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

From this Side of the Pond
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

From this Side of the Pond
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.

Friday, April 28, 2017

X ~ eXaggerated

I happened to see that a new season of Return to Amish will be starting soon. I don't know the exact date, and I don't care.

I'm tired of 'reality' shows that have exaggerated things so much that it's a challenge to wade through an episode to find tidbits of actual reality.

Breaking Amish, Return to Amish, and Amish Mafia are all so ridiculously exaggerated, fabricated, and filled with outright lies that they should hardly even serve as entertainment.

I find it's both sad and annoying how easily people swallow these lies and believe all this garbage about the Amish. It amazes me how many want to continue believing these sensationalized untruths even after being told that is not how Amish live or operate.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

W ~ W's from my Idea Book

Writing Prompts This is such a fun section of my idea books. I have pages of fun prompts I have jotted down for the children to get inspiration for writing short stories. I also have prompts for my own writing, maybe a sentence or two that sparks a fun idea for a possible story line. There are lists of writing prompts for possible essays, blog posts, journals and more.

Wish List This is actually surprisingly small. Yes, there are things I would like to have, but most of them aren't important enough to make it to my wish list. I'm not counting books with this, they have their own sizable list.

Words I have always loved words. When I come across a new word that I want to remember I will write it in the word section of my idea book along with its definition.

Websites You'd think with the ability to save websites to your favorites, and the option to pin basically everything we want to a Pinterest board, that I would not need to write the addresses of websites in my idea books. But yet, I do.

Weight Loss I don't even like this section of my idea book, but I haven't discarded it yet. I could write entire blog posts on the adventures I've had with this category.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V ~ Vacuum Cleaner

We had moved into a house that had carpeting in every room except the kitchen. We were extremely careful on it, but when we left the Amish a few months later one of the first things we did was get a vacuum cleaner.

Though I would rather have had hardwood floors, I found it very satisfying to be able to run the vacuum cleaner. The children were impressed with it too, Kenneth wanted to be able to use it. Every once in a while I'd allow him to have a turn at it.

One day as I was working in the kitchen he started vacuuming the living room again. I didn't pay too much attention to what he was doing until I saw a thin wisp of smoke. He had the brilliant idea to clean the hot ashes from our fireplace, which as you can imagine as soon as it got sucked into the vacuum bag it started burning. I don't think I had ever moved that fast before as I grabbed it and threw open the patio doors.

The neighbors must have wondered what in the world was happening when a vacuum cleaner sailed through the air and landed in the yard.

I had three wide eyed children as I closed the door, and proceeded to give another fire safety lesson. We got a new vacuum cleaner and thankfully that one lived a long and happy life and finally died of natural causes

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U ~ Utterly Underwhelming

.... or at least that is how I'm feeling right now.

As we were going about our day today, Rosie Mae asked what I'll be writing for my 'U' blog post tonight.

"I was thinking I might talk about the Up and Down game," I said. I had just finished playing a round with Steven earlier and it was still fresh on my mind.

"That's a fun idea," she said and we went on with our day. She puttered around the kitchen happily working to invent a new recipe for cupcakes in hopes of creating one in the flavors one of her friends requested for her birthday.

I continued working on my project until it was time to prepare supper. After we ate I spent most of the evening on the phone, first with one of my brothers and then with my Mom. It was the first time, in a long time that I had talked with either of them so that was nice.

When I hung up the phone Rosie Mae informed me she had already made her blog post. I went to read it ..... hmm ... sneaky. She wrote about the Up and Down game, effectively using my idea.

I pawed through my idea books for other 'U' inspired blog posts, but they all feel underwhelming, so instead I'll direct you to her blog where you can read her version of my idea.

Monday, April 24, 2017

T ~ Tests

     Going to our little Amish school, test weeks used to be my favorite. Sure, there was studying involved to make sure we were brushed up on everything, but I found most subjects easy and enjoyable. Because of that the actual studying part didn't take me long and I could spend the rest of my time reading.

    We weren't plagued with timed tests. The teacher would hand out the tests in the morning and everyone started working on them. Once it was completed we would hand it in and then be free to do what we pleased. Reading, working on some type of art/craft project, or simply sitting and twiddling our thumbs. Being a bookworm I always opted to read.

