Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Brought in the New Year with Friends.

Made Royal Icing (for the first time) to decorate cookies.

Celebrated Christmas in January because Prairie was in New Zealand/Australia for the Holidays.

Added to my Chapstick collection.

Drank some beer.

Bought matching “lazy” chairs for Bruce and me … they’re working really well.

Bought new luggage.

Celebrated Prairie’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas … good excuse to try out the new luggage.

Saw Phillip Phillips in concert at WSU with Laura and Prairie … who names their kid that?

Drank some beer.

Decorated a lampshade with Leinenkugel bottle caps.

Drank some beer … for the sake of future arts-n-craft projects.

Bruce bought a Polaris Razor UTV against my better judgment … don’t tell Bruce, but I love it.

Partied like a Rockstar for my birthday … felt like I had rocks on my head the next morning.

Started this Blog.

Upgraded my camera lenses.

Sold our canoe and pop-up camper and bought a 1992 5th-wheel. I once said I would never own a camper with an air conditioner or bathroom … never say never.

Went to Nashville with family … laughed, sang, danced and got some red cowboy boots.

Drank some beer.

Made strawberry/rhubarb jam until it was coming out of my ears … that’s a lot.

Celebrated Independence Day with friends in the Northwood’s … drank some beer. J

Saw a Fun concert at Taste of Chicago … for you that aren’t cool … Fun is the name of the band, not an adjective.

Enjoyed a Don Williams concert in the Dells with the hubby and parents.

Got to spend some time with a lifelong friend and had some childhood flashbacks.

Went camping/UTVing in July and needed mittens.

Saw Randy Houser in concert at the Wausau Fair.

Won a gun at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Banquet … anyone want to buy a gun?

Drank some beer.

Saw Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in concert at the Wausau Fair … wish I would have worn a twirly skirt.

Added to my Chapstick collection.

Hosted 2 talented kids from Kids From Wisconsin.

Saw Josh Thompson in concert at Witter Field.
Enjoyed a long, long, long lunch date at the Harbor Bar in Waupaca with a couple of girlfriends.

Bruce and I attended a Packer pre-season game … now we’re anticipating the Wildcard game.

Participated in CMN Kolor For Kids 5k Funfest.

Saw Justin Moore in concert at the Marshfield Fair … this might have been my favorite concert of the year.

Stained the house … this was not fun like everything else on my list.

Started a new job … 4 months later and I’m still lovin’ it.

Went camping/UTVing in September and needed the air conditioner … hot, hot, and hot!

Got to enjoy the UW Marching Band at a Rapids football game.

Attended the Packers/Lions game and again, got to enjoy the UW Marching Band and a Packers win.

Drank some beer … with friends at Dells On Tap. According to the pictures, we had a blast. J

Had a successful shopping and social trip with high school girlfriends in Minneapolis and enjoyed a Brian Setzer Concert and Maiden Dixie Band.

Created a YouTube account.

Celebrated Andy’s 25th birthday … really, 25? How can that be?

Hosted my family for Holiday celebrations.

… coming around full circle … heading out for our traditional New Year’s celebration with friends.

Live Long and Prosper!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I love all the Peanuts cartoons. Snoopy is my favorite character and at one point in my life, my bedroom was decorated to reflect this. Bruce finally said enough was enough and he made me redecorate. Below you'll find some of the endearing quotes from the cartoon.
Linus VanPelt: I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.
Charlie Brown: Thanks for the Christmas card you sent me, Violet.
Violet: I didn't send you a Christmas card, Charlie Brown.
Charlie Brown: Don't you know sarcasm when you hear it?

Patty: Try to catch snowflakes on your tongue. It's fun.
Linus VanPelt: Mmm. Needs sugar.
Lucy VanPelt: It's too early. I never eat December snowflakes. I always wait until January.
Linus VanPelt: They sure look ripe to me.

Charlie Brown: “Pigpen, you’re the only person I know who can raise a cloud of dust in the snowstorm.”

Sally:  “If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself—just send money. How about tens and twenties?”

Lucy VanPelt: "Are you going to let all this beauty go to waste?"

Sally: "Dear Santa Claus, How have you been? Did you have a nice summer?"

