Tag Archives: vacation

NASA Kennedy Space Center

This morning I woke up and had the worst headache in the world. I chugged a whole bunch of water and took some advil and am finally feeling a bit better. I did end up getting up at 6 to go work out, but that plan was foiled.

So, in the hopes of just entertaining a few people and keeping the morning light, I wanted to share a fun little trip that is something that you should consider if you plan on visiting the area. OR even if you are from the area and are just looking for something to do on the weekend. NASA.

NASA has been all over the news lately and ever since I moved down here I have wanted to check out the space center. I finally got the chance to this weekend and it was incredible.

 

 

The Rocket Garden is the first thing that you see when you walk into the visitors center and it shows replicas of rockets that were sent out for missions. In front of each of them it tells you what they were used for and what mission. The sheer size of them is incredible.

We walked around building that went over the different capsules, how it all works and the space suits through the ages. There were two things that REALLY surprised me. The early space suits and the size of the capsules they were sitting in for days.

 

Seriously?? It looks like someone took a sweat suit, wrapped some duct tape around and called it a space suit. There is no way I would have gone out into space for the first time wearing that. They didn’t even know what was going to happen to the human body in space yet. There was even talk about your eye balls coming out of your head! SAY WHAT?! There better be some bubble wrap or something else to that thing!

The first space suit that they went outside of the craft in looked a bit like a Janitors uniform:

 

Let’s get serious….would you feel safe floating outside a space craft in that suit?? I wouldn’t.

So the second most surprising thing…the size of the capsules. This is just a look at the inside of the Gemini Capsule. Two people were actually shot into space inside of this and circled the earth in it.

 

Picture two guys sitting inside of that, not moving, just floating in space for days. They couldn’t even stretch their legs. Absurd.

So after walking around that for a while, we headed on a bus tour to check out the launching pads and everything else. One of the doors to the building where they work on the shuttles was open and we snuck a little peak of the Atlantis. Really cool.

 

You can see the tail end of it here. They are building a new building to house the Atlantis in at the Visitors Center now. In about a week they are moving the shuttle to the half built, building and finishing it around the shuttle. Just for scale, look at the porta-potties on the side of the door. Crazy. Those doors are so heavy that they take 45 minutes to open or close.

The last thing I wanted to show you, so I don’t ruin everything! Was the replica of a rocket. The size of the rocket is amazing in itself, but then to put two people at the top of it, you have to be slightly nuts to climb in there.

This is the back part of it. These are the initial thrusters that go off while it is on the ground.

 

 

That breaks off after lift off. Then, where there is another break in the shutter, in the middle of the picture is where the next tank starts. This, is also fuel.

 

This is just a look back at the two fuel tanks, just for size. This second fuel tank also falls off after it exits the atmosphere.

Then you have another section that houses the Lunar Module. The top section breaks off in space, bangs a U-Turn and pick up the lunar module. This is a picture of the top section:

 

Now don’t be fooled, that whole thing is NOT what the astronauts are in. They are in the tiny silver cap at the top. Strapped in. The larger section is fuel and all of the machinery to keep this guy going. It is also the fuel that helps them land back on earth. That breaks away upon entry and they land in the top silver capsule.

 

This is THE Apollo 14 capsule. Picture two guys crammed into that?! It’s TINY!

There are a bunch of other tours, movies and such that you can go on as well. These were photos from just two locations, and not nearly everything. You can even TOUCH a moon rock. Did that. Yup. The whole thing was mind boggling.

I do have to mention. For lunch we went to the cafe and I was crazy surprised at their food quality. I had a Veggie Frittata and Brent had a Buffalo Chicken Flatbread. You had to see the salads that were coming out.

 

 

I DEFINITELY recommend going. It is located on Merritt Island, which is just a 45 minute drive from Orlando. It is worth it. I know I wouldn’t have the courage to get into one of those capsules at the top of a Rocket that large and hope I make it home. MADNESS.

 

Have you ever been to the Kennedy Space Center?? Would you ever get into a capsule attached to a ROCKET?!

Probably not for me. I would give a shuttle a try I think. I think.

 

The Happiest Place on Earth

To kick off everyone’s Wednesday, the dreaded hump day, I’m bring the happiest place on earth to you 🙂 I’ve been wanting to post a little break down of the disney parks for people traveling here on vacation simply because there are so many of them and lot of the time you can’t really seem to get to them all. So choices unfortunately need to be made.

