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Swimming In Our Pools

Swimming is a really good idea, especially as the temps are keeping us good and toasty in Central Florida. Whenever I think it is too hot, I call my NY friends and hear that the temps are about the same there, but the AC in most NYC homes is not as efficient as our AC in Solivita. So, a walk to the pool, followed by an early morning swim, before the sun is too high in the sky, is the perfect start to a day in Solivita during the pandemic. Certainly, a better start to the day than taking the subway to the YMCA, or walking to the corner to catch the express bus to the city to get to work. Every day in Solivita is a good day, even these days. We are all finding ways to enjoy the peace and beauty of our community and I invite you to come to Solivita and experience our community for yourself and be SOLIVITA STRONG with us.

Whatever you are doing to get through the long COVID-19 Days, may you be blessed with sunshine and hope.....We will get through this!
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Love Your Landscape

Are you tired of working in the house, why not love your landscape and make a few changes to your garden? We are lucky in Solivita, our HOA and landscapers take care of the mundane landscaping chores, by maintaining our lawns, trimming our trees and bushes, chipping and edging our planting beds, and shaping our landscape; but as a homeowner we can plant, decorate and make easy, pleasing changes to our landscape. Recently, with friends, we designed a small garden patio and now enjoy morning coffee in our new garden while the sounds of our new fountain bubble away. It is pleasant, easy to maintain, and a new space to visit with neighbors and friends as they stroll by on their daily walks. Plus, we have found our new garden space to not only be a great spot for our enjoyment, but an enhancement to our property value as well. Seems like this garden improvement is a WIN, WIN for us.

At my mom’s house, we all went to work and added a few colorful flowers, some attractive pots, removed a few bushes, and added solar lights. All in a day’s work, and now not only is her landscape colorful, but her pathways shine brightly in the evening too. All Small changes that have a huge impact.
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Or Take a Walk in the Park

Lake Lotus Park is a one mile easy walk on the Raised Boardwalk. This park is in the City of Altamonte Springs and is a well-maintained nature preserve. About 35 miles from Solivita, the park has a diverse bird population, lots of water views and plenty of well shaded areas. The total area is approximately 150 acres and includes 120 acres of woods and wetlands. The city of Altamonte Springs purchased this property to maintain the unique ecosystem and has preserved the area from developers. This park is a treasure and makes for a nice morning walk. This park is open Thursday to Sundays. A great way to spend a morning or an afternoon!
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Social Distancing Fun!

Remember the Drive-In Movies of your Youth?. I remember them fondly, my Mom and Dad would pack a cooler, put us in our PJ’s and load us up in our Chevy Wagon for a family night of fun. I can still feel the anticipation, Mom would let us choose our snacks and our drinks, she would make sandwiches, pack blankets and pillows, and together we would drive to the local theater. Our Drive-In Theatre was the Route 46 Drive-In, only one mile from our home, and it was a night we always looked forward to. Now that I look back on those evenings, I see the method to my parent’s madness was not to entertain us, but rather to get us to go to sleep so they could enjoy a movie in peace. It worked, we had fun, and were asleep about the time the skies darkened, and mom and dad’s plan of a quiet evening came together. With COVID-19, it seems like now is the perfect time to revisit an old favorite activity.

I hear that the Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre is the perfect, safe, evening out. You can visit the Silver Moon Theater at 4100 New Tampa Highway in Lakeland or visit their website at Enjoy a movie, purchase a few VERY INEXPENSIVE snacks, and have a fun night out while social distancing, just remember to bring the bug spray. The Drive-In, so I’ve heard, is quite busy, but a fun night out in the safety of your own CHEVY?! I think this OLD IDEA may be catching on. Florida has quite a few Drive-In Theatres in Operation, but the closest one to Solivita is the Silver Moon Drive In Lakeland. If you are up for a bit more of a drive, visit the Ocala Drive-In or the Fun Lan Drive-In in Tampa.
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Tired of Cooking? Take it Outside and Enjoy a Lanai Lunch

Last week we enjoyed most of our meals chilled or room temperature. Easy to make, easy clean-up and a good meal on a hot day.

Mexican Shrimp, Perfect dinner for two

1 Pound Large Shrimp, shelled and deveined with tails removed.
Kosher Salt
½ TSP baking soda
6 TBSP fresh lime juice (about 8 or 9 limes)
2 TBSP Fresh Orange Juice
1 Cup diced onion
¾ cups tomato puree
½ cup ketchup
3 TBSP chopped cilantro
1 Jalapeno or Serrano Pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
1 Avocado
Hot Sauce, if you like it spicy

In a large bowl, toss shrimp with 1 tsp kosher salt and baking soda until evenly coated. Transfer to the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together 4 TBSP lime juice with onion, tomato puree, ketchup, cilantro, orange juice and the jalapeno.
In a medium pot, combine 2 Qts of cold water with remaining 2 TBSP lime juice and 1 TSP Kosher salt. Add shrimp, set over medium high heat, and cook, stir occasionally, water temperature should be 170F on an instant read thermometer, and shrimp are just cooked through.
Drain cooked shrimp, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Cut shrimp into ½ inch pieces. Add shrimp to bowl with sauce and toss to combine. Taste. Add more lime juice, salt and if you like it hot a bit of hot sauce..
Serve with butter lettuce, sliced Avocado and lime wedges.
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What are you doing during the Covid Outbreak? “Survey Says:”

