About The River

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Grandma's Best Hot Chocolate

Is it cold out where you live? We had -27 when I woke up today. Yuck. I can not go skiing today. It is to cold. Instead, I will play games with my boys and sip Grandma's Best Hot Chocolate.

Grandma's Best Hot Chocolate
3 1/3 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine milk, vanilla and cinnamon stick in saucepan over medium - low heat. Bring to a gentle boil. Add chocolate chips and whisk until milk is frothy and chocolate is melted.
Discard cinnamon stick.
Pour into warmed mugs and if desired top with whipped cream or marshmallows.

What are your plans for the New Years Eve? 
 I wish you a fun time and happy blessings for 2014!

Happy New Year ~ 2014 is here!

Friday, December 27, 2013

On the Road Friday ~ Winter Wonderland

 Wisconsin has become winter wonderland! We hear snowmobiles, we hear children laughing at the sledding hill, and I am cruising along on my cross country skies! Yay! We have snow.
This is how we measure snow! Watch the pile on the birdhouse grow!

And grow, and grow! 
Happy Snow!!  Have a great day!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good - will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good - will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
 The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good - will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned 
Of peace on earth, good - will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong.
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good - will  to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good - will to men!"

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review ~ I Rode A Horse of Milk White Jade

I Rode A Horse Of Milk White Jade
Author: Diane Lee Wilson

When Oyuna was a baby, a horse accidentally crushed her foot. 

One fateful day, soldiers from the great Khan's army invade her village to steal horses and gather new soldiers. In hopes of bringing honor to her family. Oyuna courageously disguises herself as a boy and joins the soldiers on their quest.

With only her horse and her cat to keep her company. Oyuna sets off on an amazing journey across deserts and mountains ~ a journey that will change her life forever.

We enjoyed reading this book.
It is a wonderful story about courage, friendship, and bravery.
Oyuna is crippled, she never gives up. It is a wonderful life lesson, even if you have a handicap, you can take on the adventure.

"But just when I am thinking about death, Oyuna, something happens that reminds me that life is not all sadness. And this time this gift comes from your mare."

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go"
Dr. Suess

Monday, December 16, 2013

Decorating for Christmas

Last week I was busy cleaning up the kitchen and was listening to the boys playing. I heard Atticus say "Sam, it is time to decorate the city for Christmas." That means the Lego City. Sure enough, they decorated the city for Christmas. They changed up the city park to include a Christmas tree, gifts under the tree and some candy cane decorations. I did have to chuckle to see the flowers still blooming.

Christmas ~ Lego Style
During the day I was busy reading my favorite blogs. Guess What? Amy over at While Wearing Heels posted how her daughter decorated her doll house for Christmas. Amy wrote such a cute post. Be sure to check it out and you do not want to miss the doll house, it is amazing. Click Here

 The Lego City
 Looking above inside one of the apartments. These folks allowed me to peek in. They are busy watching T.V. they are lucky to have amazing decorators, Sam and Atticus. What a cute tree. :)

Inside an apartment in Lego City.

Another view
We are getting excited for Christmas. The folks are having fun enjoying Christmas in Lego City. How about you? Are you getting a excited as the days get closer?

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Jello Fruit Salad

Jello Fruit Salad
Looking for a refreshing salad to take to a Christmas potluck or gathering?
My friend Lori's grandma shared this recipe and it is a family favorite.
It is refreshing and very pretty too. It is perfect to serve for Christmas.

Jello Fruit Salad
1 large pkg. Strawberry Jello
2 cups boiling water
2 small packages of frozen strawberries (I use my frozen berries)
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 pkg. Sour Cream
1 cup of nuts...chopped (I do not always add the nuts)

Dissolve Jello in boiling water. Add strawberries and stir until well mixed. Add drained pineapple, sour cream, and nuts.


Friday, December 13, 2013

On the Road Friday ~ Ringing the Bell

Happy Friday 
This week our family did something for the first time. We rang the bells for the Salvation Army.
We worked the 6pm to 8pm shift at one of our local grocery stores.
It was a cold night, but we were lucky to be inside the entry way.

Atticus was my buddy. 

We enjoyed visiting with the folks coming in and out of the store.
One fella gave us  each a fresh cookie he just purchased.

The Story of the Red Kettle at Christmas
In 1891, Captain Joseph McFee of The Salvation Army decided to serve a free Christmas dinner to the poor living in San Francisco, California. He wondered how he could possibly afford to pay for all the food that would be needed for such a large project.

He prayed and thought back to his days on the waterfront in Liverpool, England where a popular local eatery collected cash donations for the poor in a large soup kettle called "Simpson's Pot".

