Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Year of Pie

     One of my goals for the year 2020 had been making 52 different kinds of pie. I'm happy to report that I successfully completed that challenge with a few extra kinds thrown in for good measure.

    Other than our family favorites I really liked all the variations of cheesecake pie. The Grape Crumb pie is one I'll be making again, as well as most of the savory pies

    I would not recommend anyone ever make the Poppy Seed Pie. It was far from tasty. The texture didn't help any. It was a gelatinous, crunchy, slimy, sweet, yet earthy mess. None of us were able to take more than a bite. 

    A few others weren't a hit either. The Apple Butter Pie I had high hopes for but it ended up being a disappointment. The Mystery Pie might have been okay, but halfway through they figured out what the mystery ingredient was and promptly stopped eating it.

    Over all it was a success. I still have pie I want to try someday, but for now I'm glad to be done with this challenge and focus mostly on family favorites for a while. 

    Here's a picture of the list of 52 pie I made this year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Wednesday Hodge Podge

 1. This is the 400th episode of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. I haven't participated in all of them but, that's a whole lot of Hodgepodging folks. 2000 questions if my math is right. So, what's something you feel like you do 400 times a week? 

Taking things upstairs. It seems there's constantly something on the stairs waiting to be taken up the next time someone goes that way. I don't quite understand how it seems to be a never ending stream of things. 

2. Tell us where you were and something about what your life looked like in the year 2000? 

I was living on a dairy farm and trying to adjust to being a new mother. Those were sweet, yet at times overwhelmingly busy days.

3. Do you like cinnamon? What's something you make and enjoy that calls for cinnamon? Of the cinnamon 'foods' listed which is your favorite: red hot cinnamon candies, cinnamon toast, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon toast crunch cereal, apple cinnamon oatmeal, churros, an Indian curry?

Cinnamon rolls would be my favorite on the list. My mother-in-law used to make the best!
I don't care for the red hot cinnamon candies. The only reason we used to have them was to make cinnamon pickles. Those used to be a favorite, but it's been quite a few years since I last made them.

4. Does Christmas 2020 (or Hanukkah) look much like it has in years past, or is this year vastly different for you and your family? How so? How are you feeling about it all? 

Christmas this year will look much like it has for the past 14 years. The only difference being, Kenneth is now married. He and Paige are planning on coming over though so we're looking forward to that.

5. What's one thing you need or want to do before this year ends? 

I'm hoping to complete my 52 pies in 2020 challenge that I set for myself at the beginning of the year. I've made well over 52 pies this year, but not 52 different kinds yet.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Only our favorite festive snacks and treats were made this year. We've been enjoying them in these days leading up to Christmas. 
The gifts have been wrapped, and everything seems to ready for Christmas with a little time to spare.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Bits and Pieces

    For the past few weeks I have been tracking a package as it treks hither and yon across the U.S. It reached a town near us several times already and then switched course, adding stops in Illinois, Charleston West Virginia, Memphis Tennessee, and now it's stuck in Detroit Michigan.

    At this point I'm giving up on it arriving in time for Christmas. I think I'll print out the tracking history, frame it, and gift it. By now it's more interesting than the original gift would have been.

~~~~~

    I pulled in next to the cart corral and parked just as one of my favorite songs started playing on the radio. I was alone so I turned up the volume and sang along (heartily).

    The song ended and I returned to reality. Reaching for my mask I noticed a lady standing there looking at me after having returned her shopping cart.

    Uh-oh my impromptu singing session had not been quite as alone as I thought. Ah well, I can hide behind my mask. 

    I exited the vehicle and tried to lock it, accidentally hitting the alarm instead of the lock.

    A few tries and I got it shut off. I avoided all eye contact, scraped up what little dignity I had left, and hurried inside the store to get my weekly shopping done.

~~~~~

    Steven was still sleeping this morning as Sharon and I did our regular morning chores about the house. As it became light outside we noticed the sky was filled with drifting snowflakes.

    "Steven is going to be so happy," Sharon said. "He told God yesterday that he would enjoy a birthday gift of snow if He has time and doesn't mind."

    A few minutes later a beaming, newly nine year old came down the stairs, absolutely thrilled to have received the perfect birthday gift.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Awakening Memories

