Monday, May 30, 2011


Today is Memorial Day so like many in the United States, we all have the day off!  Many in Oklahoma still call it Decoration Day, most of us also decorate graves.  I didn't go this year but both sides of the family decorated graves of all the grandparents.  My grandparents are buried within a mile in the same town, one set in the National Cemetery, my grandfather was in the navy,  and one set in the town cemetery.  My husbands grandparents are buried in the same cemetery, out in the middle of nowhere.  Many people in Oklahoma decorate graves and have family reunions this weekend.

We decided, well I decided at least, that last night, we'd take a picnic and go to the lake in town.  Our little Claremore Lake is quite a jewel for our town.  It is so pretty and well taken care of.  The town has built a walking path around it and is is clean and nice to walk in the evening.  It is usually very busy with families, both old and young, taking advantage of the pretty view and level paths.  We stopped and bought some chicken to round out the meal of baked beans and oriental slaw that I made. 

The kids took their bikes and after eating, they took off on their bikes while hubby and I walked around the lake taking in the scenery.  After my son and daughter had a falling out over a bike chain, she started walking with us.  I had splurged on some store bought cookies for our picnic and we were talking about the kind I bought.  They are iced oatmeal, my husbands favorite store bought cookies.  My daughter started talking about them.....

'We always had those cookies at night before bed.  You would put three on each plate and we had a glass of milk.  Dad would bring the plates and set them on our tv trays and we could watch cartoons for thirty minutes.  Oh yeah, you'd sing some song about milk and cookies!  After we finished watching our cartoons, it was time for bed.  You'd either read to me or dad would read to me and the other one would read to bubby.' 

It amazed me that she would remember something so normal.  This was not a big, fancy vacation or a monumental moment in her life....this was just normal life.  She gave me a great look into what she would remember about her childhood, what she would take on with her when she became a mother.  Milk and cookies, cartoons and books before seemed like such a simple thing back then....I didn't realize it would make into big time memories!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Party Weekend...

Well school is now out for everyone in the family! I'm so happy!  No longer are we tied to a rigid schedule of getting up at 6:30am!  Now, if I so chose, I can sleep in to 7:30am and sit for a bit with my coffee and newspaper before starting work! 

Yes, I'm working during the summer but it's not normal school stuff.  We're meeting and getting policies in place for fall.  Not dealing with the grind of grading and calling and grading and calling. It will be refreshing to be doing something different! Plus, letting me sleep in until 7:30 each day feels like vacation time to me!

This memorial day weekend, my thoughts go to all my former students around the world that are working hard to keep me safe.  I literally have students scattered across almost every continent in the military.  I am thankful for their sacrifice and the sacrifice of every man and woman now and in the past that have served my country so faithfully.  It takes a very special person and a very special family to be a military family.

We, in my family, have two birthdays this weekend.  Mine is the 30th and my niece's in the 31st.  She was born when I was forty.  I decided that I wouldn't celebrate mine anymore in deference to her birthday....didn't want to steal her thunder! He! he!  She sure gets more excited than I do for another birthday to roll around that's for sure.

We've partied with her today.  Tomorrow is church and then Monday is my birthday.   I've asked for a clothesline...yes, a clothesline.  With a pool, summer is one long towel washing after another.  They bought me a folding clothesline several years's still in the barn because we couldn't decide on a place to put it, well, I had a place, hubby wasn't so sure. So it sat in the barn as the towels piled up and up. 

So this year, on a big yellow piece of construction paper, stuck on the fridge with yellowstone magnets, I placed my birthday wish list.....#1 Put up my clothesline...#2 a pool that order!  We'll see what I actually get....something tells me that I'll be lounging at the pool and the towels will keep piling up!  Well, I have a post hole digger and now I have a son big enough to use it!  Next week, he'll be digging me a hole!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Big batch cooking day!

