Archive for June, 2016

Bears Like Donuts Too!!!

A couple days ago, a young black bear was literally roaming the streets of downtown Fort Myers!  Bear sightings so close to city life are very rare, but this young bear appeared to be enjoying the sights and sounds of a 3 a.m. quiet city morning.  

One resident on her way to work spotted him checking out the marina.  Perhaps he was thinking of a boat trip.

The wildlife people said this is the time of year when mother bears send their young cubs off to make their own life without the comfort and ease of home.  

Much like we send our kids off to college.

Below is the report of his capture.

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The Scenario Continues To Play Out!!!

My dear readers…I just had to post this.

You see, lately Florida has had lots of rain and thunderstorms as has the rest of the country apparently…floods and more floods.  My heart goes out to those in the middle of all this.

Here, in Florida….the same scenario continues to play out almost every time it rains, as thunder continues to frighten little Jesse James and I find him in the middle of my lap while trying to watch the Kansas City Royals play baseball on my TV.

AND so, I reposted this one because …..well, you will see the “because”! 

Give Me My Pill!

No, my dear readers….not me, ….I don’t like to take a baby aspirin!

However, I must confess there is someone in our home who literally begs for a pill!

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Sleepovers, Swimming in The Lake and Parades!

I remember when I was a little girl….yes, that was a long time ago…;)

…but I remember the weeks before the 4th of July and how our little town decorated lamp posts with red, white and blue bunting.

It was the days of Drive-In Movies, Brownie Kodak cameras, Leave It To Beaver and Kool-Aid!

Sleepovers, Swimming in the State Lake and 4th of July parades.

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It Doesn’t Take Much Time…..

My dear readers, I love to set up little vignettes around my home and with the 4th of July coming up so quickly…I took about 10 minutes out of my morning to set up this Independence Day vignette.

I didn’t have to go far for any of the pieces….my dish pantry held the striped platters, salt and pepper “stars” and star-shaped bowls.


I had bought a red lacquered tray several months ago at Home Goods….don’t ya just love that store?

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WoooHooo!!! Guests Are Coming To Villa de la Luna!

I love having guests at Villa de la Luna…in other words, I love having guests visit us in Florida…and in a couple of weeks our home will be filled with laughter, good food, funny stories but most importantly…just plain fun with family.

You see, the Captain and I will be entertaining 5 family members, showing off the sights and sounds of our fair city and just sitting by the pool with a lemonade or sweet tea watching (and joining) the two little ones as they splash and play in the pool.

Yes, it will be an enjoyable time and I will be loving every minute of it.

BUT, as we eagerly await our house full of family, we will also be preparing for the visit by making sure our guest rooms are in great shape and ready for our guests and here is how we do it.


I start this process about a week in advance of the guests arrival.  This way I don’t have to rush around frantically at the last minute.  After all, I want to enjoy our family and have fun as much as everyone else, so getting the guest rooms ready beforehand, will be the first on my “to do” check list.

I will be showing you the Turquoise Guest Room.

Clean the Bedding

I like to put clean sheets and pillow cases on my guest room beds at least a week before my guests arrive.  I love that fresh washed smell and so do my guests.  It is important to me, for my guests to know that they are sleeping in spotless and clean smelling beds.

And here is another tip:  Having a good mattress that we ourselves would sleep on in the guest rooms.  When a mattress is worn out, it should be thrown out and not be sent to the guest room.  Of course, having said that, not every one will agree on each and every mattress….whether they are firm, not firm…soft, not soft, but at least we will not be giving our guests an old lumpy mattress that has been around for years and years.

AND the same can be said for pillows.  I have foam, memory foam and down type pillows, so my guests have a choice.

Extra Blankets and a Ceiling Fan

Living in Florida, one may not need an extra blanket…but I still have blankets in the closet on a shelf or in a drawer, along with extra pillows.  One is more likely to need a fan so we have ceiling fans with three speeds in every guest bedroom for our guests.


The Essentials

I am sure my guests are like me and appreciate a well appointed room.  

So I make sure my guests have everything they may need for their stay.  

I keep little baskets of things they might have forgotten like toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, feminine products, antiperspirant, comb, hairspray as well as a few meds such as Baby Asprin, Aleve, Tums, Floss, baby powder, etc.


This also includes soaps, shampoos, conditioners and scented body washes.  

And I like to provide a bed tray which is always sitting on the bed for guests to use for whatever purpose they need. Some use it for jewelry storage and some use it for snacks.  


I also have a box of tissues and a clock by the bed.  


Most of us have our smart phones so don’t really need clocks but once in a while we have guests who are a little older who appreciate that little amenity.

And here is another tip I have found to be handy and that is to provide an extension cord! It is important to have enough outlets and plugs for guests to be able to “hook-up” their electronics. 

My guests have commented that the guest bedrooms are like being in a hotel room…everything they need in one place.

