Friday, March 16, 2018

Dinner at Showalter's, New Recipe, Spa Day!

Our monthly get together with Buddy and Diane, and Nathan and Krystal was Tuesday.  But this month, instead of our usual Hibachi, we all met at Nathan and Krystal's home.  They got hit pretty good with Hurricane Irma, but you'd never know.   Their new roof looks great, and Nathan has been very busy moving and fencing in the RV, and building on a screen porch on the back of the house.   The new porch is beautiful, all screened and ready to enjoy. 

Of course we were greeted by little Miss Ava!  And while they now have 6 horses that they tender..........only three of them, including their newest, River Song (white) came out to visit with us.

Very nice late we all sat out on the new porch.  We took a big bottle of wine (Riesling) with us, and it was pretty much empty by the time we left!  Ava spent most of her time on Rich's lap..............and after a while, our Chef, Nathan took every one's order for Pizza........... We had a choice of ham, pepperoni, onion, peppers,  and mushrooms.

Nathan grilled all of our "personal" pizza's on the grill............and we all went inside to enjoy!  Buddy made his Coconut Cream Pie ( best in the universe, according to Nathan), and because Krystal has to be on a gluten free diet, I brought a small gluten free chocolate cake for her.  Everything was delicious!

I love the picture board that Krystal has hanging in the dining area........Always different pictures on each visit.  Today she had added a picture of all of us from a year ago when we were there enjoying fajitas!

We will get together again in April and in May...........and maybe June before we head north. Nathan and Krystal have someone now who stays on the property full time, which allows them some time to travel.   They talked about a possible trip to NY to visit while we're there this summer.  Unfortunately, Dianne's health is getting worse, and she does not travel well no plans this year for trips up north for them.

On Thursday I tried a new recipe, Southern Chicken Fried Steak with milk gravy.  Fried in the cast iron pan, and then baked for an hour!  So very tender!

 It was absolutely DELICIOUS!   Rich said the same!

Rich gave me a gift certificate to The Spa at Hammock Falls for a one hour D'Vine Facial, and a one hour Massage..........and my appointment was today @ 1:30.   I had a Maaarvelous  Time being pampered.

No cooking tonight - stopped on the way home for Chinese Take-out! 

No plans for the weekend...........but next week is a trip to the Alan Jay Wildstein Performing Arts Center at South Florida Campus, and then we'll have our dog fix for a few days..... Miss Ava is coming back for a visit.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

February Celebrations are over..... things are slowing down

Well  all the family celebrations of February have ended.  It sure was a busy, busy, but fun month.  We are so very blessed to have such a wonderful family.

Earlier in February I went for my first CT- Scan.  Lasted about 15 minutes, and painless.........  That was a while ago - so I'm assuming that all looked good.  They told me they would let me know if the doctor wanted/needed to see me before my next scheduled appointment later in March.  Have not heard from them - so assuming that's good news.

But just as we thought the frequent doctor visits had slowed down, Rich acquired a huge boil on the middle of his back.  Went to our Primary Care physician and was put on a high dosage (875 mg) of Antibiotics, and a daily dose of Pro-Biotic.  Looking better, but needs to be surgically removed - so  off  to the Dermatologist  later this week!    Hard to see with his black shirt on.... but they lanced the abscess to make it drain, and so he came home with a huge pressure bandage on his back,  Not very easy to sit..... or sleep that night!   Follow up visit was good - and he has set up an appointment to have the core removed on this one and a previous one that's healed.....that will be the first part of June.

On Saturday our friends from South Carolina, Cliff and Carlene Freeman (Carlene and Cliff went to high school together) visited us for the day. They brought Buster with them, so we also got our "dog fix"!! Arrived about 1:00 o'clock.

Carlene and I both enjoy experimenting with new this time I found a recipe for a Pineapple Orange Cream-sickle Mimosa. (Moscato, Pineapple Juice, and Orange Sherbet).  Excellent - we made, and finished, a pitcher full and enjoyed some sausage and cheese a crackers.

Dinner was linguine with meatballs, Cesar salad and garlic bread, and they brought with them 2 Carvel Ice Cream Cakes for dessert!  We only see them once a year, so we had a lot to catch up on...........and just talked forever.  It was after 7:00 pm when they headed back to Wauchula.   We're heading through S. Carolina in June ---- never know, we may surprise them with a visit!

