Saturday, December 31, 2011


I am a list person, are you?  I like to make a list of what I have to do that day, and cross off each item as it is completed.  I make lists of what to do, what to pack, what to read, what to blog, what to sew, groceries to buy, or phone calls to make......each little area of my life deserves it's own list.  How about you?  Do you need to make a list in order to feel you have accomplished something?

I am not a resolution person.  I don't really make resolutions, but instead, I set goals, or I make lists.  The last days of the year bring me to examining the past 12 months, and wondering if I completed most of the items on the list.   Last year's list was pretty simple:  Family, Friends, Faith.  How did I do?  I think I accomplished part of the list, but I still fell short in other areas.  I wanted to either remain close, or get closer to family members.  I think I scored a B on that portion of the year's goal.  I really tried to stay more in touch with kids, siblings, and extended family.  A portion of my attempts seemed to hit walls at times, and that isn't my fault.  But I think overall, I remained as close, or got closer to most of those who are important to me.  I have to credit cell phones with most of this success.  Some of my kids seem to prefer to communicate by text, as opposed to talk phone.  And if this is the way they want it, this is the way I will go.  Fortunately, I am tech savoy for the most part.  Other of my kids prefer a daily phone call.   And I love this!  Probably my favorite communication way.  Some text many times during the day.  Others are an email a couple of times a week.  Whatever.  I am up to each of these ways of communication, and I treasure each contact with my kids.

Same with siblings.  With some there is a daily email, some a less often email, some a phone call, and with some a shared church service, or Bible study.  Each is important to me.  Each is a connection to a shared past.  Each one a treasure.  I think I have either maintained, or maybe increased communication in 2011.  But it can always be improved upon!

Some friends I see quite often.  Some friends I text with almost daily.  Some friends are an occasional email, and others just a Christmas letter. But we are connected.  And this year, with my fiftieth class reunion taking place in September, I have reconnected with numerous friends from my past, and have loved each and every contact.  So I think I have succeeded in this area, also.  Probably also a B.

In my faith.  I have learned that the more I learn, the more I need to learn!  I have attended my Tuesday Bible study faithfully, in addition to the Sunday services and Sunday bible study, and I have gained so much from each.  But now I know how much more I need to learn.  The completely overwhelming theme that has run through my faith walk this year is this:  Amazing Grace.  I have never appreciated Grace as much as I have this year, and I am continuing to learn how totally amazing His Grace is!  But that said, I also know how much I still have to learn.  I will grade myself with a B-, and will continue to grow in His Grace this year.

And now on to 2012.  Have you made resolutions?  Have you set a goal?  Or maybe, like me, you have made a list.  I think I have come to the conclusion that in order to further succeed with the 2011 goals, which I will still work on, I need to set the 2012 goal as Let Go.  So, that is my theme for the year, Let Go.

I need to let go of anger as my number one item on the list.  There are things from my past that I am angry about.  I have not offered forgiveness for offenses, but have hung unto the anger portion of the hurt.  Enough of that.  Anger does nothing but make me ache.  Fibromyalgia (FMS) is connected with stress from anger is probably the main cause of my pain, and I am tired of hurting.  I am going to work on letting go of this anger, and offering forgiveness, even if none is asked for.  Let go.

I also need to let go of the ideas and plans I had made for my life, and accept what it is, instead.  I have a good life, even though it isn't exactly what I had imagined 40 or 50 years ago.  The ideas I had that have not come to fruition, are not that important anymore.  Let go.  Live in the present, where God has placed me.

Some things I need to let go of probably never even happened.  They are imagined hurts, things I put on myself that were never the intention of the party I have classified all these years as the guilty one.  Let go.

Stuff.  I am going to make more of an effort to let my stuff go.  We've done a lot of trimming down as we retired and traveled in a trailer for a year and a half, but after coming home and settling down again in 2008, we have acquired a lot of stuff.  We bought a small home this past summer, and acquired more stuff to fill it.  Now I would like to trim that stuff a bit again.  Who needs stuff?  What good does it do you? Let go.

