Thursday, June 30, 2016

Notes to Self

I have many, many notebooks that have been used over the years. Sometimes if I'm looking for a certain something that I know I have in one of the notebooks, it can take a while before I find the right one, especially if I get side tracked reading all the other things that I hadn't originally been looking for.

Today I came across the list of things I wrote as a note to self if I'm ever a mother-in-law or grandmother.

Some of the items on the list made me chuckle a little, but most were actually good advice to my future self.

A few items on the list:
  • Never give advice, unless it has been requested.
  • Allow each in-law and grandchild to be an individual ... remember no two people or families are alike.
  • Don't tear around with the grandchildren making them all unruly and laugh and say you can teach them what you want once I'm at home.
  • Support the rules they have for your grandchildren.
  • Don't say how well behaved your children used to be, and how you used to get everything done, and how you always kept the house and garden clean. Forgetting the things your children used to do, the clutter in the house, and the weeds in the garden.
  • Never forget children are children and will want to play when they come visit and not have to simply sit on a chair the entire time and smile at me. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It's officially summer (in the northern hemisphere anyway). Which summer month is best and why?

I'm going to have to go with September, because it's the month that contains only the tail-end of summer. I'm not a fan of this particular season and can't wait until it's over.
2. Can you swim? How did you learn? June 27th is National Sunglasses Day. How many pair do you own?

I think I can, and I say that because it's been twelve years since I've gone swimming. Can you forget how?

LV taught me how to swim the first summer after we got married.

I own several pairs of cheap sunglasses.

3. What characteristic do you judge most harshly in yourself? How about in others?

Probably patience, and in others it bugs me when someone starts rambling on about things that they obviously don't know what they're talking about.

4. Robert Frost wrote the now well known poem entitled The Road Not Taken. What's a road (literal or figurative) you've always wanted to travel, and where do you hope it takes you?

There are several different roads in our area that I have always wanted to travel, but somehow have never gotten around to doing that. Mostly I'd just like to see what kind of scenery they offer.

5. Popsicles-yay or nay? If you answered yay, what's your favorite flavor? 

Sadly - nay. I used to love them, but somehow with the passing time I lost my taste for them.
6. Brexit-on a scale of 1-10 how knowledgeable are you on what's involved here? (1=very knowledgeable and 10=what's Brexit) Is this news you'll follow or is it something you think won't impact your life in any way shape or form?

I'm around a 9 on it. I've heard about it, but as with most news I tend to not pay too close attention to it. There's nothing I can do about it, so why add unneeded stress to my life, is the way I look at it.

7. Share a favorite song on your summer play list.

I'm loving this one right now.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Even though summer is my least favorite season, I have been enjoying it a lot. It's been a good one for our family, so far.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Gray Hair

"I'm heading outside to read," she announced as she headed out the door.

On these warm afternoons I could see why reading in the shade of a tree and enjoying the breeze would seem appealing. I went about my work, not really thinking twice about her planned activity until I happened to look out the window and see a ladder by a tree, and Rosebud perched up in the branches on what appeared to me, to be a very slender limb.

Feet swinging in the air, a book on her lap, she appeared to be lost to all else around her.

My heart nearly stopped as I surveyed the distance from that spindly little branch she was sitting on and the ground beneath her.

The ladder was held securely in place while she made her way back down, and I went to check out my newly earned gray hair.


Bad drivers really stress me out. I was heading to town and as I was making my way up a hill I noticed a little blue car coming down one of the side streets. Paying zero attention to the stop sign the woman driver barreled right out in front of me. I came inches close to running right into her. So thankful for good brakes.

My poor heart nearly beat out of my chest, as I added a few more gray hair to my collection.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Amish and Politics

Today I'll be answering another question from the ones I received back in April.

Given the current political unrest, how much attention do the Amish pay to the election, and to government in general?

I generally shy away from the topic of politics here on my blog, but decided I'll address this question.

This can't be answered in a one size fits all type of way. In some communities the Amish are blissfully unaware of what's going on, and may only have a vague idea who our current president is, a name they might have heard in passing, but it meant nothing to them.

For those, they pay no attention to the elections or to government in general. All they want is to be left alone to live their life as they believe they were called to.

For some others, they will subscribe to a daily newspaper to stay aware of everything that is going on. They will pay a lot of attention to the candidates running for election, and will make sure they vote.

Then there are a lot that fall somewhere in between. They have a general idea what's going on, but believe since they are not a part of this world, they will let the world take care of all things government, while they focus on a kingdom not of this world.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Picture my Week

Some time spent on the trail on a lovely afternoon.

