Thursday, December 6, 2012

Grandma Teresa's Chop Suey Candy

My sweet friend Dana recently left me a comment on Facebook about a chex mix that is a family favorite of ours. That comment reminded me that first, I hadn't made this recipe in much too long, and second, that I had promised to post the recipe along with the Christmas Gift Themes that I featured last holiday season.

Apparently, my Grandma Teresa used to make what she called "Chop Suey Candy". It was made with corn syrup, milk, cereal and other items I don't remember. My sisters told me they remember her making the candy then putting it back into the cereal box for them to take home. They all regarded that as a fond memory of her.

Since those days long ago, the recipe that our family calls "Chop Suey Candy" has evolved a great deal, although it is still something my kids associate with their heritage and evokes fond feelings of sheer joy when I make it for them. This is one of those recipes that are perfect for gift-giving and is sure to be a hit.

Here's our version of "Grandma Teresa's Chop Suey Candy". Enjoy!

Mix together in large bowl:
1 box Rice Chex or equal amount of a variety of cereal such as corn flakes
1 cup coconut
1 cup (or more if desired) sliced almonds or cashews

In sauce pan mix: 1 1/2 cubes butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo syrup

Bring to boil for one minute, stirring frequently, then add 1 tsp. vanilla. Pour over the cereal mixture, mix well, and spread onto cookie sheet. You can eat it as soon as it is cool enough, or let set for several hours and break apart. Either way is yummy!! Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I'm Back! Thanks to a Kind Commenter...

For those of you who have been wondering where I went, it has been a frustrating several weeks that ended up with a very simple solution! For whatever reason, I have been unable to access the inner-workings of my blog. Talk about wanting to pull your hair out. No new posts, no access to the details and set up. Nothing.

I also discovered that Google is pretty tough when it comes to finding anyone to help. The only way to express a problem is to leave feedback (which the site admits will never respond personally to you), or leave a "please help" comment on a forum. With any luck, someone (not hired by Google) may respond to your issue with a suggestion, but there is no guarantee. You find yourself at the complete mercy of some kind individual who happens along on your comment.

Fortunately, I finally had someone offer a simple suggestion to try a different search engine, and I was dumbfounded at the solution. You would think that Google Chrome would support blogs on blogger which is run by Google. But no...I switched over to Internet Explorer and sure enough.... Here I am talking to you good folks. Go figure! Anyway, it's good to be back...I have two yummy treat recipes to follow, perfect for the holiday season!

Friday, August 17, 2012

"It's Always a Good Time" with the Kesler Family! New Video!

 Where has the summer gone? Too much fun has been had, and too many happy memories made!

 We had the awesome opportunity of joining my sister's family reunion for a few days with her 7 kids, 6 spouses (yes, I have a 25 year old very available nephew if you're in the market!) and 24 grandchildren. It was most definitely the highlight of our summer. Each summer the Kesler family convenes at Island Park, ID for a week long reunion of water skiing, tubing, gaming, hot-tubbing, boating, swimming, kayaking, scavenger hunting, competing, eating, goofing, dancing, videoing,and just loving life. This is one of the most amazing families I've ever known. They are all such great individuals. They are a blast to be around, they are competitive, they are hilarious, and there is never a dull moment!

 As has become tradition, the youngest daughter Kelsi has produced a summer video for your viewing pleasure! One of the fun things about the Kesler videos is the inclusion of inside jokes or back-stories that outsiders might wonder about. Let me fill you in on a few of the insider snippets to watch for in this reel: 

1. The family with bear spray, singing "it's gonna be alright": So, no lie, the Keslers had a full-size grizzly bear ravage their belongings two nights in a row on the porch of their cabin. They actually watched it through the window the second night, which was apparently pretty spine-tingling! Bear spray was purchased STAT.

 2. The creepy doll: This was my sister's doll growing up (who is ML, the mom of this crew), and I actually remember playing with it myself, and loved it: scary eyes, faded dress, balding head, and all. Not sure how it ended up at the cabin or in this video...

 3. The dock dancing: All of us sisters grew up dancing, and my sis ML owned a dance studio for many years. Consequently, each of her children grew up with rhythm in their bones, and fortunately, the in-laws can boogie as well.

 4. The fellas with their skis on the dock: These men all belong to their own established organization, EMSA, the "Early Morning Ski Association". Each morning these guys rise before the sun to ski when the water of the lake is like glass. It's serious business... they own printed sweatshirts and everything.

 5. The wave runner: This portion of the video contains my little fam. You'll see me driving, and my husband flinging off the back. Later on, we all try to pile onto it before our combined weight dumps us into the drink. Lucky for us, none of us suffered any head injuries as we crashed into each other and the dock.

 6. The two boys on the dock: Yes, those happen to be my two oldest kiddos. Not sure how or where they learned to work it quite like that. Should I be worried?

 7. The playing cards and the three guys at the table: This is part of a long standing tradition of the Keslers called, "Crap on Your Neighbor". Lovely name, I know! But not what it first sounds like. It's a card game the adults play when all the little kiddies are in bed. It has ten rounds in which high card trumps all, and takes the pile. Points are kept for each round won or lost, and the risk increases with each round. The kicker is that there is always a penalty for the bottom two or three losers at the end of the ten rounds. In the past, penalties have included jumping into the hot tub fully clothed, jumping into the lake at midnight, walking across sharp rocks bare-foot, and so on. You get the idea. This particular night of filming, the losers had to ingest a packet of hot chocolate powder within a certain time limit. You can see it wasn't going down all that easily!

