Cooke’s Frontier 2015 Holiday Craft-A-Long

Welcome to the FIRST annual (I hope) Cooke’s Frontier Holiday Craft-A-Long. Now, I know a lot of people have heard of Crochet-A-Long or something similar, so you might be wondering what the heck a Craft-A-Long is. Let me tell you what it’s going to be!

I’m planning on doing some serious crafting for Christmas this year and since I’m going to be crafting I thought maybe some of you would like to craft along with me too. I have some crochet, sewing, and other random general crafting projects that I want to get done so I’ll be sharing the links to those projects here.

Here’s how it’ll work:

  • The first Tuesday of the month, I’ll post the links of the 4 projects for the month in a blog post here and on all of my other social media channels. That gives everyone time to read about the project and decide if they would like to participate that or not, and also time to gather your supplies.
  • During the week, I’ll post updates on my progress and check in on you on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
  • When the item is finished (hopefully before Sunday evening), I’ll post a picture to social media and also update the blog post with a finished item and my thoughts about the project.
  • This will continue through the month until the first Tuesday of the new month when 4 new links will be posted and it’ll start all over again.
  • The first 4 links are posted below, and I will be running this Craft-A-Long until the second week of December, so there will only be 2 links that week.
  • IF everyone is getting a particular project done super fast, I’ll find another project to throw out there as a bonus for those who really have their crafting pants on and are seriously dedicated :)

I give you think links for the projects for the month of October:

#1 Hobo Style Market Bag from Cre8tion Crochet 

#2 All Grown Up Ear Warmer from Moogly

#3 Crochet Towel Holder from Cherished Handmade Treasures (There a BONUS matching dishtowel with this one here: DISH TOWEL)

#4 Mug Cozy from Micah Makes


So, a bit kitchen themed and all crochet this month, but I have some sewing projects set up for next month and also a couple little crafts that are quick and easy, too. I’m so glad to have you crafting along with me this month! I’ll be checking up on your progress, so be sure to post a lot of pictures on the Facebook page and also to Instagram. Let’s use this hashtag #CookesFrontierCAL :)

I’m Back! And Some Other Things

It’s been a while, y’all. I haven’t written here in too, too long.

There’s really several reasons why and some of them are better than others. Before someone points this out, these aren’t excuses. I’m not going to make excuses for not writing the way I probably *should* have because life happens and I wasn’t about to miss it!

Lots of things happened this summer. My kids got bigger. We camped. We hiked, a lot. We spent time with a relative that we recently lost. We made more time for movies, unplugged the internet and played games. We talked about hopes and dreams and laughed and cried and just lived.

When you start writing a blog, you write for yourself and then you start to sort of shift things over and you start to write for your audience. Which, I have to say, totally rocks because HELLO! you have an audience. There are people out there who read what you have to say and enjoy it. It’s not like telling your kids for the millionth time why you’re doing something….this is different. You have a voice that helps someone learn, or do, or be. That’s an awesome feeling and I have been blessed so many times over by the opportunities afforded to me (and my family) because of this blog.


Yes, there’s a *but*.

This blog doesn’t make me a lot of money. It does have expenses and it does cost me to keep it up and running. When you couple that with it not making an awful lot…..well. It makes it hard to force it to be a priority and set aside something else in your life so the blog can take it’s place. It’s very much a double edged sword because I love to write here and share with all of you, but I also have 4 kids, and a husband, and a house, and animals, and a life (kind of) that needed to be taken care of and nurtured.

So I just thought about this blog a lot, and planned what I would do when I came back to it. I plotted, and schemed, and planned all the ways I was going to make this work and I think I’ve finally gotten it figured out.

I’m excited to write again.

I’m excited to share with you.

I had to take some time off, back away and fill my soul up again before I could do this anymore. I started this blog in 2010….and for a long, long time I wrote every. single. day. Most of it wasn’t very good, and no one really read it way back then, but I wrote faithfully. And we added more kids, and more responsibilities and more and more and more.

I simply couldn’t keep going at that pace anymore. I was missing out on my kids and my husband and our life here.

But I’m back.

I’m ready.

I’m excited.


I went back and forth as to whether I should even write this. I don’t get really personal in a lot of my posts. I finally decided to go ahead and share because you are important to me and I want to connect with you all. I want to know how I can help you, what I can help you learn, what I can share for you and yes, what I can pray for you for.

