Monday, February 23, 2009

GiST - 29 of 365

1. Getting to see my big brother today when he got off his first stint on the boat

2. Yummy steak dinner with a lovely merlot

3. Getting my house back in order after the craziness of the weekend

4. Finishing a really cute hat for my friend in Sweden. Sorry I can't take pictures, but my camera didn't survive the parade on Friday

5. Realizing that Baby Girl is now having conversations, not just spouting out a few words at a time!

Finally, a parade report!

I have finally managed to pull my head together enough to give you guys the full report about the Mardi Gras parade! Oy, it's been a rough past couple of days...
So, Thursday night we picked up Hubby's BFF at the airport and headed with Baby Girl down to watch the Krewe of Muses parade. It's an all-women krewe and they definitely have the best throws, the most prized of which are decorated high heel shoes. Unfortunately, I did not catch one of the those and Baby Girl got really tired so we had to leave half-way through the parade, but it was still a good time and she loved the pretty floats and the marching bands.

Friday morning, we dropped Baby Girl off at my in-laws house and headed downtown to check into our house and meet up with the rest of the krewe for our luncheon and pre-party. Even though we weren't scheduled to roll until 7:00, the party began at 12:30! So, you can see why I've been unable to type a coherent thought since then.

We were feeling no pain by the time our floats showed up at the bar around 4:00. But we loaded up and headed to the beginning of our parade route. We had so much fun riding around on the float, drinking and waving at all the people we passed by. Once we got to our destination, all we had to do was wait for our turn. There were three parades that night and we were the last of them. Funniest thing though, I was talking to one of the cops who was part of our escort and it turned out that he was a knitter and really liked my Mardi Gras socks! Of course, he's kind of in the closet, so he was absolutely mortified when my Hubby announced to his partner about our common bond. Oops, remind me never to tell Hubby a secret!

Once we got rolling, the crowds were really fun. It was definitely a blast having people cheering for you and begging for all the beads and trinkets you have to throw. Unfortunately, Iwas so blasted that I don't remember seeing my friends that we ran into on the route. Fortunately, it's gotten back to me that I did throw them so really good stuff. Thank goodness!

We got to the end of the parade around 12:40, we had run really late. At that point the post-party was just about over so we headed into the French Quarter. Oh, bad idea! My friend, Kris, and I made it back to the hotel around 3:30 in the morning. Of course, being girls, we stayed up gabbing until around 4:30. Then, being mommies, we were up 7:30! I hate that my body is so trained to get up at a certain hour. Fortunately, my in-laws were willing to keep Baby Girl the rest of the day, so I was able to get a few hours sleep once I got home. It would have been perfect if my Parents-in-Law and Hubby's brother and sister-in-law hadn't been at our house when we rolled in the door looking like something the cat had drug in. They were supposed to be at their house! Poor Hubby ended up going back out that night with his BFF. I thankfully got to go to bed at a decent hour.

Sunday morning, I got up and still felt pretty awful. I tried to catch up on reading your blogs, and I couldn't even concentrate enough to read. Poor Baby Girl was incredibly bored though, so I decided to take her into the city to watch a couple of day parades with some of my girlfriends. She had sooo much fun! Wish I had some pictures of that to show you, but unfortunately, my camera got smashed during the parade on Friday night....

Anyhow, that's my Mardi Gras weekend. I had planned on being so much more entertaining during this post, I remember thinking at so many points how funny some things were and how much I would love to tell you guys about them. Unfortunately, vodka has seriously clouded my memory, so you're just going to have to check out the pictures!
Me with Hubby's BFF's girlfriend who couldn't be with us since she's in Sweden.
Me and Hubby waiting for the floats to pick us up. Yes, we are sitting in the gutter...
Me and Amberlynne riding on top of the float. She's pouting because I wouldn't share my Yummy vodka punch!
My friend the knitting cop! He was such a ham!
Me and Kris! We had such a great time!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

GiST - 28 of 365

Okay, I was in no condition to post last night, so sorry this is a little late....

