Saturday, March 31, 2012

Little Lessons ~ Wood Thrush


I love listening to birds sing and especially like the song from the wood thrush. It is one of the first birds you hear in the morning and one of the last at night. It often continues its songs long after dark.

It reminds me how easy it is to praise God and rejoice when everything is going our way by singing all day long and how even when the sun goes down and it grows dark it remains unwavering and keeps right on singing.

I also don't want to allow circumstances to keep me from praising and rejoicing, always.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pineapple Fluff

With a can of crushed pineapples waiting patiently ever since our last weekly shopping trip I took a little time last evening to make one of our favorite desserts.

LV and I used to like it so well that we had it served at our wedding and there were only a few spoonful left over by the end of the day.

Pineapple Fluff

1 lb marshmallows
½ cup pineapple juice
1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
1 Cool Whip
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup butter (softened)
2 Tbsp sugar

In the top of a double boiler over medium heat combine marshmallows and pineapple juice. Stir until melted. My double boiler isn't big enough so I improvised by using one of my bigger pots and a stainless steel mixing bowl. I filled the pot with hot water just deep enough so that it didn't touch the bottom of the mixing bowl. It worked great.

Once marshmallows have been melted set them aside to cool and in a separate bowl mix graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar until you have nice uniform crumbs. Set aside.

Once marshmallows are cooled enough to have begun thickening slightly (about 15-20 minutes) Add Cool Whip and pineapples. Fold together. Now spread a little of the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a bowl pour a layer of the pudding on top. Add another layer of crumbs and then the remaining pudding and then sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.


Serve and enjoy the delightfully fluffy melt in your mouth goodness.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shopping

Walking down an aisle in one of our local grocery stores I'm busy checking things off my list one by one. Next item crushed pineapple. I have been wanting to make one of our favorite but rarely made desserts for quite a while already but keep forgetting to get one of the key ingredients. Today will be that day.

I spot the pineapples up ahead but have to wait on a mother and her teenage daughter to choose which type they want. The daughter is standing patiently waiting with her hands folded nicely on top of each other on the handle of their shopping cart.

The mother continues to read the labels on different cans and finally selects the one she wants, glances at her shopping list while stepping back and dropping her can of pineapple into my cart.

Her daughter gasps a horrified, "Mom!" 

The mother quickly realizes what she did and we both burst out laughing. The poor teenager wasn't so amused and looked as if she would have loved nothing better than being able to vanish from sight after having been totally mortified like that.

I'm glad I'm out of the uncomfortable teenage phase of my life where parents seem to constantly embarrass me.  Life is too short to not find the humor in things!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Overheard

Sailor after seeing a few dollars in Sunbeam's hand:  Do you want to give me your money and I'll make an investment for you?

Sunbeam: What is an investment?

Rosebud, before Sailor can answer: A great way to lose your money.


~~~~~

Rosebud: Why do we have to learn about Al Gore's rhythms?

Me, trying to hide a smile: It's algorithm, not Al Gore's rhythms.


~~~~~

Sailor when asking the blessing after seeing a spinach related main dish:  And please God, help us to eat this food.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Thankful

Yesterday was one of those days that made me stop and reflect on the blessings in my life with a feeling of utmost thankfulness.

It all started in the afternoon. The school bus had gone and the children and I decided we would go for a walk to barn and maybe beyond to enjoy the gorgeous spring afternoon. I got Buddy ready in his stroller. He loves spending time outside and we were ready to go.

To get to the barn we have to walk down the road a little bit and and then up the driveway leading to it. We got to the bridge and somehow I suddenly changed my mind. "Let's turn around and go back," I said to the children. They were surprised that I decided not to take a walk after all and if they would have asked me why I don't think I could have answered them except that I all of a sudden really didn't want to any longer.

We crossed the road and started back. We heard a vehicle approaching and we all got off the road into the grass. The next instant there was the sickening horrible sound of screeching brakes, shattering glass, and twisting metal.

