Monday, October 31, 2016

Bridal Shower Game: Shoe Q&A

What did y'all think of the purse raid game that I posted yesterday (click here to read)? The ladies I played this game with a couple years ago were extremely competitive and had huge purses stocked with all kinds of random "necessities." (That experience inspired me to add more items to my own purse.)

This time, the women had much smaller purses. The majority of the points (150) were earned by Mr. Handsome's grandmother (Gram) and oldest sister (Anne).

In addition to the Purse Raid game, we also held a bridal pumpkin decorating contest (photo coming soon). When the groom-to-be arrived at the end of the shower, I led him and his bride in the Couples Q&A Shoe Game. Surprisingly, their responses were identical for all but three of the questions!

Here are the rules:

Shoe Game for Couples

Have the bride and groom sit in chairs so they are facing opposite directions. Ask both of them to remove their shoes and exchange one of their shoes with the other person, so each of them is holding their shoe in one hand and the other person’s shoe in the other hand.

Gather the guests around, and call out these questions. The bride and groom will each come up with their own responses and will use the shoes to answer. (Example: If the bride thinks she is the pickier eater, she holds up her shoe. If she thinks her man is the pickier eater, she holds up his shoe.)

-Who is the pickier eater?

-Who chose the honeymoon location?

-Who is afraid of heights?

-Who is the morning person?

-Who is a night owl?

-Who is more likely to leave clothes all over the bedroom floor?

-Who is a better secret keeper?

-Who is more likely to burn the house down while cooking?

-Who is more of a dog person?

-Who spends a longer amount of time getting ready for an evening out?

-Who is more likely to overspend while shopping?

-Who loves the outdoors?

-Who has the craziest family?

-Who is the party animal?

-Who is more likely to get a speeding ticket?

-Who is more likely to fall asleep in front of the TV?

-Who is a more trustworthy driver?

-Who will manage the finances/spending?

-Who is the daredevil?

-Who is more likely to lose something?

-Who is more stubborn?

-Who will mow the lawn?

-Who has better organizational skills?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bridal Shower Game: Purse Raid

Last weekend, my mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, and I threw a bridal shower for the soon-to-be wife of Mr. Handsome's youngest brother, Joseph. I led the guests in a game of Purse Raid, which was a blast. It's perfect for wedding showers, baby showers, or any other type of female get-together. Here's how you play:

Have guests take a seat holding their purses. As the host calls out each item on the list, the first lady to hold up that item receives the number of points allotted. Have guests keep track of their points, and hand out prizes to the first, second, and third place winners. (For prizes, I purchased three specialty Hershey's bars (symphony bar, cookies and cream bar, and special dark with almonds).

2 Points
Cell Phone
Credit Card
Lipstick, lip gloss, or chap stick
Writing Utensil
Driver’s License
Breath Mints, Gum, or Candy
$1 Bill

4 Points
Library Card
Comb or Brush
Store Loyalty Card
Gift Card
Dental Floss
Picture of Your Mother or Mother-In-Law
Tape Measure
Penny or Nickel

6 Points
Nail File or Clippers
Business Card
Notebook or Notepad
Hair Accessories
Piece of Mail
Datebook or Day Planner (not a cell phone)
Picture of the Bride
Hand Sanitizer
Hand Lotion

8 Points
Child’s toy or book
$50 in cash
5 Credit Cards
mp3 player (not a cell phone)
Calculator (not a cell phone)
Needle and Thread
Playing Cards
Food Item
Reading Glasses
Water Bottle

10 Points
Mace or Pepper Spray
$100 in cash
Curling Iron
Postage Stamp

Friday, October 28, 2016

20 Hours in San Francisco

I have one last round of pictures from our West Coast road trip to share with you all. Here are the links to my past posts, in case you missed them:

Multnomah Falls
My brother's seaside wedding
Driving the Oregon Coast
Visiting the Redwoods

After spending the night in Fort Bragg, California, we stopped by the famous Glass Beach before continuing on our way. During the first half of the 20th century, the area was used as a garbage dump. Today, all that is left of the dump are millions of smooth pieces of glass that have washed up on shore.

We stopped for lunch at Ocean Cove Lodge in Jenner, California, where we enjoyed a beautiful view of the ocean.

Then we continued driving down the California Coast to San Francisco! The road was quite harrowing, especially the spots where there was nothing keeping our car from toppling down the cliff to the ocean more than 100 feet below.

