Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmastime on the brain

It's hard for me to think about much else this time of year. Christmas is my favorite holiday - bar none! I love all of it, Christmas Carols, Christmas programs, Choirs, Giving, sharing, family. Especially family. We have a Christmas Eve party with friends and family and that way the little ones can be home Christmas morning for their own family time.

I'm an online shopper, have been for many years. Shopping is done and all that's left is the wrapping. I'll admit, the wrapping isn't in my top 10 list but, hey, it has to be done.

This past weekend was the little boys Christmas program at church. It was preceded by a concert of the bell choir. That was a treat. The boys did a good job. Rowan had a hard time but he's only 4. He actually hung in there pretty good for a little guy. Milo is becoming a ham :)

It was a fun outing.

Even managed to get the tree decorated. I couldn't find the tree skirt I had planned on but with all the sorting I've misplaced a few things. This one is one I made for Mom several years ago and it works out fine.

P.S. They won

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas Nice

I got home today and in the mail was a package (ok, several), it was from a fellow blogger that was doing a Holiday Giveaway. I was so touched by the gesture I had to share. This, to me, is the absolute essence of Christmas giving. What a wonderful idea!

I can't wait to try them all!

 A couple days ago I received a gift to me in the mail. Our daughter, Crystal, had one while she was here for Thanksgiving and I decided I could use some motivation so I jumped on the bandwagon. I'm actually pretty enamored with it.

Also from a couple of days ago, I was lucky enough to get a shot of the moon coming out. The picture definitely doesn't do it justice - it was gorgeous.

Spent the weekend doing some rearranging for tree space. I thought I'd get the tree up and decorated too but that was wishful thinking. I had better get on the stick though, Christmas is just around the corner!

P.S. We won 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Post Thanksgiving Post

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanksgiving was a flurry of activity, fun, and family. Angie, Mike and the grandkids, Dale, Crystal, and the grandpuppy. Mike's family too.
We spent alot of time in the kitchen. Frank was able to do his famous stuffing again this year and, of course, the turkey. It was wonderful as always.

We had 16 for dinner (10 adults, 6 kiddo's) and we managed to fit them all in and we weren't squished like sardines.

We are very blessed. It was a wonderful day with everyone. Angie was in charge of dessert and made individual pies (Cherry, Apple, and Pumpkin), they were amazing!

On Saturday morning Dale, Crystal, and Tucker headed back to Mitchell so she had a day to recoup before going back to work. Cooper started "recouping" early.

Now it's on to Christmas planning and preparing. It's a whirlwind until after New Year's!

P.S. They won :(

Monday, November 20, 2017

The boy did it again

Tonight was Milo's 2nd belt test. First one was for the uniform/white belt. This Taekwondo studio does half belts up to a certain point and then it's full color belts. Anyway, tonight he tested for his orange/white belt. I won't say he didn't struggle with a couple of things but he just kept moving forward like a trooper. Gramps went along with me tonight and we were so proud of the way he kept trying until he got it. It was his first board break too. He did that with the heel of his foot. He tried several times and finally they put out a different board and voila - he broke it!

He couldn't be prouder - and neither could we! He was first in line to have his board signed by the studio Master.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Winter is staying

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell

Usually we get a few snows and total melts before winter sets in. So far it seems to be different, most of the snow is remaining and it snowed again late yesterday just before dark. I shoveled off the back patio last night because I heard it was supposed to be super cold today and I didn't want to have to be out there that long. It was true - we had 4 degrees above the donut this morning!

I got the front cleaned off this morning and filled up the woodstove, that's about it, no dilly dallying this morning. Even Coop was hopping at the door ready to come in. I did take a shot of this sunrise but I opened the door and took it.

Yesterday was a beautiful sky too so I'll add that too.

Today I get to pick up my new glasses - I am beyond excited! Have to drop off the meat grinder at Ange's since they got some venison and do a couple other things and then back home!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Unofficial Minnesota Holiday

“Just because something is traditional is no reason to do it, of course.”
― Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book

Today is the first day of the Firearm Deer Season. It is something that is a long standing tradition in my family and has been something Frank and I have done for many years. Well, this year, for many reasons we decided to pass. The weather was misty, damp, and cold so it was a good day to stay indoors. We hope to get the deer report from other family and friends and wish them luck, and safety.

I made Chicken Wild Rice Hotdish, It's a fave of ours for Deer Season (hunting not required). Talked to Crystal on the phone for quite a while, her life is very busy. We also had a visit from our friend Dale.

