What makes a Happy Home? I love to take care of my family. For me, creating a home that is warm and inviting, where everyone feels welcome is pure joy! The smell of fresh laundry just in off the clothesline, a neat and tidy home and garden, a good home cooked meal, a few desserts here and there, the love of family, friends and fellowship all help to make our home a Happy Home. Join me as we celebrate the holidays, the birthdays and the every days!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Monday at The Old Parsonage

We had a wonderful Easter Sunday. Celebrating the wonderful gift that we were given. Our newlyweds and our parents were here to celebrate the day with us. We had an early dinner right after church, so that the kids were able to visit with our Happy Homemaker's parents too.

The weather was beautiful - warm enough to be outside without a jacket as long as you were in the sun. Our Texans sent photos of their day - Easter egg hunts, baskets, candy and family photos. They had a crab boil with our Fireman's Flame's sisters and brothers. So glad that they had a wonderful day too!

I have off from work today. I have an appointment this am, but after that I'm free to be. I've been up since 6am, just couldn't sleep. I hate to waste time sleeping on my days off. I've got jeans hanging out on the wash-line already and  I am washing up the linens from yesterday now. They'll go on the line too.

The pirogi were wonderful (if I do say so myself). I made 65 of them on Saturday - potato and cheese, stored them on cookie sheets in the downstairs fridge, then boiled them off yesterday and tossed them with melted butter and sauteed onions.

I decided to make a batch of sugar cookies too. I add a pinch of salt to the sugar that I use for the topping. It gives it a really good added punch of flavor. They were supposed to have icing, but I ran out of steam, so it was just the sugar on top.

Everyone went home with leftovers, at least enough for 2 meals, plus desserts. I love to make a ton of food for the holiday for this reason. It makes the following week easier.

I'm off to get the linens out of the washer and out on the wash-line.
What are your plans for the day?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

I spent the entire morning with my Dad. Just the two of us... tradition. When we shop together on Good Friday and buy things that have to do with our heritage it makes my heart sing. This is real joy and love.

We always talk about my Nan and Pap (his parents) and his grandparents all living together in one house. The house that he grew up in, and I remember visiting that house my entire life. We always went "back home" for Easter. We'd stay at Nan's house and then have Easter dinner with my Mum's family who live in the same town. Of course Nan would come to dinner too. Dad sold it to one of his cousins when Nan died, so it's nice to know that family still lives there. We still go "back home" every once in awhile, but a lot of the family has passed on and we aren't as close with our second and third cousins. Mr OP and Flyboy do go deer hunting there every year, but the last time I was there was for a wedding .

It's sad to see how the old "coal mine" town is falling apart, and to not have either of my Grandmothers to visit. There are lots of great memories in that small town. I'd go and stay with my Grandmothers every summer, it was literally like "Mayberry," it even had a ice cream and soda counter. Everyone looked after each other's kids, we rode bikes all over town and to the park.

 The fire-whistle still blows a ten o'clock curfew for all kids to be home. My Nan lived on one street, the next street over was my Gram and 2 of her sisters, the next street was my Great Uncle and his family. There was and still is extended family all over town.My parents lived there until I was 1yr, then we moved to this area. But, we would go back at least 1x month, even though it's over 4 hours away. Eventually the visits grew longer in between, after my Mum got used to being away that is. We have a lot of family in this area, all of my Mum's brothers and sister settled around here, and most of my cousins are close by. 

What about you, do you have a lot of family living nearby?

I'm not sure if I'll have to pop in tomorrow or Sunday so I'm wishing you all a wonderful Easter. May you all know love and real joy in God's blessings.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rainy Days

Well if it's going to pour down rain and sideways, at least I have my cute little yellow rain coat to wear. That was some storm. The creeks are high and look like chocolate milk. I love how this shot looks like it has a photo treatment on it. I doesn't though, I shot this looking into a vintage mirror.

It's beautiful today! A bit chilly though...we dropped 30 degrees and even had some snow in areas close by. I've got a busy day at work so I'm off. Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter's on its way!

