Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekend Getaway

My husband (Steve) and I just returned from a much needed and enjoyed weekend getaway! Steve is starting a new job next week, so we had a little time off to be able to take a long weekend in Asheville, NC. If you have never been to Asheville, it is definitely a place to visit. Being that the high temperature for us was around 35, we didn't get to do much outdoors, but we still had a great time. Asheville has some of the best restaurants I have eaten at. The first night we enjoyed Tupelo Honey Cafe which was recommend by several! It was a great little home cooked restaurant with lots of personality. They served you biscuits with honey and jam to start your meal and Steve finished with a Root Beer Float. What more could you want :)
Next we enjoyed The Lobster Trap. We ended up sitting at the Oyster Bar and talking to the cooks most of the night. We could have been entertained alone by their art of opening oyster shells and staging each plate that went out, but instead also had the pleasure of listening to the Big Nasty Jazz Band play. Steve loves jazz music so it was perfect to add to our night. Afterwards we went to the French Board Chocolate Lounge. One of the docs had told Steve "it was a great spot to take your lady after dinner." So he did just that. We walked in and the line was literally at the door. As a couple were leaving, he said, "The line is worth the wait." Needless to say, we stayed, and had some amazing desserts and coffee.
We tired to adventures some and take a drive to Graveyard Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Basically this parkway takes you all through the mountains and through some great lookout spots. Unfortunately, the road was closed at half way into our trip for repairs to the tunnel, so we didn't make it to the waterfalls, but did get a pretty look at French Board River.

The next part of our trip led us to the Biltmore Estates! I had been when I was younger, but Steve never had, so it was a great experience for the both of us. There was so much about the house that I had forgotten about. I wish I could say I have tons of pictures to share, but there is no photography allowed in the house, so the outside will have to do. The gardens weren't much to see this time of year, but the house and winery were amazing! We got to eat lunch at the Stable Cafe, which is right next to the house. It is set up just has the horse stables would have been, but in restaurant fashion. Once we  drove the 5 miles up to Antler Hill and Winery, we had free wine tasting, browsed beautiful gift shops, and went on a "Bubbly" tour. They took us behind the scenes of making Sparking Wine or Champagne and ended with tasting all 6 of their "Bubbly's."It was a long day at the Biltmore, but definitely worth all the time spent. Some of the views from the house are breathe taking. I can only image what it looks like in summer or even at Christmas. The house rotates what rooms are on display, so I would love to go back again.
Horses near the barn at the Biltmore

In front of the house

Back Balcony at the house

House front up close
Inside the Stable Cafe

View of the Gardens
Tasting the Bubbly

The Inn at the Estates
If you are planning to visit the Biltmore, take a look at the packages on their website. We got free audio tour, breakfast every morning, lunch at the Stable Cafe for free, and tickets for the Biltmore delivered to our hotel. Thanks for the suggestion, Tori!!
We finished our weekend with a little outlet shopping in TN. I am sure most of you have been outlet shopping, but if you haven't, it's a definite must in the near future! I am always trilled by the deals you can find. It makes shopping so much more fun....even my husband enjoyed it :)
It was a great weekend getaway with each other and I can't wait for more to come!
Thanks Asheville!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jesus is Calling

Listen out everyone....this book I am about to write about is amazing!!! I am so excited that I found it. I have been searching for a good every day devotional for a while now. I am going to be real honest, I am not great at a daily quiet time with Jesus, but I am working on it. I will typically get motivated and go a week or 2, then it fades away into a few times a week, once a week, to eventually every now and then. I get so down on myself that I had such good intentions, but life always seems to get in my way.
Needless to say I was strolling through the christian book store a couple weeks back, looking, searching for a devotional that seemed right for me. I wanted something that was daily, short, but effective. Yes, I said short. I have done the hour long devotionals before by myself and my attention span seems to think about everything else in my life, except what I really need to be focusing on, GOD!! SO...I set my eyes on something that I could do before work about 10-20 minutes in length.
I overheard one of the workers talking to about a 365 devotional called, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young. 
After a looking through the first couple devotions, I knew this was the book for me. Each day takes about 3-5 minutes to read and the Bible verses are already printed. With this length is gives me time to sit and reflect, without feeling rushed.
If you are looking for a meaningful devotion that fits in your busy life, check out this Jesus Calling, it has totally made a difference in my life in just a few weeks.

"Look to the Lord and His strength; seex his face always." Psalm 105:4

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

First Christmas in the New House

I know its almost a month late post, but I really want to document our first real Christmas in our new house. Last year we moved in December 19th, which didn't leave much time for decorating. So this year I really had to live it up, due to my withdrawals from last season. Christmas is by far my FAVORITE holiday. Christmas time brings so much cheer and happiness all around me. I love the constant joy I see on people's faces and the laughter between families as they gather together for shopping, cooking, and eating!!!
Growing up, my family always had a live Christmas tree. I love the smell, the texture, and the look of real tress, but hate all the clean up! So I reverted to buying a new artificial tree that had a little extra creature. Luckily I found a great tree with several different branch styles and pine cones!! I love the rustic feel to this tree. In previous years, we had a blue and white tree, so I was excited this year to have a more traditional red and green tree.
Living Room Tree
My fireplace the was next task. We have a stone fireplace so it was a challenge to find a type of garland we could use and keep it in place. I decided to make a mesh garland, because I want the bright colors somewhere else besides the tree. While I love the way it turned out, next year I will try not to block the bottom of the TV (for the husband's sake). Although, he was a great sport about it!
Fireplace Decor
Later I decided that my dining room could use a little sprucing up as well. I wanted the dining room to be simple and elegant, since I had such bright colors in the living room. I got out my old artificial tree from our previous house and put it in the corner of the dining room. It ended up fitting perfectly! I was able to use a lot he ornaments I had used in previous years (from the blue and white tree). I love how the white and silver really added a sparkle in this room. I love that I was luck to have an angel that my mom-in-law passed down to me! It gave the tree a special memento.
Dining Room Tree
 On to one my favorite parts of my house....that's right the kitchen cabinets!! I have always struggled with what to do with Christmas cards we receive. I love to see every one's family and how the kids are growing, but how do you enjoy them all season?!? In previous years, I had placed them on the piano. But most of the time they would fall over or into the floor and I found myself just putting them into a drawer until the next Christmas came around. I found this idea on Pinterest to decorate my kitchen cabinets with Christmas cards! It was soo easy. I simply taped a red ribbon to the inside of the cabinets and hot glued a snowflake green ribbon to mini clothes pins = instant picture hangers! I love the way this turned out and I love being able to enjoy the cards ALL season!!
 My next favorite part of my house was my stair rails. I was trying to find a new idea besides the traditional garland because my railings aren't very long. Another Pinterest idea came to life. These weren't to time consuming and looked great without getting in the way of the handrail. All the supplies I purchased at Hobby Lobby except the green ornaments.
This Christmas was also very special, because we hosted our family for Christmas dinner and presents. I love the way my table turned out with my Grandma's china on it.
Dining Room Table
Lastly, I tried to used the cooking theme for the kitchen table. I made a small tree decorated with only gingerbread man and house ornaments. It added just the right character I needed for this table.
That wraps up my 2012 Christmas decor. I loved the way it turned out!!