Monday, August 31, 2009

Something New: Homemade Sugar Vanilla Icing

To celebrate my hubby's birthday last Tuesday, I offered to make him whatever cake he desired (figuring I'd go for something that come out of a box). However, my hubby stated that he would like to have chocolate cake with homemade sugar vanilla icing. So... this endeavor became my next "something new" project.

Thankfully the cake did come from a box (Devils Food by Pillsbury), but the icing was the tried and true recipe of our friend, Mrs. Reddin. The recipe is below:

1 Cup Sugar
3 large egg white
1/8 cream of tartar
pinch of salt
3 tblsp water
1 tblsp Karo syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Preparations: cook in a double boiler (except vanilla). beat in double boiler - on high. bottom of pan is touching the water - rolling boil. after 6 min see if stiff. if firm enough - add vanilla.

My first dunce responses after reading the above info/recipe were:
"You use Tartar Sauce to make an icing?! What?!"
"Double Boiler? What's that?"
To which both of these responses got many laughs.

And then I go to the grocery to pick up these items... that was interesting. I stood in the baking aisle for multiple minutes scanning the shelves thinking what could "Cream of Tartar" be? I couldn't shake an image from my head about the stuff. My image entailed something similar to marshmallow puff. But with haste, I continued to scan the baking aisle, hoping Cream of Tartar would catch my eye. I couldn't help but be a bit self conscious as I looked around. I was very aware of two folks in the aisle with me, both women and both with gray hair (which equated in my mind, "woman that know their baking goods"). I continued to have a conversation in my mind, "What the heck is Cream of Tartar?! And why can't I find it? Crap, that woman is looking me, I can't give her the satisfaction that I'm a moron in the kitchen. Only my husband and all the blog world is allowed to know that. (okay so that part I just added, but I was thinking everything before I mentioned my blog)." Needless to say I was too prideful to ask one of the ladies, and went about the rest of the store to pick up my other items on the grocery list. Once I picked those items up, I headed back to the baking goods aisle and called my LIFELINE: my mom. She was nice enough to inform me that cream of tartar is a spice. It was already in the spice section, (which was the baking aisle). As soon as Mom gave me the word, I saw it in an instant, Cream of Tartar, a lot of work finding something I'm only going to use 1/8 teaspoon.

So that entailed the prep work, and so began the actual baking... The devils food cake by Pillsbury was a breeze. Even I can handle that stuff with ease. Once the cake was out and cooled, I began my icing endeavor. I was nervous and a little unsure, but I did my best. Apparently I did not allow the icing to gain enough firmness along the way and instead of making homemade sugar vanilla icing, I made more of a homemade sugary glaze. Regardless, if I do say so myself, it was Mmm, Mmmm Good!

And more than just me and my hubby ate it too!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cuban Themed Couples Baby Shower

This weekend I had the pleasure of hostessing a Cuban Themed Couples Baby Shower for our dear friends, the Yopps. Of course, you're probably asking, "what is a Cuban themed couples baby shower and what happens at one?"

I am happy to share all the details with you, but first I want to give the credit to my fellow hostesses who came up with the theme, Linsay and Lindsey. This theme and the things we did with it was totally their brain child. I just followed suit and it worked out really well.

In an effort to keep the baby's daddy and his guy friends involved, we tailored this baby shower to both guys and girl and worked to make sure all parties involved would enjoy themselves. We wanted to create an atmosphere of a social gathering and get together, rather than a stuffy baby shower. First, we had Cuban themed food: pork tenderloin, beans & rice, Cuban sandwiches, rum cake, pineapples & papayas, chips & mango salsa, and pineapple casserole. Then we attempted to supply Cuban themed beverages: Corona with lime, Bud Light with lime, and Mojito's. And last but not least, we supplied cigars for the men folk. Although they were not Cuban cigars (imagine that), the men seemed to enjoy every puff.

The weather was perfect and we enjoyed the awesome temperature outdoors. While the majority of men smoked their cigars and chatted about fantasy football, the women joined around the baby's momma to watch her open presents as we eww'ed and aww'ed at each generous gifts.

It was a great event! The hostesses succeeded in our mission: showering the Yopp's with love, keeping the men folk involved, providing yummy food and beverages, and hanging out with some good peeps. It was probably one of my favorite showers ever and I was blessed and happy to be a part of it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Know, but do I KNOW?!

