Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Time!

I have been spending LOTS of my time with my Cricut.  I use SCAL and svg files for my paper crafting. Instead of buying cartridges, I buy SVG files over the internet. Last week, I bought two sets of files to make albums with.  Through this process, I have found that not all of the files work as well as they should.  This is very discouraging, as I usually spend many wasted hours trying to get things to work.

I would like to say, the files from are some of the best I have ever had. Over the past year and a half since I started this, I have purchased many, many files from various companies. The ones from svgcuts work with SCAL, are usually easily resizable, and, best of all, lots of the files include video directions on how to correctly put them together!

This weekend, ny daughter and grandkids came for a visit. As usual, I heard the "I'm BORED" from my 11 year old grandson. So, what did I do?  I cut out the haunted house from the Elmhurst Hollow set.  There were many pieces, so my daughter helped him out with putting it together. It took a couple of hours for the first one to get together, but was well worth it. The haunted house even has an open area in the back for which to add the lights!  My daughter put a second one together today, which went much quicker. 

As great as the Haunted Houses turned out, the family time spent together was PRICELESS, something my grandkids will not forget!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Minnesota State Fair!

Got back from the fair today. Will be home two days, then back again on Sunday.  I have been asked many times, "What do you do at the fair all those days?"

Here's a general run done of the day:

My day starts out at the Farmers Union for coffee.  I enjoy sitting, watching people go by, having a biscotti, while I look over the daily schedule to see what I might like to do.  If I am there later in the morning, the music will have started, so I can listen to that also. They had an awesome band last weekend. Think they were called the "Music Mountain Men".
After coffee, I usually take a stroll.  Just like the coupons in the coupon books are in zones, I also like to cover the fair in zones. So depending on what music I want to listen to or food I want to eat, that is where I go.  I usually end up in Heritage Square for the 11:45 show.
The rest of the day is spent in much the same way.  Strolling through the fair, listening to music, trying new foods, speaking with old (and newly made) friends.

A few of the highlights so far:
Winning the dance contest during the pre  show warm up for Twin Cities Live!  I won a Tshirt and a twenty dollar gift card!  I beat out two younger guys!

The Midtown Men show at the Leine stage last night was one of the best shows I have ever seen. When the guys were singing, it felt like they were peering straight into my heart!

The group Rubber Soul who was at the International Bazaar stage. They did Beatles music.

Late night Reubens from O"Gara's are the best!  It is nice to have something besides deep fried foods. They also have music going until 10:30 pm.

If you have only a short period of time, don't forget to check out the trampoline act.  Never thought those stunts could be done!

Saving the best for last-don't forget the baking and cooking demos at the Saint Agnes Kitchen in  creative activities building.  Four demos a day. Lots of great info!

Monday, August 29, 2011

State Fair Demos and Recipes

Hey guys! This is Mary, the famous daughter (Also known as Mary Klecko). Anyway, I apologize for not posting these reciepes sooner, I was having some internet/blog issues.

The recipe for my ableskivers is:
2 eggs separated
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt.
In medium bowl beat egg yolks until light in color, stir in sugar. Stir together remaining dry ingredients; add to egg mixture.  Alternately with milk. Mix in oil, in a separate bowl beat egg whites until stiff; fold into batter.  Bake aebleskiver as directed.  Yields about 28.
Tip: Aebleskiver may be filled with 1 small slice of fresh apple, a small cube of cheese or 1 tsp. of jam.
(This is the website we found it on: )

My mom's Ice Cream Kolacky recipe is:


  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 2 cups butter
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fruit preserves, any flavor


  1. Add flour to butter or margarine and crumble in pastry blender. Add ice cream to crumbled mixture and, using dough hooks, work into dough. (If you don't have dough hooks, use your hands. Rubber gloves will help cut down the cold temperature from the ice cream.) When dough is smooth, shape into ball and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Roll dough to about 1/8-inch thickness on a floured surface. Using the rim of a glass dipped in flour, cut out circles. Place on a cookie sheet and make a thumbprint in center of each. Fill thumbprints with 1/2 teaspoon fruit filling.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar when cool. Eat and enjoy! 
Taken from

I hope you enjoyed our demos and had a great time at the fair!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Off to the Minnesota State Fair

On Wednesday August 24 th, Mary and I are heading over to the Minnesota State Fair.  We were very lucky to once again get a campsite on the fairgrounds. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!

When we tell people we are going to the fair, so many times we are asked "What do you do for all those days?"
(this year we will be at the fair for 9 days).  Our answer is "Go to the Fair!"  Yes, it is possible to spend nine days at the fair, and not see all the animals or the shows.  The Mn Fair has so much entertainment and activities it is difficult to get to them all.

