Florida Life, The House

Walk This Way: Part Two!

The floors are done and I couldn’t be happier! Last Thursday, after the family room was completely finished and I spent the day putting everything back in place, I was absolutely giddy by the time Carl came home. I was literally jumping up and down and clapping. I apparently have zero chill.

Let’s take a walk through the house and admire the beauty. I’ll point out other things that are different as well. Because since it was like starting over in our house, we took the opportunity to make some other changes to make the house exactly the way that we wanted.

Walking in the front door…

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The big change in this room is that we moved the table in the other direction so it fills the length of the room now.  We weren’t able to do that before because of the size of the barmoire and the molding between the carpet and hardwoods that were there (it didn’t give us enough room to push the chairs out).

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Excuse the dining room light. My friendly upstairs electrician (aka Zack) needs to center it over the table now. We also made the decision to part with our Barmoire. Although I loved the uniqueness and beauty of the piece, we really didn’t have a good place for it and it was not actually convenient to walk ALL THE WAY into the front room to make a cocktail when the ice and mixers were located in the kitchen. I’ll show you the solution later in the post. But in it’s place is Carl’s grandma’s china cabinet, which was in the kitchen dining area.

Looking down the hallway….

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Looking into the kitchen….

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So instead of the Barmoire, we now have a convenient bar area right in the kitchen! After snagging the granite shelf from the Barmoire for some pizzazz (and scratching the heck out of the countertop while I tried to lay it down by myself because it weighs about 50 pounds, causing my husband to have a fit), I installed a hanging rack under the cabinets and put some cool lights around the perimeter.

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Oh sorry, the bar is currently closed….you’ll have to come back later. Another upcoming change is again to get my local electrician to run an electrical outlet under the cabinet so that I can put a mini fridge right there, again, so I don’t have to walk ALL THE WAY into the dining room where it is currently located. Sweet!

The kitchen dining area (with another light that needs to be centered over the table now)…

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Another view showing the green cabinet that was near the master bedroom door now located where Carl’s grandma’s cabinet was which is now where the barmoire was. You can see why some piece of furniture had to go. We have a slightly different plan for near our bedroom door, which is still to come.

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The family room area…

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Another view…

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Let’s walk back towards the master bedroom…

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There’s a lot that’s new in this room…new rug, new bedding, new lamps, new recliner and new nightstands. I sort of want a new and real headboard now but I’ll give my husband time to recuperate from all of my other purchases right now.

Here’s a before photo to refresh your memory.


The nightstands that we had were good but they were so darn big and things felt cramped. So I found these cute little nightstands on Swip Swap.

Dressers Before

After a fresh coat of blue/grey chalk paint and some new knobs, they were the perfect replacement.

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Here’s another view of our room…

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The recliner was replaced because the old one (which was a little too bulky in the bedroom) found a new home in my new and improved office. Since I spend about 15-20 hours (or more) working/playing in my office each week, I convinced my husband it was time to replace the 20 year old office furniture, which was an outdated cherry wood. He did comment that I’m old and outdated but he doesn’t replace me but his insult didn’t deter me.New Floors Complete! (14)The other view of my reading corner with the recliner from our bedroom in its new home…I love my room so much! It is so much more comfortable and relaxing now and the perfect place for me to work and have my morning devotional. And it turns out that we ordered about 11 extra boxes of flooring, which is just enough to complete my office. So that’s going to happen sometime in the near future. YAY!

New Floors Complete! (13)There is just one other area left to complete and that’s the stairway up to Zack’s loft. Carl thought that he was going to complete that yesterday but there are some complications that he has to figure out first. If anybody can figure it out though, it’s my husband!
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It’s funny how new floors led to a long list of other projects that we never anticipated…painting most of the walls on the lower level, painting all the baseboards, painting the interior doors, moving lights, installing an outlet plus buying some new furniture and accessories. We’ve really worked hard over the past two months but I am so happy with how everything turned out. I love my house even more than before and all these changes just help us feel more settled and content here with no plans of leaving anytime soon. (Sorry Aunt Sandra!) My husband keeps asking if we can be done though with all the buying of new things. Soon, honey, soon.

Come and visit and see all the improvements in person!!

Florida Life, It's About Me, Praises, The Friends, The Husband, Traveling

Santa Rosa Beach Year #4

For the fourth time, Carl and I were blessed to use my client’s beach home near Destin, FL. Our first two visits in 2016 and 2017 were full of family, friends and fun. Last year, not so much as we dubbed it our worst vacation ever! This year, we were originally scheduled to go at the beginning of September. However, Hurricane Dorian (our third major hurricane since moving to FL) postponed our plans.

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Not sure where or when Dorian was going to hit and preferring to stay home to monitor things, we pushed our trip out a month. Our good friends, Dee and Eddy came to join us for two nights.

