Archive for the ‘Grandchildren’ Category

Fleeting February

February 28, 2017

How can this be the last day of February? Yes, it’s a short month, but so much of significance happened during this month. It has been a roller coaster ride with happy times, disappointing times and times of serious decisions.

At the beginning of the month, I spent a few days making 20 various Valentines for my etsy shop. Spending time in my studio is one of my happy places. It was invigorating to sell more than half of those hearts. Thank you to those who purchased my creations of love.

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Created 20 Hearts

Decorating our house for the different seasons brings lots of joy to me and to those who enter our home.

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Our Kitchen Table

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Vintage Valentines

Round Robin

Round Robin Heart

The incentive for decorating for February was hosting a sit-down dinner party for 32 Sunday school class members. We provided the house, and the kind members provided the pot luck dinner. Then they cleaned-up everything before they went home. The class members are so caring and supportive of the health issues I have been facing. They are a meaningful part of our lives.

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Loving Class Members

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Sunday School Party at Our Home

Another happy time is spending time with our children and their children. Tyler Murrah made the Varsity baseball team for Jesuit in Dallas. We joined his family this past weekend in Austin for a round-robin. Madison came from College Station with her precious boyfriend, Jack. It’s the first time we met him. So much fun to be with all of them for a couple of days.

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Murrah Family

Back in Houston we support the Huebner kids in their selected sports. Sydney’s competitive cheer team won National Champions in Dallas this past weekend. Her bigger sister, Lindsey, is playing tennis and softball. Here we are supporting Ashton at his basketball game.

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With Sydney and Lindsey at Ashton’s Basketball Game

My husband spends much time with Ashton and Lindsey at their practices. He coached our boys when they were in school.

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Granddaddy Still Loves to Coach

Our 21 month old grandson in California loves playing sports, too. His daddy is his coach unless he’s with us. Then his bigger cousins love to teach him how to play anything that includes a ball. He thinks he’s a big boy, too.

Our Three Grandsons

Our Three Grandsons

So you ask what are the disappointments and big decisions.

Today was the last day for Shannon McGaw at Quilts, Inc. She has taken on a dream job for her as manager of a new quilt shop to open in April. I came to depend on her for many aspects in the Education Department and innovative ideas for the company. I will miss her every day, but wish her well. Thank goodness we still have Barbara, Jill and Marcia to carry-on.

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Shannon McGaw (in white shirt) Moves On

 

And yesterday was a huge decision-making day. I was released from my oncologist, Dr. Guillermo Garcia-Manero, at MD Anderson Hospital. For two years he has tried to get me into remission. At one time I lived without any transfusions for seven months. That hasn’t been the case for over a year now. So all that is left for me is to try stem cell transplant.

I will be moving to Methodist Hospital because my insurance will not pay for stem cell transplant at MD Anderson. Next week I will go through two days of heart, lung and viral testing to determine if I am well enough to go through with a stem cell transplant. So our prayer is that I will pass these tests so I can move forward.

It was hard to tell Dr. Garcia-Manero goodbye. He has been a hard-working, intelligent, and caring presence in our lives. Our daughter-in-law, Julie, Tommy, me, Holly, and Kelly Yeger, my PA, have been present at so many of my MDA visits. They have been such a great support system. I can’t thank them enough.

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Dr. Garcia-Manero in center

And thanks go to you, my friends, for all your love, support, interest and prayers. I’ll keep you posted. Much love to you all, Judy

 

 

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A Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

December 31, 2016
All 4 of us

From all 14 of us and another on the way

Nothing could make me happier than to have all of our family together to celebrate any time of the year. They have all rallied around me during this year of unknown health issues. We still don’t know what 2017 will bring for my MDS treatment. December was all about Christmas, our family and togetherness.img_2200