Yes, as in every year, I can put losing weight on my list.  However, I have done well in the health department this past year as I went gluten free which reduced my FMS pain considerably.  I guess I was a year ahead of myself in that I Let Go of a lot of pain by letting go of gluten.  I will most certainly continue that area.  I feel so much better.  And I have lost a little weight, but I can certainly Let Go of plenty more.

But the weirdest thing on my Let Go list is this:  I am going to greatly reduce my use of plastic bags!  I have a love affair with plastic zip bags and use them for everything.  And I am germaphobic enough that I seldom reuse them.  What a waste.  I am filling a landfill all by myself with my plastic zip bags.  Years ago I switched to glass containers to keep my leftovers and little bits of things in, and this year I have developed another love affair, this one with Mason jars, so I am doing pretty well in the storage department.  But I always reach for a plastic bag for storage of produce, etc.  I am going to get some of those reusable fabric net type bags I saw at the co-op, and am determined to use those and stop the plastic bag addiction. Let Go!

Now you know that I am a person of excesses.  Too much hurt, too much pain, too much stuff, too much weight........and too much plastic!  I am going to Let Go!

Do you have a list?  What is your plan, goal, or list for 2012?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I have been working in the sewing room today.  I have 32 stacks of 4 blocks each that will get put together into pinwheels like I've shown on the right edge of the table.  Normally I despise putting together right triangle squares, but these were so easy!  Do you know the easy way to make them?  You put two 10 inch squares together right side to right side and you sew them together with a quarter of an inch seam all around all four sides.  Then you slice them on the diagonal, flip open and press.  You have four identical pieces to put together into the pinwheels!  No stretching of bias edges!  So easy.  I think I'll have to find a solid piece for sashings and borders because the prints are pretty busy.  The fabric collection is Charlevoix = Summer.... Beach....Rural Americana...1910-1935 by Polly Minick & Lauri Simpson.

Have I told you lately that I love my Big Brother sewing machine?  Absolutely in love with it!  Oh, and I love my little brother, too.  My flesh and blood brother.  He had a little heart problem this past week, and ended up in the hospital.  Now mind you, this is my brother who has never drank, never smoked, has always been very active, excellent health.........and he ended up with a racing heart beat.  He is home now, is on 3 medications, and feeling better according to his wife.  I sure hope it's not going to be a lasting problem.  He's too young, just 61.  We have a sibling get together scheduled for Saturday, so we are all hoping he is fine and will be able to attend.

One year ago today  we flew to Anchorage for  my dear sister-in-law's funeral.  We sure miss her.  I've been thinking of my brother-in-law and the three kids and the grandkids all during the Christmas holiday.  I can imagine that's it's been so hard for them to celebrate without her.  We did go down to Seldovia to   spend some time with Chris and Amy before we headed north to visit The Great One,   our first time visiting her in the winter.  She was beautiful!

And Minnesota is still without snow this year.  The whole state is brown.....very strange for the last couple of days in December!  But the longer it stays void of snow, the shorter the time until spring will be here!

Monday, December 26, 2011


This morning I hung out the freshly washed sheets.  In my pajamas, no less!  And I was thinking how beautifully white they are.  That reminded me of Bible verses:  Isaiah 1:18: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; and Psalm 51:7:  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  We have no snow, but the white sheets are as white as snow.  Yesterday was Christmas, the birthday of our Savior, who shed his blood that covered our sins to make us whiter than snow.  My thoughts went round and round, in color.  Black sin.  Red blood.  Pure and clean, white as snow.  Thank you Father for sending your Son those 2000 years ago, and for giving us eternal life, if we only believe.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A couple of days ago I posted a photo of my siblings and me from 1953.   Then I received an email from sister Ruth, with another photo, same parsonage, same wallpaper, same kids, different pajamas!  This one is from 1954.  On this one, sister Ruth has her walking doll, and Paul is clutching a gift, and Lois is excited about her dolly, but sister Betsy and I seem to be gift-less!  However, we have wonderful matching polka-dot pajamas. 

