Weekend Highlights…

Aidan at Thanksgiving 016 I love my family.

Even when we disagree, it is fun.

There is a wry sense of humor and wit that underlies the “discussions” that culminate from our different points of view and understanding.

And there are so many areas that we are in perfect agreement that we can skip the other without too much of a fuss.

Anyway-here are some picture highlights from the past week that I wanted to share.  I hope you all had a wonderful family time- or a least a memorable time with friends and loved ones for the holiday.

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My handsome sons collaborated on the Chincoteague Oysters we had for lunch on Thanksgiving day.  Luke brought the oysters and cleaned and prepared them.

At the last moment, I discovered we had no horseradish in the house, so Jordan was dispatched to pick up some essential items at the grocery store.

To my surprise, he brought back a root of horseradish and laid it on the table next to my plate.  Both Willow and I looked at it for a moment before it dawned on us what he had placed on the table.

What a wonderful treat!  I had never used fresh horseradish before- but I will never use anything else ever again!  I peeled it and cut it into chunks an put it into the food processor and ground it up.  DO NOT BREATHE DEEPLY whilst doing this.  Your sinuses may never recover from this experience.

Then I added white balsalmic vinegar to the ground horseradish and we put 1/4 tsp on each oyster  ( and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice) before slurping them down.  They were delicious.  AND  I now have a jar of freshly ground horseradish to play with in my fridge.  Anyone have recipes that include horseradish to share?


Aidan at Thanksgiving 026And then Friday morning we had snow.  And a photo shoot at Donzell’s Garden Center.Aidan at Thanksgiving 028

It was a great time spent with our children, I’m sorry Frank had to leave – but he had a chance to visit with his relatives and to pay respect to his older sister at her funeral.   This is the first time he’s been back to Canada in 10 years, so it was good that he went.

Tomorrow is his birthday- then on to Christmas in Chincoteague this year.

Time is fleeting, it is best spent with those we love doing things that bring us closer together and honor our Lord in the doing.

That is my goal for the rest of this year.

Thankfulness NEVER ends

Thanksgiving in America is a holiday.

People think of family and food.

They count their simple blessings.

And some call it “Turkey Day”.

The giving of thanks and the habit of thankfulness, however, is a choice and a privilege that  is given us by our bountiful God, the giver of all good things.

I am full of thanks that God honors and chooses relationship with people.

With His people.

With me.

To be a part of the family of God, through the brotherhood of saints, bequeathed to us through Jesus Christ our Lord is a gift beyond all measure.

And so thanksgiving is not over.


Speaking of family and gifts- I just wanted to share a picture of the youngest member of our family and mention that he is definitely in the category of the gifted.

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Guess who likes to shovel off the driveway?

Aidan at Thanksgiving 020 Or should I say, sweep off the snow?

Random pictures and recipes

Probably too late for this year- although I think you could do a batch of the brandied cranberries today and not miss a beat.  And it is SO worth making a batch of these.

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Brandy,cranberries, orange peel, sugar, and I added a dollop of orange marmalade.  These are seriously good- even if you don’t like cranberries-  seriously good. 

Brandied Cranberries Recipe

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar (or substitute Splenda for half of the sugar)
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2 TBS  finely chopped orange zest
  • 2 heaping TBS orange marmalade

1 Preheat oven to 325°F. Sort through cranberries and discard any that are soft or decayed.

2 Mix cranberries, sugar, brandy, and orange zest in a 8 or 9-inch baking dish. Bake uncovered until most of the liquid has evaporated, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Makes 2 cups. Chill up to one week.

Thanksgiving preparation 025 They bake in the oven- stir occasionally!

And this is the end result-Thanksgiving preparation 030


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Take a closer look. 

I just ate one berry- and it is “oh my goodness” good.

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The bread stuffing is made out of  honey whole wheat bread, cornmeal bread, and half a loaf of rustic white bread.  This is the best stuffing I’ve ever made.  The bread made  all of the difference.

