Thursday, January 31, 2008

I LOVE NATURE

Softly the evening came. The sun from the western horizon Like a magician extended his golden want o'er the landscape; Trinkling vapors arose; and sky and water and forest Seemed all on fire at the touch, and melted and mingled together.
Author: Henry Wadsworth LongfellowSource: Evangeline (pt. II, sec. II)

"When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator”~~Mahatma Gandhi

These pictures were taken in Central Florida. In the first one we were driving through a "hammock". Since some of you may not know this term here is what Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, says:

"The word hammock is derived from hummock, but the exact origin is unknown. It is defined as "a fertile area in the southern U.S. and esp. Florida that is usually higher than its surroundings and that is characterized by hardwood vegetation and deep humus-rich soil."

I love to spend time in a hammock because it seems like such a safe place to be with the huge trees and the moss hanging from the trees. It is a wonderful place for wildlife. In my mind I can recall seeing a Doe with her fawn leaping up from a fern bed because she sensed danger, or wild turkey resting in the cool hammock, wild boar may be resting in the thick palmetto bushes or you may see a Peleated woodpecker after you have heard him tapping on the trees. You look up you see air plants on the huge oak branches some with plumes of red or pink, you may still see a wild orchid with its spikes of flowers and resurrection fern clinging to the branches like it is a carpet. (it gets its name because it can survive long periods of drought by curling up and appearing dead. When just a little water is present, the fern will uncurl and reopen, appearing to resurrect.) It to me is a beautiful sight! I do not know of lovelier spots to sit listening to birds and simply resting in the heat of the day. (But remember the bug repellent).

I have often sat at a hunting camp we had in a Hammock and would hear the burrowing owls or maybe a Barred Owl about sunset time and it would seem strange but wonderful as the palmetto bushes rustle in the breeze and you begin to wonder just what all is there that you do not see. You can be sure armadillos will be hunting and raccoons will be scampering around or a fox may be lurking.

The second picture is what you see as you come out into the flatlands of Florida. (It was taken the same night) It is a vast area usually and as your eyes take it all in you are simply in awe. For me only God can create the beauty of a sunset.......it is a perfect way to end a day. It is a peaceful time and you can only imagine who traveled there before you did. Native Americans are a great part of the history of Florida as are the settlers or the folks that came for the timber or simply to live off the land and have cattle in the areas that were cleared.......as you watch the sunset you feel all these things and it leaves you with the feeling many will travel this land when you are gone.

My prayer is we will care for the beautiful spots that are full of nature. I believe we are to care for the earth. The Lord gave man dominion over the earth, and with that authority the responsibility to care for the earth wisely. Pollution and needlessly wasted resources do not represent love for our neighbors or respect for God's creation nor give our children and grandchildren the beauty we can enjoy. I guess you would call me a "Creation Care" lady. To me this is part of stewardship I want to do my part in conservation and restoration of the creation God entrusted to our care. Let's give our children the beauty of the hammocks and sunsets, clear lakes, beautiful rivers and sparkling streams that flow down from the mountains or through the meadows.......they sure deserve that and I want to do my part!

Monday, January 28, 2008

MY VIEW


City life is quite the life. I always had bird to watch and we always had trees around us for squirrels. Life gives us changes and we have to be able to go with the changes and flourish. When we were told we were being transferred to this new property I was really scared. All I could think about was crime, dirty streets, noise and no nature. I really was afraid of Atlanta traffic. But after a few days of fear I asked the Lord to give me the ability to see the good sides of the city. You all know that when you ask for something like this it will happen. My attitude turned around and I soon was filled with another adventure for us.

These two pictures are taken from our balcony. It is what we see everyday. I included both because the city takes on quite a difference feel in the night. It sparkles. In some ways when the business life is mostly over for the day the city comes alive. It had a feeling of excitement and on the other side is tranquility. The city really has so many sides. It has a rich life and I believe the good out weights the bad.

We use a tank of gas every 6-8 weeks. Two grocery stores are about 1/2 mile away beside each other. Trader Joe's is about 2 miles away as is Whole Foods. The drug store is less than a mile away also. So we really are centered in a area that we rarely have to go beyond. That is a blessing. I find people here are very polite and although they have careers that are demanding they like to chat in the elevator or in the lobby waiting for the elevator and when we have parties for the residents these are really fun and I have met so many interesting people. They are upbeat.

I do not know how long we will be here but I am enjoying each minute and all the daily changes in our community.

Friday, January 25, 2008

TO SHOW OR NOT TO SHOW........

