Sunday, December 28, 2008

Return to "Normal"

Wish I'd Done That: As you are moving in all the new Christmas toys, put the same number of old toys away, or better yet, donate them to Goodwill. You'll keep organized, and you won't be overrun with more "stuff".

We just took LEA to the airport to return to Chicago for another round of grad school fun. We've loved having her at home since Thanksgiving, but I know she's looking forward to getting back to her friends and life up North.
We did lots of fun stuff while she was here, but I had more things I wanted to do. Time together is precious, and so I wanted to do all I could.
My house is a wreck! Is yours?
I feel very "undone" the day after Christmas with all the boxes, gifts and stuff lying around the house. I feel ready to put everything away right this minute, but some of us here like to enjoy the mess for a while longer. I try to curb my anxieties for a few days, but I feel like this afternoon might be a good day to sort, or something.
Before the kids went out last night, I caught them for a picture. My hair needed some attention (as always), but I seized the moment to be immortalized with the two I treasure most.

They are such great people, I can't believe God gave them to us.

AA had a mess coming home for Christmas. He was coming on the 23rd, but the roads around Fayetteville were bad, so he waited for Christmas Eve. His Jeep broke down in Tulsa, and had to be towed to B'ville, so he and Ace missed the Christmas Eve service at church. We've never not gone, so I was very sad.

LA and I went, and God was so clearly present. He spoke to the lowly shepherds about the birth of His Son. I'd never before thought about why He did. He uses the most common circumstance to speak to us. As we sang the familiar carols, He reminded me of how He uses the "lowly" to do His work. He uses even someone like me to minister and bless others. Awesome!

As you "clean up" after Christmas, be blessed by His gift to us that never wears out, or is the wrong size.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thou shalt call His name Jesus

Wish I'd Done That: Every Christmas Eve, we go to the candlelight service at our church. When we come home, we have some special snacks. Many years, some friends have come over to share with us. This is when we read the Christmas story. Mostly, we read the Luke 2 account. Do this without fail. Be sure your kids know that Christmas is centered on God's gift to us; His son Jesus.

Matthew 1:21:" ...thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins."

Before God created me, He knew all I would be. My failures, successes: all of it. In spite of that, He sent His son - the One who spoke the universe into existence - to die as a sacrifice for my sins.

"Immanuel" God with us. I can't put my mind around something so incredible. While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me.
Rather than worrying about getting the gifts wrapped, the pies baked or whatever, consider His gift to you.
A small baby - not one of us would have chosen to send our son to die for sinners. But God did, and Jesus came willingly.
He became one of us; yet without sin, and offered Himself as a gift for me and all who would accept.
Have a blessed Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Christmas Goodies

Wish I'd Done That: Read, READ, READ! I can't stress this enough. Your kids need to be read to from the moment they arrive here on earth! Read to them everything you can get your hands on. I really treasure those memories reading "chapter books" to LA every night before bed. The Secret Garden, Little House, etc. Nothing is better than that. I really don't think it's an accident my 2 kids are both voracious readers. AA is reading classics right now, and he doesn't even have to!

Grandma's Southern Living Fudge

As I've said before, Ace's family are sugar addicts. It's really no secret, so I feel comfortable sharing this with you. His mom has made pies, cakes and all sweet things his whole life; the family had a "cake break" at 3 p.m. every day - you get the drift. Aunt Bess makes the best candy in Arkansas, so I've got lots of competition and expectations when I join the family.

The cookies I make (see Wed.) fit right in with this madness, but I wanted to perfect some of the Perkins family favorites.

Enter Buttermilk Fudge. Sounds weird, but trust me, you will be in Heaven.....

I learned to make it when we first got married, and after a few years, I sent the recipe in to Southern Living magazine. I neglected to think ahead, however, and entered the recipe under my name, rather than Ace's mom's name. Hmmmm......

Anyway, the recipe was published, and I was thrilled. Kathy didn't care it was under my name, but I've felt really strange about it ever since.

Here's the famous fudge recipe. Be aware - addictive; both flavor and texture and superb!

2 Cups sugar

1/2 Cup butter

2 Tbsp corn syrup

1 Cup buttermilk

1 tsp soda

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 Cup chopped, toasted pecans

Combine sugar, buttermilk, butter, soda and corn syrup in a buttered Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches soft ball stage, or candy thermometer registers 234 degrees; remove from heat. Cool to 180 degrees. Stir in vanilla. Beat at high speed of electric mixer until the fudge begins to thicken and lose its gloss. Stir in pecans. Pour out on waxed paper; cool. Yield: 1 1/4 pounds

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mom's Famous Sugar Cookies

Wish I'd Done That: From my friend, Linda, at the Taste & Spit: keep a bucket in your car with kitty litter, your scraper, icee defroster stuff, a candle, matches, flashlight and small camp shovel. You are ready for winter's worst!

