I made Dulce de Leche last week. Guys, it’s EASY! It takes a little time, but it’s super easy. Why oh why haven’t I done this before? Oh that’s right, because I didn’t have any reason to, until now. Now? What changed? Well… let’s start at the beginning.
Deb’s birthday was last Thursday. Every year on Memorial Day Weekend we find ourselves at the lake right around Deb’s birthday. We usually have a group dinner on Friday night, but Saturday night tends to be the BIG shindig. Then Sunday night we eat leftovers from the first two nights. It’s a lot of fun.
This year, plans stayed the same! I told everyone I was bringing the birthday cake. We also have another birthday that falls during Memorial Day Weekend, but I’ll focus on that cake later. Today, let’s talk about the Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake because, oh. my. gosh. it’s amazing! (more…)
While we were in Orlando, gosh 2 weeks ago, I had an opportunity to speak with a lot of professionals in the SCUBA diving industry. Not only did we stop and have a visit with our SCUBAPRO Rep, Scott, but we spoke with guys from SDI, the SCUBA diving group that we are certified through.
Plus, Deb paid a little extra for the two of us to be able to sit in on any and all session conferences. Let’s just say, I spoke with diving professionals from all over the world. I remember Australia, Denmark, Fiji, Mexico, and some places I can’t even remember.
Deb and I played a game for the opportunity to win a trip to Fiji. I doubt I won that… especially because it’s been two weeks and they haven’t notified me. They did contact me through email to tell me about some really great packages they offer. We’ll add that to my bucket list along with Greece. I want to go to Greece, so why not dive while I’m there.
I hit up the dive master’s that we dive with in Cozumel for pictures (he’s owed me since May), a recipe (which he rattled off but I couldn’t write down so he said he’d email… still waiting), and told him I wanted a sponsor for the underwater photography festival in April (worth a shot, right?).
But the one thing that really bothers me is… When I was talking to one of the guys from SDI, I felt like a complete moron. When I walked away from the conversation I felt like I was trying to impress him with my blog/SEO/etc knowledge that I probably don’t have.
So my husband and I got to attend DEMA (Diver’s Equipment & Marketing Association) 2017, Go Dive Now. This is a yearly show that bounces between Las Vegas and Orlando, although I’ve heard a rumor that they are adding New Orleans into the mix in a couple years. But this was the year that DEMA was in Orlando. That means we hopped a plane with Deb and Grady and flew to Orlando, Florida.
Where to Eat
The first question is…. Where to eat in Orlando. Oh gosh. We were there at the Orange County Convention Center on International Drive. Let me just tell you there were gobs of GREAT places to eat, but here’s what we chose… And let’s just say, YUM!
7440-A International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819
We actually had a Dunkin Donuts almost right outside our hotel room. Not quite but pretty darn close. In fact, we had a lot of breakfast places right in that area. The first day we were there, hubby and I chose to walk here and get breakfast. Good choice!
I’ve been issued a Sugar Cookie Challenge. Let me explain…
When we were in Cozumel this year, Deb and I were talking to one of the owners of Cozumel Marine World. On his shirt was the logo for Underwater Digital Fiesta Expeditions. I asked Alex and Deb what that was. Turns out it is a yearly get together where you learn to take better underwater photos while learning about and testing out the latest and greatest in digital underwater photography equipment. WHAT!?!?!?
If there’s one thing you should know about me by now, I LOVE photography. My underwater photography skills lack quite a bit, but I’ve only been diving for 4 years. In those 4 years, I was off limits in diving for a year because of my cute little three-year-old. So I’ve been diving 3 years. Yes, I have 100 dives in under my belt… but….. They highly suggest you don’t start carrying a camera underwater with you until you’ve at least dove 50 times. Well, I didn’t totally listen to those words of advice, but I always made sure I was comfortable enough diving before I took a camera with me. It’s an added responsibility.
I immediately started talking about how I wanted to go to this photo fiesta. Hubby laughed and issued me a challenge. If I could sell 300 dozen cookies, I could go. Holy cow! That’s not 300 cookies… that’s 300 dozen cookies. That equals math I can’t easily do in my head. That is 3,600 cookies.
