Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Sleepless in Sienna Plantation

July 16, 2016

 

 

It’s early Saturday morning and I cannot sleep. It’s still dark outside in Sienna Plantation. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday this week we were out the door by 7 AM on our way to MD Anderson for blood work, review, and transfusion or appointment with my oncologist. On Thursday, I was on my way to La Grange, Texas for a Quilts, Inc. Executive Committee meeting. Today was my day to sleep in. I love to sleep late, but not today. There’s too much on my mind.

Was it the excitement of yesterday’s blood work revealing  my  platelets count went up since Wednesday’s results? Or was it the fear of needing a stem cell transplant if my numbers don’t elevate to at least 20,000 over the next few weeks?

Yesterday’s results were reason to cheer and hug with my two favorite Physician’s Assistants. However, just last week we were nervous and worried about dipping to 3,000 platelets until it got to 1,000. Starting back up, instead of dropping lower, was reason to cheer. I was on a high when we got home even after a stop at the Quilts, Inc. office for a few hours of work.

Over the last few months I haven’t felt like concentrating on anything in my studio other than an order from the Texas Quilt Museum for collage cards and design packets. When I got home yesterday late afternoon, I went into my studio and decided it was time I spend some time creating or catching-up on adding merchandise to my etsy shop. Or maybe I start with straightening my design wall clutter and work table mess.

Design wall

Design Wall in my Studio

My whole studio is a far cry from the order it was in for the photo shoot of my work space for the publication, Where Women Create. My studio is featured in the Nov/Dec/Jan2015 issue. What a fun day with my kind friend, Jo Packham, the editor of the magazine.

So last night I had the energy and desire to add to my etsy shop two little frocks I made early this year. When our children were here for Easter, our granddaughter, Madison Murrah modeled the frocks while another, Lindsey Huebner photographed them. The garments have been hanging in my studio since then. It was good to get those posted last night. The pattern I used is Simplicity 1080. The frock on the left is made from a vintage cutwork tablecloth. The frock on the right features a 1930’s embroidered hostess apron I imagine was worn by the hostess for a bridge party. Both pieces are in excellent condition.

I have collected vintage linens, laces, patchwork, and trims since I started having an interest in sewing and embellishing when I was in my twenties. I have boxes and closets full of everything you would ever need for a lifetime of stitching and creating. Madison would take all those things in a heartbeat, if she weren’t just 19 and going to college.

Where did all this begin? How did a young woman with a degree in Elementary Education, who just wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and wife to an executive husband have a life-time career as a teacher, author and show planner?

It all started when our youngest son, who is now 41, was an infant in arms. His brother was 6 and his sister 2 1/2. I was sewing fabric squares together to make quilts when I had a few minutes to myself. There were no books to follow, but occasionally an article in Women’s Day or Woman’s Circle on quilting.

One lucky day I learned of an antique shop teaching quilting classes at night. What joy I found that one night out each week that I could be with other quilters and learn how to make a quilt. In a little over a year, my first full-sized quilt was hanging at Great Expectations Quilt Show, and my quilt was featured on the advertising postcard. There was no turning back.

Quilting and creating became my passion. I started teaching classes in a Continuing Education program at our church while Todd was in second grade, Holly was in pre-school, and Troy was in the Mother’s Day Out program at our church. I was actually using my degree. As a thirty-three year old young woman, I loved teaching women many years older than I how to create something beautiful. They were of a generation where women did not work outside the home. For many it was the first time they were so proud of their accomplishments. It became a mission for me.

Quickly the word was out and I started teaching at a couple of small shops. I sewed well into many nights once I had the children to bed. I couldn’t get enough of it. Oh, to have just a little of that energy today.

sewing

My Sewing Corner in the 1970’s

It wasn’t long after that that I had a meeting with the owner of Great Expectations, Karey Bresenhan. She had added fabrics to her antique shop and wanted me to make some samples for her. That led to teaching classes for her on how to make tote bags, bibs on pinafores, notebook covers, etc. from the quilt blocks I had learned while taking classes from her mother, Jewel Patterson. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn’t taken that first meeting with Karey. I have worked for her for 40 years now.

My career took off. Wait a minute…I didn’t plan to have a career. Remember I am raising three little children. I’m a mom. Somehow I was propelled and soon teaching at Quilt Fair ’78, designing a garment for the first Fairfield/Concord Fashion Show which later became the Bernina Fashion Show,

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Patchwork and Lace Jacket for the Fairfield/Concord Fashion Show

designing and creating large fabric pieces for a debutante ball, being published in magazines, becoming VP of the Greater Houston Quilt Guild, part of a two-woman fashion show,

Holly

Holly Modeling for Fashion Show

creating special decorative items for antique shops from vintage quilts and linens, designing and making rodeo vests for a trendy dress shop, etc.

