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!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Warm Up with Soup

Wish I'd Done That: If your little one is teething, freeze a good-sized carrot. Let them hold it and chew on it. The cold will calm down their aching gums, and they will get a little nutrition to boot!

Tortilla Soup

The weather has turned colder here, so I thought I'd share a favorite soup with you. My company has a 10th anniversary cookbook, and it's filled with marvelous stuff.

Since we are all in some degree "foodies" this cookbook is filled with our family favorites.

This soup, from the lovely Roopa (also her husband, Bijon) is enjoyed at our house several times during the cold months.

The addition of refried beans gives a great thickening texture I really like.

Bijon's Easiest Tortilla Soup

1 30 oz. can refried beans (I use non-fat)

1 can chicken broth (or equivalent)

1 10 oz. can Ro-Tel

1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with onions & garlic

3/4 Cup water

6 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch strips

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 Cup cooked, shredded chicken

1/2 Cup sour cream (room temperature)

1/2 Cup grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

1 avocado, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Warm tortilla strips on a cookie sheet until lightly browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool. In a big saucepan, combine beans, chicken broth, Ro-Tel, canned tomatoes, water, cumin and cayenne pepper; heat to just under boiling. Pour into bowls; top with tortilla strips, grated cheese, sour cream and avocado.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Christian Challenge

Wish I'd Done That: Let your little ones "help" you in the kitchen. Yes, I know it makes your job harder, but in the long run, they will get used to being in there helping you. Trust me, it will be worth it in the loooonnnggg run. They can wash veggies, set the table, measure flour(!) and cut in the shortening. Take pictures, have Dad clean up the mess, and move on.

My spirit has been heavy these last weeks. Election ads are negative, the banks are in trouble, the stock market is a mess ~ you know.
I've just felt such a burden; a hopelessness.
Then someone reminded me: God is still in control November 4th, no matter the outcome.
I urge all Christians to PRAY now and after the election. We must be faithful to Biblical principles.
Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter, reminds us of Christians who've gone before us. In difficult circumstances, they stood for Godly values and went against popular thought.
Hebrews 12:1-2 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Heaven is filled with those who've gone before us. They are the witnesses (as is the rest of the world) of our behavior in these difficult times.
God is in control.
He still draws us to Himself.
He reigns for Eternity.
His children will live with Him Eternally in the new heaven and the new earth.
My spirit is calmer now; I know my Redeemer is in control.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Retail Theraphy

Wish I'd Done That: Set up a station by the back door (or in your garage) with bins for each one of your little darlings. (Maybe include your husband, too) Drop in backpacks, shoes, papers, coats, etc. You will know where the homework is and where it should go when finished. It might help with the early morning rush out the door.

Today, after a morning of training newbies at the Taster home, I headed south for some early Christmas shopping.
Now, don't hate me, but I had an idea, and when I get an idea for Ace, I've got to act on it, or I'll forget.
I will be hard-pressed to better last year's gift: a remote starter for the Chevy pickup. Ace has really enjoyed it; nothing is better on a cold morning than getting in a warm truck.

However, I think I've got a good candidate, but I had help from my grad school kid up north. I got it on Ebay: gosh, I'm such a techie...

Anyway, while shopping, I did manage to come up with a few things for myself, too. I'm not really a marathon shopper, but once in a while, it's great fun.

For the kids, tho, I've not started. Kids in college like gift cards to coffee houses, bookstores and restaurants.

Monday, October 20, 2008

TU in Top 25!

Wish I'd Done That: I've learned something recently: not everyone makes lists! I'm shocked. I thought this was a universal way of life.....Without a list, I'd be lost - what do I do next, when do I go where?, etc. Make a list of your main objectives for the week. Try this for a month; you might be surprised that you not only are more at ease, but that you get more done. When you have little ones, time is at a premium, so make a list!

Golden Hurricane

As you know, Ace and I are fans of the University of Tulsa. We support their academics and their athletics. Our oldest is an alum, now, too, and so we've spent lots of time there.

Nothing recently has been as exciting as these last few weeks at TU. We've been to the home games, and even followed them to Dallas for the SMU game.

To be an athlete at TU, you must meet certain academic requirements, and while not as exhaustive as those the regular students face, the athletes there are generally great kids who value the opportunity to receive a great education from a top 100 university.

We put up lots of points. In strictly a point-per-dollar deal, a ticket to a TU game will give you a lot of entertainment.

Saturday, TU played UTEP in what might have been a close contest. It was for a quarter: tied at 28 all after the 1st period. Lots of points, and not much defense. After that, TU's defense stood up and the offense went crazy.

My favorite player, Brennan Marion (the Milkman, because he always delivers!), had 150 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter. He finished the game (without playing the last quarter) with over 250 yards.

