Monday, March 8, 2010

Celebrating an Amazing Start to the Rest of Our Lives

This weekend was very special.  We celebrated our first wedding anniversary!  We can not believe that it has already been a year!  It truly seems like just yesterday we were celebrating with all our friends and family.  We have had a wonderful first year and are so looking forward to what the future has in store for us.

We spent a nice long weekend at a log cabin resort in Seviervill, Tennessee called Brother's Cove.  We've been there a few times before.  It is so great!  Very peaceful and reaxing with wonderful views.  We had a great cabin on the top of the mountain...

We had a huge deck with a great view, a hot tub, a pool table, and lots of windows to take in the big blue sky.  The weather was really gorgeous...sunny and upper 50s.

Dining Area from the Living Room

Living Room and Fireplace from the Dining Area


Upstairs Pool Table Room

Bedroom Looking out to Pool Table Room

Upstairs Small Deck

Downstairs Deck, Hot Tub, and Rocking Chairs

Other Side of Deck with Grill and Swing

View from Deck

We got there around 7:00 on Friday night.  The drive took us about 5 hours from door to door, with a quick stop at the grocery store when we got to Sevierville.  It would have been a little less time, but I-40 is still closed at the NC/TN border from a rock slide.  We spent the first night relaxing.  We made a yummy baked chicken parmesan for dinner.  It inspired us to try something new this year.  Every week we're going to try at least one new recipe.  I'll post about it on the blog on Fridays, let y'all know if it was good, any issues in the kitchen...Then, we're going to start a recipe file of all the meals we enjoy.  We have been in a dinner rut, so we think this will help!  We played a couple of games of Bananagrams (which is super fun by the way!) and called it a night to get a fresh start the next day.

Saturday we decided to hang around in Sevierville/Pigeon Forge.  If you've never been there, it truly is the Myrtle Beach of the mountains.  It's beautiful, but pretty hokey!  We thought it would be fun to really do it right, so we decided we were going to ride go-karts, play mini golf, and take a tour of the Smoky Mountain Wine Trail.

For go-karts and mini golf, we went to the Nascar Speedpark.  Holy disaster!  We started out playing mini golf.  When we told the lady at the desk we wanted to play, she said, "Well, the course isn't in the greatest shape right now, so we're just letting people play for free."  Okay by us...we like free!  Well, "isn't in the greatest shape" was a tad of an understatement!  The moats had no water, the greens were torn up, water filled the holes...But, no worries, we played anyway!

Barrett at the Entrance to the "Dragon's Lair"

Ready to Get Started!

Hole #4...That's Right...Cement.

Victory!  (More on that later...)

After mini-golf, we hung around to ride some go-karts.  They advertised this one track where you drive 5/8 sized cars that go up to 28 miles an hour.  But, it was $27.50 per person...So, we went with the ten ticket package for $27 instead.  We chose a track called The Intimidator.  It had been a long time since either of us had ridden in a go-kart, but it was really a lot of fun!  I came in ahead of Barrett, so we'll go ahead and mark another W in Rebecca's column.  :-)  We had four tickets left after that ride, and guess what we found out...you can ride in the 5/8 sized car track for 4 tickets!  Don't ask me how that math works out...Anywho, Barrett went for a spin in one of those cars around the track.  A nice old man who worked there let me walk out onto the track to get an upclose picture of Barrett in his car.  The race got started, and it turns out the poor Barrett got stuck with the slowest car in the bunch!  It was really, really slow!  He got lapped!  Definitely glad we didn't pay $60 to ride them!

Cozy Little Car

Slow Poke :-)

