Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Homecoming Times Three

One of my favorite homecoming posts is "Homecoming" many years ago. Ellen was a babe in grammar school while my older two girls were in Highschool at the same time.  Now she is the lone-ranger on the homestead, and enjoying all the fun Homecoming week brings!

Homecoming I ~ Throughout the week before Homecoming, the school has many fun activities, including thematic costume days. However, Ellen is one to speedily get dressed and out the door before my poor, morning challenged, coffee-needy, 
sleepy, befuddled mind could grab the camera!
This was the only costume I captured, and trust me, she was not happy when I 
made her stand still and smile to take it! Although you would never know it from this photo!

Homecoming II - Elizabeth finally returned from vet school, and surprised Ellen at the football game. Even though Elizabeth was able to come home for the weekend, she spent most of her time studying...but she managed to make it to the game and then dinner with us the next night. 
This vet school business is some serious studying! So far, her hard work is paying off and she is in the top 15% of her class..way to go Elizabeth! 

~ Lots to catch up on ~

I thought it cute that not only the cheerleaders sported pink pom-poms for breast cancer awareness, but even the football players were supporting the cause...
See their pink socks in the background?

So fun when you live in a small town, and are able to visit with family and friends at local events. Gary's brother and his wife just moved back, and we now have
 three out of his seven siblings living in our small town

Homecoming III - Sara came in on Saturday! Sara has so many talents - first and foremost are the crazy, comical photos she lets me take of her for the blog, followed by; painting, knitting, sewing, hunting, running & academics...but the talent most beneficial to a family of girls, is her talent for styling hair! She can literally look at a photo and duplicate it. "Updoos", "Some up and some down", curly, straight...she always comes through for us and keeps everyone looking special for big events! 

Before ...


and...wait for it.....wait, wait ~  now the big reveal ~

 After ~ here is the finished product after hair and makeup by Sara! She saves not only salon fees, but time and worry.  Before we discovered this hidden, but valuable talent of hers, my girls would go to a salon with high hopes, and seventy dollars later, come home only to rip it down and redo their hair. If you are a mother of a teenage girl, you have most likely been through this scenario once, and know how frustrating it can be! 

Ellen and her date exchanged their respective boutonniere and corsage...I just had to look up how to spell boutonniere! I don't think I have ever written that word, and was 
a bit surprised at how it is spelled! 


Now that is the perfect photo of  Homecoming...a few more photos with friends 
and family, and it was time for dinner and the dance.

~ Lovely ladies ~

This is a private joke ~ but I will let you in on it. Ellen and her friend have taken this same photo every year at some point...Ellen was the shortest girl, and Carly the tallest of their class. Always in the three percentile on medical charts, Ellen used to come to about Carly's waist ( that is a bit of an exaggeration, but there really was about two feet between them!) 

These three girls always have fun together!

 There is more giggling and laughing then the law allows. 

See what I mean ~ so glad they haven't matured too much yet! 

After much patience and lots of coaxing, I got a great photo! 

I even got a photo with Miss Ellen

and another with my other two Homecoming Queens.

While Ellen danced the night away at her Homecoming dance, we joined Gary's mother and other family members, to reminisce and remember a great man who is no longer with us; Gary's father. This weekend was always memorable in our family, as it is the anniversary of Gary's parents. Just about every year, his parents would take all seven children, wives and grandchildren to a fun location to celebrate not only their anniversary, but enjoy this wonderful family legacy they have created. 
It has been just over a year that he passed away ~ we really miss him. 

Gary's sister, Julie, lives out of state, but was here in "Spirit"! She sent us some great bottles of wine to enjoy....Thanks Julie! She and her family will be back in LA for Thanksgiving this year! Not only do I love visiting with them,
 but their children are eye-candy for my camera and blog! 

 Yes! We enjoyed your gift very much Julie! 

Another little known talent Sara has ~ showing off her guns 
in the middle of a fine dining experience! 

Homecoming IV ~ We are also celebrating the fact that Steven, Vanessa and Hunter ( I have nicknamed Hunter "the boy with the million dollar smile....He always produces it for my photos) have moved back from Illinois, just in time to miss the bitter cold of winter, to live
 "Only in Louisiana"!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Meals on Wheels

 I love to cook, but the number of hungry mouths in the household is dwindling! Even though I still have one child at home, out of habit, I still cook for five!  Sara is in her third year at Tulane University, while Elizabeth, my oldest daughter, has just started Vet school back in the great state of Louisiana.  All of my chickadees have come home to roost! 
Both daughters moved out of dorms and into their own apartments, so are truly the road to fending for themselves! With no school meal plan, and rigorous healthy diets ~ eating well is a challenge on top of very demanding scholastic work. 

 It hit me that I can "kill two birds with one stone", and now have a way to help ease the stress of their exhausting schedules. In addition to an 18-hour schedule of challenging courses, (Tulane is ranked 41st in the nation) Sara manages to work two afternoons a week and run five miles day!  As for Veterinarian school...you can't even imagine; Elizabeth barely has time to breathe! Daily classes are from 8:00AM to 4:00PM, and they don't even change rooms ~ the professors come to them. In fact, it is a tradition to go the day before Vet school begins and stand in line for half the day to reserve "their seat" for the year. After a day of classes, it is a race to get to home or the library to begin another five to six hours of studying. Often, Elizabeth and her roommate even get up at five AM to go to the local coffee shop and squeeze in several hours of studying before class. You can see why cooking often is not a high priority, and is shoved to the wayside!

