Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where Did I Come From?

   This is the question asked by so many kids, but for me it was a mystery for the longest time.  I was adopted at age 4 , luckily for me my MOMS were sisiters so one side of my family stayed the same.  My new Dad was wonderful and everything a Dad should be .  My maternal grandmother gave me enough love for two Grandmas but I always wondered..did they miss me?  did anyone look for me?  As a gramma myself I cannot imagine having a grandchild and then one day because of divorce that child is gone. But, that is what happened to me. Yet, there was always the question,  My Father...what did he look like, what nationality was he and do I look like any of his side of the family. This all came to a head when my yougest daughter was born and needed emergency surgery.  A full family medical report was asked for. I had only one side.  Family members tried to located some info but came back empty handed. Thank goodness it was not needed.  Then when I turned 40 my adoptive Mom and Step-dad, ( my adoptive Dad had passed away when I was in my 20's ) got on the internet and found some info.  I now had a full name , Donald Joseph Rowan, a birth date and a cemetary plot number.  There was also two numbers, one his sister June and the other a sister in law Wanda.  I got brave and called June, we talked for hours.  She told me all about my father , the little she knew about her own parents family and how she always wondered what became of me.  I found out I was Scotch Irish on that side and the only grandaughter. I felt really sad for all the missed family time for all of us. I cannot explain the hole that seemed filled by those few facts.  Over the past fews years with the help of Facebook I have spoken with Junes son and his son.  Hopefully one day they can share some family photos , as June has since passed away.   Over the past weekend a cousin down the line on the other side of the family had arranged a family reunion. I was set to find info to fill in the holes left in My maternal  grandfathers family tree. This did not take place as I woke with an abcess tooth and a face so swollen it hurt to move my head.  I was depressed and feeling sorry for myself when I came across a post from an Etsy shop owner. Laurel Ehricke of Laurel's Legacies. She asked if anyone wished to have some work done on their family tree. Just what I needed.  This would be no easy task as Aunt June had told me she did not know her moms maiden name, and only heard of her living in Louisville, Kentucky and coming to Chicago.  I gave her my fathers name and birth date and crossed my fingers. Within hours and email came back saying I found grandparents. The report would be typed up and mailed to me. How exciting, I can't wait for the mail.
The report arrived today!
Not just one or two but 16 grandparents were found. One back to Switzerland in the 1700's.

One was in the civil war , one came from Scotland and another Switzerland.  Laurel wrote a nice letter giving me some direction to keep the search up. I have to say this is much more than I ever thought would show up and so quickly. There were copies of census reports and a civil war pension receipt. My Aunt June would have been so happy. She wanted to find where her Mom came from. We know now!  There is much more digging I would love to do and now I have a great start in the right direction.

My Father, a photo Aunt June had mailed me !
So, I recomend for anyone looking to do a little digging into their family history please check out Laurel's link on Etsy.    What a great gift she has given me which I can now share with my kids and Grandkids.p.s. I also have 3 great grandkids. I cannot thank her enough. I will be busy trying my hand at the detective work to find out more about these relatives and then .....who knows...I may find a way to trace the relatives of my Great Grandmother who never made it over here in 1912 from Germany. Wish me luck and as I have found out you just need to find the right person to set you on the right track. Laurel is just that person, and I would love to hear about your finds. I will also keep you posted as my family tree fills out and I find out more. I was palnning to save for a trip to Ireland to se where my maternal grandfathers family came from....I might have to add Scotland and now I find out Switzerland. I am amazed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

  We have all heard Oprah talk about random acts of kindness and most of us do some in our daily lives without even thinking about it. But, every once in awhile we are the recipient of such an act that effects us and our family in a big way.  I have been that recipient this time. A few days back a fellow Etsy shop owner who lives near Madison posted on facebook that her family had a swing set that they no longer needed. Send me a message and it's yours! WOW, with 2 small grandson here every other week this would be a real treat for them. So on rainy Wednesday I sent a grandson and his friend to pick it up. Not only could they have it but her husband was kind enough to help them disassemble it. It was not just a swing set but a sandbox and forty. She had no way of knowing our 3 year old spends hours digging in the sand. We may never be able to get him back in the house.

Right now Grandpa is getting the area ready for this set. I cannot say how thankful I am and am waiting on pins and needles for the boys to arrive Sunday. I will have my camera in hand to hopefully catch their faces when they see this wonderful gift.    Now what could I do after saying thank you so very much.....I can share her Etsy shop with you and hopefully you can share it and help pass the word.  this is one of my favorite pieces in her shop. Wouldn'tthat make a great gift for graduation?
Now don't just take my word for it, click the link and check out all the wonderful pieces in her shop and share that link.
There is a website for Random Acts of Kindness also where you can get idea, share things you have done or that have been done for you.
Visit this site and see how you can bring a smile to someones face or maybe lend a helping hand.  I am checking out the links myself and going to actively try to do these things more often!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Magic Bean Stalk

This is exactly what the little guys are wishing for!  Although JJ does not want to climb up and meet the giant.  He think Carsen should!  Send up the little brother! LOL
    Last year as a Grandma and me project, we invited my daughter, Patrice  ( who is the grandma) over for lunch and to help build a green bean teepee in the yard.  She has become quite a gardener and we thought she would be the perfect helper to get this project done.  JJ and her had a wonderful time and all summer it was covered with morning glories and green beans.  The scarlet runner beans and some purple beans were a big favorite.  He could be found playing in the yard munching green beans, happy as could be.
This year, the weather has been a factor here in Wisconsin , so we got a late start but, the green beans are planted and the weeds and JJ are growing like magic.  I only hope the beans do as well!

Now, what to do with beans, and kids. Here is a good baked bean recipe. I also use the grape jelly in a meatball sauce around the holidays. It is a big family favorite!

