4th of July drinks

If you all are looking for some drinks to celebrate the 4th, I have a few to share!

Patriotic Punch
Freeze flavored beverage(kool-aid, gatorade, etc, in red and blue)  for ice cubes
Drop Cubes in glass
Pour seltzer water or Sprite
As cubes melt, colored bubbles will swirl

the Adult Version

1 part UV-red Cherry Vodka
3 parts lemonade
over ice and enjoy

Over at Martha Stewart's site, I found this yummy looking shake

  • Serves 12


  • 6 ounces (1 3/4 cups) raspberries, plus more for garnish
  • 4 ounces strawberries, stemmed and quartered (1 cup), plus more for garnish
  • 5 ounces (1 cup) pitted whole cherries, plus more for garnish
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 16 ounces (4 cups) blueberries, plus more for garnish
  • 2 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Combine raspberries, strawberries, cherries, 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until berries release their juices, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and refrigerate until cold.
  2. Combine remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar with 2 cups blueberries in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries release their juices, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Let cool completely. Stir in remaining 2 cups blueberries, cover, and refrigerate until cold.
  3. Whisk ice cream, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Spoon 1/4 cup of either fruit mixture into the bottom of a glass. Top with milk shake. Repeat with remaining fruit and milk shake. Garnish milk shakes with fresh fruit, and serve immediately.

Don't they look yummy?  Okay, and to top it off, I want one of these, but of course won't be trying one until next year!

Toast your country all year long with this red-and-blue beverage, one of many signature drinks featuring the vodka-based liquor HPNOTIQ.

To make this festive cocktail, follow these simple steps.

1. Puree thawed frozen strawberries.

2. Blend 2 tablespoons each of the strawberry puree, dark rum, coconut milk, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, and ½ cup crushed ice in a blender until smooth.

3. Pour 2 to 4 tablespoons HPNOTIQ into a glass, and top with 2 to 4 tablespoons of the strawberry mixture.

I hope you all enjoy and have a very Safe and Happy 4th of July!


Handy Condiment Carrier

Do any of you have a problem getting your condiments outside for your 4th of July cookout, or any other cookout for that matter?  I think it's a real pain to load your arms up with all your condiments and get out the door.  So I used a small galvanized bucket to cure the problem.

I found my bucket at Target.  Glass and metal are much easier to use vinyl on than plastic, it sticks better to the others.
First cut your vinyl in the design you want.  I cut stars with my Cricut machine.
I cut 3in, 2in, and 1in stars.

Placed them where I wanted them on the bucket, and viola

A cute little bucket to carry your plates, napkins, forks and spoons in one, and all your condiments that you might need in the other.

You can see these small buckets hold a lot of condiments!  I have 5 in that one, depending on what you need or how big your bottles are, you could probably fit more.

Now I'm all ready for this weekend, and I know that my 5 year old will argue with me a lot less having to carry one bucket, rather than make a few trips in the house to carry several bottles.  Plus, there is less chance that the bottles will get broken being in a container.  (Well, that's the hope anyway.)

If you have ANY 4th of July crafts or recipes that you would like to share, do it here

Have a Happy Humpday!


4th of July Recipes

With 4th of July this weekend, I needed to find some yummy recipes to curb my sweet tooth.  My lovely aunt makes a flag cake every year, and it always reminds me of the 4th of July, it's simple and so yummy.

Layer 8 slices of pound cake in a 12x8 baking dish, top with 1 cup of strawberries and blueberries each, 1 8oz of cool whip, design stars and stripes  with 3 cups of strawberries and 1/3 cup blueberries.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.  Enjoy

I also came across this cake that I'm sure I'm making this year, it looks so de-lish!
The recipe is here

I also found these, that I want really badly

I am most definitely making these

There were also these fun recipes at Rice Krispies, and Nick Jr. that the kids will love!!  

I hope that you'll share your favorite 4th of July Recipe or Craft

Have yourself a Tasty Tuesday!


A better back yard and a margarita.

How is everybody doing? Hey its been a while, but i do have a great post for you today. Since I have been feeling better, I have been trying to get some things done that I had put off before I had the super power of breathing. We had our house built a few years ago and it was your plane jane corner lot with no real landscaping or hardscapes to be seen. I thought it best to improve the outdoors in my own back yard. It just seemed to be the best way to get the most outdoor enjoyment on a day to day basis.
We started the backyard make over with a deck. We enjoy this just about every evening with our favorite adult beverage. It is just the right size for me and my wife to hangout on and make the best out of what is left of the day. Our back yard is in the shade for the majority of the day; a good coffee in the morning is not uncommon on our deck. However, it became ever apparent that we were in dire need of some veiw improvement. With the help of my mom, and Bobbi Jo from this blog, I had already had some great plants around my yard that I could pull some starters from. I am not a horticultural wizard so I don't know exactly what the names of these plants are but I can give you some ideas of what you are seeing in the photos below. I have a variety of hostas, a barbberry bush, a bunny tail grass and I don't know what the pretty yellow flowers are. If you know please pass along the information.


