Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

I hope y'all have a fantastic New Years. Any New Year's Eve plans? We normally have a New Year"s Eve party but this year we are taking it easy. Last year we hosted a dinner party and invited our friends from tennis class over. But this year it's just going to be the two of us. I think it will be a nice change (I won't have to cook, prep, or have to deal with a massive clean up). It's going to be foggy and raining this evening so I decided to pull out some movies. I picked, Down with Love, with Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor. I love the retro feel of that movie. I also picked, That Touch of Mink, with Doris Day and Cary Grant. I grew up watching lots of Doris Day movies and I love them!!! I'm also ordering in Chinese take out. I think it'll be a great way to bring in the New Year, snuggled up with hubby.

How will you be spending New Years Eve?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How was your Christmas?

Hope y'all had a wonderful holiday. We had a fantastic Christmas. I got so many great gifts. My husband surprised me with a ton of fabulous things this year. One of my favorite gifts was a gift bag of 3 sets of pj's. I love comfy pj's. I got the cutest pink and black set that I couldn't wait to sport last night. And this afternoon I'm enjoying sitting on the couch and reading some new books I got for Christmas. Just wanted to pop in to say hi and see how y'alls holiday went. What are some of your favorite gifts? Anything special happen this Christmas?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

I totally remember getting one of these when I was a kid. I grew up in the 70's/80's and these little bouncer's were the "cool" thing to have on my block. Mine was red with a round handle. I still remember rushing into the living room on Christmas morning and finding it leaning against the tree with a nice red bow. I couldn't wait to go outside and show it off to my neighbor's Kim and Stacey. Stacey had a blue bouncer with a Donald Duck head and Kim had a blue one like mine. We bounced all around the drive way down the sidewalks until my mom called me in. That was one of my favorite gifts of all time. Simple and probably didn't cost more than $20.

I'm going to be busy the next couple of days getting prepared for the holiday but before I log off I wanted to wish y'all and your families a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I hope your holiday is simple and fun as little red bouncer.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Our Anniversary!!!

Tomorrow is my hubby's and my Anniversary. We'll be married 7 years. Wow, in a way it seems like we've been married for 50 years but in another it only seems like yesterday. We've had a lot happen in the past 7 years (some good, some bad) but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm one of those lucky gals that married her best friend. My husband is so wonderful, y'all.

Since he has to work Monday we decided to celebrate yesterday. He gave the the most adorable apron that I've had my eye on. I saved it under my etsy account and he must have looked it up. I was so shocked when I opened my gift. I didn't expect it at all. I love to collect aprons. A gal can't have too many cute aprons. When we lived back in Austin we would drive down to San Antonio for a weekend to enjoy the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is so beautiful during Christmas and it's very romantic. But this holiday season we are in an entirely new city and my hubby's work schedule has been a little crazy this year. We decided to keep it simple and take a small trip in January. I can't wait to for our mini vacay. It's going to be so much fun. I'll share in another post.

Here are my top 5 reasons why I love being married to my husband.
1.) He plays guitar and makes up silly songs about me.
2.) He listens to me gab about girl stuff for hours and never complains.
3.) He's got my back no matter what.
4.) He's hilarious and can make me laugh even when I'm crying.
5.) He loves, encourages, and supports me always.

Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Holidays

I finally finished up my Christmas shopping so now I can sit back and truly enjoy the holiday. This afternoon my husband and I stopped by a new French bakery he came across last week. It's awesome and filled with so many goodies. We definitely have to make ourselves go jogging tomorrow, lol. My husband got a napoleon and I got a cupcake. Ok, that might not sound so bad but you didn't see what we brought home. Two boxes of a huge selection of cookies. They are all so delish and the car smelled so good on the way home. I wish they had a car freshener that smelled like cookies. However, I would constantly crave them so maybe that wouldn't be a good idea, lol.

