Posts tagged ‘childhood’

June 6, 2011

New Chicks, Pizza & Donut Chips

School is finally out for most of us (except for my high school sophomore) so this morning we went to Ravencroft Farm to see the new chicks. New chicks mean more delicious, organic eggs – I love new chicks!

So precious!

The huddled masses…

After a fun day in the sun, we had home-made pizzas for dinner:)

Do you remember life before Domino’s Pizza? One of my dearest friends when I was growing up, her parents’ owned and operated a pizzeria – the kind everyone flocked to after Friday night football games. They made incredible pizza, but the piece de resistance were their beloved donut chips – oh, my! These lovely little bits of fried pizza dough were tossed in sugar and served with a bowl of hot fudge for dipping. Dreamy!!

It’s a little scary how some of my best memories are tied to food – hmmmm…

Donut chips are simple to make. I simply doubled my pizza dough recipe so I had enough for pizzas and fried dough. Since I don’t have a frier, I heated canola oil in a pan.  Using my pizza cutter, I cut pieces of pizza dough – some much bigger than others. I plopped the dough in the hot oil and within seconds the dough puffed and danced. I sprinkled and tossed them with granulated sugar & delighted my sons with a nostalgic after-dinner treat.

Not exactly uniform…

Dancing dough…

A whole lotta lovin’!!

And some hot fudge to boot:)

I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body. 2 Peter 1:13

January 18, 2011

Handmade

Handmade…  *Sigh* Just the word, brings a simple smile to my face and a warmness in my heart.  I’ve had a life-long infatuation with all things handmade.  I was blessed with a grandma and a nana who created beautiful handmade gifts for us children, especially for Christmas, and a mother who was always creating and coordinating gifts for baby showers and weddings.

My grandmother was a brilliant woman who knitted, crocheted, quilted and sewed.  Each year, we each received hand-knit, woolen slippers from her.  She quilted bed covers for my parents.  But, the best gift of all, she taught my sister and I to crochet at a young age.  If there was a crochet hook and yarn around, we could easily be occupied for hours creating and designing clothes for our barbies and dolls.  I inherited her travel sewing machine which served me well in making costumes and clothes for my sons.

My Nana is an artist.  Her handmade gifts tended to be hand-painted with delightful whimsy and pizzaz.  Each year, we received hand-painted ornaments each year a new theme and design.  Her gifts also were always wrapped in her signature, Christmas themed cloth bags.  Being the granddaughter of a tailor, my Nana could sew just about anything.  She created much of my mother’s clothes, and later created dresses for my sisters and me.  Even though she is very shaky now, she’s still crocheting gifts for charities, babies and friends.  Her greatest gift to me is she taught me to sew.

My mother is a brainy, Rennaissiance women who knits, sews, quilts, spins, crochets, needlepoints, and more.  If there’s a hand-craft, she’s done it (some she enjoys far better than others).  She’s always creating something whether it’s handknit socks for my dad, or a quilt for a new baby.  Her greatest gift to me is her example of giving something uniquely special and heart-felt.

I’ve a beautiful, handmade legacy which I hope continues into the next generations.  My hope is as I highlight my handmade creations that it’ll inspire and even spark a passion for all things handmade.  As I work to build my Etsy shop, I’d like also to feature some of the stunning work others artisans on Etsy have crafted.

These are a few of my favorite things (click images for link):

Are you feeling the LOVE?

She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.  Proverbs 21:24

May 10, 2010

My Mom and Hostess Cupcakes

Hostess cupcakes aren’t simply a tempting treat. For me, they are a nostalgic reminder of childhood and of my mother. As a child, I was awakened each year on my birthdays at precisely 7:58 am with a Hostess cupcake and a festively burning birthday candle (she may have only done this a handful of times, but it’s etched in my memory now as if it were every year. It’s funny how children’s memories work). Because of this I gleaned three significant facts.  One – From an early age, I knew exactly what time I was born. Two – I knew that my birth was an important event to my mother. Three – A hostess cupcake for breakfast, I knew it was a very special day.