   For the students who had a harder time, their entire day could be devoted to getting their test done. I'm sure they probably didn't enjoy test week as much, but at least the didn't have the added pressure of being timed and not being able to get done.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

S ~ Sunday Company Meals

Sunday company meals were always a big deal in our home when growing up. There were two levels of these meals.

The first, while delicious and quite sufficient was not nearly as elaborate as the second one. We never knew if we would be getting company on a Sunday, so we were always prepared. There was always cake and some type of special fruit on hand in case someone dropped in. We would then prepare potatoes and gravy, hamburger, some type of vegetable, applesauce, and homemade bread, butter, and jelly.

The company meal when we had invited guests was much more extravagant. The meal always started off by passing a platter stacked with slices of homemade bread. There were several different options of things to spread on your bread. Besides butter there was jam, a delicious jelly fluff, and honey.

Somehow there was always a set order in which the things were passed around the table. Potatoes were passed first, followed by the gravy. Next came a heaping platter of fried chicken and meatloaf, followed by browned butter noodles.

There had not been time to begin eating yet as more bowls of food were passed. Two types of vegetables, two types of salad, and it was finally time to begin eating. As the main course ended it was time to get into what everyone was looking forward to. Desserts.

It started off with cake, a platter of assorted cookies and bars, and fruit. Once everyone had eaten that a bowl of pudding made its way around the table. The meal was finished off with at least two kinds of pie, some type of fruit pie, and some other kind.

I was talking to the girls about those meals and they were feeling sad that they can't remember ever having an Amish Sunday company  meal. We decided to remedy that, but struck a middle ground between the two normal options.

It's a good thing we love leftovers.

Friday, April 21, 2017

R ~Rag Rugs

The year after I graduated from school Mom finally tackled the mountain of worn out clothes she had been hoarding in the attic in hopes of turning them into rugs.

It was slow tedious work cutting and tearing everything into two inch strips.

It makes my nose itch just thinking of all the dust and sneezing involved as we tore the fabric. Once we had a sizable heap of strips we sewed the ends of same colored fabrics together and wrapped them up into a big ball.

There was a certain sense of satisfaction seeing the pile of balls grow bigger and bigger. By the time we were done we had an impressive amount. We loaded them up and took them to Aunt Emma's house so she could weave them into rugs on her big weaving loom.

We were really happy with the quality and quantity of rugs all those old clothes made. Mom got to update all the rugs in our house and presented me with a pile of my own to put into my hope chest.

After LV and I got married I was thrilled to be able to use those rugs in my own house. I still have most of them, though one finally started unraveling the last time I washed it. I replaced it with one of the five remaining new ones I have been hanging onto.

It's interesting how many memories a simple rag rug can hold.

Sadly it's something our girls haven't experienced. Somehow I'm not as good as my Mom was in keeping worn out clothes for rug making purposes. Having a mechanic husband those clothes seem to go for grease rags instead. Useful, yes, but not nearly as pretty.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q ~ Q's from my Idea Books

Quotes I happen to love quotes, and when one catches my attention by either amusing or inspiring me, I will jot it in the quotes section of my idea books.

Quilts I want to teach the girls the joys of sewing and hand quilting a quilt. I have some quilts planned out in my idea book. The color scheme, pattern, amount of fabric I'll need to buy, and other little details I will refer to when we approach the somewhat monumental task of making a quilt.

Quiet Book I have long been fascinated by quiet books. When Steven was still itty bitty I started planning a quiet book to make for him. I enjoyed planning all the fun different pages I could make. There are sketches, well written ideas, and supply lists. I started sewing it, but never got it done. I really need to before he has completely outgrown the age where he would enjoy playing with it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P ~P's from my Idea Book

Photo Prompts As part of a photography project the girls will be doing, I have been creating various lists of photo prompts for them. I'm excited to help them work on it this summer.

Playlists I often listen to music when I write. Something interesting I have discovered is that I don't have specific writing music. Instead each book somehow seems to create a playlist of its own. I jot them down in my idea books because I want to go back to them and listen again even after I'm done writing.

Poems I write poetry occasionally and have a section devoted to my rhyming ramblings.

Projects When I approach new projects, I usually create a list of all the things I will need to get it done.

