Friday, November 28, 2014


We had such a lovely Thanksgiving!  It was filled with family, good food, good conversations and lots of laughs.  We have so much to be thankful for and I try to remember that every day, not just on Thanksgiving.  This year as we went around the table I really loved hearing what everyone is thankful for.  When it was my turn I, of course, mentioned family, but I also mentioned that I'm thankful for all the beauty in the world.  There's so much ugliness in our world right now, but there's just as much beauty if only we look for it.  I'm thankful that this blog gives me the opportunity to highlight and focus on all the beauty that surrounds our lives.  I hope you and yours had a wonderful, and beautiful, day as well!

I scrounged together this arrangement from our yard the morning of Thanksgiving.  Couldn't ever quite figure out if it looked like a lovely seasonal arrangement or just dead.  Either way, I sort of liked it!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Readying for Thanksgiving

Part of me has been really dreading the holiday season as so much of our celebrations are centered around food.  Food that Harris can't have.  In fact, I had been sort of putting off thinking about Thanksgiving since some of our favorite dishes are off limits for Harris.  I have a rule in my house that we don't serve food that Harris cannot eat.  In his own home, I don't want him to ever feel like he's missing out* (he gets that in plenty of other situations).  However, it's hard to balance that when you have 8 other people who would love to enjoy sweet potato souffle and cornbread dressing!

After talking it over with my Mom and Bryce, I realized that there is a lot he can have (cranberry sauce, turkey, green beans, deviled eggs, etc.) and so, with Harris' total agreement, we are serving up all our traditional foods and a few new foods (I'm trying gluten free pull apart rolls and gluten/dairy free pumpkin pie).  I'm feeling good about tomorrow and the holidays in general!

Also?  I got two new serving pieces for our table.  I love them both so much.  One is a small, covered serving dish that I find so, so charming.  It's crazed and a little chipped, but that only adds character! I got it for next to nothing in a dusty, dirty antique store.  Once I cleaned the inch of dirt off it really sparkled!  I also got this silver-plate gravy boat on sale at Williams Sonoma.  It so simple and beautiful and will be perfect for more than just gravy.  I'm thinking chocolate sauce....

*while all of our meals are suitable for Harris, Grace is allowed to have milk at dinner, "regular" lunches, etc.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Art for Grace

I feel like anyone who is still reading this blog of mine is probably tired of ballet posts and I promise this is the last one!  I'm hoping that this will be something that Grace will appreciate having a little history on when she is older.

Almost a year ago, Gretchen and I were doing a little bit of fun shopping when I spotted this original piece of art of pointe shoes (and bonus!  it was actually affordable).  I thought it was sweet and would make a nice "love gift" when Grace accomplished her goal of getting on pointe.  I bought it and stuffed it in the back of my closet; it was a relief to finally be able to give it to her and get it out of there!

My hope is that Grace will carry this painting to her first house and then her second and third, always remembering that feeling of accomplishing a goal and this sweet time in her life!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hot Toddy

All week I've been dealing with a nasty cold.  So even as I've continued to do what needs to get done, I've felt as if my head is in a bubble!  Thankfully, as of yet, no else has gotten it!  On Saturday, I met a friend for a drink and ordered a hot toddy as I didn't feel up to anything stronger and just really wanted something warm and cozy.  I don't think I've ever ordered (or made one) but it sounded like something that would be great for a cold.  I really enjoyed it and have tried to re-create it at home this past week.  I think I like the ones I've made even better!  In doing a tad bit of research on hot toddies I discovered that they are a traditional "remedy" for colds, the flu, etc. as they have ingredients that are useful in combating sore throats and stuffy noses; lemon is for your immune system, honey to sooth sore throats, and whiskey to help you sleep better.  I don't think these drinks are an exact science so you can mess around with proportions all you like!  Here's my favorite combination...

Anna's Hot Toddy

about 2 teaspoons lemon (I used a real lemon but I don't see why "Real Lemon" wouldn't' work)
about 1 tablespoon honey
about 2 ounces whiskey of your choice(I used an irish blend)
about 4 oz of hot water 
cinnamon stick and cloves

In the bottom of your glass or mug pour the lemon, honey and whiskey.  Add hot, but not boiling, water and stir with your honey spoon so that you get all the honey off!  Add a cinnamon stick and a lemon slice that has been studded with cloves (I got this idea from the original drink I had).  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pointe Shoes

Five years ago, after Grace's first class at her new dance studio, Grace stated that her goal in ballet was to get up on pointe and she has now reached her goal!  I so appreciate the way that her studio works in that they only allow students to go up on pointe once they are physically and technically ready.  There is no rushing!  This helps to prevent injuries and poor habits.

Her studio brings in a company that specifically sell pointe shoes and they spend about half an hour with each student to find a proper fitting.  It was such an exciting day for Grace!  It was made all the better when the gentleman who fit Grace exclaimed that she had "perfect" feet for pointe shoes.  She was over the moon!

Her teachers spent an enormous amount of time talking about pointe shoes and demonstrating how to properly stitch in the elastic and the ribbons.  Grace's Gran was here during this time and helped Grace do one shoe and then Grace did the other.  Her teachers stressed that it's important to learn to do the stitching oneself instead of relying on mothers/fathers/grandparents!