Then in 1982, my husband moved us to Victoria, Texas, so he could run an independent bank there. Did my career or my association with Karey Bresenhan end there? Guess again. She did not want to see me go, but that didn’t mean she let go. Shortly after we moved, I came back to Houston to a wonderful surprise going-away party Karey had in her shop. I was presented with a quilt full of hearts and signatures from my students at Great Expectations Quilts. I continued to go back to Karey’s shop to teach a full load of classes.

What’s next? It wasn’t long after I arrived in Victoria, Texas that I started teaching quilting and related decorative classes at the Open Door Creativity Center.

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Open Door Creativity Center

Quilting caught on quickly. The classes were popular and it wasn’t long after that that Susan Manning and I formed the Quilt Guild of Greater Victoria under the umbrella of the Nave Museum. I was their first President and remained active in the Guild for 20 years. I also became very active in the Victoria community. Soon one of the Guild members opened a quilt shop where we gathered for classes. I taught there and in a shop in Edna, Texas on a regular basis for many years.

During that time teaching picked up in other towns, more of my designs were published in books and magazines including Virginia Avery’s book Quilts to Wear. In 1983, I took charge of the Education program for Quilt Festival and Quilt Market and became first President of South/Southwest Quilt Association which is IQA today.IMG_2977

Later in the 80’s we started taking Quilt Market to other cities in the summer. Not long after that, we took Quilt Market to European countries along with Quilt Expo. That made for lots of over seas travel for 20 years, but what a delight to see all those European countries and to meet so many wonderful people. Life was busy and children were growing older.

In the early 90’s I was approached by the Editor in Chief, Barbara Weiland, of That Patchwork Place to write a book on the garments I was creating. I had started a series on collage patchwork jackets about that time. After much hesitation, I did write the first book, Jacket Jazz. A series of 6 more books and a pattern line followed over the next 10 years. The first two books put me on the teaching circuit map. I began teaching all over the country for many years. That was gratifying, but hard, exhausting work. I also designed a line of fabric with a Jacket Jazz flair during this time.

Judy Murrah published books

“Jacket Jazz” series

Kids continued to grow, went off to college, graduated, married, had babies. I quit teaching in 2006. We moved back to Houston in 2007. Since then my life has been filled with being with my husband, VP of Education and Administration for Quilts, Inc., mother and Grammy, and active in our church.

Now my focus is on getting well so I can enjoy these golden years, play in my studio, be with our family and travel with my husband. I want to be able to manage MDS. I know the only cure is a stem cell transplant, if it’s successful. Please keep praying for more platelets. Your prayers sustain me, and I am so thankful for you, my friends. God bless you all. Judy

golf

Our Family

 

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Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 19 Easy Cheesy Potatoes

January 2, 2016

Since Thanksgiving is so close to Christmas, each year I choose to have a Honey Baked Ham for Thanksgiving and Turkey for Christmas. These potatoes are easy and go well with baked ham and Green Bean Bundles.

The recipe came from members of my Stitch and Bitch group in Victoria, Texas. I was one of the original members of this stitching group and active for about 25 years.

judy

Michelle, Judy, Judy, Judy, & Betty Jo

The membership changed many times over the years, but it was always nice to get together once a month for stitching, talking and lunching.

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Una Mae, Judy, Michelle, Nell

We tried to keep 12 members in the group so each member took a turn once a year to host our group.

tanya

Tanya, Jimmie, Carol, Michelle, Judy

I moved back to Houston from Victoria nine years ago, but the group continues on today. I miss those relationships.

andra

Judy, Andra, Michelle, and Betty Jo many years ago.

Easy Cheesy Potatoes

potato

Potato Ingredients

Ingredients

32 oz. frozen hash brown potatoes

8 oz. carton of sour cream

1 can cream of mushroom soup

12 oz. grated Cheddar cheese

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 small onion chopped into small pieces

2 cups crushed corn flakes            Put these in a zip-lock bag and mash with your hand.

½ cup melted butter

Instructions

Place hash brown potatoes in 9″ X 13″ Pyrex dish sprayed with Pam. Stir in chopped onions. Mix together sour cream, soup, cheese, salt, and pepper. Spread mixture over potatoes and onions. Top with the crushed corn flakes. Drizzle the melted butter over the corn flakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Everyone will go back for seconds. What is left over is good the next day heated in the microwave.thanksgiving

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I used to make resolutions every year, and they were always the same. Now I think of a word for the year. This year my word  is “courage.” I need courage for serious things and those that aren’t so serious.

