Friday, November 15, 2013

This post will give you gift card envy...

Last Saturday morning when I got out of bed (after sleeping in)  I came into the living room and my guys were watching cartoons.  I sat down on the couch and told them we had to do something.  We don't have a lot of extra money so we don't go and do very much....Which reminds me:  Aaron got a new job and starts it on Monday.  He will no longer have to use up $400+ a month on gas driving
almost an hour and half each way to work!!!  He will be about 25 minutes from home.  That alone is a raise-but he is getting a base salary raise, car allowance (I drive a '95 Jeep, Aaron drives a '97 Malibu...any day now we may need to use that car allowance.  We pray daily for our beloved, aged, paid off, vehicles), phone allowance (because he has to have a smart phone for work and we don't have smart phones since we are poor), and bonuses.  Aaron is so excited because he will be 50% in the office and 50% in the field....But all that could really be for a whole other post....Back to last Saturday....Sooo, I mentioned maybe driving the hour up the mountain and heading to our old favorite restaurant
 The Moose Cafe.  Aaron said he was thinking the same thing and we remembered that about 3 years ago Aaron had won a $300 gift card to the Biltmore Estates.  I got it out and called them to see if it expired (it didn't).   Aaron then said, "Okay let's go!".  My response was yelling out for joy and running into the bedroom to get dressed and ready to go.  Jake and Aaron were laughing at me for my very excited response. :)  I was so ready to go and do something!!!  The mountains were calling me and I had to go!  We missed the peak color season, but it still was so beautiful as we headed up, what Jake used to call,
 "our mountain".  We got off on our old exit (We lived in Fletcher and Mtn Home was the other direction), which was named just for me.  I loved my Fletcher Mtn Home. It was an adorable house, that now has a statue of the Virgin Mary in the front yard.  It is amazing how you hold onto only the positive memories.  I forgot just how close the houses were in our old neighborhood.  It felt slightly claustrophobic...I loved that house so much, but now I don't have to miss it so much.
 The Moose Cafe was of course delicious!  Biscuits as big as your head.  Apple butter and molasses right on the table.  Mason jars to drink out of (we do that at our house too).  It is really funny that it is named the Moose Cafe since there aren't any moose in NC. :) Aaron and Jake got fried chicken breasts.  I got meatloaf.  You get two vegetable sides.  I love that dumplin's are a vegetable side.  Gotta love the South!

 All that food for only $25.  Aaron was complaining about being full but that didn't stop him from eating ice cream at the Farmers Market that is right next to the Moose Cafe.

 After we left the Farmers Market, we headed over to the Biltmore.  We were so excited to get season passes and still have $64 left over on the gift card!! Turns out we only had to get season passes for Aaron and me.  Jake gets in free with our pass since he is under 16.  The couple in front of us in line were going to come back the next day (you have to have a reservation during the holiday season) and they spent $118 to go in one time!  We are so excited to have a season pass and be able to go whenever we want!
 There is so much to do at the Biltmore Estates.  We didn't think we were going to be able to go through the house but when we bought (with the gift card) the passes they told us there was an opening to go into the house at 4:45.  We had over two hours to explore and only made it through the Village and the Farm.  There is a little museum we are going to go back and see.  I feel a project on the Vanderbilt's coming on.  I told Jake we will just load up our books and go and do school in the Spring, in the gardens. 
 Jake wants to take a Segway tour.  There is so much to do there that we will have to research it all just so we won't miss anything!

 Doesn't this look like a great place to take a family Christmas picture?  We had a great time playing with the old toys they had.  Simple toys that would get this generation of gamers and techies off the couch and having fun!

 We were excited to be able to go into the house and it was a treat because when I called that morning they said we wouldn't be able to get in.  The house was decorated beautifully for Christmas.  The library was amazing!

 Aaron was pointing out particular mountains to Jake.  We hiked some of them when we lived in Asheville.  It was so beautiful.  We saw deer in the yard.  There was a couple standing near us that thought they weren't real. :)

 We didn't get back outside the house until it was dark, so next time I will have to take a picture of this area outside the house.  It is a large...for lack of the right term, walking garden.  Think Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle visit Pemberley.  That's what it reminded me of at least.  I know it is a different time period but it is easy to picture it as a Jane Austen novel.  I love it!

 It is a magical place this time of year!
 Best gift card ever....