Thursday, January 31, 2013

Local News

I ask that all our friends and family be in prayer for the city of Kaufman and surrounding areas today and the days to come. It was confirmed today that an Assistant DA was shot and killed this morning going from his vehicle to the Kaufman Courthouse. Local and other  TX law enforcement agencies are looking for the suspects now.

This is such a tragic incident that is becoming all to common. Please be in prayer for everyone affected by this situation. In a small town like Kaufman, where everyone knows everyone, it's very hard! So many of my customers work in Kaufman and either work for the judicial offices or their spouses do. The next few weeks, months will be very hard each time they come or leave work. God knows the hearts of all these affected and knows what each of them will need. I just pray that he brings them peace, understanding and is able to keep them all safe.

Please be  mindful of your law enforcement departments and what they do for us each and every day. Thank a police officer, fireman, military, and other judicial leaders. We always think of the military protecting us, but it reaches much farther than that. Each day hard working citizens risk their lives to protect us, our rights and our justices.

I am thankful to have a law enforcement agent in our family. I know we all feel safer with him on the streets protecting our surrounding community. I know my cousin must be very honored that her husband wants his life career to be in the pursuit of justice and protecting those around her. Please pray for those spouses and families that wake up each morning knowing what their loved ones sacrifice each and every day. WE never know when our last day will be and we aren't suppose to ask or be in fear. But, take this time to hug the ones you love, pray for their safety every day, tell them "I love you" and be thankful for each day we have on this earth.

God bless all those in our surrounding community- I  pray that God delivers these suspects and justice is served.

Baked Chicken with Stuffed Tomato

Good morning everyone,

Today is a day for family favorites! I have already posted a "must have" chicken salad recipe. Both of these recipes are ones that are requested most times at my retreat. This one is my Mom's recipe, she found it years ago and we have served it several times for family, friends and at the retreat. Now, like my Mom I don't always use or write down a recipe- so if you have any questions, please let me know.

Baked Chicken with a Stuffed Tomato

For best results- split your chicken breasts through the middle to make them thinner and pound them out.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split and pounded (enough for your family)
Velveeta cheese slices
Cream of chicken soup
Peperidge Farm Stuffing Mix (comes in a bag, use the seasoned variety)
Tomatoes, thick sliced (large tomato should give you 3 slices)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a 9x13 casserole dish, sprayed with cooking spray. Place Chicken breasts in casserole dish. Place 1 slice of cheese on top of each chicken breast. Mix together cream of chicken soup and just a little bit of milk, just spreadable consistancy. Spread the soup mixture over the top of each chicken breast. Place a tomato slice on top of each chicken breast. Place butter in microwavable dish (about 1 TB for every 2 chicken breasts), melt butter. Place peperidge farm stuffing mix in a bowl (about 1/4 cup per slice of tomato). Pour melted butter into the stuffing mix, stir until well coated. Spoon the stuffing mixture onto to the top of each tomato. Bake at 350 until done, aprox 25-30 minutes for thin breasts.

Again- no recipe, sorry! If you have any questions, let me know. Enjoy everyone!

Stacy's Chicken Salad

Good morning everyone,

I am sitting here watching Food Network while waiting on my next group to arrive. It's always fun planning the groups menu for the weekend. This is how my creativity comes through!

For today I thought I would share a family favorite.

Stacy's Chicken Salad

3 cans cooked chicken, drained and shredded (I like the Sam's Members Choice the best- it's less salty than others)
1 large can of pineapple crushed and drained
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
about 3 TB real mayonaise, more depending on taste (I use Hellman's)
1 tsp of kosher salt

Mix together and serve with croissants (again, I like Sam's croissants or Panera Breads the best/ no one comes close to either one and trust me I have eaten several)!

Now~ You can use any type of chicken- boiled, roasted, smoked, etc. I like the texture and the flavor with the canned chicken. Plus this makes a quick easy dish.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Retreat Happenings

Good evening everyone,

I don't know about you all, but after a foggy, drizzly, blue kind of day.... I am ready for some sunshine and good ole` Texas heat! I love late spring and summer, hotter the better. I know most can't stand the heat, but this gal likes flip flops, shorts and lots of sunshine!

I am hoping come summer time we will have our  building addition completed! More craft room, full size bathroom and a massage room. We have been told it could take 3-4 months to complete. We are hoping if all goes well and we are able to complete this large task, that we will have an open house and pool side party this summer. It will be fun to have everyone out to spend the day, relaxing by the pool. I will probably even grill hot dogs and hamburgers or something. It would be a fun way to kick off the summer activities.

When I think about summer, it brings back lots of great childhood memories. It didn't seem so far away. Now that I am getting older and my daughter is half grown (stop, slow down) I wish for those easy summer days as a kid.. Nothing better than riding your bike all day, playing in the sprinkler, catching fire flies and eating popsicles. I wouldn't trade those memories for anything.

