Saturday, July 30, 2016

Picture my Week

Remember those rosebushes Sailor and I planted earlier this summer? We've been fighting the Japanese beetles that want to snack on them, but they're beginning to bloom!

Imagine looking out the window and seeing your daughters trying to walk along the edge of a waterfall as they have seen the geese do often. What do you do? Grab the camera, and pray the entire time until they're safely back on solid ground! At least with the lack of rain we've been having, the waterfall wasn't gushing as it would have been otherwise.

Buddy has an eye for seeds dropped by our maple tree. He loves dropping them over the porch railing and watching them spin their way gently to the ground. I must admit there's something fun about watching them spin, and I've been wasting a lot of time helping him play with them.
Rosebud made another batch of donuts with Sunbeam and Buddy eagerly observing. They begged a few of them from her as soon as they were removed from the oven and promptly went to enjoy them on their favorite snack eating spot.
I spent some time sketching the entire United States onto a piece of white fabric, twice. As we do our state studies this year in our school, the plan is to have the girls applique the state we're studying onto the fabric. Once they're done we'll add some borders and quilt them.  They'll each have an interesting lap quilt, hopefully with a lot of fond memories attached.
A warm brownie, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and fresh peaches drizzled over it. The perfect treat on a summer day!

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Miting

Recently I read The Miting. I don't usually gravitate towards Amish fiction because it almost always turns out to be an uncomfortable read for me, and if I take time to read a book, I like to enjoy it.

The Miting, while it is fiction, could very easily have been a true story. Dee Yoder did an excellent job at creating a gripping, true to life, Amish fiction book. So very different from other Amish fiction out there. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Amish things.

She did such a good job of writing this book, that I had to keep reminding myself that Leah is a fictional character, and praying for her really isn't necessary, though I would then take a moment to pray for all the other Amish out there who are experiencing what Leah was going through.

It spoke to me, like very few books do. It was so real, so raw, and having experienced some of what Leah experienced, I lived through those parts right with her.

Though this book can be emotionally draining at some points, it is ultimately a book of hope and courage and I can not recommend it enough.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your summer so far? Why?
(1=eh and 10=best summer ever)

I don't know how to rate this summer. We've had some good times, and made memories I'll treasure. But I really, really dislike the heat and humidity that comes with summer.

2. July 26th is National Aunts and Uncles Day. Did you have many aunts and uncles growing up? Were you especially close to any one or maybe all of them? Are you an aunt? (or uncle for the men who join here on Wednesdays) Share a favorite memory relating to one of your own aunts or uncles or relating to a niece or nephew who call you Aunt (or Uncle).

My parents both came from large families so I had a LOT of aunts and uncles. I was really close to my Aunt Vernie, and also my Mom's youngest brother. As we grew older we had more and more in common. His youngest three children were all born within months of our oldest three. He and his entire family have become even more special to us in the past ten years. They remained the same, always friendly, and never judgmental even though we left the Amish.

3. What's your favorite food dipped in chocolate? What's your favorite food dipped in cheese?

Strawberries and pretzels dipped in chocolate are my favorite! Not the weird chocolate fountain type of chocolate, but the good melted milk chocolate.

We like baby carrots dipped into a cream cheese dip, but otherwise we don't go dipping food into cheese much even though we eat lots of cheese.

4. When were you last astonished by something? Explain.

Apparently I live a rather boring life, because I really can't think of anything right now.

5. Surf board, paddle board, ironing board, Pinterest board, score board, clip board, bulletin board...which board have you most recently encountered?

Most recently .... Pinterest board. Even though I really dislike the awful changes made to Pinterest, I'm still using it as I lesson plan.

6. What's your favorite story from scripture? Why that story?

I can't call it a story, but I love when Jesus rose from the grave and spent time with his disciples, and how when he ascended to heaven the angels said we would see him come again. It gives such hope in the midst of a troubled world!

7. If you were to travel from the east coast to the west coast in your own country, which five cities would you most want to see?

I'm not a city person at all, but if I have to choose five cities they would be New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Seattle.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I would also like to thank them for helping me with my homework ... I was able to memorize the entire Constitution of the United States while I waited for my meal.

