Monday, May 25, 2015

happy memorial day!

we are so thankful for the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country.

happy memorial day!
love, laurie

Friday, May 22, 2015

hello, three day weekend!

we took this picture last weekend when we were celebrating mother's day with our families.  we are looking forward to seeing our families again this weekend to celebrate memorial day.  i can't believe it's memorial day weekend already.  memorial day always feels like the unofficial start of summer, and i am ready for summer!  we're excited to have the day off work on monday.  i hope the weather is nice for our three-day weekend!

have a wonderful memorial day weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, May 21, 2015

a walk down memory lane

ryan and i had such a great time on our cruise to bermuda two weeks ago.  it was neat to be back in bermuda and to experience the island with ryan since i cruised to bermuda with my family on vacation 10 years ago.

i was flipping through some old photos the other day and found pictures of my brother and me in bermuda during our cruise vacation in 2005.  it was such a nice walk down memory lane to look at these photos, and it was fun to compare them to the photos that ryan and i just took in bermuda.

it's so hard to believe these photos were taken a decade ago!  looking back at these photos is so odd because it partially feels like they were just taken yesterday, and it partially feel like they were taken in another lifetime.  i scanned a few of the old photos to share . . .  

^my dad took a picture of my brother and me in the stocks in the town square in st. george's.  ryan and i took similar photos in the exact same place when we were just in bermuda.^
^my family took a horse-and-carriage ride around bermuda and we got out of the carriage near a lookout point in order to admire the limestone rocks along the coastline.  this old picture reminds me of this picture that ryan and i just took on the limestone rocks at horseshoe bay beach.^
^i remember that it was so cold and a storm was rolling in on the day we took this picture, but we were determined to get in the water and swim.  it was really cold and overcast when ryan and i were in bermuda too.  luckily the weather cleared up for a little while when we took this picture at the beach.^
^while we were in bermuda, we visited the grotto bay resort.  there was a swim-up bar/grill in the pool and we thought that was the coolest thing.^
^i'm telling you, the hibiscus flowers in bermuda just can't be beat!  this picture was taken on the property of the grotto bay resort.  seeing the bright pink hibiscus flowers growing wild all over bermuda during our recent trip reminded me of the pink flowers at the grotto bay resort.^
^my family got off our cruise ship one night after dinner while we were docked in hamilton to walk around the town.  we visited victoria park and took at picture in front of the moongate at the edge of the park.  when ryan and i were in hamilton we also went to victoria park and took a picture in front of the exact same moongate.^

. . .

it's so fun to look back at old photos.  going through these photos made me realize that i should really start scanning some of our old photos that we took before we had digital cameras.  that would be a good summer project, but there are so many photos that it would probably take me years to scan them all!

love, laurie

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

the healing power of cat purrs

The healing power of cat purrs
by Gemma.

it's no secret that i'm a cat lover.  so, when i found this infographic on the internet i just had to share it.  i've always said that cats have healing powers!  have a great day and love a kitty, it's good for your health!

love, laurie

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

nectarine dutch baby

we walked into the grocery store this weekend and we were greeted by a display of beautiful nectarines.  they look and smelled amazing so we just couldn't resist picking up a few.  i woke up on sunday morning thinking about those gorgeous nectarines sitting on our kitchen counter and i knew that i had to incorporate them into sunday morning breakfast.

this dutch baby is so light and tender and the fresh nectarine slices give it such a delicious flavor that tastes just like summer.  this is a super quick recipe to throw together.  just pour the batter into the hot skillet and let the oven do all of the work.  nice and easy for a sunday morning!

nectarine dutch baby
prep time: 5 minutes
baking time: 18-20 minutes
yields: one 10-inch dutch baby (2 large servings)
adapted from one vanilla bean

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon salted butter
1 small ripe nectarine

preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  while your oven is preheating, place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven to warm it up.  in a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla.  beat with an electric hand mixer until frothy and no lumps remain.  remove the cast-iron skillet from the oven and place the butter in the skillet.  allow the warm skillet to melt the butter completely then evenly swirl the butter around the bottom and the sides of the skillet.  pour the batter into the skillet and place thin nectarine slices on top of the batter.  bake for 18-20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.  remove from the oven and serve warm, dusted with powdered sugar or with warm maple syrup.

love, laurie

Monday, May 18, 2015

celebrating mother's day

on saturday we got together with our families for a belated mother's day celebration (since we were away on our cruise over mother's day weekend).  we went out for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants and then had orange cupcakes for dessert.  it was so nice to be able to sit and visit with everyone without having to run anywhere.  it was very relaxing and the whole day was so nice.  we had a great time celebrating mother's day with our parents this weekend!

love, laurie

Friday, May 15, 2015

norwegian breakaway cruise to bermuda - part 5

i hope you have enjoyed seeing so many pictures this past week from our cruise to bermuda.  (this is the last batch of pictures, i promise!)  we really had such a great time.  while we were docked in bermuda for three days we made sure to squeeze in as much as we could.  we took the public buses and water ferries all over to see as much of the island as possible.

in addition to spending time at horseshoe bay beach and in the city of hamilton, we also visited the town of st. george's, st. david's island, and numerous beaches, including: tobacco bay beach, clearwater beach, turtle beach, elbow beach, and snorkel park beach.  here are a few more pictures from our time in bermuda . . .

