A Legacy Book

Investigating -Writing Memoirs:


Product Details

For those of you investigating memoir writing, my husband’s book of life lessons learned, Umbrellas Make Poor Parachutes, is now available on Amazon.  The book is  a collection of his colorful stories from growing up on a farm, serving as a Marine, working in law enforcement and so many life lessons along the way.

Christmas Nostalgia

Investigating Christmas nostalgia:

Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of the Christ child,


and to reminisce with family traditions–like these handmade Christmas stockings my mother made for every grandchild.

Christmas stockings


To add to the nostalgia of handmade ornaments, attach a note as to the who, what, when, where, and why of  the decoration to keep the memory alive when unpacked by family members each year.

Christmas ornament


What’s Cookin’ Thanksgiving?

Investigating Thanksgiving Family Recipe Traditions

This Thanksgiving while investigating family traditions and items to pass along, I ran across this unusual recipe in Grandma’s Whitman’s Sampler candy box recipe file. She had a variety of recipes. Some in booklets and newspaper clippings, some on note cards  or slips of paper, and one on the back of a bridge score sheet.

grandma's spatula

Using this old spatula I retrieved from her kitchen, I enjoy trying out some of her recipes. This is an interesting one for fried tomatoes that has a sauce.


Old Fashioned Fried Tomatoes

4 medium or 3 large tomatoes

¼ c fine dry bread crumbs or flour

½ tsp. salt

Dash pepper

Bacon fat for frying


2 Tbsp flour

1 ½ c. milk

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce


Cut tomatoes into thick slices, about 4 to each tomato. Combine bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Coat tomato slices on both sides. Fry in hot fat about ¼ inch deep, turning carefully to brown both sides. Remove to hot platter. Pour off all be 2 Tbsp. fat. Blend in flour. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly until thickened. Add Worcestershire sauce. Pour sauce over tomatoes. Makes 6 servings. (Bacon fat adds flavor, but other fat or oil may be used.


Try it for Thanksgiving—you might start a family tradition of your own!



Thanksgiving Tradition

I’ve been investigating family traditions and items to pass along.  With Thanksgiving approaching,  I thought I would pass on some recipes  from the Grandma’s Whitman’s Sampler  candy box that held her recipe collection.

Whitman recipe box

When Grandma passed away, the grandchildren were given to opportunity to select items from Grandma’s house that carried meaning for us. Her recipe box was one of my picks along with this interesting item from her kitchen.

Know what this is?

grandma's cherry pitter

It’s is a cherry pitter, and here is a recipe from her box where the pitter comes in handy.

This recipe makes pretty individual salads for Thanksgiving.

California Special Salad

(From The New Jell-O Book of Surprises, 1926)

1 pkg. lemon Jell-O

1 c. boiling water

1 c. cherry juice and cold water

¼ tsp. salt

1c. pitted cherries, finely cut

½ c nuts, coarsely cut

½ c. celery, diced

Hellman’s mayonnaise

Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Add cherry juice, water, and salt. Chill. When slightly thickened, add cherries, nuts, and celery. Turn into individual molds. Chill until firm. Unmold on crisp lettuce. Garnish with Hellman’s mayonnaise. Serves 8.


Halloween Nostalgia

Halloween Nostalgia

Investigating Family Traditions—the way it was:

Halloween pumpkin '82

In the 1950’s we lived in a much safer world. We hand-carved pumpkins, lit them with candles and set them on the front porch. We knew the families in the neighborhood and adults felt comfortable for us to trick or treat with our friends without adult supervision.

We didn’t have the sophisticated costumes sold today. We gathered items around the house and got creative— a ghost from an old white sheet with holes cut to see through, dad’s old shirt over jeans with a broom stick and pillowcase attached became a hobo. We didn’t use fancy containers for loot, a paper sack would do.

There was no fear of poison candy or razor blades in apples.  Some neighbors were even ready with special homemade candied apples or popcorn balls.

popcorn balls

See recipe below:

Popcorn Balls Recipe

2 cups white sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

½ cup butter

¼ cup water

Salt to taste

1 tsp. vanilla extract

5 quarts popped popcorn

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter and water. Stir and heat to hard-crack state or 300 degrees F. Remove from heat, add vanilla, mix well. Pour slowly over popped popcorn while stirring. Wait 5 minutes and shape into 3 inch round balls.


A Family Tradition Trip

Investigating Family Traditions to hand down:


A couple of my friends offer a trip of their grandchild’s  choice when the child turns age twelve.

One lets the child pick anywhere in the United States, the other anywhere in the world!

Becca and Grammy (2)

But certainly the adventure could be a trip in your state or city. The idea is experiencing a special planned time together that will create a lasting legacy.

Sundial-A Heritage Pass Along

Investigating Family Traditions to hand down:

How did you tell time before clocks and watches?


Share that one of the earliest time measurement devices was the sundial.

In bright sunshine the gnomon (the projecting piece) on the sundial casts a clear shadow, which shows the time. The shadow slips past each of the hour lines rather like a clock hand. It starts in the morning, goes past 12 noon in the middle of the day, and continues in the afternoon.

Sundials are made so their time is correct by the sun. This is called solar time and is a local time. Clock time is different and it can be confusing to check a sundial and clock together. It depends on the place and the time of year. The times on a sundial and clock can be half an hour or more different even though both are correct.

Sundials are not affected by changing the clocks. When clocks are put forward during the summer, reading a sundial stays the same—the position of the sun in the sky has not changed.

A Special Teen Promise Ring

Investigating Family Traditions to hand down:

Chip's ring for blog

From James Dobson materials I was intrigued by this general idea from his book,  Preparing for Adolescence.

To mark the special time when our son was ready to date, my husband and I planned a lobster and steak dinner at a special restaurant. During dinner, we presented him with a ring. (The one pictured above.) This ring was to be a reminder to keep his heart and body pure for his future bride.

On his wedding day, our son started a new tradtion. Just before he took his marriage vows, he took off the ring and handed it to his dad. That simple act told us he’d kept his vow.  His dad now wears the ring until our son, who now has three young sons, needs it to carry on the tradition.

Visit  http://hopecc.com.au/pdf/building-strong-teenagers.pdf   for further ideas on parenting teens.



A Family Heritage Shotgun

remington double barrel shotgun crop 1

Investigating Family Heritage Items & Traditions to Pass Along

This Remington Arms Co. double barrel hammerless side by side shotgun is a family heirloom that belonged to my husband’s great-grandfather. My husband remembers the weapon as the “family gun” used for shooting unwelcome squirrels in the pecan trees, rabbits in the garden and hawks in the chicken yard.

remington double barrel shotgun shield on butt

His great-grandfather worked as a prison guard at one time as indicated by the shield on the gunstock.

remington double barrel shotgun close up


Taking photos of this old shotgun spawned questions about its history and we are waiting for a call from the Remington Company—another way to gather information to pass along to the next generation.