Saturday, December 29, 2012


Today I am hosting our sibling Christmas party.  There are five of us, four sisters and one brother.  We have been taking turns hosting a get together during the holidays for many years now, and this is my year again.  We often have so much food, especially the snackie stuff and cookies, that we could feed the hungry in a small community!  This year I laid down the law.  Each person is allowed to bring a plate of only one dozen goodies.  We'll see what happens!

I decided on a soup luncheon for the menu.  We are having three soups to choose from: wild rice, chili, and chicken and dumplings.  Add a tray of meat and cheese, several kinds of crackers, and some fresh out of the oven corn muffins, and I think we'll have a simple, but nice meal.  Of course I expect everyone will probably have some of each soup, so I think we'll get filled up!

We have another tradition that I really love.  We do not exchange gifts.  Instead we have a basket or small box sitting out, and each of us is invited to drop in some cash or a check.  Then the person hosting the gathering picks a charity to send the gift to.  And it's my choice this year!

The table is set, the soup is made and ready to reheat, two sisters are bringing the other two soups, and all I have left to do is whip up the corn muffins.  And I have planned a surprise for the afternoon.  Hopefully a certain little princess will stop by to visit.  Only one of my siblings has seen the great grand princess, Abby.  We have got to remedy that!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


We were 26 yesterday.  That is 26 plus the great grand princess, Abby.  I did manage a few pictures of the whole group, but somehow the camera wanted to focus on Abby most often.
This is part of the gang
and here's another part of the gang.  A few of the younger ones were in the pool already.  What's food when you have a pool adjacent to the party room grandma rented at the motel!
Mommy had dressed the princess for her first Christmas in a green and red tutu.  I think she is wondering what is going on!
But she was an absolutely perfect little girl at the gathering.  She tasted her tutu
but decided her fingers tasted better.
Great grandpa had his turn holding her, as did most of us!
I was just snuggling with great auntie Thea when they put the fluffy pink and purple hat on me.  My auntie Anna made it for me on her new knitting machine.
Time out with auntie Katie.
And this is the new hat I got from grandma.  I'm going home now so I can rest from all these festivities!
I think the only casualty of the day was when cousins Ben and Jaden had a little shoving match, and Jaden ended up in the pool fully clothed!

We had a very nice day.  Lots of food, lots of catching up, lots of love.  We missed Tya who wasn't feeling well, and Chris and Amy in Alaska, and Lenny, Connie and Sam in North Dakota, and Courtney in Idaho.  But having 5 of the 7 kids plus spouses, 13 of 15 grandkids, and the great grand princess Abby there, made for a blessed Christmas celebration.

Hoping you enjoyed the same.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Probably the show that turned out to be the most fun on our trip to Branson, was the Leroy New show, A Tribute to Marty Robbins.  First of all, hubby saved  half the cost of admission by being a veteran!  Yay for 20 years in the USAF!  I wasn't sure about this show, after all we hadn't heard anyone talking about how wonderful it was, and there were no long lines waiting to buy high priced tickets to get in.  But when we entered the small, but comfortable theater, and I saw this, I knew we were in for a fun show.
Leroy New did a great job on the Marty Robbins songs.  I could sing along with each one of them!  The opening was....guess....
Yup, it was!  A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation.  Brought me back to high school!
Then came the bad boys, Waylon and
Hank Sr. even stopped by.  We were also treated to a little Johnny Cash, a little blue grass, a Floyd Cramer number, and some Christmas songs.

I was so impressed with the whole show.  There was not a single off color joke, not a swear word, nor anything that embarrassed me.  Each time they sang a Christmas carol they removed their hat.  They spoke lovingly of their family.  Each mentioned his faith and love of his Savior.  They honored the veterans in the audience, and we sang a song for our country.

If you go to Branson, do take in the Leroy New Tribute to Marty Robbins in the IMAX Theater.  Well worth it!

Monday, December 03, 2012


Just a day or two ago it was the end of October, and now it's the first week in December.  Uh?  Where did November go?  Who took November?  I do remember having turkey at son Kevin's place, and cooking a big ol' ham and cowboy beans and having a house full here, but I don't know where the rest of the month went.  Why before you know it, 2013 will be here!

That means Christmas must be coming up really really soon!  Is your tree up?  Mine isn't.  Guess I should do something about that. However, I do not stress out much over Christmas anymore.  For years I made myself sick with the planning and worry and hustle and bustle, and I refuse to do that anymore.  Now I just try to enjoy my family, and go with the flow.

