Monday, April 28, 2014

Our Orlando Adventure

It's been a while since Rich and I got out for a little entertainment.  We decided that we were going to get away from the house for at least a day and just relax and have a little fun.  We asked our friends Nate and Krystal to join us for the weekend.........but their recent move and arrival of their four new horses that they are fostering .........well, let's just say the timing was not good.

It's been a while since we just went off and enjoyed each other's company, without friends or family..... and even though it was only for the day, we had a great time. 

We started out Saturday, mid morning for Orlando which is about a 2 hour drive from home.  

We stopped in Haines City at Bob Evans  - one of our favorite places for breakfast!  

 Rich ordered the strawberry pancakes and I, the Western Omelet.  HUGE - both of them..........and while Rich managed to finish his pancakes..........I left a good portion of mine. 
Back on the road, we continued on to Kissimmee, FL.   Rich just LOVES chocolate, so we decided to stop at the Chocolate Factory, Chocolate Kingdom,  adjacent to Old Town, in Kissimmee.    The reviews on line were pretty good - and I knew he'd get to "sample" some chocolate so we put it on our agenda.   
 We arrived just about 10 minutes before they were scheduled for their next tour.  PERFECT!    It was $16.95 pp for the tour, and for $5 more Rich could go home with a  "made to order" candy bar.    So he  selected the Milk Chocolate, with peanut butter chips and rice crispies.   

When we began the tour, they put us in this little room, where we met our tour guide and got to watch a video about chocolate.  OH MY...........Hope this gets better.........especially when the video was  a "cartoon" like character of a Prince and a Fire Breathing Dragon - who melts the chocolate slippers that the Prince had made for his Princess!!!!   It did get better..........

Our tour guide for the day, was very impressive, very knowledgeable on the history of the cacao tree  and the production of chocolate from the early history with the Aztec Indians to the arrival of chocolate in the modern day love of chocolate..............

Along the way we got to sample the chocolate, from the original state ( 100% chocolate) to the addition of sugar and then milk for milk chocolate ..................   We sampled 100% chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate, we  learned how chocolate is made, and we watched as they made Rich's chocolate take home. 

Given the time......we had to make a decision.  Do we go to the Osceola County Cracker and Pioneer Museum.........or head to International Drive and walk to see what might look interesting?  
We decided to head for the hotel and take a walk along International Drive...............  We said later that "we should have gone to the Cracker Museum!"

This area of International Drive, where our hotel was located did not have a lot of tourist attractions.....except for the souvenir shops.    And we did see an interesting reflexology shop..............and while we didn't go in,   I did take a picture so we'd know which part of the foot affects what!!!   Reflexology is very interesting.......

We continued our walk, stopping and laughing at the multitude of signs, plaques  etc. in the gift shops........ and then stopped to take in a game of putt-putt- golf.

We stopped at Gator Golf.
It was a pretty warm and sunny afternoon, but thankfully there were several areas sheltered from the sun that allowed us a bit of shade and a bit of a breeze.   Along the way we stopped to watch the Florida Alligator, check out the Mud Turtle ( and her baby) observe the unusual layout of the course, with antique trucks and tractors................   Yes - that's Rich, at one of the very unusual holes. 

And while I was taking pictures and enjoying "mother nature"  Rich whooped my Butt!!!......I think he really tried extra hard; it was pay back for beating him the last time we played.  But he beat me good today.  Rich 45 ------ Donna   57.   But hey............I have to take pictures, which is very very distracting!!!

We stayed at the Metropolitan Express Hotel.  A very very old building, but the rooms were spacious and very clean, and the pool was just outside our sliding glass door.  And at the pool was a Tiki Bar.  The "special" drink of the day was the Slushy - most any flavor with your choice of
alcohol.  Rich had the Black Cherry with Silver Rum and I had Orange with Vodka.  Both were quite good.  We chatted for a while with a couple, also from Florida, visiting the hotel.

 Back in the room it was time to shower and get ready for our night out.  But not before Rich opened his made to order candy bar...........He had already opened it and had a bite before I could get to my camera.

We had made reservations at the Treasure Tavern, which was located less than 1/2 mile from the hotel.  We had not been here before, nor did we know anyone who had, but the reviews on Trip Advisor were quite good, so we thought we'd give it a try.  A little pricy, so we were anticipating both good food and great entertainment.   We arrived about 15 minutes before they opened the doors so we chatted with a couple from right there in Orlando, also taking in the show for the first time.

 When allowed inside we were met by a lovely young lady, one of the "Jewels" who escorted us to our table.  We were joined at our table for four by a very lovely couple from Nassau, Bahamas. He was a retired accountant, and she still working as an Attorney for the government. As you can see from this first picture - taking pictures inside was just impossible with my camera!  The other picture is of "Jinx" a very special "Jewel" - who was our favorite of the evening.  She was absolutely hilarious!

