone seemed in excellent health. So, our journey was worth the destination.

2013-06-22 13.23.59And, we found “Paulie”, our newest baby. I’m hand-feeding him (along with Brobee) for the next few weeks… which is basically mixing up a sweet smelling formula and feeding the birds by using a hollow plastic syringe.

now Brobee’s story:

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One Thursday morning, my daughter and I decided to take an adventure to Brenda’s Birds, a large bird aviary that’s located in the middle of a quaint historic neighborhood. With it’s white painted fences and whimsical signs, it felt a little bit like I entered Key West.

2013-06-24 12.48.12There are birds everywhere, most of them were rescued or surrendered. It’s kind of like a “bird pound”, but without any euthanasia.

2013-06-24 12.49.17They had a massive cage with rescued Macaws, and this guy here was just happy as could be on his swing.

So, I had been researching my bird species, I have always wanted a cockatoo, or an African but, my husband gets a little intimidated by beaks. (We’re working on that 😉 ) So we had it narrowed down to an Eclectus or an Indian Ringneck.  The one with the smallest beak won. (The ringneck)

Meet Brobee:( Named after the green Yo Gabba Gabba character)

2013-06-21 06.43.33Brobee is a baby Indian Ringneck parrot and when he grows up he’ll look like this:


Indian ring-necked parakeet


For now, though he’s just a baby and needs his “bottle”

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Aside from our new parrot nursery, we haven’t done too much. But that’s okay, because we’ve done plenty.  I think I’m a little crazy. Here I was thrilled that there was all this “free time” in the summer, so I go and find new things to consume it… but, it’s totally worth it.

I  also see how God turned something that was sad into something so wonderful. You see, the day I got Brobee was the same day that my husband’s ex wife delivered her second child. I knew that the situation of her having a second child was going to ignite my depression in me; perhaps some jealousy, maybe resentment. You see, she wasn’t there in the beginning  for the first child, and I stepped up to fill in the gap.(She’s a wonderful mother now, by the way) I would simply love to have another child, but it’s just not in the cards. Although I am thrilled at her new baby and resurrected life she has made for herself, I knew the fact of her having another child would illuminate the emptiness I sometimes feel over the situation. If I can’t have another baby to love and care for, a parrot is the next best thing in my book. (Especially with their life span) God knew that, and led me to our new babies.

I still would like another baby, but I also am quite content with the life and animals we have. My husband and I both have a deep compassion for our ever growing menagire and couldn’t imagine life with out animals in it.

Sometimes, situations make you aware of who you are, where you’ve been and where you want to be. My bird dying, and being blessed with new life to nurture has given me a greater understanding of the uncomfortable changes that happen in life, and it’s strengthened my faith in knowing that He never forsakes us.

There is always a rainbow after the rain. You just have to step out and look for it.

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as summer goes on

Despite the somber occasion that began this week, we are moving ahead in our summertime existence. We had a wonderful weekend prior to Monday, and we are all anticipating the addition of a new family member later this summer or fall. No, not a baby (never say never) at least not a baby human… but another baby parrot. I’m sure there’s an egg out there somewhere with our name on it.

Some visual highlights from last week, there was some treasure hunting- we scored some “new” ponies that all have their hair! Her current pony supply was handed down from big sis, who had given them all Mohawks when her biological mother decided she wanted a Mohawk. It’s nice to have a collection that’s not as mutilated, lol.

I scored myself some new heels for church. ‘Cause I’m short and I can’t see if someone taller than 5’ stands in front of me. Oh yes, and a bamboo steamer… I’ve been wanting one of those for years, nice to find one for under $3. We laid everything out to snap a pic, then the ponies and shoes got doused with Lysol and the steamer was washed, (although it appeared brand new)

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I made some tasty vittles recently:

To celebrate Father’s Day, my husband surprised me on Saturday by saving up his lawn mowing money (true story) and taking us all out to eat. He even surprised me with a fruity flowery drink that my daughter insisted on photographing.

