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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Atlanta History Center Review/Giveaway for Atlanta readers!!

Nestled amid 33 beautiful acres in the heart of Buckhead you'll find a hidden gem ~ the Atlanta History Center. The largest history museum in the Southeast is a fantastic resource for Atlanta families! Not only can you visit many permanent and traveling exhibits inside the History Center, you can also tour several historic homes, walk through their many gorgeous gardens and take part in educational programs about our wonderful city.

Randy and I took the kids to the AHC last weekend. I'm a planner, so the plan was to visit all of the outdoor places first, before it got really hot and steamy.  If you visit in the summer, this is definitely the way to tour the Center!  We all walked down to the playhouse first. This is a favorite spot of mine at the Atlanta History Center, as Katie used to love that sweet playhouse when she was David's age! This was David's first trip there, and he enjoyed exploring the little white playhouse with his big sister.

Then we walked over to the magnificent Swan House. Built in 1928 for the Inman family, it was designed by Atlanta architect Philip Trammell Shutze. If you'd like a glimpse inside the house to see what life in the 20's & 30's was like, sign up at the ticket desk for a free tour!

After a few pictures outside and a peek in the windows, we headed to the Tullie Smith Farm, which meant a quick walk through some of the beautiful gardens behind the AHC. The farmhouse is quite historic. It survived the burning of Atlanta in 1864, and was later moved to the Center from east of Atlanta.  You can sign up for a free tour of the farmhouse at the ticket desk. We didn't take the tour this time, opting to walk around the farm on our own, admiring the beautiful flower gardens and looking in the various structures. These include a double corncrib, a blacksmith shop, a smokehouse,  an open-hearth kitchen and more. It's like stepping back in time!  It's almost surreal to scan the horizon - on one side you see this old-fashioned farm and on the other side, skyscrapers! 

In September, make plans to visit the Farm for the annual Fall Folklife Festival. There will be hands-on crafts, a petting zoo, storytellers and more, plus demonstrations of traditional folk arts.

By now it was getting hot and sticky - typical weather for Atlanta in July!  My husband headed to the Kenan Research Center next door to do some research on his favorite Southern authors, while the kids and I went back to the AHC. Ahhh - cool air conditioned air! Our first stop: Atlanta's Book: The Lost Gone With The Wind Manuscript exhibit. I'm a huge GWTW fan, so I was really happy to have the opportunity to check this out! It's been 75 years since the publication of this novel, and the AHC is one of only two venues displaying chapters from the original manuscript! You'll see foreign editions of Gone With The Wind, first editions, correspondence from Mitchell to fans, colleages and friends, images and more.

As mentioned before, the highlight of the exhibit is the last four chapters of the book, including one entire chapter, page by page, posted on the walls.  They include handwritten changes from Mitchell and her husband - what a treasure to see! The desk she used to write the book is on display as well. The kids and I really enjoyed this exhibition!  It will be at the AHC through September 5.  By the way, the Atlanta History Center also owns and operates the Margaret Mitchell House, located a few miles away in Midtown.  For a few dollars more, you can purchase a dual ticket that includes both the Atlanta History Center and the Margaret Mitchell House - just inquire at the ticket desk when you arrive!

David wanted to see the golf display ~ Down the Fairway With Bobby Jones. While it focuses on the life and golfing career of Bobby Jones, it also includes the history of the game of golf. David liked the trophies and the mannequins dressed in their golfing best!

Next, we visited The Goizueta Folklife Gallery, which is home to Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South. This is a very family-friendly, hands on exhibition. My kids enjoyed the two rooms created for listening to traditional songs, hymns, and stories. In addition, there are so many folk arts to see: quilting, wood carving, musical instruments, baskets, needlework, even face jugs - something Randy and I both love and hope to collect one day!

LOVE the collection of face jugs - some of my favorite things!

