Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lego OKC: Part 2

Memorial, Skirvin, Crystal Bridge, Old Devon building, Thunder Up!, playing around, Bricktown.
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OKC in Lego

As part of OKC's Downtown in December activities, you can go see The City (this is how Okies refer to Oklahoma City) in Lego Blocks.  Now, if you have ever been to Legoland, you may not be blown away.  After all, there are no life-size Darth Vaders or Volvo SUVs, but it is still really neat.  There is a replica of the current Devon building and the one that they are still building in real steel and glass.  You can see the state capital and Crystal Bridge.  There is even an OKC Thunder game with Kevin Durant slammin' one in against the Mavs.  The neatest part of it might just be the bombing memorial.  All the chairs are there and lit up.  Each one is place just as it real life counter part is on the memorial lawn.  I never knew Lego could be moving.  We also got a bit of a surprise while we were there.  At the Thunder display they have a video playing (I think it is supposed to be a jumbo tron) as we were watching, we saw someone familiar.  Not Kevin Durant, but Elijah Burks!  I had to giggle.  He's been wanting to go to this since it opened and he's been there the whole time!

Elijah hanging off of Daequon Cook at Thunder Basketball Camp.  Now on the "jumbo tron" in Lego OKC!

Well, now Google says the picture uploader is unavailable.  I'll post more pics later.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homemade Pizza

This just sounded good today.  Of course, I get to the pantry and no yeast.  No problem, each spring we observe Passover and Unleavened Bread.  This means we do not eat leaven breads.  Pizza crust is of course a bread.  We found a great recipe for an unleavened pizza crust.  Elijah likes it so  much he asks for it throughout the year.  Problem solved.  Here is a recipe for the crust and also what I used for toppings today.  Use your favorite!

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix just until it comes together.  Pour into a greased baking dish or pizza pan with a lip.

To assemble and cook.  Put all topping except for sauce and cheese on the crust batter.  Bake at 425 for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and add sauce and cheese.  Bake an additional 10-15 minutes.

Here are the toppings I used today:
Homemade tomato basil garlic sauce

1 pound lamb sausage, browned and drained-(out of ground beef as well)
black olives
Turkey pepperoni minis
4 oz smoked provolone
2 oz mozzarella
2 oz Parmesan

Crust Batter
After 20 minutes added sauce and cheeses
Fresh form the oven

Elijah is ready to go!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back At It, Again

Almost exactly a year ago (3 days shy) I spent the day lying on on my laundry room floor and in an ER with a back that had gone out.  To make it a short story, I had bent over to pick up a sock and never made it back upright.  Well, to celebrate that most fun day, it has happened again  Now I happy to say there has been no trip to the ER and I was fully dressed this time, look here if you care to see the whole story, but I have spent the day with ice packs (always fun in December) and ibuprofen.  As if the car dying wasn't enough.  I know I have much character to build, and God is just making sure that it gets done.  I'll try not to complain too much, but I have things to do tomorrow!  I'm just glad we are home schooling again this year.  Elijah has been a great gofer!

Oh yeah, today I was washing the hot tub filter.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Comments working

Someone emailed me that they couldn't post comments.  The template I was using didn't work right.  It was the same on my other blog.  I know there are thousands of you out there who are dying to comment on my blog, now you can! 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

So Long Thanksgiving

We had a nice, and not-so-nice, Thanksgiving weekend.  For many families, at least according to the sitcoms, having the in-laws over is the not so nice part and going to your families is the nice one.  Not this year. 

For the first time, in what we estimated at a decade, Jeff's family was together for Thanksgiving.  He is the oldest of seven, five boys and two girls.  All but the youngest made it.  His significant other had just had a baby and they stayed at home.  Jeff's mom made it as well as his dad and his dad's wife.  We also had three extra students from our daughters college attend.  Two from Florida and one from Canada.  All total we had twenty-seven in our home!  A recipe for disaster, but one Thanksgiving recipe that I am happy to report, failed. 

The Burks clan

Now for the not-so-nice.  Saturday evening we headed out to have Thanksgiving with my family.  Tabitha came home with us from church, we changed, loaded the car and left to get my brother.  Then we were on the road.  We wanted to get to Elk City in time to watch most of the OU/OSU bedlam game and were making good time.  As we came close to the end of the turnpike the car started to rattle loudly.  Then the oil light came on.  It was 6 p.m. so it was already dark and that made me even less happy to have to pull over to the side of the road.  Jeff had stayed home to catch up on some work that naturally piles up during the holiday season.  I called him and got the "I put wood together with nails and glue" speech.  I then called his dad, he is a mechanic and I just should have called him first.  He brought us some oil, we started the car and it sounded like gremlins were attacking it with hammers.  Not good.  This was about 7:30.  After calling our insurance and setting up a tow, we sat there for another hour and a half.  My brother had stayed with me and we sent Tabitha and Elijah back with Cecil.  Jeff then met us at the dealership and took us home. 

