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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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Where does one begin?

Where does one begin? So much to share, let's try it this way:

Thursday: the children, Joe, and I all a woke at 5:00 AM and hit the road to Jackson, MS. The Lindsey family ( my mother's side of the family) was gathering there at my cousin David's home. This is the second year we have done it there and it was so much fun! All were present, including GiGi, with the exception of my little brother and his wife. Katy had just finished final exams on Wed. making a trip from North Carolina to Mississippi almost impossible. They were missed so very much! We are so proud of them both and cannot wait until we can be with them. I would be remiss if I did not share with you one of the funniest Thanksgiving stories of ALL time.

My 1st cousin Steve and his wife Kelli were there with their children. Two beautiful blond little girls. Lillian and Marris. As we were finishing our amazing Thanksgiving feast, my husband Joe stood to take his plate and picked up another plate that had been left on the table. Precious little Marris, who is three, looked at her mother and said, "that other Dad had two plates!" Kelli who is very poised, said, "Oh, honey I think he was just being nice and took that one as well." to which Marris replied,"well, he ate a lot!" LOL
After we had all finished eating, my parents, (who had started a tradition some years back of the children each filling paper bags with as many Louisiana satsumas they could carry) marched everyone out to the front lawn to do so this year. Oh, the children LOVE this and after all of the paparazzi had finished with their photo ops, they began to eat them. My husband reached down and got one out of the box and ate it. Little Marris, began to cry as she told my mother "he ate it!" Mother said, "Let's get you another one." She was thinking Joe had inadvertently eaten one of Marris's. She had no idea of the history between the two. Later, after talking with Marris, I discovered she thought it was for the children ONLY and how dare "that other Dad" eat one! Joe said he was going to have to do something to win Marris over next year. She will be 4 by then, he might have a shot! I have not laughed so in quite sometime. How precious are the littlest ones of the group?
Orren was quite fond of the sweet potatoes and thinks he should have them every meal, just that way! He is getting some new teeth back ones, and that caused him to not feel so well.
Olivia had so much fun playing with Jordan and Lillian. I love to see the girls together.
We left and drove the longest 3 miles in the world to my friend Shana's house. There we grabbed a very quick hug and loaded our children into the car for a long ride home. We logged 8 hours in the car roundtrip in one day!
Friday: We packed everything up and loaded into the car to spend the night at Salah and Michelle's house. Michelle and I had lots to do.
Saturday: It was up early again to decorate the cake and start cooking! Michelle and Salah have a beautiful home. They have worked so hard to get it decorated top to bottom and it was stunning!
Alabama rolled over the Auburn tigers on the path to National Champions!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Iron Bowl 2008!

Quick post as I am home and exhausted! Thanksgiving, the Iron Bowl WHEW! The Tide remains undefeated in our quest for a National Championship! We had the most amazing party at Michelle and Salah's house today. Michelle and I stayed up late last night (we spent the night there) Preparing and up early this morning making everything just so. It turned out great. I have so much to share and so much to fill you in on..... Thanksgiving, today, and tales of our travel. Tomorrow I promise! For now check out the cake I made for today!

I hope to get better at this one, it was tricky!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

May all of you enjoy your families and fellowship! You will be in our thoughts and counted as one of our blessings. We will post again Friday. For now, the plantation is busy!
May God bless you all!

Pictures of Blaze Anthony

Blaze Anthony Bourgoyne
Hey darlin'

Perfect family

This was her door at the hospital, they are doing the cowboy theme!

Baby Blaze is here!

Praise be to God! Our family was blessed with another healthy and precious baby boy. Joe and I are now a Great Aunt and Uncle!
Blaze was born at 1:50 AM this morning. In less than 2 hours after their arrival to the hospital. All are healthy and tired! We are so thankful to our Heavenly Father for Blaze's safe arrival. We have but yet another blessing to be thankful for on Thursday! Picture to come soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting close

Not too much to report today!

I have some great pictures to share today. My Daddy is so talented! He and mother sat on the beach for sunset and this was the result

I can almost feel the warmth of the sun, can't you?

I hope that all of you have the most fantastic and blessed holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

*Fellow citizens of Helena, don't forget that garbage pick up is tomorrow NOT Thursday!

You thought I forgot about the Iron Bowl segment didn't you? Enjoy!

An Alabama Fan is driving with an Auburn Fan as his passenger, when he decides to pull over because he suspects that his turn signal may not be working. He asks the Auburn Fan if he doesn't mind stepping out of the car to check the lights while he tests them. The Auburn Fan steps out and stands in front of the car.
The Alabama Fan turns on the turn signal and asks, Is it working?" To which the Auburn Fan responds, "Yes, it's working....No, it's not working....Yes, it's working....No, it's not working...."

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

As you can see we are all decorated for Christmas here at the blog plantation. Now to just get the real one done!

