Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Big 8 Oh

So Grandpa Cooper turned eighty this year. The big eighty oh! Feb 20 was the big day. It was so nice that is was on a Saturday as well. Everyone that could headed to St George. He wanted to get together for pizza so we went to Brick Oven. We loaded him up with presents, pizza and cake.
 Not so sure he could even hear us but he enjoyed being with everyone any way.

Cooper didn't even finish all his cake. That my friends is monumental so I had to get a picture of it. He wanted the piece with a balloon of course! Ashley and Shay stayed at home and Christina couldn't make it down and of course Jeff & Rachel but everyone else was there except Sade and Shyler. It was fun getting everyone all together even if it was difficult for all of us to visit stretched out in tables.  We took up lots of space and had lots of food and fun!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Best Lunch Ever!

We've done some fun stuff over the years and alot of it involves food! We had heard from absolutely everyone in New Orleans that THE best restaurant was the Commander's Palace. I made reservations but the only time available was lunch...we grabbed it!
 Mike & Karla and us hoped on a trolley so we could get down to the garden district. It was just a short walk to the restaurant. We had passed by it on our walking tour and our guide said that's the place she wanted to have her last meal.
 It looks pretty garish from the outside for sure. When we walked in it most certainly was not. I wish I had been brave enough to take pictures on the way in. We had to walk by a line of servers that all welcomed us and made us feel like royalty. Our table was up on the second floor so we got the grand tour on the way up.
 Even the menu looked interesting.  
Our waiter was a little shocked that none of us wanted the 25 cent martini though.
 My yummy salad.
 And my yummy entree!
 I had to try their famous strawberry shortcake for sure. The food was good. But the service was incredible! The staff was right there after pretty much every couple of sips from our drinks to refill our glasses. After a couple of refills of water they completely took the glasses away and got us fresh glasses. Like ice dilutes water!! They just waited on us constantly. It was amazing.
After our fabulous lunch we trollied back and got a cab at the hotel and headed for the airport. It was time to go home. I think Mendis was happier than me about that because every minute of everyday was work for him. Even dinner. So we headed home with a vow to return someday so he can see what he missed. I think he would have loved it all. I know I sure did.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Air Boats Etc

What a fun day this was! I have always wanted to take an air boat ride ever since the show Gentle Ben lol. Karla and I did a swamp tour today and I finally got that bucket list thing checked off.
 First things first though I had to get the touristy picture!
 The swamp tour was just so fun. It was the first warm sunny day they had for the season so we lucked out and saw wildlife like crazy out sunning themselves. They told us we wouldn't see anything but wow it was amazing! Even alligators were out everywhere. We say turtles and snakes and all kinds of critters.
 Not gonna lie, this was a little creepy!

 The swamp was so beautiful though and I would recommend the tour to anyone. 
The smaller 6 person air boat was the way to go too. After we got back from the tour I had some time in the afternoon to go shopping for that dress for Shay.
 What a treat this store was. I was in there forever taking pictures and sending them to Ashley. She needed to have final say. When it came down to it I picked the dress with her wish list because the service was terrible and she wasn't getting all the pictures.

 I seriously was in heaven and wanted to spend hundreds of dollars and somehow I managed to control myself. I'm not sure how. Maybe I deluded myself into thinking I would get back there someday!
So here was the dress I picked. The lace was made in 1984 which was the year Ashley was born so how cool was that. The dress is hand done and was just sewn up that very day! It had a full slip underneath. Exquisite.
 So I spent a bit more time walking around the shops. There was this cool antique gun shop, gas lantern shops, antiques, you name it.
 Loved this private little garden.
Even the doors were interesting.
  We went to GW Fins for dinner and it was incredible. The best part is salesmen from Canada took us so they paid for it and we got to hang with some Canadians.
After dinner we went on a carriage ride through the French Quarter. It was so fun.
 We saw lots of interesting things like this old old tavern that is still lit with candles only today. Very cool.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Day of Plantations

Karla and I started bright and early again and did a plantation tour after I had my beignet breakfast of course! We had about an hour long bus ride to get out there. We had really wanted to go to Nottoway since Nadja had recommended it but there were no tours to get out there :( So we did a two plantation tour and started with Laura Plantation. It was a Creole plantation which just means they were native to the area.
 It's hard to tell by the picture but it was super colorful. I am used to stately old white plantation manors to this was different on the outside which was so interesting. The tour was very informative and I learned alot.
Here you can see some of the colors better
 The slave quarters here are where the old Uncle Remus stories were recorded. I can just picture Brear Rabbit and Brear Bear hanging out here with the children,
 Next up was Oak Alley. Much bigger and more famous. This was more of a typical sugar plantation.
We had lunch here at Oak Alley and I finally got to have some Gumbo. It was super good and not too spicy at all which surprised me. Oh and a mint julep of course!!
A big sugar cauldron where they boiled the sugar cane to extract the sugar.
 Another great guide in period costume
 This enormous red thing was swung back and forth by a rope pulled by a slave girl in the corner. It swatted flies (of course I forgot they wouldn't have had screens) and kept the air moving for dinner. If you were really wealthy you could afford to put big bowls of ice under it to help cool the room down as well.
 This was quite the dramatic view from the 2nd story balcony. 
Clear back there behind the levy was the Mississippi River.
 Once back in the city I spent some time wandering around alone taking pictures and taking in more of the French Quarter. It was just so fun to be there and see the amazing architecture.
 I found this amazing lace and linen shop just full of baby dresses. Well I looked around and decided I needed to return for a baby blessing dress for Shayla! I was drooling at all the wonderful dresses.
I sat here in the square for awhile listening to some street performers and I was sad that it was the only jazz I had heard all week? Wandering around the French Quarter was a treat. I wish I had had more energy, time and a ton more money!! We had a fabulous dinner all of us again with some sales people. A really great day.