Saturday, February 2, 2013

Jimmy Didn't See His Shadow

Wisconsin has it's own groundhog named Jimmy.  He resides in Sun Prairie Wisconsin and comes out on February 2 to predict when Spring will arrive.  Truth be told, we would be very happy with the worse case scenario of six weeks until Spring.  This year he did not see his shadow and that means an early Spring.  Apparently if the groundhog sees his shadow, he gets scared and goes back into his den or hole or whatever his home is called.  That gives the impression that it is too early to come out and we have to wait six weeks.  It's fun but I've never seen the prediction come true.  Especially today because we woke up to a couple more inches of snow.  My friend posted a cartoon on Facebook that stated the obvious.  It is a picture of a groundhog that says "I'm a rodent, not a meteorologist".  So true.

This is a photo of a groundhog we saw while taking a walk down a local bike trail.  I don't know what he was doing but he also seems scared, probably of us.  He probably predicted an early Spring and he thinks were mad at him because it didn't happen.  We love all the seasons and that's why we live here.

Other animals probably want to have winter for a while longer.  They seem to be enjoying it.

The Possum

The Deer

And A Fox

Friday, February 1, 2013

Apple Cider Vinegar

I am not a health care professional so what I have to write about today is not based on anything but experience.  For detailed information you'll have to google it.  What I am talking about is Apple Cider Vinegar.   It has to be the raw, organic, unfiltered vinegar with the "mother".  The “mother” is made up living nutrients and bacteria that you can actually see as they settle in the bottom of the bottle like sediment. The “mother” is believed to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. ACV, the acronym for Apple Cider Vinegar, is a very helpful addition to my health and the health of my family.  It has many benefits especially when mixed with natural honey.  My husband had acid reflux and the doctor put him on acid blocker medication.  This medication shut down some of the acid receptors in the stomach and supposedly lowered the amount of stomach acid.  I suggested he start taking two teaspoons of ACV and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of water.  He did it morning and night.  In a couple days, he quit his medication and hasn't needed it since.  Even though ACV is acidic, it becomes alkaline in the stomach.  I had been taking it for a while because I read of all it's fantastic benefits (google that too), but I didn't have such dramatic results.  I can say that after Christmas my grandchildren all had colds and the stomach flu.  Of course, they coughed right in my face and kissed me.  I was feeling a little sick to my stomach one night and took a generous swig of vinegar and honey.  It settled my stomach almost immediately.  Soon after beginning the regiment, I began giving it to my dad.  He is 88 and drinks it before bed.  He claims it helps him have a good night sleep. Who knew.  The goodness of this product may be in our heads, but as my mother used to say "if it's all in your head, then maybe that's where you need the help".

Helpful website:

I have purchased this Bragg brand and also the Vitacost brand.  
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Thursday, January 31, 2013

In Memory of My Mom

This post is in memory of my mom who passed away one year ago.  Life goes on but our loved ones will never be forgotten.

Mom and Dad married June 8, 1946

This was taken 6 weeks before she died.  She was still doing pretty well.  Things went downhill after this photo but I'm so glad she didn't suffer very long and didn't linger.

This video shows her personality.  It shows that she was feisty but oh so loving.  She loved my dad and her whole family with all her heart.  We truly miss her.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Snowstorm of January 30, 2013

I couldn't let the day go by without posting some photos of the January 30, 2013 snowstorm in Princeton Wisconsin.  It is beautiful but now the work begins clearing out the driveway and sidewalk.  

Castle Arkdale

Every single person in the world has a story.  When you look at someone you can't tell what they have done.  You can't tell where they have been or what joys or struggles they have lived through.  The same is true with the landscape.  You never know what lies beyond that long driveway or behind those large trees.  It is amazing what discoveries you can make by just listening to conversations and asking questions.  We discovered Castle Arkdale this way.  They don't advertise and don't have a sign, but at the end of a long driveway in Green Lake County Wisconsin is this most amazing bookstore.  It has over a million books.  We were looking for a certain book and someone mentioned that they may have it 'down the road'.  Down the road, where could that be.  The people that told us about it made a phone call and before we knew it we were entering into this amazing place.

Just down the road from this Green Lake County Park is Castle Arkdale.

 Castle Arkdale

 W1778 County Road K
 Markesan, WI 53946
It is recommended to call ahead to see if they are open.
(920) 398-3375 

These photos from inside the building were obtained from

Apparently many years ago Lenore and Lloyd Dickmann began collecting books.   Lenore once taught at the UW-Oshkosh and later sold her books out of a schoolhouse in Markesan Wisconsin.  She needed more room for all of her books so her husband created a beautiful bookstore from a slurry tank.   I won't repeat the story because Bill Geist and CBS Sunday Morning did a piece on it.  Lenore and Lloyd are getting up in age and we don't know how long they will be able to operate this amazing place or what will happen to all their books.  Hopefully someone will be able to continue this hidden treasure.

Here is the youtube link.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cabbage Rolls for Dinner

We had a strange couple days in Wisconsin.  Weather wise that is.  In the last twenty four hours we have had sleet, snow, thunder, lightning, thick fog, flooding with unseasonable warm temperatures and tonight we could get seven inches of snow with temperatures falling into the single digits.  I wish it would make up it's mind. 