Growing up in the ’70’s and ’80’s, we didn’t eat a lot of store bought sweets. In our family, there were huge gardens from which we produced much of our food. Hostess cupcakes were a major treat in our family. My mother did have a knack for procuring some of the best sweets when she was inclined. One such treat was the rare Orange Hostess Cupcake which was available (and still are) in limited quantities at significant times.

Hostess cupcakes are nostalgia food for me. They remind me of my early morning birthday surprises, and my mom teaching us to savor and celebrate special moments with special treats.

So…  For Mother’s Day this year, my goal was to duplicate those precious gems to reflect how precious and rare it is to have a Mother like I have.

First, I found an orange cupcake recipe….

Then, I made a filling ala Organic & Chic Filled the cupcakes…

Improvised an orange-flavored white chocolate ganache with white chocolate chips and orange juice concentrate…

Spread the ganache….

Used left over white chocolate chips to create the signature seven Hostess swirls…


Handmade cupcake cards from me and my creative boys, a new cake-carrier with a spiffy ribbon and…

It was a Happy Mother’s Day with lots of Hostess Cupcake LOVE!

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12

 

 

 

June 28, 2009

65th Wedding Anniversary

My grandparents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this week at a nursing home in rural Wisconsin. The guests were primarily staff and residents with the addition of my mother, my younger sister, me and my three sons (son #1 of 4 is on his way to Belfast, Ireland, via Merritt Island , Florida). Cake was served with some cheese and crackers. Balloons adorned the table and a few cards were given. It was bittersweet.P1010096

Five years ago, we celebrated their 60th at the Courtyard by Marriot in downtown Springfield, Ohio. My sisters with their families and I with my three sons (at the time I was carrying #4) all made the well-traveled journey to Ohio. Along with cousins and aunts and uncles and family friends, we honored my dear Nana and Papa on their special day. The event was catered much like a wedding reception and included a wedding cake, sit-down dinner, floral arrangements and a memorable slideshow of new and old family photographs.

P1010089Much has changed in 5 years.

Now, my Papa doesn’t know who I am. He smiles the kind of smile you might give a stranger – warm yet distant. Absent is the sparkle in his eye filled with affection which has always warmed my heart and made me feel adored. For a moment, there was a sense that he is trying to remember me, but he just remained confused. It’s so strange to loose someone before you’ve really lost them.Inn1972pic1Much has changed in 5 years.

Nana and Papa came to live with my parents not long after their 60th wedding anniversary when it became apparent they couldn’t live on their own any longer. Our annual visits to Ohio have abruptly ceased, and I find myself homesick for the familiar sights and people who shaped my life from early childhood. I love Springfield with its amazing architecture and history. Even though I never grew up in Ohio, my roots are there.800px-Springfield_Ohio_c1900Much has changed in 5 years.

I knew the experience would be bittersweet. What a beautiful and rare thing to witness a 65th wedding anniversary! Yet, it was painful watching my Papa being lead around like a child, being spoon-fed and not fully comprehending the monumental event. He was the one who held my hand to lead, who bought me treats for the long airline flights home to Minneapolis, and who absolutely delighted in seeing me. Everything in me wanted to cry out, “This is not right!” I wanted the beautiful catered-meal, the wedding cake, the floral center-pieces, the crowds of relatives and the slideshow of memories. 

800px-Wittenberg_Ward_St_En_11-23-08Much has changed in 5 years.

Life is ever changing. I know the cliches, but sometimes you just have to protest. Five years ago, I bought a simple chocolate-colored dress for the party. The style of summer dress which could be dressed up or dressed down with the proper accessories. As silly as it may be, I wore that old brown dress to the 65th party this week. It was my silent protest against change, but it was also my way of connecting and making sense of 2 dramatically different events. 

Much has changed in 5 years.P1010100

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

June 19, 2009

Frugal Friday: Leggo Those Eggos!

