Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Nod to Norway

There is a special tiny town in Wisconsin that owes a corner of my heart. Stoughton!  

Stoughton was founded in 1847 by Luke Stoughton, and settled by many immigrants from Norway by the early 1900's.

I love the downtown shops and caf├ęs that run from the opera house at the top of a hill all the way down to the Yahara River. 

We love to sample (and buy) various cheeses and sausages from Cheesers ( Spicy cheeses, stinky cheeses, chocolate cheese, and squeaky cheese curds! 

Stoughton claims to be the birthplace of the "coffee break". Let me tell you, with made from scratch eateries like The Koffee Kup and Fosdal's Bakery, I believe the claim! 

Everywhere you look in Stoughton there are nods to Norway. 

Even the toy shop has a Viking at the helm! 

We enjoy Stoughton every time we visit Wisconsin.



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Little Monkey Takes Us on a Short Hike to Long Creek Falls!

We are having some adventures here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hiking, tubing, and off road driving that will curl your hair real quick like (southern accent required for that last phrase).

Yesterday, we hiked to two waterfalls and a swinging bridge. It was so worth every step, every drop of sweat, and every bug bite to view some of God's magnificent handiwork. 
Here is a short video with Little Monkey navigating his way up to a Long Creek Falls. Enjoy!




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pardon Me Sir, Is That The Blue Ridge Scenic Choo Choo?


Yes! Yes! 

If you ever find yourself in the general vicinity of Blue Ridge, Georgia and you have some time to spare between eating fried apple pie, napping in the hammock, eating bisquits and sausage gravy, tubing down the lazy river,  eating shrimp and cheese grits with Johnny Cake, and napping in the hammock, you might want to hop on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad. 

Little Monkey invited us along on his maiden voyage. The train has restored vintage passenger cars complete with restrooms, car attendants, and a snack car that served Moon Pies. We choose a closed car as opposed to the open air car because it's Georgia + summer = hot + big bugs.

As far as LM was concerned, we could have chosen pretty much anything as long as it had a window. He sat glued to that window the entire hour ride to McCaysville, Tennessee. 

I couldn't blame him for gazing out that window. The scenery along the way was lovely. We hugged the Toccoca River for most of the journey. The river changed its personality around each bend. One moment it was a gentle trickle over the red rocks that line its bed and the next minute it was all ripples and rapids. 

The woods along the way were clothed in glorious shades of green. So beautiful! Our 9 year old Monkey Girl took the pictures of the woods! She did a great job! 

We had an hour and a half layover in McCaysville, Tennessee where we window shopped, ate BBQ, drank sweet tea, and bought lots of homemade fudge. 

Then it was back on the train for Moon Pies and our return journey to Blue Ridge. Fun times!



Saturday, July 12, 2014



It's summertime and I'm melting! It's like Orlando is one giant, stinky sweat lodge. Who needs hot yoga when you've got a mini van full of monkeys to wrangle in the 100 degree heat? The humidity is so high that you could swim in it!

My summertime survival motto is K.I.S.S. . "Keep It Slightly (less) Stinky" or sticky, or sweaty, or smelly...

I swear by three tried and true beauty tricks each summer: sunscreen, scent, and something glossy for the lips. Forget the mascara because by 10 AM it has already slid down to my upper lip creating a mustache. Nevermind the blush, the sun creates the perfect glow of heatstroke on my cheeks. Anything more and I end up looking like Lady Elaine Fairchild from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

What about you my friends?  What are your summertime beauty tricks and tips? 

I guess if I wanted to keep it really simple, I could just skip the sunscreen, perfume, and gloss and just move to Antartica.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Around O-Town - The Pop Parlour

Summertime is Popsicle time! 

I remember our mom used to make us homemade Popsicles during the summer time with her Tupperware popsicle maker.   Then my sister and I would slather on baby oil, squeeze lemon juice into our hair, and bake ourselves in the sun until we looked like extras from a bad episode of Dynasty. 

Living in downtown Orlando, we have a plethora of options for good eats and sweet treats. There's even a gourmet Popsicle shop called The Pop Parlour. 

