Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ringing in the New Year...cabbage anyone?

As 2009 draws to a close and we prepare to usher in 2010, I've been thinking about the many different things we do to assure good fortune in the new year. I know that true southerners believe in the power of black-eyed peas. And though I consider myself to be southern at heart, I was raised by parents who insisted I eat at least one bite of cabbage on New Year's Day. Didn't matter if it was boiled, pickled or simply grated and mixed into cole slaw, I had to eat a bite.

That's a tall order when you're a kid who finds no appeal to cabbage... in any form.

(Yeah, I know that's not cabbage...I also know that's not what I looked like as a child. Still, best I could do...)

Fortunately for me, my tastes matured along with the rest of me and now I'll eat cabbage just about any way you can prepare it. LOVE the stuff! It's a shame I'm not superstitious enough to believe in 'luck'.

However, if you are one of those folks who hates cabbage but really doesn't want to tempt Lady Luck into turning her attention elsewhere, I have just the recipe for you. This is some good stuff, I tell ya.

Once upon a time there was a restaurant here in WV that served this wonderfully delicious soup. The restaurant, The River's Edge, closed its doors a few years ago. Shortly afterward, the recipe for their famous soup appeared in our local newspaper and since it contains cabbage, I thought I'd share it with you now. It might just be the dish that makes a cabbage lover of you!

River’s Edge Soup
1 small head of cabbage
1 bunch of celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 yellow onions, chopped
1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
2 large cans V8 Juice + 2 cans water
Salt and pepper to taste
Bottled hot sauce to taste

Cover cabbage, celery, onions, and garlic with water in soup pot on low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add dry soup mix, juice and water. Cover and cook 2 hours. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

While this soup isn't filling enough to be a main dish, it makes a wonderful appetizer or first course.

