Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tomato Galore

tomato wagon, originally uploaded by hmsohly.

My father has an amazing garden. He loves to grow things and has instilled that love in his children and grandchildren. Last year, I finally talked him into sharing his garden at the local farmer's markets. He had always had so much and some went to waste when he couldn't find friends who would take more produce. If you're in Frederic or Siren, Wisconsin on Saturdays, you'll find my dad at the market. My mother is canning like crazy and I was so lucky to have some of these yummy tomatos for my birthday. They are truly the middle of heaven.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pre-cut squares. . . Please, don't call me lazy, but pre-cut charms are perectly delightful. Moda puts together yummy collections of their various lines. Here are the 5" charms from the Figgy Pudding line. If you're a sewer who hasn't quilted, charms are a great way to go. You can get an easy start by doing four-patch or nine-patch and suddenly, you've become a quilter. If the Moda prints don't strike your fancy, you'll find other collections on e-bay or at your local quilt shop. I was always amazed by traditional quilting, but never thought I'd want to try--too detailed, too tedious for my attention span. With pre-cut charms, I have enjoyed it--projects come together fast. . . for even faster projects--try Layer Cakes--10" pre-cut squares. You can make something cozy and beautiful for your loved ones. I hear my sister-in-law and brother have been fighting over her quilt made with Hello Betty 10" pre-cuts. That kind of love is the middle of heaven!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Isle Theater, Cumberland, Wisconsin

The Isle Theater is the movie theater of my youth. Somehow, it has been completely refurbished. Apparently, some angels have come to the small hamlet of Cumberland, Wisconsin and begun investing in this town.

With community support, the building has been restored and original seats have been sanded and repainted, reupholstered and reinstalled. It looks like I remember, only so much better. I remember a birthday I had featuring ET at that theater. The building is from 1907 and I always loved the tin ceiling and the sweetie seats. They are in the photo above. If you find yourself in the Cumberland area, do make the trip to this little theater. You will enjoy the nostalgia of it; I promise. For movie times and some of the history see:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Day at the Beach

IMG_3400, originally uploaded by hmsohly.

Having the whole family go to the beach is a treat. With the craziness that is our modern lives, we often head off separately to get the big girl to soccer, theater or an evening with friends while the littles head to their activities. Getting us all together to play and relax is a greal gem.

We are all collectors--rocks, beach glass, and shells all make their way to our home in pockets and then find a place to adorn a shelf, a vase, a treasure box. The kids never seem to mind if it is sunny or gray. They just want the sand in their toes, wind on their cheeks, rocks to throw at the water and shovels for digging. Simple things are always the best. A day at the beach is the middle of heaven for our family.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Best String Cheese

As a child, in Northern Wisconsin, I grew accustomed to the cheese curds and string cheese, my grandparents' always had in their refridgerator. They always went to the local dairy to get them (and an ice cream cone) and I took for granted that I'd find the same types of products when I ventured into stores in larger metropolitan areas. I didn't.
Last fall, my husband found my favorite "Fancy Cheese" at the Safeway near his office on Queen Anne. This spring, I found it at the PCC in Edmonds. I promise you and your kiddos will LOVE this cheese. It is the middle of heaven--just the perfect blend of salty and creamy. The texture is also perfect--the right amount of pull and bite. Hopefully you'll find "Fancy Cheese" in your market, but if you don't, here is the link to their on-line store: They are a full co-op, so you can also buy grain, fencing and other farm implements, though not on-line.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Homesteader's Package

Did you know you could order these little lovelies in the mail? My father orders his chickens and the little box full of holes and cheeps, arrives at the post office where he picks them up after the early morning call telling of their arrival. We are lucky to visit the farm in the summer. The "littles" as I refer to my kiddos, love all the baby animals, so Papa orders up chicks for the littles to enjoy. This year he decided to order a package with ducks, turkeys and geese. Apparently you give the company your order date and then they arrive. Sadly, Papa didn't read the fine print and the Homesteader's Package is always sent at a specific time. They are already at the farm and don't they look so soft and snuggly? No little baby ducks, geese and turkeys for the littles, but there will be chicks in June. Warm, downey sweetness--yes, the middle of heaven. . . I guess life on the farm in spring is the middle of heaven--all that new life and green. Ahh, spring.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Signs of Spring

These happy blossoms are making us believe that spring is definitely here. What wonderful reminders! Spring blooms and green shoots are just the middle of heaven. Even little hands understand that:).

