Identifying the Animal Cracker

To me, peel-and-eat shrimp epitomize beach food. You know you’re near the beach when peel-and-eat shrimp, clams and oysters pop up on the menu!

Last night, my mom was feeling a little sleepy and needed to rest, so my dad, sister and I headed out to Billy’s Boat House Grill, a nearby seafood restaurant.

Billy's Boat House Grill

We knew we found a winner when fresh seafood options basically took over the menu.

My dad, sister and I ordered a  pound of peel-and-eat shrimp, a grilled fish sandwich, conch chowder and a salad and basically shared everything.

Peel-and-Eat Shrimp

Fish Sandwich

I definitely ate more than my fair share of the shrimp. They were so easy to peel and perfectly seasoned.

Check out all the peels in front of me…

Me, My Dad & Shrimp Peels

Smiling Sister

After placing a to-go order for a quesadilla to bring back to my sleeping mom, we headed back to the hotel.

My mom was waking up as we entered the room. Perfect timing!

We spent the rest of the evening cuddled up in one bed watching Bringing Down the House before hittin’ the hay around 11 p.m.

I feel pretty well-rested today and am excited to head to breakfast and spend Mother’s Day with one heck of a fantastic mother. 😀

Identifying the Animal Cracker

I practically ate my body weight in Animal Crackers yesterday (Seriously, they’re so addicting) and found myself puzzled by this lil’ guy:

What Am I?

My whole family is perplexed by this particular cracker, so I ask you…

What kind of animal is it!?

Bunny Cake: Part Two


Right now my sister is still sleeping and the Bunny is hiding eggs, so I figured I’d take advantage of some quiet time that I likely will not have the rest of the day and update the ol’ blog!


After yesterday’s doggie 5k race, everyone was pretty tired! While I blogged, the whole family, including Sadie the Race Dog, napped.

Once everyone was awake, we headed out on the boat for a two-hour boat ride in the beautiful sun. About an hour into our ride, we saw three dolphins and one was an itty-bitty baby! I’ve never seen such a young dolphin. The baby was so teeny!!!

Once we got back home, we all showed and got ready for church.

Ready to Go

Uno Mas

Right outside of our church, there was a pen of bunnies and baby chicks that were rescued by a young man. He allowed people to hold the animals, so of course my sister and I took full advantage and held a peeping little chick.

Little Chickie

Me & Chick

Two Chicks

Apparently the mama hen was killed by a coyote, so the little chicks were all on their own. They seemed to be doing really well and were beyond adorable.


After church, we were a hungry bunch and headed out to dinner at The Clubhouse.

All of my foodie pictures came out dark, but dinner was delicious! We split cheeseburger sliders as an appetizer and I enjoyed sushi and miso soup for my entrée. My dinner also came with fried bananas and ice cream which were surprisingly good!

Bunny Cake Number Two

Post-dinner, we headed home where I immediately got to work on BUNNY CAKE NUMBER TWOOOO!

Since Bunny Cake Number One was tasty and didn’t last 24 hours in our house, I knew I had my work cut out for me on my second attempt.

I made the second bunny cake using funfetti cake mix (I love this stuff!) and whipped fluffy white icing.

The Process

After a lot of cutting, frosting, and shaping, the bunny was ready for decorating.

Bun Bun

I made him fluffy with shredded coconut, and used jelly beans and twizzlers for his facial features.

Eat Me!

We haven’t sliced into this bunny cake yet because I am taking it to Ryan’s family’s Easter lunch.

I do know that the cake is pretty tasty thought because we had some cake scraps leftover, which we iced up and devoured immediately last night. 😉

Bunny Cake


  • Cake, prepared in two round pans
  • White icing
  • Candy to create facial features
  • Shredded coconut


Slice one cake in half and “glue” slices together with icing to create the bunny’s body. Ice the body completely.

Slice a small head, two narrow ears and a tail out of the second cake. You may need to cut off a layer of the head, ears and tail to make them thinner to attach to the body they do not stick out too much and look disproportionate. Attach the head, ears and tail to the body and ice completely. Use candy to create the bunny’s face and sprinkle with coconut to create bunny “fluff.”


After a relaxing Sunday morning and a yummy breakfast, my family and I headed to church and enjoyed an uplifting service before heading out to see manatees at Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center.

Manatee Viewing Center

With Mom and Dad

Mom and Sister in the Mangroves

The viewing center was located in Apollo Beach near the Big Bend Power Station.

