Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Do you make them? I used to. I "resolved" several years ago to stop making resolutions. All they did was depress me, because I always made the same resolution most people made and, like most people, I would fail. So, I just didn't make any.

However, as I look back on 2008 and take inventory of just what all I did do I have to say that God did some amazing things in my life. :-) He did lead me to join a gym which helped my health tremendously, and even though I didn't lose the weight I wanted to lose, the fact that I went at all (and was relatively consistent) is a HUGE improvement.

He showed me that I am much stronger (with Him of course) than I ever imagined I could be. He put to rest some old demons and stopped others before they could even arise.

He showed me Beth Moore Bible Studies, and put a fire in my heart to want to learn more, and LIVE His word, not just read it.

He has been my protector, my comforter, and my Best Friend when I needed Him, and even when I didn't realize I did. He has literally saved me more than once this year. I am almost finished with "Believing God", and this week God showed me that He has truly been with me even before I was born. He not only "knit me in mother's womb" He protected me.

When my mother was in her early stages of pregnancy with me she became ill. The doctor told her she had miscarried, but they did not perform a D and C, for whatever reason. She went home (to Texas) for rest and went to her "family doctor". He confirmed that not only was she pregnant she NEVER miscarried. Who knows what would have happened had the first doctor done a D and C? See, God was there. ;-)

Because of what He has taught me, this year I have decided to actually make a resolution. In 2009 I resolve to do my Bible Study EVERYDAY, no matter what. I resolve to memorize scripture every week, and "hide His word in my heart..." I resolve to look for evidence of His work in my life everyday, and I know I will find it; and praise Him for it. :-)

How about you? If you make resolutions what are yours?

Wendy Darling

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another Christmas has passed...

...and it was wonderful. :-) We had our Christmas Eve service, complete with candles, and it was such a blessing. Christmas morning we did the Advent Wreath, again a blessing. "Little Mark" read the corresponding Bible verses to go with each candle.

We had breakfast pretty much ready and just popped it into the oven. We all took turns opening our stockings, so we could see what each other got. I got the "Double Twelve Dominoes". The ones you need to play "Mexican Train". I have been wanting them for awhile now, and we have had a wonderful time playing the game together. :-)

I received the most wonderful Bible Study from my sister, "M".

I believe I have established how much I LOVE Beth Moore Bible Studies. Each one that I have done has improved my life for the better. ;-) I can't wait to begin this one. :-)

"Little Mark" got a new camera. I believe that was his favorite gift this year. :-)

Like most families we had a small Christmas this year, but as always we try to keep it meaningful. The goal is to spend it with family and make memories. ;-) I believe we succeeded. :-)

How was your Christmas?

Wendy Darling

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I think we are ready... ;-)

We finished up our shopping yesterday. All that we had left to buy were stocking stuffers and the food for Thursday.


We don't do a big dinner or anything. We save that for Thanksgiving. For Christmas we just do "party" food, and we snack All. Day. Long. It's very relaxing. We also just play games, watch movies...whatever. Again, it's relaxing. ;-)

Here is our "menu" for the day:

Pigs in a blanket
Fresh Fruit


Stuffed Mushrooms
Sausage Balls
Cheese Dip
Spinach Dip
Bean Dip
Finger Sandwiches (Turkey, Beef or Chicken)
Cheese and Crackers
Veggie Tray
Seasoned Crackers
Cherry Salad

Chicken Fried Steak
Mashed Potatoes

That's pretty much it. We have to have so much, because not everyone likes the same thing, so we have to make sure everyone is represented. ;-) I cook all I can in advance, and then just reheat around lunch time. :-) Like I said, we really try to make everything with as little trouble as possible, VERY little clean up, and just have a day of FUN! ;-)

So, what's your menu for Christmas Day?

Wendy Darling

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap....

I have been to two parties in the last week, and therefore have tasted some WONDERFUL new treats. Let me say, again, just how wonderful the holidays are. :-) Anyway, two dishes were so amazing to me that I immediately asked for the recipe, and then let the "cook" know that I would be posting it on my blog for the recipe swap.

That means you get two! :-) I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. :-)


2 pkgs frozen chopped spinach
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1 can chopped or sliced artichokes
1 8 oz pkg fine shredded italian blend cheese
1 table spoon minced garlic salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300°F. Mix together all ingredients but half of the cheese in a oven safe bowl or pan.

Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes cover with remaining cheese & bake till melted and slightly golden. Serve with chips or crackers

Easy Oreo Truffles

1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) OREO Cookies, finely crushed, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
Make It

MIX 3 cups of the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese until well blended. Shape into 42 (1-inch) balls.

DIP balls in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover melted chocolate can be stored in tightly covered container at room temperature and saved for another use.) Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.

REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Store any leftover truffles in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

OH MY WORD! Y'all have to try these!! :-)

For more wonderful recipes head over to Gayle's. :-)


Wendy Darling

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm requesting your help...

This pertains to a subject that I have blogged about before, and is very close to my heart.

My family and I have adopted soldiers in the past. This year, financially, we could only do one soldier. So, we adopted one, as a family. We send one care package a month, because postal charges do hurt. This is a petition to ask congress to allow citizens to send letters and care packages to our heroes for FREE.

My comments to my submission stressed that we could help more soldiers, or buy more supplies for our hero, if we didn't have to worry about the postage. That would also help the economy, because we would be purchasing more things.

I have never posted about a bill, or a petition before; and I don't see me doing it again. This one is important though, so I am posting it.

