• 26Dec
    Categories: Everything! Comments: 9

    I’m lucky enough to live very close to my mom, and we go out to lunch almost everyday.


    But Bob and I are heading to our Swedish house for almost a month, and Mom’s worried she’s going to really, really miss us.  And when you’re 90, it can be hard to remember just when we’re coming back.  So, I decided a little visual reminder might be good!


    I got some adorable little bags and stickers at Scrapuccino’s.


    I did the countdown and Bob punched holes.


    I added a few notes here and there.


    And then it was candy time!


    I filled each bag with a piece of candy.


    Then I added a little pink ribbon—Mom’s favorite color.


    Luckily, I had an empty box from Christmas…


    …and they fit perfectly!


    I hope it helps the days go by a little faster.

  • 28Aug

    When I was in Sweden this summer, Sven-Eric allowed us to go into his attic and look through four trunks of very old clothing.  It was like finding hidden treasure!  Among the wonderful finds there were two old leather aprons.


    Every farmer, blacksmith and craftsman probably had an apron like this.


    Even though they were stiff as boards, Torsten tried them on.


    One had a lovely, hand woven neck band.


    Sven-Eric generously gave one to Torsten, who has worked some conditioner into it and made it soft and supple again!


    Torsten has formal Nåsdräkten, but also the everyday clothes, which he has on here.


    Don’t you love the birch bark knapsack?


    It’s great to see new life given to old things.

  • 20Apr
    Categories: brilliant ideas, Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Flat Stanley!

    A Flat Stanley arrived in our mail box recently.  He was sent to us by our grandson, Justin.  Justin enclosed a letter saying Flat Stanley was looking for adventure on the Long Beach Peninsula, and we were asked to be his guides.  Following is the story of Flat Stanley’s time with us.


    We welcomed Flat Stanley into our home.


    He immediately made friends with the Dala horses.


    But he’d heard a rumor there were tractors in Papa Bob’s shop.  He loved Miss Alice, because she matched his shirt.


    But then he decided John Deere green is really his favorite color!


    He said the pretty mint green on Grandma Karen’s old Dodge was almost as pretty as John Deere green.


    He took a sewing lesson on Grandma’s Featherweight…


    …but decided it was more fun to play hide-and-seek in the fabric bolts.


    We took Flat Stanley on a trip into town.  He wanted to drive, but Papa said, “No.”


    So he rode on the dashboard and watched for the Welcome to Long Beach sign.


    He was getting hungry so we went to Doogers for lunch.  Flat Stanley ate crab!


    While the grownups were visiting, he climbed on the pilings….


    …and hung around in the fishing net.


    But what Flat Stanley wanted to see the most was the ocean, so we drove down the beach approach.


    We thought about having a picnic at the pavilion, but we were too full.  And, besides, there were too many seagulls there.


    Flat Stanley found a sheltered spot out of the wind and did some sunbathing and played in the sand.


    He even got to ride on a silver salmon!


    There are lots of things to do in Long Beach, like fly kites and go to the Kite Museum.


    But one of the most fun things is visiting Marsh’s Free Museum and seeing Jake the Alligator Man.


    There were lots of seashells and coral there, too.


    And a great white shark!  Flat Stanley wasn’t even afraid to have his picture taken in the shark’s mouth.


    It was getting cold, so Flat Stanley slipped inside this sweatshirt pocket.


    Like a good citizen, he visited city hall.


    He learned that the rhododendron is the state flower of Washington.


    He was even more excited to learn that Long Beach is the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail, and that William Clark carved his name in a tree here over 200 years ago!


    After all this sightseeing, everyone needed some refreshments, so we had a hot chocolate at Angie’s coffee shop.


    Then we went to Uncle Sidder’s grocery store.


    Uncle Sidder let Flat Stanley play with his baseball bat collection.


    Flat Stanley knew all about cranberries because Papa Bob used to be a cranberry farmer.


    He looked in the vines for some cranberries, but it was the wrong time of the year to find any.


    But it was still fun to be at the bogs.


    Flat Stanley asked if he can come back in October for harvest.


    Then we went to the port dock in Ilwaco, where the fishing fleet is moored.


