Monday, September 26, 2011

Arkansas Weekend

Yes, I know I have been titling my posts after Bama's weekend opponent, but that is how we measure our time now. "Was that before the Florida game?" "No, I think we bought that before Arkansas but after North Texas." So see, if I didn't title my posts this way, my mental time line would be way off.
As for this weekend, again, fun to the nines!!! (I don't think that is a complete sentence but I am pretty sure the drift has been gotten.) Forrest and I went to the GCHS game on Friday night--something I like to do at least once a season. Our city combined its three high schools about 5 or 6 years ago and now our alma mater doesn't exist any more; therefore, the Titans are our team (as any home team should be!). I try to get to a game at least once a season to see my cousin dance with the dance line and my aunt suggested I come this weekend because they were playing a big rival---Hoover. Yep, that team from 2 a Days on MTV. I was able to talk Forrest into coming with me and we really did have a great time!! The band did a Beatles show and it was really cute. The team also looked pretty good until the end and sadly they ended up losing. BOO!!! We were also happy that our friends Paige and Susan came to hang out at the game with us. They are in dental school with Forrest but they have been my friends FOREVER and I have been missing them so much! After the game we went to them to get frozen yogurt (even though I made a strong push for hot chocolate--it was chilly outside). Mmm mmm mmm!!! The inventor of the self serve frozen yogurt chain deserves his millions. I absolutely love those kinds of places and Friday did not disappoint! Praline and white chocolate yogurt mixed with toppings? I think YES!!!

I am not looking my best in this pic but Sara looks amazing!
On Saturday we picked up Justin and headed down to Ttown for the game. I was a little nervous because this was our first SEC game and Arkansas was supposed to be tough. Well, obviously not TOO TOUGH for the TIDE!!! We slaughtered them and it was awesome! We just looked so dominant! I didn't even care that we were in the sun roasting the entire time because the game was so intense! The fans were so loud and into which always makes it more fun! Plus, who doesn't love an excuse to scream and yell and not be thought crazy???
After the game we hung around with our game day pals reliving the win and celebrating our victory before heading back home. We listened to sports talk radio most of the way home and enjoyed hearing all of the callers sing praises about our team. Can you tell we were a little excited?? We started to get hungry and Forrest saw a sign for pizza and commented on how we haven't had a delivery pizza in ages and wouldn't that be good. Well, enter the smart phone and hungry girl in the back seat. I called a Papa John's about 15 miles ahead of us, ordered a large meat lovers pizza, and we picked it up 15 minutes later, right as it came out of the oven. Talk about fast food! We ate it all the way home---what a good idea!!

Randi and I about to head out to the game.

On Sunday Forrest did yard work and took a long bike ride with Davis, something he has been missing since he had to start studying for the boards. I took my mom to see Les Miserables for her birthday! We saw it over 9 years ago in New York after I graduated high school and I fell in love. I remember after the show I felt like there was no way that I could leave the theater--I didn't want the magic to be broken. I mean really--who would have thought you could take a French classic about the Revolution, add music, kill nearly everyone, and still make people like it? Add music to anything and my mom and I will watch it and cry and love it. I remember her making me watch musicals when I was little so I could appreciate them when I was older, and I definitely do appreciate them now. It was only appropriate for me to surprise her with tickets to the show when I found out it was going to be in Birmingham the weekend before her birthday. We had a WONDERFUL time and I have been singing the songs in my head all day long. After we got home we had a delicious tenderloin that Dad made for us and called it a night. So much emotion in one weekend makes us very very tired!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

North Texas

What a fun weekend we had! It seemed like it zoomed by! Friday night we went with our Young Marrieds group at church to the Wills Creek Winery. 5 couples came and we could not have had a better time! If you have not been out to the winery and you are in the Gadsden area (or anywhere close--it is worth it) you should definitely make time to do so. Our group got to sit outside for our tasting which was lovely because the weather was perfect, as was the view! We ordered a cheese, cracker, and meat tray and then began our tasting. The owner was so sweet to do the tasting for us himself and gave us facts on the different wines and how they were made. We tasted at least 15 different kinds! We all ended up buying at least one bottle before leaving. Forrest and I bought the "ROAR", which is a cranberry merlot (I think). ROAR is one of the wines that they sell to benefit the Tigers for Tomorrow program which is just a few miles up the road. I liked that aspect about it AND because it tasted "Christmasy" to me!

