Daphne Christmas Parade 2009

Our 4H club had a float in the Daphne Christmas parade this year.  The members worked hard decorating it to no theme in particular; just Christmas.  They wrapped lights around the sides of the trailer which was pulled behind a pickup truck.  There was also garland and red bows.  We plugged the lights into the truck’s cigarette lighter and there was a festive float.  The members huddled in the cold on top of bales of hay.  There were signs on the sides and back telling all of Daphne who we are.

The club, the Creative And Performing Arts Club, had just come off of a production of Robin Hood the week before Thanksgiving so the members dressed up in their costumes donning santa caps as well.

It was a lot of fun, even on probably the coldest night yet. 

They threw out candy, cups and stuffed animals.

One thing the other mom on the truck and I learned about the parade is that a lot of goods go to waste.  The crowd stood beyond barricades yet tons of beads, candy, and moonpies were on the inside of the barricades; in the street.  We watched the truck in front of us and the truck behind us and notice everyone was throwing down.  The stuff they paid for to hand out wasn’t making it to the crowd.  So she and I encouraged our crew to toss as far as possible.  She (other mom) was at the Spanish Fort parade the next day and told me later that she noticed the same thing.

Mardi Gras is coming up soon.  I hope those beads and other treats get tossed far enough to reach their crowds.

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October on Siesta Key 2009

I’ve had a lot of searches on my blog for things to do around Siesta Key this October.  Well, sadly I’m not there this October but I can still report what is going on.  Here’s the list of all the things I’m going to miss.  Hope you can make it to at least some of the events.  And write to me…let me know how fun it was.  I’ll be back….

This first weekend is busy for the YMCA SHARKS swim program.  Several friends of my children are on the SHARKS swim team so I encourage you to support them.  Here’s how:

There is an open water swim at Siesta Beach on October 3.  Go here: http://www.sysharks.org/info/2009tropicalsplashentry2.pdf for information.  

The Siesta Key Triathlon is October 4.  It also benefits the YMCA Sarasota Sharks swim team.    There is no race day registration so go here: http://siestakeytriathlon.org/ and sign up.

Other events on and around Siesta Key include:

The Farmer’s Market is in the Village every Sunday morning.  http://www.siestafarmersmarket.com/

October 4th you can go to St Boniface Episcopal Church with your pet for a Pet Blessing at 4pm.  www.bonifacechurch.org

Every Saturday the Ringling Museum has Family fun events.  www.ringling.org  Check out other events going on there all month long including a ballet night at the Oslo Theatre.

October 3rd head to GWIZ for their Bayfront Astronomy at 6pm www.gwiz.org

October 8 at 8am meet at the gazebo at the Celery Fields for bird watching with the Audubon Society.  I love going to the Celery Fields.  We have seen the coolest birds there.  For info call 335-3119.  They’re hoping you’ll give a donation for sharing their expertise with you.  It’s well worth it.

Calling all Safe Boaters (or those that want to be):  The Sarasota Power Squadron is holding Safe Boating classes this month starting October 5th.  Call for info: 400-6467. 

If you want to escape to another island, the St. Armand’s Art Festival is October 10 and 11.  http://www.starmandscircleassoc.com/events/  We really like the Columbia Restaurant so stop in there for a salad or cuban sandwich.

I have to promote something that benefits the 4H and the Extension office.  My kids are 4Hers.  So please go to the Sarasota County Master Gardeners Annual Plant Sale on October 10.  It’s from 8am to 2pm at Bee Ridge Park.  Call for more info: 364-5838.  Refreshments are being sold by 4Hers, so buy a plant and a refreshment.  Thanks!

This same weekend (Saturday only) at GWIZ (my kid’s favorite museum) the Sarasota Magic Club is hosting a magic class for children in grades 4-8.  Check out www.gwiz.org for details.

October 17th: Coastal Cleanup is over but what about the rivers?  Myakka River cleanup is scheduled for 8am to noon.  Bring your kayak or canoe.  For info call or email Mary Jelks: mljelks@gmail.com or 366-0446

Sarasota Blues Fest is October 24. http://www.sarasotabluesfest.com/

Sarasota Arts and Crafts Fest is October 17 and 18 on Main Street.  Info: http://www.artfestival.com/events/visitorsShow/56/2

Also, at St. Armand’s Circle, is the Smooth Jazz free concerts.  They start October 30 and are held every last friday of the month through May.  Bring a lawn chair.  It’s a fun and relaxing way to spend your evening.http://www.starmandscircleassoc.com/events/

Phillippi Estates is hosting a Pumpkin Festival October 30 and 31.  The event benefits the All Children’s Hospital.http://sarasotapumpkinfestival.com/Sponsorships.aspx

Safe Treats, the annual Trick or Treat event on Siesta Key at the Village is on October 31 from 3pm-6pm.  It’s a fun, safe kid’s event.  Sorry we’ll miss it this year.

