Treats to fix mom on Mother’s Day

May, already! This is the month the school kids have been waiting for since the Christmas holidays were over. Most of them have, anyway. It is the month of excitement for the seniors as it means the most important decisions of their lives so far. Do I go to further schooling or to some kind of training or the military or get a job right away if I can or latch onto some boy whose parents are rich and get married? Those of us well past this age know right away which of those are good and which is the worst thing they can do, but in that high school mind, it all looks promising. If they see Mom bringing in some big, empty boxes, they may get the idea that she is going to turn their bedroom into her craft room and they are out. This is a painful time for those decisions for both child and parent. We have raised them to be independent, but when the time comes for that decision on their part, it hits us between the eyes and most parents are not really ready for that “empty nest”. It painfully reminds us that the years are going by at a much too fast speed.

College has gotten so expensive these days that the decision for or against more schooling is a critical decision for many families. We know that some kind of more learning is necessary if we don’t want our child to be flipping hamburgers the rest of their lives, but how to pay for it is critical. Not every child gets a full scholarship to any college they want, and now, they begin to see why they should have studied a little more or skipped school less during the last four years. Hopefully, there has been a family decision already made about financing for further education. May is a little late to start looking for money for Harvard, Yale or even a state school. Community colleges are a great help, but even they are not free. Loans have to be repaid and parents’ retirement savings are hard to replace at this stage in their lives.

Whatever it takes, it is worth it, kids. This decision will determine the path of the rest of your lives, so make certain you don’t go the easy way and then regret it. There are no free rides in life and what you work for, you will appreciate most in the years to come. This is a glorious time in your lives, so use it wisely.

There were some tears in parents’ eyes as they saw their “grown up” daughters in beautiful gowns and their sons in tuxes as they went to school proms. Time does go by quickly, doesn’t it. Enjoy each moment and file it away in your memories. We have a grandson graduating this year and so we know how it is to see that little kid all grown up. Austin was so handsome in his white tux as he went to his Senior Prom.

Bernard Young, husband of my childhood friend, Dorothy Hall Young, passed away this past week. Those who were in 4-H in Washington County in the early fifties will remember him. They have lived in Arkansas the past several years and we didn’t get to see them as much as we would have liked. So do keep in touch with your friends as much as you can because we never know when they won’t be here. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

The hummingbirds are back, so it has to really be spring. I am going to celebrate by making my annual Hummingbird Cake and will put the recipe I am using this year in today. If Mother Nature tries to bring in a late frost, someone needs to chase her away. The process of storing away winter clothes is in full swing and I don’t want to have to wear any of them for many months. Even though I do like snow, I am tired of messy winter. Spring-cleaning is the least of things I like, but it has to be, so I might as well get into full swing this week and get it all done. I will clean on the rainy days and work in the garden on the nice days. The berry patch is screaming to be straightened up and the new starts replanted. I am fortunate to have blackberry vines minus the stickers, so I do want to take care of them. My neighbor is selling them at a very reasonable price, so I will get my patch filled. Let me know if you need any – I know where to find them.

Another project that is starting to get going is one that husband Norm didn’t realize he was really getting into, but is in the planning now – making an arena for the kids to use for their horses. It is getting harder and harder for kids to have a place to work with their horses, so I guess our place is going to be it. It is so pretty to watch those horses frolic around in the pasture.

Enjoy each day and be thankful for your family and friends. They are the important things in this life, so don’t take them for granted. Next Saturday is the Stanleyville (Ohio) Elementary School Reunion. If you went there – long ago – or know folks who did, come out and enjoy the potluck dinner at noon and the gab session all afternoon. Remember, next Sunday is Mother’s Day – plan for it. God bless you all.

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HUMMINGBIRD CAKE

Three cups all-purpose flour

One teaspoon baking soda

One-half teaspoon salt

Two cups sugar

One teaspoon ground cinnamon

Three eggs, beaten

Three-fourths cup vegetable oil

One-and-one-half teaspoons vanilla extract

One (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, not drained

One cup chopped pecans

One-and-three-fourths cup mashed bananas

Cream Cheese Frosting

One-half cup chopped pecans, toasted

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl, then add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not beat. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1-cup pecans, and bananas. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 23-28 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes, remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle toasted pecans over top.

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CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

One-half cup butter or margarine, softened

One (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

One (1-lb.) box powdered sugar, sifted

One-teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream butter and cheese. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla.

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“SOUTH OF THE BORDER” BEANS

(Good BBQ side dish)

One pound dry pinto beans

One chunk salt pork

One-half teaspoon salt

One medium onion, minced

One teaspoon garlic salt

One teaspoon oregano

One tablespoon chili powder

Dash pepper

Fresh parsley for garnish

Soak beans overnight in water to more than cover. Drain, add fresh water and salt and simmer about one hour. Dice salt pork and brown in skillet. Remove pork and reserve. Add onion and brown in fat drippings. Remove onion and reserve. Add pork, onion, and seasonings to beans and simmer one to two hours or until beans are tender.

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DOROTHY’S SAUSAGE CASSEROLE

One pound sausage

One half onion, chopped

One can mushrooms, drained

One-half cup uncooked rice

One half medium green bell pepper, diced

One can chicken gumbo soup

One soup can water

One-eighth cup grated sharp cheese

Fry sausage and onion. Drain well. Mix with other ingredients. Bake 80 minutes at 350 degrees.

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STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB PIE

One-fourth cup cornstarch

One cup sugar

One cup water

Two cups fresh rhubarb

One-and-one-half cups fresh strawberries, sliced

Pastry for 8-inch double-crust pie

Combine water and cornstarch in a saucepan. Mix until smooth. Add one-half cup rhubarb and one-half cup strawberries and bring to a boil. Gently boil for three minutes. Stir in remaining rhubarb and strawberries. Line an eight-inch pie pan with pastry, and pour filling into pie shell. Top with top pastry crust. Cut slits in top. Brush with cream (or milk) and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 20 minutes or until crust is nicely browned.

Contact Patty Christopher at jkoenitzer@aol.com