Friday, December 28, 2012

Special Christmas Gift for my Girls

My mother-in-law has been such a blessing to me!  She has a huge heart and is always giving of her time and talents.  One such "talent" is what she made Justine and Anna for Christmas.  Their own tree skirts and pillows.  When I first was married, she made me this too.  It has been our tree skirt every year and I LOVE it.  She also made her daughter, Jean one.  It is kind of a tradition now, to have a tree skirt that she made.  The girls were so surprised to see that she made them one this year.  They LOVE them!  She enclosed a sweet poem and note in each about many Christmas memories to come...tear jerker - look at Anna's face!  Anyway, here are the 3 of them.  Thanks Grandma "Pepper."

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

I Found a Panini Press!

I've wanted a panini press for quite some time.  I guess I'm just to cheap to buy it new.  Well, I found one yesterday at St. Vinny's in Appleton for only $4.00.  What have I been telling you - look at these places for used appliances. 

I couldn't wait to try it out today.  Of course, I looked on Pinterest for ideas.  This is what I made for lunch.  Apple, cheddar, ham and fig jam panini on sour dough bread.  It was delicious!  I only made half a sandwich.

I'm so happy with it!  I'm already dreaming up a breakfast one for in the morning.  If you have any panini ideas, please share them.  Thanks.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Five Dollar Fridays" - One Random Act CAN Make a Difference

Seth Mela from WSAU Radio 55 in Wausau, issued a challenge to his audience.  A recent listener called in and commented about the kindness showed him by a lady at the store.  He didn't have enough to cover his purchases and the lady behind him offered to pay his balance.  This gentleman was so thankful and surprised he wanted to call in and share this story.  This inspired Seth to start "Five Dollar Fridays."  I LOVE this idea.  His challenge is for each of us to give $5 every Friday to a stranger as a random act of kindness.

Well, you know me,  I like doing this type of thing as long as there is a "purpose" to it.  I know the Bible tells us to do things like this in secret.  Alan and I have.  We have been blessed by others; especially when Anna was sick - we have made it our "mission" to return these favors.  So, I added a little note with mine along with 2 Cor. 9:7; "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver." 

I knew right away what I was going to do.  I got a zip lock bag and filled it with my $5 in quarters and my note.  I set off to town to the laundry mat.  With this dry summer, I was forced to go to the laundry mat to save on our well water.  I noticed all the young families, college aged kids and special needs or group home residents that were there each week.  That was where I would go. 

I waited for a car to pull up - it was a young mother with a car seat in the back.  When she got out of the car, I asked her "are you going to do some laundry today?"  She said "yes" and I said "well, give me a high five..."  she giggled and did it.  Then I handed her this bag and ran back to my car...I heard her say "wow, that is so nice of you...thank you..."  I know this would only do a load...a small gesture...but, we all SHOULD be doing stuff like this!  It makes you feel good too. 

My girls said I should drop the "high five" thing - that it was just "too weird, mom.."  Well, I've been called weird before.  I will keep this up on the weeks I have an extra $5 to do it. 

The challenge to you would be, what small thing can you do to make your community better? 

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bacon, Cheeseburger & Fries Muffin Cups

Bacon, Cheeseburger & Fries Muffin Cups

So, if you "pin" you have seen these bacon cups.  What a good idea.  I've been thinking of a few combos I would like to eat.  This is one of them.  Super easy and fast! 

First I browned the hamburger.  Drain on paper towel.  Take some frozen hash browns out of freezer to defrost.  Spray muffin tin.  I used biscuits from a on in each cup, line the side with a slice of bacon.

Bake @ 350 till bacon and biscuit looks lightly browned.  This will go back into the oven - so don't over bake.

While this is baking, take your browned hamburger, add some Velveeta cheese diced in cubes.  Stir together.

Take biscuits out of oven, slice a hole in middle of each.  Stuff and fill the muffin cups.  Add some hash browns to the top will be like the fries. 

Bake till hot and fries look crispy. 

