About The River

Friday, January 31, 2014

On the Road Friday ~ Stormy Kromer ~ Ironwood, Michigan

We are on the road today. We are heading to Ironwood, Michigan.

Did you know that Ironwood, Michigan is the home of the famous Stormy Kromer hat?

The History Behind the Legend of Stormy Kromer

George "Stormy" Kromer was a real guy - a semi-pro baseball player and railroad engineer. Not the kind of guy you'd expect to start a clothing company, in other words, but one who happened to create a cap that became known for long-comfort and the ability to stay snug, even in the fiercest winds.
This final feature, in fact, is the reason he made his famous headgear in the first place, but we'll get to that in a bit.
Mr. Kromer, known as "Stormy" to the folks who knew his temper, was born in 1876 in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. He grew up with baseball and would eventually play on nearly 30 semi-pro teams throughout the Midwest. He might have continued to play that field, too, but he met Ida, and before Ida's father would allow her hand in marriage, our ballplayer needed to find real work.
That meant the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and long, cold trips across the plains. Stormy was an engineer, and to see where he was headed, he had to stick his head out the window - into the wind. Mother Nature stole his cap more than once, and as the story goes, he set out to get her back.
In 1903, he asked Ida (now his wife and an excellent seamstress) to modify an old baseball cap to help keep it on in windy weather. The all-cloth cap with the soft, canvas visor was a departure from the traditional fedoras of the day, but it was more comfortable and because of it's six-panel fit, it stayed put.
Soon other railroad workers wanted one of Stormy Kromer's caps for themselves, and when Ida could no longer keep up with demand, they hired a few employees and the business was born.
A lot of things have changed since those first few caps - new colors, new fabrics, new styles - but we haven't changed the way we make 'em. They're hand-stitched right here in the good old U-S-of-A, and they're still made to fit better than anything you've had next to your noggin. Stormy Kromer caps are true to the original, and that means you get all the comfort and function that made them famous.
Wear one, and you'll know what we mean.

 My husband and I have always wanted Stormy Kromer hats. My sister blessed us with our very own Stormy Kromer hats for Christmas.

 I love my hat. It is so nice and warm. 
All in one little cap.
The Stormy Kromer is made of top notch wool and cotton. The breathability of cotton and moisture absorption of wool is a powerful combination, and one sure to keep you comfy all day long. 
 Made in the U.S.A.
We are really happy about that!

 One of the fun things that came along with our hat was the Stormy Kromer Owner's Certificate of Legendaryness. How Fun! I will share with you a few of  the ideas.

* Tip your cap to other Kromer - wearers
* Go outside every chance you get
*Remember that Sunday mornings aren't just for brunch
*Teach your kids that there's a real world beyond the worldwide web
*Always be true to yourself

 Thank you for coming along today.
If you head up to Michigan, look for the BIG Stormy Kromer Hat.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cupcake Decorating

This past week I made some fun cupcakes. My husband wanted chocolate with peanut butter frosting. My youngest son wanted yellow cake with chocolate frosting and I wanted chocolate with peppermint frosting. I will be sharing the recipes for the cupcakes next week. 

Today, I wanted to show you a simple way to decorate cupcakes, cake or even a cheese tray.

 I used my paper punches. 
A square and a snowflake.

Punch out your shapes and tape on a toothpick.

 I used a dark blue glitter paper for my squares and a silver glitter paper for my snowflakes.

Just place your toothpicks into your cupcakes.

If you are planning to have a party for the super bowl this weekend. This idea can work using your team colors.

I have also used this idea to label cheese and meat,  for a cheese and meat tray.

Fun, Easy and Festive!

Monday, January 27, 2014


 Happy Monday ~ I know many of you are bracing for another blast of Arctic Air! The wind is just a howling outside as I write this. We have  several  huge drifts forming outside. It has been a winter to remember!

