Thursday, November 29, 2007

My dad's car

This is my Dad's Lincoln Town Car. My dad loved cars. He could tell you what he was driving in what year, from the time he had a license, I think. Most of those cars were Lincolns. He could also identify the year and model of nearly every car you saw on the road. This was the car he was driving when he went into the hospital for the last time.
My dad always took great care of his cars. He was very particular about them. I remember when I was a very young driver, because of people needing to be in various places, there was going to be a need for me to drive my dad's car. I had never driven his car before. I remember telling him, "I don't know if I can drive your car.." He looked at me surprised and said, "You know how to drive a car. Why wouldn't you be able to drive my car?" I said, "OK. I guess I can." I remember appreciating his vote of confidence and thinking if my dad thinks I can, I'm sure I can.
I'm going to keep his car. At first I felt a little self-conscious about it. I would never buy such a luxurious car. I have six kids and I'm a stay-at-home mom, for heaven's sakes. I noticed I was getting some unusual looks when I drove it. We put it in the paper to sell it and I realized... I can't sell my dad's car! He loved it so much that I associate it very much with memories of him. Besides, didn't he say "You can drive my car."? People can think what they will. I'm going to drive it. And my kids still call it "grandpa's car."
And it's soooooo comfy. I love it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Remembering my dad...

One year ago today my father left this Earth. How we miss him. My oldest daughter went with me to visit his crypt. I stopped at the sweet little flower shop across from the cemetery to buy some roses. The dear man asked if it was for the cemetery and I said yes. He then gave me an unbelievably low price. It appeared they do that regularly. His manner was so kind I almost started crying right there. It was as though he could sense this was a recent wound and a significant day.

My father is pictured above on vacation with us at Lorien in Northern Michigan. He loved to spend a week there each summer with all of his grandchildren. On the way home he always stopped to buy all the kids ice cream.
My father was a kind man, very gracious and courteous. He was not easily offended and gave a lot of himself.
He was a die-hard University of Michigan fan, having graduated from there over 5o years ago. I am also a Michigan graduate as was my grandfather, and my father always hoped that one of his grandchildren would go there too. When my oldest son was accepted at both Michigan and at Notre Dame, he chose to attend Notre Dame. But he told his grandfather, "But don't worry, Grandpa, when Michigan plays Notre Dame I'll still root for Michigan." My father replied, "Really, Mike? I'm going to be rooting for Notre Dame." That was the kind of Grandpa he was. One of the last things he said to Mike was, "There's nothing I'd rather do than be at your graduation from Notre Dame this May. He didn't make it. But I know he was there in spirit....
Tomorrow, and the for the next few days, I'm going to be writing posts honoring my dad.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today, I am tired. In the afternoon I made Weight Watchers Garden Vegetable soup (zero points). I took the dog for a twenty-five minute walk (very proud of that one:-). Then I made more "Frost on the Pumpkin" for Jim since I had felt guilty two days ago when he came home REALLY in the mood for some and I had eaten the last piece. Then, for some reason, I made some cookies with dried cherries and white chocolate chips. Then, dinner and lunches for everybody for tomorrow. Now... I'm ready for bed. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my father's death and I hope to visit his crypt....I don't dare go back and read what I was posting at this time last year, but I'm glad it is recorded for when I have the courage. I do remember how supported I felt by all you e-friends, your encouraging words and especially your prayers.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wisdom of Saint Josemaria Escriva

From Furrow, by Saint Josemaria Escriva.....

"Do you feel as if goodness and absolute truth have been deposited with you, and therefore that you have been invested with a personal title or right to uproot evil at all costs?
You will never solve anything like that, but only through Love and with love, remembering that Love has forgiven you and still forgives you so much."

