Meal Pinning Monday

March 30, 2014

Having just come off of a D-Now weekend with a ton of awesome high schoolers, who eat like high schoolers... I need to take it down a notch. 

My nearly 30 year old body loved the poboy, sweets, pizza, Raising Canes, and everything else we chowed down on, but needless to say I think junkies probably eat cleaner than I did this weekend! (lol)

[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking. 

There aren't a ton of pins for this week, but I'm not exactly following recipes. I'm basically just grilling everything that holds still. 

Breakfast - Clean Eating Green Pancakes - adding in some protein powder

Lunch - Kale Salad with Grilled Chicken

Snack 1- fruit or Greek yogurt

Snack 2 - Quest Protein Bar

Monday - Grilled Chicken and Baked Sweet Potatoes

Tuesday - Grilled Chicken and Brussel Sprouts

Wednesday - Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Roasted Cabbage

Thursday - Grilled Chicken and Roasted Broccoli

Friday - Steak and Roasted Green Beans

Saturday - Grilled Chicken and Asparagus

Sunday - Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad with Pretzel Chips and Broccoli Slaw

Now it's your turn!

Link up your meal plans for favorite recipes for this week. 
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The Summer Slim Down & 7-Up Ten Cake

March 27, 2014

Some of you may know, but not be painfully as aware of it as I am... but we are going to Puerto Rico in a little over two months. 

Just, oh, the pinnacle of swim suit season. 

This slightly Puerto Rican, Puerto Rican (my dad is Puerto Rican) girl is refusing to go to the motherland looking like I just ate a moose and crawled my miserable way back from the bleak winter of the north. 

No, I demand I go out in style not feeling like a bear in hibernation mode. 

Slimming Down for Summer with DPSG Core Four Ten Products

I've enacted a few things to cut back and slim up for summer. 

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I Heart Pinterest Wednesday

March 26, 2014

Before I get into today's post I wanted to give a little life update.

In last Tuesday's blog post I opened up a little about some things I've been struggling with, and one of the things I've been praying about was actually answered this week. It's on the job front, so I don't want to go into too many details, but as soon as I can I will.

Now for some Pinterest therapy.

Something tells me this will come in handy one day, especially when I look at our builders mirrors in the townhouse. 

Because I am horrible at getting enough protein...

If you didn't see this last week, you probably should. I could just eat the dough and nix the baking part. 

All those ugly pillows in my living room that I hate... this is what's coming for you. All I need is a Hobby Lobby day. 

I've been interested in the Dukan Diet for ages, after this green smoothie challenge I think I'm going to try it. 

I love this updo! Seems easy enough to recreate. 

Last, but probably my favorite this week... can I please get this blown up for my classroom. 

What were your favorite pin this week? Share your Pinterest board in the comments!

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Embeding Your Memories with YesVideo

March 25, 2014

When we were growing up my grandparents splurged and bought a video camera, like the big ole bulky black video camera.

The thought reminds me of Full House episodes when the dad is recording the kids. 

For years we recorded little life events on VHS, then they upgraded to the smaller camcorder that required a different tape. 

It was slightly fancier, but I still cherished those early videos. 

To this day I still remember the Christmas my grandparents bought the camera, it was also the Christmas we all got roller blades. 

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Meal Pinning Monday

March 23, 2014

With our Puerto Rico trip just a little over two months away, I'm getting serious on the slim down tactics around here... for myself at least. 

[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking. 

Every so often, while we've been married, I've enlisted a "cook separate" plan. I tend to eat healthier and lighter when I do this, so for the next few weeks it's green smoothies and salads for me. 

There isn't exactly a Monday-Friday plan this week, I'm okay with repeating meals for sanity sake. So without further rambling, here's this week's menu... and no I have no clue what Jeremy has planned for himself or I'd fill you in on it. 

Breakfast - Green Monster minus the dairy and add chia seeds. Actually my recipe has taken on a mind of it's own but is based off Iowa Girl's recipe. I do a cup of almond milk, 2 tbsp PB2, 1 frozen banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, cinnamon, and fill the blender up with spinach. 

Lunch - Salad with Grilled Chicken

Dinner - 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge Recipe - This week I'm making the Vitamin C Immunity Booster Smoothie, but I can't find it on their site. It was sent in the challenge email, and I think there is still time to sign up. 

Snack 1 - Quest Protein Bar

Snack 2 - Ranch Hummus and Veggies

Now it's your turn to link up::

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Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 20, 2014

For a few weeks now I've been on a quest to perfect my chocolate chip cookie recipe. 

