Welcome to the Blog Plantation Y'all

Our family welcomes you and thanks you for stopping by to visit. We are delighted you have taken a few minutes out of your day to spend with us. We are Joe and Jessica. We have two children and one very regal beagle! We post often and it usually includes details of our Christian faith; life here in the South; entertaining our family and friends; tales of our travels; as well as the daily adventures of having two children. Oh, and our passion for Alabama Crimson Tide Football!
Grab a mint julep, relax, and enjoy the site. Don't forget to leave us a message. You can click under any blog entry to do so. We love to hear from our guests.
(Also, please remember that all writings and pictures are the sole property of the blog plantation and it's authors and may not be duplicated, unless otherwise noted. )

Thanks for dropping by Y'all!

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What time I am afraid I will trust in thee
Psalm 56:3

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

As we ring in 2009 I wanted to grab a minute before hand to thank all of you for a wonderful 2008! It certainly posed it's challenges for us, but we got through it with God's grace and precious family, friends, and blog buddies.

The children are getting ready to toast with their "sparkling" cider Joe and I with our favorite champagne!


from our house to yours!
I have to go, I have a sparkler to write my name with waiting!

Who are you?

AT this time of year when we all reflect on who we are, this is something fun to do. Bloglifted from Jen, she is an Audrey. Take it and be sure to leave me a comment to tell me who you are. It is only 2 questions and it is VERY scary how accurate it is!

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Joan!


You are a Joan -- "I need to succeed"

(Not to mention NO WIRE HANGERS!!!! LOL. Seriously, I really cannot stand them and don't have them in my house. I really do get upset when the dry cleaners use them. Is that bad?)

Joans are energetic, optimistic, self-assured, and goal oriented. (TRUE)

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Leave me alone when I am doing my work. ( just ask my family and friends about this)

  • * Give me honest, but not unduly critical or judgmental, feedback. (I still might not like it)

  • * Help me keep my environment harmonious and peaceful. ( clean and pretty. Don't make a mess!)

  • * Don't burden me with negative emotions.

  • * Tell me you like being around me. ( LOL, needy much?)

  • * Tell me when you're proud of me or my accomplishments. ( again, needy? But so right!)

What I Like About Being a Joan

  • * being optimistic, friendly, and upbeat

  • * providing well for my family (and memories with a quality of life)

  • * being able to recover quickly from setbacks and to charge ahead to the next challenge

  • * staying informed, knowing what's going on ( I do like being in the know!)

  • * being competent and able to get things to work efficiently (YES!!!!!!)

  • * being able to motivate people (My Husband may have issue with this)

What's Hard About Being a Joan

  • * having to put up with inefficiency and incompetence ( People!!!!)

  • * the fear on not being -- or of not being seen as -- successful

  • * comparing myself to people who do things better ( I do this constantly)

  • * struggling to hang on to my success (no real struggle)

  • * putting on facades in order to impress people (not so much into facdes, pretty much what you see is what you get here.)

  • * always being "on." It's exhausting. (No wonder I am always tired!)

Joans as Children Often

  • * work hard to receive appreciation for their accomplishments

  • * are well liked by other children and by adults

  • * are among the most capable and responsible children in their class or school

  • * are active in school government and clubs or are quietly busy working on their own projects


Joans as Parents

  • * are consistent, dependable, and loyal

  • * struggle between wanting to spend time with their children and wanting to get more work done

  • * expect their children to be responsible and organized (poor Olivia and Orren)

(Again, all of the above VERY true!)

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We are missing all the FUN!!!!!

We are missing the fun!
My little brother (OK, I know he is 30 and married, but he is STILL my little brother) and his wife are down visiting my parents for our traditional New Year's Eve visit. (We are still quarantined and missing it!) Anyway, the boys took Chief's boat out yesterday and did some fishing. They had a blast and at least they caught a little something.

My Hubby is so upset he is missing all the action! If there is one thing the men in our family love to do together it is hunt and fish!
We are all so sad to be missing them, the celebration, and all the fun! We hope they continue to have a lot more and share with us!
We love and miss Ya'll bunches!
Happy Birthday Zachary!
We love you and we will see you soon to celebrate!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Helena is a great city!

