Year in Review

I have to say 2010 was a wonderful year.  I made some great friends, advanced my research, and upped my blog posts.  I also scanned every document I have for my family history and have sorted them in the appropriate locations. I also attended some wonderful conferences and learned some new tricks.  My business has been doing well and a long past murder in my family has been solved and the guilty party put in jail.  All and all a fabulous year.

2011 will be my year of refining my research goals, following my research plan and hopefully learning and growing even more.  This year I am going to search for my Poundstone relatives with a passion.  I plan on doing some research in Illinois and Indiana trying to track down some missing clues.  I will also see what information I can glean from my Miottel and Skibbe relatives.   I also plan on diligently searching my husbands side of the family.  Watch out Yurmanovich, Drezdon and Milolajckak families.


Funeral Card Friday – Clara Miottel Skibbe

Clara E. Skibbe, nee Miottel was my maternal grandmother.  My mother was Clara’s surprise, born when Clara was forty years old.  Clara’s first born was William born in 1923 when Clara was 29.  Clara and her husband William Skibbe also adopted a niece  Violet that was born in 1914.  Needless to say a child at forty was not in the plan for my grandmother, she thought she was just about done raising her children when mom arrived.  

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Fruitcake, not when Kolaches are around.

Fruitcake, I have never tried it.  Comments that I have heard have not been positive so I am lucky to have avoided it so far.  I don’t remember it ever being at our house growing up.  The only type of fruit and baking we saw during the holidays was Kolaches cookies.  The cookies always seemed to show up at Christmas.  I always preferred the apricot, my brother liked the blueberry.  Mom and her friends made all types of flavors.  The Kolaches did travel, they went to holiday parties, friends homes, and were mailed to family.  My husband’s grandmother used to include them in her cookie tins she mailed each year.  Below is my mother’s cookie recipe.  I don’t think I could ever eat fruitcake when these yummy cookies around.


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1 c. butter
2 egg yolks
2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lg. pkg. cream cheese
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tsp. powdered sugar
Purchased preserves
Cream butter, cheese, sugar and egg yolks until fluffy. Add sifted flour, baking powder, soda, salt and vanilla; blend well. Chill for at least one hour. Roll to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with round cookie cutter or glass cup top.   Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet, I prefer to bake on parchment paper. Place 1 teaspoon of filling on each. Cover with second round which has hole in center. Bake at 350 degrees about  10 to 12 minutes.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Travel

Our family never traveled at Christmas.  We hosted friends during holiday meals but family never came to visit on the holidays.  My father’s family lived in southern Illinois about four hours away from us.  Really not too far away but my father is the one of his many siblings that decided to leave the area and head for Chicago.  My mother’s family had passed away before I was born, with exception of her brother that died when I was young.

Our family always welcomed folks to our house to share a Christmas meal.  My brother and I frequently invited friend while we were in college and high school over along with my parents friends.  Now my husband I host Christmas for family and friends at our home.  I love being at home for the holidays and have my children come back for the holidays.  Maybe one day I’ll travel but for now I am the hostess with the mostess just as my mother had been.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Charitable/ Volunteer Work

Charitable work at Christmas is just the thing to make the holidays a little more special.  Previously I posted about the Angel Tree.  I remember shopping and finding contributions for “adopted” families when I was a Girl Scout.  Our troop would often raise enough cash to pay an electric bill, buy some toys and provide the family with some additional food for the holidays.  Our leader never told us the name of the family but just knowing we were helping was all we needed.

I think for the new year I will try to do a little more RAOGK requests and possibly a little more volunteer PI work.  I think it would be a beneficial practice to get into the habit of monthly volunteer work rather than seasonal volunteer work.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Other traditions

A traditions that my family followed that was a little different than the norm, was to pick an angels off the tree at church or from one of the department stores.  The Angel had a child’s name, size, clothing and toy requests.  We always had a wonderful time picking out some new outfits, shoes, and toys for our Angel.  Some years we were allowed to choose two Angels, sometimes just one.  I did keep up this tradition with our kids but have not done so recently.  I have purchased toys for the Marine’s donation box although I don’t find the experience quite as personal.  I guess I like to have a name and an option of doing more than just providing a toy.

I think it is time to revive this tradition.  I always enjoyed it in the past and helping out always puts me in the holiday mood.

The other tradition our family had was the Swedish Tea Ring for breakfast.    There is nothing like starting the day with a nice warm cinnamon in your tummy!


           1/4 cup warm water (real warm)

  • Package yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp yeast from jar)

Put yeast in a small bowl and pour water over it stirring to dissolve well. Add teaspoon of  sugar and stir to “proof” the yeast.  Let sit for about 5 minutes till yeast bubbles. Measure the following ingredients into a large bowl and add the yeast mixture.

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg (room temp)
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups flour

Mix until smooth.  Add enough additional flour (up to an additional 1 1/2 or 2 cups) to handle easily and mix with your hands.  Turn onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).  Round up in greased bowl, greased side up and cover with a damp cloth to let rise.  Rise in a warm place until double in size – about 1 1/2 hours.  Punch down and let rise again about 30 to 45 minutes.
Roll dough into oblong 15×9 shape.  Spread soft butter all over and then sprinkle the following over the dough:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Roll up dough longwise seam-side down.  Then bring ends together to form a circle and pinch edges together.  Make cuts 2/3 of the way into the ring every 1 inch around.  Turn each section onto its side.  Let rise again about 30 to 45 minutes.
Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes.
Spread top with icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • dash of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix to a spreading consistency and drizzle over warm ring.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories – Christmas Gifts

My parents never let us open our gifts early, it was always Christmas morning and no earlier than 7 AM.  Mom would get up and warm up a Swedish Tea Ring she had made the night before and while we were eating breakfast we were given our stockings to open.  Then my brother and I would try to patiently wait while Mom and Dad had their breakfast and coffee.

Our tree was set up in our living room.  Dad would sit in his chair and oversee the proceedings.  Mom passed out gifts.  I remember crying one Christmas because the only thing I asked for was an alarm clock – yeah I know crazy -and I didn’t get one.  My mother asked me what was wrong and I told her all I really wanted was that clock.  She said you got a clock and I said no I did not.  That sent mom diving through the tree, then dumping out the garbage that had been used to collect the wrappings, and then finally to her closet muttering under her breath.  She dug around for a little and came out with a brown box.  Inside the box was my alarm clock, the wind up kind with two bells on top and best of all bright pink.  I was so happy, it was later that day I figured out that there was no Santa, well that and the fact that my big brother told me so.

Family History Expo – Arizona Family History Expo

Just made my hotel reservations for the Arizona Family Expo.  Looking forward to a great time catching up with friends, learning some new tricks and meeting new folks.  Just had the above calling card made to share at the expo.

I am exploring  Rootsmagic software, perhaps I can catch up with Bruce Buzbee and get some confidence under my belt with this software.   It’s always difficult learning something new – old dog new tricks!.

Advent Calendar of Christmas – Grab Bag

I just received this photo in the mail today.  Let me introduce you to my sweet nieces, Grace age 8 and Kaylin age 3.  They live in Tennessee but had there picture with Santa taken in North Carolina were their dad and grandparents reside.  I know that Santa has already shipped some cool gifts to their Grandparents home in North Carolina.  Sure wish I lived closer to the girls.  My youngest are in college now, how sweet to have some youngsters around at Christmas!