Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. Speaking of your wit's end, at loose ends, a dead end, burn the candle at both ends, all's well that end's well, or no end in sight...which 'end' phrase might best be applied to your life lately? Explain.

Burn the candle at both ends.

Early mornings, and late nights and still not enough time to get everything done.
2. What was a must have accessory when you were growing up? Did you own one? If so tell us what you remember about it.

I have no idea what any must have accessories were during my growing up years. I was peacefully unaffected by trends, fads, and must haves.  One of the perks of being Amish.

3. Something that made you smile yesterday?

My children make me smile every single day.

4. January 30th is National Croissant Day. Do you like croissants? Sweet or savory? We're having chicken salad for lunch...would you rather have yours served on a croissant, a wrap, a bagel, bread, or a roll of some sort?

I like croissants, both sweet and savory, but the savory probably a little more.

Chicken salad on a Parker House roll is one of my favorite ways to eat it.

5. Sum up your January in fifteen words or less.

A long month, multiple dental appointments, cold, warm, muddy, and busy.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

There's a 1,500 piece puzzle spread out on our school table by an overly ambitious daughter who thought she could complete it in one evening. As it turns out she couldn't which has made school time interesting this morning as we found other places to sit. The kitchen table, curled up on the sofa, and sprawled out on the living room floor.

On the schedule for this afternoon, get the puzzle completed. Change is okay once in a while, but we all like school in our school room best.

Monday, January 29, 2018

First Day of School

     The semi had been unloaded and after the last people left for their homes, Mom told us we can explore the house while she starts making supper.

     There wasn't much to see downstairs since there were only two rooms. A kitchen/dining room and a living room. We went upstairs and found two bedrooms a large hallway and a bathroom. In the one bedroom there was a door, when we opened it we found a stairway that lead to the attic. We walked up the steps and then stood there and looked. There were piles of boxes and baskets of every shape, size, and color. We started looking at everything and long before we were ready Daddy came to find us and it was time to go eat. The attic would have to wait until some other day when he and Mom had time to sort through everything the previous owner had left behind.

     After supper they tucked us in bed. John and David had a room but my twin size bed was in the hallway so that it where I had to sleep. Mom said she would make curtains to go around my bed later but for now this was the best they could do.

     Morning came before I was ready. Mom packed a lunch for John and me and made sure our faces were clean. A few minutes later there was a knock at the door. Mom went to answer it, three boys were standing there each holding a lunch pail and wearing a straw hat. Their ears were bright red from the cold. Mom invited them inside and they introduced themselves. The oldest was Melvin, then Vernon, and the youngest LV.  Melvin visited politely with Mom as she got us ready for our cold walk to school. John wore his stocking cap and looked warm and cozy compared to the straw hats the boys were wearing.

     We started for school. The wind was cold but the sun was bright and almost hurt my eyes with the brightness of the fresh white snow. John and I were getting tired. A mile seemed like a long distance especially since we weren't used to it. Melvin and Vernon walked with us but after a few minutes LV gave us a disdainful look and marched on ahead.

     After what seemed like a long time we finally arrived just as the last bell was ringing. We hurried into the schoolhouse and hung our wraps on hooks the teacher pointed out to us. As everyone else found their seats John and I stood at the back not knowing what to do. The teacher smiled at us and said "My name is Hannah. We are all very happy to have you in school today. I have two desks that are waiting for a boy and girl to use." I liked her immediately and we followed her to our desks. I sat at the end of a long row and John sat at the very front. Right across the aisle from me sat LV. Since he was no longer wearing his hat I could see his hair and almost had to giggle. It was extremely curly and resembled a shelf. I looked around at the other children and then had to look at that hair again. LV must have realized I was looking at him more than necessary because he looked over and made a face and then went back to the project he was working on.

     When it was time to go home Melvin and Vernon once again walked patiently with us. LV didn't even bother trying but ran all the way and by the time we were on the top of the first little hill he was already disappearing from sight on a small dirt road almost half a mile ahead of us.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A New Home

     During the night Daddy and John started for Pennsylvania, riding in the semi. Once morning arrived so did a station wagon pulling a horse trailer. Uncle Alvin helped load Jim and Jenny. We all said our good-byes and Mom helped David and me into our seats and we were on our way.

