I may never buy granola bars again.  My daughter makes these homemade granola bars and they are delicious!  You could substitute any fruit you’d like – dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries or dates.  I think any of them would be scrumptious.  Here’s the recipe and enjoy!   

Homemade Granola Bars  

2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup wheat germ*

*The second time my daughter made these delicious granola bars, she was out of wheat germ and I think I liked them better that way.  I added the whole 1/2 cup and I think it was a little too much.  Next time, I’ll reduce it to maybe 2 tablespoons for the healthy effect.  😉

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup raisins (or you could probably try any other favorite dried fruit – like blueberries, dates or cherries)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup honey

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.  In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt.  Combine the wet ingredients.  Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla.  Using your hands, mix well.  Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.  Enjoy!

I was relaxing on the playroom sofa engrossed in the novel by Ree Drummond with the grandchildren playing happily all around me.  I noticed movement to my left barely above the back of the sofa.  It was Larry-Boy, the Veggie Tale puppet.  Suddenly, “Larry-Boy” broke into the happy song “Veggie Tales”.   The sweet and tender voice of my just-turned-three-year-old grandson was perfectly carrying the tune.

My heart melted, and tears came to my eyes, as I thought about what a gift this sweet child is…and how different his life might have been.  I’m thankful beyond words that God picked this precious child to be a part of this family…all the way from Ethiopia.

And I’m especially thankful for his sweet gift of song…

Today is my Daddy’s birthday and I’m missing him.  He was born on February 17, 1905…the youngest of seven children.  His father and grandfather before him were farmers in the rich farmland of the Mississippi Delta.  With a legacy bestowed by their Scottish immigrant ancestors, they had strong work ethics, Christian values and believed in the strength of family.

I never heard my Daddy raise his voice in anger or utter a curse word in my entire life.  He was a strong but gentle man.  As the father of four daughters, he was mellow and laid-back – I suppose he had to be.  With a quick and ready smile, he had a good sense of humor.  As children, my niece Sharon and I would get to laughing at the supper table and could easily get him to laugh.  On more than a few occasions, we were sent from the table until we regained our composure.

He and Mama spent a lifetime together.  After a severe stroke claimed her speech and altered her personality, he was kind and patient with her.  In the last few months of his life, one of his favorite country songs that he would listen to often was “I’ll Go to My Grave Loving You” by the Statler Brothers.  He loved her and us, his four daughters, with all his heart.  He also loved his grandchildren.  I just wish that he could have lived long enough to meet my grandchildren.  My oldest grandson has my Daddy’s olive complexion,  dark brown eyes and very dark brown hair.  My Dad was the only grandparent or great-grandparent with those features, and I love the fact that my grandson inherited them.

Daddy was an “old-time” Democrat, which my son says today would, most likely, be the Libertarian party.  He believed in searching for the candidate who would be the strongest leader…the one with the most integrity and character.  He was also not fond of “big government”.  I’ve wondered what he would have to say about the November election and which candidate he would choose.    I think I have an idea.

I’m truly thankful for the legacy that my parents left my sisters and me…

I flew out of Portland last Saturday morning, and after a connection in Denver, arrived safely in Iowa…where my daughter and her two youngest were waiting for me.  My three year old grandson called out, ” that’s MY grandmommy”!  What joyful words.  We’ve had a busy, fun week and I’m amazed at what my daughter accomplishes in any given day.  She has decided to cook with as many organic foods as possible and everything is from scratch…even homemade bread and pasta.  She purchased a heavy-duty professional mixer, pasta maker, heavy-duty juicer and a grain-mill.    She makes her own yogurt and granola and serves it with fresh raspberries (breakfast this morning).  All of this in between homeschooling and transporting the children to library days, swim team, swim practice and church activities.  My daughter commented that she remembered my doing the same thing – except the sports were basketball and track meets.  I think I do remember it come to think of it…

Homemade wheat bread…

We celebrated a fun Valentines Day together.  The morning began with a floral delivery.  The macho logger tree farmer had ordered a large gorgeous bouquet of yellow roses.  They’re still beautiful!  Then while my older grandson was in the two classes he takes at the Christian high school across town, the rest of us drove to a nearby Walmart.  While my daughter shopped, my granddaughters and I headed in a different direction shopping for a fun idea we had.  We picked up gifts for each person.  Nothing terribly expensive or elaborate – just fun.  There was a plate/bowl/cup set for my three year old grandson in the “Cars” theme with Lightning McQueen, a beginner crochet set for my twelve year old granddaughter, a Disney Rapunzel “pillow” for my seven year old granddaughter, an Elmer Fudd logger’s cap in a black & red check for my fourteen year old grandson who loves fun caps, a trilogy of Christian fiction, cute canning labels and a garlic press for my daughter and a fun John Deere set, nuts and candy for my son-in-love.  Oh, and lots of chap stick for me.  Each package was wrapped in Valentines paper and a number placed on the package.  Then a number was placed on each chair – not necessarily the same!  After dessert, we opened the gifts and you had to decide whether or not you had the “right” gift and, if not, negotiate to get the right one.  Everyone had fun and were happy with their Valentines gifts.  My daughter also surprised everyone with a Valentines gift – I loved my gift from her:  the movie, “Come Dance at My Wedding”!  A fun Valentines Day all the way around…

Happy Valentines Day from the macho logger tree farmer…

 

The macho logger tree farmer leaves early each morning…too early to let the goats out of their cougar-proof enclosure.  So, after I wake (and have my coffee), I trudge out to their nighttime safehouse and let them out.  Usually, they’re happy to see me and greet me with their typical exuberant banter.  On rainy days, it’s a different story.  Goats don’t like rain.  They don’t like to stand out and about in it any more than you or I would.