And I'm sure it contains just enough cabbage to ensure your good fortune for the coming year.

~~~On a more serious note, I want to thank each of you who have taken the time to stop by and read my ramblings. I am having such a good time with this blog! I love reading your comments, receiving your emails and even the comments left on my Facebook regarding my posts here. I sincerely hope you will continue to visit in 2010 and I promise to do my best to make it worth your while. :)

May each of you have a happy, prosperous and blessed 2010! ~~~

Monday, December 28, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside! How about a quilt?

Since it is really cold outside today and it's supposed to stay that way all week, I've been throwing extra quilts on the beds. There is nothing like a handmade quilt to keep you warm on the most blustery of days! Somehow a storebought blanket just doesn't do the trick.

I've always had a weakness for quilts. When we go to the Amish Country, one of the first places I like to visit is Grandma Fannie's Quilt Barn. There are patterns, fabrics, old quilts, new quilts, quilted wall name it. My favorite part of the store is where they have the Ziploc baggies of scraps. I am one of those odd folks who doesn't really sew much (and not that well when I do) but I could spend hours in a fabric store. I love the colors, the patterns, the textures. I just LOVE fabric! And I have a semi-decent stash, too. What I'll ever do with it, I'm not certain. But I think there will be quilts involved. I HOPE there will be quilts involved. (I must first cultivate much patience. I tend to love the planning process and even the beginning stages of a project, but I grow impatient to see the finished product and end up frustrated to the point of giving up long before it is complete.) :(

Anyway, when Ginny passed away I inherited 27 quilts. Yes, TWENTY-SEVEN. And I wouldn't trade any of them for all the gold in Fort Knox. Most of these quilts were made by Ginny's mother, but Ginny and her sister Pearl helped out on them, too. I thought I'd share a few of them with you. You'll never know how I felt last summer when I washed them and hung them on the lines to dry. Such a beautiful sight to behold! :)

This one is comprised of squares containing the state bird, state tree, and the names of each of the 48 states embroidered on it. Yes, you read that right...48 states. It was made before Alaska and Hawaii joined our fine union. Pretty cool, indeed.

At first I found the red piece in the center of each of the flowers to be distracting and not so pretty. Then it started to grow on me. I just can't sit and look at all the work that goes into a quilt like that and not find it beautiful. I love all the colors and prints they used, and I still think that something other than the red would have been much more appealing, but still...

A few of them hanging out to dry.

A close-up to allow you to fully appreciate all of the deatailed work that went into hand quilting these pieces. Yes, they were all hand-pieced and quilted. Isn't it amazing?

This one is probably my favorite. I was trying to decide which of my kids would get which quilts and this one immediately screamed 'PERRI'! It just looks like her. :)

There are many others and if you enjoyed these, I'll share them with you another day. I still can't believe my good fortune. :) Ginny kept them stored away in an attempt to preserve them and also because I think it made her sad to look at them and remember. I will use them, cherish them and share them with my family and friends because I think they were made by loving hands and with the intention of being put to good use. I also think they were meant to bring joy to those who would appreciate them, and I most definitely appreciate them! :)

My Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY...December 28, 2009

Outside my window... There is a fresh coat of snow! :) Snow makes me happy.

I am thinking... that I have so much to do and here I sit, blogging. Oh well. Blogging makes me happy, too. :)

I am thankful for... my kids. :) They're on Christmas break and I love having them here at home with me.

From the learning rooms... Well, I don't homeschool per se, but I do 'supplement'. I just believe that as long as their minds are little sponges, they need to learn as much as they possibly can. But while they're on break from school, they're also on break at home. :)

From the kitchen... I haven't a clue. I'm tired of leftovers and I want some good, old fashioned comfort food. Though I'm not sure what the main course will be, I do believe I see mashed potatoes in my near future. :)

I am wearing... my flannel lined jeans and a sweatshirt. It is COLD today and the wind is blowing, too.

I am creating... a more organized life for myself and my family. It is a work in progress but it is getting better!

I am going... to town to buy laundry detergent in a little while. Ick. I don't want to go out today, but the laundry room is overflowing with new Christmas things and I have about enough detergent to do one more load.

I am reading... mostly just other blogs at the moment, but I did just buy Big Russ and Me by Tim Russert yesterday. I've wanted to read it for a long time.

I am hoping... to find my energy and motivation sometime in the next 30 minutes or so. I'm dragging today!

I am hearing... Tucker and Perri playing a game together. :)

Around the house... The big tree is coming down today. I want my family room back!

One of my favorite things... That 'refreshed' feeling throughout the house when Christmas has been packed away. :)

A few plans for the rest of the week: Mostly just enjoying having the kids here. Thursday the whole family (well, I'm hoping Drew and Kish get to come!) will be here celebrating NYE and I might be making homemade pizzas. Friday we'll have our traditional New Year's Day dinner of smoked sausage and sauerkraut, buttered potatoes, creamed peas, cornbread and a pan of cooked cabbage for those who don't like kraut.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...because to me it is beautiful, peaceful and serene.

Many thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman for sponsoring the Simple Woman's Daybook. Check out the link to join in the fun!

Friday, December 25, 2009

And so it goes until next year...

Christmas has come and nearly gone...hope you didn't blink or you missed it! I hope that every single one of you had as terrific a day as enjoyed here!
It was a day full of family, friends and lots of food. (As you can tell from the pics, we really concentrated on the sweets! There honestly was a meal served here today...honestly!) :)
Here are a few shots that Brie took. Kind of a photo journal from her perspective. :)

Presents on the pot. :)

Brie's homemade petit fours.

A table full of sweets!