Our group with winery owner, Jahn Coppey
After our tasting we went to Garcias, a Mexican restaurant in Sardis (where I am the judge). We had SO much fun laughing, talking about football, and just having a great time! We pretty much had to make ourselves leave because the restaurant was closing around us. We had ridden with our new friends the LeBlancs so after dinner we hung out at their new house for a little while before heading home. We had packing for Tuscaloosa to do!!!

On Saturday we got up way too early and headed down to Tuscaloosa with my parents. Can you tell that someone is excited to be headed to their first game of the year???

In the morning she refused to get out of bed and we had to drag her to go outside. Then when she realized that we were going somewhere she refused to go back in the house, lest she get left behind. She stood right next to our bags so we would remember her. Silly girl!
We had the greatest time in Ttown, as we always do. We ate our traditional pregame Taco Casa, watched the other games during the day, and spent time with our "football friends". We went to the Stadium Club for dinner---yummy Mexican lasagna, among LOTS of other things. (I have got to find a recipe for that---it was SO good!). Then, it was up to our seats for our first home game of the season. ROLL TIDE!! What a great win over North Texas!!
Since the game was so late, we stayed the night at my sister's house and went to church in Ttown the next day. Coach Saban and his wife and Coach Cochran (the strength and conditioning coach--the one that is always jumping up and down and screaming) were there. To me, not only is it pretty cool to see them at church, I think it sets a great example for the players and fans that the coaches make it a point to go to church each Sunday, even though they are probably exhausted and have lots to do to prepare for the upcoming game. After church we went to FIG for their Sunday lunch buffet. I hadn't been since the Sunday before I took the bar exam but it was as delicious as I remembered. I just didn't remember how expensive it was. Oops!!
Once we got home, Forrest and I decided we needed to get some exercise so we took a jog around the neighborhood and then a good nap! We finished up the night at my parents' house for dinner.
We have a fun week ahead so stay tuned!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Mr. Bailey!

I have a confession to make: I cook to make people happy. Is that so wrong? I mean, it didn't start out that way. I started cooking because I got married and that is what wives do, right? Plus I had gotten all of this really cool cookware and kitchen stuff AND 3 aprons for my wedding and I would hate to let all of those gift givers down by not using it or taking it all back and buying shoes. Anyway, I found out that I actually LOVE cooking!! I don't do it every day and I don't want to every day, but I really really like it. First, it is a form of stress relief at the end of my day. Mix this and this and bake at 350 for 30 mins and you know exactly what you are getting. My days at works are NOT like that at all so putting together a simple recipe and getting the desired and expected results puts this TYPE A personality back in the driver's seat. Plus, I found out that people get really happy and really like you when you cook!! You make them a cake for their birthday and oh how special they make you feel. Not because they say thanks, but because they eat every bite and kind fight people away from their plate. And that, my friends, makes me smile! They like my cake, they like me!! Simple as that! So, when I found this recipe on Pinterest, I know I had to try it, and luckily, the best opportunity was right around the corner--Mr. Bailey's birthday! Mr. B LOVES sweets and I knew this dessert would be a hit.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n' Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar
aka-the Cake that nearly put the Bailey's in a sugar coma---but we aren't complaining


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 oz) milk chocolate chips (I like semi sweet better)
1 package Double Stuffed Oreos-YOU WILL NEED THE WHOLE BAG, so don't eat as you bake
1 family size (9x13) Brownie mix and ingredients to make
1/4 cup hot fudge (I used chocolate syrup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and both sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well to thoroughly combine.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, then slowly incorporate into the mixer until the flour is just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the cookie dough in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish that has been greased and if you want, lined with wax paper.