On the less serious side this year, I want the courage to try to create wearables again, but different from the Jacket Jazz flavor.  I plan to make little dresses and tops using the vintage lace, embellishments, and garment pieces I’ve collected over the years.

Yesterday I started designing a little dress using a pattern from Simplicity called Dottie Angel. I noticed this cute pattern when visiting Michele Muska in her booth at Fall Quilt Market. She said she’d send the pattern to me. The pattern was waiting for me when I went to the office after Christmas. The timing was perfect.

DRESS

The Start of a Little Dress Using a Vintage Apron

I worked on the dress most of today. It’s almost finished. I’ll send you a picture later in the week with it complete. Would love to have your input.

In closing:

The following was a wish on a birthday card I received in 2013. I saved it because I thought the sentiment was a good message for a new year, too. Here it is for you.

May you have a moment to reflect on the past year and all you’ve accomplished and to look forward to all that may be waiting for you in the year ahead…

But mostly, in that moment, may you realize here and now what a gift your life is–not just to you but to everyone who knows you.

You are a gift to me. Thank you for being part of my life. Happy New Year! 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.

thom

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.

granddaughters

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.

pies

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.

stockings

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.

Thompson

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.

football

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.

team

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.

tea

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.

movie

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 13 Lemon Meringue Pie

October 20, 2015

Yes, I realize it is Tuesday instead of Saturday. Once again, on Saturday I was in College Station at the Texas A & M game with my husband and Todd’s family. It was great being with them, but our game against Alabama wasn’t so great.

Before I wrote my blog this week I wanted to have my Strings Block Swap Quilt complete. Seven of us who work in the Education Department at Fall Quilt Festival exchanged string-pieced quilt blocks. Our quilts will hang in the Education office, 340AB, at the George R. Brown Convention Center during Fall Quilt Festival.  Barbara Black, who takes care of registering our teachers at the shows, coordinated our swap. We received all our instructions and deadlines from her. You can find great instructions for this, if you go to her blog. Thank you, Barbara.

I received 36 blocks of red and white strips from six participants. In return I sent six blocks to each of the ladies following their requests for certain colors. I decided I wanted red and white blocks, after seeing the monumental Ruby Jubilee quilt exhibit at last fall’s show. As my blocks came in, I was also receiving many pints of blood and platelets because of my MDS.  The blocks took on a new meaning I hadn’t anticipated as I auditioned them on my design wall. Hence the name for my quilt is “Transfusions.”

transfusions

Transfusions 46″ X 46″

The border is made from some sentiments from cards, emails, letters, and Facebook comments I’ve received over the last several months. I cut and pasted them to sheets of paper and then photo copied the results on fabric. Creating those sections was not unlike doing one of my many scrapbook/memory pages.

corner

Top Left Corner

I machine quilted the small piece. Many years ago, I thought I wanted to learn how to perfect quilting by machine so it was as wonderful as a hand quilted quilt. That went by the wayside after a few years of trying and realizing the tediousness of pulling threads though and quilting without feed dogs. Hopefully, the magnificent machine quilting teachers we have on staff will forgive me for not spending the time to do it right.

Tomorrow I will move into the Hilton as my home away from home for 13 days. For many years I have stayed in the Four Seasons near the George R. Brown Convention Center. I have loved that hotel and have come to know the management and my junior suite. I will miss it. Hopefully, my room at the Hilton will be just as satisfying. I need to be near the Convention Center so I can easily go back to my room to rest, when necessary. The Hilton connects to the GRB. So I won’t be cooking for two weeks, but I know many of you will.

When we married in 1966, every bride received “Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book” as a wedding gift.

book

Betty Crocker Cook Book

Just about anything I wanted to know was in that cookbook, but I used “Dinners for Two” most often. I still use both cook books.

dinners

Dinners for Two

Suzanne, my sister, and I discovered in the Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook a better recipe for Lemon Pie than she had used for decades. So starting in 2012, we both started using the recipe.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Make baked pie shell

For 9″ Pie

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups water

3 egg yolks, slightly beaten (Save the whites for the meringue.)

3 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. grated lemon rind

1/4 cup lemon juice

Use a whisk to stir.

