Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Age is Just a Number...and an ATTITUDE!

This is my Aunt Hortense. Last Sunday, she celebrated her 99th birthday by going kayaking with her grandson and several other family members. Four generations of family gathered for this historic adventure...

If ever there was a role model for how to live life to the fullest, it's my sweet aunt. She lives in a retirement village...not in assisted living, thank you very much...and has such a lust for life. 

She and my Uncle Bob had 69 years of adventure together. During those years, they lived all over Florida and Georgia. Many of those years were in Jekyll Island, GA, where they managed The Buccaneer hotel. (I loved visiting with them there!!!)
Aunt Hortense and Uncle Bob also spent 5 years living on a houseboat on Lake northern GA. I remember my aunt saying they were among the oldest residents up there...and that all the "young" people kept THEM young. (I can relate to this.)

In this photo, Aunt Hortense really looks like she knows what she's doing...

She agrees..."I do know what I'm doing. I'm standing here looking like an idiot." (Typical response!)

Now that she has celebrated her 99th birthday with such a special adventure, she is already contemplating what she can do for her next birthday...100!

You can read more about her adventures at this link:

*** All photographs were taken by BRUCE LIPSKY/The Times-Union

I am linking up with Susan for Outdoor Wednesday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

MY "Monday Dose of Cuteness"

Guess who came for a visit...

That's right. Tracy's (Ms. Bake It) "Little Darling"!
He is so CUTE!!!  He's just begun walking...and he walked and walked and walked...all around the family room. His favorite "trick" was tossing the bristle blocks down onto the hardwood floors...I think he liked the sound.
Little Darling has the sweetest cheeks and lips...You just can't help wanting to kiss them!!!

It's been a long time since a little one was in my house...

Unless you count my "grandkids-pups". Here's my "Monday Dose of Cuteness":

My Rowdy (his name doesn't least not the definition of "rowdy". All he does is sleep, eat, and beg to have his behind scratched.)

The queen bee, Hurley
(a Boggle...Boston Terrier and Beagle, mix)...owned by Drummer Boy and Sweet Catherine

(A lab mix)...owned by "Wine Guy" and his Lovely Julie

This is Hannah May (Catahoula Hound mix) owned by DB and SC.
Hannah thinks she's a person...sits on the couch like a human. It's hilarious!

This is Tessa, our newest "grandpup". She's owned by WG and LJ. She's a Boxer mix...and a ball of energy. (Hence the name, Tessa...for "Tesla Coil"*. She's a ball of energy! 

No "real" grandkids, I will have to make do with the
4-legged kind for now...

Have a wonderful Monday!




Friday, June 24, 2011

Paletas...frozen Mexican Treats!

photo from
As my readers know, I love Cuban food. It's a part of my heritage. And I love Mexican food (actually, more Tex-Mex...from my years of living in Texas). But...with all the many foods I have eaten...prepared...studied...I have never heard of PALETAS (at least not called by this name) until I read an article in the local newspaper food section. 

Paletas are Mexican popsicles. (That's the easy way to describe them). They are made with very ripe, fresh fruits that are pureed (left a bit chunky) and minimally sweetened with sugar or agave. (I am betting that you can substitute stevia or artificial sweetners for the sugar, if needed.) They can be "icy" or made with dairy for a creamier texture (dulce de leche, coconut cream). And spices, such as dried chilis and chipotle chili powder, can be added to the fruit for a little zing. The combinations are endless...WOW! And all you need to make them is a blender or processor (to make the process easier) and ice pop molds or even paper cups and popsicle sticks. What could be easier!!!

Below you will find a few recipes I have discovered online. But recipes are not really needed for this...just use your imagination and your taste buds. What a great way to cool down...and eat your daily fruits!

