Monday, December 20

Pan de Polvo

For several years now, Sam & I have made a batch of Pan de Polvo cookies every Christmas. His Tita, which is really his Abuela, has made them every year & when we couldn't get down to Kingsville to get a batch from her, we decided it was time to take matters into our own hands!! Because you should never let a Christmas pass without enjoying lots & lots of Pan de Polvo!! Luckily, we have been able to find all the ingredients overseas & make them in the Philippines as well. And, I guarantee you, this is THE BEST Pan de Polve recipe you will ever find! So, please take the time to make them right & enjoy...

5 lbs. flour
3 lbs. shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup anise tea (Boil a packet of anise tea, plus a couple of cinnamon sticks in water, according to the directions on the anise tea package. If you can't find anise tea, use whole star anise.)

Put all shortening in a very large mixing bowl. Add sugar and mix well. Add salt and baking powder; mix well. Add tea and mix well. Then, add flour, about 1/4 at a time and mix well. If it's too hard, add a little of the tea and mix well into the dough. Roll out the dough between two sheets of wax paper to about 1/4" to 1/2" thick. Cut with small cookie cutters. (You don't want large cookies, because they are very delicate & will break easily if they are cut too big.) Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating:
anise seed (can get from the tea bags, if needed)

Grind together to form a powder, adding more or less of each ingredient to your own taste. (You want them to have a distinct anise taste, so don't skimp on that!) Then, dust the warm cookies with this mixture.

There it is! It will make a gazillion cookies, so you will have plenty to give as gifts & share with family! Enjoy!

Monday, September 27

Reason Number 95,239 Why I Love Living Here...

A very rare opportunity to view a whale shark, or butanding, up close!

This monstrous creature has been swimming the waters of Subic Bay for 5 days now & cannot seem to find his way back out into the ocean. This provided a unique opportunity for our family to watch him for a while. We were all mesmerized by his smooth, slow movement back & forth along the cement wall. We followed him as far as we could along the wall, then ran back to the other side to wait for him to appear again. And, it was thrilling each & every time we caught a glimpse of him! His graceful swimming & beautiful markings never ceased to amaze us!

(Article from Subic Times online website.)

I've said it before & I'll say it again... I am so grateful for the chance to live overseas & experience life in the Philippines! We loved it the first time around & we are loving it here again!!

Tuesday, June 22

Lucky Peterson

When we moved back to the States in July 2009, I purchased an iPhone & was assigned a very lucky number! Apparently, my current phone number used to belong to a famous jazz musician - Lucky Peterson. In the year that I've owned my phone, I've received numerous phone calls & texts for Lucky. They average about 1 a day... for a year! This guy is definitely in demand!

Within the course of all those calls & texts, I had pieced together that Lucky was a musician & either lived or lives in Dallas. Until one day, I received a call from a very chatty man telling me all about Mr. Peterson. He finally told me I needed to Google him to learn more about this amazing musician. So, I did. And, I was amazed at what all this guy has done in his 45 years on earth.

He started entertaining at the age of 3 & has since been on the Ed Sullivan Show & The Tonight Show. He's played with Etta James & B.B. King. He's toured all over the world & he volunteers his time with a children's choir at a church somewhere in Dallas. (This I know from receiving multiple texts from the choir director.) I've received calls & texts from New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco & many more. From Paris, London & the Virgin Islands. I've received calls from managers & club owners, all wanting to book Lucky. I've received texts from friends asking to be put on the event list so they can get in to hear his music. Everybody wants a piece of Lucky!

However, it seems the one thing Lucky hasn't yet done is forward his mobile number & inform his friends/fans of his new information. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked for his new number. I might have been able to book some additional shows for him...

So, Lucky Peterson, if you happen to read this post, I have a few texts to send your way. (I had a few voicemails, as well, but I might have already deleted those.) And, if you want to pass on your new contact number, I will be glad to inform all those who continuously ask me how to reach you. Because, I can assure you, they get quite a shock when this white Texas girl answers their call! It's very comical to hear them get so flustered.

And, just for kicks, I'll include my very favorite text for you... one that I'll never erase:

"Peace to my blues brother- guess I may won't be seein you much ever agin. Dats da blues & ya gots to deal w it. Got another bluesfest dn here. Johnny walker bluesfest on St John. Last month was St Thomas. Somebody gots to gets you down here. The livins easy & womens hot cha cha cha cha. Peace Luck & hairgrese. Funky Ray"

You can't let Funky Ray down!! This guy needs you, Lucky!! ;-)

And, if you ever have a show in Dallas, I think my husband & I need to come meet you. We would LOVE to hear you play!

