Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas.....

Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year.....isn't it for everyone?  I grew up with strong holiday traditions....and when I started my own family we added some of our own traditions.  And now one of our Christmas traditions is to enjoy someone elses tradition......Christmas eve with Melinda and Brad.

Melinda grew up in a New York Italian family and every Christmas eve her Mom made Lobster di Frivolo.....lobster, clams, mussels and shrimp in a light tomato sauce over is fabulous!

This year she served this spectacular dish to 30 of her favorite friends and her loving family.....we were very blessed to be part of this group.  The evening starts with her antipasti....romaine lettuce with fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, salami, ham, roasted red peppers, black olives and pickled vegetables.....drizzled with olive oil and fresh parmesan.  I have to make myself stop so there's room for the main course!

Needless to say, it was an evening that warmed the heart and lifted your spirit.  If you weren't in the Christmas mood when you got there, you were when you are some photos from our evening:

It was truly a very, merry Christmas....spent with great friends and enjoying great food!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Look!!! Over there>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I know you probably haven't been watching it click down like I have, but we're now in the single digits!  This time next week we'll be in Paris getting ready for the New Year!!!

If all works out as planned, Melinda and I will be posting here about our adventures.....stay tuned!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Office Party!!!!'s work!!  But when you "work" with people like those that I work with, it does make it so much easier.....and the group I work with was full of holiday spirit today!  We had a luncheon get together today and you could feel the electricity in the air in the elevator!  Not only was there grub, but there was a Tacky Christmas Outfit contest!  No wonder these people are so good at figuring out how to get the job done.....their creativity level is beyond none!  Check out some of these outfits!

So, after the "parade" it was time for lunch....the food was delicious and it sounded like the conversation was fun. Unfortunately, I was working on a new loan for someone, so I had to eat at my desk. But I popped my head out every now and then just to take in the smiles and the laughter.  Yep...this is definitely a group that is full of holiday spirit!

All I can say is that I am very lucky to be able to work with the people I work with.....not only are they full of the holiday spirit, but they are full of the spirit of life and in helping each other be the best we can be. I just love their spirit!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Party Time!!!

We had a busy morning today.....Melinda had her handyman come to the cabin to figure out what the problem is with the water. He had winterized it when we were up the last time, but we were still having issues (it's become a Friday night at the cabin thing). Finally he fixed the pipes while we made breakfast, then we showered and headed to Floyd to see if we could "find some finds" at the antique shops.

We struck out there, so we headed up to Chateau Morrisette for their Holiday Open House. There was still some snow on parts of the mountains.......but we loved the ice on the side of the mountain.The party was actually very nice! There was quite a bit of food.......pork tenderloin with fig and apricot chutney, shrimp, crab dip, mozzarella skewers, pasta, lots of veggies, cheeses and dips and even wild boar sausage cooked with peppers and onions. I have to say that it wasn't half bad! There were also tasting stations throughout the winery, which was beautifully decorated for the holidays. THEN there was the dessert station with a Bouche de Noel,different truffles, pumpkin crisp, apple crisp, chocolate decadence, several different types of mousse, chocolate covered strawberries......they really know how to put on a party, that's for sure!After we were stuffed and thoroughly "wined", we went to pick up our cases of wine, which we got at 30% off! Then we found a "Redbox" and headed back to the cabin for a relaxing evening watching movies and drinking a little wine..........then we head back home in the morning! This has been a wonderful weekend....I guess we'll be remaining members of the Kennel Club!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Heaven Froze Over

We're here! I know it's only been two weeks since we were up here at the cabin, but this was a weekend we were all looking forward to. Remember when we joined the "Kennel Club" up at Chateau Morrisette? Well, if you spent $150 on wine within the year, you got invited to the exclusive Christmas party! And we did....and now we're here! Tomorrow is the "bash"!

Shugs knew immediately that we were going somewhere when she saw us hustling around this morning to get packed....then we took her bed out to the car and that was it! She sat in the car until Melinda got to our house.
She was soooo excited! The trip up was uneventful.....but we did see some snow!!! And we weren't the only ones heading to the mountains!This picture was taken at 74 MPH!!!! Once we got here, the temp INSIDE the cabin was 17 degrees........we turned on the baseboard heaters (which do little to raise the temp) and stoked the woodstove to try to get the cabin warm. We even turned the double ovens up to 400 degrees and used wood trays to try to fan the heat into the rest of the cabin.Then I made my Clam Chowder for dinner, but when we went to sit down on the chairs they were soo cold that Melinda took the cast iron IRONS off of the wood stove and literally ironed the chairpads so our bums would be warm! she comes!

