A Taste From Heaven

The saying is, “a taste of heaven,” but these cookies are a taste, “from,” heaven.

Even with the trend being the 3 ingredient Peanut Butter cookies there’s only one recipe for me. It’s my Dad’s, hence the, “from,” heaven.

While growing up store bought desserts were rare in our house. Mom worked two jobs, raised five children, kept a spic and span house, sewed some of our clothes, and still every day there was homemade goodies to enjoy. How she did all this became even more a mystery once I became a mom. 

I definitely baked more when our kids were young and at home. These days if I make a homemade pie, it’s a ready to bake pie shell filled with Jello instant pudding, and topped with Dream Whip from a package. Tasty, but homemade might be an exaggeration?

My talent is more cookies or squares. Actually, I only recall making pie crusts a couple times, and breads, those are scary, I leave them to experts like mom.

Dad cooked meals on occasion, and not always one special dish, but when it came to baking, I only remember his “Peanut Butter Cookies.”

The history behind the recipe died with my parents years ago. Was it a cherished one from dad’s childhood? Was it just a stumbled upon one? Maybe it was really one from mom’s side and dad just enjoyed making them? I’ll never know the answer, but at least every time I make these cookies they bring on fond memories.

Dad would be thrilled that I’m sharing this recipe.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Cream Together

• 1/2 Cup Margarine

• 2/3 Cup Brown sugar (not packed)

• 1/3 Cup White sugar

• 1 egg

Then Add

• 1 1/4 Cup Flour

• 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda

• 2/3 Cup Peanut butter

(This recipe also does well doubled.)

Roll into walnut size balls (I use a melon baller) press lightly with fork.

Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes.

A thought came to me while writing this post. I’m going push past the intimidation this winter and make a pie crust and a loaf of bread from scratch. I’ll let you know if they’re eatable.

Do you have a recipe that triggers fond memories?

Do you make the three ingredient, Peanut Butter Cookies?

If you try this recipe let me know what you think.

Who Remembers

Who remembers cameras using film?

Who remembers taking the rolls into a photo shop?

The waiting sometimes a week for it to be developed? The anticipation? The hoping that picture of something special turned out?

Did you ever come home from a holiday and spend hours writing dates and notes on the back of prints? Or, did you put them in albums right away with side-notes?

I love that newer cameras and mobile devices allow you to check a shot before the moment passes, and that dates are recorded automatically. If you have location service turned on even where you are can now be recorded.

Years ago, when Mister and I did our cross Canada retirement trip, we had a digital camera which was a blessing for checking shots. At that time though, location service wasn’t even an option. Every evening I would download that day’s pictures onto my laptop, and we would name them before we would forget. In our defence, when you cover a lot of miles and see numerous highlights in a day, details are quick to blur and mingle.

I’ve pretty much switched to digital albums, because of storage space, but there’s nothing like having a photo album on your lap and flipping pages.

Have you stumbled across prints years later that you wish you would have taken the time to write on the back?

This just happened to me while going through some boxes.

Oh and remember the sleeves of negatives, seldom ever looked at again but too precious to throw away? I still don’t know what to do with them.

Do you get print copies and do photo albums, or just have digital albums?

It Happened Again

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The Daughter spotted this little gem coming home on the school bus 20 years ago. Classic vehicles have always had a place in our hearts, so she could barely wait until Mister got home from work to tell him about the truck she discovered for sale.

It took little persuading to get the family to take a drive after supper that night, and that is how and when, the appropriately named “Blue” joined our family.

The kids and I kept him clean and polished while Mister looked after the mechanical end. A joint effort which resulted in him always running great and looking his best, whether at a Show and Shine, or out on a drive.

One of our favorite trips to take with this guy was the few miles into town for ice cream. Habits and laws changed significantly in the last twenty years. Back then it wasn’t illegal to ride in the box of a truck. So our family of four had different combinations of who was in Blue’s cab and who was in his box, the only constant being Mister always drove. I can manage manual transmissions, but I’m not a big fan.

After the daughter got her license, she asked Mister to teach her how to drive, a standard like Blue. The lesson ended in her frustrated because of the hill we lived on. She spun his tires, popped his clutch, and stalled his motor numerous times before, Blue, made it back up into the shop.

In typical boy fashion, when the son became old enough he mastered Blue’s three in the tree manual with fewer issues.

That’s okay, us girls were quite content being passengers.

When other kids at school wanted limos picking them up from their grade 12 grad supper, our daughter requested, Blue, for her ride home with Mister as the driver.

