What makes a Happy Home? I love to take care of my family. For me, creating a home that is warm and inviting, where everyone feels welcome is pure joy! The smell of fresh laundry just in off the clothesline, a neat and tidy home and garden, a good home cooked meal, a few desserts here and there, the love of family, friends and fellowship all help to make our home a Happy Home. Join me as we celebrate the holidays, the birthdays and the every days!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter's on its way!

Both our Fireman and Flyboy collect vintage license plates. Mr OP is always picking them up for the guys. We had a bunch ready to send to TX, so into our Easter package they went. I really liked this one from New Jersey - 1950!

I tucked a crocheted dishrag into the package too. Our Fireman's Flame loves them, but we had to talk her into actually using them for dishes. She thinks that they are too nice.

We bought the kids a Monster's University on DVD and threw in a pack of bubble tape for each of our little Texans. I would have loved to buy a ton of Easter candy, but I restrained myself. The Easter Bunny will have to bring it for them.

I like to use the USPS priority mail packages to send things to our Texans. The packages are so much less expensive than UPS and get there within 2 days. Everything was packaged up, dropped at the post and Easter's on it's way to our Texans!

Did you buy much Easter candy?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Time flies

Why does it seem that during the weekend time flies by and the week sometimes seems to drag on? Must be some kind of mystical thing (wink)!

We had supper with my brother and his fiance Saturday night. Her ring is simple, but elegant - so beautiful. They are so happy and in love! They are planning a destination wedding for next spring - should be fun!

Can you believe that today was Palm Sunday, and that next week is Easter? There is so much going on this week. I am always emotional this week. I like to watch "The Robe" and "The Passion." The Passion is hard to watch, but I think that it's a good movie.

Friday morning my Dad and I will head to Butcher Bill's and buy our Easter kielbasa, the ham, some liverwurst and wonderful thick cut bacon. Then we'll do a quick run to the supermarket, stop and pick up Easter flowers and head home. I'll make my candy on Friday - peanut butter and coconut eggs, and chocolate covered pretzels. I'll also dye Easter eggs, not sure who will be here to do it with me, but even if it's just me I'll do it by myself.

Saturday, I'll make my paska and desserts - cheese cake with chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate mousse and one other thing (not sure what yet). I'll make the pirogi on Saturday too, then pop them into the fridge until Sunday.

We're having Easter dinner here on Sunday after church. I'm making a ham, kielbasa, homemade pirogi with melted butter and fried onions, potato salad, red beets and eggs, deviled eggs, a fresh medley of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, coleslaw and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, and rolls.

I'm getting hungry just thinking about everything. Best part about all of this food? The leftovers:)

What do you love to eat for Easter?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rabbit under glass?

I did it with my rolly-poley Santa at Christmas, so why not a rabbit? There's a glare, but doesn't she look sweet? Her eyes make me say "she", they are definitely feminine. 
We are having a beautiful week, the weather has been perfect. Bright blue skies and warm days - woo hoo! I'm loving it!!

I'm trying to set-up an Etsy shop for my handmade cards and paper crafts. I love making things so much, and really you can't always give everything away as gifts, so I thought that I'd take the plunge.

Mr OP said, "That's turning something that you love to do into work/a job, and why would you want to do that?" I don't think of that way, I think of it as getting paid to do something that I love. A few people who've bought cards and things from me in the past have encouraged me to set one up. Who knows if it will work out, but I'll never know unless I try.

Does anyone have any pointers or advice?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wonderful family news!

Congrats to my baby bro and his soul mate - he popped the question last night and she said YES!!! They are in New Orleans on vacation and will be home tomorrow, so we'll have to wait to congratulate them in person. I'm so happy for him. He went through a lot these past few years and he deserves happiness. The girls love her and she's wonderful with them. It makes me happy that they have a great relationship with her.

These are my paternal great-grandparents on my grandfather's side. I have them hanging in our living room. It makes me smile to see their faces even though I've never met them. It's the connection really and knowing where I come from that makes it for me.