Slowly but surely the cabin warmed up....and so did our bums!!!! Melinda decorated the cabin for Christmas,
while Dennis watched old war and horror movies........and I surfed the net to make sure we wouldn't miss the December meteor showers.

The cabin is warm now.......and we're all much more relaxed (it helps not having layers of clothes on) and waiting for 2 AM for the beginning of the peak of the meteor showers. More to come! STAY TUNED!!! More tomorrow....unless we drink too much wine!

Friday, December 4, 2009


As you already know, this year we spent Thanksgiving with Melinda and her wonderful family! Since Shelby wouldn't be home this year, we thought it might seem less like someone was missing.....besides, we love spending time at Melinda's. She is quite the hostess and she's a wonderful cook!

Since we each have "faves" that we only eat at Thanksgiving, we split some things and made duplicates of others. How many different types of dressing did you have? Well, we had three! Melinda made these fabulous stuffing cups in a muffin pan that had apples in them!! Then she made a savory stuffing with sausage. I made an herb dressing. We also had two different gravies and two different types of mashed potatoes! Brad's mashed potatoes are deliciously creamy
and I made roasted garlic mashed potatoes (recipe to follow on my cooking blog)Melinda made the turkey and I made a ham. Besides the food, another reason we love having family meals at her home is that she sets the most beautiful tables, which add so much to the holiday feeling in the air!She's been collecting pieces for years......and she even has dishes for every occasion! Brad sliced the turkey...
..the ham was already sliced....the table was set...
...everyone had arrived....(that's Evan!)...we even had our favorite wine chilled and on the table! All that was left to do was eat. It was one of the best Thanksgiving dinners I've ever had.....mostly because it was spent with people that I love and am thankful are part of my life. I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving that was as filled with love and gratefulness as ours was!

Monday, November 30, 2009

On Frozen Pond.....

Melinda and I had a great weekend up at the cabin this weekend. It was a "girls" weekend and we were going to work on a secret OSL Christmas project (details to be revealed after Christmas). The "girls" included me, Melinda, Shugs and Chloe! The dogs love to go to the cabin and do quite well on the 4.5 to 5 hour trip up. Chloe (nicknamed "Knee Wart"), of course, sits in Melinda's lap and Shugs lays in her bed in the back....both snooze.

We had a little bit of a problem getting the water turned on, but had an even bigger problem getting the cabin warm! The winds were whipping outside at 20 mph and the wind chill was 21 degrees. Melinda got the woodstove going quickly, but with all of the rain they'd had up in the mountains, the cabin was cold and didn't warm up until around 2 AM, when we finally fell asleep snuggled in robes that had been warmed by the heater.

The next morning, we awoke to this....
....yep, that's a frozen pond. At least it was the only thing that was frozen! Remember this trip?The "big freeze" weekend last year was actually the same weekend this year!

The dogs just love going to the cabin.....once we pull onto the dirt road up to the cabin, both of their heads are up and the noses are going full speed. The scents of the mountain are familiar ones now and neither of them can wait to take their noses out of the air and put them to the ground!

Shugs has also gotten used to her "morning walks". Dennis takes her up and down the mountain every morning and she loves it. Well, Saturday morning she gave me a little time to drink my coffee, but after that she was ready to go for her walk and she wouldn't stop nudging my leg until I put the second cup down and took her. She waited patiently while I put shoes on and put a coat over my PJs.....and then she was off!

It's a wonder she doesn't run into a tree because he head is down the entire time. She stops here and there to sniff a little deeper and sometimes gets a little ahead of me,

but always stops and turns to make sure I'm still there.
It is such a cute sight.....this little white, fluffy dog that looks like she should be sitting on a fluffy pillow with tassels just struts up and down the mountain looking for animal adventures.

Once, when Dennis was walking her, they went up a pretty steep mountain that had been recently cleared. Shugs got about 15 yards ahead of Dennis and she was obviously on the trail of something. All of a sudden a deer came up out of the brush and Shugs went up on her hind legs and toppled down the hill backwards. I think she aged a couple of years after that!

She spends most of her days sitting on our front porch waiting for a squirrel or bunny to show itself, then she moves very slowly toward it......she has no idea that she is white...and they can clearly see her, although every now and then she does get close. But the animals up at the cabin aren't little bunnies or squirrels. There aren't any lions or tigers, but the newest sign down the road from the cabin is this:

There is a black cat that hangs out on the mountain and Shugs had her cornered once.....that was fun! Melinda has seen a fox and God only knows what else is out there! In the meantime, Shugs spends most of her cabin weekends sitting on the porch.....waiting....