Friday, February 27, 2015

The Summons

The Summons, sung by David Haas


These days, Snow Fort building is a bit easier than when I was a kid!  A Snow Day led to an outdoor adventure which I was very happy about.
The big kids built a giant igloo out front.
Large snowballs topped the upper edge of the fort.
They spent hours on it.
As soon as the roads cleared, the little kids came over to enjoy it with them:)

OCD Accomplishment

While cleaning my desk, I had the fun of discovering that all of my Christmas Receipts from the past seven Christmases were still available!!! Normal folks will groan here because this is plain crazy but how satisfying! No year thrown away. Yay!
These start from Christmas 2008. I keep all receipts in one envelope in my purse beginning in late October while shopping for gifts. The reason is, I can make returns with no difficulty. Sometimes, I add them up to see the total spent for Christmas. It also comes in handy to have the receipt if a gift item breaks or doesn't fit. The envelope is thinner in 2008 because our family has grown  since then. I went ahead and kept these envelopes while cleaning because I like the continuity involved.

Desk Purge

This is the top of my desk after three years of medical bills and pharmacy receipts were removed.
It has been so crowded and unusable that I have had to pay my bills on a separate table. This project has been on my To-Do List since September.
I spent three days going through everything on it. One basket is trash, one basket needs to be shredded and a large amount of items were properly filed in the cabinet next to it.
Now it is clean and I will enjoy being able to sit at it to pay bills next time!

Banana Cake

Once again, I used the internet to obtain a recipe, this time for Banana Cake. I had planned to use the MANY frozen bananas I had stored in my freezer to make this but I changed my mind. There were more than twelve frozen over-ripe bananas but none of them had dates on them. Although I have a cast iron stomach and almost nothing bothers my digestion, not everyone does. For the sake of food safety, I decided to throw them all out and use the six ripe bananas on my counter top instead.
Cream cheese icing was used to frost the cake.

The recipe made about 15 cupcakes and a Bundt cake. I let the kids eat the cupcakes, but because this is Lent, I froze the cake to bring out on Sunday.

A Time to Plow

Larry spent his Saturday plowing out the neighborhood on his ATV. He travelled up and down most of our neighbors' driveways to plow them out. The fine powdered snow fell all day long.
The neighbors appreciated his kindness. After being outside all afternoon, he came in for some homemade hot chocolate, and a big bowl of chili!

Queso Dip

A big pot of chili was on the menu for a cold and snowy weekend so Allyson suggested we make some Queso dip to go along with it. I have never seen this made before and was intrigued. We had the large box of Velveeta, and Allyson picked out the Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes with green chilis and Tostito Scoops.
This is easy to make! Cut the Velveeta up into a saucepan, add two small cans of the Ro-Tel and heat on the stove.
The cheese melted in no time. This dip is so perfectly spiced!!! We all loved it.
The chili turned out very well and we learned a new way to eat it. At Aunt Cecila's house this is how it's done- put the Queso sauce over top of the chili in your bowl and eat with tostito scoops. This was really great and hit the spot through the cold weekend.

Sick and Tired

My dear Sambo was so sick that he went into the hospital to receive IV fluids and monitoring. He never did get a diagnosis except for a strong viral illness. I appreciated the doctor putting him right in because he looked terrible in the office and had been moaning in pain and discomfort.
When he got home, My Mom suggested that he have an onion cut up next to him at all times to restore free breathing. I threw a bit of garlic on the plate as well. Where Sam went, the onion went. Allyson, his cousin and buddy, kept him company.
He missed four days of school, wrapped around a weekend with a few snow days thrown in as well. His activities are reduced until he gains full strength. This virus was tough and I give Thanks to God for his improvement.

Vegetarian Chili

For our Lenten Supper at church, I prepared two crockpots full of  Vegetarian Chili.
This was just one small part of a meal prepared for the parish on a Friday night in Lent.
Baked russet and sweet potatoes with all the fixings, potatoe pancakes, cheese omelets, fresh cooked broccoli and homemade tuna and cheese empanadas were also on the menu. Folks came for dinner at the church and donated what they wanted to or could afford for this all you could eat dinner.
879 dollars was raised for Work Camp, the organization who put on this meal. I came home with no leftovers- both crockpots of this vegetable and bean meal were all eaten up.

Snow Boys

It was time to get the boys outside and lucky for them it was actually snowing!
In my opinion, boys and girls need lots of fresh air and outdoor play to turn out well.
The little folks usually want to go out.  Sometimes I have to make the big ones go out, but they have a good time once they get out there!
I have a friend who said that when she was a kid, her mother locked the door after the kids went out in the morning so they couldn't get back in.  She always claimed to have just washed the floor!

Rueben Sandwiches

My mom has been buying delicious name brand, high end corned beef at the deli with all the fixings and treating us to reuben sandwiches. Aunt Nancy prepared the sandwiches when we visited Mom and they were so amazing that I looked forward to making these at home!
This is what you need to make an excellent Rueben. Sliced corned beef ( we bought Boar's Head brand), Swiss cheese, sauerkraut (drained), Thousand Island dressing and rye bread. Also butter for the outside of the bread to prepare it for stove-top grilling.
When they were golden brown, they were cut in half because these were loaded up with fillings. Extra dressing was available on the side to dip into. Even folks who don't normally like sauerkraut will dig these restaurant quality sandwiches!


