Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Natural Disasters and RA Training

This past week has definitely been a whirlwind of sorts.  With countless training sessions and two natural disasters under my belt, I think it's safe to say I'll be prepared for whatever these students throw my way.  I just hate that Mom and Mrs. Amy came all the way here and then had to leave less than 24 hours later.

 After word surfaced that the NYC subways were closing, Chinatown became a ghost town.  I looked outside my window Sunday morning, and no one was to be seen.  We ventured out of Lafayette that afternoon looking for a bite to eat, and only a handful of restaurants were open.

But this week certainly hasn't been all work and no play.  The NYU RAs took over the Harry Potter Exhibit in Time Square last Sunday.  And, I've played more games of wiffle ball than I ever thought possible.  Even staying up until 3am to fix bulletin boards and hang door decs was fun thanks to my 11th Floor Co-RA, Michael.
The Picture for Our "Welcome to the 11th Floor" Letter 
Our Flyer Bulletin Board 
The Theme for Our Floor---We're Nerds, So What
For over a week now, a building that's supposed to hold 1077 students has been the playground for just 32 RAs.  Today's move-in day, and one of my suite mates has already moved in.  It's time to officially get to work.  I've already clocked-in my first hours in the Resource Center, and on Thursday I'll be having my first building wide program....Cupcake Baking at Butter Lane.  So far, I'm pretty sure this job was made for me. 

Just one last word word to the wise-Don't wear you're NYU ID around your neck.  You'll look at your Welcome Week pictures a month from now and realize you shouldn't have worn the purple lanyard as a necklace for the entire week.  Just because every Freshmen on campus is doing it doesn't mean you have to as well.  I tell you this because I was one of those people who thought it'd be a good decision.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Getting All Settled In

After two days, nine states, and 1,000 miles, my dad and I finally saw the New York City skyline Friday afternoon.  We made a quick stop at the card center to get a new NYU ID, then made our way to my new home for the next two years...Lafayette Residence Hall.  Located in the heart of Chinatown, Lafayette’s surrounded by delicious restaurant and tons of culture.  And my room, well I absolutely LOVE IT.  I’ll have to share the kitchen with my suite mates, but after two years in cramped quarters, I’m excited to have my own bedroom and bath.  I’m all settled in to my new home.  The shelves have been lined, my bed’s been made, and all my clothes are in the closet.  I’m pretty sure that with my return the amount of cupcakes, polkadots, and Vera Bradley have doubled in Manhattan.  Here's a few pictures of my interior design skills:
What You See When You First Enter My Room 
Cute Couch Nook 
My Polkadot Bathroom 
The Kitchen 
My Cute Plate Collection 
And the Show Stopper....The View From My Room 
My summer was the best one yet, but I’m glad to get back in the swing of things.  The rest of the week will be spent in RA meetings, but come Friday Mrs. Amy and my mom will be making their way to New York.  I can’t wait until they get here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Becky's Last Night in Georgia

All Becky's College Gear 
 It's sad to admit that my summer's coming to an end.  Tomorrow, Becky leaves her tiny room where
she's lived for 18 years, and I make the trek to Manhattan on Thursday.  Half our living room is covered with rubbermaid boxes filled with everything from clothes to cleaning supplies.  So for our "Last Supper" as a full family until Thanksgiving, we had a special dinner.  Tacos with all the fixings were the main entree, and for dessert, I baked delicious Jungle Fever cupcakes.

The nine hippos were my first treat tryouts of the day.


  • 9 funfetti cupcakes baked in blue paper liners
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • blue food coloring
  • 9 peanut butter sandwich cookies (Nutter Butter)
  • 9 chocolate-covered coffee beans
  • 36 orange gourmet mints
1) Place the sugar in a small shallow bowl.  Tint the sugar blue with food coloring.
All the Ingredients 
2) Spoon 2 tablespoons of the vanilla frosting into a small ziplock bag, press out the excess air, seal, and set aside.  Tint the remaining vanilla frosting blue with the food coloring.  Spread the blue frosting on top of the cupcakes and smooth.  Roll the edge of the cupcakes in the sugar--hold the bowl at an angle and gently roll the edge in the blue sugar.
3) For the hippo's head, press the cookie into the frosting of each cupcake, allowing 1/3 of the cookie to hang over the edge.  Snip a small (1/8-inch) corner from the bag with the vanilla frosting.  Pipe dots of the frosting onto the peanut butter cookie for the eyes, nostrils, and ears.  Cut the  chocolate-covered coffee beans in half using a sharp knife.  Attach the chocolate-covered coffee beans, round side up, to the frosting to make the eyes and attach the gourmet mints to make the ears and nose.

