Friday, February 25, 2011

Birthdays and such...



Did I mention that one of my reasons for falling off the blogging wagon for a month and a half was the fact that we have four birthdays in eight weeks in our family.....and birthdays are a big deal at our house. Sara's was documented in December so here goes for the rest of the family.



Forty seven is a lot of candles!!!!!


Always the good sport ~ Gary even wore the birthday hat!!!!!!



 Success ~ Forty seven candles out ~ and still looking pretty darn good!


Now - on to my eighteen year ( gasp) old's celebration....it began with the traditional
birthday breakfast.  We alway use our "special plates" - the ones we made when they were babes and we had a pottery making store in our town.  We spent many a day painting plates, bowls and coffee cups.  I wouldn't trade these hand painted masterpieces for anything as they are so unique and special.  I love them...except the girls don't like the fact that they can't go in the dishwasher.  If anyone that is reading this has children and a place to paint and fire pottery.....trust me...it is worth every penny. 
 I treasure our pieces!


Sara made Elizabeth "Pokemon" earrings!!! Remember when they dressed up this Halloween? 
Sara was Ashton and Elizabeth was Pickachu! click on ~ (Just wondering!) to see.




Pokemon was a big part of their lives when they were around 6 to 8...we still have a binder with hundreds of cards that they collected, traded and cherished.


The requested birthday dinner was Roast Duck and lots of starches...
Elizabeth will still eat nothing that is green!


Some friends ~ aka other daughters ~ joined us for birthday dinner.


Maisy helped celebrate.  Now that she is over her puppies, she is back at her master's feet.
Now this is an ice cream King Cake and it is made of different varieties of ice-cream.  Not only do you find a baby in one of the pieces but you don't know what flavor you are going to get of ice-cream!  For those not in Louisiana - a King Cake is a traditional "coffee cake" coated with purple, green and yellow colored sugar and smothered in icing.  A plastic "baby" is hidden in the cake and if you get the piece that has the "baby" you have to bring the next King Cake for everyone to eat!  We start this in January and it continues until Mardi Gras - and then no more King Cake for a year!  I have two "Mardi Gras" babies (real ones, born in Feb.) and when Elizabeth was born, we sent a birth announcement that had a King Cake drawn on it and the message was:
We got The Baby!


 Eighteen.......wow!


And, just in case you were thinking that I am an "old" Mom, don't forget;
I still have a  "little" twelve year old that is the cutest thing in the world!
 Birthday breakfast request ~ King Cake of course!!! 



She loves balloons and that cute "edge" of plate in the pic ~ well that is from when she is very young and had a birthday party at the pottery making store.  All her friends came and placed their thumbprints around the edge.  Now we have a fun plate to use for all of her birthdays!



The puppies helped celebrate!


Ellen's birthday dinner request ~ French Dip Sandwiches ~ this is a fave at our house and is almost always requested for birthday dinner.  I am going to put the recipe on my sidebar so check back soon!


No one gets more excited about "anything" in life more than Ellen.  She is a joy to be around.  Always happy, always content with what she is doing, and especially jubilant on her birthday.  She is wearing ALL of her birthday gear (Harry Potter tie, scarf and hat), shirt from her sister, scarf from us and as you can see was thrilled to get a Kindle.  My children read ALL the time.  They WILL NOT go to school or anywhere for that matter without a book in their back sack.  When Sara was in 8th grade, the teachers could not find a book to suggest that she had not read!  Seriously......they finally sent her home with Pride and Prejudice! At first I was against the Kindle and so were the girls....we just like REAL books and boy do we have a lot of them.  Any spare money that the girls had, Christmas and birthdays, and whenever they could cajole me to purchase something, we bought  books.  I would much rather them be reading a good book then watching TV so I have purchased LOTS of books!  I have always refused to succumb to "electronic" games like Nintendo or X-box.  It was tough at times....one time Elizabeth came home from school and all the question of the day was what is your favorite electronic game....she informed me that EVERYONE in the room had some sort of electronic TV game...she was the ONLY one that didn't!  Amazing....but what a waste of valuable time.  Now, my girls agree with me and I predict they will not let their children have those games either.  We have so many cool projects, dresses, skirts etc. that have been produced in time that would be spent wasted in front of a screen.  That being said, you can see why I was not a fan of Kindle....however, what sold me on the Kindle is the fact that classics are FREE....in fact,  many books are FREE!  Most of the older books, for instance Agatha Christie, are FREE.  Also, what I see going on in the teen world is that Kindles and Nooks are COOL to have and KIDS are COOL when they read now!  Wow....how did one machine do this.....it is COOL to be a bookworm now.  Never have any of my girl's friends come to school bragging about getting a certain book for their birthday....but when they get a Kindle or Nook, they are texting all their friends, downloading books and reading whenever they can.  Hooray for Kindle....I salute you now.  I am afraid that books will be like digital pictures...never seen and always in a machine, but if it gets this generation reading.....I am all for it. 


My other Harry Potter Fans


 THE CAKE
This is the most awesome recipe...I will put it on the side bar too.  I am about to start making a cookbook!  My new project in my spare time.  I know how I am going to do it.....just need to get after it!  Anyway, Ellen requested a Kingcake (you find that only in Louisiana around Mardi Gras) but I surprised her by making "THE CAKE" which is so fabulously rich, delicious and easy,  Poor Ellen, by this point ~ she is getting a previously used candles and since I didn't have enough,
 I used a One candle and two more on the side to stand for twelve! Always easy going - she is just happy to have a cake and candles (and a Kindle)!


