About The River

Friday, February 26, 2016

On the Road Friday ~ Winter in a Backyard of Wisconsin

 Happy Friday!
Today we are on the road, to our front and back yard.
Our first real snow storm of the season was perfect snow for building a snow man.
What a handsome fella...looks like someone is jealous of me and Mr. Snowman.
 We put bird food on Mr. Snowman's mittens, top of his hat and around his scarf.
Can you spot the chickadee on Mr. Snowman in the next photo?
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home." 
Edith Sitwell

Our snow is melting and we are to have highs of 45° for the weekend.
Giving me, SpRiNg FeVeR

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


 It is Wednesday! 
This week Joyce the author of the Hodgepodge as declared a Hodgepodge Spring Break!

Last week one of the questions in the Hodgepodge was regarding a toxic situation. And if you have ever had the courage to leave a toxic situation.

I say courage because it takes courage to say "No More!"

For me this took place in year 2012. I said "No More!"

What I found so interesting is that several bloggers posted something about poor friendships in a post  or comment last week. It made me think back to when I had to say "No More".


 For me, warning signs began to pop out.

I always felt like I had to justify my actions.
I will share one example. Trick or Treating ~ this "friend" did not believe in Halloween or Trick or Treating. I am fine with having different opinions. I have several friends who have different opinions from me. We leave it as that.
And if it is just all in fun for little ones to go around to neighbors, family and friends, dressed up as a Star Wars character, who cares.
Oh my! I will never forget the hammer that fell on me for my actions. 

I started to not be me around this person. I would try to be who they wanted me to be!

There comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who won't even jump a puddle for you.

And did it help? No, it got worse! I was not me, I was trying to be someone else.
And I continued to be criticized, I continued trying to justify the things I did or did not do. 
Finally, I had it! No more. And back in 2012, I walked away.
It was not easy.  

 I am thankful for the friends who loved me during that hard time. It was difficult because I left a circle. I could no longer be in that circle, because she was in the circle.
2016 will be going on four years since I made the decision to say "No More".

What positive things came from this decision?
I am no longer working on trying to PLEASE someone I never could.
This frees me! It frees my spirit and it frees my dreams.

I hope this post helps some of you that commented or wrote about friendships last week.

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Peaceful Stroll

 When ever I have the opportunity to stroll in my hometown cemetery, I do.
I grew up in Phillips, Wisconsin. I have family buried at the St. Patrick's Cemetery and the Lakeside Cemetery. My father's side of the family is buried at the St. Patrick's Cemetery.

 I enjoy reading the names of my family, some I never met. 
I enjoy looking at other family plots that I know and grew up with.

 Taking time to remember, and think about family and friends.

After my boys leave the nest (which is getting closer than I like) I would like to dig into researching our ancestry. 
Have you studied your ancestry or had a family member?
How did you go about it?
Did you use Ancestry.com?

I would love any tips that you learned while digging into your ancestry.

Do you have a memory of walking in a cemetery?

 Touring Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Touring Concord, Massachusetts.

And many more historical places in the United States. Taking time to remember is important.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup
2 lbs yellow onions, trimmed,halved and sliced (2qts)
1 box (32oz) beef broth
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup White Wine or Water
2 Tbsp flour
6 thick slices sourdough or rustic loaf bread, crusts trimmed
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese
Cracked pepper, optional

Place sliced onions in to a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Add broth and thyme and stir.
Cover cooker with lid and cook on high setting 3 to 4 hours or until onions are tender.

Mix white wine (or water) with flour and stir into the slow cooker. Cover and continue to cook on high setting for 1 hour longer or until thickened.

Before serving, place bread slices on a baking sheet and top with cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly. To serve, ladle soup into shallow bowls. Place one slice of hot cheesy bread into each bowl. Sprinkle with pepper to taste. Makes 1 1/2 quarts or 6 (1 cup) servings.

This was my first time making French Onion Soup.
 I did not add the thyme. I used White Wine and I added 3/4 Cups.
We enjoyed this recipe. I was surprised that both my boys liked it! I used Swiss cheese to top off our bread. Yummy! It was so good!