I have "Furrow" on my bathroom window sill. This morning I read this passage and it struck me.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Helen Bailhe's Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms
a recipe of Helen Bailhe's (my mom), may she rest in peace
3 Tbs. minced onions
2Tbs butter
1 garlic clove minced
1/8 tsp salt
1- four and a half ounce can deviled ham
2 Tbs. parmesan cheese
1 beaten egg yolk
2.5 Tbs. parsley
2 Tbs. Italian style bread crumbs
30 mushroom caps (stems pulled out)
Sautee onions and garlic in butter
Combine rest and add to sautee
Stuff caps.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 min. or until done.
These mushrooms are to die for. They are soooo YUMMY. I usually at least double the recipe. I have even quadrupled it and they are always ALL eaten. Everybody loves them. Again, this is one of my mother's old recipes. Because Underwood Deviled Ham is mentioned by name I suspect it might have been a recipe on the package at one time.
I lost this recipe for a long time. (I don't know why I don't seem to be able to keep track of recipes-- or anything else, for that matter.) Then..... while looking through my recipe books I found it on an old envelope that was postmarked (are you ready?) TWENTY YEARS prior. OK. I now have it safely typed and stored in a folder and,, in about 5 minutes, I will also have it recorded in cyberspace.
These are my very favorite stuffed mushrooms. I have never tasted any better anywhere. I can get my brother to drive over two hours to join us for dinner if I promise to make these mushrooms. Mom, your mushrooms live on!!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sharing Recipes

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. We certainly did. All of our children were home and well-loved pastor Fr. Ed joined us for dinner.

Good friend Mary O. made an interesting comment on my last post about a lost family recipe. My youngest girls were horrified that I shared on my blog my mom's "Frost on the Pumpkin" recipe which they described as "a secret family recipe." I told them it was not secret and that I was sure my mom did not even invent it. It's just a special dessert that we've had on Christmas and Thanksgiving for many years. Why not share it?

My mother did not keep this recipe a secret. But I had never written it down, or if I had I somehow lost it over the years, my not being the most organized or tidy of homemakers. For a number of years I tried to reconstruct it, knowing the ingredient list was pretty simple and remembering most of it. But I never got it quite right. Finally I thought to look through my mother's old recipe books and see if I could find it.

I found a treasure of a recipe collection-- a little book of recipes one of my teachers at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Fort Wayne, Indiana had assembled. The cover, now lost, had been a piece of construction paper decorated with a design made from a "potato stamp" I had cut from a potato. Anyone remember that art project? The pages were printed with those purple mimeograph pages. (right terminology?) The inside cover had a letter from me to my mom in the painstakingly neat cursive the nuns required. In it I apologized for the "not so hot" cover, expressed the hope that she liked the cookbook, and indicated that her recipe was on page 2. And there it was!!!! "Frost on the Pumpkin by Mrs. Richard Bailhe."

I immediately recognized the missing ingredient. I think it was the ginger. We always knew there was something of a bite missing from the reconstructed recipe.

Anyway, recipes need to be shared and recorded!! The three family recipes I made yesterday were all lost at one time. (Like I said, I am not a very organized or tidy homemaker.) Maybe I'll tell the story of how each was recovered in future posts. :-) God is good.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Frost on the Pumpkin

Frost on the Pumpkin
A recipe of Helen Bailhe’s, may she rest in peace

1 cup pumpkin
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 quart vanilla ice cream
about 1 dozen ginger snap cookie, crushed into crumbs
powdered sugar

Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, and spices. Stir ice cream to soften; then fold into pumpkin mixture. Pour into a shallow dish. (I use a 1½ quart casserole dish).Sprinkle with ginger snap crumbs. On top of crumbs, sprinkle powdered sugar. Freeze firm. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner

I feel like I'm in pretty good shape for the planning stage of Thanksgiving dinner. We will have:

stuffed mushrooms as appetizer-- Mom's recipe!!
Mashed potatoes
sweet potatoes
"frost on the pumpkin," an ice cream/pumpkin dessert recipe of my mother's
Dutch apple pie---the best
pumpkin pie--purchased

I may publish the family recipes, if I get a chance (or if you ask!)

