Category Archives: memories

Holiday Hi-jinks

Thanksgiving through Christmas… a time of hi-jinks in some households… Oh wait! That’s MY house!

It all started waaaaaaay back in grade school.

My brother– who is older and wiser- was in the 3rd grade I was in 1st- Back14720441_10205492732676054_2000626829392313656_n then teachers asked kids what they were doing for whatever holiday it was (Easter, St Patty , Thanksgiving…) This particular episode it just happened to be Thanksgiving. His teacher asked the kids to find out what they were having for dinner… all afternoon Stace pestered my mom. Finally she said “Damnit! We’re having hot-dogs, OK???”  – Which definitely was OK, since he loved hot-dogs.  The next day at school the teacher goes around the room… one family is having turkey, another ham, one a roast…. and then she gets to my brother… and he cheerfully states “We are having Hot-dogs” … and she goes on. Not another word was said.

On Thanksgiving, we are all seated around the table, ready to feast and the doorbell rings- My mother answers the door and behold! The PTA is standing there with a Turkey and ALL the trimmings for the poor family that has to have hot-dogs.  To say that my mother was a trifle embarrassed is an understatement.

And if you knew my mom,  being embarrassed was the worst thing that could happen to her. She would have rathered the house burnt to the ground with everything in it, than have one of us shame her.


       Christmas memoriesMy dad hates (with a capital H) chocolate covered cherries.  A fact I didn’t know until I was 20!  When I was but a tot, my mom thought it would be funny to tell me that Daddy looooooooved chocolate covered cherries. She also knew that once I latched onto an idea- I would never let it go. For nearly 20 years I ritualistically bought my dad the dreaded cherries every single Christmas. And he would always dutifully open them and make a great production of eating one ,  andmy-mom-001 then putting them away. I had no idea he absolutely could not stand the until he told me in my 20’s!

Way to go mom! The gift that kept on giving….



My boyz-  One was brains, one was brawn. Their playroom was in the basement. We had 12717707_10203960472890517_6806557131203881872_na storage place under the stairs- one year we hid all their Christmas presents in there. If the Brawn hadn’t acted guilty one day we would never have known they had been playing those presents for nearly a month! The Brain had found the presents and taken them all out of their boxes and had the Brawn flatten the boxes and the lift the toy chest on top of them.  We took them away and told them ‘NO DAMN CHRISTMAS FOR YOU’ and made them watch from their room while we opened ours.. and then they got to come have their’s back!

The following year we threatened them with certain shortening of life  if they pulled that stunt again…. We found a large box and wrapped it in the shiniest paper we could find and wrote The Brains name on it really big…. just for fun… ON Christmas Eve we told them if they even stepped one toe out their doors before we got up… it would be all over.

Not long after midnight we heard the pitter-pat of little feet… and waited.. a few minutes later we heard a loud WOMP! WOMP! WOMP!  Hubby had put one tiny toy in that huge box and weighted it with rocks and wire so if it touched it would flip over.  Startled, the Brain yelled “That’s NOT funny”!! and then laughed all the way back down the hall.

And yes there are plenty more tales!


Merry Christmas ya’all!Christmas memories







Sensible shoes and memories

We went to a good Eye-Tali-an-o wedding last week down in Denver.

All the players were there… “The Don” ,”Cha-Cha”  the wise guys and all the rest. Polyester in abundance right along with chest hair and chains, big hair and high heels.

But what stood out the most, was The Don’s mother-in-law…. In her sensible shoes.sensibleshoes

I was immediately reminded of all the old ladies that used to sit on their stoops and watch kids play in the street. She reminded me of MY grandmother. Never without her sensible shoes.  And all the times she chatted with ‘The Ladies” – Comparing olive oils and pedigrees, transgressions and recipes, children and husbands and so on. All dressed alike- all in sensible shoes.

She reminded me of all the ladies riding the bus to the market in San Francisco- shopping bags tucked neatly into handbags or under their arms, housedresses and sensible shoes for walking.  She reminded me of  garlic and gravy (that’s-a what we call spago sauce) and crusty bread and cannoli.

it ladiesShe reminded me of when we lived in North Carolina and went to a Columbus Day Celebration in downtown Fayetteville.

There standing all her glory on street corner was an elderly Italian lady in her green (the EXACT same shade as the flag!) housedress, matching handbag and jaunty little hat  proudly holding a full size Italian Flag waving gently in the wind. In her sensible shoes….

A toast to The Don’s mother-in-law!


I miss my Grammy and was happy for the memories




A road trip, Espresso and truth in advertising…

Once upon a time in a far off land…. Okay, not so far off, but it sure seemed like it!