I wanted a basic recipe that I could easily play with, and that had ingredients I typically had on hand. I know most people don't share what they do, but seeing as how this is basically my personal recipe box I am sharing anyway. 

I'm not particularly one for secrets. 

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies via @labride

This recipe is the basic Toll House Cookie recipe with a few changes. I messed with the baking temperature as well as a few ingredient quantities. 

I probably even made 3 batches at different baking times to see what I liked best. 

I've also made them with a 3 year old to see if they'd still turn out right, I even died them green for St. Patrick's Day and doubled the batch for my students. 

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies via @labride

The kids loved the green cookies by the way, and they turned out looking great. I had students coming up to me the entire recess telling me how their mom never makes them cookies and didn't believe me that I had made them from scratch. 

I'm in a pretty poverty stricken area, so it makes me that much happier to offer something fun for the kids that they might not get a lot at home. 

I even made a small batch of these just to eat raw. 

So trust me when I say I played with this until I got exactly what I wanted out of a chocolate chip cookie. 

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies via @labride

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick of butter (room temp)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp white sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use mexican vanilla)
1 large egg
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Cream butter, and sugar with a mixer for 2 minutes. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined and smooth. Gradually add flour to mixer. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Scoop out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes. Remove parchment paper (with cookies still on it) from the baking sheet and let cool on the counter.

Cookies should be done, but still chewy and soft in the middle. You will probably think they aren't done when you take them out, but after sitting on the counter a few minutes they finish cooking up perfectly!

I have a huge salted toffee candy bar I plan on using in the cookies the next time I make them!

What's your favorite cookie add in?
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I Heart Pinterest Wednesday

March 19, 2014

Can I get a big yay that LEAP Phase 1 is over?

That was a beast of a day, I logged nearly all of my steps for the day before testing was over with.

Now for something a bit more fun than testing, Pinterest finds...

I've had trouble getting enough protein during the day and have taken to making protein powder mug cakes when I'm short a huge chunk of grams. Here is a great list of high protein foods, I need to be more deliberate about eating meat... I'm just not a huge meat eater. 

This is hilarious, yet so true. Makes me thing of the Buster Rhymes videos, or even Missy Elliot. 

Y'all know how I like to skip meals and eat dips, well there is another meal about to be skipped for this dip. I can't stop thinking about it, we literally devoured it between the two of us in two days. 

If you haven't tried the Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls yet I highly recommend them. I made them this weekend while some friends were staying with us and half of the recipe fed four people with two pans left to freeze... plus they were the best I've ever had! 

I'm horrible about taking the time to do SEO, but this is an interesting infographic. 

White boarded walls and open shelving. One day I plan to convince Jeremy that we desperately need this look. 

In case you're looking for an easy recipe to take to a potluck I found something for you. This fruit salad saved my life last Sunday when I was in no mood to cook. It looks nice, uses fruit that doesn't change colors quickly, and tastes really nice. 

Be sure to follow Louisiana Bride on Pinterest and leave the link to your profile in the comments. 
I'd love to follow you! 

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Blessed is she who has believed...

March 18, 2014

Life lately, oh life.

I've been holding back from writing too many posts where I'm just chatting, like in the old days of blogging, just for the sake of not coming off as a total nut case.

It's definitely been a tough year though, and for lack of better communication my struggles come off as complaining. I'm not good as getting things across that are negative or stressful and I totally get that.

I did at one time view myself as being someone who could handle a lot of mess. I thought I could conquer the world, now, not so much. 

I feel defeated by my job. Disconnected since we moved. Far from family. 

Even though the light of graduation is finally at the end of the tunnel I don't feel like we're coming out the way I envisioned it before it happened. Not our relationship, just financially. I'm no longer in the dream world, it's bills, student loans, potential house buying, and kids. 

What about kids? Do we have kids? When? How many? You're nearly 30 it is weird to not have kids. Do I only wanted them because of unintentional peer pressure and the need to fit in? 

Neurotic? Yes. 

There are several women all living in my brain and I promise you they don't all agree, except when chocolate is involved. 

I feel an intense need to explain myself for fear of being misunderstood. 

This 2014 Emily is not the Emily I new at the start of 2013. 

I was self assured, content in life, positive that I was where God wanted me. I had major fulfillment from serving at First Baptist Thibodaux the way we did. I knew who I was. Even in conflict and watching our bank account empty out I was worry free and knew God would provide. It wasn't even a question. 

