Early July Morning, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas!

WOW! What a busy Christmas vacation we have had! I have enjoyed every minute of it. First my daughter flew in from Utah, the next day my oldest son drove down from Tennessee, and the next day, my mom and dad drove in from Florida. It was so nice to have everyone together again.

Yesterday, my mom and dad left, and my son went back to Tennessee because he had to work today. I miss having all the family together, but am sure grateful for the week we had. In less than a week, my daughter will be back out at school, and my two younger sons will be back in high school, and all will be back to normal around here :(

Friday, December 18, 2009

Acai Juice

In August my husband and I were at Sam's and I noticed in the refrigerated section Acai juice. I quickly opened the door and started examining it. I noticed the price and slowly started to put it back until these words caught my eye, "Supports Healthy: energy levels, weight control, skin, hair and nails, antioxidant levels." I had heard about this juice from Doctor Oz, and wondered where I could get it...and here it was--at Sams! But also at a very high price. Then I got to thinking, this is not like a juice, but more like a vitamin, and so decided to try it. I mainly bought it for the antioxidants and hair health. Now that I've been walking, my energy levels are great, and as far as weight control goes, nothing has ever worked, and so I was not getting my hopes up on this.

Each day with my breakfast I pour me about 1/2 to 1 cup of the juice and sip it throughout the day. It is pretty strong and not sweet at all. At first, I just thought it was ok. I started to drink it with crushed ice which mellowed the flavor a bit. In a couple of days, the flavor was actually good--I had aquired a taste to it. Within about 4 weeks or so, I had lost 7 lbs!

I mentioned the juice to my walking buddies and everyone seemed interested. The next day one of the Walker's told me that her son had called about the juice and wanted to try it. He heard it was very healthy, and he is one of those health nuts. He too thought it was pricey, but bought it anyway. He noticed within a few days that his energy levels had increased and was hooked.

A few weeks after I had lost the 7 lbs, my walking buddies and I were at a party. A mutual friend of ours who is a nutritionist was also at the party. One of the Walker's had told her about my Acai story and the weight loss. She did not agree with the claim, and said it was just probably coincidence. She went on to say that just good old fashioned "not eating so much and exercise" was the only way to loose any weight. I agree to a point, but I've done that, and the only way I've been able to loose weight and keep it off it to not eat at all...and this is not healthy.

When Thanksgiving vacation rolled around, we headed off to Tennessee to visit my in-laws. I decided not to drink it since there were going to be a lot of people there and I know a lot of the kids really like juice. I figured it would get drunk up in a matter of seconds. When we got back from TN, I had my annual physical and a bunch of lab work coming up and was told not to take any vitamins, etc. and that included the Acai juice. So, for about 3 weeks or so I did not drink any of the juice. My eating habits did not change--even with the Thanksgiving--I pretty much ate as normal. I noticed I had gain much of the weight back...ugggg!

Well, as of last week, my lab work was complete, and I was back on the Acai juice. Guess what? I am loosing again. And again, my eating habits are pretty much the same...maybe a little more holiday stuff, but I'm not going that crazy. I'm trying to be careful. Also, it has been so cold and the Walker's so busy with Christmas and family, that we have not been able to walk everyday...and the weight is dropping. So, coincidence or is there actually something to this Acai juice?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Copyright Laws

Laws are for our protection. We have traffic and seat belt laws to keep us safe in case of a wreck. We have laws against armed robbery or breaking and entering to keep our families and possessions safe. There are also silly laws like one in Indiana: "Baths may not be taken between the months of October and March," or in Louisiana, "You may not tie an alligator to a fire hydrant." I can't tell you why these are on the books, but I suppose when they were passed, there was a good reason.

I grew up with two sisters. The three of us danced pretty much our whole lives--up through college years, and two of us continue to be a little involved as adults. My daughter, who is away at a major university has also grown up dancing. In fact, she is majoring in dance, and is on a team that I was on while majoring in dance at this same university. Twenty-seven years ago, when I was dancing on this same team, there were no video cameras to tape the shows we did so that we could reminisce in future years. I've always been sadden by this. I have many pictures, but no video of any of my dancing years. My daughter, on the other hand, has her own video camera, and has taped many of the pieces she has been in. Now that she is many miles away, I am so happy that I am able to see her dances through video. I may not be able to be there, but eventually I can see her talent growing.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of a show that her dance group has done through the years. They have invited all alumni to be a part of the show. Since I am an alumni of the team, I entertained the thought of going--but, with responsibilities at home, it was just not possible. I figured, well, I know I can't be there, but she will have a video of it, and I can enjoy the show when she brings it to me over the Christmas holidays (like she did last year with last year's show). Well, this is not going to happen. I just found out last night, that they will not be filming at all. Usually, they film, and broadcast it on the university's TV station (which through satellite I am able to watch). I was really looking forward to that.

