Sunday, July 19, 2009


Why am I showing you my shoes and hat without me in them? Well, as I have looked back through my photos, I have discovered that the majority of my vacation pictures show me in these type of shoes. Yes, they are water shoes, instead of one of the many pairs of cute and fashionable heels that I own. Yes, water shoes! Now they may have been different colors over the years, as they tend to wear out pretty quickly, but they are still water shoes. You will note that they are very unglamorous water shoes at that! You see, most of our vacations involve water - ocean water, lake water, river water, Schlitterbahn water, underground cave water and even Louisiana swamp water. There are probably more, but you get the idea. These same vacation photos also show me in a variety of very unglamorous hats like the one shown below. I am also usually in some type of bathing suit cover up or a very large t-shirt, slathered in suntan lotions of various kinds. Are you getting the picture yet. There is an opening in the back of the below hat. My hair is usually in a pony tail, hanging out of the back opening. My bangs are also smashed flat by the bill of the hat. Not a very pretty sight!
Looking back at all of these pictures, I am always soaking wet, so the hat, shoes and shirt/cover up really look limp, baggy and generally very unfashionable, along with my hair, which may have even started out as a summery and cute "do".
I also have alot of pictures with "snorkel mask face". This is what happens when you push your snorkel mask up on to the top of your head and your husband takes a picture of you with a huge red ring around the upper part of your face. Oh yes, and your hair is also pushed up and stuck underneath the mask in a very unbecoming manner.
I even have a variety of pictures that show me in a tube floating down Hill Country rivers. No matter who you are, these are never flattering. I usually have on a cowgirl hat, much to my daughter's complete embarrassment.
Now I do have cute bathing suits and cover ups, but you can't wear them during our water activities. They just will not hold up to black tubes and river water or salt water. Also, one trip to Schlitterbahn leaves them in shreds.
As I sadly looked back over these photos the other day, I thought about what future generations would think of their great, great grandmother pictured in various forms of soggy attire. Sure there are family holiday pictures of me all dressed up, but there are many, many more of these soggy vacation pictures. They will think that I spent all of my spare time participating in some water activity. Then I realized something. Since the majority of these pictures show me happily involved in a water sport, my future heirs will think what a cool, athletic woman I was! They will say, "Wow, wasn't she something! She was a total water athlete and at her age, can you believe it. I bet that is why little Karen (named after me of course) is so athletic!!!" It made me smile. Those of you who know me well would never even think of using the word "athletic" in your description of me. So, I tucked all of those pictures back into their various boxes and albums, secure and happy in the knowledge that a whole new generation of relatives will think I was an ATHLETE!
Note to self: Delete this post when I get a little older so that future generations will not read this, which would totally spoil my athletic image!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


This use to be an entrance hall coat closet. It has now been redone into a sewing/craft closet. Did my husband do this for me? No! Is this my closet in my home? No! Instead, this closet is in the home of son and daughter-in-law, Adam and Carey. Why is this not in my home? I don't know. Not that Carey doesn't really, really deserve this. After all, she did give us three wonderful grandchildren. Also, she sews better than anyone that I know. She is so talented. She also sews alot!!
Notice how when the door is opened, you see this! A neatly organized and creative space. Did my husband, father of Adam and Papaw of the 3 gorgeous grandchildren help with this project? No! Did he even show any interest in letting Adam teach him how to do this? No! Instead he was just very impressed and so proud that Adam and Carey created and completed this beautiful work space.
Not that I am bitter about this in anyway. Carey sews alot of what the grandchildren wear, complete with elaborate costumes for school activities. She even recovered a couch in the blink of an eyes. I am constantly amazed. However, I do wish that my husband would also take an interest in home improvements like his son!! Hint! Hint!

OK, so I don't sew much anymore but I can still be jealous of this space. Dear husband, if you are reading this, maybe I would sew more if I had this space. Or maybe not! However, I do love organized and pretty spaces and who wouldn't love to open up a closet and see these beautiful color coordinated jars of ribbons and notions. It is definitely inspiring.
Adam and Carey, can you keep the talent a little more hidden? You are making the rest of us look very bad! Love you two!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009


I also love to decorate my dessert bar. I like to put my dessert forks in some type of holder. This is a shell vase that I have and it was perfect for my forks.
I threw a decorative net over my buffet to complete the look. These nets are available in Wal-Mart's party section. These are the same ones I have used before on my table. Just throw them over your tablecloth for a nautical tablescape . Carey made a cream cheese pecan pie, but I do not have any pictures of it. It was delicious. I will get the recipe from her and share it with you. However, I did get a picture of these cute little babies!

These are brownies and let me tell you how I made them. Bake your favorite brownie recipe in a mini muffin pan. While the brownies are cooling, make the hamburgers. For this, you will need mini vanilla wafers and 4 small bowls of butter cream icing. Tint the icing brown, red, yellow and green. Take one mini vanilla wafer and turn it upside down. You will then layer the icing-brown for the hamburger patty, red for ketchup or tomato, yellow for mustard and green for lettuce. Then top with another mini vanilla wafer. You can use a knife to spread each layer, but I used cake decorating bags with a round tip.
When you place the hamburgers on top of the brownies, dab a little icing on top of the brownie to help hold the burger in place.
So cute and very easy. Enjoy!!


Normally, I use the traditional red, white and blue decorations for my table on the Fourth of July. However, this year I did something different. I decided to have a nautical tablescape.

