Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Day with Grandpa

As a child it was always a special treat when our grandparents on Daddy's side came to visit. They lived over five hundred miles and we didn't get to see them often.

One evening when I was nine years old we came home from school to find that Grandpa and Grandma had come to visit. Grandpa always felt a little intimidating to me. He was so big, in every sense. His voice, his hands, and he apparently loved eating. He had huge bushy white eyebrows and a long white beard and was totally bald. He wore round eyes glasses that looked as if someone had happened to sit on them and then he tried to straighten them out by himself. When ever he bunched his eyebrows together and looked sternly at me I always felt like hiding somewhere and took special care to try to be extra good when ever he was around.

He wasn't all scary though and loved to have us gather around him and tell us stories from the Bible. Stories we had never heard before and we were always in awe as he told them. He had a way of changing his voice for every character and he held us spellbound for hours as he told story after story.

Grandma was short and one of the happiest people I know and she had this delightful way of being able to connect with whom ever she was talking with no matter what their age. She always made me feel important and grown up.

In Somerset County the Amish school allows children to have three days off for something other than sickness or doctor visits. We hardly ever used those days but Daddy decided that this visit was important enough that we could have one day to stay at home and be able to spend more time with our grandparents.

It was the perfect day as Grandpa told us story after story before going with Daddy to visit some people.  Grandma helped Mom around the house and baked a batch of her favorite cookies and taught me how to bake a simple milk pie that Daddy used to love when he was a little boy.

They left the next morning before we got up. School seemed dull and boring after such an interesting day.

I have often been glad that Daddy decided to allow us to stay at home that day because that was the last time we saw Grandpa. He passed away a few months later but I will always have those happy memories to cherish.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Attempt number five at getting  a blog post written this morning. I don't like wasting your time coming to check for a new post and it hasn't been updated yet.

Our weekend was busy which seems to have had an affect on Buddy and his sleeping schedule and this morning he is more of a Mr. Fussypants.

Weekends are thought of as a time of relaxing, having fun, and recharging but I'm beginning to think the reason that Monday is viewed so unfavorably is because we are all worn out from doing too much over the weekend.

Saturday was busy, we didn't get quite all our things done we had planned and yesterday we had our usual Sunday activities. Going to church, and then in the afternoon and evening sitting and visiting with an older friend that has health issues. We enjoy it but somehow we're always very tired by the end of the day.

Now if you'll excuse me I need to care for Buddy again.  In the meantime I would enjoy hearing how you spend a typical weekend.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lil' Buddy's Arrival

If you are comfortable with the idea, please tell us more about the time leading up to your baby's birth; I am wondering how it all went and if you had him at home.

After a long difficult pregnancy the baby welcoming day finally arrived. It was much like any other day where I was starting to wonder if I'm going to be pregnant for the rest of my life. 

I followed my usual schedule for the day and planned to try a new recipe for supper. I was reading all the instructions for the second time and I noticed that it would need to bake for at least an hour. Something seemed to tell me that wasn't a great idea and I reluctantly put the cookbook away and opted to make an quick and easy stir fry instead.

Right after we were done eating I got up from the table and my water broke. Immediately I had the urge to push. I told LV we need to go right away. We called our friends to meet us on our way to get the children and I concentrated with everything I had to not have the baby born before we got to the birthing center. I refrained from telling LV that it wouldn't be long since I did not want to risk being stopped for speeding.

We got there in time and minutes later Buddy made his arrival weighing in at a healthy 9 lb 2 oz.  Up until then I had no idea that a birth could possibly be so short, easy, and only very uncomfortable instead of excruciatingly painful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I see that in several of the previous comments you were already asked how the Amish celebrate Christmas and Easter I am also curious how they celebrate birthdays. And how about other holidays like Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentines Day, Independence Day, and any other national holidays?
I described the celebration of Christmas and Easter in previous posts so today I will be sharing how some of the other holidays were observed in the community where I grew up.

