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!

6.28.2015

Sunday Supper {Pork + Brussels + Cobbler}

Alright y'all, I've finally found my way back to the kitchen and have some great Sunday Suppers to share.  This one is from the Publix Aprons recipes.  I get so excited when I go to do my shopping and they have the samples going.  I've never had anything bad and often find great, simple, yummy recipes to make at home.  We love horseradish and brussels sprouts and were pleased that the littles also gave this one a thumbs up!




Creamy Horseradish Pork
Source: Publix Aprons

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons half-and-half

  • Cut pork into 1-inch thick medallions; season with salt and pepper (wash hands). Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place oil in pan, then add pork in single layer; cook 3–4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove pork from pan.
  • Add broth to pan and bring to a boil. Whisk in horseradish, mustard, and red pepper; cook 3–4 minutes or until slightly reduced. Meanwhile, chop chives.
  • Remove pan from heat. Whisk in butter, half-and-half, and chives. Return pork to pan and reduce heat to low; cook 1–2 more minutes or until pork is 145°F. Serve.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
Source: Publix Aprons

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 oz fresh gourmet mushroom blend
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter


  • Slice shallots. Trim Brussels sprouts and cut in half lengthwise; place in microwave-safe bowl and cover.
  • Microwave Brussels sprouts on HIGH 3 minutes and drain any liquid. Meanwhile, preheat large, nonstick sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place oil in pan, then add shallots, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts; cook and stir 5–6 minutes or until golden and beginning to soften.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients; cook and stir until sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Serve.


I love to serve dessert for our Sunday Suppers because it always makes dinner more special and, lets face it, is a great excuse for a sweet treat.  I follow Jenny Steffens Hobick on Instagram and always drool over her creations.  This one was super easy, delicious and perfect for the cartons of blueberries that are so juicy and inexpensive right now!  The leftovers were so yummy with my coffee for breakfast the next morning.


Blueberry Cobbler 
adapted from Jenny Steffens Hobick Berry Cobbler

*I had 3 cups of berries, so I made 1 1/2 of this recipe, which filled a pie plate perfectly.

3/4 stick butter
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
3 cups blueberries (I did not have to sweeten because they were already perfect!)

Melt butter until it starts to brown.
Pour into 1.5-2 qt baking dish.
Mix flour, sugar & baking powder with milk.  Add vanilla and lemon juice.
Pour over melted butter.
Spread fruit over melted butter & batter.
Bake about 35 min @ 350 degrees or until browned and set.


I think I'm going to go easy and oven free with black beans and rice (and maybe homemade strawberry ice cream!) for tonight's Sunday Supper (although that menu doesn't really "go together").  Honey is hoping to finish the shelves he's building in the garage and I'm hoping we can hit the pool this afternoon after cleaning up the house and catching up on laundry.  I've been so solely focused on Miss Elsa that things are in a pretty bad state of affairs.

Happy Sunday, y'all!
xoxo

6.27.2015

Elsa Tails {The Newborn}

It's been a week since we picked up little Elsa and I thought I'd share a very real, uncensored report of her homecoming :-)



And it's been harder than I ever could have dreamed!!  I know this is "normal", but I only had cats my whole life until last week so I really didn't get it.  She's the most darling, sweetest little thing in the world, but she's a lot of work for a tiny six pound pup! I've somewhat jokingly said many times this week "I can't because of my newborn...", "I'm so tired because my newborn stayed up all night..." and "We have to get home because we can't be away from the newborn..." But in many ways, she IS like having a newborn.  It's been challenging trying to figure out how to take care of her with all of our other commitments - feeding her at the right time so that she can use the potty before we have to leave, not being able to run that last errand because she has been in her crate too long, etc. 


Judge me by my size, do you?  {Our Star Wars Yoda Pup}
The littles found this shirt for $2 and dressed her up :-)

As far as potty training, perhaps some would argue that I'm too helicopter mom, but that's just who I am.  She tee-teed on one too many rugs the first two days and so we started taking her out ever fifteen minutes.  You read that right.  Every FIFTEEN minutes.  From 6:30AM - 10PM.  Ahhhhh!!!!!!  Towards the end of the week we got to know her better and can see little "tells" when she needs to go.  She'll get up of stop what she's doing and start sniffing the floor, usually bee-lining for a rug.  And so we scoop her up, put her leash on and carry her out to the pine straw to take care of business.  We're still taking her out every 30 minutes or so if she's awake.  But it's working!  



