Jan 05 2010

Christmas at Our House

Published by at 9 35 am under Chit Chat

We have had one of the busiest Christmas seasons ever this year.  It has just flown by!  And I’m not even upset that my cards/letters still aren’t out — LOL — they’ll get there when I have time!!!  I just may need to use Valentine stationery!

I don’t usually share many family photos here, but thought I would this year seeing as we’ve had so many pretty girls here this Christmas.  They are SO agreeable to having their photos taken and uploaded — and I’m lovin’ it!  It’s the ONLY way my guys would ever agree — LOL!!!


These are our 3 boys.  Ben (middle son), Steve (oldest) and Brian (youngest).  This photo was taken on Thanksgiving day at a scenic outlook above Hancock, overlooking Houghton, Michigan.


This is Brian and his girlfriend, Brittany, down town one night with tree lights in the background.  She took this photo herself on her cell phone!  Brittany is my helper and wraps some of your ribbon.  She winds all the jute string.  Have you noticed those tiny little 10 yard bundles we switched to?  Wound around her petite little hands — LOL!!!  Brian is a high school senior and Brittany is a junior.


Here’s Brian and Brittany again by our Christmas tree.


This is Ben and his girlfriend, Tanya, on Christmas Eve at a friends house for dinner.  Ben is a farmer/trucker/land improvement type of guy and Tanya is a nursing student due to graduate this spring.  Ben lives 3 miles around the corner from us on his own farm and Tanya goes to school about an hour and 1/2 away.


Here’s another shot of Ben and Tanya by our Christmas tree.  And if you wonder why the tree is right in front of a door (LOL), that door goes to an outside porch that we never use in the winter months!


This is Steve and Marissa, taken on the morning they left this past weekend.  Steve is an engineer living in Columbus, OH and Marissa is a high school math teacher in that area as well.  This is the first time we’ve had the pleasure of meeting Marissa, and a pleasure she was!  They spent their time snowboarding at Mount Bohemia and Marquette Mountain, snowmobiling (a first for Marissa), watching the Rose Bowl Game and Marissa wanted to craft, so that pleased me immensely!!!  Marissa is a HUGE OSU fan!!!


And here’s Marissa working on her project in the kitchen.  Unfortunately my stamp room was WAY too filled up with my *stuff* to even find a square foot of work space for her (I’m workin’ on that – LOL!).  Notice her OSU Jersey and Buckeye necklace?  We learned all about Buckeye’s and she even made us some DELISH Buckeye candy (like peanut butter cups) — they were VERY addicting!


And here’s what Marissa made!  She wanted something for her desk at school, so we decided a pencil cup (once lid is removed) and a clothespin note holder would be perfect!  She used paper from K & Company’s Que Sera Sera 12 x 12 pad, May Arts Orange Gingham Ribbon and Kaiser Rhinestones.  I do believe this was her very first paper-crafting project!  She had a blast!  Think we can get her addicted????

And as for me, well, though I make cheese year round, December is my busiest month of the year for cheese-making as everyone wants their Christmas cheese!  What I make will be unfamiliar to most of you, so thought I’d share it here today.  Our family is 100% Finnish, and the cheese I make is a Finnish cheese called Juustoa (you-stew-a, accent on the YOU).  It is commonly referred to as ”Squeaky Cheese” as it does squeak in your teeth as you chew it — quite a lot!!!  It is made with fresh cows milk, rennet added (the agent that makes it coagulate, gel, thicken), then it is strained (just like Little Miss Muffet, separating her curds and whey), then baked in the oven, and salted when it is still warm out of the oven.


These are 2 cheeses (made in 12″ round pans) just out of the oven cooling.  They are setting in the sink as they are still warm and drippy.  The pans are resting on top of my milk buckets.  My milk comes in from the barn in these 3 gallon buckets.  I use 3 gallons of milk per cheese.  The ratio of milk to cheese is about 10 to 1.  The 3 gallons of milk weighs nearly 30 pounds and the yield is about 3 pounds per cheese. 


And this is what the cheese looks like served.  It is typically cut into small squares.   I always like to arrange it on a glass pedestal cake plate.  This is a small cake plate and there is just 1/2 of one cheese on this plate.  And the next logical question is — what does it taste like?  Well, that’s hard to describe.  People tasting it for the first time often say it reminds them of mozzarella, but it really isn’t the same at all.  It is white and soft and rather bland to taste, but truly delicious.  If you grew up eating it, you love it.  If it’s new to you, some love it immediately, some never care for it, and some say it is an acquired taste over time — LOL!!!  I wish I could give you each a piece to try so you could decide for yourself!!!