Thanksgiving we always went to church in the forenoon. It was basically the same as regular church services. Everyone always seemed to be in extra good spirits and the sermons usually centered on blessings and things we have to be thankful for. The last hymn (The German version of Now Thank we all our God) that we sang after the preaching was over wasn't quite as slow and drawn out as most church songs and used to be one of my favorites and one of the first church songs I learned to sing on my own.

We always had a big Thanksgiving feast at home afterwards. Most years we invited all the extended family that was living in the same community.

We never observed Halloween in any way.

Valentines Day wasn't necessarily observed on Feb. 14th.  Courting couples usually exchanged chocolates and gifts on the Sunday following Valentines Day.

Independence Day for the most part was simply another day. In the evenings we would sit outside in the yard to watch a local fireworks show.

Any other holidays like Labor Day and Memorial Day were not observed. We had our own special holidays.  January 6th  Epiphany was observed by fasting in the forenoon and often going to visit friends in the afternoon.

Forty days after Easter we observed Ascension Day again with fasting and then visiting and nine days after that we observed Pentecost.

Birthdays were celebrated differently in different families. In my family Mom always made a decorated cake and there would be a small gift or two. It was a day of fun and freedom from regular chores and we could choose our favorite food for dinner.  In LV's family all they had was a verbal Happy Birthday in the morning when they got up and then the rest of the day was no different from any other day.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Troubles with the New Girl

LV's memories continued.
LV hurried with his school work, he was working on making a little cardboard buggy in his spare time which was much more fun than the rest of his school work. Once the wheels were attached he spun them around and then had an idea. If he cut strips of paper and glued them together and then wrap them tightly around the axle the wheels would spin by themselves if he wound them up.

After spending a lot of time he finally completed it and carefully wound the wheels until the paper strip was wrapped tightly around the axle. He let it go and watched as the wheels spun in the air. He was happy that his experiment worked. Now if only he could test it out on the floor and see if it had enough power to roll across the floor.

He checked to see what Teacher Hannah was doing. She was busy with another class at the front of the room. He carefully set the buggy on the floor and let go. It went rolling across the aisle and crashed into the wall next to the desk where the new girl, Mary Ann was sitting.

Happy that the buggy worked he motioned to her to pick it up and give it back to him. She sat there and stubbornly shook her head no. What a stuck up little girl. All she would have to do was take a single step out of her desk and get his buggy. There was hardly any chance that Teacher Hannah would see her do that. He asked again but she still refused so there was nothing left to do but retrieve it himself.

Slipping out of his desk he crawled over and got it. He almost made it safely back to his desk when Teacher Hannah turned around and saw him. She asked him to give her the buggy and then stay after school. LV scooted down in his seat and scowled at Mary Ann. What an awful little girl. It was all her fault that he got caught and now had to stay after school

Saturday, January 21, 2012


After spending nearly all night last night trying to comfort a less than happy baby I'm still fighting waves of sleepiness right now. Not being able to get a wink of sleep until four in the morning has a way of draining me.

I love rocking Lil' Buddy though and singing lullabies to him. Some that my Mom used to sing and I had totally forgotten until I find myself started to sing them while trying to comfort the baby.

I love lullabies. Some sweet and gentle, others on the more humorous side. Our children's favorite was and is an old Pennsylvania Dutch lullaby about a group of rabbits sitting in the yard and what they are saying about the baby. That one is fun to sing to a toddler more than a newborn and I find myself crooning Hush my babe lie still and slumber, most of all.

To all you parents out there. What were some of your favorite lullabies?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Question to Ponder

Sunbeam, while holding lil' Buddy: Mom, how can someone so boring be so interesting?

I had never stopped to think of a baby that way before and couldn't help but smile. I wasn't sure how to answer her though since she was right, a newborn is boring in the sense that they don't talk, they don't play, or do anything that makes most children or people fun to be around.

