Welcome Back, Sweet Bell

Slowly but surely some of the back-to-school stun is wearing off, and I’m figuring out how to juggle the different parts of our day – with the exception of cooking supper. I have totally failed at supper-cooking the last week or so, but judging from the bounty I just hauled in from Publix a couple of hours ago, I am determined to change my ways.

College football season may have something to do with the change of heart, because DIPS.

I actually went to the store tonight while Alex was at football practice, and while I was pushing my grocery cart up and down the aisles, I decided that the big takeaway from my epic trip to Costco a couple of weeks ago is NO. At least for groceries. I feel like I need to be someone who freezes more food to make a big Costco run worth it, and for better or worse, freezing food just isn’t a go-to for me. So while I know we will continue to patronize Costco for household stuff (heaven forbid I should have to live without their paper towels), everything except for cheese, cashews, and chicken salad was sort of a bulk-item bust.

However, I now have enough butter to take me straight through Thanksgiving, so I guess that’s a silver lining.

And speaking of a silver lining (or gold, as it were).

Before I dropped Alex off at practice tonight, he asked me if I’d be on the lookout for the return of Blue Bell when I went to the store. I had a sneaking suspicion that I would find it since there’s a Blue Bell Creamery about 40 minutes outside of Birmingham, and sure enough, I saw the most glorious sight when I turned down the ice cream aisle.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 9.34.54 PM

Yes, I know $6.99 is a little pricey. But it’s been almost five months since it was on the shelves, so if you average out the price that’s only like $1.40 a month which means IT’S PRACTICALLY FREE.

There were only three flavors at Publix – vanilla, chocolate, and The Great Divide, which is half vanilla, half chocolate – but that did nothing to diminish my enthusiasm. I realize that there are lots of other ice cream brands, but the few we tried this summer reminded me of something Beth Moore once wrote about coffee from a certain fast food chain: it had a pretty good flavor if you closed your eyes and imagined real hard. Blue Bell’s flavor is something special, and we certainly felt its absence during its time away.

(However, I don’t know who would win if Blue Bell and Talenti gelato went head-to-head in some sort of frozen dairy product showdown.)

(I only know that I would like to be a judge.)

The irony of my excitement over that ½ gallon of Homemade Vanilla goodness is that I’m not even eating sweets right now. It’s a long, boring story that would put you straight to sleep, but the bottom line is that I’m going to have to enjoy Blue Bell vicariously – at least for the next few weeks.

I’m totally sniffing it, though. You’d better believe I am.

There is also some additional irony in that I have a raging case of PMS that has left me so hormonal that it’s almost embarrassing, so the fact that I’m not supposed to eat any of that beloved Blue Bell ice cream kind of makes me want to drive a car through a brick wall and naturally escape safely but then yank off all the tires with my bare hands and throw said tires into a fiery pit of sugar-free foods.

At which point I would enjoy some Blue Bell vanilla with Hershey’s chocolate syrup on top while fairies danced cheerfully around a maypole and blue birds braided my hair.

Clearly PMS in the 40s makes a girl feel SUPER rational.

Breezy, even.

I think it’s probably obvious that I’ve never been more cheerful.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email


  1. I can’t even describe the joy you bring me.

  2. Pms in our 40s. 😂👊🏼😩. Word.

    • Do you know how much I needed to hear that someone else is struggling with this middle-aged PMS thing too? I have thought for the last few days that I was going crazy. Seriously…insane. I have cried, yelled, gotten mad at ridiculous things — I even gave my sweet dog the “stink eye” yesterday. I would laugh, but it’s not funny yet.

      • Amen and amen. And if the Bluebell doesn’t get to Indiana soon, I’m declaring a Texas or Alabama road trip, and how. And the PMS – really, we have to get to our 40s and deal with this insanity??? And a teenage daughter? My poor husband.

  3. Some of us here in Texas thought today should be a state holiday, what with the return of our beloved Blue Bell. Sorry you can’t eat it right now; the Dutch Chocolate I ate tonight did not disappoint. I may have Cookies and Cream for breakfast tomorrow…

  4. Robin Ivey says:

    You KNOW y’all are special. Only Texas and Alabama have it so far…..unless you are willing to drive some across the state line here to us in your home town? Guess we’ll have to wait our turn…….

