Monday, January 28, 2013

A Bowl of Goodness

This Louisiana girl loves her seafood! Every Christmas my dad's sister Aunt Nin gives us shrimp as a Christmas gift.  She and her husband both work at a shrimp factory in South Louisiana.  Matt and I always look forward to her gift because it is a very useful and unique Christmas gift.  In honor of her gift, I thought I would share a very easy shrimp dish with you today.  Remember I am not a professional photographer and most definitely not a food photographer. 

Shrimp and Crawfish Bisque

2 lbs peeled shrimp or crawfish tails (most of the time I use shrimp only)
2 cans potato soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. block cream cheese
1 stick butter 
1 pt. half & half
2 cans creamed corn (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies
garlic salt, salt, pepper, and Tony's to taste 

Put all in large crockpot and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Last week I made a batch of this and froze it because we will need some super quick meals while we are moving into the new house. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The White House Before

Right now I am sitting in our new home watching four non-English speaking gentlemen run around with a blowtorch, some form of concrete, and a bag of I am not scared at all they seem to know what they are doing.  I just wish my Spanish was a tad bit better for situations like these. 

We have come a long way since purchasing our new house on August 30th.  The house had been foreclosed on and uninhabited for over a year when we bought it.  The neighbors have told us a few stories as to why the family before us lost the home and about the other family that built the home and lived here before them.  We have met our neighbors that live to the right of us and across the street.  Our neighbors beside us are a mom, daughter, and the mom's sister-in-law and all 3 are widows.  Our mail lady affectionately calls them the silver foxes, so far they have been very sweet.  The daughter comes over from time to time to see what kind of progress we are making.  We do know that our neighbor across the street is a fireman and he too was very nice when we met him.  I think we are going to really enjoy our new neighborhood.  There seems to be a good mix of young families and empty nesters.  We are currently finishing up our last few major things and should be moving in by the end of the month.  Thanks so much to all of our family members that have helped us with the remodel. Both mine and Matt's dads have both been huge helps and have spent hours at the house helping us with numerous projects. 

Here are some pictures of the house before and during our remodel:
View from the street before any changes were made.
We aren't changing much on the outside of the house right now.  We did get a new roof and we are getting a new garage door sometime in the next week.  We plan to change the color of the front door and get new shutters at some point when my handyman (dad) completes them. 

I think the hardest part of our whole remodel has been choosing paint colors.  Matt and I were originally going to paint all but the living room ourselves. We hired a painter for the living room and decided that he did a much better job than we did and he was very reasonable.  We ended up hiring him to do the whole house.  If you are in the market for a painter in NW LA we would highly recommend ours.  While we were scrubbing the walls before the painter came and trying to get the home somewhat sanitary we did figure out that the former family had a champion booger picker/flicker on their hands (I know gross, but I'm not kidding at all) and they liked to eat what I hope was spaghetti and sling it on the walls too.  The neighbors told us that the family also had a large black dog, but we could tell that just by looking at the carpet. 

Living Room Before
Dining Room Before
This is what the living room currently looks like.
Since the top 2 pictures of the living and dining rooms, we have painted and they are currently working on our new flooring in both of the rooms. 

Master bath tile before
Master bath tile after
I didn't get a before picture with it still installed, but this not so pretty green tile was in the master bathroom.  Matt, my dad, and cousin Kagan spent a weekend ripping it up and replacing it with something that looks much better. 
Kitchen before with our new dishwasher
The other side of the kitchen before
During remodel
Matt and I both love to cook, so we did the most work in the kitchen.  When we bought the house there was no fridge, the stovetop was cracked, and the dishwasher was broken.  We have replaced all of the appliances, gotten new countertops, a backsplash, new hardware, and painted the walls and cabinets.  Our house in Minden doesn't have a pantry, so we are excited about the pantry and all of the storage in our new kitchen.  I have quite a few new recipes lined up for that pretty new oven of ours. 

We painted, put new carpet, and a new fan in our master bedroom and Matt's mancave, but I don't have any good pictures of those rooms.  You will have to wait for all of the after pictures.  The fans in all of the rooms were pretty u-g-l-y!

Guest bedroom before

Guest bedroom during
The guest bedroom's carpet was so bad that it had to be pulled up before the home could be sold. 

Bonus room before (the fans are new)
Bonus room during
This is our bonus room which will serve as our TV area and my office/craft room.  We haven't quite figured out how it is going to serve all of these purposes, but it is big enough and we will find a way. 

Upstairs bathroom before
The only thing we have done in the upstairs bathroom is paint.  There are a few other projects we would like to tackle up there, but we are going to wait on those.

We can't wait to get everything done and move in this month.  Once we get settled I'll be sure to post all of our after pictures. 
Buddy is very excited about his new house and yard!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year! 2012 in Review

Wow...2012 flew by! Happy New Year to my little sister Haley one faithful reader and anyone else that stops by from time to time!  2012 was not our most exciting year, but of course like every year it had its highs and lows.  Here is the White's year in review:

  • In January I took a job that had me travel away from home every week.  I was stuck in this little town in Southeast Louisiana called Amite.  Amite is right between Kentwood (Britney Spears' hometown) and Hammond and is about an hour away from New Orleans.  It has a few eateries, a Wal-Mart, and 2 hotels and that is about it.  I worked with some fun and interesting people that became like family and made my home away from home more bearable, but I also worked with some people that made it not bearable.  If you ever have to stay in the area, I highly recommend the Holiday Inn Express there.  I practically lived there for 9 months and the ladies that work there are some of the nicest people you will meet. 