The sight that met my eyes when I turned around to look made my knees grow weak. A truck and a car had both been traveling the same direction but some how had a bad collision and had we not turned around, we would all be very badly hurt or even killed.

I'm so very thankful that I acted on those feelings and turned around when we did. I get to spend more time with our precious family and now more than ever I don't want to take the time I have with them for granted.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sailor

My three year blog anniversary is coming up and as I was looking at a few of my first posts I couldn't help but notice how much the children have changed in these three years.


Sailor still has an interest in ships though being the captain of one is no longer all he dreams and talks about.

He enjoys yard work and would mow the grass everyday if he could.

He loves everything to do with history, learning how things are made and how they work, and maps. His choice for reading materials are biographies, encyclopedias, and if it can be counted as reading a world atlas.

He loves animals and dreams of having a dog again someday. Living right next to a busy road resulted in a premature good-bye to his dog when we moved here almost two years ago.

He is a great older brother to his younger siblings and somewhere in these past few years has discovered the joy of teasing his sisters.
He enjoys helping out in the kitchen and has mastered a few recipes and even created a new way to make potatoes. They are delicious and he has kindly shared his recipe with me so I can make it too.

It is a joy to call him our son!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Hodgepodge

1. The first day of spring is here...do you enjoy working in the yard? Weeding, raking, mowing, planting-your favorite springtime garden chore? How about your least favorite?

I enjoy planting a garden and all our flowerbeds but find weeding to be tiresome and quite easily my least favorite thing to do.
 



2. What puts a spring in your step? 

Being outside in the sweet fresh mountain air always makes me feel younger and more energetic. My family also puts a spring in my step, the joys of working, playing, laughing, and talking with each other is the best and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

3. Describe a time when you had to spring into action?

Let me see, there have been quite a variety of things that have made me spring into action. The most recent was simple but still require springing on my part when I heard the unmistakable hiss from a pot boiling over on the stove.

4. We're having carrots for dinner...would you prefer yours raw or cooked?

I prefer to eat my carrots raw and am especially fond of baby carrots.
5. Do you take the shampoos and other sundries from your hotel room when its time to check out?

Not unless we broke the seal and sometimes not even then.
6. What's the most enjoyable team or club you've belonged to and what was it that made it so?

We are homebodies to the core but I have belonged to a book club already. They give me a headache. When I read, I read purely for enjoyment and not to try to find all manner of hidden messages or thinking that Jane Eyre was light years ahead of her time.  And while I'm on that topic I would rather go to the dentist than have to read Jane Austen books.
7. Is cloning a sign of progress?
Not all new abilities can be called progress.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Have you ever sent a text message to the wrong number? 

It used to be the phone would ring and when it was a wrong number the person was able to hang up before divulging things they didn't want to, to a stranger or a friend they called by mistake.  With text messaging it's not quite that simple.  I'll have to tell you about it someday.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lessons ~ Maple Tree



  There is a huge maple tree outside our house. We all enjoy the lovely shade it provides for us during the summer and enjoy watching the birds and squirrels hide in its branches during the winter.

  As strange as it may sound there is a lot I admire about this tree and little lessons I can learn from it and apply to my own life.
  • It can provide maple syrup.  -  I want to always speak kindly and sweetly to those I come in contact with.
  • It provides a refreshing shade. - I want to be the type of person when at the end of a visit leaves the other person feeling refreshed, happy, and encouraged.
  • It stands strong and unwavering even when cold winter winds blow through it. - I want to remain strong even when faced with hard times.
  • It remains steady and unchanging even when annoying wood peckers peck at it. - I want to not let gossip or others opinions allow me to change who I need to be.
  • Its branches always welcome squirrels and birds to spend time among them. - I want to have our home as a warm welcome place for any guests that drop by.
  • Its roots are thirsty as it drinks from the moisture in the ground and in turn it's leaves help provide oxygen for the air we breath. - I want to be thirsty for the Word that is the ground for my faith and in turn be able to be a testimony to those around me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Shoes

  It seems I get a shoe catalog in the mail at least once a week. I usually browse through them a little bit and then toss them in the trash. When ever we go to the mall all the different shoe stores only get a brief glance from me as I walk past them. While I can admire a lot of different shoes having a variety of them in my closet has never been very high on my list of priorities.

