The Doan family loves getting together and throwing a party! Especially in the summertime, we gather at one of our houses to be together outside and eat good food.
Sometimes we swim, sometimes we camp, sometimes we bring out the dirt bikes and ride around playing dirt bike soccer, but no matter what we do, we always have good food and good company!
Accompanying our hamburgers and hotdogs and varieties of chips, here are a few of our favorite family barbeque side dishes!
A family barbeque classic — we love our potato salad!
6 medium potatoes (2 pounds)
1 Tablespoon minced dried onion
1⁄3 cup dill pickle relish
2 Tablespoons dill pickle juice
1 1⁄4 cups mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons mustard
1 teaspoon garlic salt (to taste)
4 hardboiled eggs – cooked, peeled and grated.
Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until tender.
Drain well, and let cool.
Cube potatoes into a large bowl.
Add onion, relish and grated eggs to bowl.
Combine mayo, mustard, garlic salt, and pickle juice.
Add mayo mixture to bowl.
Mix well to coat potatoes and combine all ingredients.
Cover and chill thoroughly. Enjoy!
The perfect barbeque side to compliment your spread!
1 lb hamburger
1/2 onion, chopped
5-6 cans of beans, drained (red, black, and pinto) mix em’ up!
1 green pepper, chopped
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cans chopped tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
Brown the hamburger and cook the onions, then mix it all together in a crock-pot and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours!
Jenny’s favorite is the strawberry pie. We never have a summer party without it!
1 9″ frozen pie crust, baked
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of water
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1 lb of sliced strawberries
1 (3oz) package of strawberry jello
Bake pie crust according to package directions, remove and then let cool.
While the crust is in the oven, add sugar and water to a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk the cornstarch in slowly and make sure there are no leftover lumps. Stir continuously for about 4-5 minutes until the mixture is thickened and turns a little clear.
Remove from heat and whisk in the strawberry jello mix until completely dissolved. Let this mixture cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, toss in the strawberries and make sure they are evenly distributed. Pour into pie crust.
Place in the refrigerator to set for about 2-3 hours and then serve! (Add whipped cream if desired!)
Do you have some fun family and friend traditions? What are some of your favorite barbeque side dishes?
Behind every quilt is a story, and we want to hear yours! BLOCK Magazine is always looking to publish original stories from quilters like you. We believe that everyone has an important story to tell and that sharing our stories brings us closer together. As we listen, learn, and grow, greater inspiration enters our lives and our capacity to care expands. No matter how simple you believe your story to be, it’s worth sharing.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when submitting your story:
– We prefer stories under 500 words in Microsoft Word or Google Documents format. – There is a limit of 2 photos per article. – Stories should relate back to sewing and quilting. – When sharing personal details, do keep in mind that your story could be published. – We won’t publish your name without your permission, and we reserve the right to edit your story. -If your story is chosen to appear in an issue of BLOCK, we’ll be sure to send you a complimentary copy!
Here are some examples of quilting stories and comments that have touched our hearts and made us smile:
“Back in February 2019, there was a horrific snow and ice storm that hit our little corner of the world, and I was snowed in at Hamilton (I live about a 45-minute drive away from Quilt Town, USA.) At this same time, a group of gals were attending a retreat in town, and being that quilters are some of the best people around, they took me in as part of their retreat (and even added me to their Facebook group!). Some taught me how to use a machine and cheered me on as I stitched together a charm square pillow. They shared their meals with me, and completely welcomed a stray right into their little family. I still keep in touch with some of the wonderful friends I met at that retreat!” -Mary B.