Because I was home and had time to cook a little today, I'm posting what we are having for supper tonight.  It seems that Tuesday is turning into recipe day on my blog.  I made Cabbage Rolls.  I have been making this recipe for a long time.  The first time I made them was almost forty five years ago.  I was a newlywed and wanted to impress my husband.  Little did I know that I set a prescient that I could cook and I have been doing it ever since.  I always make extra and freeze some for a later meal.

Cabbage Rolls

1 medium cabbage
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup precooked rice (either dry minute rice or cooked rice)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 can of tomato sauce
1/3 cup of water

Remove the core and outer leaves of the cabbage and cook in boiling water for about 8 minutes.
I usually just put it in the microwave until the leaves peel off easily.  Do not overcook because the leaves will fall apart when you start to assemble them.

Meanwhile combine raw ground beef, milk, rice, onion, salt and 1/4 cup of tomato sauce.  Mix this well.

Take one cabbage leaf at a time, lay it flat and put in a generous spoonful of filling.  Fold the leaf around the filling to make a little package.

I know these look a little bit like chicken thighs, but they really are the ground beef and rice mixture wrapped around a cabbage leaf.

Then I arrange these in a single layer in a baking pan or electric fry pan, combine the water and the remaining tomato sauce and pour over the cabbage rolls.  Cover and bake for and hour at 350 degrees.  Uncover for the last ten minutes.  This is the original recipe.

I experimented today with the pressure cooker for these.   I used the pressure cooker for the whole thing.  I made the rice which took 5 minutes, then cooked the cabbage (the microwave works better though) for 5 minutes and after I assembled the rolls, I pressured them for 20 minutes.  Total time 30 minutes.
I prefer them baked or cooked in the electric fry pan.  They are firmer and some of the excess moisture evaporates. 

While the cabbage rolls were cooking, I peeled some apples and cut into pieces.  I cooked them with a little water until they were soft, mashed them a little with a potato masher, added some sugar and we had fresh warm chunky applesauce also.  Now I have to clean up the kitchen, it's always the worse part. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Snowman Decoration

Before spring arrives, I wanted to share a little snowman decoration that I made.  Anyone that knows me will know that I don't like shopping in big stores and malls.  I just go blind and can't ever find what I am looking for.  Thrift stores are another story.  It is amazing to me what people give away.  The saying that one person's junk is another person's treasure is certainly true.  I looked for something that I could make.  I came across this pattern in a bin of patterns.  I figured if some poor little child in China can make this type of thing, then maybe I can too.   

I cut out the form and laminated it so I could use it over and over (if it turned out).  The pattern came in four sizes.  I found some white fabric and cut out two pieces in this shape.

 I embroidered the eyes, mouth and buttons out of black floss.  I made a little cone of orange fabric for the nose and sewed it on.  I then stuffed it with quilt batting and tied it with strong string around the waist and the neck.  It didn't sit quite right so I cut out a circle of cardboard the size of the bottom and covered it with more white fabric and attached it on the bottom.  The pattern called for a piece of fabric tied around the neck for a scarf and an old sock ribbing for the hat.  I decided to knit a hat, scarf and some little mittens.  I glued some sticks in the side for arms.  It may be a little tacky, but it cost almost nothing and I made it myself.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Swiffer Sheets from Fleece Fabric

I have to admit, I saw this idea on another page.  It was either a Facebook post or another blog, but I have to blog about it also.  I remembered it was +Courtenay Creeklinehouse  I'm all for saving time and money.  I really like swiffers but you have to buy the refill sheets, throw them away each time and sometimes they just push the dirt around.  I have tried this idea using a washcloth but it didn't work as well.  So the post I read said to take some fabric like flannel or fleece and cut it to the size of the swiffer sheet.  I measured one and they are about 8 1/2 by 11, the size of a piece of paper.  Then I went down to my stash and looked around for something I could use.  Six years ago I needed to make some hats because I had lost my hair due to chemotherapy.  I bought too much so I had this leftover piece nicely folded just waiting for me to repurpose it.  It doesn't bring back good memories but it's fine and I'm fine now.

This isn't the thick fleece but the cheaper version.   I believe it probably worked even better than the thicker fleece.  The first one I cut had the stretch going along the long side.  The next piece I had the stretch on the narrow side.  I think I prefer the short side stretch, but it really doesn't make that much difference.  Since this fabric doesn't ravel there is no sewing necessary.  I made all the pieces out of the same color so I will know that they are designated as the Swiffer sweeper sheets.  Then it was time to try it out.  I ran it around on the hardwood floors.  It picked up stuff that I couldn't even see on my floor.  The static created by pushing it around attacked every piece of dust.  It was embarrassing how dirty my floor was.  When I was almost finished, I removed the fabric, flipped it over and used the other side.  Then I threw it in with a load of washing.  Be sure you have washable and dryable fabric and you will be set for a long time.

 This was the first attempt.  The sheet I cut was a little long but 8 1/2 by 11 will fit perfect.

Here I flipped it over.  You can see all the dirt on the inside.  I would highly recommend this project.  So I cut 14 sheets and then I will always have a clean one available. I will keep you posted as to how they hold up after repeated washings.