Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Labor Day weekend (in the US of A) is approaching...what's something you've labored over this year?

Algebra. Having attended an Amish school and graduating in eighth grade, I never felt I had an inadequate education, but I went ahead and got my GED. I had to brush up on algebra before the official test, I'm not sharing my score, except to say I was very happy with it.

2. What is one word to describe your 'job' or career?


3. What was your worst or least favorite job ever? Why?

My worst job ever was when I had to work for a family doing their canning and cleaning. My Dad rescued me from that place before I was done. Thankfully. I still shudder to think what may have happened, had my parents not been on guard and followed their intuition.

4. How do you measure contentment?

Can contentment be measured?

I'm content with my life. I have always had dreams and goals in my life, but I don't allow them to rob me of the pleasure of living in the presnt.

A quote on contentment I heard often while growing up:

He who isn't content with little, will never be content with much.

5. Pickles-like or dislike? What is something you eat that requires a pickle? Dill, bread and butter, sweet gherkins...what's your favorite kind of pickle?

Breaded and fried spicy dill pickles are delicious! We have them frequently. My all time favorite pickle is the cinnamon pickles we used to make. I think I still have a few pints in the basement that I've been hoarding to use on some special occasion.

6. In your current house-town-state, what is it you like living close to?

In our current house, I love that we have a waterfall I can see when ever I look out the window.

7. What is one thing on your 'want-to-do' list before summer draws to an official close?

I'm not that much of a summer person. Winter has never come too early for me. There is a beach outing planned before it gets too cold and I'm wondering, is it wrong of me to be praying for rain? As you can tell, I'm not a fan of the whole beach thing.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I have bread dough rising on the kitchen counter and as soon as I'm finished here I need to make a double batch of dough for cheese bread. While it is rising I'll tackle several chocolate cakes and some apple dumplings.

I agreed to cook for a church dinner tonight. Looks like a busy, busy day ahead of me.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Amish Wedding Cake

I have read plenty of books and articles that mentioned the importance of having celery at an Amish wedding, but in reality most Amish communities don't. Interestingly enough something that I never read was the significance of a wedding cake that means much more to a lot of Amish weddings than celery does.

When we were getting ready for our wedding LV and I baked our wedding cake. Grandma Mast owned several huge round cake pans that brides used to borrow to make their wedding cakes. On the morning we were to bake our cake I ran over to their house and got the pans. I was looking forward to making the biggest cake I ever had. Each pan was big enough to hold enough batter for one and a half regular cakes and we were planning to have four layers.

LV and I worked together. Each layer was going to be a different. We were both getting two layers with our favorite flavor. I measured, he stirred, and we both enjoyed working together to create this cake.

Once it was done and frosted with a pure white frosting it was ready to tower above everything else on our wedding table. A symbol of two different lives coming together to build a new and better one. And somewhat a picture of marriage, of working together, a mixing and blending, still two different people, but now having a common goal.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What's your worst food memory?  How about one of your best?

My worst food memory happened only a few weeks after we got married and were living in three rooms in the upstairs of LV's parents' big farm house. They were supposed to be moving to Missouri the next week, but until then I felt as if I was coming across as a scatter brained ninny and was making more stupid little mistakes than any other time in my life.

I had decided to make beef and cheese stuffed pastry pockets for our supper. I happily rolled out the dough, filled it with the beef mixture, and lined a dozen perfect half moon shaped pockets on my brand new Teflon coated cookie sheet before popping them into the cute little oven I had to use.

LV came in from finishing up the chores, and I proudly presented a platter filled with golden brown pockets. We sat down to eat, and what a disappointment! They tasted absolutely awful, exactly like I would imagine Teflon would taste if I tried to eat it. There was no way we were going to be able to eat them.

LV came up with a bright idea. Teddy, our dog, was lying under a tree. He opened a window, whistled for him and dumped the entire platter of pockets outside for the dog to eat. He assured me with his parents visiting friends that it would be dark by the time they got home so even if Teddy hadn't eaten all of them that they wouldn't be able to see anything, and by morning they would surely all have disappeared.

The next morning on my way into the house after getting done with the milking I was horrified to see every last one of those pockets piled right outside his parents bedroom window. I got down on my hands and knees and quickly gathered them all up and took them out to the barn and tossed them on the manure spreader where they belonged. Traumatized enough to vow never to make those beef pockets again.

My favorite food memory was the day our wedding cake was created. I'll tell you all about it later this week.

