Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Whether you are just stopping by to find Bishop Ken's homilies or you are a close friend or family member, you have enriched my life so much.

It has been heart warming to see so many people leave this site to read Ken's words. It makes me smile. May each of you find what you need most in his words.

To my visitors and my family and friends God bless you during this holiday season.

Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Trip to Flint Children's Museum

We had so much fun with Javier and Ayva at the children's museum on the campus of Kettering University in Flint.

There were so many ways to foster imagination. A full size stagecoach, costumes and a puppet theater.

I loved the sort of creepy science area where the kids got on a bike and looked through a transparent mirror. It reflected a skeleton on the other side of the mirror that was moving in conjunction with the person pedalling. So it looked as if you could see through your own body to see your skeleton.

Christmas Quiche

There are seven quiches in the oven.  I always buy too much cheese!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Didn't do too bad!

Well, I ate too many chips.  But I ordered the San Jose Special with no beans or rice - so I say it was much better than the last trip.  LOL - of course I kept getting brain freeze from the Lime Margarita, it was YUM.

Oh I can't believe I didn't take a picture again - my oh my, we will have to return!

It was a very nice evening with friends.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dinner Again!

We are going to El Potrero for dinner tonight with good friends. We were just there on Tuesday for Jesse's birthday celebration. You know when Jesse chooses this Mexican restaurant every year for his birthday that it is the best.

Even though we have to go to Owosso it is worth the drive.

I'm going to be smarter tonight - no chips, no beans, no rice. Just two little tamales - oh yeah, like that is going to happen.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Santa Oh No

So Caroline went Christmas shopping with Joanna. Santa was going to be at Crystal's work so we went with Jesse and the kids.

The little boys wanted nothing to do with him. Javier was too old to sit on his lap. Ayva was just right...

Until we got in the car and she said, "Was that the real Santa? Cause I think that beard was fake. It was falling off him."

So I explained how Santa had to be at the North pole making presents with the elves. This guy was his helper.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Javier and Ayva Come for a Visit

We have Javier and Ayva for the evening. We have the art projects done.

Javier and I made buns for chicken sandwiches. Then we had dinner.

Now Papa and Javier are making popcorn.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Salmon and Potato Frittata

Oh yum. We had leftover salmon from dinner last night so I made a Frittata for breakfast.

First I diced onions and potatoes and sauted them in butter. Added salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, Mrs. Dash.  When those were done I added four eggs with dill and salt.

After almost set I topped it with the salmon and shredded cheese and put it under the broiler.

It was delicious.

On Her Way

Look at those heels!
The Great Aunties would be proud!
We took her to Detroit this morning. She is on her way to Arizona to see Conner.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Lunch

When Clarence and Elinor planned a Christmas lunch we were so happy it was going to be at Fandangles'. We had the nicest time.

And of course, it goes without saying, the food was delicious.

I share Clarence's picture below. What a great way to start the holidays.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Writing All Morning

I am working on my book today.  Thank goodness.  It has been very difficult to even think about writing at the moment.  I love Pinterest.  This morning I was up around 3:00 and searched for "Writing Inspiration" and when I saw this, I just laughed.

So after a short nap and then coffee with Paco, I started writing.  It felt good to spend three hours at the computer.

I decided it was time to give Noah a day out in Okinawa.  Thankfully, Caroline made a Pinterest board for places Robbie might want to go to while in Okinawa.  So I chose one and put it in the story.

Then I had to to look up yen conversions and read up on sea glass.  Looking at the Google maps, it looks as if Okinawa is actually closer to China than to Japan.  It has been an interesting morning.

Now, time to take a shower and get ready to get my haircut.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful for YOU

I am thankful for the stories that come from my heart and for those who read them. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Surgery and Tuesday Cooking

Had a spot taken off my forehead today. It took a lot longer than the one on my nose last January. The doctor took a long time sewing it up. It hurts tonight.

Joanna made dinner with the kids and Sheala oversaw the turkeys made out if fruit. I made the beans this morning before I went to the hospital.  Javier's suggestion of hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls was a winner.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner

Oh yum! Everything turned out delicious. The only glitch was the turkey was done an hour earlier than anticipated. It was the most beautiful turkey I ever made. Juicy and yummy.

After the saltwater brine I patted it dry. Filled the cavity with lemon pieces and fresh rosemary. Put sprigs of rosemary under the skin

Sprinkled sage and Italian seasoning on the bird. Melted butter and added wine then soaked a cheesecloth in it. Put the cheesecloth over the bird. Oven set at 350.

Every 20 minutes removed the cheesecloth and soaked it again. Put it back on the bird.

The pies were yum.  Although the apple was too sweet. I changed the crumb recipe to try again. The potatoes and dressing so easy with the prep yesterday.

We had an enjoyable day.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Turkey in the bath!

Saltwater bath, that is. Last chore for today.  This is the first time I ever brined a turkey. We'll see how it turns out tomorrow.

Just a note here - if that husband of mine dies before me I am done entertaining. You all can invite me over and I will reciprocate by treating you to dinner at Harvey's.

