Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Out of State

In 2011 we found ourselves on a few adventures outside the state of Ohio. The first one was to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
We spent a fast 6 hours in the Smokies, we drove straight down and back in one day, but still had a great time.
One weekend we decided to go to New York City. Yep, just decided. From faint idea to actually driving to NY was only about two weeks. The first day we walked almost all of Central Park we also spent time in Times Square.
 The real reason were there was the Harry Potter Exhibition of all the set props and costumes, we lost ourselves in Harry Potter.
 On the way home from New York we took a detour to Gettysburg. This was a really cool thing to see on the way home.
In 2011 we just couldn't stay away from the Smokies but this time we went with Andrew's parents and stayed in a beautiful cabin. On this trip we actually got to see Bears! On the way back we detoured in Kentucky and toured the Maker's Mark still. I got to try my first Bourbon.

Our last, but not least out of state adventures involved Minnesota. Where we got to visit family! While there we also revisisted our favorite local place, Whitewater State Park.

All in all, we had some cool adventures this year. We both got to see and experience things we had never done before. That's my kind of year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 in Ohio

In order to post about all the adventures we had in 2011, I have to split them up into several posts. In this post I decided to just focus on the things we did in Ohio, and there were plenty of things we did in Ohio this past year. 
Early in the year we celebrated our inner child and spent a day at Boonshoft and froze our bodies at the Columbus Zoo.
 We did some hiking in Hocking Hills

My mom came to visit and we self-toured the Ohio State Reformatory but sadly didn't see any ghosts.

Spent several days at Charleston Falls Preserve, where we stuck our feet in the water just to cool off.
Andrew surpised me with the best anniversary present ever and we spent two days at The Wilds 1 The Wilds 2. The pictures are many, it needed two posts. The memories will last forever, and Andrew will probably never top that anniversary present.
We went in search of aliens at Serpent Mound, but came up short.
Did some more hiking at  Clifton Gorge and John Bryan State Park. Near beautiful and quaint Yellow Springs, Oh.

Got our fill for museums at the Cincinnati Museum Center and even caught a real Omnimax movie!
Spent the whole day driving the Covered Bridges Scenic Byway, full of winding and steep roads.
And our latest and probaby last adventure of 2011, we spent an evening walking around          Woodland Lights

We had such a full year, there are even things I forgot and am way too tired to go back and add! I'm so lucky I have Andrew to spend the years with, we never fail to have an adventure.

When Andrew first found out that he was going to be stationed in Ohio, our reaction was pretty blah. Ohio? What's in Ohio? When we told other people, they had the same reaction. Ohio is the forgotten state. However, within weeks of moving here, we realized we could have fun here, and the past year is proof that Ohio should not be forgotten and I'm really pleased we've had the chance to discover the beautiful things Ohio has to offer. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Woodland Lights

Monday night Andrew and I decided to get our fill of Christmas lights. Just like we did last year at The Clifton Mill. This 1/2 mile lit trail is in Dayton, so it was a bit of a drive for us, but that's ok. We like living in the boonies. We orignially planned to go Saturday night, and it would have been $6 a piece. However, we saw their half-price Monday and Tuesday rates, and we just can't pass up a bargain. We started out the evening by watching the new Sherlock Holmes and heading over for a festive walk.
Instead of snow, it was actually drizzling. My hat is on to protect my hair : )

There was a room displaying the gingerbread house contest winners and honorable mentions. From those two, which should have one first place???? Andrew and I both think the cabin one should have snagged 1st, but it got second. We both think using graham crackers is kind of cheating. If you're going to use a non-gingery medium, pretzel sticks are far superior. What's your favorite?

It wasn't a bad loop, not quite as intense as Clifton, since it was spread over a 1/2 mile instead of on a few buildings, but it was fun. I'm glad we went Monday, it was nice and quiet.
It was a nice distraction for me, since on Tuesday I had all four of my wisdom teeth violently ripped from my mouth. Haha, maybe not so violent, I don't even remember falling asleep. Needless to say, I'm still in pain and I'm glad we got to see some Christmas lights before Christmas.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Some Gifts: Books, Gourd Owls and Hedgehog Wine Stoppers

Instead of piling on a whole bunch of pictures of things we got in Minnesota, I'll break it into little bits. These are some things from my mom and it's not even all here. She spoils us.

Our last afternoon in Minnesota, Mom, Andrew and me stopped in an antique mall we'd never seen before. We all wound up finding some books we wanted. Well, the minimum charge was $10, and both our hauls came just under $10, so we had to combine to make it over $20 by about ten cents. So, mom wound up buying us our books. The King Henry VIII is not from there, that's an old family book. And the crocheted towel is from Andrew's mom. I liked it under the books. The little owl is Andrew's ornament from mom, it's actually a little gourd that's been carved, so cute!
 Mom got me these bears a little while back.
 The cool Christmas bird house is from mom from last year. The clippy bird and plaid reindeer are from my brother and his wife. The reindeer is supposed to be an ornament, but it had an unfortunate accident : )

I got a lot of cool kitchen-y, entertaining type stuff. Like the Houdini wine opener and serving tray. Then there's my cute little hedgehog wine stopper. Isn't he adorable!
The penguins on the left are purely decorative, but I put them in front of a sparkly Christmas card from Andrew's aunt to make everything more festive.

I really can't wait to use my cheese tray, I'm going to be using that Christmas Eve. Can you believe that I haven't even shown you everything? I'll post pictures of Andrew and me opening presents soon, and that should about cover it from Mom's side. But then there's Andrew's parents too, who were super generous and got me something awesome. But, I don't want to give it all away too soon. Hint: I could lose a finger (or several) using this thing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winter Travel

Me and my momma

This last week was filled with fun, family and food. Lots of food. Andrew and I spent a wonderful week in Minnesota with family. There was a lot of running around, running errands, visiting, Christmas shopping and present opening. I was even able to help mom decorate the tree, which I missed out on last year. Last year, we spent our holiday in a hotel room.