“I think I was born to quilt. I remember as a little girl walking through the dime store and wishing I had money for packets of fabric squares. My dad was a JC Penney manager. Managers received packets of 8” x 10” pieces of paper with small pieces of fabric glued on them. That is how they ordered fabric for the stores. Dad often would bring his “book work” home with him and order while watching football on Sundays. Once ordered, he would throw the papers away. I would take them, tear off these tiny bits of fabric, and try to hand sew them together. My favorite department in the store was pieced goods. My favorite people were Bernadine, a farm wife who worked in that department, and Dad, who always had a dime for a skein of embroidery floss. I was a teenager before I earned enough money to buy fabric, but I remember going down to the basement and being happy the fabric came in three different color ways. Then my grandpa gave me his mother’s quilting frame. In my 20’s I would save my lunch money and buy fabric. Dad’s store closed in 1989. When I first saw the story of Missouri Star Quilt Company, I saw that JC Penney sign in the store and cried. And then I had to show that article to Dad! Your store will always hold a place in my heart, how fitting you opened it in an old JC Penney store. I love your story! Dad is 89 now, and in a nursing home, but the pieced goods was both our favorite department. I’m in my 60s now, and I still tuck away a little money until I can buy fabric. And my favorite thing, still to this day, is taking bits of fabric and sewing them together.” -Erin D.
UFOs By Lisa B.
“I suspect that, second only to stash size, the number of unfinished projects a quilter has is the greatest cause of shame and guilt. We’ve spent a good bit of money on whatever we have sitting there half sewn together, and probably considerable time as well. So it seems a waste, doesn’t it, to allow the effort it would take to finish it keep us from doing just that. Half-finished objects are simply of no use.
“Like most quilters I know, I had multiple unquilted tops and multiple projects that were in various stages of completion. I had begun working full-time and didn’t have the time and energy to devote to it like I once had. One week, I received the terrible news that someone very close to me was experiencing severe medical issues. The week I found out, I remembered a top I very much liked that would be perfect for this person and I was able to quilt it and gift it by the end of the weekend! I had fretted over that beautiful top sitting in a drawer for two years, but I was so very thankful to have it that week. Had I quilted it any earlier, I would have surely given it to someone else, and then had nothing when I wanted it most.
“After that top, I started noticing that my sewing machine was not being as dependable as it once was. Since I still had very little time to devote to the hobby, I didn’t replace it and found myself sewing less and less. Then, I saw my dream machine for an incredible price. I decided it was the perfect time to replace my machine, and jumped on the offer before it was gone. Now, you may have noticed that I have twice already mentioned that I don’t have much time to devote to the hobby, so what better to work on than my own unfinished objects! It’s patterns and fabrics that I picked out, and half the work is already done! I am thoroughly enjoying making the most of the time I do have to finish quilts and table runners and pillows—whatever I started and abandoned years ago.
“Obviously, it makes no sense to keep cranking out half-projects and letting them pile up, but within reason, I would try not to let it weigh me down too much. There very well might be a time in the future when you’re very glad to have them.”
“I heard of Project Linus after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, when Missouri Star sent thousands of blankets to Texas. I researched the organization but discovered there was no chapter to serve NW Missouri. So, I called the nationwide headquarters, applied for a chapter and began making blankets for kids. Blankets are security, a sense of comfort when life is hard. We attach a poem to each blanket we give, that reads, ‘Linus has a blanket that’s all his very own. It comforts and sustains him when he’s feeling quite alone. He knows that others love him for ’twas made with special care, and because it means so much to him, it’s carried everywhere. You too can have a blanket that’s created just for you to comfort and support you when you’re feeling rather blue. It’s yours to keep forever, so you may always know that others out there love you and to you, our blessings go.’”—Barbara O.
Rainbow Quilts By Mary G.
“I had only been quilting, if you want to call it that, for less than a year when I found out I was pregnant at the end of 2016. I was all geared up to make a baby quilt for my new arrival and turned to Missouri Star on Youtube to teach me how to make one properly. Sadly though, I lost my baby girl 18 weeks into my pregnancy. The little blanket I had started for her, I finished quickly and had with me to wrap her in at delivery. I cherish that I was able to give her at least one present from Mom.
“In the months that followed, I found out I was pregnant again. I decided this time to make a rainbow-colored quilt for my soon-to-be rainbow baby. I watched many Missouri Star tutorials before getting started because I wanted to get it right! Plenty of time and money was spent getting beautiful fabrics in every color of the rainbow. After I had made it through the first trimester of this pregnancy, it was time to get started on the rainbow quilt. I only made it through the beginning stages of my rainbow quilt, however, before I found out that my rainbow baby didn’t make it. I lost another baby girl at 18 weeks again, all in the same year.
