Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Christmas 2020

We just got back from MT last evening.  We boarded the plane on time - noting with interest how many dogs we have seen in the airport both going and coming. One cute dog went through the line on a leash attached to his human. When we got to the end of the tunnel - ready to board - the dog and human were there ... the dog in a basket with a blanket around him and comforting pats on the head from his human.  After that we got settled in our seats. I got the window seat this time and the steward noticed Ellis struggling with the seat belt and got him an extension. On the way to MT Ellis was by the window and just stretched the seat belt over his lap and had a jacket folded up on his lap and flew without seatbelt buckled - unnoticed.  

We had just taxied away from the airport and stopped when the steward came over the intercom and said we were going back because of a "situation." They made no further announcements as we waited and waited. At last when we got back to the airport the pilot and steward and a guy with orange vest all went to the back of the airplane. After awhile all returned  then shortly after that the dog and his human. The human apologized to everyone in passing, "I'm so sorry! It's my fault. It was my dog." When they were gone we started all over - now with the safety speech and exits pointed out and demonstration of how the seat belt works, etc. I don't think they did all that the first time, being distracted with the "situation" I suppose.

It was a lovely flight and homecoming. We eventually found the place where our shuttle could pick us up to take us to the park&ride where the car was waiting for us. Allen and Krysta went, too. All of the boys in our family spent Christmas with their in-laws so we decided to spend Christmas with our daughters. We will have our Harshbarger Christmas the last weekend in January up at Nashwauk using Jerry and Trenda's house for our family gathering. (They are going to South Carolina to visit family then from there going to Florida for the month of February.)

I am reclining on my couch in this little addition Allen and Ellis made. We haven't stained and varnished the wood yet. Ellis has two lights to put in and a plug in to finish - tucking all those wires back in and putting the cover on. Then we need to figure out the window seat/storage. I guess we will say goodbye to the couch then. The storage area is going to be lined with cedar like the inside of a cedar chest. There is a lot more space in our living room now.

It sounds like we are in for a winter storm this afternoon and tomorrow. What a nice way to end the year!

Our visit to MT had many highlights. We saw the Mission Mountains. You could live there just for the scenery! So beautiful! They told us we were fortunate to see the mountains.  Often they are shrouded with clouds. 

We played games, ate way too much good food, made some Norwegian specialties,  drove to Kootenai Falls,  read the Christmas story, spent Sunday afternoon/evening with Deanne's  friends - Tom and Sadie. 

They had come to Dea's house Saturday evening to see the lefse making process and get a taste. Dea and Krysta made the lefse from start to finish. They asked if I would roll them out so it was a team effort. Sadie said it was a childhood dream come true - a chance to eat brown sugar with no disapproval from her mother.  

We made cheese ball to go with crackers and chicken salad to go with the lefse if you wanted another option besides sugar. Dea heated up ham balls she had in the freezer. And we had a gigantic lettuce salad to add something healthy to the meal.

Dea has found a recipe for milk mush online. Better known as Rommegrot in Norway.  I think I can send you the link to that or just type in Rommegrot and this blog comes up with history of the dish and a recipe. Krysta made that for breakfast Christmas morning while we listened to a song Deanne's friend sent about Christmas in heaven. So our milk mush was watered with tears. 

We also listened to some comedians at different times throughout the weekend so we had laughter until our sides ached, too. On the way to Kootenai Falls I read "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson. There is plenty of laughter and tears in that book!

We drove through the National Bison Range on our way to the airport. Next time I hope it will be in the summer so we can go on the roads that are closed for the winter. We saw bison and lots of white tail deer. A couple of coyotes. The mountains were curtained with clouds otherwise we would have gotten another view of the Mission Mountains. Any time we fly to Missoula I will beg to drive five miles out of the way to see them again - if it's a clear day.

I started a letter telling about the year -  2020. It got quite long winded and I'm only half way through - not even half way. We will start you off at the tail end of the year until the other letter gets finished.

