Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | September 28, 2011

Tips for Avoiding & Handling Laptop Theft

Emily and Josh recently had their laptops stolen…They were sleeping upstairs and had forgotten to lock the back door.  Someone let himself in and took what he could…it took Josh and Emily a little while to figure out exactly what was gone: both laptops, Josh’s wallet, phone, and keys…which made them look outside to see..nothing.  No car.  They’re thankful they’re safe, but it was a hard week trying to replace everything and get it all worked out.  I am sharing Emily’s tips she shared on her blog in case they help you!

  • Lock your doors. It’s a no-brainer, really, but still a crucial step in protecting yourself against thieves.  This includes windows by the way.  Thieves wait for nice weather, hoping you’ll forget to close and lock your windows. They also look for homes with families- they know that parents forget to lock back doors after their kids go in and out all day {or kids forget to lock after they go back in}.
  • Back up your computer at least weekly. Back it up with an external hard drive that you keep in secure place, preferably somewhere different than your laptop so that it doesn’t get stolen, too.
  • Back up your work online. If you create lots of docs you’d like to save securely, try a program like Drop Box.  Josh uses it for his PhD thesis/dissertation and it’s an easy, fast way to back up his doctoral research online.
  • Install Covenant Eyes. This accountability program is fantastic for holding users accountable for where they go online.  Covenant Eyes is great for making sure no one strays where they shouldn’t.  An added bonus is that if a robber tries to go online, Covenant Eyes can track the IP address and possibly help the police recover the stolen laptop!
  • Invest in insurance. If you lose your stuff, you’ll wish you had.  Enough said.
  • Keep good records. This can be a hassle, but your insurance is worth very little if you can’t prove what you had and how much it cost.  Fortunately, Josh scanned in their laptop receipts and can prove exactly what they had.
  • Don’t let thieves rob you of an ergonomic work station. If all else fails and you have to get new laptops or accessories {even though they left Em’s wireless mouse I gave her, its usb port was still inserted, so it’s useless}, go ergonomic!  Just because you have to replace your equipment doesn’t mean you should downgrade…or even buy exactly what you had.  Take this time to assess what you need {and even don’t need} and make an ergonomic choice. Emily misses a full-sized keyboard and a wireless mouse.

Hopefully you can save yourself the trouble of a theft!

Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | September 23, 2011

Weekend Recipe: Vanilla Scones

Here is a great, American measurement-based recipe for delicious scones!  They are wonderful with a cup of tea, or for breakfast or a fun brunch with friends.  You can add any flavor of chocolate chip {we love chocolate chips for half and butterscotch chips for the other half}, dried fruit, or whatever sounds good to you!

Weekend Recipe: Vanilla Scones

  • You can dust them with flour, or even sprinkles...or for a golden look, brush egg on the top- all prior to baking.

    3 1/2 c flour

  • 2T baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 c melted butter
  • 1c milk
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1/2 c sugar
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder.  In a larger bowl, combine beaten eggs and the rest of the ingredients {minus your flour mixture} until smooth.  Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until mixed and sticky.  Add your chocolate chips {whatever you want- we usually half the batter and do 2 flavors} and drop by big spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until just browned on top.
Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | September 21, 2011

Emily’s Baby Shower

Becky, Julia {my cousin’s daughter-in-law}, and Antonia {a sweet family friend}  threw a baby shower at our house  for Emily and Baby Girl the night before Em and the kids left for Scotland!  We didn’t mean for it to be the last night, but it just happened that way.  Antonia made an incredible Mexican dinner for all the guests, and we had a ball catching up with friends and family.  I know Emily felt very loved and blessed by the people who came.  It was fun for us to see pink again and imagine what this little girl will be like!  We’re expecting her in about 7 weeks!

Diaper Cake Becky made!

Onesies and hair bows Julia made

Rachael & Sarah- great friends from Josh and Em's college ministry days

Some of our family- tons on both sides were able to come!

Emily, the kids, and me 

Just one of the many delicious things Antonia made

Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | September 19, 2011

American Home Shield Information

Most of our clients have loved having the security of their American Home Shield warranties.  There’s nothing quite like having your air conditioner go out in the middle of the summer to realize how much you need a warranty on your home.  That said, be sure to look into getting a warranty- we obviously recommend American Home Shield because you can trust them to take care of you and we have a great history with them.

