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Dinner Day: Building Bridges, Not Fences

Best of 2007

This is the first annual inkpots awards, the Best of 2007 (thank you, J.R. for the idea)!


Best Website: and (tie)  a global community of book lovers that allows you to build a virtual shelf of books you've read, ones you're reading, and your wish list.  You can share your shelf, along with other recommendations and comments with your online community of friends.  Instead of tearing out page after page of recipes Meg finds in her Cooking Light magazines and putting them in an ever-expanding binder, she can now organize her recipes online, create special menus and shopping lists!  In addition, she also has access to hundreds of recipes from Cooking Light, Southern Living, Sunset, Coastal Living, and Real Simple!

Best Blog:  J.R. Briggs' brokenstainedglass
J.R. is a friend whom Matt grew up with and who now pastors a church in Pennsylvania.  Not only does he have great blog ideas (such as this one), he also is an inspirational writer, someone whom we admire, and Meg's primo blog example.  One of her 2008 blog goals is to make it onto J.R.s "Blogs I Browse" list.


Best New Release Movie:  Dan in Real Life
Ok, we really didn't see that many movies in the theater this year, so while this movie doesn't have much serious substance to it, it was a wonderful romantic comedy that had us laughing hard; plus, it has one of our favorite actors in it:  Steve Carell.

Best Documentary:  Planet Earth
By far the most spectacular footage of our planet!  We "ooed and awed" all the way through it.

Best TV Comedy:  The Office

Dwight.  Jim.  Pam.  Michael.  Characters that keep us laughing, cringing at awkward, embarrassing moments, and craving more.  The best ever!  We agree with J.R.:  the writers' strike has got to stop!

Best TV Drama:  24 and Lost (tie)

There's no one like Jack Bauer, and we've never sat on the edge of our seats so much, jumping up after each episode yelling, "No way!  I can't believe that just happened!"  As for the last season of Lost, what a finale:  totally unpredictable, thought provoking, and intense.
Best Tech Podcast:  Java Posse
Matt looks forward to this podcast each week as Dick, Carl, Joe, and Tor show themselves to be a class act in the Java community.

Best Podcast that Others Would Actually Listen To:  Focus on the Family
Matt used to listed to parts of the Focus on the Family daily broadcasts on the way in to work in the mornings if it happened to be on the radio.  But since he started listening to their free podcast, he can catch the whole show and pick and choose the episodes he wants to listen to.  A great way to stay updated on issues facing the family today in America culturally and politically.

Best Book of the Bible Studied this Year:  Ephesians
Meg took this course, taught by her friend, at church, and it was great!  Even though she had read Ephesians before, the in-depth look at this book really personally hit home and made Meg stand in awe of the promises we have in Jesus.

Best Book:  Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin
A wonderful historical fiction novel, the first of three in the "Refiners" series.  Set during the Civil War, it's written from the point of view of the daughter of a wealthy slave-holding family, and is a story of her inner battle with the cruelty and injustice of slavery.  It's a story about sacrifice and trust, a gripping tale and personally challenging as well.

Best Technology/Gadget:  Skype and the Skype phone
(she said)
Can you believe it, this is SHE said!  Wonderful (and prudent) ways to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world.  And the Skype phone is a nifty gadget that acts as a land-line phone and also a phone that lists all of our Skype contacts.  So instead of dragging out our headset and computer to make a phone call, we can just pick up the phone and make the call.

Best News/Educational Periodical:  The Economist

Great synopsis of world events.  Dense and a lot to take in, but after reading it, we feel like we could have an educational and informative response to current events.


Best New Recipe:  Easy Corn Casserole and Jill's Secret Salsa (tie)
Meg was ecstatic after receiving a secret family recipe for salsa from her friend, Jill, as a white elephant gift for Christmas!  But tied with it is a recipe for corn casserole.  The recipe, from Cooking Light, is a lighter version of a traditional corn-bake, but one that is just as moist and delicious...and so easy!  It's a great recipe to have on hand when craving comfort food, and goes well with a side of chili, chicken or brisket.

Best New Restaurant:  4-way tie
The foodie in Meg couldn't limit this category to just one restaurant!  These are all new discoveries (because Chuy's Mexican food, of course, would win hand's down).

The Steeping Room:
  New to Austin, this is an eclectic tea room with an atmosphere welcoming to both men and women.  The list of tea selections is vast, and the food both delicious and refreshing.

Main Street Grill:  A charming, elegant restaurant tucked away in downtown Round Rock.  We celebrated our 5 year anniversary at this delectable eatery.  Expensive, but perfect for a special occasion and the food measured up to the price.  We savored every bite. 

In Gruene, the Texas setting of this grill is fabulously located on the Guadalupe River.  A great place to take visitors.

Mellow Mushroom:  We came across this restaurant, a pizzeria, in Asheville, NC.  The crust, made with spring water is so good and the toppings are sometimes a unique combination, but very tasty!  We soon discovered that Mellow Mushroom has now opened in Austin on Guadalupe!

Best Snack:  Popcorn Palace Popcorn
The combo of white cheddar and caramel is the best!  This was a perfect snack to have on hand at Christmas.