I'm big batch cooking a bit today....we've got a lot coming up and I've just about depleted my store of food in the freezer ready to heat up! Today, I'm cooking about 10 pounds of seasoned ground beef. About half of it will go into one pound freezer bags and one-third will become sloppy joes.  The last one-third will be seasoned with taco seasoning because my son his having his big end-of-school year, beginning of summer party friday night! 

He's hosting a swim party for the gang of boys at church. Out of about twelve boys, they attend about five-six schools, including three that are home schooled!  They are a really great group!  I'm having a nacho bar for them.  That seems to be a favorite with the boys.  I've made the ground beef, bought a couple of BIG bags of chips and am ready to make the nacho dip!  I'll also have kidney beans, lettuce, tomato, onion, sour cream and salsa out too and I usually put out a bowl of rice in case someone wants a rice bowl instead of nachos.  This is an easy, easy way to throw a party on the cheap because I can buy most of the stuff with coupons on sale and store until the next party. 

I'm planning to big batch grilled chicken tomorrow because I used all my frozen grilled chicken last week in salads.  When I big batch cook for summer, it usually is just the meat since we eat few casseroles as I do not like to heat up the kitchen with my oven.  I'll just grill a bunch of meat and have salads as a quick and easy meal. 

Another tip I do for easy, quick summer meals is to wash, dry and tear up my lettuce all at once.  It will store quite well in the crisper for at least five days.  This way, when you need a quick meal, just thaw out a type of meat, grab the lettuce and you're five-ten minutes from dinner!

We have managed to dodge the major storms that have been hitting Oklahoma and Missouri this week.  Last night, I was ready to go. We had the storm closet cleaned out and ready but luckily it was just a drill....I'd like it to stay that way!

Thoughts and prayers go to those we know and those we don't who have lost family and everything they own to this latest round of storms! It's amazing, when we start thinking we're big stuff, a storm comes along and we have to hide in the ground to keep from getting killed....

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Little Glimpse of Heaven...

My family talked a lot about heaven this weekend.  As the end of the world approached Saturday night, I made the family go furniture shopping with the promise of dinner out hanging over their heads. My son only went because he really didn't want to scavage around and find something for himself!  My daughter went because she knew I had a coupon to TGIFridays, boy, was that a disappointment!  We won't be doing that again!

Anyway, we talked about how if the rapture really did happen right then, would we ever laugh at the fact that the last thing we did on earth was shop for furniture for our earthly home!  As I get older, I honestly would like for God to call me home while I'm still walking around here.  I also would like it to be sooner rather than later because my own children are still young enough not to have made dangerous and grave choices that I worry about.  If God called us home, I would not worry about them anymore!  I'm not so sure that's a real good reason to want the rapture to take place but I'm a human mother....what can I say? 

My daughter did not want the rapture to take place friday night!  She has a long list of things to do before God calls her home! Some of those include:  going to Falls Creek, going to high school, going on vacation this summer, etc! I had to laugh because I remember being thirteen and thinking the same exact thing!  Oh, how time changes your perspective.

Earlier that saturday morning, I caught a little glimpse of what heaven may be like. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. I was wearing shorts and flip flops and working in my gardens.  I always listen to Christian radio because music sticks with me and I tend to sing out loud most of the day so I to imbend in the brain only stuff I won't be embarrassed to sing out loud in front of my kids.  I was pruning roses and I caught myself singing a praise song,...don't remember it now...but it was about singing and worshiping God. 

I came to the realization that I just might already be in heaven because, here I was, doing something I loved to do even though it was work and I was praising God while I was doing it!  As a kid, I sometimes got the idea that heaven would be church all the time.  You know, sitting still in the pews and singing hymns - not the most fun by kid standards.  As I got older, I began to think that in heaven, we will have jobs but it will be an honor to do them and we'd be singing and praising all day long.....just like I was doing out in my roses! 

I do know that I have no idea what heaven will be like.....I do know that if it is even close to last Saturday morning, I'm ready to go today!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's the End of the world!!!!

