Thursday, December 31, 2009

On this last day of 2009

We'd like to wish you and your family a very happy,


and blessed

New Year!

Looking forward to seeing you in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Treats for the Kids

Elliott: You know, Santa didn't put anything in our stockings this year.

Smoke: I noticed that too!

Dani: So whatcha' gonna do about that Granny? We have all been really good - well, for the most part - all year!

Me: Well, how 'bout I make you some of your favorite snacks?

Elliott, Smoke, Dani: WOO! HOO! Doggie treats!

This is such an easy recipe. 3 ingredients - wheat germ, jars of baby food meat and water. How much easier could it get?

Dump the 3 ingredients in a bowl and let the dogs lick the baby food jars clean.

It's one of our kids' favorite parts when I make a batch of these treats.

Dani always picks up her jar and quietly takes it to a private place.

She tries hard not to draw attention to herself so Elliott and Smoke don't realize she's gone. (See her little booty going around the corner?)

She's finds just the right place - anyplace will do as long as it's in another room away from Elliott and Smoke. She likes to enjoy this treat all by herself.

Um - um - um! Yummy! Her jar is soon licked clean as a whistle.

After the dough is all mixed up I use a medium sized cookie scoop to make little mounds of dough.

Once that's done I let the kids lick that bowl too - another favorite part of this whole process. Dani just has to get in there with the boys because the bowl is too big for her to take off with - and she has unsuccessfully attempted that before.

But she keeps her eyes open and while Elliott and Smoke were licking the numbers off the bowl she caught sight of Smoke's baby food jar and it still had a bit in it.

Sure enough, she kind of wandered over and again, very quietly, picked the jar up and moved to the other room to finish cleaning it up. Smoke was never the wiser.

I form all the mounds of dough into little patties. They kind of look like small hamburgers, don't they?

The pan is popped into a preheated 350 degree oven and the treats are baked for 20 minutes, then flipped over and baked for another 20 minutes or so. The baking time kind of depends on the size of the individual treats. You're just basically drying them out.

After cooling they are ready for the kids. Their most favorite part of all!

Elliott always listens for the oven door to open and the pan to be set on the counter to cool. Then he's right there longingly looking up at the counter. He can hardly wait for the treats to cool. And he stands guard until they are.

Before Mikey adopted us I made the treats about a third the size I do now and the little kids would each get a whole one of their own. Because Mikey needs bigger treats I started making them larger. AD just breaks them up for the little kids. And they don't mind at all.

There are no preservatives in the treats so they will go bad after only a few days - that is, if there are any left. Because we have 4 dogs we don't have that problem. But I'm sure they could be frozen and thawed as needed.

Doggie Treats

2 cups wheat germ
3 jars of baby food meat (your choice of flavor)
2 to 3 tablespoons water

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Use enough water so that the dough sticks together pretty well. Roll into balls and bake on a cookie sheet for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the treats you make.

NOTE: Our little kids have trouble with dry skin so I added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the mixture yesterday. The original recipe only calls for the 3 ingredients listed above. When I make the treats with only the water I do spray the cookie sheet. When I add olive oil I don't.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The weatherman is predicting more snow this afternoon. Not nearly as much as much as before - only 1 to 2 inches - so AD and I will be making a Walmart run this morning to pick up a few things.

I have some projects in the works for me and one or two for AD. I'll be posting about some of them later.

Have a wonderful, blessed day everyone and if you have more snow in your forecast, please stay safe and warm!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

Last Wednesday night I made sugar cookies and gingerbread men for the punch and cookie time after our church Christmas Eve service.

Thursday morning I got up and started decorating the sugar cookies. AD told me that from the weather forecast he'd heard on the local news he thought there was a chance the Christmas Eve service would be cancelled.

I kept decorating cookies. Our weather radio went off a couple of times warning of the impending sleet and snow that would soon be upon us. But I kept right on decorating.

I finished decorating the sugar cookies and went to get the other bag of powdered sugar out of the pantry to make the royal icing for the gingerbread house. I KNOW I bought 2 bags of powdered sugar but where that 2nd bag went to I'll never know.

Inspiration hit. I had some white chocolate candy coating stuff that I thought would work just fine to glue that house together. And it did! The house went together lickety split. But when I went to pipe it onto the gingerbread men it was kind of runny so I had to let it harden up just a bit. Then I had to work fast before it hardened all the way. I should have used a squirt bottle but that's just a lesson learned. Still, everything came out like I wanted it to.

While I was putting the house together I started hearing sleet hit the front windows. By the time I got to the gingerbread men the sleet was hitting the windows HARD! Son called from Oklahoma City and asked how much snow we had. No snow - just some sleet. He said they were in blizzard conditions and couldn't see across the street.

