Wednesday, December 31, 2014

From My Family to Yours-Happy New Year.

In any language the sentiment is the same.

Wishing you and all your family, a  happy, healthy New Year.

God Bless,


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Oplatek- reminds me of my Babcia and my mother.

It is Christmas Eve afternoon. Not wanting to start any project because we are going to leave at 4:15 for Christmas Mass at 5:00, I was just surfing and an article titled, “I’m Sharing OpÅ‚atek With All of You” caught my eye. “Oh my gosh” I said out loud. The picture was of someone “breaking off” a piece of oplatek. Oplatek is unleavened bread, similar to what is used for Communion in the Catholic Church. It is the custom in Poland to have breaking of the bread with your family and wishing them health, happiness and success while doing so. As I read the article, memories of Christmas pass came to mind. Babcia (grandma) offering all of us to take a piece of Oplatek as she wished us a Merry Christmas. In later years, after Babcia passed, my mother took over for her. Her house became the family gathering and everyone that entered had to have a piece of Oplatek. It was family tradition. I have some Oplatek, wrapped in Sarah wrap, in a sealed envelope from those days. I think it is time for me to start the tradition up again.  I think I will search the internet for some fresh Oplatek. What family traditions do you remember from your youth? Do you carry them out with your family now?

Merry Christmas,

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Traditions. Do you have any?

Christmas time. A beautiful time of the year. A time for recalling past Christmas’. But it can also be a hectic. I tend to start early so that I can sit back and relax in front of the tree. Of course, with just the two of us, I don’t do as much baking etc. as I did in the past. Our four daughters have done a great job of taking over that department. They also take turns planning and having the Christmas festivities. We just have to show up. Daughter number 3 posted a picture on Facebook of an angel on her Christmas tree and asked why each of the four girls, their dad and I hung a similar angel on the tree as the last ornament each year.  When the girls were small I was wondering the aisles of the YBR store in our town. It carried anything and everything a person needed from groceries to boots to wear doing farm chores. And old mercantile type store straight out of pioneer days. I spotted a box of small angels, six of them, each different. I loved them and purchased them. A tradition was born. Every year from that Christmas on, each of us would hang our angel on the tree as our last ornament. It was my way of showing the girls the true meaning of Christmas. When the girls got their own homes, I gave each of them an Angle.

Three of the Angles.
 I have always put up a nativity, too. I bought our first Nativity for our first Christmas. At the time, I thought it was a bit pricey but I knew I had to have one or it would not be Christmas.
I still have it. 

Fifty two years old this Christmas.

This is the fifty-second time I have set it up. It is looking a bit worn but it is still very special to me. It reminds me of many Christmas’ past and how many little hands have arranged and re-arranged the pieces. I now own six different nativities and all of them go up every year. 

One more tradition we had was going to Mass on Christmas Eve, stopping after church and buying a bottle of wine, going home and hubby making fudge, the old fashioned kind and me making eggnog. Fun times. Hubby still makes the fudge every Christmas, still using the same old fashioned recipe. But now he makes a lot of batches and divides them among 13 grandkids and four daughters and four sons–in-laws. 

These are some of our traditions from past years. Do you have traditions that have special meaning in your family? Do you still carry them out, maybe in a different way? Fun time.

Enjoy the weeks before Christmas. But remember the reason for the season.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving and black Friday.

Thanksgiving is four days away. As I was making my oatmeal buns for our family Thanksgiving, I got to thinking about family. This will be the first year ever that the whole family won’t be together. It makes me a bit sad but not a lot. You see, two granddaughters are traveling to the “other side” of their “new” families. One has been married for over a year and the other is getting married in Jan. Exciting times. And that is a good thing, a happy time. There will still be plenty of us together to celebrate and still plenty to be very thankful. And this is the way life is supposed to be.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, this brings to mind all the black Friday sales. I do not do theblack Friday scene. I feel it isn’t worth the savings to fight the hassle. This is the black Friday I take part of every year.

Do you take part in the black Friday sales?

Have a good day, stay warm.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thanking all of our veterans today, especially two special men in my life, past and present.

Thanking all of our veterans today, especially these two special men in my life, past and present.

