Tuesday, December 31, 2013


TV Fool.

 Reader Mike Tamarkin sent us this tip: "Whenever I arrive at a new location I use this website to find the local TV channels using my air antenna. I just enter the zip code and then click on 'find local channels.' This tells me the channel numbers, how many miles away the station is located, and the direction to aim the antenna."

I had some fun with this website by putting in different zip codes to see what I could find.

Phones for Kids

Monday, December 30, 2013

Record setting rain

On the news tonight they tell us the rain is the largest amount on this date since they started keeping records. I woke during the night hearing the gentle rain on the roof. It has fallen all night and all day and is still falling as I write. It is falling at about the same pace and amount throughout the entire time it has been raining. They have suffered quite a drought in this area so they are all happy to have it. I am happy for them as well as long as we do not have a mosquito outbreak after this. 
At the pool hall this morning I was talking to Char and she mentioned that she does not ever remember spending as much time indoors as she has this year thus far. I must agree.
Weather wise it is a very different winter than we have ever experienced in "Sunny" South Texas.
It is a good thing we have hobbies to keep us occupied and out of trouble while we are housebound.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Service

For sure this is the busy season as people are going here or there and enjoying the holiday season, but it is sure nice to stop and attend Sunday Services each week at Magnolia with some wonderful people that love the Lord.....Today Pastor Stacey brought the message from the Book of Luke, Chapter 2, starting with Verse 22 with the theme of "Dedicated to the Lord"...This is a teaching of how the sons that were born were brought to the temple and presented to the Lord for dedication to him....This tells of how Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to be dedicated to the Lord as was required in the law of the Lord....There was a man in Jerusalem  named Simeon that realized that Jesus was the Lord's Messiah and told Mary and Joseph what the Spirit had told him.....This is a great study of what happened just a few days after Jesus was born and in the days to follow....

Remember to pray for any sick that you hear of and also for any on the road...Also any one that comes to mind as we all need prayer at one time or other....God Bless All.....See you in Church next week.....Happy New Year all....

Late Fall and Winter

It is late fall and winter in Sunny South Texas. It is the time of year when the leaves turn yellow, yes-yellow and fall off the trees. The  limbs look so strange standing naked among the tall and stately palm trees. We have had as close to a real fall/winter as we are likely to see in Sunny South Texas. At least that is true for us and we have been coming down for 15 years or more. In the past we have had the naked trees. But really they do not give you much concern when the temps are in the 70's and 80's. This year however we have had  more than our share of 40's , 50's and 60's and looking upon those bare limbs just adds an extra shiver and they are ever so much more visible it seems.
By late February or early March these days will be a dim memory. And then as the temps creep up to the 90's here we will all forget about these chilly days and we will all forget the cold temps still hanging around the Northland and we will get the silly idea we should think about getting back to our "summer" homes only to find we go home to shiver and run the furnace.
It takes many years to find all this out but we just keep doing it! Every day is a a gift and an adventure.

Whether the weather is cold,
Whether the weather is hot,
We will weather the weather,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!

Keep Calm and Carry on!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Year of the Cookie


One year stands out among the rest,

And that's the year of the cookie fest.
Baking began at early light,
And continued far into the night.
I baked cookies of every kind,
Till I thought I'd lost my mind.

Big ones, small ones, round and flat,
Some were thin and some were fat.
Cookies, cookies everywhere,
Not an inch of space to spare.

By day's end I couldn't find,
Table, cupboards or my mind.
I gave cookies to all I knew,
Some a lot and others few,

But I decided without a doubt,
A day like that I can do without.
When next December came around,
And the recipes were found,
I put them all back in my file.
The elves can bake them ...While I smile!

Barbara Brooker

Hustle and Bustle

I spelled bustle and then it did not look right to me. Ever do that? The big influx of new people is about to happen. After Christmas the let's-go-south rush begins in earnest and the park will magically fill up. It happens every year like clockwork. 
I wandered over to the pool hall this morning (9:00 AM Mondays)and played with Char Wolfrom, Carol Kapke, Shirley Benner and Marty Harper. We had a good time and learned a few things. We sure could use some more women players to help mix things up a bit. It is a casual learning situation as well as a good time.

This Bromeliad is in front of the Brenner home on Willow. The coloring is perfect for the holidays.