Tomorrow we will be buying up groceries to get ready for Thanksgiving. I adore this holiday. It has no other purpose than for friends and families to gather and be thankful for what they have in each other. No gifts needed. Maybe a few drinks, but no gifts. (not that this would apply to my family, no)

Livie is sick tonight and I am hopeful that this is not going to carry on into the holiday. Crossing fingers that she just got too hot and that caused her to get sick. Throw in that we got a notice they are shutting our power off on Wed from 9-3 for the construction and I am having serious concerns about the end of the week. I mean come on they are doing this the day before Thanksgiving. You know no one has anything going on that day, what better time?

On a happier note my Daddy sent me a gorgeous picture he took in his backyard at sunset.

This makes me long for the beach!

So Here is the Iron Bowl segment for today:

A man takes his wife, (who use to be an Auburn Cheerleader) hunting, and impresses on her again and again that "If you shoot a deer, don't let someone else claim that they shot it also and that since they killed it... it's their deer!"
So ... he's in his stand hardly for 10 minutes when he hears his wife shooting nearby. He rushes over to her stand to find her pointing her gun at a man who is loudly disclaiming... "It's your deer lady..It's your deer... Just lemme get my saddle off it!!!!"

I thought this was appropriate because it is hunting season as well!

Have a good one

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What a party!

What a party!

The children had so much fun tonight at the Birthday party. We are so blessed to have such fantastic new friends. These people wrote the book on parties! It was at Pump It Up One of the all time favorite birthday places. Well, tonight it was taken to a whole new level. There were about 75 in attendance. We had both party play arenas, a visit from Diego, an animal hunt where each child got to keep the stuffed animal they "rescued" Pizza, cake, cupcakes and really cool goodie bags(two per child in fact). The children are exhausted and tucked in bed.
Kathy and Joe are absolutely some of the most amazing people we have ever had the privilege of knowing. We have only known them a short amount of time, but they make us feel as though we have known them forever. Kathy is the director of Chubby Cherubs our play/ service group. She is amazing and so talented. Joe is an executive Chef and fellow New Orleanian. We were bound to be instant friends!

The inflatable slide was Orren's favorite. Although he had reservations at first, by the end of the night he was going down it by himself. This is a seriously high slide. Fearless is all I can say. Olivia had great fun with the "older" children and the adults had just as much fun. Thank you to Kathy and Joe for including us in such a special night.

Happy Birthday Joey!

The BIG 3

When you live in Alabama.................................

When you live in Alabama a few things are decided for you at birth. What religion you are, what eccentric southern nick name you will be saddled with the rest of your life, and if you are CRIMSON AND WHITE or orange and blue. You know Alabama or Auburn. There is also one weekend of the year that shuts down the entire state. Brings the children home and brings out the football fan in every man, woman, and child! The last weekend in November known as the IRON BOWL!

Since Bama and Auburn both had the week off the tension is building. Alabama is one game away from a perfect undefeated season and Auburn has never lost in Bryant Stadium. We are getting ready for the big game day at our house. Planning the menu for such an event is rivaled only by one's wedding. Which you can be certain there will be NO nuptials performed on that Saturday, ever!
We bought this mustard to eat with summer sausage and cheese! It is really good. I mean how could it not be? It is Bama right? No worries to my dear Auburn friends it comes in War Eagle to! I just don't think it tastes as good LOL

So this week will be devoted to fun tidbits, jokes and good ol smack talk! All of which are meant for the sole purpose of fun and not to be taken to heart! I do not want to offend anyone and it is just to have a good time. We dearly love A LOT of Auburn fans! So please keep that in mind.

Here is the first: I got this in an email from a friend in Montgomery. It was way too funny!

Dear Abby,
I am a crack dealer in Birmingham who has recently been diagnosed as a carrier of the HIV virus. My parents live in a suburb of Hoover and one of my sisters, who lives in Irondale, is married to a transvestite. My father and mother have recently been arrested for growing and selling marijuana and are currently dependent on my other two sisters, who are prostitutes in Pell City. I have two brothers. One is currently serving a non-parole life sentence in Montgomery for the murder of a teenage boy in 1994. The other brother is currently in jail awaiting trial on charges of sexual misconduct with his three children. I have recently become engaged to marry a former Thai prostitute who lives in Atlanta and is still a part time"working girl" in a brothel. All things considered, my main problem is this. I love my fiance and look forward to bringing her into the family and I certainly want to be totally honest with her. Should I tell her about my cousin who is an Auburn fan?


Worried About My Reputation

More to come this week! Roll Tide!

We have a huge birthday party tonight and we are very excited!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Did someone forgot to mention there is a recession!

We ventured out to pick up a birthday gift for a party tomorrow and all I can say is someone forgot to tell the city of Birmingham there was a recession. Every person in the city was at Toys R Us and the Galleria today! Oh my goodness! We waited 15 minutes for a table to eat at the food court! We did not get home until almost 5:00 PM and we left at 11:00 AM!

I did get the gift and we picked up a hat for Orry as he had out grown all of his. With this cold we had to have one. Ear infections are not our friend. Here it is:

I cannot wait to see him wear it!

Is that not too cute! Not sure it was worth 6 hours of my day, but we got it.

