Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fun Facts

I've had a couple of emails lately that I thought would make a fun post. So, instead of sending these to email buddies, I thought I'd just do a fun post with them. The first one comes from Chrissy and is a survey for first time mommies. I'm just going to post about all three of my pregnancies and babies.

1. Were you married at the time? - You better believe it. I wouldn't have wanted my dad to kill anyone!
2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant. - All three times, I was ecstatic.
3. How old were you? - 25,28 and 30.
4. How did you find out? - All three times, I was pretty sure, but had a Dr. confirm it. I remember the Dr. telling me "You are just a little bit pregnant".
5. Who did you tell first? - Jim, of course. Then my mom.
6. Due Date? - October 9, 1970, April 12, 1973, October 2, 1975
7. Did you deliver early or late? - This is the hard one to write about. Our first child was still-born early. This was one of the saddest days of my life, but God was faithful and both the girls, born by C-section, were on time and perfect.
8. Morning sickness? - No, I have never felt healthier except for the heartburn.
9. Cravings? - Nothing special
10. Who irritated you the most? - My obstetrician. He constantly ragged on me about my weight.
11. What was the sex of your child? - Boy, Girl, Girl
12. How much weight did you gain? - Not much. Remember the nagging doctor.
13. Any complications? - With our first child, I had an abrupt placenta separation. With the girls, we watched very carefully and everything went according to plan.
14. Where did you give birth? - All three in Newark, NY
15. Labor? - No labor, three C-sections. God knows I'm a total wimp.
16. Who drove you to hospital? - Jim
17. Who watched? - In those days c-sections were not watched.
18. Natural or c-section? - C-section.
19. Did you take medicine? - No, I had a spinal and was awake for the entire thing. YUCK. It was the strangest sensation I've ever had. Thank heavens I saw those sweet little girls at the end.
20. How much did your child weigh? - I'm not sure they even told me about the first. Paige was 7lbs. 8 oz. Gretchen (the horse) was 8lbs. 5 oz. In that case, thank heavens for the c-section.
21. Names? - Paige Lynnette and Gretchen Elizabeth.
22. How old are they today? - Paige is 35 and Gretchen is 31 until October2.

Paige Lynnette Wolfanger (and Mommy)

Gretchen Elizabeth Wolfanger Wise

I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be a mother to these wonderful girls. They have brought more joy to our lives than I could ever thought possible.

The next fact-filled post is:


1. Do you like bleu cheese? - Only in dressing; only on the side.
2. Have you ever smoked cigarettes? - Unfortunately, yes. I quit many years ago.
3. Do you own a gun? - No. Jim owns a 22 rifle and I try to forget that he does. I hate guns.
4. What flavor Kool Ade was your favorite? - NONE. YUCK.
5. Do you get nervous before Dr.'s appointments? - Only when I've been bad and I know my cholesterol is going to be high. I have a great Doc who tries to be kind to me while she's being firm.
6. What do you think of hot dogs? - I like red hots grilled about twice a year. I do have a liking for chili dogs too.
7. Favorite Christmas movie? - The Christmas Story. We watch it every year when the kids get here. If we go to their homes, we take it with us. Remember, "You'll shoot your eye out."
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? - Jim's private blend of chocolate coffee and Folger's decaf.
9. Can you do push-ups? Not then, not now.
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry. - I have a cladagh ring that Jim bought me for my 50th birthday. To me it symbolizes our love for each other and our love for Christ.
11. Favorite hobby? - Scrapbooking, stamping and blogging, not necessarily in that order.
12. Do you have ADD? - No, I only act like I do.
13. What's one trait you don't like about yourself? - I talk too much.
14. Middle name? - Louise, after my mom's oldest sister.
15.Name three thoughts at this exact moment. - I want to go in the kitchen and have some of the leftover dessert that's in the fridge; I need to start my Christmas calendars; my back hurts.
16. Current hate. - Political commercials.
17. Favorite place to be. - Anywhere with Jim.
18. How did you bring in the New Year? - This past year, I was really, really sick. Most years we get together with our friends, Linda and Jason.
19. Where would you like to go? - Oh my!! Let's start with...Ireland, the Pacific Northwest, Costa Rica, Paris (again), Hawaii....
20. Name three other people who will post this. - I have no idea. Maybe nobody else is as kooky as me.
21. Do you own slippers? - Yes
22. What shirt you wearing? - A warm, long sleeved, black tee. It is cold, foggy, rainy and cool here today.
23. Do you like sleeping on satin? - I have satin pj's and love them.
24. Can you whistle? - One of the greatest disappointments of my life, no.
25. Would you be a pirate? - Not a mean one.
26. What songs do you sing in the shower? - Whatever is going through my head at the time. ABBA, hymns, whatever.
27. Favorite girl's name? - DUH!! Paige and Gretchen.
28. Favorite boy's name? - Reed - my mom's maiden name.
29. What's in your pocket right now? - Nothing, how boring am I?
30. Last thing that made you laugh? - Something Jim said, I'm sure. He makes me laugh many times a day.
31. Best bed sheets as a child. - Haven't a clue!
32. Worst injury? - Without a doubt, my broken wrist this spring.
33. Do you love where you live? - Oh, yes.
34. How many TVs in your house? - I'm ashamed to admit, three.
35. Who is your loudest friend? - Well, I am certainly the loudest of my group of friends. Aside from that I'd have to say my dear daughter, Gretchen. She takes after her mother.
36. How many dogs? - None since we lost our darling Frazier.
37. Does someone have a crush on you? I hope Jim.
38. What is your favorite book? - I have two, Little Women and To Kill a Mockingbird.
39. What is your favorite candy? - Anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter.
40. Favorite sports team. I'm not a real sports fan, but right now I'm really rooting for the Chicago Cubs. Go Cubbies!!.
41. What song do you want sung at your funeral? - It Is Well With My Soul, but not too soon.

