Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bon Appetit Chez Dave

Tonight my sisters and I watched the movie, Julie and Julia. We loved it! The movie reminded me of my gourmet friends.

My friend, Michele, before 9-11, used to take her large chef's knife with her when she traveled because she loved to cook and never knew when and where there might be some chopping, slicing, or dicing opportunities. She was good and she was wickedly fast!

The passionate love of fine food and preparing and handling the food is foreign to me but romantic. I can't quite grasp it. Happily for me, I have friends that do get it and who on occasion encourage me to pleasure my palate by introducing me and educating me to the very best cuisine. Such was one experience recently.

It started with this beautiful couple and their stunning and elegant wedding. I told your that this subject is romantic.

And I must show you the Maid of Honor, gorgeous Rachel, (yes, who owns a horse,) because then you can observe the black and white with red accent color theme because this is about presentation as well as taste.

The colors were also carried out by Missy's Aunt Nancy and Aunt MaryBeth's attire as they sang a sweet duet.

Because I had a small part in helping with the wedding, my hubby and I received this invitation from the parents of the bride (gourmet chef and chief helper) and the brand new couple (striking and proficient servers) . . .

And when we arrived for our outdoor dinner party, the table was set like this . . .

The first course was a plated appetizer:
Poached Chilean Sea Bass,
Shallot & Shrimp Ravioli,
Pistachio Heirloom Tomato Sauce
96 Corton Charlemagne, white burgundy

We thought that was the main course.
It was so incredibly delicious!

And then came the Second Course
Oh, dear, I cannot remember anything about the dressing
and types of lettuce but as you can imagine, it was sweet and tangy and crunchy perfect!

Accompanied by

Dave's Homemade Potato Rolls
Whipped Honey Butter
I must stop right now and say, "Yum!"

Then came [Drum Roll]
The Main Course

Roast Beef Tenderloin
Veal Stock Cognac Reduction sauce
Grilled Asparagus
Truffled Gruyere and aged Cheddar Mac & Cheese
And let me tell you nothing like this melt in your mouth dish should ever have such a common name as
mac & cheese!
02 Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon


Chocolate Mousse & Raspberry Cream Dacqouise

Port – different styles

And once more . . . YUMMMMM!

The wines were chosen with care

As well as the ports—a brand new experience for me and one that would take some time for me to develop a taste and proper appreciation— but it was interesting to see how the port tasted vastly different swirled with a bit of chocolate mousse in my mouth.

Bon Appetit Chez Dave . . . that's what I call
Mastering the Art of Fine Cooking!

Monday, August 24, 2009

By George, She's Got It!

Yesterday we went to a White Sox ballgame. Morgan and Grandpa had so much fun whistling at good plays, pitches, pretty much anytime something relatively good happened. Grandpa is so proud of her talent.

Morgan has worked on her whistle for a long time but now she's got it! The-rain-in-Spain-stays-mainly-on-the-plain got it!

I am not talking about the "whistle a tune" kind of whistle. I mean a loud whistle--with fingers, etc. Here is a video so you can see for yourself.

So today, I was totally motivated to learn to whistle. I watched a few You Tube videos but they were not very helpful--except one gave me an idea of something to try.

I have a long way to go.

But I usually can make some noise as long as I am not laughing.

And I can not think of any good use for this noise.

And I have lived without it for a long time.

But an old dog can learn a new trick.

To prove it. I videoed myself because I was even too embarrassed to ask hubby to video me.

And here it is:

And now excuse me while I go wet my whistle.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Postscript to Walt's House

I got a bit nervous and guilty because I did not ask Cecily's permission before posting Walt's House so I quickly emailed her asking if she would like me to remove it or change it.

Whew! She blessed me again!

"Love it! Please leave it up just as it is! It's this COMING Wednesday that we hope to have our first resident, Wilbur [I--Brenda--changed his name for blogging purposes]. After we got the water turned on inside the house this Friday, several of us went out to work and [Wilbur] trimmed bushes all afternoon and the next thing we knew, without any coaching, he was in scrubbing the tub!

