Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Leah's Dirty Thirty

OK, first, let me say that this whole "Dirty Thirty" thing must have come about in recent years because when I turned 30 all those years ago, "Dirty Thirty" wasn't a thing or else I would have had a big time with that phrase. Moving on... 

My friend Leah turned 30 earlier this month, September 5 to be exact. For her birthday bash, she decided to take a train excursion leaving from Nashville and the one she picked took place on September 26. So, this past Saturday was the big day. The train was scheduled to pull out from Nashville at 3:30 p.m. and you could start checking in at 3:00 p.m. I rode up with friends Christy and Amber. Our friend Holly was also supposed to ride with us, but she wasn't feeling well and had to back out at the last minute, So, our group of 11 became a group of 10. 

We found out seats on the train and soon were on our way. The train ride went from Nashville to Watertown, about a two hour trip one way. Christy and I were at a table with Jonathon and Caley and Caley looked like she was not feeling well at all. As it turns out, their daughter, Jonathon, and Jonathon's mother had all recently had the stomach virus and Caley felt like she was about to lose her lunch. She spent about half of the ride in the bathroom. When we got to Watertown, Jonathon and Caley stayed aboard the train while the rest of us disembarked. As it turns out, Caley felt so bad that they ended up calling a cab to drive them back to Nashville. One day, this will make for a funny story. So, our group was now eight. 

The eight of us walked down Main Street to Nona Lisa Pizzeria. Paul (Leah's husband) had the brilliant mindset to call ahead and order our pizza so by the time we got there, everything was ready. Also about the time we got there the bottom fell out of the sky and there was a steady rain for the next hour or so and we had two hours in the town. We managed to find outdoor seating under an awning and ate our delicious pizza and most of us managed not to get drenched. The pizza was seriously very good and Paul was super smart to call ahead because most everyone had to wait a while to get their food. 

There was a store across the street from the pizzeria that was open and I walked over there to see if there were any umbrellas. I was wearing a cream colored shirt and forgot to bring a rain jacket so I wanted to try and stay as dry as possible. They had one umbrella left and it was $4 and perhaps the cheapest umbrella of all time. I went ahead and bought it and of course it stopped raining soon after. Hey, if it took me spending $4 for the rain to stop, I'm okay with that. 

We spent the rest of the time in Watertown walking around the town. There was a candy shop, Walker Creek, that sold the most delicious caramels I have ever put into my mouth. You can order online in case you are into that sort of thing. Seriously, so good! There was also a "shootout" in the town for our entertainment but I missed all of that. The people who performed in the "shootout" were also the ones who "robbed" the train on the way to Watertown. I guess I forgot to mention that part. On the way up, we stopped about 30 minutes before arriving in Watertown to allow the robbers to come aboard and rob the train. They collected actual money which goes into a scholarship fund for the local high school. They've apparently provided over $10K in scholarships over the years, pretty impressive.  

After our time in Watertown, we boarded the train and headed back to Nashville. We arrived back around 9:30 p.m and were quickly in our cars and back on the interstate headed home. I think I got in bed about midnight Saturday and was thoroughly exhausted after a day full of activities. Happy 30th Leah! Glad I was able to celebrate with you and glad to have you as my friend!  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Color Run Huntsville 2015

This past Saturday was The Color Run Huntsville. It was the second year in a row that The Color Run took place in our city and this year it was more colorful than ever! 

A few months ago I received an advance sign-up email for the run and set up a team (because the price was a little less if you signed up on a team) for me and my cousins. Four of us signed up - me, Jan, Lauren, and Anna. Friday afternoon on the way home from work, I stopped by Kohl's to pick up our race packets. The process went a lot smoother this year than last. Last year there was a bit of a wait to get up to where you checked in and this time, they had plenty of people to get you checked in and on your way. The whole process took about 15 minutes and I picked up four packets. 

This year's race started at 8:00 a.m. which was an hour earlier than last year and perfectly okay with me as I had a lot to get to on Saturday. Jan, Lauren and Anna all ran down to the race start while I drove because admittedly, I'm lazy and they are training for yet another half marathon. Some people like running, I like strolling. I was in line to pay the Boy Scouts $5 to park when I noticed an unoccupied lot up ahead (well, it had one car) and a couple walking from that direction.  I decided to save my $5 and park in that lot and many other people followed suit because by the time I got back to the car later that morning, the lot was full. 

I walked over to the start which was a different and much more convenient location than last year and quickly found my trio of cousins. We headed over to the start line and not long after we were on our way. Jan and Lauren were content to enjoy the festivities and walk and have fun. Anna had to be talked into walking with us as she's the more hard core runner of the three. So, we walked and talked and enjoyed getting splashed with orange, yellow, pink and blue along the course. 