Later, I worked on the Dog sweater for Cooper. I finished the back and now it's on to to the underneath portion. It's been a fun knit even though I flubbed and had to take out 7 rows. Crocheting is much easier to frog than knitting as anyone that has done both can attest to. I do like the look of it, will he wear it? Who knows.

Link to the pattern is here. I had to use the L/XL size for Coop - He is so long and lanky that I had to lay it on him to make sure it would cover him. It seemed adequate. And if he refuses to wear it I have a grandpuppy that it will fit as well so it's a win win!

Speaking of winning, we did not - They won :(

Thursday, November 2, 2017

This and That, mostly rambling.

Today was an abstract day. I'm kind of freaking out about how fast the Holidays are creeping up on me, I am so unprepared.

I'm already tired of shoveling off the new patio. Why did we decide to have such a big patio again? I realize I could just shovel off some of it but my O.C.D. just isn't letting that happen. I will really enjoy it again in the spring :)

Had the eye appointment and they had a fancy scan to check for glaucoma and other eye issues, I got the clean bill of health there. Ended up having to order trifocals again. They assured me that if they aren't right they will keep working on them until they are. After the last pair of those I am skeptical but trying to be positive. They should be in in about 2 weeks they said.

I'm working on a doggie sweater for Coop, so far so good. I like the look of it, hopefully he'll like it and it will keep him a bit warmer. My buttonholes aren't the best in the west but they should hold on to the buttons. First time I've made them.

Tomorrow's Friday already, Can't believe it!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

All Hallows Eve

"A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween"
 = Erma Bombeck

The candy is all bagged up and ready for our little goblins. We don't get trick or treaters out here in the boonies but the Grandkids need to have their sweeties. And their Mom and Dad get some too :)

We have eye doctor appointments this afternoon. I am SO ready to get some glasses that just do the job. I have been wearing reading glasses on and off for 15 years now and it's getting to where it's mostly on but I know it's hurting my eyes too. A couple three years ago I did get some but they were trifocals and the only thing they are good for is distance vision. I hope this time it's a better fix.

Hope today the weather is nicer for the kids so they don't have to cover up their costumes with winter gear! It's not as windy so far so that would even help.

More pictures of the kiddo's to follow....

Milo and Rowan

Grandkids and friends

P.S. They won.

Friday, October 27, 2017

First Snow

The news has been talking all week about the Winter storm we were to have starting Thursday through 7 am today. Well, we got a bit of snow and a lot of wind and cold but, luckily, it was not as bad as expected. We hunkered down and rode it out. The wind is still blowing and it's still cold but we've retained power through it (so far) and kept warm and well fed.

The past couple of days everyone (myself included) ran around picking up necessities, gassing up the car, getting out the shovels, etc., so that we were all set. Minnesotan's have the drill down!

This is what things looked like on the Sprucehaven this morning.

Even Coop is under impressed with it all. He isn't a fan of wind OR cold.

Yesterday I took Milo his new red scarf I knitted for him, he seemed to like it. It was around his neck, around his waist, tied to a stick as a flag, and tried on the kitty. It seemed to pass all the tests.

Tonight is Card Night so last night I tried a new cookie recipe for us - I pretty much used the recipe as a guide only. It called for milk, which I haven't seen in a recipe before and I used orange juice instead since it was for cranberry cookies (it called for craisins, which I did use). They turned out pretty good and it's nice to try something new.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


This past week I've had some kind of allergy thing going on and every day it seems to be worse. Today was pretty miserable, I think it has to do with all the wind we're having blowing around who knows what. My ears have this buzzing sound that drives me batty.

I got home from work early today and then got a call from Ang - Mike was in the E.R. again. It's not like it hasn't happened before but it's usually something in his eye, a bad cut at work, etc. but she said he thinks he's having a heart attack and wondered if I was still in town to come sit with the boys so she could run up there. I drove in immediately and got her on her way. The boys and I chatted for awhile about Halloween costumes and Milo read part of a story. We even dressed up Grandpuppy Hugo, we didn't mention that to Ang, and he was a good sport. Then we went outside. Other than the ridiculous wind it was a beautiful day, 72 degrees above the donut! At the end of October that's a big deal.

Hugo and Rowan
Luckily, Mike was alright. His blood pressure was pretty high but they thought he may have pulled a chest muscle at work. He had been lifting heavy barrels. He will need to make an appointment to be checked out by his regular doc to see if he should be on meds for that.

I found an interesting knit stitch on Pinterest and decided to try it on a scarf. I like it and it's EASY, just an 8 row repeat. Red is Milo's favorite color so I guess it will be for him, I'll dig out some green yarn later and make one for Rowan.

