Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bird Box

We got a surprise in the mail a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to share it with you.  It is a beautiful bird box made by the lovely Anita at Castles, Crowns, and Cottages.  I ordered it, and she sent it to me right away.  We were so excited to see this cute little box, and I have it right on my desk so I can look at it often throughout the day.

I took pictures of it on a few different backgrounds to show how pretty it is.

Speaking of birds, here's a sweet little video that makes me happy.  The three birds reminds me of my kids.  I can listen to it over and over again.

Thank you, Anita.
We love you.

~Sheri, Jess, and Nel

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lovely Day

My sweet and funny sister-in-law met me at the wineries last weekend.  I always enjoy seeing the scenery when I go there, and I took a few pictures along the way.

Some pretty and exotic flowers.

The vineyards in winter.

Cougar guarding the winery.

Aging the wine in the oak barrels.

Loved these creative labels.

We had a great day at the wineries.  This was my favorite sign of the day.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mardi Gras

It's almost Mardi Gras!!

Nel and I took a trip to New Orleans last year with our best friends during Mardi Gras. 

I have been wanting to visit New Orleans since I was a little girl and when I finally did, I fell in love...

with the culture, 

the food

the French Quarter

and the swamps.

We were a bit disappointed that we would be missing out on the festivities this year during Mardi Gras, so we decided to make our own celebration!

To give you a little background, Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday".  As a Catholic tradition, it is a celebration of the Carnival season and the last day before Lent begins.
(This is the St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Catholic church in the U.S.)

In New Orleans, At 12:00am on Ash Wednesday, police clear the streets of the French Quarter on horses declaring "Mardi Gras has ended.  Lent has begun."  It is then time to sacrifice until Easter.  But in the weeks before the Lent season, New Orleanians sure do celebrate life.

People of all ages and backgrounds are literally dancing in the streets in costume.

The atmosphere is lively and welcoming.

Colorful beads are in full abundance, whether they are generously thrown from the grand floats or dangled along street car and electrical lines. 

Cajun spices fill the air.

The French Quarter is decorated with green, gold, and purple, which are the colors of Mardi Gras.  (Green signifies faith, gold signifies power, and purple signifies justice.)  Mardi Gras is even an official state holiday in Louisiana!

For our own little celebration, Nel and I made some delicious cajun cuisine: Gumbo, Jambalaya, and a festive King Cake

King Cake is made only during the Carnival season and is perfect for small or large parties.  It is deliciously moist and sprinkled with the colors of Mardi Gras.

The cake was created in honor of the three wise men who came to visit Jesus when he was born.  The tradition involves hiding a plastic "Baby Jesus" somewhere in the cake and whoever receives the piece with the Baby, is in charge of making the next cake or hosting the next King Cake Party.

If you are interested in making it, please follow this link.  We used this recipe, and ours turned out très bon (very good)!

Traditional New Orleans King Cake Recipe 

For our gumbo, we used a recipe from Paula Deen, and it was AMAZING!  We just threw all the ingredients into a crock pot.  Here is the link in case you would like to try it:

Paula Deen's Gumbo 
Our trip to New Orleans not only reminded us to Celebrate Life, but it also gave us new creative ideas and traditions to adopt.

Happy Mardi Gras!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Head's In The Clouds

If you look closely, you can see the shape of hearts in these cloud pictures that I took.

"Today You are You,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive
Who is Youer than You."
~Dr. Seuss

Have a good weekend.  Do you have any special plans?


Monday, February 13, 2012

A Tribute

When Jess and I were young, our mom would often take us on car rides around town. We always liked to play cassette tapes and drive down the tree-lined streets toward Old Town listening to our favorite songs.

One of our very favorites to play on these afternoon rides was Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." We loved the upbeat rhythms and Whitney's beautiful voice as she belted out the lyrics to a song that made us all want to dance. 

"The truest expression of a people
is in its dances and its music.
Bodies never lie."
~ Agnes de Mille ~

Needless to say, we were deeply saddened to hear the tragic news about Whitney Houston's passing this weekend. She had such a special star quality about her - her bright smile, fashion-forward style, carefree attitude, and, of course, her truly spectacular voice.

Her music really was a gift to the world, and her loss will be deeply felt by many. Our hearts go out to Whitney's grieving family and friends during this difficult time, and we hope the ones she has left behind will take comfort in knowing how much joy her music has given to so many people. 

To celebrate the life of a beloved and talented woman, we'd like to share our favorite Whitney Houston song with you. This is the Whitney we'll always remember in our hearts.

Whitney Houston, we'll always love YOU. May you rest in peace. 

~ Nel ~  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine For You

Me and Jess were out shopping one day, and I saw this jeweled heart.  It was the prettiest heart I've seen, so I had to buy it.

It's really cool because the clasp opens, and you can put candy and things inside.  I happened to put my Valentine note in there for you.  This is what it says:

This Valentine's Day we'd like to send YOU a special message from our hearts.  You have all been such wonderful, inspiring friends.  We have felt so welcomed by you all, and are grateful to have had the chance to meet so many beautiful women - creative and talented women with all kinds of clever ideas, strong women who have had to overcome many obstacles, women of faith, women of grace, funny women who can laugh at themselves, women who are always there to put a smile on our faces.  We might come from different backgrounds, different lifestyles, different places in the world, but we're all here to give our love and support to one another.  So, here's a little Valentine from us to you, sweet friends.

Happy Valentine's Day!

~Sheri, Jess, and Nel