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Halloween Memories

Halloween on the farm was a far different experience than my current city experience. Childhood costumes were simple, always with a hot plastic or rubber mask. Note our fancy trick or treat bags! We couldn’t run from house to house but instead our parents drove us to our neighbors farms.  We collected wonderful home-made goodies while our parents visited for a while.  At the end of the night, we visited 6 to 8 houses but came home with luscious home-made popcorn balls, cookies, caramel apples, and full size candy bars.

Halloween on the Farm about 1959

My children never experienced the wonders of home-made goodies, ruined by the scare of Halloween candy tampering.  None-the-less, they had a wonderful time running from house to house in our suburban neighborhood yelling ‘trick or treat’ and collecting their Halloween bounty. Masks were not a favorite (thank goodness) but costumes were pretty traditional and fun. Our AT&T office hosted a family Halloween party letting the kids gather treats at each office and cubicle. Good times!

Sarah Mom Megan Halloween 1990

Fast forward to 2015 and grandson, Evan’s, Halloween experience.  His favorite character today is from the movie FROZEN and we were fortunate enough to find the darling OLAF costume on

Evan as Olaf

Evan has been to his first corn maze and is in awe of the amazing (and sometimes scary) Halloween decorations. He’ll be out gathering treats in the neighborhood and celebrating with his little friends.  As his little 3 year old girlfriend says, they’ll be out ‘Candy Tricking’.  Love this age!

Next Halloween we’ll have a baby girl in our family joining the Halloween fun. We’ll anxiously await the arrival of ‘lil pumpkin in November.

Wishing you all a safe and wonderful Halloween!

Family · Home · Kitchen

Kitchen is FINISHED! Before and After

The Kitchen is FINISHED!

This was a long process, but well worth the wait. I LOVE the open space and the flow of the kitchen, inspiring me to cook even more (good thing with all of the CSA fruits and vegetables I get each week).

Initially I was worried that I would lose storage by removing the cabinets over the peninsula, but found that I have plenty of storage with more efficient, pull-out drawers in the lower cabinets and taller cabinets as a result of popping the ceiling.

I had the good fortune of working with a wonderful contractor and his team and absolutely love the results!


kitchen 2008

The photo above was taken in 2008 and shows how the cabinets over the peninsula blocked the view and light. You also have a peak into the formal dining room.


This photo was taken right before the kitchen demo began in May 2015. We had already removed the cabinets over the peninsula. which opened up the kitchen a great deal but not to the extent it would when we removed the wall into the dining room.


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The open view into the kitchen is a dramatic change, opening up the house more than I could ever imagine.

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The kitchen sink remained in the same place under the window to the sun room and the backyard.


This photo is taken from the peninsula toward the cooktop and the opening to the formal living room. Lala the Chihuahua took advantage of the photo op!

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The cooktop moved from the former wall between the kitchen and dining room to the wall along with the refrigerator. We closed the opening into the formal living room about 12 inches to accommodate the cooktop and the extra cabinets.  The change had no significant impact on the opening to the living room and provides for great flow in the kitchen.


This photo shows the sliding barn door that we installed into the sun room. I LOVE this door and admit it is open 90% of the time. The sliding barn door is far more efficient that the previous, traditional door.

Fork-Lore Kitchen Remodel Past Posts:

Family · Home · Home · Kitchen

Kitchen is on the Uphill Slide

The Kitchen Remodel has turned the corner. It’s beginning to look like like a real kitchen.  Or, as my brother says, ‘the taking out is over and now you’re putting things in.’  Good way to look at it.

So where are we?

  • Design Complete, Appliances Ordered, Cabinets Ordered: CHECK
  • Cabinets and appliances removed: CHECK
  • Asbestos Abatement: CHECK

Asbestos Work Begins

  • Fixtures and cabinet handles ordered: CHECK
  • Backsplash ordered: CHECK
  • Granite Ordered: CHECK


  • City Permit in Place: CHECK
  • Dumpster arrives (just in time to put all of the tree damage from the Mother’s Day snow storm): CHECK
  • Structural walls and ceiling removed:  CHECK

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  • Plumbing moves and changes completed: CHECK


  • Electrical moves and changes completed: CHECK


  • Cabinets delivered: CHECK
  • Drywall installed: CHECK
  • Tape, Mud and Texture completed: CHECK
  • Wood Floor Patches: CHECK


  • Downstairs Doors Installed: CHECK
  • Cabinets Installed (except for a couple of pieces to be replaced): CHECK


  • Counter top Template:  CHECK


  • Appliances Installed:
  • Lighting and Plumbing Installs Completed:
  • Final Wood Trim and Crown Molding Installed:
  • Countertop Installed:
  • Backsplash Installed:
  • Wood floor refinished:
  • Painting:
  • Dogs go into depression with all of their new friends gone:
  • Move furniture back into the house:
  • Glass of Wine and a big sigh of relief: CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH

Once all of the work is done, I will post the before and after shots.  Stay tuned!