The gators were a little harder to make, but for my University of Florida sister, it was a must.


  • 9 vanilla cupcakes baked in blue paper liners
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 9 peanut butter sandwich cookies (Nutter Butter) 
  • 9 green jordan almonds
  • 9 chocolate-covered coffee beans
1) Spoon 1/2 cup of vanilla frosting into a ziplock bag, press out the excess air, seal, and set aside.  If you still have blue tinted frosting from the hippo cupcakes, spread it on top of the cupcakes.  Then tint the can of vanilla frosting green with the food coloring.  If not, divide the frosting into 2 bowls; tint one bowl green and the other blue.  Spread the blue on top of the cupcake.
2)  You should still have blue tinted sugar remaining from your hippos cupcakes, so there's no reason to scoop out more.  Simply roll the edge of the cupcakes in sugar.
3) For the croc heads, trim the edges of the cookies with a serrated knife to form a long V-shape.  Ice the cookies with the green frosting.  To make your gator shiny, add green food coloring drops to the blue sugar.  Then press the frosted cookie into the green sugar, covering completely.  Attach the sugared cookie to the frosted cupcakes, sugar side up, allowing 1/3 of the cookie to hang over the edge.
4) For the eyes, place the green jordan almond at the gator's crown.  Cut the chocolate-covered coffee beans in half.  Pipe 2 dots of vanilla frosting on the jordan almond and attach the chocolate-covered coffee beans.  Pipe nostril holes at the base and teeth on the outer edges of the head, starting at the top edge of the cookie, with the remaining vanilla frosting.

My Finished Product

With Becky heading to UF in the morning, that also means we're going to lose our GO GATORS blocks.  They're sat on our mantel all summer long.  It's become a bit of a game; we try to see who can come up with the most creative comebacks only using the eight letters.  

I Still Think Mom's in Denial That Becky's Going to UF

Because Joseph Says I Can't Go Back New York Fast Enough 

Because We Are Going to College 

How It's "Supposed" To Be 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Review: The Last Letter From Your Lover

The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

I've constantly heard the expression "Never judge a book by its cover," but I've come to notice that I'm much more likely to pick up a book if its title is cliche and its cover art is picturesque.  The Last Letter From Your Lover meets both these requirements, so I just assumed it would be a wonderful read.  I was right.

In the prologue we find Elle Haworth, a 30-something journalist working for "The Nation," in 21st century Britain  After 100 years in the same location, the newspaper is moving its headquarters.  The Features Editor wants Ellie to write an article reflecting the sweeping changes of women's preoccupations since the 1960s.  

While rummaging through the archives, Ellie stumbles upon a battered file that seems to be about lung disease, but just as she's about to toss it in the trash, a letter slips out dated the 4th of October 1960.  It starts:

My dearest and only love,
I meant what I said.  I have come to the conclusion that the only way forward is for one of us to take a bold decision …
And ends in:
… I’ll be on platform 4 at 7.15on Friday evening and there is nothing in the world that would make me happier than if you found the courage to come with me  …  Know that you hold my heart, my hopes, in your hands.
Then, leaving Ellie in the Archives, we're plunged into an entirely different story.  It's October 1960.  Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is.  While going through her house in an attempt to discover who she used to be, Jennifer stumbles upon an impassioned love letter, simply signed "B," asking her for forgiveness.  After finding seven more messages, it becomes clear that Jennifer's having an affair on her coldhearted husband.  But, who with?

In a nutshell, the book is a homage to the lost art of the love letter.  It's a sophisticated, page-turning double love story spanning forty years, and I'd suggest it to any hopeless romantic.  Bravo Jojo Moyes; Bravo!

