A glimpse inside our new house (and life) in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

A glimpse inside our new house (and life) in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

It was two weeks ago yesterday that we moved into our new house in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, and we are so excited to be here! We spent much of the first week unpacking, getting utilities hooked up, and just finding our way around town.

Pawhuska house before bringing boxes in.

A view from the dining room into the living room on move-in day.

We brought a U-Haul full of stuff from Nebraska and are trying our best to fill in with purchases made locally in Pawhuska. We’ve been to four auctions, scavenged the local thrift and consignment stores, and found some things at local places like The Buckin’ Flamingo, Prairie Cottage, The Book Burrow, and The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

Pawhuska house Buckin' Flamingo window frame

We purchased this window frame at the Buckin’ Flamingo in downtown Pawhuska.

Admittedly, we’ve had to run to nearby Bartlesville for a few items and did some online shopping for things we couldn’t find in town, but the house is really coming together and feeling more like home every day.

Pawhuska house shelves

It has been fun filling book shelves with items found in local shops, like these books from the Book Burrow and the horse head bookend from Sister’s Attic.

The decorating is not complete and we still need to finalize a few details like end tables, lamps, and chairs (ha!), but we wanted to give y’all a little peek inside our place, anyway. So here we go!

First, you must know that the former owners did an amazing job remodeling this 1,500 square foot, 1930’s craftsman house. They stripped all the wood floors, updated the fireplace, took out a wall that separated the kitchen and dining area and gutted both the kitchen and full bath, among other things. Take a look at this entryway.

We love the bright entryway that the front door opens into. Not sure exactly what we're going to do with this space yet, but Ann is already picturing a Christmas tree in the window.

We love the bright entryway that the front door opens up into. Not sure exactly what we’re going to do with this space yet, but Ann is already picturing a Christmas tree in the window.

I love the bright sunlight that fills this space in the morning. Still trying to figure out what to put in this room, but I’m thinking about some kind of cozy chair(s) to curl up in with a cup of coffee or a good book. And aren’t the natural floors just beautiful?

Pawhuska house hardwood floors

The previous owners sanded and refinished the original hardwood floors. They are beautiful and we love that they left blemishes and original nails.

Pawhuska house living room

We love the way the sunlight comes in first thing in the morning.

The entryway opens up into a pretty good-sized living room, which we love. We’re hopeful that the temperatures here in Oklahoma will eventually cool down and we’ll want to use the fireplace.

Pawhuska house antique chair

This antique chair was given to us by Ann’s mom years ago. She had it in her first home when Ann was just a baby and it is so nice to have it with us in Pawhuska.

The bright yellow Tonka truck by the fireplace in the photo below was accidentally purchased at our first auction. I thought we were bidding on two round end tables and alerted Steve to bid. Without hesitation, he quickly raised his paper plate buyer’s number and the auctioneer said, “Sold!” Sadly, we were actually bidding on the truck (which we got for $10) and are still without end tables. Nonetheless, it makes a good conversation piece.

Pawhuska house fireplace

The beautiful fireplace in the living room with a working gas log is one of our favorite parts of the house. The Tonka truck was an accidental purchase at an auction. Long story, but great conversation piece.

Pawhuska house Harp Design candlesticks

We purchased these candlesticks from Harp Design Co., in Waco, Texas, last summer. We visited there two days after our first visit to Pawhuska.

Pawhuska living room

The living room of our Pawhuska home. The blue tape is where we’ll put a really cool map of Oklahoma that we’ve ordered.

We’ve tried to make the living room comfy, cozy and welcoming to friends and visitors. We’ve already had a few people stop by and can’t wait for Steve’s mom and dad to come for a visit in a few weeks.

As you know, we’ve picked up a few things for the house at area auctions, including this cute Crete Carrier collectible semi truck. While this large carrier company is now headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, it started in nearby Crete, Nebraska, where we have roots. Still need to find a real picture for that crackled frame.

Pawhuska house Crete truck.

We found this Crete Carrier Corp. toy truck at a local auction and thought it would be a great nod to our Nebraska roots. Crete Carrier is now based in Lincoln, but started in our hometown. Oh, and we still need a new photo for that frame.