Thanks for sticking around for my craziness. Hope all of you have a fabulous Monday. As for tagging...I'd love to hear answers from some of you.

~Hippo Hugs~

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meet Me At The Pole

Yep!! I crawled out of bed at the crack of dawn this morning to go support our young people as they proclaimed their "party affiliation". That would be their connection to Jesus. Today was National Meet Me At the Pole day where young people all across the country were congregating around the flag poles of their schools to sing and pray for their schools, their friends and our country.

This is a student led event, but they love that some adults come out to support and encourage them. I hadn't gone to the pole in quite a few years, but I've been filling in as a Sunday School teacher this year and I told my 9th and 10th grade girls that I would be there to support them. Let me tell you, all the hugs and kisses I received sure made it worth getting up in the dark.

These kids, from many different churches in our small community, were spectacular as they sang, clapped and praised God. I saw kids I haven't seen in quite a while since I'm no longer working at the library. It really warmed my heart. After singing and reading scripture, we broke into smaller groups to pray for the school, community and country. There were some specific prayers for kids who were ill or having a difficult time. It was really cool.

This is Spirit Week at our school, Cheryl, and I mentioned it to several of the girls who were dressed in formal attire. My SIL, a dear Catholic sister, was with me. Later, she said "Why would they dress in gowns for Spirit Week?" I said that each day is something different during the week leading up to Homecoming. She started to laugh and said, "Oh, I thought you were talking about the Holy Spirit". We both got a chuckle out of that.

Speaking of SIL, we have had such a delightful time together this past few days. She arrived on Sunday afternoon and left for home about an hour ago. We shopped, talked, laughed, talked, ate, read, talked and ate. It was a really nice time for us to grow our relationship. She comes from a large family and has many sisters with whom she is close. Having no living siblings, my relationship with her is all the more precious to me.

I found some delicious muffin recipes in the newspaper this week. I think I'll bake some to surprise hubby when he arrives home later today.

~Hippo Hugs~

Saturday, September 20, 2008


My last post about Lancaster County, PA has elicited many comments about Whooppee Pies. I must say, they are absolutely delicious. The following is my SIL, Carolyn's, recipe. For many years, I gave credit for this reipe to my MIL who is an outstanding baker and cook. With apologies to Carolyn, I share this wonderful recipe with you, my blogger friends:


2 c. unsifted flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. cocoa
1/3 c. cooking oil
3/4 c. milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla


Mix together flour, sugar, soda, salt, cocoa. Add cooking oil, vanilla, egg and milk. Beat well. Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet Bake 350 degrees.