Just about the time the cookies were all finished AD said he just received an email that the church service had been cancelled. Don't even ask me how he was able to access the internet to get the email. Normally when weather is bad our satellite service goes kaput.

Eventually the snow started.

That hazy stuff is the snow blowing. At times it almost looked like a snow tornado.

I had a feeling we weren't going to make it to AD's mother's on Christmas Day for dinner so as a back up plan I took some chicken out of the freezer and made a batch of noodles to dry overnight. I always make rolls for Christmas and they were already in the refrigerator waiting to be baked on Christmas Day.

If we couldn't make it to Tulsa for dinner we'd have the most important part of the dinner at our house anyway - chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes and rolls. The cookies from the cancelled church service would be the dessert.

This was the snow drift on our back patio Christmas morning. It was kind of cool though (no pun intended), the way the snow drifted and left a little path for the dogs to go out and take care of their business. Like they wanted to go out in that stuff!

Daughter and her family made it over for Christmas breakfast but not without problems. They only live 1 1/2 miles from us but it was treacherous. They got off in a ditch and broke an axle on their truck.

But that didn't stop us from celebrating Christmas. We had breakfast and opened presents.

With guidance from Melinda (Mickey and Me) I bought AD a great Christmas gift - a wildlife camera! He was so surprised and so pleased. It's always hard from me to get something for AD without him figuring out what it is before he opens it. Thanks, Melinda! I couldn't have done it without you.

And of course the annual pickle hunt happened. This year bragging rights go to G2. His prize was a whole box of Laffy Taffy (which G1 got into when G2 wasn't looking. But you didn't hear that from me.)

Later in the day we enjoyed our chicken and noodle dinner.

The day after Christmas AD was beginning to get a case of cabin fever. He said he thought we'd be able to drive into town. I wasn't so sure. So I took my time getting ready and about 2:00 we got in the truck. It has 4-wheel drive and it's a good thing. Our country roads left a lot to be desired. To get to the highway we have to go up this hill.

And down this one, then make a left turn.

Go straight about a mile and over a little bridge (that doesn't look all the safe on a normal day.) Finally we get to the highway. It really is a highway, but a 2-lane one. For the most part it was ok, but there were a few patches that could cause problems if we weren't careful.

We made it to town and did a little after Christmas shopping. Picked up a couple of things I'd had my eye on but didn't want to pay full price for. On the way home 3 deer crossed the road in front of us and I was able to snap this photo across the cab of the truck before they were out of sight.

On Sunday we had our Christmas with AD's family. That's AD in the back, his brother on the right, his mom in the chair and his 2 sisters.

I talked Daughter into letting me take a picture of her too. If she reads my blog today she'll probably say, "MOM!!!!!!" and it will be a long time before I can talk her into another picture.

But maybe if I tell you that Daughter gave me the one gift I requested this year - one of those goofy hats with the ear flaps - and show you this picture of me in it

it will make everything all better.

We're not finished with Christmas yet though. We'll be getting together with Son and his family in a couple of weeks to celebrate with our youngest grandkids.

I hope your Christmas was one filled with family and fun.

PS - I may look like a dork in my hat - but I'm a warm dork and the warm part is what counts. At least to me.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Warmest Wishes from Our Home to Yours

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Touring Another Historical Home

Monday evening the Frank Phillips Home in Bartlesville, OK was open for a special Christmas tour.

It's been several years since I toured the home of Phillips Petroleum Company's founder.

In 1973 the Phillips' granddaughter deeded the home and it's contents to the Oklahoma Historical Society and this year marked the home's centennial.

Knowing that photos inside are not permitted I drove by earlier in the afternoon and took a few photos in the daylight.

The Christmas lighting was simple and lovely after dark.

While this is the front door of the home
back in the day, chauffeurs would pull around on the north side and guests would enter into the music room through the north portico door. There they would be entertained until dinner was served.

This is a better view of that door in the daylight

and in the evening. Can't you just imagine arriving at the home for a Christmas party? How festive!

One of the tour guides noted that Jane Gibson Phillips was a very social person. She and Frank entertained almost nightly.

This is a view of the house looking toward the northwest.

The home underwent two major renovations over the years, the first being in 1917 when the southwest wing was added. The second renovation occurred in 1930.

After the second renovation, Mrs Phillips hired a local photographer to come to the home and photograph each of the rooms. Because of those photos and the fact that the OHS was not only deeded the home but also all of its contents, the rooms are still decorated as it was in 1930.

Frank and Jane were married on February 18, 1897. In the years to come they became the parents of one son and two foster daughters.

