Tag Archives: Humor

What Is On My Mind Today? Enjoying this beautiful Minnesota Day and a Good Laugh!

 

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Squirrels vs. The Church

The Presbyterian church called a meeting to decide what to do about their squirrels. After much prayer and consideration, they concluded the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn’t interfere with God’s divine will.

At the Baptist church the squirrels had taken an interest in the baptistery.. The deacons met and decided to put a water slide on the baptistery and let the squirrels drown themselves. The squirrels liked the slide and, unfortunately, knew instinctively how to swim so twice as many squirrels showed up the following week.

The Methodist church decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God’s creatures. So, they humanely trapped their squirrels and set them free near the Baptist Church. Two weeks later the squirrels were back when the Baptists took down the water slide.

But the Catholic Church came up with a very creative strategy. They baptized all the squirrels and consecrated them as members of the church. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter.

Not much was heard from the Jewish synagogue; they took the first squirrel and circumcised him. They haven’t seen a squirrel since.

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What Is On My Mind Today: Expensive Canvas and the Failing Grade

What is on my mind today is an expensive canvas that Doug bought for me this weekend. I have been oil painting on el cheapo student quality canvas for months, and, well, this canvas is the big league.

I am going to have to apply myself.  Which always reminds me of the first time that anyone saw my potential and forced me to apply myself.  I should have been the poster child for world class under achievers.  Somehow I managed to scholastically skate through school never being challenged by a teacher to work up to “my” potential until a fateful day in college.

This momentous occasion for self-reflection occurred over a paper I submitted to a professor.  He gave me an F. Before the shock of receiving a failing grade had even fully penetrated my consciousness, the old guy made all of the students in that class read their papers out loud.

After the shaming had been completed,  I vigorously protested my grade by pointing out very specifically that my paper was a hell of a lot better than the blonde girl’s!  Calmly the professor walked over to me.  Looked me right in the eyes and responded that, yes, my paper was better than hers.  For her that was A work.  For me, it was F work. As she sat there and beamed with pride, he concluded my very public critique by adding that in the future it might help if I did not watch television while writing papers for him. That is, if I planned to pass his course.

It was the only F, I had ever received! Oh, the outrage! A publicly outed F and being beaten in any fashion by a blonde!  Especially, a blonde that had no idea she had just been highly insulted.

I knew two things at that moment: that old professor was a lot sharper mentally than he dressed, or than I gave him credit for; and, if he wanted an A paper, an A paper is exactly what that man was going to get.

I applied myself writing the next week’s paper. I received an A+ and eventually aced his course.  He ended up being one of the professors that I asked to write a recommendation for me to be included in my college placement credentials.  I never read any of my college placement credential recommendations for over ten years after I graduated. When I finally asked for a copy to review, it surprised me that he wrote about that paper.  It amazed me to know that the A+ he gave me on that paper was the only A+ he had given out that entire year.

Yes, expensive canvases always pressure me. They must filled with some fantastic topic excellently executed, but for some reason…I just want to paint Hereford bulls fighting in a mesocyclone.  

Moral of story: Don’t judge a professor by his obvious lack of ownership or ability to use a clothes iron when he has the power to really mess up your grade point average. 

Thor’s Stories: Leprechauns

There are eight different stories in this series about the ingenuity and adventures of a boy named Thor.  If you are looking for a few tales about Leprechauns to share on St. Patrick’s day,   Leprechauns tend to run amok in five of these stories.

Below are links to all of Thor’s adventures and a brief description of the story line.
I hope you and your children enjoy Thor’s Stories.

Morton the Squirrel and the Great Chicken Race.  Thor and Morton begin their battle for supremacy of the backyard when the rascally squirrel goes after the boy’s chickens.

Morton the Squirrel and the Mighty Explosion.  Grandpa Walter saves Thor from an overwhelming squirrel attack.

Thor and Grandpa Walter Find Blueberries and Bigfoot.  Thor and Grandpa Walter find more than just blueberries in the woods on Minnesota’s North Shore.

Thor and the Rooster Pirate King. This story tells about how leprechauns came to own the magic feather they keep in their hats.

The Midnight Dinosaur Rhubarb Rampage. Do your children know how to write in secret leprechaun code?  Thor will show you how in this tale of ingenuity and backyard mayhem.

