Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. We've reached edition number 315 here in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So tell us, what were you doing at 3:15 yesterday? Is that typical? On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being low and 10 being high) what's your energy level usually like at 3:15 PM?

At 3:15 yesterday I was picking up paint and supplies at Napa for LV's restoration project. Is it typical, no, but it's also not the first time I've done a Napa run for him.

My mid afternoon energy level on an average day is usually around an 8.

2. A frisbee, a tantrum, a towel, a party, a punch, or a curveball...which have you most recently thrown or had thrown at/for you? Elaborate.

A curveball. Some things have gone drastically different from what we had planned, but it's all good. The writer in me wants to shout out "plot twist" and keep on enjoying life instead of getting sad or upset at what could have been.

3. What are three things that would help you right now. Tell us how or why.

1) The arrival of the last books we had ordered for our upcoming school year, so I can get the finishing touches on our schedule. The tracking number says they've been at their destination in "Stow Ohio" for a while already. That's not even the right state. I'll have to call the company I ordered from soon, if they don't arrive in the next day or so.
2) An air conditioning unit or at least a dehumidifier. The humidity and I are not friends.
3) A vacation. It's been years since we've had a real vacation. It would be really nice to be able to get away and relax for a while.

4. Do you think you're strong? Why or why not? What makes you strong?

Physically, not really. I'm not allowed to lift anything that's somewhat heavy.

Mentally/emotionally. Yes, I think so. Why? Because:
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

5. Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? What's your favorite book set sometime in the past?

Does Anne of Green Gables count as historical fiction? If so, then I'll definitely choose that series as my favorite. If not, I'll go with Janette Oke's Canadian West or the Love Comes Softly series. It's been quite a while since I've read them, but they used to be favorites as well.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

We enjoy spending time outdoors as a family. Especially in a nearby nature reserve. Somehow even with the summer heat Steven really likes wearing his favorite almost too small, long sleeved, ugly yellow shirt when ever possible. It makes me feel too warm just seeing him in it, but he loves it. It does give him added protection from the sun and hungry mosquitoes, so maybe he's the smart one and the rest of us should look for similar shirts to wear to go hiking.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

I was close to my maternal grandparents. They lived walking distance from us most of my childhood and then only about ten feet away the last few years before I got married. I have so many wonderful memories of them, but one I will cherish for always is how after they built their new house only a few feet from ours, I would go over every evening, often taking some kind of treat or a sample of a new recipe I had tried for Grandpa to eat. His health wasn't good, and his appetite almost non existent, but he always ate what ever I brought over. After he was finished eating he would launch into telling stories from his childhood, teenaged years, and their young married life. It was great seeing his transformation every evening from being tired, and shaky. To coming alive reliving the things he was sharing with me. He had a talent for story telling, and I was able to travel right down memory lane with him. I can't quite put to words how thankful I am that I have these precious memories, and how glad I am that I spent the last years of his life doing this.

2. What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

I loved my rag doll, Sally. I still have her tucked away in the attic.

3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

If I look out the window that is directly in front of me I look right into the big maple tree here in front of our house. It kind of blocks me from seeing anything else.

Other windows, I can see the forest, and more trees.

Figuratively, I think I do both. I know there are times when I'm focusing on little details that I have to remind myself of the bigger picture. (Though the big picture is made up of little details, isn't it?)

4. Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite?

grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 

Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?

I don't care for sour candies. I used to, but something has changed over the years and I prefer my candy to be sweet.

I love lemon and lime desserts. I have a grapefruit for breakfast occasionally, and I really like Greek yogurt. Nothing beats my mother-in-law's tart cherry pie. She makes the best filling. I've tried copying it often, even following her recipe to the "T" and it never comes out tasting like hers does.

Sauerkraut, buttermilk, and kumquats I can live happily without.

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.

Fifteen words or less???

Our most eventful, filled with change, rollercoaster, stressful, busy, interesting, fun, insane, bureaucratic, year ever.