The four photos below are courtesy of TRIP ADVISOR and show some of the entertainment we enjoyed during the evening.   The Treasure Tavern's owner describes this place the best:

Treasure Tavern is an un-rivaled one-of a kind dining experience.  Cirque, burlesque, comedy, magic, music and upscale dining come together to create a grown up experience that's rowdy enough to get you going, but classy enough to bring a date! 

The first picture is of the "Madam" in the center and her Jewels.  The Jewels sing, dance and also are your servers at your table. 

Here are a few more of our favorite acts.    There was the lady with the rings, acrobats, magicians and a singer who had an absolutely amazing voice. 

The entertainment was great.  The food left a little bit to be desired. Everything was very tasteful, with the exception of the Beef Medallion.  We were only given the choice of medium or well, and all four of us ordered medium.  All four of us received a VERY well done piece of meat.  The portions of the potato and asparagus were very small - but very good.  Next time I'll get chicken - what we saw on the other tables looked quite good.

The only other dinner theater that we've been to recently in Orlando that is comparable is Capones.  The food at Capones is definitely better - your alcoholic beverages are also free for the evening.  But the entertainment at Treasure Tavern is by far some of the best we've seen.  Adult entertainment.  The magicians, acrobats, etc. were more the quality of what you might see on a cruise.  Very very good.    We would recommend this place to anyone; we'd definitely go back again.

We were actually up early the next morning and headed for home.  We were home around noon after a stop at the Sebring Diner for breakfast.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter was Fun..............But Different

For as long as the both of us can remember ( and that's a LONG time!)  Easter was always a visit from the Easter Bunny, Church on Sunday morning and then working to prepare the Easter Ham with all the fixins for dinner.  It meant enjoying time with family and/or friends.  It was filling your bellies with home cooking and picking chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chickens and jelly beans all day long from the Easter Basket.

This Easter - the Easter Bunny arrived as usual.  Rich got his chocolate bunnies and peanut butter cups.  I don't do the chocolate - so the Easter Bunny always brings me something special.    I had been looking on line and found a sign that said "There is no Life Before Coffee" and another that said "Life Begins After Coffee.  The wooden signs that I liked the best were less than $5, but was NOT going to pay $12 or $15 for shipping.  So Rich found an old piece of wood and made one for me.  I LOVE IT!!!!

So far so good.    And like every other Easter.............while we don't have family here in Florida, we do have friends.  And so we made plans to spend the day with Nick and Tonyia.   The guys wanted to get in some fishing, and Tonyia and I wanted to play some Mexican Train, so in order to have more time to have fun.............we made plans to eat dinner out.  

Now I am NOT complaining.  I did  miss the smell of ham, the homemade sweet potatoes and green bean casserole AND even more...........THE LEFTOVERS!     We went to dinner early so we'd have the rest of the day.  The guys headed out in the boat and Tonyia and I fixed a couple of White Russians and played Mexican Train most of the afternoon.    

Here we are at Golden Corral.   Rich hates having his picture taken, and this time I think Tonyia caught him  saying something wise! 

We certainly had enough to eat for dinner. So we fixed some snacks, deviled eggs, crackers and cheese..............and watched a couple of movies!   Rich called it a night and I turned on the ball game I had taped earlier in the day. 

The day went by fast .........but it's always nice spending time with good friends. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Enjoying the Beauty of the Back Yard!

It's that time of year when everyone starts spending a little more time outside.  Spring is when we fertilize, clean up the yard, plant new shrubs and flowers and so on.   This past week it seems I spent a  a little more time than normal outside, whether is was watering some of the plants ( like the Azalea and Indian Hawthorn) after they were fertilized,  pulling weeds from the flower beds, or just relaxing on the lanai with my puzzles and enjoying the perfect weather and frequent visitors to our backyard!

Three of our Azalea bushes on the east side of the house needed replacing, so that meant a little extra watering.   The  lady who mows our lawn treated several of our Indian Hawthorn in the front yard, that for some reason attracted a little fungus......  but there is now some new growth.  The backyard is looking quite nice............  The St. Bernard Lily - The Ixora Bushes are in full bloom. We didn't even know that we had Caladiums in the yard........but we located these down by the water and others along the west side of the house.  The magnolia blossoms are out out on the large tree in our neighbors yard.... and our pineapple ( we have five plants) are really getting big!

The black bellied whistling ducks were back again - this time filing through the yard rather than perching on the boathouse.   Another flock was situated on the dock across the canal. 

One afternoon I got fascinated by the little lizards.   Technically, I'm not sure if the black one between the rocks is a lizard or a black skink.  Wish I could have got a better picture - he was pretty!    Rich actually watched one day as one of the black birds in the yard managed to corner and grab one of our resident lizards when he came out from under the stone.