Please, click on the link provided, and sign the petition. Then, send the electronic letter to your Senators and Representatives. Finally, pass it on to your friends, or better yet, link back here on your blog. The more signatures we can get the more of our heroes we can help. :-)

Go here: www.rallycongress.com/...-soldiers/

Wendy Darling

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's pretty much a list, again.... ;-)

Fist, don't forget that tomorrow is the deadline to sign up for the giveaway over at Boomama's. :-) I'm hoping to win the camera for Cleggy. ;-)

Speaking of Cleggy, Today (Wednesday actually) is his birthday. :-) Head on over and surprise him by wishing him a Happy Birthday. ;-)

Let me, again, bring your attention to Gayle's recipe swap she hosted last week. There are a lot of amazing recipes that may be beneficial for all of your holiday baking/cooking next week. I know I found a few that I will be making. :-)

I, finally, broke down and bought pecans at the grocery store, ya'll. I cannot believe I spent $6 on a pound of pecan halves! I live in Texas; our state tree is the pecan tree! I should be able to get these for A LOT less than $6.
Of course, I could probably get them free if I wasn't too lazy to shell them myself...but that takes a lot more time than I am willing to commit. And it ruins my nails...

Anyway, I bought the pecans so I could make caramel and chocolate pecan bars for the bake sale last week. They are AMAZING! And so sweet that I could only eat a small one (bite size) without getting ill. But, they were worth every penny of the $6 for the pecans. I only needed a cup of them, though. So, I used the rest to make these:

I have been craving fruit cake cookies ever since I mentioned them in this post. Even though it was a short mention, the seed was still planted. I needed fruitcake cookies. I, finally, made them today, and they smelled heavenly. Fresh grated nutmeg makes everything smell better, ya'll. Just sayin'.

And my craving was completely satisfied when I ate 2... or 5..., but who's counting. :-) Besides that, I am a firm believer that fruit cake IS health food. There's fruit, and nuts, and carbs for energy...

Please don't burst my bubble by reminding me of the butter and sugar... I prefer to live in my own little world, at least until after the holidays. ;-)

Here is the recipe for those of you who are interested. Enjoy. :-)

Christmas Fruit Cookies

1 C of butter, softened
1 1/2 C of sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp of baking soda dissolved in 2 tsp of hot water.
3 C of flour
2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
2 lbs of pecan halves
1 lb. of candied fruit (for fruitcake)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. (Yes, I did say
275) Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and dissolved soda. Mix well. Put dry ingredients in a bowl and combine well. Add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in pecans and fruit. Drop on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. About 1/4 cup scoops. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. :-) These make REALLY big cookies. :-)

Wendy Darling

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Digital Camera Give-away!

Boomama is giving away a digital camera at her blog. Deadline to enter is December 17th. Hurry over and sign up. :-)

Wendy Darling

Friday, December 12, 2008

Grocery Cart Recipe Swap...

Sorry, y'all. I had a bake sale early this morning so the recipe is late. I hope you enjoy it anyway. :-) For more recipes don't forget to go over to Gayle's. :-)

BBQ Cups

1 lb. of ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bottle BBQ sauce
grated cheese
1 can 10 ct biscuits

Brown ground beef and onions in a pot. Season with salt and pepper. Drain. Add in on bottle of BBQ sauce. Flavor and brand is your choice.

Using a muffin tin, place one biscuit inside each muffin hole. Push down to "line" the sides of each, making a "bowl" shape. Place a spoonful of the meat mixture in each biscuit. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes. Take out and top with cheese. Place back in the oven for just a minute longer, giving the cheese time to melt. Serve with a salad. :-)

Wendy Darling

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies...

I missed the usual Friday Recipe swap last week, so this week you get two. ;-) Today I am joining Candi's Christmas Carnival. She has 2 really great recipes over there. :-)

I cannot take credit for this recipe at all. I saw it the other night on Paula Deen's Cookie Swap show and I just HAD to make them. ;-) They are AWESOME y'all. Here is the direct link to the recipe.

And here is the result:

As you can see, mine are going in a bake sale tomorrow. However, I did eat a couple and they are amazing. :-) They do take some time to make, but they are definitely worth the time investment. ;-)

Wendy Darling

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.... ;-)

Guess what it is doing in East Texas?! It's been light flurries on and off today, but tonight as we pulled up to church HUGE flakes began falling and sticking to the cars. As we exited the church and saw all of the cars covered in blankets of white.... well, let's just say we were ALL excited. :-) The kids immediately began scraping off the snow and having snowball fights. ;-) I really hope it lasts awhile. :-)

Wendy Darling

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

This may end up being a list...

I've been meaning to blog since last week. First, I ran out of time, then there were times I just didn't "feel like it." Then, of course, there is the dreaded "I have nothing to write about." So, this may actually turn into a boring list.

I apologize ahead of time. Truly, I do.

To start off I slept most of the day. Now, for those of you going "Man, wish I could..." don't. I had a massive sinus headache from "you know where" most of the day. For the first half of the day I survived on Excedrin for Sinus headaches, water and saltines. I hate it when you have a headache so bad you don't want to move, but your so nauseous you have to eat something. If it wasn't for the really bad sinus pressure I would have thought I was having a migraine.

I did get up and get dressed around 11:00 am. I thought that would make me feel better. It did a little. I then ate a sandwich and drank more water, which also helped. After that I took more aspirin and sat in the chair in the schoolroom with a cold rag over my eyes. I did nod on and off as "Little Mark" finished up his schoolwork. He worked fairly well, independently today. :-)

My original plan was to bake all day for the bake sale we are having on Friday. That didn't happen. I did get up around 4:00 pm. I felt much better, and I did make a batch of mini, red velvet cupcakes. That was all though. The rest will have to wait until tomorrow. ;-)

I, finally, managed to get "Little Mark's" Christmas picture taken, so tomorrow the last of the Christmas cards will go out. :-)

"Little Mark" has actually said some VERY humorous things lately that I have been meaning to blog about, but now I can't recall them enough to do so. Don't you hate it when that happens? ;-) He seems to have inherited his Uncle Cleggy's sense of humor. Which is probably a good thing. :-)

I do remember once when we were young we were listening to a Sunday School lesson about Lot and his wife. The teacher got to the part about Lot's wife turning to a pillar of salt, and said that even today that land is very salty. Cleggy responded, "Man, she must have been one big woman." LOL... :-) That's the kind of humor "Little Mark" is adapting. :-)

I've been meaning to post a picture of our Christmas tree this year. This is the first time we have ever had a white tree. I have to admit, it took some time to "grow on me." I'm a pretty traditional person, and to not look in that room and see a green tree took some getting used to. :-) But, I have to say, I really do like it. :-) What do you think?