That about sums it up, but doesn't do justice to the past six months. Most of it has not been documented on my blog, and it's also largely to blame for my somewhat sporadic posting. Bear with me ... things should be slowing down, evening out, getting more normal soon. Hopefully. Maybe.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I'll be continuing my task at hand today. Stripping and refinishing our dining room furniture. My fingerprints are basically worn off my right hand already, but I'm not done. I'm at the point where I'm beginning to think of all sorts of unpleasant things I would rather do than strip another chair.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Bite Sized Pieces of my Life

   I usually get up an hour before anyone else. I wouldn't have to, but I enjoy the morning quiet of getting my day started. The only drawback to this is, I live with a family of non-morning people. They get up and stagger to the breakfast table and eat in complete silence, while I'm sitting there nearly bursting with all sorts of topics for conversation. The few times I do attempt conversation I do good if I get more than a grunt or two as a reply.
   Over time I have become quite good at simply thinking instead of trying to talk until they become awake enough to function as normal human beings. I can't even begin to tell you how many well thought out blog posts I have composed in my head during that time and the plot twists I've come up with for books that will very likely never materialize.
    This morning's pondered blog post was all about grass fed meat and milk ... and my opinions on it all. Will I ever sit down and actually write about it? There's a small chance. Would I actually hit the publish button after writing it. Probably not.


   We're all aware of the mystery of missing socks, I'm sure. Where they disappear to, no one has been able to answer, but lately other things have been disappearing as well, and it's becoming a bit frustrating.
    LV needed an important piece of paper laminated earlier this week. I went to get the laminator from it's storage spot, but it had disappeared. Vanished completely. We pulled apart the storage room looking for it, stormed through the attic, checked under beds, and behind doors and it is no where to be found! It makes zero sense to me, because we've always kept it in the same spot, so what happened with it? Other than joining the land of missing socks, we have no answer.


   The girls and I went to Wal-Mart yesterday. I know it's a popular store to claim to dislike, but I'm glad we have a big one nearby.
    For the first time though I had an uncomfortable experience while there.
    I was paying for the things we got when the customer right behind me got all up in my personal space, and watched hungrily as I counted out the money. He announced loudly to everyone around me that there's a lady paying with cash, and she still has plenty left over. I didn't bother telling him a few ones don't count as plenty.
     He poked me on my shoulder and said, "People no longer pay with cash unless they have something to hide." He made some other remarks as well and kept inching closer. Backing away didn't help, he just followed.
     I usually don't judge people by how they look, but this guy gave me the creeps. There was something seriously off about him.
     I marched us out to the mini van, which I had parked near the front for the first time ever. (Usually I prefer walking.) We hurried to get our cart unloaded and I may have left just a little faster than usual.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather..... is absolutely gorgeous right now. The sun is shining, making the dew drops glisten in the morning light. The sky is a clear blue with nary a cloud in sight.

Right now I am.... writing a blog post while the girls are starting their chosen daily activities. I'm trying to ignore the floor which has still not received its morning vacuum run, but it will have to wait until after Steven wakes up.

Thinking.... how biting one's tongue occasionally, while not the most comfortable, is really the best thing to do. Or when it comes to Facebook ... just keep scrolling, just keep scrolling. Not everything needs my opinion added.

On my reading pile.... in my search for books and other materials for our country/cultural studies I found a new series that I'm loving. It delves into life in Botswana and I've been thoroughly intrigued.

Yes, they're fiction, but you can tell the author is knowledgeable about, and has a love for Africa and the country of Botswana.

The writing style, and subject matter are so different from anything I've ever read before, but I'm loving it.

On my TV..... nothing at the moment. Yesterday Rosie Mae and I watched a Hallmark movie (Love at First Glance). It was predictable as always, but this time also strangely unsatisfying. At the end we didn't care for either main character, and wished the girl with amnesia would have been able to reclaim her true love.

