Friday, April 26, 2013

Children of Grace ~ Life with Lily

For years I have sat through missionary slides where they showed their work in orphanages. Seeing the happy faces of those children so enthused about what ever gift they had received always touched my heart.  I hoped to someday help more directly.
Yesterday I received an email with the following picture.
Children of Grace in Uganda received copies of Life with Lily from someone.
To know that something I worked on is now being read and enjoyed by these children is a highlight in my writing journey.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Life with Buddy

Buddy has a way of keeping life interesting. I find it fun and refreshing to view life through the eyes of a little child where every moment holds wonder and adventure.
Yesterday he discovered his shadow for the first time. At first he seemed intrigued by this little thing that kept following him, but that changed to annoyance when he couldn't get it to stop. I don't know how to explain shadows to a 16 month old other than pointing out everyone's shadows and acting all happy about them.
He is at the stage where he wants to know what everything is. One of his favorite activities is pointing at things and saying "iss ess" , his Pennsylvania Dutch way of asking "What is that?"
He loves finding odd little places to climb into. He recently discovered he can open the door to my big pantry cupboard and by removing a few items he fits inside quite nicely. I found him there last evening enjoying a few pretzels before bedtime.
He brightens our life everyday.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Vernie Update

Quite a few of you have asked how my Aunt Vernie is doing.

She lived in Kentucky with her sister Emma in a cute little house that family had fixed up for them. Emma has never married and makes rugs and quilts to sell. Vernie is a very capable helper around the house, and especially enjoyed helping make rugs.

Last fall Emma had a stroke, thankfully she recuperated from that well enough so that she can walk, but things have become too difficult for them to live alone. Emma and Vernie have moved out of Kentucky to the community where my parents and one of my Mom's sisters live.

They are doing okay. You can tell Vernie is getting older, she loves helping Mom out in her store, but a full day of activity is a lot more tiring for her than it used to be. She is still the same sweet spirited person she has always been.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


1. April 15th is the deadline for Americans to file their state and federal income tax returns.  What's a job you do on a regular basis that could be described as 'taxing'?

Paying the bills. I can think of so many things that are more enjoyable. As much as I dislike doing it, I try to remind myself to be thankful that it's something I can do.

2. Joyce is participating in the April A-Z blog challenge, and the Hodgepodge happens to fall on Day O this week. In keeping with that theme...olives, onions, oysters, okra...of the foods mentioned, what's your favorite O food?

Probably onions even though I also really like okra and olives . We have onions every day. I add them to stir fries, slice them to eat on sandwiches, make onion dippers, stuffed onions, and onion rings, add them to fried potatoes and sweet corn, enjoy them raw cut into bread and eggs for breakfast. We're definitely a family that loves onions.

3.  What is something memorable you experienced as a child that your own children (or future children/nieces/nephews) will not get to experience?

Quite a few things. Like standing in front of the buggy and braiding the horse's tail as we go down the road. Attending a one room school house. Being super excited about turning ten and being able to wear grown up dresses that are fastened with pins in the front instead of buttons down the back. Using a wringer washer to do the laundry. Going to church in your bare feet.

4. Term limits for our elected officials...your thoughts?

Excellent idea!

5. On April 18th, 1775, Paul Revere made his famous 'midnight ride'...when did you last make a midnight ride?  Perhaps the fate of a nation wasn't hanging in the balance, but tell us where you were headed anyway.

We're not night owls in any sense and class anything after nine o'clock as being very late when it comes to be going for bed. The last time I was out after midnight was when we went to see LV's widowed sis-in-law, Emma and the children.

6.  What would freak you out more...a mouse running across your floor or a big fat hairy spider?

As much as I despise spiders, I hate mice even more.

7. I love it when people ask me________________________?

If they can come for a visit.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
The little stray has been named "Gypsy" and already loves tagging after Sailor where ever he goes. Including yard work.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Midnight Reading

I never know what to expect to find when I hear a gentle knock on our bedroom door in the middle of the night.