So, why, you may be asking yourself, are they not taping the show? It is because of the copyright laws. Now, don't get the wrong idea. I do believe in copyright laws. I do believe that when one tapes a movie to avoid buying it, it is stealing. I also believe that when one downloads or copies a song without paying for it, it is also stealing. One other thing that has always irritated me, is when one writes a report for school and actually copies it from someone's work...this is also stealing. The laws have really gotten out of hand, though. It is getting to a point, that our little girls will not be able to be in a dance recital to any music because of these same copyright laws.

I remember when my daughter would find out what song they were going to be learning their new dance for recital or competitions. Many times, we had never heard of the song, and upon inquiring who the artist was, more times than not, we would go and purchase the CD. My daughter not only likes to dance, but she likes to put together montages of pictures and videos. She put one together for my 50th birthday. Many of her dance pieces and video montages are on youtube. Because of the copyright laws, they have taken many videos off, or like in the case of my 50th birthday video, changed the song. The song they put on does not even make since. My daughter always puts things together with the song. She also gives credit to the artist in her credits. In some of her work, she has used songs that are not popular, and many have made positive comments on the song and wanted to know who it was, so that they too could purchase the CD. To me, using these songs for dances in recitals, competitions, shows, etc. is like free advertisement for many artists.

In closing, I would like to say that I hope that many of these artists realize how important their music is to the dance world. How are the dancers suppose to express themselves without music? Music is so much a part of all of our lives, and I feel that the copyright laws need to be changed. There needs to be a compromise...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now that the holidays have kicked in full swing, I am busy as ever. I've been trying to put together a couple of open houses for my jewelry, and am hoping to have a decent turn out for them. I've also been trying to get ready for family to come at Christmas, Youth activities at church, and book club coming to my house in about a week.

One main thing I look forward to during the holidays is family. Each Thanksgiving, we always go to Tennessee to visit with my in laws. This year is going to be a little different. We are still going to TN, but usually we have a whole slew of people over. This year will be much smaller, but we will still be having quite a few over for dinner. My husband came from a very large family, and, for the most part, all of us have had pretty good size families of our own. Even though it will only be our family, and my brother in law and their family (each of us missing some kids who are out to college), we will still have a minimum of 14 over for dinner...so that's still a pretty good sized crew.

We traveled up to TN yesterday, and had a pretty nice trip. My in laws live out in the country, so before we headed out to the boonies, we met with our eldest son (who lives in town), and then followed him out to the Carter Home. As we were following our son, I thought how I can't believe how our children have gotten so big. Seems like just yesterday they were all little bitty. Now here we were following our son, who has been on his own for a couple of years, down the road. How time flies.

Well, I just want to leave you all with a few thoughts of how grateful I am for family, and especially my Father in heaven. Our family has so much to be thankful for, and I hope that we can always show our gratitude to our Heavenly Father, by keeping him #1 in our lives. I hope that each one of you that read this have a happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Healthy Holiday Cooking

A few weeks ago, my walking buddies and I discovered some adult classes offered at our local library. The first class we went to was about Julia Child. I never really knew much about her, but after that class, I think I would have really liked the woman. I look forward to the movie Julie and Julia coming out on DVD.

The next class we went to was container gardening. Another very good class. I've always wanted to do some container gardening, especially with some herbs. Once the cool weather is gone, I think I might have to try some container herb gardening.

Today, we went to another class--Healthy Holiday Cooking. We got to eat at this one. Most of the stuff I already knew, and incorporate into my cooking; but I was glad to get some new recipes. One dish we had that I was surprised about was a hot fruit salad made in a crock pot. I don't usually like warm fruit, but this was DIVINE! It makes a bunch, so I'm planning on making it at Christmas when my family is here. It is not only very simple, but a great food storage recipe. It also makes your house smell really, really good!!!

Hot Fruit Salad Recipe
serves 16

16 ounces chunky applesauce
30 ounces sliced canned peaches, drained
30 ounces sliced canned pears, drained
20 ounces canned mandarin oranges, drained
30 ounces canned pineapple chunks, drained
21 ounces cherry pie filling
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Add first five ingredients to slow cooker, gently stir to combine. Pour cherry pie filling over fruit mixture. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over top. Cover and cook on low in slow cooker 3 to 4 hours. Serve warm.

calories 188
fat .01g
carbohydrates 45.8 g
protein 1 g
saturated fat 0
fiber 3.5 g
sodium 12mg

Monday, November 2, 2009

Oh! What A Beautiful Day!

For the past several weeks, Northern Louisiana has had more than its share of rain. All the lakes and rivers are way above flood stage, in fact, they are putting up flood walls and filling up some of the gaps in other parts of the flood wall. People have been sandbagging around their homes and preparing for the worse. Even though our neighborhood is surround by a bayou, we live in an area where we do not have to worry. Even if the levees were to fail, we would be fine. But for those who live in town, they need to keep a watchful eye.

