Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Tracker

For those of you interested in seeing exactly where the outbreaks in the US are, here is a Google Map Tracker, which also states some details about each patient.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day off

Since I am way ahead with the work project, and today is a short day anyway when I have to pick Sarah up in school by 1:15, and my mother in law is stopping by at 1:40 and then we are going to the farm to pick up this week's veggies, I decided to take the day off.

So I have been cleaning and doing laundry all day, nice to have that all taken care off!

Feeling a bit sick, little congested, dizzy and a fever of 38 C, but as long as it is not the swine flu I should be OK, ha ha!!!

Speaking of the swine flu, the US had its first death related to the flu yesterday, a 2 year old boy. I have a feeling it will be more. One thing that I see as kind of frustrating is the time it takes to send away samples and confirm each case. It can take days! I am nervously awaiting the test results from a Mexican tourist that got ill on vacation in Orlando.

With my luck, he probably is positive for swine flu, and he probably went to Disney World and got lots of people there infected...

Our plans to take Sarah to Disney World on her birthday the 8th still stands, we will just bring extra hand sanitizing gel and wipes. I also talked to Sarah about germs, washing her hands and be careful touching her face. She is already very good at washing her hands, so I think she will do good.

She is pretty fascinated by this whole swine flu ordeal, asking lots of questions. Better to tell her facts than have her not knowing what this entire thing is about, since she snaps it up here and there anyway.

The schools seem to be prepping for a possible outbreak, and the President spoke this morning about schools and parents being prepared in case it comes to the need to close schools...

It is pretty serious, and I am glad the authorities are taking it as that, without causing any panic.

Now I am off for a walk with the dogs!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu update

At this hour, these are the stats on the Swine Flu:

152, all in Mexico.

Mexico 1,995 unconfirmed

US 50 confirmed

Canada 6 confirmed

Scotland 2 confirmed 7 unconfirmed

Spain 2 confirmed and 17 unconfirmed

France 1 unconfirmed fall

Israel 1 confirmed

New Zealand 3 confirmed and 51 unconfirmed.

Total suspected cases: 2,280. I have a feeling there are a lot more cases, unrecorded cases.

I am officially worried there will be a pandemic.

Leave my tomatoes alone!

After a lot of sneaky investigation, I finally discovered what has been eating my tomato leaves and fruit... caterpillars! I was plucking them off in droves yesterday. Grrr... They ruined lots of tomatoes, burrowing into them and gobbling away.

No more of that! I have declared war on them, and this afternoon when I have picked up Sarah I am going by the store to get some bacillus thuringiensis, or BT. It is a naturally occurring bacteria that only affect soft bodied insects like caterpillars. They do not harm beneficial insects, such as lady bugs, it is not a poison and is environmentally friendly, and apparently very effective. It affects the caterpillars' stomachs so they stop eating and die.

Don't get me wrong, I love caterpillars! Just that I have invested too much time and effort to let them just ruin my entire crop of tomatoes!!!

Tomorrow my mother in law is coming by briefly (she will be back on Friday to pick up Sarah for their camp out). So that means I got to clean up a little here tonight, not that I really have any energy for that after working so intensely on this job, but being a normal woman: I like to clean before my mother in law comes to visit! That is just a biological thing that you can't resists, I think :-)!

Now, back to work...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Press here for love!

Right before going to school this morning, Sarah handed me a little keyring and said: "Mommy, press on this if you miss me while I am gone!"

I am most certainly pressing that keyring right now...

Nice Sunday

My goal was to just relax yesterday, it is going to be an intense work week, so I needed a little calm before the storm.

We went out for lunch, and at the last minute Ken had the idea to go for a short hike with the dogs, at our favorite, Desoto National Memorial Park.

So we went home and got the dogs, and then we were off. I have been noticing a sign that says "Historical Graveyard and Church" right before the park entrance, so on a whim we went down that road to take a look. I also knew the sister farm of the one I get my veggies also is in this area.

Not only did we get to see the graveyard and the church, we drove by the veggie farm, AND found a new hiking spot!

At the end of the road is something called Robinson Preserve. This area was opened as recently as July last summer. It was previous land slated for development, but the land was saved in the last minute. Now there are trails all over, and the land is left to heal and restore itself. Take a look at this link for some pictures of the Preserve to get an idea of how it looks like.

These trails are much more open and not as shaded as the once at Desoto Park, so we just took a quick look, but we are making plans to come back- It would make a great winter hike place!

