Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hodgepodging Again

1. What are your plans for Easter? Are you cooking a big lunch or dinner?  Dyeing eggs? Attending a sun rise service?  Eating too much chocolate?

I'll probably be cooking a dinner and enjoy some chocolate. I have several giant chocolate Easter eggs tucked in the back of one of our kitchen cabinets. I'm hoping to make those last for a long time. We won't be dyeing eggs this year or attending a sun rise service.

2.  What is something you feel too young to do?

I feel much too young to have a teenager.

3.  "Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs..." Of the characteristics mentioned in the biblical definition of love which do you find most difficult to live out and why?

Not trying to stir up a hornets nest, but I  actually prefer the King James Version.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

The part I find hardest is not being easily provoked. I might not show it often, but I do have to deal with that type of feelings more often than I like.

4. What's a springtime flower you associate with your childhood?

Tulips and daffodils. We used to have them growing in our yard every spring and I loved them.

5.  Ever sung karaoke? If so, what's your go-to song? If not and you're given the opportunity, would you?

I have never sung karaoke and even though I love singing I probably wouldn't even if I had the opportunity.

6. What is something you keep in a basket?

We keep napkins in a little red basket.

7.  When was the last time you felt foolish?

Other than this incident, I'm drawing a blank.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Winter is very reluctant to leave and I couldn't be happier. The rest of the family shares those feelings and the children especially are enjoying the heavy wet snow we have been getting the past several days and are building a house with it. This picture makes it look much smaller than what it really is.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Twin Babies In a Cradle

Rosebud received a camera for Christmas last year and life has not been the same since. I think I'm learning to be much more comfortable in front of a camera than I used to be, and the videos of day to day life she captures will be something we'll all be glad she did, someday.
I uploaded everything and found this where she was doing a demonstration how Lily, in the Life with Lily books used to make twin babies in a cradle with her handkerchief.
I had also done a step by step picture tutorial, earlier. You can find it here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Warm and Fuzzy

Running out to the mailbox to see what's inside as soon as the mailman leaves has been one of my favorite parts of the day ever since I was a little girl.
Today there was a letter tucked into the pile of springtime catalogs. I enjoyed reading it and then at the bottom one paragraph jumped out at me making warm fuzzies circle my heart.
I'm always happy to hear when people enjoy the Lily books. Knowing that they have become a welcome addition to bookshelves makes all the hours spent writing them very worthwhile!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


We often kept granola on hand while I was growing up. Most of the time a small bowl full was used as an after school snack. Occasionally during the summer we would have it for breakfast, but not very often since my parents thought hot cereal such as oatmeal was much more healthy and energizing.

After we got married, both LV and I thought we had enough oatmeal while growing up and granola became our version of healthy cereal. Thankfully, we all love it.


14 cup oatmeal
5 cup coconut
2 cup wheat germ
4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 cup butter
1 Tbsp. vanilla

In a large bowl mix oatmeal, coconut, wheat germ, sugar, and salt. In a small saucepan melt butter. Once melted remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well. Spread a layer onto a cookie sheet or cake pan and bake at 225ยบ stirring every ten minutes until it has been toasted a nice golden brown. (About an hour) Cool and store in a tightly covered container.

This is a base recipe. You can always add nuts, sunflower seeds, and dried fruits for a nice variety. We prefer not to add anything to ours.

Monday, March 18, 2013


We woke up this morning and found our little corner of the world white with swirling snow. As the morning progressed the snow and winds continued. Looking out the window I spotted a little sparrow hiding from the weather by perching in a nest the hornets had built last summer.
It made me stop and think.
When ever the hornets had been building that nest last summer I wasn't too enthused about it. I have bad reactions to being stung and having a huge nest nearby didn't seem to be lessening my chance of getting stung.
But now what I had seen as an ugly thing has been turned into a cozy home for a little bird seeking shelter from the unpleasantness that has been swirling all around it.
Just as the little sparrow has found a refuge, I have been reminded how God provides a refuge for us where we can hide from the storms of life. And how He can take things that we think are bad and turn them into good for us.
Being reminded of that this morning, I can't help but feel comforted and renewed. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Time for Dishwashing

As a teen I used to love scribbling thoughts, snippets of stories I dreamt of writing, poems, and some other things on scraps of paper and the end of every day they got dumped into my top dresser drawer along with letters from my friends. Once it was full all those things were dumped into a box.