We are getting together for our sibling Christmas party on Saturday afternoon.  We do a planned pot luck meal, and spend the afternoon visiting and remembering Christmas Seasons from our past.  What fun!  We have a donation basket, and everyone has a chance to drop in a gift.  At the end of the day, the host or hostess, this year sister Lois, announces their choice of a charity to bless with the donation.  Much better than exchanging gifts that are soon broken, forgotten, or discarded.  I love this tradition we have.  And I love my siblings.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Ah, dearest Jesus, Holy Child, Make Thee a bed, soft undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be a quiet chamber kept for Thee.

My heart for very joy doth leap; my lips no more can silence keep.
I, too, must sing with joyful tongue that sweetest ancient cradle-song.

Glory to God in highest heav'n, who unto us His Son hath giv'n!
While angels sing with pious mirth a glad new year to all the earth.

Martin Luther, 1483-1546
ELH #123, vs. 13-15
Photo from the Elementary Bible History book, published by Concordia Publishing House in 1935.

Friday, December 23, 2011


This photo is an antique!  It was taken at Christmas time, 58 years ago, in a parsonage down in northeastern Iowa.  The lovely children are:  sister Ruth, baby sister Lois, sister Betsy, brother Paul, and me!  Aren't we cute?  Isn't the wall paper great?  The dark color was green, with the creamy or white leaves.  Paul is holding a truck or jeep, Lois is holding her little doll, and we other three sisters, in matching red pajamas, are holding our identical plastic or rubber molded hair dolls.  I guess that was a good idea, however, as when we got a doll with "real" hair, it soon got a new hairdo, a hair cut, or we baptized them so often that their hair just got moldy or fell out!  Being preachers kids, we played church often, and held many baptism services!  Please excuse the glaring spots..... my copier doesn't work so I took a picture of my picture, and it glared on me.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Just an F Y I.  Don't bother to bake gluten free casein free spritz.  I could not get the dough to let go or break off out of the spritz maker, no matter what I tried.  And I've been baking spritz for 47 years so it's not like I don't know how to make them.  I ended up putting the bar shape in the cookie press and just making them into two inch bars.  I'll drizzle with chocolate or something.  They actually don't taste bad, just wouldn't come out of the press.  Must be the flax which becomes kind of gelatin like when you mix it into the water.  Live and learn.

Friday, December 16, 2011


The day dawned bright and beautiful again.  As you can see, we have no snow on the ground.  It's brown. 
The only thing is, within half an hour, the sky was gray.  Absolutely gray, just like it's been all week.  Gray and depressing.

So I decided it was a good baking day.  I got out my recipes, and went to work.  This first batch is called  Double Chocolate Cherry Thumbprint.  They have melted chocolate chips, and whole chocolate chips, and dried cherries in them.  But.  I don't like maraschino cherries and the recipe called for a thumbprint with a maraschino cherry in it for the top.  Not happening!  So I didn't do a thumbprint and I stuck a slivered almond on the top for decoration! 
Do you see three plain cookies on the upper left of the cooling rack?  Sister Ruth is allergic to nuts, so I made her some plain ones!  I don't know if she likes dried cherries, but I'm pretty sure she likes chocolate.  Who doesn't?

This next batch is gingersnap cookies.  I sprinkled a little powdered sugar on the top, just for a little decoration.  They tasted pretty good, but I'll need to try one with a cup of coffee to be sure!
 That is the total extent of my baking!  I guess I had better get busy tomorrow and try to get a few more cookies made.  Something the kiddos would like.  But I am tired tonight.  I'm kind of aching and just ready to call it a day.  So, as soon as I fold the last two loads of clothes, I am going to pop in the movie I bought today!  Right alongside the checkout line where I was buying birthday cards, graduation cards, and a couple of birthday gifts, I saw some movies on sale for $4.99.  And I spied Australia!  I loved that movie, so I bought it.  Now I don't buy movies.  We don't really watch movies.  So this is a big deal!  Movie night!  First a shower, jammies, fleece blanket, and the couch.  Then the movie.  Sounds good, doesn't it?