Throughout my adult life, Matthew 6:25-34 have been a key verses for me. As a planner, a doer, and a somewhat control freak, worrying can definitely come into play in my life. "Worry" is defined in the Merriam-Webster's dictionary as "to afflict with mental distress or agitation: make anxious". I therefore equate worrying with stressing or being anxious. As someone that can worry or stress, I often pray against those feelings and reactions, reminding myself of God's words in Matthew 6.

However with as many times as I've read these verses, quoted them, or left them as encouragement to another person you would think that I know this promise from the Lord. You would think that I could guard against worry and stress by simply remembering my God's promise that He'll take care of me. You would think that I know, but obviously sometimes I don't KNOW even though I know.

Now that might sound confusing at first, but think about it this way... a man might know that he should put the toilet seat down (sorry this was the first analogy that came to mind, so I'm running with it), but he may sometimes not do that. Why? Because he forgets, or he hasn't put this knowledge into full action, KNOWING to do it. In the same way, I know the words and promises from God in Matthew 6, but when I worry and stress like I have been lately about different things, I'm not truly KNOWING, I'm not putting God's word into practice. I'm not resting in the Lord, rather I'm relying on myself (which never works out well).

Today, I'm reminded about God's word and want to pray and hold onto the words of God in Matthew 6. I want to not only know them, but I want to KNOW them today. I want to rest in the promises that my God is going to take care of me. That I should NOT worry or stress because He provides! He shows me this over and over again (I have testimony over testimony about God's awesome provision), but somehow I still forget to KNOW sometimes when hairy circumstances come up. I begin to rely on me and become what verse thirty calls "you of little faith".

Tonight, I want to hold onto these promises in Matthew 6. Sometimes the best way for me to focus is to verbally admit my struggle (hence me blogging about it). Tonight, I'm thanking the Lord for His constant provision and faithfulness!!! Especially because I definitely do not deserve it!!!

Here are the verses I'm talking about (below). When you read over these, read it once as is, then read it again but replace the word "worry" with the word "stress". Stress is such a common term we use in our verbiage today, it might speak to you a second time by putting it into that context also.

Matthew 6:25-34

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[a]? 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Hubby!!!

This handsome devil (yes, the hottie below) is my husband! Today is his birthday and I want to wish him the happiest of happy birthdays!!! This is the fourth birthday I've celebrated with my man, and I'm hoping that I help make every one something special for him!

This year, considering the hectic nature of our schedules, we took an opportunity last night to celebrate one on one and allow Kelly to open his birthday gifts from his wife. This is the loot he took in from the Mrs.: a Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter (yes siree, the official, seen on tv upside down tomato planter), a shirt, a gift certificate for an hour massage, and Bose around-ear noise canceling headphones.

I could tell he was very pleased with all the gifts I got him and took a special liking (imagine that) to his new electronic toy, the Bose headphones. He went immediately to give them a try... playing music from the computer and plugging in his headphones to listen. Per his request, I tried talking to him and I tried turning the tv on to distract him, but he found much "noise canceling" by the headphones and was very happy.

At one point, I watched my hubby. I noticed with ease that he was enjoying the music and especially the nature of his new gift. This made me happy. Then out of nowhere a horrible, dirty, nasty, almost thumping noise (aka. flatuelence) came from the lower depths of the couch in which my hubby was sitting. I looked at him with the typical "are you kidding me" look, and I said, "Are you kidding?" My hubby then looked up to me with his headphones fully in place over his ears and the look of innocence. He then said, "What? I couldn't hear anything?!?!?"

We cracked up together. And he then said, "blog about that".
Happy birthday, handsome. I love you!

It's my middle sister's birthday today too!!!! I love you Robin and wish you the greatest of birthdays. So glad we got to celebrate last week, but wish we were there to celebrate with you today also! I know your own honey is probably taking great care of you and showering you with love and gifts today! I'm looking forward to the next post of Robin's Rant & Rave!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Something New: Beautiful Baked Squash

If you remember, in mid July I announced that I would start a new routine in honor of the upcoming movie, Julie&Julia. I planned on making one new meal or rather, one new recipe per week and post them (the good, bad, and the ugly) on Verbal Vomit. My goal in introducing this change was two fold: a) that I become more comfortable with cooking by stepping outside of my normal box of recipes and b) that my hubby will get a new (hopefully tasty) treat once a week.

