Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Interesting Recipes

A friend, knowing that I collect cookbooks presented me with a real gem. Printed in 1880. The pages are very lightly yellowed with age, but who ever had it must have taken really good care of it because it is still in surprisingly great condition.

I have been enjoying reading through it. Most of the recipes I wouldn't even think of trying their instructions nearly non existent. They range from incredibly bland and boring to some of the weirdest things I have ever heard of. There are some unique tips that I might try out some day but overall reading this book makes me very thankful that I got to grow up a century later when recipes had evolved to something much better.

Here is a sample of the things found in the book.

Pot Pie
One pint sour cream, two eggs, one teaspoonful of soda, flour to stiffen. Bake or boil.

Needless to say I will not be making it.

Breaded Eggs
Boil hard and cut in slices, pepper and salt and dip in beaten raw egg, then in bread or cracker crumbs and fry in butter. Serve hot.

There are instructions on how to prevent a felon and the several cures. All sorts of home remedies are sprinkled through out the book with no rhyme or reason. With no index and no categories it must have been hard to find what you were looking for.

According to this book plans made on a Sunday will not hold. Any promises made on a Sunday can not be fulfilled.

Cure for corns .... Easy shoes.

Chickens may be cured of gapes by inhaling tobacco smoke.  I don't have a clue what gapes are. And the thought of trying to get them to inhale tobacco smoke. Mind boggling!

Croup can be cured in one minute with sugar and alum. take a teaspoon full of fine alum mixed with twice sugar. Be in haste.   Yowza! I was always under the impression alum was not something you want to ingest.

I will be enjoying this book a lot for the vast amount of entertainment between the covers. And now if you'll excuse me I need to read how to cure all manner of other diseases in humans and animals, tucked charmingly between a recipe for ice cream and veal soup.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Spell Check

Thanks to someone not using spell check we got to fuel up at "punp" # 22

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

3's of Me

I really don't know where the day went but some how I didn't get a post made like I had been planning so I thought I do something a little different and share the 3's of Me.

3 Names I go by:
1. Mom
2. Mommy
3. Mama

I answer to so many names right now. A name I used to go by and disliked heartily was Moy. It all started by a little brother learning to say my name and it came out as Moy. A name that stuck until after I was married.

3 Jobs I've had:
1. Substitute teacher
2. Candy Kitchen
3. Mother

The 3rd being the best by far. Subbing was quite interesting as well but I was always so glad to send those children home to their parents.

3 Places I've lived:
1. New York
2. Pennsylvania
3. Missouri

Each state though vastly different holds it own special place in my life.

3 Favorite Drinks
1. Water
2. Lemonade
3. Water

No coffee or milk for me please.

3 Places I've been:
1. Niagara Falls
2. Sea World
3. Most state parks in New Mexico

All three are places I would love to visit again.

3 Favorite Foods
1. Mexican
2. Italian
3. Family favorites

3 Things I look forward to:
1. Christmas
2. Seeing family
3. Traveling, hopefully soon.

3 Pets I've had
1. A Pekingese named Bonkers
2. A cat named Woofers, where that name came from is any ones guess.
3. And my all time favorite dog named Pepper

Monday, December 13, 2010

Counting Flowers

Sunbeam has a dress that she always refers to as her garden dress, because it is covered in three different types of flowers and reminds her of a flower garden.

She wore it to go to church and soon after we found our seats she started coughing. After going to get a drink of water she came back and immediately started coughing again. I knew she doesn't have a cold and was simply having what I used to have a problem with when I was a child. I used to hate coughing in church so when ever I sat down on our bench my throat used to start tickling and I had to cough.

As Sunbeam coughed some more I leaned over and whispered. "Count all the purple flowers on your dress." She started counting and forgot all about her need to cough. My attention returned to the service and I had forgotten about her counting until she nudged me and asked wearily, "Do I have to count all of them? I already counted 163 and there are still a lot more to count."

I told her she can stop counting. Those 163 purple flowers did the trick though because she didn't have to cough for the rest of the day.
I recently did a guest post on my friend Saloma's blog. You can read it here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sneak Peek and the Winner

I always enjoy sneak peeks from books and movies that I looked forward to reading and seeing in their entirety.

I recently received a link for the trailer from the latest book by Suzanne Woods Fisher. After watching it I knew I wanted to share it with my readers. I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I did. I'm now looking forward to getting to read the book.

And now on to the scheduled drawing of a winner for my latest giveaway.

The winner is..........
Number 38
Happy Times said ..........

I would love to visit Israel and Switzerland someday. I'd also love to have my own business someday.

Congratulations! Please send me your address and I will get your books sent to you. Hopefully they arrive before Christmas.

