Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tricks or Treats?

Growing up I never remember Halloween being so complicated. Every year on the 31st we would dress up and head out once it started getting dark. I never remember any official announcement of what time it started or ended. And due to the way the city was laid out we could walk through several different neighborhoods as long as we had the stamina to keep going.

But it's a little different here in Louisiana, at least this year. The problem is today is Halloween, but today is also a Sunday. Mostly due to the fact Louisiana is a predominately Catholic state it's been a little tricky. It seems because it's a religious day, some people feel they shouldn't be out trick-or-treating supporting a "devil's holiday." (My thought is if you're so religious you don't believe on trick-or-treating on a Sunday, you probably don't believe in trick-or-treating in general.)

Anyways, some politician in the Parish we live in made some comment that trick-or-treating would not be tonight. Then someone else said it could be tonight. So they pretty much left it up to each area to decide. Simple, right? Not so much.

By looking at our mailing address we live in a specific city. And that city is doing trick-or-treating tonight. Except technically we live outside the city limits, but say 20 ft or so, and in the rural areas surrounding our city trick-or-treating is supposed to happen on Monday. Except the boy's sister also lives just outside the city limits, and her neighborhood decided to trick-or-treat last night.

There wasn't trick-or-treating in our neighborhood last night, so it has to be tonight or tomorrow. I'm just not sure which. Or maybe I'll have trick-or-treaters both nights. I guess I'll just be ready with the candy either way. And if it so happens that we get no trick-or-treaters... well I guess there's just more candy for me!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Worth the Wait

The first time we went to look at our house there was a miscommunication with the realators and the prior owners were still there. But since they wanted to get their house sold, there were more than happy to let us look around while they were there. They were doing work in the backyard, which at least made it a little less awkward to look through the house. Once we made it in the yard, they offered us a satsuma off their tree. The boy and I each had one. I had eaten only a slice or two when I realized I had been so mesmerized by the yard I had forgotten what the house looked like inside. I handed the rest of my fruit to the boy for safekeeping since I didn't want to drip. But by the time I came back outside the boy had eaten the rest of my satsuma.
Almost Ripe
Since then I've been slowly waiting for the fruit to ripen so I could finally get the taste I was owed. It's been just over a year since the day we first visited the house. And guess what?
Ripe Satsumas
They're finally ripe and ready to eat!
It may be silly but I love peeling citrus fruit, maybe even more than I love eating them! It's my goal to have the peel off in one single piece, and I can do it almost every time.
Satsuma Peel
This time too!
All Peeled
So I finally get to eat my satsuma! And not only that I get to have them in the years to come too!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Call the Pumpkin Police

Can I tell you how excited I am about Halloween this year? Not because I'm doing anything crazy, but because we'll have actual trick-or-treaters at our house! I'm so excited to buy candy, and since I have no idea how many to expect I'll have to make sure to buy lots. After all I'm sure I can figure out something to do with the leftovers.

But since I'm so excited I figured I should get my house in the holiday spirit too. I didn't go out and buy decoration but I did by a pumpkin to carve. I was probably a little too excited over this. But honestly I can't remember the last time I carved a pumpkin. I went a bought the special pumpkin carving supplies, which thankfully came with a book of patterns and I had my haunted house.
Except I figured I was smart enough to customize it a little. I added the path out front, which I think looks great. But then I decided it needed a full moon. Except when you look at the picture you realize the sky is blank space, and the moon should probably been pumpkin. Not quite sure how that would have worked, so I probably should have left the moon off all together. But at least it looks a little better all lit up.
Anyone else carving pumpkins this year? Do you normally follow a pattern, or would you prefer to free-form it?


Monday, October 25, 2010

Hands Up Chili Chili

No one else know that camp song? Well trust me it's a good one. Today's post isn't actually about camp, although I'm sure I could come up with a great camp post or two, but about chili. I've been craving cold weather foods now that's it's gotten colder. By colder in Louisiana I mean the low 80s, but still it's been nice. So I decided a bowl of chili would really hit the spot.
I used this chili recipe from the food network. I was originally thinking about making it in the crock pot, but since I made it after work one day it was on the stove. I also didn't make the cheddar bread bowls in the recipe, but I'm sure they would have been delicious. I made a few changes, I adding chopped red pepper, and played with the spices. But overall I followed the recipe, and I think it turned out really good.
Chili Topped with Avocados
I ate my topped with avocados. The boy ate his over rice. He claims you can't eat chili without rice in Southern Louisiana. I guess my argument should have been you can't be from California and not eat chili topped with avocado.

What do you top your chili with? Or I guess serve it over in the case with rice?


