Sunday, December 28, 2008

An Award

Zaroga over at Zarogna's Nook was so nice to give me this sweet award.

"This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

It's hard to choose just eight. I enjoy visiting all my blogging friends:)

I am passing this award on to:

Lois at Walking on Sunshine
Lisa at Pockets of Time
Donette at Our Corner of the World
Elena over at Elena's Garden
Lara Gisela
CeeKay at Thinkin' of Home
Julieann at My Daily Life as a Wife and Mother
Susan at Sincerely Susie Homemaker

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

This Baby Changes Everything

"For today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

Merry Christmas from our house to yours.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dreaming Of A White Christmas? ---No Problem

Looking out my back door to the deck this morning reveals the results of our December snowfall... so far.

We have received approximately 35" of snow since December 1st, and another 12 inches is forecast for the next two days.

No, we do not live in Alaska:) We are in South Central Wisconsin.

It is very beautiful, but also this amount of snow along with the -25 degree wind chills this weekend have been very dangerous for travel.

We have a large fleet of snowplows and salt trucks working our highways and streets daily. This is truly our tax dollars hard at work.

God bless those drivers who get out in this terrible weather to make our travel safer!

Please be praying for all those who are out on the roads trying to get to Christmas destinations.

We have three sons and families traveling home Tuesday and Wednesday from Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Milwaukee.

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Show and Tell Friday - Seeing Santa ....Remember When?

Show and Tell I am joining in on Kelli's Show and Tell Friday. Visit her blog and enjoy all the treasures being shared.

I have been visiting Christmas past in my December posts, so I thought I would continue today with this photo from 1986.

Do you have any memories of being afraid of seeing Santa in person? I mean there he was right in front of you -- the Big Guy himself! And he's looking at you and saying YOU!
You've see pictures of him, not too scary... but this is different -- that bright red suit and all his white hair and beard-- a bit overwhelming.

In this picture: (On the left starting with the shortest on up)- Christian (2), Tim (2),Daniel (6), Nathan (10). (On the right)- Ben (4) - And Santa is holding Kent (newborn)

The older boys are okay with Santa, but look at the two-year-olds- Tim and Christian.
They look just a little leery of Santa. When Santa talks, they listen:) Little Christian's hand up to his mouth gives a glimpse of how they both might feel... Santa is a little scary.

This photo was taken at the annual "Breakfast with Santa" put on by the Rotary Club. This was the beginning of many years of the annual date with Santa for our kids and their cousins. Several more cousins would be added to the ranks in the next few years.

Also at this Santa Breakfast, were the Shriner Clowns, who walked around greeting the children and making balloon animals and swords for them. Tim is holding one of those coveted balloon swords. We wouldn't leave until all the boys had one.
These boys are now young men and they will tell you today how cool those swords were!

Santa was okay too:)

I hope this Christmas brings love and sweet memories for you. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Show and Tell Friday - More Christmas Past

Show and Tell I am joining in on Kelli's Show and Tell Friday. Visit her blog and enjoy all the treasures being shared.

This is a picture of me at age 7-almost 8 and in second grade. I remember being very happy to receive this doll from Santa on Christmas morning. You could "feed" this doll from a bottle and what I didn't know was that it would then "wet" in it's diaper.

Some other things I noticed in this picture is my brother, Steve, (on the right) playing with his new tractor-- and a set of checkers/dominoes on the left that one of us received. The little rocking horse and bear in the background were for my, then, baby brother Wayne. He would have been almost 2 years old.

I remember that bear was around during our childhood for a long time and the rocking horse was enjoyed by several more children since Wayne was born fourth of seven siblings.

Can you see in the background by the tv the stocking (a real sock) stuffed with an orange and candy and other little things still attached to the chair? We didn't have a fireplace so we hung them on a kitchen chair that we brought in by the tree on Christmas Eve:)

I also was given this new dress and shoes. I was so excited about these shoes because you could wear the strap down like a Mary Jane shoe or slip it back over the back of the shoe and it became a slip-on.

I think this Christmas sticks in my memory because after posing for this picture with my new dress and shoes on, I went back into the living room and played with my doll some more. My dad brought me the bottle filled with water to feed her. And of course, I was quite surprised when all of a sudden my dress was wet! I still remember how my dad enjoyed my surprise:)

Do you have any special Christmas gifts that you remember from your childhood? I hope they bring a smile to your face like taking this walk back into time has for me.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Show and Tell Friday- Christmas Past - Rootin' Tootin' Cowboys

Show and Tell I am joining in on Kelli's Show and Tell Friday. Visit her blog and enjoy all the treasures being shared.

