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Great Family = Good Times


By Gini Raineycookbook_junkie[1]

With tomorrow being the last day of October, you can be sure that it’s just a matter of a couple weeks before the great family times begin.  I did have an early holiday gift yesterday when I was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with two of my cousins.  The three of us spent many Sunday afternoons playing together while our parents either played bridge or pinochle.  There wasn’t too much trouble we were able to avoid in those days, given the level of trouble kids were able to get into back in the 50s.  I couldn’t help but think, as we were driving back home last night, that although many years have passed since we were kids, the dynamics among the three of us hasn’t changed much, and had one cousin not been laid up with a broken ankle, I do believe we could have stirred up some mighty good trouble again.

With conversations covering everything from each of us naming three books we have read recently (while frantically writing down the names so the others could read them, too), to how to dispose of Cock A Leekie Soup (I swear that’s real) so the aunties didn’t find out, to walking downtown in our bare feet (how did we manage to keep from cutting our feet), we laughed till we cried.  What an awesome time together!  And, while this was a wonderful time together, it saddens me to know that I’m not sure when we will have that opportunity again any time soon.

img_0624There were fourteen cousins in our generation, and while time and distance have separated us, when we are able to get back together, whether one or more or the whole bunch, it seems as if it was just yesterday that we were last together.  Somehow, we have managed to stay connected over the years, but damn – we’re not getting any younger.

On the occasion of one of our family reunions – way back in 1994 – I had a dream of writing a cookbook filled with contributed family recipes, along with the back history of that recipe.  Well, I got as far as the chapter on cookies by the time of the reunion, had it printed and bound and gave each cousin a copy of it at the reunion.  You see, some of the best times we’ve had in this family have happened in the kitchen, if not while cooking or eating, then during the cleaning up.  Many special plans have been made and many confidences shared while up to our elbows in either bread dough or soapsuds.

One of our favorite family cookie recipes is for Aunt Evie’s Corn Flake Cookies.  These are easy to make and freeze well, so you can get a head start on holiday baking.  First cream 2 cups sugar, 1 cup butter, and 2 eggs. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon baking powder and 2-1/2 cups flour.  Then add 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup corn flakes, 1 cup shredded coconut, and 1 cup raisins.  Form into balls, using about ¼ cup batter per cookie, and bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350° oven.  These are so good and will disappear so fast, you might want to make a double batch!

ben wheeler


UT Tyler Seeking Participants for 3rd Year of ‘Born to Read’ Program

stanleys bbq tyler tx eguide magazine

Program promotes early language and literacy in young children

The University of Texas at Tyler announced today that it is seeking participants for the third year of the “Born to Read” literacy program, which promotes early childhood literacy in East Texas.

“The purpose of this program is to encourage children’s early language and literacy skills, while also helping parents understand their critical role as their child’s first and most valuable teacher,” said Dr. Kouider Mokhtari, UT Tyler Anderson-Vukelja-Wright Endowed Professor of Literacy Education.

“We provide parents with training and an initial tool kit of books and resources that   help and encourage them to raise children as readers,” said Dr. M. Sathyamoorthy, UT Tyler professor of mechanical engineering, who has coordinated support for the program from the Tyler Sunrise Rotary Club.

The Born to Read program is designed for expectant mothers, parents and legal guardians of children up to 3 years old. The program is free to the first 25 participants who register by Monday, Sept. 30. Participants will be involved in the program through June 30, 2020.

To register or for more information, contact Azalia Perez, or 903.566.7016.

Other program sponsors include Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and UT Tyler K-16 Literacy Center.

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered. With more than 10,000 students, UT Tyler has facilities in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.



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Book Lovers Events: Hot Summer Signings & More


From book signings to Meet & Greet’s, Tyler  offers every Book Lover a lot of fun things to do. Check out these events:

For more events, check out ‘s entire

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Reading the Kids Back to School

By Gini Rainey

“Mischief and Mayhem: Part I of the Faerlands Chronicles”

by S. D. Nicholson

I think you know me by now to know that magical kingdoms and fantasy are not the usual genre of reading that I reach for.  So, when I was approached by the author’s publicist to read and review this book, I wasn’t even aware it fell into this area.  With that being said, I must admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed and been intrigued by the characters and tiny world that Mr. Nicholson has created in his first book.  Without a doubt, the main character, the tiny fae Ophelia, is every bit a heroine as are her six-foot tall counterparts.

I have no doubt in my mind that while the faes and faers of Nicholson’s book are In a struggle to preserve and maintain peace in their homeland, it is also analogous to the struggles we humans face on a daily basis while trying to attain a peaceful coexistence with the other inhabitants of this big blue marble.

The not so terribly hidden messages in Nicholson’s book came through loud and clear to me:  that if we spend quiet time by ourselves, we will be able to find and explore fully what our capabilities are, and additionally, fight for what we hold near and dear.  This is an outstanding read.  Not only will it capture your imagination, but it will also have you start thinking about what undeveloped talents and truths you might not have discovered about yourself.

I read the teaser at the end of the book and am anxious to read Part 2 of the Faerlands Chronicles!

5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Köhler Books

“Big Little Lies”

by Liane Moriarty

This book from which the HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman was adapted, is a pretty slow starter.  Working backwards from an event, the first third of this book was busy building strong characters, exposing bullies (adult-sized and pint-sized), failed and new relationships, and various points of view about the culmination of events.  As usual, Ms. Moriarty isn’t afraid to cooly broach hot topics: blended families, sexual assault, violence against women and children, all carefully tempered with unexpected humor and human emotions.

Set in a rather cliquish, upper-end Australian beach community, the human interests begin to develop by retrospect following a murder at the exclusive private school.  Liane develops some pretty interesting characters using her very successful skills and creating some of the most flawed people this side of Sidney.

Definitely worth the read for anyone with school-aged children as it brings together three moms whose only commonality is their kindergarten-aged children. While pointing out each of the character’s flaws, Moriarty gently has a couple of fingers pointing at the helicopter-parenting skills of modern-day moms that perhaps are creating our current crop of young adults who are clueless.

Without a doubt, this is yet another in a long stream of controversial topics that Liane Moriarty isn’t afraid of writing about and the plot twist at the end will keep you reading till the final page.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2014 – Berkley

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