Sunday, October 24, 2010

First Birthday Fun

Today was the boy's nephew's first birthday! Or at least it was his first birthday party, since the actual date was earlier this week. Since I've gotten a little obsessed with taking photos of my present wrapping...
Wrapped Presents
So maybe it's not the prettiest wrapping job. But inside is a train and a car, and they aren't in a complete box, so it was a little tricky. Underneath is the book I make sure to bring to every birthday.
Star Wars ABC's! So maybe it isn't a childhood classic, but I think it's something every well brought up baby needs to have in their house.

And since this is a first birthday post, I know what you're waiting to see. Doesn't every baby love their first taste of sugar and almost demolish their cake? Well... not so much with the one.
Don't Want this Cake
He was pretty much miserable, and couldn't understand why everyone was trying to torture him. But once he got cleaned up, and came back he was more than happy to devour bits of hamburger meat.
Happily Eating Meat
Such a male, right?


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

True Life: Nanny Diaries

You'll Never Nanny in This Town Again by Suzanne Hansen
This book tells the true story of what it's like being a nanny to the stars in Hollywood. When I heard true, I was a little unsure what that meant. I figured pseudonyms would be used, and I wouldn't be able to figure out just who she was referring to. While that happened at times overall that wasn't the case. Also there's the fact the book reads so-much like fiction that it's hard to believe it's true. But overall it is. It's even peppered with a few diary entries that most like have been ripped out of the author's own diary at the time.

So much of the book is meant to be a shock value, sort of a "look how rich celebrities are and how awful they treat people around them." It's really kind of sad to think about that someone who has the money to spend almost unlimited time with their children chooses not too. In a way it made me sad since part of me enjoys seeing celebrities through this picture perfect lens of being wonderful people and wonderful mothers on top of it. But it was nice that through the horror stories, there would still glimmers of hope. And it was also comforting that some of the "good" parents where those you would expect, and likewise of the "bad" parents. Is it that surprising that Michael Eisner doesn't come off looking like the greatest father figure? Or on the other hand, it is nice to know that Sally Field comes off as sounded like a great mom like she plays on tv.

Reading the book in a way, makes me wish I could have been a nanny to the stars. I would imagine that with the change in paparazzi it's a little different being a nanny know, than it would have been back in the '80s, but I can't help but think how fun it would be. Of course the book, does paint the negatives of that life as well. But even so I can't help but imagine what it might have been like if I had taken off a year or two before or after college to try it out.

After all the struggles Suzy goes through it is a nice ending to be able to read her author's note to see how far she's come. Suzy is now a labor and delivery nurse, (and of course an author), which is something he had been wanting towards at the end of the book so it's nice to hear she met her goal. (Of course the book was written after the fact, so who knows what her actual goals at 19 were.)

Overall, I really did enjoy this sneak peak into the lives of the starts. (Maybe you could tell from the novel I've written?) I really didn't want to stop reading, and once I did I even googled a child or two referenced in the books. The book definitely hits all my likes of books, movies, babies, and even the fact that so much of it's in California that it really shouldn't be a surprise how much I enjoyed it.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Taste of the Trip

I promise this will be the last post about my family's visit, but really I'm saving the best for last because this is about all the food. To start with on the nice parts of having my parents living with me for a few days was coming home to a home cooked meal, like these two pizzas.
Pizza! Pizza!
On the left is the pepperoni pizza requested by the boy and on the right is the mainly veggie pizzas. They were made using dough bought at Whole Foods. They turned out really good, and really should be inspiring me to make dinner more often once I get home from work.

Besides the meals in, there were quite a few out on the town. Maybe you noticed when I posted my pictures of Houmas House last week, but we were actually there twice. We went back a second time to try out there brunch. I decided to go with their eggs creole.
Eggs Creole
It was like an eggs benedict, but with fried eggplant instead of a muffin and sausage instead of ham. The entire thing was delicious down to the last bit of carrot.

But the high point of the trip, at least food-wise, was probably our meal in New Orleans at Cochon. To start with we split a bunch of appetizers at the table.
On here there's two kinds of boudin, alligator, shrimp, homemade pickle, and toast and meats from a charcuterie plate.

For my main course I went with a rabbit stew with cornbread dumplings. (I think the cornbread dumplings were probably the best part of it.)
Rabbit Stew

Of course there was dessert, and I had peanut butter pie which came with a homemade peanut butter cookie.
Peanut Butter Pie
Yes, everything was delicious. Not just at Cochon, but pretty much every meal I had while they were here. In a way it was like having my own private chef for the week, and who wouldn't enjoy that?


Monday, October 18, 2010

Seeing Red

In Red Bruce Willis is a retired CIA agent trying to live a quiet life at least. That all changes when someone attempts to assassinate him, and he gets back into the game. While trying to discover who and what is after him he tracks down his old cronies played by Helen Miren, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich.

