Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Hurricane Ready or Not


It’s the calm before the storm at the moment, but we are completely prepped and ready for what comes Wednesday.  It is concerning that the track at the time I am writing this is heading straight for my pretty beach town, but there is still plenty of time for wobbles.  

Our house did well during Irma, so we feel safe and are not near any storm surge.  But, it will not be a fun night.  I am more worried about our beaches and all the pretty spots we love so much.  During Irma, our pier was damaged because of the way the hurricane sucks out the water in the Gulf and then it rushes back with force.  

We have shutters up, plenty of food and water and a generator for loss of power.  Give the beautiful Gulf coast of Florida all the good thoughts you have in the next two days.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Hurricane Ian Uncertainty


There is never anything straightforward about a hurricane’s path, so there is always a lot of uncertainty. There is preparation that is done each season, so you are ready to go and do not need to fight the crowds at the stores.  Things like food, water, batteries, etc. 

A few days before, it’s smart to fill your car with gas, get gas for the generator, get cash  and for your sanity, always get last minute snacks and alcohol if you do need to hunker down :-)

And then there is the decision of whether hurricane shutters are needed.  We now have a motorized hurricane strength roll down shade for the lanai, so that makes it easy to secure all our outdoor furniture.  The window shutters are metal and need to be secured with screws, so it’s a big job that you only want to do if necessary. So we wait a bit, to follow the updated track.  But not too long to beat the outer bands with rain and wind.

Finally to add to the “fun” we are trying to travel to a wedding and may end up following the hurricane as it passes.  I guess there is never a good time and I hate to wish it upon others, like the panhandle, but Hurricane Ian - please go west!

Monday, September 19, 2022

Saturday Shots


Fall is subtle here.  No great cool down yet, but the mornings do begin to start off with a noticeable difference. Saturday morning was sunny and just a bit fresher feeling, so I walked through the downtown Farmer’s Market, before walking on to the beach to briefly put my toes in the water.  I never take for granted that near the sand and surf is how I can start my day if I choose.  The colors of the market, followed by the always blue water and sky make me happy.  Come along with me through these Saturday shots.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Broccoli Cheddar Noodle Casserole


Another thing I find I am late to the party for is Half Baked Harvest recipes.  She is big with the twenty something crowd i.e. my daughters.  Once I started following her on Instagram, I found myself pinning her daily recipe stories a lot.  But, this is the first recipe I have actually tried.  I would call it a partial success.  Find the recipe here.

Here is what I would do different next time.  First, I did make it without the chicken in the original recipe, just because I am trying to eat less meat and it is fine either way.  Second, definitely add more liquid (chicken broth and milk both) and don’t let all the liquid absorb before putting it in the oven to finish.  It needs that extra liquid while baking or it becomes quite dry.  The flavor was A+ and I will make it again, with these changes.

It is an easy, quick and family friendly recipe, just right for busy fall nights.

Happy Friday!

Friday, September 9, 2022

Life Lately


It’s been a quiet few weeks, which is typical for us this time of year.  No out of town visitors, not a whole lot of things on the calendar and mostly surviving the heat and humidity, while keeping one eye out as hurricanes form and develop or not.  Luckily, so far, all is well.

Football season has started and if you have followed this blog, you know I love my Michigan State Spartans. The first game always brings a longing to be on campus; tailgating and sitting in our great season ticket seats. So many wonderful memories on perfect fall football Saturdays.  

Before the game last week, we had dinner with our Florida Spartan friends at a delicious Mexican restaurant. It was a tradition to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant in East Lansing after the football games for a victory margarita, so this time, we celebrated the win in advance.

I finally watched the new Downton Abbey movie and thought it was good.  There were some interesting plot twists and I was entertained.  The movies will never be as good as the original series, especially the early years, but they are like getting back in touch with old friend at this point.  No real surprises, but a reminder of something good.

Otherwise, it’s been the usual sunsets, pool time and lots of golf.  Also, looking forward to our upcoming trip to northern Michigan that will include, my nephew’s wedding, visiting friends and family, a Mackinac Island visit and of course, more golfing.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

2 Ingredient Pull Apart Cinnamon Apple Bake


I’m not going to tell you what to do, but run do not walk to your store and buy cinnamon rolls and apple pie filling to make this asap :-) 

I don’t remember where I saw this method, so I can’t give credit, but recently added the two ingredients to my shopping list and decided to make it before golf this morning.  It’s now raining, so no golf, but I really enjoyed how easy and quick this was and how delicious too.

