Saturday, December 24, 2011

Trimming the Tree

A mosaic of our tree decorating fun. Talon hangs most of the ornaments but I always hang my favorite little red cardinals. 

Which reminds me... I need to put out bird seed for our colorful little feathered friends. Cardinals always cheer up the drab winter view out of our kitchen window.
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Friday, December 23, 2011

My Little Angel?

At Talon's new school, the kindergarten and first grade perform a program together.

Cute as can be-- and isn't the little angel with an attitude too funny!

A few shots of my sweet little curly topped angel...

Oops... spoke to soon...

A mischievous angel but still sweet to me.

But I guess that is why he is in the chorus instead of playing a 'holy' character.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Now That's A Big Christmas Ball

Talon spotted a trio of huge two-story size Christmas trees in Oklahoma City.

And said: The Christmas balls are as big as my head!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Perfect Pecan Pie Recipe (Super Secret Foolproof Tip)

Making pecan pie can be a persnickity job. It always takes longer than the recipe states for the filling to set. And it so aggravating when the nuts and crust burn before the filling sets!

Well, no more persnickity pecan pie! I am about to share with you the super secret foolproof tip for perfect pecan pie.

Warm the filling in a saucepan before pouring into the crust!

This allows less baking time because the filling is already hot when it goes into the oven. So no more burnt nuts/crust!

Isn't that absolutely amazing?! 

*While tossed bouquets and accolades to my brilliance are always welcome, I must confess that I discovered this tip in a magazine years ago.

Lesa's Current Favorite Pecan Pie Recipe


one refrigerated pie crust (dust both sides with flour like the box says to do for a high sugar pie, fit into 9 inch piepan, fold edges under and crimp. )

3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

enough coarsely chopped pecans or pecan halves to generously cover pie


1. preheat oven to 350

2. whisk together eggs and next six ingredients in a saucepan over low to medium heat until butter is melted and all ingredients are well blended (don't have to stir constantly but keep an eye on it)

**Beginning cooks: Don't scramble the eggs! Incorporate the eggs before the mixture gets too warm to avoid curdles

3. pour into prepared piecrust

4. sprinkle pecans on filling

5. bake for 35-45 minutes till filling is set. If it jiggles like jello, it is not set yet. 

Easy as pie!

 I so wish I had known the super secret tip back in my teen years. That Dear Abby Pecan Pie recipe used to give me fits!

Try this super but not so secret anymore tip with your favorite pecan pie recipe or with my recipe above. 

Let me know how it turns out.

Happy Pie Making! 



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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Life Is About... Surviving Bad Juju!

If the Universe sends a strong message... you better pay attention! 

And by a strong message, I mean bad juju. Have you ever been stalked by bad juju? Like one bizarre incident after another? And after awhile it doesn't seem so coincidental, does it. Cue Twilight Zone theme.

Thanksgiving week was one big bad juju extravaganza for my family. (Yes, I know it is time to blog  December fun but I can't move on till I make peace with blog about the bad juju. Blogging is cathartic, you know.) 

Anyhoo,  back to Thanksgiving. We get a week out of school to deerhunt  celebrate Thanksgiving. Oh, how my family loves this week. We don't hunt. We travel, dine, shop and frivolously entertain ourselves. And spend time with family and give thanks, of course. We aren't totally shallow, after all... just partially shallow.

This year, our destination was New Orleans (NOLA). Did we make it to NOLA? NO! Such a disappointment since I was so looking forward to introducing the delights of NOLA to my mother and my little boy.

So how did the bad juju begin?

It was a dark and stormy... Ha! Just kidding! Actually, it was a beautiful sunny day when we headed south towards my mom's house in East Texas.

What could possibly spoil such a promising beginning?

Forgetting our NOLA music (Harry Connick, Louis Jordan ect) to set the festive mood of the trip, that is what!  

Just an inconsequential bummer, or so we thought at the time. But from that point on, the Universe thwarted us at every turn.

Really, it was as if the Universe channeled the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld: No music? No NOLA for you!

