An Ozark Life

Though I love the manicured lawns and tranquil museums of the city, there’s just something special about living in the country. I’m grateful for the long stretches of green, knowing the hills I’ve passed might belong all to one person, or no one at all, or a few contented cows.

Even though I live on a highway, it doesn’t stop my retired neighbor from driving his golf cart a half mile to see his buddy up the road. There isn’t a golf course for 20 miles.

Then there’s the guy 3 houses down who used to ride his horse to the biker bar at the junction so he could drink all he wanted and still get home. The horse knew the way.

One morning I was about to pull out of the driveway when I saw my father parked across the road in his van. He was sitting in front of the little white church where maybe 4 cars arrive each Sunday. The bell still rings at 10am that day. Dad wasn’t alone. Our neighbor to the west was visiting through the van window, one hand wrapped in a rope attached on the other end to a very large bull with horns that curved up past the driver’s side window.

“Hey!” he waved as I slowed to get a closer look. “Just out walkin’ the baby.”


What do you love about where you live?

100 Things To Do In Branson Before You Die

100 Things to Do in Branson Before You Die front cover-page-0

The experts say, “Write what you know.” Well, what could you know more about than your own hometown? That’s the idea that occurred to me when I was on vacation a few months ago. We were enjoying San Antonio and utilizing a little guidebook called “100 Things To Do In San Antonio Before You Die”. It was easy to jump to just the thing you were interested in, without being bogged down in explanation and history – totally different from the weighty volumes of my own town.

light-bulb-146568986322dLight bulb moment!

  Why not write a book about Branson that would fit in with this series and be a quick reference for residents and tourists alike? I contacted the publishers of that San Antonio book, Reedy Press, and it was the fastest sale of a book idea I’ve ever had! Within hours I had the go-ahead, and a deadline of just a few weeks.

I’ve been working like a madwoman to collect ideas for fun spots to eat, play, learn, and explore. It’s more difficult to try to be brief on each stop than to put all my knowledge on the page, but that was the challenge. (Besides, I can put all that extra info HERE for YOU!)

The manuscript has been completed, the cover art is done, and we expect a publication release date for Spring 2018. Stay tuned for ordering info and more tips about the Branson area!

Cooking for a Crowd

The new issue The Ozarks Mountaineer Magazine has arrived!  I may not be ready for winter, but the articles in here are sure to get me in the mood.



My Ozarks Cookery Column this issue (page 36 & 37)  features recipes geared for large gatherings.  I’m all for doing it easy, and the Bacon-Cheddar Pinwheels and Sausage & Cheese Dip definitely fit the bill!  The Broccoli-Cranberry Salad makes a colorful presentation, and I’m always a sucker for Sweet Potatoes…this time in a Sweet-Sweet Potato Casserole!


An attractive dinner setting


There’s much more to be found in this collection of recipes, but be sure to refer to the “Guest-imate” Portions Guide (how much soup DO you need for 12 people?), so you can purchase enough ingredients for whatever size group you plan to host, and have a fun, delicious event!


As a bonus on my blog, here’s one of my favorite crowd-pleasing recipes (not found in the article – it’s a family favorite!)…


English: A dish of funeral potatoes






Potatoes for a Crowd



1 pkg. frozen Hashbrowns, thawed
1 – 8 oz. container sour cream
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Parmesan cheese and/or seasoned bread crumbs for garnish



In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.  Place mixture in a shallow baking pan, top with garnish if desired.  Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve hot!

Have a wonderful family-filled winter season, and be sure to pick up the latest Ozarks Mountaineer Magazine!

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