Favorite blog post last week.... unfortunately I haven't had a lot of time for reading blogs. The few I read last week were ones that had participated in the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

Something fun to share.... we've been going berry picking regularly. The freezer is filling up fast, and we're looking forward to many yummy treats.

On the menu for this week....

Monday ... Barbeque ham sandwiches and a garden salad
Tuesday ... Burgers with a mango Pico de Gallo
Wednesday ... Chicken enchiladas and a salad
Thursday ... Pizza and some kind of salad
Friday ... Breaded and baked pork chops and you guessed it, a salad.

On my to do list.... Go blueberry picking. Transplant some houseplants into bigger pots. Cancel a certain brand of office software subscription that has been nothing but a big headache. Work on more school scheduling and planning.

In the craft basket.... making a fitted sheet for an odd sized mattress.

Looking forward to this week.... getting our dining room furniture stripped of the old lacquer that gets soft and sticky every time the weather gets slightly humid. I'm not really looking forward to doing it, but I am looking forward to having it done.

Looking around the house.... everything is clean ... other than the floor that needs vacuumed.

From the camera.... we all love spending time outdoors. Our cameras are full of nature pictures.

What I'm wearing today.... a fuchsia shirt and a charcoal colored homemade skirt.

One of my simple pleasures.... wildflowers.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? Speaking of you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/or do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?
The best fireworks I have ever seen were six years ago following a Pittsburgh Pirates game at PNC Park.

There are a number of things that disgust, annoy, and frustrate me, but when I get out on the road and people drive in a way that put others in danger, well that tends to irritate me a lot. The last time my hot button was pushed was last week when a car was weaving all over the road and when I finally passed it I looked over to see the driver texting!!!

 2. Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?
I have not hosted or attended an outdoor party. I'm not much of a party person, and an outdoor party is something I'm fine with not being a part of.

 3. What does freedom mean to you?
With my Anabaptist heritage, and growing up hearing of how our ancestors were hunted, tortured, and killed in a variety of horrific ways because of their faith ... the first thought that comes to my mind when I think of freedom, is the freedom to worship God in the way we choose to.

 4. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits?
I find it annoying when people are attached to their cell phones so much that they ignore those around them. We were once invited to someone's house for dinner. The guy was on his phone 98% of the time. I don't get offended easily, but that experience was NOT fun.

 5. What's your current summer anthem?
I love music, but somehow I have not really had a song so far this summer that I've been listening to a lot. In fact, now that I stop and think we seem to be going through more of a non-music phase. I can't even remember the last time we listened to the radio while driving.

Sharon has been practicing the piano and playing Ode to Joy a lot. I love listening to it when she plays, so I guess I'll take it as my summer anthem.

 6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Photobucket is actin up which makes the usual Wednesday Hodgepodge button unavailable. You can still visit Joyce's blog and the other's who have joined the fun by clicking here.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Becoming my Mother

   I always enjoyed unpacking and putting the groceries away when ever Mom went shopping. I would never know what new or unexpected thing I might find. Especially because she was afflicted with a certain shopping blindness that we all found amusing.
    Hardly a shopping trip passed without her coming home and discovering to her dismay, and our amusement that she had once again bought something she did not want. For example, a bag of regular all purpose flour mysteriously changed to self rising flour somewhere along the way home, because she was certain she had bought the right thing in the store. The pineapple chunks she had put in her cart were decidedly crushed when I removed them from the grocery bag. The dog food turned into kitty kibble. The list could go on for days, but you get the picture.
    Somehow I have mysteriously picked up this weird shopping blindness as well.
    Imagine my surprise to see this in the kitchen.

    I distinctly recall grabbing a pack of plain white paper towels at the store. How did they change to these ugly things on the way home?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Picture my Week

Sharon and Steven spent a lot of time playing with kittens. Steven will spend a lot of time holding the one he claimed as his own, he sings it to sleep and then sits there holding it quietly until it wakes up again.
The end of a rainbow was nearby. If I wouldn't have minded getting wet I would have been tempted to run up to the field and get someone to take a picture with me standing at the end of a rainbow.

