Care to Cruise, Anyone?

Have you ever been on a cruise? Cruising is the best way to travel and see new places. Your room travels with you, and someone cleans and makes your bed morning and night! The food is delicious and abundant. There are activities planned, and evening entertainment all along the way.

Since I didn’t see any of you on our cruise, why don’t you sit back for a few moments and join us? I would love to take you on our Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas cruise from New Jersey to the Bahamas and back.

If you ever plan a Spring Break cruise, you may want to think twice about one that departs from New Jersey. We were “lucky” enough to choose a week in March when a snow storm moved through that delayed our flight from the early morning hours to the late afternoon. I am from Arizona so snow and I are casual acquaintances at best. But… I put on my coat and got ready to go anyway!

I highly recommend arriving a day or two early so you can visit New York City like we did. New York is a WONDERFUL city with so much to see and do that one short day is not nearly enough. BUT that is all we had, so here is what we fit in. I’m sure you can too!

You Can See The Statue of Liberty

If you can only see or do one thing in New York City, this was our favorite. You need to call way in advance to get tickets to climb the steps all the way to her crown, but we were able to get tickets to the pedestal without too much waiting.

There is a museum in the pedestal with stories about the Statue and to scale replicas.

Oh, she is beautiful!! Pictures can never do her justice. There is nothing as heart touching as seeing her standing in front of New York holding her lamp for the world to see. It was an emotional experience.

Good bye Lady Liberty! I hope to see you again someday!❤️❤️

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You Can Walk to Stone Street and Get Some Lunch–

We walked from the ferry to the financial district and the oldest paved street in New York City called Stone Street!. Isn’t it quaint? The Dutch cobblestones have been there since 1658!

There is an absolutely WONDERFUL, family owned pizza restaurant here called Adrienne’s. Oh..My… Goodness! The food is good here!

We had a pizza that came out in a square pan and an order of eggplant parmesan. Really, they were to die for!!

If you go to New York, don’t miss Stone Street and Adrienne’s Pizza!

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You Can Break Your Wrist

Well, I don’t really recommend this activity, although we did get to see a part of New York that we never would have seen otherwise. An Urgent Care Center is within walking distance from Stone Street.

I had to walk by the NY Stock Exchange and Federal Hall without stopping. (That really hurt!). But you don’t have to. They are right next to each other.

I would definitely stop there if I were you.:)

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You Can See the 9-11 Memorial

Because of my broken wrist, we were only able to see this amazing memorial at night. Wow! They did a great job here❤️

  • The fountain is in the foundation of one tower.
  • World Trade One Building, the tallest building in New York, is built where the other tower was.
  • Names are engraved on the fountain wall.
  • The Oculus subway station and mall are right next to the memorial

Even at night, this is another “Don’t Miss” experience.

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You Can See a Play On Broadway

The subway took us right to Broadway where we saw Wicked in the Gershwin Theater.

I have seen this fun play multiple times in Arizona and California, but there was something magical about watching it on Broadway. Maybe it was the tears in my daughter-in-law’s eyes as she watched it for the first time. That Elphaba, WOW! Can she sing!

If you are looking for a fun souvenir, we dressed up and got our picture taken.

What a fun day! I’m glad we started our cruise early and were able to enjoy a bit of New York City❤️. Aren’t you? When going in a cruise, I always recommend arriving a day early to visit the embarking city.

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Anthem of the Seas

The time has come! We are here and ready to embark on our cruise!

There are so many things you can do on this wonderful ship! BUT let me put this in bold writing -Schedule your activities on your computer at home!!!! We did not. Even though we went immediately to get our reservations, we were lucky to get in later in the week and at night. I’m sure there were some cruisers who found that all of the slots were full. Sooo… once again, Schedule at home before the cruise!

Here are a few things you can do on the ship at NO EXTRA cost!

You Can Fly on a Trapeze!

Really?! I did not get into the “swing” of this because of my broken arm. I am sure that had I been my two handed self, I would have been flying through the air with the greatest of ease and there would have been clapping and cheers along with a signing bonus, but, alas, the world will have to wait. Lol!

Even my beautiful young children had a bit of a challenge getting the “hang” of it. Kudos to them for trying though;)

You Can Experience an I Fly Sky Diving Simulator–

How cool is that?! My family LOVED this one. Once again, with a broken arm, I wasn’t allowed to try my hand at it, but it was good that I was available to take pictures.

I don’t recommend breaking your arm, but I definitely recommend splitting your group up so you can get those photos to share with your family at home.