But it's really hard to find something more captivating than a little baby and their sweet, helpless, innocence.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Helping the Helpless

LV's memories continued.
It was time to do the evening chores and as LV's parents and his older brothers got everything ready to do the milking LV ran to get his wagon to play until chores were done. Being the youngest was starting to have it's advantages after all.

Making a circle around the barn he happened to round the corner in time to see one of the big barn cats tormenting a little chipmunk. He jumped off the wagon and stood watching in dismay. The poor chipmunk was terrified and LV knew that as soon as the cat was done playing and tormenting it the chipmunk would die. It was too horrible to think about. He dashed in, not caring that the cat was losing it's meal and rescued the little chipmunk who was trembling all over, bruised and battered from it's ordeal with the cat but thankfully still alive.

He went to show it to the others sure that they would help him doctor the poor little thing back to health. They looked at it but didn't seem to think that it would survive but agreed it wouldn't hurt to try since it was sure to die if they didn't help it.

LV found an old bird cage and made a comfortable nest in it and placed the chipmunk inside. He shelled some corn and put it inside and filled a little container with water. Day after day he spent hours talking to it and making sure it was being well taken care of. The chipmunk learned to know him really well and allowed LV to pet him and happily ate corn from his hand.

When the chipmunk was totally healed and healthy LV left the door of the cage open so it could go back to it's home in the woods. He was sad to see his little friend go but knew that a wild animal could never be truly happy anywhere except in the wild.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Home Remedies Winner

After consulting with the Random Generator here is the lucky winner:

Comment # 31

April said ........

I would love to have this in my library. I had special K and girl scout cookies...maybe they balanced each other out??

Congratulations April! Please send me an email with your address and I will get this book sent to you.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I stumbled across this book not very long ago and had to pick it up to see what kind of remedies were being offered here.

While I never even heard of 99% of the remedies offered and I won't be trying most of them I did find the book interesting and had to think of you, my dear readers. Anyone who is interested in learning more of the wide variety of home remedies that some Amish use will find this book interesting.

If you would like to have an opportunity to have this book leave a comment telling me what you had for breakfast this morning.

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

I will be using random generator on Monday Jan. 16th to choose a winner.

Disclaimer: I am giving this book away only as something interesting to read and would not advise anyone to try the remedies without consulting a doctor first.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Flashing Lights

The morning had started much like any other mornings. We got up early to do the milking and all the other chores involved in a dairy farm.

It was a Thursday and I planned on spending my day at my parents house since their store wasn't open for business on Thursdays which meant Mom and I would have the day uninterrupted to visit and work on what ever projects she had going at the moment. LV was planning to take us and then work on some repairs that needed to be done.

Before we were done with breakfast someone dropped by saying that they really needed help and wondered if LV could leave with them right away. He dropped everything and left. He said he was sorry he couldn't take us to my parents but that we would plan on it for the next Thursday.

I started clearing dishes away disappointed to have to change my plans and then decided there was no reason why I couldn't walk to my parents. It was only two miles, we had a double stroller that would work great for Sailor and Rosy.

We were soon on our way. It was a beautiful morning and I was enjoying the walk while  listening to Sailor's happy chatter. Rosy was lulled to sleep from the movement of the stroller until a siren sounded behind me and lights started flashing. I was surprised to have a cop right next to me and ask where I was going this morning.

I told him and then he said, "The reason I stopped you is because you dropped a blanket on the road." I have no idea how I missed seeing it drop from the stroller and I thanked him and quickly went to retrieve it while he headed on his way.

I couldn't help but be amused though and wonder how many Amish women can say that a cop pulled them over while walking down the road with two little children in a stroller? The lights and siren wouldn't have been that necessary but living in a very low crime rate area he might have been glad for a chance to get to use them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Random Look at our Life

1. What is being read in our house this week.

Great Truths of the Bible is an excellent workbook to accompany a thorough Bible study and we have really been enjoying it.