Best Foodie Periodical:  Cooking Light
The special 20th edition that came out in September was the best ever! 

Best New Dessert:  Chocolate Italian Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Meg made this for her daddy's birthday in July, and it was a hit!  She had to make more icing because she nearly ate all of the first batch of icing before it made it onto the cake.


Best Romantic Spot:  A little bench located on the Biltmore Estates property in Asheville, NC that overlooks Bass Pond
We didn't want to leave that little bench!

Best Scenery/Outdoor Spot: The Blue Ridge Parkway
Breathtaking...and humbling.

Best New City Visited:  Charleston, SC
Between being near the ocean and the southern hospitality, we found this to be both a soothing getaway and a charming historical city.

Best Airline:  Emirates
We likely will not have this category in future "Best of" lists, but after all the traveling Meg did this year, with mishaps, delays and canceled flights hopefully to never be duplicated, Meg thought it was apropos to include this category for 2007.  By far, Emirates was the airline with the most helpful and polite flight attendants, the best flight service (for movies, music and comfort), the most timely, and the most enjoyable. 

Best Adventure:  Traveling to South Asia and England, without Matt
This was the best and most challenging!  Enough said.


Best Date:
(Each month, we plan a date for each other based upon each other's interests.)

Enchanted Rock (he said):  This was the best date Meg planned for Matt, which was a day outing to Fredericksburg to hike Enchanted Rock and picnic.  This topped Molly's list as well. 

Breakfast in bed and a trip to the nursery to pick out rose bushes (she said):  You definitely know when your husband loves you when he will gladly sit with you through a lecture on roses at a nursery and excitedly pick out rose bushes with you to plant together!  And the whole wheat pancakes Matt lovingly made and served Meggie in bed that morning hit the spot.

Best House Project:  Making our flowerbeds
This might be the best and worst all at the same time.  We worked so hard doing all the labor ourselves, only to watch 3/4 of our baby plants die in the Austin downpours last spring.  This just may end up on our "Best House Project" category for 2008 when we replant everything.

Best New Austin Discovery:  Whole Foods Market on North Lamar
A foodie heaven!  Each time Meghan is in that store, she discovers something new.  It's also a great place to take visitors; their jaws always drop!

Best Surprise:  Meghan piercing her nose
Ahhh, yes.  While in England, Meg decided to pierce her nose with a tiny diamond, a totally spontaneous and highly unlikely thing for her to do.  But she did it, and both he and she like it!

Best Reward for Standing in Line at 6 a.m.:  Getting seats for the dress rehearsal of Saturday Night Live
For Julie's bachlorette party in NYC, all she wanted was to somehow make it into SNL, which required us to make a very early morning trek to the NBC studios to wait in line for a couple of hours for tickets, with no guarantee of getting in, and not expecting to at all.  But to our surprise, all 10 of us girls made it in for the rehearsal!

Best Inspirational Story:  Watching Meg's grandmother, Gaga, and good friend, Tycha, battle cancer with courage, determination, and amazingly good attitudes
Both ladies are tremendous examples.

Best Molly Moment:  The Mighty Texas Dog Walk
Molly and Meggie participated in The Mighty Texas Dog Walk last spring, and Molly wanted to be the first to cross the finish line!  She dragged Meg the whole way and didn't even want to stop for a drink of water.  While we weren't the first to finish the walk, it was still a very proud moment in Molly's precious dog life.

Best Creative Outlet:

Blogging!  (she said):  Meg absolutely loves blogging and building an online community of friends and family; she's always looking for ways to make it more interactive and interesting.
Creating DVD slide shows (he said):
Matt made several DVD slide shows over the year for Tom and Kim's and Mac and Julie's wedding rehearsal dinners, and also helped his dad with Matt's grandpa's 90th birthday slide show.

Best Store:
Sur la table (she said):  An amazing kitchen store!  The baking selection of pans, muffin tins, sprinkles and icing is fascinating.
The Apple Store (he said):  While this is a "he said" store, every time Matt shows Meg a new Apple gadget that he likes, she just happens to want one, too.

Best Quote:  Robert Bruce, 19th Century missionary to Persia
"I am not reaping the harvest; I can scarcely claim to be sowing the seed; I am hardly ploughing [sic] the soil; but I am gathering out the stones."

Best Attribute of God Revealed:  His grace
While this is certainly a hard category to narrow down, His grace is something that has been quite evident in 2007, in a very real and necessary way, because there were definitely things that weren't the "Best of". 
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2:1-4

Best Moments: 4-way tie
June 10th:  Tom and Kim's (Matt's sister) wedding
October 20th:  Mac (Meg's brother) and Julie's wedding
Christmas with Meg's family in Austin (from the decorating and preparation to our time together)
October 21st:  Meg's Daddy's return home to TX after a year in VA for work

Best Milestone:  Our 5 Year Wedding Anniversary


The SNL rehearsal clearly makes my top list as well.....but it was extra special bc you made the long trip! Let's do it again? PS When are we running? I haven't started. Remind me to start!

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