Isn’t that such a funny name for a game?  Like I said in September (or was it October?), I’ll probably be catching up on some photos I wanted to post over the summer but didn’t have time to, so feel free to ignore all these picture-heavy posts.

Over Memorial Day weekend, we visited Grandma’s.  Uncle J and Auntie T brought with their new (homemade!) cornhole game, and we had a lot of fun playing.

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My brother has fancy techniques, not just in the tossing, but in the preparation of the bean bag.

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And as you can see, my mom has her own stellar technique.

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I poke fun, but she’s actually pretty good at most athletic-type things.

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AND…she’s really competitive. Probably the most competitive out of our family.

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My brother and his wifey. Aren’t they cute?

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Daddy and Anja.

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PB Grahams

I am, for whatever reason, craving comfort foods today.  Before I ate lunch, I had a hankering for Happy Joe’s pizza (from my hometown parlor).  After lunch, I was craving cupcakes with homemade brown sugar frosting, a staple in my grandparents’ home.  I settled for another, less common treat that we got at their house, peanut butter between two graham cracker halves.  The only problem was that I didn’t have any chunky peanut butter on hand.  Still, it instantly brought back floods of memories.  Taste memories are almost as strong as olfactory memories for me; here are some favorite foods associated with favorite places:

Grandma Ruby’s Kitchen:

  • Hamburger patties and fried potato patties
  • Soggy pancakes with butter and white sugar, grilled cheese made with homemade bread (Yes, these two things actually comprised a meal.  We ate it every Saturday night when we were there.)
  • Wieners (It wasn’t until I was in college that it didn’t mortify me that she called them this), beans and chips

Grandma Barb’s Kitchen:

  • Italian Spaghetti (what made it more Italian than other varieties we ate, I will never know, but it was always served with buttery garlic bread)
  • Wheatie Bars (basically Wheaties cereal covered in chocolate…that whole side of the family loves them)
  • Homemade caramels (Grandma’s have a certain taste to them)

Mom’s Kitchen:

  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Homemade caramel rolls
  • Chicken covered with cream of something soup, cheese slices and croutons (She hasn’t made this in years, but we had it very often, especially whenever we had company.)

Bible Camp:

  • Isabel’s buns (Oh. my. goodness….I could eat a half dozen.)
  • Pudding from a can (This isn’t a pleasant memory, but a memory nonetheless.)

There are many others, I’m sure.  What taste memories do you have, and who or what do they remind you of?

      Do you remember what it was like…

      • To get put to bed, tucked in and kissed?
      • To have your mom lay out your clothes?
      • To run through the sprinkler in the summer…for HOURS?
      • To let popsicle drip down your hand and onto your clothes and not feel very bad about it?
      • To run and run and run…just for fun?
      • To pass notes in class?
      • To have your biggest stress be a one-page homework assignment due the next day?To stay up late with friends and have no problem waking at 7:00 the next morning?  And then do the same thing the next night?
      • To not have a schedule?
      • To receive gifts with no expectation that you would ever return one?
      • To have 27 crushes on different guys all at once?
      • To go out for coffee whenever you wanted, without having to hire a babysitter?
      • To call a friend and talk for an hour without any interruptions?
      • To do only two or three loads of laundry per week?
      • To go for evening (after dark) walks or drives around your neighborhood?
      • To go to Barnes & Noble and not spend any time in the children’s section?

      I would not go back, and I would not trade my life, but I am definitely one of those who enjoys the remembering…

      Honk for children!

      Image by ieatstarsI saw my reflection today.  As I rounded a curve in my car, he dashed out at me.  He made the horn-honking motion as I whizzed by, stunned, then pounding the steering wheel, which would not yield.


      Standing on a sky blue pedestrian bridge, high above I-29, I made the horn-honking motion.  Semi after car after pickup honked, making my day as the bridge rattled, swayed, recovered.

      Just as they honked for me, I will honk.  And smile.

      Flashback Friday: Small Town Life

      My nostalgia for times during which I have never lived is a bit odd.  I get “nostalgic” for the 50s, when moms could stay home and wear pretty dresses and aprons all day, stay perfectly-coifed through any trial, and tuck Jimmy and Sally in with a lipsticked smile at 7:30 sharp.  I get “nostalgic” for the riotous 20s, for snazzy cars, flapper dresses and long beads.

      However, all these decades are superseded by one actual nostalgia: for my small hometown.  It’s not necessarily the town itself that I long for, but for simpler, slower life.  Where I grew up, no one “went out” for coffee, they “came over” for coffee.  In the Twin Cities, it feels like an imposition to ask a friend over for coffee, because you know they have to drive 30 minutes to get to your house, and they would probably prefer their perfectly frothed Caribou.

