Hunting season eve


Well, it’s the evening before gun hunting here in Wisconsin.  Hunting is such an important part of my family’s life. The men in my immediate family prefer bow hunting over gun hunting by far, but there is something intriguing about this time of year.

 
Every year, religiously, I make “Papas chili”. Years ago when my husband was a child his dad made his special chili every hunting season and kept it in a huge metal pot warming on the space heater stove at the cabin. Some amazing memories were made there.

 
Once Mark and I started dating I got to partake in the tradition. To be totally honest I never cared for that chili. Mostly because they made it with venison😷. I didn’t grow up on venison so I didn’t care for it. Who knew I would soon grow to love it (made with beef of course) & actually crave it?!

 
Once we had kids we started bringing them to the cabin for lunch during hunting season. Papas chili was a hit. It was there that my son Austin would proudly wear his blaze orange that was adorned with his dad’s previous years back tags. He had quite a collection. He would stand next to the railing on the deck barely able to see over it resting his chin on his crossed arms just dreaming of the day he’d be big enough to go hunting himself.

My daughter Sam would also come to the cabin and sometimes bring her friends. They would sport the very fashionable plastic blaze orange vests and caps. I don’t think hunting was on her mind as much as just getting to the cabin to have fun.  Although she did prove to be quite the shooter once she decided she wanted to hunt. I say shooter, not hunter because she didn’t care to sit long and it rarely took more than an hour or so before her deer came in and she dropped it right in its tracks.

Opening day was and still is exciting to me. As soon as the guys would leave to go to the woods I would crack open the window a bit, no matter how cold-and sit with my coffee and just wait to hear the first gunshots. It was always very hard to tell which direction they came from. I’m directionally challenged the way it is and echoes didn’t help. But I always knew if it was coming from one of my family on our property. Then I would hear the four wheeler engine coming through the woods. I knew someone got one then!

 
To this day on opening day I still patiently wait and listen. It can be very bittersweet because now it is just myself and my husband . My kids are grown and on their own. They each go in their own direction and I still worry about them and their safety. Not everyone is careful out there. Not everyone was taught right from wrong. Not everyone was educated to do the right thing. Not everyone plays safe. But in the end I trust that all will be fine.

 
I await the day when our grandson Connor may be the little one excited to go hunting, or maybe he won’t want anything to do with it. He’s an animal lover for sure, but also a growing boy that could sure help provide for his family someday.

 
At any rate, I pray each hunter is safe and that there is a hedge of protection around each one.  Happy hunting!

✌️

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Interview with my 90 year old Gram ❤️

I’ve had the privilege of spending the last few months with my 90-year-old gram. Her husband, my grandpa passed away suddenly leaving her whole world turned upside down. Many, many changes are happening in her life right now and it made me sit and think about her 90 years of life and how things are so different now than they were when she was younger. It made me think that I should utilize this time that I have with her and continue learning more and more about this  amazing & remarkable  woman. I decided one day to sit down and just do a little interview with my 90-year-old Gram. I never get tired of hearing her stories and this gave me an opportunity to go a little bit deeper and to learn more about what life has been like for her over so many decades. Sitting here  over tomato soup and lemon pie, reminiscing. I ask a series of questions that spark hours of conversation. 

What was daily life like for you growing up?

We played outside all the time. We were always playing ball. We played til we got called inside. In the winter we went skiing & on toboggans. In the summer we swam in the  many lakes that surrounded us. We swam right with the cows and the cowshit.  We didn’t have many chores. I was the one who usually milked our 1 cow, we only had one. We took turns with setting the table, clearing the table & wiping dishes. No one really helped my Mother cook. Every night she cooked a big meal, usually a roast, mashed potatoes & gravy, vegetables from the garden & always a dessert. Every Sunday we had chicken dinner. My Mother would chop their heads off, dip them in boiling water and pluck the feathers. My Dad was always busy doing something. He was a hard worker. He made wooden horses for little kids. He never sat still.  My Mother & Dad were always on the same page. We never did get spanked. We just KNEW when my Dad gave us “the look” that he meant business. 

What were your parents like?

They loved to dance, we all did. They weren’t very lovey in front of us kids but they sure must have been lovey because they had 6 kids! They were hard working people and very respected. My Mother was a great baker often times baking 6 loaves of bread each time. I remember one time seeing my Dad pinch my Mothers boob, right on the side and all she said was Kenneth! You cut that out! They gave us advice daily. Mostly -don’t smoke. We all smoked. Haha. My Dads sister smoked like a chimney and we thought she was soooo cool. 

What kind of clothing did you wear?