I know it looks pink, but believe me, it is white. :-) The ornaments look really nice on there too. Especially this one:
Sorry, "T". We do have Little One's ornament still here. We'll bring it with us when we exchange gifts so he can put it on your tree. :-)

Our family did indeed get to go to Santa Land this year, albeit a week late. But, we made it. It was so exciting. There were new things, again, and we had the best time. I even attempted to use the video feature on my camera. I found out just how much video my card will hold.

About 20 minutes less than I need it too. :-)

However, the audio worked great as well. When I can figure out how to upload a video to this thing I'll be happy to share some of it with you. Unfortunately, my card filled up before I could get us all singing Christmas carols driving through the park together. It was really fun. ;-)

I am hoping we get to go back one more time, and this time I'll wait and video the second half. ;-) If nothing else, this weekend I'll get Cleggy to teach me how to take still photos from a video and I'll post those.

Well, I've bored you enough for one blog post. I will really try to do better this week about blogging. :-)

Wendy Darling

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Reason for the Season...

Little Mark is competing in the 4-H photography contest at the district level. He decided to put this photo in the "special effects" category. He used a black bed sheet as the back drop, and then in Poly View he wrote "The Reason for the Season" on the photo. He chose the font and everything. Doesn't it look like it could be a Christmas card? ;-)

Wendy Darling

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

It's ON!! ;-)

I'm rooting for you both. ;-)

Wendy Darling

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Drive Thru History...

Have y'all watched this show on TBN? It is hosted by David Stots, and man is it great! :-) I happened upon it one night while flipping the channels, and I stopped to check it out. I thought maybe I could record it to use with "Little Mark." Somehow the DVR ate the recordings, so I bought two of them on DVD.

We have "Rome if you want to", and "Greece is the Word." I plan to purchase "Turkish Delight" and "East meets West" next. I fully intend to also buy the "Drive Thru America" Character Curriculum as well. :-)

I have enjoyed watching the DVDs a lot, and I have even watched them without "Little Mark" and it wasn't to prepare for a lesson. It was just for FUN.

David Stots is a great teacher, but more than that he is entertaining as he gives you the information. The way he told the story of Romulus and Remus was classic. ;-) Even "Little Mark" paid attention and learned something. :-) It actually proved to me that he is learning from all of his curriculums, because he is currently studying Greece and Rome in his History SOS, and of course Paul's journeys there in Bible SOS. This just helped to bring everything "full circle" for him. ;-)

Anyway, I strongly encourage you to take a look at these DVDs, and consider using them for your school. :-)

BTW... I am not in anyway being paid for this "plug", but if the great people at Drive Thru History would like to donate any of the above mentioned DVD sets to me I wouldn't say, "No." ;-)

Wendy Darling

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008 Highlights...

This year was a great Thanksgiving. We ate too much, and thanked God that we did have food to eat, and a home to gather in.

Everyone helped with something. "Little Mark" made homemade Southern Yeast Biscuits for us this year. Cleggy made the mashed sweet potatoes and regular mashed potatoes, and Mom and I made everything else. Sister J helped buy the food and clean up, so she did contribute. ;-)

And this year I DID remember to take off the brown paper before cooking the ham. :-) It was delicious. :-)

Cleggy took "Little Mark" to see "Bolt" this afternoon while Sister J went to see "Four Christmases." I chose to take a nap, because Cleggy and I stayed up last night watching "Hairspray." I was in the mood to see it, and sometimes a woman just has to appease her "sassy, fat girl" side. :-)

HOWEVER, the BEST part of Thanksgiving 2008 was THIS: :-)

Wendy Darling

Friday, November 21, 2008

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap...

Happy Friday everyone :-) With the colder weather, and the holidays upon us, we all could use that little something "extra" on those cold mornings. So, today I am sharing a simple recipe for spice tea. I grew up drinking this tea. I have NO IDEA where the name came from, because there is not a single Russian ingredient in it, but it sure is good. :-)

Russian Tea Mix

1 C Tang
1/2 C instant tea with lemon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix well and store in an airtight container. To drink, just add two heaping teaspoons of the mix into a coffee cup and add hot water. Stir and enjoy. :-)

For more wonderful recipes please go to the Gayle's. She has a great recipe for making your own Windex! :-)


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Thanksgiving to Remember Part 2...

We all reached the bathroom and found a gut wrenching sight. Yes, my friends, the plumbing had backed up. The toilet was overflowing, “stuff” was backing up into the bathtub; it was a mess. My brother managed to get the toilet turned off, and we began throwing towels onto the floor, trying to get up all of the water. It took every towel under the sink and even the ones from the hamper to get all of the water. It was anarchy. Especially since there were so many of us trying to “help”, and only 2 people can fit in that bathroom, and not comfortably.

We, finally, got the floor cleaned up, mopped, bleached, and the towels in the washing machine. But, we still had one more problem; how do you get a plumber to your house on Thanksgiving morning, and HOW MUCH IS IT GOING TO COST?!

Answer: You don't, and you don’t want to know. We had to use the second bathroom instead, and the plumber came the next day, and the next, and the next…. and the next. They dug up the yard. It wasn’t pretty.

But, back to Thanksgiving Day; with that situation ‘handled’ we began working on dinner, again. The turkey, finally, finished cooking and I prepared the ham to be cooked. I cook my ham the way my Momma cooks ham, and the way my Nana cooked her ham. With pineapple slices, cherries, brown sugar and whole cloves. I noticed the cloves were a lot harder to put in the ham this time though. Peculiar…

I put the ham in the oven and set the timer for about an hour. The timer went off I took the ham out and tried to cut it. The knife would NOT go into the ham. What’s up with that?! Then, I looked at it. REALLY looked at it. It looked kind of funny. I touched it, again. It felt funny, and cold.