Disclaimer: The only compensation I received from doing this giveaway if the warm happy feeling I get from being able to give someone a chance to own some of my favorite books.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Warm and Fuzzy

I just got done painting and as I was cleaning up Rosebud was standing next to me with her hands behind her back. I asked her if she needed something.

"No" came her cheery answer,"I'm just waiting until your hands are dry so I can give you something."

Once I was done she handed me a book she had made by gluing twenty one pictures on paper and writing something appropriate next to each one. As I read through them I couldn't help but feel so blessed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Giveaway Time Again!

With Christmas drawing closer I'm in the mood for another giveaway. This time I'm giving one lucky winner six of my favorite books from when I was growing up.

I don't have time to give you a review for all of them other than to say if you like reading true to life stories about Amish teens, courtship, and marriage you will love this selection.

If you would like to have a chance to win these leave a comment telling me something you would love to be able to do someday.

For a second entry post a link to this giveaway on your blog then come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

Winner will be chosen on Thursday December 9th using  Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you are chosen as the winner.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Any Hints?

Last night we got several gallon of paint, so as you can imagine I'm quite busy today. Since it's cold outside I don't want to have the windows open so I'm looking for some other ways to help with the fresh paint smell.

I sliced several onions like my Mom used to do and placed them in the rooms I'm working in. I'm not sure if they actually absorb any of the paint smell or if they only add their own special aroma to the room.

I also decided to use my aunts method and have a dish or two of fresh vanilla setting on a windowsill. Again I'm not sure if it's helping.

Do you have any hints on what to do to help get rid of the smell?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Choosing the Winner

Sounds like everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving. I enjoyed reading all your comments about your day.

And now it's time to choose the winner. With the help of my friend, the random generator the winner this time is...........
Number 19

Flowers of Life said..........
Had a great family time at home everyone was glad for a day of and not do anything,but read to our hearts content

Congratulations! Please contact me with your mailing address and I will get your book shipped to you. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I used to.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Curling up on a comfortable chair in the living room with a pile of old Young Companion magazines that Grandpa's had kept and loaned to us to read was one of my favorite ways to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. Each issue was filled with stories about Amish youth. There were always continued stories that I would have to get all the magazines in order to make sure I have the next installment ready to read as soon as I needed  it.

There were many great stories and one I enjoyed in particular was about a young girl, Miriam Schlabach, who was wanting to join the instruction classes in order to become a member of the church. her best friend Elsie was also planning to join but wasn't being a good influence on Miriam's life since she was still drawn to things that were forbidden by the church.
Not long ago I found that they had taken this continued story from the Young Companion and published it in a little book.

If you would like to have a chance to own this book leave a comment telling me what you did on Thanksgiving. 

As always, for a second entry post a link to my giveaway on your blog and come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

I will be choosing a winner using on Monday Nov. 29th

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving ! I hope you will all have a very lovely day.

Ours will be a little different this year but that won't keep us from being thankful for the many blessings in our life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

~Giveaway Winner~

I had so much fun reading all the comments about things you still have or wish you had that you used to enjoy in your childhood.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Unfortunately there can only be one winner. And so without further ado the winner is..........
Number 6

Count me in! One of my favorite toys from when I was little (and I still have it) is my Susie doll. My mom would make clothes for her and I remember taking her everywhere.

Congratulations! Please send an email with your address and I will get the book shipped to you.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Time for Another Giveaway!

For a long time my Mom had only three cookbooks. And the one she used the most was a hard covered light blue book with it's simple cover design and named simply "Amish Cooking"

As an eager young cook, it was the first recipe book I used and it wasn't long before the pages showed tell tale signs that I was a beginner. They became spattered and dirty much to my dismay. Mom wasn't thrilled at how I was ruining her cookbook, but never complained about it either saying that she would keep it and think of me when ever she uses it.

Years and hundreds of cookbooks later I still find myself turning to this book the most. It still holds many of our favorite recipes, from pancakes and grapenuts to Apple Goodie and Pecan Pie and everything in between. With page after page of tried and true recipes it will always remain an important item for my kitchen.
Since I like it so well I thought I would give one of these cookbooks away. If you would like to have a chance to win it all you have to do is leave a comment telling me something that you still have or wish you still had from your childhood.

For a second entry post a link to this giveaway on your blog them come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

I will be choosing the winner on Monday Nov 22nd using  Please make sure I have a way of contacting you if you are the winner.

Disclaimer: The only compensation I get from doing this giveaway is the warm happy feeling it gives me to be able to give someone one of my favorite cookbooks.

Giveaway is now closed and the winner chosen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Latest

Life has a way of handing you things that you never expected. The past few months we spent away from home. And though I got used to "camping out" I really looked forward to coming home once again. We had given our houseplants to a friend to care for while we were gone, so when I stepped into the kitchen I was happy to see the one plant we had forgotten about had thrived on not being cared for over the past several months and even had a few welcome home blooms.
 It wasn't long before we discovered that not only was there a pretty flower waiting to welcome us home there was also something not nearly as nice lurking under the kitchen counter.