Mix sugar and cornstarch in saucepan. gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute. Slowly stir in egg yolks beating all the time. Boil 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Continue stirring until smooth. Blend in butter, lemon juice and rind. Pour into baked pie shell. Cover with Meringue. Bake. Serve as soon as cool. Do not refrigerate.

I still have a garment to finish, packing to do, laundry, and bills to pay before I leave the house tomorrow morning so I’d best get on with it. Just wanted to say good-bye and Happy Autumn. I know a lot of you are experiencing even cold weather and gorgeous fall foliage now. We are just happy to have our temperatures drop into the 70’s and 80’s. In our household we say, “It’s a California kinda day.” Enjoy your late October wherever you are. You know where I’ll be. Hope to see you, too. Hugs, Judy

autumn

Happy Autumn

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.

Troy

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

jello

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.

jello

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.

brave

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 5 Cocoa Cake

August 22, 2015

Tonight we are going to a Sunday school party at the home of two of our members. We have a fun group of about 25 who gather together to socialize once a month. Our lessons on Sunday mornings are Bible based. Right now, we are studying You Will Get Through This by Max Lucado. Tommy and I always enjoy his books, our class for study and socializing.

Sunday school

Sunday School Party in Our Back Yard

The parties are pot luck. We are taking a dessert, which I will make after I finish this blog post. Even though it’s a Greek theme, I have chosen to make my Chocolate Sheet Cake. This has been a favorite with this group, and it’s easy to make.

My sister, Joanie, gave me this recipe. In San Antonio in the 1960’s, people called  it “Sheath” cake. Did we not understand? No matter. I’m glad I received the recipe from my kind sister, Joanie Olafson McDonald, before she died in a car accident on June 1, 1989. Try not to eat too much of the icing before it’s on the cake. It tastes like yummy fudge.

ingredients

Ingredients for Cake and Frosting

Cake

Sift together in mixing bowl 

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

Put in sauce pan  

4 rounded T cocoa

1 cup water

2 sticks margarine or butter (1 cup)

Bring this to a boil. Pour over sugar mixture. Stir well.

Add  

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup butter milk to which has been added ½ tsp baking soda

Mix well. Pour into well greased and floured 8” X 12” cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 35 minutes.

Ice cake in pan while it is still hot.

Icing

Melt and bring to boil 

1 stick margarine (1/2 cup)

3 rounded tablespoons cocoa

6 tablespoons sweet milk or butter milk (scant ½ cup)

Remove from heat, beat and add

1 box powdered sugar (16 oz.)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup broken (not chopped) pecans

Mix well. Pour over center of cake in pan. It will melt to the sides.

cake

Chocolate Sheet Cake

And now for a lagniappe…a little something extra.

This week was Tommy’s birthday. We celebrated Thursday night by going to a Skeeters game with our daughter and her three children. They came to our house after the game for birthday cake, singing and lots of laughs.

For many years Tommy requested a cake mix for Boston Cream Pie for his birthday. It’s a cake, so I’m not sure why it was called a pie. The cake mix hasn’t been available for a long time. Recently I found a recipe on Pinterest for Boston Cream Poke Cake. It taste just like his old favorite. So I made it for his birthday cake. So here’s your lagniappe…the recipe I used.

Boston Cream Poke Cake

Ingredients

1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist Cake Mix (plus ingredients on box)

2 small boxes (3.4 oz.) Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix

4 cups whole milk

1 container Duncan Hines Classic Chocolate Creamy frosting

Instructions

Prepare cake in 13″ X 9″ pan according to box directions. Let cool in pan.

Use wooden spoon handle to poke many holes evenly across the cake.

Combine milk and pudding mix and whisk until well blended.

Pour pudding over cake making sure it gets down into the holes.

Refrigerate cake for an hour to allow pudding to settle and set up.

Open frosting container and remove foil seal.

Microwave for 15 seconds and stir. Repeat this until frosting is pourable.

Pour over pudding layer and spread with spatula to cover completely.

Refrigerate for at least another hour.

happy

Happy Birthday, Dear Husband

And a Happy Birthday to all of you, my dear friends, whenever your special day arrives. I hope someone makes you a cake. Have a good week until we meet again. Hugs, Judy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 3 Chicken Salad Supreme

August 8, 2015

I love Chicken Salad and order it often when eating out. For many years that’s what I ordered at Victoria Country Club when joining friends for lunch. Now, when Tommy picks-up dinner from Hoggs-N-Chicks in Missouri City, I ask for their Chicken Salad. I also have my own recipe for Chicken Salad.