Now, not that it sounds like it could get much worse, but in a way it does.  When we arrived at my brother's apartment, I sat down the dog carrier and then heard water running.  I asked my brother if he had left it on somewhere.  Then I realized it was coming from the wall.  His water heater was gushing water.  Not sure how long that had been going on, the floor was not wet yet, so not too long.  He lives on the bottom floor, with no neighbors and in the very back.  Had we not gotten back until tonight, as planned, his whole apartment would have been flooded.  I guess our silver lining was that we caught it in time.  Just another reason to be thankful!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lessons Learned

Okay, this is not some profound or life changing lesson that has bee learned.  But to an 8 year-old it is one that showed him you can be rewarded by doing what you are told to do and not arguing about it.  Last night we ent to the OKC Thunder game.  It was "Blue Out" night.  Everyone was encouraged to wear Thunder blue to show support for the team.  Jeff and I got our Thunder gear on and told Elijah to go do the same.  He first came in with just his Thunder hat.  We told him to go put on his Durant jersey.  "Why? I look dumb in it."  To that we quickly let him know it was because we told him to do it.  Well, we got no more arguing and reluctantly put it on along with his Kid's Club lanyard.  He was Thundered up!  Out the door we went.

We stopped to eat on the way.  While we were waiting for our food he asked us how all the kids who get to go on the court in the pregame were able to do that.  )These kids get to be honorary co-captains or give the game ball to ref.  The co-captains then get a small ball autographed by the Thunder's captains.  Usually Keven Durant and Russell Westbrook.  The ball delivery kid gets a picture taken with the ref.)  We told him they chose kids who were dressed to show they support the Thunder by wearing a jersey or hat or other items with Thunder logos.  We then said they don't pick kids who come in a white t-shirt, which is what he originally had on, and that maybe sometime he would be picked.  After we ate, the two of them ran to the arena while I had a nice little stroll in the cold. 

When I arrived at the arena went to my seat.  We don't sit together, but that's another story.  I could not see them at there seats.  We were about 45 minutes early and there weren't many people there.  I saw them walking to their seats just a few minutes later and waved to them.  The next time I looked back, they were gone.  Then I saw the coming up to my seat.  Elijah came running up to me with a huge smile.  I just assumed he was glad to see me.  No, he let me know right away that was not the case.  "Mom, I get to be the game ball delivery boy!", was his excited remark.  They had seen him come in with not just a jersey or hat, but both and a kids club badge as well.  They knew he was a real fan and that is why they chose him.  See, minding can pay off.  He got to go down court side while the players were warming up.  Then his turn came to take the ball to the ref and get his picture taken.  The ref then asked him who his favorite player was.  "Kevin Durant," he told him.  "Kev, come over here," yelled the ref at Kevin Durant.  He came and shook Elijah's hand and then took a picture with him!  Cool!  Jeff had taken him down to the waiting area and when the guy brought him back to Jeff he told him that getting to meet a player was not normally part of being the game ball delivery kid.  That ref just happened to ask Elijah and get Kevin Durant's attention.  We told him that was an extra blessing for being willing to mind, even though he may not have wanted to.  He had changed his attitude quickly about wearing the jersey.  (He thinks he looks dumb because it is so big.)  Hopefully this will serve to help him to remember to be much more willing to just mind.

Kevin Durant is the tall one.  Just in case you weren't sure.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Thanks giving has always been my favorite holiday.  Even when I was growing up it out ranked Christmas as my favorite.  This year we are celebrating twice.  Once on Thanksgiving with Jeff's family at our house and then again on Sunday with my family in Elk City.  We will also have a couple of Tabitha's friends from college come over for the day.  They are both from Florida, so they won't be able to get home to spend it with their families.  For one, it is her first Thanksgiving away from home.  I'll try to make each one a dish they would normally have at home.

We haven't spent the holiday with his family in at least 8 years.  I thought it was about time to do so and invited them to our house.  We'll see how it goes.  Out of the 7 siblings, I'm not sure who will be here.  One brother we haven't heard from and one's girl friend (wife?) just had a baby by C-section yesterday.  Yeah, I don't know if they are married or not, that's how distant we are from them. 

