Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas 2013 * Thankful for Family and so much MORE!

We had such wonderful family gatherings this year. Many gatherings held at our house... our kids and grandkids were all able to be here on the Sunday before Christmas, and my husband's side of the family (about 25 or so) were at our house this year on Christmas Eve, and then we hosted my side of the family's Christmas gathering (about 60+) the Saturday after Christmas. I am so thankful for all sides of our family, and thankful for gathering in celebration of Jesus' birth, yet missing those who could not be with us as well.

Friday, December 20, 2013

ECVA Latest Online Exhibition, "Advent 2013: a photographic journey"

ECVA's Latest Online Exhibition, Advent 2013 recently posted the latest entries that were chosen for this online exhibit.   I had entered three photos, and am honored that all three were chosen.  I am especially thankful for featuring the photo I entered of my Dad's Last Christmas in This Life, showing my Dad on Christmas Day, as an acolyte near the altar.   It means a lot to me and to my Mom too, that it was one of the photos chosen in this exhibit.  Check out all the other wonderful entries in it too at the link!  Thanks ECVA!!Dad's Last Christmas in This Life

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lack of Blog Posts....

So, as anyone can see... I have not posted on my blog for months and months.

I guess the death of my Dad has a lot to do with that. I miss Dad soooo much, as do my sisters and brother, all the spouses and relatives as well. My immediate family is very large... I've lost count even... but there are over 75 of us (sisters, brother, spouses, our kids, grandkids, my sibblings kids, spouses and grandkids too) ...

Anyway ... we've all been busy being with Mom, taking care of her, spending overnights, and doing family things ... time gets away from us often.

It's easier to post things on Facebook too, so many of my photos and things are there instead of here.

But, I am hoping I can maybe do a back date of some of the things that have happened since June that I have not posted about. I used to use my blog as a kind of diary, and it was fun to do that, and look back. I want to have that record for my kids, grandkids and family still, I hope to update, or continue on from this point in posts.

Bear with me, I am still around, just doing things differently now too.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day 2013 * Missing my Dad!

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there, and Father figures in our lives!

We had a nice brunch at Church this morning... the Sunday School kids helped by making chocolate covered strawberries for it, helping set up, make coffee, put out juice, bring up plates to the narthex, and more. We had a hotdog and brat roast with appetizers honoring all the men of the parish, and some fun duct tape gifts too.

It was nice to have all our kids there and grandkids too!

Here are some photos from this morning...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chocolate Bacon Skewers... YUMMM!!

A friend of mine had posted a recipe for this, and it sounded like something fun to try.  I changed the recipe a bit, and used what I had here at home to make it... they turned out great!  A new taste sensation I might just have to make for the Father's Day Pot-Luck Brunch at Church!

The recipe called for thick cut bacon, but I just used regular cut bacon.
Weave it on a wooden skewer ribbon style. The recipe said to brush it with maple syrup generously. I couldn't find my pastry brush, so I just squirted some maple pancake syrup on both sides, generously. Make sure you foil line a baking pan (with sides), and put the bacon skewers on racks too.  Bake at 425 for at least 10 minutes on both sides, turning after 10 minutes. I actually had to bake it a lot longer than 10 minutes to get it crispy, the way I like it.

This is the bacon after it was done baking in the oven.  Let it cool well, then add chcolate drizzled on both sides.  I used those chocolate disks that you can melt in the microwave.  You melt them in a dish for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.  Then I put the melted chocolate in a plastic bag, snipped off the corner, and squirted it out the hole to drizzle it on the cooled bacon skewers.
The results turned out like this... pretty yummy!!
Loved the saltiness of the bacon with the sweetness of the chocolate.

They were a hit with my friends who I tried them out on tonite too!


UPDATE:  Here are some I made for the Father's Day Brunch ... turned out to be a hit too!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rhubarb Sugar Cookies with Rhubarb Sauce Glaze Experiment

I had seen a post for rhubarb cookies on Pinterest, but decided to try to make some with ingredients I had handy.  I chopped up some rhubarb, smaller pieces for cookies, added part of a package of raspberry jello sugar to it to give it a little more color and flavor.  I put the mixture in the microwave for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, it softened up the rhubarb some and cooked it a little too.  Then I drained it.

I had a package of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix, all you do is add a stick of butter and an egg to it... so, I made it according to package directions.

I preheated the oven to 375 degrees, added the chopped, drained rhubarb to the cookie dough, and dropped onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet in small spoonfuls.

I already had rhubarb sauce I had made, so I added powdered sugar to thicken it into a glaze. (If I was doing this from scratch, I wouldn't have already pre-sweetened the rhubarb sauce since the powdered sugar sweetens it well.)

I baked the cookies for about 12 - 13 minutes or so at 375, then let them cool off and added the glaze to the tops of them.  It took a few hours for the glaze to dry enough to not be sticky... but I couldn't wait to try one... they turned out REALLY delicious!  They are very moist, even after sitting out uncovered all day long.  I think if I had put them into a sealed container they'd get too mushy or soft, so if I was going to make them for an event, I'd probaby store them in a paper bag or use them the same day.

This is one experiment I will do again, and again!!  YUMMMM!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's Rhubarb Season!!

Our rhubarb plants have been taken over by the wild black raspberry vines here this year ... I love BOTH!  But am sorry that we weren't able to harvest more rhubarb. 