When our daughter-in-law, Julie Hartman Murrah, was pregnant with Tyler she was put on bed rest while waiting for his arrival. During that time I stayed with her for a few days to watch Madison. I made this Chicken Salad recipe then, and Julie really liked it. Every time I make this recipe, I think of those days. When I left to go home, both Madison and I cried like we would never see each other again. It broke my heart to see her standing at the door crying. I knew then we were forever playmates.

Julie, Tyler, and Madison Murrah 2000

Julie, Tyler and Madison Murrah 2000

Chicken Salad Supreme

Ingredients

1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups cubed cooked chicken

(I use the Easy Bake Chicken Breasts recipe from page 2.)

1 cup seedless red or green grape halves

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup chopped dill pickles

Instructions

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate for one hour. Serve on bed of lettuce with fruit or in a sandwich.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Fifteen years later, the Murrah Four Family is doing well with Madison taking off for Texas A&M later this month, Tyler starting his Sophomore year at Jesuit in Dallas, and Julie and Todd managing their ownership in Wing Stops Restaurants. Madison spent a week with us earlier this summer, and Tyler comes to stay next week. We are so pleased they still enjoy spending some of their summer vacation with us.

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Madison, Tyler, Todd and Julie Murrah on their 2015 Family Summer Vacation.

Hope you are having a special summer. It’s hot as could be expected here in Houston, Texas, in August. The Chicken Salad recipe is a great one to make for the heat of summer. Try it and let me know what you think. I’ll be thinking of you. Hugs, Judy

 

 

 

Saturday’s Simple Recipe Page 1 Banana Nut Bread

July 25, 2015

Rarely have I been known for my talent in the kitchen. For many years I really didn’t like to cook. I’d much rather be in my studio spending time creating something that lasts than spending time in the kitchen making something that is gone 20 minutes after served.

As our children grew, married, moved away, and started families of their own, I hoped they would come home for birthdays and holidays. If I wanted them in our home, I needed to feed them. So cooking something they would look forward to eating became important.

I relied on recipes my mom had cooked for family gatherings and recipes I received from friends. Eventually my children would call and ask me for a particular recipe I had served. Friends began asking for my recipes, too. So Grammy’s Cookbook was created as Christmas gifts for family and friends in 2009.

Grammy's Cookbook

Grammy’s Cookbook

I use this cookbook more than any other I have in my kitchen.  Over the six years since I compiled the first cookbook, I have added a few more recipes and made additions to others. Recently I made a second edition with a new cover to include the children and grandchildren as they have changed. When we get our newest grandson in our home for the first time this cover will be outdated. It will be a while before T will be able to cook with Grammy in the kitchen, but I look forward to it.

In the Kitchen with Grammy

In the Kitchen With Grammy

The cookbook has been fun to compile as it’s a reminder of family, friends, and special occasions in the past. At the top of each recipe I write a little memo about where I got the recipe. Since others have requested my little book of a couple of dozen recipes, I thought you might like them, too. So page 1 of my “special” recipes follows. I’ve compiled them in alphabetical order. If they are easy for me, they will be easy for you. However, I don’t promise they are calorie-free.

Banana Nut Bread Recipe

 This recipe came from Willie Hart, a dear friend. She and I have been Vice Presidents of Quilts, Inc. for many years. She brought some slices of the Banana Nut Bread to me in the airport when we were flying out for a quilt show site inspection. I had other Banana Nut Bread recipes, but never used them again once I received this one from Willie. It’s very moist and tasty.

 Ingredients

½ cup Wesson Oil

¼ cup oleo margarine or butter

2 cups of sugar

4 whole eggs

7-8 ripe bananas

I freeze bananas that are too ripe to eat. Peel them and keep them in a plastic bag in the freezer until you have enough to make Banana Nut Bread. Thaw before mixing. Don’t be alarmed as they will be brown and watery when thawed. They work just fine.

3 cups of flour

2 tsp. soda

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 ½ cups coarsely chopped pecans

1 tsp. vanilla

Instructions

Combine oil, butter, sugar, and bananas. Cream until smooth.

Sift together all dry ingredients. Add to the banana mixture alternating with the eggs.

Add pecans.

Spray 2 loaf pans with Pam. Pour batter into pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours.

Remove from pans when cool. Keep one for yourself and give the other away. You’ll make someone very happy.

