Sunday, January 20, 2013

For the Love of Charleston

The third time's a charm! Actually, every time is a charm in Charleston. The gracious hosts of the Goose Creek Inn extended another invite, so last weekend we were on their doorstep! (let this be a lesson to anyone who may think that if you invite us, we wouldn't possibly come...we will!)

We started a foggy Saturday morning off with coffee and geese-watching at the now-famous Inn. These friendly fellas get fed every day, so they like to hang out...but they'd better be careful; I think Mitch has a round or two with their names on them!
Later, Laura and I did a little shopping at the local Kohl's (surprised?), then picked the guys up to head to Mass downtown before dinner.

 Luck was on our side as we (literally) nabbed a parking spot right in front of the church. This is St. John the Baptist Cathedral, which the Bakers call the 'Lego Church', and I can see why!

The gorgeous reredos behind the altar.

This organ blasted out some mighty powerful hymns! (they were actually quite deafening!) There was a church tour offered after Mass, but our dinner reservations trumped the tour, and we promised the young lady that we would certainly be back.

 Time to eat! 3 courses for $30 at Fleet just so happens we caught "Restaurant Week", and boy oh boy, is that up my alley!
This was my appetizer: a stuffed hush puppy filled with lobster, rock shrimp, leeks & corn over Creole tomato sauce. I chose the wine pairings (I know, I know) to complement my three courses, and this was paired with a luscious Pinot Grigio. Dinner was Low Country fish & chips, pickled veggies, fingerling potatoes & okra fries, served with a crisp Chardonnay. I have a problem; I LOVE food! Errrr, and wine.

This ridiculously decadent beauty was chocolate torte with fresh whipped cream, complimented by an amazing Ruby Port. I chose the Port over the pie, and saved this slice of chocolate heaven until the next day's afternoon snack! Hmmm, I have no idea where these extra pounds came from!

Sunday turned out to be another gorgeous day, so Mitch drove us to Folly Beach for a walk along the water, and to see Morris Island Lighthouse. At one time there were 15 additional buildings on the island where the lighthouse stood, but changes in tidal currents caused severe erosion on the island and it began to shrink. Today it stands alone, completely surrounded by water.
We took a break and sat on these large pieces of driftwood, directly in front of the light.
Another view of the light from further down the beach.
There was so much marine life washed up on shore during this particularly low tide. This was the biggest horseshoe crab any of us had ever seen! (with Mitch's foot being used for comparison)
After a nice walk on the beach, it was time to eat again (of course)! We stopped for more seafood at the Charleston Crab House, right off the Ashley, this is the life! (except for the no-see-ums, which surprisingly weren't so bothersome to me, for a change)
 We watched the bridge go up a number of times, as well as boats docking to grab a bite to eat. Jack could sit and watch this all day; he loves being outside, especially by the water. Me? I think cold beer tastes really good outside by the water, but you probably already knew that!
Can't wait to see what we find next time!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's Over Already?!

It was just days away, and now it's all over but the bill payin'! In the last two and a half weeks: I've made (what feels like) a hundred new recipes, got a surprise visit from the besties at church, enjoyed a Christmas play with two dear friends, shared gifts and brunch with my work family, and celebrated cocktails and dinners with even more friends!  Christmas Eve brought me together with cousins I hadn't seen in years (as well as those I had!), Mass with my handsome hubby and kids (except Al, who had to work too late), and our traditional after-Mass food and drinks with family and "just like" family. Christmas Day was a joy, and we counted our blessings! And you know none of that can be said without the pictures to go with it!

The Bakes with our adopted daughter and grandkids ; ) (ok, ok, Megan & her kiddos aren't really ours, but, hey, pretty close!) Those little nuggets make everyone SO happy! I got to play grandma for a little while, until their real one showed up!

Dinner with our pal Debbie at Brian's, who made us a five-star meal! If I could only get him to do it more often...

This is Debbie & my favorite word (for ourselves and everyone else, in jest, of course, taken from the late, great, Chris Farley), so I ordered Deb her very own "IDIOT!" stamper for Christmas. These arms belong to the work buds, because we've got them saying it now, too!

Patti and I heading out to her church for their Christmas play, where we met up with Deb. We always enjoy our time together, especially now since she done gone and retired! Lucky duck! 
Jack and I got to spend a few hours on Christmas Eve with Aunt Rose and (part) of her fam; all four of her kids were home, along with her lovely daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter. In her usual style, Aunt Rose made sure we had a blast by playing a White Elephant gift exchange, what a hoot! One bag in particular seemed like it may have had some meds in it, so we all fought for that one!

Our traditional after Mass Christmas Eve pic. Gosh dog, those are some nice lookin' kids!

We had so much fun playing White Elephant earlier, that Jack and I raced to Walgreens, gathering up stuff for our own exchange after Mass that night. I ran to the cupboard for some silly things, too, and darn that Al! He guessed the box of couscous right off the bat! They know me too well. This game is also called 'Naughty Santa', and that's the one I'm stickin' with!
On Christmas morning, we hold up our favorite gift for memory's sake. Lil' Miss Caffeine was thrilled with her Keurig, even though it wasn't much of a surprise, since she carried it to the car herself on Black Friday.

Mr. Firebug loved his shotgun lighter, as well as his blaze orange Buck knife. This may be sending a message that I need to pay attention to...hey Al, what about the convection oven?! How about the stool with a built-in cooler?! Or maybe the motorcycle shirts?!

Jax ponders the meaning of life while wearing his new 'Normal Show' hat and checking out his fishing pole lighter. What is it with these boys and fire?!
Jackson's girlfriend Samantha loved the cookwear he got for her, lucky for him! I remember the year Jack bought me a meat slicer for my birthday...he was thrilled with it, at least! (and still uses it to this day)
Mr. Claus can't really pick a favorite; after all, how could he? A grill lighter, a mosquito thermocell to keep the skeeters away in the marsh, a Belvedere bottle tall cocktail glass, and a 70-tie holder for a (mere) fraction of his tie collection! A gift for everything that he loves ; )

I got the pan of my dreams from the kids, a Tramontina cast iron & enamel skillet! I know, I know...years ago, a meat slicer wasn't an ideal gift, but with the kids all grown, I now love my cooking! (sorry, kids, guess I'm a little late with that)
And today, New Year's Day, was spent again with family & "like family" (and a lotta food, one last time!) Hoping this finds you well, with the promise of a bright new year ahead! ♥
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