Already reading....thats my girl!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Now back to my regularly scheduled life!

Well, after not blogging for 7 weeks, I better have a good excuse!  Does four trips; Atlanta, GA; Memphis, TN; High Point, NC, and a weekend in Arkansas count...throw in three birthdays (Gary, Elizabeth and Ellen), raising eight puppies and the rest of the whirl wind of life and there you have it....no time to blog.  Life is settling down a bit and I do miss my little ole blog...so here goes - lets play catch up!


We took the bus to Atlanta ~ a nine hour bus ride! 50 children in Ellen's drama club attended the Jr. Broadway Musical Theater Festival.  There they competed with other drama clubs by performing part of their play (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) and participated in a weekend of lots of DRAMA!!! No pun intended ~ it was capped off by a night at the Fabulous Fox Theater and "Beauty and the Beast"


Atlanta was also a part of the great nationwide snowstorm and when we arrived, there was about three inches of snow.  This eclipsed anything the drama festival could offer!  Our children were so exited to play in SNOW....something we never see here in Louisiana!



I taught them how to make "snow-cream".  Typically it is made with milk, sugar and vanilla but in our gorcery challenged environment, we used "vanilla muscle milk" (they sold it in vending machine at the hotel) and mixed it with the snow and ~ voila ~ it tasted pretty good!

Brain Freeze

 If the opportunity ever presents itself and you are in Atlanta....
get yourself to the Fox Theatre.  I have seen a lot of theaters and I can safely say
that this one is the most impressive I have ever been in.  
 We saw Beauty and the Beast and it was wonderful.  My pictures were taken incognito as photography
is strictly forbidden.  These pics were snapped with a jacket disguising my camera - pretty good for the circumstances!

It is hard to do justice to the beauty of this theater when you are shooting from the hip with a jacket over your camera, but this shot captures a bit of what makes this theater so unique....it is built to make you feel like you are outside under a beautiful, starry night sky,  
When you are sitting in the audience, watching a play in a beautiful theater of old world elegance ~ with your sweet little daughter ~ under a beautiful night sky ~ it doesn't get any better than that!


Unfortunately, I accidentally left my camera at home on our trip to Memphis.  Elizabeth was looking at Rhodes College and we made a fun night of it by staying at the Peabody Hotel.....Grams even drove up and joined us.  I hate that I left my camera as it was a lot of fun....you will have to use your imagination and take my word for it.  

Next on the agenda - a quick hunting trip to Arkansas!  Our good friends, the Crosbys, joined us.  We stayed in our friends cute little cabin on about 1500 acres of duck hunting heaven.




No shortage of good food here! There never is when Tommy Crosby is around!  Jete read, I knitted and the boys (and girls) hunted.  It was a nice, relaxing, COLD weekend but we were warm and toasty inside.....

And FINALLY
our trip to High Point was amazing...
Elizabeth was invited to participate in a scholarship competition. 




A reception was given the night before and were were wined and dined.  Entertainment was flown in from California and it was a man who created the "bounce piano"


He "played" the piano by juggling and the balls would hit the keys of the piano (which was on the ground) and he could actully play full songs with chords and whatnot.  It was quite impressive and he has been on the Ellen Degeneras  as well as most late night TV shows.  When we arrived at High Point, they had students lining the entrace, waving "Hello" to us and were greeted at the reception with a full band and entered the building by literrally walking down the "red carpet"!  They gave Elizabeth a leather pouch full of "business cards" with her name, and email address printed on High Point business cards.  They just don't miss a trick.  


Before the night was over, the president addressed the group and said he was giving all the students this beautiful coffee table book...if they attended High Point they would have it as a great souvenir of the weekend and if they chose not to attend....it would haunt them and they would always look at it and wonder "what if"!  That man is a marketing machine!


Elizabeth was one of only two students there from Louisiana....
ironically, we sat at the same table the first night! 


The grounds are amazing.



Beautiful at night!


On campus theater ~ free to students along with free popcorn and concessions!
 And when do they find time to study????


Really, a bakery with fresh pastries on campus ~ and it is part of their meal plan??????


Just in case you need to relax between classes!


The buildings are exquisite ~ inside....




 and OUT!

With a 2.1 billion dollar budget that must be spent in the next ten years....every part of this school is top notch....and yes, $600,000,000.00 (That is right - six hundred million for those who can't process that many 0's) is to be spent on academics alone.  You can see that we were impressed and this school has moved into one of the top contenders on her list.  

I could go on and on about this school, but I must move on to....

PUPPIES!!!! PUPPIES!!!!PUPPIES!!!!!!


I anticipated that these little guys (or should I say girls) since they are 
ALL female ~ what are the odds?

would be a blast.....but I think we have had more fun then the law allows with them!


Fortunately, they all have homes and five are now with their new families, but we still have three 
and two are leaving at the end of the week.

This one is "Beignet"... love that name! You will find that one "only in Louisiana"


 And this is our little darlin.....we still can't think of a name for her!  It has been the topic of many heated discussions but getting five opinionated people to agree on something as important as a 
dog name is difficult indeed. Stay tuned, we will come up with a consensus eventually.  I am going for Clementine and another contender is Darla...any suggestions are welcome!


Can't you just eat them up?






 These are the three we have left 




We are going to miss these cute little faces! If only they could stay that way.  The key is to have them for six weeks, sell them and do it all again in six months!