You Can Watch a Movie Under the Stars–

This was a fun experience all except for the freezing weather. If you decide to enjoy the Stars and the movie like we did, I recommend taking your extra blanket from your room to have something to snuggle under.

You Can Roller-skate and Ride Bumper Cars

The sports deck converts into a roller rink or bumper car rink periodically throughout the cruise. They only let a few skaters or drivers on the rink at a time so be sure to sign up early.

You Can Learn to Surf or Rock Climb

Do you remember when I told you that a cruise from New Jersey in March may not have been the best idea? It was so cold and windy that we didn’t want to spend much time out on the deck of the ship. But you certainly can! I have done the Flow rider and rock climbing on other ships. They are really fun!

You Can take a Ride in the North Star

The Anthem of the Seas has a large viewing bubble that lifts you over 300 feet above the ship for some very beautiful views.

We were only able to get a reservation on a Sea day at dusk. I hear that the best times for viewing are when the boat is in port so you get views of the city. We still loved it. I felt safe and secure even though a strong wind was blowing.

Of course there are a multitude of other activities available as well. These were just a few of the highlights and they are all FREE!

You Can Relax and Read or Sew-

If you want a chair by the pool in the Solarium , you need to get out early because it didn’t seem like there were enough chairs for the amount of people on the ship.

We opted for the huge inside viewing room at the back of the ship called Two70. It was AMAZING! I didn’t get much sewing done, but I tried.

There really is so much more to do that I could write about, but I don’t want this post to be so long that it takes all morning to read it!

The ship itself was BEAUTIFUL! The rooms were fairly spacious as far as cruise staterooms go.

I always enjoy coming back from dinner to my bed turned down with a cute towel animal on my bed. It is so cute!

The theme seemed to be cherry blossoms. The elevator shaft was decorated with a larger than I could imagine cherry blossom art piece.

While the evening food is delicious, the buffet and lunch menu was much to be desired. Royal Caribbean could take a lesson from Carnival here. Those Guy Fiero burgers and fries, the BBQ, and taco bars, along with never ending ice cream on the Carnival lines just can’t be beat!

But the evening dining is amazing on the Anthem of the Seas. There are four dining rooms that all serve the same menu. We paid a little bit extra and were able to eat at the four specialty restaurants as well. I highly recommend this. They offer a special if you book them on the first day. Do it! You won’t be sorry:)

We really enjoyed the Sushi, but Chops Steak House was equally delicious! My daughter in law even paid for a sushi making class. Fun, fun!

One of the best things about a cruise is the evening entertainment.

You Can See a Musical and Comedians

Each night the entertainment was amazing. We enjoyed the musical “We Will Rock You” which reminded of me of “Mama Mia” but instead of using ABBA songs they used QUEEN songs to tell a story. It was cute.

The comedians are always funny. This cruise was no exception. It is like a dose of good medicine to laugh along with people you love.

And what would a cruise be if the shop didn’t stop at new and exciting places? Our first stop was at Port Canaveral, Florida.

You Can Go to Disney World

Well, you can, but I don’t recommend it. Now that’s saying a lot, because my family LOVES Disneyland. But the same magic didn’t seem to be in Disney World.

We arrived at 10:00 am, stayed until 4:00 and were only able to ride 2 rides! The fast passes were gone early and the lines were long. We spent two hours waiting for one ride!

The gardens were very pretty though.

It is amazing to see what they can to with plants. Things don’t grow like this in Arizona!

So… my advice for Florida, Port Canaveral would be to skip Disney World and do something like enjoy the Port itself or go to the Missile Museum instead.

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You Can’t Go to Royal Caribbean’s Private Island, CocoCay

Ok, you can, but we could not. We pulled in, right next to the island, but the weather was too windy, so we were not able to get off the ship safely. Good bye, CocoCay!! I’m glad there was so much to do and eat on the ship!

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You Can Swim with Dolphins

We LOVED Nassau! While the boys went scuba diving down into sunken ships, my beautiful daughter-in-law, Sarah, and I went to the Blue Lagoon to swim with Dolphins.

Well, I didn’t swim with them , of course, but once again I was glad I was there to take pictures! I mean look at the love this dolphin is giving Sarah❤️. How SWEET!:)

If you decide to go here, be sure to sign up for the Dolphin Swim NOT the Dolphin Encounter. The Swim is where you are actually in the water and the dolphins give you a ride.

We had a relaxing morning into the afternoon here.

We met up with the guys later in the afternoon and did our final adventure

***

You Can Climb the Queens Staircase and See Fort Fincastle-

This little adventure seems to catch the essence of this island. It is free and is my “Don’t Miss” thing to do in Nassau.

