Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2nd To The Last Day of 2009

Hello Everyone,

So, how are you spending your 2nd to the last day of 2009? I decided I had to attack the spider webs up here at the cabin, beginning with my Jim Shore snowman/woman collection. My daughter-in-law April, drew my name this year for gift giving. She knew she had it easy when she got my name.

My little collection has grown to ten....and I don't think another one will fit on the shelf. The cute little arms, hats and baskets on these snowmen make for a good time for the spiders and it had to be thoroughly dusted before I introduced the new little one to the collection.

When the light comes in through the windows just right, the beams in the great room look like the spiders have been busy constructing all the wire rigging for a trapeze artist in a circus tent. The spiders are the size of small mice and have scared many a guest and sent them into scream mode. I guess I've just gotten used to them and they don't phase me anymore.

While I was de-c0b-webbing the house, I cleaned the guest room. Santa Mike and Mrs. Mike will be here for New Year's. Speaking of Mrs. Mike, have any of you read the book Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman? It's a true story set in the Canadian wilderness in the early 1900's. A movie was made of the book in 1949 staring Dick Powell and Evelyn Keyes.

The guest room is all set for company. Every spider has been sent packing. The room is completely dusted, pillows fluffed and logs swept clean....almost. The electric blanket has been checked to make sure the right control is on the correct side of the bed. Somehow the controls got switched, and the couple that spent the night in this bed, drove each other crazy each time they adjusted the control on their side of the bed. It made for an interesting story at breakfast.

The welcoming guest towel is ready. "Guest towels are to be used by guests, non-guests are to use their clothing."

I've also been working on another block for Party in the Garden quilt BOM.

I'm new to the designing aspect of quilting. I've gone through so much fabric to get each flower petal just right. It has been a great deal of fun drawing a pattern then bringing it to life in fabric fence post by fence post, petal by petal.

Have a wonderful 2nd to the last day of 2009 everyone. Make the most of each day you have by doing things you enjoy with the ones you love.
As always,

Monday, December 28, 2009

Oh the anticipation......continues

Good Morning Everyone,

I still have not been contacted through email by Anonymous for the Wilder Family Cookbook giveaway. The comment was:

Anonymous said...
I love to cook and would enjoy some new family tested recipes!
December 21, 2009 10:44 PM

So, just is case this person is traveling and out of computer reach, I'll give Anonymous until January 4th to contact me. If I don't receive a response, then I'll announce a new winner from the comments already received on January 4th around noon. (Zinny touched a rawhide chew with her nose on Christmas Eve before she picked up Anonymous.....and I know which one it was!)

As always,

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays

This was on Joe's package!

Good Morning Everyone,

While all of you were out taking advantage of the after Christmas sales, Joe and I were shopping for a new dishwasher! Isn't this just about the busiest time of year when the kitchen is is overdrive and you have the most dishes ever! Well picture us on Christmas Eve, relaxing after eating our luscious crab cakes when we look into the kitchen and see the water spewing out of the bottom of the dishwasher onto the wood floor!

After we mopped up the mess, we continued to relax and just figured that we were going to have nice, soft cuticles by New Year's. We have our even BIGGER dinner on Christmas Day! Which of course means more and more dishes. Joe suggested that we use paper plates....NOT. The kids at times, have called me "Martha" as in Martha Stewart. Would Martha use paper plates on Christmas?

I just sat at the table chatting with the family while the kitchen crew kicked it into high gear. There's a certain kind of camraderie that occurs around the kitchen sink. It's misery loves company I guess. It's fun to just step back and listen to all the conversations and really take in all of the family interactions. The little kids were enjoying their new treasures. There were the football fans on the couch. The group at the table were talking about the health care bill. But, the kitchen crew was having the most fun! Eruptions of laughter, Zinny getting bopped with a rolled up dish towel, and fake groans of "more dishes!"