Do you like French Onion Soup? Do you have a favorite recipe?


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

From Sunny Wisconsin - It is the Hodgepodge

It is Wednesday and it is time for the Hodgepodge.
Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.

1. February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. It lands on the calendar one day after National Do Something for a Grouch Day (February 16) which somehow feels related. Perhaps the 16th inspired the 17th?

Tell about a time you performed a random act of kindness or were the recipient of one. Will you make an effort to perform a random act of kindness on the 17th? Share details if you're so inclined, and if you have something specific in mind.

Well, I do not want to sound like a Goody Two - Shoes, but I try to be kind every day! Recently I let a lady go in front of me in line at the grocery store. I cheered up our clerk at the check out at the Market. 
During the summer months when my flower gardens are in full bloom, I love to give bouquets of flowers.
Our mailman is one person I think who is always being so kind to us. He will do his very best to leave our packages in our mailbox. He always does such a nice job.
I have been given the opportunity to go first in line at the Market. The door held open for me and so many little things that make a difference.

 2.What's the most uplifting or encouraging thing you see happening in the world right now? You may have to dig deep for this one.

All in all, I think our world is still a good place. I see people helping people after storms. After a snow storm we got stuck, we were helped right away by a stranger. Many times I think our Media fails to see all the good that is going on in our world.

3. Black olives, black currants, black grapes, black beans, blackberries, Oreos...your favorite food the color of night? Your least favorite on the list?

Blackberries are my favorite!
My least favorite would be flavored Oreos, I only want a true Oreo! Who comes up with those silly flavors??

 4. A while back I read (here) a list of twelve things you should do before you turn 50. They were-

travel when you have the chance, take care of your skin, learn a foreign language, make exercise a habit, leave a toxic situation, stop caring what others think about you, stop worrying, volunteer, spend time with your grandparents, pledge to work less, learn to cook an amazing dish, and seize an opportunity as it arises

What do you think of the list? What would you add or remove and why? If you're over 50, have you done all 12? If you're not yet 50, have you done any at all? What's on the list that you haven't done, but would like to do?

 All of the things help you in one way or another, so I would leave the list as is.
I am not over 50.
I have done the following~
Take care of your skin. Yes, I learned this from my Aunt Sharon who has skin cancer.
I am trying to learn a foreign language. I am 18% fluent in German. LOL
I do make exercise a habit.
I volunteer.
I left a toxic situation. 

I can no longer spend time with my grandparents, but I do realize the importance of this one. I try very hard for my boys to spend as much time as they can. We do not live close, I make an effort that we get together as often as we can. 

What would I like to do ~
Stop worrying

 5. Besides the classic Christmas flicks, what's your favorite film where winter plays a part in the setting? 
 Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
This is the movie that popped into my head first. That is because the boys have been asking me over and over what my favorite episode of Star Wars is. The answer is always the same, The Empire Strikes Back, I think they want to see if I change my mind. LOL

 6.When did you last feel helpless, and what did you do about it?

Oh my, well the Valentine Bug hit our family. What is the Valentine Bug you ask? It is a flu bug! It hit this house. On Valentine's night, about 11:30pm our son threw up, just a foot from the toilet. And then he did it again. He yelled "Help Mom"
What did I do?
I had to wrap a bandanna over my nose and mouth, I can not stand the smell of puke. My husband helped me too. We had a mess to clean up and a boy who was very sick. I cleaned up Sam, got him a bucket and began the long night of caring for him.

7. Share a favorite proverb. 

This is a hard one for me. The Book of Proverbs is my favorite Book of the Bible.

Proverbs 10:14 
Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites trouble. 

 8. Insert your own random thought here. 

I am happy to report...my son is feeling better. Monday he slept most of the day. Tuesday he had more energy. We played two games of Life and he beat me both times! I guess we can say he is officially on the mend!

Have a great week!
And beware of the Valentine Bug!  