We are also crate training and we made great strides this week!  She started off acting like she was going to kill herself trying to claw her way out.  Oh, and she barked and whined ALL night.  Poor little baby.  We learned after just one night that we needed to relocate the crate to our bedroom, and that solved it immediately.  Also, thanks to all of your tips on Instagram, we have put in the divider to make the crate a more appropriate size, covered the crate with a sheet, put one of Honey's shirts inside (she adores him), got a little Kong with a treat to keep her busy when she first goes in, and we play a Georgia Tech lullaby CD (that was the only thing I could dig up) when we leave. I was scared to leave her the first few days, which made me batty being cooped up here all day.  But, we ventured out on Wednesday, put her in her crate and it felt good to leave.  And what do you know? She was just fine when we got home :-)  



The littles have been absolutely wonderful with helping take her out.  I knew they would love on her and play with her, but I have been very pleasantly surprised with their willingness to do the dirty work too.  When we went to her first vet checkup this week, I got a little chuckle out of their questions.



John: (who is so obviously my child) Can we get any diseases from dogs?  
The vet provided wonderful and informative information about illness in dogs and that most can not be transmitted to humans.  She also let us know that we should be very careful of parasites in their poop.  

Whit: Are you going to do anything that hurts our puppy?  Sometimes going to the doctor hurts.
The vet assured him that they wouldn't do anything to hurt Elsa.  In the next breath she said she needed to have a booster on one of her shots and Whit was quick to call her out and say that SHOTS HURT!  :-)



So, one week in we've had some accidents, we've had some meltdowns (yours truly), we've learned that people are more opinionated and vocal on how to take care of a dog than they are about a kid, and we've felt like giving up.  But, also in that one week, the boys have fallen in love, we've started to figure out what works best for our family and Elsa, and we are positive that Elsa is going to fit right in!  Welcome home, Elsa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

xoxo

6.26.2015

Around Atlanta {Starlight Drive-In}

I've mentioned a few times that some of our good friends from college own a technical recruiting firm (Hunter Technical Resources).  These guys have been an integral part of Honey's career for the past ten years, helping him grow and expand into different roles.  Well, out of nowhere, they presented a great opportunity to him a couple of weeks back.  He wasn't looking for something new but literally over the course of 24 hours he had interviewed, received an offer and accepted a new job at a new company!!  His last day was last Tuesday and I was excited to surprise him that evening with a celebratory date night from our 40x41 (or 40x42 in his case) lists!!!!  With the top down in the jeep and a picnic dinner in the back seat, we headed off to the Starlight Drive-In Theater!!  This Atlanta landmark opened in 1949 and is the last of its kind. 


I packed his favorite Pub-sub (Publix deli), a cooler of ice cold Coca-Cola's and some brownie brittle for our evening.
 

We parked the jeep and settled in with our dinner about an hour before the show started!
 

 
And just as the sun dipped below the trees, the screen came to life with JURASSIC WORLD!!!!
 

It's was an incredible experience, watching a movie under the stars.  And while this was our first time at a drive-in, we could certainly appreciate the nostalgia of how things were back in the day.  Oh, and we both loved the movie!!!

