2013 Through Family, Friends, And Food - Put the Kettle on.... Blog at Allrecipes.com - 318483

Put the Kettle on....

2013 through Family, Friends, and Food 
Dec. 27, 2013 5:52 am 
Updated: Jan. 4, 2014 5:44 pm

I like to take a little time and look back on the year that is coming to an end. I like to think of it as not something that has ended, but that I have reached a new beginning. This past year was a fairly decent year; we had some sad times - my father-in-law's passing the end of April after a battle with cancer being the biggest blow.  We also had many good times spent with family and friends filled with much laughter. 

I made a resolution last year to spend more time in my kitchen.  The year prior I had started to notice I was spending less and less time there, and my kitchen is a happy place for me.  I needed to get back to that place.  I feel I accomplished that goal!  In fact I spent so much time there that my oven blew up!  :)  I got a new oven in October.  It entered my kitchen as a stranger, but already it is a friend.  I have only one complaint about this new friend - one of its features was the "new" aqua-lift technology cleaning feature.  I was assured that this oven would come clean in so much shorter of a time and with such ease.  I feel I was greatly misled.  I don't consider this feature to be a self-cleaning feature.  It sounds simple enough; pour 2 cups of water (purified) into the bottom of the oven and set to clean.  Forty minutes later the buzzer sounds and then the real work begins.  First you have to soak up all the excess water (about 2 cups) with a sponge.  Then I squirt a little of the cleaner used to clean the glass top and start scrubbing with a scotch brite pad.  The directions caution you to not let any spill remain in your oven as it will then bake on and not come off as easily.  After the first time I had to practically stand on my head to clean a small spill from something I had baked, I will never allow a spill to sit - it was almost impossible to get that spill out and I cleaned it immediately!  I guess you could say my new friend is a "dirty little friend"; or at least wants to be - but I won't let it.

I tried some new recipes this past year and most of them were well worth it.  My favorite one is the turtle cheesecake.  I've made it twice and it came out perfectly both times. 

I had to work as a server one night at the restaurant.  I learned that night that I am not cut out for that sort of work and I will try to avoid it from here on out.  In the summer we have a car cruise-in with a DJ at the restaurant.  Our DJ, Mike, was diagnosed with ALS in April.  His doctors have said he is one of the fastest progressing cases they have ever seen.  In June we noticed there was something not quite right with him.  By August he could hardly walk or talk.  We held a benefit night for him to help him and his family with some of his medical costs.  While we were in the planning stages of that, we met and talked with another DJ who we will have run our shows next summer.  He did not know Mike, but he called us and said he'd like to put together a car show benefit for Mike.  This man put out notice he was going to volunteer his DJ services and have a show to honor Mike.  In less than a week he got the word out to everyone and it was amazing to see this "car community" come together.  They were able to raise over $500 just from the car crowd that came to the show!   Then, a few weeks later we hosted our benefit in the restaurant.  We were donating 25% of our sales between 5-9 pm to his family.  The place was packed and our help was needed.  We put our son-in-law in the kitchen running the dishwasher; daughter, hubby and myself got to work clearing tables and bringing chips and salsa and drinks to the customers.  I don't know how people can do that work for hours on end.  I did it for four hours and was totally exhausted!   It was well worth it, though, as we were able to donate over $700 to his family. 

My son got to come home for a nice visit in July.  He was here for 10 days and those 10 days were some of my happiest of the year!  To have the family together day after day was pure heaven.  The day he left it was a rainy, cloudy day - exactly how I felt inside.  He pulled out of the driveway in his big truck, packed to the gills with all of the stuff he did not take with him when he left originally; including Paulie the Iguana.  Paulie traveled 1500 miles and it didn't seem to bother him at all.  He has adjusted nicely to his new home with Steve.  Sometimes I miss having that ol' lizard around.  I'm looking forward to this summer when we make the trek to South Dakota to see him.  I am so thankful we have cell phones, texting, Facebook, and all the other modern communication technologies.  At least it's easy to keep in touch.

My daughter and son-in-law are in the process of purchasing a home.  Right around the corner from me - about a half mile away!  It will be so nice to have them close by - not that they're that far now. 

We had some fun times with friends this year as well.  We managed to visit a number of wineries, breweries, and a few of our favorite restaurants.  It's so nice to share these places with friends and family. 