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The first day, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon on the beach.

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The second day, after attending church together, we spent the afternoon watching football before hitting a restaurant on the bay to celebrate Dee’s birthday.

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In the evenings, we enjoyed time playing games and watching a movie. We are always so grateful for time spent with these special people. Thanks for coming Dee and Eddy!

Carl were supposed to have two nights alone before another couple, Bruce and Cathy, came to join us for the remainder of the stay. Carl and I enjoyed another relaxing beach day.

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Our second day alone was spent with a movie matinee to watch Downton Abbey.

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After the movie, we drove over to Destin and walked on the Boardwalk.

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We saw lots of jellyfish floating around the harbor.

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We rewarded ourselves for walking around in the heat by stopping at Dairy Queen on the way home.

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We didn’t really want to but the pirate made us do it!

Bruce and Cathy were due to arrive on Wednesday but Cathy came down with a bug. We entertained ourselves by taking a long walk on the beach in the morning and then hanging out at the pool all day. In the evening, we walked down to the beach for the sunset.

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We came upon a large pile of jellyfish that some boys on the beach were collecting.

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So weirdly cool! I did my best to counteract their mission by kicking the jellyfish that I saw stranded in the sand back into the water.

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It was a beautiful evening on the beach with my husband.

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Since Cathy was still feeling ill on Thursday, we decided to make our way home early since we had had our fill of relaxing, beach walking, watching movies, drinking and hanging out alone.

We are grateful for our time away. Free vacations are always the best! I am grateful for a generous boss who shares his place with us each year. We can’t way to go back, hopefully with all our friends, who always make things more fun!

Florida Life, Praises, The House, The Husband


After 33 years and 15 jobs, mostly in the professional sports field, my husband is GOING TO RETIRE from full-time, professional employment at the end of this month! After taking the job with SMG, he has not been loving it. And thanks to the opportunity to continue with the NFL medical insurance plan until 65, as long as he is not employed full-time, he has decided to resign while we are still eligible for the NFL insurance plan. YAY for Carl!

His plan is to go back to working for SMG part-time as an independent contractor, at least for a while. One of the main reasons for doing this is that no one else knows how to do the project that he has been working on since being hired by SMG. So he is willing to help them out with it until someone else can get trained or for as long as they want him. Other than that, he plans on doing some other contracting work, finding a part-time job at a Scuba shop, finding a part-time job at the YMCA (for a free membership) or whatever else he decides to do JUST FOR FUN and some spending money!

This decision has been made possible thanks to our other BIG, EXCITING NEWS, which is that we have (almost) PAID OFF OUR MORTGAGE! Thanks to all of my husband’s hard work over the past 33 years and our diligent investing, we were able to pull money from our portfolio to pay off the the majority of the mortgage. The rest will be paid off next month and I’ll tell you more about that soon. Once it’s paid off, our expenses will be significantly reduced, thereby lowering the income that we need on a monthly basis, giving Carl the freedom to retire. YAY, again!

We are very excited about these major life changes and look forward to the freedom of setting our own schedules and living completely debt-free. We feel very blessed and grateful to God for His provision to us over all these years, making these events possible.

We are planning a big backyard celebration soon to celebrate!


Florida Life, The Family, The Relatives

Mom’s Visit 2019

Last week, after bringing mom back to Jacksonville, our friends, Cathy and Bruce, invited us all over for appetizers and cocktails while watching the sunset from their beautiful home on the St. John’s River.

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Cathy didn’t want to be in any photos 😦

Cathy and Bruce are amazing hosts who open their home twice a month for our church home group of up to 25 people each time, since they are the only ones with space to accommodate that sized crowd! And Cathy is always so considerate to prepare special keto (low-carb) snacks for us….how sweet to have friends like that!

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It was a beautiful, relaxing evening with good friends and God’s glory on display.

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We are grateful for such great friends!

We also were able to take mom down to Flagler Beach on Saturday to visit our former next-door neighbors at their beach house.

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Susan and Bill Dailey

After meeting them at their home, along with our current across-the-street neighbors, Bill and Dedie, we all walked up to the bar on the pier for Happy Hour.

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While enjoying our cocktails, we were visited by dolphins swimming by, so that was very exciting for mom.

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After walking to a local restaurant for dinner outside with live music playing, we returned to Bill and Susan’s house for some karaoke fun! The Bills and Carl did most of the singing but Susan and I had fun being back-up dancers for many songs. It was another great time with fun friends, although we sure wore Bill and Dedie out.

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Some other things during mom’s visit, included a few games nights with Zack,

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…a rainy afternoon spent watching an Iron Man marathon with Margaritas for Cinco De Mayo,

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…an afternoon matinee to watch Avengers: End Game,


….and lots of floating around the pool!