Over the years, lives got busier, and car show outings became none existent. Sadly, a couple recent summers passed without, Blue, even coming out of the shop.

Last month he made his first trip to our place at the lake, mind you he came by trailer. Having the original straight six engine means he really isn’t ideal for hours on a busy four lane highway at today’s speeds.

Why hadn’t we taken him before? Because we don’t have a garage here.

Why did we bring him this year? Because there was a Show and Shine nearby.

He’s won his share of trophies, and didn’t disappoint, winning “Best Truck” at that outing.

The reason for this post though is because, Blue, went to that show with a “For Sale” sign resting on his seat, and like, General, in my “Heart Of Steel” post he is now sold.

This is a big change for the family, and we will all miss him, but just because he’s not up in the shop anymore doesn’t mean our memories of him will fade.

It’s time for someone else to enjoy this little treasure, and Mister and I felt good about the fellow who bought him.

Of course, there was sadness, but we were also surprised by something else we experienced.

We were reminded of one of Mister’s father’s favorite sayings, and how true it has become, “The more things you own, the more headaches you have.”

To the young or perhaps not retired this may seem exaggerated.

How can just owning something  be a headache or cause stress?

It’s hard to say whether it’s all money related or if a downsizing syndrome has kicked in, but decreasing yearly insurance fees and having less to worry about maintaining has brought us some peace.

So, as emotional as it was to part with first, General, and now, Blue, Mister and I feel it was the right thing for us to do.

Don’t be afraid of a, less is more, lifestyle.

For us the benefits have been similar to what is said about cleaning a cluttered home, and how it gives you a clearer focus and a more restful mind.

Have you downsized and found your stress has lessened?

Heart Of Steel

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His name is, General, and I teared up writing this post. He isn’t a horse, family dog, or a cat. No blood pumps through his veins, oils keep his heart of steel alive. To some, he might be just a heap of metal, but twenty years in our family, means hundreds of memories are attached to this truck.

Our family names their vehicles, and often when we talk of them, it’s like we’re referring to a person. Odd as it may sound, we even find these metal additions have unique quirts which give them personalities.

You know those multi picture frames people use for family photos, Mister has them for vehicles he’s owned since we’ve been together.

We even shared our wedding day with one of our classics. No, actually the customized 1958 Pontiac Parisienne probably starred in more pictures than Mister and I did that day.

General, is one of two we’ve owned the longest. The other is an antique only driven occasionally, whereas for years, General was the work horse. He pulled holiday, horse, or flat-deck trailers and hauled whatever daily life required. He took the family on tons of vacations and road trips, crossing borders and racking up miles, never once leaving us stranded.

He was the grandkids favorite to take for their driving test, labeled the lucky truck by the oldest who passed on her first try.

Mister got a new truck replacing, General, years ago. That’s when his duties and demands became less and less. He was our daughter’s daily driver for a spell and a back-up vehicle for the son from time to time. For about a year now though, he only started when the lawn beneath him needed cutting.

General’s mileage is up there, a couple patches of rust tint his white paint, and he has a few minor hail dints. Yet, his motor purrs, his oils stay level, and his interior shows little wear.

He still has life in him, so the difficult decision to sell him was made.

With our minds made up, Mister and I still seemed to put off advertising him but then I thought to send a niece a message. Her having a family of teens, I thought maybe one of her kid’s friends might need a faithful first vehicle.

It turned out their son needed something reliable to get to and from college.

As sad as it was to part with this truck his story has an interesting twist. The first family trip we took in, General, when he was new was to this young man’s parents wedding.

Him buying, General, made it a tiny bit easier for our family to part with him.

Items of sentimental value don’t have to be expensive heirlooms, jewelry, furniture, etc.

For some it could be a simple ticket stub, or a dried flower, the list is endless.

I believe everyone has a some kind of keepsake which holds a precious memory.

Does aging alter emotional attachment to things like keepsakes?

Does the whole space limited downsizing process change how a person views the importance of keeping items?

My answer is, with age comes wisdom, wisdom brings practicality, practicality has me realizing that the memories will remain with or without the physical object.

Have you been able to part with an item from your past that at one time you thought you could never get rid of?

Into A Whirlwind

IMG_2179Female writer surfaces after recent disappearance into a whirlwind. It was a good and joyous kind of storm, not the kind where her home was re-rooted and yellow brick roads or witches appeared.

The last four days of May literally flew by.

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Could you go to town for a hair cut, dress and shoe shop for 3 hours, wash and dry 2 loads of laundry, as secretary take minutes for a 2 hour condo meeting, cut lawns, weed flowerbeds, get 3 short visits in with friends to explain a coming disappearance, research and book flights and hotel, get travel medical insurance, pack for an international trip, spend 4 hours driving, all before you leave for the airport in 39 hours.