It was really hot yesterday, almost hot 35 C while we were at the park, so we threw Stan in the ocean (Bob likes it and goes by himself). They looked happy after they got to cool off, all full of sand. Not so happy a few hours later when we got home and they had to take a bath to clean all the salt and sand off...

So a very relaxing day, ended with some gardening. So many tomatoes, I don't know what we will do with them all when they start to ripen! So far it looks liek only one is getting red. And teh red peppers! HUGE! I had to get stakes and stake out all teh talle rplants, they are so heavy with veggies...

Now back to work...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine flu

Anyone else concerned about the recent outbreaks of the Swine Flu? So far 11 confirmed cases in the US, all supposedly mild. But 68 people have died in Mexico, where the epidemic seem to have started...

Is this the first signs of a pandemic, a worldwide epidemic?

Consider the Spanish Flu: it ravaged the world starting in 1918. Then, 40 million people died. And back then they didn't travel like we do nowadays!

Sure, people are generally healthier and we have access to better health care, but we also live in a world where people move across the world in a fast pace. Who knows what damage a pandemic can do?

We definitely need to keep an eye on this. I guess a normal, healthy person might do OK, but kids, elderly and sickly people would probably not do as good. That means 2/3 of my immediate family is at risk! So you bet I am concerned...

What are your thoughts on this?

This is what the CDC has to say:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Non of my buinsess...

I am having a really hard time concentrating on work. The neighbors across the street (the one with LOTS of kids), are scaring the shit out of me.

To be more clear, I am afraid one of the kids will be pancaked on the street soon. Both yesterday and today, one of the parents (or maybe a big brother?) has been watching the three littlest once. I am guessing they are no more than 3 or 4, since they don't follow school hours. And when the mom is around she never says a peep, just let the male handle it.

The guy has been doing nothing but yell at them for two days, even when they are plainly just playing nicely. He sits inside the garage and bombards them with his screaming and yelling. The kids don't sound too happy, they often cry and things like that. Not a very peaceful family!

Anyway, back to the issue. The kids ride their bikes down their drive way, across the street and up onto the sidewalk on our side of the street. Back and forth, constantly. Cars have to brake suddenly all the time to avoid hitting them.

And the adult just yells once in a while, but does not seem to be concerned about this at all. I don't think 3-4 year old have the maturity at all to handle crossing a street on a bike yet. And they don't seem to worry at all, not even looking, just assuming the cars will stop...

I am really nervous looking at this, but I don't think there is much to do. It is that family's responsibility to handle their kids. I just hope it ends well...

One of my office dogs

The house is nice and quiet... Stan is such a good little companion when I am working, but he prefers if he can be really close, so in case I need to stretch my arms, I might pet him just a little here and there. Hence, he is on a chair right next to me...


Last night I made a heavenly marinade with 3 lemons, olive oil, garlic, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper, then I marinaded extra large shrimp, shell on before grilling them.

With this I grilled veggies marinated in the same marinade (potatoes, green beans, summer squash, zucchini) in my wok pan for the grill. I also made a sour cream based sauce with a little of the marinade in it for dipping the shrimp. Yum!

Today Ken took Sarah and Bob with him to the office, so I can get some work done. So it is just me and Stan for a few hours, nice and quiet!

Next Friday, May 1, grandma is picking Sarah up; they are going to Wachula, where Sarah is going to sleep over in grandma's camper (husbil). The park where they will be staying apparently has a lot of fun stuff to do for kids, and Sarah is really looking forward to spending some one-on-one time with grandma. Ken and I are looking forward to spending some time alone as well.

We are planning on dinner and a movie, it is far too long since either one of us saw a movie that was not meant for kids... And I can't say I will miss the legs and arms that keep poking and kicking me after she sneaks up in our bed at night. TWO nights of undisturbed sleep!

But I will miss her, she is very rarely away from us (VERY rarely!). It sure will be empty around here...

And the Friday after that, May 8, it is Sarah's birthday and we will be spending the day at Disney World. That should be a lot of fun. I have made lunch reservations at one of the better restaurants that are reservations only, and I have arranged for some of the Disney characters to come out with a pirate treasure chest cake while singing happy birthday for her. She is going to love it!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The sense of smell

I don't know, perhaps I have a daughter with a very sensitive nose...

Sometimes she complains of foul smells almost not noticeable. She is very sensitive for anything that smells bad, things that I can almost not smell at all.

