Monday, November 19, 2012

Deep Fried Delicious

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving around here without a crunchy deep fried bird.  It actually doesn't even have to be Thanksgiving for us to break out the turkey fryer but it's become tradition.  For a girl who doesn't do deep fried anything, I live for this stuff!  I actually don't like turkey any other way anymore.  It's perfectly moist and salty and just down right delicious!  Collectively, Jason and my dad decided this year would be the year we expanded our deep fried efforts into the desert category   I think it was mostly Jason's idea but dad wasn't going to object to deep fried chocolate.  First, the fired up the oil  and began the surgical injection of marinade before baptizing our 16 lb bird.   50 minutes later it came out crispy and golden.  

 The only problem with fried turkey is everyone wants to eat the skin.  We wish there was room for more crunchy skin!

If I hadn't been married to him for 10 years, I wouldn't have believed he was going to go through with this but I had no doubts.  He had oreos, banana slices and chocolate bars ready for the fryer.  He also did a little experimentation with a sweet onion.  He tossed every thing in bisquick and into the hot oil it went.  The bananas and the oreos turned out beautifully and were particularly delicious when they were hot!  Jackson really enjoyed the deep fried chocolate bar but I found it a little rich for my tastes.  If he had snickers, I'm certain he would have fried that too.  

 It's Thanksgiving in the South and we'll fry if we want to, fry if we want to...

Happy Thanksgiving folks!

Family Style Spelunking

Jason's friends were going to China, Jackson friends were going to the beach.  We wanted to take a trip for fall break but our grad school budget didn't fit either of those categories.  I knew there were still tons of places I wanted to visit in/near TN and there still are but this one I found to be the best and most fun for US!  It also could be a day trip that didn't include the expense of a hotel.  With Jason having several interviews in the days surrounding it, this was our only choice.   
We set out to go spelunking.  I had a pretty strict itinerary for the day and our first stop was The Lost River Cave.  Its an underground river and boat tour.  It was probably the boys favorite, maybe Jason's too.  
We took a little walk by a "blue hole" and heard stories of drownings in the man eating hole.  Of course it fascinated the kids.  I admit it was interesting to hear that there is a current that leads to the cave below and they had someone come out and measure a depth of 410 ft deep.  Later, that was checked and it could only be measured at about 16ft.  The explanation was that the first measurement was the entire length of the cave that the blue hole feeds to.  Nonetheless, the measurement gave this river the title of the shortest, deepest river in the world.
The flat bottom boat ride was really cool.  Our favorite part was having to lean completely down so that you could pass under the mouth of the cave to get it.  It really was pretty slim!

Next up was Dinosaur World.  I had passed by this place several times on the way to Cincinnati to see my friend Renee but we never had time to stop.  It was pretty cool and of course the kids thought it was great.  We had packed a picnic lunch to have there (I have become my mother!).  We ate lunch and started discovering the dinosaurs.  Lincoln was a little skeptical at first.  He's sure a scaredy cat to be one of the meanest kids I know!  ha!  But he quickly got over it and then he was trying to scare us!  It was a self guided tour and it led to the famous giant Dino on the interstate.  You can see one GIGANTIC (or maybe life size) dinosaur from I-65 as an advertisement.  You can't miss it and we just had to have our photos made there.  Please note us at the very bottom sitting on it's feet!  At the end of the tour, the kids were able to dig for fossils.  It was a sand box that was loaded with tiny fossils such as amber and sharks teeth.  You got to take 3 home and that was really fun for my science loving children.

There we are, say HI!

Our next stop was Mammoth Cave National Park.  I had pre-purchased tickets for our tour and we were right on time.  It was a mandatory bathroom stop because the tour was 2 hours and there are no bathrooms along the way!  As we were driving in, this deer was grazing and when we stopped to look at it, it walked right up to our car.  The only snack we had was some cheese-its from lunch and it nearly ate it out of Jason's hand!  You can see 2 tiny spikes on the top of it's head.

Inside the cave I quickly discovered making photos wasn't going to happen.  It was too dark and the flash didn't reach far enough.  Even the cell phones didn't make photos inside well.  The pix would be few and far between but it was something the boys ( or at least Jackson) will never forget.  I made sure our tour included "fat mans squeeze" and tall mans misery.  Those are the things I've always heard about.  It was 2 hours of pretty much constant walking and Lincoln made it to nearly the very end.  And just when you think we've worn them out and seen all there would be to see in Cave City, KY, I had one more plan...

I used trip advisor and it recommended this place.  The kicker was it was FREE for Jason (military/prior) and Lincoln (3&under).  So we figured we could spring for it and it was on the way home from the caves.  It was in the middle on NO where!  You wouldn't have expected to come across a tiny amusment park in the hills of KY but here we are.  The sky lift up the mountain was cool enough for me.  But it was the alpine slide that took the cake with Jason and Jackson.  You ride up the mountain on the sky lift.  At the top, there are "sleds" with wheels and you ride it in a concrete tube down the hill.  It was FAST and pretty steep.  It was a thrill ride and they loved it.  I'll be honest, when it was my turn, it scared me a little.  It felt a little out of control.  No one wants to die on an over-sized skateboard!  

Lincoln and Jason had found the go carts and we quickly joined them.  Our boys LOVE go carts (what boy doesnt?) and locally we ride them but it's a total rip off at like $30 for just 10 minutes.  Well, late in the afternoon, we had this place to ourselves and we raced to our hearts content.  We all laughed and tried to pass, it was FUN!  

