Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Not Easy Being...Orange

Today seems appropriate to share some of our fall projects with you. I LOVE this time of year and have been wanting to reflect it in our home. So, for starters, if you came to our front door right now, this is what you'd see...

Our festive wreath

This "homemade" wreath was as easy as can be. Here are the instructions: 1. Buy wreath and bright embellishment 2. Stick bright embellishment into wreath 3. Hang wreath on door, and VOILA! That's right, I didn't even glue anything. That's the kind of craft that leaves you feeling accomplished in 2 minutes. I may add to it next year...if I get around to it.

This weekend while I attempted to make paper pumpkins as a center piece for our table (not pictured because I did not like the results), the Hubs had a project all his own. I don't remember how he got onto this but he discovered a way to make hot meals on the trail or while camping using dehydrated foods in freezer bags. As per recommended by the websites he read, he tested one of the meals at home...where there is other food in case the attempt goes awry. So here he is with his homemade stove (made from pepsi cans), homemade fire shield (foil), homemade stove stand (wire from wire hangers provided by the local dry-cleaners), and his "pot" of water (or the cup from his canteen). By the way, it was a success, but that is for another post.

So we bought a pumpkin a few weeks ago and had yet to carve it. I had ambitious thoughts of carving St. Michael the archangel...something like this...

But then realized that, indeed, my thoughts were QUITE ambitious (maybe next year) and so we settled on something a little more simple. We of course had to have snacks while we worked on said projects... and what is better this time of year than...

Snackies while carving the pumpkin

Tim had purchased a pumpkin carving kit and in it had this little thing to trace your stencil onto your pumpkin. After tracing once, we couldn't see the dots, twice, still couldn't find the dots, used a tack the third time...barely could see the dots. So I drew on the pumpkin to help me find the third set of dots. I worked hard to carve the pumpkin before I wore out and resigned to let the Hubs carve the pumpkin while I made yummy pumpkin seeds.

Carving the pumpkin

Spicy pumpkin seeds and sweet pumpkin seeds

Ok, well I didn't "make" the pumpkin seeds...God did...but I embellished them. I made spicy pumpkin seeds from a mix of spices including paprika and chili powder (I didn't have cayenne pepper like the recipe called for), and sweet pumpkin seeds from a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and ground ginger. I highly recommend the sweet ones, but Tim liked the spicy ones.

Oh, I suppose you want to see what we actually carved into our pumpkin. After lots of hard work, we sat back, ate pumpkin seeds, and enjoyed the glow of...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

'Rents in the Flo Bra

Tim's parents, Mary and Peter, drove all the way to Flowery Branch to visit us. It is the perfect time of year to visit N. Georgia, and experience the fall colors (and mountains) that are lacking in Savannah.

We started out our day with Red Velvet Pancakes (a gift from Tim's sister that we had been waiting to try, and thought this was a great opportunity).

We drove up to Blairsville, GA to go to the farmer's market, and promptly arrived 10 minutes after they closed. Oops. Mary and Peter managed to buy up some produce from some vendors anyway. We could have opened up shop from our trunk by the time they were done :).

We stopped at Mountain Crossings at Walasi-Yi at Neels Gap to admire the view. This store is along the famous Appalachian Trail (AT).

Mountain Crossings Outfitters at Walasi-Yi in Neels Gap

Mary and Tim looking out at the view

I got them to pose for me...sorry for the lack of photography skills here.

Better view of the...view

The AT passes through the building, making it the only covered portion in the 2100+ miles of the AT. I thought that was cool. The store was neat and had all sorts of gear and souvenirs that made you want to go conquer the AT yourself.

The AT passing through the building

Yes, those are the trees!

My understanding is that when people finish the AT (a might feat), they leave their boots in the trees here as a "right of passage". I'm not sure what else to call it, but it made me want to be one of those people that get to hang my boots up day...maybe.

Then we ventured over to Logan Turnpike Mill. If you have ever had grits in Georgia, there is a very good chance that they came from Logan Turnpike Mill.

Logan Turnpike Mill on the side of the road on the side of the mountain

It is hard to imagine that this building on the side of the road produces a significant amount of the grits we consume in Georgia. We also got to visit a little with Cecilia, the owner, who is sweet as can be. And of course bought some goodies, including one of my favorites, Ezekiel bread. The recipe is taken from the book of Ezekiel in the Bible. Here is a picture of the grains and legumes in Ezekiel bread.

Ingredients in Ezekiel bread

After visiting the mill, we headed over to some local shops to peruse all the souvenirs we could buy...but probably wouldn't.

We are just so cute, can you bear it?  harharhar

If you eat too much at lunch (and I did), you can rent this and they will wheel you outta there.

Peter and Mary in the big chair

Us in the big chair

And since we're always talking about our homemade cooking adventures, we thought it was only fair to share some with the parents when they came to visit. We ended our fun day with homemade pasta with Italian sausage in homemade parsley pesto. You hungry yet?

Homemade pasta with Italian sausage and homemade parsley pesto...YUM!

And I found great amusement while reading these, so I thought I'd share.

This was really for my own amusement

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lost But Holding Hands Moments...

...with some random, unrelated photos mixed in.