In a way I was surprised by the movie. Sure I was expecting gun fights, action scenes, and a good heist, but on top of that all it was a lot of fun. I think part of it was seeing such big name actors in this type of film. You could tell they were all having playing playing at little against character, besides Bruce Willis whose norm is action film, but I do think the fun rubbed off on the audience.

You could tell out theater had fun, there were even a few claps as the credits started rolling. Overall it's a film that couldn't have been pretty boring and unoriginal, but something about instead made it a great, is somewhat unexpected, experience.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Show Us Your... Office Library

This week's edition of Kelly's Korner's Show us You House, we're showing off our offices. While we don't really have a home office we do have our library. I originally posted this entry on April 20, 2010 but since the room hasn't really changed I'm sharing it again. If you've seen in before I hope you love it enough to read it again. And if you're new here since then I hope you enjoy!

Professor Plum in the Library with the Rope
You can officially say that about our house now. Not that there's some type of murder mystery here. Nor because we know a Professor Plum, (but the boy is working on his Phd, so I guess you could call him a professor). But we do have rope, and we now officially have a library.
In the Office/Library
This is the view when you first enter the room. The wall unit was in my bedroom growing up. When my parents drove out here a few weeks ago, the wall unit was on piece of furniture that came with them. And what's that you see in the upper left corner?
American Girl Collection
Why yes, that is my American Girl collection from yester-year. There's a few items that haven't made their way from California, but these are all of my actual dolls.

Moving clockwise throughout the room, here's the end of the wall unit.
Corner of the Room
There's an almost empty bulletin board, and underneath are a few children's book and stuffed animals to hopefully distract the boy's niece from the AG dolls high above.

To the left is a window, closest, and another bookshelf.
Window & Closet
We're thinking that at some point we might want to add a desk in front of the window. Are you curious about the blue square in the bottom right? It's actually a chair that folds out into a single bed.
The Door In
Which brings us back to the door into the room.

Even though there are a ton of shelves in here, its crazy how easily we filled them. I tried to leave a little bit of room to add books, but it's a good thing that's a few places with doors, because you have no idea how many books are hiding in there!
Chair and Bookshelves
I did try to keep a least keep the books somewhat organized. The books on the left are the boy's fantasy books, and the right are my chick lit type books. You can practically tell just by the colors of the sections. The bottom shelves are mainly textbooks, and the boy really wants to turn the empty wall into a chalkboard that he can use to do math problems.

Overall, it's not perfect, nor is it completely finished, but I really like the way it turned out. It's nice to finally have a place to put all of our books, and I can officially say that I live in a house with a library. (Yes, you could call it an office, but I'd much prefer library!)

Anyone else have a library in your house? Or how do you store the books that you own?


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Have a Faerie Nice Day

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
I saw a bumper sticker the other day with this entry's title and thought it was the perfect fit for the book since the faeries are front and center. Although nice and faerie don't quite fit together in the book.

The book starts off with something they've been alluding to and preparing us for several books. It's something big with the shifters, and yet so much happens by the end of the book it almost feels like the big revelation happens in a book before this one.

I will say this one is probably one of the goriest books in the series so far. And all those times you read thinking, "How could nothing bad happen to the main characters?" well this time it happens. I was a little taken aback at how gruesome parts at the end were and even had to a take a break reading at times. I was was really sad when one of my favorites didn't seem to make it.

Even though it was a bit uglier that other books in the series I was still a fan. But I have to same it's a little sad knowing I only have one book left before I'm completely caught up, and who knows how long I'll have to wait to read the next Sookie Stackhouse after this?


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In The Garden

As promised here's the pictures from the gardens at Houmas House. Ok... I might have left in a picture or two of the house, but can you really blame me?
Fountain behind Houmas House
Statue in the Water
On the Bridge
Houmas House
Scarecrow Painting
Water into Sugar Drums
Maybe you noticed the scarecrow hiding in the pictures? It just so happens the weekend we were at the house they were having a scarecrow decorating contest. Since it wouldn't be fair to only show you one, here's a few of my other favorite entries.
Girl Scout Scarecrow
Scarecrow in Front of the House
Who Dat Scarecrow
Looking through these pictures it feels a little like I was in someone's secret garden. Also did I mention that they're going to be filming Breaking Dawn here in the months to come? Not only that, but they actually host weddings here. Sounds like the perfect place for me to fall in love and marry R-Patz right?