Top with a layer of whole Oreos.

Mix together the brownie mix, adding an optional 1/4 cup of hot fudge topping to the mix. Pour the brownie batter over the cookie dough and Oreos.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes. (I chose 45 min so it would be a little gooey--I think I made the right choice!)

Mine fell in the middle, but only because I took it out a little early and I may or may not have added a little extra chocolate syrup than required. Does anyone have a problem with that? I didn't think so.

Um, yes please!!

Of course I would like a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Penn State Weekend

O....M.....G! WHAT A WEEKEND we just had. I am exhausted even just thinking about it! (I am saying that with a happy smile on my face and in a slightly higher octave than my normal voice). I need to warn you that this is probably going to be a super long post with lots of pics. Get ready for the long haul, because there are lots of neat things to be told!!
First of all, Forrest finished his boards last week! HOORAY!!! That hooray is of course for him but also for me too! When Forrest has to study I am on my own a lot--not actually alone, but I mean, I don't sit there and stare at him while he studies. I read like 3 books, watched movies, cleaned things I don't usually cleaned, and made lots of phone calls while he was busy. When he got un-busy on Wednesday, it was almost weird to get back to our normal week day routine. We ate dinner, walked, watched tv--all together, just like we usually do. It was nice to have him minus the stress! Hooray indeed!!!
Because he had been so busy studying, I was so glad that we had a fun weekend planned after his test---a trip to Pennsylvania with our gameday pals Justin and Farrah to see Bama play Penn State (yes, we have been to PA twice this year--it is a great state!). We went back and forth about going to the game for a long time but eventually it all just fell into place and we jumped at the opportunity. I mean, what a tradition-filled game!! We left late on Friday and flew into Pittsburgh. I had made sure that we all wore "Bama" gear on the plane so we could "represent". While waiting in the airport I spotted Mark Schlabaugh, a sportswriter and a regular on Talkin Football. Forrest says I can always pick out the "celebrities"--and I guess he is right. I was too chicken to talk to him but he was on our flight so I guess he was covering the game. I thought that was going to be the big highlight of the weekend, but boy, was I wrong!!!
Once we got to the airport we picked up our car--a CRIMSON Camry! We totally lucked out! Like any good fan, I had packed our gameday car magnet and flag so we were totally set!

We were staying outside of Pittsburgh but we did get to drive through it, and it looked pretty cool, especially Heinz stadium and the Pirates Stadium (I don't remember the name of that one--but there was a baseball game going on--does that earn me some points back?) After checking into our hotel we ate at our favorite game weekend chain restaurant, Outback. (We have now eaten at an Outback together in 6 states. I'm pretty sure we deserve some coupons or a discount by now.) We were seated next to another table of Bama fans and we did a couple of "Roll Tides" to make sure everyone in the restaurant knew we were there. It was so much fun!

After a delicious Chick-fil-a breakfast on Saturday, we drove the hour and a half to State College for the game. It was foggy and dreary the whole way there and I was not expecting great weather for the game. MUCH to our surprise, it was sunshiny and HOT! I'm not complaining, though!! State College is definitely different than Tuscaloosa. Everyone parks in fields (yes, fields, like grass and mud) around the stadium. Has anyone seen and space whatsoever around Bryant Denny Stadium? Nope. Didn't think so. That land would go for MILLIONS in Ttown!! It was just so different to see cars parked right up at the stadium steps, as well as horses and barns right next to it! I'm not saying it was bad or unimpressive or anything, it was just different. That is one reason I love taking these trips---to see how other people do their football!

This is right outside of the stadium!
It was also impressive that their fans were so nice. I mean ridiculously nice. They passed us and would shout "Roll Tide! Welcome to PA!". I mean, like everyone we passed (we had 1 girl say something ugly, but compared to every other SEC school we have been too, that was nothing). We never felt apprehensive or on the defensive--just welcomed! Way to go for that, Penn State!

It really was the happiest valley ever. They were even singing while they were losing!
We made our way to the RV lot to hang with some of Forrest's fraternity brothers who had rented an RV and driven up from ATL, picking up friends on the way. How much fun!!