How's that for keeping things positive in a review about an awful experience at a restaurant? There was more, but for some reason this line especially amused me.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wintery Daybook

For today.....  July 25, 2016

Looking out my window.....  Even the leaves on the trees are looking tired, from all this heat.

I am thinking.....  that I can't wait for the day when winter winds whistle around the corners of the house, heaping drifts of snow, and I'll finally be comfortable again.

I am thankful.....  that every day brings me one day closer to winter.

One of my favorite things.....  winter days.

I am wearing.....  A pink and black top, and a charcoal gray skirt.

I am creating.....  lesson plans. I start with the base provided for in the curriculum that we'll be using, but I branch out and dig deeper. For example Sunbeam will be studying about the country of Algeria in our first week back to school. In addition to learning what her curriculum provided, I'm finding books to read, food to try, the national anthem to listen to, some crafts, a lapbook to record interesting facts, and plants and animals found in that country.

That is only the geography. I do the same for other subjects where I feel we could do more indepth things.

Yes, I realize I'm making my life busier than it would have to be, but we love learning

I am reading......   I finished The Miting last week, and haven't started another book yet. This morning I read the book of Galatians in the Bible

I am hoping.....  That winter will come early this year.

I am learning.....  that even though I daydream about all things winter, it doesn't bring the desired relief from being stuck in the middle of the dog days of summer.

In the kitchen......  it's hot enough for me to consider serving something I never imagined I would even consider. My mother-in-laws cold soup.

 Picture thought..... 

Yep, pretty much the picture going through my mind multiple times a day.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Picture my Week

We were gathering the tea we use for sore throats. Buddy has learned to identify it and enjoys picking it when ever he spots some.

Rosebud found a baked instead of deep fried donut recipe she wanted to try. They turned out to be the best donuts we ever had. They will be a favorite we'll be making often in the future.

The finished product.

I went through all our school things. Organized what we'll be using this year, and created our first week's schedule.

Buddy enjoyed being the conductor of his train. Stuffed animals made the perfect happy passengers when siblings had better things to do.

I read this book. It's very rare I find one that impacts me as deeply as this one did. I will be talking about it some more in a future post.

I love the atmosphere created by early morning clouds settling in among the mountains.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Crossing Your Arms

Sometimes I take for granted our children know way more about the Amish and the many accepted yet unspoken traditions, than they actually do.

Somehow I forget they were only 2, 4, and 6 when we left that culture.

This morning Rosebud and I had a discussion on crossing your arms. I couldn't remember ever seeing her with her arms crossed and I don't know why, but it made me feel just a little sad.

Growing up every proper, well mannered Amish girl always stood with her arms crossed in church, or anywhere when her hands weren't occupied doing something, but especially on Sundays. It was considered ladylike and respectful, unlike some of the women who had the unfavorable habit of resting their hands on their hips.

It's one of the things I have stopped doing since leaving the Amish. Funny how in one culture something is consider proper and respectful, while in another culture it's considered rude.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Pok√©mon Go....your thoughts? Are you playing? Do you even know what it is?

I think it is rather ridiculous how popular it is. Our family is not, and will not be playing.

2. What was something you collected as a child? Do you still have that collection? If you're a parent what's something your own children collected? Have you ever camped out, stood in a crazy long queue, or paid a ridiculous sum for a 'collectible'?

I used to have a rock collection as a child. My Dad created a shelf table under our pine trees in the back of our house for me to display them. Somewhere around 7th or 8th grade I bequeathed the entire collection to one of my younger brothers. Not too long after that, it got destroyed when a lot of the trees were cut to make room for our woodworking shop.

I have never camped out, stood in line, or paid a lot of money for a collectible.

3. "Collect moments, not things"...tell us about a moment you've added to your collection this summer.

So many moments. Some of my favorites were the lazy days before the humidity kicked in that we spent outside simply enjoying nature and time spent together.

4.  What's something collecting dust in your home right now? Any plans to do something about it?

I have no patience for things that serve no purpose other than collecting dust. We live in an old farmhouse that seems to create dust astonishingly fast.

Figuratively speaking, I have some projects that are collecting dust, that I need to pick up and focus on again.

