Monday, August 26, 2013

Savoring summer with children

     A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of my nieces coming to visit for a few days -
 what yummy fun we had!
We had such a great time together I could have kept them for weeks!  I want to share some of the beautiful memories we made and a few of the special treats we also made for their mama who was feeling under the weather at the time.
I got the house and pantry all prepared and stacked our calendar full of social events.... 
 It was great fun collecting local deals like going to the Glazer Children's Museum (many thanks to my friend Susan Hausler for the donated passes) and also to Hoppers Fun Bounce House to bounce away an afternoon of energy and the wonderful Empress Tea Room where we were treated like princesses and the girls got to play dress-up with their trunk full of hats.  Then there was the homemade fun after that......
Breakfast of champions:  Frozen Waffles!
Seriously, that is how these beaming faces like to have their morning jump, no need for butter, syrup or even a toaster!  Works for me!!!
A quick check of her email and Sage is ready for the day..... or perhaps Uncle Robert is showing her angry birds instead.....
  Selby had to show me the latest fashions for Barbie and Ken!
 And I let her try on her grandma's fur coat for those fashions of the 70s...
 We enjoyed a yummy dinner of Sniegocki Scramble- which is an old family favorite... To get the recipe click here to see one of my previous blog posts with lots of family favorites.  The girls prefer just buttered pasta with cheese and they certainly earned their dessert that night of ice cream sundaes!
Next we were off to the Children's museum.....
We had these adorable penguin water bottles that I had bought at Sea World to share for just such an occasion!  What a great way for kids to get to have a drink whenever they want without you holding it or leaving it behind.... well there was that ONE moment where we had to go back into the museum at the end to find the water bottle and penguin bag that had been left behind while playing... and luckily it was there safe and sound...  ;) 
 Aren't they charming :)
This museum is located right next to Curtis Hixon park in downtown Tampa.  They do a wonderful job with hands on activities and unique lessons for kids.  This beautiful mosaic wall adorns the outside and is a fun place for pictures! 
Uncle Robert helped the girls to create their own sailboats
And took them for a test drive..... 
We got to play house too...... 
 Made a pizza! 
Did a cooking tv show.....

And danced....
 On TV!!!!!!!

 And climbed, and climbed, and climbed... 
Then there was the gift shop and oodles of creative games....  (note the missing water bottle... that is how we tracked it down- thank goodness for digital cameras and good backtracking!) 

What better way to top off a fun afternoon then to go to one of the hippest foodie destinations in town..... Datz Dough

My good friend Gerardo took this awesome picture capturing the twinkle of this special place!  You can check out Gerardo's amazing photography on his facebook page right here.   Consider hiring him for your next event or special occasion - he is well known throughout Tampa for his great food photos and his love of color and architecture! 

We went with the girls for the HUGE salted chocolate chip cookies amid the prettiest decor!

Datz recently hosted an event that some of my fellow foodie fans might find interesting....
Photo by Gerardo Luna - find him at
Through September 6, 2013 Datz and Dough will serve 5 desserts from the recently released cookbook by our friend Shaina Olmanson wrote  "Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine". They are both delicious and adorable: all served in their own little jam jars! The Datz featured desserts are:
  • Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake
  • Caramel Crème Cheesecake
  • Pull Apart Cinnamon Bread
  • Cherry Almond Crumble
  • Lemon Meringue Pie with Thyme Shortbread Crust
What a fun day- I think they tuckered out Uncle Robert though......
We had such a lovely time going to high tea the following day... the girls were a hit in their beautiful dresses and party hats!  The food was fantastic too!

The dainty tea cups and little sugar cubes....check them out on facebook too at the Empress Tea Room.  This is a delightful place -my husband also takes me there often for tea and some of their dinner and social events.   Word has it they are starting a women's poker night there.... right up my alley- I cannot wait!!! 

And the expert lift of the pinky finger.

Sage preferred apple juice- but still got to have it from a very special tiny teapot!  Kim, the owner of the Empress is so sweet to have thought of that!!!

This photo actually won a contest this month at the tea room - the girls are truly stars!

Did I mention the tea sandwiches.... We enjoyed chicken salad on croissants, turkey cranberry and cheese, dill and cucumber, and amazing pear and gorgonzola crisps. 
 The desserts were fantastic little bites as well!  The scones were delicate and served with devonshire cream and homemade jam.

Then we had a fun afternoon making homemade treats for them to bring home to mommy!
 We made homemade vanilla sugar.... super easy!   I had some homemade vanilla beans that had been soaking for months that my friend made at a recent swap event.  Not only do you get some amazing (non GMO!) liquid vanilla to use that lasts forever, but you get to make this great sugar too once the liquid vanilla is done! 

Here's how.... follow this link to learn how to make the liquid vanilla, and then read the photo below to learn about making the sugar :

Rumor has it that the amazing flavored sugar made its way into these snickerdoodle cookies made by their mommy and the girls last week..... check it out!

Then we made some homemade Eucalyptus Spearmint Bath Salts.  Get my recipe HERE

A bright basket filled with photos, fun and a great big get well card for them to take home to mom!

We had so much fun together....
  Ohhh the smiles and laughs we had!

It was hard to say goodbye until the next time.....
But they found a way.....

...they left a sweet surprise message for me behind.....


  1. This is so sweet! All of your efforts for my girls really paid off - they had such a good time. And I really appreciated the homemade goodie basket. Thank you Aunt Cathy!

  2. Thanks so much Liz! Lol, I just realized I never gave the link on how to make the liquid vanilla above so I edited it in :) I wouldn't have reread it and found a few typos too if you hadn't posted a note to me :) love you guys!


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