Fluffy Towels

I have been slowly making white towels the norm at Villa de la Luna.  

I used to have towels to match the 4 bathrooms so that when I washed and folded them, I knew immediately which bathroom they went in.  But then I decided that I like the look and freshness of white fluffy towels and so I have plenty of white towels ready for my guests.


One of the perks of having 4 bathrooms is each guest room has it’s own bath so having fluffy, clean towels handy for guests is a no-brainer.

Also, white towels are easy to launder and it’s so easy to find fabulous high quality ones at deeply discounted prices!!! White towels are always on sale! 

However, if your guests have to share a bathroom, I would suggest you put a few towels on a wicker cart or small table in their room, so they won’t have to ask you for clean towels.  Just a thought.


Snacks and Treats

I also like to set out a small basket of smoked or roasted almonds, Ghirardelli chocolate, mixed nuts, trail mix, roasted pistachios, and a couple granola bars.  

My guests love that there are a few munchies waiting for them when they get into their room as well as a TV, if they want to watch the news, etc.


I’ll also put a few small bottles of water near the basket on the day my guests arrive and replace them as needed throughout the visit.


I tell my guests to make themselves at home, but unless they are family, I find my guests are reluctant (no matter how much I insist) to raid the fridge when they are needing a late night snack….so I try to accommodate them with a few guilty pleasures.

Luggage Rack

In my opinion, there is nothing worse than being in a room with no place to put your suitcase, so I provide a luggage rack in each guest room.  


Sometimes (most times) my closets are storing either coats for travel or other items as the closets are prime real estate when one does not have a basement. However, I clear out a “space” with hangers for guests who are staying for a few days.  

I also try to have at least one empty drawer for storing their personal things.

And, I must tell you about the small hand-held steamer I keep in each guest room. These little steamers are perfect for removing a few packing wrinkles from clothing. And just in case one does not know how to use it….I keep the instructions handy.  There is also a matching over-the-door hanger for whatever needs steaming.


Now, here comes the matchy-matchy stuff.  I color coordinate the steamers for each guest room.  

I want my guests to feel like they are in a 5 star hotel for conveniences….. but what the Captain and I mostly want is for them to feel at home.

Dust and Vacuum

Lastly, I dust and vacuum the room, including the window sills behind the plantation shutters, shine up the windows and give the bathroom a good cleaning.  I want everything to be spit spot clean for my guests.

I also make sure there is a waste basket and towel racks for hanging wet towels and swim suits.

The Finishing Touch

Now this is my wheelhouse! I am the embellishment queen! Adding personal touches is something I love! love! love! to do!!!! 


Sooooo, I like to add a vase or pitcher of fresh flowers to the guest room night stands. Nothing big, just a small bouquet.  

I love fresh flowers!  You can pick them from your garden or if you see some pretty roadside “weeds” such as sunflowers or bachelor buttons or tiger lilies, pick a small bouquet of them.  Of course, you could always buy one of the little $5.00 grocery store bouquets! Flowers just shout out “WELCOME TO MY HOME”!

However, let me add that if my guests stay for more than 3 days, I must remember to change the water to keep the flowers fresh.

OR instead of flowers, perhaps I might put a small green plant on the night stand.  A plant also works if guests might have allergies…and I like to suggest the guest take the small plant home as a gift from the Captain and Me.

Of course I have to have something in the room to remind my guests of my humor….such as the plaque below.


and no, I don’t expect my guests to make breakfast!!!  🙂

So my dear readers, that is how I prepare for my guests.

It gives me satisfaction knowing that they are thankful for my thoughtfulness and that is what being a good hostess is all about isn’t it?

Do you have Summer guests coming to your home?

If so, give me your hints on getting your guest room ready.

Hugs and Blessings Always





My Latest Project….

platter Rack6
 My dear readers….I have many decorating projects going on in my kitchen, living room and dining room right now. 
Painting chair legs and table legs, ….painting the chandy (chandelier) and painting the ceiling and walls have all been on my summer “To-Do” list. 
All of these projects take a little time and I have to admit that I am a little slow, so in between some of the more time-consuming projects, I want to show you one of my favorite projects that is fairly simple and yet it still has a bit of decorating impact. 
I guess I also need to explain that when I say “I” am working on these projects you need to know that “I” …really means “we”…the Captain and me.
I usually do up a design of what I want made and somehow the Captain makes it all happen.
This project is a Platter Rack.
You see, I had a bare piece of wall with a sort of set back.
platter Rack1
…..and I have lots of platters,
….especially white ironstone platters and I wanted to not only display them
….I really wanted to be able to get “at them” easily.
Bingo! My Platter Rack.
If you remember, the Captain put up bead board in the Hall/guest bathroom…
platter Rack5
……and I saw this large piece left over in the garage, and my mind started working overtime.
So I asked him to make me a  Platter Rack by framing in the bead board, and adding a few  pieces of decorative trim and then I would grab my handy dandy paint brush and paint it all when he was finished!!!
And so “we” made it happen.
(And when I say “we”. I mean the Captain!)
platter Rack2
But, …..I did paint it.
Two coats of glossy white paint.
Yes, and I like how it turned out.
platter Rack4
It not only gives a little pizzazz to the doorway leading into the utility room and across from the newly installed barn door…it just speaks to me.
platter Rack6
And now when I need a large platter….I don’t have to go digging underneath other platters or plates. 
If you would like to make a platter rack….it is really pretty simple. 
We chose to have a back for the rack but one could just as easily put the rectangular framework up using 1X2 inch boards and adding the same boards in the center (strategically placed, for the platters to rest on…we had to work around a light switch) and then add a little decorative molding to hold the plates in place.  Pretty simple huh?
Sooooo whats for dinner?  Something requiring the use of a large platter I am sure.
Have a great week-end.