But she also seems to have ideas of things that an adult most likely would not consider as having a scent. One thing that she often comes back to is the sun. She says it smells like cinnamon (kanel in Swedish). What a lovely thought! So if you sunbathe, does it make you smell like a burnt cinnamon bun, or what?! :-)

Something she really likes to eat is pretzels. She was eating some in the car yesterday, and told me very matter-of-factly that they smell like pool water... Apparently that was not a problem at all for her, she happily gobbled them up...

Odd but cute!

Weekend almost here

This week sure went by fast! I guess that is what happens when you are busy...

Last night I made some really yummy dinner. I made honey teriyaki chicken with Asian coleslaw. Not too bad at all!

After dinner we watched a new episode of Grey's. It was a pretty emotional episode, probably because it was mainly about a little 6 year old girl on her death bed. At the end, when the father held her in his arms and she drew her last breaths, I had a hard time holding my tears back. I looked over to Ken, and he quickly wiped a little something-something from the corner of his eye...!!!

Ken looked over at me and quickly said: "I better not see anything about this on your blog tomorrow"! He, he, he...

We agreed it was pretty difficult to watch something like that, considering the little girl was Sarah's age...

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Yesterday we picked up veggies at Gamble Creek Farm again, and this time Ken and the dogs came. Stan tried to eat the young bulls! What on earth made him think he could have any chance against those big animals??? Finally I had to take the dogs for a little walk, he was just so determined to get into their pen and eat them. Crazy dog!

We got lots of yummy veggies in our share:

Summer Squash
Patty Pan Squash
Green Beans
Wax Beans
Sugar Snap Peas
Chard (mangold in Swedish)

Now when everyday life is back to normal, I am going to use the veggies every day.

Even last night, when we were having plain Swedish stewed macaroni and sausage, I blanched green beans, wax beans and sugar snap peas. Then I sauteed some garlic in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and butter, tossed in the greens from the onion tops (taste kind of like green onions/scallions), and a bit of chopped up celery (so fresh!). Then I tossed the blanched veggies in there, scattered some freshly chopped parsley on top. Pretty yummy; crisp and delightful.

Last night's dinner, and yes, gotta have a little ketchup with stewed macaroni...

Sarah is home sick today, so I have a feeling it will be a challenge trying to get any work done, but I have to work... I think I might be fighting a bug of some sort myself, I battled with severe nausea all day yesterday, and still fell it today, plus a slight fever. But, no time for that right now :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Great idea for couples?

I just had a great idea! Why do not couples wear MOOD RINGS instead of regular rings? That way, the significant others will always know each others moods, no more guessing...

But does mood rings really work?

Well a mood ring is really made out of hollow quartz or glass shell containing thermotropic liquid crystals. Modern mood jewelry is usually made from a flat strip of liquid crystals with a protective coating.

The crystals respond to changes in temperature by twisting. The twisting changes their molecular structure, which alters the wavelengths of light that are absorbed or reflected. 'Wavelengths of light' is another way of saying 'color', so when the temperature of the liquid crystals changes, so does their color.

Mood rings can't actually tell your emotional state with any degree of accuracy, but the crystals are calibrated to having a pleasing blue or green color at the average person's normal resting peripheral temperature of 82°F (28°C).

As peripheral body temperature increases, which it does in response to passion and happiness, the crystals twist to reflect blue.

When you are excited or stressed, blood flow is directed away from the skin and more toward the internal organs, cooling the fingers, causing the crystals to twist the other direction, to reflect more yellow.

In cold weather, or if the ring was damaged, the stone would be dark gray or black and unresponsive.

So not completely a bad idea, it actually have some merit...

What the Mood Ring Colors Mean

The top of the list is the warmest temperature, at violet, moving to the coolest temperature, at black.
• violet blue - happy, romantic
• blue - calm, relaxed
• green - average, not much going on with you
• yellow/amber - tense, excited
• brown/gray - nervous, anxious
• black - cold temperature or damaged ring

So I am right now average, perhaps a little bit relaxed... Maybe something to get each other fo ryour next anniversary, hmmm?


Now I know why I was so tired yesterday! I had a fever! It took me an entire day before realizing what it was. No wonder I was feeling worn out...

Same fever today, but at least I could take a fever reducer so I can work more comfortably today.

I don't know if I am sick (feel OK), Sarah has had the sniffles, but she has been fine too. Could just be the lupus telling me to rest after all the activities from the last few weeks.