Other Halloween events:  October 24 at GWIZ www.gwiz.org; October 27 at Selby Gardens Little Sprouts Halloween Parade www.selby.org; I’m sure there are so many more that won’t be advertised until closer to the date. 

No interest in the above?  Kayak the Grand Canal, bike from the north end to Turtle Beach and back, explore the shops at the Village, hunt for iguana (the Siesta Key Association will be happy if you find one), bird watch, go fishing, search the sandbar near the public beach for sand dollars before the water gets too cold; comb the beach; grab a chair and sit along the water; call a friend up north from the beach and let them hear the beach sound (they may hop on the next plane for Sarastoa or quit being your friend); rent a boat; parasail; play bocce ball on the beach; eat ice cream at Big Olaf’s; watch the sunset; walk briskly from parking lot beach access 5 to Point of Rocks and back; look for bioluminescent critters after dusk near the shore (stay out of the water after dark…its dangerous); stand on a street corner and call out to everyone that I said hi (you might get some funny looks); shop at Bliss in the Village for Sunshine Everyday tshirts; cookout at one of  the public beach pavillion grills; toss the football around on the beach; play paddle ball; build a sand castle/sand sculpture; float in the water on a noodle; pick up trash from the beach; fly a kite. If it’s raining check out my blog about what to do on Siesta Key in the rain.  Just enjoy your day at the most beautiful beach I know of.

Sarasota County Fair

My boys are 4H exhibitors at the County Fair. It was a lot of fun for them to put their projects together and even more fun, it seems, to see their projects on display. They made pillows, clay items, photography, collections of Pokemon cards and Lego, wood burning and shell art. And a  bonus is that they won ribbons and money for their efforts.  All of their projects are on display with other really talented 4Hers in the 4H Mini Building. Please stop by and see what all the members have done.
While you’re there, you can by a raffle ticket for a whole swine at just $2 per ticket. The drawing is this weekend.  You can also purchase a clover for $1 that will have your name on it and displayed on the Mini Building door. Proceeds go to the 4H Foundation which provides funding for each of the club’s activities.  Many 4H members also have animals and plants on display and for sale.
And, when you get hungry, stop by the 4H trailer for an elephant ear or funnel cake and a refreshing drink. The proceeds also go to the clubs. The trailer is located near the Potter Building.
The fair starts at 2pm each day and runs through this Sunday, March 23.  It is at Robard’s Arena on Fruitville Road.  Enjoy yourself at the fair.

Salt Water Fish Tank part 1

The boys had a microscope workshop today with their 4H group.  Keith Wilson, from the Extension office, taught the class.  Before looking at the samples he had brought with him (crabs, fish, plankton, seaweed), he gave instruction on how to put together a salt water fish tank.  My youngest son helped him with this.  First, he set the base and tube into the tank then covered the base with gravel.  We learned that you can use crushed shells straight off the beach instead.  tank1Add ocean water and wait 3 weeks for bacteria to grow on the rocks or shells before stocking the tank with creatures. If you don’t let bacteria grow before stocking the tank and the creatures will expell waste and the water will turn yellow with ammonia and harmful bacteria.  The good bacteria will keep the water balanced for the creatures to live in.  Once the gravel was in place, he put in the air filter and turn it on then added critters. His rocks, bacteria, critters and water had previously been in a tank and had separated them for the class demonstration.   

Keith also instructed us on salinity levels.  When the tank looks like it’s lost water to evaporation, you’re supposed to add distilled water.  What evaporates is the fresh water, not the salt, so if you add more salt water to the tank, the salinity is raised and most creatures will die.  Distilled water will replenish the evaporated water without changing the ph or salinity.  tank2

Keith gave us a 20 gallon tank to use.  We’ll set it up in the house and by the second week of December we’ll invite the 4H club over to net some creatures from the surf.  Hopefully club members will be able to come over often and participate in making it a really cool aquarium.  Keith suggested swapping out critters often.  That’s fine with me.  Someone suggested putting a shark in the tank, which would be cool, but I don’t know if I could handle living with a shark for long.  Plus, it would outgrow the tank.  A baby shark for a week or two…that’s ok. 

