Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gridlock Winter Storm 2014

That's what one news station named this January's snow storm "Gridlock Winter Storm 2014" in the Birmingham area and south Alabama. Gridlock is what it did! The snow came here yesterday morning around 9AM and it was pretty, but within a hour it began to freeze. Not only here but every county south of us. The roads quickly became slick and treacherous.  From what I understand Alabama wasn't the only state that was surprised by the severity, but areas in the Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  In our biggest cities like Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Montgomery suffered with bad road conditions making it absolutely in passable, traffic gridlock and several auto accidents.  Most everyone had to abandon their vehicles to seek shelter or close enough to walk home.  A lot of people were on their way to pick up their children from school because most schools decided to close early.  A lot of the parents never made to the schools because of the traffic and bad road conditions.  Several schools reported that the students would be staying the night at their school with other school staff members to take care of them.  I heard there were a few deaths due to the weather.   I knew a few people that were stranded in the Birmingham area.  Fortunately, all of them were able to get home today.

What is most important during times and situations like this is the southern hospitality comes alive. There have been times when I've asked myself "where is the southern hospitality and courtesy?" When the southern states are tested, we do step up and do what we need to do and help others. I have never been so proud to live in the south then I have the past couple of days. On the news, I witnessed others (videos or live feeds) going from car to car offering food, water, rides on 4 wheelers. Several buildings, retail stores, hotels, and restaurants stayed open during this horror for some, in order to give them a warm place to stay. Hotels kept waiting lists and allowed others that were not staying there a place to keep warm and offered hot coffee. Chickfila employees passed out food to the stranded vehicles. If someone slid off the road, strangers came out and helped pushing their cars out of the ditch or slick spots. It just made my heart smile at all the good in a bad situation. We have another bad night with frigid temps around the low teens to single digits. We are expected to warm up this weekend just to get prepared for another bad system headed our way later next week.


Good news tonight, all students have been reunited with their families. State Emergency Officials have stepped up to the plate and worked extra hard to safely transport the children to their homes. Thank goodness for chained tires and salted roads.

Hwy 280 and Mt. Brook 01-28-14 photo BhamSnowArea2014_zps28cce84d.jpg 
Hwy 280 in the Mountain Brook area Denny Chimes - Jan 2014 photo DennyChimes_zps4d9832d6.jpg 
A beautiful picture at my favorite college campus in the world - Denny Chimes - 
University of Alabama
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Birmingham area
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Friends and Family in the area have been passing this little message around to each other. You have to have a sense of humor during these times. 
 I just love it! 2014 Winter photo 2014ColdMap_zps97220dab.jpg 
My niece shared this with everyone. I had to share it with you.

My child's school called stating that they were letting out at 10AM.  Colton and I were busy outside playing and taking pictures of the snow falling.  I didn't think it would amount to anything because it wasn't much.  Fortunately, we came inside to warm up when my husband called and asked if I got the message from our school.  We quickly got in the car and headed to school to pick up Katiebug.  She wasn't happy because she was second to the late person in her class to be picked up.  On our way home, I could tell that road conditions were not going to be good in the next hour.  At the traffic lights were very slick at the stop and start.  Thank goodness for 4 wheel drive!  We just took our time getting home and left plenty of room between us and other vehicles.  The kids loved playing outside in the little snow that we did have on the ground.

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Y'all stay warm and bring your pets in! 


Monday, January 27, 2014

January in Review 2014

The year 2014 is going to be very eventful for me, beginning with the month of January. My husband's parents celebrated their Golden Anniversary a couple of weekends ago. It's an event that I've been planning and preparing for a year. It finally came and I believe it was a success. The food was tasty, the decorations simple and the guests that attending made it a great party.

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Happy 50th Anniversary Millard and Peggy!!  
We Love You and wish you many many more years to come.

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We created a digital scrapbook for our guests to sign or write notes in it for the happy couple.

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A friend of ours catered the event.  He and his family did a fabulous job. 

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Thank you notes for our guests

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I'm grateful for my sister to be there when I needed her.  She really helped me out a lot.  

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We were so happy to see this pretty couple and their beautiful daughter walk through the door.  

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"Cousin Love"

The next weekend, I celebrated my 40th birthday.  A couple of days before, I got really down and depressed.  It is just overwhelming to be 4-0.  It didn't affect me when I turned 30 years old.  No big deal.  I started really looking at myself in the mirror and asked myself "who are you?"  Under these puffy eyes, brown spots and double chin, I'm in here.  Some where!  Doug finally told me that he had a surprise birthday party for me at his parent's house.  Of course, it made me emotional again.  I didn't think anyone was going to celebrate my day with me because everyone I spoke to had other things to do or they would ask me what I was going to do on my day.  You talk about depressing.  

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Beautiful Divas!

School Field Trip - 

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Katie had an opportunity to visit the Michael Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.  They had a special exhibit of Egyptian Nubian and Near Eastern artifacts.  The museum's staff split the grades up in small groups for guided tours.  Katie's favorite part of the tour is being able to see actual mummies.  They had four on exhibit.  Pretty cool and very interesting! 

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We left the museum and went straight to The Varsity restaurant downtown on the Georgia Tech College campus.  It is a great atmosphere and the biggest fast food restaurant that I've ever been inside.  It just goes on and on.  The food wasn't bad, but saturated in grease.  Needless to say, I didn't eat all of my onion rings for fear of getting sick.  However, the chocolate ice cream was fantastic.  I was thinking back when the last time I was in Atlanta.  It was 1996 before the Olympics.  I love Atlanta and it was great seeing it again.  Hopefully, it won't be 18 years before we come back to visit.     We had a great field trip and thankful to get home in one piece.  

Yes, the year 2014 is going to be a year to remember.  January kicked it off splendidly and we look forward to the upcoming . . . bridal showers, weddings, baby showers and arrival of twin babies in the family.  


Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow Day - Game Day

Even though today is technically the first day back to school after Christmas break, we ended up having a snow day because of a deep freeze in the South. My kids were so happy to have one more day of playing Wii games. Katie loves to play the bicycle on Wii, so she's been teaching Colton how to peddle with the remotes. I get tickled watching Colton's peddling technique. I had to stop and record the kids playing Wii bicycling. Too cute!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sausage Balls Recipe

During Christmas break, my little family requested sausage balls for their Christmas breakfast.  Well, I pulled up my wonderful and handy blog recipes; I nearly fell out in the floor when I couldn't find my Sausage Ball recipe.  Ugh!  What was I thinking?  It's a very good recipe to not be published.  (tehe!)

Sausage Balls 
1 lb. favorite sausage, I use Smithfield Pork Sausage, it's delicious
1 block sharp Cracker Barrel Cheese, use extra sharp if you dare
3 Cups Bisquick Mix- I like the heart healthy version, but don't tell Doug

Mix it all together until combined.  I've found to put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to be able to work with it easier.

We like to roll a few 2" balls at a time, don't cook all at once.  If you prefer to make them all nice and neat for parties - Roll into 1" balls place on cookie sheet.  I use stone ware, but you can place them on a sil-pat or wax paper.  Bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until slightly brown on top.

Yields: 4 dozen 1" balls.

You won't have any left over, but just in case, be sure to refrigerate.