Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year friends! Today is the last day of 2008. I must say that 2008 was great for the Ray family. It was eventful and blessed. We are looking forward to 2009.
Terry and I are going to pack up and head to Baton Rouge for New Years Eve and Day. We are staying there for a couple of days - just to have some together time. We will be having dinner tonight with our friends Harry and Johnette. We have reservations at P.F. Changs. Tomorrow we will go to their home and enjoy lunch with their children. We will probably see a movie or two and do some shopping before we come home on Friday.
We have had a nice break between Christmas and New Years. It has been quieter than usual, but we have had some nice times together. The day after Christmas, the girls and I went to Houma for some shopping. Terry and Jose went golfing and then drove down to meet us for dinner and a movie. Our friends Josh and Wayne also drove down and met us and we enjoyed a nice long dinner together and then went to a late movie to see Benjamin was a great movie!
I bought the kids a new game for Christmas...Partini. Lots of fun, we have played it several times.
Terry has taken down the outside decorations and cleaned up the lawn, but I still have the inside decorations up. I sure wish I could just blink my eyes and they would all be put away....but that won't happen, so I will start putting them away when we get back on Friday.
Below are a few pictures from Christmas morning.

Stockings waiting for the kids to open.

It's a tradition now, every year after Jose empties his stocking, he wears it!

The Newlyweds with their Christmas spoils.
Penelope kept us busy - eating the paper and running around.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Neighbor has a lizard in her laundry room!

My phone has been ringing off the hook today...most of the calls are from my neighbor, Ashley!
She has a lizard in her laundry room.....well she said it was as big as an iguana.
We have gecko's here in New Orleans. They are very common and quiet sweet. If you work your flower beds, you get to know them and they get to know you and are very friendly.
When my nephews were here this summer, they loved catching the lizards and keeping them a day or two and then letting them go. They are chameleons and change colors too.

So, this morning when Ashley was doing her laundry and taking a load out of the dryer, the lizard leaped out unto the floor and into the water pan under the washing machine. She called, but I was still in my gown, as I plan to be the rest of the day while I am still baking....yes, I am still baking. So, I couldn't go over there and help. She has called several times since with updates....he is still there.

It is quite convenient to have Ashley next door. I needed to borrow a couple of her cookie cutters, but since I was not dressed, we met at the fence in the backyard and she passed them over to me.

I had planned on stopping my baking, but as I make up cookie boxes and baskets for our friends, I am running out of goods. So, I decided to make a few more things. I still have to make containers for our neighbors. Then we are going to someones house for dinner tonight, so I wanted to take some banana bread and pumpkin bread. But this is it.....well except for a coffee cake and red velvet cake I am making tomorrow for Christmas day.

Sunday we had our Christmas service. Ashley did a great job putting together the music for the service. She and Brittany sang Winter Wonderland and her and Jose sang Silent Night beautifully in English and Spanish. The Praise Team did some special songs and sang The Doxology acapella and it was amazing. Later that evening, Ashley and Jose were invited to another church to sing as well.

. This is it....tomorrow is Christmas Eve. We really don't have any plans, but we will find something to do. On Christmas morning, our family will open presents and have a light breakfast. Around 11:30, we are going to Ashley and Jose's and his family will come for Christmas Brunch. THEN, I am going to RELAX....and we will probably do a movie or two in the evening.
I need to go and decorate my cookies......I hope everyone is ready for the Holidays!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Still Baking

My front yard covered in snow last week.

I'm still baking and preparing for Christmas. Today I am going to make some more Pumpkin bread, Pumpkin rolls and cookies. All of these will be divided between my neighbors and the rest we will keep at home to eat on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

It is Saturday and I don't plan to go anywhere. Terry and Brittany are going shopping. I'm not sure for what, but I think it will have something to do with my Christmas present from Terry. I thought we had agreed not to buy anything for each other, but I guess not. I had already broke the pact anyway and purchased a few gifts for Terry.

This morning I made breakfast biscuits and Brittany and I went out to sit on the swing to eat our breakfast and it started to we ran next door to Ashley and Jose's house to visit. While we were there, we heard the neighborhood Christmas Parade....which consists of about four firetrucks, people on golf carts and a sleigh being pulled by a pickup truck with Mr and Mrs Santa and our friend Randy Bean, who is the fire chief. We ran outside to watch and had some fun with Ashley and Jose's dogs. They threw beads and candy just like a Mardi Gras parade.

Last year we rode in the parade with Quincy dressed as Santa. It made me sad thinking of that this year and that is why I didn't volunteer to ride.

Quincy and Brittany last year in the Christmas Parade....and Quincy with Santa at the Fire Station afterwards....greeting the children. We miss him so much...he was such a great dog, I can't even image another one like him.
The rain has passed and it is warm and muggy - in the 70's. As a matter of fact, I found it funny that after the parade, a little while later, I heard some music and looked out and it was the Ice Cream Truck going through the neighborhood. I am getting used to Christmas in the South.....I don't miss the bitter cold and the messy snow. I do miss a nice white cover of snow around the Christmas Holidays....but other than that, warm weather is nice.

I finished all my Christmas Cards but a few I need to get addresses for. I was waiting for all the wedding pictures, so I could pick one to use. I haven't received many cards this year....I guess maybe the tough financial times have kept some from sending cards.

Ashley and Jose's dogs during the parade...wearing their beads. The above dog is Penelope, a dog we rescued a couple of weeks's a long story, but a sweet story....if you know someone who would give a rat terrier a good home....let me know. Below is Jose's dog Bella...she is a sweetie and not too happy about the new, hyper dog that has come into her space.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Favorite and Easy Cookies

I promised my niece Sarah that I would post a couple of easy Christmas Cookie recipes. We make these every year. They are all only four or less ingredients.....but they look really great and you can impress your friends and family.

