What’s For Dinner?

What’s For Dinner?

Chicken Paprikash, homemade Spaetlze’s, Hungarian Beef Soup, pickled pigs feet (yuck).  No I’m not of Hungarian descent, but my Aunt Bessie’s husband, Uncle Peezer, was.  So I grew up eating a fair amount of Hungarian or Eastern European dishes, except the pickled pigs feet (although my mom was known to eat them as well as several of my cousins).  My husband is of European descent, Slovenian to be exact, and his mom did make some specialty dishes.  But, I had the honor and privilege of carrying on our Hungarian eating tradition into our family when we got married.  Our kids learned to love paprikash and spaetlze’s -in fact there were times I couldn’t make enough- and the Beef soup came to be known as “Red Soup”, one of our very favorite fall/winter meals.  Now, keep in mind we live in Texas so we never really have fall or winter weather as we knew it in the midwest where sitting down to a bowl of soup just warms your body and your soul.  But, in our estimation it’s never too hot for a bowl of “red soup”.  So guess what’s for dinner tonight…..

If Cars Could Talk

If Cars Could Talk

Bad Attitude Blackie

We’ve all had our share of vehicles and I know that we aren’t any different than anyone else.

Well we have a new member of our family.  “Bad Attitude Blackie” has joined our family!  I know that she’s going to bring us wonderful memories, take us on lots of wonderful trips to places known and unknown and will protect us when we’re on the road.

So, as a result, I wonder if cars could talk what would all of our vehicles say about the owners and the families they’ve belonged to (us).  Well, here’s a few words from a few of ours.

“Mr. Noise”- I was this hot little red Volkswagon that lived with Jon.  I think that Cher named me “Mr. Noise” because I had this really cool exhaust system that roared when Jon accelerated or even started me up.  It’s so sad to think that now people don’t think it’s cool to have a noisy muffler!  But, hey- I got Jon where he needed to be and was on the front line when he started dating Cher. I played some pretty good tunes on my cassette player and remember they loved to listen to “The Doobie Brothers”.  I think one of the songs really meant something to them because they played it over and over again.  I was kind of a funny guy and liked to play practical jokes on them!  I had this little switch in my glove box.  One day when they were up in New Hampshire in the mountains I turned the switch off so the car wouldn’t start!  Cher thought she broke the car, but then Jon figured out I was playing tricks on them.  I loved living in Boston so much that when Cher and Jon moved from there I stayed there to live with my new friends.

“Brownie”- I first came into Cher’s life as her first, very own, brand new car when she graduated from nursing school.  I remember how excited she was when she custom ordered me from the Chevy dealer in Berea that everyone in her family went to, especially her Uncle Bill.  I remember her mom and dad wanted her to get a Mercury Montego, but what 21 year old wants to drive a Mercury.  I really think Cher wanted a Mustang, but that was ruled out.  So I was lucky enough that I was next in line of her dream cars!  I was a pretty cool brown, thus my name “Brownie”, pretty standard and didn’t even have air conditioning.  But, she was so proud of me when she sat in that driver’s seat!

“Foxy”- Ooh- I came into Jon and Cher’s life when I replaced Cher’s hot camaro.  I don’t know why they thought they needed something a little more practical, but I’m so glad that they did and decided to pick me- an Audi Fox.  I know Cher was sad to see her sweet first car stay at the dealers in St. Louis, but I brought them lots of joy, but also lots of frustration.  I was that first rebel “kid” that they had to deal with.  I didn’t like the cold weather and so one day when they were on their way home from cutting down their first Christmas tree I just got sick and stalled right on the railroad tracks in Westerville.  I felt so bad for them when they had me towed to the car ER with their tree in the trunk.  I tried to make up for my behavior by teaching Cher how to drive a stick shift.  I think she did pretty great when she had to drive me all the way from St. Louis to Columbus by herself!

“Blackie”- Vroom, Vroom. So much for that little rust colored Audi Fox.  Jon and Cher quickly realized a hot, black Olds Cutlass was in store and I was so excited when they took me home to live with them.   I had a little mishap my first winter with them when I hit a nasty rut in the ice covered roads of Columbus and kissed the bumper of another sweet little car.  But, I loved them and I think they loved me.  But, when Justin came along they decided that trying to put a baby and a car seat into my two doors was just too much for them.

“Impy”- How cool! Jon and Cher are now Papa Jon and Mama Cher and they’ve chosen me, a  Chevy Impala, to protect their beautiful new baby boy, Justin.  I brought them so many great years of fun and travels and even got to welcome and protect their second bundle of joy, Brett!  How much fun I had with them riding in my back seat, all the trips to Ohio from Michigan and then I got to move to IL with them!