A short bout of cooler weather is back this week, with daily  highs back in the 70's! Love it when we can have the doors and windows open!  And we even got the bicycles out again to do a little riding around the neighborhood. 

 And along with the cooler weather, came a big pot of home made potato soup to take off the chill!
And we finished the last of it on Saturday.

Finally got out and bought some new picture frames for the grand-kids pictures.  We brought the bigger ones back with us this past summer when we visited the family in Iowa.  So proud of these two.

And today shot a few pictures of our Blue Heron down on the dock.

Time change today..........time to Spring Ahead.......... 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Birthdays, Anniversary, and Family Gatherings

On Friday, February 23rd, Rich and I celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary. We've been together now, for 48 years.  This was my message and card to Rich.

Rich replied with a special comment to me out on Facebook today: "I'm the one that feels blessed being with Donna for 48 years and married for 44!  Love you more every year and looking forward to our 50th, with my very best friend"

And I love that he always gives me a homemade hand cut card!!

For dinner we went to Red Lobster.  It's Lobsterfest, so we both opted for Lobster, one way or the other.   Rich - Dueling Lobster Tails - One steamed in parchment with lemon and spices, and the other grilled and topped with shrimp and bay scallops..........with a side of mashed potatoes.

I had the Seaport Lobster and Shrimp -Wood Frilled Maine Lobster, Shrimp

Scampi and garlic grilled shrimp skewer, with a side of broccoli and rice.

Add our salads and cheddar biscuits -  and it was a delicious meal.

On Saturday we headed out to my Nephew, John Benjamin's house in Zephyrhills for a small family gathering. My cousin Carol (Benjamin) Pelrah and husband Jack are here in Fl for about a month, so the Benjamin families here in Fl decided to get together.

On Friday I made no-bake cookies, oatmeal cookies, and peanut butter fudge to take with us.  And on Sunday morning I put together some ham and cream cheese roll-ups, and a pineapple cabbage salad.  We packed it all in the cooler along with some beer and wine - and we were on our way.  We had a wonderful time.  Carol Pelrah is my cousin, John, Linda and Bonnie are brothers/sisters and my nieces, and nephew. (Brother Mick's children)

Pictured below: Top: Jack and Carol Pelray, Linda Rathbun and husband Tom,  Linda and her brother John Benjamin 3rd.  Bottom: John, Bonnie, Jack and Carol in the back, Me and Linda,   Rich and John,  and John, Bonnie, Me, Jack and Linda.

Looking forward to seeing all of them again in NY in August at our Benjamin Family Reunion!

And Sunday was Dennis's birthday. He turned 49!  Happy Birthday Dennis Donald.  We love you so much!!

Next week is a visit with northern friends, Cliff and Carlene who will be staying in Wauchula.............and then a few days later dinner at Nathan and Krystal's, with Buddy and Dianne.  Talked with friends Bob and Lavern (the clowns) and Bob is recuperating and feeling better.  We look forward to seeing them before they head back north.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Dennis visits for weekend Birthday Celebration

This past week, our son Dennis was attending national security classes at the Shades of Green military hotel in Buena Vista, Florida. Training ended on Friday, so we headed out about 10 am that morning to pick him up.  You can't enter the gated entrance to the hotel with telling the guard who and why you are visiting, and providing ID and letting them know if you will be parking or just picking the guest up.  Absolutely beautiful landscaping!!!

Anyway - after getting lost twice near Magic Kingdom because of the extensive construction, and even On-Star not getting us to our location - we picked him up and headed for lunch, We were a little early to check in to our Hotel, so we drove to Old Town, grabbed some lunch at Checkers and checked out a few of the shops.  Good picture of Rich and Dennis with the Walking Dead - which is one of Dennis' favorite programs!

Our hotel was the Comfort Suites Maingate East which is located adjacent to Old Town, which was very convenient.  With the exception that one elevator was not working, the hotel was exceptionally nice.  Huge rooms, great morning hot breakfast, beautiful pool and fitness center, and small shop for snacks or beverages and concierge for  tickets and shuttle to local theme parks.

That evening we took Dennis to Capone's Dinner and Show, just a few miles down the road. A few minutes in the lobby checking out the "attire" and then upstairs for drinks an horederves before the show.  We elected the VIP tickets again this time which includes your snacks and drinks.  The Margarita was excellent!

