Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Meet our new...and FIRST...grandbaby!
Miss Evelyn Rose

Born this morning around 6:30...6lbs. 15oz.

As her daddy says, " She's a 'Ginja Ninja', just like her mommy."
(She's a redhead!)

Pardon me while I LEAP with joy!

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Saturday...a beautiful Florida day of sunshine and breezes. MacDaddy and I decided to go for a drive to Clearwater Beach. It's been awhile since we have been there (we usually avoid the "tourist" areas) and we were amazed at all the changes. What I loved the most were the renovated homes on the north end of the island. Here's a glimpse of my favorite...


Oh, how I wish I could have photographed the whole house! This classic beach bungalow in Clearwater Beach almost convinced me
to forget moving to the east coast. Almost, but not quite. (I did suggest to MacDaddy that we paint our house white with orange shutters. He rolled his eyes.)

One house away is this...
 It's a lovely beach access...

A few houses down the block, I spied this wall...
It's made from coquina "crush" stucco with large shells embedded in a design.

Sea grasses blow in the wind. These grasses grow on the dunes...and separate the beach and the sidewalk on the public beach...
These dunes are fairly new...a great "natural" protection on the public beach. Showers are available for beach-goers. Each are topped with adorable sea turtles...

Love the changes along Clearwater Beach. It's a wonderful place for a gulf vacation...
Come on down!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Several years ago, one of my Texas neighbors sent a basket of warm cookies to our house, as a thank you. During these years, I had a house filled with 3 young boys and a husband...all lovers of anything cookie. But, they were not the kind of cookie monsters who would eat a LOT at one sitting. Two at a time was the norm. Until these cookies arrived...
These are my boys when we lived in TX...
I have never seen my men eat like that! The 2 dozen cookies were gone in minutes...and the boys were out the door, heading to the neighbor's house, to ask for the recipe so I could make them again. Yes, they were THAT good!

I have no idea why these delectable cookies are named for the state of Arizona. Nor could my friend tell me. All I know is that they are absolutely delicious!

Here's the recipe.....Hope you enjoy them as much as my family... 

Sift together:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt

Cream together:
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup butter

Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture.

Add:  2 cups oatmeal (I prefer the Old-Fashioned oats)
         2 cups shredded coconut
         1 cup chocolate chips
         1 cup chopped pecans

Drop dough (tablespoon) onto a prepared or parchment-lined baking sheet...2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees F until brown (approx. 12-15 minutes).

Makes a lot!!! (and I usually cut out some of the sugars)
***I lightly tap the hot cookies with a spatula, to flatten them a little.  And I used a teaspoon to drop the photographed cookies...I wanted them to be a bit smaller, so I would not feel too guilty eating a couple. (And yes, I went for a walk afterwards.)


Visit Foodie Friday for more wonderful recipes!

Monday, February 20, 2012


Credit Courtesy Bob MacDonald
Victoria Drive Sunset
Susan M. Brown shares this sunset with Dunedin Patchland.
Credit Courtesy Bill Storck
Credit Courtesy Stewart Romain

Every Sunday, the Dunedin Patch (an online publication) shares a "sunset" photo to remind us why we love living here on the Gulf Coast.  Each of these photos were taken around Dunedin...a lovely little town, just north of Clearwater, nestled on the sound which separates it from Clearwater Beach. This little community has been featured in Coastal Living magazine several times. There are lots of wonderful shops for browsing...lots of interesting restaurants...a couple of delightful B&Bs...and a fabulous biking trail.
Come see it for yourself!

OW_thumb1_thumb1_thumb1_thumb1_thumbCheck out Outdoor Wednesday for more beautiful places to visit.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


It's SHOWER DAY for Julie...and our house is filled with PINK!!!

This is something totally new to me...having 3 sons, a husband, and only MALE pets, we're kind of lacking in girly things around here. 

(Thank goodness for 2 beautiful daughters-in-law to help me with girly things!)

Soon we will be welcoming a new little girl into the family!

The tables were decorated with a vintage teddy bear who was wearing a bib I had made for WG...the "baby daddy"...a very fragile pink dress, blanket, and bootie (all from my childhood)...WG's first baby toy...antique rattles...favorite books...handkerchiefs my baby-nanny placed in my crib everyday, so I would have something to help me remember her (Those were the days when new mothers were brought home from the hospital in an ambulance, and help was hired to take care of the infant for at least 3 months)...and a hand cast of WG's pudgy baby hand.

