Saturday, December 18, 2010

Yummy Guest Post on GOODEness Gracious

Cris, my big sister, asked me to do a post for her blog over at GOODEness Gracious. She has been blogging a LOT longer than I have and has an AWESOME blog. I was obviously honored at this request. Cris has a cooking project going with Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks called the Goode & Gooseberry Project.


When she saw the Sweet Potato Crunch recipe was almost the same recipe I used for my Sweet Potato Casserole, she knew I had to do this post. Trust me on this one...you want this recipe. It is so good that even sweet potato skeptics, like my Michael, will be won over! So head on over to GOODEness Gracious and check out my latest post and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Perfect Weekend: Part 2

So here we are in Cherokee. I’m a little bit worried that Michael might be perturbed that I took him down the wrong road. Was he at all? Nope. We even stopped to get some pictures with the beautiful scenery in the background. :)

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As we drove up higher in the mountains, we were back in the clouds. We get up to this one sharp curve and Michael goes straight. I am pretty sure I died right there, at that moment. God sent me back though. :) I was following the road with my eyes and did not see the parking area ahead of us. Michael DID see the parking area ahead of us, but thought that was the road and was quite startled at my scream and then the realization that he was indeed not on the road anymore.

As we go to leave this parking area, we see the Tenessee/North Carolina State line sign. I told Michael we needed to get a picture. He was skeptical of how exactly we would be able to fit us and the sign in a self taken picture. I told him to trust me. So he took the picture.

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HA! I was right!  *Note the “she’s crazy, but I’ll go along with it” look on Michael’s face. haha :)

This is also about the time that we found out that we needed to take the road that goes toward Cades Cove NOT the road that goes toward Cherokee to get to Laurel Falls.
Still, Michael was a trooper. And together, we enjoyed the beauty of the drive.

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We get to the bottom of the mountain and turn where we should have turned a couple hours earlier. We drive approximately 3 or so miles and TADA! There is the Laurel Falls trailhead.

It is has been raining off and on all day at this point and misting when we get there, so we put on some rain gear and head up the path.

The hike up there is an easy, but dangerous one. There are no railings and steep drop offs. Silly me didn’t get a picture of the morbid sign cautioning parents. It warned that falling deaths have occurred and to keep a tight reign on your kids. The scenery is gorgeous…I highly recommend it. Then at the end of the trail, you are rewarded with this natural beauty.

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There were some nice people to take our picture there and we did the same for them….then there were some more nice people, so we were more than happy to get some more pictures. :)

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As you can tell from the pictures, it was raining and creeping ever closer to dark. We were in our own little world though and were there after everyone left.

Michael and I had been standing near the falls just enjoying it and talking and holding each other close. Then my life changed.

Michael: I love you so very much.
Me: I love you too hunny.
Pause…kiss…pause
Michael: I adore you.
Me: (big smile…I love it when he says that) I adore you
Pause…kiss…pause…tight hug
Michael: I want to spend the rest of my life with you

He pulled back, unzipped his coat, pulled out a box, opened it…and this is what I saw.
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Then he got down on one knee ( in the rain and all) and said, “Sara Lynn Benefiel,will you marry me?”

By this point, I was smiling so big and the tears were streaming from joy. So I TECHINICALLY did not say yes. I just nodded yes VERY enthusiastically. :)

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And that is how my amazing, wonderful boyfriend became my amazing, wonderful fiancĂ©.  :)

The Perfect Weekend: Part 1

This past weekend was the most amazing weekend. Michael and I left work early on Friday and headed down to Tennessee.  We always have fun on the drive…just talking, laughing, singing and taking pictures (of course).

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There was a BEAUTIFUL sunset that my poor timing did not allow me to capture completely. Between interstate speeds, trees and mountains, this was the best picture I could get. Just trust me…it was a breathtaking sunset. :)

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We made it safe and sound to our hotel, unloaded, changed and headed over to the home of my lifelong best friend, Heather.

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Heather and I were pleasantly surprised that our Michaels (her hubby’s name is Michael) get along fabulously. They were strangers before we walked through the door that night and had almost as hard of a time wrapping up the visit as we did. Almost. :)We finally pried ourselves away somewhere around 1:00 am and headed back to the hotel.

The next morning we went to Smoky Mountain Breakfast House…of course….for our traditional breakfast of WAY too much food. Then we headed to the mountains in search of the Laurel Falls trailhead.


We headed out on the road to Cherokee, NC and saw over and over again how the Smokies got their name. It was amazing.

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We could see the clouds rolling around the mountains. It was like they were doing a slow, fluid dance. Breathtaking.

We went further down the road and we were IN the clouds….they were so dense you could barely see the road at some points. I did not get those particular times on film digital (?) though. I was more concerned about helping Michael figure out exactly where the road was and where the edge of the mountain was!


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As we reached the top of the mountain…it dawned on me. We hadn’t seen a single sign of the Laurel Falls trailhead. Had we missed it in the fog? I thought it was only a few miles out of Gatlinburg. Hmmm. Maybe I was wrong.  And down we go the other side of the mountain. Nope. It was not on the other side of the mountain.

Cherokee is on the other side of the mountain. Since we were already there, we HAD to stop and get the traditional photo in front of the teepee. Gramma Knight started this tradition (I think) and it is one I always keep if I am in Cherokee.

So, this one is in memory of Gramma Knight. She definitely would have approved.


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To be continued… (soon) :)
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