In the DuBose Gallery we spent time exploring Turning Point: The American Civil War. It is one of the nation's largest Civil War exhibits and has a huge collection of artifacts. You can see the Confederate Flag that flew over Atlanta at the time of its surrender, a huge collection of firearms, uniforms, medical equipment and other everyday objects the soldiers used, and more. It's a fascinating, yet moving look into this troubled time in our nation's past. There are interactive stations and videos to check out, too. Your kids will enjoy exploring this 9200 square foot gallery - there is so much to see and do in here.

David was really fascinated by this statue, taking several pictures of it, and lingering beside it until I persuaded him to move on.  It depicts Lt. Hamilton M. Branch, a veteran of the 54th Georgia regiment and the Atlanta campaign.   He was supposedly wearing his old uniform, which is one of the ones displayed in the nearby case.  It is an approximate copy of the statue atop the Confederate monument in Forsyth Park, Savannah.    

The biggest hit with my kids was the Centennial Olympic Games Museum. *So. much. fun!* This brightly-colored, high-energy museum tells the history of the Olympic Games and details Atlanta's journey to hosting the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. I still remember the day it was announced that we won the bid to have the games here ~ "It's Atlanta"! ~ our whole city celebrated! The Olympics were such a HUGE deal in Atlanta and it is so cool to relive that excitement all over again in this museum. There is an interactive trivia quiz that has 12 stations throughout the museum, and my kids enjoyed challenging each other to see who could answer the most questions correctly! I loved seeing the collection of memorabilia from the 1996 games, too! There are so many things to see, read, and do in here ~ it is an absolute treasure for the citizens of Atlanta!

Another fun exhibition is Metropolitan Frontiers. It shows Atlanta's humble start as a rural region, then as a transportation center, later a commercial city, and finally a sprawling suburban metropolis. There are so many fantastic artifacts from the past to see in here - an 1879 log cabin, an 1894 shotgun house filled with period furnishings, beautiful vintage clothing, vehicles, videos to watch, vintage photos to look at and more, more, more!

Our last stop was War In Our Backyards: Discovering Atlanta 1861- 1865. By the time we got here, my camera battery had died and my kids were getting a bit whiny for lunch. I didn't get to see as much of this exhibit as I'd have liked. It was interesting to see maps of Atlanta before and after the war, to see how much of our beautiful city was actually destroyed by Sherman and his troops. There is even a 3-D video slide show to watch - wow!  This exhibit is at the AHC through October 7.

Finally, no trip to a cool place is complete without a visit to the Gift Shop, right? The AHC Gift Shop doesn't disappoint! My husband discovered a book he really wanted about Blues singers on the sale shelf. There were also beautiful pieces of jewelry, fun Christmas ornaments, plus lots of books, games and plenty of kid-friendly items to be found. So make sure you stop by the Gift Shop before you leave the Center and find a little souvenir to take with you! If you are hungry, check out the Chick Fil A Coca Cola Cafe downstairs, or enjoy lunch or afternoon tea at the Swan Coach House, just a short walk from the Swan House!

As you can see, the Atlanta History Center is packed full of exciting things to see and do. Much of it is hands-on, kid-friendly fun. All of it is interesting and educational. You'll learn how Atlanta has transformed from a sleepy rural community into the metropolis it is today, including the not-so-pretty parts of our history. Believe it or not, there are still more exhibits that I didn't get the chance to see while we were there! You could easily spend several hours exploring the Center, or even a full day if you want to really take your time and see it all!  Whether you live here already or you are planning to visit our city, please find the time to visit the Atlanta History Center!

The Atlanta History Center is located at 130 West Paces Ferry Road Atlanta, GA 30305. The Museum is open Monday - Saturday 10 am - 5:30 pm. Sunday 12 pm - 5:30 pm.  Their website is here.  Find out about different membership options here.   The Margaret Mitchell House is located at 990 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309.  Their hours are the same as the AHC.  The website is here.