We enjoyed an early Christmas with my mom and Andrew's parents. Now we are home, tired and done with winter travel. I'll be posting pictures of some cool stuff we got and of some pictures we took over the week. For now, we're both resting up and unpacking the mass of stuff we accumulated while we were gone.

Winter traveling, especially around the holidays can be pretty overwhelming. The weather can be downright scary depending on where you're going. We got really lucky with just a bit of rain through Indianapolis and dry highway the rest of the way. There was snow in Minnesota and bitter cold. It made us both miss Ohio.

Then there's the visiting, you want to see everyone, but time flies and there's never enough time. Plus, add the exhaustion of travel itself and add a dog and a cat (the pets came too). Thankfully, we got to see almost everyone. I had such a wonderful time with my mom, as usual. This visit she took the whole week off so we had a lot of time to talk about anything and everything and just sit and talk about nothing at all. I didn't feel rushed like our last visit home.

Hopefully, with the holiday season starting to wrap up for us, I'll be doing some more blogging. I know I've been taking a lot of pictures lately. : )

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Ketchup Post

This post won't be about Ketchup, it will be a catch up post. Get it? I can imagine the funny blog traffic now from the key word: ketchup. We've been a mix of busy and completely unbusy these past couple weeks.
On Veteran's Day we had a lovely opportunity to see the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. There were free tickets for military members and even though I was stuffy and gross from a cold, Andrew forced me to put on my heels and bear with it. I am so glad that I did.

The show was down at the Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton. We couldn't take pictures during the show, but I snuck a couple of the almost empty stage with a few people tuning up.

The week of Veteran's Day we also bought a new car. We traded in Andrew's Mustang for a more winter and future family sensible car(future, future, future family). It's a Subaru Outback and we are quite pleased with it. I can't wait to test it in the snow. It'll be nice to have two cars that function properly in the snow so I can volunteer through the winter and Andrew can get safely to work.

Not too much else has been going on. There's been lots of baking cookies and cleaning up the house, doing some laundry and even putting up Christmas decorations.
Tomorrow is our first Thanksgiving by ourselves. I've never had a Thanksgiving without my mom, we always have traveled back to visit. Thank goodness I've always helped make Thanksgiving dinner so I'm prepared to attack that turkey and I'll have all the cranberry sauce to myself since Andrew doesn't like it.

Hope everyone has a nice holiday no matter what you're doing.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dakota's Fall Shoot

'Tis the season for throwing your infants in pumpkins and leaf piles for the sake of a cute baby picture. Well, I'm fresh out of babies, so I figured I'd subject my furry, 68 pound baby to some similar activities. At least it provides more action shots.
 Like playing in the leaves.
Running after and losing the ball.

See what he has to put up with? 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Covered Bridges

After spending almost all day Saturday at the Cincinnati Museum Center we decided we would just be homebodies on Sunday. Yeah, that planned was ruined the moment we woke up Sunday and decided we wanted to do something. We've been looking through our National Geographic Scenic Byway book for a while. A few trips are located within a days drive of us and we decided to check out one that we thought would be the prettiest this time of year. Covered Bridge Scenic Byway, a "2 hour" drive that winds its way through Wayne National Forest. "2 hour" doesn't really apply, unless the only thing you do is drive to each bridge, take an obligatory picture and move on to the next one. We don't roll like that, so we were there for close to 4 hours. : )

The first bridge on the tour is Hills Bridge, you can't drive across it, but you can walk across it. All the bridges have a place to pull over and wander around to take pictures and plaques to read about the history and style of bridge. 

 The Hune Bridge is next, the only bridge you get to drive across! Super fun, but it is one lane-be cautious.
Across the bridge is the Hune Campground, very cute. It's now on the list of places to camp. Getting across the river, though, was very hard. Be prepared for a water crossing. We felt pretty bad-ass going across his water crossing in our tiny Aveo ; )

Well, we felt pretty bad-ass until we continued on up this gravel road that got steeper and steeper until the only way to survive was to get up the hill. We were bouncing and grinding and the car was whining and skidding. When we got up it, we were both laughing, mostly to keep from crying...

 These pictures don't do the hill justice, I shot them from the car on the way back down. 1. We twisted this way, 2. Then twisted that way, 3. Then, whoops, where does the road go..., 4. Oh, God...the road drops... The point after picture 4 is where I could only hold on to the "Oh shit" bar and pray our car loves us. But, my was that fun!!!

Then onto Rinard Bridge, where we were still laughing about the things we do to my car. We mused about putting a lift-kit and BF Goodies on my car so it would be better prepared next time. Past the Rinard is another campground that's more secluded and on our list to camp too! There was a 4 wheel drive road by it that was closed. We parked the car and explored a bit. Andrew skipped rocks, while I watched my rocks hit the surface and sadly, ploop down to the bottom. 

 For some reason, I think this bridge didn't have a name...I'm going with Kissing Bridge which is the stlye of bridge it is. It was the longest and in the worst shape.

The last stop was this Ring Mill, there used to be a bridge, but something happend to it : ). The house the Ring family stayed in was cool.

After the mill we got back in the car for our lengthy drive home. It was such a nice and adventurous drive! The roads are nice and windy, which Andrew loves. The trees were beautiful and it wound up being a great day to visit. Wasn't cold and no where near hot, perfect weather.