August 31, 2010


It's been over two months since I was blessed with the opportunity to stay at The Pioneer Woman's Ranch, with eight beautiful, funny, smart, hungry woman. We had so much fun....that I just can't stop blogging about it. Actually, this will be the last in my series of writing about this trip. P-Dub did make comment recently that she is writing another cookbook...OH brother, I'm gonna hafta start working out more, just in case I decide to cook through it.

If you remember we were able to request what we wanted to eat...the first night with Ree was the Cowgirl Dinner Party AAAND the second was Mexican. Whatever Ree wanted to fix us. We just wanted Mexicali food! P-Dub showed up with lots of goodies and we all pitched in and started cooking!

Big D chopping up cilantro for quesadillas, Greek Guacamole, and all kinds of other delectable treats for our taste buds. You don't like cilantro? Oh I am so sorry...I hear it's not on the top of the herb favorites for people, but it seemed to be a favorite of the ten of us.

Hey like our shirts? We had to wash them, cause they got a little sweaty on the ride in....(well mine did anyway). Ree wanted us to put them back on for the last night so she could do a photo shoot...still hopin we end up on that blog thing of hers that nobody reads.

That there is a heap O flour tor-till-OZ!

We requested two Tres Leches Cakes....well because one just didn't seem like enough. But unfortunately our eyes and dreams were bigger than our stomachs...we had lots of cake left over. I am sure the cowboys ate it up! Oh it sure was good though. If you have never made a Tres Leches Cake, you MUST. Trust me, it is life changing.

By the third night together, we were like old college room mates. Very comfortable with each other. Laughing and eating and double dipping. It was a once in a lifetime experience!

Hyacinth and Ree where yucking it up here over their cake.

This is my favorite picture of the whole entire weekend! Ree Drummond taking a picture of MY guacamole! The Top Dog, the Queen, the bestest ever food blogger was photographing my guacamole. AND and and after she ate it....she said it was"life changing"!

BOINK, slam, bam, OUCH dang....oooh hey I am back. Just writing it makes me pass out, fell clean off my office chair!

Hokey Pete! Earlier in the week end me, my seestor and Big D had gone for a walk....we saw some Horseys....we were delirious from the heat and thought the horseys were going to charge us so we pulled a Charlies Angel on them. (minus me cause I was taking the picture.)

Yeh...we're nutty. And the horseys were down there they were just really far away...but trust me they looked like they might charge us.

But since we are wild and crazy and adventurous, deliriously over heated women, we decided to march on and get a closer look.

There they are, the horsey version of Charlies Angels.


Well, Hello there...we come in peace...we from Michigan..we think you purdy...we only want good picture...

OH please don't run. Where are you going? We like you.........

They took off running from us...we had gotten quite close to them on the road. They ran way out away from us, then they came back toward us again....we were like OH MY. Thought maybe they were tricking us by acting as if they were running away, BUT then coming back toward us. But then the just stopped and snorted and whinnied, and shook their beautiful hairs. They were looking us up and down. We stood there to for a few minutes, wondering if we were completely stupid, for getting so close. We had asked about the cattle being dangerous but not the wild horses. Were we about to be front page news in the Pawhuska paper? They eventually turned and walked away. I am sure we were quite boring to them. Three shortish dark haired girls from Michigan....they are used to long tall Ree and her flowing mane of auburn taking pictures of them.

The last night before our Mexican Feast, Ree was kind enough to load me, my seestor and Karen into her truck and take us out FOUR WHEELIN', so we could get up close and personal with the horseys.

We went off Road.

"Well hello Ree, I see you have the three dorks from the other morning in your lost your marbles woman? Do you know they pulled a Charlies Angel on us? They are koo-koo-ka-choo. If I were you, I would drive them ladies straight to the Tulsa airport."

We were rammin' around them in Ree's truck. The horses did not seem too scared at all. Ree was spinning us in circles, honking her horn, and banging her hand on the steering wheel like a wild woman. Hey whatever it takes right? They started moving....that's what we wanted. We wanted some action shots.

It was a blast. I felt like I was back in high school in my best friends pick up truck tearing up someones front yard. Did I just say that? I never did anything like that. Really truly. I may have thrown a pumpkin or two...hhhmm hhmm...let s just get back to the matter at hand.

Beautiful Horseys....

Aren't they stunning? Takes my breath away

That's all.

The End.

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August 29, 2010


A while ago, weeks ago, nearly a month ago.....embarrassingly long ago....Christine from
More to Me gave me a shout on her blog by giving me....Strawberry CAKE a Sunshine Award! I couldn't believe it! I love sunshine, I love gerbera daisys! I love that someone actually reads my blog and would think I am sunshine worthy.

Hello....anyone out there?

