Princess Katelyn’s Wedding

somehow I now have an extra blogging page….going to try to include this on my shellys stories page.

My Blog

Food For The Soul

wedding 9/21/2013It’s now been 2 weeks since the event of the year. An event that was in the planning since she was old enough to notice boys. An event that will live in the memories of those who were present to share the event with each other.  Yes, we are talking about the wedding of Princess Katelyn and her new husband Daryl.  This was the wedding in which I was determined to lose 55 by age 55….(perhaps 20 by 55), the event of the century, the event that often times had just a hint of bridezilla bubbling to the surface, the event that every girl dreams of.  I will go on record as saying, as her mother, that she was absolutely beautiful, and appeared to be walking on air the entire evening.  Everything went as planned, except we forgot to unbustle her dress before she walked down the aisle…but she…

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May Day….days gone by…

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photocredit:tlc.howstuffworks

Growing up, May Day used to be one of my favorite days of the year, that is, after Christmas and my birthday.  In the seventies we still celebrated May Day in our small town of 1,100 people.  Mom would send us uptown with 2 dollars, and our job was to pick out 100 pieces of penny candy, plus some special candy.  Back in the “dark ages,” as my kids refer to my youth, there was a very nice assortment of penny candy available for stuffing the baskets.  There were those chewy cherry (or strawberry?) circular candies that had the appearance of a coin, Tootsie Rolls in a decent length, Pixie Sticks, Milk Duds, Nik-L-Nips, Candy Buttons on a strip of paper, Bit-O-Honey, Candy cigarettes, about 20 different suckers, Chicklets, candy bracelets, wax lips, Sweet Tarts, Dubble Bubble, Licorice, Lemon Drops, Black Jack Gum, Teaberry Gum, Necco wafers, Sugar Babies, Rasinets, Charms, Razzles, Chocolate coins, Pirates gold gum that came in a little sack, and it you had a little extra money you could get some Brachs candy too.  Now, not all of these candies sold for a penny, but they weren’t more than a dime each.  I can clearly remember going up to the Sweet Shop, money in hand, and beginning the task given to me.  As my sisters got older, they would come up too, and we were like the proverbial “kids in a candy shop.”  We would grab candy and set them in little piles, according to price, on top of the ice cream freezer (self-serve kind with 2 doors that slid both ways)  “Doc,” the owner would stand of the other side of the freezer and divide the piles into smaller piles, to make adding up our total easier.  It seemed like such a huge pile of candy….and we were in heaven.  We gladly gave over our money, while often times having to return some candy because our count was off, and left the store with our bags of happiness.  After the 2 block walk home we would begin making the baskets.  Mom would pop some popcorn on the stove, without butter, to be added to the baskets as a filler.  All we needed now was construction paper, scissors, some crayons for decorating the baskets, and a stapler. Sometimes she would have some paper doilies to make special baskets for family.  We always made them in to a cone shape, and cut an extra strip of paper for the handle.  It was imperative that you have a sturdy handle, because the baskets were to be hung on the door knobs of their front doors.  If it was a boy that you thought was cute, you could ring the door bell, then run…and if they chased after you, then  that meant they liked you.  unfortunately the only thing that chased after me were the family pets…….Sometimes we would go out in the yard and pick some of those little purple wild violets that grew close to the ground (actually, I think they were weeds) and add them to our mix of candy and popcorn.  It was truly one of the best days of the year.  Spring was making its appearance, the tulips were open, and the leaves were turning the trees green.  The long snowy cold winter was behind us.  If it was nice we would load the baskets on our bikes and make our deliveries, and if it was raining Mom would take us around.  Then you would anxiously return home to see how many baskets were left on the porch for us.  Truly magical 🙂

photo credit:peoplesumcnews.blogspot

I tried to continue the tradition when my oldest were in grade school a decade later, but many kids their age just didn’t know about giving out May Day baskets. They had a chosen few that got “special” baskets, including our neighbor Emma, their piano teacher Anne, and any other adults who touched their lives in a personal way.  One year we made them out of construction paper, and another year we used Dixie cups with pipe cleaners for handles.  They were always hand-made and decorated with the love and dedication that only a child can create.   I am a lover of traditions, and this was one that I hated to see die, but eventually we stopped making them as well……so to all of my friends and readers, I am sending you a virtual beautiful May Basket filled with any candy that you can fondly remember, popcorn that was popped on the stove, with a sprinkling little purple violets ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY

Red Cake

4 (1/2 oz) bottles red food coloring

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp. vinegar

3 Tbls. Nestle milk cocoa

1/2 cup Crisco

2 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp Vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

Mix food coloring and cocoa together and set aside.

