Friday, December 31, 2010

remembering the year that was

The newspapers and tv stations are full of end of year reviews-the biggest stories in weather, sports, entertainment, etc.  When I was younger, I would buy the yearend edition of People magazine, intending to save it for my kids to look at.  Wonder where those are...

Now with on-line blogs we no longer need to save all that paper, someday Charlie will be able to electronically access what our lives were like in 2010, through my blog archives.  Who knows what he will be doing to keep track of his life, at my age.

2010 was a quiet year for the Pohls, no big trips were taken, no new things added to our household (unless you count all of my vintage finds at yard sales, but I digress...)  Mike and Charlie had a great season of dirt biking, with Charlie improving each race, and Mike there photographing and recording each event. 

He has become quite the photog, and was published in nearly every edition of Cycle USA.  He is currently working on an amazing movie for his dirt bike club, I will be sure to showcase it here when it is finished.  Who knew I married a Spielberg?

Charlie survived his first year at Twin Cities Academy, and entered 7th grade this year much taller. 

I swear he grows half an inch in his sleep many nights. 

He is completely immersed in the video game world, but does pause now and then for bike riding, sledding, and now that winter is here, skiing. 

He is my helper around the house, and never says no if I ask him to make me a cup of tea or get the laundry out of the dryer.  (Okay, he does say no sometimes, but he does do it eventually....)

After many years of just dreaming, I finally took my art to the public, and opened my own Etsy shop in September.  I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received, and sales have been beyond my wildest dreams.  I have so many plans and ideas swirling in my head for the coming year, stay tuned!

Dear Claude is still with us, after a major health scare in August.  Like a newborn, he now wakes us a couple of times each night. 

He wants to snuggle in bed with us, but his arthritic legs prevent him from jumping that high anymore.  We groggily pick him up, and are glad he is still here.  He turns 20 this year, quite a milestone for a cat.

Speaking of milestones, Mike turns 50 in May.  I haven't decided yet how we will celebrate-what I would really like to do is surprise him with a new dirt bike.  I need to sell a LOT of bracelets...

All of our families and friends remain healthy, we are so very grateful for that.  My dear grandmother turns 90 this summer, and my parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  We are beyond blessed.

My heart is full of gratitude for my little life, and all that it holds.  May 2011 be a wonderful year on your calendar of memories.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

feed a cold...

...starve a fever, or is it the other way around?

Charlie came down with a cold on Christmas Day (gee, thanks Santa) and now he has kindly gifted it to me.

My head is stuffed with 400 gallons of fluid, and my teeth hurt.

My ears are plugged and my throat feels like it has been sanded raw.

All I want is a cup of hot tea and my new 'mink' blankie my mom gave us.

But end of year accounting awaits.  I wonder how accurate I will be?

Please send me your cold survival tips-right now I am headed for a hot steamy shower.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Not exactly a holiday topic.  Unless you are referring to a child asking for the same thing from Santa every day.

I don't know about you, but sometimes writing helps me work through tough things.  So that is what I am going to do here.

Mike and I have owned our own business for almost 15 years.   As any small business owner will tell you, that means highs, lows, and a lot of hard work. 

For the last two years, we have been working (and I say 'we' loosely, as Mike has done all of the hard work) on a really incredible opportunity for our small business.  It has involved investing a lot of our own money and time, and heart.  It is an amazingly innovative product, that will really change the simulation world.

We found out the week before Christmas that we were not awarded the project.  And it has been really hard to take.

If you have ever experienced a major disappointment in your life, you will know how we feel right now.  I don't even want to use the word 'disappointment', as that doesn't begin to accurately describe it.

First, I felt anger.  Which is silly, but I'm just being honest.

Now I am just very sad, for what might have been.  This would have been a life changing deal for us, and in the tiny corners of our brain we would think of a bigger house, or being able to easily send Charlie to college, or doing amazing things for our store.  But we never planned on those things, because through the years we have learned that anything can happen, and there is no 'sure thing' until a contract is signed.

