Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Recipe for Success

Ever had a project that took awhile to complete?

Two years ago I bought a new three ring book that was designed to hold 4 by 6 inch recipe cards, two to a page.  Many years ago I bought a photo album with flip pages measuring 3 X 5 inches.  I put it in a napkin holder that Jim made in seventh grade shop class and clipped the pages with a clothes pins to hold the pages up when I was using it.  It was a flip up recipe holder.  After carefully recopying my favorite recipes on cards with a black Flair pen, it worked rather well.  However, that was about 30 years ago.  It was well used and, by now, pretty ragged.  Time to update the recipes and their presentation.

So — yesterday was glorious!  An early fall day with the sun shining and low humidity and a gentle breeze tinkling the wind chimes.  It was a perfect day to spend on the screened porch.  Besides, the house cleaning crew was coming . . .

I gathered up my mess from the TV tray in the living room and moved my base of operations (as my husband, the former first sergeant, calls it) out to the table on the porch.  By afternoon I had recipes and pages organized.  Then I remembered my mother’s recipe box which I retrieved from a bookshelf where it had sat for 8 years since we cleared out Christine’s house who had all of mother’s stuff.

Wow!  What a trip down memory lane.  I found recipes from both Grandmother Washburn and Grandmother Hubble in their handwriting.  Into the book they went.  Mother had also used recipe cards that I had given her.  Her name was printed on the top line.

Two recipes that Mother had passed on were Snowballs, a butter cookie with chopped pecans rolled in powdered sugar.  And Cream Cheese Cookies.  Both are real family favorites and I make them every Christmas.  Once my next door neighbor called, wanting that recipe.  She had been very ill and it hit me — she really wants the cookies and is too polite to ask.  I quickly took her a plate with instructions to hide them from the rest of the family!  In fact, these cookies were so popular at Christmas time at Dale’s work place that arguments ensued if piggish people ate more than their fair share.  I digress.

One recipe was for Baked Chop Suey Casserole.  In the 1950s, we, who lived in a small town in southern Illinois, thought it was quite an exotic dish.  In those days the nearest Chinese restaurant was probably in Chicago.  I can’t wait to fix it.  I’m sure no self respecting Asian would ever think this dish was even remotely authentic, but heck, what did we know?

Another was for Green Noodle Casserole.  It was such a hit that Mother made it for company.  Once, in the 1960s, before we had children, Dale and I went to Lincoln to help Mom and Dad with a dinner party.  Dale was the bartender and I was the kitchen maid.  Mother sat up a buffet with this dish, a green salad, dinner rolls and her Cream Cheese Pie and her best china and silver.  What a lovely party!  I learned that day that simple foods are okay for a special occasion.  They can be made ahead of time.  You have more fun and so do your guests.


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Our New Secretary

We babysat Abby yesterday.  While her daddy took Austin to a football game, she came to spend the day with us. Besides singing songs with her grandfather,  she was interested in the dogs, the cat and the fish and the doll house.

Ginger is called the “good dog” because she doesn’t bark at little girls; Annie doesn’t earn that title.  She wanted to know if that “other dog” was in “her room” where the doll house is kept. She was and, of course, promptly barked from her crate when we entered the room.

I said aloud in the car that I needed to feed Raggs, our calico cat, when we got home.  As soon as we got in the house, she reminded me.  Later, again back in the car, Bruce asked if I’d fed the fish.  No.  Little Missy reminded me again after we returned from seeing Lion King.

Also in the car (yes, we were in and out all day) I lamented that I wished we had cup holders in the back seat.  “In my daddy’s car, they are there,” she said, pointing to the folded up arm rest.   I pulled it down. Sure enough. There they were.  I’ve only owned that car for five years. . . . sigh.

Need sorting out?  Give the job to a four year old.

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Home Again

Except for new, yet cranky, tire, our reunion trip was uneventful.  Hugh went with us this year so we met him in Asheville and, therefore, had a new route and new scenery.  Bruce and I decided we like it better. Anything to avoid Atlanta traffic . . . .

The sidewall of the tire gave out about 10 miles west of Evansville.  At least I had two fellas to change it.  We limped into Fairfield 30 miles away on the baby tire and headed for the local Wally World for a replacement.  It was the only tire place open on a Saturday afternoon.  I would think tire shops would be rather busy on a Saturday — but what do I know?  We thought the tire guy was going to cry when he saw the amount of tread still on the relatively new tire.  However, stuff happens and we just bought a new tire and drove across the road to the motel.

