Friday, 31 July 2015

Anna Marie - Beach, pool, beach, pool

Most of the posts from here in will likely be photo drops.  So here goes.

This was our yard.   The pool was a good size.  Adequate for 3 small boys.  The house had a sitting area outside, as well as 3 loungers.  Most of our time for the first 5 days was spent between the beach and the pool, with some thunderstorms thrown in for good measure.  There was also a very good grill, which we used at least every other day.

We found this guy in the pool the first morning.  It is a ghost crab.  We had never seen one before.  

We let him go in the yard, but he quickly made his way back into the pool.  We ended up taking him to the beach to release him.

This was one of the sitting areas in the house.  We liked sitting here in the evening, with the doors open, as they had bug screens over the doors.  And good job, cos I got bitten a LOT

There was also tones of lizards around.  You could barely move outside without one running by you.

We ate out at The Sandbar twice, once for lunch and once for dinner.  Once outside, on the beach, and once inside, in the evening.  A nice restaurant.  Busy in the evening, not too bad at lunch.

The beach was awesome. The waves varied from day to day, but we did end up buying another boogie board, so all the boys had one.  There were some awesome looking fish, and we think we may have seen something a little bigger.....  When a guy fishing in the water pegs it out, it is highly likely he spotted something with a grey fin, and a tool shaped head.....

But it was so beautiful.  And quiet too.  We were a short walk from the Sandbar restaurant along the beach, and as you looked south, you could see how much busier the beaches  became. We were very fortunate to have chosen the quieter end of the island. 

Anna Marie Island - The beginning

We booked this holiday way back in february.  You know me, i like my holidays.  This place was recommended by a lot of people, and after my own research, we went for it.  I started my search on VRBO as usual, but couldn't find anything I liked.  But I did find Anna Marie Island Vacation Rentals.  This company rocks,  they look after the majority of the rentals on the island.

We made the effort to leave early, so we were on the road by 4.45am.  This was a good idea, as there was very little on the road at the time.  I had been to Krispy Kreme the night before and got some donuts, so we had those as breakfast at the road.

Leaving early was an excellent idea, as we got to Savannah, Georgia for breakfast at 8.30.  We were over a third of the way there already.

We continued on our journey and made excellent time.  Anna Marie Island is over 600 miles from here.  It is so far.... It was supposed to take 10 hours, and it pretty much did. We got to the rental company to pick up our keys at 2.45.  The place was like a mad house!!!

Unfortunately, some plonker (me) had told them we would not be there till late.  That was before we decided to leave extra early......  The gentleman got straight on with arranging for the house to be ready, and advised us of a few places to go for lunch.

We headed to the Waterfront restaurant, and were able to get a seat outside, overlooking the road and the bay.  Man, it was hot, but there was a storm brewing, and plenty of fans blowing the air around.  The food was delicious, as was the ambiance, or it would have been without 3 monkeys.

After lunch we went for a little walk down Anna Marie Island City Pier.  I purposefully picked the north end of the island, as everything is pretty near each other, so walking any where was fairly easy. The pier was lovely, with plenty of people fishing off it, and a little restaurant at the end.  There was loads of signs around telling you not to hassle the dolphins....  And a couple of areas on the shore cordoned off where turtles had already nested.

We headed back to the rental offices, and the place was just being finished off being cleaned.  We headed round, and waited for them to finish. We settled in, and gave the boys a snack type dinner, before heading down to the beach.

Part of the reason for picking this particular property was its proximity to the beach. Less than a block.....  It was stunning.  Typically the kids went in the water with their clothes on, but the water was sooooo warm....

This was the first time we have ever been to the Gulf of Mexico.  It is stunning.  

We spent about 45 minutes on the beach.  The kids had a great time, and it was so warm.....  They went to bed a little late, in preparation for the rest of the holiday 

Monday, 27 July 2015


Before I do a massive holiday photo drop, I just want to say a few things.

I have been majorly neglecting this blog.  I am sorry, not sorry, about this.  Obviously I have had the kids off, which is the greatest distraction known to man.  They go back in about 4 weeks time.  Counting down.....

Cocktail friday is no more.  Believe me, it was fun while it lasted.  But I always find things set to certain times stressful, and this diminishes my motivation.  I am also taking August off alcohol (now I have written it down, I have to do it!).  I enjoy my months with out booze, though it does take a little getting used to.  I am not drinking to excess, but feel like I need to give my body a break.

