Saturday, November 29, 2014

music has a way of healing us~
it calms me and grounds me.

here are three favorite music videos that i
could watch on repeat.

this kind of beautiful music is like a benediction~
a powerful IV of grace. 

*click in the box on the lower right of each to enlarge

Pentatonix- Mary did you Know

The Canadian Tenors and Celine Deon- Halleluia

Josh Groban and Celine- The Prayer

i hope you took the time to watch these.
i think it'll be the best 14 minutes of your weekend.

i've had the extreme pleasure of seeing celine and the
canadian tenors live and if you ever get the chance~ grab it.

off to start decorating my tree,
(while listening to great music).
enjoy the rest of your thanksgiving weekend, it's supposed to be 
a beautiful day here in snow covered minnesota and i
get to take a couple's engagement photos at the arboretum.
lucky me!

xo, beth

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

irene hardwick baldwin

my grandmother irene was
born on nov. 25th, 1913.

today would be her 101st birthday!

i'm remembering her with so much love today~

we found this poem in her dresser drawer after she 
died and it was read at her memorial service in 1986:

i'd like the memory of me to be a happy one,
i'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when my life is done.
i'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, 
of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
i'd like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun,
of happy memories that i leave, when my life is done.

the longer i walk this earth, the more remarkable i find my dear
grandmother to have been.
she had her first baby when she was only 17 and then went
on to have 6 more- including a set of twins-(my mother was one of them).
she had 21 grandchildren and was accumulating great grandchildren
left and right when she left us- all too soon.

grama irene became my second mother when i was 7 and my mom died.
grama and grampa's youngest child paul still lived at home when my
sister and i became theirs to raise. 
i was the youngest of the 9 children they raised. 
she was 73 when she died and had children under her roof from age 17- 63.
that's a long time to actively mother kids.

she did this all without complaining. 
she and my grandfather were simple people. 
farmers~ turning the earth to make a living. they always lived
close to the bone. the really remarkable thing though is that
i never really knew that we had to go without.
they did the best they could- without complaints- to
raise all of us.
they knew what really mattered in life, and that was
that time was the real currency.
my grama knit and crocheted and sewed gifts for all of us.
she baked many times a week and could make cooking a huge
meal look so easy. she gardened like few i've ever known,
whistling while she hand hoed about an acre of land. 

i don't think she loved anything more than her big family around her table.
she played with her grandchildren, teaching them the different
sounds that "her" birds made, and making up little songs and games
for us. she took us on walks and took us camping.
she let us pick flowers out of her garden and dishes out of her
china cupboard. she bought old furniture and refinished it
and turned it into cherished keepsakes for her family.

she was a remarkable woman in a way that may seem unremarkable to many. 
she went to church and she went to the grocery store...
she hoed in the dirt and kneaded bread at her
 counter. she hated to have her picture taken and
she loved many dogs. she liked to watch soap operas and
would knit and nap in her chair while she took that
one hour rest in the middle of her busy days.

grama irene had a wicked sense of humor and loved to play tricks on 
people and make them laugh. whether she was sneaking ugly fake flowers
in girlfriends gardens, or dressing up at family reunions, you could
always count on her to have something up her sleeve!

she died when she was only 73 and she was ready~
she adamantly told all of us- when her kidneys failed, that
she was ready to go~ she did not have any desire to do 
dialysis and sincerely felt like her time here on earth was done.

i wasn't ready to say goodbye- but are we ever?
she lived her life like she wanted to, and she
died with dignity and grace. making all of us laugh
until the last day of her life.

happy 101st birthday grama irene,
you were so loved.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

a feast for the eyes~

"to be rooted is perhaps the most 
important and least recognized need of the
human soul"
                                   simone weil

last year i had fun finding beautiful thanksgiving tables
to show you so i decided to do it again.

here are some of the best ones i found.

if you're the one who's opening your heart and home next thursday and
setting your table for guests, maybe you'll get inspired to
try a little something different this year.

