Week of Remembering Mom and Dad- Day 5

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This week I have been honoring my parents, Nelson Stearns and Shirley Pease Stearns, with the remembrance of the Model T Cookie Jar and recipes it cherish and kept for us over the years.

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I’m the eldest of a baker’s dozen with six of us still living. We always had turns in choosing what cookies where being made. When old enough we would bake them with Mom or it was our turn to do the baking. I loved the many happy memories created during those special baking days. Some days the baking was with my Aunt Eleanor [Stearns Duncan], my dad’s sister and my great Aunt Carrie [Lulu Carrie Stearns Perkins], his dad’s sister.

I first learned to cook and bake on a wood stove, graduated to gas and in later years electric. Each type of stove required recipe adjustments for baking at the correct temperature. Many attempts resulted in burned or uncooked cookies. The burnt cookies were feed to the livestock. The under cooked was either re-baked, if possible or layered with pudding. Nothing was wasted in our household.

Today I close the series with the No Bake Cookies, my brother, Nelson Neal Stearns liked.

Here is an overview of this weeks recipes. The Hermits/Soft Molasses Cookies were the favorite of my Dads, Nelson; my sisters Marjorie [Stearns Stevenson] and Eleanor [Stearns Carne] and one of my choices. [I liked variety. If it was my turn to cook and bake I would choose a new recipe to make. Some were kept for later use and others recipes were discarded. Those were not a big hit with anyone.] My sisters Vickie [Stearns Levesque Junkins], Susan [Stearns Aeschliman] and Eleanor (second choice) liked the Toll House cookies.

I honored my mother’s death anniversary with the cookies she found comfort in those last days of her life, Applesauce/Pumpkin Cookies.

I honored my father’s birthday month with his favorite recipe, that was not a cookie, the Model T Cookie Jar held, Biscuits.

Pleasure from the Good Earth cover

I can not find her handwritten recipes for the two no bake cookies mom made. I did find the type written ones in the cookbook that was created as a fundraiser for a charitable fund. The fund was absorbed into the Lou and Lutza Smith Fund when changes were made in how the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation manged their funds.

no bake cookies

Here is the first recipe: No Bake Chocolate Cookies

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup cocoa

3 cups oats

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup coconut

Mix sugar, milk, butter and cocoa together in a saucepan; cook 1 minute after butter melts. Add oats, vanilla and coconut. Drop by spoonful’s onto waxed paper. Let Cool. Enjoy.

no bake oatmeal cookies

Second recipe: No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 cups oats

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup raisins

In a saucepan combine sugar, brown sugar, milk and butter for 3 minutes after butter melts. Add oats, vanilla and raisins. Drop by spoonful’s onto waxed paper. Let Cool. Enjoy.

I hope that my sharing these happy memories bring back memories of your own. I look forward to reading about your journey into cooking with Mom, Dad or any loved one you share memories with.

 

 

 

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Happy 38th Anniversary Michael Daniel Butka

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Today I celebrate thirty eight years with the love of my life and heart, Michael Daniel Butka. This post concentrates our first year together.

Butka Stearns 1977-1978

This is a page from the scrapbook I created for my husband to celebrate our first twenty five years together. This one page is power packed with memories.

It tells the story in pictures of our first year together. I blogged previously about how we met.

Top photos above the “film strip”are:

The first Apartment we lived in as a couple, 44 Center Grove Road, Randolph, New Jersey. [We did share an apartment in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with his roommate from April to June 1978, Michael moved to this apartment in June while I stayed with a friend on Pease Air Force Base until I graduated from New Hampshire vocational Technical School Practical Nurse program in August.]

Our first Christmas Tree purchased on the way home after spending our first Thanksgiving together with his family in Milford, Connecticut.

