Archive for December, 2006

Happy New Year 2007!

December 31, 2006

Here is wishing you a very blessed, happy, and prosperous 2007!!!!   We hope to see ya’all real soon! 

A Real Piece of Americana

December 31, 2006

On Thursday we closed on a nice piece of land and a barn.


It really didn’t mean too much to me, but I would rather have it than have some one come and develop it or something since it is adjoining our land.  I had been in the barn before and it was just full of junk!  All I could see was spending a lot of time cleaning it out and many trips to the dump. 


The next two days after we closed, Joe went over there with the tractor.  When I drove by the first day it looked better around the barn to me.  On Saturday I walked over to it and found that Joe had made a wonderful path with the tractor that was right near the creek.  This was an added bonus because the grass (or whatever it is now) is up to my shoulders,  it looked like walking along the road, which happens to be a highway was the was I had to go.  Joe also cleared a few spots to the creek.  I was in my glory as I briskly walked over to the barn to take pictures with my new found knowledge. 

The neighbor across the street told Joe that there had been an auction at this place and people came from all over to get a piece of the old barn, a hinge, a screw, a scrap of wood, etc.  Years ago people traveling through the area would stop at this barn to get their picture taken in front of it.  I couldn’t believe it.  What was the big attraction?


As you can see, it is a “See Rock City” barn.  There is quite a little history to this. I did a websearch and found that this attraction is the advertising of Rock City, a tourest attraction in Chattanooga, TN.  It seems that one man painted  about 900 barns between 1936 and 1969.  We have one of those barns.  We are hoping to resore the painting.   I have ordered a book all about these barns and hope that ours is in there.   Also, when I opened the door and went in, it was pretty clear!  The real estate person had people come in and clear it all out just before we bought it!  What a lovely piece of history it is.  We are delighted to have it.

This Week…

December 31, 2006

Well, where have we been?  Tom and Tarin (my brother and neice) came to town.  They got here late Tuesday night, so we all went over on Wednesday morning for Mickey Mouse waffles.  The children were so excited to see their favorite female cousin again.  It had been since last January that they saw her.    After breakfast there were presents to be opened.   (THANK YOU Mary Lou & the Als!!!!  and THANK YOU Lee, Carolann, Lee Jr., & Dale!!!!) 

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There were lots of games to play once the presents were opened.   We left there in the early afternoon.   



The photo above shows Tom hiding MaryEllen during a hide and seek game. 

On Thursday morning it was back to their house.  The children had breakfast while Joe and I went off to close on our new 7.75 acres adjoining our land.  We were thrilled to be able to purchase this land.  (More about that later!)  We went back to Tom’s and found the children playing games again.  Then most went out to play more football.  Everyone had a great time, except for Charlotte who was tired and having a fit.  That being said I, you’ll know why I  din’t  get any football pictures. 

On Friday it was all work at Uncle Tom’s, but the boys wanted to go anyway.  So I dropped them off for a few hours.  I made some Cilantro Corn chowder for the babysitters who were coming that evening, our good friends Greg and Dian.   I picked the boys up and proceeded to tell them exactly what chores they were to do the minute they got into the house.  James response was a whiny, “I’m sick of doing work.”

 That evening Tom, Tarin, Joe, & I went to the Grand Ole Opry.  I was there when I was in 2nd grade, but don’t remember much.  We all had a good time!  It was a late night, but we sure enjoyed ourselves.  When we got home around 12:30 am, John was still awake!  It was probably the latest he has stayed up ever. 

 On Saturday we took Tarin to 5:30 Mass since they were leaving for New Jersey early on Sunday monring.    We all hate to see them go!  We hope you all had a lovely week.

Christina Pirello’s Chickenless Chicken Salad

December 27, 2006

This recipe is such a hit with everyone.  People always ask me for this so here it is.  Hopefully I will never have to type it again!  (I apologize to those of you who were expecting pictures.  For some reason the software for my new camera will not install on my computer.  So, Santa’s plan backfired.  I still have to bug him for my pictures!)

Chickenless Chicken Salad

-1-pound extra-firm brick tofu
-Soy sauce
-Sping or filtered Water
-3 celery stalks, diced
-1 small red onion, diced
-1 red bell pepper, roasted over an open flame, peeled, seeded, and diced
-1/2 teaspoon EACH basil, sage, rosemary, and oregano
-2 teaspoons paprika
-1 to 1 1/2 cups Tofu Mayo

Preheat over to 40F. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Cut tofu into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place slices in a shallow dish and cover with a mixture of 1 part soy sauce to 4 parts water. Allow tofu to marinate 10 minutes. Place tofu slices on oiled baking sheet and back 30 to 35 minutes or until deep, golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Remove tofu slices from oven and allow to cool until you can handle them. Then, shred the tofu slices with a sharp knife, creating irregular, angular pieces similar to shredded chicken. Mix with vegetables, spices, and Tofu Mayo until ingredients are coated. Chill thoroughly before serving. Makes 4 servings.
VARIATION Broil tofu for a few minutes rather than baking it.**********

Tofu Mayo

-8 ounces firm tofu
-2 to 3 tablespoons stone-ground mustard or to taste
-2 to 3 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar or to taste
-1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
-Sea salt
-Juice of 1 lemon
-3 to 4 tablespoons corn oil

Bring a small post of water to a boil over medium heat. Add tofu nad cook 5 minutes. Drain well.

