Sniffle, Sniffle, Cough, Cough...

Well, it happened.  We got our second snow here in the south in a week's time.  Yea, just when I was still trying to get over the snow we had last week, the temperatures dropped and I woke up to this...
Well, there is a reason I live in the south.  I LIKE it!  And who wouldn't?  Because you see, by Saturday the temperatures will rise again to 70.  Sadly enough though, I won't be here to enjoy all that sunshine and warmth.  I'm heading to the "Arctic Tundra" tomorrow, remember?  Oh, I will be excited to see my girls and am already planning on some fun things for us to do together.  Providing a blizzard doesn't snow us in.  And in that case, we might just have to turn the heat up to 90, put on our swimming suits and flip-flops and watch beach movies.  OK, I'm not your "traditional" grandmother; that's why I'm called YaYa!

Anyway, as this second snow approached here, I began to start with the "Sniffle, Sniffle, Cough, Cough".  This wasn't a good sign because I am asthmatic and going to an even colder climate might not have a positive effect on me.  David even called to ask, "Mom...Do you know what you are flying into?"  He then informed me that I had no idea how cold -15 degrees wind chill was; he had lived in Erie, Pennsylvania for a year.  I assured him that I had all the necessary items needed to get me through a week:  Asthma inhalers, nose spray, cough drops, eye drops, Bengay.  I told him that I thought I was prepared.  I could hear the snicker in his voice as he said, "No one is ever prepared for that kinda weather."

Well, I have almost finished packing at this point and am ready to hop on the airplane at 6 a.m. to head to see my baby girls.  I hope to post from there with photos, but I am taking my I-pad and still not sure how to get the photos to load up on my blog from the i-pad (please leave me a comment if you know how to).  I suppose I will just have to work with it and if I can't share them,  then I will just have to use my descriptive writing skills to bring you into my world of visiting the "Arctic Tundra" for a week!
                                                Yes...I did decide to pack my ski leggings!
New, knee high Uggs will be well worth the money; along with that Northface jacket I bought while up there last year.

               OFF I GO...CATCH YOU ON THE BITTERLY COLD SIDE OF THE STATES!
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To The Arctic Tundra I Go...(UGH!)

Is it almost spring yet?  I know we just had snow here in the south last week but by the next day the temperature was already almost 60 degrees and the snow was melting. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and all was well here.  We have about ten months of warm weather here and that's the way I like it.  Give me sunshine and flip-flops and the beach any old day and I will be "Happy, Happy, Happy."  That's why when Caitlin called asking me to come to Ohio this week I tried everything I could to stay away from those terrible, arctic, snowy conditions.

Caitlin called to say that Kevin would be working a string of night shifts and asked me to come visit her and Holli.  Now, it's not that I didn't want to see them but I stayed with her for five weeks in March and April last year while awaiting the birth of Holli.  It snowed and was freezing cold and let's just say that I had to wear a coat more days in a row that I ever had before in my life.  So, when she asked me to come this week, I paused for a moment, dug into my bag of alternatives and began to pull them out.  My first solution was to just fly them here for a week.  Well, she reminded me that Holli could not fly again until she had her second flu shot and then waited ten days (ugh...).  "OK", I said, "Then I have a GREAT idea!  If you can just hold on until March, I will fly you and Holli to the beach and I will meet you there."  She informed me that was a bribe.  To which I replied, "And what's the problem with that?"  Before I got off of the phone with her, Robby was booking me a plane ticket to Cleveland.

My ticket was booked before we got our little snow here in the south where I got to experience about four inches of snow and temperatures in the twenties for one day.  Checking the weather in Cleveland I found that the temperatures there were sometimes dipping into single digits (Even 0!!), with windchill factors in the negatives and snow up to your knees.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?!  I walked to my closet and upon looking through my winter clothes, I came to the realization that my "Southern Winter Clothes" were probably NOT going to make it in those conditions.  OH...And in the meantime to confirm this, Caitlin sent me this video of the snow storm they were having this weekend...
video
                              Ummm...Yea.  this doesn't look very inviting to this southern girl.

                                   And so my search through the closet continued yesterday:
1.  Thermal underware.  CHECK.
2.  Fur UGGS.  CHECK.
3.  Northface Jacket.  CHECK.
4.  Hat.  CHECK.  Must get insulated gloves today!
5.  Blue jeans.  CHECK.  Maybe even ski pants!
6.  The 3 heavy sweaters I could scrounge up.  CHECK.
7.  Long pajamas and heavy socks to sleep in. CHECK.

