Friday, November 30, 2012


It's Friday, which means it's time to choose the winner for Tea and Trouble Brewing. After consulting the random generator the lucky winner is.....

Comment number 46

Mandy C said ........

My favorite kind of tea is Bigelow's "I Love Lemon". It's so comforting! :)

Congratulations Mandy! Please email your address to me and I will get your copy of the book mailed to you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hodgepodge Time

 1.   Which do you prefer-pretty gift wrap with a bow or a pretty gift bag with/without a bow?  What percentage of your holiday gifts are currently (as in right this very minute) wrapped in some form or fashion?

I have a weakness for pretty wrapping paper. They all seem to call my name when ever I go to a store. Unfortunately most of the time the only thing I can do is say, "Hi" and leave them there while I use what we have at home.

The percentage of gifts I have wrapped already is a big fat zero. With everything that has happened in our family this year it is a little hard to get into the usual Christmas spirit. We will be getting a gift or two for the children but it will be much more low key than most years.

 2.  What is one item on your Christmas list this year?

One of the things on my wish list is an egg beater. The handle of my trusty egg beater broke and I really miss being able to use it.

 3.  What makes a home?

Family, love, laughter.

I love being at home and don't go looking for excuses to leave or places to go. It's like a haven from the rest of the world. A place where we can relax and enjoy ourselves. A place where we can freely laugh, cry, talk, and I guess simply be ourselves.

 4.  Motown founder Berry Gordy celebrates his birthday on Hodgepodge Day-November 28th. Are you a fan of the Motown sound?  If so, who's your favorite Motown artist and/or song? Here's a list in case you're stuck.
Not familiar with the Motown sound. I checked out the list and don't think I ever heard any of those songs.

 5.  Red or green-which one is more prevalent in your closet?
Green makes me look sickly so the most prevalent by far is red.

 6.  True or false-bacon makes it better? If you answered true, what's your favorite dish made with bacon?

Very, very true! My favorite meal with bacon is breakfast where I serve it with eggs and pancakes.

 Bacon cheddar chicken is a family favorite. And broccoli bacon salad never lasts long enough.

I have several recipes pinned that I want to try including bacon chocolate chip cookies.

 7.  Share a favorite holiday memory.

As my regular readers know I have already shared some of my favorite Christmas memories on my blog, and my books each contain more of them so today I will share a very memorable Christmas even though it doesn't qualify as my favorite.

It was the year my youngest brother had been born and he was only two months old so I'm sure my parents had a lot on their mind when the were preparing for Christmas.

That morning when we came downstairs after breakfast to see our towel cover piles of gifts at each of our places at the table I immediately noticed how my pile seemed really, really small. The boys each had a towering pile compared to mine.

I lifted my towel and beside the plate filled with the usual nuts and candy was the sorriest, saddest looking little dog shaped salt shaker. It wasn't even a set. I tried my best to not look as sorry and sad as that little dog. I knew Christmas was about so much more than gifts as I watched my brothers admire their new boots, trains, and books. I took my salt shaker upstairs and tucked it into the back of my china cupboard so I wouldn't have to see it.

I got some books several weeks later and my next birthday was much more extravagant than usual. I think they really felt bad about Christmas.

I never did learn to like that salt shaker though and wasn't sorry when Rosebud happened to drop it and it broke.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.

There is still time to go enter the giveaway in the previous post.  Giveaway has now ended.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tea and Trouble Brewing and a Giveaway

I was introduced to the writings of Dorcas Smucker over a year ago and was instantly hooked. Here was a woman who could craft stories from the happenings in her life with such eloquence. She could make me laugh, make me cry, and inspire me. Always thought provoking, but never preachy.

I soon acquired all her books and read and reread them and then added them, where they will remain, on my bookshelf reserved for only my most favorite books.

I waited patiently, along with the rest of the fans of her writings, for her next book and was more than happy to do a review and giveaway on my blog when she was looking for people willing to do so.

