A Day on the Water

Today was the perfect day for a boat ride!

Boat Day!

Warm Water, Blue Skies

We spent several hours crusin’ around the Gulf.

We also had a little stowaway on board!

Me and Shark Bait

Sadie loves the boat! We think she thinks she’s the skipper because she likes to be up front where she can feel the breeze.

When she’s not guiding the boat, she prefers to spend her time on our laps.

Leslie and Sadie

Me and the Love Machine

Sadie and Her Favorite Aunt

Pretty Girls

The weather was really warm and luckily the Gulf was a perfect 84 degrees which made swimming extra enjoyable!

Even Sadie got in on the action… in her life jacket of course. Safety first!

Safety Girl Sadie

My dad did a great job as captain and took us all over the place.

Captain Bob

Captain and First Mate

On our boat ride we saw some very active dolphins. One even lept far enought out of the water that we could see its entire body. It was really neat!


Eventually the sun started taking its toll on us and we headed home for a late lunch.

While on the boat we snacked on pretzels, sugar snap peas and apples, but we were ready for something more substantial.

BBQ Chicken

While my mom made BBQ chicken, I ate a bunch of chips and guacamole. I was practically full by the time I sat down to lunch. :/

Still, that didn’t stop me from having a slice of the peach coffee cake for dessert.

Peach Cake



After lunch, my mom, sister and I headed to the grocery store and Old Navy where they were having a $1 flip flop sale.

I wanted to pick up a bunch of flip flops to place in a basket at my wedding as “dancing shoes” for the women who wear heels and want to slip into something more comfortable at our reception. Unfortunately they were completely sold out of all their flip flops! Apparently Floridians like their flops!

When we got home, we took a sunset boat ride. Now we’re about to sit down to a late dinner.

I leave you with this hysterical picture of Sadie on the boat today:

"I'm Dyyyying"

Doesn’t she look like she was poisoned or something??? She’s so dramatic. 😉

I’m off to spend more quality time with the fam! We’re going to watch It’s Complicated tonight. I hope it’s a good one. We really enjoyed The Blind Side last night, so I hope we get lucky again!

Question of the Evening

Do you prefer lakes or oceans?

It’s Christmas Eve!

Way to state the obvious, huh?

I don’t care… I’m SO excited!!!

Today started off with some holiday baking. I made a fresh batch of homemade peanut butter cookies for Ryan to take to his dad for Christmas.

Peanut Butter

More than one peanut butter fingers were consumed in the baking process. 😉

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

 Sadie helped me lick the beaters clean.

Beater Licker

 What a good dog. 🙂

Yummy Cookies

While the cookies were baking, I prepared a breakfast fit for the holidays: Honey Bunches of Oats French toast.

French Toast

I made the toast batter with Egg Beaters, whole wheat bread, cinnamon and sugar. I then added several handfuls of Honey Bunches of Oats cereal for extra sweetness and crunch.

Honey Bunches of Oats French Toast

Ryan enjoyed a huge plate of this breakfast!

Ryan's Plate

Happy Boy

Now that breakfast is complete, I’m ready to tackle the day!

I have lots on the agenda:

  • Workout
  • Shower
  • Blog (x 2!)
  • Appointment to try on wedding dresses
  • Take jeans to get altered
  • Last minute shopping (stocking-stuffers)
  • Grocery store
  • Prep food to cook for Ryan’s family Christmas party tomorrow
  • Wrap a few remaining presents
  • Church
  • Secret Santa exchange (via conference call)
  • Look at Christmas lights with the fam on our boat

I am most excited for the last bullet on my list.

When we first moved to Florida from Illinois in 2003, it was hard wrapping my head around warm weather when I was so used to chilly temperatures. Somehow it just didn’t feel like Christmas.

To help embrace the warm weather and make a Florida Christmas feel legit, my family started a tradition where we hop into our boat (which is decorated with Christmas lights) on Christmas Eve evening and travel up and down nearby canals looking at Christmas lights. We pop in a Christmas CD, sing, laugh and hang out and it’s my favorite part of the day.