We will move forward.  We will  hold each other up.  We will come up with our next plan, and identify new opportunites.  But we will allow ourselves to feel a little bad, and eat some comfort food, and think about what might have been.

We know Charlie is watching, and seeing how we manage this. We are hoping to provide a good example to him, so that when life presents him with challenges, he will know how to stand tall, and not be defeated.

Mike is a really amazing man, and he was destined to be an entrepeneur.  I am so fortunate to have him for my husband, and my business partner.  In a note he sent to the other people we have been working with on this project, he included this quote:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent

Calvin Coolidge

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'll be home for Christmas-

-and this year, not just in my dreams!

Since 2003, we have spent Christmas in the cities.  Having a store at the MOA made it impossible to leave. On Christmas Eve, Mike and Charlie and I would head out to the mall around noon and send our staff home to celebrate with their families, and we would run the store until our required closing time of 6 pm. 

Christmas day would be spent in our pajamas, reveling in the fact that our store was closed, we had no gift card orders to mail out, not a thing to worry about.  We would enjoy our Christmas gifts, and call our families, and try not to be sad.

We would begin to recuperate from working a million hours the rest of the month, and literally being too tired to even fathom the thought of a four hour drive on winter roads.

But this year, due to sales trends and employees looking for more hours, and not minding working on Christmas Eve, we are going home.

It won't be a long visit, but we will be there for the important things.  Time with our families, moments shared over gifts and good food, and celebrating my sister's Christmas birthday.  I can hardly wait.

Each year when I would hear Doris Day singing that she would be home for Christmas, it always made me tear up.  But this year they are tears of joy.

Because I will be home for Christmas.

May your holiday be all that you wish for, and may you find peace in quiet moments spent with family and good friends.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is about miracles

I am typing this through tears, having just read this incredible post over here:

One person, starting something small, that snowballed into an amazing outpouring of love.  Here is a small line from what The Bloggess had to say about it:  "...this has been the most successful, unplanned, disorganized celebration of awesomeness that I’ve ever accidentally been in charge of."

Reading blogs has been way down on my list of things to do the last few weeks, and other than a couple of friend's blogs I have not been out there.  Tracy directed me to The Bloggess in her post today, she was one of the sweet people who helped out. 

I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the human spirit, and the wonders of the blog world.

Merry Christmas, indeed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


That is what it has been called.

The fifth biggest snowstorm in the cities, since they started keeping track of such things.  Even more than the Armistice Day blizzard of 1940.

I was grateful Mike flew home from Florida on Friday night, we picked him up at the Humphrey airport (excuse me, Terminal 2) just as snow was beginning to coat the roads.  We pulled up to a spot and as Mike was loading up his luggage "Let it Snow" came on the radio.  How prophetic.

I have tweaked the lyrics a bit, to coincide with our weekend adventure:
Oh the weather outside was frightful

inside, it was delightful

thank goodness we had no place to go

Let it snow let it snow let it snow.

It showed no signs of stopping,

so we made some corn for popping

candles were lit, lights were low

Let it Snow let it snow let it snow

The snow kept coming down

outside, it looked so very cold

the MOA was even shut down

those who ventured out were bold.

The snow, it came to a stop

There was stew in the crockpot

Out to shovel we did go

Let it snow let it snow let it snow!

The huge drifts and cold reminded me of the Halloween blizzard, when we lived in a little apartment in Bloomington and didn't have to worry about shoveling or plowing.  But I did have to drive our Miata to the airport to pick up Mike, an adventure in itself, and a story for another day...

Charlie is home from school for a second day, it has just been too difficult for the cities to get all of the streets plowed well enough for the buses to get through, and they are worried about kids standing waiting for late buses in the frigid temps.  He is in heaven.  I may have to put him to work today.

