Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I'm joining in the Wednesday Hodgepodge again today by answering all the questions Joyce at From this Side of the Pond asks.
1. The Hodgepodge falls on the last day of February this year, a leap year. How will you spend that extra day?

I wish it really would feel like an extra day to me. I could use a lot of those! Today I'll be cuddling and caring for Buddy, answering the countless questions and listening to all the chatter from our children, taking care of all the daily dozens, and try to get a certain amount written for the book series I'm working on.

2. What has recently required a leap of faith on your part?

One of the biggest leaps of faith we have made recently (as in a little over a year) was moving half way across the country.

3. We're one week into the season of Lent...are you marking these 40 days in some way? Giving something up or adding something extra to normal life? How's it going so far?

We have never observed Lent. As a matter of fact I had never even heard about it until several years ago.

4. When was the last time you sat beside a fire?

We used to have a a beautiful fireplace that was used as the main source of heat in our house. We spent a lot of time reading in front of it. Since moving we haven't had any type of fire to sit next to.

5. Surf and Turf is on the menu. Do you order as is or do you ask for just the surf (lobster), just the turf (steak), or a menu so you can select another option?

Since I don't care for steak at all I would have to go with surf.

Wait a minute. ..... I do like to consider all available options so I'm pretty sure I would request a menu.

6. If you could have any television program back, not in reruns but in new episodes, what program would you choose?

I think I would have to choose more than one.
  1. Andy Griffith
  2. Hazel
  3. The Brady Bunch
  4. Little House on the Prairie

7. They say an elephant never forgets. These days would you say your memory is more like an elephant or a gnat?

So far I have been blessed with a good memory. Something I never want to take for granted!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Our week has taken an unexpected turn when we received the news that one of our dear friends lost their son very unexpectedly.

Death can seem so harsh and final. Even with the hope of meeting again in heaven someday. A young vibrant life has been cut short and no one is ever ready for that.

So today more than ever I want to make these moments with my family count.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wedding Day Glimpse

I had been unable to find the photo album containing pictures from our wedding back when I posted about it but, decided there is no reason why I can't share a photo from that day now. The quality of this picture is poor but I'm still glad we have a small stack of pictures from our wedding day.

This room was our furniture showroom that had to be emptied for the reception. There was another room right next to it that was also filled with tables. The corner where there is a blue table cloth was where the wedding party sat and the window on the left side of the picture is the one that was secretly opened to get rid of the tomato juice we had been served. You can also still see piles of snow outside the window even though it was already spring.

Almost all the dishes you see were loaned to us from friends and neighbors. We could have used the supremely ugly olive green dishes supplied by the church for anyone that wanted to use them for weddings or funerals but I wanted to see pretty things on our special day. Not, olive green.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Tidbits

I usually like to start my weeks off with a new blog post but, on mornings like today I wonder why I even bother trying.

Here's a small sampling of my day so far.

  • Buddy was still sound asleep when it was time to get up this morning so I tiptoed downstairs without waking him up. Never mind that it would require my tiptoeing back upstairs every five minutes to check on him. I really need to get our baby monitor set up!
  • I'm drawing blanks when it comes to packing a great lunch for LV. After tossing several ideas around my head I ended up making the usual sandwich and tucked a few other things in as well. I dream of packing great lunches and vow to make that dream come true before long.
  • LV leaves for work and it's time to round up all the dirty laundry. Monday's are still my laundry day and after getting everything sorted and the first load in the washer I checked on Buddy again. He was blinking his eyes and waving his little hands. At my "Good morning, Buddy" he gave me one of his heart melting smiles. I settled down to change and feed him.
  • With Buddy cared for I lay him in his crib that we have in the living room and hang a few colorful toys above him to look at and swat with his hands. He coos and gurgles happily as I sign into my blog to make a new post.
  • The dryer buzzes before I get a single word typed so I care for that.
  • Buddy is hungry again. I feed him and rock him to sleep.
  • Rosebud declares solemnly that she would really like to meet the person that first decided to multiply fractions and have a heartfelt talk with him. I check her work and everything was correct. After explaining a new lesson in Language Arts to both Sailor and Rosebud I again settle down at the computer.
  • Sailor is hungry and opens the refrigerator and says something doesn't smell good. A stinky refrigerator isn't welcome in our house so everything gets removed while the insides get scrubbed and all the food gets placed back inside except for the offending pack of mushrooms that was discovered hidden in the back of the bottom shelf and was qualifying for some pretty serious science experiments.
  • I'm hungry for some Vanilla Crumb pie which reminds me of our wedding day, which in turn reminds me that I finally found the pictures from our wedding day and decide to do a post with a few of them.
  • For some reason I can't get pictures off our camera this morning so I can't do that wedding picture post after all.
So that's how my day was so far. Not very exciting at all and certainly not following a clear schedule but I'm enjoying it all the same. How has your Monday morning been?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. February 22nd is National Be Humble Day...what makes you proud? What keeps you humble?