Peanut Butter Kisses:

These are a classic, but my recipe is really easy.

1 Jar (18 oz) Creamy Peanut Butter

1 1/4 c. granulated sugar

2 Large Eggs

Bag of Hershey Kisses

Mix with a wooden spoon. Dough will be sticky. With floured hands, shape into Tbls. size balls. Bake 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees. Cookies will look dry and cracked. As soon as you remove from oven, press Hershey kiss into the middle of cookie. Let set a few minutes then carefully remove cookie with spatula and let cool.

*If you want the sugar look on cookie, roll the dough ball in sugar before baking.

Whipper Snappers

These are YUMMY!

1 Cake Mix - any flavor, but we use Devil's Food

9 oz Cool Whip

1 Egg

Mix together - with powdered sugared hands, roll dough into Tbls. size balls, roll in powdered sugar then place on cookie sheet and bake 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Let set a couple of minutes and then remove from baking sheet with a metal spatula. Let cool on wax paper.

They are delicious - people love them....pretty if you use Red Velvet cake mix for Christmas.

My new 3 ingredient treat I got from my friend Judy's blog. They are Holiday Pretzel Treats....yum and fun to make. Adds lots of color to your cookie trays.

Holiday Pretzel Treats

Bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels

Hershey's Kiss or Hershey's Hugs

Red and Green M&M candy

Heat oven to 170. Put pretzels in a single layer on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss or Hershey's Hug.Bake for 4 to 6 minutes (the white chocolate Hugs melt more quickly so 4 min. for them), until chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove from oven and quickly press an M&M into the center of each kiss.Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place in refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes.

I only like them with the they are prettier with Hugs.

Also, I had a TOUGH time finding the square waffle shaped pretzels...none of our grocery stores carried them. Finally we found them at Big Lots, a close out store.

Check out Judy's blog here

Sorry about the crazy spacing, I can't get my blog to cooperate, I have tried to edit it - sorry.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One Big Blog!

So, once again I have slacked in my blogging and now I have too much to talk about. SO...I have uploaded several pictures and I am just going to go through and comment and let you know what is going on. So enjoy.......

We are still waiting for some of our wedding pictures, but here is a preview of some of them and some of my favorites. Love pictures of my girls together!

This is Quincy in his tux, kissing the bride. Poor little Quincy passed away while we were on our cruise. He was very sick with cancer and we knew he wasn't going to get better. He made it through the wedding and was a good sport about wearing a tux and posing for a few pictures, even though he was weak. When Terry walked in the door with Quincy, the first thing he did was lean in to kiss both girls.

This is a shot of all the girls the night before the wedding. They all stayed at Ashley's house and had a great time. That is when they came up with their choreographed dance to "Say a Little Prayer for You"....what a great bunch of girls.

Me and Brit before the wedding.

This is a sweet picture of Jose and Jaron. After the older guys were fighting over the fell on the floor and Jaron scooped it up.
Ashley and the girls before the Limo picked them up. It was a beautiful day, but WINDY...but their hair held up fine. Stephanie used a ton of hairspray. Better Windy than Humid she said.

Quincy giving Brittany a kiss too. He loved us all so much and we miss him.

Today was SNOW DAY! First snow for us since Christmas day 2004. But today was more and it stuck.....for a while. I was on my way out of Houma, further South and away from the snow. So Ashley took the picture of me before I left, right when the snow started. The flakes were huge and beautiful. She took several other pictures that I will try and post later. But now, the snow is gone.
Just when the snow started falling in my backyard. Huge flakes. The ground was covered...before it warmed up and melted.

Terry and Jose went to the Saints game at the Dome on Sunday after church. The girls and I dropped them off, then we went to Sun Ray Grill for lunch. After we picked them up, we shopped a little on Magazine street and then went to Miracle on Fulton street for some beautiful sites and fake snow. Little did we know we would see the real snow so soon.

This is what the snow looked like across the lake, North of here. This is Kay and Kelly Peltier and the snowman they built this morning.
After the wedding and before our cruise, we did enjoy Thanksgiving. Brittany's boyfriend Justin came down from Alabama. We cooked the traditional meal and left them with plenty of leftovers when we left on our cruise two days later.

This is me and Terry in Cozumel. What a beautiful port. The water was such a beautiful blue.
We really enjoyed our cruise and would certainly go again. My parents enjoyed themselves too.

Mom and Dad on the beach in Cozumel. The weather was perfect.

The towel animals that our steward left in our room each night. The rooms were surprisingly comfortable. Plenty of room for two people and the bathrooms were also roomy. The ship was very clean and the service was great.

In the background you can see our ship in Port at Cozumel.
Mom, Dad, and Terry at the Mayan Ruins in Progreso...very interesting. We had just received the call from the girls that Quincy has passed away. I hated that they were home alone when it happened. Jose, Ash and Brittany did a great job taking care of his little body and burying him.

Me and Terry at the Marketplace in Progreso. Progreso was a very poor area, but I certainly appreciated their history. It was in Progreso that Terry and I got a couples massage on the beach....very relaxing!
Since I have been's all about Christmas. Brittany made the first batch of cookies and she continues making them. We are going to work on some more tonight for a Bake Sale at the church on Sunday. Then we will start making more to enjoy and give through the season.
I've been wrapping presents and making gift baskets. Thankfully I finished my decorating even before Thanksgiving.