Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Big Brother

Willie & Loretta, taken at Idora Park

This is one of the very few pictures I have of my older brother, Willie & myself together.  I love his goofy grin!

It was taken in a photo booth, at Idora Park in Youngstown, OH.  I remember we got to go there once a year, when my Dad's job sponsored a free attendance day. There isn't any date on it but I'm guessing I was around 8 years old.

He used to tease my younger siblings & I, unmercifully.  I remember one time that he was left in charge to babysit us, while my parents were shopping...he made all of the younger kids sit on the sofa & he sat across from us with a cork pop-gun in his hand.  He would shoot us in the knee if we tried to get up & leave.  I laugh now at the memory but it wasn't funny at the time!  Sadly, he & I often fought in our teenage years...we didn't agree on much back then.

Willie bonks Dad with Kolachi, 1977

This photo of him was taken at my house, on Easter, around 1970.  He is playfully bonking my Dad on the head with a foil wrapped kielbasa, that I was sending home with him.  I never really liked him with that beard...he was so much nicer looking without it.

He was a very popular fellow with lots of friends.  It used to bug me when I was in high school & someone would say to me "Oh, you're Bill's sister!"  I'd answer back, "No, Bill is my brother!" They didn't get it.  Now I'm so proud to be known as his sister!

 He was a remarkable guy with a wide variety of interests.  He got to see the world while he was in the Air Force.  I still have the postcard he sent to me from Japan.
He wore real wooden clogs all the time.  I thought he was so cool.

He planted a huge garden every year.  He was into collecting beautiful knives at one time.  He was very handsome...tall, robust & healthy.
In high school, he was a football player...I remember when he chipped his front tooth, playing football.  My Mother was furious...she hadn't wanted him to play in the first place!  

 He joined the Air Force when the Vietnam War started & had been a member of the elite Air Force Pararescuemen group, also known as "PJ's" or Maroon Berets from 1967 through 1971. 

From Wikipedia: "Pararescuemen (also known as PJs) are United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Air Combat Command (ACC) operatives tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. These special operations units are also used to support NASA missions and have been used to recover astronauts after water landings. They are attached to other SOF teams from all branches to conduct other operations as appropriate. Of the 22 enlisted Air Force Cross recipients, 12 are Pararescuemen. They wear the maroon beret as a symbol of their elite status, and to symbolize the blood shed by past PJs, as well as the blood current PJs are willing to shed to save lives. Part of the little-known Air Force Special Operations community[2] and long an enlisted preserve, the Pararescue service began commissioning Combat Rescue Officers early in the 21st century. "

He & his fellow officers went into the jungles of Vietnam, via helicopter, to rescue the wounded.  He was also one of a team of divers who helped recover a manned lunar capsule from the ocean.   John Glenn or Armstrong perhaps?  I wish I could find that photo!  Maybe one of my siblings have it.

He died 21 years ago today, (on my birthday), when he was just 47 years old.  He had developed some sort of abdominal discomfort while out hunting in November of 1992.  He didn't want to interrupt the holidays for his family, so he waited until after Christmas & went into the hospital on Jan. 1, 1993 to have some tests done.

When it was discovered that he had cancer, he was given very aggressive chemotherapy, which, unfortunately shut down his kidneys.  He was in my former ICU unit, where I had worked full time, for over 10 years.  My friends & colleagues took as good of care of him as they could but he lost his battle against the disease & sadly, passed away eighteen days later.
He left behind a wife, (who was an RN, like me) and two handsome sons, neither of which had even finished high school at the time.  They went on to graduate from college & have since grown into wonderful young men that I know he would have been proud of.  They've both married & have 2 girls by the oldest son & 3 boy by the younger son.  It is sad that those 5 little tykes never got a chance to know their grandfather.  It makes me try especially hard to make good memories of the times my grandchildren & I are together.    

Part of the reason I blog, is to leave a record of events & recollections for my daughter & grandchildren.
I want them to know about the important things in my life, besides food & dishes! 