Yesterday afternoon I was so tired I actually had to go and lay down for a 40 minute nap. Perked up after I took some Motrin (ibuprofen) for the fever and joint pain (another reason to think it is lupus)...

The project I started yesterday turned out to be much better than the previous one. Actually kind of interesting, if you can label a text about wireless temperature measuring systems that...

So except for some formatting issues this project should be a lot smoother. Still technical, but after what I have worked on lately, no big deal at all.

This afternoon it is time for my third veggie pickup. Ken is going to try to get home early so he can come too. The fact there are cows (well, actually young bulls) there to feed really got him interested. He really loves animals...

By the way, you should here how "dino dog" is snoring under my desk, incredible that much noise can come from such a small dog... er... dino...

Bob right now, snoring up a storm, under my desk

Dino dog

Last night Ken got home unusually early, and he and Sarah played in the office. I guess they made a "clubhouse" and worked on secret handshakes and such. But after a while I hear them giggling a lot in there, and it got worse and worse. Finally it was revealed what they were up to:

Out from the office comes Bob, now painted as Dino Dog! I felt bad for him, but he seemed to really like his new spots! Lucky for him it was washable Crayola marker, not permanent marker...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Whole lotta God coming

As you might have guessed, I am (like most average Swede), not particularly religious. I believe there is something, but not necessarily the cookie-cutter view that most people have of God. I guess I am more spiritual than religious.

I don't want to impose my views on my daughter, like I see so many Americans doing, rather, I would like to present the different views if she asks and let her come up with her own conclusions.

When I was 4-5 I was forced to attend Sunday School, when our family briefly lived in the Jönköping area, Sweden's equivalent to the American "bible belt". I resented going, it was just something you did because everyone else in town did it. I don't want that for Sarah.

So when she asks about God (hard not to hear people talk about religion, the US is a pretty religious country), or things of that nature, I try to explain what the general Christian beliefs are, but at the same time also present the views of other people. After all, there are lots of different religions out there. I deliberately took a class in religion in college just to find out more, I find it very interesting from an anthropological point of view.

Yesterday we drove by a Greek Orthodox church that they have been building for a long time, and it looked like it is finally completed. She asked what kind of building it is, and I replied it is a church. And she of course asked what a church is, which I explained as a place some people go to for praying to and feeling closer to God. And naturally that led to a question what God is.

Well, it is not exactly an easy explanation to fit into a 5 minute car ride, but I think I explained what God represents for people. That people often feel they can feel God's presence while in church.

I was thinking that her head must be full of thoughts about God and what it means while we continued driving, she was so quiet.

After a little while she pointed to another church that is being built, and she asked if it was a church too. I said that it was, indeed.

All she said was: "With all these churches being built, there must be a lot of God coming here then". Interesting interpretation!


Why am I so tired? I can barley keep my eyes open, and it is only midday! I know we have been busy the last few weeks, but THIS tired? Come on!

Plus, I have been getting plenty of sleep. The shingles are still bothering me, but it is much better, so not enough to wake me up anymore.

I think I will just read this afternoon after picking up Sarah and going by the banks and the grocery store...

OK, one hour left of work, I better slap myself on the cheeks and get going, this job is not going to get itself done...

Lots of work - again

Yesterday I was too tired to deal with work, instead I just cleaned and did laundry.

But now I have to face reality again - and the new big project I have to finish before May 6th.

It is from the same Italian agency as the last big project, but at about half the fee as that project, it is a much better deal. After all, the last project took 2 ½ MONTHS, this I have only 2 weeks to complete...

But I have to really struggle getting into it this morning, it is slooow and not exactly fun. Lots of technical jargon does not really help either.

But the money is needed, and it is only for 2 weeks, so I have to suck it up. It will be an intense working period, but this time the light at the end of the tunnel is much closer, and on May 8 I have Sarah's birthday to look forward to!

She chose to go to Disney World instead of having a party this year, so that is where we are heading on May 8th. Should be a lot of fun!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weight loss plan

On another note: I have been doing so great after the surgery, so my body can now finally utilize the food I eat. Read: I have gained lots of weight!

My doctors are very happy about this, it is a great sign for them. For me, it is a bit of a concern. When my family was here I really let loose and gobbled down huge amounts of Swedish candy and chocolates... I knew this was the last hurray.

Now, the plan is to choose food more wisely. No more buying any candy or sweets. I am not allowed to diet, but I can of course make better food choices. But I have a very potent sweet tooth, so I cannot completely deprive myself, or I will fail miserably. So I am allowed to eat candy that people have given me - after all: how could I say no to Swedish candy, for instance?