Tune in for more info in December.

Busy Fall Weekend On and Around Siesta Key Oct 31-Nov 2, 2008

I like fall festivals.  So I thought I’d write about what’s happening around town this weekend: Halloween weekend.  There seem to haunted houses set up everywhere you look and I’ve mentioned them in past posts so lets move on to the more family friendly events:

Remember…Siesta Key has their annual Trick or Treat event in the Village on Friday.  It starts at 3pm and ends at 6pm.  Apparently all the merchants with balloons by their doors are handing out candy to young ones.  Our neighbors are taking their boys to the Siesta Cove neighborhood across Midnight Pass from the Catholic Church.  I was told the neighborhood has their own celebration and in previous years the streets have been packed with trick or treaters of all ages. 

Get up early and drive around for yard/garage/estate sales.  They seem to be the thing this time of year.  I never get there early enough so I miss out on the “good stuff”.   I did pass by one in the spring that was just getting underway on a Friday and got a double-tiered end table for $2.  One leg was wobbly so I folded up a match book cover (with out the dangerous stuff attached) and slid it into the gap.  It doesn’t wobble any more.  I’m proud of that find.

Jungle Gardens has a “Creatures of the Night” party on Friday from 6-9pm.  Check out their website: www.sarasotajunglegardens.com

The Sarasota Blues Festival is Saturday Nov 1 at Ed Smith Stadium starting at 11am.  www.sarasotabluesfest.com

On Saturday, Nov 1, Sunnyside Village, located at 5201 Bahia Vista St., will hold its Holiday Bazaar from 10am-3pm.  My boys’ 4H club will be holding their bake sale at the Bazaar.  Hope ya’ll make an effort to come out and support us.  We’re new to this club (since we’ve only lived here a year), but I understand the pumpkin bread goes really fast.  Our young bakers are making extra this year hoping it will still be available to afternoon shoppers.  We’ve baked Tollhouse cookies.  Yum!  We have the afternoon shift so if you come out ask for me.  I’d love to meet my readers.  The phone number for directions is 941-371-2750.

Farmers’ Markets: Sarasota on Saturday, Siesta Key on Sunday.

Artists’ Market: Starting Nov and running every Saturday through May, this market will be held at the corner of PIneapple Ave and Laurel Street in downtown Sarasota from 10am-4:30pm.

If you’re a Florida resident and have proof (like a driver’s license) you can get into Historic Spanish Point FREE this weekend.  Call 966-5214 for more info.

Feel like driving to Venice?  Then try the Art Fest, both Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm.  Admission is FREE and it’s located in the historic part of town.

And, there’s always the beach.  We have some friends coming to town for the weekend to celebrate their son’s birthday so we’ll be on the beach Sunday.  Happy Birthday, Tomas!

Have fun and thanks for reading my blog.

Jellyfish

I’ve been wanting to write about jellyfish so here goes:  I’ve stated before that there are tons of moon jellies washing ashore since the last hurricane.  They’re pretty big, too. 

I took the boys on a 4H field trip last Friday to South Lido Beach near the park.  The instructor was Keith Wilson from the Extension office.  The children (there were 8 of them in this group) were throwing nets in the grasses along the shore.  They were scooping up fish, grasses and moon jellies.  Keith told the kids that moon jellies were ok to touch and showed them how to pick them up.  Of course the boys that did pick them up got slimed but that was fun for them.  Moon jellies are saucer-shaped and clear.  They have a 4-lobed “flower”-like shape in the center.  It can be pink or yellow.  They have short tentacles that look frilly.  We learned that some people can have a reaction to the slime of a moon jelly, some don’t.  Only one of the children had a reaction to the slime.  You can touch the top but if you’re not sure about having a reaction I wouldn’t recommend touching the tentacles.  The jelly I’ve seen that I wouldn’t recommend touching at all is the Sea Nettle.  This one has red radiating stripes.  Jellies prey on zooplankton so there must be a ton of zooplankton by our coast right now for them to come in swarms.

Some jellies are bioluminescent so if you are at the beach at night, maybe star-gazing, check the surf for a pulsing light from the jellies.

