A Jumble of Thoughts and Goings-On…Brought to you by Hurricane Sandy

It’s a very quiet day around here today.  At work, most of our clients and colleagues are based in NYC, so many of them are quite understandably spending the day preparing for Hurricane Sandy and not concentrating on sending me stuff to do.  Nice change of pace for the day, but it can get a bit boring.  However, I am definitely thinking about all of my many family, friends, and colleagues who are dealing with this Frankenstorm.  Please stay safe, all you North-easterners!  Having been through the Florida hurricane-palooza of 2004 (Charlie/Frances/Ivan/Jeanne), I know it can be scary!

We were not planning on dressing up for Halloween this year, which would have been kind of sad.  But a friend of ours put together a last-minute party about a week in advance, so we had to scramble to figure out costumes!  We decided to do the reverse of what we did 5 years ago.  In 2007, I was an angel and Tadd was a devil.  This year, I got to be the devil!  And Tadd was an angel (although let’s be honest, he’s no angel…ha!).  I reused his pitchfork and the red cape from my Little Red Riding Hood costume from last year and found a $5 set of horns, bow tie, and tail.

Here we are in 2007:

And here we were last Saturday (sorry about the poor quality…as you can see from my friend’s reflection behind us, it was taken with a phone in dim lighting):

Tadd and I went on a date night to one of our favorite Park Avenue dinner spots last night, but beforehand I was able to convince him to take me to JoAnn Fabrics!  I spent way more than I should have, but I got all kinds of stuff to make a few Christmas presents, and what I hope will be a Thanksgiving wreath.  So stay tuned!

I did get started on a new sewing project last night, but something in my sewing machine malfunctioned and it just was not working correctly.  Tadd is going to try to fix it tonight.  I hope so, because I was almost finished with what I was working on.  It was frustrating to be so close to finishing without being able to finish.

And in the spirit of Halloween, I will leave you with this:  At work, one of the executives’ wives is an amazing baker.  Their family had a Halloween party over the weekend and the leftovers were brought to our company breakroom for us to share.  Incredible!  There is a brownie graveyard, a haunted castle cake, a huge cauldron of candy, adorable cupcakes, etc.  I know I shouldn’t have, but I took one of the cupcakes and a chocolate oreo kitty.  How cute are these?  That little knife in the “bloody” cupcake is actually a tiny cookie!

Instagram Link Party: Orlando Staycation

Tadd and I had plans to go to Hilton Head Island, SC this past weekend.  Unfortunately, they had to be canceled due to a family emergency that required us to stay closer to home, just in case we found out we had to leave town quickly.  We decided to make the best of it and our romantic weekend getaway turned into a last-minute “staycation” in the Orlando area.

We booked an inexpensive room via Priceline.com‘s name-your-own price feature and spent two nights staying very close to Walt Disney World property.  When we checked into our hotel, we really had no plans aside from dinner Saturday night at Il Mulino at the Walt Disney Swan Resort.  We were just going to play it by ear, and have a fun, relaxing weekend away from the stress of life, and focused just on each other.

We wound up in Downtown Disney Friday night.  Dinner at Paradiso 37 (which was better than I thought it would be!), followed by desserts from Goofy’s Candy Company.  They have this create-your-own treat thing, where you fill out a form and choose an item (apple, rice krispie treat, marshmallows, pretzel rods, or ginger bread cookie), then you choose to dip it in white, dark, or milk chocolate, then choose a candy topping (M&Ms, Oreos, peanuts, Reese’s Pieces, etc), then you choose a chocolate drizzle for the top.  It used to be that the marshmallow option was only $2.95 so it was a great bargain, because when they were done being dipped in everything they were enormous and they presented them to you skewered on a Mickey head crazy straw that you could keep.  Now they are $4.95…Not a bargain, but still a generally affordable treat.  We got ours to go and brought them back to the hotel room.  On the way out of Downtown Disney, we decided randomly to stop by guest relations and make reservations for the Sunday morning Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom.