My Friend, Willie, and me

My Friend, Willie, and me

Hope you’ll try this recipe from Willie. If you do, let me hear from you. I’ll post page 2 from my recipe book next Saturday. Until then, I hope you have a great week. Hugs and kisses, Judy

 

 

And Baby T. Murrah Makes Fourteen

June 13, 2015

Family gatherings have always been important to Tommy and me. Our parents were fortunate that all of their children chose to live in Texas after they married and started their own families. Until my mother went into an assisted living facility she always had Thanksgiving at her home in San Antonio. We had as many as 38 people sit down to dinner in her home. We spent every Christmas Eve with my mother and Christmas Day was spent at Tommy’s parents’ home with his sister and family. It was a family tradition.

Christmas Day at Murrah's Home

Christmas Day at Murrah’s Home

We try to get our children and their families together at Christmas time at least for a few days. Most years, like the last two, we have had everyone in our home together for our family Christmas. We play card games, look at old family photos, have traditional turkey dinner lunch, tamales and chili another night,  put together the Christmas toys, play baseball in the backyard, reminisce about years gone by, etc. These are my happiest days all year-long. Last year was especially exciting with the anticipation of a new baby in the family. Troy and Michelle were expecting their first child in late May 2015. Ashton was our last baby, and he was soon to be 7 years old. So we were all ready for another baby.

Murrah Family 13 Strong

Murrah Family 13 Strong

Troy and Michelle live in Long Beach, California, so we had to rely on pictures, texts and emails letting us know about their baby to come. We started a group text with our family members when Troy was ready to take Michelle to the hospital on her due date.

Michelle Ready for Hospital

Michelle Ready for Hospital

We all waited for any kind of word or any pictures of Baby T. It was difficult not to be there as Tommy and I have been present at the birth of all of our other five grandchildren. Finally the word came that Michelle had delivered an 8 lb. 4 oz., 20″ long baby boy on June 1. She is only 5 feet tall so this was a big baby for her to carry and deliver.

Baby T. Is Here

Baby T. Is Here

Soon more pictures started coming in. We all wished we could actually be there in California and share in the joy of Troy’s first-born. He’s 40 years old so he’s waited a long time to hold a son in his arms. Thank you, Michelle.

Our First Glimpse of the New Murrah Family

Our First Glimpse of the New Murrah Family

It seemed like an impossibility for me to travel to California at this time as I was in my second cycle of chemo treatment for MDS. I was taking chemo by tablet, but under the supervision of hospital staff. I thought I’d have to be at MD Anderson for six days straight as I had been for the first cycle. Surprisingly, on day 3 I found out that the last three days of the cycle I could take the tablets on my own. I was free from the hospital Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I started scheming. Holly, our daughter, said to count her in. So Tommy made hotel reservations and Holly flight reservations so we could fly to LA on Saturday morning, June 6, and get back home again at midnight on Monday, June 8. It was our little window of time. It wasn’t much time, but we wanted to be with our son, Michelle and Baby.

Our First Picture of Troy with Baby T.

Our First Picture of Troy with His Son

We thought we’d get to see the little family at their home in Long Beach, but then learned the baby wasn’t going to be released from the hospital for 5 days. Michelle had a fever during labor and as a precaution, they wanted to keep the baby in the hospital and give him antibiotics. He wouldn’t come home from the hospital until the day we were leaving. Troy asked us to please come out any way. So we did. How could we not see this little guy as a new-born?

Sweet Little Features

Sweet Little Features

T. was in ICU so only one of us could go in to see him at a time with either Troy or Michelle. Troy took me in first. I held him for an hour taking in all his precious features. Life was so good. Such happiness and love overwhelmed me. I wanted to take that feeling back to Texas with me. Our time with him was so short.

Such a Precious Time

Such a Precious Time

We set-up our own little area in the waiting room near a wall of windows anxiously waiting for the next chance to see and hold the baby. We played cards, read, talked, ate, walked around one at a time, etc. We didn’t want to miss any opportunity to have our turn with Baby T.

Waiting

Waiting Our Turn

Over those two days we each got a couple of turns to hold the baby.

Tommy

Tommy Gets a Turn

holly

Holly’s Turn

Our third and last day to be in California was the day T. was to go home. As the time went by, we didn’t think we would be able to see Troy and Michelle take their baby home. We had to be at the airport at 6:00 that evening. As we waited in the waiting room, Michelle and Troy did what was necessary to get their baby checked out of the hospital. It was 3:30. We’d just have a little bit of time to be with them at their home. It was an exciting time bringing baby home, and we were there.