My favorite part about a storm like this?  It brings out the very best in us.  People helping strangers could be found throughout the city, whether they were helping a car get unstuck or shoveling someone's walk.  We were fortunate enough to have a friend with a snowblower (THANKS JED!) who loaned it to Mike, as our corner lot has way too much sidewalk, and this much snow was really daunting.

Snow is piled everywhere, on city streets the parking meters barely peak out the top, and it is hazardous at intersections to see what is coming.  And we have more snow in the forecast for the next couple of days....

let it snow, indeed.

Check back later, I will have photos!  Tracy has some great shots (and a really fun post) over here:

Friday, December 10, 2010

holiday music for you!

The holiday cd's are pulled out the day after Thanksgiving, We have amassed quite a collection over the years, and I ADORE Christmas music.  The traditional:  Nat King Cole singing "The Christmas Song", the funky: The Waitresses "Christmas Wrapping", to the less listened to "Hurry Home for Christmas" by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme.

Deano gets put in regular rotation, along with the soundtrack from a Charlie Brown Christmas, and Ella and Louis combining for a rousing rendition of "Zat You, Santa Claus?"

I own not one, but THREE Harry Connick Jr. holiday cd's.  I love that man.

I adore my James Taylor holiday cd, picked up as a Hallmark special several years ago.  In recent years I have added Diana Krall and Mary Chapin Carpenter to my holiday collection.

Come Darkness Come Light: Twelve Songs of Christmas

And best of all, Mike's brother Bob (a MAJOR music aficianado) makes us a fun holiday collection nearly every year.

This year's addition? Last night I downloaded all of the fun holiday songs Target has in their commercials this year.  And being the hip retailer that they are, of course they are offering all of them as free downloads, you can get it for yourself here:

Yes, I used to work for Target, but that is not why I shamelessly promote them.  I just love the way they do business.

What is your favorite holiday soundtrack?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

back to Holiday Shopping!

With all of the gadgets we have these days, it's nice to find a pretty way to protect them.

Today I share with you Dory Designs, you can find it at:

Versatile Gadget Case, Padded and Water Resistant

The shop opened in Nov. of 2006 and is located in New York, it offers great choices to protect you Ipod, laptop, phone, etc.

SALE - Padded iPad case - Handmade with Water Resistant Lining (reg 48)

One of my favorites (if only I had an Ipad to put in it...):

SALE - Padded iPad Case - Handmade with Water Resistant Lining (reg 48)

Here is a snippet from the shop profile:  "My priority is to pay attention to the details and quality of my work. All of the items that I offer have been designed and hand made by me. All laptop sleeves and gadget cases are lined with water resistant nylon. "

iPhone, iPod, Blackberry Case

Great gift ideas to be found here!  Remember to shop early when shopping handmade so you can have your find in time for the holidays.

Monday, December 6, 2010

order soon!

Time is flying by, and if you want great handmade gifts for the holiday this is no time to sit back and have another cup of coffee!  go here!

10 Adhesive Official Christmas Document Tags on Recycled Kraft Paper

Today I share with you The Craft Pantry.  How FUN are these cards?

Focus Vintage Cameras Recycled Kraft Paper Card Set (8)

The shop is located North of Seattle, and has been in business since Sept. of 2007.

Recycled Paper Note Card Set - Vintage Motorbike (6)

(I may need to order those cards for Mike, shhhh, don't tell!)

As Advertised in BUST Magazine - RECYCLED MARKET ECOBAG TOTE - Lovebirds

Here is a snippet from the bio:  "HANDMADE TO ORDER - I carefully make every item myself, one at a time, with love & care!"

Holiday Card Set Season's Greeting Children Recycled Kraft Paper (6)

You will need to order by Dec. 10th if you want it in time for Christmas, so get shopping!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas redux

Today I share a post I made exactly two years ago today.


We are digging out from many inches of fluffy white snow this morning.  It is light and sparkles in the sun, unlike the heavy water filled stuff we got a few weeks ago.  Charlie can hardly wait to go skiing.