Saturday we really weren’t sure what to do, but in the end decided to go to the Premiere Outlets where Tadd got some new bright green hi-top chucks at the Converse store (they are awesome…I need to get a picture of them), and I almost got something on clearance from the Coach Outlet, but ended up with a new Vera Bradley bag that I adore (an angled tote in Baroque), plus some extra stuff for gifts (everything in the VB Outlet was buy 2 get 1 free).  Then we set off to Celebration, FL for an afternoon of lunch at Celebration Town Tavern (which made me homesick for Boston), relaxing by the lake, Starbucks, and getting Tadd’s hair cut at a charming little place called S. Todd Esq, Barber!  We made so many Sweeney Todd jokes before and after the haircut…could not resist!

Saturday night, we had reservations for dinner at Il Mulino for that evening, so we went back to the hotel room, got gussied up a bit, and drove over to the Swan & Dolphin Resort near Epcot (refered to by locals as the Swolphin).  Il Mulino gets somewhat mixed reviews on Yelp and other places, but I have to say that we had a fabulous dinner!  They won us over with all the little extra surprises that added to the experience, including an appetizer of thinly sliced Italian sausage and eggplant caponata provided to us “compliments of the chef”, a tiny bottle of Rosa Regale included with our special Valentine’s Day dessert, and concluding the meal with a complimentary limoncello.  We had a head waiter & assistant waiter doting on us, and the manager came over twice to make sure we were happy.  These little extras really made our dinner special!  We felt like royalty.

We were thinking about walking over to Epcot for Illuminations after dinner, but when we left the restaurant, it was getting cold (and I had bare legs in a dress & heels!) and we had about 10 minutes before they started.  So we decided to go to the bridge between Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Boardwalk Resort, and watch the fireworks over the treeline.  We were almost completely alone, huddled together in the cold, with a great view, and it turned out to be a very romantic moment.  I’m so glad we decided to stop there instead of rushing all the way into the crowded theme park for the show.

Sunday morning, we woke up bright and early, checked out of our room, and headed over to the Magic Kingdom for our 9AM Keys to the Kingdom tour.  Wow, was it cold!  I think it was 33F when we left our hotel.  We arrived at the gates of the park just after 8:30, and because of our tour, were allowed into the park before the masses.  Getting to see Main Street Town Square totally empty was a treat!

We had a fabulous time on our five hour tour, which included lots of history, trivia, VIP front-of-the-line guided access to a couple major attractions, and we were also allowed backstage to see how the park is run from behind-the-scenes.  It also included lunch at Columbia Harbor House.

I don’t want to give too much away regarding the tour, since part of the fun is not really knowing what you will see next, but if this kind of thing interests you, then I definitely recommend it!  Our tour guide was Robert, who was a lot of fun, enthusiastic, and very sweet.  The tour brought back a lot of happy memories for Tadd, who was a WDW cast member about 12 years ago.  We both really, really enjoyed it.

Thus ended our impromptu romantic staycation weekend.  I am sad that we didn’t get to go to Hilton Head, but we still had a great time together and made some special memories.  Valentine’s Day is important to us because it’s the anniversary of the day Tadd asked me to marry him, so we always try to do something to celebrate.  I think our weekend was more than befitting of the occasion.

This post is linked to the weekly Instagram link party over at a {little} dash of ash!

Dreaming of Fall…

Happy Sunday!  Hope everyone is having a stellar weekend.  I have had a pretty boring one due to this No Spend Challenge, but we are managing.  We actually got a TON of stuff done around the house yesterday, including giving our bedroom a deep clean.  I know it’s bad, but our bedroom is the one room I kind of let go on keeping neat and tidy all the time, because it’s the one least likely for people to see.   But now I’m remembering how lovely it is to wake up in a room that’s mostly spotless.  So refreshing and lovely.  We even made the bed this morning (a rare occurance) and the cats just love it.  They literally spent the entire day lounging on the bed.  You can tell they are happier when their surroundings are clean and orderly.

I have found myself many times this weekend thinking about how close we are to summer being over and the fall season starting, which for me is a very happy thing.  Imagine my delight when I was catching up on my Google Reader and found several announcements from several of my favorite DIY blogs about the upcoming Fall link parties!!!

I am definitely participating!  The lovely ladies hosting these parties are Layla from The Lettered Cottage, Rhoda from Southern Hospitality, Kate from Centsational Girl, and Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick!  Four blogs that are chock full of inspiration all year long.  But I really believe that DIY blogs are especially inspirational during the fall & winter seasons.  They love to get festive and so do I!  Can’t wait!

I know it’s still August, but I’m glad they gave us so much advance notice, so we can all plan our contributions!