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Random comment about parsley……………………………

The French cooks use only the leaves and short stems of parley in their dishes.

The Italian chefs use the entire stem, chopping it fine and going for a more robust flavor.

I’m Slovak with Germanic influences-  I used mostly the leaves, but I picked through the stems for the more delicate ones and chopped them up as well.Thanksgiving preparation 007 Because 2 bunches was just barely enough for the huge bowl of bread crumbs.

I used my own herbs rather than poultry seasoning, as well.

Thanksgiving preparation 008 I dried the sage earlier.

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Then I picked off the hard stems and rubbed it until it was pliable and broke up easily.  I put twice this much in the bowl.

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And then added celery and onions sauteed in butter.

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And fried sausage and crushed nuts- and you have stuffing.

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Stir it all together and put it in a bag in the refrigerator to mingle the flavor.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope your day is filled with happiness and joy and good eats!

What if it is the first straw?

I had a great time last week with Cynthia andAlly and Aiden first in Smithville, then in Marshallville.  Biut out best time was at the Post House with Aiden for lunch.

Allyson calls me a feeder.  I DO like to see little boys eat heartily- and so I share my meal to supplement theirs when necessary (and allowed.)   So I shared my cup of chili with Aiden who loved it as a dip for his grilled cheese sandwich.  But most of all I loved his straw handling skills.

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He is such a lot of fun and I love spending time with them.

I’m thankful that God brought Aiden into our lives.

Gingerbread cookies- the bride and groom version

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These are the brides…………………….and these are the grooms!

Aren’t they cute?  This is what I’ve been doing this weekend- making 56 pairs of this happy couple for a dear friend’s son’s wedding.


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I put on my baker’s hat and cut out and baked 112 gingerbread boys and girls-

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and then I decorated them with three different chocolates.

The brides got all white chocolate- the grooms dark and milk chocolate-

and  then I gussied them all up in bows and ribbons.


 Aiden and cookies 012 And packaged them in cellophane bags,

Aiden and cookies 029 And tied them with black and gold ribbons and put them into a bakery box.

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Actually – two bakery boxes.

Being a baker around holidays means that you don’t have a lot of free time.

Tomorrow I’m making dozens of turkey dinner rolls for the Bake Shop.

You can find directions and a recipe for making the rolls here.

Countdown to Christmas- Crafts


Making a boxwood wreath from the clippings from the hedge in Chincoteague was our recreation while at Meredith’s house.  We started with a grapevine wreath for the base and then jammed as many long pieces of boxwood into the frame that would fit.


Then we made smaller bunches of the tips and magnolia leaves and pods, hydrangea flowers and rosemary bunches and rosehips growing around the beds at the house, and using a paddle of wire wrapped them tightly around the wreath base ,”taming” some of the wilder branches of boxwood we had jammed in previously.


We layered the bunches and the decorative pieces around the wreath to make it look well covered and uniformly designed.


Then added a bow and it was ready to hang.

 Click to View My Photo

And we used it to decorate the mantle of the fireplace in the dining room.

Making a boxwood wreath is REALLY easy!  All you need is a base wreath, a paddle of medium green florist’s wire, Lots of boxwood, and some design items to add.  Look around your yard and see what kind of materials you can make into a beautiful wreath.  It really is a lot of fun.

Thankful for technology?

Yes, I did write that.

Two years ago, I wasn’t using a computer much- maybe once or twice a week to check email.

Four years ago, I was just barely using a cell phone.

Things have changed.  Times have changed.

Thanks to Meredith, I have changed.

She bought me a cell phone because she wanted to get a hold of me when she had a free moment and that didn’t always coincide with my home time.

She bought me a camera and gave me her lap top to use.

And so here I am- on the computer daily.  Blogging, emailing, Facebooking, and doing online college courses. 

Am I thankful for the extra time I need to spend to keep up with that schedule?

Not really.

I don’t read as much.  I don’t craft as much. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t clean my house as much.