Sharon and Steven had been practicing for several weeks, and finally invited us all outside to see the little show they put together. I'm usually not a fan of clowns, but Steven managed to change my mind on that.

They served popcorn, strawberry bars, and fruit punch to us to enjoy while we watched their show.


The parts for Kenneth's four wheeler arrived. He fixed it and then grabbed his camera and went on a quick trial run to see if everything works fine.

 The girls, Steven, and I did some berrying and hiking. It's the end of the wild strawberry season, but we managed to find a handful. The girls and I each enjoyed one and allowed Steven to have the rest. They're tiny, but packed with lots of flavor.

 The girls and I took the few old oversized calendars we had and after taking them apart we glued the pictures back to back and then covered them in clear contact paper. They make excellent writing mats, and we're looking forward to having new ones to use this school year.
One of the little papers in our 365 Day Fun Challenge directed us to blow up a balloon until it pops. It was a mixture of terror and fun. The terror part came with the anticipation of the pop that was sure to come once the balloon got this size, and then the actual screams that followed the gunshot like pop. The fun part was watching each other blow up a balloon and the laughter after the initial screams when it popped.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. The first day of summer rolls in today. What are ten things you'd put on your list of  quintessential summer activities? Will you try to manage all ten this summer?

Eat an ice cream cone, go berrying, take long walks in the woods, have watermelon, go on picnics, read, spend time on the porch while it rains, playing in the creek, listen to the wind chimes, watch fire works, and for me ... plan next year's school.

2. Do you collect seashells when you're at the beach? What do you do with them once you get them home? What's your favorite place to comb for seashells? How many of these 'best beaches for hunting seashells' have you visited? Which one would you most like to visit?

Calvert Cliffs State Park (Maryland), Jeffrey's Bay (South Africa), Sanibel Island (Florida), Shipwreck Beach (Lanai Hawaii), Ocracoke Island (North Carolina), Galveston Island (Texas) and The Bahamas

We have picked up seashells when we visited the beach. Once we get them home they get cleaned, and then the girls squirrel them away for craft projects and decorations for a later day.

I haven't been to any of those beaches.

3. At a snail's pace, shell out money, come out of your shell, go back into your shell, drop a bombshell, happy as a clam, clam up...which 'shell' phrase could most recently be applied to some event or circumstance in your life? Explain.

At a snails pace.

We're in the middle of red tape. Applying for permits, and other legal stuff and then waiting for all the important people to get their part done takes sooooo loooonnngg.

4. What summer activity do you dislike? Why?

Sitting around a campfire in the evening is something I don't enjoy at all. Bugs all seem to feast on me. Maybe if I were more selfless I wouldn't mind it so much, but I'm not there yet.

5. What's something you see as quickly becoming obsolete? Does that bother you?

Letter writing/pen pals. Technology seems to have taken over. While I do enjoy the convenience of email and texting, I do miss all the letters I used to receive. Mail time is much more fun when it includes letters from friends.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

The girls, Steven, and I have been enjoying hikes, and berrying lately. The wild strawberry season is basically over. We found only a handful yesterday. It will still be a while before the blueberries and blackberries are ripe.

Yesterday, this was part of our day.

Monday, June 12, 2017

365 Day Fun Challenge

      We've started a different challenge for our family, well I guess mostly just the girls, Steven, and I will be doing it.
      I started by cutting 365 strips of paper and then writing a different fun little activity on each one. Every morning we choose one and do what ever it says sometime during the day.
      I think the biggest challenge for me was thinking of 365 different things to do, but somehow I managed, and we've been enjoying incorporating it into our days.
      Today's challenge was writing our favorite book quote on cardstock, adding what ever decorations we choose and tack it inside one of the doors of the kitchen cupboards.
      I chose my favorite Anne of Green Gables quote, (Surprise, surprise) I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
     We've done these challenges.
  • Play a hand clapping game
  • Write a poem
  • Sing in the shower
  • Fill an entire coloring book
  • Take a family photo
  • Talk only "Amish" for half an hour.
    We still have a long way to go to get through all 365, but so far we've been enjoying it.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Picture my Week

Back to back Picture my Week posts? How did that happen? Sorry I was MIA for the week.

