My GF journey is getting easier!

I started in November going gluten free, thought it was going be to be impossible, but wanted to try it.  I was amazed at how easy it turned out to be.  Every where I went I could find choices that were gluten free.  Some good , some not so tasty.  Some restaurants had complete menus, while others only offered one or two items.  When I went to the store, I again found some had lots of choices to choose from, and some not so many.  Now I am seeing that they have a section of gluten free food in one area, and then scattered through out the store in the aisle with the regular food.  So many brands have hoped on the band wagon and now have gluten free choices such as Hidden Valley bars, you can get regular, or gluten free.

Then I learned that chicken wings are usually not battered.  What!!  I can satisfy my fried chicken taste buds with chicken wings, with no sauce!  Woo Hoo…. I am a happy camper indeed.  Still trying to find a bread I really like.  I have some that are ok, but still not  what my taste buds really want.  so the search is on for that.  Some noodles I like, but take to long to cook, but then I found one that cooks in under 5 minutes, and they are great!

I have learned how to read labels faster, and know what to look for.  That did take some work, but now it is easy.  There is always fresh Veggies and fruit I can have with no problems, and most places, can order a sandwich, hot dog, hamburger with no bun, which is ok.  The Mexican food I like, still trying to figure out what I can and cannot have, but I did find out that, our local Mexican restaurant has a fantastic grilled salmon with veggies that will melt in your mouth! Go figure, never would have thought to go there to have it.

With the heat upon us, I also have to be careful with ice creams, but there are still lots of choices to choose from.  No cones, but hey, less mess!

I do butter churning demos, so I have found some pretzels they could use to try some of the butter which of course I try to keep a little in a small container for just those that are GF to try.  sometimes those crackers are sure tempting.

So 8 months into my journey, and I think I have this.  I feel better, and I did discover that if I do eat something with gluten in it…. I tend not to feel good the next day.  So I know it is working!

As always one day at a time, one choice at a time… learning more each day.

What a whirlwind !

What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been!  I have been having fun sharing history with the younger generation.  I went into the Hamburg High School for three days, sharing with them different primary resources that were not found on the computer, cell phones or google… what a shock, there were actually books and artifacts that could be used to learn about the past.  I brought some old atlas of our area, to show how from 1866 to 1880 the town lines changes, town names changes, and you could research different families by seeing who and where land/farms were.  Then they got to use the old bound newspapers to continue their search, also finding old ads, from the area to see what indeed was here. I had two different newspapers from our area that recorded a new firetruck in 1921.  It was like looking at articles for two different trucks, two different points of views, that was fun for them. I took artifacts  for them to see if I could stump the kids, and the one that stumped all the ages I talked to…. a wooden egg on a stick… or as us old timers know,… a darning egg for socks.  Well why would you have one of those?! they all ask, which opened up the discussion of how socks, were not always bought in a pack of 6 or 12 at Walmart, but had to be used and worn for a long period of time, and you did not want to walk on a lump where you mended the sock.  I totally loved the 11th graders I got to visit their classrooms for 3 days, absolutely a joy.  They could think outside the box and were amazed at what all they could find out and learn.  We even went into a discussion of how food was made and stored, learned about “Pop” Warner and the fact that not only was he a coach for football, but he could paint as well, to ink wells and quills to write with, how ink was made and with what, salt wells, candle molds, that had a lot stumped and I learned from them as well.

The next group of kids I talked to was the 7th graders.  They were a little tougher, They also got to see old photographs, and learned that you had to sit still for up to 2 minutes for the photo to come out, and how the photographers would sometime travel around and take photos, and you can age the photographs by looking at their clothes, hairstyles and other items that were in the picture. They too also enjoyed the old papers, the old car ads, (learned they were also called automobiles) were amazed at how articles were written, how many cars brands there were, the size of the tires and then they learned about type setting that the newspapers had to use to print the papers.  They got to learn about the schools around here and what classes were offered.  I had fun with them as I took a artificial arm with me to show them.  The person it belong to had loss his arm during the Civil War, but came back and lived a long and productive life as a farmer.  At the time, they were not paying much attention, and you know raising your voice does not always work, so I used the arm as a selfie stick, putting a cell phone in the hand ( had a very strong thumb spring still) and extended the arm to be straight.  When the kids ask me what I was doing, I told them I needed a hand to take a selfie with a cell phone.  Then one student looked up more about the arm and discovered that it was designed in 1857 and patented in 1863, told us what kind of wood it was and paint.  I was very impressed by his research..  I was only with them for one day, but think I got them thinking of primary resources away from the computer, cell phones and Google.