  I have a total of three pairs of shoes. A comfortable pair to wear while running errands, a less comfortable pair that I use to go to church or any special occasions and then an awful pair that should have been burned three years ago already but I'm still hanging onto them since they come in very handy when I need to go outside and it's wet or muddy. Their soles have become loose a long time ago and every step I take they flap open and closed making it appear as if I were wearing talking shoes.

  We don't wear our shoes in the house and every one has their shoes and boots lined neatly at the bottom of the basement stairs. Having a baby in my arms I find it easiest to simply feel for my shoe with my toes and then slip into them. It worked well until I was sitting happily in church and needed something from the diaper bag. As I bent down I was horrified to see one nice Sunday shoe and one awful shoe smiling up at me with its gaping tattered "mouth" The shock of seeing it made me forget why I had bent down to begin with and I sat up gasping for air and hoping no one had seen my shoes.

  As I tried to collect my senses I realized I still need something from the diaper bag so I had to bend down again. The ugly shoe now seemed to be taunting me and I quickly retrieved what I needed, tucked my feet under my chair, and carefully placed the diaper bag in hopes it would block the view of my feet from any one else.

   As much as I dislike shoe shopping I think it's officially time I do just that.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. St. Patrick's Day will be celebrated this coming Saturday...what's a favorite article of clothing you own that contains a touch o' the green?

I like green but I can't wear it without looking sickly so my wardrobe doesn't contain a single article of green clothing.

2. What's a favorite 'green space' in the town, state, or province where you live?

Everything is still looking rather drab yet at this time of year but before long we will be getting to enjoy walks in the woods.  I love the forests in our area. They are such pleasant places to relax and enjoy nature.

3. Do you wish you were taller, shorter, or think you're just about right in the height department?

At 5' 6" I'm content with my height.

4. What's the surest way for someone to pick a fight with you?

I don't like confrontation at all and try to avoid it. But threaten my children and I'm making no promises.

5. Broccoli-Spinach-String Beans-Peas...of the four, your favorite green veg? (Or the one you dislike the least if that first option's too hard. I just know there's some veggie haters out there.)

I like all of them but broccoli is a favorite. I think we would all eat a huge helping of steamed broccoli everyday if that were possible. I'm hoping Buddy will learn to like it as much as the rest of us do by the time he is old enough to eat it.

6. March is National Women's History Month...besides friends, neighbors and the women you're related to, who's a woman in history you admire and why?

There are quite a few women that I admire. Three that come to mind right away are: Esther, Ruth, and Abigail in the Bible.  All three of them displayed faith and courage that I admire.

7. Keep Calm and ____________on.
You fill in the blank.

Keep calm and carry on.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

This whole time change thing is still hard to adjust to and as a double whammy, starting today LV needs to be at work an hour earlier which makes that I'm having to get up two hours earlier than I did last week. 

Everybody..... on the count of three. 1...2...3..... YAWN !!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Little Lessons

There are so many little life lessons surrounding us every day if we only pause a moment here and there to observe them. I have had countless moments like that already from three main sources. Our children, animals, and nature. While none of those are meant to be worshipped they can help point to the One who is meant for that.

Starting today I will be doing the occasional post with little lessons I have seen or learned.


Growing up in a very "works" related religion and being constantly trying to be good enough it was such a joy to finally have the peace of knowing I truly belonged to Jesus.

I could have ended our story there but the life of a Christian isn't with out it's ups and downs.

It was several years after the night we had found Jesus and from somewhere I began to question am I really belonging to Him?  Did I have a true heart knowledge of Him or was it simply a head knowledge. I would read my Bible and say, "Yes, I believe." But then immediately the same question popped up. Do I believe with my whole heart or only know it in my head. It was a less than peaceful feeling going in circles like that day after day.