Yes, Santa Troll is adorable, but look at that angelic face to the left. :) My oldest baby, Drew when he was about 5 or 6.

Let's get those stockings!

Drew taped Kish's Wii Fit into a large box and she had no idea what she was opening!

She shoots....she scores! :) My MIL shooting a basket with some wrapping paper and my ex holding the bag. Yes, my ex. He spent the day with us, ate dinner, hung out. It's all good. :)

WOW! It's MOM. Upside down. ;)

Tucker modeling his new Tony shirt.

Perri stylin' and profilin'.

More of Brie's homemade confections.

Red velvet whoopie pies. These were AWESOME. Super yum! Again, by Brie. (Did I bake ANYTHING myself this year?)

Forget the gifts. Just give him the boxes!

Hayden's new wheels. :)

Hayden was diggin' the fruit in his stocking.

A plate full of cookies. These* I made. Yes! ME! :)

*'These' being the chocolate dipped spritz in the center. The hubster actually made the others.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chocolate dipped cookies and a hidey-house...WHAT FUN! : )

It has been a lazy kind of day around here. I did make a breakfast of bacon and pancakes for the kids (who didn't have to go to school today, thanks to the snow) and I've made a few cookies, but otherwise I have pretty much been sitting around being a lump. And personally, I don't have a problem with that. ;)

I baked some spritz last night and today I dipped them halfway in chocolate. Plain spritz are not a hit with my family, but just about anything dipped in chocolate is appreciated. I made some 'Thin Mints'. Got the idea from here. I also baked sugar cookie cutouts (bells, candy canes, trees, stars) but we haven't begun to decorate them yet. Maybe tonight after dinner.

At the moment, this is how my house looks:
You see, this is what happens when the kids are not in school. Chairs moved out of the way so that a hidey-house can be properly constructed under the kitchen table.

And the closet under the stairs, when emptied of some of the pesky household items, makes a wonderful 'office'.

Of course, those household items must find a temporary home. Like in the middle of the hallway.

But you know what? I don't really mind. :) Now that my two older kids are all grown up and on their own, I realize how fleeting these snowy afternoons of make-believe really are. I will be looking back and saying "Those were the days" far too soon. Besides, listening to them is quite entertaining, to say the least!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Little Q&A

I saw this on this blog and had to play, too! :)

1. If you could change anything about your physical appearance, what would it be?
I'd like to not have a 'waddle' under my chin! ;)

2. Is there a habit in others that you find annoying?
I can't handle dishonesty or meanness. There just isn't a good excuse for either.

3. What is your favorite recipe using ground beef?
Burgers on the grill or meatloaf.

4. What was your favorite book as a kid?
Where the Red Fern Grows

5. Did you work as a teenager and if so, where?
I had a few different jobs. I ran the kitchen/concessions at the city pool; did a lot of babysitting; worked vacations for the city clerk.

6. Did you work while in college and if so, where?
Unfortunately I never went to college. :(

7. When you go to sleep do you like total darkness or semi? When you go to sleep do you need quiet or is some noise ok?
I prefer total silence and complete darkness, but it seldom works out that way.

8. When doing laundry, fabric softener or not?
Gain fabric softener. It's the only one that doesn't cause my family to break out in hives. :)

9. Open toed or closed toed shoes?
Closed. I'm a fall/winter girl. The more of my body that's covered, the better! :)

10. Would you rather be blind or deaf?
I think if I had to choose one, I'd rather lose my hearing. I love reading and I love looking at my babies. :)

11. Dangle or stud earrings?
I wear hoops every day of my life!

12. Bottled water or tap?
Usually tap. I'll drink bottled if I'm out.

13. What do you put on pancakes?
Syrup only.

14. On a long trip would you rather drive or fly?
I do NOT fly! If God meant for me to fly, he would have given me wings! ;)

15. Do you prefer classic old movies or new?
I LOVE old movies, but I also enjoy new ones when the language isn't too vile.

Now, you're turn! Copy and paste the questions and let us all know a little more about YOU! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Probably only have a minute or two...

...and this is why:

Isn't it BEAUTIFUL!?!?!?

Electricity has flashed on and off so many times today, I finally gave up on resetting the digital clocks. What a pain! Otherwise it has been a great day spent in our warm and cozy house reading, playing games, baking cookies, etc. Gas log fireplace so we don't have to worry about heat if the power DOES go off for long, and a gas cooktop so we also will not starve.

I'll be back for a real post once the power is more stable. :) Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, December 18, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

We're supposed to get SNOW tonight! This makes me very happy! And being in a happy mood makes me want to share it with everyone around! I thought I'd put together a few shots of the things that make the Christmas season so special to me.

There are many things about Christmas that I love, but my favorite part isn't something that can be photographed or painted. It is a feeling; a warmth and a hope and a love that we should all strive harder to experience throughout the year and not just during the month of December. Perhaps the following things will make you feel what I feel when I see them. :)

First there is this.
There is nothing like a beautifully painted nativity to bring the Christmas spirit home to me. And then there is this, a quiet and tender moment to celebrate the meaning of it all.

The rest are things that, while not as important as those first two, really bring back the wonderful memories I have of Christmases past and fill me with hope for the Christmases yet to come. I want my old fashioned Christmas carols (Burl Ives and Roger Whitaker are MUSTS!), the aroma of orange and clove, the television specials of my childhood (Christmas just isn't complete until I hear Linus recite the Christmas scripture...such sweetness in that voice!), and beautiful snow scenes, a Christmas tree and a fireplace, good Christmas books, the old movie standards (I still get teary when Clarence gets his wings!). They're all essential for me. They make me HAPPY! And when you're happy, it isn't so difficult to spread the love, now is it? :)

And last, but most certainly not least, there are babies. :)
Drew and Brie

Perri and Tucker

Hayden, my grandson. The pic is from last year but I couldn't resist. Just too perfect! :)