Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Life on Lansill - The Holiday Season

And so it begins. . . . .

The Holiday Season.  As I reflect back on Christmases past, I realize I've celebrated in Arizona, Oklahoma, California, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas, and Kansas.  Through the years, I've had some good Christmases and some not so ideal.  All of them have included a tree and too much food. 

At least two involved a stomach virus.

One high school holiday included an ice storm at the grandparent's, and a temper tantrum or two.

My first married Christmas required a visit to an ER in Chico, CA - my husband was the patient, not me.

I've encountered family conflicts on Christmas vacations.

I've enjoyed holiday office parties thanks to corporate America.

One Christmas was especially memorable because my husband and I were in the process of a marital reconciliation.

I was pregnant with my daughter during the Christmas of 1997.

The Christmas morning of 1999 was especially chilly due to our furnace breaking down.

I remember (not fondly) getting spanked one Christmas day during childhood.

And. .  .I can't forget the 1985 Christmas semi formal in which the girlfriend of my date's friend showed up with (GASP!) another boy.  Needless to say I was taken home early and I believe a fight ensued somewhere in town. . .

I remember the season my parents celebrated their 25th anniversary, and the season they celebrated 40 years together.

The New Year's of 1998 was celebrated while moving to WV - lots of ice at the Cincinnati airport, luggage misplaced, a 6 month old and a 3 year old, etc.

We ran out of gas one year on the interstate, then ran into a blizzard.

My nephew was born the day after Christmas, my parent's anniversary, 2007.

And last, but certainly not least, there's the tale of the "Roll Top Desk Winter", which only my sister can fully relate to, and I won't bother trying to explain the details here.

I suppose it's fun to reflect back and laugh, and almost cry, at the memories, many not mentioned above.  And it also brings to mind that each of these memories are a stepping stone that led us here - to the present.  To our Life on Lansill Road.  And while this address doesn't house my favorite home of all the years, and despite not hearing the "pitter patter" of little feet anymore but the thump of adult size shoes, and the realization that I don't have the time or energy to bake all the holiday goodies I have in years past, I can rejoice in all the greatness that is today.  And know that Lansill Road was part of the plan from the beginning.  God knew, my first married Christmas 19 years ago while I was sitting in that Chico, California, emergency room.  Many ups and downs would lead to our Life on Lansill.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Life on Lansill

A while back our next door neighbor rang our doorbell around ten o'clock at night.  We generally don't have visitors that late, much less unexpected.  My husband opened the door.  Our neighbor quickly told my husband his cat had been ran over, and wondered if he could borrow a shovel to bury the animal in his backyard.  My husband complied, and as far as we know the dead cat rests peacefully in our neighbor's backyard.  my guess would be it's illegal to bury an animal in the city limits of Lexington, Kentucky, in which we reside.  But, I didn't call the authorities and report them.  At least not this time. . . . .

Our family has lived on Lansill Road for almost six years now.  It's been colorful to say the least.  The residents of the above mentioned house have changed three or four times since we moved in, and they never cease to surprise us in their behaviors.  But, before we get into that, I suppose I should explain how we got here.  Really, there's a story behind how everyone arrived where they're at today.  Where you live is a composite of your life leading up to the point.  So, I'll do my best to detail that.

Our arrival on Lansill Road happened via quite a few stops along the way.  I don't feel compelled to explain each of them now, but I'll say this:  We moved to Lansill Road in Lexington, Kentucky, because my husband Chip accepted a pastorate at a Lexington church.  Therefore, we (as in me, my husband and two kids) became the pastor's family.  Ergo, I became the pastor's wife.  Interestingly, people introduced me as a pastor's wife, or the pastor's wife, or Chip's wife, even outside the church walls - at my job, at the places I volunteered, etc.  Well, my husband resigned and left his job as pastor at the end of August.  So, after 5 plus years, I'm now a wife (no preface) or I suppose you could say ex-pastor's wife, but not ex-wife!  Incidently, during his job transition time, my husband worked briefly at Kroger.  No one introduced me as the Kroger stocker's wife.

Besides the whole wife title situation, I recently became a new type of mother.  I transitioned from elementary mom and middle school mom to high school and middle school mom.  Now I'm a band parent, as in high school marching band which constitutes a new lifestyle.  I'm four short years away from college mom and one of the those bumper stickers:  My son and money go to ______________. 

So at this point I feel I must say, "Pardon my mess, I'm reidentifying myself."  People talk often about identity theft.  My identity hasn't been stolen.  I've heard of going through an identity crisis.  I'm not in crisis mode (yet!).  But my identity has changed.  And that can be a bit frightening.  Roles I'd become accustomed to are no longer an option.  Little League games, grade school chorus concerts, and kids' menus at restaurants are behind me.  Sitting on the second pew and listening to my husband preach isn't part of my Sunday routine right now.  It might never be again.  These things mean we're progressing on, growing older, following what we hope and pray is God's plan.  But they also mean change and looking ahead.  And they mean that I have the opportunity to reidentify.  And opportunity beats the alternative.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Make your own baking mix for Pumpkin Bars!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Bars

Here's a superb recipe for Pumpkin Bars.  You can make as many as you want and freeze them (before frosting, then frost after thawing).  ENJOY, and Happy Baking!!!


Yet another pumpkin recipe. . . . .

After finishing my lunch (a frozen burrito, which I'll no doubt later regret), I decided to post another pumpkin recipe.  This time, it's Pumpkin Cheesecake.  I had some problems - I typed it in Word, then tried to copy/paste.  It didn't work, which was frustrating and I ended up wasting way too much time.  But, I decided to not let it get me down (at least not too down) and have successfully posted the recipe for your perusal.  Enjoy!  And, remember, pumpkin is good for you so don't feel guilty when you eat it in a dessert. . . . . . or bread or muffin.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c. butter or margarine melted
1/4 c. granulated sugar

3 pkgs., 8 oz. each cream cheese, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 3/4 c. canned pumpkin
2/3 c. (5 fl. oz. can) evaporated milk
2 T. cornstarch
1 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For Crust:
Mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and granulated sugar in medium bowl.  Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (do not allow to brown).  Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

For Cheesecake:
Beat cream cheese, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk.  Add cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg; beat well.  Pour into crust.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  Remove side of springform pan.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Pumpkin Recipe

This one's a favorite of my husband.  My mom-in-law, Sharon, gave me the recipe.  I believe she received it from her mom-in-law Maxine.  I guess you could call it "Mother in Law's Pumpkin Dessert".

Pumpkin Dessert

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Combine 1/2 cup margarine, 1 cup brown sugar and 2 cups graham cracker crumbs. Mix together and put in 9 x 13 inch pan.  Bake 20 minutes or until browned.  Upon removing from the oven, crumble the crunchy mixture and when cooled, remove 1 cup for topping and press the rest in the bottom of the same pan.

Mix 2 cups canned pumpkin, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon ginger.  Add 2 cups whole milk.  Mix in two 3 ounce packages of instant vanilla pudding.  Gently fold in 8 ounces of Cool Whip.  Spread mixture over crust.  Chill thoroughly.  Use additional Cool Whip and remaining crumbs for topping.  Keep refrigerated.

Pumpkin Recipe

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or ginger/nutmeg/cinnamon combo)
1 cup applesauce
4 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1/4 cup water

1. Grease two 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, soda, salt, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir well. Add applesauce, eggs, pumpkin, and water. Mix batter with mixer. Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until tester inserted in center comes out clean.