Monday, November 25, 2013

Napa: no kids allowed

While Charlotte was off enjoying trips to the pumpkin patch with Nana, Matt and I went to Napa (technically St Helena) for our very first weekend away! I can't believe it took us almost 14 months to finally get  in an adults only trip, but that's ok. It was worth the wait. And for a good occasion: our 5 year anniversary! 

we made it!

Since we were a little early to check in to our B&B, we decided to check out a few wineries. First stop: Menaga a Trois. I love their wine! They had a few other Napa labels we got to try, all really good. We walked out of there with a bottle. Then we stopped at Matt's choice: Robert Mondavi.

So, random fact: my great grandfather went to school with Robert Mondavi. And my family sold them grapes for many many years. My great grandparents had almond orchards and vineyards in Lodi, CA and a lot of the wineries get grapes from there! Super cool!

This was also one of our favorite places we stopped. The lady that was helping us was so nice and the grounds were impeccable. Of course we got lucky with great weather too! 

Our last stop before heading to the B&B was Domaine Chandon. I really wanted to try some champagne, but that was not a good idea. Eating and then trying sparkling wine = tummy ache. Never again. Beautiful place though, good champagne, but did not mix with lunch. haha.

And finally we made it to our room at The Wine Country Inn! We had a huge room, complete with a fireplace, jetted tub, and patio! Love Love Love this place!

I think we would have been happy just staying in the room and relaxing for two whole days! But there were so many wonderful wineries and restaurants we had to check out!

out to dinner at French Blue
MMMMmmm good! And after dinner we walked a few blocks to have a drink at a bar that used to be a speakeasy. Then our B&B sent over a van to pick us up. Talk about great service!

We spent the entire second day doing pretty much the same thing: wine tasting. What else?! First up was the biggest tourist trap ever: Castello di Amorosa. Beautiful. ok wine. ripoff. 

What this picture doesn't show: the MEAN geese off to our right about ready to attack us!! We got away, thankfully, but some other guy got his pant leg chewed up. haha
view from the top. best spot.

taking picture past the designated space. haha oops!
the underground tasting room!
Then we stopped at Beringer. Really good wine. I of course fell in love with one of the pricier bottles, which Matt secretly bought and presented to me while we were out listening to music in the garden. Awww. :)

We actually liked this place so much we did two tastings. One in the main room and one in the reserve room (right behind Matt). Needless to say, lunch was next. haha.

And our final stop was a treat for Matt, Prager winery. They specialize in ports, which he loves. 

out to dinner at Market. mmm fried chicken!
And on the morning of our departure I got up extra early, grabbed some coffee and watched the sunrise. It was cold, but beautiful.

We had a wonderful little trip away celebrating our anniversary. There are so many amazing wineries in that area, we wish we could have stayed for a whole week. Plus we brought our bikes and were hoping to ride to some of them but that never happened. Oh well. And the food. Wow. Could not have a bad meal in St Helena if you tried. Every single restaurant was unbelievably good. And not outrageously priced. 

Of course we missed our munchkin like crazy, but did you see her post? She barely even thought about us. Haha, maybe that means we can sneak away again sometime in the not-too-distant future! 

Note for Military families: we got almost all our tastings for FREE! If they weren't free it was buy one get one and sometimes even % off purchases. Make sure you ask if places offer a military discount if you happen to be out and about in the Napa area tasting wine!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

weekend at Nana's

Two weeks ago I got to spend two WHOLE days with my Nana. It all started when I went down for a nap like any other day, and when I woke up, my parents were gone. Gone I tell you. I looked around for them, I even checked the dog bowl in the kitchen twice, but they were nowhere to be found. I was a little concerned, but once I saw Harley was with me at Nana's, I was sure they would eventually come back. They wouldn't leave both their kiddos. And once I stopped worrying, I started having fun. Lots and lots of fun!

We spent lots of time exploring the house, playing with toys, and chasing the kitty. And we went to the local pumpkin patch both days!

my cousin Hannah and me
Hannah with her Mommy and brother Nathan

First up was looking for just the right pumpkin. Note: picking the right one can take time….

that one

no wait, that one

let me circle this one and check it out


After finding the perfect pumpkin, I saw these large dogs in a giant cage. Other kids were riding on them so I asked Nana if I could too. She said they were "ponies", whatever, they were totally big dogs.

see, what did I tell you, dogs.

how do I look? totally professional.

cousin Hannah rode one too

Then we walked over to this other caged area and petted some more dogs. These dogs had horns. Weird. 

why hello there. May I pet you?                                    Your fur is really rough. Use conditioner bro.

you like water too? I LOVE it!! Let me have that bucket.

We tried to take a "cousins" picture, but after being put into a headlock, I was over that. I'm pretty sure they said "hug Charlotte" not "choke Charlotte". Misunderstanding? Hmmmm.

yuk! That doesn't taste yummy

And look what I found on our way out….pumpkins fit for a pumpkin like me.

