Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wranglers and Ribbons

Don't you simply love that title? I do! Wranglers and Ribbons, I love both and only wish I would have been the one to think of that catchy title.

Wranglers and Ribbons is actually the name of one of my all time favorite blogs, written by a friend who lives on a ranch in Arizona with her husband and three children. She has a great way with words and quite a talent for writing that keeps me coming back again and again.
Picture borrowed from Wranglers and Ribbons with Lynell's permission.

Her post about A Tragic Fish Story had me in stitches. When I read it I knew we must be kindred spirits. Her post about Paybacks confirmed it even more.

She also owns a cat. But shh, don't tell anyone. Find out why here.

Her post about their beloved dog had me misty eyed.

I hope you visit her blog and especially the links I shared. I think you will be hooked and want to become a follower and if you have time leave her a comment or two while you are there.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summertime Fun

 We have been enjoying our summer to the fullest even though the weather has been on the cool side. We have been enjoying time outside taking walks and playing. On the rainy days there have been projects to work on inside.
Sailor followed instructions we found tucked away for years already and sucessfully made a ball that bounces very well. He was quite pleased with his accomplishment.

Rosebud likes nothing better than spending time in the kitchen and wanted to learn to bake bread. Her efforts paid off as well and we got to enjoy beautiful soft, fresh homemade bread.

And Sunbeam, she loves reading to anyone who has time to listen. She already has plans to read to the baby as soon as possible.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

MG-A Sunday Afternoon

All the worn out sleepy people seemed to be suddenly wide awake and full of energy the minute church services were over. The men gathered up all the songbooks and used the benches to set up several tables while the women went to prepare the food.

This community did not serve regular church lunch but instead had a chart with every married ladies name telling what she was supposed to bring and when. The woman at the place where church was held provided several huge hot casseroles while others provided salads, cakes, and other desserts.

The men always filled their trays first, followed by the boys and girls and then the women came last. It was very frustrating to us when the boys decided to start sitting at the women's table to eat instead of the benches where they used to. It was hard trying to balance a large tray of food on my lap besides having a baby and a toddler to take care of at the same time. No one dared to suggest to the boys though that they should do the proper thing and let the mothers have a table to sit at because when all was said and done the young folks were more honored and revered than anyone else in this church.

After lunch was over the young folks went to play volley ball or baseball while the women got to clear up the mess. I enjoyed the company of the women though and there was no lack of conversation and laughter as we all worked together. Shortly after the mess was cleaned up it would be time for us to go home and start all our chores.

There would be supper and a singing in the evening for the youth and who ever else wanted to attend. We didn't very often. With three little children, and a lot of chores, eating in the comfort of our own home where I didn't have to grow an additional arm or two to be able to comfortably enjoy my meal and an early bedtime seemed like the best choice for us.

Monday, June 27, 2011

MG-A Sunday Forenoon

As I sat on the backless bench I tried to keep my back from becoming shaped like a banana. The minister that was preaching was mumbling into his long dark gray beard and it was hard to understand him, so I turned my attention to Sunbeam instead as she sat on my lap playing with her special toys I saved for church. I knew I wasn't missing much since when ever I sat somewhere where I could understand him I always wished I could block his aimless monotone. He never really preached but was much more concerned about how lost people were who had left the faith they had been born into and had weird stories to share that I doubted were even true. He was also very afraid that communists would come someday and rambled on about them.

I was glad when it was time for prayer and then the next preacher got up to deliver the main sermon. He started off like he did with every single sermon he preached with a long detailed description of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Afterwards he added his favorite Bible story or two and some other rambling thoughts.

All around me people were yawning, sleeping, or looking intensely bored and I really couldn't blame them. The thought of catching a nice nap and escaping from the reality of this church was most tempting but years of having been taught and trained to not nod off in church made that I was unable to join the rest in slumberland.

I wished I could once again sit in the church house in Somerset where people seemed to have a reverence for God and the ministers actually preached sermons. Yes, there had been one that had been hard to follow but even he had more to say than these two.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hawaiian Chicken Fajitas

I always like when I find another recipe to add to my keeper file. Recently there have been quite a few being tucked into it. Here is one of the latest that I'm sure will be a favorite in our family for a long time!