Mom's Sugar Cookies

Yes, I know. You have the best sugar cookie recipe. However, trust me when I say that I've got that one covered. Mom made these for us for every holiday, and she brought them to school on our birthdays, too. She shaped them with a big coffee can, so each kid got a really big cookie. Since I had only 13 kids in my class, Mom personalized each one with their name. She was famous in Mullinville for those things. The cookies roll out amazingly well because they use powdered sugar, rather than granulated.

1 Cup oleo, softened
1 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 Cup
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
Cream oleo and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; blend well. Chill covered until very firm. (Don't skip this step) Overnight is best. Roll out to desired thickness. Cut into shapes. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 - 8 minutes, until very slightly browned. You may also roll dough into walnut-sized balls, roll in sugar and flatten with a glass bottom. Bake as before. Frost the cutout cookies.
Start a tradition with your little ones this year. Let them in the kitchen to decorate, eat the dough, and generally make a big mess. You won't be sorry!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Goodies

Wish I'd Done That: Buy your kids some Christmas pjs. Then, on Christmas Eve, you'll have something for them to unwrap when they are clamoring to open a gift. Wrap the pj's in paper you'll easily recognize, and place them together somewhere under the tree. Then you can say "yes", and you'll be a hero when they get to open a package. Your kids will be all cute and Christmas-y on Christmas morning for your pictures!

Cranberry Salsa
These are the little Christmas goodies I'm giving to the project leaders and staff of the Taste and Spit today. They just turned out so cute, I can't stand it! I found these little jars at Hobby Lobby, and filled them with - - - Cranberry Salsa! Julia, our Children's Director at church, gave me this recipe last year, and it's a sure winner. Serve this over a block of cream cheese with some really great wheat crackers, and you've got a unique appetizer everyone will enjoy. The gorgeous red is an asset to your table, too.
Julia's Cranberry Salsa
1 bag fresh cranberries, washed
2 jalapenos, seeded (or just one, if you're a wimp!)
1 bunch green onions, chopped in a large chop
1/4 Cup cilantro (opt)
3/4 Cup sugar
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp lime juice
Chop first 4 ingredients in food processor. (yea, I finally get to take it out of the back of the cabinet!) Add remaining ingredients. Chill overnight. Drain, and top a block of cream cheese. Serve with crackers. Makes enough for 3 blocks of cream cheese.
I made cute little recipe cards to put on these jars for my friends at work. They are great! Hope you like the salsa.

Tulsa, Tea time, and Tiny cookies

Wish I'd Done That: My friend Donna suggests a great idea for cleaning up the place. She puts the timer on for 10 minutes. The kids race to see how much cleaning/picking up they can get done in that amount of time. Another friend suggested using music; 3 songs would be about 10 minutes. It's a game, it's to music, and the house gets picked up/cleaned!

Tulsa Tea Time

Mom, LA and I escaped to Tulsa last week to investigate a tearoom there. Dragonmoon is a fun girl place with lots of great food and an assortment of teas from around the world. We all tried different lunch foods; they change daily. My turkey soup with stuffing dumplings was a hit with all of us. I had some quiche, too.
The 3 cup teapot we tried was "Blue Sapphire", a tea from South Africa. Really great, and they brewed it twice, so we got lots of tea. It really hit the spot on a sleet-spitting day.

For dessert, a sugar cookie filled with chocolate ganache, a nutmeg log, and a "shooter" of pumpkin mousse. Just enough sweet after a wonderful lunch.
Here's the blue sapphire tea in their adorable cup. Take some time out and enjoy a cup of tea.
Dragonmoon is on Harvard in Tulsa, just north of 21st Street.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guest Blog

The blog's been on a tiny hiatus this week, but I'm back today with a special guest blogger: my daughter, Lauren. She's appeared in the blog before in my anecdotes; you may remember her as WordGirl, LA, or the grad school kid. Lauren's been home from school for a few weeks and offered to blog today.

Christmas Charity
When my brother and I were growing up, our parents made sure we understood the importance of giving to others. I remember in grade school they encouraged us to set aside some of our allowance money for the Lottie Moon offering at church or for the Salvation Army bucket outside Wal-Mart. I’m thankful that they taught me about giving when I was younger. Watching my parents give to others made it much easier for me to be a giver myself once I was off on my own—even on a grad assistant salary. I’d like to share a few of my favorite charities with you; feel free to tell us about your favorite charities in the comments.