I was looking through an album of scanned pictures that our son Ben had gathered and sent me. I came across these pretty cute cowboys that I wanted to show you.

This is a childhood picture of my handsome husband ready to save the wild West... or maybe his neighborhood. This treasured photo, taken in the 1950's, came from his mother's album.

Travel a generation later and here are two of his sons having the same kind of fun in 1984. This photo was gleaned from my mother's album.

Daniel, on the left, is 4 yrs. old here and Ben is 2 yrs. old. Daniel is now the daddy of a year old son and Ben is going to be daddy to a daughter in March.

Missing here is a picture, that I know is also in my mom's albums. One of my older brother in a cowboy outfit, and me dressed as a cowgirl on Christmas morning at about this same age. Our aunt had sent the outfits to us from Texas.

So giddy-up and yippy ky-yi-aaa. See you later, partna'! Hope you are enjoying Christmas memories too!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Snow on the Pumpkin

Good morning! We awoke to a couple of inches of snow today. A "smidgen" compared to counties east of here--some with 8 or more inches of snowfall. I'd love to show you the snow-capped pumpkin on our deck that Nathan and Kristen brought over for our lively resident squirrel family to feed on. I'd love to show you that, but the memory card failed in my camera last week and we haven't replaced it yet. So you will have to use your imagination today:)

We had a wonderful family gathering on Thanksgiving. All of our family was here except our son and daughter-in-law, Ben and Lisa who live in Pittsburgh. We look forward to seeing them at Christmas! They are about four months away from becoming first-time parents to our first grand-daughter Sophia. Yes, she is already named:) I'll save the rest of her beautiful name to share with you when she is born. Ben and Lisa hosted their first Thanksgiving in their home with friends from the university that Ben attends.

At our house on Thursday were Amanda (our high school senior), Jonathan-(home from college in Milwaukee),Daniel and Jess and little Sam (from Milwaukee), Nathan and Kristen (Sun Prairie), Tim (Madison), and three of Tim's friends from Madison- Rachel (Northern Ireland), Kierstie (whose parents are missionaries in Indonesia), and Chelsea (Michigan).

Our Thanksgiving meal was in the evening, which gave plenty of time for conversations in the living room, watching movies downstairs in the family room by fireplace, and working together in the kitchen. Nathan brought his, now famous, homemade pumpkin pies. Jess made a delicious veggie bake and a spinach and strawberry salad, and her great bean dip. Kristen brought cranberry sauce and also helped with various projects in the kitchen including putting the green bean casserole together. Rachel, Kierstie and Chelsea brought delicious pumpkin bread!

Daniel was a tremendous help with carrying things for me- and saving me lots of steps. He also peeled ten pounds of potatoes with his dad. The turkey turned out tender and juicy- and we had quite a feast!:) Almost ran out of room on the island for all the serving dishes. We are thankful for our blessings.

I have to add my love and appreciation for Tim, who spent several hours getting the house ready for Thursday. We had been working with purging storage and clothing for Goodwill and he helped clear that away and make the space in our family room livable again:) Thanks Tim!! Amanda and Jonathan also helped in sprucing up the place.

This was Sam's first time joining us at the table for a meal. I had the privilege of sitting by him and enjoying his ever-expanding vocabulary. I wish I had a picture of that:)

We have been pulling out the left-overs all weekend. I love cooking for one day and not cooking for three:) But we are ready to move on--although if you have a good turkey soup recipe, let me know--I froze the turkey bones and want to try it.

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and as we prepare in this new month to celebrate our Savior coming to earth to give us eternal life-- I pray that we keep this gratitude in our hearts for our blessings, and what He did for us and does for us each day.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Giving Thanks - Homemade Cloth Napkins

Giving Thanks I am joining the ~Giving Thanks~ celebration this week. Monday through Thursday we are sharing as we prepare for Thanksgiving. Stop by Kelli's and see what others are up to this week. Or join in the fun by signing onto Mr. Linky and share how you are preparing for this special holiday.

Here are some things you could share:

-What you are thankful for
-Thanksgiving traditions and memories
-Decorating ideas
-Your menu
-Cleaning/Organizing "before" and "after" pictures
-Anything having to do with Thanksgiving!