 Worried about these two, it dawned on me that I can help! Once I started cooking, I kept thinking of dishes they would like, and had all four burners going in addition to utilizing both of my double ovens! Elizabeth is a gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian but will eat seafood.  Sara is also careful of her diet, but will eat meat. I have to cook a bit differently for the both of them.

 In addition to all the other equipment going full speed, my newest kitchen buddy (the power pressure cooker) helped out! Embarrassingly, I saw this on an infomercial, ordered it from Amazon and have been more than pleased at it's performance.
You can't cook a bad meal in this appliance.

On the menu - veggie, goat cheese stuffed Portobello mushrooms, Roast beef with potatoes and carrots, Spaghetti Squash, Pesto Salmon, Banana nut muffins (recipe on sidebar), baked sweet potatoes, vegetable soup and a New Orleans fave...red beans and rice. 

With all the slicing, dicing, stirring, tasting, measuring, spicing, washing, drying and wiping up spills, I was too busy to photograph all the dishes! However, I managed to snap a few photographs. I should have taken one of the kitchen ~ which looked about like a
tornado descended on it!

Then I split it up into nice portions and dusted off my "Seal a Meal".
Above is "Study hard Salmon"! 

I labeled them with some cute names and filled the freezer

Most of the time, I am too lazy to pull out my sealing machine, and have a quick and easy DIY way to seal items. Simply insert a straw into a baggie, then seal the
ziplock all the way to the straw. 
Take a big breath and suck all the air out!

There you go! Easy!
The next day, my husband was going to New Orleans for work and took a loaded ice chest to Sara.  I drove the other direction to Elizabeth with her goodies. Elizabeth sent me a nice text next day  telling me how good the "Study hard Salmon" was, and Sara liked her roast beef so much that she took some of it to a friend she was going to visit that weekend.
It makes me happy to be able to help them in small ways, and know they are healthily fueling their brains. Most of all I am happy that
all my girls are back in Louisiana!

Happy Fall to all! 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What is making me happy right now!

 After many years of not practicing and playing piano...I made a commitment to myself to start practicing every day. Even if it is only five minutes! 

 I took the time to "drip" my coffee this morning. It is always better that way! 

The eleven dollar orchid for sale from the Sam's store. If only I could make one bloom again; however, I console myself with the fact that it does last much longer than cut flowers! 

My "dog paintings" from our resident artist - my daughter Sara.

Drinking coffee from the coffee cup my mother made. She designed this one with no handles so it would easily fit in a cup holder! 

Finally, the coaster ( also made by my mother) to place my coffee on while I sit at the 
computer and start my blog back up.  For those who aren't familiar with the saying "Who dat", it is a common colloquialism in Louisiana for "Who is that". 
We are often called the "WHO DAT STATE"!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Eclipse Antics

I know the eclipse was viewed in places other than "Only in Louisiana", but here is a glimpse from our little spot in the world! For those that weren't on eclipse alert, the moon was at the closet point to the earth on Sunday then it has been in the past thirty three years. This particular eclipse was called the "Blood Moon" because the earth would come between the moon and the earth, block out blue rays and this should appear to make the moon "red".  I had just settled down around 8:15 on Sunday night, was nice and comfy on my couch, when I remembered this event was starting! Gary and I quickly ran out to the park right across the 
street from our house to catch it. The couple sharing a romantic evening 
(bottom left of photo below) had a rude awakening! 

They knew nothing of this event, were not there to see the moon, and only had eyes for each other! Our cars are now being parked at the park, because (as you will see in photos to come) we are having major road construction around our house that has temporarily destroyed our driveway and parking along the side of our house.  Gary interrupted the lovebirds to ask if they knew whose truck this was (knowing full well it was his) and then said "Do you think the person who owns it would mind if I sit on the tailgate"? The couple shrugged their shoulders, and Gary proceeded to do just that! He then pushed the envelope even further, saying "Hey, there is a case of water here, would you like one? They politely declined to which Gary declared that he was going to drink one! This couple did not know quite what to say.... I was laughing so hard internally! 
              This is classic Gary humor! But on with the eclipse excitement....

There is was! It seems like everytime in my life that I remember to view an eclipse, we have rain, clouds, smog, trees, you name it, that impedes my view and I leave disappointed.  

Even the lovebirds, who thought we were quite cuckoo stealing someone's truck and water, were getting into it. We ran inside to persuade Ellen out of her comfortable, 
relaxing bath for this historical event! 

Our cat joined us, but was not impressed! 

Ellen made it out of the bathtub at lightning speed,  appeared on the roof in full nightgown and turban regalia, and even used her iPhone "night sky app". In typical eclipse fashion, as soon as we were all in position to view this Sunday night excitement, the clouds moved in, the event was completely covered,
and we were left to use our imaginations to
visualize a huge, beautiful,  blood red moon! 

Everyone, except our cat, who was probably just wishing we would all come inside and feed her! 

This is what is happening outside my front and back door....new drainage! Finally, I am feeling a direct benefit of all those taxes I pay every year. When frustration sets in, I pretend I am a queen, living in her castle surrounded by a moat. Unfortunately, they had to dig up the entire street's concrete driveways and side parking to accomplish this major construction project.  The good news is they are repairing it; resulting brand-new, pretty driveways and good drainage when the job is completed. It is not bothering our dogs one little bit...
they are having a ball playing in front yard
while the workers are spoiling them rotten!