Pineapple-Chili Paletas (

12-16 oz fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
1 dried chile guajillo, seeds removed freshly ground
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1 teaspoon chipolte chile powder
1 tablespoon sugar (if needed)
juice of 1 lime

Add 3/4 of the pineapple chunks, all of the pineapple juice, chile guajillo, sugar, lime juice and chipolte powder in blender and pulse until almost smooth. Stir in remaining pineapple chunks. Divide evenly into ice pop molds, leaving a 1/4 inch at the top for expansion. Seal and freeze until solid.

Mango and Chili Paletas

3 cups frozen mango
11/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons lime juice, or the juice of one lime
Put all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour the contents from the blender into Popsicle molds and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Makes 8 ice pops.


Strawberry Ice Pops
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine strawberries and sugar in a bowl. Let sit until strawberries start releasing natural juices, 20 to 30 minutes. Place in a saucepan with the water over medium heat, simmer until they are slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, add the lemon juice, and puree until smooth; alternatively, you could leave some chunks in if you like.
If using conventional molds, divide the mixture among the molds, add sticks and freeze until solid, about 6 hours. If using glasses or unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (11/2 to 2 hours), then insert the sticks and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. If using an instant ice pop maker, follow manufacturer's instructions.

Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice and Aguas Frescas by Fany Gerson (Ten Speed Press, 2010) and St Pete Times

Watermelon Paletas

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
11/2 pounds peeled and diced watermelon (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Pinch of salt

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil and sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
Pour the syrup into a blender. Add the watermelon, lime juice and salt and blend until smooth.
If using the conventional molds, divide mixture among the molds, snap on the lid, and freeze until solid, about 5 hours. If using glasses or other unconventional molds, freeze until the pops are beginning to set (1 1/2 to 2 hours), then insert the sticks and freeze until sold, 4 to 5 hours. If using and instant ice pop maker, follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Makes 8 to 10 ice pops.

Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice and Aguas Frescas by Fany Gerson (Ten Speed Press, 2010) and St Pete Times

Pineapple Chile Paletas

4 cups chopped fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

Put all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until desired consistency. Adjust to taste with additional lime juice or sugar. Pour into desired molds and freeze overnight.

Banana Paletas

1 cup milk
3/4 cup smoothly mashed ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar

Combine ingredients and pour into desired mold. Freeze.

Cucumber-Chili Paletas

3 cups 1-inch chunks peeled, seeded cucumber
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 rinsed, stemmed and seeded jalapeno

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Whirl until smooth. Push mixture through a fine strainer over a 2 cup glass measure. Discard residue.  Pour into desired molds and freeze.

Pina Colada Paletas

In a blender, combine:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chunks fresh pineapple
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp coconut extract

Whirl until smooth. Pour into desired mold and freeze.

(The last 4 recipe are from

Guess what I'll be doing later today.....
Happy eating!


ps I am linking up with Foodie Friday at Check out the fabulous recipes....

Saturday, June 18, 2011


It's amazing what you can find in a neighbor's trash, while you are walking your dog...

This was sitting next to my neighbor's mailbox... damp... completely covered in dirt/mud...downright yucky!

And it called to me.....
(Of course, my neighbor thought I was crazy...)

A little elbow grease later...the dirt was off...and I let it dry out.

Then I painted it with diluted white paint and an old chip brush (my favorite "new" tool!)

Using a guide I made on the computer...and a little charcoal on the back, I traced out the lettering. Then with a flat #4 brush, I handpainted the words from one of my favorite songs (Summer Breeze by Seals and Croft). After it had dried for a day,  I scruffed it up with sandpaper...

Then added a "driftshell" bottom...mostly broken or worn shells I have collected from both Florida coasts...east and west.  (Shellbelle is rubbing off on me!)

Now to hang it on the lanai............

Happy weekend...and to all the dad's out there, Happy Father's Day!

I am linking up with Masterpiece Monday at There are some wonderful things to see here....Check it out!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011



Using, the number generated was #11...and that was Becky...

Becky has chosen the Patriotic Crab 

...just in time for the Independence Day!!! 