That was a lot more relaxing than working on a coding project I'm in the middle of.
Rosebud created an enormous banana pudding. Complete with homemade pound cake. It was our first time using our homemade vanilla, which turned out to taste great. So good that I'll have a hard time going back to the store bought stuff.
The girls put an assortment of puzzles together. It took Sunbeam a while to get this one, but she was pleased with it once it was done.
Rosebud did several puzzles and then started a huge one. It'll take a long time to get it done.
Another afternoon spent at a friends pool. Buddy thought he had it made to have the girls give him rides on this float-y.

Friday, June 24, 2016

When Life Happens

Have you ever noticed how so often after you have felt especially inspired by something God is showing you through reading the Bible, or listening to a sermon, that something will often happen that allows you to use this newfound inspiration?

It's often not very fun.

For example, I was listening to a message by Otto Koning regarding a spiritual weapon we possess, and how to use it. It's called simply, the weapon of rejoicing.

Rejoicing when things are going according to plan, rejoicing when good things happen. That's all pretty easy.

Rejoicing when things go wrong, when unexpected things keep piling up. Your vehicle breaks down, your major appliances decide to die, health problems arise, betrayal happens, and more. Well that's a lot harder to keep rejoicing and praising God for everything. But so effective.

I'm wielding that weapon right now. It's a little heavier than I imagined when I was feeling so inspired, but I know with every fiber of my being that God is good.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Interesting Night-time Happenings

A sudden noise startled me out of a sound sleep, it was immediately followed by a long sickening tearing sound, and an even louder crashing. I envisioned our chicken coop flattened under a tree, but with the dark and the rain there was nothing to see out the window. It would have to wait until morning.

When light crept through the clouds we headed outside to survey the damage. Only a large limb, about the size of an average tree had fallen, smashing the fence to the cow pasture. Until the branch could be cut up, and the fence repaired, we got all the cows into the front part of the pasture and closed the gate to keep them from wandering into the back part and getting out.
I was up early this morning in the middle of a thunder storm. As I was getting a drink at our kitchen sink I witnessed a magnificent bolt of lightning hitting one of the windmills. Huge showers of sparks continued to shoot from the windmill for a little while after the lightning bolt had disappeared. The windmill is standing quiet today.
Eastern coyotes are much more wolf like than the ones we used to have in the Midwest. We've been seeing a number of them roaming the field here by the barn and visiting the creek by the waterfall. They're nice to look at when we're safely in the house, but the noise they create when howling in the middle of the night ..... let's just say, it's hard to sleep through that!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Growing up, we always kept a supply of grape-nuts on hand. Since store bought cereals were a very rare treat, our favorite cold cereal was grape-nuts. With five hungry brothers we went through a lot of them, and sad to say, I learned to not enjoy making them.

For the first time since we got married, last week I finally pulled out the recipe to make grape-nuts. The girls were amused and intrigued by the very pioneer-ish look of the batter, and couldn't imagine how it would possibly be turned into a good cereal.

Much to their surprise, everyone loves it, and I see it becoming a go to recipe for our family, successfully breaking the teenage promise I had made to myself to not be making grape-nuts once I'm in charge of all food decisions.

They take simple basic ingredients, and while they do take a long time to make .... I can't believe I'm saying this ...... they're worth it. Here's the recipe I used, but you may want to reduce the size.


7½ cups milk
½ cup vinegar
4 cups blackstrap molasses
2 Tbsp baking soda
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp salt
5 lb whole wheat flour

In a bowl combine milk and vinegar. Allow to set for a minute or two.

In a large bowl, as in, a really large bowl combine molasses, milk mixture, salt, vanilla, and baking soda. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add flour, about ¼ of it at a time, mixing well after each addition. Divide batter into 3 - 9x13 cake pans and bake at 400º for 40 minutes.

Once cool, cut into chunks and grate. I can't imagine trying to do it without my King Cutter, but LV's family used to use a handheld grater when they made them.

Spread the grated crumbles onto a cookie sheet  and bake at 210º stirring every 10-15 minutes until they're dry and hard. It took me 12½ hours to dry them all, working with two large cookie sheets in the oven the entire time.

Pour into a bowl to cool, then store in an airtight container.

These are really filling. When eating I would suggest starting off with only half a cup full. They absorb a lot of milk, so we always add more than you would think would be needed.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Picture my Week

    On a walk to the woods, Buddy, the girls, and I were thrilled to come upon a patch of flowers with at least twenty butterflies fluttering about. I discovered just how hard it is to take a good picture of a butterfly. After numerous attempts to capture them and ending up with only the tip of a wing or nothing but flowers I decided the best that's going to happen is the one with these two.