To make:  Cut refrigerated cinnamon rolls in quarters.  In a medium bowl, mix gently with 1 can apple pie filling.  Pour in 9x11 pan (coated generously with baking spray) and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Turn up oven to 375 degrees and bake 10 more minutes or until brown on top.  Cool slightly and spread frosting included with cinnamon rolls on the top.


Sunday, August 21, 2022

Endless Summer in Photos


I have been feeling summer starting to slip away and while here in Florida that doesn’t mean cooler weather, it does mean snowbird and tourist season is coming.  It makes me want to do all the things before the crowds return, so I have been out and about; around my little beach town, just soaking it all in. I’m sharing what endless summer looks like in Southwest Florida.  Blue sky days.


Tuesday, August 16, 2022

My Review - CODA


I am always the last to see movies that were Oscar nominated or winners.  Usually, I have never seen or heard of many or all of the movies on the best picture list.  I knew that CODA had won best picture, but didn’t know anything about it or even what it was an acronym for (child of deaf adults).  I stumbled upon it this weekend, while looking for something to watch and I am so glad.

The main adjectives I would use to describe this lovely, quiet movie are moving, uplifting and unique.  It is a movie about a family, but so much more.  The interaction between the deaf adults (all deaf actors) and Ruby, the hearing daughter is so well done.  You feel like you are seeing something never seen on the screen before, but at the same time perfectly normal.

Ruby sparkles and her beautiful singing that helps her fit in and also gives her hope for a future outside of her family is such revelation.  I won’t spoil anything, but the way the school choir concert is filmed will give you all kinds of empathy and emotion.

Better late than never - watch it too if you can and be prepared to feel all the feels.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Visiting PA


I just returned from a wonderful visit with my daughter and son in law.  She lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh and while we love to go into the city, there are also many things to do in the North Hills (as I just learned the area north of the city is called).  We went out for cocktails at a favorite spot from a former visit, had a wonderful dinner at an historic inn with a German menu and spent a lovely afternoon at a winery.  We walked their dog in the pretty, but hilly neighborhood they live in and had breakfast at a cute cafe attached to a garden center.  

And, while we did keep busy, we also had some down time to catch up with each other.  We last saw each other at the end of April, so three months.  That is the magic number for me when it comes to my daughters and I don’t let distance keep us apart for much longer than that.  Talking on the phone is fine, but there is something important about a hug in person and a face to face conversation.  There is something important too about spending time in someone’s home and city, seeing their space and feeling part of their day to day life.

The goodbyes are hard, but we already have plans to see each other at a family wedding in September, so we will hold on to that and make due with many phone calls between Pennsylvania and Florida.  

P.S.  I fly a lot, but flying right now is a bit on the nightmarish side.  Coming back was an exercise is delays, missed connections and an unexpected stay in the airport hotel for an early morning flight.  I finally make it home to Florida fifteen hours after my original arrival time, but had to travel out of my way through St. Louis. 

Pack your patience if you have travel plans :-)

Saturday, July 30, 2022

3 Ingredient Blueberry Cobbler


I have been seeing fresh blueberries in season in the accounts from the northern states that I follow and have been seriously craving all things blueberry.  Pie, cobbler, pancakes, etc. Unfortunately there are no fresh blueberries available in Florida, so I decided to do the next best thing and use frozen blueberries for this recipe.  

It’s such a simple recipe and a method you can use with any kind of fresh or frozen fruit.

In a 9x9 baking dish (or similar) after spraying with cooking spray, place 4 cups blueberries in the bottom. Dump any yellow cake mix in a mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter.  Mix until crumbles form. Pour on top of blueberries and bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve warm (Saturday breakfast for me) and then store in refrigerator.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Life Lately


First, where did July go and how is it almost August?  I have been busy doing a lot of gardening and planting for my neighborhood, as well as so much trimming in my own yard.  Rainy season is growing season and everything tropical is thriving. I am taking a break for now, because even in the mornings, it is just too hot.

