About The River

Friday, January 30, 2015

On the Road Friday ~ River Falls Public Library to the NASA Exhibit

Hello, today is Friday. The day we take a trip.
Today we are heading to River Falls, Wisconsin to visit the library.

Astronaut Atticus

This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
Neil Armstrong
Astronaut Carla

Astronaut Sam

 After looking at the food, we have decided not to become astronauts.

 We all know the story about Laika the Cosmonaut Dog of the Soviet Union. 
Did you know about the other animals that went up to space?

 Our world at night. 

We enjoyed our time visiting the NASA Exhibit. We learned several things we did not know about space and the race to space with the Soviet Union.

NASA Exhibit: Voyages of Discovery

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Chill'in Hodgepodge

Joyce asks the questions
We answer the questions
1. When did someone last suggest you 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell someone (or want to tell someone) to 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell yourself to 'chill out'? 
I am one of those people who thinks I need to get it all done today! So if I get behind on my To Do List, I start to get irritated. Over the years I have gotten better. I am making it a goal to Chill Out and just enjoy what I can get done in a day. Or take a break and just chill out, slow down and just chill out!  
 2. What most recently caused your heart to melt? 

 My husband and I both recently celebrated birthdays. 
Our two boys presented both of us with homemade birthday cards with very sweet messages inside. My boys are growing up and the special times of sharing dreams always melts my heart.

 3.  "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered." G.K. Chesterton 
  Your thoughts? When did you last experience either an adventure or an inconvenience? How did you see it at first, as an adventure or an inconvenience?  Does it feel the same in hindsight?
My sister treated me to a visit to the Windy City for my birthday in December. It was both our first visits to the city of Chicago. It was a true adventure. You learn so much your first time visiting a city. We had a great time traveling on the city bus. Asking locals for directions. Learning you must make reservations to eat some place fun on a Saturday night. It was a true adventure. 
 4.  A Wendy's Frosty, root beer in a frosty mug, or a frosted chocolate cupcake...of these three, which one is your favorite 'frosty' treat?
 One of my favorite recipes. Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting
 5. Would you say your life so far this year has been more like a circus or a symphony? Explain why.

Our goal as a family is to  try and slow down and enjoy. And so far, we have enjoyed the symphony of HOME, family and friends.
We are aware of time management and how we have to manage our time wisely.
 6. Since it's a 'snow day' here, what's your favorite song containing the word 'white'?
♫♪  White Christmas ♫♪
Bing Crosby
7. If you had to leave the city you currently live in, what would you find the hardest to leave behind?
Our friends. We are not originally from the area that we live. We do not have family that live close to us. Friends become important and a true treasure.
 8. Insert your own random thought here.
Happy Winter

Monday, January 26, 2015

Lucy's Granola

I was so excited when I won a giveaway over at Barefoot by the Sea.
to read about Jessica, her fun crafts, great recipes and she has some great giveaways too.

My giveaway win!! I could not believe the generous amount of products Lucy's Granola sent to me. It has been a lot of fun to try all the different treats. And we all are enjoying the granola. 
We enjoy granola on top of yogurt, salad and will just eat it out of the bag.

Lucy's Granola is a golden mix of whole grains and unprocessed ingredients. Oats, wheat and spelt are combined with almonds, coconut, cranberries and raisins. Flax seeds add beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and lignins. Honey, maple syrup from a family farm, canola oil and sea salt round out the mix, which Lucy then bakes to her high standard of perfection.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thoughts on Saturday

"I remember the time an older man asked me when I was young, "Do you know what you are doing now?" I thought it was some kind of trick question.
"Tell me," I said.
"You are building your memories," he replied, "so make them good ones."