This picture is from the Nassau Website.

We took a short mile or so walk from the ship through town to the Queen’s Staircase. It was built in the 1790s. When Queen Victoria died, they renamed it the Queen’s Staircase. There is one step for each year of her reign.

Just around the corner from the top of the staircase is Fort Fincastle

This is another very interesting piece of history with wonderful views of the island. The canons and prison cells are still here. Pretty cool!

A short walk down the hill and we are back at the ship. Wasn’t that so much fun?!

I’m so glad you joined us on our virtual cruise;). I promise there is so, so much more to do than what I posted here. If you get a chance to cruise down to the Bahamas and go to any of these places, I would love to hear about it❤️❤️

I will be back soon with more of my quilty self. Until then I hope you have Smooth Sailing where ever you go!

I Think I Can – I Think I Can!

Do you know that feeling when everywhere you look there seems to be something out of place or that needs tidying up? I am so there right now!

It couldn’t be a more perfect time for Leanne @She Can Quilt to be inviting fellow bloggers to finish some of those UFOs lying around their sewing rooms. I am in!!

I don’t think I can get too many of my projects done, but there are three that are really close and should be realistic finishes–

Purse Strings–

I have 8 of the 20 blocks done for this wonderful quilt. I am SURE I can get this one done.

Not only is this one all cut out and ready to finish, it is right in the way of all of my other projects! Yep, time to finish it up.😊

My next finish will be a bit trickier…

Delilah-

I joined Jen Kingwell’s template of the month last year. I kept up for quite a while, but just around Christmas, of course, I fell behind.

It has been over a year now, and I WANT to see what it looks like all put together. I am so excited to finally say that yes, I can finish this one!

Be-Attitudes–

I am working on this one each week with a friend. She should keep me going along:)

We only have 4 more blocks to go, so this one should easily be done before school starts next year. SWEET!!

I’m so glad you dropped by today. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day!

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Fantastic Bake Along – Crazy Caramels

Wait–Did I say Caramels? Yes, I did! This week I learned to make my first ever batch of gluten free/Vegan candy. I am happy to report that they turned out to be quite good!

I want to thank this month’s star baker, AJ @ A Petite Slice of Life for the fun adventure!

I really liked how few of ingredients were needed to make this recipe.

The recipe didn’t call for nuts, but at my house, we put nuts in almost everything. What can I say? We are all nuts around here:)!

I put the ingredients, minus the nuts and vanilla in my cooking pan and started to heat the sugar up.

It started clear, went to bubbly, and finally to cloudy. I added the vanilla at the end.

I put a cup or two of chopped nuts in the bottom of a greased baking pan.

I then poured the hot mixture over the nuts. It was weird, but the oil kind of separated, and I could not get it to combine into the caramel.

So… I just threw it out. That was a lot of oil!

Oh well, I placed the pan in the fridge and waited for an hour or so. When I pulled it out, the caramel was crisp and had a pretty white coconut oil coating.

It was very easy to get out of the pan by just turning the pan over and tapping it on the counter. It came out in one piece. Yea!

I enlisted the help of my favorite, cute husband with the cutting of the caramel because of my cast. He did a spectacular job!

He cut them into small, bite sized pieces. I think this was the key. If they are too big, you can’t put them all in your mouth at one time. They are quite sticky, so I liked not having to try to bite into them..

Once again, this was a FANTASTIC Bake Along. In fact, you might say that it was SWEET! If any of you are interested in trying your hand at Caramels, you can find the recipe here.

Thank you so much for dropping by today. I hope you have a moment or two to see how the other bakers fared in their kitchen’s this week:)

Until next time,

Be-Attitudes Quilt

My friend and I are back to sewing again, and I am sew, sew happy! We have been working on the Be-Attitudes Quilt by Art to Heart. It seems like I have had to use many of these Be-Attitudes in my life lately, especially Be-Patient.

I was quite a bit behind my friend in sewing, so I have spent the last few days catching up. I am really pleased with how the blocks are turning out!

The hardest part of this quilt is choosing the colors. I need to make sure there is balance so I have finally just sewn all of the blocks together for aiding me in color placement.

I lay out my fabrics before I sew them and change, change, change them around.

Who would think that would be so tricky?! The above fabric lay out turned into my favorite Be-Patient Block.

Isn’t it cute?! I will be adding flower buttons on the seed markers after it is quilted.

