Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Where have I been?!

So, if anyone noticed, I took a little blogging break.  We've been BUSY!

A quick recap of January:  Band.  Choir.  Band.  Choir.  REPEAT!   District Honor Band.  Parish Honor Band.  District Honor Choir.  Lots of long rehearsals, in opposite directions, two band concerts, and a choir concert.  Both girls did great with the challenge of learning brand new music in such a short time.








We attended a short meeting at school to learn about scheduling Valerie's classes for next year.  High school, y'all.  Hard to believe my baby will be in 9th grade...  I'm happy and sad at the same time.  Those four years are going to fly by I just know it.

Clint and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary on February 14th.  Now those years have definitely flown by!!  We went to an early lunch (with no kids) since we knew all the restaurants would be slammed that night. 


Dear old SassyCat was having some issues, so I caved and brought her to see a new vet.  I thought for SURE they would tell me it was the beginning of the end for my old girl.  In March she will officially be 17-1/2.  They ran a bunch of blood work thinking she was going into kidney failure.  After $400....  Everything came back just fine within normal ranges.  They did find she had a mild UTI, so she's on antibiotics for that.  The veterinarian said she was really surprised at how good Sassy's bodily condition was considering her age and that she had been well cared for.  Hopefully my old girl will hang in there a while longer...



Now we're gearing up for our next adventure.... the countdown is on and it's closing in fast... and I feel like I have so much to do!!  Kids are super excited.... My baby girl will turn twelve while we're there, so she'll have a super special birthday.

See ya real soon!  °o°






Wednesday, February 13, 2019

~Wordless Wednesday~

Just popping in to drop a few Wordless Wednesday Valentine's photos!  I'll be back soon. 









Thursday, January 17, 2019

It's Carnival Time

Did you know that Mardi Gras isn't just one day; it's a season!  It begins on 12th night, or January 6th, and last through Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.  Louisiana is probably best known for two things:  food and Mardi Gras!!  Put the two together and you have a Mardi Gras KING CAKE!



King Cakes come in all kinds of variations and flavors.  Just about all the bakeries and grocery stores around here sell King Cakes all Mardi Gras season.  The donut places usually use donut dough to make theirs.  While they aren't bad at all, a giant donut isn't a real king cake.  Some of the grocery store cakes are too dry and bread-like for me.  Some are filled with cream cheese, strawberry, bavarian cream, etc.  Some of them are overkill - just too much goo in the middle.  Some have too much crunchy sugar sprinkled on top.   I like a little bit of filling or just plain - cinnamon and sugar is sweet enough for me.  Icing/glaze only - no grainy sugar.

Anyway, I follow a cooking guy on Facebook who calls himself the "Cajun Ninja."  He made a King Cake from scratch and I decided to give it a go.  It was not hard, but it is a little time consuming. 

(You can find his King Cake video here )

The only changes I made was in one of the King Cakes I did add a cream cheese filling (softened cream cheese and sugar.)  I also added a few pecans.  I made my own glaze as I don't care for the one here.  (melt butter on the stove, add powdered sugar, bit of milk until the desired consistency, and almond extract.)  We also don't like all that crunchy sugar on top so I left that off.











KING CAKE

THE DOUGH

6 Cups of All Purpose Flour
2 (1/4 oz) Envelopes of Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup of Lukewarm Water
1/2 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon of Salt
1 Stick of Salted Butter
1 (8 oz) Block of Cream Cheese
1 Cup of Whole Milk
2 Eggs
*Makes enough for 2 King Cakes*

THE FILLING
1/3 Cup of Light Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup of White Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon
1/2 Stick of Butter Melted
*For 2 King Cakes Double Filling Amounts*

THE TOPPING
1 Cup of Confectioners Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Milk
Purple Sanding Sugar
Gold Sanding Sugar
Green Sanding Sugar
*For 2 King Cakes Double Topping Amounts*

Start out by heating a small pot on a simmering heat.
Melt the Butter and Cream cheese in the pot.
Add the Yeast and a Spoonful of the Sugar to the 1/2 Cup of Water. Let sit for at least 10 Minutes
Add the rest of the 1/2 Cup of Sugar and Salt to the melted Cream Cheese and Butter.
Once you have a creamy consistency, add the Cup of Milk, stir, and turn the heat off.
Add the mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool down before adding the Yeast.
Once the mixture has cooled down add the Yeast and Eggs.
Attach a dough kneader to mixer and turn mixer on to a low setting.
Add the flour to the mixer and mix for about 5 minutes.
If you do not have a dough kneader attachment, then mix by hand until the dough has a smooth look.
Grease a large bowl, place the dough in that bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let sit for 2 hours.
When the 2 hour mark is up on the dough, blend the 1/3 Cup of Brown Sugar, 1/3 Cup of White Sugar, and 2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon. Set aside.
Punch out the dough a couple times and cut into equal halves.
*If you plan to make two King Cakes, be sure to double filling and topping ingredients.*
If you’re only making one, you can vacuum seal the other half and place in the freezer.
Place one half of the dough on a large floured surface.
Flip on both sides so that all sides of dough are floured.
Roll the dough into a rectangle shape measuring out to about 2 & 1/2 foot by 1 & 1/2 foot.
Begin spreading the melted butter on to the flattened dough. You should have a enough left to spread on the top of the King Cake before baking.
Spread the sugar and cinnamon mixture all over the top of the flattened dough.
Afterwards roll the dough into the form of a jelly roll.
Layer a pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Gently place the roll on the parchment paper. Tuck the bottoms and connect the ends. Pinch the dough all the way around so that ends are fully connected.
Cover with a damp towel, and let sit for 40 minutes.
At this time preheat your oven to 350°
After 40 minuets is up, spread the rest of the melted butter over the dough. You may have to reheat the butter.
Place in the oven, and let bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on the calibration of your oven. Just be on the look out for a light golden color.
While the king cake is baking, mix together the confectioners sugar and milk into a creamy consistency.
When the King Cake is done baking, you’ll want to be quick. So have all your sugars ready.
The easiest way would be to spread some of the icing in sections, immediately adding the sugar on top of each section. If you happen to add icing and it hardens before you add sugar, just tap it with your fingers and the icing should open up.
Spread sugar in Sections of Purple, Gold, and Green.
Once done, let sit for about 5 minutes, cut a slice, and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