Merry Christmas and  a  Happy New Year!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Pearl India Nolt

 To you - my friends in blogger world - I want to introduce you to our beautiful granddaughter who was stillborn Wednesday  October 7, 2020. This was completely unexpected.  Allen and Krysta heard a strong heartbeat on Monday.  Tuesday afternoon /evening at the beginning of labor there was no heartbeat. They had been planning a home birth with a midwife in attendance. When there wasn't a heartbeat they immediately transferred to the hospital where an ultrasound showed the baby had died. Krysta was able to labor and deliver Pearl India Nolt at 6:13 AM Wednesday morning. 

There is no explanation.  Some tests have been done but no results are back. 

We were able to hold Pearl in the hospital room. We took turns  saying hello and goodbye.  This all sounds very cold and unemotional, but you all know our heart's are crying.  

Allen and Krysta spent all day with Pearl. They bathed her and dressed her and wrapped her in a soft blanket. We took pictures.  I am so glad we live in a time when we are allowed to grieve.  Encouraged to grieve  ... 

We have plans for a visitation Sunday afternoon.  The Worlein Funeral Home in Blooming Prairie  MN is helping with all the arrangements.  You can go on the website and get information of times and dates for the visitation and funeral. 

We are supported by the God of all comfort and so many people who are praying for our family. 

Pearl India Nolt 
7lb. 6oz. 19 1/2 in.
Safe in the arms of Jesus

Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

9-27-2014 is a date that will stay in my mind for the rest of my life. Six years ago my dad went home to meet his Savior. We miss him more and more as time goes on. 

My dad was always ready to read a good book. Yesterday I found a story I had never read before. This book tells what happens when a family meets Jesus for the very first time.

Ellis and I were out for a Saturday drive. Garage sale signs swooshed the pickup right off the road and down quiet streets on a search for some new treasure. In Brownsdale we found some books. Ellis found his favorite author. I moved around the table and found childrens books. One took my eye.

I had never heard of this book or this author. The words on the back of the book told about a dreadful family full of bad boys and girls who terrorize the local school and community. The title of the book said, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever! My interest was stirred. I decided to risk fifty cents and bought the book. Worst case scenario I could throw it in the local recycling bin.

We hadn't gone far when Ellis started getting sleepy. I asked if he'd like me to read the book outloud. Before we knew it we were laughing at the absurd situations described by a 5th or 6th grade girl who is telling the story. She was in the same grade as Imogene - one of the little terrors. She tried to stay as inconspicuous as possible to escape all notice by Imogene, a girl who smoked cigars and threatened girls in her grade by saying, "I will push a pussywillow into your ear and then you will have a pussywillow bush growing out of the side of your head!"

In between stops to deliver merchandise for Hog Slat and browse at more garage sales, I kept on reading. To the very end. By that time Ellis was sniffling and I was all choked up and barely able to read. 

There are lots of hilarious stories in this book that will have you laughing out loud, but the main part of the story is - God with us -Emanuel - and some naughty boys and girls who meet Jesus for the very first time.

Imagine you have never heard the Christmas Story. Imagine hearing it for the very first time. I am usually not a fan of starting the Christmas season too early. This year I think I'm ahead of the local stores. If you have a chance to read this book it will change the way you think of Christmas this year - maybe every year from now on. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Forty Years ago

Forty years ago my aunt and uncle gave a set of dishes to Ellis and me for a wedding present. It was a change from the three patterns of Corelle known at that time. Green, gold and blue ... all beautiful in their own way. 

We had a fall wedding, September 6, 1980.
I thought this pattern was extra special with its bright colors. 

I picked a bouquet this morning that reminds me of the colors at our wedding. I carried a  white Bible with a dainty handkerchief that I borrowed from my Mom. The handkerchief was edged in blue. I carried something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Hmm! Now I wonder if it was the same hanky Mom carried at her wedding. That is an old-fashioned custom, probably unheard of these days.

Last night we brought out this set of dishes and had a merry supper with friends. Taco salad - crisp lettuce, taco chips, meat and bean sauce seasoned with chilipowder, garlic powder and garlic salt, grated cheese, salsa, all topped with sour cream, chopped onions (for those who are brave) and ranch dressing. My homemade French dressing was in the fridge at home. 

We rented the township hall down the road from our house. There were thirteen people around our jolly table. Lots of old time  memories were brought up and talked about as we made new memories. 

It is always a high light for Ellis and me to open up that old building, sweep out the ladybugs from the corners (ok - Asian beetles - which is the correct name) and let the gorgeous metal ceiling ring with laughter once again. 

