Tuesday, December 30, 2008


It's time for our New Year's Resolutions. I have been thinking about this for a while now. At first I wasn't going to have any "Resolutions" but decided on just a few. Everything else I have on my lists will be more or less "suggestions." I don't like to move out of my comfort zone!
Resolution #1 ~ I purchased a copy of "The One Year Bible." it is not laid out like a regular Bible; for instance, on January 1, you read part of Genesis from the Old Testament, part of Matthew from the New Testament, some verses from Psalms and last something from Proverbs. January 2, same books, different verses. I'll see how I like that. My resolution is to read the entire Bible in one year. If I get behind, I'll have to play "catch-up."
I also bought the "Amplified Bible" which says it captures original Greek and Hebrew meaning. I noticed it does make it more interesting.
Resolution #2 is to try a new recipe at least once a week. I'm going to make my own personal recipe book (binder)and by the end of the year, I hope to have a minimum of 52 recipes that I like and like to make, with a focus on vegetables and main dishes. Oh, and fabulous sandwiches. (grin)
I hope that goes well.
Resolution #3 - I plan to continue looking for out-of-the-ordinary Perennials and keep them growing in the yard.
The rest I am reluctant to post here. It has to do with being more organized, "a place for everything and everything in its place." If I make that a resolution, I think I will set myself up for failure. It's one of my "suggestions." There will be lots more of those. They are fun to think about and put on paper.
You'll notice I didn't mention losing weight. lol

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tom's Birthday

Today is my grandson's 16th birthday. The family drove to Merced to celebrate Tom's birthday with his Dad's family. On the left is Tom and his birthday cake with the 16 candles. Next picture is Tom and his sister eating dinner.
It was a short visit. The party was Saturday night; they drove home the next day after the early church service.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas & New Year's

Christmas is almost over. Carol and I spent Christmas Day with Elsie and her family. We enjoyed it very much and were happy for the invitation.
We both agreed though that Christmas is not our favorite holiday. I'm not sure why.
Is it remembering the pressure to try to make a perfect day for our children? Our children are grown and on their own now, so that shouldn't be it. Are we thinking back to when we were in grammar school and dreaded being asked by our peers what we got for Christmas? It never was very much. Our friends probably just wanted to tell us what they got, but we didn't realize that. Whatever the reason, we are glad when Christmas is over. I was surprised that my granddaughter, Mandy feels the same way.
Maybe we get tired of the commercial hype to buy, buy, buy, which we don't succumb to, by the way.
Pictured is the cover of the 1942 Sears "wish book," one of the catalogs that we enjoyed so much in our youth.

I think my favorite holiday is New Year's. It's a time when you can think about changes you want to make in your life. Write it down on paper and dream how things are going to be in the new year. A time to reinvent yourself. It always reminds me of playing ball and jacks when I was a kid. Someone was always hollering "overs," which kind of irritated me. Just play what you rolled out!
It's always fun though to think about and decide what you want to include in your life and what you'd like to get rid of.
I'm going to start my lists now. They aren't 'resolutions' so no pressure there. Just some thoughtful insights. I'm hoping.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

This afternoon I went to my favorite Mexican restaurant on Childs Avenue, near Parsons in Merced. Mi Casa was closing at 3:00 p.m. today, so I had to go early to get one of my favorite take-out dinners; flour tortilla enchiladas with shredded beef. Delicious!! (I had a very early dinner.)
So, now I will watch my favorite Christmas movie; "The Christmas Story" about the little boy who wanted a BB gun for Christmas. TBS is going to show it ALL DAY tomorrow. I will be at my sister's house for part of the day. So, it will be a nice family holiday tomorrow.
Well, gotta go, my movie is starting!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Family Potluck

Sunday was the Christmas party in Hornitos at my sister-in-law's. My sister Carol went with me. I don't really like to drive through Merced Falls and on to Hornitos by myself, so I was glad for the company.
The Richards and Riise families were well represented. Here is a picture of Kathryn and her great-grandkids. Sorry I don't know how to get the glare off the eyeglasses.
We had a good visit and we all stuffed ourselves with lots of good food. To see more pictures of those present go to this set at flickr. We had a nice gentle rain all afternoon.It was dark driving home, had a detour on G Street and got lost somewhere north of the junior college. Oh well, it was dark, what can I say?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Last Tuesday