We closed out the Speedpark with a little game of Skee Ball...that would end up in another W for Rebecca.  After our Nascar Adventure, we decided it might be time for a little afternoon drink...so, off to the winery we went!  Our first stop was a place called The Apple Barn and Cider Mill.  They had a windery, cider mill, bakery, candy shop, ice cream shop, and Christmas store!  We started in the winery and got to sample a few different wines.  We ended up buying a white Apple wine that was really tasty!  We walked around a bit, and walked into the bakery.  After walking in and smelling all the warm, delicious, cinnamon apple yumminess, we coudn't leave without a treat or two!  We bought a fried apple pie (their specialty) and shared a honey glazed apple doughnut.  Um...yum.  While at the winery, one of the people working there told us that they were partnered with two other nearby wineries.  If we visited all three, we'd get free wine glasses.  Again, who doesn't like free stuff?!  So...we ventured off to the other two.  Next we went to Hillside Winery.  The specialized in Italian style wines and sparkling wines.  We tasted a few good ones, but the best of the bunch was a wine freezer!  Think frozen daiquiri...made with a bottle of wine!  We tasted Sangria, Margarita, and Strawberry.  All were delicious but we ended up buying the Sangria and the wine they mixed with it, a blackberry and blueberry wine called (what else) Black and Blue.  The third winery on the tour was Mountain Valley Winery.  Here, we took a tour and got a little background info on the wine of the Smokies.  We tasted a few wines here, none too wonderful, but did get our free glasses!  After three wineries, we decided it might not be a bad idea to work our way back up the mountain to our cabin for the evening.

Apple Barn Winery

Hillside Winery

See...Myrtle Beach of the Mountains :-)

Once back at the cabin, we tried out the pool table.  I beat Barrett twice and he beat me twice, so we ended on an even note. (that would make the score 6 Wins to 2, by the way) The view from the upstairs pool room was really beautiful, so we enojyed spending some time up there before dinner.

Taking a Break from Getting Beat in Pool to Enjoy the Scenery

Another interesting point to the weekend would be the crazy ladybug infestation!  I have never seen so many ladybugs!  They were everywhere!  Most of them dead, but definitely a ton still alive.  I started by saving all the live ones I could find and putting them out on the porch.  Then, I realized that they were probably coming inside because it was so cold outside.  I also realized that I could spend my entire weekend saving the ladybugs, so we just let them be.

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing...we grilled out yummy ribs, played dominoes (Barrett finally won two games of these), and relaxed in the hot tub.

Our Goodies from the Wineries

Our plans for Sunday were to head into Gatlinburg, do a bit of exploring downtown, and take a drive on Cades Cove Loop in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I woke up feeling kind of bad...stuffy, congested, headache.  So, we were a little slow getting started, but finally made it out the door.  About halfway to the park...I started to feel much worse.  I think it was a combo of being tired, being stuffy and congested, and the twisty, roller coaster roads in the mountains.  So...we turned around and headed back to the cabin.  Sad. :-(  But, it was actually very nice to just spend the day relaxing and enjoying each others company.

Being our acutal anniversary, we did have a couple special things planned to do together.  We exchanged gifts that morning.  We have decided that it would be nice to follow the traditional gift giving guidelines.  So, the first anniversary is paper...

I got Barrett a photo book that commemorated our first year together.  All the big events and things we did in 2009 were included....starting with our wedding and going through New Years.  I want to make one every year to keep up with all the things we do.

Barrett got me a canvas tote bag with my monogram on it.  I didn't have anything with my new initials and had been saying I wanted something.  Barrett was sure to tell me that he researched it, and that canvas was the original paper and that manilla paper actually used to be made from canvas, so it fit! 

We made a yummy steak dinner, shared a slice of the top layer of our wedding cake, and toated with a glass of champagne.  The champagne was a bottle we'd been given on our wedding day and saved, and we used our toasting flutes from the wedding.  Although it was low key because I wasn't feeling wonderful, it was truly special and we had a wonderful time.

We are looking forward to a lifetime full of many happy memories.  Thanks to all of our family and friends for the well wishes and support.  We love you all!

P.S.  Here is the recipe for our first new meal of the year.  Baked Chicken Parmesan.  Two Thumbs Up!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (butterflied or pounded thin) (about 1 1/4 lbs)
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
1 jar (26 ounces) marinara sauce
1 cup Parmesan -or- shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Dip chicken in egg, then bread crumbs, coating well. (You can mix some parmesan cheese into the bread crumbs to make it tastier)
In a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish, arrange chicken.
Bake uncovered 20 minutes. (See NOTE)
Pour the marinara sauce over chicken, then top with cheese.
Bake an additional 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
Serve if desired, with hot cooked pasta.

Makes 4 servings
NOTE: If using a metal pan, increase the oven temperature by 25 degrees

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness! What a sweet weekend. I can't believe it has already been a year. That is just crazy! Miss you both and love yall tons. We need to plan a couples weekend there at that cabin- BEAUTIFUL!