For those who ask, I feel fine. The 27 days of isolation at MD Anderson did not show any instant improvement, but my oncologist is hopeful. I will see him again next week and we’ll know more.img_2536-002December 22, 2016 found all 14 of us in our home in Missouri City, Texas. We all are wearing crowns from the poppers we enjoy at our turkey dinner.img_2224It’s all hands on deck preparing for dinner. Julie helps me prepare the turkey, Troy is our tester and carver, Todd is the potato peeler and masher, and Tommy and Michelle prepare the green bean bundles, Madison helped me with the pies, Holly, Lindsey and Sydney got the table set and then Scott led the clean-up after dinner. Tyler and Ashton kept Thompson occupied while everyone else was busy.11gfccjufvcuhlzhql361nlcofhzzpolrjvz_c7csrtcxrnoq3i-wj4udce3gwlca74shnkezffvtaandhk1cgapwqeq30dmsrhhpjmjzg_pyy203jyihseljncqpo-7clrhr18w1043-h782-no-002My three grandsons. Tyler soon to turn 17, Ashton soon to turn 9, and Thompson is 18 months old. He is expecting a brother in early April 2017. We will then have 4 grandsons and 3 granddaughters. Oh, how blessed can we be?img_0886

And our granddaughters helping to make my mom’s Ginger Cookie recipe. They are Lindsey, 13 years old, Madison, 19 years old and Sydney 11 years old. They all love to cook and sew. Oh, lucky me.img_0896-002

With the exclusion of Tyler, here we all are in the new hammock Tommy bought me. We have always had a lot of fun in hammocks with our grandchildren. I’m not sure Thompson has caught on to the fun and thrills.img_2140-002

And here’s my man. I have loved him since I was in high school. What would I do without him with all the trips to MDA. He spends endless hours there with me waiting, waiting, waiting. Through thick and thin, sickness and health, we have been married for 50 years.img_2216

Our girls love him, too. Holly and Julie have been a great support to both of us during the last two years of cancer treatment.img_2177

And our older son, Todd, comes from Dallas often to be with us for hospital and doctor visits.

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Our younger son, Troy, and family come from Long Beach, California often to love and care for us.

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And even my only son-in-law visits me in the hospital and checks on how I’m doing. As I’ve said so often, “Family is the best.”image1-002

And it keeps growing. Tyler is Todd and Julie’s son, but he has always aspired to being as tall as his Uncle Troy. I think he has just about made it this year. He has passed his dad in height, but will he pass Troy in 2017? There’s so much to look forward to.

My wish to you is many happy days this coming year. Just look for those times. They are there even amongst the trying times. Happy New Year everyone. I love you all, Judyimg_4452

Day 14 of 28 in Isolation

November 19, 2016

 

Yes, my isolation at MD Anderson Hospital is half over. Before I could enter my room I had to take a shower with a product that is used before surgery. Then I covered-up with a disposable robe, mask, head and shoe covering. Once I entered my isolation room I could throw away all the outer coverings and be in my normal clothes with slippers or non-skid socks. I haven’t left my room since.

I don’t have a shower or a flushable toilet in my room. Each day I bathe with warm, disposable moist cloths. I wash my hair in the sink. I feel clean. I have never cared for camping, but several people have told me it’s much like camping.img_3413

Family and friends are not allowed to enter my room unless they are on staff here at MD Anderson. I have had plenty of family and friends visit through a double paned window in the family room that connects to my room. I love their visits.

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Hi from me.

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Hello back from Holly.

For those who do not know my situation, here’s an explanation. In 2006 I was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). This is cancer of the bone marrow and a precursor to Leukemia. To date I still am diagnosed with MDS.

Until March 2015, my MDS was not advanced enough to require treatment. I was under the infrequent care at MD Anderson, but my internist monitored my blood counts in between those visits. Bone marrow produces white blood cells which controls your immune system, red blood cells, which produces your oxygen, and platelets, which coagulates your blood and keeps you from bleeding internally as well as externally.

My first chemo treatment was part of a clinical trial taking Decitabine by tablet. After four months of treatment the drug  started working. Then I had seven months without transfusions. Unfortunately, we came to a dead-end. What a disappointment. It was back to frequent platelets transfusions again. Then I started a low dose of Decitabine given intravenously along with Promacta by tablet to try to raise my Platelet count. It didn’t work.

In the meantime we had an orientation at MD Anderson and Methodist Hospital for a stem cell transplant. A search went on to find a match for me for a stem cell donor. Several potential donors were found with a 10 out of 10 match. However, after two different bone marrow aspirations and a biopsy, it was determined I am not a candidate at this time for a transplant.

Instead I was put in the hospital in isolation to receive two different kinds of chemo that completely wiped out my bone marrow. So on Day 14 I have no bone marrow which means no immune system. Everyone who enters my room is covered from head to toe with disposable gown, head, and shoe coverings and a mask. I have to recognize people by their eyes, stature and voice.

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My nurses today. The nursing staff is kind and caring.

