Thursday Thoughts

Holiday Nana’s Whimsies Shop
I am starting to make some items for my Etsy shop – Nana’s Whimsies Shop – for the holidays. My Etsy shop hasn’t generated a lot of income, but at least it gives me somewhat of a reason to crochet. I love to crochet, and have given almost everyone I can think of a handmade afghan. Anyway, if you are so inclined, check out my shop. There’s a link at the top of my blog. Here is a Christmas afghan you simply MUST have for, well, someone….


Pizza Pizza
We may or may not have stopped at Fox’s Pizza before we went to Wilma’s house when we arrived in Chicago last week. What the heck, we thought. She probably won’t notice that hour that we could have been with her. And we were fearful that we wouldn’t make it again. We, of course, in fact did make it one more time. Besides seeing Wilma, it’s the best thing about being in Chicago. As we eat the pizza, we talk endlessly about what exactly it is about that particular pizza that makes it so delicious. Is it the sausage? Is it the pizza sauce? Is it the crust? We still don’t have an answer. More research is undoubtedly necessary!….


Forgetful Today and Tamale
Yesterday Bill and I made a trip to Tamale Kitchen located a bit south of us to see if their tamales are as good as the ones we get in Mesa at Old El Paso Tamales. They weren’t. They are, however, pretty darn good. One of the things I like best about Old El Paso Tamales is that they have different kinds varying from pork and other meat to corn to sweet. Every one of them is delicious. The Tamale Kitchen offers two choices – hot or mild. I had the hot, and as I said, they were good. However, after we left, we drove all the way to Joann’s Fabrics before I realized that I had forgotten my purse at the tamale place. Left it hanging on the chair, as I do several times a year, someplace or other. It’s a terrible habit of mine. Thus far, I’ve been lucky. The purse has always been found by an honest person who hasn’t taken a single thing. Bill bought me a clip-on purse a couple of years ago as his solution to my problem. However, while in theory it is a great idea, in practice it is uncomfortable and unwieldy. I simply have to remember to pick up my purse when I leave someplace. Argh. By the way, it was there, safely tucked behind the counter.

Fruits and Vegetables
While we were visiting Wilma, Smith Crossing had a Farmers’ Market on site. It was supposed to be outdoors in the terrace area, but it happened to rain that day. Instead, the farmers set up their goods on a table in a hallway that has a lot of foot traffic, well, walker traffic. As you can see, the fruits and veggies looked delicious. I bought a locally-grown pear, and will attest to its sweetness and freshness. I’m just not sure how much they sold because no one cooks. Still, it’s nice that the facility offers a variety of activities….


I Always Cry at Weddings
And last, but not least, here is a photo that I probably look at 10 times a day, and laugh every time I do so. Cole was the ring bearer at his Auntie Sineat’s wedding this summer in Maine, and he was not crazy about his role…..




Well, the Lord is risen, so I baked a ham.

I always kind of wonder how certain foods become synonymous with certain holidays. I understand how lamb became traditional food at this time of year – you know, Passover and all. But ham? I guess I should just thank my lucky stars that we don’t have the Easter Pig visit us each year.

It’s bad enough that there’s an Easter bunny. As my niece Maggie put it the other day, Easter is kind of a silly holiday unless you are a church-goer, or at least a believer. Oh, I know, I know, Easter is based on pagan rituals. But there really is no way around it. Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

So really, the Easter Bunny is just another way to get consumers to buy more stuff for our kids – stuff they almost never need.

When I was a kid, we didn’t get Easter presents. We got Easter eggs and chocolate candy. Period. At our house the bunny came during the night and hid our entire basket full of the eggs we had dyed the day before. Not the individual eggs; the whole basket. It took some creative thinking on mom’s – oops, I mean the Easter bunny’s — part. One year my basket was in the clothes dryer downstairs. It took quite some time to find it.

But back to ham for a minute. I like ham, but I don’t love ham. I would never, for example, order a ham sandwich if I went out for lunch. Oh, capicola and provolone sandwich, for sure. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato, you betcha. Italian sausage sub, no brainer. But not a ham sandwich.

And yet, the one time a year that I bake a ham, it tastes so good to me. And then, of course, there are the leftover meals. Ham and navy bean soup. Green beans with ham. But don’t even suggest HAM SALAD. Yuck. Ham should not be a salad. Tuna should be a salad. Eggs should be a salad. Not ham.

To celebrate the risen Lord, Bill and I went to the sunrise Mass at our church – 6 a.m., necessitating a 5 o’clock wake-up call. The church was surprisingly full.

And then we came home and I began my preparation for our Easter celebration, featuring the ham. Each year I make the ham and, some kind of breakfast sausage casserole.

This year I added a bonus. We stopped earlier this week and got tamales – some green chile and some pork – from Old El Paso Tamale Shop in west Mesa. They make some of the best tamales in the East Valley.

We had a houseful as we do each Easter. They come in waves. The early birds were my niece Maggie, her husband Mark, and Austin and Lilly, DECKED OUT for Easter…

Easter Austin Lilly 2016

Bec showed up soon after with her offerings of coffee cake and chocolate cake. We all toasted the Easter bunny with mimosas! Nothing says alleluia quite like orange juice and champagne. And, by the way, this was no simple chocolate cake…..

chocolate Easter cake

Next my brother rolled in, bearing gifts of freshly made donuts and Parker rolls so fresh they were still warm. Nothing says alleluia quite like freshly baked bread. He was followed shortly after by his daughter Brooke.

Later that afternoon, Bec’s son Erik, his wife Josey, and kids Mackenzie and Carter arrived, their second fete of the day. And finally, Dave’s daughter Kacy and her three daughters completed the group.

Easter 2016 pahtay

We set up the little splash pool and the kids had as much fun as if it was a regular Olympic-sized swimming pool. Lots of splashing going on….

splash pool

We had a wonderful day, and what was left over of the ham went home in many takeaway bags. There will be lots of soup cooking this week in Arizona. Ham and green beans is on my menu.