I will need a parka

It's finally time for us to tell you where we are headed this fall. Remember how I told you that Gabe had several offers from all the auditions in NY? I posted a few weeks ago about our summer plans in Logan, UT with Utah Opera Festival. Then, this fall we are headed somewhere very cold. A frozen tundra to be exact.

Here is a hint...

Imagine me staring at you right now with a blank stare...eyes blinking every 2-3 seconds. No words.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

But, even though us Florida kids will be in below freezing weather a portion of the time we are there, this is a HUGE deal for Gabe. Minnesota Opera is a GREAT company to work for and we feel awesome about this offer. We will be there for about nine months, Fall 2011-Spring 2012. We have heard great things about the twin cities and we are excited to experience another place. Plus there are tons of hospitals, too.
 Lots of possiblilties for both of us.

So, while we are here in P-Cola, we're soaking up as much sun as possible.

Love to you all.


scenes from the beach





Highway 98 is our new best friend. Pictured above are brothers 2 and 3 :)
Hope you all are having a good weekdend. We're still recovering from head colds. No fun.


lovey dovey


Valentine's messages with M&M candy inside. Printed them off from Dana's site, MADE.
They were so easy and fun!

Picnic by the bay. Gabe was a little under the weather. Poor guy. He was a trooper and still wanted to do fun things for the special day. Soup helped.


That evening we went to a Gulf favorite, The Crab Trap. Yummy hush puppies. Then, we went to a chocolate tasting at an art gallery in town. It was very sophisticated. Maybe too much for our hush puppy palettes, but quite an experience nonetheless. Gabe's favorite ended up being the hershey bar and my favorite was the most expensive one from Italy. Go figure.

 Isn't he such a stud, even when sick? Seriously lucky girl here.
Hope everyone had a great lovers day!

geez, you guys eat a lot of chicken



I know you might think this after I present you with another chicken recipe. Remember how I started this a couple weeks ago??? It was my new goal to try a new recipe every other week...the turtle wins the race people. So, last week it was Chicken Tortilla Soup, by The Pioneer Woman.

This week...duh-dun-duh....

Chicken Almond Rice Casserole

Here is the link to the recipe

Very tasty!! The almonds and celery added a nice crunch that was unexpected. I highly recommend. It was also nice to try a casserole while it's still chilly outside.

I know, you're thinking, Christina, hello, where are the pictures??? Any blogger knows that you must accompany a recipe with a picture. Well, thanks for noticing, I deleted them all. Plain and simple. So, no pictures of the last recipe, none for this one. I'm on a roll.

I should probably also tell you now that you may not see a lot of red meat dishes posted here. I'm not a fan of most meats for that matter, but chicken is easy and we both enjoy it. So, I will try not to bore you with chicken all the time. Promise.

Have any good recipes you've tried lately?



(Seaside, FL)

Many years ago Gabe, who was my teenage boyfriend at the time, and I were taking a drive in Apopka, his hometown. We were headed to a family get together of some sort. I remember driving through the hilly landscape staring at the sky. It was close to dusk and the sky was magical. Shades of pink, purple, grey, white, orange and so forth. While I stared at the sky, my boyfriend, the driver, also stared at the sky and exclaimed
"The sky is so gorgeous."
So, then I stared at my boyfriend, because in that instant he became much more beautiful than the sky. I thought about how special he was and how I felt lucky to be with someone who found beauty in the world at such a young age.

I can remember many moments just like that...moments when I fell in love.





Nothing says lazy afternoon like cookie makin'. Gabe got these fun Star Wars cookie cutters for Christmas and he couldn't wait to try them out. We made them a couple weeks ago and he was totally smitten.




He made Jabba the Hut with some left over dough. Pretty cute, huh? They were pretty tasty!


Dear P-Cola, lets get something straight. Lazy afternoons spent baking are great, but we want to be enjoying the white sand and blue waters soon. Please be kind. Thanks.



Singing it up in the Big Apple!

In November and December Gabe travelled to NYC twice. The first time he was there for less that 24 hours, the second trip he was there just over a week. He sang like singing is his job. Oh wait...

So, one of the auditions that he set up was with Utah Festival Opera. It's a summer festival that takes place in Logan, Utah and it was founded by this guy...

Do you recognize him yet?

His name is Michael Ballam, pretty widely known within the LDS church. He is an opera singer, professor, and founder of UFO.

See, this whole thing was very interesting. Do you ever have moments or things that happen when you know God had a direct hand in them? I mean I believe He really does have His hand in everything, but sometimes we don't realize it right away. 

Mr. Ballam, while in NYC, stayed with Gabe's sister-in-law, Alex's Uncle.
(Breakdown: Gabe's brother Garrett married Alex. Her Parent's are Joel and Genean. Joel's Brother lives in NYC and kindly hosted Mr. Ballam)

This worked in Gabe's favor, because there had been talk that Gabe would be singing for him.

When Gabe showed up at the audition he found out after the fact that he was an ENTIRE DAY LATE.
Someone needs to keep a more organized calendar. It's really quite shocking because he is so careful about these things. So, everyone thought that Gabe had changed his mind about coming for the audition and they were surprised to see him, but graciously heard him anyway. He sang in the building where the Manhattan Temple is located. Wanna know what else...he loved his voice. He was soooo complementary to Gabe and offered him a position this summer at UFO (You can see more details about dates and roles if you click on upcoming performances on the sidebar).

The next day, Gabe went to Sacrament Meeting with him and sat beside him at church. Then Gabe left, as he had other plans. Mr. Ballam stayed for an additional sacrament meeting to see friends and ended up singing a special musical number with Donny and Marie Osmond. Gabe missed it. Such is life. That's okay. They had brunch later and he told him all about it.

Let's hope this is the beginning of something great!

Moral of the story:
-We'll be in Logan, Utah this summer (anyone close?)
-Never show up to an audition late, but it helps if they are forgiving.
-Sacrament Meetings in NYC are exciting.

groundhog day

...is also my sister's birthday! I celebrate the day of your birth, sister. Wish I was there to celebrate with you.




On my Mom's birthday, she and Linda flew here to spend some time with us and see Gabe's performance of Little Women. We were excited they were coming. We picked them up in Panama City. About five miles away from the airport guess what happened...

Not just a flat tire, but...


Have you ever been on top of a very long bridge only to realize that you hear a pop and your car starts swaying side to side? No? Oh, well good.

Moving on with our day, we picked them up and drove to Destin to see my Uncle Rick and Sherry for lunch. It was beautiful right on the water and we feel so blessed to be so close.

That night we went to a restaurant called Jaco's on the Bay for my Mom's birthday. It was delish!


Then she opened some presents..

We gave her a frame with a picture from Christmas, and I added some rosettes. Ribbon necklace with beads and another rosette. I used a technique where you burn the edges of a silky fabric. They turned out really pretty.

The next day we visited the beach and Fort Pickens, an old fort that still stands right at the tip of Pensacola Beach. It was sooo windy, but I felt like I could have taken pictures there all day!



How could he resist?

Thanks Mom and Linda for a great visit! Happy Birthday Mom!!