The daughters' bedroom is a favorite of mine. Among other items in the lovely room are 3 huge stuffed animal toys - a tiger, a collie and an owl. I remembered from other visits that the tiger used to growl. The guide last night said it also used to walk but can no longer do either. How pampered those girls must have been.

During the tour Christmas music filled the home and was provided by a pianist playing the 1910 Weber baby grand piano in the music room.

Father Christmas was also in attendance, wandering through the house and visiting with guests. I summoned all my courage and asked if it would be possible for just a photo with the jolly man, noting that I knew photos in the home weren't permitted. One of the volunteers was very obliging and snapped a quick picture for me. Isn't Father Christmas just grand?

What a wonderful Christmas event in my hometown.

As always, if you're ever in northeast Oklahoma, there are a number of interesting places to visit in and around Bartlesville - the Phillips' home, Woolaroc, the recently opened Phillips 66 museum, the Price Tower and Keepsake Candles to name a few.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snow Ice Cream

Last March 28 we got a bunch of snow. Whenever that happens it can only mean one thing at our house - Snow Ice Cream.

First you get a willing grandson to go outside and gather a big old bowl of the white stuff

making sure to stay away from the yellow-colored snow.

Only a few more ingredients and you're all set. The recipe that I've used for more years than I can count came from one of the local weathermen, Don Woods, who has since retired.

I've got to give you a little background on Mr Woods. He was Oklahoma's first weatherman with a degree in meteorology. He started at KTUL in 1954. He's even listed here in Wikipedia. Listen to Mr Woods talk about his early days as a weatherman and his little pal Gusty on YouTube here. Gusty is a cartoon character that Don drew and even Gusty has his own website. Back in the day you could send your name into the t.v. station and if you were lucky, your name would be drawn and your prize would be that day's Gusty. Unfortunately I was never one of the lucky ones.

But back to making snow ice cream. Mr Woods' original recipe is at the end of this post. I was out of Milnot (evaporated milk) that day last March so I substituted half-and-half. Although I've added the egg called for in the recipe more times than not, for whatever reason I didn't that day. Some people might frown on the raw egg anyway so it's just as well.

Basically just stir up the snow, evaporated milk (or half-and-half), powdered sugar and vanilla and enjoy this wonderful wintertime treat. It melts pretty quickly so you need to do your enjoying fast.

But not too fast or you'll get a brain freeze!

Don Woods’ Snow Ice Cream

1 small can Milnot (evaporated milk)
dash of salt
1 egg, beaten (optional)
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 gallon clean snow

Mix all together and enjoy.

Now if it will just snow!

Do you make snow ice cream when the white stuff comes your way? If so, what's in your recipe?

Monday, December 21, 2009

An Old Fashioned Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and out on the ranch
The pond was froze over and so was the branch.

The snow was piled up belly-deep to a mule.
The kids were all home on vacation from school,
And happier young folks you never did see-
Just all sprawled around a-watchin' TV.

Then suddenly, some time around 8 o'clock,
There came a surprise that gave them a shock!
The power went off, the TV went dead!
When Grandpa came in from out in the shed
With an armload of wood, the house was all dark.

"Just what I expected," they heard him remark.
"Them power line wires must be down from the snow.
Seems sorter like times on the ranch long ago."
"I'll hunt up some candles," said Mom. "With their light,
And the fireplace, I reckon we'll make out all right."

The teenagers all seemed enveloped in gloom.
Then Grandpa came back from a trip to his room,
Uncased his old fiddle & started to play
That old Christmas song about bells on a sleigh.

Mom started to sing, and first thing they knew
Both Pop and the kids were all singing it, too.
They sang Christmas carols, they sang Holy Night,"
Their eyes all a-shine in the ruddy firelight.

They played some charades Mom recalled from her youth,
And Pop read a passage from God's Book of Truth.
They stayed up till midnight-and, would you believe,
The youngsters agreed 'twas a fine Christmas Eve.

Grandpa rose early, some time before dawn;
And when the kids wakened, the power was on.
"The power company sure got the line repaired quick,"
Said Grandpa - and no one suspected his trick.

Last night, for the sake of some old-fashioned fun,
He had pulled the main switch - the old Son-of-a-Gun!

- Anonymous

Until recently I'd not read this version of The Night Before Christmas. I'd love to give the writer credit if anyone knows who he/she is.

According to our local weatherman we have snow flurries in the forecast for Christmas. Since we're in Oklahoma and the weather can change on a dime, we'll see what happens. I'd love to have a White Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Touring An Old Mansion

A few weeks ago one of Daughter's friends told me that the Brown Mansion in Coffeyville, KS was open for self-guided tours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings until Christmas. I could hardly believe the cost of entry was the very small amount of $2 per person! As I understand it, the normal admission is $6 for adults, but maybe the admission was lowered because the special Christmas tours are self-guided.

