20 February 2011

Valentine's Getaway

Two weeks between posts seems a tad ridiculous, right? Do you ever have seasons of feeling overwhelmed? I certainly do, and hopefully, I'm coming out of that season. Thankfully, this has also been a season sprinkled with quality time with friends and making new friends. I love that part. I do. I just looked through my camera and wouldn't you know that I pictures from September that I haven't shared?! Maybe this week, we'll take a visit to the past and look at a few fun things. I think I'll start with the most recent. That makes sense, right?

For Valentine's Day, Husby and I take turns planning. He does one year; I do the next. It makes it easier, and it's TONS less pressure. This year we headed to Fredericksburg, Texas.

We live southeast of Dallas, so it was a 5+ hour drive. But totally worth it. See, we spent New Years with our super good friends, Patti and Brent. Patti mentioned that she was planning a secret trip to Fredericksburg for Valentine's Day. What started as a trip for those two turned into a super secret mission for us to meet them in F-burg for the weekend. Husby didn't know where we were going until the night before, and then didn't know we'd meet up with them until breakfast on Saturday. The reaction we got was fabulous! We had the best weekend with our dear friends. Our husbands said that the next surprise trip could be out of the country since we did so well with this one. Ha!

I arranged for us to stay at a private bed and breakfast, Carriage House on the Creek. It was more like a mother-in-law suite with vouchers for breakfast at area restaurants. Perfect! It was so warm and cozy, and our inn keepers (whose house is just in front of the garage/carriage house) were so helpful and kind. We'll definitely stay here again.

We arrived on Friday, both of us having taken the day off work. After we checked into to our B&B, we headed to dinner at Cabernet Grill--a recommendation from our inn keeper, Mitch. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint! I had a fabulous meal that was half an eggplant, scooped out just a bit, breaded and fried; then it was filled with blue crab and shrimp in an asiago cheese sauce. Yum! Husby had the best pork tenderloin we've ever tasted, along with three cheese grits.

On Saturday once we met up with Patti and Brent, we used our vouchers for breakfast at Rather Sweet Bakery. I had a breakfast sandwich, and it was so yummy! When I ordered, I was amazed by all of the baked goods. I was so close to buying a macaroon, but thought that might be excessive for breakfast. Imagine my delight when Brent decided to buy one for an afternoon snack. It was the best macaroon I've EVER tasted.

After breakfast, we headed to Enchanted Rock, which is a huge pink granite boulder. Patti and I climbed just a bit, and then decided that we weren't properly dressed, so we sat and talked and soaked up the first non-winter weekend we've had in a couple of months. Our husbands climbed and jumped from boulder to boulder, across caverns. Let me just say that wearing a denim skirt with tights and cute little tennis shoes doesn't lend itself to jumping and climbing. I thought that a huge granite boulder meant that it would be like a super smooth hill. I was wrong.

After Enchanted Rock, we headed to the Texas Wine Trail. We visited a few wineries, but they were SO busy that we didn't taste at all of them. Our favorite was Grape Creek Winery. We came home with a Merlot and Riesling from Grape Creek. We also visited a fabulous chocolate shop, Chocolat. They have liqueur filled chocolates. Not a creamy center, but actual liqueur. My free taste was on an Amaretto filled chocolate. I could have eaten a dozen!

Food was obviously a theme for the weekend, as it often is while on vacation. (And by vacation, I mean anytime we're out of town or off work for more than the weekend. Ha!) After Enchanted Rocks and wineries, we took a little break before heading to dinner at Hilltop Cafe. It was an abandoned gas station that was converted to a restaurant. Again, we had great food. Here are a few pics of us at dinner:


Then for breakfast the next morning, we used our vouchers at Sunset Grill, which was amazing! They have a separate Sunday brunch menu, and it did not disappoint. I had a wonderful black forest ham and brie panini. I'll eat pretty much anything with brie on it! After a little shopping in downtown Fredericksburg, we headed home. Although the weekend wasn't super relaxing, it was super fun. I loved the quality time I spent with my sweet husband and friends.

04 February 2011

Post Number 200: On a Snow Day

My goodness. This is my 200th post. I know to some bloggers, this number is hit every year, but not for me. I've only been blogging consistently-ish for about 1.5 years. Happy 200th post to me! And thanks to those of you who read my fantastic posts about things like super hot weather, crazy cold weather, wisdom tooth removal and our first anniversary celebration. Where else would you find such intriguing topics?