5. A favorite song relating to time?

A line from what used to be one of my favorite hymns as a child O God Our Help in Ages Past

Time like a ever rolling stream .......

6. What's been your most frightening or your most interesting encounter with wildlife?

My most frightening/interesting encounter with wildlife was when Sailor was a colicky baby and I was carrying him around outside while he was screaming. A group of deer had been in our cornfield, most of them upon hearing his wails ran back to the woods, a big buck however decided to charge me. Thankfully I managed to make it safely into our phone shanty before he got me.

Recently LV saw something a lot cuter regarding wildlife. There is a certain stretch of road not far from our house that is almost guaranteed to always have a deer or two on it every time you drive through. Several days ago there was a cat hanging out with a deer. They meandered down the road together and finally up over a yard.

7.  On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong set his foot down on the moon. If you could travel to the moon would you go? Why or why not?

I would not. I won't even go into details with my thoughts regarding space travel.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Going back to school shopping ..... it's on the schedule for today, and I have two very excited girls here waiting to leave.

Our new school year begins on the 1st. The countdown is happening ..... I hear about it multiple times a day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

When Scammers Succeed

When we first got an email account it didn't take long for a scam email to arrive declaring some long lost relative had died tragically in a plane crash and we had inherited a large sum of money. All we had to do was wire some money somewhere to have that money released to us.

We promptly deleted it.

Over time we received many variations of the same type of email, and some phone calls as well, all of which we ignored. We couldn't help but wonder why they keep being so persistent, surely no one would fall for something like that.

Turns out that yes, occasionally people do believe them, and fall for their lies.

We are currently in shock after learning of one of my elderly uncles who was scammed out of every single penny he had, even going quite deep into debt, wiring money to these unscrupulous scammers.

He has lost his house, and everything he owned. We're feeling sick about the whole mess, and can't help but wonder if there is something wrong with him, because this is so unlike him. Ten years ago he wouldn't even have considered sending them money.

He will be cared for by family, but what a sad way to live the last part of his life.

To say I'm feeling rather uncharitable towards these scammers, is stating it mildly.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Family Life - Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway. It was so much fun reading all your comments and getting to know you a little better.

And now to choose the winner.

Comment #56

Alyssa said ......

Interesting fact about me.... When I was younger I used to love climbing, but now I have an unreasonable fear of heights. I have no idea what happened to change that.

Congratulations, Alyssa! Please send me an email with your address and I will get a subscription started for you.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Picture my Week

To start our week LV had his remaining vacation days. He spent them working on a project here at home, and when he had to go get a part for it, I rode along. It wasn't supposed to take long. As could be expected, it took much longer than anticipated. I sat in our vehicle waiting on him. The sun was hot and the faint breeze that wafted through the windows occasionally kept it just bearable. While I waited I watched these two cut oats. Neat bundle were spit out the side and were then put into shocks by a group of boys that followed behind the machine.

I really enjoyed my favorite summer sounds: birds singing, breezes rustling the leaves, and my wind chime.

This moth made an appearance. We had never seen one like this before. Unique and pretty!

Buddy has set up an elaborate track system through several rooms for his toy cars. I spent most of the week dodging this section when ever I entered or exited the living room.

Rosebud made some cupcakes to enjoy when friends came over.

She decided to try out a new recipe for the frosting. It made a huge batch, so the next day a layer cake was baked to use the rest of it.

Buddy decided he wanted his face painted with his finger paints. Sunbeam was happy to oblige even though finger paints don't work the best for that. After multiple tries of taking a picture where Buddy kept bursting into gales of laughter this was the best we could do. Funny how sad he looks, when in reality he was anything, but.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Do you find yourself influencing your world, or is it more the other way around?

It's not the other way around.
2. July 14th is National Tape Measure Day...the device was patented on this date in 1868. When did you last use a tape measure? Do you always know where to find one in your house? Tell us one way in which you feel blessed 'beyond measure'. 

I last used a tape measure on Saturday.

We keep one in our roll top desk in the drawer that has been designated for holding a few tools to use around the house.