We mopped the wood floor with Murphy's Oil and opened windows so cool breezes could blow through the room.

Ellis stirred together a grand mixture of nuts, chocolate covered raisins, dried fruit, etc. We topped our ice cream and brownies with chocolate sauce and nuts and sipped coffee as old stories and new circled around us. 

I suppose the mice were having a party in the basement and hoped we'd leave some crumbs for them. Not a speck remained for their enjoyment. 

It feels like we haul lots of our stuff over there and bring it all back to make a cosy evening.  Ellis told me I'd drive back and forth 50 times before it was all said and done. :)
Quite the exaggeration! But that's why the French dressing stayed at home and was sadly missed at our table. I thought of it at the last minute and decided to skip it. 

French dressing is such a lovely orange color! Homemade French dressing is the best.
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup ketchup 
1/3 cup white vinegar 
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
Whirl all ingredients in a blender until it gets thick. Serve on salads.  

I didn't say it was healthy.  ;)

I remember celebrating a 40th anniversary with Ellis's parents in 1984. I thought Mark and Florence were quite elderly at that time.
I suppose the little boys at our party last night think Ellis and I are right up there almost equal to Methuselah in age.

Time changes our perspective. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Out and About

This morning on the way to the dentist I was praying as I drove. Suddenly I felt quite overwhelmed and the next thing I knew I was crying - blubbering actually - what a fun way to arrive at the dentist. 

Well, a mask hides all, right? then I had to fill out a questionaire about Covid. Which I sailed through with no problem until I got to this ? Do you have a runny nose? I marked "no" while I said to the world at large, "I was crying on my way here so my nose is running." 

 After I sat down the gal across the room said, "Hi, how are you?" I said, "Fine, how about you?"  
But I could not recognise her so I moved closer and said, "I'm sorry, I should know your name but I can't say it." It turns out she is my Mom's neighbor. Masks are just hiding us from each other. 

Last summer she divided her lilies and gave starts to mom and her friends/family. I was one of the lucky people who got an assortment of lilies from her. I have been sending pictures to her all summer. The lilies are beautiful in my flower garden. 
 After the dentist I walked over to the library. 
 We can go in to the library! Happy Days! 

There is no place to sit. You can only stay 15 minutes. Still! The library is open, people! 

Here are my snap dragons!
I am so happy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The old home place

The roof on the old home place was leaking. Ellis and Allen talked about getting a crew together to go to MT and fix the problem.  We hoped to go over Easter vacation. Then that virus shut everything down. When MT opened up and before Allen and Ellis got swamped with work they asked the youth guys if any would be interested in helping. We had a great crew respond.

I tried to get these pictures in the right order and two were so obnoxious as to get in the wrong places. I will need help from my editor.  ;)

The guys had a great time and so did the gals. My sis-in-law and I made breakfast and lunch. Supper every evening was down the road at a cousin's house. 
The weather was great for two days in a row allowing the guys to get old shingles torn off and a good start on the tin. We heard that rain was in the forecast so every surface that didn't have tin was covered with tarpaper.
We went to bed Friday night to the sound of rain and howling wind. In the morning we found the tarpaper and lathe held up under the onslaught of rain and wind. There were snow flurries at breakfast. This called for some serious site seeing so the roof had time to dry.
We are thankful for all of the Lord's mercies. The timing of the project, the response of those who helped, safety on the roof, safety in travels --
We want to give God all the glory !!
Around noon they were able to get started again and kept working until the job was done at 6:30 - 7:00.
A gigantic thank you for all involved.

Friday, May 8, 2020

May 2020

Time flies when we're having fun. A year ago we were getting ready for this big day. There were three weddings last summer and one in late fall. (Youth from Prairie Mennonite Church) Many times there have been four or five years between weddings at our church. Those four couples are glad they aren't planning weddings this spring/summer. 

This winter, before covid 19 took over, Ellis and I visited Texas. We went to visit Krysta and her husband, Allen. They were working in an area that had been flooded. Allen was a crew leader and Krysta helped with food preparation. New groups came each week to help rebuild homes that had been flooded. 

While we were in Texas we found out a baby is on the way to join the Nolt family. We are excited to meet our new grandbaby!

