Saturday, January 28, 2017

Picture my Week

I don't have a big variety of pictures to show for this week. But here we go.

We had a lot of rain and when the creek started flooding I wanted to step out on the porch to take a picture of it, only to discover the porch was covered in this weird goopy, gloppy, almost gelatin like substance. It sounded disgusting to walk on so I retreated and simply took a picture of it instead of the creek.

I had shared it on my Facebook page where it sparked an interesting discussion. If you haven't already ... you're welcome to send me a friend request here.

Our rain finally turned to snow. Sharon and Steven enjoyed building their first official snowman of the season.
Afterwards a fun snowball fight was enjoyed.
I've shared pictures of the waterfall every so often ever since we moved here. Today I'll share a short video so you can enjoy it in motion for a change.
Rosie Mae made her delicious Lemon Blueberry cupcakes. They were like a delightful burst of spring or summer in the middle of winter.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. "The cure for anything is salt water-tears, sweat, or the sea." (Isak Dinesan) Would you agree? Of the three, which has 'cured' you most recently?

Maybe not for anything and everything, but I do agree they seem to help often. Mostly recently, for me, out of those three options I'd have to say it was tears. A good cry can be cathartic. Not that I need one very often, thankfully.

2. What's something you can't eat without salt? Do you normally salt your food a lot, a little, or not at all?

I don't like overly salted food, but I do like to use enough to wake up the flavors of the food properly.

I don't put it on salads, fruits, cheese etc. I rarely ever add any to pasta when I cook it.

When we first got married LV seemed to be attached to the salt shaker and put extra salt on everything. And I mean everything. I don't know what happened, but over the years he's been using less and less salt and by now days can pass with the salt shaker remaining untouched.

3. Sands of time, bury your head in the sand, built on sand, or draw a line in the sand...which sandy phrase could best be applied to something in your life right now? 

Sands of time .... they seems to be slipping by so fast.

4. A favorite book, movie, or song with an island setting or theme?

Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite series. It's set on Prince Edward Island, so that counts, right?  I haven't read them yet this year, but I intend to.

5. Yesterday-did you run your day or did it run you? How so?

I had an appointment to meet and for a little while it felt as if it was running me. It was a good day though filled with playing in the snow, sewing, learning, writing, and then an appointment to meet towards evening.

6. You're on an island holiday. Will I most likely find you parked in a beach chair, shopping in town, on the back of a jet ski, or snorkeling off the back of a catamaran?

You would probably find me on a beach chair. Shopping doesn't sound horrible either, but I have no desire to go snorkeling ever, and I don't like water or speed well enough to want a ride on a jet ski.

7. What do you think we humans most take for granted?

I think it's very easy to take life and time for granted. It's so easy to assume there will be a tomorrow and that you'll get to see someone again. I really don't want to take it for granted, but I know I do. I treasure moments, cherish memories, and delight in the little things. But I think I unconsciously expect to have many more of them.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

That tablet that is just too pretty to write in .... the dishes too special to use ... the fabric I keep hanging onto because nothing has been worthy enough to make me cut into it ... well that's all about to change. Life is too short to hoard the things you can't keep. I'm going to enjoy them now while I can.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Good Samaritan

