Greenville 2021

After a year of Covid, six of the birds ventured out for a weekend in Greenville, South Carolina in December 2021.

Julie, Nancy, and Janet Zoomed in for the Magic Bags.
Nancy Zoomed in from her hospital room.
Danger girls posing on the rocks.
Gina taught a session on creating a marvelous charcuterie board.

Covid Christmas 2020

Covid arrived in late 2019 and affected us all in 2020. We zoomed, texted, and sent mail. We ordered things online. We shared resources (toilet paper). And generally did what we could to stay in touch.

The gang is almost all here. Missing Nancy and Janet.
We saw ghosts.
And we had bugs – literal and technological.
We had makeup tutorials – sometimes with marginal success.
We had Show and Tell Zooms. This is a “lovely” piece of jewelry on display.
We loved wearing masks. (sarcasm font)
We enjoyed the magic of Zoom.

Olivia appreciated her TP rescue.
Joanna shared some mask tips.

Julie was sad when we missed a Zoom.

Cindy was up to her shenanigans again.

It was a tough year but we kept it together because that’s what friends do!

Merry Christmas 2020.

Red Truck (Craft) Christmas 2019

We had another special Christmas gathering at Joanna’s lake house for our annual Christmas party. This year the theme was Red Trucks. Instead of Magic Bags we had Magic Trucks delivering goodies throughout the weekend. Beep Beep!

This year our Magic Trucks delivered goodies throughout the weekend.

Tailgate time! Goooooo Dawgs!!!
Gift Exchange. Lots of love and presents to go around.
Sunday Morning Brunch and off we go.

Gingerbread Christmas 2018

We met at Joanna’s house November 30 – Dec 2 2018 for our annual Christmas party and gift exchange. Julie and Gina planned and Joanna offered her lake house as the location. The first picture is a group photo at Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa. It was taken on Saturday. The rest of the photos are in chronological order.

Group Photo! (Almost everyone! Missing Janet.)
Friday Night!!! Let the party begin!
Late night dance squad.
Early bird quiche.
Some early morning magic stockings.
Lunch at the restaurant at Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa.
Dessert at the Hot Chocolate Bar at Joanna’s.
Everyone took home a mug and an ornament.
Gingerbread House Competition.
A cozy day for watching the UGA game.
This game calls for the big screen.
And, this game calls for a little extra Cardinal help.
Ornament exchange.
Tampon V for Victory! Must be Terri’s house.

Sunday Brunch.
And now we begin the Cindy Photo Fest. That’s what happens when you wake up as early as the photographer.
Gina made some car goodies.
Thanks, Joanna for hosting another wonderful weekend.

Christmas in Warm Springs 2017

For our annual Christmas gathering we went to Warm Springs, Georgia.  Our VRBO  even came with a beautiful snow.  It made travel difficult but also made for a fairy tale setting for the Cardinals.

Kim, however, up in Blue Ridge had an epic tale of adventure trying to get out of her driveway to come.  She prevailed and made it to the house after many hours of digging.

We ate at the Bulloch House Restaurant in Warm Springs, GA.  It is a southern buffet with fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, squash casserole, green beans, macaroni and cheese…you get the idea.  Our charm for the weekend was a fried chicken leg.

Nancy Squared.

After lunch and shopping, we went back to our rental.  We enjoyed an afternoon playing games, blowing fuses, and being scolded by the hot grandpa…”Y’all,  don’t touch nothing!”

Nancy P was our hostess and she planned a wonderful weekend.

Kim made a plastic wrapped ball for an exciting game with prizes. You get to keep unwrapping the ball until the person next to you rolls doubles. It was vicious and hilarious.

I (Julie) won the grand prize of an amazing cardinal bird feeder.

The next morning the snow was gone and the chickens bid us farewell until next time.

Biltmore House 2017

Biltmore House Rental

We went on a trip this spring weekend to Asheville, North Carolina.  We toured the Biltmore House and also enjoyed hanging out in our rental house. Although our rental wasn’t quite as big as the Biltmore it was more than adequate for the 7 of us.     April 2017

We were perched on the side of a mountain with a barfy two mile winding road to get there.  We slowed to a snail’s pace and everyone arrived intact.   Four bedrooms, fire pit outside, stone fireplace inside, open floorplan, hot tub, gourmet kitchen….the list goes on and on.  And don’t forget the view!  Fabulous house!!!!

