I think it is exciting that so many movies have been filmed in Georgia.  I remember growing up and wanting to be involved in the movie industry.  It seemed so impossible to work in that field, because I was scared of moving so far away.  Now that I have visited California, I can see why people go.  The weather is spectacular most of the time.  Now, however, young filmmakers do not have to move to the left coast.  I can't believe how many actual movie stars are walking around in the state.  Not to mention, Bradley Cooper and Matther McConaughey were in my hometown for "Failure to Launch" filming a rock climbing scene.  I did not see them, nor have I seen any of the other bona fide stars.  I thought it might be fun to try to be an extra in the Hunger Games movies being filmed over the next couple of months.  I read through the description of the extras needed.  As could be expected, they really need people who look hungry.  My movie career has been cut short.  I don't look hungry.  I must wait.  Hopefully, there will be "No Failure to Lunch" or maybe "Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with Bacon" filming soon.  Catniss must lead the revolution without me.  Probably best, because those movies make me a nervous wreck.  I will stay on the lookout for a casting description looking for the slightly round, tired-looking, momma type.  Let me know if you see that, and my rise in Hollywood will begin! 
 
 
So, my sister has been in search of what she refers to as "The Pie."  It's a fried apple pie made like back home, if that clarifies anything for you.  As I had explained in a previous post, it is more like a biscuit dough that is pan fried in an iron skillet.  Someone told her that she could find this pie at Johnny's BBQ in Powder Springs, GA.  Well, my husband and I are always open to trying a new BBQ restaurant, and the Proper Southern Baby Girl has very little say in the matter.  She appreciates barbeque and the train that was going around the top of the restaurant there.  We both ordered the pork plate, and we were not disappointed.  It was good, as were the sweet potatoe fries (which appeared to be homemade).  The hot sauce sitting on the table has flames on the bottle for a reason.  I'm not a hot sauce person and this one burned like the devil.  The apple pie was excellent.  It brought back memories for me.  I should have gotten ice cream with it, but I thought a big ball of fried dough was probably enough for the evening. 

What I found most interesting at Johnny's were the ammo and firearms for sale.  Right by the Burt's Bees and Yankee Candle was a little .38 special ammo and some Glock's.  I don't think I've ever seen that in a restaurant.  I've eaten amongst fishing poles, bait, and various and asundry deer heads.  I have never been able to get a little supper and stock up for the zombie apocolypse in the same place.  The South never ceases to amaze.  I will go back to Johnny's to try the ribs and chocolate pie...maybe buy a pocket knife.  We'll see. 
 
 
I wish I had written this a little earlier, instead of after this event had ended.  I apologize for the delay.  We had a few extra things go on beyond the holidays, but I will not make anymore excuses.

This year was our first trip to the Stone Mountain Park Christmas event.  I will note that it is not a holiday celebration or winter festival; it is a Christmas event featuring the story of the birth of Jesus.  Santa, Rudolf, and a Snow Angel are there as well, but they do include the Christian basis for the holiday as well. 

We did not get there early enough.  I had in my mind that it was an evening event with some lights and such.  I really didn't realize all there was to do.  We took the skylift to the top of Stone Mountain.  The Proper Southern Baby Girl absolutely loved it.  She is outdoorsy like her daddy.  I stayed in a state of panic.  The appearance is that your small child could just slide right over the edge at any moment.  They can't, but my severe mommmy anxiety kicked in up there.  It was gorgeous and an amazing sight otherwise.  The baby girl was enthralled with the Snow Angel.  You couldn't tell when she went up to get her picture.  It was a whole lot like the Santa picture; you know, screaming and gnashing of teeth.  The fairy angel lady offered her a chance to hold her wand.  She wouldn't take it from her.  I knew what that meant.  Two seconds after leaving the fairy angel lady, we heard "I wanna hold that waaaaannnnnddddd!"  She still brings it up on occasion.  Thanks fairy angel lady.  We all had a great time playing mini-golf...if you enjoy a two year old running after every ball saying, "I get it!"  We all scored two on every hole.  It was the toddler scoring system.  We ate some pizza while watching the parade and then caught a very very loud muscial performance.  The performers were great and very talented, but the sound system was a bit too good.  We could hear it inside our car as we were leaving.  The highlight of the night for us was the train ride.  It's a real train, not a zoo train or the train at the mall.  All onboard participated in singing Christmas songs as they popped up on the monitors.  During the ride, we stopped and a man told a story called "The Gift."  He was a great storyteller and made the event worth the trip.  I heard most of the story, although the great majority of what I heard was "What's that man doin'? What's that man doin'?"  We have decided that we will make a full day of it next year and throw in some time at Snow Mountain as well.  I highly recommend the Christmas event and wish I had gotten to this a little earlier so that you could run out to Stone Mountain.  I wish you all the Happiest New Year!  
 