Party Planning Our parties aren't big at all, but they are a lot of fun. I enjoy planning all the details a long time beforehand and then have everything come together nicely without getting stressed or harried.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O ~ O's from my Idea Book

Oops My idea books hold so many fun things. Inspirational things. And a whole host of things that make me feel happy. But then there is the oops section. It's where I record the things that I don't want to repeat. Mostly Pinterest fails. It can be anything from recipes to crafts, to household tips, and unfortunately for the girls ... a disastrous acne treatment that they had tried one evening.

Opportunities When I have an idea of ways to make some extra money I'll jot it in my idea books. Some I'm working on, while others are still in that fun dream stage.

Monday, April 17, 2017

N ~No No's

While many Amish communities have a list of written rules that govern basically every aspect of their life, the community I grew up in did not.

Instead, it was all delivered orally, twice a year at ordnungs church. It took hours listening to the rules, and my stomach was always knotted with dread at what new things they might be adding and the changes that we'd have to make before being allowed to participate in communion two weeks later.

I was sixteen, and desperately wanting to stay out of trouble with the church. I happened upon a brilliant idea. I would go home from these church services and any other time rules were added or changed and write everything into a notebook in categories so I can keep track of everything.

My parents thought it was a pretty good idea, and somehow happened to mention it to my Mom's brother, who also happened to be the bishop in our church district.

It earned me a visit from the ministry. Our church rules shall remain unwritten they informed me solemnly. I didn't have to make a confession, but I was asked to burn the notebook, and to not write any more rules anywhere.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

M ~ M's from my Idea Book

Menus This has been mentioned several times already, but menus are a pretty important part of my idea books, so I'm mentioning them again. We go grocery shopping once a week, so planning out our menu is very helpful in knowing exactly what I need to get. Not only does it help me make sure I have everything I need for all our meals, it also helps me to not buy things that I might not get used before they spoil.

Memories Each of my idea books has a section where I jot tidbits of conversations and happenings in our family. I love looking back over all these little memories. It's something I'll always cherish.

Memes Somewhat the same as the linkups I mentioned yesterday, but they're a little more topic specific. I may use them someday ... maybe ... who knows.

Me Easily the most private part of my idea books. It's the section where I focus on me and the things that I would like to become better at.

Friday, April 14, 2017

L ~ L's from my Idea Book

Lunch With LV at work I tend to keep lunch on the simple side, but I still like to plan the menus to keep things from getting boring.

Library I keep a running list of books to get from the library. One list for books I would like to read. Another list with the books we'll be needing throughout the school year.

Link ups I have pages of fun blog link ups that I think would be fun to join someday. The only one I do regularly is the Wednesday Hodgepodge, but I may have to change things up and start throwing some different ones in occasionally.

Lesson Plans I really like mapping out my lesson plans. Starting with the main curriculum I use that lesson as a jumping off point and add things in order to dig deeper and learn more. There are so many things that can be added to make learning more interesting.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

K ~ Kids


    Growing up in an Amish family, the word 'kids' was never used to refer to children. It was more than simply personal preference. The reason behind it was based on how they applied the Bible to their life.
    When asked about it one day by a customer, my parents explained that on judgment day, the Bible says God will separate the sheep from the goats. With the goats not being on the right side, they did not want to call their children baby goats aka kids.
     That explanation has kind of stuck. Although I have occasionally used the word 'kids' I find I still much prefer saying 'children' instead.
   There are a lot of differences between Amish communities, and some will have families that do call their children kids.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J ~ J's from my Idea Book

I don't have a lot of J's in my idea books. There are a number of them that appear in different possible A-Z themed lists, but I won't be talking about them today.

Jokes Steven absolutely loves jokes. There are days when he will go on a spree of telling jokes and making up a lot of his own. They're mind numbingly awful. Especially his knock-knock jokes. After a listening to hours and hours of them I decided I really need to write them down, and then someday bind them in a little book and give it to him when he's older. Maybe as a wedding gift. So now there is a section in my idea book reserved for the jokes invented by a five year old.

Joy I have a joy section in my idea book where I'll jot things down that make me feel joyful. I expand on them later in a proper journal, but until I have the time to write about them properly it helps to have the condensed version jotted down to help me remember.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I ~ Idea Books

As you know, during this A-Z challenge I have been chattering on about the things I have in my idea books. I realized yesterday I haven't shown you the books themselves. So here they are. My five main ones. I still have notebooks and journals, but these binders are the ones I call my idea books.