I am very proud to live in Helena and Hewy posted an article that was written for The Birmingham News (Birmingham's newspaper) about living in Helena. It is awesome that Helena is so nationally recognized! I posted it as well! We should all be thankful we are so blessed with the privilege of living in such a magical place! For those who have never been here, we are most often compared with Fairhope, AL. Just smaller and not as much shopping! LOL
Take a minute to read. It is facinating to know the history of our "little piece of the world"

Residents take pride in Helena's family atmosphere
Posted by By Dana C. Crisson December 28, 2008 1:58 PM

Helena residents are justifiably proud of their city. You can hear the affection and pride in their voices whenever they talk about their award-winning community.
"Helena won three major accolades in the last year, and I am so proud of that," said Mayor Charles "Sonny" Penhale. "Business Week named Helena the 13th Best Place to Raise Your Kids; the city was ranked 91st in Money Magazine's 2007 list of Best Places to Live: Top 100 in the U.S.; and the Alabama League of Municipalities awarded Helena the 2008 Municipal Achievement Quality of Life Award."And the tributes continue to accumulate for the thriving city in North Shelby County. "Helena has been called 'the safest city in Alabama,'" Penhale said. "Our city has the eighth lowest crime rate per capita in the U.S., for cities with a population of 10,000-20,000."Helena offers an unbeatable blend of big-city conveniences combined with a warm family atmosphere. The city's prime location close to two major interstates, I-65 and I-459, offers opportunities for business growth in retail, wholesale, and manufacturing."The average age in Helena is 34, so we are a young city," he said. "My number one priority is to provide for the children. The school system, which consists of Helena Elementary, Intermediate, and Middle School, is top-notch. High school students attend neighboring Pelham High School."Recreation opportunities are plentiful. "We have great parks and nine excellent ball fields, with programs in football, soccer, cheerleading, baseball, softball and basketball," Penhale said. "Over 800 kids enrolled in our Little League last season."The city is building a new recreational facility with a basketball court, upper-level walking track, meeting rooms and a full kitchen with banquet capabilities. Four ball fields are completed and tennis courts will be added. The facility is slated to open in spring 2009.The Jane B. Holmes Public Library in Helena is one of the most popular libraries in Shelby County.The library has a meeting room, public access computers, and programs for seniors, adults, youth, and children. They stock the largest and most diverse collection of DVDs, videos, and music CDs in Shelby County. "We also have the best Alabama collection of materials about Alabama or by Alabama authors. We can offer our patrons hundreds of selections," said Library Director Victoria Ashford.Helena homebuyers have a variety of residential areas to choose from, including older established neighborhoods and newer developments. Area home prices range from the $120,000s to upwards of $500,000.Helena was little more than a crossroads stage stop when it was first settled.According to early post office records from the 1850s, the town was originally named Cove, then Hillsboro. During the Civil War, a rolling mill was built in the area to produce arms for the Confederacy. Classified as "top secret", it operated throughout the war until the famous federal troops known as "Wilson's Raiders" burned it to the ground.During reconstruction, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad sent an engineer named Pete Boyle to survey the land and build a new train station. Boyle asked that the town be named "Helena Station" in honor of his sweetheart, Helen Lee, the daughter of a prominent local judge. As the area around the train station grew, it eventually incorporated as the city of Helena. M.H. Williams, a railroad agent, was elected the first mayor.In addition to a large railroad yard, Helena had a steel mill, a grist mill powered by Buck Creek, a cotton gin next to the train station, several active coal mines, and a variety of retail stores, hotels, boarding houses and a school. After a filing error was discovered in the original incorporation papers causing them to be invalid, the city was reincorporated in 1917. Charlie Hinds, grandfather of present mayor Penhale, served as the new city's first mayor following its reincorporation.Although the city has seen its share of hard times, including the closing of the coal mines, the relocation of the steel mills and a devastating tornado in 1933 which killed 13 people and destroyed more than 100 homes, the dedicated residents of the community have built a city even stronger than before. "I have seen a lot of changes over the years, and let me tell you--it is our citizens who make our community so special," said Penhale, who has served as the mayor for more than 40 years.Old Town Helena, a district including the original city jail and railroad freight depot as well as other commercial buildings from the 1800s, celebrates the city's colorful past. The Old Town Amphitheater, built along the banks of Buck Creek, is a combination outdoor concert hall, festival grounds, movie theater, and special-event location. Residents gather year-round at the amphitheater for family events, starting in May with the annual Helena Buck Creek Festival. In eight years the festival has grown from one day and one band to two days, 10 bands, and more than 120 vendors. It attracts visitors from all over the South, with an estimated 2008 attendance of 20,000 people. The centerpiece is a duck race held above the dam of Buck Creek in Old Town Helena. Ducks can be sponsored for $5 each and proceeds benefit SafeHouse of Shelby County.Other events at Old Town Helena include Kidsfest, a one-day celebration with games and rides; the Summer Sundown Cinemas Movies in the Park series which shows free family movies; the Helena Summer Concert Series; and the July 4th Celebration.The final event of the year is City of Helena Christmas Parade. "We were the first city in Shelby County to start a parade, and this is our 38th year," Penhale noted. "We are a real family community. Everyone pitches in where they are needed. Everyone takes pride in Helena."
Happy Birthday Salah!!!
Today is Salah's birthday! We hope it is wonderful and we cannot wait to be with you to celebrate!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

This and That!

