Monthly Archives: February 2014

Cute Shoes/Cold Toes

DSC_0253I’ve been looking longingly at my cute shoes for several days.

It seems like it’s been months that I’ve been wearing my warm shoes to church.  You know the kind –  the black ones that allow warm socks.

To be honest – these shoes did look cute in November. They were actually appreciated in December and January.

But it’s the end of February now.

And I’m over them. And winter. And snow. And wind chill factors.

Since we had a slight spring-like thaw during the week that melted much of our snow  – I caved yesterday.

I wore my cute little flats to church – they ones that you do not wear with warm socks.  I actually wore no socks.

My husband’s eyebrows went up as I put my coat on. He might have even smiled at my gasp when the cold north wind touched the tender bare skin on my feet.

He kindly pointed out that the air temp was a balmy 20 degrees as he turned the heat on high and redirected it to the floor vents of the van.

He took one last look at my footwear and said, “Sure hope we don’t have car trouble and have to walk five miles with this wind chill.”

I smiled back – but thought to myself,  “Me too!” Because I currently couldn’t feel my toes.

They thawed slightly during church and the potluck meal that followed – but were like ice by the time we drove the thirty miles home.

I found my thickest, warmest winter socks and a comfy grandma quilt and spent the rest of the afternoon warming up with several cups of hot tea.

And today it is snowing.

Good-bye cute little flats.

We’ll try again when spring decides to stay.

In Which I Turn Another Year Older

birthday chocolateI had a birthday on Saturday.

For the record – I really don’t feel any older. I’m not sure I act it either! 😉

And for those of you who are wondering what I did on my birthday weekend – I enjoyed it!

I ate chocolate at every meal.

Took a snowy walk with my honey in the sunshine.

Spent time laughing with my kids.

Felt loved and cherished by their gifts.

Sat on the couch and quilted while watching the Olympics.

Ate chocolate ganache right off the spoon.

Had delicious birthday cheesecake from my very own cheesecake fairy. (I love you Dorothy!)

And counted my blessings, not my years.

And that, dear friends, is how it should be.


Of Rye Bread and Borscht

The Opening Ceremonies of any Olympic Games is traditionally a big deal here.

We study the foods of the country and design a meal to give us a flavor of the region.

But this year I will admit that Russia didn’t inspire me. It had been a busy week and I was ready to make a homemade pizza with pepperoni in the shape of the Olympic rings and call it a night. 🙂

But Buddy insisted.

He even researched. And when he uncovered a Zakuski – or Russian buffet – I decided we could pull this off.

It looked somewhat similar to the Swedish smorgasbord we enjoy with Jan’s family at Christmas. We started out with deviled eggs, sausage, cheese, and crackers that we pretended were rye. So far so good.

Then we had Bitokes (meatballs) in sour cream sauce with potato dumplings.


I even made Russian black bread. Which was actually brown. And didn’t contain any rye flour since I got sick on rye bread when I was pregnant with Matt 21 years ago and haven’t been able to look at it since.

Jan liked it. But then Jan likes everything. The kids weren’t as excited. They might have even spit it out. There’s still 5/6 of a loaf on the counter if you’d like to try it. Anybody?!

And then there was the Borscht. Honestly – could we have a Russian meal without this iconic food?

But I must confess –

DSC_0238It came from a bottle.  And the potato dumplings were actually Italian gnocchi.

I’m afraid some Russian grandmother just rolled over in her grave.

At least the faux potato dumplings tasted pretty good in the sour cream gravy.

While the Borscht could best be described as interesting. Think warm pickled beets.  Things got even worse when the bowl got around the table to Dagmar – our EMT. She took one look at the contents and exclaimed “Yuck! It looks like blood clots!”

And thus it became blood clot soup.

And we lost our appetite and gave the rest to the pigs – who were much less squeamish.

For dessert we had Russian Tea cakes – which probably aren’t even Russian. But they sure did taste good.

While this may not have been the tastiest Opening Ceremony meal we’ve ever shared – but it sure was the most memorable!

Black bread anyone?

Now That’s a Crazy Idea

You will never guess what I did Sunday afternoon.

It wasn’t your typical Ground Hog Day activity.

While the rest of the country was preparing for Super Bowl parties – my husband and I planted bulbs.

Yes bulbs. As in spring flowers.

spring bulbs

Yes, the ground is frozen.

Yes, there was 4 inches of snow on top.

And yes, I realize that this is an activity that most real gardeners took care of last fall. But I’m not a real gardener. I’m a real wife and mom who likes to pretend to garden and sometimes has to fly by the seat of her pants.

We had every good intention last fall. We extended the flower bed and laid out a new one. We got several bags of top soil at a rock bottom clearance price. We even bought almost 400 super cheap bulbs on clearance.

But life happened and we just never got the top soil out of the bags and in the beds. So the bulbs never made it out of their bags.

Finally – the boys just filled both bare beds with the leaf mulch they bagged up just as the snow started to fly.

My 400 bulbs were not planted.

And the top soil was still in bags – now frozen solid.

But just when it seemed like all was lost for this season – my amazing husband had a plan.

What if we raked the mulch back to expose the frozen bare ground? Then we could lay the bulbs out on the ground, put the frozen bags of top soil on top of them, and push the mulch over it all.

What a crazy idea?!

So we did it.

spring flowers

We planted 400 bulbs in less than 45 minutes – and that included pushing the wheelbarrows of frozen top soil through the snow from the machine shed to the flower beds.

We cut the plastic off the bricks of frozen dirt and laid them out like a puzzle.

And boom! We were done!

But will it work?

Time will tell.

But it does my heart happy to know that I planted a little hope for spring even as the snow is flying.

And we might have given the neighbors something to talk about. Again.

Photos by Anne Burgess and  Pam Brophy.