About this Blog: Bread making recipes, knit and crochet projects, wood working, gardening, digital imaging, travel, cruise ships, Labrador Retrievers, and more....

About the Header Image: Idlebrook Wendy Darling Evensen "Wendy" one of our four Labrador Retrievers.

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Monday, August 31, 2020

Catherine at the Grill

Good morning,

Catherine treated us to a fabulous dinner again on Saturday night. 

The dinner began with a fresh salad with all the good stuff:  bacon, eggs, onion, cheese, home grown tomatoes....
The mushrooms marsala,
caramelized onions,
baked potatoes,
 and fresh corn,
 were only out performed by the perfectly grilled rare filet mignon.

After dinner we watched "The Blues Brothers" a favorite film from 1980.  Was it that long ago?!?

Thank you, Catherine, what a fun evening!

Being home is wonderful,


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Childhood Treat - PB&J

Good morning,

Here's a classic that is still just as good (or better!) today.  When I was in grade and high school I made myself a piece of peanut butter and jelly toast each morning that I consumed with a glass of orange juice.

That's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on light toast in the picture made on the half-loaf size of my home made bread that makes a perfect size small sandwich snack.  As you can see from the size of the missing bite, this size sandwich is only four or five bites - perfect!

Of course, it's JIF peanut butter.  The historic jelly would be grape, but this one is raspberry jam that Catherine made and canned (jarred) some time ago.

In the background on the plate are four pieces of my bread with a "smear" of peanut butter, one for each of our pups.  Of course, they need a snack when we have one.

Happy Sunday!


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Chicken Treats for Pups

Good morning,

Our pups were delighted to see our friend, Bill, pull into our driveway this morning with a 50 pound box of raw chicken necks and backs in his pickup truck.  Bill is kind enough to pick up the chicken directly from the butcher for us.

Catherine and Kjell packed the chicken into plastic containers and put them into the freezer.  Each container holds enough chicken for three to four days for our pups.

So, how do we serve these?  Exactly how you see them.  Our dogs eat raw food prepared by us and chicken necks and backs are an important part of their diet.  They eat these like kids eat popsicles.  For those not familiar with feeding raw to dogs, the first question is about the bones in the chicken.  As long as they are not cooked, they are fine for the pups to chew up and swallow.  Think of wild dogs or wolves catching their food and eating it.  They certainly don't stop and cook it first!

So, the pups are very happy today because they always get a sample when the new "shipment" of chicken arrives. 

Happy Weekend!



Friday, August 28, 2020

Nice Buns - Grab Some Today

Good morning,

The house smells wonderful today.

Our oldest son went to school with the son of a bakery owner.  Their motto was, "Nice buns, grab some today." 

Of course, these aren't buns, they are half-size loaves of bread, but I can't help but think of the advertising tag line whenever I take bread out of the oven.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, August 27, 2020

New Peanut Butter Bones

Good morning,

Catherine gave the "kids" new peanut butter bones yesterday and they had hours of fun with them.  Erik is working on his just out of the picture.  I get a kick out of how Elsa and Wendy often mirror each other and here they've done it again.

Catherine took Erik, Wendy, and Elsa swimming at a friend's pool yesterday, too.  

I hope it was a Happy National Dog Day yesterday at your home!

All the best,

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Fish Cakes

Good morning,

My Honey made fish cakes, creamed cabbage, and potatoes for dinner last night.

Not only was the dinner delicious, but it was wonderful not to have to do the cooking myself! 


Thank you, Sweetie, it was delicious!


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Penny Enjoys the Great Outdoors

Good morning,

Our Sweet Old Lady Penny enjoys her trips outside to sniff and stroll around the back yard.  In this image she is sniffing the area where we had a huge stack of logs that have since been split and stacked.  We still have to rake the area and plant grass seed.  In the meantime, it seems to be a gold mine for wonderful smells for Penny.

Our Penny is now fifteen and a half years old. 

All the best,

Monday, August 24, 2020

Candle Making

Good morning,

When we get to the bottom of a candle, I put the wax into a basket (lined in plastic) to keep for later use. 
I haven't made candles for years and thought it was about time to do it again.  My old method still works perfectly. 