Last night when I opened the door I found Sunbeam. With one hand she was clutching her mouth trying to keep blood from dripping on the floor. In the other hand was a tooth that had been wiggly for weeks already and she had finally twisted it out.

This was the first time though that she ever bled so badly after losing a tooth.

We hurried downstairs and I dug some gauze out of the back of our medicine cabinet. I applied it and we stood waiting for the bleeding to stop. After a few minutes we decided we might as well be doing something more fun than simply standing there waiting and headed for the living room.

For the next hour and a half she snuggled beside me as I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Stopping only for a few minutes to change the gauze before we continued reading. While the rest of the house was fast asleep we were transported to the world of Charlie Bucket.

Who knew losing a tooth at midnight could be so much fun?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Meet Our Newest Addition

The other morning a vehicle came swooping into the driveway in front of our garage, a car door slammed, and then it sped away. But not before the children witnessed someone hurriedly dropping several cats off.

They hung around here for the rest of the day, much to our cat's dismay. They kept fighting and hissing and by the next morning our cat had been victorious and was once again reigning supreme having chased the others away.

I feel sorry for pets that get dumped off like that.

When someone else dumped off this little dog it found its way into our hearts, and though our cat protested it appears they will learn to get along. We will be allowing him to call this his new home.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Share one fun thing you did last week, while the Hodgepodge was on 'spring break'.

Last week was very ordinary for us. I enjoyed every day and nothing is standing out to me as having been extra fun, except maybe when LV and I were going to do our grocery shopping and were so focused on our interesting conversation that we actually missed the exit. That was a first and amused both of us even though it meant driving an extra eight mile.

2.  April 10th is National Sibling you have siblings, and if so are you close? Share a favorite story featuring one or all of your siblings. If you don't have siblings, did you ever wish you did?

I have five younger brothers. I was close to the oldest three and while we don't get to see each other often we still enjoy visiting on the phone. My two youngest brothers were only 3 and 5 when we got married and sometimes it feels as if I don't even know them.

You can read one of my memories here.

3. Is it important to you to 'buy American'? Why or why not? How much of an effort do you make to 'buy American'? If you're not American, insert your own country in the blank.

I'm always happy to see something was made in America, but the price of what ever I buy determines my purchases a lot more than the country of origin.

4. Besides The Bible, what book has impacted your spirituality in some way?

There are two books that I have found very inspirational and encouraging. Ten Peas in a Pod shares the Pent family story of how they memorized the Bible and traveled the country. It shares a lot of humorous stories, it's convicting and encouraging, but never preachy. Our whole family loved it! Then there's The Pineapple Story about missionary Otto Koning. The book is good, but we enjoy his audio series even better. The Pineapple Story is only the first of fifteen stories he shares, unfortunately the book, even though it's very good, only shares the first one

If you have time you might enjoy hearing the Pineapple Story here.

5. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes.  Do you find rainy days calming or depressing?  When were you last caught in a rainstorm? What's blooming in your neck of the woods today?

I love rainy days. The last time I was caught in a rainstorm was last fall when LV and I went on a walk one Sunday afternoon and a shower popped up. So far there is nothing blooming in our neck of the woods, but I'm sure it's just a matter of days before I see some brave Coltsfoot blooming.

6. What's your favorite yellow food?

My favorite yellow food is pineapples. I enjoy them fresh, in fruit salads, in cookies, cakes, and puddings, in Hawaiian main course dishes, and I have been tempted to bake a pineapple pie, but so far I have never tried that.

7. April is National Poetry Month...what's a poem that holds special meaning for you, and why is it special?

The poem that holds the most memories for me is 6x9 The story of a little girl that was struggling to learn her multiplication tables until she called her favorite doll, MaryAnn, fifty-four. It helped her until one day when the teacher asked her the answer to 6x9 and she answered, "MaryAnn!"

