Friday, February 28, 2014

Happy Mardi Gras!!

Do you know what these are?
They're Cascade dishwasher packets. Don't they remind you of Mardi Gras? Anyway, I'm not blogging about dishwasher detergent. This is about Mardi Gras.

Last weekend, Mindy took Morgan to New Orleans to look at Loyola University. Morgan has received a really nice scholarship offer there. Mindy had all kinds of fun things planned and told us that she'd be sure to "seal the deal" for us. Morgan has it in her mind that she wants to go to school in California. We want her closer. Going to NOLA with Mindy seemed like a sure thing.
 They stayed at the Ritz Carlton. With all of Mindy's traveling, she has airline points, rental cars and hotels. This was their view overlooking the French Quarter out to the river.
I've never been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but I've put it on my bucket list. I've never wanted to be involved in all of those crowds, but now I think I need to experience it at least once. Mindy loves New Orleans so much. She tries to go every year during Mardi Gras. Don't you just love this wrought iron fence with the flour de lis decorated with the beads? So festive.
Mindy loaned Morgan one of her headpieces for one of the parades.
Mindy used to work at Commander's Palace, so she took Morgan to their Sunday Jazz Brunch. It gave Mindy a chance to see old friends. The food is always great there.

Mindy sent a picture of this pecan encrusted gulf fish. It looks so delicious! Pretty much ALL the food in New Orleans is good. They have so many great restaurants. It's my favorite city for food in all of the US. 

They had a great time. Morgan was sold on the city, but unfortunately, not the school! We're hoping that she'll think about it. We'll see. 

Anyway, happy Mardi Gras!! Eat up. Fat Tuesday is right around the corner. Oh, and by the way, IHOP is offering free pancakes all day on Tuesday. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I'm Having a Pajama Party!!

Or slumber party, all-nighter or sleepover---whatever you call it, I'm having one.

Butch is going to be on a fishing trip with his brother at the end of the month. So, I'm having friends over. We're going to run around the house, dump out ALL the puzzles and mix up the pieces,  and make "soup" in the bathroom sink with soap, lotion, toothpaste and shampoo. We'll eat anything we want and leave the mess behind. Oh wait, we aren't five anymore.

Okay, we'll paint our nails, play with our hair, play music really loud, dance all around the house, make "cootie chasers" and make cookies---leaving the mess all over the kitchen. Oh wait, we aren't twelve anymore.

Okay, then, we'll have a seance and play with the Ouija board. We'll sneak outside for a smoke and to meet up with some boys. Then we'll have pizza and play Truth or Dare. Oh wait, we're not sixteen anymore.

So what in the heck do 60-somethings do at a pajama party? I'll just make it up. We'll start with cocktail hour, we'll have appetizers for dinner, we'll do a crafty project and then watch a movie. And there will be talking. Most likely about children and grandchildren doing the above mentioned activities. Some things never change.

Sounds like a plan.

What do you do at your pajama parties? What, you haven't had one in years? Well, it's about time,  don't ya' think? I'll be taking pictures.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Honeymooners

I was off scrapbooking last week while the honeymooners were down in the Caribbean. More on that later, but for now, a few shots from the Grand Exhuma Island.
Stephanie said that the place was absolutely gorgeous. It was previously a Four Seasons Resort that is now owned by Sandals---the all-inclusive chain. She said the food was fabulous.There's not much to do on the island, so you better like the beach or one of many beautiful pools. They both have stressful jobs, so they were happy to just chill out for the week. Stephanie didn't bring her computer. She said she wanted to be unplugged for the week. I don't think I could have done that. I'm always afraid I'm missing something.
 I'm not sure where this view is from. They only had rain once for a brief period.

The "thing" to do on the Grand Exhuma Island is to swim with the pigs. Stephanie said it was a lot of fun---the pigs were huge and wiry. Nicky had a bruise from a pig hoof. This was part of an excursion that included snorkeling---which they said was the best they'd ever done---and a stop at a little island full of iguanas that you could feed. I guess they don't have pictures of that, but Nicky did show us a video. Those things were HUGE!
 Nicky said it was like Pavlov's dogs---as soon as the boat approached the beach, the pigs came a runnin'!  Look at that turquoise water---there's nothing better than the Caribbean.

They didn't want to come home. I don't blame them! I'm so glad they had a good time. You just never know when you book something no one has ever heard of before. This one was a winner!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

...And they're off...

To the Grand Exuma island in the Bahamas where they'll swim with the pigs!!