     As I was reorganizing the store room yesterday, I came across some of my old notebooks. One of them had been filled with songs I enjoyed singing during my teenage years. Songs I didn't want to forget. 
    I paged through it, most of the songs I haven't thought about in years, but seeing them I was pleased to remember how to sing them. 
    I kept paging through and found one of my all time favorites from those years, and it brought back a memory.

~~~~~
    We were sitting in church listening to the new bishop preach. In his sermon he was telling us how once we die our entire life will play back for us and we will be able to see and hear every little thing we ever did or said.
    I assume he wanted to stress the importance of making good choices and not doing or saying things we would regret, but that wasn't what I was pondering.
    I tuned the rest of the sermon out as I thrilled at the prospect of being able to someday watch my life be replayed. I knew what I was going to do. At every chance I had I would sing my favorite songs. I would make my end of life play back filled with my favorite things to be enjoyed one last time.
    And so I sang, and sang, and sang some more. Every day got at least several run throughs of my favorite song and then what ever other songs I felt like singing.
    I might not have been allowed to listen to music, but I was determined to have my playback filled with songs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It's Thanksgiving week in the US of A so let's talk turkey. And by turkey I mean the elephant in the room because it's still 2020 and our blogs are a record of sorts of the times in which we live. 

Do you live in a state that's instituted restrictions on the size of gatherings in your own home? What do we think about this? 

I'm appalled by a lot of what we see happening in our country. What I think about restrictions ... I'm so sorry for everyone affected by them.

We will be having our usual Thanksgiving celebration this year. We have quite a few years under our belt, of doing Thanksgiving alone. (Leaving the Amish affected everything.) The first few years were the hardest, but we've come to fully enjoy our holidays with only our family.

My heartfelt sympathy to everyone who is struggling this year with a changed celebration.

2. Let's move in a cheerier direction. Will there be corn on your holiday dinner menu? How so? Cornbread-corn pudding-corn chips and dip-cornbread dressing/stuffing-corn chowder-or regular canned, frozen or fresh corn in a bowl...which of the 'corns’ listed is your favorite? 

There will be corn on our Thanksgiving menu. We'll be making a Confetti Corn Casserole as one of the sides. 

I like corn in every way on that list except corn pudding. I've never had that, but now I'm intrigued.

3. What is there a cornucopia of in your home, job, or life currently? 

Currently ... food. I'll be baking pie today. Everyone seems to have a different favorite pie. It's Thanksgiving so I'm going ahead and making that everyone gets to enjoy a piece of their favorite pie, even if it means baking a slightly ridiculous number of pie.

4. Have you ever quit something (such as a habit, a food, a time-sucker, a relationship) cold turkey? Is there something you need to quit cold turkey? 

I used to be in many circle letters, and enjoyed them thoroughly. I quit all of them cold turkey fourteen years ago.

5. Share a favorite verse, quote, saying, or song lyric relating to gratitude. 

There is calmness and a quiet joy to a life lived in gratitude. ~ Quote

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I have a busy day ahead of me with Thanksgiving food prep. The ankle I had broken over twenty years ago is protesting quite vehemently. I'm thinking some interesting weather may be on the way, but in the meantime I'm hoping I'll still be able to accomplish everything I had planned for the day.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Thanksgiving Chili

    Thanksgiving Chili ... or you could rename. We won't be having it on Thanksgiving, but I'm guessing the ingredients reminded someone of the holiday, hence the name.
    Some of us were a bit skeptical about this chili when we saw the ingredients, but we all loved it. So flavorful. It's a definite keeper and has already been made several times.
    I had a few readers ask for the recipe, so here it is.




    Thanksgiving Chili
½ lb. ground turkey
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped sweet bell pepper (we used red and orange)
14½ oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can pumpkin
15½ oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup water
½ cup medium salsa
2 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp. cumin
14½ oz can chicken broth

    In a large pot saute turkey, onions, and bell peppers until turkey is browned. Mix in tomatoes, pumpkin, beans, water, salsa, and seasonings. Give a quick stir and then add the broth. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for twenty minutes. Stir occasionally.

For a vegetarian option omit the turkey, and substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Currently

 Reading ... Psalms in the Bible, because, well because I love it so much. Comfort, hope, peace, praise, and worship all bundled up in one. The Psalms have been my go to for quite a few years already when ever I needed the aforementioned comfort, hope, peace, praise, and worship.

    Broken Roads by Ira Wagler. I had loved his first book, still do, and had been excited when I heard he is releasing a second book. I really tried to love it as much as his first book. Gave it my best effort, but I simply didn't like it as well.  I feel bad for feeling that way. I know how much time and effort goes into writing a book. I know how it feels to pour part of yourself onto those pages. I know how it feels to release a book and hope people will be kind to it. I still enjoy his writing style. I appreciate how authentic and honestly he wrote, but unfortunately it is not a book that will find a spot in the big book cupboard in our living room.

Watching ... Sharon, Steven, and I have been watching an episode of Andy Griffith over lunch time for the past few weeks now. 

Listening ... to instrumental music. My taste in music is eclectic, but when it comes to the music I listen to while writing, I find instrumental is my best option. Piano Orchestra Covers have been my go to lately.

Wearing ... A rose colored dress ... not my favorite color by a long shot. And fuzzy socks. We don't have the furnace running, so the floor is on the cold side. Fuzzy socks to the rescue.

Baking ... more pie. I had made a banana cream pie earlier this week, and want to bake a few other pie this afternoon.

Cooking ... Rosie Mae came home from work early yesterday and cooked supper for us. She loves to take over the kitchen when ever she has a chance. She made a Thanksgiving chili and cornbread. I was a bit skeptical about the chili after I heard the ingredients, but it was absolutely delicious and we'll be making it again. Who knew a chili containing pumpkin and turkey could be so fabulous?!

Playing ... Steven loves, loves, loves games. We played a variety of games so far this week. My favorite being Sleeping Queens. It's fast, relatively easy to learn, and fun for all ages. A combination a lot of games can't boast of.

Wishing ... I'd like bare trees, gray skies, and brown landscapes a little better than I do. 

Crafting ... I have a pile of supplies setting on the little table in our school room waiting to be used. Somehow mornings keep turning to night without the supplies turning into the fun projects I had intended them for.

Cleaning ... with it being warmer again today I want to wash the outside of all the windows before cold weather sets in to stay for months.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tires / Clocks

    Having interesting requests from customers was nothing unusual in our little woodworking business. We used to try to do our best to make the visions they had for special pieces of furniture come true.

    One day several men stopped in. They unloaded a tire from the back of their pickup truck and rolled it into the shop. 

    They proceeded to tell us how this was a special tire. One that had been used on a car at one of the Nascar races and that they would like to have us make a clock with it.

    They explained how they envisioned it and told us what they would be willing to pay for it. 

    The tire they brought along was only the first of what they hoped would be hundreds of clocks we would make for them.

    The opportunity sounded great, but before my parents would commit to this they wanted to think it over.

    The guys agreed, and left, leaving the tire there until they would come back to get their answer.

    I was excited about the prospect. I could see myself helping with this project, and the possibility of making hundreds if not thousands of clocks … well, the math was good.

    Dad and Mom weren’t that excited about it though. Race car tires! What if that would cause their children to become interested in sports or even worse, cars! No amount of money was worth that they decided and told the guys that we would not be making the clocks. 

    I’ve often wondered if they ever did find someone to make clocks for them, and if it was a successful venture.

    Sadly for my parents, turning down that opportunity did not keep their children Amish. Though I do not regret leaving, I do feel bad for the heartache I know they have carried because of our decision.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Raising a Baker

    I should have known she would become our resident bread baker some day. 
    From the time she was a wee little girl, Sharon loved anything to do with yeast doughs, and would always try to help me when ever it was time to bake breads.


    Roles almost seem to be reversed now, as I tiptoe into the kitchen and peek over her shoulder to see what her latest creation will be. 
    At this point I've lost count of the number of different breads, rolls, and related treats that have been produced by her capable hands.
    This afternoon she is doing a side by side comparison of cinnamon rolls. One batch she's using Pioneer Woman's recipe, while the other will be made with a donut recipe that she decided to turn into cinnamon rolls.
    I'm looking forward to seeing how they compare.
~~~~~
    There may be things I wish I could go back and do differently from their childhood years, but one thing I'll never regret is how I always welcomed them to "help" even when it slowed me down. 
    Those few years of inconvenience have paid off way more than I ever realized they would at that time.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Random Bits