Monday, December 12, 2011


I love Craigslist.  We have gotten some really good deals on Craigslist.  Like on Saturday.
We picked up this small oak pedestal table for $40.  Pretty good deal, I think.  And it fits perfectly in our kitchen eating area under the window. 
And my new Christmas tablerunner looks good on the top.  No one needs to know that it is covering the damage to the table top!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Yes, I'm scared.  Do you quilters ever get scared to cut into your fabric?  Are you ever a bit nervous to take apart the charm pack or layer cake or jelly roll, mess it up, get the fabrics out of order, and start a project?  Do you agonize over a pattern, wondering if the chosen fabrics will look right or not?  Well, I do all of the above.  And that's where I am right now.  This fabric line by Camille Roskelly is probably my favorite ever fabric line, and I don't want to mess it up!  It's full of the beautiful reds, pinks and aquas that she seems to favor, and i absolutely love the combinations she has come up with.  But, I am scared to death to commit to a project.
But this is my thought at the present time.  It will probably change  by morning, but right now this is what I am thinking.  I would like to make this table topper pattern, into a quilt.  Coming Home is from her book Simplify.  She shows it here made out of her line, Cotton Blossoms.
I also made it out of this line, Cotton Blossoms, but I used some of the lighter colored prints vs the darker ones she used.  I absolutely love it!

Now, the question is:  Can I make that table topper about 4 times the size that it is here, so it will be quilt size?  And do you think it would look good in the Ruby line?  I need to get at this because Camille has a new line coming out this spring or early summer, and it looks like it will become my newest favorite so I'd best get this one done first!

And on another totally different subject, I found a recipe for dinner rolls or small buns that I think will become a weekly baking project around here.  I used a recipe from a new cookbook,Gluten Free on a Shoestring  and replaced the gluten free flour called for with the flour mix that I use for most everything, found here in the  Cooking for Isaiah  cookbook.  I think it worked very well.  I can see using these rolls or small buns for chicken salad sandwiches, Alaskan salmon sandwiches, or maybe small sloppy joes. 
The taste and texture is very similar to the regular texture you find in a white dinner roll, or a small bun.  I don't know if you can make them large enough for hamburger buns or not, but I'll be trying that the next time I make them.  I do know that they tasted very good with the big pot of vegetable beef soup that I made for supper tonight.  And I have a couple of quarts of soup for the freezer, too!  Yay me!

Friday, December 09, 2011


Another year of God's blessings has gone by, quickly, and I am now a year older.  Yup, I had a birthday this past week.  Hubby and I went all out in our celebration this year, and we went to Fleet Farm!  Be still my heart...... ha ha ha.

I really did receive some wonderful gifts.  Daughter Kari gave me the cutest Christmas tree ornament....a pair of tiny tiny mittens.....
Aren't they sweet?  I love them!  And hubby came through with a charm for my Pandora bracelet that we've been building with charms that remind us of places we've traveled.  He got the palm trees that remind us of our time in San Diego.
This picture is kind of dark and the palms are hard to make out.  The piece right in the middle of the charm is a tiny gold coconut.  Maybe you'd like to see the whole bracelet? 
Let's see if I can tell you about each charm.  The green colored beads remind me of the color of sea glass that I love to discover along the ocean.  The red with hearts is the first bead I got for Valentines Day.  The rest, from left to right, probably not easy to make out, are:  my favorite green, a Snowman for my Dec birthday, a horsehead for time spent in Texas, a multi colored turquoise and coral for Arizona, a spacer, another green, another spacer, a Bible because that contains my eternal life, another spacer, a suitcase for my love of travel, another spacer, another green, another spacer, the red with hearts, a fish for my love of Alaska and fresh fish from the cold waters up there, a sea shell for Florida, my new palm trees and another green.  Next I want the cute little Viking guy.......he will stand for New Foundland, the landing spot of Leif Eriksson, the Viking explorer.  The silver beads all look black on this photo......believe me, they aren't!  Very poor lighting and photo.  I'll try again sometime!

And I received a wonderful surprise gift that came from Amazon.  Some wonderful son of mine who lives in Alaska, and who was home recently and apparently did not like my kitchen knives, sent me this!

I still can't believe it!  My very own Wusthof knife!  I was so excited!  He doesn't know that I have been trying for five years to win those knives from Pioneer Woman when she offers a give away, along with 50,000 other loyal readers!  Well, you all will have a better chance now, because I have my very own Wusthof!

