Monday, February 11, 2019

When Cultures Collide ~ Conducting Music or Clawing Maniacally

In the music lesson Sharon was studying today, they were introducing the art or skill of conducting music and explaining all the hand movements.

She found it interesting, and me ... well ...  it brought back a memory I hadn't thought of for years.

The summer I was eighteen my grandparents traveled out to South Dakota to some kind of health clinic where they stayed for several weeks.

After they came home Grandpa stopped by our house one afternoon. I was working my way through several wheelbarrow loads of sweetcorn, getting it ready to be canned. He pitched in to help, and we chatted as we worked.

Our conversation turned to their recent trip and the many things they had experienced. One happened to be about the way they spent their time on Sundays.

With no Amish church anywhere near, Grandpa and Grandma decided to simply walk to the nearest "English" church from the hotel they were staying. He was impressed with the nice soft benches they got to sit on, even though they were red, but it all got really strange when it was time to sing. Quite a few people went up front and turned to face the church, but just as they were ready to start singing this lady marched up to face them, and the entire time they were singing she stood there waving her arms and clawing towards them. He couldn't understand why no one did anything about it, since there was obviously something wrong with her.

Poor Grandpa never did learn that there was nothing wrong with the "clawing" lady, and it gave us all a good chuckle when I shared the memory with the girls this morning.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Wednesday Medley

1.  Today, Wednesday, February 6th, is Frozen Yogurt Day!  A cold dessert on what must be a very cold day for most of you reading this today!  Do you enjoy frozen yogurt?  Does it matter what the weather is?  Share with us your favorite flavor and/or topping, please!!

I've had frozen yogurt a few times, but it certainly doesn't make it to the top of the list when it comes to frozen treats I enjoy.

As long as I'm feeling warm, it doesn't matter what the weather is doing, I can still enjoy ice cream. Maybe that's because growing up, winter was the time for ice cream. We always got excited when it snowed, because it Mom would cook up the base for the ice cream while we went outside to fill up several five-gallon pails with snow. After filling the canister of ice cream freezer with the pudding we would take turns cranking the freezer, until it was frozen. Such a delightful treat!

My favorite flavor is still vanilla, a chocolate fudge topping is delightful though.

2.  What food do you know you shouldn't eat but can't help yourself?

I can't think of anything at the moment. I guess it wouldn't hurt to cut out desserts completely, but with only a few bites a day I'm not feeling guilty about it.

3.  If your life was a meal, what kind of meal would it be?

If my life were a meal it would be an overflowing buffet. Such a wide variety of things. Most of it good, some great, and the occasional bad thing you wish you could have avoided.

4.  Do you like spicy food?  Why or why not?  What is the spiciest food you have ever eaten?

I like spices as far as flavors, but when it comes to heat I prefer to keep it on the milder side so that I can still taste my food.

The spiciest/hottest food I've ever eaten was when I was a teenager and some friends from the deep south came to visit and insisted on cooking a meal for us. The added a handful of jalapenos and some other peppers, seeds and all into their pot of chili. We tried our best to eat it, but our entire family was reduced to a coughing, gasping mess.

5.   What food do you eat or crave when you have a bad cold?

I usually don't crave any kind of food when I'm having a bad cold, but force myself to have some broth or chicken noodle soup.

6.  Please tell us something random about your week (and maybe it will involve food).

I've heard of Meyer lemons quite a bit already, but this week was the first time we have ever tried them. Love them! The ones we got provided almost double the amount of juice as regular lemons do.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Several years ago Kenneth built a sandbox for Steven to play in. To keep the cats from using it as a giant litter box, he made a nice top for it so we can cover it when it's not in use.

This winter, even though it has the cover firmly in place, it has become the home of a little red squirrel. It squeezes in through a crack that has appeared in the one corner. 

We have been entertained watching it as it gnaws the shells off of walnuts until they're small enough to fit inside. It tests the size every couple seconds in its hurry to get inside safely out of reach of the bossy bigger squirrels.

There are several other bigger kinds of squirrels that come visiting the walnut tree as well. They're equally as entertaining to watch.

Between all the birds and squirrels to watch outside the kitchen window, it's almost a wonder that any of the other rooms in the house get used. 

One of the bigger squirrels taking a rare quiet moment before darting on up the tree to retrieve another walnut.

Once spring arrives and the little red squirrel moves from its home in the sandbox, we'll be getting rid of the sand and possibly the sandbox as well. 

As long as they don't try living in the attic or elsewhere in the house, I actually really enjoy having squirrels around.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Currently ...

