November 23, 2012

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Giveaway

My FAVORITE new Author (Chautona Havig) is having an AMAZING giveaway!
Hop on over to her page to register to win & make sure you tell her I sent you!





May 10, 2012

Pink Cowgirl Boutique

Please Take a Moment to Visit My New Business

For the Fashionista who loves to get quality, trendy boutique clothes on a budget!



Happy To Report

I know I havent been around in awhile.... well at least not posting on my own personal blog. Things have been in full swing around my "neck of the woods". Like many of you, our garden is growing, the tempratures are warming, the school year is ending and the summer fun is getting in gear.

The last time I posted about my weight loss journey I wasn't prepared to share my full success. It has now been 9 weeks since I started, and I am very pleased to share that I have lost:

20 LBS!!!

Yes, I am super excited and very proud of myself..... but I still have a long ways to go!

Another exciting thing that has happened - We recently attended the PHS FFA Blue & Gold End of the Year Banquet, where my beautiful daughter Alyssa had a very rewarding night!

March 25, 2012

Top 10 Things Keeping Me Busy

No, I haven't posted much lately. It's that normal crazy life I lead. So here are the top things that I have been busy with lately.

1. *Work* - I hate that it is #1 on the list, but truth be told, its what takes up most of my time.
2. *Studying* - Again, work related. But, I have just 2 more continuing educations classes to finish to renew my adjuster license next month so its a necessary evil.
3. *Clothes* - Unfortunately, I don't mean shopping either. Its the never-ending task around our house of washing clothes! I swear my kids are fashion crazy or the clothes multiply once they take them off. Either way, its at least 3 loads a day around our house that have to hit the washer.

4. *Homework* - with 4 kids, age 8-16, there is ALWAYS homework, projects, studying, etc to be done.
5. *Exercise/Diet* - While its #6 on my list, I am trying to keep it as close to the top of the priorities list as possible. I am feelings SO much better now that the pounds are coming off. Nutritious meal planning takes
6. *Color Guard* - Alyssa will be trying out for HS Color Guard this week. We have had a parent meeting and I have been making sure that she getting in some early practice time with the flag.
7. *Reading* - Anyone who knows me knows I love to read. In addition to my eBible on my Kindle, I am reading 2 other books. Both are really good... just depends on my mood as to which I want to read.
8. *Embroidery/Quilting* - Have a couple baby blankets I need to be finishing soon. Hopefully I get them done before the babies get here.
9. *Chickens/Garden* - with 6 more added to our flock we are throwing around some ideas on changing our coop. While the current coop/run is certainly big enough to house 6 more hens, we aren't entirely happy with where our current coop is so we are thinking of making some changes. We are BEHIND on planting our garden!! Yikes! Should have already done some planting but the weather and several other interfering factors have delayed our planting! We have gotten some of our beds moved to new locations, but nothing planted.
10. *Taxes* - UGH! That dreaded time of the year. 1) Having to pay them, but 2) I HATE having to do all the paperwork. Its such pain..... making sure my darling husband has correctly identified what category things go into for purchases, gathering the receipts to make sure it matches. Oops, you bought something with CASH? Grrrr... Oh wait, what was this bought for, only to hear I don't know! Grrrr!! Bless his heart, he really does try to stay on top of all the stuff for the business, but organization is not his strong suit. It took me YEARS to convince him to do stuff electronically to make my life easier. He still does his paper trail, which is fine, but this girl needs digital information.

So there ya have it. I am just a typical crazy busy mom & career woman, who somehow manages to get at least a few hours of sleep a night!


March 9, 2012

Another Week Has Come & Gone

SUCCESS should be my middle name. Again, as stated last week I will not be disclosing the actual amount of success at this time but lets just say: SCORE! I have a number in mind that I will reveal once I get to it, but for now **mums the word**.