The “film strip photos include:

Starting at the top- Taking our vows with the Justice of the Peace in Kittery, Maine, 29 April 1978;

Michael’s family- father, Daniel Zigmund Butka (1928-1987); June Stearns Butka, Michael Daniel Butka; brother, Stephen Paul Butka (1958-2001,) sitting brother-in-law, Daniel DellaGioia and sister, Danielle Marie Butka DellaGioa. Michael’s mother, Loretta Dula Butka was unable to attend. She was caring for her ill mother, Francis Kotch Dula (1909-1986.) Photo taken by my father, Nelson William Stearns (1930-1988.) Photo taken at Sagamore Court Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

My family- June Stearns Butka, Nelson William Stearns (1930-1988) and Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns (1935-2001.) Photo taken by my husband, Michael Daniel Butka on our wedding day at our Sagamore Court apartment.

Blank film strip was in the middle separating our wedding photos from our graduation photos from college.

Michael Daniel Butka graduation photo from New Hampshire Vocational College Technical School Drafting Program.

June Stearns Butka graduation program from New Hampshire Vocational College Technical School Practical Nursing Program.

The bottom photo is Atlantic City, where I took my Nursing State Board Exam.

Our first year together was amazing and eventful. We met in the fall of 1977 at a yearbook committee meeting. Started dating 23 Jan 1978. Married 29 April 1978. Graduated officially June 1978 [I stayed until August 1978 doing my community nursing internship at Pease Air Force base hospital.] We honeymooned in New York City and New Jersey while Michael was interviewing for a job at Bell Lab’s, Whippany, New Jersey. Michael moved first in June and I followed in August to 44 Center Grove Road, Randolph, New Jersey. We started our new jobs, Michael at Bell Labs Whippany in June and I started working in August for Dover General Hospital, Dover, New Jersey as an Floating Nurse until I passed my stated boards. I took my State boards in October and knew the result the week before Christmas. It was a very Happy Christmas, that year. Early in 1978 we found out we were pregnant with our first child [I had a miscarriage in early fall of 1977- in my first trimester.]

Our first year together was a roller coaster of life events, adjustment, lows and highs that provided a strong base, as a couple, for the years to come. Our love, respect, communication and support of each other in the good and bad times has never faulted.

I dedicated this post to the love of my life and heart, Michael Daniel Butka. Happy 38th Anniversary, Mike. I look forward to each and every day we have together. May there be many more years to share.

Love and Hugs,

Your loving wife, June.

 

 

 

 

 

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Week of Remembering Mom and Dad-Day 4

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Model T Cookie gave much support in the end of my mother’s life. It is with a combination of sadness and happiness I write this post. Today is the 15th anniversary of my mother’s death. She made her final Heaven Found journey after many years of fighting cancer. Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns taught us how to accept that final journey with Grace, acceptance, her strong faith and love.

Today, I honor her memory, with the cookie she constantly wanted to eat during her final days. Days where she didn’t eat much at all. If I had these little tidbits ready for her, she would pop them in her mouth with relish and happiness.

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The recipe is one of hers that I adapted. I couldn’t find her original handwritten recipe. The recipe was included in a cookbook created during the summer I had six teenagers living with me, ranging from 16-19 years of age. Three boys and three girls. Three of my family and three exchange students. Many happy memories were made during that summer, including the adaption of Mom’s recipe. My adaptations will be in brackets.

Goodness Pure and Simple cover

The Expression of Appreciation included in the book:

“A special thanks to all who suffered through my success and my failure; while trying new recipes and revisiting old ones for this cookbook. A special thanks go to my family-long suffers of my cooking attempts at new recipes: Michael, Tyna, Michael J. [Butka]; Jennifer [Levesque Williams]; my summer daughter from London, England, Andria and my Spanish summer sons, Nacho [nickname, I wish I could remember his christian name] and Ignacio. An extra special thanks to Jennifer and Andria, who both helped with the typing of this cookbook. It was created out of love of cooking and encouragement from family and friends to write one.”

Applesauce [Pumpkin] Cookies

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice [pumpkin pie spice]

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar *see note below

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup applesauce [pumpkin puree]

1 cup raisins, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and pie spice. Set aside. Cream together butter, brown and white sugars. Add egg, pumpkin and vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture to just moistened. Add raisins. Mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown.