Besides all the entertainment stages, there are numerous other vendors who have live music. One of my favorite things to do is to go to the Farmers Union building for coffee in the morning.  I sit in the coffee shop area and do my knitting while listening to live music that usually begins about 10 am. At 11:00 starts the live cooking demo at the St Agnes Kitchen in the Creative Activities building.  After that, it is time to wander around for a snack.  Then, back to the St Agnes Kitchen for the 1:00 pm demo.  After that demo, it is time to go outside and wait for the 2:00 parade.

After the parade, is the show "Twin Cities Live" that is a daily show by one of the TV stations.  Sometimes, you can also get free food!

During the day there are also the Lumberjack shows, dog shows, as well as shows in the honey area. There are also tours of the animals in the barn buildings.  And, don't forget-the butter carvings in the dairy area!

One of the most exciting things to watch over the days are the animals born in the Miracle of Life Center.  Each year calves, piglets, ducks, chickens, goats and lambs are brought into the world in front of all to see.
They do a wonderful job with the births and the caring for all the animals.

Add to all this the new sing along, rides, vendors etc, there is way too much for us to see in 9 days!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey

The plus side of our vast use of technology, is how fast info can now travel.  When you stop and think, it is truly amazing how we have come together as a global society.  With facebook, we can become friends with people we never would have been able to meet.  As we sit nestled in our little spaces we call home, we are part of a world wide community our parents could never have dreamed about.  We are able to partake in events that a few years ago, we would never be apart of.

While on facebook the other day, through a post, I learned of a sudden death of a person I have never known. Even though I have never known this person, or his immediate family, I was touched by the postings of his wife. It got me thinking of how I would be if my husband suddenly past away.  Sometimes I need those little reminders of how precious life can be.

Tomorrow, has been dedicated to her late husband Mikey. The tribute is to make a peanut butter pie and share it with your friends and family. Here is the link:
In case the link does not work, here is her posting of the peanut butter pie:

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
Serves 10 to 12
8 ounces chocolate cookies
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.  Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well.  Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula.  Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.
Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream).  Fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan.  Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.

 I will be making my pie this afternoon, all are welcome to join us.  It would be great fun if people would take pictures of their pies, and their sharing it with others!

Happy Pie Making!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Using your Cricut

One of my favorite pastimes is using my Cricut machine. I originally purchased it to use on cake decorating, but found I was having so much fun making cards and albums, I never did set it up for the cakes.  Now there is a Cricut cake machine, I have not yet crossed over to buying that machine.

After I purchased the Cricut, I found I would spend alot of money buying all those cartridges. Being the frugal person I am, I thought, there must be a better way!

Lo and behold, I found the Sure Cuts Alot Software.  It is a software that makes svg files usable on the Cricut.  Due to difficulties with Provo Craft, they are now unable to sell this software for the Cricut, but they do sell the software to be used with other machines.

One if the best things about using this software, is the ability to buy svg files on the internet, store them as files on your computer, rather than needing cartridges.

One of the best places I have found for svg files is SVG You can get to their website by clicking the banner on this page.  What attracted me to them in the first place, is all the wonderful videos on how to use the software.  Also, in learning ot use the software, I also learned my way around the computer better.

I will try to post some of the items I make, so you can see just how beautiful they are!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer Time!

Looked at my blog today, realized I had not posted anything since April! How DOUBLY NAUGHTY of me!  It dawned on me, that I also have not done much baking since then!  Now that summer is here, I have been spending lots of time outside.  Up here in the Northwoods, our summer is very short, better enjoy while we can.

When I started this blog two years ago, it was with the thought of using primarily for our baking.  In the past two years, many things have changed.  Now that I have chronic pain issues, it is difficult to spend as much time as I had been baking.  Instead, I spend time making cards and albums using my Cricut machine.  It seems I can get lost for hours making something, just like I did when I baked.

Since my pain issues have kind taken over my life, I have had to reassess my goals, plans and ambitions.  There are days when just getting out of bed is a major accomplishment!  I am trying to have as much of a life as I can, with a tendency to do way too much, with the crash that follows. 

With that in mind, I will be posting more often, just on other aspects of my life that have become predominate. Baking ideas will be posted, along with some of my other designs.

Check back soon, you never know what you may find next!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Snow in April!

The calendar may say April 16th, but by the snow outside, it looks more like November!  Not wanting to go out into the snow today, I asked my husband to stop at the store and bring something home for me to make for dinner.  I know, asking him  to do something like that was asking for BIG TROUBLE, but I really did not want to go out, nor did I have any idea what to make.

I was mildly suprised when he came home with four small, very thin round steaks. Each was about a quarter of a pound.  Now, round steaks can be very good tasting, I just have a knack for overcooking them and  turning them into to shoe leather, so I rarely buy them myself.

So, here I was staring at these little steaks,  My husband of course, felt very proud of himself at bringing these home. As he was explaining to me why he chose these little morsels of red meat, I imagined him being the prehistoric hunter bringing food home to his family.