My first stop on a day of disney is Animal Kingdom, always. It is the first park to close at night so you really need to make sure that you get this in during the day. It is more of a relaxing park than the others and it is so cool. The three main attractions (I would say) is the Safari Ride, the Bird Show and Mt Everest.

On the Safari Ride you ride on a small truck, with no sides or barriers to the animals through a Safari. Imagine that. You end up getting unbelievably close to the animals. And wild animals a that. Lions, giraffes, antelope, rhinos, flamingos, ostrich and tons more. Every time you ride it, it’s something a bit different because you can’t really predict the animals’ behavior. Here are just a few pictures that I have snapped on that ride 🙂

 

 

 

 

Baby Elephant 🙂

 

How cool?! And just so I don’t spoil it…I won’t post anymore but there are TONS more. It’s about a 20 minute ride. If you look at the picture of Brent and I you can see how open the truck really is.

 

So fun! This is definitely the highlight, I think of Animal Kingdom. Around the safari ride, there is also the exploration forest where you can just walk around and check out some more animals, the majority behind think glass…but still really cool. My favorite is the Okapi. I didn’t even know this animal existed until I saw it here. It looks like a zebra horse mix, but they assure you it’s not…

 

OKay…terrible picture…but check him out.

Some other guys you might see on this walk:

 

 

 

 

And then you have Mt Everest! I LOVE this ride. The first time I rode it I nearly peed myself. It is actually scary. The last time I went on this we actually rode it twice in a row and didn’t tell the people that were waiting for us…I know…mean…but it’s that good.

 

Give it a go if you like roller coasters. It’s fantastic.

Lastly, on my list of favs is the Birds of Flight. This is a bird show that is actually very impressive. The birds are trained to respond to the host of the show and makes jokes, dances and talks to the host. It’s really an impressive show. They have birds that come out and grab money from audience members too…naughty birds.

 

 

 

 

You don’t really realize how pretty and majestic the bald eagle is until you see it up close. It is crazy.

So I’ll leave you with just the little photo tour of Animal Kingdom 🙂 It’s one of my favorite parks simply because you can get so close to the animals. They are really cool up close.

 

 

 

Have you ever been to the disney parks? Are you more of a Safari ride kind of person or a Mt Everest??

 

When it comes down to it, roller coasters are my calling. After I go on one, I spend the rest of the time searching for the next big thrill!

 

 

 

Tampa Bay Devil Rays and a twist on a Grilled Cheese

I’m not really a fan of this back dating posting, but I have been running around each night, which is making it hard to get something up. BUT, today I have a valid excuse…or at least  I think so.

Yesterday morning, I got up and putzed around for a little while before Brent got here to go for a run. He wasn’t too excited, but we really needed to go for a short one. This run, Brent decided to take the lead and we just started running into the sunrise. We were goofing off a bit at the beginning of the run and then Brent just took off. I went off chasing him and at the end of the block he just abruptly stopped. When I asked him what we were doing, he said, “This is what I call INTENSE CONFUSION.” And yea, that’s exactly what it was, until he got us lost.

For lunch today, I wanted to give a grilled cheese a shot. But, I felt like a good source of protein was desperately needed after “Intense Confusion”. So this is what happened:

 

 

Ingredients:

1 Slice Honey Wheat Swirl Bread 1 Tablespoon Chives
1 Slice American Cheese 1 Tablespoon Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 Over Hard Egg

 

It’s pretty self explanatory on how to put this together, but I did grill the bread with some Vegan butter to toast it up like all o four favorite grilled cheeses. If you make it on a skillet, that’s where I think you get the best results.

After work, Brent and I went to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays game! I had never been to Tropicana field and was so excited to go! It had been on our bucket list for the summer, and we just squeaked in a game. The last one of the regular season. It is completely different than any other field in the majors. For one, it is covered. There are a few other covered fields, but they have the ability to open up. Tropicana does not.

 

Here’s a picture of the inside of the dome. It’s definitely a different game here. The players are playing balls off of the ceiling and the distance to the wall is a bit shorter, or at least it seems to be.

 

The stadium is smaller than anything that I have ever been to before. Even as far as seating. Brent and I had some pretty fantastic seats just behind the Orioles dugout. TWO ROWS BEHIND THEM! You could see the frustration in their faces as they ducked off into the dugout. It was crazy, because up close they really look like just your regular person but in your mind you know they aren’t. I mean they are professional baseball players that make millions.

