Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Recipe Treasury

My well used Recipes, memories included
One of the things that I found it difficult to downsize when we moved into a Motor Coach, was a 40 year collection of recipe notes and cookbooks

There are so many memories associated with food and it's preparation.
Time spent in the kitchen with my Mom, her sister my Aunt Millie, Lissa and Becky, and our  grandchildren is precious and I didn't want to throw those little scraps of paper with their associated treasured times away.

It would have been easy to type them into a recipe program, or to share them on a recipe site but that didn't seem personal enough.

I wanted to preserve them. Many of them are hand written by the person that shared them. They have conversions and alterations scribbled in the corners. The favorites have been splashed and splattered on and even though they have no scent my mind conjures the aroma of vanilla and cinnamon whenever that metal box is opened.

Enter Evernotes.
Evernotes is a program that I have been using for a few years to collect and store information. It allows the user to create notes and to organize them into Notebooks. The notes can be tagged and the best part is that all of the notes and notebooks are searchable.
Evernotes also stores pictures.

Today I took photographs of all of my recipes.
I uploaded the photos each into it's own note, where it can be easily read. All of the notes are then organized into a Recipe Notebook. Each note has been tagged as to the type cooking method and key ingredients. I was also able to put information in the note about it's source and any favorite facts associated with it.

I can look at the Evernote version of my Mom's Molasses Cookie recipe and see the molasses stains. The well used card reminds me that although it is a favorite of mine to make, they still taste the best when made by her hands.
The Evernote version of Aunt Millie's Bread and Butter Pickles is still written in her hand and brings to mind the day she taught me to make them using her huge double stainless steel sink as the bowl to slice and brine them in.
The Evernote version of Pumpkin Muffins still has little fingerprints on it that remind me of teaching our children and grandchildren how to crack eggs, measure, pour and mix.

I think this is going to work.

Day 2 of the black and white photo challenge features my favorite Florida bird, the Brown Pelican.
This photograph was taken on the St Johns River at Fort Caroline in Jacksonville, Florida.

Today I challenge our niece Stacy to post a black and white photo each day and to challenge another each day to do the same.
Stacy's photographs are delightful and her skilled eye has captured happy moments of many events for her family and friends.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Building Relationships

Fred and I had the pleasure of lunching with friends Jim and Diana Belisle on Sunday. 
We met Jim and Diana last fall at an RV Dreams rally in Indiana and felt like friends by the end of that week. We have been following their blog since then as they wintered in their RV in Michigan. 
They are great planners with a sense of adventure, so it has been fun following their story at ExploRVistas.
Jim and Diane headed south to get a break from Michigan's cold weather and ended up visiting family not to far from Ocala. 
We had a great lunch and got a glimpse of The Villages, when we went to lunch at TooJays Gourmet Deli.
It was fun to spend a few hours catching up comparing notes about the fulltime RV lifestyle.

Jim is participating in a photo challenge. It asks only that we post a black and white photo of our own every day for 5 days and to pass along the challenge to another blogger at the same time.

Day #1 photo is of our beautiful daughter Becky and her 3 boys in one of our favorite places.  The photo was shot on Bearskin Neck in Rockport Massachusetts Summer 2014.

We nominate Lissa and Clay of The Sunday Supper Club to participate.  Your beautiful foodie pix would look great in black and white.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Tarpon Springs

We have enjoyed visiting Tarpon Springs since the late 80's whens Fred's Mom and Dad lived in New Port Richey.   They introduced us to the Sponge Docks of Tarpon Springs once when we were visiting. We have gone back every time we are in the area.
It is a great town, rich with history and Greek culture.
Tarpon Springs was once home to a thriving sponge industry, that recruited divers from  Hydra, Aegina and the Dodecanese islands of Kalymnos.  These divers, more than 1500 of them, and their families created a new home for themselves in Tarpon Springs.

You can enjoy wonderful Greek food while shopping for natural sponges, spices and olive oil soap. We enjoyed the old buildings and ships and smiled to overhear conversations in Greek in this little Florida city.
Fred and I cam home with 2 large bottles of Cavender's. It is our go to grill seasoning for fish, chicken and pork and we can always find it in the grocery market in Tarpon Springs.

We enjoyed the shopping and having a walk along the sponge docks but this trip was really all about the company and the food.
Our camper is currently parked in Ocala but 2 hours is not too long to drive for the perfect Gyro.

