Princess Katelyn’s Wedding

somehow I now have an extra blogging page….going to try to include this on my shellys stories page.

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Food For The Soul

wedding 9/21/2013It’s now been 2 weeks since the event of the year. An event that was in the planning since she was old enough to notice boys. An event that will live in the memories of those who were present to share the event with each other.  Yes, we are talking about the wedding of Princess Katelyn and her new husband Daryl.  This was the wedding in which I was determined to lose 55 by age 55….(perhaps 20 by 55), the event of the century, the event that often times had just a hint of bridezilla bubbling to the surface, the event that every girl dreams of.  I will go on record as saying, as her mother, that she was absolutely beautiful, and appeared to be walking on air the entire evening.  Everything went as planned, except we forgot to unbustle her dress before she walked down the aisle…but she…

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May Day….days gone by…



Growing up, May Day used to be one of my favorite days of the year, that is, after Christmas and my birthday.  In the seventies we still celebrated May Day in our small town of 1,100 people.  Mom would send us uptown with 2 dollars, and our job was to pick out 100 pieces of penny candy, plus some special candy.  Back in the “dark ages,” as my kids refer to my youth, there was a very nice assortment of penny candy available for stuffing the baskets.  There were those chewy cherry (or strawberry?) circular candies that had the appearance of a coin, Tootsie Rolls in a decent length, Pixie Sticks, Milk Duds, Nik-L-Nips, Candy Buttons on a strip of paper, Bit-O-Honey, Candy cigarettes, about 20 different suckers, Chicklets, candy bracelets, wax lips, Sweet Tarts, Dubble Bubble, Licorice, Lemon Drops, Black Jack Gum, Teaberry Gum, Necco wafers, Sugar Babies, Rasinets, Charms, Razzles, Chocolate coins, Pirates gold gum that came in a little sack, and it you had a little extra money you could get some Brachs candy too.  Now, not all of these candies sold for a penny, but they weren’t more than a dime each.  I can clearly remember going up to the Sweet Shop, money in hand, and beginning the task given to me.  As my sisters got older, they would come up too, and we were like the proverbial “kids in a candy shop.”  We would grab candy and set them in little piles, according to price, on top of the ice cream freezer (self-serve kind with 2 doors that slid both ways)  “Doc,” the owner would stand of the other side of the freezer and divide the piles into smaller piles, to make adding up our total easier.  It seemed like such a huge pile of candy….and we were in heaven.  We gladly gave over our money, while often times having to return some candy because our count was off, and left the store with our bags of happiness.  After the 2 block walk home we would begin making the baskets.  Mom would pop some popcorn on the stove, without butter, to be added to the baskets as a filler.  All we needed now was construction paper, scissors, some crayons for decorating the baskets, and a stapler. Sometimes she would have some paper doilies to make special baskets for family.  We always made them in to a cone shape, and cut an extra strip of paper for the handle.  It was imperative that you have a sturdy handle, because the baskets were to be hung on the door knobs of their front doors.  If it was a boy that you thought was cute, you could ring the door bell, then run…and if they chased after you, then  that meant they liked you.  unfortunately the only thing that chased after me were the family pets…….Sometimes we would go out in the yard and pick some of those little purple wild violets that grew close to the ground (actually, I think they were weeds) and add them to our mix of candy and popcorn.  It was truly one of the best days of the year.  Spring was making its appearance, the tulips were open, and the leaves were turning the trees green.  The long snowy cold winter was behind us.  If it was nice we would load the baskets on our bikes and make our deliveries, and if it was raining Mom would take us around.  Then you would anxiously return home to see how many baskets were left on the porch for us.  Truly magical 🙂

photo credit:peoplesumcnews.blogspot

I tried to continue the tradition when my oldest were in grade school a decade later, but many kids their age just didn’t know about giving out May Day baskets. They had a chosen few that got “special” baskets, including our neighbor Emma, their piano teacher Anne, and any other adults who touched their lives in a personal way.  One year we made them out of construction paper, and another year we used Dixie cups with pipe cleaners for handles.  They were always hand-made and decorated with the love and dedication that only a child can create.   I am a lover of traditions, and this was one that I hated to see die, but eventually we stopped making them as well……so to all of my friends and readers, I am sending you a virtual beautiful May Basket filled with any candy that you can fondly remember, popcorn that was popped on the stove, with a sprinkling little purple violets ♥


Red Cake

4 (1/2 oz) bottles red food coloring

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp. vinegar

3 Tbls. Nestle milk cocoa

1/2 cup Crisco

2 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp Vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

Mix food coloring and cocoa together and set aside.

