Thursday, December 31, 2009

45 Day Fruitcake

After receiving numerous requests for my fruitcake recipe, I thought I would share it today even though I don't have a picture to show you just how good it is.

45 Day Fruitcake

Day 1- In a large glass bowl or gallon jar combine:
¾ cup sliced peaches (undrained)
¾ cup crushed pineapple (undrained)
1- 1¾ oz. jar maraschino cherries (cut in half and drained slightly)
1½ cup sugar
1 tbsp. yeast

Stir very well and cover loosely. Let set at room temperature the entire 45 days. Stir several times throughout the day.

Day 2 -Stir once.

Day 3- Stir once.

Day 4- Stir once.

Day 5- Stir once.

Day 6- Stir once.

Day 7- Stir once.

Day 8- Stir once.

Day 9- Stir once.

Day 10- Stir once.

Day 11- Stir once.

Day 12- Stir once.

Day 13- Stir once.

Day 14- Drain liquid from fruit. Squeeze enough liquid from fruit to make 1½ cup. Discard fruit. Wash your glass container and once you have it sparkling combine in it:
1-29 oz can sliced peaches (undrained)
2½ cup sugar
1½ cup liquid that was drained from fruit mixture.
Stir well. Cover loosely.

Day 15- Stir once.

Day 16- Stir once.

Day 17- Stir once.

Day 18- Stir once.

Day 19- Stir once.

Day 20- Stir once.

Day 21- Stir once.

Day 22- Stir once.

Day 23- Stir once.

Day 24- Add 2 cups sugar and 1- 20 oz. can crushed pineapple (undrained); stir well.

Day 25- Stir once.

Day 26- Stir once.

Day 27- Stir once.

Day 28- Stir once.

Day 29- Stir once.

Day 30- Stir once.

Day 31- Stir once.

Day 32- Stir once.

Day 33- Stir once.

Day 34- Add 2 cups of sugar and 2- 10 oz jars of maraschino cherries (undrained); stir well.

Day 35- Stir once.

Day 36- Stir once.

Day 37- Stir once.

Day 38- Stir once.

Day 39- Stir once.

Day 40- Stir once.

Day 41- Stir once.

Day 42- Stir once.

Day 43- Stir once.

Day 44- Stir once.

Day 45- Drain liquid from fruit. Discard liquid.

Combine:

1 Butter Recipe yellow or golden cake mix
2/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1- 3.4 oz pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1½ cups of the fruit
2/3 cup oatmeal.

Mix well with a wooden spoon. (Don't use a mixer) Bake in a greased tube or bundt pan at 300ยบ for 65-75 minutes .

You will have enough fruit to bake three cakes. They freeze really well and we like them so well that the thought of having three large fruitcakes make us happy.

If your family likes nuts you can also add 1 cup of pecans to each cake. You can also substitute the oatmeal with coconut if you like.

Seems like a long drawn out deal to candy your own fruit but it does taste much better than the store bought kinds. Once I actually get to enjoy a piece I always conclude that it was worth all the time it took to make it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunbeam

Sunbeam smiling bravely, on her way to her final surgery. Everything went really well and she was able to come home the same day. She is still dealing with some pain which is understandable considering the size of the hardware they had to remove from her little leg.



She will not to be able to walk for several weeks and is once again sitting on her "throne" same as she used to this summer following the accident.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

As I am creating our traditional Christmas breakfast I would like to take a few minutes to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fruitcake Woes

My husband enjoys fruitcake. I on the other hand have encountered so many bad fruitcakes over the years some of which were so hard and dry that my little brothers converted them to footstools. So I do my best to avoid most of them. However several years ago I found a recipe for a fruitcake that takes 45 days to make from start to finish and I thought it actually sounded kind of good especially since it required me to candy the fruit myself.

I decided to try it. It was somewhat of a nuisance to have to remember to work with the fruitcake everyday for 45 days but the end result was worth it and I had a fruitcake that we all enjoyed.

I made it again this year and today was the day to bake them. This morning after breakfast I drained my homemade candied fruit and got my bowl ready to add the remaining ingredients when I got distracted by a ringing phone. Upon answering it I was dismayed to get rather disturbing news. Somehow the fruitcake got to sit awhile while I was thus distracted.

Once I finally got it mixed and poured into the cake pan I sighed a sigh of relief as I slid the cake into the oven. After the 75 minutes of baking time were over I went to remove it from the oven only to discover I had forgotten to turn it on. I took the cake out while I preheated the oven. After allowing sufficient time for the oven to get hot I went to slide the pan in and discovered that addled brained ninny that I am I again forgot to turn on the oven.

I turned it on. And this time I actually managed to heat it and my fruitcake turned out beautiful. Since I have only one pan and most of my day was gone already I put the remainder of the fruitcake ingredients into the refrigerator to be baked tomorrow. Who knows maybe a 46 day fruitcake might be even better than the 45 day one.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Light Bulbs

After years spent wandering about in semi darkness I have come to love light bulbs. The brighter the better. You will not find a 60 or 75 watt bulb if it is safe for me to use a 100 watt. As soon as the sun starts going down or if it's a little cloudy outside you can find me walking through the house turning on the lights. Not only in the room in which I will be working but also in any room that I can see out of the corner of my eyes.

There used to be a time in my life when I depended on flickering oil lamps and later the noisy Coleman lanterns. There was always a healthy supply of flashlights available if we needed to go into a room that didn't have a lamp lit. The only thing a light bulb meant to me at that time was the long boring evenings with a sock stretched over it so I could darn a hole in the toe or heel of the socks that kept filling the darning basket.

So you can understand my love for light bulbs that are actually serving the purpose they were designed for. I how ever do not like the new energy saving style. Imagine try darning a sock with it. But that isn't the reason I don't like them. So far all the ones we tried have not lasted longer than the old regular ones and they are a lot more expensive to buy. But the thing that really made me leery of them was the one evening while we were eating supper the one bulb started smoking furiously. We turned the lights off and removed the offending bulb but were concerned about what might have happened had we not been in the room. Several weeks later another one did the same thing, so now we really don't want to use them, and then recently for the lack of something better to read I started reading all the fine print on one of those energy saving bulb packages and was not at all impressed by what I read. Anything that requires a haz-mat team to clean up a broken light bulb is not something I want in my house.