Hawaiian Chicken Fajitas

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 each small yellow, red, and orange sweet pepper, julienned*
1 med Vidalia onion cut into thin wedges
2 Tbsp enchilada seasoning mix
¼ cup water
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
½ tsp salt
½ cup pineapple tidbits, drained
8 flour tortillas (10 inch) warmed

In a large skillet, cook chicken in olive oil for 4-5 minutes. Add peppers and onion; cook and stir for an additional 5 minutes. In a bowl combine seasoning mix and water, add honey, parsley and salt. Pour over chicken in skillet. Stir until everything is well coated. Add pineapples and cook and stir for 1-2 minutes. Place chicken mixture on one side of each warmed tortilla, fold tortilla over chicken.

Serve and enjoy!

*I prefer using the small sweet peppers but regular ones would work fine as well. Two small peppers equal 3/4 of a regular size.

Friday, June 24, 2011

In The Eyes of the Beholder

I was going through a pile of photos recently to get them sorted and put them into albums. I found this one of Sunbeam and put it on the reject pile.

Sunbeam was watching me and was absolutely thrilled when she saw this picture. Instead of seeing that red streak as a flaw she was sure it was light from Heaven shining down on her.

After seeing it through her eyes I had to put it into the album after all. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Most of you know that I have an aunt with Downs Syndrome who is very dear to me. If you have not already, you can read more about her here.

Last night we received a call from one of my uncles to let us know that she is in the hospital with a very bad case of pneumonia. She has always been scared of doctors, hospitals, even band aids used to make her shiver and she tried to avoid them at all costs. So I'm sure that this whole experience is being very traumatic for her.

Though there's not much we can do for her physically right now but, I would appreciate if you would consider joining us in prayer for her.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Favorite Sounds

The blog post I wanted to do this morning will have to wait until later since I can't seem to be able to load any pictures. After trying different things multiple times I was getting frustrated and sat back to glare at my computer screen for a while when I heard Rosebud and Sunbeam singing to their dolls. It got me thinking of the many sounds I enjoy hearing.
  • Laughter from happy children.
  • The door of my husbands vehicle closing, letting me know that he is at home after a long day of work.
  • The hundreds of singing birds that fill the air with their cheerful melodies all day long. They are the first thing I hear every morning when I wake up and the last thing I hear before I go to sleep at night.
  • The children singing. They love singing almost as much as I do.
  • The sweet little good-nights as the children head for bed every evening. Even our unborn child is being told good-night by his/her siblings who are all really looking forward to welcoming it.
  • The wind blowing softly through the pine trees by our house.
  • The waterfall gushing happily.
  • Sunbeam reading to me. Ever since she discovered the joy of reading last fall she will have several daily story times where she draws up her little chair next to me and reads.
  • Sweet "I love yous" from the people most dear in my life.
These are only a handful of sounds that I enjoy. What about you? I would love to hear some of your favorite things to hear.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


There are some words in the Amish language that I really have no clue how to translate. Mondli is one of them.

Rosy and Sunbeam were poking around in the attic yesterday and found my doll's mondli and wondered what it was. This is the explanation I had for them:

A mondli is something little girls in the more conservative Amish churches wear from the time of birth to six or seven years old when ever they go to church if it is cold or chilly. It's an awkward contraption. Basically a floor length sleeveless coat with a big cape type collar and buttons down the front from the collar all the way to your ankles.

Not only is it awkward, it's somewhat dangerous as well since your arms are trapped inside if you happen to stumble you couldn't regain your balance or put out your hands to protect yourself from the fall. Some of the nastiest tumbles I ever took involved wearing a mondli.

Rosy couldn't remember ever wearing her mondli since she was only two when we moved to an Amish community where little girls were free to wear coats. They were both glad to have been spared wearing them and I can't say that I blame them.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Ever since I have been pregnant I have been having some rather odd cravings. I would love to sit down right now with a raw cucumber, sour cream, and blueberry yogurt. And yes, enjoy all three at the same time. 

Yogurt is not something that I would normally even want anywhere near my mouth. But since there is a baby on the way I could consume gallons of it!

For all you mothers and mothers to be out there. I would love to hear some of the things you craved while pregnant.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Outside the Window

Something I really enjoyed about our new home was that with more than fifty trees in our yard there was an abundance of birds. Their cheerful songs filled the air all day long and I loved listening to them.

There was a big maple tree right outside the living room beside our sandbox. A family of squirrels lived in it and we spent many happy hours watching them as they chased  each other playfully and later were busy storing nuts for the winter.

One day as the children were playing in the sandbox there were little bits of something falling down on them. they were puzzled until they looked up to see a squirrel sitting on a branch above their heads getting a nut ready to eat Making little bits of the shell fall down on their heads. The squirrels were used to having them play in the sandbox and never bothered to scamper away from them.

