Monday, October 31, 2011

Savannah Marketing Conference

Earlier this month, I headed to Savannah for the first time. I went as a representative for the advertising agency I work for at the Caterpillar North American Marketing Conference

The hotel we stayed at was beautiful and located right on the water. It also has a luxurious spa and I was thrilled when my company treated me to an hour long massage

On top of the spa, there were lots of other amenities that made the stay enjoyable. There were warm chocolate chip cookies in the lobby and a Bloody Mary bar in the afternoons. In the evenings, the patio area would have fire pits lit and made for a great place to relax with a couple of drinks after a long day of client meetings. 

I took advantage of the running maps they provided on two occasions during my trip. It was beautiful to run along the river front and watch the large cargo boats coming into harbor.

In order to get to the Savannah River Walk/Town, you had to take a water taxi from the hotel.

Our first night, we headed to the River Front to find some food. We lucked out when we went to a little hole in the wall bar and were amazed at the high quality of the menu. (sorry for the dark picture) Jumbo crab legs dipped in butter? Yes, please!

After filling our bellies, we went to the Dueling Piano Bar - Savannah Smiles to check out the location and musicians. We would be hosting a party here in a couple of days and wanted to make sure everything was set for our big night.

Required, over processed party picture.

Following our fun night out, it was time to get to work. We worked at our booth in the vendor expo all day for the next two days and enjoyed getting to visit with clients that we usually only get to talk to over the phone. 

On the first day, they unveiled the new Caterpillar Nascar vehicle. I had to take a picture for Ethan.

On Monday night, we were treated to a dinner by the event organizers. The evening started with a ferry boat cruise with passed appetizers and drinks. The drinks were great but the appetizers were cold and only two options were available that I ever saw.

We existed the boat the historic Fort Jackson, which was built in 1776. Can you see the white tent in the background? That is where they had an oyster bar set up. Inside the fort, they had banquet tables set up and we enjoyed a dinner buffet of traditional Southern foods.

They had re-enactment soldiers for entertainment that played fiddles, banjos and also fired the cannons. I'm sure Jim would have loved to see the cannons in action. I was amazed at how long it took them to prep the cannons before firing and how much black smoke was produced.

These would be my co-workers/bosses posing with some of the soldiers. Needless to say, we were having a great time!

I found a few hours during the last day to sneak away to explore the Savannah River Walk district. This would be Paula Dean's restaurant, The Lady and Sons. (I was disappointed that I had just eaten and didn't know that I was going to be able to head over, otherwise I would have skipped the provided meal for something that I'm sure was much better in town.)

Walking the streets was very difficult. You definitely need flat shoes in Savannah. The cobblestone is very rough and several people reported tripping and really scraping themselves up during the evening outings.

The stair cases between the different street levels are also very steep and rickety. (You can kind of see one in the shadows of this picture.)

For our last night, we hosted the evening's activities with an open bar, buffet dinner and entertainment from the Dueling Piano bar that we had gone to earlier. The food was amazing (we had it catered in, not provided by the bar) and far surpassed our expectations. 

Here I am with a couple of my coworkers on the water taxi on the way over to our party. Following this, pictures are not being posted to protect the innocent. ;)

After a very late night, we headed to the airport in the a.m. and I was very ready to be back home. I arrived just in time to tuck my birthday boy, who turned 5 that day, into bed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chocolate Cream Pie

The other day, on Facebook, I updated my status that I was craving a piece of my Aunt Libby's famous cream pies.

Soon, many people from my family were chiming in with their own desire to also have a piece of her cream pie.

My cousin, Jonathan, who is my Aunt Libby's son, responded to my craving post by posting a picture of the pie Aunt Libby had made for him that day. What a jerk tease! 

The craving did not go away and I decided that it was time to take matters into my own hands since driving 10 hours to visit my Aunt Libby wasn't going to happen anytime in the near future. I decided to make my first ever cream pie.

I found this recipe for "Grandma's Chocolate Pie" by the Homesick Texan and it looked like a winner. (I also used the crust recipe that is linked from this post.)

I was surprised at how easy the crust was to make and how quickly it all came together. I usually shy away from pies because the crust intimidates me but this helped build my confidence a bit. 

It was delicious! I happily shared some with my Dad, who is just as big of cream pie fan as I am.

Funny Side Story: 
When I was probably about 5 years old, my Aunt Libby hosted Thanksgiving at her home. The adults all sat in the formal dining room and us cousins sat in the kitchen at the breakfast nook. The counter was lined up with all kinds of various pies - pumpkin, pecan, apple and various cream pies. My family takes dessert very seriously. While the adults were in the other room eating their main course, I ate the very center out of every pie with my fingers. I wanted to see what kind they were.

I'm pretty sure that I would be tempted to do the same thing today.

Friday, October 21, 2011

5th Birthday Celebration

Ethan turned five years old on Oct. 5th. I can't believe how quickly he has grown. To me, five just seems like such a big boy. Officially out of the toddler ranks and completely in the little boy category. Luckily for me, he still wants to cuddle up with his mommy and I'll happily share cuddles and bedtime stories with him as long as he'll let me.

Ethan chose to have a Construction Vehicle theme this year for his party. We decorated all the tables with various construction vehicle toys and invited our immediate family over for cake and ice cream.

I made Ethan's cake and was pleased with how it turned out. Ethan advised me on what colors to choose for the lights and where they should be placed since he is much more knowledgable than I am when it comes to bulldozers. He also loved eating the chocolate rocks and dirt. 

Since the large chocolate donuts I used for the back tires only came in packages of 12, I placed some of the extras on plate with a "Spare Tires" sign.

Birthday boy turned shy when it came time to sing "Happy Birthday" and blow out the candles.

A happy birthday boy!

After eating cake and ice cream, it was finally time for presents. Since his birthday had been four days earlier than his party, it had been hard to wait. (Of course, we'd given him our presents on his actual birthday so he wasn't that deprived.)

Happy birthday my dearest baby boy! I have loved being your mommy and you make me and Daddy so proud...and laughing all the time with your silly games and looks with your mischievous eyes. I love you more than you will ever be able to comprehend.