Weekend Update

Friday night we did our usual.  Made brats and pierogies for dinner, drank some Sam Adams Summer Ale, and watched a few documentaries (my guilty pleasure!) and The Soup before heading to bed quite early.

Saturday we did some stuff around the house, including working a bit on the powder room.  We also made a stop at Lowe’s, where I once again was completely undecided on a light fixture for the powder room and walked out with nothing.  I have it narrowed down at least!  I think…

Our intention was to do a little bit of anniversary celebrating Saturday afternoon and evening.  We had plans to go to Lakeridge Winery followed by dinner at a newish place in Downtown Clermont.  But, for various reasons, it was not to be.  So we opted for dinner at one of our favorite local spots, Sushi Pop!  It’s a Japanese-pop-culture-themed sushi restaurant.  Really fun and wacky, but still somewhat sophisticated and REALLY good.  What better place to celebrate an anniversary than someplace happy and fun and full of good food?

Incidentally, my buddy over at The Gypsy Wicked blog recently did a review of Sushi Pop.  Click here to check it out!

We had many of our usuals…Kirin beer for Tadd, raspberry saketini for me, and a shared order of truffle salt edamame to start…

For sushi, I got my usual, the Oviedo Chicken roll (tempura chicken, Japanese mayo and avocado drizzled with honey mustard…YUM!) and Tadd got the Lobster & Almonds roll (tempura lobster, avocado, asparagus, smelt roe, yuzu tartar sauce, encrusted with toasted almonds).  We also split an  asparagus roll.

It really was a lovely anniversary dinner.  We went to a local yogurt shop for dessert, where I had strawberry, cakebatter, and vanilla yogurt topped with pineapples, strawberries, coconut, peanuts, a little bit of hot fudge, and rainbow sprinkles.  Tadd had some kind of candy-covered monstrosity with reese’s pieces, peanut butter sauce, chocolate chips, and sprinkles. We went home after our dinner and dessert, opened up a bottle of blush wine, and watched another documentary, and just relaxed together.

Sunday morning was spent cleaning and adding one last coat to the cabinets in the powder room.  My parents came by in the early afternoon to show us pictures from their recent Baltic Sea cruise, and also to meet our new kitten Jacoby for the first time.  They brought me this really nice table runner from Estonia.  I thought it went beautifully with my dining room decor, and the texture and interest it provides is just what my table needed!  LOVE IT!  My parents rock!

I know it’s still wrinkled from the packaging, but I couldn’t wait to get it on my table and see how it looked!

Shortly after they left, we headed out to the Avalon Park Food Truck Bazaar, then back home to eat cupcakes, drink more wine, relax, and enjoy what was left of our anniversary weekend.

BUT!  Before we got to relaxing, Tadd gave me THE BEST anniversary gift!  He put the powder room vanity back together with the new hardware and cleaned up the “construction zone”.  I finally have a beautiful, usable powder room!  It looks sooo great and I can’t wait to show you.  It’s just as I had envisioned it back when we first moved into the house in 2009!  But first we still have to decide on and install a light fixture…

Avalon Park Food Truck Bazaar

Just got back from a delicious (and quite WARM!) evening at the Avalon Park Food Truck Bazaar!  I’m excited about this because it’s something I had wanted to do for awhile and is yet another item I can cross off on my Summer List.  We had a great time, despite the heat and crazy crowds.

Food trucks, as I’m sure many of you know, are a trendy phenomenon that sprung up in Orlando early this year.  There just seem to be more and more trucks at more and more events all over the Orlando area.  They have food trucks for every category of cuisine; bbq, cupcakes and other desserts, seafood, asian, latin, caribbean, and on and on.  And when they all get together, it’s like a mobile food court festival!  People roam from truck to truck, gather some items to sample, then plop down on the grass to try what they have purchased, picnic style.

When I heard there would be a food truck event in East Orlando on our anniversary, I knew we had to go!  We were planning on a very low key anniversary weekend anyways, so it really worked out well for us.  I was a little unsure how Tadd would like it because I knew there would be a lot of crowds and a lot of waiting in line, but he absolutely LOVED it!  I think preparing him for the crowds helped.