My Mother sewed skirts for us with a nice band around them. We always wore dresses or skirts with blouses. NEVER jeans, people might think we were farmers then ! 😂😂😂

What was your favorite music?

We were all musical. Delores and I played piano, everyone sat around us and sang. I loved to play hymns. But I really loved rock music. Later I loved the Beatles, Elvis, & The Beach Boys. 

What were holidays like?

Holidays were HUGE celebrations! We always got lots of presents. I remember one Christmas I got 17 dolls!!! I was probably 4-5 years old. Some of them cried. I remember taking them apart to see how they worked. We always had a lot of family that bought us gifts. We were very spoiled. Birthday parties were pretty much like holidays. Big meals and lots of presents. 

I asked my Gram what the holiday meals were like if her Mother made huge meals on a normal basis. She said they were just bigger and more

What were some of your favorite foods?

I liked everything. I wasn’t picky. My Mother was a good cook. Delores didnt like potatoes. There was a place under our table where she used to hide them. My Dad didn’t like carrots but he ate them and always told us to eat them too. Betty’s husband later introduced us to krub, he was Norwegian. It’s still a family favorite!

Did you ever get in trouble?

We were all pretty good kids. One time I came home and I really wanted to go to Richardson to the dance hall so I took my Dads car that he used for the mail route. The keys must have been in there. Well my Dad found out and he came right to that dance hall. I was smoking and drinking. I quickly stomped out my cigarette when I saw my Dad. My Mother said “Boy, are you going to get it.” My Dad had ink that was to be delivered to the school and he had kept it in the car so it wouldn’t freeze, and I had the car. The tires also had chains on them and I drove the entire way on pavement. I didn’t know. (😂)

Another time I was at the Rutabaga fest in Cumberland with my Mother and my Aunt Alice  and her baby. I decided I wanted to go to Almena to see my boyfriend, so I took the car. They must have ALWAYS kept those keys in there! (Haha.) I saw the time and had to hurry back so I was driving very fast. I heard a click, click, click…I blew a rod, but didn’t get in trouble because my Dad blamed it on the person who changed the oil.( Haha) My Mother was mad though, because the baby was crying and they wanted to sit in the car with her and the car was gone. 

One time we had planned a skip day in high school.  There were 70 kids in my class but only 7 skipped and I was one of them. The principal told some of the kids to find the people who skipped and tell them they had so much time to get back to school or they’d be expelled. He didn’t mess around! He called me in his office and asked why I skipped. I told him EVERYONE was going to skip not just me. He then asked me if EVERYONE jumped off a bridge would I? Haha. He then told me he’d inform my Mother & Dad about this. He did, they didn’t care. One girl got in a lot of trouble, probably beat, but my Mother and Dad just acted like la-de-da. 

What age were you allowed to date?
We always dated in groups. No one told us we could or couldn’t date, we just did. We didn’t have a chaperone, our parents trusted us. We never really got in trouble.

What was your favorite decade?

I would have to say 15-25. I LOVED my teen years. Probably because I could drive…. FAST!

What invention had the most impact on your life?

We never had  a telephone, so I’m not sure how all those boys could call and ask me out, maybe they drove to my house and just asked. We were the only house in our neighborhood who had electricity and running water. We were rich!(😂 haha) I guess I would say tv. That was really something when we got a tv! Oh and cars, because I love to drive! FAST!

Do you have any regrets?

I wish I could go back and help my Mother more. She worked so hard and we didnt help her as much as we should have. 

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned and what advice would you give to young adults these days?

Be kind. To everyone. Our family was raised to be kind and we were. Be kind. 

I had so much fun listening to Grams stories! I couldn’t let this opportunity pass to put down in writing the things we all think we will remember and seldom do. Today will be a day that goes down as one of the most memorable days I’ve had! 

(This all ended with, “What are you asking me all this for? You’re writing a story aren’t you? I could go to jail!” Haha Never a dull moment! 

✌️



Christmas~Family~Legacies

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Absolutely one of my favorite times of the year. There’s really something magical about Christmas! (When things are going well that is….my blog from last years Christmas was not as happy!) I just love throwing on some Kenny G and digging Christmas decorations out. Just makes me mellow.

