Monday, November 24, 2014

Friendsgiving 2014

This weekend Miguel and I had about 10 people over for a Friendsgiving dinner. This was Miguel's idea, but I love throwing themed parties and so I was excited to help host! I am fully aware that I go a little cheesy with themes, but I don't care, I embrace it haha.  For example, I cut out Thanksgiving photo props that no one used, but Miguel was kind enough to humor me and take a picture as a pilgrim! 

Once people got to our house I didn't remember to take any photos, but I snapped some pics of the food and decor earlier. 

This was the first time we used our new dining room table! We put one of the leaves in so that we could fit more people, but that also meant that there was very little wiggle room as the table took up pretty much the whole length of the room! 

Poor Madison got stuck in the chair closest to the window! Once she got in, she couldn't get out. Especially once we added a chair to the opposite end, essentially blocking the doorway to the kitchen. 

We also set up another little table so that there would be more room, but in the end we didn't get enough extra chairs so it became an impromptu "sweetheart table". 

Publix commercial salt and pepper shakers my dad gave me years ago =)

We also had candles and a fire going outside, but then, of course, it started to rain... pout.

To make the house smell like fall I had a simmer pot of orange peels, apples, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, etc going on the stove.

Our guests each brought a Thanksgiving dinner side or two, so I put my energy towards making little finger foods and things to snack on before dinner. 

These cute peanut butter pumpkin balls were my favorite thing! They were so easy to make! I think this would be a fun activity to make with kids too! And, apart from the pretzel stick stem, they are GF and DF!

Next I had a pumpkin pie dip with graham crackers and apples. I just wish the apples didn't brown so quickly.  This was also pretty simple to make, but sadly, it's not DF. I may still have had a bite or two though...

I also made some GF & DF sugar cookies that I made in the shape of fall leaves and pilgrim hats. They tasted really good to me, especially for being GF and DF!

This pic is pretty blurry, but for drinks I made a cranberry champaign cocktail.  It only has 3 ingredients and is so easy to make! Just don't make the same mistake I did and have the spout of the drink dispenser open when you pour in the juice!

But, of course, the biggest hit of the night was Miguel's turkey! Yummmmmmmy! He smoked it in the Big Green Egg and it turned out wonderfully! 

We had a fun night with good friends and are very thankful to have such a great group of people to celebrate with here in Savannah! Now that we are all warmed up  we are definitely looking forward to this upcoming week celebrating with our families!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Big Canoe Visit

I know I have fallen off of the blogging bandwagon and that it has been forever since I last posted. I think I get my picture-sharing-fill with Instagram these days. But, I think I will try to be better about blogging. It really is a digital scrapbook and I have fun going back and reading old posts. Anyways...

Last week I went up to the North Georgia mountains to spend some time with my parents and help take care of my mom as she recovered from eye surgery. For the past two years or so my mom's eyes have constantly watered. She was basically crying all the time. As you can imagine it was no fun for her. She looked upset or sad most of the time and couldn't wear eye makeup, plus it has to be obnoxious to be tearing up constantly. After a couple of failed surgeries to fix the problem, the doctors and my mom decided to put glass tubes (ahhh!) in her eyes to drain the tears. That's about all I know about the procedure because the details make me feel squirmy. Mom had a rough recovery after the surgery prior to this one (which was less invasive) so I volunteered to come up and help her out this go around. 

I went up the day before the surgery. My parents took me to the club for dinner and I just have to share the view. So pretty! So different from the coast! It always strikes me how much I miss the hills when I drive back home. These are more mountains than hills, I know, but it's much more similar to what home feels like to me than the flat, marshy beauty of the low country. This is also the first time I visited my parents since they have lived permanently in their mountain house. I'm kinda nostalgic and sad that mom and dad moved away from the city, but with a view like this, can you really blame them? Plus, no traffic! 

Skipping on to Thursday, the day of the surgery... Mom's surgery was in the morning and my dad took her to the hospital and home again while I stayed at the house to take care of my parents' senior-citizen dog who needs to be let out every hour or so.  The rest of the day was pretty much spent like this:

Ice packs and snoozing. 

