Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grilled Rosemary Chicken

Summertime means grill time! This is just a mix up of a few things we had in the kitchen. It was super yummy and super flavorful. Tasted even better tossed in a salad!

1/4 cup lemon juice 
3 tablespoons olive oil 
1 clove garlic, minced 
2 tablespoons rosemary 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

 Combine lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. 
Add chicken and toss until coated.
Cover and let marinate.
Grill chicken.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

You're Gonna Fly With Me

Last week was a bit hectic with returning from Colorado and turning around to go to Virginia, we really weren't sure if we were going to go to the next concert on the Country Megaticket. We both really like Keith Urban, but were pretty tired. Plus, David had to work early the next morning. In the end we decided not to be eighty year olds and headed to the show in time to see the tailend of Dustin Lynch and all of Little Big Town. We then enjoyed some glorious people-watching for a bit before Keith Urban took the stage. And when I say "glorious", I mean hard-core, extreme, drunk stumbling and sliding rednecks. Some things can't be erased. Shudder.

The sun finally set and Keith took the stage. There we were boppin along when we saw a guy walk up to the group behind us and give them something. We curiously watched him walk away before he caught our eye and came up to us. Here goes the conversation:

Guy: "You wanna go in The Pit?"
Us (not nothing if "The Pit" is a cool place to be or a lion's den): "Sure"
Guy: "Merry Christmas"
 Us: "Thanks?"

Uh, okay. Come to find out "The Pit" is the area surrounding the stage below. SAY WHAT?!? Did we just hit the jackpot? Yep! We scurried down there and rocked out for the next two hours to one of the greatest shows I have ever seen (and that means a lot since this former teeny-bopper saw BSB, N'SYNC, and Brittney back in the day). It was amazing being that close and witnessing an amazing performer. Take a look at some of the evidence:

Well, hello there sir.

Come on out, Little Big Town

Dustin Lynch joining Keith on stage.

 Evidence we were actually there.

Nothing like a Cookout tray at midnight. Totally regretted that life choice the next morning.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Last May we were fortunate enough to watch my younger brother, TJ, commission as an officer in the United States Marine Corp. He then spent a few months as a civilian waiting for his orders. In January he headed to Quantico, VA for The Basic School (TBS). This past week we witnessed his graduation from TBS! And this kid didn't just graduate, he graduated number 4 out of 273 marines! We were so incredibly excited to be able to witness this accomplishment. A few pictures from the big day. . . 

The parentals at the USMC Museum. 

Before heading into the ceremony, please take note of how thrilled TJ is to be with his family ;)

So excited we got to be there!

My adorable husband watching the CrossFit Games on his "grown up Gameboy"

 Number 4 with some of his fellow "dean's list" buds
TJ and some of his frands.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday's Letters [07.26]

Happy Friday, folks!!


Dear TJ, We are so proud of you and all that you have accomplished in such a short time. We can't wait to see what's next!

Dear Keith Urban, You put on an amazing concert-one we will never forget!

Dear body, I am so sorry for all the havoc I have put you through these past few weeks. I promise the increased consumption of junk food and the decreased physical activity will end soon!

Dear David, Thank you so much for you patience and love. I know that I am not always the easiest to be around (pretty much every night when I get tired :) ), but I am so thankful that you continue to push in and love me.

Dear Daisy, I apologize that we continue to pawn you off on people this summer, it's not because we don't love you! With our travels done for the foreseeable future you can rest easy, you little Neurotic Nellie, you.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Adventures Out West-Day 3

Our final (tear) day in Colorado started at the best breakfast place either of us had ever enjoyed. And apparently the rest of Denver thought so too because we waiting 40 minutes for a table! It was more than worth it to enjoy our breakfast of omelets, hashbrowns, sweet potato pancakes, blueberry Danish pancakes, and pineapple upside down pancakes-all made with fresh, local ingredients! 

Best breakfast ever! You know a place is good when they can afford to be only open a few hours a day.

After our superb breakfast we rolled ourselves over to the Denver Zoo to check out the animals. We both love visiting the zoo, so we knew this "mile high" was a must-see. The theme of our visit there became, "look, there's Daisy!" toward almost every exhibit. Can ya tell we missed the princess??

Silly hippo daintily dipping into the water

The zoo had an amazing elephant exhibit!

After that we returned to the 16th Street Mall for more meandering and food. We hit up The Yardhouse for snacks and beers after we learned they had more beers on tap than anyplace in the world. I didn't count, but once I saw the beer menu I made the wise choice to believe them. 

My baby beer from The Yardhouse.

Just chillin' with an ox on the street, what about you?