   Rosebud designed a dress for Sunbeam, made a pattern, and sewed it all by herself. It was her first attempt at tackling a project like this on her own. Sunbeam is happy to have a new play dress, and after it was complete they decided it warrants a photo shoot. This was one of my favorite poses even though it doesn't show off the entire dress.

   I decided to make a batch of grapenuts. It's a simple recipe, one that we used regularly while I was growing up. It is also time consuming once it has been baked to get it all grated and then dried. Having a different tasty option as a breakfast cereal makes it all worth it.
It wasn't until I was resizing this picture that I noticed you can see another part of our week in it. I spy an unpopped popcorn kernel and a single nicely popped one along the back corner of the countertop. Sunbeam has taken to popping popcorn every evening as a bedtime snack.

   Buddy was impressed with this giant balloon Sunbeam gave to him from her birthday stash. Shortly after this picture was taken the thing popped, scaring us all with its almost gunshot noise.

Sometimes you just have to smile at the things that pass by. This time it was an Amish man transporting a few Jersey cows.

Bumblebees are loving the flowers on those big thistle plants. LV is the best photographer in our family. He gets the credit for capturing this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. If you could sit beside and/or jump in any lake in the whole wide world today, which lake would you choose and why?

I would probably opt for Seneca Lake in New York, because it's the first lake I have memories attached to. My grandparents used to have a house that looked out over the lake, and during the summer we used to visit it when we could to fish and play.

2. What's your favorite 'fruity' drink?

Lemons qualify as a fruit, right? Other than water, lemonade is my favorite drink.
3. I read a list here of thirteen things to do right now to simplify your life. They were-

clean as you go, re-evaluate your relationships (cut toxic ties), unsubscribe (too many blogs and websites), de-clutter, write down your daily goals, reply to emails right away, forget multitasking, create a morning routine, re-evaluate your commitments (which hobbies and responsibilities are most important to you), say no, clean up your computer, and plan your day ahead

Which of the tasks listed do you currently find most helpful in keeping life simple? Which item on the list should you adopt in order to simplify your life this month?
  • Clean as you go is a good one. I don't care to spend an entire day cleaning, when a few extra minutes of doing it as I go is all it takes.
  • Relationships, I hate cutting ties, but I'm learning that sometimes when things happen and relationships end, it's best to allow it to happen rather than running after them.
  • Unsubscribing .... too much work. A lot of the blogs I used to follow and read regularly, sadly, have died over the years. I'm still subscribed to them though. I have a different email account that I use when asked to subscribe to websites. They can email all they like and it doesn't bother me, because I never check it.
  • I write down goals. I'm big on lists of basically every kind you can think of.
  • I need to start doing better in answering emails right away. I get a lot everyday, and it happens more often than I care to admit that some of them take longer than planned to get answered. Sorry.
  • I have a morning routine.
  • Commitments .... I have re-evaluated them and cut back on some to where it works nicely for our family.
  • I'm also learning to say no.
  • Cleaning up my computer .... files etc, I have well organized so I can easily find what I'm looking for. Outside cleaning ... a weekly wipe down is a must in our dusty farmhouse.
  • Planning my day ahead basically falls in the daily goals we addressed above.
Basically I already do everything on this list, except for the answering of emails.

4. What did you do the summer after you graduated from high school? 

Gardening, canning, taking over the main household duties of cooking and cleaning, and helping out in our woodworking shop when needed.
5. Are you a fan of podcasts? If so what's a favorite? 

What's a podcast? I don't listen to any.
6. Do you think today's fathers have it harder, easier, or just different than fathers in the past?

That depends a lot on the family.

7. Tell us one way you're like your father? Or not at all like your father if that's easier?
We are both a bit of a perfectionist.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today we will be enjoy our annual end of the school year ice cream sandwich celebration. We only have ice cream sandwiches once a year, so this is a tradition the children look forward to.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Blink of an Eye

I was a teenager when Jacob and Rebecca got married. They moved onto a farm in our church district and before long children were being added to their family. It was always interesting watching their lively children, and I couldn't help but admire Rebecca's gentle, patient interaction with her children.

A few years later LV and I got married. Jacob and LV became really good friends as they sat in the same section in church and always had a good time visiting before and after services. The year we welcomed Sailor into our family, Jacob and Rebecca welcomed another baby into theirs. A little boy they named Andrew.

Life happened and many major changes. We left the Amish and we no longer had a lot of interaction with all the friends we used to have while we were Amish. Jacob and Rebecca however remained friendly. They're close neighbors and when ever we see each other we'll smile and wave, and occasionally we'll visit a little.

