Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

What better way to celebrate than with some Who Dat Champagne!

Just "popping" in (get it...New tried) to wish everyone a safe and happy New Year!  

Yes, I know that says 2010, but I couldn't find a 2011 picture....cut me some slack.

It's gonna be a rainy, nasty night here in the Crescent City...and while I'm at it, why is the weather always yucky on New Year's Eve?  Don't know if anyone will even get to see the Fleur de Lis drop from the top of the Jax Brewery at midnight.

Fireworks on the Mississippi.JPG

Everyone be safe and I'll catch y'all in 2011!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas PJ's and other snuggly things

The children were nestled...on either side of their mom.

It has become a tradition in our family that Santa's elves deliver packages a little early to be opened on Christmas Eve.  Inevitably, those boxes contain new, fuzzy, flannel PJ's.  Now living in South Louisiana, many times we have to turn the A/C down reeeeaaaaal low in order to wear these PJ's without suffocating, but this year we were in luck.  Old Man Winter decided to pay a visit just in time for the flannel to come out of the box.  It just so happened that this year, we all got matching PJ's, except for Dad.....

What a trooper

he got a "Major Award".  
(You know that man must love me to put up with my shenanigans.) 

 This is a bittersweet Christmas for us, because it's the very last one we'll spend with just our little "family of four" under the same roof.  Our eldest, Megan, will graduate from law school in May and move out into the big, working world to a place of her own.  So, you know, I'm gonna milk this year for all it's worth; however, because they'll all kill me if I post any actual pictures of Christmas morning, you'll just have to use your imagination...except for this one....cause it sums the morning up perfectly.

And while we're on the subject of snuggly things, here are the girls "helping" our Yorkiepoo, Lola, open her gift. 

...and I think she likes it...

 ...enough to drag her ratty old "Bo Bo" into her new home.

Lola asks that you please excuse her messy hair right now. She couldn't get to the beauty parlor in time for the holidays and is looking a little unkept.  Underneath it all, is a pampered pooch waiting to be unleashed. 

 And then there are the cats.  This is Talia (our other cat, Angel, decided she didn't want to participate in the festivities...she's a bit of Diva) and as you can see, she looks positively thrilled that we ousted her from her usual napping place under the dining room table.

So, those are a few of our warm snugglies from Christmas 2010...PJ's and all. 
Hope your holidays were full of whatever makes you all warm and toasty inside.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!!

We are family...I got all my sistahs with me...

The girls and I spent the day making yummilicious Gingerbread cookies.  Now, in all of our years of cookiedom, and believe me, we've made some cookies....we've never attempted shaped gingerbread cookies.  I admit, I was a little anxious about tackling this project.  I know, it's only a cookie, but the thought of decapitating a poor innocent little hunk of would-be-deliciousness put a lump in my throat.  Oh, and then there's my little issue with patience....ahem....okay, I'll just 'fess up here.  Those who know me, know that there's the very real chance that I could get completely ticked off and chunk the entire thing, bowl and all, in the trash...and some unChristmaslike words might be uttered....hypothetically speaking.

But no, 'tis the Season and I was determined to do this.  Armed with a wonderful recipe (Gingerbread Boys) brought to my attention by my dear friend, Lynn (who later wimped out on me and didn't even make the darned things herself), the girls and I began our project.  (One note, I did change the recipe a bit...didn't add as much orange zest, and substituted molasses for the corn syrup.)

All tan and ready to be dressed.  Right now they just look like the cast of
Jersey Shore, all brown and naked.
The rolling out process was a bit of a pain because the dough needs to be really cold to cut easily.  I rolled between two pieces of wax paper (read this on the allrecipes website) and that made things much less messy.  Baked the little boogers and....well you see in the picture above how they came out.  Not perfect, but at least nobody lost a limb.

Betty and Don Draper
We had such fun decorating them and giving them their own unique personality.  I went with a Mad Men theme sans cigarettes and whiskey.  To decorate, I used a basic stiff Royal Icing recipe to pipe the outlines, then made a much looser batch to fill in using the color flow technique.  