I truly thank all my supporters from the bottom of my heart. Your encouraging words mean so much to me. Because you are checking in on me, its keeping me accountable to all of you not just myself. Its helping to me create GOOD habits that will continue.

DIET COKE: I tried to banish it, but have failed miserably! I was doing good for about a week with only one a day. Unsweet tea with my little pink packets (you know the ones) where doing good for me. I was actually starting to drink water too. **Shhhhh, don't tell my body it was water!** Then my boss went on vacation this week, my stress level has increased and WHAM "I NEED MY DIET COKE". So my, ummmmm,  logical approach to this is: It's better that its Diet Coke than snacking on junk food, right? While it is loaded with sodium and things that will give me brain cancer, its not useless calories. So I am back to square 1 with the Diet Coke. I will try again, but just not right now.

CHEAT DAY: Oh yeah... I have decided I have to have one a week. Sorry folks but old "habits" die hard. My body still craves the "junk". lol Saturday is my cheat day. Why? Well its the day I am busy shopping, in town, etc. I will allow myself chocolate this day. I will eat those things I still love that are fried, etc. Last weeks cheat went great (in my opinion). I only went over my daily calorie budget by 400 calories. I PLANNED my cheat day. So yeah, it wasnt a **total bust**!

FOOD: Funny story: My husband (yeah, some of you know him and what he is really like lol) went grocery shopping last week. What would have normally been an hour trip to the grocery turned into a 2 1/2 trip to the grocery! Why? Well we were reading labels! OH-M-GEE!!! Its astounding how many calories I was putting into my body without even realizing it. I mean, really, astounding! Hubby has jumped on board and its nice to have someone in the kitchen with me helping plan healthier meals. My kids are pretty much refusing to give up chicken nuggets, fish sticks and hot dogs, but I am sneaking the good stuff in on them with out them really realizing it. :)

EXERCISE: I am doing a walking/running challenge this month. 100 miles in the month of March. I am on target right now. Doing pretty good. I am SUPPOSED to be reporting my miles to the organizer of this "event" but honestly, its just too much work for me to do that. So, I am just tracking it in my fitness & health journal that sits next to my bed. I have been doing 3.5 miles a day. I have slacked a little this week and only done a mile 2 days in a row, but one day I did 5 miles. The result? Blisters on the pad of my right foot. Not heels, pad! Ouch. They have pretty much healed now, so I will increase back up to at least 3.5 and do the extra to make up the miles I missed.

I got the Nike+ Sensor and am now using that App on my iPhone to track my distance. Its kind of fun actually to use! :)

Maison had poision ivy last week and missed a full week of school. He went back to school this Monday but by Wednesday he was running a fever and totally congested. Yup, missed another two days. He felt better this morning and no fever, so he is back at school today. He is a boy scout and they are going on a camping trip this weekend, so he is very excited about that.

Jada-Grace is doing WONDERFULLY in her new class with her two new teachers! Straight A's and coming home from school happy everyday. She has been enjoying watching over our new baby chicks.

Ryan is doing great with his second season of basketball and is improving every week. I dont think he enjoys it as much as football, but he does enjoy it. Unfortunately, his team hasnt won a game, so that is pretty discouraging to him.

Alyssa has endured so much heartache lately, I just continue to pray for her hard (and ask that you do too). She has lost 3 friends in 3 separate car accidents over the past 6 weeks. It has been an emotionally trying time for all of the kids at her school. Today was the day she had to turn in her major Agriscience project for this school year. Its a year long project and is a huge part of her grade. Her project focused on Poultry Production (the raising her chickens and selling the eggs). In helping her finish up the spreadsheets last night, I couldnt help but be proud of the success we have had with raising our chickens.

Daylight Savings Time this weekend means more time for me to do stuff outside once I get in from the office. Yeah!! I think we are past our last freeze for the year and I am READY to start planting! Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

I get to have lunch with my best friend, Selena, tomorrow. She used to work with me, but changed jobs to be closer to home (and less stress). I miss her so much not seeing her everyday. But I am super excited that she is going on the cruise too in December. Our last trip together was to New York in 2006. Wow... time sure has flown by! Its going on 7 years now that we have known each other. There is only one other person in this world that knows as much about me as she does, and that is my sister.