I liked the poem, but I hated reciting it. The year I was in sixth grade I had to recite it every time we had visitors in school. Somehow it made me very uncomfortable having to use my own name.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

We have friends coming over for supper tonight and I'm still trying to put the final touches to the menu. If you were coming over, what would you like me to serve with fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spinning Button

When my brothers and I were little children we didn't have a huge variety of toys to play with and even fewer things to call our very own. I had my doll and its accessories and the boys each had a toy barn and a few animals.

The main toy box was filled with wooden blocks, empty pill bottles, a few odds and ends, and then our most prized toys; a Fisher Price ABC set, and pull along shoe shape sorter.

Books, games, and puzzles were an important addition to the things we enjoyed. And then there were also the simpler things such as; spinning buttons.
When ever we opened a bag of feed we used to save the string that had been used to sew the top shut. Mom would use a piece about three feet long and thread it through two holes of a large button and tie  the ends in a knot before handing it to us. Holding the ends we would spin it until it was wound tightly, then by moving our hands together and apart the button would spin making a delightful whirring sound. The bigger the button the better.
I was telling the children about it and they wanted to give it a try. We used yarn and the biggest button we could find. Sailor is doing the demonstration for us today.

A word of caution: Keep hair away from spinning button.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Shoo-fly Pie

While I was growing up our family always had some type of baked goods to eat with our oatmeal at breakfast. Cakes and cookies were our favorite and pie would often appear as well. Especially cherry or Shoo-fly.

I often wondered who ever came up with making a Shoo-fly pie for the first time since it's a very cake-y type of pie and normally you wouldn't think of baking a cake in a pie crust, but somehow this really does work.

Rosebud was reading some Amish stories and Shoo-fly pie was mentioned which made her want to have some. So last evening I helped her bake several. I tweaked the recipe ever so slightly by substituting the lard with butter. I don't have the usual pail of lard tucked in a pantry like we used to and butter worked perfectly.

Shoo-fly Pie


2 cup flour
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¹/³ cup butter (softened)
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon


1 cup molasses
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup hot water
1 tsp. baking soda

In a medium size mixing bowl combine all ingredients for the crumbs and mix by hand until uniform. Set aside. In a clean mixing bowl combine molasses, sugar, and eggs. Mix well. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to the molasses mixture. Mix well and measure one cup full into (each) bottom of two unbaked pie crusts. Top with half of the crumb mixture. Divide leftover syrup evenly between the two pie and sprinkle remaining crumbs over the top.

Bake at 400º for 8 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º and bake an additional 30 minutes.

And this morning the children each enjoyed a small slice of Shoo-fly pie with their oatmeal.

Monday, April 1, 2013

My First Phone Call

We got our first phone when I was only a little girl around five years old. It was tan, had a rotary dial, and was oh, so fascinating.

It had its own little shelf built for it in the corner of our buggy shed. I couldn't wait until I would be old enough to make a call. I was sure I could since I had watched Mom and Daddy often. And then one day Mom was debating whether or not to wash the bedding the next morning. She thought it almost looked as if it could rain and didn't want to go through the work of filling up the cast iron tub we used to heat our water for laundry.

She scribbled a number on a piece of paper, handed it to me, and told me to run out and call the weather line and see if they are predicting rain.

I grew several inches right there as I took the piece of paper and ran out to the shed as fast as my little legs could carry me. I stood on the chair and carefully lifted the receiver and proceeded to dial the number. It was every bit as fun as I thought it would be to stick my finger in those little holes and spin the dial.

Having dialed I waited eagerly to hear the weather report, but much to my horror after only two rings a voice on the other end said, "Heplers Hardware, can I help you?"

I knew that voice! It belonged to a bewhiskered man that stood behind the counter of the little hardware store in town. I had been there with Mom only last week. He had looked scary then and I was sure he wouldn't like a little girl to be calling him.

I did the only logical thing and slammed the receiver down.

I studied the numbers on the paper and ever so carefully dialed again. Again I reached Heplers Hardware, and again I slammed the receiver down. After repeating the same thing several more times I gave up and went to the house defeated.

Mom had to go check the weather, and I knew without asking that I wouldn't be making any more calls until I was older.