Actually, life has gotten much easier since we gave up trying to buy gifts for everyone.  With 7 kids and their spouses it just got to be too much when you add in the 15 grandkids and now a couple of spouses there.  So a few years ago we started just giving gift cards to the grandkids and December became a lot easier.  However, this year there is a new great grand daughter, so I'm sure there will be just a tiny little bit of shopping done!

And I do enjoy doing a little decorating and baking, but not to the extent that I used to do.  First of all, no one needs 15 different kinds of cookies, do they?  A couple of batches of cookies and special breads is enough.  The main thing is the gathering together and enjoying each other.  And I do need to get going on planning those gatherings, but otherwise I refuse to worry about anything.  Try it.  You'll be able to enjoy the real meaning of Christmas so much more if you don't stress out.

So, I'm sitting here in my new slippers, a birthday gift from sister Ruth, sipping my french press coffee, and contemplating turning the master bedroom into the guest/sewing/office, and moving the master into the present guest room.  I would gain a little space in the room that gets more traffic, but more importantly would gain more useable wall space for the sewing area stuff.  If I start it, can I get it done in a couple of days?  We're leaving early Friday morning for a little get away to Branson to see Joseph at the Sight and Sound Theater, and a Christmas show, so I'd like to have things back together before we leave.  Ummmmm, gotta think on that one a bit more.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a picture of the great grand princess Abby, singing Christmas carols!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


We had some disappointments, but all in all, it was a great day.  One son had to work, one grandson woke up sick this morning so he and his mom didn't come, one daughter couldn't make it, etc, but  for those that came, it was a great day.

The greatest Thanksgiving blessing was a huge surprise for us!  Our granddaughter Courtney is living and working in Idaho, and we haven't seen her for so long.  Surprise!  She came today!  It was so great so see her and visit with her.  She has grown up so much since the last time we saw her.  Love you Courtney!

And for the first time in a long time, I had all of my 6 granddaughters together in one place!  It was so much fun to visit with them, and listen to their conversations.  And to take a couple of pictures.......
These beauties are:  Kjirsten, the mother of the great grand princess Abby, and Katie in the back.  In the front are Eden, not really my grandkid, but I'd take her in a minute!, Madison, Anna, Jaden, and Courtney, the Thanksgiving surprise.  I also had 3 of the grandsons there, but I didn't line them up for a picture!

And of course, we had fun with the great grand princess, Abby.  She is the best baby ever. 
Sleeping with her mommy
Sleeping with her grandma
And all bundled up in her fuzzy pink hat, ready to go home.

My life is so full of blessings.  I cannot imagine life without even one of my 7 kids, their spouses, the 15 grandkids, and now, one great grand daughter.  God has been so good to me!

Friday, November 23, 2012


Yesterday, on Thanksgiving Day, we drove 2 hours northeast to Stillwater, to Kevin and Molly's home for dinner.  Molly had decorated outside of the house for Christmas, and had continued inside to the lovely table for our Thanksgiving dinner.  She cooked a turkey which was perfectly browned, and nice and juicy and tender.

And it didn't take long for it to look like this.  Ummmm good!

We drove home in sleet and snow, a huge contrast to Wednesday afternoon when the temperature hit 70.  Now today I had to get busy.  I am having the gang here tomorrow for dinner.  I decided everyone would be full of turkey, so I opted for a ham.  And baked potatoes, calico beans, meat and vegetarian styles, broccoli salad (thank you Kari), corn,  cranberry bread, and these goodies I baked today.  I made corn muffins and pumpkin bread.  But look what happened to one of the mini loaves of pumpkin bread.  It somehow baked about two slices shorter than the other ones.  Wonder how that happens?
Her Royal Highness, the Great Grand Princess Abby will be here, so you might get to see a picture or two.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Sometimes the Great Grand Princess Abby wears camo.  With ruffles on her butt, of course.

Thanks to her grandmother for the picture that I stole off fb.

I have nothing else to say today, except that it is 63 degrees in Minnesota on the day before Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  This little gal is just one of our many blessings this year.

Just an update:  The local TV station said it hit 70 yesterday!  However, 20's are in the near future!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


My name is Marge and I am a delinquent blogger.

I have no excuse. 

Wait.  That's a lie.