     After driving for six hours we arrived at our new home, in the middle of a typical Somerset County snow storm. The semi was parked beside the road in front of our house. There were horses and buggies everywhere and men were carrying boxes and furniture through the snow into the house.

     Daddy came and unloaded our horse and cow and lead them into a small red barn. Mom and we children went into the house. There were women everywhere, opening boxes and putting things into cupboards and where ever they felt was a good place.

     I stood inside the door and watched. I felt so small and I wanted desperately to go home. A little girl was sitting on our couch playing with our toys. Men were coming up the porch steps with more things and tracking snow into the house that melted into dirty puddles on the floor. A friendly teen aged girl stood at the door and opened and closed it for the men and tried to start a conversation with me, but I was too overwhelmed to respond. Finally I caught a glimpse of Grandma Mast in the kitchen. I hurried over to her and she got a drink of water for me and let me help her unpack a box of dishes. It felt good to be a part of the activity instead of only watching from the sidelines.

     When the semi was empty everyone started to go home. Finally there was only Grandpa Masts and one other family there. The lady was short and very friendly, she helped Mom get things into order in the kitchen and living room chatting pleasantly the entire time. I didn't pay too much attention to the conversation until I heard her state matter of factly that John and I should start school the next day and that her three boys would stop in the next morning and we can walk with them.

     In the excitement of moving I had completely forgotten that we would have to go to a new school and I was not thrilled at the prospect of doing so. Mom thanked the lady and assured her we would be ready by the time the boys came the next morning.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. January 24th is National Compliment Day. Is it easy or not so easy for you to accept a compliment? Share a recent compliment you've given or received.

I'm much better at accepting compliments than I used to be..

A recent compliment I received was from Steven, telling me that I'm a great cook. I love how at six, he is already great at dishing out compliments.

2. Ten little things you are loving right now.
  1. My favorite pen ... the way it feels in my hand, the color of the ink, and the ease that it travels across the page as I write.
  2. My notebooks/idea books/planners.
  3. My pretty Pioneer Woman water bottle that a dear friend gave to me for Christmas.
  4. Our house plants that I somehow managed to keep thriving so far.
  5. Goodnight hugs from the children.
  6. My waffle iron. It was something I wanted for a long time, and finally, 11+ years after leaving the Amish I have one.
  7. Story time with Steven, whether I'm reading to him or he's reading to me, either way, love it!
  8. Pretty teacups. There aren't a lot of teas I truly enjoy, but any tea is made better when served in a pretty cup.
  9. Seeing your children achieve goals, watching them reach milestone moments, and witnessing their dreams come true.
  10. Lists, all kinds of lists. This one could have been much longer, but since Joyce asked for ten things, I'll stop here.

3. Would people describe you as a positive person? Do you see yourself that way?

I hope people would describe me as a positive person. Yes, I see myself that way.

I read here  a list/description of eight things positive people do differently.

Positive people find something to look forward to every day, they celebrate the small stuff, they're kind, they stay busy, accept responsibility for their actions, forgive themselves, know when to move on, and resist comparisons

Which action on the list would you say you do regularly? Which action could you add to your life to give you a more positive outlook? If you're a positive person, what's something you do regularly that's not on the list?

I'm good at most of those things. An area where I could improve on is forgiving myself. It can be hard at times when you wish with everything in you that you  could turn back time and do something totally different.

Something I do regularly that's not on the list. Express gratitude to God, and to others. I like to write things down that I'm grateful for.

I think there's a whole lot of truth in the saying, Happiness is 10% circumstance and 90% attitude.

4. Homemade chicken soup, beef stew, or a bowl of chili...what's your pleasure on a cold winter's day?

The homemade chicken soup would be my soup of choice. I make Chicken ~n~ Dumpling soup regularly. It's a family favorite.

5. The best part of my day is....

This is hard!