So the Christmas holiday season is now over.  I’m back to my normal routine of creating, blogging, wrapping ribbon and packing up packages.  Steve is still in the barn milking the cows (poor guy never gets out of those chores), and the boys help him when they can.  Brian and Brittany are back to school and basketball, Ben and  Tanya are back to work and school, and Steve and Marissa are back home working in Columbus. 

Thank you so much for stopping in today and sharing our Christmas with us!  I have a lot on the agenda, so hope you can check back in often to see what is brewing!  Lots of fun stuff ahead!!  And I also want to take this opportunity to thank you all so much for supporting not only my blogging efforts but also The Stamp Simply Ribbon Store.  It has far exceeded any expectations I ever had, and I thank you all for that!!!  In an effort to make things easier for you all in the future, The Stamp Simply Ribbon Store will be seeing some changes in the next coming months.  It all takes time, so please bear with me!

Wishing You All a


59 responses so far

59 Responses to “Christmas at Our House”

  1. Kim Howard says:

    Loved reading more about you & your family, thanks for sharing that! Hope you have a wonderful New Year and the cheese looks delicious!!!

  2. Carol C says:

    What a lovely family, your sons are very handsome. I imagine it is a pleasure to have some female companionship to share all your beautiful creations. Marissa project is lovely, she looks like she may be hooked.

    The cheese looks so good, like you can just take a piece right off the plate. Yumm!

    Thank you for sharing and all your wonderful projects. I am NEVER disappointed.

    Happy New Year.

  3. Maggi Haupt says:

    Sharon…thanks for sharing your family with all of us! It’s really special when the boys in the family bring their girls home to share with mom and dad! And does the Juustoa look yummy! I’m a transplanted Yooper from Detroit and that cheese was one of the first new things I tasted when I moved up here a long time ago! It’s great to see the traditions carry on through the families. Have a great 2010!! Maggi

  4. Elaine Allen says:

    Sharon –

    You have a lovely family. Thank you for sharing your photos of them. Loved the story of the cheese. My heritage is Puerto Rican. Whenever my grandmother would go back to Puerto Rico to visit her family on their ranch, she would always make cheese with her siblings and bring some back to NY with her. It was a bland soft cheese that they would add salt to and shape into a ball. It was called Queso Blanco “White Cheese”, how inventive – LOL! Again if you grew up with it, you loved it. My grandmother would serve it with fruit paste. Fruit paste was a thick, sliceable log of fresh fruit (like guava, oranges), kind of like a preserve but much thicker. Together the combination was wonderful. You can find it in the stores, but there is nothing like homemade.

    Thank you for bringing back those memories for me.

    Happy New Year!

    Elaine Allen

  5. Sharing your Christmas brought back fond memories. I grew up on a Minnesota dairy farm. We drank raw milk from our own cows. Unpastorized at that. Some of our neighbors made their own cheese and butter. We didn’t but I was always curious. Ours was a Sweedish community so many of our traditions were probably similar to yours. Snowmobiling, snow forts, ice skating in the field near our house, and even a one room schoolhouse (k-6 grades) are among some of my fondest memories even though I hate being cold and would rather look at snow then be in it. Thanks for the memories.


  6. Jerri Kay says:

    These are fabulous pictures Sharon! Thanks so much for sharing them!! You have handsome sons and the girls are all gorgeous! It looks like everyone had a lot of fun! Oh my gosh, I’m finally seeing the infamous cheese . . . LOL! I bet each piece has less than 10 calories, right . . . LOL! Looks so delicious!!!!

  7. Glad to see you got “Buckeye-tized” over the holidays!!! LOVE the pictures!

  8. Louise Antes says:

    I loved seeing and hearing about your family. I have been a follower of your blog for quite a while. It is so nice to know that someone with your talent, is just and has an ordinary family like the rest of us. Thank-you for sharing!

  9. Karen Witter says:

    Love the pictures, Sharon! Handsome boys and very pretty girlfriends. I can tell you had a wonderful time. TFS!

  10. Joan Fricker says:

    Sharon, what wonderful pictures of your family and their girlfriends. Those guys sure know how to pick beauties. Love the cheese story and pictures too.

    Thanks for sharing!!


  11. Susan G says:

    Thanks for sharing the pictures of your family. I didn’t realize that you have only boys–I have two sons and two fabulous daughters in law. Neither of them care for papercrafting or sewing, but maybe one day I can change their minds. Loved the information about the cheese. That’s something I’m totally unfamiliar with so it was a good educational subject for the morning. Best wishes for the new year to you and your family.