I had been afraid of that since we live in a very old farmhouse and it's November that there would be a lot of mice looking for a nice place to spend the winter. I was getting a drink of water when I heard the unmistakable pitter patter of tiny feet. I froze and then quickly told my husband to check to see what is under the counter. He opened the door and there it was. A fat little field mouse enjoying the last remnants of a bag of cornmeal. It scurried toward the back of the lazy susan and sat down to see what we were going to do.

My husband got a trap baited it and put it next to the cornmeal while the brave little mouse watched with gleeful curiosity. Closing the door we waited for a few seconds and heard the trap spring. I didn't want to see  a dead mouse and went into the next room and closed the door. Hearing my husband chuckle I asked whats so funny because even he doesn't think dead mice are all that funny.

He informed me the mouse is getting the last laugh since it cleverly sprung the trap without getting caught. Sunbeam thinks it's so cute but I don't share her sentiments and won't be able to rest well until we have outwitted our courageous little unwelcome house guest.

Any advice?

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Time to choose the winner for the book "His Protecting Hand"

The winner is ...............
Number 13

Nel said .........
I would love to be entered into your giveaway. We have some left over chili from last week so we are going to have chili dogs and french fries tonight. Thanks for doing the giveaway!

until next time... nel

Congratulations Nel !  Please send me your address and I'll get the book mailed to you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


One of the least favorite things in my life is looking out the window and seeing this.

Most times when this happens I can hear envious moos coming from the pasture where a few calves missed the the departure time when the rest of their friends decided to go on an exciting tour of  greener grass.

Yesterday when I discovered the calves escaped again I wasn't happy when I didn't hear any envious moos. When I went outside my fears were confirmed. All the calves were having a grand time in our yard. Sending Sailor to close the gates at the end of our driveway to keep them from running out on the road I started trying to get them to head back toward their pasture.

Trying to herd twenty calves at one time is no easy feat and we soon gave up and concentrated on only three or four at a time leaving the rest to sample everything the yard and barn had to offer. Calves have a way of not wanting to give up their freedom even though their pasture offers them much more room and grazing than the yard does.

Stationing the girls between the house and the barn in hopes their presence would discourage the calves from running back into the main part of the yard Sailor and I tried to coax one at a time back into the field. Most of them with a little time and careful moves got headed back through the gate.

The smallest of the bunch decided it was not going to co-operate and every time it neared the gate it would kick up his heels and dart back the way it had come from. trying my best to head it off for the tenth time I tripped over an uneven spot and wound up kissing America. After more than an hour of trying we actually managed to get them all back where they belong. They are all doing great, I am hoping I won't be sore for long.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Recipe

We don't get to go out to eat very often at all. When we do, one of our favorite restaurants is a cute little Mexican that has some of the best Mexican food I have ever had the pleasure to eat.

 Living in the middle of nowhere the options of great places to eat are very limited so when I stumbled across a recipe for a Spinach Artichoke dip similar to that of what I have enjoyed over the past years in restaurants not located in the middle of nowhere I was happy. I made it several weeks ago and it was just as good as I remembered so I had to make it again and invite a friend over to help eat it and see if she liked it as well as we do. After receiving her confirmation that it really is delicious I decided to share it with you.
Spinach Artichoke Dip

1- 10 oz box frozen chopped spinach
1- 14 oz can artichoke hearts drained and chopped
2 cups shredded cheese ( I used a Colby blend)
1 jar Cheesy Ragu Classic Alfredo sauce
4 oz softened cream cheese

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and spread into an 8" x 8" baking dish. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and serve with chips or bread. So good! I can't decide how I like it best warm, or as cold left overs. Either way. Delicious!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Mom and Daddy kept our home library filled with good books. During winter months Mom would read to us before we went to bed and when ever we had some spare time you could find us somewhere enjoying a book.

One of my favorites was the book, "His Protecting Hand" based on a true story about the life of an Amish girl. What made it even more special to me was that my Grandma Mast personally knew "Lillie". I always marvelled at the strength and courage Lillie and her mother portrayed throughout the book as their family experienced many hardships of pioneer life.

In her very unique life would Lillie fall for Billy and leave the Amish or would her mother's prayers and God's protecting hand keep her true to the faith she had been born into?

If you would like a chance to win this book leave a comment telling me something you would like to have for dinner tonight.

For a second entry share a link for this giveaway on your blog and then come back and leave another comment telling me that you did. Be sure to make that I have a way to contact you if you are chosen as the winner.

I will choose a winner on Thursday Nov 11th using

Disclaimer: The only compensation I get from having this giveaway is the warm happy feeling of knowing I get to give one of my readers a book that has been one of my favorites for years.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


A heart felt Thank You! to everyone who helped make my Aunt Vernie's birthday a little more special. You are the best for being willing to help make someone you only know through my blog, happy.