Ever since I was a little girl I have been very curious about the 3 story mansion. We used to drive past it whenever we were in Coffeyville to visit one of my aunts. For one reason or the other I had never toured the grand old home until last night.

A bit about the mansion and the Brown family -

Plans for the 16-room home were began in 1898 but the mansion wasn't completed until 1906 at a total cost of $125,000.

W.P. was 6'3" and his lovely wife, Nancy, was but 4'11". Mr. Brown had the stunningly gorgeous staircase built with shorter than normal risers to accommodate his wife's petite size.

The Browns had a daughter, Violet, and 4 sons. Two of the sons died at birth, William died at the age of 4 and Donald died just a month before his 12th birthday. Violet lived to the age of 88.

President Taft visited in the Brown home during his 1912 campaign for his second term as President and rested in one of the 2nd story bedrooms. That bedroom is now known as the Taft Room.

The story of W.P., Nancy and Violet Brown is a very interesting and sometimes sad one.

You can read more about the mansion and the Brown's story as well as see many photos of the family and the mansion's rooms here.

Various groups in the area decorated the home's rooms for Christmas and they are lovely. You'll just have to take my word for it because unfortunately cameras were not allowed*. I can only imagine what it must have been like to spend Christmas in the mansion during the early 1900's.

Although restoration is ongoing the mansion is one grand home! If you ever plan to be in the Coffeyville area and enjoy touring old homes you might want to call ahead and see if the mansion is open. And if you do - give me a holler and I'll meet you there.

* The pictures in this post are of our home.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stuffed Jalapenos

A couple of weeks ago when our Sunday School class had our Progressive Dinner I helped with the appetizers. One of the things I wanted to make was Stuffed Jalapenos.

PW's recipe called for only 3 ingredients - jalapenos, cream cheese and bacon.

That sounded pretty simple. I talked to Daughter about it because she loves jalapenos and she suggested adding something to jazz up the cream cheese.

I looked online and found several recipes which were all similar, most of which added Ranch dressing mix to the cream cheese. That sounded ok and I was ready to do just that but then I went to the grocery store. They just happened to have different varieties of grated cheeses on sale.

An inspiration hit me - and that hardly ever happens! Pepper Jack cheese. That would surely add some umpff to the cream cheese.

I bought 12 jalapenos and a bag of grated Pepper Jack cheese. The cream cheese and bacon had already been purchased and was at home in the refrigerator waiting to be used.

The morning came to put everything together and the cream cheese was put out on the counter to come to room temperature.

The jalapenos were cut in half and cleaned out really, really well. No seeds or ribs were left in them.

After the cream cheese came to room temperature I beat it with my hand mixer until it was kind of fluffy. Next 1/2 cup of Pepper Jack cheese was stirred in.

Then I got a bottle of diet Dr Pepper out of the fridge just in case I accidentally licked one of my fingers while I was stuffing the peppers. (I just can't wear gloves to do stuff like this but if you can it would probably be a good idea.)
Of course if had stuck one of my fingers in my mouth - which I DIDN'T - I would certainly wash my hands before proceeding!

Using a small teaspoon I stuffed those peppers to the brim. It doesn't have to be too neat, just get that cream cheese mixture in there.

About this much cream cheese mixture was left over. I guess I should have bought 3 or 4 more peppers . . .

PW's recipe said to cut the bacon strips into thirds. I cut mine in half instead.

The jalapenos were then wrapped with the bacon and secured with toothpicks. I just know I took a picture after I put the toothpicks in but it must have gotten deleted or something because I sure can't find it.

The internet recipes and PW's said to bake the peppers on a wire rack set in a baking sheet to catch any bacon grease, which I did, but I also lined my baking sheet with aluminum foil for an easy clean-up. Guess I've seen those Reynolds Wrap ladies' commercials enough to know to do that.

Then all the other recipes said to bake the little buggers in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for 20-25 minutes. I followed those directions but my bacon just didn't look done enough to me after 25 minutes had passed so I up'd the temperature to 400 degrees F. and baked them another 15 minutes or so.

The bacon still didn't look right so I turned the broiler on for a couple of minutes and watched them very closely. Finally I was happy, everything was packed in the car and we were off to our dinner.

There were about 8 different appetizers and the jalapenos were the ones that got the rave reviews.

Last weekend I made them again for our Christmas Open House. This time I baked them at 400 degrees F. for 30 minutes, then turned the broiler on for a couple of minutes to crisp the bacon up a tad more.

The jalapenos were like hot concert tickets. If you snoozed, you losed - er, lost. They were gone in the blink of any eye.

People were still talking about them last Sunday. I'm so glad they went over well!