Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 14, 2012

I am at a loss for words.

Stunned, shocked.

 But I feel as if these beautiful children from Newtown deserve our tribute.

Deserve the dignity of our thoughts, prayers, respect.

The Teachers and school employees also.

Anything said seems so cliched? trite? mundane?

And it is.

except for a promise - 

 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev 21:4

This then we have.

The promise of Jesus.

The promise and hope of heaven.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus, come. 



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tennis Elbow....

 Well, I've never played tennis a day in my life!

However, Tim, my oldest son, went to state playing tennis as a junior in high school!!!

  : )

Anyway - Dr. Nelson says I have tennis elbow... 

Randy says it's bloggers elbow!!

I think Randy is right this time and not the doctor!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Heather Rachael Larsen Nelson

On October 8th, 1973, I gave birth to my first baby, a girl - Heather! She's always been a bit sassy as you can tell by the look on her face in this picture! Most pictures of her as a child show her with hands on her hips!

It's not easy to describe how lives change with the birth of your first child. I can say that my life has always been better because of giving birth to Heather.

Heather always wanted to be a wife and mother but she was very smart and didn't rush into a marriage just for the sake of being married. She matured and she picked wisely. Now she's a mother of two beautiful girls and it's so much fun to watch her as she rejoices in being who she always wanted to be. 

Heather is a shoe person - which a a very individual trait because I will go bare - footed if it means getting another purse! But to each her own!! : )

Life with Heather was a life of "firsts". First tooth, first day of school, first date, first day leaving her at college... You get the picture!

She was a bit mouthy as a teen! : )  But we survived it! I do remember one time she got a glass of tea in her face because she wouldn't BE QUIET!!! But - we survived it!
We practiced on her. She survived. We survived. With her I learned whether I believed in spanking children. I learned about time out. I learned how to become a Mom. - Never got that 100% right, but she survived. Her sister and brothers survived. I survived.

She went to Bible College, then taught school in Haiti for two years. She became independent and grew up. Now she's worked in retail for "years"!! 

Being a Mom is one of her biggest privileges and blessings. She's good at it. I admire the way she is able to juggle a household, being a mom and traveling with her job as a district manager with Yankee Candle Company (shameless plug). She picked a good husband to help her with all this juggling!!  I know I could never have accomplished all that she has.

I used to tell her (especially when she reached the age of "looking in the mirror")  "It doesn't matter what you look like on the outside if you aren't pretty on the inside." 

She has grown up to be a beautiful woman - inside and out.

Happy Birthday, Heather!
I'm very proud of you.

(and as I told your brothers - your card is late! It's in the mail)
(it's my age) 


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Timothy Gottschall Larsen

Yesterday, October 6th, my oldest son Timothy, turned 34. He was my third child, my first son. He was named after a friend of his Dad's and his middle name, Gottschall is his Grandma Larsen's maiden name. He was a rolly polly little baby and his sisters loved hugging and kissing him.

Tim has always made me laugh. He's always been "different" - a good different and has always been funny. By different I mean he never "went along with the crowd." He was always an independent soul. 

When he was young, he asked if he could be baptized. His Dad thought he should wait a little while because he was so young. One evening after taking his bath, he came into the living room where I was and said,"Mom, you don't have to worry about baptizing me anymore, I knew all the right words so I just did it myself in the bathtub."   He also decided at an early age that if Adam and Eve hadn't sinned, he wouldn't have to go to school. He always kept me on my toes.

The one on the left is Tim getting ready to go pick up his date for his junior prom. The other guy is his friend Joe. Joe's mom and I didn't have patterns to make the kilts - we just made them to the specifications of the guys! good times!

I have enjoyed this guy from the day he was born! There were times I was concerned about the decisions he was making - but I have never been concerned about him as a person. He has always been a great son. 

After 9 11 he made the decision to join the Army. He became a member of the 82nd Airborne and I was very proud of him. He served our country for 8 years and he did it very well. He earned a bronze star and was also very well respected while serving. I received a letter from one of his commanding officers telling me what a good job he was doing and how respected he was.

He's dealt with much adversity. Not of his own making but of others. I've been very proud of the way he has handled himself and protected his family. 

He does his best at being a good husband and a good Dad.  He's a hard worker, very creative - and he still makes me laugh!

 Happy Birthday, Tim! 

I'm very proud of the man you've become!

God bless you in all you do.

(PS - didn't get your card mailed... Will give it to you next weekend!)

