Blogging and Baking from The Nest

Category Archives: Chit Chat

Happy Week Before Christmas!

We’ve been busy traveling around this last month.  So far we’ve been to Cincinnati, Chicago and Dallas.  It’s been nice to finally get out of NWA, but I am looking forward to staying home for a whole day.  I need an official PJ day – a day I don’t have to get out of my PJs and can just lie on the couch.  Khaki is evidently taking her PJ day today because this is how The Bald Eagle found her mid morning while the rest of the world was working . . .


Work for me is almost wrapped up for the year, so I wanted to take a few minutes before all the Holiday Whobee Whatee starts and wish you all a Merry Christmas and pass on two Holiday thoughts  –

First –

photo 1 

So, like the song says, “Don’t stop believe’n!”

Secondly, this is my letter to Santa this year . . .


photo 2

Yep, that definately sums it up!

Hope you’re able to spend next week with all your favorite people doing all your favorite things!

Merry Christmas,

Baby Blue Bird (AKA Dayna)


Happy Week Before Thanksgiving!!

Where has this year gone?!?!  It seems like we just moved to Arkansas and 9 months have already passed!  How does that happen?!?!

Ok, before I get on topic, I feel compelled to get some random thoughts out of my head.

1)  What was up with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ uniforms today???  Most of you probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but think football player disguised as a bumblebee and that’s what I saw on TV today.  I’m on the only NFL watcher in the Bluebird house, so I’ve been dying to have this conversation with someone all night.  You’re the lucky someone.

2)  Have you ever heard someone talk about their best self?  I think that was a phrase made popular by Oprah – your best self.  Well, I’ve found my best self and wanted to share with you . . .


My best self – tall and skinny. . . or at least skinnier than my real self.  I took this picture a couple of weeks ago and have been dying to share it with someone.  I haven’t even let The Bald Eagle see it . . . but then again he already knows I’m crazy, so it would be lost on him.

I think those are the only things I’m dying to share, (I realize I used that phrase for both of those odds thoughts – probably not the most accurate choice of words :)).  Except of course, for the actual topic, which is one of my favorite seasons of the year.  Halloween is but a memory, and I lived through yet another birthday (stop them please!).  Now we’re quickly sliding into Thanksgiving, but this week before Thanksgiving is a really cool week.


“Is it the beginning of duck hunting season?”, Khaki wants to know.

No!  It’s National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry that’s very dear to us in the Bluebird house.  Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is a project of Samaritan’s Purse.  Since 1993 with the help of individuals, churches and other organizations in 10 countries, OCC has sent over 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes all over the world to children age 2-14 desperate for hope.  The shoebox is just the beginning.  This simple gift enables missionaries across the globe to share the story of Jesus with children that may never learn of His saving grace if it wasn’t for these shoeboxes.  I’m not going to use this space to preach, but it’s an amazing ministry that you can learn more about here – Operation Christmas Child

If you want to pack a shoebox this week, it’s this easy:

1.  Get an empty shoebox or a plastic storage box the size of a shoebox that you can buy at most stores.  You can wrap it if you want to, but it’s not required.  If you do wrap it, please wrap the lid separately.

2.  Decide if you want to pack your box for a boy or girl ages 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14.

3.  Fill the box with new gifts, such as school supplies, toys, stuffed animals, hygiene items, hard candy, gum, mints, T-shirts, socks, flip-flops, hats, sunglasses, hair clips and toy jewelry.  If it fits in the box and you think a little kid would like it, pack it!  DO NOT include used or damaged items, war-related items like toy guns, knives or military figures, play money, chocolate or food, liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, aerosol cans or breakable items.  You can find help on what to pack and what not to pack here.  Gift Suggestions

4.  Go to this website Follow Your Box to pay the suggested $7 per box donation to help the box get to its destination country.   Through this link you can donate on-line and print out a bar code that will track your box so you know what country it goes to.  The site is secure, but if you don’t want to donate on-line, you can simply place your donation check in an envelope in the inside of your box on top.  Checks are recommended over cash and should be made payable to Samaritan’s Purse with Operation Christmas Child in the memo line.