Over the past several days we been visited by this pest bird.  Actually there are two of them, and they seem to love our sliding glass doors.  The windows are tinted - so we think they see themselves in the reflection.  They land either on the window or the screen, and pound there beak against the window or flutter their wings.  I did my online search to try and find out what they were, and determined they were Western Kingbirds ( also called fly catchers).  They migrate to Florida but not in large numbers.  I read that some have recently been seen in the neighboring county near Lake Okeechobee.  I guess they are working their way to Highlands County!!!

And one of my favorite visitors was back.  The Great Blue Heron

Amazing how fast time flies when you are enjoying this much beauty right in your backyard!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rich's Project is Finished and I LOVE IT!

On Monday, the Secretary Desk that Rich was building for our living room was finally finished.   Woodworking is something that he enjoys as a hobby............but I think he missed his calling.  He is such a perfectionist!  The detail and workmanship on this piece of furniture is beautiful.

Anyway - the final painting was done on Monday.  Tuesday morning it was ready to bring inside.  The piece is not heavy so were carrying it from the garage through the front entrance.  There is a long enclosed porch with one step up to the main door entrance.  I was holding the legs, while Rich was walking backwards holding the top.  I remembered the step behind Rich..............BUT not soon enough.  Just as I said "watch the step" Rich fell!  He fell very hard and landed in a sitting position.  Not wanting to drop the desk, his arms were extended/stretched as he fell.    Rich has a VERY high tolerance for I was VERY concerned when I saw the pain on his face and he kept saying 'MY BACK" .  He was close to passing out, and managed to lie on his back.  I could tell he was still in a lot of pain, and asked if I should get help.  But he said NO.    After a while I was able to help him up, get him to the couch and get some ice on his back and give him some medication for the inflammation.   He said later that when he fell, the pain just shot all the way up his back.  We kept the ice on/off every half hour or so.

I pray every night to keep Rich safe and healthy...........and today my prayers were answered.  I could not believe it when he got up from the couch and said he felt fine.  He said he felt  'normal'.   And today after sleeping the night he, while he does have a little muscle ache - he is doing great!

So - on with the finished project!!!!  I managed to get the desk the rest of the way in the house myself.....

The bottom left has room for our printer, as well as a storage shelf.

 The bottom right is my hanging file drawer

The top pulls down and serves as the desk area.

There is a small shelf in the upper left corner.  My computer will fit under the shelf when not is use.

And Rich is going to build in some standing file space in the back right portion.

What I like the best is that I not only have my very own desk space..........but this serves as a functional piece of furniture in a corner of the living room that was until now very empty!    And the black finish matches perfectly with our coffee table and end stands.  SO............When it's OPEN........It's  my DESK!

And the rest of the time.  It's a decorative, beautiful addition to our living room.

Congrats Nick and Tonyia

I finally got around to downloading my pictures...........

These are the pictures we took when we went out to dinner a week or so ago with Nick and Tonyia.  We met up with them at their RV and they took us over to the Park Model that they just purchased.   Needs a little work, but they got it for a great price.  These two are very ambitious, creative and hard workers, so I expect that they will have this fixed up very nicely.............. Congratulations Nick and Tonyia!  Enjoy your new home!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014


I really think that Rich should take a break and spend a day out fishing too, but once he gets started on a project there is no pulling him away. 

 So this weekend will be spent in the garage............And I'll make him some peanut butter cookies!!

Here's a peek at how far along we are!  It's really looking great!

Happy Anniversary to Great Friends

So what did Nick and Tonyia decide to do to celebrate their anniversary this year?  They spent the day enjoying their very favorite past time. FISHING.  And they asked us to join them for dinner.

They hooked their boat/trailer to the truck Thursday night ready to head our way Friday morning. They were out on the water early and spent the whole day fishing here on Lake June.
 About 4:00 o'clock Nick sent a message saying they would be arriving in about a half hour - but Tonyia was on a streak, catching one after the other so they were just a bit delayed!!  About 5:00  we saw them heading our way.......

They brought their "catches" of the day with them.   Before 2:00 o'clock Nick had caught a nice 19" Bass, and they'd also got about 15 (shell) crackers.   It was about the time they were going to head in that Tonyia was reeling in one after another - I think Nick said 5 in a row!.

Here's a picture of the bass that Nick got.  There was also one small fish that they were not sure what it was.  When stopping at the bait shop on their way home later they learned that it was a Blue Talapia!

After spending all day in the sun - it was going to be someplace casual for dinner - so Nick suggested Dock 633, just across the lake.   Nick celebrated with a couple Margarita's and Tonyia with a Fluffy Something or Other !  Can't remember the name - but it was like a White Russian and very very tasty!    They decided to leave their boat parked at our dock house for the night so we stopped, got their truck and went back to the house where they left the trailer in the driveway, grabbed the cooler of fish that still needed to be cleaned and we said goodnight.   They'd be back early in the morning, bring us breakfast from McDonald's and then head out for another day of fishing.