Day 2 started around 8:30 in the morning. We went to Bodo's, a popular bagel shop. I was not disappointed! After breakfast, we headed to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. He and George Washington are my favorite presidents. I will never be tired of visiting this home. I love Jefferson's love of learning and reading. The guide told the sweetest story about Jefferson. He had numerous grandchildren. Jefferson would usually have only one copy of a particular book. When deciding which grandchild would get to read the book first, he had them draw straws. The one with the longest got to read the book first, and the child with the shortest was given the book last. BUT...here is the beauty of it...The child who drew the shortest straw got to keep the book! What an example of fairness! I just love that man! Here are some pictures of Monticello:
The Dome Room...Every once and a while Monticello has special tours of the third floor...but not often! I am so lucky that Nancy works there and was able to give me a private tour of the third floor. Isn't that a beautiful room!?...Completely octagonal! Jefferson was a genius at so many things including architecture and design. Thanks Nance!!
Next, we ventured to Carter Mountain. We were starving, so we went straight for the food. I had waffle fries and a slice of apple pie and Nancy had the famous apple donuts, an apple caramel cookie, and sliced apples with caramel...Are you seeing a theme here? Carter Mnt. (this time of year) is pretty much a huge apple orchard and pumpkin patch. They have a bakery, a winery, a general store, and most importantly: hayrides! People go there and pick their own apples. You cannot find better food made with apples. Their cider is amazing, and the views up there are gorgeous. God is truly an artist. Here are some pictures of Carter Mnt.:
Last night around 9:30, I decided to use the apples I bought at Carter Mountain to make an Apple Crisp. I have already eaten 3 servings! It is SO good! I promise I will post the recipe to this and the pumpkin muffins this weekend! I have to pack for my big work trip to Chicago! We are going to a conference on Positive Behavior Support. I fly out in the morning and get back on Friday. Here is a picture of the Apple Crisp: It tastes better than it looks.
Over and Out...
I have so much to report on an absolutely wonderful weekend. I experienced one historical thrill after another with my good friend Nancy! My trip to Charlottesville, VA was action packed, so I'm going to jump right in. I arrived around 10 on Friday night. My friend Nancy and I sat up about and hour and visited. We had much to catch up on. We didn't chat too long because our day was to begin at 8 a.m. the next morning. That is EARLY for a Saturday. We woke up bright and early on Saturday, and I made a batch of pumpkin muffins for breakfast. We ate them shamelessly the entire weekend. Check in tomorrow for the recipe. Here is a picture of our breakfast.
After breakfast, I showered and got ready for the day. I noticed that I took a long time to get ready. When I mentioned this to Nancy, she replied that she understood...I was a Meredith girl. WHAT!? Meredith girls take a long time to get ready!!??? I don't know what she is talking about :). We finally hit the road and made our way to Montpelier, the home of James Madison. When I visited as a child, the house was pink stucco. I assumed that this was how Madison built it. I experienced a RUDE AWAKENING. The family who owned it sometime after Madison, the duPonts, changed the house from brick to pink stucco. I love pink with all my heart, but to alter the home of the Father of the Constitution is outrageous...What nerve!! The house has been totally renovated back to its original form, and it was beautiful. I left feeling very confident that James Madison is too often overlooked and downplayed in our history. He did so much for this country, and the Constitution continues to be a living document. Nancy and I concluded that he should have a monument in D.C. I learned many things about him. Here is a fun fact on Madison: He was quiet, shy, and usually spoke at a level slightly above a whisper. Dolly Madison is a favorite first lady of mine. She was the perfect hostess and set the standards for fashion in her day! Here are some pictures from Montpelier:
After Montpelier, we took an unexpected trip to Barboursville Ruins. Jefferson designed this home for his friend, Governor Barbour of VA (1812-14). The home caught fire and burned down on Christmas Day in 1884. Here is a picture of the ruins. Nancy and I were the only ones there and were really able to explore! I loved seeing where the fire places had been. The home was designed to have a dome as the roof but that part was not built as designed. Doesn't it look mysterious and creepy!?? SO FUN.
Next, Nancy and I made an emergency trip to Target. It poured down rain all morning, and after frolicking about the ruins, my feet were beyond wet. My shoes are still drying. I didn't complain too much...afterall, it gave me an excuse to buy another pair of shoes.
