Tag Archives: florida

mckee botanical garden

We visited the McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach in February. The first thing that we noticed and loved was the huge stick structures, which you can go inside.


The gardens currently have a special exhibit, Nature Connects: Art With LEGO Bricks. These super cool Lego sculptures will be in the gardens through May 7, 2017.


Our favorite Lego sculptures are shown above. The smallest of these sculptures, the “Pileated Woodpecker,” is made of 4,424 pieces. The largest, the “Monarch Butterfly On Milkweed,” contains 60,549 pieces and has an eight-foot wingspan! These Lego sculptures were so impressive, and the beautiful gardens were the perfect setting for enjoying them.

manatee observation center

During our Florida mini-vacation we visited the Manatee Observation and Education Center in Fort Pierce. When we arrived, we appreciated the manatee artwork on a bench and on the walkway to the entrance.

Inside, there was an optional scavenger hunt for kids, to encourage them to observe the different types of fish inside the building. Our three-year-old loves this sort of challenge, and the possibility of earning a little prize. There were also a few fun crafty activities for kids, and a short movie about manatees and the observation center. The best part of visiting the observation center, of course, is the chance of seeing wild manatees in the creek behind the building. The observation center has beautiful views of the creek and Indian River Lagoon, and we were lucky enough to see three manatees relaxing in the creek!


Admission to the manatee center was only one dollar per person (!), so I highly recommend visiting if you are in the Fort Pierce area.

vero beach

We went to Vero Beach, Florida in early February to visit my parents and enjoy some warm weather.

Besides the beautiful ocean, sandy beach, and warm pool we had access to, one of the highlights of Vero Beach for me was a little vegan snack shop called Planet Yum. We went there twice and enjoyed vegan soft serve ice cream and milkshakes (the chocolate chai milkshake topped with coconut cream was fantastic), gluten-free waffles, and handmade chocolatey popsicles. Can’t wait to go back!

a trip to the babycakes bakery!

If you’ve followed this blog much, you might have noticed that I’ve posted a few times about BabyCakes. As I’ve been baking and enjoying the recipes in my BabyCakes cookbooks, I’ve also been looking forward to the day I’d finally visit one of these meccas of vegan gluten-free baked goods. So while we were in Florida last week, I was super excited to visit the BabyCakes NYC bakery in Downtown Disney.

As you can see, there were many kinds of cupcakes, cake bites, donuts, and breads, as well as cinnamon rolls, cookie sandwiches, and waffle sandwiches! They all looked delicious, but when decision time came, I opted for a lemon cupcake and a chocolate chip cookie sandwich. My mom got a brownie cupcake and my dad got a cookie crunch donut.

They look pretty good, huh? The cookie sandwich was tasty, but a tad on the oily side for my taste. Otherwise, everything was divine! The bakery definitely lived up to my expectations. 🙂

weekly photo challenge: celebration

This is Celebration, Florida, taken from a hot air balloon.

weekly photo challenge: sky

I took this photo of sunrise from a hot air balloon over Celebration, Florida.

favorite things left undone

The Daily Post at WordPress prompted me to “make a top ten list of favorite things to do you haven’t done in over a year.” I’m pretty self-indulgent, so I do a lot of my favorite things fairly regularly. But here are the ten favorite things I came up with:

  1. Swim in the warm ocean with big waves. The ocean in southeastern Florida in the summer is pretty much perfect for me.
  2. Play mini golf. Preferably Around the World in 18 Holes in Lake George, NY.
  3. Go to an art museum. This one just made the one-year cut – It’s barely been more than a year since I went to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia with Kerry.
  4. Go to the Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC. Preferably with my sister.
  5. Play tennis on a non-windy day. Apparently this is a lot to ask for in Nova Scotia.
  6. Eat an apple cider donut from Saratoga Apple. They are my favorite donuts anywhere, ever.
  7. Hang out with my friend Theresa. Chile and Canada are so far apart =(
  8. Kayak. I blame my lack of kayaking last summer on my Crohns-yness.
  9. Go on a waterslide. I miss the Blue Tubaluba at Sandcastle.
  10. Go to a baseball game with friends on a nice day. Even better if it’s a Red Sox game and I get to eat a soft pretzel while watching the game =)
I guess the next logical step after making this list is to try to do many of these things during the next couple of years – fun stuff!

animal kingdom

I love Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I think the Kilimanjaro Safari ride is probably my favorite ride anywhere at Disney World. I also think the Expedition Everest roller coaster is one of the more creative and fun roller coasters I’ve been on. Here’s my favorite photo from our day in Animal Kingdom:

All of the male gorillas were napping like this, it was so cute!

desperately seeking cupcakes

After watching Cupcake Wars for the first time, I found myself in desperate need of a cupcake. Not just any old grocery store bakery cupcake would do; I needed an interestingly flavored vegan cupcake. So we stopped by the Celebration farmer’s market on Sunday morning to check out the vegan cupcakes from Virgin Cake. They had free samples of a few different cake flavors – I tried the ginger cranberry and Jeff tried the lemon. We both liked those a lot, and there were also samples of coconut and chocolate. I decided on an orange cupcake to go:

It was a bit more oily than I would have preferred, but very tasty. Crazy cupcake craving satisfied.


Mexican food can be so hit or miss for vegan options, but we were really delighted with Abuelos Mexican Restaurant in Kissimmee, Florida. I had the avocado enchiladas with ranchero sauce (with Mexican rice and refried beans as my sides). It was so delicious! How have I never seen or even thought of avocado enchiladas before?! It’s basically a huge lump of guacamole baked in a tortilla, with spicy tomato sauce on top. YUM! Jeff had the veggie fajitas, which were also great. They came with an impressive variety of tasty, non-mushy vegetables.

At this location, all of the sides are prepared vegetarian, and most of them are vegan. I also liked the decor and open layout, which somehow wasn’t loud even though the restaurant was bustling. This chain is scattered around the US, so hopefully their other locations are as vegetarian/vegan friendly as the Kissimmee location.