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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Asheville Cabin Weekend

Each year we get together with Eric and Keith's childhood friend Tyler and his family for a cabin weekend somewhere. Most years it is somewhere in Tennessee but this year in August we went to Asheville which I liked even better.

Everyone else arrived Friday mid-day and had lunch downtown and then hung out at the cabin. Due to work Eric and I arrived around 5:30-6. The cabin was about 20 minutes outside of downtown Asheville in an was an old barn refurbished into several bedrooms, a kitchen, large living room, game room, and deck with a hot tub and firepit out back.

The owners lived next door on a good amount of land and had some horses (and some dogs). Perfect photo op.


Friday night we grilled burgers and veggies and I made the avocado ranch dip. We just relaxed and watched the Olympics.

Saturday morning we watched some more Olympics and got ready for our big adventure of the weekend... ziplining! Tyler's parents opted not to go ziplining.

We ziplined with Navitat and had a start time a little after noon. They had great reviews on safety, satisfaction, and being well organized.

This was my first time ziplining other than something small as part of a ropes course/team building event as a kid. I was a little nervous, not about the heights or about safety but about going too fast and feeling motion sick. Rest assured there was no motion sickness since you are not in a confined space like a car and you always zip straight, no curves or swinging motion involved.

Eric had our waterproof/outdoor camera strapped into his harness so he could take some shots and they have a photographer there at one zip platform that you can buy photos or a CD from.

It was a blast! The first couple zips are shorter to get you used to it and teach you how to brake. I like that they have the handlebars you hold while you zip.

Keith getting hooked into one of the zips. See the handlebars

A bonus to being small is there is very little braking because you are not going at speeds as fast as a larger person. Several of the zips are quite long which is nice... there were 10 ziplines total.

This was one of the really long zips. Their photographer took this one.

Whitney taking off the platform.

There were also 2 repelling things but I would hardly call it repelling... basically they just hoist you down a short amount with the ropes.

1 of the guides getting Tyler ready to "repel"

There were 2 easy bridges to walk across at different points to get to another zipping platform that you couldn't just zip to.

In case you were wondering what they do when a branch gets in the way of the zipline..

The scenery is gorgeous with the blue ridge mountains in the distance as you zip among the trees. Even though this was August it wasn't hot since we were up in the mountains and mainly in the shade. There isn't a ton of walking/hiking involved throughout and the entire course takes about 3-3.5 hours so you get your money worth. Our guides were professional while still being fun and telling jokes. I would definitely go again!

One funny thing that happened.. of course you need shoes to zipline and hike. Well Keith forgot his and they had some there in the lost in found how you lose your shoes there I'm not sure  and they were hilarious velcro skater-ish shoes. Definitely not what you would wear ziplining or ever. So that gave us a laugh throughout the day.

velcro shoes

Then we got ready and went out to eat in downtown Asheville. This was my first visit to Asheville and I really liked the downtown. It had a lot of restaurants and fun shops and antique stores.

We had dinner at Doc Chey's I liked my dish and a few others did but a couple people thought theirs were just okay so it was a little hit or miss.

And then we walked around for awhile going into a couple of shops that were still open.

We headed back to the cabin to have s'mores around the firepit out back and hang out in the hot tub.

firepit during the daytime
Sunday we packed up to leave and went into Asheville to have lunch.

lovely day out

We ate at Salsa, Caribbean/Puerto Rican food. It was delicious. They change their menu daily based on what they get fresh. Definitely recommend a meal here!

These are making me hungry


After a great weekend with friends/family in Asheville, Eric and I cannot wait to go back! Next time we may have to check out a winery and maybe the Biltmore since I've never been there. It's only a 2 hour drive from Charlotte so would be a perfect weekend getaway sometime :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes

We made this delicious healthy meal a couple of weeks ago after I brought home a bag of red potatoes and some bell peppers from the farmer's market and needed a recipe. I know it says "summer" but thankfully we still have all of these veggies in the stores/produce stands here for a little while longer.  So make it soon!

Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes
From SkinnyTaste, makes 4 servings, 326 calories/serving


1 lb baby red potatoes, cut in half or quartered
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
14 oz Italian chicken sausage, sliced 1-inch thick - use kitchen shears to cut
1 large onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of the knife
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
1 red bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
2 tbsp fresh rosemary (or other fresh herb such as thyme)
2 cups zucchini, 1/2 inch thick and quartered

Place oil and potatoes in a large, deep non-stick skillet with a tight fitting lid on high heat; season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. When the skillet gets hot and starts to sizzle, reduce heat to low and cook with a tight lid on for about 20-25 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent the potatoes from burning. Remove from heat and let them sit 5 minutes without removing the lid. Set potatoes aside on a dish.