We also cruised around downtown and looked at all the cool Christmas decorations. I wish we had window displays like they did back in the day. One of my favorite scenes in the movie The Christmas Story is when the entire family was standing in front of the window display. That's when Ralphie saw the Red Ryder BB Gun. I wish life was that simple again. Back when families spent more time together, gifts were more simple, and the holiday wasn't so commercialized. I guess I'm old fashioned because I love the retro lifestyle.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Preparing for Christmas

Today I'm swamped with housechores and errands. I'm trying to get everything prepared for the approaching holiday week. Can you believe that Christmas is now literally around the corner? I still have to pick up a few little items for Christmas and begin to plan for our big holiday feast. However, I did finalize our Christmas menu.

Our Christmas Menu
Roasted Cornish Game Hens smothered in a plum sauce
Teriyaki Wild Rice
Sweet Potato Praline Casserole
Roasted Almond Green Beans
Grandma's Fruit Salad
Dinner Rolls
Pecan Pie with French Vanilla Ice cream (dessert)

We are planning on gaining at least 5 lbs. from this dinner, lol!

Tomorrow I'm running to the grocery store to buy our hens. I've learned my mistake from this past Thanksgiving. Wow, it seems like I have to start shopping earlier and earlier each year because of the crowds. I don't remember the grocery stores being so crowded when I was younger. It amazes me where all of these people are coming from. And how more difficult it has become to shop during the holidays. I guess it is something we have to get use to.

Well, this year I have my trusty old deep freeze ready to go. I truly love my deep freeze. It's like having my very own meat market in my garage. When I'm out grocery shopping I always stop and eye up the meat department. I've gotten in the habit of asking the butcher when the next big sale is coming up. It saves us a lot of money and helps me keep within our grocery budget. Also, helps to shop in advance before the big holiday rush at the market.

Is everyone ready for Christmas? What helps you prepare in advance for the big holiday?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What's cooking?

Today I'm whipping up some of my favorite recipes. I decided to make a meatloaf, mash potatoes, and green beans tonight. My husband loves my spicy meatloaf. He hasn't always liked meatloaf (have to agree) because most meatloaf recipes are too bland. But I found a good one a few years ago while flipping through some cookbooks. It's made with horseradish and spicy mustard. Over the years I've added a secret ingredient (by accident). However, it's pretty good.

My favorite thing to collect are cookbooks. I've found some great ones. I just ran by Half Price Books the other day and found a jewel. It's a Brennan's cookbook. If y'all aren't familiar with Brennan's it's a famous restaurant in New Orleans/Houston. Oh, do they serve the best dishes. I'm getting hungry thinking about it

My husband got me a subscription for Louisiana Cooking magazine for my birthday this year. It has some fantastic recipes. However, he's more into seafood since he was raised on the Gulf. Me, I'm more into Chinese and Mexican food since I was raised on the West Coast. The Mexican food is really different out in Texas. They call it "Tex-Mex." It's good but different. When I was living back in Austin I would eat at a place called, Mesa Ranch Grill. They had the best fried cactus in world. It's sooo good I use to live just around the corner from the one in north Austin. My husband and I would walk down and have our fill and work it off with a brisk walk home. The food reminds me a bit more of what I grew up on.
Back in San Francisco, my favorite Chinese restaurant is the Four Seas I like the lunch buffet. Here in Houston, they have a pretty good size Chinatown, I found a place called, Nit Noi, that I like. I also found a few other restaurants in Houston I like such as Dolce Vita Pizza Mama Ninfas
What are some of your favorite restaurants/dishes? As you can see, I'm a big time foodie. I heart food! I enjoy looking over menu's and creating dishes with new ideas. It's something that I like to do (research restaurants). Sort of how a realtor loves to look at real estate in other regions; I enjoy looking at restaurant websites and reading the menu's, lol. Ok, I have to run. I have something in the oven. By the way I just posted a new banana pudding recipe on my cooking blog It's a good one!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Hospitality

When I first moved onto my street 8 months ago things were slightly different. Everyone pretty much stayed to themselves. It's an older settled neighborhood so families have come and gone but most of the original owners still live on our street. I love our neighborhood because the houses are unique, filled with big beautiful trees, lush green yards with tropical flowers, and a ton of greenbelts for walking/jogging. Yes, it was almost perfect. However, the neighbors on my street didn't even know each other. I suppose that's not uncommon these days with everyones hectic schedules and all.

