Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cheap Thrills

My friend, Judy Harper, comes out to California from Georgia to work at camp during the summers. She always brings me something wonderful and southern when she comes.
Two years ago she brought me the greatest cookbook.
"A Taste of Georgia" by the Newnan Junior Service League, Inc.
in Judy's hometown of Newnan, Georgia.
When I want to make something new, it is the first cookbook to look in! (and Judy is a fabulous cook so I know it has great recipes in it!)
I wanted to make something yummy {and of course, cute!} for the teachers this week and I knew the pumpkin bread recipe would be good. It did not disappoint!
I got these darling stoneware mini loaf pans at Michael's for .... $1.00, can you believe it!?
Baked that bread right in them, cooled it and wrapped up the pumpkin-y goodness for some beloved teachers this week!

A Taste of Georgia's Pumpkin Bread

4 eggs
1 cup cooking oil (I have also used applesauce)
2/3 cup water
1 (1 pound) can pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
Pinch of cloves
1 cup nuts (optional)
3 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Beat eggs; add oil, water and the can of pumpkin. Mix well. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into generously greased and floured pans. Bake at 350 for at least an hour (this time is based on a large loaf pan, so you will have to adjust for smaller pans). Test with a toothpick. If still moist, try another 15 minutes. Let cool.

Judy, thank you for this gift that "keeps on giving" !!!
<span class=Photobucket">

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Let the Wedding Festivities Begin!

This summer we had a VERY special event take place at camp.
Joseph Parra asked Jenn Dangc to marry him!!!
{This is Joseph, Groom-to-be with Tyler~behind the scenes (behind the tree) engagement cameraman}
Everyone FLIPPED OUT when they came back and showed us the ring! Then we all looked at the precious pictures on a tiny camera!! So cute!
{and I have to say that "it was about time!" Because Joseph had that ring forever and even gave it to ME to keep until he was ready...I was about to die until he finally said, "Hey, I need that thing you have been holding for me!!!}
It was so precious how all the staff was so excited. We live so closely all summer and it really is very much like a family, that is one of my favorite things about my life.
Jenn has been so busy doing all the planning for their November 13th wedding in Lynchburg, Virginia. I can't wait to go! There is one bridesmaid that I especially want to see!! I am thrilled that we get to go, but I wish Lindsay and Anna could be there too.
Jenn has done a wonderful job putting it all together, it is going to be beautiful.
Today I had a bridal shower for this very special girl.
I wish my house was a little bigger to accommodate crowds a little more comfortably, but it all worked out and my trusty card table came in handy to hold the gifts.
I decided to serve the food from my dining room table instead of the counter to make more space and it worked out nicely. I think I will do it the same way for Thanksgiving and use my Costco tables to eat on!
I sent Anna to the attic to look in my Valentine's Day box and get my silver "Love" letters.
I printed some quotes about love and put them around. (and look at those cute napkins from Michaels!)
Jenn brought me some of her engagement pictures {they are so GOOD} to display. They had them done in Lynchburg by the same girl who will be doing the wedding pictures. I can't wait to see how they turn out!!!
I made sugar cookies to use as favors...that yummy "Paradise Bakery" recipe!!
We had fresh lemonade, Italian soda and water bottles (coffee too) available.
It was fun to see Jenn open her gifts. I remember how fun it was to start my "grown up" life with my very own dishes!!
Jenn got pots and pans, a vacuum cleaner and lots of beautiful serving dishes...I can't wait to be invited over for dinner! {and I am so happy they will be living in Redding!}
Dottie and Carolyn {2 of my favorites} with the Bride-to-be.
Jenn's Aunt, cousin, Mom and 2 of her sisters.
Here are some of our camp girls that came. Leanne (uh, where are you in this picture by the way, Leanne??) and Shannon came over early and calmed me down from my FrEnZy. I love girls who just look around and DO what needs to be done without me even asking! Phew!! That's how we teach 'em up at good 'ole Lassen Pines!

It was fun to honor Jenn today. She will be a beautiful bride and a wonderful wife. She has been a godly influence on so many girls over the years at camp, including mine. It is a blessing to see how God is blessing her life with a wonderful man.

Love Sweet Love

Saturday, October 16, 2010


We love this little chocolate chip cookie eating, mess making girl.
But, there are a few things that are extremely frustrating about her!
Taking pictures of her is so extremely frustrating, it is hard to even explain.
For some reason, she will not pose, look at the camera and smile all at the same time.
(yes, I know she is "legally blind" and all, but she does know where I am standing..helloooo)
Unless you make a crude noise or talk about "tooting"...
See what I mean? She gets it in her head that she is NOT going to do it...and she doesn't.
I end up all sweaty and emotional from the huge effort I have to put forth.
And then Anna breaks out a pose and smile that makes me forget all my anxiety.
God knew what He was doing when He gave me her. I love this girl.
<span class=Photobucket">

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chewy Deliciousness!