     LV whisked me away for a few days. We spent our time hiking, exploring, and enjoying each other's company.
     It was such a time of relaxing and refreshment, and I enjoyed every minute.
     I only took a little over 300 pictures. I'll share some of them later.
~~~~~
     I'm writing again, and loving it. I opened files I had stored away on my computer and read everything and became reinspired to get more books published.
     Stay tuned.
 ~~~~~
      The fall colors have been spectacular this year. Combine that with bright blue skies and puffy white clouds and you really couldn't ask for a more perfect fall.
      This morning that changed and we were greeted with fog, a fast drizzle, and general sogginess.
      It may have affected Steven's mood a bit when he surveyed his math assignment for the day. Division isn't as exciting as it used to be.
      First he calculated how many days are left in the school year, and then how many days until he graduates. It all became a bit overwhelming to him.
      He came up with a solution though. "Mom," he said. "We should become Amish and once I graduate we could leave again."
~~~~~
      I'm trying a new recipe for roasted squash for supper tonight.
      I've never used patty pan squash before, but I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 1. When is the last time you experienced nostalgia? 

It seems I've been experiencing it a lot lately. Most recently was last evening as Sharon and I were preparing supper and she started singing Blessed Assurance. We sang the entire song together as waves of nostalgia/memories swept over me. It used to be Mahlon's favorite song when he was a little boy and he'd sing it all the time while playing. I can still see him sitting cross-legged on the floor with kittens in his lap petting them and singing them to sleep with this song.

 2. September 29th is National Coffee Day. Do we need this? Ha! So are you a coffee drinker? If so how many cups per day, and tell us how you like it. Is there a recipe you enjoy that calls for coffee as one of the ingredients? 

I wouldn't call myself a coffee drinker, but in the past year I have learned to enjoy iced coffee from Sheetz a few times a month. Their dark chocolate, blackberry flavored one is my favorite. Aside from that, I don't drink any coffee.

I can't think of a recipe I have that uses coffee other than a chocolate cake, but I don't really care for it that much.

 3. Do you find praise or criticism to be more motivating? Explain. 

 Constructive criticism can be helpful, but at the same time praise from someone whose opinion I value is also very motivating.

 4.  What's a television series you keep coming back to and re-watching? 

I'll watch Andy Griffith occasionally. It's been a long time, but we used to enjoy reruns of I Love Lucy and the Dick Van Dyke shows.

 5. As the month of September draws to a close give us three words to describe your mood. 

Happy or maybe I should say joy ... it feels a little deeper than surface happiness.
Fall-sy ... fall always evokes feelings of wanderlust, coziness, anticipation of doing fun crafts, projects, baking, and a happiness that I can't really describe in a single word other than fall-sy.
Content ... can't explain this either, but there's a feeling of deep contentment these past few days.

 6. Insert your own random thought here.

Earlier this month there had been underlying feelings of unease and being unsettled. It took me a little while to figure out what was going on. I took a step back from my online presence and spent more time outdoors. I did a lot of sewing, reading, and baking. Steven and I played a ridiculous amount of games, and I focused on all the little things I enjoy so much.

It finally clicked for me ... it's September. It's two years since my brother passed away. Once I identified the source of those underlying uneasy feelings I was able to deal with it and move on to the three feelings I mentioned above.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 

1. What's one thing you learned at the ripe old age of whatever age you are now?

I just recently learned that Word has a feature where it will read back what ever you wrote. 

Steven especially loves using it. He's writing short stories, and now instead of asking us to read what he wrote, he will ask us to listen.

2. I read here a list of foods that can help you look younger - extra virgin olive oil, green tea, fatty fish, dark chocolate, vegetables, flaxseeds, pomegranates, avocados, tomatoes, spices, bone broth

How many of the foods listed have you tried? How many do you eat regularly? Your favorite from the list?

I have tried all those foods. The ones I use regularly are olive oil, vegetables, avocado, tomatoes, spices, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. I also love sardines, but the rest of the family doesn't, so I rarely ever have them. 

My favorite from the list is probably avocados, I could happily eat them at every meal. I really like vegetables as well.

3. Something you miss from the 'good old days'? When were the good old days anyway?

When were the good old days is a good question. Right now I miss the way things were last year. I miss seeing smiling faces when out and about.

Looking back further there are more things I miss, but I'm unsure if there has been that much of a change, or was I simply more innocent and naive in my Amish bubble?

4. What are two or three of the most rewarding things to be found in growing older?

One of the things I've found that I really like as I grow older, is how things no longer tend to embarrass me like they used to. Happening to send a drumstick flying across the kitchen in front of visitors as I unstick it from a pan is much more funny than embarrassing now.

5. What's your favorite part of your life right now?

My favorite part of life right now is being able to spend quality time with family. It's the best. Ask me again in 10 -20 -30 years from now and I'll probably still answer the same way.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

We find it to be annoying how the paved area in front of our multiple bay garage is often used as a pull over spot for those wishing to check their phones, allow someone to pass, turn around, change a toddler's stinky diaper, switch drivers, and more. This morning a big rig swooped off the road and parked.  His engine idling noisily as he sat there waiting. Maybe his ELD was making him take a 30 minute break?

Rosie Mae needed to leave for work and he was blocking her car. The longer she waited the more courage she got. Finally she announced, "Well, I'm going out to tell him he's got to leave, mush, skedaddle, hit the road, get out of my way."

She marched outside, but he stayed. Apparently she didn't scare him.

Sharon and I watched as she maneuvered her car with care, patience, and admirable skill into the yard and then out onto the road and was on her way.

I'm thinking about buying traffic cones to set along the front of our parking/drive/garage area. Or would that be rude?

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Childhood Games

     The first game I remember playing is checkers, but the 'pig in the pen' version instead of the normal rules.
    Daddy was sitting on his favorite chair, and pulled my little table in front of him to teach me how to play. It was great fun trying to trap his 'pig' with all of my 'fence' pieces, but I don't recall ever being successful even as we played game after game.
    The next game we had was a homemade one. For months Mom would save any empty cracker boxes and carefully cut out two inch squares from them. She kept adding them to a container on top of the refrigerator, until finally one day she had enough. She sat down and using crayons she wrote a big number on each card. John and I watched with interest, and were excited when she said she would teach us a new game on Sunday.
    Sunday rolled around and we all headed to their bedroom and sat cross legged on their bed. She dealt the cards and we played a thrilling version of 'Slap' 
    I have no idea why we always sat on their bed to play this game, but it added to the fun.
    As the years passed the 'Slap'game was retired and gradually a few more games were added to our meager collection, and we loved them all: Memory, Sorry, Uno, Scrabble, Probe, and Monopoly. 
    Nothing ever came close though to the thrill of playing 'Slap'

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Currently

Reading ... Isaiah in the Bible. I always get a thrill when I begin reading that book. It played a big part in our journey of leaving the Amish. You can read about it here.

In non fiction, I dug out a book on editing fiction. 

Watching ... this week, by the end of the day I'm so sleepy I would rather go to bed than watch anything.

Listening ... to the washing machine doing a random load of laundry, Sharon playing a lovely piece by Beethoven on her piano, and the scratch of Steven's pencil moving across paper as he does his school work.

Wearing ... a rose colored dress sprinkled with oddly placed polka dots.  The random patternless pattern in which they sprinkled the dots on the fabric is annoying to one of our daughters who loves having things neat and orderly.

Baking ... I'm bringing a package of cream cheese to room temperature with plans to use it to bake a cheesecake pie this afternoon.

Cooking ... we'll be having taco night tonight. I'll be making a salad as well.