So this rainy  morning, I’m greeted with the “it’s raining and we’re not coming out” routine.  I talked to them, opened the enclosure gate and headed back to the house.  All the while, they’re watching me from the dry sleeping barn.

From the porch, I see that they haven’t moved.  At first, I thought it was only Gracie (peeking out) who had stayed behind…but, no, they were all in there.  (They usually stay together no matter where they are.)  Eventually, Gracie led the way and they all sauntered out – headed to the pasture for a day of browsing fresh greens, Douglas Fir and some yummy blackberry vines…

I think I’ll stay in where it’s warm and dry today too…

It’s raining and we don’t like it…

Sharon and Gracie peeking out at the rain from their dry sleeping barn…

 

On Saturday, I fly to Iowa for a wonderful two and a half weeks with my daughter and her family, so we took advantage of this last Sunday for a while – a beautiful and surprisingly warm day –  to drive over to the coast (a little over an hour).  We then drove down the Pacific Coast Highway until we were about 30 minutes from the California border.  Had we planned ahead, we might have made it an overnight trip and ventured on down to see the redwoods.  Maybe next time.  Usually, it is chilly and gusty on the Pacific beach…not today.  I had a light jacket on but didn’t real need it.  Amazing for February!

This scene is in Port Orford, Oregon…one of our stops along the way.

After a wonderful ten days in Texas with my son and his precious wife and baby daughter, I returned home to the farm in Oregon.  (Via a bumpy, fall-from-the-sky airplane ride I might add.)  It had snowed 5″ here while I was away but with little accumulation.

This morning, I awoke to overcast skies and rain.  By early afternoon, the sun had made an appearance.  The dark clouds continued to hang around for good measure though…

I arrived in Dallas a week ago tomorrow and promptly fell in love all over again. Maggie is amazing. She’s now four and a half months and weighs about 14 pounds. Those big blue eyes sparkle when she smiles and she smiles a lot. She has even laughed for me – when I bark. I have perfected barking like a puppy and she thinks it’s funny. Of course, she doesn’t exactly know who I am yet…but she knows I’m someone special.

We’ve had a great, busy week. Some fun shopping days, lots of good visiting time, and some touring (although I honestly told my son and daughter-in-love that the Eiffel Tower could be down the block and I really wouldn’t care. I’m doing exactly what I want to do – spending time with Maggie).

Today was an incredible 77 degrees and we spent a fun day at the Dallas Arboretum.  Beautiful!  Reminded me a lot of the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C.  Definitely a must see when you visit Dallas!

The slideshow below includes some of the photos I’ve taken of Maggie this week and also some pics from the Arboretum today.  My son took several of Maggie and me together, but they are on his camera for the moment.  Several of the photos of Maggie remind me so much of her Dad when he was this age.

Tonight, I’m “babysitting” my precious granddaughter while her parents enjoy a date night out.  This is the first time they’ve been away from her since she was born.  They are wonderful parents and I am so proud of them!  I loved all the instructions and reminders and definitely took them to heart.  Although, I did remind them that I do have a “little experience”…just to set their mind at ease.  😉

 

I was there when you arrived HOME from Ethiopia after a long two day journey with your Mom and Dad.  You must have been tired, but you didn’t cry.  You carefully looked us all over – your  new family – from the safety of Mommy’s arms.  Those dark eyes danced and then you smiled, revealing dimples that stole my heart.  Two years later and I am indeed your Grandmommy!  Happy Birthday, my sweet boy!

For my grandson’s third birthday, I chose the Hallmark Curious George recordable book and the Curious George plush character that talks when you press the toe (loudly).  I also recorded the story in my voice.  My daughter says he plays the storybook all the time.  I watched on iPad FaceTime as he opened them and played the book.  For just a moment, there was a look of confusion as to how I could accomplish being in two places at once, but then he picked the book up and hugged it to his chest.   I will be there for a visit in a few short weeks and I can’t wait!

The last time I saw my beautiful granddaughter Maggie was October 15, 2011.  Since then, Maggie and her Mom  and Dad have moved from their beloved Chicago to Dallas, Texas.  They are settling in nicely and Maggie is growing so quickly.  I see photographs, of course, but you can’t cuddle and talk to a photo very well.  I love the occasional i-Pad talks, but I still can’t reach through the screen and hold her!

I’m flying Saturday morning to Dallas for a wonderful ten days.  Her Mom and Dad have asked me what I would like to see or do in Dallas.  Truthfully, the only “sight” I care about in Dallas is Maggie!  I want to hold her and play with her and read to her.  I want to take her for long strolls around their historical neighborhood.  I want to hear her laughter.  I’ve happily volunteered to “babysit” so Mom and Dad can actually have a date night out.  This sweet visit enables me to begin a relationship that will last a lifetime…which means flying as often as possible to see her so she doesn’t forget me in between visits!

Maggie in her stroller… 

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My Southern Heart...the Stories blog is about my life growing up in the South in the fifties and sixties. It was an amazing time...a time of falling in love, getting married, having a family. A time of history in the making, political unrest, rock and roll. Come along on my life's journey. It's a chronological story, so be sure to start at the beginning. It will make a whole lot more sense that way. Check out: My Southern Heart...the Stories