Mother's Day

Mother's day was quite some time ago, but that doesn't mean I can't still relive it and celebrate my mom each day :) 

This year, my dad and my brother were at a playoff hockey game for the Tampa Bay Lightning so my mom dropped them off at the arena and headed out to an afternoon of fun. It began with a trip to Sea Critters over in St. Pete for a dockside lunch of our favorite crunchy almond shimp salad. I've posted about Sea Critters on here before, but it truly is my favorite spot to go to when I am back in town. It's a little bit of a drive for anyone that lives in Tampa, but if you are up for some pretty amazing seafood and a trip to the beach or an evening to watch the sunset, make the drive over! And do not leave before ordering the crunchy almond shrimp! 

When I was little, my mom used to surprise my my brother and me by taking us bowling after school. She was always a really great bowler and I for some reason made it up in my head that she used to even be part of a bowling league for the Sheriff's Office...sorry mom, I have no idea where I came up with that, but I definitely told everyone that until about three years ago. She was just that good ;) So this time, I took her bowling and we made a bet: the loser of 3 games must buy the winner the popsicle of her choice at The Hyppo in St. Pete. 

How fun is this bowling alley! I loved the pink exterior and it was just as much fun on the inside with the coordinating color blocked walls and carpets. 

See below for the bowling champion...to be fair I did beat her in the first game! The other two were pretty close as well ;) 

How sweet she is! She even offered to buy ME a popsicle even after I lost; but, alas, a deal is a deal and I held up my end of the bargain. Here she is with her black pepper cantaloupe trophy!  

She is easily the most selfless person I have ever met and I hope that I can one day spread as much kindness as she exudes daily. She really is the greatest for all she does for myself and for our family. I love you mom and I am so thankful to call you my own! 

Valentine's Tea

This Valentine's Day, Chocolate Pi hosted an afternoon tea chocked full of sweets, scones, and savory tea sandwiches. My mom and I jumped at the opportunity to go and we were so happy that we did. When we arrived, we were seated outside at a beautiful little table covered in fresh flowers, live acoustic entertainment, and the most delicious tea was soon delivered. You can see a few of the few photos below of the display that was served. There were deviled eggs, cucumber and caprese sandwiches, sweet scones, eclairs, macarons, and probably 15 other treats I am leaving out; they were all delicious and my favorite was the raspberry and lemon curd macaron. I also loved the blueberry scone with lemon curd, clotted cream, and jam. My mom and I were very impressed and it was such a wonderful way to celebrate the day together. I wish they did tea every weekend! 



St. Augustine Christmas

Right before the holidays I lucked out and had a few days off back to back, so it was off to St. Augustine I went to celebrate Christmas with Ryan. Before I arrived, he went and picked up a mini tree for us (we got the last mini tree on the lot!) and I arrived with so many boxes of Christmas lights, Ryan's apartment ceilings are now practically all covered. 

^^Our little tree all decorated and awaiting Christmas morning. The next morning we woke up really early and opened up gifts and stockings followed by a decadent Christmas cinnamon roll breakfast. I had gifted Ryan with several new pour over coffee accessories, so he whipped us up a couple of pour overs to start the day. 

Back when I visited my friend Katherine in Germany, she gave me a couple Kinder Happy Hippos to try out. I had intended to save them until I got home from Europe, however, I ended up eating one on the plane ride home. I was so upset when I did because they were so delicious and I could not find them anywhere stateside. A few months ago, while visiting my favorite Polish restaurant in town, I noticed that they sold them in packs of 5 in their food market. I was so excited that I snatched up their last two boxes, yet I refused to eat any of them because I knew I would be craving them as soon as I ate the last bite. I had mentioned it to Ryan once about how I had been hoarding Happy Hippos and low and behold, for Christmas he ordered me a box of 50 so I could finally enjoy them and not have to worry about running out immediately. Next time you see anything Kinder related at a European market, buy it! Just don't wait to eat them like I do!

We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with a few of Ryan's friends, eating pizza, and riding the carousel on San Marco. We used to ride it sometimes when I would visit my friends Britni and Bobby at Flagler, but it's been a few years since I've been back on it. Ryan and I walked down to the carousel and paid our well worth it $1 for the 3 minute ride. The park wasn't very busy, so Ryan and I had the carousel to ourselves. We took advantage and paid a few extra dollars to keep it going. 

Later that evening we just spent a bit of time walking around downtown for Nights of Lights. It's my favorite time of the year in St. Augustine and I wish that they would leave the lights up year round. I suppose then it wouldn't be as special, so I'll soak it all up while I can until it's time for them to take the lights down. 