Graduation....1966
Lancaster, Pa.
I have debated if I really want this picture out in computer world but the fact of the matter is this is how I looked for many years of my life. You can see the edge of my prayer "covering" as we called it. I laughed when I looked at my hair and saw the little waves....we spent so much time trying to make ourselves not look so plain. How my grandma hated me doing this because she liked it pulled straight back and all up in a bun under the covering. We had to do that for school.
Our sleeves had to cover our elbows......I have got to tell you all this one......we were in Prayer group in the dorm and the matrons were telling us why we had to do all these things with our dress. They were sincere and than they said a young man had gone to the dean because he wanted the elbows of the girls covered and do you know why? The young man said it was the sexiest part of the body. The laughter that followed was awful and we were dismissed but not without a lecture......the answer that put us in such a fit was a comment one of my friends made. She said "good we can all wear patches on our elbows and go naked". I can still see the red creeping up on one of the matrons faces....she was so mad. We were so bad.......

Growing up I accepted I had to dress in a certain way. I knew that as long as I was at home it had to be that way. I loved sport and we lived in a neighborhood full of boys and I love to play tackle football, loved to ice skate and really basketball was my favorite. Dresses were way too hard to play with and I hated the comments I had to listen to from the boys when my dress would blow up or I had made a tackle. I hated cold legs when I skated. I hated sledding with tights and boots. Why could I not wear pants that kept me warm....why? If I asked I was told the church made the rules and therefore I must follow them. I wanted to know why so many things had to be so hard but there never seemed to be a good answer.

I think looking back I was quite rebellious....no, I was rebellious. I always pushed the envelope. I always asked way too many questions. I wanted to change things. Now I had a side that was so full of compassion and longing to help the underdog. I wanted to be a social worker.

In the beginning of my senior year during our revival meetings at Chapel I saw I needed to really dedicate my life to the Lord. I can say that the rebellious girl turned into a young woman that wanted to serve the Lord. My Uncle and Aunt were working with farm workers in South Florida and through our trips to visit them I had a longing to serve these precious people.

Life took some more bumps but I did get to work with farm workers and it was one of the best times in my life. We lived in a building with others and ran a day care from early in the morning till late during the growing season. I met so many wonderful people that had so few possessions but were rich in family and really knew how to make memories and enjoy what they had. I will have to share some of these folks with you all some day.

I am so thankful for the heritage I have.....for the emphasis that was placed on God, to memorize His Word, to enjoy family and to treasure friends. We lived a simple life but it was a peaceful life. I may not have understood some of the rules and regulations of the church but looking back I see that this paved the way for me to have a deep desire to seek God and to read and study His Word......I like to dig deep and journal my feeling and thoughts. I always welcome anybody that comes into my life to ask questions and to seek their answers through prayer and Bible reading. I know the Lord made us and He alone has the answers for us in raising children, in our married lives, in the way we treat people, how we react in the trials of life. We must be willing to sit still and wait for Him. We need to listen. I read words man writes and at times I get so confused than I think back and remember grandma saying, "Donna, God is never the author of confusion. Put the books aside and get in your prayer closet and pray. The answers will come." You know when I do that I do know what God wants me to do........

Thursday, January 24, 2008

ZOE


I simply love the days I have my youngest grandchild.......Zoe.



She is almost 3 and such a delightful child. Her eyes dance as she tells you something, her hand motions tell a story and all in all she is the most animated child I have had spending time with me.



Yesterday she was full of fun. We had a tea party. Her porcelain tea pot held ginger ale. We set a place mat on the coffee table and each of us had a bright cup and she poured us our "tea" with the greatest of ease. I had made us some dainty peanut butter sandwiches with the crusts "peeled off" as she says it. We talked about her baby doll which joined us and her favorite stuffed animal an floppy elephant. She told me about her friends from the "mommy group" and they were going to see the fire engines.



We read after that. She loves a nursery rhyme book I found at Goodwill that has flaps. So we read that several times and a nature book that also has flaps. If you have a Goodwill close to you check out the children's books. I have fond many almost new that are great quality but the most I pay is $1.50 each.



Zoe loves some children's TV programs on PBS but she wants me in the same room and so I took the time to catch up on blogs and email. But she often wants to talk about what she sees so I really am multi tasking but loving it.



