Happy New Year! I feel like 2016 flew by so quickly, it’s hard to believe it’s already 2017. Even though I slacked off on blogging this year, I wanted to do a recap like I did for 2015. 2016 was hard for a lot of people, and while we had some moments, I want to focus on the good things that took place for us.
I did keep up with the trying a new recipe every week, just failed at blogging. I’ll do an overall recap update in a couple weeks – but for now, I’m knocking this recap out.
Here we go.
I turned 33, and had a fairly low key birthday. We got together with Josh’s family to celebrate all the Dec/January birthdays, which was a lot of fun.
Shortly after my birthday, B turned 3. He had two family celebrations, but the best part of celebrating his birthday was our trip to Disney!
I failed spectacularly at taking time to blog about it, but I’ll give you a quick recap. 😉 We went for a week, spent time in all the parks (Magic Kingdom two days), took a LOT of pictures, and made some great memories. We won’t be one of those hardcore families that go every year, but we do plan on going back when B gets a little taller and can ride more rides.
Our niece PJ turned TWO. And right after we celebrated her birthday, her little sister Cami was born. I may be biased, but these two girls are just adorable.
Now that I’m a #boymom, the events and things I learn about never cease to amaze me. Never in a million years would I have *ever* pictured myself at a monster truck show, but when March rolled around, there I was at Monster Jam! B had watched a few episodes OnDemand, but watching him watch the show live and in person was worth every penny we paid for our seats. I can guarantee we’ll be going back in 2017!
We also celebrated our nephew’s 3rd birthday, and spent time with family.
We took our annual family photos with our friends at Mini Photo Sessions. What should have been a warm day was quite frigid! Brr! B was a champ though!
Josh and I celebrated our 7th anniversary by spending a long weekend in Asheville. We had a great time, and definitely want to go back one day.
IBM had it’s annual customer conference, Amplify, and I ended up presenting in two sessions. I was terrified, but survived, and got some really good feedback. We’ll see if I end up speaking again in 2017, but I can mark off facing a fear head on in 2016!
At the end of the month, Josh’s mom came down for a weekend and we were able to spend some time at the Atlanta Zoo. B loves the animals, and while it was warm, we enjoyed ourselves!
Me and the gals spent a weekend down in FL with MFP. It was definitely a needed weekend away. We laughed, drank, played games, and ate way too much. It was absolutely worth it.
The following week, Josh was out of state for work and I had to go out of town for work as well. In the midst of getting my rental car for the trip, a teenager pulled out in front of me and we had quite the collision. Luckily, no one was majorly injured. I’m pretty sure I cracked my sternum, and was in pain for a couple weeks, but it subsided. It was then I determined there’d be no more traveling for J and I at the same time. So stressful!
Josh turned 34 in July, and I managed to put together a surprise birthday dinner for him and some of his friends. It was great catching up with everyone, and he was completely shocked I pulled it off. He figured something was up in the parking lot, but didn’t suspect anything before then.
I also kicked off a project for the incoming freshmen at Mercer. Working with Alumni Services and Admissions, over 150 alumni wrote welcome letters for the Class of 2020. I spent several days/nights assigning students out, sorting through the letters as they were received, alphabetized them, and got them ready to hand off for distribution in August. It was by far one of my favorite projects, and I look forward to coordinating it next year!
In one weekend I was able to celebrate so much! First, my high school friend/college sorority sister, Jamie, had a baby shower for her little bundle of joy. I was so excited for her and her husband and their new arrival. Her son is now here and he is just so freaking adorable!
My pseudo little sister, Elizabeth (MFP’s sister), had a bridal shower in town. We celebrated her upcoming nuptials and then stole MFP away for some girl time before she had to fly back to Florida.
September kicked off college football season, and we were ready for some Mercer football! Our biggest game of the season brought the Bears up I-75 to play against Georgia Tech. It was ridiculously hot, and we didn’t win, but we DID score the first touchdown of the game. The alumni tailgate before the game was a blast and we’re looking forward to some even bigger games next season!
Josh and I also got to celebrate my dear friend Jen’s marriage. She had a wedding in Boston, and a hometown reception. We had so much fun catching up with friends that evening.
Mercer had an away game in Chattanooga in 2016, so we made a road trip up for the game. Our sister-in-law, niece, and nephew joined us for the afternoon. We didn’t win the game, but we enjoyed hanging out with family.