The big pink one has over 500 pages, and is devoted entirely to homeschooling, while the others are much more of a hodgepodge of things that I keep organized with my handy little tabs.
My love for lists and idea books has been handed down to our children. Rosie Mae and Sharon each have their own, already brimming with lots of juicy, interesting things.

While we were spring cleaning the storage room I came across an older binder. I pitched the contents, since there was no point in hanging onto the pages of farm records any longer after having moved off that farm years ago. I filled it with fresh paper and presented it to Steven along with a new pen. Who would have thought a five year old would love his very own idea book so much?! He's spent lots of time ever since getting it, drawing and writing in it everyday.

Monday, April 10, 2017

H ~ H's from my Idea Book

  There are several lists of possible 'H' related blog posts, but I'm not delving into them today. I find it just a tad bit annoying how none of them are feeling as if it was the perfect time to be used.

Household Tips When I read or hear of some household tips I'll jot them in my idea book. Sadly, most of the time that is all I'll ever do with them. Of the ones I have remembered to try, there are some that have gone on to become regulars in our house. Others have not been successful at all and had to be crossed out and a short description of the failure written next to it to make sure we'll never try them again.

  Hymns I have a list of my favorite hymns with my favorite version or singer of that hymn. I can be forgetful at times, and if I want to find a certain song, it's so much easier when I know who sang it the best.

 Homeschool I could have done the entire A-Z challenge focused solely on homeschooling and all the different things involved. I'm not sure if I have ever conveyed just how much I love homeschooling. Each of my idea books have things in them pertaining to homeschool, and my biggest one is devoted entirely to it.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

G ~ G's from my Idea Book

I have only a few 'G' related things in my idea books.

Goals I have multiple lists of goals sprinkled throughout my idea books. There are daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. And other life goals we hope to meet within the next five to ten years.

Grocery Lists There are always several grocery lists. One is the weekly list while the others are everything that will be needed for special occasions. Holidays, birthdays, and things I need for company meals.

Gifts I keep my ears and eyes open year round and when I discover something that would make the perfect gift for one of the children or LV I'll jot it down for a future birthday or Christmas gift.

Friday, April 7, 2017

F ~ Flowers

   As you can imagine, growing up in an Amish family, we lived simply. Plainly if you will. There weren't many options when it came to decorations, or making things look pretty.
    We were lucky enough to live in a community that allowed us to have flowerbeds. Dad especially loved flowers. Mom liked them too, but with a huge garden to raise all our vegetable she didn't feel as if she had time to care for more growing things.
     The flowerbeds became Dad's project and he'd care for them in the evenings after supper. They flourished under his care, and we all enjoyed the beauty they added to our front yard.
     When I turned ten, my aunt gave me several begonia bulbs. I planted them in our hotbed after Mom had transplanted everything from it into the garden. They grew, and produced an abundance of blooms. When fall arrived I dug the bulbs up and stored them until the next spring.
      I loved those flowers and they did well, until the fall before LV and I got married. Somehow I didn't dig them up in time and they were permanently damaged.
      I had plenty of flowers though after we got married with the numerous huge flowerbeds that took a lot of time to care for. The lovely finishing touch they put on our farm, made all the efforts worthwhile.
     Somehow, since leaving the Amish we have not had any flowerbeds. There are some daffodils that grow every spring and a few other hardy bulb flowers, but that's nothing compared to what we used to have.
    Someday I hope we will once again have flowerbeds like we used to.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

E ~ Enjoy

   One of the things I enjoy the most in life is spending time with my children and seeing how much they love each other.
    I love seeing how even with a twelve year age difference between Kenneth and Steven that they really enjoy spending time together.

The girls vetoed the picture I had wanted to share of them enjoying a fun afternoon recently, so I'll respect their wishes and simply finish this post by sharing one of my favorite quotes that begins with the letter 'E'.
Each of my days are miracles. I won't waste my day. I won't throw away miracles. ~ Kelly Vickstrom

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

D ~ D's from my Idea Book

The things I jot into my idea books that begin with the letter 'D' couldn't exactly all be called ideas, but since they're part of my books, I'm sharing them today.

