Bird watching in Tampa

I went bird watching yesterday in Tampa.  There were all types of seagulls, herons, egrets, pelicans, turkey buzzards, parakeets, doves, sanderlings, plovers.  Then I saw eagles and the Hokie bird.

GO HOKIES! 

Yup, we went to the ACC Championship game to cheer on Virginia Tech.  I’m a Hokie by marriage…my husband, a brother of his, his dad, uncles, cousins etc all went there.  Maybe our boys will want to go there too.  They should; they’re big fans and were reciting the Hokie cheer shortly after learning to say mama and daddy.

We met up with some friends for tailgating before and after the game.  It was a lot of fun.

Christmas events at Grace Baptist, Sarasota

Updated for 2009: Its seems a lot of my friends from my homeschool support group either attend Grace Baptist and/or have their children in one of the many holiday events at the church. The lights alone should be a great treat to see. My understanding is that these lights (synchronized to music) were once annually displayed at the home of one of the church members. He is elderly and can no longer put up the display so he donated it to the church. They’ve had crews working to put it together for a few weeks and I was told it should be incredible. One friend passed this list of event to me so I’m passing it to you. Hope you can attend some of these:

Christmas At Grace: 8000 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota.  

www.gracebaptistchurch.com

December on Siesta Key

What a packed schedule of events this month!

Not only do we have the usual stuff going on (tree lightings, museum events, symphony shows, church choir performances) but we also have family from both sides coming to FL this year to visit. 

Here’s a list of things you can do while you’re here in Sarasota this December:

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium: SANTA JAWS, December 6 from 12pm-2pm www.mote.org for info.

GWIZ: Toy Drive for Mothers Helping Mothers: Starting December 2 10am-5pm everyday until December 15th.  Bring your unwrapped gift to the front admissions desk.   Mothers Helping Mothers helps those who have fallen through the cracks by providing necessities like cribs, baby supplies, clothes and some financial assistance. They are an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to helping Sarasota’s families in need.

Also at GWIZ (my favorite kind of holiday fun): 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Building Competition December 20, 12pm-3pm.   Join G.WIZ for a tasty way to show off your engineering and architectural skills by creating a spectacular gingerbread house from graham crackers! Feel free to bring in your own creative and edible materials! $6 per family team.  www.gwiz.org for info.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens: Selby Lights in Bloom (we went last year and it was awesome).  December 11-14, December 18-21, and December 26-28 from 6pm-9pm.  Their Family Night activities are scheduled for December 13 & 20 featuring Santa, cookie decorating, face painting and other kid’s activities.  www.selby.org for info.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens:    Celebrate the 5th Annual Holiday Lights and Jungle Nights at Sarasota Jungle Gardens! Ten acres of lights will sparkle and dance and bring cheer to all who visit.  The 65 lighted displays range from season traditional to exotic animals like macaws and lemurs.Don’t miss the 21 foot three-dimensional holiday tree with over 4,000 lights and a 17 foot elephant in the Open Gardens!

Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be available for purchase to the adults by Bella Cucina. Holiday music will be provided by “Just Judy” for children’s entertainment. A snowball toss, marshmallow roast, and visits from Santa add to the festivities.  Check their website for dates and times: www.sarasotajunglegardens.com

Ringling Museum: December 4 6pm-9pm  Holiday Splendor to benefit the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve “Toys for Tots” program covering Manatee and Sarasota counties.  For more info go to their website:   http://www.ringling.org/special_event3.asp?id=2084   Also Breakfast with Santa, December 13 at 9am.  Reservations are requred – please call 941/358-3180 for yours.

The Nutcracker Ballet:  Florida Ballet Arts Academy Ensemble presents The Nutcracker at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple St.;  Sat., Dec. 6, 2008 at 7:30 pm and Sun., Dec. 7, 2008 at 2:00 pm
For tickets call (941) 955-3422.

