Friday, December 31, 2010

A Day in Big Valley

Shortly after LV and I were engaged Mom and Daddy sent our two kerosene cook stoves to a repair shop in Big Valley. There they would get all new parts and be repainted so they would be as good as new for the wedding.

Several months later we got a letter stating they were ready to be picked up. Daddy and Mom immediately began making plans to go pick them up. After hiring someone with a fifteen passenger van to to ensure the whole family could go along, they removed the last two seats to make room for the stoves. I thought it was rather strange that they wanted all of us to go along as usually if something like this came up Daddy would go pick it up by himself. After we got on the road it wasn't long before I sensed that we would be doing more than only pick up stoves. After we turned onto a road that I knew didn't lead to Big Valley my suspicions were confirmed.

It wasn't long before we discovered Daddy had planned a treat for us and made arrangements to get on the first tour of the day to Penn's Cave. As we all got into a boat we were ready to explore the cave. I thought it was quite interesting but still breathed a sigh of relieve when we got back safely. I much preferred being above ground.

We continued on to Big Valley where we spent the majority of the day visiting Daddy's aunts and uncles. Daddy wanted me to meet all of them before I got married. I had never realized just how many aunts and uncles he had until that day. I found most of them to be very boring people, they were friendly enough and always welcomed us into their homes. I felt a little awkward as we had to sit and visit a little before going on to the next aunt or uncle. In the one house the lady immediately wanted to give us all a glass of sweet tea. Going to the refrigerator she got several bottles of vegetable oil out and poured it into glasses. My stomach churned and I felt like gagging. I soon realized that she keeps empty vegetable oil bottles and uses them for other things, but it had made that I was no longer thirsty for anything. Watching for a chance I exchanged my full glass of tea with one of my brothers empty one. We were both happy to make the exchange.

After we left that house we went to a nearby store were Mom and Daddy announced I could pick out my wedding china. After looking at the many different patterns I selected what I thought was the prettiest. With it's pale flowers and silver trim.

Daddy pointed out the ones with bright pink or red flowers and asked if I wouldn't rather have those. They were pretty but I preferred the soft delicate pattern I had chosen rather than the more bold pinks and reds. After paying for it we went to pick up the stoves. It had been a long full day. Somehow with the stoves being repaired and the china purchased it made the wedding seem a little closer and there was still so much to do before then.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Interesting Recipes

A friend, knowing that I collect cookbooks presented me with a real gem. Printed in 1880. The pages are very lightly yellowed with age, but who ever had it must have taken really good care of it because it is still in surprisingly great condition.

I have been enjoying reading through it. Most of the recipes I wouldn't even think of trying their instructions nearly non existent. They range from incredibly bland and boring to some of the weirdest things I have ever heard of. There are some unique tips that I might try out some day but overall reading this book makes me very thankful that I got to grow up a century later when recipes had evolved to something much better.

Here is a sample of the things found in the book.

Pot Pie
One pint sour cream, two eggs, one teaspoonful of soda, flour to stiffen. Bake or boil.

Needless to say I will not be making it.

Breaded Eggs
Boil hard and cut in slices, pepper and salt and dip in beaten raw egg, then in bread or cracker crumbs and fry in butter. Serve hot.

There are instructions on how to prevent a felon and the several cures. All sorts of home remedies are sprinkled through out the book with no rhyme or reason. With no index and no categories it must have been hard to find what you were looking for.

According to this book plans made on a Sunday will not hold. Any promises made on a Sunday can not be fulfilled.

Cure for corns .... Easy shoes.

Chickens may be cured of gapes by inhaling tobacco smoke.  I don't have a clue what gapes are. And the thought of trying to get them to inhale tobacco smoke. Mind boggling!

Croup can be cured in one minute with sugar and alum. take a teaspoon full of fine alum mixed with twice sugar. Be in haste.   Yowza! I was always under the impression alum was not something you want to ingest.

I will be enjoying this book a lot for the vast amount of entertainment between the covers. And now if you'll excuse me I need to read how to cure all manner of other diseases in humans and animals, tucked charmingly between a recipe for ice cream and veal soup.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Spell Check

Thanks to someone not using spell check we got to fuel up at "punp" # 22

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Christmas Ride

Christmas day had been pleasant and it was bedtime. After our usual popcorn and apples and a story from Mom we all headed to our beds. Outside the stars twinkled in the winter sky. A few fresh inches of snow clung to everything and reflected the light of the moon.

It was a perfect night to burrow deeply under the covers on the bed. Just as we were drifting off to sleep there was a knock on the door. Daddy went to see who it was and found a stranger sitting on the porch clutching a bottle of whiskey and asking if Daddy could please give him a ride home. That he had hurt his leg and couldn't walk any longer. He said he lived up the hill a little ways and if Daddy could please give him a ride he would be so grateful.

Daddy could see that he was obviously intoxicated and needed help getting home. We didn't know everyone in the village but since it wasn't very far he offered to use our furniture wagon and pull it, giving him a ride home rather than hitching up our horse and using the buggy. He asked one of the boys to help him and David volunteered to go along.

The wagon with it's extra heavy burden pulled a little harder than they expected as they headed up the road. Once they got to the village the man told them to keep going that he lives a little farther down the road. They kept trudging through the cold, mile after mile as the man kept telling them just a little farther on.

When they finally got him to his home they dropped him off and turned around to trek all the way home. Weary from the long way they had walked they started riding down every hill they came to. David had a lot more experience riding wagons down hill than Daddy did so Daddy sat in the back and let David steer. I can only imagine what any passerbys must have thought meeting them in the middle of the night taking a wagon ride down the road.

They got home around 2:30 in the morning exhausted and went right to bed. We never did find out who it was they had given a ride to and it still  remains one of the most memorable Christmas nights ever.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Mom and Daddy still had a lot of things that they wanted to do while all of us children were still at home to enjoy it with them. Ever since LV and I were engaged they were planning everything they wanted to do that summer.

We would be making another trip to Canada to see Grandma and the aunts as one of our first events and stop at the U.S. side of the Niagara Falls. We had seen the Canadian side numerous times already and wanted to see what it would seem like to be able to stand right next to the falls.

When we got there we could see there was a lot of mist coming from the falls so before we got out of the van Mom and I exchanged our starched coverings for a scarf. We admired the power of the falls and then concentrated on watching a seagull with a broken wing and mangled leg as it tried to stay balanced at the edge of the river.

I felt so sorry for it and wondered how long it could survive if no one fed it or helped it out. 
Our driver took pictures and later gave us a copy. From left to right. Raymond holding unto big brother John's hand, David, Mom, me, Ivan, Daddy, and Mahlon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wedding Sermon

Six weeks after I had broken my ankle I went to have another x-ray done on it to see if I could start walking again. I was thrilled when I got an okay, especially since one of LV's cousins were getting married and we were invited.

The wedding was held in the Summit Mills church house. I never liked that church house very well because the benches were all situated rather oddly and the girls always had to sit directly in front of the ministers. This time I managed to get a seat further back since there were a lot of other girls there and I waited until almost last to get in line to file in and take our seats.

