It's cold out.

Reminds me of a saying my Dad would use on days like this ~  "it's cold as a witches tit in the middle of January".

... oh flashbacks to the looks Mom would give him. LOL

I suppose this would be a good day to wear a padded bra.  Keep the girls warm and happy.

Until next time....
So it goes in my neck of the woods.



image from the internet

Cookies anyone? Sure... if you scrape the thousands of ants off of them first!  Oh my... 

Every year I make a lot of cookies and bars for the holidays.  Well... this year I made a bunch up and didn't put them out right away.  Instead, I decorated up a box that was about 6 inches high and 2 feet long by 1 foot wide.  I filled it with the cookies and wrapped it up and set it under the tree.  I figured this would be a good way to keep the goodies hidden and from getting eaten up before Christmas.  I did keep out a plate full of sugar cookies and some fudge.

Yesterday, we finally celebrated our Christmas; because it was the day we could all be together.  Dear Hubby had asked, "where are all the cookies?", my children had asked, "where are all the cookies Mom?", my Grandloves had asked, "Grandma, didn't you make cookies?"   To all they got the same reply, "sorry, not this year, I didn't think we needed them."   Poor babies... they all replied with a sigh, saying how much they loved all the cookies I baked and that they really wished I would have done it this year too.  They all look forward to the big cookie collection at G'ma's house on Christmas.

Also, the other question going around was "Who's present is that under the tree in that big gold box?  There's no tags on it."

Happy happy Joy joy when they all found out the big gold box was full of cookies!! 

Then the reality ...

Now, I'm not talking a few little ants that you could snap off and say, 'ah.. it's just an ant and still feel good about eating that cookie ... the box was INFESTED with thousands of ants!!!   Where the heck did they show up from!!!    The whole colony was there having a very merry time at my expense!!

Well the box of cookies spent the night out on the deck in the snow; and this morning it got the heave ho to the dumpster.

The only good thing about that was I was able to kill the whole bunch off at once ... freezing their little butts off in the snow.  

I'm just in such a funk as to where these ants came from.  We haven't been seeing ants in the house anywhere.  We've never seen this kind of ant anywhere around here.  This is Wisconsin and we're in the middle of winter ... there are no ants in the snow and cold. 

I'm just taking it as a sign ... we don't need all those sweets.  I'm trying to cut back on that kind of stuff anyways; and I guess this was the year.

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


we wish you a m*rry Christmas~



We Wish You a Merry♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Christmas♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪We Wish You a Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♥ ♥ ♥We Wish You A Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...And A Happy New Year!♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...


sam & g'ma~

the fudge~

image from the internet

It's been a busy week... with holiday baking and decorating.  Doing all the things in preparation for the biggest and best birthday party of the year ~ Christmas!!  

I got the 2 turkeys cooked off for the community Christmas dinner.  Wow... imagine my surprise when I saw the size of them ~ they were 22 pounds each.  Last year the turkeys only weighed around 10-12 lbs. a piece... so I figured I could easily cook two of them off at the same time in my oven this year ~ side by side.  Well... with two 22 pound birds to cook off... they each got their own oven time.   Personally, I thought it was a little on the early side to be cooking them off; but I guess they wanted them back to the church on the 22nd or 23rd this year so as not to interrupt Christmas too much for the volunteers who do the cooking.  The church has big coolers; so they'll be put in those until reheated through on the 25th.  So actually this did work out a lot better.  Less rushing around for everyone involved.

I also made up some more cookies... why.... I don't know. We sure don't need to be eating them!  Although, my skinny son Sam could use to put on some pounds; and so do my grandloves ~ so I guess I'll keep on baking.  Yesterday morning I found a tell tale sign of some snooping going on around here.  There was an empty container sitting on the counter that I had put some homemade fudge in.  hmmm....   It had Slim, Sam and Ashley written all over it.  The empty container wasn't there the night before when I went to bed and the three of them were still up watching a movie.  When I confronted Slim in the morning he denied it... Sam denied it... and Ashley denied it...  I think I'm living in a house full of liars.... but then Sam said that was the best fudge he's every had... and so did Slim... and so did Ash.  hmmm....  they didn't eat the fudge; but it was the best they ever had??  