John Hascall U.S. Army WW 2

Jerry L. Hascall U.S. Navy 1958-1964
Our family was a family of servers; John Hascall,(Jerry’s dad), all of John’s brothers, and all of John’s sons, Darwin, Wayne, David and Jerry, and now a grandson, Steve Mauer. One of my daughters asked why we didn’t make a big deal out of this over the years. To answer that, this is what I said,

“I don't know. You are right. We definitely should have. I think in years past we as a whole, Americans, just took our freedom for granted. Today, with the world the way it is and after 2011, we know it can change in an instant.” And I hope and pray, we never forget this important lesson.

Thank a veteran today, not just for serving, but for making it possible for something special to be in your life, like your home, your family, safe and happy, ability to worship at the church of your choice, to travel with out fear of road side bombs. The list goes on.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Who knew? Feathers?

I saw a post on Facebook from a friend on Sweet Autumn Clematis. She was showing how the seeds look liked they grew feathers. So, I decided to go out and look at mine. She was so right. What do you think? Don’t they look like feathers? Who knew?
This is how Sweet Autumn Clematis looked earlier this fall.


Look close.

See the "feathers"?


So glad for that Facebook post or I would not have seen the beauty of my Sweet Autumn Clematis this late in the season.  Beauty is all around us in this world. All we have to do is look for it. Lesson learned.

Enjoy the nice fall weather while it lasts.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Created a Monster

Woke up to the sound of wind. Strong wind. Darn, no walking today. Didn’t walk yesterday either. It rained all day. I had been walking the town for most of the summer. But about August, I got bored with the same old path each day plus all the barking dogs. I felt like some of them could get loose and “walk” with me. Our town has had a couple of issues with dogs biting passersby and I didn’t want to be come on of those. I decided walking the Stone Arch Trail was safer. See post of August Old Stone Arch Trail. I had been trying to talk hubby into walking with me, with no luck. But when I mentioned the Stone Arch trail and the fact that there are benches along the way that he could sit at, if needed, he agreed. He had been having leg pains so severe that walking to the mailbox and back, a total of a half a block, had become too much for him. Fast forward to the present and he is walking to the Stone Arch and back to the car, for a total of 2 miles. I am amazed and proud of him for hanging in there. Today, I wanted to pass on walking because I HATE Wind but he said he was going to try it. If the wind got too bad he would come home. Okay. Lay the guilt on me. So, I got on my shoes, my jacket, my hat and my mittens and off we went. We made it to the Arch and back. It was windy, very windy in some places and not so bad in others and we walked the two miles.
Like I said, I have created a monster. 

Have a wonderful day,

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fall in Iowa feels more like Winter Plus another free Sampler

It is Fall here in Iowa. But this morning it feels more like Winter. The temp this morning is 32. Furnace is humming away and the heat feels great. Wind is blowing around 20 mph. Haven’t heard what the wind chill is but I am sure it isn’t pleasant. Hubby just said the wind chill in 25. Brrrrr. Didn’t need to know that. Most of the time after a freeze we have beautiful weather. Sounds like the highs will be in the upper 60’s next week. Love Indian Summer. Hope it last till Thanksgiving. I wish.

My view this morning looking out the bay window. Love the way the rising sun highlights the changing leaves on the trees.

I think this might be a good day to make a pot chili. You can't beat homemade soup on a chilly day.

Have a great weekend. Stay warm


P.S. If you have young ones in your life, they may enjoy these worksheet.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

FREE-Fire Safety Sampler

How do you feel about Fire Prevention Week? Fire scares me. Maybe because I have been burned twice in my life. The first time my dad was bringing glue that he had made and boiled on the on stove in the basement upstairs to glue dining room chairs that had came unglued itn winter dryness and hat.. I guess it was supposed to be better than any glue on the market that many years ago (65). I was on my way down to see what he was doing, and as kids always seem to do, running. I ran right into him and the hot glue spilled on my shoulder. I can remember my mom and dad pulling my dress off of me. The second time I was burned was while I was cooking supper. Mom wasn’t feeling well and was lying down. I was starting supper in our very small kitchen. So small that the little table that sat one. I was frying minute steaks, leaning against that table and caught my shirt on fire. It was wearing my dad’s shirt with long tails, very fashionable in the 50’s and very dangerous to wear cooking. Anyway, we are all taught to drop and roll from a very young age. But when I realized I was on fire, my mind shut down and I went running through the house yelling for my mom. She took the blanket she was covered with and wrapped it around me, smothering the flame. But by that time, it had done its damage. I couldn’t wear but loose clothing and missed a whole week of school. I was very lucky it wasn’t worse. Thank God I had taken the time to put my very long hair in a ponytail. Otherwise, I would have been burned worse. To this day, I have a hard time being around fire, fireworks, campfires, kids roasting marshmallows, you get the picture.

