Family Recipe Friday: Karla’s Pumpkin Spice Muffins

My sister Karla spent a week with me after I got out of the hospital from having a stem cell transplant. She took great care of me – she made these muffins! Easy and just what the doctor ordered. She even made a second batch and we were able to save a couple of small bags in the freezer for later. Unfortunately, they are all gone now. :(

Karla says she makes these a lot when she needs to bring something to a breakfast or church because they are easy and people like them. And she always eats a few cinnamon chips while making them because they are really good.

I almost forgot to ask her to take a picture.

Karla's muffins

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Spice cake mix
3 eggs
can pumpkin
bag cinnamon chips

Mix all ingredients together and bake according to package directions. The muffins above are mini-muffins, so the bake time was a little shorter.

Easy peasy.

Christmas Decorating – Mom’s Influence

I took pictures of some of our Christmas decorations thinking I would do several posts during Advent. But between medical appointments and the occasional bad days, Christmas in less than two weeks and my daughter’s wedding in less than three weeks – it looks like it isn’t going to happen. Maybe I can squeeze in one or two ….?

Christmas 1975

Christmas 1975

My husband and I married in the spring of 1975 and celebrated our first Christmas together that year. We got a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree that we decorated with a popcorn garland and some tinsel. One of the craft trends at the time was making things out of bread dough. You can see a few of our cookie cutter bread dough ornaments hanging on the tree. They lasted for several years, but they are all gone now.

But what I really intended to write about was the gift we received from my mother.

Mom crocheted a tree skirt for us that we have used every year now for 38 years and it is just as lovely today as it was the day we received it.

DSCN3247As I look closely at this picture I see that the skirt is wrong side up. There isn’t really much difference and I’m probably the only one who would notice. :) Did I mention that some really special Christmas elves came to my house a week ago to set up my tree and help me decorate? What a gift that was!

The last time I was at my parents’ house and going through papers and magazines and pictures like I always do looking for family history gold, I found the instructions Mom used to make the tree skirt. The November 1975 issue of The Workbasket magazine had been folded open to reveal this picture. Otherwise I might have passed right over it.
Christmas tree skirt pic

The opposite page provided the instructions.
Christmas tree skirt instructions

I can’t remember for sure if Mom gave us these knitted bells at the same time as the tree skirt or the following year. I love the little red bells and space them carefully throughout the other tree decorations.


It seems like I have stumbled upon the instructions for these bells at one time or another. If I find them again, I’ll add them here.

Another year Mom gave us some Christmas coasters made from the same yarn.

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Every year, out come the decorations mom made for us with Christmas Green and Christmas Red yarn and the work of her hands. They set the stage for sticking with red and green as our seasonal colors of choice. And they set the stage for enjoying any and all DIY decorations. Ours may not be a tree (or a house) worthy of Southern Living Magazine, but it would do The Workbasket Magazine proud.

I started writing about more of the Christmas decorations that have Mom’s handprint all over them, but decided this would get too long, so I’m going to try to do a few shorter posts. Hope I get them done!

A little update about me if you are interested…
My 6th and last chemotherapy for this phase of treatment for lymphoma is tomorrow – Monday, December 16th. Then I’ll be having some tests to see how effective the treatment has been and to determine if I am ready for a stem cell transplant. The transplant should happen in mid-January. Can’t say that I am looking forward to it, but how can I not look forward to it? A transplant increases my chances for long-term survival from 5-10% without transplant to 50% with transplant. Much better odds! I appreciate the prayers and well-wishes I have received from my blogging friends! If you feel so inclined, you can email me at abbieandeveline at gmail dot com. 

Our Family Stories: JFK – Memories from the Steps and In-laws

I asked all branches of the family to send me their memories of JFK. My memories are here. Memories from the Webber branch of the family are here. Today’s edition are those I received from the Hockensmith family (my steps) and the Morales family (my in-laws).

Frances Hockensmith:

My memory of the JFK assassination is more about me than the “big picture”. I was pregnant, had gone for my doctor appointment in Junction City, KS. for what I hoped was my last appointment before Alice was born. The receptionist (a Mrs. Eisenhower who was the widow of President Eisenhower’s brother Roy, a pharmacist in Junction City), was quite upset and told me as I was leaving that President Kennedy had been shot. We were Lee_Harvey_Oswald_being_shot_by_Jack_Ruby_as_Oswald_is_being_moved_by_police,_1963glued to our little black and white TV for days.

On the following Sunday, after Church and Sunday dinner, I had taken a nap. When I wakened, Bill told me that Jack Ruby had shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald. I just remember the news showing the two shootings over and over. AND—I waited two more weeks for the birth of our daughter, Alice.