As I sat thinking of what I could possibly make with these to make them into the delectable morsels he imagined, I thought of beef stroganoff.  I thought I needed mushrooms for that, so it was out of the question.
 I decided on a beef stew made with my pressure cooker.  For those who do not use a pressure cooker, it is one of the best items to have in a kitchen.  The new ones are very safe, and cook foods in  a fraction of the time. Into the pressure cooker went a can of diced tomatoes, some celery, carrots, potatoes and onions along with the round steak which I cut into smaller pieces, minced garlic and beef broth.  While the stew was cooking, I made drop cheddar biscuits using my favorite White Lily self rising flour.

Forty five minutes after deciding what I wanted to make, we were sitting at the table eating dinner. My husband commented on how tender the round steak was.  Guess this one was a success!

Now, time to start thinking of my Easter baking!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lunch at the feeder!

We have had birdfeeders in our front yard for the past 12 years. The feeder is in front of my living room window, where I can sit and watch the birds while I drink my morning coffee.  In the mornings, I can tell when it is really cold, the birds so not show up until the temp goes above zero.  
Since I feed the birds sunflower, I also have many squirrels that come to visit. I have tried many tricks to keep the squirrels off the feeders, the one that works the best is putting hot sauce all over the feeders.
This afternoon my dog started barking frantically, I knew by her bark that the hot sauce must have worn off, and the  squirrels were out there. I was sitting in another room, so I did not know for sure what the commotion was. But I figured from her bark that there must have been 2-3 of them feasting on my sunflower seeds.
When I went to the window, I saw the squirrels, at first only two- a black and a gray. Then, I spotted the third- an albino squirrel!  Last spring and fall I had thought I saw one in the woods, never could get close enough to get a good look.
Now, I’ve had my look!  I rushed to get my camera and get some pictures.  Not an easy feat with the dog barking all the while.  The dog could sense my excitement, no way was she going to settle down and be quite.
Here are some pictures I would like to share.  Please do not make copies, or send to others. Rather, link them to this page. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Finally made an svg file!

Due to chronic pain issues, my baking has greatly diminished over the past two years.  Since last February I have found a new passion, my Cricut machine and Sure Cuts a Lot software.  I have spent many, many hours trying to learn to make svg files. I have downloaded Inkscape and Watched lots of videos. So, you can only imagine my Triumph when I finally learned how to make a file set.

I wanted to make some Valentine lollipop cards, for the grandkids. I needed to do something simple, that I could send them the parts, and they could glue them.  The first one I have completed is for the girls.

I also made the tag that can be used to write Happy Valentines Day on. Working on finding the way to get the file so I can share it with others. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Life and Death/ Sadness and Joy

On Monday, January 10th, the baking world lost one of the last remaining old time bakers, my mother in law. She was one of those bakers, that learned how to bake on an old wood stove, of which temperatures were told by the way the heat felt on your hands, not an oven thermometer.  Water had to pumped from the hand pump, and heated on the stove. The cream was the best, as it came from the cows that had recently been milked. There were no mixers in those early days, just hand beaters and wooden spoons.  As we fret about the temperatures of the ingredients we use, and the dough we bake, they did not even have refrigeration in those early days!

And yet, this woman learned to turn out the best cream puffs, kringles and pies I have ever tasted.  Her baked goods were prized at many bake sales and church meetings, many people ate her pies on a Monday summer evening at Snowshoe Baseball in Lake Tomahawk. 

Like most woman born in the early 1900's, the boxed cake mix was a blessing to her.  There were no bakeries around, no fast food, and the guys always had to be fed.  I sit back and think of just what a time saver that must have been for them, and what it treat it was if they could actually afford to buy one!

She will surely be missed, as she was so loved by her family and friends. Always willing to help and lend a hand.  She was also one of the kindest woman I have ever had the pleasure to know.

Death is a sad thing for those who are left behind, as we mourn our loss of the loved one. But, in that death is also the joy and belief in knowing she is now free!  Free from pain and sickness, free from the boundaries of our humanness. It is up to the ones left, to carry on in joy, the memories of those who have gone before us.  Time heals our wounds, and it is in each other that we find support to carry us through.

When she was first became very sick a few weeks agom I sent my husband and daughter to the hospital, while I stayed home and made supper for us and my brother in law. While I was doing this, I had the thought that it was the thing she would do, send others to make sure things were taken care of, while she stayed behind to do the cooking.  While she was in the hospital, I also made a big casserole in the slow cooker for all of us to be fed, while there visiting her.  It is in those little things, that I realize how much I am carrying on her memories.  I only hope I can continue, and keep up her baking tradition!

Zoe posted an almond chiffon cake on her Zoe Bakes website today, which will be so fitting for our family get together tomorrow night. My mother in law really enjoyed almond, and chiffon and angel food cakes were some of her favorites.

In closing, let the BAKING BEGIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!