Sunday, July 25, 2010


My friend Rosie did a traditions post, so I thought I would follow suit. Now that I am older and my son is grown, we don't do some of the things that we did when he was little. When (if) I have grandchildren, I am sure that will change!

We have always been a close family. My Dad was in the military, got out when I was about 5, so we moved a lot. I was born in Germany and, until I was 5, we never lived close to any of my grandparents. In fact, I did not meet any of them until I was 3. Living away from extended family, we kind of started our own family traditions to celebrate holidays. From age 5 to 11, we lived near my Dad's parents, so we celebrated holidays with them. From 11 on, we lived near my Mom's parents. Now, my mom was 1 of 14 children, so holidays at their house was usually out, especially in the winter, too many people to fit in the house. We settled for a family reunion once a year. So, back to holidays with just our family. We usually ended up having some friends around as well. Then when I got married and was out on my own, I started some traditions of my own.

Holidays at our house has always meant fun, laughter and lots and lots of great food. My mom is a great cook and cooking is my passion. There are still some things that she makes that are just better tho! Nowadays, with my brothers married and have families/children/grandchildren of their own, about the only holiday that we ALL get together for is Thanksgiving. My mom likes to do it at her house. We still get together for other holidays, just not all of us.

New Years Eve/New Year's Day
New Year's Eve, we have a smorgasbord. Usually all kinds of snacks: fresh veggie tray, chips and dip, maybe pizza, cold boiled shrimp, bbq meatballs, sandwiches, cookies, fudge. I like to stay up to see the New Year in, but my parents don't like to drive that late. We play games - scattergories, catch phrase, taboo, etc. Sometimes we will watch a movie, Dad likes documentaries. On New Year's day, some of us will get together and have a meal. It is traditional to have some kind of greens (cooked with onion and bacon, served with a bit of vinegar) and black-eyed peas. We usually have cornbread, fried potatoes and maybe pork roast with this as well. Sometimes on New Year's Eve, our church will have a watch night service and we take snacks, play games, etc. Some times we have a foot washing as well.

For Valentines, my Honey usually gets me the most beautiful card and roses. Sometimes I cook a special dinner, maybe ribeye steak and sometimes we go out - usually for steak. I usually make cupcakes to take to work. When my son was little, I would make a heart-shaped homemade pizza and we always had special valentine candy and cupcakes for him to take to school.

St. Patrick's Day
Being Irish on my Dad's side, we have a lot of fun with St. Paddy's. We all wear green - you will get pinched around our house if you don't. As for dinner, either traditional Corned Beef or sometimes Reubens. Colcannon is a must, as is Irish Soda bread. I adore Celtic music, so we have plenty to choose from.

For Easter, we used to have egg hunts when my son was little. I don't color eggs any more now. We do, however, have a big ham dinner. We get our ham from Burger's Smokehouse in California, about 100 miles from here. Wowsa, it is good. AuGratin potatoes - which my son thought were old rotten potatoes when he was little. Homemade rolls and butter, usually asparagus and a good salad. Then for dessert, either cheesecake or carrot cake. When I was little, Mom would make a Rabbit cake. We of course go to church.

Independence Day
We usually have a big BBQ with friends and family. Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, cold sweet tea and watermelon for dessert. One of my niece's birthday is the 4th, so if she is around, we celebrate that as well! Sometimes it can really be hot here in Missouri at this time of year, so a lot depends on the weather. We have Olde Glory Days uptown on the square. It is kind of like a fair - rides for the kiddies, food booths, crafts, etc. The museum gives free tours, they have an art show, a quilt show, singing, etc. On Saturday they have a parade. I like to go up and get a funnel cake and maybe a fresh limeade. When my son was little, I would buy some firecrackers. Now that he is grown, we just watch the big ones that the City does.