Until next week...... Take Care & God Bless!

March 2, 2012

1 Week Success

Today marks the one week point of my new healthy lifestyle changes. While I WON'T be posting my weight loss (just yet) & measurements yet, I will share that I am making progress. I am doing my very best to eat right and I have increased my physical activity.

I have decided not to share my progress with "everyone" right now, for one simple reason: HATERS!

You know the kind of people I am talking about. The ones that just cant wait to see you slip-up, gain a little, etc. Yes, sadly, I have a couple of those. But THAT IS OK! I am focused. I have a goal. I am feeling GREAT GREAT GREAT right now!

Why have I been putting this off? Oh wait... I know, BECAUSE IT IS WORK! That's right... no quick fix.... I am working it off! I am SO very proud of myself. I am making accomplishments. I am heading in the right direction. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a total "ADD" person and dont stick to things long, changing from one thing to another all the time. Some like to joke about all my projects I have started over the years only to get bored with it and pick up something new. So I plan to combat this "boredom" by changing it up. Walking, Zumba, Elliptical, WiiFit, etc.... Not doing the same thing all the time. I have to admit though, I favor my treadmill the most! I even had the landlord of our office building measure out the parking lot for me so I know how far I am walking when I go out for lunchtime walks! :)

My impending cruise with the girls in Decemeber was the first motivator for me to get moving. Who wants to be fat on a cruise, right? But I have many people in my life that are both motivators and supporters for me. The ones that fall into both categories and are making the biggest impact: My wonderful sister Melissia: She is my biggest cheerleader! I love her to death and I am so glad that she convinced me I needed this and that she is going this journey with me! My cousin Roxanna: She is on the journey with us and we are all supporting each other daily. Jennifer: My friend that could really be my twin (except that she is skinny and I am not, lol) She texts or emails everyday to check on me and encourage me! I have had supportive comments, praise and encouragement from others but these three ladies have gotten me through the first week and I can say that I am coming out on top and ready for week two.

My other motivators? My HATERS! Thats right, it motivates me! It motivates me to prove them wrong! Oh but I am not going to let them see the little successes. No, I am going to let it hit them all at once! No its NOT the best attitude to have, but I am sick and tired of it! I am tired of the way I feel, I am tired of "you" doubting me, I am tired of "your" simple mindness. I am going to LOVE proving to both ME and YOU that I CAN DO THIS! JUST WAIT... ITS COMING!



February 27, 2012

I disappeared didnt I

Wow! I havent posted since last week. Where did the time go? Well, lets recap the past 4 days:

Friday: WORK. The place I spend most of my waking hours. Fortunately our office has been REALLY quiet lately and the Pres. said it was cool for us to close early Friday. YEAH!!! So I got to go visit my sister and my cousin early. We have started our cruise weight loss challenge..... Oh wait, let me back up.


Yeah, I have never been on a cruise before so I am pretty darn excited about it! My sister, close friend, cousin and I are taking a girls only cruise for 5 days to Cozumel & Progreso in Decemeber. Ok, back to the weight loss challenge..... Over the years, I have packed on the pounds. Just just a little, but, ALOT. I had decided that its TIME to get my life back and get these pounds off. I have been wanting to "get started" but just had no motivation. This cruise was the "it" I was looking for to really make a difference for me. So the journey has begun. We 3 "girls" met together to weight and take our body measurements.

Lets just put it all out there..... OMG, I weigh 255 lbs! I have NEVER EVER been this FAT in my life. And I will NEVER EVER be this FAT again! How disgusting is that (255 lbs). I am taking my life back!