And I am allowed to eat candy when we go and see a movie (we don't do that very often anyway...)

So if I need sweets, I will have to either bake something (more effort and can be made more healthy) or just eat fruit...

So we will see how it works. I would love to loose at least 5 kilos, that should do it. I just feel a little too full all over, so no BIG deal, but I know when I feel comfortable or not, and right now not so much...

Hopefully the veggies from the farm will help out, I haven't been able to really use them yet since we have been out and about the last few weeks, but I am looking forward to cooking more veggies this week.

So hopefully these small eating changes coupled with more frequent walks will do the trick...

Earth Box Update

Things have really grown like crazy in my Earth Boxes! Unfortunately I had to pull out the green peppers after the plant broke off when we had a storm, but an old pepper plant I have left over from last summer all of a sudden started to grow after almost dying from the frost, so I guess we still have two pepper plants.

Here are the pictures from when I just planted:


Bell peppers (back) and jalapenos and chili peppers

Tomatoes (regular and cherry)

Today, 6 weeks later, this is what we have:

Herbs (I had to cut down the cilantro in the upper left corner, it was taking over!)



The tiny little lemon tree I got surprisingly seem to be having a lot of fruit

Regular tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes (tons of them!)

Jalapenos (the bell peppers and the chili peppers are doing really good too)

Vacation: Thursday - Sunday April 16-19

Thursday, April 16:

We started the day by visiting the Mixon Fruit Farm. We wandered around the citrus groves, checked out their butterfly garden and shopped in the gift shop, which carry a lot of cool Florida souvenirs.

For a tour of the Fruit Farm, click here.

We also did some "regular" shopping and had a nice late lunch at the Longhorn Steakhouse. Awesome steak!

Friday, April 17:

We had Ken's convertible, and we cruised around town while doing some shopping. We ate at Chili's and just had a nice shopping day.

The Family Fun Movie Night that was previously canceled due to a murderer that was on the loose (!) was rescheduled for this night. All of us went over to Sarah's school for a screening of the Swiss Family Robinson movie. They also served hot dogs and movie candy. It was a pretty nice evening!

Saturday, April 18:

Our entire neighborhood have a garage sale weekend every month, where you can drive around and people have their sales in their driveways. I acted as chauffeur while Elisabeth and Carola looked over what was for sale, they love garage sales, or "loppis" as we call it in Sweden.

Ken took Sarah to a birthday party at the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, so we too the opportunity to go down to Siesta Key and take a nice walk on the beach. Siesta Key has been voted the nicest beach in the US several times, and it is easy to see why when you step onto the bright white and powder fine sand!

We also stopped by the Daiquiri Deck for lunch, where we ordered alligator as an appetizer. The verdict? Elisabeth and Carola said not bad at all!

After being home for some relaxation we headed out for dinner at Jo To's Japaneses steakhouse, where they serve the food teppanyaki-style, cooking it on a huge grilling table in front of you. Very entertaining and YUMMY!

Sunday, April 19:

Ken happened to see that the famous Venice Shark Tooth Festival was going on this weekend, so we headed down there in the morning.

Venice is considered the shark tooth capital of the world, since here you can find lots of fossilized shark teeth.

There were a lot of things to look at, LOTS of shark teeth! There were also lots of other fossils to buy, such as trilobites. Elisabeth was happy to get a real alligator head.

At the Venice Shark Tooth Festival

After checking out the festival we took a very long walk along Venice Beach, and then we had a quick lunch at the old fashioned beach cafe.

Our last night we had a BBQ at home with guacamole and salsa made from our first picked jalapenos!

And this morning I finally took them to Tampa airport. It is so empty here now. Of course it is nice to go back to everyday life and routines after almost 3 weeks of going non-stop, but we sure will miss out visitors! I hope they had a great time, we sure enjoyed having them here and showing them around...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Testing to blog from my mobile phone for the first time... We visited a citrus grove this morning, and now we are out shopping.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vacation: Monday-Wednesday April 13-15

First of all: today it is APRIL 15! That means, END OF TAX SEASON! Which means: I GET MY HUSBAND BACK!!! Just so you know, me very happy.

Monday, April 13:

We had planned on going to Orlando and Gatorland, but we changed our plan and decided to visit the very excellent Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. This is such a nice place, and it consistently gets voted the best family friendly zoo in the US.

