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Welcome to Summer in Central Florida

A time for us all to kick back, take things a bit slower, and let the heat of the day be our guide. Solivita is settling in to a quiet time, the snowbirds have flown the nest and we can all settle into warm afternoons relaxing at the pool, fishing in the ponds, and quiet evenings shared with friends and family. The days are easy and the Solivita events less crowded. I love the winter and all the fun and action the snowbirds bring to Solivita and Central Florida, but I find this time of the year a great time to recharge my batteries and enjoy the quiet beauty of our surroundings. The garden is happy, although it does require a lot of water and love, it is bountiful and is a big part of the reason we relocated to Florida.



Solivita has a flourishing Community Garden downtown near the Ballroom. It is the perfect place to grow produce, learn new garden tricks, and make friends. In the past we had lots of luck with our plot and met lots of great folks while tending our garden. In fact, our yield last year was so large that upon leaving the garden each day we followed a delivery route and shared our produce with friends and family. The Solivita Community Garden is the best, the beds are raised, water is accessible, fellow garden members are always quick to help with any questions or concerns and surrounding the garden is a fence, so our local four-legged friends do not eat our produce before we do.


Life in Solivita is a pleasure, there is always something to do and someone to share the fun with. If gardening is not your thing, no worries, Solivita has over 200 clubs to join, pools to enjoy, golf courses to play on, state of the art exercise facilities, walking trails, running tracks, tennis, basketball, fishing, seminars, classes, movies, entertainment, plus, much more. Solivita is a wonderful place to live, play, and work (if you choose), while enjoying all the benefits of life in the sunshine of Central Florida. We invite you to experience our beautiful community, meet the neighbors, ask questions and enjoy a few days of life as a local. It is easy and affordable, just visit our website, and check out Discovery Days. Call me, together we will arrange for your visit and accommodations in Solivita. I will be happy to show you the next step to uncovering how wonderful life in Solivita is. Let the adventure begin!

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Day Trip Time – Memorial Day Monday

As the days become longer and the temperatures rise; I find myself longing for a day at the beach. A perfect summer day with the wind gently blowing, the surf calm, and the water warm. We are going to take a day off and drive over to Cocoa Beach for the day. An easy drive from Solivita. I am Looking forward to spending the morning on the beach and the afternoon enjoying a fresh fish sandwich. A perfect day in the Florida sun. Blue sky, no dishes, no clean up, no fuss, a day of pure enjoyment. Lee and I are taking off on our own and running away for the day. We are going to bring an empty cooler with us and hope to return with some delicious Florida fresh fish. We wish you all a Memorial Day filled with joy and beauty.

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National Wine Day

Memorial Day in Solivita preceded by National Wine Day

Memorial Day Weekend starts with National Wine Day on May 25th. Apparently, Wine Day was declared a National Holiday awhile back, but with my busy work schedule, I am only hearing about it now. Do not misunderstand me, it is not wine that I am just hearing about, but rather the national holiday. The literature states National Wine Day should not be confused with National Drink Wine Day, another holiday not on my calendar but certainly one I will embrace next year. Wine is a good way to kick off the Memorial Day weekend celebration. So, in the spirit of the holiday, Lee and I will buy a bottle of wine and send GOOD HEALTH and GOOD WISHES to all of you from Bella Verde Realty Team, in Solivita, and from our favorite wine bar; Vintage Vino in downtown Kissimmee.

We love to go to downtown Kissimmee. We enjoy the events; the parades, street fairs, music on weekends, nice restaurants, a walk in the park, and a good glass of wine at Vintage Vino. John has been running Vintage Vino, a casual local spot, for 10 years; he is a great host, knowledgeable and fun to share an evening with. The Wine Bar is unique and the perfect place to start a night, end a night or spend a night. The atmosphere is inviting, and the wine selection inspired. Try a glass of wine, a flight of wine, a charcuterie platter, or schedule a wine class with John. Lee and I have gone to school at Vintage Vino, it is fun, tasty and at the end instead of you making the grade, you grade the wine. We purchased a few bottles of wine after our last class and together enjoyed every drop. We are fortunate, Vintage Vino is only a short drive from Solivita and a great place to kick back and relax with friends. You can visit John in downtown Kissimmee or on his website at


A few Fun Wine Facts to share on National Wine Day

  1. If you drink wine for antioxidants, note wine only has 1/10 of the antioxidants of soy sauce, but who wants to drink soy sauce.
  2. The states of FLORIDA, NEW YORK and CALIFORNIA lead the U.S. in wine consumption.
  3. Not all wines improve with age, unlike all of us living life in Solivita.

I am passing along some good advice I received a long time ago. Unfortunately, the source is unknown, but the advice is good: Wine a little and laugh a lot.

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Memorial Day

Now that Wine Day has kicked off the weekend right, it is time to truly celebrate and remember those who have died in service to our nation. It is the day each year Americans pay tribute to the brave men and woman who gave their life for the freedoms we enjoy every day. Growing up, our small town held an annual Memorial Day Parade. The veteran’s organizations would march, the local high school band would strike up a tune, the scout troops would put on their uniforms and pay tribute to our veterans. Our local clubs and organizations would build floats, carry banners, pass out water, and decorate the park for the big town BBQ celebration held at Veteran’s Field. A wonderful salute to the memory of our brave soldiers. Memorial Day always began in prayer at the cemetery, followed by a gun salute at the Veteran’s Memorial. My dad was a proud Korean War Veteran and every Memorial Day he would put on his uniform and march in respect and gratitude to the soldiers that no longer could. For one day a year, the entire town would join in honor of our nation and gather in remembrance. It is with many thanks that today we honor and salute each soldier and their families for the sacrifices they made to give us the freedom we enjoy today.

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Mother’s Day

According to the Calendar, the month of May has three big Holidays. Mother’s Day on May 12th, National Wine Day on May 25th and Memorial Day on May 27th. Wine Day? Sounds like a great day for wine producers and wine lovers alike, although I am not quite sure any of us need to dedicate a day to celebrate wine.

The Bella Verde Team wishes every mom a happy and healthy Mother’s Day. We are going to enjoy a Mother’s Day brunch this year with my mom and, although my mom makes an awesome cheesecake, I am in charge and am making a delicious no-bake cheesecake for dessert. The cheesecake recipe follows; and I must say I love this cake, it is easy, light, and flavorful, especially when served with fresh Florida fruit. It will be a sweet ending to a delicious Mother’s Day celebration.

Makes 10 Light and Luscious Servings

Mother’s Day Cheesecake

30 vanilla wafers

3/4 c. roasted, salted almonds

4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 c. plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

1 3/4 c. cold heavy cream

1 (0.25-oz.) envelope unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. Kosher salt



  1. Pulse wafers and almonds in a food processor until finely ground, 12 to 14 times. Add butter and 2 tablespoons sugar; pulse until well combined. Press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Freeze 20 minutes or up to 1 day.
  2. Pour cream in a medium saucepan; sprinkle gelatin over top. Let stand 10 minutes. Cook cream mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved, 4 to 6 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
  3. In a clean food processor, process yogurt, cream cheese, vanilla, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar until smooth, about 1 minute. Add cream mixture and process until well combined.
  4. Pour filling into crust and smooth with a rubber spatula. Cover pan with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 2 days.

I top this delicious cheesecake with fresh strawberries, blueberries and a bit of mint from my garden.