Picture
"Shake it like a Polaroid picture"
    Yes, that is a Polaroid picture captured on our very first date, August 6, 2007! [He asked me out the Saturday before, August 4th, hence our wedding date]! The picture was taken at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal three days before Tyler's family's Chick-fil-A® opened. This was a celebratory dinner held in honor of his family and all of the hired employees.. little did I know I would soon become an employee [I was heavily recruited, and not by Tyler]. Because it was scanned in, okay and because it's a Polaroid, it's not very clear but there's another picture from the night at the bottom of this post.
    In 2007, Tyler's family made the move from Indiana to Ohio where his dad would be opening a Chick-fil-A® Restaurant. Tyler and I spent much of our Senior Year of high school unlike many other kids - working. I still remember getting up early on Saturday mornings to get to the restaurant before our shift, indulge in Chick-n-Minis™, work enough hours to qualify for a break including free lunch, then leave late enough that our parents were requesting we bring food home for dinner or I'd have a babysitting job booked for the evening and offer to bring chicken - yes, we had chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Wait, you didn't know Chick-fil-A® had breakfast? Where have you been? They also just introduced THRIVE Coffee, yum.
    After high school we continued to work for Chick-fil-A®, Tyler did payroll from school, came in to do invoices on weekends, and eventually trained me to do both when he studied abroad. Whenever we came home on breaks, we worked. It was like a drug.. or maybe we felt obligated since it was family?, maybe we liked that it was family? At one point, both of Tyler's parents, both of his brothers, Tyler, my sister, two of my cousins, my cousin's boyfriend, and myself were all working at Tyler's parents' Chick-fil-A® Restaurant. I was also able to help another one of my cousins get a job at a location closer to where she lived. I also worked because I needed money.. while it was annoying as a teen, I'm so thankful my parents didn't give handouts.
    I'm fairly creative and I love design, so when there was a need for help with marketing and events at my in-laws restaurant while I was awaiting my Dental Hygiene License, I took the job! I've continued to work for them in this role from afar and even worked with corporate Chick-fil-A® on Grand Openings including the opening in our previous city, Walnut Creek. After the Walnut Creek opening, I accepted a job in HR and Marketing at that location since I was unable to do Hygiene in a full-time role in California. I've been to training in Atlanta and continue to work for and make promotional flyers for both locations [one was even featured on TV, holla!] and my graphic design work is something I'm weirdly proud of.
    On top of working there, we eat there, a lot. And yes, unless we happen to be ordering from one of Tyler's family members [very rare], we pay. Truth is: we don't care to pay for good food, and Chick-fil-A® is gooood. After marriage, Wednesdays became our set-aside "date night" at Chick-fil-A® - it was one sense of normalcy after having moved 2,500 miles from home. So every Wednesday, we ate dinner at the Chick-fil-A® in Walnut Creek [or I brought it home after work] and we have continued that tradition even with our move to Charlotte, only missing when we are out of town. But even then, we usually schedule road trips around when Chick-fil-A® is open.. sometimes delaying departure until 6:30am so we can get breakfast before hitting the road. We're addicts.
    So yesterday, after becoming homeowners, we didn't celebrate by heading out to some fancy dinner spot - we kept our 'date night' tradition and headed straight for chicken!
Then we went and painted our new front door cause we're a little cray cray and couldn't wait! Can't wait to share pics!
Picture
Picture
Follow on Bloglovin
 
 
Picture
    Today we're heading off to Florida for a wedding; a much shorter drive than cross-country! Tyler's cousin is getting married and for our gift to them, we bought them the Crock-Pot off of their registry. Included with their card, I printed out some of my favorite Crock-Pot recipes! These are my easy go-to recipes and it helps that my husband loves them! Bonus: for just the two of us, the two chicken recipes provide days of leftovers!
    All of these recipes were adapted from Pinterest, but I put my own spin or changed a few things on some. Get out your old trusty Crock-Pot and enjoy!
Picture
Picture
Picture
Picture
Follow on Bloglovin
 
 
Picture
    We spent our last California days [April 23-24] in Los Angeles. Other than the smog, which can ruin a would-be-perfectly-gorgeous view on a sunny day, there's only one thing we truly hate about LA: the traffic. We both decided we could never live there unless we were billionaires with access to our own helicopter to take us places - so, we will never live there. If we ever vacation there again, we will be staying on Manhattan Beach, Hermosa beach or Santa Monica - but on our Cross Country budget, we took every free-on-points room we could which required us to stay a little farther out and deal with the heavy traffic getting places.
    We have been to LA as a couple a total of four times now, and Tyler has been twice more with friends to watch soccer games. On this trip, we squeezed in our favorites, Pink's Hotdog Stand, Lemonade [both food, surprise!], and Manhattan Beach, as well as adding the Griffith Observatory which we both had been wanting to see.
    Tyler wanted to go to Sugarfish [another restaurant, can you tell we like to get our eat on?!] and I wanted to go to Disney, but there wasn't enough time this trip! If you're ever planning to visit LA, under each section of pictures* below I've highlighted some of our favorite things to see and do and of course, eat, from prior trips! Most all of them have click-able links that will take you directly to the site. One thing we never did that I wish we had was a celebrity home tour - but I don't know if I could get Tyler to sit still that long - he is not nearly as interested in architecture as I am!

To Do:

 Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure – you don’t even need kids to go here and no one judges you for coming as an adult without kids! The best part is both parks are compact with most all of the same rides as Disney World and are both easily doable in a day each [without kids]! If we’d had the time I would have gone back in a heartbeat, but Tyler’s rule is there must be a 5 year span between each Disney trip so that you can forget how awesome it is and be blown away again. Guess this will have to be my Babymoon if I want to come back without kids again – coming solo after having kids would be cruel.

