Friday, December 16, 2016

Freshly Squeezed

December 2016 - Kissimmee FL

It's been quite a week!
Saturday we left Orangeburg SC at 8:45 with a temperature of 3!F or -1C but bright sunshine.
It is our final day of driving for a while.

Lots of damaged trees along the highway in South Carolina.

The area derives its name from its original inhabitants, the Coosaw band of Native Americans and their word for river, hatchie.

Coosawhatchie (koos-uh-HATCH-ee) served as the headquarters for General Robert E. Lee during the early part of the American Civil War.

****shaking my head*****

Palm Trees!

Temperature is now up to 50F or 10C.

A stop in Georgia for peanuts, black raspberry jam and these!

Temperature keeps climbing hitting 73F 23C.

Checked in after being "offered" a free presentation for a $100 Visa card, no thanks.
Went to Wal*Mart for groceries, crazy busy!

Since we plan on visiting Harry Potter at Universal Studios we had brought the entire movie series with us and watched the first and part of the second movie.

Very blurry photo of living room, but it is at its tidiest!

Sunday was warm and overcast. It was raining heavily around us in Miami and Tampa.
We relaxed in the morning, after bacon and eggs. We did not want to drive anywhere today. Right across the street from the condo, literally, is Old Town.

Old Town is a mix of amusement rides, shops, restaurants and bars.

The rest of the day was spent finishing the second Harry Potter movie and the third, then football, reading and dinner. After a week of driving, we chalked up over 2,000 miles doing a round trip from Toronto to Montreal and then Toronto to Kissimmee Florida.

Monday was a very warm and overcast morning but the sun soon came it.

We decided to check out Costco and Whole Foods to stock up. Whole Foods had a great selection of gluten free products that we thought we'd try. So far their frozen GF sandwich bread has been a big success.
Costco was disappointing, it didn't seem to have as good a selection as we get at home, but you can get wine there.

We came back for lunch and to put the groceries away. We decided we could wait to get phone cards tomorrow. So we read and John went swimming, then a game of Scrabble.

Photo from 2013 Disney.

I was going to make chili for dinner but switched the menu so we wouldn't have to go out for vegetables today.

Tuesday we went to get US sim cards for our phones. Mission accomplished we're back in the car and my phone rings. It is the T-Mobile guy saying he just double-checked and we were both entitled to Samsung phones for no fee. We headed back and picked them up.
We picked up enough groceries to get us through to Monday, no going into the stores this weekend!

Love timeshare mid-week cleaning!!

Then some pool time!
Looking towards the units.

Wednesday I decided we should visit the Gaylord Palms Charlie Brown's Christmas ice sculpture exhibit, click here for more photos.
Was it enjoyable, yes. Worth the money, definitely not! $30US each to enter, plus a ridiculous parking fee of $22US came to a whopping $82US for thirty minutes!

But we had fun donning the arctic coats to enter the 9C or -13F frigid temperatures.

After defrosting and amid much grumbling about the price, more so directed towards the Marriott astronomical parking fee, we  decided to check out the town of Celebration, a town that Disney built in the early 1990s.
I will do a separate post on the town. There might be a Foto Tunes post coming too!

I bought some tickets for Universal Studios for Thursday. And we headed to the pool.

We had some visitors later as we were relaxing on the deck.

A family of three. An employee told us that there are about 20 that wander the grounds around 1AM.

Thursday we were up bright and early to get the shuttle ($10 each return) from the condo.
We arrived before 9AM, went through security and made our way to the gates. There is a restaurant and shop area that is free to the public before the gates.

There will be two posts as I plan to separate Harry Potter from the rest of the park. Suffice to say we had a long and fantastic day! Lots of walking, we saw the two parks and probably covered 98% of the grounds at least.

The first ride we rode, here's a great video of it. Rather tame, but a good start for John, who is certainly no fan of rides. Great 3D effects.

My highlight was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We stopped into Honeydukes for some butterbeer fudge.