This is a Holiday week, have you gotten your Turkey? I have been laughing at the women in the grocery who are obviously preparing for their first Thanksgiving. You know the ones, very young asking everyone around them where the cranberry sauce is, buying 6 boxes of Stouffers, and a 50lb frozen turkey. Someone needs to tell them to start thawing it out now or it isn't going to be ready until New Year's. And no one is going to eat that cranberry jelly that permanently holds the shape of the can.

Oh well, we have all been there!

I got a really interesting email this week( I actually got it about 17 times). I thought it might be worth sharing here: Beware of the gift cards this year, read for yourself I will wait.......................

I wanted to give everyone a heads up that if you tend to give gift cards around the holidays, you need to be careful that the cards will be honored after the holidays. Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as 'Bankruptcy Planning. Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about.

Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)

Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide closing

Lane Bryant,

Fashion Bug ,

and Catherine's to close 150 stores nationwide

Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January

Cache will close all stores

Talbots closing down specialty stores

J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)

Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)

GAP closing 85 stores

Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January

Wickes Furniture closing down

Levitz closing down remaining stores

Bombay closing remaining stores

Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January

Whitehall closing all stores

Piercing Pagoda closing all stores

Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.

Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick )

Macy's to close 9 stores after January

twiddling thumbs.......... Oh sorry, please continue.............

Linens and Things closing all stores

Movie Galley Closing all stores

Pep Boys Closing 33 stores

Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores

JC Penney closing a number of stores after January

Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.

........Jeopardy theme song playing.......

Wilson Leather closing down all stores

Sharper Image closing down all stores

K B Toys closing 356 stores

Loews to close down some stores

Dillard's to close some stores

Oh, all done? That's a lot of info I know WHEW, glad there isn't a test! Should I also say, I have no idea if it is true!

But something to think about! It obviously wasn't common knowledge by the look of things today! You can all thank me later. I accept all gift cards, as I can wipe them out LONG before Jan 1, 2009!

So we were in the store buying some new "binkies" (Orry has so cleverly hidden all of his). Yea fun times at bed time without them. I put a pack in the basket and was distracted for a moment. When I turned around to him he had opened the package and put one of the new ones in his mouth! He had also thrown the only surviving binky from home on the floor. Have you guessed that it was one he did not like?

Olivia has a list for Santa that most likely killed 10 trees to make. Sorry to all the green people, will it help if I promise to recycle it? I do try to reduce, reuse and recycle. I am just not very good at like.... any of those. I do own enough reusable grocery bags to clear the shelves, I just forget them every time I go in the store. They should have a rack where you can hang them and pick them up when you come back the next time. Oh wait that won't work.... how would we get them home. Oh well!

I hope ya'll enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Beware of the kiosks at the Galleria it is like walking through market in Guadalajara!

someone actually tried to sell me a $200.00 curling iron. I either look as though I am made of money or like one of the stupidest people on earth! (no comments from the Peanut Gallery!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thought for the day

Love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.
( Yes, I did get this from my 9 year old, it is her favorite quote.)
Joe is on his way home, so we are busy getting ready for his return. We are baking, cooking, and watching the clock!
This will most likely be the post for the day as we will be wrapped up in all things Joe!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Just for fun!

In honor of the Season, I wanted to put some fun things to do on the site.

You MUST go and play this game. Warning it is addictive. Last year I played every spare minute

This is also a fun site from last year make sure you Elf yourself ! It cracks me up every time!

This I smuggled out of the North Pole, it is Mrs. Claus cookbook. Please don't tell her. Hope you find a favorite treat!

Hope ya'll enjoy as much as we have!

My little man is growing up

OK so I can't stop the hands of time and my little man proves that more and more everyday. His vocabulary grew to epic proportions today. I had some cereal out and I was pouring it into a bowl when this little hand reached up and said "want some." He wasn't asking me if I wanted some he was vocalizing he wanted some. It was so precious. Then tonight as we started up the stairs for bed I said "I love you" and he said "wuv you, ni ni" and waved his little hand open and closed.

So the list of words reads something like this:

Oh Wow

uh oh (we say 200 times a day)



LaLa ( Olivia)

nnnnnno (no)

tata (instead of bye bye, Aunt Michelle has issues with this. You have to do the wave with it)

ni ni ( night night)

wuv you (love you)

want some ( I would very much like some please)

Not bad for 17 months. Makes Mommy sad!

The children and I had lots of errands today. Tonight, Livie and I watched survivor and missed Joe terribly. Final day then he is home. We are planning a big homecoming. We are going to have a fire in the fireplace, crafts the children made, and jambalaya on the stove. Of course Heineken iced down. Our hearts ache for him to be home! I love him so much, more and more everyday.
I talked with my cousin Clancy today. It was so good to get to chat. I love that our children are so close in age and we get to go through all of this together.
Well, tonight is the midnight showing of Twilight. Not to be a stick in the mud, I know everyone else loves them. It isn't my thing. I am ready for everyone to go and see it and the hoopla to be over. I am glad that they enjoy it so, I am just being petty because I am jealous Bella has stolen my friend. LOL ! Hurry and finish Michelle, I still can't believe how fast you have read those books!
Kayla has still not had the baby. Bless her heart. I hope she has relief soon.
There is only 5 weeks until the big day.
Happy Birthday Jesus

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Baby it's cold outside!!!!