Beautiful sunflowers that The Hubs bought me...perfect for fall

I've been pondering the idea of changing the name of our blog...just thinking maybe it didn't capture our lives very well. But then we have several moments in a row, me...solidify why we chose the title. Those moments that don't go quite how we thought they would (or hoped they would), but we're in it together. We've had several "lost but holding hands" moments in less than a week and I thought I'd share a few.

1. Tim and I have had a few glorious weekends recently that held no commitments, beautiful, cool fall weather, great food, and just...enjoying each other. We've enjoyed watching the UGA games on ESPN3 (we're a sans cable household). We thought it'd be fun to mix it up and join the crazy crowds at Taco Mac for the game and so we dressed up like good Georgia fans do and arrived at the restaurant promptly when the game was packed...we should've known. They told us the wait was an hour and fifteen minutes. It was already 7pm when we arrived (for those of you that know us well, know that we have a history of eating at retirement home times, so this was already late), and I was wilting rather quickly. So after 10 minutes of indecisiveness, we decided to pick up some fast food and watch the game at home. So we decided to splurge and pick up the fast food we each want (which of course was at separate places), and head home with the excitement of just vegging. We get home and the game is blacked out...meaning it's not available on sad

It's hot beverage weather!

2. I have been SUPER excited about Advent. It's one of my favorite times of the year. And, I detest Halloween (another story for another day), so in my normal fashion I've skipped over Halloween in my brain and have gone straight to planning for Advent (last year we went camping Halloween weekend, and I was able to pretend that it didn't even exist...camping trip already planned for this year too). After MUCH deliberation over numerous nativity sets, I finally found one that fit 99% of my criteria and was a decent price. I finally pulled the trigger and waited in earnest for my set to arrive. The day finally came and the (unnecessarily) GIANT box was dropped on my doorstep. I opened the box...only to find...

St. Joseph's lantern was broken. Ok, ok, minor flaw to some...but then I found...

Disturbing, isn't it.

NOT a minor flaw!!! Baby Jesus...slightly important to the nativity set, no? I mean, I would at least like our (hypothetical) 5 year old to have a whole, intact nativity set to break, not an already broken one. I was quite demoralized. A prompt phone call, and a new St. Joseph and Baby Jesus was put in the mail. I only had to laugh when the second (unnecessarily) GIANT box arrived and I pulled this out...

Giant bubble wrap

Do you see Baby Jesus amidst the GIANT bubble wrap. LOL! I guess they wanted to make sure that he arrived safely this time.

I also was excited to buy candles for our Advent wreath since last year I went a week or so early and they were already out of them at Michael's and Hobby Lobby. I figured a month ahead was better safe than sorry. I got my candles home and promptly stuck them in the freezer (did you know they don't drip if you do that?). I was feeling very accomplished in my super early planning for Advent...until I knocked one of the candles out of the freezer and watched it shatter on the floor. WAH, Wah, wah. Candle has since been replaced and placed in the back of the freezer so I can't knock it out.

3. Tim ordered an FM transmitter for his car (after his other one bit the dust...I mean no disrespect...but for those of you that know The Hubs, you know what a big feat it is for him to actually buy something for himself). He was very excited about this, and took the opportunity when it arrived to plug it in right away since I was tied up with a phone call. He came back up only to inform me that it did not work...he had to send it back.

This is how things often work out for us...but we're holding hands through it all. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~
Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter

With a home decorating theme...

Framed napkins from my grandmother-in-law

It only took us ten months...but we finally decorated our apartment. Oh, I know what you're thinking..."in the last post you have paintings on the wall and the living room looks so put together" Yes, our living room has things on the wall and a few knickknacks to make our guests think that our apartment is put together...but the rest of the apartment was We stumbled upon Hobby Lobby's 50% off sale and that provided just enough to get the process started.

The frames above were a thrift store find that I spray-painted (still unhappy with the color, but too lazy to change it), and they now hold beautiful napkins given to me by my grandmother-in-law.

The best day of my life so far...maybe I should have put this under "happy"

We actually have pictures OF US on the walls now! The frame is from Hobby Lobby and the picture needs no explanation as to why it's pretty...isn't Father Adam just so pretty ;)


The clock is also from Hobby Lobby (I'm not intentionally promoting their store, but in the way of inexpensive craft and decorations, they are one of the best). I did talk them into giving me 60% off since the hands were bent and it had marker on it (The Hubs fixed that easy enough)...I've been told that I like to haggle. Haggling, and having decorations and pictures up on the wall makes it feel so home-y now, and that makes me so happy. And the clock makes me happy...isn't it fun and colorful?


I'll give you 3 guesses as to why I'm in this pose

Do I look a little silly? Well, I sliced my finger pretty badly while cleaning the glass in the frames, and it would not stop bleeding, so The Hubs made me hold my hand above my head. Well, I was just too darn impatient to let my injury slow me down so when Tim walked around the corner, this is what he saw...and then he took a picture. He was quite amused.


And because no home-decorating project ever goes completely right... Tim promptly drug out his tools to hang our new decorations on the wall, and after 5 seconds...the drill died...and the spare battery was dead...postponing the project by 45 minutes while we waited for it to charge. In the mean time I drove him crazy with "a little higher", "a hair to the right, no left", "it's crooked", as he graciously hung pictures on the wall for me...all the while with my hand in the air. That's life in the Zack house.

Pictures hanging in our hallway

round button chicken