... and we all remember this one ...
 “Get hot water! Get some disinfectant! Get some iodine!” - Lucy about being licked by Snoopy

'Tis the Season ... Dance as if no one was watching!


Monday, November 25, 2013


It's been awhile and I've missed you. With Thanksgiving on the horizon I took some time to reflect on what I'm thankful for. Come to find out, I have a hand full of things. My family is my life line but I'm also thankful for waking up each morning, my health, my friends, my job, music and opportunities. I'm thankful for living in Wisconsin as I love the changing of the seasons ... yes, that includes the "s" word, snow. Research shows that saying "thank you" for the good stuff in life makes for a happier, healthier you. And it makes those around you feel pretty darn good, too. So spread the love, be thankful, and say thank you ... Thank you for reading my blog.

BONUS: Here's a video to put a smile on your face ... Things We Should Say More Often

Sunday, November 10, 2013


What is your favorite thing? Besides the obvious of family, friends a cold beer or a good Bloody Mary. Is it shopping, hunting, reading or is it something more like a worn out sweatshirt, comfy shoes or like me, a camera? I have many favorite things but much of them involve my camera. If it's something I love, it's getting photographed. The ever learning process in the art of photography is training my eye to pay attention to details and to notice things I never had before. Therefore, I've added many favorite things to my list. Yet it still boils down to my camera that brought me new favorites so it remains at the top of my list. My camera is with me on vacation, when I go for a walk, when I'm cooking, when I'm filling the birdfeeder, when I go to the mailbox ... I think you get the picture. Then there are the times I don't have my camera and I wish I did. Whenever I have my camera, I am not alone.

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence. ~Ansel Adams~


Sunday, November 3, 2013


This is Cedar. She's been part of our family since I subconsciously replaced my oldest son Andy with her when he went off to college 7 years ago. Just kidding Andy, you're irreplaceable. She's an "outside" dog and has a dog bed on the porch, in the garage, in the house and in the camper. Her favorite place to be is curled up in front of the fireplace this time of year. So much for claiming she's an "outside" dog. We all argue over who she "likes" best. She "likes" us all for different reasons. Bruce's purpose is to feed her and take her for 4-wheeler rides. Andy and Cedar are hunting buddies and she'll do anything to please him. She adores Prairie because she doesn't get to see her very often and soaks up all the love when she comes home to visit. My purpose is to give her treats and for her to take me on walks. She likes the UPS driver too, she has treats and scratches her ears. Life without this doggy would be lonely, she's a good listener too. Good Dog Cedar.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


This is Sparky. He's a very powerful photographer. I found him a few years ago at a craft show where his creator had many repurposed items converted into people. He's all about the nuts and bolts of taking a great photo. Sparky can socket to it and get the job done. No need to plug him in to get a spark.
Here are a few jokes related to photography for your entertainment.

What did Cinderella say when she left the photo store?
Someday my prints will come.

How does Santa Claus take pictures?
With his North Polearoid.
How do you get the professional photographer off your front porch?
Pay him for the pizza.
A fellow bought a Labrador puppy from the pet store and named him Kodak.
That way he could say he owned a Kodak lab.

Monday, October 14, 2013


A voice spoke to me this morning and told me to leave for work early and take my camera with me. Thank you Prairie for calling me and being that voice. Because I listened to you, I was able to capture and enjoy this beautiful fall scene on Lake Wazeecha. 

Morning sun on the climb, before the wind blows.
The calm envelopes the awaiting busy surroundings.
Etch this moment to recall as the day overloads.
And reflect on what is important.
~Julie Kramer~

Wednesday, October 9, 2013



While traveling home from Green Bay on Sunday, the sky proved to be a source of entertainment for me. If I said it once, I said it one hundred times, "Oh, now look at the sky." Although Bruce didn't seem as thrilled as I was, I kept myself busy snapping photos out the car window. (I knew it was fruitless to ask him to stop every time I exclaimed, "Oh, now look at the sky.") Here is just a sampling of the (too) many photos I took. I hope they give you at least an ounce of enjoyment as they did me.
Disclaimer: I may have been a bit giddy and over zealous about the sky after spending a sunny afternoon at Lambeau watching the Packers tame the Lions. 