How will you spend your weekend?  Searching for that perfect gift?  Doing a little holiday baking?  Finding a tree that is just right?  Make sure to take time for a cup of tea (or whatever beverage makes you happy) and fully enjoy a moment of the season.  They fly by so fast.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Today's Etsy Find

First, don't forget to head on over to The Snyder 5 for a chance to win one of my bracelets!

Now back to regularly scheduled programming:

I love to knit.  I taught myself how when I was flat on my back with disc troubles four years ago.  God forbid I could just read, or watch tv.  It is my therapy, my stress reduction, my zen.  Feeling the yarn slip through my fingers just makes me happy.

Each year for Christmas, my great grandma Ethel made everyone slippers.  We loved those slippers, even though my teenage brain eventually became horrified with her random variegated color choices.  But I grew up, and remembered those slippers with fond memories.  And every time I sit down to knit, I think of her.

Because I know the time and patience involved, I love hand knit goods.  Look what I found at The Stitchery Boutique:

Little Orange Owl Baby Hat in Blue Cotton

This is a small shop, just opened in January.  How CUTE is that hat?
Owl Fingerless Gloves in Purple Wool

I made myself some fingerless gloves last winter (nowhere near as adorable as these) and I wear them when I am working away on my laptop all day in our drafty house.  I need more.

Felted wool cupcake pincushion

I have a pattern to make a pin cushion similar to this, perhaps I should just buy one instead!

The owners of this Etsy shop are from Idaho, here is a snippet from their profile:

"We are a mother-daughter team of crafters! We both live in North Idaho. Mother likes to knit baby items and use recycled wool sweaters in different projects. Baby garments are made with only the fibers she would put on her own grandbabies! My latest hobby is making wall hanging quilts in an outdoor theme, and I am a stay at home mom. "

Into The Woods Newborn Baby Hat Handmade Photo Prop
Oh for crying out loud, I need someone to have a baby so I can order this.
Happy shopping!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

So Pretty

Today's Etsy shop is 'lonkoosh'.  How gorgeous is this bracelet?

Black Beauty Vintage Collage Bracelet

She crafts her pieces from vintage jewelry finds, check out this necklace:

SALE- Moonlight Shadow- Vintage Collage Necklace

Just stunning.  This speaks to things I love, vintage and memories.

Look at this one:

SALE- Red Red Wine Dramatic Vintage Collage Necklace

So pretty!  She opened her shop in November of 2009, here is a snippet from her profile:

"I love creating new beautiful pieces of jewelry from vintage pieces I collect. Here you can find lovely statement pieces in any color and texture."

I see she offers gift certificates, what a great idea!  Something I may need to add to my own little Etsy shop.

More to come!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

order now (and look at the end for a new maybaby giveaway!)

..if you want it in time for Christmas.

If you have a chef in your life, check out this Etsy shop:

You can order a fun cutting board in the shape of their favorite state:

Minnesota Plyboo Cutting Board

and the shop owners will put a heart or star over you favorite city!  A Heirloom is located in Brooklyn, and has been selling on Etsy since October of 2009.  Here is a snippet from their profile (you can see why I like them, they are a husband and wife team!):   "We are a husband and wife (amy+bill) design duo who are into digital fabrication. Trained as architects..we enjoy designing housewares for ourselves and now for our etsy friends."

Personally?  I want Michigan, because then I would get two!

Michigan Plyboo Cutting Board

They are made from bamboo, and speaking from personal experience, bamboo is an excellent material for cutting boards.

Texas Plyboo Cutting Board

In order to get your cutting board in time for Christmas, you will need to order by December 5th.  Get going!

Just added-check out a Maybaby bracelet giveaway over on Molly's blog!

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

an Etsy find that Heather sent me... night, very late.  Because that is kinda how she rolls.

I instantly fell in love with Sarah Jane Studios.