These were a big hit with my family.  Easy to eat when not at the table - like watching a movie or game.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Christmas from 1970 Something

Older brothers and sisters getting ready for school.  Mom brushing and braiding my hair.  Christmas songs on the radio...."ruff, ruff, ruff.....ruff, ruff, ruff"  - "shh...listen to the dogs barking out the song..." 

Mittens attached to strings, "Eskimo" boots, walking to the corner....waiting for Michelle and Suzy.  Walking to school, stopping by the Country Club to make snow angels.  Face washes, snowball fights, snow forts, ice skating, "cracking the whip " game with a long scarf. 

Christmas songs, Christmas concerts, paper chains on a real tree in the hallway, macaroni ornaments, glitter, exchanging names with classmates, paper snowflakes on the windows.  Tongues stuck to the swing set...cries for the teacher, looking at the taste buds left behind.  Long Christmas break.

Nestor the Long Eared Donkey, Charlie Brown Christmas, Heat Miser, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.  Red and Green lights, store displays, mechanical decorations, garland on the Schofield Dam bridge, decorations on the light posts and visiting Santa. 

Decorating the tree, sugar and molasses cut out cookies.  Apple bread, cinnamon rolls, yeast bread wreaths, deep fried shrimp (we only ever had this on Christmas Eve), venison roast, frothy punch and frozen dessert.

Sleeping under the Christmas tree, Barbie Dream House (with elevator), Malibu Barbie, Sweet 16 Barbie, sled, Musk perfume, bubble bath, pajamas, mittens and socks.

Going over to friend's houses to see what they "got for Christmas."  Sledding down the big hill at the Country Club (didn't have to be a member to do this...) with the whole neighborhood, friends, frost bite, walking on the ice and trying to skate on the bumpy covered lake Wausau/Wisconsin River.  Cold cheeks, hot coco, wet socks and mittens.

Love, laughter, family, food, friends - these are the ingredients for a very Merry Christmas!

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Good Bye For Now Dan - My "Junkin" Buddy

Janz, Daniel

Daniel P. Janz, 66, of Schofield, passed away peacefully at Wausau Manor, December 12, 2012 with his wife and friends by his side.

Daniel was born to Gerhard and Marcella (Hanke) Janz in Port Edwards. He served in the Navy from 1965 to 1969 as an Operations Department Yeoman and later attended school in Milwaukee. It was in Milwaukee where he met his wife Sue, and later they moved to Wausau and married in 1977. He was employed for many years at Scenic Signs as a screen printer, where the owners and family treated him like a son. Dan loved the outdoors and was an avid walker up until his recent illness. Years ago Dan went to many auctions and later switched to rummage sales and flea markets. He had a way of easily making friends at sales, of which many became like family. Dan loved following the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Badgers, golf, and NASCAR races. He and his brother talked sports frequently. It was always a good weekend when the Packers won.

He was an avid animal lover and cherished and loved the cats they had over the years. He was always heartbroken when they aged and passed on.

He is survived by his wife Sue of Wausau, one brother David (LoAnna) of Prescott Valley, Arizona, one sister Bonnie Skerven of Nekoosa, and many nieces and nephews.

Daniel was preceded in death by both his parents.

Dan's wife sue would like to extend her gratitude to Aspirus Nephrology Clinic, Oakview Care Center staff, Wausau Manor, and ascera care hospice. Their support and kindness will never be forgotten.

Memorials can be given to the Marathon County Humane Society.

Visitation will be Monday, December 17, 2012 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at John J. Buettgen Funeral Home, Schofield. Mid-Wisconsin Cremation Society is serving the family. Online condolences can be expressed at

This was my good friend Dan.  He and Sue have had a special place in my heart for 25 years.  I am sad to write this post, however I do so in memorial of him.

