Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Thankful Tuesday

I have a feeling many of us will be otherwise occupied on Thursday, so I decided this week will be Thankful Tuesday. 

I am thankful that we had very prolific tomato plants this summer. I can't can on my glass stovetop but I did freeze gallon bags of whole, cored tomatoes that I am cooking into pasta sauce. 

I drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of my pot and add diced onion. You can add garlic, but we like just onion. 

I sprinkle with lots of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, extra basil and oregano. 

I heat to boiling, then let simmer for an hour or two, occasionally mushing them with my potato masher. 

Here is tonight's offering with some ground beef over ravioli. 

Right now I am trying to cook down a bag a week since I need to clear space in the freezer. Today I was able to put my holiday supply of Christmas Tree ice cream bars in, but we are hoping to get a beef quarter in January and I need the space. 

Here is a comforter that I ordered a few months ago. I actually ordered a twin size and a full/queen. They are heavy comforters, but I didn't like the way they look in the room. I washed them, put them in a closet and forgot about them. Until I needed Christmas decorations.  

I am thankful we have enough warm blankets and when I found them, I decided they needed to go to someone else. My daughter contacted a social worker who is moving a homeless shelter family with two boys into an apartment and is passing them along. I am thankful for the social worker, a home for the comforters and so happy that these boys will have a home for Christmas. 

I am thankful for the time I can spend with my grandchildren.  Many of my friends think we are crazy to be full-time daycare providers for the grandchildren (and sometimes I do wonder about us, too), but the youngest had some solo days this past week and helped me bake. 

He was very happy to help make brownies from scratch.  Who knew you didn't need a box!

The next day we made apple breakfast bread and he was very good at mixing. 

Next year the next to the youngest will enter all day kindergarten and the youngest will attend preschool from 8:30 to 2:30 four days a week. And the year after he will attend all day kindergarten in another town. Our daycare time has gone by so quickly. 

I am thankful for the bounty of food and family we will enjoy this year for Thanksgiving. And I am thankful we have the resources to provide this. 

One of my favorite Thanksgiving stories was when I went back to work when our five kids were in elementary school.  I could not afford Thanksgiving groceries until I got paid on Wednesday. I left work at 4:30 and went straight to the bank. Then I went and bought everything for the meal the next day, including a frozen turkey that I knew I would be thawing in the bathtub all night. The store was the normal madhouse you would expect and when I got back to my car, it turned out that customers had started a new row and I was trapped in a triple parked lane with a row ahead of me and a row behind me.  And there I sat with a frozen turkey to be thawed, 10 pound bag of potatoes to be peeled, 5 loaves of bread to be diced with a bag of onions and a bunch of celery, cans of green beans and mushroom soup and pumpkin pie filling.  Waiting for someone to move a car.  And waiting.  And waiting.

I am thankful I have the funds to shop ahead. 

I have mentioned before that I am on a board that assists clients with financial challenges. This really gives me an opportunity to appreciate all my blessings.  I had a particular client this week that needs a few prayers for her health and some doors to open for some assistance to put her and her family back on their feet.  Even with the improving economy, many families are struggling with working enough hours with health challenges and childcare challenges, retired families with a limited income and other circumstances that are unplanned and expensive. 

I am thankful our community and businesses work together to try to assist those in need. 

Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone! 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Thankful Thursday

I decided I needed to post more often, so here is a try from my phone while sitting in my office.  

I also decided I need to be more thankful!

I am thankful for my volunteer job and thankful for the businesses and individuals that make it possible.  One day a week I sit in my office, accept walk-in applications and interview clients who are facing financial difficulties with paying for housing and utilities.  

I am thankful that the street project in front of the office is nearing completion.  Today I had to walk 2 blocks, turn left and walk two blocks, cross the street and walk 6 blocks to the building because they are filling on lane in front of the building's driveway with 14" of asphalt.