Sam, a professional photographer for The Tennessean (and a personal friend of Stephanie and Nicky's) took the pictures, so I don't have them yet. What follows are a few that I got from Steph's friend, Rikki's Facebook page (thanks for posting, Rikki---or I'd have nothing).

The wedding was small and intimate---just immediate family and a few of Steph and Nicky's closest friends. They got married at the Cathedral---same church and priest (Father Steiner) that Sandy and Greg had nearly 20 years ago. Plus, about a month ago, I was going through some "stuff" and came across a note that I had written years ago. I didn't remember this at all, but it turns out that Butch and I got married in the Church on Feb. 15, 1972. If you are wondering how I could forget my wedding date---it's because we were married by a judge in my backyard on August 21, 1971---which is the date we use as our anniversary. We married in the Church a few months later. I think all of this is a good omen for Steph and Nicky.
The Cathedral is beautiful and very ornate---a perfect setting for a wedding---even if it's a little big for a small gathering. Plus, you don't have to get flowers to decorate it.

They wanted their wedding to just be low-key with a fun party. Just something simple---nothing formal or stuffy.
The happy couple. Steph wore a knee-length, vintage inspired dress. She had white heels, but ditched them for flip flops at the party. Nicky looked so handsome in his new suit.
They were not planning to do anything "formal" but at the last minute, decided to cut the cake. Afterwards, she said she wished they hadn't done that as it seemed awkward to them. At least they didn't do the "smash the cake in each other's face" thing.
Now this is the part that gives a little something away for the St. Louis party in June. Since I have other fun things planned for that, I guess it's okay.
I punched the hearts out of an old book with the help of Sandy and the girls. I have TONS---so you can bet they will turn up in an AYM kit soon. The cotton candy was invented in Nashville in the late 1890's and introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. I thought that was a perfect party favor---being we're from St. Louis AND having called Nashville home since 1985.
The gift table.
 I realize that these architectural alphabet things are overdone these days, but I just couldn't pass this up.
 The bird cage is decorated with bits of lace from Steph's grandmother's wedding dress.
I collected those embroidery hoops for quite awhile---and I'm glad I did. They were the perfect thing for a display.
I came across this in a catalog and thought it was so cute. Steph and Nicky are keeping her house and making some renovations to make it "theirs." I already planned to make a wall grouping out of all of this when she asked me if I would help spruce up her house when they finish the work.
The cake is from Dessert Designs. The cakes are works of art---and the BEST cake you will ever eat. Several people told me that it was the BEST cake they had EVER---not just for a wedding.
 The detail is remarkable.

Everybody danced the night away---or at least until 10:00 p.m. I don't know where the party went after that!!

Several people told Stephanie and Nicky that they had never seen so many people dancing all night---a sure sign they were having a good time. Stephanie told Nicky that he was going to dance all night!! And he did! Actually, he likes to dance too. I just thought it was funny that they weren't even married a couple of hours and she was already bossing him around. He's been around for a long time, so he knows what he's getting "in" to.

Elizabeth and Morgan hold the record for being on the dance floor the most. Sandy was close behind. I did my share, but definitely not all night like I used to be able to do. I got Mitchell out there many times. He said that he felt awkward and only had one move. I told him that the key to dancing is to just do it. The more you dance, the better you get. If you only have one move, then just keep doing it, but move around the floor and turn around. That way it doesn't look like the same move. One think I know for sure---you have more fun if you dance---and girls definitely like boys who dance!! That was the first thing that attracted me to Butch. I also danced with Eli--he's a good dancer. He and Jordan spent a lot of time on the dance floor. There were times when only 12 people were on the dance floor and 11 of them were US!! Like I said, we're a party all by ourselves!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Stephanie and Nicky's Wedding

Everything went pretty smoothly---considering a few monkey wrenches thrown in at the last minute---extreme weather in Charlotte, NC preventing Sandy and Greg from getting here on Thursday as planned. Then, Greg's dad passed away on Thursday night (not unexpected). Still, everything fell in to place quite nicely for Stephanie and Nicky.

On Friday night, everyone except for Greg and I had to be at the Church for the rehearsal. Stephanie and Nicky were hosting the "dinner" here afterwards. Since Greg needed to be with his family, that left me alone to get everything ready. Eli, Jordan's s boyfriend, offered to come and help. He is such a sweetheart---I just love him! He was a huge help, except for this:
He always takes his shoes off when he comes in. It must be something he does at his own house as I don't expect people to take their shoes off at my house. I wear slippers or socks all the time, but it's just for comfort. Anyway, this is not the first thing I wanted our arriving guests to see. He moved his shoes to the back door. Still, I thought it was cute.

