About The River

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

 Pumpkin carving is a favorite Halloween tradition, but where did it come from?
The legend of the Jack O' Lantern stems from many stores in Irish history of a miserable,old drunk named Stingy Jack. He liked to play tricks on everyone!

 On All Hallow's Eve, the Irish hollowed out turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets. They put lights in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack away.
After the Irish came to America in the 1800's, they discovered pumpkins and found they were bigger and easier to carve, thus the birth of the modern-day Jack O' Lantern.
Source: www.pumpkinnook.com
Trick or Treat!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Boo to You and Black Cat Cookies

Here are a few fun ideas to help make Halloween special.
 Last night, the boys received a Halloween basket full of treats from a friend. Inside she had candy, a pencil, an apple and this fun witches hat.

 All made out of paper, with Hershey kisses inside.

 Here is a photo of the back side of the hat.

 Today, we made Black Cat Cookies.

Black Cat Cookies
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
3 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla
3 cups of flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Candy corn
Red cinnamon candies

Combine sugar and butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed until well mixed. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla; beat until well mixed.
Combine all remaining ingredients except candies in medium bowl. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture to butter mixture. Beat until well mixed.
Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a ball flatten to 1/2 inch. Wrap each half in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).
Heat oven to 350 ° Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, one - half at a time, to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with 3 inch round cookie cutters.
Place on to ungreased cookie sheets.
Using fingers, pinch up ears at top of each circle.
Place 2 pieces candy corn onto cookies for eyes and 1 red cinnamon candy for nose. Press tines of for on each side of cookie below eyes to form whiskers.
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are set. Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, remove to cool.
Trick or Treat!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What to say....Thanking America's Heroes

They serve; they defend; they are prepared to give their lives for us. Our military men and women serve with honor all over the world - and we have a way for you to say "Thank you for your service."  

We have fun photo cards for all occasions.

Serving others...
comes so naturally for you.
Just wanted to put into words what I've thought so often...
Thank you for your service.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cranberry Sauce Whole Berry

Today, I am going to share an easy recipe to make your own cranberry sauce.
We love cranberry sauce and usually make it fresh (that recipe will be coming this week too) but sometimes you do not have time to make it. Never fear, in case you are in a pinch, you can peek in your pantry and find your very own homemade cranberry sauce.

This would also make a great gift for Christmas.

Cranberry Sauce Whole Berry  

8 cups cranberries
4 cups sugar
4 cups water

Wash cranberries; drain. Combine sugar and water in a large saucepot.  Boil 5 minutes. Add cranberries. Continue boiling, without stirring, until skins burst. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling - water canner.
Yield: about 6 pints


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Funny On Sunday

Happy Sunday
During the first part of October we received a lot of rain...over 4 inches.
My 11 year old looked out his bedroom window and yelled "Mom, come see the neighbors boat!"
It was full. To the top. With water. The boat cushions are floating.
We liked the reflection from the water in the boat and the beautiful colored leaves. Happy Fishing!

Friday, October 25, 2013

On the Road Friday - Autumn in Wisconsin

Welcome, grab your sweaters, hiking sticks and canteen, we are going for a hike today.

On the Road Friday - Autumn in Wisconsin
 Yellow...this year the woods was a golden yellow.
 More of natures free gold.
 I am fascinated with mushrooms. Look how big this one is. A perfect umbrella for a toad.
 Some more  mushrooms peeking.
 The woods smelled so good, I wish I could capture the smell in a bottle. During cold winter evenings, I could release the smell while I am cozy next to the fireplace. I would dream of my next autumn hike.
 I found some red!
 Are you ready? We are going to hike into the secret tunnel of colored leaves.
I actually took this photo as we hiked out of the tunnel of leaves. It definitely looks like a mystical forest. An adventure is just waiting as you walk on to the path.
 An adventure indeed, Autumn in Wisconsin, thank you for coming along today.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I had no idea! Did you know, how many varieties of squash are just waiting for us to try? This Autumn season our family has tried two new kinds of squash. I grew up eating acorn squash, so I kinda thought that was the only variety. After visiting our local pumpkin patch and talking to one of the employees about all the squash, I decided we will try as many as we can.

How about you, what kind of squash do you like?

Monday, October 21, 2013

The River Is A Museum

 While hiking in the woods last week. We talked aloud and wondered what the Native Americans seen as the walked the woods. Of course Wisconsin would have pretty much been all woods.
On our same hike we found a section of an old railway, glittering in the water and sun in the river below us. We started to think about all the changes a river as seen as well.

Wagon crossings.
Looking back on photos with my Grandpa of the Log Jams on the rivers. Stories he shared about working with the lumber camps.
Cities and towns building up along the shore of the river.
 Dam building.
And so much more.

The river is a museum. Treasure to be found. Flint points, copper axes, pewter mugs, flintlock rifles, shoes, marbles, rubber tires, bicycles and bottles.
Our best finds are fishing tackle. During our spring hikes, after the high water, we will hike along the river bank and look for treasure. We find flip flops, soda cans, Styrofoam coolers and fishing tackle. 
One year we found a lawn chair...still in good shape.