1. Riding in my first Mardi Gras parade

2. Beautiful weather for said ride!

3. Meeting a male police officer while we were staging for the parade who KNITS!

4. Great friends to spend the day (and most of the night) with.

5. A really great Hubby who was so cute and schmoopy last night!

Friday, February 20, 2009

GiST - 27 of 365

1. Hubby's BFF arriving from New York

2. Baby Girl going to her first Mardi Gras parade and having a blast!

3. Finding out my old art teacher had heart surgery that went well.

4. Lunch with a girlfriend

5. Fun time at the park with Baby Girl and 'other kids'.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

As Per Your Request - A Mardi Gras Primer

I've had a request to explain a little bit about Mardi Gras for some of my friends who may not be familiar with it. So, here goes:

As you know, Catholics celebrate Lent, the 40 days prior to Easter Sunday where we may fast and usually give up something as a type of sacrifice. Prior to Lent is the Carnival season, aka Mardi Gras, which lasts from Three Kings Day (Jan. 6) to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras day) which varies according to the Lenten calendar. It's the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, when Lent officially begins. This year, Mardi Gras falls on February 24.

During the Mardi Gras season, krewes have balls and some have parades to revel prior to Lent beginning. A krewe is the generic term for all Carnival organizations, but was first coined by the Mistick Krewe of Comus in 1857 to give their club an Old English flavor. Balls pre-dated parades by about 125 years, and unless you are a member or know someone who is, you aren't getting in, it's not a tourist thing. The ball that we went to a couple of weeks ago was like that, the krewe doesn't parade, but they do have the bal masque, which was very formal. The parades are what really draw the tourists. You can join some clubs easier than others. The krewe that Hubby and I have joined is a fairly new one and we were able to join without having been invited or sponsored by an existing member, even though one of my good friends is in it. I'm joining another krewe for next year that has a waitlist before you can even think about riding in its parade. I will probably have to wait a couple of years before I can ride, but the social aspects of the krewes are year-round.

The krewes throw beads and other throws (eg. stuffed animals, toys, etc) from the floats during the parades. Riders are required by law to be masked for the entirety of the parade. (We're also not supposed to drink alcohol while riding, but that one's not really enforced!) We went a little overboard this year on our throws, but since Hubby and his BFF put me in charge, what can you expect, I like to shop! So, if there's any chance you're going to be on the parade route, let me know where you're going to be, I'll load you down with stuff!

Hands down my favorite part of Mardi Gras is King Cake, which I'm sure you've noticed me mention SEVERAL times. I love the stuff! By definition a king cake is an oval shaped sugared pastry, that contains a small plastic doll hidden inside. It's a lot like a giant cinnamon roll. The person who finds the doll is crowned "king" and buys the next cake or throws the next party. The king cake season begins on Jan 6, King's Day. Nearly 1 million king cakes are consumed in the New Orleans metro area during Carnival season. That doesn't count the number that are shipped out all over the world. The best king cakes in the area by far come from Manny Randazzo's bakery. Any time you go to the bakery during Carnival, there is a line out the door and you happily wait your turn to get the yummy goodness. Anyone that disagrees with me about this topic, don't even try and argue with me or convince me that your choice is better than mine, it's not. Also, there are many that will argue that cream cheese or fruit filled cakes are better than plain, they're not. I'm a traditionalist, and the best kind is the traditional. Randazzo's does ship all over so if you want to try one, order it quick because they stop selling them Mardi Gras day. Here's a video of how they are made, it's not a Randazzo's cake, but it will give you and idea of what's going on. My friend, Marissa, has a cooking show and Ralph's is one of her sponsors, so what can you do? Also, if you want some really great Louisiana recipes, find The Outdoor Kitchen show on Facebook or go to She has some great stuff on there and even a lot of game recipes! Also, if you watch her videos on FB, she mentions me in her Soups, Pt. 3 video! I'm kind of a dork when my name gets mentioned on TV and get really excited!

So, hopefully this has explained a little bit of the fun that happens down here each year. If you haven't experienced a New Orleans Mardi Gras, do it! We have a lot of fun down here and it's not all about boobs and beer despite what's shown on TV.