Combine flour and salt, sifting 3 times.

Cream sugar, crisco and egg.

Mix food coloring/ cocoa mixture to above.

Add buttermilk, flour, salt and vanilla.

Add baking soda to vinegar and stir well in to mixture.

Grease and flour pans (I use 2 heart-shaped pans) and bake for 30 -35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.


2 stick oleo

7-8 Tbls Crisco

3 Tbls flour

2./3 cup milk (room temperature)

1 cup granulated sugar

Vanilla to taste

Cream the oleo, Crisco, sugar and flour (add flour one Tbls at a time)

Add milk and vanilla.

Mix with an electric mixer until creamy.

Hey Kelly…….Shamrock Shakes are Back!



  Yesterday, after a grueling day of shopping, my daughter asked if I would pull off of the interstate so we could stop at McDonalds.  I reminded her that we just had a big lunch a few hours ago, and she said all she wanted was to get a Shamrock Shake.  I don’t remember any of my kids ever requesting a Shamrock Shake…..who is this child? I reminded her that I just bought her a  movie, so she decided that she would pay for the shake out of her allowance.  That left me no excuse, so of course being the perfect mother that I am, I stopped so she could get a shake.  We pulled into the drive-thru and after looking at the prices, she decided she wanted a large shake.  I am quietly shaking my head because there is no way she will finish an entire large shake, but it was her money….so large Shamrock Shake it was.  She paid her $2.99 and they handed us this huge beautiful green shake, complete with whipped cream and a cherry.  She giggled with glee as I handed it to her, and then went to work enjoying the shake.

  As I was driving the rest of the way home, my memory wandered back to the time that my sister Kelly, and a Shamrock Shake had a face off…and the shake won!  My mom, two sisters and I had gone grocery shopping one Saturday in Streator.  The year was 1970, and I would have been 11, Kelly was 7,and Tammy was at the ripe old age of 3.  It was a treat to go out to lunch when I was young.  We never questioned it, we just knew that it was an unexpected treat.  The rule was that we could get a sandwich, and either french fries or a small coke.  Again, we didn’t question why, it just was the way it was…period!  It was early March and McDonalds had just introduced a new shake flavor, now well-known as a Shamrock Shake.  Kelly had decided that she wanted a shake, and she proceeded to beg and plead to get the shake. I can still remember my mom trying to reason with her, telling her that it was mint flavored and she would not like it.  Kelly insisted she knew what mint tasted like, and promised she would drink the whole thing. Of course I opted for french fries and a glass of water….there were no better fries on earth as McDonalds….and even at the age of 11 I knew my food.  We all get settled in and begin eating our lunch.  Kelly ate her burger and the took a big swig of the shake…and then gagged.  One of those honest to goodness gags…the ones that make your mouth open like a fish and you make a horrible noise that seems to come out of your mouth from the tips of your toes.  Your know the look: your  face turns kinda purplish red, and you appear to stop breathing for a few seconds. (excuse me a moment because at this point I am giggling so hard that the tears are running down my face just picturing her sitting at that table)

Anyway…I hurry to finish my burger and fries as fast as I can, while trying to ease away from her as we sit side by side in the booth….and of course I am near the wall.  She begs mom to let her throw away the shake, and mom is determined that she is going to sit there until she drinks at least 3/4 of it.  She tried to tell Kelly she wouldn’t like it, she tried to reason with Kelly….but NOOOOO Kelly knew what she wanted, and mom was not going to waste the $1.89.  I just wanted to die in horror as we sat in McDonalds for over an hour as Kelly continued to sip….gag….sip…gag….plead….sip….purple face……gag….plead….fish lips……gag…..plead…..until there was one-quarter of the shake left.   Kelly may have thought she was stubborn at the young age of 7,  but she was in the ring with the champ!  And to this day I remind her every single year when I see that Shamrock Shakes are back!  And since I am a christian woman, I won’t tell you what her reply to me is now that we are adults ♥

PS…Miss Madison drank 1/2 of her shake….which makes me wonder why kids refuse to listen to their parents line of reasoning…..we didn’t get to be this age by not learning  a thing or two……..duh!