The Dog with Magical Eyes.  Leprechauns sometimes can be just plain handy, especially when your dog is suffering from magical eyes.

Thor and the Troll Toll.  The King of the Leprechauns has no tolerance for bullies, especially troll ones.

Thor Saves Christmas.  Thor and the leprechauns come to the rescue when Santa’s elves all come down with Blue Snot Flu, 

Recipes: Bring Peace to the Thanksgiving Table…The Mother-In-Law’s Pumpkin Pie

 

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As any new bride quickly learns there are certain recipes made by a husband’s mother that he really likes a lot.  Try as she might the wife just seems to never be able to make some things, “as good as mom’s.”

There are several theories for why this might be true.  First, it could be a question of the mother-in-law having superior baking skills learned over a lifetime.  Nawwwww….it’s probably that the recipes have been tweaked a bit and those tweaks are not need to know information, therefore not shared. At any rate, there once was a woman who was having just this type of a situation with….her mother-in-law’s pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie was this woman’s, husband’s favorite pie. It was indisputable, in that family, that his mother baked them better than anyone else.  To protect her place in her son’s affections and palate, the mother-in-law would never share her pumpkin pie recipe with anyone.  Nor, would she allow anyone in her kitchen while she was making this outstanding masterpiece of Thanksgiving delight.

This was never a problem while the good mother-in-law was alive. For it was a strict tradition that she would provide the pumpkin pies at every family get together.  However, after the well-loved woman passed behind the veil, Thanksgiving pies became an absolute nightmare for her daughter-in-law.

Every year she would try to find a recipe that was as good as her mother-in-law’s.  She asked friends for their favorite recipe. She even went so far as to take classes in pie making.  Year after year, pie after pie the result was always the same…”not as good as mom’s.”

Now this young woman had much more patience than God ever measured out for me.  I am pretty sure that at some point, a pumpkin pie would have ceased to be a dessert and would have be transformed into a high velocity missile.  Of course, at that point, I would have, had something to repent and be thankful for…retribution and excellent aim.

Eventually, even this saint of woman reached the end of her pie providing patience.  She just gave up trying to duplicate her mother-in-law’s favorite pumpkin pie recipe and used the recipe on the back of the Libby’s pumpkin pie filling can.

At the dinner table surrounded by family and friends, as she served the pumpkin pie garnished with a roll of her eyes. Her husband took one bite and enthusiastically exclaimed, “Just like what mom used to make!”

So in the interest of promoting domestic tranquility and harmony around this year’s Thanksgiving table,  here is the recipe from the back of a Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin, 15 ounce can.  You know, the one that is “just as good as mom used to make.”

May your Thanksgiving Day be filled with kindness, good-will and love. May any and all friction between families and friends be healed.  May we all be thankful for what is most important…each other. May everyone have safe travel. May we all take time to thank a loving God for his many blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Buttery Flaky Pie Crust:
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, diced
1/4 cup ice water

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.  Cut in butter with two knives, or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms into a ball.  Sometimes I do have to add an extra tablespoon or two of water.
Wrap in plastic and chill for 1-2 hours.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to fit 9-inch pie plate.  Place dough in pie plate, spread out evenly and pinch the pie dough edges up until they are about 1/4 inch above pie plate rim.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15-ounce) Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12-ounce) Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine sugar, salt and spices.  In a separate small bowl beat eggs until combined.  Add beaten eggs, pumpkin to the sugar and spice mixture. Gradually add the evaporated milk.  Beat with whisk until combined and smooth.  Pour into pie shell.

Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.  Cool and serve with whipped cream.

Blogger’s note: In the interest of recipe full disclosure…I use 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar. I also cut back just a little bit on the cloves. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

Children’s Story: Wendall, the Ghost in the Attic

Halloween is almost here. It can be a scary time of year. The goblins and ghosts come out on that night. To collect treats and give folks a fright. Here is a story from when I was young. When living in an old haunted house just wasn’t that much fun. Spooks are no joke when they live right with you. Especially when your parent’s don’t have a clue. So, as a young child my family I did save….from a ghost in our attic named Wendall the Brave….I hope you enjoy this Halloween story.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

Wendall, The Ghost in the Attic

My very first memory is of screaming for assistance in the night and staring at a light in the hall outside of my crib. I wanted out and apparently the rest of the world had gone deaf. Two things became clear at that moment; cribs are prisons, and prisons are not for me—I need freedom, and staring at lights made my eyes hurt.