Yesterday my friend Margaret came and "broke me out" for a girl's day! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! We had lunch and then went to the picture show. We saw Four Christmases. That was the funniest movie I have seen in a while. I really needed the day, it was such fun. Margaret, you know I think you are fabulous!

I am getting Orren's room ready to be a big boy room. I think I have picked out a duvet. What do you think?

We are doing a "football" themed room and have lots of the accessories. I am going to paint his walls Navy blue. So I thought this might be a nice "break" and brighten things up a bit. Let me know, I am open to all feed back on this one!

We are all beginning to get cabin fever! Do you think it would be breaking the rules to go to the botanical gardens? A pic nic and feed the koi? What if we don't talk to anyone? LOL

Olivia spent the day playing outside with the Hayes boys. They had a blast! It did her such good to be out of the house for a little while.

Well, we are going to call it a night. Oh, by the way. Those of you that get email updates of the postings.... yeah well , what you got earlier today is what happens when you hit the wrong button. You just got a sneak peek of the posting for Jan. 9!

Have a great night!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day of December 25, 2008

WOW, what a great CHRISTmas! It was a quiet one since we are still under quarantine, but it was one of our BEST ever! We cannot thank Chief and GrandMaMa enough for all the goodies they left us to open this morning to! We wish that you could have been here!
Here are the highlights in pictures!

The tree and a new purple 10 speed bike!
Yes, that is hounds tooth wrapping paper. I love it! My mother found it for me. I used it to wrap a lot this year!

Olivia on her new Bike! Her favorite gift. Thank you Chief and GrandMaMa it is awesome!

REAL Santa money!

Orren wanted to know what was in there and if he could get in

Olivia's new vest. She adores it! Now for the cold weather to return so she can wear it!
Joe and I got one to!

Joe teaching Orren how to use the new "smart Cycle"

Our attention span left Buzz and the cycle

I can do this by myself! Chief and GrandMaMa gave me a bike to!

Orren on a mission with the spring activated light saber. Maybe NOT such a good choice Daddy!

Our CHRISTmas dinner for just the four of us!

My Butter was in the shape of a CHRISTmas tree!
Now we are all exhausted and the children are asleep! We hope that all of you had as much fun as we did!

December 25, 2008

"For unto you is born in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. "

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. " Luke 2:10-12

Merry Christmas!

With Love,
The Brelands

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A peek inside CHRISTmas Eve at the Breland home

Wanted to give ya'll a peek into what happens at the Breland Home on CHRISTmas Eve!
Here it is in pictures!

The mantle is lit, the stockings hung

The Children's Paperwhites bloomed

The "craft" Tree greets visitors in the foyer. It is decorated in ornaments made by the children and family and friends. Look at the precious "gingerbread" houses the children made this year. They are wooden so we can use them over and over!

The stairs

The Tree in the Living room

CHRISTmas cards from around the world!

The front walk

Our "light show"

Look what my hubby did as part of my present! My car is even monogrammed!

I am the monogram queen!

The card Olivia made to put on the quiche we baked for our neighbors today

Father CHRISTmas coming by our house throwing candy!


Orren REALLY liked the cake!

CHRISTmas Eve eggnogg toast

Leaving food for the Reindeer

Even Lord Huckleberry gets his eggnog, as the children watch

Goodies for Father CHRISTmas

Now all are asleep! Waiting on the arrival of Father CHRISTmas himself.

(Orren will be thrilled! LOL)

Merry CHRISTmas!

I got a "Tale" today!

I got a "Tale from Bloggeritaville" today! Thank you so much Leigh! It was a beautiful card and you are so blessed! Again, everyone please forgive my not getting mine out this year. I am just so upset about it! I will be doing something soon though, be on the lookout for a "thought" coming your way!


Merry CHRISTmas Eve!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

We are baking his birthday cake and celebrating his birth.
Tonight, as my family gathers around our fireplace to listen to Joe read the Nativity story, I hope all of you are feeling the love of the season and blessed on this magical night!
Here is a nifty Father CHRISTmas radar tracker so ya'll can keep up with the Jolly Ol' Elf

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Orren's Doctor visit NOT what we hoped!

Oh my goodness, we have had quite the growth spurt!
Orren is 35 inches tall!
So his statistics are this 35" tall or 2' 11" (LOL) and 28.2 lbs!
Unfortunately, his spot looked a little puffy and landed us back on antibiotics for 5 days. He will go back Jan 6 and will get his shots then. NOT that he was at all upset that he did not get them today!
We are still quarantined and were even threatened with being put back in the hospital with contact restrictions if we did not fully comply.
So we love all of you, but looks like we will not be seeing you for a little while longer!

well baby visit

We have an appointment today with the children's pediatrician. It is a well baby visit for Orren and I look forward to seeing how tall he his. I know he is weighing in at 28 lbs from the hospital. He is doing wonderfully and is back to full search and destroy mode!

