Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

The inside of our Christmas card. Amy Hall Photography.
My favorite part is the horse racing, jockey Mike Smith and Zenyatta... S insisted on it making his list!

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

This song was from my Mom's, and mine, favorite Christmas movie, Meet Me in Saint Louis. We always cried during the scene where Judy Garland sings to Margaret O'Brien. Those huge tears streaming down Margaret face, and ours. This Christmas will be bittersweet, the first without my Mother. But her ornaments are in my house and her recipes will be on my table.
I will be surrounded by family, and appreciate the love of my husband and children, and the health we are blessed with.
I ask everyone to take a family picture this Christmas. Don't put it off. No one will care about extra pounds, braces, hair, or stains. Do it know, you may not get another chance.
Merry Christmas, Gwennie

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm dreaming of a ....

Rose Bowl win. S fell asleep with his Wisconsin Badgers helmet on. Go Badgers! Go Big Red!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas Carol

We took the boys to the Overture Center for a CTM matinee performance of A Christmas Carol.

We all loved it, and it had a great twist at the end.
If you are looking for something to do with your family, in the Madison area, it's a must.

They look pretty dapper.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Few Days of Steve

S getting some love from Sam.  They both couldn't be happier.

Guess what he wants for Christmas?!

S took this picture of his new shoes - bucks- which he loves.
He is a very stylish kid.

S with his rainbow art piece.

He lost a front tooth this morning.  He told me he hopes the tooth fairy brings him $5.
"What if the tooth fairy looks at the tooth and goes "Oh, impressive!"
The kid kills me!  But five bucks... dream on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Tour of the Governor's Mansion

Yesterday we toured the Wisconsin Executive Residence in Maple Bluff.
It was about 24 degrees with a wind, and we waited about 30 minutes.
I had been to the residence about 30 years ago, but B and the boys had never been.
Now I want to find out how to be a docent here.
Built in 1920 for the Johnson Family, the current residence are Governor Scott
and First Lady Tonette Walker.
J and S on the Mendota Lake side. What a beautiful view, state capitol and all. You might notice white at the shore line... that's ice forming!

I love the iron fence.

One of the urns and lions outside the home.

The garland wraps around the entire staircase.

The Ladies' Room, very feminine.

The dining room had hand painted silk wall coverings,
and a a rug with woodland violets on it, which is the state flower.

China by Lenox, crystal stemware by Mikasa and sterling by Tiffany.

The large tree in the reception room, decorated as a Tribute to the Troops.

The Drawing Room had lots of light and plaid. It was my favorite.
The UW-Whitewater Reed Trio played.

The Library, with a tree decorated in the Glow of Christmas Past, in recognition of the significance of Wisconsin's role in the Civil War. The boys liked this room best... it had weapons.

The end of our tour, the Sun Room. It was very colorful and whimsical.
A delight for children.

There is still time to enjoy a tour.
Wednesday, December 14 from 1-2
Thursday, December 15 from noon to 2
Saturday, December 17 from noon to 2
Although there is no charge to tour the mansion, Governor Walker requests you bring a canned good as a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Brunch

Dining Room Tree, all decked in German glass ornaments

The party favor, pineapple, with tags from No Fuss Fabulous.

Music Room

Living Room, ready for guests, complete with a roaring fire. One guest said that my house summed me up in a good way. I guess that's better than in a bad way!

Some of the food... twelve ladies came to enjoy the day... all stay at home moms from school. We started at 9 am and the last guest left just before 2. I guess that makes it a success! I think this may become a tradition.

The salad my mom always made.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Best Title for an Article - EVER

Philly Magazine recently ran an article called Main Line Mothers are Raising Bratty, Spoiled Rotten Daughters: Insecure Parents are Showering their Children with Lavish Gifts and creating totally un-dateable women.

It is not just in Philadelphia either. There are many young ladies I see that I hope my boys never date. I, also, tell the boys not to date a picky eater. Life's too short to deal with that malarkey.

Check out the article here .