And as I planned for my trip to the "Arctic Tundra" (aka:  Cleveland), I enjoyed the sunshine here in the south.  And then it happened.  Someone mentioned that snow was predicted again here for Tuesday.  WHAT?!  We never...I mean NEVER get snow here and now we were going to get it TWICE within a one week period?!  (sigh...).  Well, I supposed I can just use these wintry southern "Sneaux Days" as preparation for my "Arctic Tundra" trip.  HEY...Did I mention that I am ready for March to be here so I can wear my flip-flops again?!
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Sneaux In The South...REALLY?!

When my 85 year old mother told me two days ago that we were going to get snow (or sneaux, as we in the south here like to spell it; we end most words with "eaux"...), I questioned her and laughed under my breath.  "Where did you hear that?", I asked, while googling "weather" on my trusty i-phone.  She informed me that the local weatherman had made that prediction, at which I laughed even more, while reading that there was a 0% chance of precipitation for the following day.  I got up the next morning and I must admit that the temperatures were pretty chilly outside and the sky was overcast...that meant nothing.  We NEVER get snow in this part of Louisiana.

I ran most of my errands and headed home, saving the last few and my trip to the nail shop for Friday.  I couldn't get warm so I poured myself something warm to drink, turned the television on and pulled out my knitting project.  Later, I got a text message from my oldest son.  It was a picture of him at work...and it was snowing.  OK, he was about 45 minutes north of where I lived and it's not unheard of to have a few snowflakes in northern Louisiana.  I walked to the door where I noticed that it had started to rain.  Great!  All snow means down here in the south is that it is going to sleet, ice over, the schools and main interstate leading into town will be closed (since southerners do NOT know how to drive in the "white stuff"), the power lines will get heavy with the ice and the electricity will go out.  JOY.

Hubby and I ate our dinner, we Face timed with David and Beckett, continued to watch television and I desperately tried to catch up on some knitting orders.  That's when this video arrived on my phone...
video
Parker Ann lives only 45 minutes north of me and she had this much snow?!  Perhaps I should get up and go look outside.  I had only assumed it was still raining with an icy mix but this is what I found...

 I said, "Robby, you need to come see this; it's snow, not ice!"  He got out of his recliner and walked over to the door, surprised to see the "white stuff" as well.  Before we went to bed, I moved the cat into the garage and noticed that it was still coming down pretty hard out there.  I wondered what the next day would be like; I still had a few errands to run...OH, and I still needed to get my  nails done!

Upon waking this morning, I gently pulled my curtain back to see what it looked like outside...
WOW!  There was LOTS of "white stuff" everywhere.  I was pleasantly surprised that no icicles could be found hanging from the power lines and we still had our electricity.  And I also knew what this meant for the children of Louisiana...A MAGICAL SNEAUX DAY OF FUN!

Granted, I'm still not a fan of cold weather and "long-term snow", however, "SNEAUX" is a totally different thing all together.  It is the thing that southern children dream of every winter and only "magically" receive once in a blue moon.  So, although I still have a few errands to run and really NEED to get my nails done, I will sit inside my warm house and catch up on things here until the "white stuff" melts.
                                     HAPPY SNEAUX DAY, CHILDREN OF THE SOUTH!





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The Fishing Trip...

Poppi had promised Parker Ann a fishing trip the week before.  And this child does not forget anything.  That's why he received a text message Saturday night that said, "Parker Ann is looking forward to her fishing trip with Poppi tomorrow after church!"  And so it was that we went over to the river with her and let her fish off of a friend's dock.  Poppi and Parker fished...and I took my camera along to snap a few (OK...really more than a few) photos.  This is what our afternoon looked like...

 The day was actually quite beautiful, with temperatures close to 70 degrees.  The first thing I noticed when we arrived was the quiet and peacefulness of the area; I could get used to this.
        When we got on the dock, Poppi set about fixing his and Parker Ann's fishing poles.
She told him she wanted a pink bait because that was her favorite color and the fish liked pink.  Well, of course, he put a pink bait on her line!  
I thought it was really cool that boards could be removed from the dock so they could fish underneath it...where all the fish are supposed to be!
                                                               How about that pink rod?!
These two are pretty serious fishermen.  He's the quiet listener and she's the one who talks about the fish the entire time.
               Looking down that hole to see if she can see any fish swimming under there.
         And she kept telling me, "You have to be patient, YaYa.  You just have to be patient."
And patient she was...watching that little bobber.  Well, for at least a few seconds before reeling the line back in again.
Then, like any true fisherman, she asked Poppi to change her bait... to blue.  Because the fish would probably like blue now.  And he did it for her.  That's the great thing about Poppis.
                                       A little girl fishing with her Poppi.  Priceless memories.
Although no fish were caught, much fun and lots of memories were made that lazy afternoon.  Things that money can't buy.  Parker Ann said, "Poppi, we didn't catch one fish.  I guess we will just have to come back tomorrow."  And I'm sure we will return very soon for another fishing trip.








