Tag Archives: coffee

My New Breakfast of Champions


Experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

A healthy breakfast starts the day out right and prevents that mid-morning slump. Since 1933, General Mills has promised that eating a healthy  breakfast can make you a Champion.  Their slogan inspires and sells.

As parents, we’ve repeated this expert opinion and bought those cereals. We’ve given the breakfast lecture repeatedly and freely advise how to make this a lifestyle commitment.


    • Get up early enough to allow time to eat.
    • Keep breakfast food on hand so you’re prepared.
    • Choose simple breakfast options so you’ll follow through.


We need to set a good example.  We need to fill up in the morning so we have the energy and ability to carry on until noon. A hungry mommy can be a crabby mommy.  Along with traditional healthy breakfast options, I keep my pantry stocked with dried fruits and nuts. I’ve tried a variety of breakfast casseroles, quick breads and instant options. There’s always a quest to make a healthy breakfast faster.



After friends visited Colombia and brought me a present, I have my new favorite ethnic breakfast.







Breakfast of Champions


This is MY favorite Breakfast of Champions, what’s yours?

Help Yourself Hospitality–Hot Drinks

I come from a big family.

My husband comes from a big family.

We had a big family.

When family isn’t around and we’re lonely,
we invite friends over to fill up the house.

In other words,
there can be many people in my house at any given time.

We love having people around,
and enjoy making them feel at home enough to

Help Themselves.

During the winter holidays,
hot drinks are made available on my kitchen counter,
ready for expected and unexpected company.

I like drop-in kinda’ company.
It’s a Midwest thing we love.
It says they like the real me enough to be
willing to throw things off the couch to sit down.

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I start with jars of mini-marshmallows and red-hots.

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I add festive tubs of hot chocolate and hot cider mixes.

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I add one pretty hot pot.

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Mixed all together on a metal tray,
and you have a

Help Yourself Hospitality Center for Hot Drinks.

We normally don’t drink hot chocolate and apple cider
or give my kids marshmallows to eat,
but at the holidays,
there are some rules that are meant to be broken.

Of course, the coffee pot is always on.

Regular coffee is brewed until supper, then we switch to decaff.

The evening meal is called supper if you are from farm country,
because lunch is called dinner,
and lunch is the meal you bring to the farmers in the fields
between dinner and supper.
Lunch can also be a snack between breakfast and lunch,
if ya’ got up really early to work in the fields.

So, if you followed that little rabbit trail,
the order of meals for Midwest farmers goes
breakfast, lunch, dinner, lunch, supper.
Got it?

(See, another trick in hospitality. 
If you invite someone for dinner,
you better know where they’re from.
We had a friend who didn’t know this
and invited someone to dinner.
She was surprised when they showed up at noon.)


My good ol’ Norwegian relatives drink a lot of black coffee.

Nothing is added to the coffee,
no milk and no sugar,
we drink it black,
because they dunk their cookies in it.
That’s where the sugar comes from.

My Mom calls cookies and coffee,
"A Norwegian Breakfast."

I love being Norwegian.

The generations that have lived through the Depression make
their coffee so weak, you can see the bottom of the cup through the coffee.

My brothers call this "Lutheran Church Basement Coffee."

Norwegians who know the Depression is over
make their coffee strong.

My brothers says it will grow hair on their chest.

Depending on who made the coffee in the morning,
I either add a little hot water to dilute
or  drink a few extra cups to wake up.

In the mornings,
I feel no pressure to get up and rush out to the kitchen,
because I have established the ability for my guests to

Help Yourself.

I don’t have to wake up,
until I smell the coffee.

first. lessons. learned.


Fresh off the plane, we got a crash course in traveling overseas. 


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1. SLEEP IS FOR SISSIES. Jet lag is real.  Get over it.  I could always sleep at home.  We left USA 2pm on Sunday.  After a ten hour flight arrived in Amsterdam at 8:30am Monday. We missed a night of sleep and I toured Amsterdam on adrenalin and a make-up touch-up. Scott didn’t have as much free time, so we wanted to enjoy the day together.



