As a working mother of two, Butler County native Charlene Powell says her family still finds time for a sit-down dinner most nights.
“I grew up helping Mama in the kitchen quite early on. Now my own children are helping out in the kitchen,” says Charlene.
But she says kitchen fun pales in comparison to time spent outdoors with son Lance, 9, and daughter Lauren, 7. “Lauren is a tomboy through and through, and Lance would go to work every day with his daddy if he could,” Charlene says.
Charlene’s husband, Lynn, works with his father, Harold, at the family’s tractor dealership as well as his cattle and hay operation.
Lynn is also a member of the Young Farmers, while Charlene serves as chairman of the Butler County Farmers Federation Women’s Committee.
She also works for the Butler County Board of Registrars.
On those occasions when Charlene has her children’s help in the kitchen, she says Lauren is more interested in cleaning than cooking.
“They do like to help do things in the kitchen, but Lauren would rather wash dishes than help cook. So Lynn or I will wash the knives and turn the rest of them over to her,” explains Charlene.
In addition to being with their children, Charlene says that she and Lynn enjoy being with the rest of their families. And she says that family members actually brought the two of them together.
“His cousin and my sister had the idea that we might hit it off, so they set us up for a blind date,” says Charlene, adding that she and Lynn have now been married for 12 years.
According to Charlene, one of the main reasons she looks forward to the approaching holiday season is the opportunities for spending time with family members they don’t see very often.
“It’s sad to say, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only times we get to see lots of them. But we make the most of that time together, and the food is always as good as the company,” she says.
Several of the recipes Charlene passes along this month are staples of those family holiday gatherings.
“Family members always ask me to bring my Cheese Ball and the Butterfinger Dessert. They’re both such easy recipes, but people really love them,” she says.
Another of her family’s favorites for the holidays is Hot Hominy, a recipe traditionally made by her aunt. “We always ask her to at least double the recipe. It’s that good,” says Charlene.
And for others who are looking forward to the holidays, Charlene shares one recipe that’s for decorating rather than eating: Christmas Ornament Dough.
“It’s a fun project for including children. One year I made cow ornaments that we painted black and white. They were really cute,” she says.