Well it feels like winter has finally arrived to TN! I was starting to get concerned-we’ve been sleeping with the windows open and not packing away the tee shirts. Heck, I think I even had on flip flops one day, but I believe the cooler temps are now here to stay. As I’m staring at winter, I wanted to look back at fall. It was a busy one. Between the Top 20 shoots, the radio show and Red Gold’s Crush Hunger campaign, fall was a bit of a blur, but it was fun and I’m grateful for the opportunities. We did manage to get it a little down time and for that, we are truly grateful…and so were the pups.
Our favorite beach is Fort Morgan, Alabama-outside of Gulf Shores. We discovered that the county beach is pet friendly, so ever since then, it’s been our family vacation spot. We love it and more importantly, the dogs love it!! Watching Jerry squirm and roll and wiggle in the sand is worth the 8 hour trip down there! He gets completely coated in it and he’s in heaven!! And that makes up happy watching him.
Sweet ole Olivia is just a champion. She really could care less, but she just loves to be wherever we are–on the beach or on the couch. Doesn’t matter! Now, little Nessie…we didn’t know how she would take to it and at first, she really didn’t, but when you put a ball in the mix, you’ve got her attention! She would chase that ball as many times as Charlie would throw it.
And of course, the 2-legged Kelleys enjoyed ourselves as well. I read a book (The Chance by Karen Kingsbury)–the first one in a long time. What a gift just to sit in the sun, with a clear schedule and a good read. The little things we have to be grateful for. I think Charlie enjoyed introducing Nessie to beach life. Nessie loves to fetch so, we went into Gulf Shores when we got there to shop for the right kind of balls for her–not too big, ones that float and are squishy. We’ve only had her a few months so we don’t know if she’s been to the beach before and he wanted to make sure this trip was fun for her too. Judging by the ‘smile’ on her cute little face, I think it was.
And we were very thankful to meet some new friends-brothers Jimmy and Michael Maraventano and their lovely wives, Kris and Judy from New Jersey and New York. Jimmy and Kris have a home down there and it was close to the one we were renting, so we were bound to meet on the beach–’cause you know me and CK don’t meet a stranger and they were the same way! They were just so nice and hospitable and invited us to dinner at their house. You know how I believe that food brings people together and this is another example. Kris & Judy made some Italian red sauce (with a name like Maraventano, you know it was authentic!) and it was outstanding!! I had two helpings. It felt like we had known them for years, instead of just a few hours. Jimmy is great musician and singer who tours all over and with the two of us, cue the music! A little impromptu trio formed and we sang every song we could harmonize to. The Eagles, Beatles and Buffett. You can check out Jimmy’s music and tour schedule here: http://www.jimmyandtheparrots.com/home
I got to do a little cooking too and that really made me happy. I picked up some fresh fish from my favorite seafood market down there and cooked up a veggie and fish dish. As a matter of fact, one of those dishes is the foundation for a recipe that is appearing in the January issue of RELISH magazine. I’m excited to have 4 recipes in their New Year/New You type issue–healthy cooking and all in one pan. Look for them in January :).
Yes, it always comes back around to food. It brings us together, it helps us meet new friends, it’s the tie that binds for so many events and gatherings. Winter is the biggest food season to me–all those soups and slow cooker dishes, holiday party foods, candies, and COOKIES! So come on in Ole Man Winter-can’t wait to see what new adventures, Christmas inspirations, and recipes you bring.