We met Fred's sister Nancy and her husband Bob at their house and headed out.  We planned to meet up with Aunt Leona and Uncle Chico Luse and Uncle Ed Bonneau  and Carol to visit our favorite Greek restaurant Plaka.
We were very disappointed to find Plaka closed and it's windows covered over with paper. Plaka's Gyros are legendary, at least in our extended family.  We have been known to call or text one another pictures of ourselves enjoying them.  A phone call starting with "Guess where I am?" Can usually be answered with "Tarpon Springs, have one for me".

Hella's is the next best thing, so we headed next door and found a table for 8, where Constantine our waiter took very good care of us. We lingered over traditional Greek salad and Gyros for all.  The wonderful thing about Hella's is the bakery that is on premises. Fred taunted his cousin Geri with a picture of him and her father enjoying their first bites. After dinner we walked next door and each ordered take out of our favorites. Fred and I got almond cookies filled with apricot and covered with slivered almonds.

The atmosphere was wonderful, the food was great and the company was spectacular.
All in all, a very good day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

RV Life Lesson #4: Memory Foam Freezes

I don't know if this random fact will ever be useful to you, but did you know that Gel Infused Memory Foam freezes? It does. It really does.
We purchased a king sized 3 inch gel infused memory foam topper for the bed in our coach and left it in the truck.
In upstate New York.
In January.
For a week.
We didn't have a lot of opportunity to arrange things in our coach before driving off but thought "Let's just get the bed made, so when we are tired at the end of a full day of driving we can just grab something to eat and get some sleep."
We took the box out of the truck.
We took the foam out of the box.
It was still box shaped.
We pulled.
We prodded.
We tried to unfold.
Light bulb moment.
It had to be thawed in front of the heater vent in the house for 2 days.
Even then it was like spreading Silly Putty to make the bed.

- Bonnie, from my iPad

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Talent for Quilting

Lighthouse quilt by Nancy Burns

Fred's sister Nancy is a quilter.
She is a very talented quilter. She puts a lot of thought and care into her designs, personalizing them for their intended home.
Fred and I were so happy to be gifted with one of her creations.
Nancy made us a quilted panel suitable either for hanging or a table cover. It is in a lighthouse theme. She chose a lovely print in watery blues with details in black white and red. It features paintings of many lighthouses, including some that we have visited and climbed. She surrounded the print with a beige and brick red gingham print and a double black border. There is more of the lighthouse print between the two borders.

Nancy skillfully machine quilted in a stipple technique
The entire piece has been skillfully quilted using a "stipple" technique that gives texture to the quilt and makes the lighthouses stand out.
We love it. It suits us and is a perfect addition to our new home on wheels. It is currently on our sideboard as a table runner. We have placed a lighthouse lamp that we use as a nightlight on it.
Thank you Nancy for sharing your talent and your gift. We will treasure it.

Our nightly reminder of a sister's talent and love.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Golf Trip with golf buddies.

Monday March 2, 2015 
Golf Course: Venetian Bay New Smyrna Beach, FL. 
Cost: $55.38 - 18 holes with cart. 
On Monday, March 2nd, I met-up with Willy, Dave, and Bob F. at the Venetian Bay Golf Culb. This course is  managed by Billy Casper Golf Assc. We played the white tees which had a rating/slope of 68.4/119 and was 6032 yards long. It was a great day weather wise for golf.  With temps in the 80's and nice sunny skies it was a great day. Bob had the best score of the four for this round. But we all enjoyed a great day of golf on the course. And at the end the day had some lunch & drinks at the 19th hole. 

Friday, March 13th
Golf Course: Great Outdoors Golf Club & Resort Titusville, FL
Cost: $38.50 18 holes & cart. 
On Friday, March 13th I again met-up with Willy & Dave. Plus a friend of both, named Bill. 

This time we played the Great Outdoors Golf Club & Resort, Titusville, FL. 
This was a golf resort location with many beautiful homes with RV's park along side. 
We played the gold tees which had a Rating/slope of 66.4/114 and was 6036 yards long. 
Like the first day, today also was very sunny with clear blue skies!! Again just a great day to play golf. 
Bill who is 84 yrs young had the best score of the group with a round of 94. 

On the first tee we did meet a local at this course. But he let us play thru. 

At the end of the round we all had drinks at the Blue Heron Resturant. And then I said my goodbyes to the guy's. 
I said that I will hope to see Willy & Dave in Up-state NY for golf in June and September. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Park Review: Wickham Park

Wickham Park
2500 Parkway Dr
Melbourne, Florida
(321) 255-4307

Date: February 24-March 3, 2014
Rates: $23.00

Wickham Park is part of the Brevard County Park System. Its 390 acres are filled with walking and bike trails, a disc golf course, an equestrian center, multipurpose playing fields, courts for volley ball and horse shoes, a playground and a dog park.