Big Bend Power Station

The manatees gather near the power station during the colder months because the waters are warm due to discharge from the station. There were literally hundreds of manatees in the canal.

Lots o' Manatees

Sea Cows

Mama and Baby Manatee

The manatees were so neat! We were really surprised how many people came out to see them. The viewing center was slammed!


After a family fun day with the manatees, we headed over to Kojack’s, a BBQ restaurant in South Tampa.


I love hole-in-the-wall restaurants that serve the best food… Kojak’s is that kinda place!

I ordered the quarter chicken with cole slaw and baked beans.

BBQ Chicken Plate

It was moist and delicious. My mom also gave me a couple nubbles off her rib plate, which was also delicious.

My family and I joked that today felt like a daycation. It felt nice to get out and do a touristy activity together and enjoy quality, local food!

Go, Go, Go

Today was a go, go, go kinda day!

Ryan and I knew going into this weekend that we’d be busy, and we have been! It’s been wonderful to spend quality time with our families.

When we got back from breakfast it was cold and rainy outside, which ruined any plans for outdoor fun. Instead we decided to keep warm and play a game of Scrabble… Great rainy day fun!

Scrabble Fun

This was not my best game of Scrabble. At one point I had three Ns, two Rs and X and a T. Please try to create a word with those letters. (NRXTRNN is not a word, just FYI.) Needless to say, I lost. 😦

Luckily there was lots of peppermint bark on hand to ease my sorrow.

Peppermint Bark

So Delicious

Before we sat down to play Scrabble, Ryan’s mom and Ryan began making potato leek soup (using a Sandra Lee recipe) which smelled fantastic by the time our game was over.


Cook One

Cook Two

The soup tasted like it was straight out of a gourmet restaurant. They did a great job!

Potato Leek Soup

It was a stick-to-your-ribs kinda soup that tasted creamy and delicious.

Fortunately by the time lunch was over, the weather cleared up a bit and Ryan and I headed out to the driving range to “drive some balls,” as I said. (Apparently the proper terminology is “hit some balls,” in case you’re interested.)

Ball Boy

This was my first experience at a driving range but I had a lot of fun! Ryan gave me lots of pointers and tips, but I think it’s safe to say I’ll be giving Tiger a run for his money should he ever return to golf. 😉

"Hello, Ball. I will dominate you."

"So long, suckerrrr!"

It didn't go quite as far as I anticipated...

He Taught Tiger Everything He Knows (Except the lying and cheating stuff)

Golf was fun but by hands hurt my the end of our time at the driving range! Apparently I need to do some serious hand curls at the gym on Monday. We’re talking at least 2.5 pound weights.


After drivin’ the balls, we headed back to Ryan’s family’s house to change before heading to my parents’ house in St. Pete for dinner.

I also had to call the ticket office in Tampa to see if we could arrange to pick up new tickets to see Wicked tonight since we forgot the actual tickets in Orlando on our bulletin board (You know, the place you put things so you’re sure you won’t forget them?).

Sooo, We Forgot Our Tickets...

Ryan and I made it to St. Pete by 4:30 p.m. and Ryan’s family arrived right around five.

We enjoyed hanging out and talking over appetizers before moving into the living room for a yummy dinner of French country chicken, red potatoes, onions, green beans with almonds, fresh rolls and fruit salad.

Dinner Line

My Plate


For dessert, Ryan’s mom brought delicious apple pie, which was served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Unfortunately I gobbled that up too quickly to snap a pic! Oops!

Dinner was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed hanging out with both of our families. As a bride-to-be, it’s wonderful to be in a room with two fantastic families who are so genuinely excited about what the future holds for me and Ryan. It means the world to feel such wonderful love and support from the people who mean the most.

Ryan and I had to leave the dinner party a little early to make it to Tampa to see Wicked!

Though it was my second time seeing the musical, I loved it just as much! Ryan really liked it as well and I cannot stop singing… not the best thing since I really gotta get to bed soon! I have a feeling I’ll be singing myself to sleep… 🙂

See ya in the morning with some more Ask Me Anything Q & As! 🙂

THE Dress (?), Wicked and More

Yesterday was non stop! From the minute I woke up to the minute I went to bed, the whole day was go, go, go!

My dad and I were the first ones awake (as usual) and we enjoyed some quiet time catching up over hot tea and honey Greek yogurt before it was time for a workout. Unfortunately we couldn’t go to spinning together as originally planned because my appointment at the wedding dress store overlapped with the class time. Boo!

