Table Manners

Mya has been tested a lot lately.

We had chili right before Thanksgiving. Mya loves chili.

She waited oh so patiently just in case some chili might fall on the floor. It helps to touch the person who is eating so they won’t forget you are there. I think that’s her strategy anyway.

I’m calling this one … Dog Waiting For Chili.

Then before Christmas we hosted a Tastefully Simple Party. It’s like a Tupperware party, but it’s for food. My friend Angee has these parties and she came in and whipped up a bunch of dips, breads and cakes. There was a big spread of food.

And, there was one guest who was particularly interested in the products that were offered.

I’m pretty sure it was Mya who ordered all beer bread and chocolate cake.

A pilgrimage of sorts …

The week after Christmas has always been my time to go home for the holidays. This year, I asked Nathan and his mom to join me in heading to Southeastern Oklahoma. It was a pilgrimage of sorts. Nathan’s mom lived in Lawrence, Kansas when Nathan and I got married at a very convenient location just south of Austin, Texas on an unusually warm Monday evening in October. So, his mom had never met my family, nor had she visited the southeastern corner of our great state.  I found a pet-friendly cabin at Hugo Lake State Park. We loaded up Mya and told Annie we were sorry but we couldn’t afford to pay for damages if she went with us — and we headed south.

First off, the cabin was great. I highly recommend them. For around the cost of a hotel room, we had a two-bedroom house right on the lake. This was the front deck.

Shortly after, I saw the sunset and I began to unwind.

Then my family arrived and chaos ensued. I’m in love with my cousin’s kiddos. I love them like my own. And, I’m happy to report they were all blessed with very healthy and active lungs. They are loud! They also move so fast they are kinda blurry to me sometimes. Mya spent the entire evening on a leash because we knew she would join right in with the kids.

It was Jack’s 6th birthday, so Lindsey brought a cake. He had help from his cousins in making a wish and blowing out his candles. Jack’s the one in the middle. This picture makes me laugh.

The next night we had a much quieter evening with all the adults in my family. My grandmother, who is recovering from a stroke, is pretty speedy these days, but she’s not so fast that she’s a blur. It was great to see everyone at any volume or speed.

Nathan and Mya spent some time outside. I can tell you that Mya is now fully socialized!

The lake was also beautiful in the morning.

We then headed out to Broken Bow on our way home. It just didn’t seem right to drag Christi all the way down to Southeastern Oklahoma and not take her to Broken Bow. So we did. I forget how pretty it is there.

We also visited Girls Gone Wine. We did a wine tasting and I was very impressed. It’s a great place and the wine was great. My cousin Le’ met us there and was the perfect hostess. She’s kind of amazing.

I practiced restraint and did not taste everything on the menu. Plus, I was about to drive over a mountain. So, I took a bottle home for New Years Eve, instead!

We took part of the Talimena Drive home. It’s a National Scenic Byway right here in the great state of Oklahoma! It’s really pretty and quite amazing. It’s prettier in the fall when the leaves are changing, but we still enjoyed seeing the mountains.

We had a great time. But, you know who was really ready to be back home?

Mya is a great traveling dog. She likes the open road.

I do too.

Pecan Pie Bars

I realize the holidays are over and that you are sick of pecan pie. But, I like to run about a month behind and I actually have pecans left over this year. So, if you have pecans left and you want a quick, easy, delicious snack that is similar to a pecan pie, then this recipe may be for you.

We were having a get together around Thanksgiving and my friend Angee could not attend. “What about my coming by the day before to help you get ready,” she said. “I could make some pecan bars?”

I gladly took her up on help and was certainly happy that I did.

She sorta rocks in that Martha Stewart meets Desperate Housewives meets soccer mom meets rock star kinda way. And, heck yes! I’ll gladly drink a glass of iced tea while you whip up a little something for my party.

I didn’t get all the details, but I’m pretty sure this is the recipe she used below. It’s completely stolen from the Internet and I found the same recipe on countless sites.

Sadly, I must report that these pecan bars were the closest thing to real pecan pie I had the pleasure of eating this year during the holidays.  Nathan and I both love pecan pie, but it just never happened.

And, oddly enough, Angee doesn’t even like pecans or any dessert with nuts. I think that makes her nuts! But it sure was good to see her and these pecan bars were almost as delicious as spending time with a great friend!

Pecan Pie Bars


 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix

1/2 cup margarine, softened

1 egg

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups dark corn syrup

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

2/3 cup yellow cake mix


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.  Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

3.  Reserve 2/3 cup cake mix.

4.  Mix together remaining cake mix, margarine, and 1 egg.

5.  Pat in prepared pan.

6.  Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

7.  Beat together 3 eggs, vanilla, reserved 2/3 cup cake mix, corn syrup, and brown sugar. Pour on cake in pan. Sprinkle pecans on top.

8.  Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30-35 minutes.