It was a good birthday.  The morning sun was lovely
and I finished a table runner I made for my table.  Yes, it was a good day.
No, it was a good year.  We had no health issues, we bought a place and moved into a home we love, we are blessed with a wonderful family, with many friends, and with a great church and church family, and we look forward to the same for next year.

Monday, December 05, 2011

F I N A L L Y!

The waiting is over.  The anticipation has ended.  The wishes have come true.  Hubby has his first snow, and he finally was able to try out his Craiglist snowblower.
Notice the orange snowblower and hubby's matching blaze orange jacket.  You need to pay attention to fashion when you are blowing snow, you know.  Wouldn't want the fashion police to get you!  What you can't see is that he is also wearing his new light weight, modern miracle fabric, long underwear, ordered off of Amazon.  Not orange.

It was a pretty snow fall.  I went for a walk when it was snowing the heaviest, and returned home soaking wet with a fogged up camera.  But it was peaceful.
I found this interesting tree in the poor picture taking light of the afternoon.
And found the roof over the pergola is keeping the patio nice and dry.  Thank you Chris and Amy!
The backyard is taking on a very different look than it has in the summer.
But the cute little sparrows remain!

Saturday, December 03, 2011


I would like to introduce you to the person I consider to be the REAL Rosie the Riveter.

And that person would be my mother-in-law, Alma.  She has been living in heaven for more than twenty years now, but her memory is alive!  Tomorrow would have been her 96th birthday. 

My mother-in-law was one remarkable woman.  She actually was a real live Rosie the Riveter!  She, and my father-in-law, worked in the ship yards of San Francisco during WWII.  She actually did weld ships together!  But there was so much more to her than just being a strong woman who answered the call to help during the war.  My little bitty 4 foot 11 inch mother-in-law gave birth to 9 boys.  You heard me right.  NINE. BOYS.  Yup!  One of the boys died in infancy during the influenza epidemic,  and another son died in his 30's.  There are 7 boys remaining.  Yes, my hubby has 6 brothers living.  Here is a picture of 6 of them when they were young.
 All blond Norwegians.   Hubby is second from the left.  Can you imagine?  Nine boys.

After the war, they came back to Northern Minnesota, and farmed.  My MIL had a huge garden and she canned and preserved many vegetables and fruits.  She washed clothes on a scrub board and hung them on the line.  She baked loaves and loaves and loaves of bread. She made a mean spice cake.  Her donuts were famous!  She did all of this without electricity until the late 50's.   

Their farm house burned down in the late 50's.  They lost everything, and at that time they moved to southern Minnesota and worked at the same college where hubby and I worked many years later.  He was a custodian, she the cook.  How many cooks at colleges will make home made buns for the students?  Well, Ma did.  And that is what she was called by the students, Ma. 

My MIL did beautiful embroidery.  I always said you could scarcely tell the top side from the bottom side of her embroidery project, as both were beautiful.  She began to make quilts, first for her kids, then for the grandkids.  She liked to embroider the state quilts, with the state outline, the name of the state and the date that it was admitted to the union, the state flower and the state bird.  I have no idea how many of these quilts she embroidered and then hand quilted, but I am privileged to have one.

After my inlaws retired, they moved back up to the farm for awhile, and because we were stationed at the AFB in Grand Forks at the time, we were able to go over to see them on weekends.  Ma had an old cookstove set up in the yard, and she preferred to start a fire in it and cook outside when weather allowed.  One of her specialties was cooking a beef roast and a pork roast in the same pot.  Each piece of meat seemed to retain it's own flavor, but the gravy she made from the juices was to die for! 

Later, they moved back down to southern Minnesota where several of her sons lived.  When her health started going downhill, she and dad came to live with us.  About this time our kids were starting to marry and to begin their own families, so many meals were served in our dining room with four generations around the table.  After she died, my father-in-law continued to live with us for another 6 years, until just a few months before his death.

My mother-in-law was never rich.  In fact, for many years on the farm, the family struggled.  But there was always food on the table.  She always found something to feed her large family.  She loved her family and made everyone feel like family.  There was always room at the table for another person, and always enough food to go around.  She was a tiny thing, but a strong hard working woman.  She loved the Lord, and she  received her crown of life.

