Florida Life, Odds and Ends, The Family

Summer Fun

Hello? Are you there?  I thought that I’d take a break from floating around my swimming pool with my Kindle and a cool cocktail to share some random summer tidbits.

We have been enjoying a lot of time in the pool this season. We have been trying to invite various friends over each weekend, including hosting about 20 friends from our church home group this past weekend. I failed to get any photos then but this was our home group after we won our church’s “Summer Spiritual Olympics” by completing various tasks to earn points during the month of June (such as listening to sermons, reading the Bible, volunteering as a home group, sharing the gospel, etc). IMG_8992

Those two girls in the red and black shirts were carrying our team, earning about 500 points each week, determined to win the Gold Medal. I’m glad for their sake that we did because they definitely earned it!

I love my husband’s servant heart. Carl spent one whole Saturday helping friends move into their new house and he even dragged Zack along.


Carl even took another day off of work to help at Youth Camp one day. Part of youth camp including hosting a Vacation Bible School for inner city kids for three afternoons.


Don’t worry, he has found time to enjoy himself when he’s not serving others. He enjoyed a day excursion to Pompano Beach for some scuba diving and saw some ship wrecks and lots of sea life.


For Independence Day, we drove down to our neighbor’s beach house for the day for lots of relaxing by the pool and catching up. We even made Zack come and hang out with us all day and rewarded him with a cocktail or two.


Afterwards, we were able to watch some fireworks on our friend’s, John and Michelle, dock on the river.


After having Zack drive around without a door handle for the past 6 months, Carl finally went to a junk yard and found a replacement and taught Zack how to install it. Way to go guys!


I hope that you all are enjoying your summer. Back to the pool now!

Florida Life, It's About Me, Odds and Ends, The Husband

The Socialites

We’re famous….we made the newspaper!


Granted, it was just the local Resident Community News but we’ll take any press we can get!

Scan2It was interesting to see the 100-year old Casa Marina Hotel and all the cool, old photos lining the hallways but the event itself was kind of lame. Mainly because there was hardly any food and what they did have was eaten in a matter of minutes. But we are always happy for a night out together checking out new places (to us) in Jacksonville. Thanks Jaguars for these fun experiences!



Florida Life, The Family, The Friends, The Relatives

Bunco Party

For my visiting family’s last evening in Jacksonville, I decided to host a Bunco Party with our neighbors and friends. Prior to their visit, when I sent John a list of possible activities for the week and it included Bunco Party, he said everything sounds great but the Bunco Party. What he didn’t realize was that was the one activity that was NOT optional. Poor John. Made to socialize and made to play games…two of his favorite things.

Bunco (1)
Beautiful hydrangeas from Laurie

We invited our friends from Card Club (Dee, Eddy, Pat and Don) and our neighbors (Bill, Dedie, Bill, Susan, Jim and Pam) and some friends (Lisa and Doug).

Bunco (4)

All told, we had 17 players, or 4 tables of 4 players.

Bunco (3)

John was the permanent substitute, filling in for Susan until she arrived and for Pam while she had to leave for a while.

Bunco (2)

John didn’t want to admit it but he actually had fun, especially when he got Bunco and was able to wear the pretty necklace.

Everyone put in $5 for prizes and at the end of the evening, I won $25 for Most Buncos and $10 for First Bunco and Carl won $10 for Most Wins. All of our guests thought it was rigged and said if we wanted them to pay us to come over, we should have just asked. Sorry friends!

Family (1)

It was a really fun week having mom, John and Laurie visit. I am so happy that they all came to spend time with us.

Family (4)

I’m hoping that now that they are on the same side of the country as us, we will be able to get together on a more regular basis. We look forward to visiting them in Edwardsville, IL once their new home is completed.

Thank you all for coming. We will miss you.


Daily Coupon Deals, Florida Life, Praises, The Family, The Husband, The Relatives, Uncategorized

Carl’s 55th Birthday

Yesterday was Carl’s 55th Birthday so he celebrated by taking the day off of work and spending the day with the rest of us in St. Augustine. A while back, I saw a Living Social Deal for a Dolphin Safari and Scenic Boat Tour which I purchased for Carl, mom and I to use to celebrate her birthday and mother’s day while she was here. When I found out John and Laurie were visiting too, we invited them but John gets sea-sick so they decided to do site-seeing instead.

Dolphin Tour (11)

We loaded a little Vietnam-era boat with about 20 people to tour the intercoastal waters searching for dolphins.

Dolphin Tour (10)

We were not disappointed and saw many pods cruising the waterways. There is just something so exciting about seeing dolphins bopping out of the water, especially in pairs.

Dolphin Tour (9)

We also got a unique view of St. Augustine from the water, including the Bridge of Lions in it’s up position,  and learned some interesting facts along the way.Dolphin Tour (6) It was a great experience and we all loved it.