5.  If you didn’t choose to donate on-line, you still need a label for your box with the gender and age category marked so it gets to the right child.  You can download your label to print here.  How to Pack a Shoe Box  If you don’t have access to a printer, you can get a label at your drop-off site.

6.  Find a drop-off site convenient to you here Drop-off sites.  Most drop-off sites are open until 11/25 – times and dates for each site are published at the drop-off site link.

If you’re simply too busy to shop, fill and drop off a shoebox right now, for a suggested donation of $30 you can pack a box online here – Build a Shoebox Online  You choose from a menu of times what you want your box to be filled with and Operation Christmas Child volunteers will pack the box for you.  Simple as that!

I’m now a year-round volunteer for OCC, and we’ve also volunteered several times at the processing centers where these boxes go after the drop-off site and before they go to their destination countries, and I can absolutely say:

1)  The contents of the box do have to be inspected so there are no issues with customs, but OCC strongly believes that what you meant for the receiving child to have in that box should stay in the box.  Nothing is taken out of or added to your box unless there’s something from the DO NOT INCLUDE list in your box.  I’ve seen boxes with baby dolls in it yet the box is marked for a boy.  That box stays marked for a boy and is given to a boy because we believe God knows what the child that’s going to receive that gift needs, and we’re not going to let human logic get in the way.  We’ve heard amazing stories of how things you would never think a child needs ended up in a shoebox and made its way to a child who really desperately needed those items.  It’s a God thing!

2)  100% of the children that receive these boxes love them.  Our children are often so spoiled we can’t image how a jump rope, some crayons, coloring book, toothpaste and a toothbrush can change a child’s life, but for children in orphanages and villages that have absolutely nothing, this is a gift of hope and love that’s indescribable.  For some children, just to have something colorful in their very dark, dirty world is amazing.  Never underestimate the power of the small things you’re putting in this box.

3)  The candy will be eaten and the toys will wear out, but the message of God’s love that was given with that shoebox will stay with that child forever.  They will also receive a storybook about Jesus’s life in their language when they receive their shoebox.  Many people include a picture of their family and a letter in the shoebox.  Let your kids draw a picture and put it in the box.  Include your name and address and you just might get a letter back from the child that received your box.

Last thing I’ll share is this video ( Warning – you may need tissues).  Sorry for the long link – youtube is kind of difficult to link to – but if you click on it you should see the video.  If not, go to and search for Operation Christmas Child A Lot Like Christmas and watch the first video that comes up.

Shoebox season or not, I hope you all have a very merry Thanksgiving next week!  Don’t eat too much turkey!


Baby Bluebird – aka Dayna

TGIF y’all!  

(Yes, I speak Arkansan now). 

I’m up against a big deadline in a couple of weeks at work, so I’ve been spending every waking hour in front of my computer earning my paycheck.  On the few breaks I’ve allowed myself (I’m a tough boss), the last thing I’ve wanted to do is stay on the computer to update my blog.  Sorry!  Last weekend I took Saturday off and had what I called a Super Saturday Sweet Roll Session in the kitchen.  I’m going to devote a whole post to it in the very near futures and this is why. . .


Yes, there are 4 different kinds of sweet (and savory) rolls on that table that I made all by myself last Saturday afternoon.  Now you know why that adventure deserves a whole page to itself, and I promise to post all the recipes as soon as I can.  When I took all these into work on Monday morning I completely confirmed my reputation for not having much of a life and for having a very weird way of unwinding.   A few people thought I might want to see a doctor, but I didn’t hear any complaints about the treats.

Anyway, I did want to take a short break to share a few pictures from my day of working at home.  Although The Bald Eagle tries his best, there’s actually fewer distractions up here in my little office then at work in my even smaller cubicle.  And I broke down and bought myself a TV to put up here, so I have even less excuses not to work. 



This is a view I see most mornings.  I’m standing in our kitchen and Oliver, our neighbor kitty, is outside on our patio on his favorite perch – our grill.  He’s surveying the land looking for any moving objects he can pounce on for breakfast.  Later he’ll curl up on our welcome mat, his favorite bed, and sleep the day away.  Oh to be a cat!  (No, that’s not a glowing flying saucer he’s looking at.  That’s the flash from my camera reflecting off the window.)



