Sunday, April 30, 2017

Y ~ Yondering

Yondering definition: The yearning to adventure, to roam, to wander in an unspecific direction toward an indeterminate objective, usually over hill(s)

While not exactly yondering, I'm going to use the word to describe our afternoon. There is this lovely spot that our family enjoys visiting when the weather is nice. We've been talking about going all spring, but it took us until today to finally go.

The wild strawberries are in full bloom. There is a bountiful amount of them and I'm looking forward to go berry picking. Other strawberries don't come close to matching the flavor of these wild ones.

Kenneth gave a detailed presentation of beavers and their work to Steven who was quite impressed with it.

These are some of the prettiest seeds I have ever seen.
So many spring flowers were blooming. Giant lilac bushes, narcissus, bluets, violets, and more all helped add beauty to our "yondering."


 The lake was very calm, but murkier than I have ever seen it. The children still had a lot of fun playing there and watching all the little creatures that were busy at the edge of the water. With barely a ripple on the water, it made that skipping stones worked better than it would have otherwise.

We left, happy and tired with slight sunburns, and plans to go back next weekend.

Friday, April 28, 2017

X ~ eXaggerated

I happened to see that a new season of Return to Amish will be starting soon. I don't know the exact date, and I don't care.

I'm tired of 'reality' shows that have exaggerated things so much that it's a challenge to wade through an episode to find tidbits of actual reality.

Breaking Amish, Return to Amish, and Amish Mafia are all so ridiculously exaggerated, fabricated, and filled with outright lies that they should hardly even serve as entertainment.

I find it's both sad and annoying how easily people swallow these lies and believe all this garbage about the Amish. It amazes me how many want to continue believing these sensationalized untruths even after being told that is not how Amish live or operate.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

W ~ W's from my Idea Book

Writing Prompts This is such a fun section of my idea books. I have pages of fun prompts I have jotted down for the children to get inspiration for writing short stories. I also have prompts for my own writing, maybe a sentence or two that sparks a fun idea for a possible story line. There are lists of writing prompts for possible essays, blog posts, journals and more.

Wish List This is actually surprisingly small. Yes, there are things I would like to have, but most of them aren't important enough to make it to my wish list. I'm not counting books with this, they have their own sizable list.

Words I have always loved words. When I come across a new word that I want to remember I will write it in the word section of my idea book along with its definition.

Websites You'd think with the ability to save websites to your favorites, and the option to pin basically everything we want to a Pinterest board, that I would not need to write the addresses of websites in my idea books. But yet, I do.

Weight Loss I don't even like this section of my idea book, but I haven't discarded it yet. I could write entire blog posts on the adventures I've had with this category.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V ~ Vacuum Cleaner

We had moved into a house that had carpeting in every room except the kitchen. We were extremely careful on it, but when we left the Amish a few months later one of the first things we did was get a vacuum cleaner.

Though I would rather have had hardwood floors, I found it very satisfying to be able to run the vacuum cleaner. The children were impressed with it too, Kenneth wanted to be able to use it. Every once in a while I'd allow him to have a turn at it.

One day as I was working in the kitchen he started vacuuming the living room again. I didn't pay too much attention to what he was doing until I saw a thin wisp of smoke. He had the brilliant idea to clean the hot ashes from our fireplace, which as you can imagine as soon as it got sucked into the vacuum bag it started burning. I don't think I had ever moved that fast before as I grabbed it and threw open the patio doors.

The neighbors must have wondered what in the world was happening when a vacuum cleaner sailed through the air and landed in the yard.

I had three wide eyed children as I closed the door, and proceeded to give another fire safety lesson. We got a new vacuum cleaner and thankfully that one lived a long and happy life and finally died of natural causes

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U ~ Utterly Underwhelming

.... or at least that is how I'm feeling right now.

As we were going about our day today, Rosie Mae asked what I'll be writing for my 'U' blog post tonight.

"I was thinking I might talk about the Up and Down game," I said. I had just finished playing a round with Steven earlier and it was still fresh on my mind.

"That's a fun idea," she said and we went on with our day. She puttered around the kitchen happily working to invent a new recipe for cupcakes in hopes of creating one in the flavors one of her friends requested for her birthday.

I continued working on my project until it was time to prepare supper. After we ate I spent most of the evening on the phone, first with one of my brothers and then with my Mom. It was the first time, in a long time that I had talked with either of them so that was nice.

When I hung up the phone Rosie Mae informed me she had already made her blog post. I went to read it ..... hmm ... sneaky. She wrote about the Up and Down game, effectively using my idea.