Amazingly, the first two weeks have not been bad. I am an introvert so I get my energy by being alone. I love being with people and out and about, but like a true introvert have to retreat to solitude to be energized again. I get plenty of people contact from 5 AM until 11 PM each day. Nurses, doctor, room service, vital sign taker, and housekeeping are in and out of my room all day long.

My room, #1272, is great. It’s one of two very large rooms with a double window on the twelfth floor . There is a stationary bike, lounge chair, desk chair with desk, a rocking chair, bedside table, and bed in my room. I have made it as much like home as possible.

I stay busy with Quilts, Inc. office work through deliveries and via the internet, crafting projects, watching “The Crown” on Netflix, FaceTime with my younger grandchildren, text messaging, journaling and all the hospital stuff. The time has gone by swiftly.

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Embroidery I finished while in isolation.

 

Mail delivery and visitors have been a highlight during the day. I love the cards and fun things that have been delivered to my room.

 

I receive platelets and/or blood transfusions almost daily now. I am attached to a pump by a PICC line in my arm 24/7 that administers the transfusions and constant fluids. It doesn’t hurt. I just go about my day and night with “Tagalong” always by my side.

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Tagalong

 

Today I missed a second A & M game in College Station with my husband. It made me a little weepy the first one I missed, but today my son-in-law came to visit during the game time.

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My husband at the A&M game without me.

 

 

Our daughter and our older son’s wife will decorate our house for Christmas before I get home on December 3. They have pictures to follow in each of the boxes for each vignette. If you go back to my blog post on December 2014, you’ll get a preview of how it will look. I do the same thing every year with only a few minor changes.

From Our House to Yours

From Our House to Yours

 

I look forward to all our family being together and celebrating Christmas on December 22. Here they are all gathered at our home the day before I came into the hospital. What a wonderful family. Troy, our younger son, comes from Long Beach, California again tomorrow for a visit. Todd, our older son, who lives in Dallas, will be back again on Tuesday.img_3355-002

As I’ve said so many times, “Family is the best!” My prayer is that this treatment will work and I can be in remission to spend time with them and you, too, my friends. Much love and good wishes to you and yours. God is good. Judy

 

 

 

 

Happy 50th Anniversary

June 17, 2016

By the grace of God and love of family, we made it through thick and thin, sickness and health, outside interference, and just every day life happening to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. And we are so happy we did!

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50 Years of Marriage

A close friend of mine told me what her Dad always says when people ask what’s the secret to a long marriage. “Don’t leave and don’t die.” I love that quote and used it on the elevator at MD Anderson this week. Lots of laughs from strangers who may not have been experiencing a very good day.

My daughter asked me over a year ago if we wanted a party to celebrate our Golden Anniversary. I told her the best party would be all 14 of our family members together to celebrate for a few days. She offered the house she and her husband own in Park City, Utah. We had to work around everyone’s personal schedules, including my care at MD Anderson, but we were all able to get together for several days, as a family, to celebrate our lives.

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All 14 of us in Park City, Utah

The weather was beautiful, the house and grounds magnificent, and there were plenty of fun activities to enjoy during the week.

On Sunday we had a great brunch at Stein Erikson’s Lodge on the terrace overlooking the mountains. Then it was on to the “Sunday Silly Shopping” event on Main Street in Park City.

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Sunday Brunch

On Monday, the grandchildren loved the ropes course and Museum at Olympic Park.

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Ropes Course

We gathered back at the house where Troy decorated Thompson’s one-year-old birthday cake as Fenway Park. He used little plastic baseball figures that had been on his cake as a little guy.

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Fenway Park Cake

Todd arranged for us to go back downtown for pizza galore. The proprietor said, “You guys rock!”

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Yummy Pizza Dinner

Then it was back to the house again to celebrate Thompson’s one-year-old birthday a few days late.

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Michelle, Troy, and Thompson

We all loved getting to celebrate our California baby’s birthday. We had a little cake for his very own, but he didn’t like that icing on his fingers.

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Blow out the candle.

Tuesday was a big surprise when Tommy and I woke to the living area all decorated with gold and white balloons, party decorations and pictures of all of us through the years.

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Golden Anniversary Decorations

Julie, Holly, and Michelle had stayed up into the wee hours the night before pulling together all the things they had each brought for the celebration.

