Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It's  been said that one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day. Do you think that's true? Do you find that an easy exercise most mornings? What's something positive you told yourself today? If you missed that boat, what's something positive you could tell yourself tomorrow?

I think positive thoughts have a lot to do with what kind of day you will have, and how much you will enjoy life!

I usually wake up with some kind of song in my head, and while singing the lyrics in my head (don't want to wake the children by actually singing) I roll over to check the time on the alarm clock. I spend the last few minutes before it's time to get up thinking about my day and having a little chat with my Heavenly father.

I have noticed the song I wake with seems to stick with me all day and will be sung, hummed, and whistled until the next day when I have a new one.

2. There will be karaoke at the next party you attend...are you in? Or will you be faking a sore throat?

I love singing, but not in front of people. I wouldn't fake a sore throat though.

3. January 29th is National Puzzle Day...what's something you've found puzzling recently?

How can things get utterly lost in a not so big house? A book Sunbeam had been reading mysteriously disappeared. We've hunted high and low for it to no avail.

In opposite world, how do game and puzzle pieces keep appearing in the oddest places when I know we haven't played with said games or puzzles in quite a while?

4.  Jigsaw, crossword, acrostic, logic, sudoku, word search...what's your favorite kind of puzzle, and when did you last work one?

I love, love, love jigsaw puzzles. I have always enjoyed word searches and fill-in puzzles as well. Sudoku is quite another story though. Gives me a headache trying to get all those numbers where they need to be.

5. Recently a writer by the name of Amy Glass ruffled feathers with a post she wrote saying she looks down on young women with husbands and kids and she's not sorry. Among other things, she says women will be equal with men when we stop saying house work and real work are equally important. You can read the whole piece by clicking here.

What say you? Do you think men and women are equal in the 21st century? Why or why not?

I think she wanted attention and traffic to her site.

In God's eyes men and women have equal worth, but their roles are different. I'm totally okay with that.

6. What's a product you've noticed in the grocery store that you'd like to try, but haven't yet?

Kumquats and coconuts.
7. The author, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) was born this week in 1832 (January 27th).  Which character from his celebrated novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, would you most like to meet, and why? Here's a link to a character list if you need help on this one.

Probably Alice. Her curiosity and how she enjoyed meeting new friends makes her relatable. It has been years since I read the book so I might not find her as fun if I were to read it again.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I've been bitten by the gardening fever. All the seed catalogs that keep appearing makes me long for a huge garden like I used to have.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