If you like college football, turn on ESPN Sunday night, Oct. 26th at 7 p.m. to watch TU play Central Florida. It won't be anything, if not a scoring extravaganza.....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friendly Thinking

I'm thankful for all my friends. Those who challenge me, make me laugh, support me and love me. A few years ago, I felt lonely for the type of friendship that Christian women have: support, care, concern and love. God brought several new women into my life as a result of that prayer.
He's given me so many over the years, but in our town, due to the major employer, people tend to move in and out, so many of my great friends have moved away.
With all really good friends, tho, time and distance make no difference. My friend, Robyn, and I could go without talking for years, and still pick right up where we left off. She is the greatest at showing me how to reach out to everyone, to challenge me to do the same. By nature, I'm the type to be lazy in friendship; she shows me how to keep at it, to always pay attention.
I so regret my laziness. I always think of great stuff, but don't always carry through with things. Why is that? I'm not sure, but it's definitely a character flaw.
All that to say:
Thanks, friends, for loving me in spite of my faults, for challenging me to be faithful and do the right thing, and for making me think. Sometimes, that's hardest of all.
God shows His love through His people. Friendship with a Christian sister is different than a friendship with a non-believer. We should have these friendships, because it spreads the Gospel of Christ, but those relationships with Christian sisters have the Holy Spirit in common, and oh, He makes all the difference. You've got an altogether deeper connection going on than with someone without Christ.
Pray for your friends. Be one. Reach out today to make another. He expects us to be His hands.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Open House

I'm deviating from my usual tips today to invite all to the Open House at my house tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We have matted prints and framed Scripture. Also, for something new and different, we've got photo boxes with Laura's prints in the photo space. A great wedding or baby gift.
Also, there are TWO new prints that are so new, the paint's not dry enough to scan it in. Come see what she's done now!
They are really different from her other art, so come take a look. We've also got specials, and we may give away something!
6883 Lee Dr. Bartlesville, OK

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aunt Myrtle

Wish I'd Done That: Let your little ones dress themselves! Is this fraught with danger? Yes, but how fun. It will be great fodder for stories later on. Seriously, they need to learn, and it will help you out (eventually). Let them choose between two outfits, and then let Joey have at it. You may want to practice this before a command performance with Aunt Myrtle, but he will soon get the hang of the whole dress yourself thing.
Aunt Myrtle

OK. This isn't really Aunt Myrtle; but I did really have one. Maybe my great, great or something? Anyway, Aunt Myrtle was a tightwad of the highest magnitude. She brought cakes or pies or something to a family dinner, and only cut half of it.

She said, "We don't need to eat all of this, anyway."

If there were leftovers, of course, Aunt Myrtle always took them home so they wouldn't go to waste.

Anytime anyone in our family serves a dessert and doesn't cut the whole thing, we call her Aunt Myrtle. I wish I'd known her. Do you suppose she deserves all our spoofing?

If Aunt Myrtle were alive, she wouldn't cut any of this pie; she'd want it all for herself!

Kathy's German Chocolate Pie

(from Ace's mom)

1 1/2 Cup sugar

2 Tblsp flour

3 Tblsp cocoa

2 eggs

1 can evaporated milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 Cup butter, melted

1/2 Cup coconut

1 Cup chopped pecans

1 unbaked pie shell

Mix sugar, flour and cocoa. Beat eggs lightly and add dry ingredients, milk, butter and vanilla. Stir in coconut and pecans. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 - 50 minutes, or until center looks like egg custard.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jana's Going South!!

Wish I'd Done That: I know it's tempting to let fussy sleepers into your bed, but fight the urge! It's easy to get started, and terribly hard to break that habit. Instead, for the toddlers, make a pallet on the floor next to your bed. Gradually, move the pallet away from the bed, towards the door. Then, it goes down the hall, ever closer to the child's room. Pretty soon, your little darling will be at home in their own room, and not in your bed!

One of my sisters is moving to Texas! I can't believe it, but it's true. Her husband has taken a job down there; they are moving November 1st. (She's the one on the far right)

She's lived in our home town, or very close to it, all her adult life. The small town is a great Western Kansas town of close-knit families, and long-time friends. Jana grew up there, raised her girls there, and didn't expect to ever leave it.

I know she is looking forward to this new adventure, but at the same time, she hates to leave our family behind. My brother and mom live there too, and they all see each other, get together and go to church together. It's been so wonderful for them.

Since I've never gotten to live close by the family, I know Jana's future feelings will be those of feeling sad at missing the milestones of my brother's girls, not seeing Mom whenever she feels like it, and not knowing the total history of everyone she meets.

Mullinville is a great town of community pride and taking care of one another. I'm sure the Pampa folks will welcome them, but it will be awhile before she's as comfortable there as she is now.

