Thursday, June 27, 2019

Update on Tommy and Smokey, throwback Thursday

Hi everyone,
So many of you have asked if I've heard anything more about Tommy and Smokey and how they're settling into their new home in Madison, WI. As you may have read in yesterday's post, no, I'd not heard anything. Until this forenoon. Elizabeth sent me this photo and a few others that I think she will be posting on Instagram, so I didn't steal all of them. But I am so relieved. It looks like they're finally comfortable and doing their usual snuggle routine.
Thank you for asking about them.
And thank you for praying for them.
And thank you God for your patience with me and for your mercy and generosity.

Huge sigh of relief.

Hope you're having a great Thursday.

Here's what came through here earlier today:

Lots of rain, HUGE crash of thunder, amazing clouds!

And now,



And since I'm too old to have any sense of pride, I thought I'd show you this photo my sister dug up. Doesn't it just scream 1960's? (for those of you old enough to remember those ancient times). My hair was long, and the only way to tame it was with huge rollers and tape. And of course I was a goofball. So that kinda explains everything. My mom is in the background knitting. Knitting?? I don't recall ever seeing her knit in my life. Guess I wasn't paying attention. And my dad in shirt and tie, an insurance salesman after years of farming. We were living in the farmhouse in this photo, and my mom is watching TV. Perry Mason, presumably. I'm surprised we weren't eating Swanson's TV dinners off TV trays. Oh yeah, we did that too. And although my mom usually set a pretty table, I'm wondering if this was a Sunday afternoon. I might have needed to re-tame my wild hair for the Sunday evening service at the Baptist church.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Driftless Wisconsin, Visiting Grandkids and a Parchment Medley

Last week we had a visit from two of our grandchildren from New Ulm, Minnesota. Since they were going to be with us for the week, we spent a day in Wausau, leaving here at 7:30 in the morning for the 2 1/2 hour drive there, so they could see the Wausau house, spend a little time in Wausau, and of course have time with their cousins. It's always fun seeing the cousins enjoying each other's company. And it's always great to spend time with our daughter.

The river water level has been lowered deliberately, 
so that work can be done on the bridges.

More photos and text sprinkled throughout today's Medley, which is brought to you by Terri, our host, who blogs at Your Friend From Florida. She writes the questions, we write the answers. Plug them into your own blog and join up at her blog!

Terri's questions are in black, my responses are in blue.

Can you believe it?
National Parchment Day,
Last Wednesday in June
1.  Who knew there was a day to celebrate parchment paper?!  Do you ever use parchment when you bake or cook? Tell us about your favorite way to use it, please.
 I rarely use parchment in baking unless my recipe says I must. 
 Toe and ankle dipping in the Wisconsin River
Toe dipping in the Red Cedar River
2.  When Terri thinks of parchment paper, she usually thinks about special writing or artist papers. She loves using specialty papers for creating cards or other art projects. Tell us about a creative way you have used parchment paper other than to bake with!
I don't think I've ever used parchment in any creative way whatsoever. I'm sorry, Terri. My creativity extends only to soapmaking and journaling, I'm afraid.

On our walk along the Wisconsin River, we encountered a pipes and fiddle duo who serenaded us. Fortunately, our granddaughter had the presence of mind to record them (see video below). Thanks, Elisabeth.  I was so mesmerized by their sound and skill that I only managed to think to take a couple photos. They were incredible, and it was such a fun mini concert. 

 Uilleann Pipes

Video courtesy of @elysadans

3.  Terri used to be in the cake business and has piped many borders and roses and leaves and letters, etc., etc.  You can make a pastry bag from parchment paper!  Have you ever tried decorating a cake with a pastry bag and specialty tips?  Do you have a picture to share?  Don't be shy, now!
I'm afraid I'm batting zero here. But I would highly recommend reading Terri's blog, for I bet she's had lots of experience working with parchment.