My Rating: ****

Sunday, August 14, 2011

There's a Mouse in the House

Joseph's Such a Proud Pet Papa
I think my mom has officially lost her mind...she's allowing my brother to keep a pet mouse.  Last Thursday, my stepdad used his one-time-only-veto-privilege to overrule my mom's "No," so we have a new addition to our pet collection.  Rolly, named after a pup from 101 Dalmatians, is white with black spots. Although he weighs less than 1/4 pound, just the sight of our tiny rodent makes my mom squeal.  It's been mandated that Rolly mustn't leave Joseph's room.  His cage, hamster wheel, chew stick, and food all live at the foot of Joseph's bed.  And since Rolly's arrival, the time Joseph spends in his room has increased fifty fold.  Every time I walk by his room, Joseph's sticking Rolly in his shirt pocket or telling him what a good boy he is.  I've heard the expression "Nothing Comes Between a Boy and his Dog," but in Joseph's case I really think it should be changed to "Nothing Comes Between a Boy and his Mouse."  Joseph prides himself on his fiscal responsibility; he rarely spends money except on his girlfriend, Rachel.  All around, he's just a penny pincher.  But already, he's spent more than $40 on Rolly.  He claims the mouse is a "good investment;" I'm not quite sure if he's expecting a return on his purchase.   But on more than one occasion, he's said, "this mouse is the best purchase I've ever made."  To help ease his financial blow (you figure $40 is Joseph's allowance and lunch money for the week) but still keep Rolly happy, Joseph's build a maze for his mouse.  He went through the attic and dug out his old lego table to construct a high tech play pen.  Complete with multiple levels and many turns, the maze has become Rolly's new favorite play area, even over his hamster wheel.  Of course that might have to do with the fact that every time he walks through it Joseph hands over a slice of cheese.  At the rate he's eating, it's a good thing his name is Rolly.  I'm just wondering how long it will take before the shiny-and-new feeling rubs off.  However, a few friends have already visited and are begging their parents for mice of their own, so I'm thinking it will take quite a while.
Roly's Lego Maze 

Rolly on His Hamster Wheel 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Getting all My Ducks in a Row

Ever since Netflix made Made Men available on instant watch I've been sucked into the wonderful world of a 1960s housewife.  I've always loved to iron and wear cardigan sweaters, but now I feel like my day's only complete if I have a homemade dessert accompanying my meals.  Today I went a little overboard with my baking though.  I started off with my typical Paula Deen Vanilla Ice Cream.  Then, I decided that wouldn't be enough of a sugar rush, so I thumbed through my favorite new book, What's New Cupcake?, and found a perfect sweet treat...Rubber Ducky Cupcakes.  They're perfect for a baby shower, a birthday party or even a crazy Easter bash.  And, making that ducky shape is as easy as attaching a doughnut hole and a marshmallow to a cupcake.

What You'll Need:
  • 18 Vanilla cupcakes baked in paper liners
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) vanilla frosting
  • Yellow Food Coloring 
  • 9 Jumbo Marshmallows
  • 12 Plain Doughnut Holes
  • 24 Swedish Fish 
  • 36 M&M's Minis
1) Tint 1 1/2 cans of the vanilla frosting bright yellow with the food coloring.  Spoon the yellow frosting into a microwavable bowl.  Spoon 1/4 cup of frosting into a zipclock bag, press out the excess air, seal and set aside.  
2) Cut the marshmallows diagonally in half with a sharp knife of kitchen scissors  Spread some of the remaining icing on top of the cupcakes.  For the duck's head, place a doughnut hole on one side.  For the tail, arrange the cut marshmallow, pointed end up, on the edge on the opposite side.  Repeat to make 12 heads-up ducks.  To make the bottoms-up ducks, place a cut marshmallow in the center of each of the remaining 6 cupcakes, pointed end up.  Spread vanilla frosting up the side of the doughnut holes and marshmallows on the cupcake to fill in the gaps and smooth.  Place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Duckies in the Freezer
3) Microwave the yellow frosting for 10 second intervals until it has the texture of lightly whipped cream.  Remove one cupcake at a time from the freezer.  Holding the cupcake by its paper bottom, dip it into the yellow frosting just up to the liner.  Allow the excess frosting to drip off back into the bowl.  Turn right side up and let stand.  Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.  If the frosting becomes too thick, reheat for several seconds, stirring well.  

Dissected Swedish Fish
4) For the beaks, cut off the heads from the Swedish fish.  Place two of the fruit chews on the front of the doughnut hole head, securing with frosting and pressing firmly.  For the feet, cut off the tails from the Swedish fish.  Inset the fishtails at the base of the duck on the bottoms-up cupcakes; place them design-side up to create a webbed effect.  Snip a small corner of the bag with the vanilla frosting.  Pipe a white dot on either side of the head for the eyes and add the mini brown candies.  