So, off on the great adventure, Jana. You'll be the only K-Stater for miles around, so you must "represent"!

The home folks will miss you, but we're already planning a January visit for sister-time.

Pray for Jana and Bart as they leave their home and head south.

Welcome them down in Pampa - she's my sis, after all, and I'd like to know she's being taken care of....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Soup for Friends

Wish I'd Done That: Organize your toys in clear plastic tubs you can see through. Make a game of putting away their toys while they are young, and they'll develop that habit before you know it. Do the same with craft supplies and sewing stuff, too.

During times of grief and stress, I cook. Maybe you do, too. A group of friends gathered to comfort one of our own, and I made this soup. It's a stick-to-the-ribs sort, but you'll have most of the stuff in your pantry.
Make a big pot of this and invite the neighbors over so they don't have to cook. Get a tub of ice cream, make some bread in your machine, and you are all set!

BC Mac & Cheese Soup

1 c. pasta, uncooked
¼ c butter
½ c finely chopped carrot
½ c finely chopped onion
½ c finely chopped celery
4 c milk
1 ½ c Velveeta
2 tsp chicken base
1 c frozen corn
½ c frozen peas
1 cup frozen broccoli (cut small)
1 mild Rotel

Cook pasta to al dente, drain, rinse. Melt butter and saute carrot, onion, celery and broccoli. Cook until tender. Combine milk and cheese – cook until cheese is melted. Stir in chicken base. Add pasta and veggie mixture. Heat. If too thin, thicken with a little cornstarch and water.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Golf Course?

Wish I'd Done That: Make long car trips more fun by allowing your kids to tell stories. Give them three dissimilar objects: i.e. a blue cat, a sleepy mommy and an old red shoe. They must use all the items in the story. It's amazing how creative they will be. However, I want to caution you: this may be a dangerous beginning of wild stories that never end. My oldest, told unbelievable tales that boggled the mind. On the other hand, my son always killed off the protagonist in short order. He did use all the objects in his stories, though. I'm not sure what all that means......

Speaking of being creative.....

While Ace was interviewing for his job here some 30 or so years ago, I came along to see what this place was like. After his discussion with the potential boss, said boss gave us a tour of the 'ville to show us what was available in housing. We wanted to get a feel of the place, so to speak.

We drove by parks, golf courses, housing additions, shopping centers, etc. We were driving along, and I saw an open field-type place, with trees and flowers. I said, "Oh, is this another golf course?" Ace turned around and looked at me like I was a crazy person. (The wife must sit in the back; that's my excuse...the view was bad from there)

His boss-to-be said, no, this is a cemetery!

I wanted to die!~(oops, that was an unintended pun, there...!)

I kept my mouth shut for the rest of the tour.

Not to worry, tho, Ace got the job, in spite of his loving, demented wife.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Laundry and forgetfulness

Wish I'd Done That: Go to your library before a trip and check out books on tape. Your kids will love this, once they get used to it! Their imaginations will swell (?) and they will be taken to another world as you travel......Anyway, they will really like this, once they get used to the idea. Start while they are young, and your kids will develop imaginations and be really smart, and go to Harvard........

OK, friends. How many of your ordered your Rotato Express yesterday? That's what I thought. You'll be sorry when Thanksgiving rolls around, and you are stuck in the kitchen with Aunt Myrtle peeling 25 tons of potatoes for your 52 cousins and their offspring. Don't say I didn't warn you...

I came home from work today (testing brats...not brats-the kids...) and wanted to move the wash to the dryer. Of course, the dryer was full, so I removed the laundry from the dryer, took it to my "folding station" - the couch, and folded it. While folding, I remembered I wanted to get a list together to copy 5 X 7 prints for next week's open house, and I went to the office to do that.

That caused me to see the disgusting state of the office, which required cleaning said office, and then....

2 hours later.....I went to the kitchen and saw the dryer open in the adjoining laundry room. I remembered my original idea of laundry.
Do you ever do that? hmmm.

Hey, no one is going to win the free 8 X 10, so you might want to post a blessing sometime today......

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rotato Express

Wish I'd Done That: Have a craft box available for your kids. Include the usual, but also add felt, glitter (don't laugh) old magazines, foam sheets, fabric scraps. Create an area that is easy-to-clean (or just relax and clean it up when the kids are done...), and let them at it. It's important to encourage that creativity, and it keeps them busy for quite a while!

