Meet Me In St. Louis Part 1 (a tour of my city on Julia’s 15th birthday)

I’m BAaaaaaack!!!  Show of hands….  did anybody miss me?  Ah, no matter, I missed YOU enough for all of us!  lol  My life has been PACKED with so much excitement and activity and I don’t really know where a good place to begin!  I feel like I’ve crammed enough living for a year in these past couple of days.  Or close to it 🙂

So, you all know that last week was my baby girls 15th birthday, right?  I asked you guys for some ideas to help us celebrate in a special way.  You all had some fantastic ideas and we used some of them, so for that I thank you!  Carla suggested a photo shoot and a makeover.  These girls live their LIVES doing makeovers so we didn’t choose that but we DID have a blast doing photo shoots.  We spent the weekend touring the city of St. Louis and took over 500 shots.  By the end of the weekend I think the girls wanted to HURT my camera!  Maybe I over did it a little? Nah.  But they really did have fun and felt so special being the star of the show.  So Carla, THANK YOU!  The girls and I had a BLAST and more importantly, we made some memories that we won’t soon forget.

You know how I am about showing you too many pictures, right?  I do that because I’m proud AND I can’t decide which ones are the more important shots.  ALL of them are important to me.  Don’t worry though, I won’t show you all 500 of them!  lol  I’m going to do little segments, one day at a time.

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(I think Hannah was the one to smash the cupcakes… look at her evil face!  She wouldn’t admit it though)

We arrived at the Hilton with Julia’s birthday cupcakes NOT in one piece!  lol  One of the girls threw their luggage on top of the special cupcakes that I had made for the occasion!  ARGH!  NOT a good way to start the weekend.  These cupcakes were delicious and SO pretty before they got smashed.  There’s a place in a town near us called Sweet-T-Pies and they make the best cupcakes filled with any kind of filling you could dream of!  OMG!  They’re the most delicious little cakes any of us have ever tasted! Still divine even if they WERE smashed 🙂  Oh well, it’s the thought that counts, right?

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Once we got checked into our room, we made Julia hide in the bathroom so we could decorate for her.  Notice the little princess crown on her head?  Part of the deal was that she had to wear her birthday tiara everywhere we went so that the whole world would know that my princess was having a birthday!  Did she do it?  Nope.  She’s way too shy and doesn’t like unnecessary attention.  I’d say this was a weekend where the attention was NECESSARY!  lol

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Remember those expensive pretty little smashed cupcakes?  Yeah, as IF smashing them wasn’t enough, HANNAH (Julia’s bff) decided Julia should wear one too!  Silly girls 😉

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(Street car or trolley like the one used in Meet me in St. Louis.  Don’t mind the white cloud streaming into the pic.  It’s not a ghost… just the smoke from my cigarette cause I’m classy like that!  lol)

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Do any of you know the Judy Garland movie “Meet Me in St. Louis”?  Of course, being a St. Louis native, I grew up watching this classic and LOVE it still.  Every Christmas, it’s a family tradition at my house and we all sit down with popcorn and watch.  The song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” was first sang by Judy Garland in this movie.  The whole movie was filmed in University City on the Delmar Loop.  It used to be known for it’s streetcars or “trolleys”.  Well here’s a street car just like the one featured in “Meet Me In St. Louis”.  I can’t get the “Trolley Song” out of my head now!  lol

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(I know this is too dark but I wanted to show you the neon sign for the Blueberry Hill restaurant)

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(Chuck Berry’s guitar and other music memorabilia)

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(Julia can’t decide which crappy food item to order)

The first stop of the night (besides shopping at one of the cool stores on the strip) was Blueberry Hill Restaurant.  You all know Chuck Berry, right?  He’s a St. Louis native who’s legendary for his guitar playing and song writing.  One of my favorites is “Roll Over Beethoven”…  Anyway, this is his restaurant.  It’s a landmark, for sure but if you ever come to St. Louis and decide to visit Blueberry Hill, don’t judge our cuisine based on what you find in this restaurant!  It’s pretty sucky.  Only go here for the atmosphere, the music and their toy collection.  As soon as we walked through the door, we were greeted by a young college kid who didn’t say hello, instead he barked, “All minors have to be outta here by 10:00 p.m.”.  As IF I was going to keep my kids there doing shots of tequila!  So, not only was the food bad but they weren’t even friendly.  Too bad cause I’m generally a really good tipper and I LOVE to write reviews!  lol The girls had fun and soaked in the music and atmosphere though.  THAT was the important thing 🙂

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(I love neon signs and city streets at night)

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(the Tivoli lobby where we spent most of our time waiting for the couple to stop their love making inside the theater…  it was beautiful though *NOT the love making* …  I felt like we were transported back to the year 1924 when this place was new)

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(the ceiling of the Tivoli… LOVE the decor of these old city buildings)

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(my girls were a little bored and didn’t know when it would be appropriate to enter the theater room where the couple was making out… they didn’t want to interrupt)