Oh, HI! you kinda scared me....always catches me off guard that others are out there reading me. Others outside of those I see everyday and ask "hey did you read my blog?"...the ones that feel obligations to me as a fernd.

So when Christine let me know that she had passed the Sunshine Award on to me, I got goose bumps, and a lump in my throat, and my bottom lip jutted out. BUT then somehow time went zooming by me and I forgot to pass it on to others. Which is what you are suppose to do when you are given this award. Pass on the L O V E.

The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blogging world.

HONESTLY?? maybe it took me so long to pass on the love because I was in shock that I was worthy. I love all the people that read my blog, so much so that my eyes are misty and my bottom lip is jutting out, again.

So NOW I get to pass it on to other bloggers that inspire me, they would be the following:

It would be awful nice of ya'll to pass this on to others that inspire you positively and creatively....those bloggers that just make your heart sing, that make you laugh, that help you to walk on the "sunshiney" side of the road.

If you do here are Zee guidelines:
*Put the logo on your blog and/or within your post.
*Pass the award on to as many bloggers as you can but no more than 12.
*Link to the nominees within your post.
*Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
*Share the love and the link to the person from whom you received this award.

Have a Happy DAY!

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August 25, 2010


Two days ago we returned from family camp, we look forward to this week all summer, but when it's done it marks the end of another summer. We get back and it's time to get in "back to school" mode. I strongly dislike back to school mode. I dislike it because I am reminded of all the things I wanted to do this summer but did not. This summer most of those things were project type I guess I can put them on my list of things to do when the kids go back to school. Ugh, the procrastinator side of me is groaning......

One thing our summer did not lack of was time with friends. Right from the get go we were making the most of our summer. One thing we try to do at least once a summer is a Shrimp Boil, it's always extra fun if we do it with a family that has never done it before.

Our good friends invited us to a Boil a couple years ago. And after several phone calls to my friend Rebecca I got the Shrimp Boil thing down, kinda. We have done several of our own since. Sometimes in our backyard. Sometimes at the beach. It's always a bit of a trial and error process...but it is always a blast.

Back in July, if you remember, we rented a cottage with Big D and her family. The last night at the cottage our good friends the Boumas joined us and we decided to end our stay at the beach with a BANG!

There is nothing like fresh air, boiling shrimp and lots and lots of butter!

This particular night we had 8 adults and 11 kiddos around our shrimp boil table. Needless to the hub-ub of everything (the Sangria might have added to problem too...sometimes these things will slow you down) I did not quite get all the pictures I would have like to get, so you would have the absolute full on immersion of how a Shrimp Boil is done from beginning to end. I also did not have all my stuff that I am used to using from home.....since we were at a rental, but we made it work. I am hoping you will get the general idea and maybe give it a try before summer is over.

Here is what you will need more or less:
click here for your printing pleasure
Red (small) potatoes 1 per person
Small onions, 1 for every 2 people
Sweet corn, 1 cob per person, cut in 1/2
1 lb of shrimp (unpeeled) , per 2 adults
2 Zaturans Shrimp boil Seasoning bags, more if you like spicy (usually come 2 bags in a box)
Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausages cut in 1" chunks (we used 1 lb)
lemon wedges
salt and pepper shakers
Hot Sauce/Cholula
sticks of melted butter or Squeezy Butter
cocktail sauce (if you like)
2-4 loaves of fresh French Baguettes
paper towels/napkins, several medium to small bowls for shells and cobs, newspaper or butchers paper, Turkey Fryer with large pot(18-20+quart)&strainer, a long table

We have never put sausages in with our Shrimp Boil before, but we had so many kiddos and some of them where scrunching their noses at the sound of shrimp eaten on news paper so we thought what the heck...and it was great and the kids loved it! Yeah! "You say Hillshire", "I'll say Farm" GO MEAT!

So you want to get your ingredients all prepped. Thaw the shrimp. Clean the potatoes, onions, and corn. Cut up sausage if using. Get your butter out and in dishes or if you want to make it really easy buy some of the squeezy butter in bottles and sit it on the table. Cut up your lemon wedges.

You will want to prepare the table well before people get there, or if you are us you send the kids out with news paper and tape and let them have at it! You definitely want to make sure that the table has at least two layers of paper on it. Then when the meal is finished you can just roll up the mess and voila, presto change-O! throw it in the garbage and your mess is all gone!

Also set out the salt/pepper shakers, sauces, paper towels, baskets for bread, bowls for shells and cobs.

NOTICE: there is not dinnerware involved in this meal. This can be a problem for some guest. If you sense they are ready to pack it up and head out, then by all means get them a plate, but most people with a little nudge, will see that it is really fun, and they will get over it and dig in. Full on drop their face on the table kinda fun!