1. I have cut down DRASTICALLY the amount of Diet Coke I consume. I know, I know... I shouldnt have it at all. But trust me people, if you "know me", you "know" how much Diet Coke I drink in a day. Its seriously like a drug addict going through withdrawls. (Ok, maybe not THAT bad.) I used to drink 2-3 Rt 44 drinks from Sonic and at least 6 - 12 oz cans a day. WAY to much! So for the past 3 days I have had ONE Diet Coke a day.

2. I MUST get moving more! Zumba, gonna go for it thanks to my friend Katie for giving me her unused DVDs. My treadmill and elliptical that I purchased a year ago will be seeing me more often for other than dusting them off.

3. Food: Oh how I love love love carbs. I mean REALLY love carbs. So I will NOT be attempting a low carb "diet". Instead I will be be making healthier decisions, including limiting my calories, fat, & carbs and increasing my protein.

Saturday: Make a trip to town to buy a new pair of athletic shoes. If I am going to be working out, I needed some good comfortable shoes, right? Then it was off to the local TS for our routine shopping for chicken feed. On the way home, my husband and I were discussing getting more chickens. We decided to get a few more of another kind. So here they are:

6 Buff Orpington Pullets
They are currently located in a large Rubbermaid container. Once they get a little bigger we will move them out to the brooder.

I didnt workout on Saturday, but I did eat less than 1400 calories! :)

Sunday: I am well aware that we should rest on the Sabbath, however, that just doesnt always happen around our house. Sunday was my start day! Calories stayed at (just shy of) 1200, I walked/jogged 4 miles, and did an hour total of Zumba. I broke it up throughout the day, and I felt GREAT after it was all done.

Today/Monday: My sinus issues are hitting me full force today. I feel like I am in a fog, my head HURTS, by throat HURTS, my ears HURT, etc... Taking my sinus meds but the dark yellow pollen that invaded our area of the weekend has me miserable. On the bright side, SPRING IS COMING!!

My legs, arms, abs, glutes, etc ARE sore but not horribly. No pain no gain!

There it is.... for all the world to see! BUT..... Changes are a'coming!

February 23, 2012

Thursday Things In A Row

My Awesome Children (and daughter's boyfriend) indulging me on a photo shoot at a local state park.

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When nineteen-year-old Tiffany Perron vanishes from rural Grand Trespass, Louisiana, best friend HALEY LANDRY's relationship with her boyfriend becomes increasingly strained. To make matters worse, her impressionable younger sister BECKY has begun idolizing an impetuous, seductive 15 year old who's encouraging her to do dangerous things.

Meanwhile, ERICA DUVALL, a reclusive 19-year-old aspiring writer, befriends Haley. Ten years earlier, Erica’s mother abandoned her, leaving her with the womanizing used car salesman father she loathes. She’s decided to write a novel based on Tiffany’s disappearance; a novel that she hopes will lead to a reunion with her estranged novelist mother.
RACHEL ANDERSON, a 36-year-old mother of two, is having trouble coming to terms with her husband, TOM’s, affair with the missing girl—a relationship that supposedly ended shortly before Tiffany’s disappearance. What’s more, she comes to the blood curdling realization that someone is watching her through the large back windows of her house.

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February 21, 2012

It's Carnival Time Part 3

Today is the day! Its Mardi Gras across the world. New Orleans is rockin' and rollin', but where am I? NOT IN NEW ORLEANS, I assure you! No folks, my days of down in the crazyiness of it all are LONG over!

Today, I am going to share the FAMILY side of Mardi Gras! No bare skin being flashed, no gigantic floats, no toasting of Kings & Queens, no magnificant ball gowns..... nope, we are gonna enjoy the QUIETER side of Mardi Gras today.

There are MANY MANY parades in the state of Louisiana that dont take place in New Orleans! Most of those parades are more family oriented. The floats are as outlandish, and its an all-around safer expierence for all involved.

