Thinking of Mom

Divot in her lap

While my Mom napped in her wheelchair, Divot kept her lap warm. I had soft piano music playing on my iPad and all the while, I stitched yo yos. Even though she didn’t know I was there with her, it was nice just to keep her company.

I’ve been thinking about my Mom a lot lately. As many of you may know she has been suffering with advanced dementia but about a month ago, she suffered a stroke or series of strokes that affected her in many ways. I spent several days visiting her last week. She had a few good moments but honestly, after the first day, it went downhill pretty quickly. By the last day of my visit, she would not open her eyes or acknowledge me (or the dog) in any way. It was so difficult to see her in this state. If she were aware of her present condition I know she would be devastated. So instead, I choose to think of her throughout the day, sending up prayers for her, and remembering the happier times when she was in good health.

Antique meat grinderLast week, I stumbled across my Mom’s old meat grinder in a box of her things. Oh golly, what a flood of fond memories came rushing back! Mom inherited this meat grinder from her mother, and goodness knows how old it is! What I vividly remember are the countless times growing up, using this grinder to make my Mom’s “Poor Man’s Ham Salad.” My Mom and Dad grew up in the Great Depression and real ham was in short supply to their families because of the cost. In my Mom’s family, my grandmother would use bologna in the place of ham because it was cheaper and more readily available.

During the summers when I was growing up, Mom and I would spend weekday mornings at our local community pool. I remember it all like it was yesterday. We’d come home from the pool and I’d go down into our cool, damp, cement basement and use that meat grinder to grind up a pound of bologna for Poor Man’s Ham Salad. We’d walk out to our garden and pick plump, juicy, ripe tomatoes off the vines still warm from the sun and we’d slice them onto white bread with the crusts cut off. Then Mom would slather on the Poor Man’s Ham Salad. We’d sit out back on our patio eating lunch in the sunshine. At the time, those summers seemed to stretch on forever and yet so many years have now passed. But I remember them all; as I remember my Mom and those mornings spent at the pool and those lunches…….

I brought that meat grinder with me to the cabin this weekend and this morning, Kent and I made Poor Man’s Ham Salad. It kept Mom fresh in my mind and we chatted about those summers long ago. Kent listened patiently as I talked about those simpler times and happy memories. He suggested I share the easy-to-make recipe and I think it is a terrific idea! Now granted, this isn’t the healthiest recipe; but in moderation, or for a special treat, it sure is yummy. And it only takes three ingredients which you probably already have in your refrigerator.

Grinding the bologna

First, you need to grind up the bologna. You could probably do this with a food processor just as easily as a meat grinder. But some of you may have meat grinders or attachments for your Kitchen Aids.

Simply grind one pound of bologna (or you can do this in smaller batches, such as a 1/2 pound.)

ingredientsAll it takes are three simple ingredients: bologna, sweet relish and mayonnaise.


Add a dollop of sweet relish, to taste.


 Add a dollop of mayonnaise, to taste. Approximately 1/4 cup.

P1050149Combine the ingredients and enjoy!


Serve on any slices of your favorite bread. It tastes especially delicious with slices of tomato, but up here at the cabin, fresh tomatoes (in February) are scarce. My favorite way to eat it? On white bread with the crusts cut off, of course!

Here’s to you, Mom. Love you lots!


  1. Hi Kimberly your post brings back my memories of my mom and the good times we had. I have kept all of my mom’s receipes too and make them when I miss her. She had the same illness as your mom had and pass away many years ago. I still miss her and do make my favorite dish of hers when I want to remember or times together.

    • Hi Diana –
      Food is a great way to remember people or events from the past. I’ve got my Mom’s old recipe box and hope to publish all her special recipes in a little book for family members one day. Maybe for Christmas next year? Anyway, I agree; recipes are a fun and heartfelt way to remember our Moms. God bless you!

  2. God Bless your Mother, Kimberly.

    • Thank you so much, Caroline. You are such a dear friend! God bless you too!

  3. Hi Kimberly, thank you for the recipe, now I will probably think about you and your Mom whenever I make it 🙂 Thank you for sharing your life with us and may God continue to bless you & your Mom and family <3 Praying for your Mom, God bless her heart! Hugs!