I love getting up in the morning and starting my day in a quiet house.
I also love when the rest of the family gets up to join me for breakfast an hour later.
I love sitting down with the children and do our schoolwork.
I love when we get done with school for the day and we get to focus on other things.
I love when it's time to cook up a meal, and when everyone sits at the table to partake of the things I cooked.
I love the time after dinner when we relax and enjoy family time before bed.
At night I'm always so glad to have a comfortable bed to get into and fall asleep.

Really, my days are filled with best parts. I'd be sad to miss out on any of them.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I mentioned my waffle iron as one of the ten things I'm loving right now. Updating my kitchen with non-Amish things has been a long drawn out affair. In fact I'm not nearly done yet. So my question to you is, What kitchen tool, gadget, or small appliance is your favorite? What should I put on my list to get next?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Moving Day

     John, David, and I watched as a semi-trailer was being backed up in front of our house. Mom was hurriedly packing the last few boxes of things. She gave a box to us and told us it's time to pack all our toys.

     We carefully packed everything, and Mom taped the box shut and then lets us write "TOYS" on it. Before long the few remaining Amish families in the community came to help us load all our belongings. Cousin Emma and I watched from the living room window as the men carried all the furniture out followed by the boxes and finally our heavy Pioneer Maid cook stove. Once all the household things were on the trailer they hitched several Belgian work horses to a hay wagon and backed it up to the shop and lifted all the woodworking machinery on it and then drove over to the trailer where they unloaded it unto the trailer. After that they pulled our buggies over to the trailer and with everyone helping they lifted them up and maneuvered them inside. Finally they stacked in the hay and our pile of firewood, and shut the door.

     Once there was nothing more to watch we looked around the house. It looked forlorn and sad. The emptiness nearly made me shiver. Uncle Alvin's were waiting in their buggy in front of the house so we tied Jim behind the buggy and Mom and we children climbed inside. Daddy was going to walk and lead our cow Jenny. For once no one had much to say as we drove away. I looked out the back window and saw Daddy standing in the middle of the road looking at our property and the buildings they had built with dreams of raising their family there.

     Alvin's horse kept on trotting and soon I couldn't see Daddy anymore. We arrived at Alvin's and Mom helped Lydia make supper. It was dark before Daddy finally came. We ate supper and went to bed. Cousin Emma gave her stuffed bunny to me to sleep with, but it felt lumpy and all I wanted was my own bed, in our own house with everything the way it was supposed to be.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Auction at Grandpa's

     Excitement filled the air as Daddy came home from work everyday with empty boxes. The next day Mom would work on packing everything thing that we didn't need for a few days. Some days we would go to Grandpa Masts and help them pack since they were also planning to move to Somerset County, as were uncle Eli's and John Henry's.

     One Saturday we all got up very early and climbed on the spring wagon. The back was filled with boxes and a few pieces of furniture so John and I sat curled up on a blanket in front of Mom's feet and we went clip clopping down the road in the dark to go to Grandpas. After we got there I stood beside the spring wagon as Daddy unhitched Jim and lead him into the barn. There were several vans parked beside the harness shop and it looked like every room in the house was well lit. There were people everywhere. Mom gathered David and a few bags and things into her arms and started for the house. When we got inside I was delighted to see that all the cousins from Canada were there. Everyone was trying to catch up on the latest news as the women started making big bowls full of dough to make donuts.

     As the sun started to rise the men busied themselves with setting out furniture and lots of other things and double checked to make sure all the farm machinery was situated where they wanted it.

     Mom and the aunts started frying donuts and glazing them. Before long vehicles started driving in and people started coming to the area where the women were making food. Almost everyone got a fresh donut and a cup of coffee. I sat on a bench with my cousins as we watched our mothers fry donuts and make sandwiches and take care of hungry customers. My mouth was watering at the sight of all the good food, so I was delighted when Grandpa came and gave us each a dollar and said we could go buy anything we want from the food stand. Getting to walk up to the stand and buy my own sandwich, donut, and a cup of hot chocolate seemed extremely special, Mom played along pretending I was an important customer.

    Before long the sound of auctioneers filled the air as they started selling the things that would no longer be needed once we moved to Somerset. It was cold outside so we didn't spend too much time watching the things being sold. We did go to the barn to see the cows for one last time.