At this point, we were starving and made our way to the Downtown mall. This mall is gorgeous and is completely outdoors. We ate a restaurant called Eppie's. I had Spinach Alfredo with garlic bread, and Nancy had Lemon Chicken, apple/cranberry crisp, cornbread, and the best collard greens you have ever put in your mouth. After lunch we drove around UVA, which was founded by Thomas Jefferson. It is a beautiful campus. As we were driving past the original dorms, which are still heated by a wood fire, Nancy pointed out Edgar Allen Poe's dorm room. I politely asked Nancy to find a place to park, trying to mask the urgency in my voice as not to sound too desperate. I just had to see Poe's room! What a fun experience with Halloween being so close! Also, I had to see how the students in those dorms heated their rooms, so I asked a student if I could look in to his room. He was very nice and obliging. He said that he makes a wood fire almost every night. How wonderful would that be! Here are some more pictures from this portion of the trip:
Oh no! I almost missed a part...Before UVA, Nancy and I went to a glass shop to design picture frames using cut up pieces of glass. The glass is melted and a finished product is created. Here is a picture of that part.
We finally got home, ate more pumpkin muffins, put on our PJ's and watched a double feature: How to Make an American Quilt and the Secret Garden. We enjoyed a couple glasses of Sangria while watching the movies:
I love quotes, so here is a quote from the movie, How to Make an American Quilt. I thought it had much truth in it:
"Young lovers seek perfection. Old lovers learn the art of sewing shreds together and seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patches."
Phew! It is late...so stay tuned for a play by play of Sunday's trip to Monticello and Carter Mountain...I had to save the best for last!
This is going to be short and sweet. I'm so tired and have a really big weekend ahead of me! I have a 3 hour drive after work tomorrow. I'll be in Charlottesville, VA this weekend doing some fun history stuff! We will be touring Monticello and Montpelier. I cannot wait! I've visited Monticello numerous times and have visited Montpelier once before. The exciting thing is that they have done major renovations to Montpelier, and I've heard such good things about it. We are also going to visit Carter Mountain to pick apples, go on a hay ride, and eat every type of apple flavored thing possible! I will have lots of pictures when I get home on Sunday. I hope everyone has a good weekend!
Here are some small group pictures from tonight. I love these girls to pieces. They are the sweetest and FUNNIEST things you'll ever meet. Tonight we talked about the differences between guys and girls. We discussed how God designed us differently but to be careful in how we view guys. We talked about the stereotypes put on guys and girls and neither gender should be clumped into one category...a lesson I could have used at 14 years old. For example, not all guys are emotionless and insensitive. We talked about how guys and girls deserve to be accepted for who they are...totally different from one another! I really think that this is a problem for adults and is probably contributing to the high divorce rate. Many TV shows portray the man as wimpy, clueless, and insensitive, and women often get portrayed as the bossy, nagging, control freak...Just watch "Everybody Loves Raymond." If this is not a distortion of family and gender roles, I don't know what is. If this kind of portrayal is our society's model for family life, we are in big trouble. It was nice to be able to have a discussion with the girls about this. I was surprised at how they were quick to defend guys. While they did make some funny comments about boys, they all said they know guys who they consider sweet and thoughtful, defying the stereotypes that often surround men.They also talked about the stereotypes surrounding girls too, and we talked about how it feels when the tables are turned, and we are the ones being stereotyped. We looked at Bible passages showing how Mary and Joseph handled the news of discovering they would be Jesus' parents. It really showed how men and women can view the same situation from different perspectives...and that this is OK!
Wow...did I get some funny and/or insightful responses tonight. Here are a few:
"You can't blame it all on the guys."
"Give them (guys) some credit! Sometimes we don't give them enough credit!"
"If they don't have the backbone to ask me out in person, then whatever!"
"Have you ever been asked out on a calculator?"
"Do guys actually think that wearing their pants too low is attractive to us!?"
(In response to the statement, "Things some guys don't understand"): "Like when we're in a bad mood, maybe it's just because we don't like them."
I learned a lot from these girls tonight after listening to them discuss all of this.
My favorite picture. I tear up every time I look at this. They didn't know I was taking this picture, but they were so wrapped up in the scripture we were reading, I couldn't help myself. I'm so thankful they love Jesus and His Word. They really do want to learn more. What a blessing. OK...I'm moving on before I start sobbing.
Today was such a fun day. It began with the Chick-fil-a cow and our apartment managers greeting us as we left for work with a box of chicken minis and an orange juice. Normally, I don't care to see a big smiley cow first thing in the morning, but since he was giving me free food, I was fine. I had a really productive day at work. I was able to do a lot of consultation with parents and teachers, which is always fun and challenging. After work, I frantically drove to the Fresh Market to pick up some apple cider. I bought Murray's cider and then mulled cider spices to add to it. It tasted wonderful and filled the house with the aroma of Fall. Yes, Fall has an aroma and so does Christmas! I bought a can of pumpkin for my "famous" pumpkin muffins. I'm not one to brag on my cooking because it is usually nothing to brag about, but these muffins are something else! I will post the recipe soon. I'm not at the stage in cooking where I feel the need to have secret recipes. I just fixed myself another cup of cider...this is going to be a long post. I also bought my favorite candy of all time...Peach Buds. I rarely see it in stores, so when I do, I make sure to buy some. It brings back such sweet memories of when I was younger. Here is a picture of it:
I thought I would give you an update on the caramel apples. I woke up this morning, and it was not a pretty sight. The caramel had drizzled off the apple completely. I could have cried. I was not going to let the apples have the best of me. I went to the store and bought more caramel, and I tried a different recipe. This time it was a much thicker consistency, and it worked! The ones we put in the fridge were perfect. It's all about allowing the caramel to set completely. Around 6 I was finally ready for my guests. We did a little book discussion but mainly socialized. I guess that is the ultimate purpose of the book club. Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed in me...he would have expected much more discussion. I will be visiting Monitcello with my good friend Nancy this weekend. I can hardly wait. Here is a quote from Thomas Jefferson:
"I cannot live without books," he wrote his friend John Adams in 1815.
