Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Got Eggnog?

To kick off the holiday season, Brad decided to make some eggnog from scratch over Thanksgiving.

Throughout the course of the extended weekend, he made multiple batches. He made some with Bourbon Whiskey and some with Rum and even more with add-your-own-desired-amount-of-alcohol-to-your-personal-glass (aka, virgin eggnog for me). He made some with more cinnamon and some with more nutmeg. Some with more foam and some with more milk.

Pretty much, he was obsessed with whipping up eggnog. (Which really is made with eggs {both the whites and yolks, but separately}, so the name makes even more sense, now! But, I'm not sure where the nog comes in... maybe that's slang for booze?) However, his new experiment was fine with the family(s). We all got to drink a steady flow of the traditional holiday beverage all weekend long.

I couldn't resist getting a Got Milk? ad from Brad and TJ (my older brother) with that thick froth on their lip. Needless to say, I immediately regretted it. Mustaches are so nasty. Ew.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Day

You might not believe it, but I seriously couldn't make something like this up. Thankfully, I have the pictures to prove it.

While my family was gathered around the table eating Thanksgiving dinner, three turkeys gobbled right through our back yard!

Literally, we were all chompin on some delicious turkey, when Jeremy said "Umm..." and pointed a shocked finger out the back window. I couldn't believe the irony! As far as I know, (live) turkeys have never hung out at our house. They had to choose Thanksgiving day (well, the Saturday after for the Mehaffey family) to make their visit.

The group of them dashed pretty quickly back into the field behind our yard. The fam all joked about how they must have been upset that we were munchin on their brother so they made a run for it, "Every Turkey For Himself!" style.

Where's Tom, been? Haven't seen him all day. Maybe he's in here... Oh, good, he is! But, waitaminute! What is this?! What in the world have they done to him? They're beasts! Run for your lives! RRRUUUNNNN!!! *sniffle* Poor Tom...

Honestly, some memories cannot possibly be anticipated. Thanksgiving 2010 will always be remembered as the year that we had four turkeys, and only one of them was cooked.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I pray that your Thanksgiving is filled with many blessings and much happiness. While you're enjoying the delicious food and the great company of family and loved ones, try not to overlook the true intention of this holiday.

{To read the original Thanksgiving Proclamation, click picture to enlarge.}
Please remember to genuinely credit the Lord Most High for your blessings and sincerely give Him thanks for all good things.

(How cool is it that we live in a country that proclaims a specific day for the entire nation to recognize and honor our Father, focusing on thanksgiving and prayer? I love Mr. Washington.)

Enjoy your holiday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lesson learned

Did you know that candles melt? Of course you did. Everybody knows that. In theory. But did you know realize that they melt simply when they get hot, not necessarily when the wick is burned? Never thought about it, did ya? Yeah, me neither.

Last year, I had Christmasy-smelling candles on my wish list, and I was pleased (or so I am told) that I received two as gifts!

After Christmas, we packed up all of our decorations for the year, including the scrumptious candles to be burned the following holiday season. In the meantime, we bought a house and moved. Naturally, our seasonal decor was promptly placed and stored in our new attic. We're just that responsible.

Turns out it gets pretty hot in the attic. And, as we've already discussed, even in the absence of a flame, mere heat will melt a candle to liquid wax. Upon retrieving our Christmas supplies from the inferno beneath our roof, at first the overwhelming Christmas Tree smell quickened my excitement and spurred me on to dive even more wholeheartedly into the Christmas season! (If that's even possible.) However, after further digging unpacking, I was absolutely devastated to find that my beloved and much anticipated scented candles had been ruined before they ever had an opportunity to grace a warm room with Christmas ambiance!

Items that were stored alongside the candles were also destroyed. I performed a small eulogy as I ceremoniously dumped now wonderfully smelling garland and ribbon and decorative sparkly berries that were all saturated with green gooey gunk into the undeserving trash, along with other candles (that were not so much candles, per se, but more like pretty decorative figurines made of wax) that became grotesquely distorted in the heat.