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. I have been making these since high school and I have no idea where my mom originally got the recipe. They are always a big hit!
Special K Bars

6 cups Special K cereal
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (crunchy is the best but smooth works too)
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo Syrup
1/2 bag of chocolate chips
1 unsweetened chocolate baking square (optional)

In a large bowl mix together the cereal and peanut butter (I have used corn flakes in a pinch and they do just fine and are sometimes cheaper). Set aside.
In a small saucepan stir together the sugar and Karo syrup, bring to a boil and let boil for maybe 10 seconds or so, just to make sure the sugar dissolves.
Pour the sugar mixture onto the cereal mixture and mix well.
Spread the cereal mixture into a buttered 9x13 pan.
Clean and dry the saucepan and melt the unsweetened chocolate on low heat, add the chocolate chips. Melt until smooth (you can melt them in the microwave in 30 second intervals instead if you prefer).
Spread the chocolate on top of the cereal mixture then pre-cut the bars BUT LEAVE THEM IN THE PAN.
Refrigerate until they harden.
Set the pan out for 10 minutes or so before cutting and removing the bars. (this makes it easier to remove them from the pan)

There you go, a quick, easy and yummy little treat...perfect for Teacher Treat Thursday!
<span class=Photobucket">

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Carly & Ben

I was on cloud 9 when I found out that Scott and I would be able to head to San Diego for the wedding of one of our flower girls from our wedding!
Carly Marrin Olson is the youngest daughter of one of my most favorite people and best friends, Lydia.
I babysat Carly and her sisters when I was in HS and college (Carly was born during my first semester at Liberty). I always wanted to be like Lydia. Her perfect home, so clean and soooo cute, she is so talented and creative, so fun to be around, she loves her family and she had three precious daughters...what fun! Now I have three daughters myself! (and yes, I even used their names for my own girls!!)
The wedding was so beautiful and this couple is just adorable!
It seems like just yesterday Carly was walking down the aisle at MY wedding!
Haley and Lindsay (Carly's sisters) were my flowers girls too! They were so cute!
I am telling you, I LOVED this family!
You can't imagine how special it was for me to be at Carly's wedding!
It was a beautiful day along the San Diego Harbor. It was warm and there was a cool breeze blowing as the gorgeous couple took their vows. The way Ben just stared at Carly melted my heart. They.are.so.in.love.
The prayer of Jabez was the couple's blessing. How appropriate!
Here are my little flower girls, so young and cute...
and here are my flower girls all grown up and gorgeous! (Lindsay and Haley each have 2 kids!)
One of the benefits of attending the wedding was getting to see Melinda, Lydia's BFF and her beautiful daughter, Brooke. I watched Lydia and Melinda raise their children and they have both been a blessing to me! Their children are all outstanding adults. I am so thankful to have had such wonderful friends who were a few steps ahead in life to look to for guidance.
Carly and Ben's cake was out of this world! De-lish! Carrot cake with cream cheese filling for one layer and chocolate with light chocolate mousse for the other...and yes, I tried them both!
Check out this cute cake topper...one of Carly and Ben's first dates was snowboarding, they are both very athletic and love the outdoors.
I am so grateful to have had such a friend as Lydia in my life for so long!
(Um, yes...I got married in the late 80's, can you tell by the ghastly hat?!)
I cherish our friendship and admire her more with each passing year!
Lydia did a phenomenal job putting the wedding together herself. No detail was overlooked. I saw with my own eyes the full color drawing of the layout for the paper lanterns! Talk about organized!
Look at the boards with the table assignments!!
Notice that the pink letters are the letters in Ben and Carly's names....details, people!
The "Candy Bar" was out.of.control!
My friend, Sheila, and I were glad our table was conveniently located right next to the sweets!
There were little signs in some of the candy like, "Carly's favorite, Ben's favorite", the foil wrapped chocolate softballs said "Carly spent a lot of time on the softball field" and the gummy worms said, "Ben's favorite past time is fishing". So thought out and so adorable!
(I happen to know where you can get one of those banners if you find yourself needing one like it!)
Lydia's sister, Fran was one of my HS idols...she was the coolest girl ever! She could sing like no body's business and she was always flashing that beautiful smile! It was extra fun hanging out with her during the wedding AND at The Hotel Del Coronado later that night with Lydia and her other darling sister, Kelly, the husbands and some of Kelly's grown kids!
Love is a true gift and I am so glad Carly found it!
Last weekend being around so many people that helped shape me into who I am today was one of my most favorite things I have done in years! I will not let so much time pass before I go back to San Diego to get another dose of hometown love!!

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Puyleart!
{and Lydia...I am "booking" you right now for when I have to put a wedding together!}
<span class=Photobucket">