As a grandma or "Nana" as she calls me, I know I have time to really play and teach my grandchild. We look at old pictures of my grandma and Aunties and I tell her who they are and what fun things I did with them. When I cook I love to put her on the counter and allow her to cook with me. My grandma did that with me, my mom with my girls and now I do it with Zoe.
I have started her a book of favorite recipes and why we like them and the stories of those that shared them with me. I want to make memories with her.

Some of you may not have had a grandma that did this with you all but you as a grandparent can change that and give this generation a rich heritage. We owe that to our family. I think so many of us go from one thing to the next and forget that we are in some occasions a Grandma and we need to take advantage of this. My air with the tea parties we have is to take her and her mother to a tea room have have a proper tea. I am teaching her how to hold the cup, how to stir in the sugar without clanking the spoon on the cups. I want her to use the napkin properly. But we do all of this in a way it is fun.

Yesterday I began teaching her the rhyme my Aunt Emily taught each of us grand nieces.....

Please, Thank-you and excuse me are the nicest words to say
to mommy and to daddy for what they do for me each day.
Please may I have a glass of milk? Than thank-you I will say
Now excuse me mother dear, for it time to go and play.

We have this as a secret until she knows it all than we will have a tea party with her mom and Zoe will recite it. The picture above is her saying it back to me..... We are doing parts of this unit and I love teaching her! Teaching manners is very important in a child's life and I have her moms OK to work on these. A well mannered child is always a delight!

http://www.mommynature.com/good-manners-theme-preschool-activities.html

I love this gift from God....don't you just want to squeeze her?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

GRANDMA'S HOUSE


I shared the picture of the farm......this is where that picture was taken from. When my Uncle took over the farm Grandpa build grandma this house at the end of the lane. It was a perfect house for the 2 of them and company when it came. There were two nice bedrooms in the house and the third they had turned into a office/sewing room. The living room was a wonderful size with oak floors and a beautiful area rug. Grandma had her precious rocking chair by the picture window so she could watch what on at the farm. The basement had her laundry room and she used her wringer washer until she was about 75. There was a canning kitchen there and a wonderful canning pantry. The one side had shuffle board painted on the floor. There was a living area too and some of our toys and games. The kitchen was just the right size for her to cook and make candy. How I loved going to their house.
Grandpa did not get to spend much time in the new house. He had awful headaches and after quite a bit of going to doctors they found a brain tumor. Grandpa had surgery and never got to come home. He was in a comma for about 6 weeks and only woke up to tell grandma to see the second farm and that night he passed away.
I remember going to sleep in my bed and waking up with my cousin from Florida and than being told that grandpa had gone to Heaven. It was a hard time for all of us and Grandma really was not the same after his death. He was really a young man to die.
This house soon became my second home. I felt safe here. I also felt grandma's love and she knew how to make me feel very special. I went to school just several miles from her home and so she would come and pick me up and we would spend a wonderful afternoon and evening and than she would take me back to school in the morning. As I look back I can say without a doubt this is where I loved to be.
Grandma loved the Lord with all her heart and the Bible was her guide in life. She was devoted to the Mennonite church and hated to see the changes it was making. To her our heads always needed to be covered and capes needed to be worn. A cape was an extra piece that was the same as your dress and was sleeveless and fastened at the waist. It was to hide our shape and really I think it started as a way a mother could breast feed her child without exposing herself. So when folks started to cut their hair grandma got upset and told us we never could do that to her. I remember her coming to our house and I was a teen and had just washed my hair. I had set the front with bobby pins to wave my hair and did not have my covering on.......she looked at me so sad and turned around and went back home saying I had broken her heart. She was set in her ways. The thing I see now is she did as she believed and never wavered. I did cut my hair after I married and she seemed to accept it.
I remember going to her house in the fall and I always knew she would have my favorite fall apple recipe....Her apple dumplings. To eat one felt like a celebration....a event.....something you took your time to eat. now that I described how good there are how about I share the recipe?
APPLE DUMPLINGS
6 apples.....Stayman or Granny Smith, peeled and cored
1/2 cup cinnamon hearts candy
2 cups all purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound or 2 sticks butter
1/2 cup milk
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Fill the cored apples with the cinnamon candies.
Sift the flour, baking powder,and salt together. Cut in 2/3 cup of the butter into the flour mixture until fine and crumbly. Sprinkle the milk over the moisture until moist, pressing in into a ball. Roll out the dough about 1/2 inch thick in a floured board and cut into 6 inch squares. Place an apple in each square and bring up the dough up around to cover it completely. Moisten the top edges with water and fasten securely on top of the apple. Place the dumplings 1 inch apart in a greased 9x13 baking pan or dish. Combine the brown sugar, water, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 3 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the remaining butter. Pour this syrup over the dumplings and bake in a preheated 375 oven for 30-40 minutes basting every 15 minutes. Serve with chilled rich milk, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Sometimes grandma filled the centers with chopped nuts and raisins......she did Carmel candy in the center too.....all are good!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Triple Trouble!