I first noticed Dan in 1987/1988.  I started working with my friend's auction business and he would come to the auctions.  I noticed him at estate sales, rummages, thrift and antique shops.  It was at one such antique shop that we finally talked.  I was newly married and looking for things to decorate our home with.  I was shopping and Dan kept looking at me and I kept looking at him - till finally we both looked at each other and said "hey, what is your name?"  Funny, Dan and I share many of the same personality traits.  He was very outgoing, liked to talk and visit and a tad OCD with junk.  Over the many years and the many flea markets we set up with was not uncommon for Dan to be busy talking while Sue would set the whole booth up.  It was funny to watch. 

Dan and Sue have always been a part of my adult life.  Every experience I had as a young wife and mother, hobby farmer, auctioneer, antique dealer, flea market promoter, estate buy outs, estate sales, private "invite" sales, curb side shopping, graduations, Anna's cancer, loss of other friends and family and sickness....Dan and Sue have been there.   I am thankful for that.
I have so many memories of Dan.  I will share a few with you.
This one estate sale in Wausau holds one of my best memories of Dan.  I got up early, coffee in hand and set out to the sale.  When I pulled down the street, there was Dan, first in line.  I checked the paper and saw that the address was for the house next door.  When I walked up to the correct house, I yelled..."Dan you are at the wrong house."  He just looked, with that twinkle in his eye..."sure I am, you just want my spot to be first in line."  I said, "no Dan, really, you are at the wrong were here first, you can be first in line over here."  He still thought about it....till Duane pulled up and walked up the sidewalk to where I was standing....we both said "you are at the wrong house..."  When he saw other "dealers" pulling up he ran across the grass.  I let him be first.  Actually, that was one of the BEST estate sales I have ever been to!  I still have MOST of what I bought and still dream about it.  When the family opened the door, Dan went one way, Duane and I each to different rooms.  With arms  full, hats stacked on my head, quilts draped over my back....the three of us met back in the main room....all of our eyes were "as big as saucers"...I looked at them and said "wanna know what I like best about you two....neither of you like the same stuff I like."   Dan and I had to check out because people were trying to take quilts off my back and the hats off my head.  As I went with my first load back to the car, my parents pulled up..."Dicky Bird, you look like you are floating across the yard" my Mom yelled out.  I was...I was junk drunk.  Both Dan and I went back in for round 2.   

Dan taught me a lot about the "business" what to look for and what to buy.  Oh, we both have learned some lessons the hard way.  One time Dan and Sue, Bruce, my sister Lynn and I bought out an estate together.  There were many good items - a whole house with generations of goodies.  We boxed it all up and took it over to Bruce's house.  We went through it all, marked it and had a huge sale.  There were many vintage Christmas items.  One such item was what I now know as a German, die cut paper, glass spun angel tree topper and ornaments.  We sold them all for like $1.  Dan marked those...boy, when he found out how much they sold for later....well, let's just say we looked everything up after that.  I'm sure that we let alot of deals go at that one...but, overall we each made a huge profit!

When we started the Ringle Harvest Day, it was here at our farm.  Dan and Sue loved the barn cats.  Sue would hurry and set up so she could go and pick out the kitty she would play with all day.  One year, they actually took one of them home - Pokey.  

At that time, my mom had a booth too.  She made pies.  People would line up in the driveway waiting for my dad to bring her out with the pies.  Dan would always be first in line to not only pick the first pie, but to let my mom "love" on him; a big hug and kiss on the cheek.

There was a time when diggin in the garbage - "curb side shopping" wasn't the "thing" to do.  Wausau has a huge 2 week Spring clean up.  During that time, each day either I would call Dan or he would call me...."what did ya get, anything good."  We would talk about the good garbage we found and who we would sell it too....yep, any good picker has a list of customers who are willing to buy "garbage."  We lived by the phrase - "one man's trash is another man's treasure!"

My family loved Dan!  His funny jokes, smiling face, love of junk...will be missed!   So, good bye for now my dear friend.  I hope heaven holds many a good pile of junk for you to dig through - the type of treasures you and I appreciate.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Community Service - Popplewood 4-H

We had a very fun day today with 4-H.  About 2 weeks ago, several members got together and we made 72 of these cute Nativity sets to give away at the Homme Home (nursing home) in Wittenberg, WI.  Idea off pinterest - but modified.  We attached the note to them too.