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Books I Am Reading Or Have Read: "Divergent"

Divergent.  I remember when I was in college talking about students being convergent and divergent thinkers.  I immediately thought about my middle son.   When he was in kindergarten,  his class had done something different for Show and Tell one week.  Instead of bringing an item to school, they were to think of an item that started with the letter of the week and act it out for all of the other children to guess what they were thinking of.  The letter was "D" and, of course, most of the students acted out being a dog and other usual things that began with the letter "D".  Then, it was David's turn.  The teacher said he got on his hands and knees, placed his head and hands out in front of him and made a buzzing noise while running his hands along the floor.  Well, try as they might, no one (including the teacher) could determine what he was acting out.  When they finally gave up, he told them that he was a Dustbuster!  Yep, that said something about him and me.  I was apparently constantly cleaning up messes with the Dustbuster and he was...a "divergent" thinker.

Most people these days encourage children to be divergent thinkers.  To think outside the box, embrace their uniqueness.  And, that, is exactly the opposite of what happens in the new "Divergent Series" by Veronica Roth.  In this futuristic novel, the human race is divided into four different factions.  In each faction the members are all alike.  They dress alike and they think alike.  It is easy for the government to control its members and have a more orderly society when they know how to behave.  Whenever an individual turn sixteen years old, they are required to take a test that determines if they are best suited to stay in the faction they have grown up in or move into another faction.  There are usually not any problems where that is concerned...until someone is found to be "divergent".

I won't tell you any more about this book but I can tell you that it was hard for me to put it down.  And the best thing is that this is only book 1 of a 3 book series.  "Divergent" is followed by "Insurgent" and "Allegiant" (Oh, how I LOVE a new book series!).  But hurry and get started on "Divergent" because when I was at the theater the other day I saw a preview for the movie that will be coming out in March.  And you know my self-imposed rule about that; I MUST read the book first!


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It's KING CAKE Season!

Down here in Louisiana we live for the time of year when both crawfish and King Cake come in season.  And that just happens to be about the same time...well, King Cake actually comes first.  Right after New Year's, one begins to see bakeries and grocery stores alike with this colorful confection.  (Read This for the History of the King Cake:  http://www.neworleansshowcase.com/hisofkincak.html#.UtcWT_aKB0k).  Randazzo's, down in New Orleans specializes in the MOST DELICIOUS King Cakes to be found (https://www.randazzokingcake.com/).  You can even order these King Cakes online!  Anyway, when I saw an "easy" recipe for a King Cake the other day, I saved it, planning on baking one soon!

Well, "soon" came sooner than I thought it would.  I decided that I wasn't going to cook dinner last night but that instead we would go out to eat.  You know, no having to clean the kitchen and all.  We came back home afterwards and settled down to watch a little television when Robby said, "Hey...When are we going to make that King Cake?"  I looked at the clock; it was 8 O'clock.  I knew we were about to make a pretty big mess but hey... what the heck!  We proceeded to make our King Cake.

I had already gotten most of the ingredients, with the exception of the purple, green and yellow sugar.  Robby said that wasn't a problem since he could just use food coloring.  It was a "go" on the purple and green but sadly no yellow.  He wanted to use orange but I said, "No Way; we will just use the purple and green."  Anyway, we made the cake and I'm going to share the recipe with you because it was pretty delicious!

INGREDIENTS:
 3 Cans of Cinnamon Rolls
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 T. flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a few drops of milk



 The first thing you need to do is take your cinnamon roll dough out of the refrigerator and let it warm up a little.  This will make it easier to roll out.
                              Put all 3 cans together on a floured surface and begin kneading.
                                  Next, use a rolling pin and roll into a rectangular shape.
Then, you will make your filling by mixing the cream cheese, confectioners sugar, vanilla extract and milk together until creamy.
                                               Spread the filling on the rolled out dough.
When you roll the dough around the filling, make sure you don't roll too many rounds or the outside will brown and the inside will not fully cook.  After rolling it up (making sure the ends are tucked in good so the filling doesn't leak out), form the dough into the shape of a ring and place on a sprayed pan.Bake the cake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25-35 minutes (It will most likely take the entire 35 minutes but check to make sure it is not getting too brown.).
                                        Use the cinnamon roll icing to ice your King Cake.
     You will want to ice your cake while still hot.  I place mine on a rack with a pan beneath it.
Finally, sprinkle your colored sugar on top!  I know...no yellow this time but I plan on getting some for the next one.