If you go:
  • Admission is $9 per adult and $1 per child.
  • The Starlight Drive-In features four screens, each with different movies.  There are two shows on each screen every night and your admission gets you in to BOTH shows on your screen!!  So, you can really make a whole night of it!  Our screen had Jurassic World playing at both times (it had just come out that weekend), but the other screens all had two different movies. 
  • We arrived an hour before the show started not knowing what to expect.  The parking lot is sloped downwards towards the screen so there really isn't a bad seat in the house.  We were front and center a few rows back.  I can't say how weekends are, but we definitely didn't need to be there so early.
  • A lot of people in SUVs and trucks backed into their spaces and laid out on sleeping bags and pillows.  Some people in cars brought along tailgate chairs and sat right outside of the car. 
  • You get the sound through your radio - I had no idea how that would happen :-)
  • There is a snack bar, but I was SUPER glad we brought our own food.
  • There are also bathrooms.  The ladies room was very old, but very clean.  Honey said the mens room left a lot to be desired in that department.
  • Before the show started it dawned on me how wonderful this would have been when we had babies... to strap them into their car seats, put them to sleep on the snooze cruise to the drive-in, and then enjoy a wonderful double header movie night while they counted sheep.  Well, as it turns out, LOADS of people were doing this!!!!!!!  I can't tell you how many had sleeping babies in the back seats.  Genius.
  • A lot of people brought entertainment for before the show.  The car next to us was a dad with 5 middle school aged kids.  They sat on a blanket and played spades.  The car in front of us had two kids around John's age and they threw the football before hand.  We just sat and talked, which was lovely!
I cannot recommend this experience more - it's good clean old fashioned fun!  It's not a glamorous set up and the surrounding neighborhood was a little intimidating, so don't let those things discourage you.  It's something every Atlantan needs to do!!!!!!!!!  We can't wait to take the littles back!!!

Congrats, Honey.  I'm super proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
xoxo

6.25.2015

America, America

I can't think of a more patriotic way to mark America's birthday and our love for our country than flying the glorious Old Glory.


I keep a tub of flags in all shapes and sizes and reuse them year after year.  They only take a few minutes to put out because we leave the mini hooks up year round - we use them for lights and garlands at Christmas.


I realize it sounds cliche, but every time I drive up, I am filled with pride and joy and thankfulness to be an American!


My single new addition this year was the firecracker door hanger from Bronwyn Hanahan art.  I needed one more piece so that I could decorate both the garage side door and the front door, and when bestie S told me she was ordering I couldn't resits adding on to her order.


 Y'all, I can hardly believe these ferns are still alive.


It was super overcast this morning when I took my pictures.  But, I couldn't wait for the sun because I knew I'd melt running around in the yard with a camera.  We're having a brutally hot summer down South.


We use the garage door 95% of time, as do our friends and family.  I moved the anchor I painted last year to this door and love it here!


I've shared our driveway seating quite a few times.  It's a popular spot made even more popular with the addition of Elsa.  I'm spending more time than I can stand outside these days :-)


I purchased a new flag for our main flag pole this year.  Other than when the Georgia Tech flag goes up at football season, this one flies year round.  Hence, it was looking a little ratty.


More flags in pots.  It's pretty much my go-to.  And SO easy!


Honey hung the bunting for me this weekend since it requires a ladder.  I wish direct TV had come to retrieve their dish when we cancelled their service...


The garden gets dressed up too.  We've having a pretty good luck with it this year!


I don't do anything inside, but I DO deck the porch in red, white and blue!  We've had a July 4th party every year we've been here, but decided to skip a year since it feels like we just did Honey's 40th.


I can do the porch in about ten minutes flat. Recover the pillows, put up the picture, throw on the table runner, pop the attachment on the Happy Everything plate, stick a few flags around, sit back on the porch and admire your handy work.


The free printable and DIY instructions for this canvas are here.


Mother made me the spare set of pillow covers a few years ago.  I just slip them on over the regular ones.  The flag pillow was from Pottery Barn years ago.


Elsa is the best little accessory I've purchased in a LOOOOOONG time.  She's darling!  But whew, quite a lot of work.  :-)


I still love my Happy Everything plate and put it out for all the holidays.  I can't wait to show y'all my newest attachment.



We absolutely adore this space.  Even in the brutal heat we've been having, it's a great spot for morning coffee and evening family time.


I added a few flags to the oyster wreath.  It never came down after Christmas, but I think it works.



I cut more hydrangeas from the yard for the porch.  They are just wonderful!!!


The runner is from Crate & Barrel years ago.  I have the flowers in a Byrd Cookie Co jar from Savannah. The littles were super excited to find such a styled afternoon snack on the porch :-)


I've had our flags out for about a week now but with the "newborn" it took me ten times longer than usual to take pictures and write a blog post.  Speaking of which... it's time to go potty.
xoxo

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