Monday, August 19, 2013

First Annual Family Reunion - August 2013

Having the Conways, Scotts, Steins and Williams all together for a couple days this past week-end (Aug. 15-17) was hopefully the beginning of many such gatherings.  With everyone's diverse work and travel schedules, just spending time together was a luxury and will continue to be one that I hope we can prioritize into our busy lives.  The interaction between Lucy and Anna was certainly worth it; and seeing how much the Williams boys have grown and matured made me nostalgic.  How is it that Max is soon to be 13? And Micah is as always a pure bundle of energy and happy boy.

Speaking of, the newest little family member is beginning to make his presence known in the form of a little baby bump which Max photographed (see below for the evidence).  So, little _____Edward Conway, we are all anticipating your arrival in January and getting ready for your entrance into the physical world.

And here is the new mama with Anna and Max.  More photographs are coming soon of everyone!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


The Conways are coming home, after over two years living in Singapore! There is so much to celebrate this year as a family, isn''t there?

The memory of Sarah's wedding shower and sharing the joy of her upcoming new life, with the marvelous news at the end of her shower.  Just looking at these photographs makes my teary-eyed (I know girls, you all think I am a big sap by being so emotional)!

But, just look at these photographs.  Words are not necessary really.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


"Paradise Jungle" by Anna Grace Williams

I have four uniquely talented grandchildren Lucy, one year old, Micah, four years old, Anna Grace, seven years old and Max who is 12 years old.

For today,  I am sharing my thoughts about Anna Grace.  So far, her passion for art and acting reveals itself in myriad ways on a daily basis.  She is sensitive, loving, spunky and theatrical; fun loving and funny, too!  We have shared many laughs together; from her telling me she liked my polka dot blouse ok, but it did make me look like a ladybug to her saying "I am being squished by a little ol' lady" when I sat really close to me being asked "If you're a gramma how come you don't have a bun?" (or was that Max that said that?)  The Williams children...all three of them...have great comedic timing and humor (which I believe they inherited from their mother).

 I look forward to seeing Anna in her next play (Shakespeare) which is quite an accomplishment for a little girl.  Every time we are together, we cook, we draw, we tell stories, and read stories... and we do dishes together.  Anna is my little sidekick  and I treasure every visit with her and the Williams clan.

And now; she loves books too!  Just like her mother, grandmother, Aunt Shira and Aunt Sarah!

Anna, I was wondering if you would draw some water babies so that we could share them with everyone here?

Also, the other artist in the family is Max Williams.  I am going to see if he will send some of his creations to share here in the near future.  How happy and fortunate I am to be able to be with my four grandchildren -- to observe their continuing adventures in life as  they grow towards their own individual personalities and as they identify for themselves, who they are.

"Sandy Beach" by Anna Grace Williams

"Alligator" by Anna Grace Williams

Monday, October 8, 2012


I concede that "the Devil's Underpants" wins out over my chili.  Here's why.  My chili was made with four types of roasted chili's that I carefully prepared in the oven and peeled, chuck roast and too many things to list, or perhaps remember. The full can of adobo chili's and the splashes of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce passed my taste test and didn't make me weep....but here's the deal (and my girls know this full well).  I always like to keep adding a little this and a little that.  SO, I added one level teaspoon of Ground Jalapeno (specially purchased from Draeger's) and that sent the chili over the top.  My eyes burned just lifting the lid!

Always looking for the good, I did find out that if you ever happen to make chili too hot, there are two interesting solutions and I tried both and they worked!  Add a heaping tablespoon of honey and slice a lemon in half and float it in the chili while it keeps cooking.

After doing that, we were able to then to have one night of chili from the massive pot of chili resulting from my adding everything I could find in the house to tame it.

And so.  The fact that someone (who shall remain nameless) left the gigantic pot of chili out on the counter all night made the entire Chili Challenge a moot point.  Sarah's chili wins because ..well, because it is edible.

However, tonight I prepared Turkey Pot Pie; one for us and one for Gina, Lowell and Lucy.  I added in the leftovers from our late summer succotash (sweet corn, Romano beans, carrots and of course bacon), with cooked turkey breast, celery, onions, and a bunch of spices.  Here's the ingredient that gave it punch or my special touch.  Pepper jack cheese.  I then topped the mixture with a store bought pie crust glazed in butter and salt of course.  It was so delicious!

This is the unbaked version I made for Gina, Lowell and Lucy.  I will finish it off in their oven tomorrow night.  By the way, Shira prepared crepes tonight with pears and cinnamon and they were a yummy ending to a comforting meal.  She continues to be an excellent baker (probably because she, like Sarah, follows recipes)...and she is just a natural at it.

This is Lucy, enjoying her cheese on Sunday.  Like her gramma, cheese seems to be a favorite. Anything in a baby food jar, not so much; she wants to feed herself!  Independent little thing and so smart.  Who would have thought a one year old could swipe across the IPad screen?  This kid's a little genius.  And in that vein, my other sweet granddaughter, Anna Grace continues in her genius mode too as an artist; which I am going to write about and include in my next blog with samples of her work!

Brisket Chili or The Devil's Underpants (which is what Christian calls it)

Mom and I just competed in our first annual Chili-Off. A pretty spectacular feat considering we are thousands of miles away from each other but when I told her I had been invited to a friend's chili cook-off, she wanted in. We decided we'd both make a pot of chili, document our experience, and make it our first blog entry. So, here goes!

I decided to shirk tradition and make a brisket based chili. To hell with ground beef when you can go shredded! First thing I did was make my spice mixture. I added equal parts cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, ground coriander, oregano, and smoked paprika. I also added a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, and two tablespoons of brown sugar (my first and second secret weapon ingredients).

Next I chopped up two red onions, two red and two yellow bell peppers, 7 cloves of garlic, and one green chili and set them aside.

I scored the brisket on one side. Then salted, peppered, and rubbed the spice mixture all over it, saving the remaining spices for later. Next I threw the seasoned brisket into a frying pan with heated olive oil in it to sear the meat on all sides. Once it was seared, I removed the brisket and set it aside. And set the fry pan aside as well. I'll use that again later.

Next I got a big pot and put it over medium heat. I threw the remaining spices in to heat up and release their royal spiciness then I plopped in two cans of diced tomatoes. Then I added all three types of chopped peppers that I had set aside earlier. I brought that to a boil, placed the brisket back in, and the brought it down to a simmer and let it slowly bubble away.

Next, I grabbed the frying pan I used to sear the meat and I put it over a flame again. I added 4 slices of chopped bacon (secret weapon ingredient #3). Once they were crisp I removed them from the pan and added the chopped onion and garlic and let that cook until the onion was translucent. When they were soft, I threw them in the chili pot and added a bit more brown sugar and about 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar (secret weapon ingredient #4). I let the whole shebang simmer away for 4 hours and then popped it in the fridge overnight. The next day was tasting day so I brought the chili back up to a simmer, then removed the brisket and shredded the now tender beef into yummy meat strings.

My chili got a woeful third place (out of seven) at my friend's cook-off contest. Clearly, Australians and Brits have no idea what good chili is. Especially considering one entry brought in something that looked more like sweet and sour chicken than chili con carne. I may have gotten third, but I bet I would have beaten mom's. Rumor has it she put dried fruit in hers?!?