Monday, December 8, 2008


If you're from Louisiana or other parts of the southern United States, you most likely know what the word lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap) means. Essentially, we use it to mean a little something extra, or an unexpected gift. It's the best way to describe my time at home last week. After Thanksgiving I spent the whole week in SW Louisiana at my mom's house. The week was full of "little extras."

The first order of business was to get Mom's Christmas tree up. My sister and I bought a little tree on sale last year, knowing that Mom would want something that wouldn't take up much space. Sis and I got the tree up and decorated in no time. It was so much fun looking through all of the homemade ornaments she has kept from when we were little. Mom was feeling uncharacteristically festive after that, so she had Chuck decorate the front porch with lights! We're pretty sure it's the first time she's ever had outside lights. It looked so cute.

I spent a couple of days helping Mom get some things organized. She won't be happy that I'm telling you this, but she has a "junk room." We got it all nice and organized for her a few years ago but there's a part of the room where things tend to pile up. Let's face it, who doesn't have a place (or two) in their house like that? Anyway, I helped her straighten it up and then I worked on some other projects she had, like putting loose photos in albums and getting her Christmas cards addressed. We were feeling so productive!

You may remember that I had planned to go to the movies and get some reading done while I was away. I started reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer, but I limited my reading so it wouldn't interfere with family time. I'm only about 150 pages into the book.

We actually took in two movies last week. I finally saw Twilight! My family was so excited to see it, but we felt like it didn't live up to the books. I didn't feel like it was a total flop but I found some of the dialogue to be cheesy. I've heard that watching it a second time (after the hype has worn off) is much better. Later in the week I went with my mom, sister, and brother to see Australia, which I thought was great. It's a long movie but you really don't notice so much. The plot, history, scenery, and acting were all good. (Hugh Jackman=great!)

If I had to sum up the whole week in a word besides family I'd have to pick food! Oh boy, you just can't beat good ol' Louisiana food. I love Cajun cooking and I love rice and gravy! I think I had rice at least 5 days while I was there. We ate a lot of rice when I was growing up and it's still a favorite of mine. Mom cooked chicken and okra gumbo, which is one of my most favorite things to eat in the world!

Now, usually when I go home for a visit it's on the weekend. I've been hearing my mom and sister talk about the plate lunches at a little diner in Mom's neighboring town for months and months and I couldn't wait to try it for myself. I took advantage of being there during the week and Mom and I picked up lunch from there 3 days in a row! It was unbelievable. My favorite was the round steak, rice and gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans.

Ok, one more thing about food. (Is anybody else hungry?) Please promise me that if you ever find yourself passing through Louisiana along Interstate 10, that you'll stop and eat at Steamboat Bill's in Lake Charles. I absolutely love to eat there. The best thing on the menu in my opinion is the crawfish etouffee. I rarely order that in any restaurant because it's just never as good as my dad's, but Steamboat Bill's has the right stuff. I love to get a crawfish pistolette as an appetizer (a pistolette is a fried roll - they stuff it with etouffee and it is divine). During this trip I was in the mood for fried shrimp, but I had no regrets because I ordered a cup of crawfish etouffee on the side! My mom and sis seem to think that the shrimp etouffee is even better. I snapped a pic of sis's bowl to show you how scrumptious it looks. Man, is my stomach growling now.

At the end of the week we made a trip over to Mom's hometown to visit my grandmother. My grandma is a pretty unpleasant lady, but her sister is one of the sweetest people on the planet (you can see a pic of her on an older post here). We had a good visit with them, and I kept them talking about what it was like when they were little. I absolutely love hearing old family stories.

Another special thing about the week was celebrating my nephew's 6th birthday. He wanted a Scooby Doo party this year. Isn't it funny that kids still like Scooby Doo? We always have a party for him at Thanksgiving (and this year was no different) but I never get to see him for his actual birthday of December 3rd. We met up with them for dinner at a restaurant after school and it was great to be able to share his big day with him. It's hard to believe that it's been six years ago that I watched him come into the world.

It was great to be away but it's great to come back to my husband and my home (AND my computer! I missed all of you!). I'm sure my brother is glad to have his bed back too, after bunking on the sofa bed all week.

This has been long and rambling, but I just love Louisiana and I love all the lagniappe that goes along with going "home."


Andi said...

Okay, first of all, please email me the name of this diner.

