Make new friends … but keep the old …

I’m sure that you have heard this at some point in your life. I think I first heard it years ago, in Brownies or Girl Scouts. This little song has been playing in my mind since Tuesday night.


On Tuesday night, we held the first meeting of our new needlecraft club. The club is open to anyone who wants to join us – working on any type of needlecraft – knitting, crocheting, embroidery, tatting, etc,  – and who simply wants to hang out with others who enjoy needlecrafting.

Not surprisingly, once every one was introduced, the conversation was steady and far-reaching. There was lots of laughter – and believe it or not, there was needlecrafting being done. Two hours simply flew by.

The group decided to meet every week, with people attending when they are able. I suspect there will be more things that grow out of this group meeting. For example, there was already mention of a road trip. The possibilities are endless.

And the best part – new friendships began and older ones were rekindled.

Thanks for reading!!







A new shopping adventure … Grand Depot

Just for the fun of it, on Saturday my brother and I decided to visit a store he had discovered while cruising the internet. He was looking for a particular paper towel/plastic wrap holder and this store promised everything for the kitchen and more. It’s a short drive from St. Cloud on Hwy 23 – but, as you will see, well worth the few minutes it took to get there.

The store is actually a depot that was historically located in Eden Valley, Minnesota. (For more about the history, click HERE).


When the weather is a little warmer, I think the outside area would be a lovely place to sit and relax.


The store (two floors) is full of a wide variety of kitchen wares, decor, gourmet food products, cards, clothing, jewelry, specialty ales and lagers, and more …






And even this great toy …


Did we find what we were looking for? Nope. But we had a lot of fun looking. If you are ever in search of a gift, this is the place to go.

Thanks for reading!














Easter eggs … deviled egg style

My family LOVES deviled eggs. I, however, do not like to peel the eggs. It seems I always have trouble and end up with a thumb that is peppered with little cuts from the sharp eggshells. Rarely does this experience go well.

Today, however, we tried something new. My husband searched the internet for directions on how to boil eggs. You would think that after all these years we could get it right but – no, we need help.

We decided to try these directions.

Put water on to boil, with just enough to cover the eggs.

When the water is boiling, place the eggs in the water. Turn down the setting so the eggs boil gently. Boil for 13 minutes. (Next time I will try 15 minutes so the yolks are completely done.)


018.JPGTake the eggs – in the pan, and run cold water into the hot water for about a minute.


Then place the eggs in ice water for about fifteen minutes.


Peel. (Most of them peeled very easily. Success!)


Cut in half and remove egg yolk.


Fill with deviled egg mixture. (I use mayonnaise, yellow mustard, chopped red onion, salt and pepper, a splash of milk, all mixed with the smashed egg yolks. Then I add a sprinkle of paprika.)

And here’s the result. And, yes there are many – remember, the family really loves deviled eggs. They will be in egg heaven today.


Thanks for reading. Have a blessed Easter!!


Keeping the connections …

Continuing in my mission to de-clutter and organize, I came across a box of cards. I’m sure I haven’t look at them in many, many years. The cards were for my ‘going-away’ party when I left my job in Minnetonka for my new job in Anoka. That was twenty-plus years ago …


My heart was warmed looking at the cards, as I thought about many of the lovely people that I considered my friends. But it also made me a little sad as I read things like: “Please keep in touch!” Over the years, I have lost track of most of these folks. I kept fairly regular contact with two of them but I have now lost touch with them. I would love to get in touch with these folks, but many of them are now gone from the city, perhaps gone from the earth.


My ‘going-away’ party, twenty plus years ago. 

All of this just continues to remind me that it is important to maintain those connections, to keep the relationships alive. It’s also important to make new connections. This week I’m starting a new needlecraft group – designed to get people of similar interests together and create/recreate those connections. I hope you will continue connecting and making new connections. It’s what life is all about.

Thanks for reading!

An afternoon drive …

Palm Sunday …

In celebration of our daughter’s birthday (who is perilously close to age 50), we invited her and her family to go to the Mille Lacs Grand Casino for the Grand Buffet. You see, they serve crab legs at the buffet and her family – except young Rowan – love crab legs. Rowan does not. It is, in fact, quite the adventure for me – because I am allergic to seafood. Once they touch the crab legs, there are no more hugs for Grandma.

Before we went to the casino, however, we drove to Garrison so we could show the grandkids the giant walleye along Mille Lacs Lake. It was also a good way for them to release some energy after riding for an hour.

