On Friday, we went to the Botanical Gardens here in Charlotte. They were having the annual Lights in the Garden and it was beautiful. All the different gardens were lit up and Santa was there for pictures. Our favorite, however, was the band...Charlotte Waites. They are a Medieval/Renaissance group that was performing traditional Christmas tunes. They were wonderful and Nora was so enthralled, she sat there for a good thirty minutes without moving (except to clap at the end of each song). They asked her to come up and ring the jingle bells for a couple of songs...she LOVED it.
Here are a few pictures from the evening...
inside a big red Christmas tree made of lights
the arbor...with lights that look like grape vines
Looking at a toy soldier made of lights
that is a HURDY GURDY!!! I have heard about them for years and had no idea what it looked like
As embarrassing as it is, I am finally getting around to posting about the TootToot's birthday.
Which was over a month ago.
Each year we select a theme based on her favorite book of the previous year. This year was SkippyJon Jones. He is a Siamese cat who thinks he is a Chihuahua. It is pretty funny.
We decorated the house like a Mexican Fiesta and, true to the story, had lots of beans. Black beans, refried, jelly, french...and the list goes on. We had a taco bar and for dessert, I made a cake to look like a sombrero. Ole!
Nora received some wonderful gifts, but the big hit was the pick Jeep from her grandparents. If this is any indication of her driving style later in life SHE WILL NEVER BE ALLOWED TO GET A LICENCE!
As a favor, everyone got to take home a homemade chocolate bandito mustache lolly. We had a ton of fun posing for pictures with those.
I am a francophile. I always have been. I love the french language, french cooking, french toast, french anything. So, when I found out about the new french bakery in town I was a little excited (truth be told I jumped up and down.) Beau and I made it up there a few weeks back and sampled some of their pastries, which were DELICIOUS, but I fell in love again this past week when I ate lunch there.
Suz and I had a BFF day (more on that later) and I convinced her we should eat at Amelie's, not that it took that much convincing. :)
When you first step into the building, you can't help but immediately press your nose up against the two glass cases full of the most beautiful pastries, macaroons and mini cakes.
Once you stop salivating like Pavlov's dogs, you notice the menu with wonderful things like fresh soups, salads and tartines. Do not be afraid of the french word "tartine"...it is the equivalent of an open sandwich.
Both Suz and I settled on a tartine and a cup of the tomato and crab soup. I ordered the portobello and leek tartine (below), while she had the ham and Gruyere. Although we were mid sentence when they placed our food in front of us, we didn't speak another syllable until our plates were clean. IT WAS THAT GOOD! I swear, my mouth is watering just thinking about that meal.
Sorry, let me get back to the story. The soup was wonderful and full of unexpected touches. Crab in tomato soup is a bit unusual by itself, but they combined it with lemon zest and capers. The zest added a real brightness and the capers were briny and very well matched with the rest of the soup.
We, of course, also got some sweet treats to-go that were so good we almost got into multiple accidents while Suz tried to shift her car AND eat.
Aside from the wonderfully classic yet creative food, the decor in Amelie's is worth seeing. I suppose it is best described as Parisian Flea Market. Lots of fabulous re-purposed stuff. And, for any of you cooks/bakers out there, you will lust after the main chandelier. It is a collection of stainless steel utensils and totally amazing.
So, moral of the story? GO! GO NOW...especially since they are open 24x7. Yes, ALL DAY EVERY DAY! Hooray!
After a year of talking about it, we finally did it. We cancelled the cable. It was scary. I had lived without TV for a year or so back in 2003. Well, almost without TV. The PBS station came in just fine...most of the time. I actually liked the lack of TV because it forced me to do other things. Beau and I have been debating about cancelling for well over a year. It was costing us over $80 a month and we knew we were wasting HOURS a day watching crap. Despite these two very valid reasons, we were still hesitant to do anything. I swear it felt like taking the training wheels off a bike! What if we couldn't find anything to do? What if Nonie cried all the time because she couldn't watch Dora? What is something cataclysmic happened and we didn't k now about it because we DIDN'T HAVE TV?
Then logic kicked in... We ALWAYS have things to do. Painting, knitting, woodworking, cleaning, reading. The list goes on forever. Nonie has DVDs and an entire room of toys. I am sure we can find something to entertain her. We don't' watch the news. Both of us get all our information form the Internet.
So we did it.
And we LOVE it.
We are getting so much done around the house. things that we have been putting off for years. Surprisingly, the other thing that has happened is that Nonie is so much more focused and less whiny. It might be the age/developmental stage she is in, but there is a noticeable difference.