Monday, August 31, 2020

A Birthday Dinner and a New Cookbook

It's hard to believe this is the last day of August.  Where did summer go???

My sweet daughter, Lori, had a birthday last Friday, August 28th.  She and her hubby had dinner plans that evening, so we celebrated with her yesterday.  I got out the family birthday plate that I've had for many years.

When she lived at home her favorite birthday dinner was Chicken Parmesan, so that's what I made for her yesterday.  Only with a new twist...  I've heard about brining chicken on the Food Channel but I've never tried it.  My hubby and I mostly eat chicken and fish these days, and many times I've noticed baked chicken was dry and tough.  So I decided to give brining a try.  4 c. warm water to 1/4 c. Kosher salt, plus any other seasonings you want.  I added garlic powder and black pepper. I poured that over the boneless chicken breasts in a lidded container, and put it in the refrigerator. Directions said to brine up to six hours, so I put it in the frig just before we left for church.  I have to tell you it was fork tender and very moist.  I'll definitely be brining again!

We had cheesy potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh fruit salad, rolls and peach iced tea to go with the parmesan chicken.

[Lori and Dave]

When Lori was home [and many years afterwards] her favorite cake was the chocolate mound cake that I blogged about before.  But she also likes the Cassata Cake [or Cannoli cake as it's sometimes called] from our favorite local Italian bakery.  So I ordered that this year.  I made it one year for Christmas Eve, but the recipe wasn't nearly as good as Tringali's.

Happy Birthday, Lori!  Here's to many more years.  Our family is so grateful for your life and all the joy you bring us!

I love cookbooks.  Almost an entire wall in our spare bedroom has a bookshelf containing hundred of cookbooks I've collected over the years.  I definitely don't need anymore, especially with recipes readily available on the Internet, so I have curtailed my collecting considerably, but every once in a while a new cookbook calls my name!

My hubby and I really enjoy the music of the Collingsworth Family.  They're a dad, mom, and four grown children [three are married], who travel the country [and world] giving gospel music concerts.  They sing the hymns I grew up with which have been replaced by contemporary music. That's why I believe their family is in such great demand by people older than millennials and younger age groups.  Even though their children are millennials, they still appreciate hymns.  Kim, the mom, is a talented pianist, two of the girls play the violin, and Phil, the dad, plays the trumpet.  They're all incredibly talented and have performed at the White House.

I knew they had a new Family Favorites cookbook, so I decided to order it and it arrived last Saturday.  I haven't had a chance to make anything from it yet, but I'm looking forward to sitting down with it over a cup of tea to browse its pages.

Another thing that endeared them to my heart was a couple of weeks ago [Aug. 19th] Kim posted on their Facebook page Brooklyn's 31st birthday [their oldest daughter].  Know where they celebrated?  At a tearoom!  They're from West Milton, Ohio [about 70 miles from Cincinnati] so the tearoom is probably in that vicinity.  I had to share the pics Kim posted.

Kim's introducing her granddaughter, Emma, to the pleasures of tea at a young age.  I love it!  Happy Birthday, Brooklyn!  Thank you for blessing so many with your beautiful music ministry.  

Want to hear some great gospel music?  Google Collingsworth family and watch them on Youtube.  You'll be glad you did!

Will sign off now.  I'm going to reheat leftovers from Lori's birthday dinner for son, Steve, who's coming for lunch.  He wasn't available to come for dinner last night.

Enjoy this last day of August!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Two More Grands Visit and A Recipe

I'm always interested in new easy recipes for my family, and I recently found one for barbequed chicken using Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce.  You can even use frozen chicken if you forget to take it out of the freezer in time to thaw.

Recipe:  4-6 chicken breasts [I used boneless]
                1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's sauce [I used 18 oz.]
                1/4 cup vinegar
                1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
                1/4 cup brown sugar
                1 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix everything but chicken.  Place chicken in crock pot.  Pour sauce mixture over chicken.
Cook on low 4-6 hours.   