Cope, Colorado is 130 East of Denver and 75 miles from ‘anywhere else’.  We used to live there.  Mind you, this is out there in the sandhills, with a population of a hundred. If you wanted an espresso, or French press or any other ‘fancy’ coffee~ you were pretty well out ofespresso cup luck.

One day a huge 1/2 page ad popped up in our bitty local paper…. advertising for the small town 45 miles North…


Holy smokes!!  In the blink of an eye, I was the horn to my friend Shannon. We were both totally twitterpated!  ESPRESSO… here we come. We made plans…

20140614_125827Shann lived 15 miles South of town and were 15 North of town. I bundled my two kiddos into the van (yes.. the “Down by the river” van)  and headed off to pickup Shann and her three kids.  and off we went, backtracking 65 miles up to Yuma only to find out that the “Espresso” they served was that push-button gas station variety.

Talk about heartbreak!  We weighed the options, told the kids to settle in and we headed for

Sterling… another 50+ miles.. to a place we knew without a doubt had “the Real Deal”  Did I mention ‘Da Van had no AIR and it was the middle of summer??

So… 200+ miles and an entire day later, we had our two dollar drinks and the kids had theirs. (back then they were ‘only’ 2.50!)

Lesson learned…. When you live ‘out there’ call and ask first!


Remember that barn down the road???

Remember that post about the barn down the road from us? ( )

I said I would drum up some before pictures and  have…

2013winterbarnI have to thank Lexi, the owners daughter. She shared them with me.



From barn dances to boyfriends,IMG_1379


And weddings and wakes, these silent sentinels have seen it all.












Sunrise to sunset, always a hub of activity.




Memories in every corner.












I am lucky to be able to share these, and they will be added to a coffee table book I am making for the family.

While the barn may be gone, the memories remain and the tales will be told.




Mama’s Ukrainian Lokshyna Recipe

What the heck is Lokshyna??IMG_5019

Lokshyna is a Ukrainian “tasteless” egg noodle casserole. And it’s easy to make! (And cheap.)

All you need is:  1 pkg  egg noodles (cooked)                                      2 eggs -beaten

2 Tbs butter                        1/2 C heavy cream

1/2 tsp salt               (Or Sour cream or milk)

*and whatever you want  that sounds tasty.

Traditional Lokshyna  is just the base recipe with a little  cloves and sometimes 1 C cottage cheese thrown in-

WE happen to LOVE it with some cooked diced bacon (and the fat.. or at least some) and sometimes Ham and onions. It is also good with 1/2 C cheese and some spinach.

~In large bowl -Combine the cooked noodles with melted butter. Add in the eggs, salt and sour cream. Mix well. Pour into a greased cake pan.

You can also make this in a bunt pan. Some of the old timers do this and fill the center with ‘stuff’. Usually something like Deviled Ham or some such craziness.

Also if you melt some butter and mix it with bread crumbs and sprinkle on top before baking, it gives the Lokshyna a crunchy top.

Bake 350 for 45 minutes.  *doubles and triples easily*

shchaslyva yizha

(Happy Eating in Ukrainian)








A little Italian humor…

~  Today on the radio I listened to an interview between well known Italian chef  Gino D’Acampo and a British talk show host… and of course the moment I got in the house I HAD to Google the live event….

In a nut shell~ The host insults the poor man by saying “If you just add ham….” who quickly replies with

if’a my Grand-a-mutha had wheels, she’d’a be a bike-a”  

Can you Hear the cadence and inflection in your head?? I can.

I laughed and laughed.

Because I am half Italian. and I understand. COMPLETELY.


~When we were younger, my brother told my mother that her cooking was “ALMOST as good s Chef-Boy-R-Dee”

My mother went on strike with some gestures and muttering with what we loosely translated to mean  “If we ever wanted another hot meal, we’d damn well better fix it ourselves because we sure the heck-0 weren’t getting it from her.”   (ever)10154406_10200976135483947_550699380467426684_n

I actually have some very funny stories about being Italian… But we’ll save those for a later date! WHY??? Because I will have to run fast when my Mother finds out I put her picture in here! ~


~Ehhh Tu~



L-A-R-D you are a friend of mine!


How do I love thee? Let me list the ways~

Mouthwatering cakes, finger-licking good fried chicken, crispy onion rings….well you get the idea. But I could go on.

Potato Pancakes…. sizzling!

In todays world, most people cringe when you say LARD. “Whaaaaat?? Lard???? That’ll kill you! ”   In the past century some of the greatest recipes called for rendered lard.  Pork. Beef. Chicken. What do you think people used before all these processed oils???

(*ok.. besides the Italians, Greeks and Spanish that had a direct line to God with their olive oils.)