Phillippi Arts & Crafts Festival: December 6 & 7 from 10am-4pm

Sandy Claws Beach Run on Siesta Key: December 13 at 7am.  From the website: The 32nd Annual Sandy Claws Beach Run will take place on 12/13. Registration begins at 7am. One mile fun run is at 8am. 5K is at 8:20 am. Pre-registration deadline is December 5. Pre-registration fee is $18 per adult and $15 per child. Race Day registration fee is $25. 5K age groups: 9 & under, 10-12, 13-15, 16-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-89, 90-94, 95-99, 100 & over, Masters & Grandmasters Awards to overall male & female. Awards to age group winners 1st-3rd place. Ribbons to age group winners 4th-6th place. Register by calling Twin Lakes Park at 941-861-7275 or online at www.parksonline.scgov.net.

Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights: December 13.  Starts at the southern end of Longboat Key and ends at Marina Jack.  If you can’t make it, catch it live on Channel 6, SNN.

Sarasota Holiday Parade: December 6 at 7pm along Main Street in Downtown Sarasota.

Holiday Night on St Armand’s Circle is December 5 at 6pm with a tree lighting.

The Florida West Coast Symphony has a list of various performances this month.  A family concert “Home for the Holidays” on December 6 at Van Wezel PAH; “Mozart and Mahler” on December 12, 13 & 14, at Van Wezel PAH; and a celebration of holiday cheer on December 17, 18, 19 & 20, Holley Hall.  For more info: www.sarasotaorchestra.org.

And our favorite: driving through Siesta Key and neighboring areas to look at the lights at night.  If you’re coming to Siesta Key, drive over the north bridge (Siesta Drive).  There should be a great display of lights to your left.  Stop off in the parking lot just over the bridge and take a look.  You’ll want to drive through the Village and then down Beach Rd south to Midnight Pass and Turtle Beach.  The resorts have done a nice job showing off their lights. 

Other activities can be found at the Sarasota County Government website calendar of events: www.scgov.net

There are so many  other things going this month.  Hope you find something to enjoy.  Have a Merry Christmas.

The Hokie Shell

My husband, Gary, graduated from Virginia Tech.  I guess that makes me a Hokie by marriage. 

Well, we’re excited about the football win over the weekend and Gary was able to score some tickets for the Championship game this coming weekend in Tampa.  GO HOKIES!

I love their official team colors: PMS 208 (Chicago maroon) and PMS 158 (burnt orange).  Who came up with Chicago maroon?

The calico scallop, which is fairly common in this area, can be found in these colors against a white background.  The first thing I noticed when beachcombing here was that the beach (in some places) is covered with “Hokie shells.”  I have a nice collection in just this color scheme.

I decided to make a necklace out of the shell and its perfect.  I’ve attached a gold chain which highlights the burnt orange.   Each shell, of course is different; some are more Chicago maroon and some are more burnt orange.neck

If you’d like one, you can leave a comment and I’ll send you purchase info.  I’ll be wearing mine to the game.

Siesta Key Christmas Tree Lighting 2008

Oh, we had a wonderful time.  After walking to the village with our neighbors, Catherine and Bob, we hung out near the tree in front of Cafe Gabiano’s.  While we waited, Santa was escorted through the Village to the center where the Sheriff’s office is located.  Siren’s blared, lights flashed from the fire truck and ambulance that led the parade.  Following came a golf cart with Santa in the front seat.  The whole parking lot was set up for families to wait in line to visit with the old elf.  Face painting, a balloon-sculpting clown and a barbershop quartet rounded off the festivities on that side of the street.  us1

Back to the tree, Dick Vitale was talking to the crowd about cancer research and the V Foundation’s work to raise money for a cure.  He then sat down to autograph his new book for donations.  The book, “Dick Vitale’s Fabulous 50 Players & Moments in College Basketball”, was going like hotcakes.  When the signing was done the crowd counted down in unison from 10 to 1 and Mr. Vitale flipped the switch that lighted the gorgeous tree.  What a site!  Then, suddenly, snow started to fall on the crowd surrounding the tree.  Ok, it wasn’t real snow.  I don’t think Siesta Key has ever seen snow, but it was fun.lot1

There were some other things going on in the Village but we didn’t take part.  After the tree lighting and some pictures we scooted home.  The kids hadn’t eaten dinner and were starting to notice.  We did make a stop before leaving at the barber shop to hear a tune.  Those singers were great. barber