I’ve mentioned a few times that I challenged myself to the “cupcake” challenge this year. You know… the Food Network January/February 2017 cupcake for every month challenge. Then a couple weeks ago I was talking to the hubs and told him that I needed a challenge for next year. He laughed at me saying, “But Nicole, you still have the rest of this year. We’re only at July.” I know, I know, but I’m thinking ahead. My idea was to do a pie for every month. Come on… who doesn’t like pie. And I may still persue that… who knows…
About half of our group or so stayed an extra few days in Cozumel. 3 different families brought their mothers/fathers/daughters and we wanted to play “tourist” with the additional family members. One of our excursions were to jump on the ferry and travel across to the mainland. Our destination… Chichén Itzá.
If you ever have the opportunity to go to Cozumel, I’d definitely suggest taking the ferry across to the mainland. It was about 45 minutes. The cab driver that dropped us off at the ferry station recommended to buy a one way ticket since there are multiple ferry companies that travel back and forth and they won’t accept another ferry companies tickets. It just keeps you from getting stuck for 3 tickets when you only need two.
So this is a real pirate ship that travels around Cozumel but it is actually a dinner cruise from what I’ve researched.
In May we headed to Cozumel Mexico. By the time we left I think we all needed a vacation. It was hubby, Abug, my mom, my MIL, and me who were able to go this year along with some other people to round out our trip. It was a lot of fun and after the way my day started I’m ready for some more Vitamin D and Vitamin Sea until my attitude changes!
You see this pier right here? I have a fun story about this pier…. Hold on….
So in May, I’ve mentioned in passing a few times, we went to Cozumel, Mexico. When you board a dive boat, right there under that roof is usually where people enter the dive boat they are going out on.. that and a little bit to this side even. You know, those big pillars are to tie boats off to to keep them at the dock.
I’m not sure exactly how deep it is right there at the end of the peer, but it’s deep enough that dive boats can get in easily. I’ve heard around 20 feet… I now my friend Grady accidentally had his gear dropped off a boat and they had to free dive down to get it.
Okay, so now that you have a little back ground history…. Let’s proceed with today’s story.
The last night we were in Cozumel, around dinner time I ran out to get sunset pictures (the above photo is from the first night….). There were 3 people, appeared to be a mother and 2 kids possibly. The girl I assume was daughter was probably early 20’s and the guy I assume to be son was late teens. So guesstimate mom’s age by those numbers… if she was near 20 when she had said daughter, we’re looking at least at age 40.
They were getting ready to go out and do a night dive. They didn’t seem real confident in their diving abilities based off their conversations of, how do I put this on, where does this go, did I set this up correctly, etc. Hey, as a new diver I was there too. It happens to everyone until you get some dives in under your belt.
Now, those things on your feet, they’re called fins, not flipper. In our group if you call them flipper’s someone starts singing “Flipper, Flipper, Faster than Lightning”… you know the theme song from the show Flipper form the 70’s…. <crickets>
Memorial Day Weekend was spent at Beaver Lake. The night before we left to go down there, Deb and Grady said they were having difficulty getting all the trailers down so we volunteered to pull the dive trailer down for them. When we got to the lake, I had to giggle at the “big” truck pulling the little trailer. It’s a bathroom cleaner thing for campers but that sight just made me giggle so hard.
These 3 are back together again. Wow, did they make quite the team… they are the next round of shenanigan makers!
Last year when we went to Cozumel we didn’t have a Meet ‘n Greet. It was a “shop” trip and we all knew each other. Now I say that and I knew most of the people going this year, but not everyone. We have a couple parents going that are non-divers and this was almost more for them.
My mom is leaving for Hawaii in a few days and wouldn’t be back until the week we leave so we threw this together at the last minute to allow everyone to meet. It just so happens it fell on Easter evening, but that’s okay. Most all of us had all our stuff done in plenty of time to come, plus we didn’t need much food because we were all stuffed.