Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We "Can" Do Anything!

Mason jars are a little obsession of mine. I love that "southern comfort" vibe they give off. One of my favorite uses for these jars is as a flower vase, which is why I used them as centerpieces for my wedding. Because I had so many mason jars left over, I decided to put them to use in a more traditional way...canning.

Canning Experiment #1: Jalapeno Pepper Jelly
Now, it took me a few years of smelling this stuff before I even tasted it. It LOOKS very weird. But once I put this magnificent concoction in my mouth, I was hooked! After searching long and hard for the perfect recipe, I dove fearlessly into creating my first batch of homemade pepper jelly. I let it sit for the recommeded 12 hours, then Nicky and I poured a few tablespoons over a block of cream cheese and dug in. Result: SUCCESS!!!

Canning Experiment #2: Salsa
Nicky has been thinking of what he would like to can, and since he LOVES mexican food, he naturally chose Salsa. He also searched long and hard for the perfect recipe, and being the creative cook that he is, added a few ingredients of his own. Once again, we let it sit overnight, and then tore into it with a bag of Tostitos in tow! Result: SUCCESS!!!

My favorite time if year is...


I went to Hobby Lobby the other day and I almost squealed with delight when I walked through the sliding doors. The most beautiful fall colors adorned every shelf near the entrance! I know it's not quite fall yet, but the anticipation of it fills me with such joy! Of course I had to get a little something to start off our first autumn in Houma.

These are a few of my favorite things about the Fall:
1. My birthday
2. Anticipation of the holidays
3. The beautiful colors
4. Cooler weather
5. Mums!

Now, if the cooler weather could just get here, I would be one ecstatic girl!

New Uses

One of my favorite things to do is find new ways to use things, other than their intended purposes. It makes me feel unusually creative. These are the three favorites around my home right now:

When Nicky's grandfather passed away, Nicky received a bunch of his old handkerchiefs. Instead of letting them sit in a drawer, we're using them as curtain ties. Now we think of Pop every day when we open up our curtains.

I can't really take credit for this next one because it was my mom's idea. But, I've definitely carried it over into my home. Every girl I know has a curling iron or hair straightener, and almost every girl I know has burned their countertops with one of these...or they've melted a Q-tip box like my dear friend, Jenny. So, a trivet is an attractive way to protect your countertops from the dangers of these hair tools!

I went yard-saling a couple of weeks ago with my mom and sister, and I came across the most precious fleur-de-lis paper towel holder for my kitchen. I already had a plain silver paper-towel holder that was doing the job just fine, but this new one was only a DOLLAR, and it was oh so cute! So, here's how I justified my great find: I turned my old paper towel holder into a toilet paper holder! Now, when company comes over, they don't have to dig through my cabinets to find toilet paper. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mikey's Mini-Vacation

Nicky's brother, Mikey, had 2 days available for vacation before Fall semester started at UL. His mom told him they could go anywhere he wanted. He chose Houma! So Mrs. Donna and Mikey made their way down here on Thursday afternoon, and we spent Friday eating, exploring Houma's cultural attractions, taking pictures, and winning foosball tournaments. :)

Friday started with a trip out to Chauvin where we toured the Chauvin Sculpture Garden.

We finished off the afternoon at Houma's very own Southdown Plantation. As was common in Terrebonne Parish, the plantation was devoted to the sugar industry. The home was built in 1859 by William J. Minor and housed 4 generations of Minors. Our tour guide was great friends with members of the Minor family and he brought life to the tour as he recalled stories of the girls who called Southdown Plantation home.

The dining room housed a colorful exhibit of work by New Orleans artist Keith Eccles.

When Nicky got home from work, we made a mad dash over to Bogwalk for some local seafood. The shrimp and crabcakes were very tasty, but I could have made a meal out of their sweet potato fries!

The Prather boys are avid foosball players, so after dinner, Nicky and Mikey made their way out to a tournament that Nicky had heard about earlier that day. Nicky took first place and Mikey took second! I think this was a great conclusion to Mikey's mini-vacation!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Road Trippin'

I was starting to get a little stir crazy last week. I was missing familiar people and places, so when Nicky said he had been invited to the fishing camp, I starting planning a trip back to Lafayette.

My mom, sister and I spent Saturday morning yard-saling and thrift store shopping. I was on the hunt for an outdoor fan for our balcony, and I scored a deal! My $3 fan was the buy of the day! We made sure to grab lunch at the best Mexican restaurant in the world... Little Mexico in Sunset! I meant to take pictures of the food, but my stomach wouldn't let me. :)

I came back to Houma early Sunday morning, only to get on the road again Monday morning for more visiting! I made a stop in Baton Rouge for lunch with my newly engaged friends, Jamie and Laura. We talked wedding plans and enjoyed burritos from the one and only IZZO'S!

After lunch with these lovely ladies, I made my way west on I-10 for dinner with a group of my favorite people in the entire world. I have this group of 7 girlfriends, and we've grown up together. 3 of us have moved out of the Lafayette area, but we make it a priority to get together once a month for dinner just to stay in touch and celebrate our friendships. Unfortunately, our friend Jenny couldn't make it from Baton Rouge and she was greatly missed. I LOVE these dinners. God uses these girls in my life in such significant ways, and I am so grateful for each of them. Our personalities are so different, and we each bring something special to the group. That's what makes our get-togethers so exciting! I can't wait for September!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Home Sweet Houma

Well, we are here and all settled in. We've actually been here for about 2 weeks, now, but today was Internet Installation Day. :)

Moving day (Saturday, July 31) went really well. Nicky took care of supervising the movers, and his mom helped me unpack countless boxes. We also took a trip to Sam's that night and she bought us a beautiful bouquet of red and yellow roses to make our new apartment feel like a home. The following Sunday, my parents and brother came to visit. They helped us finish off the unpacking, took us to lunch, and then we all went to explore Academy and Target. We now have a second bathroom, so, as a house-warming gift, my parents bought us a shower curtain and rug to outfit our new space. Overall, it was a great weekend, and we felt so loved and supported by our families.

Monday morning came bright and early. With this new position, Nicky is able to get to work a little later, so we had time to enjoy breakfast and coffee together. And then he so kindly (with a few moments of eye-rolling) let me take a picture of him on his way to his first day of work.

Not knowing anyone has obviously been a little lonely, but it's given me the chance to go exploring. I've been paying attention to little details around town, and I've taken pictures of a few things that make me smile and bring me joy.

First, I love this sign. You can find them ALL OVER our apartment complex. At first I thought it was a joke. It's not. Apparently, we moved to "The Bayou", as everyone so affectionately says down here.

This next one is of a fire hydrant. I LOVE the fire hydrants here. I think every town should paint their fire hydrants happy colors like this. I can't help but smile every time I see one.

The following photo is of an ice cream shop called "Scarlet Scoop." It's a precious little parlor that has been open since 1968, and it is set up similar to Borden's in Lafayette, but with even more charm. They have an ice cream called "Oil Spill" and it consists of vanilla ice cream and various chocolate mix-ins, including Oreo's...YUM! Nicky and I enjoyed a little date night there just last night, and we can't wait to bring our friends when they come to visit. (Hint, hint...)

With us enjoying ice cream date nights, I've been trying super hard to make healthier meals and treats at home. Mrs. Donna (Nicky's mom) filled me in on the Applesauce secret. Instead of mixing butter, oil, and eggs into your cake batter, just use applesauce! This makes the cake so moist that you don't even need icing! I made this the other night and we absolutely loved it. It was delicious and I can't wait to make it again!