Melbourne is convenient to beaches, Merritt Island Refuge, the Kennedy Space Center, and Spring training baseball. Orlando is an hours drive.

There is a Farmers Market every Thusday.
It is dog friendly.
There is an abundance of wildlife.
This is not a resort park.
There is no pool or wifi or cable TV. We did receive 17 Orlando stations using our OTA antenna.

The camping area provides 88 sites with full hookups as well as a rustic camping area for tents and a 25 rig overflow lot with water and electric only.

The campsites were generous in size. We had enough space to move around without feeling like we crowded the neighbors. The hookups are positioned so that you need to drive into some sites rather than back in but there is enough space to allow you to maneuver.

We enjoyed our stay at Wickham and would definitely stay there again.

- Bonnie, from my iPad

RV Park Review: Space Coast RV

Space Coast RV Resort
820 Barnes Rd
Rockledge, Florida
Exit 195 off of I-95

Date: March 3-March 17, 2015
Rate: $50-55 night, $265-340 week electric included with discounts for AAA, Good Sams, Encore and Thousand Trails members. We paid 38.80 a night a little more than we like to, but not bad for Florida in March.

Space Coast RV Resort is conveniently located to one of our favorite areas of Florida. We were looking for a home base that gave us easy access to Merritt Island, the Kennedy Space Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Spring Training Baseball and Cocoa Beach. If you are interested in watching nighttime rocket launches you can see them clearly from the park.

The park is clean and well maintained.
There is a lovely heated pool that Fred made use of almost every day.
There are shuffleboard courts.
There is a neat and clean coin operated Laundromat.
Park WiFi is very limited.
The park allows pets. I would call it dog tolerant rather than dog friendly. No dog fences allowed and there are specific areas where dogs may be walked. There is a dog beach in Córdova park which is about 15 minutes away.
The roads are paved and level making walking and bike riding a pleasure.
If you stroll around the park and go on every street you have a nice 2 1/2 mile walk.

The staff are accommodating and very friendly, we were even led to our pull through site by a staff member who wanted to show us the easiest route.

The sites at Space Coast are long but narrow. There was plenty of room to park our 40 foot coach and Silverado, but we were quite close to the neighbors. Don't misunderstand, there was room to put out our slides and establish an outdoor sitting area with our lounge chairs and a picnic table. I just prefer a little more space between rigs.

Our view out the front was of a lovely pond with a fountain that was visited every day by a pair of Mallard ducks, a squadron of Sand Hill Cranes, and the occasional Cormorant and Egret.

The residents are nice and very friendly. There is a well balanced mix of permanent residents, snow birds and transients that made for great conversation about travel and life style choices. We met several couples from Canada that gave us some "don't miss" suggestions for our trip to the Maritimes this Summer.

All things considered we would stay here again.

- Bonnie, from my iPad

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Spring Training Baseball 2015

On Thursday, March 5, 2015 I got to do one of my favorite things. I went with Bonnie to a Major League Spring Training Baseball Game. It was a game between the New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL.

Space Coast Stadium

Bonnie and I got to the stadium about a hour before the game to buy tickets. We went to the ticket window to buy our tickets to find that they just opened-up seats in the first row right behind home plate. So we got two seats in Section: Batter, Row: 1, Seats 40 & 41.

Fred the official scorekeeper

To me Spring Training Baseball is the official start of the spring time season.
Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL is the spring home of the Washington Nationals. The Nat's are the current N.L. East Division Champions of the past 2014 Baseball Season.

Washington Nationals
The New York Mets play in the same division as the Nationals and are in a "Rebuilding Phase" with lot's of younger players mixed in with some seasoned veteran players.

New York Mets
It was a lovely afternoon/evening for a ball game. The official start time was 5:05 PM and the sun was shining and the temp. was about 84 degrees.
Here is a photo of the two teams starting lineups for this game.

The Nationals starting pitcher was #31 Max Scherzer a free agent who signed with Washington from the Detroit Tigers this past winter. Scherzer was the past 2013 Cy Young winner and he is also a All-Star pitcher.

Max Scherzer

The Mets started #40 Bartolo Colon a seasoned veteran pitcher of many fine baseball teams and seasons.
Both pitchers started the game off well. No hits or walks and they both had 1-2-3 outs in the 1st inning. But in the top of the 2nd inning with one out #44 John Mayberry Jr. of the Mets hit a homerun to deep left field off of Max Scherzer for a 1-0 Mets lead.

John Mayberry Jr.