Tea and Trouble Brewing does not disappoint. It is written in the same style I have come to know and love from her previous books. It is a chapter book so it is easy to pick up and read when ever you have time. I find I like to have a little time to ponder over each chapter as I have read them.
She writes about everything from her love of tea, going fishing with her son, family, marriage, and how she was finally persuaded to join Facebook, It is one more thing that helps me be part of my teenagers' lives from the comforts of my home. Joining them on snowboards would be much more demanding.
By the time you turn the last page you feel as if you really know the Smucker family and would enjoy sitting down at a table with Dorcas to enjoy a cup of tea and talk about everything.
I am giving away a signed copy of Tea and Trouble Brewing. If you would like a chance to read this great book leave a comment telling me your favorite kind of tea.
As always if you would like another entry place a link to this giveaway on your blog or Facebook and then come back and leave another comment telling me you did.
I will be choosing the winner on Friday Nov. 30th with the help of my friend Random generator.
You can purchase Tea and Trouble Brewing on Amazon or directly from Dorcas by sending $15.00 to:
Dorcas Smucker
31148 Substation Drive
Harrisburg, OR 97446
She is also offering a great deal right now of all four books for only $40.00  postage paid.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Looking Into the Past

Yesterday afternoon we were deep cleaning Rosebud and Sunbeam's room. The amount of things in their room was a little mind boggling even though they keep everything neat and organized.

We had moved a highboy into their room several months ago and the top drawer still contained some of my odds and ends that I had vowed I would go through some day. Yesterday happened to be that day.

There were stacks of letters I had written for the circle letters I had belonged to. I'm glad I kept them all since they almost work like a diary. I read a few and set them aside to read the rest once I have more time. Continuing my digging I found this picture.

I hadn't thought about it for years but I still remember when we got it. We had all been eating when there was a knock on the door and a man with a satchel filled with photos wanted to sell us pictures taken from our house.

My parents looked at them and stated that we don't want them. It was neat seeing what our property had looked like years before we lived there, but they would rather have something more current. They invited the rest of us to come look at it too. The first thing that caught my eye was how the majestic pine trees behind our house were only babies in this picture. The boys were much more intrigued with the ancient vehicles and the people in front of the house waving at the airplane.

After seeing how much we seemed to enjoy the pictures Daddy asked the man for his phone number and said he would think about it. The man left and we went back to finish our meal. I thought he had found a polite way to send the salesman on his way.

Turns out he really had wanted that phone number and Christmas morning we each had a small picture waiting for us.

If you notice that little old house beside the main one. That is where John and I hid in the attic the day we rolled a tractor down the hill. It used to be filled with dusty antiques that we sorted and sold when we built an addition to the little house for a place to finish furniture where we wouldn't have to stop working in the shop while it dried.

While some things looked different when we lived there I'm still glad I have this picture. It brings back lots of good memories.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Yesterday was the first time we have ever had a complete Thanksgiving meal at our house. I always made our traditional Thanksgiving Pudding but as for the rest of the meal it never happened for one reason or the other.

We chose to have ham instead of turkey, joining it on our menu was two kinds of salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweetcorn, cheddar dill bread, and then several kinds of pie, pudding, and Rosebud tried a new recipe for ice cream that we were all too full to sample.

Our year has had its share of ups and downs but we have so much to be thankful for. Today the feeling of thankfulness continues along with the leftovers. I won't be joining the crowds in search of black Friday deals, I would rather stay at home and count the blessings I already have.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Barn Raising

I got up this morning to a typical November day. Dull gray skies, drab brown fields, and bare trees  waiting for snow to come. The perfect type of day to be in a nice cozy warm house with cheerful lights, and plans to get some Christmas sewing done.
I still use my treadle sewing machine and still like having it right inside the window. The first load of laundry was swishing merrily in the soapy depths of the washing machine while I prepared to get the sewing machine threaded and ready to go when I heard the distinct sound of a horse and buggy approaching.

One buggy followed the next and I couldn't help but watch with interest as the men parked the buggies and unhitched the horses and then walk to where a new barn is being built.

I'm not sure how much sewing I will get accomplished today since watching a barn raising while sewing doesn't work the best. I predict a fun day ahead!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stuffed Portobello

The children have been going to our church's Christmas pageant practice one night a week since early October. On the evenings they are gone I try to make a simple meal for LV and me.
This week I decided it would be the perfect time to make stuffed portabello mushrooms since LV and I both love them and the children have still not learned to appreciate mushrooms.
It had been a long time since I made them and they turned out even better than I had remembered. So good in fact that I forgot to take a picture until after the first bite had already been taken.
Stuffed Portobello
2 portobello mushroom caps
1 cup fried sausage, crumbled
1 cup shredded cheese (I used fiesta blend)
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tsp olive oil
Remove stem and gills from mushroom cap. Brush the outside with the olive oil and place top side down in an 8x8 baking dish. Bake at 400 for 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine fried sausage crumbles, shredded cheese, and pepper.
Divide evenly and stuff mushroom caps. Return to oven and bake for an additional 8 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  What rule of life should never be broken?