Elizabeth and Rusty got married at her family pond outside of Augusta. The girls and I took a trip to take part in the wedding festivities. She was a beautiful bride and we had a great time dancing the night away!
October wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Halloween. B dressed up as Spiderman, as he is definitely in the beginning stages of superhero fandom.
Homecoming took place in early November, which is one of my favorite times of the year. On Friday, the National Alumni Board met. We got to hear from the other alumni groups, current students, and President Underwood. I love hearing about the new things on campus and the success of the current students. Makes me very proud to be a Bear. That evening the Alumni Awards Dinner was held, and I received the Chapter Service Award. Josh and I were able to hang out with two of my sorority sisters, who were also award winners that evening. It was fun catching up with them!
On Saturday, we met with several alumni chapter leaders for breakfast, took in the Kaleidoscope Concert that the Townsend School of Music put on, walked around campus, had lunch with my parents, and then cheered on the Bears for the football game.
We also celebrated Thanks-Christmas with Josh’s side of the family at Granny’s house. Lots of food and lots of family make for a great day!
B and I drove down to Macon to meet up with my parents so they could watch him while I took part in interviewing future Bears for the scholarship competition. I tell you, there were some very impressive students, and I can’t wait to hear who chooses to attend Mercer. They’ll help make the Class of 2021 one of the most successful yet.
After the interviews were over, we celebrated my brother’s birthday by going out to dinner with my family. It was a lot of fun, and then later, Brian, Stephanie, and I went to the bowling alley with one of Brian’s friends to bowl. I sat out, thanks to some crazy back/hip joint pain. This getting older is for the birds, haha, but I suppose it’s better than the alternative. 😉
Wrapped up the year celebrating Christmas at our house and then at my parents’ house. B is a big fan of Santa (“He’s the best!”), so it’s made the holiday a lot more fun as he continues to get older.
2016 had some pretty great highlights for us, and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I always said I wanted to make them into a quilt, but hadn’t quite found the right company, at the right cost. So many of the t-shirt quilt companies were pretty pricey, so I put off ordering one.
Then, last month, a longtime friend and sorority sister of mine (Battle) posted about making a quilt with Project Repat. She was so happy with how her quilt turned out, it was the push I needed to gather up my shirts and get a quilt made.
So I went to Project Repat’s site to look at my options.
You can order a lap blanket, twin, full, queen, or king size quilt. The larger the quilt, the more squares required. I found a portion of my shirts tucked away, but went on a search mission to find the rest (hiding in our guest bedroom closet under several boxes). Once I knew how many shirts I had on hand, I decided to go with a full sized quilt (30 squares) and made my order. I went with the 14×14 squares, because several of the designs on my shirts were larger and I didn’t want them to get cut off if I went with 12×12.
After the order was placed, I received an email with details on how to prepare my shirts for production, as well as the shipping details. Since a majority of my shirts had been in storage, I wanted to wash them before I cut them up. Once washed and laid out, I cut up the shirts. It took me about 2 hours to knock out. It was a lot of fun though, going through the old shirts, and the memories* tied to them.
With Project Repat, you have the option to allow them to piece your quilt together, OR, you can lay out your squares in a specific order, take a picture, and include a printed picture with your squares when you send them off. Because I have some control and OCD tendencies (ha!), I went with the latter option.
I set out the shirt squares in the order I wanted, snapped a pic, and printed it out the next day, to include in the package to the production company.
I have to say, the turnaround time on this quilt was spectacular. Here’s a timeline of events:
- August 31st: Ordered online
- September 14th: Sent squares off to production company
- September 15th: Production company received shirt squares (because I overnighted)
- September 24th: Received notice quilt was complete
- September 26th: Finished quilt shipped back to me
- September 28th: Received quilt at home!
WOW! So fast!
And the finished product is great. The quilt looks just like I wanted it to, and the fleece backing is so soft! It’s perfect!
If you’ve been holding on to old t-shirts with the thought of making a quilt, I *highly* recommend Project Repat. If you’re interested in ordering one, you can use my referral link and save 15% off your order. Check it out! And if you do, be sure to let me know what you think (and maybe send me a pic of your finished quilt).
* Shirt Memories – For anyone curious:
- Row 1
- Square 1: Philanthropy Night shirt for Recruitment Fall 2002. I always loved the Ronald McDonald House design and the poem tied to it. I was the t-shirt chair in charge of having it made, so it’s a favorite.