The singing was over and the bishop was preaching the main sermon. I was glad I wasn't the bride. Instead of the usual wedding sermon the bishop (father to the groom) was focusing all his energy on stressing the importance of the wife being truly submissive. While I didn't have a problem with the general idea of the husband being the head of the home there was something about the way bishop Sam was preaching that irritated me.

A little later I got the urge to sneeze. I quickly reached into my pocket and got my handkerchief and as I held it to cover my mouth I somehow inhaled and drew a piece of lint back into my throat. I no longer had to sneeze but it tickled so badly that I needed to cough. Not wanting to do that either I tried to suppress the urge and to my consternation tears started rolling down my face.

I quickly wiped them and looked up to see several older married women looking at me sympathetically no doubt thinking I had been quite touched by the sermon on being submissive.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Stormy Days ~ Part Four

Tuesday morning dawned with clear blue skies, the community buzzed with activity as people started flocking by to help with the clean up.

Daddy and the boys went to help the neighbors. The woodworking shop could wait until later but right now there were people that needed all the help they could get. That evening at the supper table Daddy was sharing his day when we happened to noticed the sky was looking very unsettled again. Before long it started lightening and thunder rolled over the mountains. looking out the west window Daddy announced we all needed to go to the basement immediately.

We wasted no time and hurried downstairs and sat huddled together next to a back wall. Above us we could hear the noise of another tornado approaching. There were a few crashes and then everything grew eerily quiet once more. Daddy went to view the damage while the rest of us stayed in the basement.

After Daddy got back he said the pine trees behind the house were twisted off and there was a hole in the roof above the kitchen and also in Grandpa's new house but otherwise everything still appeared to be fine. This time our neighbor to our north had lost a building and we knew that once morning came there would be a lot more damage to see through out the community.

We went to clear away the supper dishes but before we could get them done someone stopped in and said that there is another tornado on the ground twelve miles away and headed this way fast. Once again we sought refuge in the basement until it had passed. It seemed unreal that three tornadoes had torn through our community in a very short time.

The days that followed M.D.S. (Mennonite Disaster Service) organized clean up efforts donating a lot of building materials and all the labor. People from various Amish communities came to help and our home was often filled with people who needed a place to sleep while they helped for a few days or weeks.

Day after day things kept gradually looking better and by fall things were once again looking like a peaceful community.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stormy Days ~ Part Three

The next morning when we got up and looked outside things looked even worse than they had in the dark the previous night.

Right after breakfast Daddy hitched our horse to our three seated buggy and we all went to see just how bad the damage was through out the community.

We stopped at our neighbors who had lost their homes and offered to come help with the clean up. Going on we couldn't help but feel sickened at all the devastation every where we looked. Barns and houses totally destroyed and dead animals strewn across fields. The town of Salisbury looked absolutely hopeless. Friends and neighbors all moving around in shock at their loss. The tornado had also hit the home of my best friend Rachel.*

Mom and Daddy made that I could go see her. When I arrived I was glad to see their house was still standing though it had shifted off it's foundation. Their barn and out buildings had not fared as well and already a lot of people were there starting to clean up. They had one of the area's biggest sugar camps but their woods that used to be filled with grand old sugar maple trees were now flattened in a twisted mess.

Rachel and I found a quiet spot where we could talk uninterrupted. She was feeling awful thinking that the tornado had been all her fault and everyone was suffering because of her. She had been ready to break up with her boyfriend Levi* just as the tornado hit, and took it as a sign from God that she was not supposed to dump the jerk.

I tried to tell her how silly it was to try to take the blame for the tornado but she was not convinced it wasn't her fault and felt despaired at the thought of having to live the rest of her life with Levi. We talked for a while longer and then the driver came by and it was time for me to leave. I wished I would know what to say to make Rachel feel better but I couldn't think of anything.

To be continued
*Names changed to protect idenity.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stormy Days ~ Part Two

I wasn't sure what I should do as everyone else left the house to go see if LV's brother and family needed help after the tornado. I couldn't very well hobble after them on my crutches so I sat on a chair in their living room and hoped that someone would remember that I still needed to go home.

It wasn't long before John appeared saying that he would take me home. That Vernon's house and shop had been blown away and there was nothing we could do tonight to help them since LV had already taken them home to his parents. I was glad to hear that they had survived the storm. But right now we had to focus on getting home safely. There were power lines  and trees down everywhere. Lightening was flashing constantly which made that we could see a lot of the devastation. As we turned the corner we saw the road was totally blocked with a building folded up and laying there.

John got out and led the horse through the field picking our way slowly around branches and pieces of furniture and building debris. We got to a place where we felt trapped with the only way to continue was driving across the downed power lines. John got back into the buggy and we drove over it with out having anything happen. Continuing on our way we could see that our nearest neighbors had all lost their homes as well.

We couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief when arrived home safely. There was very little sleep that night as we waited for Daddy to come home.

To be continued

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stormy Days

Not being able to be active while my ankle was healing took a lot of patience. It wasn't long before people started dropping by to say "Hi' and leaving several books for me to read. I loved reading and for the first time in my life I could read all I wanted to.

One afternoon as I was reading there was another knock on the door. I looked up to see my best friend Rachel*  I welcomed her inside and we immediately started talking. Rachel lived in a neighboring district and we didn't get to see each other very often. Our parents were really good friends and made sure that we get together several times a year. When Rachel's older brothers and sisters got married, moved to our district, and started having children Rachel and I got to spend a lot more time together.

Today our conversation turned to our boyfriends and I told her that LV had asked me to marry him. She was happy for me and then told me how she wonders how it would be to actually like someone enough to promise to spend the rest of your life with them. She went on to tell me more about her boyfriend. He was being a total jerk and she was going to break up with him on their next date.

I wished that she could be as happy as I was but was glad she was getting ready to dump her boyfriend because she deserved someone much better than him.

The next Sunday arrived hot and humid. It was the first week in June but the weather felt worse than most summers did during the dog days. Everyone was hoping there would be a nice rain to cool things off. That evening there was a singing in our church district. All the young folks gathered at my Uncle Eli's house to have our usual two hour hymn sing.  We all sat at their table and started singing, outside it started to thunder and lightening flashed constantly. I looked at LV sitting across the table from me and  couldn't help but wonder how Rachel was doing. As we sang one song after another I kept watching the clock and hoping that Rachel had dumped her boyfriend already. After we were singing for almost an hour the thunder started booming horribly. The storm was definitely getting closer. It rained in the strangest way. Almost as if there were huge buckets of water being poured out. It would start and stop abruptly and in between the air had a most uneasy feeling that somehow crept into the house and wrapped itself around everyone as well.

Eli, got up and went outside. A little later he came hurrying back as a loud roar passed by. And just as quickly everything was quiet again. Except now it started to rain and hail.

We tried to keep on singing but our efforts seemed lack luster. A little later we were surprised when Daddy walked into the room and announced that there had been a tornado. That the way it looks LV's brother lost everything. No one tried singing any longer. LV got up to go see how his brother and family were doing. The rest of the young folks decided to walk to their house as well to see what they could do to help.  How I wished I could walk. I felt alone as everyone left.

