Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thanksgiving Celebration and Christmas Lights


Tom thought the campground dinner was enough of a Thanksgiving celebration, but Nicolas was off for the actual Thanksgiving holiday (and Friday and Saturday!), and I wanted to make my own dinner . . . so I bought a turkey!  It was just going to be the three of us, so it was a fairly low-key dinner, but delicious.

Nicolas had duty on Wednesday, so he got home early Thursday morning.  While he and Tom finished up a few little projects at his camper, I made some cookies,

Cookies for dessertand got the turkey ready to go into the oven as soon as the cookies were done.

Ready for the oven

With the turkey roasting in the oven, I got to work on an apple pie (Nicolas’ favorite) for dessert.

Apple Pie ready for the ovenIn the meantime, Nicolas came back and it soon became evident that he didn’t get much sleep the night before! 

Nicolas didn;t get much sleep last night!

I took his computer and sent him to my bedroom, where he slept until it was time for dinner!

Soon enough, everything was done and it was time to eat!

Thanksgiving Feast

YUM – It was a delicious dinner!

Casey wonders where her plate is!!


Meanwhile back in Michigan,  Bryce was celebrating with my family,

Bryce with the family

and my great-niece, Emma, was enjoying her first Thanksgiving with real food!


After getting cleaned up from dinner, we had time for a little rest while Nicolas went home for a shower . . . then it was time for some shopping!

We were treated to a beautiful sky as the sun went down for the evening.

Sunset_November 23rd

Nicolas has had his LG G4 phone since Black Friday two years ago, and he’s hated it almost that entire time.  He was ready for a new phone -- he wanted to try an iPhone, and we determined that Walmart had the best deal on them . . . beginning at 6pm on Thursday.

We arrived at the Walmart in Suffolk shortly after 6 to find a completely full parking lot!  Wow – lots of people out shopping on Thanksgiving!  We made our way though the chaos to the Electronics counter, only to find that they were out of the iPhone 7, which was the model Nicolas wanted.  So, we left there and continued on to Newport News and another Walmart.  This one was also very crowded, although slightly less chaotic due to the plan in place by Walmart staff, and the multitude of extra people they had on hand.  After being grilled about the item we were looking to buy in the Electronics Department, we were allowed to enter and get in line to sign up for a phone appointment.  When we reached the counter, Nicolas was pleased to hear that they did still have several of the iPhone 7, and he was given an appointment for 5pm on Friday.  On our way out of the store, we picked up a 9.89 griddle for Nick and a 9.89 coffee pot for Tom and I.  Our Thanksgiving shopping was complete.

Our reason for driving to Newport News was that Nicolas had heard that their Christmas light display was one of the best in Hampton Roads, so that was our ultimate destination.  It happened to be just down the road from Walmart!

Newport News Light Show

The light show was a lot less crowded than Walmart!  Smile

It was a good show,


Cute train

and they had some really interesting light – a beautiful forest of multi-colored trees,

A forest of multi-colored trees

icicles dripping from the trees, and lighted balls hanging from trees and sprinkled across the lawn.

Lighted balls in the trees

Santa greeted us as we entered Santa Land,


Santa Land

complete with the Candy Cane Company and Santa’s Workshop.

Candy Cane Co

The North Pole

It was a nice show, worth the $12 cost per vehicle,


and not nearly as crowded as the one we went to last year at St. James Island in Charleston . . . not quite as elaborate, either, though.

It was a nice way to finish off our Thanksgiving celebration . . .

but wait, we still had pie at home!

Mmmm . . . apple pie!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Early Thanksgiving Feast and the Grand Illumination Parade

Sweet Potatoes

On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the campground held a potluck Thanksgiving feast for the whole park.  They roasted a half-dozen turkeys and several hams (they started cooking them a couple days before, and you could smell them through the whole campground!), and everybody brought side dishes.

In the morning before the feast, Tom and I went into Suffolk to check out the Farmers Market and Christmas Bazaar.


Mr. PeanutEverybody was getting into the Christmas spirit – even Mr. Peanut!

It was a nice Farmers Market, but small, and we didn’t buy anything.  Tom enjoyed the Petting Zoo, though!

Tom liked the petting zoo

Back at the campground, I got my dinner contributions ready.  I made Tom’s favorite – sweet potatoes – and a pan of brownies for dessert. 