With close to a hundred people offering to send her a card her mailbox should be an interesting spot for a few days.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Giveaway Winners

Once again I'm turning to to help me select the winners for the book "Amish Peace"

Winner #1 is.......
Peg said .....
I've just discovered your blog - fascinating and intriguing. I'll be taking the time to go back and read from the beginning. Would love to read this give-away book, and will look for it in the library if I don't win LOL! Blessings, Peg

Winner # 2 is......
 Mim17044 said .......
I love the crisp, cool air and the trees leaves turning bright colors. I love fresh made applesauce & apple butter as well.

Winner # 3 is .......

Melissa said .......
I, too, posted a link to your blog from my blog. :)

Winner # 4 is ......

Cheryl said ........
This book sounds so good, would love to read it. I love the clear crisp days, harvesting the last of the garden, and the smell of the leaves. Fall is my favorite season.

Winner # 5 is .......

Jo-Ann said ......
Oh, I would enjoy reading that book. I like the clear, crisp air in the fall, pumpkin bread and homemade soup!

Congratulations ladies! If you email me with your address by Nov 3rd  and we will get your book mailed to you. Unfortunately if I don't hear from you by then a new winner will be chosen.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our Afternoon

We had a different kind of day than planned when I got up this morning. Everything was going according to plan and for a pleasant change, even ahead of schedule, when my husband called saying that he had a breakdown and needed to go get parts and if we wanted to he would swing by to pick us up and we could go with him to his job site while he makes repairs.

As a rule I don't like seeing where he is working until the job is done. It makes what he does seem a little less dangerous that way. But today, being such a gorgeous fall day I couldn't say no.

The narrow trail with extreme drop offs had me gasping and squeezing my eyes shut and I was actually glad once we came to the point where we had to park the truck and walk the remaining half mile.

This old house hidden deep in the woods and abandoned years ago fascinated me and I was glad I had remembered to grab the camera.  
Once we got to the breakdown and my husband started the repairs the girls and I decided to start walking back since he wanted to finish his skid of logs. The skid trail is dusty and the girls loved walking through it with their bare feet.

Once we got to the truck we waited for a few minutes until my husband came with the next turn of logs. He came over and asked me to drive the truck to the landing. Normally I jump at the chance to get to drive the truck but not on this scary trail. He was kind enough to drive it over the worst part while I once again cowered shamelessly as we crept across a narrow bridge with only inches to spare and a good twelve foot drop. After we crossed the bridge I managed to manuver the truck all the way to the landing while he brought the logs.

I think we all enjoyed the afternoon but now I have to think of something to do tomorrow to erase all those images from my mind when he goes back to work.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time for a Giveaway

It's that time of year when the air holds the definite chill of fall. With it getting dark earlier, what could be more perfect than to curl up some place cozy with a good book. One of my favorite places over the years has been in front of our fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate.

I can't supply you with a cozy corner, and I'm pretty sure if I tried to send you a mug filled with hot chocolate it would spill before it got to you. But I can make that you have a good book to read.

'Amish Peace' by Suzanne Woods Fisher is filled with short stories from the Amish about memories, experiences, and faith. each chapter is followed by several thought provoking questions.

If you would like to have a copy of this book leave a comment telling me what is your favorite thing about fall. Be sure to make that I have someway of contacting you if are chosen as the winner.

For a second entry post a link to this giveaway on your blog or Facebook and then come back and leave another comment to let me know.

I will be using Random Generator to choose a winner on Saturday Oct 30th

Disclaimer: I am not being compensated for doing this giveaway for Suzanne Woods Fisher in any way except the warm happy feeling I get from being part of making that others get to enjoy this book too.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Asking a Favor

Shortly after I started my blog I introduced my Aunt Vernie to you. She was and is my most special aunt. She has the sweetest spirit of anyone I have ever met.

Shortly after she was born the doctors told my Grandparents that she has Downs Syndrome. As a child one of the highlights of going to Grandpas was that we would get to play with Vernie. She loved playing with her nieces and nephews and was very protective of us. From the time I was a toddler to about 8 years old, she was my best friend, we would play with our dolls, and spend hours coloring, she would read her story books to us and give us rides on her wagon or swing, we would talk and sing and play any game we knew. She was keenly aware of other peoples emotions, crying and laughing with us what ever the situation required.

But then the day came when I could read by myself, and discovered the books had a story completely different from what Vernie had always read to me, and tables turned a bit as I would read the books to her. She didn't seem to mind, but somehow the books got laid aside, and we focused on our dolls and coloring books.

Time went on, and I no longer played with my dolls. I can still see her so plainly, eagerly coming with her dolls when ever I came, and I would tell her I'd rather help her color.