Louisiana schools SHUT DOWN! Yes! We are out of school for the Mardi Gras holiday! My children will return to school on Thursday. No school: Lundi Gras, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday.

School Children Create Floats for School and "roll" Through the Hallways!

photo credit

Parents Decorate Wagons and "roll" through Neighborhoods with the Children as the Riders!

photo credit

Yes, There are Even PET Mardi Gras Parades!

photo credit
Many Families Spend the Day Together, Not at a Parade, but at a Family Bar-B-Que!

photo credit

I you have all learned something about the beloved season of Carnival in my series. Most people outside of Louisiana only see what the national news has to show on a Louisiana Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, that is not always the BEST light for my great state to be portrayed in. There IS a good side to this wonderful tradition and I hope you have all gotten a glimpse of it here. So, from me to you....


February 20, 2012

It's Carnival Time Part 2

Its LUNDI GRAS today! I hear you thinking "What is Lundi Gras?". Well.. it is the recently popularized name for Shrove Monday (the Monday before Ash Wednesday) and the day before Mardi Gras.The word shrove is the past tense of the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of Confession and doing penance.  Lundi is French for the word Monday. Hence it's the Monday before Mardi Gras.

As Lundi Gras goes in South Louisiana, its the celebrated day of Rex, King of Carnival, arriving by boat to the city of New Orleans. King Rex then meets with King Zulu, of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, who also arrives by boat. The Mayor of New Orleans then toasts the two, giving them symbolic control of the city for the remainder of the Mardi Gras season.

As promised, in my last post, It's Carnival Time Part 1, I will give you some more information about the traditions of Mardi Gras. Let's do the "well known" traditions today and I will address the "family" traditions in my next post.
Let's start with my favorite Mardi Gras tradition, the King Cake:

King Cakes are probably the best (in my opinion) tradition of Mardi Gras. The King Cake is a sweet yeast bread cake traditionally oval in shape. It is covered with a poured sugar topping decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras-colored sugars of purple, green and gold. Purple symbolizing Justice, Green symbolizing Faith, and Gold symbolizing Power. These colors are representative of the jeweled crown in honor of the Three Wise Men who visited the Christ Child on Epiphany. Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, is when the Carnival Season officially begins (January 6th).

The King Cake tradition is believed to have begun with French settlers around 1870. They were continuing a custom dating back to Twelfth Century France where a similar cake was used to celebrate the coming of the Magi twelve days after Christmas bearing gifts for the Christ Child, also known as King's Day

As a symbol of this Holy Day, a tiny plastic baby (symbolic of the baby Jesus) is placed inside each King Cake but in the past, the hidden items were usually coins, beans, pecans or peas. In 1871, the tradition of choosing the Queen of Mardi Gras was determined by who received a piece of cake with the prize inside the piece. Today it is considered good luck and the person who discovers the plastic baby is to host the next King Cake Party.

I would say the most popular tradition of Carnival Season would be the Parades:

Parades.... that is what we all know the Mardi Gras season to be right? But what is a Mardi Gras parades about anyway?  On Mardi Gras of 1857, the Mystick Krewe of Comus held its first parade. The parades in New Orleans are organized by Carnival krewes. Krewe float riders toss throws to the crowds. The most common throws are strings of plastic beads, doubloons (aluminum or wooden dollar-sized coins usually impressed with a krewe logo), decorated plastic throw cups, and small inexpensive toys. Most major krewes have a "signature" throw. Zulu has painted coconuts, Rex has a Golden doubloon, Nyx throws feather boas & crowns, Babylon does jester hats, and the list goes on and on. Major krewes follow the same parade schedule and route each year.

Not only do the parades include beautifully decorated floats, but there are bands, marching groups, mounted horses, dune buggies..... its a real show to see. Each and every parade is unique and the floats are magnificent!

Last but certainly not least on the "traditions" list? Well....... that would be EXPOSURE! We have all heard about it, right? And if you HAVEN'T, consider yourself fortunate indeed.

