Sunday, March 21, 2010

March Madness

Andrew and I have stayed very busy since the beginning of March; so busy that I haven't been able to update the blog! So, here's what we've been up to...

The Biltmore
The first weekend in March we took my parents to Asheville, NC, to visit the Biltmore. Back in November when we went with Andrew's family, Andrew and I purchased season passes so that we could go back as many times as we wanted to this year. As part of being season passholders, we were sent free admission tickets so that we could take guests along with us. My parents had never been to the Biltmore before, so we decided to take them. I think they really enjoyed their trip and seeing the Biltmore. We enjoyed spending time with them and seeing the Biltmore again, too. After a very long day of walking, we went out to dinner and we called it a night by 8:00 because we were so tired. Before we left for home the next day, we stopped by the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, which is a beautiful hotel that was built in 1913.

The Biltmore

My parents

Andrew and me on our long walk to the pond

This is a picture of the Grove Park Inn from their website. I didn't really get any good pictures of it and they were doing some construction on it so this one looks better.

Anna and Brandon's Wedding
Last weekend Andrew and I went to Lynchburg for the wedding of my friend, Anna. Anna was my discipler at Roanoke College and she was also one of my bridesmaids, so it was great to be a part of their special day. They just looked so happy to be getting married!

The beautiful house where the reception was

The first dance

Cutting the cake

Leaving the reception

Andrew and me at the reception

We're going to NASCAR!
Back in the fall I had the idea of getting us tickets to the NASCAR race in Martinsville (sort of as a surprise for Andrew), but after we talked about it we decided to be disciplined and save our money. Fast forward to last weekend when I was looking through the Kroger ad, you can imagine my excitement when I saw this offer...

So when I saw this in the Kroger ad, I mentioned it to Andrew and we decided to go for it. At first it sounded like a lot of hoops to jump through to get the tickets, but it really wasn't that bad. In order to get to $135, we had to spend a little more than we normally do, so we just stocked up on a few things. The specific products that we had to buy aren't things we would have normally bought, but they are things that we will use eventually and they didn't add too much to the total bill, so it wasn't totally unnecessary. It was like a grocery store scavenger hunt as we went shopping, adding everything up on the calculator on the cell phone and making sure we got all of the right products. After our receipt printed out with the voucher number, we went home and immediately called to get our tickets. We thought they would be cheap backstretch front row tickets, but we were pleasantly surprised to find out that they were decent tickets that would have normally been $65 each! We are pretty proud of our score and we are really excited to go to the race, which is next Sunday.

Apples of Gold
Last Fall I had the joy of going through a Bible study called Apples of Gold. It is based on Titus 2:3-5, which says, "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home; to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Each week the older women ("mentors") meet with the younger women ("mentees") and discuss the topics of kindness, loving your husband, loving your children, submission, purity, and hospitality. There is also a cooking demonstration each week along with a delicious meal to share. And of course, everyone gets a copy of the recipe to try out at home. While I was a "mentee" during the last session, this time I am doing what I can to help out in the kitchen and with the preparation and cleanup of the meals. Also, my mom is a "mentor" this time and will be leading the session on hospitality. So far I have really enjoyed doing what I can to help out and I have enjoyed picking up a few new recipes, too. The first week we had a yummy Fiesta Chicken Soup. It was so good that I made it for us the next week. Here's the recipe...

Corn Tortilla Chips
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. vegetable oil
1 31 oz. can refried beans
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
4 c. chopped cooked chicken
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 8 oz. container sour cream
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

Saute chopped onion and minced garlic in hot vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until tender. Add refried beans and next 4 ingredients*, stirring until smooth; bringing mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro**, if desired.

Ladle into individual soup bowls, dollop with sour cream, and top with cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Serve immediately. Makes about 14 cups.

*I also added some frozen corn
**I used a few shakes of dried cilantro instead of fresh cilantro

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
We had a St. Patrick's Day potluck at work, so I made some green cupcakes to bring. They were really yummy and they were all gone by the end of the day!

Spring has Sprung!
Yesterday marked the first official day of Spring. I think with the snowy winter we had, Spring has been more welcomed than ever around here. To celebrate Spring, or maybe just the fact that it was a beautiful day, Andrew and I went on a bike ride on the Roanoke River and Tinker Creek Greenways. It was really nice to be outside enjoying the warm weather. There were lots of people out and we unexpectedly ran into my parents, too!

Andrew getting the bikes all ready to go

Me looking all cool on my bike

Andrew and me on the Greenway

My parents with their new bikes on the Greenway

So as you can see, we have had a pretty eventful March so far. Next weekend we have the NASCAR race in Martinsville, and the weekend following that is Easter and the beginning of Andrew's Spring Break. I will be taking that week off from work, too, so I am counting down the days!

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