Quack Quack 
Closeup of the Bottoms-up Bobbers

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What's On the Menu: The Inside Scoop on Georgia Bob's BBQ

With tomorrow marking my last day at NewsCentral, I'm glad I got to spend the morning shadowing Felicia.  After a quick VO/SOT on Bibb County's first day, we made a trip to Byron, spotlighting a scrumptious barbecue joint for an upcoming segment of "The Chow Down."

Despite its name, Georgia Bob's BBQ offers a lot more than just pulled pork.  Customers raved about their chicken salad and hearty sides.  And,  the owner, Bob Evans, gave us a perfect interview.  Despite its driveway, he stressed the fact that Georgia Bob's isn't a fast food restaurant.  They just serve high quality food a little quicker than the typical sit down spot.  And if you're having an office luncheon or hosting a tailgate party, Georgia Bob's got you covered.  One customer made a phone order asking for 100 BBQ sandwiches, and the staff completed her request without breaking a sweat.

After our work was done Bob insisted on showing us what really sets their business apart...free samples.
He relies on word of mouth, not advertisements, to really drive in new clients.  So, Georgia Bob's has no
A Peak At My
 Melt-In-Your-Mouth Meat

 problem offering a bite to questioning customers.  After smelling the pit-smoked barbecue, there was no doubt as to what I'd be having.  Yep, I broke my vegetarianism once again, but for their melt in your mouth meat, it was definitely worth it.  Paired with crispy fries and 1/2 a Chocolate Delight, my lunch couldn't have been better.  I also left with a doggy bag filled with a pound of chicken salad and a jar of roasted garlic pasta sauce.

Georgia Bob's combines great food with a friendly Southern atmosphere that makes you feel just like you're at home.  I'd definitely suggest a stopover at one of their three locations (Macon, Byron and Warner Robins) if you're looking for a sizable spread that wont break the bank.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review: One Day at a Time

One Day at a Time by Danielle Steele

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've been sucked into the literary wows of Danielle Steel.  Her romantic novels have been stuff of legend; I've seen numerous made-for-tv-movies adapted from her books on Lifetime, but I never though I'd actually read one of her formulaic, over-the-top novels.  However, I've been sucked into her fantasy world, and I must admit I love the fluff.

Steel's 77th novel is a tale of three very different couples who learn to take life one day at a time.  Coco Barrington was born into a legendary Hollywood family.  Her mother Florence Flowers is a mega-bestselling author (I'm thinking Stell modeled this character after herself) who's just begun a secret romance with a man 24 years her junior. And, her sister Jane is one of Hollywood's top producers; she's lived with her partner, Liz, for almost 10 years, and the couple is expecting their first child.  After dropping out of law school and leaving LA  for the beach town of Bolinas, Coco was labeled the black sheep of the family.  Despite her booming dog walking business, both her sister and mother think Coco's just a flakey hippy who never sees a project through.  They don't think her career choice or the men she's dated have been worthy of the Barrington name.  Both are waiting for Coco to grow up and go back to law school, but in the meantime, neither have any problem taking advantage of Coco's yes man mentality.

On her way to work one morning, Coco receives a frantic call from Jane, demanding that she housesits and looks after her dog while she and Liz are on location in New York for the next four months.  Coco begrudgingly agrees.  But, after living in her big sister's luxurious house for just a few days, Coco discovers just how quickly her world can be turned upside down.  It seems Jane's house came complete with an unexpected houseguest:  Leslie Baxter, a dashing but down-to-earth British actor who's fleeing a psycho ex-girlfriend, meets Coco under sticky circumstances.  After gorging her toasted waffles in syrup, the two dogs trip her and the sweet liquid covers every inch of the kitchen, including Coco and Leslie.  Although their worlds couldn't be more different (he's a famous actor and she's a dog walker), their attraction is instantaneous.  Suddenly Coco sees things in a whole new light....Leslie isn't just a celebrity; he's a single dad to an adorable six-year-old girl.  Her mother isn't just a self-centered walking advertisement for great cosmetic surgery; she's a woman in love. And Jane isn't just an uptight workaholic; she's about to take the bravest plunge of all, parenthood.  As Coco contemplates a future with one of Hollywood's hottest starts, old wounds are healed, and new families are formed.  Though not all traditional, each are bonded by love.