 

 

 

 

I absolutely love going to baseball games in general. It’s just the whole atmosphere. The franks, the beers that go warm after five minutes, the crackerjack, the whole crowd getting into the game and just about everything about the game. I love it.

For a little snack, I ended up getting some crackerjacks. I don’t remember the last time that I had them! What happened to the fun box of crackerjacks?! Why is it just a normal bag?? Not so fun.

But they still had a prize 🙂 I’ll share with you the jokes in the box because I thought they were little goodies:

  • Why do sharks only swim in salt water??

 

Because pepper water would make them sneeze!

  • Why was the frog happy??

 

Because he ate everything that bugged him!

Hahaha!

Brent, is a hot dog kind of guy. I HAD to get a picture of this sucker. It looked like a freaking rainbow on a footlong.

When it comes to snacks, I know there are the staples that parks need to have. But I have always thought that they should have a veggie option. Picture it, sticks of carrots, peppers, and celery sticking out of the french fry container with ranch as a dipping sauce! I can totally see it! Ball Parks, if you are reading this….get on it!

The little kid next to us actually got picked to play one of the games between innings. He lost, but they closed his eyes, everybody cheered and we made him think he won. CUTIEEEEE.

Look at the nugget!

The game overall was a goodie. The Rays ended up winning, pretty much because Longoria had 3 homers. Other than that there really wasn’t any offense by both teams.

There really aren’t any bad seats in the arena because it is such a small place. I really can’t argue with sitting behind the dugout though. I can see how the field wouldn’t be the players favorite. But, not having to worry about the rain and all of the crazy weather of Tampa is a serious plus. Fun Fact: Florida is the lightning capital of the country and Tampa seems to be the hub of that. There were over 1500 deaths due to lightning strikes in Florida. The number two…Michigan at around 700.

In case you were wondering, Africa has the highest in the world. I’m sure you weren’t but I figured I would throw it out there 🙂

 What are your favorite baseball fields?? My favorite just may be Fenway, even though I am a Yankees fan 🙂 

Berry Overnight Oats and Wekiwa Springs

Yesterday morning, I took the pups for a 2 mile walk just to tire them out before I ventured off to work. By the time I got back, I was DYING for some breakfast. I had whipped up some overnight oats the previous night and pulled that out of the fridge. As a rule of thumb for making them quickly, sin recipe, I use:

  • 1/3 Cup Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 Cup Yogurt
  • 1/3 Cup Milk

For this one, I used Almond Milk and Silk Vanilla Yogurt. Vegan Friendly 🙂

In the morning I topped it off with frozen strawberries that had been warmed in the microwave, 1/2 Banana and my Homemade Granola (I’m not kidding that it made a TON).

I added some cinnamon and Chia seeds to the mix the previous night. I LOVE adding the frozen berries that are heated up on the oats because it adds a natural sweetness and gives it a ton of flavor. I didn’t add any sweetener to this and it really doesn’t need it.

This is just a second example of a berry Overnight Oats. It has the same base as the previous one, but on top are previously frozen blueberries and fresh raspberries. Yum. Yum.

Work was cut short at the office today because it was the docs birthday, so I left a little early and got the chance to FINALLY go to Wekiwa Springs. I have never been but have been dying to give it a try.

Wekiwa Springs is a National Park located just north of Orlando. So if you are in the area, you are talking a 20 minute ride. It is absolutely beautiful. They have a whole bunch of things that you can do in the park, including Hiking, Swimming, Kayaking, Horse Back Riding, Mountain Biking, Camping and I’m sure I’m missing much more. It is $6.00 per car to enter the grounds but once you enter, there are no other fees.

They have tons of maps to grab on your way to prevent you from getting lost, THANK YOU. The trails range from under a mile to over 13 miles. We chose the Orange trail, which was 5.3 miles considering we only had a short amount of time before the park closed and it was dark.

To get on the trail, you pass one of the springs, which was so pretty.

I could definitely spend a dat here. They also have a lazy river that you can just float along all day. Rough life. Next time, the lazy river.

The trail was covered in sand the majority of the way. But the trees and grasses changed just about every half mile. Drastically.

Anyone feel like a movie??

At some points, I really felt like Jurassic park could have been filmed here…picture a dino peeping it’s head over this…

Right??! Maybe?!