Unfortunately, Nicolas had duty that day, so he couldn’t be there . . . but Tom and I went to the dinner with several of Nicolas’ neighbors in the monthly loop.  There was tons of food, and nobody walked away hungry!  We were able to fix a plate for Nicolas to enjoy the next day, too.

Dinner was at 1pm, so we were still able to make it to 4pm mass, and then to downtown Norfolk for the Grand Illumination Parade in the evening.  We’d been to Norfolk a couple of times with Nicolas, and I had a general idea of where the parade was going to be . . . but we were not prepared for the massive crowd that was there on this Saturday night!  Nick told us it gets crowded on Saturdays, but I think everybody in the Hampton Roads area was downtown for the parade!!

We finally found our way to a parking structure just a block off the parade route, and it was only $5 for the evening . . . perfect!  We had over an hour until the parade start, so we walked along the parade route, moving closer to the starting point. 

We walked by Urban Ice – a shop that makes “rolled” ice cream – and decided to give it a try.  Basically, you choose your base flavor, mix-ins, and toppings (unlimited mix-ins and toppings for a single price), and the ice cream is made right in front of you on a metal plate over dry ice.

First they mix the base ingredients and mix-ins, combining until it all blends and starts to freeze,

Urban Ice

Then they spread it thin and add the toppings (and if they’re really creative, they write your name in topping!)

So cool!

That was so cool – my name written in caramel!

Next, using a spatula, the thin sheet of ice cream is scraped off the ice-cold metal plate into rolls.

Ice cream rolls

More toppings sprinkled over the finished ice cream, and it’s done!

The finished product!

A yummy coffee-toffee-caramel sundae!

Coffee and toffee and caramel -- YUM!

That was fun . . . and tasty, too!

After enjoying our ice cream treats, we claims a spot on the sidewalk and waited for the parade to start. 

Illumination Parade

Naval Station Norfolk is celebrating 100 years in Norfolk, and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (in Portsmouth) is celebrating 250 years this year, so ships and sailors were prominent on many floats, as well as the theme of the parade in general, “From Sea to Shining Sea”.

Navy Ship float

Navy Band

Navy Shipyard float

Navy Ship float

Even some organizations that aren’t part of the Navy got in on the Navy theme!

Another Navy themed float

There was even a Blue Angels balloon.

Blue Angels balloon

This was probably the best of the Navy floats, though – very realistic looking.

Another ship

I think every High School in the area had their marching band in the parade – they were all very good!

High School Band

Another well-lit band

Firetrucks, too, from all the surrounding communities,


and several vintage trucks!

Vintage Firetruck


Love this poodle in the front seat!

Love the poodle!

There were a bunch of large balloons in the parade, but we weren’t in a good spot to see them.  We were right between two arches that crossed the road, so all the balloons had to be down close to the ground when they went past us, and we didn’t get a good look at them.

We were in a bad spot to see balloons

There were a couple dog rescue groups, but the cutest had to be the P.U.G.S

Pugs U Gotta Save

Pugs U Gotta Save

My pictures of them didn’t turn out too good, but they were so cute!

So many cute little pugs!

A group of VW’s,


and some crazy dancing dinosaurs!

Crazy dinosaurs!

Then there were the vehicles covered with as many lights as they could get on them!

I think this may have been the brightest float!

LOTS of lights on the recycling truck!

Old Dominion Energy

Then the final float of the parade – on a float completely covered in white lights – the big guy himself!

Santa Claus!

Santa's Arrival!

It was a really nice parade, and we thoroughly enjoyed it . . . it would have been nice if Nick could have gone with us!

After the final float passed us, we merged with the mass of people making their was back towards the parking structure and the train – wall to wall people! 

We got back to our Jeep and started to leave the parking structure, but we just weren’t going anywhere!  So we decided to wait it out – we pulled back into a parking spot and walked back to the now-deserted street.  We went into the Brick Anchor Brew House and enjoyed a nightcap while traffic cleared.


That worked out perfectly – we got back to the jeep at 10pm, and the structure was nearly empty, and all the roads were clear!  It was a really nice evening, and Norfolk is definitely a fun town!  I think Nicolas will like living here for the next few years!