Wednesday, July 30, 2014

We Interrupt the Recipe Posts. .For Life!

Who is up for a little mish mash post??
Yeah. .
Me too!
We had about a week of regular scheduling after vacation and the fair. .
That allowed us a little fun time. .
And a chance to photograph the gardens!
My friend Tif owns her own art studio. .
I am NOT artistic especially. .
But I have discovered that I LOVE painting on canvas!!
I have painted a collection of different sized cross canvases. .
as well as a three canvas rainbow tree.
My last adventure. .
included birds. .
And I have gotten them hung up over our bed.
The window was from my great-grandparent's homestead place. .
My friend Missy drank some wine with me while we used her Cricket to cut out the letters.
I LOVE the way the whole conglomeration turned out!!
Granny got a little older last week. .
And we celebrated with a party!
Cami was glad to help her open all the gifts!
Everyone was back into work schedules. .
Cami had a dentist appointment way out of town that allowed us some water park and shopping time too. .
we are hoping that those 2 front teeth will show up by the next appointment in 6 months!
Kids are now enrolled for school which starts in about 11 days. .
Senior pictures have been scheduled. .
Some of us have celebrated a BIG anniversary. .
You'll have to stop back by to see what we did!
We had some dates with our beloved preacher and wife before they moved to their next mission field.
And we felt our first earthquake. .
Ya know. .
just routine things!!
Needless to say. .
the garden has been a little neglected. .
Praise GOD for the cooler temperatures and abundant rain he has provided!!
Aren't the yellow/purple daylilies LUSCIOUS?!?
Daylilies are my new big plan around here!! Hoping to plant a few more varieties!
I have loved these tremendously!!
There are plenty of weeds with the plenty of water. .
Seems to go hand in hand!
The Karly Rose grass that has been transplanted twice has taken off. .
I think that I will divide it this fall.
Also loving the black jack sedum in the front of it.
Another shot of the same grass. .
The tiger eye sumac is in the front and the yellow daylily can be seen in the far back with a cluster of morning glories. .
This little garden is taking off too.
I am liking the small seed heads on the tall grass in the back. .
Though I can't remember what it is called.
Also my salvia and goldenrod are doing well!
Wish I could get that salvia to spread like it did at its original home on Sherlock Street!
Just couldn't resist another photo of the coneflowers!
They look especially nice with the numerous Swallowtail butterflies that are humming around here!
Speaking of coneflower. .
Here is a double white one hiding among the moonflower foliage!
And a double purple. .
Razzmatazz variety I think!
My 99 cent canna bulbs are coming up. I LOVE this orange Mexican zinnia. .
I need to collect these seeds for sure!! Also the blue fescue is growing well. .
And it should make a reappearance next year!
I have joked since we moved here 16 years ago. .
That SOME day. .
I would have a huge fence to block the dead vehicle view. .
The dead car lot spells EYESORE. .
or SALARY. .
depending on WHOSE eyes you look through!
I have since decided that a living fence would be the way to go. .
You can see. .
That when I move from the back door down to reclining chairs on the patio. .
That I can almost NOT see all the non-functional cars and trucks!
And when I sink a little lower. .
It won't be long until it is all hidden from sight!!
Woo hoo!
The potatoes were all dug out of this nearest bed a few weeks ago..
They are YUMMY!!
The chickens are ravishing the rest of the beds!!
I think we will get to eat the tomatoes that are too high for them to reach. .
But the melons and spaghetti squash are hot items for the beaked creatures. .
And they are even picking off bell peppers and gnawing little holes in them too!!
They are gonna get left in the pens for a few days. .
In hopes that we can come up with a temporary fencing option that will keep them OUT!
Grr. .
Chicken soup. .Chicken dumplings. .FRIED chicken. .
Call ahead for the menu of the day :-)
So. .that is about it. .
All the family and garden news I have. .
We had over 2 inches of rain here over the last 24 hours. .
And the weather station promises UNBELIEVABLE temperatures in the 80's around here. .
We'll take that for the beginning of August!!
Hope you all have a FANTASTIC weekend!!
Be back soon!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You have GOT to try these!!