For a great article on Thomas Jefferson see this link from Spiritual Wealth.
I love quotes, and this blog gives me the perfect excuse to interject them here and there. Anyway...back to the book club. We read "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. It was hardly a literary masterpiece but was a light read with a lot of inspiration. Here are some pictures from tonight's meeting.
It has been one crazy day! This morning I noticed my roommate's dog, Caidys, was acting weird. I called Sandy to let her know. He could hardly hold his eyes open and seemed lethargic. It was pitiful!! She came home, and we took him to the vet. The vet said he had allergies, so we are waiting to see if the medicine kicks in. He is still pitiful, and it's been 12 hours since his vet appointment. I finally got to work and had a fairly productive day. I got home and rested a little while, and then I was off again to a Junior League meeting. We learned about the history of the Junior League tonight, and I loved it! This organization makes me feel proud to be a woman! If you want to learn more about the JL's history on a national level, go to this link.
Here is the history of the Junior League of Greensboro. This came from the JL of Greensboro homepage. I love stuff like this:
My favorite part is how Kathleen Price (I love her name) started it...with her book club!!! I was thrilled because my friends and I have started a book club, and I'm hosting the first session tomorrow night. We are rotating homes each month. I will post pictures and update all of you on how that goes tomorrow night.
After the JL meeting I went to Walmart. I am so proud of myself this evening because I bought my very first Crock Pot!!! This is a very humble beginning for this amateur cook considering it was only $15. I'm not sure how long it will last me, but none the less, as of today I own a Crock Pot. I am making apple cider tomorrow night and needed something to keep it warm. I came home and made caramel apples for tomorrow's book club meeting. They were really easy to make. I hope they turn out OK once they chill. Here are some before and after pictures of my apple creation:
The sticks are a bit crooked, but it was all I could do to put them in the apple.
I'm hoping they will come off of the tray easily! Too be continued...
This was the perfect Sunday. I went to church this morning. The pastor is teaching a series on marriage. I figure I need to learn all I can, so I can be ready when God sends the right one my way. Lord knows...I have a lot to learn!! I enjoyed it and learned a lot.
I went to Herbies to eat breakfast after church. I always order pancakes, sausage, and hashbrowns with Diet Coke and sugar free syrup...It makes perfect sense don't you think? HA! I love eating out alone. I think it is relaxing. Sometimes I'm not in the mood to talk to anyone.
I came home, cleaned, and did laundry, and this evening Sandy and I carved a pumpkin and baked pumpkin seeds. Just call us Martha Stewart...we don't mind!
Here are some pics from our pumpkin carving! As you can see in the first picture, I had to set the mood and environment with a Pumpkin Spice candle!
Sandy carving away!
I had nothing to do with carving it...I just wanted a picture with it.
Seeds baking in the oven!
I will post a picture of the finished product all lit up tomorrow!
Here is a card I made last night. The stamps I used are from a company called My Favorite Things. I saw a similar card on a website I frequently browse and loved it so much, I had to make one too. I used the Cuttlebug Embossing machine to emboss the snowflakes onto the pink paper. I used Copic Markers to color the image of the girl and snowman. It was fun to make but took forever!
Today my friend from school, Vanessa, and me took two girls who we mentor to a nursing home to hand out baby pumpkins and to lunch at MiMi's Cafe. The girls were able to experience serving others, and we were able to work on their communication/social skills at the same time. We had a good time, and the girls seemed to enjoy themselves. I love old people. They are the sweetest things and are downright funny. The nursing home we went to was small and so cozy. The residents seemed happy there, and they were tickled they got a pumpkin! One of the ladies there sang us a gospel blue grass song. It deserved an Amen! MiMi's Cafe was delicious! I ordered pumpkin pancakes and ate every bite of them. Did I mention how much I love the Fall...ha! The girls were so cute. They ordered hot chocolate for their drinks. It made me think about how I should order more fun things at restaurants.
Here are some pictures from today's outing.