Thursday, April 30, 2020

Z ~ Zeitlang

    Zeitlang is a word we used while we were Amish. I haven't found a single English word that is big enough to translate everything zeitlang encompasses.

    It's homesickness
    It's a yearning
    It's an achingly beautiful longing
    It's missing someone
    It's an unfulfilled dream

    It's zeitlang

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Y ~ Yardstick

    I can't remember the last time I used a yardstick, but while I was growing up it was a very useful thing to have.
    We used to to measure our growth and made little marks of our progress on the side of the door to our pantry.
    It got a lot of use during the time we had a fabric store. I loved being able to measure yards of fabric for customers. Always giving them an extra inch or two for good measure.
    It was our tool of choice to retrieve what ever rolled under furniture or beds.
    It made a great ramp for my little brothers to walk their animals up onto the couch when they pretend played they were going into Noah's ark.
    It seemed to get used almost every day.
    And then one day I got the brilliant idea to use it to pick up a pile of rugs that were waiting to be taken outside and shaken. I poked that yardstick underneath the pile and lifted, and suddenly I was standing there with half of it in my hand and the other half under the rugs.
      My parents were disappointed that it broke, and the first opportunity they had they bought a new one. It felt cheap and flimsy, and we all missed our old one.
     Several weeks before this whole shut down happened I was at a thrift store and saw an old heavy yardstick. I thought about buying it to replace the one I broke all those years ago, but ended up leaving it there. I'm now wishing I would have gone ahead and got it.
     I may have to see if it's still there when things open up again.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

X ~ eXample

    When I take a moment to think of the people who lived their life in such a way that their example inspired me, there are so many different people who come to mind. I won't be able to mention them all today, but I can talk about my biggest example.
     My mother. She was and is an example of contentment, patience, gentleness, kindness, and more.
      I don't remember her ever raising her voice in anger at us children.
      She never complained about things, even when circumstances were complain worthy. For example: Dad started remodeling our upstairs. Totally gutted it. Our downstairs living room and sewing room were serving as a showroom for the furniture he built in our basement woodworking shop. That meant there was only the kitchen left. We crammed all the upstairs furniture into the kitchen. The boys' bed doubled as a place to sit at the table. There were only paths to walk through.
     The remodel took a year instead of the six weeks we thought it would. During that time we had visitors over for meals. Mom never apologized for the way things were.  She simply served them delicious food and good conversation. 
      I know she was happy once the upstairs was complete and she got her kitchen back, but she never murmured or complained about it. 
     She found joy in the little things. She loved singing, she loved writing, she loved reading and learning things, she loved sewing,  she loved gardening, but most of all she loved us.
     I've always said, if I can be even somewhat like my Mom I'll be happy.    

Monday, April 27, 2020

W ~ Waterfall

     The most photographed thing at our house is the waterfall. It's an ever changing constant. 

     Framed in the colors of early autumn.

     Frozen solid during an especially cold snap.

     The cows seem to enjoy grazing near it.

     During the hot summer days when all life was longing for rain, the waterfall slowed down a lot. My heart nearly skipped a beat when I looked out to see our daughters walk along the edge of the falls.

     During a wet season when another thunderstorm pops  the waterfall turns muddy, and the water roars as it rushes on its way.

     Canada geese make the swampy area behind the falls as their home. They also love walking along the edge of the falls.

     As seen through the frame of rhododendron leaves from our front porch.

     Fun ice sculptures formed by the misty freezing spray of the falls.

    In all seasons I enjoy the changing beauty of the waterfall, and continue to take pictures of it much more than necessary.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

V ~ Vase

    The vases that have made an appearance in our house have been varied. Anything from actual vases, mason jars, water glasses, and cute cream pitchers have all served as the vessel to display flowers.
     These past few weeks we have had a steady supply of daffodil bouquets gracing the kitchen table. Once they're past their prime the girls will hang them upside down to dry, and bring a fresh bouquet inside.
    Every May LV creates a bouquet featuring Mayapple flowers and any other pretty greenery he finds. He brought me one the first year we were married, and it has become a tradition of sorts by now. I always love them, and display them in a special carnival glass vase.
   The cutest vase substitute ever, was when Steven picked a tiny flower for me, and went on a quest to find something that would work to fit it. For several days I had a thimble on the table to display that flower. It chased warm fuzzies around my heart every time I looked at it.