Last Tuesday, two of my sisters and I went to Glenn to attend funeral services for our cousin, Rodney Giesbrecht. I can't remember the last time I had seen him. The Glenn Mennonite Church was filled to capacity with people I didn't know. Many were relatives, but I had to be introduced to them. Rodney's sisters came from Idaho, so I hadn't seen them in a long time either. It makes you think back to when you were young and your cousins introduced you to the game of Monopoly. How quickly the years go by.
There was quite a long procession of cars going to the cemetery in Willows, then back again for the meal at the church.
After that I called my daughter who lives in Orland; she teaches at a very small school in the country. She left the school early and came out to the dairy and gave my sisters the story on making cheese. It was getting late by then and we wanted to see the new Mennonite Church West of Willows. Here is a picture of the front entrance. The church sits on a hill with pretty green fields all around. Very nice setting. I was told that Mennonite members have farms in the surrounding area.
Elsie drove us there and back. It makes a long day when you have to get up before 4 a.m. and none of us sleeping good the night before. Why does that always happen when you are going somewhere? But we made it there o.k. in plenty of time and I got home around 9 p.m. Maggie was watching for me at her little cat door as I drove in the garage.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Potluck Season

So, this is the season for potlucks. Again I am using the "Hometown Recipes" book, but am using others' recipes. The Orange Salad Delight on page 19 and the Ribbon Salad on page 20. So, get out your little Winton book and try some of the recipes.
I can't wait to try some of my Dirks cousins' recipes, they are all good cooks!
The other salads I am making don't require a recipe, i.e. carrot raisin salad and macaroni salad.
Here's a picture of the Merced Sun-Star photographer who came out to Rosalie's house when the book was first published. He is trying out one of Avanell's recipes. The Sun-Star printed a full page and a half article. It was great publicity.
I'm not trying to sell the "Hometown Recipes" book, we only have 2 or 3 left to sell. We did a second printing, but will not do another one. So, who knows, someday, it may be a collectible.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What's for Dinner?

Last Sunday, I decided to make the "Chicken In Red Wine, Hunter's Style" which is on page 33 of the "Hometown Recipes" book published by the Winton Historical Society.
Well, o.k.,I contributed that recipe, it's a favorite that I haven't made in years. I searched in the cupboard and found a bottle of red wine with the year 2000 printed on it. My daughter advised me to taste it to be sure it hasn't turned to vinegar. It was the best wine I remembered ever tasting. It's a Zinfandel,made in Sonoma, CA at the Forest Glen Winery. It's probably not a cheap wine, it's too smooth. I had some with my dinner and will have some tomorrow with the beef stew I plan to make. I decided to buy stew meat after I saw the brown and serve sour-dough French bread at the grocery store that my husband used to buy quite often.
The Chicken in red wine was delicious, I cooked spaghetti to go with it. I ate it for 3 days in a row and never tired of it. It must have been the red wine that made it so good. It wasn't exactly "chicken one day and feathers the next" but I don't remember what I had for dinner after that. Sometimes it's tamales from the freezer that I bought from the Mexican restaurant close by.
The week before I made the "German Cabbage Soup" on page 9 of the same recipe book. It's now a favorite recipe too.
Oh, I forgot, I made the "California Vegetable Casserole" on page 87 of the "A+ Recipes" published by the Grace Mennonite School Of Winton.
So, little by little I am getting into the 'cooking from scratch' mode.
Sort of. Like I said before, I only have to please myself.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Whether or Not

It looks like this is going to be a Foggy winter. We've had dense fog already, but lucky for me, I didn't have to go out in it. Not yet anyway. My sister and I have been invited to the Ballico Mennonite Church for the annual Christmas dinner and program that their youth group puts on. We both really enjoyed it last year. It's at night and this year, I'm a bit worried about the fog.
My sister-in-law in Hornitos has a family pot-luck near Christmas time each year, which is a day-time party, but still it can be pretty foggy driving there too.
I've been driving to my daughter's house in Northern California for Christmas the last two years, but this year I may stay home because of the weather. It just isn't safe out there on the roads when the fog is so heavy. And I guess this is the year for it.
My other daughter who lives in Amsterdam writes that it is colder this year than it's been in the past five years since she's lived there. (What happened to global warming, is it still coming?)
She posted a picture showing how dark it is at 7:45 in the morning. See her blog at: http://underdutchskies.com
Cat Doors: I had my nephew install two cat doors about a year ago, one from the utility room into the garage and one from the small garage door to the backyard. Well, Maggie was afraid of the newly installed automatic garage door opener. It just made too much noise and she always ran away from it. I was hoping to put her litter box in the garage, but it's still in my bathroom.
One day I guess I was gone too long. When I left, Maggie was going to take a nap on the bed. When I got home, 4 or 5 hours later, she was outside on the patio!! What a surprise! She finally decided to use the cat doors. She looked so pleased with herself.
Since then she has let herself in and out of the house several times. Now I don't have to worry about going to the door to see if she is getting cold and is waiting to be let in. I know if she wants in bad enough, she will come in on her own. I wonder if she realizes how lucky she is and does she remember her humble beginnings at the animal shelter? I doubt it, she's been living the 'life of Riley' for almost a year and a half now.
Maggie loves to play, here are pictures of her playing with the toy mouse that she can push around and around. It's kind of a "now you see it, now you don't" kind of toy. The top part is a scratching area.
So, if you are wondering what to get your cat for Christmas. . . .lol