Because Northwest State Community College opens this coming Wednesday for the fall semester, and because [Wilbur] will be a full time student, we wanted it to be ready for him. But the clock is ticking! So overnight it came to me that area church groups could "adopt" a room. Sure enough in one hour, yes one, I had 4 groups representing three churches, the Catholic Church, your Dad's church, and St. John's Christian church all committed to a room. Between now and Tuesday they'll wash down the walls, paint, put up curtains, shelves whatever make the room they "adopted" masculine and inviting. They jumped without hesitation. It was a thrill! . . . We even got phone service that will be hooked up Monday and it is listed under "Walt's House."

We'll stay in touch. I'm almost exhausted from excitement!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Just prior to the 911 call

Just kidding!

His daddy calls him, “Unpredictable”

Oh my, Hale, is quite a boy! He keeps me on my toes—all the time!

Hale told us his favorite restaurant was On The Border so we considered that as an option because Mexican food is our favorite as well. We had to smile however, when he told us that his favorite food at On The Border was hamburgers. Go figure.

When he grows up, he wants to be a dog breeder or a zoo keeper for baby lions because the babies are so cute. We are into specializing, right?

As he was sniffling and sneezing away at the breakfast table, I asked “Do you have allergies or are you getting a cold?”

“No! Every time I read a book, I get a stuffy nose.”

During a brief rain storm, Hale was quite convinced and tried his best to convince me that “if lightening struck a tree near your house, the whole neighborhood will go up in flames because lightening is ten times the heat of the sun, and you have so many trees around!”

Okay, so even Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

So what did this enthusiastic almost nine year old choose for his Grandma Day? Legoland.

And strawberries, Arby’s, watching Animal Planet on TV “because we don’t get that channel and I love it,” and playing checkers because “I can beat everyone except Uncle Kevin,” which is absolutely true.

Oh, and he also wanted to make a movie with Grandpa which I will post separately. Beware of boys brandishing swords.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It looks better than it should . . .

Although I may look like a good grandma, the truth of the matter is that I am a procrastinator or perhaps I just do best with deadlines. Last fall my broken leg slowed me down. I did not get my Grandma Days for September, October, November and December organized. Finally, I decided to put them off until nicer weather—spring or summer so we could do some outside activities. Near the middle of August, I realized that if I did not get organized, I would renege on four or five Grandma Days. Now that the children are older, it is tough for them to find time for a Grandma Day once school starts. I LOVE these times together—more than the children love them. The pleasure is all mine.

I want to be clear also that without the support of Grandpa—both financially and by cheering me on, these days would not be possible. Also, most of these grandchildren are really step grandchildren—though to my amusement—I have had comments about how this or that grandchild looks like me. So if hubby had not married me, I would be lonely indeed and miss soooo much!

Perhaps you can understand that I do not want Grandma Days to fade away into oblivion so these past few weeks have been a flurry of wonderful adventures. This does not happen all of the time—they are mostly one time per year per child occurrences. I am concerned that I have been receiving undue credit and thought I had better clear up some misconceptions. Now you know the truth.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Walt's House

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

My father died in June of 2008. In June 2009, his farm where my siblings and I grew up in Northwestern Ohio, was sold at auction. We were glad that the farm was sold to the farmers that had farmed the land for probably twenty years and maybe more. My dad and the farmers mutually respected, admired and enjoyed each other.

Dad was an uncomplicated, good man. He always had a desire to serve God and do the right thing. When Dad married my stepmom 20 years ago, he moved to town and rented his house. Sometimes we would ask Dad, how are the renters doing? Are they paying the rent? Frequently he would admit that he had not received any money for several months—one time as long as nine months. Yet, he always believed that they would eventually pay. It was just that times were bad or they had just lost a job or gotten a divorce or any number of similar reasons. We marveled at his patience but also recognized that he was glad to help people with needs.