He makes my life so easy.

Dressing Ready

The dressing is ready for the crock pot tomorrow.

Bread cubed
sprinkle with parsley

In a wok I cooked
1 stick butter
1 large onion chopped
3 stalks of celery plus the heart chopped
Sage, salt, pepper,  Mrs. Dash

When onions are translucent add 2 cups chicken stock.

Mix into bread cubes.

Put in crock pot tomorrow for 3 hours. When done put foil in large crock pot to divide it in 2. Put dressing in half and mashed potatoes in other side.

Potatoes Done

When I saw you could make these ahead and then put them in the crock pot this was a no brainer.

They are amazing. As usual I messed with the original recipe. You can find that here:

This is what I used
6# potatoes - cooked to fork tender
7 oz cream cheese
3 TBS butter
1 cup sour cream
Salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash

Put all of it in the Kitchenaid mixer and mixed until creamy.  Done! In the refrigerator until tomorrow.

Pumpkin Pie

Pie number 2

Yes, I forgot to take a picture - already in the oven. I was intrigued with a recipe that my niece, Sarah Noble, pinned. The pumpkin pie had pepper in it. I just had to try it. I changed the recipe a bit. I doubled the amount of pumpkin.

Pie Crust for 1 large pie or 2 small
2 cans (15oz can) pumpkin puree - American Test Kitchen suggests cooking pumpkin on top of the stove and then cooling it before baking with it.
3 large eggs
1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream (I used pumpkin flavored coffee cream)
1/4 cup milk

Original Recipe from:

This makes a very large pie. There was one bit of epic fail. It said to pre-bake the pie crust for 10 minutes. I did not use beans to keep the shape because I was worried about getting them out of a pie shell that wasn't fully cooked. And of course the sides collapsed. In retrospect I don't think I would pre-bake the pie crust.

Will critique tomorrow.

Apple Pie with Crumb Top

The first pie - Apple with Crumb Top - for our family Thanksgiving tomorrow.  This looks so good. I tried a new crumb topping. I didn't follow her directions because i combined everything and then added the melted butter. Turned out great though. (

1 3# bag Gala apples sliced thin
1 TBS cinnamon
3/4 cup of crumb topping
1 TBS butter cut into small pieces

Mix together until each apple piece has cinnamon on it

Crumb topping
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients. Add melted butter. Mix thoroughly.

Roll out pie crust. Add apples. Dot with the small pieces of butter.

Top the pie with remaining crumb topping. This is the tallest apple pie ever to go into my oven!

Put pie dish on cookie sheet to catch drips. Bake in 375 oven for 25 minutes then turn oven down to 350 and continue to bake for 25 minutes. Cover edges of crust with foil if it is turning too brown.

Will post picture after it is out and critique the taste tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yeah! A good start

Joanna came over today to help us start cleaning out the basement. When we saw a condo we liked this fall I knew that there would be no way we could even consider moving at this time. I decided right then that we needed to begin getting rid of the tons of stuff in the basement.

Joanna and Pat are at Bethesda right now. Lots of plates and bowls. Bags of clothes. Boxes and boxes of books.

Feels good!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thank You Harvey's!

What a good time to pick for dinner out! The manager's were tasting new wines. Arlen shared.  I had a glass of Lancaster Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. It was so delicious. Full bodied. Tart. Yum. It will probably be over $100 bottle. Have to say - would love to win the lottery. Thank you Harvey's.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday Cooking Class

Yeah! Potstickers!  Javie and I made the best potstickers. Ours didn't look like this picture the blog posted. Ours were a rectangle. Quite easy. We used ground turkey instead of chicken. And I made a flat circle of scrambled eggs to slice into small pieces to replace the mushrooms. Yum!

We also had roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, and squash. A yummy dinner. Click the picture to go to the recipe. It made enough to freeze a batch.

Javier asked, "Nana, have you ever heard of hot dogs wrapped in croissants? "

Guess what we are having next week!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Characters Changing the Plot

The next book, A Light Shines Forth, is coming along.  I find it very surprising that my characters have a life of their own.  I thought the ninth graders, Isabella and Ellie were the main characters.  As it turns out Emma and Noah have taken over.

While I write a chapter I actually go back into the previous chapters to add tidbits that may lead into what I am writing.  That is when the characters usually take over.  Ideas and thoughts just spill out onto the page and I find that the whole novel could have a new twist.

Now if I can just figure out how to smoothly move my book five years into the future I will be able to pull this novel off.

I love writing.  I love my characters.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tuesday switched to Sunday

The kiddos do not have class on Tuesday because their classrooms are a polling place. Which means I need to mention that we all need to vote on Tuesday.

So today after church Javier, Pat and I cooked dinner. Before I left for work I put chicken in the oven on the slow cooker setting. It was the first time I used that setting. It worked great.

When we got home we made Grandma Shea chicken. Cooked chicken dredged in flour seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash and parsley. Javier learned to season by looking at the pattern on the flour. Then browned in butter.

We made pasta with cheese. Javier learned by chewing a piece of pasta whether it was done.