All that aside. Over the years I have discovered the best place to hide Christmas gifts from my husband is in plain yet not too obvious sight. I had purchased his gift several months ago and hid it in our closet on a shelf hidden among a stack of assorted empty boxes. All was fine as everyday he would get what he needed in the closet and never noticed a thing and I was serenely happy knowing that it would work just as it did for years already.

It all came crashing down on me tonight when the light bulb in the closet burned out and he went to fix it. As he was standing on a chair he called me and asked "I'm really not supposed to see this am I as he pointed at his gift." I choked and stammered while he stood there looking immensely pleased with himself for having discovered his gift. As you can imagine I am not nearly as thrilled as he is and have no idea what else to get for him and Christmas is less than two weeks away. What should I do?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sunbeam Update





We had Sunbeam at the doctor today again, where they were pleased with how she healed and scheduled her next surgery to remove all the hardware from her leg.


We will all be so glad once that is done and the whole accident can seem like only a bad dream.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Answering Questions

I hope this isn't too personal, but I have been wondering why you left the Amish?

Since I am chronicling the journey of a happy little Amish girl to where I am today. Still happy, but no longer Amish. I will come to the part where we made the hardest decision of our life. And will share everything then.

And do you ever see your family?

It has been a long time since I saw my family last. Unfortunately our choice to leave the culture we grew up in put a strain on our relationship.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Our favorite Christmas tradition is the huge Christmas breakfast I always make. We look forward to it all year long.

Have you any regrets about leaving?

We have no regrets about leaving. Our only regret is that we didn't leave sooner.

What is the most wonderful memory of being Amish?

My most wonderful memory? Hmmmm. This one requires a lot of contemplation. I have many great memories. I don't think it's possible to narrow it down to only one.

I have always wondered if all Amish communities are the same?

There are many differences between Amish communities. Some are so big that they won't even consider fellowshipping with other Amish churches that aren't bound by the same rules.

I was wondering if someone can become Amish?

Yes, there is a possibility to join the Amish. However it is a long drawn out deal, of learning two new languages (Pennsylvania Dutch for everyday conversations and German for church services.) and the quirks of living their lifestyle, and most important would be being accepted as a member of the church. Which is not an easy feat.

I'd be interested to know what church if any you attend.

We attend a non-denominational Bible believing church.

What are your thoughts on 'plain' anabaptism?

I think they have many good points and I still hold some of the convictions of being raised in that type of background. However over the years they have lost their focus on the main issues.

After your years of rumspringa what helped you make your decision on what to do with your life?

The word rumspringa means simply "running around" which is what it is called once Amish youth are considered old enough to join the youth group. Which in the community I grew up in and also a lot of others is not nearly as exciting as a lot of Amish books and movies portray it to be.

I joined the church when I started rumspringa and life was fairly boring.

For another former Amish view on rumspringa visit here.

I don't mean to be rude, but I am curious as to how old you were when you left the Amish?

I was in my twenties.

Do the Amish in your area vote?

No, the Amish in our area don't vote.

Did you all ever go out to eat?

The only time we went out to eat was when our friends from Georgia came to see us and would take us to a nearby Ponderosa. It used to be one of the highlights of each year.

What made you buy a computer when you left and how did you start blogging?

We needed a computer for a business we were in at the time. And I started this blog as a place to jot memories and have something that I'm comfortable with for the children to read online.

I have met numerous Amish people over the years and have noticed they never wear jewelry, not even wedding rings. I have often wondered why they don't at least wear wedding rings.

They class any and all jewelry as unnecessary and prideful.

Do you also speak a German dialect?

We still speak Pennsylvania Dutch at home at least 70% of the time.

I was wondering if after they leave are they welcomed back?

Anyone who leaves the Amish is welcome to come back if proper repentance is evident and they successfully pass a period of proving time. (Anywhere from 6 months to a year.)

Do Amish keep up with the current events?

Most Amish do. Some prefer not to.

Why is going barefoot so prevalent among the Amish?

It's comfortable and freeing to be released from the confines of shoes every spring especially if you are a child. Gardening is much easier if you don't have to worry about getting dirt in your shoes. And since wearing sandals isn't an option in a lot of communities I'm sure that makes a difference too.

My question is whether this was media hype because of one abusive family, which can happen anywhere, or are there some communities who are more severe with their children?

I have never been in any Amish community where it was okay to be severe with children. I have only ever known one family personally where there was a problem of abuse. There is a lot of exaggeration out there of how horrible it is to be raised in an Amish family. Some of it touted by bitter ex-Amish who are trying to inflict as much pain and damage to the Amish communities as possible.

I notice that your girls wear dresses that are plain-ish. Is this a carry-over from your Amish values or a matter of practicality? One more: do you still cover your hair?

I still have a lot of fabric left over from when we were Amish and I enjoy sewing. Also I am allowing Sunbeam to wear some of the Amish dresses Rosy used to wear. So I would call it a matter of practicality. I don't cover my hair at home, but still do most of the time in public.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just Because

Several months ago I did several question and answer posts, and lately I am getting emails asking when I'll do another session like that. So since the house is on the chilly side tonight and everyone else is curled up in front of the fireplace, I am thinking why not have another go at answering questions.

You can ask me anything you want to about the Amish or what ever strikes your fancy and I'll try to answer tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Pudding

As a child the thing I looked forward to the most about Thanksgiving was the layered pudding Mom made as one of the desserts. Wednesday evenings when we came home from school she would be cooking the top part in the double boiler, and I could hardly wait until it was time to eat it.

