About Me

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Within the confines of this blog, you will find bits and pieces of the life and times of myself, my family and friend dear and near., far and wide, few and far between. You will find bits and pieces of my world, tho small to some, but huge to me. You will find everything from 'soup to nuts',; recipes, hobbies,crafts, gardenings,loves of my life, GrandLoves-a-Plenty, and even my pets... Sooo, if you can handle family life, enjoy the tour of my 'Stuffings'.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Making Tracks

How I would love to be making tracks of my own in the snow. The wildlife surrounds us and makes me want to follow and see where they go.
Deer tracks, turkey, like the ones on my wool blanket, rabbits everywhere, mouse tracks, bobcat, wolf. ( No, I don't want to follow that one.)
However, many years ago, I took a terrible tumble down these treacherous half log stairs, not properly spaced, and knocking me out cold. That was the beginning of bad news for my back and legs . It's been 12 yrs. but seems like yesterday. Four years later, one leg fell straight down through a rotted deck board, while the other did the splits. To make a long story short, my leg went completely numb, loosing use of it, in less than a weeks time. Needless, to say, back surgery was the only way out of this dilemma. Am I still bothered today,? Yes. The first year, neuroprathy settled in making for an unhappy camper lately.
Why lately? Well, I used to do a lot of snowshoeing., even after the surgery, but now, since I cannot feel my feet half the time, and they are constantly ice cold, I don't go anymore. I guess I'm a bit bitter over it all. Oh, I can still walk, or stumble about. My Dad had a dead leg, and swore he would walk again. He did too. I noticed how he trained himself to mentally move his legs one foot in front of the other. My situation is much different than his was, but the fact that there is still tons of frustration over something I cannot change, remains an issue. I am getting slower, much more careful and guarded of each step, especially with winter snow and ice. I feel robbed. and Shame on me.
I can still move, but there is always that ' but.'
I'm ashamed of myself, all this self pity. All I have wanted to do today, was to strap on those snowshoes up there and take a winters walk., making my own tracks, my own mark in the woods. Don't worry about me, I beat myself up like this once in awhile to be reminded of all the glory God has given me.

Oh, I'll get over it!

For now, I want to thank all my blog friends for following my tracks here. You have been supportive, complimentary of my artful attempts and grandloving, and genuinely ' good for me. ' You have been true friends. I would like to wish each and every one of you a blessed new year with 365 Happy Dance Days in 2011!

BlessYourHearts, Everyone

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Welcome Visitors

Looking out of our kitchen window this morning, look who came to breakfast!
After cleaning up the deer during hunting season, I had asked dear Hubby Bill to throw the carcass scraps where I could see them just for this reason. I love watching the eagles. Pretty cool to have them outside of my window about an eighth mile away. These pictures are not the clearest but more will come. We set up a trail camera today to get better shots. These are a Mom and her Young One, the one without his white head and tail feathers. She actually still fed him a few bites yet.
Nothing lasts forever, as ' Away She Flies.'
With all of today's rain taking the snow level down, the bones resurfaced, and the sky was black with crows just after the eagles arrived. I'm curious to see what's on the trail camera. Maybe bobcats?

Other news this past week includes one very sick Grandlove, with a nasty virus. Nasty enough that he could not go out to play the past 5 days, and fought a 102 fever on and off. At the doctors, his Daddy was told to continue doing what he was doing for him. Lots of fluids, soft foods for the sore throat, and keep the fever down with cool baths, popsicles and lots of hugs.
We did tackle the pile of toys under the tree and played until his energy dwindled. Sy's Airhog hovercraft is quite awesome, seeming to levitate, as well as his spy watch. We all played a game called Minotaurus which is a Lego game of mazes after it is assembled like any other Lego toy. I must say, even while sick as a dog, Sy was sharp as a tack.

My Doc appt. was ' iffy.' Numbers look ok except for the blood sugars...darned Christmas cookies and candies will do it every time.