Family · Family Favorites · Holidays · Home · Kitchen

Kitchen Memories

Kitchen Memories started to flood back to me as I looked at my kitchen for the last time before the cabinets were removed.  So many conversations took place in my kitchen with our girls from babyhood to teenage years to adult years.  Meals were prepared for many loved ones, some of which are now gone.

Kitchen 2015 after the cabinets over the island were removed.

When we first moved into our Smurf blue house in 1988, the kitchen had brown, patterned kitchen carpet, one of the worst ideas on the planet. The Cherry Cabinets were quite nice and the Columbine (Colorado’s State Flower) tile was fitting of the ‘country’ craze at the time.

This kitchen became the heart of our home. Weekday mornings were frantic as Karl and I prepared for work so the girls would often gather on the floor of the kitchen as I prepared breakfast and our lunches.

As I look at the kitchen for the last time, a stream of memorable movies play in my head, including:

  • Homework, Science experiments, crafting
  • Holiday meal preparations
  • Meal preparation while the kids often sat on the counter to chat and share
  • My mother, when visiting, making homemade egg noodles on my kitchen counter to freeze for later use
  • Making our Christmas favorite Kringla for the holidays
  • Birthday Celebrations
  • Christmas parties & Mother’s Day Coffee
  • Dying Easter Eggs

Sarah and Megan dye Easter Eggs 1991

  • Teaching the girls to bake

Megan and Sarah bake a cake 1991

  • Rescuing animals or playing with our own pets

Daddy has a bird

  • Running Circle through the house (Gamma Stout and Sarah)

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  • Preparing flowers for the Megan (top) and Sarah’s (second) weddings

megan and cathy do flowers 1580

  • Evan’s 2nd birthday, the last event in the old kitchen.


So here we go…out with the old and in with the new! I’m soooo ready…

Family · Home

Kitchen Remodel…what led up to this decision?

Kitchen Remodel…something I’ve dreamed of for the past 15 years when my current kitchen began to literally fall apart. Doors and drawers would not close, cabinet doors were breaking off and I contributed to the kitchen’s demise through a series of mishaps.

A few years ago I got the bright idea to paint my refrigerator black instead of the dated almond color. We tried to disconnect the water to the ice maker but the water would not shut off.  Since I wasn’t ready to flood the 1st floor and basement, I decided it would be easier to paint the refrigerator indoors.  Easy, peasy…I would build a tent around the refrigerator and floor and use spray epoxy black paint.

It is clear to me now that I was missing a few brain cells when I made this decision. Not only was I setting myself up to be asphyxiated, but little did I know the extent of this bad decision.

I could only remove one door of the refrigerator to take outdoors and paint. The other was connected to the water line and, again, I was flood adverse.  I took the door outdoors and spread out the plastic against a garden wall to start the process.  The paint went on very nicely and I puffed out my chest that I had this great idea saving myself so much money.

Next, I moved indoors to build the tent and start the indoor process.  I used a mile of tape and plastic sheeting and was ready to go.  As I started painting, my daughter Sarah dropped by.  She stayed outside the ‘tent’ and watched as I started painting.

Suddenly, Sarah tells me to stop. Why? Well, the fine mist of the paint was leaching out of the ‘tent’ and was  all over my hardwood floors. OMG! Now what? Sarah and I immediately tried to wipe up the paint but it didn’t work.  My mind was in overdrive and had no idea what to do with this colossal mess.  We tried Murphy’s Oil soap…no luck.  Next, we tried Pledge Furniture Cleaner with Orange Oil and it started to release. We worked liked maniacs trying to somehow correct this disaster.  The majority of the paint was ultimately removed but left a dull residue over half of the downstairs hardwood floors.


But that wasn’t the end of it.  My refrigerator was only partially painted. Do I ditch this project and just get a new frig?  No, there has to be another way.  My answer to this question was to take a paint brush outside and spray with the paint and then RUN in the house and apply it; then repeat again and again. No joke…I did this until the refrigerator was black, not almond.

