Tuesday, February 19, 2008

P is for Pottery

Every month, all the girls in our Small Group get together and do something fun. Not that studying God's word isn't fun, but we all long for special "Girl time." Almost everyone was able to be there. Lanie had to miss because she tore her ACL playing basketball (double whammy), but Laura, Maghan, Martha, Martina, Jamie, Bethany, Ashley, me, Rachel and Jessa (back row, then front row, left to right in the picture below) had a blast. I painted 4 coasters. One was leopard print, one was zebra print, one had a big red flower on it, and the other was green with different colored circles. I had fun being creative. Y'all know I love anything crafty! Here's a picture of the girls once it was all said and done.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mardi Gras/Casino Night

First of all, let me say that our neighborhood is AWESOME! I am truly spoiled. There is always something to do... so much so, that my social calendar stays full between church and community obligations... oh, and work, too. I'm so blessed to work AND live in such a great place. Most of the events are very family oriented - bring on the kids and pets! But once a year, we have an 18-and-up event. This year we had a Casino Night at the resort with a Mardi Gras theme.

Here's how it all went down. Each person pays $25 to cover your food. Reasonable. When you arrive at the Ross Bridge "Casino" {sidebar: gambling is illegal in Alabama, so this is how we do it down here}, you are greeted with Mardi Gras beads, a fancy mask, and $500 of "play money." That's $500 each - or $1000 per couple. There were all kinds of games you would find in a Casino - Roulette, Black Jack, Craps, Slots and I'm sure more... but I probably don't know what they're called considering my serious lack-of-casino-experience. You trade your money in for chips and play the night away. There was a great band as a backdrop and and wonderful buffet.

Justin and the guys parked at a Black Jack table and stayed there for the ENTIRE night. The girls wasted our coins on the slots. It was fun to win, but even funner knowing it wasn't real money! At the end, you exchange your coins and chips for tickets. At the front of the ballroom were prizes ranging from golf bags to George Forman grills, and martini glasses to iPod docking stations. You place as many tickets as you have in a basket in front of one or each of the prizes. At the end of the night, they draw tickets to see who wins. Justin and I didn't win a ton of tickets, but we chose to put all our eggs in one basket. We ended up winning a small piece of red luggage.

We enjoyed the night with all our wonderful neighbors, but had a pre-party party at Matt and Amy Anderson's house next door with Dana and Daniel Pittman and John and Emily Haygood. We attended an after-party party at David and Shah Hines' home. They live behind us. We stayed there until after 1:00 am. Whew! Sunday school came awfully early the next day! Below are pictures to document the night. I took so many more, but I felt like these give a good reflection of our fun evening.
Justin and me sporting our Mardi Gras masks. Aren't they great?!
Dana, me, Emily and Amy

That's me on the left and Amy on the right. Amy and her husband Matt live next door and have become good friends. You may recognize them from the snow pictures from January.

We played the slot machines all night. I must have had a lucky streak because it seemed like I was the only one winning. It sort of became a joke that when I sat down to play, I would always win SOMETHING. Dana, Emily, Amy and I took turns at this machine most of the night.

This is my work partner, Kate and her husband, John.

A great picture of our good friends Dana and Daniel Pittman.

A picture of Justin and me sans masks... only Justin's is on the back of his head - hense the ribbon on his forehead.

Jeff Fitzmorris and John Giffin (Kate's husband) had to have won the most tickets! To put this into perspective... TOGETHER, Justin and I won 7 tickets... 7. They must have tripled that EACH.

The little pre-party group ready to head back home after a little dancing. Dana and Daniel, Emily and John, Matt and Amy, me and Justin.

What a fun night! I'm already looking forward to next year!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Little River Canyon

Saturday, Justin and I decided to take a little trip to North Alabama. I recently heard of a place called Little River Canyon near Fort Payne. It was an absolutely gorgeous Saturday, and I was off work, so after my work out, I came home and got ready for our day trip. After I looked at a map online to identify our route, we loaded up the dogs and took off.

Our first stop was a little antique shop outside Centre, Alabama. Justin and I found an old chest perfect to hold the blankets in our media room. We visited with the nice people who own the shop, and they admired our dogs before we hit the road again.

Next stop, Cedar Bluff - a small town on Lake Weiss. We stopped at a local restaurant called Fibber's for a late lunch. The waiting area was as big as the one at P.F. Chang's in Birmingham, so we could imagine what it would be like on a Saturday night. Fibber's did not have a menu. There was only one thing to order... the southern buffet. You name it, and it was fried up and placed on the buffet at this restaurant. After paying the surprising small-town price of $24 for our lunch, we headed up toward the canyon.

If it weren't for the sign that said "Little River Falls," we may have missed it altogether because it crept up on us sooner than expected.
Since we passed the falls, we pulled off to first take a picture from afar.
The Falls up close... not sure why there is a blue hue on the picutures. It was a beautiful bright sunny day!
Justin has mastered the self-portrait.
We drove further down the scenic highway alongside the gorge of Little River Canyon. From time to time, we came upon little pull-offs so we could look at God's creation.

The sun begins to make its descent.

Grace's High Falls is a seasonal waterfall that usually flows in the Fall-Spring season. During the Summer, there's just not quite enough rainfall for this waterfall to have much of an effect.

After our 11-mile trip alongside the canyon, we were surprised to stumble upon Dogtown, Alabama. Justin and I had been wanting to take a trip there for a while, but had never taken the time. In Dogtown, there is a furniture store called Akins Furniture Company.

