December 22, 2011


 Our youngest pup is such a trouper when it comes to entertaining us.  She takes after her "Dad" in the family entertainment department, I must say.  Between the two of them, there is hardely a dull moment at our house.

And then add in the cider and egg nog....
Hold onto your hats....

Happy Holidays to All.

December 16, 2011


Yesterday was quite the "day off" for me.
Instead of doing things that were on my list, I completely veered off and decided to start in on the bathroom remodeling project even though we have now products purchased to really do so.  I tore off the old plastic gray tiles (who their right mind ever decided that those were a good idea????), I took down our medicine cabinet and started in on texturing over the tile glue.  What a disaster, I must say.  But....after all of that was done, into the kitchen I went to try some new recipes.  CEO and I found a fun restaurant that has such good curry and wanted to try a few dishes ourselves.  I give this recipe 3 out of 5 stars and the reason I rate it low is because it needs vegetables.  The next recipe is an oldy but goody and never been tried by myself before, mom's caramel corn recipe.  And this stuff is SOOO good!!  Very easy, just takes time.  Will be doing a few batches of this stuff for the holidays yet.
The next 5 star event of the evening was my hubby helping me out (as he is usually very good at doing) washing the dishes for me.  Doesn't he look great with dishpan hands?!!
A few miles on my new trainer and off to bed exhausted I went.
Who has time for a job when you have a to do list like mine?????

December 12, 2011


I have to dedicate today's blog to this fantasic new addition to our household: Rubbermaid's Reveal Spray Mop Kit!
I was looking for the Swiffer WetJet, but there was a display of these next to them, thank goodness.  The pros over the WetJet are reusable microfiber pads and refillable bottle that you get to choose your cleaner for.  What a money saver by eliminating "have tos" for buying their pads and their cleaners!
I mopped my floor this morning with it and danced the whole way around my kitchen!!
If you need a last minute Christmas present, this is it! (But, you husbands, I highly recommend including coupons for free moppings by you!!!)  Just saying.....
Happy Cleaning!

December 5, 2011


I had a fun weekend filled with baking and secret project sewing (will share after the holidays).  I had some new ideas from a Disney magazine that I'm still not sure how I received in the mail and I also had a new recipe to try for an annual cookie swap.

I tried chocolate dipped candy canes with sprinkles from the magazine.  They leave out suggestions on the best ways to dip the canes.  My recommendations after trying them is to melt your chocolate in a tall, thin container versus short and round.  My other, learned the hard way, suggestions is to add the sprinkles over a container so they don't end up all over the counter and floors!

I also made Almond Poppy Seed Cookies for and annual cookie swap with friends.  I highly recommend these swaps before the holidays!! Google them.  I took a tray of my cookies and came back with I'm guessing 10 other types of cookies and all of the recipes.  What a great idea!!

I wanted to share my recipe but is not cooperating with me at this moment.  So if you are interested, go onto and search for Almond Poppy Seed Cookies.  Make sure it is the recipe that includes cream cheese.  They are so easy and SO good!

I think I will go have myself one in fact.....

Happy Holiday Baking!

December 2, 2011


All I want for Christmas is my windows. 
No, wait, that isn't how the song goes?!

West window


Before the white stuff came, so we thought, we wanted to install a couple of new windows.  What a disaster that process was.  With the help of great guy and even better worker, Charlie and him were able to get two big windows installed.  They look fantastic and what a difference in the indoor temperature. 

Old Front Window to the South
Doesn't it feel great to squeeze in those last minute projects?  Now if CEO would only get the trailer out of my front yard!!  It is distracting from my Christmas lights!!  Hint, Hint Hubby who may read this.  :)

November 18, 2011


I just love conversations with my Grandma!  We talk about weather, family, ways to get my mom into trouble and yesterday we talked fabric.  She has been looking for some coffee material and I knew instantly where to go.  My friend made me the cutest placemats out of the top four fabrics. 
Grandma, let me know if you like any of them and how much is needed for your project.  LOVE YOU!

Have you called your Grandma lately?

