About The River

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

 A peek at our outdoor decorations this 2019 Christmas season.
The front deck.

Mr. Slim the snowman is ready to greet those who come to the backdoor.

 Finding the perfect Christmas tree.

O Christmas Tree!
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How lovely are thy branches
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How lovely are thy branches

Wishing you a lovely Christmas my friends.
Thank you for all the support and reading The River. 
  I will be taking a short break to celebrate this special season with family and friends.
Praying that you all have a special holiday.
  I spotted Santa in a wee bit of trouble in Madison, Wisconsin.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 13, 2019

On the Road Friday ~ to the Wisconsin Executive Residence ~

Last week Thursday my husband, I and our son Atticus headed South to Madison. Our destination was the Executive Residence.

Governor Tony Evers and First Lady Kathy Evers announced that they will continue the  tradition of remembering Wisconsin's deployed service members and veterans with a "Tribute to our Troops." holiday tree in the Executive Residence.

The governor and first lady invite family members of Wisconsin's service members - past and present, in Wisconsin and abroad - to send a holiday ornament dedicated to their loved one. The ornaments will be displayed on one of the large evergreen trees on display at the Executive Residence during its holiday tours.

We created the following ornaments.

My Grandpa Sam .. WWII Veteran

 Our son Sam.. currently Wisconsin National Guard

The invitation is open to families of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members. Ornaments can be plain, fancy or personalized to honor our fallen service members, those who are deployed overseas this holiday season, and all who wear the uniforms of our nation's armed forces.

" I am pleased to be able to offer families an opportunity, especially during the holiday season, to recognize the brave folks who serve in our armed forces." Governor Evers said. " I think it is as important for family members as it is for the service members being honored in this way."
Governor Evers
 We met the First Lady Kathy Evers. She was interested in our family story and where in Wisconsin we lived. She had to chuckle at how far North we live from Madison.
We got to hang our ornaments on the Tribute to our Troops tree.

 It was a special day for us. 
Thank you for coming along with me today, On the Road Friday, to Madison, Wisconsin to see a very special tree at the Executive Residence.


Monday, December 9, 2019

Gingerbread House 2019

While having lunch with my son one day in November he shared with me he wanted to build a gingerbread house this year as part of our Christmas decorating.
When my boys were younger we had a gingerbread house making party with some of our dear friends. All being boys, it was great fun to see what designs they came up with and  how much frosting, candy and more they could eat while creating.

When I mentioned the idea to my husband we thought we would try one of the kits we see at the local markets. My husband picked out the Reindeer Barn. 

 Everything you need comes with the kit.
 You have to cut the fondant to the way you want to create the house.
 Atticus is busy starting to create the red barn.
 Using a gumdrop and red frosting I created the wreath.
 Working to make the barn look just like he wanted.
 Starting to put on the finishing touches.
 The icing sets up fast. You do have to work quickly.
 We placed the barn on a tray and made some more icing to create our snow yard for the reindeer.

We had so much fun creating this gingerbread house, that we plan to make this a new family tradition.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Hit Where It Hurts

Hit where it hurts.. this does not sound very Christmas like I know. And this will be a post that my heart will break open in all honesty. I have been struggling with a VERY negative person at my work. I work part time, two days a week at Daybreak. I shared about my new job here.

Early November I had it with the co worker. I called my supervisor and explained the situation. She was caring, listened and understood what I was saying because there have been other complaints about this co worker. I shared with my supervisor I will give it another two weeks. 
Well, here I am. 
Things have gotten worse. 
I went to my supervisor again.
Because it is the holiday season, we have so many fun activities planned and I have come to love and care for the participants. It is not easy for me to say "I am hanging it up!"
At the same time, I am not sure I can handle anymore of the negativity that comes with each day.  I have never been in such a situation before in all my years of working. 
I am at a crossroads. 
And I share this all with you because you have been with me during my dad's heart attack, my son's basic training , the passing of our dog and so much more. 

Thank you my friends for any words of wisdom. If any of you have walked this road before. How did you handle it? How did you decide on what to do?

 This week our family received some very difficult news.
A dear friend of ours has been diagnosed with cancer.
I have cried often this week. Confused, sad and disappointed. 
My prayer is to be the friend she needs me to be. For my boys to be the friends they need to be and that we can shine light during this very difficult time.

 I know I have to play on the one string that we have and that is our attitude.
Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

Be Love!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Be your own Elf!

I recently read a post by Susan Branch. She shared some advice she received from her dad.
I wanted to share it with you during this Christmas season.

As you know, there is a lot of worry in the world these days ~ but you can help!
Do what my dad told me.
"Be an elf.
Wear a cute hat, a colorful sweater, smile at strangers, cheer people up." 

You are your own best gift! 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Memories of 2018 Thanksgiving

 Thanksgiving of 2018 found our family just getting home from attending Basic Training Graduation for our son Sam at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
 After graduation we were able to spend three fantastic days in Augusta, Georgia, before Sam had to report for duty at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
 As we planned our trip back to Wisconsin we took our time and visited the Tallulah Gorge, located in the Northeast Mountains of Georgia.
Yikes.. I still need to do a post about our stops on our way back home.
Our last Cracker Barrel that we stopped at was in Northern Kentucky. Stopping at Cracker Barrel is a big deal for us when traveling, because we do not have any near to us in the Northland of Wisconsin.
Our waitress shared that they were baking pies for Thanksgiving. My husband looked at me with puppy dog eyes. We just can't celebrate Thanksgiving with out pecan pie. No worries about the turkey, mashed potato or squash. He needs pie.
 We did just that. We bought a pie and celebrated Thanksgiving safe and sound back home in Wisconsin. Our Sam enjoyed Thanksgiving at Fort Gordon, Georgia and was able to call home. He shared that he had a great dinner and what really made the dinner special was who served them.
Some of the high command came to Fort Gordon to thank the men and women for their service and served them Thanksgiving dinner.