She would cover it and set it on the porch so it would chill well overnight. On Thanksgiving morning she would bring it inside and put it into the refrigerator. We always had church services in the forenoon and I would be sitting there thinking of the turkey stuffing and the pudding that was waiting for us at home. We never stayed very long to visit after Thanksgiving church but hurried home and got the rest of our meal ready.

This year I tried to make the pudding just the way Mom used to. It was just as good as I remembered and will be making it's way onto our Thanksgiving table in the years to come. It's a tradition that I am comfortable hanging on to.

Thanksgiving Pudding

Bottom layer:
2/3 cup orange jello
1 cup boiling water
½ cup cold water
½ cup ice (approx 8 cubes)
1- 20 oz can crushed pineapple drain all juice off and set aside

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Add cold water and ice. Stir until ice is melted. Add drained crushed pineapple. Pour into a 9x13 pan. Refrigerate until firm.

Middle Layer:

1- 8 oz extra creamy Cool Whip
1- 8 oz softened cream cheese

Beat Cool Whip and cream cheese together and spread carefully across the firm jello layer. Return to refrigerator.

Top Layer:

1 to 1½ cup pineapple juice that was reserved when you drained the crushed pineapple for the bottom layer.
Add water to pineapple juice until you have two cups full.
1 cup sugar
3 slightly rounded Tbsp flour
3 beaten egg yolks
Stir all together with a wire whisk and bring to a gentle simmer in the top of a double boiler or another saucepan if you are willing to stir without ceasing. Simmer until thickened. remove from heat and cool. After it's nice and cool spread on top of cream cheese layer and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekly Shopping

We usually make only one trip to town each week to stock up on what ever groceries we may need. Today I was busy cleaning the house with the childrens assistance and I still hadn't made my shopping list so I handed a pen and paper to Sailor and told him to write whatever I tell him.

I continued cleaning while he wrote down the needed items. The finished list is a keeper. I love nine year old boy's spelling. A few items on his list were.
  1. toylut cleaner
  2. clean nix
  3. lettus
The rest was actually spelled correctly. 

After my husband came home from work with our only vehicle I headed for town armed with the list. It didn't take me long to find everything I needed and as I walked past the Christmas department at Wal-Mart I just had to step inside to see all the pretty giftwrap etc. I ended up getting a roll of the cutest little snowmen design wrap, and then headed for the checkout.

After finding a checkout line with only one person I quickly pushed my cart in and put the little divider thingie on the belt and started piling my things onto it. The man in front of me didn't have very much and when the cashier happened to pick up my roll of wrapping paper and added it to his bill he hurriedly barked out. "That's not mine!"

The cashier apologized and as she was deleteing the entry she said, "I could have known it wasn't yours because now that I look at you, you really don't look like someone who would like Christmas."

The man muttered something about it being a big money sucking thing that he doesn't want any part of, while I was there trying hard not to laugh. Oh to have the courage to speak your mind like the brave little cashier.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Winner



Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

As promised I am drawing the name for the winner of the new Pillsbury Christmas cookbook tonight. And the winner is.......  Kathryn Kauffman 

Congratulations Kathryn! If you email me your address I will mail the cookbook to you. I hope you find many great new recipes to try.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Birthday Card Update

                             


When I asked for volunteers to send birthday cards to my Aunt Vernie I really didn't expect to hear anything about her reaction to receiving a lot of mail. But yesterday I discovered a little tidbit in an Amish newspaper where it said that Vernie Mast is thrilled to be getting a lot of mail due to the kindness of friends of her niece (my name)

They didn't mention how many cards she received, but I was happy to hear how thrilled she was. So thanks again to everyone who helped fill her mailbox!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Giveaway!


Time for another giveaway!  This time I'm giving the new Pillsbury Christmas cookbook that is loaded with great recipes that can be enjoyed all year long, not just over the holidays.

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment and tell me what is on your Christmas wish list.
For a second entry post a link on your blog and come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

I will draw the winner on Thanksgiving.
 
Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been chosen.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hearty Chili Soup

When I was growing up we used to have soup once a day. I used to love it and couldn't imagine ever not having soup often. However since we are married I discovered not all families enjoy soup as much as my family used to. So it has to be especially good before I am able to serve it at our table.

Several years ago I discovered this Chili soup. It was so different from any chili I had ever tasted I knew immediately it was a soup that would be welcomed by everyone in our house.

With the nip of fall in the air it seemed to be the perfect time to cook a batch last evening. The recipe I have is huge so I divided it and made only a fifth which was still way more than we were able to eat in one meal. But that is fine because it freezes well. I must admit if I had seen the recipe before I had tasted it I probably would not have ever made it. And so far everyone that has had some asked me for the recipe and when they see the ingredients they do a double take. So you'll just have to take my word for it. It really is good!



Hearty Chili Soup

2 lb ground beef
1 tsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp chili powder
¼ cup chopped onion
8 cups water
3 cup ketchup
1 cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
1- 28 oz. can Bush's baked beans Original

Combine ground beef, onion, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Fry in a large kettle until browned. Add baked beans and water and bring to a boil. In the meantime in a separate bowl combine the ketchup, flour, and brown sugar. Add slowly to the boiling mixture and stir constantly until soup resumes boiling. Turn out heat and let set for a few minutes before serving.

I also served cheese bread with the soup, unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the bread. I'll post that recipe the next time I make some.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thank You!

                              

I want to thank all of you who emailed and volunteered to send a card to my aunt Vernie for her birthday. It was a real blessing to know there are so many great people who are willing to take a few minutes and send a card to someone they know only through reading my blog.

Thank you all very much!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Favor

When I starting blogging I was looking for a place to jot down some of my memories. I was pleasantly surprised when people actually started reading and following. It wasn't long before Google wanted to have ads on my blog and I thought sure why not? A few extra pennies never hurt anyone. And I attached their annoying little ad sense gadget.

Six months have passed where I patiently frowned at those ads everyday, and finally this morning I got rid of them. And I'm doing a little happy dance while wondering why I didn't do it sooner.  Now I can have anything in my side bar I choose to. I don't have my own etsy store yet so I can't place a link for that, but I do have a friend who makes the cutest Waldorf dolls that I thought would be a shame not to let all of you know about.