Then I discovered this:
Has it really been since Christmas that I've even walked in the dining room? How in the world did we "forget" to undecorated the china cabinet? I decided to leave it on Friday night because I knew it would create a mess to take it down. Those leaves are HIGHLY flammable!! No one noticed.
When the Lapps family was delayed, I asked Butch if he wanted to help me fold the napkins in to hearts. He rolled his eyes! He would have done it if I'd really wanted him to. The Lapps' got here around 2 p.m., so there was time for Victoria and Elizabeth to help me. There were only going to be 24 people---and 13 of them were US! We're always a party by ourselves.
I kept the food simple---Honey Baked Ham and Turkey, roasted potatoes, broccoli casserole, and fruit
salad. I wanted a fresh floral arrangement for the table, but since it was Valentine's Day, the prices were "jacked up." Instead, I opted for a $25.00 green plant that I'll have forever! Well, if I don't manage to kill it.
 Petit fours for dessert.

I used conversation hearts as confetti. These little heart candles were so cute, but no one got to see them. I lit them too early (a half hour before everyone arrived---they were late) and they melted away. What a shame---they were cute.

Next up---the wedding....

Friday, February 14, 2014

Morgan's Senior Pictures

Morgan is a senior at St. Cecilia Academy. She hasn't decided where she wants to go to college yet, but she's had 6 acceptances and a few scholarship offers. We're all rooting for Loyola of New Orleans where they've offered her $20,000 per year. Mindy is taking her down there next weekend. She'll definitely show here a good time!
 This is her formal photo. The girls have been wearing the white drape for decades.
 This is the casual pose she picked to go in the yearbook along with her formal shot. The sisters rejected it because of that tiny little cut out on the side of the dress. I bought this dress. It's very cute and in no way immodest. The Sisters of St. Cecilia are very conservative. We should have realized.
This is the casual pose she ended up going with. It's cute enough too. She's a sweetheart. I just can't believe that we have grandchildren in college!! Mitchell is next!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Five Things Thursday

I'm going to miss print magazines---but I'm afraid they are on the way out. The magazines are getting smaller and smaller. Since my grandkids are not selling them for their schools anymore, I've let many of my subscriptions expire. On the other hand, I've gotten many ridiculously low offers to renew---Country Living for $8.00 instead of $45.00---which I have renewed. But, unfortunately, we don't have any scrapbook magazines left. There are a few special issues now and then, but that's about it. Oh, and there are some of those Northridge Publishing magazines---like Cricut and Paper Trends, but to me they aren't worth the money.

5 reasons I'm going to miss print magazines:
1. I'll miss the tactile experience of thumbing through and smelling them (and no, I don't usually sniff them, but you know what I'm talking about.)
2. Digital magazines are just not the same. They are hard to read.
3. With digital magazines, you can't tear out an article or picture.
4. You can't stop reading in the middle of a digital magazine---you have to remember what page you were on, or go back through the whole thing.
5. It would waste too much ink to print out a digital magazine.

It's not just the magazines, I think newspapers will soon be a thing of the past too. On the other hand, I thought libraries would be extinct within 10 years. I must be wrong about that because they've just recently built a new library here. We'll see.

In the meantime, enjoy this:
Paper is dead---or is it?

Scrapbookers, don't fret, I have enough paper for all of us!!

Where do you weigh in on this issue?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Antique and Garden Show

I used to go to the Antique and Garden show all the time with my friend, Sally. I hadn't gone in many years. This year, the key note speaker was Lady Carnarvon from Highclere Castle---home of Downton Abbey.

Our first shock came when we parked---$25.00!!! Holy.......! Are you kidding me? Now you know why I miss my "parking perks!" I was spoiled for too many years.