Here’s to a brilliant new chapter for Cooke’s Frontier! I’m so happy you are here with me. Reach out to me! Tell me what you’ve been up to, or what you miss from me, or what you’d like to see. I love hearing from you :) cookesfrontier(at)yahoo(dot)com

Ultimate Tuna Melt Sandwiches

These are some super sandwiches! I usually serve up open faced tuna melts, but we wanted something a little different so I made these little beauties. Everyone loved them, they were simple, and most importantly- they were delicious. Melty cheese, creamy avocado, crisp onion, and salty tuna combine for one powerful punch of lunchtime perfection.

Ultimate Tuna Melt Sandwich |

If you’ve been reading here for very long, you know we love our homemade bread. If this is your first time here, let me fill you in- I bake bread at least twice a week for our family of 6. This always becomes a challenge when summer hits because it just gets so hot in the house. It’s also not great when I get sick because I am the keeper of the bread…..and that usually means a trip to the store for a loaf of store bought bread. Not my first choice, but it is what it is.

I had the chance recently to change out our bread for one week and Oroweat Healthful Bread instead. I was curious to say the least! I generally find store bought bread to be full of ingredients that we’d rather not eat, tastes like cardboard, and is full of air. Oroweat Healthful Bread was going to have to be pretty darn good for me to say I liked it.

I liked it.

Ultimate Tuna Melt Sandwich |


It comes in three varieties, is made with 100 percent whole grain flour, is a good source of fiber, and contains no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, or preservatives. I liked this a lot. As soon as my product coupons and gift card got here, I headed off to the big city to bring home the bread.

Over the course of the next week we toasted, grilled, smeared, french toasted and snacked on our bread. We made a lot of toast….we eat a lot of toast. We also made some really fabulous breakfast sandwiches by scrambling up some eggs with mushrooms and bacon. We put the scrambled eggs onto the toast with some slices of swiss cheese for the most amazing start to our day. I loved have a slice, lightly toasted, with homemade butter and homemade strawberry jam to go along with my yogurt.

Ultimate Tuna Melt Sandwich |

Probably the best recipe we cooked up with our bread was this Ultimate Tuna Melt Sandwich. It’s gooey and delicious, and by using 100% sustainable, pole caught Atlantic tuna I felt great about serving it up to my family.

To make these sandwiches you will need:

  1. 2 (6 oz) cans tuna
  2. 1/4 cup mayo
  3. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  4. 1/2 avocado, diced up
  5. 2 Tablespoons finely diced onion
  6. Softened Butter
  7. Bread!

Mix tuna, mayo, cheese, avocado, and onion together. Spread onto one piece of bread, cover with another slice. Butter both sides and grill on a cast iron griddle (or electric griddle, or in a pan, etc) until golden brown. Cut in half and enjoy! Serve with fresh fruit and veggies for a delicious and super filling meal.

My final thoughts: If I’m not going to be baking our bread, this is the type of bread I’d rather my family eat. It was filling, hearty and pretty darn good for you. I liked that is was a denser, more grain heavy bread. It was just good. I give it two thumbs up. As much as I’d love to always be able to bake our bread, sometimes it just isn’t going to happen and when that happens it’s nice to know that you have options that work for you an your family. I was prepared to dislike this bread….I was pretty skeptical. But, it passed the family test and it is something I’d feel comfortable purchasing in the future!

The coupons for product redemption, information, and gift card have been provided by Oroweat® Bread so that I could try the product and share my thoughts and information about Oroweat® Healthfull® Bread. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Oroweat® Bread.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler is probably my most favorite recipes I’ve gotten been handed down from my Grandmother. It can be called Mississippi Mud Cake, Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, Hot Cocoa Cake, and about a million other things. Choose whatever name you want to call it, I’ll describe it as rich and decadent.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler is an amazing recipe. A layer of fudgy cake bakes while underneath a pool of delicious chocolate pudding forms. Serve it with ice cream and be very, very happy.


 Books and Chocolate make life bearable.


Read More…

K-10 Survival Dog Collar Review

Survival gear isn’t just for you anymore, it’s branched out to include our pets as well! Take some time to read through and see how I thought that the K-10 Survival Dog Collar held up to our everyday hustle around here. This was such a fun item to try out, and so unique, that I just had to share it with you all.

A photo posted by Charley Cooke (@cookesfrontier) on

“Survival Instincts Are One Of Those Things That Never Die- Kiersten White

When you think of survival products, everyone generally tends to think about what we can pack into a bug out bag, or in our car kits for emergencies or store in our homes. Paracord has become a popular medium for prepper/survivalist crafting lately and it seems like everyone and their dog (see what I did there?) has something made from paracord.