“Although my grief was intense, I decided to finish the quilt and gift it to my sister who was also pregnant at the time, with her own rainbow baby. This quilt became my therapy. It meant so much to me to be able to finish it and hand it over to her as a gift from my babies to hers. It took me a long time to finish the quilt, but I did and I was able to gift it to her just before she gave birth to her son. It was a really special moment for both of us and she now keeps the quilt hanging in her home.
“At the beginning of 2019, I found out I was finally pregnant again. I was determined to keep my mind occupied during this anxiety-filled pregnancy with some quilting therapy. After sewing up a few receiving blankets, I figured I’d give making another rainbow-colored quilt a shot. I really, really wanted to wrap my newborn baby in one. While searching for some more baby quilt ideas, I came across a Missouri Star tutorial on how to make a rag quilt. I thought it was so cute and simple enough; I could do it without feeling anxious about the results. Happily, I gave birth to my double-rainbow baby boy on September 11, 2019. I couldn’t believe I was finally able to wrap my baby in that rainbow-colored blanket and bring him home.
“I know to some people, they just see blankets, but to me, quilts are so much more. There are prayers and hopes and unspoken dreams all sewn into those fabrics and given to others as an expression of warmth and love. Rainbow baby quilts have become a passion for me. I understand deeply what they represent and I am always humbled to give one.”
My hope is by the time I’ve written this letter to you and BLOCK arrives at your home, that life will have returned to normal. My hope is the sun will be shining outside your window… you’ll be free to gather with friends and family… you’ll feel comfortable greeting neighbors and walking the dog again, and a trip to the beach might be just around the corner. It’s hard to imagine after weeks of being separated from loved ones and anxiously watching the television, but I have great hope that we’ll make it through…many of us have been spending extended periods of time at home. I am trying my best to view this as an opportunity instead of an inconvenience.
I recently read a quote by one of my favorite people, Fred Rogers, that made me pause. He said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” It has shifted my mindset and caused me to be proactive. Each day I ask myself, What small thing can I do to help?…
Quilters never cease to amaze me. You make a difference with every stitch and it’s never been more apparent to me than at this very moment. You’re sewing masks by the thousands, you’re making surgical caps for hospital workers, you’re helping friends and neighbors, and you’re a positive influence in your community. Thank you sincerely for everything you do. I feel privileged to be a part of this remarkable global community of quilters. We really can change the world one stitch at a time.
Like Jenny (and Mr. Rogers), I believe many of us makers feel grateful to be part of a community that creates – not only quilts, but comfort, inspiration, and kindness. (After all, we are the piece-makers ✌️)
Fun fact: Back in 1889, the women of Caldwell County (now home of Missouri Star) came together to create a “census” quilt. For an entire year, wives, mothers, and children throughout the county helped one another to hand-stitch the names of over 1,000 residents to create a gorgeous hand-sewn quilt that celebrated their entire community.
130 years later, the antique quilt remains a representation of the connections made among a community of quilter’s helping one another to create a beautiful, inclusive piece of art. It hangs inside our Caldwell Country Historical Society, seven miles from Missouri Star Quilt Co.
Much like those whose names were stitched onto that quilt from long ago, when you subscribe to BLOCK Magazine, you subscribe to become a part of a community of makers whose stories become stitched into our hearts! BLOCK Magazine’s upcoming summer issue contains our own stories and the stories of our readers, together building a community of creatives inspired by one another.
With seven children under the same roof at one time, Jenny and Ron are pros at finding creative solutions for common family chores, like the ever-present loads of laundry and nightly gatherings around the dinner table.
Jenny sat down to share some of the creative solutions she’s learned from parenting her seven children, like how to assign laundry and dinner days. Watch below as she shares her thoughts on how to tackle these daily household chores.
Today marks our favorite quilting couple’s 40th wedding anniversary, and to celebrate this amazing milestone, we wanted to put together a list of the 40 things that the Doan family loves about their parents/grandparents. Only problem is, there are waaaaaaay more than 40 memories, life lessons and stories to share about this wonderful couple, and even with a little editing here and there, the list doubled to 80! Each and every one of these memories speak to their remarkable character and the light that they shine on the world around them.
