Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vacation is over way too soon

Hi all!  It's been a little while, hasn't it?  But I had a nice, relaxing vacation with the family - got to spend some quality time with my parents and my sister and her family on the beach, which was lovely!  I did sneak off with my niece for an hour or so one afternoon to check out a big fat Salvation Army shop, just to keep the shakes at bay - I couldn't go cold turkey for a whole week!  But be proud of me, I exercised extreme self control.  Even though the Whole Place was half off that day.  Even though they had This suff!:

 I left it all behind.  Even the Swiss Alpine dishes.  I wanted it.  I touched it.  But in the end I left it on the shelf.  I allowed myself one cheery yellow item of the Dansk variety:
Image borrowed from because I forgot to take a picture of mine!

I have been amassing some cheery yellow kitcheny items, thinking eventually I'll have the money/time/ability to doll up my own kitchen, but I'm not convinced such a thing will ever happen, so the fate of the cute yellow pan is not entirely decided as yet.

You wouldn't think there'd be much else in the way of cheapskate joy in a week in a condo on the beach, but you'd be surprised.  Three things I think are excellent deals:

FREE (my favorite price!):

Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is, according to their website, the largest wild bird hospital and sanctuary in the country.  Located on Gulf Boulevard in Indian Shores, they couldn't have a better location to release the birds once they've been rescued, repaired and rehabilitated from whatever misfortune might have come their way.  Even those birds who have been permanently injured and wouldn't survive a return to the wild have a nice place to live out their old age in the salt air alongside the waves where they may have once fished.  It's nice enough that, if my visit there was any indication, their healthy, wild, non-hospitalized compatriots frequently stop by to hang out, and you can too!  Admission is free, although donations are accepted.  There is also a coupon in the little beach coupon book you can pick up anywhere in the area that promises a free gift from their gift shop.  Free + a bonus = even better than my favorite price! 
From their website:

Man baby pelicans are funny looking!

Under $10 (and nifty!):

Candy Kitchen in Madiera Beach is, on a small scale, almost as cool as if Ted Drewes and the City Museum joined forces.  They have your sweet-tooth totally covered, from homemade fudge, chocolates and pralines, to nostalgic and novelty candies, to some awesome home-made ice cream (I tried a malt-fudge swirl that was fabulous!).  But beyond the yum,what made this thrift-lover's heart go pitter-pat was the decor.  Toys, vintage signs (they've been in the same place since 1950, so these may be original!), an entire wall of PEZ dipensers and colored sodas on bottlecap-studded shelves, a row of green alien-heads in the corner and grafitti as an integral part of the decor on any un-covered surface (like, say, the ceiling) makes the place fun and eclectic without spending a bunch of money on decor, but they go so far beyond that: They've totally covered great bits of the small shop, including pretty much every surface of the bathroom, with candy ads, wrappers and packaging.  It's bright, thrifty, green and a bit trippy.  So to the proprieters of Mad Beach's Candy Kitchen, I salute you.  Well played, my friends!  And for the rest of you, a few shots of my visit:

Under $15:

Early Bird Specials.  That's right, I said it.  When in Florida, take a lesson from the retirees who, if old sitcoms are to be believed, do nothing but wear Hawaiian shirts and go to dinner at a ridiculous hour.  We tried it at Salt Rock Grill, back in Indian Shores.  They have bottles on their wine list that cost more than my computer, but for a $12.50 prix fixe we got a meal that included a (non-alcoholic - none of the très cher wine) beverage, bread, salad, entrée and dessert.  All of it really good, and all of it with a view of the channel.   I didn't take any pictures of/at the restaurant, but these were taken along that same channel, half a block north, where I hung out while my family caught fish most afternoons (and yes, I'm slightly obsessed with birds):

In the picture of the snowy egret, you can see in the far background beyond the sailboat a building with a rounded area sticking out toward the water - that's the Salt Rock Grill.  And you know what?  If you go to Early Bird dinner, you're done in plenty of time to catch the sunset over the gulf.  And you know how I love a bonus!

Sunset over the gulf last Thursday night.  Why do vacations have to end?

Oh!  And now that she's back, and I'm back, I'll link up, a little late this week, with Apron Thrift Girl - so glad you're back!


  1. love the yellow dansk! what a trippy candy kitchen :) (found u on ATG:))

  2. Thanks, I love finding enamelled cookware. And yes, the Candy Kitchen is fun - they even sell T-Shirts that say "Come for the bathroom, stay for the ice cream". Hee!