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Mom is a low-key, easy guest who is grateful to just enjoy the Miklas Resort! We are happy to have her with us and wish that she would move down to Jacksonville. For somebody that enjoys the sun as much as mom, it seems like the perfect fit. If it wasn’t for those sweet little grandbabies back in Illinois, it would be a sure thing! Oh well. Until next time…thanks for coming, mom!

Florida Life, The Family, The Relatives, Traveling

Bradenton Trip

A few months ago, my mom asked me if I would be willing to pick her up in the Tampa area and bring her back to our house for a week’s visit. She was thinking of helping my brother’s wife, Lisa, fly to Tampa with her three young children, who was going to visit her parents, who have a home in Bradenton, FL, for a few weeks. Since I don’t get to see Lisa and the kids often and I haven’t even met my youngest niece (last time we visited them was July, 2018 when Lisa was pregnant with the youngest), who is now 9 months old, Carl and I decided we’d make a night of it and spend some time with them while they were generally in the area before bringing mom back to our house.

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Lisa’s parent’s house

After arriving at Lisa’s parent’s house and visiting for a while, we decided to head over to the pool to try and wear the kids out.

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Then Lisa’s parents made us all a great dinner and we were able to visit some more.

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Carl got to sharpen those grand-parenting skills by playing play-doh with the boys.

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After retreating to a hotel with mom for some peace and quiet and resting up for the night, we met up with Lisa, the kids, Lisa’s parents and Lisa’s aunt and uncle at the beach the next morning.

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We were able to get more time with the kids while we played in the sand and water.

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4-3/4 year old Robby
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2-year old, Max
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9-month old, Charlie (Charlotte)

All three of the kids were so cute, lovable and social. It was so nice to have some aunt and uncle time since visits are few and far between. We are grateful for the hospitality of Lisa’s family, who provided chairs, beach towels and a picnic lunch for us. It was a great visit!

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After lunch, Carl, mom and I headed out for the 4-hour drive back to Jacksonville. Thanks to traffic in the Orlando area, we actually got home about 5-1/2 hours later. Not fun! But it was worth it to see Lisa and the kids. We love them all and miss spending more time with them. Thank goodness for Facebook!

*This little road trip was how Carl spent his first two days of unemployment! He is officially unemployed now and waiting for just the right position. He did receive his first job offer this week (after three interviews with the same company) but declined it since it wasn’t what he really wanted to do. With three months of severance from the Jaguars, he is going to take his time and wait for just the right thing. It was a little nerve-raking for him to pass on an offer but we are trusting in the Lord and excited to see what He is going to provide!


Florida Life, The Family

Christmas Day 2018

Christmas with grown kids is so much more relaxing! We all leisurely woke up around 10am and wandered in to the kitchen for Christmas morning Omelets in a Bag.

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We did this two years ago (last Christmas we were on a cruise so skipped the new tradition that year), where you add raw eggs with whatever ingredients you want to a baggie labeled with your name, mix it around, seal tightly with the air removed and then drop the baggies in boiling water for 13 minutes. Everyone gets a personalized omelet that is ready at the same time!

Afterwards, we gathered around the tree for a reading of the Christmas story.

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Then it was time for presents.

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Our family does a Secret Santa exchange where we draw names so you only have to buy for one person, so the gift giving is not crazy (not counting goodie bags from me and Grandma Sue for each of the kids).

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We spent the afternoon outside playing Christmas Bingo.

12.25.18 Christmas Day (25)When it got too chilly, we moved inside and watched family videos from when the kids were younger.  We haven’t watched those movies in so long and it was really fun. It was a sweet time of precious memories and I’m so grateful to have those DVDs.

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Then it was time to make our annual Chicken Fricassee dinner.

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I taught Kameko and Avram how to make the homemade noodles.

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Kelly took a turn too and Grandma Sue showed us all how the expert does it! It was a definite team effort.

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Carl contributed by washing all the dishes for us.

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After dinner, we played some 4-Up and 4-Down around the dining room table.

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It was a beautiful, sweet family day spent with those we love.

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I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Florida Life, The Family, The Friends

Christmas Eve 2018

Last Sunday, Kelly and Avram joined us for Christmas week. With Carl and Zack on their way back from Miami, the older kids and I all went down to St. Augustine to see the Night of Lights.

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It was a beautiful night for walking around the Ancient City.

On Monday, Christmas Eve, Sue and Karl arrived.

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Everyone got dressed in their Christmas finest.

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Then we walked next door to the neighbor’s house for their annual Christmas Eve Open House.

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Even though they had to get up at 3am to leave for a family trip to New York City, they were gracious enough to still host the party since this will be their last Christmas in their house (it is currently for sale…boo hoo!).

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Who wants to be our neighbors so they can join in on our regular Taco Tuesday nights and Christmas Eve celebration?! We are going to miss the Dailey family.