Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Gatherings

Our family, like many of yours, is making plans for getting together on Easter Sunday. Because the younger generation is more casual and so very busy, our plans lean toward a casual meal that is not too much work for anyone. The important part is that we will be together.

But I can't help but think about holidays at my mother's table. For Easter there would be a beautiful ham, mashed potatoes & gravy, and a variety of vegetable and salad choices. Dessert would be served of course, and would probably be angel food cake with whipped cream and strawberries - or perhaps tapioca pudding with strawberries. Those were her two go-to desserts.

We would all sit down to a beautifully set table, using the good china and silver. We would pray, then pass the wonderful food, and the time together gave all an opportunity to share and learn what was happening in each other's lives. These were times that brought us all together physically, but they also helped form an invisible bond of caring.

Sunday as our family sets out our pretty, but disposable plates, I will be thinking of those dinners at Mom's table, and know that it's the coming together that impacts us and creates the memories.

Till next time...
Easter Blessings,


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Am I Irish?

St. Patrick's Day is coming this weekend, and I began to wonder, "Do I have a drop o' Irish blood in me? Three of my grandparents were very Scandinavian, but Grandma Edyth was a mystery. So when visiting with my Uncle Bill the other day, I asked if he knew what nationality(s) grandma was. Luckily he has done some research into her family so he had some information for me. He knew her to be mostly English, with some Scottish and Irish and perhaps a few others thrown in.  If I figure correctly that makes me 1/16 Irish at the very most. That's probably enough to be entitled to some delicious Irish Soda Bread! I found this recipe several years ago, and we have been enjoying it ever since.

3 C. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/3 C. white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 C. buttermilk
1/4 C. butter or margarine, melted

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. (I use a pie plate)
2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter and incorporate well. Pour into prepared pan.
3. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool.

Give it a try this this St.Patrick's Day along with a big pot of Irish Stew and you'll be set. Pass the butter please!
Till next time...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Special Memories

It was 47 years ago yesterday that we walked into the Lutheran Social Services offices in Sioux Falls for our first of three interview/meetings with a social worker. Our first daughter was born the next day, but of course we wouldn't know that for four more weeks when we received THE CALL.  "We have a baby girl for you." This was followed by basic information about this child that would forever be ours.

We were expecting to wait quite a bit longer, and so some scurrying to get ready was necessary. But it was good to have something to fill the two day (two sleepless nights) wait. A crib, bedding, clothing, diapers all had to be purchased. And of course we needed something special to bring her home in, and our little girl needed a name - quite a task as all of you parents know. Her name was thrown into the mix when I saw it on the tag of a tiny pink sweater in a display at Bruehler Drug Store. The visual look of it caught my attention, and as we talked it over it seemed the perfect choice... Heidi.
Each of the three other children that came into our family through adoption over the next ten years have their own special story, but the first child is the one that changed us from a couple to a family, and so her story holds a special place in our memories... in our hearts.

Till next time...

Thursday, March 7, 2013


How we feel about this number depends on what it represents:
  • 63 pairs of shoes - probably too many, or at least more than one needs.
  • 63 friends - celebrate!
  • 63 pounds to lose - oh, my!
  • 63 people for dinner - let me out of here!
  • 63 years old - that depends on which side of the number we find ourselves.
  • 63 hours to ourselves - yay!
  • 63 cupcakes for tomorrow's meeting - burning the midnight oil!
  • 63 on that last test - try, try again.
  • Well, you get the picture...
Actually I came up with the number 63 when I looked on my iPad this morning and decided to count the number of blogs I follow - YES, SIXTY-THREE!
Before you start planning an intervention for me, you must realize that I don't receive posts from all sixty-three every day. Many of them post once a week, and some post two or three times a week. So on any given day I might receive 12 to 24 blog posts. Like anything else in life, some are more interesting and applicable than others, but I enjoy reading them all.
What are they about you ask? Well the ones I've chosen to follow deal mostly with decorating, crafting for the home, sewing - quilting, and a few cooking - baking.  They are all written by women, mostly young women, and several of them are from other countries. There isn't a day goes by that I'm not inspired in some way by my blogger friends
How did I happen to start following these particular blogs? Some of them I discovered through pictures that were posted on Pinterest, and then they mention other bloggers they follow and I check them out - if they look interesting, I add them to my list. And so it grows - but I was really surprised by the number when I took time to count.
So, think of me tomorrow morning, and most mornings, as I sit with a cup of coffee and check in with my on-line blogger friends.
Till next time...