Each year, for the last five years, Ryan has made a "staching through the snow" letterpress Christmas card. This year, in celebration of his new press and the five year mark, Ryan designed a five color letterpress card. Each year, he sends them out to friends and family, and in return, they must post a photo of themselves holding up the card as if the mustache were their own. It has seemingly become a fun tradition for Ryan's friends and it's one I know I enjoying doing as well. Below are two of the photos we took. 

Osborne Family Lights

If you are familiar with the Disney theme parks, you'll know that every year for the last couple of decades, Hollywood Studios has played host to the Osborne Family Light show. Towards the back of the park, they cover all of the buildings in millions of Christmas lights, decorated to portray different scenes. There's a large peace on Earth globe, Nativity scenes, Santa with his reindeer, and hidden mickeys galore. Sadly, this is the last year they will be hosting the lights as that area of the park will be expanding and themed around Star Wars. My friends Cathy and Brad met up with Ryan and me after work to ride a few rides, see the lights, and have dinner. Ryan had never been to the light show before, so I am glad he was able to enjoy it before they end it for good. Below are a few pictures we took; although none of them do the real-deal any justice! 

 

Blueberry Picking

To celebrate mother's day, I took my mom blueberry picking Sunday morning. We drove down to Lyna Berry Farms in Lithia per a suggestion from a good family friend. They are open to the public through next Sunday, May 17th. I've never been fruit picking before and I absolutely loved it. We arrived early, right when the farm opened, and we basically had the blueberry fields to ourselves. It costs $15 for one 6lb. bucket of blueberries. If you go with multiple people and only want one full bucket, they let you combine your pickings. There was something overwhelmingly peaceful about being out there roaming through, row by row, picking out the best of the crop. Not to mention, spending time with my mom was worth it in and of itself. 

Easter Sunday

This past Easter weekend was one of my favorite Easters yet. It was a day spent surrounded by my family and friends celebrating our love for God and for each other. Our morning kicked off with a large breakfast and a trip to Brocante Market in St. Pete. Brocante is a vintage and antique market that is open the first Saturday and Sunday of each month. I was surprised they were open on Easter Sunday, but my mom and I used it to our advantage, hoping it would be a little less crowded on a holiday. Typically, Brocante is so packed with people it can be hard to take your time and really soak up each item in every booth. If you move too slowly, someone will step right in and snatch up whatever you're looking at. Thankfully, there were barely any other customers at the market and we were able to take our time searching for little treasures. The market staff also hid lots of Easter eggs filled with gift cards to redeem with your purchase that day; however, my mom and I looked high and low and never found one. The eggs must have been found pretty early in the morning, but we had fun looking regardless. I found just a few things that I decided I couldn't live without. One being the urgency clip holder on the top left; it will definitely come in handy when prioritizing my daily and weekly tasks ;) Below are a few other pieces and booths that caught my eye.  

One of these days I am going to splurge and buy a vintage pulldown school map! I think it would be perfect for pinning flags onto each city and country that I've been to. 

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I also wish I had taken this yellow type writer home with me! I received my first typewriter for Christmas this past year and I would love to start a little collection. I think if it's still there next month it may just be a sign that I need it!

We also spent a good portion of our day cooking up a delicious Easter dinner; I was in charge of making the dessert! After dinner, we looted through our Easter baskets while the "Easter Bunny" set up for our annual Easter egg hunt. There were a total of 31 eggs this year, 32 including the infamous "golden egg." I ended up finding just a few more eggs than my brother and was also this year's winner of finding the golden egg! 

In high school, one of my favorite traditions that we would do each Easter was the making of cascarones. Cascarones are hollowed out eggs filled with bird seeds, confetti, glitter, or small prizes. Once filled and decorated, you hide them around the yard and send all of your family and friends out to find them. Once found, you run around cracking the eggs on top of your family and friend's heads, revealing the prizes and confetti. It's mainly just fun to crack them open and it's an easy tradition to uphold each year. All you have to do is poke a hole with a thumb tack into the bottom and top of the egg. Poke a few holes into the top and peel away just a little bit of the shell. Flip the egg upside down and blow the egg white and yolk into a bowl or the kitchen sink. Once you repeat that and you have enough egg shells that you'll need, rinse them out with soap and water and set outside in the sun to dry out. As soon as the egg shells are dry, carefully fill them with any filling that you would like. I used bird seeds in all but one of the eggs. I filled the last egg with fruity pebbles and a little bit of gold glitter. We deem that last egg to be the golden cascarones, bringing a year of good luck to the person that has that egg cracked on his or her head. Last year, I was the recipient of the golden cascarones and I would say it was a pretty great year :) Make sure you cover the tops of the eggs with tissue paper so the golden cascarones will not be discovered until it's cracked open! 

This year, my brother Michael was the lucky one to receive the golden cascarones. Can't you tell how excited he is? I'm certainly thankful for a family that plays along with my crazy holiday antics ;) I hope you all had a wonderful Easter as well! 

happy saturday!