“Green Monster”- I was this absolutely huge green Mercury Marquis that took the back seat to “Impy”. Cher gave me this name because she just absolutely hated me and was embarrassed to ride in me, but Jon just loved me and thought I was the coolest car in the world.  I didn’t last too long with them when I really misbehaved when I died on my way to pick Cher and the boys up for church one Sunday.  Guess they figured they could do away with me and use only “Impy” How sad for them!

“The Van”- I had no other name because I didn’t need one!  I was just the van- an awesome conversion van that gave them all the room they needed for all those trips and running around they did.  I took them to FL and OH so many times I could almost do it without anyone at the wheel!  It was so much fun when I would take them on their long trips and the boys would actually put my back seat down and sleep so sweetly, or play their video games and watch DVD’s.  I know I gave them so many wonderful years of memories!  I was one also so proud when Justin and Brett started driving and I got to have them behind my steering wheel.

“J’s car”- I was so old I can’t even remember what kind of car I was or what my name was.  I just remember that I came to live with Jon & Cher & the boys when they lived in Litchfield.  Justin drove around in me and I was officially his “first car”.  (I think)!

“The Shoe”- OK I was this really cool car that replaced the one that was so old he can’t even remember what he was!  Justin’s friend’s dad said I looked like a shoe and the name stuck!  I was so proud and excited to teach Justin how to drive a stick, which was a real challenge living around the hills of Hillsboro!  I lived with them until it was time for me to retire to the car retirement home in Litchfield.

“Bonnie”- I lived with Jon and Cher along with “The Van”!  I was the family Bonneville and taught Justin and Brett how to drive too!  I was with them a very long time until my odometer just didn’t have enough spaces for me anymore.  I got to move to Wisconsin with them though!

“Two-Toner”- I was so lucky that Jon and Cher loved “Impy” because I got to live with them as their 2nd Impala.  I was this hot two-tone car that Justin and Brett thought I was like a retired cop car.  They loved me so much they couldn’t wait to take me to Carthage with them.  I was a good car with only a couple of times that I misbehaved, but when I did I did it big time.  One time was on the way home from FL. I decided in the middle of the interstate that I didn’t need my timing belt anymore, so I just broke it in half.  Ha- little did I know that I can’t function without it.  They got me to the car ER really quick  so that I could get them back home to WI.  Another time I decided to misbehave in Kenosha on Justin and Brett and broke my alternator.  I was happy when Jon and Cher came to get me fixed the next day and felt bad that I did that to Justin and Brett.  They were scared!  Sadly I wore out and had to be replaced.

“Astro”- I was this kind of cool, red, Chevy Astro mini-van.  I think I had some real problems because I kept running into things. Justin and Brett liked me because they thought I was pretty cool and I was able to haul lots of stuff around for them.  But I kept having run ins with things like a crane that went through my back window.  But, I was proud to say that I did protect Justin when he accidentally fell asleep while driving me on the way home one time.  I was thankful and prayers were answered that I took the brunt of the accident and Justin was injured at all.  But, everyone was really scared.  I decided at that time I needed to just stay in the little town where I was towed to and allow them to have a better vehicle.

“Ellie”- I’m one of the last two vehicles that have been so proud to be part of Jon and Cher’s life.  I’m this sweet little red Hyundai Elantra that came to live with them in WI.  Oh how Cher could tool around those country roads in me.  I got to live in WI. IA and finally warm south TX with them.  I just went to live at the Toyota dealer in Corpus and hope that someone else will love me as much as Jon and Cher did!

“Sonnie”- I was “Ellie’s” sister and came to live with Jon and Cher a year after Ellie did.  I loved taking Jon and Cher to MN to visit Brett & Heather and Justin and Susie, helped them move to TX, & drove them to lots of different places so they could see the world!  I loved living with them and you could tell they loved me because I just could barely work anymore when they took me to live at the Toyota dealer along with Ellie.  I gave them 196, 193 wonderful miles of travel!  I hope someone will love all my parts!

Thanks to all of our vehicle family members for all the great memories and fun times that you’ve brought us.  You know we talk and reminisce about you a lot!  And to our newest member, Bad Attitude Blackie, welcome to our humble garage.  May you have many happy and wonderful years with us!  We promise not to make you live in the long, hard midwest winters and that  we’ll take you to the beach on a regular basis.

It makes me smile!

It makes me smile!

It didn’t take me long to come up with a posting for today’s “post a week” topic- share something that makes you smile.  There are so many different things that bring a smile to my face – thoughts of our many vacations at our Marco Island condo, The Charter Club of Marco Beach; a chat on the phone or an e-mail from our sons and daughter-in-laws; the antics of our granddogs – I could go on and on.