Cleaning ... and rearranging Steven's bedroom. Kenneth will be picking up his desk and chair and a few other things he still has here so we're doing a complete rearrange and decorating of the room. Steven is excited to have everything in the room be his.

Playing ... we didn't have time to play any time consuming games so far this week, but we did manage to squeeze in a few rounds of Top Trumps, and Spot It games with Steven.

Hiking ... consisted of having to hoof it across the Walmart parking lot, across a road, and over several other lots to where I had parked my vehicle at the mall.

I much prefer hiking in the woods or on proper hiking trails.

Wishing ... we had stopped at a yardsale. On Saturday there was a big yard sale event happening along one road. There seemed to be a sale happening at most houses. I don't need anything, and though I enjoy yard sales and a good bargain, I really didn't want to bring anything home and have to find room for it. 

Traffic was horrible since this annual event brought out lots of people. We kept driving, some sales looking more tempting than others. And then I saw it. A butter churn like the one we used to have when I was growing up. I exclaimed about it, and LV offered to turn around and go back to buy it, but I declined, saying I don't know where I'd store it, and I don't make that much butter any longer.

We kept going, but now I wish I would have bought it.

Crafting ... I have some sewing projects going, and LV was kind enough to bring home some pallet wood when I mentioned I'd like to make a sign with some reclaimed wood,

Yesterday ... was busy, busy, busy. I had an appointment that took a big chunk out of my day. I'm happy how it went though so I'd say it was worth that chunk of time.

Later today ... I need to go buy a pair of shoes for Steven. I had meant to earlier this week, but the stores we checked didn't have any in his size so I need to try again at a different place. After I come back from that I want to deep clean the interior of our vehicle. It's not bad, but we like "clean" interiors, and today seems like a good day to do that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Not Everything Got Checked

     My week is full. I went ahead and made a to-do list for each day of the week, dividing things up in what I hoped were manageable expectations.

    Yesterday I got all but one item checked off my list for the day. 


    I shared a little about my day on Facebook, and decided to share it here as well.

    My to-do list for the day was extra long, and when an annoying fly decided to join our day, I didn't take the time to pursue it. (It wasn't on the list, ya know.)
    Steven armed himself with a fly swatter and went on a merry chase from room to room. Rarely has a fly been bigger, noisier, or more restless, Although many attempts were made at getting rid of the thing, they were all fruitless.
    Task after task was checked off my list. The windows were washed so that it looked as if they were missing glass. I admired how clean and clear they were, and proceeded to other things.
    A triumphant exclamation arose from the living room, and Steven rallied forth, pleased to have finally put an end to the annoying fly that had managed to evade him for so long. .
    There on my clean window was the biggest, grossest splotch I have seen in a long time. What could I do? Thank him for using his fly swatter skills and then go dig out my window cleaning supplies and wash the window again.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Misunderstandings

     Last evening we had several moths get into the house and during the next few minutes of chasing them down and disposing of them, I was reminded of a little misunderstanding my Grandpa had one time.
     They had out of state visitors and had invited us over for supper so we could see them as well.
      During the course of conversation the visiting man asked Grandpa, "How are the Millers doing here?"
     Grandpa hesitated just a minute and said, "I don't  know that they're much different from anywhere else. I go after them with a fly swatter every evening it seems."
      Now it was the visiting man's turn to pause for a confused moment. "I was talking about Eli Millers," he said.
     Every one laughed. Grandpa had thought the man had been asking about millers,  as in moths. 
     The mental image of Grandpa chasing Eli Miller with a fly swatter had us all amused, and even today it makes me smile when I think of it. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Currently

 Reading ... In the Bible I'm in Ecclesiastes. In fiction I'm in the middle of waiting on Sharon to finish reading a book so I can have my turn. I didn't want to start another one while I wait. In non-fiction I decided to give the book Fifty Ways to Leave Left Behind. I haven't gotten into it enough to know what I think of it.

Watching ... a nature show about wildlife in India.

Listening ... to some instrumental music and the girls laughing and talking as they're cleaning up the kitchen. 

Thinking ... life is beautiful.

Wearing ... an old dress that has a row of pills where the seat belt has rubbed against it. It's not something I'll wear any longer when out and about, but it's still comfy and will be fine as an everyday dress for a while yet.

Baking ... Rosie Mae made a fabulously decadent chocolate cake. We had needed cocoa powder and I decided to pick some up at a little bakery/bulkfood store. It wasn't as easy as I thought when presented with a variety of different cocoa powders to choose from. I got several, and Rosie Mae had to try one of them for her cake. It turned out beyond any chocolate-y dreams I may have had. 
    Sharon loves baking bread, and not just easy breads, but  breads that have a list of steps and need to be braided all fancy. She gets attached to them as she makes them and usually names them. We enjoyed Alex most recently.

Cooking ... we have been enjoying fresh sweet corn, but tonight was more of a simple dinner of rice and beans.

Cleaning ... Sharon, Steven and I cleaned out our porch basement today. It's looking so much better now and ready for the coal bin to be filled for winter.

Hiking ... only around a mile and a half this weekend, but that included clambering up and down steep banks with only the faintest hint of a path. I had debated not going since my right foot hasn't been the friendliest, but it was worth it.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Little Lessons / Thunderheads

     Thunderheads building in the east make a lovely scene to enjoy from our front porch.

    Not long after this picture was taken the skies opened, dumping rain in torrents. Some of us were out driving, and others were on the top porch singing and twirling ... outside, yet staying dry as rain poured all around.  I can't help but compare it to life in a spiritual sense of how the world can be in absolute turmoil, but if we are living in Jesus we can enjoy peace even in the midst of the storm.

    I love how there are often little lessons to see in simple everyday life if we take the time to see and listen.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Scary

    Before my parents built a woodworking shop and showroom Daddy built furniture in our basement. Our living room and sewing room were used as the showroom. A little bell was attached to the sewing room door, and every time a customer entered it would ring to alert us there was someone there.

    I was fourteen the day when my parents had to go somewhere, leaving me in charge of caring for any customers that might stop in. It had been a fairly quiet day, but toward evening the bell jangled and I hurried into the "showroom" in hopes I would be able to get a nice order written up before my parents got back.

    Three men stood there. Immediately I felt uneasy. I tried to brush the feeling away because customers came in all kinds of different appearances and just because they made me feel uncomfortable didn't mean it should.

    I went through the whole spiel about how they can customize anything they see in the showroom and we can build it to their vision. They didn't say much and kept looking at me. Finally one of them asked if I knew when my parents would be back. I naively told them I didn't. He then asked if I ever considered being a model, that they would be happy to start my career. His friend with a long scraggly gray beard affirmed the offer and added some more comments.

    I no longer felt uncomfortable, I felt fear. I still don't know how I did it, but I flew up the stairs, into my room, slammed the door shut and locked it. I leaned against it, frozen. My heart pumping wildly as I listened to make sure they didn't follow me upstairs and hoped with everything in me that the lock would hold.

    After what seemed like an insufferably long time they left, and shortly thereafter my parents came home. I have no idea why I didn't tell them what happened, but simply went about helping Mom prepare supper.

    Remembering this still gives me shudders, and makes me so thankful that I listened to my flight instinct. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Life with Steven

     I love seeing life through Steven's eyes. To him, everything is still a thing of wonder.

    Today the truck that paints yellow lines passed our house leaving a nice fresh set of lines down the middle of the road. "Can we go touch the paint?" he asked.

    "Sure, let's go," I said.

    He grabbed my hand and we ran out and got yellow paint on the tips of our finger, and then hurried back to the house. He laughed the entire way, thinking it was all a grand adventure.