My golf group is down to one foursome, but we are getting out as early in the day as we can and it hasn’t been too bad.  I still look forward to the return of our snowbirds, because more golfers equals more fun. This photo shows the stormy skies that are always a possibility when golfing in Florida in the rainy season.

I took a drive to Trader Joe’s in Sarasota last week and I have decided, I am not a Trader Joe’s person. Some things are good, but I’m not really a prepared food shopper and for ingredients for cooking actual recipes, I prefer the more traditional Publix.  If you are lucky enough to be able to shop at a Publix, you know what I mean. I did try this creamer and love it though.

The past two Mondays have been lunch out and catching up with friends kind of days.  Both included delicious seafood and beautiful water views.  Life in Florida where you can pick any number of pretty waterside locations is special.

Lastly, I have been making travel arrangements for two more family weddings.  Also, a visit to see my daughter in Pittsburgh very soon.  The wedding in October will also include a extended trip to northern Michigan for golf, visits with friends and a two night stay on Mackinac Island, one of my favorite spots. Northern Michigan in the fall is spectacular and sweatshirt weather sounds heavenly on this 100 degree day.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

What My Book Club is Reading

As summer speeds along, my book club is getting prepared for our resumption in the fall.  We have a process where we all suggest a book or two that we have read and liked.  Then, this list is compiled and put out via email for a vote, with the top seven chosen as our books for the year.  If you are like me and love a good book list, it’s a great process because not only do I get to read the seven chosen, but also have a bigger list of all the recommendations.  

I thought you might enjoy seeing and maybe reading along with the books we will be reading and discussing. Two of the books I recommended were top vote getters (Finding Mrs. Ford and The Nature of Fragile Things).  I will be leading the discussion on Finding Mrs. Ford which takes place in Detroit in the late seventies and an era in Detroit that is very familiar to me.  It is also a great read with a twist you won’t see coming.

The other books are a range of genres, but we tend to pick books with strong female characters which invite great discussions.

Happy Reading!

Friday, July 8, 2022

Spiced Peach Overnight Oats


At one point, I was on an overnight oats kick and tried many different flavors.  Then, I have to say, I forgot about how it was the perfect summertime breakfast.  Because it has been so hot here (even worse than our usual heat) I started thinking how cold, creamy oatmeal would be just the thing.  And, I am loving the fresh Georgia peaches available right now.  

I dug into the back of my cupboard for a mason jar with a lid and quickly put together this recipe.  It’s really just a method of layering ingredients and you can change up the fruit to pretty much anything.  By preparing ahead of time and placing the jar in the refrigerator, you have a delicious breakfast ready and waiting in the morning.

Now that I have rediscovered this, I think it will be a staple in these hot months. What flavor should I make next?

Spiced Overnight Oats

Peel and chop 1 ripe peach in small pieces.  Place in a mason jar.

Layer as follows:

1/2 cup oats

1/2 Tsp sugar or sweetener of choice

Dash of cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

Dash of ground ginger

1/2 cup low fat milk

Put on lid, shake and place in refrigerator until morning. Stir and add a splash of milk if desired.

Hint:  if you use blueberries, try 1 T maple syrup as the sweetener 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Summer Saturday in Florida


My favorite way to spend a summer Saturday is to start at the downtown Farmer’s Market and see where it takes me.  Sometimes I buy dinner ingredients based on what looks good and fresh, but since I already had dinner plans, my only purchase was an iced coffee.

Then my morning took shape, because the best spot to drink a coffee is a picnic table at the jetty.  It’s quite relaxing to just sit and watch the boats come in and out from the Gulf.  I then left my car parked and started a walk on the beach; not for the exercise, but to notice the changing color of the water on an overcast day, pick up a few shells and appreciate that I am able to do this on a whim.

It was a hazy day, but still hot of course, because a Florida summer just is, so when I returned home, a float in the pool was just the thing.  The pool water was refreshing and again, I appreciate every minute that I get to spend a Saturday morning going from the beach to the pool, living life in all the shades of blue.  Life is good in the hot summertime in Florida.

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Michigan ➡️ Florida
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