GiST - 26 of 365

1. Watching Baby Girl jump on Hubby's back while he's doing push-ups and yelling "Yee Haw!"

2. Having LBND come over and play for an hour or so, giving his mommy a break and entertaining Baby Girl for me!

3. Getting all my housework done before noon, freeing up the afternoon for blogging!

4. Accomplishing the errands I needed to do today without having a toddler-meltdown in any stores.

5. Knowing I can go to bed early tonight!

A "Real" Post

Looking at my recent history of blog posts, I see that I have been very lazy by only doing my Grace in Small Things posts and not really giving any "meat" so my blog, so today I'm going to correct that. Not to say I don't love participating in GiST, I think it's a fantastic idea to remind myself daily that there are wonderful things surrounding me if I just stop long enough to look at them, but it does seem to be the further "Facebooking" of my life, where my life and writing become just a series of status updates. I often through the day think of things that I want to tell you guys, but by the time I sit down to my computer, I usually only have enough energy to read your blogs, post my GiST and then either go to bed or knit. You remember that I'm a knitter, right? Seems like I haven't really shared too much of what I've been doing lately. I'm going to correct that today, too. So, hunker down and grab yourself something to drink and a snack, this post may get a bit long today. In fact, I'm planning on doing this in two sessions today, although you'll just get it all at once. Can't sit still too long with a two-year-old in the house, ya know!

To begin with, I am super tired today. For some reason, I woke up around 1:30 this morning and didn't get to sleep until a little bit before Baby Girl woke up at 6:30. It's only 8:30 and I'm already on my second Coke Zero. I rarely drink caffeine anymore (kicked the addiction during my pregnancy, and never really picked it back up), but today, I'm in desperate need and am finally feeling my brain cells start to wake up. I think it helps that I've opted for serving the Coke in a Waterford goblet. My best friend's step-mom always says that everything tastes better out of a crystal wineglass, and I think she's definitely right, but I needed a goblet today! These glasses never get used, what a waste! I also fixed myself a "real" breakfast of eggs and bacon, which I never do. I hate cooking in the morning, but again, desperate times...
There are certain things I have to get done this morning, so I figure by laying out the goals in writing to you guys, maybe it will force me into actually getting them done rather than face the humiliation of publicly failing. I know what you're thinking, since I'm not posting this until later today, what's going to stop me from just deleting this part or adjusting the goals accordingly? Pride, my friends, pride!
Hubby's BFF is coming down from New York tomorrow to ride in the parade with us on Friday so I definitely want to have the house clean before he gets here, so here's what has to happen:
The house has to be vacuumed and mopped. The beds need to be changed and made up. The bathrooms need to be cleaned.
Also, I have some things that need to be picked up that are Mardi Gras related:
We need hooks for the float to organize and hang our beads on. I need a football helmet, with facemask, for Baby Girl, because we are taking her to her first parade tomorrow and the krewe that we are going to see throws ALOT of stuff. It would freak the poor kid out if she got hit in the face! I don't think she would get hurt, but that being said, I did break my nose freshman year when a large string of pearls hit me....
When I open up this computer next, I will let you know how I've done! And then hopefully I will also share some more interesting things with you! (8:43am)
10:26 - House vacuumed, beds made, still need to mop and clean the toilets. Jeez, am I ever tired. Think I'll take a little break and watch Little Einsteins with Baby Girl.
10:57 - Einsteins over, back to work.
11:37 - Floors mopped, toilets clean! That wasn't so bad! Off to get the Mardi Gras stuff!
1:32 - Back home, got everything we needed and lunch. Baby Girl is in bed napping and I'm on the couch, finished for the day other than some writing. I really think I need to put my daily goals down in writing more often. It really motivated me to get things done!
So, what else do I have going on in my world? I did recently get one of the coolest gifts ever! Two of my friends went to India for a month and since they were practically backpacking their way around the country, I certainly didn't expect them to bring me a present. But they did! The night of the Eros ball, Julia called me to let me know she would be bringing me something. I do love presents, so I was pretty excited. I've never been to India and I had no idea what it could be. How could I have known that they would bring me the most perfect and thoughtful gift possible. YARN! It's a big hank of red wool and it is Beautiful! And mysterious...there's no ball band, no needle recommendations or care instructions. Just the white paper bag from India with the name of the store. I love that they brought it back in that bag! Oh, and to make it even more perfect, it wasn't Julia that bought it, it was Bill, her boyfriend! How cool is it that they both know me well enough to know exactly the perfect thing to bring me! So, now I just have to figure out what it wants to be. Hubby laughed at me when I told him I was waiting for it to talk to me, but I am. Until it does, it will be in my stash tempting me with it's loveliness!
On other knit-news, I've been pretty obsessed with socks lately. I learned how to work them from the toe up, which I love because I don't have to graft at the end, plus, if they're for me, I can try them on as I go to see how they're going to fit. I recently finished some really pretty knee socks that I love! They are made with Paton's Stretch Sock Yarn. Baby Girl likes them too! I think they qualify as tights on her!

