Sunday, November 18, 2012

~Taking the Time ~ with my husband's old childhood friend.

We were enjoying the beauty of a November Fall day this Saturday.  The air was crisp and still some color abound on the trees.

About two years ago, my husband built a shelter  in the back yard which he had planned to use for cooking out over the open fire and maybe get in some  sleeping out under the stars .
As most of you know, we get ideas and they do not always follow through as we wish.  

This weekend an old childhood friend of my husbands came and spent four days with us. They were in Boy Scouts together and both and gone into the Marines after graduating from school.  My husband thought this would be a good opportunity to take the old Boy Scout memories and share them with  his friend.  And he  decided to cook chili out over an open fire.

They were dressed warmly with layers of clothes and hot coffee.  Blaine prepared the fire to cook the  chili . This gave them the time to sit and chat and enjoy the time together.

He wanted the fire hot so he would have some hot coals in which to cook.

Now the coals were nice and hot. And ready to put the cast iron pot over them .

      Now just have to sit back and wait  until the chili cooks.

They are all settled in in front of the nice warm fire, with the delicious aroma filling the air.  I had a friend in Virginia e-mail me and said they could smell it all the way down there. lol  So began their talks together about the old days of camping in their youth. And some of the dishes they cooked over the fire. Some good and some disastrous.

I sat outside with them for a while. Of course I was wearing layers and layers of clothes. But it was worth it to enjoy the pretty day and knowing I did not have to make lunch for them that day. It was being taken care of.!

As you can see we have a large wood pile near the fire. I am hoping this means there will be more meals cooked outside over the fire!  As long as we do not get heavy snow. Not counting on getting that many more meals, but it is a nice thought.  A lot of friends have shown an interest in coming over and sharing an over the fire cooked meal with us.

The chili is boiling and awwwwww smelling so good. Tummies are starting to grumble and growl.  Can't wait for it to get done.  We even had a Buzzard fly over us, guess he could smell it. He was circling around over our heads, but I could not get a good picture of him.

After a while, Blaine checked the chili with a spoon and gave us the proud announcement that  it was done and time to eat.!! yahoo!!!

  Yup it is ready to be taken off the fire and into the house to eat.  We would have eaten it outside, but the coldness prevented  us for taking it that far.

He made some homemade cornbread muffins from scratch. These were made in the house in the oven. Using the cast iron muffin pan for the first time. They turned out well.

Oh my, I am getting hungry just posting these pictures.!!!

The "Boys" each ate two big helpings! Believe it or not we had enough for at least 6 more large servings!  

We not only enjoyed the meal that was prepared but the time for them to share the memories. We live about 2 1/2 hours away now. But they find time to get together through out the year. And always enjoying the time with each other.

This is what life should be about....~Taking the Time~ to remember the good memories with those you shared them with. It is not always possible because of certain circumstances. But if you cannot share the memories in person, do it in thought and heart.   

Have a wonderful upcoming week.  Thanksgiving will be upon us in a few days. My daughter Jill and her family will be coming down on Wednesday night to spend the Holiday weekend with us. Our oldest daughter will be traveling to Kentucky to visit in-laws.  Hopefully at Christmas time we can all be together.
How will you be spending your holidays?

hugs , Eileen                           

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Black Butterflies

In May I had written of my personal experience of the passing of my infant son and  how a black butterfly had come to us about a month after his passing. It has been 39 years ago and the Black Butterfly still comes to us every May. This was the month that our son was born and he passed away 5 weeks later. We have also had the experience of a Black Butterfly on the sudden passing of a niece and a orange Butterfly when my Mother passed away.

I have received many responds from other people who too have been visited by a butterfly on the loss of a loved one. It makes my heart feel good to know that we are all bound in some way, by our grieving experience and the Butterfly.

So without any more words, I am going to share some more pictures I had taken in September, as my husband and I were sitting out on our deck one afternoon. Two Black Butterflies came to the Hummingbird feeder and stayed for hours , much to our delight . And continuing the peace of knowing they are still with us.



May there always be a Butterfly or another meaningful way to let you know that your loved ones are always with you. It may be shown in different ways. For us it has been the Black Butterfly.  Our granddaughters now will tell us when they see a butterfly.  

Even though the season for  the  Butterflies is over for this year. We will be looking forward to next May, when they will appear again.

My heartfelt thoughts are with all of you, who have had the lost of a very special family member.  May your heart be comforted in some way with the knowing of their presence .

Hugs, Eileen                          

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Celebrating A Friend's birthday with a special meal.

                         ~Taking The Time~ to celebrate a Special Friend's Birthday at my home.

Bonnie and I have known each other since Junior High.  We found out about 20 plus years ago that we lived on the roads behind each other. We have become very close through the years. Being there for each other during hard times, family times and just being true great friends.!  I was so busy making the meal this morning, that I did not put lipstick on, guess I needed that glass of wine to give me some color. And I was a little tired, trying to get everything ready by 12pm! 

