San Francisco Botanical Garden Series, pt. 5

Well, we’ve come to the end of the summer, and on Monday, Cracker Sisters will be returning to its regular posting schedule. There is just one last collection of pictures from the San Francisco Botanical Gardens to share with you. Have a fun Labor Day weekend.









See you on Monday!


Recap from Virginia

Dear Kristen,

I would agree with your assessment of our trip: fabulous!  Our summer has been a crazy one. (Something that I might feel up to explaining some other day.  But not today.)  So in contrast to the craziness that was Summer ’13, the trip to Florida was one of the highlights.

1.  Was it hot?  Yes.  But not as hot as it COULD have been.  When we were in upstate New York this summer, a heat wave came through.  It was in the 90s and there was no air conditioning, so Florida with air conditioning was a breeze!  And Munchkin loved being out and about, so that was awesome.

2. Thunderstorms? Yes.  Classic and wonderful.

3. I didn’t get sunburnt…..BUT one thing we don’t share is skin type.  AND I had the advantage for spending the previous week at Myrtle.  Sorry about your burn….

4. Beach time is always wonderful.


5. Restaurants.  So you forgot to mention Mamma Fu’s, a personal favorite of mine.


And the Munchkin and I made the effort to stop at Cracker Barrel on the way home, as well.  She’s a grits fan (awesome!) but not a dumplins fan (incredulous shock!).  This reality does not bode well for me passing on my favorite meal there – Chicken and Dumplins.  Two sides? Dumplins and Dumplins.


So overall, a delightful time!  It was good to see you and everyone.

And now its back to normalcy: preparing for school and autumn.

San Francisco Botanical Garden Series, pt. 4

Let’s continue our tour through the garden, shall we? The weather today is a bit cooler though still bright, and I can almost imagine the months of cool, damp grayness we have coming up. Enjoy!





Hmm, where’s my umbrella got to?

Link to the next entry in the series.


Dear Erin,

It was so wonderful spending last week with you and the Munchkin and the family more generally back in the Sunshine State. Your daughter’s a hoot in person, especially her obsession with dancing. And if you want to keep practicing my name as Aunt Kiki, that’s okay with me. She can be a member of the exclusive club that gets to call me that.

Everyone’s been asking how the trip went, so I’ve been thinking about how to answer the question, beyond “fine” or “good,” and this is what I’ve come up with. See if your experience lines up.

1. It was hot. This is not a surprise, as it was Florida in August, but it makes for a good conversation starter around here, where heat above 85 is worthy of note. So it’s quite gratifying to get more specific (“It was in the high nineties with a heat index of over 100 degrees”) and see how impressed people get. Of course, then you have to deflate it and admit that no one goes out in that heat if they can avoid it, so we spent most of every day inside.

2. We had a couple of lovely thunderstorms. You know it’s a good one when it knocks the power out, and you’re lying in your dark bedroom watching the light show outside through the blinds, feeling sorry for the terrified dog down the hall, and wondering vaguely if this will be the storm that takes out one of the old live oaks that surround the house. Not that this is a likely scenario; it’s just one that occurs to people with an overactive imagination and trouble falling asleep.

3. I got sunburnt. Yes, I know better. Yes, it was primarily vanity that led to the situation. Yes, it hurt and now it’s peeling a little. End of story.

4. Went to the beach.



A warm, sunny morning with just a little breeze. The water was nice and cool, and the sand was soon significantly more crowded than it is in this picture. It being the last hurrah of summer before the kids in and around Jax had to go back to school, there were tons of children having a great time.

This particular day, I did cover myself liberally in sunscreen, wear a hat and sit in the shade as much as possible. A woman can learn from her mistakes.

5. And, finally, all those restaurants I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Well, I got to some and not to others, but those that were hit were the important ones: Cracker Barrel, Publix fried chicken, and Firehouse Subs. Never got down to Gainesville, so none of those made the list. And, as for BBQ, there was no need to go out, as Dad can make ribs that rival or surpass any you can buy at a restaurant. What with that and the fabulous mac and cheese you made, and the southern-style green beans Mom put together, I feel like my gastronomical vacation was entirely successful and satisfying.

In short, I had a fabulous visit, and I hope you and the Munchkin did, too.

Upcoming Autumn Events, pt. 2

Dear Kristen,

Guess what?  You’re in the room next to me, not across the continent!  Pretty excellent.  And isn’t it fun that Munchkin is providing entertainment by dressing herself?


Reading your last post, I’ve been considering our line-up for the fall as well.  What will we watch? What will we do?  What projects will I attempt to accomplish but never actually finish?  Well, here is THE LIST as it stands now.  (I’m sure it will change by this afternoon.)

1. Watching: I’ve really not missed the television this summer, though I’m sure when the fall season begins, I will enjoy them as much as the next person.  As of now, I’d say our line-up will include Castle, Top Gear, and NCIS.  Elementary is a possibility, but staying up past 9:30 can be challenging, so I may resort to On Demand for that one.  One thing that will NOT be On Demand is football.  Gator games on Saturday and Redskins on Sunday (or Monday).  Munchkin has been practicing her cheering skills all summer and can do the Gator chomp and touchdown dance with the best of them.  Now we just need her to learn to say “RG3” and we’ll be set.  It’ll be an awesome season!  (Hopefully.)

2. Doing: These things that we’ll be doing are exciting really only for us.

  • Potty training – I’m preparing for some dramatic moments.
  • Teaching government – I’m preparing for some dramatic moments.
  • Fixing our yard (which was messed up a lot this summer) – I’m preparing for some dramatic moments.
  • Doing ministry together as a family – I’m preparing for wonderful moments.

3. Projects I will attempt to complete.  Attempt is the operative word, since there really is never enough time in the day.

  • Baby blankets – I’m behind.  The babies will be crawling before they get their blankets at the rate I’m going.
  • Munchkin’s Christmas stocking – this does have a definitive deadline that is looming….
  • Some more sewing projects for the Munchkin, like this wrap.

That really doesn’t seem quite unmanageable now that I’ve written them out!  That’s exciting!  But I think I will not wish its fast approach too much and I’ll milk the summer for all that its worth.