 My dad records the temperature when he wakes up and the temperature when he heads to bed. He also writes total snowfall or rainfall for that day or any other significant thing to remember about that days weather.
It is fun to look back at his calendars from years past. In October he predicted that the 2013 - 2014 winter was going to be FAST (as in ending quickly...we had winter until the middle of May in 2013!) and FEROCIOUS (so far he has been right on about this!)
How about you? Do you keep a daily record of the weather?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Hello Friends,
Thank you for your prayers and support the past few weeks.
My grandma passed away on Wednesday, January 22, 2014.
No more pain, we are so thankful for that. Her internal organs were not working correctly and she was in a lot of pain. Our family is thankful for the medical staff at the hospital and at hospice, the Dove House. I am thankful for the last visits I was able to share with her. She still had her humor and always said "I Love You". ♥

The photo above is my grandpa and my grandma, Sam and Vida.
I love the curls in their hair.
My grandma had a very unique eye color, hazel. Several of the nurses would tell her what beautiful eyes she had.

The hardest part for me was helping clean out her apartment last week.
So many memories. 
I was best friends with my grandpa. Our oldest son, Sam, is named after him. 
It has been hard, because it is like my grandpa died all over again too.

Thank you again for the prayers and support!
xx oo

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Homemade Clay

It is cold here in Wisconsin, -22 degrees again this morning. 
Cabin fever is starting to set into my boys.

Homemade clay to the rescue!

 Homemade Clay
What you need:
 4 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of salt
1 1/2 cups of water

Mix the salt and flour in a bowl.
Add water gradually to form a ball.
Knead (pound, roll and pull) until it no longer falls apart.
Do your project and allow it to dry at room temperature for approximately 2 days (more for larger or thick projects)


Store any unused clay in a sealed bag in the fridge. Allow it to warm to room temperature before you use it again.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ernie and the Hairdryer

Once upon a time, my 13 year old son Sam, loved Ernie. He had an Ernie doll like the one in the above photo. He had him sit with him when we read or played a game. Ernie joined us for breakfast, lunch, snack time and supper. Ernie was always tucked in next to Sam at bed time.

One morning while I was drying my hair, Sam asked if I could dry Ernie's hair too. Sam held Ernie up for me to dry his hair. All was going well for about 5 seconds, when all of a sudden Ernie's hair started on fire!
Ernie was quickly tossed into the bathtub. I turned on the faucet and quickly rescued Ernie from any other damage. I dried him and gave him back to Sam.
Sam was happy to get Ernie back, even though Ernie did not look the same.
That evening, I took Ernie from Sam once he was asleep and fixed him up the best I could.

Ernie never looked the same. I just was not able to get his hair right!! 
 And Sam never asked for Ernie's  hair to be dried again.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day ideas and 14% off!!

Are you looking for a fun way to say Happy Valentine's Day?
Check out our cards in our Etsy shop.
And for a special treat we are having a 14% off sale to celebrate the New Year!
Here are some fun and creative ways to say... I Love You, with our cards.
Need I say more?
Happy Valentine's Day
 You couldn't be more lovable!
Happy Valentine's Day!

 Everything sweet...reminds me of you!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 17, 2014

On the Road Friday ~ Crex Meadows Wildlife Area ~ Grantsburg, Wisconsin

We are on the road to Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, located in Grantsburg, Wisconsin.
A fun place to visit anytime of the year.
The visitors center has a wonderful collection of hands on wildlife education for kids.
A fun display of ducks and other animals.
And a great gift shop.

When we are skiing, we often come across animal tracks. And we always say "I wonder what made that track?" While listening to our local radio station I heard about a mammal tracking class that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was going to put on. Perfect!

Our instructors for the mammal tracking class were; Steve Hoffman and Robert Hanson, both were wonderful. Easy to ask questions to and full of knowledge about all our Wisconsin critters.

We learned a lot. And the boys did really well on the "fun test" after the class.
Here is a bit of what we learned.

When you find a track...
Count the number of toes.
Check for claw marks.
Canine tracks have definite claw marks
Feline tracks rarely show claw marks

Measure the length of the track
Determine the animals gait or track pattern.
Note the presence or absence of tail or belly dragging.
Look for scat or urination markings.