      Sometimes it's good to remember that you can't paint all Amish with the same paintbrush.
      The following is a true account that happened several months ago. I know the young Amish man well, I also know some of the others.
     It was early Sunday morning in an sleepy little Amish community. Bishop John was roused from his Bible reading by a knock on his door. He rose to answer the door and found a man standing there. A home - less English man, in dirty tattered clothes, and according to the smell in need of some nice soap and water.  "Can I have a little something to eat?" the man asked, "and if I could sleep in your barn I would be most grateful."
      "No, you can't! Be off with you!" the bishop shooed him off his doorstep and went back to reading his Bible.
        The homeless man, tired and hungry proceeded down the road and tried at another Amish home, only to be met with a similar welcome. Other homes proved to be equally welcoming some of them threatening to call the police or set their dog after him.
        Finally he came to another home. The home of a young Amish family with three little children. The man was excommunicated from church and being shunned due to some things he had done (not sins according to the Bible) When he answered the door and the homeless man asked once again for a little something to eat and permission to sleep in his barn the young Amish man invited him inside. While his wife was getting the children ready for church he cooked up a nice breakfast for him and served him at their table. When he was done eating the Amish man gave him clean clothes and offered their shower to him and then showed him to their own bedroom and told him he's welcome to sleep there while they go to church.
       The homeless man gratefully accepted everything.
       The family left for church. After services were over the meal was served. Everyone got to sit around the long bench tables to join in a meal. The young Amish man was given a little table off to the side where he was required to eat by himself, because after all he was sinful and not fit to eat with everyone else. While everyone was eating they were talking about this homeless fellow who had knocked at their door. Everyone recounted the way they chased him off, much laughter followed.
      The young Amish man said nothing, but he and his family left soon. They went home to find the homeless man still sound asleep in their bed. They proceeded to cook up a feast. Once it was ready they woke him, and together they sat at the table and ate. When they were done they wrapped up some of the leftovers and gave it to him. Next the Amish man went out to the barn and got his ride ready. He drove him to town, to the bus station, bought a ticket for him, and sent him on his way to rejoin his family hundreds of miles away.
       Later the wife told her parents what they had done .... that news spread in whispers around the community. Suddenly there was no more laughter about the way they had treated this homeless man.
      Who really was the better Christian? The Bible reading bishop ... or the excommunicated young man?
       It was all very thought provoking to me. How would I have responded? How would you?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Picture my Week

Rosie Mae discovered a recipe for homemade ice cream cones. Sharon and she made several batches this week. They're so good that I really don't think we want store bought cones again.
I don't know why our cats have claimed the lid of Steven's sandbox as their preferred napping spot. They spent a lot of time there this week.

At first glance this looks like black nothing-ness. Upon looking closer you'll see Steven curled up on the stairs, sleeping. He is so excited and eager to be doing school every day that on several mornings he got up way too early. So early that the one morning he conked out again before reaching the bottom of the stairs.

The girls' homemade cones filled with a delightful homemade ice cream has been a big hit. Steven had a playdate yesterday. After it was over he indulged in an ice cream snack, but all the energy he used to play had him leaning tiredly against the table while he ate.

Rosie Mae found a site dedicated to single serving size desserts. She has been enjoying trying a lot of different ones. A s'mores dessert has been a big hit.

Kenneth was cleaning out his closet and going through a bunch of the things he used to play with as a little boy. He found his insect maker a friend had given him one year for Christmas. Before packing it away in the attic he helped Steven make a few creepy crawlies and taught him how to hide them around the house to scare Mom. Turning on the kitchen light in the morning and seeing these on the floor ... well .... mission accomplished boys.

The girls have been busy with their sewing and crafting. The small sofa in the living room bears witness to a lot of it.

Rosie Mae became the happy new owner of a treasure trove of sewing supplies after a friend offered she can have everything they have in an old house. They were going to burn it otherwise. She spent part of yesterday rescuing things, and still has more to do.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Amish Church Peanut Butter

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things about going to church, other than getting to play with my friends afterwards, was getting to eat the delicious peanut butter sandwiches that were always served as the noon meal.

I made up half a batch for Christmas and shared it with some of our friends. Sadly I can't share it with all my readers, but happily, I can share the recipe.

Amish Church Peanut Butter

2 lbs. creamy peanut butter
¾ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
6 cups marshmallow crème
¾ cup corn syrup
1¼ cup hot water

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sugar. In a big bowl combine peanut butter, hot water, corn syrup, and marshmallow crème. Add the melted butter and sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. It should be easily spreadable. You can add more hot water if you want it a little thinner.

Store in refrigerator, but warm to room temperature before using.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. ASAP typically stands for 'as soon as possible'. What else could it stand for in your life right now?

As sweet as possible.

Our family is focusing on a Philippians 4:8 challenge again.  

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Our thoughts, our speech, filtering it all through that verse.
2. Are you the last person to speak up in a group or the first to have an idea? Why do you suppose that is? Is it a good thing or no?

I am usually quiet when in a group setting. I don't know why that is, because anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I have plenty of opinions, and have no problem talking one on one.
3. What do you remember best about being 12? 

It was the best school year I had. Everything/everyone that used to bother me, no longer did.
4. January 18th is National Winnie the Pooh Day. Which character do you relate to the most, and why? If you're stumped go here for inspiration. 