When it comes the life I have, I feel blessed beyond measure. It's nothing extravagant or fancy at all, but having the husband and children I have ..... well, I can't imagine anything better.
3.The Plaza Hotel (Eloise), The Land of Oz (The Wizard of Oz), Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia), The Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh), Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), or Never Never Land (Peter Pan)...which storybook land (on this list!) would you most like to visit and why? 

The only place even remotely tempting on this list, is The Plaza Hotel.
4. Where and when do you get your best ideas? 

I usually get my best ideas in bed around 2 A.M. or so. It's amazing sometimes how wide awake I can be then and how clear the ideas play out for me at that time. If I get up immediately and write everything down, it's great. If not, things tend to get a little foggy by morning.
5.  So what have you been watching on TV this summer? Anything good? 

Hallmark is doing their Christmas in July, so we have watched a few of our favorites. There is so much more to life though than watching TV, and we have been enjoying living. :)
6. 'Don't swim for an hour after you eat', 'Dog days of summer', 'Knee high by the Fourth of July'...choose a summer saying from the list or share one of your own, then tell us what image or memory comes to mind when you hear it spoken.

The dog days of summer are upon us and as miserable as ever. The only image that comes to mind from that saying, is being too warm ..... often buried in loads of canning and gardening all while being too warm.
Knee high by the 4th of July ... We always said corn that made it knee high by the 4th would yield a good crop. The image that comes to mind is walking out to the cornfields to see if it measures up. Ours always did. This year there are some farms with pitiful corn after having been planted too late because of the long wet spring we had. I guess we'll see this fall whether that saying still holds true.
7. In a single sentence, sum up one life lesson you've learned. 

Happiness depends a lot more on attitude than circumstance.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Today is LV's last vacation day. I love having him at home, and I'm so not ready to go back to our old routine.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Amish + Hugging + a Giveaway

Recently someone had asked me about the reaction she received when she tried to hug a mother at a visitation for her (Amish mother) child. She asked if the Amish never hug anyone.

My experience of being Amish for close to 30 years is that Amish refuse hugs from anyone other than their spouse, and even that wouldn't happen in public. But I can't make blanket statements about every Amish community or person.

However when this months issue of the Amish published Family Life arrived in the mail I found it interesting that they addressed the very question I had received.

Click on picture to enlarge.

If you're interested in having more of an inside look into Amish communities and their way of thinking I am giving you a chance to win a one year subscription to Family Life.

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment telling me something interesting about yourself.

For an additional entry post a link to this giveaway on your blog or Facebook and then come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

On Monday, July 18th I will be choosing a winner by using the Random Generator.

Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been chosen.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Picture my Week

This little guy turned up in our yard, Buddy was very excited about that. The dog has quite a voice and seems to be trying to communicate with us, judging by all the barking he does.

Our water pump decided to stop working and had to be fixed. Thankfully, other than the time it took, it was a relatively easy repair.

Buddy loves to pretend he's driving the tractor while Sailor works on a restoration project he has going in the garage.

Buddy also loves when he can convince Sunbeam to push him around in his little car.

A nest of bird eggs was discovered. It's a little late to be a robin's nest, and it is built basically on the ground, so we're intrigued and clueless.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Lieder Sammlung

The little Lieder Sammlung (Song Collection) was a well used and loved songbook. Unlike most other Amish communities who used it mostly for the youth Sunday evening hymn singings, our community also used them as their church songbooks, and our schools used them once a week on our German days.

I got my first one when I was seven and beginning to be able to read German.

I got a new one around my 16th birthday and the time I started attending the Sunday hymn singings. As was tradition in some communities, I added a little more than just my name inside the front cover. Sad how time makes the colors of the artwork fade while at the same time yellows the pages.

Every hymn singing started off with the song on page 227 and after two hours of singing it would end with one of the boys announcing page 312.

After the song was over the boys would tuck their songbooks into a pocket in their vest and head outside to hitch their horses to the buggies, while the girls visited for a little while before heading outside to wait for their ride to drive up. It was a bit challenging to be able to tell all the horse and buggies apart in the dark, but I was one of the lucky girls who managed to always make it onto the right buggy.

