Monday, April 27, 2009

Wine tour

Yep, that's right. We went on a wine tour. Friends invited us to go as the designated drivers -- and offered to pay for our tickets, let us drive their minivan, and give us an extra $50 to put up with them -- so we agreed. It turned out to be so much fun! I know most people don't think of 'wine country' and 'upstate New York' as the same thing, but there are tons of wineries around. We drive past them all the time, but never stop - so we thought it would be a great way to see some wineries and more of this beautiful part of the country we've called home for the past 3 years.

We hit 16 wineries in 9 hours. Wow. At each winery, you got a taste of a prepared food, paired with some feature wines (we had grape juice, water and lemonade instead). Each food featured a particular herb - and you got a recipe of the food, plus an herb to take home and plant. So, for example, we had this very tasty bruschetta at one of the wineries - and then got a tomato plant to take home. At another one, they had this divine jalapeno bread, and then gave you a jalapeno plant. Most of the places also had cheese and crackers for tasting. A couple of them had fudge (yum!) Some had salsa, jams, and assorted dips. You get the idea...

This picture says upstate New York... there's thousands of barns like this one; they're everywhere.

Our first winery - Scott & Krista, Jessica, Pat & Carissa, me & Cory

Most of the wineries are situated very close to Cayuga Lake, making for a very nice view.

The weather was gorgeous - highs in the 80's and very sunny. Sooo nice!!

Cory and I bought what we're jokingly calling 'Mormon wine'. It's grape juice, made locally at one of the wineries. It was very tasty - and pure. It's not made from concentrate, no high fructose corn syrup - nothing but smooshed grapes.

Just the girls, at our last winery

Me holding all the plants we got. 16 of them. Now we need to go buy some planter boxes.

Off the top of my head, we got: oregano, dill, rosemary, pumpkin, tomato, purple pepper, jalepeno, thyme, sage... and a bunch more. We're going to have our own little herb garden, and I am quite excited about it. We got to see some beautiful wineries, got sunburned, made stronger friendships, and overall had a great time!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Big Apple

We took another weekend trip downstate. Cory went to a seminar on Chiropractic and Pediatrics, held down in New Jersey. Lucky for us, the location of the seminar was only a 20 minute drive from our friends house. A BIG thanks to Brett and Erin for letting us crash at their house, entertaining us, and saving us a lot of money that would have been spent on hotels and food. Game night was awesome, and I can't believe I forgot to take a picture!

While we were in Jersey, we thought we'd spend a day in NYC. It was our 5th time visiting the city, but we still found lots to do.

We went to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and it was pretty! I love spring.

We also went to the Met (short for Metropolitan Museum of Art). Yep, it was huge. And awesome. They had so many things to see!

They had 13 original Van Gogh paintings - the one in the center is one of the self-portraits he did.

Mmmm, hot dogs on the street!

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

We capped off our long day in the city by doing a session at the temple. As you can see in the pictures, it's not a "typical" temple - no gardens, no parking, nothing like that. It's on a busy street corner of Manhattan. What was amazing was that once you were inside, it felt like a temple. All noises and the craziness that is NYC faded, leaving peace and quiet. It was a nice way to end our day in the city.

It was one great weekend, and I'm sad I didn't take pictures with Erin & Brett. We had a fabulous time staying with them, and were sad to go! We wished we lived closer so we could hang out more often. 5 hours is a bit too long to make frequent visits... but we had a great time while there!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My brakcet: an update

March Madness is officially history. I officially didn't do too poorly in my bracket choices... though I did not win, which makes me annoyed. In our little bracket competition of 14 people, I placed 3rd. Cory placed a very respectable 4th place. We both beat Brett, which was really all that we were going for... (love you Brett!)

And now, for some things we've learned from this year's competition:
1. Utah teams suck in the first round. Of the 3 Utah schools to make it into the Big Dance, only Utah State got close to winning. BYU and the U were embarrassments. Next year, I am NOT putting BYU to advance, and probably not Utah, either (though we'll see how their seasons go...)
2. Sentimentality has no place in the competition. I totally thought 'Nova was going to beat Duke... and yet since I like Duke so much, I picked them over 'Nova. Stupid, stupid. I also told anyone who would listen to me that Arizona would upset the Utes, and yet I had the Utes to advance. Next year, it's all business.
3. Memphis is overrated. Seriously.
4. So is Oklahoma. Assuming Blake Griffin goes pro, they won't even have a team.
5. North Carolina deserved to win. Aaah, it pains me to say this, since to cheer on North Carolina is to cheer on the enemy. I thought they would win it all this year, though I picked Louisville to beat them in the championship (again, with the stupid feelings clouding my judgement). I'm actually happy they won, since I believe they had the best team this year - and the best team deserves to win.
6. Big East teams are pretty good, even if they didn't make it into the championship game.
7. Do your research. Cory got UConn and Pitt confused... and put Pitt to win it all. He meant to put UConn. Not that it matters now, since they both got beat...

As always, it was fun to make picks and cheer on my teams. It was fun to write all over my bracket (which I crumpled up and threw away after Louisville lost...) I'm proud to get 3rd, though next year I intend to take 1st. The gauntlet has been thrown. In the meantime, I have nothing to watch on Saturday afternoons, and may need to take up a new hobby :)