I'm not very familiar with those characters so I took the quiz. It decided I relate most to Kanga. I'll take it.
5. What's an app you use that helps simplify or make life easier for you in some way? 

I don't have a phone ... therefore no apps. I am however, very thankful for Pinterest. I use it every day. Food, crafts, school, and more. It has made life easier, and better.
6. San Francisco (CA), San Diego (CA), San Juan (PR) San Antonio (TX) Sanibel (FL) have an all expenses paid long weekend to one of these destinations. Which one do you choose and why?

Probably a California option. I have a good friend living there and I've always wanted to visit California.
7. Share with us a song that makes you feel nostalgic? For what? 

The other day I caught myself humming the tune to Twilight is Stealing. It made me feel nostalgic. It used to be my favorite song in school.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Some of the best things in life are ... good friends. We had a lovely time when friends from Missouri came to visit. When they left on Sunday evening we were sad to see them go, and are already looking forward to the next time we can get together.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Picture my Week

As a fun addition to our indepth state studies this year, the girls have been appliqueing the states. Rosie Mae is doing hers in purples while Sharon has chosen to use blues. It's been an enjoyable process all working together. And once they're done they'll each have a small-ish quilt.
It's not often that birds hold still when I want to take a picture of them. I was pleased to be able to get a decent one of this bird of prey.
Amish church peanut butter is still one of my favorites. I'll share the recipe one of these days.
Our daily school books ... and the stack I go through every morning to assign their lessons and check their work from the previous day. Steven's book pile isn't pictured here. He's on his way to becoming a reader, and is so excited every day to learn everything he can. I'm hoping he keeps this enthusiasm for learning for the rest of his life.
The downside to this week was when we discovered in a somewhat scary way that someone in our family is allergic to nuts. Swelling lips, hives, and more. Yikes!!
Rosie Mae loves creating art. So does Steven. This is a piece they did one evening.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Humble Foot Stool

     Every year LV's widowed grandmother would come to their home to stay with them for several months. She would help around the house as she could, and also had her own little projects she liked working on.
     The summer LV was 12 she came on one of her visits. As she was helping prepare vegetables for canning she mentioned how it would be nice to have a little foot stool for her feet to keep the bowls from wanting to slide off her lap.
      LV promptly went to pick through their limited resources and found some wood scraps. Using them he made the perfect little bench/foot stool for her. She got him to sign it on the bottom, and after her visit was over she took it along home with her.
      She passed away soon after we were married and when her children got together to divide her things the little foot stool was still there. They all agreed that LV should get it since he was the one that made it.
       It is one of the most used things in our house. All four children used it daily when they were younger. Sharon will still use it when putting away dishes, and Steven has it as his regular perch to wash his hands.
It's beginning to show a little wear after all these years, but we still look forward to getting many more years of use out of it.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Wreck it Journals

It was over a year ago when our daughters first heard about a Wreck This Journal and were immediately intrigued. They were both sure they would love to have one.

I looked into them, but decided there was no way I was going to spend ten dollars for a book only to deliberately destroy it.

The subject of these journals kept popping up occasionally and on a whim I plopped them into my Amazon shopping cart. Prices seem to fluctuate a lot on items in there so I kept my eye on it and one evening when they hit their lowest ever I quickly snagged two copies and tucked them away for the girls for Christmas.

Sharon was excited and wanted to get started immediately. Rosie Mae on the other hand, even after thinking for all this time it would be so much fun to have one, has found it to be too much.

They both followed the first thing they were instructed to do.

Sharon thought it was delightfully fun, while Rosie Mae was almost traumatized by doing such an awful thing to a brand new book, even though it was exactly what the book is intended for. She has tucked her copy away for now, unable to make herself hurt it any further.
Sharon is doing a page every day and enjoying it thoroughly.
 When I bought these books I thought they would be fun, but now I'm thinking they hold something deeper than that and it will  be a good thing especially for my perfectionist daughter.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Share one favorite moment/memory from your Christmas holiday.

One of my favorite moments was when the girls invited me up to their room to be part of their sister's Christmas. It was so sweet. A memory I'll treasure for always.
2. What was the best thing you ate over the holidays? Was it homemade or store bought? If it was homemade did you make it?