It took us an hour or so to walk the three miles and when we crossed the finish line, we were splashed with silver metallic powder and then handed a gold medal and a color and metallic color packet. We made our way over to the stage where there was an emcee and a DJ and at that precise moment, a dance off. Lots of additional color packets were thrown into the crowd and soon everyone was tossing color powder into the air and jumping up and down and acting a fool - including us! The air was so thick with colored powdered you could hardly breathe. Lauren had to abandon the chaos because she got hit in the eye with some color. For all I know I could have been the one that doused her, but hopefully not. By the time that fun was over we had color from head to toe. 

There was a tent set up (sponsored by Shout) to blow the excess powder off and we walked through that because we did, in fact, have a lot of excess powder. The girls decided to ride back in the car and I brought some sheets with me in case they decided to do just that. We spread the sheet across the back seat of the car and we were soon on our way. I dropped Lauren and Jan off at Lauren's and then Anna and then pulled up to my house where I promptly changed clothes so that I could sit down and eat some breakfast without getting colored powder everywhere. 

It was a fun morning with fun people and I look forward to doing it again next year! 

Monday, September 28, 2015

House Hunters Huntsville - House One

I've got some exciting news to share. Well, I think it's exciting. My dear friend Erika is considering buying a house and has started looking at homes. Erika has always been a renter since she moved out from under her parents' wings all those years ago and she's just about hit her limit recently thanks to her new neighbor. 

For the past several years, Erika has rented a duplex in the medical district in our fair city and has had some good and some bad neighbors throughout her time there. The neighbor that most recently moved in, came with a dog which was a little surprising since the landlords had never previously allowed pets. However, their heart strings were tugged upon (or something like that) and they decided to give the new tenant and her dog a trial run, much to Erika's chagrin. The new tenant's dog is apparently yappy and then tenant is also loud throughout the day and at odd hours of the night and so basically, Erika is just done with neighbors in close proximity. So, she has decided to consider buying a home of her own so that she is her own landlord and doesn't have to deal with yappy dogs and loud people on the other side of her wall and y'all, I couldn't be more excited for her! 

Erika sent me an email with the link to a house she wanted to look at and asked if I knew anything about it or the area. It is close to where I live and where some other people I know live and when she scheduled the appointment to go and take a look, I invited myself along. I also asked if I could chronicle her house hunting and she agreed so just consider this House Hunters Huntsville or something like that. 

The viewing of the house was this past Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. Erika and her mom came by my house and picked me up and we drove over to the house for sale. Erika's friend Michelle also met us there because four opinions are better than one. Erika and her mom and I walked around the outside before the realtor arrived. The backyard is very spacious and fenced in. There is a covered patio which would be great for entertaining. The front yard is sodded and has been kept up nicely over the years. It looks very nice and neat and well manicured. 

The house itself has three bedrooms and two baths as well as a garage with plenty of space for two cars. It comes with a fridge, but since Erika already owns a fridge, she could move the fridge already at the house into the garage and be like a "real" adult with a fridge in the garage for extra food and drinks. Most all of the floors are the original hardwoods and are in very good shape. The kitchen and dining space have been replaced with laminate which matches the original hardwoods and looks to be of good quality. The bathrooms have the old retro tile from the late 1960s, but Erika loves that and wouldn't change it for anything. There are lots and lots of closets throughout the house including one in one of the bedrooms that has a lot of shelves perfect for storing all manner of knick knack. There is a laundry closet in the hallway for the washer and dryer. This closet seems to have some rotting from a leaky washer, but hopefully nothing that the inspection wouldn't catch and fix. The kitchen is gigantic and has so much storage space I wanted to cry. Seriously, the kitchen alone may sell the house. The central air unit, roof, range, dishwasher and other items have all been replaced within the last 5-10 years (if I am remembering correctly) and so there is likely a low chance they would need to be replaced any time soon. There are some cracks in the walls from either settling (hopefully) or foundation damage, but should Erika decide to get this house, those things will be determined in inspection. 

Overall, this is a great house and very affordable. The area is a nice neighborhood and when we left it was dark and there were lots of people out for an evening stroll which indicates they feel safe in the area - a big plus! The realtor is going to pull together some other homes for Erika to look at before she makes a decision. So, I have no doubt we will be looking at more houses in the near future and I'm just tickled to death about it. It's such an exciting time for my friend and I'm glad to be tagging along and offering her support through this journey. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Review: The Carols of Christmas

Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas or at the very least Christmas carols? I think not. After all, Christmas is 14 weeks away from today. I mean, you can at least start making a list and checking it twice. As for carols, have a strict policy about not listening until the day after Thanksgiving. So, I wouldn't suggest listening to carols right now because you might be burnt out come Christmastime and that would be a shame.