After retirement, Dad worked for many years part time at Sauder’s Museum in various capacities. His favorite was making buckets in the cooper shop. For most of his years of employment, his supervisor was Cecily Rohrs. She felt the Lord calling her into a fulltime ministry with homeless individuals and families and opened a home in 2002 called Friendship House.

Dad also volunteered in his church and wherever he saw needs. Someone encouraged him to get involved in prison ministry and so he went regularly to share his faith and try to encourage the men in jail.

This week we received an email message from Cecily Rohrs. “Your dad was always so supportive of me and the people I serve, I just had to tell you some good news. The Rufenacht boys (the farmers) that bought the farm had no use for the house. They were going to remove it and farm the land. Then someone, inspired by God, no doubt,” suggested that the house be offered to our local ministry. The farmers offered and it was gratefully accepted.

"The home, called Walt’s House, will house up to four males that have made bad choices and want to start over making better choices," Cecily Rohrs explained. “The Shepherd's Circle, a community-wide mentoring program, has taken the project under its wing.” The first resident moved into the home on Wednesday.

“It's a great, great opportunity. And surrounded only by fields and factories, the men with their checkered backgrounds won't make any neighbors nervous. Each will have a mentor (and most will have a parole officer.) Since we have been given the house, we'll only pay some land taxes and the utilities. It's a gift beyond all gifts!”

Cecily went on to say, “Knowing the kind of heart your folks had, and particularly your father, I just wanted to let his family know! We are so tickled .”

“The blessings continue to not just shower but flood us with confirmation of God's presence and power here! God is good. ALL the time!”

The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them. Proverbs 20:7

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Raging Appetite

Jessica mentioned that a Grandma Day for her tenth birthday would be fun at an amusement or water park. Since her birthday is in November, it was decided that we would do this special day early. Jessica loves her cousin, Morgan, and requested time with her as well. Both Morgan and Jessica have three brothers so it is special to be with just girls on occasion.

So after a day of horseback riding yesterday, we spent today at Raging Waves. The rides are totally fun—although I did not do PJ’s Plummet because yes, I did learn something when I broke my leg. We did go up lots of steps many, many times to Crocodile Mile, The Three Sisters, The Boomerang and The Cyclone. I was grateful for a few lazy trips around Kookaburro Kreek!

Even so, I was way too tired to think tonight but not too tired to eat. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy Trails

When Jessica had her nine year old birthday in November of 2008, I was still recovering from a broken leg and using a walker. We decided that her Grandma Day would be more fun if we waited until the spring, especially because it was her desire to go horseback riding. Well, spring came and went and so did summer. It is time to start back to school already!

This year Rachel (daughter of my good friend) sweetly agreed to let Jessica go to the barn to see her horse. I was not expecting Jessica to be able to sit on Moose because Rachel’s horse is still young and in training and very special to Rachel.

Hence we were honored that Rachel not only allowed Jessica to get on the horse but also gave her a thorough first lesson on how to properly care and handle a horse.

Rachel is interested in doing therapeutic horse therapy for children with emotional needs. She has the perfect temperament—kind, patient, and calm.

It was delightful to see the sweet connection between Rachel and her horse and Jessica.

Later in the day, I had scheduled a trail ride at a different stable. Our experience there was okay. Although our 2nd guide was also named Rachel, that is where any comparison ends. She never asked our names or where we were from or any questions of us.

As I got on my horse, I asked, “Is there anything that I should know about how to hold the reins or anything else.”

Rachel the 2nd replied, “No, the horses know what to do, you don’t need to know anything.”

So we sat on horses that walked single file through a beautiful forest preserve for one hour. We did see several deer and two little fawns. A couple of times, Jessica held her horse back just a bit and then trotted to catch up. The second time she was reprimanded and so from then on, we quietly followed. There is something special though even about just sitting on a horse.

All considered, we had a good horse day! In the evening, we invited Morgan to bring her doll and horse and jammies and watch a horse movie following dinner at Chili’s and a stop at the Popcorn Store.

Then we all went to sleep full and with happy hearts. Excuse me, I meant with full and happy hearts.