Saying it is "tradition" is like saying that people who get drunk and pass out on Bourbon Street are following "tradition" as well. Thankfully, this does not occur everywhere in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but just on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter area. An area known for its strip joints (where those interested in this sort of thing can see it year round).
Even the most demure ladies can cave in to the pressure of flashing their breasts for the coveted prize of Mardi Gras beads. Legend has it that this practice actually began very innocently. As early as 1871, masked characters would be riding on parade floats through the streets of New Orleans and they would be throwing out inexpensive souvenirs to the crowd. People are competitive by nature and the race was on to see who could collect the most throws. Beautiful young ladies would yell out, “Throw me something, mister” and fill their goodie bags with the collected loot. In the 1970’s, the notoriously raunchy French Quarter District gave the tradition a slightly different slant by coming up with the mutually beneficial bartering system of boobs for beads.

See It's Carnival Time Part 1

Stay Tuned for the Last Installment of It's Carnival Time.... where I will discuss the "family traditions" of the Mardi Gras Season!

Until then.....

February 19, 2012

Succulent Sunday Recipe - Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

I am from South Louisiana. Let's face it, folks.... we are known for our love of food. We love to grow it, we love to cook it, we love to eat it, and we love to share it! From delicious chicory coffee & beignets at Cafe Du Monde to the Thin Fried Catfish at historic Middendorf's,  we know how to eat some good tasting food in South Louisiana!

Arguably one of the most well known chefs in Louisiana, is Chef John Folse. A renowned chef and resturant owner in Creole and Cajun cooking. From hosting food shows to writing books, Chef Folse has made his name in the food world.

One of the best cookbooks known to man (at least in my humble opinion) is The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine by John D. Folse. Its not just a cookbook. Its loaded with beautiful photos of Louisiana and a history lesson on top of it all. Its not cheap, but this is one of those cases where I can promise you, you get what you pay for!

From his book & also his website, I will share with you my favorite "go to" cold winter recipes of Chef Folse's.

Note: The following recipe is from Chef John Folse's website

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Prep Time: 2 Hours
Yeilds: 8-10 Servings

Chicken and sausage are the most popular gumbo ingredients in Louisiana. The ingredients were readily available since most Cajun families raised chickens and made a variety of sausages. Oysters were often added to this everyday dish for a special Sunday or holiday version.

  • 1 (5-pound) stewing hen
  • 1 pound smoked sausage
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 24 button mushrooms
  • 2 cups sliced green onions
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sprig of thyme
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • Louisiana hot sauce to taste
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • steamed white rice
NOTE: You may wish to boil chicken 1–2 hours before beginning gumbo. Reserve stock, bone chicken and use meat and stock in gumbo. Using a sharp boning knife, cut hen into 8–10 serving pieces. Remove as much fat as possible. Cut smoked sausage into ½-inch slices and set aside. In a 2-gallon stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until golden brown roux is achieved. Stir in onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Blend chicken and sausage into vegetable mixture, and sauté approximately 15 minutes. Add chicken stock, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook approximately 1 hour. Skim any fat or oil that rises to surface. Stir in mushrooms, green onions, bay leaf, thyme and basil. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Cook an additional 1–2 hours, if necessary, until chicken is tender and falling apart. Stir in parsley and adjust seasonings. Serve over steamed white rice.

"Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler!"

February 17, 2012


A friend of mine posted some weeks back, and I am sure some of you may have seen this already:

If I wake up tomorrow, with only the things I thanked God for today..... what will I have?

WOW! Ummmm HELLO! I don't know about you, but that really hit me in the gut. We take God's love for us for granted so much don't we? I personally, KNOW, that I don't thank him nearly enough for all of the blessings in my life.

So let this stand as YOUR wake up call, just as it did for me!

If YOU woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today, what would YOU have?