This is our big family get-together. Usually everyone is there. We eat at Mom's house. Honey and I usually go over early to help Mom and get the tables set up. Mom and I share the food prep, so I will make my things the day before usually and just bring them and heat them up if need be. We usually take family pictures at Thanksgiving. A tradition for me and my son was to go home and read in the afternoon, eat a turkey sandwich and pumpkin pie for dessert. Our menu usually consists of: Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, homemade rolls with butter, green beans, corn, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, pecan pie. We usually throw in a few extras that vary from year to year. My oldest niece makes some sort of fruit salad. My SIL Jill makes deviled eggs. Last year I made escalloped onions - yummie! Mom sometimes makes creamed corn and oysters, which I think is just gross. My Dad likes it. We have homemade pickles and cranberry sauce as well.

Christmas is where the traditions got a little varied. On Christmas eve, I would let my son open one gift. Then on Christmas morning, we have a big breakfast, usually omelets and cinnamon rolls with juice, after opening the rest of the presents. We still have a big breakfast, Mom usually brings the cinnamon rolls - hers taste much better, I think! When I was growing up, Mom was allergic to real trees, so we always had artificial. We have just a small one and I decorate with ornaments I have kept for years. I would like to have a little fresh greenery, but I am afraid the kittie would not leave it alone. We like to do homemade gifts, Mom makes a fabulous chocolate chip cookie mix. Last year I did the pickles I posted about. We have a traditional dinner, usually roast beef with all the trimmings. When my son was little, I would buy up snack foods - pizza, chips, etc. that we liked and, instead of a big family get together, he and I would have breakfast, open presents and then just snack for the rest of the day. We would stay in our pajamas, maybe watch a movie or listen to a book on tape, read or whatever. I have always enjoyed making cookie and candy trays to send to his teachers and to give to all of our friends and family.

I am the only daughter, so I do Mother's Day and Father's Day and I do birthdays for my Honey, my son and Mom and Dad. I usually ask the person we are celebrating for what they would like and then fix it. Mom likes sub sandwiches or maybe pizza. Dad likes roast beef or meatloaf. Honey likes chicken fried steak. My son likes pizza, but this year he requested Cherry-Glazed Ham.

For Memorial Day and Labor day, we usually just barbecue. The last weekend in September, weather permitting, we have a family reunion on Mom's side. There are a lot of us - well over 100. We either bring pot luck or have a weenie roast. I like to make a big crockpot of nacho dip, that goes over well with the kids.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about our traditions. I would love to hear about some of yours. I promise I will be getting some pictures up soon, I just now got the camera back!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Here are some random thoughts on how God has blessed me over the past days . . . .

1. Seeing a faun, about the size of a large dog, still had it's spots. It walked across the road in front of us while we were coming home after eating breakfast out last Saturday. So beautiful.

2. Getting blue and green ceramic tile for our bathroom floors. They had a great sale and just the colors I wanted - we were able to get enough to do upstairs in blue and downstairs in green. It will be a while before we have time to do it, but when we do, the materials are at hand. We happened to have the finances and it was a great deal. Jehovah Jireh, my provider.

3. The violent storm that came thru last Sunday did not damage any more than what it did. Some houses actually had trees fall on them - we had 90 mile per hour straight line winds and some tornadic activity. All we had was the top out of one of our maples twisted off and deposited in the back yard. Well, that and other numerous smaller limbs and leaves EVERYWHERE. Jehovah Nissi, my protector.

4. For a good working relationship with our head surgeon. I had a small medical problem come up and when I called his office to see if I could get in, they were so nice, got me in immediately, even though I was a work-in. He was really good about it and said no charge.

5. For the medication that my Mom is taking helping her. She has recently been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, which is a very, very painful condition of the nerves in the face. She is quite sensitive to medications and we were not sure if the medication the neurologist gave her would give her too many side effects or not. Thankfully, it works fine. Actually, prayer is what works, the medication just helps. Jehovah Rapha, my healer.

6. For a situation at work resolving. Prayer made the difference in this instance as well.

7. Ripe tomatoes right off the vine!! Plus I had enough to share at work. Last night we had bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. Yummie!

8. Our car is ready! We recently purchased a new (to us) car, but it had to have a few very minor things fixed. They called yesterday and it is done. Honey and his uncle are going tonight to pick it up. We got a really good deal on it. Now, we can bless his daughter with our current car, which is still a great car.