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Julie, Holly, and Michelle

After wonderful breakfast tacos, cooked by Scott, we headed for Park City Center for rides and miniature golf.

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In the afternoon we all headed back home for a rest while the caterers cooked and set-up a gourmet dinner in the Huebner’s backyard.

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Ashton Welcomes Us

During the appetizers we enjoyed 60’s-70’s music. I took the opportunity to dance with my oldest grandson, Tyler.

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Dancing with Tyler

We also took family pictures to commemorate this special Golden Anniversary.

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Our oldest son, Todd, his wife, Julie, Madison and Tyler

They live in Dallas. Madison will be a Sophomore at Texas A & M and Tyler a Junior at Jesuit in Dallas.

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Our daughter, Holly, her husband, Scott, Lindsey, Ashton, and Sydney

Lindsey will be in the 8th grade at Seabrook Middle School. Sydney will start 6th grade at Seabrook Middle School and Ashton will be in the 3rd grade at Ed White Elementary school. They live about an hour from us in Texas.

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Troy, our youngest child, Michelle, his wife, and Thompson

They live in Long Beach, California, where they own and operate Olafson Creative. We get together with them several times each year.

We feasted on a gourmet dinner of salad, vegetables, elk and trout, fresh from the area. It was all topped-off with a delicious cake and happy singing.

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Our six grandchildren and us

What an indescribably blessing our family is to us. As the evening cooled outdoors, we adjourned to the game room in the lower part of the house for beautiful gifts with emotion, gratefulness and love throughout. Troy read from a framed listing of the 50 things they all love about us. We all laughed and cried throughout the presentation. I can’t help but write a few of them for you.

  1. I love that you have made me a part of your loving family.
  2. I actually do love that you made us go to church and Sunday school. I realize now the great morals and ethics we learned.
  3. I love how Grammy taught me how to create–everything from little scrapbooks to crafts to quilts to gowns.
  4. I loved the Sunday picnics and playgrounds all over Houston.
  5. I love the two of you dancing the jitterbug, knowing you’ve been dancing together since you were teenagers.
  6. I love the warmth you show each other when arriving or leaving a family event. It may be as simple as Granddaddy gently rubbing Grammy’s back to comfort her or Grammy making sure Granddaddy has everything he needs to enjoy the special event.
  7. I love our family backyard wiffle ball games.
  8. I loved sharing the birth of our three babies with you, and I loved having your help for those first few weeks.
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    Moms and Daughters continue reminiscing

    Then everyone geared-up for the action-packed Shuffleboard competition. It was close, but Tyler and Julie were named the champions.

    Wednesday and Thursday we slowly began to go back to our homes. We’d had so much fun together. It was great for the older grandchildren to spend time with baby Thompson. He did not lack for attention and love.

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    Backseat baby entertainers

    It was hard to say good-bye to him and his mommy and daddy. California is a long way away.

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    Goodbye at airport

    But how thankful we are to have all these babies and their parents. Thank you for spending those precious days with us all together.

    Tommy and I had our own little morning celebration on Saturday, June 11, 2016, our actual wedding anniversary date. In the evening we attended a Sunday school party with many good friends.

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    Our Sunday school party

    They had a cake with candles and singing to conclude the special evening. Thank you everyone.

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    Happy 50th Anniversary

    May there be many more. We love you all family and friends. Life would not be the same without you. God’s blessings on you all. Judy

 

 

Merry Christmas, Dear Friends

December 25, 2015
family

Our Family Christmas Celebration on December 22

From left to right are as follows:

Julie, Todd, Tyler and Madison Murrah

Scott, Lindsey, Holly, and below her are Sydney and Ashton Huebner

Troy, Michelle, and Thompson Murrah

Judy and Tommy

What could be better than having all of our family together for a Christmas celebration. Troy, Michelle and Thompson came in from Long Beach a week before we celebrated Christmas in our home.

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Grammy and Thompson

I held Thompson every chance I got before the rest of our family arrived. Michelle and Troy are very generous with letting Thompson be held by everyone. If he was awake, we were playing with him, holding him, and enjoying his chatter, smiles, and laughter.

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Granddaughters in the Kitchen

Everyone, except Thompson, helped out in the kitchen. As my mom always said, “Many hands make light work.” All thirteen of us had a hand in preparing or cleaning-up. It seemed a little hectic at times, but I enjoy having everyone doing their part and being together.