 I have a special treat for my Atlanta readers that you are going to LOVE!  The Atlanta History Center has generously shared two family passes for me to give away!!  Each pass admits two adults and up to four children (under the age of 18).   Want to win one?  You need to either live in the metro Atlanta area, or be planning a visit to Atlanta.  Complete the mandatory entries below, and any of the additional entries to enter.  Please make sure that you leave me your email address in each comment so I can contact you if you are one of my winners!  *Again, please only enter if you live in/near Atlanta, or you are planning to visit!*

Mandatory Entries: 

  • Like the AHC Facebook page then leave a comment here saying you did so. (Don't forget to include your email address in each comment!)
  • Follow the AHC on Twitter, send them a tweet saying "@ATLHistCenter, sent me for AHC giveaway", then leave a comment here saying you did so.   (If you don't have a twitter account, just leave a comment here saying so to count as your 2nd mandatory entry).

Additional Entries:

  • Follow JKAA via GFC, (box in right sidebar) then leave a comment saying you did (or already do) with your GFC id. 
  • Follow JKAA via Twitter, leave a comment saying you did with your twitter id.
  • Sign up for JKAA's email newsletter via the box in the sidebar, confirm via your email, then leave a comment here saying you did. 
  • Like JKAA on FB, leave a comment on the wall, then leave a comment here saying you did, including your FB id.
  • Like the Margaret Mitchell House on FB, leave a comment on their wall saying sent you, then leave a comment hear saying you did.
  • Vote for JKAA on Picket Fence (click the Picket Fence button in upper right sidebar), then leave a comment here saying you did.   **can do this once per day, just leave separate comment each day after you vote on Picket Fence**
  • Tweet about this contest, including #atlantahistorycenter & @aimeer68 in your tweet so I can verify! Then leave a comment here.  ** can do this once a day, just leave separate comment each day after tweeting**
Contest will end at 11:59 pm EST on August 14, 2011.  I will draw two winners, confirm their entries and then notify winners by email.  They will have 48 hours to reply with their mailing address, or a new winner will be chosen.  I'll mail the passes out by August 24th.   I can only mail these tickets to a US address.  **Please, please, please only enter if you will be able to visit the Atlanta History Center!!**

Disclaimer:  My family was given a family pass to visit the AHC for this review and two additional passes to give away. No other compensation was provided.  The opinions stated in this review are completely my own, and were not influenced because we received free admission - if we had purchased tickets I would have felt the same way about the Atlanta History Center!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer of FIGO

This one is for my Atlanta readers!

Get free food and your chance for a free trip for two to Napa Valley from FIGO... here are the deals straight from FIGO!

First, LIKE FIGO on Facebook and they will send you a punch card worth $15 in FIGO food over 5 visits. Complete the card before September 30 and you'll have a chance to win a culinary journey for two through the wine country of Napa Valley, California!

Then, check-in on Facebook and tag a friend at any FIGO location and get a free, king-sized, gourmet meatball with your meal. What's the big deal about a meatball? Well, these are like none you've ever tasted! Chicken with grilled eggplant, basil and mozzarella cheese, beef with potatoes, onions and white truffle oil, pork and bacon sausage with corn, bbq sauce and collard greens — and more! They're very large — and very delicious. These are not your grandma's meatballs!

There are seven locations in metro Atlanta.  Check out their menu here.

We've never tried FIGO (to be honest, I'd never heard of them before their PR rep emailed me this special - we don't venture far from our little town when dining out!) but after looking at the menu, we'll have to check out the Alpharetta location soon! YUM!

Monday, July 18, 2011

How to make two easy picture frame projects

Last month we visited my Dad in North Carolina.  He is preparing for a move, and downsizing so he had lots of things for my brother, sister & me.  I drove up for the afternoon and the kids & I got to check out all the things he had to get rid of!! (Besides the boxed stuff for all of us).   He let us pick out what we wanted....