To get a head start on the two days of feasting, I started my cooking today.  Well, I haven't really cooked anything yet, but I figure if Mrs. Smith and the Jolly Green Giant can prepare things and freeze them to cook later, then so can I.  I have two pumpkin pies sitting in the freezer and a roasting pan of dressing as well.  I will get a few more things ready to freeze for later preparation and set it out next Wednesday.  Now if a magic fairy would come and clean the house, I'd be set!


Pumpkin Pies

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Another Tequila Sunrise-Almost

When I was younger, The Eagle were one of my favorite bands.  Tequila Sunrise was one of my favorite songs.  However, this is not about The Eagles or their song, it is about grenadine.  How exactly am I making this connection.  Well, anyone who know what a Tequila sunrise is, knows grenadine is one of the major components.

Courtesy Wikipedia-The Tequila Sunrise is a cocktail made in two different ways, the original (tequila, crème de cassis, lime juice and soda water) and the more popular concoction (tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup). Originally served at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, where it was created by Gene Sulit in the 1930s or 1940s,[1] the cocktail is named for the way it looks after it has been poured into a glass. The denser ingredients (cassis or grenadine) settle, creating gradations in color that mimic a sunrise.

Now, if you are familiar with the commercially available grenadines, you realize that they are mostly corn syrup, citric acid, and coloring.  This has not always been true.  True grenadine is made from the juice of pomegranates.  You can do it the hard way, by seeding a pomegranate, covering the seeds with water, bringing to a boil, running through a sieve and mashing out any extra juice, adding sugar and simmering for another 15-20 minutes.  Or just buy some POM and adding the sugar, etc.

I had three pomegranates that were going to go bad if I didn't do something with them, so I went about making my grenadine the "hard" way.  One question you might have is' "How did it get its name?", well, the French word for pomegranate is grenade.  The artillery you might be familiar with is so named because of its resemblance to the fruit.

Well, now I have my grenadine, I guess it's time to make myself a beautiful sunrise!  It has been a pretty dreary day, after all.


Seeds ready to cook

The mess from just cutting the fruit in half.  Glad I was wearing a red shirt!

After cooking

Strained and thickening.  That is just a reflection of something in the juice, not anything floating in it.  I strained it 3 times.

Just waiting for oj and tequila!

A Few of My Favorite Things!

I have a lot of favorite things.  Some are guilty pleasures, some are found in nature, others involve family and friends.  There are too many areas to really list.  Here are pics of the three that are mentioned.

First, my two favorite guys in the world., Jeff and Elijah.  One is my friend and one is my buddy.  We have so much fun together.  Jeff and I have been married for 21 years.  Even though we didn't grow up together we did.  We didn't know each other as kids but we weren't much more than that when we got married.  We both had a lot of growing to do.  We have been blessed enough to grow together through some tough times, raise two kids, travel to see things that 21 years ago we would never had dreamed of seeing.  Getting married at 18 and 20 is not ideal, but I really would change it.   My buddy, Elijah, is our later in marriage surprise.  He keeps things lively around here.  While he is a rough and tumble boy, he also has quite the soft spot for animals.  He loves his cat, KC.  We had been married for 13 years when he came along.  While many of our friends were starting families around age 30, we already had one and she was 10.  We are in two different groups of parents.  If they have children Tabitha's age, they are generally 5-15 years older than we are and if they have kids Elijah's age the are around 5-7 years younger than us.  We have two generation gaps to fill.  For all of these differences we are blessed with two very smart, good-looking, and fun kids.  If I do say so myself.

Here they are at the Thunder-76er's game.  How did I get this picture?  I sit in a different section!

My guilty pleasure is our hot tub!  This is so great to just get in and relax.  Even though it is on our back deck, we use it way more in the winter than any other time.  It is just a great way to relax before we go to bed.  One thing I don't like about it is the way you smell after you get out.  Chemicals!  While we don't use chlorine, the other alternatives are just as smelly.  To combat this some, Jeff like to put fragrance in the water.  The only problem with that is spa fragrances are full of chemicals as well and they choke me up.  They also have essential oils, so yesterday I went and bought a couple to try out.  We'll see how they work.

I may need to go out there right now.

My last favorite.  My favorite tree in our yard.  There are more beautiful trees, bigger trees, more colorful trees, but I like ours and right now it is  lovely color.