In frustration I stabbed the ham, and then I realized… yes, friends, I still had the brown paper wrapped around the ham.

Go ahead, laugh… I’ll give you a moment….

SO, I unwrapped the ham, and discovered it was still cold. That brown paper makes really good insulation. I put new cherries, pineapple, brown sugar, and whole cloves on it. The cloves went in MUCH easier this time; and put it in the oven for another hour.

For those of you keeping track, yes it IS after 12:00 pm. The already cooked pineapple and cherries made a good snack. I may, or may not have licked the brown sugar from the brown paper.

So, with everyone STARVING, and dinner not nearly ready we made sandwiches. After an hour the ham was FINALLY ready. We made the rest of the sides. Then, we carved the turkey…. And guess what I found inside….

Yep, a nicely cooked bag of giblets. Guess the turkey company remembered to put them in after all. But, you know what? By this time I didn’t care! I took them out with a pair of tongs, threw them in the trash and I served that darn bird anyway!

Yes, it was a challenging morning; dinner was late, and it was a long day. But, it ended well and no one got sick. I call that a successful Thanksgiving meal and one I will NEVER forget. ;-)

This year my family is serving turkey roasts. I'm still doing the ham though, minus the brown paper. :-)


Wendy Darling

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Thanksgiving to Remember...

We have all had those Thanksgiving Days where either something wonderful happened that we will never forget, or something bad happened. Perhaps you burned the turkey and your Thanksgiving meal ended up being spaghetti. We've all been there. Let me give you a chuckle by telling you about a Thanksgiving Day I will never forget.

I will "lovingly" refer to it as "Thanksgiving 2000." My brother and sister bought this home in May of 2000, so this was going to be our FIRST Thanksgiving in our new home. I was excited. :-)
Of course, I'm usually excited at the holidays anyway. I love all of the cooking, baking, decorating, ect. Go ahead, say it... I'm weird. ;-) I'm not exactly Martha Stewart, but I do like to entertain.

We eat Thanksgiving "dinner" at Noon in our house. We spend the afternoon playing games, or maybe go to a movie. We eat the leftover's at supper. So, I start cooking EARLY. This particular year I was doing a whole turkey as well as a ham.

I had purchased a frozen turkey, and I had put it in a pan in the refrigerator three days ahead to allow it to thaw. I got up at 4:00am to dress the turkey and put it in the oven. It was only going to need about 4 1/2 hours to cook, and then I could put in the ham. I figured I would have it in the oven by 4:15, 4:20 tops, and then I could go back to bed for another hour, get up and shower/dress and start my day. That's what I THOUGHT would happen.

I took the turkey out of the refrigerator and cut off all of the plastic. To my horror there was still ice on the neck and the "bottom" of the turkey. I couldn't believe it. I had followed the directions, I had given it plenty of thawing time, why was it still frozen? I couldn't wrap it again and put it in water on anything, because I had cut the plastic off of the turkey. It was already in the garbage.

What was I to do? I did the only thing I could think of, I grabbed an ice pick and a hammer and I began to chip away the ice. Yes, Ma'am I did. I stood in the kitchen, in my pajamas and slippers and hacked away at the turkey.
I first had to pry the legs apart, and that meant removing the wire clip. NOT easy an easy task to begin with, but it is almost impossible when the legs are frozen. I, finally managed to get the legs apart, only to find ice in the turkeys nether regions. So, I got a butcher knife and tried to get some of the ice out of the turkey. I do NOT like giblets, and I knew there was a little pouch of those things inside the turkey. They HAD to come out!

I, finally, got enough ice out that I could reach inside. A job I was NOT looking forward to. I reached inside the turkey and my hand was freezing! However, I could not find a bag of giblets. I then thought, maybe I should have gone through the neck? So, I began to use the butcher knife again. After several minutes I got the "flap" open, but not much. So, I put the flap back down, and decided to try the other side again. I could not feel a bag. Of course, I wasn't exactly "into" the task at hand, if you know what I mean.

I came to the conclusion that the company must have forgotten to put a bag in our turkey. So, I tried to put the legs back as best as I could, and I "dressed" my turkey. (By "dressed" I mean I rubbed oil all over it, threw on some seasonings, wrapped it in foil, and tossed that baby in the oven.) By this time it is around 5:30 am. The turkey is definitely late getting into the oven, and it is still partially frozen. It would require extra cooking time.

I cleaned up the kitchen, bleached the counters and headed to take a shower and get dressed. (So much for extra hour of sleep.) After I was dressed the rest of the family began to stir, shower, dress, etc. I went back to the kitchen and began to get other things started. I made the relish tray, and got it in the fridge, boiled eggs, set out the canned veggies and boxed stuffing, put the things for the green bean casserole out on the counter, and began to clean up.

That's when I heard it... The SCREAM for help from the hall bathroom.

continued tomorrow....

Wendy Darling

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Because not everyone will be home for the holidays...

I went to visit Big Mama's blog this morning. As you will see, I did steal the title from her as well.
She had an e-mail from a reader/Army Wife named Amanda. Amanda is trying to gather Christmas cards for the soldiers families stationed at Fort Sill. Here is the excerpt of Amanda's e-mail that Big Mama posted:

Our goal is to send an extra Christmas card to each family of a deployed soldier on our post. We are hoping to encourage those that are walking through a particularly difficult time of deployment.

We want each family to know that the sacrifice they have offered is cherished. We are hoping for a personal note in each card.

Please include words of gratitude as well as words of encouragement. We want Army families to know they are being thought of across this country; that their sacrifice is important, and that they are being covered in prayer.

Please pray for the family as you seal their envelope, knowing with certainty that God knows exactly which family will receive your card. Continue to pray for the families throughout the holiday season. Ask God to bring them to your mind throughout the festivities. You will bring blessings to these homes.

We are striving to get 2000 cards! In order to do this efficiently, we are unable to give out personal contact information for the Army Families. Once the cards are returned, we will be addressing the cards and will use our own return address.