I knew what he had done before, and I was sure he would do it again. 

Finding out my father has cancer and they don't know where it's coming from; coupled with a job where I essentially just hide has caused me to forget who I am and what God has done for me. 

Now I'm just en emotional basket case who can hold it together fairly well in front of people. 

I can't continue on like this, heck I can already see the physical effects of the long running stress. 

I, in all honestly, have got to let go of the rope and stop fretting over what I can't control. God knows, he controls it. When my trust has 100% been in him I am self assured and know that things always work out, and if they don't... they don't. 

Back at the end of summer I woke up one morning with this feeling that I was out of the desert. In a completely metaphorical sense. I had been through a tough spell where I was just having to work a lot of things out and I just knew that God was telling me that the more I would cling to him the less I would feel like my soul was in a desert. 

Right now I'm forcing myself to have a little "come to Jesus" moment and realize that the promises that God made in his word are still there. Through my mental strife he is there, I just have to let him be there. 

Three years ago when Jeremy moved to Thibodaux (5 months before I could) I memorized Proverbs 31:25-26 Strength and honor are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness. 

Those verses and a couple in James got me through those months. 

Now I'm going to cling to the one above and pray that there is a light at the end of this tunnel that I can face, whether it be what I want or the opposite. I need to face it and be assured that God has his hand in the situations and that everything has it's season. 

What verses do you memorize, or have you memorized to get you through tough times? 
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Meal Pinning Monday

March 16, 2014

This week, I'm going cheap. 

What's that encompass? Well... grilled meat and veggies. 

That also means I need to make another Sam's run seeing as how I totally forgot we were out of chicken last week... and paper towels. 

Then again, who really needs an excuse to go to Lafayette. Not this New Iberia living lady. Plus when Whole Foods opens in the fall Jeremy will have to nearly pry me away. Which brings me to a prayer request... that when we start looking to buy I can get the man to live closer to Lafayette. I need a big-ish city in my life ha! 

[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking. 

Monday - Grilled Chicken and my favorite Fried Cabbage - with Nanny's Mexican Cornbread that you'll get the recipe for later. 

Tuesday - Baked Chicken with Potatoes and Peas

Wednesday - Chipotle Burrito Bowls (haven't made this since we lived in "Fun-roe" and I miss is dearly)

Thursday - Smokey Sweet Potato Hash

Friday - Steak Kabobs (that I never got to, which appears to be my M.O.)

Saturday - Short Rib Ragu

Sunday - Eating Out

Breakfast - Green Monster without dairy

Lunch - Svelte Shake (I've become obsessed with the ease of not fixing anything for lunch)

Snacks - Quest bar during work & some Tropical Fruit/banana Yonana fro-yo after dinner

Now it's your turn!

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High Five for Friday

March 14, 2014

I think I need a shirt that says High Five for Friday, it the post every week I live for. Not because it's my favorite per say... it just means tomorrow is test day and then it's the weekend. 

1. Reunited and it feels so good! Reunited cause it's understood... I think, I don't exactly remember the lyrics. I was reminded of my Yonana maker last weekend due to the overload of frozen fruit that had be pulverizer on Instagram. Thank you fruit blending people! I decided to turn my smoothie into a frozen breakfast and froze 1/2 of strawberry keifer in an ice cube tray and then proceeded to shove that, 1/2 a banana, and 1/2 cup tropical fruit blend through the Yonana thing. Then I sprinkled it with chia seeds. Which are, by the way, my new sprinkles. I am just obsessed with the texture of that in my frozen fruit ice cream stuff.

2. Carrots. Jeremy came home from work the other day, which had been a particularly craptastic day with a bag full of greenery. I was 100% convinced the man brought me flowers (which I don't really care for but love the gesture anyway when he does) and was happily laughably surprised to find out it was carrots. Laughable because I literally laughed at the idea. I love some straight out of the ground veggies, but never imagined seeing that sight on a Monday. I don't know, it was weird, you'd have to be there lol.

3. I swear this creature just gets more bizarre the older she gets. I realize we share many of the same personality traits, but sitting outside of my bathroom door moaning and groaning for 15 minutes while I take off my makeup is weird. Turns out she wanted either in our bed, or to be tucked into her bed. She ended up in her bed. Miss Demanding, where is she right now? Who on earth knows, because she doesn't want anything. I nearly have to drag the thing out from under couch pillows and beds to find her 80% percent of the time, the other 20 though... she is on me like white on rice demanding some crazed treatment. Such as today, I had to carry her around after work. Then again after dinner she had to go walking. Not to mention Jeremy can not touch me, not even hold hands, without Ellie having a full on temper-tantrum that someone is paying attention to me instead of her. She's neurotic.