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Mille Lacs Lake is the second largest inland lake in Minnesota and is considered the Walleye Capital of the World. For more information on the lake, click HERE and HERE.)

Although it was a little chilly, it was sunny with blue skies …

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but a little windy.

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With the ice still on the lake but starting to melt away.

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We even found fish remnants …

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At the casino, we enjoyed the buffet …

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Crab legs, candy, and an arcade … a stellar day for Liam …

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And a pretty fun day for all …

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Liam and Rowan – still for just a minute


The birthday girl and her very serious  husband …

Thanks for reading!





Learning from the young …

I don’t know about you, but I am so disappointed in the behavior of people, highlighted in the political process but present nearly every where you turn. People have simply become rude.

Simple Definition of rude

  • not having or showing concern or respect for the rights and feelings of other people: not polite.

Perhaps it’s time we turn to the young for a lesson on kindness.

My granddaughter Alexandra, mostly known as Monkey, is in third grade. Monkey has always been a sturdy girl – very strong. She’s been showing us the muscles in her arms since she was a little girl. Then she giggles, because I show her my muscles in return – you know, the kind that hang below the arm.



Lately, during physical education class, Monkey’s class has been roller-skating in the gym. However, one of her classmates cannot roller skate. He is in a wheel chair. Seeing him sit on the sideline made Monkey sad. So, she did what a strong girls does – she skated over to his wheelchair and helped him skate. She grabbed the handles on the wheelchair and skated round and round the gym.

Monkey didn’t need anyone to tell her to be kind. She just knew it was the right thing to do. This is typical behavior for her. She recently was given an award for citizenship – including a T-shirt and a letter from our local member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. For the skating help – Monkey was treated to a Dairy Queen lunch – and even better, she was invited to eat that lunch with the special education teacher.

I think there are many people who could learn a lesson in kindness from Monkey. You know – Monkey see, Monkey do.


Thanks for reading!

A wee bit of Irish …

A few Irish tidbits …

As we grew up, my mother was convinced that she was at least half Irish. Green Irish. Not orange Irish. Green Irish are generally Catholic. Orange Irish are generally Protestant. Since we were Lutheran, and many of the ancestors were Methodist, I always thought we would be orange irish – so, on St. Patrick’s Day, I would wear orange. I didn’t much like green. However, my orange attire wasn’t much appreciated and I often had to change and put on something green.

St. Patrick’s day was a day of celebration in our house – complete with green beer. I remember one party where the kids were allowed to drink a little green beer. I think I must have overdone it … I just remember feeling sick afterwards … green sick.

The thought-to-be Irish ancestral name on my Mom’s side of the family is McFadden (also spelled McFadyen). My mother’s maiden name was Fadden, having lost the “Mc” in later years. For years, I painstakingly researched the name, looking through many books on Irish names. I couldn’t find the name Fadden or McFadden in those books. I turned to the Mormon records, starting with my mother’s information and moving back in time. I ended my search by finding Andrew McFadden – born in 1675 – on the Isle of Mull, Scotland! I didn’t tell my mother of my find – because she was in poor health at the time. After she passed away, I did the search again – this time using the internet (which is much easier than looking up paper documents) – and quickly came to the same conclusion. However, the story doesn’t end there — Andrew went to Ireland where he first married an Irish woman named Marsey Mallory (4 children) and then married an Irish woman named Jane Lindsey (3 chldren). (Andrew came to the Boston area in 1718 and lived the remainder of his life in Arrowsic Island, Maine.) Aha -here’s the Irish connection.  My mother may not have been half – Irish – but she was more than a wee bit Irish!

A wee bit more on Andrew McFadden, since he is the one who brought the Irish into our lneage —   According to the McFadden Project (click HERE), the MacFadyens of the Isle of Mull in Scotland may be the oldest recorded McFadden clan. Their story begins in the 14th century when Hector the Stern was granted lands on Mull and found them already inhabited by MacFadyens.  Hector was the founder of Clan Maclaine of Lochbuie. From the many accounts I’ve read, it appears that Hector and his clan told the McFadyens: ‘Join us or die’  Being the wise group that we are, the McFadyens were more than happy to join. “Any McFaddens (or variants) with connections to Mull or the surrounding area, including the nearby isles of Tiree and Coll, are almost certainly affiliated with Clan Maclaine.” As such, the McFadden’s are considered a sept (a branch of the clan) of the McLaine clan had have the rights to the McLaine crest and tartan along with the McFadden crest and tartan.

Thanks for reading!!