Secondly, when I was in La. for Thanksgiving, I specifically requested that Mom make her chicken gumbo for me. Oh, and Robear and I used to joke when we were growing up, that any time we asked what was for dinner, the answer 9 times out of 10 was, "Meat, and rice and gravy".

Lastly, I love the crawfish pistolettes at Steamboat Bill's, but I really love their boudin balls.

Glad you're back!

I Believe in Miracles said...

It sounds like you had a terrific time at home!! Yeah. Super productive, filled with lots of family and fun.

Yes - even after just eating super - those picture made me hungry!!

Glad your back!!


Connie said...

Oh, Stace! I loved this post! It was so great to have you home. We do miss you terribly! Surely we can find Chuck a job over here? :(

Andi - I've not tried the boudin balls at Steamboat's. Stace and I joked that we were going to just order one of everything on the menu. We totally should've!

Sunny said...

Stacey - out of curiosity - are you from near Eunice or Elton? Surprised I know those places, huh? ;) Maybe one more thing we have in common...well, partly.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic time.
Ok, so for the South African,please explain what is Gambo?
We missed you!

Alicia said...

Hey glad you are back and happy to here that you had a great time with your family!!!! Louisiana food sounds yummy. I'v always wanted to go there and check it out.

God bless :)

andrea_jennine said...

Welcome back!

Andi said...

Connie - Actually, I realized I was getting my restaurants mixed up. It's Cajun Charlie's that has the killer boudin balls.

Teresa said...

I'm actually tearing up a little. I love it there! You're makin me jealous! ;) It sounds like you had the BEST time! Even though I'm not from there, I totally knew what lagniappe meant but I didn't know how it was pronounced. I feel a sense of pride knowing that! hehe.

I totally saw Twilight and loved it. I haven't read the books yet though.

It's snowing here AGAIN like crazy. How warm was it in Louisiana? It's ok, I've prepared myself for more salt in the wound. :) P.S. Your grandma's sister totally looks Southern to me for some reason. Like very beautiful but very inviting as well. Great pic.

Andrea said...

Now I want to eat again and I just ate an hour ago! lol

We eat rice with almost every meal. It's amazing how many people out there never eat it! My in-laws have just discovered the joys of rice and keep asking me how to make it and what kind of rice cooker I have. lol

I felt the same way about Twilight. It was good, just not as good as I thought it should be. I want to see it again when it comes on on DVD to see if I like it more the second time around. I really want to see Australia, the previews look really good!

I'm glad you're back and glad you had a good time!

Amy said...

Oh, we missed your posts so much! I'm glad that you had such a good time with your family. I LOVE cajun food, so I am pretty much salivating from everything you just mentioned. I had some crawfish etoufee in New Orleans once that I still dream about. :)

TRS said...

Wow... what a greata and productive Thanksgiving.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Sweet to hear from you.

Question for you - My niece (14 years old, HS Freshman) asked for the Twilight series for Christmas. I found all four on Amazon and they just arrived today! I don't have time to read them - is there anything inappropriate in the books for a girl her age?
From what I've heard, it's a rather wholesome series. Can you verify for me since you read them?

TRS said...

Hi Stacey - thanks for the comment about Twilight. That helps. I'm sure they'll be fine. Senusality - eh - there's some of that in every book (including Judy Blume!) Heck, I read the Flowers in the Attic series when I was her age and I turned out okay!! Against all odds!

Also, I can see you are not pursuing adoption and I'm not trying to push you in that direction. I only meant to use the example to encourage you on your wait.
I'm sure it's no consolation at all.

In fact, I know how you feel because when I bemoan my childless, perimenapausal, unmarried status people always tell me I can adopt. Um. I know.
Funny thing is - despite the fact that I would encourage any parent to adopt - and even told a guy friend of mine who doesn't want to marry someone his age (my age) becasue he still wants to have his own kids... "What makes your gene pool so special?"
Ha. anyway despite that - even I want to try having my own kids because 1) I really want the experience of pregancy 2) I have no blood family in my life, and I'd like to know one person who is.

Selfish maybe - but I'm saying I understand.

Sorry to hijack again.

katdish said...

I am STARVING now! Howya doin? Sounds like you had a great visit with your mom. Incidentally, I thought "lagniappe" meant crab meat and crawfish tails in a sinfully delicious cream sauce to be poured over blackened fish. So I guess you learn something new every day! Seriously, I am way hungry...

wv: shilist - A Snoop Dog word

"You got the Christmas shilist fo shizzle?" (sorry, I'm a big dork)