We were so busy living that I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked, but at least I have a few to share.

Sharon donated her hair, and ever since then I have to keep looking at her and her cute new look. She still has enough left for a jaunty little pony tail.

Steven enjoys watching his Papa work on trucks. I'm pretty sure he already understands mechanic talk better than I do.

Sharon and Steven enjoyed their elephant ride when the circus came to town. This isn't the best of pictures, but their was someone else's little girl sitting in front of them, and I don't show other people's children on my blog without permission from their parents.

Temperatures were lovely this week, perfect for moving your "office" outside.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Picture my Week

The first time the May Apples bloomed after we got married, LV created a lovely bouquet for me. It was the first I had ever seen the flowers, and I really liked them. I think he stored my reaction away for future reference because it has become a tradition. Every May when they begin blooming he will create a bouquet. No two have ever been the same, but I have loved each one. This week the tradition continued when he presented this bouquet.

Steven enjoys what he calls "The Brick" game. In the process of teaching Steven to read I used the same approach I did with the rest of the children. We pretend the floor is water and the pieces of paper are stepping stones. There's a small treat at the far side of the long winding line of stepping stones. To get to it he pronounces the sounds correctly and advances to the next stone. If he gets it wrong he splashes into the water and starts over. I'm not sure how often he did it this week, but I do think I'm more tired of it than he is. He was already asking to do it again today after only being up for a few minutes.

My favorite waterfall picture this week.

The girls and I were working in the kitchen each making our own food item. Granola, bread, and a marinated salad. Steven couldn't decide who he wants to watch the most and after a little while of changing running from one cooking station to the next he opted for a bird's eye view instead.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?

Downstairs it's white / light. If it were up to me every wall in our house would be white. Unfortunately the upstairs has dark brown paneling which is something I would not choose. It makes everything feel smaller and less clean.

2. What's something you'll NEVER do again?

I don't necessarily care to use the word never, especially after being aware of the many things I've done that I used to say I would never do.

I have no plans though to ever own a horse and buggy again to be used as my main source of transportation.

3. Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.

Being a wife, mother, and homemaker is something I have embraced and really love that I guess could be thought of as a stereotype.

A few ways I don't fit is that I don't have a lot of clothes, shoes, accessories, and no makeup. I have one outfit to wear out and about. If I need to go somewhere several days in a row I simply make sure to wash it in the evening. I have two pairs of shoes. One for church, and the other for everything else. It will soon need to be replaced though because I've noticed that after six years there is a tiny hole in the toes of the left shoe.

4. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?

I have never owned a motorcycle, and really have no desire to. I've never had a ride on one, and again I have no desire to.

5. If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?

Read ... the Bible, Anne of Green Gables, the Lily books, and my blog.
Watch ... cooking shows, and comedians such as Jeanne Robertson.
Listen ... Before the Throne by Selah, How Deep the Father's Love for Us by Owl City, and my various playlists.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

The rhododendrons are blooming again. We have a giant bush next to our front porch. I love the vibrant splash of color it gives and how it's attracting hummingbirds. I was going to add a picture, but somehow I can't get it to upload this morning.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Picture my Week

A few picture moments from our week:
While waiting at the drive through at the bank the girls were highly entertained and amused by what looked like an Amish apron flapping in the wind, attached to the awning of the building across the street.

Sharon and Steven planted some radish seeds in a flower pot. We're looking forward to having a few fresh radishes to enjoy.

