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archive for July, 2013

- ten years later -

i have officially been in atlanta for ten years now. this fresh young face moved to town in july 2003 to start working on homestar runner with some friends.

- ryan

- happy birthday papa -

i had a nice birthday this year. gub and i went to the grant park six feet under for some seafood and cocktails. we ate on their upstairs patio overlooking historic oakland cemetery. it’s definitely one of the better patio views in the city!

after eating, we went for a stroll through oakland cemetery. somehow neither one of us had been to this beautiful atlanta landmark. as we went leave though, we discovered we were locked inside. fortunately we were able to find our way out, otherwise we would have been scaling a fence!

i also hit up the grand slam golf & baseball on my birthday. as the name implies, they have both batting cages (baseball & softball) and a double decker driving range. it was some good ole’ fashioned fun!

- ryan

six feet under grant park

437 memorial drive se
atlanta, ga 30312


historic oakland cemetery

248 oakland avenue se
atlanta, ga 30312


grand slam golf & baseball

3352 north druid hills road
decatur, ga 30033


- hanging in the crib -

clementine and grey have become fast friends! the first thing clem asks for in the mornings is her baby brother in the crib so they can hang out. it’s adorable!

you can also check out a video below with clem & grey reading together in the crib. they start out by ripping a page in hop on pop, which they know they aren’t supposed to do, so they both look around to see if they are in trouble. it’s pretty cute.

- ryan & gub

- where’s clementine? -

while going through old pictures i found a common theme of trying to have clementine blend in with her photos. it started with an attempt to take an e.t. style photo with clem and her stuffed animals and went on from there.

the pictures of clementine with her baby dolls are hilarious. it’s kind of crazy how well she blends in with the dolls.

the tradition didn’t stop with clem either, here is a similar photo of grey!

- ryan & gub

- home-baked soft pretzels -

being a huge fan of soft pretzels, i’ve always been intrigued by the bake-at-home kits you see at grocery stores. with clementine way into all thing baking & cooking these days, it seemed like a good time to try one out. so on a recent saturday afternoon, clementine, her grandmother and i attempted an auntie anne’s at-home baking kit i bought at kroger.

the kit included all of the necessary ingredients, so measuring was not required. the instructions were pretty easy as well, although time consuming for sure. i started by pitching the yeast in a mixing bowl. i then added the flour and mixed the dough. next came the kneading, which clementine was super helpful with! once the dough was prepared it had to sit for 30 minutes in a warm spot to “rest.”

after resting, we flattened the dough and cut it into 1.5″ x 8″ strips. the strips were then stretched out and shaped for baking. we went with normal pretzel designs and some twists, but you can get creative and make letters or animal shapes or whatever you can think of!

once the pretzels were shaped, i prepared a bowl with warm water and baking soda. i dipped each pretzel into the liquid (like you do with bagels), added toppings (ie. salt, cinnamon & sugar, etc.) and baked for 5 minutes at 400. the pretzels were then rotated 180 degrees and baked for an additional 2-5 minutes. i brushed on some melted butter and voilĂ , home-baked soft pretzels!

in the end, the soft pretzels were amazing! the process took way longer than i expected, however the pretzels tasted restaurant quality and were totally worth the effort. plus clementine had a blast kneading the dough and helping out, so i would definitely make them again.

next time i’ll have to try the egg in a pretzel recipe!

- ryan

- wait, wait, don’t tell me live -

gub and i had so much fun at the atlanta recording of wait wait…don’t tell me at the fabulous fox theater last fall! we are huge fans of the npr program, so it was interesting to see how they pull everything off recording the show live.

our panelists were mo rocca, faith salie and roy blount, jr. it turned out both faith and roy grew up in the atlanta/decatur area, which seemed random. cdc director thomas frieden was the ‘not my job’ special guest and we were fortunate to have carl kasell announce the performance, he had been taking time off from the show. and of course, peter sagal was the host.

the entire performance was about two and a half hours, which they edited down to a one hour program. they finished the actual show in roughly two hours. at that point they re-recorded a few lines from the show that were stepped on or didn’t sound well. the audience had the option to leave or hang out for a q&a after they finished. we stuck around and were treated with 20 minutes worth of q&a with peter, carl and the panelists.

i have to admit it was pretty cool going to a show on a thursday and hearing the polished version on the radio 36 hours later. we had an amazing night and, as expected, the fabulous fox theater was a perfect venue for wait wait…don’t tell me!!!

you can download a podcast of the atlanta performance here.

- ryan & gub

- thumbsucker -

he doesn’t do it very often, but when he does, grey is an adorable thumbsucker!