    Uncle David had a pony and a cart and was giving people a ride for a quarter. He allowed us cousins to each have one ride. Once my turn came I sat beside him on the cart. It was great to be riding with him all by myself as the others waited for their turn. I adored uncle David. He was ten years older than me and I was sure that no one compared to him. He always took time to talk and play with me when ever we visited Grandpas. And now as I sat proudly beside him as we headed down the field lane for our ride, he asked quietly. You think we could cross the bridge with the cart? I of course agreed so once we got to the point where he normally turned around he continued going and crossed the bridge over the ravine and circled John Henry's house before turning around and heading back again. The pony's feet made such dainty sounds compared to the clip clop of our horse, Jim. A little before we got back he told me not to tell the others because he doesn't have time to give everyone a long ride like that. I was almost too happy to even nod my head. Uncle David had given me the longest ride of all, I would never forget that!

     By late afternoon everything was sold and people were heading home. we stayed long enough to help with the clean up and then went home to finish our Saturday work. On Monday we would go back to help them load a big truck with their belongings for their move to Somerset.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Instead of participating in the usual Wednesday Hodgepodge today, I thought I would do something a little different and talk about some of the things that are happening in my life currently.

Reading ... I finished Corinthians this morning and am ready to start Galatians tomorrow. It's one of my favorite books in the New Testament and I'm looking forward to reading it again. Besides the Bible, I'm reading several other books. In the non fiction category there's a book I got from the library on herbs and remedies. I had high hopes for it, but it's been a disappointment. I already know more than it does. In fiction I'm reading The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray. I'm enjoying it so far.  Then there are the books we're doing for school which includes getting to listen and read along as Steven carefully reads each new chapter in his reading books.

Writing ... I have several different things I'm writing. Letters, journal, blog, and a story that I don't know whether or not it will ever see the light of day, but it's one that insists on being written. I'm enjoying it, and can't wait until it's done so that I get to read it.

Listening ... to the children discuss the proper pronunciation of a word. One of them is having a difficult time trying to say it correctly so it includes a lot of laughter.

Thinking ... of everything that I want to get done today. We're deep cleaning the kitchen again. The girls and I were working on it the past two days already, but hope to finish up today. I love when everything sparkles and gleams as if it were brand new.

Wishing ... a number of different things. Right now though I'm wishing I could be planning a nice big garden. The seed catalogs that are arriving in the mail are really awakening the desire to garden again.

Hoping ... that no cavities will be found at the children's dentist appointments later this week.

Wearing ... a soft fuchsia top and a teal swirly patterned skirt. The colors clash horribly, but it's what my hands found in the dark this morning when I got up. I'll head upstairs to change after Steven wakes up.

Loving ... the nice cozy heat our furnace produces. It may be bitterly cold outside, but I'm toasty warm.

Wanting ... a new pastry brush after mine got ruined. Funny story behind that. I may or may not share it some day.

Needing ... to plan the menu for next week and create the grocery shopping list. I enjoy menu planning so it's something I always look forward to doing.

Feeling ... incredibly blessed. My husband, our children, our happy home, and most importantly our loving Saviour.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Of Songs and Properties

     Several weeks after our first trip to Somerset County, Daddy and Mom went back to do some land shopping. They left the three of us children at Uncle Eli's.

     Eli and Sadie never had any children of their own and were happy to have us stay with them. Sadie had a lot of fun things for us to play with. The first day was very enjoyable, by the second day we had already played with everything they had and were beginning to miss Mom and Daddy.

      By the third day we were bored and very homesick. I was sitting on their little rocking chair, rocking my doll and singing cute little children's songs to it, but my heart wasn't in it. And so I started singing a song that I had heard Mom sing occasionally. "Tell me why my Daddy don't come home" I started singing it lustily, but the words were too real as I sang the next line, "I know I'm much to big to cry" my eyes started burning a little and my voice started quavering. I went on. "Why don't he come and play with me again" Tears were rolling down my cheeks and I could hardly go on. "Mommy, why did Daddy say good-bye?" By the time I got done all three of us were crying. And we immediately started singing it again though we were sobbing as we wailed out the words.