 

This past weekend, we went to see my nephew's choir sing during their church's Christmas program.  My baby girl loved that they brought in a live donkey and sheep.  She giggled and yelled "sheepies!"  I'm not sure if I'm raising a performer or a heckler.  Time will tell.  As I sat and watched the Nativity, I thought back to a time when I played the part of Mary.  I sat for, I'm pretty sure, forever and held a 42 pound newborn.  My arm is still asleep from that some 25 or more years later.  It was the longest retelling of the birth of the Lord that I had ever experienced.  I came to a realization after my trip back in time.  I don't know that I have a place in the Nativity anymore...unless we vere from scripture and add in Mary's meemaw.  I got a little down about that.  Then, I realized that my Proper Southern baby girl is too big to portray the Baby Jesus.  I told her that later in the hall of the church, and she said "Oh, a bunny."  They had a bunny there.  I don't know why.  

I'm going to try to take the baby girl's attitude toward most things these days.  I want to live in the moment, giggle when I see cute animals, hug everybody I love, perform the musicals in my head whereever I happen to be, and take naps.  Yep, what say we start with that last one right now. 

 
 

I can't believe that I waited two and a half years to get my baby's first cotton field photo. I should not be allowed back into the great state of Alabama. I didn't even have the right clothes with me. I'm really falling down on the job. My sister had told me that the proper southern baby girl needed to be in a pretty dress and cowboy boots. Heaven help me, she doesn't even own cowboy boots. So, yep, there she is in her fleece and sneakers and probably a shirt with a kitty cat on it, if I were guessing. I saw all my Facebook people with their appropriately dressed little ones prancing through the fields of white. Good for you. This is the equivalent of not getting a Santa picture, for my readers in other parts of the country and world. In my case, it as though I took her to get the Santa picture in an Easter bunny shirt. I hope I save some of you from the same embarrassment.

 
 

As you know, I am not the greatest cook. My proper southern baby girl has now decided that she needs to remind me of that fact. I make her favorite food, meatballs. She doesn't eat them. I ask, why? "Mommy, they are too bad." The chicken and dumplings. "Mommy, they are too bad." That is fine, but the expression of disgust on her face really hits home the fact that she hates my cooking. Luckily, I can't mess up spaghetti out of a box and sauce out of a can, or she might starve. If anyone can replicate the meatball recipe at Firehouse Subs, let me know. They get a rating of "I LOVE MEATBALLS!!!" Squeal of glee included.

 
 

Broasted Chicken beats regular fried chicken hands down. You can't make it at home, even though there are imitation recipes out there. Do not even think about frying in a pressure cooker pleeeeeaaasssseee. We recently went to Pat's Perfections in Centre, AL. I had forgotten how much I enjoy broasted chicken. The sides there were wonderful as well. Love my southern veggies. I will warn you that you little one may not appreciate the Mac & cheese. It's not dayglo orange. I do love any place that serves crowder peas and creamed corn (please take note Cracker Barrell that is 5 minutes from my house). Pat's caters and had some great smelling ribs on the smoker, which I will try next time.