Seriously, I am picky when it comes to fudge.  I don't like a fudge that is over cooked or grainy in texture.  I've been researching and trying out fudge recipes and I think I have finally come up with "THE FUDGE" recipe that I've been hoping for.

In researching I read an article about fudge and why it can be grainy in texture.  One being overcooked and the other; which really makes sense, is the use of small miniature marshmallows versus using large marshmallows that are quartered or the marshmallow creme.  Miniature marshmallows  have a coating of cornstarch on them so they don't stick together.  Well all that extra cornstarch can be just enough to ruin a batch of fudge.

Here's the recipe that I came up with  ... and love!  This really is a good creamy fudge and it's super easy to make:
makes 36 pieces
2 cups white sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla emulsion
1 cup butter 
25 large marshmallows, quartered
2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened bakers chocolate
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1.  Grease 1 - 9x13 cake pan.  Set aside.
2.  Combine sugar, milk, vanilla and butter in large, heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Boil for 2 minutes.
3.  Remove from heat and add marshmallows, semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate.  Stir until all the chocolate and marshmallows are melted and smooth.    Mix well.  Add nuts if wanted.
4.  Pour into prepared pan.  Let fudge  sit at least 24 hours to set up ~ before cutting into squares.  Refrigerate for easier cutting.
Until next time....
So it goes in my neck of the woods.



tug on the heart strings~

It happened again this morning...
just like yesterday...
and the day before...

someone stopped to buy bait.

Our bait shop has been out of business since September 1st.  The signs are all down ~ yet they come ... knocking on the door looking for some minnows or fishing tackle... and all of them say, "did you know your signs are down?"

It kinda tugs on the heart strings.

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


gumdrop bread~

 Yesterday.... Dear Hubby... bless his soul... wanted to help do some baking for Christmas for me; since I was busy patching up his work pants for him.  
he decides to make some gumdrop bread. It was his Grandma's recipe that she always made for him at Christmas time when he was a little boy... and also a grown man.  I've been making it since Grandma died; but this year Slim said he wanted to make it.

When he first started; I turned the oven on for him to preheat it.  Well... gumdrop bread has to bake for an hour and a half.  Fifteen minutes before it's done.... I realize; the kitchen doesn't smell very 'spicy and gumdroppy', I better sneak a peak at the bread.  Come to find out when Slim put the bread in the oven and went to set the timer.... he hit Cancel before doing the timer and he unknowingly turned the oven off.  So there sat his four loaves of bread, having an hour and a half yet to bake.  Three hours later... we finally had the gumdrop bread done from start to finish. 
G'ma Inez Donner's Gumdrop Bread
 makes 4 loaves    300 degrees  1-1/2 hours. baking time

4 cups sugar
2 cups butter
1 cup shortening
4 eggs
3 cups applesauce
2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in the applesauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 lbs. of spicette gumdrops
raisins/ dates / walnuts

In a large bowl cream the sugar, eggs and shortening.  Add the applesauce with the baking soda dissolved in it.  Add the remaining dry ingredients, gumdrops, raisins, dates and nuts.

The dough will be very stiff like a cookie dough.

Divide into 4 well-greased and floured loaf pans.

Place in 300 degree preheated oven on the center rack.

On the lower rack of the oven place a cake pan filled half way with hot water.  This is a very important step to assure a moist gumdrop bread.  It also keeps the bread from browning too fast.