Several days ago Sailor was poking around the attic and came downstairs lugging a box filled with all that stuff. Somehow it managed to survive all these years. We sat down and started digging through the contents. I'm so glad I kept them, and that I used to write when ever inspiration struck. Everything from everyday happenings, nature, fiction, and the musings of a girl in love.

I'm sharing the one poem today, written about two of my little brothers and my mother.

Time for Dishwashing

"Time for dishwashing, come my boys"
Mom's voice rose above the noise
I looked at brother, he looked at me
This job again? How could it be?
We took off in a straight bee-line
We'd have them done in record time
Ten minutes later outside we raced
Swooping past Mom ignoring her face
Heedless of suds and droplets galore
Which behind us were slithering fast to the floor
What a beautiful fresh and clear sunny day
Dishes forgotten we resumed our play.

"Time for dishwashing, come my boys"
Mom's voice rose above the noise
I looked at brother, he looked at me
This job again? How could it be?
We yawned and stretched and slowly trudged
And leaned on the counter to watch the suds
"A toy man for captain!" I shouted in glee
Watching the plate drift lazily
Two spoons for oars to keep it afloat
"Watch out for the rapids - don't sink the boat
The egg beater churned the water down deep
We didn't notice it beginning to seep

Till water was gone, the boat ran aground
"I'm Noah," I said "dry land we've found!"
The suds became a white beard for me
Let's ask Mom now to come and see
We turned and found her already here
She tried to be stern but those lines of cheer
Just crinkled her eyes and chuckled her voice
"Time for dishwashing, come now my boys!"

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Amish Bedroom

LV and I were planning to get married in the spring so when some out of state "English" friends came that fall to visit I was happy to accept their offer to take pictures of my room. I was sure that someday I would enjoy seeing the room where I had spent my teenage years. It was such a happy little place filled with hopes and dreams. Daddy had remodeled the upstairs and I had been allowed to choose the color to paint my room, I choose a pale blue called Nordic Ice. It didn't go very well with the tan linoleum, but I didn't care.
I always carried a pack of matches in my pocket and evenings when I got to my room I would light the lamp inside the door.

I never could bear to tuck any cards away that LV had given to me, so they were kept on display until after we got married.
An old china cupboard appeared in my room when I turned seventeen and replaced the desk I used to have. My parents sold it when they moved ten years ago and I now wish I would have bought it.
The view outside my first window wasn't the greatest since two huge trees blocked nearly everything. I used to enjoy watching the birds in their branches.  Mom crocheted the tie backs for my curtains. Strangely enough, I still have those.
Inside my closet.
When I looked outside my second window I could see our garden, one of our pastures, our pulley clothes line, the road, and the St. Mary's Catholic church house.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fried Green Beans

Food and mealtimes when everyone gathers around the table is an important part of Amish family life. Having silent prayer before and after every meal keeps the family together for the duration since no one would have dreamt of leaving before the last prayer. For us, most meals were enjoyed leisurely with lots of chatter and laughter mixed in.

Starting today I will be sharing a recipe every week that I used to enjoy while I was growing up. Green beans were our favorite vegetable to eat during the winter months and we always prepared them like this:

Fried Green Beans

4 Tbsp butter
15 saltine crackers
1 can green beans (drained)

Melt butter in a skillet and lightly crumble crackers into it. Stir until evenly coated with butter and nicely golden colored. Add green beans and flip and stir until heated through. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, March 8, 2013

An Amish Pantry

  Among the things the Amish are known for, one of them is their food. While most Amish woman are good cooks, I have met a few where you simply weren't tempted to eat a lot at their house. An Amish recipe book will have way more dessert recipes than main course, because most of the main course foods are prepared from memory, nothing fancy or complicated. Much like anyone's Grandmother would have cooked eighty years ago.

  Another reason was probably because fresh foods were so seasonal that you simply worked with what you had. Basements walls were lined with shelves filled with hundreds upon hundreds of jars filled with canned vegetables, fruits, and meats.

   Another important part of an Amish home is the pantry. For us it was a 10' by 8' room. If you'll travel back to my teenage years and stand here beside me I'll open the door and we can take a look inside.