Requirements to accomplish this were simple, eat while moving, keep moving, multitask, and divide less then 10 hours of sleep between two nights.

I’m not complaining though. I enjoyed every minute of hurried preparation for the trip to Las Vegas for our son’s impromptu wedding.

After four years together the son and his girlfriend decided to tie the knot and with Vegas being his favorite place to visit, they chose a destination wedding, the first in our immediate family.

A quaint yet elegant affair at a Fremont Street chapel with Mister and I as witnesses.

The groom was handsome in his tux. The bride was beautiful in her formal gown.

After the ceremony we all walked a section of Fremont Street for their photo-shoot.

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Memories were made as the four of us shared little glitches and unique situations.

The men thinking they were late and rushing from the hotel to the chapel because they thought the ceremony was a half hour earlier then it was.

Myself and the bride walking blocks in 114F carrying our clothes and shoes because the new limo driver didn’t know where to drop us off closer to the chapel.

Mister and I getting on the wrong freeway back to the hotel which ended with us four separated into 3 parties. Resulting in an interesting task of trying to locate each other in a large Vegas hotel without having use of cell phones.

Doing the cake cutting using plastic utensils in our hotel room, and having no plates with ate using the dig in method.

All things we laughed about and will certainly never forget.

We welcome the son’s new bride into the family and hope they have a long and happy life together. If their smiles are any indication, they are off to a great start.

Mine and Mister’s schedule didn’t quiet upon returning from this trip though.

We were home for Thursday and Friday. I did laundry, he did yard-work then we packed a suitcase and left for three days so Mister could help the son work on his truck.

We arrived back home this Monday night, with thoughts that the week will settle. No road trips in the plans, maybe just a trip into town for groceries. Then I realized I left my laptop at the daughter’s, a two hour drive away, each direction. Today had another road trip, but I think our pace will slow some now.

It’s times like this that make life interesting, and we’ll keep enjoying them while we can.

People always ask us if we get bored now that we’re retired. Ah, no.

This was our first trip as spontaneous as this. Would we do it again?

Mister would probably say, no, but I’m sure he would.

As far as me, I prefer not being so rushed, but sure I would do it again, why not?

Are you a spur of the moment traveler, or do you like to plan in advance?

Questions & My Answers

quiz

I was tagged by a fellow blogger to partake in this quiz. I hope my answers shed a hint of light as to what makes me tick. Check out Living Lighter in Atlanta for her answers.

What was your highlights of 2016?

This question seemed easy as three things shot to mind. The accomplishment and pride I felt holding a print copy of my novel, “Signed Love” published in February. Sharing a summer trip to the beloved Oregon coast with my brother and his wife, and of course, Mister’s results showing that his radiation treatment is still keeping the cancer beast at bay. But, 2016, had many highlights. The Great-Granddaughter’s birth. Watching our daughter after surgery a couple years ago finally able to ride horses again. Seeing how much the son enjoys his new Doberman puppy which he has wanted for years. Constructing our new shed which might sound boring, but I love building, these are just a few others. Don’t get me wrong, the year had its share of worries and woes, but with every year I age it seems easier to let the good push aside the bad.

Name one thing you are likely to remember about 2016 if asked in five years time?

Is this a trick question? (Smiley Face) The years pass and blur together more each calendar change so truthfully I have a hard time remembering what happened what year. (Smiley Face again) This is why I journal, make notes and take pictures. I will be interested in the answer to this question myself.

Sum up 2016 in one word.

Short! Time flew.

Name one pearl of wisdom from 2016 that you will carry into 2017.

I can only control my own actions and reactions, not what others think or do.

Do you have any new year resolutions?

For details check out my new-year post My Messengers. I don’t make resolutions for things I want to change. I set broad lifestyle standards to maintain like, be kind and appreciative.

How did you ring in the new year?

Work schedules, driving conditions and other commitments meant we couldn’t be with family, but the cold snowy night didn’t stop our good friends T & E from walking over for an evening of card playing and laughs. At midnight, we were in the middle of a hand, so when completed we paused for the traditional hugs and kisses before continuing playing well into the new year.

What are your goals for 2017?

Stress less and enjoy more. Travel and visit as much as possible. I have so many hobbies and planned projects so I also hope to be productive.

Anyone is welcome to join in, and share your answers or thoughts to the above questions.