5 tbsp. flour
1/2 c. oleo
1 c. 10x sugar
1 c. milk
1/2 c. Crisco
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt.

Blend flour and milk. Cook until like pudding, stirring constantly, cool. Whip together Crisco, 10x sugar, vanilla and beat until like whipped cream. Add to cooled flour mixture. Whip at high speed. Fill two cookies with flat sides together.

And, PRESTO! you have a whoopee pie. Also, these cookies make wonderful ice cream sandwiches. Just fill them with softened ice cream and refreeze. Yum! Yum!

We are participating in a little switcheroo tomorrow. Jim will go to Pennsylvania to spend a few days with his brother and SIL, Carolyn, will come here to spend some "girl time" with me. I have lots of fun plans up my sleeve.

Jim and Dale will enjoy some time together as well as some time with their mother. They plan to take her to a Doc's appointment and out to dinner. I'm sure she will really enjoy having the "boys" all by themselves.

I'll report on the comings and goings of "the girls" later this week.

Until then...

~hippo hugs to all~

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pennsylvania - Again?

You may have noticed I haven't posted lately. The weather has been so beautiful, and well -- we were travelling again. Our friends, Jeff and Jan, moved to the southern part of Pennsylvania when they retired two years ago and we are just getting around to visiting them in their beautiful new town home. Which, by the way, I forgot to take a picture of.

After a very eventful week, we drove down to Lancaster County last Sunday. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to travel. We arrived at lunch time and enjoyed a meal at a local restaurant. Riding in the car with the air conditioning on didn't prepare us for the 90 degree humid weather that greeted us upon our arrival. WOW!!!

The weather was much better on Monday when we drove out to see the sights in and around Lancaster.

Our first stop was a market in Intercourse, Pa. - Hence the picture of Jeff and Jan outside a tee shirt shop. Aren't Americans interesting? We find a way to make money from almost everything. Of course, I wasn't to be left out...

Jim was the only one of the group who showed any class at all. I did find a birthday present for Gretchen and a wedding gift for our friend, Kyle, so you see, not all was tomfoolery.

After our picnic near the market, we went on and did manage to see some of the local Amish going about their daily chores.

This buggy was hitched outside a local harness shop. The Amish prefer not to have their pictures taken so I waited until the man went inside the shop to snap the horse and buggy. We saw lots of buggies on the roads. I was just like a little kid, I was so pleased to see them. We also saw some men harvesting corn with their beautiful work horses. What they were doing was really hard, hard work.

We drove by house after house with laundry drying on the line. Monday really is wash day for them. It made me think I should go back to hanging my wash out.

We stopped at a wonderful bakery for Whoopee Pies and coffee. Of course, we also had to buy some home baked rolls. We had some with our dinner that night. Yum! Yum!

Tuesday, found us taking the train to Philadelphia. I lived in Philadelphia for a year in my erstwhile youth and wanted to show Jim where I had lived and worked. To be honest, I wasn't sure the buildings would even be standing after 40 years, but they were. Can you believe? Jim had never ridden a train.

Not only was my apartment building still there, we had lunch in a neighborhood pub that I was too young to frequent in the old days. Jim said he thought I needed to have a glass of wine to celebrate. I really felt bad telling him it wasn't the alcohol that drew me to that place; it was supposed to be a great place to meet guys! So, he bought me a glass of wine to celebrate that I hadn't met anyone.

We trekked on down through Jeweler's Row to Independance Square and the Liberty Bell.

Jim, a social studies teacher, had never seen the bell. We watched a really informative movie about its origins and history. I'm not really sure why, but Jim ended up carrying my purse. Doesn't he look fetching?

We ended our visit on Wednesday with a delightful breakfast prepared by Jan. By 10:30 we were on our way home by way of Messiah College where we met our friend, Jodie (That is Dr. Jodie) for lunch. It was good to see her and hear about her first teaching position.

We arrived home in time to unpack and fall into bed last night. Travel is fun, but home is where the heart (and our comfy bed) is.

`hippo hugs to all~

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Grand Getaway Part II, plus a fun tag

I had planned to post more about our delightful weekend in Pennsylvania when Cheryl tagged me. So, I decided to do a "twofer". Here goes:

I think I left you all in Wellsboro, home of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. After hiking all that our old bodies could endure, we shopped a little and then hit the road for Potter County and a visit to Jim's brother and sister-in-law and Mom. We arrived at BIL's home in time to have birthday cake in celebration of Jim's birthday.
We were pooped after our hiking expedition and headed off to bed rather early.