Captain McFee wasted no time in getting the largest soup kettle he could find and placing it in a conspicuous spot on the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Passengers going to and from the ferry boats tossed their loose change into the kettle and before long Captain McFee had enough funds to pay for Christmas dinner!

Thus began a Christmas tradition which has spread  throughout the world and continues to this day in communities just like this one!

How about you? Have you done something new this Christmas season?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Feeding the Birds

I know it is hard to see because of the reflection. If you look up at the pine tree, you can see our cat Little B. He is busy watching me.  Little B is inside, I am outside. The reflection in the window made it hard for me to capture the photo of Little B watching me. What am I doing? I was busy feeding the birds.

This little  chickadee waited patiently while I filled the feeder.

Yum, a fresh snack!

"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields...
It covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt;
and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep darlings, till the summer comes again."
Lewis Carroll

Chick a dee dee dee dee Fe be ~~ the song of the Chickadee
Do you feed the birds?

Monday, December 9, 2013

12% off ~ Let's Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas

Let's Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas
We are having a 12% off sale at our shop!

Our cards make a great gift. Purchase a few to make up your own gift pack for a teacher, friend or family member who likes to write notes and send cards.

We have fun birthday cards.

 Unique wedding cards!

Fun cards to say "Merry Christmas"

 Cards to brighten someones day!

Stock up for 2014!
Our 12% sale starts today and runs until Sunday, December 15th.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 6, 2013

On the Road Friday to Bentleyville USA

Hello, it is cold here in Wisconsin!
Our trip today will be a little bit cold too.
So grab a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in to your favorite sweater.
We are heading to Bentleyville, USA
Duluth, MN.

 2012 was a special birthday for me, because my birthday is 12/12! I had the best day! My hubby and two boys spent the entire day with me. We went cross country skiing at Pattison State Park, went out to eat and then went to Bentleyville USA, Tour of Lights.

We will not make it to Bentleyville this year. If you have the opportunity, you will be in for a real treat. And Bentleyville will be celebrating 10 years! WOW!

Hey, no worries if you can not make it, we are on the road right now.
Get ready.
Get set.
Here we go!

And music. As you walk along Christmas music is playing. You get free hot chocolate and cookies.

 The amazing tree! Guess what? The tree is set to the music. So it flashes to the beat.


 Duluth at night! Beautiful!

I think it is so amazing how the city of Duluth puts this on each year.
They have a skating rink and warming house.
They also have indoor bathrooms and a gift shop.

This is so fun to walk into.

 Several folks were taking photos here. 
It is so pretty.

 Atticus is a big fan of Thomas. So he really liked this one.

"This is so Cool!" yells Atticus.

See you next time Bentleyville USA!
 If you do get a chance to go, let me know how you like it.
Click here 

Do you have a city close to you that puts on a unique light display?
Do you drive around town to look at Christmas lights?

Thank you for coming along with me to Bentleyville!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Treasure in the Christmas Tree

We cut down a tree from my parents woods each year. Some years they can look like a real Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but we do not care. We just enjoy the hunt for the tree together in my parents woods and all voting on that special tree to be called our Christmas tree. This year we picked out a cute spruce. It is a smaller tree than what we normally cut down, but we all loved it and decided to make it our special tree for 2013. We live 2 hours away from my parents, so the tree has a ride back to our house. 

This year we received a surprise. We did not notice the birds nest in the tree when we first cut it down in the woods. Probably because of the high grass around the tree. My son Sam helped me get the tree inside the house. As we put the tree into the stand, we noticed the treasure, a birds nest.

The first thing my son, Atticus said was, "Wow, that little nest made it on the ride home."
The ride is in the back of our pick up, with the wind blowing. And lately we have had some very windy days around here.

We did not know what kind of birds nest it was, so the research began. When studying nature, my favorite book to go to is Anna Botsford Comstock - Handbook of Nature Study

And yes, we found it. The Song Sparrow. The nest is usually placed on the ground or in low bushes not more than five feet from the ground; it varies much in both size and material; it is sometimes constructed of coarse weeds and grasses; and sometimes only fine grass is used.

Have you noticed a little brown bird singing a very sweet song in the early spring? Did the song sound as if set to the words "Little Maid! Little Maid! Little Maid! Put  on the teakettle, teakettle-ettle-ettle"?

Our Treasure in the Christmas Tree

 The Song Sparrow

He does not wear a Joseph's coat of many colors, smart and gay
His suit is Quaker brown and gray, with darker patches at his throat.
And yet of all the well-dressed throng, not one can sing so brave a song.
It makes the pride of looks appear a vain and foolish thing to hear
In "Sweet, sweet, sweet, very merry cheer."