Combine flour and salt, sifting 3 times.

Cream sugar, crisco and egg.

Mix food coloring/ cocoa mixture to above.

Add buttermilk, flour, salt and vanilla.

Add baking soda to vinegar and stir well in to mixture.

Grease and flour pans (I use 2 heart-shaped pans) and bake for 30 -35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Frosting:

2 stick oleo

7-8 Tbls Crisco

3 Tbls flour

2./3 cup milk (room temperature)

1 cup granulated sugar

Vanilla to taste

Cream the oleo, Crisco, sugar and flour (add flour one Tbls at a time)

Add milk and vanilla.

Mix with an electric mixer until creamy.

Hey Kelly…….Shamrock Shakes are Back!

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

phot credie:flickr.com

  Yesterday, after a grueling day of shopping, my daughter asked if I would pull off of the interstate so we could stop at McDonalds.  I reminded her that we just had a big lunch a few hours ago, and she said all she wanted was to get a Shamrock Shake.  I don’t remember any of my kids ever requesting a Shamrock Shake…..who is this child? I reminded her that I just bought her a  movie, so she decided that she would pay for the shake out of her allowance.  That left me no excuse, so of course being the perfect mother that I am, I stopped so she could get a shake.  We pulled into the drive-thru and after looking at the prices, she decided she wanted a large shake.  I am quietly shaking my head because there is no way she will finish an entire large shake, but it was her money….so large Shamrock Shake it was.  She paid her $2.99 and they handed us this huge beautiful green shake, complete with whipped cream and a cherry.  She giggled with glee as I handed it to her, and then went to work enjoying the shake.

  As I was driving the rest of the way home, my memory wandered back to the time that my sister Kelly, and a Shamrock Shake had a face off…and the shake won!  My mom, two sisters and I had gone grocery shopping one Saturday in Streator.  The year was 1970, and I would have been 11, Kelly was 7,and Tammy was at the ripe old age of 3.  It was a treat to go out to lunch when I was young.  We never questioned it, we just knew that it was an unexpected treat.  The rule was that we could get a sandwich, and either french fries or a small coke.  Again, we didn’t question why, it just was the way it was…period!  It was early March and McDonalds had just introduced a new shake flavor, now well-known as a Shamrock Shake.  Kelly had decided that she wanted a shake, and she proceeded to beg and plead to get the shake. I can still remember my mom trying to reason with her, telling her that it was mint flavored and she would not like it.  Kelly insisted she knew what mint tasted like, and promised she would drink the whole thing. Of course I opted for french fries and a glass of water….there were no better fries on earth as McDonalds….and even at the age of 11 I knew my food.  We all get settled in and begin eating our lunch.  Kelly ate her burger and the took a big swig of the shake…and then gagged.  One of those honest to goodness gags…the ones that make your mouth open like a fish and you make a horrible noise that seems to come out of your mouth from the tips of your toes.  Your know the look: your  face turns kinda purplish red, and you appear to stop breathing for a few seconds. (excuse me a moment because at this point I am giggling so hard that the tears are running down my face just picturing her sitting at that table)

Anyway…I hurry to finish my burger and fries as fast as I can, while trying to ease away from her as we sit side by side in the booth….and of course I am near the wall.  She begs mom to let her throw away the shake, and mom is determined that she is going to sit there until she drinks at least 3/4 of it.  She tried to tell Kelly she wouldn’t like it, she tried to reason with Kelly….but NOOOOO Kelly knew what she wanted, and mom was not going to waste the $1.89.  I just wanted to die in horror as we sat in McDonalds for over an hour as Kelly continued to sip….gag….sip…gag….plead….sip….purple face……gag….plead….fish lips……gag…..plead…..until there was one-quarter of the shake left.   Kelly may have thought she was stubborn at the young age of 7,  but she was in the ring with the champ!  And to this day I remind her every single year when I see that Shamrock Shakes are back!  And since I am a christian woman, I won’t tell you what her reply to me is now that we are adults ♥

PS…Miss Madison drank 1/2 of her shake….which makes me wonder why kids refuse to listen to their parents line of reasoning…..we didn’t get to be this age by not learning  a thing or two……..duh!

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

SHAMROCK SHAKES

DEDICATED TO KELLY JO!