To be continued
*Name changed to protect identity.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

3's of Me

I really don't know where the day went but some how I didn't get a post made like I had been planning so I thought I do something a little different and share the 3's of Me.

3 Names I go by:
1. Mom
2. Mommy
3. Mama

I answer to so many names right now. A name I used to go by and disliked heartily was Moy. It all started by a little brother learning to say my name and it came out as Moy. A name that stuck until after I was married.

3 Jobs I've had:
1. Substitute teacher
2. Candy Kitchen
3. Mother

The 3rd being the best by far. Subbing was quite interesting as well but I was always so glad to send those children home to their parents.

3 Places I've lived:
1. New York
2. Pennsylvania
3. Missouri

Each state though vastly different holds it own special place in my life.

3 Favorite Drinks
1. Water
2. Lemonade
3. Water

No coffee or milk for me please.

3 Places I've been:
1. Niagara Falls
2. Sea World
3. Most state parks in New Mexico

All three are places I would love to visit again.

3 Favorite Foods
1. Mexican
2. Italian
3. Family favorites

3 Things I look forward to:
1. Christmas
2. Seeing family
3. Traveling, hopefully soon.

3 Pets I've had
1. A Pekingese named Bonkers
2. A cat named Woofers, where that name came from is any ones guess.
3. And my all time favorite dog named Pepper

Monday, December 13, 2010

Counting Flowers

Sunbeam has a dress that she always refers to as her garden dress, because it is covered in three different types of flowers and reminds her of a flower garden.

She wore it to go to church and soon after we found our seats she started coughing. After going to get a drink of water she came back and immediately started coughing again. I knew she doesn't have a cold and was simply having what I used to have a problem with when I was a child. I used to hate coughing in church so when ever I sat down on our bench my throat used to start tickling and I had to cough.

As Sunbeam coughed some more I leaned over and whispered. "Count all the purple flowers on your dress." She started counting and forgot all about her need to cough. My attention returned to the service and I had forgotten about her counting until she nudged me and asked wearily, "Do I have to count all of them? I already counted 163 and there are still a lot more to count."

I told her she can stop counting. Those 163 purple flowers did the trick though because she didn't have to cough for the rest of the day.
I recently did a guest post on my friend Saloma's blog. You can read it here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Glitch ~ Part Two

On Sunday morning when I woke up my ankle was swollen and throbbing. Mom and Daddy decided I really do need to go have it checked out.

After an x-ray proved that my ankle was indeed badly broken, the doctor sat down and explained that they would have to do surgery and suggested we make an appointment for the following day to meet with a surgeon. After securing my ankle in a boot and giving me a pair of crutches they sent me home.

I didn't want to have surgery done and asked Mom and Daddy to not make an appointment. That I was sure my bones would mend without surgery. Since I was eighteen they let me make the final decision and I opted to fore go surgery.

When we got home Mom helped me get everything ready like I wanted before LV came. My ankle hurt to badly to be moved more than absolutely necessary so John made the last round through the house for me closing the curtains and then waited to let LV into the house before going to bed.

It wasn't long before I could hear LV's footsteps on the porch. I listened as John opened the door and said a few words to him and then headed upstairs. LV came into the living room and sat next to me. It wasn't long before my foot was forgotten as we discussed plans for our wedding. We decided to get married the Thursday following my 20th birthday. There were still a lot of other details that we needed to plan but for tonight we were happy having chosen our wedding date and we spent the rest of the evening talking about our hopes and dreams for our future together.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Glitch

The following two weeks passed quickly as we worked on Grandpa's new house. It was ready to be insulated so John and I spent almost everyday cutting and and fitting the insulation into the walls and then stapling plastic over everything. It was an itchy job but I enjoyed working with John and it was satisfying to see what all we could get accomplished each day.

On Saturday afternoon Aunt Emma came to help us and we were hoping to get done by evening. We only had to insulate the bathroom walls yet and we would be done. The only problem was that the one wall was right next to where the basement stairs would be and there was a ten foot drop down to the ground so we decided to lay a board across the hole so we could stand on it while we stapled the plastic to the 2 x 4's.

I got the board to lay across and then discovered that I couldn't because there were a dozen sheets of drywall leaning against the wall. Aunt Emma suggested  that John and I pull them forward a few inches which would allow her to get the board in place. John was upstairs finishing something up so I called him to come help me but instead of waiting on him to come help I tugged on the stack by myself and got it to tip forward but unfortunately it kept on coming even after I wanted it to quit.

The drywall crashed to the floor with a terrific crash and I went flying across the room. A sharp pain pierced my ankle an I discovered I couldn't get up. Aunt Emma immediately ran to tell Mom what happened and John came running to see if I'm okay.

Uncle Eli had been talking to Mom in the shop and came with her to see what was going on. They checked my ankle, asked me to wiggle my toes. They were afraid it was broken but I wasn't going to have a broken ankle and convinced them it's probably just a bad sprain. I tried to get up to hobble in but the pain was excruciating and I simply couldn't. Eli and John got me on a chair and carried me into the house.

Daddy soon came home from delivering furniture and after checking my ankle told me I would have to go to the Emergency Room the next day if it wasn't feeling better by morning.

 LV was going to come the next evening and we had wedding plans to make, there was no way I wanted laid up with a broken ankle.

To be continued

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sneak Peek and the Winner

I always enjoy sneak peeks from books and movies that I looked forward to reading and seeing in their entirety.

I recently received a link for the trailer from the latest book by Suzanne Woods Fisher. After watching it I knew I wanted to share it with my readers. I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I did. I'm now looking forward to getting to read the book.

And now on to the scheduled drawing of a winner for my latest giveaway.

The winner is..........
Number 38
Happy Times said ..........

I would love to visit Israel and Switzerland someday. I'd also love to have my own business someday.

Congratulations! Please send me your address and I will get your books sent to you. Hopefully they arrive before Christmas.

Disclaimer: The only compensation I received from doing this giveaway if the warm happy feeling I get from being able to give someone a chance to own some of my favorite books.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Blessing

On Monday morning when I got up I still felt as if I were moving inside a bubble of happiness. I had promised to marry LV. I now needed to ask Mom and Daddy for their blessing so we could go on with our plans.

I waited until after breakfast and there was no one in the kitchen but Mom. I started by saying that I had something important to tell her and Daddy. She must have sensed what was coming because she said. "Let me go get Daddy" and went out to the shop to get him.

When the returned they both drew a chair up to the table. Daddy cleared his throat and said, " Mom said you have something you want to tell us."

Feeling suddenly nervous, I told them that LV had asked me to be his wife. That I had said yes but we still wanted their blessing.

Daddy told me how happy they were for me. That LV would make a good husband for me. That they would bless our union. But we would have to wait to get married until I was twenty. LV could have me for the rest of my life but they still wanted their daughter at home with them until I turned twenty.

