Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pretty Changes

So, I've been contemplating changing up my blog design for some time now. However, switching to a one-income family and being on a tight budget made buying a pre-made or even custom design a little out of reach. I don't know why I never bothered to search around for free backgrounds and templates... uh duh!! 

In my searches I came across Blogaholic Designs who provides free templates and backgrounds for Blogger. I fell in love with the Megan design...

Blogaholic even provides really easy to follow instructions on how to install the backgrounds. Hey, if I can do it, you can do it!

After changing up the background, I realized that I needed to update my social media buttons to reflect the new colors of the blog. Searching around on Pinterest, I found these pretty floral buttons from My Favourite Things.

Aren't they cute?? Even though I don't have a lot of social media outlets attached to this blog (I try to keep a lot of my personal stuff private in case students somehow come across this little blog of mine), I'd love to interact with you through Instagram and Pinterest.

I hope you guys like the new changes as much as I do!

Sunsets and Tornado Warnings

This past week I attended a Common Core workshop in St. Petersburg with a few of my colleagues. We stayed two nights in a really nice hotel right on the beach. Even though I was sitting in a high school classroom each day, Dan got to enjoy the beach while I was working. Each night we got to enjoy a gorgeous sunset over the water.

And, each night, when we turned around and looked at the hotel, we saw menacing clouds....

Rather than being able to walk along the beach and enjoying the evening, we were cooped up in our hotel room while the tornado warnings were being issued.

One night it was reported that a water spout had formed and made landfall a little south of where we were. Luckily, no one was hurt and very little damage was done.

It always amazes me how quickly the weather in Florida can change during the summer months.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Weekend Adventures: Tybee Island

I mentioned in our Savannah post that we took a day from our mini vacation to head out to Tybee Island, so I'm back with details from that little adventure.

First of all, let me say that Tybee was a much better experience for us compared to Savannah. We felt more relaxed and like we were truly on a vacation the minute we drove onto the island. Small cottages, easy parking (though you do have to pay for parking), and very pedestrian and bike friendly. If you follow on Instagram, you would have seen teaser photos from our trip:

The first thing we did was head over to the Tybee Lighthouse. There is an entrance fee to get onto the lighthouse grounds, but once you have the armband, you're allowed to go into pretty much every building on the grounds, as well as hike up the 178 stairs to the top of the lighthouse. Plus, the armband gets you into the Fort Screven Museum across the road.

Inside the head lightkeeper's house...

Going up....

Views from the top...

Looking down...

Below was our best attempt to snap a shot of the Cockspur Lighthouse, which is only reachable by boat or kayak. If you look really close, in the middle of the photo, just above the trees, you'll see a small, white figure. We managed to get a better shot later, but this was the best we could do with our cell phones from the top of the Tybee Lighthouse.

This puny little light is was keeps the whole lighthouse lit:

After climbing to the top and buying a few souvenirs, we headed across the street to the museum.

Once we were done at the lighthouse, we decided it was time to grab some lunch. We ended up at Lighthouse Pizza. It was ah-maz-ing! Seriously hit the spot (unlike the pizza we had had the day before)!

Once our bellies were full, we headed out to the beach. It wasn't too crowded - one of the perks of going on a Monday - but the waves were pretty strong. We of course brought our beach umbrellas for a little shade, sun screen, a tiny cooler with water bottles, and some towels. All in all, we probably spent about 2 hours or so by the water. Besides the waves being strong, the wind was pretty strong too. Everything was covered in sand before we left.

As we were leaving we heard a couple of kids say that Honey Boo Boo was on the beach. I figured they had mistaken some other kid as Honey Boo Boo, but after we heard another group of kids say the same thing, we thought there might be some truth to it. When we got back to Orlando, I did some googling and found out that the kids had been telling the truth. Although we don't watch the show (I'd like to keep a few of my brain cells please...), it's still an interesting tale to tell.

Once we had had our fair share of the waves and the sand, we headed back to the pier and changed out of our swimsuits. Then we headed back to Tybrisa Street (where we had eaten earlier) and shared a daquiri (Chocolate Thunder) from Wet Willie's and an ice cream cup (chocolate chip cookie dough) from Seaside Sweets.

Then, to buy us some time until dinner, we headed over to the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. It was pretty small, but they had a lot of cool water creatures as well as a small gift shop.

They had a "touch tank" where you could pick up some of the water creatures. And, no, the gator was not included in that tank...

One of the coolest parts of the center was all the sand. They had collected sand from different beaches around the world to show how erosion will cause different textures. I was thinking it might make a cool piece of sentimental art work in someone's office - collect sand from each beach trip and display them in large test tubes.

After the marine center, we decided to head find something to eat for dinner. Even though we weren't really hungry, we knew we wanted to eat in Tybee rather than having to find somewhere else in Savannah to eat. We ended up at Spanky's Beachside. They claim to be the "Home of the Original Chicken Finger," so you know I had to try it out. And they did not disappoint!

We ordered the mozzarella sticks (YUM!) and split a basket of chicken fingers. The only complaint we had was that the fries were a little undercooked for our liking. But overall, both the food and the service were great. Definitely a place we'd visit again.

After dinner we raced back to the hotel trying to beat a storm. We were hoping to jump in the pool to get all the salt off of us (one downside to the island: no public showers taller than your knees to rinse off). But the lightning was threatening our plans...

Luckily we made it back with minutes to spare and were able to quickly jump in the pool before the storm hit. After drying off, we headed back up to our room and packed up most of our things. Then we climbed in bed and tried to watch t.v. while the storm blew outside our window.

The next morning we grabbed a quick breakfast downstairs, finished packing our bags, and checked out of the hotel. Before hitting the interstate, we stopped by two of the local state colleges (here and here) to pick up pennants from their bookstores. I'm hoping to start a pennant wall in my classroom (to cover up my ugly a/c unit) to let students know that there are other colleges besides the big-named Florida universities out there.

The other souvenirs that we picked up on our trip were a Christmas ornament (which was pictured here) and a matted photo of the lighthouse.

All in all, we enjoyed our mini vacation. It was nice to get away, just the two of us. Even though Savannah wasn't what we were expecting it to be, we're still happy that we were able to explore a new city. Next time we go, we think we'll just stay in Tybee and travel into Savannah if the mood hits us.


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