Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Out with the Old....In with the New!    That's a favorite saying of mine.  I cannot believe another year has flown by...can you?  Time used to drag....when we were younger.  Now....whew....the days, weeks, months and years are like a mouse on a wheel. 

I am looking forward to a new beginning.  So much I still want to accomplish, even though many people my age are looking at retirement or have already "retired".  What is retirement really??  Certainly not sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch watching the neighbors drive by.....or complaining about every ache and pain...or bugging your kids for a visit.  That was in the prior generation.  No, today things are different.  We want to be active and healthy and keeping up with what's new and happening.   We still need to make money...even in retirement...thanks to the downturn in the economy, inflation, and the diminished 40lK.

Wayne and I brought in the new year watching back- to- back funny movies on the big screen TV in our media room....well, really, we're not that rich...but we do have a rather large bedroom complete with not only bedroom furniture, but also a table & chairs, recliner, entertainment center and of course the HD TV.  It feels like a media room when we lower the lights and settle back to watch....I love it.  Don't get to do it very often but that's one of my choices for the new more movies that make me laugh and cry.
Now, as we were finishing up with the last movie the clock was nearing midnight....the weather has been rainy all the fireworks were few and far between.  What a let down....not one big boom for the stroke of midnight.....what??  Where are those people who would spend $$$$ on the beautiful and loud fireworks?  Maybe the rain and stormy weather got to them....or maybe it was  the 2010 economy.  In any event, we had a quiet ending to the old year.

My prayer is that January 2011 will usher in a stronger economy complete with more jobs, more home sales, more cash flow....etc.  Also, with God's guidance I want to remember and reflect on who and what is most important in my savor the moments and happiness and not take anything or anyone for granted.
This past year was marred by family tragedy and friends who lost loved ones.  Also some of us had health issues to deal with....I don't want to take health for granted anymore.  We need to preserve it....take care of yourself and those close to you.  I love to you all know by now....but I commit to cutting down on the butter (sorry Paula), the salt and cooking and eating more fiber, fruit and veggies. 

Life is so precious...we should relax, have fun in work and play, appreciate more, laugh more, cry more (and with those that are hurting)  and eat less..    Be vulnerable.  Be spontaneous.  I love the song "It's not the breath you take, the breathing in and out...but the moments that take your breath away"!

 I want more moments like that...or at least I want to be available for aware of them. I want to visit my kids and grandkids when they can't come to visit me...(buying the RV will help with that).  I want to visit family and friends that we rarely see....also spend some time with lonely people who no one visits.

It's now 1:30 AM Jan. 1... an hour and a half has already been taken from 2011....I thank all of those who read my blog.  It's amazing that anyone would be interested....but I know that I love to read about others and their's a new phenomenon....this blogosphere....I love's therapy for me.

When I'm feeling up, or down, or anxious...I can express through the keys and it makes me feel more at peace.

I wish for you and a wonderful, successful, happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Gumbo

We started a tradition in our family many years ago....presents would be open on Christmas Eve after a meal of Chicken & Aundouille Gumbo (aundouille is a German Sausage made in south Louisiana with the best place to buy it being LaPlace, LA where we lived for 20+ years).  LaPlace is the AUNDOUILLE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD....this is even written on the water tower of the town!  The Jacob family has been making it for as long as I can remember and beyond and they have a product that has not been duplicated anywhere else...even here in Acadiana where I live now.   Anyway...I'm sure I'm spelling it's not a word found in the dictionary and I cannot ever remember how to spell this sausage.

So, every Christmas Eve I would get going with the preparations....making potato salad to go along with it and of course crispy french bread!  We would eat the gumbo...and then in a circle, with gifts given to each child, they would open them one by one in an orderly fashion savoring every exciting anticipated moment!

Advance ahead about 20 years and you will see 3 daughters who have produced 5 children ranging in age from 8 to 2....3 spouses and of course Wayne and I.....the candle-lit Christmas Eve dinners are a thing of yesteryear...and forget any type of orderly opening of the presents!  By the time you get the kids situated around the table...and then you serve yourself and your spouse...the kids are through...or spilling, or trying to get down and run around the tree, etc. etc.   I think you  get the picture.

Well, the gumbo still is good.   I still take out the fine china....the candles are lit...however, Gracie (the 4 year old) cannot stand to see one burning and wants it put out...Hunter (2 years old) wants to chew on them....but with a promise that we will pick up the tradition maybe by the time they are 10 or 12....we do enjoy the gumbo!

I thought I'd give my step-by-step guide to how I make a Southern Creole-type Gumbo in this blog.  By the way, you may have noticed that I use "creole" a lot when describing certain dishes that I prepare....what I mean by that is NOT just a Cajun using cayenne pepper....but a recipe using the "trinity" of seasonings: 
Step 1:
Get out the gumbo pot and boil the sausage which has been sliced (this year I had forgotten to purchase my LaPlace Aundouille ahead of time, so I had to use a local smoked sausage....not  as much flavor.

Step 2:
Season (with Tony Chachere's) the chicken and brown in a skillet
I use thighs since my family likes the dark meat
Step 3:
Start your roux which is equal amounts of flour and oil which is browned to a deep caramel color
I do my roux in the and stirring every 3 minutes, then 2 minutes, then 1 minute then down to 30 sec. between stirring to get it to the right color and NOT burn it

you can see the natural progression of the color
At this point you will throw in a bag of Picksweet frozen seasoning (onions, celery, bellpeppers) and about 3 toes of minced garlic and you will fry it down in the roux mixture until soft.....then it all goes in the gumbo pot
which has the water, sausage and the chicken pieces from the fry pan

Let it come to a boil and then turn down to medium heat and let cook....finally to simmer (covered) thing about gumbo..the more it cooks the better the will also want to add more cajun seasoning (tony's)...or salt and pepper to taste

You may notice that I don't give measurements except for the roux....this is not a scientific's one I watched my Mother do and just tweeked it for my lifestyle....i.e., frozen seasoning and using the microwave to make the roux.  My Mother and Grandmother would chop all of the seasonings and cook that roux in a black iron skillet on the stove!