 
 
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Collinsville Trade Day
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Who wouldn't want a variety of food On A Stick.

The entire family decided it was time for the proper southern baby girl to make her first trip to Trade Day in Collinsville, AL. So after a hearty wonderful gas station breakfast (no sarcasm here; don't pass up gas station food in Alabama because you may miss out. I want Southern Living to feature gas station breakfast in the next issue.)

Yes, we gathered more people for this than the Iron Bowl. Why is it so important? When you grow up in a small town with very little to do, the Saturday morning trip to Trade Day was a highlight. There is something there for everyone. Lose your dog, they got one...might be the same one. Want wedding bands, corn dogs, ammo? They have it. Actually that might be a common wedding theme. Boy, I wish we had corn dogs at our wedding.

Anyway, the baby girl loved the fresh roasted peanuts. That smell is wondrous. She and my nephew wanted to adopt all of the forgotten Beanie Babies up for sale. Together, they could already fill a stuffed animal museum, which may be there plan. The nephew is quite the entrepreneur.

If you want to see a cross section of Alabama folks, just head to Trade Day. Style is optional, and pajamas are encouraged. I rejoice in the diversity that is Trade Day. It is a great place to be reminded that not everyone is just like you. You need that now and again. Well, after about an hour, baby girl and the nephew were ready to head to the house. Too much strangeness for her and not enough Pokemon for him. I left as I do each time, wishing I owned one of those money-making parking lots and regretting not getting a corn dog.

 
 
Answer: Camo bathing suits, SEC team beach towels, and bubbas screaming "watchis!!!!" as they take off parasailing.

Question: What will I see when I get to Panama City Beach?

It has been quite a while since I've visited the beaches of the Florida panhandle.  The Proper Southern Baby Girl had never been to the beach and didn't have a single air brushed clothing item to her name.  I was feeling a bit like a failure as a parent.  Okay, she still doesn't have anything airbrushed, but at least she has been to the beach and saw the ocean from an extremely safe distance (by her choosing).  My husband was a bit concerned about venturing so far south. The thought of traveling through L.A. (lower Alabama for my Northern followers) was a bit disconcerting for him.  I will say that the restrooms stops were at times treacherous, but we managed to find the restrooms in the storage room of whichever forsaken Piggly Wiggly we visited.

We made it to PCB very late at night.  We had gotten a slow start, because my husband and I contracted a horrific illness that our doctor says only children get and that there was no way we had it.  Well, we did.  I want my copay back.  We stayed at Splash!  I think the exclamation point is part of the name and is not a reflection of my excitement.  Although, we did like our condo and enjoyed the lazy river very much.  I will recommend that if you have small children, do not try to go out to eat in the evening.  I had never seen such madness.  How good is that food at Pineapple Willy's?  I guess we will never know.  We did make a visit to Thomas Donuts.  Good donuts.  I would like to go back and try other items on the menu.  We also enjoyed our visit to St. Andrews State Park.  If you want awesome family beach photos, head there close to sunset for that magic lighting that makes everyone look fantastic.  

Overall, we had a great trip with family.  We were blessed that they could share this first for our little one.
     
 
 
What do you get when you cross excessive facial hair, explosives, and eatin' and prayin' together?  You get 11.8 million viewers watching your Season Four premiere.  I will admit that I was slow to the party on Duck Dynasty.  My sister-in-law turned the television to the show while we were visiting over the 4th of July.  I fell in love almost immediately.  I was expecting to see what the rest of the world thinks of the South.  Yes, they eat squirrel and various other animals that pass through the yard and swamp.  But, these are smart, educated, focused business people.  They revel in their Southerness.  That is the difference.  God, prayer, and church all play a big role in their lives.  I just want to say thank you to the Robertsons for showing a more complete picture of the South.  Yes, I imagine their antics are sometimes exaggerated, but you can tell that this is a loving family having a great time being together.  And, if you don't think they are smart business people, just head on over to the Walmart and try not to trip over the Duck Dynasty throw rugs.