: )


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Small Group

Tonight we hosted our first small group in our home. We had five here. One lady couldn't come, she had a meeting elsewhere but her husband was here.
I love meeting with people to study God's Word and to grow together in relationships.

It was a "get acquainted" evening with only a short devotional, lots of visiting and snacks.

The whole evening was good, but the highlight for me was when J. asked us what our hobbies were. I said I love to read and I do book reviews on a blog. So for me - reading and blogging.

He looked at Randy and asked whether he had a hobby. My dear sweet lovable wonderful husband simply said, "Brenda."   I have said before and will say again - I am so blessed.
- and I feel so sorry for all the other wives!!!


Monday, September 10, 2012

More Things to do in Wichita!!

Saturday we had a 2nd Saturday extravaganza!! (I'll explain the 2nd Saturday concept later in this blog.) Our "cruise" director planned a wonderful Saturday afternoon! She earned her title from being the best director ever!! But also 'cause we "cruised" around the city!

 "Cruise" Director Gale and her husband Ron

Our first stop was a mystery stop. We met at an address Gale sent us by text.

 Hmmm. Dillons.

 Why on earth would we meet at a Dillon's Grocery store?

 The Oscar Meyer Wiener-mobile!!!
Randy, Me, Gale, Ron, Pam and Terry

Our first stop put everyone in a good mood and we were ready for the day! 

Our next stop was in the Delano District.  
"Delano sprang up as a cowtown at the end of the Chisholm Trail and quickly gained a reputation as a place where trail-weary cowboys could take their rest and recreation in the many saloons and brothels.
Today Delano is home to dozens of unique locally-owned shops, art galleries and restaurants. Nightlife includes events like the Thursday Night Pub Pedal and the Final Friday Art Crawl."

Our first stop in the Delano District was "Delano Antiques". A GREAT antique store if you like browsing and/or buying. We had a great time in here. The guys enjoyed it because there were tables with cookies on them and newspapers! So they walked through the store in about 5 minutes and read papers, talked and ate cookies!  The women - well, we did what we do best! Shopped, talked and laughed.

Next was another antique store in this same area, The Pink Door. 

 The "Cruise" director and her husband as
King and Queen of the day!

Next was one of my favorite places! We had a good time at "The Nifty Nut House."


Pam & Terry

Ron & Gale

From The Nifty Nut House

We headed to "The Spice Merchant"

The Spice Merchant is where 2nd Saturday comes in.

If you purchase one of their bags -

On the 2nd Saturday of the month take it in with you and you will get a 
15 or 20% discount on your purchases.
(I can't remember which)

The Spice Merchant 

The Spice Merchant has much more than spices. 
Lot's to look at.
Lot's to buy!!
: )  
 By this time the samples from The Nifty Nuthouse had worn off 
and we were ready for a snack.

So we headed to The Donut Whole.
 We had delicious cake donuts
 Italian sodas, Coffee and Chai Tea

Donut Whole 

Across the parking lot was a mural.
 Here you can see the sunflower a little better.

Our next stop was Watermark Book Store

Watermark Books and Cafe 

but it was right at 5:00 and had just closed so

we drove around and got to see many other places we want to visit sometime.

We also made a 10 minute stop at Food for Thought, a health food store.

Food for Thought Natural Foods Market

Our last stop of the day was at The Drury Plaza.
This used to be the Broadview.

The Drury Plaza

We had a great day.
Gorgeous weather.
 Lots of laughs. 
Lots of shopping.
 Great time with friends.
Life is good. 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Some Statistics I Find Interesting

I was asked, "How many abortions do you think are done for rape/incest, or health reasons, vs social reasons?"

Well, I had no idea, I haven't spoken on pro-life issues since the '80's. So I did some research.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute promotes "No woman is completely free unless she is wholly capable of controlling her fertility baby receives its full birthright unless it is born gleefully wanted by its parents."     - and the statistics I'm listing came from their research in the '90's.

"Why women have abortions
1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient)."

So if I'm reading this correctly, 93% of the 1.37 million (1996 stat) abortions could be prevented if women would control their fertility before the conception.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Jonathan Robert Larsen

 Uncle Jay

 Uncle Jay

When I was 32 years old, I had 3 children. Heather, Holly and Timothy. My father-in-law had told me for years "You should not have an odd amount of children. It's too hard to pair them up when you go places." Well, we really didn't care at that point, we had our 3, they were 12, 10 and 8. That was it for us...