VIP gets you seated early, and first to enjoy the buffet.  Tonight the food was exceptionally good!  We all enjoyed seconds!!!   Upon arrival, like everyone who comes to the show, we had our picture taken - which Dennis really liked, and decided to purchase.  We took home the key ring with our pictures.

The show was OK.......We have been here many times and have always enjoyed the atmosphere and the show.  Sometimes a bit corny - but always a good laugh and good entertainment.

Almost the entire staff was new and the show was totally different. We were so used to the regular guys who severed the drinks all night.  Unlike previously these guys did not even participate in the show!  The new cast AND the new show was disappointing, now where near as funny...........  We are not so likely to return again any time soon.  We did however enjoy the non-stop beer and wine!

Saturday was Rich's Birthday.  We enjoyed the complimentary breakfast before heading for home.

It was a beautiful day, with minimal wind so we took a ride in the boat.  Got an absolutely great picture of Rich and his son in the boat...............while I can't say the same for the one Dennis took of ME!!  On the way back we noticed that the turtles were all out sunning themselves again!

That evening we all went to Dock 633 for dinner.  Beautiful evening, so we sat outside.  Unfortunately they were out of the Dock Onion which we were all hoping to share...........but the food  and service was excellent.  Rich had one of their big burgers ( not the one pounder - which is huge - check out the description  below) and Dennis and I had the Reuben and Slaw. Very enjoyable time.

Back home finished the birthday celebration with cake and ice cream!

Dennis' step dad drove down from Tampa to pick him up Sunday morning, shared some coffee and donuts with us.  Dennis will be spending time with him and his step-sister today and Monday before he heads back to Iowa.

All in all - it was a very enjoyable weekend and we hated having to see it end and to say good-bye.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

February Celebrations Begin

And so all the February celebrations have started........

First on the list this week is our grandson's birthday.  Dalton celebrated his 20th Birthday on Tuesday February 13th.   He is in his second year, studying Forensic Medicine at the University of Iowa, and is a member of the Hawkeye's Marching Band.  We are just so proud of the wonderful young man he has become.

And of course today is Valentine's Day. 

So much going on this weekend and next week that we decided to just stay in for the day.  But we did each find our Valentine gift this morning when we awoke.   Rich was very happy with his box of chocolate covered cherries, mild chocolate and chocolate cherry candy and his heart shaped chocolate chip cookie!

And I  was especially surprised with a gift certificate for an hour facial and an hour massage at The Spa at Hammock Falls.  But my favorite is always the hand made Valentine Card!

Lazy Days of Winter

February will be a busy month with birthdays, anniversary, and family gatherings, but the past week or so have been pretty slow and lazy days.  Typical winter weather with sunny/cool days and a bit colder nights.

Rich had his appointment with the Cardiologist to see the results of his echo cardiogram.  All went well, just a minor adjustment to his medications!  And so he's good until we come back NY in August.   A trip to the Dermatologist to check a spot on his back also went well......... And me.... I have just one more scheduled next week with the Urologist.

We decided to make a stop at the Hibachi Grill after the Dermatologist visit despite it being just mid afternoon.  Kind of thought that food would not all be fresh/hot given the time of day.  Very surprised - it was very busy and everything was perfect!   Not the usual young man doing the grill ----- and he too did a great job!

Tuesday night was President Trump's State of the Union Address.  Watched the whole thing!  This will be one of those speeches that will go down in history as one of the very best!

And on Wednesday we went to Chicanes Restaurant for a complimentary dinner and informational presentation by Todd Pooley, who is an Independent Financial Advisor.  It was actually a very informative presentation on Fixed Indexed Annuities.   Way better rates than a bank CD, but lower than the stock market.  Rates are based on S&P 500..........but if the Market goes down your balance does NOT.

Chicanes Restaurant is located at the Inn on the Lakes in Sebring. I'm sure the restaurant is excellent - but I would not frequent a restaurant  where an 8oz. Fillet Mignon is $50!  We had three choices for our meal, a Fish dish, Linguine, or Tuscan Chicken.  These dishes normally run about $15 on the lunch menu.  I will say that the food was excellent.  Rich had the linguine, and I had the chicken.

Have to share one more thing.  My nice, while going through some of her father's things after he passes away, found and invitation to my High School Graduation!  How cool!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Just another ordinary week.....

