Lake Eola...

Basically, this post is just a picture overload.
I don't often get the chance to get all the cousins (my grandkids)
together at the same time for pictures so they love  generously give
their Nana time for photo shoots whenever the stars aline.

Lake Eola is an Orlando treasure.  It was the tourist attraction before Disney,
Sea World or Universal were built.  Growing up whenever relatives
would come into town we always went to Lake Eola and Gatorland.
(Gatorland..... the bad dreams of my childhood, but that's another story)

As a child we always went there for Easter pictures and 4th of July Fireworks.

So when it was a sunny cool day in January I knew that's where I wanted to go.

Thanks everyone for that adventure.

Lake Eola is right in the center of downtown Orlando.  Surrounded by old oak trees 
with long hanging moss, a mix between well kept older two story homes and modern office buildings.
Famous for the beautiful fountain in the center which has lovely color show at night and is
filled with black and white swans.  It even has large swan boats to rent during the day.
There are numerous art festivals and activites throughout the year.  A band shell for musical 
performaces and the Nutcracker at Christmas.  Sunday mornings bring a splendid farmer's market.
Also surrounded by delicious restaurants looking out on the lake.

The next time your visiting the magnificent Disney World 
  it's worth a little side trip to see the real Orlando.

the real Orlando.  


"Winter-bread Houses"

Two of my grand kids weren't  here for Christmas because
their Dad had a conference schedule in our city a few weeks later
and they decided to tag along then.

We had lots of special activities to cram into the 
short amount of time they were here.

One night I had the three youngest grand kids for a sleep over
and we decided to build gingerbread winterbread houses.

Aunt Melissa picked up three gingerbread house kits after Christmas
for a steal.  I had been collecting winter themed candy for us to use.
We initially thought we'd go for a Frozen theme but as they were
decorating, they integrated more and more Christmas candies also.

I  pre-made the houses so they could just concentrate on decorating.

I know I'd lose the attention of some of them if it took too long.

I may be biased but I'm pretty sure we are closing in on being ready to
compete in Food Network Gingerbread House Competition in Asheville next year.  HA!

I do believe they ate as much candy while they were decorating as actually went on the house.


Nana and Poppy thought it would be a great idea if they took their houses home with
them so mom and dad could enjoy them too.

Being a grandparent definitely has it's benefits.

I love moments like this.  

After we were done with our houses we watched movies,  played kitchen/restaurant and
finally crashed on comforters in the grandkids room.  Instead of beds, they all
wanted to sleep on the floor together.  I remember doing that a time or two
when I was younger.

We may or may not of had some additional snacks.  

Auntie Carrie joined us for movie time.


To do gifts.....

One of my favorite kind of gifts to give or receive
are things "to do", especially as a family.

Every year my Dad and Step-Mom send gift cards for all the adults
to a local restaurant so we can go together as a family.

It's becoming a rare occasion that we are all in town and available
at the same time so I really treasure these times together.

Just my immediate family is large.  Can you imagine with my much larger extended family.

Thanks Dad and Margaret.  

We really appreciate your gift and have a new memory to file away and keep.  

Love you.


funny things they say.....

I wasn't sure how to title this.
Grand kids sayings

I just know I want to remember things my kids, grand kids, nieces and nephews said
when they were young.

Instead of relying on my ever increasingly aging mind, I'm gonna post them just for me.

Brody:  Hey Nana, come take a picture of us so we can always remember we looked
at turtles together.


Brody:  Nana, I wish I could live with you in Florida.
Nana:  I wish you could too buddy.
Brody:  Mommy, can I live with Nana in Florida.
Mommy:  When you grow up you can if you want too.
Brody:  Nana, I will absolutely move in with you as soon as I grow up.
Nana:  I would love that Brody.

(Insert melting heart)

Somewhere I've have a list written down of some of the things Carrie and Taylor said
when they were young that struck me as funny.  As soon as I find them I'll have to
play catch up.


What's on my nightstand...

I'm determined to get through more books this year.

Currently on my night stand are books I'm either re-reading
or am planning on getting to this month.


Radical  (4th time, it's just good for my soul)
The 5 Love Languages
The Hole in our Gospel
Made to Crave
Antelope in the Living Room (hilarious)

Reading for the first time:

In this House We Will Giggle 
(after reading this I'm sure I'll want a do-over in raising my kids)

Balancing It All

So far I'm loving both

I tend to have multiple books going in the same time period.

What are you currently reading?


Winter Decor

I love winter so it's probably a strange thing that I still live in Florida.
I love the cold, snow, icicles, snowmen, ski lodges, cabins, sleds
hot chocolate, soups, sweaters, blankets.....

You name it, I love it.

Some say that unless you've had to deal with
the slushy melting muck, scraping ice off of cars,
heating bills or going to work in it you may not know
what you're talking about.  That could possibly be true...

But in my wishes, I love it.

So after the Christmas decor comes down I put up a few 
winter decorations so I can imagine I've having a winter.

Because I'm committed to purging all of my holiday decorations this month
I decided just to put up very few little touches.

my snowball wreath

loving my deer plate that my sweet Melissa gifted me for Christmas
I think it is meant to be a Christmas decoration but I'm loving it for winter.

Anthropologie had the most lovely plates this holiday season

I'm kind of regretting not getting the deer pillow but I just couldn't justify the price.
I'm pretty cheap frugal that way.  

I believe I just might have an addiction to the winter Bath and Body Works
soap scents, especially "Winter"
my favorite soap and candle scent from BBW

I was lucky to nab up quite the stash with their after Christmas sale

I wanted a few snow candles but I really did not want to invest in 
anything else until I'm done with the "Decor Purge"

I know you've seen this project all over facebook and Pinterest

I was going to do a tutorial but it was quite frankly 
so easy there is no need for it.  

All you need is:
Kosher Salt
Mod Podge
white candle
sponge brush

all of which I had on hand

Brush on Mod Podge, sprinkle on salt and let dry

I have my winter scented candles in a few different rooms of the house.
They smell divine.  Similar to my all time favorite, Volcano.

and now I'm off for a walk to enjoy my nice 70 degree winter day