Monday, September 23, 2013


I have 2 weeks at my new job as an Instructional Aide at East Junior High under my belt. By day 2, I had my schedule memorized.  I was quickly reminded of the layout of the school from the 30 plus years ago that I attended my sophomore and junior year in the building. That was the easy part. I soon found out that I had some cobwebs to dust and rust to knock off to get the thinking gears moving. The gears need a little more oil but they are running smoother. I've relearned how to take notes. Within my notes, I learned from Health class, how to eliminate stress/stressors and applied it to my real life. I learned how the United Nations operates and about the different economies in the world from Government class and that 12.3cm = .000123km in Science class. I learned that the absolute value of |-3×6| = 18, (because -3×6 = -18, and |-18| = 18). I don't recall learning about absolute values way back when and if I did, I certainly didn't ever apply them anywhere. I also got to define the word aphrodisiac. After a few, um, um, lets see ... I think I pulled out a junior high explanation. Until next time ... Stay Calm and Learn On. (I'm thinking about getting a chain for my reading glasses. What do you think?)

Monday, September 16, 2013


Love has 4 letters, but then again so does beer.
Q: What is a man's idea of a balanced diet?
A: A Budweiser in each hand!

Beer doesn't make you fat... it makes you Lean...... on tables, chairs & random people.
I was drinking at the bar last night, so I took a bus home...That may not be a big deal to you,
 but I've never driven a bus before.
Boy: "I love you so much, I could never live without you."
Girl: "Is that you or the beer talking?"
Boy: "It's me talking to the beer."
If you put root beer in a square cup, do you get beer?
Life and beer are very similar .....chill for best results.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013


You're never to old for an Arts-n-Crafts day. One rainy Sunday afternoon my daughter Prairie and her boyfriend were inspired to create on canvas and it didn't take long for me to join in on the fun. What started out as 2 dimensional paintings, turned into 3 dimensional wall art when my daughter suggested adding the faucets under the beer taps. The subject can't be to big of a surprise to anyone. How does the saying go ... "art imitates life".

Friday, September 6, 2013


They say giving birth is a "labor of love". I say being a homeowner of a log home is a "labor of love". I often think I'd rather push out a kid then do the maintenance that goes with log home living. Don't get me wrong, I love my home. But every spring when it's time to wash the dust off the inside walls from heating with our fireplace during the long cold winter months in Wisconsin, I moan and groan which is more than I did giving birth to my children. To top it off, this was the year the outside needed to be stained. I swear I was still scrubbing the stain off of me from the last time ... just kidding about that part. It's been 6 days of moving scaffolding, an extension ladder, a step stool and tying myself off to hang from the roof ... that part probably isn't OSHA approved, but the job is complete. Next time this needs to be done I'll be ... let's just say older. This is where that other "labor of love" comes in handy. Hey, kids ... come help Mom stain the house. I'll make you cookies.
PS. (Although I did all the staining myself because my husband claims he doesn't know how to use a paint brush, he was responsible for pressure washing the logs and doing most of the ladder moving. He was also close by to call 911 when I was tied off hanging from the roof.)

Sunday, September 1, 2013


It's "The End" of my "Summer Reading". I didn't accomplish my 3560 pages as I projected, but I did read 2033 pages that totaled 6 books and I'm happy with that. I had a fun filled summer that kept me too busy to reach my goal. I always have grandiose plans of reading, doing yard projects and traveling in my 83 days off. Before long I'm sleeping in late, going for bike rides and sitting around a campfire. That's when I realize, that's what summer is all about. So as I shelf my books and spend the last of my summer savings, (on house stain for one of my grandiose plans), I look forward to "Chapter One" as the school year begins. This year I will be in a new position at East Junior High working as an Instructional Aide. I'm excited and nervous and will probably learn more in the classroom then I did the first time around.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


We call ourselves "The Village". This picture only represents a small part of us. We consist of 5 couples, 12 children and their significant others, 5 grandchildren, 4 yellow labs, a black lab, a rabbit and an assortment of cats. Our family trees create an orchard within our Village. I like to think of us as an apple orchard, but others would probably say we are more like a field of nut trees. Either way, we don't mind. Together we have attended sporting events, dance recitals, fairs and funerals. We've celebrated birthdays, holidays, graduations and weddings. Some of our favorite memories are made on the days we get together for no reason at all. We all have wishes, dreams and "bucket lists" we share. Life without this bunch would be like sour apples instead of apple pie ala mode.
Photo taken at Grand Rapids Lions Club at Kolor For Kids 5K Run/Walk benefiting The Children's Miracle Network. We represented "The Village Women".  