Christmas breakfast. The girls and I spent over an hour preparing it. And it took less than fifteen minutes for everyone to have eaten their fill. We enjoyed the leftovers from it the rest of the day.
3. What was one of the most beautiful things you saw over the holidays?

My family.

I do love seeing Christmas lights and decorations, but without snow they're not quite as pretty. Whereas my family ... they're always the most beautiful thing to me.

4. What does fresh start mean to you?

Letting go of the past, focusing on the future. I do like the feeling of having a brand new year ahead of you, but fresh starts don't have to wait until then. It can be broken down to a new month, a new week, a new day, a new hour. Really there is no time like the present.

5. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very positive and 1 being not so great) how would you rate 2016 in terms of personal achievement and well being? Explain. 

Some where around a seven maybe? I'm pleased with some of the things I have achieved, but wish I had been able to do some others that I dropped the ball on.

6. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse, or just general uselessness. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen or, if you're like me, to find out what in the world the word or phrase even means or the context in which it's used. There were quite a few on this year's list I'd never heard before.

Here's the 2017 list of banished words-

You, Sir-focus-Bete Noire-Town Hall Meeting-Post Truth-guesstimate-831-historic-manicured-echo chamber-on fleek-bigly-ghost-Dadbod-listicle-get your dander up-selfie drone-frankenfruit-disruption

Which word on the list would you most like to see banished in 2017? What word or phrase would you add to the list?

Listicle ..... eww ..... it sounds so gross. This is the first time I've heard it and I'm fine if I never have to hear it again. A lot of the words and phrases I was unaware even existed.

A word or phrase I would like to add to the list, is "I can't." 
7. Large or small, light or deep, share with us one goal you have for the new year. 

A goal I have for 2017 is to teach Steven to read. He really wants to learn, so I'm jumping in today to start that adventure.

There's always the usual goals ... lose some weight ..... blah, blah, blah.

We do like making a list of fun goals every year. Lists of craft projects we want to do, recipes we want to try, and other more fun related things.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

We've decided our cats must be spies, the way they spend so much time simply staring at us.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Soon after I started my blog, back in 2009, I had introduced our little family to everyone, and chose names for the children to use instead of their real names. You can find that post here.

They seem to have outgrown the names I chose that day, so I'm making the change today and reintroducing everyone using their real names.

Kenneth still loves maps, but has exchanged his dream of becoming the captain of a ship to having his own farm one day. He has grown to be a fine young man. Strong, helpful, kind. He's such a blessing in so many ways.

Rosie Mae is the baker of the family and dreams of having her own bakery someday, but for now only our family and parts of our neighborhood get to enjoy all her delectable treats. She is a budding artist, story writer, and all around a very creative young lady. Her ready wit keeps us all laughing.

Sharon is a party planner, loves dancing, and dreams of being a physical therapist someday. She has a servant's heart and seems to be constantly looking for ways to help someone. She has a bubbly personality and to her life is one big, happy adventure.

Steven is everyone's little buddy. He tries to keep up with his older siblings and has a very competitive streak. He loves school and learning new things. He's a great helper around the house, but always makes time to play with his favorite toy cars.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Fruitcake Toss

Apparently tomorrow will be National Fruitcake Toss Day. Who knew that's even a thing? I happened to hear about it and a quick search revealed an assortment of ways to celebrate. Competitions, community events, and different games to play to get rid of your unwanted fruitcakes.

This year our annual Christmas box from my parents arrived, among the many delicious treats that were packed inside, there was also a fruitcake. We tried to eat it. Really, we did. But it was every bit as awful as most fruitcakes are known to be.

We set it out back for the birds to enjoy.

If I had known that A National Fruitcake Toss was coming up I might have saved it for a little while longer. It could have been a fun addition to our homeschool day.

I was surprised that they even sent a fruitcake, because back during my teenage years our entire family loathed fruitcakes. We always received a lot of them over Christmas and one by one we would quietly get rid of them in various manners, none of which involved actually eating them.

And then one year one of my brothers decided to do something a little more creative with some of the more brick like fruitcakes. He took them and coated them in layers of wood finish until they were glossy and beautiful. They worked quite nicely as bookends and doorstops for a while.

I don't think they still have them, but they were the most enjoyed fruitcakes we ever had.