Community Quilts from Donna

I love connecting with people through community quilting.  Donna is someone new to the fold and I’m thrilled to have her on the team.

Donna writes:
I believe that these two quilts, Wonky Heart and Nine Patch with deep red sashing, are from the Cresco Ladies.

All my quilting is FMQ, not panto, and quilted on my Janome sit down long arm.

I absolutely love how the quilting on the squares looks on the 9 Patch.  It is one of my favorite quilting stitches and not only fills the block, but makes the quilt ‘pop’. 


The Wonky Heart was… Continue reading

Stash Report

It’s been ages since I have a stash report.  I don’t buy any fabric anymore.  I don’t get out much at all.

I have been to the thrift store a time or two but they don’t have fabric anymore. They have extra volunteers who have made masks working and I think the fabric gets set aside for them.  BUMMER.  I used to love thrifting for fabric and have been a little sad that there is none to be had anymore.

When Kelli, Kayla, and I went to Spring Green Wisconsin to Country Sampler, read about it HERE if you missed it, we stopped at a garage sale.

The lady there had two boxes of quilting related stuff.  She sold them both to me for $6.  It was a good deal.  Here’s what I got.

These are all perfect for binding.  All are between one and two yards each.

This was fun…yellow, white, and gray scraps.  These are perfect to go with some other scraps I have in the same color family.

So you remember me making Kalissa and Craig’s wedding quilt?  This one…. Continue reading

Funeral Meat AKA: Ham Salad

Our family has some food quirks.  I’ve told you about Hamburger Gravy.  Read about that HERE if you missed it.  I’ve told about how we eat chilli with rice.  Read about that HERE if you missed that.

Today I’m telling you about funeral meat otherwise known as ham salad.

Growing up in southern Minnesota in the 60s, 70s and 80s, pretty much every funeral luncheon served ham salad sandwiches as their meal to the mourners so at our house, Kramer always called it funeral meat and to this day, we still call ham salad funeral meat.

As a kid, my mom would sometime buy some but not all that often.  When our kids were little, I bought some in the spring and fall when Kramer was busy in the fields farming.  It is one of those things that I often forget about but then once I remember, I’m really excited to eat it again.

We hadn’t had it for a long time until last week I was on the phone with Kelli and she said something about having ham salad.  The minute I was done on the phone with her I walked to the refrigerator, confirmed we had the ingredients and there on the spot made ham salad.

My kids are CRAZY about it.

I had a bowl and ate it with those flat pretzels using the ham salad as a dip.  YUM.

Kalissa came over and had some…then when Karl was home he ate the rest.

I was so sad it was gone.  I guess I misspoke.  I guess I should have said the kids AND I, are crazy about it.  Proof?

The next morning I said to Karl, lets so to the Amish store and get more ham.  We hoped in the car and away we went.

South of us is an Amish community and they have bent and dent grocery stores.  They have recently gotten a freezer section and we love it.  The meat there is so reasonably priced.

We got this big 8 3/4 pound bag of ham ends.

It was $8.75 so, $1 a pound for the ham.  Many people wouldn’t like the ham ends as they aren’t creative in their cooking.  I love them.

I slice some and chop some of the pieces and then use them when cooking.  This time, I was making Ham Salad with some of it.

When I was a kid and only thought it was for funerals, I thought it must be something hard to make.  YEARS later and better kitchen equipment later, Ham Salad is a breeze.

I threw about 2 pounds of ham in the food processor along with 1/2 cup Mayonesa (you can use regular mayo), pepper and garlic salt to taste, 2 pickle spears, and 1/2 onion.  I turned on the food processor and in less than a minute I had ham salad.  You might have to adjust the amount of Mayo depending on the moistness of your ham.

We like Mayonesa. It’s a little different than regular mayo.  It has lime in it.  It is so good and has become our family’s favorite.  You can find it HERE on Amazon.  I don’t think it’s available everywhere.

