Spring Break 2016

Spring Break is gone. Sigh. It was a nice break, but over far too quickly. 

I took for granted being a school librarian and being a stay-at-home-mom. I had 10 great years with my trio, being on their schedule, being able to spend all of Spring Break at the pool, the beach, going to the movies, sleeping in late. Who am I kidding, my kids have only recently begun sleeping in. But the rest of it is true.

Now that I am a working out of the house professional mom my days of spending all of Spring Break with the kids are over.

But I still managed to take two days off during the break, plus Easter so we were able to have a little bit of fun together.

So what did we do?

On Thursday we went to Busch Gardens.

It was a very nice day. The park opened at 9:30am and we were right there at opening time!

We immediately did our normal routine: Cheetah Hunt, etc....but Cheetah Hunt was CLOSED!! SAY WHAT?? Yup. Closed. So we went on Montu first. Along the way we stopped at the display for Cobra's Curse. The #TampaTrio is excited and ready to ride this new thrill ride!


We then just walked through the park hitting all of our favorites. We even managed a ride on the train! We haven't done the train in ages and it was nice to get off our feet for a little bit.


And for the first time ever we went and saw the kangaroos. It was neat to see them so close. And yes, Miss Ella is even wearing her Busch Gardens summer camp t-shirt. Wink

The park was open until 8pm, but by 5:30pm we had done all the rides (thanks Fast Pass!!) and the trio were done!

We made it home by 6:30, ate dinner and went to bed. We had plans to go to the beach on Friday.

But Mother Nature tried to put a kink in our plans. We woke up on Friday to very overcast skies. The weather radar was very nasty looking but it looked like e might get a few good hours at the beach so we decided to go for it.

Off to Fred Howard Park we went. We went through some storms but decided that we should just go for it and perhaps it wouldn't be raining 25 miles away.

Well, it wasn't raining when we got there, but it started raining about an hour later. The duo wanted to keep building their sand castles through the rain and I said it was okay as long as there was no thunder/lightning. They made it about 10 more minutes after this photo was taken, but then a huge CRACK and a bright FLASH had us running to the car. We stopped by Twistee Treat on our way home (it's tradition) and then spent the rest of the day reading and watching TV.

I had to work on Saturday Frown but Easter Sunday saw us hitting up the Wellfield for a 4ish mile hike through the trails with daddy and Matthew.


It was a nice walk. The trio started off with their normal moaning and groaning, but after about 45 minutes they got into their groove and ended up having a nice time. At home I taught the kids how to play rummy and then we went and saw Batman v Superman. It was a good movie. I liked the introduction of the Extended Marvel Universe.

So while I may be missing out on an entire week of Spring Break fun I am doing the best that I can with the time that I have. And we're all doing okay.

What did you do during Spring Break 2016?

Would you know what to do in a pet emergency?

A few weeks ago my husband was working in his home office (also known as our living room) which overlooks our street. We live on a pretty quiet street. We're on a cul-de-sac with 11 houses total. 10 kids live on our street, and 5 dogs. A few of those dogs are well behaved and their owners allow them to go off-leash.

You all know we have our Matthew. Matthew is our 4 year old yellow Labrador. We NEVER let Matthew off-leash. NEVER. Sure he may dash out of an open door, but he immediately heads to our back lake, and I can easily get him back by holding up his ball.

So, back to my original story. James was in his office when he witnessed something that no pet owner ever wants to witness. Heck, I doubt any human being would ever want to witness it.

Our neighbor's dog was hit by a UPS truck.

Yes, she was off-leash. The UPS truck scares her, and normally she doesn't leave her grandma's side, but this day was different. In a blink of an eye, the sweet dog (y'all she truly is the sweetest dog ever) decided to run in front of the UPS truck. James saw the whole thing happen.

Poor puppy went down and James ran out the door. It was not a pretty site. Both her back legs were severely broken, and one of the legs was a compound fracture. Her grandma was in tears and James scooped the pup up, placed her on some blankets in the bed of his truck, grandma climbed in the bed with the pup, and she told James which vet to drive to.

