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Posts Tagged With: cousins

Random 5 Friday ~ Christmas treats, traditions and “41”

It’s Friday and you know what that means ~ it’s time for my Random 5 Friday!  Ready?  Let’s go!

1 )  Christmas Treats: Made my first round of Christmas treats last weekend.  Background:  I bake & make Christmas treats in “rounds” to give Hubbs his “due” ~ it’s a strategy that seems to work because he gets his fill and if I make enough “rounds,” I end up with some treats left to share with others.  Case in point:  just the other night, he exclaimed, “No more fudge till Christmas!” (( Like I’m-a-gonna do this all again on Christmas Eve?  … um No!))   But I ran into a quandary I hadn’t foreseen.  See, we gave away our larger freezer a few years back so I don’t have an easy storage spot.   I put on my thinking cap and …. Bingo! Problem solved:

Chocolate covered peanuts hidden in the crisper ~ He’ll never look there!  (( Shhh don’t tell ))

2 )  Holiday traditions:  When we moved to Hubb’s home state of Michigan 18 years ago it was his idea to throw a Christmas party and bring the extended family together.  His eyes would mist over recalling the big family gatherings of his childhood.  So, we started a small family party in our home that soon grew to a hall; we continued to host it annually for a dozen years or so; others in the family took it on for a few years and now, younger cousins have the lead.   Regardless who hosts or plans, the workload to do it, during the busiest time of the year, is never  insignificant.  There are menus to plan, details to organize, a hall to book, decorations to buy or recycle, addresses to update, invitations to share and more.  Just like in life, there’s always someone quick to point out what was missed or what wasn’t done. (Those same ones typically contribute nothing).  Regardless of the snark, the tradition continues and the family comes together.  Dishes are made involving 4 important Holiday food groups:  cheese, chocolate, BBQ sauce and cool-whip.  Little kid cousins get re-acquainted and run around together, red-faced and sweaty in their Christmas outfits,  elders tell stories and for a while everyone slows down and lingers in the moment.   And that’s what it’s all about, Charlie Brown!

Christmas time is here! An Emjayandthem (C) photo

3 ) Community: Stopped at my local (tiny) grocery store last night and, in the baking aisle, shared a conversation with Ray, the older stock boy man.  Maybe it’s because I’m not from here and still long for a sense of community, I always make time to chat with him.  I know he walks his dog in the mornings, before work, that he lost his wife years ago and alternates between tears and smiles when he speaks of her, and that his daughter makes him cookies all year-long.   This is my small neighborhood store, not a big box chain.  They don’t stock everything and yes, you pay a little more sometimes.  But I like that bath soap isn’t 2 miles from the butter.  And I love that the checkout clerks know me and I know them.  In line to pay, I let a lady with a just a few items go ahead of me. She thanked me then  commented, “I really like this store, it’s so calm here.”  I smiled and I got it.     And it hit me right then that perhaps my little community has manifested itself right before my very eyes.

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”
Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

4 )  Family Photos:   When our boys were little, it was easy to seat one on our laps and stand the other next to us for a family portrait.   But now that everyone is older and there’s far more of us, family pictures are harder to come by.  I enjoy the perfectly posed portraits on friends’ Facebook pages — the coordinating plaid, hair bows and Holly,  littlest ones in Santa hats, bow ties, Christmas dresses, black patent leather shoes and white stockings.  Somehow I know if we tried this today, we’d end up with something like this:

Truth!

5) Passing of a Giant – Like many of you, I watched the coverage of President George H.W. Bush’s funeral with rapt and tearful attention. It was stately. Poignant. Emotional.  Respectful. Moving.  Epic.  So many moments, such long, long days for the family.  So many tributes to his character, life and legacy.  This picture though …

Together again

Your turn:

  • Do you also hide holiday treats?
  • Are there any Christmas traditions you’d like to share with us?
  • Where do you get a sense of community from?
  • Does your family take annual holiday photos?
  • And .. did you watch?
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Categories: Animals, Attitude, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Growth, Holidays, Home, Humor, Life, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Seasons, Snarky, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Quiet the mind and the soul will speak

It’s been some time since I’ve written and I’m sorry about that.  I don’t like to write just to have something to post.  I also don’t always want to talk just to talk.  Sometimes … I just need quiet.

My job is so busy right now – and while I am not complaining, it takes effort to carve time out for me.  Work is all encompassing – meetings bleed into evenings, projects spill into weekends, and boundaries shrink as more is piled on and more is expected.   Still – I accept invitations to get out the door and off to someplace new.  I don’t mind travel through poor cell coverage areas (yay quiet!) and I relish hours in the car by myself.