One of the days when it was warm enough for shuffleboard. Our weather has been a roller coaster and today is a cool one.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Service at Magnolia

Well the weather was nice today here in deep south Texas and I can't hardly believe that Christmas is only a couple of days away.....I have always been told that the older one gets the faster time flys and I am beginning to believe it...It's always great to come to hear Gods Word being taught because it refreshes the soul....Today Pastor Stacey brought the message from the book of Isaiah , Chapter 9. starting with verse 6 with the theme of "The Gift"....This tells of the child of Jesus that was to be born and of the gift of God to man kind....This is a great study for all of us as the greatest gift that we can receive is the gift of salvation that Jesus freely gives to us....God gave his Son and the Son gave his life and rose again so we might have the gift of eternal life in heaven....This is a great study for all, especially at this time of year....

Remember to pray for all those that are sick, or on the road...Many are getting together to celebrate Christmas and the New Year so pray for their safe travel....Merry Christmas everyone and God Bless All.....See you in church next week.....

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Forgotten Chicken

Want an easy meal next week or next month?
Forgotten Chicken
    Follow this recipe in 1-2-3 order and you can relax for the next hour. Whip off the foil (beware hot steam) and dinner is served.

1 ½ cups raw rice
2 to 3 ribs of celery, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped 
2 3/4 cups boiling water
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup, preferably low sodium
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, preferably low sodium
Heaping teaspoon powdered chicken bouillon
6 portions of skinless chicken
About half a packet of dry onion soup mix
    Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Put rice in a sieve and rinse it. Grease a 9 X 13-inch baking pan and spread the rice in an even layer. Top with celery and carrots. Pour boiling water over all. Whisk condensed soups and powdered bouillon and spoon evenly over rice mixture. Arrange chicken over the casserole and sprinkle each chicken portion with onion soup mix. Cover with foil and bake 65 minutes.  Serves 6. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Youtube Video

We spent two summers in the area with several trips to Rocky Mountain National Park and loved it every time.
Enjoy the video.

Toe-may-toes, Toe-mah-toes

Yesterday Peggy and I stopped by the Rio Valley Cannery in Donna and picked up a couple of cases of Rotel tomatoes. We chose mild because the original is way too hot for us. A case of 24 cans, no labels, some dents were $5 each making the cost a little over 20 cents a can. I had bought a case in March when Bill Stilson showed me where the cannery is located and I had run out last week. Rotel tomatoes are one of my staples. I use them for chili among other things and we certainly have been making chili on a regular basis while being in weather jail. Rio Valley Cannery, one of the hidden jewels of the Rio Grande Valley.

Lil Droogsma and I were both going to make the recipe below on Tuesday but each of us were out of a key ingredient so we both coincidentally passed. It is a good one and still on my radar now that I have tomatoes.

Spicy Green Chile Mexican Casserole with Ground Beef, Black Beans, and Tomatoes

(Makes 8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn and Jake with inspiration from Layered Mexican Casserole with Chicken, Green Chiles, Pinto Beans, and Cheese.)

1 can (26 or 27 oz.) whole green chiles, drained (be careful not to buy whole jalapenos, which look similar)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed well with cold water and drained
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. extra-lean ground beef (less than 10% fat)
1 T taco seasoning (I use my homemade Taco Seasoning, but a purchased seasoning will work.)
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
3 eggs, beaten well
1 cup Green Chile Enchilada Sauce (from a 15 oz. can, freeze the rest for another use.)
1 1/2 cups Low-Fat Mexican Four Cheese Blend (I use the blend from Costco which has 6 grams of fat in 1/4 cup)
low-fat sour cream for serving (optional)

I used my favorite Anchor Hocking 12 Cup Bake-and-Store Glass Casserole Dish for this recipe, but you can use any dish that's 8"x8" or 9"x9" with high sides.  (If you don't have a dish that size, I think a rectangular glass casserole dish would work to make a flatter casserole, although you might not be able to make an extra layer of green chiles in the middle.)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Dump the whole green chiles into a colander placed in the sink and let them drain while you prep the filling.  When the green chiles are drained, move them to a cutting board and then put the black beans in the colander, rinse with cold water, and let drain.

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large heavy non-stick pan, add the onions, and saute over medium-high heat until onions are browned, about 5-6 minutes.  Remove onions to a small bowl.  Add the other teaspoon of olive oil and the ground beef and cook 6-8 minutes, or until the beef is well browned, breaking it apart with the turner as it cooks.  Add the taco seasoning and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Add the diced tomatoes and juice, drained black beans, and onions and turn heat to medium low.  Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated.  (When you use the turner to push the mixture aside, the bottom of the pan should look nearly dry.)