One thing that all of us need to have, is our 72 hour emergency kit. For many years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has counseled its members to have this ready, so that at a moments notice we will be able to evacuate. We have lived in many different places of the country where we have possibly needed an emergency kit. We have been very lucky, that we have never had to evacuate. Even through hurricanes, we were able to stay put, but I was very thankful that we were prepared. We have had several times when we were without electricity because of hurricanes or ice storms, and because we were prepared, we were able to have the necessities of life.

The past couple of days have been absolutely gorgeous! The temperatures have been in the mid 70's to low 80's and the skies, sunny! My type of weather! The lakes and rivers continue to rise, and will probably crest sometime Wednesday, but, fortunately, we should not see any more rain til sometime the beginning of next week.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Redneck City

Can't believe it is already the first of November! Yesterday was Halloween, and you would not have believed the crowd we had down our street. I had to laugh! Even though I grew up in the South, I still could not believe what I saw...It was REDNECK City! There were dozens of four-wheelers and even a couple of Monster Trucks. There were several kiddy Halloween parties, which kind of became one big party. When it started to get dark, the kids piled onto the one of the many trailers that were being pulled by a four-wheeler and headed off for Trick-or-Treat. You see, no one walks anymore, they ride. Of course, it would be much more fun riding on a trailer full of hay and your best buds, pulled by a four-wheeler. Kinda makes me wish I was a kid again, or at least that my children were small again. I sure miss those days. Anyway, if I hadn't of seen it with my own two eyes, I would not have believed the Redneck town that was up and down our street last night.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Getting Ready For Holiday Open Houses

This past week, I was fortunately enough to get in on a good bead sale. That was great for me, since I'm getting ready to have a few jewelry open houses for the holidays. The above necklace is made of turquoise and white freshwater pearls.
This next one is made of lavender freshwater pearls and hematite beads. I love the black and lavender combination.

This last one is made of pink coral.

This necklace I made for one of my daughters roommates. She was telling me that Christmas this year would be easy since they all like jewelry. I asked her what they liked. She mentioned that one of them likes summery sparkly things. I had these glass crystal beads on hand, and so whipped it up real quick. I think she'll like it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trunk or Treat

Last night we had our annual ward Trunk or Treat. The weather was perfect, except for the mosquitoes. Even though everyone was calling me Pebbles, I was actually just a cave woman. You see, Pebbles has red hair, I don't.

Here is a picture of my "cave." At first I was wondering how I was going to decorate our van, but then I remembered all the sheep skins we had from my sister-in-laws mission to New Zealand. Then I remembered the brown blanket we had. Perfect for the dirt floor. Of course every cave has its bats. My cave finally became a reality.

For treats, I figured since we knew everyone there, I decided to make them. Clubs and rocks (or you could call them dinosaur droppings). For the clubs, all I did was melt chocolate and dip pretzel sticks into it, and let harden on wax paper.

For the rocks or dinosaur droppings I just made no bake cookies.

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk (NOT condensed)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa

In medium saucepan, combine and cook over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in

1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups quick oats

Quickly spoon onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Coookies will harden as they set.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My New Favorite Piece

Just about every time I make a new piece of jewelry, it becomes my favorite piece. These beads are green glass cubes and clear glass faceted round beads. I got in on a good bead sale at the local craft store, and came right home and put this one together. Can't wait til I have time to make the rest of jewelry. It might be a little while, as we have Trunk or Treat at church tonight, preparation for the football game on Friday, and a container gardening class tomorrow. Who says stay at home moms are not busy?!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More Jewelry

A friend told me about a local business that is closing up shop and selling all their displays. They had several of these necklace forms, and a really nice earring display that they aren't ready to give up yet. Their last day is Friday and they told me to come in next Thursday. I think I may check with them before. It's really pretty cool, in fact I think I would like to have it to put my personal earrings on. It's really European looking and would go in my bedroom nicely.

This necklace I made several months ago is made of turquoise freshwater pearls and abalone. I just love the big pearls.

This necklace I made several years ago. I knotted it. Boy, was that a lot of work, but I really like the way it turned out. It is made of black onyx beads, hematite hearts and crystal beads. The necklace is a little longer than I usually wear, but it goes nicely with some of those winter turtle neck type tops and dresses.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bamboo Jewelry

I mentioned in an earlier post, that my sister gave me a goodie bag full of fun stuff for my birthday. These bamboo beads were among the various things in there. I decided to make an earring, necklace and memory wire bracelet with them. I just love bamboo! These beads are very light and colorful. Memory wire bracelets are very nice too, as they will fit just about any wrist.


WOW! I can't believe my baby is 15 today! Where did the time go? Just yesterday, I was sitting in the hospital holding my 4th bundle of joy. AND, what joy all my little bundles have given me. Sure wish I could turn the time back so I can hold them once more in my arms.

