Monday, May 30, 2011

Key Lime Cake!

This cake is soooo good! It is very refreshing, very easy, and just the perfect summer dessert. I have made multiple versions of this. Here's the best one so far.

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil (I used 1 cup oil, 1/3 cup applesauce instead to make it a tad lighter)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (3 ounce) package lime flavored gelatin mix
  • 3/4 cup orange juice                    
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  1. Combine cake mix, gelatin mix, oil (or oil + applesauce), eggs and orange juice. Pour into 2 bread pans. Bake for 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool, then frost.
  2. To make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add lime juice and confectioners sugar. Mix well. ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Things about Summer

Hey everyone! So I was sitting around waiting for the Western Conference Finals to begin tonight and just started thinking about all the things that I love about summer.  Sometimes it's easy to start thinking that it is just so hot and miserable and humid down here in Georgia that you forget some of the awesome benefits of summer!  So, here is what I came up with. Hope you enjoy and don't forget to tell us what you love about summer!

  1. Being able to wear shorts comfortably: Hey, sometimes I just get tired of jeans, namely all winter long
  2. Going to the Lake with family and friends to cool off from the scorching GA sun; kind of like the old school watering hole mentality
  3. Boating.  In no other season can you spend hours and hours driving someone around the lake at high speeds with sharp banking turn trying to throw them off
  4. Bar-b-queing!!  There is just nothing like the grill in the summer.  Grilled chicken, salmon, corn, veggies, burgers, shrimp...
  5. Vacation.  It's always good to get away somewhere
  6. The smell of the AC when you first turn your care on.  Some may not understand the scent I am talking about.  Others might, and think to themselves that guy is weird because that smell is stank musty.  Still others will rally behind this statement as they too enjoy this short lived but wonderfully intoxication scent.  Holla!
  7. Watermelon.  The stuff is just awesome and I can't get enough of it in the summer.  Only if my wife enjoyed it as much as juicy, so sweet.  I always say, It ain't summer unless there's watermelon!
  8. NBA Finals.  Yeah, this is one of the few professional sporting events that I really do actually enjoy keeping up with.  Also, tennis is in full swing (pun definitely intended) so that gives me something to watch as well.
  9. Jazz.  In Augusta where we live, during the summer months there is always jazz at the river every Sunday evening.  Since this is one my favorite genres of music and you can bring a picnic dinner, it's a great, cheap summer activity
  10. Fourth of July.  By far my favorite holiday because it encompasses so many of the things already mentioned like wearing shorts, family, grilling, boating.  But it also is a great time to put on great firework displays and watch great firework displays.  So no wonder this is my favorite holiday.  It's in the season I love and includes everything about the season I love.
For those that like pictures better than words...a collage strip of my favorite summer things

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekend Recap: Bike Rides, Baby Showers, Movies and More!

It's Laura again - back with another quick Weekend Recap! We had a great weekend at home in Augusta. On Friday night, I went for a fun and we had some homemade chicken burritos and headed out to get a some Baby Shower and Belated Wedding gifts for some friends. We headed to Buy Buy Baby and got some pacifiers, bottles, and drying rack for our friend Shannon who is expecting her first baby in July and got a Target gift card for Jason's friend Matt who recently got married in Virginia - but we unfortunately couldn't make it to the wedding. We are always so bewildered in baby stores, maybe eventually we will learn about all the crazy contraptions that you "need" these days, but until then, I keep my eyes glued to the registry and hope I don't mess up too bad!

After that, we went to a Jazz Night Under the Stars at Rhodes Farm - a really nice neighborhood in Augusta. They have an adorable little grassy/park area smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood. It was a really fun way to spend a Friday night. We also ran into some people from our church's single ministry while we there - since we later found out they were the ones that put on the event!

Then we came back home and watched the most hilarious 80's movie ever. It had Michael J. Fox in it - and I'm a hard-core Back to the Future fan, so I assumed it would be good. Here's just a taste of the hilarity that we experienced thanks to Netflix. This is a scene of his bosses wife hitting on him in the limo: 
Just in case you didn't enjoy that one - here's another hilarious love scene...
The next day, we enjoyed sleeping in and then went on a bike ride with our friends Paul and Shannon on the North Augusta Greenway. We had lots of fun - and Jason even ran across one of his friends from PT school as he was just about to surprise his girlfriend with a proposal! After the bike ride along the river, and exploring some nice homes along the water, we had lunch at Manuel's Bread Cafe in Hammond's Ferry. It was absolutely delicious and I def. plan on going back again sometime soon. Everything there is fresh and homemade. I had a turkey pesto sandwich with a ceasar salad and Jason had a hamburger with Gouda cheese and the best french fries ever.