I love to cook. I don't, however, love to peel potatoes. When my kids were at home, they consumed large amounts of said potato. Since I love my progeny (good word, huh?) I would break down and peel away.
Every summer for 10 years or so, I've gone to Falls Creek, a Baptist youth encampment. I have cooked for 60 - 100 people, 3 meals a day for 6 days. It's quite an undertaking, but I've always enjoyed it so much.
Once during that week, we would serve baked turkey and all the trimmings. This includes LOTS of mashed potatoes. That takes lots of time, but we did it, because nothing is like homemade.
One summer, my friend Kendra brought her Rotato Express for peeling potatoes. I must admit, I laughed to myself. How would it work, and is she crazy?
Well........It worked so well, we had kids vying to operate the crazy thing. It makes quick work of something messy, and your kids might actually want to operate it. Even your husband...
Rotato Express

We found out last year, that if we washed the potatoes first, we could use the peel for a super snack of fried potato skins. Serve them with seasoned salt, and ranch dip and your family or guests will think you are all that!
They are only $20, and Thanksgiving is coming. Google "rotato express" and it will come up.
Just trying to help; you know me!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Wish I'd Done That: Don't volunteer too much while your kids are small. I know you like to get out among people, and you do need to volunteer, but just be conscious of how much you're away from your family. Trust me, when your kids are gone, you'll have lots of time to donate!

I had surgery recently, and was out of circulation (so to speak) for 6 weeks. Growing up in a small Kansas town, I learned from an early age to care for one another and to pay attention to those who needed help. So I notice when people care for one another.....
During my "confinement" my church family rallied around me and cared for me in such lovely ways. It wasn't just my close friends in church, either. Those who are my friends, but I don't talk to all the time. You know what I'm saying...
God blessed me and humbled me and reminded me that little things do matter
Take the time to email someone who's hurting; call your friend who's in crisis; take a meal, pay a visit, send a card.
I always think of lots of ways to help, but don't always do what I think. I let the business of life get in my way.
DO IT! Those little things really do make a difference. While I felt so bad, I knew many were praying for me and thinking of me.
So thanks, friends, for the prayers, meals, cards and calls. I really do appreciate your kindnesses.

"Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ" Galations 6:3

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Favorite Places

Wish I'd Done That: We always took our kids on a vacation every year. If you have to scrimp to do it, be sure you do. Time away from home as a family is important; you'll build family memories that will last forever.

My Favorite Places

New York




But, of course, my favorite place of all is home....
We enjoy sitting outside at our fire pit, beside our little pond, and relax and talk. A simple thing I'm thankful for.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Count Your Blessings

Wish I'd Done That: Keep a small trash bag in your car. An old gift sack works great. Train your little ones with a game of "toss the wrapper in the bag" or whatever! It will help keep your car neater and save you time when you clean out your car.


"...there will be showers of blessing." Ezekiel 34:26

Here are my 3 biggest blessings. I'm not going to list all the Lord has given me, but of course, He is in all my blessings.

What are your blessings? I'm giving away one of our prints to the most creative blessing listed by a reader. On Friday, I'll announce the winner. Leave a comment with your "interesting" blessing. I'd love to list some of them.........

Friday, October 3, 2008


Wish I'd Done That: Plan menus ahead. Before you shop, make an outline of possible meals for the week. You'll feel more prepared for the week if you know where you're going meal-wise. You might even want to prep some items on the weekend, to avoid that last-minute crush.

This crazy nut is my friend Sharon, country woman extraordinaire. She is such great fun, and so caring. Pray for her today. She's got a diagnosis we don't like, but I'm standing on God's promise of healing and peace. She's having a procedure today, so she needs your prayers. Thanks.....

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Clergy Appreciation

Wish I'd Done That: When your kids are young, find yourself a good Mother's Day Out program. Lots of churches have them and they are available at day care centers, too. Give yourself one day to go to lunch, read, run errands, or take a nap! It's money well spent....

Clergy Appreciation Month
Did you know October is Clergy Appreciation Month? It's a great time to thank your pastor(s); let them know you appreciate their efforts. Send them a note; better yet, send them a gift. This painting Laura did for her husband, Bill, is the October special on Many pastors are fishermen, and all of us are to be "Fishers of Men"

Our pastor is just about perfect. He's been at our church for many years; you'd think we'd know his faults, but really, he's just a wonderful shepherd to his flock. I admire his leadership, wisdom and grace under hard conditions. I pray God will bless him and his wife and family as their ministry continues at our church.
What a great guy! He's a missionary kid who grew up in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), and played soccer at Baylor. What's not to love? Thanks, so much, Paul for loving us and leading us. I pray God's mercies on you, Carol and the kids.
Lest anyone think I'm getting too sentimental........Love you, Paul and Carol!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Wish I'd Done That: In the trunk of your car, always carry: blankets, changes of clothes, coats, bottles of water, crackers, books. You'll be surprised how much those things will help when you get stuck somewhere. Put it all in a bin, and it will stay out of your way until you need it.

Fall Color

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us fro the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8:38-39

Praise Him today for all He Is! What are your blessings?