Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Texas Independence Day!

In honor of Texas Independence Day, I thought I'd put up a picture of the frame I made TC for her birthday. We both love Texas and plan on living here with our hot husbands and adorable children until we are old and senile. So we took the phrase, "Texas forever" from the show Friday Night Lights and adopted it as our motto. For her birthday I thought it would be fun to make her a gift that reflected our future plans for Texas.

It was really simple to make. I bought a white frame at Hobby Lobby (my favorite store) and used a ruler to mark off the lines of the Texas flag. I used a star stencil for the star since my hand can get a little shaky and I wanted a clean line. I painted the different sections and let it dry for a couple hours. Then I modge-podged each section one by one and sprinkled on glitter in the matching color. I let it dry over night and voila! An adorable, glittery Texas flag frame. All that's left is to find a cute picture of the two of us to put in it!

Memaw's Twice Baked Potatoes

Now that I'm living in my own house, I've been getting into cooking and have been collecting recipes to try. When I think of great cooking, the first person I think of is my Memaw. She is the typical Southern grandma whose joy in life is feeding her kids and grandkids until their pants are about to burst a button. She's no fancy chef who serves tiny portions of some expensive dish on fine china. She serves real-butter, home-cooked, Louisiana-bred Southern cookin'. Her food is simply divine, so I thought I'd share one of her dishes. These twice baked potatoes are my absolute favorite. I sometimes dream of them and their warm, gooey deliciousness. When my parents come to visit us in Texas, my Memaw will make a batch of them and send them down for us. It's her way to spoil us even when we're not back home. So here is the recipe:

6 lg.baking potatoes or 12 small potatoes
6 oz. regular sour cream at room temp.
1/2 cups milk, warmed
3 tbsp butter/margarine, not light
1/4 tsp white ground pepper
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp onion powder (adjust to your taste)

Baking instructions
Wrap each potato in foil and bake for 1 hour or 1 hour and 15 minutes for lg; 1 hr for small---bake until tender
After potatoes are baked, score top of potato and remove a thin slice from top.
Discard skin and remove cooked portion and place in mixing bowl.
Add milk,margarine,and beat until there are no lumps. Add sour cream.salt,pepper,onion powder and blend until creamy.
Make a foil saucer for each potato half and fill with creamed potato mixture.
Put filled shells on pan and cover with foil and bake 350 for 35-40 min (or when centers of potatoes are hot)
Add grated sharp cheddar to top of potatoes and place on low broil for 3-5 min (until cheese is melted. I usually watch until cheese is melted because it burns easily.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Beginnings

So this blog has gone through a couple make-overs since it's creation. First, as a class assignment where we posted entries about public relations news. Then, as an attempted study abroad blog. And now, just as a general interest blog where I share things that are interesting or important to me. So I hope this won't be a failure like the two times before. I'm excited to start sharing things and maybe someone will even read this silly thing!

So here goes...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beaucoup de Neige!

The streets of Paris have been dusted with snow the past two days. The weather here is so unpredictable! Yesterday I woke up to the sun shining for the first time in a week. My walk to class was beautiful and I felt so awake. In class however, I look out the window and it is practically blizzarding. In my next class, I was surprised again by a ray of sunshine, and when I looked outside, it looked like a bright spring day. The sun didn't last however because when I left to walk home it was in full blizzard mode again. The flakes here are so big, but they are barely frozen so I was soaked by the time I got back to the apartment. I wish the weather would make up it's mind!
The school week goes by so fast here that I can't believe it's the weekend already. I guess it helps that I don't have class on Friday. I've been working hard in all my classes, especially Phonetics, which I am really enjoying. I'm nervous for my "Labo" though, which is when we meet with our professor one-on-one. I hope I don't get nervous and forget everything I've learned so far.
I'm really excited because we booked our trip to Amsterdam for next weekend. We are taking the bus there because it is only 75 Euros, which is very cheap for travel here. I can't wait to visit the Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank museum. We just finished a lesson on Van Gogh in my Modern Art class, so that makes it even more interesting for me. About ten people from the program are going, so it should be a fun weekend. We've also started to plan our spring break in Italy more. We've already booked our tickets to fly into Milan, and Caroline found this really cool private wine tasting/castle tour/lunch and dinner excursion in Tuscany, which sounds amazing. We plan on visiting Florence (where Madison and I can see some TCU friends), Venice, Rome, and possibly another city. I can almost taste the Italian food now!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl

Watching the Super Bowl in an American bar in Paris was one of the most fun times I've had here so far. We decided to make it an American night so we went to a restaurant called American Dream where they had horrible American food. Then we went to a bar called The Long Hop to watch the game. It was packed, and surprisingly there were a lot of French people there. Who knew they liked football?
It was so nice to be able to watch the game because I'd been missing football here. Class today was not fun though since we were out so late. Kick-off here didn't start until 12:30. But it was worth it to watch the Saints win!
I had Phonetics today after Modern Art, and I realized that I really like the class, maybe because it's so interactive and I always have to be on my toes. I like repeating after her and how she corrects our pronunciation and intonation and such. I feel like it's really helping my French, and it's really interesting. It definitely went by faster than the hour and a half lecture in Modern Art.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Paris 2

This past week was my first week of classes. It went really well, even though I had to switch two classes due to scheduling conflicts. I didn't realize how exhausting it would be to have all my classes in French. If I drift off for even a few seconds, I get completely lost. I'm used to having French language classes in French, but a history or art history class in French is a whole different story. All my professors are really nice and interesting. Jeanne, the dean of academics, teaches my Intro to Lit course, which is intimidating, but I like her a lot. None of my classes seem like they will be too overwhelming, but I know they will be a lot of work, especially the readings.
I'm starting to get more adjusted to life here. I'm more comfortable with the metro now so I don't feel as nervous as I did. What really helped was when I went to visit my friend Hunter in Montmartre. I took the 4 almost all the way to the other end and then switched to the 12. I did it all by myself, which convinced me that I am not a complete failure at taking the metro. It was also good to see a familiar person. Hunter is a friend from high school, so it was good to catch up.
I went out last night with my friends in the program and it was actually fun. It was the most fun I've had since I've been here, which really isn't saying much since I've spent most of my time in the hospital or class. I have to say though that I'm disappointed in French guys. Everyone always says how romantic and good looking they are, but so far I've only encountered creepy, not cute guys who don't understand the word no. If you make eye contact with them for more than two seconds, they take it as an open invitation to come maul you.
Hopefully tonight will be fun too, because tomorrow will be a day full of homework.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Welcome to Paris

So my first few weeks in Paris have been a disaster, to say the least. I arrived Monday, January 18th. I moved into my apartment and met my roommate, Erin, who is really nice. I had gotten a urinary tract infection the Sunday I left, so it made it even harder for me to adjust being sick.
Then on Wednesday night, I was napping and Erin was sitting on her bed on the computer, when she heard a noise on the balcony. She peeked around the curtains and there was a man on the balcony. She screamed and we ran out without our keys or cell phones and ran down the hall for help. It ended up that the girl next door was smoking pot on her balcony with three guys when her social worker showed up. She got scared and made them jump across to our balcony (on the 5th floor) to hide. Even though it ended up being harmless, it was traumatizing at the time.
That morning I woke up shivering and with a fever. By the next the day it was 104 degrees. On Friday the RA called the doctor and he came to the apartment and said I needed to go to the hospital. So I rode in an ambulance to the hospital where I waited hours to see a doctor. When I finally did see one, he said that the infection had spread to my kidneys and that it was very serious. They hooked me up to an IV and put me on antibiotics. The worst part was the fever because I would alternate between being very cold and shivering and sweating buckets.
They gave me an ultrasound to look at my kidneys, and then I had to wait about three hours in a bed in the hall to be given a room at 2 a.m. Needless to say, it was a horrible experience. The next day they moved me to the ICU so they could monitor me more. I spent three days there and when my fever finally went down, they were able to take me off the IV and give me the antibiotics orally. The student insurance paid to fly my mom over. She got here on Tuesday and left today about an hour ago. It was nice having her here, but I felt bad that all she got to see was her hotel and the hospital.
It's such a relief to finally be out. And luckily I haven't missed any classes since they don't start until Monday. So far my time in Paris has been pretty terrible because I've been sick the whole time, but I'm hoping things will start looking up now that I feel better.