Monday, August 19, 2013


Today I bought 12 tubes of ChapStick on sale for $9.80 at Target and they gave me a $5 gift card which makes each tube 40¢ each. A bargain ain't a bargain unless it's something you need ... and I need 12 ChapSticks.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo, much like the brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. The slowest buffalo are the sick and weak so they die off first, making it possible for the herd to move at a faster pace. Like the buffalo, the weak, slow brain cells are the ones that are killed off by excessive beer drinking and socializing, making the brain operate faster.

The moral of the story: Drink more beer, it will make you smarter.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


There's rarely a time that I don't have a camera with me. If it isn't my DSLR then it's my point and shoot that I always have in my purse. Somewhere in time I began taking photos of my food. After all, the making of and serving a plate of food is an art form in itself. (I'm seldom in a restaurant that has their food plated like you see on the Food Network ... like never.) Chefs consider themselves artist as much as photographers do, so why not preserve the masterpiece before you devour it. Today I had the opportunity to take a cupcake photography class at our local cupcake shop iSparkle, https://www.facebook.com/isparklecupcakes. The instructor, Spyros Heniadis, https://www.facebook.com/selfhelpphotographer was patient with our blank stares when asked technical questions. He worked one on one sharing his knowledge to enrich our quirk for food photography.  The class was a success for me as I had several "ah-ha" moments ... and we got to take our "models" home. I just had another "ah-ha" moment ... I'm going to take what I learned today and use my favorite beers as my "models".

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


What's the difference between beer nuts and deer nuts? 
Beer nuts are $1.69 and deer nuts are under a buck.
(Disclaimer: I realize this photo is a doe and not a buck, but I wanted to use this joke so work with me and laugh ... or at least grin.)

Friday, July 26, 2013


Middle age is when you suddenly find that your parents are old, your kids are grown up, and you haven't changed.
Middle age starts the morning you get up, look in the mirror and admit that you are who you are going to be. Frightening moment. No more hero, composer, author, athlete or superwomen. This is it. You are who you are. The first challenge is to prevent this moment of truth. Let us keep doubt, paranoia and realism from seeping through the wall of fantasy and adolescent behavior that has kept us moving and laughing all these years. "Middle age" describes a state that does not have a chronology but rather a set of preconditions. One of the reasons we react strongly to it is because it defines a person who has a set of symptoms for which there is no disease. Is there a cure? Here's the bad news: There is no cure. No one is even working on one. The only way to avoid middle age is to become prematurely old or stay in a "forever young" state of mind.
Words inspired by the book Middle Age Rage by Fred Shoenberg

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Who remembers spray painting these to preserve them? I usually "borrowed" my moms Aqua Net hairspray for a natural look.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Take those cameras off AUTO mode and start using them for their possible potential. Whether you're using a Point and Shoot or a DSLR, both cameras give you endless options. The photo on the top was shot in full AUTO mode. For the one on the bottom I only changed my setting to CLOUDY ... because it was a cloudy day. A simple change for a better photo. Get you owner manuals out and start exploring the potential of your camera. 

