Thursday, October 31, 2013

Comforted and Comfortable

The only thing I do not like about where we live right now is that in the 12 years we have been here we have not had one beggar at Halloween.  I love Halloween.  I loved dressing my kids up, having Halloween parties and passing out goodies.  When I had to work on Halloween, I spent those hours on the side streets passing out goodies from my scout car.  Then we moved here and nothing, nada, zip.

So I had put Roast Chicken on the menu tonight because, to me, that is the ultimate comfort food.  I love Roast Chicken for many reasons.....

First and foremost it is beautiful.
  Look how brown and crisp it is.
  Your mouth waters just looking at it.
It looks like it took so much hard work but....Second, it is easy as can be.

1 Roasting Chicken
1/2 an onion, cut in half again
1 stalk celery, cut in chunks
1 carrot, cut in chunks
Whatever fresh herbs you have on hand (today I used sage, thyme and oregano)
1 head garlic, cut in half
1/2 lemon

Rinse Chicken inside and out.  Salt and Pepper the cavity and stuff with remaining ingredients, squeezing lemon into cavity before putting it inside.  Salt and Pepper the outside.  Roast at 350* for
1 1/2 -2 hrs until a thermometer reads 160*.  Let set for 10 minutes before carving. Print Recipe

Third, you can feed a family of four with half of a Roasted Chicken.
Fourth, leaving one full breast for a casserole later in the week
 and the carcass for broth and/or soup for during the week.
My original menu called for cole slaw as my vegetable but I had some Spaghetti Squash and Brussels Sprouts that I needed to use up.
Dinner is served.
So dinner is done and so is my day.  I think I will get comfortable and cuddle up in my chair with my book.  Good night all.

Books, Books and More Books

Amy got me Michael Pollan's new book, Cooked, for my birthday and I finally got an opportunity to start it last night.  I love Michael Pollan.  His writings have played a large part in my decision to raise my own meat in a kind, loving manner with no hormones or antibiotics and to only buy meat that is raised the same way.  I am looking forward to reading his new book and sharing tidbits of it with you.  Have any of you read Cooked yet?  What did you think?

I was finally able to start this book because I finished the People of the Book which was not a bad story but took me a long time to get through because it never compelled me to run back to it.

This morning my friend, Sandy, and I are going shopping to get a shower gift for our friend, Linda's, grandson who is due soon.  In lieu of a card I like to buy books to start a baby's library.  I purchased Good Night Moon and I was going to get Pat the Bunny but now they have Pat the Zoo so I got that instead.

Studies have shown that reading with children, giving them a love of reading, sets them up for a much better scholastic career.  I have seen this proven true with my own children and nieces and nephews.  Those that loved to read seemed to have an easier time with their studies.  I also love giving books to Toys for Tots at Christmas.  I try to buy them from Kohls Cares Line who offer books and matching stuffed animals for a very reasonable price and donate proceeds from each sale to support Kids Health and Education. This way I feel like I am donating twice with each purchase

This year they are showcasing Peanuts.


And offering Snoopy along with the books.

I have linked up with



Trick and Treat

Happy Halloween Everyone.  I hope you have enjoyed sharing my days with me as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with you.  It was quite a TREAT for me to be able to vent and express my feelings over all the TRICKS my Mom's mind plays on her.  While I won't be blogging each day about Mom you can be sure that she will be mentioned quite often as she is such a huge part of my life.  Please stop in and see us and let us know how things are going for you in your life.
I will be leaving you with a couple more Happy Halloween Memories.

Mom and Pops are in the center dressed in the Chinese Costumes.
  Larry and Mary are the Indians.
The Hillbillies are my parent's friends, the Harrimans.
  I guess in 1965 it wasn't very important to be politically correct LOL.

And this photo is from the early 90's when we hosted a Halloween Party at our house.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Planned Leftovers

To those who have been following me for the last couple of months it is no surprise that when I plan my weekly menu, I also plan in meals using leftovers from previous meals.  My family isn't very big on leftovers unless they are repurposed into another whole meal.

So tonight for dinner I am taking last weeks Chili and turning it into Burritos.

Place a scant half cup of your favorite Chili onto a Tortilla.
Roll up and place in baking pan.
Cover with Cheese and Bake at 350* for 25-30 Min.
I serve them with Shredded Lettuce, Diced Tomatoes, Sliced Avocados and Sour Cream.  Enjoy.