Olivia and I are also crunching to get in some last lessons before I let her off from school for the holidays. So I will check in later today as I can.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I got an "expression" in the mail!

I just got an "expression" in the mail! I loved it Charnita and thank you very much! Olivia was more excited about that card than the CHRISTmas card from the Governor that came today as well.
It has been such a treat to get the cards this year from my blog buddies. So thank you again to Abbey, Jennifer, and Charnita. Love to all!

What is your signature?

In my family when a baby girl is born they are given a "signature color" Amazingly enough that color usually ends up being their favorite color. Are we really good guessers or influenced?

My Mother's~ is pink~ She often wears it and chooses accessories in PINK! She is known for it. Mother is also known for her sense of classic style. 9 x's out f 10 the woman looks like she walked off the pages of Ralph Lauren. The 10th time... the red carpet.
Mine ~is red ~ My family and friends will tell you I have been wearing red lipstick and fingernails(minus the occasional french manicure) from 15 - present day. It is my trademark, what I am known for. That and purses!
Olivia's~ is purple- EVERYTHING is purple! If you can think of it she has it in purple. You guessed it she is known for it and it. Everyone knows if you are getting something for Olivia, get it in purple. All shades, but especially darker purple. I am not sure she knows that other colors exist! Olivia is also very fond of Jewelry and anything that sparkles!
So tell me what is your signature color or style?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The North Pole

Here is a really cool website for all of you to enjoy this week!
It is all about The North Pole
There are games to play, recipes and even a radar to track Father CHRISTmas!
Ya'll enjoy!
Merry CHRISTmas!

Cold Night at home

It is absolutely freezing out, so we have been stuck inside all day. That led to a day of baking, cooking, and video game playing. Tonight, the four of us are playing the Wii. It is so cute to watch Olivia and Orren playing. They are so serious. Orren has no idea what he is doing but he LOVES his turn! Tomorrow is the start of another week and lots of excitement!
I have a quiche in the oven and it is my turn so I will talk to all of you soon!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

I forgot to post the second clue:

This is what the second clue looked like and this is what cinched it for us and lead us to where we found the gnome. I will post pictures of the children with "Jingles" the CHRISTmas gnome soon!

Guess what we found!

The Brelands have saved Helena and CHRISTmas from the evil Gent Looms!

We found the CHRISTmas gnome @12:10 PM

It was so great and so much fun! Thanks to Hewy for yet another fantastic hunt! You and your family are such an asset to this community! Oh, that looked like a nasty slip you had Hewy! Hope you are alright!

I cannot wait to introduce this gnome to "Newt"our gnome.

Helena will have CHRISTmas and all will be well!
(and to think we almost didn't participate this time)

CHRISTmas Gnome Hunt

Hewy has done it again! The Helena gnome hunt has begun! We at first were not going to participate, but after a family meeting we have decided that Orren will not even see anyone as we search for the Gnome, so The Brelands are in!
Here is what we know so far: The evil Gent Looms (an evil Kitty cat) has stolen Helena's CHRISTmas gnome! If it is not found, CHRISTmas will be ruined!
Hewy was able to find a page from his diary!

We expect to hear from the gnomes with the second clue in a few hours! We are out to save CHRISTmas for al of Helena!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Show and Tell

For those of you that don't know Mardi Gras begins 12 days after CHRISTmas and ends the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It is one of the traditions I miss most about New Orleans. It isn't at all for the reasons you might imagine (although those are fun as well). I miss the history and pageantry of it all. The prestige of belonging to a Krew or royal court. And KING cakes! I am able to order them every year and I called today to get on the list! So that Jan. 7th we will be feasting on this

From the BEST bakery in New Orleans! I cannot disclose this info on here as it is a "locals" secret and if they get too busy how will I get MY king cakes? LOL if you want to know send me an email and I will give up the goods. LOL Bobby V. don't get sarcastic on the comments and give it up!

It must be filled with cream cheese! Although there are a lot of flavors that others prefer.

So, as I am longing for the smell of crawfish boiling and beignets( Cafe Du Monde of course) I thought I would share with you some of my favorites from The Big Easy!

LaMadeleine~ Eve and I used to eat here at least once a week! This is where my passion and weakness for quiche (of any kind) was born. That and my Mother can bake ones that make your mouth water. Michelle knows, she and I ate an entire quiche mother left for our girl's weekend in 2 days!

Gambino's Bakery ~ My Mother's Birthday cake had to come from here every year, their famous Chocolate Doberge Cake. They are world famous for it! They do King Cakes here as well, but not like the .. ahem "other" bakery. You might want to order one from here though. LOL!