Gotta have a team right....and yes, that's CP3 (uh, Chris Paul...New Orleans Hornets for you foreigners).   And before anyone asks...I'm ashamed to admit there's no Drew Brees...or any Saints players at all.  I didn't have black food coloring for the uniforms....I know...I've brought shame upon the Who Dat Nation.  My head is appropriately bowed.  I will not let it happen again.
Harry Potter
Devan even made Harry Potter.  Check out that wicked scar.

All in all, not bad for our first try.  I just don't know if we can bring ourselves to eat any of them.  They're like family at this point.

We also made a batch of Cappuccino Blossoms, and since these involve dark chocolate, well, they're pretty much medicinal what with dark chocolate being good for your heart, flavonoids, antioxidants, free radicals, blah, blah, blah.

Cappuccino Blossoms

They are, quite simply, Heaven in cookie form.

So, go pour yourself a big glass of ice cold milk and lick your monitor. 

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Christmas time in New Orleans (in my best Louis Armstrong voice)

St. Louis Cathedral

Steve and I took a break from the hectic pace of the Christmas season to head down to the French Quarter.  We live about 15 minutes away, and try to do this as often as possible, but not nearly enough as we'd like.  I especially love the Quarter and downtown area during Christmas.

Here a buggy driver waits in front of the Cathedral for his next fare.

Love this shot and perspective of the Cathedral.


Here's the Cabildo, which sits adjacent to St. Louis Cathedral.  It was the original seat of Colonial Government in New Orleans, and was also the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies in 1803. It continued to be used by the New Orleans city council until the mid 1850s.  In 1911 the Cabildo became the home of the Louisiana State Museum. The museum displays exhibits about the history of Louisiana from its settlement up through the Reconstruction era, and the heritage of the ethnic groups that live there.

The Ritz-Carlton on Canal Street all decked out for the holidays.


A view of the street car tracks down Canal Street.

And, of course, no trip to the Quarter is complete without a trip to Cafe du Monde!

What'll it be? au lait and beignets.

Hope you enjoyed the mini-tour.

Joyeux Noel!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lights, Camera...Photos

Thought I'd share a few shots of our outside lights this year.  We keep it pretty simple....lighted swags and wreaths...white lights...and bows...
you knew there'd be more bows.   

I love the way the lights play off the glass in the front door. 
 It just looks "Merry" to me. 

Hope you enjoyed the mini tour.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Everybody gather 'round the's time to sing YMCA

Nope, your eyes haven't deceived you.  It is actual Merman Christmas ornaments, a la The Village People!!!  Spotted these hotties in a little shop in the French Quarter last night.

Sadly, the shop was closed or you know...YOU KNOW...I would've had to run in and buy at least one of them...hmmm...which one....probably the Santa Merman...he's super hot....check out those abs...and I'm pretty sure he's sipping on a Cosmo.

Not quite sure what these have to do with Christmas, but I had to share them with you.  Imagine the decorating possibilities with these entire tree..and it would be sooooo glammed up...maybe a boa garland...and lots of lights....Judy Garland's "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" softly playing in the background.   I'm pretty sure I'd be great friends with anyone who has these babes on their tree...
fun, fun, fun!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's a bird, it's a plane....nah, it's just decorations hanging from the chandelier

Thought I'd share a few more ideas for Christmas decorations...
don't say I didn't warn you.

I like to spread a little bit of Christmas all around my home.  Why stick with one tree in the corner of the room?  I looked at my naked dining room chandelier and had a lightbulb moment...
okay, that was bad, I know. 

 Since the ornaments are so "busy", I decided to just keep it garlands or fancy bows.  Just ornaments and narrow ribbon. 
Couldn't have been easier.
 I can't tell you how in love I am with these cheetah and feather ornaments..and I love the little starburst ones.  I have those all over my house....on the tree, on the mantle, hanging from the chandelier, sitting on shelves in the powder room.  They add just the right amount of sparkle....and a girl's gotta have holiday sparkle.