So chicken little is at it again!  This time, it's an eighty-something year old man who says the rapture is tonight!  Oh, has he mentioned that he miscalculated last time?  Yes, there was a last time!

Got me to thinking....what if today really is the last day I have on earth?  What would I do differently?  Would I still sleep in, work out in the yard, yell at the kids to clean their rooms, etc....or would I get up at the crack of dawn to see the sun rise one last time, make a killer breakfast for my family and spend the day having the time of my life?

I would hope to think I would do the latter.  But here's the deal, we don't know if the world will end today. We don't know if we have another breath so we trudge through our days getting things 'done'.  We can't live each day like it's our last because for most of us tomorrow will come and things we didn't do today will still need to be done. We have to work to buy food, clothes, shelter....those things to help extend our lives! 

I try each day to spend just a few minutes thinking about what 'if', what if I don't wake up tomorrow, what if Jesus comes, what if that car pulls out in front of me?  I try to take that moment to think about how my day is going.  We all need to savor living a little more in the United States and not worry about getting as much.  Being content is something that we need to decide is a way of life.  Being content with having a job that pays the bills. Being content in the home we live in and the car we drive.  Being first is sometimes not the best.  Being content and savoring each day like it is our last......I think that will satisfy us much, much more!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Loving the rain!

We had rain last night, lovely soaking rain!  We need it badly but not as badly as the poor people out in western Oklahoma. It's basically a desert in southwestern Oklahoma, it's been over a hundred days (maybe more) since they've had moisture.  In a farming state, that's bad...real bad!

But this morning, they finally had a good soaking rain! Maybe, just maybe, the farmers and ranchers can pull out a growing season.  We sometimes forget that we are ultimately still closely tied to nature.  We live in air conditioned and heated homes, we travel in a climate controlled vehicles....everywhere we go, we try to control the climate.  don't get me wrong! As a perimenopausal woman myself, I am so very thankful for air conditioning!  I'm not sure I would be able to make it in this climate without some relief!  I am thinking that this summer, I'm just going to wear my swimsuit instead of underwear so when that hot flash hits me, I really can strip off my clothes and jump into the pool!

All that controlling the climate makes us forget that we really can't control anything! We think we have control and then lack of rain reduces the wheat belt of the nation into a desert.  We have too much rain in one place causing floods of epic proportions and no rain in other places.  We have tornadoes reducing leafy green towns into open fields littered with a lifetime of possessions.  We really have such little control as human beings and yet, we think, we do.   How very little we really do!

I'm glad for the rain here.  It means my gardens will grow lush and green, it means that my veggies will grow and grow and my harvest will be plenty.  I'm glad for the rain for my fellow Oklahomans.  They needed it worse than me but I'm glad that we both got blessed!

Grilled chicken caesar salad

So I needed something really quick and fast for dinner.  I had a bunch of lettuce, radishes and green onions from the garden so I decided a grilled chicken salad would fit the bill.  My son requested that instead of the regular greek salad I do, that I make a caesar salad.  I had grilled chicken breasts in the freezer. I always keep them handy for quick meals.

Now I have a lot of salad dressing recipes, from green goddess to the junior league and almost everything in between...didn't have a caesar salad recipe and I was not planning to drive into town for a bottle of salad dressing!  I scoured the recipe books...nothing! Not even in the old, old ones!

Here's the website;,1615,142189-245199,00.html

I doctored it a bit but it was a hit!


Read more about it at,1615,142189-245199,00.html
Content Copyright © 2011 - All rights reserved.
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 clove of garlic (minced)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 c Parmesean cheese
1 tbsp of milk or half and half
Mix all ingredients together and shake or whisk until well blended.
thanks to Shannon for sharing!
I added a little less mayo and a little more lemon juice. I also used fresh parmesean.  I was going to use a little anchovie paste but I had used it up a few weeks ago in a puttanesca sauce. Ok, did I just say or type that? I sound like an uppity-food snob! he! he!  Anyway, I think it could use a touch of the paste but even without it, it was a quick and easy great tasting dressing. 