2 cups of vanilla ice cream

3/4 cup milk

3/4 tsp peppermint extract (don’t over do this…strong in flavor)

green food coloring (8-9) drops

Blend all together until the right consistancy.

Since we are no longer in the 70’s…add whipped cream and a cherry.

I’m Want to be a Salt of the Earth Person Too

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

Aunt Doris, Erna, Grams and cousin Cher

(My aunt Dorrie, Grams, great-aunt Erna and aunt Lois)

       When I sit back and just reminisce about my childhood, most of my fondest memories revolve around my family and extended family.  I count myself blessed that I grew up surrounded by men and women who are what some people would call “salt of the earth” people.  Wikipedia describes salt of the earth people as “humble and unpretentious people.:  The Collins dictionary describes them as “a person or group of people regarded as the finest of their kind.”  They are hard working, uncomplicated, decent, dependable, and add value to those around them.  Wow, how can anyone lose when these people are in your lives as your ego and psyche are being formed?  I grew up in a small town of 1,000 people and most of my extended family lived somewhere on Hickory Street…with some a few blocks away “on the east side” of town.  I find this so funny now that I’ve grown up that we referred to it as the “east side of town” because our town was only about 10 blocks wide in any direction you looked.  Family was very important, and a holiday and vacation never passed without a get together.  As a child, you not only had a mom and dad, you had aunts and uncles who would step in and fill those shoes, especially if we were getting in trouble.  They all took responsibility for each other, and there was nothing that they wouldn’t do for each other.

(My uncle Shelly, Cousin Mosey and some of us “younger kids” banned to the front room)

Looking back, each and every one of my extended family members worked hard for the possessions they owned.  Many times they would share the cost of bigger ticket items, especially if is was something that everyone was going to be able to use.  They lived within their means, and I really think they appreciated the things they had.   The men and women of the family loved to fish, and it made economical sense to purchase an outboard motor to use on our annual family vacations every year.  So they all pitched in and bought that beloved boat motor.  I can vividly remember it all oiled up and wrapped in an old blanket ready to be hauled to Wisconsin for everyone to use every year.  The men would get up at the butt-crack of dawn to fish, and then the ladies would go out in the afternoon or early evening.  As kids we usually didn’t go out in the boat unless it was for a quick “ride around the lake” to look at houses that we knew we would never own.  We would sit on our assigned bench in the fishing boat, snuggly strapped into our moldy smelling orange life jackets, trying to dodge the spray coming up from the boat as it went faster and faster. You were usually soaked by the time you got back, but it didn’t matter, because you had no other worries in the world at that age.

hot game of cards at Christmas

(Aunt Doris, uncle Shelly, Grams, my mom, aunt Lois and great-aunt Erna)

Then there was the tiller that the “men” combined their money to buy.  Everyone had a garden somewhere, and a tiller just made the job so much easier.  So instead of one person buying one to use, they decided it would be easier to buy it together, and each spring everyone got to use it to start their garden.  If I close my eyes I can see it as clear as a bell, big, noisy, and brown and white.  It truly took a strong man to use it, as it was a beast.  But that’s what these salt of the earth people did.  They shared, they loved, they respected each other, and they passed down that respect and strong sense of family values to their children.  My mom and dad have passed away, my grandparents are gone, my great aunts and uncles are no longer here, but rest assured they, and my Aunts and Uncles who remain, have left behind a legacy of what it meant to be a “salt of the earth” person.  I cherish the memories that these people gave to me, even though at the time they were just going thorough the motions of every day life.  Did they know that the actions they displayed would affect so many of the next generation?  They set the bar high for those following them, but out of honor and respect  I will try to be true to my roots.  I will always treasure the things I have, I will try not to covet the things that others have, I will work hard for what I need in life, I will love those people who are close to me in my life, I will not hesitate to help someone in need, I will love God and my country, and  I will always try to  remember that family comes first.  For there would be no greater honor than to be remembered as a “salt of the earth” human being ♥

Fourth of July Fun

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

me in my homemade floatGrowing up in a town of 1,000 people was just the right fit for me.  We lived almost in the center of town…2 blocks from uptown, 3 blocks from the school and 2 blocks from the park.  As most small towns do, we always had a full day celebration on the 4th of July.  It would begin with a festive parade, complete with fire engines, police cars, floats, tractors and horses.  The kids would stand at the edge of the road, bag in hand, ready to get a months supply of free candy that was thrown out to the crowd from the passing entries.  The parade started at the grade/ high school, went down main street, turned at the hotel and went straight down to the park.  It was always exciting because we only had to walk 1/2 a block to reach the parade route.  We would cross the street with our blankets and lawn chairs sit in my Aunt Doris and Uncles Shellys yard.  This was the meeting spot for the extended family to assemble.  For many years we would have a fish fry and potluck in that same back yard.  They would un-thaw the fish that the men and ladies had caught that previous summer when we all went on vacation together in Wisconsin.  After the parade, while the adults were cooking the food, the kids would go to the park for the awards ceremony so see who’s float was the winner, and then to play some kids games.