The new dishwasher will arrive on January 9th. That gives Joe and me lots of time to do some serious bonding with our bottle of Dove dishwashing liquid. We will have nice soft hands...and Zinny won't be the only one getting bopped with the dish towel!

As always,

P.S. Two Christmases ago, the compressor on the refrigerator went out, so we bought a new fridge the day after Christmas. If I play my cards right, I'll be getting a new washer in 2011?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Good Morning and Merry Christmas,

I said we would conduct a very scientific selection of the winner for the Wilder Family Cookbook and this is what we did. I wrote every entrant's name on one of Zinny's rawhide retriever bones.
Isn't she a sweetie!

She sat patiently while we put all of the bones on the floor. (We adults had fun with this.)

Then she made her selection.......and with the winner is: Anonymous who said,

"I love to cook and would enjoy some new family tested recipes!"
December 21, 2009 10:44 PM

Anonymous, please email your name and address and I'll get your cookbook in the mail to you right away. My email is:

Have a wonderful Christmas day everyone. Now I've got to go and get ready for the Munchkins.

As always,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve

Hello Everyone,

Christmas is a guest. May each of us follow His star of faith and find the heart's own Bethlehem.

As always,

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Short Bread Day!

Hello Everyone and Happy Holidays,

For the last 40 years, my sister Gail, has been making batches and batches of short bread for friends and family. The recipe is in our Grandma Ross' beautiful handwriting. (The Palmer Penmanship Method is a lost art.) Now the recipe calls for butter and you know me and butter if you follow this blog. This is the only time I will tell you to use OLEO....there, I've said it....OLEO not butter for this recipe. Two years ago this month, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer right before Christmas. This is the one and only time we let her off the "short bread hook." I said I would make the short bread and I used butter. It didn't taste as good as Gail's and the family taste-testers let me know about it!
So to make a long story short, my sister is fit as a fiddle this year and she made the short bread last night and emailed me her pictures. My sister said, "I do think of Grandma every time I make this and think that she would be really pleased that I carry on her tradition. This is year 40! It brings back all the memories of all the fun times we had with her not just at Christmas but all during the year. "
The family cookbook idea was actually started by our mother, Edith Ross Marshall when she gathered all of the family recipes that had been passed down to her.

This short bread melts in your mouth. You can't eat just one either. I should also tell you that we call them "Polar Bear Farts." Sorry about that and I hope it doesn't ruin it for you, but the little kids love asking if they can have another Polar Bear Fart.

Grandma Ross, your baking tradition is alive and well. We know that you are feasting at a bountiful table while listening to a heavenly choir of angels. And we know you brought the short bread!

As always,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Best Gift Ever......

Merry Christmas Everyone,

At Christmastime there is a strong gravitational pull of your thoughts back to A pull so strong that it helps keep me balanced and centered like the hands on a compass pointing true north.

Let me take you back to a little town called Paradise in Northern California where I grew up in the 1950's. Money was very scare and my parents, both remembering the Great Depression, knew how to squeeze a dollar. On the demographic scale for the 1950 census, we probably would have been "binned" in the low-income column. My sister Gail and I knew nothing about economic status. We just knew we were happy and loved.

So let's go downtown to Harrison's Market. You knew everyone in town so when you went to the store you "swapped howdies" first then you shopped. The butcher called you by name. The clerks had a feather duster sticking out of their back pocket and a price stamper strapped into a leather holster covered with purple ink.

Above the vegetable section of all places were the "big" Christmas toys for sale. Wagons, dump trucks, large dolls 2 feet high and then there was the present I wanted. A pretend kitchen! A turquoise kitchen that was as tall as I was. It had a sink, refrigerator, and a stove! There were pots and pans and plates and silverware oh my! It was the best pretend kitchen a 6-year-old could ever want. I was always straying away from my Mother's cart and she'd find me standing in front of the brussel sprouts staring up at MY PRETEND KITCHEN. (I think the store's management put the toys above the vegetables as a subliminal your vegetables and these toys will be yours!)