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Requested Pies

We had the traditional turkey dinner topped off with the requested pies. Troy, Holly, and I like Chocolate Meringue. Julie, Todd and Tyler like Apple, and Lindsey requested Lemon Meringue pie. None of it went to waste. Ginger cookies and Sugar cookies are also a must. Troy took the last of the Ginger cookies when he left to go to the airport. He and Julie said they were the best batch I had ever made.

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Julie and Todd with Stockings

Even though we celebrate our Christmas a few days before December 25th, we still have our traditions. The first thing, after we hear Santa’s sleigh bells, is to see what’s in our stockings.

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Thompson’s First Christmas

It was so special to have Thompson with us for his first Christmas. I made his stocking as I have all the other thirteen. I spent one day enjoying every design element and stitch for our youngest grandchild. The block T is prevalent as we called him “Baby T” before he was born.

grandchildren

Our Six Grandchildren

Nothing could make me happier than to have been blessed with these six grandchildren. Each one is so special. From left to right they are:

Lindsey Huebner, Madison Murrah, Tyler Murrah, Sydney Huebner, Thompson Murrah, and Ashton Huebner. They range in age from 18 years to 6 months. What a great bunch. After picture-taking time, it was time to open gifts under the tree.

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Annual Football Game Team

When our children were growing-up we celebrated Christmas Day at Tommy’s parents home. His sister and her husband and three children were there, too.  There was always a football game in their front yard no matter your age or your gender. We love tradition. So true to memory-making, a football game was organized in front of our house. Several of us were spectators as others cleaned-up the kitchen.

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Basketball Team

Since we have a basketball court in our back yard, there is always a game between Tyler and Troy. Each year I take a picture of them next to each other to watch Tyler grow. He would love to make it to over 6 feet tall, like his uncle. Ashton and Thompson joined the fun this year.

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Grammy and Grandchildren Tea Party

When Madison was a tiny girl we had many pretend tea parties. When she was three years old I bought a Spode Christmas Tree child’s tea set. That Christmas we had a real tea party to learn tea manners. When Tyler was about that same age, he wanted to join us because he liked the idea of sugar cubes in his tea. Since then each of the grandchildren have participated. Thompson joined us this year with a little help from his daddy. Besides tea, we have poppers and enjoy the crowns, trivia questions and Charades game inside.

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Star Wars Movie

Troy, Michelle, and Thompson left on December 23. The rest of the family stayed until Christmas Eve morning. After Troy and family left for the airport, the big kids wanted to play Laser Tag, go to dinner and then to the movies to see Star Wars. It was a great ending to another Christmas celebration.

Warm holiday wishes from my heart to yours with love, Judy

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 11 King Ranch Chicken Casserole

October 3, 2015

For most of my adult life, I crammed as much as possible into every day and often well into most nights. I was on deadline day after day. For many years I drew income from four different sources: teaching quilting/wearables, writing books, crafting to sell, and running the Education Department for Quilts, Inc. When this page showed-up in my Mary Engelbreit calendar one day last month, I thought, that’s me!  It’s so true.

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That’s Me!

I don’t even like to go to the grocery store any more. My husband is the shopper in our home now. The family has always joked that he gets antsy staying home all day. He has to be out and about. So he is happy to run all our errands. I love it!

I started feeling a little guilty.  I needed to plan and cook a few meals each week. Several friends recommended Hello Fresh, a company that delivers ingredients to your front door once a week to make three healthy dinners. We received our first box this week. Last night Tommy, my husband, chopped while I sautéed our first dinner. We fixed a Thai noodle dish called Shrimp Pad See Ew with broccoli, mushrooms, and peanuts. I left out the Thai chili pepper, but included the garlic, basil, shallot, and ginger. It was good, and there was enough to serve a third person. Tommy asked if the meal was healthy enough to off-set the Chicken Fried Steak he’d had for lunch earlier at Tip-Top in San Antonio. Ha-ha.

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Shrimp Pad See Ew

But this is not Page 11 for your recipe book. It’s King Ranch Chicken Casserole. My cousin, Mary Jane Fawver Nyberg, sent me this recipe she received from my mom. I didn’t have Mom’s recipe, but used one from another friend. After I received this one, I combined the two recipes.