We had a group come through from Clymer Historical Society to see what all we had at the Mercantile/Heritage Building and us at the Lucy Bensley Genealogy Center.  They seem to enjoy all we had to offer and look through some of the books and items we had at the building.

This last week, was 4th graders came in all 3 days we were opened.  So much fun again!  I love sharing my enjoyment of History with kids.  We played a game that I called, what is in Grandma trunk?  I started with .. If you found this trunk ( a large suitcase) in the attic   (and explained what was a attic for those that may not know) what are these items and how do you think they were used.  I started off with a rug beater.  It was fun to hear them try to figure out what it was… Why not plug it in a vacuum cleaner ? was asked., Were they even invented yet? into what? I replied, and then went on to explain, there was not electricity in the house then.  What?!  and then told them how you would pull the rug out (not beat the rug on the floor in place) and beat it outside and then take it back in.  That’s a lot of work, one little boy said. I had some tin type photos, followed by the 3 X 5 photos that the photographers would take in the 1880s, some pieces of a quilt were in there as well as other items.  Then I went into a what is genealogy?  I had created several forms for them to take home, a family tree, questions you might ask your grandparents, old photos, and to try to get the information, do you have a favorite food item your grandmother or Aunt makes, some fun facts and such.

Through all of this was laughter, and great questions and maybe, just maybe, I opened some eyes and minds for these kids to look back into their families, or learn a little about the history of the town.  I did have one student that told me, I made history interesting…. Now that I will take as a compliment!

My Passions, My Love

Many of you that know me, know I have a passion for History.  Now when I was young, I did not enjoy it at all.  Funny as you get older you have different likes, different taste.  I moved to Springville area 30 years ago, not knowing anything about this area.  The last few years, I have enjoyed learning the history of the area and what a wonderful history it is.  So full, so much this town and village has gone through.

The stained glass window in the above photo is from the Lucy Bensley Genealogy Center.  The Universalist Church was built in 1897 and the window installed and has been up there in the eaves ever since.  The building itself has been several things… after the Church disbanded it was then the public library, ran by Lucy Bensley herself for almost 50 years!  Then it was a BOCES class room and then the Genealogy Center.  The Chamber of Commerce also has its office there. You can stop by any Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9am to 3pm and learn about the history of the town and the folks and businesses that were established and ran.  A rich history indeed.

This week a member that lives out of town, sent back this horse statute that once was behind the bar at the Leland house.  How exciting that was, as some books as well.  We also get folks that bring in photos and quilts, tools, kitchenware, and their own genealogy research they have done.  We love having that.  Photographs… well, we have lots and lots and lots of them… only problem is .. back in the day, they would only put the names of the cats, dog or cow that was in the photo… with my sisters, or grandmas and nothing else.. so we are always looking for someone to help us to ID these people.

We have the old bound newspapers from the town digitalized and make searching so much easier.  How fun it is to sit and read these papers from back in 1868, or 1844, 1900s…. as the events of the area built up, from measles and small pox, to the railroad coming and being built, the GAR being formed, then the Legion, VFW, and all the social organizations…. The Odd Fellows .. IOOF, the Knights of the Maccabees (KOTM) the Free and Accepted Masons, Womans Relief Corps (WRC) and you had to know what the initials stood for… as that was what the columns were titled. You could read about the meetings, who attended them, what they talked about… and when they were going to meet again.  You could read when family came in to visit, or friends from other towns, who had the best cows, or the largest vegetables in their gardens. You could pay for a subscription with a cord of wood or by writing an article or brief article on what went on in your town the previous week.  I so love learning more and more about the town, so much so, that I now create a story for the Springville Times each week titled Looking back.