 Bob went out ahead of us and looked for tracks. He covered them so they would be undisturbed. 
Can you guess what animal made this track?

 A fisher! Wow, we were so excited!
But hold on, wait until you see what we found next.

 A wolf track!

 We also learned about Wisconsin's wolf population.
Here, Bob is demonstrating how they find a wolf who is wearing a radio collar.

 Thank you for coming along with me to Crex Meadows.

On the sand of dune and desert, on estuary and streamside mud: and indeed after every snowfall, all over the countryside a vast map...printed overnight, lies open every morning: tracks and traces of immense variety, often of wonderful clarity: an endless source of fascination for those who are up in time and have the eyes to see.
Tracks by E.A.R. Ennion and N. Tinbergen

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Malted Milk Cookies

Malted Milk Cookies

1 cup butter - no substitutes - softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons instant chocolate drink mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups of malted milk balls, crushed

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, drink mix, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in malted milk balls. Shape in to 1 1/2 inch balls.
Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.
Bake at 375 ยบ
Bake about 10 minutes


Our family loved these cookies.
 They are best right out of the oven with a cup of hot chocolate... a perfect way to warm up on a cold winters day.

The cookie jar is empty...off to make some more cookies.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Recipe for a Beautiful Life

Recipe for a Beautiful Life
Audrey Hepburn

" For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day. 
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you'll never walk alone. 
The tender loving care of human beings will never become obsolete. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed and redeemed. Never throw out anybody. And remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. Your "good old days" are still ahead of you. 
May you have many of them."

Friday, January 10, 2014

On the Road Friday ~ Down the Valley

Thank you to all for your support and kind words the past week regarding my grandma.
She is in palliative care at the Marshfield Hospital.
Our family continues to visit her. We read, listen to music and talk to her.
Thank You again for your prayers and support.

My prayer ~
Is that I would learn to trust You more. It is a comfort to know that my life is in Your hands, and the circumstances surrounding me are in Your control.
Remind me daily that choosing to be happy is an option. May I find my strength in Your joy.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How do Frogs and Toads Adapt to Winter?

Ever wonder how the frogs and toads keep warm during this cold?

In the fall, frogs first need to find a place to make their winter home, a living space called a hibernaculum, that will protect them from weather extremes and from predators. The frog then "sleeps" away the winter by slowing down its metabolism. When spring arrives, it wakes up and leaves the hibernaculum, ready for mating and eating.

Aquatic frogs and toads such as the leopard frog and American bullfrog usually hibernate underwater. They do not, however, dig into the mud like turtles ~ turtles are able to slow down their metabolism in a much more extreme way than frogs and can get by with almost no oxygen. Aquatic frogs need more oxygen ~ they lie just above the mud, or only partially buried in the mud, so they are near the oxygen ~ rich water. They may even occasionally slowly swim around.

Terrestrial frogs and toads typically hibernate on land. Those frogs and toads that are good diggers like the American toads burrow deep into the soil, safely below the frost line. Some frogs, such as the wood frog and the spring peeper, are not good diggers and so must scout out their winter homes in deep cracks and crevices in logs or rocks, or they might dig down into the leaf litter. 

Yet these frozen frogs are not dead ~ they have a kind of natural anti~freeze in their bodies. Ice crystals form in their organs and body cavity, but a high concentration of glucose in the frog's vital organs prevents freezing. A partially frozen frog will stop breathing: its heart will stop beating and it will seem dead. When spring approaches and their hibernaculum warms up above freezing, the frog's frozen body will thaw, and it will come back to life.


And for more good news. I heard on the radio that weeks of below zero weather should kill off some of the pests we do not like! I am hoping that means the woodtick population will be minimal or better yet, extinct for my first spring hike. ;-)

How about you, do you ever wonder how some of your favorite animals, bugs, birds and amphibians survive in the cold?


