Christmas time ’08
Christmas time ’09
Last night, Chad and I celebrated halloween with our friends by inviting members of our Sunday school over. Chad wore a Spiderman t-shirt as his costume, and I was a whoopie cushion. We played games and ate some yummy treats. I’ve always seen lots of cute halloween treats in magazines and wanted to make them, so this year I tried a few new things.
We had spooky green punch made with lime sherbet and Sprite. It was topped off with an eerie hand made from freezing tropical colada juice in a rubber glove. We lost one of the fingers as we took the frozen hand out of the glove. The pinky went quickly after while stirring the punch. The juice, as it melted, made the punch extra yummy.
Because it was pretty cold that night, another beverage that we offered was spiced apple cider, made just like Chad’s mom used to make. It was good, but it was a little warm in our house, so most opted for the sherbet punch.
There were creepy finger foods too. I made my mom’s delicious cheeseball, but shaped it into a ghost. I added the almonds for eyes and a mouth. I made sausage balls and inserted rice noodles to make them spider-like. Their eyes were just food coloring. There were also mummies, cocktail wieners wrapped mummy-style with crescents. Chad added the eyes with mustard. We also sliced up some full size hotdogs and cooked them to make tasty worms.
It wouldn’t be Halloween without treats. I made rice krispy treats, colored them with food coloring, and shaped them into balls. The color was a little pinkish, so I had the idea of shaping them like brains. However, when I asked Chad how they looked, he thought they were butts. So, I added M & Ms and chocolate chips to make them look like jack-o-lanterns. I also found a good Chex mix recipe made with Chex, M & Ms, pretzels, candy corn, and raisins coated in white chocolate. It’s very addicting. Along with those treats, we also had trick-or-treat candy, and our friend Jenny brought a ridiculous cookie pizza with peanut butter, nuts, icing, and M & Ms. It wasn’t just ridiculous because it was good, but it was also the size of a large pizza.
It was a very fun night filled with lots of good eating. Now, I must prepare for Christmas goodies.
On the way home from Gatlinburg, our GPS took us north on I75, which allowed for a perfect little stop along the way. I have to mention that it was the most gorgeous day on Wednesday. The sun was bright, not a cloud in the sky, and a cool crisp air. The drive was beautiful, but we knew we didn’t have to rush home, so we thought we would take a short detour to Cumberland Falls. It was not very far off course at all.
We parked and walked to the falls. It was so pretty with the bright sun causing a rainbow. The whole park was beautiful, and we saw more fall colors in the leaves than we did in Gatlinburg. The only eyesore was all the trash that had been collected along the banks. We read that it had all come from people in the park throwing trash in the water and it catching up stream. They do clean-ups throughout the year and it still collects that much trash. It’s just crazy to think about. I hope it was all just an accident because I would hate to think people just throw trash into a river whenever they are done with it. We walked and took pictures, toured the gift shop, and then sat on some rocks by the water. It was so gorgeous and a nice way to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. Here are some pictures from that gorgeous day.
After leaving Atlanta, Chad and I drove to Gatlinburg for a few days of fun. We both had been before, but this was the first time going together. It was a great fall trip. We got to our condo where we were staying. It was Bent Creek Golf Village. The place was nice, but we don’t really golf and it was about 11 miles from the town. The condo was, however, very spacious and cute. Best of all, it had a fireplace that we really took advantage of.
That Sunday night, we didn’t do much. After we checked out the condo, we headed to the main street in Gatlinburg and drove for a bit looking at everything. We drove to Pigeon Forge and had dinner at the Smokey Mountain Brewery, which had been recommended to us by a couple different people. Chad had the buffalo chicken pizza and liked it a lot. I had a calzone that was pretty good too. It was rainy when we left there, but we looked around the Christmas Place and picked up a few things from Kroger. At Kroger, we talked to a lady who we thought was in an information booth. We mentioned we were interested in going to the Dixie Stampede, so she told us that we could get tickets for free if we go to a presentation for a resort. We talked about it, and decided that 2 hours of our time was worth the $90 it would cost to buy the tickets, so we signed up for the next morning.
At 9:30 the next morning, we were at the presentation, ready to say no thank you as much as we needed to. I was surprised to find out that the sales people meet with us by ourselves and not in a large group. I thought I could play on my phone during a presentation, but this was more like an interview or a friendly chat. We ended up staying there for 3 hours, but we got our tickets. I didn’t find the experience all that bad until it started to get to hour 2, then I was ready to go. We toured one of the resorts, and I felt like we were walking way too slow. Then, at the end, we had to wait for a manager for a while because they were all busy. It was interesting to find out about timeshares and how they work with the point system. We are actually looking to find out more about them. There was just no way that we were going to commit to something that day.
After we left there, we had lunch at McAllister’s and headed to Cade’s Cove. This was a trail that you drive around to see historic buildings, beautiful landscape, and wild animals. The hopes were that we would get to see a bear, but no such luck. The animals that we saw were squirrels, a dear, chipmunks, and turkeys that trotted in front of our car as they crossed the street. It was a lovely day and the tour was pretty fun.
Next, we headed back to town and stopped at Laurel Falls. This was suggested by my dad as a place that we should go, so we decided to check it out. We had to hike 1.3 miles up to the falls, but it wasn’t too bad, and we had some lovely chats along the way. I was surprised how close you could actually get to the waterfalls. You could take a shower in it if you wanted.