Happy kids hanging out at The Blue Goose

 Later in the week we drove to 'The Motherland,' as Mr. C. calls it, the Driftless area of Wisconsin in the SW part of the state. 

No fear of putting the cart before the horse here.

After stopping to visit an Amish friend we'd not seen since last summer, we went to '24 Valley Road' as he directed us, for ice cream and an interesting barn he knew we'd like.

Not this barn. This is The Blue Goose
with the most fabulous ice cream!

 Sunshine and shadows at The Blue Goose,
where all four of us got huge helpings of ice cream
for under $10 total. Mine was blueberry waffle cone.
I'm sure that I ordered a small dish, but no kidding, it was a veritable mountain.
So I ate only a few bites and threw the rest away.
(Yeah, right. LOLOLOLOL)
It's a good thing I don't have that kind of ice cream or any ice cream sitting in my freezer.
I know it wouldn't be there for long.

Here's that barn Sam said was a must-see.
Definitely close to the road!
4.  Tell us about something you baked or cooked in the past week or so that turned out great, parchment or no parchment.  Will you share the recipe?

 Blueberry scones. This one is cranberry, but the recipe made last week was made with fresh blueberries. Delicious!
The most recent thing which might have called for parchment paper, but which I baked on a sil-pat lined baking sheet was blueberry/lemon scones. They were delicious. I still have a few in the freezer which I'll pull out at some point in the near future and heat up in a 200 degree oven just to thaw and then crisp up the exterior.  I'm pretty sure the silicone sheets I have were ordered from Amazon. Click HERE to see them. I use them for scones and cookies.

HERE is the recipe for the blueberry scones in the blueberry/lavender version.

 I had to zoom in on this scene through the windshield as we were approaching one another, and have removed the heads (ouch!) to protect the privacy of the Amish. I know, it's not like they're going to be reading this blog or anything, but I've been told by a few Amish friends that they don't mind photos at all as long as their faces are not showing. So, there you are. But it was such a delightful scene! A team of beautiful horses and a wagonload of fresh hay topped by a young Amish boy, probably about 8-10 years old.

I think that meeting our friend Sam completely dispelled any preconceived notions our grandkids might have had (or that many people have) about the Amish. They are good businessmen and women, intelligent, skilled, and have a great sense of humor. They're hardworking and very community-minded people. By the way, our friend Sam is a skilled cabinet maker and makes cabinets for huge condos in Chicago and (multi-) million-dollar 'cabins' on lakes up north. When I asked Mr. C. about having Sam make book shelves for us for the Wausau house, he responded, 'We can't afford Sam.'  Oh.  Oh well. Sam does incredible work and is in high demand. And a really great guy. I would show you a picture of him, but...

5.  The last Wednesday in June!!  How can that be? Has your June flown by or have you been able to enjoy each day and make it slow down for you?
June has definitely flown by, and it's been a pretty chilly one, so I'm looking forward to July. 

 Two of the grandkids,
standing under the most famous street sign in Westby. :-)

 Visiting the ancestors

 Country Coon Prairie Lutheran Church

6.  Tell us something about your week so far, if you will.

So far this week, the weather seems to be trending toward warmish and I've been cleaning out and packing and donating (while listening to interesting YouTube interviews and lectures). Sound familiar? I also spent an afternoon working on my journal, although I have noticed that I'm not doing nearly as nice a job on journalling as I usually do. I think it comes from a sense of guilt - like that I should be cleaning out and packing and donating. Sigh.

I'm also missing Tommy & Smokey, and have heard nothing more about them. Poor little waif kitties. I pray that their new 'mommy' is treating them in the manner to which they had become accustomed. xo 

 One of the beautiful white and purple bearded iris
that originally came from my great grandmother's garden.
I will be moving some of these to the Wausau house.

I expect my HomemadeSoapnSuch shops
to be closed for the summer.
Lots of back-and-forth between
Dallas and Wausau.

