Oh, Christmas Tree

I have never really put much thought into a Christmas tree until this year. Newlywed status means putting thought into a lot of things that might not have been considered before….. like bills. just kidding just kidding, but in all honesty things like a Christmas tree. You know, I guess a Christmas tree is really not top of mind when you are trying to get a house organized from a wedding and move. After a summer wedding, December got here really fast, and I realized we had a few ornaments we received as gifts and that was about the extent of our Christmas decor.

As a child, decorating for Christmas was always one of the most exciting times in my parent’s home. The big boxes came down from the attic, the trees were assembled, the carolers were placed strategically on the shelves, and Charlie Brown Christmas and the classic 90’s Mannheim Steamroller played in the background. It truly was/is the most wonderful time of the year. Although I don’t ever remember going to pick out our Christmas tree, sticking it on the roof of the car, and stringing the lights, my childhood Christmas memories were extra special.

This year, Patrick and I decided before Thanksgiving to head to the Christmas tree farm and pick out our own tree. This was such a fun experience, and I would certainly recommend if you want to start a new Christmas tradition in your home. After a little convincing we (maybe I :)) found the perfect tree, Patrick used his mighty lumberjack skills (while I observed), and we hauled it home together.

Now, our 2015 Christmas tree is not decked out with crazy flashing lights, no sparkly curly cues coming out of the top, no ribbon wrapped around the tree, and not many ornaments. Instead, just simple white lights that we manually had to string, a few ornaments that definitely don’t wrap around the tree, and a 7 dollar star that lights up the top of the tree and lots of pine needles on the floor.

Surprisingly, I am perfectly OK with that. This year’s tree is extra special to me not because of the way it looks, but because it took a little team work, it took some effort, and the process made it 100% worthwhile. Coming from a girl who is a little…ok alot, uncomfortable with change, I am looking forward to starting new Christmas traditions in our new home. The traditions we have started this year will be the things our children will look forward to, and the few 2 dollar ornaments I bought this year will probably be their favorites to put on the tree one day. Your Christmas decor doesn’t have to be extravagant and perfect. After all, our Savior was born in a stable and placed in a manger.

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XO

Audrey

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ATL Adventures

Last weekend, my husband and I took a great trip to Atlanta with some precious friends. Us ladies were so excited because the men planned our lodging and our outings. Coming from a woman who is obsessed with planning every second of my day, it was nice to let go of the reigns and enjoy the things the men had on the agenda. Don’t underestimate your men ladies. Men are great at planning, just let them and try not to ask 500 questions 🙂 I think Atlanta has always been an underrated city in my mind. A location for six flags youth trips, the city to go to for that conference, the city you pass through to get to more pleasing and exciting trips….like the beach, and most unfortunately, the city you spend three hours sitting in stand still traffic on a Friday afternoon. I must mention a trip is always more fun when you have great company, but besides the company, our adventures made it a trip to remember. I wanted to share these fun adventures with you so the next time you’re in Atlanta you can try out a few if you haven’t already.

Instead of staying in a hotel, the men decided it would be fun to stay in an Airbnb. I have always been pretty skeptical simply because I have never felt completely comfortable staying in someone’s home with them there. Instead of renting out by the room, we got the entire house. The owner lives out of state and rents it out throughout the year. The house is an adorable bungalow just 2 miles from downtown. This house is really a diamond in the rough. I’ll be honest here, the neighborhood is certainly a little questionable, but that didn’t keep me up at night. I would definitely recommend trying out Airbnb, especially when splitting the cost with friends. Because we got the house, instead of a hotel, we were able to make breakfast in the cute kitchen on both Saturday and Sunday morning and dinner on Saturday night. Therefore, we saved some money when it came to food. Take a tour of this family friendly bungalow here!