One afternoon I decided I was going to change all that. I decided to make a chocolate chip cookies for everyone on our street. I made a huge batches and put them in little containers with pink tissue paper and wrapped them in a pretty pink bow. I delivered them to their front door and introduced myself as the "new girl" on the block. Everyone was surprised but very friendly. I also handed them a note card with my husband's and my first and last name along with our contact info. They exchanged theirs as well. I told them, "It's good to know who my neighbors are so I can look after them. If I see anything suspicious or they need anything at all (even sugar) please feel free to call me." Before long I began getting a hello here and there, then one by one stop they began visiting me in my yard, and now my neighbors bring food over.

The other night I didn't feel like cooking and I got a knock on my door. My neighbor across the street sent over Lemon Bars. Just as I shut the door another neighbor brought me Enchiladas. That same evening I was in the yard and I stopped to talk to my elderly neighbor across the street when the two neighbors down the street stopped as well. My elderly neighbor couldn't get his lights up on his house so the neighbors son offered to hang them for him. Everyone has lived on this street for over 10 years and they are now starting to get to know each other. It's amazing how far a little hospitality can go. Tomorrow I'm making a batch of sugar cookies for everyone. It feels so festive.

How do you spread Christmas hospitality where you live?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our Cajun Christmas Traditions

This post is for Amy. I told her that I would share some of our crazy Louisiana Christmas traditions. Back in New Orleans we celebrate Christmas a little different from most of y'all. I made a list of things that we do that you might find a little strange but when is New Orleans not strange?

1.) Instead of Santa Claus we have Papa Noel. Papa Noel lives down in the hot, humid, swampy bayou of Louisiana. He's a Cajun legend and you'll find often momma and daddy's reading books called, The Legend of Papa Noel or Cajun Night before Christmas, on Christmas Eve. We own both books and I've made it our tradition that hubby read them aloud every Christmas Eve.

2.) Santa is pulled in his sleigh by 8 reindeer. But Papa Noel is pulled in a Cajun boat called a, "Pirot" (Pier-O) by 8 alligators. There's Gaston, Tiboy, Pierre, Alcee, Ninette, Suzette, Celeste and Renee. Every Christmas season I make sugar cookies in shapes of alligators. I also make peppermint Fluer De Lis, and Lil Cajuns (they are actually Gingerbread men but we call them Lil Cajuns).

3.) On Christmas evening after a day of festivities we have a big holiday meal. Then we go into the living room to see what Papa Noel left us in our stockings. It makes the holiday cheer last through out the day. Papa Noel usually leaves us a hilarious letter written in Cajun for my husband to read. He has been traveling a long way from the Bayou to Austin the past couple of years so this year he'll be happy to only have to travel to Houston. In our stockings he leaves pralines, Cajun crunch, chocolate alligators, alligator jerky, and hot sauces. My husband collects hot sauces and Papa Noel always seems to find a new one he doesn't own.

4.) When we go back to New Orleans for Christmas we meet our friends on Christmas Eve night and set bond fires on the bayous. This is a fun event in Louisiana because we always run into friends. The purpose of the bond fire is to light up the swamp for Papa Noel so his alligators can see while delivering all those gifts to the boys and girls in Bayou Country.

5.) I love spending the holidays in the French Quarter. Everything is so magical with the Christmas decorations and the gas lanterns. I love all the Christmas Zydeco and Jazz the Quarter is filled with. And we always make it a habit to eat beignets at Cafe du Monde.

Heaux, Heaux, Heaux...
Merry Christmas, Y'all!

So, that's our Cajun Christmas traditions. I would love to hear all about yours.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Saying goodbye to an old friend

The other day I was vacuuming and I could smell something burning. It was a funny smell like something electrical. I began looking around and didn't see anything so I continued vacuuming. Then suddenly smoke began pouring out of my machine. I instantly turned it off and watched helplessly as my vacuum began dying in front my eyes. The poor thing. It was like watching an old friend passing away.

