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Great Grandmother's Rocking Chair

Great Grandma’s Old Rocking Chair

Growing up in a large family has its challenges, not only for the parents, but for the siblings as well.  It also has its advantages.Our furniture was never purchased as new.  I remember the folks going to auctions to look for a certain piece they needed, or it was given to us from a friend or relative.

I own three pieces that have a special meaning for me.

Mother purchased an exceedingly small chair from a second-hand store.  The seat measures about twelve inches square and it might stand three feet.  The second is a wicker rocking chair.  It is most unusual, in that the seat is rather large.  I can still fit in it but I leave it for the only doll I owned.  She cares for it in my living room.  

The third piece is my Great Grandmother’s rocking chair.  When I was twelve years old, my parents presented us with twin boys, Donald Dean and Ronald Ray.  Oh, how happy I was!  Two new dolls to play with.  Oh, how I loved them!  It was so much fun to play with them, hear them giggle, listen to them “talk” to each other in their own lingo and snuggle them. 

Many a night I would sit in Grandmother’s rocker and rock them, one in each arm.  This would give Mother a chance to get some long-needed rest.  On the wall hung a plate with the words of the Norwegian table prayer.  My hands were full so I decided I would teach myself the words.   Of course, it was in Norwegian and I could not speak it but that didn’t stop me.  Years later, I was asked to give the prayer at a luncheon.  Little did the guests know, I only said half of it.  As the twins grew, the rocking chair became a toy.  They would sit in it backwards, and rock it until it began to dance across the floor.  It was their transportation.  Another time one would sit in the rocker and the other would stand on the rung.  The faster he could rock the chair, the better ride his passenger got. 

When they got a cold or just didn’t feel good, the rocker provided a wonderful place to snuggle Mother or a sibling.

No, we didn’t have a lot of material goods but what we did have was a home filled with children and love.  Great Grandmother’s rocker helped to provide a safe haven for us.

In memory of my brothers Donald Dean and Ronald Ray

Gwen Welk Workman 06-18-2017


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Finnish American Society

The FAS group meets the third Sunday of each month at 3:00 PM
at The Wooden Spoon.  This is the usual meeting time but because of 
Covid, meetings have been cancelled for this year.  Please keep watching our site or Facebook for updates.

Please bring a snack for refreshments.

Coffee and saft will be provided.

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The Story of the Dala Horse
Dala Horse Magnet Dala Horse Standing Dala Horse Tile


The traditional symbol of Sweden is the Dalahast, or Dala Horse. Since Viking times, the horse was considered a treasured animal.

A horse represented a creature of great value, a tower of strength in helping the family. It was a faithful friend who drew loads in the forest during winter, worked in the fields and meadows in spring and summer and carried equipment up to the delightful summer pastures and adjoining chalets of Scandinavia. Horses also provided transportation between villages and parishes and trips to the mill and to the market.

There was so much pleasure with having a horse. Children really enjoyed their company. They could ride bareback, and many children were able to sit on its broad strong back at the same time. Carved wooden horses were plain and made as children’s toys.

The Dala horse symbol originated during the 18th century in the Dalarna region of Sweden. Legend is that a hungry soldier came to Dalarna and he carved a horse from a piece of a tree. Then he took red clay, and mixed it with water to paint the horse. When it was finished, he gave it to a young boy who had been watching him. The child was so excited with the gift that he took the soldier and the wooden horse home to show his mother. In return for the kindness shown to her son, the mother gave the soldier a bowl of soup.

In the 17th century, the hand carved Dala horses were also sometimes used as payment for board and lodging. During the long winter months or in times of poor crops, it was necessary to augment income with revenues from other sources. The men would fill a wagon with brightly colored horses and other homemade articles. They would venture out to sell or barter for grain. To show their appreciation for overnight accommodations at farmhouses along the way, they would offer painted horses for the children, and they became treasured toys.

These wooden horses came originally from the Mora villages of Vattnas, Rise, Bergkalas and Nusnas. Tinkers traveled about the country to sell products of the cottage industry. Their wares were baskets, grinding stones and wooden casks. Often they took Dala horses to add to their collection of goods.

During the 19th century, it became the custom to paint the wooden horses with richly colored flower patterns like the Dala painting that decorated furniture and interior walls. The Dala horses appeared with the traditional Swedish folk art red color with kurbits (a big plant, with gourds and leaves) and flowers covering the saddle. The designs come from the Biblical story of Jonah. He sat outside Ninevah, and the Lord caused a kurbit of gourd vine to grow, protecting him from the desert sun.

In current times, nine people are involved in the making of one horse from the Nusnas factory. Dala horses are made in many sizes, from less than half an inch up to 60 inches (or five feet), and they are available in a variety of different colors and patterns.