I guess the uniqueness of my story is my “connection” with 2 presidents that day.

Morales/Loverde Family:

I’ve pieced together the following from talking to my husband, calling my mother-in-law, emails from my husband’s siblings and a little internet research….

As a Catholic Italian-American family, my husband’s family was very happy about the election of John F. Kennedy as President. The women especially – my husband’s great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother – were quite taken with him.

Kennedy model 2Rick (my husband’s brother) and I remember that Nana (their ggrandmother Tenna Mamola Parlati) had a picture of JFK displayed in her home. My husband, Martin, assembled and painted many a plastic model (mostly airplanes) as a child and made a model of JFK sitting in a rocking chair for Nana. There a few for sale on ebay today – with quite a wide range of prices!

I found these two pictures clipped from the newspaper and glued to cardboard (probably for display purposes) among some of the family memorabilia.
Kennedy newspaperKennedys newspaper

Martin thinks they belonged to his grandmother, Angela Parlati Loverde, or Nana. They were clipped from The Houston Post published Friday, November 22, 1963 – the day of Kennedy’s death. The photos were taken during Kennedy’s visit to Houston on Thursday, Nov. 21st, 1963. Of course, the paper was printed and delivered hours before the shooting in Dallas.

Martin's 4th Grade Class 1963-64

Martin’s 4th Grade Class 1962-63

Both Martin and his sister, Janet, remember walking from the house where Nana and their grandmother and grandfather Loverde lived to Rice University to see President Kennedy. It was September 22, 1962 and JFK was about to give his famous speech to get the country behind him in supporting the space program. Martin was 9 and Janet was 7, so their memories of the day are a little vague. Their mother was with them and possibly his great-aunt Rosie and a couple of other women in the family.

They all remember watching the car driving down Main Street close to Herman Park and into the parking lot at Rice Stadium and watching JFK and LBJ sitting up on the back of the convertible. My husband took a home movie with their 8mm camera, but we unfortunately don’t have access to it right now. (We think it is in storage while brother Rick is building a new house.)

Rice stadium is quite large so the stands were not filled, although newspaper accounts report that 40,000 people were in attendance. The President was scheduled to speak at 10:00 a.m. and it was apparently a hot and steamy day. Classes had not yet started at Rice University, but incoming freshman were on campus for orientation. Reports say that the stands were mostly filled with young people – the incoming Rice students as well as bus loads of high school and elementary school children.

Martin and Janet don’t remember much except for being in the large stadium, far away from the President, and the crowd of people. Their mother said that the president’s complexion look reddish/ruddy to her – something she said you wouldn’t notice in the mostly black and white photographs of the time. The following video contains snippets of the speech, the context of the speech, and photos from the day.

Martin’s mother said she heard that the president had been shot while shopping with her mother at Craig’s Department Store in the Village –  a retail area also known as Rice Village because of the proximity to Rice University. She doesn’t know if there was a radio on or if people were talking about it and they overheard. They left and went home and started watching the coverage on TV.

Martin and Janet learned about the President’s death at school. Janet said:  My memory is of watching the funeral on TV and Mom crying. The other thing that has always stuck in my mind was that I was sitting in my 4th grade class at Holy Ghost (Mrs. Agnes class) and they announced it over the intercom.  One of the boys in my class – Larry Corti turned red in the face and ran out of the classroom crying.

Nana, Janet and Martin 1955

Nana, Janet and Martin 1955

Like nearly everyone else in the country, the family was glued to the television set until the funeral was over. Martin’s mom especially remembers how they all saw Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald live on TV.

And there were a lot of tears. Martin’s youngest sister, Marilyn, was not born at the time, but had heard that her mom and Nana had cried about it for weeks. When I talked to my MIL today, I asked if she had been watching all of the 50th anniversary specials that have been on this week. Of course, she had, and had been brought to tears again. Long after President Kennedy died, my husband painted a plaster bust for his mother and it is still displayed in her home.

I also found a publication from Holy Ghost School devoted to student writing after the death of President Kennedy. Neither Martin nor Janet have a contribution included, but it provides a look into the thoughts of these young people attending a Catholic school in Houston, TX as they reflected on the death of their president.

2013.11W.11I’m linking this to Sepia Saturday, so I’ll include today’s prompt picture and encourage you to visit the other participants.

Below is the Holy Ghost Clarion, Vol. 5 No. 3


Holy Ghost Kennedy 1Holy Ghost Kennedy 2Holy Ghost Kennedy 3Holy Ghost Kennedy 4Holy Ghost Kennedy 5Holy Ghost Kennedy 6Holy Ghost Kennedy 7Holy Ghost Kennedy 8Holy Ghost Kennedy 9