I headed out to workout on my own. I kept my cardio session relatively easy because I wanted to flip through some of the bridal magazines my mom bought for me. Priorities… 😉

I did 40 minutes on the elliptical, followed by 10 minutes of incline walking on the treadmill.

As I pulled into our neighborhood on my way home, I saw the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen.


I only captured part of it on camera, but it was a full arch and the colors were brilliant. I came running inside and made my whole family come out to see it. Everyone was fully impressed.

Wedding Dress Shopping

After enjoying a quick breakfast smoothie and a hot shower, my mom, sister and I were ready to head out to Jon’s Bridal, a large bridal gown shop in Tampa.

The Girls

All Smiles

I made an appointment at Jon’s because they said they “likely had” the Justin Alexander dress I loved that I tried on last weekend in Orlando with my friends Merri and Laurel. I wanted my mom and sister to see it in person and weigh in.

This place was not what I expected. First of all, they didn’t have the dress the woman on the phone implied they would have, and then all the dresses were not my style. I like romantic, simple dresses and many of the dresses at Jon’s Bridal were bedazzled. Not my thing.

I was pretty bummed when we left, but I remembered that Cici’s Boutique in St. Pete carried the designer of the other dress I loved last weekend (I really liked two different dresses, if you remember). I called Cici’s to see if we could get a last minute appointment. They had an opening and my spirits rose immediately.

I was excited for my mom and sister to see this dress because it is a pretty dress. It is less “ballgown” and more classic and romantic. I am in love.

We were escorted upstairs and I slipped into the dress. It really is unbelievable. My mom and sister were both very enthusiastic and I really think this could be the one. (I’m sorry for the lack of pictures, but I can’t risk my groom-to-be seeing me in this dress!)

I have always been drawn toward lace and it has lace but is different than the other lace gowns I’ve seen. It seems like a dress I would still love 50 years from now. We made a follow up appointment for the first week of March for my dad to come see it. I really want a man’s opinion.

By the time the dress hunt was over, we were hungry. We headed home to meet up with my dad and Ryan for lunch. I made a delicious fish sandwich using the fish we had leftover from dinner on Friday night.

Fish Sandwich and Portobello Mushrooms

I also enjoyed a small bowl of chocolate marshmallow ice cream for dessert. So good!


Around 1 p.m., my mom, sister and I headed off to see Wicked at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center while my dad and Ryan enjoyed a guy’s day. 🙂

Our seats for the musical were amazing!


The show was fantastic! I loved every minute. The whole cast was extremely talented and the music was wonderful. It was really neat to see how the musical tied into the original Wizard of Oz story. I can’t wait to see it again with Ryan at the end of the month. 😀

The actress who played Glinda was actually an understudy and she did a tremendous job. I’m excited to see how the “real” Glinda handles the role.


Wicked started at 2 p.m. and when it was over, my sister told us to guess the time. I guessed 3:45 p.m. and boy was I off! It was a little after 5 p.m.! We hurried to the car and proceeded to sit in the parking lot for 20 minutes waiting for people to head out.

We started to feel a little anxious because we had 5:45 p.m. dinner reservations to meet with my dad and Ryan at 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House in downtown St. Pete. Luckily the guys headed over there to save our table and we met them there a little before 6 p.m.

The guys were already a couple dirty martinis into the night and were quite the funny duo by the time we arrived.

The restaurant has a really neat feel and we are putting it in the running for a potential restaurant for our rehearsal dinner. I want Ryan’s family to come check it out, too.

Our food was delicious and the service was great, especially considering how crowded it was. My sister and I both ordered the seafood sampler.

Seafood Sampler

It was an appetizer and didn’t have too much food, though it was delicious. I ate a bunch of the cheese biscuits and several bites of Ryan’s braised short ribs and mashed potatoes. His meal tasted like homemade comfort food!

Cheese Biscuits

Braised Short Ribs

We took our time at dinner and had a great time. We headed home a little after 8 p.m. and made ice cream sundaes.

Ice Cream Sundae

Ryan and I shared this big bowl that included:

  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Butterscotch
  • Strawberry topping
  • Mini Oreo cookies
  • Whipped cream
  • Cherry

This further solidified the fact that ice cream truly is my favorite food. There’s nothin’ better!

I’m off to go make a big Sunday breakfast before Ryan and I head back to Orlando. I hope you’re enjoying the weekend! 🙂