2013-06-15 19.34.58Cheers to that. (I’m pretty sure that the grandpa in the background wanted a sip)

2013-06-15 12.30.50The neighborhood kids had a lemonade stand, and the little girl was in love with the spout. She press it, then say “Ticky?” (aka sticky in toddler talk) And, the lemonade was soooo good, I gotta get the “secret” recipe. 😉

2013-06-14 12.10.01We had a picnic at the pool, and ate the best c antelope ever. I’m pretty sure it was grown by angels.

2013-06-16 15.06.01And, finally on Fathers Day we went to the beach after church. My stepdaughter had been with her grandmother out of town for the past week, awaiting the birth of her biological mothers second child. So, that’s why it’s been just the three of us. In case you were wondering, someone always seems to be looking for what’s missing, you know. 😉

For instance; what’s missing in the picture above?

An umbrella. NEVER go to the beach in 94 heat without one. (The red thing is a chair)

Friendly service announcement from yours truly.

Today we’re (hopefully) going on a bike adventure, although my daughter just informed me that we need to go look at baby birds. hmmmm.

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old fashioned summer days

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Most of you know I love making “Summer Bucket Lists” actually, I love making any sort of list…I’m a list maker. Out of all my lists, the “Summer Bucket” is by far my favorite. It’s basically a list of all the fun stuff that there finally is time to do, and things we want to do before summer ends. The  list also helps us figure out what to do with all the free time we have. As a bonus this year, it has also helped my kid to keep her room clean. She knows that we don’t leave unless the house is tidy so she makes sure that her room isn’t the “guilty room” to make us miss an outing. ( Yeah, I’m kind of morbid in the sense that if something happens to me while I’m out, I don’t want anyone to come home to dirty dishes or stuff lying around.)

Of course, this is just the first week of summer… let’s see how long her clean room will last. I’m sure a week from now I will be saying the opposite.

Last summer, our bucket list was interrupted by midday swimming lessens, (a necessary inconvenience) but this year… it’s a blank canvas.

Recently, we were able to do some of the stuff I did as a kid in the summer:

untitled (48 of 48)For instance, the ice cream man came. (I’m not too sure why my kid is preparing for a karate move in this picture, either….)

I live in a neighborhood where they seldom come… but, maybe since he made a few dollars on our street he’ll add us to the route. A few years ago, we used to have a “produce man” come every Friday afternoon- he’d come with assorted vegetables, and fruits and sometimes meat, fish and eggs. I’m not too sure what happened to him, he just stopped coming one week.

There were also puddles to play in- summer storms leading to big refreshing pools in the driveways along the street

untitled (69 of 73)And, summertime means that yes… we can go to the playground today:

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But, I have to say my favorite summertime thing to do is the beach…

untitled (1 of 5)Because even I never seem to have time for the beach, unless it’s summer.

I hope all of y’all are having an awesome summer.

Today, my kid suggested something not on our list. When I asked what we should do she said: “Let’s preach all day!”

I said: “Okay, do you want to read your devotionals and stuff?”

She said: “No Mommy, let’s go to Target and tell people about God and Jesus”

Note: I’m not sure where she is getting her evangelistic ways. We are not “that” door-to-door family. We drink beer and play frisbee in the front yard. We go to church and bring our friends, but not strangers from Target.  But, then she tells me:

“Mommy it’s what Jesus said to do.”

I know she’s right. There are lost people, they don’t need religion or church they just need hope. And, He’s not about religion, He’s about hope.

I’m not too sure how to respond, so I say, “Okay, well… are you going to do the talking, or are you going to get shy on me?”

She said she’ll probably get shy and I’ll have to talk. Hmmm. I decided that yes, we will go to target (I need some things anyway) and yes, I will talk to someone IF someone is “placed” for me to talk to. But, I have to also say… we didn’t have this on our bucket list.