After allowing the paint to dry, I went outside to bring the one refrigerator door back in when I realized the plastic had blown over one side of the door and stuck to the door. YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!  I gently pryed the plastic away from the door and admired the plastic adherence blemish on the door. Oh well, I’ll do the paint brush run, again, to try to fix the problem.  Is this beginning to sound like a rerun of the ‘I Love Lucy’ show?

I carried the door into the kitchen and placed it against the kitchen counter while I gather the tools and hardware to attach the door.  I turn and hear a terrible crash. The door slipped and fell hard against my lovely (ahem) laminate counters leaving a very large crack and chip to the counter.  Who ever said third time was a charm?


Finally, I put the refrigerator together and stared at the counter. A call to my handyman and a few dollars later he patched it back together. It was functional but darn ugly!

I lived with this disaster for 2 years before I replaced the refrigerator and 3 years before it was finally time to gut the kitchen and start over, the right way.

Since I won’t have a kitchen for many weeks, I’ll be sharing kitchen memories, remodeling experiences and hopefully a happy ending.  Needless to say, I’m not doing this myself!

Garden · Home

Peach Lilac tree…and the ensuing battle

A few years ago, I noticed a large branch growing from the middle of one of my lilac bushes.  I’d pass it now and again and wonder what it was, but let it grow. I was sure the squirrels left a seed that eventually sprouted into something new.

One year, this mysterious branch had blossoms different than the lilac, so again I watched to see what would happen. IMG_4909

Eventually small fruit began to form from the blossom and revealed itself as peaches.


The peaches continued to grow and would soon be ripe.  I couldn’t wait to pick a peach fresh from my yard and enjoy every drippy, lucious bite.

UNTIL…the squirrels came back to claim their bounty. Most of the peaches ended up on the ground, partially eaten by the squirrels.  The least they could do is the eat the whole thing!

Peach with Squirrel damage

The squirrels were kind enough to leave a couple of peaches for me.

Peaches 2012

It’s a new year and the squirrels and I are plotting our strategies.  If peaches form, who will get there first?  The tale of the Peach Battle between Team Squirrel and Team Cathy continues.

Family · Holidays · Home

Generations of Mother’s Day Sentiments

Mother’s Day holds a special place in our hearts that grows each and every year. This Mother’s Day I ventured down Memory Lane reading sentiments shared through the generations and, again, realized the love we hold for Mother’s is so very dear. How I miss my Mother and wish I could hug her and talk with her one more time.

My Mother often expressed her feelings in poetry and I found a poem she wrote in 1956 about her sweet Mother, Susie:

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By Betty Gaunt Smaha

How well I do remember
My Mother sweet and fair,
Who was the first to hold me
And utter a thanks in prayer.

She taught me first to sit up straight
Then baby words to talk,
She gently led me around the room
Until I learned to walk.

She sat me down upon her knee
And taught me how to say,
‘Now I lay me down to sleep’
So I’d know how to pray.

She also taught me how to love
My sisters and my brothers,
To share my toys and not complain
Twas a trying time for Mother.

She proudly sent me off to school
With a smile upon her face,
And assured us all twas well
As off to school we’d race.

She could look at me and always smile
With a twinkle in her eyes,
She loved me in a clean starched dress
Or knee deep in mud pies.

As years passed by and I left home
Mother silently shed some tears,
For she wanted just my happiness
For the many coming years.

But now I am a Mother
With children of my own,
But ‘Mother’s Day’ is special
For that dear sweet Mom back home.
Most of my childhood drawings and cards are long gone, but one card survived.  I only wish I had inherited my Mother’s poetry gene.

Mother’s Day card to my Mother about 1958 (age 5)


There is nothing more precious that the hand-made cards from the girls through the years. I’ve saved many of their cards and drawings and want to share two of my favorites.

Mother’s Day card from my daughter, Sarah

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Mother’s Day Poem from Daughter, Megan

Mothers Day Poem from Megan 1995

To Mother’s everywhere, have a wonderful Mother’s Day this weekend!

Garden · Home

Springtime in the Rockies

The first day of Spring brings to mind our favorite things: flowers, sunshine, rain showers, sounds of children playing outdoors, and baseball. Iowa Springs means crops being planted, morel mushroom hunting in local Timbers, and one of my favorite flowers, Bluebells.  Bluebells grew wild in the timbers of Iowa, but they grow in the shade of my Colorado home now. In Colorado, the first day of Spring could find 36″ of snow on the ground or summer-like temperatures. Crazy as it sounds, it’s one of the many things I love about Colorado.