I also just finished my Mardi Gras socks to wear on the float this Friday. I used Panda Cotton's Mardi Gras sock yarn. Unfortunately, the yarn has been discontinued, but I've been hunting it down online and building up a stash.

I had so much other stuff I was going to tell you, but I'm exhausted right now, so it's going to have to wait for another time.
5:48 - OK, so I didn't hit publish since I needed to take some pictures. Baby Girl and LBND just got done playing outside, so I had to stick this picture up too! I love little kids with balloons!

GiST - 25 of 365

1. Getting all the beads for our float loaded into the U-haul truck last night and still having time to go get a glass of wine with a friend before the krewe meeting.

2. Finishing the Mardi Gras socks! Pictures will hopefully come later today.

3. Having a wonderful Mom-in-Law who is willing to babysit at the drop of a hat!

4. Hubby feeling better from his cold.

5. The librarians at our public library putting on a Mardi Gras parade for the kids during story group, complete with mini "king cakes" and beads. They put a lot of effort into it and the kids LOVED it! Thanks, Ms Cheryl!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

GiST - 24 of 365

1. Baby Girl's reaction to a wreck in yesterday's NASCAR race really made me smile. She asked what happened and when I told her there was a wreck, she asked if the cars had "boo-boos". I told her yes, they did, so she started kissing the screen so the cars would feel better. How cute is that!

2. Beautiful sunny days

3. Getting the upstairs of my house cleaned up and all the laundry finished in one day.

4. Getting to know one of my internet friends better and realizing what a strong person she is.

5. Steak and mashed potatoes!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 23 of 365

1. The return of the NASCAR season - I know, I'm just a little bit white-trashy!

2. Going to bed at 9:00 last night, not because I was sick, but just because I felt like it. (could've been the champagne I had with lunch)

3. The fact that I now have Hubby hooked on BSG and Lost! Yes, I'm a little bit geeky, too!

4. A nice visit with my in-laws this morning. They're always so excited to see us.

5. Finishing a Mardi Gras sock. One more to go before Friday! Can she do it? We'll see!

Grace in Small Things - 22 of 365 Valentine's Day Edition!

1. Although my Hubby doesn't celebrate V-day, he did clean up the house and really gave the kitchen a good scrubbing for me!

2. Brunch with seven fabulous ladies at an excellent restaurant down in the quarter, Eat!

3. My friend, Kelly, bringing me a ball of fabulous Mardi Gras yarn and letting me keep it even after I pointed out to her that it was very similar to the yarn I already had!

4. Mimosas!

5. My new swift

Friday, February 13, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 21 of 365

1. Finding my camera that has been missing for over a month, driving me crazy! Somehow it was in a bag that I've looked in no less than 4 times...

2. Not being able to get an appointment for day care at the gym. I know, sounds like a bad thing, but I really wasn't in the mood to go and it gave me a perfect excuse not to.

