Thursday, January 30, 2014


When I was organizing the basement the past few weeks, I found a treasure that changed my life. It was an old metal box with a lock and no key. A hammer and screwdriver had it open after several tries. In the front of the box were several years of my parent's tax folders, but behind those were several manila envelopes.  Grabbing them, I went upstairs to the dining room table and opened each envelope hurriedly spreading the contents all over the table. There were birth certificates, and death certificates... baptism papers and marriage certificates. I could barely breathe. To understand my reaction, you'd need to know a bit about my family:

  • I was an only child, so no siblings.
  • My parents were only children, so therefore no cousins, aunts, or uncles.
  • They were both from Brooklyn NY.
  • My grandparents died before I was born, so I didn't know very much about them.
  • My Mother's mother died when she was 5 years old.
  • The courts took her away from her father because he was working on boats that went back and forth to Norway... no place for a child.
  • My Mom was put in New York's foster care system.
The unknown continued through my life. My mother told me lots of stories about what she knew about my father's childhood and hers. But there were so many missing pieces. I was so surprised that she didn't share these important documents with me.

Several years ago I decided to dive into Genealogy and play Nancy Drew. I didn't realize that I wasn't going to get very far since my entire family was from Norway with the exception of my Grandfather who came from Ireland. So... I joined and gave it a try along with the help of the following book from Amazon.

Something I forgot to share with you... my mother didn't know her real name, but went by a name that was somewhat similar (We discovered many years ago when she went to get a passport). That is the most interesting story, and I'll share it with you in my next post. Until then...

Make this a great day!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


I have a lot of Valentine's Day ideas to share, but this is a favorite!

Make a cheese pizza, or buy a frozen one (We love Palermos as the crust is thin... and the calories low). Buy sliced pepperoni... we use turkey pepperoni (tastes the same, but it contains a lot less fat). Using a small heart cookie cutter, cut a heart from each pepperoni slice.
Arrange pepperoni hearts all over the pizza.

 Bake, and serve.
That's it!
But the effect is really cute.
Make today a great day!
Hugs to you!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


There are so many wonderful blogs available to us... and that includes yours! But every once in awhile you stumble across one that really grabs you and won't let go. It motivates and inspires you to create something. I actually discovered this blog on Facebook.

The colors get my blood pumping and I want to see more!!
Wowee!! Love these little people! I've seen the little unpainted wooden people in bags at craft stores. But seeing them so simply and colorfully clothed, my mind is racing with all kind of ways to use the little figures. From Easter Bunnies (add 2 cardstock ears and a pom pom tail and go from there) to little people dressed in paint, felt, and yarn. They'd be adorable on a Christmas tree if they were dressed as elves.

Actually, that's just the blog's logo and their Facebook banner... you can visit them on Facebook. The real treats come when you open their blog and there's something for everyone!
From the pattern and photo steps for knitting stars...
... to Where to find this whimsical teapot and other creations
by this creative artisan...
To simple ideas like this cute curtain
made from fabric strips, which I'm going to use this week
as I create my new craft and sewing corners
in our basement.
The blog will often lead you to Etsy, or other blogs to locate items
or patterns for items.
So, dear bloggers and creative souls, give yourself a treat
and grab a cuppa something
and sink into this blog.
I bet you fall in love with at least one thing!
Make this a great day!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


When the Christmas tree and all of the decorations are packed away, and it's too early for Valentine's Day, what do you do? Despite the Winter snow and ice outside, I decorate with snowmen and snowflakes.

The framed snowmen pictures are borrowed from Pintrest, but the idea is mine. I looked for photos that would lend themselves to vertical mat openings. The frame was from TJ Maxx/HomeGoods.... loved the price and quality. However, frames with multiple openings can be found anyplace. Instead of hanging it on the wall, it is sitting in a twisted wire plate holder on an end table in the den just because I like pictures at a variety of heights in the room. The ceramic snowmen are just a few from my snowmen collection. I try to create one new thing a year to add to my seasonal changes.

By the way, I finished The Fat Chef earlier in the week. I really enjoyed the story and look forward to reading other books by that author. So, if you're looking for a book (I'm always looking) , you might like this. When I finished it, the WWII setting isn't what lingered, it was the love story.
Make this a great day!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


These are my precious granddogs that belong to my daughter Wendy and her husband Darin, in Phoenix. They are so darn cute and funny. They had me laughing the ten days that I was there. Stretched on the couch, under the green afghan, is Alfred... known as Al. Al is a rescue dog from that awful storm Katrina. He was found on a rooftop and taken to shore in a boat. He is terrified of their swimming pool... poor guy. The Westie on the top of the couch cushion is Wylie... often called Wylie Coyote. He is one speedy character. Al has long legs and can really run, but Wylie can keep up with him. This is a photo of them totally exhausted and passed out on one of the new couches.