Devotions Life often gives me excellent pictures and examples of our relationship with God/Jesus. In moments like that I will quickly jot down what ever it was that caused me to think deeper and how it ties in with our spiritual life. Later I'll go back and add Bible verses and references that match up with it. I find it very inspiring to read back over the things I've written.

Dinner Since I use three ring binders for my idea books it makes it easy to add and remove pages as needed. I always have a week's worth of dinners planned. At the end of the week I'll remove that page and create a new one for the next week's dinners. If it was an extra good week I'll tuck it into the front pocket to be used again in a month or so.

Dreams I have two sections for this. One I have as a list of dreams I have for the future, while the other is of dreams I've had at night that stick with me and I jot them down to think about later.

Doodles I have a few pages that I doodle on when I talk on the phone. I'm not sure what it is about talking on the phone that always brings out the mindless doodling part of me.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

C ~ C's from my Idea Book

Let's peep into my idea book again today.

Crafts I have a section devoted to crafts projects we want to work on. Next to each project I have the week noted that I'm hoping to do it, as well as a list of all the supplies needed. Life is too short to get nearly everything done that I hope to do someday, so only the best of the best get listed in my book.

Christmas  The pages filled with Christmas ideas contain gift ideas of things we can make, as well as those to buy. All the snacks we want to make and enjoy over the season get jotted down and a list of ingredients I'll need before we get started. A detailed menu for our Christmas breakfast. Christmas related crafts, projects, and science experiments to add to our homeschool. Names and addresses for the people we want to send Christmas cards to. Food we want to share with the neighbors and the mailman. And a list of our favorite Christmas music.

Cleaning Not as fun, but rather important. I have a section with our cleaning schedule and tried and true cleaning tips I've found on Pinterest that actually work.

Country Studies I have an entire idea book devoted to Country Studies. In it I list the books we need to get at the library, recipes to try, crafts, art, and other fun projects to do for each country. Websites to find interesting facts about the country and videos to watch traditional dances. A list of important or famous people from that country to research later. Native plants and animals. The National anthem and traditions. We really enjoy this notebook.

Monday, April 3, 2017

B ~ B's from my Idea Book

   Earlier this year I had mentioned my idea books, and one of my readers suggested I should do this year's A-Z theme based on the ideas and things I write in those books. I thought it was an interesting option and decided that I'll be sharing bits and pieces from it though out the challenge.

Bucket List - I keep a running list of things I want to do someday, crossing items off as I complete them and adding more when ever I come across something that interests me.

Several items that were crossed off are:

Make homemade vanilla.
Have a book published (surpassed my original goal, and have a series of four books.)
Make every recipe in a cookbook
Do a Pinterest project every week for a year.

Several that I'm still hoping to do someday:

Visit the Library of Congress
Learn how to waterfall braid
Plant a tree
Plan schedule for all 180 days of school before the new school year begins.
Make a blog post every day for a year.

Book Ideas

When a new idea flits through my mind I'll quickly jot it down. Some of these go on to become outlines for books, while others are sitting there waiting for more inspiration.


The amount of ideas I have for potential blog posts could keep me posting daily for several years. I may have to make better use of it.


I plan food,  activities, and gifts for all the birthdays in our family well in advance.


I keep a running list of food and recipes I want to try for breakfast to keep them from getting boring. Without it I find it easy to make the regular eggs, toast, and cereal every morning.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A ~ Amusing

   Last evening, after a busy day of being out and about, we got home and discovered a very important piece of mail had not made it to the mailbox in the morning.
  We had no choice but run it to the post office. Since we were in town anyway I decided to make a quick stop to pick up a few grocery items.
   It didn't take me long to find what I needed and I headed to the check out. There was only one man there, and he had only one simple little item he needed to pay.
   I waited semi patiently as he painstakingly counted out a dollar and six cents, but then instead of leaving he started talking to the cashier about Amish people. "I can speak Pennsylvania Dutch," he declared importantly. "Vee gates?" (How is it going?) and "Vee bisht du?" (How are you?) he announced proudly.
    I smiled inwardly. Two phrases that Amish will most often teach those who are interested in learning a few words of their language.
   "That's cool being able to speak more than one language, I don't know too much about the Amish, their ways, or their language," the cashier said and then motioned for me to unload my cart.
     The man finally realized someone else had been waiting to pay. He moved out of the way and then asked jokingly, "Can you speak Pennsylvania Dutch?"
     "Jah, ich kann,"(Yes, I can.) I said and tried not to laugh as he got all flustered, didn't understand what I said, and quickly left.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'  What's something you've seen recently that you thought was beautiful?