In a few months from now...I'll share with you my Shrimp and Okra Gumbo.

Before I leave's some pictures of 2 of our grandchildren playing on Wayne's display in the yard on Christmas Day....
Grace and Hunter who love to follow their paw paw out in the yard and play with the wooden lighted displays!  By the way, our two oldest Grandchildren Julia and Joshua were already in Tampa for Christmas, but they are coming here in 2 weeks for us to celebrate the holiday with them and Julia's 9th birthday celebration....maybe a candle light dinner will be manageable for that dinner.......I'll keep you "posted".

Till tomorrow when I'll share some thoughts on 2010.    See you then!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rain Is Coming Down

I'm feeling very cozy in my home office room behind the computer and the writing desire is taking over....especially listening to the rain coming down, the flashes of lightening and rounds of thunder...ummm...besides wanting to curl up in bed...the fingers get the itch to type! Thought I'd share the experiences we had on our short RV trip as I stated in my last post.

We were going to Mississippi for Wayne's family reunion and my daughter and two grandchildren were going to come with us. Ah...let's take the Paradise Pointe and try it out by staying in a campground (Percy Quin State Park) which was about 25 miles from the event.

So, loaded up...buckled in Gracie (4 yrs. old) and Asher (2 years old) along with my daughter, their mom, Jena. We pulled off, not knowing how the truck would do, or the trailer, or me...not to mention Wayne driving (and our nurves!)

Well, the truck towed like it was designed to...the trailer followed and we got there 2 l/2 hours later (140 miles) in tact and with enjoyment. The only learning curves were:
1. The hitch is a little hard to unhitch unless the truck is pulled forward a slight little bit to disengage...should not be that way...but it is what it is.
2. Got a very pretty site, however, the sewer connection was further back then normal so we needed the extra hose length Wayne had prepared for...the only problem...forgot the extra fittings..(lesson learned)! We did know not to unhitch until all connections were measured and sure they would fit!

Everything else worked great....had hot water in no time...did find that we had a slight overload with heater and coffee pot going at same time...had two overloads...but quickly learned where the fuse box was!

We did have a little issue with the furnace not working all the time when we wanted it to (temps got down to 30 degrees both nights) however, we had brought an electric blanket and little electric heaters.

The kids really had a great time...inspite of Asher developing a fever and a bad cold...oh well, such is life.

We are looking forward to going back to this's very pretty and has a beautiful lake.

Even though we did not put out our awning for this trip (too cold to stay outside) I'm posting a picture of's brand new a replacement from the RV Dealer when we purchased!

So, we made it back in an uneventful trip...just a few mishaps inside: One glass front to the overhead fell out (did not break) and one cracked. Don't know what could have caused that to happen since nothing was in the cabinet...however, some of the roads in Louisiana are so bumpy maybe that is what caused it. Who knows.

I do know this....loved the experience and can't wait for our next trip!

Speaking of next...I will share some of my Christmas Eve cooking in my next post....till then...listen to that rain... I wonder what that would sound like in the "Pointe"??

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Preparing for the Maiden Voyage

This has been a 2 and l/2 month process.....finding a 5th Wheel trailer, finding and buying a truck to pull it and then setting up the trailer and truck for the trips.  Whew....didn't know so much would be involved.  Lots of telephone work, looking, and decisions.  It was fun and sometimes stressful, but then I stress a lot.  Hopefully, with our condo on wheels I'll learn to relax and take in nature and have time to reflect and learn and well, you who camp...know what I'm talking about.  Now don't get me wrong....I'm NOT a camper....I'm a RVer!  I've learned there is a difference.....a camper loves to "rough" over open fire, not going inside very much.  They like bathhouses, or maybe no bath at all.  I, on the other hand, want all of the creature comforts of home...king size bed, recliners (that are comfortable) shower, potty know a condo...just on wheels.  I do like the outdoors...and love a fire in the fire pit......grilling on a gas grill....and having a nice place to retreat to in inclement weather!  Ok, so I'm a campground Diva!  I do put makeup on and cook (you know I love to cook) in my "camper".

Here are some pictures: 2006 33'Crossroads Paradise Pointe
Living area with leather recliners....that are actually comfortable!
I loved that this unit had the table and chairs
king size bedrrom
We also have hook ups for a stackable washer and drier.  That's a plus if we ever get to travel for extended trips...we may want that convenience as well!

Here's the tow vehicle:  ....a girl has to "ride" in style!

   It's a 2002 F-250 with a 7.3 ltr. diesel.   Yes, I drive it and I'm really enjoying the ride! It's a pretty truck and the interior was in perfect shape....since I have to ride around town in it and on standards were high!  We wanted an older truck...for the engine...but it had to look new....well, that took some time to find!

So, there you have it....we're planning to take it out on December 18th and 19th to Percy Quin State Park, Mississippi, near where a family reunion will be taking place.  It will be cold and we will be cozy!  Taking Jena with Gracie and Asher....that should be fun! :)

I'm sure I'll be posting about that adventure....stay tuned!