Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Royal Château of Amboise, Family Reunion Fun and Fleur de Lis!


Bonjour mes amis!

A storm was brewing as we entered the grounds of the Royal Château of Amboise when my Dad was visiting us in France.  Good thing we were headed inside.

And just a couple weeks ago, I was checking the weather radar for North Carolina as our family was to head to a Family Reunion and there were storms brewing there too.

Amboise has beautiful views, as the Château is set up on a hill overlooking the village and the Loire River.

Black Mountain, North Carolina is beautiful, too.  Our Family Reunion location was up in the mountains, full of lush green trees.

The Royal Château has Fleur-de-Lis!  (Yes, I still have a "thing" for fleur-de-lis)!

No fleur-de-lis in Black Mountain, but jewels of my family would be there and we were looking forward to it.  Some 83 people from my Mom's side of the family were gathering for a long weekend!

We've been to Amboise many times, but I always enjoy the views, rain storms or not.

Every one of my first cousins came to the Family Reunion!

As we head inside the Château to avoid the rain, we can still peek out at the views!

Our Family Reunion started on a Friday night.  After four years, there is much hugging and talking and laughing!  Plus, there are several who have never come to the Reunion that joined us this year!  I guess we've made past Reunions sound so fun that they were intrigued to be there!

Finally, a break in the weather in Amboise so we can get some nice photos!

After our Friday night pizza at the Reunion, small groups were dotted all over the place, talking and laughing.  We stay in a lodge house that can accommodate about 70 people, and this year, we got a second house as well.  There is no shortage of noise!

Once we are inside the Château, I discover...

That the Fleur-de-lis are abundant in this Château!

The Saturday morning start to our Family Reunion begins with the sound of a herd of elephants about 20 children running down the stairs for breakfast!  Now, everyone is awake and ready for the fun of the day.  There's the pool, hiking, tubing, frisbee golf, board and card games, many activities that encourage us being together and having fun together!

Just can't get enough of this royal symbol!

There are always folks preparing a meal for lunch or dinner at the Reunion.  Of the four large families, we take turns with one meal each, and we do all the set up, meal preparation, and cleanup for our assigned meal.  For breakfast, we are on our own, but there's always lots of sharing, which is a very good thing, because my Aunt Sue (and now my sister and niece, too) makes a really good "Honey Bun" coffee cake!

My family's assigned meal was lunch on Sunday.  My sister came up with the brilliant idea to do a crock pot meal, since we always have a wonderful Church Service altogether with my oldest cousin preaching for us.  We made an adapted version of Creamy Chicken Italiano, and it was such a hit.  My oldest Uncle ate three helpings!  It was that good.

Since I hate it when people tell you how good something is and then don't share the Recipe, I'm going to give you my sister's recipe at the close of this post, OK?

I skipped ahead to Sunday, so let me back up to all the fun of Saturday at the Reunion....

My family went hiking and tubing, but me, I stayed behind at the Lodge...to gab with people, play Rook, and rock in the rockers on the porch...oh, and of course, there was a bit of a draw for me, since T. Asscher and Z. Marquise were taking naps, and they might wake up and want their Grandma!

Good thing I stayed, because T. Asscher did wake and he cuddled with me for a long time!  I love Grandma moments!

Saturday evening is always special at our Reunions.  We have share night!

The time started off with a sad announcement that my Aunt had passed away that afternoon in Alabama.  It was not unexpected.  We were so glad that my Uncle was there with us, rather than alone in Alabama.  We got to love on him, and grieve with him, and also rejoice that our Aunt is now in the presence of the Lord!

My cousin also shared a Reunion Favorite.  He teaches all of us an easy way to remember the 10 Commandments with hand signals.  He always teases that he is going to quiz us...and he usually does!

Next, my cousin's young daughter showed us how proficient she is with the hula hoop.  I was rather proud, since I had encouraged her to go to my sister (who was organizing Share Night) and ask if she could do this.  At first she told me she wasn't in share night, but one of the best things about this Reunion is that we get to know our relatives of all ages, and I'm so glad she was brave enough to perform for us!

One cousin and his family sang hymns beautifully for us...

Another cousin told a very serious story that ended with a big surprise scare on my sister...all in fun!  We all laughed. He caught us all off guard!

Two of my nieces hosted a jeopardy type game where we were divided into 8 teams!  My team didn't win, but it was fun to work together to decide answers to give.

Another one of my cousins hosted a game for the married couples.  We had to fill out sheets to guess what our spouse's answer would be...things like, favorite breakfast, things you wish your spouse wouldn't do, things your spouse will not eat, things your spouse would never wear in public, etc.  It was really fun.  Answers were checked and scores were tallied, and guess what?

The Diamond Duo won the Grand Prize!  They had the most matched answers!

Do you wonder what the Grand Prize was?

Well, my cousin is clever, and she reminisced us back to one of my Grandfather's jokes he always told, for a hint at the Grand Prize. Here's the joke...

"What do you do if you're walking down the street and your big toe falls off?"

Answer:  "You call a big tow truck, of course!"  LOL!

So, the Diamond Duo got to go home with a shiny new toy tow truck!  Perfect prize for a young couple with little boys!

On Sunday morning at the Reunion, we sang praise songs and hymns together and my cousin preached an awesome sermon that was clear and appropriate for all ages to understand.  He tied in some family heritage and it was just beautiful and so honoring to the Lord!

The rest of Sunday was open and it was just plain fun to hang out with people.

I had never met one of my cousin's wives before, so I had great fun with her, telling her about my trips to Waco, Texas to Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia compound.  I think we might get some extra visitors in Texas now, as this cousin is quite smitten with Chip Gaines!

The last morning of the Reunion is always rough.  We don't want to say good-bye.  We don't want to pack our cars.  We don't want to start the long drive home.

But then, all the reminiscing and talking starts in the car, and we are happy again.

The kids are all excited, commenting how old they'll be at the next Reunion in four years!  It was an awesome time, and now...

We are all sharing our photos with one another via Facebook!

Now let's talk about Amboise, France again for a minute...

The weather was threatening again, so we headed into the village and ducked into a little Patisserie.  We look so baffled about what to order here...

A plate full of tarts and pastries is always a hit, so that's what we got...

But now I remember that Jewelius got a croissant!  Oh well, more pastries for me!

Here's that recipe I promised you...

Creamy Chicken Italiano
4 chicken breasts cooked and cubed
1 envelope dry Italian salad dressing mix
1/4 c. water
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
10 3/4 oz can cream of chicken soup
4 oz. can mushroom stems and pieces, drained (can be omitted)
8 oz. box of bow tie or penne pasta

Cook box of bow tie pasta or penne pasta.
Place chicken in slow cooker. Combine salad dressing mix and water. Pour over chicken. Add cream cheese and soup until blended. Stir in mushrooms. Add in pasta and mix completely together. Cook on low 3 hours.
I always double this recipe and use a full 16 oz box of pasta and double all other ingredients. Other variations...omit pasta and put all ingredients over a plate of rice.

Have a "jewel" of a day!

P.S.  In case you were wondering, we had a few rain storms at the Family Reunion, too.  Those who went tubing and hiking looked like drowned rats on their return.  It didn't spoil any of the fun!

1 comment:

  1. It was a fun reunion indeed! Even sleeping in the Rhododungeon!


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