7.05.2015

The Peachtree Road Race {40x41}

Well, we did it y'all... we finished the 46th annual Peachtree Road Race!!!!!!!  It's the largest 10k in the world and an Independence Day tradition for Atlantans!!  I've lived here for twenty-one years (gulp) and Honey has been here his whole life so it was high time we gave it a go.



We were up at 5:45, which is a feat in and of itself for Honey.  His mama came over to watch the littles and we left the house around 6am.  We drove to MARTA and took the train into Buckhead.  The countless MARTA employees, police men and volunteers were just lovely, wishing everyone a great run and a happy 4th of July at every turn.  We got to the corrals around 7:30 and were FREEZING cold from the rain...on the 4th of July.  We didn't bring any gear, but plenty of people were ditching theirs as they started the race so I may or may not have ended up with a second hand umbrella and poncho.  :-)  The weather was pretty atrocious, ranging from full on downpours to a constant drizzle but it didn't damper the patriotism or high spirits of the 60,000 or so runners.  A giant American flag hangs at the start line and, before we knew it, we were off!


We ran on the Coca-Cola team and had a lot of fun spotting coworkers and friends along the course.  There were quite a few!!  The 6.2 miles went pretty quickly, as it was fun to walk by local landmarks and hangouts from our college days, and there were some real characters out on the course that keep us laughing.


We walked the entire route, keeping about a 12.5 minute pace and stopping for water and potty breaks six or so times.  Not too bad!  I did break out in a run at about .4 miles to the finish line.  Honey says "Are you trying to make a certain time or something?"  NO!!!!  I'm trying to be D.O.N.E.  I was tired and DRENCHED and the end was so close I could taste it.  Right before we crossed the finish line, the lady next to me pulled out her phone and I hear "Daddy?  Daddy!  I did it.  I'm going to cross the finish line."  I, of course, start tearing up at witnessing this moment of accomplishment, pride and pure love.  I wanted to hug her neck.  Congrats, mystery lady!!!!!!!!!  We made our way through the mud pit that was Piedmont Park, got the coveted finisher t-shirts and headed to the Coke tent for breakfast.



I am so thankful to Honey for being so encouraging, for sticking with me through it all, for not running off and leaving me and for being my best partner in crime every time I have a nutty idea.  ("Nutty" for him would cover anything that requires waking up before 10AM on a weekend.) We had a lot of fun, we tackled something new together and we crossed another one off our 40x41 (and 40x42) bucket lists.  8 down, 32 to go!!



When we got back home, Honey's mama took the boys out to a long lunch so that we could shower and catch our breaths.  It was a much needed respite for a couple of hours!


With that, it's time to start figuring which thing to tackle next!
xoxo

7.04.2015

Happy 4th!

It's been a rainy few days down here in Georgia, but it hasn't put a damper on the fun of celebrating our great country's birthday!


My patriotic "uniform" for the weekend consisted of a darling shirt by That Southern Chick, my Lilly for Target favorite shorts score and an arm party full of Mother's Tidal Tassel bracelets.



We managed to log quite a few hours in the swimming pool...


We had our faces painted...


We spent loads of time together and hanging with friends...





 We had a kids vs adults corn hole tourney (and crossed that off the summer bucket list)...


 We ate ourselves silly...



A few of us napped.  Quite a few times.  (And yes, my sofa is covered because I just got it cleaned.)



We immensely enjoyed our neighborhood fireworks show while lounging at the pool...










And we counted our blessings for the freedom to do all of these things and more.  Happy 239th, America!  Cheers to many, many more!!!!!!!
xoxo

7.03.2015

Perfecting Pancakes

For the life of me I cannot seem to make a pancake.  Everything seems to be going well and then it comes time for the flip.  They break apart, the bottom is either over cooked or under cooked and they look like a mess.  It just seems like being able to turn out a flap jack is something every lady should know how to do, so I put it on my 40x41 list.  I've made a couple of poor attempts since March and wasn't really feeling into it.  That is, until I came across Ina's Tri-berry Oven Pancakes.  Oh yes!!!!!