I'll have to find and share a picture of Wylie in the pool. He takes a running start in the house, through the patio doors, and flies into the pool. He has a favorite float that he lounges on.

I hope this put a smile on your face. We can never have too many!

Make this a good day!


Friday, January 10, 2014


As many of you know, I love to read books that are set during WWII. My Father was in the army and left for the European theater several days after I was born. He came home when I was three years old. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, but came home uninjured. He was a very quiet man after the war and never talked about his experiences. Reading about the war has helped me to understand him better. What a horrible war... man's inhumanity to man within the framework of the war was beyond horrid.
The Fat Chef caught my attention with it's unusual title for a WWII novel. It takes place in Paris, one of the cities my father spent time during the war. I downloaded it and dove in anyway. Our bitter
cold days have provided time for a lot of reading.
In 1940, Paris falls to the occupying Germans. Raoul, Head Chef of Le Metro, the top hotel of Paris, is nonchalant. After all, he need only wait for Pétain to make peace, and everything will return to normal. Then he can get on with life, and admire his demi-sous chef, Natalie, with unrequited love.

But matters soon change. When the Germans begin to cut out the Jewish staff, he hides the refugees everywhere he can in the sprawling hotel. In the end, even the wine cellar is occupied. On the night of a big German military banquet, an SD officer discovers Natalie still working in the kitchens. Raoul, in a moment of panic, kills the officer with a cast-iron frying pan. But where to dispose of the body? Forced into action, Raoul discovers that he has more strengths than his béchamel sauce.

The Fat Chef is from popular novelist Fredrik Nath, author of The Cyclist, Francesca Pascal and the Roman 'Galdir' saga. The Fat Chef is also part of a series.
It's a quick read and I'm enjoying it. It's sort of a WWII cozy mystery.
Make this a great day!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Snowflakes are so beautiful! To think they begin as a tiny snow crystal
and develop as the droplets freeze.
They change shapes and sizes as they travel through
different temperatures and humidity.
Individual snowflakes are nearly unique in structure.
As children we were told that "No two snowflakes are alike".
Scientists have researched and found occasional snowflakes that are different,
but many more that are the same
When we were young, it was fun to catch a snowflake
on our mitten and look closely at their fascinating beauty before they melted.
Many of us learned to handle little scissors by cutting pieces out of
folded white paper and opening the paper to see the magic
that a few snips in paper could produce.
I remember taping these snowflakes to the inside of our windows.
Sometimes we would put the snowflake between 2 pieces
of wax paper to give them some body.
We'd punch a hole on the top and tie them with satin ribbon to hang on the Christmas tree
or hang them in our home as Winter decorations
 The photos of the sugar and gingerbread snowflake cookies are from Pinterest.
When I saw these cookies I bought  multiple cookie cutters
and lots of Wilton frosting supplies.
They are still in their boxes, but one of these days...
Make this a great day!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


When I saw this list today, I just had to share it! So many look like delicious reads.

If you haven't read a book by John Green, then this is the one to choose. I think my first read will be about the art work stolen by the Nazis. Must hop over to Amazon and download it so I can begin reading tonight.

Make this a good day!



Tuesday, January 7, 2014


My favorite books last year were actually a trilogy by Paullina Simons. I discovered her when I was searching for historical fiction that takes place during WWII in Russia (love Russian history). There were a lot of books available, but this trilogy really grabbed my interest.

Book#1: The Bronze Horseman

This is the story of Tatiana, her family, and her love for a Red Army soldier, Alexander. They live in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) during WWII. This time came to be known as The Siege of Leningrad.  It was a terribly bitter cold winter, and the merciless German zrmy cut off their food supplies. They were either going to freeze or starve. What they go through to survive will make you treasure what we take for granted.

Book#2: Tatiana and Alexander

The epic continues. This is true romantic fiction. Some reviewers have called it "the Russian Thorn Birds".
Book#3: The Winter Garden

The story follows the love that survived the terrible starvation and cold of the winter. The couple meet for a reunion in America. Now they must confront The Cold War.

Paullina was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. The author currently lives in NYC.

I found this trilogy difficult to put down. I read until 2am some nights. Even if you just read the first book, you'll enjoy it and learn so much. I've read other books about The Siege of Leningrad. If you'd like titles, just mention it in the comment section.

