Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fire Starters

This sounds like a horror flick.  Never fear, it was my project this afternoon—with some help from Dan.  Our family hasn’t had Christmas yet, so I’m giving away one of the gifts.

I’ve been on somewhat of an organizational spree since I retired.  (There would be some that would say I have a long ways to go and I agree.)  Anyway, I cleaned out a candle storage cabinet earlier this fall and put all old unsightly, no longer odorous candles in a box thinking there had to be some project for them.

It came to me when we were cleaning up pine cones—melt the old candles and dip pinecones for fireplace fire starters.  Here is the result:

IMG_4896  First thing, I went to the internet and found instructions.  Mainly, melt the candles in a tin coffee size can in boiling water.  Wax is volatile and the double boiler is the safest way to handle it.  Then start dipping.  We quickly decided they needed two coats, which involved me grabbing a rather old candle from the living room for additional wax.  The instructions said you can add chemicals so they will look pretty when they burn but something about mixing chemicals with fire didn’t sound good to me when there are little kids around. 

It helped that we did the project on the enclosed porch.  It was about 45 degrees and that helped the wax to cool quickly so the project went fairly fast.

I tried one and they do work pretty good.  Basically, they are a sort of candle with the pine cone being the wick.  Once they start burning, they continue right along for longer than I thought they might. 

I’ll have to watch for old candles at garage sales for next year.  My sister-in-law, Ruth used to make beautiful candles. She doesn’t do much anymore because of the price of wax.  Sounds like used candles are the way to go.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quiet Christmas Eve

As I write this, the wind is whipping snow about.  The light of the barn shows that it is still coming down.  We sat by the fire all evening.  They canceled the Christmas Eve service.  I’m not sure there were any services in the area.  There was a trailer across the bottom of the television announcing closures the whole time we had it on.

We planned on a visit with Mom at Chapman in the morning.  I received an email from my brother there saying they had a foot of snow.  I think we’ll postpone that trip also.  It might be a quiet Christmas Day as well.  Our Colorado family is coming home—if the weather is this bad in western Kansas, it might be a bit later than they thought.

I remember one other Christmas Eve like this.  I was driving a diesel Volkswagen Rabbit to deliver mail.  It was snowing and so cold, the fuel jelled up.  I had to borrow a car to finish the route.  We stayed at home that Christmas too.  It seems sometimes the Christmas’s that are most memorable are the ones where there are no plans.  I wouldn’t want it like that every year, though. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Love those Christmas Notes

I love Christmas notes.  I received several on the computer that are particularly unique.  Even though I resisted at first, I’ve become more accepting of this form of communication.  Some friends have never had a mail delivery address, just email.   

A fellow Chapman Class ‘64 classmate, Carol Lindahl sent a particularly funny email Christmas note which included a recipe for Eggplant Soup with Parmesan Cream.  It included inserts about her odyssey in making it.  Very funny and unique, not to mention a must try soup recipe.

Just today, I opened an email from our friend Aubrey who wished us a Merry Christmas as she visited her parents’ home in Idaho,

I am currently sitting in front of a big window in front of the Snake River at my parents farm watching the geese and ducks swim around. Sage brush mountains are in the background look dry and stark. It is so windy here in the lower regions of Idaho and the skies at night are full of stars- I forget how big the sky is here.  Also, the mountains, oh the mountains...I so missed them!”

Still, as you might imagine having worked in mail delivery for so long, I have a  place in my heart for opening the mailbox and finding cards.  We’ve received lots of pictures and some truly beautiful cards.  I don’t care what anyone says, I love the newsletters.  It is the only way we keep up with some friends and family.  I put all our cards on a big bulletin board near the kitchen.  They will stay there until spring. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

A really good raisin recipe....really!

This is one of those discolored, ingredient marked up recipe cards. I wish I would have dated it, but I can tell by the typewriter that it is probably a 70's time period. My friend Scarlett gave me this recipe, therefore it will always be hers. I feel we should always put our name on shared recipes. It is a little piece of our history passed on for others.

I was going through my cards looking for Holiday favorites recently. I found several belonging to people I worked with many years ago (about 40 to be exact). When I saw their name connected with the particular recipe, it brought back fond memories. I have many of my Mom's recipes in her own writing. Maybe we'll get those out during the Holidays and share.

Raisin Mumbles

2 1/2 cup seedless raisins (Craisins make an excellent Holiday substitute
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tabl. cornstarch
3/4 cup water
3 Tabl. lemon juice
Combine ingredients and cook over low heat until thickened (about 5 min)
stirring constantly. Cool

Crumb mixture
3/4 cup soft butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 teas. salt
1/2 teas. soda
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
Mix butter with sugar and mix in dry ingred--adding oats last. Press half of crumb mixture in 12/9/2 pan. Spread filling and top with remaining crumbs. Bake 20-30 min. in 375 oven. (I bake less--important not to over bake)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

At the Berryton Post Office, I’m gone but not forgotten

I know that because we had a Berryton PO Holiday Open House with food and everyone who didn’t have a conflict came.  There is always the question whether it is the food or me!

I served a large roasted pork tenderloin sliced for sandwiches, cheese, and condiments.  At the recommendation of a friend who caters, Apple Salad, Hot Spinach Dip and chips.   Carole brought a southwest type dip to try out on us and Jean, pizza.  Others shared goodies that customers had left in mailboxes along with my Peanut Butter Bars and Raisin Mumbles (I’ll share recipe later).

It was a fun evening, and we enjoyed the visit.  They are all friends and we banter like family.  I definitely don’t miss the Holiday mail delivery work, though.  Everyone thinks it is exceptional this year—perhaps a sign the economy is on an upward turn.