Last Thanksgiving, we spent the holiday with my in-laws on the east coast of FL.  They live on Singer Island.  The afternoon we arrived we all took a walk along their beach and saw these purple balloon-like things all around us.  At first we had just thought maybe someone had a party and didn’t clean up after themselves but then realized they were Portuguese Man-o-War.  It was really cool to see them (I had never before seen one in person) but at the same time, since there were so many, it was creepy.  Their tentacles are so long and even though they are beached, they can still sting so we had to be careful walking so not to step on one.  We headed to the public beach just south of their condo for some shelling.  Amazingly there were a lot of people swimming where these Man-o-War jellies were.  Children included.  I guess people either don’t care or they’re just oblivious to the dangers.  According to Florida’s Living Beaches by the Witheringtons, Man-o-War live in the wide-open sea and beach themselves in the winter at the end of their journey.  Beachings are most common December through May (we saw them the end of November).  I shouldn’t call them jellies, although they do look like jellies.  They’re actually colonies of individual polyps, each doing something to help the colony like collecting food, reproducing etc.  They from the class Hydrozoa, phylum Cnidaria.

The tentacles of the Man-o-War can be 6 feet long when beached and up to 150 ft fully extended at sea.  If you get stung, the tentacles stick to you, so don’t rub, just pick/peel it off.  Then treat with meat tenderizer or urine. 

We’re heading, once again, to Singer Island for Thanksgiving so I’ll post an update if we see them again.  Maybe we’ll see another sea critter this time.

Things to do on and around Siesta Key

Ever notice how once September arrives there is something to do every weekend? Summers in FL, I’ve noticed, are dull if you’re looking for festivals, parties, or special events. Then the weather starts getting perfect and the northern visitors start arriving and then the calendar gets double-full. I’ve noticed this with our school calendar. Of course, lots of things don’t happen during the summer…4-H, boy scouts, Audubon events (of course I still watch for birds). So now that September is here, and today the first day of fall, I thought I’d post some events for the next month. I’ll include the last weekend of September in the mix.
Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market
Downtown Association
every Saturday – rain or shine
7:00 Am – Noon
Lemon Avenue and Main Street
Sarasota
941-951-2656
Buy Fresh – Buy Local – a Sarasota tradition for over 28 years OLD RECORD NIGHT
Canvas Cafe Gallery
every Wednesday night
8 p.m-1 a.m.
1912 Adams Lane
Sarasota
941.957.0609
enjoy old records and new friends at the Canvas Cafe Gallery
Tai Chi on Siesta Beach
through – Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008
Every Monday
15 min. before sunset
Siesta Beach in Siesta Village
Siesta Key
A free half-hour practice of T’ai Chi Chih, easy-to-do movement exercise. No experience needed.

Second Saturday Family Program
Mote Marine Laboratory
Saturday, Jul. 12, 2008 – Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008
Second Saturday of each month year round
Mote’s Marine Education Resource Center, 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy
Sarasota
941-388-4441, ext. 369
Mote’s Second Saturday Family Programs are intimate, hands-on experiences designed for children ages 6-12 and their favorite adult

20th Annual “St. Armands Art Festival”
St. Armands Association
Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008 – Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008
10 – 5 pm, Sunday Sidewalk Sale noon – 5 pm
St. Armands Circle, St. Armands Circle
Sarasota
941-388-1554
Art Festival with Live Entertainment plus Sidewalk Sale

Mote Island Quest: Talking Trash
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008 – Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008
Three consecutive Saturdays
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy.
Sarasota
941-388-4441, ext. 229
Mote’s newest hands-on offering for kids ages 8-11

“Mingling not Mixing” with Anne Abgott
Art Center Sarasota
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Art Center Sarasota, 707 North Tamiami Trail
941-365-2032
Learn from one of the leading watercolor artists in our area. She was the president of the watercolor society in 2006.

Cocktails at the Cà d’Zan October 16th. There is a $5 cover charge, cash bar, and food vendors. Free parking at Florida State University Center for Performing Arts. No advance reservations required. Limited seating available. For more info:  

14th Annual Sarasota Craft Festival October 18th and 19th. This Annual Craft Festival takes place at Orange and Main Street in Downtown Sarasota.

Pineapple Scare Haunted House
October 25th from 7pm – 11pm. Take the family to the Pineapple Scare Haunted House hosted by the Sarasota Firefighters Benevolent Fund on the corner of State and Pineapple Streets.
 

 

Trick or Treat in Siesta Village
October 31st from 3pm to 6pm
I’m sure there’s a lot more to do. But this is what I found. In addition to 4H, homeschool outings and the usual trip to the beach every Saturday and Sunday I know this family will be busy. How about you?