Monday, March 30, 2015

Charleston Weekend

After our move, Simon's traveling, and house projects, we decided a weekend away would do us some good.  I think we were right.  We are blessed to live near a lot of refreshing destinations: the mountains, the beach, neat cities like Atlanta and Savannah, and our destination of choice, Charleston.

We took off after work on Friday evening ad arrived a little after 9:00.  We got settled into the Marriot and decided to stroll into down town.  We had been recommended a place called Closed for Business, on King street, the street that runs through the center of basically everything in Charleston.  

It was a really neat place, I wish I had been able to take pictures that did it justice.  

Breakfast is my favorite type of meal to eat at a restaurant, especially on vacations, so when we discovered our hotel did not include a breakfast, as we had thought, I was not incredibly disappointed.  

Saturday morning stop number one: TOAST :)
It was quite a long wait, as were all of the restaurants around us, it appeared.  But worth it!

We spent most of Saturday afternoon walking up and down King Street, driving around to look at the beautiful, old houses, and just enjoying having no plans.  We scouted out where we would eat dinner and then went back to the hotel to freshen up.  
There are lots of horse drawn carriages trotting through the streets.  The next time we go I would like to take a tour on one.  There is so much history in the city, I think it could be really interesting.  

Amen Street had been recommended to us, so that was our dinner destination.  
The food was so delicious, and equally priced.  :)

My handsome dinner date.

After dinner, we still had lots of daylight, so we went to the pier and actually spotted some dolphins right up next to us.  If we had been at sea level, we could have touched them they were so close.    Couldn't get a picture, but it was a fun moment.  
We walked around some more and went into some cute local shops.  

Breakfast number two: Three Little Birds

Another very cute little place, a little off the main area, so the wait wasn't near as long.
Sunday was to be our last day in Charleston, so we got a little bit of an earlier start.  After breakfast we drove over to Battery Park.  It is right on the water, and has a lot of beautiful trees and is surrounded by gorgeous houses.  

On our walk through the pretty, old neighborhoods.
As we were heading out, we spotted a long market that stretched through the streets.  We took a walk through there, grabbed a snack at a fuggery, and then drove back to Greenville in time for dinner.  

We were blessed with some beautiful weather, despite a dreary forecast, and we both felt rejuvenated after a couple of days with no responsibilities or plans.  Those are some of the best vacations, the ones where you are just together and you don't do much of anything. 

Move-in Day

Well, needless to say, I am incredibly behind on blogging about all of our house happenings. We have had quite a bit going on: fun and exciting things, some stressful things, and some life things that nobody enjoys dealing with but are inevitable.  
A few weeks before moving day we found out that Simon would be going on a fairly lengthy business trip spanning over the week before we would move and our move itself. That, naturally, interfered with our pre-move-in work schedule for the house. Suddenly, the little finishing touches we had hoped to be working on in the final days before we moved were pushed to the back burner as we had to reprioritize what we wanted to have finished before we moved in. Painting for instance, as it is tedious and time-consuming, unfortunately was not something we were going to be able to finish.
One priority was the electricity.  We had discovered a problem requiring us to shut off the power in all but one room. It was quite the ordeal, there was extreme extension cord usage: Power cords snaking off into all areas of our workspace and us becoming incredibly reliant upon our work light after 6 PM.  Unfortunately, this project was going to take more man hours that we had at our disposal.  But that was really the only "big" task that we weren't able to complete.  So we aimed out energy at the other big things: the water heater, the heat, finishing as much painting as we could in what would be our bedroom so that there would be at least one area in which to retreat from all the craziness.

Simon was scheduled to leave on February 15th and would return March 3rd.  
His business trip took him to Oman, a country next to Yemen. I had to look at a map.  There was a nine hour time difference and a lot of work to be done on both ends of our worlds, so we didn't get to talk very much while he was gone, but it was probably for the best.  I was able to focus on packing and prepare our new house as well as the apartment we moved out of.

The big day finally arrived! Moving day!  Everything was set up.
I had an awesome crew of friends planning to arrive at 10 AM
They would come with several pick up trucks and trailers
 We had scheduled movers to take care of the really big stuff: the washer and dryer, an armoire, our kitchen table.
(Those are just things that are no fun to move, incredibly heavy, and very time-consuming. We decided to leave that to the professionals this time around).
  The morning went really smoothly! Everyone was able to empty the apartment in less than two hours and head over to the house.
 Everything was coming up Reinhardt.