She would look disappointed, but was still happy to spend time coloring together, and so it kept on. I was growing up and gradually leaving my childhood behind. And she could only stand there and watch me go where she could never join me, for she would always live in childhood.

She loved singing and she loved helping me sing around the house when ever we worked together. Her voice was joyfully off key but I didn't mind. Her obvious pleasure in helping us sing is still one of my fondest memories.
I'm sharing all of this because her birthday is coming up soon. She loves getting mail and I would really like to have her mailbox filled with cards.

If anyone would like to send her a birthday card send me an email and I will give her address to you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beautiful Autumn Days

This year autumn has been one beautiful day after the next. I really like springtime but there is something about autumn that makes it my favorite season.

This afternoon after school Sailor was wanting to practise batting. I joined them outside and we had a great time. Rosebud and Sailor took turns batting while Sunbeam decided her role in the game will be catcher for both of them.
 Rosebud ready to swing and Sunbeam cracking me up with her catchers pose.
A wild swing which actually connected with the ball. But notice Sunbeam.... eyes squeezed shut but her hands closer together in hopes the ball lands gently in her hands.

 Sailor up to bat with Sunbeam looking on quite unconcerned. He almost never misses the ball.

 Sailor swings and Sunbeam folds her arms knowing the ball will land somewhere far away from her.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Random Funny Moments

As a mother there are so many things that you do without really thinking. Multitasking seems to be the order of the day. With Sunbeam being six already I can tell a big difference in meal times, since we no longer have to spend half of the time helping the children with their food.

I was reminded of how absent minded we mothers can become when we were at a gathering of friends and family. A nice meal had been prepared and the one dish was a big casserole made with potatoes with a delicious sauce and then tiny biscuits covering the top. We all filled our plates and sat at makeshift tables to eat. Sitting next to me was a busy mother. Everyone was talking and we were all having a good time when all of a sudden she surprised me by reaching over into my plate with her spoon and got my single little biscuit and ate it.

After the initial what?!  I had to restrain myself from bursting out and laughing. She never realized what she had done and I knew with years of having little ones hanging on her skirts and sitting next to her she was probably used to helping her children out when ever their plate was too full and it was purely habit.

I have been laughing at this all week when ever I happened to relive the moment.
Rosebud loves to read and with her own library card she can check out ten books each week. Having read several different series she asked me what I used to read when I was her age.

She had already read most of the books that I was familiar with but was excited to find the Five Little Peppers series which I used to love. She brought the first book home and curled up on the recliner to read it. An hour later she came and gave the book to me saying wearily. "Mom, I just can't read this book. It's like trying to eat a big bowl full of mashed potatoes all by myself."
Sunbeam: Mom is my voice as big as my hair?"

Me: "Sometimes. Why?'

Sunbeam dejectedly: "Sailor said so."
Short pause then brightly: I just have to practise being a little lady!
Sailor talking about how steam engines work and life in frontier towns to Rosy while she was trying to write a poem. Frustrated about having to listen to something she has no interest in she asked him if he could please let her think.
Sailor: It's hard not to talk about it when my head is so full of ideas.
Rosebud matter of factly: If you would keep your mouth closed your ideas wouldn't fall out.
Me: Giggle

Monday, September 20, 2010

Future Mechanic?

The past few weeks Sailor has been working on piecing a bike together from parts that were strewn in the barn from the previous occupants of this property. After a lot of hard work and dedication he was quite happy with the results.

And now we will have to see if we can find tires for his bike soon. After all that work I would say he deserves to ride on something other than the rims.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Earlier this summer the children found a baby frog in one of our flower beds. They were quite fascinated with it and enjoyed watching and playing with it.

We were gone for quite a while and when we got home last weekend they were amazed and a little creeped out at the great big toad that was sitting there waiting on them. Rosebud had the honors of taking a picture of it. But this was the closest that the girls wanted to get to it. No chance of having it turn into a prince.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Future Florist?

We really enjoyed the past few days in the mountains soaking up the gorgeous pre-autumn days. But one of the highlights for me was when the children invited me outside to their "house" to see the bouquets they had arranged for me.

