Friday, May 29, 2009

Christian T-Shirts Rock!!!!!

If you need a new T-shirt for summer, get on over to and get yourself the COOLEST Christian T-shirt. Great colors, GREAT VERSES!!! So go GET YOUR VERSE ON at Wild Olive Tees!!!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Speech

Today is the last day of school (yes!) for my two kids. And, Cole is leaving as soon as school is out on a trip with the other twenty-nine top FFA participants. They are headed to Rapid City, South Dakota. They will stay in Sioux Falls tonight. Tomorrow they head for Badlands National Park, then on to Bear Country USA (which looked really cool on the website) and then to Rapid City. Friday they will go to Mount Rushmore National Park and Crazy Horse National Park & Indian Museum. Then Saturday they're up early and headed back home. So this morning I'm rushing around trying to make certain he's all packed. I hear myself ask him if he packed extra socks and underwear, he rolled his eyes and said "yes mama." I hear myself ask him if he has everything he needs and he again replies "yes mama." Then I go into my "speech." The kids have heard the "speech" a thousand times, but for some reason I feel compelled to launch into it at every opportunity when the kids are not going to be with me. Here is a synopsis of the "speech," "stay with the group -- keep an eye on your money -- stay with the group -- don't leave the hotel with anyone -- stay with the group -- don't wander off on your own -- stay with the group -- don't do anything you wouldn't do if I were standing right there beside you -- stay with the group." Are you getting the "speech" here? Well, I'm really going on and on with the "speech," and then, I had a flashback. It was June, 1980. The summer after my sophomore year the Eldon Marching Mustangs (I played the clarinet) headed to Rapid City, South Dakota to march in the Dakota Days parade. I was 15 years old and had NEVER been away from home, other than a few nights at my grandma's or at my cousin's. And in my mind, right there in my kitchen this morning, I hear my mother saying the same things to me on that day 29 years ago that I was saying to Cole -- "stay with the group, keep an eye on your money, don't wander off on your own, stay with the group." Yep, there was my mom, right there with me. And I tried to remember, as she said those same things to me, did I roll my eyes? Did I think she was crazy? Did I think she didn't trust me? But now, today, I understood, again. And I hope that one day Cole and Alex are giving the "speech" to my grandkids, just like my mom gave the "speech" to me, and I give the "speech" to them. Because the "speech" means love. So, mom, if you're reading this, I sure hope I didn't roll my eyes, and even if I did, you need to know that I heard every word you said. I still keep an eye on my money, I still don't wander off on my own, and I still stay with the group. Thanks for the "speech" mom. I heard every word.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I remember when I was a kid, and convenience stores were "SERVICE STATIONS." You pulled up to the pump, and out came a guy in a dark blue uniform wiping his greasy hands on a greasy shop towel and my dad would look at him and say "fill 'er up." Then the guy would ask "regular" or "ethel?" And the price on the pump was about 42 cents per gallon. While your tank was filling, they came around and checked the air pressure on your tires and they had a little broom that they swept out the floorboard of the car. And my dad would take out a $5 or a $10 and pay the man and we were on our way. WOAH!! That was a flashback. Nowadays, you pump your OWN gas, fill your OWN tires and sweep (vacuum) out your OWN floorboard. And, the price on the pump in Eldon is now up to $2.29 per gallon, for both regular and diesel.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh What A Beautiful Morning

Spring has finally arrived in Missouri. We had a cold and wet early spring. Did I mention it was wet, and cold? But this week has just been beautiful. The trees have their beautiful green leaves on, the grass is growing. The birds are singing. Yep, it's spring. Thank you God for giving us four seasons to enjoy! Our garden is partially planted. There are baby calves everywhere, and on Monday, Billy Paul mowed hay. If you've never smelled freshly mowed hay then you haven't lived. It smells WONDERFUL! Yes, it was a beautiful morning!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap

My mom, my sister Renda, and I got together last week and made homemade laundry soap. I have always used Tide, and I love it. I really do, but the price seems to get higher every time I go to the store. Plus, I have a front-loading machine and HE Tide is even more expensive. We are always looking for ways to save money, so, we decided to make our own laundry detergent. Now, I must give credit where credit is due, and the recipe is from the Duggar family

We started by using a potato peeler to shave slices from the Fels-Naphtha bar. You can use a grater, but we found the potato peeler worked better. The soap was just the right consistency for the potato peeler.

Once the soap was "peeled" we poured it into 4 cups of hot water and continued heating it on the stove. You do NOT want the water to boil, but it must be very warm to melt to the soap. I stirred it continuously, and smashed the pieces of soap against the side of the pan. This took several minutes.

Below is what the "melted" soap and water looked like.

While I was melting the soap, Renda filled a 5-gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. (Anybody need any 5-gallon buckets, I have dozens of them in my barn, seriously.) After the soap was completely melted, we added one cup washing soda and one-half cup borax to the bucket, then poured in the melted soap mixture.

I stirred this after all the ingredients are added. The water was hot, so it didn't take long for the powder to dissolve. After the powder was completely dissolved, we filled the bucket full with hot tap water. This is the full 5-gallon bucket of our homemade laundry soap.

We covered it and let it set overnight, and the next day, this is what it looked like.