That's an old glass from a commercial candle that I burned completely.  I tied some butcher's cotton string to an old screw and suspended it from a pencil across the top of the glass.
I put pieces of old wax into a measuring cup - handle and pouring spout are important - on an old pie tin and placed it all in the oven at 170 degrees F.  It is important to keep the temperature very low to avoid the risk of fire.
As I melted wax I poured layer after layer into the jar.  It's important to let it cool between layers or it will not form flat layers.  It's fun to have the color changes, too.
And, here it is!  It works so beautifully.  I always burn our candles in a bowl and on a hot pad.  If I had gotten a little fancier, I would have removed the wax dripped on the side before the picture. 

I have enough wax to make three or four more of these. By then it will be after Christmas and large candles will be on sale again.  :)

It is good to be retired and have time to do things like this. 

All the best,

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Log Rack Decorations by Mother Nature

Good morning,

Mother Nature must have decided the end of our log racks needed decoration.  This Hardy Hibiscus planted itself and grew to cover the end of the the racks.

Happy Summer!  Cooler weather is surely on the way.  We are looking forward to using our fireplace once again.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

Sleeping Beauty

Good  morning,

Yes, another Elsa picture.  Sorry, if it's Elsa overload, but she is just so adorable!

When I decided to lie down to answer a text on my phone, Elsa came up beside me, rolled on her back and cuddled under my arm, immediately fell asleep, and started snoring.  It's just too funny!  Yes, she has done this before and I'm sure she'll do it again. 

Life is good.  We are blessed.


Friday, August 21, 2020

Rice The Way Mom Made It

Good morning,

Catherine made rice in the rice cooker before she left for work one day this week.  She said, "Help yourself," and so I did. 

For some reason the way my Mom served it came to mind.  Well, Mom served it many different ways, but this one was always a favorite.  That's rice with butter and cinnamon in the picture.  Yum!  It was my lunch and the rest of the rice in the cooker went to the four pups for lunch.  Actually, Penny, our senior lady got a nice sized helping, while the others each got a generous taste.  We are trying to put a little weight back on Penny.  She loves her food and this rice hit the spot, too, but it is very hard to keep weight on her.

We like rice just about any way it is served and with so many different foods.  How do you like your rice?


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Roses Just Because

Good morning,

Catherine brought these home "just because."

How very sweet!

It is wonderful to be retired, home, and with family.

All the best,

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Ivy Gone Wild

Good morning,

This is the wall at the front of our home where the ivy has gone wild!  I used to spend quite a bit of time in the garden clipping, planting, enjoying.  But, now my back doesn't cooperate with what my brain would like to do.
We need to get the clippers and get his ivy cut back before we get no outside light at all into our recreation room.

Ah, yes, happy Summer.  Soon the leaves will turn, we'll be wearing sweaters, and wondering when it will be warm again.

All the best,

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Covid-19 Travel by T Shirt

Good morning,

Since our only trip of this year to Springfield and Branson, Missouri, has been cancelled due to Covid-19, we have been traveling by T-shirt.

I've figured out we have hundreds of T-shirts.  When traveling, we buy them for ourselves and those at home.  When Catherine travels she buys them for us, too.  Although we have been to Gettysburg twice, the shirt above was brought home to us by Catherine when she attended the Labrador Retriever Specialty there in 2014.  It was at this event that our Penny was in the Top 25 Labrador Retrievers in the USA (number 17) and ran the agility course with Catherine as a demonstration to the music of the Cincinnati Pops' 1812 Overture
Catherine brought us this shirt from Hawaii, too. 
We were aboard Freedom of the Seas when the Tenth Anniversary was celebrated in 2016.  That is also the year Kjell retired from RCCL after 31 years with RCCL and 50 years at sea.  I had sailed with him the last 20 of those years.  Little did we know what would happen to cruising so soon after when Covid-19 struck the world.
St. Thomas, USVI, was one of our favorite ports.  We often went ashore to eat at a dockside restaurant or to shop.  It was also a place where I always had mail to send off since it is a USA port.
 This is a VERY old shirt.
 This one is old, too.   Oh, those were the days on board Splendour.  Kjell was on the building team of that ship in France, sailed out with her, we had our first meeting in person there, fell in love and were married, then sailed on her together until 2004 when he was assigned to another ship and we moved on.  Splendour will always have special meaning to us.
 We have been to Branson several times, most recently with our friends, Martha and Russell.  We were supposed to meet there again this year before Covid-19 restricted travel.
 We have patriotic shirts from almost every year.  In 2014 I purchased shirts for us and our grandchildren in Cincinnati.  We all had fun wearing them at the same time.
 This shirt was a gift from contractors Miami Divers to Kjell when he was Chief Engineer with Royal Caribbean.  The interesting part of the shirt is the ship that is pictured.  It is definitely a Vision Class ship and has the silhouette of both Splendour of the Seas and Legend of the Seas.  Kjell was on the building team of both of those ships in France.

