Over the past few years, we have gathered with various ladies and girls to learn homemaking skills together. We've delved into knitting, cake decorating, quilling, calligraphy, canning, painting, and sewing. Soapmaking was on the list of lost arts that everyone wanted to know about; only none of us were already experienced with this subject. So after several months of my researching soap, last Friday afternoon our family hosted a class on soapmaking for a number of ladies in our area.
The refreshment table held soap favors/nametags and informative handouts.
Many guests congregated on our back deck for a hands-on experience. Prayers were answered, and we enjoyed perfect weather for a mid-November day!
I taught the cold-process method of soapmaking, and Sarah was my expert kitchen runner. Below I am discussing the necessary equipment, safety precautions, and the ingredients in the recipe we'd be making. Many thanks to Karen and Abigail of K and A Soaps for sharing their goat's milk soap recipe with me, as well as helpful pointers for me as a beginning soaper.
Our friend Treasure then demonstrated the technique for making simple glycerin soaps. She made a clear, purple, decorative soap right before our eyes and had several varieties of her soaps on display.
Wouldn't you love to win this quilt and have it mailed to you before Christmas for gift giving? Pink Fig Design will be giving away two quilts...one to a blogger and one to a shop owner.
All you have to do is write a post on your blog and link back to Pink Fig Design. If you don't have a blog, you can still enter the giveaway for a surprise gift. Head over to Pink Fig Design and leave a comment before December 1st to be entered.
I just put my name in the hat by writing this post!
Are you familiar with Christy Jordan's wonderful Southern Plate cooking blog? I've only just recently checked out her blog and cookbook, so her recipe for King Ranch Chicken Casserole is the newest one in my recipe box.
Last month when Granny, Hannah, and I took our trip to Florida we swung by my sister's house in South Carolina and spent the night, both going and coming, to break the long drive up a bit.
Today the girls and I traveled to Richmond to Meredith's wedding luncheon and bridal shower. We were all asked to bring a recipe card with one of our favorite recipes for her to try as a new bride. I brought the King Ranch recipe even though I've never even made it myself, but it's now on my list to make soon!
Hannah brought a recipe for Colorful Corn Salad, and Sarah copied down her famous Hot Fudge Cake recipe. I checked our archives for a link, and evidently that recipe has never been posted. We'll have to remedy that and have Sarah make this delicious cake and post pictures soon.
Well, that was our Saturday....
Oh, I bought fabric for this project while we were out and about...on Sale! So that means it was a very good day!
Our wonderful days at the Florida shore came to an end much too quickly!
Oh, how we will miss the palms and the gentle breezes, the sunny days with such delightful warmth, and the waves and the shorebirds which our days at the beach offered. It was all good.
Our girl trip...Granny, Deb, and Hannah...three generations...the making of many great memories together...so much fun!
And none of these adventures that you've read about this week would have been possible without the amazing generosity of Vicki, our sweet blogging friend whom we'd never met before I won this trip on her blog.
Providentially, it worked out that Vicki was traveling down to Florida with her friend, Marsha, for a girl trip of their own the same day we were checking out. Plans were in the works for a meeting place off of I-95 as we headed back north to Virginia and Vicki and Marsha headed south.
We kept in touch by cell phone, and as we drove closer and closer toward each other, Vicki picked an exit...and we met in real life in a MacDonald's parking lot!
We knew that each of us had to get on our way soon and that we wouldn't have long to chat, but we quickly made introductions, raved about our stay, showed Vicki the basket Granny made at her condo kitchen counter, and thanked her profusely for making the week in Florida possible...lots of sweet hugs all around!
Here we are chatting with Vicki (left) and her friend, Marsha (right).
If you've read Vicki's blog, you know she is a knitter extraordinaire! And as soon as the package arrives in the mail, I'll post a picture and show you what I purchased from Vicki as a special knitted souvenir of my time at the shore!
It was such a delight to finally get to meet Vicki and thank her in person for hosting us at her very own Florida beach.
I think that our week at the shore was, of course, very special; but what's extra special is that we were able to actually meet in person, and now we're real life friends in addition to being blogging friends.
While we were in Florida, we decided to visit Kennedy Space Center; it was a great opportunity since it was so close. We loved riding along and seeing the Florida landscape from our condo on our way to NASA headquarters--located about 45 minutes from Satellite Beach on Merritt Island.
Everywhere we looked there was something new and different to see. We excitedly spotted orange groves along the route...at least we were pretty sure they were orange trees, although the fruit was more green and yellow rather than the orange we're used to seeing in stores. Maybe they were lemons...
No, they were oranges. The lady at the Indian River Citrus shop told us they were just at the beginning of the season, and the oranges were their true colors (green and yellow). She also said that when we see orange oranges this time of year they've been artificially made to look that way.