And then, the movers didn't show up.
  I had stayed behind at the apartment to wait on the movers and had planned to meet the others later to help unload and instruct the movers on where to unload the furniture. But, the window for their arrival came and went, as did an extra hour, and the pickup trucks full of boxes have been unloaded at our new house, and there was no phone call or contact made from the movers.
Their office is closed on Saturday, so I had no way of contacting them and they were choosing not to contact me so I was stuck.   
I finally had to come to terms with the fact that they just weren't coming.  So, after a moment of mild panic and a couple of "why me" moments, we came up with a new plan. My amazing friends offered more than I could hope to ask for. They stayed and regrouped back at the apartment and loaded all of the furniture onto the trucks and trailers. This was definitely another  moment where I stood back and thought of how blessed I am, how blessed we are.   This was a moment where I was rendered completely useless. I could barely budge any of these pieces of furniture off the floor, let alone carry them down two flights of stairs and onto a trailer, by myself or with someone else. I couldn't even help in the process. I was completely useless, and still it was all taken care of, no one muttered a complaint or a groan, and I didn't really even have to ask.  God has definitely led us into a beautiful stage of life and I hope we never take it for granted.  

So, back to the house: remember how I said we didn't have electricity? Yeah, that came into play as the evening wore on. Since the day had not gone quite as expected, we were wrapping up the whole moving process a lot later than anticipated.  It was pitch black outside, we had no lights in the house, and we were still carrying in boxes of furniture, hangers full of clothes, (because I had ordered wardrobe boxes through the movers that never came), we were wearing flashlights around our necks and stumbling over each other as we tried to get the stuff into the house in some sort of orderly fashion.  My initial plan had been, once things were settled, to arrange a few side lamps and floor lamps throughout the bedroom and bathroom to have some light for evening functionality, but because of the late hour I hadn't been able to do that.  Several people offered for me to stay with them that evening and I took them up on it.  Part of me, the prideful part, wanted to be able to make it through the first night at our house, not letting the frustrations and challenges of the day hold me back, but it just wasn't possible. So I had to put aside my pride and ask for even more help.  

The next day, Sunday, I went back to the house to evaluate the situation. I set up some bedside table lamps, a lamp in the hallway, a floor lamp in the bedroom, and I precariously placed a table lamp on a bathroom shelf.  Things seemed less complicated, less menacing, less overwhelming, with a little light.
As, I suppose, most things do.    

So, in summary, moving day was both a disaster and a success - neither of which was due to any effort of my own.  I took away several thoughts from what was, hopefully, our last move for some time.  The first of which, and least important, was how much I hate moving out of the top floor of a building.  It is just no fun any way you swing it.  The second, sometimes, despite our greatest efforts, we just can't control what happens.  We can plan, prepare, schedule, but it is futile and the quicker we can come to terms with that, the quicker you can move on.  And finally, I can recall few notable occasions in my life, good or bad, that weren't affected, even defined, by spectacular, loving, genuine people.  The older I get, the more I am convinced that this is the way God intended for us to do life:  Together, a cord of three strands, for better or for worse, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.        

Thursday, March 19, 2015


For Christmas we got ourselves tickets to see Wicked at our local theater.  Such a fun musical, and an exciting present.  The only bad thing being that we had to wait 2 months!

Well, the weekend came and we finally got to use them.  
Two friends of ours from church, Hayley and Charlie, bought tickets with us, so we made dinner reservations and made a night of it.  

cheers before the show

We tried out Tupelo Honey Cafe for the first time, a nice, southern comfort, North Carolina originated, restaurant.  We had heard goof things and were certainly not disappointed!  From the pre-meal biscuit to the fried okra and mashed sweet potatoes, it was some of the best food I've had in awhile!
The theater, like the restaurant, is downtown, so we were able to park before dinner, walk to the restaurant and then, from there, the theater.
This is the closed curtain.  
Me and Hayley before the show.  

We had both seen the show before, all of us except Charlie actually, but it doesn't make it any less exciting or entertaining.  It was a fun night with good friends and good food. :)
I hadn't realized how nice our local theater was, I'm looking forward to taking more advantage of it in the future.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

  • I  always excited to find a recipe that I really enjoy. Especially when it is easy to throw together. I came across this recipe on and had to try it.
  • I love everything lemon, and I usually prefer desserts that aren't too sweet. 
 This had great flavor and texture and, in my opinion, was just sweet enough :). 

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature 
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla. 
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Lemon Glaze  
  • 1½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix butter, sugar, and lemon zest together for 3 to 5 minutes until creamy. 
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat an addition minute after each egg. Add vanilla. 
  4. In a separate large bowl, wisk together dry ingredients. 
  5. Add flour mixture alternatively with the buttermilk to the wet ingredients.
  6. Lightly flour blueberries to keep them from sinking in your bread pan. Fold them into the batter. 
  7. Grease and flour large bread pan
  8. Pour in batter.  (I filled one bread pan 3/4 of the way, and had some batter left over, so I made 4 muffins. 
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55 to 60 min. I baked the muffins for 15 min. 
  10. Let loaf cool and drizzle with glaze.    I actually decided not to glaze the muffins, so I could eat them for breakfast without feeling like I was having dessert. Ha. 
Lemon Glaze
  1. Whisk glaze ingredients together until smooth.

I will definitely be making this again soon. It is a perfect spring/summer treat. :)

Here is the link to the original recipe