100 Things About Me

  1. I enjoy sewing, but not with an electric sewing machine. I'll stick to my treadle machine while I try to teach my daughters how to sew using an electric model.
  2. I don't like bar soap. Just the thought of having to touch a bar that has been used even once, makes me shudder.
  3. I love reading, but half the time I reread favorite books instead of trying new ones.
  4. I cried like a baby the first time I read "Where the Red Fern Grows"
  5. I love apples. Honey Crisp are my favorites, but there's no way I'm paying close to $200. for a bushel.
  6. I like winter a lot better than summer.
  7. I love pretty dishes.
  8. I broke my left ankle in a freak accident while working in my grandparents new house.
  9. I still like when businesses give calendars to their customers.
  10. Fresh, cold  water from our well is my favorite thing to drink.
  11. I don't drink coffee, ever.
  12. I like the idea of drinking tea, but don't enjoy it when ever I do.
  13. I love Italian food.
  14. I used to love climbing trees.
  15. I used to have a kitchen that had a brick floor, and I wallowed in self pity every time I had to clean it.
  16. I love bacon.
  17. I think adding cheese makes almost everything better
  18. My favorite candy bar is Clark, but only in the fun size.
  19. I love Amish church peanut butter.
  20. I always cry at weddings.
  21. I love thunderstorms. Again. I used to hate them when we lived in Missouri. The difference of severity of storms between those and the ones we have here is similar to comparing a lion and a kitten.
  22. I can play a harmonica.
  23. I collect cookbooks, and choose a different one every week to plan menus.
  24. I love rainy days.
  25. I do not love fog. It makes me feel slightly claustrophobic.
  26. Shrimp used to gross me out, but I learned to like them around two years ago. Now I can't get enough.
  27. Gladiolus are my favorite flowers.
  28. I had an imaginary sister when I was a child. Her name was Magdalena.
  29. I once won a recipe contest, my prize was a meat thermometer.
  30. I used to sleepwalk and once woke up to find myself trying to climb out my bedroom window.
  31. I don't think camping is fun.
  32. I do not consider buying the weekly groceries as going shopping.
  33. I can tell when bad weather is coming because my previously broken ankle will hurt.
  34. I have a scar on my right hand from a sledding incident in school.
  35. I used to dread recess in school. Writing was ever so much more fun than playing outdoors.
  36. Store bought bread used to be a rare treat when I was growing up.
  37. If I had been born a boy my name would be Ervin.
  38. I detest cleaning a stove.
  39. Cast iron is my favorite type of cookware.
  40. I have over eighty mixing bowls, most of them in the attic. All of them wedding gifts.
  41. Mystery books were banned in our house when I was a girl.
  42. I loved that my teacher read mystery books to us everyday after noon recess before we settled back into our lessons.
  43. I think garden gnomes are very creepy.
  44. I have several two dollar bills that I refuse to spend.
  45. I enjoy jigsaw puzzles.
  46. I like houseplants, but they would all die if LV didn't care for them.
  47. It has been several years since I last chewed gum.
  48. I have eaten pickled beef tongue.
  49. I used to sell things on ebay.
  50. LV and I once sang a duet at church. I still cringe at the outfit I wore that day.
  51. I used to have an egg fried until well done on whole wheat bread almost everyday for my school sandwich. I never got asked to trade lunches with other children.
  52. I find text talk extremely annoying when not used in an actual text. C U L8R
  53. I hate ketchup and mustard.
  54. I love sour cream.
  55. I don't wear makeup. I hate how it makes me feel grimy.
  56. I actually enjoy green smoothies.
  57. I drink vinegar water at the first sign of a sniffle and have been cold free since 2010.
  58. I like using bacon drippings instead of butter or vegetable oil to make popcorn.
  59. I don't like having my feet covered when I sleep.
  60. I still have all the letters LV and I wrote to each other before we were married.
  61. I hate seeing someone brush their teeth.
  62. I love taking long road trips.
  63. I whistle, a lot.
  64. I'm on a food journey, continually trying new recipes and foods.
  65. Some days I miss the convenience of having canned hamburger.
  66. I love fruit, but loathe bananas.
  67. I have a curling iron, but find it way too time consuming to bother using it, same goes for a hair dryer.
  68. Songs have a way of taking me back to where I first heard them.
  69. I can hear a song only a few times and be able to sing it.
  70. Hearing someone sing off key really bugs me.
  71. So far in life I haven't met a vegetable I don't like.
  72. I was married before I had my first ever visit to a dentist.
  73. I used to have to wear glasses when I was in 4th and 5th grade. My grandmother insisted it would make that I no longer have gall attacks. They never helped an iota, for my sight or my gall bladder.  My parents didn't make me continue wearing them after being told my eyesight is basically perfect.
  74. I read books purely for the joy of reading a good story. I don't go looking for deeper or hidden meanings.
  75. I still enjoy coloring.
  76. I enjoy cooking steak, but I hate eating it.
  77. I don't have patience to do handwork like embroidery, knitting or any kind of hand sewing.
  78. I love crocheted afghans, but I don't know how to crochet and really doubt I'll ever get serious about learning.
  79. I miss my friends I had while growing up.
  80. I hate snakes, mice, spiders, and basically all insects.
  81. I think ladybugs are cute, I used to play with them when I was a little girl.
  82. I read really fast. I used to read several books per day when I was recovering from an accident.
  83. Baked Alaska fascinates me and is on my list of food for this year.
  84. I love fried pie, but it's too much work to make often.
  85. Mr. Bean makes me laugh.
  86. I have been to 23 states.
  87. I never seem to have enough hours in my day to get everything done I would like to.
  88. I often read the last chapter of a book first. It doesn't keep me from still enjoying the entire book and hoping for certain outcomes even though I know ahead of time how the ending will be.
  89. I love Pinterest. I've found so many great things on there that I wouldn't have otherwise. We have completed loads of Pinterest projects.
  90. I once accidently killed my brother's pet fish.
  91. Milk chocolate is my favorite.
  92. I think white chocolate doesn't qualify as chocolate.
  93. I hate having my picture taken.
  94. If someone tells me where they hurt I often get sympathy pains. (That disappear as soon as they're done talking.)
  95. I want to learn better cake decorating techniques.
  96. I love reading children's books.
  97. I would rather feed squirrels than birds. They are a lot more fun to watch.
  98. Bad drivers irritate me.
  99. I like browsing kitchen stores even though I don't have room in our house for any more gadgets.
  100. I love being a wife and mother more than I ever thought possible.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Books and Memories

As a child one of the highlights of going to visit Grandpa Mast's was that Aunt Vernie never tired of playing with us. One of our favorites was sitting on the couch while she read her treasured books to us.