That's it folks...thanks for stopping and listening once again.
You're a good egg.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Ride, Warnings

It's been a week now, since I have been to the cabin, so what better thing to do than, take a Sunday ride. It isn't far, or difficult, and so worth it. The deck was just shoveled before Christmas and lookie-here. Snow like marshmallows on our seats.
Snow curls on the fence and cottonballs on the posts.
Deer sign everywhere from every direction. It's time to start the wood stove and sit-a-spell to watch as they pass through with the partridge and rabbits. I saw their tracks, too.
The bridge should be at the bottom of the curved cedar rail, but it had to be pulled away from the waters edge to prevent injury to anyone trying to cross it. It is in great need of being repaired, NO, replaced. The deer and bear cross this bridge as well as people, and ankles could be broken in the loose and misplaced cross poles. The next one will be of cedar docking sections with seating off the sides. Much safer and still we will be able to cross with our 4-wheelers.
There are steps the length of the deck, can you see them? and a bench and an adorandack chair.
Can you see them now? I suppose I should shovel, Naaa, looks all pretty that way.
Under all the snow is always a supply of warmth, not to worry about it getting low,
There is always more.
While you are out and about on your winter wonderland walks, be careful out there. Don't slip. And most certainly, beware of the open water that have not frozen under the blankets of snow. Hypothermia is Not fun. Neither are dangerous ice and snow slides off the roof that can injure you in an instant as the sun warms the roof. The snow gets wet, heavy and deadly, do be careful out there.
As for snowball fights and snow angels, all warnings are off. Have some fun this winter, whether in the snow, rains or sunshine.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

White Christmas Wishes

This, Is the Reason for the Season
I always dream of a White Christmas. There is something about a snow-covered surrounding that just makes Christmas sing for those of us who live in Snow Country.
The tree tops are full of their very own Candles like the ones on this branch. God has been lighting the way with natures candles long before wax came along.
Our barn is brilliant with it's red and white. I do miss having stock to tend. The neighborhood cats find their way in and out throughout the year and I don't mind one bit keeping them out of the elements.
Even our Grandloves snowman is feeling the deep freeze and the blanket of snow we received these past couple of days. Hey, Where'd my legs go? and my face?
The fences, wire rolls, birdhouses, trees, everything looks so clean in their fresh fallen snow-clothes.
The hustle and bustle of fall and early winter weather changes, left this wagon parked by the garden. I gave up asking for it to be put away, and now, I'm glad it was left behind. I do love the way the snow has piled high on its tires.

I want to wish all of you a very blessed Christmas filled with memories of old and many new memories being made. Remember the reason for the season as you open your gifts and share meals with your loved ones.
God has been so very good. Merry Christmas Everyone!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Things We Do

There is something special about a gingerbread house. These two were made several years ago and were used as part of our decor for 3 Christmas seasons.
The candy house on top is made with candies, pretzels of different shapes and sizes, a gingerbread base and lots of frosting to hold it all together, and of course, for the snow.

The log cabin is made of the same gingerbread for it's base, covered with the brown jelly belly jelly beans for the stones and chimney, the roof is red licorice. All of it is again, tied together with tons of icing. These get heavy, so make sure you dry them thoroughly before moving them.

Hope you have enjoyed these, Now, go out and make you one.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hand Painted Ornaments

For those of you who have already seen these for the 'umteenth' time, thank you for your patience and understanding as I share with others.

Years ago, before my hands became so numb, I painted these wonderful ornaments based on a borrowed idea. I saw these ornaments that were painted to look like birch barked tops, and thought, Hmm, I can do that.

The paintings are some of the birds and animals that we see out of our own windows throughout the year. The Bald Eagle, Chickadee, Evening Grossbeak, Black Bear, White-tail Deer, White-tail Fawn, Moose, left of the Snowshoe Rabbit, the Cardinal and Cougar, are just a few. Yes, we have them all, and wish we could see them every day.

I hope you enjoy some of these gifts outside of your windows as well.

Merry Christmas and

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Blue Star

The Blue Star that hangs bright on the east side of my barn holds my heart.

The star to the East, represents, for me, the Eastern Star that gave guidance to the wisemen and shepherd that followed it to the stable where our Saviour lay. What a gift God has given us., and reminds us each Christmas of our great fortune in knowing and receiving Him.

