Friday, September 30, 2011

Another Favorite

This happens to be one of the favorite things in my kitchen and I use it often. It works perfectly when ever I want to shred cheese or apples. Potatoes whir through the grater cone often to then be fried. Another cone slices things nicely and when ever we're in the mood for homemade potato chips I reach for it. The fine grater makes short work of carrots or anything else I decide to send through it.

I shudder at the thought of trying to make a coleslaw without it.

I started housekeeping without it, having only a handheld grater that I slaved over and hated every time I used it. It always took a long time, my arm got tired and I tried to avoid preparing food that required my using it.

When our first Christmas together came. LV gave me this King Kutter and I was thrilled and I have been using it regularly ever since. We have had quite a few Christmases by now and he always does a great job of choosing gifts but so far none has been used and loved as much as this one.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Apple Goodie

After mentioning the Apple Goodie yesterday I received a lot of emails requesting the recipe so I decided to share it today.

Apple Goodie

3 large apples (a tart variety work best)

Peel apples. I like shredding them but finely diced or very thinly sliced would work as well. Spread in bottom of 9x13 pan.

½ cup butter
½ cup hot water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Melt butter. Add sugar and stir. Add water, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir well and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour over apples.

1 cup oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
2/3 cup softened butter.

In a medium bowl mix all ingredients together until you have nice uniform crumbs. Sprinkle over the apples and pat firmly.

Bake in a preheated 350ยบ oven for 45 minutes. You have several options as a way to serve. Absolutely delicious when served hot with vanilla ice-cream. Or if you were serving it to my brothers they would request cold milk and practically drown the apple goodie in it. We prefer to eat it cold most of the time.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn Days

As most of you know, fall is my favorite season. There's something about the crisp clear days that do something to me that no other season does and I enjoy it to the fullest.

A lot of the trees are starting to show a little color but the tree in front of our house is a little ahead of most and is losing a lot of leaves already. It did a great job of providing a delightful shade and keeping the house cooler this summer so it's entitled to getting to rest a little longer than most trees.


The flower bed in front of the house had a variety of flowers throughout this summer but most of those are gone. One plant decided to produce one last splash of color before a killing frost comes along. It's blooms are a lovely lavender and almost six inches in diameter. I have no idea what kind of flower it is but that doesn't keep me from admiring it.


Sunbeam came running into the house excited about the katydid on the front porch. We hear katydids all night every night but to actually get to see one is very rare since they live in tree tops and can't fly. This poor thing must have blown out when it was extra windy yesterday so now it has a long climb ahead of it to get back to it's home in the tree top.


The children were playing on the hill behind the house last evening and happened to discover several apple trees we had not known were there. Most times apples that grow wild and unattended are small, gnarled, and wormy. But these are huge, clean, and juicy. I think we'll be making Apple Goodie for dessert tonight. One of our favorites!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Difference in Lifestyle

The decision to leave the Amish was one of the hardest decisions we ever made in our life. Knowing that it would shatter relationships and tear our families apart. But knowing that we weren't free continue in our new found faith if we were to remain Amish sealed the decision for us and we left. We have never regretted making that decision.

Other than no longer attending the Amish church and now owning a vehicle our life continued much the same. Though we were no longer bound by the Amish rules our changes were much more gradual than some people who leave the Amish. Since I had made a lot of new clothes to go on vacation only two months earlier we saw no reason why we had to throw all of those away and immediately change what we wear. As they wore out or were outgrown we changed our wardrobe which by now doesn't contain anything Amish.

The quality of lifestyle does not have to change because of technology. Having family as your number one priority does not change simply because you now drive around in a vehicle instead of in a buggy. A simple more carefree life is not based on how you eat, what you wear, or what you use to get your work done. The quality of life depends much more on a heart condition rather than a pocessions condition. Taking time to enjoy the little moments, being content with what you have instead of always reaching for bigger better things, enjoying working and playing with your children and basically doing everything side by side, not thinking that you deserve the best of everything, not holding on to grudges, the list could go on for a long time.

Leaving the Amish did not change who we were or our basic home life, but it did give us the freedom to grow in our faith and being able to follow where God leads.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Question

As most of you probably realize the journey I was chronicling from a happy little Amish girl to where I am today, still happy but no longer Amish has mostly been told. There were a lot of memories that I missed writing about from my childhood but those will be making their way into the book series I am writing so I don't want to share them on this blog.