November 17, 2011


I am working on our Wedding Album (finally) and what a job it is.  Most of the time I find myself lost in the many, many memories.  What a great time we had.  It truly was the perfect day.

November 14, 2011


After a great day of shopping last Thursday with my handsome hubby, I spent Friday with a great friend.  We sewed, sewed and sewed some more.  It was so much fun.  A whole day of great coffee, great projects and great chit chat with a great gal.  Get my theme here?!  :)
I completed throughout the weekend, including Friday, 3 Origami Table Toppers (pictured above) and the Sassy Strips Table Runner (pictured below).  I made two of the Origami and the Sassy Strip for my upcoming Annual Meeting silent auction and door prizes for work. The 3rd Origami is going to be shared also.  I made up the striped backing out of the scraps and on a whim.  Took longer than expected (as usual) but was lots of fun.
Next project: Mug Rug Swap. 
Anyone want to participate?

What project are you working on?

November 9, 2011


I don't like to be the "woe is me" person, but I have to share this just because it is so surreal.
I started fall grass seeding at my work and it has been quite the adventure so far.
It took us 3 days in one field due to some unforeseen circumstances that arose, including but not limited to:
having to drive at 5 mph to the field,
learning where to set the seed cup feed rate
(this entailed about an hour or more of phone calls and frustration),
setting the feed rate too high and running short on seed,
more learning on the seed cup feed rate and a trip to the local grain elevator,
broken hydraulic hose,
wrong end put onto the hydraulic hose,
trip to town for a brand new hydraulic hose,
tractor driver seeding the wrong field,
hitting a fence post on the way out of the wrong field,
removing bent tire and not having the right tools to remove it,
and the big finale.....
getting the tractor and seeder stuck 50 yards from being completely done!!

This is where the surreal part comes into play.  We tried everything to pull out the tractor on our own with no luck at all.  We, my tractor driver and I, then went to town to ask around.  We "thought" we really got lucky when a county worker came into the local gas station and he said he would help us out.  We loaded up chains and led the brand new county blade out to our location just for him to get about 30 yards in and get stuck also!!!  I am well into meltdown mode at this point with no means to end in sight.  We, my tractor driver, the county worker and I, get into the truck and start searching for local farmers with possible tractors to help us all out.  The second farm we get to, we spot a tractor in behind the trees.  Straight into 4th gear we are after him.  Thank everyone we possibly can, he agrees to come help us with his HUGE buhler tractor.  This thing is massive!!  Also, lots of thanks to many that a local tree remover was around with some cables.  We shredded the first cable under the weight; my heart is coming out of my chest at this point.  The buhler pulled the plow out, our tractor and our grass drill out like they were wet towels.  It was amazing!  I have some many people to thank and no way to be able to actually thank them enough for everything and to do all of this on a Saturday, and to top that off it was opening weekend of deer season! Just typing about it stresses me out and makes me laugh because that is all that you can really do.  We are thankful that only a little blood was shed by myself loading the cables up and no equipment damaged.  Just crazy!!  Tomorrow I am taking a day of sanity to go shopping with my husband.  Is this really a sanity day or a continuation of insanity?  I will tell you on Friday!  :)
Did I just make your bad day seem good?

November 7, 2011


Well......the white stuff arrived here yesterday.  It was inevitable I suppose. 

Thank goodness, we did not get much for our first snow.  Just enough for me to check my hot chocolate stash and run to the store for some apple cider.  Nothing like a warm cup of hot cocoa or apple cider on those chilly nights while under a fuzzy, warm blanket with good tv or an old movie.

What is your favorite  past time for cold, winter nights?


November 2, 2011


With talk of that dreaded white stuff in our weekend forecast, I am looking back at my 2011 bountiful garden harvest.  I had quite the time this year between weather and weeds.  My first garden was wiped out almost completely by the wind and cold, so I replanted with whatever on sale plants I could get my hands on.  I had tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, squash, onions and pumpkins. I wanted to do salsa this year, but my tomatoes didn't turn early enough.  I LOVE the mini pumpkins, they will be on my yearly list now, but will plant them along the fence so they don't take over my whole garden again. The lessons I learn each year.
I just love gardening and learning new things with everyone I plant. I am on the hunt for an end of season sale on a greenhouse for next year. Until next year, I will be enjoying my garden tomatoes throughout the winter in my chili.  Yummmm........or maybe homemade tomato soup.......or maybe spaghetti sauce....or maybe.....
Enjoy the rest of your fall and keep doing your "stay away snow" dance please.