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summer ’13 days 1-3

As I write this, I am nursing the worst headache I’ve had in months. I took an Advil, (no, this isn’t a sponsored post) and I’m hoping that by the time I finish writing, I can get out of my jammies (tank top and shorts) and continue with my days’ plans. I need to find a palm for our patio, buy some mulch, buy some detergent ’cause I can’t avoid laundry with that excuse anymore,go to the post office, and pay some overdue fines at the library. I’m dreading the last part because I always get a lecture from the librarian about the easy ways to avoid the fines. I know I can renew online… I just wish I could pay my fines online as well to avoid the dreaded lecture. ( Note: This post was started on one day, completed two days later)

Anyway, funny thing about life.

Sometimes, God removes people that are unhealthy to us, and we may not even realize it. Relationships end. People grow apart. In all the heartbreaking agony that sometimes trails these situations, it helps to reflect on circumstances in the past where there was a loss… it may be the first “love” at 15 and he/she smashed your heart like a ketchup packet, it may be the “best friend” that didn’t prove to be that when she stabbed you in the back at prom… whatever the loss or situation was, when you look back on it, you realize it was all for the best. And, in turn, it saved you from destruction.

Now, I’m not writing this because I’m in dire straits at a loss. I’m perfectly content with my current “loss”.  Sometimes it’s okay to rejoice in the removal of people that you always felt didn’t really “like” you all along. And, there is freedom in that. I’m not talking about harboring hatred, or malice toward someone either…. because that’s outright wrong. However, boundaries are not wrong. If someone triggers emotions or unhealthy attitudes in you,  establish a peaceful distance in the relationship. Peaceful distance is the object here.

Sometimes you might need to be the trigger man to establish a boundary, sometimes the other person might help it along. Either way, if it needs to happen, be content, and be at peace.

After all, nothing in life is permanent.

In the past I have lost many people, that end up resurfacing years later bigger and better than before. It’s a blessing.

So…. that was part of my personal first day of summer. As far as activities go….

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There was a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Science Center & Aquarium, being a “foodie” I was thrilled that there was (FREE!) food for everyone. There was even bagels, cream cheese, yogurt and croissants…mmmm

2013-06-07 10.09.00There were also cake pops, but they didn’t stay on their stick very well.

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We marveled at the prehistoric skeletons, and gazed at the creatures from the sea…

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Then, we went home and the rains came again. It has been raining here for days on end… the grounds are soggy and there are several flooded roads, so much for “The Sunshine State”

So…. we made doughnuts:

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(It happened to be national doughnut day) I NEED a calendar that has all the national food related days/months/weeks. Because it seems like I’m always finding out it’s national _______ day too late.

The next day, it rained once more. So, we opted to go on an indoor adventure with Dad.

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We had a hard time deciding on toppings.

Me: “Hmmmm, how about mushrooms and olives?”

Her: ( see face above)

Me: “Pepperoni and cheese?”

Her (see face above)

Finally: (a decision was made)

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We were totally blessed because we had ordered a small (4 slices/$8.50+toppings) and the waitress brought out a medium that they ended up making on accident. But then she said the magic words: “We won’t charge you for it, though”

Oh yeah! Woo-hoo! Love saving me some $$$$$!

Then we went home and I had made a poolash earlier. In case you don’t know what a poolash is, it’s basically an aged yeast mixture for making crusty, chewy bread. (Think Panera)

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I made a olive & thyme bread. I’ll post about that and the doughnuts over on The Village Cook  

For now, I’m in scrapbook/blog mode. I’m scrap booking my summer and blogging all at once. I know that there is a company that can print your blog posts and bind them in a book, so I can always do that one day if I need something to hold, but for now, this works perfect for myself.

So, I have wrapped up the first three days on Summer so far- the fourth day was spent at church where my husband finally officially became a member. (I had been one for years already) It was a nice event, they had a gorgeous breakfast set up (I forgot to snap pics) and some local donuts that were out of this world…. mmmm .

I have to share how excited I am that he’s finally walking the walk with me… but that may be a whole new blog or series in itself. The amazing changes that have taken place in his heart and mind- things that could not have ever happened without a divine intervention. I have been blessed by being able to witness this extraordinary event first hand.  It’s pretty cool, to say the least. 🙂



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