    Flat Stanley got to go onboard a boat!


    But just as we were leaving, Flat Stanley was snatched up by a giant condor!  Luckily Papa Bob was quick and grabbed Flat Stanley out of the condor’s mouth.


    Grandma and Papa were worried that Flat Stanley had been hurt by the condor, so they called an ambulance.


    The paramedics put Flat Stanley on the gurney and took him to the hospital.


    The doctors in the emergency room checked Flat Stanley out.  Luckily, he was okay.


    And he was very glad get back to Grandma and Papa’s house after his big day!


    The end.

    Well, except for this one…..I don’t know who needed it more, Flat Stanley or Grandma and Papa!


  • 14Feb
    Categories: Everything!, musings Comments Off on Valentine’s Day Luncheon

    Today I hosted my Mentor Study Group.  How fun to get to do it on Valentine’s Day!

    I love to entertain, but I’ve been gone and didn’t get a very early start on my preparation.  I was expecting 15, so needed to use both tables.  This is the dining room, with some vintage china my mom bought me a few years ago.

    In the living room, we have a drop leaf table that’s only 14″ deep when the leaves are down.  When we need more table space, we move a couple of chairs, pull up the leaves and have a 60″ round table.  Works great!  Another set of vintage china.

    I decided I wanted to make something called a Smörgåstårta–literal translation from the Swedish is sandwich cake.  It’s usually done with a whole loaf of bread, then sliced and served, but I decided to do individual ones.

    I started by cutting rounds of bread–lot’s of rounds of bread, as these are triple decker sandwiches!  Then I spread some softened cream cheese on them.

    That was followed by Swiss cheese.

    More bread and cream cheese, very thinly spread.

    Then there’s turkey.

    Finally, the last piece of bread.  I used a yummy oat bread.

    I made a mousse of shrimp, lemon and cream cheese and spread it on the sides and top.

    Then I wrapped the whole thing with a thinly sliced cucumber and topped it with a cherry tomato and some sliced radishes.

    I may have gotten carried away with slicing radishes, and I think Bob will be eating radishes with every meal for awhile!

    Here are the first eight ready to go into the refrigerator.

    All plated up.

    I served grapes and an asparagus salad with them.

    The ladies dug right in, which I always take as a compliment.  There’s my friend, Karen, helping serve.  Thank you, Karen!

    I had three no shows.  Argh!  But, we just pulled off a couple of table settings and it all worked out.

    We had a great meeting, then a little dessert.  Last night I baked a double batch of Chocolate Decadence in a sheet pan, then this morning I cut out hearts.

    I borrowed these adorable heart shaped dishes and mugs from my sister.

    A little raspberry puree and whipped cream along with the Chocolate Decadence was a perfect finish to a fun day.

    I hope your Valentine’s Day was fun, too.

  • 22Dec
    Categories: Everything! Comments Off on Pearl Harbor Christmas Card

    This old Christmas Card is addressed to my Aunt Gloria.

    Inside is a fabulous Christmas card from Hawaii.

    It took two 1¢ stamps to send it to the “states” from Honolulu.

    The post mark is encouraging people to buy defense savings bonds and stamps.

    You see, it was postmarked the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked–December 8, 1941.  The post mark is at 8:30 in the morning.  I’m amazed the post office was even functioning after the chaos of the day before.

    It was sent to my aunt by her boyfriend, Bethel Nichols.

    I love the map inside, showing how Hawaii was the “Crossroads of the Pacific.”

    Bethel must have mailed it late Saturday, perhaps one of the last things he did.  He was killed on the USS Arizona on December 7th.


  • 03Sep
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on A Drive to Montana

    Bob was born and raised in Montana, and we go back as often as we can.  We generally drive, and one of our favorite little towns to stop in is Ritzville, Washington.  Unfortunately, in the last 20 years that I’ve been traveling through there, the downtown has lost many businesses.  We would always have a meal in one of the downtown restaurants, but they’re all gone now.

    Our favorite was the Circle T, but even its sign is gone.  The Whispering Palms is closed, too.

    As is the old theater.

    I think the bar and grill is hanging on!