The boys hung out ON TOP of the RV. Needless to say, I kept my feet on the ground.
Next, it was on to the game!!! We really thought Beaver Stadium was cool and had a great time watching the Tide Roll to victory!! RTR!!

Me and Farrah with Joe Pa!

They did a "white out" but there was an S in the student section. COOL!

We met Chris Rogers, former Bama player!

After the game, we went to see my friend Amy who I haven't seen since my wedding! I was SO happy to see her but sad we only had a little time before we headed back home. She and her friend Diana who had attended Penn State urged us to go to the Creamery, and ice cream shop on campus where apparently Ben and Jerry had taken an ice cream making class (why couldn't I have taken that class?). When we got there the line was 45 minutes long, so we bought dixie cups (pre-packaged) of Peachy Paterno and Chocolate and figured that counted!!

Me and Amy at Diana's tailgate

Enjoying his "peachy Paterno"
On Sunday Forrest and I went to Mass. It was the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th and we knew it would be an emotional day. The message at Mass was all about forgiveness and it was dead on. Forgiveness will set you free. I was kind of nervous because we were flying home that day and I kept thinking about how 10 years ago people just like me boarded planes but never made it home. The message really made me feel better--knowing that all I could control at this point is my forgiveness and my attitude and that everything else is in God's hands helped me keep my focus on others that day instead of myself and my fears. My heart goes out to all the families who lost someone that day and I hope they know our prayers are with them.

After church Forrest and I took a little detour on our way back to the hotel to the Abby Lee Miller Dance Studio. Does anyone have any idea what that is? Well I am totally giving away my love for horrible television, but that is the dance studio where Dance Moms, a reality tv show on Lifetime, is filmed. I was watching it Wednesday night and Forrest was in the room with me. I told him that the show was filmed in Pittsburgh, where we were going, but I figured that it was a big place and nowhere near our hotel. Well, he looked up the address and I googled mapped it--it was 12 minutes from our hotel. Well then I HAD to go see it so he indulged me. He was taking pics of me posing in front of the building when he said "Hey, someone is inside." I was MUCHO embarrassed when I turned around but the receptionist waved me inside. I was experiencing reality tv nirvana. I got to go in the dance studio and even the mezzanine where the moms sit and watch and complain!! I know this sounds absolutely ridiculous but OMG it was so exciting!! The girl even gave me a pic of the cast autographed by Maddie, one of the dancers. Score! :) As we left I was thinking that my little experience in the dance studio was going to be my story of the weekend. Again, I was totally wrong.

In the dance studio!
All 4 of us headed back to the airport and when we were dropping off the car, the rental guy said that the President (yes, of the United States) had flown in earlier in the day. Neat! Well, after we got through security Forrest said he wanted to ask someone where Air Force One was because he wanted to see it. I told him in no uncertain terms that that probably wasn't a very good idea, especially on September 11th. Well, imagine our surprise when we could see it from the window at our gate! Cool! There were also patrol cars, tons of uniformed people on the runways, a helicopter flying over head, and at least 2 (that I could see) sharpshooters on the roof of the airport. I instantly felt safe. Well THEN another helicopter appeared and it was Marine One, carrying the President in from Shanksville, PA, where one of the Sept. 11th planes crashed. Then he got out, climbed the stairs to AF1, and waved to the "crowd", which was a bunch of guys in dark suits and everyone in the airport pressed up against the windows. Now, he was really far away and looked like a little ant out there, but still, we got to see the President AND AF1 and Marine 1. At that point I knew that THAT would be the story of the weekend. Like him or not, he is still the President, and that is pretty cool!!!

Marine 1 and Air Force 1

It is SO big!!!
After a safe flight (which included lots of ROLL TIDES) and drive home, we picked up the dogs and had dinner at Mom and Dads. It was a perfect end to a crazy weekend!!!  I'm not really sure if I can top that, ever!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

Lately it has paid to be a dog (or cat) in the Bailey household!! Please take a look at the spoiled rotten little critters we have created.