~~~~

     I had to go clean one of the trucks LV is rebuilding. It's at the final stages, so I simply had to clean out the cab, and wipe everything down to get it ready to leave the shop.

    Steven accompanied me, sitting in the back seat talking in a streak. We discussed various kinds of caterpillars, the meanings of some new words he saw today, and then a lengthy discussion on Pennsylvania facts and history. He keeps me on my toes with his constant desire to know more.

    Once we arrived he was happy to help clean the truck. Anything to do with semis is a thrill to him, even if it's only cleaning them.

~~~~~

    He loves working in the kitchen. With every one else gone for the day, he asked if he can make lunch for me. I had veto powers, but I didn't need to use them as he delivered a bowl of rice with pepperoni. It was actually quite tasty.

~~~~~

    I'm so very thankful for this young man. I enjoy every day I get to be his mother, and look forward to seeing what he will do in life.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Heat

      It was the summer I was 18. It had been oppressively warm and humid, the air heavy, the skies growing ever darker with the promise of an approaching thunderstorm. I was weeding the garden and wanted to get as much of it done as I could before the storm arrived.

    Before I got done and before the storm arrived, things went wrong. My legs collapsed, my head was spinning, and I became very sick. Somehow I managed to halfway crawl and drag myself into the house where I lay on the cool floor, sure I was going to die, but not really caring.

    My parents were alarmed, and sought help. Heat exhaustion, bordering right on heat stroke was the diagnoses. I got cooled off and rehydrated and was able to go my merry way. The only thing being I was much more sensitive to heat after the experience.

~~~~~

    Living in Missouri where summers were much warmer, I was pleased that it seemed enough time had passed that I was able to take the heat much better. But then it happened again. This time I had been mowing the yard, but managed to drag myself into the house before collapsing.

    LV wasn't at home when it happened and without a cell phone there was no way to contact him. Somehow I managed to call my Mom and she was able to send help to our house. It was a scary helpless feeling, and this time seeing the anxious faces of our three little children staring at me as I lay there I knew I did not want to die. 

    I survived, but once again I had to be very careful to not get too warm.

~~~~~

    Fast forward to this morning. As soon as the dew had dried of the grass I headed outside to mow. As the sun kept climbing in the sky the temperature kept rising. Sharon and Steven would bring drinks out every once in a while, and I kept going. But then I could feel it coming. My legs started feeling wooden, my head started spinning, and I was sure I was going to be violently sick.

    I abandoned the mower and stumbled across the yard to the house. Clinging to the handrails I managed to get up the porch stairs and into the house where I did everything I could to cool off as fast as possible. I'm okay, still feeling exhausted, but otherwise okay.

    Heat, I've learned, is not something to play with.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Pineapple Cream Pie

     The latest new recipe we tried for our 52 pie challenge was a hit. If you love pineapple it's certainly worth a try.

Pineapple Cream Pie

4 eggs (save three egg whites)

1 cup sugar

4 Tbsp cornstarch

½ cup cream

½ tsp salt

½ tsp. vanilla

1-1/4 cup crushed pineapple

2-½ cup milk (scalded)

Beat the three egg yolks and one whole egg. Add sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Mix well. Add cream, pineapple, and vanilla. Mix well. Add hot milk. Beat egg whites until stiff, then gently fold into pineapple mixture. Divide into two unbaked pie shells. Bake at 350ยบ for 40-45 minutes. Cool and then chill before serving.