                              Kids' Baked Beans Recipe

   Grape jelly is the “secret ingredient” that sweetens these beans!
They’re wonderful alongside burgers or other sandwiches and sure to be a hit at parties and family reunions, too.
Jessie Sarrazin of Livingston, Montana sent the recipe.
This recipe is:

6 ServingsPrep/Total Time: 20 min.5 15 20 Ingredients
2 cans (16 ounces each) baked beans
3/4 cup grape jelly
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until thickened. Yield: 6 servings.
Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (2/3 cup) equals 189 calories, 1 g fat (trace saturated fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 379 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 4 g protein.
Kids' Baked Beans published in Simple & Delicious May/June 2007, p11
Enjoy growing healthy produce while spending time with little gardeners with this easy garden plan.

Many joys and lessons can be found in this easy vegetable garden. Once planted, it takes only a few hours a week to keep it looking its best. Site this garden in full sun and well-drained soil for best harvests. Spread mulch over the soil to help decrease weeds and disease.
Garden size: 6x6 feet
Our free Planting Guide for this garden includes a larger version
check out this page for more great idea and get your fingers dirty with the little ones. As they sprout up and grow so will a patch of home grown veggies the whole family can enjoy! Frugal, fun and family!
Now I am off to finish some hats to list in my Etsy shop and find a new blanket pattern to crochet. Have a great day !

Something to go with this light sage set, something girly I am thinking and different. I will keep you posted on the hunt!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Heat is On

Well, we are set for another couple really hot days, and what is on my agenda?     Christmas in July !  Yes, I said the dreaded word Christmas already, but as everyone knows people start their shopping early , so for me that means to buckle down and get the Etsy shop filled and rearranged for the season with some slaes and new items. I will also be taking part in the Etsy Kids promotion .

The promotion will take place the last two weeks in July and is a great chance to find lots of great items from crafters around the country or even  SHOP LOCAL for your holiday gifts. I will update more as I get closer to being done.   I was searching through Etsy this morning and came across this great shop  and wishing I had a little girl for the Tinkerbell skirt.  How fun, our two little guys here are not into capes and such but what a great idea. They could play year round and use them for Halloween and they are just so cute. I am rambling as my mind is racing trying to figure out someone I could get one for. This shop is also a member of Etsy Kids so please take some time a stay cool and visit the shops on Etsy.   From the comfort of your chair, no gas usage, a cool glass of iced tea and shopping at your finger tips..  Have a great Day, I am off to finish some projects HOHOHO.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Lemonade kind of Day

With the temperature at around 9- and the humidity high this was the perfect day to sit back and just enjoy a cool lemonade.  We of course had none! I was able to make a pitcher of sun tea and enjoy that in the quiet of the afternnon while the kids were still at school. It is very hard to work on earflao hats and think winter when the weather gets like this.

Perfect Lemonade Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutesIngredients
1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
1 cup lemon juice
3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)
1 Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.

2 While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.

3 Add the juice and the sugar water to a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes. If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons.
Yield: Serves 6.
Sweet Tea Recipes

Recipe #1 Southern Sweet Iced Te
3 Family size tea bags
2 Cups of cold water
1 Cup of sugar
We in the south make the best iced tea you'll find. Maybe it's how it's done, or maybe it is the water in the south, or maybe it's just that a southern belle has put a lot of TLC into making the tea. Who knows!
We recommend Luzianne Tea Bags if available.
Place the two cups water in a pot and add the tea bags. Bring to a boil, do not continue boiling. Remove from heat and let steep. Pour warm tea into empty pitcher. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Fill remaining pitcher with cold water.

Optional - some women say they use less water and add ice to the tea.

Recipe #2 Southern Sweet Iced Tea

3 Family sized tea bags
a pinch baking soda (about 1/4 teaspoon)
1 to 1 1/3 cups of sugar
Here is my never fail sweet tea...
Everyone (even yankees) loves it.
Bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil. Add a pinch of baking soda to the water and add 3 family sized tea bags. Remove from heat and cover. Allow to sit for at least 10-15 minutes. Pour into gallon pitcher and add sugar. Then fill with cold water. Refrigerate.
*the soda takes out the bitterness and darkens the tea....this small amount doesnt change the taste.

Recipe #3 Sun Tea (no cooking!)
3 Family sized tea bags
1 quart water
Glass or translucent pitcher

Here is my easy, no work needed...Sun Tea

Put the water and tea bags in the pitcher. Put in the Sun and let sit. In about 30 minutes to an hour you have tea. Add cold water to desired strength. Refrigerate.
This recipe is great for guys who can't cook!
Note: The sun does not usually heat water up enough to kill all the bacteria, so you should take proper cleaning procedures and throw out the tea if it ends up looking weird (extra thick, has strands in it, is syrupy).

Lemonade Cookies

Lemonade Cookies Printable Version
1 1/3 cups flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup butter or margarine (1 stick), softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In small bowl combine all the dry ingredients.
In the mixer beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (This will take a few minutes on high)
Beat in egg and vanilla until blended.
Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture just until combined, scraping the bowl with a spatula.;
Stir in the lemon zest
Drop dough by heaping teaspoons, 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes or until just brown around the edges.

3 Cups powdered sugar
2 TBSP Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup
2-3 Tbsp Water
Mix all of the above together to form icing.
Put ½ in one bowl with 2-3 drops of red food coloring to make pink icing. The other half of the icing goes in another bowl with 2-3 drops of yellow food coloring.
Spoon icing onto cookies as desired and allow to cool!

I really have been bad at getting things done and listed with graduation, family and everyday stuff.


here is the Dinosaur diaper set and a great Fathers Day gift idea   a solid oak cribbage board.