     Sadie had been ironing but came to try to see what all the crying was about, and tried to cheer us up. We weren't in the mood to smile and be happy as all three of us wailed out the words again "Mommy, why did Daddy say good-bye?" And then paused to cry loudly again. Finally Sadie told us we aren't allowed to sing that song again since we have to cry and got us occupied with something else.

    After supper that evening Daddy and Mom came to get us and got to go home. It seemed wonderful to be with them again. After we got home they told us that they bought a property in Pennsylvania and we would be moving once springtime came. We were very excited at the prospect of a new adventure and went to bed happy to be safe with Daddy and Mom and eager to see what would happen once spring came.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?

I've never had an official mentor, but there have been people in my life that have helped me in a mentoring type of way.

I've never claimed the title of being a mentor either, though I have shared, encouraged, and helped many people who have come to me for advice and help.

2. What current trend makes no sense to you?

Man buns is the first trend that pops in my mind when it comes to being something that doesn't make any sense to me. I can't tell how often I envisioned the satisfying snip, snip of a pair of scissors when I see a man bun.

3. I saw a cartoon on facebook highlighting a few 'weird' things that make you happy as an adult. The list included-writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. (Credit for the cartoon goes here) Of the 'weird' things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more 'weird' thing you'd add to the list?

Of the things on the list, a nice pen makes me the happiest.

I've never understood why anyone would prefer the corner brownie. Cleaning the dryer lint screen always makes me more sad than happy, as I try not to think how much the things wore out while drying.

Something not on the list that makes me happy is kneading bread dough. Somehow it's relaxing and satisfying to me.

4. What's the last good thing you ate?

The last good thing I ate was a twice baked loaded potato casserole that the girls prepared for lunch today.

5. Describe life in your 20's in one sentence.

I don't see how I can possibly describe my twenties in only one sentence since there were SO many changes and events and life lived.

Marriage, babies, faith, and more all contributed to a lot of growth during my twenties.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

The reason the girls were the ones making lunch today was because I was at the dentist again. I had broken a tooth last week and today was my second appointment which unfortunately was still not my last.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Life Lessons from Grandma

    Daddy and Mom had saved up enough money to begin building a new house to replace the drafty old trailer we were living in.
    Once there was a roof, outside wall closed in, and windows installed we moved in. The rest would be worked on as they could afford it.
    Aunts Emma and Vernie came over to help us get moved in. They helped Mom staple cardboard to the walls to give the master bedroom and bathroom some privacy, and then Emma brought out a gallon of pink paint and proceeded to paint the floor of my bedroom. I was thrilled. Pink! It didn't matter that the walls of my room consisted of bare 2 x 4s with spaces between each one wide enough to run through. I had a pink floor which made my room the prettiest thing ever.
    That evening Grandpa and Grandma came over to see everything and give the aunts a ride home. Grandma brought a vase filled with lily of the valley flowers from her flower bed.
    She divided the bouquet into two. Half of them returned to the original vase and the other half she put into a small glass and put some blue food coloring into the water. She handed them to me to set on my dresser. "See how nice and white these flowers are?" she asked me.
     I admired the creamy white little bell like flowers.
     "They're like little good little girls who choose their friends," she said. "The first vase with the plain water is like a little girl who chose her friends well, she will stay the same, sweet and nice.
      The other vase with the blue water is like a little girl who does not choose her friends well. At first you may think it really doesn't matter, but with some time the water will turn the flowers blue. They're the same flowers, but they've been changed."
      I tried to soak in what she was saying, but the vision of little girls turning blue if they don't have good friends kept floating through my mind.
     The next day the flowers were a lovely blue. I knew that it wasn't necessarily supposed to be a good thing, but secretly I thought they were prettier.
      It took a little while, but the life lesson she was trying to teach made sense, and it has stayed with me all these years.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

First Glimpse of Somerset

     There were rumblings of trouble throughout our little community. I was too young to really know what was going on, but  it wasn't hard to know that not all was right.