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

It's Carnival Time Part 1

Ahhh!! Only in the South can you hear the words "Its Carnival Time" and immediately start humming the tune by Al Johnson.  No, we dont mean the County Fair folks....... we are talking about the party of all parties - MARDI GRAS!

A bit of a history lesson on Mardi Gras:

Traditionally, Mardi Gras parades begin about 2 weeks prior to, and "roll" through, Fat Tuesday (French for Mardi Gras). Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. Though there is a "Mardi Gras season", to the locals, Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras refer to the same day.

Mardi Gras came to America in 1699 with the French explorer Iberville. Mardi Gras had been celebrated in Paris since the Middle Ages, where it was a major holiday. Iberville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico, from where he launched an expedition up the Mississippi River. On March 3 of 1699, Iberville had set up a camp on the west bank of the river about 60 miles south of where New Orleans is today. This was the day Mardi Gras was being celebrated in France. In honor of this important day, Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras.

During the early 1800's public celebrations of Mardi Gras centered around maskers on foot, in carriages and on horseback. The first documented parade occurred in 1837. Unfortunately, Mardi Gras gained a negative reputation because of violent behavior attributed to maskers during the 1840's and 50's. The situation became so bad that the press began calling for an end to the celebration.

In 1857 six New Orleaneans saved Mardi Gras by forming the Comus organization. These six men were former members of the Cowbellians, an organization which had put on New Year's Eve parades in Mobile since 1831. The Comus organization added beauty to Mardi Gras and demonstrated that it could be a safe and festive event. Comus was the first organization to use the term krewe to describe itself. Comus also started the customs of having a secret Carnival society, having a parade with a unifying theme with floats, and of having a ball after the parade. Comus was also the first organization to name itself after a mythological character. The celebration of Mardi Gras was interrupted by the Civil War, but in 1866 Comus returned.
(Photo & Article Credit)
In 1870 the Twelfth Night Revelers made their appearance. In 1871 they began the custom of presenting a young woman with a golden bean hidden in a cake. This young woman was the first queen of Mardi Gras. This was also the origin of the king cake tradition.

In 1872 Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia visited New Orleans. This year the krewe of Rex made their debut and began the tradition of the "King of Carnival." Rex also introduced purple, gold and green as the official colors of Mardi Gras. Rex was the first krewe to hold an organized daytime parade and introduced "If Ever I Cease To Love" as the Mardi Gras anthem. One of the high points of Rex is the arrival of the Rex King on a riverboat. 1872 also saw the debut of the Knights of Momus on New Year's Eve.

Next Time: Local Mardi Gras Traditions 

Have you ever been to Mardi Gras? Its not for the faint of heart let me tell ya! Now, I am not talking about just what you see on Bourbon Street (which is usually the focus of the National News)..... oh no, there is more to Mardi Gras than just Bourbon Street. Mardi Gras traditions are as varied as the types of tomatoes we can plant in our gardens or the breeds of chickens we have roaming around in the backyard!

Until then......... I hope you all "Pass a Good Time"

Please stop by and visit Dandelion House & White Wolf Summit Farmgirl

February 16, 2012

Type 1 Diabetes Defined

I am a pretty passionate person! When I am into something, I'm not just into it... I'm IN TO IT. One of the things I am most passionate about is an ACCURATE portrayal of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).

Our oldest daughter, Alyssa, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the tender age of 7. Talk about a hard blow that was! There I was, 7 months pregnant with our fourth child, and WHAM!... my "baby girl" was diagnosed with the horrific disease.

I think we have "come to terms" with the diagnosis now. I mean, its been part of our lives for **gasp** almost 10 years. Its not any easier to deal with now, but we certainly are more knowledgeable and don't panic as quickly these days. We still have moments of tears, screaming fits, and bitterness about the diagnosis. Yes, not just Alyssa but me too! The pain a mother feels for not being able to fix her child's "issue" is one that can only be truly understood if you walk in the mother's shoes.