Growing up, Mary Jane lived in Austin, Minnesota, where my mom and dad grew-up. Mary Jane, my mom’s sister’s daughter, is my age.  Every summer my parents would pile us all into our car and drive to Minnesota for Daddy’s two weeks of vacation. They both had many brothers and sisters to visit, who were still in the area. Mary lived on a dairy farm. What a special experience it was for me to stay with her those two weeks. We were little kids playing outside, and then we were teenagers interested in boys. We corresponded throughout the year, and she also visited us in San Antonio. I still get to see her occasionally at Fall Quilt Festival. Yes, she’s a quilter, too. The pictures below are of us swimming at Mary Jane’s friend’s house. I’m the one without a cap. Mary Jane is to my left. Such fun.

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Summertime in Austin, Minnesota

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Ingredients

4 lbs. chicken white meat with skin

12 corn tortillas

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

3 garlic cloves chopped

1 tsp. chili powder

1 small can diced tomatoes

1 onion cut into 4 pieces

3 stalks celery cut into 3 pieces each

Instructions

Low boil chicken with skin on and garlic, onion and celery added to water. Cook until chicken starts to fall away from bone. Remove chicken to cool. Strain onion and celery from broth. Puree in blender with 1/3 cup chicken broth. Refrigerate until ready to use. Strain 1 cup chicken broth and reserve in refrigerator. Discard chicken skin. When chicken is cool to touch debone chicken and cut into chunks.

One hour before serving, combine the following in medium saucepan: pureed mixture, soups, Rotel tomatoes, and chicken broth to make a sauce. Heat to a slow boil.

In a large rectangular casserole 13 X 9 X 2 pan/dish, alternate layers of heated sauce, torn tortillas, chicken, and cheese. End with cheese. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes. It should be bubbling before removing from oven. Serve with green salad, tortilla chips and salsa.

We are off to another A & M football game in College Station. We’ll tailgate and sit with our son Todd, and his wife, Julie, and see our granddaughter, Madison. Family…what could be better or make me more happy? Nothing. Love you all, Judy

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 10 Jello Fruit Salad

September 26, 2015

When Troy, Michelle, and Thompson were here for a visit recently, we went through old photographs of my family. It was interesting to see history repeat itself. My daddy was six feet tall. That was tall for a man born in 1912. My mom wasn’t quite five feet tall.

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad in Love

Troy, our younger son, is 6’3″ tall. Michelle, his wife, is not quite five feet tall.

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Troy & Michelle in Love

I love family photographs and family traditions. For many years everyone in the family came to Mom’s house for Thanksgiving Day. It was not unusual for her to welcome thirty-six people in her home. My husband’s parents joined us the years they did not go to College Station for the A & M vs. Texas game.

Mom’s Red Jello Fruit Salad was always on the menu for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Our children grew to expect it for holiday dinners. When Mom moved from her home to independent living, we no longer celebrated in her home. It was time for me to make these holiday dinners for our family.

It’s rare now that we have Thanksgiving dinner in our home, as none of our family is here. Everyone does come together for a few days before Christmas for our Christmas dinner. Red Jello Fruit Salad is on the menu. One or more of our grandchildren is usually on hand to help me make it. Julie, Lindsey, and Tommy are the biggest fans of Red Jello Fruit Salad. They always have more than one helping.

Red Jello Fruit Salad

Ingredients

Following ingredients can be doubled easily to serve more than 8 people.

1  six oz. pkg. of strawberry Jello

1 can 15 oz. fruit cocktail (drained)

1 yellow banana (firm)

Cool Whip for topping

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Jello Ingredients

Instructions

Use the following speed method for making jello in a mixing bowl that is heat-resistant.

Dissolve gelatin mix in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Add 3 cups of ice cubes. Stir into jello until slightly thickened. Remove any  ice pieces that didn’t melt.

Fold-in drained fruit cocktail and sliced bananas. Pour into a pretty bowl.

Put  in refrigerator to congeal completely. When ready to serve, top with Whipped Cream. Mom made the real thing. My family is just as happy with Cool Whip added to their own helping.

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Jello Fruit Salad

I made jello fruit salad for our dinner last night. Tommy grilled steaks and fixed everything else. He takes good care of me. I am so thankful to have him. He brought this heart home as a surprise for me recently. I hung it in my studio and look at it every day.

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Brave Girl

Tomorrow will be a month since my last blood transfusion. In the last 6 months this is the longest I’ve gone without a transfusion. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that when I’m at MD Anderson for my weekly appointment on Tuesday, the news will continue to be good. When I saw my oncologist, Dr. Garcia-Manero, this month he said the chemo is working on my MDS. I see him again on October 12. I should start the sixth round of chemo that day.