Not a whole lot going on this past week.  And now there's not even much to watch on TV.  With the Olympics on, most all of the regular programs are not showing for the next couple of weeks.   We've been recording a few movies, just so we have something besides the news to watch in the evening ..... Rich doesn't watch the Olympics - but I am enjoying them.

Tuesday was my visit with the Urologist.  A few month's back a small spot showed up on my right kidney so I was referred to Dr. Arciola.  It took me from November until February to get an appointment!!  Anyway, I learned that I have a tumour/Angiomyolipoma.  This is a kidney tumour made up of fat, blood vessels and smooth muscle tissue, and while they are generally non-cancerous, they can spread into and destroy surrounding tissue. They can also cause sudden hemorrhaging from the kidney into the abdomen when the tumor is larger. 

Mine appears to be small right now.  I went back in for more blood work on Wednesday and I have a CT-Scan - scheduled for tomorrow morning.  Dr. wants to make sure it has not gotten any larger since November - and if all is good we just need to check on it a couple of times a year.

So anyway - this weekend was a busy one.  Rich trimmed the topiary out front    (and I cleaned up the mess!).  He power washed the front of the house, and the foyer area, while I cleaned the windows and swept up the floor in the garage.  He did a lot of power washing out back, with the deck, the walk and the boathouse. 

February is a busy month for birthdays: Dalton, Rich and Dennis.  Then of course comes Valentines Day and our Anniversary.   And hoping that this week goes by fast - cuz we leave to meet up with son, Dennis on Friday!  Excited.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Cooking, Baking.......and the Country Fair

I really do enjoy we had some pretty good meals these last few days.  Thursday we did Shrimp Scampi over linguine, with garlic bread,  Friday I made up a big batch of White Chicken Chili, with cornbread, and Saturday we did meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and baked asparagus and today - (no picture) we did Rigatoni and Sausage.

On Saturday we went into town for the Lake Placid Annual Country Fair.  Beautiful day to be out and about and there were lots and lots of people!  When a small town like this starts charging $5 for parking - they know the venue is going to bring a big crowd!  It was a fun afternoon - so many booths set up, and there was a free shuttle running from the park to the school, where a large art exhibit was set up in the cafeteria. 

Like most fairs - lots and lots of tents set up.........with tons of places to eat.  Here are a few of our favorites.........a couple a bit unique, like the Crab Cakes, and the Catfish!! 

And a lot of talented people with booths/tents set up with stuff they build or make.  The bench was one of my favorites, and the outdoor wine bottle/wine glass waterfall. 

As we walked around we ran into our neighbor Phil sitting and enjoying the music.  All the clowns gathered for a group photo in front of the mural of the very first Country Fair.   Bob (Silly Willy) came over from the local Rehab Center, where he is staying and recovering from open heart surgery. Stopped to chat with some of the clowns at their booth - and I received a beautiful hand made bracelet!! And of course before we did anything - we had to find the Funnel Cake booth for Rich!!

The other couple of areas that we enjoyed was the Humane Society, the Bald Eagle and the BC Critter's Reptile Rescue which included the snake, the iguana, the tarantula, the 50+ year old tortoise, the turtles from South America and more. 

Also did some baking yesterday and today.   I made up another couple dozen no-bake cookies for Rich.  ( I guess no-bake is not really baking, is it!!).  A Rich was busy in the kitchen making his homemade, yeast risen bread, which went real well with the Linguine! 

Sad news from the family in they lost their dog Venus.  This is really a sad story, as Venus was a rescue dog..........  I'll let Dennis tell the story. 

😭 Devastating news we lost Precious Venus this afternoon 💖🐕🌈. She passed in my arms trying to get her to ER. Bless her heart, the heart defects were too much. Pain free & run free Precious girl. So much to say & wish I could share everything she was able to experience ... Loving home, big brother, first snow, Christmas, watching TV, many toys, freedom & comfort, etc! She was a Hurricane Harvey survivor & a warrior that fought hard! As a Volunteer at King's Harvest Pet Rescue No-Kill Shelter (KHPR) we took her in as a Hospice Foster on 31 Oct 17. I want to thank all at KHPR, those that donated, the community, family & friends that loved, prayed, asked & cared about her, all Vet's that had a piece of her care & Onyx (our lab) that took care of her & provided love & companionship! So crushed but no regrets! She will be cremated & return home where she belongs & deserves! Precious Venus will be missed but never forgotten! Thank you everyone!💖🐕🙏🙌
 — feeling sad.