November 1, 2011

The Great Pheasant Expedition of 2011 

The Great Pheasant Expedition of 2011 

We spent a lot of this summer working on our home, so we decided we needed an expedition out before the white stuff shows up. We overpacked (as usual) and hit the road a couple of weekend's back.  I am not much of a hunter with a gun, but I love to walk the fields and hunt for the perfect pictures with my camera.  After many miles walked and many reprimands to the dogs, my mighty hunter got his first bird. 
Lucy our youngest pup has never been hunting before and was quite the character.  She does not like to go into the brush; she prefers the easy way around; she does not like the feathers in her mouth and she is very protective of her catch. 
Doesn't she look so proud?! 
We had a great time, ended up with two pheasants, lots of great pictures and many memories. 
Great idea hubby, lets do it again next year.  :)


October 27, 2011


Back to the old Okerson farm for today's blogging expedition.
Something tells me that my 2006 GMC Envoy will not be the center of pictures and running someone's imagination crazy with stories any time in the future.  Do you ever wonder what our kids and grandkids will have to treasure from our current days?  An iPhone, Nintendo DS or Wii that no longer work? 
I hope that someday when I have kids, they enjoy walking the old farms and thinking back to all of the history.
Many happy memories,

October 24, 2011


My curiousity and imagination always get the better of me when I get to walk amongst history. 

CEO and I went camping this weekend on his family farm.  His great-grandfather was the original homesteader.  I can just see him bumping along the fields on these old wheels.  Coming home from the fields just in time to put the horses away and make it to the dinner table while the food is still warm.

Back then, air conditioning was a breeze while you road behind the horse and if you were lucky it stayed fresh.....if you know what I mean.

They were tough people back then, but also had short, hard worked lives. 

Where does your imagination take you??

We are not makers of history. We are made by history.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Stay tuned for more farm news....

October 20, 2011


We are heading out to brave the cold this weekend on a family camping trip.  I could not be more excited.  This will be the first weekend in a VERY long time that my hubby and I are taking the time to ourselves with our kiddos.  We are going back in the day for CEO.  He is overly excited to walk me through his childhood memories on the farm he grew up on.  It got me thinking about our past camping trips and how much fun we have together.  We have been on the go for months now with working on the house and volleyball, so this weekend away we go to enjoy us and our puppers.
Happy Trails to all.......

September 25, 2011


Sunday is a date day for hubby CEO and I.  We love to try different finger food; all that goes with football of course.  Today's trial was home grown jalapeno poppers.  I have never tried making them, but this year I had a jalapeno plant in my garden and they were completely worth the wait. 

Very simple:
Jalapenos of all sizes
Cream Cheese
Turkey Bacon

Cut jalapenos in half, de-seed them. 
(I suggest checking them twice because biting into a seed later will
make it worth to do it me!!!!)
Fill in with cream cheese
Wrap in turkey bacon
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Bake for 10-15 minutes

Some yard work done, laundry started, food is cooked.....time for some football.
Happy Sunday, everyone!

September 14, 2011


I have been on the search for a new, cute fall coffee mug (a girl has to change with the seasons, right?!)  After a great weekend with my mom, she sent me home with a fun box and in it was this cute stuff.  She knew back in May what I wanted now. 
How do moms do that?

Love you Mom!!
(Stay tuned for more of mom's fun box. What can I say? She's the bestest mom ever.)

September 12, 2011


We are back from a weekend of giggles and good times.
I do not get to see my mom or twin nieces near enough, so time with them is priceless.
We celebrated my mom's birthday with a princess pirate party, including pirate ship water slides.  The girlies are quite the swimmers and completely fearless in the pool.
My mind is just racing with all of the fun we had and memories we made.  :)
When's the next party?!!

