Bramell, Party of Five: 2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Take the Opportunity to Give

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Arkansas Children’s to support the 2018 Festival of Stars toy & donation drive. I am helping promote the statewide event as part of a paid promotional partnership. However, all opinions are my own.

With the busyness of the holiday season in full swing, I want to take a minute to offer up a simple way to share some goodness in your community. The Festival Of Stars toy drive for Arkansas Children's Northwest in Springdale will be next Friday, December 14. That means you have just over a week to run out and purchase a new gift or toy for a child who needs a brighter Christmas this year. There is a particular need for items for babies and teens, though gifts for all ages are collected. 

In Springdale, the collection will take place from 7am until 6pm, at the new hospital on Gene George Boulevard, just west of I-49. There will be hot cocoa, holiday music, snacks and special guests for people to enjoy when they stop to make donations on site.

Our family has a yearly Advent calendar that includes special activities and acts of kindness listed to complete each day. Many of our activities include an aspect of giving to others during this month. It's an easy way to help my kids understand that the holiday season is about so much more than them being on the receiving end of gifts. We donate to little free libraries, bell ringers and food pantries during this time. A toy drive makes a great addition to the list! 

Unwrapped toys collected on December 14 will be given to patients and their families who are staying in the hospital on Christmas. There are drop-off locations all over the state, and an online donation site for those who prefer to make a financial donation. Here are just some of the things that your monetary donation can help with:

In this season of giving, I encourage you to find something that makes your heart happy to support. Let us all remember others who are in need of a little holiday cheer.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Memory Lane

Today I'm participating in the #CheersToStorytelling Challenge with my blogging friends. Now, I know you are probably shocked to see a new blog post from me. Go ahead and pick yourself up off the floor.

For now, I'm going to share a story about the WHY and HOW I started this blog way back in 2007. I am what you might call a grandmother in blogging years--ELEVEN!! When we started, I'm pretty sure nobody read the blog except for my mother, bless her heart. Through this wonderful world of internet networking, I've come to meet and adore so many new people that I'm so thankful for in my life.

The original name of the blog was (creatively) named The Bramell Family Blog. (I know, I know.) The blog name is now Bramell, Party of Five so that should tell you a lot has changed. My husband and I actually created the blog together just about a week before our first baby was born. We did it as a platform for our large extended family, who is scattered around the country, to keep up with news and photos of our small growing family here. Oh, if I'd only known then what I know now....right???

I just took a look back to be reminded that the first few posts were actually written by Lee, which I totally love. We were so excited about the baby's arrival (aka now Big Sis). I'm including the first photo we ever posted, too.  It's a photo of our Boston Terrier, Fergie. Sadly, we lost her earlier this year, just shy of her 12th birthday.

This is also where I tell you that I'm likely the last old-school Blogger holdout in the universe. I have not made the switch to WP, and I'm not sure that I will. Mainly, because I'm not sure how much life this 'ol journal has left it in. My life is different now, I'm different now, and eleven years is a long time. I guess we'll see. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Fran's Curried Chicken

This post has been swimming around in my head for a long time, so I thought now would be a good time to get it out there. It's really kind of funny, and won't surprise anyone who knows me, that I don't eat this meal. Yes, I'm sharing this recipe on my blog. And no, I don't cook it or eat it myself. Crazy, right?!

This family favorite is Francena's famous curried chicken. This is the meal that my husband's mother loved to cook for him. This is also the first recipe of hers that he asked me to cook after she passed away.....and I couldn't do it. I just don't like the smell of curry!

So, this recipe I'm sharing belonged to a very special lady. She was my mother-in-law and she loved to cook. I love that we have a big binder full of her handwritten recipes that we will always treasure. I love that you can see a dirty grease stain on the bottom of the card. I love that we make this recipe using Fran's old, well-worn giant stock pot to boil the chicken. I love that her other grown children also have a copy and make this recipe for their families, too. I love that every time we cook this meal, it sparks a conversation about grandma with the kids. Food really does have some nostalgic power sometimes.

In my house, my husband Lee cooks this meal. He loves it, and all of our children love it. I hope that some of you guys will love it, too.

The recipe is really pretty simple, and doesn't involve a lot of ingredients. Don't let the prep time scare you off; it doesn't have to take that long. We choose to boil a whole chicken and make another meal with the extra meat, but you could definitely cut down on cooking time by using a deli rotisserie chicken. Also, her version was always served over white rice, but we found that it works well to just mix it together into one pot, too.

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