Likewise, tomorrow's Roast Chicken will turn into another meal or two for next week so keep tuned to find out what's on the menu Saturday.  I am also excited because I will be putting away my September/October Cuisine at Home and pulling out the November/December Holiday issues.  Tons of great recipes!!!

Me and Mom

Nancy took the day off to go to some medical appointments she had scheduled so it is just Me and Mom today.  I gave Mom her shower this morning because I had scheduled massages for the two of us today.  I try to get Mom a massage at least once every two months.  Our friend, Jan, does a wonderful job.  Her Mom and mine have been friends for over twenty years, of course Mom does not remember that, but she is still comfortable with Jan and I know that she is in good hands if I leave during her massage as I did today.  It is also nice because Jan has a lounge chair in the room where she gives massages so Mom can leaf through a magazine or take a nap while I am getting my massage and I don't have to worry about her.

Mom waiting to get her blood pressure taken before her massage.
So I dropped Mom off and then went and took care of things at the food pantry so everything was ready for Midgie's team tonight.  I returned as Jan was helping Mom get dressed.  We gave her a bottle of water, put her into the lounge chair with a magazine and it was my turn.  Mom usually talks the entire time I am getting my massage, asking Jan the same questions time and again as Jan patiently answers but today she read her book and never said a word so I was able to just close my eyes, turn off my mind and relax.
After our massages I took Mom out to lunch at the Big River Grill.  Mom enjoys going there.  It was my Pops favorite restaurant and while she doesn't remember that she does remember being there before and she loves watching all the big freighters go by, unfortunately today there was not one freighter the entire time we dined.

It was a nice day spent with the lady that used to be my Mom.

Continuing Good Habits.

October is still here so I am still organizing.  I am looking forward to carrying my new organizing habit into November.  I am linking up with

Title Organize It
for the month of November.  I hope to get a lot done between now and the Holidays and I would like to share it with you.
This morning I decided to tackle the cupboard adjacent to my wine refrigerator. 
What a mess!!   This is the cupboard that I open up and throw anything that has been left on my counters instead of taking the piles my family leaves and sorting through them so I can put them where they belong.  I take piles from one place, put them to another, close a door and convince myself that out of sight is out of mind.  The only problem is that when I need something I have to dig through piles of junk to find it.
First I emptied the entire cupboard and sorted everything into piles.  Keep and put away, Throw out and Donate.  Almost everything was in the Throw Out Pile.  I did have 6, count them 6, pairs of glasses that I will take and donate to the Lions Club.  I had a pile to take up to Ting's room, a pile to put back in the garage and a pile to take down to the newly organized storage room in the basement where I put them in the proper location.
I had just gotten some new organizing totes from Thirty one so I grabbed one and put it to good use.
It fit perfectly on the top pull out drawer. I filled the inside with all the things that belonged in that cupboard but had no home, and filled the side pockets with all the pens, pencils and markers that had been thrown in there.
The only things I had left to put on the bottom shelf were our binoculars that we need handy for when we have visitors to our ponds and a glass cutting board that I have on my wine bar when it is not decorated for holidays.  And there you have it......45 minutes of work and a wonderful usable space is available to me.
I will be moving on to my Cookbook Shelves and Scrapbooking Cupboards next....I think they will take me a bit longer than this small cupboard did.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

In the Blink of an Eye

Wow it is hard to believe that the month of October is nearly over and that means the end of my 31 Day Challenge to blog each day about my Mom and her Alzheimer Disease.  At times it was hard for me because to me this is just everyday life and it has become routine to deal with the disease and it's affects on Mom so I wouldn't be sure what I should blog about.  Those days turned out to be a good thing because it gave me time to reflect on life with Mom before the disease.  When she was the care giver taking care of her family and home.  The person to whom I could go to share my dreams and hopes, fears and fantasies, failures and accomplishments.  We always had so much fun together and this process helped me to remember those times instead of just feeling the burden of having the shell of my mother without her spirit and intellect.
This month has not only made me more understanding with Mom and, hopefully, more patient. But it has also opened my eyes to how very lucky I am to have such a strong support group to help me deal with this situation.  I know that not everyone is as blessed as I with such a wonderful spouse, children, siblings and friends BUT that does not mean that you are alone.  I would like to use today's post to link to some organizations that can offer support and help.
May God Bless and Keep all Caregivers in His Loving Peace.
I hope these sites are helpful for you.  Thank you for sharing my journey thus far.  See you tomorrow.
See Day 30

Wine Stopper Collection

I have been collecting wine stoppers for several years now but I never had a good way to display them.  I  put them in bowls, I set them on counters, I put them on my wine rack but they were never showcased. I never used them to stop up the wine bottle because when we open a bottle of wine around here there is never any left in the bottle to stop up. LOL  But I love finding unique stoppers and they are a great way to save memories if not wine.
I got this stopper when we were scuba diving in Cozumel.