McCormick Mayonesa (Mayonnaise) With Lime Juice, 28 Fl Oz

Anyway…the ham salad was awesome.  I used honey ham and it was so good.  That made two containers full plus a little for Karl and me to use as a dip with some chips.  Oh my…what can I say.  We are definitely on a funeral meat kick.

I ended up taking the two containers to Buck’s when we went last Sunday.  I left what we didn’t eat there.  I know Buck has loved funeral meat too.

Sorry, it’s not a better recipe.  I’ve never had a batch fail.  You can always add half the amount of pickles and add more once you taste it.  I’m definitely a cook that makes food by taste!!

So curious minds want to know…is “funeral meat aka ham salad” a Midwest thing or a southern Minnesota thing, or just a Kramer thing.  Please leave a comment and let us know.

Ask Jo: Christmas

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days…

I recently got a question from Donna.  She wrote:
I have an “Ask Jo” question. Hope I haven’t missed the answer on some past post…but why do you dislike holiday decorating?
Don’t get me wrong…I dislike it too, but if I ever mention that to someone, it’s like they can’t even believe it and like I must be dysfunctional.

I just resent the time it takes to set up and later pack away. I don’t enjoy doing it and as a mother of only sons (now adults) I have found they really don’t notice stuff like that very much.
Now a special meal and a seasonal dessert they do appreciate and I like planning and cooking.

I guess I am feeling g a bit guilty and maladjusted seeing everyone’s Halloween decorations.

How did you phase out seasonal decorating g and does your family mind?
You don’t even do a Christmas tree, right? I might give that up this year.”

Oh my…I’m sure you had no idea when you asked the question, Donna, what my response would be.  It will likely be a long one so grab a cup of coffee…here goes.

I’ve told you all that I’m the youngest of five siblings.  My sister is 16 years older than me and there are 3 boys in between.  When I was little, this was my Christmas….

It says Feb ’68 on the photo so that means this was taken when I was two.

I am dumping out my Christmas stocking.  Our family celebrated Christmas at that time.

Second grade was the last year our family celebrated a “regular” Christmas.  After that, my sister and her family joined a church group that didn’t acknowledge Christmas.  My parents ended “regular” Christmas for us all.

We didn’t have a tree.  We didn’t have a huge meal.  We didn’t have decorations.  We still had Christmas candies and treats and my Dad continued to candlelight church service but that’s about it as far as celebrating Christmas goes.

There never was Santa even when my parents allowed “regular” Christmas.  My parents believed Santa was a lie and they didn’t lie to us EVER!

So for me, Christmas became totally non-commercial.  On Christmas Eve I went to church with my Dad.  My brothers and their families often still came on Christmas day.  There weren’t any presents.  We ate food.  We played games including cards.  Christmas for me was the birth of Jesus.  It was a candlelight service.  It was family.  It’s was food and spending time together.

As a teen and early adult, I was resentful to my sister about this.  I wanted parts of the commercial Christmas I could see so many enjoying.  I blamed it on my sister and her family.  I felt like they stole it from me.  She got while she was growing up.  She ruined it for me.

As a twenty-some-year-old, I had a family and kids.  I could do what I wanted in regards to Christmas.  I talked to Kramer and he was on board to not do Santa.  I tried having a tree.  I tried some of the more commercial non-religious things people do for Christmas but it all seemed like a show that involved a lot of work and money.  After a few years, I told Kramer if he wanted to do a tree to do it- I wasn’t.  He said he didn’t have a tree growing up unless he brought the classroom Christmas tree home from school.  He agreed.  A tree and lots of decor wasn’t our thing.  A Christmas tree wasn’t meaningful to us.

When Kalissa was a teen she was insistent on a tree.  We had one a couple of years…but after she had to take all the decorations up and down, she quit too.

Christmas isn’t about decorations for me.  Christmas for me is about family.  It’s about a candlelight Christmas service.  It’s about special foods for the season…a couple of practical presents and that’s it.  The other stuff doesn’t bring me joy.  After living so many years without it, the other stuff seems frivolous and expensive.

Now that the kids are all adults… Continue reading