The Blue Star also reminds me of a humbler time in my own barn. When we first moved here 31 years ago, never did I ever dream that I would experience what I did on our 5th winter here.

It was quiet by now, the kids were all tucked into bed, knowing of the excitement of the coming morning, Christmas. We had listened to the Christmas Story in church that Christmas Eve and how the Son of God was born in a manger. You know the story.

Anyway, something struck my heart and curiosity. (Here comes the Human side, the doubting, the wondering if there was really so much truth in it all). I wondered, do the cattle really 'low,' as in the children's song, 'Away In the Manger.' Well, I just Had to Know. I think I did believe it, but never had a good enough reason to check it out before. So, just like a disbeliever, I pulled the boots on and headed to the barn to see for myself.

Let me share this, I was so excited and calmed by the presence of my cows and their young, that I could hardly contain myself. Those of you that farm are probably laughing right now knowing that the cattle sleep just like we do, calm and content, chewing away on their cuds, still. But what I did not expect, was, that night, Christmas Eve, they all knew. They knew it was a night to not stir a muscle when the barn door opened. Not a one of them changed position, mooed, nothing. They just stood there, as if to tell ME to hush. Hush, for a miracle has happened. You see, normally, the cattle would have moved around, been rattled by my surprise visit. That night, they were not stirred. The cattle were lowing. So, you see, they too, celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.

Did I weep? Yes.
Did I share this experience? Yes.
Was there disbelief? Yes.
Did I care that I was shunned? No, It Was a Miracle to Me.

So, besides the Blue Star holding this promise for me, it also did the same for my parents who also have a Blue Star on the East side of their barn. If we believe so hard that God holds our hearts, He surely will. Believe in the Reason for the Season.

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 13, 2010

Celebrate the Magic

Celebrate the Magic and Wonder of Christmas
Pictures, I finally can show you pictures again. My youngest son gifted me with a new monitor for my PC, so there will be no stopping me now.
As I have noted earlier, we had our Christmas with our Loves and Grandloves this weekend.
Mom and I went Treml's Tree Farm to harvest our Christmas Trees~~~and Yes,

I cut down my own tree.
The Snowmen waited for the Grandloves to each take one home.
They are cuties, aren't they?
Sy and Ben, being lil Santa's~~~
Our oldest Grandlove, Hannah with our youngest Grandlove, Noah
This was Syrus' first year to find the Christmas Pickle first. He was so excited.
Josh found the pickle in the Big Kid Search
These are our Darling Grandloves, 10 0f the 11. In the front row resisting, is Austin, little brother to Christopher who is eating his snowman. In the pink, are sisters Katie and Megan. Center row, also resisting, is Ben, little brother to Syrus, in the green shirt. Kneeling in the center is sister and brother, Ryele and Josh. Behind Ryele is Chole, sister to Hannah with the beautiful long hair. The only one not in the picture is Noah, who already was on the road heading home due to our horrible snow storm.
He is baby brother to Sy and Ben, and the youngest of our Grandloves.
After our Christmas festivities around Grandma and Grandpa's Christmas tree, we all headed a 1/2 mile down the road to our son's Northern Archery Shop, where the grandloves could run off all the sugar I fed them before bedtime. We had a great time playing games like darts, Spoons, a cut-throat card game that the grandloves are way too fast and furious at, pool, singing and dancing, and visiting. What a great time we all had. Now, two weeks rest before we do it all over again at the farm.
Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. I understand there will be one on my table this year~~~cannot wait.
Thanks for Stopping

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Better Get A Tree

I'm thinking out loud again about all that still has to be done before my house fills with 25-(always room for more), guests this weekend. Those of you who have been following me, know that this will be our family Christmas weekend.


Monday, I had a little helper making fudge, hanging some inside lights and singing Christmas Carols. Ben is 3 and ever so anxious to be the best helper he can be. He also is checking the windows constantly to see if he can spot Santa's Elves keeping an eye on him to see if he is being naughty or nice. Due to going a bit over-board on the weekend, Grandma needed a rest so besides testing the fudge we had just made and admiring and counting the lights all day, we read lots of Christmas stories and played trains and race cars.

