Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What are two or three expectations you have of yourself?
  • To do my best at meeting the goals I have set for myself.
  • To be the best wife and mother I can be.
  • And after listening to Otto Koning speak on the Weapons of Warfare (spiritually) to use and apply them correctly in my life.

2. In what way does your outdoor space need sprucing up this spring?

There is a section of picket fence that had been looking quite sad so we took it away last fall. We're wanting to get it replaced before long, and then hopefully plant some flowers in front of it.

3. According to this site (Roadtrippers), six of North America's most wondrous waterfalls are-Webster's Falls in Ontario, Upper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina, Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, Multnomah Falls in Oregon, The Lower Yellowstone Falls, and Niagara.  Have you seen any on the list? Which one on the list would you most like to visit? Prettiest waterfall not on the list that you've seen in person?

We've seen Niagara Falls multiple times already. I would like to see all the other falls as well. The prettiest falls I've seen in person that isn't on the list. That's hard. It could be a number of different ones, most of which I have no name for. I've always liked the one in Watkins Glen State Park. It's been a while since I saw it last, so maybe my childhood eyes thought it was greater than it is.

I suppose my favorite waterfall would have to be the one I see when ever I look out the window.

4. Looking back, what's something you wish you'd done as a teenager?

I don't have regrets involving stupid things I did as a teenager. Thankfully the setting and community I grew up in protected me from a lot of that, and I'm grateful.

There are a few things I wish I would have gotten to experience as a teen, one of them is being able to go out with LV, maybe get to eat at a restaurant or see a movie, or something. I was blissfully content at the time for the most part, though I always thought two weeks between dates was a long time!

5. Ham...yes please or no thank you? If you said yes please which of the following do you like best-baked ham with all the trimmings, a ham and cheese sandwich, prosciutto with melon, a ham biscuit, a bowl of split pea and ham soup, or a slice of pizza topped with ham and pineapple?

Yes, please! I like ham in all of the ways mentioned, but my favorite would have to be a baked ham with all the trimmings.

6. Are you typical of your generation? How so?

Not really. Somehow I don't feel like elaborating. Sorry.

7. April rolls in at the end of the week, and in keeping with that theme...'act the fool', 'nobody's fool' 'a fool's errand', 'could have fooled me'...which foolish idiom most recently applies to you?

Probably fools errand. Last night we were supposed to pick up a new stove and when we got there they said it was damaged and we couldn't get it after all. We ended up getting a different one, because you can't really cook and bake without a stove.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I'm here shivering in my fluffy housecoat. We went from lovely spring like weather complete with blooming daffodils and pretty blue skies, to a snappy 20º this morning. As much as I don't want to, a fire in the furnace seems to be necessary.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Has spring sprung in your little corner of the world? Other than the calendar how would I know? What's your favorite thing about spring?

Yes, spring seems to have sprung. The grass is beginning to turn green. The Easter lilies and daffodils are just on the verge of blooming, birds are singing. The pair of Canada geese that always raise their family along marshy section of the creek above our waterfall is back.

2. Besides the weather, what's put a spring in your step recently?

We're at an interesting point of our life right now, with some major changes happening. It's exciting, invigorating, and just a tad scary all wrapped up in the same package. It has been putting an added spring to our step.

3. How does Easter impact you?

We really don't do much of anything for Easter, but the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ has impacted our life in a way that nothing else even comes close.

4. I saw this somewhere on Facebook and thought it would make a fun Hodgepodge question. Which of the following would you find most disappointing...

a just stuffed taco shell breaking open and spilling out before you take the first bite? dropping a just-purchased Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts coffee? opening the peanut butter jar and finding it empty? upending onto the sidewalk a just-purchased ice cream cone? a burnt bagel popping up in your toaster when you're rushing breakfast? or cutting into an avocado and finding out it's rotten? 

Let's see ..... I don't care for tacos. I don't drink coffee. I don't really care for  peanut butter. I can easily go without ice cream. I don't like toaster toast. But I love avocadoes, and would be really, really disappointed to find it rotten when cutting it open.

5. What's something held together with tape at your house? Or a paper clip? Or a wing and a prayer?

The only thing that I can think of are the lids of a few of our board games Somehow they seem to get more wear and tear in our house than other items.
6. Do you feel underappreciated? In what way?

No, I don't feel underappreciated. I love my role as a wife and mother, and everything else my life entails.

7. What's something you'd build if you knew how?

I'd probably build a boot/coat rack like my Dad used to in his furniture shop. I could really use one inside our front door.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm currently dealing with some of the most incompetent customer service people I have ever had to deal with in my life. Once this whole mess has been straightened out I won't be a repeat customer. I've been trying my best to stay sweet through it all, but it's beginning to be a little bit of a challenge.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A-Z Theme Reveal

I will be participating in the April A-Z challenge again this year.

For the past few years I always used Amish as my theme, but this year I'm planning to mix things up a little.

Random, is the word that best describes the theme I have chosen. While there will be Amish related posts sprinkled throughout, there will also be plenty of other things. I think it will be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What do you think about luck?

I don't believe in luck. I believe in blessings from God and the law of sowing and reaping.