I started off strong and began my adventure with a tasty Red Beans and Rice recipe that proved to be successful. The following week I successfully completed my Happy Meal Dessert that received multiple raves. However the following week my routine was halted due to our amazing trip to Bermuda (see the beginning of August posts for full details on that), and since that time, I hadn't gotten back into the routine. Thanks to UFrank, I was reminded of my plan and goal, and have a new entry to share.

Firstly, I did have the opportunity of seeing Julie&Julia with my dear Observations of the Ordinary friend. I liked it. It was definitely a chick flick (not many men would enjoy it) and it's focused strictly on character development and dialogue. No action here. But I liked it anyway.

Now on to the recipe. This go around I attempted Beautiful Baked Squash. On a whim I took this recipe and GASP.... I changed it up and experimented. Oh my! For those that know me well, you know that this is quite shocking. Seriously. I'm a by the book kind of gal when it comes to recipes. Every measurement, every ingredients, I have to have it all to attempt it. I, however am learning to just go with the flow on cooking a bit and doing my best to exercise that lesson. So I tried on this one.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 pound Zucchini
  • 1 pound Yellow Squash
  • 4 whole Roma Tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoons Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 5 Tablespoons Chicken Stock
  • 2 cups Fresh Bread Crumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons Melted Butter
Preparation Instructions

Slice squash, zucchini and tomatoes into 1/8 - 1/4 inch rounds. Arrange in an overlapping pattern in a quiche dish or 1 1/2 qt. casserole. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on the Lawry’s and 1 t. of the thyme. Pour the chicken stock over. Mix the bread, melted butter and rest of the thyme. Sprinkle bread mixture on the veggies. Bake 45 minutes at 350.

And here is how I changed it up:
I replaced the tomatoes with onions (my fav). I cut the recipe in half, using a 1/2 pound of squash and a 1/2 pound of zucchini plus 1/2 of a large sweet onion. I only had 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, so I used what was available. For the chicken stock I actually used the water/mixture from the chicken I was boiling at the time for another recipe.

I cooked it all and it turned out very well. Yum. Yum. The only thing I would have changed is that some of the veggies ended up getting a bit soggy due to the many mixtures within the dish. Later I saw (online, because it did not print out on the printed version) that the recipe also states, "You may want to do a “poke” test on the veggies, beginning at 30 minutes baking time. You know, to avoid the whole soggy-mushy-slimey thing." Next time I'll follow that hint along the way. Great smelling and tasty side dish. Mmmm Mmmm.
bon appetit!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Beautiful Day

God is good!

I'm constantly amazed at the beauty God blesses us with. From the clouds to the mountains, to the lightning and rain, God reveals His glory to us. And there is so much more beauty He has put on this earth that I have yet to see.

This picture is not from today, but I think it is a good visual description of the beautiful day God blessed me with today!

Oddly enough, even before I knew what the weather would look like, I woke up this morning singing, "Rise and shine and give God the GLORY GLORY!" How fitting...

I want to remember to thank the Lord for the things that we too often take for granted, things like the beautiful blue sky covered with magnificent clouds and the sun shining! Awesome! Thank you Lord!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Only my hubby...

This afternoon this email came out from my hubby, addressed to a group of our friends, both male and female:

Subject: I'm in love...
In response to my wife, who turned to me when watching Big Brother the other night and told me the contestant "Jeff" was incredibly hot.


Football is upon us and with it comes....

I love you honey! :)

I thought this was hilarious and couldn't help but share. The "Jeff" my hubby is referring to is this yummy guy right here (below). Very nice. And yeah, my man is right, Erin Andrews is also hot and I think she reports well too.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Blog Background: Change

I love new blog backgrounds.

I'm not sure exactly why it is, but I know I love it. I know that once I take the time to create and change my blog background, I always enjoy coming back to the refreshed look. I like the change, I guess. I like seeing the new colors and contrasts, and the newly created header that is updated by pictures or silly new phrases. I just like it.