It took three loud clear messages before we finally got the hint. Yeah, we can be a bit thick, unfortunately. 

Bad juju one:  Hub forgot his blood pressure pills-- but he was able to get an emergency week's supply from a pharmacy in Texas.

Bad juju two:  A tiny scrape on my knuckle, that I spotted as we left our house in Oklahoma, morphed into a raging painful swollen oozing staph infection by the next morning at my mom's house in Texas. A red stripe was actually streaking past my wrist. Scary! Thankfully, a Saturday clinic set me on the road to recovery.

At this point, we should have seriously rethought our travel plans. But no, so...

Bad juju number three:  Four plus hours into the trip, between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, the check engine light came on.  Oh, yes, it did! And it took two cranks to start the car. Not a good sign. All this at a Welcome Center too... some welcome!  

Finally, the Universe had our undivided attention.

Way too much weirdness on top of a weird day so since it was almost dark we stopped at a hotel in Baton Rouge hoping the car would magically unglitch over night. Of course it didn't--- in fact, the car was even more difficult to start the next morning so we headed back towards Texas. 

We did not turn the car off the rest of the way back which meant tricky bathroom and snack scrounging breaks at convenience stores. Hub even put gas in with the engine running-- Now that was really taking a big chance considering the bad juju!

No explosions but the Universe sent one last parting shot to make sure we kept skedaddling out of Louisiana.

Bad juju number four: At one stop, my little boy noticed a hubcap was missing! Who loses hubcaps anymore? Actually, we think it was stolen at the hotel because our hubcaps are held on with screws. 

Bizarre, just bizarre.

After crossing the stateline back into Texas, we felt less on edge and things started looking up. The car needed a new fuel pump which, thankfully, was covered under the warranty and was repaired the next day! Yippee!

We may have missed streetcars, pralines, beignets, po-boys  and jazz but we ended up having a wonderful hometown Thanksgiving week anyway. Lots of laughs, eats, movies, shopping and games... so there, big bad juju! 

Whew, did you make it this far? If so, thank you. I love all my readers but you are my favorite reader! 

I certainly feel much much better... festive and merry even!

Wishing you and yours a holly jolly and good juju only holiday season! 

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Friday, December 9, 2011

100 Followers Giveaway! Win Set of Four Thirsty Stone Coasters! ($22RV)

How exciting! Dusty Us Diaries has achieved the one hundred followers milestone! 

  In all honesty, I blog by the seat of my pants  according to the capricious laws of serendipity, frivolity and whimsy. So where is this dusty little blog headed?  Don't ask me, I'm clueless. But the journey is so much fun!   
Thank you for coming along on the ride, lovely bloggy friends. 

To show my appreciation, (since I can't have you all over for a cuppa) I'd like to offer a quickie little thank you giveaway. 

The winner, chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, will receive a set of four 'thirsty' stone coasters in a wooden crate.   

The winter scene on the coaster is darling-- just perfect for a cozy cup of tea or cocoa. 

And have you ever used this kind of coaster?  I love them: they actually soak up all moisture. It is like magic-- sometimes I drip water on my coasters just to watch it soak in.  (Yes, I'm easily entertained.)

This giveaway is managed by Rafflecopter. Love me some Rafflecopter, don't you? 

US/Canada entrants only please. Ends 12/14/11.

Thanks again and good luck!

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Monday, December 5, 2011

First Snow of 2011

Oklahoma has been so icy and snowy in recent years. I  like the occasional snowday but I sure hope we catch a break this winter.

The snow is starting out gentle at least.. which is good because I need to ease into it. 

This is what I saw when I opened the door today...

It flurried for a couple of hours but melted.

Nice big fluffy flakes that didn't show up good in the photo but  made for a pretty drive to work. And it was the perfect backdrop as I stopped  at the bank to drop off sacks of Talon's outgrown coats ect for the clothing drive. There are 100 kiddos in this little town needing warm clothes and they need them quick if Old Man Winter has his way!  
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