After our bike ride trip we ran to Kroger and the bank and I got to talk to my friend Amy on the phone for a bit which was lots of fun. She's getting married in Denver in August and I can't wait! After that, I decided to buckle down and do some P90X since I haven't been all that committed to the program. After a shower, we went and bought a new bike for me that was on sale and target! I love it! My old one was broken a little bit and just a little too small. But it is for sale on Craigslist here - if anyone is interested! After that my day got even better when Jason agreed to go see "Something Borrowed" with me at the theatre. I LOVED it. It was such a cute, funny movie. Just great all around. It is def. up there in my "favorite movies list" now. I think I want to read the books now. I just loved the story line. Jason just liked the fact that John Kracinski was in it. Did anyone else see it? What did you think?

On Sunday, we got up bright and early and Jason taught about the "Do No Judge" section of Matthew chapter 7. Then we had a pizza lunch with some Sunday School friends and I headed to Shannon's baby shower. The shower was lots of fun and I got to meet some of her super nice friends from Residency. I also got some great ideas for future baby showers that we will be throwing for girls who are expecting in our class. 

After that, Jason and I went to Sunday night service since it featured Jason's recent mission trip to Ecuador. It was really cool to hear about both the Ecuador Medical Mission trip and the Romanian Dental Mission Trip that some other people from our church went on. It is such a privilege to be able to play a part in spreading the Good News of Jesus to the world! I hope that that trip is the first of many for us in our married lives. 

That's it! Here goes another week! 

Weekend Recap: Relay for Life, Single Mom's Oil Change and More!

So Last Weekend, May 14-15th, we did lots of fun stuff. On Friday Night, we went to Relay for Life with my company, MAU Workforce Solutions. MAU had a large tent and some ladies from our company put a lot of effort into decorating it for the Hollywood Theme. We were treated to some AMAZING BBQ from the BBQ Barn in North Augusta. This is definitely where Jason and I will head when where in the mood for some good BBQ pork. We got there around 6ish and hung around until about 10. We enjoyed the chance to hang out with lots of cool people from my work and their significant others. We walked around the track a few times and enjoyed seeing the Survivors take a few laps. We also walked around all the other booths to see their decor and different items they were selling. MAU sells light up stuff to raise money for the cause. This year, we sold light up necklaces, light up glasses, and glow sticks. They were all a hit and we raised more money this year than ever before! Here are some photos from the night.

The next morning, Jason and I volunteered for a ministry our church does once a quarter called the "Single Mom's Oil Change." Our church bought an old car dealership that was located next to the church property about a year ago, and the property works PERFECTLY for the event. We had wanted to help out for a long time, but we kept having things come up on the weekends they were doing it. On Friday night, we realized we hadn't contacted anyone about wanting to help, so I sent an email at like midnight to see if they still needed people. Sure enough, the event organizer emailed me at 6:30am on Saturday morning saying they always need more people! I wasn't real sure about what they could use Jason and I for, since neither of us had any clue about how to change oil, but we had heard that they could use people with or without experience. When we showed up at 8:30am, there were already over 70 women that had showed up needing their oil changed. They put me and Jason to work right away - they taught me how to direct cars and that became my job, and Jason was paired up with a more experienced oil changer... That day over 115 single mom's got a free oil change, heard the gospel, and even got breakfast for them and their kids. It was a really cool event to be a part of and even made me want to learn how to change oil myself! :) Here's a pic from the newspaper. 

After the oil change, we came home, had a quick lunch and then started weeding the yard. Here's our CRAZY azalea bushes. After about an hour of trying to tame Mother Nature, lots of bug bites, sweat, and itchy legs, we called it quits. We got most of the way there. I still need to trim the bushes a little more and we will reveal the "after" photo hopefully early this week. I know you are all dying with anticipation! :) 

After weeding, we ran lots of errands - this normally takes a fair amount of time on our weekends. We ended up at Target and the mall in hopes to find some shorts for me. Unfortunately, all the shorts I could find were about 2 inches long - and no, I don't want to look like a teenager when I'm 25, so I decided to pass.... After that, it started to rain and Jason and I headed to get some Pizza from Papa Johns and had a relaxing evening at home listening to the thunder storm. 

The next day, we went to church and had lunch with the Berryhills and the Jeffcoats from our church Small Group. Right after that, I headed to Myrtle Beach for the start of a work conference. After I arrived and set up the MAU conference booth, I headed to a nice dinner with some work colleagues and clients. 

