Wednesday, January 30, 2013


1.  In the USA this coming Sunday millions will be watching as the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49's in the Superbowl.  What was the last event you attended that could be described as super?

An event that I describe as super? I don't get to attend that many events, I suppose the last event I attended or was a part of was several years ago when we were a part of our church's Independence Day celebration.

More recently a day I really enjoyed to the fullest was Thanksgiving.
2.  Share something you're a fan of these days?

Chocolate, books, trying new activities, and as always family time.
3. How do you feel about wings?  In case anyone is confused, I'm talking the edible appetizer kind.  What's your preferred seasoning on a wing-hot, mild, teryiaki, sweet and sour, other?  Do you make your own or is there a favorite place you like to go for wings?

We love wings. Barbecue, ranch, and the latest spicy cranberry are all favorites. I always make our own rather than buying them.

4.  As long as we're talking sports today...have you followed the Lance Armstrong story?  Did you watch his interview with Oprah and if so what was your reaction to his confession and subsequent remarks?  

I did not watch his interview on Oprah. I did hear about his confession and the gross factor was extremely high for me. Sounds like something that should belong in Sci-fi.
5.  What's a question you hate to be asked?  

This may sound petty, but I really dislike when people ask if Buddy is walking already. Once in passing is fine, but every single time we talk is not. When Sailor was almost two years old before he started walking on his own I was worried something was wrong with him and didn't believe his doctor when he told us all was fine and we simply needed to be patient. We went to a specialist who told us the same thing. So when our next children were in no hurry to walk either I was no longer concerned about it. Buddy is busy building his vocabulary and making his wants and wishes known and honing his fine motor skills Coloring is a recently discovered favorite and puzzles keep him occupied for chunks of time. He is very mobile, but sees no need to walk just yet.
6. The coaches in this Sunday's big game happen to be real life brothers.  Jim Harbaugh coaches the 49er's and his older brother John Harbaugh coaches the Baltimore Ravens.  Were you and your sibling(s) competitive?  In what way? Are you still?  If you're an only child how did you handle competition growing up?  

We were very competitive, everything we did needed to be the best and we did everything we could to try to win when we played games.

Since we're adults we are much more happy and supportive of each other's accomplishments. How ever when we play games our competitive streak proves to be alive and healthy.

7.  What's your favorite game involving a ball and when did you last play?    

Probably baseball. I help our children play occasionally when the weather is favorable.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Buddy enjoying the snow a few days ago

And yesterday all that remains are a few dirty snow piles. Even those are disappearing rapidly this morning from the pouring rain we're having.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A New Home for Lily Winners

Time to choose the winners for my latest giveaway.

Congratulations to The imPerfect Housewife for being the first person to correctly answer the question of when Lily had received her lamp and apple dish. You have won a signed copy of Life with Lily and A New Home for Lily.

The rest of the comments were eligible to win a copy of A New Home for Lily.

After consulting the random generator the winner is.....

Comment number 28 ......

teacherpanda said .......

I haven't read the book yet, but my favorite gift as a kid, was my first watch. I got it for Christmas in the second grade. I drove my family nuts that day, by constantly telling people what time it was.

Congratulations ladies! Please send me an email with your address, within a week, and I will get your books mailed to you.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A New Home for Lily ~ Giveaway

In celebration that A New Home for Lily has released  I decided to have a giveaway.
Today we'll be doing things a little differently. The following two pictures are things that Lily received in book one, Life with Lily.
The first person to correctly tell me when she got the lamp and the apple shaped candy dish will receive a signed copy of  Life with Lily and A New Home for Lily

If you haven't read the first book or can't remember the occasions when she received these simply leave a comment telling me one of the favorite gifts you received as a child and you will be entered for a chance to win A New Home for Lily.
For an additional entry, post a link to this giveaway on your blog or Facebook, then come back and leave another comment telling me you did.
I will be choosing the winners on Monday January 28th.
Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been chosen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pudding Cups

As part of our family's New Year resolutions we have been trying a new recipe every day in the month of January. So far all but one have been a winner. We don't have dessert often, but yesterday being so cold it seemed like the perfect time to spend a little extra time in the kitchen to create a treat to enjoy after dinner.


To make these I used one 12 oz. package of dark chocolate chips and melted them in the top of the double boiler. (A microwave would work too if you prefer that method)
After they were melted I brushed the chocolate on the inside of foil muffin cup liners and placed them in the refrigerator for half an hour. When they were firm I carefully tore the foil off and filled the chocolate cups with a vanilla pudding. Any type of pudding or even ice cream would work.
After placing several slices of strawberries on top they were ready to serve. I kept them in the refrigerator until we were ready to eat them since the chocolate tends to soften at room temperature.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Lesson ~ Winner

Time to choose the winner of my latest giveaway.

Comment number 33
Content and relaxed for the

Congratulations! Please send me an email with your address and your book will be mailed to you.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fun Questions and Answers ~ Part 5

What did you do last weekend?

