Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year

Well, the Christmas Holidays are over and done. It was a busy month with a Christmas Eve Dinner on the 15th, dinner with my sister in law and brother in law and of course, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
It was a busy, fun month. And now, here it is New Year's Eve. Many years ago, we went out on New Year's Eve to a restaurant for dinner, drinks after and often ended up at someone's home. Eventually, we decided it'd be more fun to go to someone's house.
I'm from a big family, 5 brothers and sisters, so needless to say, add in my parents, and we had enough for a party. Everyone brought food and whatever they wanted to drink.
Once we had kids, we included them and the party grew. And then the kids got married and we started getting together with them, at our house at first and then at one of theirs. Grandkids came along and the party grew more.
What fun and memories we made.

Now, hubby and I stay home. It's easier and the kids do their own thing. That's fine. While I enjoy getting together with them, I don't mind staying home. It's getting difficult for hubby with his COPD to go out much.

Funny, how quickly the years pass now. Seems like 2019 just started and here it is 2020. Oh, and does everyone remember 1999 and how worried everyone was about 2000 - that everything would crash. Here it is 20 years later and all is still well.

Wishing everyone a blessed and happy new year!

Monday, December 2, 2019

All Went Well

The Vow Renewal  went very well. I thought it was going to be at the beginning of the service, but Pastor decided to do it in the middle, which was fine. Although my nerves would have calmed down a little sooner if it had been at the beginning. Actually, I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. 
The ceremony and service were beautiful and memorable. Much more memorable than our actual wedding. I don't remember much of it. I do remember it was a chilly day - normal for November in Ohio - and cloudy. At least until I walked down the aisle. just as I started down the sun came out and shined through the stained glass windows onto the aisle. 
We didn't have a mass either, just the ceremony. The priest said a few words and that was pretty much all. Why didn't we have a mass? My in-laws (mother in law especially) wasn't too keen on our marriage, especially with me being Catholic. So, we talked to the priest about it and all came to the conclusion that out of respect for her, we'd forgo the mass.  Probably wasn't fair to my parents when I stop and think about it. After all they did pay for the wedding. But that was the choice we made back then, so saying our
vows in the middle of our service was special. I was excited that most of my kids were there and some of my grandchildren.  The party after was small, immediate family, pastor and his family. 

Thanksgiving was great also. My sons and their families came to dinner and my daughters (well two of them since one was out of town) were supposed to come after. My middle daughter came but my youngest daughter only stopped in briefly because a new grandchild, for her .was possibly on the way and she was off to the hospital.  But, we still enjoyed the day. 
Next up is our Christmas Eve dinner on the 15th, hosted by my oldest daughter and all my children will be there as well as some of the grandchildren. For some reason we didn't get pictures on Thanksgiving so hope we get some on the 15th. I must be slipping. Looking forward to a busy December. 
The 13th we're hosting my brother in law and sister in law for a soup supper. Haven't decided which soup to make yet. Guess I'll have to figure out something soon. Debating on trying a new one or sticking with an old reliable.  I'm all for trying something new.  And of course Christmas to be celebrated at my youngest sons this year. Looking forward to that also, he's trying something different, going to smoke a brisket. Sounds yummy to me.  A busy year will soon come to an end. I'm looking forward to the new year, new things, and spending more time with my family. God is good!
Baby Isabella Nicole arrived on Dec. 3rd, weighing 6#4oz and 19 inches long. She's precious, as all babies are. 

Image may contain: 1 person, sleeping

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Anniversaries

It's that time of year again. As Thanksgiving approaches, I reflect on things I'm thankful for. There are so many, I decided to list them on Facebook, a new one every day.  It's difficult to decide which one to post on which day.
I did this years ago and decided it was time to do it again as a reminder how blessed I am. 

Thanksgiving isn't just about turkey, dressing, and all the other delicious side dishes. While I'm grateful to celebrate the day with my family and enjoy the abundance of food, I look around and realize how blessed I am.  Not all of my family gathers for Thanksgiving dinner and that's okay. They have other
obligations, other families to visit. But I'm fortunate to have my sons for dinner. My daughters and some of the grandchildren come later for dessert ,and before you know it, chaos rules. 

Oh what a joy to hear their laughter and watch them interact. Each one speaking louder than the other to be heard. Some call us loud and obnoxious, but that's okay. I love every deafening, boisterous minute of it. 

And so begins the holiday season. Well, actually it begins a little earlier for me. Since the kids take turns hosting Christmas, I started putting my tree up before
Thanksgiving so everyone can enjoy it. - Not sure how much they enjoy it, but I love it and any excuse to decorate. Christmas is my favorite time of year and celebrating for more than a month suits me fine. 

