Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Special" Date Night :)

Yesterday afternoon when my husband and I returned home from town, our 13 yrld daughter said she and her two younger siblings wanted to make and serve supper for us.

As she worked in the kitchen, her younger siblings whispered down the hall. At the "appointed time" she told us all was ready and we should wait at the top of the stairway to the basement.
Our young waiter , in black pants, white shirt and tie , appeared and with an elaborate gesture motioned us to follow him down the stairs and into the library.

There we found an alcove formed around the library table with tablecloths and curtains. Behind the curtain was a beautifully set table with silver candlesticks and flowers. Goblets of ice water, placecards and a molded chocolate rose were at both settings. We were seated and after assuring us dinner would be served shortly, he disappeared.
Music began to play in the back ground and a pretty waitress in white ruffled cocktail apron appeared. Pointing to two small bowls , she told us to start with our appetizer and she would be back. The appetizer was apple slices and honey peanutbutter.
The kitchen overhead was full of hurried footsteps and quiet voices. Occasionally footsteps came part way down the stairs, paused and hurried back with a whispered observation.
Soon the waitress appeared with our full plates. Dinner was served. It was delicious; perfectly seasoned pork strips with green pepper and onions served over a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes and topped with a fried egg. (I'm sure this was a spinoff of a recipe older brother brought back from Thailand, usually served over rice) :)

Our waiter appeared to refill our glasses and ask if we would be wanting coffee.
We ate in privacy except for a quick "duck-in" from the waiter who smiled and said to me, "The cook wants to know if you're on a diet." (A little late for that. The plate in front of me was heaped! I assured him I was setting aside any dieting for the evening and to tell the cook the meal was delicious.)
Soon the waiter appeared to take our plates , quickly followed by the waitress with coffee.
They reappeared with Chocolate,Vanilla Ice Cream garnished with chopped peanutbutter cups , piled high in sundae glasses.

After awhile the waiter returned to take our plates .Then the cook with the waiter and waitress all came to our table while the waiter as elaborately as possible around his dancing dimple, told us "We hope you enjoyed your meal and do you have any words for the cook." :) After profusely thanking them,they prepared to leave us. The cook whispered behind her hand,to the waitress "curtsey!" She daintily obeyed and they left our alcove.
Silence ...then the waiter reappeared and told us "You can go upstairs whenever you want to". :)
We left them all a tip and exited our romantic restaurant.
Sometimes you know it's all worth it! :)

This post is linked at Raising Mighty Arrows

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Health Nut???

Coming from a background of great cooking and baking, delectable treats and meals from the kitchen were a requirement for any good little housewife. We were taught at a very young age to take pride in our pies and cookies. We oohed and aahed over the array at a church potluck and exchanged recipes. Every church had their "best cook". Huge, gooey, cinnamon rolls, golden crusted, pies, and perfectly browned, chocolate chip, cookies, were in our DNA. Mounds of perfectly mashed potatoes, creamy corn swimming in butter,or airy melt in your mouth pancakes were what set the "best cook" apart from the rest. This cook was known for her "to-die-for" chicken and that one for her always perfect donuts.

And then ...occasionally...there was the health nut. You could pick out their contribution to the potluck. It was that bowl of dried apples, that plate of dry mounded looking things called cookies, or that crockpot of some unidentifiable vegetable soup.
That's what "healthy" cooking was.
O, yeh , sure we all tried to fix a balanced meal: meat, starch, vegetable, fruit and...sweet! We were good cooks, you know. We take care of our families with well rounded meals three times a day.
And then...somewhere, sometime, something begins to happen. For the truly wise woman, she begins to really think about what health means and that maybe, just maybe, it is different than she always supposed. Maybe, just maybe, she shouldn't be so quick to scorn those dried up little mounds passed off as cookies!
Somewhere along the line that happened to me and I started to change our family's eating style. I started to rethink the cups and cups of white sugar in my favorite cookie recipe, the white flour in that perfect loaf of bread, the airy "nothingness" of that beautifully fried donut and the loaded carbs in those "best of the best" mashed potatoes.
BUT...I refused to believe I had to settle for dried apples and cookies that tasted like cardboard! So the process has been a loooonng one!
Recently, I've renewed the effort to provide my family with truly healthy foods and treats which also satisfy my "DNA"! :)
Articles like this one fuel the effort
And, I'm proud to link to my daughter's new blog who is on her own journey for perfectly, delicious, good for you, cooking and baking!!!
Here's to happy baking and cooking to a new breed of "health nuts"!