Isn't she precious?
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And now I would like to ask a favor from anyone who is interested. I have an aunt that is very dear to me who has/is Downs Syndrome. She is having a birthday on November 5th and I would love to have her mailbox filled with birthday cards. If anyone would like to send a card to her, please e-mail me and I will give you her address.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Little Red Mailbox & Other Thoughts

Several months ago we started our own little mail system when we happened to find these cute little mailboxes. Now when there is something on the children's minds I can expect to find a letter in my mailbox. So far most of them were little love notes and my box where I am saving them is starting to bulge. I really like the system and am looking forward to continuing to use it for years to come.


The mailboxes in the girls rooms, where one of them has a note from Mom waiting to be read.
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Recently we took  Sailor and Rosebud to the library and let them get their own library card. They were excited at the thought of being responsible for their own books. Sailor of-course chose a book on building ships and has been poring over it in his spare moments and is in danger of knowing it by heart by the time the book is due back.

After we got home I finally got to read the lengthy list of rules they had given us. And I have been thinking about them since. Somehow I think it's really sad that somewhere along line it was necessary to establish some of these rules. For example rule five states that no bathing is allowed in the restroom. Really?! I can't imagine how anyone could possibly dream up a rule like that unless someone actually tried it. Rule 25 states that it is prohibited to leave a child under the age of 18 after closing time. I can not imagine trying to leave my children there unattended at any time.

After reading the list I am happy to know I am not in any danger of breaking any of their rules and I'm hoping we can conduct ourselves in a manner that no new rules are required because of our conduct on their premises.
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After the suggestion of a friend, I will be starting to add a label to each memory post stating the age I was.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Random Post

With the chill of fall in the air I am once again in the mood to work on sewing projects. Rosebud and Sunbeam always get excited when I start new projects and have the grandest time digging through the piles of fabrics I have stashed away waiting to be used some creative winter day.

They found several yards of this colorful fabric and would love to each have a dress made out of it. The fabric is not what I would want to use for dresses but I would like to make something for them with it since they think it is so pretty. Any ideas what I could make?

~~~~~
I enjoy almost everything about fall. However there is one thing that I have never learned to like and that is the insects that try to get into the house. On Monday evening I wanted to open a door, and since I am not in the habit of checking doorknobs for wasps resting on them I never thought to check and promptly got stung by an irate wasp. Since I am one of those people that overly reacts to stings I was less than happy about it, as I watched my hand begin to swell. I hoped since it was a wasp instead of a bee or yellow jacket it wouldn't be too bad. Though it wasn't as bad it still caused plenty of discomfort, with a pincushion hand and a swollen eye. Thankfully I am getting back to normal, but I am wondering if I shouldn't have an emergency kit on hand to use if I ever get stung again.
~~~~~
Sunbeam's limp is gradually disappearing. Which makes all of us very happy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sweet Things in Life

There are some things in my life that help make it so much sweeter. Like a simple bouquet that was picked and presented to me by my children.

Sitting in front of a cozy fireplace with some good books. (It has actually been chilly enough this fall that the thought of starting a fire in our fireplace has crossed my mind.)

Pretty dishes. I especially like this hand painted water set, I love the colors and it brings back memories that I'll share some other time.
I really like quality oak furniture. One of my brothers made this elaborate desk/curio cabinet when he was fifteen. It makes me think of days gone by and brings back bittersweet memories.

I love the pile of letters I kept that my Mother wrote after we moved so far apart. And even though I am no longer adding new ones to the pile I still thoroughly enjoy going back and rereading the old ones. She didn't waste any space on the pieces of paper and her letters were usually at least three legal pad sheets long. Yummy!


And I really love these people. They are the reason I get up every morning.


What are some thing that help make your life sweeter?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

There is a very generous giveaway over at The Mennobrarion. You may want to go check it out and then stay awhile to enjoy her interesting blog.
This is only one of the four groups of things that you could win by commenting on her post.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Random Bits

Why do children enjoy noise? It isn't enough to just pop the bubbles on big bubble wrap. Today I caught them holding it beside their ears to pop them to get the full benefit of the noise.

I could understand it if they would be trying to hold it beside each others ears but to voluntarily hold it beside your own ear?
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Does anyone have a recipe how to fix hominy that it actually tastes good?

The past three years Sailor has not talked about much except ships, and being a captain once he is big enough. But recently he has dropped it in favor of building a pioneer village. And now he is excited about all things pioneer.

I bought some hominy and fixed a little bit tonight and since trying to eat it he is rethinking the whole pioneer thing. After tasting it his description was. "It's like trying to eat wet paper towels Mom."

So if anyone could share a recipe to make them more tasty I would greatly appreciate that.
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I really, really detest mending. And when an almost new pair of Wranglers come home with a big cut (by a chainsaw) all the way across the leg and getting part of the pocket too it does not create the happiest moments in ones life.

After trying to care for the ugly wound, you focus on the pair of Wranglers and wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just buy a new pair every week or so.
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There are all sorts of jobs out there, and when your husband's choice of occupation involves one with a higher than average risk of injury, you just have to stay occupied with nice quiet things and not dwell on the maybe's and what ifs too much.

But every once in a while something happens that reminds you anew of the danger he is in everyday. You try to bandage him up with the best of your ability, take a picture of the injured area and threaten to post it on your blog.

But instead of sharing the gruesome picture you just take an old song and change some of the words.
"Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be loggers!
They work too hard and get lots of scars.

The remaining lyrics to the revised version shall remain a secret.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Introduction

Recently I was at a grocery store doing my weekly shopping. My cart was filling up fast when I remembered I still need eggs. When I got to the egg section I noticed a lady checking for cracked eggs but I didn't pay much attention to her as I started getting the eggs I needed.