I wasn't really surprised that we would have to wait for a while but the thought of having to wait for a little over a year seemed like a really long time. As Daddy went back to the shop Mom and I spent the rest of the forenoon talking about everything we wanted to do before the wedding. We would be doing a lot of sewing to make that I have everything I need and planting a bigger garden so that I could can food for my new home. There was a lot of other things that needed to be done too and I knew that the wait would be filled to the brim with all our regular work besides a lot of extra in preparations for the wedding. And on our next date we would get to choose the day for our wedding.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Warm and Fuzzy

I just got done painting and as I was cleaning up Rosebud was standing next to me with her hands behind her back. I asked her if she needed something.

"No" came her cheery answer,"I'm just waiting until your hands are dry so I can give you something."

Once I was done she handed me a book she had made by gluing twenty one pictures on paper and writing something appropriate next to each one. As I read through them I couldn't help but feel so blessed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Giveaway Time Again!

With Christmas drawing closer I'm in the mood for another giveaway. This time I'm giving one lucky winner six of my favorite books from when I was growing up.

I don't have time to give you a review for all of them other than to say if you like reading true to life stories about Amish teens, courtship, and marriage you will love this selection.

If you would like to have a chance to win these leave a comment telling me something you would love to be able to do someday.

For a second entry post a link to this giveaway on your blog then come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

Winner will be chosen on Thursday December 9th using  Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you are chosen as the winner.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Any Hints?

Last night we got several gallon of paint, so as you can imagine I'm quite busy today. Since it's cold outside I don't want to have the windows open so I'm looking for some other ways to help with the fresh paint smell.

I sliced several onions like my Mom used to do and placed them in the rooms I'm working in. I'm not sure if they actually absorb any of the paint smell or if they only add their own special aroma to the room.

I also decided to use my aunts method and have a dish or two of fresh vanilla setting on a windowsill. Again I'm not sure if it's helping.

Do you have any hints on what to do to help get rid of the smell?

Friday, December 3, 2010

In Which I Give the Answer ~ Part Two

I couldn't remember ever having an inbetween Sunday last so long. I tried to stay occupied with playing games with my brothers and reading but every time I looked at the clock it seemed as if it were taking twice as long to tick off the hours.

When evening finally arrived I went to get ready for our date. I already knew what I would say if LV asked me to marry him, but the suspense I felt of wondering if that was what he had in mind when he told me he wanted to ask a question was a little daunting.

I went downstairs and made one last round through the house to make sure everything was in order before I closed the living room curtains as a signal for LV that everyone else was in bed and it was safe for him to come into the house.

As I opened the door and he stepped inside I tried to act like I usually did. Going into the living room we sat on the sofa only to both get up right away as some loud crying started plus the sound of a meowing cat. I lifted the cover of the sofa and discovered my brothers had tucked a few of their electronic devices underneath and made that they would go off if someone touched them. As we removed them we could both hear the muffled laughter coming from the upstairs from the boys as they celebrated another successful prank.

Having that happen relieved some of the tension I had felt of wondering when LV would ask his question. The evening passed swiftly as we visited. A little before it was time for him to go home I invited him into the kitchen for our usual snack. The dim oil lamp cast flickering shadows as we ate the cherry pie I had baked so carefully the previous day. We were done eating and I was ready to get up to clear everything away when he reached for my hand. Holding it, he started by saying that the past year and a half had been the happiest time of his life. He paused a little and my heart started pounding faster and my mouth felt dry as I waited to hear what else he had to say. " I never knew it is possible to love someone so much," he continued. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Mary Ann, will you marry me?"

I had my answer ready all day, but now that he had proposed I suddenly felt all choked up and ready to cry. I managed to say a whispery little "yes." And then added, "Read Ruth 1:16"

Before he left, he added that we can pick our wedding date the next time he came after I talk with my parents and ask for their blessing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In Which I Give the Answer ~ Part One

Progress on the house we were building for Grandpa's was slow but steady. We were having an uncommonly warm and early spring which made building a lot more pleasant. Uncle Ezra was still doing most of the work but Daddy decided to have several frolics in hopes to speed things up a little.

Mom and I spent time writing notes to every family in our district inviting them to come help at the frolic on Saturday. We folded them and wrote the names of the family on them and gave them to Mahlon to take to school and distribute them to make that every family would get their note.

Saturday arrived, and so did a lot of people. Mom and I were busy cooking food. Aunt Emma came to help with all the preparations as did several other women. Mom had asked John to come in around eleven to tell us how many people were there so we could make sure we had plenty of food for everyone. I went to the door when I saw him come. He gave me a head count and then added that LV wanted to talk to me privately after lunch.

I told Mom how many people were there, and kept wondering what LV wanted while I helped with the cooking. Once we had everything ready I went to find Daddy to tell him we were ready to eat. They were busy putting rafters on the house and I wasn't thrilled to see LV near the peak. I wished that Daddy would have given him something a little more safe to do especially since he was so important to me.

Daddy announced loudly that it was time to eat. I headed back to the house but had to pause and watch as LV climbed down and couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief once his feet were safely on the ground.

I helped dish out and serve the food feeling fully aware that LV was watching every move I made. Right after everyone was done eating and the men had left the table to go back to work I picked up a few pie as an excuse to go down to the basement to where LV was waiting to talk to me.

I set the pie on a shelf and then turned to see what LV wanted to talk about. Holding his hat in his hands he twisted it around as he said. " I have really been enjoying our Sunday evening visits and all your letters." Pausing a little he continued, " I would like to ask you a question tomorrow night." Smiling a crooked little smile he replaced his hat and went to join the rest of the men as they worked on getting a roof on the new house.

I went back upstairs. How I wished he would have gone on and asked what ever he wanted to right away. The suspense in knowing there was a question coming was almost too much as I tried to pretend there was nothing on my mind as I helped clear the dishes away and visit with the women that had come to help.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Starting to Build

Not long after Mom and Daddy had asked us how we would feel about building a house next to ours for Grandpa Mast's they decided to go ahead and start building.

Once again an excavator moved in and started digging a basement and getting everything ready to start building. Several more trees had to be cut and most of our nice garden had to be sacrificed. As much as I loved my grandparents I rebelled inside that we had to build a house for them. I thought it was ridiculous, especially since they already lived right next door to Uncle Eli's. It was very frustrating to me when my friends would make remarks on how lucky I was to be able to have my grandparents live with us. I didn't feel like I could share my feelings with anyone except my brothers who were feeling just like I was.

Once the excavating was done it was time to start laying concrete blocks for the basement walls. Daddy's brother Ezra came to do the majority of the construction work. He lived in Lancaster so he would stay for two weeks at a time, going home only for his church Sundays. Since it was January, there were quite a few days that the weather wasn't fit to work in so Daddy got him to finish remodelling our upstairs that we had started several years before. My room was going to be done first so they moved my bed and furniture down to the sewing room. I wasn't very enthused about that since LV always came into the house through the sewing room on our dates, but I didn't want one of my brothers to be sleeping downstairs and eavesdrop on us either.

Bit by bit the basement walls started to grow. I was starting to get used to the idea that Grandpa's would be moving to us.

