Cooking with the Keesters, Season 2

Here is first episode to the long-awaited for season 2 of 'Cooking with the Keesters.'  

Backstory: long ago, before we had children or a bustling videography business, Jared and I made cooking videos.  Jared's students inevitably find these videos, and one of them suggested an update.  We thought this would be a good time, seeing as Jude is interested in cooking and got a cookbook for Christmas.  This was the recipe he chose.  Pretty good, especially if you like your icing with just a hint of mucus.  

We built a garden.

What do you do when you want a garden, but have critters everywhere?  This is our solution and so far, no critters have quite figured out what treasures lie inside.  Big thanks to my husband for not laughing at my idea, and taking my (detailed, maybe too detailed) sketches and turning them in to a reality.  Next year I plan to expand the garden and use electric wire to surround it, but keep treasures like tomatoes and melons in this raised garden.  All supplies purchased at Home Depot. 

Oklahoma Adventure - No. 7

After our stay at Lake Murray State Lodge, we drove (about an hour) to Durant to the Choctaw Casino and Resort.  It has a great kids area, with a bowling alley, arcade, laser tag, food court, and movie theater.  There are also a couple pools, with a family pool and an indoor pool.  I highly recommend renting one of the cabanas at the pool area.  Inside there is a 'fridge, a fan, and an air conditioner.  The cabana rental is half price in the middle of the week.  And, as with all great pools, they will deliver nachos to you.  A must. 

Pro tip: stay in the spa tower.  The rooms are smaller, but newer than those in the 'grand tower.'  The rooms in the grand tower smell like cigarettes, or at least that was our experience.  When the bell hop took us to our room, it smelled like someone had smoked in there about five minutes before we arrived.  They then moved us to the spa tower, where all they had left was a king bed disabled accessable room-- this meant our shower was not as fancy, but did make hosing kids down a lot easier. HA!  Oh, and we all had to sleep in the same bed-- but everyone was so absolutely worn out from swimming and the sun, so this was no problem.  

I did not go to the spa, as the whole point was to spend time with the kiddos, but it did look fancy and serene.  Maybe a future girls trip?!?? 

There are many, many, many food options inside the hotel itself, no need to leave.  All-in-all a good experience.  If it was a smoke free environment, it would have been a great experience...but, then again they make a lot more money of vices than families, so I get it. 

Oklahoma Adventure- No.6 Lake Murray State Park & Lodge

Our Oklahoma adventures continue!  But, due to the fact we spent so much time, effort, and money renovating our new home, our adventures this summer have been sparse.  We did, however, decide to take a week off--no emails, no edits--to spend time with the kids (while they still like us).  We did a three-day, two-night, road trip, and we started at the newly renovated Lake Murray State Lodge.  It is owned an operated by the State of Oklahoma.

This place is beautiful!!!!!  They are still working out some kinks---i.e., they put us and some other guests in the same room.  So, while the kids were resting (naked) in the room, some older ladies walked in to (what we thought was) our room.  Then for the next hour, we got to pack all our stuff back up and move rooms... staff seemed annoyed and not apologetic.  But, then again, these are employees of the state, and we were not at the Ritz.

On the other hand, the rooms are BIG, and they all have a balcony with a beautiful view of Lake Murray.  I have to admit, for the most part, I am not a lake person.  But Lake Murray is absolutely, stunningly beautiful.  It has to do with the fact that the lake itself is a state park, so people do not live on it.  That means less runoff and less pollution.  The water was crystal clear and so refreshing.

The Lodges' rooms cost $109 per night.  A steal for the beauty and comfort of the room.  There is also, what is supposed to be, a very yummy restaurant there at the lodge--no need to leave for dinner.  But it is only a 12-minute drive into ardmore for some El Tapatio! MMMMMMmmmmmm.  Go there.  Get a marg.  But, be warned, it will be a strong marg.

Other things to do here:  Jet Ski Rental--by far the most expensive activity we did, but also the one the kids thought was the most amazing. This place is only a short walk from the lodge.  They also have minigolf and a water trampoline thing.  

We also did a short hike to the Tucker Tower, which is very cool.  (But when we return, we will go when it is not the hottest week of the year).  There is also a very nice beach area, where we swam while we waited for our room to be ready.  All-in-all, we had a great time, and we already scheduled our return visit.  

Below are the pics from this part of the trip.  Not edited.  Aint nobody got time for that.  Some are DSLR, some are film, and some are iphone. After we left the lodge, we made the hour trip to Durant, where the second half of our road trip takes place. (PART 2 HERE).

Oklahoma Adventure- No.5 Blue Hole

This one was a bit of a drive, but I have to say it was my favorite of our Oklahoma road trips thus far.  We stopped at Sunnyside Diner before we left town.  It was super yum. As far as Salina's Blue Hole Park, I recommend going when it is REALLY hot because the water is ice cold.  Also, bring water shoes because the rocks might be sharp on the kiddos feet.  But, the water is crystal clear spring water, sooooo refreshing.    

Things to note:  there is a per car charge to get in the park. I think it was $12, but I cannot remember exactly.  Portapotties are the only bathroom choice.  There is a concession stand, but only things like hotdogs, chips, candy, coke...

Photos all shot on film with the exception of 4 iPhone photos.  No edits, just fun. 