But God had a better idea. He brought this sweet baby into our lives. Jonathan, you had 5 people who loved on you all the time and a whole church of people who loved you. You were the easiest baby I had ever had!! (I loved them all, they were typical babies, but you weren't! Probably because you were entertained 24/7 by the other 3)

You were always laid back and easy going. - still are to this day. You always go with the flow. We moved you from Wichita to Enid, to Jamaica, to the Panhandle of Oklahoma and then when you were in 4th grade we settled you in Ringwood.

You really never gave me a minutes worth of trouble. Well, maybe that one time when you were a teen! : )  But I promised I wouldn't talk about that!!!!

I used to say that you kept me young! You used to say that I was the oldest mom in your class!! I can honestly say that you have blessed me above and beyond what I ever expected when I got the surprise of my life and found out I was going to have ANOTHER baby!!!!

Happy 26th Birthday to my youngest son. Jonathan, you have made my life richer, you have made me a better person and you were a gift from God that I am so very thankful for. You were my rock when you were much too young to have that responsibility and I love you.

I've loved watching you run track and play basketball. I'm so very proud of you and the direction you are taking your life. You amaze me.

Thank you for being a GREAT son.

HaPpY bIrThDaY!

You are LOVED!!! 

P.S. I didn't get your card mailed!! Will mail it the day AFTER your birthday. - It's my age......  : )

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another Pinterest Recipe!!

We are continuing our cooking experiments!!

This recipe can be found H.E.R.E.

This evening we had:

(that is a mouthful)

1 (32oz) bag tater tots
3 oz jar bacon bits (I used Hormel)
5 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 3 since there are just 3 of us)
1 1/2 cups grated Colby cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Monterrey jack pepper cheese
3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

(I didn't have the pepper cheese so I just used the mild cheddar jack - that's what I had on hand)

1. Grease the bottom of the crock pot
2. Layer 1/2 tater tots on the bottom of the pot
3. Sprinkle with 1/4 jar of bacon bits
4. Combine the 2 cheeses, and sprinkle 1/3 of it over the bacon and tots
5. Top cheese with the chicken breasts
6. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste
7. Top chicken with another 1.3 of cheese
8. Sprinkle with another 1.4 of bacon bits
9. Add remainder of the tater tots
10. Top with final 1/3 of the cheese
11. pour milk over the top
12. Set crock pot to high and cook 3-4 hours.

I only used the 3 chicken breasts but had enough potato mixture left for lunch the next day. - Which was very good reheated.

This was a very filling, tasty meal. Plus very easy to prepare. We all really enjoyed it.

Randy gave it a 5
Andru gave it a 5
I gave it a 5


Monday, August 13, 2012

Lawrence, Kansas

Last weekend, a high school friend, Becky, had a book signing in Lawrence, Kansas. We decided to make a weekend of it. I had never been to Lawrence before and must say it's a great town and we had a good time.

We started out on Massachusetts Street because that is where the book signing was going to be. We walked from one end to the other - the weather was beautiful! When looking up "things to do in Lawrence" I discovered that Massachusetts Street - or as the native Lawrence-inians ( I made that word up) call it Mass Street is a historic street which gives you an authentic downtown! From 6th St to 11th St there are art galleries, boutiques, kitchen stores, toy stores, bars, many sidewalk cafes and I think we counted 3 old fashioned barber shops - with the poles out front and everything. Not leaving the ladies out we also saw a couple of spas. I loved the kitchen stores but my VERY VERY favorite places were the book stores!!! Surprised? : )

The Dusty Bookshelf
I've blogged about this store  H.E.R.E.

The other bookstore, where Becky had her signing was "Signs of Life Gallery." This was a great store, too, and I really enjoyed it. There was also an art gallery upstairs.

We asked the young man that worked there where he would suggest we eat - since there were so many places on this street. He said "the BEST hamburgers in the world can be found just down the street on the corner of 8th street. Called "The Burger Stand."  So we gave it a try. Now you have to understand, Randy's favorite place to get a hamburger is "Five Guys Burgers." So he wasn't sure about "The Burger Stand."

The Burger Stand @ the Casbah

OMGosh.... Far exceeded our expectations. You can find their website H.E.R.E.
Best burgers EVER...

 One of the nicest, friendliest waitresses I've ever met.

We shopped some, exploring this wonderful street and just had a great time.

From Massachusetts Street we went to Watkins Community Museum.

Randy loves history and we both love museums and this was a great museum. The exhibits were very interesting and the building was an old bank building and it was gorgeous. 