This like for changing things up also extends further into the Facebook page my husband and I share. I enjoy changing the profile pic every month or two. Showing a new cute or often silly pose of my hubby and me together. I guess this enjoyment of changes such as these also stems from a desire to keep people interested. I know that when I go to a site and the background has changed, I'm more apt to look closely the next time around to view the changes. Or on Facebook, if someone changes their profile pic, I'm ready and willing to check out their page and their new photos. I like it.

The funny thing is, while I write about how much I enjoy changing up my blog backgrounds, or tweaking a profile picture here and there, I wouldn't necessarily describe myself as a person gearing up and desiring changes regularly. Sure, I get excited and anticipate new things, looking forward to them around the corner, but I'm probably like anyone else, I enjoy a routine. I'm a planner and enjoy working things out according to plan. As long as I have a heads up about changes to come, I run with those pretty smoothly, making the necessary preparations to tackle the things at hand. But changes that happen on the fly, right in front of me, ultimately when I have no control, those are the type changes I struggle with, the ones that take more work for me. I have to remind myself regularly during these instances that it's not big deal and I can adapt accordingly. Just roll with the punches right?

Ultimately, I think I'm pretty good at adapting. I adapt well in my work environmental and in finding solutions to problems. I did adapt well in my collegiate environmental. I adapt well in life in general, I guess. But where I struggle is adapting during events that I've been put in charge of. Adapting at the birthday party or shower that I throw for another individual. Apparently the pressure and desire to make it PERFECT for the honored guest causes me to lack the full ability to accept change quickly and easily. I'm a definitely a work in progress.

Anyway, all of that was started by saying what is still true: I love new blog backgrounds. Hope you're enjoying the most recent one too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

August Birthdays Celebration

When my middle sis and I got married (me in March 07 and her in Sept 08), the addition of our husbands added a few things to our family. First, the boys added testosterone into the mix. My daddy had dealt with an estrogen full house (3 daughters + wife) for about twenty seven years, and has finally been able to "compete" a bit with us ladies. We still out number them, but it's only a matter of time (better be multiple, many years, actually) before the youngest sis marries a bo, and the teams are even.

Anyway, in addition to the testosterone boost the men folk brought into the family, they also added two more August birthdays. So we now have Robin and my hubby's birthday on August 25th and Brent's birthday August 30th. This weekend we took advantage of Robin and Brent being in town for a night and celebrated these birthdays early.

Below are the birthday folks with their perdy cards that Kelsey made for them. Brent missed the instructions on this one, or just plain ignored them, because he's the odd man out smiling.

PS. Isn't Kelsey spelled with an E after the S? (inside joke)

To celebrate, we started with some good eats at Benihana (the newly built Benihana since it had burned down at one point), and then made our way to Mom and Pop's to open presents and enjoy cake and yummy Baskin Robbins ice cream. We had homemade cake (white cake, chocolate icing, Mmm Mmm) and the choice of Pralines&Cream ice cream or Chocolate&PeanutButter. I definitely enduldge in the Chocolate&PeanutButter. Wow, just writing that makes me want some. Too bad we left it at Mom and Dad's.

Anyway, in my opinion the birthday folks racked up on some goodies, so I'm sure they were all pleased. Below are a few of my favorite photos from the evening. There are plenty goofy ones, but I actually am picking the "normal" ones as my favorites this go around.

Happy Early Birthday, Robin, Kelly, and Brent.

Mom asked for the above shot.
She wanted a shot of all the kids. It's amazing that we got a good shot of all five of us. I like it!

Above our the Wilson sisters. My sisters are hot!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And then I remembered...

So after I vacuumed tonight (uh, yeah, the hubby also vacuumed this morning, crazy huh, see post before this one to get the gist of that), I made an attempt to put the clothes away that my hubby had folded. I've been meaning to clean out my drawers for a long while and I took the plunge this evening. Folding, refolding, reorganizing, and even putting a few things to the side to give away. And then I came to the pajama drawer...

I pulled everything out of the overstuffed drawer and began to shuffle through my inventory of pajamas. About eight pairs of boxer shorts, so comfy to lounge in. About three shirts, I use my regular tshirts most of the time. And probably fourteen pairs of pajama pants. As I looked at the pants and thought through each pair, deciding which ones I love, which ones I don't wear, etc. I asked myself, WHY DO I HAVE SO MANY PAJAMA PANTS?? Geez!