Bake 1-1/2 hours until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of a loaf.
Remove from pans to cool.
Dear Hubby left today for North Carolina for work.  I just got a phone call from him a little bit ago... seems he missed his flight to Detroit from Mosinee.  On his ticket it said his flight flew out at 6:00 and he gets to the airport at 5:15 .... plenty of time to check in.  Well... come to find out his ticket was wrong... his flight took off at 5:00... not 6:00.  So... he missed his flight by an hour.  Then to make matters worse, there are no other flights until tomorrow night that he could take... and he's suppose to be at a plant in North Carolina in the morning.  What a mess!

So now he's on his way back home; but decided to take a motel for the night because he has a bunch of stuff to pick up down by Athens before coming home; which he was originally going to pick up on Saturday.  
Who knows when he'll be rescheduled now to go to North Carolina.  He's so bummed.  I wish I was with him.

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


dwarf deer~

This is from a shared email from my brother-in-law.

He emailed me this picture of a dwarf deer that was caught on a neighbor to his son in law's camera. It's over in Winter, WI   A town about half an hour from my place.

Pretty awesome!!! It's not every day you get to see such a nice buck yet alone a dwarf deer.  How cool is that!!  It certainly looks like it could be a dwarf; because even a fawn that would have been born this year would be twice that size by now.  I hope they get more photos of it.

Thank's JD for sharing!!

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


shout out~

I'm doing a shout out to all the co-workers of my lil sis ...

I talked with Colleen yesterday on the phone and she said when I come to visit her in February ~ she's bringing me to work with her for the day for show and tell ... LOL.... I can't wait!!!

Someone put the coffee on! and some doughnuts won't hurt either...
and as far as work goes... we'll see... I think it should be a paid holiday.

I promise I won't embarrass her as she embarrassed me when I took her to show and tell. (correction: I'll TRY not to embarrass her) Ask her about it.  Ask her if she learned how to pull up her tights yet.

I haven't met any of you personally, although I have spoken with a few of you on the phone.  You guys all sound alike... must be a southern thing.  I just want to say though, "I LOVE EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU!!"  If it weren't for you guys (is this where I'm suppose to say "y'all"? ... I have to start practicing my southern talk ... is that even spelled right??? ) being like family to Colleen... she'd probably want to move back home.  So keep up the great work!

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


snow day~

It's a snow day!  No school for the grandloves; so they're spending the day at G'ma Mel's house!!

Our Bailey was so funny when she got here this morning.  Staci had gotten the car stuck in a snow drift in our driveway and Bailey (who's 4 yrs. old) said "Mom got stuck because her car has poor gas mileage."  lol  She got stuck because she didn't give it enough gas to get up the hill. 

Talk about a little pesky child though. Her sister Brooke is 10 years old and Bailey is being the typical 4 year old and pestering her poor sister non stop.  She keeps calling Brooke "Santa" and it's irritating the dickens out of her.  Of course, the more it irritates Brooke... the more Bailey does it.

I asked Bailey what she was up to and she said she was going to "air-o-tate Santa".  I told her she could airotate all she wanted; but she better quit irritating her. "ok" ~ but we all know it won't last. lol
I have a doctors appointment later on today.  I'm actually looking forward to it.  I get my blood workup results today and I'm very curious to see how they are.  Since my last blood work up last June when my A1C dropped from 12.8 last December to 6.5 in June ... so I'm anxious to see where I'm sitting at today.  Could make all the difference on how I approach the Christmas season! haha
The girls are at it again... I hear Brooke yelling, "no hitting" "oww oww oww... stop!"   and I hear Bailey saying, "I Paul-A-Joist, I Paul-A-Joist!" (I apologize I apologize) ... where does she come up with these words! It's just a hoot listening to her.

Then in the same breath she says, "I love you. Get away from me. Come here Brooke, come here, come here, come here, Brooke come here.  I won't be mean to you. Brooke I won't be mean to you. Brooke I won't be mean to you. Come here. I won't be mean to you. I won't be mad at you. Now come here I want to tell you something.  I want to tell you a thing.  You Paul-A-Joist to me and you can say I Paul-A-Joist to you."