They come together quickly and flawlessly, are quite tasty with their pancake / crepe type qualities, would be wonderful with a variety of toppings, are easy to double or triple (if you have the dishes to cook them in) AND have a beautiful presentation.  Not to mention, they just screamed AMERICA for the holiday weekend!!

Tri-berry Oven Pancakes (serves 4)
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics 

1 cup each raspberries, blueberries, and sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (my berries were sweet so I used much less)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 teaspoons for the dishes
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (I substituted 1/2 tsp orange extract because I missed this ingredient when shopping)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Maple syrup and confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Gently combine the berries and sugar in a small bowl and set aside while you make the pancakes. Place 4 (6- to 7-inch) individual gratin dishes on two sheet pans. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in each gratin dish and set aside.

Place the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until mixed. Add the milk and combine. Slowly add the flour, vanilla, orange zest, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and the salt and mix just until smooth. Whisk by hand if the mixture is lumpy.

Place the gratin dishes in the oven for 3 minutes, until the butter is hot and bubbly. Make sure the butter covers the bottom of each dish. Immediately divide the batter equally among the gratin dishes and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned. Divide the berries among the dishes, drizzle with maple syrup, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve hot.

* I have these 6oz. ramekins from Sur la Table which are much smaller than the round 6-7" gratin dishes Ina suggested.  I used the same recipe and filled SIX of these smaller dishes with about 1/4 cup of the batter in each one.  I cooked for 12 minutes and they were perfect.



So, my question is, can I could these oven pancakes as "#10 Master pancake making (I cannot for the life of me make a pancake)" on the 40x41 list???!!!!  I wouldn't call them mastered yet (because I couldn't make them in my sleep), but it's something to work towards.

We've all got our fingers and toes crossed that this nasty weather clears out so we can hit the pool.  Happy Independence Day eve, y'all!!!

xoxo

*Amazon Affiliate Links Used

7.02.2015

I Scream for Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!!!

This is no cliche, y'all.  The littles helped me make Strawberry Basil Ice Cream yesterday and it is ahhhh-mazing!!!!  Topped with a patriotic pick, it's a sensational sweet for the impending holiday.


We picked the basil straight from our garden, which felt sooooo resourceful.  And earthy.  Not two things I usually can profess to be.  I particularly loved this recipe because it doesn't have any raw eggs or require any cooking on the stove.  Lord knows, it's too hot for that down South.

Strawberry Basil Ice Cream
Source: Southern Living

  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (5-oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 (16-oz.) container fresh strawberries, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. Whisk together first 5 ingredients; cover and chill 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, pulse strawberries, basil, and lemon juice in a food processor 5 or 6 times or until finely chopped. Stir strawberry mixture into chilled milk mixture.
3. Pour milk mixture into freezer container of a 1-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. (Instructions and times will vary.  Ours took 20 minutes.)
4. Transfer mixture to an airtight container or a loaf pan covered tightly with aluminum foil; freeze 3 to 4 hours or until firm.


We adore making home made ice creams in the summer.  A favorite last summer was Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Cherries.  It'll knock your socks off for sure if you're an adventurous dessert eater!

The same basic Southern Living recipe has variations for Coffee Liqueur Cookies and Cream Ice Cream AND Bouron Butter Salted Pecan Ice Cream.  I hope to make those real soon!

I don't know about y'all, but I can hardly believe it's July.  We have super FUN plans close to home for the long weekend.  
xoxo

7.01.2015

Share Your Style #20 {Party + Features}

Good evening and welcome back to our Share Your Style party!!!  This week at Dixie Delights I dolled the place up in its patriotic finery.  There's nothing like flying Old Glory!




I also shared our adventure to Helen, Georgia, a trip to Atlanta's Starlight Drive-In, how we've been adjusting to the newest member of our family and why I'm so fixated on my fitbit!



Each week one of your hosts will take a turn choosing the features, and then ALL EIGHT of us will share them on our blogs for tons of exposure. 



THIS WEEK'S HOST:
Lynn from The Vintage Nest

"I have not done much stylin' this week as all my family is coming for a visit for several weeks and I have been preparing for that.....cooking and freezing meals, cleaning, trimming up the yard from the Spring overgrowth, painting, planning a 4th of July party, and just so looking forward to seeing them. I thought I would just share with you a simple dish I plan to make that involves all that delicious corn that will soon be coming into season. Sourced from a little community country paper we receive each month It's easy and so yum!!!!"


