Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Yes, we do.  Sometimes we can't see past ourselves.  Everything we do is for our good.  We make rash decisions on bad advice.  The only thing that matters is NOW.

I'm in the middle of an Esther study and am learning so much!  Sometimes the Old Testament Bible stories are worth a second look (and third, and fourth).  One of the characters we studied was King Xerxes.  He was a tyrant!  Almost everything we know about him is that he was power-hungry and loved his wine.  He loved his wine so much it impaired his thinking...and he used his power frivolously.  The girls chosen for his harem were never reunited with their families.  Women were used and disposed of - only Esther was able to influence him for good. God worked through her to save his people.  One of the application questions at the end of the lesson asked us if we were like Xerxes in any way...and my knee-jerk reaction was well, ABSOLUTELY NOT!!

But I have to stop and examine myself:

Do I choose pleasure over responsibility?
Do I believe everything I hear?
Do I have a problem with anger-management?
Do I surround myself with wise counsel?
Do I make rash decisions?   

We all would like to say, "Absolutely not," but truthfully there are some things here that we need to stop and think about.

Monday, February 24, 2014


I couldn't decide how to title this post: "Some bad birthday pictures," or "Almost breaking my arm on my husband's birthday, " or just "The healthy birthday cake."  So there's all you need to know about this weekend!  

We went downtown OKC to bike even though it is February and cold and windy.  I was game for whatever the birthday boy wanted to do...don't I look safe with my helmet buckled right under my lip?  Ha - it probably was too tight with the ear band I wore but I didn't care how I looked.  I was trying to stay warm!  Here we are by a really cool sculpture - no name - down by the Devon boathouse.  It's new since last fall.

Oh, and did I mention I fell over when about halfway through the ride we decided to turn around because of the wind?  I attempted to turn around without stopping, lost my balance, couldn't get my foot out of the pedal basket, and fell over, bruising my left arm up pretty good.  Maybe I'll share a pic when it gets to be really pretty colors...


Awkward pic celebrating Dad's birthday at Fish City Grill

Ahhh...probably what you came for!  I'll never be a food photographer, but here you go!  I got this from Pinterest and the cake is really good.  It's definitely an UPGRADE from the normal birthday cake I would make.  My husband is on a no refined sugar kick and this cake gets it's sweet from pure maple syrup!  It also has grated carrots, beet, and zucchini in it.  We loved the cake but the frosting has a weird wang.  Probably from the goat cheese in the frosting.  The frosting did have powdered sugar in it, so my husband just scraped it off.  I would definitely make this cake again, different frosting, though!

 Harvest Cake
Makes one 9" layer cake
For the cake:
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder 
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 1/3 cup grated carrots 
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup finely grated beets
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins 
1 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 
2/3 cup safflower, canola or other mild-tasting oil
4 eggs
For the frosting:
15 ounces (about 2 cups) fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
6 ounces (about 3/4 cup) cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup
For garnish
8-12 walnut halves or 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
Arrange oven racks to divide oven into thirds. Preheat oven to 400° F Grease two 9in x 2in cake pans, dust with a spoonful of flour and tap out. Line each with a round of parchment paper.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, stir together carrots, zucchini, beets, nuts, and raisins.
In a large mixing bowl, beat maple syrup and oil together until emulsified. Add eggs one at a time, beating until batter is smooth. Add flour mixture in three or four batches, mixing gently until mixture is even. Gently mix in the vegetable mixture. Divide between baking pans.
Place one baking pan in center of each of the racks. Bake 25-35 minutes, until a skewer or paring knife inserted into centers comes out clear and cakes are pulling away from the sides of pans. Cool on a rack about 5 minutes, then gently remove from pans. Cool to room temperature before frosting.
To make frosting:
Using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon and a strong arm, beat goat cheese and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat at low speed until well blended. Beat in maple syrup. Chill about 30 minutes, until firm.