826 National
826 is a national chain of community writing centers; it was started by one of my favorite authors, Dave Eggers. 826 chapters offer free after-school tutoring, in-school writing seminars, and writing workshops for elementary through high school aged students. Their goal is to work with local schools to encourage writing and creativity in children. Each 826 chapter features a storefront with a quirky theme; my 826 in Chicago is called “The Boring Store” and conceals a secret spy organization. Other chapter stores supply superheroes, robots, and pirates.

I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent volunteering at 826 Chicago—they’re truly a valuable service for kids who might not get enough attention at school. But if you don’t live near an 826, you can always give monetarily. And here’s the big bonus: 826 is always good about sponsoring unique fundraising programs. The Chicago store has a yearly mustache-growing contest, and 826 national usually releases several fantastic books a year to fund their programs, including some recent titles, The New Kings of Nonfiction and My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead. My favorite fundraiser took place last week; 826 teamed up with one of my favorite online art galleries,, to release an edition of affordable artwork.
Kiva is a fairly new grassroots organization that lends money to entrepreneurs in the Third World. Donors can give as little as $25 per loan and are able to choose which recipients they’d like to give to. So you can support only the specific projects or entrepreneurs that you want to—from computer schools in South America to soda salesmen in Africa to farmers in Asia. Entrepreneurs have their own pages with their pictures, brief stories about their businesses, and information about the local loaning organization that they receive the loan through. After the loan is collected, entrepreneurs repay their loans at an incredibly low interest rate in small installments, usually spread out of the course of the year. These payments are deposited into the donors’ Kiva accounts; they can then choose to reinvest the money in other projects or withdraw the money. Donors also receive periodic emails that update them on the entrepreneurs’ progress.

The above picture is Guzman Velazquez; he's the first entrepreneur I loaned to on the site. He's using his $775 loan to open a computer school so the people in his town in Paraguay can train for technology jobs. Guzman received the loan a few months ago and has already made payments on it. I’ve enjoyed using Kiva because it’s easy to give in small amounts and it’s gratifying to see exactly who you’re giving to. Kiva is also completely transparent—they publish the default rates of all their partner organizations and keep donors well-informed.

Christmas Gift Ideas
One fun way to be charitable during the holiday season is to combine charity giving with gift giving. 826 books make great gifts; Kiva has a store that sells calendars, shirts, and other goodies, including these totes.

You can also buy Kiva gift certificates that allow others to donate to entrepreneurs of their choosing.

Another great gift is Good Magazine. When you buy a subscription, the entire price is donated to a charity of your choice ( and 826 are both options).

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Goodies

Wish I'd Done That: While traveling to Grandmother's house for Christmas, give kids an old "pocketbook". When LA and Double A were little, my Grandma would get her old "pocketbooks" and fill them with all sorts of goodies. (I suspect this is how she cleaned out her junk drawer, but anyway....) She stuck something in every pocket, nick and cranny. The kids spent hours digging through those things. It really works, and Grandma had a blast doing it.

Here's a simple appetizer to take and serve anywhere. My "foodie" friends at the Taste and Spit were impressed with this, and that's saying a lot! Enjoy!

Terri's Crostini

One loaf french bread - the very small diameter ones

Slice thin and toast slowly in a 300 degree oven, about 10 minutes.

Feta cheese (or blue cheese, or Gorgonzola, etc.)


Toasted pecans (or walnuts or almonds)

Top crostini with cheese. Sprinkle on nuts and drizzle with honey. Be prepared to accept compliments! Very simple, but really great! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hurricane Warning

Wish I'd Done That: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". This may seem a strange parenting tip, but trust me, if you are a pregnant person, take heed. Many times, when LA was a newborn, Ace and I would be tempted to disturb her in her sleep or just being happy time. We soon learned to leave her alone if she was happy. When kids are happy, LEAVE THEM ALONE. Don't change their diaper, wake them, move them, whatever......Trust me, you'll be glad you listened to me someday....

Tomorrow, TU plays in Tulsa for the conference championship. This is joyous. However, you may remember that also tomorrow is our Open House. Poor planning. It wasn't that I didn't think the Hurricane would make it there, but I naively hoped the game would be played at night.
So, I'm going to miss the great event, which may never happen again in my lifetime.
Oh well, I struggle......