“Staying Home, Hiding in the house under my blanket, Socially Distancing, Isolating myself in the Cool of our Air Conditioned Home, Ordering Groceries on line and eating way too much, Shopping on Amazon, Reading Book after Book, Binge watching the news until I couldn’t stand it one more minute, now watching endless reruns of Gilligan’s Island and Green Acres, Cleaning everything, dusting, endlessly washing floors, counters, and clothing, painting the house inside and out, planting a garden, tending my orchids, knitting, sewing, sleeping, baking, enjoying many rides in my golf cart and walks through every neighborhood in town”. Just when we thought it would be safe to dip our toes back into life in Florida, seems the virus has another idea. Cases are again climbing, so it may be time to Wash Your Hands, Reread this paragraph and Repeat. Whatever you do, please do it safely.

Everyone I spoke to agrees, and you know how hard it is to get everyone to agree to anything, but everyone did agree that living in Solivita through the Pandemic has been a positive experience. Of course, everyone is worried and stressed but all agree We are in a beautiful, peaceful community with no need to risk our health. We have lots of lovely places to walk, we can play golf, swim, work out, garden, and visit our neighbors at a safe distance. We have friends and family in NY and NJ and they all agree “they have been through the ringer”. One of our friends lives near George Washington Cemetery in Paramus, NJ and said there were so many freshly dug graves, it was impossible to drive past the gates without crying.

In our Solivita Bubble we remain safe and life has been good. We too are wearing masks, endlessly washing our hands, our counters, our doorknobs, and socially distancing; but our neighbors are finding great ways to still be social. Small Groups of friends and neighbors gather for parties in their driveways, on their front lawns and in their outdoor lanais. We have friends who pack their picnic baskets and meet on their golf carts in the Solivita Park to catch up with each other and enjoy the beauty of our environment. Solivita is blessed with beautiful lakes and ponds, conservation areas and abundant wildlife. Recently a flock of peacocks joined our large and beautiful Solivita bird population. They are a beautiful sight and, as a Solivita Resident of 20 years, a sight I have not enjoyed here before. Although we are not sure if our new peacock residents are here to stay or just passing by, they surely are a welcome addition to our community.

The Solivita Realtors have kept busy, home sales are brisk. We are all wearing masks when out working, and our office is open by appointment only. We are showing homes while following the Rules set forth by the CDC, plus showing homes virtually. We are finding lots of buyers and sellers are happily embracing Virtual Technology and grateful that we offer this safe plan. If you are looking for a home, or looking to sell your home, now is the time. Inventory is low and demand is high. Lots of folks have decided to leave the large cities and relocate to suburban areas in advance of the next wave of Corona Virus; all this is helping to drive sales. Call one of our Realtors today to find your slice of Paradise and join us in the Safety and Beauty of Solivita.
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Sales in Solivita

Amazing. When the Coronavirus started we all braced for a slow-down in our housing market, but the reverse has occurred. Homes are selling briskly in Solivita. We did a highly unscientific survey of our current sales and find that many of our sales are being generated by folks moving down from the big cities. In the winter months it is typical for us to see sales spike as snow and ice storms ravage the northeast and mid-west, but this year we are seeing an exodus from the big cities, Indianapolis, NYC, Milwaukee, Boston, and Hartford to name a few. We are happy to welcome all our new neighbors to Solivita, a beautiful, safe community in Central Florida. We are here to respond to any questions or concerns you may have and as always happy to assist you with selling or buying a new home. We have nine licensed realtors, all living in Solivita, ready to assist you.
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Strawberries from Florida are Delicious!

Lee and I use them in everything from Salads to Chilled Soups to Drinks. Below is one of the latest drinks we are brewing up and enjoying. This is the easiest recipe we have ever published, leaving no excuse not to make this one.

Strawberry Liqueur Recipe

2 Pound Strawberries, cleaned and sliced
2 Cups Vodka, Your Favorite Brand
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Water

To make this Delicious Summer Liqueur or Strawberry Vodka follow the below instructions.

In a large jar that closes tightly add the sliced strawberries and cover with the vodka. Stir to combine. Place in a dark cupboard or closet for 20 days (or less if you can’t wait), remember to twirl the jar to mix every two days. Lee and I have whipped this up in as quickly as 10 days, but the longer the fruit infuses the more strawberry flavor will develop.

After 20 days has passed, make the syrup. In a medium pot add the sugar and water. Heat over medium heat until the mixture boils, stir often, and once boiling lower the heat and cook for 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

Strain the alcohol from the strawberries into a clean jar or bottle with a tightfitting lid. Dispose of the strawberries. Add the cooled syrup and stir to combine. Close the jar and refrigerate before serving. This can also be stored in the freezer.