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The big event of our first night was to catch a midnight showing of “A Place Beyond The Pines” with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper.  I couldn’t WAIT to show the girls the Landmark Tivoli theater!  This was a theater that made it”s debut in 1924 and it was known for it’s luxury.  For the day, The Tivoli was considered one of the most luxurious theaters in the USA.  It went through a period of decline in the early 90’s and eventually shut down.  The owners of Blueberry Hill renovated it in the mid 90’s and restored it to it’s original state.  However, it would appear to be going through another period of decline.  First of all, I should tell you that the Tivoli is THE place to go if you want to catch an “artsy” film.  Granted, “A Place Beyond The Pines” is NOT an artsy film (the girls HAD to see this one because they’re all in major LOVE with Ryan Gosling, and REALLY…. who could blame them?).  That being said, you’d think that a theater known for their showings of the “artsy film genre” would be a clean and well kept theater.  Or at least I would think that to be true.  Well…  it was clean in the lobby.  The room where we watched the movie had sticky floors and the seats were worn and appeared to have been new in the ’90’s, when it was last renovated.  Upon walking through the door, we were a little shocked to find a college couple doing some pretty HEAVY “petting” and making out!  The girls felt uncomfortable to have interrupted this lovely couple.  Soooo… we had to wait in the lobby until the movie started.  You all know me and MY big mouth!  I suggested LOUDLY that they get a room, which only seemed to embarrass my girls further!  lol  I’ve said this several times before… SUCKS TO BE MY KID!  lol  However, the couple didn’t take me up on my suggestion.  All in all, it was fun to stay out late and watch a midnight movie.  What was scary?  Walking the streets of Delmar after the bars closed down.  We were followed by a man who appeared to be way TOO interested in my girls.  I invited him to let me know what his intentions were.  He didn’t appear to want to mess with “Mama Bear”.  GOOD for him.  He, apparently wasn’t TOO drunk to miss the evil gleam in my eye 😉

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And this is how our night ended!  2 of the crazy girls crashed just as soon as we got back to our room!  I wanted to sit up and talk but THEY were tired and wouldn’t humor me!  lol

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the details

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Lost in the details

Esme’ getting lost in the detail. Who care’s about the cookies when you can have cookie dough, right?

“To create something exceptional, your mind must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail”
Giorgio Armani

I’m SO excited!

I say this (so excited thing) with a little trepidation…  Knowing I may feel differently in a few hours!  lol  My nieces are coming!  They’re actually getting to spend the night today.  This is a HUGE thing because their mama doesn’t like for them to sleep anywhere but safely, right under her roof.  I don’t blame her, I was the SAME way.  I remember crying when my kids had to spend the night visiting their dad on weekends.  I HATED being without them.  My wonderful sister in law, however, took mercy on me.  She knows I’m missing them and need to spend time with them.  I’m very sick (don’t worry – not contagious) and I feel like my back is up against the wall.  I’m battling time here.  While I feel well enough to handle these little demons  angels, I want to spend as much time as I can.

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This is 4 year old Esme’.  She’s a HANDFUL and a half.  That doesn’t even cover it.  Personality enough for 40 people, really.  She has meltdowns when they make her leave my house and I have to tell her that she can’t come back if she doesn’t leave.  HAHA!  It’s true, how can she come back if she doesn’t first leave?  She scratches her head and tries to understand.  Anyway, she’s probably the most intelligent child I’ve ever spent time around.  Not in the traditional way either.  She actually has a hard time focusing on letters and numbers BUT she knows things that she’s never read or seen on TV.  It’s in her head.  She’s not even allowed to watch TV at home.

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Esme’s actually pretty rotten.  That’s probably why I love her so much.  I’m glad, though, that I’M not the one who has to make the major decisions regarding her life!  Whew!  I’ve already raised one of these kinds of kids and let me tell you….  it just about KILLED me!  lol  Can you see the evil glint in her eye?

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To sweeten the pot, a little, my brother and sister in law gave me Ireland Elizabeth!  She’s the EXACT opposite of Esme and is just good and stable!  lol  I love her in a different way than Esme’.  She’s my squirmy snuggler.  Ireland is 8 months old.

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Here I am with Ireland and her older sister, my intelligent and wonderful niece, Aubrie!  I don’t get to spend NEARLY enough time with Aubrie because of school and sports but I’m SO close to her too and even more proud of her.  I expect that she’ll be running a major corporation one day.

I’ve said before and I meant it, my nieces are like my daughters.  I couldn’t love them more if they came from my body.  I’m SO thankful to my brother and sister in law for deciding to have these babies later in life.  They add the spice that my life was needing and they keep my young!

Aunt Arlene’s Easy Corn Souffle (as promised to Jessamine)

One of the awesome blogs I follow, Attempts in Domesticity (Trying to Emulate Martha Stewart in a Town Full of Hipsters), posted about some yummy corn and sausage griddle cakes.  I’d never thought of doing griddle cakes like this, have you?  Anyway, I gave her a “fun fact”, not that she asked!  lol  I told her that I make a yummy corn souffle and she asked for the link.  Ahhhh…. most of my recipes are family recipes and some of them come from my collection of a million cookbooks.  I collect cookbooks like I do shoes.

SO…  Jessamine, as promised, now that I’ve had a couple of cups of espresso on this beautiful Sunday morning, here’s our family’s recipe for corn souffle.  I know you’ll love it if you try it!  It’s something that I don’t usually make unless we’re having company OR it’s a holiday.  BUT, I think it would be good any day, and especially for Sunday dinner 🙂

(photo credit goes to aboutdishes.blogspot.com)

Aunt Arlene’s Easy Corn Souffle

Ingredients

1 small onion

1 green pepper

1 stick butter (use REAL butter)

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can cream style corn

1 box jiffy corn muffin mix

3 eggs, well beaten

1 cup sour cream

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

Saute onion and green pepper in butter.  Add corn, beaten eggs and corn muffin mix.  Stir well and pour into prepared baking dish.  Mix sour cream and grated cheese together, spoon over corn mixture.  Bake at 350 F for 35 -40 minutes.

So here it is.  Now go over and check out Jessamine’s blog!  I think the hook for me was the part where she’s trying to emulate Martha Stewart in a town full of hipsters!  TOO funny.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Home

I have so many that would work for this theme! This is the first one I came across though and it shows everyone (well almost) that I love eating chicken and dumplings (can’t get more home than THAT) for Christmas at my house 🙂 I’m actually IN this one! lol