While the meat mixture cooks use your fingers to open each of the whole chiles and then use a paper towel to wipe away the seeds and blot each chile as dry as you can get it.  (You will need 6-8 paper towels to do all the chiles, but don't skip this step.  If you don't remove the seeds, this dish will be extra spicy.)  Divide the chiles into 3 piles as you dry them.

Spray the casserole dish with non-stick spray and make a layer of 1/3 of the chiles in the bottom of the dish.  Top with 1/2 the meat mixture.  Make another layer of chiles on top of the meat mixture, and top with the other 1/2 of the meat mixture.  Finish with a top layer of the last 1/3 of the chiles.

Beat the eggs and then whisk in the cup of Green Chile Enchilada sauce.   Pour this over the casserole and then use a fork or knife to gently push the ingredients aside so the egg/sauce mixture can run down into the layers.  Top with the grated cheese and cover the casserole dish with the lid or foil.

Bake covered for 30 minutes, or until all the cheese is melted and the casserole is starting to bubble.  Remove the lid or foil and bake 20-25 minutes more.  If you want the top well-browned, switch to broil the last few minutes and brown the top.  This is easier to serve if you let it sit for about 10 minutes before cutting.  Serve hot, with a dollop of low-fat sour cream on top if desired.

- See more at:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What can you tell us about yourself that might surprise people if they knew? Continued

Erv Hagen: About 10 years ago Erv got a flying lesson going 60 MPH when his motorcycle hit a deer;

Janet Rader: When stationed in New Ulm Germany Janet was an OT Priority Clerk for Persian Nuclear missiles. She was classified.

Leroy Misfeldt was born on May 30th, 1934 in South Dakota and the temperature was 117 degrees! Read that one twice -117 degrees in South Dakota! And a record was set.

Phyllis Branstetter: Was a hairdresser

Elaine Misfeldt: was the only girl in her class for 12 years.

Keep them coming...this is fun!

2013 Best decorated place in Magnolia park

This years winner was Eugene and Naoma Pratt. These pictures, of course, do not do it justice but I can not get good after dark pictures.

Crafty Conversation

Some folks would like to put some pizzazz into Tuesday morning coffee. So they have asked me to ask people some questions and perhaps share what I find out with all of you here or maybe share it on Tuesday morning. So we will see if this comes to fruition.

What can you tell us about yourself that might surprise people if they knew?

Mary Bruun: Mary said that for many years she was an assistant librarian. This might not be too surprising unless you also know that Mary is very outspoken and not at all quiet!

Peggy Gordon: Maiden name Margaret Anne McCaffrey, an Irish lass. Peg grew up in Brooklyn and did not learn to drive until she married Donn and moved to Iowa. I might add that Peggy is an excellent driver.

Susan Van Houweling: She shared with us that her first job lasted one day. Her boss was in an accident so the shop she opened was closed. End of job.

Carrole Shymanski shared with us that she was not easy to get close to as a friend but once you are established as a friend she is extremely loyal.

Kay Stilson: For many years Kay had a job as a manager selling advertising and was required to dress up for work. At her retirement party they gave her sweat pants and she has sworn to never wear high heels or hose the rest of her life.

So give this question some thought and if you care to share what might surprise us about you, please let me know and we will share it too thus getting to know each other better.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

On the 12th day we paraded

The annual Christmas Parade took place today at 4:00 PM. Butch and Barb Brooker led the parade. The entries were few but very well decorated. The weather played a part in the low turnout. It actually was quite nice but we were not at all sure it was going to be.
They burned a cane field that was fairly close preceding the parade so throughout the parade we were treated  to a South Texas "black snowstorm".
Canefield burning north of the park

Bill Sturgeon and Teddy

Darlene Jansen


Carmen and Mary

Bob and Kim

Roy and Shirley

Phyllis, George, Mollie and Kat E.Wampus

Linda and Ron Hunter

Black Texas snow

Verla has to return home to recuperate from some health issues so she and her son Alan treated us to cake before they go.

Dorral and Ron-The Magnolia Board members and officers served up treats of Subway sandwiches, chips and ice cream after the parade.

Irma,George, Leroy and Mary. President Larry was busy schmoozing up the crowd so I missed getting his picture.

Jon Larson- Many people did not recognize Jon with his Santa hat and hair.

On the 9th day we decorated

Monday the ladies who go to crafts decorated Allen Hall for Christmas and a fine job they did too.

The ones in the top photo asked advice of the ones in the lower photo and it was freely given.
The results of the collaboration were superb.