Back to the 60's. 
   Krysta, posing in her 
           Grandma's maternity outfit ...

And more modern days
April 2020

Happy Days!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Brown Bread

The whole process of making bread was very satisfying. Especially the kneading. It just felt good to work off some extra energy.

Of course eating the bread was super! I was reminded of my Grandpa Ben. He always said the bread Grandma made was bread. Anything you buy at the store is "brind"  --more wind than bread.

Here's the recipe I used. I cut it in half. The original recipe called for 24 cups of flour and made 8 loaves. I didn't feel that energetic!

                        Brown Bread
4 cups warm water
1/2 cup honey
2 T. molasses
2 T. salt  (I think I will use less salt next time)
1/2 cup shortening
6 cups whole wheat flour
4 - 6 cups white flour

Mix 2 T. yeast with 3/4 cup warm water.
Stir everything together and add 6 cups whole wheat flour. Mix very good. Add 4 cups white flour and start to knead. I keep some shortening on hand to grease the sides of the bowl and my knuckles to keep dough from sticking. Then knead, knead, knead. About 10 minutes or more if you really get into the mood. Great for your arms!

Here comes the great controversy... do you knead dough in the bowl or on the counter?
You know what? It doesn't make any difference.  It's all personal preference. Do what you have always done. Or if your mom always kneaded bread dough in the bowl and you'd like to try kneading it on the counter, go for it. If you've never heard of such a red neck method of keeping the dough in the bowl to knead, maybe you want to shake up your life and try that. (It's one less surface to clean so that's my reason for doing it that way.) Lazy or efficient - whatever you want to call it.

Let the dough rise until double, grease pans and knead the dough again, then shape into loaves and let it rise again in the pans. I poke the loaves with a fork before they rise. Again personal preference. It makes a cool design on the top of the bread. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Take out of pans and cool. Makes four loaves. Freeze the extra loaves or give them away.

I got teased by my husband who thought I'd forgotten how to bake bread. It comes back to a person - a little like ice skating or riding bike. How did I happen to have yeast and whole wheat flour, molasses and honey on hand? Even white flour for that matter...
Everything was right here in my freezer and cupboards just waiting to be mixed together.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Peaches and Ice Cream and Homemade Bread

I don't want you to think everything was peaches and ice cream in our travels. I'm sure there were days that we didn't like each other very much - pinches and squabbles - that sort of thing. We had a lot of fun together, though. There was that time when all the noise and babbling got on Dad's one remaining nerve. He looked back and said, "Cut that out!" One of us had the impertinence to say, "Give us a scissors so we can cut it out!" Not a wise thing to say we quickly found out.

Our daughter gave us a sign to hang up in our house the other year.
                          REMEMBER  ...
              as far as everyone knows ....
            "We're a Nice Normal Family"

That describes the family God gave Ellis and me, and it also describes the family I grew up in. I think if we are all honest we could say we each come from a "dysfunctional" family. I just looked up a little blip that described what a dysfunctional family is. One of the signs can be perfectionism. Always trying to make the family appear perfect. That hits me square between the eyes. How many years did I try to make my house/life perfect and all the little people in my life as well? Not even mentioning trying to remake my husband ... and the sad task of making myself "good enough." If we could make ourselves perfect why did Jesus have to come to this earth and die for us? I'm thrilled beyond words to accept Jesus Christ's perfection for my life. His precious blood cleanses me from my sins. I am grateful.

To continue on to the mountains ... Dad and Mom were probably very thankful to finally say, "There, on the horizon, you can see the mountains!" We strained our eyes and looked and looked. We had no way of knowing what we were looking for being used to peat bogs and forests and potato fields in northern MN. The only mountains we ever saw were the Turtle Mountains in ND when we went to Bible Camp every summer.

Lake Louise  Banff National Park
Columbia Icefield  Somewhere we trekked out to touch an actual glacier.
Jasper National Park  and Mt Robson which I mentioned before. I've heard if you hanker to go to Switzerland to see the mountains - and can't go - drive to the Canadian Rockies and vacation there. I recommend it.