Here at The Wooden Spoon we have all colors, shapes and sizes of Dala Horses! Check out our wooden horses sitting or standing, painted on ceramic tile, serving dishes, regular and travel mugs, wine glasses, snapps glasses, wooden spreaders, decals or magnets, or they can be found in wood or silver as necklaces or earrings. We have books on Dala horses, Dala horse key rings, cookie cutters, stencils, stamps, labels, Christmas cards, wooden ornaments, lapel pins, tablecloths, dish cloths, napkins, and paper pull-outs! We even have Dala socks! Visit and see for yourself.

Swedish people believe that if you don't like how things are going in life, change the direction of your Dala horse(s). And if you need to ward off evil, place your Dala horse with its hind legs towards the door, ready to kick the bad spirits away!

Gwen Welk Workman, February 2, 2002

The Wooden Spoon

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The Legend of The Kitchen Witch
Good Luck Kitchen WitchLingonberry PreservesFlowered Coffee Mug


The Kitchen Witch originated in the Scandinavian countries years ago. It is said that she has magical powers to bring good luck and to assure a smooth running kitchen.

For centuries, Norwegians have hung this good witch in their kitchen. They believe she has the power to keep roasts from burning, pots from boiling over, and sauces from spilling.

HANG the Kitchen Witch IN YOUR KITCHEN so that:

  • Pots won’t boil over
  • Roasts won't dry up
  • Breads will rise
  • Jellies will jell
  • Eggs won’t stick
  • Cakes won’t fall
  • Coffee won’t be bitter
  • Gravies won’t lump
  • Sauces won't spill
  • Cookies won’t burn


Gwen Welk Workman, March 15, 2015

The Wooden Spoon

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The Avenue of Trolls, Nissar and Tomtom
Tore The TrollHappy Pingvin Skier


Deep down in our minds and imagination, lives the need for little people. They may be there to protect us, to scare us, or to just walk with us and be a companion. We have trolls, nissar, tomtar, gnomes, leprechauns, or bogeymen. They are found in most cultures.

As a child, my Uncle Iver told me that I had been born on Bear Island in Leech Lake at Brevik, Minnesota. I was born with a tail.

When questioned where it was, he informed me that Doctor Ringle, the doctor who delivered me, had cut it off and put it in formaldehyde, and it now sat on a shelf in his office.

As a small child, I accepted that story. Years later I asked him if the idea for this story had come from our Norwegian culture. His reply was that he had no idea where it came from other than his imagination. This just re-enforces my belief that it is in our DNA to have little people around us.

If you have ever laid on your back and watched the clouds roll by, your imagination will work overtime. How many “things” can you see? Now if you live in Scandinavia and are surrounded by mountains, hills, and fjords, won’t this be a natural place to see scraggy trolls lurking everywhere?

In Scandinavian culture, scare tactics were used to keep children safe. “Don’t go near the water, the trolls will get you”. “Don’t go into the woods, the trolls will get you”. “Don’t walk in the dark, the trolls will get you”. Children responded to “little people” being in charge quicker than adults. Over the years legends of the trolls have been passed from one generation to the next, each adding a personal spin to the story.

Trolls can take on the look of scraggly old men or young boys. They can be young children or women of all ages. Trolls are everywhere. On the Avenue of Trolls is a grassy medium. I have been told that the Jette live under the grass. Here they protect the small insects and animals that live under the ground. Most male trolls have a tail. Most females do not. Of course, a real troll has only four toes on each foot and four fingers on each hand. Be careful when someone gives you a troll. Count their toes and fingers to be sure it is a real one!

On Christmas Eve you must not forget to set out a bowl of rice porridge in a wooden bowl with a wooden spoon for the Christmas Nisse/Tomten. It has been said that they detest metals and insist that their spoon be of carved of wood.

On Christmas morning, if the porridge is gone, it means he will stay around for another year to be an invisible guardian spirit, watching over the prosperity and safety of the family. He is small like a child, has an old man’s face, a white beard, and is dressed in red clothes, and wears a red hat. He is not interested in receiving gifts but is more concerned about the family he lives with.

Watch for the little people in our culture!! They are everywhere including the “Avenue of Trolls” located at 1617 Avenue K in Plano, Texas in The Wooden Spoon.

Gwen Welk Workman, May 26, 2009

The Wooden Spoon

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Gwen's Salad Recipes
Watkins Flavoring Nybro Crystal Bowls


Cook one package ring macaroni. Rinse and drain well.

In saucepan put the juice of one large can of pineapple, and
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
2 whole eggs

Mix well. Bring to a boil and cook until thick.

1 teaspoon Watkins vanilla or almond flavoring

Pour this over the cooked macaroni rings.

Refrigerate overnight.

To this mixture, add:

Drained pineapple
1 can drained Mandarin oranges
12 maraschino cherries, cut in half

½ pint Cool Whip

Blend well. Put in your favorite Scandinavian crystal bowl.

Garnish with Cool Whip and fruit.


Gwen Welk Workman, April 1, 2017

The Wooden Spoon

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Gwen's Dessert Recipes
Daim Candy Dala Horse Tray


Prepare and bake one chocolate cake mix according to directions.

After cake is removed from oven, take a fork and pierce the entire surface.