I used to love when the kids would line up all their ornaments on the floor, reminiscing about each one. I went through various stages at Christmastime as we became empty nesters. Our first year here as empty nesters I cried doing all this because I still had my sons ornaments (our daughter had been on her own for a few years and had all hers-although the first year I put the tree up without hers was equally as hard!). I remember thinking back to each one remembering details of why they got the ornament they did that year. So I cried. The second year here my son now had his ornaments, so I was a bit more used to it but the kids weren’t getting along and that made me mad…I didn’t have the Christmas spirit- I was bitter and angry and actually took the tree down before Christmas even came! So I cried. This third year here I started thinking about putting the tree up so I sent my son a message telling him if he felt like he was missing out on Kenny G and me bawling my head off he was welcome to come up for the day! Haha ! Well little did I know he decided to come up and help me put up and decorate the tree!  He and his fiancé! I know he could have been doing a ton of other things and I know just the thought of Kenny G makes his ears bleed but he was a trooper! I appreciated that so much! The gift of time is a precious thing!

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This was our grandsons first Christmas. It was so fun! He’s at a very fun stage right now where his mind is so curious and he’s so active. As all kids he could have cared less about his gifts and more so loved the paper. His obsession right now is cell phones, laptop cords, all the things he is not supposed to have. He is perfect, and so much fun! He also got his first haircut (at 6 mos old)and has just recently started eating solid food. He enjoyed some morning playtime with Uncle Austin and loves when he hears Auntie Allyshas voice! He was a bit taken with her this weekend! Let me thank my beautiful daughter and son in law, without who we would not have this beautiful bundle of joy!  

     

    This was our first year hosting Christmas with my side of the family and had a great turnout. A few families could not make it and they certainly were missed, but we still ended up with about 22. Lots of food, lots of fun! Games and outdoor play for the kids, fellowship and cameraderie for the adults.

img_0689 It was great to spend time with family, especially my Gram who will be turning 90. Still full of spit and vinegar now more than ever! We had lots of fun doing selfies with Gram!  image

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My niece was born on Christmas Day so I always feel bad for her having to celebrate both at the same time. Although my daughter phrased it perfectly- “You are so special that God chose you to share the same birthday with His Son.” I like to try to keep things separate for her and make it as special as I can. She got an amazing new flat iron from Sam and Jordon and a girly goodie basket and things from us. We took her out for dinner and they gave her an Oreo ice cream drink. I was very thankful to have some time with her! She always puts others ahead of herself, would rather give than receive, and it was great to spoil her a bit and make it about only her!          The weekend ended with all of us in the man cave playing cards and just hanging out! Absolutely LOVE weekends like this!

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I am very thankful to be able to spend as much time with my family as I do. You hope you make a difference in their lives when you see them and that you are creating a legacy that they will remember throughout their lives.  It makes my heart happy to spend time with them, to see them making it, making good choices, living happy lives, doing the right things regardless of their circumstances.  My husband reassured and told me this weekend as I got emotional over so many things that I was seeing the fruits of my labor in action this weekend, that living by example is such a profound thing. That there is always someone watching how you live, how you choose to deal.

I am so blessed! I hope you all had a great Christmas and that it carries into the new year!

✌🏻

*side note* Allysha LOVED her new selfie stick! 😜

Thanksgiving 2015

Happy belated Thansgiving!  It was yet another perfect day for our family! Great food & camaraderie.

Our daughter Sam and her husband hosted Thanksgiving  this year at their house. It was a special one as it was our grandson Connors first Thanksgiving.   What a cutie, huh?

We had sooo much food! Everything was so good! Everyone brought a dish to pass to help out. We had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, buns, stuffing, pumpkin, pecan and apple pie. Needless to say naps followed.   

 It’s such a great time of year. A time for family, traditions and making memories.   It’s always fun to get together. Our son is engaged, our daughter and her husband still pretty newly married, and always fun to see how everyones families celebrate. Even though we seem to do the same things it’s nice to have that routine. It’s nice to show what is important to our family and what we hold dear. From preparing the meals, to watching the men with their full bellies meander to the living room while the ladies clean up and have great conversations there also. Not that it’s just a woman’s place to be in the kitchen & a mans on the couch– haha! Call me old fashioned, I just enjoy the cameraderie amongst the girls. We hope that we leave a legacy of just wanting to be together through life’s events.  It’s our greatest wish that family would be priority to all, no matter the event. 

I’m so blessed and trying super hard to incorporate that thankful feeling all year long. I have so much to be thankful for…we all do. It’s so much more than just a day. 

🍂🍁🍂

2nd annual Papa’s chili & family photo day

Happy fall! 🍂🍁

This past weekend we had our second annual Papa’s chili and family photo day. Marks dad had his own chili recipe (which is very different than mine or any I’ve had). I always thought it was “ok”, they made theirs with venison and I’m sure my husband and son would for sure love it more if it were still made that way.  I prefer beef…always have-always will. Not that I won’t make it for them with venison because I totally will.