The good news is I won’t be on chemo when I move downtown for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival on October 23. Will you be there? I would love to see you. I usually can be found on the third floor of the George Brown Convention Center. That’s where the classes, lectures, luncheons, and special events take place. Come by for a hug and a chat. Until we meet again, blessings to you and your family, Judy

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 9 Hershey Bar Pie

September 19, 2015

Surprise! Here I am visiting you on Saturday with the next page in my recipe book. For a change I’m not several days late. Yippee!

Today we’ve been to the A & M game in College Station and home again. The Aggies won, but the highlight for me was getting to see Madison, our oldest granddaughter. She and a couple of her friends met us for a little while in the Lettermen’s Club at Kyle Field. It was a hot, sunny morning so Tommy and I chose to watch the second quarter inside. After seeing the half-time and Madison, we headed home again.

Madison

Madison & I in the Lettermen’s Club

When Tommy suggested we leave the game early, I was happy to go. We gave our tickets to Madison and her friends so they could watch the game in seats better than the Freshmen receive. She said they were “Awesome.”

If you haven’t surmised by now, my family is so important to me. My daddy died of a heart attack when he was only 51 years old. I was 20. When I was 49 years old I started having heart problems. When I was 50 years old I had a single by-pass. My cardiologist said I was healthy otherwise, but I chose the wrong parent.

I wish I could have had more time to know my father. We don’t really know adults when we are children. It takes a little experience being an adult to understand our parents, I think. When Troy was here recently, he went through any Olafson family pictures I have and others my sister had. Troy’s middle name is Olaf, and he has named his company Olafson Creative. Suzanne and I think he looks like our Daddy.

daddy

Suzanne, Daddy, & Me

When we were children, our daddy loved to make us happy with small surprises. He was the one in charge of choosing the best and sweetest watermelon. He chose our Christmas tree and let it stand in sugar-water in the garage until the limbs were just right. He would bring a very large Hershey bar home from the grocery store and he, mom, and all 5 of us children would gather around. He would break the Hershey bar into segments and give each of us equal amounts as he grinned from ear to ear passing out chocolate to his giddy children.

When I received this recipe for “Hershey Bar Pie” from Susan Manning, I thought of Daddy and the big Hershey bar we shared. Holly loves this Hershey Bar Pie. When she was in elementary school and junior high school she loved to go to Susan’s small luncheon place in Victoria so she could have this pie. Many years after the restaurant closed, I got the recipe from Susan to make it for Holly’s 34th birthday. (Last week Holly turned 43 years old.) Lindsey helped me make the pie for a surprise for Mommy. I’m not sure why Lindsey made such faces when she unwrapped the big candy bar. The Hershey bars are not as large as they used to be. Imagine.

lindsey

Lindsey Helping to Make Mommy’s Pie 9 Years Ago

Hershey Bar Pie

Ingredients

1 prepared and cooled pie crust (I make my own pie crust which I’ll share with you another day.)

2 Hershey’s 4 oz. bars with Almonds (You can use milk or dark chocolate.)

1 sixteen oz. container of Cool Whip

3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

Ingredients

Ingredients

Instructions

Melt the Hershey Bars in a double boiler on the stove until stirable. Reserve 1/2 cup of Cool Whip and 1/4 cup of almonds.

Stir the remainder of almonds and Cool Whip with melted chocolate.

Mix well. Pour into pie crust.

Top with 1/2 cup of Cool Whip and the remaining almonds.

Chill really well and then serve.

Pie

Hershey Bar Pie

Tommy is on his way home from picking-up salads at Chili’s for dinner. The pie should be plenty cool by the time we finish our dinner. I’ll be sure to clean my plate so I can have dessert. Did you know desserts spelled backwards is stressed? So if you are stressed, make this pie, eat a piece and all your stress will go away. Try it. You just have to believe. Take care, sweet friends, until we meet again. Judy

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 8 Green Bean Bundles

September 15, 2015

Here it is Tuesday again, and I am sending your recipe for last Saturday. We have had our son, Troy, and his family here from Long Beach for a special visit. It was hard to do anything other than love our youngest grandson, Thompson. It was a joy to see him laugh, smile, talk and squeal. He was easy to please and liked looking around at all the colors and things in my studio. Of course I loved that.

