Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Home For the Holidays

Well, our Christmas vacation back in Georgia officially came to a close late last night. This year's trip home for the holidays was definitely one we will never forget!

Our vacation began an hour and a half later than expected last Tuesday. Our flight was delayed due to bad weather on the east coast, so we didn't actually get back to my parents house until around 1 in the morning. We spent about an hour together catching up before saying goodnight and going to bed.

On Wednesday (AKA Christmas Eve...AKA my dad's birthday), we ate a good breakfast, got dressed up, and went out to see "A Christmas Carol" at a small theater in Woodstock. At intermission, we all got up to get a couple snacks and take a restroom break. When we got to the snack bar and realized they only had candy bars when we had a homemade spinach dip and BBQ weenies in the crock-pot at home. Our hungry bellies made the game time decision to leave the play and head back to the house to start our Christmas eve feast a little early. While at home that night, we played a couple of fun Christmas games my Mom put on (Bingo, Christmas trivia, a drawing game, and Left, Right, Across game- all for prizes). For dinner we had steak, chicken, roasted potatoes, and brussel sprouts. My mom also made a German chocolate bundt cake for my dad's birthday. To continue with our night of games, we finished things off with a riveting game of Trivial Pursuit, which I learned I am NOT very good at.

On Christmas day, we opened presents, ate a French toast casserole, played with our presents, left the house to spend some time with Ryan's family, came back to my house for dinner, dessert, and a couple rounds of dominos! We feel so lucky that both our families live within 20 minutes of each other so that we can spend some time with everyone during the holidays!

On Friday, we packed some stuff up and drove the 15-20 minutes over to Ryan's parents house, stopping on the way for a coffee with two of Ryan's high school friends. Once Brandon, Rachel, and Leah made their way to the house, our second day of Christmas festivities began. We opened more presents, ate more food, and played more dominos! We also got to spend some quality time with Ryan's best friend Ben, his fiance Lulu, and Aunt Meredith and Lauren!

On Saturday, little Miss Leah got baptized! The Smith's and the Hinckley's met at the church around 5:30 for her baptism. The church was still decorated for Christmas which gave us a beautiful backdrop for Leah's special day! Brandon and Rachel asked Ryan and I to be he Godparents which is such an honor. After the baptism, we all drove over to a cute little restaurant nearby for dinner and then back to Brandon and Rachel's for dessert.

Best. Lunch. Ever. 


On Sunday, The Owens' family drove over to Brandon and Rachel's from Alabama for our Smith/Owens annual Christmas! We competed in a marshmallow tower building contest, ate a delicious pulled pork dinner, and watched (cringed through) one last Falcons game for the season.
The most sound marshmallow tower you will ever see! 
My last highlight from the trip was Monday night's dinner at La Parilla with Stephanie, Ben, the Furman's, the Smith's, and the Schoeff's. It was quite the party!

Our trip home went by WAY too fast as usual and we're already counting down the weeks until we get to see some family again! Next time will be in Aruba with Brad and Susan!!

Happy New Years Eve everyone! Cheers to a wonderful start to 2015!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

#59: First Annual Scarf Swap

This Holiday season, I finally decided to try my luck at hosting a girl's night/Christmas party! I've wanted to host a scarf swap for some time now and thought that this could be the perfect White Elephant/Dirty Santa gift exchange just in time for Christmas!

Last Friday was the big day! Everyone invited brought some sort of appetizer or dessert to share and a wrapped brand new scarf to swap. For my contribution, I made a Christmas cranberry punch, THESE ham and swiss sliders, and THIS hot chocolate cheesecake dip.

Christmas Cranberry Punch

  • 1 qt. Sparkling Water
  • 1 qt. Cranberry Juice 
  • 1 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup Sugar 
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 cup Strawberries, halved
  • 1-2 handfuls Fresh Cranberries 
In a bowl or serving jar, combine lemon juice and sugar, mixing well until sugar is dissolved. Add sparkling water and cranberry juice and stir. Add halved strawberries, cranberries, and thin slices of orange to the mixture. Serve cold. 

Hot Cocoa Cheesecake Dip
We spent the first couple hours of the party eating and mingling before getting down to the scarf swap portion of the night. Since there were 11 of us, I cut out slips number 1-11 and placed them in a mason jar, asking each guest to pick a number.

Once each person had their number, number 1 went first (obviously). The rules were that you could either open a gift or steal someone else's scarf, causing them to have to open another gift. You couldn't open a gift and then choose to swap with someone.

After everyone had either opened or stolen a scarf, we all had in our possession a beautiful new piece of neck accessory to add to our collections!