At the museum we picked up a brochure featuring a self guided tour of the old houses in Lawrence. Several blocks of houses showcasing "House Styles of Old West Lawrence."
We saw Folk, Prairie, Queen Anne, Craftsman, FolK Victorian, Colonial Revival, Victorian Revival, Gothic Revival, Tudor, Richardson Romanesque and many more. You could experience this tour by driving or walking, it was starting to get pretty warm so we drove.

We enjoyed drinks at Paddy O'Quigleys. 

And that evening we dined at Longhorn.

Between all of our fun, sight seeing, eating, etc we spent much of our time:


 We had such a good time! 

We have such a good time together!

We both highly recommend a visit to Lawrence, Kansas!

(if you make the trip, be sure and take some quarters because on Mass St they have parking meters)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Privation Printing

My son Tim and his wife Shelley have an entrepreneurial spirit. Always an admirable trait in anyone, I believe. They have started a new business "Privation Printing" and they do custom graphic apparel printing with no minimum order.
"Privation Printing is here. . .We have full custom graphics printing and NO MINIMUM Order! Silk Screening and Dye Sublimation to help your cause get recognized. Don't forget to check out our graphic printed tees!"

They have several custom art shirts that are numbered. Once they've sold out, they won't print those shirts again.

The Drama Llama is one of my very favorites. I am hoping that Drama Llama shows up in many designs in the future!!

They also showcase Josh Stebbins, an artist from Enid, Oklahoma.

 art work by Josh Stebbins

You can find them: 

       on Face Book

       on Etsy


I am a HUGE fan of Downton Abbey and so had a shirt made in honor of the new season!!

Free Bates

I do want to add, these are very good quality shirts. I was really reluctant to have a "white" one but it is good thick fabric and I LOVE it. 

 I really love to see young families start their own businesses. I do hope you will support 

Privation Printing



Monday, July 30, 2012

Things to do in Wichita - 4 "Air Capital Chorus"

Air Capital Chorus

Randy is a genealogy buff. He enjoys the search, the learning about his family and he loves history. He also loves doing this research for others, too. He did some genealogy searches for his brother-in-law Larry Simmons and Larry very generously gave us tickets to the "Midnight Serenade" performance of the Air Capital Chorus that he sings with. (Larry is second from the left on the front row.)

So with friends, Ron and Gale Briscoe, we spent the evening enjoying great music and great company!

Ron and Gale are always kissing!! : )

The performance was held in the Scottish Rite Center Auditorium. We tried to take our pictures so you could see the beautiful detail in this building!

This is the ceiling. 

 The Air Capital Chorus is a non-profit organization for the education of men in Barbershop Harmony and is made up of men of all ages (one of their singers is 15) from Wichita and the surrounding area.  You can learn more about them on their web site you can find HERE.

You can find their schedule on this web site and also book them if you need music for an event. Randy and I are looking forward to their Christmas show at the Orpheum.

At the "Midnight Serenade" they presented a wide variety of music. Such as "New York, New York" (one of my personal favorites) "Mister Cellophane," "Don't Rain on My Parade," "All that Jazz" and much more. We had a great time and really encourage you to check them out and go to some of their events. - Or book them!  : )  Can't say that too much!!

At Intermission, they had "Dominate Prep" a quartet from St. Louis, MO. They were very entertaining and I am going to do a separate blog about them.

I've always enjoyed good harmony. Air Capital Chorus delivered great music, great laughs and wonderful harmony!!

Thank you Larry and Carol for a wonderful evening of harmony!!

The Great Cook Off - Baked Pesto Chicken

The above link is the blog that first posted this recipe. Her recipe is more exact than mine.

Baked Pesto Chicken is another recipe I've pinned on pinterest. We tried it this weekend and had a great meal!!

It was easy to prepare and every one liked it. The scores ranged from 3's to 5's. I served this with penne pasta.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to season chicken ( I inadvertently left this step out)
1/2 cup basil pesto ( I just used a small jar and didn't measure - used it all)
2 oz grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the chicken breasts into smaller pieces.
Spray 9X13 baking dish with non-stick spray, then spread basil pesto over the bottom of the dish - just enough to cover. Lay chicken strips over the pesto, then pour rest of small jar over the top.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the chicken for 25 - 30 minutes.

Then remove foil and sprinkle chicken with grated cheese - I think I probably used about a cup instead of the 1/2 cup called for. (this recipe serves 4 and I was serving 5 so I was very generous with my measurements)

Put back into oven without foil and cook 5 more minutes just until cheese is melted. Then broil for about 5 minutes to brown the cheese.

Serve hot. I served over the penne pasta.

It seems to be a very rich dish so I do suggest serving with pasta, rice or something else.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Do It TODAY......