It was interesting to have Uncle Ezra living with us. He enjoyed relating stories and in the evenings after supper we enjoyed sitting in the kitchen and listening as Ezra and Daddy recounted their growing up years.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Grandpa Masts lived in a nice house in the middle of the village of Pocahontas. Aunt Emma had never married and still lived with them and Vernie of course was also very much a part of their household. I loved their cheerful house, everything always felt just right when we went to see them. The cookie jar was always full, and Emma busy with one of her many tasks. Vernie would be helping her or playing with her dolls and coloring books. Grandma had a room where she spent a lot of time scrap booking and writing letters and Grandpa would be rocking on his old creaky rocking chair reading a book. He would always lay his book aside when ever I came and start talking. He was always very interested in what was going on in my life and it was very easy to discuss everything with him. I didn't ever want them or their house to change.

Uncle Eli and his wife lived right across the road from Grandpa's and would be there to help with anything that they needed. So one forenoon when Eli stopped in and said that Grandpa had a stroke and was in the hospital I felt as if the whole world was crashing. Mom and Daddy dropped everything and went to the hospital to be with him leaving John and I in charge of taking care of the woodworking shop and customers.

Days blurred into each other and we were all relieved when Grandpa could come home again. He could still talk but was too weak to leave his bed so he needed a lot of care. Mom and Daddy went to see him everyday and one day when they came home they went somewhere to talk without having us children hear what they were discussing. That evening Uncle John Henry came by to talk and this time we couldn't help over hearing what they were saying.

Grandpa wanted to build a house right next to ours so that Grandma, Emma, and Vernie would be living next to their daughter/sister when he passes on. I wasn't happy to hear that Grandpa wasn't expecting to live long, and I was not ready to have them move away from their house in the village.

That evening Mom and Daddy talked to us about it and wanted to know how we feel about having Grandpa's build a house right next to ours. I wanted to say no, that I don't want them to build a house and move in right next to us but felt extremely selfish to actually put it into words.

I went to bed hoping that by some miracle Grandpa would get a lot better and they would forget about building a new house for them. I wasn't ready for more changes and wanted nothing more than have things stay the way they were.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Choosing the Winner

Sounds like everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving. I enjoyed reading all your comments about your day.

And now it's time to choose the winner. With the help of my friend, the random generator the winner this time is...........
Number 19

Flowers of Life said..........
Had a great family time at home everyone was glad for a day of and not do anything,but read to our hearts content

Congratulations! Please contact me with your mailing address and I will get your book shipped to you. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I used to.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Curling up on a comfortable chair in the living room with a pile of old Young Companion magazines that Grandpa's had kept and loaned to us to read was one of my favorite ways to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. Each issue was filled with stories about Amish youth. There were always continued stories that I would have to get all the magazines in order to make sure I have the next installment ready to read as soon as I needed  it.

There were many great stories and one I enjoyed in particular was about a young girl, Miriam Schlabach, who was wanting to join the instruction classes in order to become a member of the church. her best friend Elsie was also planning to join but wasn't being a good influence on Miriam's life since she was still drawn to things that were forbidden by the church.
Not long ago I found that they had taken this continued story from the Young Companion and published it in a little book.

If you would like to have a chance to own this book leave a comment telling me what you did on Thanksgiving. 

As always, for a second entry post a link to my giveaway on your blog and come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

I will be choosing a winner using on Monday Nov. 29th

Giveaway is closed and a winner announced.

Friday, November 26, 2010


All during my school years Nancy had been my best friend. She was a very sweet, soft spoken girl that was friends with everyone and there wasn't a mean bone in her body. I thought there was nothing that could come between our friendship.

And then her brother got married, leaving her with no ride to and from the youth singings every other Sunday evening. Since John was old enough to be going to the singings I had to ride with him which left only LV without a passenger on his buggy which made that he would be the one that had to furnish transportation for Nancy.

I tried to not let the thought of LV and Nancy riding together bother me, but if I was honest it really did. I didn't want Nancy sitting next to LV on his buggy. The buggy where we had so many pleasant evenings together. What made it even worse was that Nancy lived at the outskirts of the community which meant that they would always have a really long ride. I could envision Nancy on the buggy making pleasant conversation and being so prim and proper, unlike me who had the ability to say and do all the wrong things.

It kept eating at me so badly that I went and wrote a letter to LV and folded it up in a tiny little square so that John could slip it to LV when they shook hands before the  singing. That letter, born out of being jealous, was only the first of many that we would send to each other.

I still didn't like that LV had to take Nancy to and from the singings but knowing that he didn't enjoy it either and that I would have a nice juicy letter to read once I came home made it a little more bearable.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving ! I hope you will all have a very lovely day.

Ours will be a little different this year but that won't keep us from being thankful for the many blessings in our life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Looking at the Forbidden

Soon after we learned how to read German Mom and Daddy gave each of us children a little New Testament and by the time we graduated from school we got a nice large hard covered one. I would read a chapter or so occasionally but since it was in German I didn't read much or very often.

Soon after I had become a member of the church Mom and Daddy had gone on a trip and come home with several leather bound Bibles. They gave John and I each a copy. We were both happy that it was a German and English Bible and made up our minds we would read it from cover to cover.

I got stuck in Leviticus and set it aside, thoroughly bored and wondering why such strange rules and things were recorded in the Bible. I had much more interesting things to read and the Bible got tucked on a shelf in my closet.

John was much more dedicated with reading through his Bible and evenings before we went to bed we would often sit in his room for a while where he would talk with enthusiasm about what he had been reading. He found all the history very interesting and I found it entertaining as well when he talked about it.

One evening we were once again sitting in his room. He was perched on the edge of his bed very excited as he told me how he just read in Isaiah 11 how someday a wolf would dwell with a lamb and a lion eat straw like an ox. Fascinated I read it too. We talked a little more about it and wondered how that would seem.

The next day when David and Mahlon were at school we had just finished eating lunch and were relaxing a little before heading back to work when John went upstairs and got his Bible.  Bringing it down he told Mom and Daddy how he had found something very interesting and proceeded to read those passages to them. They stood there looking horrified and told us we should certainly not believe that, and forbade us to read anything between Proverbs and the New Testament.

My interest in reading the Bible was piqued again, but I didn't want to disobey a direct order from mom and Daddy. John was wishing he had never said anything about it since he had been hoping to read the entire Bible.

That evening we discussed whether or not to continue reading, and decided that we would wait to read the forbidden parts of the Bible until we were twenty one and were no longer accountable to Mom and Daddy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Phone Shanty

It was a cold foggy winter day. There was several feet of snow on the ground the top had formed a hard crust perfect for sledding and walking on top without breaking through.

Right after I was done doing the dishes after lunch I dressed warmly, got a book I was reading and headed down the road to our pasture across the road to our phone shanty where I would sit for the next thirty minutes to answer the phone if any one wanted to call.

Going out through the basement I decided to wear Daddy's big thick winter coat on top of everything I was wearing to try to keep out the damp freezing fog. I was glad we didn't have a mirror in the basement so I didn't have to see how much I was resembling an elephant.

I walked to the phone shanty and then settled into the chair next to the phone and started reading my book. I wasn't there very long before I heard several vehicles drive into the driveway leading to the graveyard in the woods behind the phone shanty. The fog was heavy enough that I couldn't see who it was.

