Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  Are there any men or women in blue on your family tree?

No, there are no men or women in blue in my family tree. Instead .... coming from the Amish .... I have quite a few bishops and leaders in my family tree. Let's just say having someone with a title like that stop in uninvited puts a "quiver in your liver" just as much, if not more than any flashing lights ever will.

2. Are you someone who suffers from the Sunday night blues? What helps you get over it?

I don't have trouble with the Sunday night blues. While I thoroughly enjoy weekends, I am also always eager and ready for Monday morning to get here.
3. I read the color blue is an appetite suppressant since there are very few naturally blue foods out there. How do you feel about blue cheese? Love it or blech? If you're a fan, what's something you like that's made with blue cheese?

I enjoy blue cheese, in moderation. Mostly on salads, or in dips, or a delightful bruschetta.

4. We can't head in to the Labor Day weekend without a related question, can we? Complete this thought: I work best when____________________. 

I'm motivated.

5. 'Everything yields to diligence.' Antiphanes Your thoughts? (on this particular quote or on diligence in general)

Everything? I'm not sure I would say it's true for everything. Diligence is a good trait to have though, and most good things you do have, come from being diligent.

6. The National Park Service turned 100 years old on August 25th. Have you been to many of America's National Parks? If so share with us a favorite or two. Which National Park would you most like to visit before the next birthday rolls around?

I have been to a few National Parks. My favorite would probably be Bandelier National Park in New Mexico. I have a dream of being able to visit every National Park in the continental U.S.A. someday.

7.  Bid farewell to August in seven words or less.

Too hot, happy to see you go.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I've been looking at a lot of the pictures I've taken over the past how ever many years, and would really like to get a lot of them printed.

What place would you recommend I check into for printing hundreds, if not thousands of pictures that won't require discovering a gold mine to pay for them?

Monday, August 29, 2016


The mailman stopped by our mailbox a few minutes ago, and Rosebud ran out to see what he left for us.

Nothing special. A catalog, a credit card offer, and a college brochure. If there's something I miss from our Amish years, it's the interesting mail we used to get.

Everything landed in the trash, including the catalog, which made me feel a little sad as another wave of nostalgia swept over me.

Not so long ago, catalogs were greeted with enthusiasm. Rosebud and Sunbeam would go through them and cut out the pictures of furniture, bedding, food, and clothes. Especially the clothes. They each had a family of paper dolls, which were simply pictures of people found in catalogs.

I can't even begin to count the hours they occupied themselves playing with their make believe world filled with paper people and possessions. Creating homes for their families. Visiting each other, working, playing, laughing.

If I had kept track of the time, I'm sure it would have added up to years.

It was their choice of pass time from the time Rosebud learned how to wield a pair of scissors with any amount of skill, until only a year or so ago.

They flipped through the catalog a little bit before it landed in the trash. "This would have made a great paper doll catalog," they remarked before going on their merry way of working on a craft project. I swallowed a lump in my throat.

I'm enjoying every day, but some days it's harder than others seeing how fast time is flying by. How fast our children are growing up. I'm reminded of how soon today will be only a fond memory, and I want to make the most of it while it is here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It's National Waffle Day (August 24th)...what decision are you currently 'waffling over'? (or share one you've recently 'waffled over')

There are several pretty big decisions we've been waffling over recently. Nothing I care to divulge at this moment.

2. It's the middle of August, but I'm already seeing lots of autumn-related posts. Do you think we rush the seasons? If so, does that bother you?

It does seem as if the seasons are getting a little rushed, but I have no problem with that. I'll eat pumpkin and apple pies and other autumn related things year round. I can enjoy hot chocolate in July and an ice cold lemonade in December. I don't decorate the house, ever, so seasonal things really don't affect me that much. As far as Christmas things being put out in stores in October ...... I'm one of those people who secretly loves it, but doesn't dare mention it because of everyone else raising a ruckus about it.

