Moving stuff, Cuban Sandwich Festival, and Easter

March 31, 2013 at 8:29 pm

From that random title, I guess you can tell this is a catch-up post. I just haven’t had time for blogging and I think that’s how it’s going to be for the next month or so. I do want to try to blog and keep a record of this exciting time in our life, though. The whole point of this blog is to record my memories for posterity and I don’t want to forget the details of our days during this time. So I’m just going to do the best I can and try to get some photos and words posted here and there. This post is going to be long and random and have tons of photos because I am so far behind. You have been warned.

This week was filled with packing, house painting, booking movers, and inspecting the new house. Lots of fun stuff. We are closing on the new house on April 30th and have the movers booked for May 3rd (a Friday, so Chad can take the day off and then have the weekend). It may seem like a month is plenty of time to pack, but I feel stressed about it. We have lived in this house for 17 years and have so much stuff! Getting ready to move is my #1 priority for the next month. I do still need to be training for the swim at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon on April 28th because I don’t want to let my team down, but other than that I am going to be focused on house stuff (getting ready to move to the new house and getting the old house ready to put on the market).

One of the highlights of the week for the boys was hitting the box bonanza at Fit2Run thanks to my friend Dawn who used to work there and suggested it. They loved getting up on the loading dock and throwing boxes down at me.

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We are burning through boxes and I’ve been looking for them at liquor stores, grocery stores, and from friends (thanks Kate!). Fit2Run was the mother load of nice sized boxes! We filled the car up and I’m sure we’ll be back there for more.

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The house is in total chaos. It’s bad.

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My bikes are living in the house temporarily so that they are safe from the painters’ pressure washing and spraying paint.

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We did take a break from packing to dye some eggs on Friday.

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The painters have been great.

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Our shed is a good representation of the true color, which is basically the same color that it was before.

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It looks so cute!

On Friday I took the boys out to Fort DeSoto to hang out with our friends the Z’s who were camping out there.

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They had a blast canoeing and running around and getting filthy all day.

While they were at Fort DeSoto I also had a blast spending three hours at the new house while our home inspector was doing his thing. My friend, the other Caroline, met me there and helped me take measurements of all the rooms because we need to buy some new furniture and I needed to know what I should be looking for in terms of size. It was awesome to get a longer and closer look at the house. I will be sharing more pictures once it is really and truly OURS and other people aren’t living there, but here’s a picture of the pool and lanai. It’s fabulous.

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It’s pretty much impossible for me to think about anything other than moving right now. We are not people who move a lot, obviously. This is a really big deal to us. We plan to be in this new house for the next 20 years or until we are ready to move to a retirement community (and that IS what we plan to do one day).

Yesterday morning we all headed to Ybor City in Tampa for the Cuban Sandwich Festival.

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We were invited to attend as VIP’s this year after I blogged about the festival last year. We arrived around 11 a.m. and it wasn’t too crowded at that point. It was a perfect, gorgeous Florida spring day.

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We walked around the festival for a bit, getting the lay of the land. The boys got some samples of mini donuts…

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and beef jerky.

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We found the Yelp table and said, “Hey” to my friend Brett, the Yelp Tampa Bay community manager.

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We found the VIP area, which was a nice shady secluded area with tables and chairs. They were going to have food there after the sandwich judging, but we were already really hungry so we decided to just go buy some food. Since we had already perused the vendors we knew what we wanted.

From Datz

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we grabbed two Havana Hotties and an order of chips with drizzle.

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From Pipo’s…

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we got a plate of pork, rice, and black beans and a Cuban sandwich.

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That was a lot of food that we all shared!

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From Datz:

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From Pipo’s:

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Everything was delicious. It was great to have a nice comfortable shady table at which to sit and eat.

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Thanks Victor and Jolie for inviting us! This is Victor addressing the judges and other VIPs:

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The pork and rice and beans were the best thing from Pipo’s. Their Cuban was good, but did not come close to the awesomeness of Datz’ Havana Hottie. Datz got our vote!

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While we enjoyed the shade the judges were hard at work (locals will recognize the local news celebrities).

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One of my blogger friends, Megan from I Run for Wine, was one of the judges!

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I also ran into my friend Amber in the VIP area.

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Amber and I went on a crazy bachelorette party weekend cruise together a few years ago and have been Facebook friends ever since. We are always at the same events and never run into each other, so it was great to reconnect with her.

I found this pic from our cruise, Amber…from before I was blogging so regularly (Feb. 2010):

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So back to the Cuban Sandwich Festival…I capped off our VIP experience by trying a cappuccino from this fabulous coffee machine:

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I shared it with the boys and it was delicious.

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As we were leaving, around 12:30, the crowds had really thickened. These are basically the same shots…

11:00 am:

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12:30 pm:

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So the moral of the story is arrive early to festivals! Last year we couldn’t get a Cuban to save our lives, and this year there seemed to be plenty to be had. We had a great time. If you went to the Cuban Sandwich Festival this year I’d love to hear about your experience (and so would Victor and Jolie, I’m sure).

Since we were already in that neck of the woods, after the festival we went to Ikea to scope out some furniture for the new house.

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We are moving from a 1440 square foot house to a 2950 square foot house. There are lots of things we are going to need and we’ll be acquiring things slowly as we see what becomes a priority. We know that pretty quickly we need some sort of media console as our current entertainment center won’t fit where we need it. Also, the boys are both getting new beds and we are going to sell their current bunk beds. We also need a sofa bed or some sort of bed for the guest room. There was lots of bed testing going on in Ikea.