Then last month I was in my corner gift store, Seasons, that I frequent quite often as I try always to buy local and support the small businesses in my area.  Over the years I have become friends with the owner, Liz.  She had wine stoppers for sale and they were in a display case made just for the purpose.  I asked her about it and she ordered a couple up for me. When I stopped in today they had just arrived.  I was very excited to get home and set it up.

I filled one and then I have another so that I can continue with my collection.

And as an added bonus all her Halloween stuff was 40% off so I got these little guys for practically nothing!!

I also stopped by a consignment store in the area, Ditto Consignments, and found some great items on sale for the fall.
I thought this guy was very cool. He reminds me of the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.  Another collection I have.
I got this adorable acorn dish for 3 bucks!!
And this blown glass pumpkin was 50% off.
I feel like I had a very productive shopping day!!  I hope all of you find something to treasure today.

Flying Friends, Found Friends, Faithful Friends, Family Friends

I am driving Kim to the airport this morning.  She is flying out to Alabama to see her Dad's family.  This is a pleasure trip, not a work trip, so she doesn't get reimbursed for parking.  I am happy to drive her because it will give us time to visit.

Once I drop her off I am heading to a local restaurant, Sugarbush Tavern, to meet an old friend, Susan, for lunch.  We found each other on fb.  The last time we spent time together was when we were in 3rd grade!!!  We were best friends and inseparable from 1st to 3rd grade and then I switched schools and we lost touch with each other.  I am looking forward to reconnecting.

I would normally be working the Backpack Program but my friend, Linda, graciously offered to cover for me so that I could meet up with Susan.

We are having choir practice tonight since Thursday is Halloween.  Our friend, John, is going to stay with Mom and then meet us for dinner at the Little Bar afterwards.

One of the best parts of having adult children is that they become such great friends.  Don't get me wrong...there is nothing better than cuddling with babies, nothing sweeter than toddler hugs and kisses, nothing more rewarding than watching children grow and learn, nothing more fun than family game night but having adults who become great friends.....priceless.
My "friend", Amy, who is always there to help with Grandma.
Bosom Buddies.  Frank and Anthony.

Celebrate Good Times....

I kept Mom home from Dawn's today because our youngest son, Anthony, has a birthday on Saturday.  He is leaving on Friday to go meet our youngest child, Nicole and her husband Pierre, at  Disney World in Florida and tonight is his only night off before he leaves.  The gathering will be at Buddy's Pizza.  Celebrating with us tonight will be Frank's sister, Roz, and her husband, Ron;  Frank's brother, Dan, and his wife, Rebecca; Mom, Mom Klik, Amy and her guy, Doug and Tingting.

Every time we tell Mom we are getting together with Frank's family (at least a couple of times a month) she exclaims "I didn't know Frank had any brothers or sisters".  Then she asks why she has never met them, who they are, what they do for a living, are they going to mind her tagging along and these questions repeat the entire drive until we are with them and then she recognizes them but still cannot comprehend that they are Frank's family.  She thinks they are friends that she has had for years and years and of course, Frank and I have only just gotten married in her mind so she couldn't know them because they are his family. I is confusing to me too.

But once there Mom is in her glory because there is a party and there is nothing she likes more than a party!

Mom, Celebrating Good Times

Monday, October 28, 2013

Muffin Monday

I am sure that this recipe for Raisin Bran Muffins originally came from the back of the box but I would have no idea when.
Mom used to make these for me and now I make them for her. 

A great way to start the week.

Raisin Bran Muffins

1. 5 c. Raisin Bran Cereal
3/4 c. Milk
1/4 c. Vegetable Oil
1/2 c, Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 c. All Purpose Flour
2 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Cinnamon
1 Egg
1/4 c. Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 400*.  Grease and Flour a 6 cup muffin tin.

Soak cereal in milk for 5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Join us at 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Savoring Sunday

Mark Schultz put on a great concert last night to benefit CRI.  It was very powerful and you could feel God's Spirit working through the audience.  I would highly recommend seeing him if he is playing in your area. 

Today we were supposed to go flying with Dawn and Tom but once got in the way.  Dawn and Tom went out yesterday to get shrubs, plants and trees to landscape around their new deck and need to finish getting them planted today so they needed to cancel out.  It is unfortunate because it is a gorgeous day for a flight.  Frank thought about the two of us just going but then decided that since it was so nice he was going to wash window and change out the water in the hot tub.