We had dinner on the bay at Guaymas, a Mexican restaurant in Belvedere Tiburon.

Later that evening, we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge for a few hours of sightseeing. Fort Point is one of the best spots to photograph the bridge.

We are avid fans of the TV series Monk, so we stopped by the street corner that is shown in the opening credits (Montgomery Street and Green Street). It also happens to have an iconic view of the skyline, which is why many commercials and TV shows have been filmed there over the years.

Before heading to our hotel, we stopped by Ghirardelli Square to pick up some milkshakes and chocolates. (Is your mouth watering? Mine sure is!)

Do any of you live in San Francisco? If you do, your leg muscles must be made of steel! The hills were beautiful, but boy were they steep. I was amazed to see so many townhouses with garages built on the hills.

The next morning, we drove Mr. Handsome's family to Oakland Airport and then spent two hours sitting in traffic on the Oakland Bay Bridge. Before returning to the airport to catch our own flight at 1:00pm, we did a quick tour of the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, a WWII cargo ship, at Fisherman's Wharf.

Our goal was to take a double-decker bus tour of the city, but the heavy traffic caused us to miss it. If you're planning a vacation in San Francisco, be sure to ride the historic trolleys (schedules and maps can be found online). I grew up watching the show Full House and was eager to see the Painted Ladies (a block of Victorian row houses), but we will have to save that for our next trip.

We did stop at In-N-Out Burger (any fans?) It was greasy, but oh so delicious! Overall, we had a great trip.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Nashville Wife's Pulled Pork

Hello, and Happy Monday! I usually keep up with blogging over the weekend, but this weekend, I took a much needed computer break, although I'll admit I did answer a few comments. (I thoroughly enjoy communicating with my readers, so it's hard to abstain completely.)

Last Friday, I purchased three pounds of pork shoulder and decided to create my own slow cooker pulled pork recipe. I was a little weary, but it ended up turning out great! Here's the tutorial.

Nashville Wife's Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

3-lb pork shoulder
2 teaspoons oil (I use canola or olive)
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
3 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Step 1: Cover the bottom of your slow cooker with 2 teaspoons oil and then with onion chunks. Lay pork shoulder (with all packaging removed) on top of onion.

Step 2: Drizzle with 1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce. (I currently have two homemade BBQ sauce recipes that I use. You'll find one with my "Buffalo Wild Wings Style Chicken Wings" recipe. I have yet to post the other one.) Sprinkle minced garlic on top of meat.

Step 3: In a small bowl, mix the following:
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Pour mixture over meat. Cook on high for 7-8 hours, basting liquid over meat ever few hours (if possible). Thirty minutes before serving, pull meat with a fork, stir into existing liquid, and allow meat to cook 30 minutes immersed in liquid.

Step 4: Serve with BBQ sauce and buns (if desired).

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Visiting the Redwood Giants

It's time for another batch of pictures from our trip out West! After visiting Multnomah Falls, catching up with family and friends at my brother's seaside wedding, and spending a day sightseeing along the Oregon Coast, we arrived in Northern California to visit the spectacular Redwoods.

Ever since I was a little girl, I had been dreaming about visiting the Redwood Forest. It actually turned out to be even more majestic and breathtaking than I had imagined.

To walk up to the base of those massive trees and try to wrap my mind around the fact that they are hundreds (and even thousands) of years old was truly amazing. It's one thing to see a building or other man-made structure that was build before the year 1 AD, but to think that these trees have sustained themselves for that long is such an awesome thought.

We drove past many Redwoods that had been darkened and hollowed out by forest fires but were still standing strong. Then we learned from one of the park rangers that these trees are naturally fire-resistant. How neat!

As we were walking through the beautiful forests, I kept thinking how neat it would be if we could watch a time-lapse video of everything the Redwood Giants have witnessed over the past two millennia. 

Spiral tree (multiple "shoots" from the same root system)

After passing through Crescent City, California, we enjoyed stopping for a few short hikes in the Redwood National and State Parks near Berry Glenn and Orick. I found it quite hilarious to see Mr. Handsome dwarfed while standing next to even the medium-sized Redwoods.

Some of the trees had little hideouts in the middle of them, which made for great photo ops. Here's one of Mae and Lena...

I think Lena is trying to find the top of the tree!

This picture is a little dark, but seeing Lena's tiny head poking through really captures the size of the trunks.

 The "Big Tree" extends 304 feet above the forest floor and is an estimated 1500 years old. Wow!