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We spent at least two hours in Ikea and the only thing we bought was a $2 milk frother. But now we have some ideas of things that may work from there (boys’ beds) and things that we need to look elsewhere for (media console). The boys were thoroughly exhausted and bored by the end, but they hung in there and were pretty well behaved. A reward was in order.

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So that brings us to today. Are you bored enough yet?

Happy Easter!

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I hope the Easter bunny can find us in our new house next year, but he definitely didn’t forget about us today.

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Just like last year, that rascally rabbit brought the boys weapons. Last year it was steampunk nerf guns…


This year it was airsoft pistols.

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After Easter baskets it was time for the annual egg hunt with Joey Z., weapons included.

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We have been doing this egg hunt since they were so little. It’s the end of an era, I guess. We may have to drive over next year for the egg hunt. I hope that whoever owns our house then doesn’t mind if we hunt for eggs in their yard.

After the Easter excitement was over I drove to Home Depot to get some yard beautification supplies.

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Chad thinks that sprucing up the yard is a waste of time, but our realtor assures us that it is worth it. The flower bed at the foot of our stairs went from this…

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to this:

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I hope the flowers fill in nicely over the next month.

The shed went from this…

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to this:

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The evolution of the shed over the past couple of months is awesome.

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Okay, whew. I think that’s all I have for today. Sort of caught up. I really need to try to blog a little every day instead of massively every four days. It’s too much, I know. But at least it’s all recorded for posterity!


My head is spinning, but it’s all good

March 27, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Before I get off on a tangent and forget, we’re having another Mom Power Team chat tomorrow night on Twitter! This chat will be sponsored by NLA Performance and NLA for Her.

NLA Twitter Chat

These chats are always super fun. Even if you are a newbie to Twitter, you will figure it out and have a blast.


Please join us!

So I mentioned on Saturday that we had just put an offer in on a house and that there was another offer on the table as well. For about 24 hours we were DYING of anxiety. We were actually not really looking forward to going to the Yelp Burger 21 event because we were expecting a call any moment. But about a half hour before we were leaving we got a text from our realtor telling us that OUR OFFER WAS ACCEPTED! We got the house! We lingered at home just long enough to get the signed contract from the sellers and sign it ourselves and return it. Then we were totally happy to be going to the Yelp event to celebrate! We are supposed to close on April 30th. This will be our new front porch!

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We are thrilled and so excited. The boys are on spring break this week but we are not doing all of the fun things I had sort of been planning. I have spent every day on the phone and e-mail constantly with our realtor, insurance agents, and moving companies. Today we have had landscapers…

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painters pressure-washing,

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and a moving company rep at the house. I am getting quotes from several moving companies and they like to actually come out and see what they are in for before giving an estimate.

The boys have spent all week packing their room.

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They are maybe 30% done in there and already have a whole corner full of boxes packed to move (mostly books…we have a book problem).

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They have also filled many boxes with toys and books they no longer want.

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We plan to have a big garage sale at the old house after we move and then will donate everything left to Goodwill.

It may not be the most fun spring break imaginable, but the boys are going to be rewarded with their own rooms and a pool at the new house! They agree that it’s worth it. We still have five weeks until we move, but the boys never have any time during the week when they are in school, so this is the perfect week for them to work on packing up their room.

Now for a few public service announcements…

PSA #1:

Remember when I went to the Container Store Tampa grand opening preview? It’s been a while, but I finally had Cal draw a winner for the swag bag!

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Congratulations Karl! I know that I’m terrible about giveaways, but I don’t forget…I get to them eventually.

PSA #2:

On this Saturday (March 30th) the family and I are going to be VIP guests (that’s my disclosure!) at the 2nd Annual Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City!

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The Cuban Sandwich Festival is a contest to find THE BEST traditional and non-traditional Cuban Sandwiches in Florida and beyond. Over 20 restaurants are going to be competing. It’s also a festival in celebration of Florida’s rich Cuban cultural heritage. They will have live cultural musical and dance performances and over 50 Latino food, art and cultural exhibitors.  Admission is free.

We went to the first Cuban Sandwich Festival last year and were pretty disappointed. You can read my blog post about the first Cuban Sandwich Festival here. The organizers saw my post and invited us back as VIP guests this year. They assured me that they learned a lot from their inaugural year and this year is going to be much better. We’re looking forward to checking it out and seeing if they are correct!

PSA #3:

On Saturday April 6th the West Gandy Boulevard Walmart is hosting the Walmart Steak-Over Challenge. (This mention is NOT sponsored. I am just letting you about it because I think it’s cool and want to help support our local firehouses.)

Firefighters from two Tampa firehouses are firing-up the grill to go head-to-head in the Walmart Steak-Over Challenge presented by Kingsford Charcoal, Dr. Pepper and A.1. Saturday, April 6. From noon – 2 p.m. in the 4302 W. Gandy Blvd. Walmart store parking lot, they’ll each be grilling their own “top secret” recipes, and shoppers will vote for who has the best steak in town. Whoever wins will go on to represent Tampa in the national finale event in Los Angeles, for a chance to win the grand prize of $20,000.

This will be a fun, interactive, and family-friendly event in the Tampa community. If you are in the area, head over there to try some of Sergio’s Seasoned Dr. Pepper® Rib-eyes, a recipe created by the Tampa Bay Fire Department (photo courtesy of them).

PACIFICA, CALIF - Walmart Steakover program.  TAMPA Sergio's Dr. Pepper Ribeye Recipe..Photo by John Lee.

Looks tasty!

Now I need to go run to a bunch of places looking for more empty boxes and take some more signed papers to the UPS store to send to our lender. Back to obsessing over the new house!