Sailor was sure the squirrel was making the bits of nut shell fall on them on purpose and was thrilled about it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Early Days

After moving to our new home I vowed I would not be spending more time outside than absolutely necessary. We had never seen so many disgusting insects and other vermin in our life.

A variety of different lizards scampered gleefully up and down the trees and around the front of the house. Snakes were abundant as well. More spiders than I had seen in all my years of growing up combined, marched with abandon every where spinning their disgusting webs as they went. Walking outside in the fall you had to accept the fact that you would get spider webs in your face or some where on yourself if you didn't watch very carefully where you walked.

There were insects of every shape and size the way it seemed. More kinds than I had known was even possible. Even with a lot of trees in the yard we were never tempted to sit in the shade because we always got insect bites of some sort. But even worse than all the flying buzzing noisy things were the ticks and chiggers that had to be dealt with every day.

Our house had huge windows on three side but only a little portion of them could be opened. They tilted out which was nice to be able to keep them open even when it rained. One evening before we went to bed I closed the windows. The one window seemed a little extra stubborn but I managed to get it closed and locked.

The next morning when I wanted to open it I was horrified to find that I had pinched a big snake into the window. It was thoroughly dead by now after having been squashed like that all night but that didn't keep me from shivering and running to find LV to scrape the remains off the window and get rid of it.

The house seemed like the safest place to be, but even it was plagued with occasional walking sticks, centipedes, and other things. My poor voice box got plenty of exercise as it seemed every time I discovered something crawling on the sink or on a wall I always shrieked even though it hurt and I was determined to make the best of things and learn how to bravely get rid of those unwanted intruders without letting the entire neighborhood know I was terrified again.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chicken Delight

Last evening I tried another new recipe and it is definitely making it's way into my keeper file. Delicious as a word to describe it doesn't quite do it justice. I've had many delicious things already and this has got to be close to the top.
Chicken Delight

In a small bowl combine:
½ cup prepared mustard
½ cup honey
1½ tsp vegetable oil
½ tsp lemon juice

Pour ½ cup of honey mustard mixture into a large resealable bag. Add:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Set remaining marinade aside until later.

Seal bag and refrigerate for two hours.
Drain and discard marinade from chicken.
In a large skillet over medium heat brown chicken on both sides in:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Sprinkle with:
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
½ tsp paprika

Place chicken into greased 9x13 cake pan.

In your skillet which still has a little vegetable oil in it add:
2 Tbsp butter
1½ cup sliced mushrooms
Saute mushrooms until tender.

Spoon remaining marinade over chicken. Top with:
1½ cup shredded Montery Jack cheese
Sauted mushrooms
8 partially cooked bacon strips

Place the bacon strips in a crisscross pattern on chicken.

Bake, uncovered, at 375º for 20-25 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mahlon (Continued)

After I told my parents about Mahlon they called David as well to see where he is. David tried to feed them the same story he had given us but after relentless questioning he finally did admit that he had come out to a truckstop near to where we lived and picked Mahlon up. They had made these plans quite some time earlier since Mahlon had always been really close to David and had been dreaming of joining him ever since David had left the Amish several months earlier.

My parents let Mahlon stay with David for a few days before going to pick him up and and taking him back to their home. Things had changed though and after a taste of what life outside the Amish was like the rest of that summer Mahlon was very restless and we realized it was probably only a matter of time before he would be leaving again.

I didn't like how my family was being torn and everything was changing. I wished we would have all stayed in Pennsylvania and everything would still be fine.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Visit

My parents and my three youngest brothers arrived late afternoon. This was the first time we got to see each other since they had moved to a different Amish community several months earlier. Sunbeam was sleeping but Mom couldn't wait to have her first peek at her newest grand-daughter. I knew that Sunbeam would have plenty of time to sleep after their visit was over and gently lifted her from her crib and let Mom hold her. Sunbeam slept all the way through that first introduction as Mom oohed and ahhed over her wealth of black hair and chubby cheeks.

We had a lot of visiting to catch up on and it seemed as if there simply weren't enough hours in a day. Daddy helped LV tear out the carpeting in our living room and replace it with tile while Mom and I spent our days with nothing to do except making meals and visiting.

All too soon it was time for them to leave. I hated to see them go but it did help that Mahlon, now 16, was staying with us for the rest of the summer to help with all our work.

