Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Grandpa's Famous Sayings

Who died and left you boss?
George Engel                                                                   
On my dad's birthday, I think it's only appropriate to post one of his famous sayings.  When we thought we knew everything, we were acting too bossy, we were disagreeable, or we put ourselves above someone else, my dad would always say "Who died and left you boss?"
A man of much wisdom, he taught us so much, including how to humble ourselves. He touched so many lives, always taking in someone who was less fortunate or needed a helping hand, yet keeping his family the center of his life.
Laughter was common in our house.  He loved to tease us all endlessly, while, at the same time, guiding us with a firm hand.  When his hand hit the table, everyone was quiet!  Even then, we were allowed to question so we understood, and we were never put down.  He knew how to correct a bad behavior without saying an unkind word.
From him, I learned to be compassionate and nurturing.  Someone always needs a helping hand or a kind word at some time in their life.  People respond more to kind words then put downs.  I believe this is where I got "There's a nice way to say everything, and a way to say everything nice", but I don't remember him saying this exact quote.
For his grandchildren - a little background.  Grandpa grew up in a family that helped other family members during the Great Depression, teaching him to be giving.  He had a tough father, so he learned to be the opposite, a very caring father.
I miss you, dad, and try to live my life by the example you set.  Happy Birthday!
Easy Recipe

This salad was a common dish in my childhood home.  It's especially good with any roast (so you can dip your meat in it).

Dad's Favorite Salad

Head of Lettuce - cored and chopped into bite size pieces
Sour Cream
A little Milk
Garlic and Onion Salt

Add mayonnaise and sour cream - as much as you would add for dressing.  Add a little milk to thin out the mayonnaise and sour cream mixture.  Season with garlic and onion salt to taste.  Toss with lettuce.  Sooo good!

Love you,
Aunt Janet

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Garden Signs

I spent the last week and a half painting these signs in the hopes of making some extra money at Kicks on 66.  I had so much fun painting them, and found out that I really did get my mom's creative gene.

My mom has a lot right off of the old Route 66, so I decided I could save money, and set up my "booth" on my mom's lot.  What the heck - it's down the street from where the paying booths were located.

Well, Uncle Todd's truck died, and he needed my vehicle to go to work.  So, I needed a ride (besides money to help pay for the truck).  After several phone calls, my sister came through.  (Oh, and I was just calling to tell you I found a ride, but thanks anyway.) 

So, I had the signs, the spot and the ride.  Now I needed the stakes.  I suggested using some of the cedar sticks in the yard that UT cut up to make logs for his bird houses.  UT didn't want me to use them for stakes, so he told me to search my mom's garage for stakes.  My sister and I climbed through the mess - that somehow accumulated in the garage that I've sorted and cleaned a hundred times before (yes - you could actually park 2 cars in it after I'm done, each of the hundred times) - in search of stakes.  I found some, full of nails, but useable.

I stick them in my car along with a table, bird feeders, and trellises that somehow got in her garage, and set out for home.  I got a hammer and started pulling out the nails.  BTW, if I die from tetanus, I scratched myself with one of the nails. After some procrastination and complaining, UT said we couldn't use the stakes I had got from my mom's house and went to the yard to get the cedar sticks.  I got UT to put the stakes on the signs, as I stood by putting the screws on the screw gun, because that is my job when UT does anything for me.

Okay, stakes taken care of.  I took pictures, posted them on Facebook, with all pertinent info, packed them up, got together all the stuff to paint more signs, printed a sign, and priced all the signs, not with stickers but with paper and tapes because UT doesn't want to have to take them off when we put them in our yard.  Then it was off to bed.

Waking early because Maggie made me get up, I didn't feel that good.  UT thought maybe it wasn't a good idea to go, but I assured him it would pass (after some medicine).  Knowing my sister is always on time, I gathered all my stuff on the lawn, ready to throw in her car.  Half an hour later sitting on the front stairs, I realized that my sister had learned something from her sisters - the art of being late.

She showed up and, of course, the things that had to go in first, were on the bottom of my neatly stacked pile.  After stuffing everything into her car (I lied - I told her it would just be a few things), we set off for the lot.  On the way, we stopped at the bank so I could get change.  With money in my pocket, I proceeded to open the wrong car door, which was luckily locked, but the guy in the next car was laughing at me hysterically.

We get to the block that my mom's lot is on, and half way down the block, I asked my sister to stop so I could put my signs up (over my mom's for sale sign) that was at the corner.  In the wind and fighting with the tape, I finally got the sign up, only to be greeted by the biggest puppy I've ever seen.  Cute dog.

Well, we got to the lot, and unpacked her full car, trying to figure out if anyone would see me.  The lot where the booths were set up were already bustling with people.   We decided that maybe I should move closer to the corner.  Wanting to stay on my mom's property, we then carried all the stuff about 30 feet closer to the old Route 66.  Thank God my sister was with me because it probably would have taken me an hour to move it by myself.