 8. And lastly, Caleb at the very end of the video: This is Kelsi's husband. Sadly, he was unable to attend this reunion due to work and other obligations, so he was left behind in Washington, D.C. to continue working while the rest of the family partied at the cabin. He danced alone in his kitchen...

 Well, I hope this gives you a little insight to the Kesler family and their fun video for this year. I can vouch truthfully...It's always a good time with them!

 Happy last few weeks of summer!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hats Off to our Graduates! A Simple and Inexpensive Graduation Gift Idea

Where does the time go? I have missed you all and missed blogging, but have been busy running to ball games, finishing the school year, and keeping up with family. I hope your summer is off to a great start!

This may be a little late for this year, but I had to share a darling and inexpensive graduation gift idea that I stumbled upon HERE.  Just add it to your archives for next year's gift giving!

 The supplies are simple:

 1. A pack of Jones soda in a coordinating school color(or any brand for that matter...Jones happens to have a nice black lid for creating a graduation hat, but I also used other brands without black lids, and they still looked just dandy. I will admit, the Jones packs were a bit tricky for me to round up, and there were limited flavors and colors.)

2. Black paper cut into 2" squares.

3. Embroidery floss in the graduate's school colors--double an 8" strand and tie into a knot.

4. Hot glue.

5. A coordinating "Congratulations" printout and/or the graduation announcement.

 You can see how easy this goes together right? Simply glue the floss tassel to the middle of the squares, and then glue the squares onto the lid tops.


 If desired, create a little "Congratulations" sign and cut it in the same dimensions as the soda box, then adhere. We got a little "punny" with our saying as you can see here:

I also trimmed and glued the graduation announcement onto the opposite side to personalize it further.  These came together in a matter of minutes, and my little gals thought they were so clever and great fun to create. And they are adorable for the graduates that you want to recognize and honor without breaking your bank.


Hats off to all you graduates and our leaders of tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Video Spotlight: A Little Luv from "You Can Make This"

What a treat to see this video spotlight on some of my patterns available at You Can Make This! Here's a little sampling of a few of my designs...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Celebrate Spring with a Free Chevron Table Runner Project!

Hey! Remember me? Yes, it's been a while! Life with four kiddos and their multitude of activities, along with a hubby and his busy work schedule leaves my head spinning sometimes, and sadly, I don't get to all I want to blogging. But it's good to be back today!

So it's officially Spring today, the sun is shining in my neck of the woods, the trees in my yard are budding, and I couldn't be happier about all of that. To celebrate, I have a new project ready and waiting for instant download over at You Can Make This, and it's free!

You'll chase away the last of the winter doldrums with this Spring-y and bright Chevron-inspired Table Runner. The easy and detailed instructions are yours for the taking, so enjoy!

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kids Say (or Write) the Darndest Things...

After a tiresome battle of the wills, I ended up putting my littlest one (pictured here with her little cousin, Jillie) in time-out awhile ago in a guest bedroom of our home that doesn't get too much use. Long after "time-out" was over, I discovered this note left on a desk that my Little Missy had written to herself while incarcerated:

In case you can't quite decipher past her scribbles and spelling, it says:
"Wow. My mom put me in time out for nothing. My mom didn't think very well on where she put me cuz I thought that she would put me in the office, then she told me to come in this room...and I can color in here."

I laughed right out loud when I read it. Do you see her smug little smile in the drawing? And all the gleeful-looking flowers and grass alongside her? She thought she really pulled one over on her not-so-smart-mom. Little stinker. Heaven help us when she becomes a teenager.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's on Your Bucket List for 2012?

Can you believe we are a third of the way through January already? I may have thought I had fallen off the face of the earth, but I have been busy, busy recuperating from the holidays and pumping out new designs and making several of my patterns available for purchase online. I'm excited to share them with you here in a few days!

I'm one of those odd people that actually loves the month of January. I love the fresh start; the opportunity to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new. I love to put away the Christmas decor and declutter the house. I love to set goals and cross them off my list as they are achieved. I love to try to make life better in the upcoming year than it was in the last.

Each year (and throughout the year) I try to help my kids set new goals as well, but it is not always met with enthusiasm....till this year. I came across an article that talked about "bucket lists". Not just creating bucket lists for life, but writing bucket lists for the upcoming year---a smaller version of all you hope to accomplish before the year "kicks the bucket" so to speak. And not just writing the lists, but making a party out of it. Who doesn't love a party?

That simple change in wording from "setting goals" to writing our "bucket list" for 2012 made all the difference in the interest level of my kids. They thought it was funny and interesting from the get-go, and were eager to fill their paper up. I challenged us all to write as many things on our list as years we were old. My seven year old came up with seven items, my seventeen year old had seventeen. And me? Well, let's just say I had to get creative to come up with at least 29!

Some of my items were reading 10 books that I want to finish before the year's end (each one was a separate item), paying off my medical bills, releasing 12 new patterns, and completing the six classes required to regain my teaching license that I let lapse 11 years ago.

It proved to be a fun challenge, and got us all thinking of what purpose we wanted 2012 to have for our individual lives. I've provided our family bucket list form if you are's nothing fancy at all, but it's functional and already done for you. I altered an existing template found in Microsoft Word in about 3 minutes, and you are welcome to it.

One item on my list is to have three more "bucket list" parties throughout the year: One in April, one in August before school starts, and one last one in December...all to keep us focused and to provide some accountability for accomplishing our goals before the year kicks the bucket. I'll keep you posted! What's on your bucket list for the year?

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