Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year........Tribute to my Dad

So, I "stole" this picture from my sister's blog....sorry Lois...but I just love it so. It's a picture of my Daddy. I think it's from the 60's. I was born in 1966. This is Dad in his study in our old church where he use to pastor, see him holding his bible. Dad pastored there for 31 years. He was an awesome pastor, everyone LOVED him. He had compassion, and love for everyone. Dad did a great job at pastoring our old church there in NYC. He would remember every one's name, and it just wasn't a church, it was a FAMILY! Our church was run so well, all the holidays were festive, and the church was in order, clean, it was "The House of the Lord". Whenever the church doors were opened, we were all there. Daddy loved his church, and the church was his life.

Daddy passed away this past May. Most of you know about his accident....really it was a tragedy. I have never experienced a tragedy in my life before, and never really considered Dad's death as one. But when I look back at this man's great life, the way he died, and his sickness, and then that night when he fell down the stairs, with all those bones broken, the suffering, and not being able to do anything for himself, yes it was a great tragedy in my life and my family's life.

You see Daddy was such an independent, strong man. I trusted every word he said. I felt comfortable with all his decisions and would go to Dad with help when I needed to make a decision. He always had the right answer, and sometimes I didn't want to hear it! Over the years, I have had so many arguments with Dad, didn't want to agree with him, but then in the long run, he was always right. I never wanted to agree with him.....why was I like that? I wish I could take back all those arguments now, and just keep my big mouth SHUT!

He was always on the go, eager to do the Lord's work, and was always there for his kids....well we did have great competition with church, and all it's activities, but in the long run, Dad was always there for us! Dad loved his grandchildren. He would always give them extra money whenever he would see them. He gave them his time, and I know they always loved going to Oma and Opa's house for the day. He would call here a lot, and of course when he called, I never had time to talk to him, I made small talk. He would always want to talk to the kids, and sometimes I would say, we're too busy, maybe next time. He wouldn't say anything, I know he was hurt, but I was just too busy for my I wish he would call here.....why was I like that?

Then he was diagnosed with diabetes some years back, but that never held Dad back. Dad retired back in 95, and all was well, he was still preaching, and on the go, but slowing down some. Of course his diabetes caught up with him, and he ailed over the years. His eyesight was VERY poor and his whole body just hurt. We think towards the "end" he was even getting the early stages of dementia.

Mom and Dad moved to PA this past year in April. We were all excited for live closer to my sister, she would really take care of them. Their house was smaller and would be easier for them to take care of stairs, except those cellar stairs!!! After only one week living in their new home, Dad fell down those cellar stairs, broke 8 ribs, had a head trauma, and much more. He fell down something like 12 stairs! Dad should have died that night, but the Lord had other plans for him, and me!

Like I have said in earlier posts, those 3 weeks of Daddy's life in the hospital I loved on him like never before! I loved my father but we always seemed to be in some kind of conflict...well I always had some kind of conflict...Daddy would always turn the other cheek with me, and love me anyway. But I loved on Daddy for those 3 weeks of his life. Then when he was transferred to the nursing home, for those 3 days I loved on him again. He was suppose to get better, but he didn't. The Lord took Daddy home on Monday night, May 19th......I was with him, holding his hand. The little girl who hardly ever got along with her Daddy, was with him the night he died.

All I can say is have a blessed and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas was W O N D E R F U L !!!

I have been reading a lot of blogs lately. They all are so eloquently written, spiritual and inspirational. I have no problem with that, and I do enjoy reading them. But lately, I've been feeling a little lonely here on my blog. I haven't been getting any comments. I guess my blog isn't that "spiritual or inspirational" for some bloggers.
Like I said in my very first post, this blog is for me. This is my journal, so I have something to look back on when my kids are older, to help me vent, and sometimes I really need to do that.
I'm not the best writer, (and my sister is probably agreeing with me as she reads this post) but I do enjoy it, for me! So, if I've been "boring" you all, and not posting "inspirational" topics, it's just not Dad was the preacher, not me. I am more the "sarcastic funny one" all my friends and family know me as that. From time to time there will be a "little inspirational piece".....but more about my family and me. That's why my blog is called......"A day in the life of Liz"......not "Your daily inspiration from Liz".....Ha, that sure doesn't sound like me! Enough said, I sure hope you leave comments, I sure have missed them. Here's a little post about our Christmas here at the Somma's. enjoy!