100_0230Remember watching those commercials as a child, begging mom to buy a box, and taunting your younger siblings with the “Leggo My Eggo” shenanigans? Eggos may be nostalgic, but there is nothing frugal about them.

A better option:

Make a big batch of homemade waffles (sprinkle some wheat germ in the batter for added100_0232 protein & fiber).

Freeze the extra waffles on a cookie sheet…

When completely frozen, pack in freezer bags… 

Pop in the toaster for a fast-food breakfast ala Eggos… 

Nutritious, convenient and a budget saver!

Happy Frugal Friday!

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods. Psalm 63:5a

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June 14, 2009

Prophets and Strawberries and Wisdom

bible

Proverbs: Daily wisdom

As a young mother, my heart’s cry was to obtain wisdom. Parenting is a monumental task and I felt grossly ill-prepared. Eagerly I sought knowledge and wisdom in parenting magazines, articles and books. Somewhere along the way, I gleaned some tips from Ruth Graham’s life. She too was desperately seeking wisdom as a mother. Her response, I learned, was to read one chapter of Proverbs every single day.

“Hmm, sounds simple enough.” 

Because Proverbs consists of 31 chapters (one chapter for each day of the month), I could easily adopt that pattern. Since then, I’ve read the book of Proverbs well over 100 times, and it’s become part of my motherly meditation and language. A verse I tend to repeat often to rally and motivate my troops is: “All hard work brings a profit…” (Proverbs 14:23)

800px-Strawberries

Strawberries

One early morning last summer my two eldest sons and I were working in the strawberry patch. As we crawled through the muddy straw slapping mosquitoes, I attempted to encourage them with the “hard work” verse. Drake finally broke down laughing and he confessed his issue with Solomon’s timeless wisdom. Apparently whenever I recited this sparkling gem of truth, for years he thought it read Prophet (not Profit). We had a good laugh that morning, but now I can’t read that passage anymore without a smile and a little chuckling.

Can you imagine how reluctant you’d be to work diligently if every time you put in a hard day’s work a Prophet showed up at your door?

“YIKES – I sorted and treated and washed and dried and folded and put away all the laundry and I’m utterly exhausted – do I have to hear another fire and brimstone message today? And do I need to serve honey and bugs again?…”

“GREAT! Just shampooed the carpet – will that Prophet show up again in those dirty, smelly sandals? Guess it’s another foot-washing…

Prophets at my door again?

Prophets at my door again?

Be at peace – it’s Profit not Prophet! The promise and wisdom here is for your encouragement (not to frightfully alarm) – your diligence is always, always, always rewarded! Watch for the reward because it will be there. And as your eyes are opened, your heart will overflow with thanksgiving and joy. Perhaps then, you may smile and chuckle a bit too.

And if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:3-5

June 11, 2009

I Spy with My Little Eye

glass.001I spy with my little eye something that starts with a M…

Since I was little girl, I’ve wanted to be a mommy – especially a mommy of boys. Growing up with only sisters, I desperately wanted a brother and prayed that God would make me the mother of sons. And when I played, there was always the mommy element to whatever I was doing. Playtime was serious training for my future role.

All little girls watch their mommies in hopes of gaining the skills, training, wisdom and resources needed for parenting, and I was no exception. My mother loved to bake all kinds of delicious treats – I watched. My mother gave generously of her time, energy and resources – I watched. My mother was passionate about her beliefs and her faith – I watched. But, my mother lacked something that I deeply desired: she wasn’t the mother of sons.

I distinctly remember searching for those mothers of boys. I watched as they nurtured their sons, and I watched as they cared for themselves, too. I listened to what they said to their sons and about their sons. I naturally gravitated to those who had the skills, wisdom and temperaments I wanted to exemplify. When they needed babysitters, I was the first to volunteer. 