And then I remembered... something I've forgotten in the month of August, when the AC is blowing in the house to combat the upper 90 temperatures outside of the house... during the winter months, the heat in our house does not turn on until mid to end of January. My hubby likes it cold! Oh, and he enjoys sleeping with the window open during the months that make me go brrr! Oh, and the window is on MY side of the bed!!! No wonder I own enough pajama pants to clothe a small army! Plus I love them, lounging in a pair of PJ pants is the best.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Plethora of Dog Hair

Some dogs shed. My dogs, however, seem to drop off their entire coat about every 45 minutes or so. You think I'm joking...

Seriously... last summer, Dexter was just a few weeks old, so the understanding of his shedding capabilities was not known. This summer however, the shedding is full steam ahead and the tumbleweeds of dog hair produced by our mutt and the pup is unbelievable.

To combat the shedding of our husky (pup) and retriever/lab (mutt), we have increased the frequency of vacuuming and brushing to no avail. The hair is winning the war!

The fur babies better be glad that we love them unconditionally, otherwise they'd be in trouble in this matter. When the hubby or I take the time to vacuum (almost daily at present), we make our way completely through the house only to discover the hair has arrived again when we go back to the beginning to put the vacuum away.

The cartoon below doesn't even do it justice, but it tries...

Thank goodness for our Animal Vac and Furminator brush, without those, not only would the war be lost, so would each battle!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Other Woman Arrives...

I can tell that Fall is around the corner, the school day for high schoolers, middle schoolers, and those elementary folks have begun again. The teachers are back to work, molding the minds of our youth and future. The streets are booming a bit more than they did during the summer months, mini vans moving to and fro to get their kiddos to their needed location before the bell rings. The clothes of summer are beginning to disappear from the shelves, and even though it's still 95 degrees or more outside, long sleeved shirts replace where tank tops once laid. Soccer is gearing up, and the dreaded pre-season for college athletes has arrived with a crash and a bang. Additionally, the college fall semester is also right around the corner. This is quickly apparent by the streets in our neighborhood (we live right next to the University) that are filled again with the many cars of the returned students.

And one more specific reality exists to remind me that fall is on the horizon... it's actually ANOTHER WOMAN in my husband's life. I know you might be quite surprised about this... how could I know about another woman and stand for it, right? And why would I write about such a thing on my blog??? Well... it helps that the other woman is actually NOT a woman at all, but rather what I call FANTASY FOOTBALL!

It has begun! I can't deny it... the other woman is back in my hubby's life, and I'm going to have to work to compete with her for his time throughout fall. Last night the reality of her arrival was thrown in my face... the first football game of the season (preseason) arrived on our television set... and the phone calls to discuss players, trades, and talk smack rang with frequency, while the emails began to fill my hubby's inbox. I hear the draft soon begins for both of my hubby's fantasy football leagues... oh the other woman has definitely arrived.
I'm so thankful that I am a woman that enjoys sports. I will enjoy the football on the television most of the time throughout fall. I'll enjoy the cooler weather that will come with the football overtime and the ability to curl up in my favorite sweatshirt and cuddle with my man while we watch men in tight pants tackle into each other with fervor. (he he) I love the competition and the adrenaline that pumps as your team is so close to taking the win home! I like football... however I know there will be time, (just like last year) when after the multiple games each evening airs night after night and my hubby spends phone call after phone call discussing this or that about fantasy football, that I'll say,
"I WANT MY HUBBY BACK! Can you leave the other woman for a bit and spend some time with your wife?"
And thankfully, just like last year when I get to that point, my amazing hubby will turn and look at me and say...
"One second..."
and after a few moments, the computer or phone will be put down, and I'll have some quality time with my man away from the other woman! Away from fantasy football.

Yup, it has begun. The other woman has arrived.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bermuda Vacation: Part 4

Delayed Travels Home & Bermuda Cup Match

So considering that my hubby and I have heard much snickering regarding our "delay" in Bermuda, I think it's time that I do some explaining! In order to take this amazing vacation, we were blessed with the use of buddy passes from dear friends. The buddy passes (flying standby) went pretty smoothly on the way to Bermuda, but not so smoothly on the trip back.