When we decided on this little excursion, I got in touch with my cousin, Sally, who I see rarely and made a date to have lunch with her and our aunt who is living in an assisted living facility since she fell and hurt her back.

Sally is ten years my senior and a real favorite of mine. When I was ten years old, she was 20, had a job, a convertible, nice clothes and a boyfriend. Just the things that a ten year old would see as having arrived. Sally reminded me that I probably thought it cool that she smoked - she was right.

My Aunt Mary is a beautiful Christian woman who prayed for each of her siblings and nieces and nephews. I will be eternally grateful to her for the many prayers she sent heavenward for my salvation.

Anyway, spending the afternoon with Sally and my Aunt Mary was an absolute delight. It was all I had hoped it would be, and more. We laughed and reminisced. I came away determined to keep in better touch with these people who helped shape my life.

While I was off lunching and reminiscing with my family, Jim and his brother took their mother to a doctor's appointment, after which they had lunch and Dairy Queen. As you can see, we all had a fabulous few days and we are back on our diets this week.

Now, on to the fun tag from Cheryl:

1. What were you doing ten years ago:

Well, Gretchen had graduated from college so we felt rich. We spent our 30th
wedding anniversary at Jeff & Jan's condo in Panama City Beach, FL. It was
one of my very favorite vacations. We were both still working. I think I
had more energy.

2. Five things on my to do list for today:

1. Make dinner for my friend Pat, who had foot surgery
2. Hem Jim's shorts and sew buttons on his Hawaiian shirt
3. Walk for exercise
4. Stamp cards and write notes
5. Go to the library and inspect books for the upcoming book sale.

*I accomplished all of the above plus, some laundry, straightening my desk,
and several other jobs. I was pleased.

3. What is your favorite snack?

That's hard to narrow down. I think it would be a Starbuck's Mocha. In winter
I want a hot mocha, in summer, iced. I feel I've really treated myself when
I indulge in a Starbuck's mocha.

4. If I were a millionaire I would:

1. Pay off my kids' school debt/mortgages. I'd give Paige money for her PhD and
pay for Gretchen to go back to school for a second Bachelor's
2. Give more money to the church.
3. Establish a healthy scholarship at camp Potosi Pines
4. Buy a Mini Cooper Convertible for me and a Cadillac CTS for Jim.
5. Travel, Travel, Travel

5. Places I have lived:

1. Emporium, PA
2. Seneca Falls, NY
3. Austin, PA
4. Olean, NY
5. Philadelphia, PA
6. Buffalo, NY
7. Marion, NY

6. Five people I'm tagging:

1. Nancy
2. Dana
3. Renie
4. Dawn
5. Faye

I hope you all have as much fun with this as I have. Have a great Wednesday.

~Hippo Hugs~

Saturday, September 6, 2008

~A Grand Getaway~

I'm not sure just how the whole adventure evolved. Visiting the Pine Creek Gorge or the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania as it is more commonly known, has been on our Bucket List for some time so this past Wednesday we started our little journey to make this part of the list a reality.

I think I am the one who came up with the idea to find a bed and breakfast in the area and combine it with a visit to Jim's mom who also lives in Pennsylvania. That decided, I thought I should include a visit with my aunts and a favorite cousin. Well, as you can see, there was a process of evolution that led to this glorious weekend.

Far be it from me to interfere with the weekly "Men's Breakfast" so we left here around 10:30 on Wednesday, headed for Mansfield, Pennsylvania and the university from which Jim graduated forty years ago.

Mind you, forty years ago, this was Mansfield State College, formerly Mansfield State Teacher's College, formerly Mansfield Normal School. Whatever, Jim and I had only been on the campus once in the past forty years.

Someone had recommended that we eat lunch at "Gramma's Kitchen". We were certainly glad that we had followed that recommendation. The lunch was really good, but the blueberry pie was outstanding. Before leaving, we purchased some homemade cookies for the intended hike into the canyon. I'm sorry to report, they never made it to the canyon, being consumed later in the evening on the deck of our B&B.