Saint Martha, you who I am sure were very skilled at hospitality, please help those of us who are planning Thanksgiving dinners. May we always choose the better part while also fulfilling our duties to our families!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

On Friday we joined my brother and his family at our state capital in Lansing for "Silver Bells in the City." There was a great parade with marching bands and many floats, with a number of Nativity scenes, angels, magi. And the climax of the evening was the lighting of the capital's Christmas tree with fireworks behind the capital building.

Below is our state capital...

Above are my three youngest and my niece and nephew enjoying the excitement of the evening.

Here we are waiting along the curb for the parade to begin.

It was a refreshingly politically incorrect parade with numerous religious scenes and traditional carols, along with the secular symbols too. It was delightful.

Here is the capital in all its glory. Fun night.

Go Blue!!!!

On this the one year anniversary of the death of beloved University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler how can anyone not want to cheer...

Go Blue!!!!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

In the midst of the dead and dying leaves pictured above, a couple little snapdragons in my garden are still trying to bloom. We have already had a couple frosts. These snapdragons came up this Spring from the year before. I didn't even plant them. Yet here they are, giving glory to God by being all they can be as little hardy flowers even in the midst of decay and frost all around them. May I be like them-- doing all I can to give glory to God by living, as well as I can, a life of beauty, even in the frosty weather that life so often presents. Lord God, give us all such grace.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Birthday to my daughter!!! We had such a fun time last night celebrating Anne's 22nd (Good grief!!) birthday. Happy Birthday T. (you know what it stands for:-) We are all so proud of you. May the Lord bless you in every way. Love you lots!!

(My youngest took this interesting picture of the lit birthday cake from above. I thought it would be a wasted picture. Shows how much I know. Very little!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lay flat to dry.

Does anybody do this? When washing instructions say "lay flat to dry" do you lay it flat to dry?

The only way I have ever done it is on a thick beach towel folded over so the table underneath does not get wet and even then I have to fold the sleeves on top of the body of the sweater. Usually I just hang them on a hanger in the bathroom, but I have wondered if I'm stretching them out by so doing or in any way shortening the life of the item. I have only laid flat to dry the most fragile-seeming and treasured of my tops. (Believe me there aren't very many that fit that category and none right now:-)

Am I missing some simple and effective way to lay a sweater flat to dry? Does anybody really think it's necessary?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad

Today would have been my parents' 55th wedding anniversary if they were alive. It is also the first anniversary since my father's passing. So....if they are both in heaven, it is the first time in probably 15 years or so that they are celebrating their anniversary together with my mother cognizant.
They are the couple above on the left. (I have posted this picture before.) My paternal grandmother is on the right.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!! In Christ, we have the victory!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Victory for John!!!

Guess what???

My son John has won a concerto competition at EMU!! I must say, I have heard John play in many competitions. Sometimes he's played really well and sometimes not his best. On Sunday he knocked their socks off!! When I saw him later at home I just said, "John, you rock!!" It was fabulous. I guess when he was watching football all day on Saturday and told me he didn't really need to practice any more, he was right!!

This means in February he will play the concerto movement (by Prokofiev) with the EMU Symphony. He's never played with a symphony before, of course. It will be a wonderful experience for him and we are all so happy and proud!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Prayer Request!

Please pray for a friend of mine, Kathleen, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She is the mother of two and a really sweet woman who cares a lot about others. The chemo is making her pretty tired and now she's getting a cold. Please pray that she will recover completely from the cold and be able to stay well.

And, of course, please pray that she will be completely and permanently healed of cancer. Could you pray too that she will receive all the graces the Lord wants to give her through this cross? And that she and her family will be filled with His peace.

Thank you!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Images of Halloween

It was a fun night of delighting neighbors and indulging children.

Everybody all ready to go get that candy....

And, in my opinion, the most original costume of the evening-- Mary as a juice box!!!! Complete with attached straw and nutrition fact on the side. She made it herself.

Cruella Deville with her unsuspecting puppy. Too cute!!!

Zack and his little sister as a "little fat pig." Too cute.

Liz, working hard on hers... And then the final product.

And how about this "Go Irish" pumpkin, pattern courtesy of Mary O. Thanks, Mary. I love it!!