2019

I am not religious much at all, but this might fit for 2019.

I've been thinking about what my goals should be for 2019.  I'm always trying to make little improvements - keep the house up better, cook different meals, shop smarter, etc.  Little things add up to a lot and keep things happier around the household.  Or so I'd like to think.

Change is hard.  It takes effort and time.   Every year lots of people set out to make changes in their lives.  New year, fresh start.  Some succeed but more often than not, we eventually return to old habits. 

Some things though, just won't change.  No matter how hard YOU try, the change is dependent on factors out of your control.  The promises to do better last about a day or two, then old patterns start again.  At what point do you accept that the change you are working towards isn't coming?   I feel so alone in my own house at times because so often I'm the only one who notices or cares to do anything.  I come up with ideas, places to go, things to do...   and here we sit -alone- because no one else wants to join in the effort to make it happen.  It's me, all me, or nothing.   I'm here, wanting to go on adventures and have happy fun, and it feels like dragging everyone else through mud trying to convince them to come along.  It's waiting for the right time to do something while time just passes us by and one day it will be too late.  I am tired and sad, and tired of feeling that way.

I think maybe in 2019...  maybe I will focus more on me.  Do a little more things for me. The kids are older and can fend for themselves a bit better.  I will work on accepting how some things are and focus less on what I can or can't do about it.  "Accept the things you cannot change." 

Today also marks the end of Holidailies.  I hope you all enjoyed my daily ramblings.  I missed a few days but I caught up and managed 32 entries in the past month. 

Until next time....  whenever that may be....    Happy 2019 everybody. 

Fireworks at midnight

Fireworks were illegal in Morgan City where I grew up.  At most, I have a faint memory of my Dad taking me to the levee to pop firecrackers once or twice.   Even after living here for 15 years, it's still somewhat of a novelty to me.  Pretty much anything goes here in Lafourche Parish and my neighbors put on quite a show!

New Year's Eve, 2018.  Bayou Blue, Louisiana 

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018

A series of unfortunate events.

That sums up 2018.

Of course, it wasn't all bad.  Both kids accomplished lots of great things.  We went to Disney and the beach.

The year began with the flu, then Clint was diagnosed with phantosmia, then cancer, had surgery, then radioactive iodine, spent a week isolation...  then most recently was told he has sleep apnea.

Then there was the cat.  The diabetic cat that cost me a small fortune and I spent months and months doting over sticking her with needles.  At least it paid off because she is in remission!!

Seems like the kids were sickly this year as well, constant runny noses, sore throats, flu, etc.  Many visits to the pediatrician.

I'll just be thankful for insurance coverage and leave it at that. 

It's been a crazy year and hopefully 2019 will be less eventful health wise for all.


It's funny how long ago I couldn't imagine staying home on New Year's Eve, and now I can't imagine being anywhere but home!!  Tonight will be pretty low-key.  Clint bought a little pile of fireworks to appease the kiddos.  Dinner will be ordered via Waitr from our favorite Mexican restaurant.  We'll likely walk over to a neighbor's house to hang out with them for a little while.   So long 2018....

Wishing you all a safe and fun New Year's Eve!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Amazing Spray

Way back in the time before DVDs there were VCR tapes. My first job was in a store that rented movies and video games.  We even rented VCRs for a while, but eventually they were all broken and were not replaced.  We also rented gaming systems like SEGA Genesis, but again, they all ended up broken.

One of our duties was to do a bit of cleaning to keep up the store.  Every night we had to vacuum.  We had a popcorn machine and it never failed that some kid would dump their bag of popcorn all over the floor.  We had to clean the darn popcorn machine which was a pain in the ass to mess with.  It was even worse if you forgot to flip the pot and accidentally burned popcorn (don't ask me how I know.)