I want to get a lot fitter.  I have my Zumba basic and Zumba Gold licenses, but if I ever want to do anything about instructing classes, I need to improve my stamina. After Kiawah, I went on a bit of a health kick regarding food.  Instead of eating 3 big meals a day, I was having breakfast about 7.30, a large snack about 11, a small lunch about 2, and then eating with the family.  I also tried to minimize my carbs a bit.  Because of this, I was using less insulin.  I also just felt healthier.  I was also polishing my choreo on some Zumba songs, and stretching in the mornings while the boys did their computer time.  It made me feel really good.  I was exercising in the morning 3 days a week, then going to at least 3 Zumba classes in the evening each week.  As I said, I felt good!

So I am going back to this regime.  If you want to know how I am doing this, I can post it on here.  Comment below or on Facebook if you would like to see this.  I also want to start running.  I may try and get the boys involved in this, help wear them out.  I want to do a run, like a 5k or something, in the next few months.

I feel good when I exercise.  I just need motivation sometimes!

When the kids go back to school, I am going to start crafting again.  I saw so many quirky things on holiday, and my ultimate thought was 'I could make that', so I didn't come back with too many souvenirs this year! Watch this space.  I have many, many ideas.  I will make a few sample things, then try and sell them on eBay/Facebook.  I *may* even go down the Etsy route, but seeing as i know little about this, i am not sure.....  I am excited about this, and reckon it could be fun.  I don't expect to make any money, but if i can cover my costs that would be great.

Thats what is happening with me.

Next up.... A massive photo drop......

Friday, 10 July 2015

Cocktail Friday - An Update

I feel like I have an awful lot on my plate.  Because of this, cocktail friday will be taking a quick vacation.

Although I have the photos and recipes already done, heck the cocktails are long consumed, I do not have the motivation to blog.

We are actual off on vacation the day after tomorrow.  I am so ready for this, yet not at all ready.  I can't start throwing things in the car till after dinner tomorrow .  I know where everything is, the last minute bits I need and how I want to work it all.  But it is not time yet.  

I just want to wake up, it be saturday, the car be packed, the kids be ready, and jump in the car and GO!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Summer general catch up.

OK, so we are about half way through Oliver and Isaacs looooonnnnngggggg summer holiday.  Worked out that if we were on UK schedule, the boys would be going back next week.  Instead, they still have another 5 weeks of fun! Seeing as I have not blogged properly since Kiawah, I thought it was time for a catch up.  Cocktail Friday doesn't really count, as I tend to do those in advance.  It will probably be taking a vacation shortly too!

Thought I would do a photo drop with what we have been doing.  For those who care, I post a daily photo on my Instagram account, using the hashtag #CGis33.  Look it up!

So in no particular order.... We have been to the zoo twice so far.  First time Seb and I went after dropping the older 2 at camp.  Then I took the older 2 when Seb was at school.  Seb always loves it, but the older 2 really enjoyed it as well.  In the summer, they open at 9am, so we try and get there for just after that.  This normally means that most of the animals are active.  With all our visits so far this year, we have paid for our yearly membership, and some!

We finally made it to the BMW family fun day this year.  3rd chance, and we finally made it!  BMW hire out Carrowinds, a local theme park, for exclusive use for BMW employees.  Although our boys are still a little small for the roller coasters, they took full advantage of Snoopy Land, where they rode pretty much everything over the course of the day.  We also utilized the water park.  We put most of our stuff, other than shoes and googles in lockers.  We left these under a lounger by one of the kids pools.  The boys had fun in the wave pools and lazy river.  Unfortunately someone stole Isaacs shoes and all the googles, which put a bit of a dampener on our day.  BMW organized food in the form of buffet lunch, but the queues were horrendous, and nothing really to our boys palate.  They ate cookies and crisps......It was a good day out, better that we didn't have to pay for it too!!!!  We would not have gone if we had to pay for it.....

We met our good friend Liz at the splash area in Greenville a couple of weeks ago.  The kids had fun playing in the water, before it got too hot.  We  all walked down to Linky Stone Park to have a play.  By then it was super hot! We recently had a heat wave, where it was over 90 degrees every day.  Just how I like it.