Reading ... I'm in Proverbs in my Bible. In other reading, I'm in-between books at the moment, but I have a stack of books here that are waiting to be read. It includes the latest by Suzanne Woods Fisher, Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan, and a non-fiction Happy Wives Club by Fawn Weaver. My cookbook pile from the library is substantial, and I'm hoping to enjoy some of those later today to see if I can find a recipe or two we might like to try. As always there's also the stack of books Steven and I enjoy as part of our bedtime routine. Last night that included the book, Billions of Bricks. It was a hit, partly because it was construction related, and partly because it was written in rhyming form which made it extra enjoyable for both of us.

Writing ... not much at the moment. I still haven't upgraded to the latest Word program, which means any writing I'm doing is limited to letters, emails, texts, and blog posts.

Watching ... the sun begin to tint the eastern sky in a frigid glow.

Listening ... to the hum of the refrigerator in the kitchen, the ticking of the clock on the wall, and the fun noise a pencil makes as it travels across paper.

Eating ... I haven't eaten anything yet today, but yesterday we had baked chicken. I also, for the first time in months decided to have a bowl of cold cereal. Big mistake! I think I'd rather give birth than go through the aftermath of that again.

Drinking ... mostly water, though I did enjoy a cup of hot chocolate yesterday.

Wearing ... a comfortable and unattractive dress that I hopped into this morning. I decided since I'll be changing in a few hours any way, that it will be okay until then. Hopefully no one will stop in before then.

Loving ... all the birds that are using the bird feeder we have behind our house. They're so much fun to watch!

Disliking ... how close our neighborhood made it onto the news after a snowplow did not stop for the school bus that was stopped for our neighbor's children. Thankfully, nothing bad happened, but it could have very easily.

Crafting ... we have several different craft projects going at the moment. There are two applique lap quilts in progress, a scarf that is almost done being knitted, and an apron that still needs its pocket. We made a few giant pom poms for Steven last week for a game he wanted to play.

Wanting ... to list some things on ebay that we don't need any longer.

Later today ... we'll be heading to the dentist for routine check ups and cleaning of teeth. I'm hoping no cavities will be found. I'm also hoping that there will be room to park in his tiny parking lot, other wise I'll have to parallel park along the street, and it just so happens that is one of my least favorite activities.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Busy Family

    One little known fact about me ... I love cookbooks, trying new recipes, and working in the kitchen.
    Okay, long time readers of my blog may already know that. Judging by the stacks of cookbooks I check out from the library regularly I'm sure the librarians know it. Receiving cookbooks as gifts may be a sign that friends and family know it as well. I guess it may not be such a little known fact after all.
   A little over a month ago I received a new cookbook, Busy Family Menu Planning. I paged through it a little, noting the many different recipes that I wanted to try. It was close to Christmas though, and I had already planned our menus until after the holidays which meant it took a little time before I returned to my new cookbook.

   Once I did though, oh my! I love it! It stands out above all the other cookbooks I have ever used. First of all, I want to make every single recipe in the book. That's huge! No other cookbook has ever come close to that. Oh, we've attempted cooking our way through a cookbook before, but there were always so many things we didn't care for that we gave up. This cookbook has recipe after recipe of things I know my family will love. All of them! I will finally be able to cook my way through an entire cookbook, with the family appreciating everything I make.
    What makes this cookbook extra special is that it is set up into ten weeks. Each week has a menu prepared with recipes for breakfast and dinner, and a convenient complete shopping list. It makes it so easy! I love menu planning, but I've really been loving having it planned out for me already.
    We have a birthday coming up soon, and the one celebrating has already requested her favorite (so far) from the book for her birthday dinner. Chicken and Dumplings, made in the slow cooker.

     I really can't say enough about how much I love this book. I love that there are full color pictures of each recipe and easy instructions. I love the pre-planned menus and shopping lists. I love that it easily lays flat and you don't have to struggle to have it remain open at the correct recipe as you're cooking. And of course I love all the delicious recipes. The first evening I used it I managed to get something on one of the pages. I was so disappointed in myself, but wouldn't you know it ... with the semi gloss paper the pages are made of I was able to wipe it off without any damage to my new book.
    Last evening I reached out to the creator of this cookbook to tell her how much I love it, and that I'm planning to write about it on my blog. I was not asked to do a review, I simply wanted to share about a cookbook that has a cookbook lover like me, excited.
    She offered to share a link where you can sign up with your email and receive week one of menu planning, shopping list, and recipes to download, for free! So generous! You can do that here.
    You can order your own copy of the cookbook here.
    So far it seems each week of menus is better than the previous one, and every single recipe we've made has been delicious. I can't wait to cook my way through the remainder of the book, and then continue using it regularly in the years to come. It's a true gem in the world of cookbooks, and I'd love if you could use it to cook along with me.