August 30, 2011


A great friend of ours has a gorgeous garden that he allows us to come raid every now and again.  Minus the mosquitoes, I'm in heaven!  Hubby and I went and did some picking last week and came home with beans, corn, beans, cucumbers and more beans. 
Saturday morning I was up early and busy with beans.

Some people put pies on their windowsills.  I put beans!  :)

Stay tuned for this weekend's garden project.

August 17, 2011


I came home from work tonight to homemade baked sub sandwiches, pups fed and dishes done. 

How lucky of a lady am I?!! 

I love being married to that man!!


August 15, 2011


Let canning season begin!

I did my test run on raspberries and juneberries by making some really simple perserves.

Cant wait to see whats next in the canning line....better go turn the sprinkler on the garden now....

Happy Harvest.

August 10, 2011

   I received these adorable flannel blocks a while back from Loft Creations.  After 3 foot surgeries and a wedding, I am back in business on my NEW sewing machine (more on that later) and this is the first of many Project Linus blankets to be donated made from the blocks.
   I have shared the blocks with my mom and grandma to also make donation blankets for Project Linus.

The Project Linus Mission

Project Linus is comprised of hundreds of local chapters and thousands of volunteers across the United States. Each volunteer and local chapter all work together to help us achieve our mission which is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer "blanketeers."
Together we have distributed over three million blankets to children in need since our inception in 1995.

Want to become a "blanketeer"?  Check out:

Thank you to Loft Creations for your fun idea and donation! 

Have a great day!
Blanketeer Tara.

July 14, 2011


I was finally able to finish my Hobo Bag.  My parents and great friend visited over the weekend of the 4th of July and the projects being completed were pouring out.

The guys worked on the deck while my mom helped me finish up some projects.  Isnt this bag so much fun and oh the stuff it can hold is endless.  Mom was very patient in taking me step by step through the pattern instructions.

Other projects are soon to come along with pictures of the awesome deck that is now attached to our house!

Off to try out that thing people call "relaxing."  It sounds pretty awesome!!  :)


July 10, 2011


...very little compared to my usual weekend accomplishments.  BUT..I did work on these hot pad holders and sure had fun.  I am learning with each one and cannot wait to do my extra fun ones my mom got me to do!

Off to bed to start a new dish rag now and enjoy my nice clean sheets.  I just love the feeling of fresh sheets, dont you?

Guten Nacht.

July 1, 2011

I WISH I WAS......

Here again.......

These were our first steps on the ocean and just the beginning of our wedding vacation.  We packed 6 adults and, oh gosh, 8 suitcases and 4 bags into a midsized car!  It was quite the trip from Orlando to Flagler Beach, but in the end we have many stories and laughs from it. 

We ate at a cute place just across the street from the ocean and took turns walking over to the ocean to dip our toes in.  We all went for a beach stroll to work off the great food and fun drinks then.  You are always bound and determined to see something you really don't care to see when strolling the beaches in Florida!!  We got a picture, but trust me and take my word for it!

The dock was beautiful and we couldn't wait to be one of the many beach combers for the next 4 days.

  After our stroll on the beach we were able to catch the very end of the local farmers markets.  We all went nuts with vegetables!  After it was all purchased and bagged up, Josh asked just where we were going to put it in the already over packed car.  We just laughed. Put mom in first and then surround her with bags, it worked perfect and off to the beach house we went..................

June 23, 2011


After many months of planning, my prince and I were off to our dream wedding.  Ok, maybe more my dream wedding.....

We made a our flight with dress in tow right on time. We had a lay over in MN where we met up with a great friend, my brother and his wife.  Charlie and I played farkle to pass the time of waiting.

The flight from MN to Orlando was a very long one plus we took off over an hour late.  My mom, dad and aunt were already in Orlando and checked in to our room.  Finally, about midnight we landed and my dad picked us up from the airport.  Eight of us packed into a 3 bedroom, 2 bath condo for the night.  I highly recommend the place (if I could recall the name, I would certianly pass it on) as it had everything you could want.