Thankfully, one of the candles had a pretty tightly sealed lid and was able to maintain most of the wax within the closed jar. I'm so pleased to inform you that it fits perfectly on a candle warmer, and the wax has since melted nicely back toward the bottom. As we speak, there is only the faintest of an "iceberg" from the lid fillings that remains above the smooth surface, and the sweet aroma of a Christmas tree fills the air throughout our house. Ahhhh....

Brad and I have discussed scraping out the wax from the other candle (and what we can salvage from the rubber container in which it was stored) and using it to create our own Christmas candle. He seems to think that a wick is easily created using a simple piece of string. We'll see.

Regardless, I believe I can genuinely say that we have learned a valuable lesson when it comes to storing Christmas decorations: Don't keep wax anything in the attic! It will get hot up there, and the wax will melt! And you will be very, very sad. Lesson Learned.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter 7 Movie Release

You better believe Brad and I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, yesterday! But, I bet you didn't know that we saw it twice! Oh yes! We are that amount of Potter Freak!

We had (obviously) purchased our 12:01 release tickets weeks ago. But, through some pretty sweet connections, we were able to get our hands on a free pair of tickets to a pre-release premiere that showed at 7:30, a whole four and a half hours before the rest of the country! (Well, not considering time zones, those lucky coastals!) Brad and I absolutely could not miss out on that chance! It was some promotional thing for a new "Big D Experience" theater (which really was pretty awesome), but we didn't really care about that at all. We just wanted to watch the movie!

We got there before 5:00 to make sure we got legit seats. We were numbers 14 and 15 in line, and it's a good thing, too, because the place filled up super quickly. After hours in line, we got two great (Big D, leather rocking) seats in the back row, and thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of the final installment to the HP franchise.

But just because we had already seen the movie, didn't mean that we were going to skip out on the Midnight Mania! As soon as the movie finished, we sprinted out of there and hightailed across the city to the theater near our house where we had our 12:01 tickets reserved. We were worried that we'd get terrible seats (or not even get seats together) since we hadn't been waiting in the line for hours, but to our pleasant surprise, they were already allowing people to go into the theater instead of waiting in a line outside. We marched our way to the top row, politely asked three teenage boys to scoot down a chair to make two available together, and we plopped ourselves down in the very best, very middle seats feeling smug that we already knew what was going to happen. And not just "we've read the book, so we know what's going to happen" kind of smugness, but the "we've totally already seen this movie before you were even allowed to, so we know what's going to happen" kind. We tried not to let it go to our heads.

Honestly, I believe that this 7th film is the very best Potter movie, yet. It was seriously so good. So intense. So action packed. So suspenseful. So well acted. So accurate to the book. Simply put: so great. It was everything a Potterhead could want in a film adaptation. I'm super glad that they split this book into two movies. I think the extra screen time really allowed for them to stay true to the story and keep (most) everything from the plot in tact. I'm so, completely satisfied.

However, I'm not going to lie, since Brad's read the 7th book more recently than I have, there was more than one occasion when I leaned over to him and whispered, "Is that how it happened in the book?" or "I don't understand. What happens with that?" If I weren't so proud of Brad's Potter knowledge and devotion, I'd be ashamed of myself. Oh, I forgot to mention, Brad dressed up for the occasion! He totally wore his Gryffindor tie and Quidditch robe (that is very much too small, as it is a child's costume, but we were given by a friend)! I was so surprised, and sooooo happy! He's a Potter Freak just like me, and he's proud of it!!

There really is just something special and unique about watching a movie at Midnight (or earlier). You're amongst all of the other freaks out there who love the story just as much as you do and aren't ashamed to admit it. It's such a neat experience to live through all of the events and emotions as one with a huge room full of people (and across the country) who are just as wrapped up into the characters as you are.

That feeling of oneness combined with the chance to finally enjoy Harry Potter alongside a husband who finally enjoys it himself is priceless. Last night provided some memories I'll cherish for long to come. I'm so glad we had the opportunity to be part of the Harry Potter frenzy.