As well as our trips out, of which there have not been many, we have been doing very mundane stuff too.  Given that Seb is still in school in the mornings, it gives Isaac and Oliver the chance to do things that are more appropriate for them.  Finding things for all 3 of them at the same time is HARD, and they are not even that different in age.  Thank goodness for the community pool.  We tend to be there at least every other afternoon, when the weather allows us!

So mundane things....... Oliver and Isaac have both been shown/ taught how to do the dishes.  Since Isaac was a baby, we have always had a dishwasher, and they will probably grow up knowing no different.  Unlike me!  I don't think we got one till I was about 12, and even after I moved out, my mum didn't get one....  My dad is a different story however!
 Ahh, school work.  Both the boys have a good amount of work required of them by school this year.  Admittedly, Oliver has a lot more than Isaac.  Isaac has only 1 math sheet left to do, Oliver has about 10.  They have been doing their school work and reading every morning before computer time when Seb is at school.  It has worked quite well.  They both also read for 10 minutes a night, while Seb is going to bed.  I think it has helped, I don't think they will have much of a learning slump because of the summer.  They both still have one more camp to do.  Jump start 1st Grade for Isaac, and Jump Start 4th Grade Math for Oliver.  Hopefully that will show them how much working over the summer has helped them. Hopefully.......
They have had fun baking cakes, making jelly and making freezer pops.  Isaac has also been a resident bug catcher.  So far we have kept cabbage white caterpillars and tomato horned caterpillars (I think thats what they were called).  The last ones grew to over 10cm.  We had to let them go.  They were just too big.  I was having to take tomato leaves off my plants twice a day to keep up with their appetites.

They do have fun though.  Paul bought some new golf clubs, and they came in a big box.  I had the idea to make a space ship out of it.  I started it, Paul ran with it, the boys loved it.  They played with it for a couple of hours, before repurposing it into a monster jam track.  Still obsessed with Monster Jam here.  Man, they are in for such a shock when we return to the UK.....

We have had a visitor in the form of slapped cheek.  Can't believe all 3 have managed to avoid this delightful virus until now.  So Seb woke up one Sunday with this rash on his face.  Over the next few days, we watched it spread to the outer reaches of his body.  I did my research, and saw that once the rash had spread he was no longer contagious.  School still wanted a doctors note, so I took him to the local MD360 ( like a drop in doctors clinic).  We were in and out within an hour, and the note was ready for school the next day.  It didn't really itch, but I gave him an antihistamine, and used some calamine lotion to help calm the red down.  It passed after about 5 days.  Isaac got it about 7 days later.  His face wasn't pretty, but the rash on his body was not too bad.  He was also very tired and grumpy with it, and feel asleep on the sofa at 4pm 2 days before the rash appeared.  It is pretty much gone now.  So on past experiences, Oliver should get it this weekend.  Hopefully it won't affect him too badly, as he is older.  The worst thing is, it is most contagious before they get the rash.  So who knows where Seb got it.  Could be school, could be the pool, who knows!

We also had 4th July the weekend just gone.  Because it was on a saturday, Paul had the Friday off.  3 day weekends rock!  Especially when all 3 kids are home!!!!!

We enjoyed a nice weekend at home, watching the neighbors fireworks.  It was great.  Even got the boys to watch Independence Day, so they can know the real reason why America celebrates the holiday (thats a joke....).  They really enjoyed it.  We stayed home all weekend, as we are off to Florida this weekend, for our holiday of beach and pool, beach and pool, restaurant, cocktail, beach pool, donuts, tacos and all the other great things about holidays............

Friday, 3 July 2015

Cocktail Friday - Piña Colada-tini

I am not overly keen on martini type drinks, they are always a little short for me.  This one may have changed my mind.....

Introducing the Pina Colada-tini.  A Pina Colada, but smaller, and not quite as rich.

Ingredients for 2. Taken from this recipe 

4oz rum
2oz coconut rum 
4oz pineapple juice
2oz coconut cream
1oz blue curaçao 

Add rums, pineapple juice and cream of coconut to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass (Side note: I picked these glasses up at the Dollar tree.  That means I paid $1 each....) SLOWLY drizzle the blue curaçao down the side of the glass to get a layered ombre effect.  Garnish as desired.

To say these were delicious is an understatement.  They were delightful.  So delightful I had to make more.....