It had separated, and was almost "stringy" in consistency. I took a large spoon and stirred it and it mixed together nicely. I filled a clean milk jug with a gallon of homemade soap and took it home. When my Tide bottle is empty I will fill it half full of the homemade laundry soap and half full of water. When I need to do laundry, I will use 1/4 cup of the new soap in my front-loading machine. I wish you could smell it because it is the most "clean" smell you'll ever smell. I still have a few days worth of Tide, so I will let you know what I think after I do my first load. Oh, by the way, the cost of the ingredients for 10 gallon of homemade soap was around $2. And that will make 640 loads for a front loading washer. That's a lot less than Tide.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Griffith Reunion

This is Billy Paul's only living Aunt and Uncle, Bert and Sue Griffith. My mother-in-law, Bobette, is an only child. My father-in-law, Paul, was the youngest of ten children, and Bertie is the only one left.

So, in honor of Bert and Sue's 61st wedding anniversary (yes, I said they've been married for 61 years), some of the Griffiths got together in Louisiana, Missouri for a reunion. I met Griffith cousins I had never met, and got to visit with some that I hadn't seen in quite a while. Billy Paul is the youngest grandchild, and his Grandma and Grandpa Griffith passed away long before he was born. Billy Paul's dad actually had a brother who died in WWI before Paul was born.
This is Billy Paul, his Aunt and Uncle, and some of his first cousins. It sure was nice to get to spend time with Billy Paul's side of the family. Cole and Alex had never met most of the Griffiths and really enjoyed being with other people who had the same last name they did.

Bert and Sue, Cole and Alex, and Bert and Sue's granddaughter, Heather. The Griffith family lives on. Happy Anniversary Bert and Sue!!!!


For Mother's Day, we had lunch at my Grandma Flo's house in Eldon. All of my mom's siblings were there to celebrate except her older brother, Ronnie. As usual, we had a TON of food. My aunts are such great cooks. I wish everyone could have been there to help celebrate Mother's Day with grandma. From the left is my mom, Aunt Wanda, Aunt Kathy, Uncle Jimmy, Aunt Alicia, Aunt Glenna and Aunt Diane. Don't they look GREAT!!!!!!!

And here is me, my mom and my grandma. I am so very blessed. Happy Mother's Day!!!! I love you!!!!!


My little niece, Caragan, turned 10 years old on May 10th. I can't believe she is 10 years old. I was there when she was born. As a matter of fact, I cut the umbilical cord when she was born. But that's another story, and probably more than you wanted to know.

Renda had a big ol' barbeque at her house to celebrate Caragan turning 10. Of course we had birthday cake! I made it . . . not really.

We had a lot of food too. Yeah, we like to eat. Scratch that, we LOVE to eat!

Greg's dad, Marvin, and his brother and sister-in-law, Tim and Dee Dee, and nephew Avery were able to be there too.

We had a great time. Thank you Renda for letting us share Caragan's birthday. Love you Caragan!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!


My niece, Caragan, is a clogger. She has been taking clogging lessons for over a year, and now clogs on the competition team. Her little feet and legs just FLY when she's clogging. Last week her school held a talent show and Caragan and another clogger were asked to clog.

Caragan and her friend clogged to "Rocky Top" and I wish you could have been there. I was so proud!

And when they were done, well, let's just say Caragan got the loudest "whoo-hooos" of anybody. Of course it was mostly me, I'm kind of loud. But, she's my niece, and I can "whoo-hoo" if I want to.

Don't they all look cute? Alex was there, but for some reason I didn't get her in this picture.

And how about this one? Renda, your kids sure are cute!!!! Way to go Caragan! We are so very proud of you. Keep on cloggin' girl!!!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

FFA Awards Banquet

Last night we attended the Eldon FFA Awards Banquet. As I have said before, FFA is the largest student organization in Eldon High School, with over 250 members. We had dinner, then the awards ceremony began. FFA is such a neat organization because so many kids aren't just "members", but they actually get to participate and be recognized. Cole was honored as a member of the Meats Team, which received 1st Place in Districts.

Kelsi Mueller, Cole, Abbey Thomas and Katie Kirkweg
Cole was honored as one of the Top 30 most active members. He will get to go on the FFA "Participation Trip" to South Dakota on May 27th!

Cole and Jill Blankenship each received the Sophomore Leadership Award!!

Cole and Jill were also recognized as being selected for the 2009 Missouri AgriBusiness Academy. They will be in St. Louis the week of June 8-12, 2009.

Finally, Cole was installed as the Eldon FFA Chapter Treasurer for the 2009-2010 school year.

And, did I mention, he was the BEST LOOKING BOY THERE!!!! Once again, we are so very very proud of Cole for everything he has accomplished! We are very blessed parents!


Unleaded gasoline in Eldon is now at $2.09 and diesel is $2.29. I fear this is the beginning of ANOTHER ridiculous summer of outrageous gas prices.


Seriously folks, it rained at my house this morning harder than I have seen it rain in years. YEARS! It has been dark and raining for hours. Water up on the shoulder of Highway 54 in places I have NEVER seen water on the shoulder of the road. Sucker rod fences leaning at 45 degree angles because of debris pushed up against them by water higher than I can ever remember. It is STILL dark and it is STILL raining and more to come on the radar. Anybody got any gopher wood ? ? ? ? ?

Friday, May 1, 2009


This is what I see when I look outside. Rain rain everywhere. It has rained every day this week. It is raining right now. It is going to rain tonight. It is going to rain tomorrow. It is going to rain Sunday. Do you see a pattern here ? ? ? We do not need one more drop of rain. Honestly. Everything is waterlogged. Thankfully, we don't live in an area that floods. But, our ponds are full, our garden is soggy and our barn lot is MUDDY. Rain rain go away, and don't come back for a LONG TIME!!!