This year, my husband and I decided to renew our marriage vows. Our anniversary happens to be today,, so we're doing it at church this morning. And it gives us another day to celebrate.
It's not a milestone year, but it's been 57 years. Several people asked why now, why not wait until 60 or why didn't we do it at 50.  

Why? Because although 50 was a milestone, we weren't in a position financially at 50 to host a party.  And I don't want to wait for 60. I learned a long time ago not to wait for something. Would we still be here in 3 more years? Hard to say. Honestly it's difficult to say we'll be here in a couple weeks. And if we are still here in 3 more years, we'll celebrate again, just not with a vow renewal. Who says you have to do it at milestone years anyway? Isn't 57 a milestone. Isn't every year a milestone, especially in today's times? 

I look forward to standing before God, my family, and the congregation, repeating my vows and acknowledging to the love of my life that I'd marry him all over again. 

So, yes, another reason to be thankful. It's a good year, and I'm thankful for my many blessings.  Praise God!

Thursday, October 24, 2019



I've always had a fascination for cemeteries. Ever since I can remember I liked walking around, looking at the names and dates. The older the better. I'm not sure where this fascination came from or why. 
I'm fortunate that my husband has accepted this strange quirk of mine and has taken me to several through the years. Once, while we were in his semi,  the cemetery was next to the truck stop and we were able to walk there. 
One of my favorite cemeteries is Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland,Ohio.  Many famous people are buried here - The most famous, of course, is President James A. Garfield. Architect George Keller designed the Garfield Monument, which was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1880. The Garfield Monument stands 180 feet tall. Around the exterior of the balcony are five, terra cotta panels by Casper Bubel, with over 110 figures all life size, depicting Garfield’s life and death.
The Memorial Hall includes rich, gold mosaics, beautifully colored marble, stained glass windows and deep-red granite columns. The stained glass windows and window like panes represent the original 13 colonies, plus the state of Ohio, along with panels depicting War and Peace. Standing in the main floor is a statue of the President sculpted by Alexander Doyle.
Venture up 64 steps from the lobby to the outdoor balcony. On a clear day you can see 40 miles of the Lake Erie shore. We are called Lake View Cemetery due to the magnificent view that one can see of Lake Erie from the outdoor balcony.
Another famous person is Eliot Ness as well as John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company of Ohio and first billionaire in the United States. 
The gardens are beautiful as well as the statues throughout. 

A smaller cemetery is in Twinsburg, Ohio - It was the setting in Trouble Comes
in Twos  Twins, Moses and Aaron Wilcox are buried there. They were reportedly so identical only their closest friends could tell them apart. They were lifelong business partners, held all their property in common, married sisters, had the same number of children, contracted the same fatal ailment and died within hours of each other. The sandstone vault standing sentry at the entrance was born out of necessity The earth proved too hollow during the winter. Bodies lied in waiting until the ground thawed.

A much smaller cemetery was one we visited several times in Hocking County. I'm not sure it even has a name. It's next to a vacant wooden church (another thing that fascinates me). Some of the markers are so old you can't read them. There are only about 25 graves there (give or take).  We stopped there often on our way to and from the town of Nelsonville, when we vacationed in a cabin at Lake Hope State Park. There's something so peaceful about cemeteries. I'd often stop at the graves and wonder about the person who lived there. 

Strangely enough, I seldom visit the cemetery where my parents and two of my siblings are buried. I guess I'd rather remember them full of life.  

Monday, February 18, 2019

Soup, Soup, and More Soup

Image result for soup images free

It's no secret in my family, I love soup. Just about any kind of soup. And I'm always willing to try new recipes. The latest recipe I tried was for Zuppa Toscana, a soup they serve at Olive Garden.