Every night we had to wipe down the counters from top to bottom.  They were cream colored with red trim and people often rested a foot on them while checking out, leaving shoe marks.  We had to wipe down endless movies shelving also, which also was a huge pain.  Our cleaning supplies consisted of very watered down product called Amazing Spray and paper towels.

Amazing Spray?  It was some sort of cleaning concoction delivered in a gallon jugs by a local supplier.  The kind of business that replenished paper towels, soap, and the like.  It was a light reddish or maybe a deep pink color and we were not allowed to use it full strength. We were not to waste it, so basically we were only to put a small bit of Amazing Spray in a spray bottle and then fill the rest with plain tap water.  Then we used it to wipe down all that was needed every night.

I actually got in trouble a few times because my cleaning mix was 'too dark.'  Seriously I got fussed for using "too much" of the sacred Amazing Spray.  "Add more water," they'd say. "It's too red." Okay...

I'm sure the "amazing" part of Amazing Spray was lost by then since it was mostly water.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Old Disney World

I was only four years old when my parents first took me to Disney World.   I often wonder how that came about.  It's one of the things I wish I would have asked them.  They were not big vacation people and Disney World had only been open a few years.  But somehow, in the summer of 1977 just before I turned five, it was decided we should drive 800 miles to Orlando.  Trips didn't take all the planning they do now, so I'm sure they just picked a week, then just packed up and went.  Found a hotel along the way, bought tickets at the gate.  I remember driving up to the parking gate and being so excited!!  I don't even think I knew what Disney World was.  I remember eating supper somewhere that the monorail passed though, so that had to be what is now Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary.  I had a fried chicken leg.  I remember laying on my Momma after dinner that night while sitting on a ledge at the Magic Kingdom, feeling so tired, almost asleep, waiting for the fireworks to start.  Right after the fireworks started, without warning, I vomited all over my Mom.  Oops.  Too much Disney I suppose.

They took me again when I was ten.  And again when I was seventeen.  Both of those were my doing and took my convincing! 

Here are some of the old pictures from our trips.  It amazes me at how empty the streets of Magic Kingdom look.  In a time where we document every moment of our lives with a click of a button, I also can't believe how few photographs we have and that none are in front of Cinderella Castle.  (????)

The skyway!!
















My friend Cindy, Mom, and Me somewhere at Magic Kingdom in 1982



Friday, December 28, 2018

The shed

I was a little girl when my Daddy bought the shed.  I couldn't have been but six or seven years old.  Eight at most.  I remember knowing it was coming.  It seems like it was spring time - Easter was close.  I guess it was delivered while I was at school.  It sat on the side driveway for a few days, and to me, it was a giant play house!  I hung out in it and even brought some dolls inside.  It was rather hot inside of a metal building but I didn't care.  I liked the way it smelled of wood and metal.  I wanted it to stay right where it was and it was mine. 

The next thing I knew, it was somehow in the backyard and my Dad had put his tools and stuff in it.  What?  It wasn't mine after all?!  To get it in the backyard, he had to take down the chain link fence on the side of the house.  (It was many, many years before he put it back up.)  I seem to recall him telling me he used some big pipes under it and rolled it little by little to the back corner.   I guess someone must have helped him.  No clue. 

1982 when it was fairly new

It sat in the back corner almost my entire life.  We kept the chicken feed and duck feed just inside the door.  Various kiddie swimming pools.  Rusty cans of nails.  Screws of every size.  Rusty tools.  Random chemicals. White 5 gallon buckets of misc. parts.  Cans of paint. Old lawnmower parts.  Broken stuff.  My Atari ended up in there when we stopped playing it.  The wooden toy box my Dad made for me sat in there for years, until he repainted it for Valerie.  Shelves full of stuff.  Junk and more old junk, because my Dad wouldn't part with anything that might be useful someday. 

Well, yesterday we had quite some bad weather roll through.  The tenants contacted Clint about some damage.  The roof had blown completely off the shed.  The wood is rotting.  Like so many other things at that house, time has taken it's toll and after 40 years, I do believe it's done for.  At least the tenants have kept the tradition alive and it's still full of junk. 







Birthday party fun

Last night we hosted Valerie's 14th birthday slumber party at home.  Her actual birthday is December 21, so we either have her party really early or a little late.  Christmas birthdays are so hard because people are off doing Christmas stuff!  Her party was rather small this year and that was okay with me.  They all had a great time eating pizza, playing the Switch, watching movies....    fun memories for them!  (Mamma got barely no sleep so Mamma is tired!  lol )









Thursday, December 27, 2018

Hi, Nikon

Santa (that's me) brought me a new camera.  I already have a Canon Rebel and it's great, but it is bulky to carry around.  It's heavy and it gets in the way.  My biggest complaint was the shutter noise also.  There is no way to turn it off so with every picture you take, there is a loud 'click' of the shutter.  Nobody wants to hear constant clicking during concerts, recitals, awards, etc.

I had been eyeing this red Nikon Coolpix B500 at Target for a while.  It's cheap for a Nikon.  I wanted a smaller camera to bring places and this seemed to be pretty decent.  I found it on sale on Amazon and decided it would be my Christmas present. 

So far, I like it.   Here are some test shots I took around our yard with it.