Caramel Apples Eli Style

September 24, 2018

The caramel apple kit purchased on my recent trip to Door County contained a tub of caramel, a package of ground up peanuts, 6 pointed at one end wooden sticks, and 6 cupcake papers. Just add four large apples that Papa brought home and one six year old and you have the makings of the “best caramel apples in the world.”

Eli and I talked about this on Sunday and made plans for Monday afternoon to put this all into action. Running to meet me as he stepped off of the school bus was Eli shouting, “It’s time to make caramel apples Grandma!” However, first things first, we had to stop mid-driveway (ours is about ½ mile long) to answer nature’s call.

Upon arriving home, we washed our hands, read the directions and began the preparations.

  • Pound the sticks into the apples.
  • Heat the caramel in the microwave – no more than 1 ½ minutes. Do not boil.
  • Dip the apple in the caramel. Use a small spatula to help spread the caramel over the apple.
  • Roll the caramel covered apple around in the nuts.
  • Place apple in cupcake paper to cool and become less sticky.
  • After a short stay in the refrigerator – ENJOY!

I wonder why Eli said to me, “Grandma, you have to cut mine up for me or I won’t be able to eat it!”   (Check out the attached photo.)

Nature’s Gift

On a beautifully sunny morning in Door County recently, I was walking around to the front of a nostalgic repurposed old church in Sister Bay. My motive was to take a photo of the front of the Tannenbaum Holiday Shop now making it’s home there. While my intention was to film upward to the steeple, my intuition told me to look down into the wet grass at my feet. That is where I found my “nature’s gift” calling to me in the form of a delicate nest that the wind had blown from a nearby giant of a tree.

The little woven wonder was made from dry grass and what looked like shredded paper used in packing gifts. The outside formed a perfect high-sided little cup with two delicate hangers to attach to the tree limb allowing the cup to hang down below the limb. One hanger was broken and it’s opposite was totally missing. Looking inside I found a scattering of dried grass making the bed for the tiny eggs and eventual little birds.

What little bird built this nest with its partner? How many eggs were laid? Did they survive the storm that brought the nest down or were they already gone when that happened? Where are they now?

Nature has so many many wonders to share and gifts to give. We need to remember to not only look up but down as well. The operative word for meis to remember to LOOK!

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Sisterhood

“Sisterhood” women whose hearts and souls are joined together by laughter and tears shared through the glorious journey of life.”

Door County, Wisconsin – what a magnificent setting for six members of our group called Sister’s In Spirit to share four uninterrupted days together in “the glorious journey of life!”  A friendship spanning over 40+ years is the glue that holds the group together.  Two of our members experiencing health issues were unable to be a part of this summer adventure this time around.  But, they are not forgotten and certainly loved.

As a part of this group, I have discovered that being connected by blood is not necessarily the only requirement for being regarded as sisters.  In my experience, this fragile connection can also be made through a number of different effects that this group shares: 

  • a dedication to and love of helping children to learn.  In our case, the teaching profession.
  • like-mindedness in personal work ethic and a desire to make a difference.
  • a sharing of strong family ties.
  • a sharing of a belief system in the existence of a higher power.
  • a sharing of interests, causes and pastimes.
  • an attitude of care and concern for those around us and for each other.
  • a deep and abiding love for each sister that is unconditional.

Our hearts and souls in Sisters In Spirit are joined through laughter and tears experienced together as the years have passed.  Whether we are reminiscing, eating, sightseeing, drinking, shopping, laughing, telling stories, looking for bathrooms, walking, telling jokes, watching the rain, seeing a play, tasting wine, did I say eating?!?!?!, or talking, talking, talking, we are making memories and building ties that will last a lifetime and beyond.  God bless my Sisters In Spirit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom’s Choice Award for Life in the Neck New Friends

 

The Mom’s Choice Awards Names Life in the Neck Book 1 New Friends Among the Best in Family-Friendly Products

Dianedavies.com is honored to announce that Life in the Neck Book 1 New Friends has earned the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award®. Having been rigorously evaluated by a panel of MCA evaluators, Life in the Neck Book 1 New Friends is deemed to be among the best products for families.

Hastings, Minnesota   The Mom’s Choice Awards® has named Life in the Neck Book 1 New Friends as among the best in family-friendly media, products and services. The MCA evaluation process uses a propriety methodology in which entries are scored on a number of elements including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal, and cost.

“We are thrilled to earn the Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence Seal of Approval,” says Diane Davies author. “We know all the great things the MCA does to connect consumers, educators, and caregivers with the best products and services available for families.

To be considered for an award, each entrant submits five (5) identical samples for testing. Entries are matched to evaluators in the MCA database. Evaluators are bound by a strict code of ethics not only to ensure objectivity, but also to ensure that the evaluation is free from manufacturer influence. The five evaluations are submitted to the MCA Executive Committee for final review and approval.