I do realize that there is still so much to look forward to. As they grow and learn, it is nice to sit back and watch them. It is not easy, as they make mistakes, I want to jump in and make it all better, but I know I have to step back, and let them learn. Hopefully they know I am still here for them whenever they need me. It's a lot like our Father in heaven. He steps back and lets us learn, but He is still there for us...all we have to do is ask.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jewelry Sets

Yes, this year I turned the big 5-0! For my birthday, my sister gave me a bag full of a variety of things. One of the things I got were some blue crystal starfish. I have been eye-balling these for quite some time and was so happy she gave them to me. I had them for about 6 weeks, trying to figure out how I wanted to string them up. Finally, I finished them up and have really enjoyed them.

Christmas is coming soon! Each year on my husband's side, we rotate family names. This year, we have his oldest sister and her family. After seeing these beautiful shiny black glass beads, I decided to make her this necklace and matching earrings.

My youngest son plays on his high school football team. GO PANTHERS!!! Anyway, for an upcoming fundraiser, I made this necklace and earring set to be auctioned off.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I just want to take this opportunity to thank my Father in Heaven for so many things! Especially the blessing he bestowed upon our family by watching over one of our sons who was in a automobile crash that should have been fatal. All week long, he had been asking if he could go to the high school football game with his friends. There were four boys who were to be going. I've never let any of my kids go this distance whether driving or riding with friends. But, even though, I had second thoughts, I let him go. The weather turned really bad, we had quite a bit of rain, and the town (about 30 plus minutes away on back roads) had some power outages due to a small tornado earlier that day. I told our son that he had to come home with us after the game, but that he could ride with his friends.

My husband and I left for the game and about ten minutes later the boys left. When we got into the town, we decided to stop and get a hamburger. As we were sitting in the car chatting and enjoying our dinner, I got a call--from our son--RED flag (he always texts). I answered the phone and Scott told me not to panic...pause...my friend rolled the car. I tried to stay as calm as I could and proceeded to ask how they were. There were only two boys, my son and his friend, that wound up going (fortunately). We found out where they were, and headed to the scene. As we approached the scene, it was just starting to get dark and still raining steadily. I could see the silver Honda Civic off to the side of the road. It looked like aluminum foil. As witnesses approached us and told us what happened I immediately knew that both these boys were very fortunately to have walked away.

From what I was told and what the police report says, the roads were a major factor in the crash. The boy was speeding which was one reason for him loosing control. The boys were both wearing seat belts, and that was a contributing factor for them walking away unharmed. The boy approached a hill and as he crested, he could see electrical workers at the bottom. He panicked by slamming on his breaks and then over corrected, hit a culvert which catapulted him in the air about ten feet. While in the air they spun upside down, landed and rolled the car. Before the electrical workers could get to the car, both boys were out of the car walking around looking for their phones to call their parents. The phones were found side by side, neatly placed over to the side.

I hope that we can learn from this incident. First off--no speeding. That goes for all of us. Speed limits are there for our safety. There are so many times that I have people pass me as if I'm going backwards! And, that is when I am speeding...! If you really need to get there that quick, then leave earlier. Second--just because the speed limit says one thing, sometimes, we need to slow down. Especially in bad weather. I was told last night, that this was not the first time a bad crash happened in the same place. The road conditions were very bad that evening due to all the heavy rain and storms we have had. The road itself on a good day is not a very good road. Sometimes we just need to adjust our speed according to road conditions. Third--there are bad things that happen in this world to good and bad people. That does not mean that there is no God. That also doesn't mean that God is a bad god. We all have the freedom to make choices in our lives. Sometimes we do not make good choices, and we have to suffer the consequences. Sometimes others make bad choices that affect good people, and sadly, the good people sometimes have to suffer the consequences. That is why we need to think twice before we do things. The boy driving is having a really hard time emotionally. He did make a bad choice by speeding, and it could have had great consequences to two families, but it did not. His father said something that I really do believe. These two young men have great things to do in this life, and it was not their time to go. I hope that all of us take our precious time on earth, and make the most of it. All of us need to think before we act, or speak..

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Oh What a Beautiful Day!"

Today is such a beautiful day! Last night we had a strong thunderstorm that moved into the area and cooled things off. This morning when I got up to walk, it was in the mid 60's, perfect for walking. Our walking group really enjoyed the cool breeze and bright sun. I came home, cleaned up and opened the house up. I just love this type weather. It is just after noon right now, and 80 degrees, sunny and slightly breezy. Don't think the weather can be more perfect than that.

My 14 year old son has been out with a fever the past few days. He was told he can't go back to school til he is fever free for 24 hours, so today, even though he felt fine, he is home from school. He is getting ready to work on his Eagle Scout Project, so we've decided to work on some of the paper work that needs to be turned in to the office before he can start the project. His project is painting fire hydrants in our neighborhood. There are about 66 fire hydrants that need to be painted, ten of which are covered with landscaping. Today, we decided to go around and take some before pictures of some of the hydrants.