I suppose most people have a love or hate relationship with Christmas carols. I, for one, love them and am baffled by people who hate Christmas carols. As someone who loves to sing, many carols bring back some of my favorite childhood memories of singing in the car on the way to our grandparents' houses and often getting lyrics wrong. For example, in the song "Winter Wonderland", I used to think the line, "Later on, we'll conspire," was "Later on wilken spider" and it never made sense to me. I think I was an adult before I figured it out.

One of my very favorite Christmas albums is the The Statler Brothers "Christmas Card". I know I've mentioned it on the blog before. My parents' owned the album, or vinyl as we say in 2015, and we later had a cassette tape and would listen in the car often. I now have it on CD and load it up on my iPod every December and listen to it over and over and over again. It brings back great memories.

There is so much more I could say about Christmas carols, but I write all of this as a preface of sorts because the book I'm reviewing today is called "The Carols of Christmas" and it was written by Andrew Gant. The subtitle is "A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs."

The subtitle of the book basically sums it all up. Mr. Gant gathered stories and the history behind some of the oldest Christmas carols. There are 21 songs in the book of which Mr. Gant tells of the origin and/or history of each. Many of them are not of English origin so the original words in the original language are also usually included. There are also illustrations and snapshots of some of the oldest version of these songs. At the end of each chapter are the lyrics and notes in English as you and I know them.

The 21 songs included in the book are:

  1. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  2. O, Christmas Tree
  3. The Holly and Ivy
  4. I Saw Three Ships
  5. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  6. Good Christian Men, Rejoice
  7. O Come, All Ye Faithful
  8. While Shepherds Watched
  9. O Holy Night
  10. Ding dong! Merrily on High
  11. Angles from the Realms of Glory
  12. Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
  13. Away in a Manger
  14. I Wonder as I Wander
  15. Good King Wenceslas
  16. Personent hodie
  17. Here We Come a-Wassailing
  18. The Twelve Days of Christmas
  19. We Three Kings
  20. What Child Is This
  21. Jingle Bells
The content of the book is about 200 pages and the print is rather small, so, there is a lot of content. I found the stories to be rather interesting, but I am a  lover of history and tend to like to know the origins of this, that and the other. So, this book was right up my alley. If you  or someone you know enjoys songs, carols, and knowing the origin behind such things, then this book would be a great addition to your library. It retails for around $20 on Amazon and you can check it out in this link. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Streak of Good Fortune

I don't know why or what happened, but I've had a streak of good fortune these last 24 hours and so I thought I should tell you about it.

It started around 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday night. Let me preface this by saying I am not the best driver; just ask my dad. For starters, he's not a great driver either and he's the one that taught me to drive. I've also got my mother's lead foot. I try to be more aware and do a better job when I have others in the car with me, but when I'm by myself I don't always do so great. Afternoons are the worst because I'm terribly tired when I get off work and often my eyelids want to start closing on the 12 mile drive home.

So, back to last night,.. I had a couple of errands to run after work and had finally finished up and headed home. I exited off the interstate and was looking at the sky thinking about how it kind of looked like it might rain, but rain wasn't forecasted. Then I started thinking about my cousin Greer's soccer game and wondering how it turned out. The next thing I knew, I was driving right through a red light and a car was crossing the intersection. Y'all it is nothing short of a miracle that I did not get T-boned. The other driver slammed on their brakes, I swerved and kept driving. I drove as fast as I could to get home. My heart was racing so fast and my nerves were shot. When I got to my house, I ran inside and thanked the Lord he was watching over me because that is the only reason I survived.

The good fortune continued when this morning I got an email that I had sold some concert tickets I have been trying to sell for a few months. I bought tickets for Jason Isbell at The Ryman for October 24 and 25. Then he booked a show in Huntsville. So, I decided to sell the tickets for the 25th because it's on a Sunday and I don't want to be tired at work the next day. I listed the tickets on Stub Hub months ago and last week asked my college roommate (who lives in Nashville) to list them on facebook. She actually contacted me on Tuesday night to see if I would take $100 for them because someone had offered that. I said sure and the girl contacted me and I emailed her back. This morning I got the notice on Stub Hub that they had sold for $300. Thankfully Tuesday night's seller hadn't paid yet or emailed me back for that matter. So, I emailed her and said sorry, they had sold on Stub Hub.

Later in the day, I got an email from the tuition payment service that UNA uses saying my last two tuition payments for this semester had been adjusted and when I logged on to look, my next two payments are $150 less than originally scheduled. I had gotten an email some time ago that the MBA tuition had been calculated incorrectly, but I didn't think it would apply to mine because when I had called during the summer, the estimate they had given me matched what I was paying. So, I just assumed all was good, but in fact, my had also been calculated incorrectly and now I will have $300 to spend on other bills which is a big help considering I just bought glasses, contacts, and took Pip to the bet.