As we got back in town, we parked so that we could walk around and enjoy all the things to see and shops to go in. We had dinner at No Way Jose’s, which was pretty good and fast. We walked around and shopped, not really buying anything except for a few candy treats. We also rode the Sky Lift. It was fun to see from such a high point, and it was cute how nervous Chad was at first. At the top, they take your picture. Chad and I kissed for our picture, and it was really cute, but we didn’t spend the $14 it cost to get it. You’ll just have to imagine how cute it was. We walked what we felt was the entire strip and then headed back to the car. Ober Gatlinburg was closed, but we talked about going back so we could ride the Alpine Slide. That would have been fun, but I actually forgot about it until just now.
The next day, we went to the Tanger Outlet to shop around. There were so many stores, we were there for hours. We took a break for lunch at the Chop House. It was good food, but I think I ate too much. We probably should have split something. While shopping, I purchased 3 sweaters and a couple of sportswear items. I think I got a good deal on them. Chad didn’t find anything that was worth his money, but then again, he doesn’t like to spend money on clothes. I actually found plenty of things that I wanted, but there weren’t as many good buys as I had hoped for.
That evening, Chad and I went to the Dixie Stampede. I had been before when I was in high school, and I remembered it as being kind of fun, but Chad had never been. So, with our free tickets, we went. We weren’t supposed to take pictures, but we got a few before the show began. It was a fun experience. All of the food (a whole chicken, a slice of pork tenderloin, corn on the cob, creamy vegetable soup, a cheddar biscuit, and an apple turnover) had to be eaten without any silverware. They sat us on the South side of the arena and we were in competition with the North side. There was a show with horses and pigs and chickens to watch as we ate. There was music too, but I was disappointed that not all of it was live. I thought it was very obvious that most of the people were lip syncing. There were goofy things that they did and we cheered on the south. It was a good, fun time- right up our alley.
After the show, we went back to our condo and went swimming and hot-tubbing. We had lots of fun playing around in the pool and then relaxing in the hot tub.
The next morning was check out and time to leave. All of the garbage cans outside had been overturned, and a guy cleaning up told me that they had 3 little bears who got into them. I’m sad we missed our chance to see a bear, but I’m glad we didn’t run into them on the way back from the pool. It was wonderful to get away with Chad for a while and really spend some good time together. We enjoyed our time in Gatlinburg so much, and I’m sure we will be back again.
On Friday, Chad and I took the day off and headed down to Atlanta for Glenn and Lane’s wedding. Chad was a groomsman in the wedding, so we had to get down there in the afternoon for him to try on his tux. He looked so good in it, and I even thought the jacket was a little big on my ever-shrinking Chad. We stayed at the W Hotel in downtown ATL. It was very nice and hip. We liked it.
Friday night was the rehearsal at the Peachtree United Methodist Church. It was a huge church and very ornate and beautiful. The aisle looked like it was about a half a mile long. The wedding party got their exercise. After was the rehearsal dinner, which was at a cute catering place. The food was a little different, but very very good. My favorite was the fried green tomato salad, and Chad’s was the Parmesan risotto balls. It was all excellent.
The next day, Chad and I were able to walk around a little bit and go to a mall that was right next to the hotel. He had to leave around 1:30 to get ready for the wedding, so he left with Suresh, the best man in the wedding. I later drove to the wedding with Michelle, Suresh’s wife. We met them on Friday, and sat with them at the rehearsal dinner. They are super nice. I was glad they were there because I had someone to talk to and keep me company.
The wedding was beautiful and Lane looked gorgeous. The rest of the wedding party looked nice too, especially Chad. You all know that it’s not often that I get to see him dressed up. The wedding was short and sweet. Next, was the reception, which was at an art gallery. It was cool because you could go around and check out all the different art pieces. I guess you could have bought them too, if you had several thousands of dollars with you. There were elegant decorations with candles and pretty pink roses. Dinner was fantastic, and the cake was delicious too. During dinner, one of Glenn’s relatives told the couple that if they hold a baby that night, that is going to be the gender of their first child. Lane mentioned they wanted a boy first, so they both held Jose and Aubrey’s baby. I had never heard that before. I don’t think I held any babies at my reception, but there were only two babies there and they were both boys.
As a party favor, they gave out Coke bottles that said “The Kurbans” and their wedding date. Atlanta is known for their Coke museum. Glenn and Lane actually made the labels themselves, and they were so cute. They had sparklers to light for when they left, but Chad and I didn’t make it that long. We were pretty tired and weren’t really up for all the dancing that was going on. It was a great time, though, and we really enjoyed getting to meet some nice people and see this sweet couple get married. We wish them the best!
On Sunday morning, Chad and I went to Buckhead Christian Church, which was right across the street from our hotel. It was a church that took over a building that used to be a strip club. How neat. There weren’t very many people there, but the service was good. After that, we packed up our car, and headed to Gatlinburg for our fall break trip. It was a fabulous weekend in Atlanta!
I haven’t bought any toys in a long long time (3+ years), however, when I did I got made fun of a bit. Mainly from my friends who thought it was stupid to buy these things and leave them unopened. I have about 100 unopened toys that I got in the past 10 years. Most of them are MOTU, but there are others as well.
But my revenge is now ridiculously sweet. The new Where the Wild Things Are movie is coming out this month and the price of the McFarlane line of figures that were put out sometime when I was in college has shot up to somewhere between $350 and $450 for the set MIB (mint in box…nerds) on Ebay.
Here are some crappy cell phone pics of my set.
6 boxes to a set, 7 figures total. $10 bucks for each box. That means I turned that $60 investment into $400 or 566% ROI. My 2 year ROI on my 401k is -26%. I should have been dumping money into toys for years.