November 28, 2011

Weekend Recap (and a bit extra) - Turkey Day!

I'm going to include a little extra in this week's Weekend Recap as it encompasses Thanksgiving, therefore elongating the overall weekend experience :)

Do you ever go on vacation, and know that every day was absolutely awesome but you were so relaxed that you can't possibly remember everything that happened? Yea? That's me. So here's what I remember about my long vacation with the fam.
Last Tuesday (yea, a week ago), BF was working, I was helping Dad with leaves, and Sister was coming home from USC (the original - aka South Carolina). Much past that general description, I can't much recall. We had come up to the farm on Monday night after a great day of brunch and shopping with Nana. It felt really good to get back to the Farm; as I think I've said before it's my little piece of heaven.
Mom and I did some grocery shopping for the week, including our Thanksgiving dinner. Dad had sent out a 'survey' to the group the week prior to determine whether we would have sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes, and pecan pie or pumpkin pie; we ended up getting all of them.
During some of the down time, I took BF out to enjoy the 4-wheeler a bit... something he'd never done before which he liked, however he had to get back in for a call. Then Wednesday I helped Dad with some leaf collection, there are like 12 old oak trees in the front and back yard that continuously rain leaves throughout the fall and winter. Dad said this was his week of leaves and tire changing because throughout the week we dealt with the leaves, and changed 3 tires.... We also dealt with strong winds that brought Aunt Joan's leaves up to our yard (from next door) after we had just cleared ours. The weather though was mild most of the week staying in the upper 50's to mid 60's... a pleasant change from the 30's & 40's expected in Chicago.
Wednesday night, BF was going a little stir crazy from being cooped up working the first half of the week, so we met sister out in downtown Greenville. She was out giving a friend of her's a 21st birthday party. Sister is a bit more familiar with the whole state of SC than I because she's in school there, and I had never gone downtown, especially not at night. I know, it seems weird but I'm such a homebody and typically just do projects with mom and dad at the house when I'm there. Downtown Greenville is definitely interesting. It was a cute little main street they had all decorated for the holidays, with a boutique shops and a few bars/restaurants.
Thursday was packed with cooking our delicious Thanksgiving meal of:
Sweet potato crisp
Mashed potatoes
Green bean casserole
Aunt Joan's Mac & Cheese Casserole (something I've tried to duplicate, but have never gotten just right)
Homemade Cranberry sauce
Turkey (of course)
Our INCREDIBLE spread (with Aunt Joan in the mirror)
Mom sets a good table ... PS that's Sister's china set... mine is the lilacs in the china cabinet :)
Out Holiday family... doesn't BF look SHARP!
We all kind of crashed after dinner, although Mom got all the china/silver hand washed before I woke up from my Food coma... that's right, my momma has gone southern making it a point to bring ONE of the silver sets up to use. She's so southern "Martha"; you can tell by the sprinkled leaves on the table ;)
Friday Mom, Sister, BF and I made our way up to Asheville, NC to the Biltmore Estate. Mom and Dad had gone 30 years prior, but the rest of us had never been. We got an early start on the 80 mile drive, and thanks to google maps (iphone), we went some weird back road rout that took longer than expected. But we made it.
It was gorgeous!
For those of you that haven't had this opportunity, they do charge a Disney ticket to get in... i.e. like $59-$69 big ones for a single day pass. It was a little excessive, but the lands and architecture are pretty amazing!
BF & I in the side yard that overlooks the beautiful NC mountains!
Sister & I out front... mom insisted...
Sister & her standard Phi Mu Lion photo op :)
Mom & Sister before we entered the conservatory.
Some of the stunning flowers in the hot house.
The whole place was decorated for Christmas and was just incredible. They don't allow photos inside, they say because it stalls the self-guided tours (they have 160 people enter the house ever 15 mins), however they also charge you for photos:
BF & I in the morning room.
You can check out more of the interior here:
I drove both ways, and on the way home it was getting late, and I was a little slap happy (we did do the wine tasting after lunch) and I heard this song on the radio... I HAD to share!
It's a take on the song "A little More Country than That"... AWESOME!
Saturday was jam packed with finishing up some of our projects. Mom & I are notorious project starters with multiple irons in the fire. I got her on these couple while we were there (nothing from her original list):
1.) I showed her this site I had found that has like 15 gifts under $2 for the holidays and she fell in love with the "I 'Wisk' you a Merry KISSmas". So we made a few for her admins:
2.) Homemade Tapenade: I made my Testa's Tapenade for mom to stick in little Christmas baskets.
3.) Rolo treats for sister to take back to school:

I even got a good start on my 2011 Christmas Letter, however I've got at least another paragraph to write and the editing. I need to look for my address list to get it updated. As I mentioned last year, this is something I do every year partly because I enjoy it, and partly because it allows me to look back and appreciate what I've accomplished in that year.
BF, Mom, Dad, & I spent the evening grilling out and watching the Purdue game on BF's laptop while enjoying some of the awesome wine we picked up at the Biltmore. As dad put it, we got a 3 way win! UGA, Purdue, & USC all pulled it out on Saturday. I insisted upon closing out the night using the bonfire pit that Dad has in the back of the house. It was just a perfect way to end a much needed week of family.
Sunday we got up fairly early, sent sister back to school, grabbed breakfast at Cracker Barrel, before heading back to ATL to prepare for our flights back to Chicago. BF was Mr. Crabby pants as he had a 10pm flight out (I love you babe, but it's your own fault for picking the late flight and waiting so long to purchase tickets), however I was able to talk a Delta attendant into letting him on a 4:15 flight out right before my 5:25 flight. I made it back in time to do some weekly grocery shopping & start working my way through my backed up DVR.
I couldn't be more pleased with my overall time at home. I miss it already....
What did you do for the holidays? Did you go anywhere fun?

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