Without further ado, here are the Top 80 Things To Love about Jenny and Ron from all seven of their children, children’s spouses and 21 of their 22 grandchildren (baby Porter doesn’t speak just yet, so he gets a pass this year!)
First up is Darrel, Jenny and Ron’s oldest son and his wife Stephanie and their two boys, Erik and Sean:
1. We love your passion for tradition, especially Swedish history, from Dola horses to Tomtes to Swedish pancakes…we love it all almost as much as we love you!
2. We love our sports car racing! Thank you for introducing such a fun sport at an early age. This lives on in our house as there isn’t an IndyCar, Formula 1, or IMSA race that we miss.
3. I love Grandma Jenny & Grandpa Ron because you always think of me every holiday” – Love Erik (and we mean EVERY holiday! 4. “You both remind me of Christmas, presents, and fun cards” – Love Sean
Next is Natalie.. She’s Jenny and Ron’s oldest daughter, and mother to Sam, Noah, Isaac, Hannah, and Jenna.
5. I love that my mom is joyful, she loves positivity, adventure and looks for the good in all situations.
6. My mom loves her family and has a strong testimony that she shares in everything that she does, and she is one of the hardest working women that I know.
7. I love that my dad is so patient and he loves us so much.
8. My dad is constantly serving others, and never wants any accolades for all that he does. He loves unconditionally and teaches by his example how we can be more Christlike.
Sam, Natalie’s oldest son, writes:
9. Grandma is thoughtful and kind to everyone she meets.
10. Grandpa really cares about other people. He puts the needs of others above his own, is always helping anyone who needs it, and is very smart and can figure out anything.
Next up is Noah, who writes:
11. I love that Grandma loves all her grandchildren so much, and I love how grandpa is always willing to help someone in need.
Then we have Isaac, who explains:
12. I love that they were so welcoming and kind to my wife, Aislinn and made her feel like family. I know that sounds generic, but it was so special for us.
Followed by Hannah, who notes:
13. Grandma is always happy. She’s always singing or whistling or doing something she loves. One of my favorite memories of Grandma is one time we were at a concert and I was in a large bathroom. I had waited in a long line with strangers. Grandma came in whistling and I instantly knew it was her. I was in a stall, and had no idea who it was, but I knew it was her. I said, “Grandma”? and she answered, “who knows me by my whistle”? It was sooo funny!
14. My favorite thing about Grandpa is how much he loves cars, and bikes. I love how much he loves working, doing things with his hands, and helping others. One of my favorite memories of him is the time he taught me how to ride the dirt bikes. He was teaching me, and I kept falling off but he still made it fun. He was patient and kind, and I had fun learning to ride from him.
And, last up from Natalie’s family is Jenna, who writes:
15. I love how much they always want to help others and give, how they set a good example to all of us grandchildren and how they treat everyone with compassion.
After Natalie comes Sarah, who is married to Seth. They are parents to Annie, Katie, Jared, Ella, and Jason.
16. My best memories are not only of the adventures we had but the feelings that go along with them. I can come up with tons of stories and things we all did together, but what sticks out the most to me, is the way I felt. Growing up, we felt loved. We knew we were safe. We didn’t have money for fancy things, but we felt good about what we did have. We felt good about working hard for what we wanted; earning things together for a big reward. We felt inspired to be better and do better. We felt sadness and talked about our feelings and dealt with emotions. We felt pride and we felt joy when we would dress up and go overboard for community festivals, decorating floats to be in a parade. We felt valued when our parents listened to our ideas and cared about our feelings. We felt cared about. Every day, Dad would get up and work long hours to support us, and we knew that he did it because he loved us. We felt smart. Mom taught us and gave us so many opportunities to learn and grow and was the real life Mrs. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus. We were so blessed to grow up together in a house full of fun, laughter, and love.
17. Having a chilly good time with Ron crawling under the house at the Gould Farm roadhouse to fix frozen pipes and changing the transmission in their old Geo in the freezing cold.
18. Ron taught me how to ride a motorcycle and we continue to build and ride motorcycles together through the years.
19. Jenny singing loud (for all to hear!) and whistling. (She’s very musically-inclined you know!)
20. Jenny making apple pie filling, cherry jam, and peeling lots and lots of wallpaper (not at the same time, of course!)