There you have it......my triple trouble! It was Nicole's wedding 3 years ago. John snapped this for me because to get all 3 together seems almost impossible. They were in rare form that day.
I look at the 3 and I think of their strengths. I think as a parent we need to tell our kids what we see as a strength no matter how old they are. Too many times I hear people complaining about their kids bad traits.
Crystal is the oldest.....she has 3 kids. Skyer is the oldest and will be graduating this year and will be heading off to college this fall. Adam is really into wrestling and wins a lot of his matches. Will is simply a happy child. As I watch Crystal I see she is a loving mom that will works 2 jobs to keep them in the things the kids love to do. She is a social butterfly and a good and loyal friend.
Her work ethics are great and she gives it 150%. She likes to cook and is a great cook. She has her mother's love of cook books. I worry she doesn't take enough time for herself. I am thankful for Crystal.
Nicole always waned to be a mother and she loves being one. Her time is spent making sure Zoe has whatever she needs. She loves taking her to classes and Zoe is indeed flourishing! Nicole also has a great work ethic and is a wonderful asset to the law office she works at. I am proud of the wife she is also. She is a bright and loving mom and wife and also gives 150% to anything she does. She does so much for the local MOMS Group and makes sure they have the activities for the kids and mom's night out for the mothers. She also is doing a great job with the cooking and that makes a Mother's heart sing!
Ryan is one active man.......he just learned to weld and does a great job with it. He loves his dog and has trained Bella and spends a lot of time with her. She is a small Jack Russell. He is loyal to his girl friend and I expect a wedding in the next year or so. He is my baseball boy and an awesome hockey player.My memories of both sports are rich because he sure loved playing. One of Ryan's strengths is his compassion. He is a chip off the block in that area.....both John and I have compassion for all. He also is able to read people and very protective if he thinks someone is not trust worthy. He has worked hard on his character traits and I am so thankful for that!
Yes, as parents and grandparents we are blessed and I thank God for these 3 kids! If your kids are still home just treasure the time you have with them.....build memories with them....teach them....pray for them.....and remember they will soon be out of the home and on their own.....give them the tools they need and allow them to fly!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