I pawed through my idea books for other 'U' inspired blog posts, but they all feel underwhelming, so instead I'll direct you to her blog where you can read her version of my idea.

Monday, April 24, 2017

T ~ Tests

     Going to our little Amish school, test weeks used to be my favorite. Sure, there was studying involved to make sure we were brushed up on everything, but I found most subjects easy and enjoyable. Because of that the actual studying part didn't take me long and I could spend the rest of my time reading.

    We weren't plagued with timed tests. The teacher would hand out the tests in the morning and everyone started working on them. Once it was completed we would hand it in and then be free to do what we pleased. Reading, working on some type of art/craft project, or simply sitting and twiddling our thumbs. Being a bookworm I always opted to read.

   For the students who had a harder time, their entire day could be devoted to getting their test done. I'm sure they probably didn't enjoy test week as much, but at least the didn't have the added pressure of being timed and not being able to get done.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

S ~ Sunday Company Meals

Sunday company meals were always a big deal in our home when growing up. There were two levels of these meals.

The first, while delicious and quite sufficient was not nearly as elaborate as the second one. We never knew if we would be getting company on a Sunday, so we were always prepared. There was always cake and some type of special fruit on hand in case someone dropped in. We would then prepare potatoes and gravy, hamburger, some type of vegetable, applesauce, and homemade bread, butter, and jelly.

The company meal when we had invited guests was much more extravagant. The meal always started off by passing a platter stacked with slices of homemade bread. There were several different options of things to spread on your bread. Besides butter there was jam, a delicious jelly fluff, and honey.

Somehow there was always a set order in which the things were passed around the table. Potatoes were passed first, followed by the gravy. Next came a heaping platter of fried chicken and meatloaf, followed by browned butter noodles.

There had not been time to begin eating yet as more bowls of food were passed. Two types of vegetables, two types of salad, and it was finally time to begin eating. As the main course ended it was time to get into what everyone was looking forward to. Desserts.

It started off with cake, a platter of assorted cookies and bars, and fruit. Once everyone had eaten that a bowl of pudding made its way around the table. The meal was finished off with at least two kinds of pie, some type of fruit pie, and some other kind.

I was talking to the girls about those meals and they were feeling sad that they can't remember ever having an Amish Sunday company  meal. We decided to remedy that, but struck a middle ground between the two normal options.

It's a good thing we love leftovers.

Friday, April 21, 2017

R ~Rag Rugs

The year after I graduated from school Mom finally tackled the mountain of worn out clothes she had been hoarding in the attic in hopes of turning them into rugs.

It was slow tedious work cutting and tearing everything into two inch strips.

It makes my nose itch just thinking of all the dust and sneezing involved as we tore the fabric. Once we had a sizable heap of strips we sewed the ends of same colored fabrics together and wrapped them up into a big ball.

There was a certain sense of satisfaction seeing the pile of balls grow bigger and bigger. By the time we were done we had an impressive amount. We loaded them up and took them to Aunt Emma's house so she could weave them into rugs on her big weaving loom.

We were really happy with the quality and quantity of rugs all those old clothes made. Mom got to update all the rugs in our house and presented me with a pile of my own to put into my hope chest.

After LV and I got married I was thrilled to be able to use those rugs in my own house. I still have most of them, though one finally started unraveling the last time I washed it. I replaced it with one of the five remaining new ones I have been hanging onto.

It's interesting how many memories a simple rag rug can hold.

Sadly it's something our girls haven't experienced. Somehow I'm not as good as my Mom was in keeping worn out clothes for rug making purposes. Having a mechanic husband those clothes seem to go for grease rags instead. Useful, yes, but not nearly as pretty.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q ~ Q's from my Idea Books

Quotes I happen to love quotes, and when one catches my attention by either amusing or inspiring me, I will jot it in the quotes section of my idea books.

Quilts I want to teach the girls the joys of sewing and hand quilting a quilt. I have some quilts planned out in my idea book. The color scheme, pattern, amount of fabric I'll need to buy, and other little details I will refer to when we approach the somewhat monumental task of making a quilt.

Quiet Book I have long been fascinated by quiet books. When Steven was still itty bitty I started planning a quiet book to make for him. I enjoyed planning all the fun different pages I could make. There are sketches, well written ideas, and supply lists. I started sewing it, but never got it done. I really need to before he has completely outgrown the age where he would enjoy playing with it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P ~P's from my Idea Book

Photo Prompts As part of a photography project the girls will be doing, I have been creating various lists of photo prompts for them. I'm excited to help them work on it this summer.