We bought food from three area food trucks, Korean BBQ Taco Box, Big Wheel Provisions, and Yum Yum Cupcake Truck.  We started with the spicy pork taco box from Korean BBQ Taco Box, which was TO DIE FOR!!!!  I’m not even a big pork eater, but this taco was one of the best things I have eaten in a long while.  The sauce was sweet but also had some soy-saucy zing.  I don’t know what else to say about it except that it was DELICIOUS!  It came with all kinds of accompaniments…ginger salad, a chicken wing, fried tofu, and some rice roll things.

Tadd had a bite of the taco and ate my chicken wing, but the rest was all mine.  Don’t feel bad for him though, because our second stop was Big Wheel Provisions…

Where he got (and ate) all of this (except for the root beer, that was mine!):

Clockwise from top: Buffalo Style Pork Belly Sandwich, Lake Meadow Naturals’ Deviled Eggs, Chicken Caesar Skewer. Beverages are a Mexican Coke and Capt Eli's Root Beer

We enjoyed our dinner…Mmmmmmmmm…

Before we headed home, we stopped by Yum Yum Cupcake Truck and picked up a four pack of cupcakes to bring home and eat later.  We got two Peanut Butter Choco-Rama, one Orangesicle, and one Key Slime.  Can’t wait to try one later with some wine in lieu of an anniversary cake!

After that, we were both sweating and full, so we walked back to the car to go home.  But Tadd was really psyched about the whole experience, which made me happy.  We plan to try to get to another food truck event once the weather has cooled down.  Can’t wait to try more yummy stuff!

Weekend Update: Red Sox Edition

I am back from my fun-filled weekend in St. Petersburg!  We had a great time, and I am excited to say that the Red Sox beat the Rays at the game we attended on Saturday night!  I hope we inspired some of our friends to become baseball fans.  Jury is still out on that, but in the end it doesn’t really matter, because I love baseball!  And that’s what is important.  To me anyways.

The weekend started off early Friday afternoon when Tadd and I left work around noon and headed over to Downtown Disney on our way out of town.  We were able to get our weekend started a few hours earlier than the rest of our friends, so we decided to make this fun stop to kill some time.  I was excited because it meant I was crossing off another item on my Summer List!

It was SUPER hot and crowded at DTD, and all of the restaurants where we had intended to grab lunch had long lines and no indoor seating, so we decided to eat at Rainforest Cafe.  HOLY OVERPRICED, BATMAN!  But I have to admit that my turkey caesar wrap was really good, if messy.  I was annoyed that they charged me $15 for a wrap and chips, but were going to make me pay an additional $2 if I wanted fries.  Forget it!  I stuck with the chips, which I barely touched.  Regardless, we just rolled with the punches and had a nice lunch.

After that we window shopped around a bit, and then headed back on the road at about 3pm, just as it started to rain ever so slightly.

You always know you are on your way out of the Orlando area when you spot the Mickey power lines.

We got to the hotel around 5, and relaxed before running over to Publix for provisions (beer, snacks, water, soda, etc).  Pretty much everyone else was running a bit behind schedule, so we had some more time to kill.  Mostly everyone arrived a little after 8, so we headed out to Jimmy Guana’s for dinner, followed by Lana’s Friendly Tavern, which is a dive/kareoke bar that we visited last year during Red Sox Weekend too.  It’s one of those hole-in-the-wall all-locals kind of places.  Cheezy but fun.

Saturday morning, Tadd and I got up early and grabbed some freebie continental breakfast while everyone else slept.  We got back, showered, lounged for a couple hours, and then started getting everyone moving.  We had all of our Red Sox gear ready to go!

First we ate lunch at an interesting place called Quaker Steak & Lube.  Cue a string of about eighty million 8th grader jokes throughout lunch.  Those poor waiters and waitresses have to hear them ALL the time, I’m sure.  Stupid tourists!  Ha!  Oh well, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  The joke was on us though, because even in all of our Red Sox gear, my brother’s beer was brought to him in a Rays glass!  Lame! Waitress’s revenge, I suppose.

After lunch, it was time to get ready to tailgate, then on to Tropicana Field (or “The Trop” as it is called by the locals)!

 

I won’t lie…We were freaking HOT while tailgating.  The parking attendants were discouraging people from parking willy nilly, so we had to take a spot in the middle of the open parking lot instead of strategically parking under a tree on the perimeter of the lot.  This is on blacktop, at 2pm, in Florida in July.  HOT!  Oh well.  Thank goodness the Trop is domed and climate-controlled!  Yay for air-conditioning!