This site is a good site to learning more about being safe around fire and making our homes safe.  

I have added various Fire Prevention Products to my store, Smalltowngiggles at

                           Among them is this free Fire Prevention Sampler;

Be Safe!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Leaning Chimney of Shelby

It's Gone! The old chimney, aka the leaning chimney of Shelby, is gone. I wanted to get a couple of pictures of the old one but we weren’t home when the work started so I didn’t get it.

This picture from a year ago is all I have.

You can see the temporary fix. The patch didn’t hold up as good as expected. The mortar was about gone on one side and the 100+ year old bricks were very soft, thus a big lean to the southeast. Probably wouldn’t have held up to another winter of strong north winds. Scary thought. The new one looks good to me and will be able to hold up to those strong winter winds.

Sure glad that job is done. All that is left is filling in the deep ruts, about a foot and half deep, left by the machinery that was used, plant grass seed and all is good.

And then there is the front yard. The town of Shelby is updating water and sewer lines. We were the only house whose water line was connected to the water tower. Every time the town needed to do something at the water tower and had to shut off water, we were shut off, too. So, the town decided that while they were putting in new pipes, this would be a good time to move our line from the south side to the north side of our house. More big machinery. More torn up lawn.

What a mess. But the town said they will take care of it and plant grass seed. Wonder if I should've gotten that in writing?

We sure are hoping for a wet fall once the grass seed is planted. For now, we are enjoying the quiet now that all the machinery is gone.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

A day to remember.

Today is one of those days, when we all remember where we were and what we were doing when the towers came down. I was just getting breakfast on the table for 6 daycare kids. I had the radio on, as usual, for morning news. But like most mornings back then, I would not catch much news. I heard something about plane crash but with 6 six hungry mouths, it didn't register what I had heard. Next thing I knew the phone was ringing and my youngest daughter asking what I thought about the plane crash. At that point, I didn't know what she was talking about. All she could say, " was turn on your T.V".  Six little kids to care for and the world changing forever, a day I will never forget. Scared for what the rest of the day might bring. I remember how quiet the world seemed when all planes were grounded. We live in the fight path of Eppley Airfield in Omaha for planes going east. No planes made the world seem unreal. We had a planned Zonk night the next evening and usually the T.V. is off. But that evening we were all wanting it on, listening to the latest development. Even today, 13 years later, that day brings sadness and tears.

God bless America today and always. God be with us.


Monday, September 1, 2014

52 years and counting.

September started on a beautiful note. It is sunny, the humidity is down and the storms last night missed us. We had family home this holiday weekend. Today, we are spending a quiet day doing nothing, unlike 52 years ago. On September 1, 1962 my hubby and I said our “I do’s”. It, too, was a beautiful late summer day with blue skies and sunshine and lots of family and friends to help us celebrate. And definitely not quiet. Yes, there were bumps in the road, but we were able to work through them. We have four wonderful daughters and sons-in law and 13 grandkids with one grandkid-in-law and another to join our clan soon. God has definitely blessed us all these years. And hopefully will for more years to come.

Hope everyone is having a relaxing holiday.

Sept, 2012 on our 50th anniversary

Friday, August 22, 2014

Rock Island Old Stone Arch Trail-Shelby Iowa

I was getting tired, or should I say bored, with my usual path of my daily walk. We are fortune to have the Old Stone Arch Trail in our town. We can get on the trail about a ½ mile from our house at the park. Back in the day, I could walk down to the park, walk a little more than a mile on the trail and walk back up the hill to home, all while pushing a stroller with two kids in it. Those were the days, now long gone.  Now driving down to the park and then walking that path makes more sense. Besides hubby had given up walking because his legs get sore and he can’t go far. I convinced him to give the trail a try. It has benches every so often so he can sit when needed and so can I. He is doing great. I am hoping he gets those old legs back in shape as we go.