Then today, we went to the Homme Home, sang Christmas carols, read from Luke 2 and passed out the Nativity sets.  


One of my little 4-Hrs asked "can we go back next week?"  She received a hug from a resident.  This was her first experience with this type of "service."  The activity director told us that they don't get too many clubs or groups coming in like this.  On the ride back to our meeting, we talked about maybe doing a "game night" or BINGO.  If you have some extra time, I would encourage you to go volunteer or visit at a facility like this one.  It is so rewarding to brighten someone's day - in turn it will do the same for you. 
Merry Christmas and Blessings from Ringle, WI.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Memories From My Mom - Christal

What are your favorite Christmas memories?  PBS had a special about European Christmas traditions.  This had me thinking about the "melting pot" of traditions we share as Americans. 

I started with my mom.  She was born in 1932 - child 6 of 9.  By the time my mom was born, 2 of her siblings had already passed on.  Illness wasn't easy in those days, especially for the poor. 

My grandparents were poor and times were hard. Not like today, with all the programs one can partake in. I don't think my grandparents would have anyway. Mom talks about the people on "relief" - I believe it was some kind of welfare. She says "we never were that poor." 

My grandma Kincaid was an excellent cook - she had to be, her mother passed on when she was just a little girl. She had to cook for her brothers and dad while they worked "in the woods" all day. Her family traveled all over northern Wisconsin and UP working in different logging camps. That is where she met my grandpa and this is what he continued to do his whole life. They both were originally from Kentucky but, settled in Crandon, Wisconsin.

My mom tells me that grandma would have the table full of cookies, pies and bread. A tradition they had and looked forward to every year was red and green jello. She said that one year, my grandma ran out of serving dishes, so she made the jello in the water bucket. When she un-molded it, part of the bucket was attached and it didn't taste good.

They almost always had a venison roast for Christmas Eve dinner. My mom said that my grandpa would always shoot 2 deer, one for them and one to sell. Many tourists would come to the "north woods" to hunt - but, often times spent too much time drinking and not hunting. So, my grandpa would always find some unlucky hunter to sell to. The one he sold was their "Christmas money." 

My mom said that on Christmas Eve, my grandpa would go out in the woods and cut down their tree.   They looked forward to putting on the candles and simple decorations.  She said they would sit up and watch the candles burn down.  Her grandma Kincaid lived in a nice house and had a formal room where she had a decorated tree.  My mom tells me that none of the children were allowed in the room or to touch the ornaments.  She tells me that they would stand in the doorway and only admire it.  She said it was so beautiful - not like the tree they had. 

 My mom's favorite Christmas memory was one year when my grandma came into the bedroom and said "Santa was here."  My mom tells me that her sister Joyce, who was older, was also "smarter than her."  When they ran to look under the tree, there were 2 big "baby dolls" - one sitting a little higher than the other.  My aunt Joyce grabbed the taller one thinking it was the bigger one - they were both the same size.   Her brothers would receive a sled or skis. 

Humble, simple Christmas memories - how wonderful!  

Here is a picture of my grandpa and grandma Kincaid and the house they lived and raised their family in.  I can only imagine their heavenly home - they might not have had much here - they didn't have their minds set on this life, rather their eternal one.  I am the "better" for it!

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Peanut Butter & Nutella Bars/Cake - 3 Weight Watcher Points

Peanut Butter & Nutella Bars/Cake - 3 points.

1 egg + 1 egg white
1/2 C honey
1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C Nutella
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 C flour

In a bowl, whip 1 egg and 1 egg white till frothy.  Add honey, peanut butter (I used all natural chunky) and Nutella.  Mix dry ingredients add 1/2 at a time to wet mixture.  Spoon into a 9 x 13 pan, sprayed - pat down - this is thick.