Monday, January 6, 2014

Ice Fishing

 Ice Fishing in Wisconsin
We have several memories of taking the boys out ice fishing when they were little guys.
I was new to ice fishing. Jeremy introduced me to it.

Our first year we drove out on the lake in our car. Sam was one years old. I was very nervous about driving out. Jeremy told me if I got cold I could sit in the car and we would have no problems at all. We did have a good day of fishing. We caught a nice meal of fish. And little Sam enjoyed his day outside. Soon it was time to go, we all got in the car and we spun and spun and spun. We were stuck! Of course I was the calm new mother...NOT..."Jeremy, you told me we would be fine driving out here!" 
"No problem, Carla, I will go ask the guys up ahead to give us a push."
And so Jeremy brought back with him four drunk men to help push the car.
"Little Mama, you get in and hold on" they yelled at me.
And so I did. And yes we made it out.

I was real happy when Jeremy found this Quick Flip on clearance.
It is nice and cozy in a little shelter.

 Pulling the gear out to our spot.

 Having fun...playing with the fishing pole.

Sliding down the hill is more fun! When you are not catching any fish!

How about you?
Have you gone ice fishing?
What is your secret to catching fish?

Stay Warm!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Funny on Sunday

A true story from the pages of the Manchester Evening News:

Last Wednesday a passenger in a taxi heading for Salford station leaned
over to ask the driver a question and gently tapped him on the shoulder to
get his attention. The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a
bus, drove up over the curb and stopped just inches from a large plate
window. For a few moments everything was silent in the cab. Then, the
shaking driver said, "Are you OK? I'm so sorry, but you scared the daylights
out of me." The badly shaken passenger apologized to the driver and said,
"I didn't realize that a mere tap on the shoulder would startle someone so
badly." The driver replied, "No, no, I'm the one who is sorry, it's entirely my
fault. Today is my very first day driving a cab. I've been driving a hearse for
25 years

Friday, January 3, 2014

On the Road Friday ~ Down a Valley

Hello Friends,
Today I am going to share with you about a trip we are taking right now.
Christmas night, my grandma was rushed to Marshfield Hospital. 
At this time we are waiting to see what is going on.

My family did not get to celebrate Christmas together. That is kind of strange. You know how you find a perfect, fun gift to give a loved one, and you can not wait to give it to them. 
Now it sits waiting all wrapped pretty. And the feelings are not exactly the same.

Our boys are doing well. Yes, they are sad for great grandma and for not celebrating our family Christmas. 

The good stuff that comes out of all this, is the bond you make with family. We all have come together to help each other. Our family is spread out. We take turns helping at the hospital. We encourage each other and work together with decisions.

We have made several trips to Marshfield to visit my grandma at the BIG hospital. 
Both of our boys read out loud to great grandma, she loves that!

I will keep you posted as we walk down this valley as a family.

Do you have any ideas to help pass hospital visits?
Reading out loud as been fun for us so far.
The boys read Weird Animal Facts and showed great grandma the pictures. That was fun for her.

Thank you for your prayers.
Have a good weekend.
And stay warm! Wisconsin is getting hit by another cold blast!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

As you hold these candies....

This year our boys were given a nice packet after Christmas Eve Service at our church. Inside was a candy cane, a small book featuring the Christmas story, a game book, some more candy and M&M's with the following card attached.

 As you hold these candies in your hand and turn them, you will see, the M becomes a W, an E and then a 3.
 They tell the Christmas story; it's one I am sure you know.
It took place in  a stable a long, long time ago.
The E is for the East where the star shone so bright.
The M is for the Manger where baby Jesus slept that night.
The 3 is for the wise men bearing gifts when they came.
W is for Worship, Hallelujah, Praise His Name.
So, as you eat these candies or share with your friends,
remember the meaning of Christmas, it is a love story that never ends.

It is a love story that never ends!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014

Happy New Year

Father, may that holy star 
Grow every year more bright,
And send its glorious beams afar
To fill the world with
William Cullen Bryant