Yesterday, I took my camera along. There was an interesting insect I wanted to capture.

Thanks to my granddaughter Sadie, I now know that it is an Ebony Jewelwing. From her research information, I am not sure what it is doing in our area. But he is sure pretty.

Here are some other pictures I took yesterday morning.

It is a great place to walk. It feels 10 degrees cooler on the path and all you hear is nature. Oh, and a rooster from a nearby farm.

You can read more on The Old Stone Arch Trail here. Stop and take a break if you are ever traveling  down I-80 in Iowa.

“The Rock Island Old Stone Arch Trail travel 4 miles along an asphalt path atop an abandoned rail bed once owned by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad. As the name suggests, the trail's main feature is a stone arch bridge, which is listed on National Register of Historic Places.”

You can check out the other interesting things about our town and the area here;

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I am having a Back to School Sale.

Save 28% of all my products on Wednesday, August 20.

Use code BOOST at checkout.

Thank you for visiting my store, Smalltowngiggles. 

Rose Hascall

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

STOP and smell the roses.

“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven”. “You must do something--switch directions and become something you presently are not. Embrace the lowliness and wonder of the child who lives each moment as a gift, not as a stepping-stone for social status. It is to those who live in childlike simplicity that the Kingdom of heaven belongs”.

Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes, F.S.P.

Sr. Kathryn really got me thinking this morning. Do you think that if we were more childlike we would be happier? Would we “stop and smell the roses” more?  Would we not worry about tomorrow so much? These questions and more came to mind today for me. What are your thoughts on this Bible passage?

For me it is a reminder to be happy with our lives as they are now. To enjoy our blessings and to be thankful not wishful.

Take time to smell the roses.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Muscatine cantaloupe are so yummy

We have been waiting all summer for a good, sweet cantaloupe. Well, we finally found one. It is Muscatine Cantaloupe time. I have been saying we should just quit buying cantaloupe till the Muscatine melons are ready. They are ready. And they are as sweet and juicy as we anticipated they would be. Muscatine cantaloupes are huge melons. They got their name because they originally were grown only in that part of Iowa. I am not sure that is true anymore. The Muscatine, Iowa area’s sandy soil makes these the best melons around.

One cup measuring cup for size comparison.

This one gallon container is so full I can't get the lid on. I have a great solution to that problem, tho.
I will just have to eat some.

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend. Hope you enjoy yours.


You can read more about the Muscatine Melons here;                                                               

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Great morning for visitors to my flower garden.

What a nice, cool day. Perfect for checking out the flower garden. While I was taking a few pictures, I had a couple of visitors show up. They seemed to be enjoying the morning, too.


Tiger Lily

Blanket Flower

Bee Balm

Purple Cone Flowers

Sunflower, Garden Phlox, Cleome

Hope you are having great weather and the time to enjoy it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Electric Blanket or Electric Mattress Pad?????

It feels like fall not July 16. Most years the A.C.s are humming along day and night. Not this year. The temperature this morning when I got up was 51. Feels more like furnace weather. It stayed on the cool side all day yesterday, too. Long sleeve T’s felt good. And jeans instead of capris. Our unusual year of weather hangs with us. I am not complaining. I love the weather we are having. Opened windows, no A.C. Perfect in my book. A real reminder that fall isn’t ALL that far away. This cool spell is a reminder that we need a new electric blanket. Ours bit the dust this past winter. But I am wondering if we should buy an electric blanket or and electric mattress pad? Any thoughts on this? And suggested brands? Sure would appreciate some help deciding. Wish I had one or the other the last couple of nights. I could have shut windows but I love the fresh air and the night noises here in the country.

Here are some I have been looking at.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

This old house.

The house painters are done. With all the wet weather we had in June, 10 inches for the month, it was slow going. It took two high school guys 20 hours each to paint the trim. They started the 24th of June and finished July 6th. This house is a challenge to paint. It has 6 very high peaks and a lot of trim. Thank heavens the rest is perma-siding that doesn’t require painting.
It was the first house the guys have painted. They did an excellent job. All we have left for this summer is roofing of the two front peaks and chimney replacement. Will be glad when that is done. Love our old house but it does take maintenance.