(cook's note:  1 pint is 1 reg. size canned corn)


LYNN'S FEATURED LINKS:

And speaking of corn and summer recipes, Home is where the Boat Is gives a plethora of yummy summer recipes with gorgeous photographs to go with it.  You are bound to find at least one you want to try.  I know I did.  



We are having a large gathering for 4th of July but I hadn't yet decided on my table setting.  But now I have!  I have a large white tote and will be using our very own SYS hostess, Debra of Common Ground's post for my inspiration.  Thank you Debra,.....that's what this Share Your Style party is all about.....inspiration. :)



So many of us vacation at the seashore for our summer vacation, so wouldn't the kids love these darling beachy cupcakes for a treat one evening?
 Ms. Toody Goo Shoes tells us how to make them on her delightful blog.   



Fleaing France is In the Pink with her post.  So pretty....I wanted to share.  I think I need to start looking for an old bicycle I can paint pink.....how about you?




Home to Cottage turned a dingy white Craigslist find into a charming beach themed table using "Wonders of the Sea' gift wrap.  Isn't it so cute!!?  


If one of your links was featured, be sure to grab our button before you go!!



Now, on to this week!  We hope you'll join in with your decor, vintage, DIY, tablescapes, creations and yummies… in other words, pretty much anything STYLE related.  Grab our party button and add it to the bottom of the posts you link up:

Dixie Delights



With that, it’s time to Share Your Style!!  And welcome to July!!!!!!!!
xoxo


6.30.2015

The fitbit Fixation

Y’all, after moaning and groaning and whining over wanting a fitbit (why? who knows!), I finally took the plunge after Christmas.  And I’m obsessed. 

IMG_9707

Obsessed with getting 10,000 steps each day.  (Amanda, are you doing laps around the kitchen????  Yes.  Why do you ask?)

Obsessed with climbing at least 10 flights of stairs.  (Mommy, will you go get my blahblahblah?  YES!  I’d love to!)

Obsessed with timing my sleep at the precise moment.  (Honey, is there anything else you need to say before I set my fitbit to sleep mode?)

The struggle is real.

All craziness aside, I absolutely LOVE it!  Here are my thoughts…
  • I chose the fitbit Charge HR .  It continuously tracks heart rate and activity, as well as steps, distance, floors climbed, sleep quality, calories burned/consumed and more. 
  • One of my favorite features is that it also functions as a watch.  This is what made me decide to step it up from the regular version.  I can’t be wearing this AND a watch.
  • I also love that it connects to caller ID and will vibrate AND show who’s calling right there on your wrist. 
  • The thing is a breeze to set up.  It automatically syncs to both your online dashboard and to the fitbit app on your smartphone.
  • I have a few friends on fitbit and it’s fun to keep each other motivated.  And I have a competitive side to me, so seeing their numbers climb when I’m sitting in the spot makes me get up and get moving.  In all honesty, I’ve never been more motivated to get out and walk in my entire life.  EVER!
  • It only needs to charge every few days.  It’s not waterproof so I tend to stick it on the charger when I shower and that works pretty well.  (God forbid I miss a night of sleep tracking…)
  • I HATE the way it looks.  The thing is ugly… and why?!  I went with black just because it was more neutral to me than the blue, purple or orange that this version also comes in.  I sure wish pink or white and been an option!
  • I printed off the size guide on the fitbit site to determine whether to get the small or large (I got small).  It’s comfortable to wear, but the whole face of it is a bit too big for my super small wrist.  I got used to it and still love it, but I wish it was a little skinnier.

With that, I’m feeling like I need to get a move on.  It really is obsessive, but in a good way.  (I obviously drank the koolaid.)
xoxo

PS. I wrote this post back in the winter but somehow never published it, hence the winter weather gear.

