Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Family Date Night: Movies in the Park

Continuing with our busy weekend, we squeezed in a Saturday night movie in the park. Movies in the park has been hosted by First Things First for the last 12 years in Coolidge Park.

We attempted to go to the first movie in July, but on our way to the movie, it rained AND Jack fell asleep in the car... meaning Daniel and I settled for eating McAlister's sandwiches in our car while Jack slept. Real life of parents, sometimes dates look like this.

Last week my aunt and uncle were visiting and the weather was still questionable, so Daniel and I accepted the babysitting offered and went to grab dessert by ourselves instead of going to the movie in the park.

This week was the last movie of the summer and even though we had been busy (Lookouts Game, biking, concert) we felt like we should go. Ok, let's be real, I thought we should go. Daniel would have been happy to watch a RedBox from the comfort of our own home and Jack wouldn't know that we had skipped on a summer movie.

I decided that since the movie was free (we somehow even managed to find a free parking spot right next to the park) we should go a little early and get ice cream at Clumpies. This was our first visit to this ice cream shop and it did not disappoint. Our philosophy is that is ok to splurge on ice cream since the rest of our evening was free.

Daniel had peanut butter ice cream, Jack had strawberry ice cream with sprinkles and I had the Espresso Chocolate Chunk in a fresh waffle cone. So good! 

While ice cream was a fun idea, it kind of backfired on us, in that by the time it got dark enough for the movie to actually start Jack was wound up. He sat quietly for about 45 minutes and then he started standing up, dancing around and jumping on us. 

One hour into the Lego Movie, Daniel and I decided to call it a night. It was 10pm, church was in the morning and getting jumped on while we watched a movie was not exactly fun. Overall a good experience. We will try again next summer when Jack is a little bigger and will hopefully sit for the entire movie...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Family Date Night: Nightfall

For the last couple of years, Justin, one of Daniel's co-workers has asked us on several occasions to come see his band, Function, play in Chattanooga. Normally at bars... late at night. Since we have a toddler, it never worked out for us to go.

Last week we learned that Function was going to be the featured act at Nightfall and we thought that it would be a good opportunity to see Justin play.

Nightfall is a free, family-friendly concert series held in downtown Chattanooga from early May through September every year. We have been wanting to go, but have been pretty busy all summer. Thankfully we were able to kill two birds with one stone – attend Nightfall and finally get to see Justin play.

Before heading to watch the show, we made a stop at Lupi's for a pizza. Then we snagged a parking really close to Miller Plaza and even found a section of grass to put a blanket on. Score for good pizza, close parking and a grassy spot to sit!

Jack really enjoyed hamming it up for the people sitting around us. Once the music started he liked pretending to play his version of guitar (holding his hands close together and pretending to strum). We stayed until about 9pm and even ran into one of the operators that Daniel works with.

Nightfall was a great way to spend an evening as a family. Free family date nights are the way to go! Well the pizza cost $, but was definitely worth it.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bike Rodeo Champion

This weekend was pretty jam packed for us. Following the Lookouts game Thursday night, we got up Friday morning and took advantage of the cooler weather by going bike riding on the Tennessee River Park Greenway.

This is one of our favorite rides. We like to park towards the Chickamauga Dam (off of Amnicola Highway) and then bike into downtown Chattanooga.

The last few times we have done this ride, we have made Five Guys our midway stop. It is nice to grab lunch and it gives Jack a bit of a break.

On this particular ride we decided to bike down a section of switchbacks to the river. 

Daniel has pretty good turning skills, especially when you consider that he was pulling Jack behind him in a bike trailer. 

It took 3 minutes to get to the bottom and then he turned around and rode back up. 

After videoing them, I took a more direct ride to the bottom and biked back up. Not an easy task by any means.

Daniel has told me before that he was the 1990 Bike Rodeo Champion for his boy scout troop. After watching this, I believe him!

It has been so nice to have Daniel home this weekend. We have really missed getting to see him for most of the month of July. I hope he maintains a more normal schedule for a while.

Route (as seen above) for Friday's bike ride was about 5.5 miles, with very mild/cool weather for July.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chattanooga Lookouts

After three weeks of barely seeing Daniel, we are thrilled to have him home for an ENTIRE weekend! We are making up for lost time and cramming lots of summer activities into this one weekend.

To start, Thursday night we went to a picnic at the Lookouts Game that was hosted by NAYGN, an organization at Daniel's work. We had burgers and met some of Daniel's co-workers from the plant where he now works. There were even a couple of other toddler boys for Jack to roam around with.

