I started my blog, Sites and Stories, to celebrate historic sites - the stories they tell, the stories they inspire. My posts often provide behind-the-scenes glimpses of places and themes featured in my books. I also write occasionally as a guest on other blogs, usually about facets of my Chloe Ellefson adult mystery books published by Midnight Ink. There’s a lot here - have fun exploring!

My Blog Posts

kathleen ernst, sophie the cat, writing, undisclosed location

Below are descriptions and links to the 2015 posts on my Sites and Stories blog and guest posts on other blogs. Enjoy!

Old World Wisconsin Locations Guide

Photo of the Kvaale homestead farmyard at Old World Wisconsin. "As the Chloe Ellefson Mystery series grows, I thought it would be helpful to provide a single list of Old World Wisconsin locations that appear in the books. (Special note:  This Sunday, May 17, I’ll be sharing a preview of the next Chloe mystery, Death on the Prairie, at Old World. The 4 PM program is free of charge..." more>>

Posted May 14, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Storeis blog.

Old-Time Molasses Cake – 1930s (Gluten Free)

Front side of 1930's Gold Medal Flour recipe card for Old-Time Molasses Cake. "Welcome to Cooking With Chloe! The celebration of food explored in Tradition of Deceit continues.  This week we have another wonderful recipe from Gold Medal Flour, Old-Time Molasses Cake. Colette B. tried the recipe for us." more>>

Posted May 12, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Farewell Caroline

Photo of bestselling author Kathleen Ernst at the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State of New York Historic Site sign in 2014. "American Girl has announced that Caroline Abbott, the 1812 character I created, will be archived. While I am, of course, disappointed with the decision to retire Caroline, I am grateful to have amazing and wonderful memories..." more>>

Posted May 5, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.


Sepia tone 1982 photo of Kathleen Ernst in 19th century clothing working as an interpreter in the 1875 Schottler farm at the Old World Wisconsin outdoor history museum. "Rhubarb is popping up in my garden, so this edition of Cooking With Chloe comes from yours truly. As curator of collections at Old World Wisconsin, Chloe Ellefson, protagonist of my historic sites mysteries series, is responsible for maintaining the antique stoves in each historic kitchen. In Tradition of Deceit Chloe skis to one of the German farms one winter day—for purely professional reasons, of course—and bakes kuchen." more>>

Posted April 29, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Ginger Creams - 1929

Photo of plate of Ginger Creams cookies made by Alice and Elizabeth using a 1929 Gold Medal Flour recipe. "Welcome to Cooking with Chloe! Alice and Elizabeth, another mother-daughter team, tested Ginger Creams for us, a Gold Medal recipe. This cookie was named a Betty Crocker Prize Recipe in 1929. The verdict: The cookies were delicious, and..." more>>

Posted April 22, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Apple Pie With Cheese Crust – 1934

Cover illustration of Betty Crocker's 15 Prize Recipes favorites of each year 1921 to 1936. "Welcome to Cooking With Chloe! I love collecting historic and/or ethnic recipes while working on each Chloe Ellefson mystery. Since Tradition of Deceit features the flour mill that gave us Gold Medal Flour and Betty Crocker—not to mention the Mill City Museum, which also celebrates the history of Pillsbury and other mills—I ended up with stacks of recipes.  Fortunately, some adventurous readers volunteered to test some for me." more>>

Posted April 16, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Cooking With Betty Crocker—And Chloe

Color copy of a color print ad for the Betty Crocker Gold Medal show on WCCO radio in Minneapolis, MN. "When I was writing Tradition of Deceit, I marveled at the connections between the the Mill City Museum, one of the settings, and popular American culture. The museum was created within what was once the Washburn-Crosby A Mill. You may not have heard of Washburn-Crosby, but chances are good you’ve heard of Gold Medal Flour. The company also created Betty Crocker, one of the most successful advertising personas of all time." more>>

Posted April 14, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Tunnel of Fudge Cake

Color photo of a slice of Tunnel of Fudge cake, taken from 17th annual Pillsbury Busy Lady Bake-Off Recipes booklet of 1966. "I had not heard of the Tunnel of Fudge Cake until I began doing research while writing Tradition of Deceit (the 5th Chloe Ellefson mystery), which celebrates Minnesota’s flour milling history and the Mill City Museum. As soon as I heard the name, I knew Chloe would love it. When I heard it was probably the most popular recipe in the history of Pillsbury’s famous Bake-Off..." more>>

Posted April 7, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.