My favorite things I brought home were the picture frames!! If I could go back to that day, I'd have gotten more ~ Dad had literally hundreds of frames to get rid of.  I just grabbed a couple that caught my eye.   My favorites were two that had a blue, weathered finish and mats inside - one a light blue, one navy blue.  Once we got home, I tried a few pictures in them, but couldn't find any that really worked with the color of the frame.  What to do?

this frame had the navy blue mat, duh! The frames themselves are identical...
I had picked up some burlap to add to my fabric shelf, so I grabbed it, as well as a bag of old keys that Dad gave me a few years ago.  They belonged to my PaPa, & I've been dying to do something cool to display them!! So with a little time and a lot of glue - here is the result!  I'm going to keep adding keys to this to fill the holes....

Isn't it pretty? I like the bumpy texture and different colors in the burlap.  So perfect for summer!

So, now it's on to frame two.  While blogsurfing yesterday I saw a frame with pretty scrapbook paper in it being used as a dry erase board.  (SO sorry to not remember whose blog I saw that on ~ if it was yours, PLEASE leave a comment so I can give you credit!!)  That's what I decided to make.

Since mine had the mat, I decided to leave it in there and put my paper in the middle, like a picture.  I used a coordinating seahorse scrapbooking paper. Oh, how I LOVE this!!  And it was FREE ~ I had the burlap, the keys, the frame and the glue.  It's very summery & pretty!

Here's a not-so-great picture of it, sorry for the bad quality.  Try not to look at the mess in my craft room reflected in it, lol!!  There's a second picture where I wrote on it so you could see it in action!  I love that I will be able to change the paper on a whim ~ back to school paper, Halloween, Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas ~ the possibilities are ENDLESS! This will be one piece of home decor I'll never tire of.  The price? FREE!!!  I had the frame, the paper and the dry erase marker. 

Hope you liked these easy-to-make wall decor projects!! What are some of your favorite free d.i.y. projects? 

Linking up with Not So Moody Monday Blog Hop and Made by You Monday.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Get a FREE Shecky's Goodie Bag!!

Have you ever been to a Shecky's Girls Night Out? They have them in Atlanta often.  I've never been, but I've heard how fun they are! The goodie bags attendees get are legendary - they are chock full of samples any girl would adore!  So today I heard about Shecky's online & joined the fun.

It's a great online community for ladies only ~ find advice on shopping, hosting parties, relationships & more.  You get points for signing up, filling out your profile, inviting friends and more - and you can redeem those points for a mini goodie bag!! YAY!  So I'm sharing the love ~ sign up with Shecky's and start earning points so you can get your own mini goodie bag!!

Don't really want a mini goodie bag? Guess what - you can cash those points in for free makeup, gift certificates, a cooking class, even tickets to see Hair on Broadway!  Hurry and start earning your points today on Shecky's!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Mom's Krazy Krust Pie ~ the best comfort food!

Ever crave something a little (ok, maybe a lot) decadent for a sweet breakfast treat? The kids & I were wanting something sweet one morning, so I whipped up this family favorite.  Usually, it's a dessert, but guess what? With a glass of milk, it makes a fine breakfast, too!

It is one of the easiest recipes to make, seriously! Even if you don't do alot of baking, this recipe is a breeze to prepare.

It's found in our family cookbook, which was made by my Mom.  She has made this since she was a teenager, and I have done so as well! We like it best made with cherry pie filling, but you can make it with any fruit you'd like - peaches, blueberries, strawberries...

There are only 5 ingredients: 1 c. self rising flour, 1 c. sugar, 1 c. milk - mix together.

 1 stick margarine - melt in a casserole/baking dish in the oven. 

this is my favorite casserole dish - I painted it years ago at a pottery place in Winder, GA.  Those little dragonflies are stamped on the inside -- love!
 Pour flour mixture into center of the melted margarine slowly. 

Spoon your choice of fresh or canned drained fruit, or canned fruit pie filling into the center.  DO NOT STIR!! 

see how the butter is mixed through the flour mixture, without even stirring! You don't want to mess up the buttery goodness to come, so ignore the temptation to stir all of this together!! I promise it will make something heavenly good on it's own!