I saw (here) an end of summer bucket list that included-

make s'mores, read a new (or favorite) book in the park, eat something delicious and bad for you at a state fair, be a tourist for the day, have a pot luck picnic, book a last minute summer getaway, relax by or in the pool, take a hike to watch the sunset, have a day on the lake, try a new summer recipe

Which activities on the list might you squeeze in before summer officially comes to a close? 

We'll probably try to squeeze in a little getaway before the weather gets cold. That is, if part of a day, and local, counts as a little getaway.

I haven't seen the sun set in a long time. I might have to hike up to the fields above our house and park out to watch a sunset one of these evenings.

There will be a new recipe or two tried as well.
3. Your favorite summertime 'art' found in nature?

I really love ferns, wild flowers, and butterflies. So pretty and peaceful.

4. Stephen R. Covey is quoted as saying 'We judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions.' Agree or no? Do you define yourself based on your intentions, your actions, or something else? 

I think I tend to agree with that, and define myself with a mixture of intentions, actions, and something else.
5. Are you useful in a crisis? Elaborate. 

That depends on what qualifies as a crisis. Fires, floods, and tornadoes ..... I haven't had to really find out. When ever the tornadoes went through our area I was pretty much useless because of my broken ankle.

Accidents .... I have surprised myself that I was able to function above and beyond what I thought I would be capable of.

Everyday crisis ... such as a cooking disaster happening in the kitchen with hungry guests sitting in the living room. I'm pretty calm and useful.

6. What's been your go-to dish this summer? Is it something you'll continue making as the seasons change?

Hamburgers, and yes we'll have them even when the seasons change.
7. Adult coloring books are a thing now. Have you jumped on the bandwagon? If not is this something you think you might enjoy?

I have seen them. I don't understand why they have become a trend. I enjoy coloring, and will help Buddy quite often, with fun normal coloring books. There is no way I want to spend time coloring tiny, often senseless, doodles.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Look who we saw. :)


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Picture my Week

There's something about the dark skies of a rain moving in, and older barns that stirs something deep inside. I can't quite explain it. I had to step outside and soak in the beauty of it all, and then we all stood on the porch afterwards and watched the rain come sweeping over the hill.

Buddy had a slow day when he woke up with a stuffy nose. Instead of charging outside like usual, he plopped on the floor with a piece of bubble wrap and spent several hours, painstakingly popping the bubbles one by one.

Rosebud enjoys trying a new recipe every week. This week that happened to be Mini Chocolate Silk Pie. They turned out to be quite the tasty little treat.

We finished up our third week of school. One of the books we read when looking for an allegory other than the ever popular Pilgrim's Progress was this one. A short, sweet, inspirational read that we enjoyed.

Our roses continue to bloom. This week provided a new orange hued rose that we all admired. Buddy especially thought it's a very special color after all the reds and pinks we had been getting.

I'm not a big fan of ice cream. Sitting down to enjoy a bowl full does not sound enjoyable to me. This week, however, we decided on a whim to get a box of Turkey Hill brand. Oh, my!! If all ice cream were this good I would start looking for reasons to eat it. Creamy, silky, pure delightfulness. The type of treat where you consider locking yourself in a closet somewhere to eat it so that you don't have to share.

It has been a summer of moths, this year, and we saw a lot that were new to us. Several days ago, it was this one that came by.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Flexi Winner

This week passed by quickly, and it's already time to choose the winner for the Flexi Clip giveaway.

As usual, I'm consulting with the random generator, and here are the results.

Comment # 14

Elizabethd said .......

Every time I look at these I think how lovely they are. My hair is blonde with a bit of a wave, and I love the Pearl Drop one.

Congratulations! Please send me an email with your address and I will forward it to my friend, and she will get your clip sent to you.

To everyone wanting a clip, but didn't win. Good news! There's a sale going on right now, so you can get one at a great price.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. I read here four creative activities to try this month. They were-calligraphy, make your own cookbook, dance or learn a new type of dance, and letter writing. Which activity on the list appeals to you most? Will you add it to your August?

