Chicken Caesar Tetrazzini

A few weeks ago, while visiting some family in SC, our aunt served us this delicious dish and upon request gave us the recipe. 🙂 Last night we didn’t have any supper plans, so after consulting with Mommy and Amanda, we decided thatA work in progress... it would be an excellent choice for dinner. I volunteered to make it, and Titus, The topping -always a willing helper, decided he would assist me (or rather ride on my back and attempt to eat my hair :)). After mixing it up and throwing it into the oven to bake, and after enduring the hunger pains that came from such a delicious smell, 🙂 we all sat down and enjoyed the mea l together. So, here’s the recipe:

16 oz. spaghetti

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups Caesar dressing (we used store bought this time, but homemade would work just a well and be just as tasty, besides better for you :))

1 cup Parmesean cheese

4 Tbsp. dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Cook and drain spaghetti. Combine noodles with shredded chicken, chicken broth, and dressing – pour into a 15×10” baking pan. Mix together cheese and bread crumbs, sprinkle over top. Bake for 25 min. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Yum!! All ready to eat!!

Notes: Though not quite a dieters delight, 🙂 this is a great and extremely simple treat for unexpected company or busy days. Can be made ahead and frozen. Great when accompanied by a fresh tossed salad. 

Results of the Photo Caption Contest

The dining room was quiet. Used supper dishes were pushed to the center of the table, while eleven heads bent in concentration over the papers in front of them. An occasional giggle or comment broke the silence, but for the most part, all was still. Then, someone asked, “Do I have to pick just THREE? These are ALL so good!”

We were finally judging the captions for the photo caption contest of a few weeks ago! Each person was handed a piece of paper which had all the entries typed on it (without the names of the submitters), and we were to mark our three favorites. When we finally managed to narrow down the list to our top three (or four 🙂 ) favorites, we tallied the votes to find out which captions seemed to fit the picture the best. After seeing some very interesting results, we took the four finalists, and voted again. Then, when it was obvious which one had won the contest, there was a moment of breathless anticipation as we waited to hear who had submitted the winning caption! A drum-roll was called for, the winner was announced, and the room instantly burst into cheers! So, for those of you who submitted captions and are just dying to know who won :), here are the results. The winning caption was:

074Hynes Vacation 09

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue with baby toys?” , submitted by Michael S.


The other three finalists were:

“Where are all the boys???” by Uncle Jim

“Oh my! The Bb in measure seven was a bit sharp again – one more time girls…” by Joshua

“Did you see what I just did?? … Sometimes I even amaze myself!” by Aunt Lisa


One that we really liked when we had our personal family contest a few weeks ago was the one that Mom came up with: “Where’s my binki?” Another favorite was Dad’s “Why wouldn’t my sisters adore me??”

So a great big THANK YOU to all who participated!! We GREATLY enjoyed receiving and reviewing all the comments – please visit again soon!!!!! 🙂

Lots of “Nelzl” Fun!!!

It was dark. It was loud – at times. There was lots of activity. We had to carry water fromSarah and Kathryn - sisters and friends in the Lord the spring. Washing dishes (of which there were not a few!) became a very interesting experience. There were nine children ages 10 and underA picnic in Andrews, NC . Eight young adults. Four adults. But most of all, there was abundant joy and enthusiasm in every heart!

Where were we and what was happening??? ThisThe smaller pyramid... last weekend, we had the joy to host the Stelzl family at our house! After their arrival on Thursday evening,Hannah was having some fun with her camera :) we had an absolute blast getting to know this dear family better, even though we did go over 30 The Great "Nelzl" Pyramid :) (Just in case you haven't figured it out, "Nelzl" is short for a time when the Stelzls and the Neelys are together :)) hours without electricity (caused by a rain storm :))! We filled the precious time with playing games, talking, doing electrical work, 🙂 talking, having aHannah - the famous photographer and photography instructor of the weekend few picnics,  making music, talking, carrying water from the spring up to the house, enjoying delicious meals together (some of which were in the dark :)), talking,  Just a few of the many names on the Moving Vietnam Veterans Wall taking hundreds of pictures, talking, breathing deeply of the beautiful, crisp fall  air, fellowshipping around a bonfire, talking, and many other things. (Do you get the picture of  wJonathan was getting ready to feast on a roasted skinny beast :)hat we did the most of anything?? :))

The glorious symbol of our country - oh that she would return to her God! On Saturday morning, we left our without -electricity house 🙂 and went to view the moving Vietnam Veterans Wall, which was passing  through our area at Hannah Grace and Hannah Grace with Victoria :):)the time. How precious to see list after list of all the soldiers  that willingly gave up  home, family, and future to go to another world and fight so that we, a few generations later, could have those things that they sacrificeThe tower at the top of Brasstown Baldd!! It was an excellent reminder that freedom is not free – Bethany many have fought and died for it on our behalf!

