It doesn't seem like 14 years have passed since we were celebrating the entering of 2000. I remember
people were saving water and food, the computers were all going to crash, the world was going to end. Lucky for all of us that none of that happened and here we are! 2014.
We visited Clifton Mill last Saturday night and thought that it might not be so crowded after Christmas. Wrong! It was packed!!! I have been wanting to take Mom and Daddy every year since moving to Ohio but the weather was always bad or we were just too tired. I told them this year that we were going - no matter what! Andy and I went a couple of years ago and everything was so wet. It had been raining for days. This year was a little cold but not too bad.
The sight was spectacular! If you live in the area and have never been, please put this on your to-do list for next year. Clifton Mill boasts the use of over 3.5 million lights that decorate the mill, the gorge, the covered bridge, the riverbanks, and trees. There is a miniature village with so many things to see - even a drive-in movie and an Ohio State football game in progress. There is also a nativity and a building that houses antique sleds dating back to 1908 and other antique toys. Be sure to treat yourself to a hot chocolate with whipped cream while you're there.
Today, we celebrated New Year's by having our traditional Christmas breakfast. We skipped this on Christmas Day in favor of lunch with friends. It was a great way to begin the day - breakfast casserole with bread, eggs, and sausage, cinnamon sugar crescent rolls, and mixed fruit. Yum!
After breakfast, we all settled in to watch the 125th Rose Parade. I LOVE this parade! I am wowed by the entries each and every year. The creativity and planning then the actual implementation of building the floats is just awesome. My favorite entry was the one with the animals all over it. The animation (moving parts) was incredible.
I've enjoyed having Mom and Daddy just a hop, skip, and jump away. It's great being able to stop in to see them or have them come here for a visit and/or a meal. They're slowly settling in. The last truckload of stuff arrived last Friday after a 27 day wait. What a mess we had with the mover! They are in a sea of boxes but will get through them gradually.
Here is a soup recipe of Mom's that I made recently. I'm going to get the fixings to make it again next time I go to the store. If you can open some cans and a jar, you can make this soup! In other words - it's not called easy for nothing!
Shirley's Easy Vegetable Soup
2 cans Veg All, undrained * 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained * 1 can whole kernel corn * 1 can creamed corn * 1 can diced potatoes, undrained * 2 bouillon cubes, diluted with small amount of water * 1 jar Ragu Garden Combination Spaghetti Sauce * 1 pound ground beef (or chicken or stew beef), browned and drained
Cook beef and drain. In large pot, place cooked beef, bouillon cubes, and all canned ingredients, EXCEPT spaghetti sauce. Mix gently to combine, then cook over low heat for 30-45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking/scorching. Add Ragu Sauce. Fill empty jar about ½ full with water and shake. Add to soup mixture. Cook until mixtures comes to a low boil. Add about 1 tbsp. sugar, and black pepper, to taste. Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce, if desired. Stir. Great served with corn muffins.
I don't think you can do anything wrong to this soup. I added a can each of kidney and garbanza beans. To make it more like a stew, I didn't add any water and I drained a couple of cans that the recipe said not to drain. Also, I didn't dilute my bouillon cubes - I just threw them in the post and they dissolved as the soup simmered. I baked three boneless skinless chicken breasts an then shredded them by hand. I think canned chicken or beef would work, too. This soup will be a staple in my fridge this winter!
Today, I finished my first project of 2014 - a Chunky Dropped Stitch Cowl. So fast! I started it last night and finished it this afternoon. I've already started a second one. On size 17 needles, this project zips along!
Back to 2014. I don't like to wish time away because it certainly passes fast enough all by itself. But, 2013 started my heart racing on January 10th like it had never beat before. Daddy's heart attack - from code blue to resuscitation to recovery - kind of placed an urgency on the year. I am so thankful that he and Mom have moved to Ohio. I know this is a tremendous change and challenge for them. I can't find the words to express how I feel with them close-by - I just love having them here. I hope 2014 finds them settling in and enjoying their new surroundings.
For Andy and me - I wish us good health. This needs to include better habits - eating, exercising, and sleeping (for me - but I so enjoy my late-night hours!). Also, I need some stress reduction in my life. Need to give the how-to of this some thought.
For our children and their families - I wish them good health and happiness. I hope we all get to see each other more this year. I miss them and those babies are just growing too fast!
For all of you - I wish you good health and happiness, as well. May we all find contentment in our lives in 2014.
Thanks so much for reading and Happy New Year to you and yours!