This weekend, I watched/listened to "The Music Man" 4 times with some of the grands. I can't get too much of "The Music Man."  : )

One of the lines in this movie is "You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays." WOW... That is a powerful statement. Harold is trying to get Marion to go to the "foot bridge" with him and we know he's wanting a kiss! But take this line out of the movie and BOOM. 

When that toddler wants you to make some memories and you have a deadline or are just too busy - "We'll do it tomorrow."  Then that toddler is 18...

Your husband wants you to set with him this evening a visit - or just watch a tv show with him but you have dishes to do - or laundry... Then one of these days he stops asking...

Your wife and kids want you to take a walk with them, but you are too tired from work... The kids grow up and your wife has replaced time spent with you with a hobby or something else...

 Challenge yourself, for one week try not to say "I'll do it with you tomorrow." See if it makes a difference with your child, your spouse or just inside yourself. Make those memories - and make them starting today!!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Great Cook Off - Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella on Toast

I pinned this on pinterest from

Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella on Toast

1/2 baguette (french, sliced)
2 sliced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Italian seasoning
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

1. To prepare, slice tomatoes and french bread.
2. Toast the slices of french bread in the toaster.
3. Place the toasted french bread pieces on aluminum foil or baking pan.
4. Put one layer of tomato slices on each piece of french bread.
5. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of each piece.
6. Bake in toaster oven until cheese is melted.
7. Take out of oven and drizzle a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top.
8. Sprinkle Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste on top.
9. Enjoy!

I really enjoyed this for lunch. I didn't add salt but did add a touch of garlic powder. I don't have a toaster oven so put mine under the broiler in the oven. The recipe doesn't call for onion but it shows in the picture so I will add a bit of sliced onion next time.

The boys wouldn't try it. Randy and Josie gave it 2's and I gave it a 4.

Quick and easy lunch - great for using fresh tomatoes.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Great Cook Off - Salisbury Steak

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak

I like Slow Cooker recipes so this one was right down my alley!! We had it last evening.

     2 lbs lean ground beef 
     1 (1 oz) envelope dry onion soup mix
     1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
     1/4 cup milk
     1/4 cup all-purpose flour
     2 tablespoons vegetable oil
     2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
     1 (1 oz) packet dry au jus mix
     3/4 cup water

     1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, onion soup mix, bread crumbs, and milk using your hands. Shape into 8 patties.

     2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the patties in flour just to coat, and quickly brown on both sides in the hot skillet.  Place browned patties into the slow cooker stacking alternately like a pyramid.  In a medium bowl, mix together the cream of chicken soup, au jus mix and water. Pour over the meat.  Cook on the low setting for 4 or 5 hours, until ground beef is well done.

(this recipe is from

I made the patties and put into the slow cooker the night before. The next day, I browned them and added all ingredients to the cooker and cooked for about 4.5 hours. It was a very easy meal to prepare! Has great leftovers! 

Very Good, Easy meal.
I highly recommend this recipe.

There were 2 adults, 2 boys - 14 and 12, and a 10 year old girl. We had 3 patties left. One is plenty per person. I served with mashed potatoes and green beans. The "gravy" from the salisbury steaks was delicious on the mashed potatoes.

I'm going to fix this complete recipe, divide it into 4 containers and take to my Mom and Dad for them to freeze. 

This meal got four 5's and one 4. 
(the 4 was from me)

I try to use as little salt as possible when cooking and I never add salt to my food. I thought this recipe tasted salty. No one else noticed the salty taste so it was probably just me.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Great Cook Off Weekend

Last night started our Great Cook Off. I decided it doesn't do me a bit of good "pinning" recipes and never trying them!! So beginning last night, we are only cooking new recipes through the weekend!

Last night was fun, easy and a big hit!!

We fixed "Mini Tacos" - for the original web site click HERE.

     Brown 1 lb lean ground beef
     Add taco seasoning to meat (I just used an envelope of taco seasoning)

     While that is browning, spray 2 - 12 muffin - muffin tins with non-stick spray
     Place 1 wonton wrap in each muffin tin
     Fill uncooked wontons with beef and top with shredded cheese
     Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.

From beginning to end it only took me about 40 minutes to have dinner on the table. Plus I fixed guacamole and salsa during this time.

They were delicious. 24 fed 2 adults, a 14 year old boy, a 12 year old boy and an 11 year old girl!! With no left overs. Everyone really liked them. 

The mini tacos got four 5's and one 4!!! 

I highly recommend this recipe.