      In my small town, I could bike across town to my friend’s house in 4.5 minutes (call me anal meticulous efficient, I timed myself multiple times on different routes until I found the fastest one, over the old wooden bridge that is no longer there).  Also, my parents didn’t have a problem with a 14-yr-old biking all the way across town on her own.

      In my small town, we made our own fun.  Bowling and one movie theater were about the only entertainment for a bunch of teenagers, so we got creative.  We made our own movies, baked crazy cakes and pies, built Lego villages, played sports in the summer (golf, tennis, softball, volleyball, soccer), and even made up our own sports (ice blocking, shadow boxing, wallyball).  We drove from train bridge to train bridge out in the country, sitting on gravel roads talking into the wee hours of the night waiting for a train to pass.  We rollerbladed, played cards, held luaus, car-stuffed, and drove in “posses” down the main drag.  A clump of 14 cars is a sight to behold in a town that shuts down at 10:00 p.m., let me tell ya!  We all had SuperPumper mugs that we could get filled with cappucino or hot chocolate for 29 cents at the gas station.  Sometimes we would sit there and drink it, but most often we would take it on the road with us.  I still have my mug.

      In my small town, we hung out at each other’s places of work.   We would go to the local pizza parlor or video store and loiter until our friends got off.  No one really cared.

      In my small town, I knew all my neighbors.  Here, unless I go knock on doors, we rarely see anyone outside.  I run into the occasional neighbor in a park, but we don’t know each other’s business.  At home, if someone’s grandmother died or they received some sort of award, you knew about it within minutes AND then you baked something for them.  There’s something to be said for a bit of anonymity (small town gossip can also be hurtful), but I miss being “known.”  Even in Fargo I would run into someone I knew almost every time I left the house.

      In my small town, people helped.  When we got hit with the big floods in 1997, everybody chipped in.  We were at the local arena filling sandbags, at people’s homes building walls, opening homes to refugees from surrounding cities who had been hit even worse.  Here I fear a type of Kitty Genovese syndrome, where people watch, frozen and heartless at their windows.

      I don’t mean this post to be a slam on the Twin Cities.  I know the Lord has brought us here for a reason, but I don’t think it is wrong to miss certain things.  I even hold out hope that someday we will again live in a town or neighborhood that is close-knit and involved.  Until then, I will cherish the memories I was able to make.

      How does your community/neighborhood/town function?  Is there anything you would change?  Anything you miss from decades gone by?

      Flashback Friday 02.20.09

      Darling Sandwich Maker, how I loved thee!  In college, you were a staple.  Rarely did a day go by when you were unable to produce some sort of gooey sandwich-y goodness.  I hearken back to the days of studio, late nights and early mornings made joyous (or at least bearable) by the promise of some PB&J melting delectably between slices of bread.

      Forget the stuff of infomercials; you were the stuff my ham ‘n’ cheese dreams were made of!  You were my “ramen.”  No Totino’s or baked potato months for this girl when I had you by my side.

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      Sandwich Maker, I salute you!

      Flashback Friday 12.19.08


      Today’s flashback is just some more Christmas decorations that are special to me. That little nativity is one I had in my room growing up. Well, it alternated between that and a different-shaped one. I got them from my piano teacher, a very sweet nun at the convent down the street. Her name was Sister Victorine. My brother and I used to fight over who got which one in their room. I like the other one, too, but this one remains my favorite. Also, that’s my mom in the photograph. Next to a *ahem* record player. She’s young, though. 🙂

      Flashback Friday – 2

      Do you remember last Spring when I wrote this post?  Turns out it’s the most popular post I have, even though it’s also one of the most controversial (though I don’t know why, because the scientific evidence is right there for the reading at the end).  So…I have an amazing story to share from the mouth of a reader that is SO COOL.

      Well I read this post back in June after MckMama linked to it… It got me thinking to say the least… About a week later after some research on my own I went off the pill I was on- after finding out it was one of the worst (the Mini-Pill). We were being “careful” for the most part until I could get in to see my OBGYN- in AUGUST. Well one week before my appointment, I got pregnant. So this sweet 14 week old baby growing inside me has youto thank for life- and us and God! 🙂 Thank you for your thought provoking post- I really enjoyed it- and we are so excited for baby #2!

      This Flashback Friday could almost be called Flashforward Friday!  Thank you for reason to celebrate today, Emily!

      Flashback Friday – 1

      This flashback brought to you by the letters Z and F and the number 11.

      I’m sure every parent (except maybe adoptive parents) gets the “Oh, your son/daughter looks just like you/your spouse!”  We are no exception to that rule.  Today I’m posting “flashback” photos of Husband and myself when we were little with one of Anja in between, so you may compare and give me your thoughts on who she looks like.




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      Me (on the right…a couple of my readers will recognize the other baby):


      I’ll tell you another day what I think!