2.  WALK AND STALK. We walked everywhere, because I can’t take pics while riding a bike. Since I don’t even walk to the mailbox to get our mail each day, I thought this would be a challenge.  Not.  Adrenalin is good stuff. I was constantly stopping to take a picture of a bicycle, a window display, a pallet in the garbage, and everything that captured my attention.  I was constantly running to catch up like a little kid walking with a long-legged Daddy. Nothing screams tourist more than a camera around your neck, so I carried mine in my hand.  Pretty sure I fooled everyone.


Water Closet Waitress

3.  PAY  to PEE. Europeans don’t urinate, if lack of public restrooms indicates anything. If you do find a free bathroom, there isn’t a chart saying “This bathroom is monitored every 15 minutes.  Please let an employee know if this bathroom isn’t up to your standard”  because  it isn’t and they don’t care. Museums had great bathrooms, so as long as I was sight-seeing and not shopping, I was fine. 

This is a bad picture because I was embarrassing myself by taking a picture of the WC attendant, that’s European for bathroom, ya’ know, water closet, and I didn’t want her to think I was a lame American blogger with nothing to write about, so I shot this pic after I paid a handfull of euro coins for using her poddy and was ducking out of the restaurant.


4. NO BOUTIFUL BEVERAGES.  I’m pretty sure they don’ offer free refills because they don’t want you to use their bathroom.  Plus, their drinks will be the smallest, teeniest things you ever saw in your life.This was a regular sized glass next to the smallest Pepsi bottle I’ve seen.

I never paid so much for such a small cup of coffee! I heard a gentleman from England  mocking Americans for having all you can drink coffee at our restaurants.  Well, I figure, we’re still celebrating the Boston Tea Party and all the doings afterwards.  Remember, there’s a reason we threw that tea into the harbor!  But, after seeing the tiny drinks, it kinda’ makes ya’ cringe at the American super-size, because people who drink super-sized drinks are super-sized people. 

Morning Coffee at the Sheraton

Hotels don’t have coffee pots in every room, can you imagine?!?!  We were on one of the floors that had the free coffee station, so I was able to drink all the coffee I wanted.  They probably put all the Americans on that floor, and laugh at how much coffee we drink and how many times we flush the WC, after we figured out how to flush it, that is.

Speaking of coffee, not all coffee shops are coffee shops.  Another reason to drink coffee from the hotel. A Christian homeschooling mommy who has been in her own home drinking her own coffee for the past 25 years, it was a bit of a culture shock for me. I was a little afraid I’d accidentally end up in the wrong coffee shop and eat the wrong kind of cookie, so avoided both.   I mean, what if another blogger was lurking around with a camera in hand?

People also don’t carry water bottles around everywhere they go.  I started leaving mine behind each day, not to fit in, because I knew it would be dangerous.



5. BIKES RULE, PEDESTRIALS DROOL, especially if they were run over by a flying Dutchman.  Bicycles have the right of way, and no Spandex needed to ride a bike. We adored seeing business professionals riding to work or parents balancing children. But, don’t let their business or paternal persona fool you, they will run you over if you step into their lane.


6. BETTER BREATH. Their mint tea is amazing. I was stunned.  This is so much better than those nasty dried hundred year old leaves in a paper packet with a string. Makes me wanna’ grow my own, and I mean mint, ya’ know. I wasn’t sure how to drink it, so I  covertly spied on everyone in the restaurant to see if they leave the leaves in.  Leaves are left for better breath.


7.  GO GREEN doesn’t mean recycle in Amsterdam. I didn’t see recycle bins. I saw a lot of signs with leaves, but not the arrows.   Now granted, I covered only a small radius of the area, but WA is freaky about recycling and yard waste/compost.  I felt so guilty throwing plastic in the garbage can.

8.  LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT. No matter how much American Express commercials brag, they aren’t accepted everywhere.   In fact, we repeatedly heard how the European credit cards were far superior and more secure because of The Chip.  Our credit cards were rarely accepted, we just daily exchanged for the euros we needed.