3. Going to the park with Baby Girl's best friend and his mommy

4. My F-i-L having a successful hernia surgery today.

5. The king cake I bought today that I get to chow down on tomorrow! Hubby doesn't like it - so it's ALL MINE!!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 20 of 365

1. Mardi Gras sock yarn

2. A call from my friend that I haven't been able to talk to much lately.

3. Sushi

4. Family Guy

5. Lost

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 19 of 365

1. Being able to do 50 minutes on the elliptical without struggling to breathe.

2. Buying really cool Mardi Gras beads

3. Praline pecans

4. Hubby staying home from work. Yes, it was because he was sick, but it was still nice having him around!

5. A beautiful afternoon to run around in the yard!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 18 of 365

1. Storytime at the library. Ms. Cheryl is really great with the kids.

2. Hobby Lobby

3. Morning cuddles with Baby Girl and Kitty

4. A nice long afternoon nap (Baby Girl, not me)

5. Finishing the knee socks while Baby Girl napped!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Krewe of Eros 2009 Bal Masque

So, I kinda owe you guys a report and some pictures, don't I?
On Friday night, Hubby and I attended the ball for the Krewe of Eros, they are one of the older Mardi Gras krewes, but they do not parade like some of the others. Really, it's a social organization that was founded by prominent members of New Orleans society and the ball is really a glorified debutante ball. That being said, we had a really great time. I do love getting to play dress up with my friends, there was plenty to drink and I got to dance with a guy in tights. How can you beat that?
The ball began with the presentation of the court. This ceremony lasted nearly an hour with the lieutenants, maids, princesses, king and queen. It was beautiful, but a bit tiresome after a while, so we retired to our table to drink a bit more. After the presentation of the court, the lieutenants are supposed to dance with each (female) member of their party, so we lined up and waited our turn. I had actually never met our host, and as he was masked, still didn't know him even after I had my turn dancing with him. He was very nice though and liked that I knew the difference between league and union rugby. We got to chat a bit more during the supper dance portion of the evening and I received a really pretty crown pendant for being one of his guests! I like presents!

After all of the pomp and circumstance, the fun began. The band began playing and a breakfast buffet was rolled out around midnight. Very useful as I was beginning to show the signs of too much vodka. Hubby and I had a great time out on the dance floor. It was really nice going out and having fun like a couple of adults instead of "Mommy and Daddy". The ball ended around 2:30 or so and fortunately, we had a room at the hotel where the event was being held. I don't think either one of us was in shape to drive. We also thought we would sleep in the next morning instead of having to get up with Baby Girl. Alas, that was not to be, my damn internal alarm clock still had me up by 7:30. We lounged for a while, then went out for beignets and coffee (a New Orleans tradition) and then headed home to see our beautiful girl!

Going out til all hours like that and drinking excessively has certainly set me back on my road to recovery from last week's cold, but I think it was worth it. Now to rest up for the parade on Jan 20th!

Who's this masked man? It's Hubby, of course!
The Ladies!

My lovely friend, Julia, and I on our way to the ball!

Seriously, doesn't it look like prom, only with alcohol!

Grace in Small Things - 17 of 365

1. Being able to breathe through my nose for extended periods of time. Yes, I'm still attached to my tissue box, but not nearly as much as I have been.

2. Making it back to the gym after a week off. Didn't manage to do my full hour of cardio, but at least I'm off my butt.

3. Taking Baby Girl to the park after the gym so she could get a good run-around

4. Being nearly finished with the knee socks, only have the ribbing around the top to go!

5. McAllister's Deli's Club Sandwich Wrap. I could bathe in the honey-mustard they use....

Grace in Small Things - 16 of 365

Wow, I really fell off the face of the earth there for a few days. Going out until all hours on Friday night really set me back on my recovery from my cold and I haven't really felt like blogging.

So, here we go, this will encompass the entire weekend:

1. A wonderful night out with friends

2. A giant hank of red wool given to me by my friends who travelled through India for a month over the holidays. How cool is it that they brought me yarn! I may have to expound on this in it's own separate blog....

3. Beignets for breakfast

4. Playing out in the yard with Baby Girl in February with no need for jackets or even shoes

5. The zoo with Baby Girl and Little Boy Next Door and his parents

6. My super healthy version of Shepherds Pie that still tastes AMAZING!

7. Surviving the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon

8. A clean kitchen

9. Plans to construct a major addition to the house which will include a rec room, guest apartment/office and STORAGE (which is desperately lacking in our house)

10. Getting to know a lovely new neighbor, actually, she's not a new neighbor, we just haven't really gotten to know her up until this point, but she seems really great and I'm looking forward to a potential friendship.

