Thursday, February 28, 2013

Crafting, Baking, and Knitting

I would like to tell you about all the wonderful books I'm reading these days....but reading has fallen by the wayside.  As have a lot of things such as card-making and scrapbooking.   

However, I am very diligent in my Project Life every week.  I'm getting better at remembering to take pictures of all kinds of normal day-to-day things.  And I've gotten into the routine of printing off pictures once a week.  

And I can't say enough about just how much I like Project Life.  Mr. Higgins and I have started looking back at last year's see what we were doing in February 2012.  It's amazing seeing things that seem like they just happened yesterday....or forever ago.  And it's fun to see how my crafty style has evolved through the year.  All in all, it's been great and I'm so happy I've kept up with it.

Besides Project Life, I've been doing a lot of cooking and baking.  My recent trial of Cooking Light's Cocoa Fudge Cookies was a success.  These are so fudgy they're almost like brownies!  Just be sure to not overbake them!  They're so good, they're now my favorite cookies. Plus, these are super easy to make!

And, of course, I've been knitting, as you saw in my last post.  I like that I'm now done with my time-sensitive project.  Now, on to other things! 

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lucy's Bonnet

I finally - finally! - finished the hat for Baby Lucy.  I think it's adorable and I'm quite proud of the flower....though it doesn't really flatten out.  You'll remember I knitted some socks to go with this.  Now to get the set to Lucy before she outgrows them!  

Pattern: Bonnet by Erika Knight (in Natural Nursery Knits)
Yarn: Kertzer's Down to Earth Cotton
Needles: US 2
Made for: Lucy
Time to completion: a while

Friday, February 22, 2013

St. Croix

Our spot for the day with Brilliance of the Seas close by.
 The last stop on our cruise was St. Croix.  It was our very first visit to the largest of the United States Virgin islands and we were surprised by it.   We expected it to be more commercialized and industrialized...  But Frekeriksted, where we docked, was a nice, small town.  

Once we got off the ship, we headed only a little ways down the coast to Rainbow Beach, where we spent a lovely day looking at the water, with Brilliance always in our sights.

We had so much fun swimming here!

I loved this beach.  The sand was perfect, there was a bar/restaurant handy with restrooms.  The water....oh, the water was magnificent.  Standing up, with water up to my chin, I could clearly see my toes...and little fish swimming around.  I hadn't seen water this good since St. John!

True, blue Caribbean water!

Sadly, we had to leave beautiful St. Croix.  As the ship pulled away, we admired the water, the lush green hills.....  

We'll have to come back here!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Here's another travel journal for you, this time from Antigua (An-tee-ga).   

We got off the ship and headed to (via taxi) the other side of the island, to the lookout of Shirley Heights.  I couldn't believe the view.  This is English Harbour, where the British navy was headquartered in the eighteenth century.  Horatio Nelson called this home.  

We decided to stay in the area and do a long hike that Mr. Higgins had found online.  It meant getting all the way down from the lookout to the beach.  I was game; too much time on the ship had made me stir-crazy.

This hike was incredible.  The trail was a bit overgrown - and seldom used - which made us feel like true explorers.  We got to see sights like the one above.  And miles and miles of amazingly blue ocean. 

We made the turn toward English Harbour and were confronted with clear, turquoise water.  Wow!  That little speck of white (mid center, slightly left) in the picture above is someone snorkeling. 

We ended our hike at Galleon Beach.  Sitting and watching the boats and yachts was very neat.  

It was a good day.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cat Scare

We recently had a health scare with one of our cats.  It made this post all the more relevant.  

It's so easy to take our pets for granted, to see only what they destroy or mess up instead of all the love and happiness they bring into our lives.  When we were almost certain one of them would die, we forgot all those things.  We forgot that she wakes us up licking at all times of the night.  We forget the furniture she claws at.  Instead, we remember how happy she makes us. 

I vow not to forget how precious our little furry friends are.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

St. Lucia

Brilliance docked at Castries, St. Lucia.
The second stop on our cruise was Castries, St. Lucia.  We booked a tour and the first stop on the tour was a view of the harbor and our ship, Brilliance of the Seas.  Such a pretty ship! 

Beautiful St. Lucia.
A lookout over an idyllic village on St. Lucia.

The Pitons and Soufriere, St. Lucia.
 After a winding hour-long drive, we arrived at the town of Soufriere. It is dominated by the Pitons, two volcanic peaks half a mile tall.  We hopped on a boat in Soufriere and went to the beach between the Pitons: Jalousie (Jealousy) Beach. 

It was a bit surreal to be at the beach, surrounded by such lush vegetation and the Pitons.  We only spent an hour here but it was great.  

On the way back to Castries, we stopped at the world's only drive-in volcano.  Yes, you read that correctly.  We drove into the caldera of an active volcano, got out of the car, breathed in the rotten-egg smell of sulphur, and walked around.  The pools above are just water - heated to a crazy high temperature.  

This was a great day, though a bit tiring.  We were so looking forward to seeing St. Lucia.  The only downside was that we were put in a group which included three of whom kept getting carsick.  Oy.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

St. John, USVI

We've returned from our cruise and it was great.  Truly, one of the best cruises ever.  One thing that made it so special was our first port: St. Thomas.

Boats in the harbor at Charlotte-Amelie, St. Thomas, USVI.

We debated staying on St. Thomas since we were the only ship in port that day.  But....St. John was too close to resist the ferry over.  

An overlook of Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI.
Cruz Bay, above, was just as we remembered - perfectly idyllic.  We hopped in a taxi and headed to our favorite beach on St. John, Cinnamon Bay.

Cinnamon Bay.

