Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vacation is over....

Well, as I write this my vacation will be over in just under 6 hours.  "So what did you do?", you ask.  Well....

1)  On Sunday we helped to host a group of International Students from Taiwan, and after taking them to attend our church service, we went to our local Japanese Garden to let them see the butterfly house:

2) On Monday, we "kidnapped" two of those students, and took them to Silver Dollar City. The park is open until 10PM for a week, so we took advantage and went down during the evening. Unfortunately it rained on us and some of the rides were shut down because of the lightning risk for a while. But they had lots of fun nonetheless.

3) On Tuesday, we had them over to our place while we babysit our granddaughters. We cooked chicken on the grill, then roasted marshmellows over our man-made 'fire pit' a.k.a. burned out tree stump:

4) On Wednesday, I attended our church's "Summer Arts Festival" ending celebration program, where my wonderful, beautiful, 5-yr old granddaughter sang with the Pre-K choir.

(She's the 2nd from the right on the top row.)

Earlier that day, I did submit some peanut butter/chocolate fudge to our county fair in hopes to get a ribbon:

Later that evening (REALLY later), Billy & I drove to Rolla to attend a Campus Missionary training. We were there until Friday afternoon. I got to spend some quality time with my hubby, as well as the other wives who attended.

5)  Once we returned from Rolla on Friday, we then met up with some of the Taiwan students at the fair for their last night here in America.

And found that my fudge had.....

...placed 2nd!!  I was out to beat my sister-in-law this year (all in good fun!!), and she got 3rd with her candy:

I was also proud of my daughter who entered chocolate chip cookies and placed 1st!!

Way to go Ashley!!!

We walked around the Exhibitors Hall and the students became very interested in the Beekeeping booth:

Then we met up with an old high school friend who is now a DJ on a local Christian radio station:

So he let them talk live on the air!  Bet they had never done that before in America!!

I think they all had a good time, but were sad to leave.  We met up with the group at the airport the next morning to see them off:

Both girls started to cry when they had to leave us to go through security.  Some times I think we just don't realize how good of a life we have here until someone from another country visits.  Although we usually take them and do a lot of things we might not even do ourselves, they are always such a blessing in our lives. 

So I can say that my vacation was good, and even though I took no major trips this time, it was good to stay around home and relax.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

You know, it's been forever since I've updated, so sue me!  We've been rather busy the last few months; you would think with school being out (meaning College), things would slow down.  But NOOOO!!!  There are still lots of stuff to do and activities to attend to even though a lot of the local students are either back in their hometowns or working their behinds off.

The BSU still has their English Conversation meetings on Saturday mornings during the summer, because there are still international students that stay in the country during the summer months and take classes. Our main group is the Chinese students, and we are trying to get some of the other groups to join us.  I don't always get to attend, but when I do go it's quite interesting depending on the subject matter.

Along with the conversation help, they also take those students to different area historical places to even further help them understand American culture.  They have been anywhere from our local history museum, to our National Battlefield, Wilson's Creek.  We also have had a couple of cookouts, which some of them have never experienced. For the 4th of July, we took a group to Branson Landing for their fireworks show. And we had a drive-in movie night planned, but it rained that evening. Unfortunately a lot of those students will be graduating and leaving soon, so we have very little time with them. 

So as you can see, even summertime is busy at the BSU.  As long as there are students on campus, the BSU will have opportunities for fellowship and just having fun.

So I will try to update this more and more, and add pictures, etc.  But as always, here is a recent picture of our granddaughters eating watermelon on the 4th:

Aren't they adorable!!!  =)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

No-Bake "Dream" Cookies

I decided to do something a little different this time. I've been inspired by another blogger; ( but please don't compare my blog to hers...she's a PROFESSIONAL!!) 

While attending school in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the cafeteria ladies would make what they called "dream cookies".  They were basically 'no-bake' cookies.  They were dreamy. But we only got one.  So as I got older, my Mom taught me how to make them with a recipe she got from...well...not sure where she got it.  All I know is, they were DEE-LISH!!  And if you didn't make them in just the right way, or under the right conditions they were either very gooey, or very dry.

For instance; you only need 1/2 cup of butter or margarine.  Which is basically one stick. Well, my mom decided to buy some different brand one time, and these 'sticks' were 'shorter'.  They didn't look the same as the other ones.  And I didn't read labels back then. I just knew you put in ONE stick of butter.  However, these looked smaller, so I added TWO.  Needless to say we were eating those cookies with a spoon.

I have also discovered that the humidity level matters as well.  If it's too humid (above 70%), there's a chance they may not 'set up'.  So fall/winter is usually the best time to make them here in southwest Missouri.

Okay....enough of the small talk; here's how I make them:

Put 1/2 cup of butter/margarine, 2 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, and 1/2 cup of milk in a 3-qt saucepan.
*hint: mix the sugar and cocoa together really well before you add it to the pan. 

Here's what it looks like so far:


Bring this mixture to a ROLLING BOIL.....stirring occasionally. Now it looks like this:

Once it comes to a ROLLING BOIL, set your timer for ONE minute, and DON'T stir.

Then remove from the heat and add the following:
1/2 cup peanut butter, 3 cups QUICK cooking oatmeal, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 cup chopped pecans (opt).

Now you have this:

(Don't worry, it will look better soon!)

(See, I told you.) 

Mix this up really well, then drop by tablespoon-full on cookie sheets lined with waxed paper.
 You should end up with something like this:

I let them 'set up' for about 1/2 hour, then transfer the cookie sheets to my refrigerator.  After about another hour, they should be set enough to transfer to a container. Make sure you keep them tightly covered. I also put mine in the refrigerator. It seems to help them from drying out (as long as you put the lid back on everytime you get one, two, or ten out).  

Another thing, our schools always made them square. So I'm assuming they poured the entire batch onto the cookie sheets, then cut them into squares after they set up. I haven't really tried that method yet.  Maybe they just greased the cookie sheets first? Perhaps with butter? Or I guess you could cover the cookie sheet with the waxed paper making sure it hangs over the edges. But you'd have to flip it over and peel off the waxed paper before you cut them or you'd have little bits of waxed paper to pick out of your teeth.  I prefer the 'spoon' method myself.


Friday, April 9, 2010


I am a member of MOPACC....Missouri Professional Association of Court Clerks.  It is made up of clerks around the State who work in the court system. They are clerks who answer the phone, greet the public, make endless copies of files, deal with difficult people (who some times are Attorneys).  They are supervisors and office managers of those court offices.  And we even have some members who are the elected Circuit Clerks themselves.  The organization has been around for over 30 yrs. I have worked for the Courts for 19yrs, but have only been an official member for 2 yrs. (just call me a 'late bloomer')

My supervisor/office manager signed me up and the office pays for our membership fees. Once a year we have a conference where all the members gather in one location for 2-1/2 days to learn, listen to other clerks, laugh, and have fun. It's a nice get-a-way from the everyday hum-drums of the office.  I am blessed to have such a wonderful office manager and Circuit Clerk who allows me, her and another manager to attend.

The State is basically divided into 10 'regions' made up of 10-12 counties a piece. Each region has their own 'director' who oversees getting information out to their region about membership in the association, as well as the conference information.

The director serves for 2 yrs; and this year the current director for our region had already served for 4 yrs and was really wanting to step down.  SO.....who did my sweet manager nominate?  ME.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to accept that responsibility or not!  She promised to help me.  I'm going to hold her to that.