Another little slice of memorabilia we’ve added to the bookcase in the living room is this selfie from a June 2017 road trip we had with our daughter, Meghan. This was the day after Steve’s last day as middle school principal and was taken just before we rolled into Pawhuska for the first time. We could never have imagined buying a house here just a little more than a year later and this photo is a great reminder that you never know how a new adventure will impact the rest of your life.

Picture entering Pawhuska

We took this picture in the summer of 2017 as we passed the sign coming in to Pawhuska for the first time. We never would have imagined that day that we’d own a house here a year later.

Of course, a postcard jar also made the move and this one is filled with postcards from all over the world sent to us by readers like you. We have been so blessed by your greetings and the opportunities to get to know so many wonderful people through our blog.

Pawhuska house postcard jar

Well, it just wouldn’t be home without a postcard jar.

We’re also getting to know our neighbors here and have visited two different churches. We’ve familiarized ourselves with new aisles at the grocery store and found new shortcuts across town (although you get about anywhere is less than three minutes).

The high school football team debuts on a new turf field this Friday night and we’re looking forward to that. We hope you’ve enjoyed this little peek inside our new home and life here in Oklahoma. We’ll share more later but right now, we need to take a break from blogging and get over to El Vallarta’s for the $4.99 lunch special.


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We recently bought 1,500 sq. ft. home in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Here's a peek inside.

We recently bought 1,500 sq. ft. home in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Here’s a peek inside.

What I love most about The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, OK

What I love most about The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, OK

It’s Valentine’s Day and that gets me thinking about all the things I love. My incredible family. Our fantastic church. The privilege of blogging about midlife travel. My electric mattress pad warmer. And yes, Edna Mae’s pancakes at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

Edna Mae's Pancakes at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Edna Mae’s Pancakes at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

I fell in love with them last summer when we visited The Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, for the first time. I knew from the start we were destined to have a long-term relationship and it has been true love ever since. The menu says the recipe for the tender and delicious pancakes came from Ladd Drummond’s grandmother, Edna Mae. They are served with a trio of flavored butters as well as signature syrups, including aged vanilla and cinnamon, orange zest and clove, and sea salt caramel. Do you see why I love them so much?

Here are a few more things I just love about The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

The Bathrooms

The beautiful bathrooms at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Our moms in the beautiful bathroom at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

The bathrooms at The Mercantile are so beautiful that women actually spend more time taking photographs of the subway tile than they do applying lipstick. And that’s saying something! The bright and roomy restroom has gorgeous tile floors, scented liquid soap, and thick paper towels for drying your hands. There are handy little hooks for hanging your purse while you wash and the bathroom stalls are well stocked with Charmin toilet paper.

The Cowboy Coffee

The Cowboy Coffee at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

The Cowboy Coffee at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

I dream about this coffee. I had it the first time we visited The Mercantile and every time we’ve been there, since. There’s just something wonderful about the way the baristas prepare this hot coffee, served “shot in the dark” style, infused with Sarsaparilla and topped with frothed milk and powdered espresso. The coffee is specially roasted for The Mercantile at Topeca Roastery in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and believe me, it is to die for.

The Turquoise-Colored Beads

Turquoise colored beads at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Turquoise colored beads at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Displayed throughout the store, these turquoise-colored beads are a Pioneer Woman signature item. This beaded necklace is the #1 seller in The Mercantile and seems to go with just about everything. You’ll see them worn by The Mercantile staff with black shirts and jeans and I think they make a great gift for any PW fan.

The Plastic Wrap Dispensers

Love this plastic wrap dispenser from The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Love this plastic wrap dispenser from The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

So, plastic wrap might not seem like a big deal to most people. It wasn’t to me, either, until I bought this self-proclaimed “World’s Best” plastic wrap and dispenser at The Mercantile. I am not exaggerating when I say it is life changing. My old beaten up, cardboard Saran Wrap box went right into the trash after I tried this dispenser last summer. For just $12, I completely eliminated the frustration of trying to find the end of the wrap as it clings to the roll or cut off a straight piece across a row of cheaply made metal teeth that slice your hand better than they cut the plastic.

Now, I simply measure out my wrap, gently slide a bar across the sturdy, decorative box and … voila … I am happy as a clam.