    • Caroline, thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comments! I truly appreciate them and take them straight to my heart! God bless you and your family as well!!!

  4. We had that same grinder when I was a child and ground cooked roast beef in it too, so nothing went to waste. And, how about fried bologna sandwiches? Another treat from a bygone time. My mother drifted away like your mom too– so difficult to watch. I wish you well.

    • Thank you very much, Nancy! It’s so funny you should mention friend bologna sandwiches, because today as Kent and I were reminiscing, he told me about growing up with him Mom who made friend bologna sandwiches! I have never had them, but will try them now. Kent will love it; they used to be one of his favorite things that his Mom made. She passed away years ago. That will bring fond memories back to him.

  5. Oh, Kimberly! I read your blog with both tears in my eyes and joy in my heart! I think so often of how I am made of the things my Mom taught me. I don’t think that I have her strength, but I hope that one day I will! In a very difficult year after a stroke which nearly took her life, I am learning to treasure each moment regardless of what it brings. It is not easy. I miss the days when her life was more her own…when she laughed more easily…when we cried a little less. Thank you for sharing these heartfelt thoughts with all of us. It is just one of the things that makes you so special! ❤️❤️❤️

    • My dear Marlene, you have no idea how much I appreciate your kind words! I LOVE your posts on FB with your Mom. Your love and admiration for her is evident in everything you do! THANK YOU for commenting, and please know I’ll be praying for your Mom as well, my friend! God bless you both!

  6. I’m sorry your mom is struggling with this slow loss of self. It’s probably even harder on her family.

    I had a series of losses in 2013. After painful struggles for a couple of years, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The last day of Aril, my mother died from a very brief struggle with cancer. We had always been very close, and I was heartbroken. Four weeks to the day after my mother died, my husband left me. I stumbled around for months, in a haze of grief and depression. My high school aged son and my grown daughter were all on earth that could make me smile. My hands and feet hurt constantly. I could barely walk, and I couldn’t knit anymore after a lifetime of it.

    This summer, I took one of your Craftsy classes, thinking, “I haven’t sewn much since I was about 13, but maybe I can do this.” You were, and have been, the ideal teacher. Suddenly, I was doing something I loved again. I could create. I could sew a straight 1/4″ even when my hands hurt. I had my mom’s 1973 Singer Genie, and I felt motivated again. I was doing better at my job, I was slowly recovering from all my losses, the meds were working, and I was making beautiful pinwheel and star blocks. I left you a message on the Craftsy platform about what a blessing you’ve been to me.

    Things are still a bit of a struggle. Budgets are tight, I miss my mother daily, I wish I could make sense of what went wrong with my marriage, but I have my quilting and my Craftsy classes with you, and I keep going.

    My point in all this? Do what you love, be with those you love, and remember all the love you’ve brought to people like me. It will help you through the difficult times ahead. Thank you so much for everything.

    • My dear Cate……I cannot begin to tell you how your letter touched my heart. AsI read it out loud to my husband I couldn’t get through to the end because of the tears flowing down my face. My dear, if I have done even a teensy little thing to be a blessing in your life, please know that I am forever grateful. You are so kind to take the time to write to me and share your story. My heart is touched and I will be praying for you — by name — and lifting you up to our Lord. I’m so sorry you have gone through such difficult times — times it must have felt as though you were punched in the stomach. But you have done a brilliant job of making something wonderful out of a bad situation. I’m so, so glad to know that quilting has gotten you through some of these times. I am truly humbled and honored to think that you allow me to come into your sewing room and talk to you and share my love and passion for quilting with you! THANK YOU, thank you, thank you!!!! If there is ever anything you need, just let me know. In the meantime, please know that I will pray for you, think of you, and send good thoughts your way. God bless you, my friend.

      • Your thoughtfulness and kindness are so wonderful, Kimberly. I am so glad your classes are out there, available to everyone. Your personality sings in every single one. Thank you again. Please let us know the next time you’re teaching in the Denver area. I would love to take a live class with you!

