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I grew up in New England.  Connecticut, specifically.  You know, the land of lots of snow.  But I never heard of snow cream until I moved to NC for college.  I was intrigued.  Many of my NC native friends said they looked forward to snow storms so they could make this mysterious concoction.  It was always such a treat because NC doesn’t really get all that much snow (unless you’re in the mountains, obviously).  And when they do get snow, it’s rare that they get enough to cover the grass.

The gist I got from CR, was that you put some fresh, clean snow in a bowl and mixed it with some stuff and it turned out to be an ice cream-like treat.

I never actually tried it though.  Until today.

We got a pretty big storm (for here, at least) today.  Almost 8″ at our house and the freezing rain is now moving in that will inevitably turn all the roads to a sheet of ice.  I sat on the couch and attempted to work from home, easily distracted by watching the puppies play outside, making chicken soup, following the hype on the news, etc.

I went out to play with the puppies for a little bit and the snow was so pretty and fluffy.  And then it dawned on me – I should try making snow cream!

I googled the winter weather treat and found a few different recipes, but they were all pretty similar.  I grabbed a bowl, a cup of sugar, a cup of milk, my spoonula from Crate & Barrel, and some vanilla extract.

To the yard Iwent, where there was some untouched, clean snow (stay away from the yellow stuff!) and I put about 10 handfuls into my bowl (the recipe said 8 cups, but other recipes said to just put snow in a bowl, so I guestimated).  I poured in the sugar, then the vanilla (the recipe said 2 tablespoons, but I didn’t have that much – I don’t know how much I put in though – maybe 1 tablespoon?) and stirred it a couple times.  Then I added in the milk and continued to stir until it was all combined.

You have to do it quickly because the snow melts quickly.  And a few places said to just bring the bowl and ingredients outside with you, which I did.

I thought that it would be liquidy, but it really wasn’t.  The more you mixed though, it did get thinner.  I popped it in the freezer to refreeze, but before I did so, I tried a spoonful.  And OH. MY. GOD.  It was SOOOO good!  Sweet and creamy.  I can’t really describe it other than amazing!

I can’t believe that I went almost 28 years without this!  After it was in the freezer for awhile, I tried it again.  It just gets better and better.  One article said you could add ingredients (choco chips, cookie dough, oreos, etc.) to mix in, or even hot chocolate mix to make chocolate snow cream.  I did the latter and that was freakin amazing, too!

I wish I had more vanilla so I could make more because who knows how long it will be before we get another snowfall like this.

My amazing winter treat:

3 years ago today, my and my mom’s cars were packed solid with all of my stuff and we hit the road.  After many, many months of anticipation, I was finally moving back to Charlotte. 

I’m so glad that I came back.  I still miss some things about living in CT like being able to go to the beach at a moment’s notice, or the proximity to NYC – but I wouldn’t change this for the world.

I also moved back without having a job in place and very little in savings.  And I got a job within a week and a half.  Maybe it will be similar with this new job search. 🙂

Anyway, here’s to me and the Charlotte area (since I don’t actually live in Charlotte anymore)!

*Recap from our great trip to CT coming soon!

I’ve mentioned before that L and I live in a sort of small town.  Actually, land-wize, it is pretty big.  But a lot of it is very spread out and filled with horse farms, etc.  We live in the area that is near the downtown, the closest to Charlotte and where most of the development is taking place.

If ten years ago you told someone that you lived in our town, they would have thought you lived way out in the boonies.  Which, really, would have been true.  But since we are not in the same county as Charlotte, but still within commuting distance, lots of people are making their way out our way for lower taxes, etc.

That’s exactly why L chose the area when he purchased the house three years ago. 

When he and I first met, I had heard of the town because one of my freshman year roommates hailed from there, but I didn’t know anything about it.

He showed me the historic downtown – two or three blocks lined with old brick buildings, split down the middle by train tracks.  And the bridge.  Oh that bridge over the tracks that I have a love for.  I really don’t know what it is about it, but I love it.  (See the masthead of my blog – taken from atop that bridge at dusk)

L and I had been dating for about 10 months when I moved in.  I had lived there for approximately 2 months before I found out we didn’t live in a town.  Yes, that’s right.  We did not live in a town (or a city).  Where did we live then?  In the county.  I still don’t really understand all of this.  I guess because in CT we don’t have county governments, so this is something I’m still getting used to. 