I corresponded with a very distant cousin who found us a few years ago. She shared so much  family history and photos...I loved learning about everything.  It wasn't about those great grandparents though, so I'm on a mini-mission to find out more about that heritage. I know that they came from Yugoslavia via Austria, but that's about as far back as we know. I should put my Dad on it.

These are the great-grandparents whose families I know more about. They lived in England and we have more information going back to their parents and siblings. Our boys and Mr OP like to tease me, it's a joke around here - they call me a vampire lover (you know how I love those kind of movies and TV shows) and say that it stems from being related to him, "Vlad the Impaler." The photo has a reflection of the doorway so it may be a little hard to see, but he does kind of have a vamp vibe:)

What about you, how far back do you know your families roots?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring is here...I think

It's staying light later and the temps are getting warmer. I've even stopped wearing socks! It's still chilly in the mornings, but it gets pretty warm by lunch time. We started cleaning up our flower beds yesterday. They were perfect by the end of fall, but some of our neighbors don't clean up their leaves and they become work for many of us in the spring. 

I got out the Easter tubs and started putting a few things out this weekend. These guys made their way into the kitchen. I love the vintage feel that they have, but they aren't old, they are new made to look old. What I really want is to buy hyacinths. They scream Easter to me. I always buy myself purple ones. I saw pots of pansies at the market yesterday and was tempted, but I held out. I think that I'll wait until next week, we are still getting frost at night and I brought out my rosemary bush too early and think that I killed it. Mr OP thinks that it may come back, but I really don't think it will. 

We had date night last night and went to a really good restaurant - Parc Bistro. Their shrimp cocktail is wonderful! The cocktail sauce is made with wasabi and vodka - so spicy good. We had one of those and a firewood pizza with pepperoni and caramelized onions. Our newlyweds gave us a gift certificate for Christmas and we waited until last night to use it. Their menu is so varied from duck, pate, lobster mashed potatoes to the firewood pizzas. Last night was a good night for the pizza.

What's your favorite pizza?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Above and Beyond

I love to go above and beyond what's considered the norm for a lot of people. It love to pamper and make family and friends feel extra special. It thrills my heart to surprise someone with the unexpected gift or note. I'm working on a scrapbook as a surprise for a friend so that she can showcase photos of her grandson and can't wait to give it to her. I should have it finished by the end of the month - just in time for her birthday!

Flyboy and our Happy Homemaker are headed to TX today to visit our Texans. I'm so excited that they'll all get to be together! Wish that we were going to, but we'll all be together in June when they come here for vacation. As you can see Mr OP has started buying things for our little Texans so that they'll have something to do while they're here. Not that there won't be a ton of other things for them to do/see.

This is just a random shot of me making my breakfast for the next couple of days. I eat a hard boiled egg for breakfast every day during the week. They are so great and EASY to grab and take with me to work. I usually eat some type of fruit (lately it's been bananas, but I'm looking forward to strawberry season) around 10:30. That usually holds me over until I run home for lunch.

Do you have a breakfast go to, or do like like variety?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ravioli Recipe

As I mentioned yesterday, we make the pasta by hand, but use the Kitchenaid attachment to roll the dough. Here's the recipe for:

  • 4cups all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
That's it for the dough. Place the flour on your counter. Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Make a well in the center of your flour and pour the eggs into the center. Using a fork start whisking the flour slowly into the eggs working from the center. As you mix the flour into the eggs keep pushing the flour together as not to break the well. It will look messy but that's OK. You'll know when to mix the final amount of flour in (before the dough gets too thick) using you hands. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. It will become elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Cut off small pieces of dough and use the attachment for making sheets of pasta.

Ricotta Cheese Filling:

3 pounds of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup locatelli
2 eggs (whisked)
1 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
2 pinches of salt and pepper

Mix the filling together. Place heaping teaspoons full onto the pasta sheets about 2 inches apart. Fold over the dough to cover then use a cup, knife etc. to cut the ravioli. I like to put them on cookie sheets and freeze them individually before putting them into a freezer container. It's easier to take out as many as you need instead of cooking them all at once.

