Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Tree Lighting and Thanksgiving

On November 22, Camana Bay had their annual Christmas tree lighting. We had a blast last year, and made sure to mark the date again this year. We enjoyed the choirs and orchestra, but our not-so-great seats kept me from getting a good shot of the show. But here's the beautiful tree all lit up!

Camana Bay is always one of my favorite places on island, but it's especially magical this time of year. They do a great job decorating. These trees are awesome!

Thanksgiving was the next week, but unfortunately Brent had to work. I wasn't going to miss the parade two years in a row though, so I joined Jeremy and Sheena for a little brunch that morning. Once Brent got home from work, we headed to Wes and Dan's place for a traditional American feast. We had such good memories from last year, and were thrilled when they offered to host again. There were about 25 people, and everyone brought a dish. It was a lot of food, but I think we managed :)

The next Sunday, Jenn hosted another "Thanksgiving" for work people. Last year, she had everyone bring a traditional American dish, but this year everyone brought something from their country. It was a fun twist. The perogies and yorkshire pudding were my favorites!

I tried a new recipe for sweet potato casserole, which I thought turned out fabulously (pictured in back left). I will definitely be repeating this one for future Thanksgivings!

Can't have a Thanksgiving meal without the turkey! Jenn made a 20-pounder, along with stuffing and a green bean casserole. She's amazing!

Another year full of blessings. It's weird writing a post with all these links to the same events from last year. I'm in shock that the first 13 months of our island adventure have already passed. We still thank God for this opportunity and are loving every moment with our wonderful friends and Cayman's beautiful scenery.

Most likely this is the last post before our holiday trip to the States. My sister's wedding is December 17, and I can't wait to see her as a beautiful bride. Then we head to South Carolina for Christmas and New Years. It should be a wonderful trip. We can't wait to reconnect with family and friends!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love Christmas. I love it, I love it, I love it. And lucky for me, I married someone who loves it just as much, if not more.

This post is a little belated, but probably more seasonally appropriate then when we actually put up our tree on November 1st. Brent was so excited to start the holiday festivities, he was asking to put it up at the end of October. I told him that was too soon, but he convinced me to do it as soon as it turned to November. Since we leave December 10, I do think it's nice to have it up early so we get to enjoy it longer.

We got home from volunteering on Tuesday night and made it as Christmas-y as possible. Christmas music, balsam and cedar candle, hot chocolate, Christmas movie.

Remember our little tree from last year? It only has two sections, so putting it up doesn't take long!

Adding the tinsel

Last year we did candy canes for ornaments, but they got really sticky and no one wanted to eat them. So this year we decided to cut snowflakes. It was actually really fun. Brent came up with the idea that anyone who comes to our apartment has to cut a snowflake and put it up. So now even Joy has one on there!

We finished the night snuggling up to our first Christmas movie of the season. Ah, life is very, very good!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Joy's Visit - Pirate's Week

On Friday night, we headed to George Town for the Pirate's Week festivities. We got there early and were surprised by how empty it seemed. We secured a spot in front of the water and watched the crowds flock in. It was tough work saving room for Jenn and Nate, but we held our ground.

I'm embarrassed at the amount of firework pictures I took, but decided not to bore you with more than two. It was a good show!

After fireworks, the five of us explored the food vendors and ended up at our favorite, Stingray Kisses Donuts. Donuts have become a Pirate's Week tradition!

We left George Town and headed to Jeremy and Sheena's for an 11.11.11 party. Brent had the idea to celebrate the date with a get together, but with Joy here I didn't want to organize anything. Luckily Sheena stepped up to co-host, and they threw a great party! We had mozzarella sticks, licorice, pretzel sticks, beef jerky (all stick foods to look like the number "1"). Brent created an awesome trivia game where all the questions related to the number one or eleven. Then we did a little countdown to 11:11 pm. It was a lot of fun, and a good chance to show Joy what great friends we have.