This is our turkey fryer. We love this guy. He has allowed us to have many fond memories with family and friends. You want to get the gas hooked up to your fire thingy and get that going a good 1/2 hour before you are ready to start cooking so about an hour before you want to eat. Fill the pot to the fill line if there is one or about 2/3 full.

Throw your spice bags in. And get the water to a full rolling boil.

The key to the shrimp boil it the timing, which means remembering what to put in the pot when and how long it needs to cook. So here is the time line more or less. Our pot was full of vegi's because of the number of people so we had to do the boil in two stages.

time line:
20 minutes potatoes
15 minutes corn and onions
5 minutes out sausages if you do them
**now if you were going to do it in two stages you would pour this out on your table
2-3 minutes for the shrimp

That is what Big D's man is doing here dumping the vegi's out on the table. Then you want to have your shrimp ready...stick the strainer back in the boiling water, make sure you have the seasoning packets in the water (they might have gotten dumped out on the table). Throw the shrimp in boiling water...this will go super duper fast. Sing yourself a rousing rendition of your favorite T.V. shows theme maybe Gilligan's Island or something and then the Shrimpys will be done. It only take the shrimp 2-3 minutes max! As soon as they are all pink pull those babies out of the water and dump them out on top of the other goodies. But if you have a big enough pot, by all means do it all together, just add the shrimp in 2-3 minutes before the rest is done.

There are the taters and corn all lonely waiting for the shrimps!

AAAh there they are!

It will look like your table is kinda strewn with food, and maybe like there is not enough. But believe me if you follow the list above there will be plenty. We always have leftover shrimp...well almost always.

My heart aches when I look at this picture. It was so much fun. Truly I have never done a boil or been to a boil that hasn't been overwhelmingly you don't want the meal and the conversation and the laughs to end.

You can pull chairs up, we have. But this night we stood.

It takes time this meal, the peeling of the shrimp, the tearing of the bread. It's a little bit of work, but great memories and conversations revolve around this type of meal. Look at those cutie patootie faces....oooh it's killing me.

Peel and eat shrimp!

It's fun to see who has the biggest pile of shells and cobs next to them. Pig! Oinker! "hey save some for the rest of us we're starvin' down here!".

I usually don't serve a whole lot else when I do a Shrimp Boil. Maybe a light appetizer, but you want people to come to the table full of anticipation, and hungry tummies.

Oh yeah this is serious you see my son otherwise known as HotSauce he has the hot sauces all lined up.

That's Big D and her ginormous girls...the are giantesses (giant cutie PIES that is!). These two love the "tradition" of the Shrimp Boil with the Johnsons! Big D was not just wearing a towel to the table in case you wondered. We were at the beach, that is her bathing suit cover up. (She is going to kill me....)

Here is the reason three woman in Michigan get up everyday and thank the Lord above. I am not joking. These three are the nicest, sweetest, funniest (well the two on the outside are funny anyway) guys you will ever meet. Hearts of gold these three! They have known each other since high school, maybe before. Mr. Bouma is on the right. This guys is funny just breathing. He does a killer impersonation (no pun intended) of a dead man floating in the water....not funny you say...well not until you have seen Mr. B do it on the beach with 80 million kids running around...somehow it is just gut busting hilarious. Big D's hubby is on the left. He always makes everyone smile and my kids think he is the best ever. And the one in the middle is my Kenny of course. You gotta luv um. We do. I think this pictures is what frames were meant for.

Two weeks from today school starts here in Michigan. We intend to make the most of these last days of summer. Hoping you are too!

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August 23, 2010

ARTsy fartsy

The library in our town has a Kids Craft Fair every summer. Kids can come and set up a table/booth free and sell any crafts or pieces of art they have created. This summer three of my kiddos decided they wanted to participate. So as soon as school got out they started creating.

They were going to be millionaires after this craft show was over.....they were sure of it.

Kenny and I were praying that people would come and somebody would buy something.... anything.... just one thing from each kid would be good. Otherwise it was going to be a sad, sad day in our house after this whole Craft Fair thing was over.

We were instructed that we could arrive at 8:30am to set up our booth. The sale was to start at 9:30am. It's summer, we are night owls and like to sleep in. And I was thinking really how much time do we need, we can skid in there, set up 9-9:15am or so........this statement makes it quite obvious that I had not been to this craft fair nor did I know the slightest thing, about anything at all, when it comes to such things as craft fairs.

It was a scorcher. (as in HOT) We arrived at 9am'ish. We had lots of stuff...I had three arteest with me mind you. It was a mad house! The Farmers Market was going on adjacent to the Library, so this caused a parking problem...AND WE, along with the sorry family that ended up with their table next to us, were the LAST people to set up.

