Instawhat: Week of 8/4


One of Bug’s favorite places to play right now is the baby’s room.  I’d say it’s because he’s getting ready for his sister to arrive or something deeper, but really it’s just because it’s full of toys that he hasn’t played with in a long time.  Like this puzzle.  As soon as we took the pieces out, he said, “Let’s have a battle!”  And so we did.  Nobody won, because he decided that the animals became friends.  Sweet boy.  Love that imagination.


Some lobster crackers that I ordered for work a couple of weeks ago came individually wrapped in these little bubble wrap bags, cardboard and zip ties.  Awesome for Bug, not awesome for Momma, who spent like 20 minutes unwrapping 50 crackers.  I brought a bunch of the bags home and we experimented  with fun ways to pop the bubbles.  The fun lasted about 5 minutes before we had popped them all.


“Mom, take a picture of this!”  He was making some kind of animal sound while he made this face.  Alas, that was a whole week ago and I can no longer remember the sound he was making.  Because I’m pregnant and spacy.

Have a great weekend!


Instawhat: Weeks of 7/21 & 7/28


This is Bug’s new friend Noah.  Noah’s super awesome parents just moved here on a total leap of faith to be the worship leaders of our church.  They moved to a new city & state knowing only a few people… just picked up and moved.  They have garnered a lot of respect from me!  We’ve really enjoyed getting to know them and showing them a little bit about where we live… like Mote Marine!  One of our favorite places to spend a morning.


The day we visited Mote, we took the boys across the street to have a little picnic lunch.  Not a bad spot for a picnic, huh?  The boys loved watching boats go by!  You will notice here that Bug looks quite a bit shorter than Noah.  This is true.  And, of course, Noah is 3 months younger than Bug.  Story of my poor short kid’s life.

I realize it doesn’t look like much of an incline, but this is pretty much the biggest hill in Venice.  It’s part of the Legacy Trail, which is the amazing bike trail that I run on.  This bridge goes over US 41.  I used to look at this bridge as a challenge during my run.  Now I stop and walk and take pictures.


Sometimes, Bug wakes up too early for my liking.  Especially after I’ve worked a late night.  Hubby goes to work at 7am, and his car often wakes up a small child.  If I don’t have to work that morning, or if we don’t have plans of some kind, Bug gets to pick out a movie and climb in bed with me.  We both think this is awesome.  He’s holding a Tums in that picture that was left over from the night before on my bedside table… I wouldn’t let him eat it, so he just held onto it for like 45 minutes.


It was my turn to wait for the hood cleaners at work last week… yay!  Once a quarter, guys come to clean the hoods in the kitchen.  Instead of leaving work at about 11pm, someone gets to stay with the hood guys until, oh, about 2am.  It’s awesome.  I decided to make the most out of that time and work on a project.  I started making a paint chip mobile for baby girl’s room.  It turned out pretty cute… eventually I might even do a little tutorial on it.

This is Bug.  He was once a baby.  He is now a big boy.  Just ask him.  I love looking in on him while he’s sleeping, because he just looks so… so… grown up!  Until I realize that his Bud (his lovey blanket) his in his mouth because he fell asleep sucking it.  That makes me feel a little better… like he’s not growing up quite so fast.

Instawhat: Photo Dump


Hi there.  We’ve been busy living summer.  This here’s a photo dump of what I posted on Instagram for the end of June and most of July.  These pictures pretty much sum up our summer thus far.  See that freckle faced boy?  Poor Casper has skin just like his mommy & daddy… fair & freckled.  No amount of sun leaves a tan on him.  Not that the constant application of 55 spf helps that situation.  It does, however, help that whole skin cancer issue.  You’re welcome, Bug.


I never thought about this when we were naming him, but I am thankful that we chose a short, easy to spell, easy to write name for our son.  He’s been able to spell Eli for months, and now he’s figuring out how to write it.  This was the first time I had him try it (though they may have practiced at school).  With the exception of the letters themselves being backwards, I was was really impressed.


I manage a full service restaurant.  We all know that.  We also cater.  Catering is kind of my baby at work, and we went from rarely catering (like, maybe once a year) to catering events 6-8 times a year.  I love being able to cook something fresh for someone’s wedding or birthday.  I also love the challenge of making a beautiful, delicious meal in an unconventional setting… makeshift kitchen, cooking out of coolers, etc.  We have yet to cater an event where people weren’t really happy, and that makes all of the stress of the organization and timing totally worth it.  This particular wedding was at the same estate where Hubby and I got married, which made it extra special for me.  This couple’s first dance was to Jack Johnson’s “Better Together,” which happens to be the same song that Hubby & I shared our first dance to almost 7 years ago.  I was very excited about that.  Also, the couple had their first date at our restaurant, which I thought was pretty awesome.  It sideways torrential downpoured about thirty minutes before that photo was taken.  Yay for improvising & for portable sunshades!