We had an address with our town name, but were not actually residents of the town.  Instead, we were residents of some township that I had never heard of before.

I deemed myself the girl without a town.  You know, sort of like the story (or poem or something…) “The Man Without A Country.”

About six months later, I learned another fascinating (horrifying?) fact about our little town that we lived in, but not really lived in…

It was a one stoplight town.

Yes, you heard me correctly.  One. Stoplight.

CR grew up in a one stoplight town and I always thought it was crazy because I didn’t know they really existed.  And now this.  Now I live in a one stop light town?  What?!

You might wonder how I didn’t know this having been staying down there frequently pretty much since L and I started dating – which was at least a year and a half at the point of this realization.

When you drive to our house from the Charlotte area, there are only two main ways.  You get off the highway, and you drive straight, on one road for about 10  miles.  In those ten miles, you go through lots of stoplights.  You are also going through a few other towns.  It just never really dawned on me that none of those lights were within town limits.  I also never really gave it much thought.

We pretty much stick to the area where we live and only occasionally drive out in the more country areas of the town, so I just never put two and two together that the light downtown by the train tracks was the only one.

What brought this all to light was when they were building a Lowe’s home improvement store and put in two stoplights near it and L said to me, now we live in a three stoplight town.

If only you could see the look of confusion and surprise on my face.

Moving on…

There had been talks for some time that we would be annexed into the town.  And finally, it has happened.  It went into affect on Tuesday.  We are officially town residents. 

And on Tuesday morning, this showed up in our driveway.

Jun30_0001[1]

Oh yes.  That’s right.  A garbage can.  This means that we now have trash and recycling pickup.  Halleluja!  Now L doesn’t have to take it and get rid of it in the dumpster at work.  Sometimes he would mean to take it when it was full and it would slip his mind and it was always those days that he went on a four day break afterward.  It’s just nice to finally have a schedule.  And just have to roll it to the curb.

I never thought I would be excited about something like this.  But alas, I am.

L, however, is not excited about this at all.  The taxes are going up significantly because of this annexation and really all we’re getting out of it is garbage collection. 

Ok.  I can understand that.  But.  Let me bask in my excitement.  And the reason I can do so without worry?  I don’t pay the taxes.  Although it is our “home,” it is technically his “house” and until there is something sparkly on my hand with a sparkly little neighbor next to it and my name gets put on the house, I don’t pay the taxes.  So.  I can enjoy this. 🙂  And enjoy the fact that now I’m a girl with a town.

Now, let me just clarify… I mentioned my surprise and disbelief when I found out we didn’t actually live in town and it only had one stop light.  I don’t want it to seem like I don’t like the area where we live, because I do.  I really do.  Ok, I wouldn’t mind chaning neighborhoods so that the ghetto wasn’t right behind us, but the town itself?  I really like it.  A lot.  I never would have thought in a million years that this is where I would like to live, but I just think it’s adorable.  And actually, I’m one of the ones that doesn’t like all the development that’s going on.  Yes, it’s nice we have a Harris Teeter less than a mile from our house, but it could have stopped there.  I’m not a fan of the idea of a McDonald’s opening or anything else.  They tearing down a large section of town to put in a mixed-use development right beside the historic downtown.  I don’t like that idea.  I like it the way it is.  And if I have to drive into Charlotte for something, so be it.  Anyway. I can’t stop all of that, but do love the area.

As you know, I’m on the Support Team now at the volunteer FD that L is with.  Every year, our town has a 4th of July parade and they put a couple of fire trucks in it.  Two years ago, there was a float (I use that term loosely as all the “floats” in this parade are trailers, like the ones landscapers carry their mowers on, and many of them are pulled by tractors.  John Deer, natch.).  At one of our meetings, I suggested having a float again.

They had a sign or banner for the float that someone made the night before the parade that year.  They weren’t even sure where it was or the condition it was in.  I kindly volunteered to make a new one (and get all of the decorations for the float).

We will be having three banners.  Two on either side of the float that will be the same and one on the back.  I wish I could take credit for the idea of the one on the back, but alas I can’t.  The last banner said “[Name of our town] Volunteer Fire Department and Future Firefighters.”