Five Happiness Chinese~ we used to go here after speech tournaments

Port of Call~ The Best Hamburger EVER!

Brennan's~ best Banana's Foster in the world. My parents took me here for brunch on my 18th birthday, followed by a day of beauty in the salon of Saks Fifth Avenue

Andrea's~ Chef Andrea made the night of my 18th birthday the best ever! Being a personal friend he made crab meat ravioli just for me. If you ever get to go make sure you order it. You won't find it on the menu!

Commander's Palace~ Finest dining you can have! My Daddy used to take us there for a night out. I always felt like a princess

Haydell's Bakery~ another really good bakery and delicious King cakes, I think you should all order them from here! heeheee

My list could go on and on forever, so I will stop for now. Keep these in your caps for your next trip to The Big Easy! Just swing by and pick me OK?

I got a "dust Bunny" in the mail today!

I got the cutest CHRISTmas card today from The Dust Bunny! Thanks Jen, my family has voted it the best card of the season! You are so creative and talented!
With Orren being quarantined we are a little stir crazy, so we loaded everyone in the car and drove around looking at CHRISTmas lights.
it was so much fun. Now the children are asleep and the grown ups are headed outside to sit by the outdoor fireplace.
Good luck to all Helenians in the gnome hunt tomorrow.
Hope ya'll have a great weekend!

Merry CHRISTmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's not stalking

Orren got his drain removed, Praise God! It was such a blessing and now we can move forward. I couldn't help but be thankful for so many of my blessings sitting in that clinic. Most of the children there were dealing with palette or facial malformations. The smiles on their faces and watching them play was beyond precious and eye opening.

I did learn about our society breeding "super bugs" and the use of neosporin; triple antibiotic cream and antibacterial wipes role in that. Very enlightening!

It is late so I am going to call it a day. I want to leave you with this. I thought it was so funny, especially for all of us bloggers and those who read them. It also reminds me a lot of things I used to do in college with my roommate! I wish I had this then!

Be well!

A nod to my New Orleans heritage

We are taking Orren to the surgeon today and with any luck they will remove his drain! I hope you don't mind another one of these , but today is crazy! I will update and blog normally again soon!
A nod to my New Orleans Heritage

1. You can pronounce things like “Tchoupitoulas,” “Burgundy,” and “Chartres” and know that none of them sound like they look, or like the rest of the country would pronounce them.
2. You don’t think it’s weird to be driving on a street starting with “North” or “South” while actually driving east or west.
3. You know that there’s no such thing as “North” or “South,” but there’s uptown, the CBD, the Quarter, and the westbank.
4. It’s not at all strange to you that the westbank is actually in the eastern part of the city.
5. It’s a streetcar, NOT a trolley, and, except for the rare occasion, only tourists actually use it.
6. You know the people wearing massive amounts of beads in the middle of July and actually waiting for the walk signal to change at a crosswalk are tourists.
7. You just found out from a tourist that what you do every time you get to an intersection is known as “jaywalking” and that it’s apparently a crime.
8. You expect classes to be cancelled when the temperature gets lower than 30°. Who drives when the roads are icy?
9. You love Hubig’s pies, and anytime you see them at a gas station, you buy one of each kind because you never know when you’ll find them again.
10. Every time you go out of state, people ask you if you’re from New York or New Jersey, but both you and New Yorkers can easily tell the difference between a New Yorker and a y’at.
11. You would never consider someone from Baltimore or Washington, D.C., to be from the South.
12. You hate it when people pronounce New Orleans as “noo orlEENZ.”
13. You think people are joking when they say that bars close at 2 am in other cities.
14. In aspiring to drive like cab drivers, you’ve almost mastered driving 40 mph in the quarter while successfully swerving around potholes and tourists.
15. You find it perfectly normal to order takeout at 3 am, although you normally don’t get back from the club until about 4 or 5.
16. You say “neutral ground,” and it hurts your ears to hear someone say “median.”
17. You go to “the show,” not the movies or movie theater.
18. Even though it only snows about twice a decade, you have snowballs every summer and get confused at first when someone says “snowcones.”
19. You pull out your winter clothes when the highs get in the upper 60s because you know how cold the wind is coming off the lake and the river.
20. Despite being in a huge rush, you still smile and say “hi” to almost everyone you pass, and you can point out northerners as the people who look scared because you’re “staring at them.”
21. Who buys groceries? You make groceries.
22. You know that the only people who get mugged are the idiots who walk alone at 4 am, and you probably think it’s good that they’ve learned their lesson.
23. You’ve got Tony Chachere’s and Tabasco, and you have to buy more almost every time you make groceries.
24. You get really excited on the rare occasion that you can turn left at an intersection without going past it and making a u-turn.
25. You can’t imagine how people spend an entire crawfish season without a crawfish boil.
26. You wouldn’t dream of going to Bourbon unless it’s to bring some visiting friends or family.
27. Your family has a favorite spot for at least three Mardi Gras parades.
28. You’re used to seeing beads hanging in the trees on St. Charles.
29. When you’re away, you automatically season everything before tasting it because you know there’s no way it already has enough flavor.
30. You’ve recently discovered that your car has something called a “turn signal,” but you still haven’t quite figured out how it works and don’t really care to know. If you're not actually from here, this probably just reminded you that they exist.
31. You laugh every time you see restaurants in other cities with signs that say “Authentic New Orleans Cuisine.” Then you feel kind of bad for the people who believe those signs and seriously consider bringing them some real food.
32. You love drive-thru daiquiri shops, and don’t find them at all out of the ordinary.
33. You know that you shouldn’t wait in line at Café du Monde and that you have to sit down at a table before it’s been cleaned if you want to be fed before the end of the day.
34. You’re very picky about your muffalettas, jambalaya, étouffée, pralines, and gumbo.
35. You know the pronunciations of the foods you eat. “muf-uh-lot-uh,” “jum-buh-lie-uh,” “a-two-fay,” and “praw-leens.”
36. You know it’s just plain dumb to touch an NOPD horse, and you feel like you’re endlessly keeping your drunk friends who are visiting away from them.
37. Actors who think they seem more authentic by speaking in a southern or cajun accent make you want to cry (i.e. that episode of Boston Legal).
38. You saw the movie "Déjà Vu" and couldn't help but point out everything inaccurate, but you were ecstatic that Denzel Washington wasn't too lazy to use a real accent.
39. When you're out of town and tell someone where you live, they look at you like you're Jessica Simpson holding a can of tuna fish.
40. You have no desire to flash for beads, considering every storage space in your house, from the closets to the attic to the garage, would burst if you tried to squeeze in anymore beads.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Southern Belles