LOL... it's so funny listening to them in the background.  I suppose a good G'ma would go and get this settled between them... but I think I'm going to just sit back and listen. 

Until next time....
So it goes in my neck of the woods.
UPDATE:  I'm back from my doctors appointment.
My A1C is 6.1 Whoooohooo!!!  Normal range is 4.0-6.0 ... one year ago I was at 12.8!  I was so happy to see that number.

Now I have to just get my weight down to a happier healthier level.  NO MORE DESSERTS!!! at least not the kind I've been eating.  Oh... my doctor is such a health freak!

He too was very happy with my results ... especially since he found out now that I don't take any prescription meds except for my insulin.  AND... That too I have made major changes in.  I used to take 64 units every morning and I have that weaned down to 20 units and I used to take 36 units in the evening and I have that weaned down to 20 units.  I told him by my next big blood work up which is in May ... that too is going to change.  I swear... I am going to get off of my insulin too! 

I feel so much better than I did a year ago ... when I was popping 16 prescription meds a day ~~~ those days are gone!

I am going back on to one drug though for a few months and that is the Chantix.  When I was going through all this "coming down from the meds" withdrawal symptoms... I hate to admit... but I've been snitching the cigs again.  Nothing like I used too... but still...  I know... I know... please don't preach to me about it.  At least I AM TRYING.  So please... give me some support.  My doctor said he's surprised I actually did as well as I did coming off some of those potent meds I was on. :) I really do feel like this time ... FINALLY ... things are going in the right direction.

Like I told Slim ... walk a mile in my shoes one day ... and then tell me how I should and shouldn't feel.

It's not easy battling obesity, CHF, CAD, fibromyalgia and diabetes. 

The only other things now that I take is 2 aspirin a day to replace the Plavix... to keep those dang stents open.  Geeze... I wish I didn't have those; but I do ... so 2 aspirin a day it is.  I can live with that ~ and my doctor approves.  I also take an Aleve on occasion when the fibro acts up; but that I have to be careful with because it spikes my blood pressure... and I'm taking a regiment of 4,000 mg. a day of fish oil and flaxseed.    Oh the joy of it all!!

The road to health is a long one.

Once again...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


hungarian raspberry pastry bars~

What's on the cooling rack?  Well today it's Hungarian Raspberry Pastry Bars. 

The original recipe is for Strawberry bars made with strawberry preserves.... but I did a little altering and used some raspberry pie filling instead.  The original recipe also called for a walnut layer; but I didn't have walnuts so I substituted with some granola.  The original recipe also called for a lattice top... which I hate making... so I used my good ol' doughnut cutter and cut out some rings and holes and tossed them on top. I know I could have been more creative on placing the rings; but ....  all in all ... after all my alterations... there's still only one word for it. YUM

Here's the original recipe from the Taste of Homes 2008 Annual Recipes cookbook:

Hungarian Strawberry Pastry Bars
Prep: 45 min + chilling   Bake: 25 min. + cooling
Golden pastry crisscrosses a fruity, nutty filling in this family favorite.  The recipe makes a big batch - ideal for a party or special occasion. -Ron Roth, Wyoming, Michigan

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups shortening
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups chopped walnuts, divided
1 jar (18 ounces) seedless strawberry jam

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sour cream, water and vanilla; gradually add to crumb mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.  Divide into thirds.  Chill for 30 minutes.
Between two large sheets of waxed paper, roll out one portion of dough into a 15-in.x10-in.x1-in. baking pan.  Sprinkle with 1-1/4 cups walnuts and 2 tablespoons sugar.  Roll out another portion of dough into a 15-in. x 10-in. rectangle; place over walnuts.  Spread with jam; sprinkle with remaining walnuts and sugar.
Roll out remaining pastry; cut into strips.  Arrange in a crisscross pattern over filling.  Trim and seal edges.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  Cut into bars.  Yield: 2 dozen.
When I made it I didn't bother with the step of chilling the dough either... and it worked up great without being chilled.  This is really a good pastry crust ~ with the baking powder, soda, sour cream and egg yolks... a keeper recipe for sure!  Even with all my alterations... I didn't botch it up... lol.

