Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bon Bini

Yes!  We are in Aruba!  This was an impromptu trip that we have only had planned for a few weeks.  My companion pass for Southwest ends at the end of the year AND since Southwest now flies to Aruba AND we had some Marriott points to cover the lodging we thought,  "Why not?"  So here we are!  We have been here since Wednesday and this is actually our last night here. We will be headed back to Orlando tomorrow afternoon.  We couldn't get a direct flight so we had to overnight in Orlando both directions.  

It has been an enjoyable time!  Truly, we haven't done a whole lot except spend time in the water snorkeling and sunbathing on the beach. (I actually have finished three books.  Hopefully one more before I get home.)  Today, because it's Sunday and not a water day, we took a drive around the island to see things.  It is very dry here.  You would think that it would be more tropical (and it IS very humid and hot) but it is more a desert than anything.  Sand dunes, lizards, centipedes (yes, I saw one today....really creepy) cacti, and lots of desert.  I think they must have imported the palm trees here because they don't look indigenous.  Here are some random pictures of the week.....

Rick purchased this shirt at the flea market yesterday.  He has never owned an "island" shirt and thought he'd get with the times.  It is so not him but I think he looks pretty darn cute:)

Our view off our balcony.  That little inlet allows a twenty passenger boat to come right into the hotel lobby and pick up the guests to take them out to the private Renaissance Island.  It is about a 10 minute ride to get there.  We have really loved going to that island because there are lizards, crabs, flamingos, oodles of feeding pelicans, hammocks, cabanas, pina coladas and a great view for watching airplanes land and take off at the airport.  Plus, Rick found out yesterday that they have great snorkeling as well.  He found barracuda, a green moray eel, and a lot of sea spiders!  He is so excited to go again in the morning before we leave.  Me last hurrah!!

Dinner at the Flying Fishbone.  On the beach with a rack for our flip flops...need I say more?
Actually, the food here is really expensive but I will say has been superb! 
 Every. Single. Meal.

Church was good.  It was in Papiemento but thankfully we had headphones for translation. 
 They worked for part of the time:)  The people here are so, so nice.

We visited the donkey preserve.  The donkeys have been here for hundreds of years.  They say that Columbus brought them over but I'm not sure I believe that.  They were starting to be a menace on the island so the preserve has gathered most of the wild ones and castrated them to keep the population down.  There are still about fifty in the wild.  

Isn't this picture hilarious???

Yup, it's a desert island!

It's been a great little getaway but I am excited to get back to Christmas.  There are a lot of Christmas decorations up, especially in the roundabouts (and one really strange one of a giant Christmas tree made of KFC buckets strung with lights) but it's just not the same in this island heat.  
See you soon!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Where in the world??????

Christmas Toes in Summer Sand.....

Strawberry Daquiri.......


Pink Flamingos on the Beach.......

I'm not saying but the stroopwaffles should be a huge hint!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Scout's Blessing Day

Yesterday Scout Audrey was blessed by her father.  Scout looked absolutely beautiful in this dress made by her Grandma Leesa.  Kendra chose an ecru lace and Leesa found this cute pattern and bought the socks to match.  Leesa also made the bracelet which was so darling on this little princess!! Kendra found the bow at Soelbergs (of all places:)

Brach blessed little Scout with Purity.  That's what stood out to me the most.  He blessed her that she would be a worthy daughter of God throughout her life.  I love that!  
She is so precious and we all are so much in love with her!!

The Bomans and the Bakers met back at our home for a soup and chili bar.  It was great to visit with everyone and to ooh and ahh over little Scout!!  She has two sets of grandparents that love her so much.  I am very thankful for that!
A Beautiful Day!

Festival of Trees 2014

The Festival of Trees was held last weekend at the SouthTowne Expo.  I borrowed Kathy's van and the girls and I made a day of it.  First was the challenge of getting THREE carseats and a single AND a double stroller plus three adults and three babies loaded up into the van.  
It was tight but we made it:)  

We started the afternoon with lunch at Mimi's Restaurant.  It's a great lunch spot.  The food is great and the atmosphere is fun.  Plus it is just five minutes from the Expo Center.  It was a good thing is was close because when we got to the ticket counter I realized that I left my credit card at the restaurant:(  Luckily I was able to get it back and only lost 20 minutes in the process....

We had a nice time at the Festival looking at all of the amazing trees.  Most of them are so beautiful and creative.  They run the gamut of princess trees, to rustic trees to cartoon trees to elegant trees.  They are all really fun!   There are so many that we didn't get to see them all.  
I love the whole festival but a highlight is the gingerbread houses.  

Sarah and Henry loved the superhero tree.

Rafe loved the Frozen tree with Anna, Elsa and Olaf.
Kendra loves the rustic western trees with horseshoes and burlap.

Here are a couple of the gingerbread houses...

I thought this was creative.  Tangled.  Rapunzel's hair is made of yellow twizzlers.

Sleeping Beauty's Cottage. 
The roof was made of shredded wheat.

Wow to this one!

I loved the gingerbread manger scene as well:)

People really are so creative!  We had a nice time being together even though it was a little hectic with all the little ones.  I am hoping that this will be a tradition for us every year:)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The sights of Christmas

Yesterday was a wonderful day!  Rick and I work in the SL Temple Baptistry on Wednesdays. After missing last week because of the Thanksgiving Holiday it felt really wonderful to be back in the temple again.  I have been thinking on the Savior a lot this week and of this wonderful time of the year when we celebrate His birth and life.  I have been filled with gratitude as I think of the amazing gift that He gave me. The gift of the atonement.   He is perfect.  He is merciful.  He is love.   I know that if I pattern my life after His then I will have joy.  Everlasting joy.  I love Him!

After the temple Rick and I had dinner at The Garden overlooking the beautiful lights.  Then we strolled through Temple Square among the throngs of people.  Tears came to my eyes as I heard the recording of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "The First Noel" as we overlooked the manger scene.  I was close to tears as we walked through the visitor's center and saw the still pictures of the Nativity.... especially the last one as it depicted the mother Mary and Jesus as a toddler.  I had such amazing feelings as I gazed up at our beautiful temple and recognize all the good that goes on inside.
It was truly a beautiful and inspiring night!

Of course, we had to walk by the Macy's candy windows.  Such incredible designs.

These next two were my favorites....

It makes me wonder what happens to all that candy at the end of the season.  
There sure is a lot!

I'm so glad that Rick and I were able to have this time together:)