Sunday, March 27, 2011


Another batch arrived late last week! Nothing better than a PB&J with homemade marionberry jam from Grandma! And my favorite...her pears. Thank you, thank you, thank you Grandma!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Just practice tonight, but I managed to get a couple of good pictures of Bren. He's so fun to watch.

More Sugardarlings

Sidney is in town, and since she got here last week she has wanted to go to Sugardarlings to try the cupcakes (she reads my blog). We finally had the chance to go today, and it was no disappointment. Here are a few of the new flavors that we tried today.
Fresh strawberry (in the cupcake and icing).
Chocolate raspberry
Pineapple orange
Chocolate and chocolate

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First car

Sean has his first job and his first car. He gets his license in three days, and he's beyond excited. It's been an exciting couple of months for him. The weekend after he turned 16 the produce market just down the street from us hired him. They've known us for years since we buy all of our produce there (they buy all of their produce locally). He gets paid in cash each day that he works, and he really likes the people. The money will afford him gas to get back and forth to school and work plus plenty for savings for a new car in a year or two. His first car is Brian's Dodge Ram truck. Instead of trading it in when he bought his new truck two weeks ago Brian gave it to Sean. He's beyond excited. Since Sean's dad chose not to help him with getting his first vehicle he was concerned about what he would end up getting, but when Brian told him that he could have the truck he nearly ran in circles with excitement. He detailed it the next day, and this past week he had the title transferred into his name so that it is officially and legally his. And he paid every penny of the title transfer and tag.

On Wednesday I'll be taking him to get his license. It's a day I've secretly been dreading, but I know that he has been looking forward to for years. I know that he's responsible enough and a safe driver, but as a parent it is still a scary milestone. However, it'll be so nice on Saturday morning when he has to be to work at 7am and I don't have to wake up to drive him!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Zip line

This past weekend we drove over to Deltona to spend the weekend with the family there. Aunt Diana had invited us over for the weekend, and to treat the kids to the zip line at the Sanford Zoo. I knew they would have a great time, but I had no idea that it was as extensive and amazing as it is. It's a maze of obstacles up in the treetops with zip lines included. It's all within the trees, and it's beautiful. Erin was pretty hesitant at first, and when she got to her first major zip line (the one that goes across the entire parking lot of the zoo) she cried for a few minutes before finally going for it. The complete course took five hours, and everyone was exhausted. They can't wait to go back again. Thank you, Aunt Diana!

**Warning** This post contains a LOT of pictures and videos.
The zip line crew (minus Liz) from l-r: Chance, Gabbi, Sidney, Bren, Sean and Erin.
Erin getting her harness tightened.
During the practice session.
Chance and Bren led the way through the entire course. This was about 20 feet up in the tree.
Erin at the first level, just about 8 feet up.
Bren and Chance getting higher.
Sidney and her best friend, Gabbi.
Sidney on the first line of the day.
Sean crossing one of the obstacles. This was about 35 feet up.

Sean getting ready to come down one of the lines.
Brendan getting ready to come down one of the lower lines.
Erin on her way down one line.
Erin going down the long line across the pond and parking lot.

Erin up above me.

You can watch four of the videos by clicking here, here, here and here. The video of Sean absolutely cracks me up every time. He thought he was going to go into the water.

Another disappointment

I will no longer order flowers online. Never again. I've had one disappointment after another with online florists, and I'm tired of being embarrassed by their inability to deliver what they advertise.

Check this out. The first picture is what I ordered. It is the Faith Hill "Love Medley", upgraded to Deluxe (from Pretty, right?

This is what my mom received for her birthday.
It is absolutely, without a doubt, the ugliest and cheapest looking floral arrangement I have ever seen. I could have done better by using a cup and picking some flowers from the yard. And for over $70??? I've gone onto their Facebook page and after reading/viewing there for a bit I now know that this is not uncommon.

So I called to get a refund, and once again they stated that they will be going back to pickup the flowers. So they deliver a disgusting arrangement, and then to add insult to injury they go back (after THEY screwed up) and embarrass the sender by picking up the trash. That's alright, actually, because I know that this will never happen again. Teleflora, which I used this time, has lost my business. I'm going to send the money to my mom instead so that she can use it to buy something for herself. I know that Teleflora doesn't make the arrangements, but if they cannot use florists that are more skilled than this then they are equally at fault for the quality. Based on the number of complaints and pictures from dissatisfied customers on their FB page this isn't an isolated incident.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sugardarlings Part II

Another trip to Sugardarlings was in order today since I needed something sweet to take the girls at the podiatrists office (no more broken foot!), and I didn't have time to bake for them. I got there at 1:30pm, and it was obviously the perfect time. The variety was outrageous. Before we left for the doctor I snapped a few shots, just for you, so that you can get a glimpse of a few more of the deliciousness that comes from Sugardarlings.
Oreo/cookies and cream
S'mores, complete with a layer of marshmallow, chocolate icing, and crushed graham crackers.
Key lime.