Today started up at 5 a.m. with DH, packed him a lunch and chatted a bit before he headed off to work. He went without his usual breakfast, dying for a sip of my coffee, poor guy, but had to wait until his fasting blood draw was over at the annual check-up for work.
Mom pulled in around 8 and off we went to pick up her sister, my dear Aunt. They needed a driver for the day and I gladly took over. An hour later we shopped a bit, spent lots of time having more annual tests run, and home again. Ya know how one test runs into the next, well it took up our day. We all agreed that we were just too tired to finish our shopping. Back home by 7 and tuckered out, but we sure had a lot of grins and giggles amidst 3 hrs. on the road.

So, being a one vehicle couple, tomorrow I will take Bill to work so I can pick up Mom again. We are going to pick out our Christmas trees. That is always a highlight of Dec. for me. You have to know my mother to realize what an adventure that can be. Details after the fact. Does this also mean that I have to decorate that tree? I still cannot imagine how Mom ever did it, for it was Christmas EVE before the tree was ever put up, decorated and ready with gifts for each of us 9 kids AFTER we all were tucked into bed and dreaming of sugar plums. She surely had angels helping her., all to make a perfect Christmas Morning for us. Read more about it on CherShots, my sisters blog.

There also are cookies to bake, appetizers, and gifts for 11 Grandloves to get, wrap and seal with love, game gifts to get, and oh, a pickle gift. I cannot forget the pickle gift. My Grandloves would be devastated if Grandma forgot the gift for the first child to find the Pickle on the Christmas tree. If you have not heard of this before, it is an old German tradition to place a pickle ornament amongst the boughs and the first to find it , gets a gift and good luck throughout the year. It's a lot of fun for the kids, and something they cannot wait to do. They seem to enjoy the search as much as the excitement of opening gifts. In the past 15 years, they have only tipped the tree once.
It's a good thing I wire it to the wall, ha?

OH, I have lots of work to do...once again,...so much for simplifying...a word definitely NOT in my dictionary.

Thanks again, for reading and I promise, soon, real soon, there will be pictures to prove I'm giving fact about our Christmas and traditions. I would not fool any of you, for I appreciate the time you take to read here.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Long Weekend~~~

So far,
It has been one long, busy, busy weekend.
I thought I'd catch you up on my preparations for the upcoming weekend, our Christmas With Our Loves and GrandLoves. How I wish I had Photos to Share...but, like old radio, You must use your imagination.

I started Sat. out with a hearty breakfast prepared by dear Hubby Bill. He usually makes weekend breakfasts and lets me wake to the smell of bacon, eggs and fresh coffee. Top the toast with homemade Peach Jam and our weekend was off to a good start.

Bill was finishing up the meat processing over the weekend, while I was working on letting the Christmas spirit in. I had not been feeling the best, and still am a bit 'under the weather', but onward to my chores.

I begged Bill to bring his chainsaw with and take me to the edge of the swamp to get cut two very tall, but thin trees. These had to be extremely thin on the top 6-7 ft. but still very full with their own cones and candles.
Buzz, buzz, and he had them down, lickety-split. What took less than 5 minutes for him, would have taken me a couple of hours sawing with my hand saw. Thanks Babe.

After dropping my Honey-Do off at the house to get on with his chores, I unloaded the trees, grabbed the loppers and the bough cutters and headed back to the topless trees to cut enough of the boughs that lay in easy reach, for decorating around the decks and the house. As long as I was in the woods, I spotted some perfect long red dogwood branches to make a wreath out of for the cabin. It will last for years. That's my kind of decorating.

Back at home, I get to work. It's in the 20's today, no wind and rather nice out, so this is going to be one of the warmest days I've ever done my outside decorating. Wonderful!!!

Tree number one, graces the corner of the deck with a hollow stump for its stand. It's wrapped in colored lights, and will hopefully get decorated with popcorn and cranberry strings, orange and apple rings and frozen peanut butter seed bells, all for the birds. It really doesn't need any more bling, as it is loaded with balsam cones and their candles. It's big on skinny and bigger on beauty.

The 2nd tree is our welcome on the landing next to the door coming into the main entrance of the house, holding green lights, afterall, trees Are green.

