Christmas Church Potato Casserole Recipe

So J chose to be born at the wrong time. Dec. 19. Who does that? Someone who wants to get twice the presents at one time, that's who. At his Dec. 18 birthday celebration this year I ate these amazing potatoes. And I've eaten them as left overs several times since. They're simply amazing. Jarrod's mother, Ruth, was kind enough to share the recipe with me. Happy graduation, Bonnie!

In other news, Bonnie, my friend since junior high, graduated from college this weekend. I went to her graduation party at the Irwin house on Saturday. Congrats, Bonnie! I love you. She is going to be a fantastic teacher.

Christmas Church Potato Casserole

1 (2 lb.) bag of Southern style hash brown potatoes

1 tsp. salt

1/2 c. melted butter

1/2 c. chopped onions

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 small can of cream of chicken soup

1 pt. sour cream

2 c. grated cheddar cheese

2 c. corn flakes

1/4 c. melted butter


Mix all ingredients except corn flakes and butter. Spread in oiled 9 x 13 pan. Mix corn flakes and butter and sprinkle on top. Cook in preheated oven at 350 for 90 minutes.

Seattle vacation celebrates Sarah's birthday

As these things happen, Mom posted a lot of pictures over the weekend. She was in Seattle with Sarah, celebrating Sarah's birthday, so there were a lot of photo opps.

After seeing a new crop, Todd asked me, "Why is our sister so beautiful?" I have no answer.

Sarah has always been extremely photogenic. I think it's because she has an honest smile. Whereas I've oft been accused of having a fake/forced smile, Sarah is always very present in her pictures. But beauty is just the beginning. Sarah is also passionate and knowledgeable and she has a heart for service. She bridges the outdoorsy - indoorsy thing with astute skill. She is a person with friends from way back that she keeps in touch with and that says something. Hold close people who can tell you about the friend they've had since they were little. These are the people that will grow with you in life and invest in knowing your deep down inner guts. Sarah is one of these people.

Happy birthday, Sarah.

Dearest Dad - Happy Birthday

Dearest Dad,

Today is your birthday. Today you are 61 years young. Today I want to tell you how grateful I am to have you as my father.

I know you may read this and roll your eyes. But after you roll your eyes I hope you smile because you have one of the most infectious smiles around and on your birthday you should smile. When I think of your smile I envision that picture of you Mom has in her old Pi Beta Phi frame where you are grinning from ear to ear. It is one of my favorite pictures of you.

There are so many aspects of my life that are a reflection of you. From my endless love for the outdoors and adventure to my affinity for singer/songwriter music you have contributed to all of it. Even my inability to tell a joke comes from you. Yeah, Dad, you may think your jokes are super funny but I’ve found that most people give nothing but a blank response after I attempt one of your jokes.

My life is more beautiful because of you. It was my memory of your love for Colorado that brought me here 4 years ago. Every day I appreciate this beautiful state because you taught me to revel in natural beauty for all it has to offer as one day it may be gone.   Really though, there is nothing like hanging off the side of a cliff with the Rockies stretched out before you or finishing a class III rapid boat in tack to make you appreciate life.

I am a stronger person because of you. Growing up you always encouraged us to try new things and even if we weren’t the best at them to keep trying.  You never hesitated to offer tough advice even if we didn’t want to hear it. These are just some of the things that have made me stronger.

In no way is this an exhaustive list of how you have influenced me throughout my life.  All I hope to accomplish by writing this is to begin to demonstrate how grateful I am to be your daughter.

I would not be who I am today without you.

I love you.