Great stuff about TU:
Great student to professor ratio: I think it's about 10/1.
No grad students teaching classes.
Great scholarship opportunities.
Located in a super town.
Good student athletic teams, if you're a sports buff.
Small classes.
Top 100 university in the US.
Wonderful reputation across the US.
And the best thing about TU:

Lovely, wonderful alumni......

Have a marvelous weekend: Go TU, beat ECU!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving Re-hash

Wish I'd Done That: To protect my floor while my two babies ate, Ace made me a 4 X 4 foot sheet of hard plastic to put under the highchair. It was easier to wipe up than the carpet in my dining area!

Please pray for Sharon today; she's off for chemo treatment #2. Give her peace, strength and protect her from nausea.

It was just the four of us on Thanksgiving Day since Ace's mom was still in the hospital. Ace carved up his smoked turkey - we hadn't ever done the whole-bird-on-the-table thing before. He liked doing it!

I kept waiting for that bird to go flying across the table, but Ace persevered, and he successfully carved the bird up!

LA did my flowers; they still look great today.....We had a lovely, family day of food, football and sitting in front of the fireplace.

2 days until the Open House! Bring your friends - there's going to be a door prize this year!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Counting Down......

Wish I'd Done That: Take advantage of your local library's story hours. You'll get a break (of sorts) and your kiddos will learn how fun books are. Let them check out several afterwards, and spend an hour going through them. You're promoting reading, and they'll sit in your lap!

Three days until the Open House! We've done a TV ad, and put an ad on the Women's Page of the B'ville paper........Planning the goodies today, and decorating tomorrow. Gosh, what fun!

LA is home, and that's so much fun. She's on trimesters at DePaul, so she's off til after the New Year.

I came home from a haircut, and walked in to a house that smelled fabulous! I didn't realize what a blessing that is! I guess I haven't experienced that since I lived at home and Mom was cooking. I could really get used to this.....

She's making my brother's famous soup: Headrick's Hamburger. It's great, filling, and smells terrific!

Headrick's Hamburger Soup

1 lb. hamburger

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup cubed carrots

1 cup cubed potatoes

4 cups tomatoes (2 cans)

1/4 cup rice

3 cups water

Italian seasonings, to taste.

(LA adds corn, and green pepper; whatever she has available)

Salt and pepper

Brown hamburger with onions. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 1 hour. Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Open House

Wish I'd Done That: Buy (or make) a Christmas calendar for your little ones. This will make the time go faster until the big day. I made the ones with a treat or a very small toy behind the door. You can buy them almost anywhere now, and that would be easy! Let your kids count down the days until all the excitement!

Christmas Open House
Only 5 days until our Open House for We have some really great savings for all who attend. I'm making some treats, and there will be hot cider to ward off the cold. Do your Christmas shopping with your friends. If you have one of our invitations, (or if you mention this blog!), we'll give you 10% off your whole order!
This painting is great framed in an antique gold. I've got it in my bathroom. Your mom and/or sister would really like this!

This one below is on sale Saturday. You'll be able to buy 3 16 X 20's for $90, plus an extra 10% off! A $115.50 value, you can get 3 for $81! That's a great buy, and the prints are easy to mail, too.
Buy this one (remember, they are double-matted), for all your friends with little ones, or those who are pregnant. We sell so many of these - they are really a unique and wonderful gift for babies.
All three of the larger sizes are on sale if you buy 3 of the same size, so come see what's new.
Laura has done 2 new prints, so you'll want to check those.
We have gifts for everyone; men, grandma, sister, mom ~ even something for yourself.....
Come by and get started on your Christmas shopping, or just stop by to visit - we can't wait to see you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Preparations

Wish I'd Done That: Let your kids make the place cards for Thanksgiving. I love the ones with an Oreo cookie. Stick candy corn in the filling, use some icing to make a face (or just write guests' names) and set at every place setting. If the kids do the arranging, no one can blame you because they've got to sit next to crazy Uncle Fred!

We're looking forward to AA coming home today (fixing lots of meat for him), and Wordgirl is coming in tomorrow.
I'm so excited to have them home in front of the fire with us. We all enjoy a fire in the fireplace and a great college football game on TV.
Please pray for Ace's mom, Kathy. She's been in the hospital in Ft. Smith since Thursday. An accelerated heartbeat that they are monitoring. We were going to go pick her up tomorrow, but she won't get out of the hospital until Thursday.
So, it's just the 4 of us for the big day.
We'll head over to Ft. Smith for the weekend to see what's going on.
I'm being flexible about meals/lists/stuff; I'm really proud of myself! I love the planning and prepping for big meals.
I'm off to make the cornbread and biscuits for the dressing. I like to leave them out on the counter drying for a day or two.
Ace is smoking the birds (3 turkey breasts and one whole one) Wednesday. He does it once; and does a lot. Then, we have plenty for Christmas too.
Count your blessings. The simple things in life are more special to me this year. Love on your friends, tell your family you love them, and eat a piece of pumpkin pie for me!