The People

Meg Kane visits with guests outside The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Meg Kane visits with guests outside The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Everyone we’ve met at The Mercantile (and Pawhuska, for that matter) has demonstrated sincere hospitality like we’ve never seen. On our first visit to The Mercantile last summer, we met Meg Kane who was in charge of keeping people in line outside the restaurant on a hot, summer day. She led trivia contests, passed out bottles of water and umbrellas and was just a delight to visit with. The Mercantile has plenty of staff readily available to answer questions, point you in the right direction, and even make recommendations for the very best dishes on the menu.

The Drummonds go above and beyond to make people feel welcome in their hometown, even hiring staff to open the doors for visitors. We’ve traveled all over the world and can honestly say Pawhuska, Oklahoma, has some of the nicest people we’ve ever met.

The Fried Chicken Sandwich

Fried chicken sandwich at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Fried chicken sandwich at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Hands down, this is the best fried chicken sandwich I’ve ever had. It is a crispy fried chicken breast with white cheddar cheese, honey mustard dressing, and creamy coleslaw on a toasted brioche roll. But my favorite part of this sandwich is the house made bread and butter pickles and I always ask for a few extra on the side. The sandwich is large enough for two meals and is served with homemade potato chips, all for $10!

The Decor

Love this sitting area on the second floor of The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Love this sitting area on the second floor of The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

I love everything about the decor at The Mercantile. The brick walls, wood floors, and the uncovered mural in the dining room all give this place a historic feel with modern touches. You’ll be awed by casual seating areas, complete with leather couches, southwestern rugs, and unique tables and chairs. We learned that many of the furnishings (including the furniture and rug in this picture) came from LOREC Ranch home furnishings which now has a showroom full of home decor accessories just north of The Mercantile on Kihekah Street. Stop in and tell Gay hello for us, if you go there.

I also love all of the large black and white photographs taken by Ree Drummond of scenes from their family ranch. Seeing pictures of her children when they were little and cattle on the ranch really give the space a personal touch.

The Fruit Flavored Iced Tea

Flavored tea at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Flavored tea at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

On a hot summer day, nothing quenches your thirst like a tall Mason jar filled with ice cold, fruit-flavored tea. The Mercantile menu includes a variety of fresh fruit purees in sweet and unsweet teas as well as in lemonade. I especially loved the blackberry tea served over pellet ice.

The Vintage Lip Balm

Vintage lip balm at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Vintage lip balm at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

When I saw this vintage lip licking lip balm in a glass jar at The Merc, it took me back to my childhood! I remember having these lip balms stuffed down into my back pocket in elementary school and collecting all the flavors, including my favorites, bubblegum and root beer. I loved the little metal containers and sliding the top back and forth during class. And for $5.50, I took home a wonderful memory.

The Tiny Bowls

Tiny bowls at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Tiny bowls at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Do these make you happy, or what? I love the plethora of tiny, colored bowls at The Mercantile. So many pretties in every color of the rainbow. There are polka dot bowls, mini spout bowls, nut bowls, berry bowls, and so on. I love all of the bright colors with their unique designs and every time we go there, they seem to have a new tiny bowl to tempt me. These bowls are great for entertaining, filling with salt and pepper for easy access near the stove, and for holding jewelry on a dresser.

The Prices

The prices at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile are very reasonable.

The prices at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile are very reasonable.

One thing we really love (and appreciate) about The Pioneer Woman Mercantile is the prices. We know that The Pioneer Woman brand is huge and the Drummonds could charge and arm and a leg for their food and goods but they don’t. At least to us, most things were very reasonably priced.

You can get the Farmer’s Breakfast including eggs, potatoes, ham, bacon, and house made sausage with a fluffy buttermilk biscuit and berry jam for only $10. Salads and sandwiches range from $7-15, while the most expensive dinner entree on the menu is the Cowboy Steak Dinner for just $24. I don’t know any other place you can get as good a 12 oz. USDA Choice ribeye steak with a twice-baked potato and green beans for that kind of money. And that queso dip appetizer for $8? Worth every penny — and every calorie.


Have you been to The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma? What did you love most about it? 

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The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Best of 2017 [part 2]: Our pics for best food, museums, views, and experiences

Best of 2017 [part 2]: Our pics for best food, museums, views, and experiences

In Best of 2017 [part 1] we posted our picks for best attraction, show, new place, and people. Today, we’re back to share some of the best food, museums, views, and experiences from our year in travel.