Michelle, Troy, and T. in front of their Long Beach House

Michelle, Troy, and T. in front of their Long Beach House

Michelle and Troy could hold their baby without any monitors or IV’s attached. Michelle was so happy to have her baby home. Sweet Mommy and baby.

home

Michelle and Baby T at Home

Shortly after we got home, Michelle’s mom and dad and brothers, sister-in-laws and nephews arrived. It was a busy welcome home for T.

grandparents

Grandparents with the 3 Family Murrahs

I held T. until the last possible second. With tears and good-byes, I had to hand him off to Michelle’s mom. I will hold his precious face and gentle soul in my heart until we meet again.

bye

Bye-bye Baby

We hope they will come to our home in Houston for Christmas 2015. Then we will have 14 Murrah family. Oh, happiest of days for Grammy and Granddaddy.

 

 

A Christmas Home Tour From Our Home to Yours

December 18, 2014
From Our Home to Yours

From Our Home to Yours

Since the first year my husband and I married, I have decorated for Christmas. Like most newlyweds in 1966, we were barely into our twenties and lived in a one-bedroom apartment.

I grew-up with a Daddy who loved Christmas as much as I do and was the chief decorator. He made a big production of buying our live tree and letting it set in water in the garage until the limbs had opened sufficiently. Then he’d untangle all those big, colorful bulbs and test them all until he had many brightly lit strings of lights to put on the tree. Naturally I assumed all husbands came equipped this same way.

I think that December 1966 was a rude awakening for this 23 year-old woman. My new husband did not have a clue how to properly put lights on a tree or how to prepare them before starting the task. And further more he really wasn’t interested. As our family grew it became a family tradition to decorate the tree together. We eventually bought an artificial tree with lights attached.

Fast forward many years and now my husband has assumed the task of getting the tree out and up and decorated. I hang a few ornaments here and there, but he meticulously decorates for days before it’s complete. I add the finishing touches and eventually all the empty ornament boxes go back to the attic. I love the Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree 2014

Christmas Tree 2014

And this year my husband bought a taller ladder so he could put an additional lighted tree on the inside ledge above our front door. He was determined to get it up there and positioned without calling an electrician to finish the job. He loves our house decorated and prepared for the kids to come home for Christmas as much as I do.

Tree Above Front Door

Tree Above Front Door

We did manage to get that first tree together and place a small, pretty angel at the top. She graced our tree through the birth of three children and through their college graduations. We retired her to a lower branch on the tree when we added a much larger and colorful angel. We still love our first tree top angel. We wouldn’t have Christmas without her on our tree.

Our First Christmas Angel

Our First Tree Top Christmas Angel

When I was 12 years old I received my last doll for Christmas. She was a Madam Alexander Crissy doll. I spotted her in the department store with my little brother on a Friday night. My mom and daddy were grocery shopping next door, and I could hardly wait to show them this glamorous doll. She was expensive for our family, and I wished with all my heart for her. I also had an older brother and two older sisters who were married with children. When I looked for the doll the next Friday night, she was gone. I was one sad little girl. I still wished and hoped for her.

On Christmas Eve, when we gathered around the Olafson Christmas tree, I spotted her red high heel shoes hanging on our Christmas tree. Can you imagine my excitement? My daddy made me wait until all the gifts were opened before he’d let me have those shoes. Then I had to follow a map he had created to find the doll that went with the shoes. My daddy died when he was only 51 years old, so this memory is very special to me. I still have the doll, and her shoes grace our tree every Christmas.

Crissy's Red High Heels

Crissy’s Red High Heels

For several years our dear, sweet friend Claudia Joines, came from Victoria for a couple of days to help us decorate for Christmas. She worked for an independent furniture store there where we bought a lot of items for our home. Claudia knew how to place everything in just the right spot. Sadly she died three years ago, and we weren’t sure how we could even get into the Christmas spirit without Claudia to bring in the season with us. We still miss her all through the year.

Judy and Claudia Decorating

Judy and Claudia decorating 2011

Thankfully, Kim DeCoste, my assistant at Quilts, Inc., came to the rescue as he often does. Now each year he comes for a day to work with us. He starts with the banister at the front entrance following exactly what Claudia had done when she was here. We are so grateful to Kim.

Welcome. Please Come in.

Welcome. Please Come in.

From the front entrance, Kim  goes to the dining room and decorates the light fixture over the table.  My joy is setting and dressing the table in a slightly different way each year. This year I extended the table so all 13 of us can sit at the same table. No one wants to be at the “kids’ table” any longer. Note the “poppers” at each place setting. Before we start eating our Christmas dinner everyone pops theirs simultaneously and then wears their paper crown throughout dinner.