On a slightly random note, each time I think of the hot British actor, Leslie Baxter, Jude Law comes to mind.  Although Law's only 38, I'm sure this Daddy to three has read bedtimes stories and sat through tea parties like his fictional counterpart.

Now That's One British Babe
I'd certainly recommend One Day at a Time to any gal who's never read a Danielle Steel novel; I've heard it's a nice way to ease into the melodramatic magic she creates.  I think she's discovered the foolproof ingredients to literary sucess-love, sex, and puppy dog tails.  And have no fear, her version of the Cinderella Story ends with a Happily Ever After too.

My Rating:  ****

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm Switching to Gallatin and Majoring in Retiring

Oh the joys of being retired...after spending a few days with my grandmother, Ma, I've officially decided I can't wait to be 65.  You get to spend your days indulging in fabulous activities like mahjong, golf, and watercolors.  Plus, you can drive as slow as you want on the interstate and eat dinner at 4:30pm, and no one says a word to you because you're expected to do such things.  After just a few hours in Ocala, Murder She Wrote became my "new" favorite show.  Watching countless hours of the Angela Lansbury hit, along with Hart to Hart and Charlie's Angels, is how we'd spend the scorching afternoons.  Oh '70s/'80s mystery series; can't get much better than that.
The Fabulous Mystery Writer and Crime Stopper, Jessica Flethcer
The Self-made Millionaires, Mr. and Mrs. Hart
Showcased Women in Roles Traditionally Reserved for Men 
We also spent the five days searching for plate racks for my new collection and eating at delicious restaurants.  Soup and salad was the selected theme for most of our dinners.  We ate at both Crispers and Sweet Tomatoes-two dives specializing in meat free entrees.  Along with Pasta Faire and a few home cooked meals, there's no denying we ate well.

However, there was one sight that took away my appetite.  We spent yesterday morning lounging at the pool.  After lathering up with my SPF 100 sunscreen, I found a perfect shaded spot and was enjoying my latest read when Ma told me to look up from my book.  Gripping the pool handrails was an old man (at least 80) wearing a leopard print speedo.  YUCK!  The saddest part was he really thought he looked good.  With his bald head and wrinkle infested leathery skin, he was really wowing the ladies; I'm just not so sure it was for the right reasons.  After I'd had a few moments to quit my gagging, one noodle-loving lady sauntered out of the Grim Reaper Pool bikini clad.  I'm sorry but after you reach a certain age, like 30, it's time to retire your two pieces for a more modest approach.

Besides the shocking swimsuits, I really do feel like living in an active seniors community will be awesome.  I'll join a book club, have long lunches with gal pals, dress my teacup poodle in ridiculous outfits, watch murder mysteries from the 2030s (that'll be the Murder She Wrote era for me), and eat copious amounts of strawberry ice cream.  If only there was a way to go from college to retirement.  Oh well I guess I'll just have to start my countdown to 2056 now.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: The Heir

The Heir by Johanna Lindsey

As I'm sure you can tell by now, I'm such a sucker for any book set in London.  Of course, my latest listen is no different.  The first book in the Reid Family series, this historical romance begins when Duncan MacTarvish, a dashing highlander, discovers he's the sole heir of an English marquis.  He's required to leave the land he loves, move to England, and assume the title and estate from his grandfather, who he's never met.  As any true Scotsman would, Duncan wears a kilt to meet his betrothed bride, Ophelia.  In response to his appearance, this beautiful viper-tongue calls her groom-to-be a "Scottish barbarian."  Clearly offended, Duncan calls off the engagment and is forced to search for a new spouse.  He's entranced by his beautiful neighbor, Sabrina, but duty, class stance, and a secret that dwells in the woman's past forbids the desired union---unless true love can somehow find its way.

This super short love affair is just perfect if you're searching for a full blown happy ending in less than 3 hours.  It's not you're typical lusty, shirtless man on the cover kind of paperback though.  Sure, it's no piece of highbrow literature, but sometimes you just want a simple plot that doesn't force you to think.  I'd definitely suggest it to anyone who's in need of a little added passion.

