Winter Solstice

Here in Maine we have had ‘winter’ for a while now. Negative degree days, snow, wind, and some ice. We have had the driveway plowed twice. We are so excited to have snow. Last year we hardly had any and it wasn’t even that cold. It didn’t seem like winter.

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Yesterday, for Solstice I wanted to make the day special. In the past we haven’t really celebrated the Solstice. Saw it on the calendar and recognized it but not a proper celebration. This year I tried to make it a special day. We went cross country skiing. Well, the girls did. I snow shoe. This year the girls signed up for a youth ski club and wanted to get out on the snow before the lessons started so they would feel comfortable. They did great. I was very surprised at how well they did.

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For this shortest day we had the most incredible blue sky and it was in the 30’s. A beautiful day to be outside.

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We made cookies later. Couldn’t finish them but we found out that the cookies we made the day before which were shortbread cookies were a traditional cookie for the Solstice. We thought that was pretty cool.

We made a fire in the wood stove and used an oak log with some greenery. The girls loved to sparks and snaps that makes. We kept the doors open in the wood stove so we could feel like it was an open fire. Lots of smoke got out but it was worth it. It aired out pretty quickly. Only a few days now before Christmas. I expect I will not come back to this blog until after the holidays. I hope you have wonderful days ahead and a Happy 2017!

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Squash Stew and the Weekly Menu

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I made the most amazing squash stew last week. My picture is a bit grainy. Sorry about that. The stew was also extremely easy to make. The first time I made it was for an elderly client. The soups she had were spicy and she didn’t like them. She had onions, garlic, and a butternut squash. That is all I used in her stew. She doesn’t drink milk and didn’t have any chicken broth on hand. Both those ingredients I used in the one I made for my family. Here is the Recipe.

Large butternut squash

Two to three onions

A couple cloves of garlic

4 cups of chicken broth

One cup of cream

Salt and pepper

Peel squash, cut up into hunks. Dice onions and garlic. Saute all veggies in a pot with butter or oil. Add salt and pepper. When onions are translucent add chicken broth. If the veggies are not covered add a little water. Boil until squash is soft. Mash squash right in the pot. Add cream. Stir and taste. Add more salt and pepper as needed. Serve with crusty bread and a little paprika. Yum!

And here is my weekly menu. Feel free to use some of my meal ideas and share some of your own if you will. Thanks!

Monday:  Jambalaya  

Tuesday: Noodles Romanoff

Wednesday: Whole Chicken, red potatoes and broccoli

Thursday: Pork chops, sweet potatoes with onions and green beans

Friday:  Bean and cheese quesadillas with sour cream and avocado

Saturday: Goulash

Sunday: Merry Christmas Ham and Feast

Have a great week!

 

On the Surface

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Beautiful pictures. Beautiful family. I do feel that way, and it is true. Blogs are great for that. Telling you how it is, on the surface. Not many blogs tell you what it is really like. What the day to day is like. Some blogs will occasionally let something in here and there. Maybe someone was rude to a neighbor or some child is dragging his or her feet about a chore or something. Those are not real struggles. Not real family dynamics at play.

No one wants to put their real life out there for all to read. I don’t want to either. We all like to make it look blissful and wonderful. Most of us know that isn’t really true but we all want to believe it. Who doesn’t like to scroll down and look at happy, beautiful things and people?

I am not going to go into detail about our family and the troubles it has. For the most part we are a happy, content, beautiful family. We have problems and try and deal with them as best as we can. We are together. We love. We care for each other.

For the last few years two of my sons have been struggling with the whole growing up thing. I don’t remember things being so hard when I was in my twenties but really I was thrown into responsibility because I was a mother at 22. I chose to be responsible because of the child I was carrying inside of me. It did change me. For the better. I like to think I would have changed and became responsible and happy without a child but I will never know that now.