During that same time Sunbeam started something.  Every evening after our good-night hugs and tucking her into bed she would ask. "Mom, do you love me?" 

I would always answer. "Yes, I love you very much."  With that she would snuggle a little deeper under her covers and go to sleep.

I continued going in my own little circles and before long Sunbeam was coming to our bedroom door and knocking asking again. "Do you love me?"  I started feeling bad about it that she had to ask so often. There was nothing I could think of that could make her question that. And suddenly it was as if a light bulb came on.  What she was doing was exactly what I was doing. I was asking the same question of God everyday and His answer was as clear to me as the answer I was giving to Sunbeam multiple times a day.

So I was once again ready to rest in Him and not long after that Sunbeam no longer asked me if we loved her. 

A simple lesson of love and trust from our little daughter.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Modest Dress

What do the Amish think of the way "English" people dress? I would think it would seem very immodest and troubling to them.

This and forms of this question is one I have heard a lot since we left the Amish. My answer usually surprises people but I'm only speaking from my own experience.

There are a lot of different Amish communities and each one has its own set of guidelines about the way clothes are made and worn. From as far back as I can remember you didn't stop to think twice about how someone was dressed because everyone had different rules to follow and what was required in our community could very easily have been forbidden in another one.

We had a woodworking business and dealt with the public every day and saw people dressed in all kinds of different ways and never thought anything about it. The only time I heard anything about the way "English" people dress was once in church when a minister went on a surprising rant about how it isn't fit to go to a beach because of all the people walking around with hardly enough clothes to cover a half grown blue jay.   That comment was the closet I ever came to having to laugh in an Amish church.

The first someone really addressed modesty or the lack of it was after we left the Amish and a lady from the church we were attending came to apologize for the way certain people were dressing since she was so sure it really bothered us, and the funny part was we had never even noticed until she mentioned it. And it still didn't bother us. While I would have been very uncomfortable wearing something like that it didn't even occur to me to feel uncomfortable to see someone else wear it.

I like wearing modest clothes and am trying to teach our daughters the same. Not by pointing out immodesty and making a big deal about it but by quiet positive remarks about attractive modest clothing. Much the same way my mother did when she told me how nice a dress fits if enough pleats were in the skirt so I always wanted to have enough. She could have pointed out a few women who didn't have enough and every time they bent over you could see their thighs or if they ran their skirt would ride up their legs. Gentle positive reinforcement of her views was all that was necessary which left me free from trying to find fault with everyone that wasn't dressed to her modesty standards which would only have robbed me of some of my childhood joy and innocence.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Did March come in like a lion or was it something less ferocious in your neck of the woods?

March first was a pleasant day but the next few were snowy, windy, and cold. I'll admit that I was secretly happy that we're getting a little bit of winter yet before spring officially arrives.

2. Speaking of lions, which one's your film favorite...The Cowardly Lion (Wizard of Oz), Mufasa (The Lion King), Elsa (Born Free), or Alex (Madagascar)? You may notice I left Aslan off the list. Including him would have made this question way too easy for many of you.

I have never seen any of those films but since we're speaking about lions my favorite lion is an old stuffed toy I used to have named Toby.

3. What's your favorite spot from which to view the sunrise or sunset?

The first farm where we used to live after we got married. The view from the porch looked out towards the west across the rolling mountains and we used to enjoy spectacular sunsets. Right now we live in a hollow and sunrises and sunsets are both only a memory.
4. To what extent is knowledge power and to what extent is truth power? What's the difference?

As I was sitting here thinking of knowledge and truth and trying to decide how to write this answer in order for it to make sense to you I started getting dizzy. The knowledge that there's no blog cop going to get me in trouble for not answering this question made me happy and I will be using the time I saved from digging into this deep topic to enjoy some truths in my Bible.