Candlewick dishes were used...these had belonged to my mother. (She was thrilled to see them again!) We dined on finger sandwiches...cream cheese and olive, chicken salad with apples and pecans, ham salad, and cherry nut. We also had the most delicious cheese wafers, a cheese tray, and julienne cut vegetables with dip, served in tiny shot glasses.
The dessert/punch table was adorned with a clothesline of baby items for our little girl, plus her daddy's "going home" outfit and first Auburn jacket.
In the center of the table was a hurricane vase, tied with ribbon and filled with brightly colored conversation hearts. It was surrounded with asparagus ferns and camellia blooms from the gardens of wonderful neighbors.
On this table were delectable kumquat tarts (these were FABULOUS!), fresh pineapple, grapes and Plant City strawberries...and a decadent chocolate fondue in which they could be dipped. There were also cracked sugar cookies
(recipe is here
and white chocolate-covered pretzels with PINK sprinkles.
In this photo, you can see the prizes we used for the or white mugs with lovely floral arrangements. And you can see Julie (mama-to-be), Great-Ma (my 93 yr.old mother), and Julie's mom.
As you can guess, SJ opened LOTS of pink things... The shopping bag at her right is filled with necessities from one of our games...The Price is Right. 

My favorite gift of the day...
It has 8 legs with socks! (Perfect for SJ...who LOVES crazy socks!)

The party favors were little bags of pretzel/Hershey Kiss/M&M treats and a hand-painted bookmark, each with a different design. The guests loved them!

Now...we sit back and WAIT!
Our little granddaughter will be here, soon.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Our household is in the party-mode...
     We're having a.....

If you remember, Miss Julie and my firstborn were married last year...on April Fool's Day.

And at the end of February (if not sooner!), we will be greeting our first grandchild...
and it's a GIRL!

Photos of our "girly" shower will be posted soon...
In the meantime, I've got to get back to work on the favors.
See you soon!

Friday, February 3, 2012


Distracted...that's what I am.

I don't know why I cannot keep focused on anything... I cannot seem to even pick up a paint brush.

Well, maybe I do know why...
      MacDaddy's job came to an end back in October. That's OK...he really wasn't happy with the direction the company was headed. Said company decided to close its US market and concentrate on the international business. Hence, MacDaddy's services (heading up the US market) were no longer needed.

      A new business is evolving...and it looks quite promising. It's his own consulting business... and he's getting a lot of interesting feedback...and companies want him to rep them...It looks GOOD.

But...I worry. Yes, I know, God has all our needs met before we even need them...He is in control. BUT... 
Well, that's my problem. I am having trust issues. I worry about tomorrow...about next month...about bills...about...well, just about everything. Pretty lame, huh?

This journey is not one that was expected at this point in our lives...

      I have actually searched for jobs...but each time I find something that is suitable, doors close. So...I guess I am supposed to be patient. (Not one of my strong points!)

      And so I try to concentrate on my art...but as I said, it's been difficult to pick up that paintbrush...or that pencil.

But then, just today, I received a commission...just what I needed to get my mind racing with ideas. Thank you, GOD!

And MacDaddy just came into my studio to share some really good news. Thank you, GOD!

And in just a few weeks, I'll be holding my first grandchild (due at the end of the month)!!! THANK YOU, GOD!

And THANK YOU, GOD, for reminding me that you hold me in YOUR hands...that you truly understand my hurts, my fears, my worries, my sorrows...and my JOY. You KNOW me...and you LOVE me...FOREVER.

Thank you, God, for walking with me...and carrying me...and challenging me...and loving me...through this new adventure...throughout my whole life.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012





Wear your best mermaid (or "mer-man") costume and head to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. Pirates are welcome, too!

At this festival, the Florida Aquarium will be promoting awareness of ocean habitat conservation.
It's a really cool place to visit!

At the Mermaid Fest,
there will be performances by the Weeki Wachee Mermaids.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with WW...
There's a spring, north of Tampa, called Weeki Wachee.  It's one of the most beautiful springs in Florida...about an hour up the road from where I live!!! Since the 1960s, "mermaids" have been enticing travelers to come watch them swim in this spring. (I'll share more about this wonderful state park in another post.)

(When we were young, Leigh of "Tales from Bloggeritaville" and I dreamed of being one of these mermaids! Alas...we're both too old, today. But we're still mermaids in our hearts!)

So...all you mermaids out there in blog land, and all you pirates, come continue the celebration of Gasparilla with us.

This is my dining room table...all decked out for Gasparilla.

Beads, treasure chests, doubloons, feathers in antique silver pitcher, pirates and more...

The party lasts all month!

I'm posting with Outdoor Wednesday