8/52 – behind!

I’m a week behind – egads! I meant to post this on Saturday, but I ended up having a wonderful day out with my man. So here it is, a couple days late. Me in all my 60’s era finery. My wonderful friend Rosanna let me use her pillbox hat, and what you can’t see of the photo is my nude fishnets and awesome vintage black tweed shoes. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll admit I didn’t take this picture myself. But the alternative is no photo.

channeling the 60's at our party on Friday

We had an awesome time Friday night! I really, really love throwing parties. This was perhaps my favorite to date. Decor, food and drinks came together beautifully and it seemed like everyone enjoyed themselves. Even the men who were bitter about having to dress up. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love seeing other people have a good time and get satisfaction from having a tiny part in someone’s happiness. Yes, that’s me.

retro fun on a friday night

Last Friday night, we turned our lower level into a swanky lounge with a retro vibe for a fun night of cocktails and conversation with 6 other fabulous couples. We had a blast setting up the lights and putting candles all around – it made for a very fun atmosphere in our otherwise very 2000’s home. ๐Ÿ™‚

The attire was 50’s-60’s era, so fedoras and red lipstick abounded. I made classic party fare from that time period: pigs in a blanket, cheese ball with Ritz crackers and the ubiquitous chips and dip. A bundt cake and rainbow jello topped off the evening. A fruity punch or classic cocktails like martini’s and old-fashioned’s were available and Frank Sinatra crooned in the background.

Later in the evening we played the popular TV game show from the 50’s and 60’s: Password. Much hilarity ensued with random conversations as couples tried to pass the word to their partner. I think everyone had a fun time! I sure did as hostess.

the crowd


the handsome couples in their dashing attire – fedoras were not required, but almost every guy showed up with one!

oh Rob. There is truly no one else like you. ๐Ÿ™‚

people are more fun than meetings.

tonight i got to write a bio/human interest piece on a young woman heading out to join the military in a few weeks. the words just flew off my fingers from my brain in about 20 minutes…nothing like the procrastination and writers block I usually experience when writing about budget cuts and stale government meetings.

lately I’ve really been wanting to grow as a writer. I am reading this book by Leif Enger. He’s a great writer, in my humble opinion and reading excellent writing leaves me hungry to even just THINK beautiful words, much less put them together in a poignant way. To communicate my thoughts in pleasant words that are exquisite to read or hear.

so how can I turn the events of stodgy, boring government meetings, which really do affect the residents of my fair county, into something that trips off my fingertips like a story about a girl embarking on a new adventure in life? Into something that leaps off the page and causes those who read it to appreciate the nuance of the sentence?

I’m not looking for glory – I just want to be good because its lovely and it makes me happy to read good writing and to write good writing. I think its important to strive for excellence and as Colossians 3:23 says: “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” I think God appreciates excellence and beauty since He himself is excellent and beautiful and does all things well.

So I want to be a better writer. To do that, I probably just need to write. More. and more and more. Time to find some triggers and get my write on. ๐Ÿ˜‰

good housekeeping cookbook

this morning I was on a mission to find some fun, kitschy appetizers for our classic cocktail party coming up on Friday. so I looked at my cookbook collection and pulled out the ever trusty 1963 edition of Good Housekeeping’s Cookbook. ๐Ÿ™‚ I figured going right to the era I want to emulate would be a winner.

the 1963 edition

But egads! The combinations of flavors and some of the ideas made me a little queasy…for example:

Edam Bowl: With knife, carefully remove small cone from center top of baby Edam. Leaving rind intact, carefully scoop out chunks of cheese. Fill Edam shell with mayonnaise mixed with French dressing, half and half. Insert toothpicks into cheese chunks; arrange around Edam.

Yum! Let’s dip chunks of cheese in mayo/french dressing. EW! That sounds so gross to me.

Does the product “deviled ham” even exist anymore? And what is it? How exactly do you “devil” ham? ๐Ÿ™‚

The stuffed celery, crescent roll wrapped cocktail “franks”, and cheese balls sound palatable and will make it onto the menu alongside the classic cocktails and party punch.

But not so much for the liver pate’, the tangy frank spread (a chopped hot dog and cheese spread over french bread slices, broiled), and the cheesy egg dunk.

I am still searching for the perfect sweet finish for the menu – a retro dessert or cake of some kind. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears! Just please don’t include deviled ham in the ingredient list. ๐Ÿ˜‰

foto friday: 7/52

the snow is melting! And my favorite boots which have faithfully kept my feet dry and warm through the winter. Pictures of feet are merely code for: I haven’t been feeling well, I am wearing no makeup and I’m in the middle of a catering job which entails cooking six meals for 12 people.

boots and melting snow!

Happy Friday!

a whole lotta happy

lately I’ve been so blown away by God’s kindness at work in the lives of people I love. The last month has brought news of long-awaited pregnancies, engagements, houses bought and moved into, offers accepted on houses and births of sweet new babies.

in our small group we just started the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Good stuff. The chapter we covered last night made me think about giving God glory in the time of plenty and in the time of want:

Maybe life’s pretty good for you right now. God has given you this good stuff so that you can show the world a person who enjoys blessings, but is still totally obsessed with God. Or maybe life is tough right now, and everything feels like a struggle. God has allowed hard things in your life so you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard.