On Sunday afternoon, our out-of-town folks stopped by to visit. It was so great to see them!

A friend of mine, a mom of both older and younger kids recently said to me how much their family makes over the older kids who come back to visit. I knew just what she was talking about. It is such a treat to see and to spend time with our older children who are now adults and don't live here anymore. More than anything, it is fun! I can relate to my parents so much- we hardly ever "invite" our kids over- they just show up because we are so often at home. This is a great gift and one that I truly appreciate. Thank you for your love, kids ( including my sons and daughters by marriage) but also for your friendship!

Valentine Baking Party

After the concert, we adjourned to the house for some food and fellowship!
Natalie likes to spend quality time baking with the kids.
She purchased cake mix and chocolate candies for cookies and set up shop.
Too many sweets were baked!
Folks hung out visiting with each other.
Notice how Pip-Squeak sucks her thumb backwards. She does it this way every time.

Toward evening, a new weather pattern blew in with high winds. We experienced a drop in temperature of about 20 degrees and a complete white out of snow. You couldn't see six feet in front of you! It came out of nowhere and lasted for about twenty minutes to one half hour. All we could think about was how dangerous this was for anyone driving. It was so sudden and visibility even on the deck went to almost zero. When it died down, our family members made it home safely, by God's Grace with some near misses!

All District Choir

John was selected to participate in All District Choir. This was a gathering of a few kids from each of 16 Middle Schools to sing together over two days and then perform at a concert. John loves to sing and has a deep Bass voice. The guest choir director was nationally known (to choir teachers) and was so sweet when speaking to the audience at the concert. I liked that she encouraged the kids to keep singing throughout their lives as music speaks to the soul. She said that their talent was "God Given" and that they should sing in their church choirs when they grow up. This kind of reference is so unusual in the public square.  It made a wonderful impression on me.
The concert was mid-day on a Saturday, 30 minutes long and absolutely free so we invited the family to come hear John sing.
The choir selections were spiritual - Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho, Gloria, Sanctus, and Hush my Babe.  We really enjoyed the music and I teared up a few times because it was so beautiful. I am happy that John had this terrific opportunity and delighted that the young folks came out to see him shine!

Game Night

Kit's Mom invited the girls who were in the Cooking Club last year for a Mardi Gras Game Night.
This turned out to be a big success!
My friend had picked up fun decorations from the Dollar Store including Mardi Gras masks and beads. She served pizza and ice cream to a group of about ten girls who are friends from church.
Her thinking was that in many situations, the kids no sooner get the game out and set up, then it is time to go home. They never have time to actually play! This party was three hours long from 5 to 8 on a Friday night, with dinner included. The Moms all enjoyed seeing each other at the drop off and pick up, and the girls had a blast!

Curlers in Your Hair

Juby put bathing suits on everybody and they all took a bath. Patience asked me to curl her hair.
I sooo wanted to trim it because I love to cut hair but both she and I kept saying that we had to ask Mommy first. The temptation was resisted and the curling commenced.
These soft sponge rollers do an amazing job! Patience inherited wonderful hair with "body".
Her hair looked great when we took them out. Her Daddy noticed right away that she had had her hair done when he picked her up.


Allyson passed her EMT exam on the first try and is now certified as a First Responder. She took a class over many weeks time to learn the material.
A couple of her buddies at the station warned her that many folks don't pass on their initial attempt at this test. She, however, is a very determined young lady!  She also knows how to study, perhaps as a direct result of having educated herself at home.
Good luck to you and thanks for volunteering!

Sugar Cookies

I volunteered to send in a couple of large rolls of sugar cookies for Juby's class, . They were making a fruit "pizza" made from a cookie crust. Luckily, I confirmed the details with her teacher the day before they were due. Instead of a roll from the super market, my cookies needed to be baked and each one very large! The children would then decorate their own personal cookie with a cream cheese base and top with little pieces of fresh fruit.
 I found a recipe on-line for "cookie exchange worthy" sugar cookies. I baked very late into the evening using a roller pin and a drinking glass for a shape cutter. The recipe, doubled, made about 5 dozen delicious cookies.  This recipe was probably very close to the one that Holly used for her cookie party at Christmas time. I found out that these cookies are fun to bake and not as difficult as I have always imagined. Now, I have a nice recipe and some experience and may be able to finally use all of the wonderful cookie cutters I own for various holidays.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Different; Tasha Page-Lockhart

Our jam for February celebrates God's saving Grace!

The Nut Fest Picture

With the money leftover from the Nut Fest kitty, we were able to frame a large picture of the official portrait, taken by Aunt Wendy, of our large family reunion. We all made a gift of this to my parents who helped to host the event. This turned out very well!

Larry is excellent at hanging pictures and he helped Mom and Dad to get it just right.

 It occupies a place of honor in their living room.
With the last of the money left, we printed out over thirty banner sized copies of the picture to give to the folks who attended. Many of those pictures were given out on Thanksgiving Day to the local families.

The rest were mailed out in tubes to the families who traveled great distances to attend our fabulous family reunion, or wished they could have. It was a joy to say hello to each one in a note.
The entire weekend of the Nut Fest exceeded our expectations and rekindled the love and respect we have for our distant family members and for each other. It was fun to plan and execute and we appreciate the generous donations from our entire extended family which made it all possible.