- Square 2: From the “Ragin’ Cajun” mixer event ADPi had with Lamba Chi Alpha. The LXA boys were a lot of fun – and I spent a lot of time with them senior year.
- Square 3: This shirt was from the ATO/ADPi Kids Day Out event. This annual event started in my early college years, and was always a fun time. We had face painting and fun events for the local kids from the community.
- Square 4: An ATO rush shirt from Fall 2003. As an ATO sweetheart, these boys were the best in town. I took this shirt to Australia with me, so it saw a lot of the country as well.
- Square 5: Semi-formal ADPi shirt from sophomore year
- Row 2:
- Square 1: SGA Family Weekend shirt.
- Square 2: Bondy the Beer Man – Bond University’s mascot while I was studying abroad. They’ve since moved to a bullshark mascot…
- Square 3: What does your major do? We had these shirts made for a Society for Technical Communication conference, and they were a hit. We ended up printing more and selling them to folks from the conference, who thought they were great.
- Square 4: Australian flag shirt. Man, I love that country.
- Square 5: El Beacho…these guys had the idea to do a Jock Strap race around campus – and needed shirts to raise money. I came up with the slogan for the back “Doing what we can to support the community.” As luck would have it, they opted to have the race the night of a Mercer Overnight. I can’t help but laugh, and am thankful that no potential freshmen experienced this.
- Row 3:
- Square 1: The Bear’s Den is one of the most wonderful places to eat in Macon. Southern cooking at it’s finest.
- Square 2: Big Man on Campus was an event started by ADPi. This shirt design was a collaborative effort with fellow sister, Sam, in one of our classes. It was used on fliers and shirts sold to support the event.
- Square 3: A Mercer Bears shirt *had* to be front and center on this shirt.
- Square 4: This is a picture of Mercer’s Administration building that I took, edited, and used for a t-shirt for potential freshmen who attended Mercer Admissions events.
- Square 5: Sister Mister was an annual event with Chi Omega, where we’d find our diamond sisters a date. Sometimes you knew who your date would be, sometimes you didn’t.
- Row 4:
- Square 1: Black Diamond formal – Senior year. This was quite possibly the MOST comfortable t-shirt we ever had.
- Square 2: This shirt isn’t from college, but it’s still special. This shirt was acquired the date that MERCER BEAT DUKE in basketball. I was at the game, and it was one of the greatest days ever!
- Square 3: Another Mercer Overnight shirt. I didn’t design it, but I loved it. Working on the Student Admissions Team was an honor and a privileged. I learned a lot on the team and my appreciation for the University definitely grew.
- Square 4: Since we didn’t have a football team when I was in school, we had joke shirts. “Mercer Football – Undefeated since 1942”, which happened to be the last year we had a team. Now that Mercer has a football team again, I figured it was safe to add this one to the quilt. 😉
- Square 5: ATO Big Pig Jig – A BBQ event held by ATO my senior year.
- Row 5:
- Square 1: Every year, ADPi would hold Mallard Ball, an event where everyone dressed in camo and the boys outnumbered the girls – since we could all invite 3 boys each. Fun times.
- Square 2: ADPi Crest Shirt. I picked this one up while advising for the Beta Sigma girls. We never had crest shirts while I was a student, so I wanted one.
- Square 3: Another ATO Rush shirt – also worn quite a bit. It was one of my favorites.
- Square 4: “It’s a jungle out there, aren’t you glad you’re a lion?” ADPi Bid Day shirt from Fall 2002.
- Square 5: ATO St. Patrick’s Day party shirt from 2005. I lived in this shirt, it’s so worn out. I loved it. That night was kind of a blur, but I know it was a good time! 😉
- Row 6:
- Square 1: If events at Mercer didn’t have a t-shirt, you didn’t go, haha. This shirt was from Founder’s Day, and showcased the years all the different schools were established.
- Square 2: ADPi Parents Weekend shirt – Spring 2002. This was one of my shirts as t-shirt chair. Definitely a favorite.
- Square 3: Another Mallard Ball shirt.
- Square 4: Back in the day, when Basketball was our primary sport, we had Homecoming in the spring. Freshman year, we did Homecoming with Kappa Sigma, and this was our shirt for the “Frozen in Time” theme.
- Square 5: Another Bid Day shirt for ADPi. Spades Kill, Hearts Break, Clubs Close, but Diamonds Last Forever.