Monday, July 15, 2013


I knew I'd enjoy the Don Williams show at the Crystal Grand in the Dells but I didn't realize it would be a "music cleansing" experience. I attended the show with my husband and parents who are life long Don Williams fans. Half way through the first song I had goosebumps and felt as if all the questionable music I've exposed my ears to had been flushed from my soul and I was left with this simple and pure sound to absorb. Music is part of my daily life and I enjoy all genres, but for this week anyway, I'm tapping my toes to Don.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


A trip to visit Prairie and Luis found me on an hour train ride, a 30 minute walk and a stroll into Grant Park for A Taste of Chicago ... and the spinning of my head began. Sometimes to many choices isn't a good thing but I was determined to rise to the occasion. Prairie and I started off with a cob of corn and then Luis stated, "You should be trying things you've never had before." Hmmm ... he's right. Next "taste", watermelon-mint-cucumber-feta cheese salad. How's that for stepping out of my comfort zone? Up next, mustard fried catfish. Time to wash those "tastes" down with a Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat beer. I then slipped back into my old ways and had a pulled pork slider with cilantro and a Bud Light. I didn't stay in my comfort zone to long as we listened to the free FUN concert in the park. Although I was only familiar with 2 songs from this band, I enjoyed the summertime atmosphere and the people watching. It was a wonderful day spent with great company. Thanks kids for letting me share your day off.  Oh yeah ... with a unanimous vote our favorite "taste" of the day was a gingersnap s'more. Next campfire these will be on the menu.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


A few weeks ago I got to enjoy a trip to Nashville that my sister Vickie planned as a gift for our mom and me. (We took our husbands as our +1) The title of this post explains it all but I'll indulge, or bore you with more details. My brother-in-law Jeff piled all 6 of us and our luggage into his Ford Explorer and with his race car spirit, had us arriving in Nashville in record time. Our first evening consisted of  social time at the Fat Bottom Brewery and Edley's Bar-B-Que. We all enjoyed a flight of beer at Fat Bottom, with the exception of my whiskey drinking husband who wet his lips with a mug of root beer. Throughout the next 2 days we laughed, shopped and sang. We wondered through the Opryland Hotel and enjoyed the gardens and a traditional Irish dinner of Bangers and Mash at Findley's Irish Pub washed down with a Guinness Harp. We loaded onto a camouflage Redneck Comedy Bus tour and took in sights around Nashville. (This is where there was a lot of laughter. Especially when we cracked open a Busch Light from our cooler and our comedian/guide stated that he's not even that redneck.) What's a trip to Nashville without an evening at the Grand Ole Opry where you can feel the history in the music. The temperatures reached into the 90's but we never complained except when we stood in line to get into the Bluebird Cafe only to be cut off because of full capacity. (The manager was nice though and let me in to take a peek and snap a few pictures.) We didn't let that bum us out as we found the last 2 barstools at Toostie's Orchid Lounge where we perched our parents and proceeded to drink our supper while singing loud enough to drown out the band. A little bedtime snack at the hotdog stand on the corner completed our night. With these memories and many more in between we piled back into the Explorer and headed home. Jeff's one request was to eat at the Waffle House. We indulged him and I have to admit, I enjoyed my hashbrowns "covered" and "peppered".

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I ended up with ants in pants taking this photo. The End.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Some were gifts, some are borrowed and some I bought throughout the year. All together I call them my Summer Library. Tomorrow is the last day of school so I will have 83 days to read 11 books which would be at the rate of 1 book a week. There are a total of 3560 pages which means I need to average 43 pages per day. When I break it down to numbers like that it seems feasible, but realistically I'm pretty sure it's not going to happen. I'm not a reader who can skim through paragraphs or read with the TV on or music playing. I need to have a quiet corner and a comfy chair to be able to devour each word. Mornings with a cappuccino on the front porch in my red chair can prove to be productive with few interruptions as long as the mosquitoes stay away. I enjoy reading but I can be easily distracted by mundane things like laundry, weeding, dishes, blah, blah, blah ... but I also get distracted by things like sunshine, float days with the girls, going for a bike ride, beer ... I think you get the picture. As I end this post I'm going to go iron my "last day of school outfit" and do a little "sunshine dance". Happy Summer Everyone!

UPDATE: I'm happy to say that after 3 days of summer vacation I've read 202 pages. Phew, I'm not sure I can keep up with this pace. Side note: I think my "sunshine dance" helped a bit ... going to get out and enjoy some right know.

UPDATE 2: JULY 15: I'm happy to say that I'm really enjoying my summer but I've been having to much fun going places that I haven't taken the time to read. I've only totaled 438 pages so far. That's only averaging 12.5 pages per day.