MOTHER-IN-LOVE

UNCLE JOE

NANA

Someone ask if I was going to share a picture of Nana and I found this one. This was the last party Nana ever had. It was 6 months later that she had to come and live with us along with her brother, Uncle Joe. The party we had was for his 75Th birthday. It was a surprise and it was the last time they were all together....all 8 brothers and sisters. I did the catering part and Nana did the decorations and I mean she decorated! In the background is one of her sisters, Anne.
Nana was a special person in many ways. She worked as a secretary a good part of her life and taught herself heirloom sewing when she was off. She went to many classes that were offered by Marthan Pullen from "Sew Beautiful" magazine. he went to Texas for a week, to the Coast of Georgia and Alabama. I did go with her to one here in Atlanta.
She was a perfectionist in her sewing and made many dresses for people that had professional pictures of their kids. She made knickers for the boys and eye catching dresses for the girls and such sweet things for babies. She would have trunk sales for all the grandma's she knew and old so many even if they were 100.00 each and up. I did the "fancy work" as she called it and I really did love working with her.
She was a lady always.....a Southern lady....bless her heart.....she only took Jesus into her heart 4 years before she passed away but what a difference it made! I learned that if I wanted a "Mother-in-love"(MIL) than I needed to be filled with love for her...she gave me my best friend...my lover....my husband and for that she deserved to be treated with respect and love.....I needed to free John to love and care for her as God intended him too and I needed to join in as a partner...not sandpaper.
She loved "Southern" dishes and always had a spread for you....even if she had her maid come in and fix it for us. But the dishes she made were good. She was known for her Coconut cake and her brothers called it "spoon cake" because you had to use a spoon to eat it....it was that moist. She loved making fruit cakes and than soaking them with Brandy and they were perfect by Christmas. Oh, they were good! She made sponge cakes and again I will say they were the best.
Nana had a passion for a Pimento Cheese sandwich! I never had this until I came South......and it seemed like this was a favorite of everybody and than when I met Nana I learned to really enjoy them....These were often a summer lunch or just a snack but almost always included in a tea or Bridge Club meeting and her Garden Club.......I have made them for her in fancy pinwheel sandwiches or in ribbon sandwiches with ham or chicken spread as the other filling.....For sure one must always remove the crusts from very fresh bread to make these....I can still see Nana with her brightly colored clothing, (she was always dressed like a lady in pretty clothes)......her hair always in place...(She went to the "Beauty Parlor"once a week.....than every night she would roll her hair in toilet paper to keep it perfect and than put some net looking cap over it. This was a routine that nieces and her 2 grandchildren loved to watch) Her kitchen was usually very clean thanks to a maid, but she would prepare this sandwich like it was going to be served to a king! She had her maid make this once a week....fresh. Out came the cutting board and than the bread....she would carefully cut off the crusts like it was one of her dress patterns she was cutting out....lines perfect....Than spread the bread with just a touch of miracle Whip to moisten it(she said) and than put the spread on top.....and the other piece of bread.......usually she made a cold asparagus salad to go with this or some fresh vegetables and chips and when fresh tomatoes were in she wanted a few slices of a juicy and red tomato .....She took it to the table and savored each bite of it........Her table was always pretty with matching tablecloth and napkins and almost always a touch of battenburg lace! How she loved Battenburg! Fresh flowers or silks were always in the middle of the table. Place mats were a must for her also. Of course they matched too.
I am going to share her recipes for the cheese spread and coconut cake.
Pimento Cheese Spread
1 lb Cheddar cheese(half sharp and half medium)
1 small Onion, chopped finely
6 oz. jar pimentos, chopped
2 Tb Garlic powder (to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 c Miracle Whip
Dash of hot sauce...she use Pete's
Finely grate cheese in food processor. Grate onion and add to grated cheese. Add balance of ingredients. If too dry, add more Miracle Whip.
TO MAKE PINWHEEL SANDWICHES
Cut crust from bread slices. Flatten each piece with hand or roller. Spread each slice with filling and place 4 stuffed olives in the center across the width. Roll each slice in wax paper. Place in tight container and freeze.When to be used, take rolls out and slice into bite-size slices with electric knife. Let dry out on paper towels before serving.
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Nana doubled the filling recipe so that she could pour some in between each of the 3 layers and still had plenty for the top. I think this was one of the secrets she would not share with anyone. If you love coconut than you will like this. I made it for her memorial service with the family and they all said it was just like Nana's but than it should have been because she was my teacher.She would make a good cake first. This is the recipe she used.
CAKE
1/2 pound butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2-2/3 cups cake flour
4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sweet milk
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Grease and line 3- 8 inch cake pans. Set oven at 375.Cream butter and sugar well. Add egg yokes. Sift flour,baking powder and salt together and add alternately with milk. Add vanilla. beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.
Coconut Filling:
1 egg yolk
1 cup milk or 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup coconut milk.(This too was a secret)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
4 cups shredded coconut(and Nana would only use that in the freezer section of the store)
Mix together all ingredients except coconut and cook in double boiler over low heat until thickened. Let cool 3 minutes and than add coconut. have cooled cakes ready and pour this filling mixture over cake while hot....this makes the cake moister and it will keep longer.
We miss Nana a lot but she gave us such wonderful memories!
She was indeed my Mother-In Love!

Friday, January 18, 2008



Have you ever simply missed where you grew up and the family that was there?

Today I miss this farm and my Grandma. They lived in this farm for many years and than when Grandpa built a home across from this lane my Uncle and Aunt took over the farm. When my cousin married he and his wife took over the farm and still live there. So it sure has been a family treasure.

You can see the white shed attached toward the garage....that is where we always went in....It was the wood shed and you would walk up 2 steps and into what was at one time the kitchen. It had an open hearth and had a wood cook stove there. Than into the main kitchen....and believe me there was a wonderful smell waiting to greet you.......I remember the smell of freshly baked bread or cookies.......Something was always cooking at Grandma's!

Grandpa had 2 dairy farms but he never wanted grandma to have to work in the barn. The house was her domain and the garden. She was a master at both. She would start her day early and prepare breakfast.....sometimes for a hired man too....a big breakfast. I loved waking up at her house with the smells of a big breakfast coming up the stairs. Anytime we ate with her was a celebration....