I decided to break it up and am putting one on the back that just says “Future Firefighters.”  It’s cute with the kids sitting on the trailer.

It took me awhile to make it because I am somewhat crazy and critical of my own work.  I started with a sketch on regular paper, then moved on to the foam core board.  It took me two days, but it’s done.  And I think it’s quite pretty if I do say so myself.

poster
Please excuse my poor attempt at blacking out our town name

I’m planning on adding blue glitter to the water.  I just decided that today.  I have sketches of the design for the longer banners for the sides of the trailer and will hopefully start them tonight.

Apparently all my years of dancing, cheerleading, and sorority life paid off.  I mean, I’ve got glitter running through my veins.  Although, I must admit I had to go out and buy new paint when I realized everything I had was only pink or green!

Additionally, I got a bunch of decorations (flags, streamers, bunting) at Party City this week and it was all on sale.  It should have cost $28 and I got if for $15!!  Whoo!

I’ll try to get a picture of the float at the parade next weekend to show.  Let’s hope my other banners are successful as well.

Off to Atlanta for the Braves/Red Sox games starting tomorrow – hope everyone has a great weekend!

Dear Mother Nature, Please make up your mind.

I’m having trouble dealing with this weather we’ve been having lately.  In November, we were setting record lows.  The icy air cut through your pants as the wind threw you across the parking lot.  It reminded me of the walk I had from Grand Central to my office building in NYC.  Except now, my walk is only 10 feet, not 10 blocks.  Why was it so awful still?

In December, it wasn’t so bad.  The usual somewhat mild weather the Carolinas expect.  Cold at night and slightly chilly during the day. 

And January, January started off alright.  It’s always the worst month (in my opinion).  The coldest.  But it wasn’t so bad.  And then the chill warmed up to near 60s.

But soon after, the meteorologists are hyping up this deep freeze we were experiencing.  Deep freeze? I thought to myself.  It’s in the 40s.

Then last weekend happened and it started to get cold.  Really, really cold.  Ok, not really, really cold for say New England.  But really, really cold for NC.  It was only in the 30s during the day.  And then, oh, what’s that?  Yes, we got anywhere from 1 – 5 inches of snow on Tuesday.

Snow.  One to five inches.  We hardly get anything.  Roads were frozen.  Highs were barely 32.  And lows were in the teens.

Ok.  It really feels like winter now.  That’s fine. 

Until they start forecasting a warm up for tomorrow.  What kind of warmup, you ask?

Tomorrow’s high is supposed to be 60.

Serioulsy, how do you go from 32 to 60 in a matter of three days?

I can’t keep up.

I’m glad that I never switched out my seasonal clothes in the closet.  It’s a mush of summer, winter, fall and spring.  But hey.  Now I can say I planned it.  I couldn’t put them away because you never know what season it’s going to feel like tomorrow.  Yes.  That’s what I’m going with.  I planned it.  It wasn’t left that way out of sheer laziness.  No siree Bob.

But really, Mother Nature.  Pick winter weather or pick fallish weather.  And space it out by more than 3 days.

But please make sure it is pretty on my birthday next month.  Because it is always pretty on my birthday.  🙂  And this year it’s a three day weekend for me!

The best what, you ask?  Ohhhh.  The best comments from his mom.  L and I went up to his parent’s house Saturday afternoon so that we could go to the family Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday.  It actually works out nice that it’s not on the actual holiday so that I can still spend time with him and his family, but also with mine.

I’m really confused by his mom.  When I first met her (and his dad), we had been dating for about 3 1/2 months.  She didn’t know much about me, but had no problems asking me questions point blank and not hiding her reactions.  For the longest time, I was convinced that she didn’t like me.  And I still believe this.  Although now, I think I’ve won her over to some extent, but I know there are things that still bother her. 

Let’s go over them, shall we?

1. I’m Catholic (they’re Southern Baptist)
2. I’m an only child (seriously?  He only has one sister, not like we’re talking Jon & Kate Plus 8 here)
3. I’m a Yankee

These are the things she holds against me.  Let’s see.  Out of those three, I have absolutley no control over… oh wait… I have no control over any of them.