Make this a good day!

Monday, January 6, 2014


What's all the hullabaloo with Candy Crush Saga?

It's mentioned all over the place... especially on Facebook. I wondered why people would spend so much time playing what I thought looked like a rather dumb game. Then when I was in the hospital for my first botched heart surgery, my daughter was busily tapping away on her iphone, not texting, but playing the game Candy Crush. One of my male nurses offered to put it on my phone. "Sure, go ahead!" I was curious. It certainly seemed easy enough... not much of a challenge. Then again, I love to play games. After a few games, I was hooked! The levels flew by like geese heading south. I was fascinated with the colorful pieces of candy dancing over the game board. Easy! Then I got stuck. And stuck I was... for two weeks on one level. However the challenge was all-consuming and I'd pick up my phone off-and-on throughout the day.

Currently, I'm on level #88 and I was proud of myself and got a feeling of success with each win. I'd smile, do a shout-out, and a little happy dance. But there was another level to conquer so I needed to move on. I've seen scores flash by that were in the 400's. I really haven't figured out how they do that. Maybe magic?   

Friday, January 3, 2014


I guess it's obvious that I forgot how to write a blog and post it! I cut myself off in the middle of a sentence. Okay... moving on.

Well... I was scheduled for heart surgery in June, at St. Luke's hospital in Milwaukee. Skipping ahead to the drama... the doctor punctured my heart. When I woke I was on a ventilator with tubes coming out of me like the legs of an octopus. My daughters were both there, their dad, and one of the girl's best friends, Kris (Bless her heart). More drama, but finally the puncture started to clot. After a week I was able to go home and mend. Several weeks later, I suddenly couldn't breathe. Off to the hospital again and they found blood clots in both lungs and both legs. I healed again. Next step... a pacemaker and an ablation the week of thanksgiving. Kristin (my oldest), stayed home with me and we had a wonderful celebration... just the two of us. She made pumpkin ravioli, a turkey breast, wild rice, and a refreshing salad. We had tickets to fly to my younger daughter's home in Phoenix, but we cancelled them because of the new pacemaker. This may sound silly, but... I LOVE MY PACEMAKER! I feel ten years younger and am living normally. I have a pedometer, and each day I work on increasing my steps. When you're sick you get out of shape so quickly. And here I am in Phoenix enjoying sunny days. The bad news is... I'm leaving on Sunday and going home to below zero temps.

Happy 2014! Enjoy each day and cherish your friends and family. God wasn't ready for me yet, so I'm anxious to see what plans he has planned for me.  ~ Joni


My daughter, Wendy, encouraged me to start my blog again for 2014. I will give it a try... a really good try!

My girls and SIL were home for Christmas in Wisconsin... lots of cold and snow. The day after Christmas we all took a flight to Phoenix where my youngest daughter, Wendy, and her husband, Darin live. They have a lovely home in the foothills of mountains, and their house backs up to a desert preserve which I am convinced is loaded with scorpions and rattle snakes... shivers! They've never seen either one, however I am a magnet for those things. If they're there, they'd find me.

I have had a lot of health issues in the past two years, starting with a virus which put me in heart failure and then A- Fib for the rest of the time. My Cardiologist sent me to an Electrophysiologist who suggested surgery.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Daughter's Blog

My daughter, Kristin, has a blog...
That really makes me feel old.
I remember when she used to read my blog and comment.
Now I read hers and comment.
Sooo... this morning, I decided I'd better get mine going again.
So, here I am, giving it another try.
I'm SO ANXIOUS to find out what all my old friends are up to.
That alone is worth the effort.
By the way... the picture of Kristin below is not from
Colorado. That was taken at the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo
this past year.
But, I love her jumping!
She is so full of energy and life.
Stop at her blog and please leave a comment... please!
She is developing a following but her friends don't know how to
leave a comment.
That sounds lame, but if you don't have a blog,
it can be confusing.
Be sure to check out her apple pies baked in mason jars.
Both cute and tasty!
She's a fantastic cook, a fashionista, and world traveler so she has lots
to write about.
But, she'll also take you on short jaunts around Colorado and you'll
feel like you are right there.
Love to you all!
Make this a GREAT day!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Another Good Cozy Mystery Series

A Wonderful Mystery Series

and funny, too!

by Krista Davis


I am having a great time with all my new Summer reads. These are all 'Cozy Mysteries'... a new genre for me and I am loving them all! Krista's main character is Sophie who seems to have murder happen wherever she appears. You'll be guessing until the end of the book... Who-dun-it? If you love to read about food, then you'll really love Krista's books. I was salivating through a lot of the pages and came away with lots of cooking ideas. And you will laugh!!!