(Signing out with my new favorite closing line...)
Peace, Luck & Hairgrease,

Wednesday, April 7

Relay For Life - Walking for PawPaw

As I wrote in a previous blog entry, I'll be walking in this year's Wylie Relay For Life event benefiting The American Cancer Society. Our 12-hour walk is only 2 1/2 weeks from today! I am so honored & humbled to be able to walk & raise money on behalf of those who have suffered from this horrific disease. Like Sammy's PawPaw, Early (Duke) Rogers.

I went to church all my life with Sammy's grandparents, but never really got to know his PawPaw until Sam & I started dating. At that time, he lived with his grandparents while he attended Texas A&M University at Kingsville. So, I was over at PawPaw's house a lot! Years ago, he had purchased some land in the country & built his wife's dream home. It was the perfect place for all their beloved Dachshunds! Which is the first thing you noticed about PawPaw... all the little weenie dogs that followed him everywhere he went! Sam tells me that the most he had at one time was 12 dogs!! TWELVE! And, they were his babies, no doubt about it. He spoiled them rotten.

PawPaw was also an excellent craftsman! When he built his house, he also built a garage where he could do all his woodwork. He made dining tables, toyboxes, benches, lounge chairs, cabinets & much more. We have been the proud recipient of many of his handiworks, including a dining table & bench. We have since replaced the table in our kitchen, but we proudly display his beautiful bench on our front porch. It is definitely a work of art! When our twins were born, we were blessed to get one of the huge, amazing toyboxes that PawPaw built. It was such an honor to have something for our kiddos from him. We wish they could have known their PawPaw, but they will always know what a talented man he was!

Sammy always had the utmost respect & admiration for his PawPaw, as did so many people in the church & in the community. He was a teacher in the Bishop ISD school district for many years, teaching mathematics. He was a leader in the church, working quietly behind the scenes to help out wherever & whenever his talents were needed. He was a devoted husband, father to three, grandfather to nine & great-grandfather to one before his death in 1999. And, like me & my Granddaddy, PawPaw was the only grandfather that Sammy knew. Sam adored his grandfather & therefore, I did too! I wish he were still here today to see the kind of man his oldest grandson turned out to be. I know he would be proud!

So, on April 23-24, I will walk in memory of PawPaw. As I circle the track, I will think back to the time I was able to spend with him & get to know him better. I will walk in the hopes that other grandfathers are spared of this deadly disease. I will walk for Sammy's PawPaw.


I feel very strongly about the mission of The American Cancer Society. I want to be a part of a generation that finds a cure to this deadly & devastating disease. And I am asking you to help me do that by donating to my Relay for Life page. My hope & prayer is that the money I raise for cancer awareness will help to save as many lives as possible!

Thank you for your support. It is overwhelmingly appreciated!

Monday, March 29

Just another manic Monday...

Nicholas has been having night terrors for a while now. He had a couple of episodes while we lived overseas, each lasting about 2 months. And, now he's started back up. I've read up on these & know that I'm not supposed to wake him from an "attack", but it goes against every fiber in my being to just let my baby continue to cry & scream, "Help me, Mommy!" Which is exactly what he did last night.

Usually, they are no more than uncontrollable crying & sobbing. Which is quite enough to tear at my fragile heartstrings. However, last night's episode was the worst yet. From the moment it started, he was babbling some incoherent phrases in between the cries. The words I could understand were "please", "no" and "they". That's it. And, then he started really crying out, "Help me, Mommy! Please help me!" And, of course, I cried right along with him. I held him & rocked him & talked soothingly to him, but of course, he can't hear or see me. He's completely asleep. So, while my reassurances may have helped me get through his episode, it did nothing to console him.

Eventually, he calmed down & I laid him back on his pillow. But, the pain of hearing him cry out to me & not being able to be in his dream haunted me for the rest of the evening. I will be so relieved when he finally outgrows the night terrors & is able to sleep peacefully through the night!


Earlier today, the boys were standing in the kitchen, playing with their Legos on the island. They were talking to each other & I briefly overheard Samuel say, "Nick, I really missed you." HUH?! I was so shocked to hear my 8-year-old confess such sweet words to his younger brother that he tortures on a regular basis. Then, he said it again, while pointing to a Lego structure they were building, "Nick, there's something missing."