Just as I predicted when we moved here seven years ago. I will be taking a lot of pictures of our waterfall. I'm still not tired of it. This was one of the pictures I took of it this week.

The weather was absolutely beautiful, so one afternoon I decided to take Steven to the park to play. It was a disappointment seeing how much water was standing there. His favorite slide would have ended with a splash, so we only spent half an hour on the swings before heading back home.

The dump truck LV finished rebuilding was picked up. Steven and the girls camped out on the top porch to watch it leave. This was Rosie Mae's "Hey MOM! look when she discovered I was taking pictures of them.
Finally after eleven years of having left the Amish I went through my piles of patterns and threw away all the patterns for Amish clothes. It's nice having that space for things I'll actually use.

When a certain daughter who is really, really afraid of spiders sees one in the bathroom on the curtain, in the middle of the night while everyone else is sleeping, she suddenly becomes really brave and strong. One mighty wallop with a flyswatter killed the spider, and destroyed the curtain.

Waiting for his cue to speak in our homeschool co-op's production of Charlotte's Web. His little fists clenched in careful concentration.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm...

Are you a pack rat? Even if you're not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what's yours.

I wouldn't say it's a day worthy of having it's own celebration. Exactly how would one go about celebrating, I wonder?

I have pack rat tendencies. Not a full fledged one by any means, but I do have a hard time parting with books, letters, our children's artwork, and other sentimental things.

2. What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don't?

How to use a hammer and nail. It looks so simple when others do it, but I can't pound a nail in anywhere without hitting my thumb or having the nail get all bent. It's a frustrating, laughable disaster.

Crocheting is also a joke when I attempt it. Not a pretty sight, at all.

3. Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

I don't crave sugar. I used to a lot, but thankfully I got a handle on it. I refuse to use artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes. On the rare occasion we get to dine out I won't order dessert.

4. What's a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can't imagine living without?

I am one of the most untrendiest people you could hope to meet. I can't think of any trends I have followed, ever.

5. What's a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.

Fairest Lord Jesus

I learned how to sing that song the summer I was sixteen. My parents were adding a huge addition to their woodworking shop. While I was singing away happily in the kitchen, the contractors were busy right outside the open window doing the concrete work.

When ever I hear that song I am transported back there again.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm fighting with my printer the past few days. Half way through the latest cartridge of black ink, it decided it's time to change it. When ever I need to print something, it refuses. An alert will pop up on my computer screen saying that it won't print because a counterfeit cartridge has been detected. Hello! It's still the same expensive HP cartridge I installed earlier and it had been working great.

I've been taking it out and putting it back in. It will print one page and then go through the whole thing again. Annoying!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Pinterest Woes

I may have mentioned this before, a time or two, or three how I use our curriculum as the base launch pad and then dig deeper in areas where we want to learn more. Especially when it comes to things such as geography, history, and social studies.

Conversations on Facebook during the last Olympics had really bothered me. How sad that so many people were unnecessarily upset that Africa got to send athletes to represent each of its 'states' and we weren't allowed to do the same. When in reality Africa is not a country, but a continent with many countries.

Before all this I had always wanted to do studies on every country, but after seeing those conversations I knew for sure that I wanted to introduce, and study all 195 official countries with our children. And not merely where they are found on a map as many geography curricula do, but dig deeper to learn about culture, customs, food, famous people, plants, animals, and so much more.

I spent hours trying to find things and pinned them to my Pinterest, giving each country its own board. Some countries it's really challenging to find things I'm looking for. With my initial research being pinned I was happy to discover how Pinterest worked. Under each pin there's a number telling you on how many other boards this pin can be found.

I would click on the picture and then click on that number which opened a page with all those boards and I could easily check them out and find new material I was looking for without the headache and time of seeking and searching for hours and still having difficulty finding what I wanted.

I almost panicked when a few weeks ago that option no longer worked. I'm still sad about it. Why change something that worked so well, and make Pinterest harder to navigate and a whole lot less user friendly?