This might be my roots showing through but, I don't care for the word proud. I would rather replace it with pleased, happy, and other similar words. At this point in my life our children make me feel pleased, blessed, and happy. On the flip side they have this way of keeping us humble as well.

2. Where is the catch-all (aka dumping ground) in your house?

The table in our dining room. We never eat at that table unless we have visitors so it is often the recipient of all sorts of different things. I try to have it cleared off before we go to bed because nothing zaps my energy as much as seeing something cluttered when I get up in the morning.

3. Do you make it a point to visit State/National Parks when you travel or even in your own hometown? What's your favorite?

There is a local State Park that we like to visit. It has a lake with a lovely sandy beach that's  surrounded by majestic hemlock trees.

When we travel we enjoy seeking out Parks and a lot of the lesser known places to explore that aren't filled with the usual tourist overload. One of our favorites is Bandelier in New Mexico.

4. How would you define honor?

I could spend a lot of time on this answer but I'll condense it to say. For me to honor someone I don't want to say or do anything that will hurt their reputation.

5. Angel's food or Devil's food-which cake do you prefer?

I'm not really fond of Angel Food cake. Homemade is certainly better than any store bought I have ever tasted but even so it reminds me of eating a sweetened sponge.  I much prefer a yummy chocolate cake.

6. What's the most recent road trip you've taken? Where did you go and how many hours did you spend in the car? Do you like to zoom to your destination without stopping or leisurely wind your way there with stops along the way? What is your car snack of choice?

If we're going on vacation we enjoy a leisurely pace and stopping at anything that catches our interest along the way as well as having all our meals at restaurants. If it's not vacation we set our eyes on our goal and don't waver from it until we get there.

Our latest road trip was almost a year ago and it wasn't a vacation. It was a little over 900 mile, it took us 14 hours, and we only stopped three times to fuel up. We enjoyed a variety of snacks to munch on rather than stopping to eat. Pretzels, chips, baby carrots, bananas, and what ever else we happened to think would be great to snack on when we make our last minute grocery stop the evening before we left.

7. Recent headlines told how a preschool child in NC had their packed lunch from home taken away and a school lunch substituted by a school inspector who deemed the homemade lunch unhealthy. Reportedly the parent was then billed for the school lunch (chicken nugget meal) although an update to the story says the parent was not billed. The inspector was conducting a routine inspection of the classroom-he/she was not there solely to peek in the lunchboxes. The packed lunch contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, an apple juice box, a bag of chips, and a banana.  Your thoughts?

Let's just say, I'm very glad that didn't happen to our children. I would not have been happy about it!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Recently Sailor was sitting on a chair in the kitchen, wearing his baseball cap which reminded me of a weird warning that we used to hear while growing up. That if a boy wears a hat inside a house he will become bald later. We still think it's respectful not to wear a hat indoors but don't believe that wearing one will cause baldness.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Winners

 I enjoyed reading all the comments and all the different reasons for smiles. And now I'll turn to my trusty friend, the random generator to choose the winners.

Fisrt up.
Comment # 39

Kathleen said............
Before I was even out of bed this morning, I was blessed with my first smile by something my husband said. He has come down with a really bad cold and I told him I was going to make him a huge pot of chicken soup. His reply? "Oh no...this is a BIG BOY cold, we'll need to boil a Bison!"

Comment # 9

Niki said ............
I'd love to win this devotional. I'm not familiar with it, but I was just starting to look for one, and this may be perfect :)

Comment # 30

Susie said ...........
After a rather stressful day, the simple joy of watching my daughter enjoy the supper I made for her brought a smile to my face.

Comment # 52

tea4too0 said ............
I got to see my son in law be very suprised for his birthday. His sister came from California, and then had a suprise party at his church. The look on his face, priceless.
Thanks for the giveaway,

Comment # 13

ninamaria said ........
We have some very dear friends that are in the process of adopting a preemie (his mother was a meth addict). He is 2 weeks old today and he was able to come off his cpap for breathing! The Lord is working miracles in his body also because he is testing negative for meth at this point! So very much to smile about!

Congratulations ladies!  Please send me an email with your address and I will get these subscriptions started for you.

Friday, February 17, 2012


We don't get many magazines or any publications but one of the few we receive is a devotional published by an Amish Mennonite church in Kentucky. Our latest issue came today and after seeing it I decided to offer a giveaway for anyone who would enjoy a subscription.