Christmasy Boat

 Rudolph Walk

 Our family has always embraced traditions during the holidays.

What traditions do you have in your family?

When we lived in Illinois we’d always go on a Rudolph Walk on Christmas Eve. Our annual Rudolph Walk was our family hunt to see if we could catch a glimpse of Rudolph’s nose in the nearby forest. (My wonderful father would head out hours before us to put a red light bulb in the forest, way out in the distance.) Somehow we were lucky and saw him every year!


To prepare for the cold walk, we would layer our clothes, put on boots and snow pants and head out! I’ll never forget the walk during the first year that I didn’t think Santa was the real-deal anymore. My dad and younger sister, Leslie, led the way into the forest while my mom and I linked arms and took up the rear.

We started to tell my sister that we had to be very quiet because any noise might scare Rudolph away.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to walk quietly in snow pants, but it’s virtually impossible. The swish, swish noise is very hard to avoid. 

Leslie was set on seeing Rudolph’s nose and was committed to not making a sound. She walked with her legs stiffly apart for nearly half a mile to avoid any noise. It was hysterical and my mom and I were grunting and snorting trying not to laugh as we watched my dad try to help her balance so she wouldn’t be too loud and scare the elusive reindeer away.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and are able to enjoy some special time with loved ones.

Sunday at Sea

We woke up today and hooooly hotness! The Florida heat is back in full swing.

Though I wish there was some sort of chill in the air so it felt more Christmasy, it was perfect weather for a boat ride! My dad suggested taking the boat out and docking in Tampa for lunch at a restaurant on the water called The Hula Bay Club.

Sadie is a huge fan of boat rides and was by my dad’s side the entire time he was prepping the boat for our adventure.

Sadie at Sea

Dad, Ryan and Sadie on the Boat

It was hot in the sun, but when the boat got movin’ it was chilly! My sister and I bundled up in lots of towels to keep warm on our way to and from the restaurant on the boat.

Lunch was delicious! I ordered clams but we all shared and were impressed with the food.

As we were waiting for our check my mom spotted two dolphins in the water! We jumped up and watched them splash around and hunt fish. Since the water was pretty clear we were even able to see one catch a fish which was pretty neat!


I love days on the boat and it was definitely a treat to be on the water in the middle of December!

Breakfast and Jazzercise

I was anxious to tell ya about our day on the water, so let’s back up to breakfast!

Cheerios and Kashi Go Lean

Sometimes ya just want cereal! In this mix was Honey Nut Cheerios and Kashi Go Lean. It was crunchy and oh-so-sweet. I had another bowl, too. 🙂

After breakfast my mom and I went to Jazzercise, a 60-minute aerobic workout class. My mom goes regularly and I love the energy and upbeat atmosphere of the classes so I like to go along when I’m home visiting and get the chance.

Once we arrived back home, Ryan and I snacked on an apple with peanut butter (yum!) before our boating adventure.

Apple and PB


Before heading back for Orlando tonight Ryan and I enjoyed one last homecooked meal! We had spaghetti with marinara and chicken sausage and it was g-o-o-d! Unfortunately my pictures were icky and since I didn’t post pics from last night’s feast, I’ll share those instead.  Sound good?

Last night my mom made a seafood-based dinner with peel-and-eat shrimp and crab cakes.

Crab Cakes

Her homemade crab cakes are the best.

The Spread

I helped by making a veggie stir fry and fruit salad.

Fruit Salad

Ryan got in on the action and peeled several clementines for the fruit salad.

So Helpful

Dinner was filling and fueled us up for a meeting with a potential wedding photographer.

Wedding Photographer Meeting

Our meeting with a potential wedding photographer went really well last night. I fell in love with her and think her style of photography is gorgeous and natural and really seems to capture emotions.

Unfortunately the money is a bit of an issue because her prices are over our budget. I’m trying to figure out where I can cut corners in other areas to make this one work. Any suggestions???

I really appreciate all of your wedding feedback. It seems like many of you agree that the photographer is one of the most important elements of the big day, so I want to feel confident and comfortable with the person we select. We’ll see!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I’m tired and hope to be in bed a little early tonight.