Ah yes. That makes more sense.


Easter has snuck upon me this year. I have not planned for it at all! Not. At. All. So, I need some help. What does your family do to celebrate Easter? What does the Easter bunny leave in your childrens' baskets? I have a few family traditions that we'll continue to keep, but I enjoy hearing what you & your family do to commemorate this joyous occasion. Let me know...

Thursday, February 18

Samuel Sleepwalking

Samuel has started sleepwalking lately. This is something new for him (and us), so we are all learning as we go. For instance, I am heading to Lowe's today to get a top lock installed on our front door... just in case!

But, last night, I couldn't help but laugh at him. It was 9:30 & I was cleaning the kitchen while Sam was on the couch watching TV. As I was wiping off the stove top, I saw Samuel walk into the laundry room & turn on the light. Since he'd been asleep for 1 1/2 hours, I thought maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me & it was actually Sam walking in there to switch out the laundry. So, I looked back & sure enough, Sam was still sitting on the couch watching TV. I started calling Samuel, "Bubba, what are you doing?" No answer. "Bub?" Nothing. I start walking to the laundry room as he's walking out.

Mom: Samuel, why are you in the laundry room?
Samuel: I need to go to the bathroom.
Mom: Samuel, that's not your bathroom. Here, let's go this way.

And, so I proceed to take him to his bathroom where he does his business.

After a little while, Sam gets up off the couch to switch out the laundry. He asks, "Why is the washing machine leaking?" So, I walk in there to see what he's talking about & it's wet on AND in between the washing machine & dryer. Sam starts cleaning & we finally figure out that Samuel had actually started urinating in the laundry room in between the washer & dryer!!!! IT'S PEE!!!! I was cracking up so hard. He thought he was using the toilet! Poor kid. I'm just glad he did it on tile & not on carpet. Ewwww!

And, so begins our adventures with a sleepwalker...

Tuesday, February 2

American Cancer Society - Relay for Life

Gilbert Marion McClanahan
November 18, 1914 - January 1, 1998

This year, I have the privilege to walk in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life event. My family has participated in this event for several years & I am excited to start my own annual tradition of staying up all night to honor & remember those who have battled cancer.

I lost the only Granddaddy I knew to prostate cancer in 1998... 2 months before my wedding. When Granddaddy was hospitalized for the last time & it didn't look promising that he would be released, I dropped out of college to spend time at the hospital with him. My mom also quit her job to be there as often as possible. Together, we planned the details of my wedding in his hospital room.

I remember the phone ringing in the middle of the night on January 1, 1998. When your phone rings in the middle of the night, it's not a good sign. Sure enough, mom was told that Granddaddy had passed away. It was one of the hardest moments of my life. Up until that point, I had never lost anyone close to me. But, I was very close to my Granddaddy. I lived in the same town as my Grandparents my entire life (except for one year spent away at college). I went on week long (and longer) camping trips with them. I traveled across the country with them in their RV to visit my sister in Iowa. Granddaddy used to pick me up from school in his old VW van that looked very much like this. I used to be so embarrassed when I'd see him pull up in front of my school. But, I secretly loved riding in the front seat, much higher up than all the other cars around town. And, I loved being with my Granddaddy. He was fun, he was kind, he was gentle & he was very well respected in our town. He was perfect!

I never did finish college, but I have never, ever regretted spending those last few months in the hospital with him. There are a lot of things in my life I'd like to do differently, but that is one thing I know I would not change. The time we had together was precious & invaluable.

To this day, I miss his smile, his laugh, his "Who dat?", his hugs & his back scratches... oh those back scratches. They can't be beat! He was the best at it!

So, on April 23rd, I will walk from 7:00 pm until 7:00 am (with a few rests in between) in memory of Gilbert Marion McClanahan. I will remember the good & honorable man, husband, father, grandfather & great-grandfather he was. I will walk for my Granddaddy!

(Granddaddy, Amberly & Grandmother - 1995)


I feel very strongly about the mission of The American Cancer Society. I want to be a part of a generation that finds a cure to this deadly & devastating disease. And I am asking you to help me do that by donating to my Relay for Life page. My hope & prayer is that the money I raise for cancer awareness will help to save as many lives as possible!

Thank you for your support. It is overwhelmingly appreciated!