Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.

In some cases, yes. Pictures can at times capture what is difficult to describe with words. I really love words though and I'm glad I don't have to rely on pictures to communicate.

2. Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?

I have not, but would love to someday. It's on my travel bucket list.

3. How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is?

Changing into fall always invigorates me and gives me a certain wanderlust, a stirring deep inside that I can't quite explain and never really know what to do with it until it passes.

I find myself doing a mix of looking forward and backward.

The season transition that bothers me the most is when spring turns into summer. I don't do well with heat ever since a scary overheating episode I had as a teenager.

4. It's your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?

Having blue crab stuffed ravioli at a local seafood place has become a birthday tradition for me. I'm already looking forward to the next time I get to enjoy it.

I don't lie about my age, I don't make it a point to volunteer that information, but I don't try to hide it either. I didn't enjoy my 30th birthday, but since then I rejoice with every birthday I get to celebrate.

5. What's a life lesson you've learned recently?

I wish I could share something great and grand, but there's nothing that I can think of at the moment. Life has been relatively calm recently, and I've been enjoying that a lot.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I really, really dislike shopping for shoes which is probably why it has been years since the last time I subjected myself to this particular form of torture, but with my shoes coming apart at the seams and giving people glimpses of my sock clad toes with every step I took I knew the time had come that I needed to buy a new pair.

My first attempt was to buy them online, but when they arrived they were too small and became the property of one of my daughters instead.

Last evening LV and I headed out to go shoe shopping, me to find shoes I can live with and him to lend moral support.

The options felt overwhelming, all I wanted to do was curl up in a whimpering ball behind the shelves. Buying shoes had been so easy when we were Amish ... all I had to do then was walk into the Amish shoe store, state my size, and choose between two styles, Sunday or everyday.

I somehow managed to focus on the task at hand, and walked out of the store, the unwilling owner of a new pair of shoes, relieved at the thought that it will be years before I go shoe shopping again.

Monday, September 11, 2017


     One of the advantages of having older children is that when LV comes up with a spontaneous "date night" idea we can actually act on it, just the two of us.
      That was the case again early Saturday evening when he suggested we go hiking to one of his new favorite spots.
      The path leading back to the giant rocks/cliffs was delightful with all the moss covered rocks, and the soft grass growing between them. It almost felt other worldly, as if I had somehow managed to step right through the pages of a book and into another dimension.
       As we neared the end of the trail the rocks started getting much bigger. We clambered over them, hanging onto branches of mountain laurels to keep from falling. They were worn smooth from all the people who have done the same.

      The view once we got to the top of the rock/cliffs was lovely. I had to stand there for a while simply soaking it in before I tried my hand at taking some pictures. I zoomed in, zoomed out, tilted my camera one way and then the other, but none of the pictures did the view justice.

There's something about spending time in nature that stirs something deep inside your soul. Spending that time with the person you love the most makes it even more special.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. Can you believe we're rolling in to the Labor Day weekend? What's a project you'll labor over this fall?

Labor Day seems to come sooner every year. Weird how time does that the older you get.

I don't have a specific project in mind for this fall. Though judging by how our storage room and attic look, I should take care of them.

2. Tell us about the best perks you ever had in a job?

Of everything that I've ever done, nothing comes close to the perks I enjoy of being a mother.

3. August 31st is National South Carolina Day. Have you ever been to SC? Any desire to go? According to Southern Living, these are the top ten things to do in South Carolina...

Explore Charleston, bike, golf or relax on Hilton Head Island, see the beach and the boardwalk at Myrtle Beach, visit the state museum in the capital city Columbia, observe the wildlife and natural beauty of the Ace Basin, take a walk or hop on a trolley and check out Greenville's charming main street, visit Fort Sumter where the Civil War began, stroll through Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden in Bishopville leaving time to check out The Button Museum, also in Bishopville, see Morgan Island (also known as Monkey Island)-home to nearly 4000 Rhesus monkeys. 

Which is most appealing to you today? If you're a SC native, resident, or frequent visitor what would you add to the list?

We have been to South Carolina several times. We haven't explored everything Charleston has to offer, but we have enjoyed the Straw Market and the girls and I spent a day with a friend who knew all the best thrifting spots.

There are a lot of places I'd like to go, see, and experience. South Carolina wouldn't be my first choice mostly because of the heat.