Playlists I often listen to music when I write. Something interesting I have discovered is that I don't have specific writing music. Instead each book somehow seems to create a playlist of its own. I jot them down in my idea books because I want to go back to them and listen again even after I'm done writing.

Poems I write poetry occasionally and have a section devoted to my rhyming ramblings.

Projects When I approach new projects, I usually create a list of all the things I will need to get it done.

Party Planning Our parties aren't big at all, but they are a lot of fun. I enjoy planning all the details a long time beforehand and then have everything come together nicely without getting stressed or harried.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O ~ O's from my Idea Book

Oops My idea books hold so many fun things. Inspirational things. And a whole host of things that make me feel happy. But then there is the oops section. It's where I record the things that I don't want to repeat. Mostly Pinterest fails. It can be anything from recipes to crafts, to household tips, and unfortunately for the girls ... a disastrous acne treatment that they had tried one evening.

Opportunities When I have an idea of ways to make some extra money I'll jot it in my idea books. Some I'm working on, while others are still in that fun dream stage.

Monday, April 17, 2017

N ~No No's

While many Amish communities have a list of written rules that govern basically every aspect of their life, the community I grew up in did not.

Instead, it was all delivered orally, twice a year at ordnungs church. It took hours listening to the rules, and my stomach was always knotted with dread at what new things they might be adding and the changes that we'd have to make before being allowed to participate in communion two weeks later.

I was sixteen, and desperately wanting to stay out of trouble with the church. I happened upon a brilliant idea. I would go home from these church services and any other time rules were added or changed and write everything into a notebook in categories so I can keep track of everything.

My parents thought it was a pretty good idea, and somehow happened to mention it to my Mom's brother, who also happened to be the bishop in our church district.

It earned me a visit from the ministry. Our church rules shall remain unwritten they informed me solemnly. I didn't have to make a confession, but I was asked to burn the notebook, and to not write any more rules anywhere.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

M ~ M's from my Idea Book

Menus This has been mentioned several times already, but menus are a pretty important part of my idea books, so I'm mentioning them again. We go grocery shopping once a week, so planning out our menu is very helpful in knowing exactly what I need to get. Not only does it help me make sure I have everything I need for all our meals, it also helps me to not buy things that I might not get used before they spoil.

Memories Each of my idea books has a section where I jot tidbits of conversations and happenings in our family. I love looking back over all these little memories. It's something I'll always cherish.

Memes Somewhat the same as the linkups I mentioned yesterday, but they're a little more topic specific. I may use them someday ... maybe ... who knows.

Me Easily the most private part of my idea books. It's the section where I focus on me and the things that I would like to become better at.

Friday, April 14, 2017

L ~ L's from my Idea Book

Lunch With LV at work I tend to keep lunch on the simple side, but I still like to plan the menus to keep things from getting boring.

Library I keep a running list of books to get from the library. One list for books I would like to read. Another list with the books we'll be needing throughout the school year.

Link ups I have pages of fun blog link ups that I think would be fun to join someday. The only one I do regularly is the Wednesday Hodgepodge, but I may have to change things up and start throwing some different ones in occasionally.

Lesson Plans I really like mapping out my lesson plans. Starting with the main curriculum I use that lesson as a jumping off point and add things in order to dig deeper and learn more. There are so many things that can be added to make learning more interesting.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

K ~ Kids


    Growing up in an Amish family, the word 'kids' was never used to refer to children. It was more than simply personal preference. The reason behind it was based on how they applied the Bible to their life.
    When asked about it one day by a customer, my parents explained that on judgment day, the Bible says God will separate the sheep from the goats. With the goats not being on the right side, they did not want to call their children baby goats aka kids.
     That explanation has kind of stuck. Although I have occasionally used the word 'kids' I find I still much prefer saying 'children' instead.
   There are a lot of differences between Amish communities, and some will have families that do call their children kids.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J ~ J's from my Idea Book

I don't have a lot of J's in my idea books. There are a number of them that appear in different possible A-Z themed lists, but I won't be talking about them today.

Jokes Steven absolutely loves jokes. There are days when he will go on a spree of telling jokes and making up a lot of his own. They're mind numbingly awful. Especially his knock-knock jokes. After a listening to hours and hours of them I decided I really need to write them down, and then someday bind them in a little book and give it to him when he's older. Maybe as a wedding gift. So now there is a section in my idea book reserved for the jokes invented by a five year old.