Monday, March 5, 2012

My Jesus Knows Just What I Need

My sister related a precious story to me that happened Saturday evening at my Mom's.

My Mom was "diagnosed" over 6 yrs ago with an incurable, terminal, motor neuron problem of undetermined cause or name. Within the last year we have come to understand that it was most likely Lyme disease left untreated. They began to call it Lou Gehrigs a year ago.
About 3 yrs ago she lost her ability to communicate verbally and this past summer became unable to type or write or eat.
She has been bedridden for the last few months.

In the Spring of 2011 Drs. told us to expect her to be gone by Fall '11, then changed it to Christmas, then said she could not make it to her 70th birthday Feb 20, 2012.

The process has been long, drawn out, and full of challenges, difficulties and emotions. One of the hardest to deal with has been the difficulty of communciation, expecially because it is evident that her mind and ability to comprehend has been largely unaffected.
She is no longer able to make any signs except occasionally to wiggle her toe in answer to a question.
My Dad does most of her care. Hospice nurses and we, children and grandchildren take up the extra. Someone of the family is there all the time.

This past weekend 5 of my siblings, and several of the in-laws and grandchildren were there. My niece who lives about 450 miles away wanted to show Grandma her new baby and the others had various other reasons.

Saturday evening as they sat and visited around Mom's bed , she became increasingly agitated , trying to communicate something to them. They tried and tried but were unable to determine what it was. My dad finally gave up in weariness as my sisters still struggled to understand.

It was then that my 13yrld nephew stepped over quietly to his Mom and asked if he could sing a song for Grandma. When he was told to go ahead, he slipped from the room to where the shelf where Mom's hymnals are kept and returned with it open to his selection. He stepped to the side of Grandma's bed and began to sing...

My Jesus knows when I am Lonely             
He knows each pain, He sees each tear
He understands each lonely heartache
He understands because He cares
My Jesus knows just what I need
Oh yes! He knows just what I need
He satisfies and every need supplies
Yes, He knows just what I need

My Jesus knows when I am burdened
He knows how much my heart can bear
He lifts me up when I am sinking
And brings me joy beyond compare

When other friends seem to forget me
When skies are dark, when hope is gone
By faith I feel His arms around me
And hear Him say, "You're not alone"
My Jesus knows just what I need
Oh yes! He knows just what I need
He satisfies and every need supplies
Yes, He knows just what I need

He satisfies and every need supplies
Yes, He knows just what I need

When he began to sing, Mom quieted and long before he finished all stanzas, every adult in the room was in tears.

Yes, My Jesus knows just what I need , what anyone needs, even when know one else can understand.

A little child shall lead them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Improvising for Decorating Dilemmas

Moving into a new house always creates new decorating fun and challenges.
The deocrating is especially sticky if you are on a limited budget and can't just go buy some new curtains or decor. Making do with what you have on hand is always a fun challenge to me!
     With this most recent move, I was faced with many such challenges!
Three of which I will address here....
(1) The master bedroom is big but it also has 3 BIG windows so a place to put the bed became an instance "head scratcher" . The situation is made more more difficult because my husband has a very large desk/hutch that needs to go in the bedroom also. The only solution came in putting the bed under the smallest window. I dislike beds under windows! But as our bed does not have a headboard (never really got the money and the "find" to coincide) it was low enough to fit and looked passable temporarily..
(2) Dilemma #2 is caused by those same 3 big windows. I have never had that many of that size to contend with, so do not have matching curtains for that.
(3) A huge mirror that is a prize possession of mine usually has hung above a mantel or the piano. There is no mantel in this house and the only spot for the piano was on a basement family room wall that is concrete. So hanging the mirror became an issue.
      We searched the house for another spot for the mirror. There were four options that presented themselves as big enough but three were immediately ruled out because of conflicting decor or furniture. We settled on the entry hall but as it is quite narrow the mirror, instead of enlarging it , only seemed to close it in more.
      Roaming throught the house , thinking, thinking, and looking through my curtain stash, thinking, thinking; I came up with an idea!
        If  I can somehow come up with a window treatment that doubles as a headboard or bed treatment, then the other window treatments do not have to match, just coordinate! So I only have to have two matching curtain set ups!
       This is the finished product (well as soon as hubby fixes my attempt at hanging the rod,) :)

I combined a long ,cream, lace ,scarf with a smaller, red, valance/panel combo curtain and propped the mirror on the windowsill! Voila! I like it!!
   And THREE decorating dilemmas solved in ONE, I like that, too!! :)

This post is linked at
Feminine Adventures