2016 Year in Review Part 1

At least a little visual of it, anyway. This only scratches the surface of the surface of all that happened last year. I enjoy seeing photographer’s “best of *insert previous year*” photos. I decided to include some of my best and favorite shots of the year, as well as a few other random shots of life.


This month began on the beach and ended Continue reading “2016 Year in Review Part 1”

Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

I don’t feel about craisins (dried cranberries) like I do about raisins:



This meme totally cracks me up!!! Everytime I see it I have to snicker. I have a brother who makes this kind of face when he’s describing facebook, bagpipes and okra.

It’s not that I really hate raisins, they’re just not chocolate chips, right? Anyhow, this recipe is about craisins but could also be about chocolate chips. In a different version, that is.


Would you believe it, the first “group” photo I took I realized I forgot the cream cheese so I took another. Then after I was halfway through mixing this up and realized I forgot the craisins.


It’s really a simple recipe. I started with a butter cake mix, added 1 egg, 1/3 cup oil and mixed in mixer until kinda crumby. Add pecans if you’d like. I didn’t but wished later that I had.


Press into a 9×13 pan either by hand or a roller thingy like this.


Put into a 350° heated oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Throw a bar of cream cheese, or Neufchâtel, or cream cheese Greek yogurt into the mixer and beat until smooth. I actually used Neufchâtel in this. Add 1 egg, 1/2 cup evaporated milk and 1/3 cup sugar and beat again until smooth.


Pour over the crust that you have pulled out of the oven (you have pulled it out, right???) 🙂


Sprinkle a cup of white chocolate chips over the cream cheese layer. Then add 1/2 cup (or more to taste) craisins. Put back into the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.


The cream cheese layer should be set. Let cool completely and chill before cutting into bars. It’s plenty rich so it’s perfect for a finger food plate. 🙂


Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

1 butter recipe cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
1 – 8 oz. cream cheese, Neufchâtel or cream cheese with Greek yogurt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)

Combine cake mix, 1 egg, oil and pecans (optional) and mix in mixer or food processor until crumbly. Press into a 9×13 baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Mix cream cheese until smooth. Add evaporated milk, 1 egg and sugar and mix until smooth. Pour over cake mix layer that has cooled slightly. Sprinkle chocolate chips and craisins over top. Bake at 350° for another 15 minutes. Chill before cutting into bars.


Some variations on the recipe include:

Chocolate cake mix
milk chocolate chips

Lemon cake mix
White chocolate chips and/or lemon chips (bulk food stores often carry them)

You can also save some of the cake mix crumbles from the crust mix to sprinkle on top of the chips/cream cheese before baking.

I make this recipe for every bake sale that I help with and there are never any left. I wish there was at least 1 left for me to taste! 🙂

More Fall Colors


We don’t have a lot of brilliant fall color usually. This fall it seems like there’s more color than normal, for this area.


There’s one spot along the highway that I pass on my way to town/work. For some reason the Bradford Pears are always extra brilliant.


Today I remembered to take my camera along to take some pictures. Whatever pockets of color we get, we will admire as hard as we can!! 🙂




For the Beauty of the Earth


For the beauty of the earth
for the glory of the skies,


for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;


Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.


For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,


hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;


Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.


For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,


for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:


Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.