Im not sure if Charlie is smiling because we made it safe off the flight of doom, because he is Orlando, FL for the first time or because he is on his wedding trip to marry the bride of his dreams.  In my dreams, I choose the latter of them.  :)

June 21, 2011


We have had a lot of gray, gloomy days lately.  It is hard to find enthusiasm after so many dreary mornings and afternoons, so I today I am surviving on memories of sunshine from my wedding day.

I could go on and on about how perfect this day was for us and I'm sure that I will, but I will do my best to spread it out. 

....ok, I just lost myself in all of the memories and smiles......and now my lunch time is over.....

More to come, lots more......

June 19, 2011


Raise your hand if you are the best dad a girl could ask for!!

Happy Father's Day to my coach, my mentor, my teacher, my HERO!!

Thank you for all of the lessons you have taught me whether I chose to learn them the hard way or the easy way! :)

Tara Jean

PS I miss you!!

June 17, 2011


Anybody else running to catch themself?  Its like being on a treadmill.
I am trying to do everything at once and in doing so, I'm accomplishing very little.

I have been thinking that I need to start from the beginning and I have come to the conclusion that I just don't know where that is anymore.  So.....I am going to play catch up on blogging in no order, rhyme or reason.  Hang on to your hats and in no way try to make sense of my timeline.  :)

Fargo Marathon 2010

I will start with the update, and the reason I am on a constant run these days, that I am off of my crutches.  I received clearance 1.5 days before we flew out for our wedding trip!  I am getting stronger with each day and I absolutely cannot wait to be running again with my pups. 

I am going to get back into the race circuit over the 4th of July at the local 5k/10k run.  One of my best friends is coming to join me and my biggest fans will be on the sidelines too (Ma and Pa B.) I'm very excited!!

Well back to today's to-do list.....May your weekend bring many accomplishments and lots of sunshine.  TJO

May 17, 2011


It has been a while since I have sat and blogged with everything going on.  I will have to keep this short as I have 3 pups waiting for their morning walk.....

May 2, 2011 was THE perfect day!!!!  With the help of family and friends, my wedding was all that I had dreamt of and more.  The weather was gorgeous, the coffee was brewed just right and there was no pressing needed after carrying my wedding dress in and out of planes and a packed car (more on this later.)

Well, sorry so short but now I'm getting licked and nudged, so here are a few pictures that my wonderful and talented aunt did on her blog (, also check out MOB's blog for pictures (, to start my blogging off again.  TJO

April 15, 2011


I have been so excited to share my dress fitting experience, but do not want to spoil the surprise or shock in my case.  I have been waiting 30+ years to wear the white dress, so I have decided to keep everyone in waiting for a bit long for the big reveal.  Here a few pictures to tease you with though.  :)

I go to pick up my dress this weekend and hopefully will not be quite as pasty white as I was when I tried it on.  I have been using Jergens Natural Glow self tanner recommended by a friend.  So far, I also highly recommend it.  As a good friend of mine stated, You only get one chance with the skin you live in!!

We have less than 2 weeks until we fly out and I could not be more excited!  More bridal events to follow....


April 13, 2011


So much going on lately and the clock seems to be ticking faster with each day.
I'm not sure where to even start with all of the good happenings.  I do not want to spoil the fun, so each new thing will require a new blog.  :)

Today, I have decided to start with my new purse. 
I picked this up on the clearance rack and just love it.  I have started to get up early in the morning again, in hopes that I will be adjusted by the time I am able to run again.  This was my first project and learned the hard way (not once, but twice) that coffee MUST come before sewing!!!

Its first outing out was a trip to my wedding dress fitting.  Stay tuned.......


19 days!

March 24, 2011


Because I am unable to do that last month before my wedding workout, I have been paying extra attention to my eating habits.  Still no calorie counting! In doing so, C picked me up some Lean Cuisine meals for me (per my request) to be able to take to work.  He did a great job!

I have to give today's blog spot to Lean Cuisines and their awesome flavor and taste!!  Today was Chicken Chow Mein for 4 g. fat, 240 cal., and 3 g. fiber.  And also the perfect amount to not leave you hungry.

Sending my kudos and keep up the good work!