June Is Bustin’ Out All Over…..

2016-06-16 13.01.58

My dear readers….it is already the middle of June and what does one think about in June? 

….how about June Brides?

And yes, I was a June Bride…albeit many years ago. 🙂  

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Nothin’ Says Lovin’…Like Bacon In The Oven!


My dear readers….I am so excited as I have family coming from up North…as we in SW Florida say…well, lets get more accurate and call it the Midwest.

There is a difference….a big difference.
There will be 5 guests…family members, so they really are not guests but the Captain and I are really looking forward to this visit. 
I am sure we will go out to eat a few times while they are here, but we will also be having breakfast by the pool too.
I have tentatively planned a few breakfasts and one could not have breakfast without Bacon.
Lots of Bacon!
I am sure some readers might say…”oh, no! Fatty bacon!”….but deep down, who doesn’t love bacon and I plan to pop some bacon in the oven which makes it just a bit healthier or as some would say low carb.
Well, sort of!
Low carb or not, oven bacon has become all of the rage the past few years, but oven baking of bacon has been on most bacon packages for as long as I can remember.
And if you have ever been on one of those low carb diets….admit it, we all have at one time or another of our lives especially if we were trying to lose a few pounds quickly….then you have eaten bacon…  well drained of course, and cooking a full pound of bacon in the oven is a great way to get your bacon all done at once.
Now, I have to confess that if I’m just cooking a slice or two, I still cook it in my cast iron skillet, but when I am cooking up an entire package of bacon for guests…or a certain recipe… I use the oven method.  And you really don’t have to worry about left overs as bacon stores nicely in the fridge for a few days, so it’s handy to have on hand for a BLT sandwich or to add to a recipe. Just let it cool and store the slices in a plastic baggie. Bacon also freezes nicely,  it if you don’t think you’ll use it up right away.

To make bacon in the oven, I just lay the bacon out on a foil covered, rimmed baking sheet pan, two of them for a full pound. Using foil makes for an easier clean up.

OR, put your bacon on a baking rack with foil underneath for easy clean up.  Works either way.  It is just a matter of preference.  Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how thick your bacon is, and the degree of crispness you’re looking for.
There are those who say to start with a cold oven, and I have tried that and it does work, but I prefer to preheat my oven, which I find works for me!
No need to turn the bacon either. Once the bacon is done, drain it on a rack or on paper towels, BUT…and here is the most important part…. don’t forget to save the bacon grease.  I love the flavor a little bacon grease gives my fried potatoes and I have a long list of ways to use these wonderful bacon drippings, but that is for another post. 
OK…I can hear it now.  The tsk tsk tsk part of …whatever happened to healthy eating?
My dear readers, I have another confession to make.  I’m not too good with depriving myself, and I don’t know how long I’ll be living on this earth.  Our time is short as we all know.
But this brings to mind the famous quote by Erma Bombeck…the late American humorist.
‘Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.’
When the time comes for me to meet my maker…I’m pretty sure I’m NOT gonna be saying “I’m sure glad I quit eating Fried Chicken or Bacon!”  🙂
It is true that I will continue to try to watch my portions and eat a bit more balanced diet.  And when I notice that I am eating something a bit off the chart…I will add a little more activity in the pool or on the treadmill.  But let’s face it….at my age, I know I will never be a Cindy Crawford look alike…nor do I want to be super thin or even not so super thin.  
Do any of you remember that sheep cartoon?  You know the one where one sheep says to the other sheep…Ewe’s not fat, Ewe’s just fluffy!   Ok, I reckon I am just a little fluffy!

Having said that, I do think it’s a good idea to cut back on processed foods and simple and refined carbohydrates.  I believe we should focus more on complex carbs and whole grains. Isn’t that what balance is all about? 