Needless to say, our cousins were absolutely delighted to see Hugh as it had been some years since he had attended and no one knew he was coming.  We enjoyed the lively and humorous conversations!  There’s nothing like a hearty belly laugh with people you love.  The weather was even not too hot — a rare occurrence in August.

A surprising discovery was that there are several variations of Grandma Hubble’s  famous ham loaf recipe. Who knew?  Now I won’t rest until I try the new versions.   Then I can make an educated recommendation next year to the cousins.  Oh, if only we could ask Grandma.  Better yet, I wish she could just bake it for us.  Hers was always the best.


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Good Time

A Mother’s Day celebration requires good food and lots of love.  Many in Augusta had the same idea — that going early Saturday afternoon at the local Olive Garden would help us beat the crowds. Nope — not so.  However, the more time to wait, the more time to visit.  That’s always good.

I guess, by now, a Sunday afternoon on the porch snoozing with the newspaper is a firm tradition.  It certainly feels good any time of the year, but especially today.

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New granddaughter, Lila, arrived this week — 6 lbs. 15 oz. – 20 1/2 inches long.  So far she has  dark hair.  Mother and daughter are doing well, although Momma had to have a c-section.  They are home and establishing a new routine.  It’s also amazing that a creature so small, requires so much stuff and so much time.  Dave is home for the next two weeks to help.  He’ll probably have to return to work to rest up!

Tomorrow they’re coming to begin our kitchen remodeling.  Bruce and I spent most of Friday and Saturday packing up the kitchen and setting up a make-shift microwave kitchen in the study/computer room.  The coffee pot and electric kettle are in the master bathroom.  The refrig is the only appliance we’re not replacing as it’s only three years old.  The sink is taking a complete 180 degree turn to the other side of the room and the range is going where the sink is now.  We’ll have all new cabinets with a pantry tower and pull-outs and lazy-susans and new lights and more outlets — all the things I’ve been wanting for a long time.  We just decided it was time to bite the bullet and do it.  It’s like me and my Honda.  Four years ago I finally got the car I’ve always wanted, with all the accessories I wanted.  I’m still very happy every time I drive her.  After we finish this project, I hope I’m equally as happy when I step in there.  It will get good gas mileage too — this one is all electric!

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Question:  What is ironic about rebuilding a deck and not even smashing your thumb?  Answer:  Falling on the ramp leaving the tool shed after putting all the tools away.  That was Bruce’s dilemma last week.  A torn ligament in his left ankle with a fracture of the tibia and a spiral fracture of his fibula.  After a surgical repair of the ligament, he is in a cast, not able to bear weight on that leg for three months, so not to break the screws in that ankle.

The doctor said he could sit in his wheelchair on the deck and admire his handiwork!  (Funny, Doc. . . .)

Speaking of wheelchairs.  The first one the medical supply place sent us was gorgeous.  It had all the bells and whistles.  Problem?  It was so big I couldn’t lift it into the trunk of the car.  They also sent a wheeled walker. Problem?  It was too slick for Bruce to manage on laminate floors.  Back they both went.

The next company sent a much lighter chair than is more manageable.  Although it doesn’t dance and sing “Dixie”,  I can handle it.  I’ve learned to lift it onto a thick blanket pad on the edge of the trunk and slide it into the car.  I resurrected my old walker and shower chair from the infamous shed that were left over from  my knee surgeries and he is using those.  He is getting stronger and, therefore more agile each day  (if that’s at all possible on one leg.)   Only two months and 20 days to go!

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Familiar Faces

One of the great parts of this year’s family reunion in Illinois was the CDs my cousins made for all of us.  Lots of old family photos from each branch of the ten children of our great-grandparents.

One photo was especially poignant.  There were Aunt Wenonah and Aunt Beulah as young girls about 8 and 9.  Looking back were the faces of their granddaughters, Sara and Janet.  I have this theory that children often look more like their grandparents than they do their parents.  I’ve seen it over and over.  I never realized how much son, David, looked like my dad until I found a picture of daddy at 21. There was David looking back. One of Bruce’s grandsons is the image of his granddad.  He even smiles just like Bruce.  When you think of all the genetic combinations possible, it’s a wonder that it happens at all.  But — thank heavens it does.  We need our family faces.  It keeps us connected, doesn’t it?

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