We drove around town and then parked and walked up to the campus. What an eye opener. Although I didn't attend Mansfield, I had applied and visited there as a senior in high school. I had visited Jim on the campus when he attended there so, like him, was astonished at the changes. It is really a lovely campus and the improvements are vast. I was pleased that North Hall, the original building of Mansfield, has been preserved and is being used as a computer center. It was an absolutely delightful afternoon.

Wellsboro, home of the Grand Canyon, and where we were spending the night, is only a short drive from Mansfield, on Route 6 in Pennsylvania. We were at our B&B in no time. I had found this lodge on the Internet and didn't know exactly what to expect. It far exceeded our expectations.

The minute we drove up the winding drive to the lodge, we were entranced. Having had a really substantial lunch, we were definitely ready to spend the entire evening in this hideaway. From being greeted by Samantha, the hostess, to sitting on the deck with our wine and cheese, to relaxing in the jacuzzi, to sleeping in the wonderful bed, we were totally mesmerized by our surroundings.

We are already planning on a return trip to this wonderful hideaway.

Although we were tempted to linger in these surroundings, we were up early and on our way to the canyon. But first, a stop for breakfast (courtesy of our hosts at Bear Mountain Lodge) at the "famous" Wellsboro Diner where we had a great breakfast.

Wellsboro is a delightful Victorian town set in the endless mountains of Pennsylvania. Arriving at the park that gives entrance to the gorge, we were overwhelmed with its beauty.

It was a mile long hike to the bottom of the gorge, filled with beautiful sights at every turn.

I'm sure you are all aware of the saying "What goes up must come down". Well, in our case, what goes down, needed to come up, and we did.

This is our "We Made It" picture. We ended the day with arrival at Jim's brother's home and cake to celebrate his 62nd birthday. Jim kept saying he was really celebrating as now he can draw his social security.

There was more to this fabulous weekend, but I think if you've stayed with me this long, you deserve a break. I'll post about my wonderful day with my aunt and cousin in a day or two.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. Hope your Sunday is super. Isn't God good?

~Hippo Hugs~

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

~Labor Day is Past~

Is it really, really over? Has summer truly left us and gone where all past summers go? I am just not ready to give it up. I think summer is by far my favorite season. Though I will admit to being one of those who love the change of seasons, I do grieve the loss of my summers.

I remember the summers of my youth. Those lazy, hazy, crazy days. I remember waking late and just lying in my bed contemplating the long languid day ahead. It seems as if the sun always shone in those days. Those were the days before air conditioning and I can remember the heat of the early morning with the sun streaming through my bedroom window. I had the only upstairs bedroom in our house and felt that I was hidden away from the rest of the world.

I'd spend hours and hours lying on my bed reading in the summer. Admittedly, these wonderful times were interspersed with chores. My mom, who worked outside our home, always left a list of things that needed to be accomplished each day. Looking back, I wonder if I tackled those chores as unhappily as my daughters did. My guess would be, yes. I didn't want anything to interfere with those idyllic summer days.

In the evenings we would all gather together in the yard of a little neighborhood manufacturing plant and play hide 'n seek. We'd stay out there as long as we could playing until we would eventually hear the calls. "Bob, Nancy, Pam time for bed." "Bonnie, Linda, Bobbie, come home now." And then, reluctantly, we would bid our friends good-night and drag ourselves home.

I didn't intend to write about that when I sat down at the computer this evening. I was going to post that Jim and I are going to take a little trip down memory lane tomorrow. We're going to drive through the town where Jim went to college and have lunch and walk the campus. This stop will be on our way to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. We have both driven by this spot many times and have talked about going there. Just last year, we added it to our "Bucket List". We plan to spend the night in a B&B near there and hike on Thursday.

After this little adventure, we plan to go on to Jim's brother's house and spend a couple of days visiting with Jim's mom and other relatives. I'm looking forward to lunch with my favorite cousin and my aunt on Friday.

When we come back home I plan to get some mums for my planters, go to the farmer's market and buy some tomatoes and peppers to "put by" for winter. I will accept the fact that summer is waning and fall is just around the corner. In the meantime, I'll just be a little sad to see summer go.

I'll leave you with a picture of one of our most beautiful summer sunsets.