Monday, January 22, 2018

A little work..... A little play~~

Well it looks like the cold weather is least for a while.  Most of this past week was booking hotels, planning travel routes, and preparing for family gatherings.  Lots of things coming up! February is a family get together in Zephyrhills. Benjamin nieces and nephews from Zephyrhills, Plant City and Hudson along with our cousin Carol and husband visiting from Beaver Dams, NY. 💗 Then later in February a trip to Orlando to meet up with our son Dennis for Rich's Birthday.   And then our monthly get together with the Showalter's and Douglas'

In March, Krystal and I have a girls night out planned with dinner, followed by a an event at the South Florida Performing Arts. 

In May we have 4 days scheduled in Orlando  at the Home 2 Suites, ( this is a FREE stay!) on our way to Cocoa Beach for a week.  Then in June  we are going to the Broadway Palm in Ft. Myers for my birthday and then we will head to Black Lake in upstate NY for six weeks. On our way back from NY we will stop in Elmira for the Benjamin Reunion, and then spend a few days with friends in Columbia Crossroads, PA. 

In the meantime we are finishing up a lot of the comfort food.........Our neighbor, Diane, came over with some Butter Pecan Cake - that was a perfect dessert to follow the left over Chili!

Over the weekend we did a little cleaning in the garage, washed the car and FINALLY put the bench seat back in the car!  It has been covered and sitting on a piece of plywood, on the boat trailer since we removed it last MAY!!!  Not easy with someone as weak as me trying to help Rich maneuver that thing.  It's very heavy!!  It's not coming out again - we'll just need to find a way to make things fit!!

On Sunday, it was such a beautiful day, that we decided to just take the boat out for a ride.  A lot of houses still with blue tarps, waiting to get their new roofs, and so much damage to trees along the canal. Hurricane Irma did a job on all the foliage as well......... trees that were thick and shading, and usually dressed with Florida birds are now nearly barren and broken.  It will take a while to get the beauty of the area back.

But it was beautiful out on the lake.   And this gave Rich a chance to check out how the motor was running.  He'd done a lot of work over the last month, new parts, fixing the gas line, and replacing the lubricant in the lower unit.  But today it was running great!! 

And then on the ride back before we reached the house we spotted a group of turtles sunning themselves on downed tree limbs and along the shoreline. No idea what kind of turtles they all are............but it was really quite a sight!

The backyard looks so strange with the tree gone that used to be down by the boathouse.  Hurricane Irma took that as well.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cooler Weather Remains, Back Yard Beauty, Dinner with Friends

Not a whole lot going on this past week............I guess it's the slow down time after the holidays.  We've both been feeling pretty good though. It's 7:00 am as I write this and it's 49 degrees outside!   Yes the cooler weather is still here, and by
mid week it's supposed to get even colder. Chili is on the menu for Wednesday!  Last night it was Rich's homemade pizza!

We have had a few comfortable days though and Rich was out doing the last of
the maintenance on the boat/motor.  Can't believe I didn't get the camera out as he rigged up some 14 foot boards to make a plank so he could change the lubricant in the lower section of the motor!

Quite a contraption! 👀  That's when I call him MacGyver!😄

This has been a great week to enjoy mother nature!  Not just the weather, but the variety of birds to watch.  We continue to keep watch on the Blue Heron, nesting atop the pine trees, but a few days ago I caught a Anhinga down on the dock.  Love the way they twist and turn and stretch their necks.Was hoping to get him diving for a fish............

This is also the time of year when our camping/traveling friends start to arrive here in Florida, which gives us a chance to see them and spend time with them, if only for a short visit when they visit TT Peace River in Wauchula.  Our friends, "The Clowns" Bob and Laverne just sent us a message they were back in Lake Placid.  Unfortunately, Bob is scheduled for open heart surgery on Friday - so everyone keep him in your prayers.

Well the holidays are over, so we are getting back on schedule for our monthly get-together.  Tonight was dinner at the Hibachi Grill with the Douglas' and the Showalter's.  As always the food was good and the company was great.........but we all missed Krystal.  Unfortunately she was having one of her bad days and hope she's feeling better soon.   We did manage to get her in our picture!   Actually Nathan is holding his phone where a picture of her is displayed!!!

Well another batch of cold weather is headed this way for the next couple of day..... especially during the night!  Bundle up and stay warm!