Mother’s Day

Mother's DayKatie Beth made Karen breakfast this morning for Mother’s Day and a nice homemade card. Karen enjoyed the smoked salmon with capers, onions, and a boiled egg. 

Easter in Blue Ridge: Day 5

Us on Easter 2017

Happy Easter!

Katie Beth and her Easter BasketKatie Beth enjoyed her Easter Basket and searching for Easter Eggs.  We believe that we left some unfound Easter Eggs in the cabin for sure.

St. Anthony Catholic Church had a very enjoyable mass this morning and hosted a St Anthony Catholic Church Easter Egg Huntwonderful Easter Egg Hunt for all the children especially given the small size of the church community.  They even provided baskets for everyone.

After mass and the Easter Egg Hunt, we joined Hope at her cabin for lunch before they headed back to their home.  The children re-hid the Easter eggs outside to play some more while the adults chatted inside.

After saying our goodbyes,  we headed back to our cabin. For dinner, we had baked rabbit.  We thought the idea of rabbit on Easter would be kind of funny.  It tasted very good, but Katie Beth didn’t enjoy us calling it the Easter Bunny.

As the evening wound down, we played in the creek and thought about what we would do tomorrow for our last day.  We began to wonder why we were heading back so we decided to stay an extra day! Katie Beth was excited.

You can see more photos from today here. Remember, the username and password are “Friends” and “Photos”.

Easter in Blue Ridge: Day 4

Dwarf Violet IrisWe all had a slow start this morning. After a late breakfast, we relaxed on the balcony.

We decided to drive over to the swinging bridge for a small hike and the view of the Toccoa river.  The drive to the bridge is beautiful.  We took the more eastern route, which provides views of the mountains, hills, and old farms.  The western route follows the Toccoa river more closely.  The trail is nice and easy, but the last 3 miles of gravel road requires a vehicle with high clearance and it will beat you up driving it.

Fallen Tree ChairThe flower is a Dwarf Violet Iris that was found along the trail.  We stopped at the fallen tree chair for a quick family photo.  On our hike, we saw a huge fallen tree giving Karen a chance to search for special rocks.  While heading back to our car and crossing the bridge, we spotted a Cottonmouth snake swimming across the Toccoa River.  The current didn’t even phase the snake as it swam across.

Toccoa River Swinging Bridge

Hannah Jones and Katie Beth Allen on Toccoa RiverAfterwards, we headed over to Hope’s cabin to visit before dinner.  Charlie and Katie Beth put on swimsuits so they could play in the Toccoa River on the rocks.  Charlie tried to get Katie Beth to jump into the water off of the rocks, but she wouldn’t have it.  Charlie JonesEventually, Katie Beth felt comfortable and waded into the water. At one point, poor Charlie slipped and hit his face on a rock.  He said it hurt pretty good and it left a good mark.

Hope mashing rutabagasIt was time to head back for Hope’s Easter dinner and an Easter Egg Hunt at Hope’s cabin.  Dinner was about ready, but needed more time.  Karen, Hope, and I headed out to hide the Easter Eggs.  The children enjoyed searching for the eggs, but Hannah may be getting too old to see the fun.

After the hunt and very enjoyable dinner, we sat around their fire pit and roasted marshmallows and popped corn.

You can see more of today’s photos here. Remember, the username and password are “Friends” and “Photos”.

Easter in Blue Ridge: Day 1

We are off to spend Easter in Blue Ridge, Georgia and visit my sister, Hope, and her family for Easter dinner.

Katie Beth was excited that we had the car completely packed for the trip when we picked her up from school.  We made quick progress to Chattanooga, but traffic on the interstate through downtown was at a standstill.  We decided to stop in Chattanooga for dinner.

Karen saw that Moccasin Bend Brewing Company would be open so we headed to Crust Pizza to pick up some dinner to take to the brewery.  We ate and got 4 samples to try while Katie Beth played shuffle board for the first time.  The brewery has a very cool look inside and the back patio is great for playing games.

After finishing our samples and pizza, the traffic was gone.  We made our way onto Blue Ridge.  Our cabin is on Fightingtown Creek, which we truly enjoyed fishing and just hearing the water cascading over the rocks.  Being late, we couldn’t fully appreciate the view or creek.

16 Legs of Lamb Roasting

Seder lamb in OvenThe legs of lamb are in the oven. My annual Seder meal cooking has started. St. Joseph Catholic Community has been celebrating the Seder meal since the early 70’s as a way remember where we came from and where we are going.

It has been a tradition for me to cook lamb for well over fifteen years, maybe twenty.  In the early years, my father helped cook the lamb and my mother put on the Seder meal for our parish. Prior to that, Lee Keon taught my father and I how to cook the lamb and drink vodka martinis at the old Knight of Colobus lodge while doing the cooking.  For the past couple of years, I have been teaching Katie Beth how to season the lamb so maybe some day she take over this tradition. 

The smell has filled the church kitchen with the lovely aromas of spices and lamb. 

It is nice to be a part of something so special. 

Adult Time with Lovely Wife

Karen Allen, WifeKaren and I had a wonderfully evening helping Joan and Jim Trolinger celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. It was fun seeing friends and making new ones, but it was my time with my wonderful wife that made it special. 

Christmas Morning and Snake!

Our Christmas could be summed up with one word and that word is “Snake!”  Katie Beth has been wanting a snake with every request given to Santa Claus in person or via letter.

This morning when Katie Beth came down stairs and assessed the Christmas tree and the spread of gifts, she didn’t see anything that jumped out at her. She proceeded to a gift that had been under the tree for many days. She asked if she could open it and with quick concurrence she was off to opening.

Meanwhile, Karen is videoing and I’m snapping photos. In the background, animal sounds are heard and Katie Beth moves onto the next present while asking can she continue. “Go ahead”, we concur.

The animal sounds continue, but louder without Katie Beth noticing anything. At this point, Karen is unable to hold the video camera steady due to giggling so much.
Katie Beth asks to proceed to the third gift all the while the animal noises are getting very loud. Finally, the light bulb of curiosity goes off in Katie Beth’s head.

She focuses her attention on the large covered gift in the corner. With a little delay, she uncovers the gift to see a pet carrier.  Her face lights up with a glowing smile that doesn’t stop.

She starts to open the carrier to have a kitten pop his head out the top.  From this moment on, the kitten is the focus even while other activities are proceeding. Katie Beth is beside herself and can’t stop smiling.

The rest of the morning is a almost a blur.

Ah, the snake. Here is how that came about?

Karen: “Is this what you asked for?”
Katie Beth said, “Yes.”
Karen: “It is? So, this is what?”
Katie Beth: “What I asked for.”
Karen: “What did you ask for?”
Katie Beth: “I asked for a pet, basically.”
Karen: “What kind of pet did you ask for?”
Katie Beth: “A cat or a snake.”
Karen: “I only heard one pet from Santa. Santa said you only asked for one pet.”
Katie Beth: “A snake.”
Karen: “So, this is? What you asked for? Did you get what you asked for? So, is this snake?”
Katie Beth: “Are you blind?”
Karen: laughs, “So, is this Snake? Is this what we are going to call this cat?”
Katie Beth: “Yes.”
Karen: “We are going to call this cat ‘Snake'”.
Katie Beth: “Yeah.”
Karen: “Because, you got what you asked for.”
Katie Beth: “uh, ah.”

This went on for a bit, but you get the idea.  So, our tabby is called “Snake.”