Hi Gal! Love all of your charming crabbies!! The bling is just too cute, but I would have to say the flag bearing crabbie is my fave! I forgot about Ocean's Day! My post today has a beach shot, though! Hoping to get to the beach next week. My fave strip of beach is on the Gulf side but in the panhandle. Just past Navarre beach to the west is a protected beach, no hotels or houses, that has amazing dunes, and beautiful blue/jade clear water. Simply sublime! Since it's a barrier island, the bay side is just across the road, and is delightful, too! But "my" local beach is south Daytona beach. We park where there are showers and restrooms, when I go with Maddy, I definitely want a life guard around, and we go during the week, so there are no crowds!! Hugs to you! I am beginning work on the tags! I'll give you a peek in the next few days! Becky

Becky, send me your address via gmail... and I will get your painting in the mail....

Thanks, again, to Shellbelle, for hosting this fun and informative World Oceans' Day party. Remember to do your part to protect our oceans. And a great BIG thanks to all who left me such wonderful comments...

Watch for another giveaway, soon. 

***I am willing to custom paint any of these crabbies for you. Just let me know if I you want one, too. Prices are reasonable...

(I tried to post the Random number generator...but I could not get it to work. And my son wasn't home. Oh well...time for another tutorial...)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


There is nothing more soothing to my soul than the sounds and scents of the ocean.

Luckily, living in Florida, the ocean is just a short drive away...

Although I live on the Gulf of Mexico, my sanctuary is a small strip of beach on the Atlantic Ocean, just south of St.'s called Crescent Beach.

I first discovered this beautiful beach when my brother owned a condo here...
Shortly after my family moved back to Florida, Big Brother asked me why I never used his condo. Of course, I asked, "Condo? Where is it?"

That very first trip began my love affair with this beautiful beach...

Not only did I fall in love with it, so did all my boys. When given the opportunity to choose vacations, every one of them asked to return to Crescent, year after year...even after my brother sold the condo. 

There is something special about this place...

Perhaps it's the wide, flat beach...perfect for skim-

Maybe it's the waves...usually good for surfing... or for riding boogie boards... or for body surfing...

Maybe it's the beauty of the natural dunes...the sea oats waving in the warm (or freezing) breeze...

Maybe it's the wildlife that lives along the the the bird sanctuary that abuts the shore...or the dolphins frolicking in the waves...

Or it might be the least that's what my husband loves...

Whatever it is that draws me, it's one of the few places I have found where I truly RELAX...

I sit here
...sometimes with my sketchbook and pencils
...sometimes with my Bible
...just with myself...and I dream.

I get back in touch with ME...

It's my sanctuary...

In honor of World Ocean's Day, I am giving away one of my original crab paintings...The winner will receive her/his choice of one of these three...

 This is one of my "bling" crabs...custom designed with YOU in mind...This lady is toting a Chanel shopping bag, wearing pearls, shiny silver bracelets, and a huge diamond ring. It was designed as a gift for a lady who truly loves BLING and shopping! And it began a whole line of crabbies! It's done on a flat canvas board (can be framed), measuring 6" x 8". The winner can choose her/his own colors and choice of bling... 

 This is "Blue Crab". A kaleidescope of colors defines this more traditional lovely. (It's about as traditional as I get!) The cerulean blue continues onto all sides...She measures 8" x 10" and is ready to hang...
"The Patriotic Crab" has a lot of personality and is a perfect summer painting. Many of my customers have several "holiday" paintings which they switch out for each season...This one is July 4th, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, all rolled into one...It's painted on a 9" x 12",  flat board canvas and can be framed...or just propped up on a stand. 

To enter this drawing, all you have to do is leave me a comment, telling me what love about the ocean...and which painting you would choose to win. Tell others about my giveaway (and leave me a separate comment), and I'll give you a second chance to win! The drawing will be held early next your comments, soon!
(This giveaway is limited to US and Canada...sorry to all my other international friends.)

I am linking with Shellbelle...for World Ocean's Day and Susan for Outdoor Wednesday. Come join the party!!!

Head to the beach...even if it's only in your mind!