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Special Birth Day

The past couple of days I have been thinking of my dad. He was born on March 3rd  in 1915. I can't imagine him as a 98 year old man - in my mind I see him as he was in 1980, before we learned of the cancer that would very quickly take his life.

Dad was a butcher, a grocer and an insurance salesman - all at one time. Many of my memories of him revolve around times I spent with him at the Spink Store - a rural general store. As a kid I would occasionally ride to work with him and spend the day there. When I was younger, I would play in the store, in the area or hike to the Brule Creek and explore with any other kids that were available.

Once I was old enough I did odd jobs around the store - wrap meat, put prices on canned goods with a wax pencil, bag potatoes from a 100 pound burlap bag to smaller sacks of 10 lbs each. He taught me to do all these tasks, and kept a watchful eye on me. I knew I had finally made it when he allowed me to ring up the groceries and take money. I'm sure I made mistakes along the way, but I don't ever remember him getting angry with me.

Sometimes as we were travelling back and forth he would sing silly songs. My suspicion that he made them up was confirmed when I once asked him to repeat the 'bologna song' he had sung previously, and he had no idea what I was talking about. I imagine as I got older the silly songs were more of an embarrassment than entertainment.

Sports had a special place in Dad's heart. I know from pictures that as a young man he enjoyed ice skating and playing baseball. I knew him to be a bowler and a golfer. He loved golf, and when the weather cooperated, he would start each day off with a round of golf before going to work. Looking back I wonder if part of the attraction of golf was that it can be a solitary game (even when played with others), and he was a quiet, private man. Because of that I never felt that I knew him well.

So, on these early days of March, I am pausing to celebrate the birth day of the baby, who would become the man, who would be my dad.

I am thankful for the influence he had in my life, and although he's been gone almost 32 years I still miss his quick wit and sense of humor. Thank you for letting me share my memories with you.

Till next time...


Friday, March 1, 2013

Here Kitty, Kitty

Twice in the last few days I've noticed a cat sitting in the window of a home as I was driving by, and it brought to my mind the cats that have been a part of my life. There have been five.

Darling was my very first cat. She arrived at our home when I was in my early teens. An orange 'tiger' cat, she stole my heart. I quickly learned that there is nothing quite like holding a soft, cuddly purring cat. I don't think my mother was quite so smitten. Mom was never known for her patience, and Darling had a way of being in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. As Sally, our neighbor across the street told it, she would see our front door open and Darling would come flying out. Oh yes, she had an interesting existance at our house. Poor thing.

When our two older children were about 5 and 7 we took in two cats to join our golden lab, Sandy, and a bird named Byrd (what were we thinking?). As these two kittens were constantly playing and rolling around together, they were named Topsy and Turvy, and would curl up in the corner with Sandy for afternoon naps. They developed no fear of dogs and I learned from them that dogs don't chase cats that don't run away. When we moved to a different home, Topsy and Turvy took off on their own. They didn't like change I guess. Sandy got too big and we found a new home for her, and sadly Byrd froze to death one night when we (I) forgot it out in the unheated sun porch. Poor thing.

Much later - sometime in the 90's - we acquired two more cats. Our Max was the fourth 'tiger' in my life. He came to us as a kitten - I don't remember how or why; but Max had an interesting quirk. He liked to sit behind you on the back of a chair or couch and lick your hair. Rather embarrasing when company was in the house! And our final cat, Sheba, came to us as a rescued cat from the vet. I don't know what her early life had been, but she was always reserved and rather standoffish. Her coal black fur was so shiny and so soft. It wasn't easy to get her to sit with you, but she was a pleasure to hold. Both Max and Sheba went to new homes when we moved in 2000 and weren't allowed to have pets. I think of them occasionally and miss them and their definite personalities.

All of this because of the cats in the window as I drove down the street. What I've noticed about our feline friends is that if they are inside, they are looking and longing for the outside. And if they are outside they are looking in, waiting for the door to open inviting them in. Do you suppose they've learned their 'the grass is greener on the other side of the glass' attitude from us?

Until next time...