4. LEAP testing starts for us lone 4th grade teachers Tuesday. I've trying to look past it with coffee and Demure Vixen nail polish. Today we are going to decorate the door with whatever frog/leaping slogan the kids come up with and Monday I am bringing green chocolate chip cookies for St. Patty/our green frog door and LEAP. Anything to motivate people, anything.

5. While Ellie and I were out on her demanding after dinner walk today I noticed the clover had bloomed. I seriously love clover, like wish it was Southern Living garden worthy, love it. When we were kids and Dad was raising rabbits we would go down to the levee when Spring had hit really well and gather a ton of clover for the rabbits. If I was lucky I could take the most trustworthy rabbit with me. For breeding rabbits, ours were pretty tame. I guess that's what happens when two little girls are involved, they were definitely use to being handled.

Happy Almost Weekend Everyone!
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Ridiculously Easy Hot Spinach Dip

March 13, 2014

Friday nights have become our night to grill steaks and make a side or app we don't normally make... or something we are craving for that matter. 

Jeremy had it in his head that he wanted some sort of dip. I wasn't in the mood for fancy, so something easy had to be on the agenda. I ended up naming off a ton of dips, but we kept coming back to the spinach dip idea. 

It's not something I've made at home before. 

We tend to order in restaurants. 

The difference between us though is that I like artichoke in mine, J isn't a fan of the artichoke. Don't think I'm suffering though, I get my veggies he hates in when he is gone for meeting.

Jeremy actually suggested we just go to Chili's and buy their dip, I was grossly appalled at the notion and insisted he let me scour the grocery store for what I wanted to put in my own.  I mean seriously, this isn't a healthy dish, but why make it more heart-attack friendly by getting the restaurant version that's loaded with extra fat.

He let me go on my dip making hunt around the store, all the while skeptical about how this would actually turn out. He even lingered around the stove while I was making it... still not totally convinced it would work.

The end result though, it was amazing. So amazing that we downed half of it without thinking about it, I had to make sure and reserve some so I could take a picture of it, and even wrote down what I did as soon as we were done eating for fear I would forget something.

I have a habit of doing that.

Spinach Dip
8 oz cream cheese (I used fat free)
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (low moisture)
8 oz block of pepper jack cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 cup half & half
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 small onion
1 large garlic clove
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper  (or more for more heat)
9 oz bag of fresh spinach
Cooking spray for pan, or olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Mince onion and garlic and saute on medium heat until tender and caramelized. Add fresh spinach in by the handful until the entire bag has been cooked down. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne. Place spinach, onion, and garlic mixture in a small casserole dish while cheese mixture is heated. Next place 1/4 cup of half & half in skillet, lowering heat to medium low, and add in cream cheese. Break up cream cheese with a spatula and saute until cheese is nearly melted. While cream cheese is melting slice pepper jack cheese into cubes. Add spinach mixture to skillet. Once cream cheese is nearly melted toss in 3/4 of the shredded mozzarella and pepper jack cubes. Saute for another minute or two until pepper jack and mozzarella begin to melt. Spoon spinach and cheese mixture back into the casserole dish, top with remaining cheese and back for 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly. If the dip hasn't browned much on the top set the oven to broil and watch carefully for a minute or two.

This my favorite bloggy friends, has officially made it to my list of dips I'd rather skip dinner and eat.

I think it's the pockets of Pepper Jack cheese that do it for me. Then again, I don't think I suggest ever using frozen spinach for this type of dip again, the fresh makes it far less watery.

Just so we're clear, when I want dip for dinner it's usually a Sunday night.
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I Heart Pinterest Wednesday

March 12, 2014

We are only two good days into this week and it's already been a tough one, I'll explain more on that later. First I need more details and more answers to questions though.

Y'all know the best way to get your mind off something is to pin new things on my favorite site... so let's talk about what I found this week.

I've been brainstorming what I could hang on the wall when we buy a house, mainly because I was put under a "don't put anything up" order since we'd only be here a year. Oh my sad bare walls. This painting idea seems easy enough that I could make it look like I was artsy! 

How to make a GIF. I'll be using this very soon in a tutorial. 