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Friend Like Holly

As if having a friend who is willing to watch your kiddos isn't amazing enough, we have a friend, Holly, who is more amazing than that. The children almost lose their senses when Holly arrives. She loves to see them, play with them and make them giggle. On our way out to see a concert on Saturday night, I backed into her new snazzy car. I just scratched it (I didn't crunch it), but still--that is enough of a blip on my screen, to call it a night. We inspected her car and my sweet husband went in to tell Holly the news. Her response was heavenly, "Whatever, go have fun." She didn't come out and take a look. Obviously, she knows we will make it right, but still--not a look, not a stutter. . . "Whatever, go have fun." She was even surprised when we were home by 11:00 pm. The concert was over and we wanted to get her on her way. Friends are always awesome, but a friend who will watch your kids and love you even when you crack into her new car is the middle of heaven as far as we're concerned. Thank you, Holly. We love you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cakebread Cellars

Simple things.

Clean laundry.

A good cup of coffee.

Pizza on Friday--my kids eating all the black olives.

A glass of good wine.

Sleeping babies.

A movie with my sweetheart.
If you're looking for a glass of good wine, will provide you with a lovely experience. Their reserve chardonnay is incredible. Their reds are beautifully crafted. Really, you'd enjoy any bottle on which they place their label. Their cooking classes are dreamy as well! BB (before babies) my husband and I enjoyed a cooking class and a meal with the owner, Jack Cakebread. If you get the opportunity, take it. Their chefs are constantly creating and pairing; their on-site garden is unparalleled. Cakebread wines are definitely "the middle of heaven" as far as we are concerned.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Daddy's Dream Car

My father is simple in his tastes. He likes meat with every meal. He likes to wear things out--drive a car into the ground, wear clothes thread-bare, recycle an old refridgerator into a shelf for the farm, etc. He loves where he lives and loves his family. He farms and gardens. With that said, he does enjoy nice things, though he rarely has such desires. Today, he fulfilled a boyhood wish. He bought a Thunderbird. He has looked at paper ads for them since the 60s. . . and fifty years later, he has the car he has always desired. I believe he is in the middle of heaven today. Here is a photo of him with his car. He is an old German guy, so that is as happy as he ever looks. Well, he might look happier when playing with his grandkids. I'll have to do some photo comparison.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fabric Love

Okay, I admit it. I was a Wisconsin State Fair Dress Review participant, which means, I was a rural kid who spent my time sewing for 4-H. Anyway, my home economist mother taught me all kinds of skills and my sewing is an homage to her and to my children. I make toys and clothes for them. I make scarves and hats for my husband. When I search for supplies, I find myself at Pacific Fabric and Crafts mesmerized by their selection of patterns, colors, textures.

They have lovely designer fabrics, embelishments galore, designer patterns and such knowledgeable staff. More often than not, they are displaying customer work and conducting some kind of community service--a hat and mitten drive, Project Linus fabric drive, etc. They offer classes for newbies and seasoned crafters. They also have a warehouse in SoDo that offers some incredible deals. Their website offers fun projects and their stores provide such inspriration

Call me provincial, but I love the handmade item. All the love and time someone spent to create a lovely thing is dear. I say that Pacific Fabric and Crafts helps many people find their heaven and create the middle of heaven for those they love. If you are a knitter, crocheter, sewer or crafter, you will find something to help you play. They have many locations, so if you live in the Seattle area, one will be near you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Common Good Books and Valentines

While visiting friends in St. Paul, Minnesota over the winter holiday, I was early and the other girls were late. What a lucky thing for me since W. A. Frost (our meeting destination) is across the street from Garrison Keillor's Common Good Books. I couldn't help but disappear for an hour. I read from some wonderful books and had to have Ted Kooser's VALENTINES. You can listen to him reading selections at NPR.

If you find yourself in St. Paul, do spend some time with the wonderful literary selections, the interesting author quotations and the signs that urge you to read. Common Good Books is "the middle of heaven" as our boy would say, so is Ted Kooser's lovely collection of Valentines. Maybe tonight you could share Kooser's words with your love while you enjoy some wine and cheese by candle light. It is what I did with my love last night and that was a little bit of heaven for us.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Title

After my husband fresh-squeezed orange juice for our son, my husband passed him the glass of sunshine. I told our boy that he would be drinking a little bit of heaven. After his first sip, he said, "You're right, it is the middle of heaven!" Some expressions are so sweet, that we just can't bring outselves to correct them.

In this blog, you will find things that we believe are a little bit of heaven, or as our boy would say, things that are the middle of heaven. I hope you enjoy these goodies like we do.

Happy reading!