I’m going to start off saying that I’ve NEVER had fish tacos before. The concept has grossed me out for years, no matter HOW many people swear that they’re good.
But I’ve had this tilapia in my freezer for awhile, which I tried to use up with the stuffed tilapia (ugh, just terrible). It was taking up space, so I figured, what the hell – I’ll try to make tacos with them. I came across this grilled tilapia recipe and thought it might just do the trick, plus it gets Josh involved with helping for dinner – since it’s on the grill. I had a taco kit in the pantry, so I wanted to put it to use.
As always, I slightly modified the recipe – because we’re picky.
The original recipe called for much more than the black beans, frozen corn, and salsa that I used. Mixed together in a bowl, it was pretty darn easy.
After washing the fish off (thawed out while at work), pat the fish dry and place in the foil pack. I put mine on top a bit of the mix so it was surrounded in the foil pack.
Then, place another spoonful or two on top of the fish and close up the foil packs. Grill on medium to high heat for 15 minutes.
While the fish was grilling, I baked the shells and tortillas in the oven according to the package instructions. When the fish was finished, we made the stove our serving location and got all of the sides together (lettuce, pinto beans, cheese, guacamole, etc.).
Since Josh and I like different things on our tacos, it was self serve.
Guys, I’ve been missing out. These tacos were so darn good!
We’ll DEFINITELY make these again. I love fish and I love tacos, but up until today didn’t realize that combining them could be delicious as well.
Amy – 4 out of 5 stars. SO. SO. SO GOOD! And so easy!
Josh – 4 out of 5 stars. A big fan of these! Wasn’t sure he’d like them, but he did as well!
First step was to start browning the ground turkey and boil the shells.
While the meat and noodles were cooking, I worked on getting all the rest of the ingredients measured for quick use.
Add the marinara sauce…
…the pasta…and the first portion of cheese.
Once mixed together, place into a baking dish, sprinkle remainder of cheese on top. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes.
Take out and enjoy the cheesy goodness!
This one was pretty good, but there was SO MUCH of it. I made it before we had family up, thinking we’d eat leftovers, but that didn’t happen. And since we were going out of town for our anniversary – it didn’t get eaten – should have frozen it!
Amy – 3.5 out of 5 stars. It was good, really cheesy. Next time I’ll probably half the recipe and use a smaller baking dish.
Josh – 3.5 out of 5 stars. Cheese and meat. A good meal!
After a miss from last week, I wanted to try another pasta – this time a Creamy Broccoli and Chicken pasta. It wasn’t a one pot recipe, so it was fun to juggle getting everything’s timing together to complete the meal. The actual recipe calls for bacon, but we weren’t feeling the bacon (shocking, I know) so we skipped it.
First up (not pictured), I took the chicken breast and cooked it in the skillet. Once complete, I moved it to a plate and placed it in the microwave to stay warm. While this process was going on, I started the water for the pasta so it’d get to a boiling point while focusing on the chicken.
Next it was time to get the sauce going! I put the noodles in the boiling water and then focused back on the sauce.
Added the garlic pieces, heavy cream, milk, and let it come to a boil. Once bubbling, add in the shredded cheese – I used mozzarella. Stir until it melts.
Just before the noodles finished, I steamed the broccoli, so it’d be ready to add in after the pasta.
When the pasta is ready, add to the creamy sauce.
Follow up with the broccoli…
Next up, add the sliced chicken. Note, the recipe suggested slicing it after finishing cooking and then placing it on the pasta. I waited to slice the chicken, and then added it to the pan with everything else. Looking back, the presentation might have been nicer had I laid the chicken on top of the pasta. You live and learn.
I’m not sure if I started the sauce too early, or if I just missed something completely – but this recipe turned out just ok. I may try it again and try not to do too many things at once, saving the sauce until the noodles are ready.
Amy – 2.5 out of 5 stars. Just ok, but I can’t tell if it was me or the recipe.
Josh – 2.5 out of 5 stars. Meh. Not terrible, but not a favorite.
Because I had a new(ish) jar of BBQ sauce from Week 12‘s recipe, I decided to try out the Crockpot Orange Chicken recipe that had been sitting in my Pinterest board for awhile. I’m not usually a big orange chicken fan, but Josh loves to get it when he goes to Panda Express, so I figured I’d try it out.
The upside is that the recipe is pretty darn simple, and it’s done in a crockpot, so little effort was required.