We made Red Lobster biscuits - yum.

Pat made corn.

Everything was delicious.

Then after giving them the cookie dough I made this morning they went home.  A half hour later Sheala and Joanna stopped by. We visited for awhile before they went over to Caroline and Jesse's. 

Now we are waiting for Madam Secretary to start and drinking Mr. Lepeak's raspberry wine. Tangy, sweet, full bodied. YUM.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No Fresh Tomatoes Spaghetti Sauce

Yesterday, Javier learned how to make a quick spaghetti sauce when you don't have any fresh tomatoes.  I explained that if we had fresh we would cook it for a couple hours - when you need something quick - you open lots of cans and jars!

This made a huge amount of sauce - fed 10 with lots of leftovers.

3 jars of whatever kind of spaghetti sauce is on sale and has garlic in it
2 large cans of Hunts tomato sauce
2/3 of a can of Contadina tomato paste
1/4 cup of water in each of the jars to shake and add all the remaining sauce
A large squeeze of the Parsley, Italian Herbs and Garlic

And always stir with a wooden spoon!

I made the meatballs in the morning because they learned how to make meatballs already.  But meatballs are the secret ingredient to the best sauce ever.  Slowly simmering the already baked meatballs in the sauce makes the best flavored sauce.

We also had to frost the pumpkin roll and put it in the refrigerator before going to catechism class. No class next week so we can make the whole meal together!

Monday, October 27, 2014


These were our favorite Christmas cookie growing up on Hoyt Street.  I can say right now - I love the dough before it is baked - I love the cookie after it is baked - I could live on this cookie.  Mom always made them very small, my friend Jan makes them really big.  My friend Bea calls them Mexican Wedding Cookies - my Mom called them Butterballs.  Love them all.

1/2 pound butter
4 Tbs Granulated Sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans, chopped fine
1 3/4 cups Regular flour or 2 cups cake flour measured, then sifted

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla, add nuts and flour.  Refrigerate and then roll into small balls.
Bake 1/2 hour in a 300 degree oven.
Roll hot in powdered sugar then again when cool.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Quick Trip to Virginia

On Wednesday we took Robbie to Virginia.  He needed to be at the airport in Richmond on Thursday where he was going to catch his plane to Okinawa.  Joanna, Pat and I stopped at Joanna's best friend's home overnight in Virginia Beach.

Marina, Jason and their son, Mark, were such great hosts.  We had a very nice time visiting with them.  Marina didn't know that Joanna was coming, it was a nice surprise.  Their home is so warm and inviting.  This was the first time Pat and I met Jason and Mark.  It was so nice to get to know them.

On Thursday morning we got up early and Marina, Joanna, Pat and I took Robbie to Richmond.  We were so surprised at how small the airport is - it is an international airport so we expected something the size of Detroit.  But we walked in and Robbie went right to the counter to check in - no waiting.

Then after we had breakfast we watched as Robbie went through checkin.  It was very hard to watch him go.  Marina had packed him a huge amount of food.  A big sandwich, homemade hand held apple pies and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

We went back to Marina's and spent the night.  She made the best shrimp boil - I know I will be making that here for our friends.  It was delicious.

On Friday we left to come home.  It was a whirlwind trip - but one so filled with love and laughter and stories and good times and good food.

Robbie had a delay in Chicago, missed his flight, because of that delay, in Tokyo and then finally texted his Mom to say he made it to Okinawa.  Already miss that guy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's Elsa!

I LOVE Pinterest!  There was a picture of a cake that was made to look like a Crystal palace. I figured I could do that for Ayva. We found sugar crystal candy on sticks at Rau's in Frankenmuth. I printed out an Elsa from the Internet and taped her to a stick. The cake is two rounds - one for the bottom, the other cut in half for a send layer and the other half I cut the ends off and made a small third layer.  The two small ends I used to fill in under the third layer.

I crumb coated with white buttercream. Then swirled blue into the second batch and frosted again. I sprinkled clear sugar glitter and put it in the refrigerator.

Once it was cold I put the crystal sticks and Elsa on the layers. The only thing that didn't work too well was the expensive tube of Wilton glitter frosting I bought to write happy birthday.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

American Prophet

So excited. Jonathan Stewart formerly a co-parishioner at the Cathedral (and a son of one of the famous Allen Girls) will be playing the lead in the short film The American Prophet.

Bishop Gumbleton was a great friend to our beloved Bishop Ken. I cannot wait to see this wonderful man play such an important role.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Half Day of School Fun

Ayva has been waiting all year for this day.  We only get the Halloween box out in October - that way it really is special.  She loves dressing up in all the outfits - especially the scary ones.  However Javier really didn't want too much to do with it this year.  He still had fun though.  Neither one will try on the old man old woman masks - they said they are freaky.  Nana and Papa like them!

We also had lunch - grilled cheese - yum.  And we frosted Aunt Betty's Easy Sugar Cookies so they could take some home in the empty container from Jesse's rice.  You know the rule - don't send back an empty container. Unfortunately, Nana forgot to replace the food coloring!