  5. How do you describe my issue’s so perfectly??

  6. Blue Bell, the one and only pregnancy craving I had (unless you want to count fountain Cokes and McDonald’s fries), disappeared when my daughter was born – imagine the last 6 months of my post-partum-sleep-deprived Sadness and Gloom. It better be back in NC before her first birthday! This mama’s 3a wake ups could use a “friend.” 😁

  7. 2 things- I love coffee almond fudge Publix brand ice cream and it is listed as light but you would never know it. I will have to try Blue Bell.

    Second- I attended a women’s conference and there was an excellent session on controlling life (organizing, etc.). One thing in particular that struck me and and that I have taken to heart is this: in the morning, know what you are doing for supper. Don’t wait until 4:30 to panic and get hungry and make poor choices…plan for this in advance. I sketch out a basic plan for the week on Saturday , based on our schedule and what is in the fridge, freezer, etc. Then I refer to that each morning to make a decision then for that particular night. It has been a game changer for me.

  8. I had gestational diabetes when pregnant with my son. No sugar! For the first couple of weeks I wanted to smack anyone that I saw consuming sugar! Cold turkey withdraw or just maybe my sinful heart! It’s a hard row to hoe.

  9. Yay for the return of Blue Bell! No luck here in Indiana yet, but anxiously awaiting the return. Southern Butter Pecan Talenti gelato has seen my family through these rough times. :-)

  10. Hilarious! Made my day <3

  11. Just one more reason to move to Birmingham!!! I have been on the look out, but here in Arizona—where it was 120 degrees last week—nothing. Bupkis. :P

    Sad…very sad because hormones. Me too on that jolly business. Yikes. 46 has been a rollercoaster of emotion. The thing that could really turn this thing around is Bluebell.

  12. Mary Lynn says:

    Alas, Blue Bell is not available at all ever in NE Ohio and oh, how my family misses it! We were in Houston during Spring Break this year. While there we purchased 4 containers of this delectable treat (we each had to pick out our individual favorites- only fair, right!). Of course, our family in TX was thrilled to have us stockpile their freezer with ice cream for them to continue enjoying after we left- We got our fix during that short time of ice cream and BBQ – Pictures of Chocolate on the shelves just brings happiness to my morning-*sighs* -So I feel your pain-with no ice cream and with all things going wacky in our 40s! – UGH!!- hang in there!

  13. You just made my day!!!!

  14. I think it’s probably a good thing that there’s like an unspoken moratorium on Costco’s in Arkansas, due to the Sam’s Club proximity, because I would always be buying things that I have no business buying. I have to be careful enough when I go to Sam’s.

    I’m glad Blue Bell is back as well. Apparently I’m supposed to be partial to Yarnell’s ice cream, here in Arkansas, but I’m not. I guess that’s the Oklahoma-girl in me. I remember ALL of the weeping and gnashing of teeth when Yarnell’s went out of business for a while. I was ok, because there was Blue Bell. This summer we have kept our Schwan’s delivery man very happy with all the ice cream orders, but Blue Bell is just one of those things that for a short moment deludes me into thinking my childhood summers were something akin to a County Time Lemonade commercial.

    I worry for my husband when I have PMS in my 40s. At some point in the latter part of that decade my daughter will be going through puberty. Poor, poor man. He hasn’t a clue.

    • The Oklahoma-girl in me, who unfortunately lives in Arkansas, would agree. Yarnell’s is over-rated. Especially since it costs almost as much as Blue Bell in a MUCH smaller container! I am so excited to hear that it is coming back!

  15. I am so with you on the PMS in your 40’s gig! It can be a doozy. I am more of a Mayfield ice cream fan myself :). I feel your pain, though, in cutting back on the sugar. I try to avoid the ice cream aisle for that very reason. But if sniffing it works….lol!!

  16. Costco paper towels are THE BEST! Totally worth the trip, membership price and patience to stand in line to check out. :)

  17. I live in Houston and our Kroger looked like the bread aisle during hurricane season. They had signs up, officially welcoming Blue Bell back, and every last one of them had a “temporarily sold out” sign posted on them.

    I suppose it’s a good thing. I need to avoid the ice cream for reasons that are best not discussed (due to my bursting into tears) so I tell myself the good Lord is just helping me with that.