I put several dozen in the cart when she said "Hi, how are you today?" I glanced at her thinking she is probably talking on a cell phone, but I didn't see anything and she was looking at me so I answered. "I'm doing great. How about you?" But that only made her glare at me, as she said "I'm here at the store. Is there anything else you need for tonight?"

It was then that I noticed she was wearing a Bluetooth. I hurriedly finished my shopping and went my way more resolved than ever not to use a Bluetooth. It's not that have anything against anyone who does use one, which includes my husband. But I personally find them to be a nuisance. Which brings to mind a well written hilarious post, "Toothache and Technology" by one of my favorite bloggers, Robynn's Ravings. You can go read it for yourself, I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sunbeam's Progress

Sunbeam had an appointment with her doctor again yesterday. We were very happy to find out that she is totally healed and can once again run and play like she used to before her accident.

She will have to have surgery again in several months to remove the plate and screws but for now we are all enjoying having life back to normal once again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm Back!

After traveling over 700 miles to spend the week end with family I'm back home again, and hopefully will be able to start a more regular blogging schedule again.

We started off on Friday afternoon and drove until what we considered to be bedtime. We found a hotel and..... let me interrupt by saying our experiences with travelling and hotels over the past five years have taught us a lot but we have added another lesson to our things not to repeat folder.

Never willingly choose to stay at hotel that is right across the road from a busy truck stop. All night long we were awakened by trucks starting up and then they all clanged horribly as they drove down the road. The next morning we discovered why, when we saw the mother of all potholes that every single truck had to hit when they turned out on the road.

There wasn't much to see on along the way so we had to find other means to break the boredom. Taking turns to balance a stuffed toy on our head provided a few moments of fun. Sunbeam was declared the winner even though she used her hands to help a little. Her intent expression was priceless.

There was a lot of road work along the way and I have this thing that prompts me to count. I counted more construction cones than I would like to admit. It gets very wearisome especially if they're spread out over 14 miles at a time.

We got a kick out of the smart cars on the road. I think I would get claustrophobic inside one of those toys. Since we spent our first thirty years with a horse and buggy, we feel no need to try to save the environment by driving one of those things. We have already more than done our part in being green and for anyone who wants to be more environmentally friendly we still have a harness for a horse that they are quite welcome to use for the next thirty years.

We spent a very enjoyable two days with one of my cousins and her family. On Sunday afternoon everyone went to a nearby park where their 14 year old daughter took a lot of pictures. She had Rosebud pose for a number of pictures and then shared some of them with us.


We enjoyed our much needed "vacation" and came home recharged and ready to go on with our life.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Taco Ring

I enjoy trying new recipes and the one I tried tonight will definitely be going into the keeper file!
Taco Ring

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp water
4 Tbsp taco seasoning
1/2 pound ground beef

In a bowl combine meat, water, taco seasoning, and cheese. Mix well and form into 16 one inch balls and place on a baking pan. Bake for 12 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 400.

Drain meatballs on paper towels. Reduce oven heat to 375. Now take two tubes of crescent rolls (8 oz each) unroll and separate into triangles.On a 14 inch pizza pan or a large foil lined cookie sheet (Spray with non stick spray) place triangles forming a ring with pointed ends facing outer edge of pan and wide ends overlapping. Lightly press wide ends together. place a meatball on the wide end of the triangle and fold point over and tuck under wide end of roll. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until rolls are a golden brown.

Remove from oven and fill center of ring with:

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium tomato chopped
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives

If desired fill a small dish with sour cream and place in center. Serve while still warm.

These are surprisingly simple to make, and delightfully delicious!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Giveaway Winner

The giveaway is now over and a winner has been chosen. We put every ones name in a bowl and made sure we added the extra entries too for those that were eligible.

Sailor was happy to have the honor of drawing a name.

And the lucky winner is "Sunny" Congratulations Sunny! Please email me with your address and I will get your package in the mail.

Tuesday Introduction

Soon after I discovered the blogging world I found a lovely blog that I like to visit regularly. I would like to introduce you to it too.

Janie and her husband enjoy riding their horses almost everyday. They take lots of pictures on their treks into the wilderness and then share them on their blog. Reading it and enjoying all the gorgeous photography is almost like taking a mini vacation yourself.



Janie graciously gave me permission to borrow a picture from her blog " Janie & Steve's Utah Trails " to share with you. Anyone who enjoys the outdoors and the beauty of nature is sure to enjoy her blog.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jalapeno Bites


I am always on the lookout for delicious and yet easy to make recipes and have come across another keeper!

Start with fresh Jalapeno peppers. Cut them in half length wise and remove the seeds. You will want to wear latex gloves to do this part.

Next fill each half even full of softened cream cheese. And then wrap a piece of bacon around it and place on a baking sheet, a jelly roll or cake pan work best. Bake at 350 until bacon has reached your desired crispness.

Serve as an appetizer or an addition to make any meal better. They are surprisely mild once the seeds and membrane have been removed. Even the children have a hard time stopping at only one or two.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Random Thoughts

I was browsing through some of my cookbooks to try and get inspired to make a nice dinner tonight. I stumbled across some meatloaf recipes which reminded me of the time my husband and I went to a restaurant soon after we were married and got seated next to a table where a very noisy group of women were sitting. We couldn't help but overhearing their conversation. I have forgotten most of it by now but the one part will probably stick with me for the rest of my life.

This one woman was telling the rest of this wonderful meatloaf she had invented the previous evening. She started with a pound of hamburger and added spices (which I can't remember) then added a pound of butter and a can of Coca-Cola!

We never tried it but it is one recipe that sticks with us, and every once in a while we pull it out of our memory files for another good chuckle. So if you were that woman in Perkins ten years ago trying to impress your friends with the your meatloaf invention. Thank-you we would not remember that evening if it had not been for you.
~~~~~

I have to smile every time I see this picture of my husbands brothers. I can't believe the hats they used to have to wear. And the expressions on their faces...............