    No gas today.  Most of the business has moved out by the interstate exchange.  Bye, Ritzville.

    Well, you know you’re in Montana when the sconces in the restaurant look like cow skulls!

    We stayed in Kalispell and had breakfast at Sykes.  Yep, 10 cent coffee!

    We went with some of Bob’s family to Glacier Park for a picnic.

    There’s a handsome bunch!

    We were on the shores of Lake McDonald.  Breathtaking!

    I love the tenacity of trees.

    I think it’s so cool that they still have the red busses in the park.  (Yellowstone has yellow ones!)

    This is the Conrad Mansion in Kalispell.  The grounds were the prettiest I had ever seen them.

    Kalispell has some cool old buildings, like the fabulous art deco TV station.


    And the very proper City Water Department.

    The old theater.

    We had lunch with Vernon and Thelma, now both in their late eighties.  On the wall was this picture of Vernon and Pastor Pete.  I think Vernon is as handsome as Marshall Dillon!

    We had breakfast one day at Wheat Montana.  Loved the poster.

    This is the view from Bob’s cousin Glenn’s house.  Talk about Big Sky Country!

    Wheat fields in the front of the house and the Flathead River out the back!  It doesn’t get much better than that!

    Another tenacious tree.  It’s a long ways from the river now, but I think spring floods have had a go at it a time or two.

    A couple more old signs.

    And a Beaverslide!  For those who don’t know, it’s used for stacking hay.

    Next, our visit to the state penitentiary!


  • 23Aug
    Categories: travels here Comments Off on A Trip to the American Girl Store

    Did you know there’s a new American Girl Store in Seattle?  I started buying American Girl dolls for McKenna when she was small.  Then my mom bought me one!  She bought me Kerstin, the Swedish doll.  How perfect!  I didn’t really play with dolls as a kid, but I loved having Kerstin and her Swedish accouterments. Then, a friend bought a Kerstin for Sally, too!  So, we just all had to go.  I drove up to Seattle and spent the night with Sally.  Here are our Kerstin dolls waiting for the big outing.

    McKenna and Tamara drove up from Albany to meet us.

    It was so fun to see the displays in the store.

    What’s this!?!  Julie is from 1974.  Oh, my god!  I’m old enough to be an American Girl Doll!

    When I was in high school, my bedroom was hot pink and orange, just like Julie’s!

    When I got married in 1974, I got a fondue pot exactly like this, except mine was Harvest Gold, not Avocado Green!  It’s all too much….

    I had to move on.  McKenna liked the special doll for this year, Kanani.

    We had to swing by the beauty parlor.  Look at all the choices you have for giving your doll a new hairstyle!

    Elizabeth had to have a new ‘do.

    Doesn’t it look pretty?

    We had a lunch reservation.  McKenna and Sally.

    Tamara and me.

    The dolls each got their own chair!

    And their own beverage!

    The ceiling was adorable!

    Some lucky little girl was having a birthday party.

    We topped of lunch with decadent desserts.  McKenna had the brownie sundae (and so did I!).

    Sally and Tamara had cake pops.

    I have another granddaughter now, so guess who will be getting a Bitty Baby for Christmas?  Yep, Peyton.  And the whole family loves camo, so what could be more perfect than Bitty Baby in a camo outfit?  I’ll tell you what.  I bought a matching outfit for Peyton, too!

    Oh, it’s fun to be a grandma!

  • 29Jun
    Categories: Everything!, musings Comments Off on Glad Midsommar

    Last weekend, we celebrated a Swedish Midsummer here at home.  I would rather have been in Sweden, but this was the next best thing.

    I was up early to get started….

    The front porch was decorated with flowers, birch branches and Dala horses.

    It all starts with the midsummer pole.

    We had fox gloves and rhododendron blossoms adorning it this year.  Melissa and Matt helped!

    And, for the first time, we had a rooster on top!  In Sweden the rooster is another symbol for the renewal.

    Time for the ceremonious raising of the pole.

    As you can see, our small one only requires two (strong) men.

    Cole helped lock it in place.

    The rhodies were a nice addition.