Last weekend we went to see Emma and the children. LV wanted to give her oldest son a little help and it also happened to be one of the children's birthday so we helped celebrate while we were there.

What is your favorite breed of dog?

That depends on what I want the dog for. I love dogs and it's hard to choose a favorite breed. Our Great Pyrenees was a great farm dog. She was great with the children and also took her responsibility of keeping an eye on all our animals very seriously. Pugs have a way of melting my heart with the layers of folds and wrinkles on their sweet faces. I would like to have a little house dog once the children are grown, I'm not sure what kind yet.

Do you want more children?

As I have said after each of our children was born, "Our family seems perfect, right now." I love how after each new addition it feels right and you can't imagine life without them.

So are there any more children in our future? We'll have to wait and see what God has planned for us.

What is something most people don't know about you?

Hm-mm.... something most people don't know?  I hardly ever talk about this, but keeping in the theme with the previous question.

LV and I have twins waiting for us in heaven. They joined Jesus on cold snowy Thanksgiving Day.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Lesson ~ Giveaway

I don't get to read nearly as many books simply for the pleasure of reading as I used to, so I take care when choosing which books to read and make sure they will be something I will really enjoy.
So far every book written by Suzanne Woods Fisher never disappointed me, in fact every book seems to be better than the previous one. Her latest, The Lesson, measures up to and even exceeded my expectations when I settled down to read.
I loved the main character, M.K. Having read the two previous books in the series I also really liked Jimmy Fisher, an ornery boy that M.K. dealt with occasionally. I was secretly hoping that as she grows up she will learn to like him and maybe even get married. Partly because I happen to know from real life that such a change of heart is possible and what used to be the one person you liked the least can become your best friend, and the most special person in the world.
I won't tell whether or not M.K. learns to like Jimmy other than to say by the end of the book I was quite fine with the choice she made. I loved the way Suzanne cleverly wove this story together and we also finally learn what had happened to M.K's mother.
I was sad when I turned the last page and had to leave the friends I had made between the covers of this book. But knowing Suzanne and as long as she continues writing we can be assured of making many more friends in her future books and I, for one, am already eagerly looking forward to that.
Right now I'm giving you an opportunity to read this book. If you would like to have a chance to get your own copy all you have to do is leave a one word comment to describe how you're feeling right now. For a second entry share a link to this giveaway on your blog or Facebook and come back and leave another comment telling me you did.
I will be choosing a winner on Tuesday January 22nd.

Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been chosen.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I love being able to watch Buddy explore his little world. Seeing everything through the eyes of a little child is refreshing and fun. To him every day is an adventure and meant to be enjoyed to the fullest.
It keeps me on my toes, because not only does he thrill in learning how to use each of his toys properly, he also enjoys exploring, touching, and pulling on everything.
I just got done cleaning up a major mess when I made the mistake of setting all the grocery bags on the floor while I was putting everything away. Buddy waited until my back was turned and explored the contents of an egg carton. And then swished his hands through the slimy mess before I was able to reach him.
After a thorough clean up, he is busy playing again. And I won't be setting groceries on the floor again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Smile Because.....

.... so many reasons, but to name a few.
  • A fresh dusting of snow on the ground when I got up this morning.
  • Hearing Buddy say "Mama" as he lifts his arms wanting to picked up.
  • Reading the little stories Sunbeam writes.
  • Opening the door and finding a box filled with A New Home for Lily and seeing the children and LV enjoying reading their copy.
  • Cardinals outside the kitchen window.
  • Rosebud's seemingly endless supply of enthusiasm when it comes to creating things in the kitchen.
And my three favorite men in the world make me smile everyday. Even though I'm trying to grasp the fact that Sailor is almost as tall as LV. Seems like only a little while ago when he was Buddy's age.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fun Questions and Answers ~ Part 4

Have you ever used a fire extinguisher?

No, thankfully there was never a reason for me to need a fire extinguisher.

What time do you eat dinner? And do you always sit around a table to eat?

Dinner is usually served somewhere between 5:30 and 6:00. And yes, we enjoy gathering around the table in the kitchen to eat. It's a time to relax, enjoy good food and conversation. I find it to be a nice way to start unwinding after a busy day.

What is your most meaningful heirloom?

After we got married LV's parents gave us the big clock that they had received when they took over the family farm. Since they were moving and we were taking over the farm, the clock now belonged to us with the instructions to someday pass it on to our youngest son.

We basically said good-bye to our chance of owning any other family heirlooms, because we left the Amish. That doesn't really bother me, but at the same time when I happen to see something I used to love that my parents or grandparents used to own I consider buying it.

I found a cookie jar at an antique shop just like the one we used to have when I was a little girl. I bought it and on my way out of the store the handle on the shopping bag broke spilling the cookie jar onto the floor and smashing it into hundreds of tiny pieces.

Chocolate or vanilla?

Chocolate. Preferably milk chocolate, but please no white chocolate.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fun Questions and Answers ~ Part 3

Have you ever received a speeding ticket?

No, I haven't. So far I have never been pulled over for any reason. I'm hoping to keep it that way.