Joy I have a joy section in my idea book where I'll jot things down that make me feel joyful. I expand on them later in a proper journal, but until I have the time to write about them properly it helps to have the condensed version jotted down to help me remember.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I ~ Idea Books

As you know, during this A-Z challenge I have been chattering on about the things I have in my idea books. I realized yesterday I haven't shown you the books themselves. So here they are. My five main ones. I still have notebooks and journals, but these binders are the ones I call my idea books.

The big pink one has over 500 pages, and is devoted entirely to homeschooling, while the others are much more of a hodgepodge of things that I keep organized with my handy little tabs.
My love for lists and idea books has been handed down to our children. Rosie Mae and Sharon each have their own, already brimming with lots of juicy, interesting things.

While we were spring cleaning the storage room I came across an older binder. I pitched the contents, since there was no point in hanging onto the pages of farm records any longer after having moved off that farm years ago. I filled it with fresh paper and presented it to Steven along with a new pen. Who would have thought a five year old would love his very own idea book so much?! He's spent lots of time ever since getting it, drawing and writing in it everyday.

Monday, April 10, 2017

H ~ H's from my Idea Book

  There are several lists of possible 'H' related blog posts, but I'm not delving into them today. I find it just a tad bit annoying how none of them are feeling as if it was the perfect time to be used.

Household Tips When I read or hear of some household tips I'll jot them in my idea book. Sadly, most of the time that is all I'll ever do with them. Of the ones I have remembered to try, there are some that have gone on to become regulars in our house. Others have not been successful at all and had to be crossed out and a short description of the failure written next to it to make sure we'll never try them again.

  Hymns I have a list of my favorite hymns with my favorite version or singer of that hymn. I can be forgetful at times, and if I want to find a certain song, it's so much easier when I know who sang it the best.

 Homeschool I could have done the entire A-Z challenge focused solely on homeschooling and all the different things involved. I'm not sure if I have ever conveyed just how much I love homeschooling. Each of my idea books have things in them pertaining to homeschool, and my biggest one is devoted entirely to it.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

G ~ G's from my Idea Book

I have only a few 'G' related things in my idea books.

Goals I have multiple lists of goals sprinkled throughout my idea books. There are daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. And other life goals we hope to meet within the next five to ten years.

Grocery Lists There are always several grocery lists. One is the weekly list while the others are everything that will be needed for special occasions. Holidays, birthdays, and things I need for company meals.

Gifts I keep my ears and eyes open year round and when I discover something that would make the perfect gift for one of the children or LV I'll jot it down for a future birthday or Christmas gift.

Friday, April 7, 2017

F ~ Flowers

   As you can imagine, growing up in an Amish family, we lived simply. Plainly if you will. There weren't many options when it came to decorations, or making things look pretty.
    We were lucky enough to live in a community that allowed us to have flowerbeds. Dad especially loved flowers. Mom liked them too, but with a huge garden to raise all our vegetable she didn't feel as if she had time to care for more growing things.
     The flowerbeds became Dad's project and he'd care for them in the evenings after supper. They flourished under his care, and we all enjoyed the beauty they added to our front yard.
     When I turned ten, my aunt gave me several begonia bulbs. I planted them in our hotbed after Mom had transplanted everything from it into the garden. They grew, and produced an abundance of blooms. When fall arrived I dug the bulbs up and stored them until the next spring.
      I loved those flowers and they did well, until the fall before LV and I got married. Somehow I didn't dig them up in time and they were permanently damaged.
      I had plenty of flowers though after we got married with the numerous huge flowerbeds that took a lot of time to care for. The lovely finishing touch they put on our farm, made all the efforts worthwhile.
     Somehow, since leaving the Amish we have not had any flowerbeds. There are some daffodils that grow every spring and a few other hardy bulb flowers, but that's nothing compared to what we used to have.
    Someday I hope we will once again have flowerbeds like we used to.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

E ~ Enjoy

   One of the things I enjoy the most in life is spending time with my children and seeing how much they love each other.
    I love seeing how even with a twelve year age difference between Kenneth and Steven that they really enjoy spending time together.

The girls vetoed the picture I had wanted to share of them enjoying a fun afternoon recently, so I'll respect their wishes and simply finish this post by sharing one of my favorite quotes that begins with the letter 'E'.
Each of my days are miracles. I won't waste my day. I won't throw away miracles. ~ Kelly Vickstrom

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

D ~ D's from my Idea Book

The things I jot into my idea books that begin with the letter 'D' couldn't exactly all be called ideas, but since they're part of my books, I'm sharing them today.