Annie, the eldest of Sarah and Seth’s children, remembers:
21. Sleepovers at Grandma and Grandpa’s and sleeping on their floor to be close to them.
22. Going on movie dates together.
23. Always getting cards for birthdays and different things and feeling so much love through little random gifts that are always super personal.
24. Sewing with Grandma: helping her pick out fabric from her giant fabric closet, ironing for her, and looking through her giant button jar.
25. Hanging out with Grandpa as he worked outside on different things and the one time we were in the car together and that “I knew you were trouble” Taylor Swift song came on and Grandpa did the goat scream like the meme that was popular then and it was so unexpected and so so funny!
26. I remember driving to Florida to go on my first teaching adventure with them and going to Medieval Times and getting to Florida and driving back with Grandpa and just talking and laughing together.
Jared, Sarah and Seth’s eldest son, reflects on his favorite memories with his grandparents:
27. Watching the Kansas City Chiefs football games, riding motorcycles, going camping, and making homemade ice cream.
Katie, Sarah and Seth’s second eldest daughter, remembers:
28. I remember dancing and singing with Grandma and baking cookies, oatmeal cake, and making ice cream with Grandpa!
29. I remember when Grandma and Grandpa took me and Hannah to Arkansas, and I’m pretty sure I annoyed the heck out of them. 😂
30. I remember Grandma teaching me how to sew buttons and how to cut fabric. She taught me how to bind a quilt and how to properly sew on a machine and by hand.
31. I remember sanding and painting the blue desk for my room with Grandpa in the garage of the Main Shop.
Ella, next in line in Sarah and Seth’s household, writes that she:
32. Loves their hugs.
33. Remembers making her first quilt with Grandma (the elephant one!)
35. Loves going to Kansas City Chiefs games, riding motorcycles, surprise visits, and enjoying eclairs with his grandpa.
36. Enjoys his grandma’s Christmas Eve parties, singing songs, and camping in her glamper.
Hillary is Jenny and Ron’s youngest daughter. She’s married to Alex, and together they have five children: Allyson, Livvy, Alayna, Phoebe, and Jack.
37. I love that adventure is in their blood and they’ve shared that love of discovery and freedom and fearlessness with us as much as they could.
38. I love that they still are willing to help me with the things I never could figure out like cars and fear of failure.
39. I loved growing up in a place where love was the standard and arguments disappeared with a song and laughter.
40. I loved coming down the stairs for church as a teenager and Dad telling me I looked beautiful. He lifted my whole heart every time.
41. I like how comfortable I feel in their home and how they spend quality time with us every chance they get.
Allyson, Hillary and Alex’s eldest daughter, writes:
42. They’re so funny! They always goof off together and are one of the best examples of “best friends for life” that I’ve ever seen. They are so loving to others. They really know how to take care of other people.
43. Both of them can do ANYTHING! When they put their minds to it, they accomplish the impossible (we’ve all seen the proof).
Livvy, Hillary and Alex’s second-oldest daughter, explains:
44. I like eating Grandpa’s pancakes on Grandma’s cat plates.
45. I like that they take care of stray cats and that they have a ton of quilts!
Alayna, next in line in Hillary and Alex’s family, writes:
46. I love that Grandma and Grandpa can keep me smiling all the time when I’m near them and how kind and caring they are.
47. I love that Grandma and Grandpa are so giving, and how they walk around the house singing. It makes me happy
Phoebe, the youngest daughter of Hillary and Alex, writes:
48. I like that they have cute things in their house. They make me happy.
49. I like that Grandma sings and whistles around the house, and how they can find places to hang so many quilts!
Jack, the baby of Hillary and Alex’s family, explains:
50. I like that I get to talk to Grandma and Grandpa about my Pokemon (and they actually listen!).
51. I like Grandma and Grandpa’s gifts, and that Grandpa gave me the coolest pinewood derby car.
Al is up next, and is the eldest of Jenny and Ron’s younger sons. He is married to Drea, and they are parents to the youngest grandchild at the moment, Porter, and they also have a pair of twins on the way! Al reflects:
52. Some of my favorite memories growing up are of Mom reading mystery novels to us kids while we lay on the couch and floor around her. She was the queen of cliffhangers, but often she’d get as into the story as much we would be, and she would sit and read to us for hours. I loved that.