Now if  you already have an American Home Shield on your house and are in need of repair, please send an email to Sara Kitt at telling her what contractor you need and what the problem is.  Her business hours are Monday – Friday 9am-5pm.*

Please be sure to tell her that you are our clients in the email as we send them considerable business, and they like to keep us happy. 🙂  She is the assistant to Mary Murphy who represents AHS at our office and has been a tremendous help to our clients as well as us personally. Sara will get in touch with their better contractors and have them contact you, and you will get quicker  service.

*If it is an emergency and you cannot wait for Sara to be in the office you have the option of placing the order online at or calling (800) 776-4663.

I hope this will be helpful information for you!

Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | September 16, 2011

Weekend Recipe: Asian Chicken Skewers

As promised last week, here is the second Asian kebab/skewer recipe for your grill.  It is also delicious and light!

Soy-Mirin Chicken Skewers


  • 1/3 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut lengthwise into 1-inch strips
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 8 pieces
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 3 cups hot cooked rice


  • Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; add chicken to bowl, and toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes, turning chicken occasionally.
  • Prepare grill.
  • Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Place marinade in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 5 minutes). Thread chicken and bell peppers on 8 (12-inch) wooden skewers. Brush skewers with marinade. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 4 minutes on each side or until done, brushing occasionally with remaining marinade. Remove from grill; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with rice.
Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | September 14, 2011

Riley’s 4th Birthday!

Riley turned 4 on Labor Day, and we celebrated her birthday with her friends that Saturday with a fun-filled, rainbow-themed party!  Even though the heat had fully returned, we had a great time with Billy, Becky, Riley, William, Emily and her family, as well as Riley’s school and church friends.  Becky did a great job of planning some crafts, “fishing,” hair-painting, face-painting, and pinata hitting that all the kids thoroughly enjoyed!

Rainbow cake!

Becky & me

Pinata & Balloons

Billy & Bill getting a breather


Riley, Rebekah, & Luke


Riley graciously sharing her 4-wheeler with her cousin 🙂

"Fishing" for treats


Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | September 12, 2011

Helen, Hayden, Hillary, & Hutton!

Emily, Rebekah, and Luke are back in town for a few more days before they are off to Scotland to finish their last year there.  One of the things we love most is hanging out as a family, and Rebekah and Luke seem to enjoy it, too!  In fact, Rebekah had a hard time containing her excitement over seeing her cousin Hayden!  Helen, Hillary, Hayden, and 6-month old Hutton came over for dinner last week and Hayden was the “belle” of the ball with the kids as usual!  That poor guy put in his time and was probably glad he skipped his workout since he got so much hide and seek and chasing in!

Rebekah and Hayden

Hutton and me

And, just for fun….


Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | September 9, 2011

Weekend Recipe: An Asian-Inspired Grill Night!

If you’re tired of the traditional fare for grilling time, check out this Asian-inspired kebab recipe.  It is light {from Cooking Light} , delicious, and so different from your normal barbecue.

Hoisin-Glazed Beef Kebabs


2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon chile paste with garlic
1 pound beef tenderloin filets, cut into 16 cubes
16 (2-inch) pieces green onions (about 4 onions)
16 grape tomatoes

Cooking spray


1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add beef to bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.
3. Thread 4 beef cubes, 4 onion pieces, and 4 tomatoes alternately onto each of 4 (12-inch) skewers. Place kebabs on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

Be sure to check back next week for another Asian skewer!

Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | September 7, 2011

Time with Linny!

I just love my cousins and their families!  My mother’s sister, whom I call Petie, and her children are very dear to me.  Most of us have moved around and out of Texas, so it’s always a priority for me to see them when they’re in town.  We live across the street from Kathy, Carol is married to my cousin Tracy and they live in Dallas, too, as do Petie and Jige.  Allison (not pictured) lives in CO, Linny and her husband are back from Germany but are located in NE (he is a chaplain in the Air Force).  Since Linny was in town, we had a great reason to have a ladies’ luncheon!

Kathy, Petie, Carol, and Linny (center and then around clockwise)

Petie, me, Carol, and Linny

Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | September 5, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday, Riley Jane!!

Today our sweet girl turns 4!  Riley is such a firecracker- she keeps us laughing all the time and is a little too smart for her own good.  She is pretty feisty and will probably surpass her father’s sales abilities by the time she’s 10- and that’s saying something!

Happy birthday, Riley!

(You can get a pretty good sense of Riley from this sassy photo!)


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