The world seems so loud these days ~ we still have a land line and callers tend to be Telemarketers, Automated surveys, Charities I’ve never heard of .. and older relatives.

I realized the other day that sadly I no longer have the excitement about the phone that I enjoyed as a girl.

See, at our farm, we had a party line hanging in the kitchen and when that phone rang we kids raced to answer it.  Maybe it was Grandma calling to invite us all for cake & coffee on Sunday afternoon.  It could have been Mrs. Prentice calling for an upcoming 4-H meeting I was to attend. Often, it was my cousin giving me a quick call as she saddled up her pony J. Jay and headed my way  – “meet you in the middle!” we’d yell.  Our farms sat about 2 1/2 miles apart – with fields and hills and trees in between.  We’d race up, sweaty and breathless, and ride together back to one farm or the other (or Grandma’s).  Sometimes we’d turn our faces and braids to the north and head to the river valley, talking and dreaming and laughing all the while.  Other times we’d turn south and follow the canal trails down to the lake, jumping our ponies over puddles and logs like the Equestriennes we thought we were.

the best view is from the back of a horse!

the best view is from the back of a horse!

Sometimes a phone call was an older sister’s new beau –against our giggles she’d take the phone as far as the cord would go – and away from prying ears of snoopy siblings.

telephone_yellow

That harvest yellow farm phone was our lifeline: Phones brought wonderful, happy news – “back to bed, the bus won’t start,” “your cousins are coming for two weeks after your birthday!”, “You’ve been accepted to summer camp!” “So and so’s birthday party is at the rink this year and then a sleepover for all you kids!”

Phones also brought somber news – a car accident, a diagnosis, a funeral to attend or cook for or both – and sometimes calls were on behalf yet another dumb teenager stuck at the beach and a request for Dad to come and help.

I can still recite my parents’ number and, even with Mom gone, I’ve called it since.  Her harvest yellow phone is now gone, too.

In the quiet ~ it’s the memories that remain.

****

Does the world seem noisier to you these days?  How do you manage the noise in your life? Do you still have a land line? Who calls you?

quiet-the-mind-soul-will-speak-life-quotes-sayings-pictures

 

 

 

 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Faith, Family, Fun, Growth, Home, Life, Mom, Opinion, Personal, Rants, Technology, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Memories of Masterpiece

Winter has arrived in Michigan – we’re on our 3rd day of heavy snow – yesterday was swirly, twirly snow spinning down and around and to the ground.  Today snow is falling quickly, like rain. It’s cold and beautiful and slippery!

“It’s a good day for a house,” Mom used to say.   Yes indeed.

Hubbs is making omelettes and I’m wrapping presents.  Christmas tunes play on the radio.  We’re cozy, tucked in and content.

Reminiscing last night about the Christmases of our childhood, Hubbs and I laughed at how our parents always bought us board games.  Well 1), because we asked for them but 2) setting up the board and figuring out the rules kept us all occupied for hours.  In my home our dining room table often had a board game set there on a rather permanent basis – Monopoly,  Clue, Masterpiece, just to name a few.

My oldest sister was the keeper of the rules and my youngest brother was the one most likely to bend them.  Oldest brother sometimes played and sometimes he didn’t – by my middle sister and I were fierce competitors.  The real fun started when our cousins and aunts/uncles arrived.  Kids games were quickly  moved to a back bedroom as the adults took over for Cribbage, Rummy, 7 card stud and Whist.

Hubby and I remember smokey clouds above the card table and counter tops covered in nuts, treats and ingredients for various adult beverages – Caesars,  Harvey Wall-bangers and Rum/Rye and Coke.  Nobody over did it, Bing and Dean played on the record player and sometimes they danced.  Ladies wore dresses and pearls, slingback heels and peep toe shoes.  Gentlemen sported dress slacks and buttoned-down shirts, jackets and sometimes a tie or a sweater.   I remember Dad grinning as he took Mom for a twirl around the kitchen before guests arrived – I watched in my Church dress and white tights.  Those moments stay close even though they’re both gone.

Coca-Cola was a hot commodity, too – that was a treat we rarely got.  At Christmas time Dad would buy a few cases of pop to keep in the basement (ever cold) and if we were good – and only IF – we might get to split a glass of pop with a sister or cousin.  Ooh what a treat.

Sipping on a glass of Ginger Ale, stealing Aunt Irene’s famous peanut-butter balls and winning at Masterpiece  — now that’s a Christmas vacation I can only dream about today.

parker_brothers_masterpiece_auction_art_game_board_box_lid

Forgery!! – A favorite from my childhood

**When you think back to Christmases of your childhood – what comes to mind?  Did you play board games or card games in your family?Which ones? What tastes and smells take you back to the Christmases of your dreams?