The days that followed were busy as they cleared brush and thorns away in order to be able to build fence. The children loved having their uncle there and everything was settling into a comfortable routine until one morning at chore time when LV called Mahlon. He didn't get up. LV went ahead and started feeding all the calves by himself. An hour later he again called him. Still no answer.

We started getting an uneasy feeling and went to check his bed. It was empty. His alarm clock was set for 2:00 and his dufflebag was gone. I felt my stomach drop and then decided to press redial on our phone. My brother David's phone number came up so we called him to see if he knew where Mahlon was. He fed us some phony baloney story how Mahlon was hitch hiking to Maryland and he was on his way to pick him up and that Mahlon would be living with him.

We tried to soak in that information for a while and then I knew what we had to do next. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do so far in my life as I picked up the phone and called my parents to let them know that Mahlon had run away.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Giveaway Winner

I had so much fun reading all your comments about some of your favorite toys and games from your childhood!
And now to choose a winner for the calendar.

Random Generator chose......
Comment # 25

Jo-Ann said........
My favorite playthings were dolls -- I still have one that opens and shuts her eyes and used to cry when she was layed down! She's probably around 60 years old now!

Congratulations Jo-Ann! Please email me with your address and I will get your calendar mailed to you.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been chosen.
Today, simply because I feel like it I am giving away this delightful Amish Country perpetual calendar. Filled with gorgeous photography of the Amish and an Amish Proverb on each page. It's almost too pretty to give away! But I would love to give you the chance to own this little gem.

To enter the giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment telling one of your favorite childhood toys or games.

To increase your chance of winning leave a link to this giveaway on your blog and then come back and leave another comment telling me that you did.

I will be using Random Generator on Monday June 13th to choose a winner.
Disclaimer: The only compensation I receive from doing this giveaway is the warm fuzzy feeling it gives me to be able to make that someone else gets to enjoy this calendar!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Oatmeal Cake

Yesterday Rosebud was wanting to try baking something all by herself. We haven't had dessert for quite a while already so I sat down with her and helped her choose a recipe that I thought she would be able to handle by herself. And other than having me take care of measuring the boiling water she did everything else on her own.

The cake is delicious and she is very pleased!
Oatmeal Cake

1¼ cup boiling water
1 cup oatmeal
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1½ cup flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Measure oatmeal into a small bowl and pour boiling water over it. Set aside. In large mixing bowl combine softened butter and sugars. Mix well and add eggs one at a time mixing very well after each one. Blend in oatmeal mixture and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and spices. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 cake pan. Bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes.

While cake is baking mix the following topping:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup coconut
6 Tbsp melted butter
¼ cup cream
1 tsp vanilla

Combine and set aside until cake is done baking. Pour on top of cake and spread until nicely even. Pop cake back into oven for an additional two minutes.

Let cool and enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Work at our New Home

If you're trying to count I'll save you the trouble. We had 120 calf hutches.
 Not only were we trying to get settled into our new home and get into a comfortable routine. We were also getting a lot of little heifer calves adjusted to their new home. It was a lot of work. My parents decided to come visit us in our new home and were looking forward to meeting their new baby grand-daughter for the first time as well.

  They also made plans for my brother Mahlon to stay with us for several months to help with the many things that needed to be done. Like building fences, clearing away all the brush around our buildings and a lot of things that needed fixing up besides all the chores that needed to be done.

  I really looked forward to having them come visit. Even though it had only been a little over two months that I had seen them last, it felt more like several years.

Some of the weaned calves that were moved from their calf hutches to one of the pastures.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Gardens

The following two pictures taken several years ago of my small vegetable garden are what I consider to be a garden.

The following picture is my "garden" this year. It's still waiting to have the grass removed after years of neglect and then it needs some better soil as well. It does not at all resemble anything I want to call my garden but if I can successfully raise at least a few tomatoes in it this summer I won't complain.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


We all really liked our horse, Buddy. He was a Standard bred, coal black, with a white star on his forehead and four white socks. He seemed to really enjoy pulling our little buggy and I enjoyed driving him as well.

He had only one fault, if you can call it that. He absolutely loved our children and did everything he could to be with them. He would painstakingly use his teeth to unlatch the gate to his field and several times a week I would look out the window to see him standing next to the sandbox or swing where the children were playing, just watching them. He seemed to have a special interest in the sandbox and would lower his head and watch intently as they dug ponds and built castles.