2 cups of vanilla ice cream

3/4 cup milk

3/4 tsp peppermint extract (don’t over do this…strong in flavor)

green food coloring (8-9) drops

Blend all together until the right consistancy.

Since we are no longer in the 70’s…add whipped cream and a cherry.

Fourth of July Fun


me in my homemade floatGrowing up in a town of 1,000 people was just the right fit for me.  We lived almost in the center of town…2 blocks from uptown, 3 blocks from the school and 2 blocks from the park.  As most small towns do, we always had a full day celebration on the 4th of July.  It would begin with a festive parade, complete with fire engines, police cars, floats, tractors and horses.  The kids would stand at the edge of the road, bag in hand, ready to get a months supply of free candy that was thrown out to the crowd from the passing entries.  The parade started at the grade/ high school, went down main street, turned at the hotel and went straight down to the park.  It was always exciting because we only had to walk 1/2 a block to reach the parade route.  We would cross the street with our blankets and lawn chairs sit in my Aunt Doris and Uncles Shellys yard.  This was the meeting spot for the extended family to assemble.  For many years we would have a fish fry and potluck in that same back yard.  They would un-thaw the fish that the men and ladies had caught that previous summer when we all went on vacation together in Wisconsin.  After the parade, while the adults were cooking the food, the kids would go to the park for the awards ceremony so see who’s float was the winner, and then to play some kids games.

moms creationToday I began going through some photos that we kept in a trunk after my parents passed away.  It was too painful to look at them for the past 5 years, and I will admit I have shed a few tears in the last few hours.  I found these photos of floats my mom created when I was a baby, and  that continued throughout our grade school years.  I just look at these and I shake my head in total awe of my mothers creativity and spirit.  These were made with a wagon,  chicken wire and countless tissues.  This one is probably the best one that I could find.  The date on the photo is 1960, which means I was 2 years old as a passenger in the float.

Scan_Pic0034In this one, my sister Tammy was a baby, and my other sister Kelly was the one appointed to push her the short 4 block through the kiddie parade starting line, to the park.  I would have been about 12 at this time, so I am sure that I was following close behind in some sort of get up.  One year the town replaced the old water tower with a new one, and Kelly and I went as the old and the new water towers.  She was in the “old” one, which was brick and straight up and down in shape.  Mine was silver in color, and had the familiar shape of most water towers now..looking like a golf tee with a golf ball sitting on the top.  I am hoping to find that picture somewhere.  I know we were older, and I can even remember trying to walk inside my water tower, trying not to fall over.

mom and I 1959...her carousel creationl This is the one that shows this wonderful, amazing woman who I called “mom”….As I said before, I am in awe of the things she did as we were growing up.  Most things went unnoticed by her children, until after she was gone.  She made every holiday special, but the July 4th and Christmas were always the best.  Now I am in a new town, double the size…but the parade goes right by my house.  My kids sat for years, as we did, with their bags, ready to catch the bounty of candy.  I wasn’t as creative as mom, and we didn’t enter many kiddie parades, so perhaps I cheated my kids in a way.  I have no excuse, other than the shoes I had to fill were much too large ♥



  • 1/3 cup sugar
  •    1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 7 medium red potatoes, cubed and cooked
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • Lettuce leaves and paprika, optional


  • In a saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, mustard, salt and celery seed. Stir in the milk, vinegar and egg until smooth. Add butter. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Cool. Stir in onion and mayonnaise. In a large bowl, combine potatoes and hard-cooked eggs. Add dressing and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If desired, serve in a lettuce-lined bowl and sprinkle with paprika. Yield: 8-10 servings.