But Bacon?  
Hey, I’m gonna eat my bacon and baking it in the oven might just be a little healthier than frying in a pan.
Family?  Be ready for some bacon when you come down to Florida!
Have a great and blessed day!

Flag Day….June 14th,

My dear readers….today is Flag Day, ….yes, on June 14th 1777, a Presidential Proclamation was made….

flag day2

From the Presidential Proclamation:

With hands over hearts, Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs have long saluted Old Glory and honored its legacy.  Our flag persists as a powerful representation of freedom and opportunity.  Waving high above capitol buildings and courthouses, military bases and embassies across the globe, and on the distant surface of the moon, it calls on each of us to remember our obligations to the Republic for which it stands and to carry forward the unwavering optimism that defines us.

America endures because of the courage of servicemen and women who serve under this standard, and our veterans are forever draped in the red, white, and blue when they are laid to rest.  Wherever the flag lies or flies, its message is clear:  We rise and fall together, as one Nation and one people.

The American flag invokes pride in our citizens and hope in those who come to our shores in search of a brighter tomorrow.  In recognition of the ways it has embodied our ideals and sustained our Nation, let us pay tribute to the Star Spangled Banner and continue striving to create a more perfect and indivisible Union — with liberty and justice for all.

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When The Weight of the World Seems Heavy…..

When the weight of the world seems heavy…let ’em eat cake!

I am sure many of you have your go-to recipes….you know the ones where you have it memorized and when unexpected guests are coming or you need that really quick dessert?

Yep, that is the one.

Or two.

Or three…oh my goodness, we all have quite a few recipes just like that.

I came home from a short trip down to Naples early this bright Monday morning and as I drove into my driveway….one of my dear neighbors was walking back to her house.  I called out to her and I could tell she was upset.

She told me she had to go to her home as she forgot something she wanted to show me, but that she would be back over.

She had been crying, but I didn’t pry at that time.  I knew she would be back….just as I knew she would tell me when she was ready.

Sometimes one just needs to listen….and perhaps share a slice of cake.

Only, I did not have any cake in the house…remember…I said I was returning from an overnight stay in Naples.

Sooooo I rushed into the house thinking what could be better than having a piece of something warm and sweet to make one feel just a little bit or a whole lot better.

And then a light-bulb went off in my head and I remembered my cuppa cuppa Mandarin Orange Cake.

The actual name of the recipe is Mandarin Orange Cake but I added the cuppa cuppa because it calls for 2 cups of everything.

So I turned on the oven, filled the tea pot and went about making my cake.  This cake is so easy and it is so moist because of the mandarin oranges.

…..And it is easy to remember the ingredients.

When my friend came back to the house, the tears were gone and as soon as she smelled the cake in the oven….I saw her familiar smile.

We sat down and talked and talked and talked while the cake baked.  I jumped up and quickly made the glaze and as I pulled the cake out of the oven….I poured the warm glaze over the top.

I didn’t have any whipped cream….but we really didn’t need it.

We sat and ate Mandarin Orange Cake and drank our tea until all was just a bit more right with the world.

Does cake solve every problem?

Of course not, but it sure makes the medicine go down a lot easier.

You know the lyric from the Mary Poppins song….a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down?

I have had this recipe for years and it came from an office potluck…isn’t that the way most of these good recipes end up in our recipe boxes?

This recipe came from a lady who used to do the filing at a business I worked for about 40 years ago….her name was Edith.

She brought it to work at the potluck and I thought it was so good, I asked her for the recipe and I have been making it ever since.

Each time I make it, I get asked for the recipe.  It is a simple cake and very moist.  It is easy to remember because everything is 2 cups or teaspoons.

Please try this cuppa cuppa Mandarin Orange Cake….and you don’t have to wait for a sad day, but I guarantee once you taste the goodness, you will be a lot happier.

The handy dandy printable recipe is below….but it is an easy one to memorize.

Enjoy!  And have a great beginning to your week!




Cuppa Cuppa Mandarin Orange Cake
I like to call this my 2 cuppa...because almost all the ingredients are all "2's". makes it an easy recipe to remember! everything goes in together in one bowl! How simple is that?
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  1. 2 eggs
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 2 cans of mandarin oranges (small cans, drained)
  4. 2 cups flour
  5. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  6. ½ teaspoon salt.
  1. 3/4 brown sugar
  2. 3 tablespoons milk
  3. 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Combine eggs, sugar, mandarin oranges, flour, baking soda and salt in a medium size bowl.
  2. Grease and flour (or using baking spray) a 9X13 baking dish
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  4. While baking, put brown sugar,milk and butter in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Prick cake with fork and pour topping over warm cake right after taking from the oven.
  6. Top each piece with whipped cream right over the glaze if desired
  1. You can omit the glaze, but why would you want to? It makes this orange cake so wonderfully moist and tasty! I love it with my morning hot tea! And so will you!
Me and My Captain

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