Well, Christmas is over, what a wonderful time we had here in the Somma household! We all woke up early, Davey was up by 6am! Had to drag Becca out of bed, unusual for her, but she's a preteen now. We started opening our gifts, and what a delight it was watching our kids open them all, and expressing their happiness. Hubby loved his gifts as well. My hubby surprised me....and what a nice way of doing so. All the gifts were done, and just the stockings were left. Well, I went into the kitchen to get another cup of coffee and came back into the living room, and there it was for me. First I opened the stocking stuffer, and it was one of those memory cards for my camera. I said "what do I need this for?" Then Hubby said "here, open this one!" Wow, what a surprise, a new digital camera! I love it...and it's RED! My favorite color. Thank you Hubby. Don't forget my birthday is coming in February!
Becca got the Uggs she wanted, and much more..........
Davey got the Geo Trax Airport that he wanted...and much more..............
Hubby got Madden Football for the Wii, and a little more....

Then we packed up and went to my brother's house for the day. On the way, we traveled to the cemetery to visit with Dad. It was cold, and his grave was covered with snow. We couldn't even make our way to his grave. So, I got back into the car, and Becca and my nephew Michael went to the grave. Dad's body is in that grave, not his spirit, that's another post...and hey, maybe I will even get "spiritual" on that one!

Anyway, we had a very nice time at my brother's house. All in all our Christmas was wonderful. I still have all the decorations up. I'm not one to take them down before New Years. Yes I know Christmas is over, wow how fast it came, and then over.

Pictures of us on Christmas Eve..............Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all my friends out there in "blogworld". This year has been such a blessing connecting with you all......some old friends, and some new. I am so grateful for the opportunity to blog. It has really helped me get my feelings and words down. It's my daily/weekly journal.
We are all set for Christmas. I am so relieved to say. Christmas Eve is here. We have quiet plans tonight. I made a bunch of appetizers for my family, and we ate early. Then we'll get ready and head over to our church for our candlelight service. It's all so festive, and wonderful. And I'm looking forward to seeing our friends at church on Christmas Eve.
Then we'll come home, get little Davey to bed, and watch one of our favorite movies...."It's a Wonderful Life".......haven't seen it in a while, so I hope it will be like new to me....and Becca hasn't seen it yet, so she'll just LOVE it. My hubby will make me a cappuccino, so I'll stay awake, and we'll eat some homemade cookies that we made, and just relax!
Then when Becca goes to bed, Hubby and I will creep down into the garage and get all the presents, (a lot this year) and we'll put them all under the tree. It's all so exciting, and each year we keeping this tradition. Then we'll take pictures and go to bed ourselves. Usually on Christmas Eve I can't sleep...the excitement is in the air for me.
We'll wake up early, like 6:30, since I want to be up before Davey, and we'll probably start unwrapping the presents around 7am or so. I have special sticky buns to bake, and we'll have eggs to go with them, a nice big breakfast, since we probably won't eat until 2ish. My hubby bought me special coffee from Duncan Donuts, which I love, and we'll brew it, and drink it while we're unwrapping the gifts, another tradition we've kept over the years.
Then we'll have our breakfast, and start getting ready to travel to my brother's house....but first we're going to visit Dad at the cemetery. This will be the first year without Dad for Christmas. It will be another bitter-sweet holiday for us. Dad loved Christmas so much. I have many Christmas memories.......our parents always tried to make it so special for us. And I want to do the same for our children.
Again, Merry Christmas......may all your Christmas dreams come true....and let's all remember, it's fun to pretend about Santa and all that fun stuff. But let's not forget the true meaning of Christmas....our Saviour's birth. Thank you Lord Jesus for coming to earth as a baby, and then dying on the cross for me!

Well it's all done. The decorations are up, the shopping is all done, gifts are finally wrapped, the cookies are made, and the menu's are planned. Cherish the time with your family, try to enjoy every moment of it. My kids are so excited, especially little Davey. Becca is just worried she won't get the IPod she wanted (Oh boy!) We'll be traveling to the cemetery tomorrow to visit with Dad, and then on to my brother's house. I am looking forward to relaxing, and letting someone else do all the work for once...... The snow is still here, so we'll have the "white Christmas" that I was so looking forward to.

Have a Very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's my, I will be joyful!

Well, "tis the season" right? All the decorations are up, the baking is done, all my shopping is about done, not wrapped, but that will happen tomorrow, and we even have snow....and it's coming down again right now. The outside looks so pretty, like a winter wonderland. But, what is it? Why then, am I not joyful? Sometimes I feel like that mom on the "Wonder Years" remember her, "Norma" that was her name. She was such a kind mom, who was always so giving and loving to her family. She kept her house perfect for her family, made a meal every night, helped her "Kevin" with his homework when he needed help, and even gave advice, when her kids didn't want it. She did all that, and in return, what did she get kindness. And what about her husband? All he would do is grunt, mumble something under his breath, (I hate that, it's so unkind!) so she couldn't hear it, but she really did. He had a temper, and was hardly ever in a good mood.