It's delicious!  The first night we ate the chicken breasts straight from the crock pot, but the leftovers literally broke into pieces when I transferred them from the crock pot to a refrigerator container. That's when I realized they'd make wonderful pulled barbecued chicken sandwiches.  In fact, we liked them even better that way, served with a dollop of coleslaw on top.

I fixed them for dinner when grandson, Landon, came for his annual back-to-school shopping this week.  Both Jerry and Landon gave them a thumbs up!

Landon was thrilled with his new Nike backpack and school supplies.  He has a Youtube channel of his own.  He educated me while he was here and said it's called a 'Vlog'.  Instead of writing and posting pictures like I do on my blog, he posts videos.  My grandkids can run circles around me when it comes to modern technology!

While he was enthusiastically videoing his new school acquisitions, and demonstrating all the pockets in his backpack, I took his picture to post on my 'old fashioned' blog.  ;-)

He brought his scooter to occupy some of his time.

After dinner we took him to a local dairy bar we used to take his dad to when he was Landon's age. Leason's has an old-fashioned jukebox inside that the kids always have fun with.  Unfortunately, the dining area is closed right now due to COVID-19, and we could only order ice cream through a walk-up window.

When Landon went home it was Ellie's turn to come.  She too brought her scooter to ride.  

She excitedly Face-timed her mom on Papa Jerry's i-phone to show her all the new school supplies she got.   Their school district is opening after Labor Day with a hybrid schedule - two days in the classroom and three days virtual.  Will life ever return to the way it was before COVID-19?

We took Ellie to a nearby Dairy Queen for her ice cream treat.  We were able to go inside to order with a set number of customers allowed inside at one time, but we had to go outside to eat.

Since she's younger than Izzy and Landon, she still enjoys one-on-one time, so last night we played several rounds of Old Maid cards and the Cootie Game - I played both games when I was a child, so they've been around a long time.  When I was taking all the parts of the Cootie game out of the box I found a note Izzy wrote us back in 2014 when she was Ellie's age.  It brought a lump to my throat to realize how quickly time has passed.

Ellie went home this morning, and the house seems very quiet and empty now.  I'm glad they were all able to come for a visit.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Life After the Western Trip

Life never stands still.  We've been busy ever since we returned home from our western trip.

Izzy came for her annual back to school shopping with Papa Jerry, and Landon is coming later today for his turn.  Visits are shorter this year since things to do are limited due to COVID-19.  No swimming at the Warren Pool and no movies at the theater.  But we found a fun alternative by going to Ray's Ice Cream shop in Clawson last night after dinner.  I haven't been there in a couple of years and had my taste buds set on their delicious pistachio ice cream, but there was a problem getting pistachios, so no pistachio ice cream last night.  Bummer!  Butter Pecan was a good fill-in.

The quaint soda fountain counter is empty due to COVID-19.  Everybody eats their ice cream outside these days.

Brooke is at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois - but we're not sure for how long.  There's talk of suspending in-person classes and the students returning home.  The picture below was her first day of classes [Aug. 17th] to begin her freshman year.  Isn't she cute?  She celebrated her 18th birthday [Aug. 20th] at Olivet and her new friends threw a surprise party for her.

This is her dorm room.  She worked so hard to make it comfy and cozy.  It'll be a shame if she has to dismantle it and bring everything back home again.

Izzy came to spend a couple of days with her before she left for Olivet.  This photo was taken on Sunday [Aug. 9th] when we all went out to dinner together after church.

My aunt - the only remaining sibling of my mother's - turned 93 yesterday.  [My mother passed away two months shy of her 93rd birthday in 2014.  There was a six year age difference between them].  My cousins posted these pictures of my aunt yesterday.

In March they moved her into a nice senior independent living apartment, and a few days afterwards the COVID-19 quarantine took effect.  She was isolated from her children and friends, and had no opportunity to make new ones at her new apartment.  She hated it and asked to go back to her house.  My cousins had upgrades made to her house to make it safer for her and moved her back.  As you can see in the picture she's very happy to be home again.