{Cast on multiples of 4. Knit all right side (odd) rows. Row 2 and 4: p1k3 across. Row 6 and 8: k2, *p1k3 across to end, end with p1k1. Repeat 8 rows for pattern.}

P.S. We won!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Proud Gramma

Tonight was Milo's test at Taekwondo to earn his uniform and first belt. He was ready and the testing began. He did awesome! The best part was when he struggled with one of the sparring moves he kept at it until he got it, no tantrum, or giving up. He was able to get all the way through the testing and he (and we) couldn't be prouder. This is EXACTLY why he needs Taekwondo - to continue to learn self confidence and to never give up.

Our baby turned 34

Saturday was our youngest daughters Birthday. How can she be 34 already? So, yesterday we went in to Ang and Fam's and in lieu of the normal "Birthday Cake" I made Caramel rolls from scratch. I haven't made them in quite some time but, luckily, they turned out well and she was happy to see them. Then we went to a local pizza shop and had deep dish pizza and drove around looking at Halloween decorations. It might have been too early, not too many places were very decorated. The ones that were looked awesome. I joked that it would be fun to live in town just through the Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas holidays to decorate. Not too many would see it in our neck of the woods.

It was a nice day.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fall Color

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

We really didn't end up doing a "Fall Color" tour this year. The show from the backyard was enough for us. We don't have any maples but I get to see them every time I go to town.

Yesterday was leaf cleanup in the back yard. The big oak that litters the patio and packs the gutters on the north side of the house had lost most of it's leaves. 

Notice the pole - leftover from the former owners of the property. We're pretty sure it's a "meat pole" and we don't use it for that but it's handy to hang hummingbird feeders, etc., from in the summertime.

Then there's always the one that just waits until the last minute. Hopefully it will let them go so we can clean up before the snow flies. Many years it has to wait until the next spring.

The rock garden has a nice blanket for winter. Everything should survive nicely.

P.S. They won :/

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Life in the fast lane

We have been watching for the past week ago as the locators have been busy marking the utilities out here on the Sprucehaven.

Today the crew is here to do the directional boring under the roadway to OUR HOUSE! I'm sure we're prematurely excited but after being in the slow line of the information highway since it's inception we are BEYOND excited so stay tuned...

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Project Week

Since we're winding down the year we are checking things off the list. One thing that didn't make the list but quickly rose to the top was the water softener going belly up. Not only did it quit working properly, when putting it into bypass mode water starting spraying everywhere. Well, got that stopped to a steady drip (much more manageable). Then it was keep an eye on the bucket until we could get another softener. Sounds simple enough, as many things do in theory. But then since we were shutting the water down to replace the softener it seemed like (and was) a good time to switch the pump and re-do the entire plumbing area. So, 2 days later it was finished and today the new softener was fired up. It's digital, much fancier than the old one so we went through the setup and then just watched it, making sure there were no leaks and that it operated properly (as if we'd know).

I'm glad it's over and mostly glad we have water again.

I stopped in and watched Milo's Taekwondo class this week. He seems to be much more attentive and "into it" this go around. I'm so happy for him, his Mom tells me he is even practicing at home in the back yard (Yes!).

He's listening to the instructor here and all the action shots are video, too large to post here.

We were thinking the asian beetles weren't too bad this year - until today. Holy smokes, it was a literal SWARM of them out there today. It was a beautiful day too so we wanted to be outside. I was wishing it would start snowing just to get rid of them.

We had visitors  a couple days ago again. I thought they were probably long gone.

Another surprise visitor was this bunch of violets or Johnny jump ups as we call them.

Tomorrow Ang and Fam are coming out to celebrate Dad's BD. She's making one of his favorite meals, Stuffed Shells, and I would bet his favorite Chocolate Cake. I'll make him another favorite on his actual Birthday on Monday.

P.S. We won! This is quite a streak!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Comfort Food

“We learn much by tribulation, and by adversity our hearts are made better.”
― David McCullough, The Wright Brothers

It's rainy and windy out today. Yesterday was nice so we got a ton of outside stuff taken care of before winter. One of those things was covering the wood piles - good timing as it turns out.

I was in the mood for some comfort food since I wasn't feeling "up to par" today. I don't know what it is, seems to be sinus related. I always tackle something on days I don't feel well. I think it goes back to the days of raising the girls when getting sick and doing nothing just wasn't an option. So, today I decided I wanted to make hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes. I would normally use cream of mushroom soup but I didn't have any so I decided to make it from scratch. I know how to make a roux and I used beef broth for the liquid. I used to have trouble remembering how much of what I needed so I came up with what works for me. 1/4 - 1/4 - quart. 1/4 lb butter 1/4 c. flour and a quart of liquid.