I find there is beauty all around us, if we simply take the time to see it.

Yesterday Steven brought me a tiny bouquet of Coltsfoot flowers. There's something about those springtime bouquets presented by your little son that makes them one of the most beautiful things.

2. Our culture and beauty...your thoughts?

Personally, I think today's culture has a skewed view of beauty.

3. Age before beauty, beauty queen, beauty mark, beauty sleep...which beauty-ful phrase resonates with you today? Why?

None of them really resonate with me, though I could go for a good beauty sleep. I did a number of late, late nights last week, and I don't feel caught up with my sleep yet. One good night of sleep no longer catches me up like it used to when I was a teenager.

4. I read here a list of the top ten beasts animals that scare us the most-

alligators, coyotes, black bears, birds (but pigeons in particular), sharks, bats, bed bugs, rats, rattlesnakes, and the black widow spider. 

Which 'beast' on the list scares you the most? What is the liklihood of you having an actual encounter with that particular beast? Did a movie contribute to your fear of this creature? Have you ever had a real life encounter with any of the animals listed?

Birds don't scare me at all.

We have coyotes and black bears in our area, and see them occasionally. I wouldn't want to meet either one face to face, but I'm not terrified of them.

I am afraid of rattlesnakes. Unfortunately they are in our area as well, with a few of them seen much too close for comfort last summer.

Bats will have me shrieking and seeking cover. I utterly and completely despise them. I had more than one get into my bedroom when I was growing up. They've traumatized me for life.

5. Where were you when you last heard a bell ring? Was it alarming or musical?

A few days ago. It was neither alarming or musical. We have an old Amish school bell, and Steven likes ringing it occasionally.

6. What's your favorite carb? How's that for random?

Pasta, pasta, pasta with a side of plenty of bread. I haven't had either for a month and I miss them both dearly.

7. Let's wrap up another month of Hodgepodging and life with an acrostic. Recap your month using the word MARCH.

Memories made
Art classes taught
Real life issues addressed
Crafts enjoyed
Homeschooling days

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Our kitchen sees a lot of dessert made.

Yesterday this was created and served after supper. It looked delicious. It was declared delicious, but I can't vouch for it because somehow I restrained myself from having even the tiniest of tastes.

I'm trying to decide if it's worth living life dessert free?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm busy planning my posts for the April A-Z Challenge which is swiftly approaching. The first one is scheduled for Saturday.

Instead of coming up with something new to post today, that could potentially work as an A-Z post, Rosie Mae suggested I do a link up she discovered. It looked like fun, so here I am doing my very first Happy Homemaker Monday.

The weather..... A rain has washed the fog away and the sun is peeping through the clouds making the raindrops that are clinging to the tree branches and twigs glisten in its bright light.

Right now I am.... writing this blog post while listening to the sounds of children talking and laughing.

On my reading pile.... The only book I read everyday is my Bible. I am reading a Jen Turano book as I wait on Sharon when she's at her piano practice. Then there's the stack of homeschool catalogs I have been poring over as I plan our next school year.

 On my TV..... A music channel. I enjoy listening to music throughout the day and have found having the Beautiful Instrumentals playing softly is excellent when writing.

Favorite blog post last week (mine or other).... Sadly I didn't get to visit blogs last week, or write a lot on mine. Hopefully that will be different this week.

On the menu for this week....

Monday ... Jalapeno Shrimp Enchiladas, Salad, and Banana Cream Pie
Tuesday ... Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Salad, and Pie
Wednesday ... Pioneer Woman's Comfort Meatballs, Scalloped Potatoes, Layer Salad, Dinner Rolls
Thursday ... Pizza ... cooked at home. :)
Friday ... Crockpot Cube Steak, Applesauce, Bread and Cupcakes
Saturday ... Fried ham and onion sandwiches and pudding.