2. Do you appreciate people telling it like it is, or would you rather a speaker temper his/her words and maybe beat around the bush a little?  How about when you're the one communicating...which type are you?

There is a difference between constructive criticism and simply being mean. I always like to know how to do things better however I really don't like telling someone else things that I'm afraid they could take the wrong way.

3. What's your favorite place to hang out?

That's simple. Home! My favorite place in the world.

4. When do you most feel like you're a slave to time?

Somehow Monday always feels as if there simply wasn't enough time. The house is always needs to be cleaned since its at its very messiest after a lazy Sunday, there is a weeks worth of laundry to be done, Buddy is always a little crankier, and even though there doen't seem to be enough time, it's the one day bedtime can't come fast enough.

5. What was the last concert you attended?  Who'd you go with? Was it any good?

I've never been to an actual concert. There have been groups that came to our church to sing. The Downings were probably our favorite, but I can only take so much bluegrass before I don't want to hear it for a while.

6. Reality TV...harmful or harmless?  What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to reality TV?

Some reality shows are more harmful than others. We enjoy Duck Dynasty, something I never thought possible because of all those long beards, but after actually watching an episode we were officially hooked.

I really like cooking shows too. Chopped and Master Chef being my favorite.

7. What's something you think is overrated?

One little word. Sports. I'll leave it at that.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Last year some insects got into my flowers and most of them didn't make it. This year we have baby kittens and the amount of destruction they have caused to my gladolius bed is frustrating. I did manage to salvage one little bouquet.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Part of the perks of working in the attic was that I found items I hadn't seen for a long time. Items like my wedding dress and the baby clothes our children wore on the day they were born and also the first outfit they wore to church.

I was happy to find this little bonnet, even in its storage weary state. All three of our oldest children wore the first time they went to church. Sailor wasn't impressed that he had to wear girl clothes, and all three of them were wondering just how tiny their heads used to be in order to have been able to wear that.

Sunbeam volunteered one of her dolls to try it on for size.
I still remember how fun it had been making this bonnet almost fourteen years ago. My favorite part was always creating those little zigzag thingies where the bonnet back was attached to the slat filled front.
I'll be tucking it away again. Too many memories attached, and I have a feeling as time goes on it may become an item of interest if our children ever have children of their own.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Attic

When we first moved into our house I was impressed with our attic. I finally had space to store things I no longer needed and yet didn't want to get rid of. It is the first atic we ever had that I could walk around in it with out worrying about bumping my head.

We also have a room upstairs that I use for storing things like books and other items I don't want to subject to the hot and cold extremes of the attic which means I don't have a reason very often to actually wander up the creaky stairs to the attic.

If I calculated correctly it had been over a year since I last ventured up there, opting to send the children up with what ever needed to be stored there. They had also turned half of it into an area to play house. When ever I heard the sounds of laughter floating down the stairs I would smile and envision a fun place to spend rainy summer days playing.

That all changed a little over a week ago when LV asked if I saw the attic recently. "No, I haven't been up there for quite a while," I answered blissfully unaware and visions still dancing through my head of a cozy place to play. There may even have been some unrealistic visions of beautiful lace curtains and other wonderful vintagey things that should be the part of any dreamy attic.

I opened the attic door and was greeted with an assortment of empty boxes, several bags of clothes, and a few toys on the stairs. After gingerly picking my way to the top my jaw nearly dropped to the floor. Half of the attic was simply one huge heap of boxes, some empty and others filled but their flaps were open and contents spilling out. It looked as if the children had simply stood on top of the stairs and flung the boxes and where ever they landed was fine with them.

The other half looked somewhat better, but certainly not a cozy place to play. Instead of lacy curtains, cobwebs danced at the windows, remnants of several picnics stared at me. I blinked my eyes several times in hopes this whole horrible mess would simply vanish. There was no such luck and so this past week was spent cleaning and organizing.

I didn't take any before pictures. But this is how it looks now.

The lace curtains and vintagey things won't happen. But at least things are clean and organized once again. And this time I'm determined to keep it that way even if it means I have to wander up there more than once a year.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Amish Searching

I like to occasionally look at the searches people were doing that led them to my blog. This morning when I checked I decided to provide the answer to some of the things.

do amish use the us mail?