Monday, November 24, 2008

32 and Counting

Wish I'd Done That : My friend and business partner, Laura, has a great suggestion for keeping kids quiet and occupied during church. She gave her kids pipe cleaners, and they could make all sorts of shapes and people and whatever. They didn't wear out, and kept them quiet. Brilliant!

32 and Counting
Rather than a Thanksgiving meal, our church focuses on missions during the month of November. We are an action church who go out and evangelize and serve. During the past year, we've been to Nicaragua, New Orleans (yes, they still need help!), the Gulf coast for all the hurricanes, Mexico, and other places near and far.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we have a missions banquet where we make an offering to support missions around the world and at home. We review where we've been this year, and look forward to the next.
For the last 2 years, I've been in charge cooking for the mission banquet. This year, we made 32 pumpkin pies for dessert. I've never made that many pies, but Mitzi prepped my ingredients, and over the course of a few hours, turned out this:
Wow, that's a lot, even when you start cutting them all up to serve. Nothing says Thanksgiving like pumpkin pie!
Laura decorated for the banquet. She made this "earths" last year. Just a glass bowl painted with textured paint, and then joint compound to form the continents. They are really great, and look marvelous.
I'd encourage you to focus out during the holidays. Look for others to bless. Give generously to those in need.
Getting ready to start cooking tomorrow. What's your favorite Thanksgiving food? I'm going to have to go with the dressing.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Earrings, and other lost things

Wish I'd Done That: Try a coat/mitten/hat swap. I always thought my friends' kids had coats my kids could wear. I know mine outgrew coats at an amazing rate, they don't get worn out, and still had lots of good wear in them. In these days of recycling, try it!

Last night at overflow (our youth group), I noticed one of my earrings was missing. I was irritated, since I'd only worn them 3 or 4 times. I'd been trying on clothes at the mall, and I assumed I'd lost it there. After church, I was tempted to return to Dillard's to check the dressing room, but I was just too lazy. I wanted to get home to a new book I have. I also almost threw away the earring, but slipped it into my purse instead.
When I got home, I went upstairs to put on my pj's, went into the bathroom and there on the counter was the other earring! I'd talked to lots of kids and adults, and no one commented on the one earring!
Did they think I was making a fashion statement? Or, as I suspect, have I joined the ranks of the invisible "old people"?
I can't believe I went around with one earring. I remember I picked one up to put on, and then wandered off, distracted by who knows what?
Ace loses things all the time. However, they are usually right in front of his face. His TU sweatshirt, for example. He said he couldn't find it, but it's right in the center of his closet. I used to go look for stuff, but I was only enabling him to continue his lazy looking! Now, I figure, if he wants it, he'll look harder......
Is that wrong?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Party Time!

Wish I'd Done That: Choose a nondescript day, and make it special. Get out your best dishes, a nice tablecloth and the good silver and crystal. Set a nice table; use a centerpiece and candles. Your family will feel special, and you'll get to use your good stuff. Don't worry about serving a fabulous dinner (although that would be great); the idea is to do something different. In fact, it would be crazy to buy the fast food meal and serve it on china! This lets your kids use the china, and learn to be careful with mom's crystal. So what if something gets broken? This stuff is meant to be used. Don't put off the "special" occasions; make your own. Even if you don't have china, you can make the dinner special by putting candles on the table, gathering flowers from the garden, or just make an artistic centerpiece of sticks from the bushes. Whatever you do, just make it different from the normal hum-drum. Recently, the Lord's been showing me that you shouldn't postpone special things or doing the extra something you want to do.
It seems really trite, but build a fire when you want one, use the good china, buy the Harry and David pears.
While we are at a point where we have some extra to spend on special things, I'm not talking just material things. Take the time to read that book, visit someone lonely, start a poker night.
I'm in two groups from church that celebrate birthdays of the members. It's really an excuse to get together, laugh and have a great time getting to know one another better.
We all know people who say "someday". Let's be the ones who say "today".

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Wish I'd Done That: When my oldest, Wordgirl, was about 2 or 3, she began to be afraid to go to bed. She thought there were monsters or "bad guys" hanging around. We weren't sure what to do, but one day Ace brought home this guy:

Wordgirl named him Aloysius. We weren't sure where she got this, but when she was older, she said it was Snuffleupagus's name (from Sesame Street).