Yesterday morning on our way to church we passed them while they were walking to church. Again we all smiled and waved and then discussed how life would be had we remained Amish. Sailor would be part of the annual instruction class for baptism. Those boys would have been his classmates, and now part of his group of friends during his rumspringa years.

This morning we heard sirens. Something that always makes you pause and listen because it's not something you hear very often. A little later we received the news, sixteen year old Andrew had been killed in an accident.

In the blink of an eye their life has been forever changed. We cry with them, pray for them, and hug our own children as we're reminded anew how fragile and precious life is.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Picture my Week

After a rain storm early Wednesday morning, the sun came out, and it became very windy. Windy enough that it didn't take long for things to dry off enough to go for a walk in the woods.

The wind was roaring through the treetops above us. Below the ferns were dancing in the breeze.

The girls wanted to take a different path out of the woods, while Buddy and I decided to turn around and head back to the house. He announced that he'll take care of me, and lead me back so I won't get lost. I let him take the lead, and he followed the trails always make the right choice when ever he came to a fork and had to make a decision which way to go.

Rosebud tried a new cupcake recipe. It turned out to be one of the best ones we ever had. A strawberry chocolate cupcake with fresh strawberries in the cake.

Our dryer had been acting up for quite a while already. Finally this week LV took it apart to see what he could do to fix it. After ordering the part we needed he left the thing sitting dismantled in the laundry corner, which happens to be right outside the bathroom door. I can't even begin to tell you how often I opened the door and was startled to see this ugly thing. The children thought it was hilarious.
The part came yesterday and everything is working great now. So today we'll be tackling the giant heap of laundry that accumulated.

With cows in the pasture by the creek, we can no longer play there when ever it's nice outside.

Sailor had an unexpected encounter with a nest of yellow jackets. One of them got him right above his eye.
Not being able to play in the creek, we opted to take a friend up on their offer to swim in their pool. Buddy lasted about five minutes in the water after which he decided he would rather slide on the pool slide with Mom catching him at the bottom before he plops into the water. His drink was the highlight of his afternoon though.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. I read here a list of 13 things you should do in June. I'm paraphrasing a little but basically...
Go on a road trip with your best friend, pick fresh strawberries, host a garden party, take a morning run, treat yourself to a flower bouquet, spend a whole day hiking, discover a new coffee shop, try a new ice cream flavor, read at least one book, visit a Farmer's Market, make a swing for your home, and visit a new city. 

Which thing on the list do you most want to do? Of the activities mentioned, which one holds the least appeal? How many on the list will you attempt in June? What's one thing you'd add to the list?

I would love to go on a road trip with my best friend, my husband. A lot of the things on the list sound like fun, or are things I have already done.

Running though ..... nope, not going to happen. As for discovering a new coffee shop. The discovering part would be okay, I guess, as long as I didn't have to drink any coffee.

2. What's something you could do today to feel more peaceful? 

Spend more time with the Word of God, and maybe go for a walk in the woods.
3. June 7th is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Are you a fan? Swiss mocha, rocky road, chocolate chocolate chip, peanut butter and chocolate, or a dish of plain chocolate...what's your pleasure? 

I don't care for chocolate ice-cream, or really any of those flavors.
4. If you came with a warning what would it say?

Caution: Gets irritable when it's hot and humid outside.

I try not to let my feeling miserable affect those around me, but I'm afraid it might just a tad.
5.What's the most interesting website you've visited in the last week? 

Rosebud made a new blog post, which I read and found interesting. Other than that, my online ventures have pretty much been confined to email, Pinterest, and checking into Facebook a few times.
6. Spring, summer, autumn, winter...which season are you? Why? 

My life right now feels like a mixture of spring and fall. There are new things coming which gives the feeling of hopeful anticipation. (Spring)
There's also a feeling of change, as if we were at the end of something good, which gives a feeling of nostalgia and a certain hollow aching. (Fall)
7. "You lose sight of things...and when you travel, everything balances out." ~Daranna Gidel

Would you agree with that sentiment? Explain why or why not.  

I would tend to agree with this sentiment. It helps getting away from everything sometimes and returning with a certain restfulness and a new appreciation for what you have.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now with everything. Life is happening too fast and I'm unable to keep up.

Trying to focus on the little things helps me keep my sanity ..... I think.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monday's Check List

Make a healthy, filling breakfast for LV before he heads off to work. Check.

Return a DVD and books to the library. Check.

Avoid running over three chipmunks, a wild turkey, more than a dozen mallard ducks, a timid bunny, and an indecisive squirrel on my way to the library. Check. Thankfully.

Make alterations on a stack of tops and a dress for Rosebud. Check.