Shoes: New Balance for runDisney
*Amazon Affiliate Links Used

6.29.2015

Wanderlust {Helen, Georgia}

I mentioned a few days ago that Honey landed a new job!  Well, he had three days off before he started this Monday so we decided to check something off of our 40x40 lists: Shoot the Hooch!  We had no real plan, so late the night before we looked at couple of places to put in the river down here in Atlanta and nearly fell out of our seats at the $26 PER person charge.  A quick search revealed that we could do it in Helen, Georgia (about an hour and a half drive) for $5 person!!!!  And, just like that, we were off on a Wednesday adventure!


I can't say enough good things about our trip!  My sweet reader Christi recommend Cool River Tubing on Instagram.  The process was easy... head to their Chattahoochee Outpost, park for free, purchase your hand stamp, board the shuttle and shoot the hooch!  We opted for the short one-hour route, but there is also a longer two-hour option.  Both are $5 or $9 for unlimited rides.  I would recommend wearing water shoes, but that's all you need to bring.  Everything else is included.  Also, they will store your car key and driver's license in the main building for you because you WILL get wet!



The shuttle transports you up the river to the place where you put your rafts in.  There are stairs to help you get down the embankment.  There are small raftes for kids and larger rafts for adults.  You can strap up to two rafts together, and the straps are complimentary.  Kids have to wear life vests and those are complimentary as well.






The river flows at a very gentle pace and the little rapids are just that.... little.  I was not worried at all about the kids.



Whenever we got to a slightly deeper area (I'd say we hit maybe two), the littles hopped off their rafts and swam along side us.  They were so silly, "accidentally" falling off more than once.




The water was so refreshingly cool, very shallow (knee deep in most places), and clear.  I loved all of this because I could see the bottom.  By the time the Chattahoochee makes it's way to Atlanta, it's deep and murky.


The littles raved about it the entire time!  It was really so much fun!  At the end of the hour(ish), you find yourself right back where you started.  There are nice clean changing rooms and restrooms to put on dry clothes.


I should note here that Helen, Georgia is nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains in North Georgia.  What makes it so unique is that the little town is a re-creation of an alpine village complete with cobblestone alleys and old-world towers!





Our little rafting adventure left us starving.  Like I said, we had absolutely NO plan, so it was really fun to fly by the seat of our pants for a change.  We stumbled upon Hofers German Bakery & Cafe and had the most delightful meal.




After lunch we walked the Alpine village.  The incredible aroma pouring out of Hansel & Gretel's Candy Kitchen was irresistible.  The littles chose caramel and chocolate covered apples and Honey and I went with fudge.  It was amazing!








John was beside himself to get in The Jerky Store.  I found the people in there to be just that... jerky, but it wasn't enough to turn Honey and John away from buying leopard shark jerky.  I wanted to vomit at the smell alone.


After our little walk around Helen, we made the short drive up to Anna Ruby Falls located in the Chattahoochee National Forest and Unicoi State Park.  Admission is $3 for adults and free for kids.


The hike to the waterfalls is relatively short at only about a half of a mile.  It is uphill and a little steep in places, but there's no reason not to make a leisurely stroll of it.






We were so in awe when we made it to the top.  Nobody has ever accused me of being "nature girl", but even I could appreciate it!  (Side note: I'm getting WAY better on the nature girl thing.  Trying to keep up with my boys!)








After cooling off with cold waters on the observation decks, we started our way back down.  I couldn't help but marvel at this shot... two young boys running down the mountain without a care in the world.  No devices, no tv, just them and nature.




Back at the visitor's center we spent a while on their observation deck as well.  Most of that time was spent looking for trout (all three Georgia varieties can be seen here) and watching mister snake.  Do you see him?


We won't soon forget our fun, adventure filled, no agenda day driving up to Helen.  I can't say enough good things about it and KNOW we'll be back!  And, without further ado, I'm going to go ahead and call "Shoot the Hooch" on our 40x41, 40x42, and summer bucket lists COMPLETE!!!!!

xoxo

PS. By Honey's calculations we did ALL of this plus the gas to get there for LESS than the $104 it would have cost us for one hour in the Hooch in Atlanta.  :-)

PPS.  I ran into a sweet blog reader while rafting down the river!!!!!!!  It's such a small world.  I'm so glad you said HI!
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