I'm working on preparing the lesson plans for our country studies next year. I'm having a difficult time with it again. For example ... Afghanistan. The very word brings unpleasant images to mind, right? And I challenge anyone to search for educational type things regarding it. You see, I don't want to simply focus on the unpleasant side of the country. There are mother's living there who love their children just as much as we love ours and are busy taking care of their family. What food are they enjoying? How do typical days look for children? What are some popular games they play? What animals might they care for? Hunt? What foods do they raise? What are some of the native trees, flowers, and other plants? What insects and pests are present? What music do they listen to? What are popular instruments they play. What books have been written by them? Who are some famous people in history? What are some popular sports? How many states/provinces? What does their money look like? What would the exchange rate be? What is their national anthem? What's the meaning behind their flag? What holidays do they observe. What are some festivals they have? How does life differ in different areas of the country? What entertainment do they have? What traditions do they keep? What do dances look like? What are some national landmarks? What are some of their minerals and other natural resources? What industries can be found? What crafts and art projects could we do and food could we try to finish out our study?

That wasn't a complete list of the things I look for, but you get the idea. And if you can figure out and tell me how to get Pinterest back to its former self I would be most grateful.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Missing Pineapples Already

Planning a traditional Amish company meal had been fun. The girls especially enjoyed the part when we sat down to plan the dessert menu for it. Just the thought of all those sweets in the house almost gave me a sugar overload.

With some negotiating we all came to the agreement that we really didn't need the full special dessert menu and we crossed off the pudding and lemon bars from the list, but stuck with the rest with the plans to freeze the leftover cookies and bars.

When Saturday arrived it didn't take long to get the weekly cleaning done and then pull out the old Amish cookbooks to begin the baking. We had settled on two kinds of cookies a 'Trash' cookie which is much better than what the name would suggest, and Pineapple cookies. One of my favorites that we hadn't made for quite a while.

By evening we were exhausted, the refrigerator was packed with things, while the cakes, cookies, bars, and pies were all arranged as neatly and temptingly as possible on the one end of the counter top. The girls refused to even taste anything until it would be served the next evening, but Kenneth and Steven weren't shackled with any of that and both enjoyed a few of the Trash cookies.

Sunday evening arrived and we cooked up a big meal. The desserts barely got touched and after supper instead of being able to have a quick clean up and then getting to read or enjoy a fun hobby we were stuck in the kitchen cleaning up and taking care of left overs for a long time. Rosie Mae and Sharon both agreed that while experiencing preparing a real Amish company meal it was something they really have no desire to repeat.

Last evening I pulled a Ziploc bag of pineapple cookies out of the freezer for our dessert for supper. Kenneth politely declined to have one.

"Are you full?" I asked. somewhat amazed that we had finally managed to fill up our hungry teenager.

"You don't have any other dessert?" he asked hopefully.

"You don't like pineapple cookies?" I asked.

"I don't like pineapple in anything," he said.

Wait ... what???? How did I never realize that before? It made me suddenly question my mothering abilities. I mean, surely somewhere in the past seventeen years I should have picked up that he doesn't like pineapples. Am I not as in tune with my children as I thought I was?

I'm fine with our children never wanting to experience another Amish company meal, but to not like pineapples? How is that even possible? I thought of our traditional Thanksgiving pudding, the Hawaiian fajitas I make, the fruit salads, and many other things. I'm just a little sad as I make plans to adjust some of my menus and recipes to not include pineapples. I'm still going to make Thanksgiving pudding though, and if he doesn't like it, it just means I get to have more.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm joining in the Happy Homemaker Monday again today.

The weather..... is interesting right now. The skies have that eerie pre-storm look, and it's really windy. Kenneth came in a while ago and informed me there is a tornado watch for the county just south of us. That's a little disconcerting because we are only a hop and skip from the county line, and the last I heard tornadoes don't necessarily pay attention to county lines. So I'm keeping my eye on the sky, my children nearby, and have the basement prepared in case we need to make a run for it.