It was 19 degrees when we looked at the thermometer this morning! So COLD. The children and I spent the day baking and playing the Wii. Tonight we had a "girl's night" Livie and I had mani/pedis, it was fabulous! We had a junk food dinner and it was fabulous!! We are missing Joe and ready for him to come home!

I talked to an old friend today, Bobby. It was so good to spend time with him and relive old times all the way back to High school. I still say NO I WAS NOT A DIVA! LOL
I have come across the cutest EVER craft to do with the children. No hints and I won't share (sorry) until after Christmas because we are doing it for Joe, I am so excited!! I'll show you on the 26th! PROMISE!

I am ready for the holidays even if they did sneak up on me. I have been reluctant, but starting today I say MERRY CHRISTMAS. The music will be changing here at the blog plantation, it will be going to Christmas after tonight's post.
Speaking of the Southern Belle here is one of my favorite sites The Southern Belle Store Sure to find something for the Belle in all of us! And my other CANNOT live without site Southernness I love this site and we have a lot of this merchandise! If you have been in my home you will recognize a lot of this. Down to the travel linen dusting powder in the Night Ya'll scent! My nightgown to!
Maybe this will help you find some Christmas gifts for all of your loved ones.
Daddy sent me some pictures he took at the beach and since it is so cold, I thought we could all enjoy the beach!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sara Evans and Jay Barker, weekend plans and TV shows

More pictures of Chief and GrandMaMa in the mountains

I have been cleaning and organizing again today!I have also been watching the food network. Now I am a gourmet chef and ready to cook something. I am also planning out our weekend out. Bama has a week off so football will be at a minimum.

It might be time for a trip to the Botanical Gardens for a pic nic! Think it is too cold? I love to see what is blooming for the fall there. I also need to get the Christmas card picture of the children. Running out of time!! So it might just be the perfect opportunity!

Can I just say that I think The Real Housewives of Atlanta are a hot mess! I cannot believe I even waste my time watching them. But sadly, I do, there is not a whole lot on at 2AM in the morning. You take what you can get. That and Wife Swap (Jen, I decided to live dangerously and actually list the name!) Anyway, back to the housewives. I cannot believe these women are representing women of the south. What? They have no class, no remote understanding of etiquette or poise. Southern Belles they are not! I am 90 % of the time embarrassed for them. Tonight is the season finale. I am thinking I might have to actually watch this one at its prime time showing instead of my early morning hours. I will be so glad to see this group of women go into the archives!

Over the weekend I got word that Jay Barker and Sara Evans were in town. See Hewy for pictures and details. Seems they were eating at Incahoots. How cool is that? Just goes to show that our little town is truly magical and a draw to everyone!
Time out for a Christmas questionnaire
Got this from my Aunt Beth :

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends. Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know or post to your blog.
Tis the Season to be NICE!
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, I love all the beautiful boxes and ribbon shimmering under the tree.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real in the Foyer, artificial in the living room & kitchen. The children have little ones in their bedrooms.
3. When do you put up the tree? The day after Thanksgiving or very close to it. NEVER before
4. When do you take the tree down? The day after Christmas, it must be down by New Year's
5. Do you like egg nog? Oh my goodness yes! I love store bought, but live for the annual homemade egg nog
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Seriously, I was so rotten and got everything I ever wanted how could I pick a favorite? I guess, my cabbage patch kids
7. Do you have a nativity scene? yes, I love putting it out every year.
8. Hardest person to buy for? My Children, they already have EVERYTHING! followed only by Michelle
9. Easiest person to buy for? My Mother, bless her precious soul. She loves anything and makes you think it was just what she wanted. NO MATTER WHAT IT IS!
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, I love the ease of email, but there are some things that are just meant to be mailed.
11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? last year a relative(one that should have) did not do for my children for Christmas, Olivia was devastated and that crushed Joe and I. We used it as a teaching opportunity for MANY things.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Carol
13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? yes, but only because the person I gave it to would genuinely go gaga for it and they did!
14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? all of the home baked foods, candies and pies
15. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear
16. Favorite Christmas song? do you hear what I hear
17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Christmas is meant for children so we stay at home.
18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher; Dancer; Prancer; Vixen; Comet; Cupid Donner; and Blitzen. RUDOLPH!!! you can't forget RUDOLPH!!!
19. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We open one gift a piece on Christmas Eve in front of the fireplace and open everything Christmas morning then have breakfast
20. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People that do not fully appreciate the reason we have Christmas and want to change they way we observe it. Like Holiday trees etc.
21. Favorite ornament theme or color? I do a crystal and gold theme in the living room, grapes and wine in the kitchen, white and silver in the foyer
22. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? Turkey and dressing
23. What do you want for Christmas this year? a digital picture frame with gold trim
24. Who is most likely to respond to this? My Blog friends
25. Who is least likely to respond to this? My readers
Merry Christmas To All,
(are you ready to hear that yet? I'm not!)

