Saturday, November 18, 2017

Another Scavenger Hunt

After doing the downtown Urban Adventure Quest scavenger hunt with the family in October, I knew I wanted to do it with my friends.

We went yesterday. The temperature was supposed to be in the 70's and overcast---perfect! Instead, it was 37 when I left the house. It was around 40 when we got downtown---a little nippy, but since it was sunny, that made a big difference. Never once did I notice the chill once we started.

Here's how it works. First, you have to select your city---they have these all over the country. Then you have to choose a team name. I couldn't really think of anything clever, so I picked "friends forever." That name was taken. Then I picked "just us"---also taken. Finally, I went with "AYMers" feeling pretty certain that would be available. It was. Stephanie had given me a link to a discount code. The scavenger hunt is $50---we got a $10 discount.

We started outside of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
From there, you travel around the city to 17 different locations. According to Nancy's fitbit, we walked 3.5 miles. We took our time and stopped for a drink and live music at Honky Tonk Central.
 This is just one of the dozens of honky tonks around town---most with live music all day and night.
 We probably stayed about a half hour. There was a group of girls celebrating a birthday. They were having a good time for sure!
On another stop, we posed with Bill Monroe. We continued on to Capitol Hill. Nashville has these bronze statues everywhere.

We stopped for lunch at Puckett's Grocery. We picked the perfect time to go downtown. It wasn't all that crowded since we're a little outside the tourist season. There were some. I met a family sporting Mizzou jerseys. They are in town for the Missouri/Vanderibilt game on Saturday. I was glad to see them exploring the city. In fact, we really enjoyed exploring our own city. We walked places I'd never seen before. Nashville really is a pretty place. There is construction going on just about everywhere, but that just helps to keep everything looking nice and fresh. I've had out-of-towners mention before about the cleanliness of Nashville---and that's the truth. It really a nice place. And you don't have to be afraid.

Anyway, it was so  much fun. I'd do it again and again. Since I had done it once, I was the navigator. You do everything on your phone. Really, with a couple exceptions, I didn't remember the answers anyway. Our final score was 495 points out of a possible 555. We had one glitch that cost us 20 points. We kept entering the correct answer only for the app to tell us we were wrong. When it told us the correct answer, that's the one we had chosen! Then there was another time that I didn't realize that I asked for a hint. That cost us too.

Everyone loved it. It was so nice to do something fun right before all the hustle, bustle and WORK of the holidays! In  fact, I got up at 4 a.m. to get everything ready for Stephanie's birthday dinner last night. I had already cooked the chicken and made the cupcakes the night before. But, I knew that I wouldn't fully enjoy myself on the scavenger hunt if I knew I had so much to do when I got home. Cooking for 9 people is double cooking---with all these boys, one recipe doesn't cover it!

We played games after dinner and then moved on to poker in the rec room. I was so tired (me without a nap cannot last too long). I called it quits at 9:30. Clean up was pretty quick. Butch wanted me to leave it. Uh, NO! After 46 years, he should know better than that. There's absolutely no way do I want to wake up to a mess!

While cooking the night before, I tried out the red velvet martini that I was hoping to duplicate from our D.C. trip. The first one was a total fail. It tasted disgusting. I played around with it and came up with this. It was delicious!

I have another one up my sleeve for Thanksgiving!

PS One last thing. When we were in DC, I started referring to the family by generations to differentiate since just about everyone is adults now. The "youngin's" take offense to being called "kids!" Turns out, no one likes "the 3rd generation" either. In fact, when I sent out the itinerary for Thanksgiving, Justin told Mindy, "I'm kind of confused about this generation thing. Which one am I."

So much for new ideas!!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mean Girls!

I am not referring to anyone I know! I'm referring to the world premier before it hits Broadway---of Tina Fey's Mean Girls. That was our whole purpose for going to Washington, D.C. this past weekend.

We arrived on Friday afternoon. We checked in to the hotel--J.W. Marriott---which was the perfect location for everything we planned to do. We were 2 blocks from the white house and you could get to the theater through our hotel!

No sooner did we enter our room than we were greeted with this!
 We had a quick, nothing to write home about, lunch. Afterwards, we went to the National Cathedral. Even though it was 43 degrees, it was freezing! It was windy. I think the windchill made it 5 below!
 We didn't spend much time outside--just looked at the garden and took a few quick pictures.

 When we got back, there was time for a quick cocktail before dinner.
Dinner at the Occidental was delicious---and nice ambiance. Plus, it had my minimum requirement for a nice restaurant---a tablecloth!

The next day, we were scheduled for a Segway tour. When we woke up, it was 25 degrees! Given our experience the day before at 42 degrees, we decided there was no way we could do it. I hated that because, that's the most fun way to tour a city. Plus, you get to see all of the monuments without having to spend a lot of time walking to each. Anyway, I checked my confirmation sheet and they don't give any refunds for ANY reason---weather, missed train, late plane, sickness---they listed just about everything you can think of. Steph said later that maybe if we'd called their bluff, they might not want to go out when it's that cold either. But I figure they would take you out until you decide you couldn't handle it. Either way you lose.

Instead, we decided to do some Christmas shopping. The mall was awesome---4 levels. I found several things for gifts.
We had lunch reservations at the Sugar Factory. Oh! My! Gosh! This place was incredible.
 Those chandeliers! The floor tile!
 This was the candy store side of the restaurant.
 The drinks!

 We have no idea what these drinks cost. Sandy got the Reese's martini---yes, it's rimmed in peanut butter! I got the red velvet martini---rimmed in cream cheese frosting! It was the BEST drink I've EVER had! I saved some of it for dessert. Stephanie got the lollipop---it came with two of those twisted suckers and a candy necklace. Mindy got the energy bear---loaded with gummy bears. She's still a sucker for gummy bears.