Paramount Pictures Studio Tour – really any studio tour would be fun, we just did this one on recommendation from friends and loved it! Find out where your favorite movie and/or TV shows were filmed then do that tour! We did the 2hour tour and that was plenty for us. It was so fun to learn a few secrets of the industry, plus you may even spot a celebrity! We saw the cast of Glee when we were there.. unfortunately no one on our tour [including us, we don’t have cable] knew who they were and they seemed slightly angry no one was waving at them until our guide told us to, oops!

Red Carpet Event – if you ever have a chance to go to one, do it! Even if there’s no guarantee of a bunch of major A-list celebrities there, go – you never know who might become famous later and you can say, “I met them!” We were lucky enough to get tickets to the X-Factor Finalist Party through Tyler's work and I got to touch Mario Lopez - enough said.

Santa Monica – so much more than a beach! This is the end of historic Route 66, has a fun pier with games and rides, is home to Muscle Beach, and a huge outdoor shopping center, Third and Promenade. But the beach is pretty, too! I would love to stay here for a week or so, get up, run to Muscle Beach for a workout then down to Starbucks for coffee, and that’s saying a lot since I hate working out!

To See:

Griffith Observatory – the best parts of this place are the views and the price! If all you want to see are the views, then it’s free! If you’re interested in the planetarium then there is a fee. Be sure to check on their website before heading there as they are closed some days and have special hours. The telescope is also free to see but only at night and we were interested in seeing the views of the city during the day. There are a few hikes around the observatory that looked fun but we did not bring our hiking shoes nor did we have time! Also, depending on which way you drive in [we went in on the Greek Theater side] you’ll go through a neighborhood with some gorgeous cottage-like homes [on the larger scale] and meticulously maintained lawns - so beautiful it made us re-think our, "we're never living in LA," statements, if only for a moment!

Hollywood Sign – surprisingly this is not as visible from as many places as you think it would be! I would recommend following the directions on this site to get a good view!

Hollywood Walk of Fame and Chinese Theater – my recommendation for the Walk of Fame is that you decide who you want to see beforehand and find out the exact location of that star then you’ll see some other unexpected stars on the way – faster than walking around looking through all 2,500+ stars to find one! There's also an "Upcoming Star Ceremonies" tab that you can plan your trip around based on if you want to see it or you want to steer clear of the traffic! We didn’t go in the Chinese Theater, just slipped our fingers and toes into some of the hand-and-footprints outside for photos!

Manhattan Beach – it’s a beach and it’s gorgeous, enough said! Ps. the parking spots on either side of the pier are 5hour limit vs. the 2hour limit parking lots a few streets up – so you’re closer and you can stay longer, win.

Rodeo Drive – so what if you can’t afford anything?! Stroll the streets and snap some pictures in front of your favorite “I wish” stores! I went in to Juicy Couture just for fun and ended up finding a shirt for $17 including tax, so naturally I had to get it!

To Eat:

Lemonade – the only Lemonade to rival Chick-fil-A’s! They have a ton of flavors but our favorite is the Guava Lemonade! I was confused at the food options and ordering process the first time I went in, but the employees were all super friendly and helpful, plus you can sample almost anything before choosing to buy it - definitely try things! They have so many different "salads" with crazy ingredients that I thought sounded nasty but were heavenly! This last time I had a cauliflower, raisin, and nut salad that was to die for but had the employee not insisted I try it, I wouldn't have gotten it!

Pink’s Hotdog Stand – seriously the best hotdogs ever! They have so many different combinations, they are reasonably priced, and it is a popular LA spot, plus I just love their story! You can read about their story here! They have their own parking lot with free parking which is hard to find in LA! The lot is small but we’ve never had an issue finding a spot.

Sugarfish – I have never been, but my husband raves about this sushi place stating that the sushi is warm and melts in your mouth! I’ve just recently gotten in to sushi and am not a big fan of many rolls but if you are, I’d give it a try!


*all photos are our own

Ps. We currently just arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico after two days in Vegas and a night in Flagstaff! Vegas post coming soon - we update our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts almost daily, so you can follow along there: #PeterCrossCountry
Picture
Follow on Bloglovin
 
 
..at least in my opinion!

    This is a super easy recipe for my favorite Pumpkin Pie. We made this as a class when I was in Mrs. Harrelson's first grade class at Batesville Primary School. I liked it so much that I went home bragging about it to anyone who'd listen. My mom decided to try making it at home [probably to see if I really liked it like I said I did - kids can be so picky!] After making it at home and determining that I REALLY liked this pie, my Pappaw asked my mom for the recipe and he's made it for me every single Thanksgiving since! Cannot wait to be home eating it one week from today!
    Even if you're not usually in to Pumpkin Pie, give it a try! I took it to a dinner party last year not knowing that our hosts don't like Pumpkin Pie. At the end of the night they revealed that secret but said they liked this one, describing it as more of a soft pudding texture than any they've had before.

Crust-less Pumpkin Pie

Picture
Picture

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Bisquick
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Can Evaporated Milk [5 oz]
  • 1 Can Pumpkin [15 oz]
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbsp Margarine
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • Mix all ingredients together with mixer on high for about 1 minute
  • Pour into a greased 9-10" pie pan
  • Bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Picture
  Could it be any simpler? I like to enjoy it with a huge dollop of Cool-Whip! ..unless of course I'm eating the leftovers for breakfast, then I try to keep it "healthy," ha! But seriously, it's great with coffee! So whether you're hosting Thanksgiving, or being hosted, this easy recipe allows you to spend less time in the kitchen, more time with family, and is sure to be a hit!

    PS. I've always wondered where my teacher got the recipe. After doing some research, it looks like this may be where it's from: Betty Crocker - Impossibly Easy Pumpkin Pie [see, even Betty calls it easy!]