I passed through our bedroom later in the day and saw this out the patio door.  Hello there!  Bow hunting season started last weekend around here but you’re safe in our backyard.  Just say off the back porch, that’s Oliver’s territory.

Because I’ve been working so hard, the Bald Eagle treated me to a gourmet dinner tonight at Fayetteville’s finest . . . Le McDonald’s.  He knew that would seriously be a treat because I’ve been trying to shrink my little belly, and if I had to eat another salad tonight I was just going to cry.  Salad should be a four letter word!

Anyway, I was still trying my best to be conservative so I ordered a Happy Meal.  Smaller portions and a toy – who wouldn’t love that!?!?  Well, I had read some recent headlines about McDonald’s trying to be more healthy, but I wasn’t expecting this. . .


The fry box on the left is the Bald Eagle’s (or B.E. for short).  It’s a size medium.  That little thing on the right that looks like the baby of the box on the left . . . that’s the new fry size for the Happy Meals.  It fits exactly 9 fries. 



This is how big it is in B.E.’s hand.  B.E. said he was going to make a Christmas ornament out of it.  Then again we don’t have a miniature Christmas tree so it may be a little small for that.  

B.E. does have long arms and big hands, (at least compared to mine), but he’s not Paul Bunyan.  I did not meet Paul Bunyan, but based on what I remember from elementary school, I’m pretty sure Paul Bunyan did not have a branch on my husband’s family tree.  IMG_0913

Just to drive home how terribly small this fry box was, (because clearly I felt deprived), this is my empty fry box next to one of B.E.’s McNuggets.  Full disclosure, McDonald’s now put’s a small sack of apple slices in every Happy Meal now along with your 9 fries so you’re not left completely hungry.  Just 75% hungry. 

Fortunately for you, in the midst of my taking pictures of my doll size fry box I heard some noise from the backyard.  Every creature in Arkansas loves our backyard, and most don’t seem to mind the entry fee – letting me get up close and personal for a blog photo.

So, this was what I saw. . .



These are guineafowl, or guinea for short.  I may have mentioned before that our neighbor has a few, but now they’re up to ten or eleven of these little guys and around dinner time they come out to play.  We welcome them into our yard because they eat ticks and most other bugs and supposedly will even kill snakes.  So, we put out the welcome mat for the guinea. . . and then Oliver lays down and takes a nap on it, but it’s the thought that counts, right?!?!


Evidently they were playing a game of King of the Hill because they all climbed on one of our big rocks out back.IMG_0920


And then one by one flew off as if it was the top of a building and not six inches off the ground.  Until there was just one left. . .IMG_0922

It was very clear to me that this one was still working on his flying skills as he paced back and forth across the top of the rock crying out for his little brothers and sisters not to leave him stranded.  Then I guess he realized he was less than a foot off the ground and just jumped. 

Ok, back to work!  No rest for the weary!

Hope you all have a very fun weekend!


Baby Bluebird (aka Dayna)



So, this is how some of us around here feel about Mondays –


This is Oliver, our cat neighbor.  He’s actually mid yawn, but I think he looks like he’s pretending to be a lion!  I’m not sure if he’s happy or mad, but this is my new favorite picture of Little O.

And then there’s this little visitor –


I took this picture from our kitchen window with no zoom – that’s how close he was to the house.  As long as he stays in the backyard and doesn’t get near my hosta in the front, we’ll get along.

Some of my favorite people have a birthday this week – Jerry, Kathleen and my very own big sis!  Happy birthday!  Wish we could be together for a big celebration – but given the 3 of you have never met one another, that might be kind of weird.  🙂

Other than that, things are pretty boring around here.  Not much new to pass along – just trying to stay cool and sneeze free.  I told the Bald Eagle we need to get out more so we don’t sound so dull in our blog.

Hope you have a great week!

Baby Blue Bird (aka Dayna)

Ten years ago this weekend we brought our precious little Khaki girl home from the farm where she was born.  (In case you haven’t been following, Khaki is our Golden Retriever.  Yes, we’re one of those families that treat our dog like a child.)  It seems like just yesterday when we took this picture. . . IMG_0554

Yes, that is her water bowl that she’s standing him . . . filled with water.  Even back then she couldn’t get enough of water and still today swimming is her absolute favorite thing to do.