I really like all of these cute blocks, but so far Be-Patient and Be-Prayerful are my favorites. Well, maybe Be-Honest or Be-kind are up there too:)

Here I am sewing Be-Prayerful with my well worn cast, lol😊

Oh, I am grateful for thumbs! Now, before you think I have been sewing like crazy the last few days, I did have a couple of these blocks done before my forced hiatus .

Too much fun!! My friend is making her quilt in muted tones that are equally adorable.

I love sewing along with friends. I really like her ant’s cupcake with the striped paper cup.—I may have to change mine out….. it wouldn’t be the first time! She used a circle fabric piece instead of a button on top. Cute!!

I will be giving this quilt to an elementary school teacher, so this bright colored pallet quilt will be hanging in a classroom. Isn’t that SWEET?!

I can’t think of a better home for it❤️❤️

Thank you so much for dropping by and reading about my quilting adventures. I hope I have inspired you to try your hand at something creative today:)

Thought for the day–

Fantastic Bake Along — Crazy for Caramel!

I am so very happy to say it is FANTASTIC BAKE ALONG time again! After taking last month off due to wrist surgery, this is a real treat!:). I missed getting together and having our virtual Bake Along where we all Bake the same recipe and actually smell and taste the same yummy things. It is such delicious fun!

This month’s star baker is AJ @A Petite Slice of Life . I have been looking forward to when AJ would be the star baker because she is a gluten free – dairy free baker, and I have always wondered about how she changes our recipes to fit her active, healthy life style. Now is our chance!

AJ has chosen Crazy for Caramels as this month’s Bake/Cook. Yum! Yum! Yum! I haven’t made caramels for years now. These are going to be delicious! Why don’t you join along in the fun? Here is how–

AJ’s recipe comes from a book called “Sweet Eats for All” by Allyson Kramer. It focuses on Gluten Free Cooking.

Crazy for Caramels-

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canned full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup or agave
  • 1/2 cup non dairy margarine or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Grease a baking dish or pan. The smaller the base, the thicker your caramel pieces will be. Place sugar, coconut milk and corn syrup into a heavy 2-3quart saucepan. It needs at least 6” of side as the mixture will bubble up. Over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, dissolve the sugar completely. Once dissolved, add the margarine and stir until just boiling. Once the mixture is boiling, stop stirring. Let the mixture continue boiling without stirring until it reaches 245-250F on a candy thermometer or the firm ball stage if using the cold water method (about 15-20 minutes). When the mixture is the right temperature, remove from the heat and immediately stir in the vanilla extract and pour into your prepared dish. Let cool to room temperature and then slip into your fridge for an hour. Just before cutting, pop it into the freezer for a few minutes to make it less sticky to cut. Once firm, cut the caramels into 20 pieces. Wrap the candies in waxed paper and store in the fridge or a cool, dry place for up to a month.

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And that’s it! Now it is time to go to the store and gather up my non-dairy items to try my hand at non dairy caramels. I’m excited! I hope the other bakers are too.

Here is a list of bakers who have participated in the past.

Please let me know if you are in for this month’s Bake/Cook! I can’t wait until Saturday:)❤️❤️

There are Angels Among Us

I have been the recipient of so many kind thoughts and acts of service these past few weeks. My heart is full with gratitude because of the prayers and sweet notes given by my family and friends like you.

This graphic is from My Computer is My Canvas. I love all of her designs!

I was especially surprised to receive a package in the mail from my online friend Tina @ Kristabella’s Hodgepodge. I must admit that tears came to my eyes as I opened the package and read her sweet Get Well note and beautifully crocheted bag.

I filled my new crocheted pouch with handkerchiefs and mints. It is the perfect size for my Sunday bag. I will have SWEET thoughts of her each time a tear comes to my eye at church. ❤️

I am happy to be in a world with so many wonderful people in it. I know that there are bad and crude people too, especially if you listen to the news and media. But my experience is that most people are good and trying the best they can.

Even in New York City, when I broke my wrist, there were such kind people who came running to my help. Some stayed nearby to make sure I was going to be alright. I felt their care and concern.

Yes, there are angels all around us. It makes me want to try harder to serve, and think of others more.

Thank you all so very much! My heart is very full❤️

P.S.– My wrist is getting better everyday. I will have a cast for another 7 weeks, but I have use of my thumb now so I can really sew again! Yea!

And the Winner is….!

The Mystery is over, the projects are revealed. Each quilt was so unique and beautiful to look at! Cindy @ In a Stitch Quilting and I want to thank everyone who participated in our fun and different MYSTERY quilt along.