We got there a little before ten so we could browse the show floor before the key note address at 11:30. It was enough time.
 This spring table was so beautiful. I loved all the soft colors together. Purple is not my favorite, but it is perfect in this arrangement.
 This table was more like a dream---set next to a water fountain. As beautiful as it is, it would make me have to go to the bathroom at least a half dozen times during dinner!
 I really didn't care for this arbor. I know the whole idea is about recycling, but an arbor made out of green plastic cups seems too un-natural for me.
 There were many gorgeous arrangements available for sale. There were a few I would have been interested in if it hadn't been so cold out. Any flowers would have frozen in the car.
 I love the idea of a fresh arrangement in a chandelier, but I think it would be tedious to have to make it all the time.
 I thought this was a clever idea---planting bulbs in old tins.
 I really, really liked---in fact this was my favorite idea---the flowers in the old paint cans. Who would have thought to save old paint cans until they were rusty?
This was an outdoor gazebo. I love the crystal chandelier---although totally impractical. You'd have to clean it every time you wanted to use it.
 These plant stands are pretty neat. I gave Butch a large one for Christmas that I got in St. Louis. You simply thread pots on to it. They show them as centerpieces too.

This was a cute vignette made in the back of on old car---I think it's what was called the "boot" or rumpus seat. I don't really know for sure, but it was really cool.

After browsing the floor, we made our way down to the lecture hall. I could have listened to Lady Carnarvon talk all day---that English accent---you know. She made a comment about our southern accents (well not me---mine is mid-west). She told us all about the history of Hghclere Castle---most of which I'd already seen on the documentary. She talked about her books. Then she also talked about Downton Abbey. The most interesting thing she said about that was that the actresses---including Maggie Smith (at her age) have to be corseted for more than 13 hours a day in order to get 5 1/2 minutes of film!

After her talk, she opened it up for questions. It's hard to believe, but she said the castle does NOT have wifi!! They even have a hard time getting a television to work. She said that on more than one occasion, when they've had weekend guests and they want to watch Downton Abbey, she has to scramble to find a tv that works!

There was only thing she said that we couldn't understand---nor find the answer via google.
Lady Carnarvon, was asked about her and her husband's hobbies, she said he liked "tarmacking." We have no idea what that is. Anyone???

Afterwards, we had lunch at The Southern. As the name implies, it's great southern food. There were 6 of us and only Karolyn and I had been there before. It was delish!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Random Act of Kindness Week

I read somewhere that this week is "Random Act of Kindness Week." I'm challenging everyone to do something this week. Let me know and I'll post a list here---no names, just a list of the types of things that were done.

Mindy did this last week---although not as a random act of kindness. She was shopping at Whole Foods. She was asking a lady in the cheese department for some help picking out cheeses. The woman spent a lot of time with her---even including beverage pairings for the cheeses. Mindy left feeling confident in her choices. She sent a letter via email to the store manager (or maybe corporate---I'm not sure). She received a response saying that due to her letter, that employee would be getting a bonus!!! As Mindy said, "We are quick to complain---but don't usually take the time to comment on the good things that happen." I'm glad she did.

You just never know what going out of your way just a little for someone else might do for them!! Let's all give it a try this week. Do be sure to let me know how it goes!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bragging Rights

Butch, Greg, Stephanie, Mindy and myself all have Fitbits. If you don't know what that is, let me explain. It's the little electronic device that is a glorified pedometer. 
It greets you or sends you a message of encouragement.
It tells time.
It tracks the number of steps you take.
It records the number of miles you've walked.
It tells you how many flights of stairs you've walked (although I don't think that is so accurate---our back stairs which equal 9 stairs aren't enough to count for a flight, but our front steps which are 18 only counts as one flight). It even gives you accomplishments like "you've climbed a long neck giraffe, or you've climbed the Hollywood sign = 5 flights).
It tells you how many calories you've burned (it's unbelievable how much it takes to burn few calories).
It has a flower that grows when you put forth a lot of effort.
It costs about $75.00.

The Fitbit is interactive with the Fitbit website where you can record your food and water intake. It tracks your weight---you set your goals. Each day, based on your activity, you can "earn" more calories. It keeps track of it all via the "cloud." This is what my "dashboard" looks like.
We have a family group set up. It's sort of like a competition. 

Last week, for the very first time---I beat everybody!! I have never even been close!! I was so surprised. Of course, it's because of my treadmill desk. But here's the thing---4 of those days I was in Colorado and not getting nearly enough steps. Still, I continue to "rock it" today. 

Mitchell sent me this message:
"grammy congrats on putting a fit bit clinic on the rest of the family!"

I had to ask Butch what that meant. He said that it means something about being an expert and showing the rest of the family how it's done. 

Trust me, I'm no expert. I'm just working hard---and actually liking it. 

Valentine's Day is coming up. Maybe a Fitbit would be the perfect gift. If you get one, you can join me in this competition. But let me warn you, I plan to retain my bragging rights for quite a while!!