This time I will be choosing five winners so your chances of winning are better.

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment telling me something that made you smile today.

For an additional entry post a link to this giveaway on your blog or Facebook page then come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

I will be using to chose a winner on Monday Feb. 21st
Disclaimer: No one has asked me to and I am not being compensated to have this giveaway.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sailor's News

We let our subscription to the local daily paper expire and apparently Sailor was missing it and decided to start publishing his own.

Other then glance over the headlines I hardly ever read anything in our paper but it is quite opposite with Sailor's little publication where I read and enjoy every word.

The sports section reveals the winners of any games that were played the previous day. And the Help Wanted section has quite a few available jobs. A strong person is needed to fix bikes with a knowledge of tools and sweeping garage once done. Another job is someone that can vacuum living room without getting braids into vacuum cleaner.

In news there is an update on happy babies. It reads: Buddy woke up this morning very happy. He smiles, coos, and plays a lot. He also sleeps and cries when he is hungry.

Another headline contained a warning.  Beware of Elmer's School Glue.  It wrinkles paper and reduces the value of projects so try using glue sticks instead.

A weather forecast reads. It is raining right now but we expect it to stop sometime. So far it always did except once. If you think that one time was when Noah was in the ark you are wrong. It stopped raining after forty days then. The only time it hasn't stopped is right now.

A few clippings from a grocery flyer complete the newspaper.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. George Washington-Abraham Lincoln-Thomas Jefferson...who would you most like to meet and why?

Probably George Washington. I would enjoy hearing his thoughts about becoming the first President of our country and how he felt shouldering that responsibility. And how America compares today with how he envisioned it to be.

2. What's your favorite chain restaurant?

We hardly ever go out to eat but a meal at Ruby Tuesday's would be welcome anytime. I was trying to think when the last time was that we went out to eat as a family and was surprised to discover it has been well over a year. I think it's time to do something about that.

3. When you look back on your life, do you imagine you'll think about the goals you failed to meet with regret? Or will you look at what you accomplished and say: it was good?

There are a few goals that we failed to meet that we will probably always regret to a certain extent. But because of those failed goals we found new ones that we never expected to find and have accomplished a lot since then. So really all is good.

4. Grapefruit-take 'em or leave 'em? Given the choice between an orange and a grapefruit which would you choose? Would you prefer it served as is or squeezed into juice?

I enjoy a grapefruit everyday and prefer it served as is. I also enjoy oranges but we don't have them very often.

5. When was the last time you cleaned out a closet? Is there a closet in your home that currently needs cleaning? What are you waiting for?

I cleaned and organized a closet several weeks ago but, there are still two more that need to be done. I'm waiting until I have time to clean them. There seems to be a lot of things that are more important to do than cleaning closets. And lets not forget closet doors are there for a reason.

6. You get to have lunch with three famous people...who would you like to see round your table?

Having one famous person at my table would be terrifying enough for me since I seem to grow an extra elbow, a couple of left feet, and a tongue that keeps tripping over itself when ever someone I don't know very well but respect a lot comes to our house. I guess if three were to come at one time I could let them visit with each other so lets see. Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentiis, and Rachael Ray. Come to think about it, that could be a lot of fun!

7. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your ability to parallel park?

I try to find places to park that I don't have to worry about parallel parking. The few times that I had to parallel park I didn't have any problem doing it though so I'll give myself an eight until I learn not to fear the thought of parallel parking.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm sharing a picture thought. Our little Phillies baby.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

We really like cinnamon rolls and often enjoy pancakes too so when I heard of cinnamon roll pancakes I knew it was something I had to try.

They turned out to be absolutely delicious!
Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

1-1/3 cup flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp melted butter
1 egg
¾ tsp. salt
1¼ cup milk

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Melt a little bit of butter or lightly coat a skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet until it's just hot enough to make a droplet of water hiss and sputter when you drop it in the skillet. I use a ¼ cup measure to pour the batter into the pan and then add the cinnamon swirl.

Cinnamon Swirl

½ cup melted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Mix well. It works best if you make this before you make the pancake batter so that it has time to thicken. You will need to stir it every minute or so to make that the butter doesn't separate. Once you are ready to start frying the pancakes spoon this mixture into a Ziploc bag and then cut off a wee little corner. Right after you put your pancake batter into the skillet squeeze some of the cinnamon mixture on top in a swirling motion.

Proceed with the usual method of making pancakes. You will want to wipe the skillet between each batch since it gets syrupy and you don't want your pancakes to taste like burnt sugar.