While reading Nurture, my heart was quickened and reminded of this childhood search for mentoring and nurturing.Nurture As a young girl, I wasn’t enlightened enough to understand why I was drawn to these women, but now I see it so clearly. And whether good or bad, these women who were the wallpaper of my little life had no idea they were under a microscope. 

We are being watched by little eyes. The hearts of young girls are desperately searching for the tools, wisdom, training and skills they need to be good mommies. So keenly I am aware of this now. Last week was our final hockey tournament after a 6 weekend run; this was our home tournament. Colin, son number two, had implored me to come to his game on Sunday since they were playing for the championship.

“Mommy, could you pleeeeease find someone else to teach for you? You missed my last championship game…”

He was right – I’d actually missed a few championships. And because of a very gracious volunteer, I was able to rearrange things to be there. So, there I sat in the arena’s mezzanine with the two younger brothers competing for my lap and my attention. Distracted and tired, I had a choice to make. I could let their antics gnaw at me, or I could make a decision to patiently admonish and redirect. Two little girls were sitting near us. I felt them grow quieter and more attentive as my sons grew more active and disruptive. They were watching!

Now, it’s my turn – rather our turn. We are the wallpaper in the lives of little boys and little girls. Perhaps, we aren’t directly training or nurturing or directing, but we are setting a example whether good or bad. We do have a responsibility not only to our children to train them, but our responsibility extends far beyond our four walls.

I spy with my little eye something that starts with a M…

We can draw an inescapable conclusion: the older women are being watched by the younger. Whether you signed up to be an example or not, you are one. – Nurture by Lisa Bevere

May 5, 2009

KAL Mystery

photo-54I joined my first KAL. It was impulsive. I didn’t ask questions. I wasn’t even sure what the acronym meant. I just did it. Maybe it was the pretty purple yarn. Maybe it was the scent of a mystery (I love a good mystery!). Maybe it was the challenge.

For those of you who are still in the dark, a KAL is a Knit-A-Long. KAL is just one of those esoteric terms found in knitting circles (SSK, YO, dcdec, M1, K1, SSP, FROG, and many more). In these KALs, groups of knitter get-together virtually (Ravelry.com) and knit a project. Along the way, tips and victories and frustrations are all shared. 

Except for a childhood class in purling a scarf (I’m sure I invented the YO – you should have seen the holes!), I am a self-Madame DeFargetaught knitter. I’m now nearly fluent in knit-ease, but I still have a long way to go. The knitters in these groups are die-hard knitters (I’m sure they would have the mysterious French knitter in Charles Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities quaking in her des chaussures!). They perform amazing knitting feats without batting an eye. Clearly, I am way out of my league.

The mystery is the pattern. The clues are released one by one as you are knitting the project. The pattern is a pair of socks, but what will they look like? Clue Two was released yesterday and I am still struggling with finishing clue one. Tobias, the cat, has been circling my yarn as if to mock my efforts (He loves yarn! He loves chewing yarn into little pieces preferably when I am mid-project).

Of course, I’m loving the challenge and I even got my mom to join too.  And, there is still time if you are up for the challenge: 

http://www.knittersbrewing.com/storename/knittersbrewing/ViewDept-260510.aspx

Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor. Proverbs 12:24

April 30, 2009

Strangers Among Us

180px-chocolate_chip_cookies1Piles of laundry. Gallons of milk vanishing.  An endless list of missing items.  Coincidence?  I used to think so…

How does a family of 6 the amass so much laundry in one day?!  To where did the 2 gallons of milk disappear that were delivered just yesterday? – not to mention, the 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies freshly baked this morning? Why don’t I have any tea-towels when I just did laundry yesterday?!

10664A_CelestialSeasB

Then one evening as I sat sipping my Sleepytime tea in the comfort of my living room, I listened for the very first time.  I really listened.

And, these are the sounds that I overheard that fateful evening:

372px-dominator39First, I heard the Stanley Cup Championship Game being hard fought by the Detroit Red Wings and the San Jose Sharks. (I didn’t even know we had a rink in our house). It was a close contest, but alas the Detroit Red Wings lost in a dramatic shoot-out. Now, it seemed they needed bandages, ice baths and food – lots of food!