  12. Carol W says:

    What a beautiful family – this is what Christmas is all about.

  13. Marisa says:

    What a wonderful set of boys you have, Sharon 😀 No wonder you post any pictures before, you’d have a ton of girls after those handsome boys LOL! Sure they are your pride and joy 😀 Don’t run into too many Marisas, that’s for sure — though she does use a double “s” and I only have one. Guess mine is the Latin version LOL! So nice to hear they are all moving forward in life and doing well. Great info on the cheese too. No wonder you were busy over Christmas. Glad everyone was able to be home for Christmas. Happy New Year to you too 😀

  14. Rebekka says:

    What wonderful looking sons Sharon. Glad every one had such a wonderful time and glad you shared pictures with us all. And I just love the projects Marissa did, they are bright and beautiful.
    Happy New Year

  15. LeAnne says:

    Sharon, thank you so much for sharing your family and your CHEESE! Wow, my sister makes soap, but I never knew anyone to make their own cheese. And I wish I could taste it! It looks yummy! Thanks for your wonderfully blessed inspiration–I wish you & your family a healthy & happy new year!

  16. Linda Bizjak says:

    Sharon, I enjoyed reading your blog so much. What a nice family you have and it looks like it won’t be too long before you have three daugher-in-laws to share your crafting with too. I really enjoyed reading about the cheese making, my mother used to make cheese and butter many years ago. I am glad that you had such a wonderful Christmas and I hope you have the best of New Years. I too am from Columbus, Ohio and I sure know about those OSU players and Buckeyes.

  17. Shirley Lee says:

    Sharon, thanks for sharing a part of you with all of us in blogland. Your sons and girl friends are very good looking. It looks like this holidays season was a lot of fun for everyone! Glad one of the gals did some crafting. The cheese info was quite interesting and yummy looking. Aren’t holiday traditions wonderful? Hope those handsome sons of yours get married one of these days. They were certainly have beautiful children. Happy New Year!
    Shirley L.
    Roseville, CA

  18. Carol says:

    Thank-you for sharing the photos of your handsome sons & their gals! What a treat!Since I’m from the Buckeye state, I know all about candy buckeyes as well as Ohio State! I don’t live too far from Darlene and a little farther away from Tammy in that part of the state! Columbus is a great city!

  19. Lynette says:

    How fun to see pictures and read stories of your family and your Christmas – thanks for sharing! Your cheese looks very interesting. 🙂

  20. What a handsome and beautiful bunch you have! Being the mom of four boys, myself, I can certainly appreciate when the girlfriends take interest in our craft! My #2 son’s girlfriend is a scrapbooker. She makes amazing calendars, too! I have yet to get her to stamp (I have the same situation with my studio!haha!), but intend to soon.

    Great post, my friend. It’s always great insight to see the family behind the genius that you are!


  21. Chris M says:

    I loved reading about your Christmas. I know where you live. My mother was born and raised in L’Anse. I have been to Houghton and Hancock many, many times, especially when my cousins were attending Mich Tech. Just love the upper pensinsula. We have a house in Barbeau, right on the St. Mary’s River. We get to see the freighters up close and personal.

    Just discovered your ribbon store. I will be ordering from you in the near future. ( As soon as Christmas bills paid.) I love using ribbon on projects.

  22. Fabulous! What a bunch of beauties those girls are – and fellow crafters to boot! Can’t ask for more than that! I’m truly fascinated by the cheese – it looks yummy! I’ve never heard of it, but I’m a cheeseaholic, so thanks for the education!

  23. Pat (mspfd) says:

    What wonderful photos. I am so glad you had a lovely holiday with your handsome family! Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

  24. Oh Sharon! What wonderful pictures. Your boys are handsome and they have lovely choice in women, all very beautiful! Thanks for sharing!!

  25. Bev J. says:

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos. As we are retired dairy farmers here in Missouri I can relate to Steve. Never did get used to milking in cold weather! When you said the cheesed “squeaked” it reminded me of eating cheese curds while visiting friends in Wisconsin. They also squeaked!

    Enjoy reading your blog. tfs

  26. Cookie says:

    thanx for sharing your life….what a handsome family you have and to have one that loves to craft, what more could one want…. *Ü*

  27. Diane Jaquay says:

    CHEESE!! I knew I liked you lol! Cheese is on my top 5 best things in life list 😉

    It was so nice to see your family! Your boys are very handsome, and their girlfriends all look so sweet, I’m glad you decided to share these pictures 🙂

  28. Pat M. says:

    What a beautiful family you have.
    Happy New Year to all of you.