2. Not counting your own backyard, what's a favorite green space in your town, city, or state?

One of my favorite places to visit is absolutely gorgeous during the warmer months. Following a narrow footpath through acres of fens and then through meadows with wildflowers, past the crumbling stone foundation of what must have been a mansion back in the early days of our country, all the way back to a lake filled with sparkling clear water. The grass on the banks is so soft, and provides a delightful place to sit and simply soak in all the beauty while the children go wading.

3. How do you make your life more complex than it needs to be?

I don't think I do. I enjoy simplicity and try to keep my life that way.

4. I read here the three places you should visit with friends. They are-New York City, Hawaii, and Amsterdam (rent a bike, walk along the canal, visit one of their world class museums). I felt the need to expound on that one. Moving on...Of the three places listed which would you most like to visit with friends? What's one place not on the list you think should be visited with friends?

None of those places really appeal to me, so I would probably need friends to go with me to even consider visiting them. Hawaii does sound nice, and I'd like to see it, but there is no way I want to fly, and forget about even suggesting a boat might be a possibility.

5. What's the last live performance you saw? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being best) how would you rate it?

Does a Christmas pageant count? I think I'll refrain from rating it.

6. March 14th is National Potato Chip Day. Are you a fan? Your favorite flavor? Besides potato, what's your favorite chip type of snack?

I am a fan of potato chips, but I hardly ever have any. My favorite flavor is simply the plain original chips, preferably the wavy cut.

7.What rule is most important in your home?

Clean up after yourself ....... no, not really, though that is something we do. The most important one is treating each other with kindness and respect.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

The lamp I used to keep beside my chair in the living room gave us a little scare. After having it for ten years, maybe it was beginning to feel as if we take it for granted or something, because it grabbed our attention by cracking loudly. I though the light bulb might have blown, but it was still fine. Upon further inspection we discovered that it had caught on fire. Thankfully the fire went out almost immediately and only scorched the doily the lamp had been setting on. We chucked it and I'm now liking the new lamp I have, though I seem to have some trust issues since the episode with the old lamp.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Weekly Glimpse

Spring has sprung. The sounds of sweetly singing birds fill the air during the day, and at night we go to sleep listening to the hundreds of spring peepers that live in the marshy area along the creek above our waterfall.

I'm including a short video for those who want to take a listen to the sound of the spring peeper.

We took daily walks and enjoyed all the early signs of spring. It was a nice way to clear our heads after spending time solving algebraic equations and all the other things we have been studying.

Rosebud enjoyed toying with recipes and was happy with the results of her latest cupcake creations. The frosting colored naturally with a raspberry reduction sauce.

We all did quite a bit of writing. I'm already looking forward to seeing what Sunbeam will crank out as she gets older. She just finished up writing a full length book with over 70,000 words.
Buddy got in plenty of batting practice.
All in all a very enjoyable yet ordinary week.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. March is National Women's History Month. In that vein, who are three women who've been influential in your life? How so?

First .... my mother. Her patience, love, and cheerfulness made a huge influence on my life. She believed in the sayings If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy, and the well known, Happy wife, happy life to be why it's important for her to stay cheerful no matter the circumstances. She didn't twist it as a way for people to cater to her, or think it was her husbands job to make her happy. She believed a woman controls whether or not the home is a happy one. She did her best to give us that.

My grandmothers were both influential in my life as well.
2. In what ways do you think women have it easier than men? 

Different roles to fulfill here, and I think each has its own set of challenges. I like the security I feel in the leadership LV provides for our home and family and am glad he shoulders the responsibility for that.
3. What do you need most right now: faith, love, hope, or peace? 

I need all four of them, though I can never have too much love. Even the Bible says love/charity is the greatest of them all.
4. Do you have a collection? If so, what do you collect and why? 

I have well over a hundred cookbooks. I love cooking and trying new recipes. I'm not adding to the collection very often, but there are still cookbooks I would love to get.
5. Plaids, checks, polka dots, stripes...your favorite?

I think currently I like plaids the most. Rosebud just got several really nice skirts that are  plaid, and I think they're lovely.
6. In what ways are you the same as your childhood self? 

This one is hard. In a lot of ways I simply feel like an older version of the child I used to be. I still have many of the same likes and dislikes.
7. You're a contestant on the TV game show Jeopardy. What category will you ace?  

I have no idea. Since I never watch it, I don't even know what the categories are in Jeopardy.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Spring has sprung and we are already enjoying lovely afternoon walks. The last heaps of dirty snow are melting away. Birds are singing sweetly, and the springtime flowers are beginning to peep through. As much as I love winter, springtime is a delightful time of year!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Bit of Random

Flipping through my thought files searching for some blog material.

Hmmm...... maybe I could write about one of the following.
  • The cat that visited services at our church. 
  • A few interesting tidbits we have learned while doing our school work.
  • Some wittily funny comments made by our teenagers.
  • The fact that spring seems to have arrived, and how that makes me feel.
  • A hilarious episode involving peppermint oil.

None of those topics seem to be enough to warrant more than a paragraph on their own. I could save all of them to be used at a later date for my random thought on the weekly Hodgepodge post, but I think I'll share one today.

