Matt’s Bday+ Tubing

Monday, August 6, 2012
To start the weekend off my Dad, Cousin David and I took my Mom out for her Birthday.  My Mom wanted to go somewhere new and chose Macaroni Grill. {not my first choice, but anything the birthday girl wants!} We all met up at 7:30 on Friday night and had a great time. The food was better than I expected but the service and prices not so much. For instance it took about 20 mins for us to get water and even longer to get bread and put in our drink orders.  We did not even have napkins or utensils when the bread came and had to scramble to find some on another table, knowing the waiter wouldn’t be back anytime soon.  The list of things went on and on.  I maybe being a snob but I have never had that kind of service ever. The waiter was very nice.. so I guess that made up for it a LITTLE.
Despite the slow service, my mom and I started off with big glasses of wine which were extremely overpriced.  My cousin David ordered an appetizer of Lobster-Stuffed Clams with pancetta, garlic breadcrumbs and red pepper aiolo.  These things were out of this world good. I ordered a ceasar salad which was okay and my dad this beet and goat cheese crostini.
 {Lobster Stuffed Clams- Amazing}
 {Caesar Salad-not the best}
{Goat Cheese and Beet Crostini}
For our entrees I ordered the Mushroom Ravioli which was good but extremely rich. Nonetheless, I ate the whole plate.  My mom ordered the Pasta Sampler of Prosciutto Mac N Cheese, Sausage Quadratini and Carmela’s Chicken.  I had a bite of each and was highly disappointed.  My Mom seemed to like it though so that is all that matters.
David ordered the steak with lobster mashed potatoes- yes it was mashed potatoes with lobster in it.. how can you go wrong!? My Dad ordered the Mediterranean Sea Bass with a little arugula salad and said it was so-so. He always gets weird stuff and it is rarely up to his expectations.
 {Mushroom Ravioli}
 {Pasta Sampler}
 {Mediterranean Sea Bass}
 We didn’t mind that the check took forever to come because we spent the time swapping stories and of course my Mom and my cousin David poking fun at me. {nothings new}  The waiter brought out cake for my Mom and sang “Happy Birthday” to her in Italian.  What a perfect easy going Friday Night. πŸ™‚
 {David and My Daddy}
 {Mother Daughter pic}
{Look at that Smile}
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 Saturday was our friend Matt Randle’s Birthday! He was having a pool party/cookout and it was the perfect weather for it. 
I wanted to bring a side dish and decided on my default- spinach dip.  The Clingan’s Mom always makes it and I had begged her for the recipe a few years ago.  I have been making it non-stop ever since {Thanks Debbie!} and have received nothing but great reviews for it. 
 
Here is the recipe:
Grab a big old tub of sour cream
2 bags of chopped frozen spinach
2 packs of Knorr’s Vegatable Mix
Hawaiian bread bowl
-I like to do half regular sour cream and half fat free sour cream to make it a little more healty
– Mix the 2 packets of Knorr’s seasoning into the sour cream
-defrost the 2 bags of chopped spinach in the microwave
-Squeeze out the water from the spinach and break apart into the mixing bowl
-Mix with spoon
-Taste test to see if it needs more sour cream (or more seasoning/spinach if you have extra)
-Cut round hole in hawian bread
-Break up the pieces
*for Matt’s party I just ripped up the whole thing of Hawaiian bread and put the dip in a regular bowl versus bread bowl.

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We got to Matt’s house around 3 and went straight for the pool.  Matt’s parents have a brindled mastiff and a puppy grey mastiff which is to die for cute with paws too big for its body and beautiful blue eyes.  The neighbors had also brought over a Pug named Geppetto and a Jack Russel named Gizmo. Most of them swam around in the pool.  Needless to say I was in heaven petting and swimming with the dogs non-stop.Holly, Matt’s sister bought the birthday boy pool pong so the men played that for a while.  
 {Gabby- the Puppy Mastiff}
 {Wade and Gizmo hangin out}
 {Pool beer pong}
 {Bella!}
After a little pool time it was time to grub.  Matt’s Dad maned the grill and made hot dogs and cheeseburgers.  There was also corn on the cob and the Dad’s special baked beans.  These beans were amazing! {brown sugar does wonders}  
Jason came not too long after and had brought those new Bud Light Lime-A-Ritas. He let me have one and I was hooked.  
Later on the rest of the crew came {including my biffles Lisa and Casey}  and we all had a great time.  
 {Yummy cookout food}
 {Lisa and I}
{My new thing}
 {Just hangin out}
{Puppy Gabby is sleepy}
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On Sunday a group of us went to Harper’s Ferry to go tubing down the Shenandoah River. It turned out we had to be there earlier than we thought {they only do it at certain times} and Amy couldn’t get off work early. πŸ™  We went with the River Trail Company and had to go to a location in Knoxville to pay.  We then had to drive 5 miles to the edge of the river to catch the bus/get our tubes.  On our way to the pick up location; there was a massive downpour.  The tubing people said we would have to wait for the lightening to stop before we could tube.
Finally, we loaded onto the bus with our stinky mildewed vests and got dropped off upriver.
I had major issues getting into my tube but once I got in it was very relaxing.  The water was really warm which was good considering the rain had cooled down the air temperature.  

 {Katie and Kenzie}
 {Jessica and Willy}
 {The Tubing Crew}
 {Savannah, Sara and Me}
It only took an hour for us to get to the end πŸ™ Overall we were glad we waited the rain out.  Next time we will buy our own tubes and take 2 cars. {park one up river and one down river}
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