Christmas Shopping for Myself…Pathetic or Resourceful?


freechristmaswallpaper.netThis year I compiled my Christmas list, breaking a self made record by having the list ready before Thanksgiving.  I now knew what I wanted and had perused the million and a half ads that came in my Sunday papers to know what I needed to spend on each item.   I sat at the computer, armed with my  debit card, several cream cheese frosted pumpkin oatmeal cookies (for stamina), my diet coke (to counteract the calories from the cookies),  and “the list” and went the work ordering almost everything online.  Most of the items were shipped to my door for free, I didn’t have to fight anybody for a spot in the busy toy aisle, or volley for a parking spot in the stores parking lot, or fight any traffic what-so-ever!!!  GENIUS!!!!  The bargains were remarkable…this being a day after Brown Thursday and Black Friday.  I will call it Green Saturday, since I saved a lot of green.  As I entered each website I would make my purchases and then I would gravitate towards the kitchen section, just to see what bargains there might be…only intending to browse, not buy.  Apparently the deals were super, and must have gone into a clicking coma, because I just had 3 small kitchen appliances delivered that I don’t remember buying.  They were things I really needed, and they were so reasonable….and I must have felt I deserved them, right?

  I am one of those moms who would buy everything for those in my charge, yet wear granny panties with holes in them, always hoping I didn’t end up in the  ER  with these underwear on.  (rule number one growing up…never wear underwear with holes in them when leaving the house, in case you get in an accident and the ER doctor sees your holey panties)  I always wondered if I arrived at the emergency room a bloody mess if the doctor would really notice my scruffy bloomers?  Hmmmm…….So now these 3 boxes are mocking me, while sitting with the other boxes in my front foyer, that is now packed with shipped boxes, full of items waiting to be wrapped. I just don’t have the heart to take them out and display them on my counter before Christmas.  Was I nuts to buy something for myself????  This has never happened in the history of Christmas shopping, except to get myself some of those tasty nuts at the mall while bargain hunting.  HEY!!!! that just pointed out a downside of shopping online….no mall nuts….(insert sad face here)

waf Today I am taking on the task of wrapping the gifts….the least pleasant job of the season.  That honor is usually reserved for my daughter Katelyn, but since she has grown up and is working today, the honor will be mine.  I think I will pour a nice goblet of Lambrusco (even though it is daytime?), put on some Christmas tunes, and start the dreaded task.  I have decided that I will wrap up the food processor (12 cup Kitchen aid for $39.99), the toaster (Kitchen Aid $19.99), and the awesome waffle maker (the kind that shuts and flips….$9.99).  I will attach tags and proudly write on them..TO: Me….FROM: Santa, and will be so surprised on Christmas Day when I open them with all of the joy and excitement of my 3 year old granddaughter.  I am sure my children will look at me and just shake their heads, politely smiling, figuring that mom has finally gone bonkers.  But crazy or not….I win because this Christmas I know that I will get everything I asked for ♥


Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

(I may have already offered this recipe, but it is worth repeating.  A million thanks for Skye Wilken for sharing)

2 sticks butter (softened)

3/4 cups packed brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

2 1/2 cup oatmeal

1 3/4 cup flour

Beat butter and sugars together until fluffy

Add egg and mix well

Add pumpkin, vanilla, and spices, combining well.

Add oats and flour..mix well

Bake 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen (they don’t spread out, so don’t worry)

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 oz cream cheese (softened)

1 T. milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

All everything together in a bowl and beat until spreadable.


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!


212 I am so happy because my very favorite time of the year is finally here.  I love love love the Christmas season.  I am one of those people who drive my fellow “grinches” bonkers.  I could not wait until the day after Thanksgiving to turn on my favorite stations in the car that play Christmas songs all day until December 26th.  Then I stay up until midnight on Christmas day in order to hear the final Christmas song of the year played on the radio.  This year I had all of my shopping done and the house decorated before December 1st.  This is totally new for me, but I know it will take a lot of pressure off me knowing that life will soon get busy. I have loved Christmas for as long as I could remember….We always went to church on Christmas Eve and when we returned home, it was time to open presents.  One year I carefully opened all of the presents, peeked inside and retaped the presents in order to see what I was getting.   My mom knew what I did, but didn’t confront me…she knew, as I soon found out, that I had spoiled the surprise for myself.  It was absolutely the most horrible Christmas I had endured for my entire 54 years.  In the years that followed I never tried to peek, even though I did my fair share of shaking the gifts, while weighing the possibilities of what wonders were wrapped up inside the boxes with my name on them.  One year Mom put our names on the wrong gifts in an attempt to fool us, and I spent quite a bit of time contemplating the contents of my sisters presents.  Awesome move mom!  We were punked, even though that term wasn’t used in the 60’s.