Somehow these floral arrangements are sweeter to me than any beautiful bouquet a professional florist ever created.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Laundry Adventures

We have been camping out for the past month in an empty house with only very minimal comforts. Folding chairs and air matresses aren't the greatest but at least they help us get by.
Let me introduce you to a monster I have been dealing with since we have been here. Most people would probably call it a washing machine but I am convinced it has connections to other things as well. 
  1. Train engines. When ever it's running it sounds like a freight train is ready to plow into the house.
  2. Sprinkling systems. It leaks water so badly that it keeps me busy wiping the floor the whole time it's cleaning my laundry.
  3. Something really bad. When ever the spin cycle comes on the whole machine rocks so badly that I keep expecting it to either explode or lift off and fly away.
I don't have a dryer so everything needs to be hung out on the clothesline. Somehow even with all the aggravation nothing quite beats the sense of satisfaction I feel when I'm done doing the laundry and I can stand back and look at a clothesline full of clean laundry flapping in the breeze. I don't get that feeling from  using my own well behaved washer and dryer.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day Among the Amish (Guest Post)

Hello bloggers and friends. I’m Beth, from The imPerfect Housewife. Since MaryAnn has a very full plate right now with activities on the domestic front, she asked if I’d be interested in doing a guest post. I had to think about it for all of 2 seconds – YES! I’ve been a follower of hers from the beginning and look forward to every post just as much as you all do. Over time, we’ve developed a “long distance” friendship and I can’t wait until the day when we can spend the whole day together in person chatting and eating and talking about our lives (and husbands) and of course recipes.

Since A Joyful Chaos is a combination of MaryAnn’s current life and stories of her former Amish life, I had what I thought was a good tie-in post since I just visited an Amish community outside St. Louis a few weekends ago.

Do I want to BE Amish…no. I have to be honest with you – no air conditioning would make me crabby. Not to mention, the settlements with outdoor plumbing…negative. These are actually some of the reasons I don’t like camping either now that I think of it, which has nothing to do with this. I do like peace and quiet though. And I can’t help but feel bad for the kids who want to stay Amish, but also maybe want to be a doctor or nurse or something that requires higher education. That’s definitely not an option – it’s one or the other.

OK, onto my day trip to Bowling Green, Missouri…

I’m pretty sure this sign means watch out for cowboys and Amish people. Or maybe it means watch out for the Lone Ranger and the Amish.

I’ve been there before but it’s not a tourist destination by any means. Just like any group of people, some are talkers (mostly the women) and some are just answerers (mostly the men). I always like to know the little things like do the parents really NOT know who their teens are “dating” or going with, like in the books? Or how come men can have buttons and women have to use pins? Or do they “secretly” have a photo or two of family members?

According to two different moms from two different Amish communities, yes, they do know who their teens are going with. Maybe it’s not like that everywhere though. The buttons vs. pins thing – the answer is always the same…”That’s just how it is.” Photos….shhh, many have one or two stashed away.

One thing that stood out is that EVERY house I saw had these white gourd birdhouses for the purple martins. I don’t mean just one or two – but lines of them all over. It was pretty cute actually…

This picture cracks me up because I guess the horse turned just as I was taking the picture and he looks headless! And again, more gourds…

Does it look like I’m stalking this couple? OK, I was, but don’t tell them. I kept hoping they’d kiss because that would be the money shot, but nope. One lady told me in this settlement they wore the black bonnets before they got married and then the white prayer kapps after they were married.  They wear a heavier black bonnet over their prayer kapp when they need to run errands or go visiting.

  One little shop owner was quite a talker and asked where I was from and when I said St. Louis, she said, “And you came all this way by yourself?” (it’s about an hour and 20 minutes away). I told her I had and the reason was, to be perfectly honest, that my husband was getting on my nerves and I needed to get out of the house for a bit. Well she LOVED that! She thought that was hilarious. She said, “Yes, well, they do that sometimes.”

The schools were all closed up for the summer…

I came home with a few treasures from my day. All the bakery had left by the time I got there (and by bakery, I mean this lady’s back room) was some bread and pickles. OK by me. And of course I had to get a little faceless doll. I couldn’t decide which one to get because they had different colored dresses on. The lady was a hoot, she said she knew how hard it was to decide because she has a hard time deciding which color dress to wear to church each week. She said, “My husband doesn’t understand because he always just wears black and white every week, and tells me to just pick one.” Wow, men are alike all over aren’t they?
 We’re different on the outside but we sure do share more similarities on the inside than you think. I asked “Kate” (the shop owner and mother of twelve) if she thought I’d worry less about my 18 and 20 year old daughters if they were out in a horse and buggy rather than a car and she said not at all. Parents worry, she said, and we just have to pray. Well said.

Thanks to MaryAnn for letting me spend some time here and I hope you all have a good week

Friday, August 27, 2010


I missed having a garden this year and enjoying the satisfaction of harvesting delicious fresh vegetables. The children usually have a small garden of their own to care for and were disappointed when that wasn't possible this summer.

So when a neighbor called and asked for Sailor and Rosebud to come harvest her garden they were excited. Their smiles show how much they enjoy working in a garden.

We are already looking forward to growing our own vegetables next year.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guest Post

My friend Monica kindly agreed to do a guest post for me. If you have never visited her blog I would suggest that you check it out. She is a great writer and I always enjoy my visits there.

Thanks to Maryann for selecting me as a guest-poster. I'm sincerely honored! Having had a recent experience with an errant mini pony that turned into a minor fiasco, I'd like to share this remembrance of a horse I encountered in my childhood, almost twenty years ago.