Hubby and I got to go golfing.  By ourselves.  We laughed a lot.  Love that man.


Fourth of July to me is celebrating with friends and family on the beach and watching the fireworks go off over the water.  This year we were able to share the evening with our new friends from church, some of whom had never experienced the 4th the way we do it in a coastal town.  Our little boy got to play with all of his buddies… I was in heaven watching him be so excited and happy.


After breakfast one morning, Bug said, “Mommy, let’s snuggle.”  Couldn’t say no to that.  Plus, we were both wearing our tie-dyed shirts that we made together.


Random boat trip on the Myakka River.  We packed a lunch, cruised for a bit and just spent time together.  It was a beautiful day with my boys.


A long time ago, when I first started blogging, I had a Pineapple Project.  A pineapple grew from a pineapple grew from a pineapple plant I had planted and I documented the process.  That first pineapple was 4 years ago.  That same plant grew another fruit the following year.  The original plant died off, leaving a pup plant, which is what pineapple plants do.  That pup finally bore fruit this year.  Usually, pineapples start growing in the summer and are ready to eat by December or so… or, at least, my last two pineapples followed that timeline.  This guy started growing in the winter (which was very warm) and was ripe by summer.  The cold snap we had in the middle of that is probably what made him a munchkin pineapple.  He was seriously tiny, but oh-so-sweet and tasty.


We closed for three days at work to do some remodeling and maintenance work.  In three days we managed to empty the kitchen of nearly all of the equipment, re-tile the kitchen, office & dry storage areas, re-pave the parking lot, sand down and re-epoxy the bar top, paint several inside doors, paint some furniture, paint the outdoor patio floor, paint the walls in dry storage and deep clean all of the equipment and pretty much the entire inside of the restaurant.  And, proudly, the only thing that we didn’t do ourselves was the kitchen floor & the parking lot.  I wore a face mask for three days, but it was totally worth it to see the outcome.  Also, it was amazing how many customers walked across the blocked off and freshly tarred parking lot to see if we were closed.


We went on a mini-vacation with my parents to Steinhatchee.  Steinhatchee is a really small town on a rive that leads out to the Gulf in the armpit of Florida.  I don’t mean it’s smelly… it’s just in the curve of Florida before the panhandle.  The scalloping there in the summer is awesome… you snorkel on the grass flats and pick up the most delicious little bay scallops.  We had a great long weekend, but it rained a lot so there wasn’t actually a lot of scalloping to be done.


There is definitely a Hungry Howie’s on the river.  You can call in your order when you are done fishing or scalloping or whatever and then go pick it up by boat.  This made a pregnant lady very happy.


This is how Bug spends his time in the boat.  Catching, naming, playing with and then releasing bait fish and shrimp.  It is amazing how quickly those little hands can grab a pin fish.


While swimming at the beach house, Bug turned Aunt Millie in to an elephant.  He’s quite the magician.


After swimming at the beach house, Bug & I went for $0.99 ice cream at our favorite farm market, Detwiler’s.  Kid takes his ice cream seriously.

What have you been up to this summer?

Instawhat: Week of 6/16


For the first four months of this pregnancy I was so tired that I spent every free moment napping.  Finally, about a month ago, I started exercising again.  I’ve been running once or twice a week and, man, does it feel good.  Don’t worry, I’ve been taking it super easy… alternating jogging for 5 minutes or so and then walking for a few minutes.  There is a great, wide bike trail that runs throughout our county that I take advantage of as often as I can… mostly because it is full of views just like this.


We spent the weekend with Uncle Chris & Aunt Millie (Bug’s Godparents) and Chris’ wonderful kids Karley & Timothy.  Chris’ grandmother has a home right on the beach here in Venice, so we took advantage of the fact that she is up north for the summer.  That’s Hubby and the kids heading from the pool to the beach.  Rough life, huh?


Buggers and Karley enjoying an awesome surf & turf dinner on the grill.


When Hubby told the kids that he brought fireworks, they were excited.  When he told Uncle Chris, he might have jumped up and down a little bit.  Proof that boys never really grow up.  They just get big enough to use lighters all by themselves.


Yeah fireworks on old crab traps!


Sunday morning swim session/water gun fight.  What else would you do after breakfast?

What did you do this weekend?

Instawhat Week of 6/9


Bugger’s 3rd birthday was last Sunday… woot!  We had a superhero party at the beach and had a grand ole time.  There will be an actual, for real post on the party later this week.  This is Bug wearing his pinata as a hat.  It is also my new favorite picture ever.  Silly boy.