To assemble:
Following our instructions on how to frost a layer cake, cut four strips of parchment or wax paper to line cake plate under the cake's edges. Place first cake layer on plate. If it has a peaked top, carefully shave it off using a bread knife or sharp slicing knife. Using an off-set spatula or table knife, spread with frosting, pushing it to edges. Place second layer, top down, squarely on first layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting over entire cake to eliminate crumbs. Frost with remaining frosting. Arrange walnut halves and/or flowers around edge. Can also be garnished by gently pressing handfuls of finely chopped walnuts into frosting.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


A friend of mine remarked how Valentine's Day was one of her favorite holidays because "You don't have to do anything big, like cook a turkey."  I have to agree with her!  I made some cookies and decorated them for senior lunch and as you can see they weren't Pinterest-worthy but they were made with love and I think they enjoyed them.  Something else I did spontaneously was send pics of my vintage valentines by phone text to random friends.  I had a lot of fun with that.  Both of these things I decided to do that day!  Funny for me, the planner.

My college son borrowed his grandma's 50 year old Corvair convertible to take his girlfriend out on a date - cool surprise!  Grandma loved being a part of that! 

Chocolate bread pudding
 The hubs and I don't always do something big, but this year I made reservations at the newly remodeled movie theater at Penn Square Mall.  They have recliners now!  Nice.  We saw "Monuments Men" and also ate at the mall at Pepperoni Grill.  He surprised me by not driving home that night, but went north about a half-mile and turned right into the Waterford Marriott where we spent the night!  It was fun and he had taken care of everything!

I love traditions but that also builds expectations.  And for me I feel the pressure to always be making it wonderful.  Maybe some holidays we should just be more spontaneous, change it up year to year, and make it a surprise!  This one was for me.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Organic Squeeze...had to stop by and try it!  This guy used to be an intern with our youth group, so I wanted to check out his shop.  He and his brother have opened an organic juice bar here in OKC, and all due to their mother's healthy influence way back when...

We stopped by Saturday morning with our Starbucks in hand (yes, really- Starbucks is just two doors down) just to see if Mike was in and he was!  After all the niceties, we bought some beet juice and he gave me the sales pitch.  Everything, I mean everything in their store is organic.  So it's not cheap.  But you can feel good about your purchase and know that you are adding life to your body, not taking it away.

I had actually looked for beet juice a few years ago, when my daughter suggested it for red blood cell production.  Since we were headed to Colorado's thin air, she suggested that the more red blood cells I had, the better I would adjust to the altitude.  The only problem was that it was pretty scarce.  Even the juice shops we had around here, beet juice was a trace ingredient.  So we made our own with her juicer, and added some apple juice to make it more palatable.

I'm happy to say Mike's Organic Squeeze makes a pretty good beet juice drink, with beet juice as the first ingredient!

Friday, February 14, 2014


I love them!  Even though there's no way some of these would be printed today - they just point back to simpler times and give me a connection to relatives long gone.  I have a collection of about 50 vintage valentines, mostly because my Grandma gave me some things of her little daughter who died at age 7 of a heart condition.  These are all Myrna Rae's, from the 1940's,  and I love to set them out in different places around the house or some years display them as a bunch on heart-shaped trays.  Here's just a few:

Thursday, February 13, 2014


or in other words, "what my girl in Colorado has been up to"!  Besides spending 22 minutes cleaning the ice and snow off her windshield in the morning?  That actually doesn't happen too often - since she rents a house with two other girls she has to park her car outside sometimes.  They have a schedule for who gets to put their car in the garage.  Makes me appreciate my garage and my status in life a little more.  :)
She went on a girls weekend to Estes Park in January.  A friend of hers had a birthday and her parents got them a cabin for the weekend.  The girls didn't spend time giggling or telling secrets - no, not these girls!  The went snowshoeing in Rocky Mt. Nat'l Park and all those kinds of fun (?) things.  I'm a nature lover myself, just not in 25 degree weather!

Skiing on New Year's Day!

Monday, February 10, 2014


There's been a little seed growing in me...ANGER OVER INTERRUPTIONS.  I'm confessing this because I'm recognizing once again that the smallest thing can grow into something ugly and we all have those things.  So I'm working on it and praying for forgiveness.