The Pop Parlour's menu is quite extensive. They offer creamy Popsicles, fruity Popsicles, and even boozy Popsicles. I tried the spicy Mexican hot chocolate popsicle and it was off the chain with goodness! 

So, if you live in Central Florida or happen to be visiting our City Beautiful, I highly recommend a trip to The Pop Parlour for one of their icy treats. 

However, I do not recommend that you slather up with baby oil, put lemon juice in your hair, and bake yourself out in the sun or that you watch Dynasty.



Happy Birthday America!

There are so many reasons why I love the Fourth of July! 

First and foremost, it's our beautiful country's birthday! Independence Day! Independence fought and wrought upon the backs of our forefathers and defenders throughout the centuries!   

I love the Fourth of July because it is the harbinger of summer! Barbecues, watermelon, picnics, swimming, lemonade stands, sparklers, fresh berries, fireworks, red, white, and blue! 

This was our first Fourth of July in our new house. We enjoyed every moment of it. With family and friends we celebrated America's birthday! 

The highlight of the day was the fireworks display at Lake Eola! It was an amazing display of brilliant colors perfectly choreographed to the lovely music the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra playing live in the lakeside amphitheater.
I always get a little emotional and teary-eyed during the Fourth of July fireworks display. It's hard not to when I think about the sacrifices that have made our celebrations as a free nation possible. 

I hope you all are enjoying your summer as much as we are!



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It Ain't Over Till the Sandy, Slightly Bloated Lady Sits!

Today, ah today...where do I begin? It's been one of "those" days. It started out with a screaming wake up call from Little Monkey, "I did not poop! ",he bellowed at 7 AM to his sister. He repeated his fecal denial several times until Pete went in to investigate what all the commotion was about. I tried to hide under the covers, but something about the word "poop" had me on red alert. My inability to just deny the "poop" alarm could have stemmed from the fact that our "precious" dog did indeed poop on Little Monkey's bed two days ago. Oh, and then to make it extra special, she also peed. Awesome! It's a darn good thing that we invested in a super soaker matress protector for such occasions as these. 

After all "poop" allegations were cleared, and Little Monkey was proven innocent, we were off to a great start! 

The rest of the morning was rather uneventful. We ate way too many doughnuts, the cat got outside and brought back in approximately one million times, and a rodent specialist gave us some "good" news and some "bad" news (which in reality was all bad news because...rodents!). I think we can save some exterminator fees if we just let the cat stay out ;-). 

This afternoon, as obligatory towers of dark, forbodding Central Florida rain clouds chased us down the interstate to an "activity" one of our monkeys was auditioning for, I felt the barometric pressure dropping in conjunction with my patience. 

When we arrived at the venue, there was no parking to be had except for a teeny, tiny space that I just barely managed to squeeze our non-compact vehicle into. We shimmied in between the yellow lines just as a loud thunder clap smacked the air. It was then that I realized we had parked in a "no no" zone. 

I rushed our monkey into the audition and ran back to move my naughty vehicle which was now blocked in by some itsy-bitsy roller skate car. After making a twenty-seven point turn and witnessing a homeless man wake up from his nap,  I managed to maneuver my vehicle out without hitting the roller skate and relocate it to a more appropriate parking spot. 

As I proceeded back to the place where our monkey was well into her audition, I was pelted by sand being whipped off of a nearby construction site by the gale force winds kicked up by the storm. A bolt of lightening struck so close that I smelled ozone and maybe some maple bacon. 

As I hurried back into the lobby of the building where my monkey was, I was so relieved to not be exfoliated by sand anymore, thankful to not have been electrocuted, and slightly hungry after smelling bacony ozone that I failed to recognize the look of disdain on the receptionist's face. She promptly snapped me back into reality, by informing me that the lobby with the long black bench and an addition chair could not accommodate guests. I was so taken off guard that I just blinked stupidly at her for a second or two. I could feel sand between my toes, my teeth and my eyeballs. By this time, the floodgates of Hades had opened outside and something primal opened inside of me. I honed in on the receptionist and informed her that I would indeed be staying or my monkey and I would be leaving together immediately. Then I proceeded to sit my sandy, slightly-bloated-from-mass-consumption-of-doughnuts self on the long black guest
-less bench and waited for my monkey. 

If life gives you sand, it stinks.