for old times’ sake

It was Winter Break 1987, and I was in my pjs stringing (and eating!) popcorn with my big sister during Winter Break while It’s A Wonderful Life aired on TV during the local holiday movie marathon. This was my first memory of hearing the song Auld Lang Syne during the final scene of Frank Capra’s 1946 family drama. From then on, I recognized the song when the ball dropped in Times Square while watching Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve on TV with my cousins in Ann Arbor, MI.

The melody that has become synonymous with New Year’s Eve celebrations in North America was not widely known until December 31, 1929, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. That was the year that Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians first played Auld Lange Syne at the turn of the new year in a series of popular radio broadcasts. The broadcasts then later turned into television productions and continued for more than 30 years. 

Just as the song was not always popular, neither was the movie It’s A Wonderful Life. It received mixed reviews when it was released in 1946, and it did not even make it to the theater in my hometown until May the following year. The film’s comeback came in 1974 when it was viewed on television sets in households everywhere, because the copyright holder overlooked the film’s renewal expiration. This oversight meant it was free for TV stations to air the movie as often as they wished. And they did! In 1993 NBC bought the rights and now traditionally broadcasts it on Christmas Eve night in the United States. 

This year marked the 75th anniversary of the movie’s premiere at the Globe Theatre in New York. Today the movie is described as a “classic about a man (James Stewart) who is shown the value of his life by angel Clarence.” These are the intangible gifts that cannot be bought or sold, and the past few years have reminded us once again that triumphs are often hard fought, just as George Bailey was reminded by a look at the world if he had never been born. The emotion in his eyes alone at the end of the film show us how invaluable these moments are to him.

When I first heard George Bailey and his littlest daughter Zuzu singing at the end of the movie, I thought the words were, “For Old Lang’s Sign, my Dear.” I figured that “Old Lang” must have been someone from Bedford Falls who had a new house built at Bailey Park, and they were headed over to Martini’s for a party! I did not know that “Auld Lange Syne” was Scottish verse that roughly translates to “Old Times’ Sake.” Though even at my young age, I did understand that together, the community was celebrating a triumph of the greater good. I hope we will do that in 2022.

Auld Lang Syne. Thomas G. Doyle, Bookseller, Stationer, Song & Hymn publisher, No. 297 Gay Street, Baltimore, Md. Monographic. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

For more information and further enjoyment on this topic, click on these free resources:

The Greatest Gift Audiobook by Philip Van Doren Stern – hoopla (

Auld Lang Syne Song History & Lyrics – Britannica

The Seneca Falls It’s A Wonderful Life Museum Wonderful Life Collection Highlights

antidotes and anecdotes, part 2

Yes, I’m a Mrs. now! The last two years have been filled with new leaps, educational experiences, growth, sweetness, and a whole lot of prayer. The final image was taken after a recent prayer walk with faithful sisters. I am living proof that prayer changes things, and I thank God for His provision and hope at all times.

Now that we are caught up on the major events to date, I look forward to sharing a little bit of everything (a little more often) and the evidence of goodness throughout my life. Here are two songs that bring thankful tears to my eyes every time they play.

antidotes and anecdotes, part 1

Single square images and silly hashtags became important to me during a time when blogging did not seem like an option. Since it has been over three years since my last blog post, you can fill in some of my story at my Instagram account. The tagline there used to be “antidotes and anecdotes” much for the same reasons that this blog was once called “cozy good times.” I posted images that either amused me or provided a remedy when I needed a reminder of good things during the inevitable. Yes, it is a highlight reel of sorts, aimed at sharing the good stuff whenever possible.

Pumpkin Plate Silly Face

Pink Hair Pumpkin Plate FaceHole Punch Pumpkin PlateGoogle Eyes Hole Punch Craft GlueThread Pipe CleanersGoogle EyesGoogle Eyes Teeth SmileGlue the Google EyePipe Cleaner BraceletSilly Pumpkin FacesSilly Pumpkin Plate Face on Fridge

In case you still need to decorate for Halloween, here’s a simple and silly craft that will put a smile on your face. I put it together for a childcare group earlier this month, so when I had special breakfast guests over the weekend, we made them again at my place!

Supplies: orange paper plates, google eyes, colorful pipe cleaners, hole punch, craft glue, sticky magnet (optional).