We all had a great time on our mini vacation.  It was a check off the Nashville bucket list as we prepare our minds for a midwest move.   As we hit the road for the hour long ride home we had to grab dinner.  We passed a Red Lobster and quickly decided on it.  The boys love shrimp and it just happened to be endless shrimp time which was a total score for Jason and I.  I am almost ashamed to admit that Jason and I consumed 50 shrimp a piece.  Yep.  fifty.  The cheddar biscuits were a hit with everyone as well.  We didn't even make it out of the parking lot before eyes were closed and boys were snoozing. I may have been also. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Favorite things-Fall edition

Just like clockwork, I have a whole new array of favorite things.  We'll call these the fall collection.  It's no secret I'm a conformist.  I've already said, I like what everyone else likes.  The fact is, in some ways, we all are.  I'm also a terrible decision maker.  I flip and flop and go back and forth on everything from major decisions (naming our children) to which tank to wear to the gym.  I like to make informed decisions so knowledge is sometimes my friend and sometimes my enemy.  See, I can't even decide.  So, I was faced with what most call a "first world problem" lately in the decision between the iphone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy III.  Lucky for me there are even youtube videos comparing the two.  Yes, I'm that nerdy.  Welll...drumroll please...
1.  Yes, it's true.  I am now the proud owner of a new iphone 5.  I just got it this afternoon and it already tops my list.  What does that tell you?

2.  Kale.  Since I kicked off this clean eating change, Kale has been in heavy rotation in our house.  Much like wine or beer, I believe you have to acquire a taste for those dark leafy greens.  We have developed a fondness for this one!  I love the flavor.  It's been baked into chips, sauteed, chopped for salad with lemon juice and put in omelets.  Since trying kale and loving it, I have moved on to actually eating turnip greens too.  I've never liked them but they are a staple in my family so it's about time I did.  Lucky for me, my grandfather has enough growing to feed half of Nashville.

3.  Boots!  I got caught up in Zulily and purchased these boots because they were $21.99.  Yep, it was a great purchase and I'm wearing these babies right now but fair warning, it took me about a month to get them in.  I wasn't aware of the Zulily process so I was a little surprised.  I've had several compliments on them so I looked them up.  If you need some you can get them here:
And everyone knows Amazon has great shipping!

4.  My newest arm candy obsession are these adorably dainty bracelets from none other than Stella & Dot!  They are called friendship ties and each one has a different name/meaning.  I like them together and I like them all alone.  And at just $19 these little jewels are perfect gifts for yourself or ya mama'n'em!  

5.  We'll call this the flavor of the month.  It's come under some criticism but I have to admit, I love it. It's not an everyday flavor for me.  Its still pretty sweet.  It's more of a weekender.  It doesn't help that this time of year my starbucks "drink of choice" is the salted caramel mocha (2 pump,nonfat, no whip) but I only afford that every few weeks.  So this is my alternative and it suits me just fine.  I'm also quite fond of the new coffee blend I'm using.  If you're looking, the Trader Joes Organic breakfast blend is where it's at!  And on special occasions, the Ethiopian blend is fantastic!

6.  Several months back I noticed all Jason's female friends at school were wearing these on their wrists.  I asked one what they were and found out they were hair ties.  And they don't leave those harsh ponytail lines in your hair either!  Well, I've been wearing them on my arms since high school but they weren't this cute.  It was my mission to find some and being the deal seeker I am, I noticed a "groupon" type deal on them and jumped on it.  Even mailed some to a friend!  See how cute they are stacked with my other bracelets.  Cute and functional, that's my style!

7.  I like to refer to this as my new "lipstick cocktail".  When you find the perfect shade of lipstick, it's only right to share it with your friends!  It takes a few layers but I've convinced it's perfection!  
All in one week, I read about, heard about and saw this lipstick on TV labeled as AWESOME.  Later that same week, a girlfriend had some and I gave it the all day test when I wore it to a college football game.  It made me a believer and the next week, I had to own some.  This is YSL (Yves Saint Lauren) Lip Stain Gloss.  My color of choice is 05 Vintage Rouge.  This stuff lasts ALL DAY!  
8.  I purchased mine at sephora and because I'm such a great customer (read:spend lots o' money) I was eligible for this great gift set.  I already used the Buxom lip plumping gloss and knew I loved it.  This set had 2 glosses purse size and a great lip liner that has become in my permanent makeup rotation.  The liner is the Brooklyn shade and my favorite Buxom shade is still the Gabby.
If you're looking for the perfect lipstick shade and who isn't?  Try this little cocktail and let me know what you think!

9.  We are really trying to eat healthy around our house but there are sometimes when an apple just doesn't cut it after dinner.  Ok, there are MANY times an apple doesn't cut it so I came up with this alternative.  I know, I know, it would be better to pop my own corn but this is just so easy and portion controlled.  It's all about give and take.  Lime+ Salt!  Add some tequila and call this a margarita!  No, really, who's up for margaritas?
9.  Jason and I are just suckers for these "end of the world" shows.  We've watched Doomsday preppers and we were Jericho fans before they cut it.   We were crazy for 24 every single season.  This was perfect for us and so far, we've not been disappointed.  It's action, love story and suspense all in one.  It's our Monday evening excitement and it always leaves us hanging.  And it's a glimpse into how much our world depends on electricity.  Scary cool.

10.  My sister's been using this for years.  I actually didn't like it when she started but I guess like other things, I've developed a love for it.  I've been eyeing it for a while but this week is birthday week and it became my new fragrance!  It's Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue.  It's gotten several compliments this week too.  Win!

11.  It's birthday week so you get a bonus!  And I'm hungry and this is what I'd like for lunch!  Our local sushi/hibachi place has a fantastic "roll" called a Tuna Sandwich.  Now, this is no traditional tuna sandwich since I don't consume ANY kind of packaged tuna.  No, this my friends is 2 layers of white rice that sandwich fresh raw tuna, cream cheese and avocado topped with masago.  It's delicious get-your-own roll goodness!