At last we came to Dunster BC, a tiny village with a school and a depot and train tracks. Maybe a store ... and a post office. A dirt road curved around and took us to our cousins' farm. When we pulled in to the lane we had no idea how often we'd be coming back to visit this family who were, at this moment, strangers to us.

Part of the reason it has taken me so long to arrive is because of all those visits. I don't know what memories are first. Did this event happen on our first trip?  or was that later when we went back for a wedding?

Or when we went back in the fall of 1973 and lived in BC for three months? We went to school in Dunster and made even more friends.

For now we had eight cousins to meet and a new aunt and uncle we barely remembered. To hear all the stories our parents and Lester and Norma shared we finally had to believe that once upon a time they were little people like us with adventures just like ours.

We landed on a working farm where chores went on as usual. I hope we didn't interfere too much with the daily schedule.  I remember picking huckleberries. There was food to make and dishes to wash after the meals. There was a darling baby, only six or seven months old. Cows to be milked twice a day. I think I should ask more questions and find out what my aunt and two cousins older than me remember. I don't even know how long our visit was that first summer.

Around this time I was learning to bake bread. Our recipe was for white bread at home. Now we learned all about whole wheat bread. Freshly ground whole wheat flour was used for bread making. The wheat had to be cleaned. A row of little ones sat at the table with Norma and Mom supervising.We each had a plate with a pile of wheat berries on it. Anything you didn't want to eat was separated from the good wheat. Weed seeds, parts of grasshoppers, etc. The clean wheat was ground in an electic grinder and then mixed into bread dough. There is nothing better than fresh whole wheat bread pulled out of the oven, sliced, spread with butter and honey and devoured. I tremble to think how many loaves of bread we consumed while we were visiting that week.

On that thought we will stop for now. I am leaving you to go bake some bread.

Monday, April 27, 2020

A step back in time

                      Here we are in 1973. 
                Arnie and Leona Skrivseth 
          Ladina, Dawn, Trenda and Maria.
  In order by height instead of age this time.

Ellis looked up the car and thinks it is a 1965 Chrysler wagon. I'm still looking for a picture with the trailer.

I asked Mom and my sisters for their memories of this trip. How did we spend our time?

For one thing we had more room than usual since we had a station wagon. Maria didn't have to stay up front sandwiched in between Dad and Mom. She could come back with us and join the party. Maria remembers kneeling on the floor mat and facing the seat, then playing with her paper dolls.

Ah, paper dolls! Do any of you remember what fun that was? (Excuse us for a little minute if you are a gentleman reading this blog.) We cut ours out of the Sears,  Montgomery Wards or Penney's catalogs. Whole families. We named the children our favorite names. At home we each made a little house for our family using wash clothes for the rooms. Then we went galloping around the house to visit each other, going on picnics, climbing on the bus to go to school, Vacation Bible School, bike rides - whatever hit our imaginations. We were a bit more cramped in the car. Now we could play "going to the mountains." Maybe we even put ourselves back in time and pretended we were going by covered wagon.

Trenda remembers she was closest to the ice chest so her job was to hand out snacks when people got hungry.

We all remembered the cars stopped by the side of the road. That was a sign to grab the camera and get ready to take pictures of big horn sheep, or moose or bear. Who knew what it might be this time.

One day we had lemon drops for a treat. A person soon finds out it's not good to suck on too many lemon drops in a row. After awhile your mouth gets sore. Trenda didn't want to harm a big horn sheep, but before you can say Jack Robinson she fed a big horn sheep a lemon drop.

We had stopped to look at a line of sheep walking down the side of the road. We rolled the windows down to get a better view. Everyone looked out the left side of the car. Trenda felt "someone" looking at her on her side of the car and turned to look. She found herself nose to nose with a big horn sheep. "Agh!" She had a lemon drop in her hand and held that out. The sheep nibbled it off her hand and walked on to the next car. We all knew we weren't supposed to feed the animals. But what is a girl to do when she is startled by a foreign creature sticking his head in her space?

Ladina and I remember fried chicken for lunch. It was fried in the morning and layered in a wide mouth gallon thermos which kept everything piping hot. This was a meal we stopped at a park to eat instead of eating while driving. I wonder how we washed our hands after that scrumptious greasiness? (the days before wet wipes) Maybe there was a well with a pump handle at the park.