For Thanksgiving Dinner I have decided to make cloth napkins for my table setting. So far there will be eleven of us for dinner so I wanted to make at least 12 to 16 in the event that someone else is able to come. The more the merrier, right?:)

In planning for this, I was hoping to find some fabric that would look the same on both sides - no "wrong side" of the material, as it is termed in sewing lingo.
And then I remembered that I have some beige table cloths that I got for free several years ago. Some have permanent stains, so cutting around them to make napkins would be the perfect way to make them useful again.

In an earlier tutorial by Kelli, I learned that dinner napkins are 18" or 22" square. I chose to make the 18" size. So, with the fabric folded double, (and avoiding the stains:) I measured and cut 19" squares to allow for a half inch for the hem on each side.

By folding it double, I was able to cut two napkins at a time. I ended up using three of the table cloths, with enough fabric left to make more luncheon-size napkins later.

Next, I folded the raw edges over twice, pressed them down with an iron, pinned the hem in place and sewed a straight stitch on each side. Most often the pins were not necessary after pressing the edges down.

This is not a difficult project, but does take some time to complete.

Since I was using my kitchen table as a sewing table, I didn't take the time to set the whole table to show. But here is how one finished napkin looks on my plates. I haven't made my napkin rings yet, but here is an idea for adding some color to the setting.

When I have completed all the napkins, I will throw them in the washer and dryer and then do any ironing that is necessary, including pressing down the hems. This is a permanent press fabric, so they should be easy to fold and put away after each use.
I am happy with the neutral color of my "new" napkins that go perfectly with all the color in my tablecloth and plates.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Giving Thanks - Count Your Blessings

Giving Thanks I am joining the ~Giving Thanks~ celebration this week. Monday through Thursday we are sharing as we prepare for Thanksgiving. Stop by Kelli's and see what others are up to this week. Or join in the fun by signing onto Mr. Linky and share how you are preparing for this special holiday.

Here are some things you could share:

-What you are thankful for
-Thanksgiving traditions and memories
-Decorating ideas
-Your menu
-Cleaning/Organizing "before" and "after" pictures
-Anything having to do with Thanksgiving!

Today I am sharing the words of a poem, that were put to music, and became a classic hymn.
This special season certainly calls us to pause, to look around us and to count our blessings.

Count Your Blessings

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings - name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessing - every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy
Your reward in Heaven nor your home on high.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged - God is over all;
Count your many blessings - angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

Count your blessings - name them one by one;
Count your blessings - see what God has done;
Count your blessings - name them one by one;
Count your many blessings - see what God hath done.

Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Giving Thanks - Pumpkin Plates/Cheese Ball Recipe

Giving Thanks I am joining the ~Giving Thanks~ celebration this week. Monday through Thursday we are sharing as we prepare for Thanksgiving. Stop by Kelli's and see what others are up to this week. Or join in the fun by signing onto Mr. Linky and share how you are preparing for this special holiday.

Here are some things you could share:

-What you are thankful for
-Thanksgiving traditions and memories
-Decorating ideas
-Your menu
-Cleaning/Organizing "before" and "after" pictures
-Anything having to do with Thanksgiving!

I found these small pumpkin plates on clearance at Walmart a couple of weeks ago. These were the last two for sale. When they first caught my eye, I immediately pictured them as serving plates for appetizers. Any other ideas of uses for them?

For appetizers on Thanksgiving Day I plan to serve cheese balls on these with a basket of crackers nearby. Our meal will be in the early evening so appetizers will be a must during the afternoon.

I hope that these plates add a holiday touch and make my guests feel special and very welcome in our home:)

My sister, Melissa gave me a great cheese ball recipe. I just called her and received permission to share it with you:) It is great for any get-together.

Cheese Ball (makes one)

8 oz. cream cheese softened
1 stick butter softened
2 cups shredded cheese (any kind - I use mild Colby or cheddar)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
chopped onion (fresh or dried) to taste. --I use fresh
1/2 teaspoon parsley
OPTIONAL- 1/2 small pkg. of chopped corn beef (I don't use this)

Mix all ingredients together. Roll into a ball and then roll the cheese ball in the extra shredded cheese covering it. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
Serve with crackers.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Giving Thanks- Thanksgiving Day Menu

Giving Thanks I am joining the ~Giving Thanks~ celebration this week. Monday through Thursday we are sharing as we prepare for Thanksgiving. Stop by Kelli's and see what others are up to this week. Or join in the fun by signing onto Mr. Linky and share how you are preparing for this special holiday.

Here are some things you could share:

-What you are thankful for
-Thanksgiving traditions and memories
-Decorating ideas
-Your menu
-Cleaning/Organizing "before" and "after" pictures
-Anything having to do with Thanksgiving!