Directions: Punch the orange paper plate with three holes in the top for pumpkin “hair” vines and two holes in the bottom for the smiles. Thread the pipe cleaners through the holes and twist them to style unique hair and smiles. Glue the google eyes on the plate and add a magnet to the back.

Plum Apple Oat Crisp

Apples and Plums from the Orchard.jpgCutting Apples and Plums for Crisp.jpgSqueezing Lemon.jpgChopped Plums and Apples.jpg

Mixing Oat Walnut Topping.jpgApples and Plums from Skillet to Dish.jpg

Apple Plum Oat Crisp.jpgOat Topping Apple Plum Crisp.jpg

We are on the cusp of autumn here in the midwest, and this dish bridges the fruits of the seasons in a most comforting fashion. It’s a recipe that I think is worth making for the aroma alone. Apples and plums simmering on the stovetop calms my busy mind and reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for. As I look at these photos I celebrate the goodness of the harvest, the joyful opportunity to share kitchen projects with my niece, and the hopeful promise of friends and family who gather together around the table.

I learned the method of making an apple crisp by first cooking apples on the stovetop with sugar, lemon juice, and butter, from Nigel Slater via Orangette. His brilliant method begins by warming a pan of butter and allowing the fruit to release their natural juices and slightly caramelize before adding the topping and finally baking it altogether in the oven. In this instance, the purple plums cook down, bubble up, and turn the flesh of the chopped apples a brilliant ruby red. The color reminds me of those gorgeous sugar maple leaves at their peak of autumn transformation.

Cinnamon, oats, and walnuts finish off the sweet and tart fruit. No flour is necessary for this crisp topping, but there are many lovely toppings that you could choose instead. Be sure to use gluten free oats if you are not able to eat gluten. Enjoy it warm for breakfast or for dessert with a scoop of frozen whipped cream.

Plum Apple Oat Crisp

4-5 apples

12 plums

1 lemon

1/2 C brown sugar

4 T unsalted butter

Chop the apples and plums into bite-sized pieces. Juice the lemon. Mix together the apples, plums, lemon juice, and brown sugar in a bowl. In a large pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat. After the butter is melted and stops foaming, add the fruit mixture to the pan. Next comes the transformation! Lightly stir from time to time. It can take up to 20 minutes on the stovetop for the juices to begin to thicken. You will know that the magic has happened when the fruit is completely coated and the air is filled with that delicious Fall aroma.

While the fruit is on the stovetop, mix up the simple oat topping. Hand mixing works the best for me.

2 C quick cooking oats

1 C walnuts

1/2 C brown sugar

8 T unsalted butter

1 t ground cinnamon

1 t kosher salt

Transfer the caramelized, cooked fruit to a baking dish and evenly top with the oat mixture. Bake for about 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven, or until the topping becomes golden.

super seven

a a waiting for party guests at the doora decorating paper party hats pom pomsamerican girl party 7 birthday dolls eatamerican girl party 7 birthday little treatsb cake 7cake 7 american girl candlesStrawberry Cupcake Sewingstrawberry pink sewing needlea b waiting at the door for guestsMy niece turned seven earlier this month! We celebrated the way she wanted to, with our favorite dolls. For her and her peers, this meant having American Girls, Bitty Babies and well-loved stuffed animals at the dinner table. The rest of us had our own interpretations. At her birthday lunch, we were joined by delightful people (some who called their dates “dolls”) and puppets, where there was also no shortage of smiles and laughter. As I look through the photos of the weekend fun, I think about the wonderful people that have come into her life this past year, both big and small. We know better than to call this year a lucky seven, because it is already a super seven.

Thank you, Oh Happy Day! Party hat template on card stock for the basic hats.

the air in sitka

poppies sitka alaska2015 633looking up silhouette alaska2015 528eagle totem sitka alaska2015 474becca looking alaska2015 509roots sitka alaska2015 567I took these photos two months ago in Sitka, AK: “the village behind the islands.” The Sitka National Historical Park has to be the most breathable place I have ever been. There I saw towering totem poles quietly telling stories of Tlingit, Aleut, and Russian heritage; I heard ravens orating and echoing throughout the forest trees; I learned that balance and reciprocity are important concepts to the Tlingit society. I wish I could have spent more time in Sitka but am grateful for the day I was there.