As planned, four days and five nights after our arrival to Bermuda, we made our way to the airport. We were scheduled to fly standby on the 4pm flight from Bermuda to Atlanta that Wednesday and were expected to be back at work Thursday and Friday. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan. When we arrived at the airport over two hours before the scheduled flight, we were informed that the flight was already overbooked. Overbooked flights mean little room if any for standby folks. We waited the two hours or more and were not put on the flight home. This left us scrambling... what were we going to do? How would we get home? When would we get home? And what about work???

My hubby was intuitive enough to ask about the next flight option and its capacity. Turned out the next flight available was the next day and it was overbooked even more extensively than the Wednesday flight we had just missed. Therefore, our best option was to make an attempt Friday, two days after we expected to leave the island. So there we were standing with the reality that a) we were not going home Wednesday as planned, b) we would not be able to try to leave again until Friday, c) we would have to tell work that we would miss two additional days, d) we needed a ride back to Uncle Geoffrey and Aunt Mary's, and e) we were going to have some extra time in Bermuda!

We later found out that there were quite a few factors leading us to this reality and being delayed.
  • There was only one flight a day from Bermuda to Atlanta, and actually only five flights total off the island per day.
  • It was Cup Match time in Bermuda, a two-day public holiday involving a game of cricket. To give you an idea as to what Cup Match is, I'll let a website explain it a bit below...

    Bermuda celebrates this two-day public holiday to allow its residents to watch a game of cricket between a team from the west end, Somerset, and a team from the east end, St. George's. On Cup Match days, many natives (Bermudians) don't actually go to the game but choose instead to listen to it on the radio or watch it on TV (pay-per-view anyone?). You will find many residents camping and picnicking at the public (Government) parks or beaches or both.

    Tourism Information: If you are planning your trip to Bermuda in the first week in August, you will not see Bermuda as it is the rest of the year. It is sometimes hard to find the usual level of service on this weekend (week?) of the year because literally, "THE WHOLE ISLAND SHUTS DOWN!" Bus service is on a very limited schedule, it is absolutely impossible to get a taxi anytime the whole weekend, you may find that many of the workers at your hotel who are normally there and excellent workers, not there at all for a weekend. Hopefully, if you have planned a trip on this weekend, you want to see us locals partying and having a good time. Even the most reserved let their hair down on Cup Match! Come enjoy the gambling at the Crown and Anchor tables, enjoy local food from the many vendors, try a rum drink from one of many mixed drinks or beer tents, oh... and, of course, check out the Cricket match.

  • In addition, many Bermuda natives LEAVE the island during this long holiday in order to go shopping in the US or Europe. This is what we ran into at the airport.

We definitely enjoyed our extra time on the gorgeous island with family, but have learned our lesson to know that at the end of July/beginning of August every year, Cup Match is a force to be reckoned with in Bermuda! Oh yeah! The newspaper does not even run during the holiday. ha!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bermuda Vacation: Part 3

Our Travel Companions Along the Way

Throughout our entire Bermuda adventure, we were blessed to have three travel companions along the way: our cousin, Courtney and his handsome boys, Nolan (11) and Colton (7). These guys helped entertain us throughout our entire adventure in Bermuda. We laughed together, and joked with them, road the bus together and traveled with them, snorkeled together and laid on the boat with them, ate together and ended up all around vacationing with them. It was a great adventure with our travel companions along the way.

We learned a few things about our companions while we spent about six full days in their company. Firstly, I quickly discovered the reason why my hubby and Courtney got along so well from the start... they are both boys trapped in a man's body. They don't forget how to have fun like a little boy and become entertained by things in that way. From jumping off the boat doing acrobatic acts into the water with the young boys to finding crabs in the sand and water of the Atlantic Ocean, these "boys" had just as much fun as the little ones. It cracked me up. Aunt Mary often referred to Courtney and his sons as the "three boys",... once my hubby arrived it became "four". Nevertheless, the hubby and I surely enjoyed Courtney's company during our travels. It was awesome to see a man be a great dad to his sons right in front of ours all week, and to see their love for their daddy shining through and through. Thanks for the good example, Courtney.

