~Cozy Customs~

Favorites recipes, family traditions, holiday or vacation fun!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Guest Blogger: Writer Angie Arndt shares a wonderful family recipe! Lemon Chess Pie!!

Angie Arndt
Several years before she died, my mother-in-law asked me to name my favorite Bible story. I told her it was the story of Ruth. Not too many moments before we'd been having a heated argument about something insignificant – not a unique experience. My answer, the Bible story chronicling the love between a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law, left her speechless – definitely a unique experience!

By the time I'd married her youngest son, she'd been a widow for more than a decade. Her husband, a handsome Naval officer, died at age 54 after a series of heart attacks that began when he was just 32-years-old. So, as her friends were making travel plans with their retired spouses, my mother-in-law was learning to live alone for the first time in her life. In the eyes of those around her, she grew stubborn and hard-to-please. She was just as Naomi must have been to have changed her name to Mara … bitter. 

My mother-in-law was a typical Southern woman, accustomed to a rigidly-structured, matriarchal society. There were strict rules: "when ironing a dress shirt start with the sleeves first" or "homemade pie crusts are best." As a newlywed and her next-door neighbor, at first I would quietly listen and then do whatever I pleased. (Someone had to keep the dry cleaners and grocery stores in business!) But later, I grew more confident. If she had a strong opinion on a topic, I had an equally-strong-but-opposite opinion. We argued about everything from careers to wall colors. (My poor husband!) 

When she developed cancer, I was given "the opportunity" to help care for her. I took that opportunity with much fear and trembling. As I watched her valiantly win that long battle against cancer, my attitudes changed. What I thought was stubbornness was actually courage and tenacity. What I took for offensiveness really meant she trusted me enough to be candid. Five years later, when she lost her battle to congestive heart failure, I realized that being able to care for her had been a gift from God. She had become my friend. 

I still miss her. I even miss our arguments. As I write this, I wonder, could Ruth have been strong enough to make it in a foreign land without Naomi? I don't think so.

Here is my mother-in-law's recipe for lemon chess pie. A little sour, a little bitter, but oh-so-sweet and worth the trouble!

Lemon Chess Pie

1 cup of sugar
½ stick of margarine or butter
2 eggs
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
Unbaked pie crust

Cream butter and sugar in mixer. Add unbeaten eggs, one at a time. Then, add juice and rind together with salt. Pour into pie crust and bake slowly for 20 – 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Makes one pie.

What about you? Do you have any Lemon Chess Relationships?

 A delicious fall recipe and a beautiful family reflection! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Aspiring Author Kendra LaLonde shares some fun holiday memories!

     I have had several fun holidays over the years. But there are 2 that stand out for me. The last family Christmas celebration in Michigan - when my grandmother was still alive. It was a lot of fun. We were able to see people we hadn't seen in a long time; even members of the family I'd never heard of before. The house was decorated, and we had a big meal downstairs in my grandparents basement. There must have been about 40 of us. Of course, getting to Michigan took us nearly an entire day of travel time. We were glad for the visit with family and friends there.

  The other memory I have of a great holiday was two years ago, on the 4th of July. We visited my brother who lives in New Hampshire for that week, and his church got together for a meal. It was quite enjoyable. There weren't lots of decorations in the big house, but with the 20 or so people there, I never noticed.

Kendra started writing when she was 16. She dabbles in Christian subjects-mostly the romantic theme, but is also trying her hand at YA. She hopes to learn some important things about the writing process from her many friends on facebook who also work in the writing profession.

She has been inspired by many. When she was 18, she suffered a tramatic brain injury. She was out of commission for 5 years. At 28, she is now back "in the game", struggling some due to her physical limitations, but too stubborn to give up.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Author Max Elliot Anderson shares a fun recipe! Smugglers Pie – as found in Lost Island Smugglers