Dolphin Tour (13)

After our boat tour, we met up with John and Laurie for lunch at a little cafe.

Lunch in St. Auggie

We had a brief period of rain while we walked over to the fort but luckily it stopped for the rest of our exploring.

Fort (2)

Carl had never been inside the fort as an adult so he loved getting to learn more of the history of Castillo de San Marcos.

Then began the drinking part of our afternoon :). First we stopped for a drink at the Martini Bar.

Martini Bar (2)

Then it was onto a tour of the St. Augustine Distillery, where we sampled 4 different cocktails.

Distillery (3)

We ended our visit with dinner at our favorite St. Augustine Restaurant, Aunt Kate’s, thanks to John and Laurie. After returning home and playing some dominoes, I made Carl his birthday dessert of chocolate whip. The elusive son even made a guest appearance for his father’s birthday!

Bday Dinner (3)

It was a great day in St. Augustine together and celebrating Carl’s birthday.

We love you Carl and think 55 looks great on you! Happy Birthday!


Florida Life, The Family, The Relatives

Beach and Game Day

Unfortunately, Mom, John and Laurie decided to visit during the stormiest week in Florida in a long while. The forecast called for clouds and rain pretty much all week. So we were happy to see the shining sun when we woke up Wednesday morning. Mom decided to stay home and soak in some rays at the pool while I took John and Laurie for a walk on the beach.

John, who I mentioned was an avid geocacher, wanted to look for a few geocaches. For the first one, we stood examining a mural on a brick wall in the heat with no luck. We tried again near a bench at the beach, also with no luck. I decided that John has a dumb hobby.

After stopping for lunch at the beach, we headed home so that John could be the first person of the season to jump into the pool. Mom was technically the first one in the pool but she was on top of a float so John gets full credit.

I then bribed Laurie to sit outside by playing scrabble with her.

She must have been overcome by the heat because I actually beat her!

After taking a break to smoke steaks, served with mushrooms, onions, sweet potatoes and green beans, it was game night. We started with three rounds of the game Bang. John was the first winner, playing the role of Renegade.

We then played three games of Camp Cards and three games of 4 Up/4 Down (which John googled and found out was also called *hithead).

It was a fun day together. I am grateful that the weather held out for most of the day until dinner time when the skies opened up and it poured like crazy for several hours. Let’s hope we get as lucky on Thursday as we head down to St. Augustine for the day to celebrate Carl’s birthday.

Florida Life, The Husband

Going Deep

Carl has always loved the water.


He remembers going scuba diving in Lake Geneva with family friends, Art and Pearl Mix, and his best friend, Andy. He always thought it was a neat experience and he probably would have pursued it further with the Mix family if Carl’s family hadn’t moved to TN.


Carl recently found out that Art Mix lives about an hour south of us so he went to visit him on a Saturday morning. Art reminded Carl of his love for Scuba diving.

Art Mix

So with our move to Florida and a lack of home projects to keep him busy, Carl finally decided it was time to get certified and commit to scuba diving as his new hobby.


Carl spent the last two weekends at Sea Hunt Scuba in St. Augustine, taking classes, passing a written exam, completing two closed water pool dives and going on four open water dives at Manatee Springs State Park and Troy State Park on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Carl is on the far right.

He is very excited to be starting this new hobby and is looking forward to his first salt water dive with our friend, Russ, in Cozumel when we go on our next cruise with 20 friends from church next weekend!! I look forward to sharing more on his adventures and on our next cruise.


Florida Life, The House

Our Oasis

The photos yesterday really made me aware of how much time, energy and MONEY we have put into beautifying our backyard over the past three and a half years since moving into our house. Since there was so little that needed to be done on the inside and since we live in Florida and so much time is spent outside, the backyard has been our focus. I just thought it would be fun to compile some before and after photos to truly appreciate the changes. I tried to take a series of photos with the same viewpoint.

Before (1)
After (2)
Before (3)
After (3)
Magnolia Falls House 051
After (4)
Before (2)
After (6)

And just for fun, here are some more photos of the rest of the backyard from different angles. It’s amazing how much the plants and trees have grown and really filled in.

After (5)
From the far corner of the yard, looking back at the house.
After (9)
This is walking into the backyard from the side of the house, standing by our shed. This cute little doggie is my new best friend that I am dog-sitting this week while her owners are on vacation.
After (8)
Here’s looking back at the area that I was just standing at on the right, by the shed.
After (7)
This is our grill area with the privacy screen Carl built, covered in luscious Jasmine vines.
After (10)
Looking at the lanai from the grill area.
After (11)
Looking at the pool from the walkway.
After (12)
One more view because I just stand stand the gorgeousness.

We have one more major project happening in the backyard sometime in the next month (stay tuned for an update) and then I think we will really be done. There really isn’t anything else that we can possible do but just float around the pool and enjoy!