Check out my natural, handcrafted vegan soap!
Buy any 5 or more, Get 1 FREE

The shops will be reopened when we're move into the Wausau house.

Thanks for the Medley, Terri, as poor as my responses were!
I'll try to do better next week. :-)

PS. Thank you, Lord, for letting me live in Wisconsin in the summertime and please forgive me for the complaining that I do all February and March.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!
Join me on Instagram: @cranberrymorning


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Tommy & Smokey Update Medley

 Barn across the road

I'm starting out this blog post with a few photos I took on our walk a couple nights ago. The light just before sunset is so golden. I love it! And if you'll look closely at the first photo, you'll see the golden light shining on the inside of the barn behind the first barn. I didn't notice that until I'd already posted the photo on Instagram. Anyway, I hope you enjoy these. 

Join Terri and the Gang

She writes the questions;
we write the answers. Plug them into your own blog post
and link up at
Your Friend From Florida, Terri's blog.


Terri writes in black. My responses are in blue.
There are some pretty serious issues on the National Day Calendar this week.
Let's take on a few of them!!  The titles are linked back to The National Calendar.


1.  Tell us about a time you made someone's life beautiful or someone made YOUR life beautiful.

I might have made someone's life more beautiful when I relinquished our dear Tommy & Smokey last Saturday to Elizabeth, who drove all the way from Madison, WI to visit them, so we could get to know her and see if this would be a good fit for adoption.

As you know, we are moving to Wausau eventually, and because of our grandkids' severe allergies, and because we will be sharing a home with them and our daughter, it was out of the question to take Tommy & Smokey with us. I put up fliers in veterinarian offices, handed out fliers, wrote up a flyer for Instagram, for here on my blog, and asked everyone I knew to please pass the word along to help us look for a loving home for them.

Eventually I heard from a young woman named Elizabeth. And as you know, I later had phone conversations with the two character references she gave me. She came through with flying colors. So then it was down to the personal meet and greet. Would she be okay? Would Mr. C. or I get 'bad vibes'?? Would she look like a serial killer???

So last Saturday she and a friend arrived to meet the kitties. Tommy was a real gentleman and did his best to make her feel right at home. Smokey did her best to hightail it out of the room and hide upstairs. But after a nice time of talking with Elizabeth and Carlie, I think we all knew that she was going to be the perfect next home for them. She is so personable, obviously loved them immediately, and, as a bonus: loves books, loves maps, loves cats, and gave me a bag of King Arthur gluten-free flour. I mean really.

 Elizabeth and Tommy

 Think I should get non-glare lenses next time??
We're all pretty happy here (well, as happy as can be expected)
except for Tommy, who was wanting to get down.

This is the photo that Elizabeth posted on Instagram on Monday.
You can tell T&S are still a little tense, but I'm sure they'll settle in just fine.
I'll have to admit, though, that I got a catch in my throat when I was scrolling through Instagram and saw this photo of the two of them.
Get over it, Judy. God gave you more than you had asked for in Elizabeth!!

Yes, God was so in this project of finding just the right person who would love Tommy & Smokey and give them a good, loving home. And Carlie the friend? She, believe it or not, volunteered to ride in the back seat of the car with the kitties, all the 3.5 hours back to Madison. That is one true friend!  I don't even dare ask how long they whined about being on a car ride. I'll pretend that they just lay down and took a great, long nap. :-))



June 15th is the day we observe National Smile Power Day.  This is a day for everyone to share the power of the smile.

2.  Will you take on the challenge and smile more often on June 15th?  Why not start now!!  Have you been blessed by a smile that changed your day?

No, I won't take on the smile challenge. I already smile a lot. And I love smiling at complete strangers and trying to brighten their day. God has given me so much to be grateful for, starting with His Son and His Church, and so many other blessings besides, that how can I not smile? I'm a happy person!