And I loved her.


This morning we made a trip to town, all of 5 miles you know, and got a few supplies.  Then I decided we needed a couple of things from the food co-op which is about 12 miles from here, so we ran over there, too.  We also had lunch there at their little hot food bar and deli.  Nummy!  Hubby had their wonderful mushroom soup, which I don't eat anymore because it contains flour, but I remember it fondly!  I picked up some dried apricots and dried cherries, and a few other things before we headed back home. 

This is the reason I wanted the apricots.  I had found a wonderful sounding recipe for gluten free scones and decided I needed to make them.  Today.  And the rack below with 8 scones cooling, now only contains 7 scones.  We decided to try one, and they are wonderful!  I will certainly be making that recipe again!

Hubby is pacing the floor like an expectant father.  Back and forth, front window, back window, over and over again.  He is so anxious for the promised snow.  It's been flaking for an hour or so now, but it is no where near the amount that he is praying for.  You see, earlier this fall he bought his first ever snowblower on Craig's List, and he is beside himself with the anticipation of starting it up and clearing our driveway.  And the neighbor's driveway on the left.  And the neighbor's driveway across the street.  And the street itself, most likely!  And he ordered new long johns from Amazon so he would be prepared.  (It's 33 degrees right now, not cold at all!)  And he recently bought a new cap with furry ear flaps.  He is ready!  See the big orange beast he is hoping to use tonight?
And I am sorry to tell him that we don't even have an inch yet!  It's just starting to cover the ground!
I'm afraid he has a long wait ahead of him!

Friday, December 02, 2011


Another beautiful Minnesota morning.
Shortly after the sun arose, I spied Mr. Hawk up in the tree to the south of our yard.
He seemed to be stalking the little sparrows that I was also stalking...........
Our yard is now over run with the little buggers, but they are so cute!

We are expecting a little snow this weekend.  So far we've only had a dusting, which frustrates the hubby as he has a big snowblower that he wants to try out.  He'll be tired of using it by the end of winter, I'm sure.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


 Something about those winter sunrises.  I could post a new photo everyday.

Okay my friends, I'll come clean.  I am right here, at home, in the kitchen cooking, or in the sewing room sewing, or in the living room decorating, or in the laundry room doing what people do in the laundry room.  I just have had nothing exciting to share with you so I have kept my mouth shut.  Good plan, uh?

Bread has been made, and pizza crusts are in the freezer, waiting for some sauce (also in the freezer) and pepperoni or sausage and a little cheese.  Yesterday's meals all came from the freezer, too.  I pulled out tomato soup for lunch, and some spaghetti sauce for an early dinner before we headed to church for Advent services.  I like the feeling of having easy meals frozen so that at any time I can go on strike and refuse to cook!

The tree is up.  Nothing fabulous, but then, that isn't what Christmas is all about, is it.  I have my village up for the first time since 2005, when we still lived in the big house.  Our Christmas season for two years was spent in an RV, so there were no elaborate decorations, and then the past three years we were in an apartment which also had little decorating space.  The patio home we purchased this past summer is larger, but space is still limited, but I found space to display my Dicken's village.  If I get some decent light one of these days I may take a few photos.  I put the four snowman plates, and four coffee mugs in the hutch, and as soon as I put up the manger set I'll be finished with the decorating.  Stuff just isn't at the top of my list anymore!

I've spent a few hours in the sewing corner of the guest room, too.  Daughter Gail has a small fake fireplace and she wanted a stocking to hang from the mantle, so I made her one.  Then I have a couple of birthday gifts that are needed for this month, so I've been busy creating them.  Last night I cut out strips for a table runner for myself, so it's back into the sewing corner again today.

And the laundry?  Well, that's what laundry rooms are for!  It can stay stacked up in there until I get ready to tackle it again.

So now you know where I've been this past week.  Not traveling, not sick in bed, not even in the mall (NEVER!).  Just enjoying my home, and staying in my jammies yesterday until I took a shower at three in the afternoon to get ready for Advent services.  It's been a good week.