    And speaking of nice, we had a really nice day.  Even my mom, who doesn’t usually enjoy nature, was comfortable sitting outside.

    Dad was here, too.

    And Melissa…

    …and Matt.

    Of course Sally was here, and so was Ray, but he was taking pictures and didn’t end up IN any pictures!

    Cole was here.

    We all danced around the maypole, even my dad!  That left no one to take pictures, but that was okay.  Dancing is always more fun than taking pictures.

    Then we spent a little time in the cabin.

    All seemed quiet around the troll house!

    I have two new chairs on the porch.  They were made by Josh Blewett, who also made the stairs in the cabin.

    I found a good supply of wild daisies to pick for decorating.

    And Melinda shared some flowers from her garden.

    Mom, Melissa and Matt enjoying the sofa.

    Then Melissa and Matt had to check out the loft.

    Here’s one of the weavings my Swedish cousin, Berit, has made for me.

    And the corner cupboard I bought in Sweden in 2008.

    This wonderful embroidery is new-to-me.  It talks about the red cottage with it’s weeping birch tree and remembering your childhood days.

    This candlestick is a copy of one from the 16th century and it has a LOT of symbolism.  Rooster – Watchfulness; Three candles – the Holy Trinity; Two jagged arches – Christ’s Crown of Thorns; Ten holes – the Ten Commandments; Heart – Love; Twelve leaves – the twelve Apostles.  Whew!  You can see another beautiful weaving of Berit’s under it.

    In Sweden the lupine is always blooming profusely during midsummer.  The best we could do were these wild foxgloves at the edge of our woods.

    Inside I pulled out some of my Swedish souvenirs. The three dolls in the middle are dressed in parish costumes.  The blue one is from Transtrand where Melissa’s grandpa’s family came from.  The boy and the girl in the red dress are dressed in Nås clothes.  Nås is the town Anna Lena came from.

    These adorable candle holding girls I bought in Sigtuna, Sweden–the oldest city in Sweden.

    Of course midsummer isn’t just about a maypole, it’s also about FOOD!  My sister, Sally, loves dishes and has, shall we say, several sets.  She brought her blue and yellow ones, which were perfect because they are the colors of the Swedish flag.

    There are two styles of plates.

    And lots of adorable serving pieces.

    Our meal consisted of hard bread.  One of my favorite Swedish finds is this Dala horse server.

    The hard bread is a brand from Dalarna–my “home” province.  My grandma always told me Dalarna was the prettiest part of Sweden!

    We had a variety of cheeses to go on the bread.

    And, of course, pickled herring, served in a special herring boat.

    It wouldn’t be midsummer without meatballs and lingonberries.  I made 150 meatballs for 9 people!

    We had new potatoes with fresh dill.

    Pickled beets.

    And cucumber salad.

    And, of course, we had TWO desserts.  I made a Princess Cake.  It’s my third one.  This year I wanted to do something different, so made a long loaf rather than the traditional round cake.

    And we had to have a Strawberry Torte.

    It was so much fun to be with family and sharing a bit of our Swedish tradition.  Maybe next summer I’ll be in Sweden, wearing my Nås dress and dancing around the may pole.



  • 01Mar
    Categories: musings Comments Off on Mom’s Scrapbook

    When I was at my parents’ house the other day, Mom had an old scrapbook out on the dining room table.

    What fun!  It even had a package of “Nu Age” photo corners still tucked inside.

    Doesn’t she look preppy?

    This is her high school graduation photo.  I love the bow!

    She graduated in 1941–just before the beginning of WWII.

    She even kept some of the graduation cards she got.  The dimensions on them are very different that today’s cards.

    My mom has always written poetry, and she wrote the class song for her class.

    In case you want to read it, a typed version.

    She had one of my grandma’s business cards.

    And she saved her home economics notebook!

    Don’t you love her Palmer Method handwriting?

    I thought there might be some recipe treasures in here, but a recipe for hot chocolate??

    The sugar cookies might be worth a try.

    I’m in love with this simple drawing on Mom as Daisy May.  Unfortunately, she can’t remember who drew it, but I think that it’s an incredible likeness.

