Friday, October 12, 2018

Ava Jane's 6th Birthday

Ava Jane eagerly awaited her 6th birthday party; she'd been asking for a horse party for some time.  I knew that Krista Wilson with Krista's Corral did an excellent job so I set about planning her party and creating a fun event for her. However, the night before the big day, there was torrential rain that lasted all weekend long so we ended up having to reschedule her party for a couple of weeks away...there was definitely some disappointment, but we were able to get it planned again for two weeks later, finally enabling her to celebrate last week and boy was she thrilled!
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For snacks, we made it easy since it was happening right after school.  With Chex-Mix and MnM's, horse suckers (from Oriental Trading Company), sugar cookies, cupcakes, ice cream and waters, it was a simple menu, but one that was enjoyed by all.
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This handsome boy makes such a cute cowboy don't you think?IMG_3494-3
Ava Jane has such sweet friends.
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While waiting to ride the horses there was a few rounds of horseshoe throwing.
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Ava Jane enjoyed having many of her friends and family there.
IMG_3538There were relay races...
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....a hayride...
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....a photo booth in a real horse stall....
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...and it wouldn't be a complete party (at least in Ava Jane's mind) if there wasn't a piƱata!
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Sweet girl, we love you so much!  Daddy and I can hardly believe we have had the privilege of being your parents now for six whole years!  We are truly grateful and we love you so much!!
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Monday, October 8, 2018

Napa Valley Part 3

Our third and final day started off at Patland Winery.  At the top of Atlas Peak where four families call The Caves at Soda Canyon their home, are four first generation winemakers with the common goal of making delicious wines with an unwavering commitment to quality.
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Upon reaching the top of the peak the guys couldn't help themselves when they saw this huge rock formation, all they wanted to do was climb up on top and take a picture.
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They were so proud of themselves!


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For lunch we stopped at Kelleher Family Food and Wine Experience which was probably one of my favorite places we did a pairing and tasting.  The food they served was impeccable and oh so yummy.
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Our final stop of the day was at Clif Family Estate, as in the same Clif's that make the bar.  It was truly a boutique feel and one that we all really enjoyed.
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I was so grateful for the chance to get out of town with these two couples.  Getting away, making memories, enjoying time together while also having down time with my spouse in a beautiful location was a real gift.  I'm thankful that I have a husband that I consider my best friend, one who I enjoy being with and who loves me implicitly.   I'm so very thankful for these friends.  There's not a lot of people you can travel with for five days where something quirky or ugly doesn't come out, but honestly, these friends were wonderful and I feel blessed to call each one of these my friend.  (Tony, our driver from Napa Native, did a great job.  If you're headed to the wine country and want some one to give you some history, information and get you from one place to another in a timely manner, then we highly recommend Tyler the owner of Napa Native).
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Our trip to Napa was at a perfect time.  Adam and I needed a few days to get away from the pace of life as did the others on our trip.  We were thankful for the opportunity to get away and make some beautiful memories...until next time.
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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Napa Valley Part 2

We stayed at Senza this time.  It was just so-so, I would definitely not recommend this hotel, but it was centrally located in Napa so that was nice.  Since we didn't spend a lot of time there it worked out just fine.
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One positive was that it was right alongside a vineyard so one morning Adam and I woke up early and got to go walk among the vines and were able to watch the workers harvesting grapes.  They do it early in the morning and as fast as possible; they literally clip the bunches as quick as possible and run the crates back to the trucks.  It was pretty phenomenal to observe.
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Senza, was within walking distance of Ashes and Diamonds winery, which Adam and I didn't go to but some in our group did enjoy very much.
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Our first stop on our second morning was at Paraduxx.  It was a lovely winery where we got to actually meet the local grower of the grapes that were being crushed that day.  The older farmer clearly loved his grapes and wanted to stick around to watch them get processed; his John Deere hat was endearing to us all.  Paraduxx was a beautiful and dreamy winery that I would highly recommend visiting.
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They allowed us to try the grapes and the initial juice before fermentation and it tasted like a yummy smoothie!
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At Paraduxx we did something I had never done before, a blending seminar which I really enjoyed.  It's interesting how, when you combine different amounts of the same two wines, just slight changes makes a huge impact on the overall taste and feel of the wine.
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Our driver, Tony took us to a fun lunch place called Addendum which Thomas Keller owns.  Keller is an American chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer.  He and his landmark Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry in Yountville, California, have won multiple awards which will set you back a lot of so we visited his quick service boxed lunches to go of deliciously fried chicken, BBQ ribs, the yummiest sun-dried tomato pasta salad and coleslaw that is worth a stop in if you have the opportunity.  Its quaint, picnic styling with lights strung in the trees atmosphere was a real hit.
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Up til this point we had visited larger more commercial operations, the next few wineries were more boutique style, which was a totally different feel but was super fun to experience.  We loaded up and headed to White Rock at the top of Atlas Peak.  It was a bit of a drive but worth every mile. 
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Our tasting was inside a cave, which was fun.
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For our third and final stop of the day, I felt like we were in rare air.  We had a connection to Elan, a very boutique style winery, that only allows wine club members to stop in.  Linda and her husband Patrick were so incredibly hospitable and lovely to visit with.  They had us into their home, let us enjoy the beauty of their veranda, gave us a tour of their wine cellar where we had a wine barrel tasting.
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Our second day rounded out with dinner at Don Giovani, which is a local favorite.  If you go here, make sure and order (off menu) the fried olives for an appetizer, which came highly recommended, and they more then met our expectations.
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Bistro Don Giovanni


Ava Jane's 6th Birthday

Ava Jane eagerly awaited her 6th birthday party; she'd been asking for a horse party for some time.  I knew that Krista Wilson with Kris...