 ~~~~~
Being a Mom is hard work. Recently Sailor came running into the house all dirty and sweaty after being in the woods for several hours. He was all excited as he told me how he discovered a gold mine out in our little patch of woods.

He told me how deep the hole is that he dug and now he needs something to put the gold dust into.

What could I do? There was no way I could make myself dash his dreams and joy by saying there is no gold there. So I handed him a paper bag and a Gatorade instead and let him go back out in the heat to dig a worthless hole in the woods. And later admired the handful of dirt that twinkled every so slightly if the light hit it just right.

Friday, August 21, 2009

School Picture

I have a fascination with old pictures. Especially if they include people that I know.

Last week we were at my husbands parents for a few hours. In the course of conversation something reminded my mother-in-law about a picture they have.

I was delighted to see it. It's a school picture from the 50's before the Somerset County Amish had their own schools. They generously allowed us to make a copy for ourselves. We felt like we discovered a treasure! Pictures of your parents when they were children is something very rare for anyone who was raised Amish.


My father-in-law is circled and three of his sisters pointed out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Twangled

This summer has definitely had it's share of ups and downs. We are so happy that Sunbeam has advanced from this.



To this.

She is also very happy, that she can once again take a few unassisted steps. She described her feelings as "twangled." Happy to be able to walk but wishing she could run and jump.


I liked the description and it's one word that I don't let the teacher in me, correct. "Twangled" sounds sweeter than tangled any day!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Giveaway!

Time for another giveaway. This time I will let you have a peek at some of the things that will be filling a box for the lucky winner.

Two cups, and saucers. Three vintage Junior Elf books.Two doilies, or whatever you want to call them.


And three cute dry erase boards. They have a magnetic back so they would work great on your refrigerator. I would love to have them for my own, but since I'm downsizing I'll let someone else enjoy them.
I will also include a few other surprise goodies.
To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on this post answering at least one of the following questions.
  1. What is your favorite color ?
  2. What is your favorite season?
  3. Where would you like to go for a vacation?
  4. What is your favorite restaurant?
For three more entries post a link on your blog and then come back and let me know you did so I can give you your extra entries.
I will draw the winner on September 1, 2009.
 
Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been chosen.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Answering Questions Part 3

This will be the last post to answer questions. Who knows I might do another Q. & A. post sometime in the future.

I am wondering what kind of celebrations the Amish have? Do they celebrate Christmas as a celebration of Christ's birth and if so how traditional is it? Thanksgiving?

The Amish celebrate Christmas as a celebration of Christ birth. Usually a few gifts are exchanged, but there is no tree or stockings etc. Extended family usually gather for a big meal and an afternoon filled with visiting and eating candies and snacks that were prepared especially for Christmas.

Thanksgiving is observed differently in different areas. The area we grew up it was treated as a Sunday and everyone went to church. There was no work done on Thanksgiving. Other areas have it as a day of fasting, and still others either have a big turkey dinner or ignore it altogether.

I am wondering if Amish women use birth control?

I am sure some of them do. However it is frowned upon.

What faith or denomination are you now a part of?

We are Christians and attend a non denominational church.
~~~~~

On another topic we had to take Sunbeam to the doctor for another checkup. I had been really hoping that she will be able to run and play like she used to before the accident, but that will have to wait at least another six weeks. She is allowed to use her walker a little bit everyday which is an improvement, it's just not as good as what I was hoping for.

~~~~~
One of my best friends and her daughter were here and brought their little dog along. Sunbeam had fun playing with it and dressing it up in her doll clothes. It is the sweetest little dog and I would be happy to adopt it if it ever needed a new home. (Wishful thinking!)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Answering Questions Part 2

At our lake house we see the Amish boys playing in the water fully clothed. But the girls just stand on the shore and laugh and clap. Are the women not allowed to go in the water?

Different Amish communities are different. In the area where we grew up women did not go into the water. There were a few that waded a bit never more than knee deep but even that was considered scandalous. There are many other communities that when their young people go to the beach there is nothing about them that you would know they are Amish.

Do different churches, like Lancaster, Schwartzentruber, Troyer, Nebraska, etc. intermarry? Is it assumed the couple will be members of the husband's church from then on?

I am not very well acquainted with these groups other than Lancaster. So I asked my friend Katie Troyer if she would be willing to answer this question. She kindly agreed to do it for me.

I know for certain that the Schwartzentruber and Nebraska intermarry, for their gene pool has narrowed down to being related to everyone, first and second cousins. These couples remain Schwartzentruber or Nebraska, depending on where they live after marriage. Each couple has to decide where they will live after marriage. The bride doesn't always move to his group. Most from the Troyer group (young men)that don't marry within their own, leave the Amish altogether and marry outsiders. Their few groups have oodles of single ladies that never marry, simply because there are not enough men to reach around.

Lancaster Amish are so vastly different from other Amish groups that it is almost impossible for their marriage partner to adjust to their way of life. Most of the Lancaster couples that intermarry outside their specific culture have met in Sarasota Florida as wild Amish youth. Although I don't know of any Lancaster girl that is married to a boy from Ohio or Indiana, or what Lancaster call the "Western Amish". It is usually the Lancaster boy that marries outside a bride from another Amish community like Ohio or Indiana. These marriages have problems all their own, for you can get a guy to move out of Lancaster but you can't get Lancaster out of a guy. The same is with the bride, she can move to Lancaster but she will never be a Lancaster woman. Their best solution is to leave the Amish altogether and remain in Florida.

I have cousins in Lancaster and Lancaster daughter settlements and have to agree. They are definitely different from other Amish.

I would be interested to know what books you would recommend to learn true facts about the Amish.

You can write for a free catalog from an Amish bookstore

Pathway Bookstore
2580 N 250 W
LaGrange IN 46761

Do New Order Amish evangelise? If they believe in salvation by grace rather than works, what is the main reason for New Order Amish to leave?

Some New Order Amish try to do their own brand of evangelising. When all is said and done they still have a very hard time not dwelling on works salvation.

What is the quintessential Amish cookbook?

