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My New Friend

DSC03370This is a photo of my new best friend. It is a strong anti-acid that is helping my stomach heal. Thanks to each small tablet, I am able to eat without constant burning pain all day long.




If you know me at all, you know that I am a very trendy person. I am all about what is and what is not hot.

Just foolin’. I had you going there for a sec didn’t I?

I am, however, superbly keen on some of the newest trends that are ridiculous, dumb, hideous, and nonsensical. The kind that make you laugh out loud or perhaps you hear a slight whimper and realize that it escaped from your own lips.

For example, when traveling a couple of years ago from Athens to Frankfurt, I actually saw a woman wearing “Hammer pants.” Let me refresh your memory “Du du du du, du du, du du. Can’t touch this!” Apparently M.C. Hammer’s pants made a small comeback in Europe that year. I saw them several times. Continue reading

Ollie Chandler Collection

Ollie Chandler Collection

Title: Ollie Chandler Collection
Author: Randy Alcorn
Genre: , ,
Description: This series of books covers life in Oregon for newspaper columnist Jake Woods, his friends, coworker Clarence Abernathy, and, of course, Detective Ollie Chandler. The series kicks off with Deadline, where Jake Woods has to deal with his beliefs as he struggles with the murder of his two best friends. This is followed by Dominion, where Clarence Abernathy also struggles with faith and doubt, while dealing with issues of racism, gang violence and the murder of his sister. Finally, the series closes out with Deception, where Detective Ollie Chandler has to deal with what he believes while investigating the murder of a university professor.

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Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions


Title: Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions
Author: Crystal Bowman, Tricia Goyer
Genre: ,
Description: This is a series of 90 devotions designed to be used throughout mealtime with your family. It is broken down into 64 "anytime" devotions, 15 "holiday" devotions and 11 "theme" devotions. Each of these follow the same basic layout: 1. Mealtime Prayer - a prayer based on the day's devotion 2. Appetizer - a tidbit of information to peak interest 3. Main Course - a small "byte" to further peak your interest, followed by a scripture reading 4. Table Talk - questions for discussion 5. Vitamins and Minerals - a short, close-out scripture

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Pure Joy

Do you like Almond Joys? Or Mounds? Or Bounty?

If so, this is the recipe for you. I couldn’t pass this one up. It is as healthy as you are going to get, when indulging in a candy bar. It even has the Matt stamp of approval. So, you just know they rock!

These are so easy that I also made these for Cookie Wednesday, along with those yummy Chocolate Crispy Bars.

Pure Joy

Pure Joy


  1. 2 cups finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
  2. 1/3 maple syrup
  3. 12 whole almonds
  4. 6 oz. dark chocolate, melted
  5. 1 tablespoon coconut oil


  1. Place coconut and maple syrup in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 2 minutes, until coconut is very moist and is firm enough to keep a shape.
  2. Place a cooling rack on top of a large baking sheet. Using your hands, take about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mixture and form it into an oval. Place on the cooling rack. Repeat with remaining coconut. Place an almond on top of each coconut mound.
  3. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and coconut oil and mix until smooth. Using a large spoon, drizzle enough chocolate over each mound to cover. Refrigerate for 10 minutes until firm. You can dip the bottoms in the remaining chocolate. Turn upside down on rack and refrigerate again. En-Joy!

The right kind of coconut is key here – finely shredded, unsweetened. I could not find this type and had to substitute it with shredded, sweetened coconut. It worked, but not well, as they photo clearly shows. This recipe yields 12 bundles of joy. However, I only produced 9. Mine were a little larger due to the coconut problem. But they still taste amazing!

Chocolate Crispy Bars

Three years ago, or was it four? I decided to liven up summer vacation by introducing Cookie Wednesdays. This has turned out to be a big hit.

The kids and I (okay, Matt too) decide what to make. Since summer break tends to be long, everyone gets to have his or her cookie and eat it too. Typically, we all run out of ideas before the end of summer. I know. It’s a cryin’ shame.

Why Wednesdays and not Tuesdays or Thursdays? Well, simply because Wednesdays are mid-week and I was really trying hard to cope with those long summer days. The great thing about these days are that the kids are involved in the cookie making process. However, they usually are anyway, so this really isn’t breaking news.

This week, I chose Chocolate Crispy Bars. They turned out to be delightful.




Downright Delectable.

I’m done.

Chocolate Crispy Bars

Chocolate Crispy Bars


  1. 6 Tablespoons Salted Butter
  2. 10 ounces, weight Large Marshmallows
  3. *1/8 teaspoon Salt (optional)
  4. 1/3 cup Chocolate Spread (like Nutella)
  5. 6 cups Crispy cereal
  6. 1-1/2 cup Miniature Marshmallows
  7. 1 cup Pecans, Finely Chopped
  8. 5 ounces, weight Semi Sweet Chocolate Melted


  1. Melt 4 tablespoons in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add marshmallows and salt and stir until melted. Halfway through the melting process, add Nutella. When Nutella and marshmallows are melted, add additional two tablespoons of butter and stir until smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, melt semi-sweet chocolate over a double boiler until smooth.
  3. Add Crispy cereal to the large pot and fold in the chocolate mixture. When it's almost all combined, add mini-marshmallows to the bowl, then continue folding until everything's combined.
  4. Immediately press mixture into a thoroughly greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle with half the pecans. Drizzle semi-sweet chocolate in zig-zags all over the top of the treats. Sprinkle rest of pecans on top.
  5. Allow to set before cutting.



The Last Week


This gallery contains 14 photos.

This was the 34th week of school for the Barker boys. Their mean old schoolmarm even made them do some work Friday – the very last day of school. They only had a few things to do. Earlier in the week they took their big geography test, which they have been learning all year. Tristan is still working on his country report. He wasn’t even assigned a report, but I thought he should do one. Aren’t you glad I’m not your teacher? Anyway, I got him started a little late. […]

Gavin’s New Thing

This school year has been eye-opening. I mean this in an awe-inspiring kind of way. Yes, there have been a few challenges, but not nearly as many as I had anticipated. I have had the privilege to watch my favorite little people grow and make significant academic progress.

Matt and I were blessed with having the option of choosing what the boys studied this year. They each had some input in the decision making process. I decided that among other subjects, Spanish would be beneficial for them both. Given that we hope to someday return to our native land and speaking Spanish is incredibly useful, we thought this selection was wise. Plus, Gavin had some Spanish last year and I was impressed with what he learned.

Fast forward from July to March . . . okay stop. I’m going to be honest here. Brutally honest. It may have seemed “wise”, but it was not a good fit. Ever try to force a puzzle piece into a puzzle shaped hole? Yeah. No.

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Update: Salty Science


This gallery contains 5 photos.

It took a long time, but it happened. The water from the salt water experiment finally evaporated. We were left with some serious salt formations. I have to admit that the boys were very patient with this experiment. They checked the progress regularly for many weeks. Honestly, I was ready to be finished two weeks into it. They continue to impress and amaze me. Good work little dudes.