Right before I left work for the day, I stopped by the restroom and found a one dollar bill on the floor. It's not much, but, hey, the streak of good fortune was continuing.

The last thing that happened was Wednesday night after class at church. We had a teacher's meeting and were told that beginning in November Wednesday night services are going to be at 6:30 p.m. They are making the announcement to the congregation on Sunday. Y'all, I cannot tell you how exciting that is! The thing I dislike the most about Wednesday night service is that it starts at 7:00 p.m. and it's so late when I get home. Now, I'll be home before 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and that makes me so very happy.

I don't know what I did to cause this streak of good fortune, but I'm really grateful for the past 24 hours. Most of all, I'm thankful the good Lord was with me in my car on Tuesday night and mamma, I don't need any emails telling me to drive safer, I think I got the message!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Another Review of The Pioneer Woman's Product Line

In case you missed it, my dear friend Erika reviewed her recent purchases of The Pioneer Woman's new line of dishes and cookware. I mentioned in the introduction to that article that I may or may not have made some purchases of my own. Of course, I didn't need to spend this money, but I got caught up in the whirlwind of events on release day and here we are. I'm sure you've guessed by now that I did in fact make some purchases and I'm here to tell you about them. 

I bought two different items from the new collection. The first is the knife block. I have been wanting a new knife block for a few years now. In fact, I opened up my Christmas/Birthday Wish List today and there on the list was knife block. I can now mark that one off the list. The knife block I have has been in use for quite some time and has been through the ringer. There's one knife missing, one knife has a big chunk of handle broken off, another knife has the end of the blade chipped and the scissors have a melted handle from being too close to the burner on the stove. I think we can all agree that I have used my knives and I have used them well. 

I am here to tell you that I love the new knives and knife block I bought. The handles are red rosewood and are absolutely gorgeous. The set comes with the following: 8" Chef Knife, 8" Bread Knife, 8" Utility Knife, 3.5" Paring Knife, 6 - 4.5" Steak Knives (I previously had zero steak knives), Scissors, 8" Sharpening Steel, and a 6" Nakiri Knife. The block itself is dark wood and really, really pretty. Each knife has The Pioneer Woman logo emblazoned on the side and the same logo is on the front of the block. I'm not crazy about the logo being on the front of the block, but when I think about it, it's no different than Kitchen Aid (my old block) or any other brand being on the front; so, I get it. 

The one thing I dislike about the knives are that they are hand wash only. Yes, this was clearly outlined in the description on the web site, but I overlooked it and upon their arrival was disappointed to see that these knives are not dishwasher friendly - as all things should be. Apparently it is because of the rosewood handles and the heat of the dishwasher. So, I understand, but will miss the convenience of just throwing the knives in the dishwasher. Actually, I have some nice Wustoff knives that Santa gave me a few years ago that I also don't wash; so, in reality I suppose it's not that big of a deal. First world problems, y'all. 

Thought I would style my photo with the latest version of Garden and Gun since I'm so very Southern!

The other item I bought was the 12-Ounce Adeline Embossed Glass Goblets. These are of the same line of glassware that Erika purchased. There are three colors in the Adeline collection, Clear (Erika's choice), Turquoise, and Plum. I chose plum which is not really a color I would normally chose, but there is a reason behind this decision. 

Years ago (like over 20 years ago), I became the recipient of my great-grandmother's china. One of the sets (my favorite of the two) has purple flowers on it. Ever since I got these beloved dishes from my great-grandmother, my mother has said that I should find some purple glasses to go with them. Thus the reason I opted for the plum glasses. I wasn't sure if they would work or not and figured if not, I could always take them back. I'm here to tell you that not only so the glasses work with my dishes, but they work beautifully. I love, love, love, the design of these glasses. They are gorgeous. They actually have an older antique look and feel to them I think and so they work great with my old china. The glasses themselves are a good weight, not too heavy, but also not light. They feel just right in your hand. I've always liked a goblet/glass with a stem and these make my dish collection complete. Now, if I only had a nice dining room in which to serve people. (It's in the five-year plan, which will be here before we know it). 

