Sharis The Bunny

Sharis The Bunny
It's me, in all my lagamorphy glory.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A County Fair to Remember!

In the last few months, Big E have been making a concerted effort to spend more family time together with Future Marine. Every year, Future Marine and I go to the local-ish County Fair together because Big E is usually away or working. Saturday, Big E came with us, and for the first time EVER, the whole family went to the Fair together! (Our other 2 big Fall traditions are walking the Maize Maze and Apple Picking, stay tuned...)

Saturday was the final day of the fair, and we'd cleared our schedules to make sure we had time to ride/see/eat everything they had to offer.

Big E took us to brunch at our favorite restaurant (also a new family tradition, going out to brunch on the weekend. I love this!) where they serve some of the best Eggs Benedict and giant muffins. The really cool thing about the restaurant is that it's in this old historical house they converted to an eatery, and all the walls are covered in framed works by local artists, all for sale.

After breakfast, we hit this adorable little antique shop and Future Marine found an old LIFE magazine from 1967, which sparked a great (and very informative for me) conversation during the hour drive to the fair. Big E and Future Marine are huge history buffs, both are fascinated by WWII. However this time, we discussed and learned all sorts of things about Nixon the Kennedy Administration, Viet Nam, and The Bay of Pigs. Also, we briefly touched on the Cuban Missile Crisis. I love that we don't just all get on our cell phones or watch DVDs on a road trip, and when the boys talk history, it actually comes alive for me. I just can't make it "click" in books for some reason. (Math is the same way.)

So we finally arrive at the fairgrounds and I could almost hear a choir of Angels singing, it was THAT AWESOME! The sights, the sounds, the smells!

We started off at the livestock area, because we'd only been digesting brunch for an hour or so. And I know from experience you need like 2-3 hours after a meal before you get on the scary rides, or it gets messy.

They had a petting zoo with baby goats, a camel, a cow that you could milk (Future Marine just wanted to "hug a cow" so they let him. It was adorable!), and a any water buffalo calf that had just been weaned. I got to pet the water buffalo and scratch his chin, which he LOVED, and then he gave me his wet nose leather to rub, and all I wanted to do was plant a big ol' kiss on that adorable nose!

Also the fattest pig we'd ever seen. And another one with the cutest little baby piglets!

At the end of the Ag Tent were the entries in the poultry contest. These were our three favorites. The black and white chicken reminded Big E of a stained glass mosaic. The middle one apparently won some kind of prize, and the one of the right was my favorite, because it looked like something Marilyn Monroe would have worn, and that thought just made me giggle for some reason.

Then we left the Ag Tent and walked past this old-timey display. Covered wagons, and actual blacksmithing. It was really neat -- once again, History Comes Alive! The Blacksmiths took the time to answer lots of questions, but we were getting hungry and couldn't stop drooling over their dinner, a huge turkey roasting over seasoned firewood. Gorgeous bird! (I started having naughty thoughts about turning the Ag Tent winning turkeys into that wrong?)

Anyway, RIDE TIME!!!

(Bumper cars were SO much fun! See my sweet ride on the left? Oh, and that's the car I drove on the right! lol)

Okay, and at long last, my nemesis, THE ZIPPER. This ride is the only one I want to go on every year and no one will go on it with me. Every Zipper. This year, Future Marine manned up and decided to go with me. Big E (wisely) abstained. Here we are before the ride, all excited, getting on, anticipating the stomach-fliping cartwheels and adrenaline-pumping speeds. Big E is safely planted on Terra Firma, wondering exactly when was the precise moment his wife and son lost their fool minds...

Annnnnnnd...after. Okay, I never want to do that ride again. Ever. Please remind me of that next year when I beg and plead to go on the Zipper, k? Thanks.

Well, stomach finally settled, it was time to taste what the Fair had to offer. Here's a random sampling, and the BEST fried okra I have ever tasted! Also, a) what on earth is a Snow Cream? an b) I've SEEN the guy making these things at the booth. I'd rather lick the bottom of my dog's foot than "put some south in my mouth." Ugh!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall is Officially Here this Week!

Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year. By the time June rolls around, I'm ready for the cooler weather, the crisp autumn leaves, the smell of pumpkin pie spices and apple cider, the lure of the County Fair (EVERYTHING is better when it's fried and served on a stick!), our annual family trip to the mountains to go pick apples, and of course, Halloween and Thanksgiving.

It's been a fantastic week for leaving the windows open at night and letting the cool breezes flow though the house. Soon, it will be time to start up the fireplace in the living room and drink hot mulled apple cider together as we watch 30 days of scary movies to prepare for Halloween. (Note: all "scary" movies will be appropriate for 12-year-old Future Marine. Nothing overtly violent of sexual. He does love the old Hitchcock stuff, and the old Universal Monsters, so we watch those every year.) Big E has a phenomenal collection of DVDs for our entertainment, and he sticks to mostly classics.

This morning, I made pumpkin-spiced waffles for breakfast. The whole house smells incredible! Also last night, Big E went out and started hoarding Halloween Candy. I doubt any of it will survive past the next week or two, our family has a serious chocolate addiction problem. But I thought it was incredibly sweet that he started preparing.

Saturday is our annual family trip to The County Fair, so I'm running out to get Maalox and other assorted G.I. stuff, since everything there is deep-fried, on a stick, and usually smothered in something (either cheese or chocolate.) It's tradition. We ride the terrifying rides and eat the terrifying food, then go home, elated. Except no one will ever ride The Zipper with me. No matter how hard I beg, plead, or pout.

Also, apple-picking and corn maze season have both arrived as well, signaling the official start of Fall, despite the fact that it's still in the high 80's/low 90's here in The South. This will be the first year that Big E has gone apple picking with us, and Future Marine and I are thrilled! Normally this is crazy work schedule time for Big E, but he's taking off to do family stuff now and I can't even tell you what that means to us. If you're in the Carolinas and you're looking for a great pick-your-own Orchard, you have to go to Skytop. They've got an old Cider Mill, acres and acres of trees to climb (and in my case, fall out of every year! lol), and an old-fashioned Country Store where they sell Apple Cider Donuts by the ton. They are fantastic and well worth the wait on line to get a few. We've never had anything like them! Also they are dog-friendly, provided your dog is on a leash and not totally insane, and you clean up after them. So Ace comes with us. His late sister, Blue, used to LIVE for apple-picking trips. But she would get into the fermenting apples on the ground and we had to keep an eye on her, or she'd get a little tipsy. In fact, Blue's last family outing was apple picking at Skytop. After she passed away, I kept her tags to tie around some apple trees we planted for her in the back yard.

Also if you're in the Charlotte area and looking for a fun and unique way to spend an autumn day with the family (or a pretty cool date idea,) there's The Amazing Maize Maze at Rural Hill. After September 30th, they do Flashlight Mazes after dark, when the air is just starting to chill, and you can get hot cocoa, and it's just a really fun time all around!

HAPPY FALL, Y'ALL! I don't care what the calendar says, Autumn starts today for our family! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Holy cow, this thing is still ON?

Wow, I totally forgot I even HAD a blog! Guess it's been a while?

Ok. So I deleted all the old stuff and I'm going to try to be more on the ball about keeping this thing up regularly.

PS: Starbucks just brought back their Pumpkin Spice Latte last week.

You know what that means? FALL IS HERE! Yeah, I know it's like 80-something degrees outside, but I'm sticking to my Starbucks Seasonal Forecast. Also my lawn is turning brown and crispy. That means I can start hanging the Halloween decorations now, right?