Patriot Cartoons: A Dirty Dozen

I can’t stand cheaters, but thanks to the Patriots cheating ways, we’ve had some good laughs the past two weeks. Here’s a dozen that detail the dirty deeds of the AFC “champs”.



Don Shula took some flack earlier this month when he referred to Bill Belichick as Belicheat. Looks like Don deserves an apology.

Too Many Choices

What is it with these crazy new Freestyle Coke machines at restaurants? It’s bad enough that when you order a drink, you’re handed a cup and told to get it yourself, but these new machines make the process of getting a drink much too time consuming.

Not only are there 23 choices on the main screen, but once you make the initial selection another screen appears so more flavors can be selected: Coke, Cherry Coke, Raspberry Coke, Vanilla Coke, Cherry Vanilla Coke, Lime Coke, Orange Coke

IMG_6046Really? Who needs that many choices?

And of course, every child has to create his or her own drink. A squirt of cherry coke, two squirts of Fanta orange, another squirt of Sprite, a little Root Beer, and Dr. Pepper. I can’t imagine they really drink this concoction. And while they have fun creating a unique drink, there has to be a better way for kids to have fun without creating a backup at the soda machine.

Did you know there’s even an app for the Freestyle machine so consumers can create, name, and share their creations? Do we really need to encourage seven-year-olds to become mixologists?


Unfortunately, even water’s dispensed in the Freestyle machine so there’s no way around it. Please, can you just hand me a can of soda or a bottle of water?

TBT Lesson #35

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved hats. Unfortunately, I’ve never been brave enough to go out in public in fancy head gear.

However, hats have become my friend as I have more and more bad hair days. The long, straight, easy to handle hair of my youth is long gone; and even the short, wavy, wash and go hair of my 30s and 40s is no more. Instead, now I struggle with frizzy, fuzzy, curly, unmanageable hair, probably a curse for my lack of empathy with my daughters who have dealt with hard to handle hair from birth.

This picture is a reminder that I was hair challenged early in life. My mom tried to curl the few wisps of hair or add bows or ribbons with little success. A frilly dress and a bonnet guaranteed her baby would be recognized as a girl.

IMG_5989TBT Lesson #35: A hat is always a perfect solution for a bad hair day.

Take a Hike in the Marshall Swamp

IMG_6034I guess I should have expected to slog through mud. After all, swamp is clearly written on the sign marking the Marshall Swamp Trail, but I didn’t expect to return from the hike with soaked shoes and socks and wet jeans.

The information we’d read about the Marshall Swamp Trail section of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway mentions that portions can sometimes be wet and muddy, especially in the wet season, but since boardwalks have been built over the wettest parts of the trail, I didn’t expect to squish through so many puddles in January.

Of course, we hiked the trail two days after a twelve hour downpour. Maybe that was the problem. Even with the wet conditions, the 6 mile round trip hike from the 67th Avenue Trailhead to Marshall Swamp Trailhead was a great walk through a wild part of Marion County.

An abundance of signs made it easy to follow the trail even through an area with a tree blocking a portion of the path.

Clear blue skies on a cool winter day made for perfect conditions for a hike through areas of pines, palms, and cypress trees. However, I’m not sure this is a place to trek in warmer weather. What with heat, humidity, and mosquitoes, it sounds like the perfect combination to make for a miserable day. Since we swatted a few of the pesky insects in January. What would it be like in July?

We’ll definitely be returning to the Marshall Swamp Trail before the weather warms up.

IMG_6013And what could be better than ending the day with a tick check?

Trash It!

Stacks of mail on the dining room table, on the desk, and on the kitchen counter stress me out. I hate dealing with piles of mail, so I’m going back to my old way of handling all of this paper that’s delivered on a daily basis.

I’m opening the mail outside. The trash can serves as my desk and the vast majority of the paper goes directly into the recycling can. Most days I bring in a single sheet of paper and on a good day, I come in the house empty handed

This was my procedure for handling mail for years, but I got into a different habit when I purchased a shredder. Concerned about identity theft, I shredded everything. Of course, instead of shredding daily, mail piled on the shredder for shredding sessions and mail stacked up. Junk mail was deposited in the basket for shredding. It quickly took over.