The first time we met, out of no where she asked what religion I was.  I said I was Catholic.  “Oh. [pause] I guess everyone up there is.”

At dinner at that same first meeting she asked, how many brothers and sisters do you have?  “Actually, it’s just me, I don’t have any siblings.”

What did she say?  Nothing.  She just looked away and continued to eat.

But over time, I think she saw that I was going to be around for awhile.  And has even asked L about our future plans.  And once she said… are you ready for this?  “You need to be nice to her and keep her around for a while.”

WHOA!

But that change of heart?  It doesn’t stop the unnecessary, and sometimes hurtful comments.

We took the puppies to a dog park on Saturday and she came with us with their family dog.  She mentioned that she didn’t think she would ever get another dog after their dog eventually passes away one day. 

Me:  Oh, I don’t know.  That’s what my mom said too and then she eventually got another one.
L: Well that’s because you talked her into it.
His Mom:  You seem to be good at that.  We told [L] not to get a dog because he doesn’t have time, and now you’ve got two.

WTF?  I didn’t force him to get the dog.  We both wanted a dog.  Also?  Getting two was HIS idea.  And, hi?  I live there too.  I take care of them too.

Ugh.

Let’s discuss the absolute best comment of the weekend though.  We were at his grandma’s house for dinner last night.  We were sitting at a table with his sister and her boyfriend, his mom and two grandmas.  Everything is buffet style so we decided to go get some dessert.  L got up first and started to walk into the other room. 

Then I got up.  Then she said it.

Want a hint as to what it had to do with?  Scroll up to the number one thing she holds against me.

Why don’t you be a Baptist and try a little bit of everything.”

I’m not sure what having a sampling of all the desserts has to do with being a Baptist, but seriously, that was so not necessary.

I just gave a polite smile and walked away.  When I caught up to L, his response: “Don’t even tell me she just said what I think she did.”

I confirmed that she did, but told him not to worry about it.  He insists that he’s going to say something to her about it because it was rude and unnecessary, but I told him to just let it go.

Honestly though.  It kind of hurts my feelings. 

I am not the most religious person in the world.  Not even close.  In fact, I couldn’t even tell you the last time I went to church.  But I still have my beliefs.  The fact of the matter is that she wouldn’t even know I was Catholic if she didn’t ask me that one day out of the blue.

The way she acts, you would think that I dragged him to Mass every week and was shoving Catholicism down his throat.

We’ve already compromised and decided that we are not having a Catholic wedding, nor are we having a Baptist wedding.  Of course, she doesn’t know this, but still.

I guess I just don’t understand why this is such an issue for her.  If I carried a Rosary around with me everywhere I went, that’s one thing. 

I just wish she would get the F over it.

Other than that, we had a good weekend though.  And now only 2 1/2 days of work and I get to have a break.  Phew.

Last night L and I decided to go to the pizza place around the corner for dinner.  We had been working in the yard for a little while trying to get it ready to put in the fence for the puppies and decided we didn’t feel like cooking. 

Although I LOVE the pizza there, I decided not to order my usual personal size pizza with green peppers and mushrooms and opted for something else.

There was this section on the menu:
Hot Subs
-Meatball or Italian Sausage with cheese
-Chicken Parm
-[and some others I don’t remember]

Oh, sounds yummy, I thought to myself.

Our sweete, highschool-aged waitress brought our drinks over and was ready to take our order.  She looked at me first.

“I’ll have the meatball grinder, please.”

Silence.  Her pen was to the paper ready to jot down my order, but it wasn’t moving.  She just kind of stared at me.  But not the bitchy teenager stare.  It was more like I just gave her a dissertation in some kind of ancient language.

I wasn’t sure why though.  I knew I saw it on the menu.  I had looked at it and thought about getting it last time as well. 

Then it clicked.

“Err, meatball sub?”

I could see her breathe a silent sigh of relief.  She had a bit of a nervous laugh and said oh, okay.  I’ve never heard it called a grinder before.  I didn’t really know what that was.  Are you from here?

I laughed.  Sometimes it still surpises me the differences that there are.  Although I will automatically call it a grinder, I understand what someone is talking about when they say ‘sub.’

L went on to order.  And when she left and went back to the kitchen, I could hear her ask her co-workers if they have ever heard it called a grinder.