Paradise on Earth

By 5:04 PM ,
No Pressure. No Problem.

These are the words you will hear again and again from the locals on the wonderful island of St. Lucia.


The most wonderful place I have ever visited and a top rated honeymooning and vacationing destination, St. Lucia has something for everyone!

Although we stayed at the Sandals Grande resort (which I would highly recommend) there are many wonderful resorts on the island that all offer a beautiful view and wonderful activities. However, if you choose to stay at a Sandals, all your food, drinks, and activities are included! Unique to the island of St. Lucia Sandals offers a deal where you can stay at 1 play at 3...there is a free shuttle that runs back and forth from the resorts making it oober convenient to hop on and catch a ride to another resort so you can try dinner at a different restaurant or snorkel new waters.

Many have asked me what is so wonderful about St. Lucia. WOW! What isn't? For starters:
1) The views....insane, gorgeous, turquoise waters, mountains, and reforests all in one island
2) The Simon Says Tour! This is a must do if you visit St. Lucia. For a fairly reasonable price this all day tour will take you by speed boat around the island (stopping to show you the yacht club among other things). You will then start off your all day adventure by snorkeling in some beautiful waters at the resort where one of the episodes of the Bachelor was filmed. Then you will travel to the city of Castries where you will meet up with Simon and get a first hand tour of the city. Then you will visit a waterfall where you will take a mineral bath in water that makes you look years younger. After that you will travel to a volcano where you can take a volcanic sun bath and then sit in volcanic rock. (It makes your skin feel so soft!) Then you will travel to Simon's personal home where his wife makes dinner for all the tourists who take the tour everyday. The food tastes delicious and is authentic to the island. Finally Simon takes you shopping at a local spot before loading you back on the speed boats to the resort.
The City of Castries (above)
The snorkeling location (above)
3) The drinks! Our favorite were the Dirty Banana and the No Pressure, No Problem drinks
4) The snorkeling...the waters are gorgeous and you are sure to see lots of cool creatures and things...the best news? NO SHARKS! I know...I couldn't believe it. But really several locals told us they had never seen or heard of a shark near the island in years.The picture below is of me holding a sea urchin while snorkeling.
5)The pools and royal treatment..beautiful and lots of them at the Sandals resorts. We met one local girl (Claire) who was working at our resort that we feel in love with..she was the nicest person I had ever met. She was so nice and that when we asked her where we could find a copy of their local music she went all the way in to town (during her day off) and purchased a CD for us which she gave us the next day. Not only that...she insisted we not pay her for it and ensured us it was her gift to us. This brings me to the next thing that is sooo great about St. Lucia....


6) The MUSIC! Music unlike anything you have ever heard...it's incredible!

As you can see I highly recommend St. Lucia! I would love to answer any questions you may have if you are considering going. It was a dream honeymoon and a trip we hope to take again sometime.


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Wonderful Way to Share the Secret of Santa

By 8:58 AM
What a wonderful idea to do something similar to share the secret of santa with your children!



Story below used with permission from David Shannon

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid.

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!" My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough , but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough ; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers. Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus ," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were -- ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.


<How old were you when you found out about Santa? How did you find out? Leave a comment.>

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Christmas Card Displays

By 4:13 PM , ,
One of the questions I think we all wonder is what to do with all the Christmas cards our family receives each year?

This year I came up with a cute, easy solution to this question. I simply tacked up a piece of ribbon to the inside of my kitchen cabinets and used clothes pins to hang the cards. That way I get to look at them everyday while I cook and guests to my home can also easily see them.


However, when researching neat ideas for Christmas cards I found a few other really clever ideas...


A friend of mine told me she saves all the pictures from the Christmas cards and puts them in a photo book. Her daughter loves to flip through the book from the year before and see how the people in the photos have changed. What a cool idea! This is something I plan to copy!

What do you do with the Christmas cards your family receives? Save them...chunk them at the end of season?

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Holiday Spirit

By 4:52 PM , , , ,
One of my favorite things about being a newly wed is getting to start new traditions with the man I love! Our first holiday together (not counting Labor Day because let's face it...it's not a real holiday) was Halloween. Due to the fact that we had not seen many of our closet friends since our wedding day, and that the annual UGA/FL game is always Halloween weekend, we thought it would be a great idea to host a Halloween party. It was so much fun to be able to bake spooky goodies and cheer on the dawgs with our friends! Below are two of our favorites recipes from the Halloween party (they are delicious and super easy to make!):

Mummy Dogs

You will need:
1 can of crescent rolls
8 hot dogs
Mustard

Cut crescent roll dough into thin strips and wrap around hot dogs. Bake according to crescent package directions and use mustard for eyes.

Bones & Blood

You will need:
A couple cans of breadsticks (depending on how many "bones" you want)
Marinara sauce
Scissors
Use breadstick dough and cut into strips. Use scissors to snip the ends into 2 pieces and roll them down to make the bone shape. Dip in “bloody” marinara! For extra flavor sprinkle with garlic and Parmesan.

The next holiday was Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving was spent with both my family and his where we ate lots of good amazing food thanks to our moms and g-moms.

Finally that brings us to Christmas! So far has been my ultimate favorite of holidays. Here's why:

1) Our First Christmas Tree
We got our tree the day after Thanksgiving and have been really enjoying it...we decided to make it a tradition!
Tip: We did not have a tree skirt so we used burlap and it looks A-mazing!

2)Baking Christmas Goodies Together

Here's an awesome recipe we made last night:
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fudge
(Here's what you'll need)

  • 2 sticks of butter, 1 1/4 cup peanut butter, 3 tablespoons baking cocoa, 1 teaspon vanilla, 3 1/2 cups powered sugar sifted)
In a large sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Add peanut butter and stir until well combined. Remove from heat. Stir in cocoa and vanilla. Stir in sifted powered sugar. Spread mixture in a buttered 8 x 8 pan. Refrigerate a couple hours until set. Cut into 1 inch squares. Store in airtight container.

What is your favorite holiday? Any special traditions?



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