The flavor profiles can be changed simply by reducing the sugar content. If you do not make the simple syrup, you will have Strawberry Vodka, Also Delicious. We add a squeeze of lime and enjoy the Strawberry Vodka over ice or mixed with some club soda. This makes a refreshing summer drink on a hot day.

We serve the liqueur at the end of a meal in the summer months. If you are into cream desert drinks, add a touch of milk or cream to a shaker, mix the Liqueur and pour into a glass and serve over ice. We Hope you Enjoy this simple summer taste from our table to yours. We are at the end Florida’s Strawberry Season, but Blueberries are tumbling into our markets now. It is Time to experiment, I will let you know how it all turns out. To be continued…….
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Looking for a Change, Try a New Color

It appears that after six years, Cool Gray is fading out and warmer tones including warmer grays are coming back. Our entire office is painted in a Cool Neutral Gray, with warmer gray tones on the floor. I love this look and see no paint change in our future, but if I were moving in today, I would be choosing one of the warmer, deeper shades that is being shown in all the designer magazines. Modern farmhouse design and home décor will continue to be on trend, but from what I have read, the experts predict overall design will lean a bit more modern. Black window trim mixed with white exterior home colors continue to be popular, but more saturated colors are moving in. Darker richer, grays with undertones of green, blue, brown and violet are hot and dark shades of blue is still trending.

As realtors we do many home tours, and are starting to see lots of walls, and kitchen cabinets (especially the lower cabinets) painted in deep shades of blue, and they are stunning. Last week, I toured a home that installed shiplap on their headboard wall. After installing shiplap the homeowner painted the shiplap black. The completed bedroom had a touch of smart sophistication and was a relaxing space. A daring design choice and not a color I would choose, but after seeing it done, it may be time to rethink my color choices.
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Check out Zoo Tampa!

Spring has sprung and it seems that all of Florida is in bloom. From the grasses to the flowering trees, life is bursting out all over Solivita and recently two manatees burst out of Zoo Tampa and are again swimming in their home waters. Lee and I are members of Zoo Tampa and recently spent a wonderful day enjoying all that Zoo Tampa offers.

For us Floridians, Zoo Tampa offers exhibits showcasing our local wildlife as well as wildlife from all over the world. In the Florida exhibit we especially love to visit the manatees and Florida panthers. Must admit, Lee and have a special affection for the Manatee Exhibit, which includes a Critical Care Center that rescues, heals, rehabilitates, and releases healthy manatees back into the wild. The Zoo has a public observation area where you can watch the rehabilitation process. Recently Zoo Tampa returned two rehabilitated manatee patients back to Florida waters. The duo, named Fern and her dependent calf, Wilber, came to Zoo Tampa’s David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center last May following a boat strike that caused severe injuries. When Fern arrived at the zoo, she was suffering from broken ribs and a pneumothorax (air in her chest cavity). Due to her injuries, Fern was buoyant on the water’s surface and unable to submerge to obtain food.

Zoo Tampa provided around the clock fluids and medications to keep Fern Stable and comfortable while Wilbur was able to eat greens that he required to stay close to mom. The team worked tirelessly for almost two months to get Fern to eat. By the end of summer 2019, Fern was finally showing signs of improvement and spent the next six months gaining her strength, eating over 100 lbs. of produce daily.

Today Fern and Wilbur are in their home waters in Charlotte County. Manatees face increasing dangers including boat strikes. Habitat degradation, entanglements, cold water stress and red tide blooms.

Zoo Tampa is a leader in wildlife conservation and only one of a total of four manatee critical care and rehab centers in the U.S. Zoo Tampa has cared for more than 430 injured, sick and orphaned manatees. During this time you must make a reservation to visit Zoo Tampa. Visit them on the website to see the current visiting rules at The Zoo is at 1101 W. Sligh Ave in Tampa. Parking is free and it is only 70 miles from Solivita.

If a trip to the zoo is not your “cup of tea” how about a trip to visit one of Florida’s beautiful gardens. McKee Botanical Gardens is on the East Coast of Florida. This month’s newsletter has you crossing the state, but since Solivita is in the center of everything, whatever coast you visit you can be on either the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean in 1.5 hours. In Florida, there is always something in bloom. Lee and I have spent many happy afternoons in one of Florida’s many gardens, and we both enjoy a visit to a garden whenever we find a few hours of free time to share. If you have not yet been to the McKee Botanical Gardens on Highway 1 in Vero Beach, it is a nice drive and a nice afternoon. The gardens are old and filled with orchids, dense tropical vegetation, rare trees, and ponds filled with aquatic plants. Bring the grandchildren to the children’s garden, you and the children will enjoy a wonderful adventure as you travel with them over the bridge, climb the ropes, and watch them play in the Karst Splash Garden. McKee Gardens are a wonderful adventure for the grandchildren, and a fun break for the grandparents, PLUS if you spent the morning on Vero Beach, a NICE BREAK from the hot sand and sun. Our suggestion; enjoy the beach in the morning and the cool of the afternoon in the Jungle Garden. If you would like to check out McKee Gardens their website is