And you know I have a particular problem with the perspiration! It was pitiful.....down right weird. Like I jumped in the pool with my cloths on and came to set my kids up at Craft Fair weird. My chitlins were so blasted excited to show their wears that they didn't even mind their sweaty least I never got that vibe.

Well anyway, it was quite obvious that we had never done this before. It was a first come basis as to where your craft table was set up. The others had this thing down...they had there spot picked...plotted.....planned.

The best spots were closest to the Farmers Market traffic under the shade of trees. Next year I AM THERE...I will camp out in the parking lot if I have to. Just so I do not have to be stationed in the cement courtyard of the Library right in the blazing sun.

How many times did we hear, "wow you guys picked yourselves a hot spot!" that morning? A gagillion....that's how many! And to top it off my Aunt Flow decided to come along with us...makes for a nice patient, even tempered mother of three crafty kids.

Which I must say were just happy to be there. They worked so blasted hard. So I had better shut up and show you their creations......

My youngest son made duct-tape wallets. Of all shapes, styles, colors, and sizes. They were really fantastic. He did them ALL on his own. After watching several YouTube videos that demonstrated the art of duct tape wallet's amazing the things you will find on YouTube. It was so fun to watch him keep his merchandise straight and smile and greet people, then he would show them his product. His wallets sold for $2-6.

We have suspected we had a budding entrepreneur in our midst, this particular morning I was positive that we have the next Bill Gates in our home....well possibly....I would never tell him that...wouldn't want to give him a big head or anything.

He's ten by the case you someday read about this guy in the paper in like 20 years and then you think back and remember the duct tape wallet blog post you once read. Then you would do the math and go "hey I bet that's that Strawberry Cake ladies kid!".

Then there was my littlest...she made felt bookmarks that looked like worms. They were pretty cute. They sold for 25 cents. She sold eight of them.

This was a lesson in economics for my kiddos too. They were suppose to keep track of their costs and then subtract it from their earnings and figure out their profit and all that good stuff. (as you can see I am real good with money lingo and math and things of that nature NOT, but I am hoping to give my kids fighting chance...also praying they received the full share of their fathers mathematical genius).

All that said, because she is only 8 and because she spent $3.50 on her materials, and only earned $2...I couldn't bear to tell her she owed me $1.50. ( See I can do math.) So much to her brothers dismay we let the whole economics lesson slide for her.

This is my oldest daughter. Budding artist extraordinaire! She bought these canvases on sale, and then we set up a table for her in the basement and she painted to her hearts content. For hours and hours on end. I really, really hoped that someone bought something from her, she had so much time and love invested in her paintings.....I really didn't want her to have to learn the starving artist lesson at eleven. Her price range was $5-10.

This was my personal favorite. It sold! As did 8 more of her paintings.

Waiting patiently for the next customer.

My big girl made head bands out of shoe strings too. Her Aunt Wendy gave her that idea, they were super cute! She made her sister model them for her.

I finally ran to the van and retrieved the umbrella, so we could get some respit from the blazing sun.

Being the all supportive mother...I told the kids that it would be fine if they wanted to pack up early since it was so hot. But nope they wanted to stay until the bitter end. It was a good thing they didn't listen to their wimpy mama, cause they made quite a few sales toward the end.

Of course I had to go take a gander at what the other kids were selling, and of course I couldn't just pass them all by.

It was really fascinating to see what kids made. And in some cases what some kids moms made and passed off as there kids creations. Have you heard the term Helicopter Parent? Very interesting to see certain situations....that's all I'm gonna say.

Here are some of the things we purchased. The above bookmark being mine. This little girl has made up her own comic strip, and she took some of them printed them and had them laminated. They were adorable.

The Adventures of Alexis and Aurora

"Hey lex, I got a new Goldfish" "What do you think I should name it?" (cat thought bubble) Sushi comes to mind.

I thought that was so cute and funny and I like Sushi, so I had to have it!

We also had to have the marshmallow shooter, a cute necklace made by a classmate of my sons, a coin purse made out of juice cartons...this one won the Unique Award from me, and we had to buy a drum from our neighboring table....little guys was dying of heat stroke we had to help him out somehow...and you never know when you are going to need a drum.

My big girl had to have this frame...she bought it with her profits. It is made out of rolled up pieces of magazine pages, stuck on a wood frame. Ingenious! It looks very cute in her room.

All in all this was a super experience for the three kiddos. We will do it again next year. And I will be there at 8:15 am getting the prime spot, mark my words. Thanks for letting me brag about my kids, hopefully you didn't check out and go gag yourself. BUT now it can be your turn if you'd like PLEASE brag up your kiddos in the comments. I would LUV to hear all about them!


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