9. PATIENT PEOPLE.  People don’t mind lines.  At any store there could be five customers lined up and nobody cared. Nobody huffed and puffed and blew the manager down.  At our Safeway, if three people are in line, the phone line is buzzing and a back-up cashier is rushed to the front so we don’t have to wait.  We learned it isn’t  painful to wait up to five minutes for service.


10.  TIPS FOR CHIPS. Lays Potato Chip company is holding out on us in America.  Check out these flavors! Click to enlarge the picture, just please don’t drool on my computer.

11.  DON’T INHALE. People smoke everywhere, all the time and all kinds of things. I spent the whole week coughing and trying every kind of cough syrup and cough medicine I could find. Marijuana is legal, so I grew accustomed to smelling it while walking, while shopping, while viewing 400 year old buildings and monuments.  I stared at what the previous generations had left behind and wondered what the current generation would have for a legacy.  I also spent the whole week cracking myself up, because when I smelled pot I asked myself the same question, “If Clinton came to Amsterdam, would he inhale?”  See, makes ya’ laugh, doesn’t it?

12.  TALL OR TIPTOES. People must be taller.  At 5’2’, I couldn’t see through the peephole in my hotel room without a chair.  Also,  my feet didn’t touch the ground in many chairs and I couldn’t reach the top shelves in stores.  Wait, it’s like that for me in American, except for the peephole, so never mind.

Watching the People Watchers

13.  PEOPLE WATCHING NATIONAL PASTIME.   They sit in outdoor restaurants for hours, facing the street, staring like cats.   I think they might be breathing in more often than necessary, taking in some of the free weed. Restaurant staff doesn’t care how long you sit at a table.  Of course, they won’t be by often to see how you’re doing, and they certainly won’t be by to refill your glass, unless you ask several times, but you are welcome to relax and sit fer a spell. A type AA person,  I kept wondering why nobody had anything to do.

Your job as a tourist is to give them something worth watching. Walk around yawning, do the potty dance ‘cuz you’ve been holding it a long time, stop suddenly and crouch down to take a pic so the pedestrian behind you flips over you, get nearly run over by a bicycle many times, shriek in stores about chip flavors and lick your dehydrated lips constantly.

Just. don’t. inhale.





Do Ya’ Need A Cuppa’ Coffee?

Spray paint is vogue.

Tables, dishes, dressers, chairs, windows, tree branches~
everything is fair game for DIY’ers with itchy trigger fingers.
Sometimes, I worry about their kids, especially if they stand still
while watching their color-their-world parent with aerosol can in hand.
They could end up Smurf blue or Minion yellow.

But, I just want ya’ll to know,
I was spray paint,
when spray paint wasn’t cool.

In the early 90’s, I spray painted  thrift store baskets glossy white for baby gifts.
A patio table I acquired curb shopping was given new life along with some ugly outdoor chairs.

Yea, I was way ahead of my time.

Back then, when I went into the hardware store for spray paint,
they usually wrinkled their bulbous noses and  superior brows at me,
and told me it couldn’t be done.

Not anymore.

Spray paint comes in prettier colors and covers better,
and salesmen like to encourage, not discourage, useage.

With all my expertise, it was only natural that I create something unique.

I began with this plain ol’ can.
The painful job was eating all those chocolately cookies.
I don’t think I shared the misery with my family,
I handled this one on my own.

Of course, I had to use this Rust-Oleum product.

It was actually  Mitzi’s blog that inspired the craft.  Isn’t she talented?
I love her generosity in sharing her printables and her ideas.
The vintage coffee labels make we wanna’ Mod Podge everything in my house.
I printed my favorite images onto cardstock.


Oh, yea, another staple in my random crafting life.

The look of this vintage label on the black tin made me love, love, love coffee even more.

Because there were so many choices,
I added another vintage label to the opposite side of the can,
making it extra cool for those special people.

What special people am I crafting for?

The same  people who got this match box tin.

….stay tuned….

I have one more wedding present crafting to share with you…

…meanwhile, all these vintage coffee labels are making me crave a cuppa’ coffee…