I purchased that vacuum before I married my husband. Hoover and I've been through a lot of moves, life changing events, and relationships. And here my poor little friend finally gave out on me. I remember when I first purchased Hoover. I was walking through the mall one Christmas and cut through Sears to the parking lot. As I walked past the vacuum display I was taken back by the beautiful machine. It was bag less. That's when bag less machines were just coming out. It was bag less and purple. What gal doesn't need a purple vacuum cleaner I thought. At that time it was one of the more expensive purchases I made for my little apartment. Because the bag less feature was new my little Hoover cost a small fortune. However, I definitely made a good investment considering that he worked his little heart out for the past 10 years, 3 days a week, before he gave out.

Last night my hubby came home and we went vacuum shopping. Not something I looked forward to doing during Christmas but it needed to be done. Funny how I purchased it 10 years ago around Christmas and it breaks down around Christmas. Anyhoo, I found one that I loved at Target. And it was purple. However, they didn't have one in back. Don't you hate it when that happens (It's like playing with your emotions when you get hooked on the display and then....nothing) I really liked it so my husband decided to try Walmart around the corner. I winced at the thought of going to Walmart and especially during the holidays. We did a drive by and saw that the parking lot wasn't too bad. So we decided to go in and actually it wasn't such a bad experience as we had anticipated. We found the vacuum right away at $20 less than Target and we were able to walk right up to a register and check out. It was our lucky day.

Last night I ran my new friend, Bissell, over my floors. She did a fine job. I couldn't believe how much more advanced she was from my old friend Hoover. She gave me a much deeper cleaning and it was easier to use. Today I've become a vacuum maniac. I've been vacuuming every room in the house. I called my husband and told him how much I love my new vacuum. That's when you know you've finally grown up when you're overly zealous for household appliances, lol.

What household appliance or tool are you absolutely in love with?

I also wanted to thank Amy over at for giving me a sweet blogging reward. If y'all haven't visited Amy before you really should. She is a new proud momma of twin baby boys. They are precious!!! Her blog is hilarious. She always keeps me laughing as she blogs about her love for Bama football (Roll Tide), her new adventures in motherhood, and her Martha Stewart crafting abilities. Love ya, Amy!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Favorite Christmas Memories

My favorite Christmas memories are from my childhood. When I was little we would go over to my grandparents house. My Papa was a jazz man and we would wake up to a house full of Christmas jazz. My Meme would be in the kitchen making her famous Swedish pancakes and hashbrowns. Afterwards we opened gifts and my Papa and I would dance around the living room. My favorite gift I received as a little girl was from my Meme and Papa. It was a red Snoopy watch. I was obsessed with Snoopy when I was younger. I even got a Snoopy electric toothbrush. It had a huge Snoopy handle and the holder was Snoopy's dog house. Very cool!

My grandparents have passed on many years ago. However, I still carry on the tradition of playing Christmas jazz and serving Swedish pancakes/hashbrowns on Christmas morning.

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Decorating for Christmas

Y'all, I'm so excited today. We got snow! Not enough to stick or anything like that. At least not yet but we have an entire day of cold weather moving through so you never know. I'll be crossing my fingers for white winter wonderland. We don't see a lot of snow in south Texas so it's pretty exciting.

Since it's all Christmas like outside I thought I'd post some of my decorations on my blog. I'll start with the outdoors.

This hangs above our garage.

Our front porch

Kitchen area. Back in Austin and New Orleans I would keep the rest of the house more of a French traditional Christmas theme and decorate the kitchen table cutesy but that's all. This year I decided to go with more of a retro Christmas theme. I used red and white polka dots to jazz it up and tie everything in together.

Our Christmas tree. It looks much prettier in person than in this picture. Wow, that bird looks big in this picture, lol! We have white doves and butterflies surrounding the entire tree. But that one dove looks more like a hawk in this photo, haha....The torch lamp looks stupid next to the tree but the patio lighting is horrible so I kept it there. Grrr, one of those decorating sacrafices that really drives me crazy.

Some of my favorite ornaments

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's Christmas time....

Hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. We had a fantastic day full of good food, good memories, and many blessings. Today I'm pulling out the Christmas decorations and getting started on decorating the house for Christmas, YAY! Sending my love and hugs to y'all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Warm up those ovens, y'all!!!

