Thursday, March 15, 2012

Three States, One Weekend!

So this weekend we visited three states.  I know, I know that is not always an accomplishment, especially if you live on the east coast or if you are taking a road trip.  However, it can be an accomplishment in the mid-west. Right?  Maybe?  Okay, we do live in one of the states but we did actually do activities in all three states.

What states did we visit this weekend?  Well we visited Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. It was a very busy weekend!

It is always nice to take a mini vacation and get away for a little bit.  This weekend the Husband had something to do for work on Saturday afternoon in Covington, KY. Please note this is not something that his company was paying for us to stay overnight, ect. and  we had already been planning on visiting the Cincinnati area sometime in the near future since, 1.  We had been wanting to take a trip to Cincinnati (I have not been since I was little and went to Kings Island.) 2. We had purchased two admissions to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY off of DealChicken (I know, I know, me and my deals right?  Seriously this was a good deal!) And since we had not seen my parents in a little bit we decided to invite them along for one of the nights that we would be staying there.

Since the Husband's work thing was being held at the Holiday Inn (Cincinnati-Riverfront) hotel in Covington, KY, we decided to go ahead and book our rooms there.  Which worked for me because if you have read any of my past posts then you will know that I am a Priority Club Member (I love to earn points) or we have a friends and family discount that we can use for the Holiday Inn family brand.  Of course, you can not use both. :-)  This time since there was a points promotion going on and the friends and family discount would only save me about $30.00 w/taxes included in this figure for two nights, so $15.00 a night, I decided to spend the extra money so I could get the points.  This was a much better deal for us.  The Holiday Inn that we stayed at was on the older side and in an older section of town, maybe a little rougher at night but it was not to bad.  The rooms were updated and clean, the staff was friendly and we had a view of the river.  So I was a happy camper.

We arrived later on Friday night, checked in and then headed across the street to try out Skyline Chili.  Yuck!  That is what I have to say about that.  Sorry to all of you Cincinnati folks who love this place but I thought it was disgusting.  I will stick to Steak N' Shake's chili in the future.

The next morning we slept in a little bit and took our time getting ready, you can do this when you do not have children. Well I do have the Husband and he can be very difficult to get up in the mornings, on the weekend.  However, we were up and ready and decided to grab an early lunch before his work thing, which was at one.  We walked across the street to try out Riverfront Pizza, oh urbanspoon, you let me down.  This place had good reviews and was cheap so we figured we would give it a try.  I think I will use the phrase I used above, Yuck!  Their meatball sub was pretty good but their pizza was terrible.  It tasted like a cheap tombstone to me.  At this point in time we were batting a zero on the restaurant front. After lunch it was back to our room while the Husband prepared for his work thing and I waited for my parents to arrive.

The Husband went off to his work thing and my parents arrived.  Now, if you have ever vacationed with my Father, you would know that you need a vacation after the vacation.  He will wear you out!  First stop was the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption.  It is free to tour but donations are accepted.  I was very impressed.  The pictures we took do not do the stained glassed windows or the church justice.  I think that this Catholic Church was even more beautiful then many of the Churches that I saw in France.  It was breathtaking.

Next, were were off to Loveland, OH to visit the Chateau Laroche (Castle).  Now, I admit I was not very impressed with this destination.  I just did not think that it was that neat but it was only $3.00 dollars to get in so at least there was not a lot of money spent.  You tour yourself and there is not really that much to see.  The story surrounding it is neat but that is about the only thing I thought was impressive about it. So moving on.

The next destination was to Graeter's Ice Cream shop.  Now, I had been to a Graeter's Ice Cream shop around where I live and I had not been impressed but my parents had been to one in Cincinnati before and wanted to go and get a snack. Well, I am glad we went, I got a frozen coffee drink that was to die for, so maybe it is just the Graeter's around me that is not that great.

Now the time to meet back up with the Husband had come.  Did I mention the fact that his work thing had finished while we were gone, so he went over to Cincinnati to visit a computer store and a couple of gun shops?  How did he get out of sightseeing with my parents?

We had reservations that night to eat at the Bonefish Grill.  Now, I realize this is a chain but I have to admit I love their fish.  If you can't have fresh fish on the east coast, then I am happy with the Bonefish.  This worked out perfectly because my parents had a gift card and we did too!  So all we basically owed at the end of our meal was the tip.  What a way to save money and have a nice and enjoyable meal!