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Serve warm ~ SO good!!

Perfection! See the crunchy edges, and the lighter, buttery insides? Combined with the sweet & tart cherries this is one of my favorite comfort foods!
Have you blogged about one of your favorite comfort food recipes? Please leave me the link - I love to find new recipes!! And if you make this, let me know what you think! It's a family recipe that at least 3 generations of our family adore!

~ Aimee

Linking up with Melt in Your Mouth Monday blog hop!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

~ Skillet Bacon Jam Review ~

Like Bacon? Then I've got a product to share with you!!  Last week I received a really cool jar in the mail ~  the label read Skillet Bacon Jam.  I opened the top to take a tiny taste and found sweet & savory, fragrant jam inside! I wasn't sure what I would use it on, or with, so I did a little googling... 

The results?  I'm not a fan of BLT's (at least the LT part of them) ~ but supposedly, Skillet Bacon Jam on a BLT is crazy good! (You'll have to let me know, 'cuz I'm not planning on eating one) I found other suggestions, including burgers, grilled cheese, cooked with scrambled eggs, or quiche. You can also use it in a vinaigrette. (think hot bacon dressing, maybe?)  Basically, any recipe you would use bacon in, you can make with Bacon Jam.  So far, I've tried it on a turkey & swiss sandwich - divine! and with scrambled eggs on half of a bagel. I can't stress enough how tasty this Bacon Jam is.  If you are a fan of bacon, you will really enjoy Skillet Bacon Jam!

From their website, here's the description of this heavenly concotion: 

we take a big bunch of really, really good bacon, and render it down...add a bunch of spices..onions, etc. and let it simmer for about 6 hours...give it a quick puree, blast chill it...and you have bacon jam...

I think it has a smoky, barbecue flavor, and the bacon flavor really stands out.  It's a savory but sweet condiment that you will have a blast experimenting with! 

How do you get your hands on this yummy Bacon Jam?  Well, the website is   There they have an online store, where you can buy a jar for $14.   Or share the bacon-y goodness and get the three jar package for $39.50.  If you'd like to contact Skillet Street Food, their email address is  They even have Bacon Jam recipes !  (will save you loads of time if you just head there for recipes instead of googling, like I did)

I would love to hear your recipes or ideas for using Skillet Bacon Jam.  Try it, and let me know what you think!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using created by Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Get a free bag of Fresh Express Salad washed in Fresh Rinse!

I love Vocalpoint ~ they let me try new products first, give me the chance to share my opinions about them, and they send me coupons to share with my friends too!  I wanted to let my readers know about their latest offer!  Click here to request your free sample of Fresh Express Salad washed in Fresh Rinse, so you can try it for yourself! 

What is Fresh Rinse, you ask? Well, here's what Vocalpoint had to say ~ Fresh Express® has developed a breakthrough, eco-friendly produce wash called Fresh Rinse™ that is 7x more effective in cleaning salads than traditional chlorine wash, but is still gentle on lettuce.  It's also acceptable for use on organic products!  So basically, this is a bagged salad that is ready to serve - no washing required!  Click the link and snag a free bag of this yummy salad for yourself!!

*** disclaimer ~ I was not compensated for writing this post, but I will receive a free bag of salad, a bag clip and coupons to share from Vocalpoint & Fresh Express. ***

Monday, July 11, 2011

Super $4 Deal on Parents Magazine!

Happy Monday!! Our internet has been out since last Thursday - I was beginning to feel some withdrawal pains!! Now that it’s back, I wanted to share a wonderful deal with my readers who are parents or grandparents. Have you ever checked out Parents Magazine? It is one of the best magazines for parents of wee ones. I depended on Parents magazine many times when both of my kids were little - for advice, information, product recommendations, kid-friendly recipes and so much more! They even offer advice for parents of "big kids" - everything from Attitudes to Peer Pressure! I have plenty of articles from Parents that I cut out & saved for future reference! I’ve given this magazine as a Baby Shower gift & new parents’ gift too - it’s a fantastic resource for parents!

