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Calligraphy Camp & Mexican Pick-Up Sticks

June 10, 2011

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Callig camp

I have been taking a calligraphy class this week, taught by a dear friend in choir who is a Spanish teacher at a local private Christian school. Just for fun she teaches this enrichment class in early summer. So, having survived the wedding activities of last week & ignoring that we are leaving town on vacation tomorrow – #3 Son & his sweet bride arrived last evening – I chose this week to take Becky’s calligraphy class: the art of fine handwriting.

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I write big! Becky told me that I “write pretty” when we helped SA address wedding invitations back in March. But I wanted to know how to do calligraphy, learn the specific techniques, the do’s & don’ts. I have fooled around with pretty handwriting before, bought pens, but never any formal training until now.

The key to calligraphy is patience, practice & pen angle. Becky’s descriptive terms are easy to remember: backs, ducks, reverse ducks, eyebrows, bellies, ears, diamonds. Now I must practice, practice, practice!

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Mexican Pick-Up Sticks

This is a 2-fer day – the snack recipe followed by my recipe for homemade taco seasoning. No more buying the secret stuff in the pouch that has MSG & other assorted horrible ingredients! Note: this recipe is very salty – probably okay for a hot summer day’s snacking.


  • 2 cans French Fried Onions
  • 2 cans Potato Sticks (“shoestring potatoes”)
  • 12 ounce can Spanish Peanuts
  • 1 cup Pecans
  • 1-1/2 cups broken Pretzel Sticks
  • 1/4 cup Taco Seasoning Mix (recipe below)
  • 1/3 cup melted Unsalted Butter


  1. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Combine and mix onions, potato sticks, peanuts, pecans & pretzels in a 9″ X 13″ baking dish or on a large jellyroll pan.
  3. Sprinkle with taco seasoning.
  4. Drizzle with melted butter; Mix well.
  5. Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Taco Seasoning Mix


  • 1/2 cup Chili Powder
  • 1/4 cup Onion Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ground Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Arrowroot
  • 1 teaspoon dried Minced Onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Red Pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients & store in a glass jar with a screw-on lid.

To make taco meat:

  1. Add 3/4 cup of water & 1/4 cup homemade taco seasoning to 1-2 pounds cooked ground beef in an iron skillet.
  2. Simmer until thickened.

Both recipes make a great homemade housewarming or Christmas gift!

  1. Jen permalink
    June 10, 2011 2:48 pm

    Yea! So glad to get the taco seasoning recipe. I never make tacos bc I don’t want to buy those packs. Now, hit us with your ranch recipe??? I’m *sure* that you have one!

    • June 10, 2011 6:29 pm

      Do you want a Ranch Dressing recipe? When i return from the beach I will see what I can put together. You are correct, though, you do not want to use the packaged stuff from the grocery. It’s full of MSG & other unsavory additives.

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