* Note: I added whey/protein powder and switched the brown sugar to black strap molasses to provide Mom with added protein and aid in maintaining some electrolyte balance. I didn’t put the raisins in at the end because of a texture swallowing issue Mom had. Her oncologist, Dr. Douglas Weckstein, said let her eat whatever she wants.

My mother , Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, taught all her children how to bake and cook. Some of us did better than others.

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Week of Remembering Mom and Dad- Day 3

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Model T Cookie Jar loves to cherish the memories of the cookies it stored for us. Today is all about my sisters, Vickie Stearns Levesque Junkins and Sue Stearns Aeschliman’s favorite cookie.

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Mom’s Toll House Cookie [The link send you to the original recipe]

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Sift flour together: 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside. Beat creamy 1/2 cup butter; 6 tablespoons each brown sugar and granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat 1 egg. Add flour mixture. Mix well. Stir on 16 ounce package or 1 cup chocolate bits, 1/2 cup ground nuts; drop on well greased cookie sheet. Bake 375 degree for 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy!

Tomorrow will be about Mom’s favorite cookie.

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Week of Remembering Mom and Dad-Day 2

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Today is all about my father’s favorite recipe. The one he always made. It was not cookies. It was Biscuits.

Moms Biscuits

The recipe is my mother’s [written in her handwriting.] Dad [Nelson William Stearns] and Mom [Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns] both used it to make biscuits. Dads always came out fluffier. When the Model T cookie jar was empty, Dad said, “Come here girl, I will teach you how to make those biscuits.”

I spent a day cooking with my father. I still smile when i think about learning how to make the biscuit with Dad. Sadly mine came out like my mother’s, edible but a little dense. Dad stated, “Don’t worry, girl, you learn to have a light hand.” Dad ate those biscuits with happy enjoyment spread with homemade raspberry jam made by his sister, Eleanor May Stearns Duncan.

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That little Model T Cookie Jar had many types of cookies and biscuit over the years. I’m the eldest of a baker’s dozen. Six of us still living. What type of cookies was made depended on which sibling turn to choose. The cookies were made by my mother and each of us as we learned to cook. I was only in the home for four more years after giving Dad the cookie jar. I went away to Nursing School. I did come home, from time to time, to take care of my parents and siblings when Mom had her first cancer episode and Dad had his Heart attack. [This is a story for another day.]

Biscuits

Make all measurements level [Mom’s way, Dad always just grabbed and mixed.]

2 cups sifted flour

4 tablespoons Baking Powder

2 teaspoons Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon cream of Tarter

Add 2/3 cup milk all at once stir till the dough follows the fork around the bowl. Turn dough onto lightly flour board. Knead lightly 8-10 times. Pat or roll dough to one inch thickness. Cut and place biscuits in greased pans. Brush top with melted butter. Bake in hot oven 475 to 500 degrees 10 minutes or until done.

Enjoy.

Tomorrow’s recipe will begin my sibling’s favorite choices. I will post, in the order of the response, they returned to me when I asked what favorite cookie they enjoyed of Moms.

 

 

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Week of Remembering, Mom and Dad! Day 1

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This week is the is the 15th anniversary of my mother, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, death. She succumbed to her battle against cancer 28 April 2001.

Earlier this month, 8 April 2016, was the anniversary of my father, Nelson William Stearns, 86th birthday.

This form of remembrance was triggered recently by Amy Johnson Crow’s Periscope presentation of #31DaysofBetterGenealogy, about recording the artifacts we have in our possession. You don’t want future generations discarding your memories without sharing the importance they meant to you.

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I mentioned I still had the Model T Cookie Jar that I purchased, with one of my first real paychecks, for my father. Amy quickly informed me I needed to blog about it, including a recipe of the cookies it contained.

Why do I say my first real paycheck? I worked with my father and cousin throughout the year at my Dad’s service station in Pembroke New Hampshire. In the summer’s I would work along beside my Dad and cousin, Ernest Perkins, Ernest’s junk yard in Sutton, New Hampshire, getting parts for cars. Dad always paid me something , even in bartering or cash for my work.