To cook: Boil salted water. Add ravioli and cook for about 5 minutes. Fresh ravioli take much less time to cook than frozen.

They are so much better than store bought ravioli and well worth it. You can of course make the dough in a mixer or food processor, but I like to get my hands into the dough, it's therapeutic to me.

Have you ever made homemade pasta?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ravioli Rolling 101

What do you plan to do when the weather forecast calls for an entire weekend of rain? Well, here at The Old Parsonage we planned Ravioli Rolling 101. Our Happy Homemaker loves my homemade ravioli so I figured that this would be a perfect time to teach her how to make them. Mr OP and I went to the market early Saturday morning to buy all of the essentials. By 10:30 we had spare ribs, hot Italian sausage and meatballs roasting in the oven and by 11:30 the sauce was on auto-pilot simmering for the  rest of the day. Our Happy Homemaker and I started making the dough by hand (we did not use the Kitchen aide to mix/knead the dough) at 2:30.

We did use the pasta attachment to roll the dough to the desired thickness and length. It makes this part of the process so much easier. Our Happy Homemaker took over making the ravioli while I made salad and set the table. She did a fantastic job and made 3 trays of 24. We froze 2 trays individually then put them in freezer storage bags (one for them to take home and one for us) and cooked the other tray for supper. We had supper on the table by 5:00 - not bad! The guys loved it! I would have loved to double the recipe, but it takes awhile to make them and we wouldn't have eaten until much later (the kids had something to do). Mr OP and I caught part 1 of The Godfather trilogy later that night on TV - it rounded out the whole Italian theme of the night. I'll share the recipe tomorrow if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Saturday Mr OP pointed out that I still hadn't written our March calendar for the fridge. Notice I didn't say that he then wrote one out. So this month we went flying blind. We remembered the big things like Jess and Charlie's wedding, but I guess that the other things were more of a his and hers type event and we remembered them our individual ways. I keep my handmade planner with me all the time - work and running around and he keeps a running list of his appointments. So do we really need the big erasable calendar? We got it when the boys were home and we were running in all different directions on a daily basis. But, yes I think that we still need our fridge model. This way I know what he's doing and he knows what I'm doing...just in case we forget to remind each other.

While doing a bit of spring cleaning I came across my card basket. It's filled with cards that we've rec'd and are so special that I just can't get rid of them. There are beautiful handwritten notes in some, some are from friends and family that are no longer with us. The cards are a real combination of memories. The basket is getting a little full, so I may move them to a bigger basket or a box. I  know that some people may say "just toss them," but at this point I'll leave that to future generations.

I consider myself an organized person, but well you know how it goes... I feel so much better when things are written down and I'm juggling multiple lists, rather than just winging it. I took a personality seminar several years ago. There are 2 sides to your brain, analytical and creative with each of those 2 sides divided equally. Most people are usually right of left brained. I'm a person whose uses all 4 quadrants of their brain equally. The seminar lasted 8 hours and I was exhausted by the end, but it was really interesting to see how my brain works. Just recently I took a on-line quiz and this quiz revealed the same thing. 

What about you, do you know if you are right brained or left brained or like me?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rudolph Day at The Old Parsonage

I can't believe that it's Rudolph Day again! Old Man winter can though, he's playing a spring joke and bringing us some snow later today. They aren't predicting more than an inch for our area though. Aren't my new vintage Santa mugs darling?! I didn't even see them at the flea market, Mr OP was the eagle eye that day.


He was on a roll that day. We stopped at Yoder's supermarket to pick up a few things and he spied chocolate milk in this glass milk jug. We snatched it right up. It's odd how so many items come in plastic that you can hardly find any glass jars. This will be perfect for making sun tea or lemonade. Plus, I love the size... very fridge storage friendly!

I'm off to work, taking a handful of Christmas breath (peppermints) to share with friends. I've got plans tonight to look at ideas for our Christmas cards this year. I'll be listening to Christmas music through Pandora today. If you do anything today to plan or organize for Christmas, please share. If not, what are your plans for the day?

Whatever your plans, have a wonderful day!

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