Honoring the Red, White, and Blue


DiemThe 4th of July is upon us and we all look forward to celebrating with family and friends. Unfortunately today, we seem to have lost sight of honoring the red, white, and blue.

The 4th of July is all about BIG sales, hot dogs and hamburgers on the barbecue, circus peanuts, boating, neighborhood parties, and fantastic firework displays. Lest we forgot, the 4th of July is also about celebrating our independence. On July 4th,1776 13 colonies claimed their independence from England, eventually forming the United States. Believe it or not, fireworks were originally part of the first Independence Day celebration which took place on July 4th, 1777, mandated by John Adams. The 4th became a federal holiday in 1941, celebrating the birth of American Independence. John Adams, as one of the originators of the Declaration of Independence, envisioned celebrating with,”Pomp & Parade… Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, And Illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.”  

We are not so far off in our celebrations but I urge you to take a moment to reflect on the origins of our July 4th celebrations, bless our country, and pass down the story to your children and grandchildren. 

Happy 4th of July to you and your family

.God Bless America

Simple Things


The old saying, ” Home is where the heart is,” rings true for myself and others who’ve experienced moving; especially numerous times. No matter where we live, we put down out roots, literally by either planting a tree, bushes, flowers, or volunteering within the community.

Moving and changing communities makes it difficult to form new relationships, especially as an older couple without children. That is why it is so important to take a few moments each day to take joy in the simple things. Take time to play tourist in your new community and share your finds with the natives. And don’t be afraid to ask about their favorite spots.  I’ve learned that long time members of a community often become so complacent that they overlook the little things their community has to offer.

Today, I’m keeping this post short but wanted to share a few pictures of the “simple things” that add joy to my daily living. It seems lately, that no matter where I live, I have native visitors. Living in Appleton, I love to walk along Apple Creek listening to the birds during the day, the frogs at night, and watching the carp as they mate. I also take great pleasure in the flowers and plants that we have so lovingly planted to beautify our yard. I hope that you also find pleasure in my simple joy.

Life and the Staycation in the Little “Apple”


We don’t live in the big city, not even close to the “Big Apple”. But  living and doing a staycation in our “Little Apple” otherwise known as Appleton, WI has many benefits that residents and visitors of the bigger city can’t even realize.

First of all, we don’t really have traffic, just traffic lights. When I lived here previously, 441 was just being completed. We didn’t get to enjoy the benefits of bypassing the city traffic. Although, I find 441 a great benefit when I am in a hurry, I use the city streets when I desire a leisurely drive. Besides little traffic, Appleton and the surrounding Fox Cities have much to offer whether you are a nature buff, a cultural buff, or both. I personally am excited for the Heid Music Summer Concert Series to start again June 1. I love warm summer evenings listening to free local musicians while people watching. Of course we are excited to partake in the Mile of Music once again to hear new evolving groups. The Trout Museum has a revolving door of different exhibits and I just noticed a pop up art gallery on College Avenue.  There are history museums such as the Hearthstone Historical House Museum, gardens, and children’s museums to visit. And everyone needs to learn about two of our most famous past residents; Harry Houdini and Edna Ferber.  Did you know that Appleton was once part of the Underground Railroad?

The Fox Valley has many parks to visit and trails that take hikers walking around the Fox River. Families can partake in activities at most of the parks such as  Gordon Bubolz Nature Center, Thousand Islands, and Plamann Park. Check their schedules to learn more. What is your favorite park in our community?

I could continue on about the reasons to live and take a staycation in the Fox Valley but I don’t really need to reinvent the wheel, so I am providing a link to the 14 Best Things to Do in Appleton, WI. If your favorite thing is not on the list, please feel free to add it.

Artistic Talent Abounds in the Fox Valley


The artistic talent in the Fox Valley continues to amaze me. I recently had the opportunity to enjoy two different art shows, one in Appleton and the other in Kaukauna. The talented exhibitors in both shows hailed in and around the Fox Valley. The first show, “Take Me to the River”  continues until December 2, in the old Thilmany Mill in Kaukauna. The second show, “An Evening of Art 2016” was a one evening show and auction.

The raw talent displayed in both shows astounded me. Many of the artists’ works can be seen at the Trout Museum, local coffee shops, galleries, as well as galleries around the world. Many of the artists have won both local and international awards for their work. I really loved the fact that both shows were actually art shows and not craft shows. Don’t take  me wrong, I too, enjoy the cute craft shows but many times even I can occasionally reproduce something similar with a little work. Both “Take Me to the River” and and Evening of Art 2016″ had a diversity of work in multiple mediums. Some of the artists themselves displayed different mediums showcasing their talent and growth. Some art was easily interpreted while others left  it to your imagination. I also found it fun that even though I have only been in the Fox Valley for a short time, I knew several of the artists at each show. Albeit, some of my acquaintances were from living here previously, and one was in my Girl Scout Troop.

If you haven’t taken the time to visit “Take Me to the River” at the Grand Kakalin, I suggest you go soon. Check out the website and their Facebook page. Each day there is a different activity to engage the audience. They continue to have talks by the artists, music, readings, food, and how-to demonstrations by the artists.

The “Evening of Art 2016” planned and hosted by the Moses Montefiore Sisterhood ,auctioned off art by local artists to continue to support the Fox Valley art community. Proceeds went to the Trout Museum of Art. Again it was a lovely evening with food, wine, and art. If you missed this fantastic community event, I suggest you watch for its’ return next year.

This last picture is of the cheese carving at “Take Me to the River”, sponsored by company I work for, Jon Huss Custom Homes. The very talented Troy Landwehr of Kerrigan Brothers Winery showed off his talent during the opening night. The intricate carving of Jon Huss Custom Homes and the water running over the dam only took Troy a few hours to complete.

Again , the month of November brought out some extremely talented artists in the Fox Valley. I suggest you look for other venues where they display their art or stop by the Grand Kakalin before December 2. You don’t have to be an art aficionado to enjoy either event or to appreciate the local talent.