We spent one day in the city of Asheville.  It has changed a bit since my last visit.  It is a lot more bustling and touristy. Also since my last visit, it appears to be okay to turn your children into panhandlers or should I say street performers.  We saw quite a few. Although they were entertaining, I think Saturdays are best left for childhood fun and frolic not for funding your college or paying the cable bill for your parents.  You will have plenty of time to work as an adult, believe me.

However with that said, the rule in Asheville is plainly posted and we will adhere to the laws of the town.

One restaurant we went to was The Tupelo Honey Cafe. There is also one in Atlanta if we need another delicious fix.

Gina ordered a chicken biscuit with gravy and ham on top.

We went for dessert to the nearby chocolate shop – The Chocolate Fetish.  We arrived on  April Fool’s Day and the trick of the day for them was serving what looked like chocolate covered cherries (see in the case bottom left) but actually they were dipped cocktail onions.  It was a funny prank and the innocent victim received a regular chocolate medallion for being a good sport.

We hit a few other stores and then back to the house for games and an in-house dinner.

One game we played was Yahtzee.

Now, wouldn’t you think that if you rolled TWO Yahtzees in a game you would be assured to be the winner.  Terri did that and was sitting pretty for a while. But not today! Gina the Golden Girl rolled an unprecedented THREE Yahtzees in one game.  She also won twice at LCR .  If it hadn’t been such a long barfy ride down the mountain, we would have made her go buy some lottery tickets and rub some of her luck onto them.

The Biltmore dazzled as always, even in the rain.

We took a group photo before the docent ushered us off the steps.  Smile pretty.  You only have one chance to make it look good.

It was hot and crowded but we enjoyed the sights of a life vastly different from our own.

One of my favorite spots at the Biltmore is the view from the balcony.  We couldn’t go out there today but you could still enjoy it from the doorway.

We loved the indoor garden/sunroom, too.

After the tour we ate at Cedric’s Tavern near the Winery.  This restaurant is named after the Vanderbilt’s pet Saint Bernard, Cedric, so you can imagine how shocked I was to see a photo of Chupa on their wall.

Their delicious meals were served with their namesake sweet dill pickles.  This one is about to leap out of the jar and land on my plate. The man behind Terri looks like he wants to join the group with his red shirt.

Next it was wine tasting and souvenir shopping. Then we headed back to the cabin for our last night of fun.

So long from Asheville!  Until we meet again!

Recipes from the Trip:

Blueberry Pound Cake

2 tablespoons butter

sugar for coating bundt pan

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

additional 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Use the two tablespoons butter to grease a Bundt pan.  Sprinkle with sugar.  In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.   In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time.  Add the vanilla.  Slowly blend in the flour mixture.  Use the remaining 1/4 cup flour to coat the blueberries.  Fold blueberries into the batter.  Spoon batter into greased Bundt pan.  Bake for 70-80 minutes or until cake tests done.  Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then turn out cake from pan.  Allow to cool before slicing.

Best Chicken Stew

Cheesecake Factory December 2016

We had our annual ornament exchange and dinner this year at The Cheesecake Factory at Cumberland Mall.  Nancy S. got to try out her new van.  Our reservation at the Cheesecake factory allowed us to get seated right away and begin our much needed and enjoyed conversation around the table catching up with everyone. (December 2016)

The best part of the Cheesecake Factory is…well…the cheesecake.  I ordered the Christmas Red Velvet Cheesecake.  It never disappoints.

That afternoon we went to the Escape Room and tried to break out of our locked room with the clues provided within.  We were not successful within the hour time limit.  It was a challenge!

Later that evening we went to J. Alexanders for another delicious meal.

Finally, we went back to our hotel suite and enjoyed opening gifts.

We departed the next morning eagerly anticipating our upcoming trip to Asheville in April.