Well, to be very honest with you, (sorry family) I've been feeling like "Norma" lately. Kids are moody, not obeying, giving me a hard time, especially Becca. no appreciation, I keep the house in order, make a delicious meal EVERY night for my family, try to be in a good mood for them.....talkative with everyone. I wake up happy all the time, but then something happens, bad attitudes are everywhere in this house lately. My hubby is a GREAT guy, loving, that's why I married best friend, but I've notice he's very much starting to have some characteristics like poor "Norma's" hubby, and I'm not liking it one bit!

Is that why I'm not joyful? I do think it's a big part of it. Ephesians 4 :32 says, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" Now, I'm not perfect, and everyone will agree with me, I need to learn this verse as well.....but I'm tired of feeling like "Norma", and I want to start feeling like Liz again! I think it's my choice, even though everyone around here is moody, can never compliment, and doesn't know how to show any kind of appreciation for all the "stuff" I put up with. I don't have to do all the "nice" things I do for my family, but I choose to, because, guess what.... I love my family. And even though they ALL, yes all, of them walk all over me, I'm the wife and mother, and I still do it all. Someday, I sure hope the appreciation and kindness will follow, cause it just ain't here! But today I will start, and I will choose to be joyful, no matter what.......hey you never know, it may filter out all the moodiness in this house.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just some pictures....................

I had some time this morning to post again. I'm really into it these past few days. Today we leave for my in laws to celebrate "Christmas with the Somma's". All my baking and decorating are done. I still have presents to wrap, and still more shopping...only a couple of gifts. Enjoy the pictures below, just some of the family and my decorations. Enjoy!

These are pictures from the Children's program at church last Sunday night. Davey is in the front row, in the red sweater....he really sang, and was so cute to look at.

This is Becca singing in her Children's choir...she really did love to sing!

Our Christmas Tree.......all the pretty decorations!

Dining room all set for tomorrow's company!

I have more updated posts keep reading.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's the prettiest day ever..............

It's snowing here.....really snowing!!! Finally, the weathermen got it right, and sure enough at 10am today it starting coming down, and I mean really coming down! We have about 10 inches already, and it doesn't look like it's gonna stop sometime soon.
My hubby couldn't make it home from work today, since he had to go back tonight for his last night at work, and traveling back tonight would have been too dangerous. My hubby will be off for about 12 days for Christmas vacation anyway starting tomorrow...yippee... what a treat, so I think :) So, I've been busy doing all my hubby's chores: feeding the chickens, collecting the eggs, filling the pellet stove, shoveling, but only a bit, since my wonderful neighbor Joe, came over today and snowblowed us out...he came twice....what a great guy! (note to hubby, you owe him big next snow storm). But I would have snowblowed too, but we got this big new snowblower, and I didn't know how to operate it, otherwise I would have done it I usually do when hubby doesn't come home during a snowstorm.
Anyway, seeing all the snow really put me into the Christmas spirit again, I go in and out of it these days. I have been listening to Christmas music all day long, found a great music channel on tv and it's wonderful, (Yulelog move over!) all the old songs, and continuous. I got all my chores done, and squeeze some more baking in too. The kids are outside just loving the snow, giving me some time alone. No, I didn't go out in it. I never said I like to play in the snow, just look at the snow. not play in it.

Tomorrow we are going to my hubby's parents house to celebrate our Christmas with them, and the rest of the family. I baked my "Mom's Cheesecake", which is the most delicious cheesecake in the world! I remembered to take pictures of the all should be very proud of me, and I probably won't be doing this again, took up too much time!

Here's the recipe:
Mom's Cheesecake
3 - 8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
All these ingredients must be at room temperture, including the eggs! This is a must!
Mix the cream cheese until really creamy, then add the eggs one at a time, add the sour cream, and vanilla. Scrape the sides down a couple of times, and really beat for about 5 minutes, scraping the side down yet again, until really smooth and creamy.

For the Crust, combine 1 & 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs, 1 & 1/2 Tbs. sugar, and 1 stick butter already melted.