Speaking of food! I ate the best meal I have ever eaten in my life on Friday night…and don’t think I am kidding. My husband, Patrick, and our friends felt just the same. JCT Kitchen and Bar is a wonderful farm to table restaurant. The perfect mixture of modern, industrial flare meets southern Georgia charm. I was immediately impressed by the menu graphics, so I had a feeling this was probably going to be a great meal, and boy was I right. I guess menu graphics don’t automatically mean great food, but I like to think that’s a good rule. To start of the meal, the most amazing parmesan truffle fries, and cornbread muffins drizzled with honey and served with jalapeno butter. For my entree, I ordered chicken and dumplings. This was not the normal creamy chicken and dumplings most of us are used to, rather a whole chicken leg laid on a bed of hearty, roasted vegetables with a few dumplings mixed throughout. FABULOUS. I had a bite of my friend Jennifer’s Wood Roasted Burger with caramelized onions and whipped blue cheese spread and it was equally as tasty. We thought we might get ice cream after dinner, so we opted out of dessert, but I can only imagine how amazing it would have been.  To look at more menu options check out their website here

On Saturday, the guys made the girls really happy and took us to Lennox Square. This mall has over 200 specialty stores. We literally spent 4 hours here on Saturday. I suppose we could have fit some more fun adventures in if we hadn’t spent so much time here, but it was so overwhelming, we had to take it all in. Favorite stores of mine include, Urban Outfitters, Anthropology, The Loft, and Banana Republic and a really great looking Nike store with a really neat old basketball court as the floor. For now, I’ll just dream of the specialty stores like FENDI, Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus. 🙂

On Sunday, we decided to grab something quick for lunch after our wonderful outing at the Atlanta Aquarium. I fun place to take advantage of even if you don’t have children. I think deep down we all felt like kids at heart. Penguins and sea otters get me every time! 🙂 After about two hours of walking we were ready to eat before we hit the road back home. We decided to eat at The Varsity. Since 1928, The Varsity has been an Atlanta diner style favorite. Now…The Varsity is no JCT Kitchen, but you cannot go wrong with a burger and fries and the chocolate shake may have just been better than a Wendy’s frosty. Did I just admit that?! Check out their Website here

If you only take one thing away from this blog post I hope it’s that you will try JCT kitchen next time you are in the ATL. Comment and let me know what your favorite ATL spots are so the next time I go, I can try them out.

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lots of love,

Audrey

Give Grace

Sometimes I wish I could record the things I say to myself and play them back. I think I would hate being friends with me, at least on some days. I have just recently started a job that requires me to be compassionate on a daily basis, a spiritual gift that has always come very naturally to me. From as long as I can remember, I have been compassionate to all but one…me.

I have read that often times the most compassionate people, have the least amount of compassion for themselves. I like to think I am nice to myself until I hear myself say, What were you thinking, That wasn’t good enough, They probably think you’re a total idiot, etc. UMMM would a compassionate person ever say that to their friend? I’m thinking absolutely not. Has anyone else ever caught yourself in this vicious cycle?

Over the past month, I have been studying scripture on a deeper level than I ever have before. Truly grasping the unimaginable amount of love and grace my Savior gives me on a daily basis, helps me realize, I don’t have to have it all together. Praise God! He gives me grace, so I need to give myself grace. We fail, we try again, we fail, and we will never be perfect. However, we serve a God who was and is and always will be perfect and for that reason, we can rest on the fact that we never have to measure up to that standard. The Lord has created you for greatness. The Lord has not set you up for failure, and he has definitely not created you to bad mouth His beautiful creation. These are the things the Lord says about you… You are cherished, beloved, you have been redeemed, you are not condemned, you are set free, you are chosen and blameless before God, you have boldness and CONFIDENCE, the peace of God will guard your heart and mind, God loves you.

This week I challenge you to talk to yourself like Jesus would. Give yourself grace after you mess up! You are valuable.

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Grocery Game Plan

Hey Friend, it’s finally FriYAY!

Fridays for me bring lots of excitement for many reasons. If you can believe it, even my weekly Friday grocery trip is fun. I don’t attribute my enjoyment to walking up and down florescent lit aisles with strangers and people either in a rush, (or let’s get real… it’s the South), someone stopped to talk to their granny’s neighbor in the DEAD center of the aisle where you can’t even try to slide your cart by. I forgive them. I think it’s pretty darn sweet.

The reason I enjoy my grocery trip is because I have strategies that:

  1. Save me money
  2. Save me time
  3. Save me frustration throughout the week

So, if you don’t already have a weekly grocery plan, I want to share my strategies with you! I realize many of you do not have a specific day that you shop. Some of you go multiple times a week. If that works for you, that is great. I have just personally found that the more times a week I go, the more money I tend to spend on little things I didn’t really need. I challenge you to shop once a week and see if it doesn’t reduce your grocery bill a bit!