Nolan, the oldest of the two Channon boys was more than a joy to travel with. I consider this stud of an eleven year old, my new buddy. We had a blast together. Watch out, I hear he has not one, but TWO girlfriends waiting on him back in Calgary. Like my hubby and I, Nolan is the oldest child of the family and therefore struggles with the "mother hen" syndrome or as my hubby calls it for a male, the "father figure" syndrome. You know what I mean, the oldest falling into playing the parent role, rather than just the older sibling role. Nolan does this too, sometimes. But beyond that tendency, he's super responsible and a super good kid. He loved catching frogs & lizards during the trip, and was very good at it. In addition, Nolan was the resident photographer for my hubby and I. Whenever we wanted a photo beyond our own self portrait, Nolan was up for the challenge. In the same way, he worked hard to explain to my hubby how to use the Canadian term "aye". Lesson after lesson, Nolan instructed when the term was used correctly or not, but my hubby butchered it repetitively, giving Nolan a good laugh. During the trip, my hubby gave him the nickname Robert, although this is his middle name, my hubby said it with a french accent.

Colton, the ham of this bunch is a seven year old to recon with. Always marching to a beat of his own, Colton brought about a great bit of comic relief to our vacation. With his hilarious facial expressions to pose for the camera to his constant singing and dancing, my hubby and I cracked up on more than one occasion to Colton's performances. Uncle Geoffrey put it best one day, while we sat on the verdana watching Colton dance with some lights in the Bermuda night, "you're going to be a performer one day". No doubt. If the performer biz does not workout for Colton, he may always fall back on photographer. With a photographer gene in his body, Colton brings "taking pictures" to another level. If there was a flower and a weed, you'd get a picture of the flower, and then a separate one of the weed. He took pictures of EVERYTHING. We laughed with Courtney on more than one occasion that we're all thankful for digital photographer, otherwise they'd be in trouble. Among other things, I learned that Colton is highly interested in three basic things during the trip: Lizards/Frogs, Looney Tunes, and Titanic. We heard about all of these things on a REGULAR basis. Colton was fun.

The hubby and I are looking forward to visit this bunch again soon! Oh, and for show, here is a shot of Colton's dancing act.

The last of the series, Bermuda Vacation: Part 4 - Delayed Travels Home & Bermuda Cup Match coming soon...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bermuda Vacation: Part 2

Our Daily Adventures

From the moment our first full day arrived in Bermuda (Saturday), we attempted to do and see as many things as possible. At the same time, we did our best to enjoy the natural relaxation that the scenery around us brought to the table.

On Saturday we had the luxury of getting a ride on Geoffrey and Mary's beautiful boat. Captain Geoffrey took us out into the Atlantic Ocean to not only enjoy the grand ride, but also find a spot for snorkeling and later some fishing. I could have ridden on that delightful boat for hours, and actually we did just that. We anchored near the coral reefs to snorkel and enjoy lunch out on the seas.

The next day we again enjoyed a leisure morning before taking to the nearby waters. After having some good time of swimming and snorkeling, Captain Geoffrey gave me an opportunity to actually go sailing for the first time in my life. Instead of using the boat's motor as we had the day before, we used the sails on the ship to travel about the waters. I've always wanted to go sailing, it seems so beautiful and relaxing to those that have the luxury of riding rather than working during the sailing process. And man oh man was it worth the wait! I absolutely loved sailing. I loved sitting on the bow and enjoying the rock and rhythm of the ocean, as the strong winds pushed us across the waters. Seeing the sails be pulled from the port (left side) to starboard (right side) in order to change directions as needed by the Captain. It was fabulous and a very much enjoyed Sunday experience.

We took a break from the full Bermudian sun on Monday and instead traveled through the city by bus to visit the Bermuda Aquarium & Zoo and the Crystal Caves. We spent tons of time in the aquarium. My favorite part of the aquarium experience was the massive tank that held every sort of fish imaginable (0f course that's probably a vast exaggeration, but you know what I mean). We watched that tank for probably an hour solid, if not longer, enjoying the classical music that played throughout the halls and seeing the sharks and array of beautiful (and some ugly) fish flow past us. My hubby made a comment how one could sit in the aquarium near this tank for hours reading a book and enjoying the ambiance of the place.

