Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book Signing


I couldn't be more excited to share that my friend, Suzanne Matthews, has released a new book!   She'll be signing copies next Thursday at Cyn Shea's Cafe.  Can't make it?  The book and journal are also available at Amazon by clicking here.

While I never got to sit under her teaching as a BSF Teaching Leader, I've grown to love and appreciate the treasure she is.  I have the no doubt Unlocking Belief will encourage and challenge us all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Livin' it up in Dixie {Festival Edition}

I'm excited to start a new series I've lovingly named...



I love local festivals, restaurants, shops, events, concerts and am always posting about them AFTER the fact!  So now I'll be giving you all a few days notice so you can join in the fun too!

Be sure to click each festival to go to their home page for all details.

Our inaugural edition of Living' it up in Dixie is focused on upcoming festivals.  I mark my calendar a year in advance for some of these and thought you might want to also!


{Chris and I love the slawburgers at Honey's in Fayetteville!  The drive up there is quick and beautiful.  So a whole day of slawburgers?  I'm so there!}

{Held at the St. Bernard Abbey and Prep School that's adjacent to the Ave Maria Groto, the one time I went to this festival, I was completely impressed!  It's all about flowers, beautiful Etsy-like crafts and yummy lemonade!}


{Certainly a Huntsville tradition full of local art, music and food!  I'm assuming all the renovations on Big Spring Park will be done by then so if the rain holds off, it will be a great way to spend the weekend.}



{I haven't been to this one before, but hope to make it this year!  If there's local crafts and a funnel cake...I'm there!}


{Held downtown at the depot, Whistle Stop never disappoints!  I love the atmosphere of BBQ and live music.  Early bird special of $20 for a 2 day pass ends February 28}


{I'm ashamed and shocked to say I've never been to Mentone!  But I hope to change that soon with the 35th Rhododendron Festival.}


{Want to see more than 60 hot air balloons over the Tennessee Valley?  This is your chance!  In addition to balloons, they have a car show, tractor show and craft show.  What's not to love?!?}


{There's not a lot of info online yet, but I'll keep you posted!}


{Moma and Daddy discovered this fair a couple of years ago and Chris and I joined them last October.  We absolutely LOVED it!  Wonderful craftsman (over 120 of them), local entertainment, delish food vendors (over 20)...Ketner's Mill has it all!  I suggest you get there early in the day because this is one popular fair!}


{Chris and I went this last Christmas and loved the small town atmosphere.  We strolled downtown where they have the luminaries lit in the historic district and split a funnel cake while we listened to the live band.  A nice getaway to kick-off the holiday season.  The website doesn't have 2017 details up yet, so I'll keep you posted.}



Please leave a comment of festivals I've missed and I'll share in an upcoming post.

Stay tuned for our next edition of Livin' it up in Dixie!




Sunday, February 12, 2017

Doughnuts & Cheese




Chris and I had a day of double-dates!  First up, breakfast with Moma and Daddy at Bigfoot's Little Donuts!  You've probably seen their Airstream on South Parkway near Airport Road.




These doughnuts are truly little!  Sort of the size of a munchin from Dunki' Donuts.

You buy them by the dozen, all one flavor.  We ended up each getting a dozen so we could try a bunch of flavors!  We got Funnel Cake (my fav!), Peanut Butter & Chocolate, Blueberry and Lemon. I have a feeling it won't be our last visit!


Our next outing was with Abby and Nick to Belle Chevre ,a goat cheese creamery in Elkmont, AL.  I found a Groupon deal that was too good to pass up!  The Groupon included a tour, samples plus cheese to take home.


I'm not a goat cheese fan but love exploring North Alabama and we had the best time!  I loved the design of the whole place...so trendy!







We got to visit the goats...


..then watch the cheese being packaged.



Here's a behind the scenes glimpse into our marriage...that's me forcing Chris's head through the face hole!  Anything for a good pic!


We had a great Saturday with our fantastic, fun family!  I'd highly recommend both Bigfoot's Little Donuts and Belle Chevre for your next weekend outing!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Feliz Cumpleaños

We had fiesta last night in honor of Nick's birthday.  Nick is a fabulous brother-in-law and I love all the laughter and love he adds to our family!