This time with my son, reminds me of how much I miss having my kids at home. Two years ago I put them into public school for the first time in ten years. I really do miss those homeschooling days.
I do believe there just might be a fir hydrant hiden' in them thar bushes...
This is one of about ten known fire hydrants in our neighborhood that is covered up with landscaping. This one happens to be one of the easier ones to spot. Fortunately, most of the hydrants are in clear sight. Hopefully, with the ones that are hidden, we will not have a problem with the land owners cutting back their landscaping for us to paint, and then keeping it cut back in case of an emergency...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NOLA Auditions

Ever since the show, So You Think You Can Dance, started, my daughter, Ashley has had the dream to audition for the show. The year she was old enough--2008, she had ankle surgery to cut and repair her tendon. After being on crutches for most of the summer, she was told that she probably would not be able to dance at the level she had been in the past. This did not stop her, and she proved everyone wrong.

In the fall of 2008, she headed to Brigham Young University. She wanted to major in dance. This requires an audition. She had a very successful audition and is now a dance major. She had a great year at BYU, and was determined to get her strength back. After staying a month longer at school because she was on a dance group that did local shows, she came home to try to find a job and earn money for her next school year. Shortly after returning home, she found out about the New Orleans So You Think You Can Dance auditions.

As stated in my July blog: She had no luck in finding a job, and was really wanting to go down to the auditions. There were several problems with this, though--she had left her dance stuff in storage almost 2000 miles away, she did not have a place to practice or choreograph, as the dance floors were being resurfaced and the studio was closed. When she found out about the audition, there was less than a week to come up with a dance number, costume, find dance shoes, and get down there. Seemed impossible! I was a little apprehensive on going to to NOLA (New Orleans, LA), as I had never been there and was concerned about the safety factor.

Ashley realized she had an old pair of bright blue tap shoes in her closet, and decided to choreograph a piece around them--in her teeny tiny carpeted bedroom. I happened to mention our delima to my walking group. One of the ladies said she would be glad to come with us. She is also a die hard fan of the show, and use to live in NOLA, and loves the place. I proceeded to check into where the place was, get info on motels in the area, and Ashley proceeded to seek a pair of dance heels, come up with a costume, and "practice" her routine as well as she could, not having a place to really dance. I found a good price on a room, Ashley borrowed some old character shoes that were an ok fit, and with her daddy's blessing, we took off on our 6 hr trip to NOLA.

I can't go into detail as to how the audition went, because they ask that in order to have the surprise element for the show, that we need to keep quiet. I can say we had a really good time. Ashley did get sick the day before one of her auditions (there are several auditions one can go through), but was able to rest and feel good enough for the audition. We don't know if she will be on the show or not. I know of one girl who auditioned for a past season who made it all the way to the picking of the top 20, and was never on TV, so you never know. They did like her blue tap shoes, where impressed with her tapping, and interviewed her quite a bit, so we just don't know if they will do anything with it or not, and if they do what they will do with it.

Well, now that the show has aired, it was very interesting to see how they put it all together. Everyone there was so nice and we had so much fun. Ashley was not featured in the show, but we were able to see a little bit of her in the coreography part of the show. She had made it to choreography, but not to Vegas. She is preparing and hoping that the show will return to Salt Lake City in the Winter of 2010, as she plans to audition at that time. Hopefully, if they return to SLC, it will be a time that she does not have another show, practice, or exams and will be able to try again. One thing I will have to say, everyone who watched the show asked me where all the girls were. There were quite a few very good female dancers (including my daughter) but for some reason they did not highlight very many of them. Why? Good question...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Ready For Some Football!"

With school starting a few weeks ago, our family is back in the swing. Lately we have been heavily involved with football. Never thought I would get this involved with it, but I do like to see my boys play. Our 11th grader has had to put sports on hold for awhile. Hopefully he will be 100% come baseball season. He is still trying to get his strength back after his knee surgery. He is almost there. Our youngest, a freshman in high school, has been very busy with football. He plays JV and Varsity. He as actually gotten to play a little varsity, not much, but as a freshman, a little is great. So far we have won both our games, and the season looks to be a good one!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm Back!

Been gone for awhile. A LONG while. Why? Well, we took off on vacation in July. The family went down to Florida to visit with family. While there, we took a short cruise to the Bahamas. We really had a nice time. Four days of relaxation. We left on Sunday. Monday, we were in Freeport where we did a little shopping. The boys did not even get off the boat. They spent the day on the slides and in the pool. The ship docked right by all the shops, so it was not a big deal to leave them. After a little Christmas shopping, we got back on the ship and joined the boys at the pool. Tuesday, we were in Nassau. We were there for 23 hours. I wasn't sure if we would like that, but it was pretty nice. We all got off the ship and took some family pictures by the library. It is a beautiful area, and I thought it would make a great background for family Christmas cards. No one cooperated. We took the boys back to the ship so they could spend time at the pool, etc. My mom, daughter and I went one way to shop, and my husband went off by himself to shop. After we were done, we went back to the boat, and showed off all our goodies. Most of the things I bought were Christmas gifts. I did buy a few things for me--refrigerator magnet, dress, fish mobile...My husband got a few t-shirts and a hat. Mom and I decided to go back out shopping, because we had missed some stores that my husband had told us about. Might as well...we were going anywhere for a long while. My daughter joined the boys at the pool, and my husband found a quiet corner to enjoy his book. The next and last day on the cruise was a day at sea. We spent all day out by the pool. This was the first cruise we had been on where we did not do any excursions. I did not know how we would like it. I will have to say, we loved it. For the most part, we did not have to be anywhere at any particular time, and that was great. Just four days of relaxation...