We waited over and hour and a half for lunch. It didn't really seem that long since we were talking, but the waiter kept coming over and apologizing that they were out of something we ordered. Turns out, they were out of 3 things. The manager came over after the second time and apologized. He explained that their food delivery had not arrived. I told him we'd feel a whole lot better if we could get one of those glasses (the waiter had told us they were not for sale)! He readily agreed and brought us one on the down low. When the waiter had to apologize once again, he told us that the manager was comping our whole meal! The food was just okay---pretty regular food---not bad, but not fabulous. But the drinks made up for it! They don't post the prices of the drinks on the menu. Now we'll never know what they cost. We would definitely go back. The manager told us that the company is looking at Nashville for a new location. I hope so!
When we saw the Garrett popcorn shop in the mall, we had to get some! Sure beats standing in line on the street in Chicago!
 Our hotel was just a couple blocks from the White House. We got back to the hotel from shopping around 4 p.m.
 The girls decided to go out browsing around.
 I stayed behind because I wanted a little nap and I've been to D.C. several times.
 This was the reason for the trip. Now we can say we've been to a premier!

Mindy and Stephanie always like to see what they are naming the special show cocktails. The show was soooo good! We'll definitely go again if/when it comes to Nashville. I wasn't happy with our seats, but the girls thought they were just fine. I'm spoiled. I like close seats. We were on row "T." I learned years ago, if I can't get Orchestra level tickets, I don't want them. Now I think I'm going to have to revise that. If I can't get within row "L" or closer--count me out! Another problem is that the rows were not graduated enough. I had a big head in front of me. Mindy traded, but then I noticed that she, too, had to lean to the side to see well. Anyway, I'm so glad the show was so good. 
We ended our whirlwind weekend with brunch at Cafe du Parc. Very nice and the food was delish. I've never met a crab benedict that I didn't like!

What I love most about our girls trips is watching the girls laugh so much. We just don't get to be together often enough! Oh, and I love that my girls LOVE to get dressed up!

Okay, now it's on to the holidays. I'll do the first round of the grocery shopping today. We kick off with Stephanie's birthday dinner on Friday night. Saturday and Sunday, it's Christmas decorating time and the start of the cooking.

I'm tired already!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Christmas Village

From about 1986 until now, we have been kicking off the holiday season at Christmas Village. My friends and I always looked forward to it. When we started, the preview night tickets were $25.00. Now it's $45.00 for the opening night---nothing to sneeze at! Really, that's the only way to go. It's so crowded---even on the opening night. But they don't allow strollers on that night, so you can move---a little! We'd shop and then I'd make a deal for photos with all of us surrounding and sitting on Santa's lap. Somewhere along the line, the people who "put on" Christmas Village decided to hire a professional photographer. The cost is ridiculous, so we stopped doing that a number of years ago. Believe it or not, that's when I was "over it!"

Well, Stephanie and Mindy started going with us a few years ago. They are not "over it!" Soooo, I'm continuing to go. I've always said, "if my girls want to spend time with me---I'm doing anything they want!"

We had a good time. There wasn't anything really new this year. Lots of food, as always.
 I can't tell you how many times over the years that I've purchased these dip mixes. Then I would forget about them and throw them away the next year!
I had to laugh that Stephanie and Mindy paid $8.00 for little jar of mustard. It's really good---and I have to admit, I bought that exact same mustard about 20 years ago and several times in the years that followed. They got the champagne mustard which is exactly the only one I ever bought. It is really good!
The girls spring for the wine--which is only available on the opening night. This year, they offered this insulated wine glass. Mindy got it for me. It's nice and did keep the wine cold, but now I have another big cup for my cabinets!

I broke a record this year. I only bought 2 things and spent $30.00! The girls found a few things, but they didn't spend much either. I think we're starting to control ourselves! I told myself, "no decorations (I'm trying to scale down and get rid of stuff), no jewelry (and now I'm mad that I didnt' even look (Both Stephanie and Mindy found some really cute necklaces and bracelets), and no food (for the reason I already mentioned). Still, we had a fun time.

After we went to a new restaurant in The Gulch---I've already forgotten the name. The food was good, but not really remarkable. There are so many new restaurants down there, that when I go back, I'll try another.

Anyway, it was a fun way to kick off the holiday season---but mostly, it was a nice perface to our Washington trip the next day!

That's up next!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

It's That Time of Year!

Yep! Fall and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I'm ready!

And if you recognize these pictures from last year, they you get a gold star! It's all the same stuff. Maybe it's arranged a little differently, but you get the idea!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Funnies

By the time you read this, I'll be in Washington, D.C. with Sandy, Stephanie and Mindy. We're going specifically to see the debut of Tina Fey's Mean Girls before it hits Broadway. We love the theater! I have a lot of fun things planned. I'll report later. I hope you have a great weekend too!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Few Layouts

When I met my sisters for a scrapbooking weekend a couple weeks ago, I managed to complete quite a few layouts. Other than my AYM club monthly, I seem to do most of my scrapbooking when I'm away from home.
You know I'm all about the story---right? Well, this one is about the time I set the alarms off at The Louvre.
 I did quite a few layouts for the "grands" scrapbooks.

 Notice how I used the same format on many layouts? They all look different, plus, they aren't even going in to the same album.

 This one is about Camp Aunt Barb.
The interesting thing on this layout is the "games" title. I used the Spirograph to make the frame. I hadn't used it in years. Okay, well, never! But I'm going to try it more!

 This is just to show that I have a series of photos on the left and used washi tape to make a flip up book.

That's it for now!