Backyards are truely the essentials of outdoor enthusiasm, it is our little slice of tranquility and green space that we can access on a daily basis. Think of your backyard as a grassroots movement to the enjoyment of nature. Ours is  far from finished, we have plans for a fence so that our poor little beagle bunny can run wild with out having to be tethered to her leash, and the addition of some shade trees would make a wonderful canopy for the dog days of summer that we are all looking forward to enjoying.
While working on these projects I have realized that there is more to enjoy about the outdoors than when I had to constantly battle breathing in them. However, now that breathing isn't a problem I have time to dwell on those dang bugs that eat me alive. I must have turned into a sweeter person since the surgery because I swear I have had more bug bites since then than I can remember. Since I work at a large outdoors retailer I went in search of the perfect bug repellent. I started out seeking the product with the most amount of DEET possible, I was willing to risk the skin irritation for some shelter from the swarm of bugs that plagued me. Then I started thinking, these products have longer warnings than tobacco products, maybe I should seek an alternative. I inlisted the help of Trent, our resident camping guru. He turned me on to this silly looking contraption called a Thermacell. "It uses a butane insert and scent wafers to repel the bugs, no harmful chemicals, stink or the annoying sound of bugs getting zapped" he said, and after a thorough interrogation I reluctantly purchased this product along with a holster for it.

Trent has lived up to his reputation. This little thing is awesome! I brought it home mixed up some of Barry's Famous Margaritas and we hit the deck. I turned the little guy on and had a drink. Then I waited, and waited, and took my shirt off and waited, and to my amazement I didn't get one single bite. I don't even think a bug landed on me. The best part about it was that my wife was not bit either, it has a 15ft radius of protection, an impenetrable barrier that provides hours of bug free enjoyment. I have tried it while I fished, one of the greatest places to find nast ol'mosquitos is near water, and the bugs didn't bug me at all. It has my whole hearted endorsement.
Famous Margarita by Barry
2 Onces of Cazadores Reposado Tequila
1 Once of Grand Marnier
2 1/2 Onces of Margaritaville margarita mix or the Juice of 2 large limes
Salt rim generously
Sit back my friends, fire up the thermacell, knock back a couple margaritas, and enjoy!




Summer Giveaway Bash and coffee talk

Happy Friday my friends!!!  
I am so excited to tell you all about the huge Summer giveaway bash over at For the Love of Blogs.  

Not only are they doing a giveaway a day, but the prizes are pretty FABULOUS!!!

There will be beautiful summer fun stuff like this

  and this
there are so many fun and wonderful things, that it would take me all day to list them.  

Do you like money???  Who doesn't right?  You could win cold hard cash.  Are you into gift cards?  There will be a few of those to win also.  Seriously the list goes on and on.  Who wouldn't want to win some of this fabulousness?  I know I would, there are a few things I would like to win.

The most awesome thing about this giveaway is there will be one everyday.  You don't have to sign up to win, then wait weeks to see if you won or not.  

The Rules are pretty simple, check it out:

How it will work:
  • You have One Chance to enter the giveaway put out on that day
  • Giveaways will close at 11:59pm est time
  • Only One Comment Per Entrant {all others will not count}
  • You must comment accordingly--meaning read the entry rules!
  • Anyone can enter
  • A Twitter Party will be going on and some RT's will give u a chance to win something on Twitter as well. #summergiveawaybash @taylordates
  • Enjoy and Have Fun!
Please NOTE{CASH Giveaways will be ran differently giving you more ways to enter: SEE BELOW}
Pretty Sweet, right?   The summer bash kicks off in a week.  Not only is there time to win, but there is still time to spread the word or donate a little somethin, somethin! 

There is a place to donate on this page.  If you like, you could donate $1 to add towards the cash prizes.  If you wonder, why do that?  Well think, if you add $1 and 29 of your bloggy buddies add $1, there is $30 cash that can be won.  The more that donates, the cold hard cash there is to win!!!  You don't have to donate more than that dollar, and if you win, it's an investment! 

I hope that you head over and check it all out.  Donate a $1 if you like, or maybe you could donate something crafty you make.  All the information you need is here and here

Please spread the word, and join the FUN!!!


By the way, if you love coffee, and you are free today, you should stop by Coffee Talk today between 1pm-2pm est for live chat, and a chance to win a gift card!!!!

I'd love to see you there!!!


Favorite Summer Cocktail

Hello lovely folks!  How many of you are ready for a cocktail or two?  It's finally summer, though it doesn't feel like it here in Ohio.  Time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a super yummy cocktail.  My summer drink of choice is a Parrot Bay and Pineapple.  Pretty simple, right?  Choose your favorite drinking cup, I use a 20oz tumbler, I got it from the beach last year, and it's the perfect size for sippin on a cocktail.