Aloysius was a Super guy. He could look in the closet for the bad guys, he could see under the bed. Mostly, he protected a little girl who had a fabulous imagination. Imaginations are great in the daytime, but at night, they can be the enemy.

I thought Ace was a genius for coming up with a wonderful solution. Wordgirl had Aloysius for a few months or a year; just enough time to get through that stage.

He's a little worse for the wear, but if you were a 20 year old dinosaur, you might look rough too!

Try this idea if your little ones are having trouble at night, or any time. Aloysius travelled with us in the car, but mainly, he protected our house.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Refrigerator Ramblings

Wish I'd Done That: My friend, Opal, suggests making sure your movies of kids' activities are not all lumped together. Keep birthdays separate from holidays, recitals, etc. She's right. All of mine are lumped together. Wordgirl and AA should have separate "videos" of their lives......Great idea!
My Refrigerator
Does yours look like this? I used to have alphabet letters and crayon drawings. Now, I've just got pics and coupons. I do have some great magnets Laura made years ago.
There are pics of my kids, my nieces, and my whole family. It's a happy reminder of times together and how important it is to treasure times together. You never know when circumstances will change.
I was reminded of this again this week. One of the guys who worked for Ace had a heart attack and died last week. He was only 52.
Since turning 50, I've been concerned about leaving a mark on others. What difference have I made in my life?
That can only be measured in eternal things, so I'm trying to concern myself with making that eternal difference. Ministering to others, using my spiritual gift of service and administration.
This week, our church is celebrating being thankful by having a missions dinner. We are a mission-oriented church, so we are looking outward into Eternity by investing our offerings on spreading the Gospel of Jesus. A group of us are cooking for 250. I love doing stuff like that: the camaraderie of fellowship in the kitchen! Then, we take an offering that is strictly for mission work.

Upcoming recipes:
The "famous" sugar cookie recipe, Julia's cranberry salsa, and other tips for a lovely holiday season.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holiday Beginnings

Wish I'd Done That: A hint for the holidays.....Let your kids help with giving to those less fortunate. Have them shop for the Salvation Army angel, or let them choose items to fill the Samaritan's Purse Christmas boxes. Find out info for the Christmas boxes at: Kids will love picking out stuff for others, and it's a great way to show children their blessings. Use it for a geography lesson, too!

I'm beginning to think about holiday cooking. Less than 2 weeks 'til Thanksgiving! We have a smoked turkey (Ace is in charge of that), cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, etc. Something my mom made was a frozen cranberry salad. I love it for the holidays, but it's also really great in the summertime.

Mom's Cranberry Salad

1 can cranberries (jellied, or with whole berries)

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1 - 1 1/2 cups Cool Whip

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Whip cream cheese until smooth. Add other ingredients. Pour into 9 inch freezer-proof dish. Freeze. Before serving, set out of freezer about 15 minutes to soften slightly. Great!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Veteran's Salute

Wish I'd Done That: Get an American flag and fly it for all holidays: Memorial Day, Flag Day, Veteran's Day. Your kids will get a sense of how important our country is to you. Let them help with the whole ceremony of hanging the flag. Teach them about how to fly it, when to fly it, etc. Don't fly it at night, or in the rain. Teach them to respect the flag by your actions.

A friend from church sent me this link. It's a group of school kids singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

It was a great encouragement to me in these uncertain days of a new administration, bad economy, problems in government.

I know it will bless your heart, and encourage you, also.

Thank a veteran today for their sacrifice.

God Bless America!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Computer Problems

Wish I'd Done That: I always bought my little ones' clothes one year ahead. I could sort of predict their sizes, then I'd shop at the end of the season for the next year. If I made a mistake, I gave it away as a birthday gift!