Okay, so that covers the weekend! Hope you guys had a good one too!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 15 of 365

Sorry I missed yesterday, but I was in a foul mood and my list probably would've been pretty sarcastic. You deserve better than that!

1. Proactive spot treatment (yes, I broke out the day before the ball)

2. My lovely neighbor who looked after Baby Girl so I could get a pedicure

3. Picnics on the front yard

4. Super long naptime

5. All night babysitters so Hubby and I can go out tonight in formal wear!

February 6

Okay, I know I don't run my knitting projects by you guys before I start them, but I think I'm going to start doing it. Next time I decide to make knee socks....please slap me!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 14 of 365

1. Silver heels to go with my new ball gown.

2. Beautiful chandelier earrings

3. Godiva chocolate

4. Being able to get hotel reservations for Mardi Gras weekend at this late date

5. Sephora


Okay, I'm sure we've all heard about the woman out in Southern California who recently gave birth to octuplets. She already had six children, yet some doctor thought she was in need of infertility treatment and implanted not the usual two or three embryos into her uterus, but eight! I've been rather disgusted by this story since I suspect her decision to bear so many children was a publicity scheme or an attempt to get some sort of corporate sponsorship or even a television deal like my beloved Jon & Kate.

So, more details came out about this woman in today's paper and it has done nothing to reduce my levels of disgust. Turns out that she is a single mother, the other kids were all conceived via IVF and her mother is the one burdened with taking care of the other ones all aged between two and seven. Oh my god! Does this woman sound a bit like the crazy people who hoard cats or dogs until they take over their houses with no ability to properly care for them? Seriously, just because you are the one actually giving birth to them doesn't change the fact that there may be a serious mental issue going on here causing you to "need" so many children that you are obviously in no way, shape or form capable of caring for! According to the article, she already has a public relations firm hired and is disappointed that none of the major diaper or baby formula companies have stepped up to help support her spawn. Really, you're shocked that maybe the companies are a little gun-shy of promoting such an extreme case of unwed motherhood. Really?

Please don't take this to mean that I don't think single women are capable of caring for their children. I think there are plenty of women in this world who are doing quite well by themselves and their children. However to make a decision to bear a litter, putting your own life and the lives of all those children at risk, after you already have six children that you aren't taking care of, well, I find that disgusting and irresponsible and child services should really step in with a psych evaluation to find out if you are a fit parent.

Okay, off my soapbox. So, I have a product review for you guys. Just so you know, my mom is a big fan of those TV infomercials. As evidenced by the fact that last year I received a Ped-Egg and this past weekend for my birthday, I received the Smooth-Away system. You know, that thing that basically consists of sandpapering the hair off your body? Well, since it was sitting there today, I decided to give it a shot and see if it worked, so I tried it on my left forearm. It takes a little bit of time, but it does work! So, now I have a nearly hairless left arm. It does leave the skin a bit sensitive, but it's not too much worse than after a waxing. Of course, I should have tried it on a part of my body that I actually wanted to be hairless. I don't usually going around sporting bald arms, my hair isn't that dark. Now, of course, I need to go upstairs and do the other arm or I'm going to look like a bit of a freak. In summary, this product works, but it's a bit time-consuming and I don't know if it's that great an alternative to shaving.

Oh, and just so you know, the Ped Egg works really well, but is also rather time consuming. It also feels like you're taking a cheese grater to your feet, but it does improve the look of bad calluses.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 13 of 365

1. Halls Honey Lemon cough drops

2. Aloe-infused tissues

3. Banana Bread Oatmeal

4. Flannel Pajamas

5. Handknit socks

See a trend here? I don't feel well and am not leaving my house today....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Grace in Small Things - 12 of 365

1. Popcorn

2. Pirate hats, not for me, but Baby Girl looks awfully cute!

3. Comfy sweatpants

4. Clean sheets

5. Tea parties.

Grace in Small Things - 11 of 365

1. My birthday!

2. Brunch at Brennan's. Yummy!

3. My parents being in town.

4. Roses from Hubby!

5. A really exciting Super Bowl even though my team didn't win.