On Sunday evening, we loaded up and drove to Brasstown Bald, the highest mountain in GA, forHiking up - Hannah captured the priceless moment beautifully! a refreshing hike and time of fellowship around a picnic supper. When we got to We serve an amazing God!the top, we were greeted by an exhilarating breeze and a clear view of the surrounding mountain ranges. At the excellenWow!!!!!!!!!t suggestion of Mrs. Stelzl, we did something we have never thought to do up there: The team helpmeets - Tina and Darlenewe lifted our voices in one accord in  many a song of praise to our Creator! Songs like “How Great Thou Art,” “Amazing Grace,” “It Is Well Josiah showing us where we had just been With My Soul,” “Trust and Obey,” and many others filled the air and reminded us of the Almighty, Unchangeable, Loving God that we serve! That will stand outJessi in the memories of all who participated for years! Thank you, Mrs. Stelzl, for  the great idea!!

After their departure, we were left with a too empty, too quiet house (though by then the lights were working again :)) but we treaA whole army of young livessure the memories of all that was said and done! We praise thKathryn and Sarah - bundled to match! :)e Lord for opportunities, like this, to be encouraged by sweet fellowship with like-minded believers!

Memory Making – Taking Family Pictures

We recently spent some time taking family pictures. It made me think about all the many different things people say when its “picture time.” Sometimes the process is harder than other times, especially if you don’t have anyone to take Oops... we weren't quite ready.the picture for you. It teaches some good character qualities, including patience, perseverance, and cooperation. Most of the time we take our own family pictures… you know: the “Quick! Push the button and run into the picture!” routine. This time we were  blessed to have a neighbor who offered to take them “professionally” for us. Amazing!! We got done in less than an hour! 🙂 A quick break :)Last time we tried, it took us probably two or three hours! Having an extra person to push the little button helped a lot!

So anyway, what does your family say when its picture time and you’re trying to get everyone to not only look at the camera, but with a pleasant expression (like, you know, a smile or something nice like that?!)? I’ll be honest… you have to be creative. Think about what your family likes the most. The thing that makes them smile to think Quick... it's going... it's going... it's gone.about. Then make them say it out loud to produce the smile. That’s what we want, isn’t it? 🙂

The “normal” picture-taking sayings are, “Smile!” “Say, ‘Cheese!’”, and other stuff like that. But… wait a minute… what is the standard for “normal” if everyone is different?! Hmmmmm…

Well, I have to admit that sometimes it’s a real struggle to get a good family picture. It takes an extra amount of cooperation and patience. This past March, we were trying to get a really good one for the cover photo on our new CD.Hurry up and get over here! Ummm… well…. we all got dressed up in our “Sunday clothes” and headed  out to the garage where we set up our portrait studio. Titus was only about a week old, so Mommy was coming off bed rest to do this. Remember, it was March, so we had a heater going in the garage, which we ended up shutting off, because when you have twelve people squished into an approximately 5’x5’ area, no one gets Oops - we forgot to set the timer so Dad could get in the picture!extremely cold. (Actually, you’re more likely to get extremely hot.) About  two hours and eighty pictures later, we concluded that we probably had one picture that would work, so we went inside and got little ones ready for bed. Most of us had ice cream (to help us cool down 🙂 ) while Daddy was browsing through the pictures.  We then realized that we didn’t have one picture that we could even “cut and paste.” Back to the garage… side note: we had to redress six people and redo hair. It was now about 10:30 pm. We were all getting kind-of tired. After about twenty or thirty more, finally, we got one that we could “cut Something was WAY too funny!this and paste that,” and it would work. That night, we tried several different ways to try to get the effect we wanted, which included laughing uncontrollably, instead of just smiling at the camera.