The days of transporting it in the pocket of my dress on the way to and from the singings are over, but the memories remain, and every once in a while I'll sing the songs again.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. How did you welcome the month of July, and tell us one fun thing you did to celebrate the 4th. (or the weekend for any non-USA residents playing along today)

We welcomed the month of July with LV using a few of his vacation days to stay at home to work on a project he has going. We did nothing fun on the 4th. LV had to head back to work, and the rest of us started the monumental task of going through everything we own, to do some serious downsizing. It's a bit ridiculous how attached I am to a lot of things, so it's making the task hard.
2. Right now ... what's your favorite red thing? white thing? blue thing? 

My favorite red thing ..... strawberries. I think there are still a few in the refrigerator.
White thing ..... the quilt on our bed. Such a welcome sight after an exhausting day.
Blue thing .... the beautiful blue skies we've been having.
3. Wave the white flag, raise a red flag, fly your freak flag...which 'flag' have you flown most recently? Explain. 

The white flag ..... I suppose, in a sense at least. Life has been interesting, and rather than fighting against it, I've been waving the white flag and trying to go with what ever happens.
4. According to Cond Nast Traveler these are the seven best places to visit in July-

a boat safari in Botswanna's Okavango Delta, Riviera Maya Mexico (it's whale shark season and apparently you can swim with them), Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, Pamploma Spain, St. Petersburg Russia, the Fuji Rock Festival at Mount Naeba Japan, the Salzburg Festival in Salzburg Austria

If time and money weren't factors would you want to see any/all of these? Which would you most like to see and why? 

I prefer to stay within the borders of the U.S. so the only one on the list for me is Yellowstone and the Grand Teton.
5. Grilled cheese, pimento cheese, or mac and cheese...your favorite from the cheesy treats listed? 

I love all three, but the grilled cheese is sounding the best right now. So many yummy ways to fix one.
6. What makes you sweat? 

Literally ... heat and humidity.

Figuratively .... the thought of public speaking. Seeing LV and Sailor doing something a bit dangerous. Might I just say I'm not a fan of watching heavy equipment being operated.
7. Your favorite movie with a 'patriotic' theme of some sort?

I don't have one.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

What's up with mosquitoes and their love of snacking on me? Last night LV and I were outside for a while and I was nearly eaten alive, while he didn't get a single bite. Not fair!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Being fluent in more than one language seemed normal to me my entire life. I can't remember a time when I couldn't speak two languages.

Often you hear that the Amish send their children to school where they will learn to speak English. I learned how to speak English long before I went to school, as did most of the other families in our community. I only know of one family whose children couldn't speak English when they started school and it was a very frustrating six weeks or so for both teacher and children until they started grasping it. Our schools were always strictly English speaking only, except for Wednesdays when we had our German classes, which essentially was a third language for all of us.

Since leaving the Amish we have made a gradual change to speaking almost entirely in English even in our home. It has come to the point where Buddy can't even understand what we're saying if we talk in Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish.

We don't want to lose the language, and have been trying to incorporate more of it into our daily life. Sometimes with hilarious results.

This morning when we were doing our morning chores, I asked Rosebud to sweep the kitchen floor, in Pennsylvania Dutch. After she burst out laughing, I realized for the first time that the word used for sweep is pronounced exactly the same as the word used for car. It's something we didn't really stop to think of before the language became secondary.

We're hoping with a little time and effort we'll be able to have Buddy bilingual as well.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Picture my Week

My camera was on the fritz for the first part of the week, which means I wasn't able to capture any pictures on those days. Happily that was remedied, and the rest of the week I was able to take as many photos as I wished.

Buddy loves being outdoors. He has a hard time walking by flowers without stopping to smell them.

It's amazing how fast our creek and waterfall dry up when we have a few days without rain. Sad really, especially for a water loving family.

More puzzles made their way through our "school" room. Sunbeam and I did a few. This was one of our favorites. Rosebud would have been welcome to help, but she prefers working on puzzles alone.

Buddy has a thing for sticks. He'll pick them up and carry them every where. Some even make it into the house occasionally. A big one he found worked well to make music on the wind chimes.

Popsicles are a great way to enjoy a warm afternoon. Sunbeam and Buddy are the only  ones in our family who enjoy them, but enjoy them they do!