Deep clean and oil the sewing machine. Check.

Get mail out. Oops ... missed the mailman.

Do several loads of odd laundry. Couch covers, sewing machine cover, etc. Check.

Clean front porch of all the dropping rhododendron blossoms. Check.

Read to Buddy. Check. But with more coming up before day is over.

Get things ready for Caprese Stuffed Burgers for supper tonight. Check.

Hit my word goal for the day. Excuse me while I go try to make that I can check that off my list as well.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Picture my Week

It continues to rain, and rain, and then rain some more. Buddy has taken to playing on the porch a lot. It's a nice option to be able to play outside, even when it rains.

There's only so much you can do on a porch though. So I've been reading a lot to him as well. His favorite book could have been featured in all of the past "Picture my Week" posts as well. He enjoys helping read it by taking care of all the barking parts.

We have several baby kittens that are finally old enough to play with. Buddy isn't quite as impressed with kittens as the girls are.

Since the first dandelion Sailor presented to me when he was itty-bitty, I could count on him having an eye for flowers for Mom. This week he presented me with this handpicked bouquet.

On our visit to the library this week, I noticed these four hanging out in the children's section. They looked well read, which made me smile.

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Going back to the questions y'all asked, and answering this one today.
What is your greatest fear?

 Spiders, mice, snakes, and heights all pale in comparison to my greatest fear. One I really don't even like talking about.
Fear is such an ugly thing, and I'd like to think I've come a long way in not fearing or worrying about the worst case scenarios that could happen, but the thought of having a child missing turns my stomach.
For a few minutes I once thought Sailor and Rosebud had been kidnapped. We had dropped them off at their grandparents while we went on a day trip to visit family. Mid afternoon our driver came bursting into the house acting all agitated and announced he had just received a call from "Grandma" saying that the children had been playing in the sandbox all day, but someone just drove off with them.
The horrible cold clammy feeling that followed my initial scream, and then the awful weakness as I collapsed in the bathroom is something I don't think I'll ever forget.
The driver had meant it as a joke. What my mother-in-law had called to say was simply that they were taking the children over to the neighbors to help them plant their garden and wanted us to know where they were.
It was a huge relief knowing everything was okay, but the terror and shock had been so overwhelming it took days to get back to normal.
I blame this experience on why this is my greatest fear.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Tell us about one fun thing on your June calendar.

Working on the list of June goals the girls and I created at the beginning of the year.
2. How careful are you in the sun? Do you tan or burn? Do you make it a point to see the dermatologist every year? 

Tan or burn? I do both. I try to be careful how much time I spend in the sun, until I received a nice tan, otherwise I'll get burned really fast

No, I don't visit a dermatologist every year.
3. Describe a time when you wanted to 'throw in the towel'? 

Yesterday I couldn't get online with our desktop computer. Having a wireless printer, that also meant I couldn't print anything that was stored on there, and with an important meeting coming up today it was important that I get certain things printed.

Everything indicated I was connected, and my laptop and other devices had no problem. I was about ready to throw in the towel, but as a last ditch effort and did a full system restore, taking everything back to how it had been before the latest automatic update. It worked.

Sad, really, how stressed and frustrated we can get due to uncooperative technology. Sometimes the days before all this became a part of our life .... well ... I can see why some people view the Amish life rather wistfully.
4. What's a song you love that has a day of the week in the title or lyrics? 

I can't think of any.
5. Are you a fan of berries? Which one's your favorite? What's the most recent berry dish you've eaten? Which blueberry breakfast food appeals to you most-blueberry pancakes, blueberry yogurt, or a blueberry muffin? 

I do like berries. Strawberries and blueberries are probably my favorite. The most recent thing I ate that involved berries was a bite of lemon blueberry cupcake that Rosebud made. Delicious!

The blueberry breakfast food that appeals the most to me is the blueberry yogurt, but only if it started off as fresh vanilla yogurt with fresh blueberries sprinkles over it. I don't like the premade stuff.
6. What's something you want to do before your next birthday? 

Nothing all that big or monumental. Just a whole lot of little goals I have sprinkled across these next few months. Things such a trying certain new recipes, doing specific crafts, completing some writing projects, and refinishing some furniture.
7. June 1st is National Say Something Nice Day, so let's all say something nice here. 

So thankful for good friends! They make the world a sweeter place.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday a very persuasive college student stopped in trying to sell some educational books. He was nice, but that in turn made me feel almost guilty for not buying anything from him.

I would think that would be a miserable way to spend a summer, and am glad my summer doesn't include going from door to door trying to convince the people inside that their life would be so much better if only they bought the overpriced book I was trying to sell.