Something my students can't fathom... life before Google. I had trouble with life before indoor toilets, these little people don't know phones with cords. 

Easter is upon us! I know St. Patty comes before, but I don't care for the holiday, mainly because I never remember to wear green. Last year I made PW's Hot Cross Buns, and they were alright, but this dough looks so much nicer. 

Looking for a neat gift for your man, a group of groomsmen, or someone who doesn't like ice? Look no further...

Because I can't get enough of these...

I honestly could not stop laughing. 

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Influenster JaDore Voxbox Review

March 11, 2014

As part of a little Valentine Day fun I recently received the JaDore Voxbox from Influenster. 

I swear these boxes are like a drug, everything in them is affordable and I always instantly have to have more the minute I run out. 

This particular box, before completing my entire review I had run out of one product and bought more, it's that good. 

So what was in this box? Let's get right to the important stuff...

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Meal Pinning Monday

March 9, 2014

I've gotten behind by a day or two on my workout schedule, but I'm still sticking to the eating plan this week. Once you hit the end of a 36 day period you do either a vegan, raw, or juice cleanse for 3 days. This week is vegan... the easiest of the 3 for me. 

[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking. 

Monday - Garlic Tostones with Rice and Beans (Ultimate Yogi Vegan Day 1)

Tuesday - Leftovers with Cauliflower Poppers (UY Vegan Day 2)

Wednesday - Ultimate Yogi Vegan Curry (UY Vegan Day 3)

Thursday - Herb Roasted Chicken with Potatoes & Peas

Friday - Steak Kabobs

Saturday - Andouille Sausage Skillet Pasta

Sunday - Eating Out

Now it's your turn!

Link up and share your favorite week night meals or meal plan with us. 
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High Five For Friday

March 7, 2014

Thanks to Mardi Gras the working part of this week went fast. 

Luckily the other parts weren't too shabby! 

1. If you haven't tried the FitSugar Victoria Secret workout your missing out. It seriously kicks my butt, literally. Most of the squats are done in dance positions, and me being the non-dancer who does yoga and weightlifting is feeling it. It really has hit on muscle groups that I haven't hit with what I normally do. Oh and KeVita, have you had it? It could possibly becomes an equal to Kombucha in my eyes. Not that I can find it in this town any easier, it just tastes really good. Plus it's lower calorie than Kombucha.

2. The Ultimate Yogi Yin Yoga dvd is by far my favorite. Last year when it was my first round of UY I didn't enjoy it quite as much, the stretching was sort of painful. This year though, it's glorious! To be totally honest, holding a floor pose for 6-7 minutes allows a lot of time for reading ebooks. I also noticed doing these stretches on days I do the FitSugar workout helps ease the hip pain I tend to get at night.

3. King Cake season has officially ended follk. Hope you got yours before Ash Wednesday. This was the first year, maybe because of the glorious internet, that I've seen people outside of the state ordering cakes. Granted the cakes I saw didn't look all that great, I did see them. Honestly though, after my now 3rd Mardi Gras in the deep south I can tell you not all cakes are made alike. I seriously dislike the donut type cake variety, and most grocery stores just make a really hard French bread cinnamon roll. Ick.

4. I got to spend some time with my favorite short person this week (other events of the week need to be looked over, see also my Dad's biopsy turned surgery to remove something). We went to his 4 year old well visit before embarking to Baton Rouge, while all the interstates were closed due to ice mind you, and he tolerated it well. We actually had a lot more fun the day before when I surprised him and went with Dad to pick him up and then took Josh to Johnny's Pizza for lunch. Four year olds are a funny breed, he kept telling me he wanted another banana he couldn't eat. It took a second but we realized he wanted another fake banana like I found for him at the toy store. Dad then made the comment about how Joshua knew a lot for his age vocabulary wise, well we nearly fell over because right after that Joshua touted, "And I know all my letters too!"

5. That King Cake... for breakfast... with coffee. Mmmmm. In the event you ever get a legit Cajun King Cake make sure it has Pecan Praline filling, of the hundreds I've consumed since birth I have to say Pecan Praline is my favorite. If ever you're in New Iberia, Fremin's Grocery Store has the best one in town. Notice the coffee mug, that dinosaur of a mug reminds me of my Dad when I was a kid every time I see them. I have very vivid memories, where I can smell it too, of him sitting outside drinking coffee first thing in the morning. The smell of aftershave and coffee always make me think of him ha! I'm strange, I know.

What's everyone doing this weekend?
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