I HATE Computers!!!
Last week, I had a glitch or something with my Outlook Express. I couldn't access my mail for our website, Now, since it's coming close to the shopping season, I want to be able to get and fill any orders that come in. For some inexplicable reason, it wouldn't accept my password, and I got that dreaded error message: "There was a problem logging onto your mail server" I decided to try to fix it myself - I need to learn these things, after all.
OK. I tried. Followed the "help" stuff from Outlook; the whole 9 yards.
(I never read directions for anything, so you can understand that this was major for me to follow the steps from something technical.)
Yesterday, Donna called about a prayer request, and I happened to ask if she had a computer person in her house. (Her husband, James, is REALLY great at that)
He got on the phone to try and help. He even came over to work on the machine himself. No luck.
I finally emailed (on the other account) my website guy, Jared. He asked for my password, and I gave it to him.
He emailed me back that he'd had success; I should try myself using my password. (I'd already done this, of course)
I typed in the password, and of course, it worked! Why?!
I just don't get it.
Anyway, to all you computer geniuses out there ~ way to go. I don't get it, but I'm glad you do......
Praying for Sharon, Chris, Mattie, our kids in Iraq/Afghanistan, and our great country.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Life in Cups

Wish I'd Done That : WordGirl and Double A got on the bus for the 2 mile ride to school at our mailbox at the front of the house. Before I let them gather with their friends, I prayed with them on the stairs inside the house. We prayed about a test, friends, special projects, or just a simple prayer of protection and peace. I know God blessed them in those moments, because I know He blessed me. Pray out loud with your kids every day for the things that affect them.

Coffee Cups
I love to drink coffee. 5 pounds of Dunkin Donuts regular roast beans come to my house every three months or so. I love the ritual of grinding and making coffee in the morning. Best of all, I love to choose the mug I use every morning. I have my favorites. Here's one of Ace's favs. WordGirl gave him this when she was in the 1st or 2nd grade. Our elementary school had a fund-raiser where kids could choose inexpensive gifts for their family. She gave Ace this mug. It's worn out, but even tho it's faded, we can't throw it away! Who could?

This is the mug I got in Chicago in May when Double A, Ace and I went to visit WordGirl. We went to Oak Park to see all of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings and museum there. I love the Guggenheim-ness of it! (I know, it's blurry, but you get the idea....)
This is from Lake City, Colorado. My family had a mini-reunion 2 or 3 summers ago. I always like to bring a mug home as a souvenir. I love this since it reminds me of a gorgeous place, and a special family time together.

This is a Chicago trip from years ago. The summer after WordGirl graduated from high school, we made a quick trip there. We'd never been there, so we did the museums and parks, and Navy Pier. Little did we know our oldest would head up there 4 years later to grad school. I love the Impressionist wing at the Art Institute of Chicago.

This is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Ace & I went there for our 25th anniversary in 2000. What fun! I love NY!

Now, for the saddest moment........This was my very favorite mug until I knocked it off the counter and broke it. I got it in London at the National Museum. While we were over there, to fool ourselves into thinking things cheaper than reality (the dollar was weak against the pound), we pretended things were priced in dollars, rather than pounds. (2 pounds to the dollar, then) Anyway, this mug was china, and a replica of Picasso's Sunflowers. It's the perfect size, and the china is so nice to drink from. Oh, well. Clumsy......I knew it would happen some day, but I still hate that it's broken!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Wish I'd Done That: From the very beginning of your children's lives, take them to church with you. Kids don't learn by what they hear, but what they see. When they see your faith as an important part of your life, they will believe what you say. God does miraculous works in the lives of children; let yours experience Him from the start of their lives.

Just talking to my sis who's just moved to Texas. Things are going well there, but she's off today to see her first grandchild, Maddi, who lives in Oklahoma. Maddi is 3 months old, and a really good, darling girl!
We were talking about God's blessings in our lives, and I was thinking. Why?
Why do some of us experience loss and grief? Some of us get cancer and have to go through difficult struggles. Some of us have terrible work problems, or get laid off. Others prosper, are healthy, and seem to have it all.
Why should God choose to allow me to have a lovely life, while my friends struggle with many problems?
I'm not more spiritual than others, I'm not worthier; so, why?
I'm sort of having "survivors" guilt today. I don't know why I've been so blessed.
My life isn't perfect, but God has blessed me beyond what I deserve.
The Calvinists believe we are "chosen". Why are some, and not others? I've a difficult time believing that, because of John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Who is whosoever, if not all of us?
As our country embarks on these dark times, I'm afraid for the United States. What does the future hold?
I know Who holds my future, but....
God is in control; He weaves the parts of live into a beautiful tapestry I cannot see.
Praying for my family, friends, church and country....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy November!

Wish I'd Done That: Make sure your kiddos get outside every day. You don't want a bunch of pasty-faced kids living in your house. Of course, this may necessitate you leaving the friendly confines (forgive me, World Series hangover....) of your homestead. Get out there with them; play a gave of tag, or just ride the bikes around the block. Come on, it'll be fun!This is our sugar maple last week before we left. While we were gone, it turned a gorgeous red and the next day, all the leaves flew off in the Oklahoma wind. We missed it all, but the gold was really great, too.
I know you all know that TU lost to Arkansas Saturday, and are just too nice to bother me about it. (sniff) We didn't play well, but....We saw Double A, dropped off lots of home cooking, and headed off to Branson for some fun at Big Cedar.
My friend, Dr. Ruth, recommended this place, so that was good enough for me. I didn't know it was "Bass Pro" does resorts, but that's what it was.
It was gorgeous there.