I ate my vegetables, I was good, as good as a 6-year-old could be for the whole month of December, forget the rest of the year! Christmas morning came and was that turquoise kitchen under our tree? No it wasn't, but this little wooden hutch and sink were under the tree handmade by my Grandpa Marshall.

The little hutch was filled with little plates, a canister set, a cookie sheet and a tea set all the way from Japan! I loved my pretend kitchen.

I washed many a dish in this tiny little sink.

When I grew up the little hutch was packed away for years along with the remaining dishes and accessories. It has been on my kitchen counter for the last twenty-five years. Would you believe the price on the cake decorations is 17 cents! (Where's the "cent" key on my keyboard?)

Here I am on the right with my Grandpa Marshall and Gail. I was about 3.

I was about 7 in this picture. Don't you love the old vintage porch swing!

This gift from my Grandpa was the best gift a 6-year-old could ever want. It's lasted over 5 decades. I marvel at the quality of workmanship, the tiny hinges and screws and the mitered corners on the cabinet doors. Through our youth, my sister and I received other handmade, wooden treasures from our Grandpa.

So sometimes what you think you want, and what you get, are two different things. I haven't forgotten about the turquoise pretend kitchen in Harrison's Market above the vegetables, but it would not have survived the decades and would not have been loved as much as I love my little hutch. (To this day I dislike brussel sprouts!)

As always,


Monday, December 21, 2009

Cookbook Giveaway

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Here is a picture of the recipe binder filled with the best of the best of the Wilder Family recipes that I'm giving away on my blog.

You have until noon on December 24th to make a comment about anything you'd like, and your name will go in the drawing for the book. The winner will be posted on this blog Christmas morning before my grandchildren come over and terrorize the dog. (Check the blog early, since they are early risers!) If you would rather send an email to me at with a comment, that will automatically enter your name in the drawing.

The sixty recipes are tried and true and are my most requested recipes from friends and family members.

But wait, there's more! The recipe binder contains 20 recipe cards, 6 pocket dividers, 10 recipe card protectors and 12 recipe page protectors, plus 24 printer-compatible recipe pages for your treasured family recipes.

This isn't for sale in any store, it's just a recipe binder that I purchased and filled with my favorite recipes.

Good luck to everyone.

As always,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

This post is for Crissie.....

Dear Crissie and all followers,

Crissie emailed me and said, "I would like to be a little mouse in the corner of your kitchen." Well Crissie, I like mice! I have a small collection of ceramic mice. My most treasured ornament is a mouse that my Mother painted in 1982.
Crissie has been sending me recipes that I'm so anxious to try....she's making me hungry! We even have one of the same recipes for a boiled spice cake. I'll have to post that one too. My Mother made it every year and I've started making it also. But somehow it's just not quite as good as I remember.

I was so busy today finishing up the Christmas cards that I almost forgot to post. Since I didn't take any pictures of any finished projects, it's recipe day.

There will just be a small group of us on Christmas Eve so I thought I would splurge on crab and make these absolutely fabulous Cape Fear Crab Cakes.

Cape Fear Crab Cakes with Lemon Dill Sauce

1 pound fresh lump crab meat
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 scallion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon each minced fresh basil and parsley
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons each butter and vegetable oil

- Flake the crab meat and remove bits of shell and cartilage.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Add the garlic, scallion and red pepper.
- Sauté for 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in the whipping cream, mustard and cayenne, ½ cup of the bread crumbs and the crab meat and mix lightly.
- Shape into 16 patties - 2 inches in diameter.
- Mix the remaining ½ cup bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a shallow dish.
- Dredge the patties in the crumb mixture until coated. Place on a platter and chill, covered for 1 hour or longer.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and fry for 3 minutes on each side.
- Drain on paper towels. Serve with Lemon Dill Sauce. Yield: 16 servings

Lemon Dill Sauce

¾ cup mayonnaise
½ cup buttermilk
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dillweed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

-Blend the mayonnaise and buttermilk in a bowl until smooth. Add the garlic, dillweed, parsley, lemon peel and lemon juice and mix well.
- Chill, covered, in the refrigerator until the mixture thickens.