Not paying too much attention to them I continued enjoying my book. Before long I heard a very weird noise. Almost as if someone was yelling or calling someone. I froze. The book closed as I listened and was horrified to hear the unearthly sounds again, what was even worse it sounded as if it was closer than it had been.

After several more yells I stepped cautiously outside of the phone shanty. Another yell pierced the air. that was enough. I didn't care how many people wanted to call. I was going for the house as fast fast as my feet could carry me. Daddy's coat that had felt so nice and warm was now bulky and hindering my ability to run as I stumbled and slipped on the icy snow.

I burst into the back shop door, banged it shut and stood there panting. Daddy asked what was wrong and I told him about the awful noises I had been hearing. He saw I really was scared and sent me back to the house while he went to the phone shanty for the remaining scheduled time.

When he came back in he said he hadn't heard anything unusual. I was starting to feel a little sheepish but knew I really had heard something.

The next Sunday evening LV told me that with the heavy fog he had decided to come talk with me while I wait on calls. That he's sorry he had scared me but it had almost been worth it seeing my terrified flight to the shop.

I felt embarrassed that I had run and a little aggravated that he had yelled so weirdly instead of calling my name.

Monday, November 22, 2010

~Giveaway Winner~

I had so much fun reading all the comments about things you still have or wish you had that you used to enjoy in your childhood.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Unfortunately there can only be one winner. And so without further ado the winner is..........
Number 6

Count me in! One of my favorite toys from when I was little (and I still have it) is my Susie doll. My mom would make clothes for her and I remember taking her everywhere.

Congratulations! Please send an email with your address and I will get the book shipped to you.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Time for Another Giveaway!

For a long time my Mom had only three cookbooks. And the one she used the most was a hard covered light blue book with it's simple cover design and named simply "Amish Cooking"

As an eager young cook, it was the first recipe book I used and it wasn't long before the pages showed tell tale signs that I was a beginner. They became spattered and dirty much to my dismay. Mom wasn't thrilled at how I was ruining her cookbook, but never complained about it either saying that she would keep it and think of me when ever she uses it.

Years and hundreds of cookbooks later I still find myself turning to this book the most. It still holds many of our favorite recipes, from pancakes and grapenuts to Apple Goodie and Pecan Pie and everything in between. With page after page of tried and true recipes it will always remain an important item for my kitchen.
Since I like it so well I thought I would give one of these cookbooks away. If you would like to have a chance to win it all you have to do is leave a comment telling me something that you still have or wish you still had from your childhood.

For a second entry post a link to this giveaway on your blog them come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

I will be choosing the winner on Monday Nov 22nd using  Please make sure I have a way of contacting you if you are the winner.

Disclaimer: The only compensation I get from doing this giveaway is the warm happy feeling it gives me to be able to give someone one of my favorite cookbooks.

Giveaway is now closed and the winner chosen.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Special Help

Shelling peas was never one of my favorite things to do. But since we ate a lot of them Mom always planted a lot and since we had a busy store the bulk of gardening and canning became my responsibility.

I used to try to get all the peas picked before breakfast and then sit in the shade to shell them. We lived close to a busy road and as my little brothers and I were shelling peas we would often play guessing games, or traffic games.

One forenoon I was busy shelling peas when I heard a horse and buggy come down the road. As I looked up I recognized Ridge but since the storm front was closed I couldn't see who was driving. The pine trees behind me kept me from being able to see as the buggy passed, but then I was surprised to hear it pull off the road by our hitching rack.

A little later Ivan, who had been helping me shell peas announced excitedly that LV was walking toward us. I looked up and was thrilled to see LV approaching but suddenly felt klutzy. I wasn't sure what to do with myself as I sat on a little child's arm chair with a big bowl of peas on my lap.

LV didn't seem to notice that I was flustered as he sat on the grass and started helping Ivan shell his bowl of peas. The forenoon passed way too fast as we visited. I wished Ivan would give us some time alone but he seemed so happy to be sitting next to LV that i didn't have the heart to tell him to go into the house.

Several weeks later a customer gave us several pictures they had taken of us. I was very happy to have it and tucked it away carefully. It would be the only one I ever had of LV and I while we were courting.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Sewing Room

November was always a gloomy month with one gray day following the next and having a solid week or more of very heavy fog wasn't unusual.

But even with unfavorable weather and moody skies I really enjoyed the month. We usually had our fall house cleaning done and were ready to start on all the fun projects we had stashed away for winter. Our days would be spent in the sewing room. It was a very pleasant room. With two walls covered with built in floor to ceiling oak cupboards. The other walls were painted a delicate lavender. There were several large windows with fluffy white curtains. Mom and I each had a nice treadle sewing machine underneath one of the windows. A large table under the other windows to do our fabric cutting completed the room.

Every morning right after breakfast dishes were done we would carry our gas lamp into the sewing room and hang it on a hook under a stainless steel reflector. The noisy hum of the lamp and the warmth from the radiators made the room feel cozy as we decided what we would be sewing that day.

Since LV and I were courting I had a lot of things that I wanted to sew in preparations of my own home someday. Mom and Daddy were giving me three quilts and a comforter. It was fun going through the cupboards and selecting the fabric and patterns I would be using for my quilts and other projects. It wasn't long before I had made plenty of pretty potholders and tea towels. Watching them pile up in a drawer in my room was satisfying as I dreamed of the day I would be able to use them.

It took a little longer to decide what quilts I would be making. I finally decided on a Double Irish Chain, Trip Around the World, and a Broken Star. The Irish Chain and Trip Around the World would be for everyday use and I would keep the Broken Star for our guest room. It didn't take very long to piece the first two but the Broken Star was a little more difficult. I remained unfazed as I worked patiently on making sure it turned out just right. As I sewed my quilt Mom was working on her projects. It seemed we never ran out of things to talk about or songs to sing.

The drab November days are here again and I'm really missing Mom and the sewing room right now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Latest

Life has a way of handing you things that you never expected. The past few months we spent away from home. And though I got used to "camping out" I really looked forward to coming home once again. We had given our houseplants to a friend to care for while we were gone, so when I stepped into the kitchen I was happy to see the one plant we had forgotten about had thrived on not being cared for over the past several months and even had a few welcome home blooms.
 It wasn't long before we discovered that not only was there a pretty flower waiting to welcome us home there was also something not nearly as nice lurking under the kitchen counter.

I had been afraid of that since we live in a very old farmhouse and it's November that there would be a lot of mice looking for a nice place to spend the winter. I was getting a drink of water when I heard the unmistakable pitter patter of tiny feet. I froze and then quickly told my husband to check to see what is under the counter. He opened the door and there it was. A fat little field mouse enjoying the last remnants of a bag of cornmeal. It scurried toward the back of the lazy susan and sat down to see what we were going to do.

My husband got a trap baited it and put it next to the cornmeal while the brave little mouse watched with gleeful curiosity. Closing the door we waited for a few seconds and heard the trap spring. I didn't want to see  a dead mouse and went into the next room and closed the door. Hearing my husband chuckle I asked whats so funny because even he doesn't think dead mice are all that funny.

He informed me the mouse is getting the last laugh since it cleverly sprung the trap without getting caught. Sunbeam thinks it's so cute but I don't share her sentiments and won't be able to rest well until we have outwitted our courageous little unwelcome house guest.