BUT- I had a phone in the car and Patty could warn us about the nor’easter and the closing of the causeway in enough time for us to get across.

And I have some wonderful friends from blogging and Facebook that I wouldn’t know or be in touch with daily.

AND- I can share my recipes and cooking tips with a wide range of people.

So, yes, I am thankful for the opportunity to touch those around me in such a tangible yet technological way.

And to illustrate my point- here’s a wonderful way to make oven baked chicken legs.

Chicken drumsticks are always hard for me because they take so long to be done next to the bone.  I bake them a long time and it is still reddish in the center.

So, I looked at a LOT of cookbooks and picked up some hints that you might already have known.  I didn’t until recently, however, so I’m going to share.

Nor'easter and home cooking 043 The meat is so dense at the top that it takes a long time to cook.  But if you cut the meat from the top of the bone all the way down to the thin part of the leg and pull it away from the bone….

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Then flour the entire leg ( I use a mixture of flour and spices- salt, Nor'easter and home cooking 045 pepper, and Old Bay seasoning).

Make sure you flour the cut side as well as the skin portion

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Then brown the leg in about 4 TBS of vegetable oil in a pan that can go into the oven.

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Place foil loosely over the top of pan to keep your oven from getting “oiled” by the spit of frying chicken.

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And bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees F.

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You will be so happy with the results- AND there is no reddish pink meat next to the bone.  Add a salad and a baked potato and you have dinner!

Yumm!  I’m thankful for oven fried chicken today, too!

Thankful for the boys-

and men in my life.  I am surrounded by males.   Normally outnumbered by the men in my life, I usually voice my appreciation for the women in my life.  But the guys are central and essential to my well being.

Aidan's early Nov. visit 077 This is not my best picture of my husband, Frank, but it is the way I see him often.  He is a fixer, by nature.  His hands are full of tools and pieces of stuff to be repaired or replaced.  He loves to bring back the beauty and usefulness of  broken and tarnished items.

DSC01127 Jordan.  He is my awareness specialist.  He keeps me up to date about the world- opens up areas of thought that I may have overlooked- talks to me about ideas and events- and makes THE best coffee I’ve ever been privileged to drink.

Chincoteague 2009 (Luke) 050 Luke.  It was hard to find a picture of just Luke by himself.  He is a father and most pictures show him in that role.  And since he is in seminary studying to be a priest, he is truly going to be Fr. Luke.

Luke is my first born- we grew up together- he taught me how to be a mother and he made motherhood a joy for me.

IMG_6703 Aidan.  The joy of my life. Aidan's early Nov. visit 060 Both Aidan and Aiden!

I am so thankful for these boys/men in  my life.

God has blessed me richly.

Mission Accomplished!!!!

Cropper St. Chincoteague 027


All this back and forth to Chincoteague has been about business.

Meredith’s business that I have been commissioned to do for her.

Meredith’s business that has culminated in the purchase of this home.

In Chincoteague, Virginia.

I would not travel down there in the midst of TWO Nor’easters on vacation.

Not for two days to stay and two days to travel for 10 hours.

THAT is NOT a vacation by anyone’s standards.

But we did it. 

It is a beautiful home.

Meredith is looking forward to buying some kayaks and spending some quality time here.  I am looking into some plans for running some workshops for bread baking and cooking classes (plus faux finishing classes) combined with a chance to do some bird and pony watching at Assateague for the off season. 

There will be more information here in the future- and Chad is going to be setting up a website for the house where you can get more info- but that is all down the road.  For right now, the house needs some small repairs and cleaning and painting- and that is what we will be doing this winter.

Right now, I am just rejoicing that the negotiations are finally over.

This has been going on since May, and finally we are in the house.

I am thankful for God’s traveling mercies.

I am thankful for the possibilities of the future that this opens up.

I am thankful for the many times of family fun and fellowship that we can look forward to in this beautiful home.

AND – I am so thankful to be home.  In my home.  In Ohio.