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Fun, Gratitude, Holidays, Joy, Life, music, Personal, Random, Relationships, Romance, Seasons, Thoughts, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Random 5 Friday – Cancelled Subscriptions

It’s Friday – whew!  The past 3 weeks have been a blur but I’m home now (smile) and have the day off today (big smiles!).

1. The birds are chirping,  the sun is shining and coffee tasted especially good in my happy place this morning:

MJ's happy place (An Emjayandthem (C) photo)

MJ’s happy place (An Emjayandthem (C) photo)

2.  Had an appointment yesterday to have a spot on my forehead looked at lopped off.  The freezing hurt more than the biopsy. But, Skin Cancer has already made itself at home in my fair-skinned family and I’m not taking  any chances.  That little old(er)lady with the big floppy hat?  Yep, that’s me!

berry nice hat

3. Speaking of fruit, only two weeks till our Michigan cherries are ready!  I remember the summer that Mom and Dad took us (5) kids to visit our cousins in British Columbia.  The drive, through the Canadian Rockies and the Lower Okanagan Valley, took us right through orchard country.  Mom bought several cases of sweet Cherries and put them in the back window of the Oldsmobile where 5 Hooligans promptly took turns swiping them. Gulping them down secretly, thinking no one would know, would never suspect our cherry stained faces or fingers. Suffice it to say the road trip was delayed by frequent stops and stomach aches.  As an adult, my cherry-stained fingers take me right back to that summer. 🙂

Can't wait!

Can’t wait!

4.  Tomorrow we’re treating my Father-in-law to brunch.  We’ll be joined by our boys and grands.  4 Generations gathered together over French Toast, Ham and eggs.  Multiple conversations, laughs, abundant cuteness and love.  Can’t ask for more.  ❤

Fathers_day_Special

5. Read this quote and it reminded me to cancel a few subscriptions and continue to seek out battery chargers!

“Let go of the people who dull your shine, poison your spirit, and bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.”  – Steve Maraboli 

rocking horse warrior

Rock on, Warriors!  Google.images.com

And how was your week?  What summertime fruit takes you back to your childhood?   What subscription do you need to cancel?

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Faith, Family, Food, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Love, Men, News, Opinion, Personal, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

First friends

Growing up, I was lucky to have so many cousins.

I had fun cousins.  Older cousins, bigger cousins.

Girl cousins and boy cousins. Near and far cousins.

Cousins that I knew well, others not as much, but when we got together, we were a rowdy bunch.

We went sledding and skating, played “duck-duck-goose,” built forts, staged plays and played…. hard.

We could play anywhere – in basements, barns and bedrooms.

Our mothers kicked us outside so we kicked the can, played tag in the barnyard, ran around and came back breathless and red-faced to share the kids table, practice our choir songs, tease, laugh and cheer each other on.

So I get it.

I get it how a herd of kids at a family gathering – related through various branches of the same tree – can meet up again and immediately friendships are formed.

Hands are held.

Toys are shared.

Secrets are whispered.

Hugs are given and love is in the room.

Cousins Sam, Olivia, Ayden and Mylee; an emjayandthem(C) photo

Cousins Sam, Olivia, Ayden and Mylee; an emjayandthem(C) photo

At Christmas, cousins are the presents under the tree.”~ Karen Decourcey

Did you grow up with cousins? Do you remember the ‘kids table?’

related:  Thank you for being a friend

Categories: Attitude, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Holidays, Home, Joy, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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Connie Rosser Riddle

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Nancy Roman

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I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

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RICH RIPLEY

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Connie Rosser Riddle

Connecting with people in my path

Atypical 60

A Typical Blog. A Typical Woman. A Typical Take On Life. With An Atypical Twist!

A New Day Dawns

Arise, shine, for your light has come...Isaiah 60

Virginia Views

Country Living for Beginners

Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

Kate's views on life edited by three opinionated cats

Renee Johnson Writes

Novelist, Traveler, and More

Life Is A Journey... Not A Guided Tour

My Journey From Merchant Mariner to Mother, And Spiritual Being.

notquiteold

Nancy Roman

She's A Maineiac

just another plaid-wearin' java-sippin' girl

The View Out Here

A view in pictures, from me to you

I also live on a farm

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

music, poetry, musings, photography and philosophy from a woman who found her way back home and wants you to come over for a hike and a cocktail.

these days of mine

Stop in and see what's happening during these days of mine

Grace and Life

Looking for grace notes in life's journey...

When I Ride...

How life coaches me as I ride...

RICH RIPLEY

EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS...