Monday, July 27, 2015

SHAMELESS PLUG...

Our oldest son just turned 24 years old this past week!  He's a pretty cool guy and we like having him around.  He continues to promote his media business and here's the latest in Brides of Oklahoma!


Other projects he's enjoyed doing are some t-shirt designs and Instagram commercials - at least that's what I call them for Roxy's Ice cream, and even doing some jobs where he gets to meet our Governor!
 The Governor and Son #1 at the mining company

Another project he's been working on - a table out of a cable spool.  You just never know what you'll see around our house...



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

MAKING THE MOST OF A QUICK TRIP...

I'm always ready to go on a trip, but the ones where you drive longer than you are actually at your destination, well, just kinda wear me out!

But, when it involves a sweet bride you've known for many years, and your daughter, you just have to go!  So we drove all day Friday and Sunday and spent Saturday in Nashville, Tennessee.  I tried to plan some fun stops if we had time.

We finally found a good place to eat between Little Rock and Memphis!  It's in Brinkley, Arkansas, on I-40, called Cottage Mall and Cafe.  My Pimento Cheese Melt was delicious!




We picked our Colorado girl up at the airport late Friday night.  Then Saturday morning, Hubs ran with our girl while I shopped the Nashville Farmer's market.


After cleaning up we drove down to Murfreesboro where we ate lunch and toured Oaklands.  It's a historic mansion built in 1815.  It was almost demolished in 1950 to make room for more houses but the ladies of Murfreesboro stepped in and saved it.  Way to go, girls!

There were lots of original furniture pieces in the house and lots of stories.  The Civil War battle of Murfreesboro was fought just down the block.  We had a really great guide and I loved it.
Can you imagine standing in this bathtub while someone washes you? 


Finally, the reason for the trip - the wedding of our sweet friend! 


All of these Okies came to Tennessee for the wedding! Almost  all of them graduated in 2008 from our high school.  Kinda neat to see them again, many with spouses this time!



Sunday, July 19, 2015

MY CRANBERRY ORANGE OBSESSION...

 It all started with Orange Cranberry Muffins...

Then I found this recipe for Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies the other day that is relatively healthy if you are trying to avoid sugar.
 (http://practicalstewardship.com/2014/12/05/cranberry-orange-oatmeal-breakfast-cookies/)  I liked it okay, but they got too soft for me the next day.  I like crunch.  Needless to say I have tried several recipes lately.  But here is a wonderful crunchy granola recipe I think is a keeper!



CRANBERRY ORANGE SPICE GRANOLA
 This orange spice granola is flavored with orange zest, cinnamon and spices,and loaded with sweet cranberries and crunchy nuts. Author: Alissa from Connoisseurusveg.com, with adaptations from RW

INGREDIENTS
  ½ cup orange juice (I used 2 real oranges for this)
  ¼ cup brown sugar
  ¼ cup maple syrup
  ¼ cup almond butter (I used fresh made peanut butter)
  1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1 tsp. orange zest
  ¼ cup coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
  3 cups rolled oats (I used a mix of quick and old fashioned)
  1 cup sliced almonds (I used chopped pecans and walnuts)
  ½ cup shredded coconut
  2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  2 tsp. powdered ginger
  1 tsp. ground star anise* (I did not have)
  ½ tsp. ground cloves
  ¼ tsp. salt
  1 cup dried cranberries

INSTRUCTIONS
1  Preheat oven to 300ยบ. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
2  Place orange juice, brown sugar, maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla extract and orange zest into small saucepan. Whisk together and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat, whisking very frequently, until thick and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in oil.
3  Stir oats, almonds, coconut, spices and salt together in large mixing bowl. Add orange juice mixture and stir until oats are evenly coated.
4  Spread mixture in 2 even layers on baking sheets. Bake until edges become lightly browned, about 35 minutes.
5  Transfer baking sheets to cooling racks. Allow to cool completely. Add cranberries and transfer to airtight storage container.


NOTE:  I baked it about 10 minutes longer than suggested and also stirred it a few times to get more surfaces toasted.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

THE BOOK I ATE UP PLUS A FEW OTHERS...

THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP 
by Marie Kondo
We listened (yep you heard that right, I subjected my husband to this book) on CD on our way to Texas for a business trip recently.  Loved, loved, loved it!  Marie has some basics that really resonate with me:  1)  Do your decluttering all at once.  Take a room and get it done.  Reasons for this are so that you have some satisfaction and will never want to go back to it the way it was before.  Your life will be so calm it will really energize you in a way you never knew.  Organization of what remains comes later.  Do not get sidetracked by organization!  2)  Handle each and every item.  Ask yourself, "Does this spark joy?"  If not, get rid of it.  It served its purpose and you are finished with it.  3)  Go in this order - clothing, books, paper, decorative items, memorablia.  You must do it this way so that you start with functional items that are not so hard to let go of, then as you are successful you will gain confidence and want to continue.  Makes sense to me!  Actually I have read this before in other article about decluttering.  But I really like these ideas.  One other funny thing she talks about a lot in this book is showing your things respect for working so hard for you.  Thank your house, your shoes, your purse for what they do for you.  As you say goodbye to items, tell them thank you for their service and then say, " now you may go and serve someone else."  She has motivated me to get busy tidying up!