Friday, August 7, 2020

A Day in my Life

      Here's a glimpse into the day I had yesterday.

~~~~~

    I hopped out of bed a little before 4:00 after my alarm clock woke me from a lovely dream I had been having. After taking care of my usual morning routine I filled a pot with cold water and set it on the stove to heat for LV's tea. (He wasn't allowed to drink coffee while his eyes were healing after the accident, and once he got the clearance to have coffee again he decided to stick with tea instead.)

    While the water was heating I had my Bible time. I made the tea and got everything ready for LV by the time he stumbled into the kitchen a little before 5:00. He had his breakfast, we said our good-byes, and he headed off to work.

    Rosie Mae got up as he was backing out of the garage. She did her usual Chloe Ting workout. I don't see how she can do these hour long things. I did a handful of the low impact options, while she continued torturing herself with the full high intensity workout.

    I checked the schoolwork from yesterday and got the assignments ready for the day. The past few years I no longer check the schoolwork with a red pen. I have nothing against red ink, but instead of simply marking things wrong and grading it, I have a stack of cute post-it notes where I jot down the things they got wrong and then they get to do it over. I wish I had done it this way from the beginning. Having a second chance to correct things has been better for them.

    I washed the living room windows and by the time I was done with that Sharon and Steven were ready to begin their school work. It went smoothly enough.

    Rosie Mae had the day off work so she went to meet a friend with plans to go on a short hike and then spend the rest of the day at our house.

    I wanted to make pie. I found a recipe to count towards our 52 pies challenge. It made two, my crust recipe makes enough for three so I decided to double the crust recipe and make some family favorite pie as well and send one home with Kenneth and Paige tonight. I got the pie dough mixed and ready to roll out when I discovered I don't have enough corn syrup for my recipe.

    We'd have to go get some. Sharon of course wanted to drive, so I got in the passenger seat and we were off to a little Amish bulkfood store several mile down the road. They won't deal with me, being that I used to be a member of the Amish church, but there are no such restrictions on our children, so Sharon handled the transaction. 

    Their produce stand was open and I noticed they had peaches and sweetcorn. I wanted to can and freeze peaches this summer so I got Sharon to ask what the price is per bushel. I nearly fainted when she told me. $46.00!! I went ahead and got a peck for eating fresh, but forget about buying a lot for canning and freezing at that price. We also got a dozen and a half of sweetcorn and drove back home. Sharon happily navigating all the curves while Steven sat in the back cheerfully discussing his plans for feeding the cows with the corn husks.

    I set the corn on the porch when we got home and went inside to tackle the pie. Somehow instead of six pie crusts, my double batch of dough made nine. I ended up making three pumpkin pie, two pineapple cream pie, and two pecan pie, substituting the pecans with rice krispies, making it safe for those with nut allergies. The remaining crusts I baked empty to be used at a future date to make banana cream pie or something similar.

    Rosie Mae and her friend arrived and decided to cook a (very)  late lunch for themselves. There was much talking and laughter as they worked together. The kitchen seemed tiny as I was still trying to get the last few pie ready for the oven while they were cooking.

    Once the pie were cooling it was time to take care of the sweetcorn. Much to Steven's disappointment the cows weren't nearby while we husked the corn.

    I went ahead and got the sweetcorn washed and ready to cook, and then peeled enough potatoes to make a big batch of fried potatoes with enough to hopefully have leftovers to make potato burritos for tomorrow morning's breakfast.

    Rosie Mae's friend left and a little later Kenneth and Paige came over for supper. We thoroughly enjoy having them here and the evening passed swiftly. Once they left it was time for bed. I thought I might be able to dash out a quick blog post while everyone brushes their teeth etc, but my fingers couldn't move fast enough so that post gets to sit in drafts until I get around to finishing it some day.
    

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

To Our Children

     One of the things I always made sure to buy when I found out I was expecting you was a beautiful baby book. I had these great intentions of recording all your important milestones, all those fun firsts, all those little details I wanted to remember, always.


     I'm sorry to say I have failed you miserably.
     With you, my dear oldest son, I did the best. I completed most of your first year, but the rest of your book is blank.
     With each of the rest of you, I took great care in filling out everything I could those first few weeks, but after that the pages remain blank.
      The pages of your books aren't blank because I wasn't proud of you, or didn't love you, or wasn't rejoicing and enjoying each of those precious firsts and important milestones.
      I might not remember which tooth you got first, but I do remember your first word. "Papa!" I was the one that birthed you, nursed you, changed 95% of your diapers, and all four of you said Papa as your first word.
      I don't remember the day you enjoyed your first solid food, but I remember how you used to love when I brought out your little baby food grinder and how you used to sit watching me prepare it, waving your arms and kicking those little feet of yours in eager anticipation of the yummy food you were about to get.
     I don't remember the day you were weaned, but I remember how you used to tuck your foot under my chin and held the corner of your blanket as I fed you.
     I might not remember the exact moment of your first smile or laugh, but I do remember how you used to giggle when we played Peek-a-boo with you for what felt like hours on end.
     I might not remember the first book I ever read to you, but all four of you loved the Clap Your Hands book. Both your Papa and I can still recite the entire thing by heart because we read it to you so often.
    The pages of your baby books might be mostly blank, but my mind is filled with precious memories from those days. I was so busy enjoying those moments I didn't have time to pick up a pen and write them down at the risk of missing part of those moments.
    I hope someday you will understand.
    Love,
    Your mother

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Learning to Drive

    This is the third round of sitting in the passenger seat as one of our teens learn how to drive.
     It's not a job I ever wanted, but somehow it became mine.
     It's interesting how siblings can be so different.
     Teen #1 sat in the driver's seat, happy to learn how to drive. Meticulous, doing everything with his intense style of concentrating. 
      Teen #2 gave herself an ulcer by stressing about driving. She wanted to know how to drive, but going through the process of learning how was not on her list of things she wanted to do. Curves, other vehicles, narrow roads. They were all a huge grief to her.
      Teen #3 is in the process now. She looked forward to the day when she would get to be the one to sit in the driver's seat. She has plenty of confidence. She had another lesson today. The seat moved forward as far as it goes, mirrors adjusted, and peering over the steering wheel she is in her element. "I'm so glad we live in an area where roads have lots of curves," she says as she happily guides the vehicle around another one as if she had been driving for years already.
      I'm glad it will be a few years before there will be a teen #4, but I can't help but wonder how he will be.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Currently

Reading ... this morning I needed a few Psalms.

The most recent fiction book I read was Star of Persia : Esther's story. I quite enjoyed it. I'm usually not the biggest fan of retellings of stories about Bible characters, but I thought this was really well done. I enjoyed it enough that I requested more books by this author.

In non-fiction I have a stack of cookbooks that I'm enjoying.

Watching ... the most recent movie we watched was War Room. I had  heard so much about it. I liked it, even though it wasn't quite as I had expected. I would recommend it to anyone looking for something encouraging to watch.

Listening ... to the sound of Sharon thumping and bumping around in her bedroom. She decided she wanted to "spring clean" it this afternoon.

Thinking ... that kindness should never ever go out of style. 

 Wearing ... a comfy green polka dot dress that will need a little help after the next time I do the laundry.

Baking ... later this week I'll be baking several kinds of pie. With everything that happened this year I have gone from 52 weeks of pie, to simply 52 different kinds of pie. I'm halfway to my goal, and I'm fully expecting to meet it by the end of the year. 

Cooking ... tonight I'm making roasted potatoes, tuna patties, and a salad with homemade dressing. I've been craving potato leek soup a lot. I went ahead and made it last week one evening, and would love to have it again tonight. For the sake of the rest of the family I won't make it two weeks in a row.

Cleaning ... I want to tackle the store room again this week. Apparently everyone has been plopping things in there all helter skelter, which means it's time to organize again.

Playing ... this weekend included Phase 10, Rummikub, and Hoagie. It was a lot of fun. Steven absolutely loves Hoagie so I played it with him quite a few times. He's at the age and ability where I no longer try to not be competitive. Makes game time more fun! 

Loving ... the cooler temperature we have today. It made marching around the yard with the lawn mower so much more enjoyable.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Electric Fence

     The click, click sound of an electric fence still sounds ominous to me when ever I hear it.
     I was in first grade when my Dad fenced off a new pasture of sorts for a team of draft horses we had at our house for a while. 
     The horses intimidated me since they were much bigger and less friendly than our buggy horse, but even so I enjoyed tagging along with Daddy whenever he filled their tubs of water, and threw a few slices of hay over the fence for them.
     After getting shocked on the fence one evening while helping throw hay to the horses, I tried to keep a safe distance from it, not wanting to have a repeat of that pain.
     One evening I was playing in the sandbox when I noticed Daddy was taking care of the horses. I dropped my toys, jumped up, and ran to join him. The single stand of electric fence wasn't very visible, and I didn't notice Daddy was on the other side of the fence as I ran as fast as my little legs could carry me. I ran right into the fence, catching it right under my chin. I don't know how, but the fence broke. It gave me a nice red mark on my neck that lasted for a while.
      Daddy scooped me up and carried me to the house where Mom fussed over my injury, and he hurried back outside to patch the fence before the horses decided to wander away.
      Last night we spent some time at one of our good friend's house. We sat outside, near an electric fence with a horse that pranced about in his pasture. It brought back this memory. I could almost feel the pain of the shocking wire, and the impact of the fence on my neck once again just by thinking about it. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Bits of Random

     Narrow winding roads + horse and buggies + vehicles with a need for speed = a scary combination.
     Last evening that combination ended with a vehicle colliding with a horse and buggy at the curve just past our garage.
     Thankfully everyone is okay. Buggies can be replaced, but how scary! I can only imagine how deeply thankful the parents of the young boys who had been driving the buggy must be, that their children didn't get seriously hurt or worse.
~~~~~
     Yesterday LV had a follow up appointment with the surgeon who had worked on his eyes back in February after the explosion.
     We are thrilled, and so very thankful for the latest report. Vision in both eyes is 20/20! God is so good! We are still in awe of the healing He did, especially in his right eye. Even the doctors expected it to be permanently blind. 
~~~~~
      We started our new year of school on Monday. For the first year ever, I wasn't excited about starting, but three days in and I've found my love of homeschooling is still alive and well. I'm looking forward to another great year,
~~~~~
     I'm excited about my blogging plans for August. I've allowed too much time to pass between posts the last while, but I'm gearing up to have a month of posting daily. (except for Sundays)  

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  Do you think the pandemic has had any kind of positive impact on your mental health? Explain.