They get to that vet office and they refuse to help. Grandma instructs James to another vet. That vet office also refuses to help. They finally end up at Tampa Bay Veterinary Emergency and at first that clinic refused to help too. James had to get pretty vocal, throw down the gauntlet and demanded that they at least get her stable. They agreed. This is where James left as the dog's owner had shown up. So on to the rest of the story....they stabilized her and then transferred her to another pet hospital. She ended up at Blue Pearl Emergency Vet on Busch Blvd. She ended up being in the hospital for nearly a week, and had to have multiple surgeries on her legs. Her one leg was actually scraped way down to the muscle. It was bad, folks. Real bad. Edited to add this comment made by my husband: Jen failed to mention the arterial bleeding. That was why we were in such a rush. There was about a gallon of blood in the bed of my pickup that I had to spray off with a hose once I got home. Blood was everywhere. 

After this accident happened it really got me thinking about my own dog. Would I know where to go if something like this happened to Matthew? It just so happened that I had a vet appointment for Matthew the next day for his rabies vaccine. So I asked them. They told me rather than driving around from vet office to vet office, if I needed emergency vet assistance I should immediately head to Blue Pearl.  I had never heard of Blue Pearl before this horrible accident but as long as I have a pet, they will be on speed-dial in my phone.

The sweet dog is home now and is expected to recover. We don't yet know if she'll have full use of her legs, but what I do know is that if my husband hadn't been home the ending to this story would have been very different. The pup's grandma told me that no other neighbor's were home that day and the dog weighed too much for her to pick up. And pup was bleeding so heavily she would have likely bled out before her owner could have made it to the house to take her to the vet.

A tragic story that taught us a lesson, and thankfully has a happy ending.

Do you know what to do in a pet emergency? 

Food and Wine Festival at Busch Gardens 2016 #CorksAndCoasters

Last week I was invited to a VIP Media sneak peek at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. We were there to drink and taste some of the goodies that are available at the 2016 Food and Wine Festival.

And taste we did!

I brought along my friend Liz and we had a really good time drinking and eating. Liz is a beer connoisseur so I felt comfortable letting her take charge of what beer we would sample and in what order because honestly....all I really drink is Michelob Ultra. Wink


We had access to stations 20-27, but we didn't try everything at the stations.

Station 21 was my absolute favorite. At this station we had Lamb Chops, Pan-Seared Diver Scallops, Rodney Strong, Pinot Noir, and the Rekorderlig Strawberry-Lime Cider. Without a doubt the lamb was AMAZING and the Strawberry-Lime Cider was the BEST BEER (is it really a beer??) I have ever had. Simply amazing.

Station 20 brought us Pan-Seared Creole Shrimp, Duck Fat Truffle-Infused Fries and De Loach Vineyards, Pinot Noir. Very tasty. My son Ronin is a french fry NUT and he would have totally loved these Duck Fat Truffle-Infused Fries.

At Station 23 we tried the Undercover Investigation Shut-Down (beer), and A Little Sumpin' Sumpin (beer). Both were okay, but I was glad I only had a sample and not a full glass as it really wasn't my jam.

Besides the wonderful food and drink they also had some amazing topiaries.

Check these out! They are beautiful!


I love the Octopus one the most but the Big Bird one is pretty cool too as Big Bird's nest is made from GRAPE VINES! So fitting for the Food and WINE Festival! There are 11 topiaries throughout the Festival but I only saw these 3.

There was also a DJ spinning tunes from the upcoming artists.

If I don't have to work on April 2nd and 3rd, you will certainly find me and the #TampaTrio singing along to Brick House and Honey I'm Good. Wink


The Food & Wine Festival is open Saturdays & Sundays, March 5 through April 24. Sampler and VIP packages can be purchased to add even more flavor to your visit. 

  • Food Sampler – choose any 5 samples of food for $24.99
  • Wine & Brew Sampler – choose any 10 samples of beer or wine for $36.99
  • Food, Wine & Brew Sampler – choose any 5 samples of beer or wine and any 5 samples of food for $44.99

You can check out all the details and purchase tickets at Busch Gardens.