We sure got to see a lot of animals and had a very nice day. Sarah was very happy, I got her a wrist band that allowed her unlimited rides. She went on the roller coaster 6 times, grinning from ear to ear. She and Carola also took a ride on a dromedary camel, and we all rode a sky ride over the park, soaring high in the sky.

As you can hear in the video clip, I was very chicken and kept thinking we were going to crash and die...

Sarah kept laughing at me and reassuring me we were not going to die. She said she was not scared, but her stomach was, but she liked the feeling. I think we have a little daredevil on our hands...

A white tiger taking a nap in the heat

You could feed the giraffes special giraffe crackers

This unusual looking animal was not discovered until 1900 and is called an Okapi

Sarah and Carola on a dromedary camel

A bald eagle perched on a branch

One of many colorful and exotic birds in the Asian bird section

We also got to pet some stingrays, as you can see in this video clip:

We had a lovely day at the zoo, but it was so hot we were really wrung out and tired when we finally got home.

Tuesday, April 14:

Our plans for this day got tossed out the window when the entire Tampa Bay area suddenly was under a tornado warning and a severe thunder storm stretched itself out over us. We had to wait a few hours before it was safe enough to leave the house, but the very heavy rain and the lightning continued on for the rest of the day. At least we got some much needed rain and then some! Unfortunately there were a few houses that were very damaged by the storm, we were very lucky here in Bradenton! The afternoon was spent shopping for the most part, my aunt and cousin still have plenty of money and space left in their suitcases... :-)

Wednesday, April 15:

Today we visited the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota. There we were greeted by an abundance of colorful plants in all shapes, forms and colors. Below are some of the plants we got to see. We also did some shopping and had a great steak lunch at the Longhorn Steakhouse in Sarasota, sooo good!

Elisabeth, Carola and I among the Banyan trees

An open pod from the cocoa tree

Last but not least, today was my second veggie pickup at Gamble Creek Farm. Our bounty was HUGE and this is all of the yummy produce we got:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Vacation: Saturday-Sunday, April 11-12

Saturday we attended the BIG Easter Egg Hunt that our county put on every year. There was a total of 36,000 eggs for the kids (up to 8 years old).

The event is held in conjunction to the DeSoto Heritage Festival, and the Easter Bunny arrives on a ship(!) with the Spanish conquistadors, as well as the beauty queens and princesses that are elected by the public each year (it is a little like when we select Lucia in Sweden).

The Egg Hunt is organized very well, and there is a huge fenced in baseball field for each age group, and since Sarah is almost 6 now, she was for the first time in the 5-6 year old group, which means NO parents are allowed with them on the actual field. I was a bit nervous trying to find her in the crowd after the hunt, but there seemed to be a lot of security features to prevent lost children, so that was good.

Sarah and the Easter Bunny

Sarah, a Conquistador and his mate

With a basket full of eggs (filled with candy!) we headed home, and then we had lunch at a typical American diner before heading to our next stop, a 2 hour cruise on Sarasota bay. I love this cruise, and always take visiting family on this. It gives a great perspective of the area, and you get to see the beautiful area from a comfortable seat on a boat while having a drink. We were very lucky to see several dolphins and also a mother Manatee and her calf. An absolutely great day!

Me and Carola on the boat

Lots of people were enjoying a great day on the ocean

2 great hours on the Sarasota Bay

We got to see many amazing homes along the shore

Another "mini mansion"

Sarah and I

We also managed to squeeze in a stroll along the beach in downtown Sarasota

We even found a Sea Urchin

Today we went to an Easter Brunch and then we did a little bit of shopping. We were suppose to only get a new bag for my cousin, since her broke, but we ended up with a trunk full again! :-)

In the US the kids get an Easter Basket with candy and toys rather than an egg like in Sweden

Elisabeth and Carola got to try the very American Pumpkin Pie, but unfortunately the pie was not very good at this restaurant...

We are planning on just taking it easy the rest of the day, I have a bunch of laundry that needs to be done, and frankly, I am exhausted! We have had such a full schedule, it has been stuff non-stop. It is great and I love it, but it sure uses up all your energy. I still have a hard time sleeping as well, since the shingles are still very bothersome. So we figured we would have one slow afternoon... :-)

Tomorrow we are heading all the way to Orlando for a visit to the old, classic Gatorland. We are planning on driving the interior, more scenic way home, so instead of just the motorway and traffic, we will get to see a little more of America. Should be a great day!