OK back to blogging:
Speaking of our little town I am so excited about the new restaurant opening 122 Tree Lane that is the name not the address. Looks like a great place to go for date night or girls lunch. I am very interested in the personal chef situation. AND earning free meals. LOL Wonder if linking them and plugging them on the blog gets you any points? Seriously though I am too excited about them. Hope to visit a lot during the Christmas season!
I have to go and make our fried ravioli for dinner. Thanks Paula Deen!

Have a good night everyone!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fall, prayers, updates, and contests

Happy Fall Ya'll!
This was taken by my Daddy while spending time in the mountains with my Mother and their friends, the Tinkers.

So we are trying to recover from our weekend! Oh my goodness.
TJ- recovering and sore. Please pray for him and his friend as they prepare for the issues ahead from the accident.
Kayla- still has not had the baby and we are all wondering how long they will leave this poor darlin in "labor" before they will help it along.
Hayes Family- Our precious friends the Hayes family (you have seen and heard them mentioned here before) called on Saturday night. Margaret's father passed away earlier that afternoon. Our most sincere and heart felt sympathy goes out to the entire family, but especially for my dear friend Margaret. We ask for prayers for the entire family and extend our hands for whatever we can do to help.

It was an incredibly cold weekend. We had a fire, watched football, and played cards. I hope that the temp warms up just a touch because it is just too early for it to be THIS cold! If not things could be really bad this winter!
My friend Katie married on Nov.1, as you know. This leads me here: I need a favor from all of you. Katie could win a 13x16 print of her choice from her photographer if she gets the most comments at the site. This is the link Katie and Nick slideshow The photographer did a fabulous job, you will enjoy seeing the artistry, but please take a minute to comment and help her win as well.

More Pictures from the Mountains

Is that view not amazing? Their cabin ( the Tinkers) is so gorgeous.

Who has the marshmallows?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Scratch that - Kayla is in labor

As if the events of last night were not enough, Christy just called and they are in the hospital with Kayla. She is in full active labor. They will let her go on and have the baby at this point. We will update when Baby Blaze gets here. Our prayers are with ya'll!

Can you imagine being torn from child to child? One in labor and one trying to recuperate from a near fatal wreck. How do you do that? I guess you sit with one a while and then back to the other and rotate out. Goodness!

Prayers for our Nephew TJ

We found out this morning that our teenage nephew TJ, was in a horrific car accident last night. The truck he and a friend were in flipped four times and when it came to a stop was facing the opposite direction on the other side of the road. TJ and his friend were ejected from the vehicle.
TJ suffered some serious lacerations and contusions to his head, He has staples and stitches in his head and face. His nose is broken and his body is battered. I am not certain the condition of his friend at this time. Please pray for him and his family as well. They must be going through so much fear and worry also. He was driving and that I think adds a burdened feeling of guilt as well. It would for me.
Please pray for my sister-in-law as well. Kayla has still not had the baby which is a GREAT thing but a day to day and now this with TJ. She drove up on this scene with it's flashing lights and TJ lying on the ground. The police officer caught and stopped her as she started running to him. I could not imagine the fear that consumed her at that moment. She is a strong woman and we admire her for the strength and courage she has.
As she and I shed tears of thanksgiving that his life had been spared, I am certain that several of them were tears of fear and what ifs. Thank you dear precious Father God for saving his life and holding him close!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Concern and well wishes!

Joe was home today! What a treat!
We spent most of the day out and shopping for shoes for Livie.
We got Chief and GrandMaMa back to the beach. We miss them already! Mother has come up with an awesome idea for my grandmother and I am excited about working on it soon.
I am trying to get all of our Thanksgiving plans straight. How in the world did it get to be time for Thanksgiving? Christmas is just around the corner!
I spent some time this evening out and about in our subdivision and spoke to a few friends and neighbors around. We are trying to get the decorations committee together to decorate the front entrances.
One of the neighbors I spoke with said that someone was mad that I had pictures on a previous post of the incident that took place. This concerned me a little as I wouldn't want to upset anyone. Another friend and neighbor said they did not think I had done anything wrong or anything to upset anyone. So if I did offend someone or if they have concerns please email me and let me know what and why. I certainly do not want anyone upset. I was very careful to not give details of the events leading up to the incident at hand. The pictures show nothing but police vehicles in front of my home, and the reporter that showed up. May I also add, that everything I posted was also written in several of the newspapers and discussed in even more detail on the news. The only difference was that I wrote what a fantastic and professional job the Helena Police did. I really think they did such a great job!
I asked then and continue to ask for prayers for this family. They did not ask to be thrust under this microscope and we hope that they will find resolution soon. I think it is important to show support and love to them.
We are working to provide some support to them in way of gifts for the children for Christmas and meals. If you are interested you can also email me.
We are excited about an upcoming gnome hunt in December, courtesy of Hewy. Livie asks at least once a week when and how much longer. Maybe I should have held off on telling her it was coming.
Let me take a moment to say how much I admire him (Hewy)and his family. They all do so much for our fair city and the gnome hunts bring out the child in every one of our citizens. He is the one who inspired me to become a blogger.
I want to take a moment to send hope you are feeling better wishes to my friend and fellow blogger Dust bunny hostage, she suffered an awful black widow spider bite last weekend and as she says was robbed of the chance to watch Alabama play LSU. Instead she spent a good deal of time in the hospital and writhing in pain. Darlin, I hope you get to watch them tomorrow and I hope that once again we are victorious!
Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Report from Chateau Breland

So things seem to be back to normal here at Chateau Breland. We are eagerly waiting on Chief and GrandMaMa to come back tomorrow. Hopefully we can talk them into staying for the weekend.