Yes, the Amish use U.S. mail. They still send long, juicy letters to their friends regularly. For many of them there is something wrong if a day passes and they haven't received a letter from someone. Forget about those pesky bills that arrive once a month, mail for the Amish is an anticipated highlight of every day.

amish chore schedule

There is no set schedule of chores the Amish have to follow. Each family creates and follows a schedule that works best for them.

is there amish in somerset

There are no Amish living in the town of Somerset, PA.  However the second oldest Amish community is located in southern Somerset County.

do amish wear deodorant

That depends on what community they live in. Most Amish do wear deodorant, but there are still some of the most conservitive communities where it is frowned upon.

former amish blog

You found one of them. Hope you enjoyed your visit.

how do amish train children

Part of Amish child training is the parents being very involved in the child's life. Working and playing side by side makes training a pleasant experience of being cheerfully guided to be what you should be rather than having to be disciplined for having done what you shouldn't have.

I recently read an article by a friend, where she shared this:

Perhaps it’s my Amish background that feeds my determination to teach my children. The Amish never got on the self-esteem trend in which children were told they were wonderful for simply being, rather than doing. I think the Amish always sensed that a healthy sense of self came from knowing you could handle this, you had what it took, and you had something to offer to others. And that came from adding skill to skill, from shelling peas as a small child to running a farm as an adult. - Dorcas Smucker

You can read the entire article here.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Only a few days ago Sunbeam got a new pink dress that she immediately fell in love with. This morning when she got up she chose to wear it right away, even though her best friend wasn't coming to play until later this afternoon. It was looking like the perfect day for her. A new favorite dress, fun with her friend, and a special little tea party.
Her happy bubble burst when she accidently dropped a jar of pasta sauce and the contents splattered all over the floor, half way up the wall, and of-course on her dress.
The floor and walls were easy to clean up, but getting the stain out of her dress is proving a lot more difficult.
Does anyone have tips of removing ketchup / pasta sauce stains from clothes? I would like to be able to get the dress back to its orignal pretty pink, and Sunbeam back to her sunny little self.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. The first week of August is National Simplify Your Life Week...what's one thing you could do this week to qualify as a participant?

Something I could do is sort and throw out a bunch of stuff in our store room and attic. I won't be doing that though because every time I have weeded out things that I thought we really don't need any longer I ended up regretting it later.

2. It's also National Peach Month...peach pie, peach cobbler, or please pour me a Bellini?  What's your peach pleasure?

We all love peach pie and peach cobbler. I'm hoping to get several bushels of peaches before long to freeze, can, and make jelly.

3. Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote, "Do one thing every day that scares you." Agree or disagree...explain.

I don't necessarily agree, unless exercising counts as something that scares me.

I do think it is a lot of fun trying out new things.

4. What's your favorite household chore?  Yes-you have to name one.

Thinking about all the different household chores the one I enjoy the most is washing windows even though it doesn't happen very often.

5. Fodors recently listed (what they've dubbed) the ten most beautiful sunset spots in America. Click here to read more and see the pretty pictures, but this is their list:

Butterfly Beach in Santa Barbara CA, Mount Haleakala in Maui HI, Old Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe NM, Laguna Beach CA, Hopi Point in Grand Canyon AZ, Four Seasons in Miami FL, Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica CA, Gay Head in Martha's Vineyard MA, Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City UT, and Mallory Square in Key West Florida.

Have you seen the sun set from any of these spots?  If you could choose to watch the sun set this weekend from one spot on the Fodors List, which would you choose?  Where was the prettiest sunset you've ever seen?

I haven't seen sunsets from any of those spots. If I could chose one of them to see this weekend I would want to go to Hopi Point in Grand Canyon AZ.

The prettiest sunsets I have ever seen used to be from the farm where we lived right after we got married. Watching the sun sink behind distant mountains was one of my favorite parts of the day.

6. What's your favorite or most used app?  If you don't use apps how about your favorite or most visited website?

I don't use any apps. My favorite website has got to be Pinterest.

7. We've recently passed the halfway mark for 2013...write a seven word sentence that sums up your year thus far.

A joyful chaos of balancing work and fun.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Another busy day scheduled. Right now Rosebud is carefully counting out some quarters she wants to spend at a yard sale I promised I'd take her to.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Today is the type of day that I have a whole gamut of feelings twirling around inside of me. Instead of elaborating on any of them I'm choosing to simply share a small peek with you.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Later Today

Today, beginning at 5pm Eastern, I will be interviewed on the Amish Wisdom radio show. You can tune in online to listen here.

We will be giving away the entire set of "Lily" books to one lucky person who leaves a comment on the Amish Wisdom site, so hurry over for your chance to win.