Summer in Florida means that it is bright & sunny in the mornings and early afternoon with a rain shower rolling in around 4:00 or so.  Then it clears up for sunset.  Generally speaking.  Not this year.  Well, at least not for the last week of May and the first week of June.  Thanks to Tropical Storm Andrea, we had something like 10 straight days of grey skies and rain, rain, rain.  It felt like we were in Seattle, just way warmer.  It was depressing.  Bug and I spent some time playing in puddles because playing inside was no longer fun after so many days!


The upside of all that rain was 1) maybe the water table was raised enough to where we won’t have any water restrictions this summer and 2) my rain lilies are SO HAPPY.


Peanut butter jelly face!  This is how my son eats (and has always eaten) his sandwiches: he separates the two pieces of bread, scrapes all of the peanut butter off and eats it, scrapes all the jelly off and eats it and then eats each piece of bread.  This makes for a messy lunch.  And, also, a long lunch.


This wasn’t on my Instagram feed this week, but on my work’s.  Strawberry Napolean.  I’m sharing it here as a sneak peak for my next recipe post.  I’m photographing it at work today, so hopefully I’ll have it posted next week!  Talk about perfect summer dessert.  This, folks, is it.

Instawhat: Week of 6/2


I kind of forgot to take pictures this week… mostly because I spent a lot of time a)working b) playing and c) preparing for Bug’s 3rd birthday party.  So, the first picture you get this week was actually part of my restaurant’s Instagram week, but I figured it was appropriate due to the fact that I’d like to post the recipe here soon.  Feast your eyes on fresh blueberry cobbler.  This was our dessert special for the weekend.  And we sold out.  Twice.


We took Bug on a family to see Epic last week.  He loved it.  There were battles, good guys and bad guys.  Pretty much the best movie ingredients for Bugster.  Oh, and popcorn.  So, we take our almost-3-year-old to a 7:00 movie (his bed time is usually between 7:30-8:00) and at the end he says, “Can we go to another movie now?”  At almost 9:00 at night.  Kid’s a movie boy for sure… just like his parents!  Anyways, Hubby made him a Leafman helmet & shield out of some beer boxes.  Because every kid needs a beer box costume, right?  And, yes, he has socks on his hands.  They were his gloves, obviously.

Instawhat: Week of 5/26


After not running for 4 months, I’ve been trying to get back to it… I’m attempting to run once a week.  Don’t worry, my doctor says its okay and I’m taking it really easy.  My run last week was on an ominous day.  Actually, every day for the past week or so has been rather ominous… lots of gray clouds and threats of rain with only sporadic bursts of actual rain.  I love running on days like this.  The sun isn’t beating down on you, there is a little bit of a breeze and the sky is so interesting to look at.


Bug started swim lesson on Saturday!  Ok, short run down on Bug’s swimming progress over the last year:

  • Beginning of last summer (exactly 2 years old) – Bug LOVED the water.  He would hold himself under as long as he could, jump in off the side all by himself (with someone there to catch him, of course) and by the middle of summer would even swim underwater from you to the wall about 4 feet away.  He had a swim vest thing that barely let him float and he’d kick all around the pool wearing it.  We’re all, he’ll be swimming by himself in no time!  No lessons needed!
  • End of last summer (2 years, 4 months old) – Bug realized that water is something he maybe, possibly should be afraid of.  Awesome.  Refused the swim vest.  Absolutely no jumping in.  Wouldn’t leave the steps… not even holding on to Mom & Dad.  He would still put his face under, but only from the second step down.
  • This spring (April – 2 years, 10 months old) – First pool excursion since last year (finally warm enough).  Bug would go into the water holding onto me for dear life.  He would also jump in, but only if I held both of his hands.

Back to swim lessons.  I fully expected him to freak out as soon as the teacher pulled him into the water.  I think I knew that he actually wouldn’t freak out, but I prepared myself for it.  He did fantastic.  He was excited the whole time, and each time he was in the water, he did exactly what the teacher instructed.  Now, she never let go of him, but he didn’t hold on like crazy either.  He had another lesson on Sunday and did just as well.  She dunked each kid underwater and he came up smiling.  I would like to mention, though, that my child definitely was the least attentive while sitting on the steps waiting for the other kids to have their turns.  Not that he was intentionally disruptive or misbehaving, but there was a lot of splashing and talking involved.  Credit that to either a) he’s the youngest in the class or b) he’s Scary Uncle Adam’s nephew.

Instawhat: Week of 5/19-5/25

Eli & Adam

Wow.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts!  We had a busy week last week.  We started off in Raleigh on Sunday for Scary Uncle Adam’s wedding!  It was a wonderful weekend full of friends and family and exploring a new city.  And also welcoming a new sister (Aunt Kristin) to our crazy family.  Bug was the cutest ring bearer I’ve ever seen, of course.  Funny side story: during the ceremony, the pastor (Kristin’s father) said something that made the congregation chuckle.  Bug bursts out with the loudest, fakest laugh I’ve ever heard, which, obviously, makes the entire congregation crack up.  Love this kid.