And brownie. Nothing needed to be put on the top of this sweet thing.

If you still haven't gone, go! You are truly missing out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Back to Peru

Sean and I have been given the blessing of Dr. Tony to return to the Hogar this summer, and we are anxiously counting down the days until we leave.

We have our dates scheduled, tickets purchased, and we are ready to go. It's going to be a beautiful thing to see the children who were there last summer and to meet the new residents, to serve in whatever way Dr. Tony needs us, and to continue to spread the word about the work being done in the Hogar (via my blog while we are there and in person while we are home).

Mark your calendar

December 10, 2011. I will finally be graduating with my B.S. in Biomedical Science and my minors in ASL and Public Health. I'm so excited to be this close to finishing the first chapter in this journey, and even more excited to see what the next chapter holds. My medical school applications will be going out this summer, and if I'm lucky enough to be accepted to one of the schools to which I apply we will know next Spring. I still have a lot of hard work in the coming months, but it's nice to know a date and to have something firm to work towards.

Mark your calendars, and come prepared, because we're going to have one hell of a party on December 10, 2011!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


She is living it up, and loving every second of having a home with a warm place to sleep all day and night. During the day she chooses various places to sleep (seen here on my unmade bed), but at night she sleeps right between my feet. She even waits for me to get completely settled into bed before she jumps up to get settled herself. She's so predictable, and it's so cute.

She also sleeps and cleans herself in some of the most awkward looking positions. She slept like this for at least an hour, and even petting her didn't disturb her. Must have been comfortable.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Howard Park 3/6/11

One of our favorite beaches in the area. There are not many tourists, and it's absolutely beautiful. It's also Tony's favorite beach in the area. We took the kids out today to play for a bit, and despite being overcast and windy they had a great time.

A cool heart-shaped leaf that Erin found.


Tony and Maddox went to the track with us last night to watch Bren and Erin race. Afterwards, all of the kids who earned a trophy were picking them up, and Maddox was watching with a sparkle in his eye. You could just see how badly he wanted to own a trophy of his own. Heather (Mazin and Layla's mom) was in the registration office passing out the trophies, and she could see his expression as he watched. She called him over to the desk and asked him if he wanted a trophy of his own. His face lit up like Christmas. He carried it around everywhere for the rest of the evening, and after he fell asleep Tony went into the room to check on him and found him like this.

He has carried it around much of the day today, and is currently sitting on my couch watching "Ice Age" with the trophy in his lap.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

First baby shower cake

So, it's not the best you'll ever see, but it was my first attempt. Nikki, one of the nurses at the hospital where I volunteer, is having her first baby (boy) any day, and another one of the nurses, Claudia, asked me to make the cake for her baby shower. I make Nikki's wedding shower cake, too, and I loved that they wanted me to make this one for them.

The top layer looks lopsided in this picture, but I promise it was completely level (I checked with a level before I added the buttercream icing). I guess maybe the icing itself is heavier on one side, making it look like that. Anyway, it was my first (and probably only) attempt ever at this type of cake. A lot of time and frustration went into it, and it almost went into the trash a few times! I never said I have a lot of patience.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


A couple of months ago I saw an ad in our local community newspaper for a new "ice cream" shop in our town, just a few miles from our house. I say "ice cream" because although she started out selling primarily ice cream with a few of her homemade cupcakes on the side, she is now best known all over the Tampa area for her cupcakes. When I saw that she offered a variety of gourmet cupcakes I was sold. I'm a fan. A huge fan. That night we made a trip to Sugardarlings, and it's become our favorite snack, dessert, don't-need-a-reason-to-eat place to go. With a menu of over 100 varieties of cupcakes, and more flavors added by request or when she thinks them up, there is never a shortage of options. Our favorites so far include pumpkin with cream cheese icing, blueberry, chocolate peanut butter, red velvet and lemon. We've had about 15 different flavors so far, but we're far from ending our taste tests.

The owner, Jessica, also has a Facebook page for the shop, and I've been a fan for a couple of months. Each day she posts the flavors of the day, deals, and special events. This morning I logged into Facebook and saw an announcement from her stating that today is National Peanut Butter Lover's Day. Naturally I knew that we had to go (any excuse, right), so I texted Sean and his good friend, Jamie (a HUGE peanut butter lover) during school and told them that we would be heading to Sugardarlings right after they were finished for the day. I picked them up and we made the five minute drive to our sweet destination. Just a few of the varieties that were available today are shown below, but we were set on celebrating National Peanut Butter Lover's Day and stuck to the peanut butter and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes for our before dinner treats.

Chocolate peanut butter
Peanut butter
Red velvet
Spumoni (left) and key lime (right)
Two types of peanut butter

Girl Scout Cookies Thin Mints

If you live in the Tampa area and haven't been to Sugardarlings yet you are truly missing out. These are the most moist, flavorful, delicious cupcakes you can find, and the variety will make it difficult for you to get just one (trust me, I know). Check out Jessica's website here and then go!