Both our Fireman and Flyboy collect vintage license plates. Mr OP is always picking them up for the guys. We had a bunch ready to send to TX, so into our Easter package they went. I really liked this one from New Jersey - 1950!

I tucked a crocheted dishrag into the package too. Our Fireman's Flame loves them, but we had to talk her into actually using them for dishes. She thinks that they are too nice.

We bought the kids a Monster's University on DVD and threw in a pack of bubble tape for each of our little Texans. I would have loved to buy a ton of Easter candy, but I restrained myself. The Easter Bunny will have to bring it for them.

I like to use the USPS priority mail packages to send things to our Texans. The packages are so much less expensive than UPS and get there within 2 days. Everything was packaged up, dropped at the post and Easter's on it's way to our Texans!

Did you buy much Easter candy?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Time flies

Why does it seem that during the weekend time flies by and the week sometimes seems to drag on? Must be some kind of mystical thing (wink)!

We had supper with my brother and his fiance Saturday night. Her ring is simple, but elegant - so beautiful. They are so happy and in love! They are planning a destination wedding for next spring - should be fun!

Can you believe that today was Palm Sunday, and that next week is Easter? There is so much going on this week. I am always emotional this week. I like to watch "The Robe" and "The Passion." The Passion is hard to watch, but I think that it's a good movie.

Friday morning my Dad and I will head to Butcher Bill's and buy our Easter kielbasa, the ham, some liverwurst and wonderful thick cut bacon. Then we'll do a quick run to the supermarket, stop and pick up Easter flowers and head home. I'll make my candy on Friday - peanut butter and coconut eggs, and chocolate covered pretzels. I'll also dye Easter eggs, not sure who will be here to do it with me, but even if it's just me I'll do it by myself.

Saturday, I'll make my paska and desserts - cheese cake with chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate mousse and one other thing (not sure what yet). I'll make the pirogi on Saturday too, then pop them into the fridge until Sunday.

We're having Easter dinner here on Sunday after church. I'm making a ham, kielbasa, homemade pirogi with melted butter and fried onions, potato salad, red beets and eggs, deviled eggs, a fresh medley of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, coleslaw and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, and rolls.

I'm getting hungry just thinking about everything. Best part about all of this food? The leftovers:)

What do you love to eat for Easter?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rabbit under glass?

I did it with my rolly-poley Santa at Christmas, so why not a rabbit? There's a glare, but doesn't she look sweet? Her eyes make me say "she", they are definitely feminine. 
We are having a beautiful week, the weather has been perfect. Bright blue skies and warm days - woo hoo! I'm loving it!!

I'm trying to set-up an Etsy shop for my handmade cards and paper crafts. I love making things so much, and really you can't always give everything away as gifts, so I thought that I'd take the plunge.

Mr OP said, "That's turning something that you love to do into work/a job, and why would you want to do that?" I don't think of that way, I think of it as getting paid to do something that I love. A few people who've bought cards and things from me in the past have encouraged me to set one up. Who knows if it will work out, but I'll never know unless I try.

Does anyone have any pointers or advice?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wonderful family news!

Congrats to my baby bro and his soul mate - he popped the question last night and she said YES!!! They are in New Orleans on vacation and will be home tomorrow, so we'll have to wait to congratulate them in person. I'm so happy for him. He went through a lot these past few years and he deserves happiness. The girls love her and she's wonderful with them. It makes me happy that they have a great relationship with her.

These are my paternal great-grandparents on my grandfather's side. I have them hanging in our living room. It makes me smile to see their faces even though I've never met them. It's the connection really and knowing where I come from that makes it for me.

I corresponded with a very distant cousin who found us a few years ago. She shared so much  family history and photos...I loved learning about everything.  It wasn't about those great grandparents though, so I'm on a mini-mission to find out more about that heritage. I know that they came from Yugoslavia via Austria, but that's about as far back as we know. I should put my Dad on it.