Now, I'm really looking forward to July 2011 when we get to watch the exciting conclusion to Harry Potter's journey! I'm most definitely already counting down.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

HP7 Tonight!

I'm counting down the hours for THIS: 


 And my very favorite character, especially for this film: DOBBY!

Oh! I'm so stinking excited! I feel like today is a holiday! I don't understand why the entire world isn't full of hustle and bustle right now! I'm so anxious and nervous and simultanesously so ready for this, and not so ready for this! I'm trying to prepare myself for the intensity and the action and the suspense and the overwhelming sadness. Not sure it's possible. But regardless, BRING.IT.ON.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Air Jordan

When you're born a Jordan

you're born with mad skillz.

Even if you are a girl.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Most Wanted

The wait is almost over!

Brad and I are both so stinking pumped for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie release this week, as he has officially finished reading the whole series! Oh yes, he is most definitely an HP fan, now! Holla!! I literally could not be happier! :D

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Cards

Today officially marks the middle of November. Which means it's high time to start thinking about everything Christmas Christmas cards! Wooty woot!

Christmas morning '08
Since Brad and I became grownups (hang on, when did that happen??), we've thought it pretty important to send out some cards on behalf of our little family around the holidays. Now, they haven't always been that legit. One year, we did send out adorable pictures of Santa holding Chester, but that was pretty much the most legit we've ever gotten. (Sadly, these were before I started blogging, so I have no record of them at all. *sniff*)

The next Christmas, I found a huge stash of (pretty lame) generic cards amongst a box of Christmas decorations that my mom had passed on to me. Since we were broke, and they were free, we claimed them as our own and gladly sent them on their merry way.

Puppy love under the mistletoe, Christmas '08
Another year, against my better judgment, I was forced to send out a variety of rather inappropriate cards that Brad had previously purchased on clearance during an after Christmas sale the year before. (They said things like "Wide Load" on the back of Santa's sleigh, or something about about Santa smelling like "booze and cigars." I think one had a sister opening a "wrapped fart" from her brother. Really. Can't believe I let Brad win that discussion...)

Last year, I was in a daze throughout the whole Christmas season thanks to a little car accident, so we didn't send any out at all. At least, I don't think we did... I really have no recollection of the last half of the month of December.

Christmas morning '09 (Can you tell I'm out of it?)
ANYway... This year, I'm determined to send out real, legit, respectable Christmas cards! I'm doing it, bygolly! I'm pretty positive that I'm going to order them from Shutterfly, because they have a great deal going on right now, and I've seen some of the ones my friends have ordered from them in the past, and I love them.

I haven't quite decided which one I like best, yet. There really are so many to choose from, and this is no decision to take lightly! (Although I am already leaning towards a couple in particular.) All of my favorites seem to be in the flat stationary category. Regardless, I'm absolutely positive it'll be a photo card, so we can feature a little Mehaffey Family Portrait (including Chester, of course) for all of our F&F (friends & family) to display on their card wall or mantle or whatever they do with all the cards they receive each year. Maybe even one in front of our house announcing our new home and address?

Yeah, okay. I honestly have no idea which card I'll eventually choose, or even which picture for that matter. We may just have to conduct a special Christmas card photo shoot for the occasion. Hmm.. Waitaminute. Between convincing Brad to pose for a family shot, and getting him to agree with me on a single card, I'm beginning to remember why we've never sent out a legit Christmas card in the first place. Maybe I spoke too soon...

PS. If you're not a scary creeper, feel free to email me your mailing address! {mrs_mehaffey@yahoo.com} I'd love to spread the love and send you a Christmas card this year!

PPS. Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly, follow the arrow à  http://bit.ly/sfly2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Go West, Young Man

I've never had a guest blogger on Beyond Blessed, before. But I didn't feel that I could personally give this particular story justice. So today's post is brought to you by a very special man in my life. Without further adieu, here is my husband, Bradley's recounting of his recent trip out West with some of his buddies. I hope you enjoy his story (and pictures) as much as I have enjoyed witnessing his talent of writing.