Springtime in Colorado also brings back memories of the old song ‘When Its Springtime in the Rockies‘ recorded by Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and many more. The song was written by Robert Sauer /Lyrics by Mary Hale Woolsey in 1929. I’ve included the lyrics below and hope you enjoy the link to YouTube above.



When it’s springtime in the rockies
I am coming back to you
Little sweetheart of the mountains
With your bonny eyes of blue
Once again I’ll say “I love you”
While the birds sing all the day
When it’s springtime in the rockies In the rockies, far away

The twilight shadows deepen into night,
The city lights are gleaming o’er the snow
I sit alone beside the cheery fire dear
I’m dreaming dreams from out the long ago
I fancy it is springtime in the mountain
The flowers with their colors are aflame
And ev’ry day I hear you softly saying
I’ll wait until the springtime comes again

When it’s springtime in the rockies
I am coming back to you
Little sweetheart of the mountains
With your bonny eyes of blue
Once again I’ll say “I love you”
While the birds sing all the day
When it’s springtime in the rockies
In the rockies, far away

Holidays · Home · Humor

Valentine’s Day…through the years

Valentine’s Day is a day we cherished as children, exchanging Valentines with our classmates, carefully choosing cards for each person. We would spend what seemed like hours on our Valentines for our parents.

Our Mothers would bake cookies to bring to class and we would have a big ‘sugar high’ before our sweet teachers would  watch us leave the classroom for one crazy ride home on the bus. Cathys Valentine 1969

As I got older, Valentine’s Day became more about romance, setting expectations of what we should give and receive of this day full of cupid, hearts and roses.  More often than not, this day was a let-down. This week on CBS Sunday morning I saw one of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, share his thoughts on Valentine’s Day. He captures it well!

With children, Valentine’s Day would bring me back to my childhood, helping the girls pick out their favorite cartoon-themed Valentine’s, baking heart-shaped cookies, and often receiving the precious Valentines from their sweet little hands.



Today, Valentine’s Day is a day to show love by sharing a gift of food with family and friends, calling a lonely friend, and being thankful and full of love for this precious gift of life….today!


Happy Valentine’s Day!



Holidays · Home

The Day After Christmas

Christmas decorations in Braga, Portugal.

The vision of the holidays brings about fond memories, warmth and good cheer. Once they are here, we all seem to hustle and bustle around, becoming too busy to really enjoy the season and remembering the ‘reason for the season’.

As I did my last minute shopping for groceries and gifts, it was easy to see the stress on the clerks faces as well as the faces of the shoppers.  It makes me sad. I, too, am guilty of being stressed over the holiday and it is all self-imposed.  The perfect Christmas newsletter must be produced (not so perfect this year!), cookies and candies to be made, gifts to be purchased and wrapped, menus planned, etc., etc ., etc.

As I look at the decorations in my house that need to come down and the beauty of the Christmas tree disappearing, I searched for a song about ‘after Christmas’ and discovered this great song by Matthew West.  It captures my sentiments and hope that you, too, will keep ‘The Light of the World’ in your heart all year long.

Advent wreath Русский: Рождественский венок Sl...
Advent wreath Русский: Рождественский венок Slovenčina: Adventný veniec (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthew West – Day After Christmas Lyrics

Artist: Matthew West

Album: The Heart Of Christmas


Here comes the letdown Christmas is over
Here comes the meltdown, there goes the cheer
But before we have a breakdown, let us remember
The light of the world is still here

Happy day after Christmas
And merry rest of the year
Even when Christmas is over
The light of the world is still here
The light of the world

Come January I’m ready for summer
The Super Bowl’s over and I’ll settle for spring
Sometimes we all need a change in the weather
But it won’t change the reason we sing

Happy day after Christmas
And merry rest of the year
Even when Christmas is over
The light of the world is still here

The light of the world
The light of the world
The light of the world

So take down the stockings, take back the sweaters
Take down the lights and the star and the tree
But don’t let this world take your joy after Christmas
Take joy to the world and just sing

Happy day after Christmas
And merry rest of the year
Even when Christmas is over
The light of the world is still here

Happy day after Christmas
And merry rest of the year
Even when Christmas is over
The light of the world is still here

The light of the world
The light of the world
The light of the world
The light of the world
The light of the world
The light of the world
The light of the world