     Daddy and Mom would sit up late at night and talk. We went to Grandpa Masts a lot more often in the evenings after supper. They would send us children and Vernie into a room to play while they visited. If we came out for some reason they always quit talking and waited until we went back to our toys to resume.

     One day Mom got out the suitcase and started packing. We wanted to help so she let us select our favorite Sunday handkerchief's and tuck them into a side pocket. When we asked who we were going to visit, they said they didn't know who, but we are going to go to Somerset County Pennsylvania.

    Early the next morning we started off. Grandpa Masts and Uncle Eli's and John Henry's went along too. Once we finally got there we stopped at a gas station and asked where the Amish live. They gave us directions to a farm. We arrived and they welcomed us in after introducing themselves as the Noah Summy family. They had a little girl named Nancy that was my age and greeted me shyly, offering me her doll to play with. I could hardly believe my eyes, it was a real baby doll just as the ones you saw in catalogs. It had the cutest little hands and feet, a real face with bright blue eyes and the sweetest little mouth. It was so different from my own rag doll Sally that I played with everyday at home.

    We had supper with them and went to bed. the next morning when we got up I was in for another surprise. Out in front of the house was the biggest buggy I had ever seen, with a team of horses hitched to it. The buggy had three sliding doors and four windows on each side and another small window at the back. I really wanted a ride in that buggy, but one of Noahs children rode with us in the van to show us where the church was.

    Once we got to church I was very glad to be with Mom. Everything was so different. The clothes looked different and the girls all wore shiny black satin coverings instead of organdy like I was used to. The strings to tie the coverings fascinated me. They were almost an inch wide and tied in perfect little fluffy bows right under their chins.

      Church started and when the singing was soon over the first preacher got up to preach. I got my handkerchief out to play with as usual, but it wasn't long before I sensed I was being watched. I looked up and sure enough several little girls were watching me with big solemn eyes. Mom must have realized too because she bent down and whispered that I should put it away, that the children here don't play in church. I quickly put my handkerchief back in my pocket and sat there looking around and trying to listen to the preacher.

     It seemed like a long time until finally the second sermon was over and the preacher started having men give *"zeignis" It was comforting to hear Grandpa Mast's voice and finally church was almost over.

     After church they didn't have a church lunch like we were used to, instead everyone went home. Enos Lee's graciously invited us to their house for lunch. Grandpa's and the uncles were invited elsewhere and left with the driver and the van, and we got to ride in the Lee's buggy which to my delight was one of those big three seated ones.
*After the main sermon the preacher will choose several men to give a short review of the sermon he just preached, they will say they agreed with everything and talk about a few points that they especially liked or add some of their own thoughts.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Visiting Grandparents

    Every summer Daddy and Mom planned a trip to Canada to visit Grandpa and Grandma Swarey and all the aunts and uncles.

    Mom would spend several days at her sewing machine making new clothes for all of us. It was fun watching her sew my dresses and try them on to see how deep the hem of the skirt needed to be.

    We would count down the days until it was time to leave. It was very exciting to help pack our big black suitcase with all our new clothes, and watch as Daddy put a shiny black polish on our shoes to make them look new again. We would take a bath and go to bed. The air of excitement made it hard to fall asleep, but the first thing we knew Daddy was waking us up to get ready. Everything was dark and quiet at three in the morning. We would hurry and get dressed and fill several jugs with water to drink on the way and then wait until the driver arrived.

    When the 15 passenger van finally drove into the driveway we all hurried outside as Daddy blew out the lamps and locked the doors. Since Mom had several sisters living in Canada yet, Grandpa and Grandma Mast and aunt Emma and Vernie would travel with us to visit them.

    John and I sat on the very last seat, it was bumpy but we didn't mind. We liked kneeling on the seat and looking out the back window to watch all the other vehicles. I always breathed a sigh of relief when we were safely off the 4 lane roads. They were more than a little intimidating to me because I had heard the preachers say where the wide and broad way leads to and I was terrified if we stayed on the 4 lane long enough we would end up there.

    By late afternoon we would arrive at Grandpa Swarey's and we would all climb out of the van. Grandma Swarey would come bustling out of the house to welcome us and the aunts would soon come and join her. Grandpa Masts would visit for a little bit and then leave to spend time with their daughters.