What is a sound you hate hearing?

There are a number of different sounds that I don't enjoy.
  • Alarm clock jangling way too loud at four in the morning.
  • Crying.
  • The hiss of a pot boiling over on the stove.
  • Squeaky door hinges.
  • Cows mooing outside my window in the middle of the night.
  • But the one that bothers me the most is fingernails on a chalkboard. Even thinking about it makes me shiver.
What is a sound you love hearing?
  • Children's laughter.
  • The voices of loved ones.
  • Children singing.
  • The basement door, in the evening, when LV comes home.
  • The clip clop of a horse and buggy passing the house.
  • The sound of a rushing waterfall.
  • Wind chimes in a gentle summer breeze.
How do you like your steak cooked?

I'm not a fan of steak, at all. Maybe because I haven't found the perfect recipe yet. LV loves it, and I enjoy cooking it, but  I would rather enjoy a salad than have to try eating a steak.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Amish and Compliments

Recently as I was browsing through a bookstore I picked up an Amish fiction book and flipped through it a little. Every page had Pennsylvania Dutch words sprinkled on it and somehow my eyes were always drawn to those first.

One phrase that jumped out at me was gut man.* Basic translation = good man. The reason this stood out to me so much was that no Amish person will ever call someone a gut man, because that is what they call God.

Reading that simple sentence where the main character had been saying that someone was a good man got me thinking of the difference between mainstream America and the Amish culture.

In main stream America it isn't unusual hearing someone make remarks like, "He's a good person." or even "I'm a good person." Compliments seem to flow freely, and sometimes I have to doubt their sincerity. Praise for accomplishments is the norm.

This all took time getting used to when we left the Amish. It was basically unheard of hearing someone describe a person as being good. Compliments weren't used freely. A woman could be well known through out the community for being an excellent cook or baker, but no one would tell her so in person. Someone else could be known to be the best when it comes to raising crops and farming to the extent that others watch when he mows hay and then mow theirs on the same day because he always managed to get his made without rain, but no one would tell him he is good at what he does. The best seamstress in the community could be busy with orders for bonnets and coverings because hers always turn out perfect. Women will talk about her talent only when she isn't present.

I remember the time when I still a little girl, and I painted something. It turned out better than I thought it would and I was very pleased. Mom and Daddy acknowledged it, but when I said something about how pretty I thought it was they reminded me of Proverbs 27:2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth;

My view on praise and compliments has changed since leaving the Amish. Right now I would say we're caught somewhere in the middle. We do way more than the Amish, but still less than a lot of other people.

* Pennsylvania Dutch lesson for the day. Gut man is pronounced like this ...... gut rhymes with boot. Man rhymes with fun. If you ever hear an Amish person say Gut Man., they will be talking about God.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winds of Change

Ever since we moved into the house where we live now I have always enjoyed looking out the window and seeing the waterfall. When the weather was warm enough to have our windows open I enjoyed listening to the soothing sound of water rushing over the falls.
When they started putting up those windmills I wasn't enthused about having them nearby and when the first blades started poking up above the tree line I wasn't thrilled but it wasn't too bad since all we could see were the blades appearing and disappearing as they turned slowly. And then they plopped nine of them even closer where I have no choice of seeing them when ever I look out the window. Again I thought I'll probably get used to them someday.
They didn't have them spinning for quite a while, but that changed in the last several weeks. And my thinking I'll get used to them soon has changed also. Since they are in use they produce noise. The first time I stepped outside the house I was wondering how we can hear the traffic so clearly from the Interstate five miles away. Turns out I wasn't hearing the noise of traffic, but the noise of the windmills. Depending which way the wind is blowing the blades turn in a way that the sunlight reflects off of them and every turn throws splashes of blinding light at the house, giving me a headache.
A fan of these monstrosities, I am not.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Calendar Fun

When I was growing up one of the things I enjoyed the most on January 1st. was sorting through our big pile of calendars to decide which ones we would be using in the new year. It took a lot of careful consideration since the pictures in those calendars were the only pretty things we could hang on our walls and none of us wanted to be stuck having to look at a picture we didn't like for an entire month.

Things seem to be changing and businesses don't hand out calendars like they used to and today when I wanted to hang a new calendar I was faced with the fact that I didn't have much of a choice. In fact we had only one calendar so the decision which one I want to hang was very easy.

It made me feel a little sad. We used to have so much fun with old used calendars. The nicest ones were saved to be turned into scrap books which would be then be given to anyone in the community who was sick or disabled.

Nice oversized ones were taken apart, covered with clear contact paper, and used for writing pads.

And when we were little children Mom used to take the ones we liked the least and cut the numbers apart on one page and then handed us another page and a bottle of glue and we matched all the numbers. We were always sad when all the calendars had been used up in that project.

Later on we would chose our favorite pictures and place them on a piece of wood. After pouring a clear acrylic coating over them one of my brothers would create puzzles with them on the jigsaw.
Every calendar always provided so much enjoyment that I think it's sad they don't seem to be as important as they used to be.