One day, we went in to Branson, and took a spin on the Lake Queen, a boat on Lake Taneycomo. A nice 1 1/2 hour trip, and they let me drive!

Here's Ace on the terrace at Devil's Pool, a restaurant on the property. Notice Table Rock Lake in the background.

Outside our room, a waterfall was a popular spot for photos by everyone on the place. We heard the water at night, and it was really great.

The view from our patio...

Looking up towards our lodge...We sat up there most nights and watched the sun go down over Table Rock. So relaxing.....I recommend it.
God is in control. Let's see how He manifests Himself in our country's politics.

Friday, October 31, 2008

TU Travels

Wish I'd Done That: Sit down at the table together as a family for your meals. I know that is a bold statement, but you must do it! Turn off the TV, and spend time talking to one another. You might be amazed at what happens.....

Ace and I are off on another TU adventure. Earlier this month, we went to Dallas to see TU take on SMU. That was a nail biter, but the Golden Hurricane won.
Tomorrow, TU takes on the Arkansas Razorbacks. AA goes to school there, so it will be a family affair. He grew up going to all the TU games, but he's a Razorback at heart. It should be a great time. 90,000 screaming red fans calling the Hogs, and 1,000 or so blue people trying to keep a perfect season going.
We'll see AA before the 1:00 game and take him and his roommates out to lunch.
I love going to the Hog games: tailgates, crazy fans, calling the Hogs. It's like nowhere else!

After the game, Ace and I are headed up to Big Cedar Lodge in Branson. We've not been there, but I've heard only raves about it. Looking forward to some time away from home, and work. I'll report back in a week or so about the Lodge.
Then, I think we'll swing by Eureka Springs. We used to go there every fall to celebrate our anniversary, but haven't been for a while. I love walking around there and seeing all the Victorian houses and the great fall colors.
I'm off to vote early! Remember: vote early and vote often!
Prayers for Sharon: God's healing mercies and comfort in tough times......

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wigging Out!

Wish I'd Done That: When your kids want to try Every activity and club in the universe, DON'T! I know you want them to experience everything, but it's really important for kids to have time to read, play, create and pretend. If they are hurrying off to Scouts, soccer, dance and church activities every day, when will they relax and be unscheduled? I learned to let the kids have one activity at a time, and we were all much happier.

Sharon has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I can hardly type that. Unbelievable.....Anyway, she's had 2 lumpectomies, and is going to start chemo soon to get that one last bad boy cell out of there....

So, a trip to the wig shop was in order! None of us had ever been to a wig shop, but Sharon's mom had a friend with a shop in Tulsa.

5 of us headed down to see what that was all about. We had a rough start, 'cause who wants to think about losing hair? (especially if it's as gorgeous as Sharon's)
Anyway, we trouped in there like a bunch of dopes, grabbed some heads of hair, and headed back to try some on.

We weren't going to let Sharon do this alone. We all tried on samples, with varying results. I'll let you be the judge...

These two look like sisters in the 'hood!

A blonde?!!


Love it!

Shirley Temple lives!

She got this one - gorgeous! We did remove the tag.....
We all got one!

Love you, friends....

Remember: Pray for the election and our country!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tulsa Run

Wish I'd Done That: For my fussy little ones, I put them in the car (in their car seats, of course) and drove around for a while. It calmed my nerves, and put them right to sleep. Getting them out of the car was another matter, but I'm sure you will figure that out!

Ace Runs!
Ace has been training for the Tulsa Run for a few months, and Saturday, he completed it...He ran the 5K, and had lots of fun. Here, he's just crossed the finish line. He said he passed 2 pregnant women and a man with a wooden leg!

We got up early Saturday and headed south for the big race. We stayed to watch the Kenyan win the 15K. He's a runner with the Razorbacks.

There were about 9,000 runners here, and 630 ran the Tulsa Run in Iraq. Really a neat deal.

I think Ace really liked the swag he got after the race, snacks, candy bars, etc.

He set a goal and accomplished it. Great!

Hey, if anyone has a recipe for an applesauce/carrot cake, I'm looking for a good one for the church mission dinner later in November.

Have a great week!