The railing and around the door are lit in white, with boughs down the rail which also holds the Home For The Holidays sign I made out of barnboard. The lettering is painted and it has large pinecones hanging from each end. The tree is decorated with 3 homemade stars that are of twigs tied together with raffia. Centered, is the Welcome to Grandma and Grandpa's House sign. A little wooden heart hangs off the side saying, Grandkids Spoiled While You Wait.

The deck lights are the LED lights in blue. I love these lights. They are supposed to be 90% more energy efficient. I guess we will see, when the light bill comes at the end of the month. I strung them all along the outside of the railing, and under each step to light the way onto the deck.
Of course, these are on a timer. Who wants to plug and unplug lights outside in the middle of a blizzard? Not me.

Bill helped me string the cord to the timer for the big blue star on the East side of the Barn. This is it's 2nd year on the barn and is especially special to me. Dad always had a huge blue star on the East side of their barn at the farm. I know he loved it as much as he loved doing it for Mom. Now, Bill does it for me, and we do it for our family and neighbors. The farm star could be seen all the way up the driveway. I always loved that drive on Christmas Eve. To see mine, we have to drive past and come back, but it's so worth it. I can see the reflection of it's glow, from the house. Last night, a couple of rabbits were sitting in the snow, under it. I have been told that, the neighbors that live past us, watch for it to first be lit. I'm so glad they are enjoying it, too.

So far, that isn't much decorating for me. Before my Nativity Set broke from dry-rot, it was either set up in the side yard or my favorite, in front of the barn. I will replace it someday. It was all white, and that's what I want again. Bill even made a cradle for the Baby Jesus. Who says Bill is a scrooch. He just knows the true meaning of Christ-mas.
There were also lighted snowmen, reindeer, another Nativity I cut from plywood, Mary, Babe and Joseph, painted them black and shined a blue flood-light on it. It's amazing how surreal it looked. It too, has seen its day. Maybe I will do that again. I really did love the wholesomeness of it.

Sun., I made a bee-line for the kitchen. I still have not turned on my failing oven, but did make 100-some, Truffles and Brandy Balls. The ones with a kick are rated Adults Only, but the Truffles are rated PG. Both are great. The X-rated ones have honey, brandy, butter, cocoa, crushed vanilla wafers and finely chopped pecans, all rolled in sprinkles.
The PG-rated Truffles are full of crushed graham crackers, honey, marachino cherry juice and it's cherries, butter and cocoa. They are rolled in different colored sprinkles and will be within GrandLove reach, unlike the adult version.

We had to eat, so I threw together some homemade pizza with carmelized onions, sauteed mushrooms with garlic, some of that awesome venison breakfast sausage and cojack cheese topped with Italian spice, oregano and more garlic. OH MY, YUM.

After cleaning up the processing center and the kitchen, I'm done-for, so off to beddy-by for this ol' girl. Life is busy. Life is good. Life is exhausting. So much for simplifying. Tomorrow, I will bake cookies for the kids yet.

Oh, at 11 p.m. yesterday, the marshmallow snowmen were made for the GrandLoves...sure wish I could show you, but, once again you must use your imagination. One regular sized marshmallow on top of a Campfire size marshmallow (they are the size of 3 reg. mallows), a peppermint candy for a cap on top of a vanilla wafer, all glued together with a dab of frosting, dots of red gel for the nose and mouth, dots of black gel for the eyes and buttons, licorice string for the scarf and the arms. Cute...one note (I would have used fruit leather for the scarves but didn't have any. I use what I have, but still cute.) I made a dozen and was in bed by midnight so I wouldn't turn into a frog.

I appologize. I turned into a real motor-mouth, carrying on and on.
So much for simple- apparently, not a word in my dictionary.

And, Yes, darling Little One, Darcie, the Scrabble board is waiting. I will gladly let you whoop my butt, or not.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Now I have to go get my beauty sleep so I can bake and maybe, put up a tree tomorrow. You may not hear from me for awhile. I might be a bit crazed.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Slush~Saultz~Simplify Christmas

As I'm preparing the house and the outside for our early Christmas, I remembered I wanted to ' simplify ' this year. Better plans were never made. It seems that as soon as I pull open the boxes of lights, ornaments, garlands and wreaths, I go a bit crazy over Christmas decorating. Someone, please hold me back!

