family life · Uncategorized

Every Recipe has a Story


Obligatory autumnal picture for a Thanksgiving recipe. I’m not Pioneer Woman, and sadly do not have a picture of my casserole.

Last week, my sister-in-law texted me for this recipe. It’s been part of most of my Thanksgivings, and when menu planning comes up, someone usually asks me to make it…including a mistake.

Let me explain. Way back in ’99 when I graduated from high school, I bought a recipe book and began jotting down favorite recipes from Mom’s collection. Somehow or other, when I copied this one, I was negligent to separate topping ingredients from the casserole ingredients! I suppose I assumed I would remember, but I didn’t, and one year I added an extra cup of sugar to the casserole. I was a huge favorite with my sisters-in-law that year.

So here, for posterity, is my mother’s Sweet Potato Casserole recipe.

(Also because I’m certain sure I’ll someday wish I had a digital copy….)

3c cooked & mashed sweet potatoes
1c sugar (+ 1c brown sugar if you want to replicate my now-legendary mistake)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla

1c brown sugar (do not omit even if you’ve added 2c sugars to the casserole)
1/3c melted butter
1c flour
1c chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375. In a mixing bowl, combine sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, butter, eggs, & vanilla. Mix well and spoon into a lightly greased 2qt casserole.

In a smaller bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, pecans, & melted butter, mixing well. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture in the casserole dish.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

No one will blame you if you eat this for breakfast the next morning. At least, I won’t. 😉


What he sees…

What we see:


What he sees:

"The Man from Snowy RIver" 1982 film. Thank you Google Images!
“The Man from Snowy River” 1982 film.
          (Thank you Google Images!)

Trooper is in training for our area Equestrian Special Olympics. Less than a month to go! We can’t wait!

(for Mom, who showed me this movie when I was little and really made me want a mountain horse. Never mind that there’s no landscape like that anywhere NEAR where I grew up:)

my thoughts on the subject · Uncategorized

Rest in Peace


“Daniel” went to his Heavenly home recently.

More than likely he died in the adult mental institution where he’s been for the past two years. Possibly in a “laying room,” the same four walls around him day in, day out. Very little interaction.

It’s not his fault. It’s not really even his country’s fault. They were under the Soviet thumb for so long, and their own recovery has not been the easiest. In fact, they’re being invaded again.

How could they possibly have the medical care for their neediest that, say, we do here in the US?

And we? Why do we stand by and let the little ones languish in institutions if we had the means, ability, and love to help them?

And what do we do in our own country to help our neediest? Our disabled? The ones born “different.”

Do we offer them a smile?

Do we encourage them to be the best they can be?

Or do we suggest that their parents have a moral imperative to abort them?

To terminate their lives while their very hearts are beating? For what? That they will be spared a life that’s different–or that we will be spared having to “deal” with them.

The latter, me thinks.

While we as a culture entertain such thoughts, we enlightened wealthy Westerners, no finger of blame can we point at anyone for Daniel living and dying bedridden, age 7, unable to walk on his own or even raise his head.


For Daniel’s sake. For the sake of all of them.

Give them a chance to really live.

Rest in peace, my Ukrainian sweetheart. I prayed for you every day. I rejoice you are now at peace and rest, whole and well at last.


Does This Count?

I’m 718 words into Chapter 8, which isn’t as grand a start as I’ve had on some of the others, but then, it’s been a crazy two weeks around here.  Every morning I get an alert on my phone reminding me to write at least 160 words, thinking I should be able to accomplish that. Some days yes, most times the opportunity escapes or my morning quiet is needed for other pursuits. Yesterday, for instance, I was hampered by two of my girlies being up early, and as our computer is also our television, they couldn’t fathom why I’d want to stare at a white screen with black letters on it when I could be watching Thomas the Tank Engine.

Instead I’ve also begun work on a lesser item of importance that begins to occupy my thoughts around this time every year: THE CHRISTMAS LETTER. About four years ago I got sick of writing the usual stuff. I didn’t want to write anything that made my kids seem like the paragons of their age group and since my husband and I are pretty much the same year in and out, it was like “as for the two of us, he’s still with Z Company and I’m still homeschooling and we’re still loving it and each other and our hobbies and etc.” Boring. So I started jazzing it up by one year doing a Christmas Alphabet and the next three something in rhyme. Last year I did a spoof on “The Christmas Song” and this year I’m rewriting “O Christmas Tree” as seen from my point of view: “O Christmas Tree, Our Christmas Tree / We hope you last the season.”

The problem with doing this is that I feel obliged to do it every year. Just when I get fed up and feel like doing what everyone else does and put a card in an envelope and mail it, I hear from someone who liked last year’s offering and they say they can’t wait for this year’s. Drat. My vanity is flattered. So I sit down and try and think up something. Ok, so secretly I do enjoy it and I do enjoy sending Christmas cards. But I attest that it is harder for me to write a little verse for a card than it is to write a novel. I am not a poet, yet somehow my Christmas verses sound better in rhyme. I guess it’s kind of like how most things sound better if you say them with a British accent. 😉

To make a long post short, does a Christmas verse count for my 160 words for the day? I hope so. 😉

And if you’re wondering why I worry about it this early, it is because I do not like mailing my Christmas cards on the 21st of December. At that time, I prefer to be wrapping presents or making the cookies for us to enjoy during Christmas week. So, to avoid spending my Advent writing and addressing cards (pared to a minimum, I am still mailing 125 cards a season. We’re blessed that way), I really do need to begin thinking about it around…now. 😉