These are the great-grandparents whose families I know more about. They lived in England and we have more information going back to their parents and siblings. Our boys and Mr OP like to tease me, it's a joke around here - they call me a vampire lover (you know how I love those kind of movies and TV shows) and say that it stems from being related to him, "Vlad the Impaler." The photo has a reflection of the doorway so it may be a little hard to see, but he does kind of have a vamp vibe:)

What about you, how far back do you know your families roots?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring is here...I think

It's staying light later and the temps are getting warmer. I've even stopped wearing socks! It's still chilly in the mornings, but it gets pretty warm by lunch time. We started cleaning up our flower beds yesterday. They were perfect by the end of fall, but some of our neighbors don't clean up their leaves and they become work for many of us in the spring. 

I got out the Easter tubs and started putting a few things out this weekend. These guys made their way into the kitchen. I love the vintage feel that they have, but they aren't old, they are new made to look old. What I really want is to buy hyacinths. They scream Easter to me. I always buy myself purple ones. I saw pots of pansies at the market yesterday and was tempted, but I held out. I think that I'll wait until next week, we are still getting frost at night and I brought out my rosemary bush too early and think that I killed it. Mr OP thinks that it may come back, but I really don't think it will. 

We had date night last night and went to a really good restaurant - Parc Bistro. Their shrimp cocktail is wonderful! The cocktail sauce is made with wasabi and vodka - so spicy good. We had one of those and a firewood pizza with pepperoni and caramelized onions. Our newlyweds gave us a gift certificate for Christmas and we waited until last night to use it. Their menu is so varied from duck, pate, lobster mashed potatoes to the firewood pizzas. Last night was a good night for the pizza.

What's your favorite pizza?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Above and Beyond

I love to go above and beyond what's considered the norm for a lot of people. It love to pamper and make family and friends feel extra special. It thrills my heart to surprise someone with the unexpected gift or note. I'm working on a scrapbook as a surprise for a friend so that she can showcase photos of her grandson and can't wait to give it to her. I should have it finished by the end of the month - just in time for her birthday!

Flyboy and our Happy Homemaker are headed to TX today to visit our Texans. I'm so excited that they'll all get to be together! Wish that we were going to, but we'll all be together in June when they come here for vacation. As you can see Mr OP has started buying things for our little Texans so that they'll have something to do while they're here. Not that there won't be a ton of other things for them to do/see.

This is just a random shot of me making my breakfast for the next couple of days. I eat a hard boiled egg for breakfast every day during the week. They are so great and EASY to grab and take with me to work. I usually eat some type of fruit (lately it's been bananas, but I'm looking forward to strawberry season) around 10:30. That usually holds me over until I run home for lunch.

Do you have a breakfast go to, or do like like variety?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ravioli Recipe

As I mentioned yesterday, we make the pasta by hand, but use the Kitchenaid attachment to roll the dough. Here's the recipe for:

  • 4cups all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
That's it for the dough. Place the flour on your counter. Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Make a well in the center of your flour and pour the eggs into the center. Using a fork start whisking the flour slowly into the eggs working from the center. As you mix the flour into the eggs keep pushing the flour together as not to break the well. It will look messy but that's OK. You'll know when to mix the final amount of flour in (before the dough gets too thick) using you hands. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. It will become elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Cut off small pieces of dough and use the attachment for making sheets of pasta.

Ricotta Cheese Filling:

3 pounds of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup locatelli
2 eggs (whisked)
1 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
2 pinches of salt and pepper

Mix the filling together. Place heaping teaspoons full onto the pasta sheets about 2 inches apart. Fold over the dough to cover then use a cup, knife etc. to cut the ravioli. I like to put them on cookie sheets and freeze them individually before putting them into a freezer container. It's easier to take out as many as you need instead of cooking them all at once.

To cook: Boil salted water. Add ravioli and cook for about 5 minutes. Fresh ravioli take much less time to cook than frozen.

They are so much better than store bought ravioli and well worth it. You can of course make the dough in a mixer or food processor, but I like to get my hands into the dough, it's therapeutic to me.

Have you ever made homemade pasta?

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