    It was always noisy at Grandpa Swarey's as everyone seemingly talked at once. Since there were still six of Daddy's younger brothers and sisters still living with Grandpa's. His oldest sister, Susie lived there too but after doing her duty in welcoming us she was much more concerned about all the things that needed to be done than enjoy their visitors.

    Aunt Ella more than made up for her though. She was very cheerful and had a way of talking with us on the same age level as we were. She had suffered from the dreaded disease of polio which left her crippled. In the evening Grandma would invite all of their married children and grandchildren to come for supper. It used to be fun to play with all the cousins.

    Grandpa Swarey was very strict and we never dared to get too rowdy. He never did anything to correct us except bunch his bushy eyebrows together and look sternly at us which always made us quiet down. If we played outdoors we were allowed to make all the noise we wanted to.

    Grandpa Swarey's had a very unique set of toys to play with. There were no animals or dolls to play with because of his convictions that they are graven images. Instead there were empty thread spools to use as animals and plenty of wooden blocks for pens. For dolls Grandma saved empty Dawn dish washing soap bottles and cleaned them and then wrapped them in little blankets. With a healthy imagination we had a lot of fun with those toys!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It's that time of year again...time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, or general uselessness) in 2018. You can read more about the decision making process and word meaning here, but this year's top vote getters are-

unpack, dish (as in dish out the latest rumor), pre-owned, onboarding/offboarding, nothingburger, let that sink in, let me ask you this, impactful, Cofefe, drill down, fake news, hot water heater (hot water doesn't need to be heated), and gig economy

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?

I would happily banish unpack if I could. The other words and phrases I don't hear often enough to get annoyed by them.

Words and phrases I would like to add to the list?  "And stuff" It's a phrase I hear over and over and over again. It gets to be somewhat grating, though this is the first I have mentioned it. Up until today I was trying to ignore it.

2. What's something you need to get rid of in the new year?

I'm going to purge a lot of things from the attic. It's just a little ridiculous to hang onto things that the only time I see them is when we clean the attic.

3. Where do you feel stuck?

I feel stuck in a certain writing project, but hopefully I'll get to figure it out.

Recently though I was literally stuck, thanks to snow and ice, a steep grade, and no four wheel drive.

4. January is National Soup Month. When did you last have a bowl of soup? Was it made from scratch or from a can? Your favorite canned soup? Your favorite soup to make from scratch on a cold winter's day?

The last time I had soup was a week or so ago when I prepared, from scratch, a big pot of chicken~n~dumpling soup. It's a family favorite.

I don't have a favorite canned soup. They all have a weird tinny after taste to me.

5. Tell us one thing you're looking forward to in 2018.

I have mixed feelings about this, but we're looking forward to Kenneth's graduation.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Every year the children will make an assortment of coupons as part of the Christmas gifts they give. The majority of which never get used for some unknown reason, because they all are really quite good.

It was Steven's dream to receive some, and since he's beginning to read his siblings each prepared a stack of coupons for him as well.

He was absolutely thrilled. Ah ... the heady feeling of power in his hands as he has wielded those coupons left and right. Games, books, stories, and more have been his steady diet as he hands off another coupon to be redeemed for his chosen activity.

He's down to 3 or 4 left. Never before have coupons been used so quickly in our family.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Summer Days and Time Outs

    Summer time used to be the greatest. We would lay on our backs in our yard and watch the clouds and pick out various shapes that we liked. On the warmest days Mom would let us drag her laundry tub out and fill it with water for water fights. We would climb our old crab apple tree and read books among it's branches. And there were many things we could do to help with the garden and canning.

    One day John and I  kept getting into spats all day. Finally Mom got two plastic clothespins and gave them to us telling us to squeeze the ends while she put a dab of jam on the other end and then told us to sit out in the yard and wait until a fly sits on the jam and then allow the clothespin to snap shut.

    We sat in the yard for a long time with our homemade "fly traps" but there were no flies interested. We finally gave up and went to play something else.

     It was several years before we realized it had only been a clever way to put us in time out!