When the kids were small, interruptions were a part of life.  Most of the time I happily took care of their needs - getting up in the middle of the night, solving disputes, drying tears.  Playing taxi driver was a time to get to know them and their friends better.  I absolutely loved (and still do) shopping for them, making meals, packing lunches for them.  They needed me.  But as they grew and I gained back some time of my own, I guess I had come to expect a certain amount of time to myself.


There's the problem - expectations.  Feeling entitled to what I think I deserve.  Emphasis on me.  Nowadays most things go the way I like - I'm blessed to have a schedule that serves others on my terms.  I don't watch the clock a lot.  I have a general time I like to do things and hardly anything gets in the way.  Life is comfortable - maybe too comfortable!  Therefore, this is how I have started to have anger over interruptions.  I was laughing at myself the other day - do you think it's a sin to be angry during Quiet Time?  I can imagine God shaking his head...The cat interrupts me, a singing husband interrupts me, a teen leaves earlier than normal -  maybe I should choose some room where I can shut the door and guarantee no interruptions?  The last two Sundays my afternoon ritual of reading the paper and then snoozing has been interrupting by kitchen noise.  The hubs was doing something good of course.  Was I happy about it?  No.  I felt my time had been interrupted - he should know by now that is what I like to do every Sunday afternoon...

Matthew 14 recounts how Jesus reacted when he was interrupted:  When Jesus heard what had happened (his cousin John's death), he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.  He continued to minister even though he was looking for solace.  Life just interrupts sometimes and we sometimes have to take care of things and look forward to rest later.

So, just FYI for all you young mothers out there, life does get easier in some ways.  You will get more sleep eventually!  You won't have so many little daily interruptions.  But even with a houseful of older kids, there are still interruptions.  Get over yourself.  Expect them.  Better yet, embrace them.  I'm trying...  

Friday, February 7, 2014


Because you get some good recipes!  

Most Thursday mornings I spend with a group of ladies studying the Bible and once a month we have a luncheon.  Sometimes we swap some good recipes - this one for Cauliflower soup.  I am not a Cauliflower fan but I really liked this!  I know why after getting the recipe from my friend - lots of real cream and butter in it!

Funny thing is, I saw the name on the recipe in the book and knew who it was!  We both taught at the same Mother's Day Out program years ago, and then our daughters were roommates in college.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


My son received a candy bouquet at the Follies talent show recently, and it was so cute!  I don't know why I had never thought of this, all these years my kids have been in performing arts! (Actually I think I probably had seen them but was too frugal or thinking something healthier) I usually give them some candy and some gift cards, along with a proud parent note.  But now you know, this is the perfect bouquet for a boy!

All you need is about 20 different candies, 20 wooden skewers, cellophane, and ribbon!  Tape each candy onto a wooden skewer, gather them together and secure, and you have a candy bouquet!  Fake flowers can be added if wanted.  Wrap in cellophane and finish with a big bow.

If you need more instructions, I'm sure you could find them on pinterest, and I'm thinking how fun it would be to make a gift card bouquet for some special occasion!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Two pretty cool things happened Friday in our family - well, the hub's side!  The family continues to grow and I pray that all these new little people will be healthy and faithful Christians in the future!
This adoption happened in my sister-in-law's family.  These two sisters came to stay at the children's home and they grew to love them and want a permanent situation for them.  Although they have three children (ages 26-30) and three grandchildren, they adopted the girls as their own.  What a wonderful act of selflessness!

Also I got to go to my first Gender Reveal party!  My niece is expecting her first baby so family and friends gathered to find out the news.  It was a fun way to spend a Friday night!

 The hubs helps his twin brother - the grandpa - with the drinks.  
 Yummy goodies and cute cookies!
  Everyone was encouraged to grab a handful of pink or turquoise confetti, 
whichever one you thought the baby might be - 
pink for a girl or turquoise for a boy!
 They had a big balloon with confetti in it, wrapped in paper, 
which they popped in front of everyone.  It was turquoise! 
 They're pretty excited to have a boy and a little cousin for this sweet one!