Johnny Turns 7! – August 30th

On Sunday we celebrated Johnny’s 7th birthday (his actual birthday is September 1st). Mom and Dad Vassallo hosted the festivities which included a fabulous BBQ, great music and games - what a great day to get together with family!
Dad manned the BBQ and Mom made all the wonderful food. The kids played ladder ball and basketball, while the adults chatted.
The festivities were topped off with the opening of presents and dessert: Crazy Cake, cupcakes and cookies – yum!
Happy Birthday Johnny - We love you!!!

10th Wedding Anniversary! – May 22nd

Note: For some reason this post was never published, so it’s a little out of order.
On May 22nd Larry and I celebrated our 10th anniversary! I don’t know where the 10 years went – they just flew by.
To celebrate we went to our favorite weekend getaway…Madison, Wisconsin. Here are a few photos of our weekend – which included our typical standbys of “fun”: Dinner at Sardines, hanging out on the Square going to Larry’s favorite bar Genna’s and a pedicure for me (yay!)

To my wonderful husband Larry – you are my best friend and always make me feel that I am exactly where I am supposedly to be – right next to you. I love you with all my heart.
Here’s to us Sweetie!

Summer BBQ - July 11th

During the beginning of 2009 Larry and I decided that we needed to have a big family and friend BBQ this summer. We were always "threatening" to have one, but never did - so this was the year when we finally pulled the trigger and entertained!

The nice thing was that Scott and Gwen were going to be able to come to the party and planned on staying the whole weekend, which was great because we'd get to see them not too long after our South Carolina vacation.

Well after several months of planning, we had our BBQ on July 11th. It was great to get the Mays (Larry's Family), the Vassallos and Ellmans(my family and Carol's family), and our friends together. When it was all said and done, I think we had around 40 people.

I had so much fun planning and coordinating how I wanted the back yard to look and planning the menu. I love to entertain and other than the fact that I never sat down during the party, I think everyone had a great time.

Most people left at dusk, but Scott, Gwen, Vern, Joann, Joe and Caroline stayed late, which was nice because they were able to see the beautiful party lights Larry strung up along the fence, gazebo and tree - it looked great - very cozy.

I will tell you that although the party was wonderful, it knocked me out - best to do these shindigs not too close together, lest one has a nervous breakdown!

Everything went off without a hitch. We might do it again at some point - always good to get family and friends, food and drink together!

Atlanta & A Visit with Meg - May 3rd

Pretty much right after our wonderful vacation, I had a week long trade show in Atlanta that the association I work for puts on - so much for maintaining a zen-like bliss after vacation!

My friend Meg, whom I have known since high school, lives NE of the Cobb Galleria where the trade show was, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to visit with Meg, have her meet Larry (he was able to come and enjoy Atlanta while I was at the show), I could meet her husband and 2 kids and we could catch up - perfect plan!

Thankfully, Larry and I were able to get to Atlanta several days before I needed to be on-site and set up for the show and we were able to stay at Meg and Sam's house.

What can I tell was like Meg and I had just seen each other yesterday - we were able to catch up immediately. We talk on the phone, but actually having "face time" really was great. It was so much fun because I kind of felt like I was at a sleepover at her house like we did in high school.

Meg and Sam have two beautiful daughters - Riley and Mackenzie - too cute!

Unfortunately, we were only able to stay 1 night, but we had a blast! We definitely need to visit more often - the last time we saw each other was about 13 years ago in Chicago. But again, we talk often, so at least we keep each other in the loop with each other. Hopefully we'll see each other soon - "owe" us a visit to Chicago!

Port Royal, Bateaux & What a Sunset! - April 17th

After dinner we walked around Port Royal a bit - we wished we discovered it earlier in the trip - just a lovely and sleepy town on the water.

We then headed to Bateaux( drinks and to watch the sunset, which no one was on, so we thought it would be nice and quiet.

We went inside and asked the maitre d' if we could sit on the porch for drinks - he just kind of "sniffed" yes, which kind of threw us. Bateaux really is a lovely place and based on the reviews the food is apparently phenomenal...but the attitude on this man! Manners, or lack thereof, is a huge pet-peeve of mine...particularly in the service industry.

We went upstairs, which had a good number of people, and sat on the porch - just 4 of us - all to ourselves.

Our server took our drink order and I swear he had the same personality as the maitre d' - with lock-jaw voice to boot! Well, when he was bringing out our drinks he couldn't get the door open, so I see that he is struggling and get up to help him and he very curtly said "no!" to me and very sternly told another server to open the door. We were all kind of in shock. I was just being polite and quite frankly, whether it's appropriate of not for a guest to offer help, the man needed I tried to help!

He finally warmed up to us and we figured out that the cranky maitre d' seemed to have everyone on pins and needles, so no wonder our server was acting so stiff and panicked.

So we relaxed on the porch, sipped our drinks, sampled strawberries and enjoyed the beautiful sunset - truly a great last night on vacation! I definitely would have dinner at Bateaux if we were in the area again - the menu did look quite delicious.

Back at the house it was a packing fest! But of course, we left enough time for some last night games and wine!

On Saturday, we packed up and dropped Scott and Gwen off at the Charleston Airport before Larry and I continued on to IL - however, not before we stopped in Knoxville at our new-favorite Cuban restaurant, Little Havana (

This was a fabulous vacation - it's always a blast when we travel with Scott & Gwen!

Now back to reality and on to Atlanta for a business trip in May - I definitely will need a nap somewhere - I feel that I will be running on empty shortly.

MoonDoggies & Boo II - April 17th

When we reached Port Royal we decided to get a quick bite to eat to tide us over until dinner, which we decided would be a BBQ place that looked pretty good.

So we went to MoodDoggies Cafe, which was a sandwich shop. There were hardly any people inside which was a shame because the owners could not have nicer - although we were there at an "off" time, so I'm hoping it was just the time.

The wife/owner is apparently is related to someone who provides the peppers to the Tabasco Company and she made her own homemade hot sauce from these peppers - she gave us a sample and Larry and Scott said it was phenomenal. The "boys" then decided to order fried pickles, which I have to tell you, turned my stomach at the thought of it - and I like pickles!

Fried pickles...tasty!

But you know what? Oh my gosh...were they spectacular! I only took 2 because I can see how'd they'd be addictive and one could eat a basket before you know it - and where would that get me? Chubby!

The owners cat was hanging around the porch, so animal person that I am, I went to pet it. But as I was going towards it it went outside on the porch and saddled up to the skinniest raccoon I have ever seen!

Boo II (yes, apparently there was a Boo I) was a raccoon that showed up on the restaurant porch one day as a baby and the owners fed it and it kept on coming back.

Honestly, if I could have hugged this thing, I would have because it was that cute.

Boo II actually takes food out of his "owners" hands (I think he actually lives in a tree or something on their property and comes in for food), so I guess he/she is pretty domesticated. And I guess since Boo II lives in their back yard, they weren't really concerned with him/her getting sick with rabies - so they felt pretty comfortable. But I still wasn't going to go there.

Anyway, as you can see, Boo II is quite cute!

I think Boo II looks like a little bear cub - don't you agree?

MoonDoggie's was yet another place we loved - mostly because of the owners being so nice and hospitable - another great moment on vacation!

The BBQ place on the other hand was only OK and no alcohol because they let their liquor license expire (???) But we were all in such a good mood, it didn't really matter.