Monday, February 15, 2016

Snow Cave

Chill February brings the day, 
when hearts and flowers we give away.
Tasha Tudor

This past week my boys spent some time with Grandma and Grandpa. They built an amazing Snow Cave! My mom used the skid steer to pile a big, big pile of snow up for them. The boys dug and dug and dug. They said they worked on it for about eight hours.
My dad put a light in the cave for the evening hours. It light up like a space ship. I did not get a photo of it at night, my mom did. She did share it with me. It was so cool. 

And now for the tour of the snow cave!

 I am peeking in to the entrance.

 Inside the cave. The boys thought of everything. Several windows, shelving and two side rooms.
This cave was a perfect place to play house war. 
The boys explained the game to me they created and this was the base. 

 It was very warm inside the cave. My dad brought in a few chairs for the boys.

 And he brought in a light for the evening hours. The boys said it was so cool!

 A few more windows.

 Landscaping the entrance.

 A window made of ice.

The Snow Cave  from the outside.

Do you have any memories of making snow caves or forts?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day
My youngest son got into helping me make some Valentine ideas for our Sunday School class.

Heart Animals
Construction Paper

 Create each animal out of hearts. Tape on the pieces you need to assemble your heart animal. Use makers to decorate.

 Lion Heart

 Atticus made this one, just for me. A bee for my garden. ♥

Will you Bee my Valentine?

 A Chilling Penguin

 Oink, Oink ~ I love you!

 Rib-bit, Rib-bit!

A fun and easy project. With lots of imagination to come up with how to create an animal out of hearts.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Pondering Thoughts

Hoar Frost
 Happy Weekend 
The following photos are of hoar frost. 
We woke up to an amazing sight one December morning. My husband told me it was hoar frost. I had never heard of it before. Below is what Wikipedia has to say about it.

Hoar frost (also hoarfrost, radiation frost, or pruina) refers to white ice crystals, deposited on the ground or loosely attached to exposed objects such as wires or leaves.[4] They form on cold, clear nights when conditions are such that heat radiates out to the open sky faster than it can be replaced from nearby sources such as wind or warm objects. Under suitable circumstances, objects cool to below the frost point[5] of the surrounding air, well below the freezing point of water. Such freezing may be promoted by effects such as flood frost or frost pocket.[6] These occur when ground-level radiation losses cool air till it flows downhill and accumulates in pockets of very cold air in valleys and hollows. Hoar frost may freeze in such low-lying cold air even when the air temperature a few feet above ground is well above freezing.
The name hoar comes from an Old English adjective that means "showing signs of old age"; in this context it refers to the frost that makes trees and bushes look like white hair.

My mom shared with me some rural wisdom. 
I think a few of these will make you smile.

Look outside on a clear night and watch the stars. It'll give you a new appreciation of how small each of us is in the vast universe.

Fellow told me that being old was mostly not a bad thing. He said it was a lot better than being dead. But he added that as he'd never been dead he couldn't speak with much authority.

You've got to have some things that are tough to do so you can appreciate those that are easy. 

Amazing beauty

When you start wondering what old means, think of a tree. For oaks and pine trees, 15 years is just middle age.

Sometimes the biggest problem in learning something new is getting rid of an old idea that stands in the way. No matter how wrong the old idea may be, we still want to hold onto it for dear life. Maybe it is because we naturally fear something new.
Simple Beauty

Life is like a river. There are twists and turns, quiet spots and rapids, deep pools and shallow flats. But a river is always moving. Always the same but always different. Just like people.

Wishing you all a great weekend. I will be taking the week off to work on some projects.
I will be back soon!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hello February it is the Hodgepodge

Ice and Rocks
Hello, it is Wednesday. It is time for the Hodgepodge!
Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.

 1. Describe love using all five senses.

When the sun begins to crawl over the horizon and when the sun crawls back under the horizon.
I love the sunrise and the sunset.

When rain drops gently fall on my window at night while I fall asleep.
I love a rainy night.

A good coffee with a swirl of cream and chocolate.
I have been known to have coffee and chocolate for breakfast.