It was such a wonderful day. And by the time we got home I was parched. Good thing Nana keeps this big bowl of water on the floor for all of us. I drink right from the fountain.

Day two at the pumpkin patch. If it ain't broke…

petting those dogs with horns.                                                 You. Are. A. Dog

did we not speak about using conditioner? Eh. Ok I will pet you.

And here is a kiss too. 

what??? You don't kiss dogs?? 

I'm just going to sit on the one I want. Yes, this will due.
me and my Nana!! 

I'm taking this popcorn and getting the heck outta here!

I had a super duper awesome time at Nana's house. Nana is wonderful and I love her so much! It was a fun weekend and I didn't think about my Mommy or Daddy once. In fact, when they finally decided to show up I was shocked to see them. I was perfectly happy with Nana. Well, I did miss the boobie. Oh OK….I missed Mommy and Daddy too. Twist a girl's arm why don't you. :)


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

veterans day roundup

For all the military families out there, I wanted to put together a list of freebies that will be offered on veterans day this year. The last two years Matt has been deployed and we were unable to go to any of these places, but hopefully we will check some out this year. 

THANK YOU to all who served and are currently serving in our armed forces! Freedom is not free!! And a special thanks to all the spouses out there who love and support our ladies and gents in uniform!!

JCPenney is giving military and their family members an extra 20% off purchases November 6-11. Click on that link to get the coupon. 

And I saw today that Starbucks is giving away a free tall coffee to veterans, active duty, and spouses!  

  • Applebee’s: Veterans and active duty military receive a FREE signature entrée.
  • Bar Louie: FREE meal (up to $12) on November 10 or 11.
  • California Pizza Kitchen: Veterans and active duty military get a FREE pizza at participating locations.
  • Car Wash: Veterans and service personnel get a FREE car wash.
  • Carraba’sFREE appetizer for veterans and active military.
  • Champps AmericanaFREE handcrafted burger and waffle fries.
  • Cheeseburger in ParadiseFREE All-American burger with fries. (Valid with any beverage purchase of $1.99 or more.)
  • Chili’s: Choose from eight entrees or a lunch combo.
  • Denny’sFREE all-you-can-eat pancakes from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Einstein Bros. BagelsFREE signature or classic bagel with shmear.
  • Golden Corral: Golden Corral’s annual Military Appreciation Dinner from 4pm to 9pm. Get a FREE meal.
  • Great ClipsFREE haircut for veterans and active duty military. If you don’t need a haircut, stop by and pick up a card good for a free haircut through December 31.
  • Hooters: Veterans and active duty military get a FREE meal.
  • IKEAFREE sandwich, hot dish or entreé salad from November 9 to 11.
  • Krispy KremeFREE doughnut and coffee for veterans.
  • Little Caesars: FREE order of Crazy Bread.
  • LongHorn SteakhouseFREE Texas Tonion appetizer and non-alcohol beverage from November 11 to 14.
  • Max & Erma’s: FREE Best Cheeseburger in America Combo — includes choice of soup or salad and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie.
  • McCormick & Schmick’s: Veterans are offered a FREE meal, from a choice of 10 entrées, on November 10.
  • Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt: FREE 6-oz. frozen yogurt.
  • National Parks: From November 9 to November 11, National Parks are FREEfor everyone, so this might be a good time for a road trip.
  • Olive Garden: Veterans and active duty military get a FREE meal. Family dining with them receives 10% off.
  • On The Border: Veterans and active duty military receive a FREE “Create Your Own Combo menu,” featuring more than 150 possible dinner combinations.
  • Outback SteakhouseFREE Bloomin’ Onion and drink for veterans.
  • Red Robin: Red Robin is giving away one FREE Tavern Double Burger to each veteran or active duty guest.
  • Red LobsterFREE appetizer from list of 10 options from November 11 to 14.
  • Shoney’s: FREE All-American burger.
  • Sizzler: FREE lunch through 4 p.m. Veterans can choose 6-ounce Tri Tip Steak, single Malibu Chicken or half-dozen fried shrimp entrée with choice of side dish.
  • Sports Clips: Many locations of Sports Clips will offer FREE haircuts to veterans and active military members. Call ahead to ensure your location is participating.
  • Texas RoadhouseFREE lunch for all veterans (active, retired or former U.S. military) — choose from 10 entrees, including your choice of any Coca-Cola product, sweet tea/ice tea or coffee.
  • Texas Steakhouse & Saloon: Vets get a buy-one-get-one FREE entrée.
  • TGI FridaysFREE lunch for veterans.
  • Twin Peaks: FREE meal of your choice.
  • Village Inn: FREE breakfast, with a choice of buttermilk pancakes, a Belgian waffle or French Toast.
I pulled that list from living on the cheap, but make sure to double check that the business is offering the deal this year. 

I will update this throughout the weekend if I hear about any more deals. And if you know any, feel free to leave a note or shoot me an email!