Transfer tofu to a food processor or blender. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth and creamy. Makes about 1 1/4 cups****

My notes…..
-I don’t roast the red pepper. I use fresh.
-I have made the tofu mayo and it is good. I have also used Naysoya brand Nayonaise and Veganaise. They are both just as yummy in this recipe.

Christmas Pictures

December 25, 2006

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The children with Fr. Richard G. Buchignani whom we are so blessed to have as our Pastor at Sacred Heart church.


Kevin in his foot ball attire, the pants and padding are new and he borrowed John’s football helmet that John decorated as a Titan


The children on Christmas morning opening gifts.  Charlotte slept in.  I wish she would sleep that well at night!


MaryEllen and Charlotte with baby Jesus.

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2006

We have had a lovely Christmas so far.  Santa Claus came and brought new bikes for James and MaryEllen, dolls for the girls, and football uniform stuff for the boys.  For Daddy he brought some nice country/farmer shirts and some chocolate bars.  For mother he brought a digital camera.  He must have gotten tired of me bugging him for pictures (not to mention that he doesn’t want me using his!)  So, as soon as I figure out how to get the pictures from the camera to the computer I’ll post some here.

We went to 10:30 am Mass where John and Kevin served.   It was beautiful and simple. 

We came home and had a lovely dinner of spicy salmon, salad, broccoli, split pea soup, and rolls!  Yum!  After dinner we had sparkling grape juice.  The children have also been eating “shotgun bullets” all day.  In case you are wondering, they are a licorice type candy (no sugar and no dairy, of course!) that are shaped kind of like the barrel of a gun.  For some reason the children started calling them shotgun bullets.

While the children were drinking their bubbly Joe and I were in the kitchen.  John said, “A toast!  To Mary for saying yes to the Holy Spirit and having Jesus.”  Ahh, they really do know the true meaning  of Christmas!

 Now it is almost 4 and John is eagerly awaiting the Philadelphia Eagles game, you know that one that we have been hearing about ALL WEEK!

Pressing Questions

December 23, 2006

This morning we were about to go out to see if we could find a Christmas tree at this late date.  I was going running around in my room getting my clothes together to put on.  James was following me. 

Mom:  “What’s up, James?”

James:  “I have a questions I want to ask you.”

Mom:  “What is it?”

James:  “Are you wearing underwear right now?”

Christmas Confessions

December 22, 2006

Around here we use 2 forms of punishment.  (Thank you Dr. Ray!)  We use corner time and essays.  Last year before Kevin made his First Confession, he used his punishment essays as a sort of confess all.  I was reading through one of these essays and came across the following line.  “I am sorry that I picked my nose and put the bugger on the Christmas tree.”   When I told one of my sisters about this she asked why he didn’t just eat it like everyone else!

What’s for breakfast…

December 21, 2006

After the stomach bug went through all the boys yesterday, they seem to be better today. 

 This morning for breakfast we had a Pumpkin Smoothie. Everyone was able to keep it down. Yeah!

Pumpkin Smoothie
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups soy milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
(ice optional, we didn’t use that today!)

Blend until smooth. We love our VitaMix for these things.

A Wonderful Christmas Gift

December 20, 2006

My huband has a cousin who is a nun, Sr. Mary Vogel, HSSR.   Her birth name is Charlotte Mary, so she has a special spot in her heart for our little Charlotte Mary.  Every once in a while we’ll get a little package from her for Valentine’s day or somthing like that with lollie pops or some treat for the children.  One special treat was the year 2000.  She said all her father wanted for Christmas was a picture of her.  We were all blessed to recieve a copy.  My husband has not seen her in 40 or so years and I have never met her in person, so it was wonderful to see what she looks like.  In the picture there is Fr. David Verhalen (age 72), Sr. Mary (age 60) and Fr. Denis Walsh (age 65).


 When a package arrived a few days ago there was much excitement.  In it was a little gift for Charlotte.  When she opened it and saw the bear she smiled.  She was sick that day so a smile was a very big deal.   There was a tin full of candy canes that we’ll hang on the tree and a DVD set of “The Gospel of John” movie.  Then there was a gold Christmas ball for the tree.  It is called “Memories Forever” and it is a recordable talking ornament.  There is a picture of Sr. Mary on it.  You slide a button on the bottom of the ornament  over to “play,” push the top and there is Sr. Mary’s voice telling us she thought she would come hang out on our Christmas tree and pray by our crib and that she loves us all.  We have all really enjoyed hearing her voice.  God bless you, Sr. Mary and we hope to meet you in person one day soon.  We love you, too.