So I think I am going to spend today Savoring a free Sunday.  I am going to work on another Christmas gift. Since we are not eating out tonight I am going to make Swedish Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes and Corn.  I think I will pick Mom up early since we are going to be home.  I am sure Dick and Jackie are ready for a break. Kurt has gone up north hunting so I have invited Kim to join us for dinner. Tingting loves meatballs so I will make extra for her to take in her lunch this week.

As I was sitting here typing, I all of the sudden heard my turkeys at the back door....I think they are saying "Let me in, it is cold out here".

Look how big they are getting.  They are as tall as the chairs.  And they poop big too.....looks like I will have to clean the deck today also. (Really, I will let Frank clean the deck when he goes out to wash the windows even though I will have to hear him gripe about the Turkeys being too big to be free roaming and pooping all over everything). They still have 3 1/2 more weeks of growing to do.  Looks like lots of leftovers this Thanksgiving.

I went into my recipe folder to pull out my Swedish Meatball recipe and this is what I found.....
I have all these recipes that I take out and throw into this binder in no particular order and not even on the binder rings, just thrown in between the cover.  Of course whenever I want a recipe I have to dig through the entire pile sooooooo......Since it is Organizing October....and I got done with my Storage Room early....Today I am going to organize these recipes.
First I sorted into 4 piles. 
  1. Soups, Salads and Appetizers
  2. Main Dishes
  3. Vegetables and Side Dishes
  4. Desserts and Miscellaneous.
Then I subdivided each of those piles into categories alphabetically. 
I photocopied any that were damaged or not full sheets so as to have them all equal.
Pulled out a larger binder and my hole punch.
And here is my finished project. All organized so that my recipes are easy to find.
I will have to pick up some tabbed divider sheets so for now I just used sticky notes.
While I was sorting, copying and punching the recipes I found many that I had not even tried yet so I think I will be using my new recipe binder for the next few weeks Try it Tuesdays.
And here is my recipe for Swedish Meatballs. I have doubled it.  You can halve it if you want but they freeze very well so go for it an make a big batch.
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork (or you can use all ground beef if you prefer)
2 c. fresh bread crumbs
1 c. milk
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. each, ginger, allspice and nutmeg.
Saute onion in 1 T. butter or olive oil.  Mix in with all other ingredients. Shape into 1 1/2-2" balls and bake at 400* for 20 minutes.  While meatballs are baking make the gravy.
1 c. butter
1 c. flour
4 c. beef broth
salt and pepper to taste.
Melt butter in large sauce pan.  Blend in flour and cook until brown and bubbly.  Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Add meatballs to the gravy and heat through.  Print Recipe
I use my cookie scoop to portion out the meat mixture and then I roll them into balls.
A double recipe will give you 90 Meatballs.  A serving is 4-5 Meatballs so this gives you enough for a large gathering or for your family and one or two freezer meals.
Once the meatballs are cooked I remove them to a plate.
You can portion and freeze them now and make the gravy later or you can make the gravy and freeze them completed.  I am going to make enough gravy today for all of them.
When you are ready to serve, make the gravy, add the meatballs.
Warm through and enjoy.
I started on another casserole caddy this afternoon.  I am using this fabric this time, I think it is very appealing for a casserole caddy.
All in all it was a very productive day.  I hope all of you got to Savor your Sunday.

Scaring Great-Grandma

I enjoyed my weekend off.  We had a lot of fun and I got a lot accomplished. I contacted Jackie this morning and told her that Dawn and Tom couldn't go flying with us today so we were staying home and that I would pick Mom up around 5.  Kim is coming for dinner tonight and Mom enjoys spending time with her.  Jackie said that it was a great weekend with Mom.  She had her grandson, Carter, this weekend also and Mom was in her glory.  Carter is adorable and he is a chatterbox so Mom and he just talked and laughed and played.  Mom never once complained that she wanted to go home.  This makes me very happy because now there is no guilt in enjoying my weekend without her.
Jackie sent me this photo of Carter after he scared Great-Grandma.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Singing Saturday and Weekly Menu

It was luxurious this morning being able to lounge around, play with the puppy, drink coffee and spend some time with Frank.  This afternoon we are singing at Mass and then going to a Mark Schultz concert.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we are going for a flight with Dawn and Tom and will have dinner out.