And what is it with shredders? They don’t work! The sticker says it can shred up to six sheets at one time, but I’m lucky if it works with two. I feed only one sheet at a time and after a dozen or so pieces of mail, it overheats or gets clogged so that I’m picking paper out of the blades with a paper clip. What a waste of time!

Shredding by hand is now my preferred method. As many times as my information has been compromised at retailers, I don’t think mail is my biggest worry. Envelopes, junk mail, and catalogs directly in the recycling can. Tear the pieces containing personal info into small pieces and then in the recycling can. Take anything remaining in the house – usually a single sheet of paper – much more manageable.

Don’t bring the mail in the house…trash it!



And I’m working on getting off some of these mailing lists!

It’s Opposite Day

IMG_6004Who knew there really was an Opposite Day? I remember days being declared as Opposite Day from my days in elementary school so the thought of January 25 being designated as a day to celebrate the nonsense that comes with Opposite Day can only bring a smile to my face.


It’s been described as a day to do the opposite of what’s usually done:

Eat breakfast for dinner


Read from the opposite direction


Eat dessert first


Wear summer clothes in the middle of winter (not that it would be a problem here in Florida)


Brush your teeth with your toothbrush in the opposite hand

Of course, you can just talk like the kids I knew who declared the day to be Opposite Day by adding the phrase…if it were opposite day…at the end of the sentence.

I’m looking forward to a little dessert just before eating pancakes for dinner!


A Fresh Start for Saturday

Another day of wedding preparation began at Fresh Vintage Salon in Ocala with a wedding day hair trial.


Then off to Oviedo to Sew & Tell for wedding dress alterations.

Finally a stop at both sister’s houses to pick up completed projects and dishes and to drop off projects still in progress.

A good excuse for a little mother daughter time.


10 Delicious Strawberry Recipes

I can’t help but notice the roadside strawberry stands that have popped up the last couple of weeks. It’s one of my favorite things about winter in Florida, fresh strawberries! Since I can’t resist buying berries by the flat, I need to find some new recipes so that not even one berry goes to waste.

Oreo cookies, cream cheese, and strawberry pudding mix, this looks super simple: Cookies ‘n Cream Strawberry Cheesecake Bars from creme de la crumb.

Cookies-n-cream Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Frozen strawberries provide the basis for this quick dessert. Check out Just a Taste for the recipe for this 5-Minute Healthy Strawberry Frozen Yogurt.

5-Minute Healthy Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

An oldie but goodie that needs to be revisited: Strawberry Pretzel Salad found on Stuff by Ash.

Bruschetta…with strawberries? That’s a different combination. From Lemons for Lulu Strawberry Tomato Bruschetta.

Now this recipe for Strawberry Freezer Jam from Here Comes the Sun looks like something that even I could make.

From Taste of Home, Strawberry Vinaigrette, perfect for a spinach salad!

Strawberries + pineapple + coconut = delicious It’s time to try a Strawberry Pina Colada Dessert from A Pinch of Joy.

Oatmeal in a smoothie? That’s a surprise, but this Strawberry Oatmeal Smoothie, from, looks yummy, even if it is healthy.

A new salsa recipe just in time for the Super Bowl! Strawberry Mango Salsa from Fresh Tastes.

Strawberry Mango Salsa

Guess what’s on the menu this week?


TBT Lesson #34

The Eighth Street Elementary talent show provided an opportunity for students to be on stage in front of their friends and family, even if their talent was limited. In 1998, the event moved to the auditorium at Forest High School…a big time stage for elementary students.

Emily, Sarah and several of their friends performed to the song Ghostbusters, with the 5th grade Ghostbusters pursuing the 2nd and 3rd grade ghosts dancing and spraying silly string to the delight of their classmates.

IMG_4392TBT Lesson #?: You don’t know it’s a classic until it hits the stage.


2014: The Year of the Manatee

In the book Deadly Waters, author Gloria Skurzynski, compares manatee to giant potatoes.

IMG_5595.JPGNot a bad description, but a potato may be more active.

These creatures are so ugly, they’re adorable.

Every year seems to be devoted to a different animal: sea turtles, black bears, moose, killer whales, grizzly bears. Last year was the year of the manatee, starting last January at Fanning Springs State Park and then at Blue Springs, Homasassa Springs, Wakula Springs, and finally swimming with them at Crystal River.

I wonder what animal will dominate 2015?