These are the last photos of Tommy and Smokey that I'll be posting on my blog. So I would recommend following @lisbeth_michelle7  on Instagram (She has a private account so you'll need to request permission to follow her) or Elizabeth Sumner on Facebook. That's where the photos will be. I won't promise that I won't occasionally, however, post a re-run or one you've not seen if I'm feeling especially lonesome for them. But I'll try to let Elizabeth do the posting of her new 'fur babies' and stay out of the picture. This is not an easy thing!


“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” ~ Edith Wharton

3.  Terri is a cancer survivor.  Cancer has touched most of us in one way or another.  When did someone reach out to you with an act of kindness or when did you last perform a random act of kindness for someone?

It's really such a grim subject, isn't it, and you'd think by 2019 there would be a cure. I have a friend who died of pancreatic cancer, and I know she left a huge hole of love and kindness and joy in her family and her community.  But she had hope for a future, never lost her sense of wonder and fun, and is presently with the Lord, awaiting the Resurrection of the body. God bless you, Tom, her wonderful husband, who was a perfect match for Bonnie.



National Loving Day is observed each year on June 12.   National Loving Day is an annual celebration that commemorates the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia.  This decision struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states citing “There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause.”  Anti-miscegenation laws in the United States were U.S. state laws banning interracial marriage.
Childhood friends, Mildred and Richard, met when she was 11, and he was 17.  Over the years they began courting and in 1958 when she turned 18, they married in Washington.  They returned to their hometown north of Richmond and two weeks later, not realizing that interracial marriage was illegal, they were arrested.  Mildred and Richard Loving pleaded guilty and to avoid jail time; they agreed to leave Virginia.
The Loving’s moved to Washington D.C. and started legal action writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.  Kennedy referred the case on to the American Civil Liberties Union.  The Warren Court unanimously ruled in their favor, and the Loving’s returned to their Virginia home where they resided with their three children.

 Phlox in the ditches north of Sand Creek, WI

4.  Terri admits that this turned out to be not what she thought it would be.  Our country has come a long way in recognizing that people are people and our differences are what makes life beautiful, but we still have a long way to go, unfortunately.  Your thoughts?

My thoughts are that there is one race, Adam's race, and we all belong to it, whether some think they're a cut above or not. We're all living on a gracious and generous God's earth, breathing his air, and benefiting from all he has provided. ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and yet God is merciful to all who call upon his name. His mercy endures forever. He makes a great point of saying that over and over in Scripture. And how much does he love us? Enough to die for us.

Church on Pentecost Sunday

Each June 13 honors those who would like to cook and be in the kitchen, but it just doesn’t seem to work well for them.  After all, it is National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day.

5.  Had to lighten it up a bit.  Terri is a total klutz in the kitchen.  Tell us about something klutzy that happened in your kitchen... by you or another!  Can you laugh about it now?

P.S. (written after posting) I DO remember something that was prompted by another blogger's mixer smoking and quitting: I remember once when I was making a freezer dessert that called for whipping with my electric mixer for about 20 minutes. Right in the middle, my mixer died. And we were getting dinner guests that evening, so I didn't have time to waste. My husband put one of the beaters on the end of an electric drill and away we went!
And one more thing...

Okay, so I'll go with something that happened when I was a kid, and it's always possible that in the intervening years from the birth of this blog, back in February of 2010, I've already told you, but here it is:  I was probably 14? I was making 7 minute frosting for a cake. The recipe called for corn syrup. I couldn't find any. My ever helpful brother suggested corn OIL. It has to be the same thing, he assured me. Why did I EVER listen to him???  Well, you can probably guess what happened to my 7 minute frosting.

 My brother (that same brother) and his wife from Denver came to visit a couple days last week. As always, it was wonderful to be able to spend time with them.
The weather couldn't have been more perfect, about 75 degrees and sunny, so we rode in a CONVERTIBLE to see the lakeshore. After all,  Wisconsin does have 15,000 lakes, so it wasn't hard to find one nearby. 

