Thursday, December 18, 2014

Here Comes Santa Claus!

Last Saturday was the annual Christmas parade, which I've started referring to as the Christmas/Anniversary parade since it falls so close to our anniversary...or vice versa.  We've missed very few parades in the last 15 years or so, but managed to get married on the day of the parade in 2007.  We must not have checked the calendar too closely! ;)
 As always, it was good fun.  The weekend weather was unseasonably warm, so on Sunday we headed to Silver Dollar City.  David warned me that it would be crowded...he was right!
But we still had a good time, snacking our way through the park and enjoying all the lights.
 I got an early Christmas gift - a smart phone monopod, also affectionately  known as a "selfie stick."  The great thing about this little invention is that you can take selfies that are not obviously just that!  We had fun testing it out, even if we did feel a little silly!  I think it will come in really handy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I started decorating early this year for Christmas due to our trip...and my own impatience to get out some new goodies.
 One such new goody is the North Pole Brand candy cane sign that hangs above the Santa mug collection.
 The tree and garland has been in this spot before, but I bought new tiny lights for it and put it in this crock.  I have a lot of favorites this year, but this makes the top of the list!
 I added my cinnamon applesauce stars and gingerbread men to a few bowls containing pine cones, dried oranges, and dried pomegranates.
 If my calculations are accurate, this is the 11th Christmas that I've had this tree.  The lights have all been replaced, but I still really like the tree.  I have to remind myself of that when I'm huffing and puffing and assembling the darn thing. ;)
 One of these aluminum gingerbread men cookie cutters belonged to my Grandmother.  I've collected the others here and there at flea markets.
 I thought this was such a neat Santa.  I inherited him from a friend at her garage sale.
 I've posted this before, but I just love this jar of fake cookies.
Just a little Christmas found its way into our guest room this year, so the tour will continue there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I only remembered to take pictures near the time everyone was leaving after Thanksgiving, so I missed getting pictures of Mom and David.  Sorry to both!  
 Grandma and me
 Con and John
 Grandma and Dad
Grandmother and me

Monday, December 15, 2014

Turkey Trot

 We started what I hope is a new tradition for us this year...the annual Turkey Trot.
 We entered the pet division so we could take Riley and his best buddy, Emma.
 We didn't exactly set any land speed records, but it was a great way to start Thanksgiving Day.
Here are some of my favorite turkeys, post-trot.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Silver Wings Are Taking Me Away

So long, beautiful Episcopal church and brilliant blue skies
 So long palm tree lined Front Street
 So long Foundry on the Waterfront condo
 So long lovely fuchsia flowers
 So long free range roosters that crow all hours of the day
 So long carefree vacationers

 So long delicious salad and Panko crusted chicken nuggets
 So long, much-loved cafe
 So long famous fish sandwich
So long Key West, until we meet again

Saturday, December 13, 2014

End of the Road

As we began our last full day in Key West (sniffle!) we stopped at the end of the road - A1A - for a picture.  Seems like we have made the mistake of doing this in the morning before...that sun in our eyes was brutal!  We were still glad to have the sun almost every day we were there though.

 The Pyrate Invasion was in town, so we headed to the fort to check it out.  It's kind of like a Renaissance festival combined with a civil war reenactment...but with a heavy dose of imagination, and a small nod to historical accuracy.

For lunch, we returned to one of our favorites - Caroline's.  They make a delicious burger!
 We spent the afternoon walking around and took some time out to ponder while watching the water.
Since it was too cloudy for a good sunset earlier in the week when we were at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, we decided to try it again.
 This time, it was a beautiful sunset!

 There's always something to see if you walk along Duval, like this guy guarding a little shop.
 Mom had seen this pedi-cab driver on TV, so we stopped to get a picture with her.
Finally, under a nearly full moon shining through the palm trees, we ended our last full day in one of our favorite places.

Friday, December 12, 2014

We'll Be Together, Now and Forever, At the Blue Heaven Rendezvous

We headed back to Bahia Honda State Park for a day at the beach.  This is part of the original railroad to Key West which was converted to a road for passenger vehicles.  Built over the railroad, the road left only inches between passing cars.  I imagine people were relieved if they arrived safely in Key West after the exciting trip down!

 Our reason for our trip, as if we needed an excuse, was to celebrate Mom and Dad's 40th wedding anniversary, as well as our 7th.
 David and I found some refreshment at Captain Tony's before watching another spectacular sunset at Mallory Square.
The four of us finished the day with a nice dinner at Blue Heaven, where we tried the Key Lime pie that Andrew Zimmern spoke highly of on his show.  I'm not a huge key lime fan, but it was quite tasty!  We always see chickens in Key West, but after dinner, we heard a lot of peeping, then saw a little flock of baby chicks.  They looked so fuzzy!
  It's hard to beat a day that starts with the beach and ends with a meal eaten outside under the stars...and patio lights.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's Been a Lovely Cruise

On Wednesday, we were ready for a break from all the walking, so we piled in the car and headed up the Keys away to see the sights.  Bahia Honda State Park was on our list of things to do, so when we saw the sign for it, we stopped to check it out.
I couldn't resist getting out to check out the beach.  There are several beaches here and all were gorgeous.  I honestly didn't know any place in the U.S. had such pretty turquoise water.
 We had lunch at a great little place that had a wonderful view.  I said several times that food tastes better if it's eaten outside, and eating by the water makes it even better.
 I loved the difference in Christmas decorations.  This "tree" made of crab traps is in the harbor area where we went for our sunset cruise.
 David and I had seen the sunset cruises on our previous trips, but never taken one.  We thought that would be a fun thing to do this time, and it was!
We were lucky and even had a beautiful sunset! And the captain found wind so that we were actually sailing for quite a while!