But, I have to admit that the one thing that makes me smile and conjures up memories in my mind is the smell of Murphy’s Oil soap.  Murphy’s Oil Soap you say?  What’s with that?  Well, here’s why.  I grew up in a house that was your typical 40’s style bungalow.  Main floor with a finished second floor where our bedrooms were.  As many homes were at that time our walls upstairs in our bedrooms were paneled.  Spring cleaning meant I got to move my bedroom around, change to a summer weight quilt and brighten up my room from the doldrums of a long, cold Ohio winter.  But, first before all that could happen my mom would wash down all the woodwork and paneling upstairs with Murphy’s Oil Soap.  This would always take place while I was at school during the day.  So, I’d come home from school, open up the door to the upstairs and the scent of Murphy’s would be permeating the entire upstairs.  Not only did I love that smell, but it meant that it was almost spring, time to move things around, take the heavy, dark quilt off my bed, open up the windows and bring in the freshness of an Ohio spring.  So, to this day, when I smell Murphy’s my mind goes back to what our upstairs would smell like on that day, I think of spring and the freshness that would signal the end of a long winter.  Good old Murphy’s!

Gladys ‘ Kiffles and other Christmas cookies

Gladys ‘ Kiffles and other Christmas cookies

As a little girl one of my favorite times of the year was helping my mom bake Christmas cookies. As I got older she allowed me to help more each year and so when Jon and I got married I couldn’t wait to make my own Christmas cookies! I was going to wow my entire family and our parishioner’s with my cookie making skills! I couldn’t wait to make my Uncle Jim’s favorite icebox cookies, or butterscotch slices as I call them, spritz cookies with that delectable cherry in the center, those cute little trees with the colored sprinkles over them and mom’s rolled sugar cookies. I even bought little tins to make pecan tassies.
Well, I guess the one thing I didn’t inherit from my mom was the fine art of making Christmas cookies that not only were good to eat, which mine were, but were also great to look at and actually resembled Christmas cookies, which mine didn’t. My first attempt at using my brand new cookie press resulted in Christmas trees that looked like big blobs and spritz cookies that the cherry juice bled all over the cookie (guess I forgot to drain the cherries). Jon just said he remembered those. But I was bound a determined to continue try to wow everyone. My sugar cookies were either too thick or to thin and stuck to the pan – to this day I really dread making anything that has to be rolled and cut. I somewhat got the knack down of that crazy cookie press, but laughed so hard the year I made spritz and so laboriously drained, cut and set those cherries perfectly in the center only to come back out to the kitchen to find Justin on the table eating all the cherries off the cookies! There were times my Christmas trees either had no top or no trunk. But, I continued my determination and even tried new recipes that my mom didn’t make. Thumbprint cookies that the jam wouldn’t stay in the thumbprint, but drooled off the side of the cookie as it baked. I’m still not sure if my thumb just isn’t big enough or what. Oh- my cinnamon Christmas stars were great- but how hard is it to make dough, roll it out and cut out a star with a cookie cutter. No decorations! At this point I figured there was no sense in my even attempting my mom’s awesome pecan tassies. Why ruin a good thing.
But, as obligations go I continued making cookies. Some years better than others, some years worse than others. I had kids at home and had to be the Betty Crocker mom and parishioners to impress. How could I not make Christmas cookies. And then to top it off I discovered that Justin and Brett’s favorite ones that I was making are those ones that come in the little tube that all you have to do is cut it where it shows on the wrapper, put it on a cookie sheet and bake. Viola! I had reached Betty Crocker status when they finally were getting eaten and I was impressed by my ability to have a half way decent plate of cookies.
So I continued making tons and tons of cookies until the year that all of a sudden every time Jon came home from church he was bringing a plate of cookies from the ladies at church. We had cookies coming out of our ears. I secretly believe that, somewhere along the way, they must’ve seen what I was baking and truly felt compassion for Jon and the boys. Were my cookie baking days coming to an end? That is when I think I finally saw the light and decided it was time to stop baking cookies and start with a new tradition- candy making! I won’t go into this now, but I do have to say that this was far more of a success and Justin and Brett actually ask for some of it now. In fact, I was quite excited last year when Brett and Heather came to visit in November and he actually asked if we could make candy! I had finally hit my mark.
But, the cookie saga doesn’t end here. You know something inside of me still has this obligation to make Christmas cookies. Despite the fact that I swore I wasn’t going to make any I started with gingerbread men at Thanksgiving. Even though there were a couple headless and legless gingerbread men over all they were quite good all decorated with their raisin eyes and M&M buttons and blue mouths (O.K. I used what I had for decoration). Today I decided I was going to make Gladys’ kiffles. Gladys was a neighbor that lived down the street from us and she and her husband, Harold, were like 2nd grandparents to us. She made the best homemade bread and apricot kiffles in the world. Well, needless to say my cookie baking skills have not improved any over the years. As you can see they look like little popovers without a top! There were a couple that stayed folded, but for the most part they are the saddest Christmas cookies I think I have ever made.

I finally gave up and tried to make my stellar thumbprint cookies.
So much for the cookies. Mom, your pecan tassies are safe.
Thank goodness for tins of Danish butter cookies, parishioners that feel sorry for Jon and chocolate candy!