As I said before I always thought it was ok, until I went through one of my dental surgeries and I couldn’t eat a thing. We had just made this chili and I thought I’d give it a try. Oh…my….goodness did it taste good! I’m not sure if it was because it tasted soooo much better than applesauce and yogurt or what but since then I have CRAVED it!  

So we decided that this will be a yearly event-family photos and chili. It’s a perfect time of year for both.

The morning of photos was so relaxing- my hubby, our son and his fiancé spent time on the porch talking trucks and drinking hot chocolate while covered in a cozy blanket. Our daughter, her hubby and our grandson spent the morning catching up on some much needed sleep. We had scrambled eggs, sausage and toast for breakfast and then we were off.  

It’s such a beautiful time of year where we live. The weekend could not have been chosen any better as far as fall colors. I’m so thankful we did them when we did!

Our family photos are not edited yet so all I have are some candids-

Our beautiful daughter & her baby boy😍

Connor & his Daddy!😀  
A first selfie with our grandson! 

My snuggle bug!
My loves! “Papa let me tell you a story”

Two of the handsome men in my life!😘


Matching outfits😊

  Connor driving the ranger-can never start too early 😉
I can’t get enough of his little face!😘


The photo bomber 😂 

Beautiful fall colors!

    
I am blessed with an amazing family! Through all the ups and downs we still manage to come together! I recently read a neat quote …”Life takes you to unexpected places~Love brings you home.” Isn’t that the truth?

✌🏻

🎄Christmas traditions & debit card fraud😡

Tis the season! The time of year to set out and shop til you drop, to overspend, to overbuy, to overcompensate. To buy so many meaningless things just for the sake of buying, to fill your house, or better yet, someone else’s house with yet more clutter. To spoil the kids rotten! Muahahah……For SOME. For me however it’s the time to try to stick with what is tried and true, what has worked for us for as many years as I care to remember.

I’m not sure what year I started but one day I was listening to a radio program called Focus on the Family. They were talking about Christmas gifts and how many you should/shouldn’t buy for your kids. They made this point—Jesus got 3 gifts….why should our kids feel like they deserve more? What a good point! So began our new tradition. My kids got three gifts. One was something they “wanted”…one was something they “needed” and one was simply a “surprise”. Some years when winter came and they outgrew a winter coat or boots which I would have to purchase anyway, they got that as their “need” gift. It’s just how we decided to do it and it has worked well for us.

One Christmas there came a point where I kind of flubbed up. What they “wanted” was very expensive…so they got one gift-you wanted it, you thought you needed it…surprise! You got it! And that’s ALL you got! haha! I tried very hard to not do that again, because it really took the meaning away from what I was trying to accomplish.

This year I’ve been trying to figure out the one last thing to get my daughter for Christmas. She’s in a season right now where she doesn’t really choose things for “her”…it’s more things like, “WE need to finish the bathroom remodel” or “WE really could use this” But I really wanted to get her something I know she wants that only SHE can use and that I know she wouldn’t go out and spend the money on herself.

She had mentioned earlier in the year she wanted the new Urban Decay makeup, that she has all these cool new brushes but no cool new makeup. Voila! Done! So I decide to go online on Black Friday and check out the deals! Who doesn’t like a bargain? I find a website “findurbandecay.com” AMAZING deals! Wow! I can get her TWO sets AND a primer for what one set would cost me! Sign me up! Quick get this deal done before they run out!

Wellllll…do NOT go to that site! Do NOT ever try to place an order on thAt site! If you want Urban Decay, spend the money, drive to the expensive department store and just splurge! Why, you ask? Because that website has only been up and running for about 50 days, based in the Netherlands, owner is in China. Very high risk and highly unsafe they say! (I find this out after the fact). I put in the last of my debit card numbers and hit submit. A box pops up-“This Site may be unsafe, do you wish to continue?” Ummm… HELL NO!!!! Fast click CANCEL!!! UNDO!!!

Too late,damage is done….Zang Bang Clang or whoever he is has stolen my info and now charged my account for some huge toy purchase in Beijing China! Oh happy days!!! Now I get to fill out a dispute form with my bank, order a new debit card and go through the fun of changing all my payment methods AGAIN! Stupid ass hackers! Use your damn brain for something good like finding a cure for fricken alopecia or some damn thing! Don’t take my money! I just went through this last year when I bought her the kitchenaid from Target! Sheesh!

At any rate, it won’t get me down. Christmas is still gonna come, we are still gonna get together and have our traditions, and for the sake of taking the high road I guess I can wish Mr.Clang a merry Christmas too and I hope he’s enjoying the fricken toys I bought him!

✌🏻