Pour one jar of Smucker' s caramel ice cream topping over the cake.


Frost with Cool Whip. Sprinkle with crushed Daim candy.

Refrigerate. Serve cold in a Dala Horse Tray.


Gjetost Cake Tray



Mix ¼ cup melted butter with
1 cup sugar

3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons half and half

Mix well.

1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Blend well. Pour into 10 inch springform pan you have sprayed with cooking oil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

In frying pan, melt 1/3 cup butter.

½ cup slivered, blanched almonds

Stir until golden.

½ cup sugar
½ cup whipping cream.

Bring to a vigorous boil, stirring constantly.

Boil for 2-3 minutes until the mixture turns carmel colored and thickens.

4 ounces shredded Gjetost

Pour hot topping over cake and place under broiler until topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

Cool on baking rack. Serve on a Carl Larsson Cake Tray.


Gwen's Homemade Ginger Snaps Gingerbread Man Tray



1 ½ cups butter Crisco
2 cups white sugar

2 eggs
¼ cup molasses
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
¾ teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons soda
4 cups flour

Mix well.

Take a tablespoon of dough, roll into a ball, dip in white sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Serve in our Gingerbread dish at your next party.


Gwen's Homemade Sugar Cookies Swedish Flag Napkins



2 cups butter Crisco
2 cups white sugar

Add: 2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white vanilla
1 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoons cream tarter
4 cups flour

Mix well.

Take a tablespoon of dough, roll into a ball, dip in white sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Serve cookies plain or frosted.


To make Gwen's Signature Lemon-Iced cookies:

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Crisco oil
2 drops yellow food coloring
Real lemon juice to the consistency you want

Frost cookies. Serve with Swedish Napkins.


Anna's Ginger Thins Black Rosemaling Mug



Blend one box Anna ginger thins to make crumbs.

¼ cup melted butter

Press into an 8" or 10" springform pan.

In large mixer bowl blend (Blend as you add each ingredient):
2 eight ounce packages cream cheese
1 pint cultured sour cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¾ cups sugar
1 can pumpkin
4 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour

Mix on high speed for 2 minutes.

Pour into large springform pan.

Bake at 350 degees for 20 minutes.

Then bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes.

Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven for one hour.


Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and your favorite hot beverage in a Rosemaling mug.


Gwen Welk Workman, April 1, 2017

The Wooden Spoon

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Gwen's Appetizer Recipes
Vestlands Lefse #237.14



Flake 3-5 ounces smoked salmon.

Mix well with eight ounces cream cheese.

Add 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 tablespoons chives or green onion tops

Mix well.

Prepare Vestland's Lefse according to direction.

Spread mixture on sheets of Lefse.

Roll in log shape. Cut in bite sized pieces.

Spear an olive or pickle on a toothpick, add Lefse roll up.



Gwen Welk Workman, April 1, 2017

The Wooden Spoon

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Sons Of Norway

The SON group meets the second Sunday of each month at 3:00 PM
at The Wooden Spoon.

Please bring a dish to pass (Norwegian if possible) as we start each meeting with a pot-luck meal.

All are welcome.  This is the usual schedule but due to Covid, the meetings have been cancelled for this year.  Keep watching our site or Facebook for any changes.


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We will entertain on Saturday, September 11, 2021 from 1:00 - 5:00 PM  Come celebrate our 33rd year of The Wooden Spoon.

Special prices, entertainment and complimentary food.

Our desire is always to connect you or keep you connected with your
heritage, to continue to learn and to teach others. Our staff is ready
to help you and guide you in the direction you need.

Thanks for keeping The Wooden Spoon stirring for 33 years!

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Mark your calendar for Saturday, December 5, 2020 from 1:00 - 5:00 PM

An annual event at The Wooden Spoon to show how much cookies mean in our culture. Please bring a tray of homemade treats to add to the ones we have made.

Ann, Jennie, Alan and Don will be showing you how to make rosettes, krumkaker,
goro and kringle.

Remember this is NOT a Cooky Exchange but rather an exchange of sugar and fellowship.

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The Swedish Community will have the Lucia Celebration at Lover's Lane Methodist Church. Date to be announced.

Stations of Lefse 

 Stations of Lefse, Saturday, October 24 at 8:30 AM.  Cost per person is $15.00.  Learn how to make Lefse by four bakers.  Have "Fun Rolling in the Dough". Reservations are needed. 

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Have you considered having your gathering here at The Wooden Spoon?

There are many options:

  • We can cater, or
  • You can rent the room and bring you own food for a small fee, or
  • You can have your meeting here.

Call 972-424-6867 for more information. Ask for Gwen.

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This club meets the second Tuesday of each month to paint and share ideas.  

Come learn all about Stroke Painting, also known as Rosemaling (Norwegian rose painting).

This is a form of decorative flower painting that originated in the low-land areas of eastern Norway around 1750.

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A handiwork group meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month
from 10:00 A.M. - 12:00 PM

Bring your project and a friend.
No charge.

Coffee and cookies provided.

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