Please notice the wicker chargers with the shell border. Last year, I forced, um I mean, I had Sonny accompany me into Pottery Barn. He looked around and finally said, "Out of all of this junk, I actually like these." He was pointing at these chargers which were on a table in the bedding section. I picked up one and almost fainted at the price. Two weeks later, I had an appointment near the same Pottery Barn. To kill some time, I forced myself to go in. In the clearance section, there were 2 of the shell chargers marked 80% off. I grabbed a sales lady to check in the back for more, but I was told those were the only two, which was why they were marked so low. Then I remembered the table in the bedding section, which I had thought was strange when Sonny & I saw it there on our previous visit. The chargers were still there because everyone had forgotten about that table and they gave them to me at the same price. The runner is also from Pottery Barn. I found that in Austin. It was $6.99! There are bargains to be had at Pottery Barn, but you have to be there at the right time, which can be hard to do.

I used my shell dishes and placed cute decorated cookies as a favor at each place setting.

These hurricanes are some that I have had for several years and that I usually use in the Fall. I partially filled them with white decorator sand and placed silver coated shells on top of the sand. The silver shells are available at Pottery Barn. However, wait until the end of the season, like I did, and they deeply discount them.
The napkin ring holders are from Target. They were in the party section and were $1.99 for a set of four.

This tablescape was fun and easy. We made the food easy also. We threw steaks on the grill and had a yummy salad and a really easy potato dish that I will post soon.


We had a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Fourth. Sonny has a good friend who works in the Federal Reserve Building. Every year The Fed hosts a Fourth of July party. The big downtown Houston celebration is right in their back yard. Tinsley Park is across the street. Clay Walker preformed and we had a front row seat for the fireworks. We also were treated to dinner and a V.I.P. tour of The Fed. Have you ever tried to pick up a gold bar? They are really heavy! We also got to tour the historical section that included Confederate and Union money among other old bills. Also, a $10,000.00 bill and a $5,000.00 bill were displayed.

We were able to take along some of the younger Goodes. Ethan was absolutely fascinated with the large clear columns filled with shredded worn out bills that had be taken out of circulation. Everyone received a small tube that contained 20 shredded bills of various denominations. He was very disappointed when he was told that he would be unable to piece them back together. Still - the possibility kept him pumped all night.

You will notice that we were so close to the stage that Ben had to wear ear protectors. Ethan looks a little sleepy in this picture (probably dreaming of all that he could buy if he could piece those bills together) and Emma is not pictured as she never sat down. She found a new friend to play with. It was a fun evening and the fireworks were fantastic.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


As promised, here is the Dirt Cake Recipe:

Dirt Cake

¼ cup (1/2 stick) margarine
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar (sift before adding to mixture)
3 ½ cups milk
2 3-oz pkgs INSTANT French vanilla pudding mix
12 oz. Cool Whip (defrost in the fridge – not on the cabinet)
1 large pkg Oreo cookies
A flower pot or a pail large enough to hold 3 quarts
Gummy worms or silk or plastic flowers

Crush the cookies and set aside .Mix the butter, powdered sugar
and cream cheese until smooth. In another bowl, prepare pudding
by beating pudding mix and milk together; fold in Cool Whip.
Fold the cream cheese mixture and the pudding mixture together.
Wash flower pot or pail well, then line with aluminum foil.
Layer the crushed cookies and the pudding mixture in the pot or
pail as follows: 1/3 cookies, 1/2 pudding mixture, 1/3 cookies,
1/2 pudding, 1/3 cookies. Chill to set.
To serve: garnish pail of "dirt" with gummy worms or flower
pot filled with "dirt" with silk or plastic flowers.

This is the original recipe that I cut out from the Houston Chronicle many, many years ago. Now, I have to tell you that if you make the above recipe, it will not turn out like mine. We do not use instant anything around here, much less instant pudding. However, it would sure be alot easier to use it and hey, if your family is use to it, why not. Another change that I usually make to the original recipe is that I make chocolate pudding most of the time. Not that the vanilla is not good, but we are a bunch of chocoholics around here.

I usually serve this in a flower pot, but since my tablescape was an "ocean theme", I decided to use sand pails. The pails are so much easier because there is not a hole in the bottom like there is in flower pots. Also, you do not have to worry about the lead content of the pot and that saves you from lining it in plastic wrap and foil like I usually do. To get the cookie layer to look like dirt, I highly recommend using a food processor. It is fast and easy. The first layer is the cookie mixture, followed by the pudding layer and you alternate layers until the bucket is full, ending with the cookie layer.
Here is the finished product. When I do this in a flower pot, I put gummy worms on top along with a silk flower. It is really a cute dessert. Also, I have been known to put gummy worms in each dirt layer so that when you spoon it out of the pot, worms hang off the spoon with each scoop like they do in real dirt. Now this is a little too realistic for me, but try telling that to your little girl who thinks that would be the greatest thing. Never mind that several party guests would not eat it. (Jenny Birthday Memories!)

Another variation on this that I have done, especially when you are using a sand pail for a nautical theme party, is to crush shortbread cookies or vanilla sandwich cookies. The cookie layer will then look like sand. I added a little brown sugar on the top layer of the vanilla cookie mixture which made it look even more like sand. I also laid chocolate shells on the top of the final "sand" layer. It was really cute.