Please include your hometown & state with your signature inside your card, this will ensure that Army Families know people across America are praying for them and thinking of them. You may include a return address inside the card as well, but this is not required. Thank you for joining us in such a big undertaking. One extra Christmas card combined with the love of Jesus, just might change a life.

A few reminders:

1. Write “Dear Army Family” in the greeting of the card

2. Please include a personal greeting inside each card. Include your hometown & state.

3. Please STAMP the envelopes! You may send all the stamped cards in one large envelope or box to save on shipping.

4. Please return cards by December 1, 2008.

5. Please mail the cards to the following address:

Dear Army Family
Fort Sill – PWOC Frontier Chapel
4121 Thomas Road
Fort Sill, OK 73503

Thank you,


“Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land.” Proverbs 25:25

For the full blog post please, go to Big Mama's blog . Let's help them reach their goal of 2000 cards. It's very important that we do not forget to thank not only our heroes, but the families that also make many sacrifices for us as well. :-)

Wendy Darling

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We Have A Winner!!! :-)

I want to thank all of you who signed up for the CD give-away. :-) This has been a really fun one to do. :-) If you did not win, please go over to ericdodge.com and order yourself a copy. As you heard, the man has great talent, and I KNOW we will be hearing him on mainstream radio VERY soon. ;-) Don't forget about his blogtalkradio show on Tuesday nights, 8:00 pm CST. ;-)

The winner of the give-away is:

#36 Meddlingkidd over at http://meddlingkidd.wordpress.com/

Congratulations! :-) You have 3 days to e-mail a physical mailing address to me, and I will get this out to you first thing Monday morning. :-) If I don't hear from "Meddlingkidd" by Tuesday I will draw another winner. But don't wait, head over to Eric's now and purchase one of his awesome CDs, or download it from cdbaby.com

Wendy Darling
Drawing Reminder....

I will be using the random number generator at 6:00 this evening to choose the winner of Eric Dodge's Christmas CD, so if you haven't signed up, yet, now is your last chance. Tell your friends. :-)

Wendy Darling

Friday, November 14, 2008


You want to know the difference in mindset between a 12 year old boy and a 35 year old man?

My brother was flipping around on the TV to find something to watch. He stops on the Food Network so we could watch a show about desserts. The second he sees the host he sits straight up and happily says, "ALL RIGHT, Giada!" The 12 year old sits straight up and happily says, "ALL RIGHT, CHOCOLATE CAKE!"

That's the difference. :-)

Wendy Darling

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap Friday....

Good morning. :-) I know I haven't updated the blog all week, and I have 2 good reasons. 1) I wanted to leave the give-away at the top of the post so that everyone has a chance to enter, and I don't know how to do that neat thing others do to keep a particular post at the top. 2) I've been busy.

Due to the fact that I am fighting an ear ache, coughing up a lung, and my throat feels like sandpaper, this mornings recipes will be short and easy. BUT, I did say "recipes", so you are getting two of them. :-)

When we have seafood we make our own cocktail sauce and tarter sauce around here. None of that store bought stuff. Ours tastes better, and is cheaper than buying it. :-) We don't usually measure, so I am going to guess at the measurements. Yours may need a little tweaking. ;-)

Cocktail Sauce

1 C ketchup
1 Tbl. horseradish
1 tsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste.

Combine in a bowl, mix very well, cover and let stand in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The longer it sets the hotter (better) it tastes. :-)

Tarter Sauce

1/2 C mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 T finely chopped onions
1 T dill pickle relish

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy with fish or shrimp.
For more great recipes head on over to Gayle's Grocery Cart Challenge. :-)

Wendy Darling

Saturday, November 08, 2008

GIVE-AWAY! :-) Just in time for the holidays! :-)

I am SO EXCITED!! :-)

I believe I have mentioned my love of all things Christmas, especially the music. What would the holidays be without Christmas music?!

My favorites are the simple, classic Christmas songs. The songs that make you think of family and friends sitting around enjoying one another's company; and just gives you the warm, fuzzy feeling of Christmas Spirit. The kind that just makes you want to curl up by the fire while drinking hot chocolate and watching the snow fall. (All of which I would totally do if it, you know, SNOWED in East Texas, and if I had a fireplace.) But, I digress...

I mentioned Eric Dodge's Christmas CD in this post. Eric's sound is smooth, melodic, and soulful. His heart belongs to country music, but he has a voice that could easily cross over to any genre of music. You do NOT have to be a lover of country music to enjoy this beautiful CD.

Eric has graciously donated one copy of his new Christmas CD, "A Christmas Wish" to be given away on this blog. THANK YOU, ERIC!! ;-) I'm serious, y'all; you definitely want this CD among your holiday music this year. The man outdid himself!

Now, I don't usually make y'all "jump through hoops" to sign up for my give-aways, but this one is SPECIAL. You only have to jump through one hoop. :-)

Go to cdbaby.com and listen to the short snippets of Eric's CD. Come back here and tell me which song you liked best. That's it. Simple, right? :-)

I will close the drawing Saturday, November 15th, and I will draw the winner at 6:00 pm CST. :-) The winner will then have 3 days to contact me with a mailing address, or I will have to choose another winner. OH, and it is open to EVERY ONE!!! ;-)

Did I mention how excited I am about this drawing?! :-) If you just can't wait and you want to order your own you may go to cdbaby, or you can get it straight from Eric here.

Wendy Darling

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap...

It is Friday and that means it's time for another wonderful recipe! :-) If you would like to participate in the challenge please post your recipe on your blog and then head over to Gayle's at Grocery Cart Challenge and link up to Mr. Linky. :-)

With the cooler weather we have had (though it has been in "spurts") I am really in the mood for different kinds of soups. :-) I did make a big ol' batch of vegetable soup a couple of weeks ago, and there is still some in the freezer for a quick meal another day. ;-)

I am really in the mood to make this Potato Soup. It is EASY, CHEAP and tastes GREAT! Did I mention it is cheap? :-) Enjoy! :-)

Potato Soup

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
8 cups chicken broth
2 large baking potatoes (about 2 lbs.), peeled and diced
1/4 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions, celery, and garlic. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
Pour the chicken broth in a large pot and add the potatoes. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender. Add the celery and onions, salt and pepper. At this point you want to puree your soup. You can do this with an immersion blender, but I just put mine in a regular blender. You will have to do this in 2-3 steps to get it all if you do it in a blender. Once it is blended put it all back in the pot. Stir in the heavy cream and season to taste. If it is too thick for you just add some more chicken broth and heat a little longer.