“Our aim to introduce families and educators to best-in-class products and services,” explains Dawn Matheson, Executive Director of the Mom’s Choice Awards. “We have a passion to help families grow emotionally, physically and spiritually. Parents and educators know that products and services bearing our seal of approval are high-quality and also a great value. The MCA evaluation program is designed to incorporate the expertise of scientists, physicians and other specialists; but we also engage parents, children, educators, and caregivers because they are experts in knowing what is best for their families.”

With the evaluation now complete, the testing samples of Life in the Neck Book 1 New Friends will be donated to schools, libraries, hospitals and nonprofit organizations.

Diane Davies is the author of the popular Life in the Neck Book 1 New Friends with Margarita Sikorskaia as the illustrator. The company’s website at http://www.dianedavies.com contains additional information regarding the book and purchasing options.

About the Mom’s Choice Awards®

The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for children, families and educators. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. The organization is based in the United States and has reviewed thousands of entries from more than 55 countries.

Around the world, parents, educators, retailers and members of the media look for the MCA mother-and-child Honoring Excellence seal of approval when selecting quality products and services for children and families.

Learn more about the Mom’s Choice Awards by visiting their website: www.MomsChoiceAwards.com.

 

 

 

Passport Please

Last Thursday on our way to Fleming Field to get our airplane to fly north to Rainy Lake in Canada and our cabin,  I had to make a quick stop at Target to pick up my prescription.   I grabbed my billfold, ran inside, picked up the package and headed back out to the pickup where Butch was waiting.  A little under two hours later with the help of a great tailwind, we glided into the bay in front of the cabin.  Let the weekend begin!!

Friday morning we had errands to run in International Falls which meant we would fly in to Fort Francis, Ontario and drive back across the border.  I decided not to take my entire bag.  I’d just take the billfold once again – no problem!  BIG PROBLEM – no billfold which meant no passport to get across the border and back.  This was the third time this summer that I arrived in Canada with no passport.  We have a remote border crossing permit from the Canadian government to cross into Canada without stopping for customs.  However, upon re-entering the USA, a custom stop is required.  I knew I had my passport with me.  I always keep it right in my billfold.

Right – my billfold.  When I returned to the pick-up, I threw the prescription into my bag and my billfold on to the pick-up’s center council where it certainly still was only back at Fleming Field inside the hangar!  No trip for me into the Falls today.  Butch would just have to make the trip alone – unhappily to say the least.  What would happen Sunday when we tried to cross back into Minnesota through customs at Scott’s Seaplane in Crane Lake?

  • First time:  We cross the border coming home just about every weekend.  The custom agent knows us on a first name basis.  “Butch, do you know this woman?   Will you vouch for her?” asked the agent.  “Well, it’s pay now or pay later”, Butch responded.  “Yes, she is my wife Diane Davies.”
  • Second time:  U.S. Customs is closing the Crane Lake Office at the end of this season.  They have been rotating officers for most of the season for that reason.  We pull up to the Customs Dock and are greeted by another new face.  “Passports please”, requested the agent.  Butch handed him his passport and I pulled out my passport card.  The card works for driving or walking across the border but not for crossing in an airplane of any size.  The agent took my card and returned to his office with me sweating it out on the dock.  Upon his return, he handed me my card and told me that all of my information popped up when he punched in my numbers, picture and all.  “Welcome back home!”
  • Third time:  Another new face greets us at the Crane Lake dock.  “Passports please”, comes the request.  Butch hands his over and the agent looks my way.  I explained to him where my passport was and smiled my best 70 year old smile.  And waited . . . A grin broke out across his face and he remarked, “I have all of your information on the EAPIS you file before each flight crossing the border.  Your good.”  The EAPIS is a manifest that private aircraft must file since 9/11 before crossing the border in either direction.  That means two of those manifests every time we go to the cabin.  I’ve always moaned and groaned filling them out.  Guess what?  No more moaning and groaning for me. The EAPIS got me back home!  I’ll gladly fill them out from now on!  I’ll also remember to get that passport in the billfold and the billfold into the bag!!!!

 

More on Who is Diane Davies?

I loved school and learning. My philosophy now is; “if you are not learning, growing and doing, you might just as well be dead.” I was a good student because I worked hard at it not because I was so smart. My parents taught us through modeling the importance of a good work ethic. If you said you were going to do something then you better by God do it. If you can run around until all hours of the night on Saturday, then you better be able to get up Sunday morning and go to church. We grew up with a lot of “If yous” but my parents lived by them just the same as they expected us to.