I'm thinking it would be a great base dressing to add fresh dill or basil or just about any herb for a creamy dressing.
I'll definitely be making and keeping this dressing in my fridge all summer long!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Strawberry Pie! My-Oh-My!

Here's my recipe for strawberry pie! It's my mom's pie recipe.  It's good, it's fresh, it's so, so good!  Strawberry pie should not originate in a bag from the produce department!  That bag that is gooey, bright red and gross!  I have to say that it turns my stomach thinking about those bags laying there!

Try this and you'll never go back to those gooey bags!  Make extra because it is so super delicious on waffles and pancakes and over ice cream.  I do not put this pie together when it's just the four of us.  I make the crust and then when it's time to serve, I cut the crust and place the strawberry mixture into the shell. 

Mom's Strawberry Pie

Mix together 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 3 cups sliced strawberries.  Let stand one hour.

Mix 1 cup crushed strawberries, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 1/2 T cornstarch and a few drops of red food coloring, optional.  Stir and boil until the liquid is clear.  Boil a few minutes until it is thickened.
Let cool and mix strawberries into the mixture.  Don't put into a cooked pie shell until just before serving.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Okie Dinner

Sunday started cold around here. In the span of a week, we went from almost ninety highs to around forty lows!  Sunday after church, I put on a pot of brown beans for dinner.  I figured that it might be the last weekend to eat a big pot of brown beans.  I don't like to eat hot food like soups in the summer.

All afternoon, those beans cooked in my crockpot.  I had soaked them in boiling water during church so they didn't need to cook too long.  I seasoned them with a polska keilbasa, garlic, salt and pepper.  I put the sausage on top in the crockpot so they could cook last.  After about three hours, I stirred it all up and let it cook another two hours.

I served the family a traditional Okie dinner.  The kind of dinner my grandma would have loved.  She served brown beans with every meal.  I love brown beans! My sister not so much.  She told my grandma one time that she was allergic to went over until grandma mentioned my sisters allergies to my mom!

Well, I served brown beans, fried potatoes and onions, cornbread, wilted lettuce and strawberry pie! We ate until we were ready to pop!  The meal started talk about our relatives that lived during the depression.  Both my husband and I had relatives that traveled to California to find work.  One of my grandmothers always said they didn't know what a depression was....they were dirt poor before the depression and they were poor after the depression!

It started me to thinking about hunger in America.  I'm pretty sure my grandparents knew about hunger.  I'm sure they experienced it during the depression and probably before.  But my grandparents knew how to find and grow food and make simple meals that were tasty and inexpensive.  A bag of beans is not expensive.  Growing the lettuce, green onions and radishes are cheap.  Flour and cornmeal is not expensive.  The entire meal cost less than five dollars not counting the strawberry pie, but I grew the strawberries so mine cost me a pie crust and some sugar!

 My husband pointed out that the problem isn't necessarily hunger but the lack of ability in America.  When you don't know how to cook a bag of beans, peel and fry a bag of potatoes, or stir up some cornbread then you have to purchase pre-cooked meals.  Expensive pre-cooked meals.  Pre-cooked meals that are not healthy!

My grandparents ate squirrel and rabbit.  They picked poke and made poke salad.  They hoed a row and planted.  They survived.  When America finally get hungry enough, maybe we will relearn those tasks.....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Well, the honeysuckle is blooming again. That's a smell that I always associate with summer and May and school getting out!  A very, very pleasant smell.  I love to sit outside on my backporch or swing in my hammock and simple breath that honeysuckle in...down deep into my lungs.  Always makes me think I inhale summer into every cell of my body by taking that honeysuckle way down deep.