In the years we butcher a pig, we render our own.~ otherwise I suffer with Armour or Morrell  because it’s what we can find locally. Want to know how to render your own lard?? here’s a great link for making your own in the crock pot :

My grandmother made the moistest, richest chocolate cakes with lard. And I have made some incredible Chocolate/Apricot COOKIES with a recipe gleaned from an old boyfriends mom…. It was in  her WW2 era cookbook.1305759103-minimalistic-cookie-monster-pac-man-wallpaper

 Happy cooking!


A Summer to Remember

So my cousin Hannah has come for a month long visit to our farm. She is 9 years old.
At first I was “What am I supposed to DO with a GIRL?” We raised Boys!
~As it turns out, there was nothing to fear.~ We both speak SARCASM fluently.
She was (is) a self admitted “indoor” girl.Fashion-ista
Well- things have changed a smidge.. I am sure her Mama will have a few bad habits to break!
BOOTS go with everything. Hannah has worn her boots more that her sandals and hasn’t even touched tennis shoes yet. 🙂

Cookies for breakfast

Cookies for breakfast

COOKIES for breakfast are ok sometimes.
WALKS  are great for dream making… Hannah wishes to be an Artist or a Fashion Designer… I hope she follows her dreams, where ever they may lead.
Dirt won’t kill you… we have been in the garden daily. she has learned to simply rub things that fall in the dirt on her pants and keep on going…

She can DO ANYTHING. She has learned that with a little perseverance and cussing, all tasks are do-able!  So very proud of her!!

I Can Do it!

I Can Do it!

Coffee nearly BLACK… and a sweet tooth for French Vanilla flavoring.
POLKAand two-step are a must have in the dance repository if you want to be ‘social’ around these parts.

fun in the sun

fun in the sun

   HAY BALES are great fun. So is the quad and the dog. CHICKENS will follow you like the Pied Piper.

Well~ I gotta run. More on our adventures later…. sewing, baking, swimming, dancing and more!   We have MEMORIES  to go make!


My boy and OJ….(Simpson, that is)

DSCN2626 Ahhhhh memories….
I don’t know what me think of it today…
A few years ago, I had run down to Colorado to see my son, The Marine, who was on leave visiting his grandma. He said “I’ll meet you at the airport, Mom  before we each fly out.

He is NOT a morning person. At all.

I was already through security and on the other side waiting….and waiting…and waiting some more.

I finally just got on the train went to my gate. ..He had told me he was on the same airline. Turns out NOT! But I didn’t know that yet. He calls me from the other side of security…
He had JUST arrived!… (kids… sigh)

Holy S*** MOM!!! What do I doooooooo?? I HAVE to get on that plane!

Good Mama that I am,  I immediately find the nearest gate girl, explain that the kidd-o is still in security and his flight is going to leave. SOON. Gate girl is awesome. She calls downstairs, get him a cart to grab him and his gear and bring him directly to the terminal… So I call him back and ask Where is he so they can fetch… Hahahahaha… He’s on another carrier!!!

The fabulous gate girl, still made a few calls and got him through security lickity quick. After that he was on his own.

Me??? I was sulking because I knew  I would not be seeing The Marine before I left.  The two areas of DIA are literally a mile apart.


My plane is starting to board. And suddenly you hear “Hey Damnit” and then “Look out!!!”

and…… Mooooooooommmmmmmmmm!!!! I’m coming!!!!!! WAAIIITTTTTTT!!!!

And lo and behold, here comes my son, in full gear… Duffle on back, bags in hand… doing THE OJ …. leaping over chairs and small kids in a single bound. ( he may have elbowed one two people out of the way too)

My son, The Marine, had RUN the entire length of DIA just to see his Mama off and take a quick picture before SPRINTING all the way back to grab his plane.

I love that kid!


Chickens and Kittens and Calves…Oh mY



How did wanting 4 layers and 1 noisemaker (rooster) turn into 50 chicks and 10 ducks????

I was perfectly ok with buying a few grown layers from the neighbor. But alas, over coffee with the father-in-law…they morphed!

(but he did promise he would help at butchering time)

And Yes…. If I thought for a minute I could add food coloring  to their water and make them change color ~ I WOULD~ 🙂

That being saidOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA… It’s springtime here on the farm… That means lots of little calves, kittens and chicks..

Our cows are mostly Catholic according to hubby… They are trained to line up and stick their tongues out on cue and ‘accept’ their treats. The one , I am sure is boarder line diabetic… she LOVES peppermint and brownies.

And the chicks always make me want to go to another Mike The Headless Chicken Festival! Mike is a true story about a chicken that didn’t die after they tried to butcher it!! No kidding!! he went on to perform at Coney Island, the Santa Monica Pier and more.. it’s really an interesting story.  Click the link and read all about it.mike-the-headless-chicken

The festival is great fun too. They have “Mike parade” where you and your pets have to dress up as “mike’,  fried chicked and all manner of strange fun! The kids still regale their friends with tales about it.



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