I thought this was so cute and a change of pace! We were getting so serious here at the blog plantation

How to be a Southern Belle:

*Offer Mint Julep or Iced Tea to everyone who visits your house.
*Eat grits everyday for breakfast.
*Refer to your house as "The Plantation" no matter how small your house may be.
*Refer to all men as "gentlemen callers" or "beaux".
*Never let a man know you're interested or chase him because you know there are too many men who want you for you to expend the extra effort.
*When you have a dating dilemma and have one gentleman caller over when you are expecting another, claim to be "expired" and excuse yourself for a nap until he leaves.
*Whenever you are asked to do any work, fan yourself and claim to have the "vapors."
*Refer to every party you go to, even a kegger at the local university, as a "cotillion." All other parties are Yankee garbage.
*Try to use words like "darlin'", "sweet" or "precious" in every sentence.
*Refer to attending a motion picture as going to "the picture show" not the movies
*Belong to a country club. If you don't, refer to any club you belong to as a "country club". No one will know the difference.
*Sit under a magnolia tree with a parasol fanning yourself often. Passers-by will take notice of your belle-ness.
*Never marry a Yankee unless you want to be a Yankee by association.
*Never be seen without your makeup and girdle.

Southern Belles Never:
1. blow their nose in public.
2. Produce any bodily function in public
3. Wear white shoes or carry white handbags before Easter or after Labor Day. No matter what is fashionable
4. Chase after a man... they connive a man into chasing 'them'. Then act totally surprised when 'caught'.
5. Call men on the telephone.
6. Eat large amounts in public... they only nibble and say that they aren't hungry. (A southern belle will eat before a date, then again afterwards! It's not until the 'date' is of a fiancé status that a southern belle orders everything on the menu!)
7. Sleep with a man on a first date!
8. Sweat.
9. Get nervous or anxious... They're the picture of calm and control.
10. Cuss above a whisper where others might hear them. They use phrases like... 'oh my gosh', 'darn', and 'shoot'.
11. Have a gray hair until they're darn ready to have one!

~Southern Belles Must~
Must be a product of Southern raising (below the Mason Dixon, that is)! Pearls and pink are somewhere in your wardrobe. You must appreciate big trucks and the Southern men that drive them! You should value football and the ritual of tailgating. Sweet tea and grits should be two things that you hold near and dear to your heart. Also, you have to have that Southern Belle twang that the men love so much! Being Southern isn't just where you're born - it's an idea and a way of life. Being lady-like, charming, and refined is a MUST! Basically, you should epitomize the persona of Southern graciousness!
A Southern girl is a girl who knows very well that she can open a door for herself; however, she prefers for the gentleman to do it for her because it demonstrates a sense of respect. After all, every girl wants to be treated like a princess. We know how to make sweet tea and grits while telling you anything and everything about any football team. We pick our battles carefully. We fight with the heart of a pit bull, but we can still maintain grace and elegance. Our mystique is that of a soft-spoken, mild-mannered Southern belle who could direct an army, loves her Momma and will always be Daddy's little girl.