After making so many friends in the blogging world I don't want to quit and walk away so I was wondering what you are interested in hearing about.

I will still be sharing bits and pieces about our day to day life every once in a while. And also sharing the occasional recipe. My time spent in the kitchen has been drastically reduced since I'm dealing with some pregnancy related issues so those will be a little slow in coming until after the baby gets here.

I also have bits and pieces of memories I could share from my teenage years and early married life that I am considering posting. Since most of my memories were shared in chronological order it would mess that part up but I would always add a label at the end of each post letting you know in which time frame that certain memory happened.

There is also one more option and one that I think could be fun. Sharing LV's story about his boyhood.

So now I'm wondering what you would like for me to do with my blog from this point.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The ABC's of .......

Some of my likes and dislikes.  I thought it might be fun to do a little list of things again. Things you may or may not know about me.
A - airplanes. I have absolutely no desire or plans to ever travel by air.
B - babies. So sweet, innocent, and adorable. What's not to love about a baby?
C- children. They make life a better place in so many different ways. I love listening to them play and sing and the times spent working and playing together are priceless.
D- dandelions. So it might be the accepted thing to not like dandelions but somehow the bright yellow cheerful flowers make me smile especially when I'm presented with a bouquet of them or see a carefully woven dandelion chain.
E- earthworms. Make me shiver with disgust and repulsion. Especially when they litter the driveway after a rain.
F- flowers. Almost any kind of flowers help cheer up a day whether they are in a bouquet displayed on the middle of the table or I see a wildflower blooming in a little unknown and hardly ever seen place.
G- games. Relaxing with the children on a Sunday afternoon playing our favorite board games is always fun.
H- home. The sweetest place on earth.
I- ice-cream. Sorry, I don't like it. It always looks good but a bite or two is always more than enough for me unless it's a McDonald's vanilla ice-cream cone. That is the only ice-cream I can enjoy.
J- jams. Love the kind you spread on bread. Detest the ones that involve traffic.
K- kittens. While I admit that they are cute I still don't want to hold or pet them. I don't know when that changed since I used to love them as a child.
L- lights. The more and brighter the better. I don't enjoy dimly lit houses.
M- mealtimes. Having everyone at the table talking and enjoying the food I prepared is always a great feeling.
N- nuts. Especially cashews roasted like my Mom used to make them.
O- olives. I have no idea why I like them so well.
P- parrots or parakeets. Not a fan. They're pretty but I don't like the noise they make or when they fly around a room I always have the urge to duck and run.
Q- quilts. Pretty ones, soft cuddly ones, thick ones, thin ones. I have a thing for quilts and in my opinion you can never have too many.
R- rainy days. There is something about rainy days that I really like. they are so relaxing. The rain splashing against the window panes and being inside where it's warm and dry. My idea of a lovely day!
S- sunshine. As much as I love rainy days I also enjoy bright sunny days that follow a week of rainy days.
T- tinsel. As far back as I can remember I have always enjoyed seeing tinsel. As a child that was only when we went to town during the Christmas season but now I get to enjoy it much more close-up.
U- umbrellas. Don't like them. I would rather dash through the rain than use one.
V- vacations and vegetables tie for the V. I really, really enjoy both of them. Being on a vacation and eating vegetables prepared in new delicious ways is great!
W- waterfalls. There is something so soothing about listening to the sound of a waterfall. I am blessed to have one that I can listen to and see from our house.
X- x-rays. Don't like them but glad they are available when needed.
Y- yo-yo's. I have a fascination with them but have never been able to figure out how to use one properly.
Z- zoo. I am assuming I would enjoy visiting one but have never been to one in my lifetime.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Violets Need You

I have always admired African Violets and was happy to get several five years ago. I did a little research on proper care for them and they did really well for four years which is amazing considering that houseplants aren't really high on my list of priorities.

But in the past six months they have gone from looking like this.

To this. And I don't know what to do for them. It actually hurts everytime I look at them and see their yellowish rust spotted leaves.