"No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath... We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?" -Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

There came a time in my life when I realized that, while good, it has been normal. Very few times have I ventured down a road with an unknown ending. Very few times have I rafted down a stream that leads to adventure. I remember standing at the edge of a cliff in Canada at fourteen. I had just watched three of my friends jump into the cool, dark water below, and I couldn't muster the courage to push my foot over the edge and join them. I didn't know where I would land. Well no more. I will live my life for adventure. I will look for the unknown and greet it head on. I want to live!

My best friend from high school called me one day, months ago to tell me that he was taking a trip. A trip that would undoubtedly create life long memories and adventure. Would I go, he wanted to know? I mulled it over with anxious excitement and trepidation, but finally committed. So a few weeks ago, Alex and I left Nashville at 6:30 on a Saturday morning and drove up the interstate to Louisville to pick up the rest of our traveling party and headed west. We headed west to the land of buffaloes, antelopes, and mule deer. We headed west to a land covered in legends and lore of bloody battles between imperialistic Americans, and fearless Indians. We headed west to the Badlands of South Dakota, the Black Hills, and a mountain peak in the Snowy Range called Medicine Bow. We headed west to adventure.

I couldn't have asked for a greater group of guys. We spent the week being "guys". We climbed. We hiked. We played with fire. We camped. We drove, seemingly endlessly, through the night to reach the vast lands that could barely be comprehended by my mind before actually seeing them. I am grateful that they let me into to their group, as they spent four years of college together. I connected with each of them in a different way, but love them all and hope to make memories with them again soon.

We spent two days in the Badlands camping and hiking, and trying to take in all of the breathtaking views. I cannot believe that a place like it exists anywhere on Earth, let alone in this country. There were so many peaks to climb and valleys to look into that a person could not possibly see it all in just a few short days. Wildlife was abundant. Prairie dogs especially impress me. Their communities of mounds and tunnels are so complex, and they even have intruder alert systems to notify each other when someone is near. Buffalo are also impressive creatures. The sheer size and stature of one is enough to leave you in awe of these animals. We actually couldn't get to our campsite one evening, because a herd of about 30 buffalo had decided that the road was an agreeable place to lounge around and lope.

After taking in our fill of the beautiful formations and mounds left behind by nature's effects on a once vast plateau, we piled back in the Tahoe to head north to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore. (I feel like now would be a good time to give a shout out to the "Blue Beast", which is the nickname I have bestowed upon my Tahoe. A mere seven months ago, that truck had countless fluid leaks and was barely running, and today it has successfully returned from a 3,500 mile trek across the country. It is a champ, and for a brief moment in time it was fulfilling the destiny that every truck aspires to, adventure.) Back to the story, so two hours north of our desert playground we found an entirely different country that impressed my eyes even more. The Black Hills were once filled by tribes of Lakota Indians, and then and today are considered the central place of their worship and spiritual life. Much like Jerusalem for the Jewish people, the Black Hills were the holy land that Lakota would go to convene with their gods and seek answers to their questions regarding existence and decisions. Today, having lost the land by force and murder, it has become a tourist attraction and centerpiece of American patriotism with one of the many granite mountains being brandished with the faces of four of our country's early fathers.

Now let me also take a side step here to mention, that before I ventured to Mount Rushmore I was given countless warnings about the "let down" I would experience upon seeing this national monument. I was told that it would be a feeling of "driving to the middle of nowhere to see something amazing just to find a piece of rock that is less impressive then you expect it to be." Well my experience was nothing like this. On the contrary, I was quite impressed by the sheer size of the monument and the coordination and skill it must have taken to accomplish such a feat; IN 1930!

That night we spent the night in a hotel in Keystone, South Dakota. We found a local restaurant, one of the few left open since most towns out there close for the season on Oct. 1, and ate dinner and drank whiskey in a replica "Old Western Style Restaurant and Saloon". I had the trout and it was delicious. The whiskey burned like..., well you know, but I had to have some because we were in and "Old Western Style Restaurant and Saloon".