Southern Belles Always:

1. Get the man they want!
2. Know the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
3. Are extraordinary hostesses.
4. Always look their best! Never a bad hair day or never without the perfect thing to wear.
5. walk in heels like they're floating on air.
6. Are always a bit mysterious.
7. Are witty and charming.
8. Throw the best parties.
9. Are the greatest cooks.
10. Have style!

Have a great evening ya'll !

I'll post more later.

Jesus is better than Santa

My Daddy sent this to me and I thought it was awesome!

Jesus is Better than Santa
Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.
Santa rides in a sleigh
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.
Santa comes but once a year
JESUS is an ever present help.
Santa fills your stockings with goodies
JESUS supplies all your needs.
Santa comes down your chimney uninvited
JESUS stands at your door and knocks..
And then enters your heart.
You have to stand in line to see Santa
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.
Santa lets you sit on his lap
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.
Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is
"Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"
JESUS knew our name before we did.
Not only does He know our name,
He knows our address too.
He knows our history and future and He
even knows how many hairs are on our heads.
Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly
JESUS has a heart full of love.
All Santa can offer is HO HO HO
JESUS offers health, help and hope.
Santa says "You better not cry"
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me
for I care for you.
Santa's little helpers make toys
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts,
repairs broken homes and builds mansions.
Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.
While Santa puts gifts under your tree
JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.
It's obvious there is really no comparison.
We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about.
We need to put Christ back in Christmas.

Jesus is still the reason for the season.

May the Lord Bless and Watch over you and
your loved ones this Christmas 2008
And may He prosper and bless the work
of your hands in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I would love your feedback on this one............

I have really thought a lot about how our world celebrates "Christmas". I have come to this conclusion.....................Nothing about it celebrates our Savior. We are trying to balance this world's celebration with our faith. It is difficult.

Take for instance Father Christmas; Kris Kringle; Pere Noel; ST. Nick; whatever your family calls him. I have had a few discussions about him and Christianity. For instance, isn't it dishonest to lie to our children? Don't they learn by what we do? Isn't a lie of any kind a sin? Doesn't God hate sin?
At the same time, how can I steal some of the most precious memories from my children? The heart pounding excitement of coming down the stairs long before the sun has wakened from her bed. Trying so hard to hear "the prancing" of tiny little hooves on the roof. Or the jingling of sleigh bells. What about running to the beautiful crystal platter that held fresh baked goods to see if they had been eaten. The Elf on the Shelf, the magic of "finding" him each morning and wondering what he saw each night on his way to the North Pole. The reindeer food made of oats and glitter to shine in the moonlight to help guide the sleigh. Dressing in Pajamas to ride on The Polar Express.