It wasn't until after I learned to read that I discovered she had not been actually reading to us, but truthfully the books were never quite as interesting when I read them. I think to this day I still prefer her version.

I was happy when I found a copy of her favorite book, if I squint my eyes and block out the words on the pages I get carried back and John and I are once again sitting on either side of her studying the pictures, and I can still hear her animated, happy voice as she "reads" to us.

A Big Ball of String will always be more than just a fun book to me. It takes me down memory lane every time I see it and I enjoy my jaunts there, where for just a few minutes I'm a child again.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  Are you a force to be reckoned with? In what way?

I don't really know about that. I'm pretty easy going most of the time, though if you mess with my children Mama bear is alive and well.

2. What are two things you love about the wintertime? Or, if love feels like too strong a word, what are two things you 'like' about winter?

I love almost everything about winter. The more snow we get the happier I am. I like how days are shorter and the family spends more time together in the house. And something I really love is I don't have to try to stay cool and comfortable. I'll take winter over summer any day!

3. Pomegranate, kumquat, persimmon, kiwi, and guava are all fruits said to have health benefits, particularly during the winter months. Do you have a favorite on the list? Are there any on the list you haven't tried?

Pomegranates are my favorite on this list. I have never tried guava, but would like to someday.

4. I passed a local church yesterday and noticed they had this on their outdoor sign- 'When all else fails, do the right thing.' Your thoughts?

I don't like it. Why would you want to wait to do the right thing until all attempts at doing the wrong things fail?

5. Do you ski? According to one list I've seen, the top 5 ski destinations for 2014 are-St. Anton Austria, Whistler Canada, Cortina Italy, Tahoe USA, and Zermatt Switzerland.  Of the five listed, which would you most like to visit? We can make skiing optional if that helps the non-skiers with their answer.

I don't ski and have no plans to learn even though the local ski resorts would be a great place to do that. I think I'll stick to snow tubing while the rest of the family is free to try skiing all they like.

I would love to go to Tahoe someday. If I wouldn't like staying in the U.S. so much I wouldn't mind visiting Switzerland.

6.  What's the last thing you looked for online? (Besides my blog!)

Guitar chords for a song Sailor wanted to play.

7. What saying, slogan, quote, or motto have you seen lately that inspires you for the new year?

Happiness is 10% circumstance and 90% attitude.

A great reminder to stay positive.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Sometimes waiting for a sibling to help you play takes just a little longer than planned.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Creamy Mushroom Soup

This is a favorite for our family and after receiving numerous requests for the recipe after I mentioned it last week I decided to share it with you today.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

1 lb portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 medium onion, minced
2½ Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 small bay leaf (or half of a regular sized)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 tsp parsley flakes
pinch of thyme
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk

I like using a cast iron skillet to make this soup, but any saucepan will work as long as it's  big enough.

Start by cleaning the mushrooms and chopping them, mince the onion and then melt the butter and add the mushrooms and onions. Sauté until  onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat as you sprinkle flour over your mushrooms and stir until flour is absorbed. Return to heat add chicken broth and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Add bay leaf and the other spices. Bring to a simmer and add cream and milk. Return to a simmer and allow to simmer merrily for about one minute. Remove bay leaf and it's ready to be served and enjoyed!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English.  Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse or just general uselessness (go here to read more about how the words were chosen).  Here are the words/phrases they'd like to see banished in 2014-

selfie, twerk/twerking, hashtag, Twittersphere, Mr. Mom, T-bone, ____on steroids, the suffixes-ageddon, and -pocalypse added to anything and everything, from the world of politics the words-intellectually/morally bankrupt and Obamacare, and from the world of sports the words-adversity and fan base

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?

I don't care for any of those words and phrases. I would be happy if they would all go away, some more than others.

 2. What one unfinished project nags at you begging to be completed in this new year?

A green beaded mobile thing that someone asked me to make. It has been half way completed for way longer than I care to admit. Turns out there are ever so many more fun things to do than dig through my store room looking for the beads to finish it.