All in all - I have to say that if 2014 can be just as good as 2013 than it will be a pretty decent year.  My prayer for the upcoming year is to keep my family and friends healthy and safe.  Please give us time to spend together to share a laugh or two.  I want to keep in mind that every day should be treated as a blessing as if it were Christmas.  There is no reason that we should only think of kindness, togetherness, and well-being to fellow mankind on just one day a year.  In closing - I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy and Healthy New Year filled with time enjoyed with family, friends, and good food!

Dec. 27, 2013 8:35 am
Wonderful blog - great sentiments - and insight! Thanks for your writing and allowing us to be a part of your family through it. Merry Christmas - Happy New Year - God Bless Mother & Gran Ann!
Dec. 27, 2013 9:30 am
I echo what luv2cook said. I always enjoy reading your blogs.
Dec. 27, 2013 10:19 am
luv2cook and Paula - Thank you! I'm glad you've enjoyed reading my writings.
Dec. 27, 2013 10:29 am
Hello, Mother Ann, I was thinking of getting a new oven with the aqua cleaning feature. Now I am not so sure. I just do what you do, clean up the spills as I go. Then, I use easy off oven spray when the glass door and racks get yucky. I hope you get to see Steve sometime. It is hard when your kids move out. Happy New Year Mother Ann.
Dec. 27, 2013 12:54 pm
have a great year ma! life is better when you are helping someone else. you have a good heart!
Dec. 27, 2013 2:08 pm
Lela, my old oven was a self-cleaning. A real self-cleaning oven. The kind where you set the time to how long you want it to clean and then when it's finished the oven is clean. I just had to wipe out a small pile of ash with a damp paper cloth. This new aqua-lift deal is awful. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. We plan to go visit Steve in July. It is hard, but when they move out they're doing just what we raised them to do - be responsible young adults.
Dec. 27, 2013 2:09 pm
gderr - you have a great year, too! :)
Dec. 27, 2013 9:24 pm
Great blog. Happy New Year Mother Ann!
Dec. 28, 2013 2:28 pm
Mother Ann, I know what you mean. We have a daughter that moved to Vancouver B.C. right across the country. She is starting her own Christmas Traditions which is what she should be doing, but we miss her. We talk often, and we do visit and that is nice. On the bright side we have another daughter that lives about 20 min. away and she is a joy. Thank you for sharing your life, always a pleasure reading your blogs. Have a wonderful New Year, all the best to you.
Dec. 30, 2013 8:49 am
Happy New Year ! Wishing you a great 2014 !
Dec. 30, 2013 6:41 pm
Thank you for taking the time to write - though I just hate to hear what's happening to Mike. The new DJ is a prince, as are you & your family for caring for Mike & his family during this terrible time. Makes me stop & count my blessings! I look forward to reading more updates in the future - Happy New Year for now, though!
Jan. 2, 2014 4:44 pm
Happy New Year MA! Nice recap of your year... especially the part of having the boy home for 10 days! Best wishes for the new year!!!
Jan. 4, 2014 5:44 pm
Happy New Year to all of you! I was gone for a week and just got back to "civilization" with internet. :)
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Mother Ann

Home Town
Streetsboro, Ohio, USA
Living In
Ravenna, Ohio, USA

Member Since
Oct. 2009

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Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Dessert

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About Me
I've been married for 32 years, and live in Ohio. We have a daughter who is married and lives nearby. Our son graduated from college and moved to South Dakota. He has his own place but still goes to visit my sister and brother-in-law and have dinner with them occasionally. We have a black lab that gets to go duck hunting with dad, 2 cats, 2 cockatiels. We own a Mexican restaurant and are learning alot about the food industry. I love to eat, go camping, read, spend time with family and friends, watch movies, and drink wine; not necessarily in that order.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake - anything chocolate is fine with me. Seafood, chicken dishes and slow-cooker fare.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My husband and I enjoy cooking together with wine. We pop open a bottle of wine and get cooking. :-)
My cooking triumphs
Whenever I can put together a meal that gets many compliments and leaves the diners satisfied is a triumph in my book! I love to cook meals for family and friends.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married we had my grandparent's-in-law over for a pot roast dinner. The meat came out great, but the potatoes and carrots were still half raw. My husband's grandfather went to cut his fork into a carrot and it flew off his plate. He looked at me, winked, and said he loved his carrots that way!
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