Letter writing, calligraphy, and the making of a cookbook ..... all things that will be worked on during the month of August here in our house. Learning a new dance ... not so much.
2. Bertrand Russell is quoted as saying, 'To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.' Agree or disagree? Explain. 

I've never had everything I wanted. Though I am happy and content with what I have.

Without having experienced both options, I'll refrain from giving my opinion on the matter.
3. August 17th is National Thriftshop Day...are you a 'thrifter'? If so, tell us about one of your best or favorite finds. 

I visit thrift stores several times a year. Mostly with a certain item in mind that I need, and I pretty much stick to looking only for it instead of other things that might catch my eye.
4.  On a scale of 1-10 (with 1= almost none and 10=loads) how would you rate your sense of wanderlust? What kicks your wanderlust into high gear? 

Every fall my wanderlust kicks into a full blown ten. There's so much I would like to do, so many places I'd like to see, and things I would like to experience.
5. Has life felt more like a marathon or sprint so far this month? How so?

It's been feeling a tad more on the side of a marathon. We started back to school, which somehow always feels a bit marathon-ish to me.
6. What do you need to get a jump on before fall officially arrives? 

I can't think of anything. I do have apples here waiting to be turned into applesauce, but that's more along the lines of needing to be done before they turn bad, instead of before fall officially arrives.
7. What's the last thing you did with friends or family where you lost track of time? 

Interesting conversation with friends tends to make me lose track of time.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

There's still time to enter the giveaway shared in my previous post.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Passing on the Love

Several years ago I acquired my first (and only) Lilla Rose flexi clip. I immediately fell in love with how pretty it looked, how easy it was to use, and how comfortable it was to wear.

It's still in great shape even after having been used regularly all this time.

The friend who gave me the clip is generously offering to also give a clip valued up to $16.00 to one of my readers.

Today there will be several different ways to earn an entry.

  • For the first entry, let's do something fun and easy. Simply leave a comment telling me what color and type of hair you have. For example I have brown hair that also happens to be long and straight.
  • For an additional entry share a link to this giveaway on either your blog or Facebook, or both. Then come back here and leave another comment telling me you did.
  • For a third entry like this Facebook page.
  • For the fourth and final entry go to this website and look at all the flexi clips, and then come leave a comment telling me which one you would like to have if you were the lucky winner.
I will be choosing the winner on Friday, August 19th using the random generator.
Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been chosen.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Picture my Week

An overcast sky was perfect on the afternoon we headed to the pool. Buddy doesn't mind spending his time lapping the pool instead of playing in the water. He wants nothing to do with actually getting wet.
Wrapping up our Delaware state studies with the states burger and milkshake was a fun way to end a week. The burger was ..... interesting. Not sure we would ever make it quite like this again, but it was okay having it once.
What do you do when family visits? Go to the hiking/biking trail here by our house. The tunnel remains delightfully cool even in this heat. I may just have to drag a chair back there and camp out during the day.
Looking out over the mountains at the other end of the tunnel, the view is still nice even when choked in the hazy, high humidity air of deep summer.

We can't see sunsets from our house, but when even the eastern sky is colorful you know that the sunset must have been pretty spectacular.
This next picture is not for the faint of heart. Proceed with caution.

Shudder!! This creepy spider showed up. Her huge body is actually hundreds of baby spiders. More violent shuddering.

Friday, August 12, 2016

When Linda isn't Linda

Having two whole weeks between each date seemed insufferably long while LV and I were courting. To help the time a little we somehow convinced my brother John to act as our letter delivery, and exchanged long letters on the Sundays we weren't allowed to have a date.

We continued that until we got married.

Later on, we discovered another way to keep in contact a little more.

Every weekday someone had to sit in our phone shanty from 1:00-1:30 to wait on any phone calls from customers. Most days it was my job to sit there waiting for any calls. Most days, no one called.

We decided it would be great to be able to talk for a few minutes when ever he had the chance to get to their phone during that time. And just in case someone else answered the phone, instead of me we decided he would always ask for Linda. That way anyone else would think it's a wrong number.