Almost home

We split up the drive to Raleigh over two days, but we drove back in one fell swoop on Monday.  13 hours with all of the required stops for a toddler to stretch his legs and for a preggo to pee.  Bug was SO GOOD in the car.  He never once complained or asked to get out and he never once fussed about having to get back in the car after stopping for a break.  We were so proud of him.  He fell asleep at about 9:30… an hour-ish before we got home… holding his foot.


Somebody (not me!) taught Bug how to roll Play-Doh into snakes!  He is very proud of this skill and we spent a good twenty minutes rolling numerous Play-Doh snakes that afternoon.

Reading books

Nine times out of ten, if you ask Bug what he wants to do today, he’ll say ,”Go to the libary.”  (Hard word for a little guy.)  We really only have one free day a week to do whatever he wants (Thursdays, if you’re interested), so about every other Thursday we go to the library together.  We return our books from the previous trips, find some new books and look through them before checking them out and then usually going out to lunch.  Ten times out of ten, the books he chooses contain superheroes and/or Ninja Turtles.  Someone might be obsessed.

Wedding prep

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of catering a wedding for a dear friend of Aunt Annie’s.  Let me start by saying that Hubby & I adore the family we catered for.  Hubby is close friends with the Jenny’s (the bride) oldest brother, who is one of the nicest guys I know.  Jenny’s mom is a nurse and was a lactation consultant at our county hospital when Bug was born… she was sweet enough to bring us dinner one night after Bug was born and was so open to any questions I had about breastfeeding.  I texted her often those first couple of weeks!  This was our prep area in the kitchen… catering for 175 people is tough, and we had a couple little hiccups, but we had so much fun!  It is always such a treat when I get to cater for people that I know and love.  That being said, Hubby and I are still recovering from working until 3am that night!!

Instawhat: Week of 1/27

So, I forgot to post this stuff last week, which is actually okay since I also forgot to take a single picture on my phone last week.  Which, really, isn’t a bad thing.  We had a great week and focused more on each other than the pictures 🙂


My favorite foodie event of the whole year is Forks & Corks, which is put on by a local restaurant group that we belong to called the Sarasota Originals.  Forks is held in the courtyard of the beautiful Ringling Museum and consists of about 50 local, independent restaurants as well as about 70 vineyards from around the world.  The coolest part to the wine enthusiasts (my dad & I included) that attend this event is that many of the winemakers and vineyard owners come to our town to represent their wines.  It’s like meeting celebrities.  Tickets go for $85 ($150 for VIP)… this year, they went on sale in early November and they sold out of 1200 tickets in THREE HOURS.  Amazing.  Luckily, we get to be one of the restaurants there.  We served pork belly with edamame fried rice and a sweet soy drizzle.  We were named the Best of Show.  No big deal.  We also drank a lot of amazing wine.  While we served food.  Also no big deal.


Bug loves helping wash the car.  He’s getting pretty good with the hose.  Also, it was warm enough on a January day to actually play in the hose.  Be jealous.


Just doing a puzzle in my underwear.  With my tummy hanging out.  Big man.

Instawhat: Week of 1/20


Superman and his muscles.  I die.


“Mom, I’n a princess dragon!”  Almost peed my pants laughing so hard.


Namaw (my mom), Bug and I went to Mote Marine on Thursday, and then to Chick-Fil-A for lunch.  We had such a fun time.  This is Bug on the way home, ballin’ with his sunglasses on and chocolate chip cookie all over his face.  As my friend Stef said, “They see me rollin. They hatin.”


Thursday was the best day ever, except for the thirty minute I refuse to go potty unless you let me take off my underwear by myself, wait no you do it for me, wait no let me do it, oh crap I lost my chance to do it myself now I’m going to scream tantrum Bug threw before dinner.  After he calmed down and started acting like a big boy, the three of us went to Bogey’s for a fun family dinner.  We played video games and chatted and had so much fun that Bug got to stay up until 9:00.


On Saturday, Nana, Pops, Aunt Annie, Hubby, Bug & I all went out to O’Brien Family Farms in Bradenton to do a little strawberry pickin’.  Bug was totally into finding the reddest strawberries and was a pro at picking them off their stems after like 5 minutes.  We had a blast picking berries, lettuce and broccoli, and then we wandered through their blueberry bushes, played in the mud and bought some veggies from their farmer’s market.  I am a sucker for farmer’s markets, especially one like this, where they grow everything on the property.  Amazing.  Also, the most delicious strawberry milkshake ever.

I might try to actually write some real posts this week, but no promises!!