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Florida Fun in February

February not only brings beautiful weather but, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.   These are all reasons to Celebrate, but we live in a 55 Plus Community in Beautiful, Sunny, Central Florida, making every day a reason to celebrate.  The activities in Solivita, Celebration, Reunion and our surrounding communities fill all our days and our calendars.  In addition to planned activities, Florida has great parks, beaches, lakes, and ponds; all providing opportunities for outdoor fun.  

February is Strawberry Season and this year the berries are especially sweet and juicy.  From Late December through March, Central Florida produces close to 300 million pounds of strawberries, most grown within a 20-mile radius of Plant City.  Plant City is a quick 45-minute drive from Solivita.  Central Florida is known as the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World; and Florida Strawberries are World Class.  You can visit Plant City for Strawberries, Strawberry Shortcake, and Strawberries with Ice Cream, or you can stop by the local fruit and vegetable stand and pick these berries up fresh from the garden.    

We are going to visit Universal Studios in Orlando and celebrate Mardi Gras this year; a quick trip from Solivita.   Universal puts on a big celebration including big-name concerts, a Mardi Gras Parade with Street Performers, Bands, and Cajun and Creole Cuisine.  

For Valentine’s Week we are going to visit the Space Coast for the Seafood and Music Fest.  The Space Coast is a quick drive from Solivita.  One of the great things about life in Central Florida is that we are no more than 1.5 hours from either coast, and Central Florida is out of the way of coastal storms.  The Space Coast Seafood and Music Fest is an annual event; and there will not only be great seafood but some wonderful performers, including Willie Nelson, Don McLean, the Wailers, and the Los Lonely Boys.  Please visit the festival website at:  www.portcanaveralseafoodandmusicfestival.com

February 16 – 18th also brings Central Florida the Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee.  This year will be the 140th Silver Spurs Rodeo Show attracting cowboys on the pro-circuit and bringing Central Florida a great show featuring bull riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and team roping.  A fun event for you and for visiting grandchildren, as the Rodeo Clowns come out and perform for fun too.  Children under Age 10 are free.  A nice evening or afternoon out within 20 minutes of Solivita.

On February 17th the Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Festival is held in Tampa at the Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive.  Another Great Event.  Live Music, 60 Beers on Tap, 40 Bourbons and Lots of BBQ.  So much is going on we cannot make all the events, but this is certainly a great list to choose from.

Sprinkled in between the men in our family have a golf outing in Mount Dora while the ladies are going to the spa, do a bit of shopping and enjoy a nice lunch.    Although this month has not been as warm as other years, the cooler temperatures did not slow us down.  

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Florida Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients: 2/3 Cup Sugar 1/4 Tsp.  Salt 1/2 Cup Butter or shortening 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour 1 Large Egg 2 Tsp. Baking Powder 1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract 1/2 Cup Milk Whipped Cream   2 Pints or More Fresh Strawberries, Sliced and Sweetened with some sugar.  I leave the berries to sit overnight so that juices begin to flow.   If your berries do not get juicy, add a bit of jam to a pot and melt it over the berries.  I do not sweeten and slice all the berries, as I save some unsweetened and unsliced berries for the garnish. Cream the sugar and butter or shortening.  Add egg and vanilla, beat well.  Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with milk to the creamed mixture.  Spread evenly in a greased 9” Square Baking Pan. Beat the Heavy Cream, you can sweeten with a bit of sugar and add a touch of vanilla too, your decision.  Beat into soft peaks and refrigerate until ready to use.  Make this within 1 hour of serving. Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.  Cut cooled shortcake into nine servings.  Split each serving horizontally and fill with whipped cream and strawberries.  Replace top of cake and garnish with more berries and another dollop of whipped cream.  Serve immediately.  
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Local, Delicious, Mexican in Hanes City

La Fiesta Mexicana

Very Local, Very Good Mexican.  Come hungry in your shorts, tee shirts, jeans, and sandals.  This restaurant is casual, clean and the service is friendly and quite good, a perfect Casual Dinner you do not have to cook.  The Chips and Salsa are fresh, and I personally think the Guacamole served here is the best I have had since Mexico.    The beer is ice cold and everything we have ever ordered has been served hot and delicious.  The mole is outstanding, the sauces are flavorful, and we have enjoyed every enchilada, burrito, and fajita that has come to our table.    Bring a Group or come alone, however do not miss giving this local gem a try.

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READY FOR A RECLINER?

Florida decorating is light, airy, bright, colorful, and comfortable.  I love the comfort of a Recliner, but strongly dislike the look. Recently while shopping, I found myself in a furniture store.  While wandering around I experienced an epiphany of sorts.  The new recliners are sure not the recliners of my youth, they are sleek, stylish, and quite comfortable.   Got me thinking, what a nice addition a recliner would be in our home. Glad to say, our Solivita Floorplan is generous, providing room for a reading/relaxing spot in our master bedroom and the chair on the left would be a perfect fit. I love the look of Urban Modern and Mid-Century Design and this comfortable chair, paired with a small table, and a floor lamp will be a nice touch. A great place to relax with a book, kick my shoes off, do a bit of research, edit some listings, or just enjoy a few peaceful moments in the quiet of our Central Florida Home. Time to look at the fabric selection and do a bit of Shopping…..

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Why Using a Realtor When Building a Home is Worth It!

Think you don’t need a Realtor representing you when you are shopping new construction, think again.  Your Realtor is the Pro On Your Side during the Entire Process.  From floor plan to lot choice, I will be your eyes and ears and help you avoid unexpected issues that can arise when building a new home.  It is important to have an experienced, knowledgeable professional on your side, even if the process seems straightforward.

Your realtor will assist with negotiations, after all, that is what realtors do for a living. Your Realtor will be with you from start to finish assisting you with the builder.  When I work with clients building new homes, I meet each client at the Sales Center, answer questions that arise while choosing floor plans, finishes, colors, materials, etc. and I share my wealth of knowledge to assist you in building the home of your dreams.   I will review your contract, be on site for all inspections, and keep a watch over your new build.  I am the third party representing your interests in this transaction and I will provide insight into deadlines, contractual changes, and I make sure that you and your investment are fully protected throughout the entire process.  

There are many choices to be made when building a new home and I will advise you of smart upgrade choices.  Sure, you want upgrades, we all want upgrades, and the builders sure love to sell upgrades, but not all upgrades are created equal.  I will point you toward the upgrades that will get you the most “bang for your buck” when it comes to resale value; and I will be happy to point you in the right direction when it comes to finishes that pay off on a resale.  

Don’t forget, everyone at the Sales Center is Polite, Friendly, and happy to work with you, but remember, they work for the builder, I on the other hand work for you.  Before you visit the Sales Center give me a call and I will be happy to arrange an appointment with you.