Christmas Table set for 13

Christmas Table set for 13

We also do “poppers” at our Christmas Eve Day “children only” tea in the kitchen also. I started that tradition when our 17-year-old granddaughter was a year old to teach her tea manners. When her little brother came along, he wanted to join us because he liked the sugar cubes and other fancy treats. Now we have five grandchildren who participate. Next year we’ll have six. Oh, happy day!

Kim places decorative poinsettia and gold pine cones on top of the breakfront and the Spode Tea set on the lower shelf.

Breakfront Decorated

Breakfront in Dining Room

He decorates the buffet and mirror.

Buffet in Dining Room

Buffet in Dining Room

He places the Italian Crèche on top of my Mom’s china cabinet exactly as Claudia had done. Fortunately, we have photos to follow that we took when Claudia decorated. Each year, Tommy and I take pictures of all the vignettes around the house to follow for the next year. Some have stayed just as they were the last time Claudia decorated, but some have changes as I have retired many items and added some new.

Creche on Mom's China Cabinet

Crèche on Mom’s China Cabinet

We also decorate the living room, den, kitchen, great room upstairs and backyard. Following are some random shots of some highlights. It takes me the better part of a week to get everything the way I want it. Tweaking and handling special memories is my favorite part of Christmas decorating. So many things are gifts from friends which some they have made. You’ll note a repeating theme throughout of family pictures over the years, stockings, quilts, and nativity scenes.

Come on a little bird’s-eye tour. When we finish we’ll have sugar cookies and wassail which I make every Christmas. Just call me Martha Stewart.

Table in Entranceway

Table in Entryway

Corner Table in Living Room

Corner Table in Living Room

Washstand in Living Room

Washstand in Living Room

Pewter Creche in Living Room

Pewter Crèche in Living Room on Pie Safe

Coffee table in Living Room Waterford Creche

Coffee Table in Living Room Waterford Crèche

Entranceway to Den

Entry way Leads to Den

Thirteen Stockings Hanging with a tiny 14th one

Thirteen Stockings Hanging in Den

Bookcase Next to Mantel

Bookcase Next to Mantel

Den Coffee Table

Den Coffee Table

Wooden Santas Behind Sofa

Wooden Santas Behind Sofa

Table Next to Sofa

Table Next to Sofa

Toys at Window in Den

Toys at Window in Den

den

A Corner in the Den

Chilren's Desk in Den

Children’s Desk in Den which leads to Kitchen

In the Kitchen Island

In the Kitchen Island

Jim Shoar Creche at Kitchen Sink

Jim Shoar Crèche at Kitchen Sink

Butler's Pantry from Kitchen to Dining Room

Butler’s Pantry from Kitchen to Dining Room

Six years ago I made a recipe book of things I have made over the years that are family favorites. This year I  revised it with additional recipes the kids request and a new, updated cover. I have given you the recipe for the Sugar Cookies and Wassail I make each Christmas season.

Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours

Family Favorites

Recipe Book of Our Family Favorites

Grammy’s Sugar Cookies

I make these cookies at least every Valentine’s Day and Christmas season. Our grandchildren love to participate, but it takes lots of time with their help.

This recipe is the one most people ask me to give to them. I got the recipe with some Tupperware cookie cutters when Tommy was a Lieutenant in the Army. We were stationed in Joliet, Illinois at the Army Ammunition Plant during the Viet Nam War. Lucky us he stayed at APSA for his whole tour of duty. Todd was born during this time…1967-1969.

Ingredients

Cream together:    1 cup margarine or butter

2 cups sugar

Blend in:                 2 whole eggs

Sift together and add to mixture:

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

4 C. flour

Add to mixture:    1 tablespoon vanilla

Instructions

Do not refrigerate. Divide into 3-4 balls. Roll one ball at a time. Use left-over dough from each rolling all together for last ball.

Roll out 1/8” thick on floured pastry cloth using a floured sock on rolling-pin. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool on waxed paper.

Hot Wassail

I received this recipe in 1982 from the wife of the man Tommy replaced at First Victoria National Bank in Victoria. She served it to us in their home the first Christmas we were there. I’ve made it multiple times each Christmas since then. My son-in-law makes a joke about me offering it to everyone who comes in the house during the Christmas season. “Would you like some hot wassail?”

Ingredients

1 gallon apple cider

1 quart ginger ale

1 8 oz. package of cinnamon candies

8 cinnamon sticks

8 whole cloves

Instructions

Pour liquid into bottom of electric coffee maker. Combine remaining ingredients in the top basket.

Perk until ready.

Makes 30 cups.

wassail

Hot Wassail and Sugar Cookies for You

 

 


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