These are only a few of our shirts that are such fun to wear.  We talk about the places we've visited and the shirts others have given us.  We have shirts from Toensberg and other places in Norway, Texas where dear friends live, historic sites in the USA, places in the Far East, the Mediterranean, Greece, France, South America, and various other places around the world.  Yesterday I wore a shirt from St. Petersberg, Russia, that I got while on board Splendour when we were on that route for several seasons.

What wonderful memories in T-shirts!  We have been blessed.  Even in these days of Covid-19 when we are staying home, we have so much fun revisiting our memories and talking about all of the wonderful experiences we have had together.

 Covid-19 will be conquered. We had to cancel our trip this year, but we will surely be able to travel when the world is safer again.

All the very best,

Monday, August 17, 2020

A Day Off

Good morning,

After two days of Dock Diving Competition, Elsa has a day off.  She has a marvelous time on Dock Diving days, but she sure is happy to take a day off from all of the activity, too.

We missed her at home while she was at the competition with Catherine and Wendy. 

What a sweet lady. 


Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Graduates

Good morning,

Congratulations to our granddaughter, Anna, and
our grandson, David (love your shoes, David!), who both received their degrees from Thomas More University this week!

David has accepted a job in Virginia and Anna is employed right here in Cincinnati. 

Due to Covid-19, tickets to the event were restricted so our daughter, Catherine, attended and took these images for all of us.

Also graduating this year from high school were our twin granddaughters in Alexandria, VA.  One of our Alexandria twins will attend American University and the other will attend Georgetown University, both in the Washington, DC, area.

Congratulations to all!

Love and hugs from Grandma and Grandpa!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Diving Queen!


Good morning,

Here's a video and an image hot off the phone message from Catherine at dock diving today with Elsa and Wendy.  They are obviously having a fabulous time!

We'll find out later how they scored.  :)

FYI:  Catherine's shirt says, "My Life Was Normal 3 Labs Ago."  I couldn't find one that said five Labs ago!

Happy Summer!


Friday, August 14, 2020

May I have Your Attention Please?

Good morning,

This is Elsa requesting my attention.  She gently places her chin on my leg and looks up at me until I notice her.  She is so very different from her big "brother," Erik, who dances around and makes plenty of noise when he wants my attention.

Of all of our pups Elsa is the most gentle and intuitive. 

Elsa went to school yesterday evening with Catherine to learn all about agility courses.  She has been doing very well in her classes and we expect her to be our next agility champion. 

Happy Summer!


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Good morning,

It's "that time" of the year.  We just love corn on the cob and the best way to fix it is on the grill.

Catherine almost always includes corn on the cob when she grills dinner.  First she soaks it in water for at least an hour, then puts it directly on the grill while she's making the rest of dinner.  A couple of turns and 30 minutes later it's perfect.



Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Ground Wasps - Avoid Them!

Good morning,

If you come across ground wasps, avoid them!  We didn't realize we had them when moving, splitting, and stacking wood on our property.

I was stung through my garden glove by only one of them on Monday and this is how it still looks on Wednesday morning.  The immediate pain was quite intense, but not so bad now.  As you can see, there is still swelling.  It has slowed down my knitting, crocheting, and typing, that's for sure.

At first we thought our pup, Elsa, was reacting to carpet cleaner when several "sores" appeared on her skin, but have now become convinced she tangled with wasps, too.  She is recovering nicely.