Devotions Life often gives me excellent pictures and examples of our relationship with God/Jesus. In moments like that I will quickly jot down what ever it was that caused me to think deeper and how it ties in with our spiritual life. Later I'll go back and add Bible verses and references that match up with it. I find it very inspiring to read back over the things I've written.

Dinner Since I use three ring binders for my idea books it makes it easy to add and remove pages as needed. I always have a week's worth of dinners planned. At the end of the week I'll remove that page and create a new one for the next week's dinners. If it was an extra good week I'll tuck it into the front pocket to be used again in a month or so.

Dreams I have two sections for this. One I have as a list of dreams I have for the future, while the other is of dreams I've had at night that stick with me and I jot them down to think about later.

Doodles I have a few pages that I doodle on when I talk on the phone. I'm not sure what it is about talking on the phone that always brings out the mindless doodling part of me.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

C ~ C's from my Idea Book

Let's peep into my idea book again today.

Crafts I have a section devoted to crafts projects we want to work on. Next to each project I have the week noted that I'm hoping to do it, as well as a list of all the supplies needed. Life is too short to get nearly everything done that I hope to do someday, so only the best of the best get listed in my book.

Christmas  The pages filled with Christmas ideas contain gift ideas of things we can make, as well as those to buy. All the snacks we want to make and enjoy over the season get jotted down and a list of ingredients I'll need before we get started. A detailed menu for our Christmas breakfast. Christmas related crafts, projects, and science experiments to add to our homeschool. Names and addresses for the people we want to send Christmas cards to. Food we want to share with the neighbors and the mailman. And a list of our favorite Christmas music.

Cleaning Not as fun, but rather important. I have a section with our cleaning schedule and tried and true cleaning tips I've found on Pinterest that actually work.

Country Studies I have an entire idea book devoted to Country Studies. In it I list the books we need to get at the library, recipes to try, crafts, art, and other fun projects to do for each country. Websites to find interesting facts about the country and videos to watch traditional dances. A list of important or famous people from that country to research later. Native plants and animals. The National anthem and traditions. We really enjoy this notebook.

Monday, April 3, 2017

B ~ B's from my Idea Book

   Earlier this year I had mentioned my idea books, and one of my readers suggested I should do this year's A-Z theme based on the ideas and things I write in those books. I thought it was an interesting option and decided that I'll be sharing bits and pieces from it though out the challenge.

Bucket List - I keep a running list of things I want to do someday, crossing items off as I complete them and adding more when ever I come across something that interests me.

Several items that were crossed off are:

Make homemade vanilla.
Have a book published (surpassed my original goal, and have a series of four books.)
Make every recipe in a cookbook
Do a Pinterest project every week for a year.

Several that I'm still hoping to do someday:

Visit the Library of Congress
Learn how to waterfall braid
Plant a tree
Plan schedule for all 180 days of school before the new school year begins.
Make a blog post every day for a year.

Book Ideas

When a new idea flits through my mind I'll quickly jot it down. Some of these go on to become outlines for books, while others are sitting there waiting for more inspiration.


The amount of ideas I have for potential blog posts could keep me posting daily for several years. I may have to make better use of it.


I plan food,  activities, and gifts for all the birthdays in our family well in advance.


I keep a running list of food and recipes I want to try for breakfast to keep them from getting boring. Without it I find it easy to make the regular eggs, toast, and cereal every morning.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A ~ Amusing

   Last evening, after a busy day of being out and about, we got home and discovered a very important piece of mail had not made it to the mailbox in the morning.
  We had no choice but run it to the post office. Since we were in town anyway I decided to make a quick stop to pick up a few grocery items.
   It didn't take me long to find what I needed and I headed to the check out. There was only one man there, and he had only one simple little item he needed to pay.
   I waited semi patiently as he painstakingly counted out a dollar and six cents, but then instead of leaving he started talking to the cashier about Amish people. "I can speak Pennsylvania Dutch," he declared importantly. "Vee gates?" (How is it going?) and "Vee bisht du?" (How are you?) he announced proudly.
    I smiled inwardly. Two phrases that Amish will most often teach those who are interested in learning a few words of their language.
   "That's cool being able to speak more than one language, I don't know too much about the Amish, their ways, or their language," the cashier said and then motioned for me to unload my cart.
     The man finally realized someone else had been waiting to pay. He moved out of the way and then asked jokingly, "Can you speak Pennsylvania Dutch?"
     "Jah, ich kann,"(Yes, I can.) I said and tried not to laugh as he got all flustered, didn't understand what I said, and quickly left.