moms creationToday I began going through some photos that we kept in a trunk after my parents passed away.  It was too painful to look at them for the past 5 years, and I will admit I have shed a few tears in the last few hours.  I found these photos of floats my mom created when I was a baby, and  that continued throughout our grade school years.  I just look at these and I shake my head in total awe of my mothers creativity and spirit.  These were made with a wagon,  chicken wire and countless tissues.  This one is probably the best one that I could find.  The date on the photo is 1960, which means I was 2 years old as a passenger in the float.

Scan_Pic0034In this one, my sister Tammy was a baby, and my other sister Kelly was the one appointed to push her the short 4 block through the kiddie parade starting line, to the park.  I would have been about 12 at this time, so I am sure that I was following close behind in some sort of get up.  One year the town replaced the old water tower with a new one, and Kelly and I went as the old and the new water towers.  She was in the “old” one, which was brick and straight up and down in shape.  Mine was silver in color, and had the familiar shape of most water towers now..looking like a golf tee with a golf ball sitting on the top.  I am hoping to find that picture somewhere.  I know we were older, and I can even remember trying to walk inside my water tower, trying not to fall over.

mom and I 1959...her carousel creationl This is the one that shows this wonderful, amazing woman who I called “mom”….As I said before, I am in awe of the things she did as we were growing up.  Most things went unnoticed by her children, until after she was gone.  She made every holiday special, but the July 4th and Christmas were always the best.  Now I am in a new town, double the size…but the parade goes right by my house.  My kids sat for years, as we did, with their bags, ready to catch the bounty of candy.  I wasn’t as creative as mom, and we didn’t enter many kiddie parades, so perhaps I cheated my kids in a way.  I have no excuse, other than the shoes I had to fill were much too large ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY

PATIO POTATO SALAD

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  •    1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 7 medium red potatoes, cubed and cooked
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • Lettuce leaves and paprika, optional

Directions

  • In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, mustard, salt and celery seed. Stir in the milk, vinegar and egg until smooth. Add butter. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Cool. Stir in onion and mayonnaise. In a large bowl, combine potatoes and hard-cooked eggs. Add dressing and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If desired, serve in a lettuce-lined bowl and sprinkle with paprika. Yield: 8-10 servings.

 

What About The Other Guy?

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

supportI just had a one hour visit with my ex-husband, the first face to face since his cancer diagnoses.  Sure, there have been phone calls and texts, but not a face to face.  He shared his fears about death, his fears about being a burden on his new wife and his family, and how he never expected to have cancer.  I am in a strange situation, on one hand we shared 27 years of ups and down, and on the other hand, he is now remarried and has a new wife and family.  Our divorce was anything but amicable, so this makes this whole situation all the harder.  Again, I am choosing to follow my heart, and will do what ever I can do to give support, and advice if asked.  He and I have now come full circle, and while we know we will never be able to live in the same house again, we can be friends.  It is funny how a life threatening event can cause many people to once again put life into perspective.  One thing I discovered when my mom, dad and sister were diagnosed with cancer, is that this diagnoses is often times harder on the loved ones.  I remember Kelly and Mom telling me that is was much easier to be the patient than to be the family member.  I shared this with Bill, and encouraged him to take time to support Mary (his new wife).  She is going through so many emotions at this time, as are all of us.  But it hits closer to home for her.  I can only imagine how she may feel cheated, in a sense, because she was alone after her divorce until she met Bill, fell in love and married.  Now a mere 6 months later they are facing one of the hardest challenges that life can throw at a couple.  Life is just so freakin unfair at time.  I can’t even begin to count the times that I have been slapped down by life.  Again, we have 2 choices in life…let it win, or beat it within an inch of its life.  It’s okay to challenge God, it’s okay to be angry, it’s okay to bargain, it’s okay to be sad, but it’s NEVER  okay to give up.  In 1968 Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book about the 5 stages of death and dying, based on her work with terminally ill patients.   The steps are 1. Denial…2.Anger….3. Bargaining…..4. Depression….5. Acceptance.  That simple model has now become a reference for anyone going through a life changing events, from  breakups of relationships, to dealing with a terminal illness.  It is such a good read…and can be so inspirational to know that the feelings you are having are valid, and quite frankly okay to have.  Sometimes a person will start with one step, touching briefly on the following steps, and then ending with the last step.  Others will circle a few time, touching on a few of the steps, but hopefully landing on the last step, which is acceptance.  As person really can’t move on and be at peace until they reach that last step….even if they touch a tip of their toe on that step, and then stumble back down a few steps.