They start very slowly doing pointe work in class but, of course, Grace couldn't wait to try them out so we had a little photo session with them.  I'll be curious to see where Grace goes with ballet from here.  Honestly, I sort of thought that after she reached her goal of going up on pointe shoes she might take a step back and pursue other interests (ballet is a large time suck!) but for now she seems to be completely committed and excited about ballet.  I suppose time will tell, but for now we are enjoying her enthusiasm and the beauty of ballet in our lives.

Monday, November 17, 2014


A few weeks ago, Grace got her pointe shoes!  It was a huge deal for her and I'm going to post all about it, but first I thought it would be fun to write a little about her ballet history.

Grace started taking a sweet little ballet class when she was 2 years old.  It was exactly what you would expect at two, lots of tumbling and running around the room, but it was lots of fun for her. And on the cuteness scale? A bunch of two and three year olds in little pink leotards and ballet slippers rank pretty high.  She very much enjoyed the class and she even had a ballet inspired 3 year old birthday party.  It was at this party that Bryce and I made the worlds largest cake. We were relatively new to birthday cake baking and had no concept how big this ballerina would get.  She was almost as tall as me!

After we left Atlanta, I signed Grace up at a local dance studio and she enjoyed dancing there for a couple of years and then lost interest.  Then, when she was in second grade, she expressed a desire to take ballet again but this time she asked if she could perhaps attend a "more serious" school.  We are lucky in that we have a very good ballet school in the next town over from us and I signed her up to start fresh.

This is her fifth year at this ballet studio and we both appreciate all that it offers; live music, excellent instruction and a keen eye towards the students safety and well being.

For Grace, ballet fits her personality.  She loves the routine of it, the seriousness, the discipline and the preciseness of the steps.   I know she loves it not because she tells me so, but because of her demeanor after she's had a class.  She can go into class tired and irritable and yet she almost always emerges a little lighter.  Grace is the most talkative about what's going on in her life after ballet and I think it's because ballet is her outlet, it relaxes her and makes her happy!  Which of course, makes me happy.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

48 Hours in Charleston, South Carolina

The reason that we ventured to Charleston in the first place was to attend the wedding of friends. Their story is a beautiful one and the wedding was magical, gorgeous and heartfelt.  Bryce and I were thrilled to celebrate with them!

The wedding took place at the family plantation and I cannot imagine a more stunning location.  I didn't take my camera (just my phone) and didn't get a lot of pictures as I wanted to enjoy the moment.  However, we got a few from friends and I'm convinced the wedding and all the beautiful, thoughtful details will eventually be in a magazine- it was that fabulous!  The evening was a perfect mix of laughter, dancing, great food, a few tears and special moments.  And don't get me started about the flowers...

The next day, before we headed home, Bryce and I found more delicious food and walked around for a bit.  We loved the architecture, history and beauty of the gardens.  Any place that has pink homes is ok by me.

Rainbow Row

Love cobblestone streets

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

48 Hours in Charleston, South Carolina

This past weekend, Bryce and I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina to celebrate a wedding!  It was such a perfect weekend all the way around and was so good for Bryce and I to spend some time together just the two of us.

Our dear friends, Holle and Weatherford, also live in Charleston so it was a really special treat to be able to spend time with them and their amazing children (Bryce and Weatherford are best friends from college).  They walked us around the beautiful area that, for now, they call home.

After saying goodbye to Holle and Weatherford, we checked in to our hotel and then briefly met friends for drinks at The Gin Joint.  Unfortunately, they were packed to the gills so we didn't get to spend time with our friends, who were also there for the wedding, but we did get to sit at the amazing bar and have a very good drink or two.

From there, we headed to Husk.  I have read amazing things about this restaurant and it didn't disappoint.  I LOVE southern food and this was a wonderful reintroduction and reinvention!

Saturday morning, we walked from our hotel, The Planters Inn, and met Holle and Weatherford at The Hominy Grill for breakfast (fried chicken biscuit with gravy) and then a little time in the park.  It was wonderful to be able to walk and enjoy some of the Charleston sights, not to mention working off all that glorious southern food.

The next 24 hours are coming up next....

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Tie Dye Party

This year, Harris had a family party for his birthday as he was lucky enough to have his Gran and Grandpa visiting!  My sister and her family were also able to join us and, of course, my Mom.  When I decided to do a tie-dye party it was a beautiful, warm fall day and the time had not yet changed. Unfortunately, on the day of our gathering, it was cold, windy and dark since the time changed the night before! Nevertheless, we partied on and tie-dyed away.

We moved the celebration into the garage where Bryce used his heat lamps (thus the red tint to all the pictures) and borrowed a friends garage heater!  It didn't make for great pictures, but it did make for a good time!  We bought a tie-dye kit and before we got started we watched a little how-to video. Everyone was a good sport and dyed a shirt!

As we rotated working on the t-shirts, I had another activity for anyone who wanted to participate. Using a piece of watercolor paper, drops of dye were dropped and then blown around the paper using a straw.  They turned out wonderful!  We used them for the placemats for dinner. 

The cake was a tie-dye t-shirt!

I also made tie-dye ice cream (non-dairy).  To get the effect of tie-dye I used different colors of gelatin.

After we dyed our shirts, we all sat down to a meal together.  Bryce and Al indulged me by moving my round dining room table out and my outdoor table in since it could use the rectangular straw art placemats.  Apparently, Harris felt the need to dress for dinner.

The shirts had to stay wet with dye for 24 hours and I then washed them all.  They turned out so wonderful!  

On Harris' actual birthday, everyone came back over (except Delita and Bill who were out of town) for dinner and I handed out the shirts!

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