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tis the Season

Yesterday I spent two hours redoing a Christmas garland, taking off the lights, in which only half of them worked, removing all the wired on ornaments, and starting over. I had gone to Hobby Lobby and bought the green balls and picks to add to the red balls I already had. After two hours I get to the last grouping... and run out of picks. Sonofa.... I race to Madison, back to Hobby Lobby, and get to the pick area...sonofa... they are sold out. I think I may have cried out loud.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cleaning Out

My father has asked my sister and I to clean out the basement in the house he and Mom lived in since 1976. We have been at it for months, doing a little at a time. It has been fun seeing all the things that were part of our childhood. Fisher Price people, the Santa face that hung in the kitchen (that Mom would point at when we were being naughty... point taken). I have found transferware plates and platters, jars of buttons, papers from grade school. Yesterday I found a box of tiny small ornaments, on the cover was the handwriting of my Great-Grandmother "glass ornaments from Judy". What do I keep? Do I keep the box? I am torn between sentimentality and practicality. My sister in more the practical, I end up with the memories.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fallingwater and a Seven Year old

My aunt sent me a card with the above picture of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. My seven year old son came home, noticed the card on the table and proclaims "I love Fallingwater. I think this is his best work." I asked him who the architect was. He rolls his eyes and says (with "Duh" in his voice) "Frank Lloyd Wright...remember he was from Wisconsin." He continues with "I really want Santa to bring me the Lego Fallingwater." He's SEVEN! God love him, he totally cracks me up. Can you imagine what he is going to be like when he is older?!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011

The official "stand in front of the house" Halloween picture. When I was a grade schooler I attended a Catholic school and we were not allowed to dress up for Halloween... we dressed up for All Saints Day, which is November 1. Yeah, like it wasn't hard enough to ride the bus, now I was dressed as Saint Ann. Let's just say the public school kids were not so kind. Where are those pictures?

The kids had a non-uniform day today at school as a reward. This is what S decided to wear, because as he told me he wanted to "impress the girls." He cracks me up.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween at School

S and his best friend, T, went as dice. I painted these boxes in the garage, and a kitty got onto it and left white paint kitty prints all over the garage floor. S hopes they never go away.

J as a clown. He was a big ham in the parade.

Fourth Grade cupcake treats.

Miss N as a pink fairy. She is so cute. Her mom and I have become friends, a southern girl meets a northern girl (who she thought was a southern girl too.)

My niece, M, started at the school this year. It is so fun to see her every day. She was a princess.

The second grade party, making die cut jointed skeletons. The kids and adults loved it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Visit to Wisconsin State Capitol

No protestors in sight.... time to visit the state capitol. Friday the boys didn't have school, so we went downtown. It was a perfect autumn day.

We have the most beautiful state capitol. We have visited many capitols across the country, and I feel safe in saying this. You also can walk right in... and walk on the grass (or picnic, if you are so inclined.) In the summer the Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra plays on Wednesday nights and thousands of people lay on the grounds enjoying the music.

The doors leading to the Senate chambers. Note the badger above the door.

Cooking Class, part 3

Another student has joined our little class. They were good learners and excited to take home a meal for the evening. Including dessert, caramel apple cupcakes.

The meal was Chicken Dijon Brown Betty, cranberries and salad with poppy seed dressing.

Their families really liked it. Next week will be chicken pot pie.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Quoted by S, two minutes ago...
"The best part of Christmas is hot apple cider, candy canes, presents and food... good food."
The kid totally cracks me up. How many 7 year olds list cider first?!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Shack

Yesterday we were in the Muscoda area for a memorial. I made sure we stopped my Grandmother's property, which was sold to the DNR after her death. The cottage, or as it was known "The Shack", is gone, but the Wisconsin River and the woods are still there as reminders of what was.

It was this time of year that the entire family, Aunts, Uncles and all the cousins would get together to cut wood. The men would head in the old truck to bring out the fallen trees, cut down the dead ones, and cut them into pieces that would fit into the wood burning stove. They would drive back to the shack, unload the back full of wood and the women and older cousins would use a splitter to make usable pieces, and the young ones would stack it. Enough wood to heat the shack through the winter. The day was filled with hard work, wonderful stories, lots of jumping into leaf piles and ended with a huge bonfire, with roasted weiners and marshmallows.

Taking my boys to the area that holds so many memories makes me miss an easier time, my mom and especially my Grandmother. How I wish Grandma could have met my sons. She would have loved J's adventurous spirit and S's gentle ways. And they would have adored her. Although she would have clobbered them in Scrabble, she showed no mercy.

Ready, set, throw 'em!