I'm so ready for school to be over.  We all have finished state testing and now the kids are officially done...stick a fork in them done!  Done, I say!  Very difficult to motivate done...especially my son and all my students.  I'm trying very hard to keep a happy face and a happy voice when I speak to them, because quite frankly, the teachers are done too!  I think that's why I enjoy the honeysuckle so much.  When I'm out there breathing, I'm not thinking about finals and grading and trying to get my son to do one more thing....I'm simply enjoying the warm evening, playing with the dog and breathing that sweet scent.

I truly believe that a warm summer evening is what contentment know the feeling, the breeze is just cool enough to keep you from being hot, the leaves on the trees are so fresh and green that they almost seem unreal, the flowers are blooming, the air is scented just enough you can almost taste it, you're walking hand and hand with your love talking about the day.  Not the bad stuff, just the good stuff..oh, and you have a glass of iced tea!  Can't forget that!  I never want in that moment.  I never want anything more than to live for that moment, I'm not cataloging my coupons for the next shopping trip, I'm not worrying if my house is clean enough, I'm not thinking about anything except being there, in that moment.  If that moment is the last one I have on this earth, it would be enough....that's contentment. 

If you've never had that type of contentment,....move to Oklahoma and experience the month of May! I guarantee you, it will change you!

Friday, May 6, 2011

It Happened

I'm sitting home by myself on a friday night...husband and son are in Arizona hiking and my daughter and many of her closest friends are experiencing their first junior high dance....Mother's day is coming and somehow, my kids have grown up! 

I don't know when it happened....I still remember how special those first few Mother's Days were to me.  Growing our family through adoption made Mother's Day really, really special and a bit bittersweet.  I was happy, I was finally a mom but I knew that each of my children's birth mothers had a hole in their hearts that day.  I have treasured each mother's day but somewhere along the kids went from being babies to being young adults....

It had to know, when they are driving you crazy running in the grocery store or even worse, laying in the floor throwing that fit they somehow learned, a little older lady smiles sweetly and says, 'treasure these days, for soon, very soon, they will be over!'  Yeah right!  When you're in the thick of those wonderful (terrible) days, you just want them to end and you to get a good night's sleep!  Well, I'm there, they are almost gone!  And it hurts and I'm sad...but I'm also proud of them both.  My chest bursts with pride when someone outside the family comments on how polite they are or how hard they worked or how giving they both are!  My husband and I seem to be raising two pretty wonderful kids...I'm not sure how we got so lucky! 

It had to happen.....I'm up once again late..but this time, I'm rocking alone in my chair...waiting to be the pick-up mom....


I'm doing a snoopy dance about now!  My strawberries are getting pink! That means that in a few days I'll be eating home grown strawberries from my garden! Yipee!

Oh yeah, my daughter wanted to plant them last year so I really should let her have the first one.  I will, I promise!  I was worried about the winter being so cold but I don't think we lost a single plant!  And they are sooo big!

Now, I'm ready to fight the squirrels, who have been eyeing them for the past few days.  I went to Atwood's yesterday and bought me a net that you use to keep birds off of fruit.  I have created a tent over the berries so no one but me or anyone with opposable thumbs can get under!

When I first tried a garden the first year we lived here, the deer, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, armadillos, you name it they came and ate my garden.  So the next spring, my wonderful husband made me a fortress garden!  It has twelve feet tall chicken wire around it....I call it my giraffe pen.  He doesn't do anything half way and he does good work, after over ten years and it's still standing!  I've only had to restaple the chicken wire a few times and it keeps out just about everything, except squirrels...and one pesky turtle.  I find him every year and take him back to the creek....then he returns and I take him back to the creek.  We do this on and off all summer long.  One day, I think I'll drive him up to Lake Oologah and see if he returns!  It's about twelve miles....

We used to do that with our ducks when I was growing up.  They'd sit and poop on the front porch so mom and dad would load them up in the truck and drive them to the pond...not twelve miles but a pretty good walk from our house....we'd get home and pretty they would come, marching in a line right in the path!  So funny!