I am running some errands today. One of my favorite is picking up things from Sew what Stacie is the best and does such a great job on monograms. I think she can do anything.

I am also baking this afternoon, so I have to pick up some things for that and firewood. You heard me correctly, firewood. In November! The weather report last night (CBS) said that we are going to experience a wintry mix this weekend. I cannot wait! Roasting marshmallows with the children; hot cocoa; playing games; and working a new puzzle.
Jarrod ( my brother) and Katy (SIL) celebrate their anniversary this weekend!
Happy Anniversary!

This is the two of them scuba diving off the Caribbean. They are so perfect for each other!

We love you have a great celebration!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Police, neighbors and prayer

I want to be very careful about this. I know the family involved and I do not want to hurt them or provide fodder for idle gossip. I do however want to share with you and ask for your prayers about an incident last night. It just goes to show you that no neighbor or neighborhood is above incident.
Our next door neighbors had a situation ( a 3 1/2 hour standoff with a weapon) that required full police assistance. Please remember that they have 2 very young little girls and these are obviously desperate times.
The Police were dressed in riot gear and had semi-automatic rifles. ( Guess Helena Police got to use those new guns and toys after all) I was amazed at the precision of their mission and the tact in which they handled things. I watched every detail unfold from the upstairs window of my son's room. It was like watching a military operation and a movie all at the same time. They really do talk to them on a PA system and they really do say things like "no one wants to hurt you and we can work this out together".
They blocked off all sides of the street and had firetrucks and medics a couple of blocks away.
When they came to our door, and several other surrounding homes, they showed professionalism and compassion. They came to ask that we move everyone to the opposite side of the house (The houses across the street were all asked to move to the back of their homes).
I cannot say enough good things about the Helena Police Department! I do worry about the officer that was involved in a wreck last night due to this incident and ask that we pray or his recovery also.
No wonder Helena is one of the safest places to live in the country and 90th best city to live according to Money magazine.
I really don't want to say anymore except this.......... Please, Please pray for this family. There is so much more to this story and the details would break your heart. They need prayers, lift them up today please!
My Father the forever photog captured a few images. I sent a few to Hewy and here are some for you.

The reporters showed up this morning and we refused comment about the episode, but Daddy took their picture!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Recipe Monday!

I get two different emails a day containing "copy cat" recipes. Thought it was time to start sharing my favorites. I am going to try to do so every Monday. If I forget, just remind me-gently LOL I am holding the P F Chang's recipes for closer to the holidays. Yummy!
First up:

This is the best chicken sandwich you'll ever eat...
--Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich-
-3 cups peanut oil
1 egg
1 cup Milk
1 cup flour
2 1/2 Tb. powdered sugar
1/2 ts. pepper
2 teas. salt
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved
4 plain hamburger buns
2 Tb. melted butter
8 dill pickle slices

Heat the peanut oil in a pressure cooker over medium heat to about 400 degrees. In a small bowl, beat the egg and stir in the milk. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, pepper, and salt.Dip each piece of chicken in milk until it is fully moistened.Roll the moistened chicken in the flour mixture until completely coated. Drop all four chicken pieces into the hot oil and close the pressure cooker. When steam starts shooting through the pressure release, set the times for 3 1/2 minutes.IMPORTANT!!! DO NOT CLOSE STEAM RELEASE. IT IS VERY DANGEROUS!While the chicken is cooking, spread a coating of melted butter on the face of each bun. When the chicken is done, remove it from the oil and drain or blot on paper towels. Place two pickles on each bottom bun; add a chicken breast, then the top bun. To make a deluxe chicken sandwich, simply add two tomato slices and a leaf of lettuce. Mayonnaise or mustard also goes well on this sandwich.--
Next on the list:
Chick-Fil-A Coleslaw-
-6 cups shredded cabbage
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 - 1/2 cup milk
Mix & Chill 15 minutes.
Meanwhile combine:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. celery seed
2-3 drops hot sauce
3 Tbsp. dry minced onion
1/4 - 1/2 cup buttermilk
Mix well with cabbage.
Chill. Allow flavors to blend for several hours before serving.