The following day we had planned for a hike up Harney Peak. Harney Peak happens to be the tallest peak east of the Rockies and west of the Pyrenees mountains of Europe. So early that morning we headed out on our next journey. Little did we know what we were in for. The trail we had chosen was nine miles long and led to the top of the peak to a fire lookout tower that had once sheltered rangers as they protected the forest from fires. None of us ate a filling breakfast. The hotel offered a continental breakfast, but only two miles into the nine that we were undertaking, we were all deciding that the bagel and mini muffin breakfast was lacking in calories and necessary energy to keep us going. We tried our best to keep snacking along the trail, and after what felt like an eternity, we were finally to the base of the watch tower and ready to climb. I found that zero calories makes it very hard to lift your legs up 150+ steps and I literally was dragging myself to the top because I was determined that I was going to make it. Once there, the wind was whipping and we were starving so we found shelter in the confines of the watch tower and settled in for lunch. From the top of the tower we could actually see a small fire burning in the forest, so I guess you could say that the tower must have been in a good vantage point.

Upon eating lunch and reloading on calories, we descended from the peak to our campsite. At the end of the day we had climbed for 7 hours and ascended more that 2,000 feet in elevation to reach our final summit point of 7,400+ feet. When we reached our camp we talked to some rangers and told them which trail we had just taken. They were shocked because apparently that trail is a horse trail and nobody does it on foot because it is so treacherous. Oh well. No wonder it was so hard.

After spending 2 days in the Black Hills, we headed out on Thursday morning to our final destination just outside of Laramie, Wyoming; Medicine Bow Peak. Little did I know when we were leaving the hills, but the final two days of my trip would be the most incredible with the most amazing sights that I had seen yet, and one of the most physically demanding activities that I have ever attempted.

We reached our base camp in the late afternoon on Thursday. We had reserved an old guard shack at the base of the mountain to stay in for the night so that we could rise early on Friday to attempt our climb. Apparently in this area of the country you must be on and off a mountain face by noon otherwise you flirt with the chance of getting caught in a storm and losing your way, which can become dangerous, obviously. So we rolled up to our cabin and shooed out all the mice and set to making dinner, starting a fire in the stove, and getting to bed to rest up for the next day. Unfortunately, something that we ate along the way finally caught up to three of the five of us and lead to an interesting night in the outhouse. So, needless to say, sleep was a difficult animal to catch for a few of us that night.

On Friday morning, we woke early and left the cabin at 6:30. The sun was just rising and their was snow on the ground. As we headed out, the air was crisp and you could feel excitement in the air as we all speculated about what the world would look like at 12,000 feet. As we reached the base of the mountain and started to climb, I quickly realized that breathing at that altitude is much different than breathing anywhere else that we had been on our trip or I have ever been, for that matter. For a grueling 1,400 feet, I struggled to take every step with a pack on my back and a 40-60 mph wind blowing at us from the side. What I saw that day, however, was breathtaking. The sky at that altitude is a different color blue, and the mountain was covered in snow already. Every time I stopped and looked around me I found it hard to fathom that God created all of it for me, at that moment. It was incredible. Reaching the summit was one of the most satisfying moments of my life. I had truly given every ounce of strength and energy to that mountain, and I had made it. That was an accomplishment.

Coming off the mountain and getting back in the car was difficult. It was an end to an adventure that I will never forget. It was a surrendering to the knowledge that life isn't lived on mountain peaks, but that there are responsibilities and problems to deal with in real life. It was a realization that no matter where I go next, or where the next adventure ends up, that week, with those guys, and those sights can never be lived again. But it was also an opportunity to get back to my wife, whom I love dearly, and had missed while I was gone. So it was bittersweet.

Where does the next journey lead to, I don't know, but I look forward to living life as an adventure; looking to make memories and make it interesting.
          [Complete Photo Album]
Related Posts with Thumbnails