How about you? Do you like to search for treasure on your daily walks?
What is one of your best finds?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A fun way to say "Hello"

A fun way to say "Hi" to a friend. Send your friend a fun card and a recipe. Check out all of our fun cards at our shop Studio 206

What a fun idea to send our pretty Apples, Apples card with a great apple recipe. Apple pie, apple crisp or spiced up apple chips.

 We enjoyed making and eating these fun chips. 

Spiced Up Apple Chips
We loved how these apple chips turned out. I just love the star in the center of the apple.

Spiced Up Apple Chips
Preheat oven to 200 degrees
Place sugar, cinnamon and other spice (I used nutmeg and ginger too) in a bowl. I did this all by taste...just until I got that right flavor. 
Slice your apples as thin as you can. Gently pat dry. Place apples in bowl of cinnamon and sugar, coat apples.
Place apples on a baking pan.
Bake apples until crisped. My apples took four hours. They were perfect. Our house smelled great too.
Have fun and enjoy!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


 Pebbles belong to no one
Until you pick them up-
Then they are yours
 But which, of all the world's 
Mountains of little broken stones,
Will you choose to keep?
 The smooth black, the white, 
The rough gray with sparks
Shining in its cracks?

Somewhere the best pebble must
Lie hidden, meant for you
If you can find it.
Valerie Worth

I just loved this poem. As a mom of two boys,  find rocks in pants pockets often.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Homemade Autumn Garland

Last week we got together with some friends and made some Autumn garland to decorate our house with. 
 Gather some fall colored card stock paper or construction paper, twine and a leaf punch. If you do not have a leaf punch you could use a real leaf for a pattern or a leaf cookie cutter.

Punch your leaves or cut out your leaf design. Cut your twine the length you want it and glue your leaves on. We used Elmer's glue to glue our leaves on to the twine.  My boys liked to match up a different colored leaf to each side.  We were using small leaves, it was a bit hard to keep the leaf on to the twine to dry. Our friend came up with the idea to hold the leaf with a clothespin. The idea worked great!
 I used some of my garland to make a pretty bow on my corn.
I love the purple oak leaf. We used yellow, orange, red and purple paper. A deep burgundy, brown and a green would look nice too.
 Decorating my kitchen window.
 I took a few photos, it looked so pretty to me.
 This was a fun project.
The next time I do it with kids, I will use a larger leaf pattern. The small leaf was hard to glue on to the twine. But with a bit of patience and clothes pins, we got it to work.

Happy Crafting!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cranberry-Basil Spritzer

Cranberry - Basil Spritzer
 In a medium saucepan over medium - high eat, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add 1/2 cup basil leaves, remove from heat, let steep for 20 minutes. Strain syrup and let cool for at least 1 hour. In a large pitcher, combine syrup, 2 cups unsweetened cranberry juice, and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice. Fill pitcher with 1 liter chilled club soda, then add 4 lime slices, 1 cup fresh cranberries, and 1/2 cup basil leaves. To serve, pour spritzers over ice, top with a splash more club soda, and garnish with basil.
After trying this spritzer, I plan to serve this as our Thanksgiving drink.

Friday, October 11, 2013

On the Road Friday - Wisconsin Cranberries

Today we are taking a trip to watch a Cranberry Harvest.
Last weekend we had the opportunity to watch how cranberries are harvested. Amazing! We appreciate being able to show our boys the hard work that goes into having  our food on the shelf of a grocery store. Great folks working hard. And the outcome...good stuff for all of us.

So off we go!
 Some of you may not know that cranberries do not grow in water. And you are asking "Then why do we see them in water?"
 Check out my earlier posts that give you all the fun facts about Wisconsin Cranberries. You will find a wonderful recipe too.
 Now you know all about cranberries. :-) 
I find it so cool that they float.
 Harvesting cranberries on a cool and misty day. We visited Copper River Cranberry Company, located in Merrill, Wisconsin.
 Cranberries being harvested and dumped into the truck. The truck will head to the Ocean Spray plant. The truck will be weighed. I wonder how many pounds of cranberries we see?
 Preparing the next cranberry bed for harvest.
 Beautiful Cranberries.
Did you know, I can eat them fresh. I just pop them into my mouth. Actually, everyone in our family can. Yummy.
 Pushing the berries into the harvesting ring.
 This bed is all ready to be harvested. The truck will come and they will begin to suck the berries up. A sepearator will place the berries in the semi trailer and the leaves, stems and other junk into the dump truck. 

We enjoyed learning more about how and where our food comes from. How about you? Have you ever visited a farm or watched a crop be harvested?

I would like to visit all the farms and meet the folks who farm. My top three crops that I would like to see are pineapple, cotton and coffee.

Hope you enjoyed today. And the next time you are in the grocery store, you can say "Yay, I know just how cranberries are grown and harvested."

Thank You Farmers!!

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Still Blooming

It is October, right? Usually, Northwest Wisconsin has been hit by a hard frost. And I would have already cleaned out my garden. But not this year! This year will go down in the record books.

October 9th! And still blooming pretty!
Bumble Bees are still buzzing.

We are still picking and eating cherry tomatoes.

My son Atticus loves to eat cherry tomatoes. He usually cleans off the plant before I can pick any. :-) We call him "The Bear".

God is so fun! Flowers blooming, cherry tomatoes and fresh lettuce in October. In Wisconsin!! Have a great day my friends.