Ok friends, first thing’s first. The very first thing I do is take inventory of my fridge and pantry on Thursday night. This may seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how many trips I have bought eggs or pancake mix etc to find out there was a whole box in the fridge or  pantry. Let me just tell you, my materials management husband LOVES this rule. 4 boxes of oatmeal in the pantry probably stresses him out more than a crooked picture on the wall. In addition to making sure you don’t double buy, you can use the extra stuff in your panty to guide your meal plan.

This brings me to my second step-Make the meal plan. I make a meal plan from Friday until Thursday and depending upon our budget, there is a night set aside for eating out. I tell ya friends, this saves so much frustration. There is never a question of what are we having tonight? What do you want? I don’t care, what do you want? <—- NONE of that nonsense allowed in the Sherer home. Also, I usually make double of every weeknight meal, so my husband and I have lunch for work the next day.  It’s so easy to put leftovers in Tupperware the night before, and you can grab it and go in the mornings. No fast food runs means healthier options and no extra money spent.

Next, based off of your meal plan, make your list. Now, my favorite strategy of making my list is try to make your list based off of the order you walk around the grocery store. Make mental notes-I walk through the produce and deli first SO first thing that goes on my grocery list will always be fruits, veggies, and then turkey and bread. This little step saves me so much time when I am buying a weeks worth of groceries.

After making the list, I look over my meal plan again to make sure I didn’t miss anything. There is nothing more stinky to me than having to walk in the grocery store for a bell pepper!! There’s no substitution for that ingredient, y’all

Finally, the last thing I do is look at my Kroger, Publix etc app on my phone, (don’t have it? GET IT) and I look at the coupons option to see if any of them match up with anything on my grocery list. Let just be real, I’m definitely not a crazy coupon lady. Remember my sweet husband? Yeah, he would DIE if we had a stock pile in our garage. If that’s your thing, you GO girl. All jokes aside, that 2 minutes of scanning an app is something I can handle, and I usually can save a little. Every little bit helps, right?

Now, for one last FUN strategy. Get a really cute notebook or tablet that makes you really happy to write that grocery list on. It makes the whole experience cheerful, and by doing this you will feel so organized. Some like to keep their lists on their phones. That option works great too. I just get way more into a task if I write it down. Either way, having the list and the strategies is what matters most!

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What are some helpful tips you use for grocery shopping?

Happy Shopping! 🙂

Ditching The Plan

This blog post has been a long time coming. Well, really this whole blog thing has been a long time coming. For sometime now I have had this sense of urgency to start something, to create something, but I could not quite put my finger on it. Because I cannot decide exactly what that something is and it isn’t all figured out, I’m a little fearful. When fear creeps in and begins to cripple me, I choose to not start anything at all…it’s safer that way. No Risk! Who’s with me on this? I know I can’t be the only one out there! I find myself even staring at the computer screen now thinking, ooh should I delete that or should I add this or what will my future readers want to read? I don’t want to ever lose sight of being intentional, but I have finally decided, I will never have everything all figured out. If I wait for that time, I will never start anything that may have the potential to become fruitful. That is not a good thing, friends. That is not how we are called to live this life. SO, I have officially said no more to the what if mentality. I have decided to ditch the “everything must be planned” and just GO.

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With this lifestyle blog, I am inviting you into “our nest.” One of my favorite wedding gifts from a sweet, sweet friend, was a pillow which reads “Our Nest.” This rectangular,  plush, cuteness sits on our comfy couch in the living room as a reminder of the space my husband and I get to share. As a newlywed, it is my desire and my husband’s desire to have authentic relationships and to create a space that is comfortable and real inside our home. One of our favorite things is to invite friends and family over to our little space for food and fellowship and to share laughter and create sweet memories together. Homes have always had a special place in my heart. I guess you could say many “houses have built me.” Because home means so much to my heart, I want to make the components of a home the focus of my blog and Instagram. My hope is that through this blog we can share fun things with one another, whether it be through encouragement, devotion and inspiration, yummy, healthy and affordable recipes, budget tips, fixer upper and design ideas, or entertainment. These elements make sharing a “nest” fun! Today, I have decided to ditch the plan and just share LIFE. Pushing the publish button without regret in….3,2,1

Until I get my Instagram links up, you can find me on instagram @sharinganest