On the hike, we saw TONS of deer. We saw a few doe, and 1 MASSIVE BUCK. He was so close to us too! I have never seen one that up close, with massive antlers. I’m from the north and saw deer all the time, but it was actually really cool to be standing 10 feet away from them. The only deer I caught a picture of was this little doe hiding in the bushes.

See it?? Haha, not really the greatest picture of a deer, but what can I say…

There were tons of grasshoppers, squirrels and the usual things you would expect. AND THEN THIS THING:

That…you couldn’t miss. It was MASSIVE. I had trouble getting a picture of it because my camera kept focusing on the trees behind it…but Brent said it was a Banana Spider. Normally, I don’t believe him right away because he has a habit of just saying things so matter of fact that he really sounds like he knows what he is talking about. I have found, that my friend, is not always the case.

In this case, he was completely correct. That is EXACTLY what it was. Apparently they aren’t poisonous but will bite you. Mer.

Overall, the hike was FANTASTIC. I was great cross training for the half marathon and was a great time. The pups were exhausted by the end of it, which is never a bad thing. Just be careful with the ticks. They are definitely out in full force.

Rock N Run 5K and DeSoto Park

This weekend started off with a bang at the Rock N Run 5K in Casselberry. It was Brent’s first official race and our first run to jumpstart the half marathon training. I woke up on Saturday at 6am, which wasn’t easy and started to get ready for the race. I am big into eating as soon as I wake up, nor before a workout. But, I knew I had to eat something, so for a pre-race snack I had half of a Nature Granola Bar.

We arrived at the race at 645 and Brent was immediately taken back by how many people were showing up for this thing. There wasn’t too much time before the race.

While lining up, Brent wanted to stand at the 10+ minute marker thinking he really wasn’t going to run much faster than that. So that’s where we ended up.

You could tell he was a bit nervous, but excited at the same time. After all, the races here really aren’t true races. People go just to have a good time and get some exercise in. They are great for any athletic ability.

My goal going into the day was to be under 30 minutes. The race itself was a challenge. By the time we hit the mile mark there were already people starting their THIRD mile! That was just about 10 minutes in! I haven’t looked at what the top times were, but seriously?!

The third mile was definitely a challenge for both of us. There was a slight incline and we were just about dead tired. Towards the end, runners who had already finished were walking back out to the course to cheer the rest of us on. It really gave you the motivation to push through and run that much harder.

I ended up finishing at 29:20! It was 35th in my division! I was really pumped about that! Brent came in 50th in his division and finished with a solid 32 minutes! When Brent came in I had to snap a few photos!

(We started a little over a minute after the clock started)

Exhausted but really pumped he finished!

(My face isn’t that red right??)

After the race they were handing out ice cold waters. THANK YOU! Just what we needed. They also had a bunch of tents set up with information about all the different sponsors. The most important being Track Shack. 🙂 For all of the Orlando locals, Track Shack is the organizer for this run and many others. They also have a store on Mills Ave where you can get your run analyzed in order to make sure you buy the best running shoes for your body. FANTASTIC.

My favorite booth was the Banana Booth! A perfect snack post run!

Overall, fantastic way to start off the weekend.

This morning we ventured off to St Petersburg with the puppies. We stopped at Einstein Bros Bagels and picked up some Bfast. I ended up with an Veggie Schmear, with a eggs and cheddar cheese on an everything flat bagel, YUM.

Oreo sat in the front and stuck her head out the window for the majority of the way.

She looks hilarious with the wind blowing in her face.

In St. Pete, we went to DeSoto Beach, which is a Dog Beach that allows your dogs to be off leash! Absolutely amazing. I think all beaches should allow dogs. They just have the best time running and playing fetch in the water and the people are free to just sit in the sand and sun themselves. What’s better than that?!

I didn’t end up snapping any pictures, but Brent says that’s just motivation for us to go back. For your enjoyment, this is one of my favorite pictures of Oreo in the water as a pup…

It was her first time out there 🙂

On the way back, we stopped at Publix to grab a snack. I ended up with some Pasta Salad, Fruit, and a Hummus Snack Cup.

The pasta salad was actually extremely good.

Bacon and Oreo were EXHAUSTED. The best kind of dog.

Tonight, is going to be really low key. I’m going to make some Overnight Oatmeal because I’ve got an early morning tomorrow and some tea!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!