K-10 Survival Dog Collar Review. Your pet should be prepared, too! |

I’m now one of those people. Prior to this, my experience with paracord was limited to making a couple of bracelets with my oldest daughter, helping my husband create a couple of rifle slings for Christmas one year and wrapping the steering wheel in our work truck in paracord after our Border Collie chewed off the padded cover as a pup. I wasn’t sure what to think of a survivalist paracord dog collar, but I was intrigued and more than willing to give it a shot. It sounded like a great idea to me, and smart, too.

The guys at Wazoo Survival Gear are pretty passionate about their work and it shows! If you’re interested in reading a little about their story, you can check it out here. Basically, they started crafting survival bracelets in 2010 and the business has been building ever since. Their current offerings include Dog Collars , bracelts, keychains , belts, and more. I encourage you to go take a look around, you’ll be impressed by the quality and variety.

I was given the chance to review a K-10 Survival Dog Collar. This collar is the most amazing thing to look at, it’s simply gorgeous AND it’s functional, too. The K-10 collar includes:
*Ranger Band
*Fishing Line (50 ft, 50lb test)
*Eagle Claw Hooks (4 size 8)
*Split shot weights
*Snare Wire (30″, 7 strand, stainless)
*Safety Pins (2)
*Retro Reflector
*Glow Light
*Magnetized needle

The K10 Collar is your companion’s add-on to your own wearable survival gear. Water isn’t an issue for them in the wild, but this kit is intended to provide extra means to secure food so you can support both you and your dog.

I recieved this collar late in April and I’ve been putting it to the test. Thankfully, I haven’t been in any sort of situation where I have had to actually pull it apart and use it, I wanted to see how well it stood up to everyday wear and tear on my dog (pictured at the top) who is very active. We went on hikes, walks, to the Oregon coast, worked some sheep, and he wore it as his everyday collar all this time.

K-10 Survival Dog Collar Review. Your pet should be prepared, too! |

“What Will You Have On Hand?” – Wazoo

My first impression was a good one. The packaging for the collar was minimal and what was there was useful as well as dual purpose. The tag that describes the collar and lists all of the goodies woven into it doubles as a drink coaster. That scored points with my husband who thought it an ingenious idea. The collar was heavy, but not too heavy, flexible, sturdy, and the colors were perfect.

K-10 Survival Dog Collar Review. Your pet should be prepared, too! |

Inside the paracord, the collar has a reflective piece and a glow in the dark piece. For everyday, it’s so nice to have those extra safety features built right in to keep your pooch safe. In an emergency/survival situation I’m sure someone could think up a million ways to use both of those. In fact, this article has great ideas on how you can utilize glow in the dark items for survival and this one has more useful information on how reflective materials can be used in emergency/survival situations.

After several weeks of wear and use, I find that the survival collar is looking just as good as new. It’s hard to get a good picture of the collar on my dog because he has so much hair, but I did want to point out that the metal ring in the collar for clipping a leash to is very nice. It’s actually something that I look for on a collar because we have had our dogs break cheap, flimsy rings while on the leash before and it’s not something that I want to happen. While my Ghillie is friendly, he tends to bark at people excitedly when he sees them and the last thing I would want was him breaking off the leash and running towards someone. I would feel terrible to scare people like that. However, that’s not something I have to even think about with this collar. The ring is very sturdy and there is no reason to worry about it snapping.

K-10 Survival Dog Collar Review. Your pet should be prepared, too! |

I really, really like this concept for pets. It’s just smart to have them carrying around a basic, emergency survival kit because you just never know. If something happens (heaven forbid) while you are out and about with your pet, the contents of this collar coupled with what you have on you in your every day carry (which you are carrying, right?), might just make all the difference.

A few final thoughts before you go. This is a sturdy, well built collar that fits my dog great. It’s easy to put on and take off, has just enough weight to it to feel comfortable on him but not so light that it’s ineffective as a collar. It’s got basic emergency/survival gear tucked inside the paracord, which is useful on its own. It doesn’t look like a survival tool, it’s hidden and discrete in case you’re worried about people finding out about your prepper/survivalist lifestyle. It’s made by people here in the USA that you can actually call and talk to, who are passionate and excited about their products, and who are pretty brilliant at what they do. It would make a great gift because it is so unique and different, perfect for the outdoors people in your life.

I’m impressed and pretty blown away by this collar. It’s something we’re sure to never leave home without!

**Full Disclosure: I was given a K-10 Survival Collar for review purposes by Wazoo Survival Gear. This is not a paid advertisement and all opinions expressed are completely my own and 100% honest. If I didn’t like it, I’d tell ya so.**