Great photo deal!

Friday, December 31, 2010

If you have any holiday photos that you'd like to have printed, Snapfish has a great deal right now. If you use the code 2011PENNY, you can get 99 prints for a penny each (reg. price 9 cents each)! You do have to order at least 99 prints in order for the code to work, and there is a shipping charge, but I was able to get 99 prints for $7.29, and that included the shipping & taxes.

The A-Team

Gus & I watched The A-Team the other night - I loved it! Gus saw it in October (it was the in-flight movie when he flew to Germany) and really liked it, so he was happy to watch it again with me.

I remember watching the TV series, but I don't think I ever really knew how the team ended up together doing the things they did. I think it was just one of those shows that I watched & liked, but didn't pay too much attention to the details (other than thinking that Dirk Benedict was cute, LOL). So I was glad that they explained those little details in the movie - even though it was updated to make them Iraq War vets court-martialed unjustly rather than Vietnam War vets court-martialed for robbing the Bank of Hanoi.

Liam Neeson was awesome as Hannibal - and of course, Bradley Cooper was really good as Face (and he did plenty of screen time shirtless so we could pay homage to his incredible abs). But Sharlto Copley was hilarious as Murdoch! I shall now forgive him for starring in the horrible, horrible film "District 9" (one of the only movies I ever considered walking out of...ick). And I never noticed this before, but he looks enough like Tim Roth to be his brother!

The plot twist was pretty easy to figure out early on, but there was still enough action and comedy to keep me interested for the entire movie. If you like the actors and/or action/comedy films, I think you'll enjoy this one. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Festival of Lights

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last week, Gus, Buddy, & I went to the Festival of Lights at the zoo. Unfortunately, Lulu couldn't go with us. This has been a yearly tradition for us since the kids were little. We always seem to pick the coldest day in December - but that's part of the tradition. We go, we freeze, we complain, we laugh about it - and we do it all over again the following year, LOL.

giant lion nutcracker outside the entrance

huge Christmas tree just inside the entrance - beautiful!

normally, I hate these inflatable figures, but they were kinda cute here

lights around the lake - they were timed with the music

one of the very stinky, but cool, elephants

one of Santa's reindeer

Am I the only one who didn't know that scorpions' exoskeletons glow in the dark??

I'm not fond of snakes, but this is a king snake & he eats other snakes (even venomous ones), so he's okay in my book

the 3 new manatees - one is a baby - isn't she cute??

My cousin works at the zoo as the penguin keeper. He gave us a great tour of the bird house and then took us back to meet a couple of the penguins. Majorly cool!!

Kyoto, a 2 yr. old King penguin - his feathers are super soft!

he's ready to go back - apparently he was unimpressed with us, LOL!

This is Buddy - a 24 yr. old Magellanic penguin. He was very friendly - I loved him!

Look at his feathers - more than 70 per sq. in.!

so cute how he followed my cousin when he called him!

Buddy & me doing what we do best - act silly!

Gus & me

Buddy & me


Sunday, December 26, 2010

I know, I know - now I'm really showing how far behind we are...yes, we just watched Avatar. I had no desire to see it in the theater - and (hangs head in shame) I've had the DVD from Netflix since July.

I don't know why I was so reluctant to watch it. I wasn't thrilled by the trailers - I have no special desire to see any of the actors that were in it - so I guess I just didn't want to invest 3 hours of my time. It's like Star Wars meets FernGully meets Robocop...sort of...

If you don't know what it's about: Humans are on the planet of Pandora - some want to mine unobtanium (a valuable mineral), no matter the cost to the planet or it's natives - and some want to study the planet & it's natives in order to learn more about them. The natives don't trust the humans, so scientists took human DNA & native DNA and made "avatars" that look like natives, but are controlled by the humans' consciousness. Sam Worthington plays a paraplegic Marine who takes his brother's place in the mission - and as his avatar, he can walk. Of course, he originally infiltrates a tribe to try to get them to move without a war (so the humans can mine beneath their home), but he falls in love and eventually wants to stay & help the Na'vi. Lots of action, lots of cool scenes.