What is it with us and themes...or with Moma owning 6 sombreros?!?!  (Actually a couple of these are from when we went to Mexico when I was in grade school.  We were in San Antonio and decided to drive to Laredo, TX where we walked across the Rio Grande into Mexico for a few hours.  Abby and I decided to buy the largest sombreros they had and we stuffed them in the back window of our Bonneville all the way back to Alabama.  You're welcome, Daddy!)

Anyway...back to the fiesta...

Abby had their house super cute and we had a delish dinner of all our favorite Mexican food.






After Nick opened his presents, we played old-school pin the tail on the donkey burro!

We also played Quelf for the first time!  

This game is CRAZY!  You end up doing all sorts of silly, random things...like every time I drew a card, I had to lick my lips and say "Willy Wonka has arrived!"  It's certainly not a game for a wallflower, but we were all comfortable being idiots in front of each other!  We have lots of practice!

The birthday boy had to share the spotlight with Honey Bunch who, as usual, entertained us with her cuteness! 

Ramo de miel como el gato en el sombrero (Honey Bunch as the Cat in the Hat)...



She also LOVES ribbon so Nick had to play keep-away while opening his gifts!


Lucky for us, Honey Bunch played Quelf with us!


We had a great night together and loved celebrating our Nick!  



{by the way...nearly impossible to take a selfie of six adults in sombreros!} 

Monday, February 6, 2017

C+K {our big adventure}

Chris and I practically lived through Reader's Digest "Drama in Real Life" on Saturday.  (I would say we survived "Naked and Afraid" because that would grab readers, but since we weren't naked it seemed like false advertising!).

Long story short: because I've been hearing all about Rainbow Mountain in Madison lately, I got it in my head that we should go hiking!

I think the first issue might be in my definition of "hiking".  In retrospect, I should not have been saying I like to "hike".  It's more accurate to say I like to "stroll"...on pavement...even dirt!  The main point being a flat, non life-threatening stretch of earth.




I think it's so odd I've lived in Huntsville practically my whole life and I NEVER heard of Rainbow Mountain until like 3 months ago.  One of the guys I work with is always going up there and it's listed on all the blogs of things to do in Huntsville.

So when Chris and I were looking for a great way to spend a lovely day, I was pumped to plan our hiking trip!  I mapped the parking, checked the weather and asked my coworker for tips.  The next issue of the day might have been that I didn't write down what my coworker said.  And if I don't write it down, I don't remember.

I should have written down that he said to park at the water tower.  I should have written down that he said to turn right to get the pretty views and flat paths.  Instead, we parked at the pavilion and turned left.

{a tamer section of the trail}


We found out pretty quickly, turning left didn't lead us to flat paths and pretty views!  Instead it was the start of the Rainbow Mountain Loop, a 1.5 mile STEEP trail all the way DOWN the mountain then ALL THE WAY BACK UP IT!  That is an important lesson to learn about hiking:  if you climb down it, you have to climb back up it.  If I'm reading the map right, it looks like we started at 1,100 ft., hiked down to about 750 ft. then back up.  The fact that I could actually move Sunday morning is a miracle in itself!



We really had no clue how long the trail was, or prepared for how rocky and steep it really was.  There was one harrowing section as we started our way back up where I think we got off the trail.  They had trail markers but they were very spread out and then some trees had blue ribbons (still don't know what those meant!).  Several times when I was sure we had met our doom and would be forever trapped on Rainbow Mountain, the Lord would send some happy hiker who would point us the right way.



I was especially surprised at what the Land Trust of Alabama considers a "trail"!  They were obviously not marked by someone used to only "hiking" through Target.  I'm talking big ol' boulders that you had to climb up and hop over!  That's not really a "trail" to me!

{that's the trail!?!!?}

We finally climbed back up to a trail favorite- Balance Rock.  This is where my coworker had suggested we start (and stop) our hike.  You can see a pretty view over Madison on that side of the mountain and you can see Huntsville from the other side.






In all seriousness, Chris and I had a great time together.  We were due for a fun date and could feel the stress of life melt away as we worked together to survive!


If I've learned anything from our big adventure it would be these nuggets of wisdom:

1.  Don't leave your water and crackers in the car because you might not ever make it back.

2.  Have med flight on speed dial.

3.  Don't turn left.

4.  Stop using the word "hike".

5.  Find dates that don't involve your life flashing before your eyes.


Here's the trail map for those who might feel this has been an exaggeration (we followed the trail in red):