I feel so fortunate to have met so many wonderful people through the Blossom of Friendship BOM blog. I enjoy the emails and your visits to the store on Monday.

So Crissie, if you were a mouse in my kitchen you would have lots of crumbs to keep you well fed. You'd have to search for those crumbs in Zinny's hair balls hiding under the Hoosier. You would be listening to Christmas music all day long (today you'd be watching football.) There would be little grand kids running and I do mean running around so watch out! And you would probably see Grammy kissing Santa Claus!

...and to all a goodnight.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 6 and we're getting down to the wire.....

Good Saturday Morning Everyone,

Our family is getting so large that we started drawing names instead of buying a gift for everyone. I can't tell you the name I've drawn, but I made my person a "Birdie Sling" by Amy Butler.

I've made this pattern twice now and love, love, love the outcome. But......this pattern takes forever to cut out. Once you are over that hurdle, you're home free. My Monday work buddy Holly, selected the fabric for me. She has a good eye for style and choose the new Nicey Jane fabric by Heather Bailey. Just about the whole fabric line is in the shop and it's gorgeous!

I don't have a sewing room at the cabin. But I have a dining room with a wonderful view of the forest and the lingering snow. While I'm quilting or sewing, I'm always looking out the windows at the squirrels and birds. Occasionally I'll spot a deer. It's wonder that I ever get anything done.

I debated about whether or not to include this picture of my "mess". Each bag holds my wonderful treasures just waiting to be completed. I start making my cabin list early and try to bring absolutely everything I need up to the mountains with me. In all of this mess, do you think I remembered to bring a "pressing ham?" There probably isn't a pressing ham for sale in a radius of 50 miles from my location! Well, I made do with a rolled towel to get all of the seams open.

The inside of the bag is just as cute as the outside. Isn't this fun? My "person" is going to love toting this bag around. Thanks Holly for putting such a cute combination together.

Don't forget the Wilder Family Cookbook giveaway. If you are shy about making a comment, just send me an email at for your official entry. You have until December 24th at noon to make your comment about anything you wish. I'll announce the winner on Christmas morning before the little munchkins come over to terrorize Zinny.

As always,


Friday, December 18, 2009

Day 7........Giveaway time!

Hello Everyone,

As I said several posts ago, I was going to give a Wilder Family Cookbook away. Well the time is here. This book is a compilation of years of our family favorites. I'm always trying something new and I have a stack of more recipes to add to the cookbook.....just haven't done it yet. I found some new binders this year that are similar but not identical to my copy. They are just so much nicer I might have to give one to myself!

The new binder has nice dividers with pockets for your notes. It also contains plastics covers for your family favorites on recipe cards.

The book contains sixty of my most requested recipes. They are all tried and true and have been made countless times by my family and friends....and me of course. This in one of our favorites that Santa Mike requested the next time we get together.

All you have to do to win the cookbook is make a comment. You have from now until Thursday, December 24th at noon. Make a comment about anything you'd like.....from cooking, to Christmas, to's your comment. I'm just curious to see if anyone out there is reading my blog other than my sister! This is my gift to one of my blog sister is automatically disqualified since she already has a cookbook! Zinny will very scientifically select the recipient.

I'll post the winner Christmas morning. Oh the anticipation!

As always,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cut off from the outside world......

Hello Everyone,

We have been out of communication with the outside world since Tuesday, the day we arrived at the cabin. No phone and no Internet for two days. And you know, this was a good thing. I have a cell phone that works outside if all of the satellites are functioning and the Moon is in the second house and Jupiter aligns with Mars....yadda yadda. Which means I was standing out in the snow while speaking with a Comcast representative and discussing my issues.

To make a long story short, two days and two very competent technicians that spent three hours at the cabin, we are connected. We have all new wires from the pole on the street throughout the cabin.