(these are all photos i found online)

*this is one of my favorites. did you notice the super cool
chandelier over the table or the upholstered chair at the head of the
table? And the fact that's the celebration looks like it's in some big old barn is a big plus.

the twig flat wear is the best part of this place setting.

simple but do-able!

they must be serving soup


i think it might be awkward to actually eat off these slices of a tree- but it 
sure is beautiful and creative huh?

this is over the top- extravagant and i LOVE it!

even more over the top--too much? umm i think so, where are you
supposed to put your food?

love wheat sheaths~

black and white, very modern and cool

personally i love the feathers- wouldn't want them to touch my plate though- : )

my favorite flowers are part of this arrangement- (ranunculus)- how pretty! it would
be simple to stud mini pumpkins with brass tacks from the hardware store.


i saved the best for last. this table is it for me...
it's just scrumptious in every way- the colors, the textures...
the perfect pears. i used to own a home decor store called
bella pear (beautiful pear) and i will always have a "thing" 
for pears.
i love the water glasses that look morrocan and how the use of
the color plum in the flowers highlights the pears.
i don't think i'd care what i was served if i was fortunate enough to
be seated at this gorgeous table.

there will just be 4 of us around a very small table for 
thanksgiving this year as two of our family members will
be traveling. i sold our old dining room table when i had
my cottage sale this summer and i haven't found it's replacement yet
so i'll have to see what i can come up with
 to make it pretty but still leave room for 
the dishes... it's all good though- because we'll crowd around our little pub table and
eat well, even if we have to do the decorating around the house
instead of on the table this year!


i'd love it if you'd share with me which table is your favorite or
how you'll be celebrating,

xo, beth

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

there is a little red squirrel that lives in our backyard.

i've named him theodore.

he is so cute in these pictures i bet you can hardly stand it,
 do not be deceived though. if you have had any experience with red
squirrels then you know how ka-razy they are. they act like they
have ADHD, are buzzed up on caffeine~ then throw in a sugar high and you've got
him figured out.
([pretty sure he is suffering from "small squirrel syndrome" too).

he may be small but he is afraid of nothing.
i swear a coyote could come up on the deck and theodore would
have him running for the hills in about 2 seconds flat.
 there are a lot of grey squirrels who would like to share the birdseed he 
loves to eat but apparently he did not go to kindergarten because he
knows nothing about sharing. he chases those big relatives of his
outta the yard so fast that i can't believe they keep coming back.

o.k., if you must, then chase off all other squirrels, but can you just leave
my little birds alone? i have birdseed out for the birds
you scrappy little dude- they are not called squirrel feeders.
help yourself to whatever falls on the deck, but would you 
please let the chickadees and juncos eat at the feeders? 

theo flies around the deck like the roadrunner. he uses the deck furniture
like a jungle gym. to get these pictures i had to just keep clicking and moving.
i think i took them all in about 20 seconds.

say this in your best alvin and the chipmunks voice,
"hi i'm theodore- would you kindly keep the feeders full? thanks."

these are some of the bigger squirrels he spends all day chasing~

he does his best to scare off these darling little birds.
i don't like that! (he doesn't care). 
the police should train and use red squirrels like they do dogs!

off he goes again....

hope you're having a great week!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

last weekend i went to the lodge to hang with my family and
do motherly like things in the warm cabin whilst they all 
froze their arses off in the woods deer hunting.

eric asked if i'd make chicken noodle soup with dumplings and bring up to
help him stay warm out in his deer stand.
i always make too much. my mouth is actually watering just looking
at these pictures of the soup again.
it's all about the dumplings for eric and i. 
sometimes i crave dumplings so much i make a big pot of soup just
so i have something to cook them in.
hee hee. 

i was in charge of all the dogs all day. that included our brown chesapeake koda.
adria's black lab kenzie and eric's yellow lab duke.

oh hi're such a good dog!