An early lunch at The Three Broomsticks, fish and chips and lamb shepherd's pie. Not too bad for fast food. We sat outside in the shadow of the castle.

Some random photos.


A well-deserved rest!



We Are Not Ourselves  by Matthew Thomas. I couldn't put this down and never wanted it to end.
This is an epic saga about a woman who always wants more, always more. She learns the hard way that it's not always about material things and what her "friends" think. Many regrets...

And then there's Connell, the son, who tries so hard to be grown-up and somehow always messes up.

Ed was probably my favourite character as he suffers through Eileen's nagging and ungratefulness.

Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity.

When Eileen meets Ed Leary, a scientist whose bearing is nothing like those of the men she grew up with, she thinks she’s found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit. They marry, and Eileen quickly discovers Ed doesn’t aspire to the same, ever bigger, stakes in the American Dream.

Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house, but as years pass it becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives, and Eileen and Ed and their son Connell try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, an idea they have cherished of the future.

Through the Learys, novelist Matthew Thomas charts the story of the American Century, particularly the promise of domestic bliss and economic prosperity that captured hearts and minds after WWII. The result is a riveting and affecting work of art; one that reminds us that life is more than a tally of victories and defeats, that we live to love and be loved, and that we should tell each other so before the moment slips away.


The Mandibles - loving it so far. But it is very scary, especially in the current world situation. It doesn't seem that unlikely.

The year is 2029, and nothing is as it should be. The very essence of American life, the dollar, is under attack. In a coordinated move by the rest of the world’s governments, the dollar loses all its value. The American President declares that the States will default on all its loans–prices skyrocket, currency becomes essentially worthless, and we watch one family struggle to survive through it all.

The Mandibles can count on their inheritance no longer, and each member must come to terms with this in their own way–from the elegant expat author Nollie, in her middle age, returning to the U.S. from Paris after many years abroad, to her precocious teenage nephew Willing, who is the only one to actually understand the crisis, to the brilliant Georgetown economics professor Lowell, who watches his whole vision of the world disintegrate before his eyes.


Saturday - rotisserie chicken and salad
Sunday - hamburger steak, mashed potatoes and beans
Monday - ham, baked potatoes and beans (because there were still some)
Tuesday - chili salad and fresh bread
Wednesday - chicken divan
Thursday - leftover chili with nachos
Friday - pea soup fresh bread


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Amanda’s Books and More
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 Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy

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  1. I'll start with the end: I'll have to put We Are Not Ourselves on my list; and YES about the Mandibles.

    I like your digs -- looks like you have nice sitting area and a good kitchen. I've always wanted to see the Harry Potter world, how fun that you are there to explore.

    Yes on the pralines! I love them. I wouldn't have been able to resist. I'm a bit envious of your temperatures ... we are having an ice storm today. Yes, pleasant.

  2. I am jealous of the Harry Potter events, I'd love to see it one day but the crowds don't thrill me . You are about 5 hours south of us now, I know you are getting great weather!

    1. Tina, we went on Thursday, early, and the crowds were not bad at all. It did get crowded around mid-afternoon. We also made sure we had an early lunch.
      Coming back on the Express the sign said it would be a 40 minute wait, but it was only 20 and you are kept entertained all the way.
      I will be posting a full account of our day perhaps later today.

  3. I loved We Are Not Ourselves! Glad you did, too.

    Wow! I feel as though I've been traveling, too. Great shots. I've never been to Florida! Or Georgia. Imagine that. But I've been through the Midwest, a little of the East Coast...and a bit of Canada.

    I have a lot yet to travel. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  4. We lived in the Miami area for many years and visited Universal Studios theme park and Disney several times. Your photos have made me want to go back! Florida in the winter is a lovely place.
    Thanks for your book recommendations. We Are Not Ourselves sounds like a story I'd enjoy reading.
    My Saturday Snapshot post is HERE.

  5. Wow, what a trip. I love the bike on the banner photo and of course the info about the deer roaming the grounds.