December in my favorite sweater

This is a close-up of a print called "December in My Favorite Sweater".  So sweet!

Here's November:

December in my favorite sweater

I bought several things.  Her art just speaks to me.  I think if I could draw, or paint, perhaps this is what it would look like.
Both of the items shown above are prints, suitable for framing.  Sarah Jane is in Utah, and has had an Etsy shop since October of 2007.

I purchased cards, and labels.  And just now, as I was looking for more images to share with you, I ended up buying more things!

Look at these sweet cards:

Hello Bird Cardpack

Really, I could buy it all.  But I will save some for you!

Happy shopping!

(and if you go to her shop and these items are already gone, I am sorry for teasing you...when you find it on Etsy you have to BUY NOW or it may be gone....)

Monday, November 29, 2010

'Tis the Season... buy handmade!

Since joining Etsy this fall, I have been completely overwhelmed by the amazing artists, from all over the world, who sell their creations through this marketplace.

Each day this season, I will be highlighting a different Etsy shop that I have found, and share their work with you. 

Needle Felted Santa Claus

These adorable hand felted creations are from Chimera, you can find her adorable things here:

She opened her shop in January 2008, and it is full of fun-both things already made or supplies to make your own goodies.  Here is a snippet from her profile:  "I've been playing with fiber and crafting my entire life. Wool is my favorite material because it is so versatile. With wool I can make a silky scarf, spin colorful yarn, sculpt a landscape or felt a durable rug. Adding to the fun is the ability to dye wool any colors I choose, and to add in other fibers to create something truly unique."

Needle Felted Rabbit

There are so many reasons to buy handmade: 

1.  You support the dreams and hard work of someone pursuing their passion.

2.  You get a unique gift you can't find in a shop.

3.  You can find a gift that will truly delight an individual, find something perfectly tailored to their interests, and they will know how much you care!

'Tis the season to buy handmade!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


The kitchen is quiet now.  The morning was spent with the sounds of chopping and dirty measuring cups being washed so they could be used again. The afternoon brought the aromas of roasting turkey and fresh sage in the dressing.  The evening was filled with the sounds of leftovers being put in the refrigerator, and Mike loading the dishwasher.  (hurray!)

Thanksgiving to me is all about memories.  As I sauteed the onions and celery for the stuffing, I had a vision of my mom doing the very same thing.  I would be home from college, and couldn't wait to taste her cooking.

 As I whipped potatoes and added the cream cheese, I thought of the time I met Susan Branch, whose recipe I use every single year.  When I put the lefse in foil to warm it in the oven, I thought of my grandma doing the same thing, for so many years.

As I cut into the pecan pie, I thought of being with my sister last year, and how we made my mom's pecan pie together.  And when I pulled the turkey out of the oven, I thought of the year my father-in-law was getting ready to carve the turkey and it slid onto the floor.

Thanksgiving is about being grateful, but it is also ripe with wonderful memories.  And that is just another reason it is one of my favorite holidays.

This year we made a new memory, hosting our friends Jed and Tracy and their sweet girls.  It was a true delight.

And after they had gone home to put tired girls to bed, we were able to Video Kinect with my family in Bemidji.  What a treat!  Memories were made, and a new tradition has begun.

Here's hoping you had a wonderful turkey day too!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

recipe box Wednesday

What perfect timing!  How many of you are cooking today in preparation for tomorrow?

My groceries are purchased and my flowers are arranged, all of the recipes I will be using have been printed out or copied (I am a very messy cook, and that way when I spill on them I just throw them away when I am done!)

Today is for baking pecan pie, and making mashed potatoes, cooking cranberry sauce, and putting together my sweet potato dish.

Do you use tried and true recipes for turkey day, or do you like to mix things up and try something new?

This year I am brining a giant turkey breast with a recipe I have used before (if you have never brined your bird TRY IT, it makes such a huge difference.  Unless, of course, you prefer dry turkey.)  I am making dressing from a recipe I found in a magazine a few years ago, Mike and Charlie are now big fans.  I picked up day old foccacia rolls and a day old baguette at Cafe Latte to use in it, along with turkey sausage for my vegetarian friend who is joining us for the meal.