It worked splendidly until one day when the phone rang and I answered. "Is this Linda?" the voice on the other end asked.

"Yes," I answered, thrilled at the prospect of spending the remaining time talking with LV.

"What have you been doing?" the voice asked.

"I was sitting here writing your letter for Sunday," I answered.

"Really," chuckles.  "What are you writing about?"

Red flags .... major red flags!! LV's chuckle never sounded like that before. And he would never ask what I was writing. He would have said something more along the lines of how he couldn't wait to read it.

"Who are you?" I asked.

"It's me," the voice said. "Can't you tell?"

I was still uneasy, and asked for his name.

Ack ....... it was LV's best friend/cousin in whom he had confided our little system.

He thought the whole thing was much funnier than I did. To this day when ever we see each other he asks if I've been writing any more letters.

I'm no longer embarrassed by it, but I still don't find it all that funny.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Are you watching the Olympics? Your favorite summer Olympic event? I read recently a list of the most iconic Olympic moments in history...what stands out in your mind as a great moment from some past summer Olympic games?

I'm checking in to see the medal count occasionally. I don't even know all the events that take place at a summer Olympics, so I probably shouldn't be picking a favorite. I have no idea what iconic moments happened in any past Olympic games.

I really liked the clip that has been circulating on Facebook of the U.S. divers saying that their identity is in Christ and they can rest in that.

2. Have you ever been to Rio? How about the place that started it all-Greece? Have you ever been to any of the Olympic Games in person? Is that something you'd like to do? Have you ever met an Olympian in person?

I have never been to Rio, or Greece. I've never been to an Olympic game in person, and am fine if I never get to. I've also never met an Olympian in person.

3. The ball's in their court (tennis), cross the finish line (track and field), on target (archery), make a splash (diving), on a roll (gymnastics), out of one's depth (swimming)...which Olympic-related idiom best applies to your life right now? Explain.

The ball's in their court ..... for a number of different reasons. The one forefront in my mind is/was an important deal we were working on. Everything seemed to be on a roll, but somehow the ball became stuck in their court.

4. What have you earned a 'gold medal' in recently?

Hmmmm ...... the way I got our new school year off and running? The moments I stepped out of my comfort zone and did some things that I didn't really want to, but am glad I did because of all the memories that were created.

5. What is it (or who is it) that motivates you to eat right, exercise, and do what you can to be healthy?

Family .... I don't want my health to negatively impact the lives of those I love the most.

6. Are you young at heart or an old soul? Explain.

A mixture of both, perhaps?

I have a hard time of accepting the fact that I'm as old as the years claim I am. Which reminds me of a picture I've kept that Sunbeam drew for me several years ago. If you can't read it, it says ... I'm crazy about my Mom because she doesn't act her age.

On the flip side there are many ways I could be considered an old soul.
7. It's National S'mores Day (August 10th)...are you a fan? Will you celebrate with a s'more today?

I've only ever had S'mores once. I really liked them, but not enough that I'm tempted to build a campfire to make more.

No, I won't be celebrating with one today.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm nursing a painful sunburn right now. I thought I had applied sunscreen really well, but I missed my left shoulder. Ouch!

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Brown Dress

During the middle of the summer Amish stores would begin to have their back to school fabric sales. It was always an exciting day when the fabric samples arrived in the mail and I would carefully inspect all the choices before me.

Most years I was allowed to choose one color for a new outfit from the select group of colors Mom was willing to buy, while she chose what color my other outfit would be, as well as the shirts my brothers would be wearing.

Blues and greens were so predictable, and it took several years for Mom to realize I really meant it when I said I want a warm brown dress for one of my school outfits. We only got two outfits each. We'd wear one for an entire week, and Mom couldn't imagine anyone could possibly enjoy wearing brown every other week for an entire school year.