The finished house. Doesn't she look great?

Friday, July 4, 2014

This says it all.

Have a safe and fun holiday weekend with family and friends. But remember what the holiday is all about. Thank a Soldier/Veteran today. Fly the flag if you can.

 Happy Fourth Of July.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Have you ever met Charlie??? Horse that is.

Have you ever had experience with a Charlie horse? I did years ago during one my pregnancies.  But it was on the mild side. The other night I was woke up to this piercing scream. It was my husband. At first I thought he was having a heart attack or something.  But, he was having a major Charlie horse. Actually, he had three more strong ones in a row. His leg was bending back and hard as a rock. I try massaging it and that made him hurt more. He tried pointing his toes and that seemed to make it worse. I got up and got him an ice pack. That helped some.  Finally, after a half hour or so Charlie left.  But he is still limping some and that was Monday night. SCARED THE HECK OUT OF ME!!!!! Who can get back to sleep after something like that?  HE DID.  But I spent the next half hour googling facts on Charlie horses and printing out articles for him to read. Has he followed any of them? Not really. I did talk him into a banana today. But drinking more water?  Forget it. And broccoli?  Doubt it. Maybe a yogurt.  But I won’t hold my breath on that one either. I told him I don’t want to go through another night like that and he said neither did he. But………….. Men! Every time he moved last night I was awake waiting for the piercing scream.  Hopefully there won’t be any more in the future.

Take care,


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dentist appointment, gone wrong.

I have never been a fan of dentists. Oh, I like the man himself, and I know they are necessary, but I just don’t like dentists. I am not really sure why I feel that way. Never have had a reason until today.  Backup to a couple of months go to the middle of April. Had a routine dentist appointment, or so I thought. Turns out I had a cavity, first one in many years. That alone freaked me out. Then the Dentist says, “It is a deep one”. I thought that is what I get for putting off going to the dentist for almost a year and half, while kicking myself around the block. He filled it, took a while, and all was well. I thought. About three weeks later said tooth started to ache. Noticed it when I had my first D.Q. cone of the season. Love D.Q vanilla cones. But my tooth didn’t like the cold. Anyway, decided to go in and see what the deal was. He tried a couple of things and said if they didn’t work, I would either have a root canal or have it pulled. I asked what he recommended and he said he didn’t think it was a good candidate for a root canal for reasons I won’t go into. Send me home and said to see how it goes. Well, all was well for almost two months. Started aching, some at first and then more as time went on. I called the dentist today, said it wasn’t doing well, he had me come in and we decided to pull it. Okay, no big deal, right? Not so. The roots were hooked on my jaw or, I think, a toe. It wouldn’t come out. Finally did, but not the roots. Oh boy. To end this rambling post, an hour later I was sent home with an envelope of cotton pads and instructions for care after an extraction. Oh and two stitches. It was a pretty good day till then. Will be interesting to see how all goes when my fat lip goes down.

Have a good evening, hoping I do.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sunsets, Friday the 13 Moon, and first Bouquet of Summer.

I did manage to get a few shots of the moon. A bit disappointed, tho. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It was beautiful. Nature always amazes me. But, then, look who the Creator was. After the media predictions, I was expecting a more reddish/golden color. But don’t they always over state everything?

I took this picture of the Friday, the 13 moon around 9:30.

Hubby took this one around 3:00 a.m.

Here is the first bouquet of the summer from my flower gardens. Everything is growing and looking good. Praying that tonight doesn’t change that. There is a 90% change of very strong storms with high winds, large hail and possible tornadoes. The winds are very strong already. In fact, we were sitting out on the deck and I had to come in. The swaying and cracking sounds of the trees made me very nervous. I swear one is going to come down sometime, right on our roof. Told hubby we would need more than new shingles if that happens. He, of course, told me that I just have a vivid imagination, that I am a bit of a worrier. Sure hope he is right.

I took these sunset pictures one evening this past week. Sometimes I am a bit slow getting the pictures “out” of my camera.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in our lives.
Have a wonderful weekend with your families.