I joined Facebook and it has taken over my computer time.

I still have many favorite blogs that I check daily, and even comment on, and I act like nothing is different.  But I'm being a fraud.  It is different.  Facebook is so easy, and so instant, and so much fun.  And everyone is doing it.  (Yes, mom, if everyone jumped off a cliff I would probably follow.)

That is my excuse.  (And Lisa, do not tell me you told me so.)

So, after two months of not blogging, I am going to make an attempt to keep up with both, starting with this post, even if there is no one out there still reading here after my 2 month absence.

Some of you may remember that we purchased a new freezer this summer to hold the garden produce tomatoes.  It is full.  And  yes, it is mostly tomatoes.  After all, what do you expect from 33 tomato plants.  So, when hubby decided to stock up on some meat, not because we are worried about TEOTWAWKI, but because I really don't like to grocery shop, and with veggies tomatoes in the freezer, a pantry full of flours and bread making and other baking supplies, we thought if we had meat, too, I wouldn't need to shop as often.  But we had just bought a new freezer so the funds were not there for another.

Craigslist to the rescue.

Ernie scoured the listings for a week or two, and finally found a freezer that sounded promising.  It was from a town within 30 miles of here, so checking it out would be easy.  There was no picture, nor was there a phone number.  Just an email address.  Ernie dashed off an email, saying he would like to look at the freezer.  He waited several days and received no reply, so he sent off another email asking if it had sold yet.  And still no reply.  He figured it was sold, so he started looking for another.

One afternoon a few weeks later, when he was in the garage playing with the nails and bolts and tools, his phone rang.  When he answered a voice on the other end loudly asked "do you want to look at that freezer?  I'm within 15 minutes of your place and I can stop by."  Uh?  You drive around with your for sale freezer, and bring it by to show people?  Well, whatever.

Soon an old truck with a trailer pulled up out front, with the freezer loaded on the trailer.  Out jumped an interesting looking fellow who boasted a mouth full of at least three teeth.  "Here it is.  $100."  The freezer wasn't spotless by any means, and it did have a few spots of rust on the bottom of the door, but it looked in pretty good condition.  Ernie said he'd give the guy $80.  "Nope, got to have $90," the guy said.  Ernie agreed, paid up, and off loaded the freezer, and moved enough stuff around in the garage to fit it in.

He cleaned it up, I ran to town and bought some appliance paint for the rust spots, and we plugged it in.  It now holds a quarter beef, a bit of pork, and most importantly, some bacon.

Turns out the guy doesn't even have a computer.  He used his mom's or grandmother's computer to post the freezer on Craigslist, then a couple of weeks later, when he was at that same house taking the freezer out, he checked his email and found Ernie's reply.  So he just drove out here with the freezer on the trailer.   I wonder if he had other replies, and if Ernie had not bought it, would he have driven around to each person to show them the freezer?  Interesting character.

The freezer is working just fine.

Friday, October 12, 2012


No words are necessary.  Her cuteness speaks for itself.
She's very pretty in her little tu-tu, isn't she?


Oh, what a beautiful day!
 A beautiful day to continue the outside work in our little back yard.

This space on the north end of our garden looking down the slope used to hold our wood pile.

We moved it 20+ feet further north, to this spot.
This is the half I stacked.
This is Ernie's side.  Oh, I know, he stacked the bigger logs, but my side still looks much neater.
So now, this empty piece will be joined with
this piece, and we will double our garden space so we can plant more things next year!  I guess we have a bit of work ahead of us, starting with taking the existing fencing down and then tilling the new spot up, then building the tiers on the new area before refencing.  So moving the wood pile was just the beginning.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I've been working feverishly (well, I was sweating) the last two days to get these guys to bed.  Most everyone is now tucked in for the winter.
I cleaned them up, gave them a haircut, a bath and a drink of water.
 I even gave them some new friends to play with.  (Thanks my dear Charlie!)
And finally I covered them with a new comforter that I made just for them.  The pattern is called Autumn Leaves.
Sleep tight my precious babies, and wake in the spring, ready to give me a pretty show again!  (Is that what grass is supposed to look like?  Ours has been brown and crispy for so long that I forgot how beautiful green grass is!)

Sunday, October 07, 2012


We had two deaths last week among our extended church family, and I have been thinking of, and singing Easter hymns ever since.  One of my favorites came to mind this morning as I came into the kitchen to make my coffee, and looked out the window to the east.