  18. The PMS thing made me LOL, but only bc I can relate. :) I’m right there with ya, sister.

    Could not agree more with you about the Talenti gelato. It’s the only thing that is equal to Blue Bell, IMO. I will save you a lot of calories right now and advise you to never try the Sea Salted Caramel flavor. Not ever.

    I’m so sorry you are off sugar right now! That is a tough one for me. I never realize how much sugar I eat until I go off it, and then I’m shocked! Hope it helps you feel better and gives you an energy boost! Can you have fruit? I feel like fruit or a handfull of nuts helps quench my craving a little bit.

  19. You ALWAYS make me smile, Sophie! Thanks for that. I so wish we had Blue Bell out here in the west! (And you think PMS in your 40s is something, beware of all things hormonal in your 50s, ha ha ha!)

  20. First, butter in bulk. Then? Braiding fairies. AWESOME POST. I’m feeling your pain. Well, not yet…but soon, I’ll be feeling your pain (as soon as I get back on the wagon, that is).

  21. Cheryl B. says:

    It is a gift to bring joy out of your pain and suffering. Thank you for the laughter – the image of both the tire scene and the blue birds braiding your hair had me rolling! Thank you Sophie! :)

  22. I always enjoy reading your writing–it makes me smile!

    I have to say, it’s been a LONG few months here in Missouri without Blue Bell. There’s nothing like the chocolate chip cookie dough. Some day soon, I pray.

  23. I rarely post comments but I just have to say AHAHAHAHA!! You are cracking me up with the last two paragraphs! Thank you for expressing the feelings of all women everywhere!

  24. Well Thank You! I had no idea Blue Bell is back in production and with a birthday coming next week, I’ll take that info as an early present! Never mind that I’m in AZ, just knowing it will be there when I’m ready for fall apple pie baking later on when it cools down is good enough! When we lived in CA our daughter brought home a Texas boy who swore that Blue Bell was the best ever and silly us didn’t believe him until we moved to AZ and it was available here. We did humbly apologize!

  25. Oh Sophie. I’ll trade you having to go off HRT cold turkey and now not being able to sleep for your PMS. Though, to be honest, you’ll feel the same.

  26. May I recommend Costco turkey jerky ??

  27. Oh, you sweet baby girls in your 40s, with your PMS dress rehearsals. They’re just preparing you for your 50s and the real show.

    You will start to wonder if you should have all the knives and scissors taken out of the house as a precautionary measure, especially during these long, hot Southern summers when the air conditioning won’t go any lower than 55. :o)

  28. When I saw the title of your post, I totally thought you were going to talk about Mississippi State football and that you were welcoming back the sweet (cow)bell! Haha. When I saw the picture I thought, “Oh, that bell!” My husband’s family is from Texas, so he has always been partial to the Bluebell. Hope we get it in TN soon!

  29. Oh Blue Bell…how I wish you would come to Pennsylvania. My family loves to eat you when we vacation in Virginia.

  30. So, I’m guessing that Blue Bell is…an icecream brand? Not available on the Canadian Prairies? Will have to consult the Google :)
    For hormone imbalance, for your Canadian readers, may I heartily recommend Bernard Callebaud’s Habanero Sea Salt chocolate…it may be the reason I stayed here!

  31. Ann in MarylandCarperald says:

    And after the blue birds braid your hair, you could flip it.

  32. I always laugh every month because I think about that poster that floated around Pinterest and probably Facebook one time that said something along the lines of, “My biggest fear is to find out that PMS doesn’t exist and this is my real personality.” Becaus sweet mercy can the hormones make a girl feel a touch crazy!!! Thankful for God’s grace and mercy…and also BLUE BELL! Amen and amen.

  33. This: “I would enjoy some Blue Bell vanilla with Hershey’s chocolate syrup on top while fairies danced cheerfully around a maypole and blue birds braided my hair.” EPIC.

    And also, bless your heart! Thanks for making me smile this morning. :)

  34. Thank you for validating the PMS in your 40s is REAL. I have been on the struggle bus this week….my poor husband:) We are still getting ready for school around here and I’m so sick of the getting ready part. It’s time for everyone to GO BACK TO SCHOOL so Mama can have some quiet time. Thank you for your blog and your sense of humor! It brought a smile to my face.

  35. Ice cream might be a great PMS cure but so is writing hilarious blog posts for us all to enjoy. You’re the best.