Best food –

Chicken fried steak at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile (Pawhuska, Oklahoma)

Chicken fried steak is a dish we’ve never made for dinner at home but enjoy ordering when we’re out. It’s a splurge for sure and if you’re going to take in the calories, you want it to be worth every one of them. The first time we went to Pawhuska, Oklahoma, this summer, it was a given that we’d try Ree Drummond’s chicken fried steak and it did not disappoint. In fact, Steve has tried chicken fried steaks all over the country and says the one at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile is, by far, the best he’s ever had.  It was a fork-tender, thinly sliced ribeye, breaded and fried to perfection, served with a side of delicious mashed potatoes, all smothered in creamy country gravy and five months later, he’s still talking about it.

Chicken fried steak at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile

Honorable mentions: Sunday brunch at College of the Ozarks (Branson, Missouri);  mini chocolate chip cookies at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch; the fresh fish and clam chowder up and down the Oregon coast; soup and salad at Salad Bros. (Rochester, Minnesota); and the garlic bread and steaks at The Peppermill (Valentine, Nebraska).

Sunday brunch, College of the Ozarks, Branson, Missouri

The College of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri, serves an amazing Sunday Brunch that is prepared and served entirely by students who are working to pay their tuition.

Chocolate chip cookies, Vala's Pumpkin Patch, Gretna, Nebraska

These mini chocolate chip cookies at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch near Omaha were the perfect blend of crunchy, chewy and sweet. Ann had to make Steve count to 30 between cookies so they would last longer.

Clam chowder in Oregon

Ann and Carol tried the clam chowder everywhere we went in Oregon.

Salad Brothers wild rice soup, mixed greens, and ranch pasta salad, Rochester, Minnesota

Ann’s favorite lunch in Rochester, Minnesota comes from a restaurant called Salad Brothers. It’s a mixed green/ranch pasta salad, a cup of wild rice soup and one of their delicious parmesan bread sticks.

Peppermill garlic bread, Valentine, Nebraska

The garlic bread at the Peppermill comes au jus for dipping.

Best museum –

Art Institute of Chicago

We love museums and make a point to go to them when we travel. This year, we visited several museums we’d never seen near our home in Nebraska, including the Benne Museum (Crete), Lincoln County Historical Museum (North Platte), and Homestead National Monument (Beatrice). But the museum visit we enjoyed the most was the morning we spent at the Art Institute of Chicago.

One of the most impressive pieces of work at the museum is Marc Chagall’s American Windows. These stained glass windows have recently been restored and are as beautiful as they are impressive.

Marc Chagall’s American Windows was absolutely breathtaking to see in person.

We also loved seeing the Thorne Miniature Rooms. We couldn’t get over the detail packed into these tiny rooms! Parquet flooring, tiny newspapers left folded on the table and even fruit trees outside the windows of these rooms were just some of the amazing details that made these miniatures look just like an actual room.

Steve looks at one of the many Thorne Miniature Rooms. We couldn’t get over the detail packed into these tiny rooms!

Honorable mentions: Space Center Houston (Houston, Texas); Centennial Museum (Valentine, Nebraska); Columbia River Maritime Museum (Astoria, Oregon); Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City); Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum (Ashland, Nebraska); Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve (Bartlesville, Oklahoma).

Apollo Mission Control Space Center Houston

The Apollo Mission Control room at Space Center Houston helped make history again and again.

Centennial Hall, electric hair curler, Valentine, Nebraska

We had never seen a hair curling device quite like this one we found at Centennial Hall. A number of readers remember them, though.

We spent several hours at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City on our summer vacation with Meghan and some other college students

We spent several hours at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City on our summer vacation with Meghan and some other college students.

Columbia River Maritime Museum US Coast Guard lifeboat, Astoria Oregon

This US Coast Guard lifeboat is on display at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Nearly impossible to sink, boats like this patrol the often dangerous Columbia River Bar and provide emergency assistance to boaters in need.

SAC Museum hangar, Ashland, Nebraska.

One of the hangars at the SAC Museum near Ashland, Nebraska. The museum allows visitors to walk right up the airplanes on display and even take a peek inside some of them providing a look into the history of military aviation.

Woolaroc Museum mosaic, Woolaroc, Oklahoma

Located near Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the Woolaroc museum is loaded with art and artifacts from the collection of Frank Phillips. Mosaics like this one show the high level of artistry you’ll find there.