^we took a water ferry to visit the quaint historic town of st. george's.  walking the stone streets was like taking a step back in time.^
^these pretty purple flowers were growing all over st. george's.  i'm not sure what type of flower they are, but i love the bright color!^
^while in st. george's, we walked around the town square and we visited the town hall.  the town of st. george's is the oldest continuously occupied town of english origin in the new world.  i had to take pictures of us in the stocks outside the town hall because i have a picture of my brother and me doing the exact same thing in the same spot 10 years ago when we were in bermuda on vacation.^
^i still can't get over the fact that hibiscus flowers grow wild all over bermuda.  i wish we could figure out a way to have them survive year round in pennsylvania!^
^we weren't intending to visit bermuda's famous unfinished church, but we stumbled across it while we were walking around the town of st. george's.  the incomplete gothic ruins are a landmark in the town.  although the construction work of the church was started, it was never completed and now the ruins are a protected historic monument.  it was equally beautiful and spooky to be there.^
^just beyond the unfinished church is tobacco bay beach.  although it was much too cold to swim in the water when we were there, we enjoyed walking around and admiring the beach's beauty.  we also made friends with two resident kitties at the beach!^
^i'm telling you, the flowers that grow wild in bermuda are gorgeous!^
^clearwater beach and turtle beach are adjacent beaches on st. david's island.  it took forever to get there since we had to transfer buses several times and hike a distance to get out to the beaches, but it was worth it for the views of the beautiful blue water.^

love, laurie

. . . 

you can see more photos from our bermuda cruise here: part 1part 2part 3, and part 4

Thursday, May 14, 2015

norwegian breakaway cruise to bermuda - part 4

we loved our cruise aboard the norwegian breakaway to bermuda.  while in bermuda, our ship docked at heritage wharf at the royal naval dockyard.  the dockyard was our central point for the three days we were in bermuda and from there we took public buses and water ferries to explore the island.  here are a few more pictures from our time in bermuda . . .

^moongates can be found all over bermuda, and there was one right where our cruise ship was docked.  according to local legend, couples who kiss under the wedding band-shaped arches will be assured a long and happy life together.  after couples kiss, they are supposed to walk through the limestone archway and make a wish as they look forward to a joyful and prosperous future.^
^the royal naval dockyard is full of lovely old stone buildings.  it felt like we took a step back in time.  i loved seeing the bird of paradise flowers blooming in the royal naval dockyard too.^
^while in bermuda, we took a water ferry ride from the royal naval dockyard to the city of hamilton.  along the way we got to see so many colorful bermuda homes along the coast line.^
^hibiscus flowers grow wild all over bermuda.  they really were everywhere we turned.  we loved seeing all of the different colors of the pretty hibiscus flowers.^
^we walked around the city of hamilton and visited victoria park.  i had to take a picture of ryan standing in front of this moongate at the edge of the park, because i stood in that exact spot with my brother 10 years ago to take a picture when we were in bermuda on vacation with my parents.  it was pretty surreal to be back in the exact same spot a decade later.^
^after walking through victoria park, we strolled through the streets of hamilton until we came to fort hamilton.  it was neat to walk around the fort and to see the city of hamilton below.  the fort had a resident orange kitty so we had to stop to say hi to him too!^
^the cruise ship was so pretty lit up at night as it was docked at heritage wharf, especially with the moongate lit up in front of it.^

love, laurie

. . . 

you can see more photos from our bermuda cruise here: part 1, part 2, and part 3

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

norwegian breakaway cruise to bermuda - part 3

our cruise aboard the norwegian breakaway last week took us to bermuda where we docked for three days.  on our first day in bermuda, the very first thing we did was hop on a public bus and travel to horseshoe bay beach.

horseshoe bay beach was on our list of must-see places in bermuda because it is consistently ranked as the top beach in bermuda.  it's famous for a reason, and as soon as we stepped foot on the beach we immediately knew why it is so celebrated.  horseshoe bay beach has the most beautiful pink sand and crystal clear water.  yes, the sand is actually pink and the water is actually crystal clear.  it is absolutely exquisite!

the long, sweeping crescent-shaped beach gets its name because it forms the shape of a horseshoe.  limestone rocks surround the beach and form a boundary around the beach.  we were able to climb up the limestone rocks for amazing views of the beach below.  we were also able to climb in the caves, tunnels, and passageways formed by the rocks.

we had so much fun walking on the beach, swimming in the water, and exploring the rocks while we were at horseshoe bay beach.  in fact, we had such a great time that we decided to go back again on our second day in bermuda after visiting several other beaches and coming to the conclusion that none of the other beaches were nearly as beautiful.  if you visit bermuda, horseshoe bay beach is a must!

love, laurie

. . . 

you can see more photos from our bermuda cruise here: part 1 and part 2