In the 3rd inning the Mets added to their lead by scoring three more runs. With a two run homerun by #29 Eric Campbell and a run scoring single by catcher #20 Anthony Recker. All of the runs came off of Nat's pitcher #57 Tanner Roark. So the Mets had built a 4-0 lead going to the bottom of the 3rd inning.
But the Nat's came right back into the game by scoring two runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning with a "Hit-By-Pitch", a RBI double by #12 Tyler Moore, and a RBI single by #19 Kevin Frandsen. So after just three inning the score was Mets 4 - Nationals 2.
The Nat's scored again in the bottom of the 4th inning on a two out RBI single by center fielder # 17 Eric Robinson. So now it was Mets 4 - Nationals 3.

The score stayed the same till the bottom of the 7th inning. With a run on 1st base and no outs, first baseman #18 Kila Ka'aihue of the Nat's hit a go ahead two run homerun to deep right field off of Mets pitcher #47 Cory Mazzoni to take the lead for the first time in the game. Score now 5-4 Nationals.

The Mets had just one more chance to tie the game in the top of the 8th inning with a run on 2nd base and two outs, pinch hitter # 2 Daniel Herrera lined out hard to pitcher #62 Eric Fornataro to end the inning.
Nat's pitcher # 64 Blake Treinen came in the game for the top of the 9th inning and he got the three out save to end the game.

So the final score was the home team Washington Nationals winning 5-4 over the visiting New York Mets.
Winning pitch for Nat's was # 30 Aaron Barrett with # 64 Blake Treinen getting the save.
 Losing pitcher for the Mets was # 47 Cory Mazzoni.
Time of the game was 3hrs and 10 min. long and both teams used seven pitchers and nine spare/sub players in this game. Attendance total was 5436 people.

So in the end Bonnie and I had a great evening. We got to see a lot of good young ball players from both teams in this game. We had a great time enjoying a great game called "Baseball"

Casey at the bat

Posted by Fred

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Oak Hammock Hike
Yesterday was a bright and sunny 80 degrees so we packed a picnic lunch grabbed the dog and headed out to one of our favorite places in this park of the country.
Merritt Island national Wildlife refuge and the Canaveral National Seashore are two of our countries treasures. We enjoy hiking and birding and swimming here whenever we get to the area.
We made a quick stop at the visitors center to pick up a trail map and then headed for the Oak Hammock Trail.

Oak Hammock is a short trail, about a mile, through Spanish Moss draped live oaks whose long limbs create a canopy of shade. 
We saw many butterflies and swarms of red and green dragonflies. Rascal even startled a tree frog.

Green Tree Frog


Done with Oak Hammock we tackled Palm Hammock a slightly longer, two mile trail, through cabbage palms and ferns. It always makes me smile to see the things we grow in planters up North growing so profusely here. Boston ferns line the trunks of palms and asparagus fern grows out of dead tree trunks. Bromeliads are everywhere.
I especially like all of the air plants that hang onto any surface they can find and get all the nutrients they need from the atmosphere itself.
Rascal got a little ambitious and found a 9 Banded Armadillo rooting in the mud so he and Fred sat on a bench while I completed the walk.  I had hoped to see some feral pigs but none were out hunting at the noon hour.  There were a flock of white Ibis, many fish and more dragonflies to enjoy.

After a short rest and having enjoyed our picnic we continued to the Canaveral National Seashore. We had been there before but mostly on the Atlantic side and the Manatee Viewing area. Yesterday we decided to explore the lagoons.

We were rewarded with the sight of Roseate Spoonbills!  The only other place we have seen them in large numbers was the Everglades.

Roseate Spoonbill
 There were so many, feeding in groups and sharing the mud flats with White Pelicans and Snowy Egrets.. 

Roseate Spoonbill in Flight

It is always startling to see such large birds in flight.  They are so ungainly when the take off and land but to see their beautiful colors against a blue sky is a treat.

We were also privileged to see a Tricolored Heron, a Great Blue Heron, many Egrets, White Pelicans and a squadron of ducks.

Tricolored Heron

Great Blue Heron

Our trip would not have been complete without spotting a couple of these guys sunning themselves.
  We are so lucky to have National Park areas to enjoy. These 140,000 acres snugged up close to the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are among our favorites.
We will be in the area for another week so plan to return at least once more.
American Alligator


Monday, March 2, 2015

Rocket Launch

We have visited Florida's Space Coast on a number of occasions but our timing with clear skies and a rocket launch. has never worked out.

Until last night.
This Space Exploration Technologies rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sunday March 1 at 10:55 PM.