It has helped me step away from social media, which I consider a positive thing. Facebook has become a tense, ugly place that I no longer find enjoyable. I unfollowed and snoozed a lot of people, but even after doing that I only spend a few minutes a day on there to see if my favorite people posted anything and check what's happening in the groups I like the best. I still make posts there every once in a while, mostly about happenings around the house that amused me, or a picture or two of what we've been up to.
Instagram, though much happier than Facebook, only gets a glance or two occasionally.

2. A hot mess, hot under the collar, in hot water, hot button, hot diggity dog!, hot shot, hot seat....choose one and tell us how it applies to your life currently.

A hot mess ... well, I'm hoping we're this side of the hot mess, but yesterday we were in the thick of it where everything seemed to go wrong. Scary things, frustrating things, and simply annoying. Hot mess summed the day up nicely.

3. Speaking of the hot seat, do you work well under pressure or do you actively avoid high pressure situations?

It depends on what I'm doing. Certain deadlines make me focus and get things done. But other things such as cooking for guests while they are in the kitchen watching turns me into a bumbling, scatter brained, forget simple things, version of a cook. I love cooking, and enjoy having people over, but I prefer to have most of the food prepared before they get here.

4. Hotdogs-yay or nay? If you said yay how do you like yours? Did you know July is National hotdog month?

I like the occasional hot dog. I prefer mine with a slice of cheese and topped with sour cream. I had not known that July is National hotdog month, but now that I do I may have to find a way to celebrate. That could be a lot of fun!

5. I read here a list of America's coolest Southern towns. They are Marfa Texas, Greenville South Carolina, Abindgon Virginia, Athens Georgia, Bentonville Arkansas, Florence Alabama, Oxford Mississippi, Abita Springs Louisiana, Wilmington North Carolina, Monroeville Alabama, McMinnville Tennessee, Natchez Mississippi.  How many on the list have you seen in person? Which town on the list would you most like to see?

I haven't been to any of those towns, but I wouldn't mind getting to explore Wilmington, North Carolina.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

The sound of mourning doves cooing, especially during a dry spell, is one of the prettiest sounds of summer to me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Kenneth and Paige's Wedding

     I haven't talked a lot about Kenneth and Paige here on my blog, wanting to give them their privacy, but I got permission to share pictures of their wedding day.

     The wedding was much smaller than originally planned due to the whole virus thing, but it was  still absolutely perfect.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the professional photos once they're ready, but for now I'm happy to see all the ones taken with cell phones.


Kenneth, his lovely bride, and his siblings pose for the photographer.


The ceremony, we'll wait for the professional photos to get a picture of the entire bridal party.



The bride and groom.


Tables for guests were so pretty!


The table for the bridal party.


Kenneth and Paige's first dance as husband and wife. I loved watching them.


The mother son dance was something I did purely because Kenneth and Paige wanted me to. I'm glad I did, even if it wasn't the most comfortable thing I've ever done.


My sister-in-law, Emma,  made their lovely cake. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Are you currently making plans of any kind? What kind? What emotions are associated with the planning process? Tell us about one plan you had to cancel due to the current situation which shall remain nameless. Ha!

Plans lately revolve around the swiftly approaching wedding. The emotions associated with it are a mix of excitement, anticipation, and how in the world do we have a child old enough to get married?!

We had to cancel some travel plans, but we are hopeful they will be able to be rescheduled for a later date when things are hopefully back to normal.

2. Last time you saw stars, either literally or figuratively?

I'm not sure when the last time was I saw actual stars. We've had a lot of cloudy weather, and on the nights when the weather was favorable to see stars it was still light out late enough that we went to bed before the stars came out.

3. Blueberries yay or nay? Blueberry pie, blueberry muffins, blueberry yogurt, blueberries by the handful...what's your pleasure?

I love blueberries. My favorites would be by the handful, then in pie and muffins. I don't care for them in yogurt. Actually it's the yogurt part that gets me. I ate an astounding amount of yogurt when I was pregnant with Kenneth, and ever since that when ever yogurt is presented to me my stomach twists and churns and is all "Don't go feeding me that stuff, girl!"

4. Swim against the tide, swimming upstream, in the swim, sink or swim, makes your head swim...choose one of the 'swim' idioms listed and tell us how/why you relate?

Makes my head swim ... I am feeling pulled in so many different directions with things that I should be, or could be doing that it's making my head feel all wonky.

5. Sum up your June in a single sentence.

June was a mix of major highs, and low lows, and everything in-between.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Exactly five weeks after being told she has cancer, my sweet mother-in-law passed away. Her funeral though sad - of-course, was also such a celebration of her life. She had touched the lives and hearts of many, and hearing all the memories was more joyful than sad.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Adventures of Mask Wearing

     Noting the state of the refrigerator and pantry, I knew I had to venture out to restock both. I got what I could at Aldi before heading to Walmart for the rest.

     I dutifully donned my mask before entering the store, and grasping my slightly crumpled grocery list I rallied forth to complete my mission in as little time as possible.

     Nearing the end of my list I noticed I had missed something and would have to turn around and march to the back of the store to get it. "Oh!" I said to myself when I saw it. Big mistake. Opening my mouth like that, and inhaling on the 'oh' sucked a minuscule piece of lint from my mask right into the back of my throat where it clung stubbornly.

     Immediately I had an intense need to cough to get rid of it.

     As everyone knows coughing is frowned upon in today's world. I tried to suppress it, but the need was so great that I barked out a violent cough while carefully avoiding looking at any of the other customers.

     One cough didn't do the trick, but I wasn't about to cough more. I abandoned all other items on my list and made a beeline for the checkout. Tears were streaming from my eyes. They didn't roll down my cheeks though. The mask conveniently soaked them all up for me.

     Never have I ever checked out at such speed before. I paid and then fled to the safety of my vehicle where I coughed in peace and dislodged that piece of lint.

     Hopefully they'll let me back in next time I need to go shopping.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Saturday marks the first official day of summer! Whoohoo! Your favorite thing about the season?

I don't know that I have a single favorite thing. Instead I have an assortment of things that make summer sweet. I love having the windows open, and hearing the sweet rich tones of the wind chimes on the front porch. I love not having to bundle up to go outside, or having to deal with all the extra clothes. I really, really like all the fresh fruits and vegetables.

2. Love it!, labor of love, not for love or money, no love lost, love handles, love does, love-hate relationship, misery loves company, tough love, love will find a way...pick one and tell us how it applies to your life right now.

Love will find a way ... Kenneth and his lovely fiancee are getting married soon. With the world seeming to be turned upside down and inside out they have had to make many changes to their original plans for the wedding. They've risen to meet the challenges with grace and a quiet confidence.