This week, I was a quite bitter about working. It seemed like most schools within 30 miles of us were either off or had late starts because of the snow/ice. Then word came that another snow storm would approach us from the south. (I don't quite understand how that happens since we're pretty far south in this area of Texas, but whatever.) The original predictions was that it wouldn't reach us. I mean, come on. How can Texas get two snowstorms in one week, and they both miss our little city?! But I held out hope since Texas weather is unpredictable, at best.

For some unknown reason, I woke up at 5am. I tossed and turned, trying to go back to sleep, but only wanted to know if I'd need to be up in an hour, or if I'd be able to sleep in. I decided to look out the window to see if there were any flakes coming down. Well, turns out the meteorologists were wrong. It SNOWED! I ran back to bed and woke Husby to let him know. I'm not sure he shared my enthusiasm. I turned to my trusty phone to look for cancellations. None. I listened to the road below for cars, indicating whether or not people thought it was safe to drive. I wrestled with sleep until 6am when my sweet mom called to tell me that she saw we were out for the day. Hallelu!

Husby was able to stay home, as well. We've had a nice, relaxing day so far. Yummy pancakes and lots of coffee for breakfast, a little The Big Bang Theory from last night, and now I'm snuggled down with Crickett in my makeshift sectional. (I pulled an arm chair up to the sofa. Think fort-making days in our younger days. It may not be classy, but it works!) I do hear cars driving up and down the brick streets below, so I feel that we would have been safe driving, but I'm so thankful for an extra day to rest! I plan to stay in my fleece pants, fleece pullover and wool boots for the majority of the day.

One of my goals for the first 6 weeks of the year is to cook one new recipe a week (or just a total of six new recipes). And I think I'll meet that goal! Right now, I really have a thing for Asian food. Usually, I can't go without Mexican food (Tex-Mex or authentic) for more than four days, so this is a change. I've made Asian Turkey Meatballs, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and Beef and Green Bean Noodle Bowls. I've also done Spinach Meatballs (super yummy) and a blackberry cobbler. I'll post most of these recipes over the next week.

We have two Super Bowl parties on Sunday. I'm taking desserts to both of them. On the menu: Lemon Bars and Chocolate Scotcharoos. Along with our menu for the week, a trip to the grocery store is in order. I just hope they've recovered from the people who decided they must buy enough food to last for an ENTIRE SNOW DAY. The weather is forecast to warm up tomorrow. So I should be just fine changed out of my fleece attire and wool boots for a grocery shopping excursion.

Hope you have a great weekend! Stay warm!

02 February 2011

My Turn to Complain About the Weather

Sweet mercy, it is COLD! I wish I had a picture of pretty snow to post, but we didn't get snow or ice or anything needed to cancel school/work. Dang it. Even the rolling black-outs don't count. I'm not exactly sure how electricity works, but I guess we don't have enough of it in the cold. Someone should really figure that out. Because it's a little hard to give a PowerPoint presentation without electricity, and I had to give three. I did pretty well considering I only had electricity for about 5 slides. If you need tips on writing a college admission essay, just let me know. We'll review expanding sentences, avoiding cliches and the reason you shouldn't write an essay about how football changed your life. Then I'll throw in an example about Seinfeld vs. Friends, and we'll wrap things up. Sounds fun, huh? Oh, and then you'll stress over what in the world you'll write about for your college admission essays. But I'll offer for you to come into my office to brainstorm ideas.

But if you'd rather not receive tips on said college admission essay, then I'd like for you to know HOW COLD IT IS. Let me tell you, this lady is not built for cold weather. Last night, the wind chill was 10 degrees; today the high is 27. This is a stark contrast from the 77 degree weather we had last weekend--weather that brought tears of JOY to my eyes. We let the cat-who-thinks-she's-ours, Persephone, stay inside last night. When I went to put her out this morning, she hesitated and tried running back in. I booted her out because I didn't have time to waste--I had to layer up. I tried to recall proper skiing attire, but in an office-acceptable fashion. Tricky! Especially since all I wanted to wear was my fleece outfit. I didn't, not just because it isn't appropriate, but also that it needs to be washed after wearing it the past four days when I'm at home.

Also tricky in this weather is working out. Not because I run or do any sort of thing outside. I just don't like changing into clothes that won't give me a heat stroke only to change back into my fleece outfit when I'm done. That's too much transition in our house that isn't super warm. I've voided a workout for three days, but MUST do it today.

I'm so glad Punxsutawney Phil predicts that spring is on its way. I can't wait. I want to sweat a little and wear a dress without leggings or tights. Until then, I'll continue wearing my fleece outfit and wondering why it's so cold in this Artctic circle we call Texas.