I quickly dedicated my every waking effort to establishing a method to release me from physical limitations that surrounded me—I learned to climb out of that crib. This skill, learned so young, is of great benefit to any person born on a farm that housed a variety of animals kept in pens.

My bedroom was at the top of the wide oak staircase, on the second floor, at the east end of the big farm house built by my great grandpa…

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Minnesota National Guard Pie Fight Rescue–Serving up Patriotic Pie on the 4th of July

pie social

Traditions die hard in small towns and our church’s annual  ice cream social was no exception to this rule.  Each summer our church would hold an ice cream social usually as a fundraiser for our youth group –FLY–First Lutheran Youth.

My church was our town’s Swedish Lutheran Church.  In a small town with less than 600 people we boasted four churches.  Three were Lutheran…Swedish, Norwegian and German and then there were the Baptists. The basic difference between Lutherans and Baptists as far I could tell was that we could dance and they could not.

In my early teens, I was vice-chair of  FLY and my older more responsible cousin was chair. What I may have lacked in responsibility, I certainly more than made up for with a strong desire to help God out, great capitalistic attitude, endless creativity and boundless enthusiasm.

As it happened right about the time I became part of the leadership team for FLY, we needed to raise quite a lot of money to send our entire youth group on a mission trip to Holden Village in the state of Washington. Minus me as my parent’s would not let me go because of my bad asthma and I was a year younger than everyone else because I had been put ahead a year in school. I was not ever going to see Holden Village, but I did need to help raise the money so that the other members of our group could go and have a great time.  It was decided that our summer ice cream social would be one of our biggest fundraising events.

The first test of my leadership came from Miss She Who Will Remain Nameless.  This grey-haired paragon of virtue wore her hair in four Princess Leia buns, two on the side and two in the back all covered with a black hair net to keep the birds out. She stood over six-feet tall with a solid body mass of well over two hundred pounds of retired teacher who often used her head of the class Sherman Tank social skills to intimidate just about everyone in our congregation.

Miss She Who Will Remain Nameless decided she needed more food than just pies and ice cream at our church ice cream social…..? Using the strongest terms allowed without offending the Lord, she explained that she did not like when traditions were not followed to the letter in HER church and that the menu for the event needed to be changed to include barbecue beef on buns, potato salad and most importantly baked beans. It had always been done that way and it would always be done that way as long as she was a member of this congregation. If I did not follow her wishes she would have to take the issue up with the church council! 

Now, I would never want anyone to judge Miss She Who Will Remain Nameless harshly. She really wasn’t a bad person, she had just never learned to share anything except her opinion.

Expecting immediate capitulation from a shrimpy thirteen year old, she turned several shades of brick red when I respectfully declined to take her well-meaning advice. She snarled into my face that I would never raise any money without serving beans. Then, with those great watermelon-sized bosoms of hers heaving fake strands of pearls viciously from side to side with each angry step she took in her well-heeled black orthopedic shoes, she marched off in a gloriously righteous huff.

A sense of mercy for her descended upon me at that moment for she did not know who she was dealing with. I had been raised on the farm with an older brother and cousins and had survived all of their torment. As a member of a dairy farming family, I acquired a natural gift and excellent expertise in the art of staring down and taunting angry bovines.  This skill was successfully employed each spring when we needed to take the calves away from their mamas and into the safe warm barn.  In addition,  I had survived many a near deadly asthma attack and my doctor had just informed me that my heart was beginning to enlarge from the strain and that I would never live to see twenty.  I feared God and not much else.

But mostly I gained courage from instinctively knowing that I would have the full support of the all-male leadership of our church’s council. If they knew that all it would take to get her to offer her expertise on every ecclesiastical topic to another congregation was not serving baked beans at an ice cream social–that gaseous producing side dish would have been banned from the church’s potluck menus long ago.