The comfort of my own bed.
After a getaway, the feeling of crawling into my own bed....LOVE!

The smell of fresh cut hay in a farm field.
That wonderful smell brings back loving memories of summers growing up on a farm.
 2. February is Canned Food Month. What's your favorite food that comes straight from a can?
Jellied Cranberries

 3. A principal in a UK school recently sent home a letter to parents requesting they (the parents!) dress appropriately when escorting their children to/from school (basically saying please don't wear your pajamas) You can read the letter here. It's gotten a lot of publicity, both positive and negative. Your thoughts? And do/did you ever make the school run (or hit Starbucks, Walmart, etc) in your pjs?
I agree with the principal. I think we can make an effort to dress.
I have always put on town clothing to run errands.  
Growing up on a farm, we had "barn clothes". My mom always had us change into town clothes when heading in to do errands.

4. Crew neck, V-neck, turtleneck, scoop neck...which is most prevalent in your wardrobe?
Crew neck

 5. I read here recently a list of four things to avoid so you wake up happier. They were late night snacks, hitting the snooze button, social media just before bed/upon waking, checking emails. 

 Are you guilty of any of these behaviors? Which on that list do you need to work harder at avoiding?
I am guilty of peeking at Instagram before bed.

 6. Share something you remember about a house you lived in as a child? Of all the homes you lived in as a child, which did you love best?
I lived in three homes growing up. One I do not remember, it was a trailer home on the family farm. After a terrible storm our family moved into the main farm house and my grandma moved into town.
The main farm house was my home most of my life.
My parents built a new home on the farm and we moved in when I was 15 years old.

I have many memories of the old farm house. I will share the one my boys like best for me to recall.
Bats! The house was full of bats. My sister and I would have to watch for bats as we climbed into bed. We would scream for my dad if we had a bat flying in our room. My dad would come to the rescue.
One night my sister and I were in the kitchen doing dishes, my parents were in the barn. A bat was in the kitchen. We had huge bottom cupboards in the kitchen. I put my sister inside the cupboard and ran to the barn to get dad.

7.Your favorite movie based on a true story? 
This is a hard one, because I have so many.
I will go with 42 tonight as I write up this post.
In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), legendary manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, defies major league baseball's notorious color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team. The heroic act puts both Rickey and Robinson in the firing line of the public, the press and other players. Facing open racism from all sides, Robinson demonstrates true courage and admirable restraint by not reacting in kind and lets his undeniable talent silence the critics for him.

 I love Harrison Ford in this movie. And I love the story.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

One thing I believe for sure. A big reason we're on this earth is do something for others.
Jerry Apps 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Wisconsin Grapefruit

Wisconsin grapefruit, oh yes. Easy to grow, all you need is snow.

 If you are new to The River, you may not know the story of my friend Marv. 
Marv is 86 years old. He is a Master Gardner and he has been mentoring  me in gardening for the last three years. He is a prankster as well. 
This summer he placed a plastic orange in my son's tomato plant, a huge plastic fly and many other shenanigans.

Marv winters down in Texas on the Gulf Coast. He likes to call us and let us know he is having lunch on the beach. He had to turn his fan on because it got to 80 °. He always calls on days that we are experiencing a day of negative temperatures. Oh yes, he loves to rub it in.

During our last snow storm, my boys had a wonderful idea.
Marv loves Texas grapefruit. That is another thing he likes to tell us all about. How he is eating fresh grapefruit.  
"Mom, how about we make Marv some Wisconsin Grapefruit!" 
What a great idea!
The Wisconsin grapefruit will be waiting for him in our freezer when he comes back to Wisconsin in April.

Recipe for Fresh Wisconsin Grapefruit

Make the snow into a grapefruit size snowball
Use food coloring to color your grapefruit
Freeze for your buddy who winters in Texas. You would not want him to miss out on Wisconsin winters

As I type up this post, our neck of Wisconsin is under a Snow Storm Warning.
More Wisconsin Grapefruit coming right up!