Happy baking!

Until next time....
So it goes in my neck of the woods.

deck the halls~

I finally got my Christmas tree up! I searched hi and low ... through a ton of snow... and finally opted for the artificial tree.  I know... I know... I'm already hearing the complaints from the kids about a fake tree.... but by golly... once it's decorated it's still a beautiful Christmas tree!  Spritz a little pine scented Glade in the air ... and all is forgiven.

Here it is in the daylight:

and at night with it's pretty blue lights:

I wish I could figure out how to take a good night time picture with Christmas lights shining.  These photos just don't do it justice.

day time: 

night time:

day time:

night time:

Ash, Brooke, Sam and Sara all helped yesterday with decorating inside the house and out.   Yes! Even Sam.  He did some high work for me....

All in all ... especially at night ... my house is aglow with the feeling of Christmas.  The kids strung lights on both decks, around the door, over the kitchen cabinets and around the windows.  It's so cozy feeling. Thanks kiddos!!!

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


it's snowing again~

It's snowing again...
and this time I know it's here to stay.
Time of the year to keep the bird feeders filled, and the fire stoked up. 

My flower garden ... in the snow... the only visible life is my little barberry bush with it's pretty red berries.

The whiskey barrel planter with balsam boughs and pine boughs with a few barberry twigs.
Spring is coming ...
It's just a long way off.
Now I wait in anticipation of warmer days and the new life that will follow.
But in the mean time...

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Here's a link to My Flowers In The Summer Time

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


pc whoas~

Oh goodness, gracious, gravy nurse....  I just spent the better part of the day reformatting and partitioning my hard drive.  If it gives me another week of computer use... all is good.  Oh I hope Santa finds it in his heart to get me a new computer ~ but realistically speaking... that isn't going to happen.

Dear Hubby got the news that he has to go to South Carolina in the next two weeks... I think he leaves the day after his birthday.  He knew he was going to have to make the trip down there for work; but was hoping it would fall on his scheduled work days.  Now, come to find out it's going to fall on his days off.  He's not too happy about that.  I don't blame him. 

Wow... just look at the calendar... less than 3 weeks to Christmas.  I haven't even started yet to buy gifts or to decorate.  I'm in such a ho hum instead of ho ho ho mood. 

I did volunteer my time and dish pan hands for the community Christmas dinner again this year on Christmas Day.  So I'll be there on the 25th almost all day long.  It's alright though, because we do Christmas Eve over by my Mom's and we aren't celebrating our Christmas here at the house until the 26th ~ when my granddaughter Amanda can make it home with us. 

Last night we had a meeting for the Justin Donner Memorial Fisheree; which is held the last Saturday of January.  The JPD Warrior Project is growing into a pretty big and popular event in our area :).  I have to get on to the website tonight yet (while my computer is working) and make some updates to it. 

What else is new around here?  Not much.... Slim made supper tonight... that was a perk!  Although, if you ask him he'll tell you it was the worse meal he ever cooked.  He beer battered and deep fried some walleye fillets.  He kind of rushed them and crowded them in the fryer and most of the batter fell off.  They were a bit greasy; but still pretty tasty.  The whole platter got cleaned up, so they couldn't have been that bad.  I was just happy not having to cook. 

The guys also worked a good part of the day getting the runners on to the ice fishing shanty.  Hopefully, they'll be pulling it out on the ice in a few weeks.  If this cold weather keeps up we should have some pretty good ice on the lakes by then. 

well... I suppose I better get into gear and get over to the website and make those updates...
Have a great day my cyberspace friends!

Until next time...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.