Thanks for visiting is always kind of a melancholy day for me.  
Oh & if you have a minute,
pop over to Sarah's blog,
to wish HER a "Happy Birthday"...
we share the same day!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cherry Nut Pound Cake

2014-12-30 001 002

Every year, my husband's elderly Aunt Jane used to make him his favorite *Cherry Nut Pound Cake* & bring him a loaf (or sometimes TWO!) into his medical office when she came in for a blood pressure check-up around the holidays.

 2014-12-30 001 003

It is a VERY rich sweet has a full pound of butter or margarine in it!

But it is SOOOO good & it is only a once-a-year treat.

2014-12-30 001 004

 2014-12-30 001 005

It has a full 10 oz. jar of maraschino cherries (drained) in it along with chopped walnuts.

 2014-12-30 001 007

Before she passed away, Aunt Jane wrote down the recipe for me, per request of my husband.

For awhile, I thought I had lost the recipe.  You can see the sorry state of my recipe box above.
It is so full, it won't snap closed anymore.
I really need to get those typed up & into digital format for future generations before I die!

 Every year, since she passed away, we start off our Christmas morning with a cup of hot coffee or, in my case, tea & a nice big slice of this yummy treat.

Here is a photo Aunt Jane Cwiklinski's hand-written recipe for Cherry Nut Pound Cake, below:

 2014-12-30 001 008

Almost 29 years ago, I laughed out loud when I first read her little written comment "Good Luck" on it & it still has made me smile every year since.  

I have made a printable link to the recipe here:  Cherry Nut Pound Cake 

**You might note that, in the digital version, I have changed the number of pans or loaves this will make.  I measured all my bread pans & NONE of them were the 8 1/2" x 4 1/4" measurement  that dear Aunt Jane used.

I can only get 2 large loaves (filled to about 3/4th level) plus I usually have a wee bit leftover to make a *mini* loaf to share with the neighbors.

In a discussion with a gal on Facebook, I learned that "Cherry Bread" has been a popular local custom in Newfoundland, Canada for eons.  In the recipe she & I discussed, it was noted to "toss the cherries in some flour to prevent sinking in the batter".  
I never thought to do that & will from now on.  You can see in my photo, that most of the cherries are at the bottom of the slice.   
Next time, I'm also going to add TWO jars of maraschino just doesn't seem to be enough.

Thanks for stopping by The Gazebo House today.  I hope you try this recipe yourself.  It would be lovely for Valentine's Day, which is also our wedding anniversary!!!

I'll be linking up with Michael Lee West at Rattlebridge Farm 
Thanks for hosting each week, ML!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fun with Food on a Snowy Day

OSU  cake, pancakes & snow in arch window 001.jpg dbl framed

We've had horribly bitter cold along with several inches of snow the past few days.

OSU  cake, pancakes & snow in arch window 002.jpg dbl frame

It is rare to see it pile up near the big arched window...the wind must have really been whipping it around.

OSU  cake, pancakes & snow in arch window 003.jpg dbl frame

You can see we have several inches with more predicted to arrive tomorrow.  
I'm tired of it already!

OSU  cake, pancakes & snow in arch window 004.jpg dbl frame

 It is the dark, dreary days that get to me the most. 
 No sun to be able to take decent photos either!

OSU  cake, pancakes & snow in arch window 005.jpg dbl frame

However, there IS one ray of sunshine that continues to brighten our days.....

 my granddaughter, Sweet Caroline!
She is so much fun & so full of laughter & energy...
never stops dancing, tumbling, flipping or talking!

OSU  cake, pancakes & snow in arch window 011.jpg framed

She always requests the same thing for breakfast, whenever she sleeps overnight...pancakes & bacon.

We've made bunnies....

OSU  cake, pancakes & snow in arch window 010.jpg framed

we've made teddy bears...or Mickey Mouse, whichever that was supposed to be!


We've decorated waffles in Keyon colors (her brother's college)

2014-11-30 001 2014-11-26 002.jpg framed

 We even made Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.  I think Rudolf has a cold!!   LOL

OSU  cake, pancakes & snow in arch window 006.jpg framed

This Sunday, while she visited us, we made a double layer chocolate cake together, for her to take home to her Dad (an OSU grad) for dessert when Ohio State University wins the National Championship on Monday night!  

That chocolate candy heart with the peanut butter & green buckeye tree leaves, is supposed to represent a "buckeye"...popular candy confection here in Ohio 

which mimics the nuts from our state tree & also OSU's mascot, Brutus Buckeye, too.

Click the hotlink for a printable RECIPE on how to make the candy. 


I will be joining Michael Lee West, at Rattlebridge Farm for her Foodie Friday party this week.  Thanks for hosting, ML & thank YOU for dropping by The Gazebo House today.

(I hope you're not dizzy or seasick from seeing all the different photo frames...I was playing with PicMonkey editing)

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Tea & Cookies on a Snowy Day

2015-01-06 001 001

I'm stuck inside, on a bitterly cold & snow filled day, so my favorite thing to do (next to sewing) is BAKE!   
It warms up the house & I can continue to practice my icing skills, too.

tea & cookies on a snowy day 001

A hot cup of tea in a beautiful teacup (thanks baby sis, Ruth E.!) beside the fireplace.
  tea & cookies on a snowy day 003

I have several teacups to choose from but the one with the gold trim seems to always be the favorite.
I know my granddaughter always picks this one!

007[2].jpg teacups

 How appropriate is my "Tea Shop" teapot with SNOW on the roof???

tea & cookies on a snowy day 004

 I was able to consolidate the remaining fresh flowers from my Christmas tables into one snow white bouquet.
 tea & cookies on a snowy day 005

 ♥♥♥ LOVE ♥♥♥ those little lime green pops of color!  (What ARE those flowers called, anyway?)

 tea & cookies on a snowy day 006

 I thought *SNOWFLAKE* cookies would be the perfect shape for the day, along with teapots & teacups.

tea & cookies on a snowy day 002

My grandkidlets don't have school today, due to the -1º temperatures & the -17º wind chill, so I hope they will stop over to help me eat these goodies.'s cold!

You are welcome to stop by The Gazebo House, too.  The kettle is always on & we've always got some sort of treat to share.  

I'm linking up with Susan's Between Naps on the Porch for  Tablescape Thursday as well as Michael Lee West's Foodie Friday & Everything Else.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Sugar Cookies & Cherry Cheesecake Bites

tea & heart cookies 010

When my sweet granddaughter called to tell me (in a sad little voice) that all of their Christmas cookies were gone, I immediately got busy & made some more for her!

I've been wanting to practice some "flooding" techniques for decorating sugar cookies anyway. 

The recipe I now use for sugar cookies comes from Sweetopia.
It really holds the cut-out shapes well.   tea & heart cookies 002

I can remember my mother, as she was baking, reminiscing about how she could remember the sound of HER mother’s wedding ring, tapping against the side of the old sifter, as she combined the flour, salt & baking powders.
I can STILL HEAR the same sound of my mother’s gold band, doing the exact same thing as she made sugar cookies for my brothers & sisters at Christmas time!  Homemade sugar cookies are, by far, my most favorite cookie in the whole wide world...even more than Girl Scout Thin Mints!!!  (which Ms. C. will be selling very soon...just sayin')
I hope Caroline has the same fond memories of baking in the kitchen with her *Nana Rett*.
tea & heart cookies 009

I did this batch in Delta Zeta colors of PINK & that combination.  My hands aren't very steady & I need to work on getting the consistency of the icing correct, but they sure taste good, if I do say so myself.  
Over the holiday, I took a plate of my mini cherry cheesecake tarts to a New Year's Day party.  They looked so pretty on the red & white plate, that I just had to share a photo.
The recipe for them can be found HERE.

 2015-01-01 001 007

I'm glad you stopped by The Gazebo House today!
Take a cookie with you...I still have plenty left & I'm happy to make more.