Cook chicken in the crock pot, and cook for 6 hours on low. Once finished, cut into pieces and return to crock pot.
Mix the orange marmalade, BBQ sauce, and soy sauce together.
Then pour over chicken and cook on high for 30 minutes.
While the chicken cooked for the last 30 minutes, I decided to make some fried rice to go along with it. I’d made rice earlier in the day so I could use it for the fried rice.
Once the fried rice was finished, I took the chicken out and dinner was served!
Might make this one again, but it’s not at the top of the list for re-dos, like the Beef Stroganoff recipe is. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made that since we tried it out!
Amy – 2.5 out of 5 stars. I liked that this one was easy, but it didn’t quite taste how I expected. If I make it again, I’ll probably tweak the ratio of BBQ and orange.
Josh – 2.5 out of 5 stars. It definitely wasn’t the biggest hit of the recipes tried, but it wasn’t the worst.
7:00 am. Whyyyyy? I just want to sleep late…
Enough whining. I guess we had to get up and get moving so we could make it to our breakfast selection, which opened at 9 am. We got ready and walked down to College St to check out Tupelo Honey Cafe. I can’t count how many times this place popped up as an Asheville recommendation – so we had to check it out.
Luckily, we walked up and were seated right away. Since it was early on a Sunday, it meant no mimosas for me. Whomp whomp. We ordered and anticipated the food we were about to receive. As a preview of the meal, we were given a delicious biscuit with blueberry jam. It was huge!
I held off on devouring this biscuit until my breakfast arrived. Josh and I both ordered the Tupelo Genuine Country Breakfast – he opted for scrambled eggs, country ham, and potato cracklins; I chose to get sunny side up eggs, apple cider bacon, and the goat cheese grits.
Shoo…this was fantastic. I recently (within the past year) have started eating grits (crazy I know), and I’m pretty sure these will never be topped.
After paying for our meal, we opted to walk around and see what was open. We knew we wanted to hit Curio to get a little something for B while we were in Asheville. It is definitely an adorable store!
Since most places didn’t open until noon, we opted to go back and chill at the hotel for a little while.
During our second outing, we set out to check out the Mast General Store for some local goodies. Lots of options, and we picked up a few gifts here. The bag was fairly heavy (and sharp/pointy) so we figured it’d be easier to walk around without it. We also decided to go back to the Mission Arts at the Grove to buy the painting we fell in love with. As luck would have it, we had 35.5 inches between our headboard and the bottom of the crown molding. The painting was 30 inches high. So exciting! Since we already going to head back to the hotel, we stopped to buy the painting and carry it back with us.
The painting was still there, so exciting! And because there was a crack in the frame, they gave us a small discount. We went ahead with the purchase and carried it back to our car.
After finding a way to get this in our car, we chose to go change clothes, as the temp picked up from the morning cool.
And out we went again [so many steps on Sunday – 12.7k!].
The concierge spoke highly about the French Broad Chocolate Lounge to see what that was all about.
We were still pretty full from breakfast, so I got the kids scoop of Milk and Cookies ice cream and Josh got a chocolate snickerdoodle cookie.
Our feet were tired after our third outing of the day, so back to the hotel we went. We got on FaceTime with B back home, relaxed a bit, and decided where we were going to go to dinner.
Seafood is always a top choice for dinner in my opinion, but we don’t go out very often. Josh suggested dinner at The Lobster Trap and I was definitely on board. We set off on foot to Patton Ave to enjoy our last night in Asheville.
Now if there’s one thing I can eat a lot of, it’s seafood. Josh ordered the Maine Lobster Roll, and I opted for The Lobster Trap Clam Bake, because there were so many things that looked wonderful as part of the entree and I couldn’t narrow down my selection.
We were in for a treat. First, they brought out some smoked trout dip. I wasn’t sure about it, but decided to try it anyway.
It was yummy, but knowing how much food was about to head my way, I opted to eat only a little while Josh was attempting to put a dent into his huge Caesar salad.
Then the time came, where our dinners came out. Oh boy!
It was a lot, and the waitress tackled getting most of the meat out for me upon delivery, but it was so worth it.
We left The Lobster Trap happy and full, with a nice walk back to our hotel. We decided to swing by Kilwins, just to see how late they were open, and realized they were closing in 4 minutes. What’d we do? We got ice cream…again.
This time I got Cookies and Cream and Josh got Asheville Tracks, both phenomenal, as expected.
