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The Birmingham Museum of Art

The Birmingham Museum of Art

Throughout the multiple floors of The Birmingham Museum of Art, craftsmenship from many eras and collections from around the world are displayed in divided rooms. Free standing sculptures are arranged on the patio as well as smaller pieces throughout the gallery.

Local artists are also represented within the walls of the Birmingham museum. My oldest daughter has always found an interest in designing clothes, and we were fortunate enough to visit while dresses were on display, from the local college, made from miscellaneous materials such as newspaper, chains, and compact discs.

Taking kids to a museum may seem risky, but mine surprised me. I recommend explaining museum etiquette right before walking through the doors. I did and it helped a lot!

Photography from the museum is not allowed to be published; however, you can find lots of information and photos on their website.

Admission = Free

Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake

Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake

As we expected, the line led out from the lobby doors and spilled into the parking lot of The Cheesecake Factory. I quickly dodged my way to the front desk to get “on the list” while my family parked the car. By the time my family caught up with me, 7 to 10 families had been seated and we were next. I’ve waitressed for many years, and had never seen a crowd be moved to their seats so rapidly! We were all astonished!

With the girls in mind, we began with Fried Macaroni and Cheese. We didn’t expect to find macaroni and cheese quite so savory and I enjoyed the blush sauce they were served with, as well. The mashed potatoes were perfect, the Grilled Steak Medallions from the SkinnyLicious menu were wonderful, however I caught plate envy.  The girls split a Steak Diane platter and it was incredible (yes, I invoked the law: “she who writes the blog gets to taste everything”). My husband’s Smokehouse B.B.Q. Burger filled the air with a smoky barbeque aroma. Burgers are one of my husband’s most common requests, and this burger caused him to hum.

Chocolate Mouse Cheesecake

Chocolate Mouse Cheesecake

Who doesn’t save room for dessert at The Cheesecake Factory?!? Besides, if you’ve seen The Big Bang Theory you know that Michael is given free cheesecake for his birthday… So, we each chose our own piece from their list of 37 cheesecakes. I believe that we spent more time evaluating the dessert menu than the main menu! Between us we shared the Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake, Snickers Bar Chunks and Cheesecake, Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake, and the Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake. Although we have never met a cheesecake that we didn’t like, our idea of the perfect cheesecake has changed (it used to be mine). I must say that I’m happy to place second to a company titled “The Cheesecake Factory.” Our waiter was superb and our enjoyment of The Cheesecake Factory could not have been more thrilling unless the cast of The Big Bang Theory had joined us. However, discussing algorithms with Sheldon would have simply been the cherry on top.

Orr Park - A happy greeting as you enter the park.

Orr Park – A happy greeting as you enter the park.

Orr Park specializes in getting people outside to play with two playgrounds, six baseball fields, a walking trail and a football field. Shoal Creek flows through the park and offers opportunity for fishing, wading, canoeing, and kayaking! Taking all of this into account, I usually wouldn’t drive 30 minutes to a park when the Ocoee River is so close to home. In order to explain why this park is so special, we are going to rewind a bit…

In 1993, Montevallo, Alabama was one of the many cities devastated by a blizzard known as the “Storm of the Century.” It blanketed much of the east with approximately 20 inches of snow with little-to-no warning. This superstorm damaged many of the trees in Orr Park. Tim Tingle, a coal miner, received permission from the city to transform the broken trees into works of art! Now the park is filled with carvings of faces, mystical creatures and more!

Orr Park Playground

Orr Park Playground

Orr Park hides a few faces, be sure to look carefully.

Orr Park hides a few faces, be sure to look carefully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we arrived, we drove down the path the GPS recommended. As it turns out, the “road” was for bikes and foot only (I don’t recommend this route). Driving further and keeping to the right, we located parking places after plenty of confusion. (In order to avoid confusion, I suggest using the GPS to navigate to the Montevallo Elementary School which is right next to the area where we parked.) I gave each of the girls a disposable camera and we walked along the trees to find the amazing carvings. After spending quite some time enjoying Orr Park, we decided to skip the Sloss Furnace on this trip and perhaps stop by another time. We had walked miles over the past couple of days and it was time to head home. One key ingredient that goes into the trips I plan is scheduling sites to see, but I always provide allowance for more than we are able to see in one trip. Making every tourist stop in a trip is not the goal of any vacation. When it’s running low on fun, it’s time to go home before vacation becomes a chore.

Admission = Free

Bolivar Grand Opening

As of July 4, 2014, our extension office in Bolivar, Missouri, is officially open for business and accepting new clients!

We are very excited about this expansion, and look forward to providing our services

to fellow entrepreneurs in this area!

Lake and Skyline (2)

This year we were very fortunate to have the entire staff present for our Annual Lake Winnie Trip! Once again, we were thrilled with the new rides and the pleasant employees.

Wave Swinger (2)

The operator of the carrousel was especially informative and helpful as we took photos of the ride. Although the park opened in 1925, the Antique Carrousel didn’t join the list of attractions until 1968. The day we were there, the lights were inoperable, and the special-ordered parts were a week out, but that did not deter us from admiring the workmanship. All 68 wooden horses were hand-carved, and still maintain their beauty and charm.

Lake Winnie Carousel

Lake Winnie Carousel

Carrousel 3 (2)

Carrousel 2 (2)

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