Monday, December 31, 2012


For the past four years we have lived in the area where I grew up so some of the fun has been taking the children to places that I remember going as a kid. One of the places on my list was the Sturgis Pretzel House. This was the first commercial pretzel bakery in the USA. In 1861 Julian Sturgis began making pretzels in this bakery.


It is interesting to hear the legends on how this was started -- one version has a hobo giving Julian Sturgis a pretzel recipe and another version is that he left the soft pretzels in the oven too long and they became hard pretzels.


We were taught how to roll and twist pretzels. In 1861 they employees were paid by the number of pretzels that they made. I think we were a bit slow.


I think she has a bit of a long tail on her pretzel.

One interesting thing is that Julian Sturgis made his own yeast. I didn't even know you could do that. But he kept the recipe a secret and so when he died they had to find a source for yeast.


We saw the original ovens. At this time they were no longer working but based on when one of the ovens stopped working, it was probably working when I was there as a child.

The average American eats 1 1/2 pounds of pretzels a year but the average Pennyslvanian eats more than that. Most of the pretzels in the grocery store are local brands. We have both hard and soft pretzels here. Maybe I will consider this as part of our PA history.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

12 years old -- Happy Birthday

J - his birthday was two weeks ago but I am just now finding some time to blog a bit and post some pictures. I can't believe he is 12 already.

We started the morning with the traditional number pancakes.


I borrowed that idea from a friend. It is fun way to celebrate the birthday. It also helps with pictures because then you remember how old the child was that year. I will say that twos are a bit difficult.

We decided to allow him to open birthday gifts at breakfast. I don't know that we have a traditional time for opening gifts. This year it just worked to do it at breakfast. The birthday boy didn't mind doing that. I love the maturity that opens the card before the gift.

He got a new sport bag from one set of grandparents. I think that one is fancy compared to the one he has been using. It is red which is his favorite color. IMG_1424

He got some books from dad and mom. I had seen them in a catalog and knew he would like them as they were about planes and  WWII. I had not yet ordered them when dad found them at Half-Price books and bought the first four books for $2.00 each. That is my kind of shopping. IMG_1427I made a cake. I am not much of a cake decorator but I try. I decided this would be an easy cake to decorate. We had a Christmas dinner with our small group and I took the cake there and we celebrated.


Happy 12th birthday J. We love you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Dickens' Christmas

We added something new to our things we enjoy at Christmas. A town in the area hosts a Dickens' Christmas one Saturday afternoon in December. The stores on Main Street participate with various tables selling things or giving away things.


The Christmas turkey was there. 
IMG_1379One of the events of the afternoon was a scavenger hunt looking for various Christmas Carol characters.

We found Ebenezer Scrooge. Each character had a business card that they gave you. Some were for local business with the character as an employee.


We also found his office.

IMG_1372We found Robert Cratchit along with Tiny Tim. 

At the beginning of the afternoon we saw them beginning to work on this ice sculpture. We went back and found that the stock was ready. J tried it out and said, "it was cold."

We saw Mr. Fezziwig. Some of the people were difficult to find. They walked around the town but if you saw a group of people you could guess that it was a character.

IMG_1396After we had found all of them  including Mrs. Cratchit, Nephew Fred, Mrs. Dilber, Jacob Marley, and Joe. The kids were able to show their paper and get a top hat. 


There were street performers and carolers. One of the local churches was there and their display was the London Rescue Mission -- they were feeding the poor on the streets and giving out cookies which were yummy.

The local ballet school had a short performance of The Nutcracker which was free. That made Miss K's day as she loves ballet.

It was a fun event and I am glad we went. The weather was not too cold.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dear Blog,

Dear Blog,

It has been a long time since I have visited you. I think about you and times. We have been doing some fun things as a family. I have pictures and other fun things to we have done.

Right now my priorities are therapy for Miss K. We are enjoying having a wonderful therapy center that combines therapy and play nearby and that has become a priority. Miss K goes three times a week. One of her PT goals was to skip 20 feet. She did that the first session but there are still some PT goals -- doing three sit-ups and one push-up (good thing I am not asked to do those.) She is working on handwriting and speech. Some days I don't know why we do speech she will talk and talk, but really we are doing speech to improve pronunciation and intelligibility. Her vocabulary is at the level of an 8 year old.

I also need to make medical appointments and make sure we have everything done that needs to be done. Miss K had a hearing test this past week. Her hearing in her right ear is normal and her hearing in the left ear has a slight loss not enough to need to do anything.

Miss K has also gotten glasses.


J got warts removed. I think we are almost caught up on those things.

My other priority is packing up our house.

And so when there is extra time I am busy, teaching school, cooking meals, cleaning, doing laundry, and finding time to keep my blog updated. Maybe someday my blog will become the priority.




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