The next day, Joy, Brent and I went back to George Town a few hours before the parade to explore and get lunch. "It's Sugar" is quickly becoming one of my favorite stores. I don't ever plan to buy anything there, but it's so colorful and fun!

Brent was in awe of the "world's largest gummy bear." It was surprisingly heavy! They also had the world's largest gummy worm...$48 each!

We went to Beaches by the Bay for lunch. I stopped and asked if I could get a picture with these two friendly pirates.

Lunch was fun, but the crowds and heat made the parade a little less enjoyable. They do some a show where the governor gets captured by pirates, which I thought would be entertaining, but it was SO long and drawn out! We were ready to leave before the parade even started! Luckily we moved to a shaded, less crowded spot and enjoyed the first part of the parade from there. But I recommend skipping the preshow and just going to the parade for future attendees.

On Sunday we went to Spotts beach and on Monday afternoon we did a stingray city boat tour. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera for either of these events. You'll just have to check out Joy's facebook pictures for those adventures. But I did remember to bring my camera for our last dinner together. We went to Casanova, which is a restaurant right on the water in George Town. It was mine and Brent's first time there, and we really enjoyed it. Great food, atmosphere, view...and of course, company!

Check out that sunset!

I had a blast hanging out with my little sis all week. When we were in Cincinnati, Joy would come over for dinner once a week, and I really miss those evenings together. Joy was such an easy-to-please, laid back guest. I'm so happy we got to share a piece of our island adventure with her.

Before the visit I was thrilled that Joy would be here 10 days rather than just a week, but it still went by so fast! The apartment felt very empty without her on Tuesday. At least we get to see her and the rest of the family in a month at Christmas!

We love you, Joycerina! Thanks for coming to see us!

Joy's Visit - Rum Point, AlFresco, Camana Bay, and Abacus

Prior to getting on island, the one thing Joy requested to do was "the beach with hammocks." So our first day on the island, we headed to my favorite, Rum Point.

This visit did not disappoint. We had beautiful weather, enjoyed the hammocks, did some snorkeling, read in the shade, got drinks, browsed the gift shop. It was the longest Brent and I have stayed there, and it was so fun!

On Tuesday night, we headed to AlFresco for dinner. We just missed the sunset, but still got these great beach shots outside the restaurant.

The view from our table

The next day, Joy and I had Brent drop us off at lunch at Camana Bay. We saw a movie and then spent the rest of the afternoon checking out the observation tower and shops. We spent a good portion just relaxing on the rocking chairs outside the book store too.

On Thursday, we planned on going to Grand Old House's Pasta Night. This was the first night of Pirates Week, and there was CRAZY traffic. It took us an hour to get to the restaurant, and then once we got there, it was closed for a private party. We were so bummed. We decided to salvage the night and head to Abacus instead.

My pumpkin tortellini (pictured in the middle) was amazing! It broccolini, toasted almond, roasted apple, and parmesan cheese.

Thanks to Remembrance Day, we had a long weekend to enjoy together. Those pictures are coming up in the next post...stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More B-Day Fun

As I mentioned on Brent's b-day post, we did a Community Season 2 marathon with friends to kick off his birthday weekend. Jenn, my faithful co-Cayman photographer, brought her camera and snapped a few pictures which can be seen on her recent blog post.

Brent decided to invite our friends over the Friday before my birthday for homemade lasagna. I have to give this guy massive credit...he did the shopping, the cooking, AND all the dishes by himself. I kept offering to help, and the only thing he let me do was count the lasagna noodles (is that even a real job?). Oh yes, he even picked the recipe himself:

Brent's famous "cooking face" - smeared with flour:

Fresh from the oven, the finished product:

photo credit: JSS

For dessert, Sheena offered to make these Deep Dish Cookies. Here's the gang "helping" with the cookie dough:

No b-day party would be complete without birthday candles!

Thanks so much to all our friends who helped celebrate mine and Brent's birthdays. You are our surrogate-family!