About The River

Monday, December 18, 2017

Merry Christmas and How to Catch a Reindeer

Merry Christmas
I will be taking a blog break for Christmas.

I wish all of you a blessed Christmas. 
Enjoy time with family, friends and may you feel the blessings of Christmas.

Before I go, I will give you a recipe to help you catch one of Santa's very own reindeer.

Will it be Donner?
Be sure to let me know!

 Reindeer Bait


  • 3 c. corn chex
  • 2 c. wheat chex
  • 2 c. mini pretzels
  • 2 c. mini marshmallows
  • 1 c. red and green M&Ms
  • 20 oz. white chocolate
  • Red and green sprinkles, for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, mix together Corn Chex, Wheat Chex, pretzels, mini marshmallows, and M&Ms.
  2. Melt white chocolate and pour over mixture. Stir until fully coated.
  3. Transfer mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet or dish and top with sprinkles, then refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
  4. Break up into bite-size pieces and serve.

I do find having the M&M's in the mix makes it too sweet. My boys think it is great. I will make it again next Christmas and I plan to skip the M&M's. (don't tell the boys)







Friday, December 15, 2017

Using Nature to Decorate for Christmas

I love to use nature in my decorating. I will head to the woods to gather balsam branches, birch and pine cones. This season I also gathered wintergreen and princess pine.

 I used balsam branches, wintergreen and princess pine to fill my skates.

Using dried hydrangea from my garden I created two of my galvanized bucket Christmas decorations.

 I first applied some hair spray on the hydrangea. I used an extreme hold hairspray, I quickly dusted the hydrangea with gold glitter.

I then let the hydrangea dry for an hour before taking them outside to decorate.

 Since the following photos have been taken, we have received some snow. The glitter is holding up very well, when the sun, moon or lights from the entry hit the hydrangeas, they twinkle.

A flower girl Christmas!

P.S. Any time I get the glitter out for crafting, my husband looks at me in surprise! "No, not glitter!" he will say. Glitter will be following us around for the next few weeks. 


Monday, December 11, 2017

Joy List Monday and The Three Legged Wolf

 The three legged wolf.
If you missed my story about our three legged wolf, read the post shared above.
Many asked to see the three legged wolf after reading his story of how he got a place on our Christmas tree.  His back grey leg is missing starting at the knee down.

 Joy List Monday
a weekly ritual
a reminder to stop and pay attention to the little beauties and graces that make life magical and to set aside time for gratitude each day

 ♫ fresh snow
♫ making new and old time favorite Christmas treats
♫ listening to Christmas music
♫ reading Advent each evening together as a family
♫ feeding the birds, squirrels and rabbits 
♫ homemade ornaments
♫ enjoying preparing for Christmas

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Jingle, Jingle Table Place Settings

Using burlap, glitter snowflakes, candy canes and jingle bells I created these fun place settings for our Christmas dinner table.

 I found the jingle bells at Wal Mart.

Everyone will be ready to play Jingle Bells for Christmas!


Thursday, December 7, 2017

An Update on Marv and Advice from Centenarians

For those of you who have been reading The River for sometime, know of my 90 year old friend Marv. We met in 2012, he stopped me and asked me a question about an insurance company in our village.  From that point on, we became fast friends.
I have done posts about him regarding gardening, he has been my gardening mentor for the last few years. We garden together at the Community Garden.
Marv heads south each and every last week of October. He will call us from Texas on the days that it is -20 degrees in Wisconsin.  Tell us how he is enjoying fresh grapefruit on the beach. 
We made these grapefruit for Marv and put them in the freezer for his return to Wisconsin in late March. Snowballs!! Add a little food coloring and you have Wisconsin Grapefruit.
This winter Marv will be spending winter here in Wisconsin. He lost his cabin in Texas due to Hurricane Harvey. He plans to head back down to Texas the winter of 2018. Did I tell you Marv is 90! He is full adventure. I honestly think that is the key to long life. 
That brings me to the photo above of the Bear Trax. Marv brought that sweet treat to me after a drive he took.  He told me he plans to explore Wisconsin this winter, when the roads are nice and clean. He will pick a direction and explore.
 He also plans to do some research on his ancestors. 

That brings me to the Advice of Centenarians, this interview was published in a paper that I deliver monthly to my Meals on Wheels folks.
Here are a few tips that I think are right on...