Smugglers Pie – as found in Lost Island Smugglers
1 ½ sticks of butter (softened)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
Mix butter, flour, pecans. Press into 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes or until light brown. Let cool to room temperature.
Mix (8-ounce) cream cheese (softened), 1 cup powdered sugar, and 1 cup Cool Whip and spread over cooled crust.
Beat at low speed, 2 packages of instant chocolate pudding with 3 cups of milk for 2 minutes and quickly pour over the cream cheese layer. When pudding is firm, spread the rest of the Cool Whip over the top.
Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.
Yield: 12 servings
Lost Island Smugglers
Sam Cooper had just moved to Harper's Inlet when he met Tony. Tony's father owned a marina. Sam, Tony, and Tyler took scuba lessons together. Tony got them in for free. After they completed the course, the boys decided to try out their new skills in the real world...the ocean. The only problem was, no one had permission. While Tony's father was away on a buying trip, the boys took one of the rental sailboats out for their diving adventure. Everything went well until the biggest storm Tony had ever seen blew up from out of nowhere, and the boys found themselves stranded on Lost Island. But, if they thought the worst had happened, they were wrong. The boys discovered a secret hideout that was used by men in high powered speedboats. Sam and his friends knew the men were up to something, only they didn't know what. They had to find a way to stop them, but how? And, even if they did, the boys could never tell anyone about it. Join Sam Cooper, Tony, and Tyler on their scary scuba, ocean, island adventure.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Heart Warming Traditions: by multi-published author Mary Manners!

The older I get, the more I reflect on the traditions of my childhood. Not the big things, but those little things that lay nestled in my heart like spoonfuls of warm chicken noodle soup. My mom always made a double-chocolate cake layered with vanilla pudding and chocolate chips for each of my birthdays and my dad’s ode to the Fourth of July was a lighted flare staked in our tiny front yard as my siblings and I cheered and clapped with glee.
I always waited for Dad to come home from work, sitting on the front steps with a scuffed and tattered baseball clutched in my hands. It was his tradition to toss a few pitches to me before going into the house to greet Mom and wash up for dinner. And, on snowy Chicago winter days Dad made it a tradition to help me run my paper route with his beat-up Chevy station wagon. He’d drive through the snow while I bundled the papers and tossed them onto front porches. It was then I soaked in his best advice, “If you’re going to do a job, do it right.”
I’ve carried on some of the traditions of my childhood with my daughter. For example, when Danni turned seven I bought her first two-wheel bike and taught her to ride, same as my parents did for me and each of my siblings on our seventh birthdays. I also make her a lunch for school, same as my mom did each and every morning for years. Sometimes I tuck a note inside.
My husband and I have also begun a few of our own family traditions. We love leaving little notes for each other—taped to the car’s steering wheel, tucked beneath a bed pillow, at the dinner table, slipped into a pocket or shoe. The favorite Danni and I share is notes on the bathroom mirror. When she started to drive, I began to leave sticky notes for her each morning. “Have a great day. I love you. Be safe.” She framed the mirror with them, and then one day the notes disappeared. I thought she’d thrown them away, but later cried when I found she’d tucked each one carefully into a shoebox for safekeeping.
Traditions are the vines that connect memories and lives. What traditions do you share with your family…your friends?
Sometimes the last thing we think we need is exactly what God has planned.

After the death of his parents, Jake Samuels has enough on his plate—including a fledgling church to lead and a mischievous younger brother to raise. The last thing he needs is a rambunctious woman to contend with.

Carin O'Malley is dealing with the death of her brother and a new job as an English teacher at East Ridge Middle School where Corey Samuels reigns as King of Chaos. The last thing she needs is to fall in love with a man...especially a handsome and complicated preacher like Corey’s brother Jake.

But when Corey's antics toss Carin and Jake together, the two must draw from God’s wisdom to find refuge in His perfect plan for them.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A "Treasured" Tradition!

It all started  in Hawaii years ago. Lush sandy beaches, cawing seagulls, boat bobbing along the ocean blue. A perfect backdrop for a pirate's treasure hunt.
My husband Gary rummaged through a souvenior shop at our hotel and came up with a small shell covered box. Coral bracelets, necklaces, chocolate coins and a lei fiilled up the box before it was buried in the sand and marked appropriately with an "X" made of lava rocks.
Gina our oldest daughter was 3 at the time. Guided by her father and toting a makeshift map, she scoured the beach, squealing with delight when she uncovered the box of treasure! Our tradition was born.
Now some 27 years and 5 children later, we have enjoyed numerous treasure hunts at beaches both near and far. Treasure chests in a variety of shapes and sizes adorn our home. Each child has dibs on their favorite ones.

A second generation of "hunters" has now joined the tradition. Cameron, our oldest grandson, embarked on his first real treasure experience this past weekend. On the sandy beach in Seagrove, Florida, the pirate  made his visit, leaving behind a colorful map and wooden cigar box of treasure. A fun moment for any two year old! And with two more grandsons and new grandchildren on the horizons our treasured tradition is sure to continue!