My green bean dish is from Ellie Krieger, simple flavors of sauteed shallots and fresh mushrooms to go with the crunchy grreen beans.  If I was home, I would be looking forward to my mom's classic green bean casserole, but at my house I have decided we have enough caloric numbers in the meal already.

The fresh sweet potatoes will be roasted to bring out their natural goodness, then mashed with some freshly squeezed orange juice and a little maple syrup.  Again, if I was in Bemidji, we would enjoy the classic with marshmallows on top, but I like to have my own traditions when I am doing the cooking.

I like to throw in a green salad, just to balance out the heaviness of the other food.  I found one here that I am going to try,  The flavors sound perfect (and I love the name) for the Thanksgiving meal.  I am also going to make my pecan pie from this website-this one sounds amazing 

Fresh pecans -- an important ingredient in any pecan pie
(I am going to skip the cream cheese in the pie, and whip up some fresh cream for the top instead).  Sue Doeden lives in Bemidji and writes for the Pioneer, she is a food goddess up there and I have found many amazing recipes on her site.  Check it out and bookmark it if you haven't seen it before. (all pictures today are from her blog.)

Cranberries will be popping later today, I love the sound they make when they cook.  I use red wine for my liquid, it adds a nice layer of flavor, and a little freshly grated orange peel.  This year I am using clementines, as that is what is in the fridge.

I let Great Harvest make the rolls and bread, I need to run and pick them up this morning before the nasty weather hits.  And make a deposit and get change for ACES for the big weekend ahead. 

We are delighted to have friends for dinner tomorrow!  I usually go through all of that work for just the three of us, this year Tracy and her hubby and sweet little girls will be joining us!  I am looking forward to getting the leaf out for the dining room table and planning my place settings, it is so much more fun to cook for 8 than for 3.

While I am wistful that I won't be joining my family for Thanksgiving this year (remember the fun we had last year ? I am grateful that we won't have to travel on what sound to be hazardous roads today. And again on Sunday when we would have to come home.

Whatever your plans for the day, I wish you moist turkey, and perfect stuffing, and safe travels on your journeys!  I am so grateful to have amazing people who take the time to read about my life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

are you ready?

Okay, I have to admit, I have wasted a lot of time watching all of these on You Tube-Target has their own channel.


Let me know if you don't get it, and I can help you out....

I am back!

Wow.  What an amazing November it has been!

I am grateful, and humbled by the amazing women I have met and worked with to pull this sale off.

On Friday night, luminary lined the path down to the lower level of Paula's house.  Inside, it was warm and sparkling and full of smiles.  Family and friends stopped by to visit and shop, and enjoy a glass of wine or a snack.  We shared our inspiration and ideas, and before we knew it, it was time to go home and rest up for Saturday!

It was a magical day.  I was thrilled to see not only friends I see regularly, but friends I have not seen in years.  Bracelets and pins were purchased and packaged  for giving,

unique ornaments went home with happy customers,

fun fur socks were snapped up to keep feet warm and toasty. 

Cashmere scarfs,  hats, and sweet little people clothing

beaded bracelets,

gorgeous handbags,

homemade caramels tucked into festive cones,

 wool animals,

word photography,

sweet paintings,

and adorable cards

were happily purchased and tucked into kraft bags, by the happy women who had gathered for a day of fun.

After we packed everything up on Saturday night, we went to North Coast in Wayzata to celebrate our success and talk about future plans to get together.

And now back to real life.  Time to stock my Etsy shop for holiday shopping, and thaw the turkey!  No more of this:  (for a while...)

Thanks to everyone who was able to stop by-I know it was a crazy busy weekend for everyone.  (and thank goodness we didn't have it on Sunday, during the ice storm!)


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