Mom’s Visit to Atlanta

mom and me

Blue shirts, blue house. We take matching seriously in this family.

This past weekend was one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating weekends I’ve had in a long time.  We had a busy summer full of weddings and a family vacation, and even now that we’re traveling less, we’ve still been very busy lately getting settled into our home.  My Mom paid us a visit, arriving last Friday and staying through the weekend…our first overnight house guest!

The rocking chairs are the perfect addition to our porch...thanks Mom & Dad!

The rocking chairs are the perfect addition to our porch…thanks Mom & Dad!

It was nice not to have a set “agenda” for the weekend.  Back when Drew’s or my parents would come to visit when we were still living in the apartment, we would try to pack our schedule with lots of things to see and do, just so we wouldn’t be all crammed in a small space.  Now, it’s nice to relax on the front porch, go for a walk around the neighborhood, and cook a delicious dinner…or do nothing at all.  One of my favorite memories of visiting my parents during my college years were the late nights we’d spend curled up on the couch, talking for hours.  Years later, nothing has changed.

Mom love her granddog grandchild

Mom loves her grand-dog grandchild

Shortly after Mom arrived on Friday night, we went to Miller Union for dinner.  I’d been once before for a work dinner, but this was Drew’s and Mom’s first time.  The atmosphere is very lively but classic, and I could definitely see Drew and I going back sometime soon for a date night, or to just sit at the bar and watch the bartenders make cocktails from scratch.  We all enjoyed our dinner but the highlight of the evening was definitely dessert (duh).

Homemade s'mores with cherry cordial ice cream, and chocolate truffle cake with black pepper ice cream.

Black pepper ice cream…sounds strange. Verdict? Surprisingly delicious.

The weather was perfect all weekend long and we spent the majority of Saturday walking around Atlantic Station, and exploring shops on the Westside.  We didn’t even go back to Midtown, our old stomping grounds.  That’s one of my favorite things about Atlanta: there are numerous neighborhoods to explore and each pocket has its own charm and hidden gems.  Even though Miller Union was delicious, the two dinners we cooked at the house were just as tasty.  We made cajun shrimp pasta and toasted Drew’s homemade bread.  Mom picked up a bottle of red wine for us at a wine shop earlier in the day which accompanied the meal perfectly.  Sunday night we grilled veggies, chicken and salmon, and Mom made brownies for dessert.  Drew has definitely become a pro at using the grill!

us cooking

pasta dinner

The weekend ended far too soon, as it always does when you have friends or family visiting.  It was just the quality time I needed until I’m able to see everyone again during Thanksgiving…the holidays will be here before we know it!  And every time I sit in one of our porch rocking chairs (my parents’ housewarming gift to us), I’ll think of them.  Drew’s grandparents and parents will also be visiting in the coming weeks, so we’re looking forward to playing hosts again very soon.

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Home Sweet Home

closing day

If you follow Drew’s or any of my social plug-ins, you’ve probably been bombarded with our “We’re buying a house!” shpeel by now, and this blog post will not be a huge surprise.  However, I think it’s worth mentioning exactly how we came to be homeowners, since we certainly weren’t planning to purchase a home this year.

The first weekend in August, during the drive home after a wedding in Kentucky, Drew showed me a house he’d spotted on Trulia, not thinking much of it.  I guess the fact that I really liked it surprised him, and on a whim we decided to contact the owner to schedule a tour.  The very next weekend, we met the owner and took a tour of the house.  5 minutes in, I knew this was the perfect place for us.  It gave me chills, much reminiscent of the first wedding dress I tried on…which also ended up being the dress I wore on our wedding day.  Coincidence?  I think not.

house

We loved the house but feared things would end there since the owner and his family were itching to sell after already purchasing another home.  Still, we couldn’t forget the house and decided to contact an agent.  After meeting with her, touring several other homes and finding out breaking our apartment lease wouldn’t be the financial catastrophe we were anticipating, we put an offer on the house.  I’ll never forget being in the meat aisle at the grocery store when Drew got the call that the owners had accepted our offer.  Could it really be this easy?  We’d heard horror stories from our friends going through the house buying process and assumed our situation would be similar.  Instead, it was 5 short weeks from the initial viewing to the first night we spent our new house.  I think we both walk through the rooms, in awe and still a bit baffled that this whole thing hasn’t been a dream.

front door

Since we’ve been married, this is without a doubt the biggest life event we’ve experience together.  At times it was exciting, scary, and frustrating, but in the end we know we we meant to have this house.  While the exact reason may still have yet to reveal itself, we feel beyond blessed by our circumstances.  Drew wrote a great post on his own blog about how much we learned from the process that’s definitely worth the read.  I have a feeling the next few months are going to be very exciting for us as we settle in and make this house our home.  So stay tuned!