We spent the rest of the night hanging out, getting to know each other better, and devising a plan to get to Vegas in 2015. #somuchroomforactivities

I am so glad a group of my closest friends were able to get together for this girls night and feel so blessed to have these girls in my life! Thanks for a successful Christmas party, ladies!

 And now I'm going to close this post out with a final picture of our tree (because why not?!) Ryan and I are heading to the airport in just a little bit for our flight to Atlanta!

Home, here we come!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Cards 2014

Happy Winter Solstice! I'm SERIOUSLY looking forward to some extra sunlight from here on out!
This year, I could not be any happier with how our Christmas cards turned out!
My only experience ever making and ordering Christmas cards was always through CVS, but earlier this year I noticed a killer Groupon for 50 cards from Staples for $10! That's seriously cheaper than our cards were last year! I jumped on the offer and quickly passed it along to my parents and in-laws. Ryan and I made the cards online with some of my new favorite pictures from this past year and they were ready for pick up the next day! My only regret is that we didn't order 100 for $20 instead! 


To address the cards, I used a combination of two different washi tapes to make the envelopes just a little more festive...that is until I ran out of washi tape. (sorry friends!)

Three more days until Christmas and one more day until Ryan and I finally catch a ride back to Georgia!! Happy Holidays!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

730 Days

730 days ago today, Ryan and I got hitched! 24 months ago, with our friends and family by our sides, we vowed to love and stand by each other's side for the rest of our lives. TWO years, people. Two years!

This past year of marriage has brought with it another set of new experiences and adventures. Some highlights: We made our first trip to Europe together. We (Ryan) received a couple promotions through work and (me) completed six out of seven classes towards a Master's degree. We hosted five sets of family members and friends up in Boston. And my personal favorite: We became Aunt Sarah and Uncle Ryan, welcoming little Leah into the world! 

These first two years of marriage together have been full of amazing experiences and we have made so many memories I will cherish forever. I am so excited to see what the years ahead have in store for us! Without getting too much more sappy on the old blog (Ryan, you know how I feel about you!), I'm just going to share how we decided to celebrate these past 730 days together, a couple days early.

Since our anniversary fell on a Monday this year, Ryan and I pushed our celebration up to Saturday night. Ryan, being the stud that he is, won an award through Dow that gave us a $100 gift card to the Chart House, a fancy pants restaurant in Boston.

To make the most of our trip into the city, we went in early to walk around and admire the city decked out for the holidays and do a little ice skating in Frog Pond! Once we parked, we walked over to Frog Pond since we thought it would be a good idea to ice skate before dinner. However, someone had other plans for us. When we got to the rink, the line to get inside the gate was ridiculously long. We stuck around for a couple minutes before deciding it would be a better idea to try to come back after dinner and hope that the line would be shorter. With our new plan, we set out to grab a taxi over to Quincy Market.

We spent thirty or so minutes walking around the Market, picking up a couple extra Christmas presents before our dinner reservation at 6:45. The Market had a special light show every thirty minutes, which was pretty cool to watch, but made picture taking by the giant tree tricky with the crazy flashing lights! We tried to ask people to take our picture a couple times, but could never seem to get all the lights on for a picture. Oh well!

Our dinner at Chart House was unbelievable. The service was so good and everyone made us feel super special for celebrating our anniversary with them. Once we were seated, a VIP sign was placed on our table and at least four or five different people came over to check on us and wish us a happy anniversary over the course of our meal.

Even the menus they gave us were specially printed, wishing us a happy 2nd anniversary! Such sweet little touches made our experience so wonderful!

For our meal, we started with crab stuffed mushrooms, followed by coconut shrimp for the Ry-Guy and a short rib and scallop dinner for me. Everything was D-E-LICIOUS!

As a compliment from the restaurant, our waiter brought us out a ridiculously tasty mud cake with coffee ice cream and an oreo crust. It was so large that the table next to us congratulated us on finishing the whole thing before we left. Win!

 With full bellies, we made our way back to Frog Pond to try our luck at ice skating again. Fortunately for us, there was no line, so we walked right through. The rink closed at 10, which gave us a good 40 minutes to play around on the ice. It had been YEARS since either Ryan or I had been ice skating. Needless to say, we were both pretty unsteady in our skates to begin. While Ryan seemed to get the hang of things pretty quickly, I tended to stick closer to the wall for the majority of our time on the ice! However, I am happy to report than neither of us fell on our butts the entire time!! Ice skating success!

Ryan on the move! 

Hanging out on my wall... 
Overall, our night was pretty similar to our first two years of marriage: extremely fun and full of new adventures!

For our actual anniversary tonight, Ryan and I are spending the night at home with some homemade spaghetti and meatballs and a bottle of champagne. Cheers to many, many more anniversaries, Ry!

Read about our first anniversary here.