Friday, December 31, 2010


I can hardly believe it is the last day of 2010 already. This year has really flown by! 2010 brought with it milestone birthdays for all of my kiddos - ok, well, Nate's was in 2009, but since it is at the end, I always lump them together.

Ali turned 18, a beautiful adult, wise and wonderful and gorgeous. A freshman at Austin Peay State University, she is excelling (let's not talk about anatomy and physiology) and works for Starbucks. She intends to listen to God and head to Haiti for the summer. If you are looking for a good cause to donate to, let me know - you can donate to her trip tax-free :)

Nate turned 16 (and then 17 in 2010), which makes him legally able to drive... financially, not so much, hahaha. He is a junior, homeschooled and working parttime for Java Jacks, a family-run business of some friends and where Ali got her "barista" start. He is friendly, artistic, thoughtful and so full of life. God is really directing his paths and I am so proud of who he is becoming. Here he is with his beautiful girlfriend, Savannah.

Kami turned the road into teenager-hood and was 13 in February. She is in the 8th grade, also homeschooled and is in her 4th year as a competitive cheerleader. That girl can T-U-M-B-L-E!! She is so bubbly, funny, talkative, energetic and incredibly strong - in body and mind and will!! She loves her friends and enjoys doing things for other people... most of the time! She plays a mean acoustic guitare and is taking up piano this winter.

They are all healthy and happy and all those good things. I have the best kids in the world and what makes them even better is that they love spending time with me almost as much as I love spending time with them!

2010 wasn't without its challenges. In February I learned that you can still develop gallstones without a gallbladder (removed in 1996) and had a couple of days in the hospital which included a lovely procedure which hopefully took care of any future stones that decide to develop - so far, so good :) In July my boss decided it would be a good idea to retire, effective immediately. Not so nice... but, it did spur me on to find some tutoring/writing teaching gigs and I am much happier. In August Ali headed off to college - ok, so she is 30 minutes away, but still, she is living away from home. She also announced that she would be spending the summer (2 months of it, anyway) in Haiti, working with the orphans. Fortuantely my old friend, Glen Clementi is a missionary there starting an orphanage. The timing is nothing short of Providential, for sure.

2011 will be a good year. I have no idea what it will bring, but I feel certain that God has great things planned for me, for my family, for many lives around me. I look forward to the good and the bad - it's all good in the end, right?

Here, as promised, is the meatball recipe. I make this two ways - one is definitely Italian in nature and I simmer it in either marinara or meat sauce. The other is "Balkan" - think southeastern Europe, Greece, Turkey, several former Soviet countries, the beautiful Croatia... warm spices and simmered in a white sauce, served over noodles or rice. Either way, they are amazing! I bet you can do this in barbecue sauce or thickened beef broth for cocktail meatballs. Haven't tried it, but I am sure it would work - or that grape jelly stuff... *shudders*


Basic Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork (Balkan) or italian sausage (Italian) - or you could use ground turkey
1 large egg
1/4 C milk
1/2 cup croutons, processed in food processor (or 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs)
1 small onion, minced
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

add to Italian recipe:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano

add to Balkan recipe:
1/4 - 1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground allspice

Preheat your oven's broiler. Combine all ingredients thoroughly. I mix mine in the Kitchenaid. Using a small scoop, or about 1 T of meat mixture, form into balls and set on cookie sheet. You should get about 40 small meatballs. I have made larger ones, they just take longer to cook. Have your sauce ready on the stove and put the meatballs under the preheated broiler until they are brown on top. You do not need to move them, turn them or anything. Once the tops are brown, dump them in the sauce, drippings and all, and let them simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tomorrow I think I will post my mom's New England Baked Beans. She was a "Maine-iac" and we had them almost every Saturday night.

Until then, have a safe and Happy New Year!