My first official job was for Leon’s Ice Cream Stand, in Pembroke, New Hampshire [Now Chantilly’s.] I started at the end of May 1968.  [Also working there was, David Paul Levesque, who became my sister, Vickie’s [Vickie Mae Stearns] first husband and father of my niece, Jennifer and nephew David.

So when my first or maybe my second paycheck came in, it was just before Father’s Day. My Mother and I went shopping to pick out something special for my father. When I saw the Model T Ford cookie jar, I know that is what I wanted to get him.

The first type of cookie to go into this jar was my father’s favorite cookie, Molasses. What people call, Hermits. Dad always called them Molasses Cookies because, “they are not Hermits without the raisins.”  I filled the jar with my mothers recipe, made by me. My father was very please with the results, except he said, “There is only one problem with these cookies.” [my face, first time he made this comment, dropped about ten feet.  Wait for the rest of the statement…] Dad always added a long pause before finishing his statement, “It taste like more.”

I had been cooking a long time so I knew what was coming. It still brings a smile to my face and happy tears to my eyes, just remembering his words.

Hermits

My mother’s Hermit recipe in her own handwriting. It is a much loved and used recipe.

Hermits

4 1/2 cups Flour

2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon [I use Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice]

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Allspice

1 cup Shortening [usually Crisco]

2 cups Brown Sugar or Black Strap Molasses 

1 cup Milk

2 Eggs

Optional:

1 cup Chopped Nuts

1 Cup Raisins

Bake 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees.

[Cream together the shortening, sugar/molasses; add the eggs. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add, alternating, between Milk and dry ingredients, until well blended. Don’t be to heavy handed or you will have tough cookies.]

Mom usually just dropped them onto the buttered cookie sheet to bake. If she made the Hermits, with the raisins, she would roll the dough out and and cut into squares.

I hope you enjoy my mothers Molasses cookies.

Tomorrow’s recipe may surprise you. It was my father’s favorite recipe to make.

 

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Will The Real Alonzo Chase, Please Stand Up- Part 2

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Where do I go now? I need to answer the question/s-

  1. Who are the parents of Alonzo Chase born in Hopkinton, Merrimack, New Hampshire 2 July 1835?
  2. What clues do I already have that provide hints to who his parent are?
  3. Where did Alonzo live during his lifetime (1835-1905) that might help me find his parents?
  4. When did Jacob Chase become guardian of Alonzo Chase?
  5. Why did Alonzo Chase move to Jacob’s household?
  6. What record groups may help me with my search?
  7. Where is his birth record?
  8. What was his name at birth?

These are just a few questions that I need to answer, again, to find out who Alonzo Chase’s parents are. PLEASE join me in the next leg of my research journey.

Let’s start with the letter from Roger and Joyce Chase to the Warner Historical Society.

Alonzo Chase letter snip

CLUE #1 “We want to thank you for all the information and pictures you sent us about Alonzo Chase and his adopted father, Jacob Chase. …”

CLUE #2 “… we will try to find information about Alonzo’s birth and his birth mother, Sarah Straw, who was from Hopkinton, and

CLUE #3 his biological father, who we think was named Kelly. Alonzo was…

CLUE #3… adopted by, Jacob Chase, but we do not know when ore even if there were any records of adoption at that time.”

CLUE #4 Roger and Joyce Chase did not say how they were related to Alonzo or how they knew the information in the letter.

[I sent a letter to the Chase’s after my visit to the historical Society. No answer. I researched the address and phone number provided on the business card attached to the letter. The business was no longer in service. When I Googled the names of the Chases, I found an obituary for Joyce Chase.]

Three clues in this letter that I researched once before. I will look at them from a different angle this time. Starting with why the Chase’s knew the information they had included in the letter.

Is the Obituary a dead end in getting more information, or, does it provide new clues in my search.

That is where I leave off for today. You will need to follow along with me to find out where this journey ends.

 

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