Monday we are celebrating our son, Tony's, birthday.  This is his only day off before his birthday and then he has his birthday week off so he is flying out to Florida and meeting Nicole and Pierre in Disney World.

Tuesday we have choir practice since Thursday is Halloween.  John is coming to stay with Mom while we sing and then will bring her to meet us and Kirsten for dinner after choir.

Apple Crumb Pie for dessert last night and breakfast this morning.  YUM!!

So here is the menu for the week.

We will probably grab subs and eat them on the drive to the concert.

Out for Dinner

Tony's birthday dinner-He will either pick the menu or the restaurant if we end up going out.

Out after Choir

Chili Burritos

Roast Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Cole Slaw

Fish Friday
Creamy Salmon and Leek Pasta

Wow!!!  There are a lot of meals out this week....sometimes life just gets in the way.

I am linked up with Menu Plan Monday.  Take a look for lots of menu ideas.

More Memories of Mom

While Mom is away this weekend I thought I would share some more memories with you.  Mom was always very active.  She loved parties, cards, games, bowling and horseshoes.  She sold Avon and was district manager for years, once she had me she gave up that career so as to be able to spend more time with me.  As I was growing up she sold Beeline Clothes, so I was always well dressed.  Mom would have loved for me to primp and preen with her but it wasn't my style.  When Dawn was born Mom gave up Beeline and began day care for a couple of toddlers to bring in extra money.  When Dawn got older Mom began driving bus for the local school system and remained at that job until she and Pops retired.  With Dawn, Mom got the little girl she had always dreamed of.  Dawn was a  born primper and preener.  She loved to dress up, play with dolls, go shopping and put on makeup.  Mom felt completed with Dawn.  She often mentioned that she believed the spirit of her first child, a little girl named Marie who died shortly after birth, came back in Dawn.  She said that she mourned Marie every day of her life until Dawn was born and then that hurt went away.
We have many, many good memories of Mom.  She and Pop's had a happy house and all us kids and our spouses would spend our weekends there with toddlers running around everywhere while we had poker tournaments.  Mom was always in her glory when all her kids were together.
Mom and Pops with some of their grandkids and great grandkids in 2005.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Free Friday with Friends at Home

I love Fridays!! Mostly because Frank tries not to schedule any meetings on Friday so we get to spend the day together.  Today Nancy will take Mom out to lunch before her manicure and pedicure and then she will drop her off at Dick and Jackie's for the weekend.  We are going to be home this weekend but it is still nice to have the weekend off.  Tonight we are having our friends, the Doumas over for dinner.  Tomorrow we are going to a concert with John and Kirsten and Sunday we hope to go flying with Dawn and Tom if weather permits.  We will pick Mom up after dinner on Sunday.

The Douma's are a great couple.  We try to get together with them at least once a month but that doesn't always happen get's in the way.  They are both dog lovers and dog sit for us when we find ourselves in a bind so I am anxious for them to meet Fiona.

Mark had a health scare last year and has since become a vegan.  I am a carnivore with a family of carnivores.  Even my Meatless Mondays usually include eggs, cheese, butter or cream.  So it was a challenge to find a vegan menu.  Vegetarian I have done numerous times and could have thrown that together, no problem.  But not being able to use any animal products definitely made me put on my thinking cap.  I did come up with a menu but my dessert was supposed to be Blood Orange Cups.  Unfortunately, it is still too early for Blood Oranges.  Instead, I am making Baked Apples but I can't figure out any way to get past using butter.  I hope that it okay, if not then I guess I can just cut him up an apple for dessert.  Can any of you think of desserts that don't use any dairy products??

Okay, so I went to the farm today and have come up with my final vegan menu for tonight.


Vegetable soup
adapted from weight watchers

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
2 Carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
8 cups vegetables (mixture) of your choice (broccoli, cabbage, spinach, chard, cauliflower, zucchini, peppers,summer squash, beans, peas, etc.) whatever you happen to have on hand.
1 can diced tomatoes with their juices
6 c. vegetable stock
2 T. fresh seasonings of your choice or 2 t. dried (I like to use Italian seasoning, or thyme and oregano)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a large soup pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste, season with more salt and pepper if needed.   Print Recipe

Assorted Salads:
Orrechiette with Butternut Squash

Apple Crumb Pie (Because I figured if I was going to use butter in the Baked Apples anyway I may as well make Pie for Frank)

I chose these salads because they are so colorful and remind me of Fall.

Dinner was a success and we had nice visit.  Hope all of you have a wonderful Friday night.