Add the sausage to the skillet and saute on medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until browned but not quite cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season chopped vegetables with salt and pepper. Add onions, peppers, garlic and rosemary to the skillet and mix. Continue cooking stirring occasionally until onions and peppers become slightly browned. Add zucchini and cook an additional 5 minutes, mixing as it cooks until cooked through.

Return the potatoes back to the skillet and mix well. Adjust salt and pepper as needed; cover and cook 5 more minutes.

We loved this! It was healthy, tasty and filling. I definitely want to make this again. The only thing I would change is adding more zucchini next time! Thank you SkinnyTaste!


Linking up at these fun parties

Monday, September 24, 2012

LaForce Likes #22

Fall is officially here in Charlotte witnessed by the crisp cool weather (cold to me as a born FL girl) this morning.

With that in mind how pretty is this fall mantle! We currently don't have room for full-on mantle decor since our TV is over the fireplace but if I did you can be sure it would be all decorated up for fall!

It is on my pinterest decor board along with other fall mantle inspiration.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Charlotte Discovery Place

Ever since moving to Charlotte about 5 years ago, I heard coworkers talk about Discovery Place and I saw advertisements for it around uptown. It is a hand on science center for families encouraging kids to explore science, nature, math, technology, and engineering. So of course Eric, a nerdy kid at heart, was dying to go. He suggested we could borrow someones kid so we could go but that seemed a bit creepy.

We finally had our chance this summer when Eric's mom brought our niece Abby up for a weekend visit.

She was a little timid at first so we started off in a crafting area set up for kids to make things out of duct tape and fabric and such.. not influenced by me at all :)

We watched two 3D shows during our visit that were about 30 min each, The Little Prince and a documentary about how manatees are going extinct. Brought me back to my 4th grade field trip of swimming with the manatees.

We spent a lot of time in the engineering area where they have lots of levers, pulleys, balls and those sorts of hand on things.

Abby was too scared to do this. Looks pretty intimidating.

We had lunch in the cafe there which was surprisingly reasonably priced and healthy. They had sandwiches, wraps, salads, snack items, fruit, soups and even a few hot items to order.

We saw some interesting insects, fish, crabs, snakes and other creatures. Remember how Abby loves bugs and frogs.


Then it was time to head home for Abby's nap. There were many things we didn't even see since it's a pretty big place for 1 day (we arrived around 9:30 and left around 2). They have some great areas for even younger kids too. I imagine they change their exhibits and 3D shows fairly frequently.

Overall Discovery Place was wonderful. Once we have kids I am sure we will consider getting passes here. It would be perfect when it is too hot or too cold to play outside and keeps kids engaged and interested in learning.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

LaForce Likes #21

College football is one of my favorite times of the year! This LaForce Likes is about some tailgating main dishes you can bring and not need to cook. I've been doing some searching around thinking about our first trip to Clemson in a few weeks. Those of you with a grill or way to hook up a crock pot have many choices.

Here are some great main dish options I've found for people tailgating without a grill or heat source. These are all on my pinterest main dish board.

mini muffulettas

italian style sandwiches
smoky pimento cheese sandwiches
BLT wraps

50 tea sandwich recipes

They all look so delicious we may have a hard time deciding!

Any great ideas you want to share?

Happy Football and Tailgating Season!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lingerie Bag and french seams

I have a lingerie bag I received before I got married made by my godmother. I love the bag and use it all of the time as it is wonderful for travel. I sent my mom hunting around for more of the fabric used on mine since a co-worker/friend of mine is getting married in the fall and I wanted to give her a special gift.

We had a surprise shower for her at work which was timed very nicely after a short trip to FL where my parents and godmother live. My godmother monogrammed the outside lingerie fabric with my friend's to-be initials. Then we bought companion fabric for the lining and all discussed the steps for me to sew the bag at home.

It took awhile since it was my first time doing this bag but I think it turned out great and looks just like mine (and others my godmother has made)!

It was nice that purple worked out for the zipper and monogram since that is her favorite color.

This was my first time doing (or even hearing of) french seams. These were done for the side seams of the bag. You sew a 2/8 seam allowance with the bag wrong sides together, then you turn right sides together and sew a 3/8 seam allowance. This way there are no raw edges on the inside of the bag! At first I did not understand why this was even needed but It makes the inside look nice and finished too since its a bigger bag.

She was SO surprised at the shower... she really had no idea she was walking into a room full of people to celebrate her instead of a boring work meeting :) oh and she loved her bag!!

Here are some of my co-workers and I with the bride to be.

Linking up at these fun parties

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