She wished me luck and was on her way, and I waited for all the people to come and buy my signs.  And I waited, and I painted, and I waited, and I played a game, and I waited.  A truck went by, hit a puddle, spraying mud all over me and my signs, and I waited.  A red SUV pulled up, and I thought "my first customer".  The door opened, and out came UT.  I gave a sad face, and he melted, packed me up, and took me to get my favorite barbeque pork sandwich.

What did I learn?  Sometimes you have to spend a little money to make money.  I should have just gotten a booth.  And, no matter how much work you put into something, it doesn't always turn out the way you want it.  You think I should have learned this lesson by now.  (For those that know me, they get it.)  But, aren't my signs cute?  Hand painted and price right!


I've always had a kid or two in my garden - helping to plant and then harvesting the fresh veggies.  My nieces and nephews are grown, and the next generation is old enough to carry on the tradition.   My nieces already are passing on the fun they had in my garden.  So, who wants to help and when?  Ask your moms to let me know.

Easy Recipe

My sister recently asked for my cole slaw recipe, so here it is:

Creamy Cabbage Slaw
6 cups or 1 medium cabbage, shredded
¼ cup green onion, sliced
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. salt

Combine cabbage and onion.  Mix remaining ingredients together and stir into slaw.

Aunt Janet

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Friends will come and go, but family is forever.

George Engel aka "Dad" "Unk"
Dedicated to Aunt Judy who likes my blog and the rest of my family
Family is made up of a composite of individuals, all connected by a common link - being together either by birth or marriage.  The Google definition is "all the descendants of a common ancestor".  Today, this doesn't always hold true.
What is family to me?  One word - love.  Who is always there for you?  Who will be there when you are born, when you marry, when you get old?  Who will always love you, but sometimes hates you?  Who touches your heart with the inner most joy or the deepest anger?  Who will you laugh with and cry with?  Who do you try to grow up to be not like, but end up being just like?  Who knows your deepest secrets and will keep them secret except with other family members?  Who will come together and bury you - no matter what?  Your family.  It's a kind of unconditional love.
I read a book recently where one person remembers growing up in a very negative family until he is reminded by another cousin of all the fun and love that was shared in their very dysfunctional family.  Someone who remembered being picked on as a kid was reminded of being so close that they were inseparable. 
Is any family perfect?  I have never met anyone that thought their family was totally perfect.  There's an aunt who ran off with the milk man and a uncle who farted all the time.  A dad with an addiction and a cousin who married an alien.  I could go on and on.  Every family is dysfunctional in some way (and more dysfunctional if they don't admit it).  Why?  Because we are all human - no one is perfect, even you or me.  We all have our positive and negative traits, and most of them were learned from guess who? - our family.
Today was our youngest member's first birthday party.  There will be more after her, and the family will continue to grow.  She will always have us around her.  I already see her mom's characteristics.  She will learn from you and me - all of us.  Each newcomer, whether by birth or marriage, has to know that, no matter what, you are part of our family.  We will love you and hate you, rejoice with you and get madder than a wet hen when you look at us cross-eyed.  You are special, and you will always be special to us.  We need to pass on our love, no matter how crazy, to the young.
So, since we are all stuck together for the rest of our life, whether we like it or not, as dad and grandpa always said "Friends will come and go, but family is forever."  So, instead of just dealing with it, make the most out of it!  Cherish and love us for all our unique, wacky, weird, and positive traits!  We love you!
Love you,
Aunt Janet aka "Janet" "Jan" "AJ" "Jagnes Ann" "Smarty Pants"

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chance to Be Better

Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.
Albert Camus
In many ways, I feel chained by my problems. I will be released from these burdens this year - whether positively or negatively yet to be determined.  Either way, the weight will be gone.
The weight of things out of my control causing a snowball effect until the snowball was as big as a giant mountain of snow where the Abominable Snowman stalks me to endless fear.
I've asked what I've done wrong, and so many have said "nothing - it just happened."  This economy has devastated so many hard working people - those with good money sense, but caught up in the financial crash.
Maybe this is a chance to be better - a chance to make good out of the bad.  A chance for hope for I will strive to make it better.
There is an excellent program available from Dave Ramsey called Total Money Makeover.  His website, www.daveramsey.com, offers hope to overcome financial problems.  Yes, it does take hard work, patience, and doing without to achieve financial freedom, but it is possible.  Check it out!
Grandpa's Sayings
Another day, another dollar.
Easy Recipe
Parmesan Chicken Breasts
Chicken Breasts
Miracle Whip
Parmesan Cheese
Garlic Powder
Arrange chicken breasts in baking dish.  Spread miracle whip generously over chicken.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garlic powder.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Aunt Janet

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