Oklahoma Adventure- No. 4 Red Brick Nights

We lurve Guthrie.  Just a quick 15 minute drive from our house and a totally different world.  On the first Saturday of the month (through October?) they shut down downtown Guthrie for Red Brick Nights.  There are food trucks and bands and families.  Soooooo fun!  We happened to go on the 3rd of July, so there were also FIREWORKS.  The next day we went over to friend's houses to swim.   And I threw in a pic of Harvey with his awesome swim instructor, Tiffany Rains

All images shot on Walmart's finest Fuji Superia film with my handy dandy Canon Sure Shot A1.  A great waterproof point and shoot for when I want to relax and not think about apertures. 

Adventure Oklahoma- No. 3 State Capitol

This one is free!  And, honestly, July turns out to be a great time to go.  The building is almost empty.  We went for a breakfast at Kitchen 324 and then headed over to the capitol for some nice, free air conditioning.  And LOTS of stair climbing!!!  The kids LOVED the stairs.  I was surprised how much the kids like exploring around the state capitol building.  There are guided tours, but we just kicked around on our own.  Shot on an iPhone (because my film camera can't go through the x-ray thing they send your bag through).  

Adventure Oklahoma- No. 2... ENID

Our weekly Oklahoma adventures led us to Enid this week to check out Leonardo's Children's Museum.  It opens at 10 pm and has an outdoor and indoor play area.  It was $8 a person.  Honestly, it is the outdoor part worth the $8 per person.  It was awesome!  The inside was okay, but we are spoiled by the Oklahoma Science Museum, which is sooooooo good and so huge.  

We then went to Vance Air Force Base to let the kiddos see the planes take off and climb on the planes outside the base.  Harvey was not impressed.  Jude loved it.  Go figure.

We also visited an antique shop where we gave the kiddos a $5 bill and told them they had to work together to pick out a new toy.  #teachingmoment They loved it.  They worked together for the most part and we worked on counting, addition, and talking to adults (they handed the money to the cashier themselves).  

Then to top it off, we stopped by The Bike Shop, which was super cool!  They were so nice and had an awesome selection with great prices.  We will be back.   Then a quick stop at sonic for a snack for the ride home.  Awesome day.  We heart Enid. 

Once again we took our film cameras.  However, this time, I foolishly thought I could save some $$$ and scan the negatives myself.  Sorry for the major quality difference from the last Adventure Oklahoma post.  Anyway, next time I will let the experts at Bedford handle the scanning.  Until then, here is a mash up of jared's contaflex, my canon elan iie, and an iphone.  You will have no trouble deciphering the iphone photos.  



Adventure Thursdays- No.1

We are on a mission to see the state this summer.  One Thursday at a time.   Oklahoma is full of cool things to see and do, but we barely make it out of a 10-mile radius of our house.  Well, that changes now.  (Except for this Thursday Harvey decided to get plans are on hold for a bit).  

These pics are from our last outing to the Pawnee Bath House in Pawnee, Oklahoma.  Lauren took her Canon Sure Shot A-1, which later may have met its demise.  But, before it did, it gave us these images, developed at OKC's Bedford Photo.  They are super nice and knowledgable there and charge just $5 to process a roll of color film.  

The Pawnee Bath House was built in the 1930s as a WPA project.  It is next to a beautiful and calm lake, where we attempted about 5 minutes of fishing before the boys were disinterested.  Here's a note though: Bathhouse does not open until 12:30pm.  It costs $2 a person.  The also sell snacks etc.  There is also a very friendly Sonic just down the street, about a 5 minute drive, in downtown Pawnee.  There were 2-3 lifeguards on duty at all times while we were there.

Seize the 'good stuff,'

The Keesters

Yeah, about this tab...

Clearly, I have not been doing a very good job of keep up this here 'personal' tab.  But, it is important.  We are a family.  That is why we do what we do.  We want to help you preserve your family's narrative.  And our family is part of our product.  You need to see us, to know a bit about who we are...because, we will be right there during the most important days of your life.  With cameras.   There is an element of trust there.  And, trust is a two-way street.  

So, here you go, here is our family.  These are our two boys.  We are nuts about them (even when they drive us nuts).  And, they are why we pour our heart and soul in our business.  This is not a hobby.  This is how we provide for these two.  Its not something to be taken lightly. 

Harvey First Year

Oh my darling son, it has already been a year and it seems to have passed in a blink. Einstein theorized that time is relative and I have found he is correct. The happiest moments I have had this past year have been seeing you grow and learn; those are the moments that pass all too quickly. Watching you learn to smile, to crawl, to laugh, and to fend off your big brother has been the greatest joy of my life. It's these happy times that seem to past with the greatest brevity. A day will come when you won't fit so snug in my arms, you won't want to sleep on my chest, and you'll no longer wish for one more story. This is your first year of life and I got many firsts with you. The first time I saw you smile, heard you laugh, watched you roll over. But I know that there are lasts that are coming too.

There will be a last bottle I give you, a last baby food container to open, a last time you fall asleep on me. The firsts are generally what we remember, but it is the last one that sneaks up on you. It is this that I try to soak in everything you and your brother do, for a I know a last cannot be far away.

My beautiful boy, a large part of me wishes I could keep you this small, but I know you must continue to grow and learn. Here's to many more years of you my son.