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Plantation Homes

We're going to rewind back about a week or two to when my parents and grandmother were in Louisiana visiting. While they were here we visited two plantations, both of which I was visiting for the first time. I've posted a bit of a preview last week, but here again is San Francisco Plantation.
From the Back of San Francisco
From the name, one might think there's a Spanish history, but it was actually owned by a French family. The original name was in French, and come from the owner joking that the house left him with his pockets empty. Later owners decided they didn't like owner a plantation named "empty pockets," so it was renamed San Francisco which sounded similar to the French.
This is the view from the front of the house. You can always tell which is the front by which way faces the Mississippi. Back in the 1800s the view from the front porch looked right into the river banks, but now all you can really see is the levee. I do have a few more pictures of the outside of the house, but nothing from the inside. But one of the neatest things about this house was probably the painted ceilings, and I also thought the faux marble fireplaces looked crazy realistic.
The View
The second plantation we visited was Houmas House. The view above is from the front and the Mississippi is behind us. At this house we were actually able to take pictures inside, and below you can see one of the spiral staircases indoors.
Spiral Stairs
While the inside and their collection of antiques was remarkable, one of the best parts of the site is probably the surrounding gardens. I'll try to follow up with an entry on just the gardens, but for now here's a preview so you have an idea.
What I love about visiting the plantation homes is the history behind them. We may not have any castles in America, but these are probably the closest it gets. It's just crazy to think what it must have been like to grow up and live in one of these homes in the early to mid 1800s.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Movie Review Monday

Life as We Know It
The movie reviews haven't been very kind to this, but in general critics don't love romantic comedies so that shouldn't be to big of a surprise. The movie doesn't really fit the title, instead I prefer that Katherine Heigil baby movie. So in her baby movie, Katherine Heigel plays Holly the owner of a cute bakery. Josh Duhamel plays Messer a single bachelor who works on the tv coverage for the Atlata Falcons. Messer and Holly are step up on a disastrous date by mutual friends, but it gets even more disastrous when they're set up as guardians for their orphaned friends' daughter.

Just by that description I'm sure you all know the way it's going to end. And yes you're probably right, because it's completely predictable. But even so it's a cute movie. The baby (played by triplets, so I guess babies is better to use) is (are?) adorable, and make we think I could totally be ready to have a baby now. (Until common sense kicks in and I realize waiting another year or two would really be better.) And while some of the funniest parts of the movie are in the trailer there were still a few good bits they held out to use on the actual movie.

Overall it's a fun movie, that I would definitely be willing to see again. Although I think unless you've really been craving time in the theaters, this one could probably wait until it's out on dvd.


Sunday, October 10, 2010


Happy 10/10/10 everyone! I've only been looking forward to this day practically forever. The reason being not only was it a fun day mathematically, but it's my 26th birthday! Originally we thought the boy was going to be working most of the day, so had thought about maybe doing breakfast. But yesterday we found out he had much of the morning off so a quick change of plans was in order.

To start off we went to go see a movie. (Review to come later this week. And yes, I realize it's been forever since I've posted a review, but only because it's been forever since I've seen a movie.)
Life as We Know It Tickets
After the movie we headed to Zea's Rotisserie Grill for lunch, which I believe is a Louisiana chain. I've heard great things about this place, but haven't had the chance to try it until today. One thing I knew I needed to try were their duck empanadas. The verdict?
Duck Empanadas
They were good, but not as earth-shattering as I'd been told. I think the mayo on top (most of which I wiped off), and the fact they were a little too cheesy for my taste through me off. Don't get me wrong, they were still good enough for me to finish. But I think next time I'd been willing to try something else.
Beef with Mushroom Burgundy Sauce
For our main courses the boy went with a beef with a mushroom and burgundy sauce paired with Zea's potatoes and red beans (above), while I went with a pesto crusted trout with sweet potatoes and dirty rice.
Pesto Crusted Trout
Well I really enjoyed the pesto crust, and think the high for both of us were the sides. And of course since it's a birthday I had to go with dessert.
Cupcake Trio
Enter the cupcake trio, with carrot cake, chocolate cake and red velvet cake. I'm not normally a huge fan of carrot cake, but this one was really good. It was all cinnamon-y, and I want to say there were even chunks of apple inside. It was probably one of the best carrot cakes I've had, but still played second fiddle to the red velvet.

Then on the way home I decided we needed to stop at the pumpkin patch. As silly as it may sound, I'm really looking forward to the first Halloween at our new house when we actually have treak-or-treaters. And it we're going to have trick-or-treaters I definitely need a jack-o-lantern to show off.
Halloween Pumpkin
As for the rest of the night, I'm planning on curling up on the couch with Amazing Race, Desperate Housewives, and Brothers & Sisters. Overall I think it's been a pretty good way to celebrate 10-10-10 and of course enter into my 26th year!