Taffy making Sweet Pete’s Candy Store

We took a taffy making class at Sweet Pete’s.  We made blue strawberry taffy. It had a lot of citric acid for an amazing sour kick.  The first class we took was a blow pop class which is no longer offered. They gave us the recipe for the taffy and it’s just sugar, water, corn syrup, butter and cornstarch. It was nice the children were able to participate in pulling and wrapping their taffy.

After the class, we got a scoop of ice cream and let the kids pick a couple of pieces of candy. The store is so bright and happy to walk through. There are so many things to look at that I’m happy just meandering through the store. They decorate it so nicely for each holiday as well.

Taffy Making Sweet Pete

I think it is so cool that the stone cools the candy.

Taffy Making Sweet Pete Continue after the jump for a few more photos.

Laid-Back Beach Photos- Atlantic Beach Florida

A laid-back, intimate beach wedding just reaffirmed to me that I love beach people. They are so easy going and know how to have a good time. I was deeply honored to photograph this wedding. Aside from the officiant, only family members were present at the wedding. Two families became one. What better way to get to know one family than to meet the entire family. This part of Atlantic beach has so much history for the bride. She grew up coming to this beach to visit her grandmother, her cousin got married here and her parents have lived here as well.

These photos were taken in the middle of a hot day. The family were troopers taken photos in the hot sun. It was a gorgeous beach wedding. The bride spent the night with her crew at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort. It’s a beautiful hotel and the perfect place to relax and enjoy oneself before the big day. Everyone looked stunning and the bride was glowing. Their children and nephews were a part of the big day- which made it extra special.

After the wedding, they were going to have a family barbecue and celebrate the following days at Disney World. What better way to celebrate than with the most important people in their lives.ClickClick Continue after the jump to see more photos from this beach ceremony.

Manatees Swimming- Crystal River

We swam with manatees in Crystal River, Florida. My in-laws took us in January 2018 on a very cold day (high was 40 degrees). A cold day is the BEST day to see the manatees. I think it also helped that we did the tour on a Thursday. Manatees come from the ocean to the natural springs to warm up. The springs are a constant 72 degrees year round. We’ve had several friends look for manatees on warmer days and they didn’t see any or only saw a few. We saw hundreds (but thank goodness only swam with a few). It was a littler nerve wrecking to be so close to 600 lb animals.

 

One of my friends rented an airbnb on the Homosassa River a few years ago. The house came kayak and her family got to take the kayak out on the river everyday. She said they were right their with the manatees. She also told me they were not cold swimming in the river. They did not wear wet suits. I was curious how 72 degrees would feel considering last summer we went to the chilly Ponce De Leon Springs.

 
We used the tour company Fun2Dive. They took us right by the Three Sisters Spring. The snorkels, wet suits and following photos were included in our package. We brought our own puddle jumpers for our youngest two. We were told the wet suits were buoyant but still erred on the cautious side. The photos were taken by our guide using a Nikon Coolpix AW130.

 
I stuck my toe in the water with trepidation but was pleasantly surprised it didn’t feel like ice. Since it was so cold outside, the water actually felt good. Combined with the wet suit it was tolerable to be in the water. We were told we were not allowed to touch the manatees unless they touch you. I did not expect any of the manatees to come up to us but they did. They swam right against us. We were allowed to do an open face one handed touch.They nibbled on the zippers of our wet suits. The manatees liked swimming right under us and it was strange to have my bum be touching the manatee.

 
Some manatees were rough and others were slimy. A couple of the manatees were getting rambunctious and it reminded me of the Titanic. Once the boat went under it’s weight pulled others down. The manatees huge tails were going down and the weight pulled my toddler under. Luckily I held her the whole time. She was definitely stunned. I think that’s when she really started to get cold because now her head was wet and was above water in the cold air.

 
Of the entire party, my youngest two were cold in the water. I think because they are smaller they generate less body heat. They stayed in for an hour and then were happy to get out. Leaving the water to get back on the boat was quite cold. It was definitely nice that our boat had covered windows otherwise the wind would have been brutal. We were greeted by our captain and hot chocolate. After some snacks and dry clothes the youngsters were comfy again.

 
The water was a little murky because the manatees were so active. We took the boat to the Three Sister’s area and that water was crystal clear and blue. The manatees over there were more docile. The whole area of the Three Sisters and Crystal River are basically in backyards of peoples homes. How fun for them they they could just walk down and hop in the water with manatees if they wanted to.

 
The trip was awesome and grateful we could have the unique experience to be in the water with active manatees.

Manatees Crystal River Manatee Swim Wet Suits Manatee Magnolia Springs