On to the game (crossing off yet another Summer List item)!

Final score!

Celebrating our victory in style!

It was a magnificent game.  Lots of excitement, and, most importantly, the Sox won, 9 to 5!  Woo!  We decided to head to Five Bucks Drinkery in Downtown St. Pete to celebrate.  This might be my new favorite St. Pete spot.  Everything on the menu is under $5 and they have some really interesting (albeit high-calorie) pub fare.  Really, anyplace that has craft beer and tater tots is great in my mind.  But Tadd ordered chicken fried bacon!  Not something I would touch with a 10 foot pole, but he was in heaven.  I liked the fried pickles too.

"To the Sox!"

After our celebration at Five Bucks Drinkery, a few of us decided to drive out to Treasure Island and hang out on the beach for a bit.  Despite the humidity inland, the weather right at the ocean was beautiful.  We waded in the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico for a bit, and then plopped down on the sand to just enjoy the breeze and the sound of the waves.  I love the beach at night!

Sunday morning a few of us decided to do the Florida Aquarium Dolphin Eco-Tour before heading back to Orlando.  It’s a 90-minute boat ride around Tampa Bay.  We really enjoyed the tour and saw a bunch of dolphins!  Our guide was really informative and had some really interesting info on the Bay and its ecology.

See the dolphins? They are not easy to photograph!

The end.  Go Sox!!!

Weekend Update

Friday night we got some Publix subs and a bottle of white zin on the way home from work, then relaxed per usual and watched a couple of interesting documentaries on lovely Netflix.  I love documentaries and I love Netflix.  What a great intersection of entertainment!

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to meet a friend to go on our blueberry picking adventure, which you can read all about at the link if you haven’t already.  We had such a great time!

On the way home, we spotted the Citrus Tower, which is one of those old-school Florida attractions that pre-dated Disney World.  Neither of us had ever been to the Citrus Tower before, so we decided to stop and check it out.  We entered through a very charming little gift shop (of course!) and paid a nice woman $4 to go up in the elevator to the top of the 22 story tower.  Would it shock you if I told you we were the only ones there?  Kind of sad, really.  But when you get to the top, you can see why.  The tower was built in the 1950s, when the area was literally blanketed with citrus groves.  Now, you can see some pretty lakes (Lake Apopka, Lake Minneola, and Lake Minnehaha) from the tower, and lots of subdivisions, highways, and strip malls, but not quite so many citrus groves.  It was still a fun little diversion, and I like that we were supporting an important landmark from the history of our area.

Here’s a video I found about the Citrus Tower’s history and significance in mid-century Central Florida:

Anyways, after our blueberry picking and Citrus Tower adventures, we headed back to Orlando, picked up a quick lunch and then I headed home to shower and clean up for the evening.  When I got home, Tadd informed me that he could not bear to give all three kittens to the shelter as we had intended, so he made the decision to keep one.  I was a bit taken aback, because I wasn’t expecting to take on a newborn kitten with everything else we have going on right now, but I relented in the end.  So thanks to this little guy, we are now a 3 cat household.  His name is Jacoby, and he is growing on me very very quickly.  Look at that face…how could I not wuv him?

Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka

Saturday night, we drove out to a friend’s house in Deltona to celebrate a birthday.  The big hit of the evening were cocktails made with Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka.  Have any of you tried this stuff yet?  We mixed it with rootbeer for a rootbeer-float-tini and with Orange Crush for a creamsicle-tini.  Good stuff!  I have had it once before at a restaurant/bar, but it seemed to taste extra good while sitting on a patio outside surrounded by tiki torches and good friends.  Although I must admit, that patio got quite humid after awhile and we retreated into the air conditioning before the end of the evening.  I cannot wait for the Florida Summer to be over!  Counting the days!

Sunday Tadd helped a friend who had been having car issues.  We had planned to get some of the powder room done that day, but the garage was occupied with the car-fixing stuff, and it took much, much longer than expected, so we never got to it.  I am starting to think that this powder room project might never end!  Tadd promises we will finish it by the end of July, so we’ll see.  I spent the day doing a little cleaning and organizing.  I put the 4th of July decor away and redecorated our entry table to have more of a non-holiday-specific summertime look (which I may show you later!), and did some various other things around the house.  By the time our friend left with his car, it was around 8pm, so we just relaxed for the rest of the evening until bedtime.