 Fishermen ever present on Prairie Lake near Chetek, WI
in the summertime 

6.  Share something about your week so far, if you would.

The realtor, with whom we'll be listing our house, was out here on Tuesday afternoon. Do you remember the discussion as to whether or not we should remove the map wall between the kitchen and the living room?

 This photo was taken back when we had dog dishes on the floor and dog gates between the kitchen and living room.
And now I can start packing all my Emma Bridgewater and other England mugs! 

 Oh Audrey, it's you!!

Realtor says: Wall stays. Map and mug rack go.

That's a good thing because the mug rack was going to go with me anyway.
And the 1915 Home Comfort wood burning range is going with us also. The realtor said it would be a good idea to get it out of the house before any prospective buyer sees it, because if they want it, they might get their heart set on it. (Right! Keep your heart off my stove!!!). :-)) 

His biggest recommendations: paint everything a pale neutral color, have all hardware match, put in bright lights in all the light fixtures. We can do that.

And the project continues....
are closed temporarily for this moving project. 
Do you ever have an itch that's just REALLY HARD TO REACH??
Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!
Join me on Instagram: @cranberrymorning


Wednesday, June 5, 2019


 This photo was taken in 1980.
Check out all the Reunion info at Question 6 below.

 Join Terri and the Gang

She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog post
and link up at Your Friend From Florida

Everything below this line is from the National Day Calendar website.
(My responses are in blue)




Moooove over whiners! June 4 is National Cheese Day!
 I am SO glad to hear that this is National Cheese Day.
Although I've never liked cheese curds (and they still allow me to call myself a Wisconsinite), I love CHEESE, and mostly hard cheeses. YUM!!
An encyclopedia of cheese will cover the alphabet and broaden your vocabulary. It will undoubtedly contain more varieties of cheese than what’s found at the local grocer. Cheese is produced from the pressed curds of milk. The milk can come from cows, buffalo, goats or sheep. Temperature and aging affect the flavor and texture of the cheese as well as spices and other seasonings added during the process.
The opportunity to go to a cheese tasting or visit a cheesemonger who is knowledgeable about pairings will improve your enjoyment of the cheese you choose.  Does Stilton melt? (I don't know, but Stilton with cranberries is delicious.) Can you serve Chévre with a salad? Be sure to ask questions and provide your preferences. Your favorite wine might find a new sidekick. You might discover a smokey spread to go with bruschetta or a tangy cheddar to pack with lunch.
In the United States, a road trip to Wisconsin isn’t out of the question for quality and variety. (I added the bold.) But, they aren’t the only place to find outstanding flavor and choice. Local delis have selections of domestic and imported cheeses, and independent shops offer a rotating inventory beckoning us to keep visiting to see what’s new.
You might want to visit the Hawes Creamery in Hawes, North Yorkshire. They give away lots of free samples of the many varieties of cheeses made right there. Delicious! And besides, it's the home of Wallace and Gromit!  You can't go wrong with that. 

Cheese samples at Hawes Creamery
I tried not to be too greedy.
Excellent as a snack on its own, cheese is also a perfect ingredient in pasta, soups, souffle, and many other recipes. We slap it on a sandwich cold but why stop there when it can be grilled and melted like this amazing Swiss and Tomato Grilled Cheese recipe.  When company comes to visit, nothing is better than a cheeseball, especially when bacon is added. 

(My grilled cheese link in #4 below includes recipes to both a bacon/jalapeno grilled cheese and a pepper jack/pesto grilled cheese. They're delicious!)