After all that fun I have there when I came home, I have some of the best pets, Fraser always greats me and wants snuggles right away, which of course he gets.  Then there is Violet, the talker and she makes sure I know when to feed them… Rosebud who is the little princess who rules the roost.  She is talker as well.  Then there is Akela, who is a parrot, but does not realize he is a bird, so reacts when one flies by the window.  Then will sings and whistle while I work around the house… and oh yeah… he likes to take showers with me.

Going gluten free has helped me lower my pain levels so I can truly enjoy volunteering at the Lucy Bensley Center, writing more articles and helping others to do their own research.  We have several folks that now come in weekly to learn more about their family, and some that just come to read the old papers.

Stop down some day and visit with us, learn more about the town, and all the awesomeness it has and share with us your family history, your stories of the past.

5 Months gluten free

We have a new coffee shop in town and let me tell you this… they have super coffee AND the best, they carry the best home made gluten free treats, chocolate brownies with peanut butter icing, or vanilla icing, and cookies. They carry gluten free waffles and bread.  They make a breakfast of gluten free toast, with avocados slices and hard boiled eggs…. oh my, I have had it 3 times now it is so good, the waffles are not bad either.  How exciting that a little coffee shop carries so many choices!

So in the 5 months I have found so many food places that some carry a lot of choices and others that only have one or two choices.  Friday, I got grilled salmon, with steamed veggies all gluten free food and mighty tasty. Choices that I or anyone else can make, just have to take the time to research the food.  I really missed my fried food, but discovered that most chicken wings are fried without any batter, so I can order some wings and enjoy them, satisfying my craving for fried food, without having to attempt it at home as my frying of food never did taste right to me.  I have found that Target, and Wegman’s are the two stores around me that carry the best choices of gluten free food items.  I have bought food online, some I loved and some that I will never get again.  I do feel better, not as gassy, not as bloated and my heart burn is way down, so I am starting to see some results.  Wish my weight would drop some, but I know I am eating healthy and careful with what I eat, so it is, what it is.

My favorite snack is a apple sliced up with some cheese.  Fills me up and is healthy too.  Add a handful of Fritos  and  a tall glass of water… perfect.  Or a serving of raisins, with a glass of ice tea, fruit cut up, or a smoothy made with frozen fruit, and gluten free yogurt. I can always find something tasty to have for a snack.

I am re learning how to cook using gluten free products, re learning how to shop, now I have the items in my mind and do not have to do so much reading of labels, sure makes it easier to shop.  I have discovered that  a lot of the sweet snacks that are process for the gluten free either home made or store bought, sure seem extra sweet to me, some I even threw out, because I knew I would not eat them.. just too sweet!  So not sure if my taste buds have changed or if they really are that sweet.  So many choices I have made in the last 5 months, researching and studying before making them…. one at a time, and learning its ok if the choices are ones that I will stay with, or change again.

I choose to go gluten free to improve my health, and think it was a good choice.  I hope those that follow me enjoy the post and I hope to hear from all of you!

Happy Birthday to me!


So I have been wanting to get a better zoom lens for my camera, but just could not justify the prices they were.  I did some research and most of them ran anywhere from $1,300.00 and $3,000.00.  Yeah, that is not happening.  So Idid a little more research and found one for $140.00.  WHAT!?  looked it up, and yep, that was the price and it had great reviews…. I read almost everyone of them, and the only problems I could see happened either because they did not use a tripod, or the picture was blurry….. ok, that is ok, the lens itself was fine.  Ok, I can afford that. It is a 650/1300 Zoom, the one I have now goes up to 300, so a lot more zoom power with this one.  Now, because of it’s size I did not want to be changing the lens all the time.  I checked online, and found a camera body, the same type that I have a rebel Cannon … for under $100.  Oh boy this is just awesome!  So I ordered both!  For under $300 I have a new camera and zoom lens.