Mom remembers that it was blistering hot across those prairies as we traveled on  the Trans Canadian highway. We girls were not used to air conditioning in cars. We insisted that it would be cooler if we rolled the windows down and couldn't figure out why Dad told us to keep everything shut up.

Maybe Dad needed to stop for gas or maybe he was sick of our grumbling. One way or the other we soon stopped and met head on the heat of an oven as we piled out of the car. Maria says it was 100° F. Dad had no more trouble convincing us to keep the windows closed.

This brings me to the end of our memories and we still haven't arrived at the Martin Farm near Dunster, BC. Maybe tomorrow...

Friday, April 24, 2020

British Columbia

When I was 12, Ladina 11, Trenda 9 and Maria 6, going on 7, we traveled to British Columbia, Canada. We had some double first cousins living at Dunster, BC. Lester Martin, Mom's brother, married Norma Skrivseth, Dad's sister. We rarely got to see these cousins. Fifteen hundred miles is a long way to travel as we quickly found out.

Dad had made a camper trailer that we pulled behind our car. It folded out, a bed on each side propped up on sturdy legs, and a tent popped up - with Dad directing the whole set up and all of us helping with our varied abilities.

We took our time, stopping to visit friends on the way. One of our stops was Wild Rose ND to visit Ken and Lorene Meagher. Also Coalridge MT where we stopped to see Mark and Florence Harshbarger and family.

I don't know if we stopped on our way to Canada? Or on the way home. Hmm! It would be fun to read an old diary or journal of the trip. None of us were keeping diaries yet. Unless Dad wrote everything down - where we stopped to camp, fill up with gas, etc.

Another stop was in Duchess Alberta, close to Brooks AB. More distant cousins live there. Again I don't know if we did the Mennonite - your - way on the trip up to BC then stayed at camp grounds on our way home or if we mixed them up ... doing some of each, coming and going.

Sometimes I remember trips by the books I read as we traveled. I remember filling the long hours of this trip with word searches. Whole books of them!

After we finally reached the mountains we had lots of scenery to observe. Sometimes we'd yell, "Look at that _____!" You fill in the blank - lake, mountain, road, tree, animal. Then, just as quickly we'd tell Dad, "No, don't look! Keep your eyes on the road!"

I spent a lot of time in my grade school years reading adventure stories of people heading for Oregon. This wasn't Oregon but there were mountains and switchbacks for roads. We talked a lot about the miracle of driving on a trip for three maybe four days, arriving at our destination, unscathed.

It didn't take months of hard slogging with wagons losing a wheel now and then. Dealing with raiding Indians, disease, death. Throwing out cherished items at the side of the trail to lighten the load for the weak, starving oxen that were pulling our wagon.

No, we just breezed along in our air conditioned station wagon, pulling our sleeping quarters behind us. We had ice in the ice chest to keep our food cold. Water to drink. Books to read. Word searches to puzzle over. Eyes to see all the beautiful panorama around us!

Words cannot describe Banf and Jasper parks. Our first sight of Mt. Robson, 12972 ft. my atlas tells me. The peak, so rarely visible because it's usually covered with clouds, was visible for us that day.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Word Search

I'm working on a word search as I eat my breakfast and drink my morning tea. What a lot of memories niggle at the back of my brain over such a simple exercise!

You see, I was an experienced traveler from my infancy. The story goes that I was six weeks old when my parents moved from Fort Wayne IN to Graceton MN. Before that they had taken some weekend jaunts to Kentucky to visit family and friends.

After a time my little sister Ladina arrived, and my family moved to ND for a year. We lived in ND but we went to church in MT. There is a difference in time so we left our house at 10:00 and arrived at church at 10:00. (It is always best to travel west!)

The trip home was not as nice. We stayed for lunch and afternoon visiting. If we started for home at 4:00 we got home at 6:00 ... a long, full day.

We moved back to MN in time to welcome another little sister named Trenda into our family.

Remember, all of this traveling was before car seats. (Just a little side note)  We must have stayed in MN for two years then moved to IN where my dad was learning the painting trade with Joni Beachy. It's possible we spent two summers in IN. ?? I can't ask dad now how long he worked with Joni. I do know that the girls in our family had lots of play dates with the girls in Joni's family, making friends for life ... Anita and Merilee.
Please forgive me if I spelled your name wrong.