I’m so excited to share a fabulous deal from Purex & Parents Magazine! Using the enclosed link and entering my promo code will get you a one year subscription for only $4! That is 33 cents an issue! I’m able to share this with you because I am participating in a contest from Purex, so I will get one point for each of you who enters my code when you sign up for your $4 subscription!

So here’s the information you need to get your own $4 subscription: The website is and here is the promo code: PX1155 . The 100 Purex Insiders with the most points at the end of the contest will win anywhere from $25 to $250, so I really appreciate your help in spreading the word - feel free to tweet this using the button above! This offer runs through July 22, so get yours soon!

Friday, July 1, 2011

My 7 year old's new favorite snack - Kale Chips!!

Y'all have heard me say how picky picky picky my son is, right?  Well, his daddy will eat just about anything you can imagine, so it pains him to see David be so difficult about food.  We've had many discussions about it - I think the less of a big deal we make about it the better.  I don't always encourage him to try new things because it tends to cause a big blow up.  When we add things slowly, he usually will try them better. Or, I get sneaky & add organic baby food veggies into some of his foods - more on that in an upcoming post!) If  my husband is there when I make a new veggie or meat, he will ask D to try it throughout the meal.   Not sure which way is best, but the bottom line is that D will not usually try the new food.  Or he will, but with lots of tears.   His pediatrician said he is on the low end of the curve for his weight, so she suggested the occasional Pediasure & we also give him a whole food gummy supplement & a gummy multi vitamin to help cover the things he doesn't get from his usual diet of milk, applesauce, pancakes/waffles, chicken nuggets, whole grain pasta, whole grain toast, sunflower or peanut butter, quesadillas and every once in a while, a beef hot dog... I wish I was kidding, but this is his usual fare.

Anyway,  my husband is a big fan of greens.  Turnip greens, collard greens, you name it.  Me - not so much.  So I typically buy the bags of them and send them to work with him so he can cook them for lunch/snacks (he works 12 hour shifts 4 days a week, so he's at work from 6 am to 6 pm - that's a long day!!)  When our store has a managers special on kale, I buy those for him.   Back when we were eating low-carb (need to be doing it again!) we kept talking about making kale chips, but just never did.   So a couple of weeks ago, I had a huge bag of kale that only cost me $1.29, and it was needed to be used fast.  I looked at kale chip recipes on the internet, and found one here that I thought sounded great.  

Here is what I ended up doing to make our kale chips - it's a little different from the linked recipe...

Wash one bag of kale, tear leaves into smaller pieces,  discard stems.  Dry in paper towels (no salad spinner for us!).   I was out of parchment paper, so I lined a pan with foil & sprayed it with olive oil Pam spray.  Place a single layer of the kale leaves, drizzled with about 1 tbs olive oil, then I sprinkled them liberally with garlic powder & a seasoning blend called Sizzling Spicy Blend from the dollar store. 

before baking

I baked these for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

they shrink up quite a bit while baking, so make a couple of batches!

When they came out, I placed them in a bowl and asked David if he wanted to try my "new version of potato chips".  I was 100% certain that he would turn his nose up - after all, they are green leaves!! But to my surprise, he popped one in his mouth, said it was good, and asked for a plate so he could have more! He did request a spoonful of sour cream to dip them in, but I was cool with that - my son was asking for green veggies!  I made two pans of kale chips, and have made them several times since, and my boy has eaten them every time. Yesterday at Kroger, David went right to the greens and picked out a ($1.29 managers special - raised him to look for deals, lol!) bag of Kale.  Of course I bought the kale, and tomorrow, we'll make lots more kale chips for my little guy to munch on!!  

My picture isn't the greatest, but you get the idea.  The red specks are from the spicy seasoning blend I used on them.  Yum!  Have you tried Kale Chips? What do you think of them?