They both came within 3 days, even more exciting.  So I snuck downstairs on our porch and played with it for a little while.  Shoot, I will be able to get a photo of the birds nose hairs!  geez.  I got some practicing to do for sure.  It is manual focus, so I will have to  re learn doing that ( got lazy with the auto focus) but can see where that can be fun too.  Will have to use a tripod, because as you know, the more you zoom, the more you can not move or the subject will be blurry, and the lens itself has a place to mount the tripod.  You mount it that way instead of on the body of the camera as the lens is heavier than the camera and thus could break off if moved around to much. I got so use to the camera choosing the F stops and iso, that I got lazy there as well, time to re learn!

Now I am the search of a smaller suitcase, which I will create as a camera case, cheaper than buying one for cameras and now I am looking for the weather to get warmer (mother nature is playing with us now) so I can plan for some scooter and car trips to go and sit and take photos to learn how to use the camera and lens.  Practice does make perfect…. I got lots of practicing to do!


I went back to school!

Ok, well, I did not go back to take a class, but rather to assist, by sharing what all we have in the Lucy Bensley Center for the High School group to use in their research projects.  all the rules of writing a paper and what would be a primary source and how to document it.

What joy I had … on the first day, I brought a box of artifacts to pass around.  We then placed a item on each table and the students were to decide what the item was and what it was used for.  Some items they guess right away, like the old ice skate which was wooden, with a blade on it, pin cushion, and a few others items that were easy… I thought they would get them all, but I was surprised!  The old candle mold, with a chunk of beeswax stumped 50% of them, they as a group worked that one out, a ink well, had some funny answers for that item. The items that seem to stump them all were…. a salt well, a small dish which would have had a very small spoon to use to dip into the salt and then spread it on the food, a sander for when you wrote with the old ink, the top two that were the hardest for the class…. are you ready?  A old fashion can opener… the type you jam in and use muscle power to go around the can, and the number one stumper of all time … is…. a sock darning egg!  Oh even as a class, and they all tried… could not guess that one.

I went back for the second day of primary resources I took some old photograph albums, old maps, and old bound newspapers.  The photographs were fun to look at and they as a class learned that you can date the photographs sometimes by looking at the clothes, hairstyles, toys that might be in the photo, and the names on the bottom or back of the photograph showing who took the photo and where they might be located. They like me understood the frustration when you get a box full of wonderful photos… with no names on them to indicate who was in the photo or even where they were.  We talked about different types of photos and how they progressed… just a mini lesson.  In one of the albums was a photo of Glen Warner… you know Pop Warner…. I now officially feel old. A lot of the kids had no idea who he was, I explained how he was a football coach and that some of the fields were named the Pop Warner football field, and how because of him, football rules were either refined or created, and how he was a artist as well.  I was bummed that no one seem to know him.

Then we had went thru the two atlas I brought in .. one in 1866 and one in 1880.  They got to compare the two and were surprised to see that some of the town names had changed and were spelled differently.  The kids had fun trying to find where they or their grandparents live, and saw where some of the road names came from the people who lived in the area.  East Hamburgh is now Orchard Park, so we challenged the group at that table to find Orchard Park on the 1866 map, which was not there…. that was fun.

The two bound local newspapers I brought in were both published in 1921, in Springville, One was the Springville News and one was the Springville Journal and Herald. I had them compare and contrast the papers side by side, as it was marketed for two different group of people so the articles reflected that.  For example, In Springville we got a new firetruck.  Both articles in the papers made the front page… one talked about the “workings” of the firetruck, such as how much water it would carry, dry chemicals it carried, size of the engine, how far the water could be shot…. the other went into who would be driving it, where it would be stored, how much it was. Then the kids just went through the paper and looked at the ads, articles and such that were in the paper.  They were amazed.

I went back on more time with several pre 1900s bound newspapers for them to look at.  It was interesting to see which group ( they worked in teams) went for different things that were in the paper.  One group seemed to focus on ads, and how they were all written in the same font, same size and just gave basic facts, sometimes not even given the location.  Others went for the personal columns the paper had, and were tickled to see that they would write down when someone came into town to visit someone living here, or that they had mail they needed to pick up.  Another group was fascinated with the “world” news of the time, and Another group thought it was funny that when you died your age was in the paper as X years, X month, and X days.  They thought that was great when you were researching your family genealogy and you could find out when someone was born.   Also the 3rd time I went… One boy had actually done a little more research and told me what he had learned about Glen Pop Warner.  How exciting that he had done that.