Any advice?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hospital Bills

Over the course of the next few weeks the trustees would drop in with small amounts of money that people had given to help with David's hospital bills. It wasn't long before we knew that we would have to foot the majority of the bill on our own since we had not gotten nearly enough money to cover the bills and we didn't want to make another request to the church even though the trustees had offered to make another request for us.

Daddy accompanied David to his follow up appointment with his surgeon and while there he talked to him about setting up a payment plan to pay the bill. The doctor seemed to be willing to work with us and as they left his office Daddy gave him one of our business cards which had our phone number and the half hour that we could be reached if he wanted to call.

The next few days Daddy went to the phone shanty for the half hour that we took calls to make sure that if the doctor called he would be the one to answer the phone. Everyday he would come in and say that he hadn't called and was concerned that maybe the doctor had changed his mind about setting up a payment plan.

On Saturday afternoon we were surprised to see the doctor and his wife walk into our store. They looked at all the furniture we had and seemed to really like it. After picking out a bedroom suite and a dining room set he asked if it would be okay if they would take those two sets in exchange for marking the hospital bill paid in full.

Daddy was more than happy to agree. That evening we all rejoiced at how everything had worked together and the bills were all taken care of.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Amish Singing and Confessions

The second hymn to be sung in every Amish church service is the Lob Lied (Praise Song) It takes an average of twenty minutes to sing the four stanzas which each have seven lines. The ministers usually came back from their private meeting toward the end of the last verse. I always hoped they would come before the next song was announced because it seemed as if every time it took them longer than that, all the members would have to stay in after church to deal with some sort of problems.

As much as I had looked forward to seeing what goes on behind those closed doors, I wished with all my heart that I wouldn't have to be part of it once I had been baptized and become a member of the church.

I was back in church for the first time since I had the chicken pox. It seemed nice that the whole family was able to go to church together once again. After the preaching service was over the bishop announced that he wants all the members remain seated after the last song was sung.

I wondered what would happen this time. As far as I knew I hadn't done anything wrong but my hands still felt cold and clammy. After the children had all filed out and the doors were closed, the bishop rose and announced that as everyone knows there is a new hospital bill in the community. That the bill from David's hospital stay was more than Mom and Daddy could pay on their own and that if people would give donations to the trustees they would make that we would get help to pay the bill.

I felt embarrassed that everyone knew that we couldn't pay the bill on our own but wondered why we had to remain seated just for that since they had often announced hospital bills with all the non-members present. I didn't have to wonder for long though as the bishop continued by saying that from time to time foxes sneak into the vineyard and it is the keeper of the vineyards duty to deal with them when ever they appear and sadly another fox had entered.That it was brought to his attention that there was a man who had a few pictures in his house of his children after someone had asked the children to pose and taken a picture of them and then given him a copy. If this is true he asks that David Swarey would leave the building while the rest of the church votes on his punishment.

I felt my face turn red and my stomach turn into knots as Daddy got up and left the church building. The bishop then addressed the rest of the church saying how sad he was that this had occurred and they think a common confession should suffice as punishment this time. he sat down and the ministers gave their two cents worth and then went to see if the rest of the church was in agreement.I knew I was expected to say "I am in agreeance and I wish the Lord's blessings" I didn't think it was necessary for Daddy to make a confession but knew I wasn't allowed to disagree since I was only a girl. When the preacher that was taking the women's votes came to me and bent his head I quickly whispered in his ear. "I wish the Lord's blessings" but refused to say that I agreed.

After the ministers had taken the whispered votes and and returned to their seats the minister who had taken the men's votes announced that every one had agreed. The one that had taken the women's votes added that all the women had agreed also. The bishop rose and said he was glad everyone was agreed because where people are in unity the power of God is strong. He then asked one of the men to go tell Daddy to come back inside.

After Daddy returned to his seat the bishop said " The church has decided that they require a common confession and to repeat after him. I acknowledge that I have grieved God and the church and with heartfelt sorrow I ask both to forgive me and with God's help I will try to live more holy"

After Daddy had said the confession the bishop extended forgiveness saying how nice it is for Daddy to be at peace with God and the church again.

I felt horrible about the whole deal and vowed I would never make a confession in church. The humiliation and knowing that everyone in Somerset County would know about it was all the motivation I needed to be extra careful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Time to choose the winner for the book "His Protecting Hand"

The winner is ...............
Number 13

Nel said .........
I would love to be entered into your giveaway. We have some left over chili from last week so we are going to have chili dogs and french fries tonight. Thanks for doing the giveaway!

until next time... nel

Congratulations Nel !  Please send me your address and I'll get the book mailed to you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


One of the least favorite things in my life is looking out the window and seeing this.

Most times when this happens I can hear envious moos coming from the pasture where a few calves missed the the departure time when the rest of their friends decided to go on an exciting tour of  greener grass.

Yesterday when I discovered the calves escaped again I wasn't happy when I didn't hear any envious moos. When I went outside my fears were confirmed. All the calves were having a grand time in our yard. Sending Sailor to close the gates at the end of our driveway to keep them from running out on the road I started trying to get them to head back toward their pasture.

Trying to herd twenty calves at one time is no easy feat and we soon gave up and concentrated on only three or four at a time leaving the rest to sample everything the yard and barn had to offer. Calves have a way of not wanting to give up their freedom even though their pasture offers them much more room and grazing than the yard does.

Stationing the girls between the house and the barn in hopes their presence would discourage the calves from running back into the main part of the yard Sailor and I tried to coax one at a time back into the field. Most of them with a little time and careful moves got headed back through the gate.

The smallest of the bunch decided it was not going to co-operate and every time it neared the gate it would kick up his heels and dart back the way it had come from. trying my best to head it off for the tenth time I tripped over an uneven spot and wound up kissing America. After more than an hour of trying we actually managed to get them all back where they belong. They are all doing great, I am hoping I won't be sore for long.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Recipe

We don't get to go out to eat very often at all. When we do, one of our favorite restaurants is a cute little Mexican that has some of the best Mexican food I have ever had the pleasure to eat.

 Living in the middle of nowhere the options of great places to eat are very limited so when I stumbled across a recipe for a Spinach Artichoke dip similar to that of what I have enjoyed over the past years in restaurants not located in the middle of nowhere I was happy. I made it several weeks ago and it was just as good as I remembered so I had to make it again and invite a friend over to help eat it and see if she liked it as well as we do. After receiving her confirmation that it really is delicious I decided to share it with you.
Spinach Artichoke Dip

1- 10 oz box frozen chopped spinach
1- 14 oz can artichoke hearts drained and chopped
2 cups shredded cheese ( I used a Colby blend)
1 jar Cheesy Ragu Classic Alfredo sauce
4 oz softened cream cheese

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and spread into an 8" x 8" baking dish. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and serve with chips or bread. So good! I can't decide how I like it best warm, or as cold left overs. Either way. Delicious!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Mom and Daddy kept our home library filled with good books. During winter months Mom would read to us before we went to bed and when ever we had some spare time you could find us somewhere enjoying a book.

