Newborn, Natchez, Noshing, Nashville, November
December 6, 2009
Our family had a little something extra to be thankful for this year – my new nephew Jack Stephen. Jack is the first child of my brother. He’s named in memory of my Dad, Jack, and in honor of his maternal grandfather, Stephen. My brother was a confirmed bachelor who hit the jackpot in his mid-40’s when he met his wife, Gina. Smart, fun, beautiful with an incredible family to boot. Really none of us could have asked for more. So, this year for Thanksgiving, we loaded up the car, put the bikes on the rack and set out on the 10 hour drive to celebrate with Jeff and Gina’s family and new son down in Nashville. And celebrate we did.
Gina’s Aunt is a great hostess and great cook. As with many great cooks, they have friends who are equally good cooks adding to the fun. What a feast we had – a foodie’s heaven! Two turkeys, one oven roasted, one smoked, two kinds of stuffing – including Gina’s family recipe of an italian sausage and bread stuffing that was almost addicting.
More and more food kept appearing on the tables….a couple of different sweet potatoes, the most amazing layered jello salad, several versions of cranberries, I loved the cranberry ginger chutney. Wines of the day were Pine Ridge Chenin/Vognier, Edna Valley Chardonnay, and Ponzi Pinot Noir. Blue Moon Honey Moon was available for the beer lovers. A bottle of Woodford Reserve was around. (any guesses what hubby and I were responsible for bringing). I forgot to get a picture of the dessert table – but it was equally impressive – two kinds of pumpkin pie, pecan pies. All so yummy.
Thank goodness with all that eating, we’d brought the bikes. Got in several good rides. A couple around Nashville in the Oak Hill/Belmont areas. But the most memorable was a ride along the Natchez Trace. Beautiful and challenging with the continual rolling hills.
Discovered that I’m a bit of a wimp riding over this famous bridge over Hwy 96. Heading out I stayed a decent distance from the edge. Coming back, a crosswind had blown up, and I was scared to death. Rode at almost the center of the road. Even once we got across and I got off the bike to take these pictures I never was able to stand next to the rail. Just a bit too freaked out.
The nice weather also provided an opportunity for a walk around Radner Lake.
Ended the weekend with a celebration of Mom’s birthday. A great trip, wonderful meeting Jack and spending time with family. Enough to wear a guy out!
Reflections on Halloween 2009
November 1, 2009
First off an observation……This blogger in training needs to do a better job of documenting things from start to finish. Sad to realize I didn’t take any in-process photos yesterday…the counter covered in newspaper, 5 pumpkins in varying states of being carved, piles of raw seeds, the patterns, carving tools, carved out chunks of pumpkin, my son and I covered in pumpkin gunk. Good times. Instead just have the final outcome of Halloween 2009 at our house.
We ended up with 6 carved pumpkins, one carved the day before at day care, the rest carved on Halloween morning at home. Final tally, I’d only carved 2, son did rest. I was responsible for all the pumpkin cleaning, pulling out the slimy guts, separating the seeds from the fleshy, gooey threads that connect them to the actual fruit. And boy, did we have seeds.
Son mentioned at the day care, they’d roasted the seeds two ways, with salt and then with cinnamon sugar. Then voted on favorite, where he voted “BOTH”. I’ve only ever done salt – somewhat evolving that to a savory garlic and herb version. Ended up splitting the seeds to to pans – on the right is the normal salt version, left is with a small bit of butter, brown sugar and common pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger). Would have to agree and vote “both”!
Trick or Treat in our town was from 5-7:30. My 10yo son had a friend spending the night, both going as versions of Star Wars clones. This was going to be the first year he trick or treated without parents, so I was a little worried, but we’d laid out the ground rules, they knew which streets they couldn’t cross, where they could go. A bit after 5pm, armed with flashlights, glow sticks and candy bags they set off. The boys were back well before 7:30 – first to grab additional coats, and later cuz they were tired of walking.
I donned my Cruella costume and the dog put on his Robin costume. We had maybe 40 trick-or-treaters. Lots of comments about the pumpkins from the parents, a few little ones nervous by the talking decorations and spooky music, but overall a good time. No dalmatians tho’, which would have been kinda fun!
Today it’s more or less back to normal, Halloween decorations packed away, pumpkins remain, and now time to tackle the masses and masses of leaves in the yard!