Oh Devin. .
He is a funny guy at that "tween" phase of life.
He and I tried out several different recipes before he decided what he wanted to bake for the fair.
He did NOT go wrong with these. .
And now his dad badgers him constantly to fix them!
Devin got great placings on both his baked items. .
He also took some photos, a couple of woodburned projects, and a pen of Black Australorp chickens
He was pretty tickled with his 2nd place ribbon on the chickens. .
And he even got a special "cock" award (as my husband and Uncle Nick called it) for Reserve Champion chickens. .
It had a "gold" chicken. .
on the top of his trophy!
He's already thinking about what projects he wants to try out next year in 4-H. .
But, I'm pretty sure that baking. .
will still be on the list!!
So. .
Run to the grocery store RIGHT now. .
Whip these bars up for yourself. .
And wash them down with a BIG glass of ice cold milk!!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
10 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Fleur de sel (or other sea salt), for sprinkling over caramel and bars


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square pan; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, mix together the melted butter and sugars on medium speed until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream. Microwave on high until the caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes.
5. Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Pour the hot caramel over the dough cookie dough and spread into an even layer, leaving some empty space around the edges. Sprinkle the caramel with the sea salt. Drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently spread the dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.
6. Bake the cookie bars for 30 minutes, or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool the bars on a wire rack to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set. Cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe taken from

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Easy Enough. .A SIX year old can do it!

If you have been hangin around here long enough. .
You have undoubtedly seen my daughter's love for cooking with her mama!
My mom snagged a kids' cook book at an auction and gave it to Cami.
She looked all through the book and tagged a recipe for Lemon Blueberry Muffins that she wanted to make. .
After eating them. .
She decided that she for SURE. .
could take them to the fair!!
And THAT. .
we did!!
She stirred and stirred and counted out ingredients. .
Picked the three that looked the best to her little eyes. .
And got 2nd place and a BIG pink ribbon!!
They are the moistest blueberry muffins that I have ever made. .
And have a delightful hint of lemon flavor from the yogurt. .
Which even our little grocery store carried.
If you can't find lemon yogurt. .
We also used plain yogurt with 1 tsp of lemon extract in it with good success.
Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
1 large egg
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 oz container of lemon yogurt
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Beat egg with a fork; stir in baking mix, sugar, oil and yogurt just until mixed. Batter will be thick. Fold in blueberries (we used frozen, unthawed berries). Dip out into 12 regular size muffin cups and bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Whew. .What a Schedule!!

Lesson learned. .
Take a vacation the week before the fair!!
Boy was I out of sync all week!!
One should allow an entire week to resume a normal schedule. .
BEFORE one tries to power through another not normal schedule. .
This crew came for a weekend visit at the end of our wild week. .
And we enjoyed every minute of that!!
My baby brother Nick and his family spent Friday through Sunday running around with us!
We enjoyed a tour through Alabaster Caverns. .
one of our favorite places!
Which included some hiking and critter sightings!
Cami advised me that THIS was her favorite adventure of the weekend!
She also loved playing with her cousins. .
And trying to pick up this big ole guy and kiss on him as much as he would let her!!
A woman never wants to hear shrieking coming from the bathroom when company is present. .
Especially if she is to find mile high bubbles everywhere and two panicking girls who can't find the "off'" switch on the air tub!!
There was lots of trampoline activity. .
That even sucked in the  more mature crowds. .
And I suspect. .
That Santa may be dropping one out of his sleigh for the old guy next Christmas!
I LOVE taking photos. .
And got to do some family pictures for them while they were here. .
This guy. .
And this young lady. .
Were the easiest ones to work with!!
This was the man-li-est photo that we could get of Teegan!
He was not too impressed with the whole deal!
And THIS guy. .wouldn't smile and look at me at the same time. .
It was one or the other!!
We did get fairly tickled at them though. .
When it got past the annoyance stage, right Steph??
It was a little like photographing an ant den. .
but they were quicker than ants!!
Much quicker!
There were plenty of photos that got trashed. .
But enough that showed the kids' personalities. .
That I think our mission was accomplished!!
Uh, speaking of personalities. .
I've never seen this expression on my brother's face. .
And I hope I never see it again!!
That, friends. .
Is pure evilness!!
They were headed to frog hunt!!
Also pretty sure my daughter won't be signing up to ride with him again anytime soon!!
Sorry Uncle Nick. .
She was totally traumatized!
Speakin of her and trauma??
A little trampoline trauma. .
netted another missing tooth!!
Isn't she just the cutest little jack-o-lantern ya ever saw??
Oh, by the way. .
The fair went great. .
Stop back by sometime for some of the purple ribbon recipes we'll be sharin soon!
Have a GREAT week!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Not all Water-logged. .