I love to serve this with a salad and a good crusty bread. (I know, you're thinking it's too many carbs with the potatoes. But, I love it.) ;-)

For more fantastic recipes go on over Gayle's.

Wendy Darling

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A United House...

I was going to post today about how we need to pray for President elect-Obama, and pray that God will grant him wisdom. Whether you voted for him, or not, he has been placed in authority, and for whatever reason God allowed him to be placed there.

But, Beth beat me to it, and said it so much more eloquently than I ever could; so once again I am sending you there.


Wendy Darling

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Inspiring Word

Beth Moore posted a very inspiring, encouraging blog post this evening. Check it out.


Wendy Darling


"Little Mark" and I just finished the study on our election process. I have to say, I am very proud of all that he has learned. And, I find it fitting that we finished the study on election day.

The last question of the study was "Does one vote really count?" I was so proud of him when he verbalized, as well as wrote, "YES!" :-)

So, be sure that you get out today and VOTE. Remember those who died to give you this privilege.

Wendy Darling

Saturday, November 01, 2008

And the WINNER is.....

Thank you to all of you who signed up to win the cook book. :-) I was very excited about this give-away, and I was hoping many people would enter. You didn't fail me. :-)

If this was your first time here, please come back and visit.

Also, please let me take this opportunity to thank the many of you who said that you are Veteran's, and those who have husbands, brothers, sisters, fathers, etc. who are either currently serving, or have served. It is because of them/you that we are in a free country. :-)

I also want to thank YOU, the family, who willingly sacrifice time with these heroes, so that they may serve. I wish I was financially able to give you ALL a cook book. God bless you ALL.

Now, if you are not the winner, please go to Soldiers' Angels and order one for yourself, or as a gift for the ones you were thinking of. It truly is a wonderful gift, and you will be supporting our military and their families. :-) Also, if you feel led, you may visit their homepage, and consider adopting a soldier. A letter a week, and a care package a month means SO MUCH to our heroes far from home.

OK, on with the winner.... ;-) I used the random number generator and it gave me :

#105 (I tried to "snag it" and post a pic of the generator, but our new computer doesn't have "snag it" on it yet. Sorry.)

#105 is..... Reeva - from "The Wicked Life of Meeeee....."

Congratulations, Reeva. I will e-mail Reeva, and you have 4 days to contact me and claim your prize. :-)

Again, thank you to everyone!! :-)

Wendy Darling

Friday, October 31, 2008

Recipe Swap Friday

In honor of October being "National Cookie Month" I have decided to post a cookie recipe. :-) I intended to post the "Fruit Cake Cookie" recipe that I mentioned in the previous post, but I forgot about the swap, again, and I don't have time to look it up and type it into a post this morning. (I'm truly busy baking cookies that have to go in the mail TODAY.) :-)

So, I have decided to link back to a cookie recipe that I posted awhile back. :-) It is EASY, CHEAP, and AMAZING! :-) Enjoy! :-)


For more recipes head over to Gayle's. :-)

Wendy Darling

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

National Cookie Month

I had no idea that October is "National Cookie Month", did you?
I have to say that I am very happy about it. :-)

I have always loved baking cookies. For the most part, I prefer to make cookies from scratch. Store bought dough just doesn't taste the same. I will use it in a pinch, but only if I have to for sake of time. :-)

One of my favorite things to do at the holidays is bake cookies and box them up for gifts. People just love getting the cookies, and I love making them, and taste testing them. :-)

I guess my favorite cookie to make is the Fruit Cake cookie. I love it! :-)

How about you? What is your favorite cookie? I think that in honor of "National Cookie Month" I'll bake some cookies this week. October doesn't end until midnight Friday, so it's not too late to bake and celebrate. :-)

Wendy Darling

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

Welcome to the "Bloggy Give Away Carnival." Thank you for visiting to sign up for my give-away. :-)

Today I will be giving away this wonderful cook book you see pictured here.

"Cooking With Angels: May No Soldier Go Unloved or Unfed" contains 268 pages of mouth watering recipes. Most of the pages have 2 recipes per page. It also includes dedications to our military/Veterans, and even pictures! Recipes were submitted by "Angels", celebrity chefs, political figures, radio and TV personalities and MORE... ;-)

This give away is open to everyone. You don't have to "jump through hoops" to sign up. :-) Just leave a comment, with an e-mail address so I can notify you if you should win. Yep, it's that easy. You don't have to have a blog, just a working e-mail address. :-)

Once I have notified the winner, they will have 4 days to contact me with a mailing address. If I have not heard from them in that time I will draw another winner. :-)

I will close the comments at midnight, Friday, October 31st. The winner will be drawn Saturday morning at 9:00 am Central Time, using the random number generator. So, check back that morning to see if you won. :-)

If you do not win, please check out Soldiers' Angels and order one for yourself, and another as a gift. This is definitely a "must have" for any cook book collector. Remember that all of the proceeds are used for our military and their families. Support our Troops! :-)

To sign up for more giveaways, please click the link at the top of this post. HAVE FUN!! :-)

Wendy Darling

PS - in the interest of getting this posted as early as possible I wrote this post on Sunday, so the date shown may reflect that. If so, ignore it. This wasn't posted until Monday morning. :-) Thank you for understanding.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Someone stop me....

I apparently have an addictive personality. When I find something new, that intrigues me, I latch onto it. HELP! Remember "Hammer Heads?" Case in point.