Since everything hinges on love, I have to say the rule that should never be broken is to love God with all our heart and our neighbors as our self. If that rule is followed it takes care of everything.

 2.  What's your favorite family recipe?

We have so many recipes we love that I'm not sure I can pick a favorite. With Thanksgiving just around the corner I think I'll choose the pudding Mom used to make every year.

 3.  Is the media manipulative?

From what I have observed. Yes.

 4. Joyce and her husband saw Skyfall last weekend...are you a fan of the Bond films? If so, who's your favorite Bond?

I don't think I have ever seen a Bond film so I can't choose a favorite.

 5. What is one thing you hope people never say about you?

That I'm phony and selfish.

 6.  What's a nearby tourist attraction you'd like to see, but haven't gotten around to visiting?

There are so many attractions nearby that we would like to visit someday. Falling Waters designed by Frank Lloyd Wright,  Kennywood, and the lesser known but something that has fascinated me for a long time already; Gravity Hill.

 7.  Where's your favorite tree?

I love pine trees. I like how they lend a beautiful splash of color when everything else is drab. I love hearing them whisper when the breeze blows through them and how their whispering turns to whistling during the heartless winter winds.

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.

There are times when I wonder what happened with good old common sense. We are still trying to get Buddy's last name straightened out. The birth certificate has been taken care of but SS is quite another story.

All this because the person that filled out the forms after he was born added the last name of a baby that had been born only a few hours earlier. Their mistake, but our problem that we have now been dealing with for close to a year.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Laundry Days

Laundry days always hold a certain amount of frustration for me when it's time to pair up the socks and I'm left with an assortment that have lost their mate. And according to other articles of clothing that were now on the missing list it seemed as if the dryers appetite was growing and had now developed a taste for shirts and pants besides its usual diet of socks.

Strangely though it seemed to have an exceptional hunger for anything that belonged to Sailor. On Friday as we were preparing to leave the house Sailor appeared in a shirt that was decidedly too small for him. After sending him back upstairs to change he appeared with another shirt equally as small and wrinkled so badly that I had to wonder where he had ever managed to dig it up. I sent him back upstairs with instructions to wear one of his shirts that we had bought only a few months ago.

He declared he no longer has any shirts that fit him which prompted me to do an extensive search of his room. Turns out he has way more clothes than he realized. Some were scrunched under his bed, others under a pile of treasures in his closet, still others on the floor behind his furniture.

By the time I was done with his room I had found all the missing shirts and pants and a host of missing socks. The plus side of this adventure is that his room is sparkling clean again and once I iron all his shirts this afternoon I will once again have a well dressed son.

I think his room is the beginning of a thorough fall house cleaning. Who knows how many other forgotten things I will find in the process.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bits and Pieces

While digging through my crowded pantry this morning searching for a package of chocolate chips that I was hoping would be hiding somewhere in the back I stumbled across a tin containing the last of last years candy canes I had hidden there.

A few fun Pinterest related ideas ran through my mind but since I didn't have enough to create one of the wreathes or candle holders with them I simply tossed them into the trash.
 Buddy loves books. He spends a lot of time looking at this picture in one of his favorite books and it sparked the following conversation:

Sunbeam: Do you think Buddy knows that is a picture of Jesus? He just looks and looks at it.
Me: It almost seems that way.
Sunbeam: Do you think he still remembers how Jesus looks?
Me: When did he see him.
Sunbeam: Before he was born he was living inside you and Jesus lives inside you too.
I loved that sweet thought.
Tonight we will be watching along with the rest of America as the election results come in. Which ever way they turn out I have hopes the evening will be enjoyable since we will be gathering at a friends house where we'll have plenty of good food and fun as we keep track of the latest updates.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Caring Continues

First of all I want to thank everyone for the cards, letters of encouragement, and prayers you have sent for my sis-in-law Emma and her children after Melvin died. She was really grateful for everything she received.
Among those who wanted to help was a dear friend and author, Karen Anna Vogel. After hearing about Emma she generously offered to put several of Melvin's favorite holiday recipes in the back of her new Christmas book and a portion of all sales will go to Emma.
I wish I had an e-reader so I could get to read this entire book. I enjoyed what I was able to read in the preview on Amazon. I have always had a weakness for Christmas stories and with only a little over a hundred pages this would be the perfect size fun read.
You can get a copy for 2.99 here.