There are many Amish cookbooks. One of the basics is called simply "Amish Cooking" and can be purchased at the bookstore mentioned above.

Do Amish women wear canning aprons outside of the home?

Amish women always wear an apron, no matter where they are. Most communities don't allow full or bib aprons. They occasionally wear another apron on top of the one they are already wearing if they are doing especially dirty work.

What do you think of the movie Silent Witness, realistic or not?

I have never seen this movie so I really can't tell you. Other than unless the Amish actually produced it, it probably is inaccurate.

I have always heard Amish don't want their faces shown in photos, but I noticed you post photos of faces. So is this no longer true?

Amish do not pose for pictures because of the commandment"thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image......" Strange as it may sound they are delighted to find pictures of themselves or friends in newspapers. Most Amish families have an album with clippings of pictures of their friends and family members. The "sin" is in posing, not in having the picture that was taken without their permission.

This is one area that we do not share their convictions.

I'm wondering if you or the Amish would have any questions for us? I suppose we are called the English? On our ways of life.

Maybe someday I can have a post with questions for all of you to answer.

I also seen a documentary a few years back about the Amish in Ohio. They said that when the Amish turn 18 or 16 they go to the dentist and have all of their teeth pulled. Is that true and I just didn't understand that.

I have heard about that story already. And please don't feel bad for Amish teens. Their teeth are quite safe when they turn 16 or 18. They don't normally visit the dentist unless they have a tooth that is bothering them and certainly never to have them pulled as a weird rite of passage or something.

Do any of the Amish go on to college to become doctors?

No, Amish do not go to college. If any Amish person would want to become a doctor they would have to leave the Amish to do so. There are quite a few Amish communities that have "braucha" or as called among non Amish "pow-wow doctors" Now that is some seriously creepy stuff! I might share about some of my experiences with "braucha" sometime.

I am wondering what religion you practice now and how your family (especially your parents) responded to you making a different choice?

My parents were devastated when we left the Amish. They have still not accepted it so that part is hard, but it was one of the things we knew would happen if we make this decision so I'm not angry or bitter because of it. I still love them both so much! My husbands parents accepted it much better and will have us over occasionally and my mother-in-law is always happy to baby-sit on the rare occasion that we need a place for the children to stay.

Are marriages arranged or chosen by parents or is everyone allowed to marry whom ever?

You are allowed to marry whom ever, though it is expected that you first ask for your parents approval and blessing.

What do the Amish do about the great commission left by Jesus about spreading the Gospel to the whole world as in the last of Matthew?

The vast majority totally ignore that. They think somehow their clothes and style of life is the only witnessing they need to do.

Answering Questions Part 1

The response from yesterdays post was interesting! I will be doing several posts to answer all your questions .

Why is it so important and why do all Amish wear head coverings? I don't mind them, just always wondering why they do.

The Amish women and girls wear head coverings because of the passage in 1 Corinthians 11:5 where it says; But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. And in verse ten where it says For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

Do the Amish ever listen to music, or play musical instruments?

Amish churches do not approve or allow listening to music (radios, CD's etc) The only place most of them hear anything is when the ride with a "taxi" Most drivers who haul Amish for any length of time know they love to listen to Country and have their radio turned on for them. New drivers usually didn't to begin with and it was torture trying not to think of what we were missing on a twenty minute drive that could have been filled with George Strait and Alan Jackson. (Funny thing is, since we have our own vehicle and I can listen to anything I want to. I have lost my taste for Country.)

A lot of Amish churches have a no musical instruments rule, including the one I grew up in. But a lot of others allow harmonicas.

I find, what little I know of the Amish way of life, very interesting, comforting, simple. Am I wrong? Why would you want to leave it and do many folks leave that way of life? Do you still practice it at all?

The Amish way of life is so much more than what you can see by just visiting Amish country. The majority of those born Amish will remain Amish until they die. But there are always some who will leave for many different reasons. For some they leave as rebels, others want to see what they are missing in life, others change their religious views, and other similar reasons. We no longer live like the Amish in most ways, but I am sure there are little quirks that we have and some views on different things that our Amish roots show through.

Why did you leave the Amish? Were you shunned?

Since I am chronicling my journey from a little Amish girl to where we are today I will come to the part where we made the hardest decision in our life, that of leaving the Amish. I will share the details then. And yes we were and are still shunned.

Do the kids in the Amish community know about all the stuff as far as technology goes, and have they seen it, and how do they feel about the way other kids dress.

Amish kids know far more about technology than most people give them credit for. They don't think anything about the way others dress. They have seen it ever since they can remember and to them that's just the way non-Amish dress. No big deal to them at all.

How do the Amish view the outside world in general? Do they see the people who do not live as Amish as sinners or just as "others"?

To the Amish the outside world is a dangerous place. Though they would not go as far as to say you have to be Amish to go to heaven they do believe it enhances the chance to get there.

Well, this is something I've always wondered...do Amish women have home birthing? Do they have one particular lady as a midwife?

In the area I grew up most of them went to the hospital to have their babies, but there were a few brave ones that did home birthing and yes there was one particular lady who enjoyed being a midwife. There are other Amish areas where home birthing is the preferred method.

If a bad farm accident occurred would they utilize an ambulance and ER?

If there is a need, ambulances and ER are welcomed by the Amish. And have been used often.

Do the women gossip? Are their any meddlers?

Gossip, sadly is one thing very common among the Amish, and "oh, yes" there are definitely meddlers.

I always kind of wondered why they weren't supposed to attend professional sporting events?

They used to quote scripture, in German of course to warn us about sports. "For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."

What do you still retain from your life as being Amish, like what WON'T you change?

This one is a little harder. One thing we still retain from being Amish is the language. It is still the easiest to speak and the one we use 90% of the time we are at home. Some other things are some of the convictions we have, that we were taught by our parents. We see no reason to throw all such things to the wind just because we are no longer Amish.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Looking For Inquisitive Minds

Inquisitive minds like to learn new things. They enjoy exploring and discovering and finding answers to things they have questions for............ It is something I still possess and find myself looking for answers to things I am curious about.