9. That I did not kill my cat. Our cat is diabetic and is on insulin twice a day. He is really good about taking his shots, does not fuss at all. I usually use 0.5 cc syringes, which are marked in 1 unit increments. My dad gives me all of the syringes, he gets them free. Well, this last batch he gave me are 1 cc syringes, they are marked in 2 unit increments. I DID NOT NOTICE THAT RIGHT AWAY!!! So for a couple of days, I gave my cat twice the normal amount of insulin. Could have killed him, if their blood sugar goes too low, they can go into a coma, just like a human. I wondered why his appetite was off.

10. That my friend, Ruth, linked my blog to hers. She is so sweet!

So that my friends are just some of the blessings I am sharing with you this fine day.

Don't be shy, post me a line and let me know how I am doing.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hello out there in Blogland!

I really should apologize for my long, long hiatus - but I don't think I will. I have been so busy living life that my journaling was set aside for a time. I think that there are sometimes in life that some things become "less important" to us. Not that my blog is not important, I just refocused for a while.

My dear mother-in-love has been visiting us from St. Louis. We have had such a good time - Went on a museum tour, the local carnival, out to eat, for drives and walks. Good times.

God has been so good to us. We have purchased a new car. Well, not brand new, but new to us. Honey's younger daughter is in need of good transportation and so we will be giving her our current car. It is still a good car and will last for a good while longer. Through God's grace and Honey's relentless pursuit, we found a really, really good deal. We will go pick it up next week or so.

I have thoroughly enjoyed yesterday and today - no set schedule, just the natural rhythm of things. Time spent cleaning, visiting, cooking, resting - very enjoyable. Peaceful. Time spent with family. Comfortable time. Loving time.

As I had to work on the 4th, we had our holiday dinner last night. We had:
Brisket, cooked in the slow cooker until it was just falling apart - served with BBQ sauce on the side.
Fresh sliced tomatoes, the first we have had this year, sprinkled with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Potato salad, my Mom's is the very best I think.
Corn on the cob, oh-so-sweet and dripping with butter.
Baked beans, cooked slow in the oven with onion and little bits of smoked brisket.
Fresh cucumbers and Vidalia onion in Vinegar, so refreshing.
Fresh Bing cherries and cantaloupe.
Pickled baby beets, jewel-toned and sweet-sour.
Cheese cubes - Colby and pepper jack.
Coleslaw with vinaigrette dressing.
Deviled eggs, my SIL's specialty.
Watermelon, juicy and sweet.
Iced tea, liquid amber coolness, sweet and fresh.
No bake cookies - just the perfect ending, crumbly chocolatey goodness.

Sorry for no pictures, DS has my camera just at the moment.

I am going to leave you with my recipe for:

Cucumbers and Onions in Vinegar
Fresh cucumbers - I bought small ones at farmer's market
Vidalia onion - I bought a 10 pound bag from the Shriners when they had a sale **
Apple Cider Vinegar
Fresh ground pepper

Scrub your cucumbers well. I used regular Kirby cucumbers, the kind used for pickling, the ones with the bumps. Just slice off either end. A good way to check them to make sure they are not bitter - stick your tongue on the cut end. You will be able to tell if they are bitter, I guarantee! Anyway, slice your cucumbers fairly thin. You can do this with cucumbers from the store, just peel them first.

Slice your Vidalia onion thinly. I used about half an onion to 4 smallish cucumbers, use more or less to your taste. My cucumbers were probably 5-6 inches in length, maybe 1-2 in around?

Put cucumbers and onions in a bowl.

In the bottom of your liquid measuring cup, mix together about 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and about 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar - more or less of these to taste. Then for the amounts listed above, I used 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water. Mix until salt and sugar are both dissolved. Pour over the cucumbers and onion. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate and let flavors mingle, preferrably for a couple of days.

These are so refreshing in the summer. Low cal. Fat free. I like to put them on some bread and butter and make a sandwich - great at tea time.

**Tip for storing onions: I leave mine in the mesh bag and store them on the floor of my basement or garage, out of the light. They stay fresh a long time that way.

Well, I must be up and about, living and loving. Much love to you all - Raquel