I love autumn!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

I made these this morning and they are really good!  I have a great recipe for cottage cheese pancakes that we all really like.  I just substituted pumpkin for part of the cottage cheese.  If you add a little brown sugar to the batter, you can just butter them and forgo the syrup.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
2 eggs
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons almond meal **
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Blend the cottage cheese and eggs in a blender until smooth.  Add all remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth.  Add chopped nuts, if using, after all is blended.  Cook on hot griddle like regular pancakes.
Pour yourself some coffee and enjoy!
**If you don't have almond meal, you can replace it with the same amount of flour or any other meal.  Do not try to replace the flour though.  The batter will be too thin and make a pancake that is very hard to turn with out falling apart.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Beauty of Home School

There are so many ways that you can go about homeschooling your child(ren).  You can go the traditional public school curriculum done at home all the way to unschooling.  We are happily somewhere in the middle.  Most days we get through the 3 R's and the rest of the traditional fare and just call it good.  Other days we may focus on only one subject or topic.  Most days we are finished before lunch, sometimes its is an all day venture.  The latter of those two generally occurs when one or both of us are in a not-so-good mood.  We make family trips a long field trip, learning about where we are going, stopping to check out the area.  It may just be one long PE trip too.  We try to use every opportunity we can to teach.

Today we went very nontraditional, at least by today's standards.  After Elijah took care of all the birds, he went with Jeff to install cabinets.  He didn't do any installing himself but he did clear the floors so the cabinets would sit level.  That's a pretty important step.  When he got home, we decided to make some lip balm.  I had the idea a few weeks back to do this, then I got an email from a friend who had started making it to sell.  They have a small apiary and I had even thought of asking her what she had planned to do with the beeswax.  (You can buy from her here.)  I started to just give that up, but decided it would be fun to do to give as gifts.  Also, if you have several dozen tubes of it around the house it increases your chances of finding one when you need it ;-).  I digress.  Anyway, I went ahead and ordered some things.  Elijah thought it was really coll last night when I was making it, so today we made some more.  It was math and science with a little economics thrown in.  I made some that I figure isn't a girlie flavor, Chocolate Mint.  Wow, did we make a lot!  I figured it would be about 15 tubes, try 23.  Good thing it turned out pretty well because I'll have enough to last at least a month now.  I really can't keep up with lip balm tubes :-{

Measuring precisely
After lip balming we decided to play a little Trivial Pursuit.  This is the first edition game, so even the most recent questions are over 25 years old.  He actually did quite well.  He knew what tree are traditionally grown in English churchyards (Dangerous Book for Boys taught him that), how many years are in "four score and seven" (he remembered me telling him how many years are in a score and went on to calculate it from there), and what a West Indies steel band is playing as an instrument (We've been to Tobago 4 times and that is where they were invented).  It was pretty fun and he learned that sometimes a guess is as good as knowing.

Combining Trivial Pursuit and checkers, I think?
It was a pretty fun school day.  I bet most of his friends didn't have nearly the same fun.
Oh, in case you didn't know.  Yew trees are traditionally grown in English churchyards,  87 years, and oil drums are used to make the steal pan!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Next William Tell?

We think we have finally found something that will hold Elijah's interest.  Archery.  He tried it last week at Camp Classen day camp and really enjoyed it.  He usually tries things for a week or two, then gets bored with them and moves on to something else.  We usually go out and buy all the things he needs to participate in the chosen activity, then we are stuck with equipment we will never again use.  Fortunately for us his uncle has well equipped his sons, who are a few years older than Elijah, quite well with all manner of hunting equipment, including archery.  We are using one of their smaller compound bows to start out with.  I bought a target and three arrows and spent less than $20.00.  If he grows weary with archery, his cousins can have the things we bought and they'll have their bow back.
He's got his head too far back and this is the grouping he got for that==>
If he can stick with it and keep up his practice, we will look into private lessons and getting him some of his own bows.  He really likes using the recurve and long bows.  For now his uncle is teaching him what he can, he is learning all the safety rules, positioning, and proper nomenclature for all the equipment.  I guess we'll see.

Here he has better head position and so he got a better grouping==>

Monday, October 18, 2010

Such a homer!

I have to say that the nickname of "homer" describes me well. A homer is one who pulls for their team (the home team) no matter what.  For me that involves most any team from the great state of Texas.  This yer they have not been kind to my fellow homers and myself.  The Cowboys are stinking it up, the Longhorns have lost two games, (one to the team my homer husband cheers for, Oklahoma.  That was hard to take), the Mavs and Spurs didn't do so well either.  I'm not a fair weather fan ans some may be.  I still root for my teams no matter what.  It's just that this year they aren't giving me much to cheer about.  That is except for my Texas Rangers!  At this moment they are whooping up on the Yankees.  It is the 9th inning and they have just scored four runs and are still batting.  A southern girl couldn't ask for a better team to beat! 