- ryan & gub

- recent coffee adventures -

over the last year or so we’ve tried quite a few of batdorf & bronson’s locally-roasted coffees. we tend to stick with single-origin, central & south american beans for their crisp and fruity flavors. these coffees also brew really well in our chemex setup, so it’s fun sampling new varieties!

here are the beans we tried along with their batdorf & bronson descriptions:
costa rica: cerro del fuego – crisp & fruity; pineapple, honey, macadamia nut
mexico: organic el triunfo – creamy & bright; orange blossom, caramel, chocolate
nicaragua: isabelia – balanced & sweet; black cherry, cocoa, cinnamon
guatemala: antigua – elegant & intense; chocolate, rum raisin, caramel
columbia: estrella del sur – citrus blossom; vanilla, almonds, dried fruit
columbia: monserrate – gala apples, blood oranges
dancing goats blend – bold & toasty; almond, chocolate, and spice
skye’s mountain blend – velvety & lush; raspberry, herbs, sugar
nicaragua: finca san jose – tropical & jasmine; lush body, hints of fruit punch sweetness

our favorites were the monserrate, which was one of their voyager coffees, the finca san jose, and the el triunfo. none of these are available regularly though, so we tend to go with the cerro del fuego and estrella del sur when we buy batdorf & bronson beans.

you can find these delicious coffees at the dancing goats in decatur or the new dancing goats in ponce city market. the decatur location has a wider selection of beans however.

- ryan

dancing goats decatur (better selection)

419 west ponce de leon ave
decatur, ga 30030


dancing goats ponce city market

675 north avenue
atlanta, ga 30308


- homemade banana pudding ice cream -

we made some old fashioned banana pudding homemade ice cream on the 4th of july. somehow we found the time while also watching grey crawl for the first time!

we set up our wooden bucket ice cream maker on the front porch and used a recipe from nutmeg nanny, which turned out amazing! how can you go wrong with nilla wafers and fresh bananas in your ice cream?

you should definitely try this frozen summer treat at home!

- ryan & gub

old fashioned banana pudding homemade ice cream

recipe from nutmeg nanny.

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 milk
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tbsp instant banana pudding mix
2 small bananas, sliced
1 cup nilla wafers, coarsely chopped

in the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the whipping cream, milk and eggs. slowly add the sugar, lemon juice and salt. finally, add the instant banana pudding mix and blend well.

using a wooden spoon, add the small banana slices and stir to incorporate.

pour into the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker. turn on and freeze according to the manufactures directions. during the final 10 minutes of freezing, add the coarsely chopped nilla wafers.

remove frozen ice cream. serve immediately or place in a freezer proof ice cream container and serve when ready.

- our smart thermostat -

last fall we upgraded our thermostat to a nest, the super smart thermostat from the guy who created the iPod! to say the least, we are quite impressed and love our nest, which sounds weird to say about a thermostat.

the thermostat was super easy to install. it probably took 30 minutes or less. all i had to do was kill the power to the old thermostat, take off the face to see what wires were plugged in (label the wires if not colored), unscrew the wires, remove the old wall plate, install the new wall plate, connect the wires to the nest, put on the new face and turn the power back on.

the longest part of my installation was touching up the paint around the old thermostat since the new one was much smaller. once the nest was powered up, it was a few steps to get the thermostat connected to our wifi and up and running. from there it was a breeze to program, unlike most thermostats. the first week nest built a schedule based on how we used the thermostat. from there we were able to easily tweak all seven days settings on the thermostat, laptop or on our cell phones!

remote access to the thermostat is pretty cool. if you are traveling home from a vacation or a hot day outside, you can easily set your house to be nice and cold right from your phone! plus it actually gets to the requested temperature at the time you set, most thermostats just turn on at the set time.

there are also motion sensors to avoid wasting energy when no one is around. nest will auto-adjust to an efficient temperature when sensing you are gone. during the summer months the thermostat also keeps your fan running after the air turns off to keep air blowing across the cold coils. this helps keep the house cool even without the AC on. it’s little things like this that make this a very energy efficient device.

another cool aspect about a wifi enabled thermostat is the ability to receive firmware updates. that way your device won’t be outdated when new features come along. plus the firmware updates happen automatically in the background so you don’t have to worry about it. the nest also keeps track of your energy history to see how and why you saved energy. you receive a monthly newsletter letting you know how efficient your thermostat usage has been and compares it to other nest users locally and nationally. what a nice treat!

nest claims you can lower your energy bills by 20% using their thermostat and make your money back in energy savings within the first year. we are about to reach our one year anniversary having the thermostat, so we will update you on how our quest for energy efficiency went and if their claims are accurate!

you can watch a nest demo video here!

- ryan