A loft place he does not love, he sits by choice and well at ease
 in hedges and in little trees, the stretch their slender arms above
The meadow brook; and then he sings till all the field with pleasure rings;
Ans so he tells in every ear, that lowly homes to heaven are near
In "Sweet, sweet, sweet, very merry cheer."
Henry Van Dyke  

How about you, do you put up a real tree?
Have ever found a treasure in the branches of your tree?

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 2, 2013


 Hello Friends,
Did you have a fun, relaxing Thanksgiving?

We enjoyed time with family. It was wonderful.
Each Thanksgiving I am in charge of the table decorations.

 This garden season my sister grew white pumpkins. She had a fabulous crop and needed to share. She kind of had white pumpkins like some folks have zucchini. 

I painted MOD PODGE on the top part of the pumpkin and sprinkled gold glitter on.
I used just the first initial of our name for the name tag. 

 All set.

And now for the wishbone. This is not our turkey wishbone, we forgot it at my parents. I made chicken  dumpling soup this weekend and decided to let the chicken wishbone be the star in this blog post. :-)

Do you keep the wishbone? Do you have a family tradition on when or who gets to break the wishbone?

For the past years our boys are the lucky ones to snap the wishbone.

What was your wish?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Thoughts

When George Washington issued the first presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation, he said: "It is the duty of all the nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefit, and humbly to implore His protection."

Happy Thanksgiving
Enjoy this special time to gather with family and friends, share a delicious meal, watch parades and football.

As you share the holiday with those around you this year, take a few moments to focus on God and all the blessings we have.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Blessing Mix

Thanksgiving Blessing Mix
This is a fun mix to give to family, friends or children in your class at Thanksgiving. 
This year we are giving it to our Sunday School class.

What do you need?

Small Pretzels
Candy Corn
Dried Fruit or Raisins
Sunflower Seeds
Hershey's Kisses

In a large bowl gently mix all ingredients, except Hershey's Kisses.
Place 1/2 a cup or more in a treat or snack bag. Add one Hershey's Kiss to each bag. 
Attach the following explanation:

Bugles: shaped like a Cornucopia or Horn of Plenty, a symbol of our nation's abundance.

Pretzels: arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by our nation's founders

Candy Corn: the sacrifices of the Pilgrims' first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn.

Nuts & Seeds: promise of a future harvest, one that will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.

Dried Fruit: harvest gifts from our bountiful land.

M&M's: sweet memories of those who died for our freedoms and promise of a blessed future.

Hershey's Kisses: the love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 22, 2013

On the Road Friday - Red's Big Bear Lodge - Connors Lake - Lake of the Pines

During the month of June, we took the boys to Red's Big Bear Lodge. My husband grew up helping his parents. They owned Big Bear Lodge, fine dinning, canoe and cabin rentals.
I worked part time  at the Lodge as a dishwasher after college...that is another story, ♥ a love story ♥.
We thought it would be fun to show the boys where dad grew up.

So off we go.
First stop, Connors Lake, located in the Flambeau River State Forest.
My husband grew up in the woods. His childhood home and the Lodge is located right in the Flambeau River State Forest.
We stopped to show the boys Connors Lake.

 Connors Lake is a beautiful spring fed lake. Clear and cold, perfect on a hot summers day.

 Connors Lake offers a beautiful playground, picnic area, bathrooms, changing rooms and lots of room to play.

For more information click here Connors Lake

Next stop, Lake of the Pines.
Look who decided to come along.

Painted Turtle
Named for its bright colors 
 Peaceful painted turtles
Basking in the sun,
You'll see them perching piggyback 
Or lined up one by one.

Lake of the Pines is a beautiful lake for canoeing and kayaking.

For more information click Lake of Pines

Lake of the Pines has a beautiful hiking trail. We went about 1/2 way because it was getting dark.
On our way back out to the campground, we could hear " who cooks for you, who cooks for you all?" We started to look up and right up above us was a Barred Owl. He continued to talk to us and then flew away. 
For more information on Barred Owls click here
We enjoyed showing the boys both lakes and hope to spend more time at both of them in 2014.

The Big Bear.
My husband was excited to see that the Big Bear was still standing proud.
He has many memories of climbing it and cleaning it. Mildew or a moss would start to grow on it.
To get more information about Red's Big Bear click here

Thank you for coming along with me.
How about you, have you gone on a trip with your family to visit places you explored or worked at as a kid?

Have a great weekend.

Taking our dear friend Irma out for supper, at Red's Big Bear.