I knew I wanted to be a teacher at a very young age. I admired my two grade school teachers as I had each of them for three years. We had the “little room” which was grades 1 – 3 and the “big room” grades 4 – 6. Students and teachers alike, we all knew each other very well. I was in grade 6 when the “little room” teacher was ill for several weeks with no sub to be found. I and another classmate were asked to cover the lessons for grades 1 – 3 on alternate days so that we would not get behind on our own work. What a thrill to be actually teaching real students not just my dolls and stuffed animals at home. I knew the material well as I had already sat through 3 years of the lessons myself. That was the beginning of my teaching career. The values of and the lessons learned in that tiny two-room schoolhouse were instrumental in shaping the person I am today.

I attended Oltman Junior High and St. Paul Park High in St. Paul Park, Minnesota where I was involved in many of the curricular and extra curricular activities as I possibly could handle.  I graduated in 1966 from the brand new Park High building in Cottage Grove, Minnesota as a part of the first graduating class to make it’s mark at the new school. After a few starts and stops in college, I earned my BA in Elementary Education in 1971 from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and my Master’s Degree in 1977 from the same institution.  School District #200 in Hastings, Minnesota is where I spent my teaching career from 1971 – 1996.

Denmark Township in rural Hastings became my home when I married Butch Davies in 1970.  Our daughter Kristine was born in 1978.  Butch and I have lived in the same location, different house, for nearly 50 years now.  Krisi and her family live right next door with the St. Croix River making up both of our back yards.  Two grandchildren, Elsie & Eli, make the picture complete.

My writing career began in 2005 when I published my first book, From There to Here: A Breast Cancer Journey, which chronicled my medical challenge for it’s duration some 300 some odd days.  Breast Cancer Saved My Life was published in 2015 and now my first children’s book, Life in the Neck New Friends, in 2018.

I came by leadership naturally. My father played a dedicated role of leader in our church and in our community as long as I can remember.   Both of my parents gave their all to any organization or group that they were a part of. My dad was a founding father of the East Cottage Grove Volunteer Fire Department after a neighbor’s barn burned to the ground. He played a significant role in the building of the church building we still use today. Mom was a leader in the women’s group through church and the mother’s club through the school – they were both made up of the same women give or take a few.

Family, faith and friends have been an important part of my life from the beginning – those three things make a solid foundation on which to build a life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is Diane Davies?

 Welcome to my Joyful Surprises Blog.  I’m Diane Davies.  Let me fill you in a bit about me.  I was born in 1948 to Loren and Eileen Lindemann.  We lived in the small community of Old Cottage Grove, Minnesota where everyone was family whether you were related by blood or not.  My older brother by three years, David and I attended a two-room country school through 6th grade.  The “Little Room” with Mrs. Black housed first through third grade while fourth through sixth grade were in the “Big Room” with Mrs.Jensen.  The library where text books were stored along with the paste and other art supplies, was the middle section of an addition along the front of the building.  It was also the bell tower where Mrs. Jensen was in charge of the rope that rang the bell marking the beginning and ending of the school day. The two ends of that section were the entry doors and cloak (really cloak was the word) rooms where we left our coats, boots, sleds, balls, bats or anything else that was not to be in the classroom with us.  Lunches were stored in the classrooms on a shelf behind the furnace in each room because if left in the cloak room they were frozen by lunchtime in the winter.  A long lean-to type of structure ran along the back side of the building and housed separate chemical toilets for the boys and the girls.  This hallway was not heated so needless to say you did not waste time using the bathrooms.  Each of the classrooms had it’s own crock water cooler, tin wash basin, paper towels, soap and slop bucket for the waste water.  The sixth grade boys carried water from the unattached pump house to fill the crocks each morning. I don’t remember how the pump house was kept from freezing.  At the end of the day, the slop bucket was emptied out into the yard.

Each room had a piano, separate desks for each student with attached chairs, a reading/demonstration table with a limited number of chairs, a globe, pull down maps attached to the blackboards, a teacher’s desk and chair and a library which consisted of a book shelf which held a miscellaneous collection of old stories and novels.  I loved that collection and read every book at least once and some of them numerous times.

I also loved that old school and probably received my most valuable lessons within it’s walls.  Reading, writing, history, and arithmetic were not the only subjects taught.  We learned cooperation, communication skills, how to care for those around us whether younger or older, how to play baseball, how to take turns on the swings and the slides, how to push the merry-go-round from underneath, how to ride our bikes, how to do flips off the monkey bars, how to walk the balance beam known as the fence railing along the front of the playground, and how to be at the bottom of the sliding hill when the bell rang announcing the end of afternoon recess.  We did this all without helmets, seat belts, and knee pads.  We had no pea rock or bark to soften the ground under the playground equipment.  Supervision outside was left to the older students to watch the younger.  We were family and looked after each other as such.  We learned to fight and solve problems together.  We learned to love and help each other as well.

The year my class finished 6th grade, the country schoolhouse was closed forever and torn down.  My younger brother started school riding the school bus and attending a new modern elementary building in St. Paul Park, Minnesota.  The end of an era to say the least.

More about Who is Diane Davies in my next blog.