So go forth people....continue to spread the holidays...
and the glitter...around your homes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pull up a chair

Since 'tis the season, I thought I'd devote yet another post to decorating...warning...this isn't the last.

Don't limit yourself to a tree in the living room. Think of other places to spread a little holiday cheer.  Here's an idea for dining room chairs.  Really any chair with an open back can be accomodated.

I just bought artificial boughs (you can use live greenery...if you don't mind constantly picking the needles off the carpets everytime someone moves a chair)  The boughs I bought had a little loop at the top, so I tied on a bow...yes another bow.  I made these bows much smaller and less full than the ones on the tree and garlands...
only 2 loops on each side....very simple.

Then I experimented with looping a more narrow coordinating ribbon through the chair rungs until I came up with a configuration that worked...tied the sprig on...and voila...festive chair. 

The best thing is that I can reuse this year after year.  The boughs are actually from Christmases past.  I just repurposed them with new bows this year.  This is very easy and took less than an hour...
including the bows.  Give it a try.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Gone Wild!

Fireplace mantle
As I have addressed before in this blog, I have decorating ADD...there's no denying it, so I might as well own it.  I get sick of things pretty fast.  That is especially true when it comes to holiday decor.  I've done the red and green, silver, gold, burgundy..the list is endless.  What could I do this year to spice things up a bit, and not break the bank?

One of the zillion bows I made this year,
and one of my vintage Santas.
As I was trudging through Sam's of all places, I ran across this cheetah print ribbon...or is it leopard print...hmmmm....I can't tell.....and had a lightbulb moment.  An animal Christmas it would be!!!

I began furiously making bows...don't ask me how many...I lost count, but I did use two 50 ft. bolts, plus about 1/2 of another bolt.  My poor hands are still cramped and gnarled.

Now I'm not one to completely redo my tree.  I use the same sentimental ornaments year after year, but I do like to stick in a few new ornaments to go with my new theme.  I was beyond thrilled when I ran across these cheetah/leopard ornaments at Pier One, and the feather and glitzy ones at Wal Mart of all places.  This animal thing is going to work out after all!

The inspiration ornaments

Let me just say that despite a zillion non-working lights this year, my handy, beyond patient, husband managed to get everything fixed so that Christmas could go on as planned.  For a while there, I thought we were going to have to cancel this year.  I didn't want to alarm any of you until we knew if he could get everything working again, but have no can now all enjoy your Christmases....the lights are working!

This Santa has stood proudly on my mantle for years. 
He's trying to determine if we've been naughty or nice...poor guy.

This slim topiary tree sits in the coner of the living room

I love to just curl up on the sofa at night with the lights all aglow and 
the Christmas music softly playing in the background and enjoy the peace and quiet...on the rare occasion that it is actually peaceful and quiet

And finally....the tree!!
 This is just a taste of our Christmas decor....stay tuned for Christmas Gone Wild...the sequel!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saintsgiving in the land of the Who Dats

Get Ready for Saintsgiving

I know everyone is busy this week running to the grocery, cleaning the house, preparing guest rooms, running back to the grocery, all in preparation for the annual Thanksgiving feast. 

Well, here in New Orleans, we've got a little something extra to prepare for this year.  Yep, that's right.  This year we're celebrating Saintsgiving.  Our beloved Saints will play the much hated Cowboys at 3:00 p.m. on Turkey Day.  Now, I know it's a day to sit back and reflect on the many things we're all thankful for, and not to dwell on the things we dislike, but it's the Cowboys...give me a break!!!

I've already informed all of my guests to arrive around noon and we'll be seated for dinner as close to 1:00 p.m. as possible, so that by the time the pigskin starts to fly, we can all be assembled in the media room to partake big old Cowboy butt whooping!

So go forth your turkey and cranberries....dive into the pumpkin pie....and then join the ranks of the Who Dat Nation in cheering the Saints on to victory!!!

Happy Saintsgiving y'all!!