  29. Darlene L says:

    What a great blog entry–I loved reading about your family. The cheese making sounds very interesting. I grew up and now live back on the farm. However cheese making was never part of our efforts. We had beef cattle rather than dairy. Have a wonderful 2010.

  30. mary friederichsen says:

    Sharon, thank you for sharing with us!
    I tried making cheese once, it was a receipe from Emeril lagase! it turned out okay, but it wasn’t baked…. this makes me want to try my hand at it again!!LOL

    you have a handsome family!!

    When things calm down a little I was wondering if I could ask you some questions about running your store from a blog, maybe get some advice.
    I am not wanting to sell ribbon! I still want to get that form you! 🙂

    If you have time let me know. If you don’t I would completly understand!

    Thanks Sharon,

  31. bluemoon says:

    Sharon, what handsome young sons you have and their girlfriends are beautiful. Marissa did an incredible first project, wow, so pretty, she is a natural crafter with quite a flare! I’m dying to try your cheese, I love cheese. Wow, you are one busy lady! Thanks for sharing. p.s. I didn’t think you were old enough to have kids that age LOL. 🙂

  32. renee logan says:

    thanks for sharing your family and your holiday.

  33. Becky Y says:

    It was fun to learn about your family – especially the “transplant” in Columbus! I’m a Michigander born and bred, but living in the Land of Buckeyes for the last 5 years – thanks to a wonderful OSU fan who made me a marriage offer that I just couldn’t refuse! So I left Grand Rapids and ventured into hostile territory for a Michigan girl! 😉

  34. sandygail says:

    Hey Sharon, that was so fun to see your boys and their girl friends. They are all SO GOOD-LOOKING! I bet it was fun having them all there. I look forward to seeing what you’ll have new in your store. Of course, I love everything you make…it’s all so pretty.

  35. Kathyc on SCS says:

    Happy New Year Sharon and thank you so much for sharing these wonderful photos of your beautiful family and all the fun info you shared! The cheese story especially piqued my interest as I never heard you mentioned that before! I bet it’s as delicious as it looks!

  36. Lenoria says:

    Thanks for sharing pictures of your handsome young men and the ladies in their lives! I think Marissa may already be hooked on crafting!! I wish I could taste the cheese also, it looks wonderful. I grew up on a farm and I miss the milk and especially the fresh butter (on hot biscuits -yum!) Looking forward to the new items in your store.

  37. Kim Chaltry says:

    Yea Yoopers. I really miss the UP during the winters. I haven’t been back home to Calumet in the winter for 6 years now. Always afraid I won’t make it back out. I do get back during the summers though. Calumet is a very finish community also so I know exactly the cheese you are talking about. So nice to read something that brings me so close to home and I am so jealous of Marissa sitting in the middle of a huge pile of your lovely ribbon.

    Happy New Year to you.

  38. Johanna Beebe says:

    Loved your Christmas pictures and story!!! What handsome sons and their beautiful friends. Also I am from Ohio. I have fellow Willard friends that teach at Olentangy Liberty(edge of Columbus) and a brother that is asst super at Groveport Madison on the other side of Columbus. Small world. Of course the Buckeyes (both team and candy) are the best. Love your blog and your great ideas! Keep them coming in the New year and keep us posted on your wonderful family

  39. Deborah Young says:

    What a wonderful, wonderful post! I cannot imagine the wonderful life you have with snow in the back yard, cows and homemade cheese! It’s pretty boring here in Florida – although we have been freezing this week!
    Woooohooo on converting a new crafter! Looks to me like Marissa used a Bow Easy!

  40. Elaine says:

    Oh my goodness what a beautiful set of sons and girlfriends! I also really enjoyed learning about Juustoa….hopefully I’ll be able to find it somewhere here in Seattle. We have a large Scandinavian community that my friends are a part of – maybe someone will know where I can find this Finnish cheese! I’m dying to try it now! 🙂 Happy new year and thank you for sharing so much of your family and life with us! It’s so nice to see the other side of blogging stampy friends! 🙂

  41. Chrissie says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone who makes their own cheese! What a wonderful skill and great to continue a family tradition!
    Most interesting post. Thank you so much Sharon!

  42. Janine says:

    Hi Sharon!! What GREAT pics!!!

  43. Rose Ann says:

    Thanks for sharing your family with us, Sharon! Your boys are very handsome, and their girlfriends are lovely as well!! I wish I could grab a piece of your yummy-looking Juustoa. I haven’t tried it before, but it sounds very appealing to me.