Oh, I guess this post is supposed to be about what people say when they are  waiting for that little clicking sound, which confirms in our mind that the picture has been captured by the incredible device known as a camera. We use the common words like “Smile!”, “Say, ‘Cheese!’”, and “Look at the camera!”. But we also say probably not-so-common things, too. “Laugh uncontrollably!” “Pretend like you’re comfortable!” “Relax… just be yourself.” “Smile anyway!” “Be happy!” “Don’t wrinkle your nose when you smile.” “Umm… it just took…. my eyes were Trying to make a stressful moment humorousshut.” “Let me take it! You always ‘cut off’ your head!!” “Make your eyes smile.” “Ooops… I wasn’t looking.” “Well, let’s try that again.” “Open your eyes a little wider.” “Are we having fun yet?” “Just one more.” “Take off the sunglasses – we want to see your eyes.” “Hurry… I can’t stand like this much longer!” “Don’t pick your nose!” “Hundreds of people will see this.” “You sit right there.” “The sun is in my eyes.” “Run… the timer’s going!” “Everyone hold still.” “Ouch… you stepped on my foot!” “_________ was looking the other way.” “Watch out! Don’t fall off!” “My legs are falling asleep.” “Call the dog.” “Everybody open your eyes.” “Put your hand down.” “Nobody move until after the ‘click’.” “Quick! Run into the picture before the time is up!” “Hopefully there will be one good one out of all these.”Uhhhh...Hurry! Get in place!

So, go take some family pictures. Enjoy time together. Cooperate. Work together as a team to get it done. And, most importantly, laugh. It adds “spice” and will help to make the process more enjoyable. 🙂

 Finally!!!! A good one!! :)

Best-Ever Chocolate Cake

Well, there we were. It was Friday, and we were planning the menu for the weekend. I had volunteered to take on the responsibility of finding a good recipe and making it for Sunday dessert after the potluck with our church people. We had a very busy week, and still had other things to do, so I needed to find a recipe that would be fast and easy, and of course, yummy. I asked around if anyone had any ideas or anything in particular that just sounded really good. One said brownies, and one didn’t care, and I’m not sure what everyone else said. So I opened our cookbook cabinet and found one of our favorite cookbooks – Best-Loved Chocolate Classics put out by Taste of Home. The best part about it was that it was easy to do, and I was able to make it a couple days in advance. We served it, and almost all of it was devoured. It makes a rich, chocolate, cake with a heavier consistency than that of a cake mix.

Best-Ever Chocolate Cake

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

6 Tablespoons baking cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups water

2/3 cup oil

2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Fluffy Chocolate Frosting:

1 cup cold milk

1 package (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding

1 (8 oz) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a mixing bowl, combine first five ingredients. Add the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Pour into a greased 13”x9”x2” pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

For frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat the milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Beat in whipped topping. Spread over cake. Refrigerate until serving time. Yield: 12-15 servings.

Editor’s note: This cake does not contain eggs.

The Wilds 40th Anniversary Celebration!

The Wilds Christian Camp has been used by God in our lives for many years, via music, going to family camps and retreats, etc. Actually, it was there that Daddy, as a teenager, confirmed his salvation! How thankful we are for that ministry!

Several weeks ago Mommy was doing a little bit of reading and saw that the Wilds was having a “40 years of ministry” celebration, where they invited allSunny on the Land Trolley former staff, campers, etc., to come for a day of funLittle Miss Bravery - ready for the adventurous ride! activities, food, and most important, fellowship. After suggesting to Daddy that we do it, (and after we realized that our itinerary had an empty space There she goes! Wheeeeee!in it for a change :)) she headed up the planning and packing for the event. (Thank you, Mommy!) This last Saturday morning we filled up the “Land Yacht” 🙂 with all 12 members of the Neely Team and all of their necessary luggage 🙂 and went over to Brevard, NC, and enjoyed the beautiful weather, peacefulKeeping going, girls! atmosphere, godly music, tremendously thrilling and fun activities, and the side-splitting re-plays of skits done in the past. During the course of the day, Kathryn and a friend nervously awaiting their turn on the Giant Swing! many of us took part in “The Cat in the Hat” game, the land trolley, mini-golf, the rock-Lauren at the top! Yay!!!climbing wall, and, last but not  least, Up they go... waiting for the initial "click" and the 65 ft. drop! the famous Giant Swing! (A glorious contraption into which two people are strapped, lying on their stomachs. They are then hiked up 65 feet aboveDaddy and Amanda - Daddy is on the phone with his mom, letting her "ride" the swing with them, since she has never wanted to do it! :) the watching audience below, and then let fall – which gives about 2 seconds of that all-amazing “free-fall” feeling, which is enough for Mommy and Titus - a perfect pair! anyone 🙂 – and into swinging back and forth! Sound scary?? Both that and exhilarating! :)) They're flying...We were able to see and “catch-up” with many old friends and acquaintances, meet new people, and before leaving, take a delightful trip to the   popular coffee shop at camp – ... to infinity and beyond!!Victoria on the mini-golf course “CoolBeans.” Mmmmmmm……!!!! Our day ended with a tour of the newest construction project on the camp property: a multi-purpose building planning to be used for a book and music store, souvenir Hannah Grace  shop, a conference room, and offices for many of the staff members. It was exciting to see Jessi and Hannah - sipping a delightful Raspberry White Chocolate Mocca Freeze... Mmmmm!!the vision that was  being carried out, enabling them to more effectively impact numerous lives!