 Summer is a great time to catch up with family, friends and neighbors. It's always fun to slow down a bit and remember what is important to us. This year I want to make some summertime memories; my challenge to you all is this... Dance in the spring time rain, have a lemonade stand with your little ones, make old fashioned popsicles, play in the sprinkler, swing on a tire swing (if you have a tree to support one), plan a 4th of July pic nic, catch fire flies, go camping and just have good old fashioned fun! None of this costs much and you would be amazed how many kids never experience it. Make some memories and traditions, new and old.

We would love to help you make some memories~ Just a reminder the retreat isn't just for my talented crafty women.. I have lots of families that like to come out for a "staycation". We have a great pool for the family, hot tub, washers, darts and other outside games.

Until next time~ start thinking about your summer time memories and I hope they bring you lots of joy and happiness!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Retreat Happenings

Good morning,

Nothing like waking up refreshed and ready to go!

 I am at the retreat preparing for a wonderful and very talented group. This group does everything from scrapbooking traditional albums to more modern digital ones. Some sew, bead, play games, read and some to just relax! Mrs. Stevens is bringing  a couple of new ladies this weekend and I can't wait to meet them. It's always fun having new ladies join our groups.

I have made a cup of coffee and sitting here blogging away while my orange pound cake cools and awaiting my granola to finish baking. Mom baked my Great Aunt Velda's apple cake last night and I am getting ready to start mixing some cookie dough. Thinking chocolate chip cookie dough nestled into a brownie sounds good to me. Just found that recipe on Pinterest and thought I would give it a whirl. We will see how they turn out.

We have lots on the agenda for this weekend. I have a beautiful family coming out to take portraits tomorrow, nothing like cute country photos near an old well, tractor, barn or on the piped fence. I can't wait to see how they turn out!

Then on Sunday our architect is coming and will step us through the building process and drawing up some plans for us. We are so excited and can't wait to see what he comes up with. Continue to say a few prayers that all is reasonable and we can add onto our crafting area. I know ya'll will love it as much as us!

Hope you all have a wonderful day~ Now back to the kitchen, UMMMMM the smells are heavenly!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Beauty in Blue

Beauty in Blue
Beauty in Blue is returning February 28th to March 4th.
 Mrs. Karen Hillman is busy wrapping up final arrangements for this intimate artful weekend. If you are looking for a fun time with artful, creative and very talented women, this will be an event to attend!
Everyone will arrive on Thursday February 28th. We will be having lunch at the Tea Room at Lone Star Antique store in Watauga. After a day of dinning and shopping we will come to Whitworth Ranch Retreat for a light dinner.
On Friday you will have a continental breakfast to go; We will then spend the day in Canton shopping, creating and having a fabulous time. We will return that evening for a nice dinner and catching up on the best finds of the day.
Saturday will be filled with projects lead by Karen Hillman and Molly Knox. A trio tea room style lunch will be served. Saturday evening all the ladies will get dressed in their vintage cowgirl attire for an evening of Barbeque, music and pool side fire.
Sunday we will have a big southern breakfast then head to Keller, TX to Little Blue House for a private class with Mrs. Tracy Pounds. Sunday afternoon we will head to Roanoke and have dinner at Babe's Chicken House. Sunday evening we will stay at the very quaint and charming Oak Street Cottage.
Monday we will head to the airport and give everyone a true TEXAS send off.
Looking forward to having all these special ladies back out to the retreat. Karen has 2 spots open and she would love some TX gals there.
Until then~ I hope you are all thinking of tranquil shades of blue!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Art Evolution, a new Eclectic Art Gallery in Galveston

My brother, Randy has just opened a new Eclectic Art Gallery in Galveston, TX.

Art Evolution offers complete digital photographic printing, mounting, finishing, packaging, and service options to enhance the presentation of your photos.  You don't have to be a professional artist for your photos to become professional works of art.

Art Evolutions Fine Art Giclée Canvas Gallery Wraps are printed directly onto museum quality canvas material using high quality archival inks.  The canvas print is then wrapped around a patented stretcher bar frame so that the photo’s edges are visible on the sides of the frame.  A variety of border options and effects are available to enhance your canvas.  Your choice of Glossy or Satin varnish is applied to each piece to protect the surface of the print and to provide UV Light protection and delivered with or without paper hanging hardware attached.

Giclée Prints are made with high-quality archival inks on fine art papers using a high-resolution large format inkjet printer. Our premium inks produce images with smooth tones and rich colors, making these prints ideal for extraordinary presentations. Available in Watercolor and Canvas paper surfaces.

  • Watercolor - Heavy paper with a subtle texture.  Add Masks, Vignettes or Effects for a truly unique presentation!  

  • Canvas - The Giclée process enables us to print directly onto museum-quality canvas material. Canvas prints are delivered finished as a Canvas Gallery Wrap. Prints are coated with a varnish to protective the surface help prevent scratches and other damage.
Questions? Please contact us and we will be happy to answer them!

