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tag: diy

- clue town books: oakland cemetery -

clue town oakland cemetery - photo by: angela nichols

for my birthday, we got a babysitter and tried out our first scavenger hunt from clue town books. we had a blast for sure! we started out at the republic for some cocktails before walking over to historic oakland cemetery for our adventure.

for those of you who are unfamiliar with clue town, they are these great scavenger hunt books from local kirkwood resident jay carlson. the books come with a compass, a little pencil, and lots of puzzles to solve along the way. he has released 4 books so far, including: piedmont park, oakland cemetery, downtown decatur, and the beltline eastside trail. the scavenger hunts take roughly 60-90 minutes to complete, depending on which one you go with.

for our first clue town adventure, we went with the historic oakland cemetery. the hunt took us about an hour and a half, which was longer than the 60 minute estimate. we took our time strolling through the historic atlanta site however, soaking in our rare outing away from the kids. the puzzles were challenging at times, but definitely fun and not too hard. the compass was used quite a bit as well, which added to the experience!

although we didn’t bring our kids, the oakland cemetery hunt definitely seemed kid-friendly. everything was self-contained within the cemetery walls and parking was close and free, so it would be an easy scavenger hunt to try out with the kids.

you can buy clue town books directly from jay at most atlanta festivals, or you can find them at select atlanta shops, including: the beehive, youngblood boutique, heliotrope, oakland cemetery gift shop and the high museum of art gift shop.

up next for us is piedmont park, we can’t wait! we are going to try it out with clementine and grey!

- ryan & gub

historic oakland cemetery

248 oakland avenue se
atlanta, ga 30312


the republic

437 c memorial drive se
atlanta, ga 30312


- buckets of fun -

buckets of fun - photo by: angela nichols

one bucket of water. one bucket of sand. HOURS of entertainment!

highly recommended!!!

- gub

- grey’s first birthday -

grey celebrated his first birthday with a fun party! his cousins came down from chicago, which made it even more exciting. we had the gathering in our backyard, similar to clementine’s first birthday, although it was colder than expected. we had a bonfire to going to stay warm and made the most of it!

- 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

- 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

- all the buildings in new york -

i recently discovered this great blog by australian illustrator james gulliver hancock. hancock set out on the ambitious goal of hand-drawing every building in new york in 2010. he still has a lot of buildings to go, however you can now purchase a book featuring every drawing he’s done so far.

here is a new york times interview with james from a few months ago.

- ryan

- happy birthday clementine -

clementine had an awesome second birthday party! she had a morning gathering at bessie branham park, which is right down the road from our house in kirkwood. we went with a krispy kreme doughnut mound instead of a cake, which was quite the hit with the kids. so was the line drawing fabric from ikea! we laid out some fabric markers and the kids had a blast drawing all over it.

- ryan & gub

bessie branham park

2051 delano drive ne
atlanta, georgia 30317

- intelligentsia coffee -

our friends rob & ellen recently sent us a gift box from intelligentsia with a bag of fresh roasted coffee and two mugs! we had never tried intelligentsia before, at least that we are aware of, so we were excited. it was a very tasty, smooth cup of coffee, especially brewed with our chemex. we were quite impressed!

on a related note, we’ve upgraded our coffee brewing setup over the last few months. our electric tea kettle was on the fritz, so we got the new variable temperature kettle from bonavita. it’s the perfect companion for pour-over coffee brewers and tea lovers alike. it has a gooseneck spout for easy pouring and the kettle offers complete temperature control for ideal brewing settings. there is also a hold feature to keep your water hot throughout the brewing process, or if you plan on having another cup of tea. basically, it’s pretty awesome!

for christmas we also upgraded our grinder, which was on its last legs as well. we went with a conical burr style from capresso. it actually grinds the beans instead of chopping them, preserving aroma and flavor. the grinder is also extremely quite and super easy! you just set the fineness (from coarse to turkish fine), turn the knob to the amount of cups you want and it does the rest. for our chemex setup, we stick with a coarse grind, which you can see in the below photo.

- ryan

- ho ho ho -

here are a few photos of our holiday decorations this year!!! clementine helped with the wrapping!

- ryan & gub