At the end of the summer we lived in a little brick house and were next door neighbors to my friend, Linda. We went to kindergarten together. Linda and I still send each other letters and family pictures.  Maria joined our family October 1966.

Somewhere along the way Dad went to Rosedale Bible School so we traveled to OH for that. I don't think I was doing word searches yet at this point. (You are being very patient with me waiting to hear what word searches has to do with any of this.)

I am trying to imagine how my parents traveled with four little girls 5 1/2 years old and under. I know Mom read to us. A lot.
Of course we had dolls, too.

Back home to Graceton after Bible School. I started first grade at Williams MN. *Mrs. Tallefson worked her magic with phonics and the alphabet and I learned to read.

Dad went to OH for Bible School and again took all of us with him. I went to a Christian Day School for a couple months while we were there. When we went back to MN Miss Farmwald had all of her students write letters to me. A packet of letters I still have to this day.

After that our travels were confined to summers and Christmas vacations. Every summer we drove to the Angle to visit cousins. Every Christmas we drove to WI to visit cousins by the dozens. In July we went to a Bible Camp in ND.

All of this prepared us for the trip of our lives. Our lives up to that point, at least. In which we were introduced to word search books to keep us out of our parents hair.

*If any of you readers went to school in Williams MN and know how to spell Mrs. Tallefson's name please correct me if I spelled it wrong. Phonics does not always help when spelling last names. Take Skrivseth for example -- a name that gives people the heebie jeebies when they try to pronounce it. It's really quite simple if you forget phonics for a second. Skreev set  There - isn't that easy?  :)

And now I will leave you to finish my word search. See you tomorrow!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Oh Henry Bars

 Here is an old recipe you can put together in a very short time and it feeds a crowd. It's easy to throw together Sunday afternoon when you've forgotten you're supposed to take finger food for snacks after singing at the nursing home.

4 cups oatmeal  I always use old fashioned oats. Your choice, of course, if you'd rather use minute oatmeal.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter

Don't melt the butter, just cut it into the oats and sugar with a pastry cutter or your fingers. Press into a greased jelly roll pan and bake at 350° for 10 minutes.

Melt 1 cup chocolate chips and one cup peanut butter: either in a double boiler over hot water or in a glass microwave bowl, stir mixture as it melts. Spread over the crust and cut into bars when everything is cooled.

I usually use more chocolate chips. One cup is pretty skimpy to cover that gigantic pan of oatmeal.

I'm sorry to say I don't know who gave us this recipe.  I remember making it at home before I got married so that's many long years ago. Ellis and I will celebrate 40 years of married life in September.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Lentils and Rice

Everyone is making food these days. I found a couple of old favorites in my family recipes to share...

Herbed Lentils and Rice

2 2/3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup lentils
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup rice
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4th tsp. each salt, thyme, oregano, pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
grated cheese, Swiss or Cheddar
Combine all but half the cheese. Pour into 1 1/2 quart greased casserole dish. Bake, covered, 1 1/2 - 2 hours @ 350°. Uncover and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Bake  2 - 3 minutes until melted.

If you have never tasted lentils and have always turned up your pretty little nose at the thought of them - this is the recipe to try.
I used to double this recipe to fit in a 9"x13" pan and everyone in our family loved it - even the people who love beef best.

The story behind this recipe goes back to the mid 80's. My sister, Trenda, was newly married and lived near Albert Lea, MN. She was invited to a gathering for new gals in town, an opportunity to make new friends where you don't know anyone. (Maybe it was a Bible Study) Each one introduced themselves. Trenda thought Beth Kramer looked familiar but couldn't remember where she might have met her before. Later, Beth asked, "What is your maiden name, Trenda?" And the rest is history. Trenda's maiden name is Skrivseth. Beth's maiden name is Olson.  Our two families went to the same school in Williams MN. Beth has a younger sister, Jeanette, who was in Trenda's grade at school. Her sister, Diane, was in my grade.
Our Moms, Leona and Audrey, are friends and we used to have Sunday lunches together occasionally before we moved to southern MN.
Beth invited me over for lunch one day and served this casserole and shared the recipe.

Thank you, Beth. This recipe is delicious!