300 SANDWICHES
by Stephanie Smith
This is the true story of a journalist in NYC who, after making her boyfriend a sandwich, was told by him, "make 299 more sandwiches this good and I'll give you an engagement ring." She ended up on the Today Show and getting all kinds of attention at about sandwich #150.  Not only does she include recipes for unique sandwiches, you get to hear about their ups and downs in their courtship.  An interesting read, and if you are interested in exotic sandwiches like 'Grilled goat cheese with fig' you might even want to try her recipes!

PLAYING BIG
by Tara Mohr
This is a book on leadership for women.  Tara speaks to education of girls in the United States, expectations and recognitions, and how different  it is when women go out in their careers.  She talks about being bolder and having confidence in your ideas.  She also addresses our need for approval and how to stop undermining yourself with your words.  This book brought to light many things for me as a leader and I hope to be able to recognize and change some of my habits to be a better leader.  Extremely helpful!  Another book I listened to on CD!

PAPER HEARTS
by Courtney Walsh
This is a fictional love story.  I hadn't read much fiction lately so it was a nice break!  I got interested in it when I listened to a testimony the author gave about her life.  She had a book on the bestseller list recently, so I wanted to check this one out.  It's about two Christians who meet after one has lost a spouse to death.  Theirs is a business relationship turned romance, set in Colorado.  I really like the way the author weaves the character's thoughts in prayer into the story.  If you are looking for a fun read, this is it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

ANZAC BISCUITS ON MISSIONS SUNDAY...




Our congregation just held it's once a year collection for mission projects around the world, called Missions Sunday!  We have some creative people that keep it fresh from year to year, and this year they asked each class to worship in their classroom in the style of the country they chose.  Our class chose New Zealand, where we support a recent college graduate.  What we found out about worship New Zealand-style was that their worship is very much like what we are used to in the US.  After talking with them, I found out they dress very casually and I got several song suggestions from them for our worship time.

We also usually have coffee and donuts in our class.  I wanted to have some kind of of New Zealand-style food so I found a recipe for Anzac biscuits.  Always good to try something new!  Anzac biscuits are cookies made with oatmeal and coconut.  ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps and the story is that back in WWI the soldiers wives would make these and send them because they would keep well (there's no eggs in the recipe).  They taste pretty good, too!  They still celebrate Anzac day once a year, similar to our Veteran's Day.

Here's the recipe (adapted) if you want to try it out:

ANZAC biscuits

1 cup quick oats
1 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup butter
1 T Karo syrup
2 T boiling water
1 t baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix first four ingredients in a bowl.  In microwave, melt butter and Karo together.  In another small cup, mix boiling water and baking soda.  Add to the butter mixture.  Add the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.  Form into small balls and flatten before baking. Put on greased cookie sheets and bake approx. 15 minutes or until brown on edges.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US...

For our family, the fourth of July is a celebration for America and party for our family's June & July birthdays!  We celebrated with some swimming at our house and gifts and fireworks later at my sister's house.  Words unspoken but I'm pretty sure we were all remembering my sister's husband John who loved fireworks so much and always bought plenty for us to enjoy.   





The birthday bunch!  Can you guess who's 73, 51, 49, 24, 20, and 18?


Sunday, July 5, 2015

MY TWENTY YEAR OLD (!) BABY...

Hard to believe we don't have any teenagers anymore!  My baby just turned 20 years old.  It was pretty low-key.  He worked and went out with friends.  I made them dinner and just had to share the CHEAPEST BIRTHDAY CAKE EVER...I thought it looked pretty cool though with the different shapes on the tray.


 See what I mean?  Shhh...don't tell about my bargain!


Something else special happened for him -  he got to promote his business on a morning show here locally.  He was pumped!  These are pictures I took of the TV during it.
 The first spot he was interviewed about popular flavors and his business.
 They also showed his friends (that work there) playing the yard games they have out for customers.
 They did three different spots during the show and he did great.  Hopefully lots more people know about the snow cone shack now!

He is a really hard working young man with a compassionate heart!  He really enjoys his customers and talking with them.  Needless to say, we are pretty proud parents (after all my misgivings about him getting into this business venture last year).  I said it before and I'll say it again, "You never know what adventures you will go on as a parent!"