Art Evolution
527 21st (Moody)
Sutie 101A
Galveston, TX 77550

Phone: 409-497-2157
Fax: 409-497-2243

Hot Cocoa Mix

Here is a family favorite during the winter months. Enjoy~

Hot Cocoa Mix
2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered creamer
1/8 tsp salt
Mix 3-4 tablespoons with boiling water
Makes 4 cups of mix

My husband, Justin

Our Wedding Day June, 14 2009

This is my husband, Justin. I am very blessed to have him in my life. He is my best friend, we enjoy all kinds of fun activites together. We love to go camping, fishing, country scenic drives, going to wood working or craft type shows and more.

My husband is also a GREAT cook! He loves to do all kinds of things with seafood. Anything from baked to cajun to deep fried. He has never made anything that my family hasn't enjoyed!

He works full time as an auto technician, he can diagnose just about everything from lawn mower to domestic and foreign cars. It's amazing we have family and friends that have issues with things not running and all he has to do is turn the key, (no kidding, it'a kind of become a joke).

My guests see him from time to time, especially if we have been out fishing prior to their arrival. We always share our catch with our retreat guests. Who knows, maybe your next group will have a fresh fish fry this spring or summer.

My Family

Good morning everyone,

Thought I would introduce you all to my family~ That is me on the far left, my sister Stephanie next to me, then my daugther Ashley and last but not least on the right my Mom, Marie.

All the women in my family are very talented and creative in their own unique way.

My sister, Stephanie is in the hotel business and very successful. She currenthly lives in Houston and loves it! She is always traveling to some far off land around the world (a bit envious of her).... She always comes back with great stories and worldly news!

My daughter, Ashley is in High School. She is part of the marching band and plays flute. She will be graduating in the spring of 2014 and it's hard to believe! Seems like yesterday she was born! She plans on attending college near home (true TX girl), however I can see her being a jet setter like my younger sis. She is planning on a degree in nursing or something in the medical field. I still think she is a little undecided at the moment, just depends on how many years she wants to continue in school.

My Mom, Marie still works full time. She hopes to retire in a couple of years, then I hope she will be helping me out at the retreat..  Maybe she will be my design partner, she is great at making cards, quilting, sewing and so much more. By the way, she can make a DELICIOUS Italian Cream Cake. HMMM, on that thought maybe she will become my pastry chef.

Well, this is just a small picture of the creative women in my family-

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Blogging Basics Oh My~

Good morning,

So, I mentioned I was new to this blogging thing. I am so thankful that my followers are patient... I am meeting with a new friend today to give me some much needed pointers.. Adding pictures, buttons, tabs and more. Whatever she can teach me, I will be so grateful.

What I can't learn by friends and other, well I guess I will just have to pay the experts to do for me.

Wish me luck today and pray for patients for my teacher. Lord this girl has been out of the classroom for a long time now.

Love you all and happy blogging~

Monday, January 21, 2013

Update on our new addition

Hello all,

We met with Justin the builder today. He is sending out his architect to draw up some plans for us. This should happen over the next couple of weeks. We should have a better idea of cost size ammentities and such.

Ladies~ Thank my Dad, John...... He is now saying we need 2 bathrooms out there, if we are going to dream big, well DREAM BIG I guess.. If all goes well this will be a 2 story addition with more cropping room downstairs with a sink, bathroom, snack and eating area. Upstairs will have a bathroom and more cropping and additional sleeping area if needed. Justin says it will take about 3 months to build.

I don't know about you, but I am excited to see what Justin and his crew come up with. We have told them we MUST have lots of natural light and tons of cam lighting vs florescent lighting.

More updates coming as I hear. Until then have a great week guys and get busy creating~

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Glazed Orange Pound Cake

6 oz Unsalted butter, softened
1 cup orange juice, fresh or bottled (1/4 cup set aside for glaze)
9 oz (2 cups) all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp +a pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 oz (1 1/2 cups) confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a 9x5 loaf pan with butter and flour

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachement- beat the butter and sugar until fluffy on medium high speed, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time until just incorporated, scraping down the sides, add vanilla. Add the flour and orange juice starting and ending with the flour. Mix until all combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, slightly drop onto counter to remove any air pockets.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool on wire rack.
Mix the remaining orange juice and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Drizzle over pound cake.


At the ranch

Hello everyone,

I am just getting started on blogging, so please be patient~ I can't wait to see all the new groups that are coming to stay with us in 2013!

We have lots of things on the horizon at Whitworth Ranch Retreat. We are meeting with our contractor, Justin to go over the details of adding on 1200 square feet to our current craft area. We hope if all goes well, this will be completed by Spring.

If you have not had a chance to visit our place, please come out anytime. I would be more than happy to do tours on Thursday or Sunday afternoons after my guests leave for the weekend.

We will be hosting a day by the pool this summer to all customers and friends. So, stay tuned for more details.

Signing off for now~ going to cook chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cream gravy and green beans.

Have a great week ya'll!