Life goes on.  We will recover.  I'm glad the firewood is now all split and almost all stacked for the winter. 

I'm looking forward to really cold nights to convince all those bugs out there to hibernate.

Happy Summer,


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Work In Process This Week

Good morning,

There aren't many items in the works this week, but I am concentrating on getting these finished.  Above is a baby blanket that will be accompanied by a turtle similar to this one in the shop
I took this image of the beginning of a custom order royal blue cables and filigree lace sweater a few days ago.  The back is now finished and I have the first few rows of the front started.  There's a completed similar sweater here in the shop.

And, of course, the cream flowers are still waiting for me to finish them for the next afghan blanket.  As I mentioned before, that project is upstairs next to my computer where I don't spend a whole lot of time any more since we've moved our social space downstairs to be with the pups.  Yes, eventually, I'll get that afghan finished and in the shop.  Images of similar blankets are here.

I was stung by a hornet on the back of my left hand yesterday while My Honey and I were stacking firewood.  My hand is swollen enough to slow down my knitting and crocheting, but I'm sure I'll be up to full speed again soon!

What are you making, baking, growing this week?

All the best,

Come see what else we've made!
Original and Traditional Designs
Hand Crafted in Ohio, USA

Monday, August 10, 2020

Fat Fishies

Good morning,

Now that we've moved a couple of tons of logs from the back yard, I'm able to more easily get to the fish pond.  I was able to get this picture this morning when the sun was just right.  

The pond is self-sustaining so there is no feeding or cleaning required. That round green disk in the water is a solar panel that generates bubbles, but there is plenty of oxygen in the water from the greenery.   Many years ago while I was at Xavier University I asked a friend in the science department to test the oxygen in the water and he was amazed at how high the oxygen level was.   I do like to clean it out every year or two (Catherine has been my God-Send for doing that since my neck and back issues) to get out the excess leaves that have fallen in, but some leaves are good to provide cover for the fish from the sun and predators.  We have possums and raccoons in our neighborhood who like sushi. 

So, that is the update on the fat, happy fish who live in our back yard as of this morning. 

Happy Summer!


Sunday, August 9, 2020

More Fire Wood

Good morning,

Elsa is walking around one of the big bare spots in our back yard where there were logs that have now been split and stacked this week.  Suddenly, she has more back yard!
Penny is lounging in the sun, too, near where one of the stacks has been for a full year.  Behind her is another huge stack covered by trumpet vines.  The trees were taken down last year and we have been working on splitting and stacking the wood since then.  
Here is one of the stacks.  There are four layers of logs deep here.
And, here's another stack, only two layers deep so far.  We still have plenty more to split and stack.

Our friend, Bill, has been here splitting most of this week.  Kjell, Catherine, and I have been doing the stacking.  We still have a long way to go, then some repair to the lawn where all of that wood was stacked for the past year.

Happy Summer!  Before we know it, it'll be cold and we'll be staying warm with this firewood.


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Not Exactly Diet Food

Good morning,

Catherine makes breakfast fairly often on the weekends.  This is the Norwegian way Kjell arranges his omelet, bacon, and caviar on my freshly baked bread. 

We have to eat salad dinners during the week to make up for this, but it is so worth it!

Thank you, Catherine!


Friday, August 7, 2020


Good morning,

My Honey took this image yesterday afternoon while we were out on the patio.  This seems to be Elsa's favorite sleeping position.  What I found darling about it this time is the crossed feet. 

The weather here has been beautifully cool for August the last couple of days.  Our friend, Bill, has been here splitting wood (Kjell and I have been stacking) and painting our house. 

Just so no one is worried, Elsa is perfectly fine.  She just has some strange-looking sleep positions. 

Happy Summer!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Grand Kitty with New Toy

Good morning,

This is one of my three grand kitties with a crochet catnip toy that I sent to her. 

Son Don sent the image and says the three cats are each enjoying their new toys that I recently sent to them.  :)

Years ago when the kids were small we had kitties and I made so many cat toys I have lost count.  A little catnip inside keeps the little ones busy for a long, long time. 

So cute!