I'm patiently waiting for the strawberries...or at least I'm waiting, maybe not patiently.  I can't wait!  My mind is just spinning with all the goodies I'll be making in the next few weeks!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Update on our psychotic cardinal..

So I'm about ready to turn the boy loose with the beebee gun to take the poor female cardinal out of her misery.  I know, it's mean. I know, it's not right.  But GOOD GRIEF! She is driving us all crazy!

A few weeks ago, when she was trying to beat up the other cardinal in the window, I could wax poetic and make references to how we are like that...trying to get what we want and not turning and looking at the big picture.... Now, I just want her gone. 

We have stickers in the windows, we have foil taped to windows, my daughter has placed books and posters in her windows...did I mention that it's not just the front picture window anymore? Oh no! She now moves from window to window trying to scare off or attach or do whatever it is that her little psychotic mind is doing!  When we go to the window to scare her off, she just moves to another one! 

This starts about 5:30am, first daylight here in Oklahoma and goes until mid-afternoon.  Like I said, it's driving us all crazy.  And yeah, the male has left.  I guess he figured it was no use trying to woo a crazy female....if only some human men felt that way! he! he!

The beebee gun is looking better and better but I know if I turned the boy loose, I'd feel bad...and he'd probably just shoot out the window so the bird could move in....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Salad Days are here Again!

Oh yeah! I'm picking veggies from the garden! WooHoo!

I picked my first head of romaine lettuce yesterday.  I pulled my first few green onions also.  Guess what we're having for dinner tonight!  Grilled chicken, grilled potato packets and a green salad!  For some reason, fresh picked veggies just taste better....

We finally began to get rain last week.  I was so very thankful because I really didn't want to start watering this early but to get those veggies fresh from the garden I would have dutifully set up the water timer and started dragging hoses around. 

I'm just a garden junky.  I love searching each day for a new treasure to eat at dinner!  It won't be but a few weeks and we'll be eating fresh strawberries and I'm so excited for that! Fresh strawberries on my cheerios and waffles, fresh strawberries on our salads, fresh strawberry pie!  My daughter is wanting to make strawberry jam also.  That way, we'll have strawberries during the winter from our garden. 

Oh, how I've missed you garden and spring!  Welcome back!

Monday, May 2, 2011


Over the last year, I've written a lot about giving.  Giving of your time, your talents and your money.  This week, I have been given the chance to put all of the above to the test.  I'm facebook friends with many of my former students.  I am proud to say that I have students living all over the world that check in with me and let me know how and what they are doing.  Most of the time, I'm proud of what they are becoming....sometimes I have to chastise or give a gentle nudge to do the right thing....  I found out this week that two former students, who have married and have a young son, needed help.  What started out as me pledging money has ended up being me trying to raise the bar on my giving and now I'm coordinating raising the entire amount!

You see, the husband is in the military and is now in training across the country and will be sent to Afghanistan for at least a year.  He has been given leave in June for four days and the wife and child would like to bring him home to visit them and his family before he's gone....they are young, they are a military family and the military doesn't pay for leave travel, they don't have the money.  She posted on facebook for ideas from friends so she could work and raise money to bring him home.....

I look at my former students as 'my kids'.  I care about them.  And one thing I've learned over the last few years is that I'm good at organizing....both my home, my time and my friends!  I'm going to start listing on my resume community organizer.  Hey! If it worked for the President of the United States, I'm going to use it too!

Anyway, a post on facebook to my list of friends has brought me almost to my goal of raising $400.  It's no surprise really, just yesterday in the paper, Oklahoma was listed as the most charitable state.  Oklahomans give over $1500 a year per person to charities.  That's per person!  In a state that has a pretty low per capita income....I think it's because that's the way we were raised.  We help each other.  Just like in the pioneer days.  You may not have much but when a neighbor is in need, you help. 

Once again, I'm proud to be able to use my talents and money to help someone in need.  I'm proud to have friends that also have a heart for giving.  I'm proud to live in a state that leads the country if giving.....