Once you have fried your pancakes make a glaze to use on top instead of maple or pancake syrup.


4 Tbsp softened butter
2 oz cream cheese
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Mix the first four ingredients well and then add a tsp of milk at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Drizzle over your pancake and enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Finally Snow, Yay!

I'm not someone who can spend hours talking about the weather and spending time reading all the latest weather blogs but I could sympathize with this meteorologist and actually enjoyed listening to his predictions and I'm actually hoping he got to enjoy snow this weekend too.

The scenery on our drive to church was lovely. The roads in our area are narrow and very winding. We met several vehicles that were the unfortunate victim of hungry ditches which made us very thankful for our good 4-wheel drive vehicle.

This morning it's unseasonably warm again and the snow is melting fast but at least we got to enjoy a taste of winter over the weekend.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cooking Adventures

Our children love working in the kitchen. Sailor has a few things he enjoys making and Rosebud enjoys finding recipes and making them while Sunbeam helps along. Most of the time everything turns out great but the adventures of having young cooks in the kitchen wouldn't be complete without the occasional funny bloopers.

After a recent cooking disaster where they opted to not use a recipe and instead invent a new dish I had to think of some of the times when things I was making didn't turn out the way I wanted them to.

One of the first was a birthday cake I had made for Mom that turned out to be a disaster. There were many more instances of cooking failures. Like the time the flour paste was added to cold chicken broth to make gravy and when it didn't thicken more paste was made and added again and again. By the time the broth became hot enough to boil the paste suddenly decided to do it's job and there was nothing left except a big glob of disgusting dough instead of a nice gravy.

There was the awful Thanksgiving dinner I prepared for LV before we were married and then later I wanted to try out a new lemon pie recipe to serve on our date. It had a special meringue crust and the filling was looking delightfully silky. I was feeling pleased as I tasted the filling and it was delicious.

On Sunday evening when the usual time rolled around that we had a snack I went to the pantry and got the pie. I set it on the table and handed a knife to LV. When he cut it I was dismayed to find that it hadn't set at all. As a matter of fact it had become a lot thinner and now resembled a disgusting watery pudding. LV asked for a spoon and bravely helped himself to a bowl full and calmly ate it as if it was exactly the way it should have been.

Thankfully I have learned from my mistakes and cooking disasters hardly ever happen. And when ever the children serve something that didn't turn out right I have to smile as I eat it knowing that this is a part of the adventures of having young eager cooks in the kitchen. And I want to savor every moment of it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It's that most wonderful time of the season! Do you complete your own returns or farm that job out to the professionals?

We get a CPA to take care of getting everything done properly. It's hard enough for me to simply have to sign my name on the completed forms.
2. Which do you think has changed you more-love or pain?

I will have to go with love on this one. There has been pain in our life but love got us through those times.

3. Tangerine Tango has been named color of the year for 2012. Your thoughts? Would I find this color anywhere in your house? How about in your closet? If not, will you be adding this color to your life in some way in 2012? If you're not sure what tangerine tango looks like click here.

I don't think the color could be found anywhere in my house and I am not planning to add it this year. Shades of orange are my least favorite color and thankfully I'm quite comfortable not following trends and fashions so I don't feel obligated to learn to like it.

4. Are you a collector? What do you collect and does it get admired, used, and/or dusted regularly?

I collect cookbooks and yes, I use them regularly. I really enjoy trying out new recipes and so far the rest of the family have been eager taste testers.

5. February is National Heart Month...besides a green salad what is one tasty heart healthy dish you like to prepare?
Most recently we have been enjoying fish baked to perfection and then drizzled with a lemon juice and olive oil mixture and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

6. When was the last time you had car trouble?

I think it was back in October. And I have no idea what the problem was. Mechanic vocabulary has a way of going right over my head while I stand there with a glazed helpless expression in my eyes something very similar I'm sure to what LV feels when I browse the fabric section in Wal-Mart.

7. Have you been more demanding on yourself lately or less? Is that a good trend?
Starting today I'm planning to be less demanding on myself.  The past few weeks I was trying to get too much done and not being very successful at it which left me feeling frustrated and a little discouraged.  I was trying to write for book three and little Buddy kept interrupting me every 250 words or so.

After talking to LV about everything last night he helped me put things into perspective a little better and I'm feeling renewed again. I have no doubts that I'll make my deadline but for the next few weeks I won't be dangling a daily word goal over my head that I wasn't able to reach any way.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Rosebud and I finally made the first batch of Christmas candy yesterday. Since I wasn't able to make it for Christmas we are getting to enjoy it five weeks late. As a matter of fact I think we enjoy it more than we would have on Christmas.