Edith @ Edis Crafting Life

Desert Suz @ DesertSky Quilting

Roseanne @ Home Sewn By Us

Michelle @ Creative Blonde

Abbie @ Sparkle On

Lori @ quilting needs

Kathy E. @hazels-daughter

Today is the day a winner of a yard of our next MYSTERY focus fabric is chosen. This was done very scientifically by writing everyone’s name on a slip of paper, carefully folding them, and placing them in a bowl.

And the winner is…. drum roll please!

I will be contacting you Abbie for your mailing address soon. Congratulations!!!

Now, for any of you who may be interested in joining us in our next MYSTERY QAL, just leave me or Cindy a comment saying you would like to join along and we will add your link to the list. Here are the details:

The Mystery focus fabric is from Connecting Threads and is called Tea Flowers (Tomato) #91329

And here is a graphic you can use for your posts, but it is completely optional.

Thank you once again for such a fun time! I am looking forward to this summer edition of the MYSTERY QAL. It’s going to be SWEET!

Mystery QAL Finish!

The Mystery is solved and the time to reveal is finally here!

I have used the Mystery Fabric in a few different blocks of several quilts. Here are my finishes–

Purse Strings Quilt– This Quilt is made with 20 fun blocks called Purse Strings.

It was very easy to sew. I cut all of my fabric and marked my corner squares. There were 320 of them!

I laid all of my blocks out and separated them with a piece of paper or a plastic bag, or whatever I had on hand. I just used something to separate the squares for the next block.

I didn’t want to get lost in that stack of fabrics, so I sewed each block individually instead of chain piecing all of them at once. The marking lines and my Seams Sew Easy template by Lori Holt really made it easy to sew those corner to corner seams!

I like how the template extends further than the arm of my machine to allow for larger squares.

I wish I could report that this quilt was all finished. I had planned to finish it when I got home from my trip, but I had wrist surgery instead. Oh well, life happens. It’s all good!

Delilah Blocks

I just love all of the different colors and fabrics in this fun quilt. I was able to use the Mystery Fabric in the May Flowers or “X” blocks and my Circles or “O” blocks. X’s and O’s😊

They are so SNEAKY here! I just love them❤️❤️

Be-Attitudes– And finally, I added the fabric to my Be Warm Block for the Be-Attitudes quilt.

Obviously, I had too much fun finding places to use my MYSTERY fabric! I’m excited to see what the other MYSTERY QAL quilters have made:)

Cindy @ inastitchquilting.com

Tracy @ It’s a T-Sweets Day!

Edith @ ediscraftinglife.blogspot.com

Desert Suz @ DesertSky Quilting

Roseanne @ Home Sewn By Us

Michelle @ Creative Blonde

Abbie @ Sparkle On

Elana @ ThatFabricFeeling

Lori @ quilting needs

Kathy E. @hazels-daughter

_Verlynne_ posting on Instagram

Thank you so much for dropping by today. I hope all of your days are SWEET!

Blog Lovin’

I have been trying to expand my online presence, and am trying to learn Blog Lovin’.  I think this will help any of you who are not WordPress bloggers to keep up to date and in touch.  I always like meeting new friends and sharing ideas with other creative people like yourself:)

So…. if you are interested in following me on a different platform that may be easier for you,  here is a link that will take you there.

<a href=”http://Follow my blog with Bloglovin“><a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18891811/?claim=vsmwu7cd4qj”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Thank you so much for all of your kind comments and just being you!

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Mystery Quilt Along Call to Finish!

This is the final week of our Mystery Quilt Along! It has been so fun watching as the focus fabric has been peeking out here and there in everyone’s projects:).

Cindy @ In a Stitch Quilting chose this FlufferNutter fabric for the featured fabric. It was so easy to match in almost every project!

I hope you all have at least a block to share with us on Saturday, March 31st. Here is a sneak peak at a few of mine–

Everyone who posts a finish, no matter how small, will be entered to win a yard of the focus fabric that Cindy and I will be stitching into Mystery projects over the summer. If any of you are interested in joining along, just let us know. We can start the Mystery again😊❤️

The fabric is from Connecting Threads and is called Tea Flowers (Tomato) #91329

I am excited to see what SWEET MYSTERIES have been unfolding in your sewing room this weekend!

Cindy @ inastitchquilting.com

Tracy @ It’s a T-Sweets Day!

Edith @ ediscraftinglife.blogspot.com

Desert Suz @ DesertSky Quilting

Roseanne @ Home Sewn By Us

Michelle @ Creative Blonde

Abbie @ Sparkle On

Elana @ ThatFabricFeeling

Lori @ quilting needs

Kathy E. @ Hazel’s Daughter

Verlynne_ posting on Instagram