There are no words for this--at all. She just loves to watch the water go round

I caught Sonny and Sullivan playing tug of war, after they ripped up the weed mat from the flower bed.

The curtains have tails

5 more minutes???

Sonny sleeping on the floor even though he has a mat, bed, and blanket.

I found Brownie on top of the old mattress. Wonder how she got up there? I fear it involves claws.
My favorite pic of Brownie---ever

Stella sleeping on Labor Day

How many sleeping critters can you find?

I sleep in the middle of the king size bed, thank you very much

A happy boy!

I found these rascals on the bed the other day. Ruffles is clearly unamused.

PLEASE let me stay!!

Helping me clean out the closet

Cleaning out Forrest's drawers

Enjoying a nice day outside

Sonny and Libby playing in a mud puddle after Tropical Storm Lee

Sullivan joined in the fun

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jennifer's Wedding

This weekend was ridiculously fun for me!! Yes, only me, since Forrest was studying like crazy for his boards. Boo boo boo! They will be over soon so he will be able to make his re-entrance to society and the blog! Hooray!
My weekend started Thursday evening with dinner at El Tapatio with Rachel and Laura. Have I mentioned lately that I love them? Without a doubt, I laugh the most when I am with them. We have known each other since Rachel and I were 2 so we have lots of memories to look back on!

Friday officially kicked off Jennifer's wedding weekend. Jennifer and I were in law school together and she was a bridesmaid in her wedding and I was so honored to be one for her. All of the bridesmaids met at the Garden Cafe at the Birmingham Botanical Gardes for a luncheon Friday afternoon. It was Breakfast at Tiffany's themed!! How adorable!!
(From here on out, the wedding will be best described in pics, so sorry there are so many, but NOT sorry that they show just how much fun this wedding weekend was!!)

At our place settings there was a picture of us and pearls, sunglasses, a crown, and one of those cool smoking stick things along with a Tiffany's box of candy. SO adorable!

Don't we look fancy!!?? I didn't want to take off those gloves. They were so much fun!
After dress up, Jennifer gave us the sweetest gifts, including a monogrammed bag and an apron!

We had dinner at The Club. James Spann (yes, the weather man) made a special congratulatory video for Phillip, who is a huge weather buff!! Each table was decorated with pictures and mementos from trips the couple took together. Every detail was attended!!
Getting ready to walk down the aisle! Jennifer was so calm and collected! We had a great time getting ready together and laughing. Right before it was time, we each signed her shoes with a special message or memory. I wrote "I love you more than football", since the wedding was the same day as the Bama game. I would be there for Jennifer, no matter what day it was!

The cake by dreamcakes was magnificent AND the best bride's cake I have had this wedding season! I am typically a stickler for almond flavoring and buttercream frosting, but Jennifer's cake had lemon flavoring and OMG it was to die for!!

Phillip's cake was red velvet and also amazing, even though I am not a huge red velvet fan. It isn't that I don't like it, I just don't get all the fuss. This one, however was worth lots of fuss! The Fondant elephants may have helped that out a bit too!!

Bride's cake and her teddy bear. Barnaby has traveled everywhere with Jennifer, including our girls beach trip during law school and was the ring bearer in her wedding! He is currently accompanying her on her honeymoon!

I had to include a close up!

Our group of law school girlfriends!! (Lauren, me, Jennifer, Beth, Shelley) We had such a fun night eating, dancing, and catching up!! Jennifer and I are the only ones who are still in state so it was a great reunion!! Beth was an awesome date for the evening!!

Congrats Jennifer and Phillip! I was thrilled to be a part of you special day and wish you the best of luck! Love you guys!!

The rest of the weekend was very low key. While Forrest studied I watched movies, napped, and snacked for the better part of 2 days. I had planned to be productive, but the power went out on Monday (Labor Day) and so half of the things I wanted needed to do still remain on the to do list!! Hope your Labor Day was nice and relaxing as well!!!  Stay tuned!!
Blogging tips