Cooler nights in Florida produce more of the orange color also, but earlier in the season they are more yellow--very interesting. They served us samples, and we knew we'd be bringing fresh oranges (just picked two days before!) back to Virginia!
Granny stuffed a bag full of oranges to bring home, and Hannah and I filled a bag with a mixture of grapefruit and oranges--as full as possible for $10/bag. And then the lady added even more saying she was very generous with her customers! The fruit has been very tasty and a great reminder of our fun morning at the orange grove!
Then...on we traveled to Kennedy Space Center for the afternoon. When we entered the complex, rockets and spacecraft displays dotted the landscape. Here are Hannah and Granny right before boarding the bus to tour the many acres that make up Merritt Island and the Space Center.
All Aboard! There go Hannah and Granny climbing on board for our tour.
We found out that the complex was huge! The bus took us to an observation tower where we could view the grounds and the launch pad. This photo below is taken with a zoom lens from quite a distance away.
We had wondered if we would see the actual shuttle on the launch pad since the next launch was (originally) scheduled for November 1st--just over a week away from when we were there.
But we didn't...at least I don't think so. Wouldn't we have known it was already in place? I don't think that reddish cone in the center of the picture is the shuttle, do you? No one pointed it out to us on the tour anyway.
This is the new update I just found on the Kennedy Space Center website:
LAUNCH UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 5 at 2:18 p.m. ET. The launch of space shuttle Discovery STS-133 has been postponed to no earlier than November 30, 2010 at 4:05 a.m. ET. Existing STS-133 launch tickets and vehicle placards remain valid for the launch attempt on Tuesday, November 30.
The November 5 launch attempt was scrubbed due to a hydrogen leak at the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate. This leak was discovered during the fueling process this morning.
If we had still been at the condo, our hostess Vicki told us that the launch could be seen from her condo balcony! Wouldn't that have been icing on the cake?!
We really didn't get to see everything available at the Center--so much information and not enough time! Before leaving for the evening, we drove 6 miles down the road to a separate museum called the Astronaut Hall of Fame--which was included in our tickets.
Lots and lots of information here also on all the astronauts, so many displays to read and information to learn, and a chance to become an Astronaut for the Day--which as you can see, we three girls took advantage of!
If you are ever near the Kennedy Space Center, I would definitely recommend a trip there. It was worth it, and I wish we had started earlier in the day to get in more of everything available.
I hope you enjoyed going along with us. Tomorrow will be the final Florida post, and it will be a special one!
It's a little hard for me to relax and rest on vacation because it's so tempting to squeeze everything I can into the time while we're there. In all likelihood it will be a place I'll probably never visit again!
So my motto has always been go-go-go and do-do-do. Going and doing--it's all fun! But I told Tom that Granny, Hannah, and I would rest! during this week away. Easy to say, harder to do.
Relaxing times during our week in Florida included walking on the beach; collecting seashells; writing in the sand; photographing sunrises, waves, and shorebirds; reading; and making a basket.
Hannah had her quiet time out on the balcony. Granny said she tried to read, but watching the waves mesmerized her; so she sat, held her book, and enjoyed the ocean view. She also brought some basket material along with her and made a basket one afternoon; it turned out beautifully.
[By the way, have you noticed the link to Granny's Basket Shop on our left sidebar? Take a look and see some of the baskets she makes. The shop page is still being constructed.]
One day I took a picture of a message in the sand to Tom and emailed it to him...just to let him know I was thinking of him...and to prove I was truly relaxing, of course. :)
Hannah waded out into the waves one day, but she was the only one of us to venture away from shore.
I hope you've enjoyed a brief glimpse of some of our quieter times during our week in Florida.
Tomorrow...we're off on another adventure to the Kennedy Space Center! Come along and join us.
Today I'm joining MsGreenThumb Jean's Bloomin' Tuesday and posting some photos of the beautiful flowers we saw when we visited Florida recently.
Welcome to those of you visiting from Jean's blog. If you missed why I traveled from Virginia to Florida, you can read about it here.
This is the beautiful Bird of Paradise, and we saw it growing everywhere! It's definitely a tropical flower that I don't have in my yard. And here's another one below:
If anyone knows the name of this next flower, please answer in the comments. It has beautiful purple berries.
Doesn't this tree (below) look like a gigantic pineapple sitting out in the yard? On one of our shopping trips I made a turn into a residential area and then stopped in the middle of the street (no worries, no traffic around) and took this picture out the car window.
And what about this spiky plant? This one was outside goombay's restaurant.
The bush below we saw everywhere also, and most of them were covered with reddish-colored blooms. It looks to be a member possibly of the hibiscus family? They were all very pretty, bright, and colorful...and blooming gorgeously in sunny 84 degree temps.
I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the plants we saw on our trip. It was amazing to me to realize that a flower-loving gardener could have beautiful flowers year-round!