After we got back from the cruise, we had a couple of days to hang out with family. Unbeknowst to me, my family had a little surprise party. You see, I was going to turn the big 5-0 in August. My sister's boys were having a birthday in August too. I figured we were having a bday party for them, but it was me that the party was for. The boys had their gift opening too, but they are young, and really don't care much about all the hoopla. The cake had a picture of me at about 2 years on it. The next day, we headed back home. This is when the REAL story begins...

It takes about 13 hours to get back from my folks house. We were looking so forward to getting out of the car, and into our beds. Bill had to get up the next morning and go to work. My youngest son had football practice at 6 A.M.!! As we entered the house with our arms full of luggage, a very unpleasant aroma slapped us in the face. I turned to the boys and asked them if they had taken the trash out, like I told them to, before we left. They assured me that they had. Soon my husband comes out of our room hands still full of luggage and announces--the ceiling fell in, and water is everywhere. Now, he CAN be a bit of a jokster, and I did not take him serious. But he was VERY serious. As I walked into our bedroom and onto the soaked carpet, the smell got even worse. I looked around the corner into our bathroom and saw the mess. I knew it was going to be a long night, and a long month...

So what happened? Well, in the area we live, the "brainy" builders put hot water heaters in the attic. Now when we looked for houses when we were moving here two years ago, I questioned this. A LOT!!! I was told, "Oh...the pan will catch any drips." My reply, "Well, a pan is NOT going to catch...how many gallons of water??!!!?" But, you know I'm just a dumb woman, and blonde at that. So, again I was not taken serious. Sure wish now I would have put up more of a stink. Our house was brand new when we moved in, and so was the hot water heater--2 years old!!!

Anyway, I am glad to say, that a month later, I am now back in my own bed in my own room, and using my own shower. The computer was in that room too, so we were unable to use it for that time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My New Bracelet/Necklace

I like to do a lot of things, but one of my favorites is making jewelry. When my sisters and I were growing up, Mom would take us to the craft store, and we would buy things to make jewelry with. Once I got a little older and off to college, I quit making jewelry, until my sister got back into it several years ago. She got me turned on to it, and I've been making things ever since. I find it very relaxing, and rewarding. I especially like to make me (or my daughter) a new item when we buy a new article of clothing.

This piece shown here is made of glass and crystal beads I bought at Michael's. I had just bought a new top, and wanted something to go with it. This piece is actually a necklace, but I decided I like it much better as a bracelet. The necklace measures about 16 inches--a little long for a double bracelet, so I wrap it around my wrist twice and twist it a bit to shorten it before I clasp it. I don't know if you can tell or not, but the glass beads are teardrop shape, which makes this pretty unique...and I just love unique pieces.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

4th of July in Tennessee

For the 4th of July weekend, we went to the back woods of Tennessee. We got to visit with family and enjoy the beauty of the area. The morning of the 4th, we took the kids to a fun swimming hole. Bill was also able to get some fishing done. Those fish literally jumped out of the water and onto his line. I've never seen anything like it. In all he and his cousin caught about 50 fish during the 3 days they were able to fish.

The reason you don't see Scott on the rope, is because he is still recuperating from his knee surgery. Only one more month, and hopefully, the doctor will release him to full activity!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Great Times in New Orleans!

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter got an email from one of her dance buddies. She had sent her info about So You Think You Can Dance auditions coming to New Orleans, LA. Ever since the show started, my daughter, Ashley, and I have been avid fans. Ashley looked forward to the day when she would be old enough to audition. That day came last year, but then she had ankle surgery, so could not audition.

Ashley had just come home from college and had been looking for a job when the email came. She had no luck in finding a job, and was really wanting to go down to the auditions. There were several problems with this, though--she had left her dance stuff in storage almost 2000 miles away, she did not have a place to practice or choreograph, as the dance floors were being resurfaced and the studio was closed. When she found out about the audition, there was less than a week to come up with a dance number, costume, find dance shoes, and get down there. Seemed impossible! I was a little aprehensive on going to to NOLA (New Orleans, LA), as I had never been there and was concerned about the saftey factor.

Ashley realized she had an old pair of bright blue tap shoes in her closet, and decided to choreograph a piece around them--in her teeny tiny carpeted bedroom. I happened to mention our delima to the walking group. One of the ladies said she would be glad to come with us. She is also a die hard fan of the show, and use to live in NOLA, and loves the place. I proceeded to check into where the place was, get info on motels in the area, and Ashley proceeded to seek a pair of dance heels, come up with a costume, and "practice" her routine as well as she could, not having a place to really dance. I found a good price on a room, Ashley borrowed some old character shoes that were an ok fit, and with her daddy's blessing, we took off on our 6 hr trip to NOLA.