The Lord has truly blessed the Wilds because, as their theme This hits the spot! Yum! verse 1 Corinthians 10:31 states, all is done for the glory of God. What a blessing to be able to see the rewards of such a commitment, andAll the kids - happy to be together! What a fun day! what a  reminder carry out that truth in our own lives – it is, in fact, the very reason we were created!   

No Training Wheels!!

Whee!!!!! This is fun!! For a long time I have been widing my bike with twaining wheels. I lerned things like how to steer and how to stop and use the brakes. Then VictoriaSunny watching the amazing rider :) and Susanna (Sunny) ‘tarted teeching me how to wide with no twaining wheels. When I first ‘tarted learning it was just a wittle bit scary, but now it is all fun! The best place to wide is on the I'm very happy that I've lerned to wide with no twaining weels!!floor in the garage. It is nice and ‘mooth in there. I’m glad that the girls taught me how to wide with no twaining wheels.  

Photo Caption Contest!

074Hynes Vacation 09

Leave a comment and tell us what you think Titus is saying in this picture. We will judge the comments in about two weeks, and the winner will receive a free copy of our newest CD, Let the Joy Begin: Christmas with the Neely Team.


*Special thanks to Tim Hynes for taking the picture!!

A Visit from the Hynes Family

A few weeks ago we were blessed by a visit from the Hynes family – what a joy to get to know this dear family in a deeper way! After their arrival on Friday night, we spent the evening talking, laughing, andWe serve an amazing Creator!! playing some exciting games. On Saturday, after a late and scrumptious breakfast, we did a few prep things and then all loaded up and headed south – our destination: Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s The Hynes family and Neely Team :) - on top of Brasstown Bald highest mountain peak. We drove about half way up, and then enjoyed a wonderful picnic lunch. With energy restored, we began the hike. What a blessing to spend time talking, encouraging each other in the Lord, and learning more about each other while we climbed higher and higher! At last at the top, we were greeted by a gentle breeze and the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges and valleys. After a visit to the museum and manyHerman, Hannah, and Jon - deep in thought over a game of chess pictures, 🙂 we descended and made our way back home.

On Sunday, the Hynes allowed us to “put them on the spot” in church, and they sang “Did You Think to Pray?” – an excellent reminder to take everything to God in prayer, knowing that He cares anSetting up for another roundd will answer in His perfect timing! One particular highlight of their visit was Sunday night when the kids played Team Bible Charades! We divided into two teams and then separated to form our plans. We each decided on a Bible story to act out, dressed up, gathered props, etc., and then both teams met together for a Sword Drill to determine which team"Dagon" :) went first. After arriving at a conclusion, the first team made final preparations and then presented aSome apostles - exact identity unknown (well, they used to be Emily and Kathryn, but...) thrilling, though silent, tale of Samson, when he set fire to the Philistines corn. The second team did an "Foxes" running through the "corn," burning it up excellent job with the story of Hannah and her prayer for a son, and then we split up again to prepare a second round. Phase two p"Eli" blessing the "boy", "Samuel" (Lauren!) :)resented the stories of Paul preaching, being stoned, and thrust out of the city, and finally we ended the The mighty Samson (and later on, Paul). Wow! A little bit of organic face paint (the famous cocoa powder and water combination :)) does wonders!! night with a hilarious  show of the Philistines returning the Ark of the Covenant to Israel after God cast down their image of Dagon. The creativity that was displayed was unbelievable, and most of the stories ended  with a burst of laughter!

Suzy added many giggles to the weekend by, one night at supper, putting her  spoon up to her eye, holding it there, and then staring at all of us through it. Well, the power in influence was quickly realized, because once one or two peoHaving fun with the spoons... :)ple followed her example, almost the whole group was doing it! Absolutely hilarious!! (Maybe a little weird, too??? :))Daddy and Suzy - inseparable buddies!

One particular blessing we received from the Hynes was their spirit of initiative. Whether is wBecky and Kathryn - they have their eyes on you!! :)as in clearing the table, washing dishes, slicing fruit, carrying things from place to place, or Mr. Hynes decision to help us out tremendously by weed-eating our creek banks, there was always many willing hands extended to help share the load, which did indeed make light work!

Thank you, Hynes family! May God bless you as you continue to live for Him and shine His light to the world!

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