What you'll need:
1 glass/cup of choice
Coconut Parrot Bay                    
Pineapple Juice

If you use a regular size glass, fill with ice              
add 1 1/2 oz Parrot Bay
Fill with Pineapple Juice
Shake or stir well
(if you use a large glass or tumbler, make to taste)

I love this drink, I could drink it all day long in the summer sitting by a pool or at the beach.  It just the perfect summer drink!

So fix yourself a drink, relax and have a wonderful Thirsty Thursday!  Join me over here for more great drinks and great friends! Check out the awesome Summer Giveaway Bash, you could win a prize a day!


1st Tennis Lesson

Well, we put Da Freakout in Tennis Lessons.  He loves to be outside and play sports when he's not singing or dancing.  We've played around a few times outside, but it was just teaching him to attempt to hit the ball.  I was really worried before that first lesson, but upon meeting Coach Chris, I was eased a little.   Coach Chris's tennis background is pretty impressive, so I'm hoping he'll learn something from him.

After looking at the pictures I took, he looks pretty impressive.  It looks like he knows what he's doing.
It's amazing what 1 hour with someone who knows what they are talking about can do for a kid.

 Check out that form!

 Coach Chris making sure he's swinging correctly.

Well hopefully the weather will hold out this week so he can get lesson number 2 in.
Next stop.....Wimbledon!!!!!!!


Flavorful Pork Chops

This is one of our favorite meals to eat.  If you're not a big fan of pork, you can substitute chicken, they both are really good, I just prefer the pork chops. 

What you'll need: 3/4 Pork Chops or chicken
1 pkg of dry onion soup mix 
1/2 small bottle Russian dressing (not Catalina, it tastes different)
1/2 jar Apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a 11x13 baking dish with Pam
Mix all ingredients in a bowl 
Arrange pork in bottom of baking dish

Pour 1/2 mixture over pork chops, turn over and pour the remaining
I use a fork to poke the meat to get the flavor inside the meat

Bake for 45 mins or until cooked.  Some ovens take more, some may take less.


These pork chops have the most flavor. The ingredients sound a little weird, but they are amazing.  I hope you'll try it, and then let me know what you think!

Have a Tasty Tuesday! 


An Office with a View

Not many people in the world enjoy the view that I and a few skilled pilots do.  That view obviously would be from the cockpit.  A few of these pictures were taken from a higher altitude, up to 45,000 feet.  It's not the same looking out the side window.  Sitting in the back you can not see what type of weather is ahead or even watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset.  There have been numerous times where I have taken off and watched the sunset, worked all night and even saw the sunrise the next morning. 

Now there are some photos below and i will try to explain a few.  Bobbi enjoys some of the beach/coastal pictures the best and even shares them on silent Saturdays. 

This is one of my favorite pictures.  Early sunrise heading to Baltimore, MD.  Very majestic.

Different day, another sunrise.  That's our tip tank (gas tank) in the photo.  Everyone who flies this type of jet always has a tip in a picture.

See what I mean.  Another tip tank looking down at the clouds.

Thunderstorms ahead.  Time to turn.

So that was a little taste of the view out front.  Sure, you may see some of these views out the side window, but by the time you see that thunderstorm, the pilots up front have already turned to avoid them.  Now I will share a few pictures of the cockpit that you may have never seen or understand, so I will try to explain them a little as well.

This is an altimeter.  It measures your height above sea level.  In this picture we are at 45,000 feet.

The airspeed indicator is below.  This is showing a speed of 230 knots or Mach .78

 Now because this is just what is indicated on the airspeed indicator, that doesn't mean its our actual speed.  Altitude, temperature and wind will play a huge factor.  This photo is of our GPS.  It shows direction, distance, time and ground speed.  The speed we are actually going.
As you can see in the bottom right, our speed is 621 knots.  That is approximately 683 mph.
In the middle top is distance, we had 19 miles to go to our next waypoint and at that speed, the top right shows a time of 1 minute and 50 seconds.  So basically at 621 knots, you cover 10 miles in a minute.  That's 1 mile every 6 seconds.

This is most of the cockpit.  By far it is much simpler that today's modern jets.  Our plane was built back in the late 70's.

Here are Bobbi's beach photos.  This one is just off the coast of Tampa, FL.  Those little dots in the water are actually little huts.

East coast of Florida down by Fort Lauderdale.

Ahhh, Captain Brandon.  Not bad to look at, but fun to fly with.  See this is a view you don't always get.

Well the best for last.  My Ice Man and Maverick.

I hope you all enjoyed.  Please post comments and ask questions if there is more you would like to know or even learn about.  Post your photo requests as well and I will try to get a picture of it.  We only fly in the lower 48 states, so keep it simple.  Next time I will post a video or two of takeoffs and landings.

Steve ✈