Has anyone heard of "Green Spot?" This is from their website:

Green Spot is a MySpace application that wants to help save the rain forest. Green Spot includes a Green Garden, where you can buy and arrange plants and animals to make a beautiful garden! The more friends you get to join Green Spot, the more rain forest you'll help us save!

When I first began receiving "gifts" I ignored it. I didn't know what it was, and certainly didn't want to waste time on it. After a few weeks my sister sent me a "gift." So, I checked it out. I still didn't understand the concept, but I figured "why fight it" and signed up. I didn't know anything about the garden though, and "gifts" were stockpiling in my "shed."

I finally figured out about moving things to the garden, I looked at a couple of others, handed out a few bones and carrots, and now.... NOW.... I... AM.... ADDICTED!

I can't stop visiting gardens. I can't stop trying to see how many "green dollars" I can get. How much rain forest I can save by buying gifts. It's INSANE!!

Last night I even dreamed about it! And now there are the gnomes.... I'm pretty sure I'm gonna need therapy....

Wendy Darling

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Deep Dish Apple Pie

I got this recipe out of a magazine from the 1930s. Anytime I have made it for a bake sale it goes for around $20. It is easy, and GOOD. I am also including the recipe for the crust. :-)

Plain Pastry (Double Crust)
2 C sifted, all purpose flour
1 t salt
2/3 C shortening (I like Crisco)
5-7 T cold water

Sift flour and salt together; cut in shortening with pastry blender until pieces are the size of small peas. (For extra tender crust cut 1/2 until the size of corn meal, and the other 1/2 until the size of peas.) Sprinkle one tablespoon of water over part of the mixture. Gently toss with a fork and push to the side of the bowl. Repeat until all is moistened. Form into a ball. Divide dough in half. Roll out on lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Trim lower crust even with the rim of the pie plate, place in plate.

At this point I leave the top crust between two pieces of wax paper and refrigerate both parts while I prepare the mixture.

Perfect Apple Pie

6-8 tart apples; pared, cored and cut thinly sliced about 6 cups. I prefer to use Granny Smith)
3/4 C - 1 C sugar
2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 - 1t ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg (fresh is best)
1 recipe of the Plain Pastry (above)
2 T butter

If apples lack tartness, sprinkle with about 1T lemon juice. Combine sugar, flour, spices, and dash of salt; mix with apples. Remove your pastry from the refrigerator and fill with the apple mixture. Really let it "mound" up. Dot with butter. Adjust the top crust, and fold edges underneath. Crimp the sides. Cut slits in the top to allow the steam to escape. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour, or until done. This is more involved by doing it from scratch, but it is TOTALLY worth it.

For more wonderful recipes head on over to the Recipe Swap at Gayle's. :-)

Wendy Darling

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


We just came back from voting, and I had to tell you what happened. As we approached the door there was a group of about 5 older adults looking at the sample ballot on the door. A gentleman was explaining to an older lady about filling in the circle next to the candidates name. (Yes, we still use the old pen and paper method here in our little town, and I like it that way. :-) There is one machine for those who want to be "fancy".) :-)

My Mom finished voting before me, and was sitting outside the door waiting. She said the lady came out with a huge smile on her face and told my mom, "I just voted in my first election, ever." My mom said, "That's wonderful!" The lady replied, "I felt it was that important." :-)

Shouldn't we all?

We took "Little Mark" with us, of course, because I never pass up a chance to impress upon him the importance of voting. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! We have been studying the election process for awhile, and have been using this book:

He is really into it, and one thing that he has been interested in is the "Women's Suffrage." He has the School House Rock songs on his iPod, and really likes the music to this song. Of course, the lyrics stick. We were listening to it in the car a couple of weeks ago and he commented that he liked the song. He liked the music and style of the song.

So, I thought I would test his knowledge on the message. I asked him what amendment gave women the right to vote? What year did that take effect? He knew the answers, because of the songs.

Then he asked a couple of really good questions. "What does suffrage mean? What did the women do?" So, we had a very in depth discussion about it. We compared it to the Civil Rights movement, and talked about how sometimes you HAVE to take a stand for what you believe in. For what is right. He really "got it."

So, today after I voted I sat for a moment. I observed the people around me; women and men, young and old, white, black... all all taking advantage of not only our RIGHT to vote, but our DUTY as Americans to vote. And I remembered my conversation with "Little Mark", and how we acknowledged that it is every American's God given right to vote, and remembered all of the people in our history who fought and died for that right. Man and Woman.

I've said it before, we may not be a "perfect" country, but we are a great country. And last time I checked there was no one in China, North Korea or Cuba who got up this morning and went to a polling place to give their opinion. We are blessed.

Just thought I would share...

Wendy Darling

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Shameless Plug...

I'm pretty sure I have mentioned Eric Dodge's Christmas CD. Maybe once or twice... or 20. Anyway, I have been listening to it for a couple of weeks now, and just let me tell you, it is AWESOME.

Just simple, straightforward, classic Christmas songs. The man rocks. :-)

So, I'm going to give him a shameless plug here. Why? Because it's my blog, and I can. :-) Thank you. :-)

If you would like to hear the samples, or download the songs, please go here.

Wendy Darling

Monday, October 20, 2008

FYI- Give Away notice

Just to let you know, the "Fall Bloggy Give Away Carnival" is set for next week, October 27th-31st. Translation: FREE GIVE AWAYS!! :-)

If you would like to participate please check out the rules/guidelines HERE.

I plan to give away THIS. So if you would like to win THIS, please visit back here next Monday to sign up. :-) It will be fun. :-)

Wendy Darling

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vacation Day #7 - The Last Day

I told y'all I would be back on Friday with Day #7, but I forgot that Fridays are recipe swap days. Sorry about that. :-) But, here is Day #7.

On the last day of vacation Cleggy, "Little Mark" and I went to Sci-Port in Louisiana. We purposely went on a Tuesday for 2 reasons; 1) They have "Terrific Tuesday" which means everyone gets in for $2 a piece. MAJOR savings on the entrance fee; and 2) less crowds. We scored on both counts.