I was twelve the year Mom agreed to allow me to have my dream dress. I watched with interest and excitement as she spread out pages of The Budget to use to create the pattern for my dress. When it had been completed it was even more exciting seeing those patterns being placed on top of the brown fabric and pieces of my dress being cut out.

I had always enjoyed watching Mom sew, but watching my long anticipated brown dress take form under her skillful fingers was a dream come true.

I couldn't wait for my first day back to school when I could finally wear it.

I loved that outfit, and wore it happily every other week for the entire year. I didn't mind being the girl in brown, in a sea of girls wearing blues and greens.

That was the only brown dress I ever had until after I got married. I still love soft, warm shades of brown, but nothing has come quite close to being loved as much as that dress had been.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Picture my Week

In our downsizing efforts I decided to give ebay another chance. The experience was Packaging everything that sold took time, and several mornings were spent next to a stack of packages waiting for the mailman to come pick them up. Reading, writing, and the companionship of pets made the time pass pleasantly.
Sailor dug out his set of tiny cars, buildings, and floor mat and presented it to Buddy to play with. He has spent hours upon hours playing with it.

Tomatoes, fresh from an Amish produce stand. One of my summer time favorites, especially when enjoyed as a sandwich like my Mom used to prepare for us when we were itty bitty children.

We've been going through a lot of iced tea. This however, got a little too icy. Apparently it's time to adjust the temperature in our refrigerator.

We've enjoyed a few meals of fresh sweetcorn so far. Husking sweetcorn is one of the highlights of Buddy's days.
Our first week of school for the 2016-2017 year was a success. I was surprised how easy it was to slip back into a comfortable schedule after our summer break. Sunbeam was studying about Algeria in her geography, to finish it off we made some Algerian cookies. It was fun weighing everything instead of doing the regular measuring. They turned out to be delightful sugar cookies that we will probably be making again.

It has been interesting watching the roses bloom and seeing what color they will be. The newest one is a gorgeous deep, deep pink.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Baked Donuts

As a child, donut making day was always a big deal. We didn't have them very often, but when there was an auction or some type of community fund raiser there was always a donut making station that I enjoyed watching.  Usually a group of children would gather to watch the donuts drop into the giant pots of hot oil and bob up sizzling and beautifully golden brown. Most of the time it didn't take very long before a mother took pity on all the "hungry" watching children and gave each of us a delightfully soft, warm donut, all sticky from the glaze it had been dipped into, before shooing us out of the way.
I've made donuts occasionally, but have never liked the after taste that comes from deep frying them. So when Rosebud discovered a recipe for baked donuts we knew we had to give them a try, and OH MY!! They turned out so, so good! Soft, chewy, and utterly delicious without any of that deep fried after taste.
Baked Donuts

1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, melted
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, measure in warm milk and stir in yeast and sugar. Add the butter and stir until mostly melted. Lightly beat the eggs and add them to the milk mixture  Next add the flour and salt. Beat the dough with a wooden spoon and eventually your hands if needed add a few more tablespoons of flour. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be very soft and smooth but still slightly sticky - don't overflour! Knead the dough for a few minutes and then transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.

 Punch down the dough and roll it out to about ½ inch thickness on a lightly floured counter. Using a doughnut cutter or a 2-3 inch circle cookie cutter, cut out circles in the dough. Place the circles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. Be sure to make the holes large enough that as the doughnuts rise again and bake, they don't fill in the doughnut hole with the puffiness of the dough. Cover them and allow them to rise for about another 45 minutes, until they are puffed and nearly doubled.

You can take all the donut holes and mush them together and roll them out to make more donuts, or you can bake them as they are to make delightful bite sized treats.

Bake in a 375ยบ oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Start checking them  around minute 8. They should still be pale on top, not golden and browned, and just barely baked through.

Remove them from the oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes. Dip each one in the melted butter and toss or sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar. Absolutely delicious while still warm.

If you don't want a cinnamon sugar topping you can omit it and go for a plain glaze, a chocolate ganache, or any other type or flavor of icing you desire.