I can't go into detail as to how the audition went, because they ask that in order to have the surprise element for the show, that we need to keep quiet. I can say we had a really good time. Ashley did get sick the day before one of her auditions (there are several auditions one can go through), but was able to rest and feel good enough for the audition. We don't know if she will be on the show or not. I know of one girl who auditioned for a past season who made it all the way to the picking of the top 20, and was never on TV, so you never know. They did like her blue tap shoes, where impressed with her tapping, and interviewed her quite a bit, so we just don't know if they will do anything with it or not, and if they do what they will do with it.

As far as NOLA itself goes, we did have some time to be tourists. We went down to the French Quarters and had beignets at Cafe Du Monde. They were so, so good! We also went to the Gumbo Shop and had the best po boy sandwitch. It was a vegetarian, and I enjoyed every bite! Ashley had a characature done, and we did a little shoppig, but not much. All in all, it was a nice little get away, and we are glad we did it.

So...everyone needs to tune in, in September for season six for So You Think You Can Dance. Hopefully you will see at least a little bit of Ashley, at the New Orleans auditions. Even if you don't you should see some good dancing, as there was a lot of really good talent in NOLA!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

2009 Young Women's Camp

This past week, my daughter and I were privileged to be able to go to Young Women's camp with our church girls. I can't believe it, but my daughter is actually old enough to be one of the ADULT leaders! We had a great time. We were both in charge of crafts. We made all kinds of neat things--key chains, journals, and the girl's favorite--duct tape flowers.

Here is our home away from home. We spent 5 days and 4 nights in this tent. It was actually really nice sleeping outside. It did get a little chilly the last night, though, because we had gotten a HUGE rain storm the day before, which cooled things off--from the mid 90's to the low 60's at night!

Even though we had only 36 girls to show up, we still had a very spiritually strong group of girls. These girls were from South Eastern Arkansas, North Eastern Louisiana, and Western Mississippi. They were troopers! As mentioned above, we had a big storm that came through, and several of the tents were flooded, and it really never got to the girls, they just kept on going. My daughter and I were among the lucky ones, we did not get much water at all in our tent.

The theme of the camp was Luke 1:37 "For with God nothing shall be impossible." We had a Hawaiian theme, which the girls really enjoyed.

We stayed at a Boy Scout Camp in Southern Arkansas. It was a really beautiful place. On our hike, we hiked between two of the three lakes that are there.
There were all kinds of activities--hiking, archery, canoeing, swimming, crafts, etc.

Thyme In The Garden Recipes

Here's a few of the great recipes we had at Thyme in the Garden:

Crusty Herb Rolls

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 T wheat germ
1 T chopped fresh rosemary (I have also used Thyme and it was yummy too)
1 t paprika

In the frozen food section, you can purchase prepared dough rolls. Take the frozen dough rolls and roll each in olive oil and then in the rosemary combination. Put onto a greased cookie sheet, and cover and let rise till double in size. Bake rolls at 350 till lightly brown. Everyone will think you slaved over these. Of course, if you really want to, you can make your own rolls, I just like the easy way out....

Oriental Dill Salad

2 pkg Ramen Noodles any flavor (do NOT cook)
1 lb cabbage finely chopped
1/3 cup red onion finely chopped
1 sweet red pepper finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
2 T dried dill
2 T fresh parsley (chopped)

Break up noodles and place in a large resealable plastic bag.
Add remainder of ingredients. Close bag and refrigerate.
Just before serving, add the following dressing:
3/4 to 1 cup oil
1/2 cup mild vinegar (rice wine or white wine)
1/2 cup sugar
seasoning packet from both noodle packages
toss salad and dressing in the bag
serves 8

Pecan Fudge Pie With Raspberry Sauce
1/2 cup butter
2 one oz squares unsweetened chocolate
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 t vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup chopped pecans toasted

melt butter and chocolate in small sauce pan over low heat stirring constantly. remove from heat.
beat eggs at medium speed with electric mixer for two minutes. gradually add sugar. beat until well blended. gradually add chocolate mixture, flour, vanilla and salt. beating until well blended.
stir in pecans, pour mixture in a lightly greased 9" pie plate. bake at 350 for 25 mins until center is firm.

Raspberry Sauce
3 T pure maple syrup
2 T sugar
1, 16 oz pkg frozen raspberries (do not thaw)

cook syrup and sugar over med heat stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.
add raspberries and cook, stirring constantly, for ten mins or until thick.
pour mixture through a fine wire mesh strainer. press with back of spoon to squeeze our sauce. discard solids.
top with Devinshire cream which is a mixture of a little bit of sour cream and a little bit of powered sugar.