We left around 8:00 am and had no problem getting to Shreveport. We listened to music all the way there, sang, laughed, stopped for a potty break and a drink. :-) It was fun. But, when we reached Shreveport, and got off at our exit we realized that the street we were to turn on was closed. As a matter of fact SEVERAL of the streets surrounding Sci-Port were closed. Needless to say we were confused.

We, finally, found a parking garage a few blocks down from Sci-Port, parked and began walking. And walking. And walking. Thankfully, all of the walking in Dallas had built me up for this and I did just fine. ;-)

We got about a block away from Sci-Port and we noticed a "carnival" type thing setup in the parking lot we were originally supposed to park in. And we saw A LOT of school buses. Uh oh, this might be crowded after all. (We found out later that some festival called "Revelry" was happening that week, and that's what everyone was there for)

We maneuvered our way away barriers and stuff and made our way into Sci-Port. We looked around, and were pleasantly surprised to find only a handful of people inside. All of the school kids must be at the thing in the parking lot.

We paid to enter and began the days journey into fun and education. :-) We saw a video about life on the bayou, and then a demonstration about Newton's 3 laws of motion. That was particularly cool, because we were the only there for most of it, so it was like a one on one science lesson for all of us. :-)

Then, we headed to the Planetarium for show of the constellations. :-) Again, a nice time, and we stayed in that area studying the planets.

We decided to have lunch at the snack bar, and then went to the second floor. That was really neat. I think Cleggy enjoyed some of the things even more than "Little Mark." :-) I have to admit I was having a lot fun too.

We especially liked the human body, and we even went to a demonstration where we extracted our own DNA. That was interesting, but I drew the line when they poured it into little plastic bottles for us to wear like a necklace. Mine went in the garbage. But, again, it was very interesting to do. :-)

We made paper airplanes and then sailed them through a hoop.

Cleggy and "Little Mark" tested the speed of throwing a baseball. We learned about river systems, and toured the geological area. It was great.

My favorite part was the "Bible Times Tech: Then and Now" where they showed life in Biblical times compared to now. They even had a "goat" you could milk. It was really neat. :-)

After a trip to the gift shop we made our way back to the parking garage. The school buses were gone, and there was a nice breeze. I have to admit that, after several hours of walking around Sci-Port, I was pretty tired; but it was nice. :-)

We stopped at a little station made up to look like an "old town" to get drinks and head home. We made very good time. And, sadly, that ended our vacation. We packed a lot into a few days, but we were able to have fun, learn some new things, make some new friends, spend time with some old friends and family, make some memories, and relax. :-) It was a much needed vacation, and it is one we will remember for a very
long time. Thank you for taking our journey with us. :-)

Wendy Darling

Friday, October 17, 2008

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

Today is Friday, and that means another recipe. :-) If you would like to see more recipes, please hop on over to Gayle's and see all of the yummy recipes other people are posting. :-)

OK, yesterday "Little Mark" and were studying fungus. As a "hands on" lesson about spores we activated some yeast and watched it "grow". What does one do when they are already activating yeast? They make bread. :-)

So, "Little Mark" made this all by himself. All I did was supervise, and they were fantastic. :-)

Southern Yeast Biscuits
1 pkg dry yeast
3 C sifted flour
3 T sugar
1/2 t salt
3 T melted butter

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup of warm water, and add 1tablespoon of sugar. Let rise until it almost doubles in size. Melt the butter on the stove. Combine yeast with dry ingredients. Roll out on lightly floured surface to desired thickness and cut out with a biscuit cutter. Dip in butter and place on baking sheet. Let rise for 1 hour. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until brown. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

I ate mine with honey. :-)

Wendy Darling

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vacation Day #5 - Lots of pictures

Sunday was day #5. We all got up fairly early, ate breakfast, got dressed and loaded the car. The whole family went to the Dallas World Aquarium, and then we were headed home afterwards. Let me say right off that 1) This place is on the pricey side, and 2) It's totally worth it. We literally saved our change for months just to get the entrance fee, and I think we are all very happy that we did. We will be going back. :-)

We followed loving sister and dear brother in law there. On the way, we ended up at.....
Pioneer Plaza! The very place we couldn't find on Wednesday. :-) I swore up and down that dear brother in law did on purpose, although I was told later it just happened because he got lost. Whatever. I got to see the statues and tried to get photos, but most of them didn't come out. Oh well, at least now we know how to get there. :-) LOL...

Once we arrived and got in we were all amazed at how breathtaking this place is. Let's just say it is an amateur photographers DREAM!! And I personally took over 300 photos, so I can testify. Well, I say personally, but truth is Cleggy took many of them as well. Especially the "underwater" shots. I think the man needs a digital camera. :-)

OK, here are some, but certainly not ALL of the photos we took. I didn't want to bore y'all too much, so I painstakingly chose a FEW to place on the blog. It was difficult choosing I assure you. :-)

I started not to post this one, because I'm in it, but I just couldn't resist with the Mayan Indians. They danced and then took pictures with anyone who wanted one. "Little Mark" and his mom got one together, and then I stepped in with them. The youngest nephew wouldn't do it. He was a little nervous.

Cleggy actually took this one of the fish. He did great with the underwater shots. :-)

I did take the shots of the sea anemone and the octopus. :-)
Did I mention how cool this place was?

I didn't have really good pictures of the sharks, but I have to tell you that they do have the "tunnel" that have benches on either side, and it runs the length of the tunnel. All around and over you is glass, and all kinds of sharks swim all around you! It is just amazing.

We were there for a good two hours. They also have 2 gift shops, and restaurants/cafes inside. We did not eat there, but did get a couple of souvenirs. Like I said, we would love to go back sometime. I highly encourage you to go if you are ever in Dallas. There is also one in Houston, but I've never been there. :-)

Day #6 we were home, and just pretty much relaxed the whole day. :-) I'll be back tomorrow with Day #7, the final day.

Wendy Darling