53. I loved how on long drives, we’d listen to books on tape. Dad didn’t love to read books as much, but he definitely loved a good story and on those drives, we all got to bask in great storytelling and how exciting it would be.
54. I remember Mom taking us to people’s houses who I didn’t know, but we’d eventually become their friends. We would volunteer at the library, help at the food pantry, and deliver bread to those in need. She made service fun and a big part of who we were, and who we are today.
55. Dad was amazing ‘cause he’d jump right into our antics. We’d be playing basketball when he made it home from work at 6 p.m. (after starting work at 4 a.m.), and he’d pull in the drive and just come right out and start playing with us. I didn’t realize how amazing that was until becoming a father myself, and now I understand the desire to just sit down after that long day and he never would. He’d come home to be the judge in our kangaroo court, join a water fight, or help remodel the bathroom.
56. I also remember begging Dad to wake us up before he’d leave for work (at 4 a.m.) so we could say goodbye and give him a kiss, and sometimes he would, and we loved it. Other times, he said he felt too bad and just had to let us sleep.
57. I remember saving for weeks to buy a baseball card kit from those book sale flyers they send home from school, and I didn’t have enough and Dad woke me up before he left for work the morning it was due and gave me the $14 I needed for it, and just how amazing that was to me. I used the money for show and tell, I don’t know that I’d ever held a $10 bill at that point and I was so thrilled.
Following Al is Jake, who is married to Misty, and together they have three children: Gideon, Ashelyn, and Ezra.
58. Their work ethic, kindness, compassion, and dedication to charitable endeavors are amazing. I’ve learned so much from them.
59. I love Mom’s love of gardening that she passed on to me.
60. I loved summer camping trips. Mom packed the best food, and Dad would always play catch with us.
61. They taught us that we could do hard things. We hiked the Pinnacles when I was like five—THE PINNACLES. That’s a serious hike and we did it together.
62. They taught us that nothing was impossible. Even though we didn’t have much money growing up, our dreams were always within reach!
63. I love the way that they always hold hands, how they love to sit next to each other, and how they are the most reliable, kind, and helpful people.
64. They are an incredible example of true love—always looking out for each other, doing something kind for each other, and always doing things together.
65. I love that they love to dress up in costumes!
66. I love the way Ron looks at Jenny—like she hung the moon!
67. Family is EVERYTHING to them and they made me feel like part of the family from the first time I came over to the house at 16 years old. I always wanted to be around them.
68. Do you need a hand with something? You can always call Ron.
69. There aren’t better in-laws on the planet. They’re the best.
Gideon, Misty and Jake’s eldest son, writes:
70. They are always there to help and they will always love and respect you.
71. They also will give you yummy treats that aren’t quite as sweet as they are.
Ashelyn, Misty and Jake’s daughter, explains:
72. I loved it when Grandpa surprised me with a pink motorcycle.
73. I loved that day when I got to sew with Grandma.
74. I also had a great time playing that game called Qwirkle with them. It’s so fun!
Ezra, the baby of Jake and Misty’s family, writes:
Grandma and Grandpa are so kind and helpful. I love them!
We’ve made it to Josh, Jenny and Ron’s baby boy! He reflects on his favorite memories:
76. I remember sewing together with Mom and all those times at 2-3 a.m. talking with her while she was sewing.
77. Riding motocross with Dad. We had both just finished our races and were so tired, but so happy that we got to share that moment getting to race together. Dad can still get down and ride with the best of us!
78. Acting with mom in local plays really helped me gain a love of theatre.
79. Playing pranks with Mom. Sometimes these can get brutal. Haha!
And last, but certainly not least, Talon, Josh’s son, writes:
80. I love making pillowcases with Grandma every year.
This list could go on and on, and rightfully so. Jenny and Ron are two of the very best people we know! Please join us in wishing them both a very happy 40th wedding anniversary! If you have a memory of this remarkable couple, please feel free to share it with us in the comments below.