Another weekend, come and gone.  Looking forward to next weekend though!  It’s going to be a big one!  More on that later…

Blueberry picking in the hills of Florida

One more item to cross off my Summer List!  A friend and I drove north to Clermont, Florida for some blueberry picking yesterday.  It was hot, but we had a blast!  Now I have to figure out something to do with all these blueberries!  I am thinking scones, but haven’t found the perfect recipe yet.

It’s funny to think of Central Florida as scenic in any sense of the word, but up there in Lake County, it certainly is.  Lots of rolling hills and pastoral green fields of farmland.

I will let the pics do the talking.

Weekend Update! Fourth of July edition…

I am sorry to say that the weekend did not turn out like I had hoped.  We still had a great time, but as you will see, a very large monkey wrench (er, three tiny ones) were thrown our way.

Friday night we did our typical relaxation night.  Not much to report there.

Saturday we worked a bit on the cabinets.  We finished the last coat of primer and started on the first coat of black paint!  Getting closer, but unfortunately did not finish them this weekend.  They still need another coat (maybe two!).  I couldn’t convince Tadd to really do much at all this day, as he really had his heart set on relaxing.  I couldn’t blame him, so we did a lot of nothing!

Twistee Treat!

Early Saturday evening, I was suddenly struck with the desire to go out for ice cream and to swing by the grocery store to get the stuff to make sangria.  We went to Twistee Treat, which is a place I had been meaning to try ever since we moved to East Orlando (almost 2 years ago!).  It’s one of those nostalgic ice cream spots, where they only have outdoor seating and the whole little shop is encased in a giant fiberglass vanilla ice cream cone with a cherry on top!  Very cute.  I got a banana soft serve cone with chocolate sprinkles.  Unfortunately, when they called us over to the window to retrieve our order, they let me know that my cone had fallen when they were adding the sprinkles, so they dumped it into a cup.  I was kind of annoyed because I had wanted my ice cream in a cone, and I really thought that they should have just made me a new one, but really, it tastes the same either way, so I sucked it up and dealt with it.  Tadd got a cheesecake flavored milkshake.

Once back at home, we finished our ice creams and I started on the sangria, which you have probably already read about in this post.  We drank a few glasses of sangria that night, and watched some TV.  Very low key day.

By Sunday, I was starting to get stir crazy being at home with not much to do for a few days, so I told Tadd that I wanted to have lunch with him somewhere and run a few errands.  He agreed, so we had a delicious lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings (love their buffalo chicken wrap!), and followed that with a trip to Home Depot.  We are Lowes people, generally speaking, but since I hadn’t found the perfect light fixture for the powder room yet, I wanted to at least see what they had at HD.  Unfortuantely we were only reminded yet again why we are Lowes people, and not HD people.  Selection sucked, prices were high, blech…  I also feel like the Lowes near us is about a million times more pleasant to walk around, better organized, etc.  Needless to say, we left without a light fixture, but did pick up a few random odds and ends that we needed.  Then, it was off to Target where we got, among other things, a trifle dish!  This is one of those things I have always wanted, but just never got around to getting.  I wanted to make a patriotic trifle for the 4th of July, so this was the perfect opportunity to finally get one.  They are so pretty!  I already told Tadd I want a 2nd one…maybe one with straight sides (the one I got is fluted, as you will see below).

Beautiful weather at Baldwin Park.

Sunday night we made plans to meet a few friends at the 4th of July event that evening in Downtown Baldwin Park.  We brought a blanket, and found a great place overlooking the lake, where the fireworks were to be launched.  The weather was actually pretty nice for Florida in July.  No rain, not too hot, and we were enjoying ourselves quite a bit.  At some point, Tadd needed to get cash and some beer, so he walked over to Publix with Keith.  This is where our evening took a strange turn.

In the Publix parking lot, they found 3 tiny kittens, about 3-4 weeks old.  They were mewing up a storm and very hungry.  Tadd and Keith stayed with them for a bit to see if there was a mommy cat around, but did not see any.  One of them was starting to run into traffic in the parking lot, so at that point, they decided to take action.  Tadd started calling shelters, which were of course all closed for the holiday and/or full to capacity.  The only thing he could think to do was to take them back to our car.  Once he had them at the car, he called me to meet them at the car so we could take the kittens home and figure out what to do with them.  So unfortunately, we had to cut our evening with friends short, before the fireworks.