We ended the evening knowing we had to get up early to make the trek back to Atlanta, relieving my mom of her babysitting duties.
And while the drive back wasn’t super exciting, we did hang our picture as soon as we got back from lunch with my mom and sending her off.
We’re in love!
On Saturday morning, we woke up as late as you possibly can after life with a toddler (7:15 am…) and laid around, which is something we don’t get to do often. Josh went downstairs to get me a little something for breakfast, as we’d be doing our zip line tour and would likely be eating a late lunch.
We took our time getting ready and left at 9:45 to head to Navitat Canopy Adventures Asheville. I found this place while searching through Pinterest for Asheville recommendations. In comparing the two tours they offer, the Blue Ridge Experience looked the most fun and I’d talked Josh into playing along and going with me.
We arrived and Josh kept joking about how he’d see me later, but I insisted he’d have a lot of fun. We checked in, emptied our pockets, and waited to meet our tour guides. Kate and Katherine, our two tour guides, met us for our 10:50 am tour and explained what we’d be doing. We then made our way up to get our gear on. Since we’d be flying above the trees, over a few miles, I didn’t have my phone with me – so there are few pictures. I did however, borrow my dad’s GoPro camera*, so we have videos of our zips!
We took the Navitat van up the mountain and close to the top. There was a little hike to the first platform, but it wasn’t all that bad.
Along the way, the guides entertained us with jokes and information about the area around us. Since we were celebrating our anniversary, the group nominated us to go first on the first zip line.
Our guides mentioned that if we loved this one, we would FOR SURE love the two to come. I couldn’t wait! After the other six folks on our tour made their way down, we had a little bit of a hike up to the second platform. The guides stopped us along the way to catch our breath and pointed out different plants and provided tidbits of information while we recovered, haha.
After beating Josh on the first zip line, he was determined to beat me on the second one. Game on. This zip line was about .75 miles long, the longest of the three we’d be doing. We were the second to go on this one, and were promised beautiful views along the way.
They weren’t kidding.
The next hike to the third platform was downhill, so it wasn’t as intense, but I almost slipped on the dirt a few times – no spills though!
On platform three, our last zip, we had a shorter run – but still fun!
Kate, one of our guides, recommended stopping for lunch in Weaverville on our way back to Asheville. She mentioned several types of food, but pizza and brewery jumped out and we decided to stop there – as it was after 2 pm and we were hungry!
We stopped at Blue Mountain Pizza to grab a bite to eat and we were glad that we did! In checking feedback on Foursquare, the garlic knots were an absolute must. We also decided to split a Parrothead pizza (ham, bacon, pineapple). Little did we know how big everything would be!
We left stuffed, knowing we wouldn’t need dinner. Upon arrival to the hotel, we rested up for the roller derby match that evening. We were going to go at 5 pm, but I kind of fell asleep… The All-Stars were competing at 7 pm, so thankfully we didn’t miss it all. It was a short walk over to the US Celluar Center where we weren’t sure what to expect.
It was pretty clear early on, that we had no clue what was taking place, aside from the fact that Blue Ridge was putting a hurting on Charlotte. It was a lot of fun to cheer them on, and we finally got the hang of it. Blue Ridge has a squirrel mascot that kept the crowd entertained between jams.
Blue Ridge won by a ridiculous amount, but both teams seemed to be having fun. We snuck out before the last jam and decided that we’d go to Kilwins to have ice cream for dinner. Because we’re adults, and we can.
We opted for waffle bowls so we could take the ice cream back to our hotel. Josh opted for the Georgia Peach ice cream, while I selected the Salted Caramel. Both were yummy!
It had been decided that we were going to go out for breakfast in the morning, so we crashed after an exciting day – ready for our last full day in Asheville.
This weekend, Josh and I drove up to Asheville to celebrate our seventh anniversary. We were torn about where we wanted to go for several weeks, when we finally decided on Asheville over Miami (I think we made the right choice).
We booked a three nights stay at the Hotel Indigo Downtown Asheville, and were really slack about figuring out what we wanted to do while we were there. With several recommendations on food and beer, we decided to wing it with the exception of a zip line tour planned for Saturday.
Nanny came up to watch B for the weekend, and we departed on Friday morning. The drive was about 3.5 hours, but it went pretty quickly.
When we made it to the hotel, we were a bit early for check-in, so we parked and decided to explore the downtown area. The concierge provided us with a map and a LOT of recommendations on where to go eat, and off we went!