I threw one of those gorgeous carnival squash in the oven with a little butter and brown sugar, roasted the seeds just like pumpkin seeds. Used sour cream in the potatoes instead of milk. It was perfect!

Angie got me a really useful kitchen tool that works wonderfully for mushrooms. I'm sure it works equally well for other things but, so far, that's all I've used it for.

We had a visitor early in the week. I tried to take a picture with my phone through the glass door. I had to zoom so it's not a great picture but you can see him but maybe not identify him. It was a hawk, not sure what kind but saw it fly in.

We took an impromptu drive earlier in the week fearing the weather would turn and we wouldn't get to do our annual "fall color tour" so we loaded up Coop and took off. Well....the colors were few and far between and I didn't even capture one picture. One thing was right though, with this rain and wind the leaves are coming down pretty steadily at home here.

Picture of the week: 


P.S. We won (we would have tied but the "guys" decided to risk it)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Along came a spider

“If you don't know where you're going, any road'll take you there”
― George Harrison

Yesterday we had a visitor on the back patio. I tried to put it in a jar but it hopped out so I just covered it so Frank could see it when he got off the phone. I had to go to work so I told him to kill it!

YUK! I'm not afraid of spiders but this one was huge and all I could think of was I didn't want it getting in the house and crawling on me while I was sleeping.

He opted to release it, rationalizing that it would kill a lot of bugs. So, a second chance he got.

I went over and saw Angie and the boys the other day. They were busy outside catching asian beetles. Luckily we haven't had a bumper crop of those this year, at least so far.

It's much cooler today so I am in Fall cleaning mode. We will probably start the wood stove today 😀

P.S. We won - I think they are starting to get agitated with all the "girl power"

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Making progress

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw

This week, and next, is all about getting the firewood all taken care of. Last year we didn't get it all done and had to work from a big old pile and split as weather permitted. Uffda!

I found this mushroom in the back yard. I don't know much about mushrooms but I thought it was interesting and pretty. It was big too, probably 6-8 inches wide.

Mike, Ang, and the little boys stopped out for awhile yesterday so we took a break and visited and watched the boys ride bikes. Milo has improved a lot with that. He still has stopping issues and tips over but he keeps trying. Rowan was on the trike since we didn't have one really his size here. 

Crystal is in the "hills" and has sent pictures and texts. Looks like the girls were having fun.

The Gramma rose missed the memo about the change of seasons. This is an old rose that originally came from my Paternal Grandmother years ago. I don't argue with it though, it's always a welcome sight whenever it blooms.

Picture of the week:

P.S. We won!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Taekwondo Take 2

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 
― Albert Einstein

Tomorrow is Milo's first "class" in Taekwondo. He had registration and some demonstration on Monday and he called to tell me how excited he was. Angie said he was listening very intently to the instructors. I hope he can maintain that demeanor. Last time we tried was 2 years ago but he had too much trouble sitting still, listening, and just behaving at 5. He's 7 now and he thinks he can do it and so do I.

We've had a lot of heat here the past few days but, supposedly, it's going to start cooling back down now to the 60's. Just the way I like it. We've been watching the trees change color so we'll be taking a road trip this weekend or next to see the "Fall Colors". One of our favorite things to do this time of year.

Crystal called last night and is heading to the hills for a fall campout with the girls. It's been even hotter there so hopefully it will be nice for them. Not sure exactly where the "hills" are but somewhere in South Dakota. 😎

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Fall Chores

“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.” 
― Robert Frost

The past couple days we've had a couple guys here sawing wood. We buy it in logs and they saw it in chunks for the wood stove. The next couple of days will be splitting and stacking. We stacked some today and my body is in shock! We used to do all of this ourselves but it just seems a bit overwhelming nowadays.

All the veggies from this weeks CSA box are still crammed in the fridge. There's just not enough time (or maybe it's energy) to get everything done. We were on the last week of CSA but I get a bonus week because we didn't get it one other week this summer. We'll get that on Thursday so I will need to deal with what's in the fridge before then. I was a little surprised there were no potatoes or pumpkins but otherwise I guess I was satisfied with what they offered. I don't think I'll do it next year though, we plan on trying to garden ourselves again with just a few raised beds.

We had visitors the other morning. They may be hard to see - Sandhill Cranes. Cooper tried to intimidate them by barking but they just made their noise back at him, he finally gave up.

This was so pretty the other morning. There was actually fog flowing across the field too but my camera just wouldn't pick it up. It's pretty nonetheless.