More importantly while on 16th Street I found an awesome pair of cowgirl boots! If anyone remembers my post about the Luke Bryan concert, I got a rock stuck in my boot and the little bugger refuses to come out. So as an early birthday present David bought me a pair of Ariat boots! Happy Birthday to meeeeeee! Picture will come when they arrive in the mail!

After we wandered some more we decided to hit up the Gigi's storefront to pick up some cupcakes for dessert. After an excruciating decision we ended up with one Strawberry Shortcake (strawberry cupcake with strawberry buttercream frosting), one Kentucky Bourbon (chocolate pecan pie cupcake spiked with bourbon with a bourbon cream cheese frosting topped with chocolate chips, pecans, and caramel) and one Candy Bar Crunch (yellow cupcake with Butterfinger baked in and topped with Butterfinger frosting and little Butterfinger crumbles). To say they were divine would be an understatement. 

Ain't that the truth.

 Gone in the blink of an eye.

We then headed over to the Vine Street Pub for supper. This place was so uniquely awesome I wish I could pick it up and transplant it here. First off, all their food was fantastico and locally provided, second they only took cash or check, third their beer was top-notch, and fourth they had board games to play while you waited.

My adorable hubby.

We headed in for an early night considering we had a 6:30am flight the next morning. I wish our visit could have lasted longer, but since we didn't get to see and do everything, we now have an excuse to head back soon! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Framed Maps

When I first got Pinterest many moons ago I saw a cute craft in which you framed maps of places you had been together. While that was adorable, that's a lot of stinkin' maps. I decided to borrow the idea and tailor it a bit!

 First, you will need a floating frame, double-sided tape, and a map.

I just sketched little hearts on the map around the city we met (Raleigh), the city we married (Charlotte), and the city we live in now (Concord).

Then, line up the hearts how you want them arranged and tape them down.

Finally, you pop that sucker back into it's frame and you are done!

I love how easy (and inexpensive!) this was and I can't wait to hang it up in our bonus room!

Adventures Out West-Day 2

David had another day of work on Friday, but that didn't stop me from having fun! One of the guys David was working with's wife gave me a call that morning and asked if I wanted company for exploring Denver. Considering my only Denver experience was supper the other night, I jumped at the chance. I picked Kaitlin up and we were off on an adventure. 

First we hit up 16th Street Mall since I had heard so much about it. For those of you unfamiliar with the area it is an outdoor mall filled with random street performers in the heart of downtown Denver. It was pretty neat wandering in and out of the doors and taking in some hardcore people-watching. 

16th Street Mall

After walking and wandering for a few hours we decided we needed some culture in our lives and hit up the Colorado History Museum. Kaitlin is also a teacher so this wasn't torturous for her as it would have been for my sweet hubby. The museum had an exhibit on the American soldier that would bring tears to any eyes.

Cultural corner of downtown Denver. Lots of museums here!

Around this time we headed back down 16th Street and enjoyed a late afternoon snack-Gigi's Cupcakes! We discovered Gigi's a few years ago when we visited their original shop in Nashville, TN. I love that they have expanded and are now in North Carolina too! When I say these are the best cupcakes you will ever have, I mean these are the best cupcakes you will ever have. I indulged in a Midnight Magic (chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting topped with chocolate chips) while Kaitlin enjoyed a Blueberry Lavender (just what it sounds like!). They were both out of this world and gone before we could get a picture!

A portable Gigi's!

Around then we headed down the way toward Coors Field for the baseball game where we were meeting our hubbys and a few other employees. Before we entered the game we dipped into Wynkoop to enjoy a few beers. It was around that time I decided vacation calories do not count. . .

Despite a loss to the Cubs the game was a lot of fun! David's coworkers were awesome to hang out with and I wish they weren't so far away! 

Awesome seats!

 He's such a cutie

Thanks iPhone 5 for the awesome panoramic shot.

Following the game a few of us headed to Larimer Square for another round of beers before packing it in for the night. If y'all know me and my sleep habits you know the fact that I was awake at midnight (2am East Coast time) and functioning is a true act of God!

Come back tomorrow for our final day's adventures!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Adventures Out West-Day 1

I must have spoken too soon after our trip to Florida because no sooner had we unpacked than we were packing again and off to Colorado! David had an opportunity to head out there for work and this being my own and only chance to accompany him (hooray for summers off!) I jumped at the chance. Neither of us had ever been, but I can assure you this won't be our last trip. We had an incredible time and I almost didn't want to come back. 

The trip started out with a reluctant princess

 Can you tell she was totally not okay with our departure?

and a pretty nifty vending machine!

