Giving Thanks 2011

This year me and Rocky are celebrating the holidays together for the first time as a married couple…and though we are over 600 miles away from our friends and family up north and miss them all dearly, we still managed to create a nice Thanksgiving and make memories of our own.

Aunt Debbie invited us over on Thanksgiving Day and we got to see our Granddaddy and give him his dinner.

It was the 5 of us at dinner; Me, Rocky, Mark, Andy and Debbie. We were so thankful for her delicious meal! I keep telling her it was the next best thing to mom’s cooking. :)

Then Andy came over yesterday for our own Thanksgiving meal.  Mark baked the turkey, mashed taters, giblet gravy, and pecan pie…Rocky made the baked ziti, a new tradition for us German/Scots-Irish not used to Italian food on Thanksgiving! and I made the sweet potato casserole…mmm mmm mmm!

Even the cats got to enjoy their Thanksgiving meal!

We have so much to be thankful for; our family, our friends and pets, our health, our jobs, a roof over our heads and food in the fridge…I’m learning every day that it’s those simple things, those things that we easily take for granted, that really matter the most in life. :)

See more pics here.

We survived the climb up Chimney Rock!

We needed to get away for just a night so we took about an hour and a half drive to Chimney Rock, NC and what a beautiful trip it was! The trees were still full of colorful leaves, I thought for sure they would’ve dropped by now. We had a nice, quiet dinner at La Strada Bar and Grill overlooking beautiful Lake Lure and stayed over night at quaint and cozy Chimney Rock Inn.

Rocky went for a long, brisk walk Saturday morning while I slept in a bit longer :) and then we had breakfast at Lake Lure Smoke House. Friday night into Saturday morning was windy and cold, I think the temp dropped into the 20s but by noon on Saturday the wind had died down and it got up to about 65 degrees. It was a perfect day to go hiking at Chimney Rock State Park!

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We hiked up to Chimney Rock where the flag is flying then Rocky, being in much better shape than me, decided to keep hiking up the Skyline Trail and made it all the way to the top of the mountain. I stayed behind and rested. Thank God they have steps but it was still a heck of a workout. Today I am definitely feeling it in the back of my calves!

Next time we’re going to hike the Hickory Nut Falls Trail and see the waterfalls. This is our 2nd trip to Lake Lure and Chimney Rock, our first visit was in the summer, and I bet winter and spring would be just as beautiful up there.  I think we found ourselves a perfect little getaway. :)

See more pics here.

The Versatile Blogger Winners!

I was so excited when Jennifer from Down Home South Jersey chose my blog as a winner for The Versatile Blogger Award! It was so nice to be recognized and I had only been blogging for a couple of months. I had a pretty good idea of who I wanted to pass the award on to but I still did some searching around for other interesting blogs out there. So here are my choices for The Versatile Blogger Award:

Reflections for My Soul – A photography blog, but much more than that. Among many things, Robin is a single mother, breast cancer survivor and a deep, self-realized individual. Nature photography has given her the perfect outlet to express her soul. She takes beautiful pictures and I’m always curious what she’s going to take next, especially because she takes pictures around South Jersey, where I grew up. Robin is an inspiring woman to many!

Bits and Pieces of Mona – Mona is a lovely lady going through a big transition in her life. She is a mother, grandmother and newlywed who just moved across the country to live with her husband. Her blog is an expression of her ongoing self-discovery. She is very honest and forthcoming and I especially love that she incorporates God and nature in her life and writings. Another inspiring woman!

Wandering American Travel Blog – A very interesting blog written by an interesting guy who is about to embark on a journey of a lifetime! James just left for China to live with his fiance and begin a career teaching English. He writes on all kinds of topics such as travel, culture and politics. I can’t wait to hear about his new life on the other side of the world! Good luck, James!

Nuggets of Health – Colline has created a very informative blog on the latest health and wellness information out there. She has committed herself to living a healthier lifestyle that includes exercise and better eating habits. She adds recipes and lots of interesting articles to really get you thinking. I love reading Colline’s blog because I know I’ll learn something new and important from her!

The Running Thriver – Jenny is many things, but most importantly she is a THRIVER. What is a thriver, you ask? In short, “a thriver is a happy, self-confident and productive individual” and Jenny is all of those things and much more. She has survived an abusive relationship and continues to “thrive” through expressing herself honestly and openly in her blog. She also describes herself as a “runner, painter, gardener, home improvement enthusiast and occasional poet.” Jenny’s blog is so encouraging; she’s definitely got lots of spirit!

So there you have it, folks! Those are my picks for The Versatile Blogger Award!

In order to accept the award, each of these blogs must complete the following steps:

a.  Write a post accepting the award and show the award’s image.

b.  List seven random, quirky facts about yourself – things that probably haven’t already come up in your blog posts.

c.  Pass the award on to 5-15 other blogs, ones that you already follow or for which you solicit invitations.

And that’s it!  The goal of the award is not only to highlight the best of the blogging world, but also to bring us all closer together.  Please take the time to visit and read these fantastic blogs.

Congratulations to all the winners! And thank you again, Jennifer, from Down Home South Jersey who was gracious enough to pass on the award to me and now I have the opportunity to do the same!