The cat was smuggled into the church house inside a lady's purse. As it turns out, cats don't like being tucked into purses and will protest vehemently once they reach the end of their patience. We haven't seen the lady, her purse, or her cat since then, but they certainly provided more than their share of amusement to our girls who tried their best not to roll over with laughter.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Due to popular demand; here is the recipe for the cannoli we made last week.

To start you want to make sure you have a few essential items on hand.
  • A pair of tongs
  • A candy thermometer
  • A set of cannoli forms
  • An oven mitt.
To make the pastry shell you will need:
2 cups flour
3 Tbsp Crisco
2 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup Sherry
1 egg slightly beaten
In addition you will want:
  • a beaten egg white
  • vegetable oil for frying
Gently whisk together flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add Crisco and mix until you have nice even crumbs. Drizzle a third of the Sherry over your flour mixture and mix it. Drizzle half of the remaining Sherry and mix some more. Finally add the slightly beaten egg and the remainder of the Sherry. Mix well, form into a ball, and refrigerate for about an hour and a half.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is very thin, as in .... almost the thickness of a dime. Now comes the fun part. Cut out circles about four inches in diameter. I happened to have a cookie cutter that was the perfect size, but you can also make a pattern with parchment paper or cardboard from and empty cereal box and lay it on your rolled out dough and cut around it with a sharp knife.
Pour some vegetable oil into a sauce pan until it's about two inches deep. Heat it to 380º This is where it's important to have a candy thermometer.
While you are keeping an eye on the rising temperature of your oil, gently wrap one of your dough circles around a cannoli form. As tempting as it may be to wrap it around the middle, it is wise to situate it closer to one end than the other. Brush some beaten egg white on the edge of the dough where it will overlap and press to seal.  
When the oil is hot slip into the oven mitt, take the tongs and firmly hold the end of the cannoli form and lower it into the hot oil. Hold it in the oil for exactly one minute. Remove and place to cool, on a wire rack that has been covered with paper towels. Repeat with your remaining forms. I had only four forms to work with, but by the time the fourth one was fried the first one was cool enough to remove from the cannoli shell and the steps repeated, wrap the dough, seal the dough, dip the dough in oil and fry. You will want to keep a careful eye on the temperature and adjust the heat as necessary. Since you're working with one cannoli at a time it's easy for the oil to overheat, and we wouldn't want it to catch on fire.

For the filling, I scoured numerous websites and cookbooks. Most of them wanted a ricotta based filling, but I was afraid LV wouldn't care for the texture. I was happy to find a recipe that told me to simply fill with our favorite vanilla custard pudding, which is what I did. I had it prepared and ready to be piped into the shells by spooning it into a Ziploc bag with the bottom corner snipped off.

When the shells were thoroughly cold I dipped some of their ends into melted chocolate, and left the others plain. I piped the pudding inside, and they were finally ready to serve.

It sounds complicated, but each step in itself is easy. And the end results are so worth it!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. February ended with an extra 24 hours in 2016. What did you do with your bonus day?

It didn't feel like a bonus day to me at all. If it were up to me we would have had two Sundays in a row. Now that would have felt like a bonus day.

2. What's something in your life that's grown by leaps and bounds in recent days, weeks, months, or years? I'm giving you lots of room to come up with an answer here, so no fair passing on this one.

Our children. It doesn't seem that long ago when I was holding them in my arms for the first time, and now our oldest is preparing to take his driving test.

3. Do you read reviews about a film before deciding if you'll see it? Did you watch The Oscars this year, and if so your thoughts on the program? How many of the Best Picture nominees had you seen prior to the broadcast? (Spotlight, The Martian, The Big Short, The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, Room, and Brooklyn) If you watched The Oscars who gets your award for 'best dressed'?

We wait a long time before we see any movies. Most of the time the hype has long passed before we ever get to see them. For example we saw Frozen for the first time several weeks ago. What a snoozer. Certainly not worth all the praise we heard about it.

We didn't watch the Oscars and haven't seen any of the nominated films.

4. When did you last have overnight houseguests? Give us your top three tips on being a good houseguest.

We had overnight house guests a week and a half ago.

I don't really have tips to share on how to be a good houseguest. I want to have our home be welcoming, comfortable, and a happy place for them to enjoy their visit.

5. March 2nd is Peanut Butter Lover's Day. Will you be celebrating? If so, would you prefer a home made peanut butter cookie, a Reese's peanut butter cup, an old fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or shall I just hand you a jar and a tablespoon?

I will not be celebrating. I don't like peanut butter in candy or any desserts. The only way I like peanut butter is prepared as Amish Church peanut butter.

6. Why is failure important? Or isn't it?

I don't think failure is important. What is important is our reaction and how we pick up and move on after experiencing failure.

7. Share with us one fun thing on your March calendar.

On our calendar for March, the girls and I will be making a Busy Book and for new food .... we will be trying our hand at making baklava.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

We recently went to see the  Flight 93 memorial again. It is nicer every time we go, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will be when the vision for the site is completed.

The visitors center / museum is informative, interesting, and ever so sobering.

The wall of names of all those who lost their lives on that awful day.