    Mom had gone to a costume party dressed as Daisy May–I’m sure many of you are too old to know who that is!

    At the end of WWII, my mom and Lil moved to Los Angeles.  A big adventure for small town girls!

    Now mom was collecting matchbooks from places like the Polo Lounge…

    …the fabulous Rotisserie…

    …and The Pirate’s Den!

    Cocktail napkins were also a popular memento to collect.

    Ooh, here’s one from the Palladium.

    Of course you have to have pictures of your friends–and yourself in front of the famous Garden of Allah Motel!

    In the scrapbook were programs from plays.

    I love the ad on the back cover!

    And this How to Dunk booklet cracked me up.  Bob will have to read it!

    She dined in China Town…

    …with her sister-in-law Gloria and friends who were visiting from home.  Those were the days when everyone dressed up to go out.  The ladies even have corsages!

    She had a menu from the Fred Harvey restaurant.  I thought it was especially interesting because it has cover art by Thomas Hart Benton.

    It’s worth taking a minute to look over the menu and prices.

    Mom also saved birthday cards she got from home…

    …and friends.

    And this very special telegram she got at work.

    No, it wasn’t THAT Roy Rogers, it was my cousin Jimmy, who always signed letters to her as Roy Rogers!

    He also sent her this bear he’d colored.  My mom was always known as Beeb or Bebe to her nieces and nephews.

    She may not have gotten a telegram from Roy Rogers, but she did get Frank Sinatra’s autograph when he came into her workplace once!

    He was every girls’ heartthrob then and Mom got to see him perform at the CBS Radio Playhouse.

    She was still writing poetry–usually about finding a guy…

    …or this one, about exercise.  Cute cutouts around it.

    But then she came to Long Beach for vacation, met and married my dad, had three kids and her scrapbooking days were over!

  • 04Feb
    Categories: Everything!, musings Comments Off on Camo

    It’s taken me a whole year to get this post posted. I know some of you are very familiar with camo, but if you’re not, here’s your introduction!

    The whole Hamilton family visited Cabella’s in Olympia.

    Cabella’s is an outdoorsman’s paradise.

    And home of everything camo.  Do you see our grandson, Carson, in the photo below?  No, not the boy in purple, that’s Cole.  If you can’t find Carson, that’s the camo, aka camouflage, doing its job!

    If Justin didn’t have that great smile, you might not see him in the photo below.  He already has quite the camo wardrobe.

    Bill’s looking stylin’ in his camo pants and backpack.

    He probably should have these boots, too.

    You didn’t think they only came in one style, did you?

    Oh, you don’t need rubber boots?  How about work boots?

    If you don’t want anyone to see your hands–and you want to keep them warm at the same tie–you’ll need these gloves!

    Justin had some money to spend, but it was a hard decision what to spend it on.  Hmmm, maybe  this camo wallet???

    Perhaps we’re spending too much time shopping. Time for a wresting break.

    Wow! Not only can you be entirely clad in camo, you can get a camo ATV, too!

    JJ found one that’s just the right size.

    But, seriously, how about home decor?  Surely if we can outfit our bodies in camo, we can do our homes, too.

    Clock, anyone?

    Or a camo game table for just $99.00?

    Of course, you’ll need somewhere to relax.

    Pink and blue bean bags?  Is that pink for girls and blue for boys?

    Ooh, here’s a comfy TV chair.

    And McKenna modeling the latest in camo coffee mugs.

    Now that we’ve furnished the living room in camo, how about the bedrooms?

    Not only can you get the perfect comforter, you can get camo valances.

    Don’t think this is just for the boys.  There’s pink camo bedding for the girly girls in the family.

    Oh! Oh!  Bathroom accessories, too!

    Aw, even dolls dressed in camo.

    There were even kid sized chairs, as McKenna discovered.

    Justin and JJ found them a good fit, too.

    Carson had to give them a try.  Note the mini loves seat, too!

    The top half of Justin just about disappears in this chair.

    Is it Justin or a bear???

    Justin or a deer???

    I’m speechless!  All in all, it was a great camo day.

    There’s got to be a rhyme in here somewhere.  That family that wears camo together…….  Well, you’l have to finish it.

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