Mix all the crust ingredients together and put them into a greased 9 inch springform pan. Lined the outside of the pan with foil...pat the crust into the bottom, and up the sides a bit. Bake the crust for 10 minutes in a 350 oven. Cool.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the springform pan....put into a large baking pan (see below picture). Bring about 3 cups or so of water to a boil, and gently pour the boiling water halfway up the sides of the cheesecake....into that baking dish, without getting any water into the unbaked cheesecake. This will help the cheesecake to cook evenly, and help it not to crack.

Put into a 350 oven for 45 minutes. Then shut off the oven, and let stand in the oven for another 45 minutes. Then take out of the oven and let stand at room temp for another hour. Meanwhile prepare the sour cream topping.

Sour Cream Topping - 1 & 2/3 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla. When the cake has sat at room temp, mix the sour cream, sugar and vanilla with a whisk, and pour on top of the cheese cake, and spread with a knife or offset spatual. Preheat oven to 350, and cook again for only 5 minutes. Take out and let sit again for 1 hour at room temp....and then refrigerate.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished cheese came out really nice, and honestly I'm too tired to get up now, and walk into the kitchen, open the frig, and take it out, uncover it, and take a picture of it. I had a busy day, and this post took me FOREVER to complete, since I've been interupted too many times by my kids (who are in now), Perdie, Pongo, phone calls, making dinner, putting Davey to bed, folding laundry, cleaning up dinner dishes, baking bread for tomorrow, and everything else that goes on in a day in the life of Liz. Make the cheesecake, it looks really difficult, but once you get the hang of it, it's really easy....ENJOY!!!

Christmas Baking................

Well, it's a snow day here, finally....and the house is quiet this morning. The kids are still sleeping, and I'm hoping they remain sleeping so I can finish this post. It's been very busy here at our house preparing for Christmas! Over the last week I've baked 6 different kinds of cookies. I promised myself this year not to do so many, since I'm a diabetic, and need to "control" myself. But I felt guilty (moms are always guilty!) for the kids, and honestly they don't need the extra sugar either. But what's Christmas without Christmas cookies? When I was a little girl, my mom would bake cookies starting in early December. She would get them all done early, and we would all enjoy them throughout the whole month of December. She would use them for her Christmas parties, and just give them away. I loved the way she displayed the cookies. Every year she would get out her beautiful "lazy susan" cookie tray, and lay them out just so. I've always loved that "lazy susan", and this past year she handed it down to me when she moved to PA! I was so excited to finally take it out this Christmas and use it. It's on my dining room table waiting to be filled with cookies, but this time, it will be filled with my cookies!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas is coming! The preparations are starting already. I must say all is going very smoothly this year. Last night we did our annual Christmas crafts. I like to do a Christmas craft with the kids. This year we made the candy cane ornament that I made with Becca when she was five. Davey wasn't here then, so I thought he needed one with his picture in it. They came out so nice. Becca surprised me and made a beautiful wreath ornament, and put a picture of Davey and herself in it. And then she surprised me again, and made a beautiful stocking ornament. Davey traced his hand, and then we glittered it. He loved using the glitter......the cleanup was OK, and I didn't freak out! Here are some pictures of the kids making their crafts, and really having a great time!
We also did our annual Gingerbread house. This year it was kind of difficult since all Davey wanted to do was eat all the candy. Becca was a bit moody, and actually my hubby was being inpatient while helping the kids put the house together....its only normal...a day in the life of Liz. I never said I live or have the perfect life, but it's close to it :) I told the family this will be the last year making a gingerbread house if they continue acting the way they did! We'll see. But the house came out really nice, Becca decorated the front, and Davey decorated the back. I do think the kids really enjoyed making the house. And Davey really loved eating the candy.

Yeah, they act like they love each other in pictures!

I managed a "smile".....................

Becca decorated the front with Red, White and pretty!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Entertaining...and Christmas parties

Don't you love this picture? It reminds me of our old home in Queens, New York. The door, and the stairway look just like ours in our old family childhood home. Mom and Dad entertained a lot in that home. Dad was a pastor of a big church there in Queens for 33 years. Mom was the perfect pastor's wife, entertaining and hosting missionaries, evangelists, and our yearly Deacon Christmas Party. It was all so festive. Mom would be cooking for days. The day of the party was always a Friday night, and it was always the Friday after Christmas, so she had the time off of work to prepare. Mom would set the table for 22!!!! We had 10 deacons at our old church, and of course their wives would come too.

When the guests came, my sister and I would be ready for our "chore", which was "coat girls". Dad would give us the coats and we would run them up and down the stairs dumping the coats on our parents bed!!! What a chore! I remember Sister Antonio's (yes, back then we called everyone brother and sister) coat, she always had her "fur coat", and Lois and I would always make fun of it.