Exercise Your Brain 
play cards, do word puzzles, draw, learn a new skill

(this brings me back to thinking of Marv, he is an avid photographer. He had a camera that required film. He wanted to upgrade to a new camera. He would have to learn so much about the new digital ways of the camera. He was a bit nervous at first when my husband started to teach him about the new camera, but soon he relaxed and started to play with the camera.)
Marv has taken so many amazing photos of wildlife, I always encourage him to enter the photos in a contest.

Have a Positive Attitude
see the glass as half - full
be the change you want to see in the world

Keep working after you retire

(this also brings me back to Marv, he gardens each and every year. He gives most of his vegetables away to others.)

 I hope I am able to keep on like Marv is when I am 90. He is inspiration to me.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It is December! It is time for the Hodgepodge!

It is the countdown to Christmas and it is the Hodgepodge.
Joyce asks the questions.
We answer the questions.

1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?
Take it Slow and Steady

Our oldest son graduates from high school May of 2018. He has been accepted and will start college August of 2018.
Our youngest is taking behind the wheel as I type this post.
I am taking it all in, slow and steady, I say to myself as these two boys of ours start to reach for their dreams.

 2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?
I like to make some of my frozen veggies in the microwave. 
In the long run, yes, I think I could get along with out a microwave.

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why? 
Away in the Manger
Growing up on a farm, I would always ponder this song when I was sweeping up feed to the cows. 
After the milking was done, the cows were all cozy in the barn for the night, the smell of fresh hay and hearing the cows chewing. We had cats that would sit on the backs of the cows and go to sleep. It was a cozy place, our barn on a December night.

I would like to be with Jesus in the manger with the cattle.

  4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.

 Wisconsin in Autumn is full of beautiful drives. Lovers Lane is one of my favorites located in Washburn County.

 5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

Baking some new treats with the boys. We have our usual favorites, but I would like to try a few new recipes with the help of the boys. Both of my boys enjoy helping in the kitchen.

 6. Insert your own random thought here.

 Our dear friend Marv lost his cabin during Hurricane Harvey. He will be spending his winter at his cabin here in Wisconsin. He will head back to Texas next winter. Marv is 90! He drives to Texas every October and drives back to Wisconsin at the end of March.
I am happy he is here for the winter. We are having great fun teasing him about snow, cold and making snowmen for his enjoyment. As soon as we get a BIG snowfall we plan to build him a huge snowman. 


Friday, December 1, 2017

Ornaments and Memories

'Tis the Season
It is that time, it is time to decorate. One of my favorite things to do with the boys is decorate our tree. I know this will be a special year for it, because our oldest will graduate the spring of 2018.

Each year for as long as I can remember we have been doing the following with the boys. 
We pick out the perfect to us Christmas tree.
We get our tree set up just right in the living room.
We string the twinkle lights.
We make some popcorn to eat and hot chocolate to drink.
We open the ornament boxes and the memories pour out as well.
Each ornament tells us a story.

We have stories of all sorts of ornaments.

My Jim Morrison ornament and the boys asking "Who in the world is this mom" and me introducing them to The Doors.

My husband has his Hallmark Hockey players. Most of them Pittsburgh Penguins.

My three legged wolf. While dating my husband, I worked part time for his parents as a waitress/dishwasher. I was asked to help with a very fancy party. The people who hosted the party gave each of the staff a gift. Wonderful chocolates and an ornament. I received a three legged wolf. My husband and I opened our gifts from the evening together, he was one of the bartenders, well I kept that three legged wolf.  Once we got married and our first Christmas, I pulled the three legged wolf out of the tissue. We laughed all over again.

 And now for this lovely girl. My husband hates this ornament. He always tries to put her in the back of the tree. The story about her, I rescued her from the trash can. I worked at the Cameron Community Center and a co worker brought in some of her ornaments she was going to toss. I simply had to save her. 

It is the sequins that my husband really does not like. When I found this Santa, again needing rescue from the trash. I just knew who I needed to wrap it up for and give on Christmas day.

My boys gave me this sweet ballerina when they were little. Something special about that first gift they give you. You know they saved their money and thought of just the right gift.

A peek at a few more.

Do you have ornaments that bring back memories?