All of these are traditions from my childhood and a couple new ones that I have handed down to my children. Yet, I am conflicted. We have changed the way we look at the gifts.... Each child gets three(from us) just like Baby Jesus and then Father Christmas fills stockings only. This was an attempt to down play his role, but hold onto the magic. We look at it as though we are playing dress up or make believe with our children. Not as a deceit. Is it enough? This is what we decided was best for our family. We balance with traditions of our Faith.
Traditions of our Faith include: our Advent wreath (we light and pray around every Sunday during Advent); The Hanging of the greens at our church; The family workshop to make ornaments and the Advent wreath again with our church: Holy Communion every Sunday of Advent and CHRISTmas Eve; The children's play of the CHRISTmas story and then all of them carrying Baby Jesus to the manger on the front lawn of the church; Baking Jesus a birthday cake; special reading of The Nativity story and the Story of the Candy Cane by Joe on CHRISTmas Eve. Three gifts to represent the three Baby Jesus received.
I did some research and here is what I have about some of the most popular CHRISTmas decorations and traditions. Some I knew, some I learned, some I cannot wait to share. I am going to post about two today, the most common
CANDY CANE: Legend has it that in the 18th Century somewhere in Europe any public display of Christianity was forbidden. No crosses or Bibles were allowed and the Christians were greatly oppressed. One old man, a candy maker by profession, was particularly distressed by this. He loved the Lord with all of his heart and couldn't stand to not share that love with the world. His heart especially went out to the children when Christmas drew near and no one was allowed to have a nativity scene (or crèche`) on display in their homes. He prayed for God to show him some way to make Christmas gifts for the children which would teach them the story of Christ.
The answer was the candy cane. The candy cane was in the shape of a shepherd"s staff to show them Jesus is our Shepherd and we are His flock. A sheep follows his own shepherd, knows his voice, and trusts him and knows that he is totally safe with him. The sheep will follow no other shepherd but their own. This is how we are to be with Jesus if we truly follow Him ( John 10:11; Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 40:11) Upside down the candy cane was a "J", the first letter of Jesus' name. ( Luke 1:31) It was made of hard candy to remind us that Christ is the rock of our salvation. The wide red stripes on the candy cane were to represent the blood He shed on the cross for each one of us so that we can have eternal life through Him. He redeems us and cleanses us with His shed blood - the only thing that can wash away our sin. ( Luke 22:20) . The white stripes on a candy cane represented the virgin birth, sinless life and purity of our Lord. He is the only human being who ever lived on this earth who never committed a single sin. Even though He was tempted just as we are, He never sinned. ( I Peter: 22) The three narrow red stripes on candy canes symbolized that by His stripes, or wounds, we are healed and the Trinity - the Father, Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit. Before the crucifixion Jesus was beaten; the crown of thorns was placed on His head; His back was raw from the whip. We are healed by those wounds. He bore our sorrows and by His stripes we are healed. ( Isaiah 53:3) The flavoring in the candy cane was peppermint, which is similar to hyssop. Hyssop is of the mint family and was used in Old Testament times for purification and sacrifice just as Jesus sacrificed His life for ours. ( John 19:29; Psalm 51:7) The old candy maker told them that when we break our candy cane it reminds us that Jesus' body was broken for us. When we have communion it is a reminder of what He did for us. ( I Cor. 11:24) If we share our candy cane and give some to someone else in love because we want to, it represents that same love of Jesus because He is to be shared with one another in love. ( I John 4:7,8) God gave Himself to us when He sent Jesus. He loved us so much He wants us to spend eternal life with Him... which we can do if we accept Jesus in our hearts as Savior and Lord. ( John 1:12; John 3:3,16) Some people believe this story of the candy cane is just a legend. Others believe it really happened. We do not know for sure exactly how the candy cane was invented, but there is one thing for certain... it is an excellent picture of Christ and His love for you.
CHRISTmas tree: Some have traced the Christmas tree back at least as far as the Prophet Jeremiah who wrote the book Jeremiah in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Opposition to the Christmas tree was strong in past centuries. The early Christian Church in the third century strictly prohibited the decoration of their houses with evergreen boughs. The decorated Christmas tree only caught on in the mid-19th century. Modern-day opposition continues: some condemn the Christmas tree because they believe it to be a Christian symbol; others condemn it because they believe -- incorrectly -- that the custom of cutting down a tree, erecting it in the home and decorating it is a Pagan custom.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season whose leaf does not wither. ~ Psalm 1: 1-3
The Tannenbaum is a symbol of peace and eternal life. A Christian Christmas Tree, represents the Cross on which hung the light of the world, who, when He died, completed His union in love with His church. The Cross reunited earth and sky, God and humanity in love. The lights of the tree represent Jesus, the light of the world; the ornaments represent us, the fruits - the offspring of the union between Jesus and His church. And thus did the Tannenbaum become the Christian Christmas tree.
The colors white and gold symbolize purity and Majesty of both the son of God and the son of man
I would love to hear your feedback on this one!

Monday, December 15, 2008

We got our CHRISTmas card from Scotland!

As I have mentioned before Scotland is hosting a huge "homecoming" in 2009. It is called The Gathering. It is so exciting! They have called all of the clans home and have huge events planned in celebration. We got our CHRISTmas card today.

We also got our t-shirts in a couple of weeks ago. They are such a pretty purple ( Olivia's signature color) and the logo is a sparkly gold.

it has The Gathering logo on the back

I have worn it out of the house two times and both times I was questioned about it extensively. Olivia wore hers and complete strangers stopped her. I am now having second thoughts about our wearing it around.

Orren is doing well today. We are counting down the days to get the drain out. Two more to go!

The children have been playing in a wardrobe box. They have turned it into a "fort" complete with lanterns and a welcome mat (drawn on with crayon of course).

I live to hear those giggles, songs, and fantastical stories. Do you think it spells trouble that at 18 months Orren has a fascination with swords? They play "Narnia" and even though Orren doesn't understand all of what is happening he has perfected the sword stuff. That and he loves when they play Peter Pan to eat "never food"

This is what the children are reading this week:

(click the pictures for the links)

Orren ~

This one is really cute because as you turn the page each disciple that you read about comes off and it gets fewer and fewer until you are left with the last disciple James.

Olivia is reading this: it is about purity and innocence. Waiting for your husband. It has the most precious prayer:

My Princess Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, I want to be beautiful in my spirit so that everyone around me will know that You live in my heart. Give me the wisdom I need to make the right choices in what I wear, how I act, and what I do. I want Your lasting beauty. Amen.

They have a version of this for boys as well. We are not quite ready for it so we will keep it put away until time.I guess that does it for today, be well and may God bless each of you!
Merry CHRISTmas!