To be brutally honest, it doesn’t really matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring him glory…the point of your life is to point to Him. -Francis Chan

I am so grateful that God has brought some of these people I love out of the valley of the shadows and into a brighter day. I am so glad that I can look ahead and know that brighter days are coming to those that are still slogging through the hard stuff. It brings me JOY and HOPE to see the hand of God at work in the lives of people I know and love. My FAITH is built when God’s steadfast love, which endures forever, is manifest again and again.

As cups around me overflow with blessing, its nice to have some of it spill on me. I taste it and see that God is good. ๐Ÿ™‚ย And in the words of the old children’s Sunday School song: “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!”

What has God done for YOU this week?

foto friday: crazy Minnesotans

so in my adventures as a reporter for a small county newspaper in almost-rural Minnesota, I come across some cool stuff. Add winter to that equation and I come across some CRAZY stuff. Like an entire city festival on a frozen lake. Or half naked people jumping headlong into frigid water on the first of February.

Yes, Minnesotans start getting a little nuts come late January and February, when the temperatures haven’t risen above freezing in weeks and more often than not have been below zero for at least a few days.

This winter I drove our van onto a frozen lake for the first time in my life – that was a little freaky. I saw snowmobiles tear across the icy tundra in a radar run. I watched slightly-nutty individuals risk life and limb to raise money for charity by leaping into the waters of a hole cut in the thick lake ice.

Minnesotans are a hearty bunch. Even if they are certifiable. ๐Ÿ™‚

standing on a frozen lake
Wonder Woman comes up for air
Spartans leap in the Polar Plunge


its kind of cheating again. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I have a total dearth of inspiration and ideas this week. Golly I can’t wait for it to be warm enough to GET OUTSIDE!!!! It has been in the single digits with below zero windchill all week, but thanks be to God (I am so serious), its supposed to be warming up to over 30 degrees come Saturday. Oh. Yes. Please.

This was one of about three days this week that I actually put full makeup on, due to it being so cold that going anywhere freezes your brain as well as your extremities. Okay, not REALLY, but you catch my drift. And yes, I’m wearing another adorable headwrap from the lovely Joy Phillips. ๐Ÿ™‚

Winter, as a Facebook acquaintance of mine put it, is my sanctification. The days are cold and long and eventually you honestly get a little tired of finding things to do inside. BUT spring is coming, praise be! In just over a month we go to Lake Tahoe for a ski trip and not long after we return to our chilly climate, the snow will melt into epic, lake-like puddles and the grass will start its brave shoot upward. Then the leaves will uncurl from the naked branches and our backyard will return to a shady haven in the summer heat. Bring it on!

Until the warm up commences, I shall remain,

Frozen in Minnesota.

all in a days work

this morning, Jackson put on Mr. Potato Head’s glasses on his own (too big for them) face, told me bye-bye in his adorable baby talk way: “BA-BA!”, kissed me good-bye, waved and marched down the steps to, presumably, go to work. What in the world?!

Jack at Work

Then he got his snow boots from the closet and brought them to me, so we put them on his feet and he tromped around and finally went downstairs to see what he could see.

In just the last week his vocabulary expanded to include bye-bye, please (he’s been singing this forever, but would never say it), and night-night. ๐Ÿ™‚ While this stage is proving to challenge me in new ways because of his fragile emotions when I don’t understand what he wants, I am totally eating up every new thing he learns and does. What a wonder!

foto friday: cheating.5/52

i didn’t mean to have this be my foto friday, but instead of another week of posting my friday pic and then my (belated) 5/52 of project 52 picture, I’m combining them. I knew you cared. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyone who knows me well knows I love to bake. So when there was going to be a bake sale at an adoption fundraiser for our assistant pastor’s family this week, i had a good excuse to bake and not have to eat it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hooray!

Baking is my first culinary love. My daddy taught me to bake chocolate chip cookies, biscuits and cinnamon rolls while my mom helped me figure out bread and let me have free reign in the kitchen at a young age. She tried valiantly to teach me to clean as I go, but it always ends up looking like Hurricane Johanna swept through after I’ve had my way with the mixer.

In the photo, you can catch a glimpse of banana cupcakes with fudge frosting, my favorite cookie of all time: chewy chocolate gingerbread, and big, soft, sugar cookies. I promise you will not be sorry if you make any or all of these recipes as some point in your lovely life.

I also have a thing for cutesy retro aprons – a friend made this one for me as a wedding ย gift. I have a fun collection and really should learn how to sew better so I can make ย some more.

And the awesome thing in my hair? Another gift from a very sweet friend! Since I don’t ย knit or crochet, I all but begged on Facebook for someone to make this (you saw the ย  ย link in my last post), and the ever fabulous Joy Phillips took pity on my poor, craft- ย  ย less soul and bestowed her skill upon me. I am in love! The headwrap will be getting ย  ย  ย  ย much use, I assure you.

have a happy weekend all! Maybe one of these years I will post in the middle of the ย week.