 Thanksgiving day will be here soon and we are so excited to host Thanksgiving this year. We have a small family, it is just six of us. I am excited as this is my first hosting Thanksgiving. 

"The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely."
Louisa May Alcott

Happy Thanksgiving
 I will be taking a break for the rest of the week to celebrate Thanksgiving and after Thanksgiving.. start decorating for Christmas!

 Enjoy your family and friends.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Keeping Fish

 Hello Friends,
Do you remember my post from this summer? 
Click above if you want to read the post. I will give you a refresher here.
This summer I created a water feature using a whiskey barrel. 
I purchased 10 simple gold fish that cost .14 cents each. I also purchased a pond plant.

 The above bug was a frequent visitor to the whiskey barrel.
When September rolled around I had 4 fish left out of the original 10. I told my husband, "we might be keeping fish." 
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I can not leave these fish to freeze, we will have to clean the whiskey barrel and put it away for the winter, and well, those 4 fish are just going to have to come on inside."
"Where are you going to put them?"
"I will find a spot."
Our bathroom has a nautical themed decor. I knew my fish would fit right in. 
I added a small table to the one empty corner of our bathroom. And they seemed very happy.
Well, here comes the sad part of this story.
I did not know how much they would want to eat. They seemed to eat mosquitoes or something in the whisky barrel, because when I fed them flakes or the shrimp pellets, they never seemed to eat them. 
I got very excited that when I brought the 4 fish inside, they all got excited when I came to feed them. I sure did like to feed them. In fact I think I over fed the one. Because he ate and ate and the next time I visited the bathroom he was belly up dead!

I now have 3 fish.
I do hope I can winter them over. 
And who knew .14 cent fish could cause so much heartache. Because yes, I was very sad about that one that went belly up.

What are you wintering over?

Monday, November 18, 2019

What to do with big pots?

 When preparing the garden for winter I always struggle on what to do about my big pots that I plant flowers in. Big pots can get heavy. Where do I put all the soil? And do I really have to buy new soil in the spring for all my big pots?
 While listening to a Joe Gardener pod cast about composting. I learned a fantastic tip for how to care for you soil in big pots. I do not have to dump all that soil each autumn during garden clean up. I can leave it in the pots and add compost.
This is a helpful tip for those who garden from an apartment balcony. No one wants to toss out the soil each and every season. It gets costly and difficult. 
Here is the good news.
Clean out your plants, turn the soil in the pot add leaves, kitchen compost ( potato peels, egg shells, carrot peels, coffee grounds .. ) during the autumn, winter and early spring the pot soil will break down all that making a new fresh soil for you to plant in spring.

Do you keep your soil in your big pot over winter and reuse in spring?
Are you an apartment balcony gardener? 
Please share any tips or tricks.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Well, for the love of Pete!

Well, for the love of Pete!

Oh Goodnight!

What in Sam's Hill?

A little update about how our weather in Wisconsin has gone wacko and I mean wacko!
We woke to negative temperatures November 12! Oh my it was cold on Monday and very, very cold on Tuesday. Do you want to guess what the temperature was when we woke up Tuesday morning?

Wisconsin moss, autumn leaves and snow.

-2 degrees!

Have a blessed weekend my friends. 

We got the garden to bed, spring bulbs planted and everything summer put away snug as a bug  for the big Wisconsin winter by the skin of our teeth.
 Winter kicked autumn right out and said  "I am here!" in a big way!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Joy List Monday

 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
 ♥ late autumn hikes with my family

 ♥ finding tracks in the sand along the banks of the creek

 ♥ winter birds returning to the feeder

♥ homemade chili simmering on the stove

♥ left over trick or treat candy


Friday, November 1, 2019

Apple Cider Donuts

We enjoy making homemade baked donuts. When we visit the local apple orchards many of them have Apple Cider Donuts for sale. Susan Branch click here to find the recipe
recently posted an Apple Cider Donut recipe. 

It did not disappoint. Yummy!

If you do decided to click on the recipe you will see that she mentions cooking down the apple cider. After our pumpkin party we had about a quart left of mulled cider in the crock pot. As the cider sits and cooks during the day it does cook down and can get a little syrupy. When I read Susan's recipe, I knew I found the perfect way to use the last of the mulled cider from the party.

Apple Cider Donuts
a great cup of coffee.. a perfect way to start off November.

November brings good skating weather, Thanksgiving gathers us together.
Tasha Tudor

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween ~ Photos from the Pumpkin Carving Party

 Each year we have a pumpkin carving party. 

Hot Apple Cider
 This year we had a perfect October day to carve outside.
We had the bon fire going. 
Leaves falling and sunshine.

 The 2019 Pumpkin Line Up

Some made scary pumpkin faces.

 One tried to make an owl.

 And one made who they are cheering for in the World Series.

Trick or Treat