I suppose it goes without saying that both Erika and I are very pleased with our purchases from The Pioneer Woman's new collection and in case you didn't know, Erika and I are both big-time dish lovers so this is a high compliment coming from us. I was in Wal-Mart on "Drake" (the Wal-Mart by Drake Avenue) a week or so ago and saw a display with a lot of other Pioneer Woman items such as pots and pans and serving pieces and cooking utensils, etc. All of the items looked to be of good quality and in my opinion everything is reasonably priced. When these items first came out, that was one of the things I was most impressed with. I was glad to see these items were available at Wal-Mart and at affordable prices so that they are accessible to the every day gal and not just the Macy's shopper. If you have a kitchen lover on your Christmas list, you may want to consider some of these items, I don't think you or the recipient will be disappointed. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Computerless, New Hair and Other Weekend News

I was without a computer over the weekend (kind of) and so no posts until today. So, I guess I'll start with the computer situation. 

I am the owner of three laptops, which, considering I am one person, is yes, a bit excessive. Laptop 1 is about 8-10 years old (I'm guessing) and operates on Windows Vista. It's been a great computer, but is super slow and weighs probably 10 pounds. The only thing I use it for these days is music downloads. It holds my iTunes and is my only method of updating my iPod. Yes, I need to back that up because otherwise I'm losing a lifetime of music. I may have just had a small panic attack at the thought of that. 

Laptop 2 was acquired in 2011. It was actually won in 2011. I won it from a blog I used to read. It's a smaller laptop and has been the one I've primarily used since I first got it. It started experiencing some hardware issues earlier this year and is basically kaput now. Thankfully my friend Matt can pull everything off the hard drive for me because again, no backup. 

Laptop 3 was bought earlier this year, just a few months ago in fact. The aforementioned Matt had it over the weekend to clean up some pop ups I was getting that came installed on the computer because they were driving me crazy. He was also going to install Windows 10 for me, but that didn't happen because I'm in a queue; so, it will happen some time, just not some time soon. 

However, now it's Monday and Matt forgot to bring my computer back to me at work and so I'm going to be forced to use the old beast (Laptop 1) to try and get this post posted. It might take me three hours to post it, but I'll give it my best shot. If you are reading this on a Monday night or Tuesday morning, then you'll know it worked. I'll also be sending Matt a reminder to bring Laptop 3 back because I've got schoolwork this week for which it will be needed. So, that's the story of the laptops. First world problems, friends. First world problems.  

As for the weekend, Friday night I met my parents' at the MA game. That's right, parents. I'm pleased as punch to say that my mom got out and joined us on what turned out to be a cool evening. Mother has been getting up and out more at the direction of her doctor and I think she's looking better and hopefully feeling better too. So, keep up the good work of getting up and getting out, Mother. It makes me proud! The game wasn't the most exciting, but we did stay til the end because Colbert County played their hearts out and gave MA a run for their money. I think the final score was 20-13. 
Saturday morning I did some exciting laundry and finished the last two episodes of season four of Homeland. 

Y'all, I have never screamed and gasped out loud so many times in any other movie or show as I did in season four. I know I've mentioned on here before how much I love this show. I don't have Showtime, so I never get to see the seasons until I purchase them and they arrive at my house each September. I said I wasn't going to binge watch this season. I usually lock myself in my house on a Saturday and watch all 12 episodes; but, this time I limited myself and watched one episode a night until the last half of the season and it quickly went to two episodes because I couldn't stand the cliff hangers. All I know is this season was the best since maybe season one and clearly I feel like I missed my calling. There's no doubt I should have been a CIA agent. Wonder if it's too late? 

Late morning I went to the salon and had some red and dark brown highlights put in my hair, which, of course, two people noticed. Hey, that's okay, I notice, and I am happy with it. I'm still getting used to the new hair style I've had for a few months now which one person noticed. I'm beginning to think I blend in with the walls. Can't decide if I like it or hate it. There are more layers and it's shorter and harder to style. It's hit or miss on whether it looks decent. 

After the hair appointment I went up to Monte Sano for the Monte Sano Arts Festival. There were a ton of people there and I had been warned that the traffic was terrible. So, I parked a mile away from the park and walked in. There were lots of vendors and some really nice selections, but it was hot as all get out and so that's exactly what I did - got out. After 45 minutes or so I made my way back to the car, picked up a pizza from Big Ed's and went home for the night. We will not make mention of any Saturday football games. 

That pretty much sums up the weekend. Sunday was church and Sunday night dinner with the cousins which, as always was a great way to end the weekend festivities. I've got a busy week on the agenda just taking care of work, school, and personal errands such as taking Pip to the vet and mowing grass and then this coming up weekend is full of activities which are sure to make for good blogging material. Until next time...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

There's a Mouse in the House (Again)

Y'all, I'm so tired of dealing with mice, or a mouse. Who knows if there is one or nine? Not me and I don't want to know. 