One of my favorites was the book, "His Protecting Hand" based on a true story about the life of an Amish girl. What made it even more special to me was that my Grandma Mast personally knew "Lillie". I always marvelled at the strength and courage Lillie and her mother portrayed throughout the book as their family experienced many hardships of pioneer life.

In her very unique life would Lillie fall for Billy and leave the Amish or would her mother's prayers and God's protecting hand keep her true to the faith she had been born into?

If you would like a chance to win this book leave a comment telling me something you would like to have for dinner tonight.

For a second entry share a link for this giveaway on your blog and then come back and leave another comment telling me that you did. Be sure to make that I have a way to contact you if you are chosen as the winner.

I will choose a winner on Thursday Nov 11th using

Disclaimer: The only compensation I get from having this giveaway is the warm happy feeling of knowing I get to give one of my readers a book that has been one of my favorites for years.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chicken Pox ~ Part Three

I made supper and as we were eating Daddy looked at me a little funny and asked if I am getting Chicken Pox too. That there is something on my face.

I went to look in the mirror and was dismayed to see a few big ugly pox on my face. I then showed my arms to Daddy and he told me to go to bed, that he and John would take care of cleaning away the dishes and tidying the kitchen.

I went to bed, in the middle of the night I woke up feeling awful and much too warm. I got up to wash my face with cool water mixed with baking soda in hopes it would make it feel better. I struck a match to light my lamp and didn't like how my hand trembled as I tried to place the chimney on the lamp. As I was picking it up to go fix the water I happened to catch a glimpse of my face in the mirror and recoiled in horror. It was covered in huge blister looking pox there wasn't a spot on my face that I could touch without also touching a pox.

I went downstairs and was fixing a bowl full of water when Daddy came out to the kitchen to see what I needed. When I turned around and he caught sight of my face I saw a shocked expression crossing his face. He asked me to sit down on Mom's rocking chair while he went to get a washcloth and proceeded to dip it in the water and then gently blotted my face and arms with it.

It felt so good. Once he was done he asked me to stay on the rocker while he went and brought our roll away bed into the kitchen and got it ready for me. I was glad I didn't have to climb the stairs again and sank wearily into it. Daddy told me to call him if I needed anything and then went back to bed.

I didn't sleep well the rest of the night but didn't want to disturb Daddy from his much needed rest. The next morning Daddy appointed John to take care of us while he went to the hospital to stay with David and Mom could come home with us.

It seemed wonderful to have Mom at home. Her presence was comforting and she spent a lot of time trying to cool me as I was burning with fever and drifting in and out of crazy dreams.

A few days later the fever left but I was still very sick, but not sick enough that I didn't rejoice with the rest of the family that David was able to come home from the hospital. Grandpa Mast's brought their hospital bed for David and set it up in the kitchen across the room from where I was on the roll away bed.

Daddy lifted David into his bed. I was shocked at how frail and skinny he looked. As he lay in bed he looked over at me and his first words were, "Wow, if only you could put some lights in all those bulbs you would look kind of pretty."

I had to laugh. It seemed so good having him at home again. His sense of humor and being able to talk to each other made the remaining days of being confined in bed go so much faster.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chicken Pox ~ Part Two

Daddy went to the phone shanty to call a driver to come and take them to the hospital with David. Since it was such short notice most drivers were running errands with other Amish and it took Daddy quite a long time to locate someone who could take them.

When he came in he told us it might take a little while till the driver got here. They got David ready and then sat there and waited anxiously for the driver to get there. When he arrived Daddy had to help David to the vehicle since he couldn't stand upright any longer.

John and I were left in charge of everything while they were gone. I was hoping the doctors could give David some kind of medicine and they could come home before long. The rest of the day passed slowly as I took care of Ivan and Raymond who were still quite sick from having chicken pox. Wondering what was wrong with David didn't help.

Bedtime came and they were still at the hospital so rather than waiting up for them to get home we went to bed.

The next day Daddy came home and told us that David's appendix had burst and they had to do emergency surgery. Mom would be staying with him until he was released.

I was kept busy with caring for my sick brothers, and doing all the household chores by myself. It wasn't long before Mahlon was sick too and I did everything I could to try to make him comfortable. That afternoon a butcher delivered five hundred pounds of hamburger from the steers we had sent to be butchered earlier. Daddy helped mix and season the meat while I stuffed jar after jar and then carried them to the basement where we had a huge canner that we used to set the filled jars in and then boil them for three hours. Aunt Emma came to help out one day but my days still felt dizzying busy.

Then one afternoon while everyone was sleeping I decided to take this opportunity to do some sewing. I spread out the fabric and was cutting quilt blocks. Before long I felt too tired to continue. Thinking that it was because I hadn't had a moment to rest in the past week since David had been in the hospital, I sat down in a chair to rest a little. As I sat there I noticed a few ugly pox on my arm.

I felt like crying. I didn't have time to be sick with Mom at the hospital with David, who would do all the work that needed to be done?

To be continued

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chicken Pox ~ Part One

Two weeks after the Thanksgiving weddings, John got up one morning not feeling very well. Mom soon saw that he was running a fever and there were a few suspicious looking spot on his face and arms. After inspecting them a little closer she announced that John has the chicken pox.

After converting our sofa into a bed she got everything fixed up in the living room and sent John to bed. For a few days John was very sick, covered in pox and feverish Mom spent most of her time trying to make him as comfortable as possible and coaxed as much liquids in him as she could. By the end of the first week his fever was gone and he now he had to deal with trying not to itch. My usually good natured easy going brother was anything but good natured. Bored to the uttermost he lay in the bed grumbling and complaining until I felt like making him sit outside in the snow for a while.

Mom didn't want him to read while he was sick so I had to spend several hours everyday sitting next to his bed and read to him. I was glad that the end of his two weeks in bed was coming and he could go back to his usual activities, but before Mom released him from his confinement David started with the pox and another cycle started.

I was afraid I would start with them too but day after day passed and I was still healthy so I started to assume I probably was immune to them. As David neared the end of his two weeks Ivan and Raymond both broke out. The living room felt crowded with three sick people filling it and Mom spent all day trying to soothe her sick children.

Another big snow storm went through piling several feet of snow on the ground. David wanted to go sledding more than anything else but Mom and Daddy were concerned that he should stay inside until his two weeks were up. David kept going from window to window and talk about how great it would be to have at least one sled ride, that he really didn't feel sick any longer.

Finally Mom and Daddy agreed that if he dressed really warmly he could go take one ride but then he would have to come in right away. Happy to have permission David went outside and took his sled ride. Coming back inside his face looked a little more pained and he went to lay down. Mom asked him what was wrong and he told her his stomach hurts. She gave him something and we all went to bed.

The next morning David was really sick Mom tried to get him to drink liquids but nothing wanted to stay down and the pain in his stomach was excruciating. By afternoon they decided it was time to take him to the emergency room to see what was wrong.

To be continued

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


A heart felt Thank You! to everyone who helped make my Aunt Vernie's birthday a little more special. You are the best for being willing to help make someone you only know through my blog, happy.

With close to a hundred people offering to send her a card her mailbox should be an interesting spot for a few days.