So what did I do with my uninterrupted two days you ask? I practiced communication of a different and "old-fashioned" kind. I wrote letters. Yes, actually wrote letters to put in my Christmas cards. I always do a Christmas newsletter filled with pictures that I named the "Wilder Times. " This year, I actually hand-wrote a lengthy message and enclosed it in the Christmas card with the newsletter.

Who doesn't enjoy receiving a letter in the mail. A letter you can save and savor again at a later time. There's something so personal about a real letter instead of an email that you just dash off without really thinking.

I have some old letters that my parents wrote to each other in the 1940's. I never knew my Dad was such a romantic until I read those letters. Every letter started out with ...."My darling Edith."

Back when our first son was born in the 1970's, money was tight and the price of a phone call home was almost prohibitive so I wrote weekly letters to my parents. My Mother saved every single letter that I wrote through my pregnancy and our son's first year of life. They were tied with a ribbon and stored in a box that I'm sure she forgot about. Those letters are like a diary and better than the baby book that has so many blank pages. Although I wrote about everyday experiences, they are precious memories long forgotten. I gave them to our son Chuck. They are his story, his first year in great detail and tied with a ribbon by his grandmother.

So write letters. Turn off the computer, don't answer the phone and write a letter to someone you treasure.

As always,

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 11......Traditions

Happy Monday Everyone,

"Let us make memories carefully of all good things, rejoicing in the wonderful truth that while we are laying up for ourselves the very sweetest and best of happy memories, we are at the same time giving them to others." Laura Ingalls Wilder

I think traditions are what binds a family together. Those happy memories of our youth that we pass down through the generations makes our family unique. One of our family traditions is having Santa Claus come to our home about this time every year. We gather around the tree and read The Polar Express. This year Kinsey was able to read aloud for us. When we hear the bells, we know that Santa is on our front porch.

Santa is telling the photographer, "You'd better watch out!" Mike periodically sees all of our grandchildren throughout the year and knows if they've been naughty or nice!

The littlest one just wasn't too sure about this Santa person.....this was just about as close as Santa could get.
Santa got lots of hugs from all the little ones.

Our dear friend Mike, has been carrying on this tradition for his family for two decades. His mother-in-law made his Santa suit about 35-years ago for her husband out of crushed corduroy.

We appreciate our friends and our rich history of experiences throughout the thirty-two years that we've known Mike and his wonderful wife Kathy. Together we've shared many happy times from the birth of children, their weddings, then the birth of grandchildren. Together we've experienced and faced the loss of loved ones. Our family traditions honors our loved ones and keeps their spirit alive throughout the year.

So Santa, we'll see you again next year to make more sweet memories!

As always,


P.S. The pictures paint a very tranquil reality it was utter chaos. Six kids and a dog were doing the Indy 500 through the downstairs. When Santa arrived they were all perfect angels for about a nanosecond. When everyone left after dinner, we sat around the tree with Mike and Kathy and enjoyed some Christmas Schnapps and removed our earplugs!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Decorating on Day 13...

Good Saturday Morning to Everyone!

There was a lot of decorating going on here yesterday. The old pie safe that is home to my cookbook collection, was turned into a Christmas Village with the help of my two little twin elves, Emily and Kinsey. The pie safe was transformed from this...... this. Which meant that I had to move all of the cookbooks out to the garage. Then I had to make a wiring diagram to figure out how to get light to each house without the wires showing.

The girls carefully placed every little figurine.

Emily never fell off the ladder.

Kinsey stopped long enough for a picture.

Here's one of my favorites, the Country Pie and Quilt Shop. Gee, I wonder why?

Another favorite is the Antique Shop.

The girls did a great job. I think they thought they were playing in a giant doll house for hours.

"White Christmas" is playing at the of my favorite holiday movies. I've watched it a hundred times and I still get teary-eyed.

Put on the Christmas carols and let your heart sing today.

As always,