Palm Tree Delivery

I am a northern girl, I know more about evergreens than I do palm trees, so I was in uncharted waters when DaddyO told me a palm tree was in his landscape design and I was in charge of finding it and having it delivered. Boy did learn a lot!

My mom and I headed down to Palm Source, our local palm tree nursery and were educated on the finer points of owning a "palmae."

First, there are many different types of palm trees in Florida. I was surprised to learn that the bush already in our front yard is actually a Mexican Fan Palm. It is native to Baja, CA and will be nice and tall in a few years.

mexican fan palm

A Sabal Palm was the type DaddyO wanted, a slower grower and Florida's state tree. They were sold at set price so we had our choice of height.

we chose the second from the right

The delivery fee was included in the price and they scheduled the delivery for two days later.

We were excited to see how the tree would be delivered an planted. It turned out to be quite the front porch entertainment...

For a Northern girl I think I did well!

Palafox Pier Pelicans

they come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes

It sometimes takes family coming to visit for us to get out and enjoy all that our town has to offer. One of the "it's very close but we hardly ever go there" places is Palafox Pier.

My mom and I visited it during one of our walks downtown. I had been to the pier during the summer to enjoy its shooting water fountain and ice cream stand, but never thought to visit during the winter. I am so glad we stumbled upon it.

The view of the ocean was as beautiful as ever but the pelicans ended up receiving most of our attention. They hung out by the fishermen waiting for discarded bait to be thrown their way.

The pelicans were very friendly and even let us sit next to them and pose for pictures.

Later, we visited a bait shop in Gulf Breeze to pick up some cigar fish to feed the pelicans. The shop owner laughed a little when we told him why we were buying his bait. He said it was the first time someone had come in looking for pelican food. Not something I would normally think to do but fortunately my mom likes the unusual

We returned to the pier a couple days later and showed EJ how to feed the pelicans. She was not quite sure what to think of the smelly fish and big birds but she had fun watching the pelicans catch the fish.

this is a cider minnow

the throw

the catch

and enjoying the fish

"Nawlins" Excursion

another manhole for my collection

New Orleans is just a short three hour drive from Pensacola; a perfect excursion when family or friends come to visit.

My mom, EJ and I left at 9 a.m. for an afternoon in The Big Easy. We found free parking on Decatur Street just a block away from "the only way to start our visit" coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde.

powdery acadian fritters

Located in an outdoor cafe along the Mississippi River, I can not think of a better place to soak in the sounds and sights of New Orleans.

From there we walked into the French Quarter, saw some landmarks and listened to street musicians.

st. louis cathedral

Some foodie friends gave us a list of restaurants to eat at while visiting. One of those restaurants was Brennan's. Known as the creator of the banana foster and famous for their turtle soup, we had to try their three course brunch. The restaurant was beautiful and the waitstaff very friendly. We sat inside but had a beautiful view of their lush courtyard. We ordered their specialties: New Orleans Turtle Soup, Eggs Hussarde, and (of course) Banana Foster. We shared a meal (recommended by our friends) and had just the right amount of everything. The food was delicious and what a show with the dessert!

spicy turtle soup

flaming banana foster

Right outside of Brennan's was a jazz club performing on the steps of the courthouse. It was some of the best dancing, tapping, and music I have seen. The perfect way to end an enjoyable trip!

new orleans jazz club

Happy Happy Birthday

our birthday girl

DaddyO and I went back and forth about whether or not we should have a party for EJ when she turned one. There were many reasons why we shouldn't, but there were even more reasons why we should. The biggest reason was to celebrate one year of good health for EJ and to thank our friends and family for all their support.

We celebrated with some of our "Warlord" and "Shooter" friends along with Grandma from PA. We enjoyed creating the games and planning for the big day. EJ will probably only remember the memories the pictures create but she will always see all the people who loved her.

Here are some of the highlights...

Guess How Much Candy

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

Bean Bag Toss


get ready for...


after hit

after hit

after hit

and finally the prize!


coconut cream

blow out the candle

first frosting and cake

a kiss for dad

Little Me Bubba

EJ loves dolls. She cuddles, hugs, and kisses them whenever they are in her arms. This is my first attempt at making her a doll. These instructions were easy to understand and included a template. The fabric for the body is from A&E Pharmacy (my favorite crafting store in Pensacola) and I plan on using the same fabric to make EJ a dress.

She received this doll for Christmas, and, although it does not get as much attention as her bigger bubbas, she likes to carry it with her in the car and teethe on the hands and feet.

Three Candles

blowing out our candles

Times ten. I have reached that point where each candle represents quite a few more. Twenty nine was a big year and I look forward to seeing what thirty brings.