Ravi Zacharias, Walking from East to West: God in the Shadows

Friday, January 23, 2015

On The Road Friday ~ Giordano's ~ Chicago's Best Pizza

Welcome to On The Road Friday. This is the day we take a little trip.
We are heading for Chicago's Best Pizza.
 Click here for more information
The recipe for Giordano’s now-famous stuffed pizza is one that has evolved over 200 years.
Its creation began in a small northern Italian town near Torino. Mama Giordano was famous around town for her exquisite cooking. Of all her renowned dishes, her most beloved meal was her “Italian Easter Pie”. Mama Giordano would serve this double- crusted, cheese stuffed masterpiece every year for Easter. This pizza pie became a sacred tradition in the Giordano family and a legend in the town of Torino. Years later, original owners and Italian immigrants Efren and Joseph Boglio moved to Chicago to start their own pizza business. The brothers introduced their Mama’s recipe for stuffed pizza. In 1974, on Chicago’s historic south side, Efren and Joseph opened the first Giordano’s. Over the next 40 years, hundreds of critics announced Giordano’s as the city’s “best” stuffed pizza! The rest is history you can still taste today, along with our other great starters, fresh salads, outstanding pastas and unique sandwiches. We continue evolving to bring you a taste of real, fresh Italian!

Giordano’s has been acclaimed “Chicago’s Best Pizza” by NBC, CBS Chicago, New York Times, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Eater, Home & Garden Magazine, Concierge Preferred and more!

My sister and I shared a Chicago Classic. Yum!
"The Best" Ripe Tomato Bruschetta
 The atmosphere was wonderful. The food was delicious. I loved the Bruschetta!!

If you are planning a visit to Chicago, Giordano's is a great choice and a true Chicago experience.

Thank you for coming along today.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My First Hodgepodge

Hello Friends,
I love reading Judy at Cranberry Morning when she answers the Hodgepodge Questions. I thought, why don't I join in the fun. 
You can too, just head on over to From This Side Of The Pond


1. American Idol is back for a 14th season. Are you watching? Have you ever watched? If you were to audition for the show (or were made to audition), what song would you sing?
I have never watched American Idol. I will not be watching this year.

Sadly, I do not sing very well. And would not make the show.

2.  Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first." 

So when did you last have to 'eat a frog'? Or two? How'd that work out? 

This may not sound very pleasant. I am not sure if the plumbing in my house is bad or if my boys just do not flush the toilet right.  I just do not enjoy plunging toilets. And this is something I seem to have to do often. YUCK!

I am the mother of two wonderful boys, Samuel, 14 and Atticus 12. 

3. If you were going on safari, what is the number one animal you'd want to see?

4. January 21st is National Granola Bar Day. I know. Do you like granola bars? Chewy or crunchy? Your favorite flavor? How about regular granola? Let's exhaust this topic in honor of the holiday okay?

What a fun holiday to celebrate. I love granola. And I just won a giveaway from Lucy's Granola!
I will be posting more information about my win in a future blog post.

Extra Seedy Granola is a favorite of ours from Lucy's Granola.
We also enjoy Bob's Red Mill Granola.

 5. If only__________________________________________. 

If only my boys would flush our toilets slow and hold it down a bit. Instead of fast and in a hurry to wash their hands (they better be washing their hands) I would not need to plunge toilets!

 6. You can add one item to your bedroom. What will it be? Keep it family friendly please.
 A few more outlets. We only have one!

7. What is one thing you've enjoyed about winter thus far? If it's not winter in your corner of the globe, what season is it, and what is something you've enjoyed about whatever season it happens to be?

Cross Country Skiing
I love to cross country ski.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

"We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet. 'Even longer,' Pooh answered."
-A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


Monday, January 19, 2015

Cranberry Cake

Cranberry Cake

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5 minutes. Add butter and extract, beat 2 minutes. Stir in flour. Stir in cranberries.

Spread into a greased 13in. x 9in. x 2in. baking pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. 


My son Atticus loves this cake! It is his very favorite.

My boys picked up this ice chunk out of a puddle in Spring of 2014.
 I fell on the ice this morning in our driveway. I banged up my elbow and side. I am okay, just sore. Be careful when going out and about.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Thoughts on Saturday

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ' press on ' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
Calvin Coolidge

Friday, January 16, 2015

On the Road Friday ~ Willis Tower, Chicago, Illinois

Hello Friday!
Today we are On the Road to Willis Tower, Chicago, Illinois.
We are going UP!

I am up on the top looking down at the Windy City.

Welcome to Willis Tower, where there is more than meets the skyline.

A bustling community of business, tourism and culture, Willis Tower is so much more than North America's tallest building. It’s home to large well-known companies as well as hundreds of thriving businesses run by smart, passionate people. More than an office building, it’s a cultural landmark and iconic Chicago tourist attraction. Willis Tower is a pivotal point of reference – from across town, from financial centers on both coasts, and from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. It’s a building with retail and commercial office space at heart, but also inspires tens of thousands of visitors to take in the amazing views of the city and experience the breathtaking Ledge.