It wasn’t just to spite her that I had banned a broader menu that included her cherished baked beans.  It was a practical matter of capital gain.  I needed to sell pies to make a profit and from past potluck experience I knew that when farmers, who had their bellies jiggled and overheated driving tractor in the fields all day, dashed into town to be a part of their community’s festivities and ate a plate full of baked beans they inevitably left behind more than just their free will offering and appreciation. It is hard to sell desserts to folks in a hurry to vacate a hot un-airconditioned church basement that smells like the barn just got cleaned out.

I must confess that my conversation with Miss She Who Will Remain Nameless made me ponder for a brief moment the wisdom of my present course of action for the ice cream social fundraiser. However, I  quickly came to the conclusion that if the good Lord wanted beans Miss.She Who Will Remain Nameless, who was full of them, would have been in charge not me.  Then, I focused on making the event a profitable success.

The planning  for the big ice cream and pie social went full steam ahead. Advertising posters were designed and strategically placed throughout our fair town. Requests to many a great cook for donations of homemade pies went out. The ladies of our church came through in spectacular form.  On the morning of the social many homemade apple, peach, cherry, blueberry, pumpkin and lemon meringue pies were delivered in mass. There were a few store bought pies, but these were always kept out of sight in the kitchen and served to the teenage boys who were doing the dishes.  If they wanted pie for free, they had to work for it.

Soon the church basement was quite filled with people enjoying delicious pie topped with a generous scoop of Minnesota made Land O’ Lakes vanilla ice cream.

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Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that we had more pies than people and were not going to sell out all of our pies.  What to do? Quickly our advertising signs were modified to say homemade farm fresh pies for sale. Then, deploying a blessing that our church youth group had in abundance….busty blonde teenage farm girls…were sent down by the highway next to the church to hold our advertising signs to attract additional customers.

This method of marketing our pies showed very little promise until God intervened on our behalf and supplied us with an entire Minnesota National Guard Convoy on its way to camp Ripley.  Well, those boys in all of those hot jeeps and trucks must have been really hungry because they noticed the signs the girls were holding right away and stopped to buy pie in support of our cause. Soon, the highway’s traffic came to dead halt, but our pies went flying out the door!

Eventually, a man in a very important looking uniform wanted to talk to the person in charge.  The pastor pointed to me.  Thrilled with my battle field promotion, and that we were were sold out of pies, I did agree to remove our signs–and their holders–as the poor man feared that otherwise his convoy would never make it to camp.

Yes, our pie social made a profit, the youth group had a great time on their trip and I, with a lot of help from the Lord and the Minnesota National Guard, had bested Miss She Who Will Remain Nameless.   The funny thing is that this was not the only time that God and the Minnesota National Guard have come to my rescue.

I would like to thank all the members of our nation’s military, Minnesota’s national guard and veterans for their service and sacrifice that has and always will protect the freedom of our nation and the liberty of its citizens.

This patriotic pie is the perfect dessert for any July 4th celebration or summer pie social.

Red White and Blue Patriotic Pie

1 (9-inch) baked pie shell
1 3/4 cups frozen blueberries, thawed, drained, reserve juice
1/4 cups fresh blueberries (for garnish)
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon unflavored gelatin
11-ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 cups strawberries, sliced
¾ cups strawberry glaze

Prepare, bake and cool a pie shell.

Thaw frozen blueberries and reserve juice.

In a small saucepan, combine the 1/3 cup of sugar, cornstarch and gelatin and reserved blueberry juice plus enough water to make 1 cup.  Over low heat, slowly warm, stirring constantly until mixture boils. Boil and stir for one minute.  Add blueberries and cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. After the mixture has thickened, pour into pie shell and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate.

Beat the cream cheese, milk and 2 Tablespoons of sugar until smooth.  Carefully spread over the cooled blueberry filling layer.  Arrange strawberry slices attractively over the cream cheese layer, leaving space in the center for the reserved blueberries.

Spoon glaze over the strawberries, fill the center with blueberries.  Refrigerate covered, for several hours and serve.

Strawberry glaze

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons strawberry jello

In a small saucepan, bring the first three ingredients to a boil until thick and clear.  Boil at least one minute stirring constantly.

Add 3 tablespoons of jello.  Cool completely.

Have a safe and happy Fourth, and God Bless our Nation!

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