We got the kittens home and into a large box lined with a towel in our spare/storage bedroom.  We had Keith watch over them while we went out in search of supplies.  Unfortunately, at 9:30pm on a Sunday, there wasn’t much choice aside from WalMart.  Luckily, they happened to have kitten bottles and kitten formula in the pet aisle, so we got some of that, plus some wet kitten food.  Tadd called his mom, who has some experience dealing with really young kittens, and she gave us some tips.  Meanwhile, we had posted about the kittens on Facebook and several friends were asking around about shelters to send them to or people who would take them in.  We did our best to feed them, although they were all a bit too freaked out to eat, and then we left them to sleep.  Tadd and Keith started taking turns feeding them every 4 hours at that point.  I feel terrible for them and I know they miss their mommy, but I am happy that they have been eating and sleeping since we took them in.

We think we have found a no kill shelter that will take them this coming Saturday, so we will have to take care of them all week.  Luckily Keith is still here, so he can keep up with their care while Tadd and I are at work.

Kitten stuff pretty much took up most of our Sunday night and Monday morning.  Late morning, I headed back to the grocery store to get the stuff to make my red white and blue trifle for our friend’s 4th of July party that night.  I took the easy way out and bought & baked a white boxed cake mix, and made some vanilla instant pudding (which I lightened up by folding in whipped topping).  Then I just layered cubes of the cake, with the vanilla pudding cream mixture, and strawberries and blueberries.  Easy stuff, but the results were very festive!

So Monday night, we left the kittens in Keith’s care, and headed over to our friend’s house for a cookout.  We had a great time eating, drinking beer, and shooting off (small) fireworks and sparklers!  His neighbors down the street were launching the big stuff, so that was entertaining too.

Woo! Bright!

I was happy to at least have somewhat of a proper 4th of July, since our plans to see the Baldwin Park fireworks Sunday night went awry.  Actually, all of Orlando seemed to be lit up last night with big fireworks.  Everywhere we turned in our friend’s neighborhood, and on our whole ride home from the party, we saw them all over the skyline.  Pretty cool.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Three days off! Yay!

Who is ready for the long weekend?  Me me me me me!!!

I am excited that we don’t really have a lot planned, so we HOPEFULLY use the time to:

  1. Get some projects done around the house!  *ahem*powderroom!*ahem*
  2. Get some items crossed off my Summer List!

I am going to a party for the 4th on Monday night and have volunteered to bring a dessert, so hopefully I can come up with something crowd-pleasing and yummy.  I keep going back and forth between a few different ideas, so we’ll see what I end up making.  Maybe more than 1 thing?  Not sure yet.  My requirements are that it looks patriotic and tastes great.  Top contender at the moment is a strawberry/blueberry trifle…maybe something like this:

Found on Pinterest.

But then part of me thinks it would be SO much easier on guests to make something they can just grab and eat, instead of something that requires that they have to scoop out and serve themselves.  So I don’t know.  I will probably end up doing the trifle though.  But that means I need to go get myself a trifle dish…

And if I DO make the trifle, I contend that it is close enough to the concept of strawberry shortcake, that I will be able to cross that item off my Summer List!

I also have grand plans to clean out the larger of our two foyer closets.  This is the one that goes under the staircase, which Tadd and our friends have affectionately dubbed the “Harry Potter Closet”.  It houses all of our holiday decorations, wrapping paper, luggage and assorted odds and ends, but right now it’s a wreck.   I need a new system for organizing our holiday stuff, which seems to grow each year.  I want matching bins for each minor holiday, and I want a shelf system in there.

But…I am getting ahead of myself, because more than likely this really won’t get done this weekend.  I need the powder room to be finished first.  That is priority.  I have a tendency to mentally move on to the next project before the old project is done, which leads to a lot of unfinished projects.  Trying to curb that habit.  I am very hopeful I will have a finished powder room to show you by the end of the weekend!  Just got to get that cabinet painting done and get everything installed and hung up.

Oooh!  Also wanted to give a little shout out to LoveFamilyHateWork!  She made some dollar store hurricanes of her own this week!  Go on over and check them out.  Great job!