Do you have any advice on what I could do to get them healthy and flourishing once again?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tidbits

There used to be a time when I had the kitchen to myself and I really enjoyed cooking and baking unhindered. But since we have children I discovered it is even more fun to work in the kitchen with eager young cooks wanting to help with everything.

Here is Sunbeam trying to mix the batter for Lemon Poppy Seed Bread. While we enjoy pumpkin or banana bread I think I have to say that Lemon Poppy Seed Bread is our favorite. I'll have to share the recipe the next time we make some.

~~~~~~

We have quite a selection of good movies that we enjoy watching but the other winter when someone gave us a subscription to Netflix we really enjoyed the many options it provided and through it found even more that we hope to someday add to our home collection.

Last week we came to the conclusion that we really don't need it any longer since our busy schedule hardly allows time to sit down and watch movies so we decided to cancel our subscription. In order to cancel they wanted to know the reason why we are cancelling. Among the options to choose from they wanted to know if we will be only using bootleg DVDs from now on.

For some reason that really amused me. No we will certainly not be making or watching bootleg DVDs and I couldn't help but wonder if anyone would actually check that as a reason to cancel.

~~~~~~

The manuscript for the first book in my series has been turned in. Now the waiting until it will be released begins.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fried Cornmeal Mush

Fall has arrived here in our little corner of the world. The cool days and chilly mornings always make me feel like making more hearty breakfasts. One of our favorites is Fried Cornmeal Mush.

Fried Cornmeal Mush

1 cup cornmeal (don't try self-rising)
1 tsp salt
4 cups water

In a large saucepan bring three cups of water to a boil. Meanwhile in a small bowl combine cornmeal, salt, and remaining cup of water. Pour slowly and carefully into the boiling water stirring well constantly.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Rinse a 9"x13" pan with water and pour the cornmeal mush into it. Rinsing pan and leaving the few water droplets inside help keep the mush from sticking to the pan. Smooth mush with the back of a spatula. Refrigerate overnight.

Next morning cut into ¼" slices and fry in skillet where you have already melted several Tablespoons of margarine. Fry until beautiful golden and crispy. If most of margarine has been absorbed add more before flipping and frying other side.

Serve with eggs, or enjoy plain. Every once in a while I also make a tomato gravy to spoon over the top but I like it better without.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mama Bear

It has been a while since we had a baby in our family. And though we are all really looking forward to welcoming another one there is one area that I am not looking forward to.
Sure the sleepless nights may be inconvenient at times but they don't bother me nearly as much as some other things. For example when we go out in public I used to really, really detest when people walk up to our baby and hold it's hand to talk to it. Babies have a tendency to get their hands in their mouth often and now they have who knows what kind of germs on them. Talk all you want but please don't touch my baby's hands. ~ My response was usually a firmly pasted smile and then trying to keep the baby from mouthing it's hand until I had a chance to wipe it.

Another thing that used to be irritating was when people felt they had the liberty to pluck the pacifier out of our baby's mouth accompanied with, "Oh, you don't want that." or "Let me see you smile."  Our babies never liked that and instead of smiling at said stranger for plucking their beloved pacifier that they wanted very much out of their mouth they would usually start crying. ~ My response, same pasted smile while giving my crying baby it's pacifier again.

The third is something that most people don't give much thought but we don't tickle our children. Baby giggles are cute and sweet and there are ways to hear them without resorting to tickling. LV and I both never liked being tickled when we were children, sure we had to laugh but it wasn't a happy do it again kind of laugh. It was one of the things we decided to not subject our children to no matter how little they are. ~ My response, not worrying if I have a pasted on smile or not as I pluck my wriggling child away from who ever is doing the tickling and stating, "We don't tickle our children."

So there are three of my Mama bear type tendencies. Did you have any when you had a baby?

Friday, September 2, 2011

More Windmills

Day after day there has been different activity going on around here. It started when this ugly contraption labored it's way up the road and turned onto a narrow trail leading to a nearby mountain. All sorts of other vehicles joined it including a water truck that filled it's tanks multiple times a day with water from our little creek that was already reduced to little more than a trickle right here next to the house.

We have learned that they are planning on building quite a few of those huge windmills. While we realize it is good to be able to use wind to produce electricity we can't help but feel a little sad at all the land that will be swallowed and scenery changed because of this project.