Bake @ 350 for 20-25 min.  I put nonfat whip topping on it - it needs it...:)

I made this one up too.  It is not a fluffy or soft cake, but reminds me of the consistency of gingerbread.  Now I am on a mission to lighten up some gingerbread.  Keep watching.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

2 Point Apple, Cranberry & Oatmeal Muffins

Apple, Cranberry and Oatmeal Muffins

Weight Watcher's - 2 points!

I LOVE to cook and bake - often times making up my own recipes.  I made this one up today.

Dry:  2 C flour
          1/2 C oatmeal
          1 tsp. baking soda
          2 tsp. baking powder
          1/2 tsp. salt
          1 C sugar
          1 tsp. apple pie spice

Mix together in small bowl.

Wet:  2 eggs
           1 egg white
           1/2 C applesauce (unsweetened)
           1/2 C apple cider
           2 tsp. vanilla extract
           1 1/2 C chopped fresh cranberries

Whip eggs together, add applesauce, cider and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients 1/2 at a time.  Stir together well.  Fold in chopped cranberries.  Spray muffin tin, fill 3/4 full - should make 18 muffins.  Bake @350 for 18-25 minutes.

These are tart but good! 

Enjoy and Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Superheros at St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield

Brightway Window Service staff dressed as superheros for a days work outside of St. Joseph's Hospital's pediatrics unit.

I just had to share this story with you.  Please read at the link above. 

Many of my followers know that my daughter Anna is a cancer survivor.   At 11 she was diagnosed with a rhabdomyosarcoma tumor in her bladder.  She spent a year in treatment, radiation and surgery.  Much of that time spent looking out these very same windows.  It was a tough year, Jesus did heal her and she is in remission now - 6 years out! 

I thought this was such a nice idea - God bless you guys.  Your business is called Brightway - and you did brighten a day!

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Are You A Prepper?


There is a new show called Doomsday Preppers, have you watched it?  O.K. so I have.  Each episode shows a family that has their own understanding of what they predict will be their "doomsday."  Hey, who am I to judge their ideals.  I just appreciate their conviction to what they believe.  I have learned some pretty good ideas by watching.

So, I am a prepper in the fact that first, I want to secure my salvation in Jesus - this is how I plan to "prep."  However, the ideas for food storage, power outages and such can benefit anyone in the case of severe weather. 

Do I plan to go "crazy" with this, no.  I don't think I will "need" to.  I am going to start the new year with a better understanding of what and how to store things.  It is in my hoarder nature after all...

Do you prep or have any good ideas you want to share?  Do you know of a blog hop for this?  Thanks.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

December - Interesting Facts


Birth Flower:  Narcissus, Holly
Birth Stone:  Turquoise, Zircon

Bingo Month
Write a Friend Month

Days of the Month:

1.  Eat a red apple day
2.  National fritters day
3.  National roof over your head day
4.  Santa's list day
5.  Bath tub party day
6.  St. Nicholas Day
7.  Pearl Harbor Day
8.  National brownie day
9.  National pastry day
10.  Human Rights Day
11.  National noodle ring day
12.  Poinsettia day
13.  Ice cream day
14.  National bouillabaisse day
15.  Lemon cupcake day
16.  Chocolate covered anything day
17.  Maple syrup day
18.  Bake cookies day
19.  Oatmeal muffin day
20.  Go caroling day
21.  Look on the bright side day
22.  Date nut bread day
23.  Roots day
24.  Christmas Eve
25.  Christmas
26.  Boxing Day
27.  Make cut out snowflakes day
28.  Card playing day
29.  Pepper pot day
30.  Baking soda day
31.  New Year's Eve


"I heard the bells on Christmas Day their old familiar carols play and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, goodwill to me."  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"May you have the gladness of Christmas, which is hope.  The spirit of Christmas, which is peace.  The heart of Christmas, which is love."  Ada V. Henricks

I have posted one of these for each month this year.  I've learned some interesting stuff - hope you have too.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.