  During the holidays our home was beautifully decorated, warm and cozy.  There always seemed to be a continuous essence of baking cookies, candy being made, or chex mix in the oven, which made our home even more welcoming to those who visited.  We were a simple middle class, small town family, but at Christmas time I thought we were the wealthiest  family in town.  One year I got a 4 album set of the music of  Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  I couldn’t believe my eyes…and then I realize that my parents had ordered it off of the TV.  I had seen that commercial a million times and never  dreamed that they would call in and order the set.  That was BIG 40 years ago!  I burned those albums UP!!!!!   One year my sisters and I all get these huge stuffed dogs….I was in high school at the time…..not really sure about that one though????  It didn’t matter, because even if there were no gifts under the tree, we still had the gift of loving parents and a wonderful life.  I miss my parents every day, but Christmas time seems to be the hardest. But they had instilled a great love for the season, both sacred and secular, and for that I will be grateful to them for the rest of my life.  Take time and enjoy the season, and give thanks for those blessings that have touched you this past year ♥

Don’t Skinny Dip in the DarK


  I have a weakness, and if my mother knew of my secret, and was alive today, she would give me one of those “looks.”  You know the one…in one glance she relays, via MSP (mothers sensory perception), that I was old enough to know better.  So every summer I ignore her little voice in my head telling  me that she is disappointed in me, and I skinny dip.  Please trust me when I tell you that it is pitch dark outside,and the pool is in my back yard.  I have taught my daughters the fine art of skinny dipping too, because for just a short time we feel free and just a little naughty.  I have gone through life following all of the rules, and have always been a “good girl”, so this it big for me.   When it gets dark enough I will sneak off to the back yard, still in my suit, and climb in the pool.  Feeling like I am on a secret mission, I will look all around me to be sure the neighbors are all tucked in for the night and quietly slip off the suit.   I have found out that it is best to keep the suit within arms reach, because one night my neighbor turned on his garage light, leaving me bathed in bright light.  The problem was that my suit had fallen to the ground and I couldn’t reach it without getting out.  I felt like I was destined to spend the night in the pool, and kept hearing Marilyn’s voice telling me “See, I told you so!”  Just as I was morphing into a full body wrinkle,  he turned off the light, and I got out of that pool faster than…..well lets just say FAST!

    One eventful evening, my oldest daughter and I decided to go out and hop into the pool after dark.  I had been a terribly hot day, and we needed to cool off.  I had this great idea, after a few glasses of wine, that we should shed the suits because it was dark out and we were safe.  I went in first, and took my suit off.  I quietly and slowly made my way to the far side of the pool so she could take off her suit without a spectator (we do have some social graces for petes sake).  I was feeling my way to the opposite side, when my hand grazed something floating in the pool.  It was about 10 inches long and firm.  Of course I can’t see a thing, so I push down on it, thinking it is a noodle or some other pool toy left floating on the water.  As the object came back up to the surface, it felt as if hair had hit my arm.  At this point I knew it wasn’t a pool toy or a noodle, and I screamed, and booked it over to the ladder as fast as I could possible go through 5 feet of water.  My daughter was just getting into the pool when she witnessed my coming at her, suit-less, arms held high in the air,  and screaming like a banshee.  I politely shoved her up and over the ladder, and I proceeded to  set a new world record for getting out of a pool stark naked. At that point I could not have cared less if there was a street light shining on my plump behind.  I was going to put as much distance between that floating lump of fur and me.  We  then turned on the light and discovered it was a squirrel that had probably fallen from the tree into the pool.  That thing must have been in there paddling for all it was worth for a long time before he finally gave up the ghost.  Or else he got a shot of me and had a heart attack on the spot….we will never know I guess. I have not skinny dipped since the day I swam with the squirrel and probably never will again.  So kids….always listen to your mother, for she knows best ♥