Two adult men well into their twenties have been making some very poor life choices. As a mother I am looking to myself and how we raised them for answers. I am very confused and sad and frustrated. I cannot for the life of me figure out the why of it. I love them. I was a stay at home mom. I homeschooled them. We spent loads of time with them. Camping, hiking, games, read to them for hours at a time. Open conversations, long discussions. Nothing and no one ever came before them. Not even my husband. We were not wealthy. They didn’t get all the latest and greatest toys or education and they never asked us for them. We lived in the country. They had pets. They were happy, well adjusted children. Went on to high school and did very well. Both received full scholarships to college. They continue to be close to us and each other. There was no death, divorce, or abuse. We loved them. None of these things equate to a ‘perfect’ child. There is no ‘recipe’ for raising happy, well adjusted kids. I never expected perfect children. I knew I wasn’t perfect. I never expected they would grow up to be unhappy.

So there is the truth of it here at this blog. I know we are a normal family. We have problems. We are working on them. I will continue to support and love my family. I will continue to show you parts of my life. I may at times show you a little more than what is just on the surface.

 

Inside

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It has been very cold lately and it snowed here all day. It is beautiful and I am so happy to have snow on the ground. I hope to go snowshoeing tomorrow and take some pictures of all the white. But today we have been staying inside where it is cozy and warm.

I am happy about getting this blog settled in its new place. It was so much easier than I thought it would be. I can’t say I enjoyed talking to the lady at Hostgator. She was very rude and actually laughed at me. I did have a lot of questions, but I have been paying them all year and I guess I figured I deserved to be given some time. I guess she didn’t think that way. Glad I am done with them.  So far, things have been easy and working with WordPress.com is very clean and understandable.

I made Brussel sprouts the other night. They came out so good. I used to eat them as a child and hated them. They would be frozen or come out of a can. Eww! Then I decided to serve them fresh to my family and would roast them with salt and pepper and olive oil. The family ate them but I never got a great response. Then I cooked them in a crock with the lid on and generously salted and peppered them. Sprinkled a bit of oil and baked at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. My family raved over them. They love them that way. I asked what was wrong with the other kind and they said that roasting them made some of the skins hard. I love it when they are honest with me. Constructive criticism is a good thing.

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Before Thanksgiving I made some lard. I explain how to render lard here. I used small mason jars rather than large ones. I found out the hard way the lard is very hard to get to when it is deep in a jar. The jars I used this time are 16 oz jars and that is exactly what I need for my pie recipe.

Here is my weekly menu. Hope it helps you decide what to make. I always love different ideas. I would love to hear your ideas!

Monday:  Honey Garlic Chicken with thai veggies and rice

Tuesday: Squash soup and crackers or bread

Wednesday: Homemade mac and cheese with side of broccoli

Thursday: Taco night

Friday:  Potluck in afternoon, leftovers at night

Saturday: Chuck roast with homemade cream of mushroom soup and mashed potatoes and carrots

Sunday: Chicken Soup and crusty bread

Have a great week!

 

 

 

Testing…

I am very confused about all this blogging stuff. I tried to cancel my host service and I can’t unless I go on their website. I will. I asked how I would move to a free one, and gullible me was surprised when they wouldn’t help me.

I noticed all my content from WordPress.org is on WordPress.com as well. I am testing to see if I can add content from the WordPress.com site. It would be so wonderful if all I had to do was cancel my host service and still blog on WordPress.com. Kind of find it hard to believe it  would be that easy, but cross our fingers.

I’ll let you know.

Photo Op Our Way

Quick post – The photo I picked for my card! Also a funny one. It was really hard to get everyone to smile at the same time. Or stop making funny faces. Or stop complaining. Hard to believe three out of the five are adults.

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The next picture has only 4 of them because he was ready to quit. Thankfully he came back in time for the good picture. I keep thinking back when we tried to take the three oldest boys to Sears for a photo. Crazy!

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I am thinking of moving the blog to a free hosting site. I have paid for this last year and I don’t see any differences other than I have much more spam than I ever did with blogspot. I will be in and out while I figure it all out. I know my look and theme will be different. Good timing for a new year anyway but I hope all my content will move over easily.

Thanks for reading!