I came by this recipe on Facebook. With a few minor changes (some suggested by the person who gave the recipe) I made it. I must admit, it was delicious. Even my hubby liked it and he's not big on creamed soups of any kind.
Another recipe I made recently was for Cream of Chicken soup - Can you tell I like cream soups. But truthfully, my all time favorite is home made chicken soup like grandma used to make. In my opinion, you just can't beat it. My mom also made this soup. Every Sunday. She stuffed the chicken first with cracker stuffing, Just before it was done, she took the chicken out and finished it in the oven. We ate the soup, with thin noodles - always thin, never wide noodles. To this day Chicken Soup tastes better with thin noodles. But that's neither here nor there. We'd eat the soup for lunch - usually around 1:00, then go to my grandparents' house. When we returned home,
Mom put the chicken back in the oven to heat, made rice, (almost always rice but occasionally mashed potatoes) gravy, and a vegetable. That's what we had for dinner. I said earlier you couldn't beat the soup, that's not quite true. Chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes or rice, gravy, and vegetable were (are) my all time favorites.
When I first got married, I continued my mom's tradition of making chicken soup every Sunday.  Sometimes we visited my grandparents or my parents and sometimes my in-laws, and sometimes we just stayed home. Whatever we did, we followed the same routine of soup for lunch and chicken for dinner.
Of course just being the two of us - except when my husband's friend dropped in - we always had leftovers and dinner for Monday and sometimes Tuesday.  As for me, I could eat soup all week. With the exception of summer that is.  I can't bring myself to eat soup in the summer even though I grew up with it. I can't remember exactly when but my husband asked me when I was going to make something American. American??? What was wrong with chicken soup?
He said he'd like some fried chicken for a change. I didn't have a clue how to make fried chicken. My mother never made fried chicken. She made Chicken Soup, Roasted Chicken, Chicken Paprikash, and Chicken with Gravy, but never just plain old Fried Chicken. My first attempts at making it from a cookbook weren't all that good. The breading always fell off. To this day, I don't make good Fried Chicken. So I stick with Chicken soup.
I'll never forget the day my mom told me that  my dad said he didn't mind telling her he wasn't all that crazy about chicken soup. After fifty years of marriage and making soup every Sunday - that's almost 3000 Sundays she made soup. God love him, he ate soup every week and never said a word. Of course, we laughed about it. Mom didn't think it was too funny at first.
I learned just how hurt she was when my husband informed me after 50+ years of marriage, the he wasn't all that crazy about carrots in the chicken soup. Seriously. I always made sure I gave him a lot of carrots and the poor man never said anything. Now, I'm very careful not to give him too many, which is fine, more for me. LOL
I still make soup often, but not every Sunday. In fact, I make it any day of the week when I have a taste for it. I usually make a large pot and have it for lunch every day until it's gone. Nothing better on these cold winter days.
Here's the recipe for the Zuppa Toscana. Try it, you'll love it. I made the low carb option.

You can find the recipe Here

For a quicker easier crockpot recipe  click here

Zuppa Toscana
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
50 mins
Creamy Zuppa Toscana recipe, full of crumbled sausage, crispy bacon and tender potatoes in a creamy broth! Make this Olive Garden Soup right at home. Low carb option included!
Servings: 6 - 8 serves
Author: Karina
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound mild Italian Sausage casings removed - (I used sweet Italian Sausage)
  • 4 oz (125 g) diced bacon (I omitted the bacon)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine optional (I made it with and without, tastes fine either way)
  • 1 1/2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth (I had homemade broth)
  • 5 Russet potatoes scrubbed, rinsed and sliced into  1/4-inch slices* (I used the cauliflower and one turnip)
  • 1 cube beef bouillon crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes optional — adjust to your taste 
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half or heavy/thickened cream
  • 3 cups chopped kale hard stems removed (substitute with baby spinach leaves or Swiss chard) (I used the spinach)
  • Fresh shredded parmesan cheese for serving
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional -- for a thicker soup) SEE NOTES (I used this also)
  1. Fry the sausage in a heavy based pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat while breaking up the meat with the end of your wooden spoon. When browned, and cooked through (about 10 minutes), drain most of the oil, leaving about 1 teaspoon of drippings in the pot. Transfer sausage meat to a plate.
  2. Cook the bacon in the same pot/Dutch oven over medium heat until crispy (about 10 minutes). Drain, leaving about 2 teaspoons of drippings in the pot. Transfer cooked bacon to the plate with the sausage meat.
  3. Sauté onions in the pot and cook until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  4. OPTIONAL: Add the wine and let reduce to half (about 2 minutes).
  5. Increase heat to high, pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Season broth with crushed bouillon, salt, pepper, fennel and chili flakes. Add the potatoes and boil until fork tender (about 10 minutes).
  6. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in the heavy cream, cooked sausage, bacon and kale. Let simmer for 2 minutes, until kale leaves have softened.
Recipe Notes
*For low carb option, replace potatoes with 1 head of cauliflower, chopped.
Cut potatoes into even pieces to ensure even cooking.
Chicken, turkey or beef sausages can be used.
Pancetta can be used instead of bacon.

For a thicker soup, mix cornstarch together with 2 tablespoons of cream. Mix well until free from lumps and add it in along with the cream. Give it a good stir while the soup is boiling until thickened. Then add in the cooked sausage, bacon and kale. Continue on with the recipe.