  • I attended Mardi Gras in Houma with some of my family.

  • Matt and I enjoyed a trip to Savannah and Charleston (and lots of places between the two) with his parents.  We visited Parris Island, Paula Deen's The Lady & Sons, Tybee Island, Uncle Bubba's, The Charleston Tea Plantation, The Firefly Distillery, Angel Oak, Myrtle Beach, and we even went to a minor league baseball game.  We did relax a little while on our trip too. 
The Lady & Sons

The park where the Forest Gump bench scene was filmed
Tybee Island Lighthouse with a storm rolling in


Angel Oak is the oldest tree on the East Coast. 
You have to see this in person to realize the magnitude of this tree.
  • I still help advise Alpha Chi Omega at Louisiana Tech, so I got to go to St. Louis for their National Convention.  I got to enjoy the company of two of my pledge sisters (as well as two of our collegiate members) on this trip, and we had a blast.  We went a little early so that we could explore the city.  We traveled to the top of the Arch, attended an outdoor musical production of Aladdin, toured the Budweiser facilities, and attended all of our convention seminars.  We even got to hear our fellow Alpha Chi sister and Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian speak. 
Touring the Budweiser Brewery with some of my sorority sisters
Budweiser Clydesdale
The Gateway Arch
Melissa d'Arabian
Alpha Chi active and alumnae members from Louisiana Tech
  • On August 30th (the same day hurricane Isaac came through LA) Matt and I purchased a new home.  Since then we have been busy working on remodeling the house.  We will be moving to Bossier City in the next few weeks.  I will post about all our work on the house soon.  This will help with Matt's very early commute to work. 
The new White House

  • I got to throw a bachelorette party for one of my best friends in New Orleans.  We had fun and were a very chill group.  We had a nice dinner at Commander's Palace (bread pudding souffle is to die for) and then did a little dancing on Bourbon street.  My family will never believe this, but I ate turtle soup and LOVED it!  My little brother scored an extra ticket to the Saints game that weekend, so I got to attend with him and his girlfriend.  It just so happened that little sis was at that game too and was sitting a section and a few rows over and up from us.  Too bad the Saints didn't do so great that game, but that was a great way to kick off my last week of work in Amite.  Matt and I decided that I would no longer travel for work starting in October, so I came home to help get our house remodel finished and start pursuing other opportunities. 
The bachelorette   The hat was her mom's when she got married in the 80s.
Just hanging out with Drew Brees
  • We got to enjoy a great season of Louisiana Tech football.  We enjoyed getting to see all of our friends and family at the games, and it's even better when your team is winning.  We won't talk about the end of the season...

  • Matt and I celebrated 3 years of marriage in 2012.

  • Buddy and Bailey (yes our dogs) hosted their 3rd annual Elf Workshop this year. Since we were in between houses, and I was not really sure where we would be when it came time for it I loaded up some of my nephews, niece, and 2 sisters and we headed to Santa Land in Tyler, TX instead of doing crafts and watching movies this year.  We enjoyed all of the lights and each other's company. 
Santa Land
  • During the week of Thanksgiving, I got to visit with some of my family that I have not seen in years.  My cousin Angie, her husband, and 3 kids came in for a few days.  Her brother Matt also came in, but we have seen him a few times in recent years.  It was great to catch up and meet her kiddos. 

  • I had the privilege of returning the favor and standing beside one of my best friends as she married her prince charming.   I was honored to be her matron of honor.  She had a beautiful wedding in New Orleans a week and a half before Christmas.  We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel and it was decorated beautifully for Christmas.  Matt and I snuck in lunch at one of our favorite restaurants Emeril's NOLA before we headed home to prepare for Christmas. 
The bride and I relaxing the night before her wedding.
Sorority sisters and I having fun the night before the wedding. 
Right before second lining down the streets of New Orleans.

The Roosevelt decorated for Christmas
Matt and I at the Roosevelt
  • We got to spend Christmas with both of our families.  We attended my uncle's Carter Dysfunctional Family Dinner as we try to do every year.  We celebrated Christmas with my family on the eve of Christmas Eve because my brother and his girlfriend were in from South LA then, and as usual we spent Christmas Eve with Matt's family.  We did not have big plans for Christmas day.  Matt had to work that morning, and I spent a good bit of the day visiting with Maw Maw.  The weekend after Christmas my dad's sisters came in from South LA, so we celebrated once more. 

  • Other than all these things this year, Matt is still going strong with his MBA program and is still working in the hospital lab.  Buddy and Bailey are still the best of buds and are still as spoiled as ever. 
We can't wait to see what 2013 will hold for our family.  Happy New Year to you and yours!