 

 

A Last Hurrah of Summer

So this is a much delayed post…but as you’ll soon learn, it’s been a busy past few weeks for us!  Now how’s that for a cliffhanger?  Unless you’re know us well, then you obviously know what I’m hinting at 🙂

boat2

A few weekends ago we spent an afternoon boating on Lake Lanier.  One of our friends found an awesome deal on Groupon for a large group to spend several hours on the water, wake-boarding and just soaking up the last few precious rays of the summer sun.  I do no such thing as wake-board, but I definitely enjoyed the latter.   The weather was perfect with barely a cloud in the sky.  Even though it’ll stay relatively warm in Atlanta for another few weeks, it really was one of our final “hurrah’s” of the summer season.

boat1

The following afternoon we spent strolling the streets–literally–around Midtown.  Last May, the city put on an event called Atlanta Streets Alive, closing down Peachtree Street to traffic and letting people walk freely while checking out storefronts and pop-up events.  Drew and I had so much fun last time (climbing a rock wall was involved) that we were excited to find out they were bringing it back again so soon.  The weather was perfect and we spent over 2 hours walking several miles, exploring stores, running into friends and soaking up the sun.  We never doubted how wonderful it is to live in Midtown, right in the heart of everything, but it’s events like this that make me love Atlanta even more.

midtownlove

After spending several hours outside, where the temperature neared 90, we were quite grateful to be back in the AC.  The temperature has been slowly dropping since, and I can’t help but be lulled into the Fall season when my Pinterest feed is being overrun by Halloween decor and the return of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte.  So, true to form, I made a breakfast cake that has Fall written all over it.  I want to eat this while sitting on the back of a hay ride, snuggled in a sweater and watching the leaves change colors.  Also, the accompanying frosting is not optional. 

applecake

Apple Spice Breakfast Cake with Caramel Frosting
Makes 1 bundt cake or 2 medium-size loaves

Ingredients
For the cake:
1 container vanilla or plain yogurt
3/4 cup apple butter or applesauce
1 large egg
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 large overripe banana, smashed
1 3/4 cup apples, chopped
1 tsp each of the following spices: cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

For the frosting:
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease bundt or loaf pans. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, apple butter or applesauce, egg, vanilla and sugars until combined. Add in banana, apples and spices. Slowly mix in flours and baking soda and stir until just combined, but be careful not to overmix. Pour into pan(s) and bake 40 min. or until inserted knife comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Allow to boil for one minute, add in brown sugar, and allow to boil for another 2 minutes while stirring continuously. Remove from heat, stir in milk and vanilla. Sift in powdered sugar, whisking until frosting becomes thick. Allow to thicken about 5-10 minutes before pouring over cooled cake.

Our 2-Year Wedding Anniversary!

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Wow, has it really been 2 years already?  A part of me thinks that it feels more like one year, but considering all the things we’ve done since tying the knot, I guess it really isn’t that surprising.  We’ve been on a bit of a wedding marathon lately, attending the most recent one this past weekend.  It was great to see our friends Matt and Rachel tie the knot since Matt was a groomsman in our wedding and Rachel is his perfect match.  The bonus was being able to stay with Drew’s grandparents, and catch up with some family and college friends.  Drew and I are definitely at that age where all our friends are getting engaged or married.  And now they’re having babies now too!  A couple from our house church, Joey and Anna, welcomed a baby girl Logan last Saturday.

Celebrating at Matt and Rachel's wedding

Celebrating at Matt and Rachel’s wedding

Not wanting to be outdone by our wonderful first year anniversary trip to Chicago, we planned to extend the anniversary celebration a few days.  Tuesday night we went to dinner at The Lawrence, which we hadn’t been to since last December.  It was just as delicious as we remembered–how can one go wrong with chocolate truffle cake?  You know you love someone when you’re willing to share your dessert with someone without constantly wanting to jab their hand out of the way with your fork.  We wrapped up the night on the couch, looking through our wedding photo album and reminiscing.  I hope that’s a tradition we continue every year.

And we ate it all.

And we ate it all.