I personally went through a bad breakup a few years ago, and trust me, I stomped on every one of the 5 steps.  For 2 years I was like a child on the playground, playing  hopscotch all over those steps.  Then one day, I decided that the step proclaiming acceptance was the one I needed to land on, and stay there.  So my point here is that Bill needs to remember that while he is fighting for his life, he needs to always be aware of those around him, and support them as well.  Even if it involves reassuring that person that nothing will happen that they can’t get through together. He has been blessed with a wonderful woman, and I can assure him that she is scared to death.  There is nothing scarier than the unknown.  NOTHING!  These things can also cause you to challenge your faith in God.  Frankly, you can be pretty honked off at Him….and anyone in raised in the faith knows that is not the way to feel…but  He will wait patiently for you to work it out and come back to Him.  I strongly believe that God puts these challenges in your life, and then sits back and watches how you handle them.   I did suggest that they get into a cancer support group, and soon.  My mom, sister and I joined one when Kelly was done with her cancer treatment.  The wonderful thing is that you realize that you are not alone, your thoughts and fears are real, and that there are others out there that can help you to get over these bumps in the road.

So as I said before If God brings you to it, He will see you through it!  We just need to stand united, knowing that not one person is alone here, and it’s okay to be scared, angry or at peace.  Never be too proud to get the support you need, even if it’s through blogging, as has become my saving grace.  You are never alone ♥

Dear Cancer

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

god.jpg

Dear Cancer:  Your name is probably the most feared word in the English language, especially when it is aimed at someone you love.  You took my mothers life, you caused my dad to lose part of his lung, you caused my sister to lose her thyroid, you took my grandfathers life, you took one of my favorite uncles life, you threatened my aunt, but she fought and won the battle against you, and now you are once again rearing your ugly head in my life.  I would like to announce publicly that quite frankly I am tired of you!  I have shed too many tears over the havoc you have played in my life.  I wish you would go away, and never come back!  How smug you must feel as you invade the bodies of those we love, and how powerful you must feel thinking you are smarter than the human race.  Sometimes you present yourself so that a person has reason to believe there is something amiss in their body and they seek help.  Unfortunately, often times you sneak up like a thief in the night, unwilling to make yourself known until it is too late.  That is a dirty rotten trick and you are not playing fairly.  Just the thought of you makes a person cower in fear, until they realize that there is always a chance you can be crushed like a bug.  It amazes me that each and every time your name is added to a persons medical chart, your simple 5 letter name turns a persons world upside down.  What is it that makes you invade a healthy cell and turn it into a cell that multiplies and turns against the body?  Don’t you realize that life itself gives a person enough knock downs without you coming along and complicating things more? You are no longer welcome here, and you need to be banished forever!

See, here’s the thing, cancer….for everything you throw at us, we will stand up and throw it back in your face!  For we have talented educated doctors, superior surgeons, amazing scientists, powerful drugs, and medical machinery to beat you to death!  We have prayer warriors and the love of family members!  We have hope and we have faith!  We have determination and intelligence!  While your name makes a person feel alone, that person soon finds out that they are surrounded by those who will move heaven and earth so they wont feel alone.  Your diagnosis, cancer, causes us to seek out the best care, to create the perfect game plan, and to succeed in winning the war that you have declared!  We will fight together, we will network, we will become educated, we will stand tall, we will pray, we will bargain, we will use whatever is in our power to defeat you!  One thought has surfaced in my mind as I write this blog…..IF GOD BRINGS YOU TO IT…HE WILL SEE YOU THROUGH IT…

So remember, cancer, you may win a few, but you lose more than you win. Your problem, cancer, is that you prey on the strong.  Don’t you know, cancer, that the fight would be easier if you challenged the weak?   Because, cancer, something changes in a person when you rear your ugly head….we summon the strength, we begin the battle, the weak become strong in spirit, we reassess what is important in life, and we won’t give up….EVER!!!!