 My sister treated me to a trip to Chicago for my birthday in December.
The top of the Willis Tower or, as many of you may know it as the Sears Tower, was on our list of things to do. The day started out clear, but by the time we headed up to the top, it was cloudy.

Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) is a 110 story building in the heart of Chicago’s downtown. Willis Tower is not only one of the tallest buildings in the world, it is also a magnificent icon, impossible to miss within Chicago’s skyline.
In 1969, Sears Roebuck and Company was the largest retailer in the world, with about 350,000 employees. They decided they needed one large office space for their many employees. Architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill were commissioned to design what would become one of the largest office buildings in the world. Fazlur Khan, the structural engineer, designed the “bundled tube” design that handled both wind and gravity.
In August, 1970 ground was broken for the beginning of construction. Taking three years to complete, Sears Tower was finished in May 1973. The builders used enough concrete to make an eight- lane highway five miles long. Within the building, there are 25 miles of plumbing, 1500 miles of electric wiring , 80 miles of elevator cable, 796 restroom faucets, and more than 145,000 light fixtures. The last beam put in place was signed by 12,000 construction workers, Sears employees and Chicagoans.
In 1988, Sears Roebuck and Company sold and moved out of the building, but the Sears Tower name remained until 2009 when the building was renamed after the Willis Group, a London- based global insurance broker.
Skydeck Chicago is the observation deck on the 103rd floor of the building. Approximately 1.5 million tourists visit Skydeck Chicago every year. On a clear day, you can see over 50 miles in each direction and see four states. The elevators within the building are among some of the fastest in the world, operating as fast as 1,600 feet per minute. In 2009, Skydeck Chicago opened its newest attraction, The Ledge, 4 glass boxes that extend 4.3 feet outside the Tower and stand 1,353 feet above Wacker Drive. With glass on the ceiling, floor, and all sides, it is truly, an unforgettable experience.

 The elevators are amazing in the Willis Tower. They are so fast! 

The elevators within the building are among some of the fastest in the world, operating as fast as 1,600 feet per minute. 

 I am standing out on a Ledge, looking across at other folks standing out on a Ledge.

Get out on the ledge
if you dare!

Step outside the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. At 1,353 feet in the air, the Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck.

Fun Facts about the Ledge
  • The Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the skyscraper’s Skydeck on the 103rd floor. Each box weights 7,500 lbs.
  • The Ledge’s glass boxes are comprised of three layers of half-inch thick glass laminated into one seamless unit.
  • The Ledge’s boxes have a thin film over the top layer of glass that assures a clear view 1,353 feet straight down!
  • The Ledge’s glass boxes are designed to retract into the building, allowing easy access for cleaning and maintenance.
  • The Ledge is built to withstand four tons of pressure and can hold 10,000 lbs!
  • The Ledge has what is called “heat tracing” to melt snow off the glass

My sister, Clover and me, up in the clouds.
While we were up on TOP OF THE WORLD, we witnessed a marriage proposal.
It was a great adventure for the both of us.
Thank you for coming along today.
If you would like more information regarding the Willis Tower Click Here
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thrifty Finds...my dry spell finally ended

Thrifty Finds...let me tell you who is the Queen of finding fun stuff, Heather at Our Life In a Click
Every time she posts a find,I always comment back that  I need to go shopping with her.

Some of her good luck must have passed into the computer and up on to me. I found the most story telling set of dessert dishes and mugs.

 Look close and you will see the story of a snowman coming to life.

 On the back of the mug and plate it reads...
Distributed by Carson Pirie Holding and Affiliates
Christmas Village 2002

None of that really matters to me. I just love the snowman story.

 I found this set on December 20th.
We had family and friends stop in during the week of the holidays, so I was excited to show off my dessert set. And I got to say, I got this fun set for $2.50!!

I am hoping that Heather's good luck stays with me.

Have you had any luck with thrifty finds?


Monday, January 12, 2015

A Little Bit of Color

A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.
 Max Muller

 " Some people care too much. I think it's called love."
A.A. Milne, Winnie - the - Pooh

A picture is a poem without words.

Happy Monday
A bit of color for the start of this week.


