Instawhat: Photo Dump

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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?

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5 Posts About Pineapples

Kat over at Living Like the Kings does a Friday 5 every week.  Now, I’m not saying I will actually participate every week… because if I do say that I will most certainly fail… but I will TRY to participate!  This week’s topic is your 5 favorite blog posts.  My favorites thus far were a series that I did on growing your own pineapple.  These posts also happen to be one of the most searched for topics on my blog.  Along with 7-minute icing. Weird.

Okay, here we go:

1. How to Grow Your Own Pineapple

A step-by-step tutorial (with pictures!) on how to grow your own pineapple plant from fruit you bought at the store.

2. The Pineapple Project

The beginning of my documentation of the first pineapple plant I grew… and the only one that has yet to bear fruit.  This is just after I noticed the fruit growing (mid July).  I have one other plant that is still only about half this size after 2 years and then there was the one that died.  I don’t really want to talk about it.  (Actually, I do… more about that below.)

3. The Pineapple Project – Round 3

Mid-August – About a month after the fruit started to grow.  At this point, a reader suggested that I name her Sofia.  And so I did.

4. The Pineapple Project Round 5

September – About 2 months in, Sofia was nearly fully grown, but still very green (her body, not just her foliage).  It took her until December to turn a beautiful goldeny-yellow.

5. Saying Goodbye to Sofia

We cut her into chunks and ate her.  She was sweet and delicious… better than almost any other pineapple I have ever eaten.  )The exception is fresh pineapple shared with Hubby on a remote beach in Costa Rica.)  This same plant grew another pineapple this year…also delicious.

And now I would like to speak about the pineapple plant that died.  You see, I prepped Sofia’s top and planted it just like I had done before… except for I planted her in a large pot.  She thrived.  In fact, within a year she grew to the size of her Mama plant and was triple the size of another pineapple that I planted in the ground at the same time as her.  Unfortunately, though, I was afraid she had gotten to big for her pot.  She didn’t mind, but I really wanted fruit from her.  Plus, there was no good place to put said pot where she wouldn’t poke us every time we walked by.  Kinda feisty, that one.  So, Hubby and I picked out a nice sunny spot in the yard by our backflow preventer (some unsightly pipes right in the middle of our side yard) and transplanted her.  After almost having to break the pot to get her out.  She seemed to be doing well there… staying green and growing even bigger.  And then.  One day I noticed she was starting to yellow.  I went to investigate and saw that her whole insides were rotten.  Apparently, that spot was too wet for her.  Makes sense, because the grass is always greener and longer right under those pipes.  Pineapples are tropical plants.  They like water, but they like water from the top… they do not like to sit in it.  It was a sad day.

Saying Goodbye to Sofia

The last time we visited Sofia, my lovely pineapple from the Pineapple Project, it was September. Yup. Long time ago. Back in September, her fruit was pretty much full grown and I was just waiting for her to ripen and turn yellow.

Well, turn yellow she did! On December 5 I noticed her bottom was starting to turn, and by December 10, the whole fruit was this beautiful golden color!

So, I did what any good mother would do and I cut her off her stalk. So I could eat her.

And eat her we did! I sliced up the most aromatic, sweet pineapple I have ever tasted and hubby and I went to town. Is this what “the fruits of your labor” means??

I also prepped the top for planting and a month later, it is growing strong in a pot outside. I decided to put it in a pot for the winter, and I will transfer it to the ground come spring.

I first noticed Sofia’s bud near the beginning of July and she was ready to pick near the beginning of December. 5 months = a long time to wait for fruit. But, it was really fun to to watch her grow. The mama plant that Sofia came from has a pup on it, which I will post about later, and I hope that pup will give off some fruit this summer.

Thanks for letting me share my Pineapple Project with you!

Pineapple Project – Round 5

Yes, I realize it has been more than 3 weeks since I last posted about Sofia, my lovely pineapple. You see, the truth is, I see her every day, so I tend to think that she isn’t changing very much. When I look at old pictures, I realize that she IS changing, just not as quickly as when I first noticed her.

Her top is getting taller, and her color is changing ever so slightly. And she is good and, um, plump. (I would never call her fat… don’t want to give her a complex.) Her fruit has stopped growing for the most part, and now I am just waiting for her to start ripening a little bit before I cut her from the stalk.

And then, I am going to eat her. Muaahahahaha.

