Loving people with food + Reindeer poop

{Photos: wild horses on Cumberland Island, Georgia, taken November 2012}

Cumberland Island Wild Horses

Cumberland Island Wild Horses

Cumberland Island Wild Horses

Cumberland Island Wild Horses
This is my last batch of photos taken on our Cumberland Island trip, Thanksgiving weekend. It feels like Thanksgiving was just last week–I can’t believe that we will be celebrating Christmas day after tomorrow!

This week has been jam packed with holiday festivities. On top of the holiday baking, gift buying, and wrapping, I also volunteered at school four out of five days this week. As you can tell from my lack of posts, writing really slowed down while I’ve been otherwise occupied. I sort of took an unofficial break from both blogging and novel writing en lieu of baking and everything else!

I love baking for friends and family this time of year and so far, my baking totals include:

  • 1 pan of lime bars
  • 2 pans of brownies
  • 1 tray of chocolate coated snack mix
  • 3 trays of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
  • 1 raspberry crumb cake
  • 3 trays of Oreo truffles
  • 4 pecan pies
  • A whole lot of reindeer poop! 

So far, I’ve given it all away as gifts, minus a few truffles and one bag of reindeer poop. Even though I thought that by now I’d surely be feeling exhausted, I actually feel like I’m catching my second wind.

There just may be oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in my future. We’ll see!

How about you? Do you like giving or receiving baked goods for the holidays? Better question: does anyone else make their kids reindeer poop?

Happy Christmas Eve, Eve!

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Quiz: Name that Sea Creature

{Photos: Cumberland Island National Seashore, November 2012}

Ana Riley, Conch, Conch shell, Cumberland Island

Ana Riley,Star fish, Cumberland Island

Ana Riley,Stingray egg case, Cumberland Island

Today’s post is in honor of my super awesome niece who just turned 18 over Thanksgiving weekend while she was here visiting us. She is a marine biology extraordinaire, works at the Georgia Aquarium, and has plans to start FSU in the fall in their study abroad program–as a marine biology major, of course. She is just so amazing and I am super proud of her!
An added benefit of having her with us while at any beach is that she can pull sea creatures out of the ocean and not only tell you exactly what they are, but she can handle them in a way so that you can hold them, touch them, smell them, (sometimes taste them! Yes, I’m telling on you that you licked that cannonball jellyfish!), and get a good close up look at them without getting stung or bitten or poisoned. 
She’s handy that one!
So today we are going to have a quiz. It’s called: Guess That Sea Creature. 
Ready? Okay, here we go!
Photo 1: Is it a…
a. bird skull with a giant eyeball still in tact
b. an alien vagina giving birth to something alien
c. a live conch my niece pulled out of the ocean and handed to my son for me to photograph
Photo 2: Is it a…
a. gold star for effort, much deserved after hiking all day and then having to frolic in the Atlantic
b. a starfish that was still moving and very much alive, and promptly returned to its home unharmed.
c. Peach
Photo 3: Is it a…
b. egg case
c. a biological remnant that once held stingray eggs
 If you answered C, B, and ALL 3, you would be Correct!
Here ends your marine biology lesson for today and a special thank you to my awesome niece for providing the material for today’s post! 
Love you, L!

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I can throw a party

Cumberland Island GA

Cumberland Island GA

Cumberland Island GA

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, we had reservations for twelve on the Cumberland Island Ferry, departing from St. Marys, Georgia, at 9:00 AM. 
It was a feat of epic proportion to get all twelve of us out of the house that early in the morning, with lunches and provisions packed, ready to spend the entire day on an uninhabited island. 
But we did it. 
We loaded into two cars and made the hour and a half drive to the Georgia coast, toting our backpacks full of water, food, layers of clothing (the weather was cold), and other miscellaneous supplies like bug spray, cameras, and sunscreen. We were prepared to spend the next eight hours hiking the island with no cell phone reception and nothing but the scenery and each other to look at. (Every last one of us took a book to read! Ha!)
Expectations were low. Just the way I like ’em.
 
Believe it or not, even with three testy teenagers and one pre-teen among us, we had a really good time. Wind burned, exhausted, on our feet all day while hiking a deserted (except for the wild horses and throngs of tourists) island, it was our kind of good time (10 miles over snowfields ring a bell? It should.)
But, a remarkable thing happened: we had no choice but to talk to each other and we actually enjoyed it. 
Enjoyed it so much, in fact, that a return trip has already been suggested and requested for next year.
Mad props for Cumberland Island!
And it just goes to show, give me warm cold cut sandwiches, discontinued Hostess cakes, a frisbee, and extremely low expectations and I can throw a party.

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