For my tenth birthday, my parents gave me an unlikely gift. Horseback riding lessons. I say this was unusual since it wasn't anything I had asked for, and I did not have any great interest in horses. I liked horses in the way that all animals intrigued me, but hadn't shown much equine interest beyond petting a horse. Besides, in the public school I attended girls talked of dance lessons and Girl Scout memberships, both things that I had asked to be part of to no avail. My parents would tell me that we didn't have the money, but more likely the truth lay closer to those things not being in sync with who we were as "a separate people". To say that my parents valued the practical would be a colossal understatement. But I didn't push for those things either, as there were more important things to lobby for such as not having to wear knee socks every day to school.

Every Saturday morning I would pull on a pair of blue jeans under my long dress and be dropped off a few miles away at some stables where a young woman named Cheryl taught me to ride horses. Actually, we started with a pony named Copper. Cheryl taught me how to saddle Copper, how to hold the reins, and how to hold my hand out flat when feeding the pony an apple so he didn't bite my fingers off. Sometimes, after the morning's lesson after my hair had become undone, Cheryl would braid my hair while I stood behind Copper braiding his tail, as he quietly slept while standing up in his stall. Yes, I came to love Copper.

During my final lessons, I graduated to riding tall, beautiful, glossy horses that appeared enormous to me in size and impossibly powerful. Cheryl and I would trot our horses through the woods on the edge of the pasture while I wondered whether horses would become a permanent part of my life. When my lessons ended, I was sad though my mother told me we could always visit Copper and bring him an apple.

Not long after my lessons, my father and I were visiting his cousin whose neighbor had some riding horses. It was a sunny, Saturday afternoon and dad thought it would be nice for us to spend the afternoon riding horses together. The neighbor's daughter saddled the horses for us and helped me on to a lovely dark Quarter horse. Things were good at first, but after only a few minutes, something in the horse's temperament changed drastically. It would not respond to my "gee" and "haw" commands and instead broke into a straight gallop. Suddenly, the horse worked up to a full run as I held tight and leaned in closer. I knew the horse was out of control, and remember looking down at the ground trying to weigh my choice of jumping off and possibly getting hurt, or staying on, and possibly getting hurt. At the back pasture, my cousin Elam (working as a hired man at the neighbor's) was kneeling on the ground mending some fence. The horse charged for him, and I looked down to see his surprised face as the horse leaped over Elam and the fence in a graceful and unexpected jump. And then, just as suddenly as my runaway horse started, he slowed to a trot and circled back stopping not far from a group of adults who had helplessly witnessed the spectacle. There is little doubt that they let out a collective exhale as I dismounted the temperamental horse. Later, dad said that I had looked like a racehorse jockey on the back of that horse, and commended me on the decision to not jump off when the horse bolted.

I did not do much horseback riding after that, finding activities such as swimming and helping the boys to build tree forts in the woods behind our house much more interesting. But years later, I was grateful that my parents had arranged for those lessons. When I went to live with my Old Order aunt and uncle, I was not in the least intimidated by the driving horses, and could confront a team of Belgian drafts with ease. Now, interaction with horses is rare for me, but I'm still fond of horses and remain vigilant for their surprise appearances in my life. They seem to remain on the periphery and then pop up at unexpected moments, the very definition of a "dark horse".

Friday, August 20, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Time to choose the winner for this great little book. I had so much fun reading all of your favorite quotes. thanks so much to all who entered.

I once again turned to random generator to choose the winner, and the lucky comment was....

Number 21... Laura said.......
Good Morning!

Thank you for having this giveaway.
One of my favorite quotes is...
As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord...
Have a blessed day,
  Congratulations Laura! If you send me your address we will send you the book. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.
Thanks again to everyone who entered.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Giveaway Time

I was thrilled when I recently received the latest book from Suzanne Woods Fisher. It is one of the sweetest little books I have ever had the pleasure to read.

It is filled with over 200 pages of great "proverbs" and lots of gorgeous pictures. I found quite a few that I was familiar with that my parents and grandparents used to quote and many more that were new to me.

Suzanne has generously offered to give a book to one of my readers. All you have to do to have a chance to win one of these great little books is leave a comment sharing one of your favorite quotes.

For an additional entry post a link on your blog and come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

Be sure to make that I have a way to contact you if you are the winner.

I will draw the winner on Friday the 20th with Random Generator.

Friday, August 6, 2010

After The Interview

I can't remember when my tongue ever felt closer to a piece of cotton than it did yesterday afternoon in the last minute or so before my interview started with author and radio host Suzanne Woods Fisher.

She was very sweet and after my initial moments of panic I was almost able to forget I was on air and it seemed more as if I was talking to a friend. Which proved to be much friendlier for my tongue!