4. Beef, pork, country-style, barbecued, baby back, spare or short...your favorite kind of rib? What's a dish you enjoy that really 'sticks to your ribs'?

Pork or baby back ribs would be my choice.

A dish I really enjoy that sticks to the ribs is our favorite Mexican meal. We're planning on having it today.

5. What's one important skill you think every person should have? Why?

I think everyone should know how to cook. At least the basic skills of cooking, so they can eat without having to rely on prepared foods.

Growing up in a culture where men didn't do anything in the kitchen, my Mom went against the grain and taught all my brothers how to cook a few dishes, and bake bread and cookies. I'm sure their wives appreciate that a lot.

I wanted all our children to learn as well. The girls can cook and bake anything. Kenneth has his favorite dishes he cooks, not the biggest variety, but enough that he could comfortably fend for himself if needed, and he can follow recipes so really, I think he's set.

Steven has always LOVED the kitchen and really wants to cook. I've started allowing him to do some things with careful supervision. If he keeps this up he'll be our best chef.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

One of LV's nephews is spending a few days with us. We're hoping to go hiking this afternoon if the weather remains favorable.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather..... is lovely. The sun is shining through the clouds and it's a balmy seventy-one degrees.

Right now I am .... sitting here at the computer trying to make a blog post while I wait for the next load of laundry to dry. Steven is on the floor beside me setting up his track to play with his cars.

On my reading pile ... my Bible. With school back in session it doesn't give me a whole lot of time for pleasure reading. I'll probably dig something out of the book cupboard tonight when I take Sharon to her piano practice, but as of now I'm not sure what it will be.

Movies or shows I watched this weekend ... the only thing I really paid any attention to this weekend was Battlebots. I never imagined I would ever want to watch fighting robots, but somehow it's something the entire family enjoys.

On my TV ... not watching anything at the moment. Later tonight there will probably be baseball, but I usually don't pay a whole lot of attention to it.

On the menu for this week ....

Monday ... Pork chops, mashed potatoes, applesauce.
Tuesday ... Comfort meatballs, broccoli salad, fried potatoes.
Wednesday ... Chicken Enchiladas, Mexican Fried Rice, salad.
Thursday ... Pizza and ice cream.
Friday ... Steak, seven layer salad, sweet corn.

On my to do list ... the daily dozen, school, desk work, and hopefully some writing.

What I'm sewing, knitting, or creating ... I'm not working on any sewing or knitting projects at the moment, though it seems there is always something in the mending basket waiting on me. I can't even remember the last time I tried knitting something. Creating .... some fun desserts for later this week.

Looking around the house ... it's tidy, though t appears I should wash the windows again. There are several families of spiders that have laid claim to the outside of three of the windows and the mess they create is a constant battle trying to clean up.

From the camera ... we got to enjoy fresh sweetcorn. I'm not sure which was the best, the actual corn which was delicious, or the fun we had shucking it and feeding the husks to the cows.

What I'm wearing today ... a pink top and my favorite charcoal gray skirt.
One of my simple pleasures ... a warm chocolate chip cookie. They're once a week treats that we all enjoy.
Inspirational Quote, Bible Verse, anything you want to share ...
Several different hymns have been on my mind a lot these past few days as we grieve with friends who lost their 18 year old son in an accident.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Beautiful Day ~ Amish Legend

     The weather is often topic for conversation, and I've noticed that the more people don't enjoy what ever weather it is, the more vocal they are about the topic. I admit, I have chimed in a time or twenty when I allowed the heat and humidity to make me cranky, but yesterday an old Amish "legend" came to mind. I hadn't thought about it in years, but it made me pause and think.