Right now I am.... writing a blog post with Steven here beside me doing some school work. The older three are on summer vacation already after meeting our 180 day requirement and completing all their books, but Steven will be continuing school through summer.

Thinking.... that how interesting and funny life is, depends a lot on perspective.

On my reading pile.... I have several different things on my reading pile right now. My Bible of course, and a few magazines my mother-in-law gave to me, a book of science experiments, and the first book of my favorite series. Then there's also a Jen Turano book that I'm reading while waiting on Sharon at her piano lessons. It's really good. Last week I was so engrossed that I didn't even hear the piano in the same room and was taken off guard when the lesson ended and it was time to tuck my book away and go home

On my TV..... beautiful instrumentals. I rather enjoy listening to it in the background as I go about my day.

Favorite blog post last week.... Rosie Mae particiapted in the A-Z Challenge again this year and I always enjoy reading her posts. You can find her blog here.

Something fun to share.... spring is such a lovely time of year for being outside. After the grass dried off the morning Steven and I headed out to make some nature bracelets.

Blog hopping (newly discovered blog).... Sharon signed up for a blog and made her very first post today. You can find her blog here.

On the menu for this week....

Monday ... Poblano hamburgers, layer salad, and for dessert pineapple cookies
Tuesday ... Chicken ~n~ dumplings, homemade dinner rolls, and baby carrots
Wednesday ... Rice casserole, salad
Thursday ... Baked at home pizza and salad
Friday ... Baked chicken breast, broccoli salad, and cupcakes for dessert

On my to do list.... Take Sharon to her piano lesson, cook supper, and work on next year's school schedule.

In the craft basket.... mending. Somehow I always let it accumulate for a while before I sit down and get it done.

Looking forward to this week.... nothing all that monumental. Hoping to have ordinary days of cooking, cleaning, laughing, loving, working, playing, and simply enjoying life.

Looking around the house.... the table in our school room has the curriculum for next year piled on it waiting for me to get through all the books in order to write up the scope and sequence I'll be submitting to our school district along with our affidavit. There are remnants of the girls crafting adventures of the afternoon. Today that happened to be making decorated envelopes to use for their pen pal needs.

From the camera.... This morning the sun was making the water in the creek sparkle and shine so I grabbed my camera and headed outside. After taking a number of pictures I noticed the pair of geese having fun on top of the waterfall. I took some pictures and then included this cow.

I had to laugh when she moved to get into my next shot with this funny expression on her face. (Click on it to enlarge.)
And then posed perfectly for me. Who knew even cows are getting into this selfie culture?!

What I'm wearing today.... An odd purple shirt and one of my favorite dark gray skirts.

One of my simple pleasures.... receiving dandelion bouquets from Steven.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Y ~ Yondering

Yondering definition: The yearning to adventure, to roam, to wander in an unspecific direction toward an indeterminate objective, usually over hill(s)

While not exactly yondering, I'm going to use the word to describe our afternoon. There is this lovely spot that our family enjoys visiting when the weather is nice. We've been talking about going all spring, but it took us until today to finally go.

The wild strawberries are in full bloom. There is a bountiful amount of them and I'm looking forward to go berry picking. Other strawberries don't come close to matching the flavor of these wild ones.

Kenneth gave a detailed presentation of beavers and their work to Steven who was quite impressed with it.

These are some of the prettiest seeds I have ever seen.
So many spring flowers were blooming. Giant lilac bushes, narcissus, bluets, violets, and more all helped add beauty to our "yondering."


 The lake was very calm, but murkier than I have ever seen it. The children still had a lot of fun playing there and watching all the little creatures that were busy at the edge of the water. With barely a ripple on the water, it made that skipping stones worked better than it would have otherwise.

We left, happy and tired with slight sunburns, and plans to go back next weekend.