I would go out and he always let me hold his halter to lead him back to his pasture where he would then stand at the gate and look longingly into the yard. I always felt a little sorry for him when I put him back to his pasture since he really wasn't doing any harm in the yard and he was so gentle and the children always enjoyed when he came to visit them.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Several weeks after we moved into our new home, LV's mother decided we need a a housewarming to be properly welcomed into the new community. She wanted to have it as a surprise but somehow found out that LV and I both really, really dislike surprises like that and let us know about her plans a day in advance.
I was glad for the warning as I made sure that everything was unpacked and in it's place. Our house was actually looking quite cozy. I was glad we could still use the electricity and were able to use the ceiling fans and air conditioning which gave us a little relief from the awful heat. We had a year to get our house "Amishified" and were in no hurry. At least our first summer was going to be a little more bearable while we got used to the climate.

Evening of the housewarming arrived and everyone came with their tractors and ugly little trailers and parked helter skelter anywhere they felt like on the yard. They had brought food and lawn chairs and a few benches along that were set up in the yard. The youngfolks and children decided they would rather be in the house where it was cooler than outside in the heat and being eaten by all the insects that abounded in that area.

They soon found several of the children balls and were trying to hit the spinning fan blades with them. They helped themselves to what ever they felt like and touched and looked at what ever caught their fancy. I was getting very disgruntled and wanted nothing more than just send everyone home. I had never met such a disrespectful arrogant bunch of young people in my life.

Sunbeam needed care and I went inside to take care of her. I got there just in time to see a bunch of the teen boys in our loft wiggling the railing until it was wobbly and then pulling Sailors big round built in bed apart and throwing the blankets and sheets down into the living room.

I was livid and would happily have whipped all of them if I would have been able to. Thankfully the evening ended somehow and everyone left. LV and I both vowed we would never invite the community to come to our house ever again, and for once were very happy that our house wasn't big. It would make that we wouldn't have to have church at our place and have everything torn to bits again.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Next Visit to Town

The next time we went to town we hired someone local that did taxi work for the Amish. When we arrived at the place we wanted to do our shopping the driver got out to go in as well.
We didn't think too much about it since it wasn't unusual to have drivers run inside and get a few items they needed before sitting in their vehicle and waiting until we were ready to leave. Once we got inside we were dismayed to see that he didn't want anything but instead followed us all through the store, up and down the aisles and through the check out.

He did that at every place we stopped and we were beyond irritated. Apparently he had never heard what it takes to be a good driver and by the time we got home we decided the humiliation of using a tractor and trailer to go to town was better than having a tag along peering over our shoulders the entire time.

We hoped to have our own little cargo trailer before long which would be better than using a cattle trailer, but secretly we really wished we would still live in PA where everyone and everything was normal and comfortable.
Thanks for all the kind emails offering prayers for this move and all the changes but these are only memories and a big part of our story. We no longer live there.  Posts about the past are always labeled: memories.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another Find

From the age of eight or nine until I got married I kept a journal. I love going back and reading everything I wrote. Some of it makes me shake my head and wonder just exactly what was I thinking. I burned quite a few of them right before our wedding and really regret that now. What I thought would be embarrassing to ever have LV read really wasn't embarrassing at all.

Yesterday Sailor came downstairs with an old worn red notebook and asked if I know what it is. "It's my journal from when I was about your age." I told him.

He opened the cover and showed me what I had written inside.
And then asked for permission to read it.  I think that was the first time in that little journal's lifetime that anyone took my threat to heart. Maybe it was the Amen that really sealed it?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Geraniums

My last few remaining seeds.
Every year I used to plant a row of Summer Geraniums in our garden. Every fall I would carefully gather the little seed pods and then spend an evening or two opening each one and removing the circle of snail shaped seeds inside. I would place them some where to dry a little bit to make sure they wouldn't become moldy before the next spring when I would plant them.

These seeds have been passed down for generations, I really don't know if Summer Geranium is even the proper name since they really don't look like geraniums, but that is what my Grandma always called them and her mother before that.

If planted in the garden they make a lovely hedge type row and bloom profusely all through summer and fall with lovely two inch pink and cream colored flowers.

When we moved after Sunbeam was born I didn't get to plant them that year but kept my seeds in hopes that by the next year I would have a nice garden. The next year I planted most of my seeds but the entire garden failed that year and I didn't get to harvest any seeds that fall.

Yesterday I dug out my pitiful supply of seeds and tried to decide whether or not to plant them. They are over eight years old by now and I'm kind of doubtful that they would grow but I would love to keep those seeds going after having been passed down for so many generations.