after the initial excitement and zealousness of seeing each other they settled  down
and pretty much sat and stared at the door waiting for their hunters to come inside.
i told them, that like a watched pot not boiling any faster,
staring at the door was not going to bring the hunters and huntress in any 
quicker, but they just went ahead and stared.

handsome devils aren't they? if i sat down one of them had to come and
drape him or herself across my lap. such nice little lap dogs huh?
* the stocking cap i was crocheting most likely 
has a bit of dog hair incorporated in it.

every time one of them wanted to go outside to relieve themselves, they all thought they
needed a turn, so one by one i'd put them on a leash and head out, trying my
darndest to hold the other two back while squeezing out the door. when
all 3 had had their turn they'd line up for a treat. (life really is all about the treats).
i'd make them all sit and shake and then dole out biscuits and then about 2 hours later we'd do it all again.

these 3 musketeers get weird when i'm talking baby talk to them and trying
to get cute pictures. they act all suspicious and won't give me their best happy faces.~

kenzie and i like to watch family feud.

i brought my grandboy up north with me. i thought it would be fun
to give you a little update on him.

if you haven't seen seth for awhile, even those of you who know him probably wouldn't
know him! this kid of ours has suddenly grown up and now he looks and 
acts like a man/child. he's 15 and has a deep, rough voice that i can't get used to
and he's grown so many inches in the last year that he's left me in the dust.
he can stand behind me and look over the top of my head.
best part of it all though-is that at least twice a day, (usually morning and night)
he comes and stands by me and lays his head on me and we snuggle a little while.

the hair? well...he's a teenager. teenagers gotta do what teenagers gotta do!
we are a teasing bunch of people and we like to call him
"the biebs" or JB .( short for justin bieber). he gives us disgusted looks-
but hey- parents and grandparents gotta do what parents and g-parents gotta
do too right? we tease because we love him and we like to have fun.
*like taylor swift says seth, "shake it off, shake it off"!
he's a cool kid and he's pretty darned handsome don't you think?
he's also realllllllly sweet, respectful and loving.

seth got his first deer a few weeks ago with a bow and arrow, so he
got to sleep in.
: )

flashback...seth  about 5 years ago!!!

i thought i'd begin and end with food.  i just bought this cheese
 at trader joes. it's an aged rosemary asiago and it is so delicious.
~pairs beautifully with a glass of red wine.
i'm not a foodie, but i tell you, this is some good stuff.
you've got to try it.

we had a few more inches of beautiful snow in mpls. today and
it's so pretty out. i know a lot of people don't like anything to do with
christmas till after thanksgiving, but the early snow this year has
thrown me right into an early falalala-la!
i've got a couple strings of white lights plugged in and i'm 
listening to kenny g's christmas cd as i'm writing.

it's not that i don't love all things cowboy, indian and pilgrim- (big fan of their black boots)
aaaaand i love the turkey and the blessings but it's just
that the christmas season is so short...and i love it and wait for it all year.
 a friend had a suggestion i think we should seriously consider.

how about we move thanksgiving up a couple weeks?
are you with me? that would give us 6 solid weeks after the big turkey dinner to
decorate, bake and do our christmas shopping.

i think nov. 12th would be a very nice
day to celebrate thanksgiving.

it's a really, really good idea.
let's seriously consider it okay?

"falalala-la la la, la la"!!!
xo, beth

Thursday, November 13, 2014

today, part 2 of my field trip to faribault:

after poking around faribault and having lunch at the cheese caves we headed
 back to northfield where my friend lives, we picked
her youngest up from school and went out to the farm.

this is one of those wonderful places that grows acres and acres
of food crops and invites the locals to buy a share of the produce.

once a week christa has been heading out there to get her food.
some of it is picked for her when she gets there, and some of it
the patrons are invited to walk the field rows and pick themselves.

it's quite a production i could see. the farmers have purchased
additional land and will expand even more in the coming year.