Best view –

Off the stern of the Carnival Valor in the Gulf of Mexico

There is nothing more calm and relaxing that watching the wake (and the world) go by from the stern of a cruise ship. Let’s just say, this is Steve’s “happy place.” We’ve taken six cruises so far and one of our favorite things to do on each one is simply sit back, relax, and watch the water. The views are spectacular and the weight of the world just seems to drift away with every wave.

Wake of the Carnival Valor

Steve loved watching the wake of the Carnival Valor on our trip across the Gulf of Mexico.

Honorable mentions: The shoreline at DePoe Bay (Oregon); from the top of the lookout tower at Nebraska National Forest (Halsey, Nebraska); from the blind at Rowe Sanctuary during the annual Sandhill Crane Migration (Gibbon, Nebraska); from the air while flying into Key West (Florida); from the deck of the lodge at Drummond Ranch (Pawhuska, Oklahoma).

Oregon Coast, Depoe Bay, Oregon

We stood and watched whales in the Pacific Ocean in Depoe Bay, Oregon.

View from Scott Lookout Tower, Nebraska National Forest

The view from the top of the Scott Lookout Tower across the Sandhills at the Nebraska National Forest. You could see for miles.

We watched thousands of Sandhill Cranes gather at sunset on the Platte River near Gibbon, Nebraska.

Florida Keys from the air, near Key West, Florida

Passengers on flights into Key West get to see views like this as they approach the airport; views that tell them they made a good choice in going there.

Pioneer Woman's lodge view

The view from the lodge across the Drummond Ranch near Pawhuska, Oklahoma, is absolutely incredible.

Best experience –

Watching the total solar eclipse from our own back yard

Of the hundreds of new new things we did while traveling this year, none compares to experiencing our first total solar eclipse from our own yard. We spent the day with family, college students, old friends, and new people we met that day. We were all in awe as we watched the sun go behind the moon and for two minutes and thirty-six seconds, we experienced one of the rarest occurrences in the universe. It was absolutely spectacular.

Steve and his dad, John Teget, watch the total solar eclipse from our front yard in Crete, Nebraska.

Steve and his dad, John Teget, watch the total solar eclipse from our front yard in Crete, Nebraska.

Total solar eclipse photo by Ronald D. Koch of Crete, Nebraska.

Total solar eclipse photo by Ronald D. Koch of Crete, Nebraska.

Honorable mentions: Whale watching in the Pacific Northwest; judging the National Indian Taco Championships (Pawhuska, Oklahoma); tasting Pinot Noir while feeding llamas at the Rain Dance Winery (Newberg, Oregon); traveling with our parents (Nebraska, Key West, Oregon, Oklahoma, Kansas); swimming in a cenote in Mexico; and throwing our boys off a tube on Table Rock Lake (Branson, Missouri).

Whale watching, Depoe Bay, Oregon

Visitors to Depoe Bay, Oregon, can stand along this wall and watch whales breaching in the water below.

Indian Taco fry bread being cooked in oil at the National Indian Taco Championships in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Indian Taco fry bread being cooked in oil at the National Indian Taco Championships in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Rain Dance Vineyards, feeding a llama, Newberg, Oregon

Meghan sips Pinot Noir while feeding a llama at Rain Dance vineyards near Newberg, Oregon.

Smith Falls, Valentine, Nebraska

We had a wonderful trip around Nebraska with Steve’s mom and dad this summer. Here we are at Smith Falls near Valentine, Nebraska.

We had such a good time with Ann's mom, Carol, on a trip to Oregon to see the coast and watch the Nebraska Cornhusker football team play the Oregon Ducks.

We had such a good time with Ann’s tiny mom, Carol, on a trip to Oregon to see the coast and watch the Nebraska Cornhusker football team play the Oregon Ducks.

Meghan and Steve swam in this cenote (can you find them) on our family vacation in Mexico this summer.

Meghan and Steve swam in this cenote (can you find them) on our family vacation in Mexico this summer.

Tubing on Table Rock Lake, Branson, Missouri

Michael, Josiah, and Davron loved tubing on Table Rock Lake near Branson. Steve loved driving the boat and making them fly off the tube.


What were some of your “bests” of 2017? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.