On my to do list.... spring clean the storage room, get some states ready to be appliqued on the States Quilt project the girls are working on, plan next year's school schedule - all 180 days.

In the craft basket.... this isn't exactly a craft, but my basket is filled with small gifts and items waiting to be wrapped. LV's mother will be celebrating her 70th birthday and each of her children are supposed to contribute to the 70 gifts she'll be receiving. I still need to buy several, and so far I haven't wrapped any so that will be a chore, even for someone who usually enjoys wrapping gifts.

Looking forward to this week.... nothing that exciting. Hoping to enjoy another week of ordinary days.

Looking around the house.... There's a puzzle on the floor that Steven did this morning. A few items are on the sewing machine waiting to be mended, and the couch cover needs to be fixed ... again.

From the camera....

Our first attempts at making a deep dish pizza,

What I'm wearing today .... a dark gray skirt and a pink top. Don't know why I have so much pink in my wardrobe, I don't even like it that well.
One of my simple pleasures .... is organizing. I know that may sound strange, but somehow I really enjoy organizing things. Not events .... things around the house. I'm looking forward to getting to do more of it later today.

Bible verse, Devotional....

I was reading the account of Samson this morning. There's a lot of food for thought packed into it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. Setting aside the real March Madness (NCAA Basketball) describe something happening at your house this month that might earn the title 'March Madness'?

I was hit with a deadline and madness ensued as I tried my best to get it done. The end is in sight now, and I feel as if I might finally be able to breathe again.

2. What's a favorite made up word from your childhood or a favorite from your children's childhood? Does your family still use the word today? If there's a story behind the origin please share.

From my childhood it would be 'hi bibbons'. One of my little brothers had a hard time pronouncing words clearly when he was a toddler. He used to call rice krispies, 'hi bibbons' and we all latched onto it, because it was fun to say. I will occasionally still call them that, because it's still fun to say.

For our children, twangled, it is the word Sharon invented to describe her feelings when she could finally walk again.

We've continued using it, because not only is it fun to say, but it does a really good job of describing certain feelings.

3. Will you be doing any spring cleaning now that the season is upon us? I read here a list of 15 quick (under one hour) spring cleaning tasks. They were-

clean out a drawer, vacuum furniture, whiten tile grout, dust the nooks and crannies you don't get to year round, degrease kitchen cabinets, wipe down walls, go behind furniture, wipe down ceiling fans, vacuum the mattress, clean the range hood, wash baseboards, shine the stainless steel, clean out vents, tackle the windows, and wipe down gadgets

Of the fifteen 'quick' tasks listed which two most need doing at your house? Will you do them?

We've been working on doing our spring cleaning the windows and ceiling fans are next on the list.

4. A favorite movie set in Paris or New York?

I can't think of a movie that I have seen that is set in either of those cities, unless I Love Lucy counts, in which case it would work for both cities.

5. What's put a spring in your step this month?

I don't know that there has been any one particular thing that has put a spring into my step. Mostly I think it is choosing joy, that puts a spring in my step.

Life is good, but life is also life. Choosing joy no matter what is happening helps tremendously in the spring factor of one's steps.

6. Did you ever want to be a teacher? Why or why not?

As a child growing up I used to dream of being a teacher, because I loved books and learning and helping others learn.

Being able to homeschool our children has been so much fun. I love being able to be the one teaching them, and even learning things alongside them as we go on our many digging quest to find out more about the things that our textbooks only share briefly.
7.  What's your favorite floral scent? Do you have this somewhere in your home or maybe in a perfume? How do you feel about florals in food? How about wines with floral notes-yay or nay?

I've always assumed that if I could smell ... apple and cherry blossoms would be among my favorite scents. I don't have any perfumes with that scent as a matter of fact, I don't wear perfumes.

I don't think florals should be in food. We tried a recipe once upon a time for making violet syrup. It had to be dumped. More recently Rosie Mae tried making rose water cupcakes. They were awful as well. We've decided to stick with food for eating and leave the flowers for the bees and beauty.

I don't drink wine, but I can't imagine adding a floral note to it would make it any better.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm very happy for Kenneth. When he was fifteen he bought himself an old tractor to restore. He is finally done with it. I would say he did a pretty good job.