Saturday, January 15, 2011

Packing Up

We are so excited that have a set closing day for next week.  We are planners, so we started packing early.  Over the last two weeks we have been packing up all belonging that we don’t use on a daily basis.  Packing has been an experience.  I have had a chance to see all our belongings and see how many of our things are frivolous.  The process of packing has made me pondering what is important in life.  For the last 2 weeks we have been living with what we feel is necessary and I like the simplicity.  So many things are complicated in life but I like my home to be a place of calmness and simplicity. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

80 Years Young

Saturday we celebrated Grandma Sparks 80th birthday.  The Sparks family gathered in Warren for food, family, and fun.  Aunt Jean and Aunt Lisa gathered pictures from the last 80 years to celebrate Grandma's birthday.  They made a picture collage of Grandma and we all gifted her with an electronic frame full of family pictures.  Aunt Lisa made a wonderful heart warming toast and then we ate cake and ice cream.  My Mom brought an ice cream station with all the fixings (Yummy)!  We all had a great time and I think Grandma brought 80 in with a bang!

                                                                 Grandpa Helped Celebrate
                                              6 of the Great Grandchildren (Alivia and Maggie were missing)
                                                                              Party Time

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hello 2011

This year Eric and I spent New Years with his family in Indianapolis.  We were all excited that Ron was able to make the 12 hour trip down to visit with us and disappointed that Mary was not with him.  Mary stayed in the U.P. to enjoy her last New Years before baby Strobel comes.  Eric and Ron enjoyed reminiscing about their youth and the great experiences they had shared as Brothers.  Dan and Nancy were grateful to have both of their boys under one roof. 
This year Eric had a special request for New Year's Day.  He asked me to make pig's knuckles and sauerkraut.  My husband knows that I love to cook for him so I hit the cookbooks.  When the cookbook failed, I turned to my boss Jerri.  Jerri is an avid cook and has helped me solve all my cooking issues thus far.  The hardest thing about this recipe is that I don't eat pig's knuckles or sauerkraut ( but I would not let me being picky stop this cooking adventure). 
German Pork with Sauerkraut

3-4 pounds of pork country style ribs or a little more for knuckles
Browning is optional

Mix the following in a large bowl:
32 ounces of sauerkraut in a bag in the meat section of the grocery, drained
½ head of cabbage, shredded
Large onion thinly sliced
1 or 2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced

Mix the following in a small bowl:
2 to 4 tablespoons of caraway seeds --we like lots! Adds a great flavor
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of water

Use a covered casserole or roasting dish. Can be slow cooked in a very large cooker.
Alternate layers of meat and sauerkraut mix
Pour caraway/water mix over all of it.
Cook in 350 degree oven for four hours, covered.
Served great with mashed potatoes.

I forgot to take a picture of finished result....but I think the Strobel's all enjoyed it! Eric asked me to make it a tradition to cook him pig's knuckles and sauerkraut every New Years day!