This was all I could find so far under the sharp vines ...

After I washed them off and chopped them up... this is all I ended up with to put in the freezer ... unfortunately, they will be used up in the cakes we love to make with them in less than two months!

Here is the great recipe I call "John's Mom's Rhubarb Cake Recipe", but it is actually great with many kinds of fruit.  If you use a fruit other than rhubarb, you have to be careful and experiment with how much water to add in the final stage before baking, so it doesn't overflow...some fruits are juicier than others I guess?


John's Mom's Rhubarb Cake

Put 2 cups (or a little more) chopped fresh rhubarb
(or you can use frozen too) on the bottom of a baking dish or pan.

Mix together in a separate bowl:
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons of shortening (Crisco)
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup of milk (add a little more if the batter seems too dry)

Spread the above mixture over the top of the rhubarb in the baking dish.

Top the batter and rhubarb with a mixture (mixed in a separate bowl) of:
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamin

Pour carefully over the top of it all,  1 cup of boiling water.
(if it looks like the 1 cup of water is going to overflow a pan
then just use enough to not overflow the pan or baking dish -
it's a real mess in your oven if it does drip over -
use tin foil on the bottom of a baking sheet to prevent spills).

Bake for approx. 45-50 minutes at 375 degrees (a little longer if you double the recipe
for a larger baking dish).

The hardest part of all this is waiting for it to cool so you can eat it!

This is what the finished cakes should look like... yummmmm! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Giving Thanks on Memorial Day ...

Thankful for all the men and women who have served in the armed forces! 
Two shown here especially, my Father-in-law and my Dad.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The view from Dad's chair....

View looking up from the recliner
I spent the night with Mom last night, and usually after dinner, we watch TV and talk... Mom in her recliner, and me in Dad's chair.  Memories of Dad are all around with all his "treasures" nearby.  Many small gifts from kids and grandkids that he displayed in various ways. 
Fireplace View From Dad's

View next to Dad's chair
One of Mom's cabinets, and
Dad's arrow.

And then there is the view of MORE SQUIRRELS! ... Dad was always trying to find ways to thwart the squirrels from getting into his bird feeders... (and we've found that Mom was feeding those squirrels all this time too..*L*).  Here are a few of them still hanging around...

Dad would be up in arms over this one!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost - Come Holy Spirit!

The Day of Pentecost (50 days after Easter), is the day that God, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in mighty ways (Read Acts 2) and they became great warriors of the faith! And it continues today, celebrating Pentecost is the great day of realization that God has given us ALL, life and power to be different and empowers us to ministry ... to the care, concern and love of all of God's creation.  New life in the Spirit, the releasing of God's Holy Spirit, is something that can happen to all believers.

"Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love."

Today, at Christ Church, we celebrated Pentecost with worship, praise, and the releasing of butterflies (symbolic of new life and the releasing of the Holy Spirit in our lives).  We also had a fellowship coffee time following.  The butterflies I had been "nursing" for the last month were released, and it was just a fun time to be at Church and worship and share together this celebration and season of the Church year.

Some of the Chapel Group.

It is also called "the birth-day" of the Christian Church because so many were filled with the Holy Spirit and baptised on that day centuries ago.  So our coffee and fellowship time included cake and ice cream too!

Trying to get the butterflies out.
Here are some photos from the butterfly release at the end of both services.

Jan caught one!

All ages had fun trying to capture a butterfly to give to the kids.

Father John was getting "netted" in the process too...*LOL*

Late Church Butterfly Catchers!

Father John trying to get the
butterflies to come out.
Seems that the butterflies liked their netted habitat and had to be coaxed out of it.
The kids with their captured butterflies.
The cake, ice cream and treats were a big hit too! 
A great Pentecost Celebration!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Transferring Butterflies to get ready for Pentecost Release...

They sure like melons and sugar water!

Transferred the butterflies from the big net to the smaller net habitats so we can release them tomorrow at the Pentecost Services.

About 20 - 22 painted lady butterflies are set for the early Chapel service release.

And about 70 - 75 are ready to go into the Church for the later service on Sunday. 

Also the nets and containers for the kids to use to catch one to take home.

I'll soon be an "empty nester" butterfly Mom... how's that saying go?
"The two most important things you can give your kids are first roots, and then wings!" 
Soon my "kids" will be flying off to who knows where? *lol*

Junk In Your Trunk - Rummage Sale

We've been finding some fun ways to use our Church parking lot and as an outreach to those who may make extra money by selling some of their junk, and treasures, as well as a way to reach out to the community and be seen.

Mom, Aunt Shirley & niece Claudia
So last year, we started having "Junk In Your Trunk" rummage sales.   Sellers can donate $15 to Christ Church, which goes toward Youth Ministry Events we do for the community, and, in turn, they get a parking space in our lot.  We do advertising, and also offer hotdogs, soda and chips for sale during the event for vendors and buyers.

This is our first one this year, and it turned out pretty great!  The weather was perfect, and we had a large, steady crowd throughout most of the time!

Nephew Cody, and Aunt Shirley helped me sell hotdogs, chips and soda too!
Deb and Father Bill did pretty well with their huge rummage sale next door too!

Deb's rich! *lol*
Thanks to all who participated!  Look for our next one on August will be a Junk in Your Trunk Rummage Sale, as well as a Bake Sale too!