I am thankful that my friend is handling her second round of breast cancer with such positivity, determination and spunk. She is a member of a literary guild and volunteered to host a vintage tea party this week. She is the Victorian woman on the left. The woman in the vest is her sister who is a breast cancer survivor.

Okay, adding a photo was a challenge. 

I am thankful that at this point in our lives we have too much food in our freezer. My grocery money went to the preschool can drive. 

I am thankful the health situation of a family member seems less critical than first thought. 

I'm thankful my grandchildren are happy and healthy.

 That's probably enough for now and I have convinced myself to return to posting from my laptop. Have a great weekend. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

My Charcuterie Cups

Well, we survived voting day. Our county had over 49% of registered voters cast a vote and at my precinct we averaged 1 voter every 1.5 minutes. I want to thank Mr. Merry who answered my 911 call when I was 12 hours in and brought me some ugly comfortable shoes to replace my cutie girl boots. 

We do a "pot-luck" which means try to grab some food when you can. I decided individual cups would work well. We set up extra tables near our stations to set our food and drink on so that we did not mix with anything official.  I found the cups on Amazon.

Here was the tray. I made 15 cups for our 12 workers. Three people raved about them. Two others grabbed one and I brought the rest home where my family fought over them. 

And here we are all sparkly to watch the Taylor Swift movie at the drive-in.  It was so much fun! 

My grandson stayed home with grampa.  And - the drive-in sold light up rings at the concession stand! 

A bonus picture.  Grampa and Mimi at the Nursery School Trunk or Treat. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Nothing Special

 Just another Saturday.  Mr Merry was busy all day with his rakes and leaf blowers loading up the truck for the compost pile. My dead flowers in the hanging baskets made the cut, as did the last of the tomato plants.  

I don't know if I shared the story of the truck, but when he retired he used his work truck for his twice a month, May-Nov, trips to the compost pile. 

One memorable weekend, the truck conked out at the compost pile and had to come home on a flatbed trailer. When unloading it, I took a look UNDER the truck and it looked like rusty lace!  I forbid him to get it fixed again (if that was even possible). Somehow this morphed into a brand new truck, complete with everything his work truck never had, with air conditioning, upholstered seats (do they even make vinyl seats anymore?), automatic transmission, back up camera, dual temperature controls. . .  On a truck that goes to the compost pile twice a month.  I've told myself he worked very hard, mostly outdoors, on the railroad for almost 40 years and he deserves it.  Sometimes I tell myself that. 

So - ignore that paragraph because I just wanted to share the power of a smile. 

I was out foolishly wasting money today and stopped at a store. I was smiling because I was reminding myself how lucky I am that I have the money to foolishly waste on trivial items that make me happy.  A woman older than me was unloading her car and I offered to take her cart back.  She smiled back and we talked for a while and she gave me a big wave and said "Have a Happy Thanksgiving, too". 

This made me smile bigger just as I was passing a tired looking young mom with a baby and toddler in her cart.  She saw my big smile and gave me a big smile back. I swear she walked taller, too.  I let someone pass in front of me and they smiled and waved.  

It really does brighten your own day when you smile at others.  

What trivial items was I buying? I hope they are cute enough to show you, but my plan is to make charcuterie cups for my fellow election workers on Tuesday. I think they will be easy to snack on and other people won't be fingering all the food. Of course I had to have special cups and cute skewers and individual food bags to package each one in addition to special foods and garnishes. The hardest item to find without leaving our small town was individually packaged plain crackers.  Dollar Tree had one package of 6, but I need at least a dozen.  So much more expensive elsewhere, but I guess I am set.  

I also picked up gingerbread houses for the youngest seven grandkids so everyone can have their own at a decorating party. 

Have a good weekend.  I need to dress up in my sequins because I am going to the drive in to see the Taylor Swift concert! And - we are going to drive THE truck because three of us can sit on the front seat. So I guess it was a wise purchase after all. 

Miss Merry