3. What's one thing currently causing you to seethe? One thing currently making you smile?

I'm not sure anyone actually wants to hear about what is making me seethe, so I'll keep it short. Seeing someone take advantage of a bad situation to make themselves appear important, while causing suffering in their wake ...  deep breaths, Mary Ann, deep breaths.

One thing that is making me smile currently is seeing Steven reading. In every spare minute he has he will be curled up somewhere with a book. On a blanket under our maple tree with our cat snuggled up next to him, curled up in the corner of the couch, on the floor under the school table, riding in our vehicle, everywhere and anywhere its books, books, and more books. I love it!

4. Of the following to-dos found on a summer checklist (here) which three would definitely make your personal list of summer want-to-dos?

roast marshmallows over a fire, go berry or peach picking, dangle your feet off the end of a dock, sit on a porch swing, watch the sunset from a beach, nap in a hammock, go barefoot in the grass, collect seashells, play tennis, go fishing, build a sandcastle, catch fireflies, eat a soft serve ice cream cone, make a pitcher of Sangria, swim in a lake, stargaze, ride a bike, paddle a canoe or kayak, make a summer road trip, throw a frisbee

Do you make an actual list?

You would think with all the lists I make I would have a summer list, but I don't this year.

The three items on the list I will be doing this summer are: going barefoot in the grass, eating a soft serve ice cream cone, and going berry and peach picking. We are already making plans to get a lot of peaches this summer. I'm hoping to can and freeze at least eight bushels of them.

5. Thursday is National Splurge Day. What might you splurge on in order to celebrate?

My splurge of choice would be office or art supplies. I won't be splurging on Thursday though. I'll probably wait for that until I go back to school shopping.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Somehow LV's mother is still hanging on. We went out to Ohio over the weekend to see her again. She is such an inspiration. Even with all her suffering she is in a constant state of thankfulness and cheer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Mystery of ...

... the creepy light bulb.


     The children had already made their way upstairs to bed, while LV and I enjoyed a few minutes catching up on the happenings of each other's day before we retired for the night.
      Before heading to bed I checked the laundry room and just as I came to the end of the hallway before turning into the laundry room the light turned on. There was no one there!!
     Things like that aren't supposed to happen, especially not in our little farm house.
      I tried to remain calm and walked back to the living room where LV was still relaxing on the couch. He looked up as I entered and immediately saw there was something amiss by the expression on my face.
       "I'm just a little freaked," I admitted and proceeded to tell him what had happened.
        He very sweetly, didn't laugh at my paranoia. Instead he took my hand and together we walked down the hall to the laundry room with the light shining brightly at us.
         Just as we got to the end of the hallway, it flickered off. In the next instant I tore my hand from his clasp and flew back to the living room. I'm not in great shape at all, in fact most days the very thought of exercise is exercise enough for me. You'd never have guessed that though as I dashed down the hallway at a speed rivaling that of an Olympic sprinter.
        LV stayed there quite unruffled and discovered the light bulb had not been screwed into the socket tightly enough and somehow the weight of someone walking on our creaky old floor had messed with its connection.
        I'm happy to report that the mystery of the creepy light bulb was easily solved, and there is nothing weird going on in our home. And I'm once again moving at normal, ladylike speeds throughout the house.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The Month of May

    Looking back at the month of May this morning, and feeling that even though it was a busy month for us there was nothing all that monumental for most of it. Or maybe it's because of one huge thing that it's making everything else look insignificant. More about that later.

   Honeycombs was Steven and my favorite game to play during the month of May. This was the closest we ever got to not having any gaps between matching tiles. He thought it deserved a picture as proof that we were getting better at it.


     Everyone needs a Sharon to cry and pray over you when life knocks you down. 
     This little bird flew into the living room window and knocked itself out. Sharon dashed outside and picked it up. Holding its silent little body in her hands the tears flowed as she prayed that God would heal it.
     After a few minutes it started showing signs of life, and soon sat on her hands where it remained for half an hour before flying away.


     Steven and I made a batch of dandelion jelly. We waited for a beautiful sunny day when the dandelion blossoms opened and went outside to gather a bowlful of the prettiest blossoms.
     It took patience and not minding that our fingers turned yellow to carefully remove all the tiny petals, being careful to avoid any green bits.
     We steeped them for several hours before draining the liquid and using it to cook up the jelly.
     It turned out to be absolutely delicious. Some thought it tastes almost like honey, while the honey dislikers of the family disagreed. We all agreed that it was worth the effort to make and should become an annual springtime event.
     A dandelion jelly making day once a year doesn't sound bad to me.


     Weather permitting, we enjoyed getting out of the house on the weekends. Walking over I-68 on the little bridge at Sidling Hill was a big hit with Steven. He would have happily spent quite a bit of time walking back and forth.


      Things are finally beginning to look like summer may be on its way. Seeing the cows enjoy chewing their cud while relaxing in front of the waterfall is one of my favorite scenes.


~~~~~

     My driver's license had expired during the quarantine. I renewed it online, but I couldn't go get my new card until the DMV opened again. 
    Going to the DMV has never been on my list of favorite activities, but this time was the worst.
    I arrived early and joined the line that was snaking its way out across the parking lot in a weird 'S' shaped pattern all while maintaining the required distance between our fellow humans. Everyone stood there in grim silence behind their masks, listening to the noise of the traffic on the turnpike. 
     Some clipboard clutching man from the inner workings of the DMV would approach the first person in the line and then they'd disappear inside the building while the rest of the line moved up, still maintaining its odd serpentine pattern.
    When it was finally my turn the clipboard clutching man asked my name and then some health related questions to make sure I hadn't coughed or sneezed in the past 24 hours. He coughed as he checked the little boxes on his clipboard and then I was ushered inside and told how to conduct myself while there.
    Clipboard guy coughed again, and went outside to screen the next person.
    I hurried through the photo process, not caring too much how it turned out. Just get me out of here was my only thought.
    I was relieved to be done, and make my exit to the sound of clipboard guy coughing yet again as he checked the health status of the next person in line

~~~~~
     One of our weekend ramblings into nature took us to Cooper's Rock. I never tire of the views from the top!


     Hollow trees are such interesting things. Hoping to maybe see an animal nest inside we peered in, only to find some hikers have been using it as a trash can! It was disappointing!


     Also disappointing is seeing the amount of graffiti on top of Dan's Mountain. The view from the top, across the valley to the distant mountains was spectacular. And if you squinted your eyes just right you could almost imagine the graffiti covered rocks looked like Grandma's crazy patch quilt inviting you to enjoy a picnic.




     The 'huge' thing I referenced in the beginning of this post was the news of LV's Mom having cancer. She is fading alarmingly fast. We got to spend time at their house this past weekend. It was sad, emotional, and yet so sweet. She is eagerly anticipating getting to meet her beloved Saviour face to face soon. We pray she doesn't have to suffer long.