A few years ago when The Tide was still alive, I suspected there was a mouse in the house because she was get pretty fired up on occasion when she was in the kitchen, going so far as to try and stick her whole body under the cabinet to find what was then referred to as The Rodent. My bug man (God bless him) put some pellets under the house that I guess are delicious to mice and will kill them and then they basically disintegrate or something along those lines and soon enough The Rodent was gone...or so I thought.  Actually, that particular rodent is probably gone along with his buddies. Who know, the underside of my house may be filled with mouse skeletons. 

I'd also like to take this opportunity to point out that I never had a rodent problem until I had to have the floors in the back bedroom replaced and the plumbing redone. The guy that did the work didn't plumb the line to the drainage line as he should have, but instead knocked a hole in the bottom of the foundation and I have no doubt that's when mice found a way to get under my house and have loads of fun at my expense. A good plumber i hard to find, y'all. If it weren't the grossest job ever I might actually consider going into that line of work. Good plumbers are a dying breed. 

Anyway, on with the story. So, last winter, after a year off (or so I'm telling myself) the mouse/mice returned. I found droppings under the stove and in the drawer under the stove and had to promptly remove everything and clean and wash and clean and wash. The bug man once again placed his magic pellets under the house and I  waited with baited breath for the mouse/mice to disappear. I think I heard it/them at night too and am pretty sure they were eating food from Pip's bowl (bless her). I would yell at the mouse for it to go away, but to no avail. I think eventually it/they either died from the pellets (fingers crossed) or moved on to another house which brings us to this summer. 

Seriously, this summer has been the worst. I have found droppings in the drawer that holds my kitchen towels and occasionally on the counter tops in the kitchen which has led me to do some vigorous cleaning on more than one occasion. Then, a couple of weekends ago, I noticed that there were droppings in the linen closet where my jeans and sweatshirts are also kept. So, I had to empty that closet, scrub out the closet and wash about 10 loads of laundry that had been sitting on the shelves in that closet. 

This past Thursday the bug man came and I asked him to once again put out his magic pellets (for the second month in a row). The mouse/mice are either becoming immune to the pellets or different mice are coming in after others pass on to the great mouse heaven in the sky because it seems like a never ending battle. The bug man said that the mice have been bad already this year at other homes that he services. So, perhaps they are taking over the neighborhoods of Madison County, I don't know; but I am ready for them to move on over to Marshall County or elsewhere.

On Monday night, well, really Tuesday morning about 1:45 a.m. I awoke to a loud crash that sounded like dishes falling onto the tile floor in my laundry/bonus room. It startled me at first, but I figured that no one was in the house because if someone had opened the door surely Pip would have woken up. Of course, being awake meant I then needed a bathroom break before continuing the last few hours of slumber. I figured whatever had broken (if anything) could wait until I was awake. 

A few hours later when I woke up, I discovered that some dishes had been knocked over. I was first concerned that something had fallen out of the top of the laundry closet, but never heard anything hit the washer or dryer so wasn't really sure. I have some mixing bowls and deviled egg trays stacked up under my little table in the bonus room. These are extras for when someone gets married and I need a gift to give. These had toppled over so there's no doubt in my mind that the big ole mouse ran beside those dishes and toppled them over causing quite a fright in the middle of the night. 

I think it probably goes without saying that I'm really hoping this latest round of magic pellets does the trick on this latest round of mice/mouse/rodent because being woken in the middle of the night and finding mouse droppings in the linen closet are not my idea of fun. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Slide The City 2015

If you live in Huntsville then you probably heard that this past weekend an event took place called Slide the City. Slide the City is basically a giant slip and slide that is set up on a street in the middle of your city. They go to different cities and this year they came to Huntsville. I was rather excited when I saw that Slide the City was coming to Huntsville and bought my ticket back in June before the prices started going up. I knew I would want to slide more than one time, but not all day; so, I bought a triple slider pass for $25.

Finally, the day arrived and this past Saturday my cousins Anna and Lauren and I headed downtown. I was the only one who was going to slide. Anna and Lauren were there for moral support and to hold on to my personal belongings. (Thanks, y'all!) The slide opened at 11:00 a.m. for VIPs and at noon for those of us who did not buy a VIP package. We arrived downtown a little after noon and I found the end of the line to begin my journey to the top of the slide. After about an hour and a half in line, it was finally time to slide. I went down the right hand side because Anna and Lauren were standing on that side and they wanted to get pictures. Unfortunately, there wasn't as much water going down the right hand slide and so I kept getting stuck. They had volunteers along the way to help push people along who got stuck. So, it was fun, but not as wonderful as I had pictured in my head. In fact, I didn't even make it to the end and was laughing so hard, I just gave up and got off the slide. 