The bright orange and yellow leaves and the vibrant green moss made the forest look like a scene straight out of a fairy tale. This isn't a Redwood, but it's still a beautiful tree.

Later that afternoon, we stopped at Humboldt Redwoods State Park and drove through the Avenue of the Giants. (Thank you to the readers who suggested we visit Humboldt. It was time well spent!)

We came across a tree that fell last winter, but unlike all the others we saw lying on the ground, it had splintered.

This is the Dyerville Giant, which once stood a whopping 362 feet tall with an estimated age of 2,000 years and a circumference of 52 feet. Before it fell in 1991, it was believed to be the tallest tree in the world.

Before heading to a hotel for the night, we stopped at the Chandelier Tree in Legget, California. At 315 feet, this tree is approximately 2,400 years old. Visitors with regular-sized vehicles can drive through the base of the tree, but we were in a 12-passenger van, so that didn't work out. There's Mae standing in front of the opening...

We spent 16 hours in San Francisco (pictures coming soon) and then headed home. Now that we've seen the Redwoods, the trees around here just aren't that impressive. LOL.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fall at Fall Creek Falls

Over the weekend, we made the two-hour trek out to Fall Creek Falls State Park, located southeast of Nashville, Tennessee. The schools here are just finishing their two-week break, so there were quite a few visitors at the park.

Starting at the nature center, we crossed the suspension bridge and hiked a mile to the tallest waterfall on this side of the Rocky Mountains. We haven't had much rain, so the fall was more of a light shower, as you can see from the pictures. 

After taking photos from the lookout point at the top, we ventured 256 feet down to the base of the falls.

The trail was gorgeous, especially with the autumn-colored leaves, but climbing back up was a struggle. I'm going to count that as my leg workout for the year...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Visit the Nashville Zoo

While trying to come up with a fun, after-church excursion two weeks ago, we decided to check out the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. Turns out that the land used to be a plantation. How neat is that? It was donated to the city of Nashville for use as a nature center.

Although it was 90 degrees and humid, we had a blast. Before exploring the various animal exhibits, we toured the Grassmere Historic Home--built in 1810--and walked through the gardens and stables.

I really enjoy history, so seeing all the old buildings and artifacts was the highlight of our zoo trip for me, but the animals also turned out to be pretty fascinating.

Can you see the giraffes in the distance? We couldn't convince them to come any closer, but Mr. Handsome enjoyed watching them from afar.

And then there were the meerkats. This little guy came right up to the edge of the exhibit to have his picture taken. 

After that meerkat lost interest and walked away, I looked up and saw Mr. Handsome standing in the middle of the exhibit! But then I realized he was in a plexiglass enclosure. LOL

We were surprised to find out that the kangaroo pen was a petting zoo. We both enjoyed having our picture taken with a 'roo. For those of you who live in Australia, how often do you see wild kangaroos? Are they friendly?

The Nashville Zoo is also home to flamingos, zebras, antelopes, ostriches, leopards, cougars, various types of birds, and a handful of other creatures. We look forward to returning for future visits as new exhibits open.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Photo Ops Along the Oregon Coast

Hope you have been enjoying the pictures from our trip out west. After exploring the waterfalls east of Portland, Oregon, and spending time with family and friends at my brother's seaside wedding, we loaded into a 12-passenger van with Mr. Handsome's parents, grandparents, and two youngest sisters and headed down the coast to San Francisco.

It was early October, and the weather was chilly (around 50 degrees Fahrenheit). There was rain in the forecast, but it always seemed to clear up just as we were pulling over to snap pictures at lookout points or embark on a short hike. The ocean looked quite different than it does further south, but it was still beautiful.

You can see Heceta Head Lighthouse in the background at this lookout point. Mr. Handsome loved the view so much that he did a painting of it a few days after we returned home.

The coastal highway curves along the cliffs, providing a new, breathtaking view at every turn.

At one spot, we stopped and walked down to the shore, just as the sun was setting. It felt really strange being on a beach wearing heavy coats.

My sister-in-law Lena happened to climb up on a rock at just the right time for me to take this photo. Look at that spectacular sky!

We exhausted all the possible photo ops on that beach. Can't wait to make a scrapbook!

These next two are my favorites. The originals were beautiful, but Mr. Handsome edited them to make them even more gorgeous.

Stay tuned for photos from the Redwoods, the California coast, and San Francisco!