I think the highlight for Jack was getting to eat ice cream sandwiches.

Though a close second would be checking out the lawnmowers that were displayed for an upcoming lawnmower race – they were nice enough to let Jack sit on a couple of the lawnmowers.

Jack also invented his own game that involved throwing an empty cup over the bleacher chairs and running to get it, over and over.

We didn't watch that much of the game. We left during the 5th inning and the Lookouts weren't doing so well. But we still had a nice evening out.

As we left, Jack cried and emphatically told us that he wanted to stay at the game and that he wasn't ready to go home. 

Poor guy. It's rough being a toddler. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cooking with Pinterest.10

Recent recipes I have tried (not as many Pinterest finds this time around)... 

Toad-in-Hole with Sliced Tomato
Someone had recently given me some homemade sourdough bread so I used it to make Toad-in-Hole (one of my favorite things for lunch or breakfast). You just cut a hole out of your bread and then cook a fried egg, over-easy, in the center. The bread is great for soaking up the runny yolk. For my side, I sliced up a fresh tomato and added salt. Perfection.

Watermelon Mango-Banana Smoothie
Jack and I have been on a recent smoothie kick. Last week I cut up and froze some fresh watermelon and it has been a great base for smoothies. For this one I put 1 cup of frozen watermelon, 1 cup of frozen fruit (mango and bananas) and 1 cup of orange juice in a blender.
Parent Score 5/5 | Toddler Score 5/5

Watermelon Berry Smoothie
For this one I put 1 cup of frozen watermelon, 1 cup of frozen berries and 1 cup of orange juice in a blender. Yum! You can do all sorts of combinations for smoothies with whatever you have on hand. 
Parent Score 5/5 | Toddler Score 5/5

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole via Damn Delicious
Excellent dish. I added sauteed chicken to make it a little heartier (plus Daniel likes meat in his meal when possible). This dish came together really quickly and we had leftovers for lunches that week.

Parent Score 5/5 | Toddler Score 5/5

Peach Cobbler via Pink Parsley
This is one of my all-time favorite cobbler recipes. It is really simple to make and always turns out perfectly. Jack helped me make this for company last week. He likes to drop the peaches into the batter.

Parent Score 5/5 | Toddler Score 5/5

BBQ Turkey Breast and Shrimp
While my aunt and her family visited, I threw together this dish of rice with BBQ Turkey and Shrimp with a side of sauteed zucchini and corn. It was really simple to make and fed a big crowd. I just sauteed shrimp and turkey in BBQ sauce and made a pot of rice.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Family Visit

We have only been in our house for about 5 months but we have already had plenty of guests. I'm so glad that we are able to host friends and loved ones. Our house feels like a bit of a retreat and I'm thankful that we can share that experience with others.

This weekend my aunt and her family drove over from Ashland City, TN. Daniel had to work for part of the weekend, which meant he didn't get to visit much, but it was nice for Jack and I to have visitors.

Jack must really be missing Daniel because once my aunt, uncle and cousins arrived he was really wound up. I don't think I have ever seen him so hyper and excited. 

We let him stay up late all weekend which meant he slept in (score!). Unfortunately it was rainy and foggy the whole time my family was here, but we all enjoyed being lazy and drinking coffee and visiting.

Saturday night after dinner, my Aunt Becky mentioned that Daniel and I could sneak out for a date if we wanted. It hadn't even crossed our mind to do this because Daniel had just worked about 100 hours in 8 days and we were both exhausted.

But we felt like we couldn't turn down a date opportunity, so we decided to leave bedtime duties to my aunt and cousin and we went to Nino's Pastaria (now just called Hummingbird Pastaria) for coffee and dessert.

I'm so grateful that my aunt suggested that we sneak off. It is the first time in two weeks that Daniel and I had had a semi-long conversation. We left the restaurant at 9:30pm and realized that closing time was 9! Thankfully they didn't hurry us out, and there were a few other tables still eating when we left.

For Sunday lunch, Daniel's dad and his wife joined us. As I prepped our burgers I realized we had no propane in our grill. We have been talking about refilling it but Daniel has been so busy with work that he hadn't gotten around to it. Thankfully our friends on the mountain came to the rescue. Daniel hurried over to the Reynolds and picked up a propane tank. Lunch was late but that gave us time to visit.

We had a lovely weekend and Jack loved all of the extra attention.

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...