Anna asked if I was going again to which I replied, "no." I was not keen on standing in line for an hour and a half two more times and Anna had ridden with me so I didn't want to keep her from being able to go home; so, the three of us left. Lauren suggested I keep my wristband on and come back later in the day when the Bama game was on and that maybe the crowd would be smaller or even try and come back on Sunday. When I got home, I watched the end of the Auburn game and when it was over, I drive back downtown to see if the lines were any shorter - they were not. So, I decided to just go home, shower and call it a day as far as slipping and sliding down Huntsville streets was concerned. 

Sunday after church I went to the grocery store and then home to eat lunch and when I was checking Twitter, I saw that there was a mention that the lines were short for Slide the City. I confirmed that since I hadn't used all my slides on Saturday I could use my wristband on Sunday and quickly changed into my swimsuit and headed downtown. What a difference a day made! The lines were incredibly short and I was able to slide three times in about 30 minutes. I went down the middle slide which Lauren had determined the day before had more water on it and made it to the bottom all three times without getting stuck or needing help. It was so much fun!

I'm so glad I went back on Sunday to finish out my slides. It made the $25 spent totally worth it and redeemed my experience from Saturday. I'm so glad Huntsville is bringing events like this to the city. People seem to enjoy these types of events and everyone seems to be having so much fun! Huntsville is such a fun place to work and play and I'm glad to call it home! 

All photos below except the last one courtesy of Anna. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Road Trip to Atlanta

The last few days have been crazy busy - fun, but busy. Last Thursday, my dad and I drove over to Atlanta for a quick trip to see the sights. Our first stop was the World of Coca-Cola. I had been once before when I was a kid, but it has obviously been a while so we decided to make it one of our stops. I got us free tickets through the My Coke Rewards program which was nice. 

We took two hours or so to tour the facility. They had a lot of interesting and neat memorabilia and a lot of interesting facts about Coca-Cola, most of which I didn't know. At the end of the tour (and the only thing I remember from the last time I was there) you can taste different sodas from all over the world. I've got to say, Diet Coke is still number one in my heart even after tasting all those other flavors. 

At the end of the tour you get a free bottled Coke and then you are deposited into the gift store (of course). I bought a Diet Coke magnet and pen and my dad bought a lapel or hat pin, which he collects. When we checked out, you could buy a surprise bag for $1.99, $4.99 or $7.99. So, we both went for the $4.99 bag and both got the same thing which was a Coca-Cola notebook and pen. 

After our trip to the World of Coca-Cola, we walked back to the car and went over to Turner Field for the Braves vs. Mets game. There was no traffic on the way (probably because it was early and because the Braves are terrible) and we arrived at the park about two hours before game time. We got a free Bobblehead doll of Julio Tehran upon our arrival. There were so few people at the game they probably had enough dolls to give everyone two. We ate a hamburger at the restaurant in the stadium. It wasn't the greatest food ever, but it also wasn't the worst. 

When we finished our burgers, we walked around and watched the Braves drumline which was a lot of fun. They should play during the game too, I think it would make the game way more enjoyable. We then went to the gift store because all the merchandise was 50% off - it's the end of the season, y'all. Even though I'm not what one would consider a Braves fan, I still bought a t-shirt. They were my Papa's favorite so I'll wear it in his honor. 

We made our way to our seats which were on the first base line under the upper deck which was a good thing because not long after we sat down, there was a torrential downpour. We actually had to get up from our covered seats and move back because the wind was blowing water under the upper deck. There was thunder and lightening and quite a show by mother nature. The rain delay ended up being two and a half hours long. While we waited, they showed some documentaries on the jumbotron of John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux who were great Braves players back in the 1990s. My Papa loved watching those guys play. So, at least we were entertained while we waited for the rain to pass. 

Finally, at 9:30 p.m. we had the first pitch. The Braves are terrible and were losing 4-2 when we left at the bottom of the seventh. We only stayed that long because I bought a 50/50 raffle ticket and I was just sure I was going to win. Sadly, I did not. We then drove west down 1-20 for about 15 miles to our hotel for the night. FYI, the Braves lost 7-2.

The next morning we got up and ate breakfast pretty much right before it was shut down for the morning. Our plan was to go to the College Football Hall of Fame (CFBHF) and it didn't open until 10:00 a.m. so we weren't in a rush. After breakfast, we made our way back downtown and parked in the same lot we had parked in the day before and then walked over to the CFBHF. We got our tickets and made our way inside. 

When you go in, you sync your badge (ticket) to the computer and pick your team (Alabama, of course). Then, when you go through all the exhibits and you scan your badge, the tour is catered to your team. The second floor is all interactive exhibits. You can film yourself picking a winner on College Gameday, you can record a play-by-play of a famous game, you learn about teams and coaches and uniforms and the history of rivalries and how to run certain plays - it's all so much fun! 

There is also a movie at the beginning of the tour on the second floor about college football and it was very entertaining as well. There's lot of memorabilia to look at including trophies and old uniforms and items that belonged to famous coaches. 