Over the years, we have "heard it all" from friends, family and, yes, even strangers about T1D. Some are just un-informed, some are mis-informed, and some are just..... well, for lack of better words: heartless idiots!!!

Here are MY TOP 10  FACTS I would like to share with you about TYPE 1 DIABETES:

1. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. T1D occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The body attacks itself!

2.  It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. Its causes are not yet entirely understood & scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Let me repeat, It has NOTHING to do with DIET or LIFESTYLE. A T1D can eat the same thing a non-T1D can eat - that doesn't make it a healthy choice (for either) but there are technically no food restrictions!

3. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and as of right now, nothing you can do to get rid of it.

4. Insulin is REQUIRED, its not an alternative. No insulin taken = Death. Its THAT simple! Some people are insulin resistant on top of being insulin dependant! They don't make the insulin needed, then when they take the insulin (via shot or pump), the body refuses to use it correctly. These people need a pill on top of the insulin.... but they still require the insulin.

5. Insulin is NOT a CURE! Refer to #3. Those with T1D need a pancreas that works properly.

6. Warning signs of T1D include:
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sugar in the urine
  • Fruity odor on the breath
  • Heavy or labored breathing
  • Stupor or unconsciousness

7. Every year, more than 15,000 children are diagnosed with T1D. It affects both children and adults, but is commonly referred to as "juvenile diabetes".

8. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS! In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the body's cells ignore the insulin. This is commonly referred to as "insulin resistant" diabetes. Type 1 = the body doesn't make insulin at all, Type 2 = the body doesn't use insulin correctly or has a reduced amount produced.

9. Some people, including my daughter, where a device called an insulin pump. This is an external device used to administer insulin into the body.

10. Having Type 1 diabetes does not stop you from leading a FULL & NORMAL LIFE! In the past 9 1/2 years since Alyssa has been diagnosed she has danced, been on the school cheerleading squad, gone to youth camps, has a boyfriend, maintains over a 3.0 GPA in high school, goes to football games, rides horses, runs track for high school, actively involved in FFA, coaches two little conference cheerleading squads, leads Vacation Bible School crafts, drives a car, goes to dances, eats pizza, ice cream and candy, stays up all night and sleeps all day..... just like EVERY OTHER "NORMAL" TEENAGER!

Please go to for more information about Type 1 Diabetes and to support research to find a CURE!

February 15, 2012

An Apron Challenge

Over the weekend I (as you already know) spent a great deal of time in the kitchen. While my husband, teen daughter Alyssa and I were all working on jams & jellies a discussion ensued about aprons. The apron I am wearing in my post from yesterday was an apron that belonged to my mother in law before she passed away.

She was a wonderful lady and a FABULOUS cook. The apron reads "Visiting Kitchens with the Daily Star". The Daily Star is a local news paper where we live and they used to, once a week, visit with local folks known for their cooking and they would prepare a dish in the person's home. For their photo-op they were given this apron, that the got to keep. I wear it with pride and hope that her greatness in the kitchen has somehow worn off on me. (I also inherited her extensive collect of cookbooks, which I use often.)

While we were working this weekend, for some reason, we started talking about the apron and the others we have hanging in the kitchen. I said I wanted to make some more "newer" aprons. That of course created my internet search for apron patterns and idea. (I go to google for everything! Its sad, really, how much I depend on the internet.)

So there I am: relaxing on the sofa, feet throbbing from being on them all day in a poor shoe choice (slippers), searching to my hearts content about aprons when I stumble across a blog on Willow Homestead that made my heart leap!

Make An Apron A Month!?!?! Oh wow... this could be F-U-N! I can't wait to start this. I have already started rummaging through my fabric for what I want to use. More internet searches needed for more cute ideas. Cute but functional of course!

Here is one I think is adorable
Photo Credit

Got any ideas you wanna lay on me? Let me hear from you! Do you care to join me?

Hugs from the South