I remember when I was a little girl, traveling from the Oklahoma panhandle to visit my grandparents in north central Texas.  It was a 7 hour drive and much of it was filled with listening to the AM radio station, WBAP.  I can still here the station's jingle in my head as I type this.  It was the station of the Rangers.  I grew up loving the Rangers and they stunk.  As a matter of fact, this year they became the last franchise to win a post season series.  37 years as the rangers and this was their first.  They also just won their first home playoff game against the much loathed Yankees.  If they can pull of winning this series, my favorite team will be in their first World Series!  (Okay, they just scored again with runners at 2nd and 3rd.  7-0 Rangers!) 

Maybe it is a trivial thing, but I love it!

Cliff Lee is my new favorite pitcher, sorry Nolan!  Also a former Ranger and now a part owner of he Rangers.


Today I took Elijah to a day camp in the Arbuckle Mountains in south central Oklahoma.  For those of you out there who think Oklahoma is just a vast, flat expanse of waving prairie grass, think again.  Now when we say mountains around here, we are of course not speaking of the grandeur of the Rockies.  We are however talking about some of the oldest mountains ranges on the continent in the Arbuckles and Wichita Mountain ranges.  Back to my story.   Today we went to Camp Classen.  It is situated in the Arbuckles, near Davis, Oklahoma.  At just about 2 hours away from our home, you might think you were in a completely different region of the country.  The eastern deciduous forests become areas of western red cedars that then transition into grasslands that are typically associated with Oklahoma.

On top of the world, or at least Murray County, Oklahoma.

Lake Classen

This day camp we attended was a foretaste of what Camp Classen regularly puts on during the summer.  They have all the typical summer camp activities: archery, horseback riding, canoeing, hiking, etc.  Today the day campers were able to participate in a few of these activities.  Elijah chose to only participate in archery.  He really enjoyed it and was fairly good at it, especially for his first time.  he hit the bulls eye on one target twice and hit the target itself several more times.  He also shot the deer target through the ear.  Not a kill shot, but it can now wear fashionable earrings!
William Tell, watch out.  Literally!
After archery and lunch we went on a two-mile hike. For the most part it was an easy hike, with only one place where we had to climb a very high degree. It was quite fun. As we went on this short hike, we also walked through each of the previously mentioned ecosystems. The contrast in such a short amount of time was remarkable.

Fish in the almost dry stream.  They're thankful for the springs in the area.

Don't look down!

Invasive red cedars

Grass lands and cedars blending

Elijah is already bugging us about going to camp next summer.  Both of my nieces go every summer and they love it.  I guess we'll have to see.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


We are very blessed to be able to attend some of the best entertainment events around.  Some of them are going to be majestic, some will be a visual delight, others an audio delight.  We are so happy to hold season tickets for the inaugural Season at Armstrong Auditorium.  The venue itself is a study in splendor that alone is worth the price of admission.  Grand onyx walls, matched cherry wood panels, and even if you are blind you can't miss the three dazzling chandeliers in the grand lobby.

Here are a few pictures we have taken, they don't do it justice.

Last night we attended the sold out performance of the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company.  For a girl who grew up in Oklahoma, and who can barely remember how to Cotton-eye Joe, it was quite a spectacle.  The ornate costumes, the different styles of dance and music, (I didn't realize how heavily the Spanish had influenced the culture) everything worked together for an amazing evening.

Other performances we are looking forward to include: The Vienna Choir Boys, Eroica Trio, and Andre' Watts.  The Russian National Ballet Theatre will also be performing Swan Lake.  I can't think of a better time to see a ballet.  I hope you can make to see some of these and several other performances that are scheduled.  Here's where you can get tickets!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Image loader is working, I think!

Here are just a few more pics, really.

He thinks he's becoming a local.  Or maybe it was entertainment night.

Roadside waterfall

Island Tour

Dexter our tour guide and some other local guy.  Oh wait, that's Jeff.

Argyle Falls

He ruined my children.

A new friend at Store Bay.

AAAHHHH, Tobago!!!!!

Today is our final day in Tobago. We have really grown to love this island.
More importantly, we love our friends that we get to see when we come here. Now that we are the only three of our group left, that feeling of wanting to get back home has set in.

This little island, while a very beautiful place, is far from what you see, on the commercials other Caribbean show you trying to get you there. I'm sure they have their own detractors and why would they show that? Here is slide show of a few of the pictures we took while here this time. We've been here three times previously and would come back in a heartbeat next year. After all, I still haven't seen the heart of the rain forest yet.

(Hopefully there will be a few more pictures to follow, but Blogger has not been loading pics lately.)

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