We continued the celebration last night, attending the Falcons vs. Bengals preseason opener at the Georgia Dome.  I hadn’t seen my Bengals play in quite a few seasons and Drew had never been to an NFL game before, so it was the perfect opportunity.  Drew did a great job picking out seats as we were just a few rows up from the field.  Just as I showed Drew my love by sharing dessert, Drew showed his loyalty by donning my old Bengals jersey.  That, my friends, is true loyalty.  As for converting him from a Packers fan to a Bengals fan, I won’t be holding my breath.

The couple that fends off angry mobs of Falcons fans together, stays together

The couple that fends off angry mobs of Falcons fans together, stays together

To avoid being too mushy, I’ll wrap things up there.  All I can say is that the past 2 years of my life have easily been the greatest.  There’s no one else on this planet better suited for me; I’m not sure if I completely believe in soul mates but I know that Drew is my perfect match.  I can’t imagine going through life with anyone else. So thank you to my husband for being my biggest supporter, encourager, confidante and friend.   Here’s too many, many more years!

 

Mom and Dad Visit Atlanta, Round 2

Since the last time my parents visited Atlanta was over a year ago (not trying to make you two feel bad or anything, I promise!), I was extremely excited to have them in town this past weekend.  So much has changed since their last visit: Drew and I both have new jobs, our apartment is looking at little more homey–it’d only been a few months after the wedding when they came to visit–and, oh yeah, a dog lives in our apartment now.  Coincidentally, they were also visiting during a pretty big weekend-both St. Patrick’s Day and the Georgia marathon were on Sunday.  Their first few minutes in the city were spent experiencing the organized extreme chaos that is Atlanta traffic.

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Reunited at last! Mom may have been more excited to see Theo than us…

Thankfully, Friday night’s dinner was just a short walk away from our apartment.  After stocking our freezer and pantry with some of Mom’s best homemade goodies, we set out for Takorea.  I had been talking up this Korean/Mexican restaurant to Mom and Dad for months and not surprisingly, it didn’t disappoint.  We got two orders of sesame fries for the table-I think those were Mom’s favorite food of the entire weekend.  And trust me, we ate a ton.

Saturday we awoke to absolutely perfect weather.  I’d been watching the forecast all week and the weatherman actually got it right-low 70’s and sunny.  Much, much better than the cold snow back home in Kentucky, right guys?  We went to Flying Biscuit for breakfast, a cafe Drew and I had been meaning to go to since we moved to Atlanta-especially since it’s just a few blocks from the apartment.  After another great meal we decided to take advantage of the warm weather and head to Piedmont Park.  After a quick browse through the farmer’s market, we headed on to the dog park.  We met a bunch of cute dogs and of course Theo was the life of the party, as usual.  One dog in particular would not leave Theo’s side for even a second.  We called him ‘stalker dog’ for the remainder of the visit-he even tried to leave with us and made an escape run for the gate!

photo 1

We spent the rest of the day relaxing until heading back out for our dinner reservation for JCT Kitchen.  Fries apparently were the theme of the weekend.  While browsing our menus, we raved to Mom and Dad about the truffle oil Parmesan fries.  I think those were Dad’s favorite thing.  I’m sure he and Drew could have each polished off their own bowl.  Thankfully, they shared with their wives 😉

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Enjoying lunch at Brickstore Pub in Decatur

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Sunday was another beautiful day, although a bit chillier with the sun hiding behind clouds most of the day.  After attending church and showing Mom and Dad the new building that Grace Midtown moved into almost a year ago, we headed out to Decatur for lunch.  Drew and I figured we needed to celebrate St. Patty’s Day appropriately, plus we couldn’t skip an excuse to go back to Brickstore Pub.  Once again taking advantage of the nice weather, we dined outside and then browsed the shops along the square.  Before heading back home, we drove through Decatur, showing Mom and Dad where we hope to move next year.  We discovered some really, really nice neighborhoods (and some not-so-nice ones).  We even stumbled upon two little girls running a lemonade stand.  It’s still a ways away yet, but Drew and I get excited thinking and planning for the future.

Cheeeeese.

Cheeeeese.

Just when you think we wouldn’t be able to stuff ourselves with anymore food, we went all out and ordered deep dish for dinner.  Nancy’s is a restaurant that actually originated out of Chicago and makes authentic deep-dish style pizza here in Atlanta.  Soon after, with happy hearts and full bellies, we said our goodbyes.  It was a weekend full of fun, laughter, great food and some much-needed time with family.  Mom and Dad, thank you so much for coming to visit and see our stomping grounds, filling our freezer with enough meals to last us a month, and making us feel so loved.  I know how proud you are of the two of us, but really, I’m just as proud and blessed to have such amazing parents.  Until next time!  And hey, let’s not make it almost a year and a half again, OK?!