Yes, We're Still Alive...

...even though we spent a week in Branson. And did not go to a show. Nope, not one. Nor go to the lake. I know, you're thinking, "Are you still American?!?"

But there were a few things we did a lot of.....like, cook.


That's my mom. Unfortunately, she can't touch jalapenos without gloves, or she breaks out with an allergic reaction. Somehow I didn't inherit that from her, so I get all the chopping duties.

We made jalapeno poppers stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon, recipe compliments of the Pioneer Woman...

We had Brasato alla Siciliana (Sicilian-style pot roast), which is the most divine way of preparing a pot roast ever created by mankind...



kalamata olives + red wine + fresh lemon juice + tomatoes = heaven.

Oh, Shiraz, how I missed you.....


This is my attempt at food photography....oh so beautiful. (note sarcasm. i'm only trying to make you jealous for not being there to eat it. and please notice my enamel-coated cast iron dutch oven, compliments from aldi's for $25. take that, le creuset.)



And my little sister Amelia even got conscripted into hard labor  volunteered her assistance with shredding lemon peel....which lasted all of about 2 minutes, when she got bored and wandered off to do something else...


We had Thai food two nights, compliments of moi, and I have to say, it was probably the best Thai food Branson has seen, like, ever.


We had a grill-out night, and totally killed it with shrimp kabobs, ribeye steak, and marinated chicken breasts...oh yum.



This is my dad. Can you see the resemblance?? He mastered the ol' grill and made some amazing food.

But I promise we didn't just cook all the time. We also watched professionals cook on the Food Network. 

Haha.

Groupon had a sweet deal on ziplining, which my mom was dying to try out. So a big group of us went out and went wild! Well, as wild as you can in Branson.


That's Kevin on the right, Andrew's little bro, who came up for the weekend to hang out with us. I also got to see Rachel, one of my friends from growing up, and she is *gasp* preggers. So shocking, especially since she's like 2 months younger than me, and I still don't think she's old enough to be having a baby. She doesn't think so either, but it's happening anyways!


*squeal* baby!!!!!


And the guys? They golfed. And golfed. And golfed. Almost every day, even though the weather was hovering 95-100 degrees everyday. 


Oh well, as long as they're having fun!

So I'd say the vacation was a success. To be able to spend such a big chunk of time with both of our families was incredibly refreshing. It almost felt like we'd never left. It was also a very good excuse to enjoy all of our favorite American fun stuff, like cooking, and lots and lots of shopping, and playing games, grilling out, and just being a family together once again. It feels somewhat bittersweet as well, knowing that when we leave again, a year will elapse before we get to experience that again. So I guess we'll just suck life dry like an orange while we can!