The brownie part is just as good without the raspberry sauce, and is a very quick and easy dessert to make.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thyme In The Garden

This past Wednesday, the neighborhood ladies went to a really neat place. Thyme in The Garden is the name of the place. It is run by a really nice lady who is a master gardener. She specializes in herbs. She has a number of opportunities at her place. You can come and tour her garden, take a cooking class, have a luncheon, or just come by and purchase some of her unique herbs.

There was about a dozen or so of us. When we first arrived, we took her tour. She has all kinds of plants, anything from fennel, several types of basil, lemon grass, some herb that is suppose to take away a migraine, and my favorite--chocolate mint, yumo!!! The chocolate mint smells just like it too.

After our tour which took probably 45 mins or so, we went in to her dining area, and were treated to some of the best food I've had. Spring Thyme Soup, Oriental Dill Salad, Crusty Herb Rolls, Chicken Salad Pie, and last by not least, Pecan Fudge Pie with Raspberry Sauce. Everything was delicious. She even gave us the recipes. I've been looking over them, and they are actually easy enough that I will be trying them out, in fact, I have my grocery list ready. I will be heading to "Wally World" today after I drop my youngest son at a Boy Scout campout tonight. I just can't wait to try them out.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, Ya'll!!

Today is Mother's Day. My husband had to work. He usually does not have to work on Sunday's, but today started the annual outage at work. I can't believe they scheduled it on Mother's Day...oh well, no biggy. I just know there are a lot of mom's out there that would have a problem with it. I was able to spend the day with two of our four children (the oldest lives in another state, and the other one is out at school--also in another state).

Yesterday, I went with the ladies at church to the Baton Rouge, LA Temple, and had a nice time. Even though it is a good four plus hour trip (one way), it gives us time to visit and get to know each other a little better.

When I came home, my dear husband had carefully arranged a dozen yellow roses in a vase for me. They were absolutely beautiful! I love yellow rose, especially with babies breath. They were so pretty, that I just had to take a picture of them and share them with you all.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Newest Project

Girls camp is coming up in a few weeks, and it got me to thinking about some of the neat things my daughter made for and at camp when she was going to. One of the things she made that was a big hit with the girls was a bag made from a pair of old jeans. Now, I am not much of a sewer, but I was able to find a set of pretty easy instructions to make this handy bag for camp. In a couple of weeks, our girls are going to make these so they can have something to lug their camp books and other camp essentials around in.

I pretty much followed the instructions, but did have to change things a bit. They had you sewing everything by hand. First off, my hand stitches are not that strong, and second, I have very week hands and fingers, and did not think I would be able to push a needle through some of the layers of denim. So, I used my machine. Also, I had to do something a little different with the handle. The handle would not be long enough the way they had you do it, so I took two strips and sewed them together to make it longer. Now, don't look too close, because, like I said, I am not much of a sewer, but I'm pretty happy with the outcome, and can't wait for the girls to make theirs!

Here's the instructions: http://www.threadbanger.com/post/2642/how-to-turn-old-jeans-into-a-sweet-new-purse

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Crazy Life

Been out of pocket for awhile...We went to Tennessee for Spring break and was unable to get to a computer, then we came home just in time for Youth Conference at church, which we were all involved in. This week we've been getting ready for Scott's surgery, which is today. So...I guess you could say, I've been just a little busy. Hopfully, next week, we will have our lives back to normal, whatever that may be...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Beauty of Spring

Spring is definitely in the air here in Louisiana! One day we have beautiful weather the next day horrible storms! I guess we have to have the rain in order to have the wonderful colors we experience here...

We have been trying to walk everyday, but some days it is just too stormy. Lots of thunder, lightening, hail and wind, so we stay in on those days...

But...the days with no rain, we are out there walking and enjoying the sights...

I decided to bring my camera the other day so I could share some of the wonderful colors of our neighborhood...

The Azaleas are especially beautiful...

Most people have pink Azaleas, but there are other colors--red, white, peach...

Hope you've enjoyed the colors of Louisiana as much as we do each day. Of course, it is much more prettier in person...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What You Think?

Ever since I can remember, my sisters and I have loved to craft. Growing up in the 70's we got into macrame and jewelry making. One of myy sisters has since made a career out of jewelry making by selling her items in various boutiques, writing books and she even has an about.com site and other blogs on all her gorgeous stuff.

Not only did we do macrame and jewelry, but we also got into crochet. I can even remember crocheting things with our fingers--no needle needed. Several years ago, I was experimenting on new media to use in jewelry. Actually, my sister was working on a mixed media book at the time, and that inspired me. As I was brainstorming with myself, I wondered if one could crochet beads. I started goofing around and found that yes, that is possible. I made a couple of necklaces that everyone seemed to like, and then gave them away as Christmas gifts. Today, I was playing around with my beads and made this necklace out of some cheap glass beads my mom had bought to make some jewelry with. She gave me the leftover beads, and I decided to try to use them. This was a fun, simple and cheap project. If you can chain stitch, you can make this necklace! Hey, this may even be a good project for pre-teens who would like to learn to crochet....