Archive | July, 2011

Friday Free-for-All: Cleaning, Pinning and Planning

29 Jul

Image courtesy of Flickr user patries71 under Creative Commons license.

Ok, folks, to get the blog moving a little more, I’m going to try something new: a little weekly recap of what’s going on in my life and/or the web. Since it’s a little bit of everything I think I will call it Friday Free-for-All. (Why, yes, I do like a little alliteration now and then! :-))

So, here goes! If you like it, let me know down in the comments section.

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Summer Blueberries

22 Jul

I’m usually pretty frugal when it comes to buying produce. I tend to buy whatever fruit is on special and avoid anything delicate that tends to spoil quickly. That includes berries.

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Travel Review: Gulf Shores, Ala. (Part 3 of 3 – All the Rest)

20 Jul

In this final post about our Gulf Shores vacation, I’ll post a little bit of everything. Here are all the other places we visited on our trip.

The House

We spent our stay in a rented beachfront home in Gulf Shores. It was a great location (not too crowded, not too remote).

Traveling with a baby, I can’t even describe how awesome it is to have a full kitchen and a full washer and dryer. We were able to eat lots of meals at home, had ample space to prepare, store and wash bottles, and we were even able to wash and dry our cloth diapers. I highly recommend a house or condo for families with little ones.

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Struggle with the Juggle

19 Jul

No one ever said being a mom was supposed to be easy, but some days the juggle is harder than others. And today is one of those days.

Now I’m a girl who likes a challenge, so biting off a bit more than I can chew isn’t just a habit, it’s a way of life. But some days cramming everything in to limited time just doesn’t work.

Right now I’m juggling mommy-hood, a demanding full time job, training for my first 15K and half-marathon (more about that soon here on the blog!), trying to get this blog off the ground, taking care of my pets and their various health and training challenges, and trying to stay in touch with my friends and up to date on the news … and, oh yeah, trying making it out the front door each morning with hair and makeup on and baby spit-up off. Whew!

I thought I was off to a great start today when I got up early and knocked out the two-mile run on my training schedule for today. By finishing my workout early, I had hoped to have enough time to pick up some medicine for my cat at the vet and drop it by the house before heading to the office. A head-start on my day–total super-mom win!

Then we remembered that we forgot to give Lil’ Buddy his ear drops last night. And I forgot to pack a lunch last night. And with all that my head-start on the day evaporated. Poor kitty would have to wait a day for his medicine. Super-mom fail #1.

Then, as I’m packing my stuff up to leave, Lil’ Buddy gets hungry and starts asking to nurse. No time, so I pop a bottle in the warmer for his daddy to feed him instead. Sorry, Buddy! Super-mom fail #2.

Finally, as I’m giving Lil’ Buddy his goodbye kiss, he grabs on to my skirt and won’t let go. I have to pry his tiny fingers off my dress before I can make my way to the door. Hear that sound? Yup, that’s the sound of a mommy’s heart ripping in two. Super-mom fail #3.

It’s enough to make me want to pull my super-mom cape up over my head, crawl under my desk and take a nap! But since that’s not an option, I guess I’ll just give up on trying to be super-mom for the day and try to just do a good job at being plain old ordinary me.

Readers, what’s the hardest part of your daily juggle? How do you find balance in your life? What do you do to pick yourself back up when your morning is an epic fail?

Travel Review: Gulf Shores, Ala. (Part 2 of 3 – The Eats)

15 Jul

The Tin Top Restaurant and Oyster Bar - Bon Secour, Ala.

In this second installment of my vacation review, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite subjects–food!

Since we were staying in a house with a full kitchen, home-cooking was a big highlight of our stay. We had a hot breakfast every morning with grits or biscuits, eggs, bacon or sausage and more. Heaven! We ate well at dinner too, enjoying everything from homemade gumbo and fried shrimp to fresh-grilled steaks and corn on the cob, to homemade spaghetti sauce.

Despite the amazing food at home, we did venture out for a couple of meals. Here are our reviews of the places we tried.

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Travel Review: Gulf Shores, Ala. (Part 1 of 3 – The Beach)

12 Jul

Gulf Shores, Alabama, is a summer tradition for our little household. My husband’s family has been vacationing together here for many years, and now that I’m part of the family I’m lucky to be part of the tradition.

While family is what draws us here, the appeal of the Gulf coast makes it a pleasure to come back year after year. Despite the fact that I am a native Floridian, I enjoy the beaches in Alabama for the slower pace, the friendly people and all the great Southern food.

I’ll review our trip in three parts: the beach, the eats and the rest. If you’re considering a Gulf Shores vacation, I hope they’re helpful.

The Beach is Back

The Gulf Coast is back! We made our annual visit despite the oil spill last summer, and the damage to the area’s natural beauty was heartbreaking. That makes the area’s recovery even more remarkable. The beach looks fresh and clean everywhere we went, and more importantly the crowds are back. New businesses are open, houses up and down the beach are full, fresh, local seafood was on the table and we even saw two weddings on the beach during our stay!

Check out the before and after photos below to see the beach’s transformation is just one year.

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Dog-Friendly Orlando Spotlight: Thornton Park and Shampooch

7 Jul

Orlando is a great place to be a dog, and nowhere is that more true than in the downtown neighborhood of Thornton Park. Streets are lined with dog-friendly outdoor cafes, and the local salons and boutiques put out water dishes for passing pups. The neighborhood is also located right beside Lake Eola Park, one of Orlando’s most scenic and popular parks.

Shampooch fundraiser at Thornton Park’s Lambs Eat Ivy Salon.

My husband and I spent a perfect afternoon in Thornton Park recently with our weimaraner and our baby. It was great to have an outing the whole family could enjoy. Continue reading