I'm in the mood to do something different today. Ever since I started blogging I have been getting emails from people who have found my blog and had some questions. I enjoyed reading all of them and try to answer every one but sometimes it takes a while until I have time.


So I'm giving all of you the opportunity now to ask me anything you want to, about the Amish, or anything else you feel like asking me, and tomorrow I will have a post to answer your questions.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Monster Cookies

Our family enjoys good homemade cookies. I have three recipes that we really like that I usually choose from when I feel like baking cookies. Which is kind of sad considering the fact I have lots of other recipes to choose from.

I was looking through one of my old Amish recipe books recently and found the recipe for Monster Cookies that my Mom used to make when I was a little girl. And last week I finally got to go to a bulk food store and purchased a big bag of M & M's. I forgot to buy peanut butter though so I will have to wait a little longer to bake them, but that doesn't keep me from sharing the recipe with all of you. (I dare you to make a whole batch.)

Monster Cookies
12 eggs
4 cup white sugar
4 cup brown sugar
2 cup softened butter
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 lb peanut butter
18 cup oatmeal
2 cup flour
8 tsp baking soda
1 lb M & M's
1 lb chocolate chips
Beat eggs; add sugars, vanilla, and butter. Mix and add peanut butter. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix very well. Shape into 2" balls. Flatten slightly and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

On another note. Rosebud was so excited about all the M & M's that the first thing she told her Daddy when he came home that evening was. "Daddy, Mom bought a lot of enemies today!" It gave us a good chuckle and showed me that I really need to buy M & M's more often since our children don't even know the proper way to call them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stuff

I am still trying to reorganize my house since we got everything home from storage. It is much more of a challenge than I bargained for especially since our house has neither an attic or a basement to store anything.

I am almost done but am left with several piles of things that I am hopelessly stuck in finding room for. Here is an example. Grandma Mast used to save all her old calendars and turn them into scrapbooks. Each of her grandchildren got one on their ninth birthday. I don't want to throw it away and still haven't found a place to keep it. So it lays on a pile of things that are in the same predicament.

Joining the scrapbook on that pile is a "3 piece chicken dinner" that one of my brothers made and gave to me on one of my birthdays. It is a cute wooden box with a swivel open lid when opened reveals three kernels of corn that would make any chicken happy to have for dinner.

There are lots of other things too, among which is a large grotesque mirror. Someone gave it to us shortly after we were married and thought it was really great. It has the state of Pennsylvania painted on it and green and brown roses and a verse that must have come out of a Hallmark sympathy card. This mirror is sturdy and simply refuses to accidentally break although it has been given numerous opportunities to do so. I can't send it with the garbage truck tomorrow morning because the person who gave it asks about occasionally and would be hurt to know how much we hate it. So what do I do with it?

And then comes this type of thing. A book of poetry. You know, Emerson, Tennyson, Milton, Browning and all those good old poets. But I never read it and yet I don't like the idea of heartlessly stuffing it in the trash. Do I need to be brave and pitch it or is there someone out there who would enjoy it?

The same with these A Cappella CD's. They are new but I really don't want them.


And then I find a box of close to 100 old children's books. They appear to be unread and are still beautiful but I really have no use for them either.
If I go to another room I'm greeted with patterns, fabrics, and other sewing supplies that I don't need and will probably never use. So this is where all of you come in. What should I do with everything? I'll hang on to the sentimental things. But the other things...... do I heartlessly throw them away, or do I have several giveaways, or would nobody else be interested in these things either?
And any advice that aids in the demise of the mirror would be deeply appreciated.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happenings Around the House and a Recipe

No matter the weather Sunbeam is found on the recliner occupied with one of her many things to pass the time while she recovers from her accident. She seems to be doing very well, not only in healing, but also in being sweetly content.

For the rest of us, the rainy weather requires us to make new plans for our day. Sailor was delighted to have Wags in the house even though he was required to stay on the rug inside the door. Wags was honored to be allowed to be inside and appeared to enjoy listening to the many stories Sailor told him.



The rain finally stopped towards evening and as the last clouds scuttled away, we decided to go get some of the things we need that were in storage. After we got to the storage place we discovered that the boxes were getting soggy and there were lots of spiders everywhere, so we made a quick decision to bring everything home.
I have been trying to find room for everything, which is challenging. I suppose I'm too much of a pack rat, but so many of the things have sentimental value that I hate the thought of getting rid of them.
I still have a lot of unpacking to do, but took time to cook up a big meal last evening. Among the menu for the night was fried chicken.
This time I remembered to take a picture before we ate everything.

Fried Chicken
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
Mix all together and place half of the mixture in a large Ziploc bag.
Beat two eggs very well, until almost cream colored. Roll chicken in egg and then place in seasoning mixture and shake to coat.

Have a saucepan or a deep skillet ready with vegetable oil heated to 350 and deep enough to cover at least half of the chicken. Carefully place your coated chicken pieces in the hot oil and fry until a delightful golden brown, turn over and fry the other side.
Preheat oven to 350 and have a pan ready lined with parchment paper, as the chicken comes out of the oil place them on the pan and place in oven for 20-30 minutes and up to 45 minutes if you have extra large pieces of chicken.
Since my husband would much rather have something along the beef line to eat rather than chicken. I made some Chicken Fried Steak for him.
I started with two large boneless steak and had them tenderized really well. I then cut them into pieces approximately 3"x3" I added 1/2 tsp sage and 1/2 tsp crushed rosemary to the mixture I had for the chicken. I then beat two eggs and added 1 tsp liquid hickory smoke and rolled the steak in the egg and into the seasoned flour mixture and fried it in the oil. There was no need to place these in the oven, they were done to perfection in the skillet.
With a seven layer salad, and mashed potatoes and gravy our meal was complete.

A few pieces of the Chicken Fried Steak before it disappeared.