Monday, April 29, 2013

My baby sister is having a baby,   4 weeks to go and we are so exited! 
 Hosted the baby shower last weekend at a local Cincinnati restaurant, Bella Luna's.  The Italian  food was delicious and taken care of by the restaurant...all we had to do was decorate, entertain, and dessert.  

 Megan picked a sailboat theme for the (still) unnamed baby boy's nursery.  It was way to easy to use that same theme for the baby shower.  We had guests leave messages for the baby, play maternity mad libs, and guess the birth date.

 We couldn't do this all on our own, Debbie made the desserts...these cookies were a huge hit.  As a bonus I had a lesson in cookie decorating, let me say it is way too much fun.

Lots of useful and practical gifts, even a few surprises.  This little patchwork doggy was made by my grandmother, who is no longer with us.  Each of my siblings and my own kids have one.  
We all had a great time, a little glad all the work is over...but spending time with family is the best.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Break is almost over!!  With a full week off school and work we decided to take a few days and head out of town to the Smoky Mountains.  We avoided the touristy parts like Galtinburg and instead made our way to the western part of North Carolina for some gem mining.
There are many places that you can go that will give you a bucket of 'salted' dirt, meaning they add in gems from other parts of the world. We did a little research for places where you could sluice for native gems like sapphires, rubies and garnets.  We decided on the Cherokee Ruby Mine and the Sheffield Mine.
 We arrived early at Sheffield and got treated to an almost empty house with lots of attention from the owner and a staff member who taught us the proper process to clean our rocks and hunt for gems.

 The cleaner the rocks the easier it is to spot the glass like shine of the gems...though some are still hard to spot.  I'm sure we tossed some good stuff but we did find all of the gems we were looking for.  Maria found an 18 carat ruby, Bob found some very cool garnets growing on quartz, and I spotted a 10 carat pink sapphire.

The second day of our trip it rained all day, so rather than mine we did a little shopping and eating in Dillsboro NC.  We also made our way to Sylva...just because Bob found this really fantastic ice cream parlor on the internet.  Jack, the owner, makes you a fresh vanilla or cinnamon waffle cone when you order.  OMG the warm savory cone with the cold ice cream is to die for.   

Now we are back home, safe and sound, happy to be in our own beds.