We usually go out to eat at a restaurant on our birthdays. But this year I decided to have her here and make a homemade meal for her.  It has been quite cool outside now that Fall has arrived. So figured I would make a hot meal, have a fire on and stay cozy.  Plus a glass of red wine, helped with the coldness. :-)

We usually give each other a small "Thinking of you " gift. The mums on the table are one of her gifts.  I also gave her a Friendship candle holder.

I wrote something on this package about having childhood memories of long ago. She is smiling as she is reading it so that is a plus .  

   The gift was Magnetic Paper Dolls!!  Something we played with long ago before Barbies and American Girl Dolls!  She was so excited with this gift. A step back in time of happy memories is always good.  I had found these in a catalog and thought I would get them for her. I had also ordered a few more to give to some other senior friends. She wanted to play with the Magnetic Dolls right away. But after cooking all morning, I was hungry. So we decided to put it on hold and ~Take the Time~ another day.! :-)

I decided to make a hot meal for the type of day that it was. So I found a recipe in the new Southern Living Magazine that I had just received in the mail.  The menu I choose to make was:  Chicken and Cornbread Dumplings served with Strawberry Salad.

I started some of the preparations the night before to save me time in the morning. Everything would be going into the crockpot. It took some time to cut up the vegetables, I have a new Food Processor on my counter that would  have been so much easier to use. Instead I did the old fashion way of hand slicing every thing.

                                           Chicken and Cornbread Dumplings
                                                           (makes 8 servings)

3 skinned, bone -in chicken breasts ( about 1 1/2 lbs.)
6 skinned and boned chicken thighs (about 1 lb.)
1 tsp. salt.
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

2 cans (103/4-oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
1 (32-oz) container chicken broth

1/2 lb. carrots sliced

1/2 lb. Parsnips sliced

 4 celery ribs sliced
1 sweet  onion chopped


1. Prepare Chicken:
Rub chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Place breasts in a 6-qt. slow cooker; top with thighs.  Add carrots and next 3 ingredients.  Whisk together soup and broth until smooth. Pour soup mixture over vegetables.  Cover and cook on High 3 1/2 hours or until chicken shreds easily with a fork.  Bone and shred chicken.  Stir chicken into soup-and -vegetable mixture.  Cover and cook on High 1 hour or until boiling.

2. Cornbread Dumplings


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flower
1/2 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter, melted


1/4 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp.chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2. Meanwhile:
Prepare Dumplings. Whisk together flour and next 3 ingredients.  Make a well in center of mixture  add milk , butter, thyme, and parsley to dry ingredients., gently stirring just until moistened.

3. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls into simmering chicken mixture, leaving about 1/4 inch space between dumplings.  Cover and cook on High 30 to 35 minutes or until dumplings have doubled in size. 


Than I made a Strawberry Salad to serve with the hot meal.  This also was in the Southern Living magazine.

                                                                Strawberry Salad

1 (16 oz) package fresh baby spinach
2 cups  quartered strawberries
1 1/4 cups crumbled feta cheese.
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup bottled vinaigrette
1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds. ( I used walnuts)
Makes 8 servings.

Toss all ingredients together and chill until ready to use.                                  

We really enjoyed both dishes. Bonnie went home with a copy of both recipes.  They are both something I would make again.
I have this tendency to make some type of new recipe when  we have company. Never trying it before the company comes. I have been fortunate to have made the right  choices .  Hope I can keep doing that. I am sure there will come a day when my experiments will not tickle someone's fancy. 

Now the dessert. This is my own recipe of putting some ingredients together. Started off by making a 3-2-1 cake.  This recipe was given to me by another school friend. It is so simple and just love making it. 

                                                                    3-2-1- Cake
All you need is a box of Angel Food cake mix and another box of any other flavor that you like. Mix the two boxes of mix in a large plastic sealer bag.
A coffee cup, perferably one with a wider base.
1 Tablespoon

You take out 3 tablespoons of the mixed cake mix. Put it in your coffee cup.  Add 2 tablespoons of water.  Mix together and put in the microwave for 1 minute.  Give a few minutes to cool. Than take out of cup.  Than you can use it for however you wish.  Some just like it with a cup of tea or coffee and not add anything to it.  It is a great idea for children to make their own miniature cake. It is so simple and who would have thought this would work.

Anyhow, the two mixes I made were Angel Food and Spice Cake mix.  I had some apples, so I chopped them up real small, added some cinnamon and cooked them until slightly soft.

     Took individual vanilla pudding cups to use in the parfait dessert I was going to make with the spice cake and cooked apples.     I put one of the small cakes on the bottom of the dessert dish. Than put some of the cooked chopped apples on top of the cake.  Next used half a cup of the pudding. Than did another layer in the same order.

And this is the dessert I came up with.  We had it later with a cup of coffee.

The day turned out well. And even though it was a cold cloudy day, we had the warmth of our lunch and our friendship to share.

Hope everyone has a good week. And  ~Take
The Time~ to share a special occasion with a dear friend.
Whether it be an old friend or a new friend.  "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold."