Archive for Renee Spindle

Family Traditions & Collections

At the beginning of this year I had posted a picture on my “Renee’s Revelings” Facebook page with  my son, Bryan’s, collection of Christmas ornaments.  I have had quite a few traditions with my kids over the years, and wanted to share the ones that mean the most me.

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A lifetime of Christmas ornaments.

 

When I was a working mom, with four active kiddos I was always paying attention to things that I wanted to incorporate as traditions for us at home.  Holiday traditions, summer traditions, and just plain old family traditions.  Can you tell I’m a traditionalist at heart?

One of my favorite “traditions” was with the kids friends.  When any of them had a friend over for dinner they were always considered a guest in our home the first three times they had dinner at our table.  (I honestly cannot remember how I arrived at the number three.) After that I always told their friends you’re no longer a guest now you’re part of the family. Which was heart-warming for the friend, but my kids knew it meant I expect your friends to help out with serving dinner and cleaning up afterwards. I was usually the one doing the cooking.

During the summer months I had this tradition of taking the kids out for an ice cream after dinner.  The kids would be all bathed and clean and in their pajamas.  I’d say, “Hey let’s go get an ice cream!  Don’t change you can just go in your pj’s.  Pajama run!!!”  And then we’d all head for the car and the kids would be giggling all the way because they’d go out at  night in their pajamas.  Such fun memories.

Whenever we went to the beach during the summer I’d be sure and stop for an ice cream treat on the way home.  Are you noticing my  ice cream loving pattern here?  They still talk about the places we used to stop on the way home.  Such fun times piling everyone in the car along with all the gear for a day of sand and surf!

My holiday traditions with the kids are the ones that are the most precious to me, and the ones I know they will carry with them into their own homes.  Since my oldest daughter was a baby, and on her first Christmas in 1981, I bought her an ornament each year to commemorate the holiday.  The ornaments were the most precious of all of our family traditions for me.  Every year I would buy a special ornament for each one of the kids and paint their names and the year on each one.  I knew that one day they would be leaving the nest, and that collection of ornaments would go with them to start their first Christmas in their own houses with memories of their childhood.  Some years I would buy them all them same ornaments; Santa’s, or snowmen, or nutcrackers.  Other years I bought them ornaments based on a trip we had taken that year, or some place they had been, or a hobby they were interested in.   My oldest daughter has already continued this tradition with her own kids, and I hope she knows that she is creating memories that will last a lifetime.  That is precious to me.

As this New Year began and I was taking down our Christmas tree and the decorations I packed up my oldest son’s decorations for the last time.  I put them in a box with all of his other personal decorations that he will take with him to his own home later this year.  I will admit that I did get a little teary eyed during this process.  You see he’s the last one of our kids to take his beloved ornaments with him as he leaves the place he’s called home for over 25 years.  He’ll be getting married in the fall of this year, and have his own box of ornaments to decorate his first Christmas tree with in his own home.  That warms my heart knowing that his childhood memories and the collection of ornaments that he grew up with will live on each and every holiday season.

For me traditions, memories, collections, and pictures are the core of our family history. They are those little things that remind you of the warmth and the love of your home.  Or maybe certain traditions remind you of your parents, or grandparents.   The things that are important and special to you will last a lifetime, and are always the most meaningful.

Happy March Birthday!

For my daughter, Hilary- wishing her a Happy Birthday month along with all the fun, hopes and dreams for a wonderful year ahead.  A few memories, and lots of laughs in this collection of pictures.

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I love that when I look at this collection I can remember each and every special moment. Family times are those forever times that you always want to treasure, and tuck the happiness in your pocket.  Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead!

Frozen Apples for your Pie?

We have a tiny little apple tree in our backyard.  It’s a golden delicious apple tree, but I think we’ve always picked the apples when they are still green.  This little tree is about 7 years old, and last fall was the first year that we have picked a plethora of apples from our little tree.

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We picked all of the apples at one time because we have some lovely neighborhood crows who like to pick the apples for us if we give them the chance.  Since we had a crate full of apples they were not going to go to waste.  I looked online at recipes and ideas for processing the apples and decided to freeze them.  And I also decided that they would be made into apple pie filling based on my googling, researching, and reading.

The recipe I found was talleyfarmsfreshharvest.com.  I was looking for a simple recipe that would be quick and easy to put together.  And for my apples I only used 1/2 of the sugar called for, wanting to keep the sweetness to a minimum.  I made a single batch of “pie filling”  each time I was processing the apples.  This just made it easier to keep track of the amount of apples I was peeling, and then mixing in the ingredients after the peeling process.  A certain Travel Man in know was very excited about the prospect of having multiple apple pies at the ready to be baked for desserts when he is home between assignments.

This is  the typical amount of apples that I put in a ziploc bag and then in the freezer.

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 Frozen Apple Pie-

Ingredients: 
  • 10 cups peeled, sliced & cored apples (use an apple peeler to save time)
  • 1/3 cups sugar (or more if very tart)
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (slightly heaping)
Directions: 
  • Put in the peeled apples in a large bowl, and add the remaining ingredients.
  • Toss to cover all the apples. 
  • Put in a one gallon freezer bag making sure to scrape the bowl.
  • Flatten bag and freeze. 
  • When ready to make a pie, no need to thaw, just pull bag out. 
  • Make your crust and empty the bag in the crust, flattening to fit.
  • Bake at 425 degree F for 45-55 minutes.

The pie will look like this before you put it in the oven.

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Then once your baking is complete you will have this lovely dessert.

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If you enjoy apple pie this is a super simple dessert you can throw together in a jiffy.  Oh and don’t forget to add the whip cream or ice cream, and enjoy!

 
 

Luscious Lemon Squares

Since it’s January, and my lemon tree is over loaded with lemons, it’s about time I share a lemony, delicious recipe with you.  Lemon squares are one of my Mom’s favorite desserts. She’s been asking me when we’re going baking these yummy little goodies.  I think it’s high time we gather some lemons and get to work.

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This is my favorite recipe for lemon squares from The Betty Crocker Ultimate Cookie Book.  I think I got this book from my Mom a few years ago.  Thanks Mom!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  • Mix flour, butter and powered sugar.
  • Press into ungreased square pan 8x8x2 or 9x9x2, building up a ½ edge to form a small crust.
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  • Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Beat the remaining ingredients together on high-speed until light and fluffy.
  • Pour this mixture over the baked layer, and bake again for 25-30 minutes.
  • There should be almost no indentation remaining when lightly touched in the center.  A thin crust will form over the top of the bars.
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  • While the pan is still warm sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.

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  • Cool the pan completely, and then sprinkle with a second layer of powdered sugar.

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I cut the 8×8 size pan into small little squares, and remember the lemon flavor gets better with age.  If you can stand to let these little beauties sit around for a few days they taste better and better each day.  This batch was particularly yummy, and the lemony middle just melted in your mouth.  I have to admit they did not last long, and I made a second batch a few days later.

My next lemony adventure will most likely be a lemony sorbet, lemon poppy seed cake, or maybe a lemon-ricotta cheesecake.  Looking forward to trying the cheesecake this weekend.  Happy baking everyone.  What’s your favorite lemony recipe?

Changing up Our Thanksgiving Routine

Travel Man and I enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with 17 or so of our family around the table for dinner.  It’s so much fun when we get to have all of our kids with us at home for a big sit-down dinner. It’s quite a feat getting everyone to the table on time, but we did it and had so much fun.  I’ve been known to get all mushy with my toasts of thankfulness. My grandson Evan always likes to pipe in and tell a joke to the entire table. It’s priceless and always makes us laugh.
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Our old dining room table, with a total of 8 leaves, comes in handy for this time of year. I’ve written about our dining room table before it’s got quite a bit of history to it.   This year my wonderful husband put together a table extension that will now allow us to seat 20 people at the table for any particular festivity.

This is my professional table-setter,my grandson Evan.  He’s taken on the roll of helping me get the table ready for the past few years.  He was upgraded to “professional” status this year!

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Normally our entire Thanksgiving weekend would be spent around the house with our kids and grand-kids.  This year we decided to switch it up and go camping for the rest of the holiday time after the “big dinner”.  We took off for our destination in the early afternoon on Friday, and we headed back home Monday afternoon.  We’re so lucky that Travel Man had some vacation time to use and that his job allows him to have the flexibility to plan for this type of trip. We’ve had such an enjoyable time relaxing, resting, reading, watching movies and playing Monopoly! And of course I brought some of the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers.  We had to get our fill of turkey sandwiches.

Glamping

A few of the sights from our holiday weekend.

Now we’re thinking that maybe next year we’ll host Thanksgiving dinner right from our trailer (I meant to say our “glamping” residence).  We’ll see about that in a few months. I’m such a traditionalist at holiday time I’m not sure if I could do that.  Thoughts to ponder.

I’m hoping everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. I know I’m looking forward to the upcoming holidays and spending more time with family.  Cheers!

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