Thompson in My Studio

Thompson in My Studio

We spent time with Todd and his family and Holly and her family when we could. Last Saturday, we all met for the Texas A & M football game in College Station. It was great to have all 14 of us together for a tail gate lunch before the Aggie win.

Huebners, Murrahs, Murrahs, and Murrahs

The Huebners, Us, Todd Murrah and family and Troy Murrah and family

It will be Christmas time before we are all together again. I will make all the things the family expects for our early celebration Christmas dinner including Green Bean Bundles.  A friend from our First Presbyterian Church in Victoria Sunday school class brought these to a pot luck Christmas party at our house. I made them for our family Christmas dinner that year, and they’ve been on our holiday menu ever since. Everyone in the family likes them including the grandbabies. These are so easy that anyone helping in the kitchen can make them.

Green Bean Bundles

Ingredients

3 cans whole green beans (Drain)

Package of bacon (Cut each strip in half and cut off excess fat.)

1/2 cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar (packed)

Minced garlic to taste (I shake in a LOT. My guess is a tablespoon.)

Instructions

Melt butter, brown sugar, and garlic in saucepan. Stir until comes to a boil.

Loosely wrap 5-6 green beans with a half strip bacon. Place in rectangular Pyrex dish with small space between for browning bacon. Use all the green beans and bacon. Your dish will be full unless you use two smaller dishes.

Cover with all the melted mixture.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Then…

Brown under broiler for 10 minutes.

Beans Ready for Oven

Beans Ready for Oven

We are soon approaching Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas which are all fun holidays. I wish they were spread out a little more throughout the year. There’s very little sign of Autumn approaching in Houston, Texas. I’m looking forward to it getting here. I hope you have something to look forward to this fall. May you receive many blessings. See you again next week. Hopefully, it will be on Saturday. Hugs, Judy

 

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 7 Ginger Cookies

September 8, 2015

Here it is Tuesday morning, and I am just now getting Saturday’s recipe to you. Our son, Troy, came with his wife, Michelle, and baby Thompson for a two-week visit. The first week has been wonderful. We’ve had a great time on the go every day. Thompson is an unbelievably sweet, agreeable 3-month old baby. We take him everywhere, and he’s happy and content to be with us wherever we go. He laughs and coos and is intent on what everyone is doing around him. We love having all three of them with us.

Troy, Michelle, & Thompson Visit Grammy & Granddaddy

Troy, Michelle, & Thompson Visit Grammy & Granddaddy’s House

I made a batch of Ginger Cookies before they came last Tuesday. I know how much they both love them. My mom, Ruby Earl Olafson, made these cookies at Christmas each year. Several years after Mom died, Troy asked me to make the cookies. I found a recipe for “Crinkle Tops” in a cookbook I received when I married in 1966. I imagine one of my aunts sent the book to me because it came from St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Austin, Minnesota. Everyone in our family loves these cookies. The “little girls” love to roll them into balls and dip them into sugar for baking. They are so easy.

Sydney Huebner Helping Me Bake Cookies

Sydney Huebner Helping Me Bake Ginger Cookies

Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup shortening

½ cup butter

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

½ tsp. salt

4 tsp. baking soda

3 tsp. ginger

3 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

2 eggs beaten

½ cup Grandma’s Molasses

Instructions

Sift dry ingredients together. Add other ingredients and mix with mixer. Roll in 1” balls and dip in sugar. Place sugar side up on cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven 8-10 minutes or until light brown and crinkled on top. Remove from cookie sheet after 1 minute and cool single layer on waxed paper.

Cookie Jar Half Empty

Cookie Jar Half Empty

Hope your day is full of love and fun things to do. Today I will go to MD Anderson for bandage change,  blood work and bone marrow aspiration. Hopefully my  PA  will say there is no need for a transfusion, and I’ll be home after review with her. Thursday I’ll be back at MDA for an EKG, more blood work, and appointment with Dr. Garcia-Manero, my oncologist. If all my counts are good, and he says the chemo is still working, I’ll start the fifth round that day. I take chemo by tablet, so I’ll be home the remainder of the days the Murrah family from Long Beach will be with us. I don’t want to miss a minute more than necessary being with them. Be with someone you love today. I wish you a happy day. Love and hugs, Judy

What Joy!

What Joy! My Happy Boy.

 

 

 


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