5. What's something peculiar you've seen recently?

I think I shared this picture before but this is what popped into my mind first when I tried to think of something peculiar. 

A cow sitting like a dog is not normal especially since they always kneel down with their front legs first when they want to lay down and when they want to get up they always use their back legs first.  This silly cow sat like this for more than half an hour.


6. Bottled water...your thoughts?

While I like the convenience of bottled water while hiking or traveling I don't like how it tastes. I much prefer the cold sweet water from our well and I have been known to buy bottled water but promptly dump it out and refilling it with our own to take with us on our treks. When ever we can't have our own water I'm reminded of King David in the Bible where he was longing for water from the well in Bethlehem. I think I know how he felt!

7. What's your strongest sense?

I'm not sure which of my senses is the strongest but I do know which is the weakest. I lost my sense of smell years ago and of the five senses if I had to lose one of them I'm glad that's the one I lost instead of any of the others.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday Sunbeam wanted to try making cookies on her own. She had chosen a simple recipe and since our kitchen happens to be washable I told her she could.

Her efforts were successful and when she served me a warm freshly baked cookie I loved her pleased expression.

It's so much fun watching our children accomplish new things!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pecan Pie Cookies

A while ago someone gave us Pecan Pie Cookies. After the very first taste I knew immediately that I wanted to have the recipe. Unfortunately since they came from a little local bakery they of-course didn't want to share it so I set to work trying to recreate them.


Pecan Pie Cookies

¾ cup butter (softened)
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs (medium)
½ cup cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Combine sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well and then add the cream.  After mixing it well add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Cover with a cloth and set in refrigerator while you make the filling.

Pecan Pie Filling

4½  Tbsp butter
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
¾ cup pecans (finely chopped)

Melt butter. Add powdered sugar and stir until melted. Add corn syrup and pecans. Mix well and then bring to a full boil. Stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and refrigerate immediately.

Now taking the cookie dough. Roll into balls only slightly smaller than a golf ball. Flatten gently and then using the back of a spoon make a nice hollow in the center.

Repeat with the remaining dough. Now you are ready for the fun part. Fill each hollow with the pecan pie filling. Bake on the middle rack in a preheated 350ยบ oven for 12 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.

They weren't exactly like the ones from the bakery but I was happy with how they turned out and by the way they disappeared I know I will be making them again!

I always like to line my cookie sheets with parchment paper. It eliminates having to use cooking spray or butter to keep them from sticking. And clean up is a breeze. I don't like using aluminum foil since I think it makes food taste like foil. I don't care for wax paper either because the wax usually adheres to the food.

I also prefer using air bake cookie sheets. They bake more evenly and the bottoms of cookies don't get overly browned on them.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Buddy

The children love taking pictures of Buddy. I uploaded another batch of them to my computer and really enjoyed going through them and seeing all the pictures they took this past week.

Here are a few of my favorite ones.





Friday, March 2, 2012

Estate Sales ~ Answering Questions

A little before Buddy was born I had been taking more of your questions and I was just reminded that I still haven't answered all of them.

I would love to be able to attend an Amish estate sale but somehow I never find out about them until after the fact. Do you have any advice on how to get a notice of any estate sales?

The Amish are as a whole very sentimental. Often when someone dies their things are divided among the family. Any estate sales will be private with only family being invited. Occasionally a friend will be there to be the auctioneer or serve as moral support but they would never bid on or buy anything.

Any money raised on that day would then be used to pay any unpaid bills left by the deceased. The rest would be divided evenly among the deceased's children.

Part of the reason things bear so much sentimental value is because there wasn't an overload of things and living by the motto: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without applied to almost everything. Like the toys we played with at our grandparents house were the same toys our parents used to play with and by the time all sixty grandchildren have grown up there are hundreds of happy memories attached to each item.

The same goes for all the furniture, dishes, books, and tools. No stranger could possibly appreciate those items like the family will and so things keep getting passed down and cherished until they are used up and worn out.