    Oh…and I think you will definitely be able to sway Marissa into paper-crafting! Her first projects are very beautiful!!

    Happy New Year, Sharon!!

  44. Joan Ervin says:

    What a wonderful family you have, Sharon…your boys are sooo handsome and what beautiful girlfriends!!! Many blessings to you and yours for the New Year!!!

  45. Charlene says:

    Sharon, you have a lovely family! Thanks for sharing the photos with us. Your boys have great taste like their mother…We grew up in Cols. Ohio so the last one is our favorite…hee,hee…

  46. kathy S says:

    thanks for a sneek peek into your family they all look like great kids and their partners too hope you had a Merry Chrictmas and Happy New Year to you all – you are such a busy lady

  47. Sharon, your sons are all so handsome!! Oh my gosh and the girls are absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your family at Christmas. And Happy New Year!!

  48. Kathie says:

    I absolutely loved reading your post today and to be updated on your family!! And what fun all the girls also, I can just see you smiling and chatting with them all. Yes it is fun to have girls around too, I agree! Have a blessed New Year and thanks for a great blog, you have a wonderful way of sharing and your inspiration is always great!

  49. Joy says:

    How fun reading about your family and seeing pictures of your sons and their girlfriends!! Really enjoyed reading and seeing the pictures about making cheese. How interesting!! Guess I never knew anyone that made their own. I love that kind of stuff. My grandparents were Swiss and one of the traditions my grandmother did was make New Years Bread. We still carry on this tradition but between all those of our family, rarely does it come out as good as hers! 😉

  50. Francine Shanahan says:

    Hi Sharon…Cindy gave me the name of your website and I love it! I hope you remember me from YEARS back! (Moilanen) I signed up for your emails…good luck! Francine

  51. Eva says:

    Happy New Year, Sharon!

    I have been a HUGE fan for the past year. Everything you do is beautiful.

    Thanks so much for sharing some of your self here… I feel like I have gotten to know you better.

    Keep it up!

    , E

  52. Carol L says:

    You have a fantastic looking family, and thank-you for sharing these great photos with us! You must be so proud 😀 All this crafting you do and you still find time to make your own cheese? You’re one amazing, crafty woman Sharon! I tip my hat to you for all you do. Have a wonderful and healthy, happy new year in 2010!!!

  53. Heather says:

    My best friends growing up were (well, they still are-lol) Finnish so I am used to the different dishes. And ways of saying things like ‘sow-na’ instead of sauna-lol. I can’t recall the cheese, but I am partial to pulla-yum!
    Actually, this cheese sounds a bit like what we call cheese curds. They, too squeek but only if fresh. I live in Montreal where we have ‘Poutine’ which is french fries, a special gravy and cheese curds. Bad for the arteries but yummy in the tummy!
    Thanks for sharing your handsome brood and Happy New Year!

  54. Barb Hendrickson says:

    Thank you for sharing your holidays and your family with all of us, your readers. Now, onto that cheese! I just placed an order for ribbon. Can I place an order for cheese, too? I would if you would ship it!!

    It looks delicious.


  55. Seija says:


    Olen seurannut blogiasi jo toista vuotta ja hieman kadehtien katsellut kaikkea ihanuutta, mitä maassasi on tarjolla askartelijoille.

    En tiennyt perhettäsi suomalaiseksi, kunnes törmäsin tähän leipäjuusto (juustoleipä) juttuun. En meinannut ensin uskoa silmiäni, kun näin tuon kuvan tutusta juustosta.
    Rakastan itse tätä juustoa kovasti.

    En osaa itse englantia ja kirjoitan siksi suomeksi toivoen, että tämä kommentti tulee silti ymmärretyksi.
    Sinä teet aivan uskomattoman mahtavia kortteja ym. jota askartelua itsekin harrastan.
    Oikein Hyvää Vuoden 2010 jatkoa ja Kiitos että voin vierailla täällä.


  56. cheap ghd says:

    Ours was a Sweedish community so many of our traditions were probably similar to yours. Snowmobiling, snow forts, ice skating in the field near our house, and even a one room schoolhouse (k-6 grades) are among some of my fondest memories even though I hate being cold and would rather look at snow then be in it. Thanks for the memories.

  57. […] Pasty here.  It’s kind of interesting!  I also had some Juustoa (Finnish Squeaky Cheese) that you can read more about on this post.  I didn’t want to serve a lot of sweets as I wanted everyone to eat that big cake!  But I […]

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