Monday, May 20, 2013


In anticipation of the planting season I decided to fill my planter with my favorite flower, the Black-Eyed Susan. This flower is a wild species that I enjoy seeing in clusters in ditches and fields. To bring it closer to home I used ribbon, jute and wooden beads ... no water needed. To create this framed photo I took a picture of my planter and then toned down the green saturation in Photoshop to make the blue enamel pop. I then sketched out my design and punched holes where the ribbon was threaded. The stem is a simple embroidery stitch and the wooden beads are glued. 

Friday, May 17, 2013


Okay so it isn't April showers, but May showers that will bring May flowers and June flowers. Today the rain perked up the spring colors and made the birds sing a little louder. I kind of had the same feeling which translates into I want to go shopping for some bright new clothes and sing really loud to the radio ... just like mother nature meant it to be.

Monday, May 13, 2013


I’ve heard that if you’re a contestant on Survivor you’re allowed to take one luxury item. Watching Survivor Caramoan I think they all chose to take teeth whitener. In honor of Cochran Outwitting, Outplaying and Outlasting I’ve created a quiz. If I were stranded on Survivor Island what one item would I take with me? What would your luxury item be? (Leave your answer in the comment section below.)
A. Diet Dr. Pepper
B. My iPod with over 2000 songs loaded
C. Chapstick
D. An Onion

Thursday, May 9, 2013


What is a toads favorite place to eat?                         ihop

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Wine drinkers aren’t the only ones that can enjoy an evening, or afternoon for that matter, of taste testing. Beer drinkers can too with a “flight” of beer. The concept is simple. Choose a selection of beer on tap and begin tasting. A typical flight consists of four to six small glasses, each holding about 4 ounces. In most cases the beer is tasted from the lightest to the darkest to ensure you can appreciate the nuances of the more gentle brew before the more intense and flavorful dark beers. In between tastes, cleanse your palate with pretzels. (Here is where I could explain the “pretzel necklace” but I’ll save that for another day.) For years I was stuck in the light beer rut. Then I decided to take “flight” and began touring breweries and learn more about my favorite adult beverage. A person doesn’t have to travel to far from home to find a microbrewery and since my home state is Wisconsin it isn’t too far for your big name breweries either. So grab your friends, raise your hand if I’m talking about you and a “flight” and see where it takes you. Be sure to have a pilot so your return “flight” home is a safe one. Cheers to Beer!

Saturday, May 4, 2013


As I reach the halfway point of my life, (yes, I'm going to live to be 102), I'm beginning to take offense to the old adage "Out With The Old & In With The New". I realize it's all a matter of perspective but isn't there a comfort in something that you're familiar with no matter how used and worn it is. Today I had to take the plunge and replace the fire pit on our deck. I like my old one better and read a lot of good books, enjoyed a lot of conversation and drank a lot of beer around it, but it was rusty and holey. The fear of the bottom dropping out while enjoying a fire was what forced me to replace it. Tonight I will read a book and enjoy a beer around the new fire pit. I will create new memories and make a wish that when I'm rusty and holey I get repaired instead of replaced before my bottom drops out. Cheers!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Washing windows WAS my least favorite part of house cleaning until I discovered the best homemade concoction to aid me in making my windows sparkle. Mix equal parts of ammonia, rubbing alcohol and water to your spray bottle and then add a few drops of Dawn dish soap. Shake, spray and clean using paper towels. Honestly .... you will have streak free windows and that is pretty darn exciting. While the sun was shining today I cleaned my windows ... now I have to wait until the pollen season comes and goes and I can do it all over again .... Yippee! Just so you don't think I'm totally crazy, I still like ironing better than washing windows.

Monday, April 29, 2013


 What do you call a dog that likes science experiments?                                   A lab-rador!

Sunday, April 28, 2013


The anticipation of sunshine and snowmelt has been a long time coming. With the beginning of spring and a renewed source of energy, I've decided to hatch a blog. What you will find here will be completely random. If you get any enjoyment or entertainment from it, I must have done something right ... if not, I'll try harder next time.