And as a family of bookworms these are the books that are currently being read:

Rosebud is engrossed in The Only Sister

Sailor enjoys any books by Lewis B. Miller and is buried in the adventures found between the covers of When the Wemmikaw Levee Broke

I have been inspired by the book Uniquely His  Love, Matilda   and I'm also enjoying the latest book by Suzanne Woods Fisher, The Keeper

Sunbeam is working her way through a book filled with short stories, Storytime with Grandma, and then telling me everything she just read.

And the current read aloud for the whole family is an ancient book Valley of the Giants

And for cooking inspiration. The 2010 edition The Best of Country Cooking

2. What we are currently listening to.

Right now we are again going through the Pineapple Story Series by Otto Koning. Our whole family really enjoys this series and we laugh, become inspired, and always have a lot of food for thought when ever we listen to it.

3. What our house smells like.

 Okay, so the entire house doesn't smell this way. But anyone who enters our living room can tell that a baby lives here.

I'm not burning any candles right now or using any other scents for the house. So really our house has an interesting combination of scents. Baby soaps etc. what ever food we are cooking in  the kitchen, and desserts baking in the oven, the unique smell of wood and coal heat, so warm and cozy.

4. Games we have been playing.

Playing board games is something that gets done a lot in our family, especially in the evenings during the winter. These three are being played the most these past few weeks.

5. What we have been watching.

Sheffey ranks as one of the best movies in our house. The children enjoy the Little House series usually reserved as a treat for Sunday evenings.

6. Things that make us smile.

Ever since little Buddy has arrived we have all been amused and enjoy the many different expressions he has. Here he had just finished a bath and was still trying to express his feelings about it while be dressed.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Answering Questions ~ Continued

Did or do you ever wish you could have had a higher education?

Right after I graduated from eighth grade I wished I could continue going to school. The Somerset County Amish do require students to attend their vocational classes until they are fifteen. Those were usually held every Wednesday forenoon.

Having those classes effectively weaned me from school and I soon viewed them as much more of a nuisance than anything else.

I didn't dream of becoming anything except being the best wife and mother possible and to receive that type of education I was much better equipped to learn to do all the mundane things cheerfully at home with my mother where I learned efficient housekeeping skills, the love of cooking and baking, childcare, gardening and preserving a year or more worth of food, and sewing among other life skills.

I do not regret that I spent my time like that rather than sitting in some kind of school. Having been given the choice I would probably have chosen to continue my education but I can honestly say I'm glad that choice wasn't mine.

I'm in no way trying to insinuate that having a higher education makes less than capable wives and mothers. I'm simply glad I got to spend as much time as possible at home with my mother who was also my best friend.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Do you make New Year's resolutions?   I usually don't spend a lot of time mapping out goals for an entire year it's enough for me to meet all my daily goals with out the extra pressure of having an entire year looming over me with high and lofty goals that probably won't be reached.

That being said, there are a few things I would like to do this year. One of them is take a lot more pictures  and the other one is to lose all the baby weight I had gained.

I'm off to a good start. Having a baby in the house seems to provide a lot of photo opportunities. Like this one:

And the second goal.... oh wait, I reached it already! For the first time ever those extra pounds didn't hang around long after the baby arrived. I think I'll do a happy dance!

I enjoy reading every one's New Year's resolutions on the blogs I visit but my favorite so far belongs to my friend Cherie. You can hop on over and read her post here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What are three words you would use to describe your 2011?

Busy, happy, anticipation.

2. Do you like shrimp? What's your favorite way to have it prepared?

After years of gagging at the very sight of shrimp, 2011 was the year when I finally learned to really like them. Since learning to like them I haven't found a way that I don't like them. I'm especially fond of shrimp salads and breaded shrimp.

3. Is your house de-Christmased? If so when did you tackle that job? If not, when will the decorations come down?

Thanks to Sailor all the Christmas decorations came down and were packed away the day after Christmas.