Wycinanki artists Kasia Drake-Hames (center) and her grandmother (left) and Kasia's mother (right) at Poland Under Glass 2015 in Milwaukee, WI. "Folk art plays a role in most of the Chloe Ellefson mysteries. Since Tradition of Deceit features bits of Polish culture, I decided to include wycinanki—the Polish form of paper cutting. Wycinanki (pronounced vee-chee-non-kee) originated in the 1800s when shepherds passed quiet hours by snipping designs from..." more>>

Posted March 30, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Caroline’s Quilt – Part 2

Link to the "Caroline's Quilt" blog post, posted 25 March 2015 to the Sites and Storeis blog of bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. "It took a long time to piece or appliqué a quilt in Caroline’s day.  In Traitor in the Shipyard, friends help Caroline and Rhonda complete a beautiful quilt top. In the new Caroline mystery, The Smuggler’s Secrets..." more>>

Posted March 24, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Caroline’s Quilt – Part 1

This design was one of many appliquéd pictures made on an album quilt in 1847. Wouldn’t Caroline love the ship design? (Grand Rapids Public Museum Collection,  2006.8.1) "In my first Caroline mystery, Traitor in the Shipyard, Caroline and her friend Rhonda decide to make a quilt as a gift for Lydia, Caroline’s cousin. Their first task was to choose a design for their quilt." more>>

Posted March 16, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

The Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest

Color photo of Peanut Butter Blossom cookies created by Freda Smith in 1957. "Although housed in the former Gold Medal Flour mill, the Mill City Museum interprets the broader story of flour milling in Minneapolis. The old Pillsbury Flour mill sits right across the river. And you can’t talk about Pillsbury history without mentioning the famous Bake-Off (R)." more>>

Posted March 11, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Caroline's Pocket

"Did you know that pockets weren’t always sewn into clothes? Girls in Caroline’s day most likely used tie-on pockets. In The Smuggler’s Secrets, my new mystery, Caroline has a problem when she travels to Lydia’s farm: Caroline climbed to the loft and dug through her valise. She had no trouble finding her handkerchief, but..." more>>

Posted March 5, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Paczki - Polish Donuts

Color photo of Paczki Polish donut. "In Poland—and Polish communities—Fat Thursday is observed on the Thursday before Lent.  People traditionally celebrate by eating pączki (pronounced POHNCH-kee), fried rounds of sweet yeast dough often filled with jelly. The doughnuts are eaten in such quantities that the day is called Pączki Day. Polish culture and baking are two important themes of my 5th Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites Mystery, Tradition of Deceit." more>>

Posted February 19, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Death on the Prairie – Sneak Preview

Cover of Death on the Prairie (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) written by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst, published 08 October 2015 by Midnight Ink Books. "I’ve gotten lots of queries about the 6th Chloe Ellefson mystery. When is it coming? Which historic sites are featured? So, I’m happy to share a sneak preview." more>>

Posted January 27, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Roelke Goes to Prison

Photo by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst of the ornate ironwork over an entrance to the Waupun Correctional Institution in Waupun, Wisconsin, which is a setting in Tradition of Deceit, Kathleen's fifth Chloe Ellefson adult mystery series published by Midnight Ink books. "When writing Tradition of Deceit, I needed to include a set scene at a prison. Waupun Correctional Institution was the logical choice. The prison is one of the oldest in the country. It is listed on the Wisconsin register of historic places, and in 1992 was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the “Wisconsin State Prison Historic District.” more>>

Posted January 6, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.

Coming Attractions - 2015

Image of stage with red curtains overlaid with the words Coming Attractions 2015. "Happy New Year! I hope you have lots of good things on the horizon. Here are some things I’m looking forward to in 2015..." more>>

Posted January 3, 2015 to Kathleen's Sites and Stories blog.