It started as a tiny little store in a tiny little town, and it grew and grew... the town didn't. Akins Furniture IS Dogtown, Alabama. Directly across the street was a cute little school, but I must say I'm not sure where they find kids to attend. That's how "in-the-middle-of-nowhere" this place is. What draws people to "Dogtown," as this furniture store is better known, is the wholesale pricing. Mostly junk, and what I like to refer as "country" furniture (ie, fluffy Lay-Z-Boy recliners, fluffy sofas - not the good kind of fluffy, and other random finds) Dogtown can also special order from almost any furniture line out there. This is where they get a lot of their business. Justin and I have pretty much gotten all the big pieces for our home, but we walked away with a great wooden mirror for our dining room at a great price. AND, we got to check off something on our list of things to do in Alabama... two things actually. Little River Canyon and Dogtown.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Mad Hatter Tea Party

By order of the queen, all Ross Bridge Ladies were asked to attend a Mad Hatter Tea party on Friday night hosted by the Ladies of the Village Center. There is usually a Girls Night Out about 5 or 6 times a year hosted by a different community in Ross Bridge. In December, Butler Springs hosted an Ornament Exchange. In May, Greenside and Freestone Ridge will be hosting a Cinqo de Mayo party! And I'm so excited to see what the rest of the year will bring.

Dawn Ey, Rebel Gregory, Lauren Nickels, Rachel Leader and the other ladies in the Village Center did such a great job transforming the Town Hall into an English garden for our party. The food was fantastic. Thanks to Diggscape for loaning the beautiful plants for our garden, Birmingham Home Theater (Justin's company) for providing the music and speakers, Ross Bridge Spa for donating the door prizes, and Louise's Cakes and Things for the fun Mad Hatter cake!

I was so impressed with the creativity of all the Ross Bridge ladies. I had no idea that everyone would participate so enthusiastically in the hat contest! The votes came pouring in throughout the evening.

And the winners are....
The Ugliest Hat award goes to this lady who was adorned in Tennessee garb from head to toe!

The Most Useful Hat was created using shot glasses and Christmas lights.

Elizabeth Bennett and my next-door-neighbor Valerie Hughen won Most Creative Hat for their Ross Bridge heartbreaker theme!

Bobbie Bowman took home the Best Homemade Hat award with this gigantic headpiece full of flowers and blow-up bunnies. Believe me, this thing was HUGE!

Maybe we should take a few tips from this lady who won Most Stylish Hat.

And the grand prize winner is the Village Center's own Shah Hines for Best Overall Hat!

Congratulations to all the winners, but we can't overlook these three who all received lots and lots of votes for their wonderful hats... so they all received an Honorable Mention award.

Here are some other pictures of some of the ladies who came. We had such a fun time visiting with everyone and getting to know our Ross Bridge neighbors. :-)

Mary Jim Blackerby, me and Dana Pittman

Julie Kent, Emily Haygood, and me. Wish I could remember what was so funny!

Rebel Gregory and Vicki Davis

Rachel Leader and Pam Ashworth

Lanier O'Hare, Kate Giffin (my work partner), and Leslie Jackson

Debbie Calvert, Emily Haygood, Marta Self, and Julie Kent

Rebel Gregory, Ashlie Grubb and Shah Hines

Wendy Rohrer and Brandi Belcher

Jane Lewis, Allison Licht-Brown, Sandy King, Rachel Leader

Kathy Cawley and Theresa Tate

Sandy King, Liz Darby, Leanne Ruffin, Amy Alford, Stacey Spears, Kathy Cawley, Sharon Blair

I'm quite sure the Town Hall will not be so beautiful ever again!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Super Bowl XLII

After a quiet, but long day at work on a Sunday afternoon, I finally made it home some time into the 1st quarter of the Super Bowl game between the NY Giants and the New England Patriots. Because our house has become known among our friends as the entertainment headquarters, naturally, we had a Super Bowl party. The girls in my Small Group at church were so great to go through my cabinets to grab serving utensils, plates, napkins, etc. Justin had the house looking good and the projector upstairs was certainly not a disappointment. In fact, the 140 inch high definition image in our media room was quite impressive... thanks to my amazing husband who is the home theater guru. Instead of watching Tom Petty break the hearts of millions during half time, our Small Group gathered to pray. I just love the people in our group! Not that I REALLY care, but I have always been a Patriot fan because that was my high school mascot. As much as I love to see an underdog pull of a win, must admit, I was a little disappointed to see the Patriots lose.

After the game, we pulled out the Wii and had a Guitar Hero tournament. I don't think I've mentioned my love for this game. We played it for the first time on New Year's Eve with our neighbors, Matt and Amy. We were having so much fun, that we played until 2:30 in the morning! I loved the game so much that Justin surprised me with our own copy a few weeks later. I have mastered the easy level, and I've almost beat the medium level, but I have reached the peak of my skill level without actually practicing, so I may get a little bored with trying to learn the hard and expert levels. Anyway, back to the story... Our friends Hal and Maghan Craig also have Guitar Hero and Hal and I had wanted to challenge each other because we both think we're pretty good. ;-) I beat him twice, and he beat me once. Jared Woodward and Ben Grizzle were also very good, but none was more entertaining than my husband. Justin got major style and entertainment points as he jumped around putting on a total show. Sure he missed a lot of notes, but his performance was amazing!

We had a great night, and look forward to many more fun nights with our group!