     Old Ben was a cheerful man. No one in the community ever heard him speak anything other than uplifting things. His usual greeting whenever he met anyone was shöner Tag (beautiful day). When other farmers were stressing because of all the rain they had that kept them from working in their fields or a drought that was withering their crops, he happily went about his life declaring every day to be beautiful.
      Sometimes others would try to point out the obvious to him. His hay was getting rained on and his grain fields were flattening, but he persisting in declaring it was a beautiful day, never once did anyone hear him complain about the weather.
      Time kept passing and Old Ben continued growing older, and the day came when he died. The morning of his funeral day  dawned and angry clouds came scuttling in, covering the sun. Fierce winds began to blow and rain came pouring. Thunder raged, lightning struck, and even hail pounded around the house as people walked past the coffin to say their final good byes.
     The hardiest among them went to the cemetery for the burial. The grave already had a foot of water standing in it, but they went ahead and lowered him into it anyway and buried him in the middle of the storm, the dirt turning to mud as they dropped shovels full on top of his casket.
    With their job complete, they turned to leave and one of the men remarked, "Even Old Ben would not have had anything good to say about the weather today."
     From the grave a voice declared, "Shöner Tag!"

     Did this actually happen? Eh ... I'm not saying it did, but that's what we were told growing up, and it does give food for thought.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window ... it's a little overcast and the air feels like rain. A few deer munching alfalfa in the hayfield on the hill above the barn makes me think it will rain before long. Having them come out during the day like this always seems to be a better indicator of bad weather than the barometer we have.

I am thinking ... how disappointing it is when you try a new food and it doesn't taste anything close to what you imagined it would. We tried our first whole coconut yesterday. There was nothing about it that tasted like I thought a coconut should taste.

I am thankful ... for windows that tilt in to wash. As often as it's necessary to wash the outside it would be a pain if I had to drag out a ladder and clamber up and down to get them all washed.

One of my favorite things ... my fluffy housecoat. It's been surprisingly chilly in the morning recently, and we're certainly not turning on the heat in August, so housecoat to the rescue.

I am creating ... memories. Nothing monumental, but hopefully the children will someday look back fondly on the days of Mom being elbow deep in some science experiment, reading books, singing, and cooking together.
I am wearing ... a shirt that says The American Bible Challenge across the front. I received it from a contest I had entered several years ago. It's not the prettiest shirt, actually quite far from it, but it's super comfortable.

I am reading ... a book by Janette Oke. It's okay. I used to be a huge fan of all her books, but this newest one isn't quite measuring up, or maybe my tastes have been changing.
I am watching ... The Great British Baking Show. It's one of my favorite cooking shows, the accents, the location, the things they bake. Really I like pretty much everything about it. The competition is much friendlier than on some other cooking competitions I've seen.
I am listening to ...  Sharon practice a new song before heading to her piano lesson later tonight.
I am hoping ... that we'll be able to get some loose ends tied up soon.

I am learning ... how to work some new features on Microsoft Word.

In my kitchen ... there is granola toasting in the oven. We made a huge batch and have been working all afternoon to get it toasted.
Board room ... as in my Pinterest. I'm so sad how the powers that be decided to change things up again and my carefully organized boards have been tumbled about and are now in order of what I most recently pinned to. It makes me feel itchy just looking at it, so I have determined to pin things board by board until I have it back in the right order, and then not pin anything until they hopefully quit this feature.
Shared Quote ... The best portion of your life will be the small nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you. ~ Author Unknown
A moment from my day ... we had some things to take care of in town today. I've seen this mural more times than I can count, and on a whim I took a picture of it this time.

Closing Notes ... you can join in the daybook fun over at The Simple Woman.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


   Only several steps from our back door there is a field on a steep hillside where every summer someone puts their cows in to graze.
    Somehow even though they attract flies, I enjoy seeing and watching them.
    There's something about seeing a cow grazing peacefully that makes me feel that everything is all right in the world.
    I have come to the conclusion that people every where would be happier if only the could spend their free time on a back porch watching a cow and her calf interact, simply watching them graze, being mesmerized by their swishing tails. Listening to them eat grass. Yes, really. I don't know of much of anything that sounds better or tastier than a cow enjoying grass. (Well ... maybe a horse eating hay, but we don't have any horses.) They make it sound so good!
    There's something so peaceful and simple about this pair. They're not worried about anything other than family and food.
    Can you imagine the stress free life we could have if we detached ourselves from most everything else, especially social media. Instead of being bombarded by angst filled political views, incessant chattering on modesty, and wearying arguments concerning a vast range of subjects on everything from parenting styles, diets, education, medicine, flat earth (yes really) and basically anything else you can think of.
    Here's something I never imagined I would ever say, but I think I want to be more like a cow, and focus only on what's important. I'll still pop into Facebook occasionally, but I won't be spending a lot of time there.

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.