1.  Like the golden sun ascending, breaking through the gloom of night,
On the earth His glory spending, so that darkness takes to flight,
Thus my Jesus from the grave, and death's dismal, dreadful cave,
Rose triumphant Easter morning, at the early purple dawning.

5.  Thou hast died for my transgressions, all my sins on Thee were laid;
Thou hast won for me salvation, on the cross my debt was paid.
From the grave I shall arise and shall meet Thee in the skies.
Death itself is transitory; I shall lift my head in glory.

#354 ELH  -  T.H. Kingo, 1634-1703

One of the funerals was held at our church last week Wednesday.  It was a service for a young woman, 24, who died of stomach cancer.  But that isn't the whole story.  Last fall, as a new wife, she and her husband were thrilled when they found they were expecting a child.  However, she was so sick.  Much sicker than morning sickness, so she went to Rochester Mayo for some tests, where they found she had stage 4 stomach cancer, the same cancer that had taken the life of her father more than 20 years ago.  They could not begin to treat the cancer while she was pregnant, so when it was safe for the developing baby, they did emergency surgery to birth him very early.  He was tiny, and was in the NICU for a long time, but he survived and grew, and is now 8 months old and healthy.  However, his mother's cancer was so advanced that all the different chemo treatments did not take the cancer away, and after a courageous fight, she died last Sunday morning.  She was a lovely girl, a musician, our church organist and choir director for a time.  She had one of the strongest faiths I have ever witnessed, and she was a wonderful example to us all.  She knew she was not going to live very long and she was looking forward to a cancer free, pain free life in Heaven with Jesus.  Her service was beautiful, planned by Ruth herself, and was a blessing to all who attended.

One of the hymns at her funeral was Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart.  The congregation sang the first verse and the college choir sang the next two verses.  It was beautiful.  I want to leave you with the third verse of this hymn:

Lord, let at last Thine angels come,
To Abram's bosom bear me home,
That I may die unfearing;
And in it's narrow chamber keep 
My body safe in peaceful sleep
Until Thy reappearing.
And then from Death awaken me
That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O Son of God, Thy glorious face,
My Savior and my Fount of grace.
Lord Jesus Christ,
My prayer attend, my prayer attend,
And I will praise Thee without end.

#406 ELH - M.M. Schaling, 1532-1608

Monday, September 24, 2012


The first thing we saw when we left Muncho Lake on Saturday morning was this:

The rest of the day looked mostly like this:
and this:
Then we arrived in Dawson Creek, the beginning of the Alaska Highway if you are driving north and west; the end of the highway if you are driving east and south.
Sunday's first photo was also wildlife, but this guy was in a hurry and didn't pose for me!
The day was mostly mountains and trees, just like it's been most days!
Then today my first photo was this!  Yup, three days in a row!
This elk had no problem posing for me.  But unfortunately he is the only one we saw today.  Often there are herds of scores of the around Jasper.
It was a sunny, but hazy day, and the mountains looked blurred and eery.  
We stopped at a few overlooks that were clear and sunny, however.
And this is the famous Lake Louise.  It's pretty, but again, it was hazy and not in top form.
The flower beds were lovely at the Chateau though.
I would have liked to have spent a couple of hours sitting there in the gardens, looking at the flowers and mountains, and sipping an Americano.

We are now in Calgary.  Tomorrow the USA!  It was a good day, after I recovered from yet another bout of seafood poisoning.  We opted to eat breakfast at the little restaurant next to the hotel we stayed in last night in Jasper.  The special was eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes and toast.  Okay, no toast please, eggs over easy.  Pretty simple, uh?  No seafood there.  Wrong!  If the breakfast potatoes aren't pan fried, but are deep fried in the same oil that calamari has been fried in, the potatoes may be contaminated!  I ate a couple of pieces before it dawned on me that they weren't pan fried, and I called the waitress over.  She confirmed that they were fried in oil that shellfish had been fried in.  Well, thanks a lot!  I didn't get as sick as the halibut incident, but I got extremely dizzy, tingly, and itchy throat.  Took about 3 hours to feel normal again.  So I guess the moral of the story is:  Don't eat out!  And if you do, ask, ask, ask about every morsel of food!  In defense of Jasper however, I had an awesome piece of lasagna last night.  It was gluten free noodles, spinach, sweet potatoes, and goat cheese with a tasty red sauce.  Nummy!