The hostesses for this event were busy in the kitchen and are
not pictured: Kay Stilson, Peggy Gordon and Barb Brooker

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


This shot was taken a few years ago. Wednesday morning is still the day for bikers but lately it has been too cold to bike.

 I thought some of you might like a tutorial on peppers since we are living in the land of peppers

And finally something we should all remember!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sunday Service at Magnolia

BRRRRR it's cold in deep south Texas....At least it's a lot colder up North and there's the matter of snow...I'm glad we don't have any of that...

Well the service at Magnolia was attended by some warm souls ready to sing for the Lord and hear from the Word of God....Pastor Stacey continued to teach from the Book of John, Chapter 3 starting with verse 1 with the theme of "Born Again".... This is teaching about a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council...He came to Jesus to talk to him and Jesus told him "No one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again"...This mystified Nicodemus and he asked Jesus many questions....This is a teaching that tells much of the Spirit and how it affects us.....Please read the Chapter for yourself and study the Word as it has great meaning for God's people...

Remember to continue to pray for the sick and those on the road....Also for any that may be down hearted for what ever reason....See you in Church next week....God Bless All.....

Saturday, December 07, 2013

December Garage Sale

Today was the garage sale and there was much concern before hand if we would have a crowd because of cold weather but we did not need to worry. Garage sale people are faithful to the core and there was a big crowd or at least it seemed so to me.
Marlene Harkin and her helpers prepared and served BBQ pork sandwiches, cheesy potatoes and cake for lunch. Everyone remarked on how good it all tasted.

Susie sat next to me and she was selling vintage buttons that she had attached magnets to the back. There were many beautiful buttons and I noticed many of our Magnolia women were attracted to them. Susie said she became interested in taking up this craft when she attended estate auctions and found so many unusual vintage buttons. We had a great time getting acquainted and found out our husbands had both been electrical lineman in their working years.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Don Soole died today

Don Soole passed away today. Even though Don had many health issues the past couple of years his passing shocked us all today as most of us had seen and talked to him just hours before his passing. I will post more details later as it is known.

Water aerobics

Water aerobics on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11:00 AM
 as long as the temperature is greater than 70 degrees.
 This fellow says,"Not now. Maybe later."

FYI about Dean Lewis

Dean and Betty will not be able to come down this season because Dean had major extensive heart surgery and his recovery time will be long and arduous. They wanted to put Dean in a hyperbolic tube to try saving his leg but when they were doing tests to see if he could withstand that treatment they discovered the heart issue so that became the priority. We are not sure if he has lost his leg yet or not.
The Magnolia family will hold Dean and Betty in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Fig Tree

The Voss's have a fig tree in their front yard. Unfortunately the leaf ants usually do a number on it and figs never develop. But I was passing by the tree yesterday and lo and behold there were figs on it. See the pics below:

Monday, December 02, 2013

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sunday Service at Magnolia

This was certainly a nicer weather Sunday than last Sunday as the temperature was quite warm, but what a great day to come and hear God's word being taught in a great message....A few more of the Magnolia family came in the past week so we are growing in attendance it seems each week and that's good...

Pastor Stacey brought the message today with the continuation of teaching on the Book of John, Chapter 2 starting with verse 1 with the theme of "The Hour of Jesus"....This tells of when Jesus was at a wedding and Mary , his mother told him that they were running out of wine...He said "Woman, why do you involve me?...My hour has not yet come."...Mary then told the servants to do whatever he tells you.....To get the rest of the story you must read the chapter yourself as it is always better to see for yourself just what the scriptures say.....I know that always works for me....At the end of the service we had Communion as this was the first Sunday of the month....I can't believe has fast the time is going....Please remember to pray for all the sick that you hear of and for those on the road and each other....See you in Church next week.....God Bless All.......

The Cleavelands on Thanksgiving

Erma, Dick and Leslie
They are all looking good!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day at Magnolia Park

Dorral Guzman is once again head cook for the Thanksgiving meal and once again it was superbly delicious. Freshly roasted turkey is always the best. Dorral and a couple of her assistants Marty Harper
                                               Dorral and Marty
                                              and Kathy Ferrell
                                              Jan Brom put her expert hand on the decorations pictured below

A great crowd gathered with many helping hands and if I am any example most of us overate.
We gather together with our Magnolia Family and we are so very Thankful that we can enjoy each other on this special day.
We were also rewarded with near perfect weather with sunshine and highs in the 70's.
Now if I could just find the alka seltzer...

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