        • Cate, you simply cannot know how much your words touch my heart. Thank you ever so much! I hope to be coming to the Denver area within the next year or so….and I’ll definitely let you know because I’d love to meet you in person! Until then…’s a big hug!

  7. This is how my mom made it too, except she ground dill pickle in it. You brought back sweet memories of my mom, and I have her grinder too. Thank you for that, and prayers for your Mother..

    • Thank you, Barbara, for your prayers for Mom. I believe in the power of prayer, and I know God’s got her in HIS hands. I will definitely try the recipe with ground dill pickle, too! What an awesome idea!

  8. What a sweet, caring daughter you are, Kimberly! Not to mention a friend to so many. You are such an inspiration and showing caring compassion to everyone who writes to you. I will pray for Cate too. I feel so blessed when I hear of such struggles.

    We make a version of “ham” salad out of grated Spam. (Robert’s mother’s recipe.). He had 6 brothers. He & I also grew up on fried bologna sandwiches. Also fried bologna as a breakfast meat. Good memories. God’s blessings for peace & comfort to your precious mom!

    • Grilled balogna and cheese sandwiches are still my youngest’s favorite meal. That kid is 6’2″ tall at 19 and still getting too tall for his pants!

      Thank you so much for your kindness, Anne. I’m incredibly grateful.

    • Anne — What fond memories of such simple things such as bologna and spam! My Dad loved Spam and would eat it any way he could coax my Mom to make it for him! I’ll tell Kent about friend bologna as a breakfast meat — he’ll want me to make it for him, no doubt! Thank you for also praying for Cate; my heart goes out to her on so many levels! I love the community through quilting and as Christians. How blessed we all are….truly.

  9. Hello, thinking of you and your mum. You are so lucky to have so many lovely memories of you and your mum. In your tutorials you strike me as being a caring thoughtful woman and gentle too as reinforced with your memories in your post. Wishing you strength and love to see you through, Marie

    • You are so kind, Marie. Thank you so much for leaving a comment for me! I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness, and encouraging words. Thank you ever so much, and God bless you!

  10. Kimberly, what a sweet and heartfelt post. Dementia is such a hard disease. I’ve watched several family members suffer from it, including my father-in-law. What a blessing to have such wonderful memories of your mom. It definitely reminds us to enjoy the times we have with parents. Blessings to you and your family as you are going through this.

    • I’m so sorry to know that you, too, have had to go through the heartache of watching a loved one suffer with this terrible disease. God bless you and your family too!

  11. My nanna and nonno had a grinder like that and they would make Italian sausage. I have it now along with the ravioli rolling pin…. Ah, such sweet memories of great days gone bye.
    I’m sure somewhere inside your mom’s frail body are memories of you that still bring joy to her even if she is not able to convey that to you directly. And I am positive your loving hugs go right to her soul and warm her heart knowing she is loved by you.

    • Thank you so much, Regina. I am so grateful you took the time to leave such a lovely comment for me. It makes my heart happy to know I have friends out there who can relate and understand. Bless you!

  12. What special memories. I’m so glad you shared and may you and your family always hold them tightly in your heart. I grew up with bologna definitely being a common food item, but it was primarily sandwiches or “fried” bologna. Never had it ground. Sounds like a tasty summer salad and I definitely want to give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

    Glad you were able to spend time with your mother. You may not think she knows you are there, but my heart tells me she does. I lost my mother in ’92, so I hope the next time you are with your mom you will think of me and give your mom an extra hug from me.

    Big hug to you.


    • Thank you for your sweet and encouraging words. It helps me so much to think that my Mom “knows” I’m there when I visit her or that I love her, even though her mind does not appear to have any awareness. And I promise to think of you and send sweet thoughts your way — not just when I’m with my Mom. God bless you, dear friend!

  13. Hi Kimberly. So sorry to hear about your mom. I know it’s hard to see her as she is now, but I have always felt God knows what He’s doing & can’t help but think Him & your mom are together having great talks. I have my mom’s grinder & remember using it for many things since I am a depression baby. We lived on a farm & did lots of butchering so used it lots of different ways. You brought back lots of good memories. M older sister at 86 took a fall just before Christmas and after surgery her Doctor tells the kids that she has early stages of this disease. I only have 2 sisters so I hate to lose this oldest one as we are closer than my youngest one. I will certainly keep your mom& you in prayer. God is still on the throne so I am sure He will take care of both you and mom. I’m wanting for another quiltin Class on Crafty.