The Crystal Caves were a neat experience too... although a bit expensive. The story goes that two young boys (12 yrs old or so) found the caves many moons ago after their cricket ball fell through a hole. The boys could hear that the ball had fallen a great distance, and therefore grabbed a 120 foot rope and climbed down in the pitch black, undiscovered cave (sounds like a foolish boy thing to do, doesn't it - who knows what COULD have been down there, yikes). Instead, the boys discovered that the caves house some beautiful blue and green pools of oceanic water, as well as many stalactites and stalagmites.

We did our best to pack our fourth and final (planned) full day in Bermuda with as many activities as we could see fit. Tuesday brought about a journey that took us from the house around 10 am and did not return us until about 6:15pm. We started with a ferry ride to the Dockyards. There we visited the Maritime Museum and were able to see the British military fortress that was built so many years ago. The Maritime Museum is set up in the six to ten acre Royal Naval Dockyard of Bermuda, which was set up as a direct result of the English America colonies declaring their independence from Britain 1783. Following the museum, we made our way to the bus route and traveled to the island's Gibb's Hill Lighthouse. Once we arrived at the foot of the lighthouse, we then climbed its many stairs to arrive at the top and enjoy the amazing view of Bermuda. After our lighthouse adventure, we lastly made our way to Horseshoe Bay, where we enjoyed the beach, relaxed, and played in the water until it was time to head home.

After not making our scheduled flight on Wednesday (more details about this in Bermuda Vacation: Part 4), we were given two additional full days in Bermuda. The first extra full day, Wednesday was pretty much wasted by spending over half a day in the airport expecting to head home. The second additional full day was much better utilized. We attempted to see a couple touristy things, but they were closed (more details on that in part 4)... nonetheless, we had a chance to see different parts of the island through our travels. And what ended up being one of our most favorite things of all during the entire trip, we were able to experience on this second extra full day Thursday. Captain Geoffrey took us out in his lovely boat again. This go around we waited until later in the evening to enjoy the water, leaving the house around 6pm or so. The Captain drove us to a lovely cove where we snorkeled, swam, and enjoyed dinner on the boat. Once the sun set, we made our way back in the dark and were able to enjoy the rhythm of the waves, the flourishing of the stars, and the sounds of jumping fish following the boat.

Bermuda Vacation: Part 3 - Our Travel Companions Along the Way coming soon...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bermuda Vacation: Part 1

The Island & Our Amazing Hosts

I was not sure what to expect as we made our flight from Atlanta to Bermuda on Friday. I knew I was excited and anxious to get there and enjoying our first class experience, but also did not have any expectations. All I knew was that I looked forward to seeing family and getting to experience an island that my hubby was excited to bring me to.

As our flight began it's decent, the clearness of the Atlantic Ocean opened up to me through the plane's small window. I could see the waves rolling over one another and began to get more excited as I knew the island would show itself to us any minute. Wow. The beauty impressed me from the start...

We had the luxury of staying with our Uncle Geoffrey and Aunt Mary during our stay in Bermuda. They graciously opened their home to us, and showered us with food, drink, and exquisite company. We were blessed with the opportunity of staying in their daughter, Eileen's cottage while she was away on holiday volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Mary using the term "cottage" to describe Eileen's place is quite humbling.... this place is wonderful. A loft of her own with everything you need to survive: bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, laundry area, living room area, etc. It was an awesome place to stay and although we missed seeing Eileen, we greatly appreciated and enjoyed her place while she was away. Check out the photos of her great place:

I couldn't speak highly enough of the beautiful nature of the island and the amazing nature of our hosts during this vacation. The hubby and I have been spoiled, rotten! Geoffrey and Mary not only housed us, but also carted us to and fro when we missed the bus, gave us bus passes abundantly, tickets to the Aquarium and Maritime Museum, took us on their boat, and helped enhance our vacation in every way. The food we ate nightly by way of Chef Geoffrey and Chef Mary was delicious and always fulfilling. With a glass of wine and/or can of Heineken always within reach, we enjoyed every meal.

To show off their hospitality even more, my hubby and I were expected to leave Bermuda on a 4pm flight Wednesday afternoon... flying standby has its downfalls, such as what we experienced this go around... the flight, as well as Thursday's was overbooked already and we were unable to leave as planned. Geoffrey and Mary opened their home once more and welcomed us for the additional two nights stay beyond our plan. Simply wonderful they are - family rocks!

Bermuda Vacation: Part 2 - Our Daily Adventures coming soon...