Monday, December 31, 2012

And Then It Was Christmas....

Marisa helping grandma make fudge.. 

Wow, Time has blown past me the last couple of weeks. I have a few things to share, but I'll do that later. It will give me something to write about over the next week or so. For now I want to talk about Christmas. 

Marisa and grandma

It was great this year to have our only granddaughter come and help me make fudge. We plan on making a few things this winter. One of my Cousins sent me a Baklava recipe years ago. We are going to tackle it  sometime this winter in between her classes and job.
 I hope we can work it in before graduation. That is the plan before graduation we WILL make baklava. 

Our Lisa with her first grandson and our first great grandchild Aydin

Our biggest Joy this Christmas was having our dinner/present opening with almost every family member this year. We only had one grandson, Jon, missing. He is saving his vacation time for when his sister graduates this summer. I can't wait to see him. His absence was felt. 
We had our Susan's boys too. That was great having them here with the rest of the family. 
All of us at one time. That doesn't happen often now that the older ones are off living on their own.  

Grandson Tim Celebrating his 18th birthday at our Christmas party. 

The Day was great. Lots of Eating, laughing, story telling, and eating, with present opening and eating. 
The most awesome ice cream cake ever (Baskin Robbins) was brought out to Celebrate Tim's 18th birthday. He ate a ginormous piece. LOL  It was great. We have lots of December Birthdays. Lisa, Bryan, Tim, and other assorted relatives. We all celebrated and it was grand. 

This photo was taken when I was putting up the decorations... 

This one was taken after Christmas. 

and well, as you can see it pretty much looked the same when I started to take them down 
and pack them away. (yes it's the same photo) 

All that preparation for one big huge day. Then it's over. I don't mind saying that after all that getting ready, I really would like to have Christmas last a few days. Like maybe a week long extravaganza. 
Hmmm then again maybe not. 
 I have all the decorations packed up and put away. I bought some cool new Christmas stuff at the after Christmas sales. I'm packing that up today. 

It's New years Eve and I'm having friends over for dinner. I'll be starting to ribs soon. It's time to think about the past year and the New year that lies ahead. I have received some sad news about a family member and a dear friend who will be facing this New Year with Cancer diagnosis and all that entails. I'm already praying. I have again been reminded that the Baby Jesus, whose birth we just celebrated was the same one that made blind men see, lame men walk, and the dead rise. I'm putting my trust in His perfect will for these precious ones. Christmas came again. I love that it is born again each year in my heart. I hope it is in yours also. The time of Miracles is not past. The same God who gave the first and the best gift still desires to give us more. 
I look forward to beginning a New Year with all it's unknowns with the One who knows all. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Day Of Great Loss...

Today was a quiet day. A reflecting day. I was preparing to attend a memorial Service for a friend from our VFW auxiliary. I was participating in the Auxiliary memorial Service. It was an honor to remember her and her long life of unselfish giving to all those she met, especially our Veterans. 

Before I left to attend the memorial I heard something about a school shooting and my heart sank. I thought "not another one". I went on to the memorial. 

When I returned home it was all over the news. I sat in shock as I heard it. 26 people were dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School -- 20 of them children. I still can not wrap my mind around it. 

As I sit here now. The tears will not stop. My "mother's heart" is breaking. I don't know any of the families, but I feel like those children were mine. I've prayed and will continue to pray for those families and all those who were touched by that horrible tragedy today. someone posted a prayer that Max Lucado wrote today. It says what my heart feels. You can find it here. 

I wondered how I could pray for those families, then I knew in my heart  what God has shown me. When we can't find the words to voice our prayers, God hears our heart's deepest cry. He hears our groans of pain. His word says He counts each tear. We know He heals our broken hearts. He gives us strength to go on. He Heals our physical and emotional wounds. He gives us Comfort in the way only He can. God is big enough to Trust even when we don't understand. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Family Recipes Make Wonderful Holiday Memories...

Uncle Ralph and Aunt Ellen Pennala Christmas 1990

Today granddaughter Marisa and I are going to make some Candy and cookies for Christmas. I love to make an assortment of goodies to share with family and friends. I also like to keep a few tasties on hand in case we have company. Every great cup of coffee or hot chocolate needs a cookie. 

I got out the recipe box and started perusing for my favorites. I take requests from the grandkids too. As I looked through those worn and yellowed recipe cards I am reminded of so many memories of cooking or eating these same recipes with family and friends. Each recipe whether scribbled on a piece of paper or typed neatly on a beautiful recipe card is so very special. 

Food has always been a connector for me. Just like photographs, those recipes take me back to a time and place where the family shared food and fun. I loved to sit and listen to the stories remembered and retold around the kitchen table. 

Many of those same family members are no longer here to share those memories, stories, laughter, and food, but oh a trip through my recipe box brings those dear ones back to me once again. 

I'm going to share a recipe from my Aunt Ellen Pennala or "grandma Pennala" as some of you will remember her. I can look at this picture and hear her laughter, See her smile, and feel her wonderful soft face. There was always a hug waiting for us in those arms. Truly a women who loved her Savior Jesus and her family with her whole heart. 

I remember Christmas at her house. The adults sat at the large kitchen table. the kids at smaller tables out in the "breezeway" type room that held the piano. I think all us kids pounded on that old piano and sang away. 
Wonderful food was shared. Did I tell you how I can still hear her calling my name and I can still feel those arms hug me tight. 

Today I'm remembering Auntie Ellen and sharing one of her recipes with you. I hope you will try it. Share it with your family and friends. Make sure you Laugh, hug, and tell some stories. It's the best way to make heart memories with those you love.... 

Oatmeal Cookies
Ellen Regina Narhi Pennala

1-cup Shortening
1/2- cup Butter (the real stuff) 
1- cup brown sugar
1- cup white sugar
3- eggs beaten
1-teaspoon salt
1- teaspoon baking soda
1-teaspoon cinnamon
1/2-cup milk
2-cups all purpose flour
4-cups Oatmeal
1-teaspoon Vanilla

preheat oven 350 degrees

** the directions are mine, Aunt Ellen didn't give me any directions 
except to mix it all up and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or till lightly brown. 

Cream the shortening, butter, and sugars together well. 
then add the beaten eggs.
Mix well. 
add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. 
drop by teaspoonful onto well greased cookie sheet. 
** you can use spray like Pam
flatten with a fork
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until lightly brown
cool for a couple of minutes on the pan, then remove to a rack to finish cooling. 

Enjoy with a nice big glass of milk..