I actually liked it! It held my interest for the entire 3 hours. Gus even managed to stay awake for the whole thing (that's quite a feat - trust me). I'm sorry I waited so long to watch it. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. I won't wait so long to watch the second one when it comes out.  :-)

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I hope that each & every one of you has a blessed holiday season!!

Toy Story 3

Friday, December 24, 2010

Who doesn't love Buzz and Woody? When he was around 7 years old, Buddy dressed up as Woody for Halloween for 2 years in a row - and he had a Buzz Lightyear action figure. We loved the Toy Story movies.

In this one, Andy is getting ready to go to college and he's packing up his old toys to go in the attic - except Woody, who he puts in the "college" box. But he gets distracted by his sister, Molly, and his mom mistakenly puts the toys in the garbage. Woody tries to save them and they end up being donated to a daycare center. They're "welcomed" by a bear named Lotso - and are excited to be with children again...until they discover just how these children treat the toys and that Lotso isn't as nice as he first seemed.

It was funny, it was sad -  it had a message. It made me laugh - and I wiped away a couple of tears, too. Raise your hand if you felt bad for mistreating/ignoring your toys when you were young. *raises hand*

I would definitely watch it again - and I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you haven't seen it, you should watch it soon!

Date Night

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Yep, just now getting around to seeing this one, too...

I love Tina Fey - I think she is hilarious. Steve Carrell I can take or leave. To me, he's a lot like Jim Carrey - funny in small doses, but after awhile, everything is just too overdone. And Mark Wahlberg? Heck, any movie that allows him to be shirtless in every scene is A-ok with me. (and Mark Ruffalo isn't too bad either, LOL!)

Here's the deal: Married couple, bored with their lives, decide to spice up their date night. When they can't get a table at a new, exclusive restaurant, they decide to pretend to be another couple when they don't show up for their reservation. Unfortunately, that couple is being chased by some bad you can see where this goes.

It's pretty funny. James Franco & Mila Kunis are hilarious as Taste & Whippit - even though their scene is pretty short. Is it a great movie? No. Would I watch it again? Probably. Do I feel like I wasted my time watching it? No. It made me laugh. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Hot Tub Time Machine

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We got this DVD from Netflix at least 2 months ago and just now got around to watching it! Have you seen it?

If you're not familiar with it, it's about these four friends (well, one is much younger and is actually the nephew of one of the older guys) who are unhappy with their lives and go back to the ski lodge where they partied in the 80's, hoping to relive their glory days. While drinking in the hot tub, they somehow end up back in 1987...

This is one of those movies that is stupid but funny, LOL.  A lot of guy humor (although I laughed, too), drugs, nudity, definitely don't want the kiddies watching this one. If you're looking for a movie that's just funny & you don't want to have to try to figure anything out in the plot - this is one to try.

I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars - and I'd probably watch it again. Of course, Gus & Buddy found it extremely funny.  ;-)

St. Pete Beach, Day 3 and 4

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We started out Day 3 by having breakfast at Gayle's Restaurant. I would never have given this place a second look, but since it was highly recommended by locals, we decided to give it a try. It wasn't much to look at from the outside - or the inside, for that matter - but it was clean and the waitress was very friendly. Yes, that's right. Waitress. Just one. Think Waffle House, but smaller, and more "quaint". The food was delicious - and the grits were the best I've ever tasted.

After breakfast, we headed off to locate the nearest Target. Why? Well...we had attempted to pack all of our clothing into one large suitcase so that we just had one checked bag, and then we each had a carry-on bag. Unfortunately, the large suitcase weighed 56 lbs. (yes, I forgot to weigh it) - so they wanted to charge us $115 to check it. We had to scramble around, trying to take things out of it and cram them into our carry-on bags to get the weight to under 50 lbs. Not fun - and we didn't want to deal with it on the return flight - so we needed to buy a small suitcase/duffel bag. (Like we didn't already have a ton of them at home...sigh.) Lesson learned - next time, just plan for two checked bags. Anyway, one of the great things about this area of Florida is that the signage is awesome. We didn't have any problems finding our way around. We managed to get to Target quickly, find an inexpensive bag that locked, and since it was a Super Target, I even got a tall soy peppermint hot chocolate while I was there.  :-)

Next we hit some local stores to pick up a few things for the kids. That didn't take long, so we headed over to Ft. DeSoto State Park. Beautiful area - unfortunately, it was so chilly & windy that we really couldn't enjoy it much. Plus they were renovating the fort, so we couldn't tour it. We'd love to go back when the weather is warmer!

We couldn't decide where to have lunch, and finally opted for Skidder's. We laughed every time we drove by it (I know, I know - we have warped senses of humor), but it looked nice, so we figured "why not?". Oh. My. Gosh. Best lunch place EVER. Turns out that Skidder's is a little Greek restaurant with homemade soups, bread, & sandwiches. Positively delicious!! Definitely try this place if you're ever in the St. Pete beach area.

For dinner, we went back to Sea Critters. I had grilled grouper and Gus had the grilled mahi mahi (again). We really love this place - the food is soooooo good!

Sadly, we had to return home the next day...happy to see the kids, but sad to see the snow...

Love, love, love the Tampa/St. Pete area and we will definitely be back!

St. Pete Beach, Day 2, part 2

Sunday, December 19, 2010

After visiting the winery, we decided to drive up the coast to Clearwater Beach. Just as we neared Madeira Beach, I started to get a little nervous. Why? Well, something you may not know about me is that while I love the beach, I am afraid of water - and bridges - and especially bridges over water. And the drawbridge was starting to go up...luckily, we were back far enough that I felt like I was on land and not stuck on the bridge over the water.

As we continued on our drive, I fell in love. With a house. I want to marry this house and live with it forever:

Once we reached Clearwater Beach, we decided to eat at the Palm Pavilion. It's a cool bar & grill located right on the beach - and they have live music. Even though it was a little chilly and really windy, we decided to eat outside. The food was good and so was the music - I would definitely go back.

I really loved Clearwater Beach. Everything is so clean, and there are a lot of stores and restaurants all within easy walking distance. If you want to be in the middle of the action, this is definitely the place to stay!

On the way back to St. Pete Beach, we decided to stop at John's Pass and take a look around. There are a lot of shops and restaurants, but for some reason, I wasn't impressed. It was okay, but I don't feel the need to go back.

And while we were there, the drawbridge went up again. But this time, it was okay because I was watching from the boardwalk.  ;-)

Later that night, we took a walk on the beach...

(it was really windy!)

We ate dinner at The Wharf in Pass-a-Grille Beach. Overall, it was pretty average - maybe even below average - except for the warm bread with honey butter. I don't think I would go back - and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Stay tuned for Day 3!

St. Pete Beach, Day 2

Friday, December 17, 2010

On our second day in St. Pete, we got a typical Florida rain - downpour for about 10 minutes, and then the sun came out. It was around 70 degrees, but really, really windy. We decided to go down to Pass-a-Grille Beach (just a short drive from our condo) for breakfast and to check out the beach there. Pass-a Grille is a historic district with quaint homes, shops, and restaurants. It reminds me a lot of Key West - without the nightlife, LOL!

We had breakfast at the Hurricane restaurant, which is right across the street from the beach. We were the only people in the restaurant, LOL!

After breakfast, we walked across the street to check out the beach:

There was a Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run while we were in Pass-a-Grille - so for about 45 minutes, we sat on a wall and watched motorcycles go by. All of the riders were waving & yelling "Merry Christmas", and most were wearing some sort of holiday apparel. Lots of fun!

Later that day, we went to the Florida Orange Groves Winery. We didn't do a tour, but we did participate in the wine tasting. We tried several wines:
Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria
Blueberry Blue
Key Lime
Festiberry Cranberry
Strawberry Blush
Sparkling Blueberry 
Cranberry Champagne
Coco Polada Smoothie (w/ Coco Polada wine) 
Watermelon Smoothie (w/ Watermelon wine)

They were all wonderful! The Key Lime wine tastes like a margarita - I think it was my favorite. Gus liked the Hurricane 5, so we bought a bottle of that (I didn't want to mess with trying to take wine on the plane, so we only bought what we could drink while we were here). I'm not a pina colada fan, but the Coco Polada smoothie was very, very good. We also were able to try the cranberry wine mulled - positively delicious, and probably dangerous, LOL! I think we'll definitely ordering a mixed case of wine. If you're ever down that way, be sure to check out the winery!