And today, this is her – Ninja Doggie stealthy stalking a deer in our woods.  She thinks you can’t see her. . .


Anyway, today she went to our new vet for her annual check up.  She received a clean bill of health, but in our examination room we found this very funny posting I wanted to pass on.

Excepts from a Dog's DiaryIMG_0550

And then to the right was excepts from a cat’s diary . . .

Excerpts from a Cat's DiaryCat Diary

Oh my goodness!! So funny I could pee my pants!

Of course I couldn’t talk about our pets without showing you an Oliver picture.  Again, if you’re not keeping up with all the excitement here in Northwest Arkansas, Oliver is our very entertaining neighbor feline.  And this is a typical scene when I walk down to our mail box. . .


Yes, Oliver is a “mail” cat. 🙂  Forgive me, that was The Bald Eagle’s joke and I felt it was my duty to share.  He usually doesn’t look this scared (Oliver, not The Bald Eagle).  He usually looks more like this. . .


. . . just hanging out.  Totally chill and totally cool.  We love our Oliver!

Well, since we do treat our dog like our child, it’s time that she and I get back to the special Strawberry Cake we’re making to celebrate Father’s Day.  Look for the recipe in the near future.

Thanks for reading!

Baby Bluebird (aka Dayna)


I was all excited this morning then I went into the garage and realized our bunny had eaten all the lettuce I left for him last night.  Unfortunately, the Bald Eagle text me later in the day to tell me he found the bunny and it had gone “nite nite”.  Evidently a bunny is no match for a garage on a 90 degree day.  So sad.  😦  I’m just glad I didn’t go ahead and order this bunny blouse I found online today.




Baby Blue Bird

Is the Carole King song in your head now after reading the blog title?  Sorry about that.  At least it’s not some crazy annoying song.  I’d suggest a few worse songs to have stuck in your head, but then you would have them stuck in your head.  So I’ll spare you.  Now having  a Carole King song stuck in your head doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

Anyway, I’m eagerly anticipating the arrival of our first house guests here in Fayetteville.  My mom and aunt will be here in about 48 hours.  So much to do, so little time.  But what I’ve been planning for weeks now is what I’m going to cook/bake.  There’s so many choices.  I’ve reviewed my recipes multiple times trying to decide.  I’ve got the old standard favorites I know my mom would love – like my dad’s three bean bake.  And then I’ve got so many new recipes I’ve been dying to try out on an audience – like The Pioneer Woman’s famous cinnamon rolls.  Is it bad that all my plans for most occasions revolve around food?

Not only have I planned what I’ll be making, but what restaurants I want to make sure we visit.  We have to have Tim’s Pizza while Mom’s in town because I know it will reminder her of pizza we used to get when I was a kid.  And then there’s the Wooden Spoon up in Gentry.  It’s a Mennonite restaurant.  My aunt lives near a couple of great Amish restaurants, so I know they’d enjoy the Wooden Spoon.  But if we’re going to drive all the way out to Gentry, what else could we see and do while we’re out there.  Again, is it bad that all my plans revolve around food?

Our one big non-eating plan is to visit Crystal Bridges, this outstanding art museum up in Bentonville.  The pictures of the grounds and architecture alone look outstanding.   They have a Norman Rockwell exhibit right now that I’m really exited to see.  Plus I’ve heard there are a lot of great restaurants on the Square we could try for lunch.  🙂

Ok, it’s past my bedtime.  Something tells me I should probably fast the next 2 days in anticipation of all I’m going to be eating this weekend.  Of course I’ll be blogging about the good, the bad and the ugly experiences from the kitchen for your amusement as well.

Bye for now!

Baby Blue Bird – aka Dayna

P.S.  Everyone in my office RAVED about the sugar cookies I made a couple of nights ago.  In fact, raved is not a strong enough word.  I think some of them were actually drooling when they came back for seconds (and maybe thirds for some)   Like I said – put enough butter and sugar into it and it has to be to die for!  The Pioneer Woman’s recipes are always a crowd pleaser!  Here’s the link to the sugar cookie post if you missed it.  (