A week after we got home from our trip, one of her daughters invited us to dinner where my aunt and her three children were all present.  It was a very fun evening.  My cousin knows I'm into tea so she went to a tea shop near her home and bought some loose-leaf tea for our gathering.  My aunt is a big tea drinker too.

They packaged their tea in vials which I thought was very interesting.  My cousin chose Lemon Ginger Snap green tea which was very good.

These were the cute favors at our place settings.

My aunt with her three remaining children.  Cindy, on the left, was the hostess.

One of Cindy's dogs took a liking to Jerry.  ;-)

My granddaughter, Tiffany, recently posted this picture of her and Evie while they were vacationing.

And below is a recent pic of their adorable "Hallmark" house - as I refer to it.  I think it should be in a Hallmark movie.  ;-)

Progress on our new church building continues.  In the meantime, we're worshipping in an open air tent to help lessen the fears of COVID-19.  It's different, but God isn't confined to a brick and mortar building.  It reminds me of special revivals and camp meetings that used to be held in tents when I was a kid.  [Really dating myself here! ;-)]

Jeremy and Samantha went to a friend's wedding over the weekend that was held in an open tent too.  Our way of doing things has definitely changed since COVID-19, hasn't it?

Samantha, and I went to a bridal shower for the girl next door on Aug. 16th.  [Sorry, no pictures.] It was very different too.  Because of COVID the banquet facility imposed many restrictions including no games, and the bride wasn't allowed to open any of her gifts while there. Basically we ate and visited with those at our table and went home.  The bride's mother said the banquet facility's rationale was games and gift opening are "party" activities, and indoor parties for 10 or more are forbidden right now.   But where there's a will, there's a way. ;-)  Everybody got a prize and favor to take home despite the COVID rules. 

In between the events and activities I've just written about, I've resumed scanning and editing old photos for more Shutterfly albums.  I have an orientation at The Whitney on Sept. 8th and the restaurant reopens after its lengthy COVID shutdown on Sept. 9th, so I'm trying to get as many photos done as possible.  I took over 60 negatives to the photo lab yesterday to be printed.

Now that I've brought you up-to-date on what I've been doing, how have you been spending your summer?

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Pontooning and Tubing on the Missouri River

The grandkids had fun every day of the trip, but day #14 - our last vacation day before heading home - was their absolute favorite.  Jeremy rented a pontoon boat and took the family on the Missouri River for a fun day of tubing.  Jerry and I enjoyed watching from the  boat.  ;-)

Captain of our pontoon!

Izzy and Landon went first.

~ Samantha and Ellie ~

All three grands.  They tubed for about four hours and loved every minute!

~ Samantha getting some sun ~

Co-captain - Sam took over the wheel for a while.  The kids said the waves she made for them were even better than Jeremy's.

Last campfire of the vacation...

And last game of Bananagrams.

We left the campgrounds at 8:00 a.m. on day #15.  We had clear skies for our 10-hour travel day heading back home.  I may not have had many tea opportunities on the trip, but I smiled as we approached an exit sign for Tea, South Dakota and quickly grabbed my iPhone camera.  What are the odds of finding a town named Tea!  It's a suburb of Sioux Falls.

We entered Iowa around noon and after six hours of travel we crossed the state line into Illinois just after 6:00 p.m.  We spent the night in Joliet, IL near Chicago.

On Saturday morning, Day #16 [August 1st] we had breakfast at Cracker Barrel and were on the road again.  We were in the home stretch now.   We delivered the RV to its owner in Indiana and crossed over the Michigan State line at 4:20 p.m.  To quote Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home!"

The End of the Barkey Western Adventure!

What a great vacation and time spent with family.  The Lord graciously gave us protection and safety the entire trip.

I hope you enjoyed traveling along with us vicariously.