On the third floor are the list of members in the CFBHF as well as some more trophies and a few more interactive items. There wasn't as much to look at on this floor. Then, on the bottom floor is the Chick-Fil-A fan experience where you can toss footballs into a net (I got two out of three!) and you can run through and obstacle and dive as someone throws you a ball (I caught it!) . You can also try ti kick a field goal which I didn't get to of because I wore sandals and I didn't think kicking a ball with my bare feet would feel too good. My dad gave this one a try and had the distance, but not the height. It's harder than it looks I guess. 

When we were done playing on the field, we perused the gift shop. I bought a Christmas ornament which I've been doing the past few years as I visit places and my dad got a hat pin. In all we spent about four hours at the CFBHF and probably could have spent even more time there. 

We wrapped up the afternoon by eating a meal at Legal Sea Foods. I happened to spot it as we were walking back to the car. My dad had the seafood casserole and I had a lobster roll and we were both happy with our decisions. We got back to Huntsville around 5:30 p.m. It was a very quick trip, but lots of fun. I'm glad we were able to get away to enjoy some time together. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Guest Post: Review of PW Dishes By Erika

I have a special post for you today! My sweet friend Erika wrote a post reviewing her recent purchases of The Pioneer Woman's new glassware. Erika knows I've been super busy with school and work and offered to write this guest post and she did a fantastic job! I may or may not have bought some PW things for myself so I may or may not follow up with another review later on. Big thanks to Erika for taking the time to write this. I hope you all enjoy it!

Hello friends!  It’s Erika here today – thanks to Natasha for letting me be a guest. 

Natasha and I have been fans of The Pioneer Woman - (PW) (Ree Drummond) for a long time.   Although, if being perfectly honest, I think our intrigue has waned a little bit over the last couple of years.  Nonetheless, the lady knows how to cook! 

Anywho, I was VERY excited when PW announced that she was introducing a line of kitchenware.  I am a sucker for pretty dishes and glassware, and couldn’t wait for the items to be released.  Luckily her items became available in early September, and available at none other than Walmart!!!!  

Normally I am not a fan of Walmart, but I thought the prices would be pretty reasonable, and I was right.   All of the pieces are very affordable.  I placed my order online -  because really – who wants to go to Walmart when it can be shipped straight to your door?   The only thing better would be if it had been offered via Amazon Prime.

I received my items yesterday, and I am so thrilled!    I only ordered some of the Adeline glassware pieces; I have a very extensive collection of Fiestaware, so the ceramic ware didn’t interest me quite as much.

Overall I am very impressed by the quality, look and price point of the items I received.  They are manufactured by Gibson Overseas, and Gibson has been producing good quality products for a long time.   My only quam???  She’s “The Pioneer Woman”, right?  She’s the wife of the All American cattle rancher….. BUT, her products are made overseas???  I get it – I’m sure it was waaaay cheaper, but I am a little disappointed that these products aren’t manufactured in our country.  The sad thing – it won’t stop me from keeping them – and I’m sure it won’t phase many others as well.  But that’s a discussion for another time.

On with the show!!

First up, we have my favorite of what I ordered – The Adeline Sundae Cups.   If you know me at all, you know I LOVE stemmed glassware!  These are adorable, and look very vintage – something else I love.   I cannot wait to fill these up with goodies like brownies topped with ice cream, warm cobbler, or even as serving dishes for nuts, mints, etc. at a shower. 

Next up, my second favorite piece – the Adeline Pitcher.   It’s the perfect size for a half gallon of tea, and it is going to show off my homemade lemonade just beautifully!!     These pieces remind me of depression glass and things my grandmother had in her home.  So nostalgic!

The last item I ordered was a set of the Adeline bowls.  They are really super cute as well, and will work very well as vegetable bowls I think.  I can also picture them filled with pea salad, chicken salad and other girlie foods.  I may or may not keep them – I’m just so smitten with the sundae bowls and those little glass feet! 

I checked each piece to make sure everything was smooth, and I didn’t find any chips, nicks, dings, etc.  So that made me very happy.  At such a low price point, I was expecting to find a couple of flaws, but so glad that wasn’t the case.

Also – kudos to Walmart for the excellent packaging!  It makes me so mad when companies don’t take the time to package things properly for shipping, but these pieces were snug as a bug in a rug in their little Styrofoam containers. 

I can’t speak to the quality of the measuring bowls, plates, etc., but the images online remind me of something you’d find in Anthropologie.  So check them out if you are interested.   

Have you bought any of the PW pieces? What do you think?  Yay or Nay? 

PS – Please excuse my poor photography and lack of Pinterest worthy photos