So there is another weekend in the books. At least this time its recorded on this blog! :) 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Family Affair

Hello, blogging world. So, yes it has been sometime since anecdotes recorded by Jason have been posted for your enjoyment (or your horror). But I am back. Back with a vengeance; to tell you a story. A story that will hopefully captivate you and make you think about your family. Nah, just kidding (although my whole extended family is involved with this so it may make you think of your family). Anyway, I'll cut to the chase. Last weekend was a pretty busy one because it was my week long break between spring and summer semesters of school (less than a year to go!! woohoo!). And if one only has a week, then that means it is usually jam-packed full of chores, projects, or vacation/visiting family. Well, this time, the week was mainly focused on the latter. I think Laura and I saw just about everyone we are possibly related too. It all started with a planned visit from my awesome brother from Houston! We had been talking about him coming out to visit us in Augusta for awhile and it finally happened. I picked him up from Atlanta, on June 3. He stayed with us for a couple of days. We had a great time, although he was battling some mild gastritis. We all just kind of hung out, went to some stores, saw the incredible amazing sights of Augusta, and watched my favorite movie...INCEPTION! He also decided to surprise by treating Laura and myself to dinner. Thanks Bro! That was awesome! So we had a good time and then on June 5, in the afternoon, Chris (my brother), Laura, and I packed up our suitcases and headed off to Helen Ga for our family reunion which is held every other year with my Mom's extended family. Why Helen, you might ask. Well, every year someone else gets to plan the location, etc and this year my Mom planned it and decided to have it there. Next one could be anywhere...maybe even a sweet beach house...especially if all the cousins get to plan one.

So we arrived at our Hotel on Thursday night. Once we all arrived, well actually, once we arrived because we were the last ones to get there, we all went out to eat at a local restaurant where Laura and I split weiner schnitzel (Helen has strong German influence/roots). It was interesting, definitely not bad. From there, we went back to the Hotel to play a family tradition game called dirty bingo. It's like, when you get a bingo, you get to open a gift or steal a gift from someone else kind of game. So it's a lot of fun and pretty cut throat. It's amazing how attached we can get to generally dollar store gifts! After that we called it a day and headed to bed to get ready for a packed day on Friday, June 6.

The morning came pretty early, but there's nothing better than starting a day with a sausage egg and cheese biscuit. I love you Country Inn and Suites. We all piled into cars and headed off to do some hiking and waterfall observation. I realized that my family really like waterfalls/hiking/mountains because many of our reunions have revolved around that theme. Which is totally fine with me because Laura and I love to go hiking. And let's be honest...hiking around Augusta is not quite as cool as hiking through foresty mountains with babbling rivers and noisy waterfalls.
Yes, it was chilly, and yes we have matching North Face Jackets

Some of the beautiful scenery
Us at the Waterfall...It was really bright

From there we went to a park and had an excellent picnic lunch and after that we tried to strike it rich by panning for gold in a creek at a legit gold mining operation. No gold. But some cool rocks/gems were found and my cousin Tim found a huge sapphire stone which looked like a burnt marshmellow because it was uncut. Later that evening we went to dinner at a local BBQ pit that we had staked out. It was amazing. Yum. I love BBQ and sweet tea. Then from there, we went and played some miniature golf in a winner-take-all-glory-and-bragging-rights-for-the-next-two-years match consisting of the mature members of the family vs the young members (the cousins). Sadly, our youth did not help us and our overall team score was 3 shots behind the mature members. It was fun though. And, mark my words, there will be a day of reckoning. Finally Saturday rolled around and we had a lazier morning. After a very late breakfast we went to a local winery for a wine tasting. So good. And then had our last picnic lunch before we said goodbye.

It was a great time. After we left, we headed to my favorite fireworks warehouse to get some supplies for the 4th or July (we were only 40 minutes away) and then drove into Atlanta. Saturday evening, Laura and I and my family met up with our close friends the Raessler's for dinner and coffee. That was also very fun. Then my family went to a hotel and I went to visit Laura's family for Mother's day. We spent Mother's day (Sunday) with my in-laws and started by bringing the boat to lake Lanier to take it for a test drive after some repairs had to be made. Now it runs like a charm. Then we went to a late brunch at a yummy place called South City Kitchen. After that, Laura and I split off to visit her grandparents. When that was done, we came back to chill with Laura's family some more and eventually left and got back to Augusta about 11 pm. Whew. We promptly went to bed and got ready for a week back at school and work and have survived all of that to tell you about it! PS: I made a documentary movie of our reunion for those who want to remember or for those who were not able to attend to experience the trip vicariously through us or for those who are really curious about what our family reunion was really like!  It captures the activities much better than our pictures although I had to decrease the pixel quality to fit it on Vimeo.  No HD...sorry, but enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Summer's Birthday Party

A few months ago, my littlest sister Summer (she's the one with the blonde bob) had a Tea Party for her birthday. Jason used iMovie on our Macbook to create a really cute video, and I just realized that I never shared it with our fellow bloggers! My mom did a great job planning the party. We served them a strawberry cake, apple juice in place of tea (complete with sugar cubes), tea sandwiches, and more! We also did a little art project where they made their own "tea party" hats out of paper bags. I became the unofficial hot gluer and glued many flowers, feathers, and other doodads to their paper hats. Finally, they topped the party off by talking with English accents, opening presents, playing, and squealing in high pitched voices like little girls do.

Here's the video...


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