Great news is that the surgery seems to have worked! Yay!!! Also, my mom did really amazing for just having someone cut her up! She didn't act loopy or pitiful at all. In fact, I had to (playfully) scold her multiple times for not taking it easy or for lifting things (not allowed to lift for 2 weeks!).  The only other highlight that I can think of is we finished off the day by watching Project Runway together, which is a treat since we (the 3 Leeper ladies) usually just text each other during the show. (Yay for Korina being gone btw!) 

Friday was a busy, fun day! My parents took me exploring all around North Georgia and I got to experience the way of life up there. First stop was Wolfscratch Farms. Apparently my parents buy their produce at local farmers markets and the farm also supplies items to one of my mom and dad's favorite restaurants. This was the first time any of us visited the farm in person though. 

Wolfscratch farm is kinda sketchy to get to (not really, just one way, gravel roads that make me feel like we are in the middle of nowhere!) but is well worth the adventure! The farm is directly behind the farmer's private home. In addition to various crops are beautiful, tall wildflowers, roaming chickens, ducks in a pond, and (my favorite) goats!

The farmer had a booth with some produce set up so my parents choose some goodies to take home with us.

We talked to the owner/farmer for a long while and he described his crops and water flow and much, much more. He was a very passionate man.  

The next stop was a little farther away. My parents took me to the Farm Store to see the animals and also get some great meat. We purchased bone-in pork chops, bacon, and eggs. 

However, the best thing by far was the BABY GOAT TRIPLETS! It was cuteness overload!

(Left, not a baby goat, but curious enough to sniff my dad's hand. Right, baby goat!)

Look at this little guy! He fits in the feeding dish!

Poor baby goat was minding his own business on the rock and then rudely got kicked off. 

The farm also had pigs, a cow, a horse, chickens, and rabbits!

After the Farm Store we went to BJ Reece Orchards so that I could pick apples! For years I've seen many friends post photos of picking this or that and I've always wanted to try my hand at picking too! So glad we were finally able to make it happen. Especially since my parents live in 'apple country' now! 

Before we went to the orchards we stopped in the store so see what goodies they had to offer. My goodness! I was not expecting so many people inside! This is by far the largest grouping of people I've seen the whole time my parents have lived in North Georgia!

They had a range of delicious looking pastries and breads as well as a variety of jams and jellies. They also offered other locally grown fruits and veggies. And as you can see by my mom's modeling below, the produce was quite large!!

(Doesn't my mom look crazy beautiful for having JUST had EYE SURGERY the day before?!)

We also got to peek in the back and see the guys sorting the incoming apples. They were a busy bunch!

Next we headed out to the orchards to get our apple picking on!

We picked both red and green apples. The lower branches had definitely been picked pretty clean and we were all surprised by how many apples were on the ground, but we were able to get up in the branches and get some good ones. 

Our last stop for the day was to 61 Main to get some yummy dinner. This place is great! The wait staff is very pleasant and the kitchen works with you to make sure you can eat a meal designed around your dietary restrictions. Plus the menu changes daily and is seasonal.  I had duck confit and beans... yum!

The next day my mom was feeling a little under the weather so stayed home to rest while my dad and I walked up the street to Big Canoe's Oktoberfest. It was a warm and beautiful afternoon. There were food and beer tents set up, live German music (featuring the organist from the Brave's game), and arts and crafts vendors. 

We had some fun daddy/daughter time and enjoyed the break from watching football (UGA and WVU both won! Yay!). It was so nice being up in the mountains and seeing a sneak peak of fall! The leaves even changed in the five days I was there!

Sadly, that ended my visit and Sunday I headed home in the rain. My mom really was doing so well and didn't need my help much by the time I left. I'm really glad I have a flexible schedule and was able to head up and help out though. Plus it was fun to spend time just the three of us. Can't wait to go back around Christmas and celebrate with the whole family (my new nephew included)! 

From rain and mountains to blue sky and the flat coast

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