One thing Grandma always did was find the time to read her Bible and pray everyday. She believed what she read from the Bible and if God said it than that settled it and that is what she did. She was a praying woman that would roll up her sleeves to go and help anyone in need. I think that is what a real woman of God should do and her example has made me always want to do the same. She was a real mentor for me and if I had a question she took the time to find the answer. If it was one she needed to think about she would assure you she was going to ask the Heavenly Father and His answer would be the right one. She loved to read but she kept a journal and if she read a book that took her say 12 hours in all than she made sure she had spent 12 hours in the Bible before she picked up another book.......you see she was the most balanced woman I ever met and I think this was the key. How I miss her! Understand as a kid and teen I did not always agree with her but the older I get the wiser she becomes to me.

Today I am going to share her waffle recipe with you all. We love having chipped beef gravy on them and sometimes on a Sat. night we may have waffles with creamed chicken on them. Both are hard to beat! In addition she would fry a pound of bacon and some homemade sausage patties.

Waffles

3 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

1/2 cup butter

4 egg yolks (beat the egg whites and add to mixture after you have stirred it good) Mix the dry ingredients and than add the milk and eggs and the butter at the end.

This is good when served with syrup, chipped beef gravy or creamed chicken.

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The only thing I add to her recipe is Worcestershire Sauce. Grandma used milk from the cows they milked and it had the cream in it. If I want this to taste just like Grandma's I use half and half.

Chipped Beef Gravy

4 tbsp. butter

1 pkg. dried chipped beef (dried beef in jar or package)

4 tbsp. flour

2 -1/2 c. milk

melt butter and break up dried beef and brown. Sprinkle with flour and brown a bit slowly add milk and simmer....serve over above waffles or toast

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I add 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning to this. I also like to cook 1/4 cup diced celery and 1/4 cup diced onions in the butter and than go from there. Chopped mushrooms are a nice addition and I always had a good dash of Pete's Hot Sauce.

Creamed Chicken

1/4 c. butter

1/4 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 c. milk

2 c. cut up cooked chicken or turkey

melt butter and stir in flour....slowly add milk and than season.add cooked chicken and simmer until thick.....serve over waffles or toast.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Welcome to my Ramblings....

MY GRANDMA

AUNT EMILY, the youngest of the 3 Aunties

Maybe I will tell you a bit about myself. My other blog called "Stitching in Atlanta" will show my love for stitching. This one I will use to tell you about me, my thoughts and my love for cooking. I am a proud grandma and so you might meet my precious grand kids.

I was raised in Lancaster County, Pa. I am adopted and was adopted by a Mennonite couple. We lived on a small farm. We raised chickens and we had up to 5000. We would raise them from peeps to laying hens. So I have cleaned my share of barns, tended the chicks and gathering and graded many a egg. In addition to that we had 3 acres of asparagus, a strawberry patch and large garden. We put up most of our food and so summer was a very busy time.

I attended Mennonite School all my 12 years. First at a school called Kraybill's Mennonite and than Lancaster Mennonite High School.

I am thankful for my Mennonite heritage. We had time to visit, to work together, worship together and enjoy nature. You see we had no TV to entertain us. We sang together, prayed together, played together and cried together. It was a strong foundation for me.

The folks that were my mentors were my grandma, my 3 "Aunties" that raised my dad and his brother and a wonderful school teacher I had from grades 1-4, Mrs Murphy. These 5 ladies showed me what strength and faith were all about and I still myself missing them. I am sure you will meet these in my posts.

I have 3 children. My 2 daughters are married. The oldest has 3 kids....Skyler, Adam and Will. They live 1-1/2 hours south west of Atlanta. The other has one precious child, Zoe who I keep several days a week. She is 2-1/2 and my pride and joy! Our son lives with his girlfriend and is struggling with life but doing better for which I praise the Lord.

I am limited to what I do. I have bad knees and one is fused and the other in bad shape. We were without insurance for several years when I should have had replacements. Now it is not an option because I have my 83 and 87 year old parents here at the complex where we live and they need help. There health is failing.

My precious husband is in maintenance and he works where we live.

I never have lived in the city like this and I do enjoy it. One great thing is a tank of gas will last for 4-6 weeks and with the price of gas that is a plus. We are on the top floor and so we do have a nice view of the courtyard and the high rises around us. It is pretty at night. But how I miss nature and being out. Our favorite place is Helen, Ga. Not the shops but the mountains and state parks. My husband loves to take pictures.

The picture on the header here is one he took in Florida. It is a special photo to me.

I hope you will enjoy reading my ramblings. I keep a Gratitude Journal and from time to time I will share that with you all to as well as favorite recipes.