I was so anxious to taste this cake to see if it resembled the flavor of a bought King Cake at all and I was pleasantly surprised...It was YUMMY!  Now, If you love King Cake like I do, go and try this recipe.  I assure you, you won't be disappointed.  And if you have never tried a King Cake...well, this is a MUST for you!  OH...but BEWARE!  These things are addictive; every time you pass by one, you have to sneak a pinch.

(Original recipe http://www.foodhomeandgarden.com/2011/02/easy-king-cake-recipe.html)










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The Unwanted Christmas Guest...Who Stayed MUCH Longer Than Expected (Or Wanted)

I didn't write much over the Christmas holiday this year.  At first it was because of the revolving door that appeared to be attached to my house.  People in, people out, people returning.  And it was pure pandemonium.  Suitcases and diapers and toys and mounds of dirty clothes everywhere.  And this was all OK with me.  I realize that holidays and basically any time the entire family is here it is going to be that way.  What I didn't expect was "The Unwanted Christmas Guest" that showed up unexpected bright and early Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve was great.  Although Justin, Sarah and Parker were gone to Arkansas and Ryan and Allison were in Texas, I had half of my family with me; I was happy that both of the "Little Babies" would get to spend their first Christmas at my house.  And so, the guys went over to a friend's house during the day and later we all began to prepare for the Christmas Eve Service at our church.  This service is so special to us because our family has been going to it since our children were small.  We listened to the Christmas story being read, sang some wonderful traditional Christmas hymns and then each family moved to the front of the church to light a candle.  Afterward, as always, our family posed in front of the huge tree in the church foyer for a photograph before heading home.  Once home, we ate and played with the babies before their bedtime and then settled down for a nice night's rest before the chaos of Christmas morning began the next day.  Little did we know what chaos awaited us...
                          The two "Little Babies" getting dressed for Christmas Eve Service.
             "Alright...We are dressed now!  Hold us, Poppi, until everybody else is ready to go."
          Our annual photograph by the church Christmas tree...minus half of us this year.
 "We are ready for Santa Clause!"  The two "Little Babies" wearing their cute Christmas pajamas.




So, you see, everything looks joyful and festive and we are all ready for the next morning when Santa will have arrived with all of his goodies.  HOWEVER...when we got up and started moving around, we found out that Kevin had been throwing up since 3 a.m. (Ugh...).  At first, he thought perhaps he had eaten something that either just didn't settle well with him (our spicy southern food) or possibly even had food poisoning.  He came out to join us for only a few minutes and then was so sick he returned to bed.  It wasn't long before David decided that he needed some medicine to get him through this; it wasn't getting any better.  Next, we located some IV bags and Kevin started an IV on himself (Ummm...yes, true story and yes, that freaked me out just a little bit!).  After a few hours, he appeared to be feeling better and actually came to the couch (with his IV bag...) that afternoon.  We were not eating dinner until late that day at Robby's mother's house.  Of course, Kevin stayed home as we left to go eat.

Robby's sister and some of her family arrived and just as it was time to gather around and fix our plates, I felt this strange sensation in my tummy.  I mentioned it to Robby, who quickly said, "It's just your imagination.  If you don't think about it, the feeling will go away."  Hmmm...OK.  But I NEVER get a sick stomach.  Could this just be me "thinking" about Kevin being sick all day?  I decided to go ahead and fix my plate; perhaps my stomach was just empty from not eating much all day.  As I sat down and took a couple of bites, I felt that same feeling in my stomach.  I excused myself and went to the other room and sat on the staircase for a few minutes and then returned to the table.  I did this several times and things just didn't seem to be getting any better for me.  When Caitlin came looking for me the last time, I was sitting on the bathroom floor and told her, "Go get your dad...I need to go home NOW!"

Robby drove me home (where Kevin was still laying on the couch...) and I told him to go back over and finish dinner and visit with his family.  I then proceeded to get the  WORST STOMACH VIRUS I have ever had!  Thank goodness, David had called in all that medicine because I also had to start taking it.  Around midnight, Caitlin came running to our room (I couldn't move because I was so sick...) saying that Holli had started throwing up.  At 1 a.m., Robby was on his way to the pharmacy to pick medicine up for her.

The next morning found all of us washed out, with Robby and Caitlin stripping all the bed linens and spraying Lysol everywhere, in hopes that  no one else would get that dreaded virus.  But get it, they did.  In the following days and weeks, Codi's dad got it, a pregnant niece got it, Justin and Parker got it.  And as of last week, I was still suffering from symptoms from it.  And so, you see, this is in part why I haven't been able to post lately.  But I am finally feeling better and able to eat again, my house is clean and the laundry pile is shrinking and RIGHT NOW...all is well in my little world.  I hope that you all had a much less eventful holiday and are off to a wonderful start for the new year!  Now, let's bring on that next season...MARDI GRAS!











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