Just then, a blond flash in a tea-towel cape streaked through the room yelling, “Wonder Boy needs vegetables for super-hero power.”  Just as quick as he appeared, he disappeared.

At this point, I had a flash back from the day before. I had walked into one of the boy’s bedroom and there onwhiz2 the top bunk was a blazer and tie-clad preacher complete with The Rhyme Bible and a guitar. He was “preaching good” to a capacity crowd.

Hockey teams, super-heroes, mega-church pastors – I was just discovering what my children have known all along: There are strangers among us!

Can you image the piles of home and away jerseys I need to launder not to mention the mounds of hockey socks?  Do you know how many tea-towel capes an adventurous super-hero can go through in a single afternoon? Have you ever fed a congregation of hungry church-goers?

I’m not sure how to break it to my husband, or what his reaction might be. Personally, I am much relieved it to 526px-washer600pixknow the truth – finally! I was beginning to think I was loosing things. I was beginning to think my children were drinking milk like it is water. And, I was beginning to think I was a failing laundress.

So now, in my new found freedom (the truth always sets you free), I can put up my feet, sip my tea and laugh with the strangers among us!

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

April 23, 2009

Ladies’ Coffee

“I’m going to Mrs. So-and-So’s for coffee.” was the response to my not yet uttered question.

6a00d8345157b369e200e5505df4148833-800wi1My mother was busily baking and the rich cinnamon scent coming from the oven had begun to make my mouth water. My question was answered even before I asked it. Coffee with the ladies meant one thing: she was baking coffee cake. The coffee cake was usually the Bisquick variety and the coffee was the red Folger’s canned coffee (the can was always saved for various craft projects, or storing odd’s and end’s in the garage). This was not the freshly roasted and ground beans from the modern, trendy Star-brothers, Cari-bucks or Dunn-bo down the street.

“Can I have a teeny-tiny piece?”

The ladies would gather at someone’s home and inevitably they would eat all the coffee cake. To my recollection, there were never any left-overs.  I’m not sure I even tasted coffee cake until I was officially an adult. Coffee was perked not brewed for these affairs, and the ladies would talk and talk and talk.  “How boring.” – I always thought never quite grasping the attraction of sitting around with a bunch of women for hours at a time.

“It’s for the moms.”

My Mom

Naturally, when I grew up, I expected my own weekly coffees with the ladies. These get-togethers of my childhood were not special occasions, but part of the culture – part of the landscape. I took it for granted that when I was a mommy I would have my own group of ladies and my own percolator and my own Bisquick coffee cake (not really – I prefer the scratch variety).

“Do they need the whole thing?”

Now, instead of the weekly coffees, we check our i-calendars for available blocks of time and schedule coffee dates months ahead of time. We don’t meet in each other’s homes, but in stylish coffee houses. We don’t eat warm coffee cake that Mrs. So-and-So made, but factory/bakery made treats from nameless workers. We don’t talk and talk and talk, but we have purpose and agendas.  When that meeting is over, we promptly cross it off our to-do list and consult our faithful electronic calendars for our next task.

“Will you make me some coffee cake for us, too? Pleeeeease!”

A friend recently invited me to her home for coffee, and you would have thought the Queen of England had invited me to High Tea at Windsor Castle. I felt so honored and blessed. What a rare treat it was. The coffee wasn’t Folgers (thankfully – okay, I do have a wee bit of coffee snob in me), but we talked and talked and talked. She shared some of those delicious little ginger crisps like they sell at IKEA – yummy! It was simple! It was simply wonderful!

“Mommy, can you teach me how to make coffee cake?”

The visit made me nostalgic. I know I can’t go back in time and relive those moments in a simpler age, but food has a special quality in that it can take us on a journey through time and space. So guess what I did – I made coffee cake.

“When are the ladies coming to our house, Mommy?”