Here is my Thanksgiving Day Menu:

Cheese ball and Crackers
Veggies and Dip




Mashed Potatoes/ Gravy

Rolls and Butter

Green Bean Casserole


Mandarin Orange Salad

Pumpkin Pie/Whipped Cream

This is my original menu and usually additional delicious side dishes are brought in by my beautiful daughters-in-law. I love that because it gives a taste of their favorite foods and we learn about traditions from their families, too. It is all about making and sharing memories with our families and friends during the holidays. The favorite foods become intertwined with our experiences with each other. It brings great comfort to us to remember the love and joy that we feel as we gather on this special occasion to thank God for supplying us with all that we have. Our family, homes, food,clothes, and all the extras that are our bounty.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Antique Butter Churn - Show and Tell Friday

Show and Tell I am joining in on Kelli's Show and Tell Friday. Visit her blog and enjoy all the lovely treasures.

This butter churn was passed down to our family from my husband's grandmother. Her name was Viola Amanda. We knew her as Grandmother. She was married to Clarence and lived her adult life in or near Shelbina, Missouri. She used this to make butter when her family lived out in the country.

Her son, Bob,(Lon's uncle) told us he didn't look at this churn with nostalgia at all. He remembered hours spent as a child, churning butter when he would rather have been doing something else--anything else!:) The lower area of the crock is a darker color. I wonder if this is from being set in cold water after the butter was churned.

This butter churn is a reminder of Grandmother and what the life of the homemaker was like in earlier times. We think that it is near 100 years old. This churn sits by our curio cabinet in our living room and is one of the first things you see as you enter the front door.

The label on the side of the crock reads, "J.L. Cluskey, Lakeman, MO (with a large number 3 below)

Grandmother was a sweet Christian lady. She was a gracious hostess in her home, and loved to grow large hybrid tomatoes from seed, and beautiful flowers.
Our memories of her are precious to us, and our daughter Amanda Leigh has her middle name.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Remembering Dad

This week is the second anniversary of my Dad's going to Heaven. Dad was also a veteran of the Korean War, so it is appropriate to honor his memory for his bravery and sacrifice. Dad's funeral was on Veterans Day (Nov.11) 2006.

Omer Eugene McDannald

Mom and Dad on their wedding day- September 8, 1948

Here are some of my memories of my Dad, Gene McDannald.

He loved to laugh. He loved to make others laugh. He enjoyed a corny joke just as much as an intelligent joke that you had to "get". I think I inherited his love of the former. Throw in a good pun and you've got coffee going the wrong direction out my nose.

Dad usually had a joke or funny story to tell his family around the supper table. It was always a joy as a child growing up, to tell Dad a joke because he would laugh like it was the funniest thing he had ever heard. It built our confidence, and telling Dad humorous stories continued into our adulthood. After hearing something funny, as an adult, I would look forward to calling Dad to repeat it to him, and hearing his laughter.

He worked in the factory for 39 1/2 years. Around the evening meals, made so lovingly by our mom, we heard the names of Dad's co-workers that we would remember all our lives, and would meet some for the first time, in person, at his visitation. I was touched by their kind words and deep sorrow that they shared with us. I have no doubt that Dad talked to each of them at some point about their relationship with Christ. He didn't keep his a secret.

Here are some things about Dad (in no particular order).

Loved our mother.

Loved his children.

Loved his grandkids.

Loved and showed respect to his parents.

Read his Bible.

Loved his church family.

Could fix anything--car, lawn mower, washer, dryer, fridge, bicycle, doll...

Loved to hunt and fish-especially with his kids or grandkids. I wonder how many fishing lines he untangled over the years?

Loved Beagle dogs.

Enjoyed growing a garden and the bounty that was harvested.

Watched cartoons with his kids on Saturday morning--especially the Road Runner.

Helped people in any way he could.

Never complained when he found legos in his shoes.

Did complain when he found rainbows made from a little oil in a mud puddle or his screwdriver hammered into the ground.

Said, "Oh, well looky there!" when he opened up a Christmas gift of a screwdriver from one of his kids year after year. We just thought Dad could always use a screwdriver. (and apparently then felt free to pound them in the dirt!)

When I was a junior in high school, a dress that I had saved for and ordered had not arrived from the catalog on time. Dad took off a half day of work, surprised me by picking me up from school at noon, and took me shopping for my first prom dress complete with elbow-length white gloves.