If you would like to to listen you can visit  and listen to the podcast.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Several months ago I agreed to be interviewed on an hour long radio program on August 5th. And ready or not that happens to be tomorrow.

You can tune in tomorrow and listen live at 4 PM Central time here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

When It Rains....

..... it pours. And I'm not speaking literally.

We have had an exceptionally busy week with things basically piling on top of each other. I have a hard time trying to decide which things are important and which can wait a little while.

I finally managed to wrap up the most pressing things and just came back from a little walk to the barn with my daughters where we discovered there are numerous schools of fish travelling down the creek. We had to stand and watch them for a while until I noticed a big patch of jewel weed growing on the banks. The plants were loaded with pods and remembering how much fun I used to have with them as a child I had to take a few minutes to show the children how when you lightly pinch the end the whole pod explodes into delightful little curls.

After we popped all the pods we could find I came back to the house feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle everything life has been throwing at us.

I hope you can be patient with me as my time online will be very limited for a while. I can't wait for things to slow down a little and I can visit your blogs again.

Friday, July 23, 2010


We have quite an assortment of sounds surrounding us. This morning when I focused on individual sounds I was amazed how many different things I listen to at the same time. No wonder I feel tired.

  1. This sheep is lonely and spends the majority of it's time bleating for it's departed friend. I feel very sorry for it that it still has to wear it's thick wool coat even during this extra warm summer.
  2. Living right next to a busy road lends lots of sounds, cars and pickups aren't too bad but the semi's with their noisy engine brakes, and all the motorcycles make a lot of noise.
  3. The sound of the wind in the majestic pine trees behind the house.
  4. The birds enjoy the trees and their sweet songs fill the air constantly.
  5. A very happy elderly neighbor whistles all.... day.... long. But only one note. And rests only long enough to take a breath before whistling again. I'm getting used to it now but there were days that I had to close the windows because I couldn't take it any longer.
  6. Mama beef cows and their calves calling to each other.
  7. Several mourning doves calling for rain.
  8. A family of very noisy Canada geese.
  9. The chatter and laughter of three happy children.
  10. The hum of the refrigerator and the washer and dryer.
  11. A lawn mower. We live in a very mow happy neighborhood and we hear someone's lawnmower everyday.
  12. Then of-course there are the occasional unusual sounds. Like that of a woman giving a horrified gasp when she is on her front porch right beside a busy highway trying to hang something on a hook that requires her to use a chair to stand on. And in her efforts she happens to step on her skirt.    I would like to apologize to the poor unsuspecting motorists who were passing at that unfortunate moment and assure you I will do everything in my power to keep that from happening again. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dog Day Blahs

It's official. We are experiencing the dog days of summer when the heat and humidity make you seek out the coolest places. Unfortunately my kitchen does not qualify and laboring over a hot stove to cook a meal that we really don't appreciate because we're all craving something light and refreshing.

My mother-in-law used to make a cold soup for summer evenings. Taking a loaf or two of day old bread, cubing it and pouring cold milk over it. She would then add several cups of what ever fruit was in season. Set it on the table and expected everyone to either eat it or go hungry.

As a young bride it was one of the most disturbing meals I had ever been served.

My husband still likes it but we don't want to have to buy a cart load of milk every time we go grocery shopping and I still wouldn't want to eat it.

I am trying to find some easy summery recipes that would relieve my time in the kitchen. If you have any summer time favorites let me know. .......  As long as it's not a cold soup.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday Hiking

The Reimans Country magazine used to have a section called This is God's Country and then shared photos from a different scenic area every month. I had to think of it yesterday afternoon when we went hiking on some of the local trails.
We enjoyed climbing the observation tower on Mount Davis. It was very windy on top and heights have a way of making me dizzy but the breathtaking view was worth it. It wasn't quite as hazy as it usually is and we could see mountains in several different counties, including West Virginia.

After we left the tower area we went a short distance to the Baughman Rocks. This rock field has giant rocks approximately 30 feet high with crevices just wide enough to fall to your death. I didn't venture out very far on the field since heights have a way of getting me discombobulated.

On the way out we noticed a sign sharing a tidbit of history of this particular spot. Not exactly sweet but interesting nonetheless.

I absolutely love the forests in this area. To us they look like forests are supposed to. The woodland floor is covered with ferns and wildflowers which makes spending time in the woods most pleasant. Especially since there aren't many insects at all.
Going a little farther we had an excellent view of High Point lake.

To finish off our enjoyable afternoon we drove to the Ohiopyle in hopes we could watch some white water rafting. The riverbank and park was clogged with people so we didn't stay very long. The next group of white water rafters were suiting up and getting ready to go but we didn't stay to watch. We will definitely be going back so I'm sure there will be other opportunities.

I love calling the Appalachians / Alleghenies my home.