The night was over and it was time to retire to our rooms for the night.  I knew my Dad would be up early in the morning and ready to go and do things.  So early we rose and packed our stuff.  It was time for breakfast, we can't miss the most important meal of the day can we?  The Husband got to pick where we went.  Mom and I were really hoping he would choose well or Dad would take his choosing privileges away in the future. So his choice, drum roll please...First Watch.  Phew, he picked a good one, Dad will let him choose places in the future. Urbanspoon, you did not let us down this time!  After breakfast was done we killed a little time before heading to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY.  This is where my DealChicken coupon comes in to play. DealChicken was doing a promotion that if some one signed up from your link they would get $5.00 of their purchase and once they made their purchase $10.00 would be deposited in to your account.  Since the Husband did not have an account I made him sign up so we would get $5.00 off the tickets and $10.00 in my account.  So total purchase price $20.00, not to bad!  Since the tickets are usually $25.00 a person, I think we got a good deal.

So we arrived at the Creation Museum.  The staff there is super friendly, I was very impressed.  The exhibits were interesting but I am not sure I would want to spend $50.00 for the both of us to go.  The tour of the museum took about 2 1/2 - 3 hrs.  I think The Husband and Dad enjoyed it more than my mom and I did. :) Unfortunately we did not get a chance to go to the petting zoo, I know I am such a kid at heart or to tour the beautiful gardens.  I was really sad about this but everyone was getting hungry and we did not want to eat there, so maybe another time.  The gardens really did look amazing!

So our next stop was how we ended up in Indiana, the closest town with some restaurants was Lawrenceburg, Indiana.  So we headed over the state line to grab something to eat.  We ended up eating at this place called Lawrenceburger.  It was a really small hamburger place and it was pretty good, if I was in the area I would eat there again.  Ironically I did not order a hamburger but I did take a bite of the Husband's burger and it was good.  I would not order the chili cheese fries again though because they were kind of watery.

Well our weekend adventure had come to an end.  It was time for my parents and the Husband and I to go our separate ways.  Them back to their home and us back to ours. It is always sad when a vacation has to come to an end, of course that is if you are enjoying your vacation and we were enjoying ours.

So until next time, when I post again!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Feeling Blessed & Thankful

As I sit here and type this I am thinking to myself how lucky and blessed we are.  Things could have gone a very different way on Friday.

Friday was a very bad day for parts of Southern Indiana and Kentucky.  There were multiple outbreaks of tornadoes.  We knew in advance that this was a possibility but you never know where the tornadoes will touch down, so all you can do is be alert and aware of the situation.  As the bad weather was fast approaching, schools were letting out early and businesses were closing.  I sent an e-mail to my boss and the manager on site to let them know that I was going to head home and work from there.  Just after I sent that e-mail the manager on site came over and told me to "boogie on home".  He had not received my e-mail yet but felt it was safer for me to go home.

About an hour or so after getting home the sirens started sounding.  I turned on the tv and called my husband.  He said that we should be okay, the main threat appeared to be a little north of us.  Little did we know the destruction that was going to occur.

The tornadoes did not hit where we lived but they were close to home, a little to close to home.  They completely destroyed a couple of towns near by us and caused significant damage to a few others. These places range anywhere from about 16-25 miles away from us.  The footage that was coming in was terrible, so many homes and businesses destroyed.  We were getting in touch with family and friends to make sure that they were okay, calling, texting and sending messages on Facebook.. Luckily none of our family or friends were hurt or had any damage done to their properties. 

The scenes just tear at your heart.  Lives were lost, but thankfully because of the warning many more were spared. You sit there and just feel for these people and their families.  You want to know what can you do to help them.  You thank God that you, your family and friends are okay.  That you have a roof over your head and food to eat.

Our Church was in contact with a retreat center that is housing volunteers and feeding families that were affected by the tornadoes.  They asked if the members could cook and bring soup to them to feed these individuals.  As soon as my husband and I saw this post from our minister at Church, we knew what we had to do, it did not matter that it was 9:00 p.m. at night.  We went through our pantry to see what we had to throw together a large pot of soup and off my husband went to get the rest of the ingredients that were needed and to get some crackers and cookies to send as well.

Off we went to Church this morning for service and to deliver the soup and other items.  It was amazing how much soup and other items that the other families made as well and the quick work that we did to load up the truck that would be delivering the food. As we finished this I felt good that there was at least a little something that we could do to help at this time and to see how the church and the community are pulling together to help those in need.  

I know there will be more opportunities to assist in the coming days, as the damage is assessed and the individuals that were affected start to pull their lives back together.  I think of this Bible verse that my friend posted on Facebook on Friday. "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, Therefore I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:22-24 

As my friend said "These are the prophet Jeremiah's words after the destruction of Jerusalem.  Amidst total destruction, he looked to the Lord for his strength. May the people in Southern Indiana do the same."  I think this is very well put.

So as I sign off of here I pray for all of the individuals that were affected by this terrible storm and that they can find strength in the Lord.