All photos taken by me, on a lovely Spring day in May 2014.

Friday, January 9, 2015

On the Road Friday ~ Shedd Aquarium ~ Chicago, Illinois

Welcome to On the Road Friday.
My On the Road Friday posts are of places we have visited. I like to give travel tips and fun ideas of places to visit if you are planning to do something new.

For my first On the Road Friday of 2015, we are traveling to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois.
My birthday was in December and my sister treated me to a trip to Chicago for the weekend of December 12 - 14th. It was a special trip, just the two of us, something we had not done since high school! She treated me to a full day at the Shedd Aquarium.
And now it is your turn. 
 Let's go look at some fish!

Here is the entrance to the Shedd Aquarium.
First a bit of history. 
Mr. Shedd’s gift
John G. Shedd wanted to give back to the city in which he had risen from stock boy to president of department store giant Marshall Field & Company. Because every great city in the United States and Europe had a fine aquarium, he decided that Chicago must have the biggest and best.
Mr. Shedd imagined a stately marble building and a collection of aquatic animals from around the world that would complement the two world-class institutions already in Grant Park, the Field Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Immerse yourself. Shedd’s exhibits connect you to incredible animals from around the world — and close to home. Dive deep into coral reefs and flooded rainforests, and stroll along the craggy Pacific Northwest coast.
Whether it’s the fresh, cool Great Lakes or warm waves of the Caribbean, Shedd’s many exhibits reveal the secrets of our planet’s waters. 

The outside and the inside of the Shedd Aquarium is full of character. 
Just a bit of the character inside the building
 a neoclassical temple of white marble and terra cotta that celebrates aquatic life, from the marine fossils in its limestone floor to Neptune’s trident capping its glass dome.

 Beluga Whale

The photo above is the Abbott Oceanarium, this area is where the Aquatic Shows are held. The water you see outside is Lake Michigan. It is just a beautiful place. Then add a beluga whale and it is just an amazing sight. A very peaceful setting as well.
We got to see the Holiday Show. We saw beluga whales and dolphins do amazing tricks. We also enjoyed a sea lion and some beautiful holiday music.
Not your typical live animal show, Shedd's aquatic show features a rotating group of Shedd residents.
See and hear how animals like beluga whales, sea lions and dolphins at Shedd are cared for every day by their trainers. Then see how the Shedd way of training highlights their incredible natural behaviors.
Witness the beauty of aquatic life, feel the connection we all share with the living world and share the responsibility we all have to care for animal life on this planet.

 Granddad! He is in the photo below. 

Granddad was huge! He was eating some lettuce.

 I just loved this guy. Not sure about his pose. I think he is balancing on one flipper.

 This fella was swimming in the Caribbean Reef, which was one of my favorite places in the Aquarium. I went back to visit it three times.

And I think this ray's smile is a perfect way to wish you a Happy Friday!
I hope you enjoyed your trip to the Shedd Aquarium.
For more information, Click Here


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

♫ There's No Business Like Snow Business, Like No Business I Know ♫

♪ " There's No Business Like Snow Business, Like No Business I Know"
Sandra Boynton

 Snow Angels
Plop down in the snow on your back ~ wave your arms and legs ~ get up and there will be an Angel imprint in the snow!

This Angel is made by Sam, age 14.  
 Snowmen or Snowgirl
Snow People
 Shape a snow person, the best you can. As you can see, Walter is a skinny snowman. He already started his 2015 diet and has done very well!!
Add some fun sunglasses, hat, scarf, mittens for decorations.
Or use nature. 
Pine cones for eyes, twigs for a smile or pine branches for hair.

Snow Fort
 Our boys are very creative in making snow forts. Tunnels, high walls, cutting out some of the area of the wall for a window. Adding food coloring to make designs for signs.
Using nature to add to the fort. So many fun ideas.

  "The cold wind burns my face, and blows 
Its frosty pepper up my nose."
 Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, January 5, 2015

Reflecting light

With what I have, I can reflect light into the dark places of this world.
Into the black places in the hearts of men and change some things in some people.
Perhaps others may see and do likewise. 
Robert Fulghum
This is what I am about...this is my goal for 2015!

Wishing you a great 2015!
So many sad stories in our world today. 
My goal is to stay positive and shine for my family, friends, neighbors and strangers.
I know we can make a difference.