   On our right is a huge chest type freezer, painted a sea foam green because our community doesn't allow anything white. It isn't a freezer for us though since we converted it to a refrigerator. A local Amish man had made a big stainless steel pan that was fitted into the bottom. Coils of Freon filled copper pipe were placed all the way up the sides of the pan and then it was filled with water. An ice compressor was run several times a week to keep plenty of ice there. Daddy had built shelves inside it and our food was kept nice and cold. We kept gallon jars of milk in the icy water. And anytime we were cooking something that needed to be cooled quickly all we had to do was float it in the water for a little bit. Next to the freezer is a cupboard. Inside it you can see an assortment of two pound packages of Jell-O , a gallon jar of popcorn, several cans of pineapples, bags filled with clear-jel and cornstarch and boxes of canning lids. Above the freezer is a window we keep open year round. During the summer it keeps the pantry cooler than the rest of the house, and during the winter makes it cold enough that you almost want to wear a coat if you have to spend more than a minute inside.

   Now let's shift our focus to the rest of the room. Shelves seem to fill it right up. Three are built in an "L" shape and then the two top ones make a complete "U". On the floor under the shelves it appears as if a host of five gallon pails were all vying for a place to be and a few couldn't quite fit all the way under the shelf. Each one is filled and plays an important part of our everyday life. We purchase flour in a hundred pound bag and pour it in five gallon pails to store it. Fifty pound bags of brown and white sugar were also poured into pails. Another pail holds cornmeal that we made last fall, there is a pail filled with oatmeal, while the one next to it is full of salt. The last three pails hold molasses, corn syrup, and lard.

  In front of us the bottom shelf holds a small pail filled with potatoes from our bin in the basement, a basket with a few onions, and our shiny stainless steel milking pail. To the left is a twenty five pound box filled with raisins, a gallon jar of molasses filled from the pail to make using it for recipes easier. A box holding neatly folded plastic bags to use for homemade bread and cakes, and a cheese press.

  The shelf above it holds our baked goods, several kinds of pie, a cake, and half a dozen loaves of bread, the small part of the "L" holds the loaf of bread we started eating, platters of homemade butter and two little dishes of jam.

    The next shelf has gallon jars filled with homemade granola and grapenuts, big bags full of graham cracker crumbs and containers filled with homemade cake mix and pancake mix. More gallon jars are filled with maple syrup. The next shelf holds big bags filled with noodles, containers filled with tea we had gathered and dried last summer, and several cases of saltines.

   The top shelf holds our huge mixing bowls, canners, and the biggest cooking pots. And I'll let you in on a secret. The very back corner of the top shelf is where I hide the food I prepare for Sunday evening when LV comes calling, so that my brothers won't find it.
    Okay, back to the present. I really miss having a well stocked pantry like that. Our house now doesn't give me that option, but someday I hope to be able to enjoy that again.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In Our Shoes

Every once in a while when looking through our photo album certain pictures jump out at me for reasons beyond the obvious; where did the time go so quickly, and enjoying trips down memory lane.
This one where Sailor and Rosebud were trying to walk in our shoes made me take a moment to stop and think.
Walking in our shoes as little children is a glimpse of a much bigger picture that goes way beyond a simple pair of shoes. Children tend to follow examples and try to mimic what they see. I'm reminded again this morning what a responsibility that really is.
I'm not a perfect person and I'm hoping my children won't be repeating some of the mistakes I have made in life. While I can't change things in the past I can focus on the future. I can try to make every day as joyful as possible,  I can find things to rejoice in and be thankful for no matter what the situation. I can sing while I work and be enthusiastic about everything I do from the truly fun things, to the mundane task of folding socks. When I do or say something I regret it can provide an opportunity for them to see that their mother isn't perfect, I can repent and apologize for what ever it was and they can also see the work of our loving, forgiving Saviour.
It takes time to develop the character qualities I hope my children will have. Working on being the example for them to follow can be hard, but I'm hoping in twenty years I'll be able to report it was all worth it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Gasp, it's Gray!

Recently while going about my usual sweeping my hair into a ponytail I glanced into the mirror and caught sight of something gleaming back at me. It stopped me in mid brush stroke as I leaned in towards the mirror to try and take a closer look.

There was no denying what I was seeing. A gray hair staring haughtily back at me.

"I can't be getting gray hair," was my first thought and I reached up and yanked the offending thing right out.

A few days later several more appeared in apparent protest against the unfair treatment of their comrade. I was now faced with the decision whether or not I want to pluck those out also. In my mind I could see more and more appearing and if I continue plucking I would soon have no hair.

After weighing those two options I decided I would rather have a few gray hair than bald patches. I'm not sure what I did to earn them, but since they seem to be here to stay I'm trying to happily accept them. Hopefully that will keep others from joining their ranks too rapidly.

Not being Amish any longer does give me one more option. Maybe, just maybe, I'll have to pay someone to hide the gray for me if it keeps getting more obvious.