Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Lazy December Day

A bowl of delicious Chili, a fire in the fireplace (gas, but whatever), beautiful, colorful lights twinkling on the tree, and watching Christmas movies on tv while piled up under a fuzzy, warm blanket on the couch.

Life just don't get much better than a lazy, December day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Me & My Aunt's Saturday Adventure

Back in the Summer, on our family vacation, we had visited Colonial Williamsburg. 
As awesome as it was during the Summer, I sure would have liked to been able to visit during the Christmas season. I bet it's pretty fantastic.

Sometime after returning from vacation - believe it or not I was ready for more adventuring - I started looking for events, ideas, and things to do for the Fall/Halloween and Christmas seasons.

One of the things I ran across was a "Victorian Christmas" at Traveler's Rest Historic Site.
It wasn't Colonial Williamsburg, but from what I could gather it was a good old-fashioned Christmas, which is what I was looking for.  

It was on December 13th, and I had already filled in my work schedule calendar for the rest of the year so I knew that J and R both would be working that day.
So I said to myself, I'll ask (my Aunt) if she wants to go.

I did, and she did, so off we went.

Traveler's Rest is the last standing stagecoach inn in Georgia, and is pretty much original from the time Devereaux Jarrett purchased it from James Wyly and doubled it in size back in the 1830's.

The decor consisted of garlands, wreaths, red bows, crocheted angels hanging in the windows, and a Christmas tree decorated with crocheted and handmade ornaments in the parlor.

Musical groups played lovely carols on their instruments. A group of carolers upstairs sang beautiful carols.

Real fires were burning in the fireplaces, and costumed period volunteers told us about the life and times of the Inn and the people of the time.

We were served delicious hot apple cider and homemade teacakes.

After there, we headed over to Toccoa Falls College to check out Toccoa Falls.

Easiest water falls I have ever visited. Usually we have to walk a long ways, hike, or climb up and down a million stairs to reach the water fall.
This one can pretty much be seen from the parking lot. To get closer, you can go through the Welcome center, pay a dollar or two, and walk not very far at all - probably not even the length of a Mall - to get to the Falls.

I'm not sure what it is about waterfalls, but I sure do like them.

After there we ate at a restaurant called Bell's Drive-in.  It was delicious, and the waitress was attentive and friendly and awesome.
It's not one of my skills, but I love when people can talk to you like they've known you your whole life and consider you a good friend.

After eating, we headed along the Unicoi Turnpike and stopped in by the Old Sautee Store in the Sautee-Nacoochee Valley.

The Old Sautee Store is sooo freaking neat.
The front part of the store has been left as the original old general store, with shelves of vintage groceries and goods.

The new part of the store was added to the back, and they carry all things Country and Vintage-Inspired.

We tasted some delicious Farmer's Cheese on Crispbread and Ginger Cookies, (I wouldn't have thought to eat cheese on ginger cookies, but it was tasty) with a sample of hot Grogg to drink.

I tell ya what, I'm not that adventurous when it comes to trying food and drink, and I sure was concerned about tasting something called "Grogg" because that sounded just nasty.

I was afraid it was some sort of coffee, but it wasn't.The lady said it was made of grapes and spices, so I braved it and gave it a sip, and Yum!

 I'm afraid I can't describe it any other than that.  Not being one of those Food Network folks that can taste each individual flavor of something, all I know is, overall, it was pretty tasty!

Love the National Biscuit Company display.

My Grannie used to work at the National Biscuit Company when she was young, having left her small town to go work in the big city, before she was married and had kids....
You know, before it was NA-BIS-CO.

Next we ventured on over towards Helen, Georgia.

We stopped in at Nora Mill Granary to check out all things stone-ground, plus all the rest of the awesome offerings: jellies, jams and all sorts of canned goods, enamel-ware, cast iron, vintage-inspired kitchen decor, old-fashion candies, etc.

The entire City of Helen is a re-creation of a German Alpine town (don't ask me, I don't know, it's been that way ever since I can remember).

Anyway, with the City building codes, the Chattahoochee River running through the middle of town, beer (even back in the days when most small towns were Dry), brats, entertainment and shopping,  Helen is a real tourist destination, and they make the most of it.

So the whole town is decorated and lit up beautifully for Christmas.

It was pretty crowded, plus getting pretty late, so we mostly rode through to see the lights, but didn't plan to get out and shop anywhere.

Then I saw Betty's Country Store, which wouldn't have been that eye-catching, except the sign said IGA on it.

We have an IGA grocery here in my town, and it doesn't look anything like Betty's, but they do carry a particular candy I wanted but was out of stock last time I checked for it, so we stopped in at Betty's to check and see if they had any.

They did gosh, this store! This grocery store!

Guess I'm a country bumpkin, but this store was amazing to me!
If I ever open a grocery store, it'll be just like this one! (lol, I'm mostly likely never going to open a grocery store.)

I don't have good words to describe it, but it's like a modern grocery store, mixed with an old grocery store, mixed with an old General Store. Wooden shelving, antique fixtures, vintage grocery store decor.

The check out lines are in sort of an enclosed area, and resemble a Old General store, with the shelved goods behind the cashier.

Wish I could have gotten better pictures of the place, but I couldn't get my camera to see what I was seeing.

Anyway, I loved it.

This outing was something new for us.
Usually I plan outings like this with J and the boys.
That's not to say I haven't gone off with my Aunt - out to eat, or to the big Dixie Highway Yard Sale one year, to visit (her Aunt and Uncle, my Great Aunt and Uncle) in Alabama, or to Florida to visit (her sister, my mother) and (my sister, her niece).
But we haven't done anything like this before, just us, off on a jaunt.
I really enjoyed it.

I did feel kindly bad that we went and J and the boys didn't/couldn't go.
They love to adventure, too.

I'll just have to plan something for us to do, I guess! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

911 Dispatcher Ornaments, Vol. 2014

So last year I was looking for a little prezzie for my son, R's, co-workers at 911 Dispatch.
I ended up coming up with these Snow(wo)men Ornament Ball dispatchers.

They were well received. The other day he mentioned that his co-workers were saying as how they loved their little ornaments from last year, and had taken pictures to show him of them hanging on their trees.

I said to him, "Uhhhh, you know I'm not going to be able to do anything like that again this year, right?"
I had no ideas - zip, zilch, nada - for any other kind of specialized 911/dispatcher ornament.

And I didn't, until, I did.
I was doing whatever it was I was doing...which is generally never one particular thing. I start doing one thing, which turns into another thing, which turns into something else.
However it came about, in the end, I had this idea:

Everyone knows about cinnamon-applesauce ornaments. Pretty much everyone made them in school. They smell soooo good.

I searched for cinnamon-applesauce-ornament recipes, and got a ton of different ones.
I decided to start out using 1 cup of cinnamon, 1 cup of applesauce, and 2 tablespoons of white glue.
My mixture was too dry, so I added another tablespoon-glallup of applesauce.

Mixed the cinnamon, applesauce and glue in a bowl. Used a spoon at first, but when it became a 'dough' I ended up having to use my hands and knead it.

Which is why there's no picture of me rolling and cutting the gingerbread men out.

I put the gingerbread men ornaments on wire racks on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven on 200* for an hour. Then I flipped them over and let them dry for another hour.

*If you want to make holes in the ornaments for a hanging ribbon, use a toothpick or straw while they're still wet. I decided to just glue a loop on the backside.

I "iced" it with puffy paint, and hot glued the "head set" on.

For the head set I used some miniature wire candy canes and mini pom-poms I had in my craft stash.

(Not pictured: I hot glued a red elastic-rope loop on the back side of the head for hanging.)