My Rating:***

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Weekend in the Woods

In celebration of Mrs. Amy's 50th Birthday, our family of five plus their family of four made the 3 1/2 hour trek to a little cabin in the woods.  Becky and I headed up with the Tribbles after our pizza dinner Thursday night.  The ride was pretty normal (just long), but the real "excitement" came after we'd arrived. For starters, it was a little after midnight when we pulled into the Hideaway, so the empty county roads had long been gone of light.  After we'd unlocked the gate, we realized their was a long gravel/moss driveway leading up to the cabin.  It had rained earlier that evening; paired with our weighed down minivan pulling a utility trailer holding four kayaks, it should come as no surprise that we couldn't get up the steep hill.  All the passengers hopped out of the van hoping to lighten the load, but our efforts were to no avail.  After revving the engine countless times, Mrs. Amy eventually decided our only hope was to leave the trailer in an alcove until the kayaks would be needed.  This one moment completely characterizes the two Tribble boys:
The Bungee Cord Necklace
Jared, 13, was picking up coolers from the trailer's rear, veins were popping from his neck as he lifted our 40 pounds of food for the week.  Joseph, 17, said, "Hey Mom look at my bungee cords."  He'd gathered five or six and made the elasticy bands into a necklace.  About an hour later we finally had relieved the van of enough weight, and it made it over the hill.  The cabin was absolutely  too cute for words.  There was cozy furniture, rustic wall art, a huge dinning table, and enough beds to accommodate all 9 of us with a few to spare.  Becky and I even had our nook in the loft, just right for two girls.

Tubbing Down the Chattahoochee River
The next morning Mrs. Amy (or as we like to call her Mamy-that's the Mom/Amy combination) asked us if our beds we comfortable, but honestly no one could properly respond.  We'd all been so tired that I'm sure none of us would have noticed if we'd slept on rocks.  For breakfast, she made us delicious egg and cheese mcmuffins, and we were off for a day of adventure.  After lathering on the sunscreen, we went tubing down the Chattahoochee River.  For  almost three hours, I sat in my hot pink floaty.  Despite the river's low water level, I'd definitely suggest the outing to anyone searching for a way to cool off on a hot summer afternoon.  One lady even brought her pooch tubing.  Rose the River Dog was an adorable chihuahua who was beating the heat in style; she even had her own yellow life preserver incase the rapids got a little too wild for her.
Puppy Preserver
We ate a quick lunch at a shaded picnic area, then spent the rest of the day at the Helen Water Park.  While us kids lounged in the lazy river and went up and down the four waterslides, Mamy and Mr. Steve sat in rocking chairs and waved at us each time we walked by.  When we returned to the cabin late Friday night, I decided to embrace my outdoorsy side and walk the trails around the property.  I was sure to bring a can of pepper spray incase I ran into an enemies, but really I was more worried about slithery snacks.  The rest of our group arrived around nightfall.  After a long shower and quick dinner of wilted-romaine-lettuce, I was ready to snuggle up into my nice warm twin bed and call it a night.  Unfortunately, my brother discovered a new game...the I love you but you're not the smartest            in the          .  Here's a few examples of some of our best burns:

  • you're not the smartest scale on the fish
  • you're not the smartest sip in the coke can
  • you're not the smartest boob in the bra
  • you're not the smartest point on the antler
  • you're not the smartest cube in the ice tray
  • you're not the smartest leaf on the tree 
Saturday was deemed our official Mrs. Amy Birthday Celebration, so I set my alarm for 7:30 and decorated the cabin with hot pink steamers.  After our early morning meal, consisting of tomato quiche and scrumptious fruit, we set our sites on Helen, GA.  The tiny town wasn't nearly as nice as I'd remembered.  It seemed as though the only stores that survived the tough times were junky t-shirt shops, German inspired restaurants, and crappy dive bars.  But Helen's lackluster look did allow us to make Mrs. Amy's favorite dessert, banana pudding.  We used Paula Deen's "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding Recipe."  With the total time only 30 minutes, this birthday sweet was super simple and super tasty.  

  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
  • 7 bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (5-ounce) box instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) container of frozen whipped cream
Directions(complete with video link)-
Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer sliced bananas on top.  In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix; blend using a handheld electric mixer then set it aside to let your pudding thicken.  Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth.  Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.  Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding and stir until they're well blended.  Pour the combined mixture over the cookies and bananas; then cover your dessert with the remaining cookies.  Refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

On Sunday, the four girls decided we needed some testosterone-free time, so we hit the lake and spent an hour kayaking.  We cruised around the lake, admiring the mountains and enjoying the fresh air.  Despite the temperature reaching 95ยบ, I certainly had a blast.  Who would have thought I'd have fun so much fun bracing the elements.  It certainly was a fun conclusion to a fabulous weekend.