I tagged a few bloggers that I enjoy following and look forward to their answers if they wish to take part. Check out their blogs.

threesaherd

ididnthavemyglasseson

backfortyfliers

brokenbarnfarm

The Old Stove

old-stoveThe children had scurried up the basement stairs coughing and wiping their watery eyes.

In the kitchen, I filled a tray with food and cooking supplies. Their clothing reeked of smoke as they passed and before their mouths opened to explain, I knew what had happened and what needed doing.

I hurried down into the landing. With a loud click the deadbolt released and I twisted the door knob. A gust of freezing winter air rushed inside, but I had propped the back door open anyway.

Next, I had trotted downstairs to help Mister, who had been abandoned and could be heard muttering unkind words to the stove he knelt before.

While he had crumpled and put more paper in the fire box I cracked open windows, then began waving whatever was handy and big enough to create a breeze.

Most times, the kids were on my heels and helped with the air clearing efforts.

That was a glimpse from some past Christmas mornings.

You see, we had a grand, old, wood-burning stove in our basement family room. Many times after unwrapping Christmas gifts, Mister would fire it up and make his tasty fried grits, eggs, and potato breakfast. The problem was the above scenario often occurred because the old stove could be temperamental to start a fire in.

If really cold or windy outside, a window needed to be cracked open. Crumpled newspaper and kindling needed to be shoved way back in the fire box, right to the base of the chimney, and we tried to never light the paper when the house furnace was running. Something about its air intake, up-drafts and down-drafts. I don’t know the science of it, I just know, smoke didn’t go up the chimney if you missed any of these steps.

Mister rarely bothered to stand on the couch to open the window, and so breakfast was sometimes delayed.

There was always lots of joking and giggling while we three cleared the room of smoke, and Mister got the fire roaring.

It took awhile to heat the cast-iron top enough to cook on, and the chilly room also had to be warmed from having windows and the door open, but soon the cooking began.

These mornings hold fond memories for our family.

Last year, we hosted the Christmas sleepover at the lake for our daughter her husband and their fur child and the son and his girlfriend. This year, the son and his girlfriend hosted, so Mister and I slept at their house.

Before we could leave our place in the morning we had to dig out from under about a foot of fresh overnight snow. That and road conditions delayed our day, but we made it to their place safe and sound.

After a simple Christmas eve supper, the son drove us around the city to look at Christmas lights.

Christmas morning after a joint effort the turkey and ham were put in the oven to cook. Then Mister made one of his grits and egg breakfasts, but because he used the electric range, it was smoke free.

Living only minutes away, our daughter and her husband didn’t sleepover but they came for the afternoon, the feast, and the gift exchange. We enjoyed another wonderful get-together. Little can beat a day like that.

One thing was missing.

Since Mister and I moved three hours from the city where the oldest daughter and family live it seems harder for them to visit.

As children grow, marry and start families, Christmas and other special occasions are when having a blended family becomes difficult. It means an extra set of parents, plus in-laws, etc. to spread time between, so we couldn’t catch up with them this year.

We understand their spare time is limited, and their life’s are busy and full with other family.

We make the trip and attend functions they invite us to, but we miss spending time with them.

We hope they know they are always in our thoughts and hearts though.

Apron of Memories

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This apron is how I bake with the kids now that they’re grown and no longer living at home. It’s made from scraps left over from things I sewed them when they were young.

Whenever I wear it I think of them.

This is what I accomplished today. It really doesn’t look like it should have taken all day but it did. With the way my morning started though I’m just glad they are eatable.

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Never Too Old

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I doubt, I’ll ever be too old to wonder if my parents would be proud of me and us as a family. Whether they’re still here, on earth, or not doesn’t matter. We shared a closeness, and even though gone for decades, they remain in my thoughts and I still miss them every day.

Family bonds meant the world to my parents and I’ve followed their belief.

I’m sure, when they look down on us siblings and our families it pleases them, and they smile because we still get together.

With today’s world of social media, I think our mother would have enjoyed the ease of sharing pictures and keeping up with family members. I’m sure computers would have intimidated and frustrated her, but I bet she would have kept up with a few simpler sites and tasks. Dad, I can’t imagine doing more than maybe playing games and googling from time to time. Mister’s parents, I doubt would have had interest in internet technology.

As parents, we wish for our children’s safety, health, happiness and hope they find love. For people to treat them with kindness and respect and for them to treat others the same. For family to get along and be there for each other.

Stature and possessions are accomplishments but more importantly pride should cover how one handles life, and people.

Enjoy family and friends while they are alive, don’t wait until they pass to appreciate them.

As an adult do you still think about whether your parents are proud of your actions and choices?