I don't remember the menu, but I know it always included soup, the main meal, and many desserts. Mom wouldn't expect any help from any of the deacon wives, and she would cater the whole party all by herself. It was always a buffet, and the line to the buffet was from the dining room, through the kitchen, into the nook where our kitchen table was. My sister and I would always sit on the kitchen floor watching all the guest fill their china plates, yes china plates, never paper! We would wait until our guests were done, and then we would run over to the table filled with food, and make ourselves a plate. Sometimes even after the first round there wasn't any food left, and mom always made a lot of food.......those deacons loved to eat! One year mom made one of my favorite desserts, "Ricotti Rice Pie", and I couldn't wait to have a piece. After everyone was done taking a piece, there wasn't even one piece left for me, so I ate the crumbs!

They played games fter the dinner. The laughter of everyone playing the games was so enjoyable! What happy times. Then everyone would leave around 11pm, how late that was back then. Mom and Dad would do all the cleanup.....I remember Daddy vacuuming, and mom cleaning up all the dishes and putting whatever food there was away. I don't know how mom did all that preparing and entertaining back then. But she did it, and she always entertained with a smile on her face. I do miss those days. I entertained here too....these days I feel so overwhelmed with it. I do wish I had the spirit mom had back then, to just do it joyfully unto the Lord. I'm having a big Christmas party here in a couple of weeks, I will remember this post and prepare and cook joyfully......I think it will be easy, since we're shipping the kids off to my moms house, and it will be easier for me. Happy entertaining.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's suppose to snow tonight. If you know me, you know that I love snow! We're not getting too much, only an inch. But I can't tell you how excited I get when we have snow, and especially for Christmas. About 5 years ago, it actually snowed here in New Jersey, and on Christmas Day! What a delight it was to wake up on Christmas morning, and everything was covered with snow! My in laws were suppose to come, and they cancelled, of course.....I even suggested they come the day before so they wouldn't have to travel in the snow and sleep over, but they didn't want to come. But my parents still came. Mom called me early and said they would come but leave early. So I had to get the turkey in the oven very was rushed, but I was so happy they came. After dinner and my parents left, I think it was like 3pm......but it was ok. We all watched a movie and had the best Christmas Day ever. Becca was at the age where she could sit with us and watch the movie. We got about 20 inches that day. It was wonderful, quiet, and a very relaxing Christmas. I think that was the best Christmas ever!!! I sure hope we get snow this year again....I won't mind being snowbound again.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Decorating for Christmas.......

Greetings to everyone. I hope you all starting decorating for Christmas. I am happy to say that we are just about done! It does take about a week to decorate the house and outside. I went and got fresh evergreen wreaths this year. I put one on our lamp post and another one between the garage doors. I have a beautiful wreath already on our front door. So, yesterday I finished decorating, and I am relieved....what a job! Davey was such a big help this year. He wanted to decorate the tree all by himself. I let him put the ornaments on, but he only decorated the bottom of the tree, and I couldn't keep it like that. So, I moved them around when he wasn't looking. He was very excited when the boxes came out, on the other hand, Becca could care less...oh well.

Our tree is all decorated mostly with handmade ornaments and store bought ornaments as well. I do love the handmade ones, especially from my kids. Some people put the handmade ones in the back of the tree, not me!!! Most of them were made by Becca. Davey did a couple, remember he's only 4. This year Davey is really into crafting, and he really wants to add his own creations to our tree. So, we went to the craft store and bought some stuff to craft with....he is so excited...I hope I will be too :)

Here is one of the many ornaments Becca has made for our Christmas tree. She was 5 years old, and I found this great idea in a magazine. You just put the candy canes backwards, and then glue a picture in the middle, cover the back with construction paper, and put a hanger on it. It cracked a couple of years ago, but I just glued it back together. This year Davey is so excited to help! He has helped in the past, but always got bored and left his craft half-done. I know this year he will finish it!

And here is a picture of our Christmas as of today.......looks like the top is leaning a bit.

So, I do feel like I'm in the Christmas will be another bittersweet holiday this year without Dad. My first Christmas without my dad. Mom and Dad always came over to see my tree and decorations right after I was finally finished. They didn't come this time. Dad always bought me a fresh evergreen wreath to hang on our front door.....I was always so happy to get one. This year I bought one myself. Mom probably won't get to come this year to see it all. I usually make Mom and Dad a dinner leading to use up the free ham I would always get from the grocery store. This year that won't happen. I surely will miss those traditions.

Now, if it would only snow........I love snow. Happy decorating.