Yesterday I shopped and shopped for the perfect turkey. It's just the two of us so we obviously don't need a 13 lbs. bird. I normally try to find a 3-5 lbs. turkey and usually don't have a difficult time tracking one down. For the past 5 years I've lived in Austin so I knew exactly where to get one but this year I'm in a whole new city. I thought to myself, "how many people would be looking for a small turkey?" Well, it was hard to find y'all. I had to go to three different grocery stores to find one. And the crowds!!! I'm just relieved we have a small bird this year. That's something to be thankful for.

Tomorrow the sequel to the big Turkey day. I'm gathering all my recipes and tomorrow I begin to prep for the big day. I know most people wouldn't put that much effort into a meal for two people. Although it's just the two of us I want our holiday to be just as special as if we had a huge crowd of people gathered around the table. I think it doesn't matter where you're at, who you're with, what you'll be eating to make a holiday special. I think it's about attitude. Many people ask if we are going home for the holidays each year and when I tell them no they make that expression (like they feel sorry for us). What they don't realize is how much fun we have. We watch our Thankgiving parade, eat orange cinnamon rolls, stuff ourselves with holiday dishes, watch our favorite Christmas movies, and decorate our Christmas cookies. We have a blast. So, for those who might not be celebrating the way you traditionally celebrated in the past; remember that it's all about your attitude. You can make any situation fun by making it your own.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Friday Y'all

Hubs is on his way home from work. Every Friday night we drive down to our favorite 50's style hamburger place and order shakes. It's our way of catching up and talking about the past weekly events. It's a nice way to unwind while listening to some 50's bee bop. It has become our weekly routine and I love it. It sets the mood for the whole weekend. Gotta run, I've got a strawberry shake waiting on me. Have a awesome weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blonde Episodes

I just recieved an award from Kori over at Blonde Episodes She has the most adorable blog. Really fun to read and great retro pictures. Y'all need to stop by her blog when you get an opportunity. She's a real sweetie. Thanks for the award, Kori!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And it's only 10 o'clock in the morning

This pretty much sums up my day. I have a ton of house work because the trip to Dallas put me behind. I try to keep a daily cleaning schedule and I'm still trying to catch up. I even doubled up on my chores Monday and Tuesday but I'm still overwhelmed Wednesday. However, I did manage to fit some baking in. Last night I finished baking my Christmas cookies and they are now in the freezer. That takes a huge weight off my shoulders knowing that my cookies are ready to be defrosted/decorated in time for the holidays. I made over two dozen Alligator, Fleur De Lis, and Lil' Cajuns. The Alligator and Fleur De Lis cookies are sugar but our Lil' Cajuns are actually gingerbread men. We just call them Lil' Cajuns to go with our New Orleans themed Christmas.
This Friday I'm going to try to fit in some Christmas shopping. There's a few things I can't order online. I thought since I was out I might pick up a turkey and throw it in the deep freeze. Last year the selection was so slim and I went early that holiday week. This Thanksgiving I'm planning on getting the perfect bird. That reminds me that I have to start on my Thanksgiving menu this evening. I'm already exhausted and it's only 10 am. Hope y'all are having a fabulous hump day.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekend in Dallas

I just returned from a quick trip to Dallas. My husband had a speaking engagement at a conference and I decided to tag along. We decided to stay through the weekend and make it a small get away. I had so much fun. Dallas has so many adorable and fun boutiques. I found all sorts of cool stuff. And my hubby was happy when he spotted a Razoo's. The trees were beautiful and quite different from those down in Houston. It definitely put me in the holiday mood. This week I'm starting to organize for the holidays. I'm planning on whipping up some of my Christmas cookie's to freeze for decorating in December. What are y'all doing to prep for the holidays?

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Favorite Thanksgiving Tradition

I get up early every Thanksgiving morning and make my homemade orange walnut cinnamon rolls. They are so delish and I promise I'll post them on my cooking blog later this week. The house smells of orange cinnamon yummy goodness and it doesn't take long for my husband to make his way to the kitchen. He's like a little kid checking on the rolls as he opens and closes the oven door. I begin to prep for our holiday dinner while he turns on the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Soon we pull out the rolls and find ourselves snuggled on the couch as we vote on which float we like the most. It's so much fun watching the floats and marching bands. It really helps us feel festive for the approaching day. I don't think it could be Thanksgiving without the Macy's Thanksgiving parade.