DaddyO surprised EJ and I with a slice of tiramisu and key lime pie from the Fish House. He sang Happy Birthday and we blew out our candles. Well, EJ at least tried to blow out her candle. We are still working on that:)

Thank you to my wonderful family and friends for the calls, cards and messages. They made me feel so loved and made turning thirty all the sweeter. You mean the world to me!

Dearest EJ,

You are one year old today. Oh what a wonderful year it has been!

(this song was the reason we chose your name)

We celebrated your big day with a trip to J's Pastry Shop to pick up a birthday cookie. You enjoyed a Filbert along with some pretend sips of DaddyO's coffee.

your first cookie

so many choices

you had some help choosing

We then took you to Bayview park to play on the swings and slide.

It was an unusually cold day, very similar to the one when you were born. Thanks to the cold DaddyO was home to celebrate with you. We had fun reminiscing about that day a year ago. So much has changed since then...

Mobility: a couple steps
Sleep Habits: 7:30 p.m to 7 a.m. in bed with us, morning and afternoon nap
Favorite Instrument: recorder
Favorite Food: sweet potato fries and blueberries
Favorite Activity: sliding down slides
Favorite Book: peekaboo friends
Favorite Word: da (dad)
Favorite Toy: fisher price airplane
Favorite Song: open them, shut them
# of Flights: 12
# of Cross Country Road Trips: 3

Druze Tabbouleh Salad

watching the preparation (1984)

While living in Israel in the early 80's my mom became good friends with the wife of an Arab judge. Mrs. T would take us to places around Israel that we would never have had the chance to visit on our own. One of those places was a Druze village on Mt. Carmel.

On one visit, a Druze family offered to show my mom how to make tabbouleh salad and invited us to stay for a meal. It was a labor intensive preparation. The women sat on the floor and chopped the mint, tomatoes, onions, and parsley. When the salad was ready, we sat on low stools around a communal platter and scooped up the salad with lettuce leaves.

My mom continued to make this salad for us as we grew up and now we make it for EJ.

she enjoys the flavors and textures of all the ingredients

our plate

We usually serve it with hummus, lebneh, olives and pita; the same way my mom did for us. Here is the recipe that is very similar to how the Druze make the salad.

Tabbouleh Salad Recipe
2 cups bulgur (presoaked for 1 hour)
3 cups parsley, finely minced
1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely sliced
1/4 tsp. black pepper, ground
1/4 tsp. cumin seed, ground
1/2 tsp. salt
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 head romaine lettuce, washed with leaves separated
3 tbsp. olive oil

To presoak bulgur, place 2 cups bulgur in a bowl. Pour 2 cups water over bulgur and let stand 1 hour.

In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, gently mix together all ingredients, except the lemon juice, oil, cucumber slices and romaine leaves. Add the lemon juice, toss and chill for 1 hour to blend the flavors. Before serving, toss again with olive oil. Serve in a mound with romaine lettuce leaves arranged like the spokes of a wheel. Scatter cucumber slices over romaine leaves. Serves six.

Rain, Rain, Come Our Way...

...may dad return early today.

I always enjoy a rainy afternoon curled up with a book. They do not happen that much now that I am running after EJ but rainy days have taken on a whole new meaning since I have been home with her. Rain means canceled flights for DaddyO and the chance he will be home early.

he is on his way

So now when I hear that there is a chance of rain in the forecast my ears perk up and I start thinking of all the ways we can enjoy a morning or afternoon together. Today EJ got some extra special play and reading time with him. Rain, rain, come our way!

What It Means to Believe

Time with God was not something I had much of in 2010. There was always something competing for my time and attention. This year I have resolved to set a moment aside to reconnect with God.

Luther's words in today's devotion spoke directly to me and why I have been choosing the competition over a quiet time. Belief about God is different than belief in God.

Pour yourself a cup of tea and see how God speaks to you through the January 3 reading of Faith Alone:

Then Jesus said loudly, "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me." John 12:44

There are two ways to believe. The first way is to believe about God, meaning that we believe what is taught about God is really true. It's similar to believe that what is taught about the devil or hell is true. This type of belief is more a statement of knowledge than an expression of faith.

The second way is to believe
in God. This not only includes believing what is taught about God is true but also includes trusting him and daring to be in relationship with him. It means believing without any doubt that he really is who he says he is, and he will do all he says he will do. I wouldn't believe any person to this same degree, no matter how highly others might praise him. It's easy to believe that someone is godly, but it's another matter to completely rely on him.

A person who believes in God believes everything written about God in Scripture. He dares to believe this in life and in death. This faith makes a person a true Christian and give him everything he desires from God. A person with an evil, hypocritical heard can't have this type of faith, for it's a living faith, as described in the first commandment: "I am the Lord your God...Never have any other God" (Exodus 20:2-3).

Therefore, the little word
in is well placed and should be carefully notes. We don't say I believe God the Father, or I believe about God the Father, but I believe in God the Father, in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. Only God can give us this type of faith.

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