Really, this is the best beach I've ever been to.  Crystal clear water, perfect sand...  It's magical.  I loved the time we spent there.

Joe's Rum Hut, at Wharfside Village, Cruz Bay, St. John.

After a few hours, we headed back to Cruz Bay to visit some of our favorite places in town, including our favorite bar.  There, we got a small pizza, which we had twice on our  honeymoon, and bushwackers - basically an alcoholic Frosty.  Sooooo good!  And the view of Cruz Bay isn't bad either.

I'll try not to overwhelm you with posts of the trip.  But I'd like to share with you a few more places in the coming days.  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Skillet Potatoes

My mother never made breakfast potatoes growing up.  I'd never really heard of them until I was an adult.  And I can't say I really ate them as an adult.  Until I came across a recipe in Savory Sweet Life's cookbook, Savory Sweet Life by Alice Currah.  I love anything that I can dip in ketchup and I got to use my brand-new cast-iron skillet.  Awesome!

The recipe is simple: potatoes, olive oil and your choices of spices, a bit of oil for the skillet.  Let the skillet warm with the oil.  Once warm, throw in the potatoes (diced small).  Stir and flip them every minute or so until done - about 12 minutes.  

So good!  Not terribly healthy...but a lot better than french fries or a loaded baked potato.  I like making them once a month or so for a treat.  I made these for dinner and paired them with some beans for protein.  Not exactly fancy, but easy and delicious!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February Page

As promised, here is the February page for the scrapbook frame.  I really like how it turned out.  For Christmas, I got some vintage-y monthly paper (from Graphic 45) and that's where a lot of the little pictures come from. (I'm sorry that it's hard to see a lot of the flash would not cooperate.)

The picture is of me and Mr. Higgins at The Loch, in Rocky Mountain National Park, taken in October (on our hike to Sky Pond).  We stopped for snacks and Mr. Higgins set up the tripod so we could get some good pictures.  I love this one. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Our Loyal Friends

Even though I'm away on vacation, I'm not lacking in topics today....

In the past five months, three dogs of my acquaintance have died.  One I knew very well and I will sincerely miss him and the joy he brought to my best friend's home.  The other two dogs belonged to neighbors.  

Just the other night we got word that our next door neighbor's dog had passed away.  I was sitting, painting my toenails in preparation for the cruise, so Mr. Higgins got the door when they knocked.  I could hear most of what was said. It was a sad story and I know very well how hard it is to lose a pet.

But two things struck me as I sat there and listened...

1.  I realized just how introverted Mr. Higgins and I are.  The last thing we would do if one of the cats died is knock on the neighbors' door to let them know.  True, they haven't really spent time with our cats; we had petted their dog on numerous occasions.  But we're just not the type who would go out of our way to seek consolation from a near-stranger.  If we passed the neighbors in the street, we may tell them then, but we would not dream of knocking on their door to tell them.  

That being said, I know where they're coming from.  Perhaps they just wanted to talk to someone who had known - in passing - their dog.  Perhaps this was a step in their grieving process.  Either way, it struck me as a bit odd.

2.  Even if we passed neighbors on the street and told them of the death of one of our cats, they would hardly care.  Cats, after all, are not out and about in the neighborhood (unless they are outdoor cats - and ours are not).  Cats get such a bad rap for being antisocial.  This may be true, but I am antisocial.  It takes all kinds to make the world go 'round.  

Cats are deeply loyal pets.  Our cat, Sidious, is so loyal to Mr. Higgins that after three years of knowing me, she hardly lets me pet her.  Her affection is for her owner alone.  There's something to be said for that, even when she annoys me!  Cats are such a calming influence, they lower blood pressure.  Please find a dog that calm!


I grew up around dogs.  I love dogs!  We seem so determined to classify everyone as a "dog-person" or "cat-person," it really is ridiculous.  I'd actually say I'm both.  I'm also an introvert who, on very rare occasions, has the need to be slightly extroverted.   

I've lost two cats now - two dear pets - and it's heartbreaking even to this day.  I saw dogs pass away growing up...  Losing a pet in any way is extremely difficult.  Perhaps it's because it's hard to find a person as loyal as a pet....and we should not take any of them for granted.

R.I.P.  Colby, Winter, and Molly. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Travel Prep and Reflection

We're off on cruise #1 for 2013 today.  Unlike the last one - in the midst of the holiday season and with DisneyWorld tacked on at the end - I'm ecstatic to go on this trip. 

Mr. Higgins, my cruise-loving husband, gets to step foot on four new islands - a rarity for him these days!  We're quickly running out of "new" islands!  These islands are new to me, as well, and I can't wait to see them: St. Croix, St. Lucia, Guadeloupe, and Antigua.  Another perk: we dock in St. Thomas so we're going to hop on over to St. John, USVI - our favorite island and the place of our honeymoon.  We'll spend a few hours at a great beach there, and then visit our favorite shops and restaurants. 

I'm so looking forward to letting go and just having fun.  I couldn't quite do that on the last trip.  There were too many obstacles just a few days ahead; my  mind wouldn't stop worrying about the next step.  On this next cruise, there are so many ports, I won't have time to worry about what to do next.  Cruising like this gives new meaning to "go with the flow."  If you stop to think about what's going on, you'll be left behind!

Looking forward to 2013, there probably won't be as many trips as in 2012.  Really, 2012 was a wonderful, crazy, blessed year.  We didn't think we would top 2011 - and all the fun of the wedding - but we did!  It was also a very difficult year professionally, for us both.  I have a new boss and the transition has not be easy for him or for me.  Let's just say I'm eager to leave him - and all things work - behind for a week to sail the Caribbean. 

Seeing as how there will be fewer trips this year, we have to make the most of the ones we have!