--Reese's Peanut Butter Cups--
6 oz. Pkg semi sweet chocolate chips
4 Nestles milk chocolate bars
1 1/4 cups Peanut butter
Put chocolate chips, chocolate bars, and 1/4 c peanut butter in top of double boiler over HOT, not boiling water, stirring till smooth.Use small muffin tin liners, or cut regular cupcake liners down to a1" depth. Spoon HALF of the chocolate mixture equally into the liners. Melt the rest of the peanut butter over hot water, and spoon this equally over the chocolate layer. Top with remaining chocolate.Refrigerate to allow cups to set up before serving.Makes: 24 tiny/12 large

--T.J. Cinnamon's Cinnamon Rolls--
Dough: 2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4-5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, scalded and cooled to 110 degrees
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, room temperature
Filling: 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Icing: 1 cup confectioners' sugar
2-3 tablespoons warm milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

For dough, dissolve yeast in water with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Let stand 5minutes. In mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar and salt. At low speed, gradually beat in milk, oil, eggs, and yeast mixture; beat until well blended. Beat in additional our, about 1 1/2 cups, until dough pulls away from sides of bowl.On floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm,draft-free pace until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.For billing, beat all ingredients together until smooth. Set aside.Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 18- by 10-inch rectangle Spread with filling. Roll tightly from long side. Cut into 14 (1 1/4-inch) slices. Place 1 roll cut side up in center of each pan. Arrange remaining rolls in a circle of 6 around center roll. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, then invert again to cool.For icing, whisk all ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over cooled rolls.Rolls can be made ahead. Wrap well and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw, wrapped,at room temperature.

Neiman Marcus Cookies- recipe was $250.00

NEIMAN-MARCUS COOKIES (Recipe may be halved)
2 cups butter
24 oz. Chocolate chips
4 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. Soda
1 tsp. Salt
2 cups sugar
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated)
5 cups blended oatmeal
4 eggs
2 tsp. Baking powder
2 tsp. Vanilla
3 cups chopped nuts! (Your choice)
Measure oatmeal, and blend in a blender to a fine powder. Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar, and nuts. Roll into balls, and place two inches apart on a cookie Sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

OK, so I hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We won, weekend, and pictures

Walking with Daddy

We are getting ready to get back in the groove tomorrow. It was a great weekend it was just short. We did not do too much as we just wanted to be with Joe after he was gone for so long. It is nice to have him home and WOW did we miss him! So the weekend consisted of just being together and cooking and watching movies. The best weekends, fire in the fireplace and snuggling under the quilt.
I had prepared quite the array of snacks. I started the morning off with muffins baked in our Alabama A pan. Then for game time we had sausage and cheese balls, cocktail sausages, spinach and artichoke dip, phyllo dough pastries stuffed with chicken and some with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, for the children. We had carrot cake and topped it off with a glass of red wine and Joe had his Heineken during the game.
It was a game to remember and we were jumping out of our seats with excitement.

This is Orren practicing his football stance in his Alabama windsuit.

'lil Bama Fan!

First trip to the ice cream truck

Well, for Orren anyway. Olivia is a regular customer. I hate that truck, OK so I don't hate it. BUT it ALWAYS comes just before supper. Could we adjust the schedule a little bit? I have gotten savy though and we buy the ice cream and put it in the fridge for after supper. Seems to make everyone happy.

Have a great week!

Joe may possibly be headed out of town again so Chief and GrandMaMa are coming!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Joe is home! Bama Game day, & Visit with Shana

Joe is home. We are so excited and the children ran to him and tackled him when he walked through the door last night. He was gone a long time! Joe said it was much colder up that way and I reminded him he was almost in Canada!
We are enjoying him this morning. For breakfast we ate cinnamon sugar muffins that I baked in our Alabama muffin pan! Perfect for game day!

Today is the BIG game. Most likely the biggest game of the year! Being from New Orleans, I have to confess, I still have a fondness for LSU. Of course I want Bama to win! No doubt, but I do secretly like the Purple and Gold to! Here is an awesome cake my friend Jonna sent me a picture of. It was auctioned off at a fundraiser.

Is that not amazing? I thought it was awesome. BUT not as awesome as the Tide winning today!

Shana and Grayson were here to visit a few days. Sorry I did not blog the entire time! We ran ourselves ragged. We went to the zoo, the park and shopping. Then we had lots of projects to do. Here are some of the things I made for her before she left. I am going to add them to my portfolio as samples but you get to see them here first!

Here are some pictures from our visit

Orren and Grayson in Kangaroo Country mining for gold!

Shana and Orren in the park

Olivia and Grayson digging for fossils


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Shana is here and Joe is in Lake Erie

Shana should be arriving in just a few minutes. We will be excited to see her and Grayson. We have a lot of activities planned for the rest of the week.
Joe is working and enjoying Lake Erie. We miss him and we are ready for him to come home.
I am still trying to pull it together from the election last night. We just have to know it is all God's plan and his will. I hope that the Democrats don't get too power hungry and take advantage. Oh well, there is always Scotland!
I am sure Shana and I will have lots of pictures to post this week so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Today is a day that could change this great country forever. I urge you all to get out and vote!

Wear your red lipstick and your red shirts!