if i was a part of this whole dealio, my favorite part would be the
sign that says "pick your own flowers, as many as you like"

this was the last week for the people that are part of this
food coop to get a share till next year. some of the crops
still looked so green though in spite of several hard frosts.

the veggies are already washed for you when you're picking yours out~

i've known a few girls (very long lanky ones) who could actually do this with their legs.

i never knew this was how brussel sprouts grew until about 2 years ago.
this is a work of art to me!
(even if i don't want to eat them- i'd just use my share to
decorate a window sill with or something).
: D

say goodbye to the farm till next summer christa and ben!

benjamen, more commonly known as "benny boo boo"

not sure who this little girl was but she was quite
smitten with this kitten~

you can't get produce any fresher than this unless you grow it yourself.

do they have farms like this where you live?
what a great concept!

too bad i never learned to like vegetables though. i would waste most of mine i'm
sorry to say. oh i'd eat an occasional carrot...but all that green stuff?
not so much. when my babies were babies, i wanted them to like
vegetables even though i practically gagged just heating theirs up.
i was a complete FAKE, pretending to eat little bites and saying
"nummm" as i fed them. two of the three grew up and enjoy healthy food,
but the oldest larson child? he's just like his mother. he is the second
pickiest eater on the planet~ after yours truly. 
it's in our genes i swear. a fellow picky eater told me once that her
doctor told her that people like us have millions more taste buds than the
average person and that's why - i don't know if that's true, but hey-
it's all i've got.

*about two hours ago, while eating a halloween sized heath bar i
broke a big chunk of a molar tooth off and now i have a really sharp 
tooth that's messing with my tongue so guess who's going to the dentist at 8 a.m.
this would probably never have happened while eating a brussel sprout.

*i'm going to a garth brooks concert tonight!
i think can hear the thunder rolling from here~
ta ta!

xo, beth

Monday, November 10, 2014

faribault woolen mill- since 1865

i went on a little field trip to the faribault woolen mill in faribault mn.

faribault is pronounced  fair-i- bow
not  far- a- balt ...just so you know.

about 25 years ago i participated at an art fair in their retail store which has
since closed. i still have a yummy sweater i bought that day, it's just too great to maybe
ever part with. i haven't worn it in years, but should maybe drape it over a rocker
 or something this Christmas.

 my friends and i drove down hoping to purchase
some of their beautiful blanket ends, but they didn't have any. 
:  (

we inquired why and they told us that the mill had just recently
completed two huge jobs, one for ralph lauren and one
for the US navy and so they hadn't been producing their
own brand of blankets till those big orders were completed.
i guess if we go back in a couple weeks we can hope to 
 dig through the remnants bins and get some
fabulous ends!

the mill itself was a site to behold tho~ take a look.

a peek into one of the offices! wow

the displays were so divine i was in sensory heaven~

these are some of my favorites.

there is a dam right next to the mill, i'm not sure if it ever powered the machines
or still does for that matter, but it was pretty to look at.

the photos below are some i've found that feature warm blankets like the woolen mills
makes. i'm not a big fan of a wool blanket to snuggle up with, but the mill also
makes a softer variety too. i know that for a fact because i own a few! 

love them. 
love plaid.
love stripes.
love a blanket thrown over every chair come fall.

if you're ever out junking and you see a faribault woolen mills blanket 
snatch it up- the old ones are hard to come by and they
never go out of style. you can always buy new ones as well, 
but be prepared to spend a half a week's paycheck.


we have snow covering the ground today in mpls.
and a blanket looks mighty inviting to me.

happy monday folks and if you haven't already
filled your bird feeders, the birds sure look busy and happy
(do birds smile?) 
out my patio doors.

xo, beth

i love a good p.s. and this is a good one.
a follower commented below and i checked out the
tip she gave me. this is so cool, the mill has a limited
time partnership with target and you can go online to see the
items that they are carrying (exclusively online friends).

*  then  Faribault-target and the page should come up.

here's one of my favorite featured items.

santa, if you're reading this, hook a girl up would ya?