3. When did you last have a bowl of soup? What kind? Homemade or from a can? What's your favorite soup?

The last time I had a bowl of soup was on Sunday after church. I made homemade mushroom soup. It is one of our family favorites. After having it, the thought of trying to eat the kind that comes from a can makes you want to whimper and beg for mercy.

I love soup, my favorite changes every so often. Right now I could go for some shrimp bisque.

4. Snowed in, snowed under, snow job...which one most applies to your life in recent days, figuratively speaking.

Snowed in. We had some snow and very cold. Makes staying in the house the best option.

5. What's the funniest movie you've ever seen, or at least one of the funniest?

Johnny English is one of the funniest. The most recent one I saw that made me laugh was A Christmas Story.

6.  In general, would you say you're clumsy?

Unfortunately, I have been blessed with clumsy tendencies.

7. Elvis Presley was born on Hodgepodge Day (January 8th) back in 1935.  Are you an Elvis fan?  What's your favorite Elvis tune? If that's too hard, which Elvis tune do you dislike the least?  Click here for a list of his songs.

I am not an Elvis fan. I haven't heard enough of his songs to have a favorite and those I did hear I didn't care for. For some odd reason I heard Blue Christmas this year and by the end of the song I was feeling totally exhausted.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The children have been singing a song with all fifty states and capitals. I can't get it out of my head and I'm getting more than a little tired of it. So much so, that listening to Blue Christmas sounds tempting right about now.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I like pretty things. I admire houses that are decorated beautifully, but anyone that sees my house wouldn't have a clue that I like seeing every room color co-ordinated and decorated.
My walls are basically bare, except for a calendar in the kitchen, and two clocks that never seem to have the right time. The bathroom, I'll not even go into too many details there, suffice it to say I have tried to become blind to all the flaws it contains.
Most of the towels we have clash badly with the green marbled wall, but after fifteen years of use most of them are at the point that they need to be replaced. This would be the great time to get some nicer colors I told myself, but then I happened upon some good quality towels that couldn't be beat in price. I snagged them even though I didn't care for the colors, they would work just fine for the job they're supposed to do and the day when everything matches will simply have to wait.

LV came home from a day of working with a welder and sees the new towels for the first time. "What color is that towel," he asked me.

"An ugly tannish brownish something or the other, I'm not even sure that color has a name," was my reply.

He was immensely relieved. "I really thought something was wrong with my eyes and I might be going colorblind or something."

The towel continues to stay in the bathroom. It's beginning to grow on me just a little. It actually doesn't look too bad with the green wall, but it will always be referred to as the colorblind towel.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Times Square is the setting for the infamous ball drop signaling a brand new year....when did you last 'drop the ball' on something?

I can't think of anything major that I've dropped the ball, but there are a lot of little things, like yesterday when I told the children we would be doing something that afternoon and they were excited about it, but then Buddy wasn't feeling well and wanted to be held nearly all day which caused a change of plans.

I really, really dislike not being able to follow through on something I tell the children we'll be doing.

2. What is one thing you resolved to do in 2013 that you actually did?

Trying a new recipe every day for a month.

3. Jack London is quoted as saying, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." Agree or disagree? Why?

If he's talking about writing, I whole heartedly agree. Otherwise it's both.

 A lot of my inspiration comes when I go slogging through uninspired days or moments with a sort of determination to get something accomplished. I relish the ah-ha moments that occur along the way.

At the same time inspiration can also come along and fall into your lap when you least expect it. Waking in the middle of the night and seeing something clearly, people I meet often inspire me, so I think we can become inspired while we wait, especially if we wait on the Lord.

4. What was the best thing you ate in 2013?

Blue crab stuffed ravioli and a delicious seafood appetizer platter.

It was so good I'm actually looking forward to my next birthday when I'll be able to enjoy it again.

5.  Share an anti-resolution...that is, something you plan to keep on doing in the new year.

I'm planning to keep trying new recipes, as well as keeping up a new routine/schedule we started a month or so ago. It has been a purely positive experience since we started and I want it to continue. Including the portion that is devoted to exercising.

6. The Pantone color of the year for 2014 is radiant orchid.  Like or no like? Would I find this color anywhere in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in this shade to either?

I really like the color, but not enough that I'll be adding it to my wardrobe. You won't be finding it anyplace in my home except safely in the children's box of crayons

7. In three words or less sum up your 2013.

God is good!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Wishing each and everyone of you a year filled with joy and blessings!