4. Do you like to watch scary movies?

No. I much prefer watching feel good movies or something that inspires me.

5. Ice skating~sledding~skiing~snowboarding~of the four listed which wintertime activity do you most enjoy?

I try to stay as far away from ice that I can so ice skating is definitely out and since I really don't want to risk breaking a leg or arm I don't have a longing to learn how to spend time on the slopes skiing or snow boarding even though we have numerous beautiful ski resorts in our area. I haven't gone sledding for almost ten years now but of the four choices I think I would have to go with sledding.

6. Did you have a childhood hideout? Describe it.

I had several different childhood hideouts that lasted for different periods of time. The first one was an old crab apple tree that had very low branches. I used to climb up on one of the biggest branches and rest against the trunk of the tree and enjoy reading. It used to be especially fun doing that while it was blooming. I almost felt like a princess then being surrounded with all those lovely soft pink apple blossoms.

The hideout that lasted the longest from nine years old until I got married was an old graveyard tucked sweetly in the middle of a patch of woods. There was something about that quiet peaceful spot that I really loved. The soft moss, the violets in springtime, the way the sun shone into the graveyard. It was a great spot to read or simply spend time alone with my thoughts and dreams.

7. What's a place or space that motivates you?

When ever I step into our storage room I feel motivated to spend time sewing and doing other crafts. I have quite an assortment of projects waiting to be done.  Another spot is the recliner when I'm up with the baby in the middle of the night and all sorts of story bits run through my mind for the books I'm working on.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm really looking forward to start deep cleaning the house. I didn't get the fall housecleaning done so I'm thinking I'll combine fall and spring cleaning starting in a few weeks.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Moments in 2011

I think it's always interesting to look back over a year's worth of moments and see which ones stand out as worthy to be remembered fondly for years to come. This morning I asked the children what some of the things were that they liked the best last year and after hearing everything decided I would share some of it with you.

All three of them agreed that they loved when the power went out and after our assortment of candles were lit we would all sit in the living room to listen as their Daddy told them a continued story about the adventures of three curious children. Since he made it up as he went along we all enjoyed the many twists and turns of the story. We are waiting for the next power outage to learn what happens next.

Next up they agreed that our daily afternoon walks last spring and early summer where we would walk to the top of the hill behind the barn and along a little path in the woods where we would admire the latest blooming wildflowers and the pretty ferns. The conversations we had on our walks were a lot of fun as well.

The few days that our placid little creek that winds through the pasture before passing under the bridge and continuing it's journey to a much bigger river turned into a raging river sweeping everything in it's path away. Including a little calf. Thankfully the calf survived, the creek returned to it's normal size and we have only a handful of pictures and the memories to go with them to remind us of that flood.

Rosebud and Sunbeam both agreed that all the baking and other cooking lessons they had was something they really enjoyed. Sailor added that eating the things they created was even better.

He thought the Saturdays where he could go to work with his Daddy were some of the moments he never wanted to forget.

The whole family enjoyed attending a baseball game even though our favorite team wasn't the one playing. Correction: After living in Missouri for over six years Sailor was a Cardinals fan and especially liked Pujols. We have hopes that since he was traded to another team that 2012 will be the year that Sailor will become a loyal Phillies fan like the rest of us.


One of the highlights of the year was when my Mom came to visit for several days. I couldn't have asked for a better time with her as we enjoyed working, talking, and laughing together like we used to years ago.

The children finally got to learn to know her and are already hoping she will come visit again and stay much longer.

They remembered the fun they had with the huge piles of leaves they raked together.

Growing up as an only daughter I have enjoyed capturing sisterly moments this past year. Here they were watching the Pilgrims Progress movie and Rosebud was explaining the scary parts to Sunbeam to let her know they really aren't that scary. They had no idea I was listening to them

The whole family agrees that the very best of 2011 was welcoming our baby boy.