If I continue to repeat, simplify, simplify, simplify, maybe, just maybe, I will actually do it this season. Only time will tell.

So far, the outdoor lights are layed out on the table and all have been tested. They work, but now, just how many will make it to the railings, the doorways, decks and the yard? Only time will tell.

The Slush has been made, and tested. It works just fine. Now, to see if it will freeze to the 'slush' stage while on the decks deep freezer-so much easier to stir rather than running up and down the basement steps to the freezer~~just open the door, stir, test. A new kind was developed out of a mistake. Some of the best recipes happen due to human error. I am human, I errored, and wha-la, an Oh-so-good Apple Passion Mango Slush for our grazing afternoon of goodies, gifts, drink and games. Seconds, anyone? Whether our guests will enjoy trial by error, only time will tell.

The Saultz has been made, and tested. Saultz is a jelled, vinegar and pork appetizer served on a saltine. It is not the best batch I have ever made, but time will tell, as to whether or not it gets approval. This is one Christmas food tradition that is devoured by our boys every year so I doubt very much, that it will change just because it isn't perfect.

Baking starts first thing in the morning. Oh, there is so much to do to ' simplify.'

Besides decorating and baking, there will be firewood to throw in this weekend, and trail cameras to check. A couple of the boys are still trying to get their bucks with the black powder season and bow open. I have been wanting to sit at the cabin a couple of nights to watch the deer come in for a treat while I hunt with my camera. The one picture I have been trying to get, is of the deer, rabbits, partridge and bluejays all eating together. I have it on video but would love a snapshot. Time will tell.

It's time to stir the Slush buckets. Oh, for those of you who have not had Slush, it is made with green tea, sugar, lemonade, orange juice, water, and brandy. If you eliminate the brandy, it becomes one big ice cube. The alcohol is what keeps it ' slushy'. It's a once a year thing now, but I do remember having a bucket tied to my lawn chair in the middle of Moose Lake next to my sister Mel, from UpNorthWithMel, enjoying the sunshine and minnows swimming around our ankles, or were those leeches? Enough Slush and we really didn't seem to care. Those days are long gone. We no longer lush slush., do we Mel.

While I bake, Bill will hook up the power to the 5 ft. blue star that hangs on the east side of the barn. Whether the lights all survived the summer winds, time will tell. Bill may have to get the tractor and bucket out, put a ladder in it and change lights yet.
We will love taking all eleven of our GrandLoves and their parents outside to see the Christmas Star on the Barn once it's dark out. We will turn on the outdoor lights at the same time, then they all go on timers.

Yes, by golly, I'm getting into the Christmas Spirit. I was feeling queezy today, and hope to avoid a cold or flu at any cost. Whether I get my wish or not, only time will tell.

Thanks for listening to me think out loud.
What are YOU doing this weekend.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Go Ahead, Make My Day

What has made "your" day today?

Two things come to mind for me.

When my Grandlove, Ben, arrived this morning, the first thing he said to me was, " I and me missed you Grandma! " He was teasing me. We have been trying to get him to say " I " instead of " me " when he refers to himself, ever since he began talking. Our English language is a difficult one to learn, isn't it? The rest of the day, he went back to using "me". I had to sigh a few times and just agree with him and say, "Me too." No wonder this poor little 3 yr. old is confused, when Grandma can't even get it right.

The other thing that made my day, was a lengthy phone conversation with my sister Mel. We sure have more in common than I realized. Loveya Mel. Hope your day was a great one.

One more thing, I started my Christmas baking.Not that I wanted to, but because our family Christmas will be here with our 5 kids and their families. All together we total 23. With all of the programs, parties, family get-togethers, shopping, baking, etc. we are gathering around our tree 2 weekends Early. I'd say, I'd better get in the Christmas spirit.

I'm actually looking foreward to doing the material part of Christmas early. (I know, this one who does not do ' breaking tradition ' easily.) It will leave a much less hustled time getting ready for church and Christmas Eve at the farm. Now, THAT'S what Christmas is all about for me.

Thanks for listening and