He also made sure he got home from work early enough to take me to the Home Economics sponsored "Daddy Date Night", when our class prepared the food and planned the evening. We didn't have a dance- we played volleyball:)

When Mom and Dad drove me to begin my freshman year of college, I remember standing there and bravely waving goodbye, when all I wanted to do was to get back in the car with them. I smiled and waved and so did they. As I turned away to walk back to the dorm, it was hard to control the tears.
Mom told me years later, when I was in my 40's, that Dad had to linger at a stop sign up the street and wipe his eyes, too.

This is the only picture of our family that I have in the computer. It was taken at Mom and Dad's 40th Anniversary -about 20 yrs. ago. (Mustaches must have been popular that year:)
Seated: John #6, Tom#5, Loyd#1
Standing: Steve#3, Melissa#7,Mom,Dad,Linda#2,Wayne#4

This is not, of course, a complete journal of his life. Just a peek into it- to share him with you as I remember him.

We miss Dad, but know that he is with his Savior and we will see him again.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Spice Rack - Show and Tell Friday

Show and Tell I am taking part in Kelli's Show and Tell. To see more, check out her blog.

This spice rack was given to me several years ago by my Aunt Shirley. When I look at it, I am reminded of her and childhood memories of time spent with her.

This set is cleverly designed to look like books on a shelf. The shelf is made of wood and each spice container is ceramic.

Each "book" has a hen painted on it and has holes on top for dispensing the spices. The name of the spice is painted at the top and Vol.I, Vol.II,etc. is at the bottom.

There are two ceramic drawers with roosters painted on the front. I assume that the drawers are for storing dried herbs. I don't put spices or herbs in these. I have always been afraid of breaking them. So it sits on my shelf to enjoy.

When I was growing up, Aunt Shirley was always fun to be around (and still is!). One of my favorite memories is when they would come to our house for a visit and stay overnight. She would sleep on the floor with my cousins and me. We would talk and giggle until we all fell asleep. I love you Aunt Shirley-- and I treasure all those childhood memories and this treasured gift from you. Thanks for making me feel special as a young girl... and now:)

Weekend Trip To Illinois

Last Thursday, Amanda and I traveled down to central Illinois to visit family for a long weekend. It was beautiful weather from Thursday through Monday and we had a great time.

Friday Night: Here is the motley crew getting ready to leave Grandma's house to go trick or treating in Concord (my hometown) and Arenzville. They brought home lots of candy- and (small towns still rule) even individually wrapped homemade Rice Krispie Bars! What? No popcorn balls?:)

Missy (my sister and mom to the 3 little ones), Shiloh (precious little flower), Isaac (a cool ninja), Amanda (an "apeeling" banana), and Hannah (a lovely, good witch of the Mid-West).

This little "sprout" went straight for Grandma's bedroom and found something she recognized--maybe her flower was itchy:)

Amanda loves being with her cousins and doing things with them and her fun-loving Aunt Missy. Here she is back at Grandma's, sitting on the floor and checking out the candy.

This banana suit is used year-round by Amanda and her girlfriends at home. I'm sure that I haven't heard the half of it...such an innocent face:)

Oh yessss...the even funner size candy bars.

On Saturday: We celebrated little Shiloh's 1st birthday with a wiener roast. We rarely get to an old fashioned bonfire wiener roast because we live in a city and bonfires are not allowed. So this was a treat for us "city folks". Truly, I'm a country girl at heart.
A great fire pit made by Jeff. Those logs were huge!

Here are the cousins enjoying the fire surrounded by the bales of hay for seating.

Little Miss Shiloh on the move.

Walking around the lawn.


Shiloh digging into her personal little cake.

She loved it!

Opening gifts- she loves books...

And dancing with musical dancing bear from Grandma...

Aunt Linda (also known to them as "Lala") wasn't there for Isaac's birthday in October...

Or Hannah's birthday in August... so they got a gift too--High School Musical cereal bowl and glass.

Hannah came home with us to Grandma's house where she and Amanda had a sleepover. And then went to church with us the next morning. This is Hannah wearing Hannah! Ha!

A couple of pictures of Shiloh at Grandma's house on Sunday evening.

Eating a cracker while watching herself in the mirror .

An added bonus for the trip- When we left Wisconsin on Thursday we paid $2.39 a gallon for gas. As we traveled south, we saw the price continue to go down- to $2.19 in LaSalle. The next day in Jacksonville the price dropped to $2.09.

On our way home Monday, this was the price in Lincoln where we filled up! Wonder if it will get this low in Wisconsin soon? Sure makes a trip more fun!
Look at that was such a beautiful day.