Oh, and you can’t see it here, but the Mama plant is starting to grow a pup! I will post about Pineapple Pups soon!

Pineapple Project: How to Grow a Pineapple

A long while ago I promised that I would publish a post on how to grow your very own Sofia. You don’t have to name yours Sofia. You don’t have to name it anything really… you just need to grow it. Why? Because its fun & its easy & pineapples are yummy!! Are you ready?? Go out right now and buy yourself a pineapple. I’ll wait for you to do so.

Welcome back. Got your fruit? Good. First, chop off the top, but make sure to leave yourself a good inch or so of fruit to work with. Cut around the core, straight down from the foliage. Foliage… fun word.

Just keep cutting, just keep cutting… all the way ’round.

You end up with this. Can you see the darker, round core in the middle? Our next task is to get down to that core.

So, lay your top down and cut around that core… it doesn’t have to be round.

You’ll end up with this. No more cutting.

Now you need to pull of the bottom several layers of leaves in order to expose the roots.

See those little brown nubs? Those are the roots! Keep pulling off leaves until you see a couple of rows of roots. Then, set your top in a cool, dry place and let it dry out for 3-5 days. When it has dried out some, stick it in the ground. Or in a pot. Pineapples will only get as big as their pots, but I have heard that they will still bear fruit in a pot. Water as needed and fertilize if you want to, but they really don’t need much. Mine took 2 years to bear fruit, but I have heard anywhere from a year to 3. Fruit or not, though, they sure are pretty plants!

Pineapple Project – Round 4

First off, I would like to announce that my pineapple now has a name. Her name is Sofia. Thanks to Mandy from ‘tiny mandolin‘ for 1) suggesting that I come up with a name and 2) suggesting Sofia. I had originally thrown out Percy the Pineapple, but we ultimately decided that Percy was too harsh and prickly (not to mention that it is the name of one of my nephew Zack’s favorite trains) and that the pineapple, being already harsh and prickly, needed a softer sweeter name. You know, that whole let the inner beauty shine through thing. So, here she is in all her prickly-on-the-outside-but-sweet-on-the-inside glory: Sofia the Pineapple.

Second, I would like to point out how, now, Sofia looks like something that I might be able to eat sometime soon. Her top more than doubled in size in just over a week and she no longer has that reddish-pinkish tint that she had last week. The girl is turning into a bona fide piece of… fruit. (Goodness, what did you think I was going to say?!?)

Now the question becomes… when is she ripe enough to pick but not quite ripe enough for the bugs to ravage her?

Pineapple Project – Round 3

Hi friends. I know it’s been awhile… sorry. I’ve been busy busy busy! I have all sorts of fun things planned though… like Angel Food Birthday Cake and the How to Grow a Pineapple part of this project. And Springerles… mmmm… cookies from Christmases past.

Anyways, back on track… I’ve kind of lost track of time, but I think it’s been about a month since I first noticed the growing fruit. I love in the above picture how the middle is fuzzy & the outsides are nice & crisp.

It’s starting to look like an actual pineapple now, with the crown starting to stick up and all. We have been getting a lot of good rain here in Sarasota lately, so I am sure my little guy is lovin’ it and just soaking it all in!

The Pineapple Project

There is nothing more refreshing than a freshly cut up pineapple. Well, except for maybe a fresh watermelon and a glass of sweet tea, but other than that…

There is also nothing quite like pineapple tongue. You know when quarter of the way through the juicy yellow goodness you say, “My tongue is really gonna hurt if I keep eating this,” but you just can’t stop poppin’ it in your mouth? Then you say, “Good gosh my tongue hurts,” and you can’t hardly eat anything else for the rest of the day? That’s pineapple tongue. I think pineapple tongue is totally worth it.

So, friends, let us embark on the Pineapple Project.

A couple of years ago I REALLY wanted to grow my own pineapple. I had been told that you could plant one from a store-bought fruit and it would produce about a year later. A lot of seeds & plantings from grocery store-bought fruits will grow, but they won’t produce… i.e. pomegranates & some apples. I followed the instructions given to me and planted my pineapple top and my plant began to grow. Fast forward 2 years… huge plant, no fruit. I was beginning to give up, until I discovered a few weeks ago that it was growing a baby pineapple! I though it would be a fun project to document, and that is that.

This is about a week after  I noticed something growing inside my plant. Cute, isn’t it? Stay tuned for more growing pineapple pictures and a how-to on starting your own!