Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chocolate? Yes, please!

When Matt and I had our date night, we went into a wonderful chocolate store. As we were checking out, I noticed brochures for their chocolate factory tours just down the road! Well, who could pass that up? Not me! So, one mid morning, Aunt Grace and I took Hotrod and Princess.

Oh! What a treat!

Really....need I say anything to this picture?

Unknowing to Grace and I, hairnets are a must for factory tours.

No worries! We rocked those hairnets! I mean sexy! Woohoo! We even had to cross the street like this to enter the factory! 

We started off with a god bit of education on chocolate and how to discern the differences between the different types from ingredients to textures.

Rocking that hairnet, Aunt Grace!

We were first allowed to smell straight cocoa beans.

 Then we were given a wafer of white chocolate. Isn't she cute in a hairnet? ;)

When tasting chocolate, you are to look at it first to determine the color. Then you are to smell it.

You then put it in your mouth and snap off a piece. The darker the chocolate, the more it snaps because of the cocoa content. Cool!

Then you allow it to melt on your tongue to determine the texture. Hotrod raised his hand and said that the white chocolate was more bumpy. He was right! The higher sugar content in the white chocolate makes it more grainy.

(Is it just me or does anyone else want to turn their mouth up to this spigot?) 

We then moved into the actual factory. We did not know it at the time, but in the process of showing us how everything worked, they made us each a piece of chocolate! 

Filling the shell molds with just the right amount...

What a job!

This is a cool, cast-iron, caramel table! They put up guard rails, fill the table with hot or cold water, and then pour on the caramel or toffee. The temperature of the water determines how fast or slow the candy hardens.

Here are our shells! He then places them into this machine that wraps them individually.

Down the shoot!

Hotrod was asked to pass them out. ;)

That man looks very satisfied with his job! 

Finally! The dark chocolate!

We had to pose with Lucy!

Cocoa beans!

With the tour, each adult received a two dollar coupon for the store. You can't let that go to waste! So we all got a Frozen Hot Chocolate. Not bad!!

We had fun! What was next? Alligators!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We went up and then came down....

Disclaimer: blogger is having issues with my pics. The site is uploading them in a very pixelated way and I don't know how to fix it.....sorry.

For about 12yrs now, my MIL has wanted to walk a particular bridge in St. Augustine. You have to cross it in order to get to the beach. It is no small bridge. It is about a mile long and quite high. So, later  that afternoon, we set off to walk it with cousin Stacy as our guide.

We even talked Aunt Grace into going who is greatly afraid of heights. 

The views were wonderful as the sun was starting to set and the kids thought it was great.

Aunt Grace facing fear head on! Ok, actually her back is turned to it. :)

Like I said, no small bridge. Imagine traffic whizzing by on our left. I was thankful for the pedestrian walkway!

Well, Princess and I were the last of the crew, so as we caught up with everyone at the top, they were all turning around! Someone chickened out! I won't tell who....but it wasn't Aunt Grace. ;)

Sunday, June 16, 2013


The day that Matt and my FIL, Don, left, the kids and I struck out on our first adventure alone. Boy, did we pick a 
fun and challenging one! Visiting the east coast is an authentic replica of a Spanish galleon, El Galeon. It is in 
celebration of 500 years of Florida history. Here are two links if you want to read about it.

To say that it was not accessible to strollers is to put it mildly, so into my arms Little Man went! Princess was 
thankfully so brave and adventurous! I could not help her up and down ladders, steep stairs with no railing, or 
boat ramps with only rope to hold on to. We managed to see all three levels. I can not say that I would ever 
want to travel in that manner!

There are tales that Matt almost lost me to a young Spanish sailor......well, I don't think he had anything to worry 
about. ;)

Enjoy the pics!

We next went for gelato! Yum!

Next adventure to come soon!