Monday, June 20, 2011

BRING ON THE PATRIOTISM


Though I have been super busy with family obligations, I was able to sneak in some creative work. I had some bunny pieces that didn't make the Easter season, so I moved them into the Fourth of July. Who says bunnies aren't patriotic?!
This guy is made of paper pulp, hand-pressed into a chocolate mold, scrapbook paper lollypops and forget-me-not flowers. Crackled and aged to fit in with all your antiques and random splashes of mica flakes for some sparkle.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

FATHER'S DAY AND LESSONS LEARNED

Today was a breezy, sunny, day here in New England. One of the best days of the spring so far and perfect weather to be outdoors enjoying Father's Day.
If your Dads are like mine, you would have most likely heard him say "All I want for Father's Day is peace and quiet!" My brother and I "tried" to fill his request every year, but I'm not sure how successful we were.
Now that my father's health is deteriorating, and he has lost a good portion of his hearing, I wish for the days when we could "annoy" him by interrupting a Red Sox game from our constant running and fighting in the house. Instead, he sleeps, with little knowledge of what goes on around him.
Planning this Father's Day for my husband brought back some of my own childhood memories. Yes, we promised to give him peace and quiet. Yes, we said he could watch the game. No, we did none of those things. LOL
Instead, Julia started the morning by making Jeff breakfast in bed. OK, so I did the scrambled eggs...but she makes some mean toast!



And the afternoon brought a round of miniature golf and go-cart racing. But only after he got to watch the Bruins honored at Fenway Park during the Red Sox game. It's the least we could do. After all, it was "his" day.


I decided to make his favorite food for dinner....Shrimp Creole. It is delish!


Now that I am forced to stay away from spicy foods because of my own health issues, I rarely make anything with much of a kick to it. The smells from the pot cooking were amazing. But I was a good girl. I had chicken. My stomach will thank me later.

What lessons did my father teach me over my 49 years? So many too count but here are a few.
1. Work Hard
Dad worked two jobs his whole life to make sure we had a roof over our heads and food on the table. We did not have an extravagant life, but it was a home full of love.
2. Live with integrity
He is honest to the core.
2. Family comes first
His every decision in life was made solely on how it would effected his wife and kids.
3. Be willing to laugh at yourself.
My Dad got "dressed" on every Halloween to take us kids out Trick or Treating.
He was known to completely humiliate us by picking us up at school in a makeshift "Taxi" hat and ask us for money.
He spent several years playing Santa for the local Catholic Elementary School after my sister "volunteered" him. He grumbled about it, but did it for many years, even after she stopped asking him to.
He would make up the most ridiculous songs...and oh, how I loved them.
4. Shut the lights off when you leave a room.
No explanation needed :)
5. No matter how old you get, you are always his baby.

Happy Father's Day Daddy! Happy Father's Day Jeff. Happy Father's Day to you all.

SHRIMP CREOLE --- Make 10 servings!! Party Size!
Cut ingredients in half if you want to make for the family only.

1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 oz) can chopped tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
2 or 3 bay leaves
5 pounds unpeeled large fresh shrimp
2 (10 z) packages saffron yellow rice mix
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (My photo is missing the parsley....Jeff likes it without. But the parsley add a nice splash of color)

Combine oil and floor in Dutch oven;cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until roux is chocolate colored (about 15 minutes). Stir in 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion and next 4 ingredients; cook 1 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Stir in tomato and next 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Peel shrimp and devein. Add shrimp to tomato mixture. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 mintes or until shrimp turn pink. Remove and discard bay leaves.
Prepare rice mixture to package instruction. Serve shrimp mixture over rice; sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

OLD AGE IS NEVER EASY


Just weeks away from Father's Day, my Dad struggles to keep his strength. His Pulmonary Fibrosis is taking a toll on him and his decline has been fast and furious over the last two weeks. He was lucky enough to have a doctor who was willing to give him an experimental drug that allowed him a few more years to build memories with his family. For those who are familiar with the disease, it often takes hold quickly and life expectancy is short. He has lost so much weight and he sleeps most of the time. His voice, though never "booming", sounds weak at best.
My daughter wanted to take a picture of them together. Children often "sense" things. I think she knew this might be the last picture she had of him. He smiles when he sees her, and she is not afraid to go over and give him a kiss or hug.
She is so happy with her picture. And, though his fragile frame tugs at my heart, I am glad I took the picture for her.