Beach wedding, Butterflies & Jenga

My Brother in law got married this past weekend. It was a super simple and sweet ceremony on Captiva beach with drinks before and dinner after. It was only immediate family so it was a great time to catch up with my niece/nephews and all my inlaws and outlaws. 
Lindsay was the only one not in attendance because she flew to New Zealand this past Thursday for a little vacation; she was missed.
Nathan and Lolo
It was SO freaking hot. I think the heat index was 108*. Yes, I melted and then had to put myself back together again. I’m the Humpty Dumpty of Florida. 
My great-niece was able to spend the night with us and it was a treat having a person shorter than I in the house. She is just as much in love with my butterflies as I am.  We released one of my Eastern Black Swallowtails; she was just beautiful. The butterfly and Layla. 
The Coach is the self-professed Jenga King. And Layla delcared herself the Jenga Queen. 
I am the self professed Jenga photographer. 
It was a toss- up; they’re both awesome at Jenga and Layla certainly loved having a worthy challenger. 
That made for an awesome family weekend. The Coach and I are taking off for another adventure later this week. God willing that we make it back so I can blog about it. 🙂 
Have a great day.
Bee sweet. Bee in love. Bee fun!

My favorite things in the kitchen

Sometimes I wish I lived in Canada so I could spell favorite as favourite. Also, I would be much nicer, if that is even a possibility.

The kitchen is the heart of the home. Nevermind it’s NOT where the magic happens…well, at least in my case. I’m not sure how everyone else lives. But, I/we do spend a LOT of time in the kitchen mostly clothed.

Some of my favourite favorite everyday useful things. Aside from the Coach.

Our cast iron skillets. We ditched the old (and unhealthy) nonstick pans a few years ago, even before we had our gas range. The darn things are so hardy and heavy….we don’t even bother putting them away in the drawer. Although, that would give me more of a daily workout. We just leave them on the stove, oiled up and ready to go.

BTW: the gas range is actually clean. For the life of me, it never looks as good as the day it was installed. Apparently, I don’t have a ‘show’ kitchen, it is a full-fledged working kitchen. You’d think I was a better cook with the way it appears.

Method stone cleaner. Do we have some stone in our kitchen…lawd YES.
This is my favorite cleaner for all the hard surfaces; smells good and it does the job. I’m able to purchase a gallon of it and refill my bottle and I reuse the same cloth/rag until it can walk around on its own.
Win. Win.

Scrub Daddy.  I’m not sure what kind of hocus-pocus magic is in this scrubber, but it is my go-to cleaner for all things difficult. 

Mrs. Meyers everything. I’m so in love with her soaps. I love that the scents change with the seasons and it brings a little bit of joy to my dishwashing. I still keep a bottle of Dawn under the sink for the greasy/heavy duty stuff, but for most everything Mrs. Meyers dish soap is good enough. And how about my little bubbler? There’s soap & water in there and you press it down to add it to your little scrubber. It’s the best. I purchase most of my cleaning products from Grove Collaborative and this set was one of my first buys. With the little stoneware dish underneath; it keeps my sink area both tidy and pretty. And really, pretty is the way to go.

My turquoise kitchen pig. I don’t usually allow critters on the my clean counters, but this guy is too cute not to allow it. I found him years ago at Home Goods. Ya know that place, where dreams come true for a fraction of the cost.

This is two of my favorites in one. Drawers and my Snapware. I used to only use Tupperware and I still have some pieces, but I found snapware at Costco a few years ago and really built up a good collection of both glass and plastic. No more cussing  searching for matching lids. And I LOVE drawers. I like my drawers like I like my men;  big, strong and organized. If you ever have the chance to update your kitchen, drawers are so much better than cabinets.

Well, that’s all my favorites for today. 
Anyone have something in the kitchen that they can’t live without aside from the actual food? 
I was not compensated for any of my pics or links. That was just me trying to be a friendly Canadian on a Wednesday. 
XOXO

Dad’s Day

Dad’s day in a nutshell.

The girls had planned on coming down to spend the day on the boat at the condo early Sunday morning, even though Lolo works until 3:00 am policing the streets. Anything for the Dad. The girls showed up early enough, but so did the d*%$ rain.

Instead, we went out to breakfast and then visiting for the early part of the day.

It’s almost 100% certain that one or both of our girls will fall asleep while in our presence.
Is it the comfort of being near their parentals? Is it the late nights working? 
I like to think it’s the overpowering feeling of being loved. 🙂

Linds got in a little bit of yoga before her nap on the couch.

Later in the day The Coach went back to the house and fired up his pull-behind smoker. He’d been prepping some bacon all week in the fridge and it was now ready to be smoked. No store bought bacon for this connoisseur.

He also added in several slabs (12) of ribs for us, his Dad and brother. If you’re gonna go through the trouble of smoking, you might as well smoke a LOT of meat.

Bacon (32lbs) on the left, ribs on the right. He purchased 3 whole pigs earlier in the year from some young peeps via the 4 H club.

He shared a lot of it (pre-cooked) with our employees too; which they really appreciated.
We spent Sunday night vacuum sealing all this goodness for later uses.
For the Coach a day with his girls and smoking gobs of meat equals a heavenly day!

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend, whether you were smoking something or not.

XO

How middle aged women celebrate, my first home invasion and I might have a succulent addiction

You know what is awesome to collect?
Girlfriends.
I traveled a few hours north last weekend to celebrate one of my friends birthdays at a mutual friends house.

Before I tell you how exciting our day/night was, let’s reflect on what a buffoon I can be on occasion. 
I’ve known my friend Michelle for years but had never been to her house. I used the GPS on my phone and just as I entered her neighborhood and saw that I was ALMOST to her house I looked up and saw a home with lots of cars in the driveway. Well, here I am!
I had my arms full and knocked on the front door. No one answered, and dogs were barking. 
Suz’s brain: Well, Michelle doesn’t have dogs, but maybe her Mom is here with her pups? Why isn’t someone opening the door for me? Wait, they must be out back in the pool….just open the door and let yourself in Suz. 
I open the door and immediately three dogs come at me; a greyhound and two little mutts. I see past them to the furnishings and I know immediately this is NOT Michelle’s house. 
*Shiza-Minelli* I just did my first home invasion.
I push the ‘overly happy to see me’ dogs back into the house and shut the door.
As I’m pulling out my phone on the porch looking for Michelle’s house number a man opens the door and asks if I need something. 
*I might have shat myself*
I apologized and told him I’m at the wrong house….I said I’m so sorry about opening your door, I’m looking for Michelle’s house. 
He said, no worries. 
*phew, he’s not a gun-toting, fly off the handle kind of person*
We figured out her house was about 5 down the street. I said to him: “Thanks. Sorry again, it looks like you’re having a party here with all the cars in the driveway.” 
He said: “No party, I just have a lot of kids.”
Oh, my lawd Suzanne, how you’ve made it 51 years without being murdered is a miracle. 

What did 7 ladies age 41-60 do for a fun time?

We drank wine. Laughed. Sat in the pool. Nibbled. Laughed. Noshed.
And we potted succulents.
Talk about a wild and crazy time-we’re just lucky the popo wasn’t called on us.

I didn’t take as many pictures as I should have, but I was busy laughing. And floating. And drinking.

This one looks like Disney’s Ursula. 
I’m also completely inspired to UP my succulent planting game. The plants below are all in my house (inside and out), some new and some old. 

I’m thankful for good friends who love and inspire me and understanding peeps who don’t shoot first and ask questions later.
XO

See you later {tonight} alligator

At least once a week for as long as I can remember I dream about alligators.
Sometimes snakes too, but mostly alligators.

The other night they were able to climb up a two-story building; the second floor was all windows that slid open. I was busy telling everyone to NOT open the sliding windows or else the alligators WILL come right inside.
It was all very stressful because of course, no one wanted to listen to me.
Why is that? I’m a helper. A voice of insanity reason.

Perhaps the news brings on some of my dream antics-I wish we could make some of this up.  An alligator broke through a kitchen window, entered the house and made a mess. Including breaking wine bottles. If a gator tried to destroy my wine, I’d have a handbag, belt, and new shoes.

Or could it be from the day there was a baby alligator on the softball field during a game? 

Maybe it’s from the time my Dad took us to Gatorland Zoo? God forbid he took us to a normal theme park…hello Disney is just down the road Dad.

Suz, step-sister Lisa, brother Mark

Perhaps I should stop fighting with the gator ‘in my brain’ thing and just adopt one. This loon has a pet gator who she dresses up and he rides an ATV. 

Photo from ABC news. 

Please dear lawd…why do all the lunatics live in Florida? Does the heat make us them insane? 


Last night as I was cooking dinner I looked up and saw another gator just casually wandered into a garage in Fort Myers. 

If you believe the hippie voodoo stuff, my constant dreams about alligators can mean I have something to fear in my life. A foretelling of doom and gloom. 
I’m calling BS on that.
Plus, I’ve been having alligator dreams my whole life.
I think it’s just a Florida thing; we’re all nuts.

Anything scary invading your sleeping hours? 

Expanding my butterfly business.

Last fall when I was putting in my veggie garden I decided to add in dill and fennel hoping to attract the elusive Swallowtail. I see them randomly in my yard. As in randomly rare. And I love them.

A few weeks ago I noticed that my Fennel plants were 6 feet tall and an absolute mess with no eggs/babies in sight.  *sigh*

I finally went out yesterday and started cutting them down and tossing pieces into my compost bin when I noticed an elusive caterpillar. Thank goodness I don’t have neighbors too close because they might have thought I’d lost my mind. I shrieked in delight!
I pulled out all the pieces and then went to the ‘still a mess of plants’ to discover a plethora of swallowtail caterpillars.

MY DAY WAS MADE!

I ran in and googled How to Raise Swallowtails and voila-I was an instant professional swallowtail mom.

I didn’t bring them all inside at first, but later on when I was cleaning up from dinner I could see a male cardinal hopping around my fennel-surely he was feasting on my new babies. I went out and shooed him away and then rescued any I could find. *phew* Damn bird should stick to the feeders I have for he and his family.

I’ve ordered a much larger tent for them, but for now they’re using a smaller monarch tent and some are residing on my craft table. I hope they don’t run off before Amazon gets here with their new home.

 

There’s quite a variety of swallowtail in SW Florida, but I think these are the Black or Eastern Black flavor. I’ll know in a few weeks if my guess is correct or not. Stay tuned.

Not Suz’s photography



Have you found anything that made you shriek out loud lately?