Grilled cheese with basil pesto on homemade bread
Too delicious!
Cheese is multinational, too! Every nation in the world has its own variety of cheese. Italy seems to have harnessed the market. They did add it to pizza, and that’s pretty amazing.  Savor the opportunity if you ever have the chance to taste cheeses from around the world. For example, hop on over to Greece.  They have this dessert called cheesecake. Delicious!
There are many ways to celebrate National Cheese Day.  Try a new recipe or take a risk and try a type of cheese you’ve never heard of before. Ask for recommendations from friends or share your favorites.  Make sure you post to social media using #NationalCheeseDay
Everything above this line is from the National Day Calendar website.
 Aw Maaaa, do you always have to do your giraffe thing??
(cows just across the road)

1.  National Cheese Day is Tuesday, rather than Wednesday, but I think we should celebrate cheese this week!!  Let's start by sharing your favorite cheese with us.  Which one is always in your fridge?
My favorite is probably Dubliner. It's almost always on hand.
2.  What is your preference? Mild, Sharp, or Extra Sharp?  How do you use cheese most often?
Sharp or extra sharp is my favorite. Most often used simply by cutting a chip off the old block.
 Evening grazing
just across the road

3.  Cheesecake?  New York style or what other flavors would you rather have?
Plain cheesecake drizzled with crushed strawberries. Yeah, that would be good.
4.  When you do grilled cheese sandwiches, which cheese do you prefer to use and what condiments do you use, if any?
See photo above. That basil pesto added to the grilled pepper jack cheese is amazing!  RECIPE HERE .
5.  Number 5 on June 5th... Say happy birthday to my sister, Tammy!!
Happy Birthday, Tammy!!

6.  Share something with us about your week. If it includes using cheese in a recipe, please also share that with us too!!
The big excitement of our week was on Sunday when we were reunited with a summer exchange student from Mexico who had lived with us for three months way back in 1980!
Out of the blue, I got an Instagram message from him that read, 'Guess where I am. Viroqua.'
WHAT?? He was in Viroqua, Wisconsin??? That's only three hours from us, although at the time I got this message we were on our way to Wausau. When I found out how long he was going to be in Viroqua, I texted both our son and our daughter who had been his playmates that first time we'd met in the summer of 1980, to see if they could drive the next day to Viroqua to meet Daniel. We'd not seen him since December of 1983. Our daughter drove up from Madison and our son over from Stewart, MN. We drove from Wausau, and all met at Culver's.
From summer of 1980:
 Look at those cute kids!
Photo at the Barron County Historical Society Museum

 From left: Daniel, Angela, Kevy

 I think this photo was taken on the ferry at Bayfield
Here they are now!
From left:
Angela, Daniel, Kevy, and Daniel's lovely Lizette

 Even Mr. C. and I were young once upon a time.
 Daniel's little grandson in the foreground
No, it's not like we've been corresponding all this time. So it was such an incredible SURPRISE AND GIFT from God that we got to see him again. He was in Wisconsin for his stepson's high school graduation. And Viroqua of all places, the town where Mr. C was born and the ancestral region - Viroqua/Westby. Thank you to our daughter and son and grandson for driving the few hours (each way) to be part of this reunion.
Daniel and his family are living in San Miguel Allende, Mexico (real people get to live there???!!! - it's gorgeous!) where he traded in the life of an architect for the life of a restaurant entrepreneur. It sounds like he loves it there and is happy with his family and his life. And that makes me happy.
 Somewhere in San Miguel Allende
I remember expecting to see Truman Capote there. Not sure why.
BUT, a funny story here: We visited Daniel's family in late 1983 (they graciously took us many places, including San Miguel Allende, in Mexico and we had an incredible once-in-a-lifetime adventure with them!) and our younger daughter was born in September of 1984. Daniel's mother is convinced that she was named after Daniel and his brother, Carlos, hence, Dänika. Actually, I had never even thought of that. I saw the name Danica in a baby name book and liked it -  but now I'm beginning to wonder if subconsciously that is what attracted me to that name. Hmmmmmm.

 Tommy & Smokey love napping in the screen room, now that warmer weather is here.
Only THREE DAYS until their potential new caregiver arrives.
As I wrote last time, I will be sure to let you know how that meeting goes.
Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!
Join me on Instagram: @cranberrymorning 

Thanks for the Medley, Terri!



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