Hey. .
Welcome back!!
So. .
I'M. .not a lover of the water. .
It's cold. .
and wet. .
And frankly, being VOLUNTARILY surrounded with water saturated by people and animal waste . .
Grosses me out!!
And my husband. .
figured out. .
that if some NON-water activities are included. .
The whole week just goes better for him!!
I thought I would share a few photos of our non-water related excursions!
We traveled on the 4th this year. .
And we intended to eat at local place that advertises a shrimp boil EVERY Friday night. .
EVERY. Friday. night. .
they moved the one from the 4th. .to Saturday night!
It truly was a Looooooonnng story. .
You. .
are getting the short version!
We ended up. .
Getting some AMAZING pizza at a one horse local pizza place. .
Driving a couple miles to this empty lot that we had noted people to be parking in on our 3rd trip by it while we hunted down the shrimp boil place. .
And tailgating until the party started!!
And did the party ever start!!
Apparently tens of thousands of people turn out for this fireworks show. .
And it was unlike any that we had ever seen before!!
We were even coerced by some cute little kid. .
to buy two gallons of kettle corn to swallow after all that pizza!
Was my favorite part of the trip. .
hands DOWN!
But you knew I couldn't just stop at one, right??
was Cami's favorite part. .
Our day trip that included shopping!!
 (she had just run out of the "girl" spray that she bought last year. .
so she REALLY needed to shop!!)
We headed out on the curvy, twisty roads. .
Through Oklahoma, into Arkansas. .
Through Bentonville and Rogers. .
and to the edge of Beaver Lake. .
Where we visited War Eagle Cavern. .
Enjoying both the cavern excursion. .
And the awesome scenery. .
(which was a great background to showcase our clan)
After the tour, we drove a few miles back and went to the War Eagle Mill. .
The mill is generated by a water wheel. .
and grinds grains into flour.
We ate lunch at their top floor restaurant. .
And looked around for about. .
FIVE minutes. .
Because the guys were becoming uninterested!
We went back to Rogers and wandered around their fabulous outdoor mall for a while before twisting back into Oklahoma.
Not in the mood to load the boat into the water and back out again. .
We cruised around the neighborhoods of Grove. .
dreaming about our own house on the lake one day!
We just happened. .
to drive by Lendonwood Gardens. .
a place that I had taken the boys to last summer to photograph the flowers.
It was evening time by then. .
And we enjoyed strolling through the gardens. .
And feeding their fish. 
Check these suckers out. .
I'd never seen such a "feeding frenzy" in my life!!
There were a LOT of them. .
and some of them were H-U-G-E!
We also discovered the place to be crawling with these tiny frogs. .
Which was a hit!!
It is an amazing garden that is maintained by volunteers!
The daylilies were blooming and were gorgeous among all the other great foliage and flowers!!
The last thing that I found noteworthy to share. .
was this parasailing outfit that we saw both weekends.
I've never seen one. .
And it looked like an absolute ball!!
The parasailer sits on some type of seat. .
And then flies through the air being pulled along BY the boat in the front of it.
They were fun to watch when I got tired of looking at my own kids!!
I also enjoyed some window shopping and antiquing. .
And got some great close out flower deals. .
Jeremy didn't even bat his eyes when he saw me come home with clearance plants. .
Not once. .
but TWICE!!
Once a gardener. .
Always a gardener I say!!
As much fun as it is to get away. .
and have no responsibilities except feeding people. .
It was wonderful to drive into our own yard, crispy as it was. .
And return to our regular ole routines. .
There's NO place like. .