We decided to stop at the Lexington Avenue Brewery for a snack, since we were in between lunch and dinner. Once we saw the Old World Pretzels on the menu, there was nothing else tempting us. We ordered two beers and the pretzels and enjoyed the open air and beautiful weather outside.
After enjoying our brews, we walked around downtown for our bit and eventually made our way to the Grove Arcade to check out some of the local shops. We made our way into the Mission at the Grove to check out some of the art and items for sale. We saw some cute items and then turned a corner and fell in love with a painting. We had to get some measurements back home to see if it’d fit, so we parted ways with the painting and walked back to our room to check in.
A couple weeks ago, the concierge called to check to see if they could help with our plans, and at the time I wasn’t quite ready to discuss (slacking…) I did mention it was our anniversary. When we checked in, the front desk noted that we’d been upgraded from our standard king room to a king corner room. It was a nice surprise! But when we walked in, we found a beautiful view and another nice surprise from the concierges.
Since it was just after 4 pm, and we’d had huge pretzels and beer, we decided to hang out for a bit in the room. We checked Foursquare and Yelp for recommendations on food and discussed other options to try the remainder of the weekend.
We decided to try out a sushi place that had great recommendations, and made our way to Wasabi on Broadway. We were still a little full from our late snack at LAB, but decided to get a couple rolls each. We shared some edamame while we waited for our sushi. All of a sudden we looked up and our rolls were heading our way, and were impressed with the presentation.
We walked around a bit more after dinner to allow our food to settle, and to check out the rest of the scene. Fellow 409’er, Mary, recommended checking out the drum circle that takes place every Friday night for people watching. Her suggestion did not disappoint.
After awhile we decided to keep walking, checking out the shops along the way.
And then we came across Kilwins and popped in for a sweet treat. While the fudge and the ice cream looked amazing, we were still *very* full from dinner. We opted to try their chocolate covered pretzels (Josh went with milk chocolate and I went with the white chocolate).
I’d also like to note that there’s a Kilwins in Atlantic Station, which may be a good or bad thing for me to know…
The combination of our drive to NC, walking around, and all the food, left us ready to fall asleep fairly early. Knowing we had a big morning on Saturday led us to calling it a night – excited for what the next day would bring!
Twelve weeks in and I swear after this one I’ll get better about posting. B has been a little challenging sleep-wise at night lately, so I pretty much fall asleep in his bed waiting for him to fall asleep, wake up an hour or so later, and then crash for the night. Fingers crossed that we all get back on a normal sleep schedule soon!
Since things are warming up, I figured this week would be a great time to try a grilling recipe. The weather was gorgeous, it’s a Friday, and the grill hasn’t been used in awhile. What I wasn’t counting on was Josh not feeling up to grilling. So we ended up baking the recipe instead of grilling. This week’s new recipe was Honey BBQ Bacon Chicken and Sweet Potatoes. I scrapped the bacon though, because Josh is having a temporary aversion to bacon after a bout of a stomach bug a few weeks ago. No further text needed there!
So I got home from work and got to work while the guys played with play-doh in the living room.
First off I preheated the oven to 400F. I ran around doing things around the house and finally got to peel and cut up the sweet potatoes. Before I finished, the oven was ready. Oops.
Once the sweet potatoes were in pieces, I placed them on the foil, and then stacked the chicken on top.
Then came time to pour the BBQ sauce/honey mixture onto the chicken. I used the Stubbs BBQ that was used on the BBQ chicken pizza, so I knew it’d be good!
I closed the foil up with another piece, creating a nice little packet. I popped them into a 9×13 dish and popped them in the oven for 40 minutes.
When the oven timer beeped, I could smell the BBQ sauce and was excited to try this out!
I transferred the sweet potatoes and chicken to our plate with a spatula and attempted to make it look a little more presentable.
Meh. We’re going to try a variation of it…not the biggest fan of the recipe as is. In all fairness, we decided to bake it instead of grilling, so next time we’ll grill too.
Amy – 2.75 out of 5 stars. It was easy enough to make, but there was just something weird about the combination of BBQ sauce and sweet potatoes.
Josh – 3 out of 5 stars. To be fair, Josh squeaked out a 3-rating. He isn’t a huge fan of sweet potatoes. He thinks it’d be better with red or russet potatoes, so we’ll try that next time.