We've been following the hurricanes and watch in horror of what all those people are/will go through. I can't even imagine!

P.S. We won!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Past, Present, and Future

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” 
― Mae West

I received a wonderful surprise in the mail today from South Dakota. Crystal and Dale sent me a book to jot down all kinds of stuff about my life and family.

One of the greatest treasures we found after Mom passed away were the daily journals she kept. She wrote every day in them. Just daily life - her life. They started in 1982 and went up until right before she passed away in 2015. They weren't fancy books, some were actual diaries that she probably picked up at the dime store and some are just little fat notebooks. Nowadays we do it electronically. The girls don't know that I blog so I hope it's a treasure for them to find when I'm gone.

Oh, and the mums are blooming, one of Mom's favorites 😊

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Weeks Activities

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” 
― Dr. Seuss

This week, as usual, has been a whirlwind of activity.

On Monday, Angie brought out Milo to stay for a couple of days. He was ready to have some time without little brother.

He had a list of things he wanted to do while he was here. We got them all checked off - Luckily the list wasn't too long 😊

Angie is still fighting fleas at her house. She thought she had it taken care of but then she saw more. The vet said to expect it to take a few MONTHS to completely be rid of them. She's into it a few weeks now. I have only had that happen once and I hope to never go through it again!

Crystal and Dale are having their house re-roofed. They are excited to get it done and hope to paint the siding yet this year as well. When we remodeled the farm house we went with a metal roof and we're glad we did.

Frank and I took a "fun day" yesterday and went to the thrift shop in a neighboring town. We haven't been out too much so it was nice to go someplace together. We found a few kiddo movies for a nickel a piece. I told him that we could have a movie night on the cheap! 😁

Today was CSA pickup. We got more zucchini and yellow squash. A really nice looking Carnival squash, green peppers, eggplant, carrots, brussels sprouts, jalapeno peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. We got the peppers all cut up and in the freezer and I blanched all the zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant to go in the freezer too. We got corn too but we'll probably just eat that this week.

This weekend is Labor Day weekend but we'll just hang around home and get some stuff done around here. After all, winter is right around the corner.

P.S. We won

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The weekend is here

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” 
― Oscar Wilde

This week flew by (as usual). This morning it was CSA pickup day. We got brussels sprouts! Also, the usual greens, tomatoes, eggplant, beets, corn, zucchini, jalapeno's, and summer squash. Each week I typically make a stir fry out of a little of everything we get but not today. Today hubby is preparing my Birthday dinner! I had my choice of going anywhere I wanted for dinner but once he put his homemade lasagna on the list of options there was no going back. He makes a magnificent lasagna and I am going to enjoy it!

I've been feeling a little under the weather this week, mostly tired. Probably a virus going around or else it's the neverending allergies.

Today would normally be the RC Fun Fly here but it's rainy so I doubt they'll do much flying. Hopefully it will break tomorrow and we'll get to see some planes. I'll post pics if it works out. Ang and fam are planning on coming out tomorrow as well so I'm getting all the veggies done up today so I can just enjoy the day tomorrow.

Our card partners brought Birthday cake (Ice Cream cake) last night. That was a treat and to top it off - WE WON! We skunked them again 😁

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Weekend Getaway

This past weekend was girls weekend getaway with Crystal. Back in June I had an overnighter with Angie. This weekend we went to Fergus Falls and Alexandria. She had to drive much farther (from Mitchell, SD) but we had a great time exploring and eating great food.

The hotel in Fergus Falls recommended taking in the RTC (Regional Treatment Center). It was closed in 2005 and they don't offer tours anymore but we could go around the outside. We took a lot of pictures and it was really awesome to see. It was used as an asylum from 1890 until 2005. Some say it's haunted. We just appreciated the architecture and the craftsmanship. It is 500,000 sq. ft and the grounds are 11 acres. We had QUITE a walk! We also took the Riverwalk tour - reminded me of home 😄

On our way to Alexandria we had a stop at Battle Lake, MN. Very cute town with a great fishing pier for the community. It was a nice day so there was quite a bit of activity on the lake. We strolled uptown and got a latte and visited the Art Gallery. There were all forms of art and it was very interesting. I found a yarn bowl that I couldn't live without. I'll have to take a picture and add it. I just love pottery but I was able to restrain myself pretty well 😇

Between Battle Lake and Alexandria was a beautiful drive but we drove through a torrential downpour!

Next up, Alexandria! We, of course, took in the Runestone Museum. There were all kinds of things from that era in multiple buildings. It is a must see for anyone that hasn't been.

What a great weekend!

P.S. We postponed the game until I returned - WE WON!!