If all I do it touch one young person, to learn a little more about the past I feel like I struck a gold mine!  I want to thank Frontier High School for allowing me to come in to Mrs. Blood’s room and share all of this with the students.  I hope that they enjoyed it as much as I did showing and talking to them.  I will tell you that these were the most behaved, attentive kids I have seen in a long while… thanks goes also to these great students.  I am looking forward to getting to go to some other schools and do the same!

One choice at a time, and boy oh boy… this one was a great choice!

What wonderful food I am finding!

I am amazed at the wonderful food choices I am getting now that I am gluten free.  The photo on the left is showing a sweet potato breakfast bowl with cranberries, nuts, and a cinnamon sauce, at our local NEW Coffee shop.  They are also carrying home made baked good, a chocolate brownie with peanut butter icing, cookies, another type of a bake good, so far all have been just wonderful!.  On the right is a picture I took at another coffee shop in a town nearby, they offer every sandwich on corn taco shells… and let me tell you, this one was sooooooo good, and yes I had to take some home with me.

Since I have chosen to be Gluten Free, the choices I am finding at different places we go out to eat are just amazing.  The little pizza place we have in town, will fix any of their pizza in a small size, gluten free, and have chicken fingers that are gluten free, oh yea and most of the dishes that are serve with noodles…. except Lasagna… and I am working with them on that… because it is so good.  They are thinking about it.  My husband is a shriner and we went to a meal they offered there… a fish fry.  I wanted to support the Lodge, but knew I did not want a fish fry.  I was surprised when there was three different kinds of fish baked and or grilled I could chose from.  AND they would cook up “naked” chicken wings for me.  ( for those that do not know… that is a chicken wing, just fried, no breading, not dipped in batter, just fried) Now that is the one thing I am craving after 4 months is fried chicken or fish.  Well I got some wings to bring home for the next day, and Folks, let me tell you , they were really good, and hit the spot that was craving the fried food.  I can not wait to go back!

My family is being so supportive of me now, we had Easter dinner at my in laws house, and everyone there that brought food, and we all did, was careful about how the food was made, or brought me a different choose.  I brought my own bread,  mom was great and did not add flour for the gravy, but corn starch instead, all of the salad dressing were gluten free, lots of freshly cooked vegetables, and the salad had fresh fruit and nuts in it. For desert she had made a fruit and whipped cream, and after eating all the veggie and salad, along with ham was a perfect ending to a great meal!  This week we also picked up some maple kettle korn pop corn, … and yes it is good.

The Girl Scouts had their cookie sale, and they now carry one type of gluten free cookies, a Oatmeal / peanut butter/ with chocolate chips.  Not as good as the thin mints I love, but not bad at all.  And I have found 3 places not that bake gluten free goods, and oh this journey I am on is getting easier, and yes the reason I started it was to lower my pain levels as I have fibromyalgia and lower back degeneration and it has worked on lower my pains.  I also notice, I do not have as much heart burn as I use to, nor do I feel so tight, like I was full of gas, and I seem to be more regular… so I think that I am getting a benefit from that, and my skins seems to be softer… more color to it… So I think over all it seems to be working!

I still take life one day at a time, still enjoy life one choice at a time, try to do all I can, and still pace myself to be able to do all I can.  Still have days, where I do not want to do anything, no drive, no energy, but I am starting to have days with energy, and the drive to not only do something, but to go out and do it!

Now the one downfall I have…. I now feel like walking more, so I have been trying to bump up my steps for each day ( fitbit tracked) and…. well … my body I guess was not ready for all of that as now I have a achilles tendon that is not only flared up pain wise, but swollen and makes walking hard…. so I will have to re adjust, brace and baby the achilles tendon, rest it, ice/heat, support when I walk… for a while.  Oh well, life comes with bumps along the way, just adjust and try again!

Happy 63 Birthday to me, and my new life style to enjoy the golden years with my husband, family and friends!