Remember, if you vote today, you can run into Starbucks and pick up a complimentary cup of coffee. Ben and Jerry's is also offering a complimentary scoop of ice cream from 5:00PM-8:00PM

That would be enough to get me out to vote. LOL Just kidding, it is our duty as citizens of the Greatest Nation. (a little coffee and ice cream never hurt though!)
Kayla- She will have to come off of the meds that have held off labor at 3:00 PM today. We will most likely have a new addition within a day or so. Her heart rate is high and they are somewhat concerned about that. The baby will most likely have to spend time in the NICU. This is very deja vu for Joe and I. Kayla is about as far along as I was when I had Olivia, she is actually a little further. Kayla is in the same Hospital and the same labor room! Labor room 7. Dr. Stewart is the NICU doctor and he is the main NICU Dr that took care of Olivia almost 10 years ago. We can only hope that her experience is as pleasant and happy as ours was.
GiGi- was rushed to the hospital last night her white blood cell count was over 42,000. Please keep her in your prayers. We love you GiGi!
We will be attending the election return party tonight. Let's hope it is a positive result!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election and Kayla

These pictures are of Livie as she was "helping me" @ the Shelby County Republican Headquarters. I love that she is so involved with the political process already. I think I am taking the children to the election return party tomorrow night. I just think it is so important for them to understand this is our duty as citizens. To vote is the most precious right we have and it should never be taken for granted nor should the sacrifice to preserve it ever be forgotten! VOTE tomorrow!
No change with Kayla yet, I will update later in the day.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Prayers for Kayla

Please pray for our niece Kayla.
She has gone into preterm labor and is currently in the hospital.
She is 33 weeks and most likely will give birth any day.
Please keep her and her Baby, his name is Blaze, in your prayers.
Thanks so much,
May God Bless you all.
Good night.

Fall decor, nicknames and knowledge

Fall decor in our dinning room

So, I need to clear up some confusion here on the blog. We call our children by their nicknames very often. I have made a conscious effort to refer to them only using their names on the blog. Occasionally it seems I have slipped (it is somewhat unnatural for me )and some were confused. So here is the list....

Olivia - prefers to be called Livie, so we usually call her Livie. There is often a Liv thrown in there!

Orren - we usually call him, Orry Now we sometimes refer to him as Master Orren as well. If you are in the El-Fallah household you would be calling him Baby Orren. (We are all actually guilty of it and my Mother says we are going to be calling him that when he is 18!) So if you read any of these names we are talking about the same two children!

I bloglifted this from Jen Dustbunny, I thought it was great.

Since Joe is traveling so much the timing is perfect! Hey, I wonder with Joe being in Ohio, could he vote for McCain there? hmmm? Polls show he has Alabama so Joe's vote might do him more good if cast in Ohio. LOL I know, I know of course he can't.... that would be wrong.....dishonest.......illeagal. BUT, it is a thought! Anyway here it is......................................

1. If he's sitting in front of the TV; what is on the screen?
College football; Fishing; Fox News
2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?
Thousand Island..... but he usually gets a Caesar salad so it doesn't really matter
3. What's one food he doesn't like?
raw oysters and caviar (I have tried and tried, but he doesn't like either one!)
4. You go to a bar. What does he order? ???
We have not been to a bar in decades and are not likely to go anytime soon.... BUT he would order a Heineken or Jagger
5. Where did he go to high school?
Seminary Attendance Center
6. What size shoe does he wear?
7. If he was to collect anything what would it be?
Guns, knives, Fishing equipment

8. What is his favorite kind of sandwich?
This is tough because he is crazy about all sandwiches. Po'boys, subs, Monte cristos
9. What would this person eat every day if he could?
crawfish.....gumbo, shrimp and grits, shrimp and yellow rice
10. What is his favorite cereal?
He eats bacon/ sausage biscuits for breakfast, but his 10:00 PM snack is cereal and his fav is cookie crisp..... who am I kidding if it comes in a box and milk can be poured over it, HE LOVES IT!
11. What would he never wear?
pink, I don't think I am ever getting him in PINK
12. What is his favorite sports team?
University of Alabama Crimson Tide! Roll Tide Roll!!!!!!!
13. Who will he vote for?
Whom ever the Republican candidate is
14. Who is his best friend?

Salah, I should say me and that is true, but aside from the given, Salah.

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do?
Not take out the garbage, LOL I just get another bag and let him take it out when he gets home! I HATE the garbage!
16. How many states has he lived in?
17. What is his heritage?
Celtic, German, Russian and Native American
18. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind of cake?
Carrot cake with cream cheese icing
19. Did he play sports in high school?
No, he worked
20. What could he spend hours doing?
Being with his family, fishing, watching sports, gourmet cooking with me, and witnessing for Christ

So here is a brief run down of the week to come.
Monday - I am taking Livie to the Doctor she just can't seem to shake that cough after a couple of weeks. With her respiratory issues I think it is time to consult the Pediatrician.
Tuesday - ELECTION DAY...... VOTE..... VOTE .....VOTE! Meet Michelle to do some decorating and planning for events coming up. Then off to an election return party! I am taking the children because I want to expose them to the importance of the political process and get them involved young! ( wait until you see the pictures of Livie that I took when she went to work at the Shelby County Republican Headquarters with me. I want to post them tomorrow or Tuesday)
Wednesday- Friday - Shana and Grayson are coming to spend a few days. With both Hubbies out of town, no telling what trouble we will get into. I know we are going to the zoo and some other exciting stuff it will be lots of fun! Look for lots of pictures next week!
Joe gets home late Friday night! We will be so glad!