    • Dear Ovida – Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story with me! I loved reading about your life on the farm and your family. I will definitely pray for your sisters and you, my dear. You are absolutely right, though; God is still on the throne and when things in our lives seem beyond our control, we need only remember that God is making things fall into place. Bless you for your kind words.
      As for CRAFTSY, I hope to have another class later this year! But it never hurts when CRAFTSY hears from the students which teachers they want to see! 🙂

  14. Thank you for sharing. I remember my mother’s grinder……sweet memories! It’s difficult to watch someone you love fade away from us! I like the idea of focusing on the good memories, very important and very healing! Wishing you and the family all the best!

    • Thanks so much for the well wishes, Carolyn! I’m sure my Mom would want me to remember the good memories and not just her present condition. Thanks for writing and blessings to you!

  15. I remember my mom making a sandwich spread from left-over roast beef. She added a small amount of onion and dill pickle in the grinder with the meat. She mixed it all with Miracle Whip. I made the same thing years ago with a meat grinder, like my mom’s, I purchased in an antique shop. I haven’t used it in years, but think I’ll drag it out again. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Judy, your Mom’s roast beef recipe sounds delicious! And since I am truly a “Miracle Whip” girl at heart, I have decided that is the next recipe I’m going to try. Yummo! Thank you so much for leaving a comment here; I’m so very touched. God bless you today and always!

  16. Sending you Divine light & love. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    • Thank you so much, Roxi! I truly appreciate you taking time to leave a comment. Blessing to you and yours!

  17. Kimberly
    Moms always hold a special place in our hearts. I wish you well in your time of sorrow. Fortunately, my Mom is still with me and at 85 she is still healthy and raring to go! She reminds me of the Eveready bunny!! I’m fortunate to still have her but time marches on, so I took her handwritten spiral notebook of recipes, photographed the pages and made cookbooks for both my daughters. They now have their grandmother’s recipes in their grandmother’s own handwriting to share with their daughters. It was a Christmas gift that brought tears to everyone except Mom, she didn’t get it cause all they had to do was ask! Got to love her, she’ll out last us all!

    • Diane — what a wonderful comment you left! I love the idea that you took your precious Mother’s recipes and made cookbooks for your daughters. What a legacy! LOVE the idea….truly. THANK YOU for sharing. Hugs and blessings to you!

  18. Cherish each moment. My mother (passed in 2004 at 90) suffered from dementia and would repeat stories. I loved hearing them each time. She was no cook; my father did most meal preparation. The meat grinder was his. He tried to make hamburgers like one of the local restaurants, grinding sirloin etc. They were never as good.

    I don’t remember much bologna or Spam. But we had “butter” sandwiches, toasted cheese, and Cheeswich.

    Although she didn’t cook, my Mom was a crafting whiz. She sewed, knitted, crocheted, “antiqued” furniture, decoupaged, etc.

    I miss her; miss my Dad. However, there was relief at the end of their suffering. Don’t feel guilty about that.

    Your Mom loves you.

    • Marilyn, your words are so kind and so sweet; THANK YOU for your support and encouragement. Just what I needed to read today! GOD bless you!

  19. Hi Kimberley – that grinder brought back memories of my childhood (many years ago!) – my job was to grind anything for my mom who would be busy in her little bake shop – she worked so hard and suffered dementia before she died – 55 years ago! She inspired me to knit, sew, craft etc.
    I love your Craftsy classes so very much. thank you for being my most favourite teacher!

    • I’m so delighted that my blog brought back good and happy memories for you, Joan! THANK YOU for sharing them with me and the other readers. I’m honored — truly — to be your favorite CRAFTSY instructor. Considering the amazing number of talented instructors on CRAFTSY, your words are indeed very high praise and I take them straight to heart! God bless you, my dear!

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