This thing had ipads in it!

When we arrived we headed downtown to see some of the awesome everyone talks about. We hit up Wynkoop Brewery for a few beers and some stellar food. Did you know Colorado is ranked third in the US for number of craft breweries and brewpubs?? We soon discovered why!

My handsome hubby

The insane beer menu at Wynkoop

David had to work the entire first day, so I went out exploring on my own. Helloooooo, beautiful mountains! I took the Cog Railway to the top of Pike's Peak (14,110 feet up!) and took in some beautiful views. I also learned all sorts of interesting things thanks to my new friends, a retired couple from Boston. They're spending the summer traveling around the West in their RV-so cool! Also many thanks to them for letting me borrow a sweatshirt for the top. Whodda thunk it would be 40 degrees at the top of the stinkin' mountain?? Not this girl!

View from the top.

Rockin my awesome borrowed sweatshirt.

After Pike's Peak I meandered around Manitou Springs popping in and out of the cutesy little shops. The time change had me all out of whack but I finally found a place called The Spice Shop that served a fantastic salad.

Nifty 3D map made of clay.

Fantastic salad. Perhaps it was the fact that my stomach was eating my insides.

I then ventured over to Garden of the Gods to take in more gorgeous views. People weren't kidding when they told us all Colorado had to offer! 

Hey there random stranger, want to take my picture?

A little while later (after an unfortunate incident of rushing back to the hotel to charge my phone from 1%) I met up with David and some of his coworkers for drinks. Everyone we met was awesome and really made us feel at home in a foreign place! Following drinks we hit up a local brewpup, Phantom Canyon, for supper. Despite not being a southern place, they knew how to make a mean dish of chicken and waffles.

Delicious supper coupled with more awesome beer.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more details!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Book

No, I'm not talking about The book as in the Bible, though that is a pretty stellar book. I'm talking about this book:

I received a gift card to Barnes and Noble from a few of my students. While I was on the site picking out Jen Lancaster's newest gem I stumbled upon this one. I am absolutely fascinated with the Kennedy crazy, so I knew I couldn't pass this up. I started it about two weeks ago and read roughly an hour a day every day. Some days (like the relaxing few on the beach!) I packed in 2-3 hours. I could not put it down. It was 900 pages of nonfiction, but read like a juicy, gossip-filled novel. To say I was sad when I finished it would be an understatement; I was devastated! How am I possibly going to find anything as fascinating?? I'm open to suggestions!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Friday's Letters [07.19]

Happy Friday, folks!!


Dear creatures, Why are you hanging out at our house?? Seriously, go away!

Dear AC Moore, Please stop sucking me in with all your fun, crafty projects. My budget cannot handle all these new purchases.

Dear Davido, Thanks for letting me tag along on your trip! I think I could get used to this Colorado thang. . .

Dear world, Would you visit us if we moved to Colorado? Because this place is pretty stellar.

Sweet Potato Fries

As I’ve mentioned MANY times before, I love me some sweet potatoes. Here is another way to fix them when your hubby gets tired of eating the same recipe over and over :)

2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
1-2 Tbsp spice or spice combination of your choice 
I used paprika and sea salt
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Cut each sweet potato into wedges. 

Put the sweet potatoes into a large bowl and add the oil. 

Mix well to combine. 
Sprinkle with salt, sugar and spices of your choice. 

Spread the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for a total of 25 to 30 minutes. 

About 15 minutes in flip them.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Crash My Party

Last summer we debated back and forth, back and forth, back and forth about whether or not we should get the Country Megaticket. In the end we regretted not getting it, so when it came time to purchase them this summer we were all over it like white on rice. We missed the Tim McGraw concert and Mother Nature had other plans for the Brad Paisley concert, but there was no way we were letting anyone ruin this one for us! 

Florida Georgia Line welcomed us with a little "Shine On" and "Cruise" before Thompson Square took the stage with "If I Didn't Have You", but the real star was Luke Bryan. He put on an incredible show rockin' it out with some of his hits and a "Baby Got Back"/Maroon 5 medley. It was stinkin' awesome. Here is some of the proof. . .

For any of you contemplating this gem-DO IT! It is super yummy and I hope to stock up before it leaves us for the winter.

My hero! The hubby trying to get a rock out of my boot.

MUCH better weather than the last time we were there.

 Hooray for awesome neighbors!!

A few things we learned:
1-get there early, traffic is mean.
2-be prepared to cut off your arm to pay for chicken tenders and fries
3-country concerts are amazing for people watching

See ya in a few weeks, Keith Urban!