Try one book and you'll have to read the rest.



Monday, June 4, 2012

So Much to Share

I have so much to share, that I knew I needed to activate my Blog again and share, share, share. It's been so long since I've posted, that I've forgotten all the ins-and-outs of making this page balanced. 
I want you to meet Julie Hyzy and some of her wonderful books. I heard Julie speak at a book fair in early spring and have gobbled up her books ever since. The 5 books on this post are her current White House Chef Mystery Series... although I did hear that she has a contract for several more.
The main character is Ollie (Olivia) Paras.
You'll meet a lot of great people including the First Family
and a lot of people you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley...
or even in the sunshine for that matter.
You'll really get a good mental picture of life in the White House.
You'll laugh and you'll shiver.

There are lots of recipes at the end!

After all, these are culinary mysteries.


Enjoy them all. I downloaded them to my Kindle and then
bought them, too, because the covers are so darn cute.
Julie has written another series...
Manor House Mysteries.
These are about Grace Wheaton, lover of history and mystery.
The newest in this series comes out TOMORROW!
Check Amazon for Grace Among Thieves.
I'll be back later this week to tell you about the book, my friend Don and I, are writing.
Hugs to all, old friends and new!
Make this a great day!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Inspiring Blog!

This morning I decided that I had to get started on a new project,
so I Googled "Christmas Blogs".
I like to make things and have them tucked away in my cupboard for

I fell in love with this blog, Deck the Halls.
I spent hours reading one post after another.
I am totally inspired to order something from her store, or create
 something of my own design.

 So clean looking and pretty!

Love the apple!
She has a variety of different apples on her blog
and in her shop.

I liked the pillows. She had others, but they
didn't transfer to my blog very clearly.
You'll have to look for yourself!

Now, why didn't I think of this!!
So darn cute!!
Wouldn't they sell fast at a Fall Bazaar!

I'm going back to read some more posts...

Make this a great day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Surprise!

Special flowers from a special man.

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"I'm Baaaaaaaack!" Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

It feels good to be back after my long detour via Facebook.
Facebook is fun, but brief and quick.
I did make some good connections with old friends
and we shared a lot of fun lunches together.

But, I missed my blog and my blog friends.
How are all of you?
Time for me to visit your blogs and catch up!

Below are a few mixed media canvases, that I made since my last post.
You can double click for detail!
"Happy House"

"Favorite Shoes"

A picture I made for a new friend who is a bird watcher.

Fun, fun, fun!
(The process that is).

Since my last post, Wendy and her husband Darin, bought a
BIG new home in Phoenix.
My SIL, Mary, and I are going to visit them in October. 
And then I'll return for our annual Thanksgiving Fiesta.

Wendy is going to Thailand for a trade show right before
Thanksgiving, and squeezing in a wedding in The Keys.

Kristin is loving her move to Denver, and she is headed to Cabo
in Mexico before Thanksgiving.
As you know, my girls never waste a moment of travel time.

Next year will be Wendy and Darin's 40th birthday, and they've
already reserved a villa in the South of France.
There will be lots of friends going along to help them celebrate.

Make this a great day!!

I'm off to read your blogs!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend... 2011

So much going on this weekend.

The above layout is several years old but so perfect
to represent Saturday's annual Kentucky Derby which I love to watch.
Wendy, in her fabulous pink hat, was at a Kentucky Derby party
no doubt sipping mint juleps.
Actually, I think it was a wedding shower.

Kristin came home for Mother's Day and
we seemed to go from one place to another all weekend.
All fun!
She has a business meeting in Green Bay with a client
this morning and then is going to have to RACE to catch a 
flight back to Denver. 
If she doesn't make it... I'll see her tonight!

I am anxious to get the house picked up,
get Otter and I back to our routine, 
and then I can start a new painting.

Make this a good day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

MAY DAY 2011

My sweet friend Lyn (Lynette) surprised me with
this pretty May Basket hanging on the gate.
On the little pink card she had these lovely words
by Wordsworth:

"And then my heart
with pleasure fills,
and dances with
              the daffodils."              

This is the adorable May Basket that Lynn
created last year.
And dear Otter peeking through the gate
to see if it's something he can eat.

Soooooooo pretty!
Soooooooo thoughtful!

Make this a great day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I have been working on this canvas for my favorite little girl. She is 8 years old and is very, very creative! I thought maybe I could motivate her to come over and paint a canvas with me. We'll see!!

Happy Easter to all of you!