Friday, April 24, 2020

U ~ Up and Down

     When Steven was just itty-bitty he invented a game that we still play, and is surprisingly fun and challenging.
     He named it the Up and Down game.
     He would stand at the top of our stairway and someone else would stand at the bottom, and we'd start pitching and catching. Every time the person at the bottom of the stairs catches the ball they get to move up one step and once they reach the top the game is over and they won. If they miss they have to go down to the bottom and start over.
     Up and down, up and down we'd go.  Getting to the top is surprisingly difficult especially if the person on top is trying to get the ball past you.
    I can't begin to count how often we've played this game invented by a two almost three year old. It's still a favorite!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

T ~ Treasure Maps

     Steven is in a phase where he loves treasure maps. Whether it's a map someone made for him, or one he creates for one of us, most often for me.
     His maps are interesting, and he'll tag along to make sure you follow everything step by step even when you could easily find his treasure after only a glance at his map.
    His treasures vary some, but most often they're nature related. A pine cone, a fun shaped rock, a pile of twigs, a walking stick with the bark carefully peeled off, a dandelion bouquet, and any other little thing he thinks I might enjoy.
     If you ever drive by our house and see me wandering about our yard while holding a piece of paper, you can know I'm off to discover some more hidden treasure from my little man.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

S ~ Salmon Wellington

    At the request of several of my readers, and because today is letter 'S' in the A-Z challenge, I will be sharing the recipe for the Salmon Wellingtons I had made last month.
     I wish I had taken more pictures, especially one of it cut open where you could see the beauty of the inside, but this is all I have.

Salmon Wellington

3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bag fresh spinach
1 teaspoon salt, for spinach
½ teaspoon pepper, for spinach
½ cup breadcrumb
6 oz cream cheese
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 box puff pastry, softened to room temperature
3 pieces of salmon, skin removed (I cut three strips about 2 inches wide from the giant salmon we had)
1 teaspoon salt, for salmon
1 teaspoon pepper, for salmon
1 egg, beaten

In a large cast iron skillet or any large frying pan. (I'm partial to cast iron) melt butter and saute onions and garlic until translucent. Add spinach, and salt and pepper. Stir until spinach has been wilted. Add cheeses and breadcrumbs. Stir until combined and set aside.

Unroll the puff pastry dough and place a piece of salmon on it, spoon a third of the onion, spinach, cheese mixture on top and press and shape firmly. Trim extra dough away and then fold and tuck salmon in snugly, trimming away any extra dough for the second time. Repeat with the second sheet of dough. For the third piece of salmon take all your dough scraps and do the best you can to make another wellington. It won't be nearly as pretty, but equally as delicious.

Place seam side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

With a sharp knife carefully score the top of the dough in diamond shape pattern. Brush with your beaten egg and pop into a preheated 425º oven onto the middle rack. Bake for 20 -25 minutes.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What's something you resolved to do this year? Have you done it?

I resolved to be more intentional, and yes, I can say that I have done/am doing it.

2. Where do you go to find quietude?

I find quietude, refreshing of mind, and more on my daily walk in nature. (Weather permitting)

I also find quiet in my morning Bible time before the rest of the family gets up.

3. A friend asked this question on her Facebook page and said I could borrow it for the're only allowed to buy 5 things at the grocery store, and all must start with the first letter of your first name. Whatcha' buying?

Meat - I won't narrow it down so I'm happy with the wide assortment available
Macaroni - got to love pasta. Macaroni may not be my favorite of the pasta family, but it will do.
Milk - is rather important at our house. Steven especially, will be glad it made it on the list.
Mangoes - one of my favorite fruits
Mushroom - I thought about choosing melons, but I already have a fruit, so I decided to go with mushrooms instead. Fried nicely they would make a great addition to either a meat or the macaroni.

4. The television show Survivor, the Gloria Gaynor song 'I Will Survive', survival mode, survival of the fittest...pick one and discuss.

I don't know that I have much to discuss on any of those options. I guess I'll go with 'survival mode'. Even though by all appearances our life hasn't changed all that much since all this started, my survival mode instincts seem to have jumped in, and I'm trying to make everything last as long as possible, and looking for all the ways I can make a dollar stretch. We've done it before and survived, and I know God will carry us through this as well.

5. Share a favorite quote or saying about strength.

This verse is found in Joshua 1:9 where God was speaking to Joshua after Moses had died. He had already told him several times to be strong and courageous, and then repeated it again in verse nine. Even though this was spoken to Joshua, I find it true and comforting for me as well.

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm still making my daily A-Z posts. Today features the letter "S" and I have decided to share a recipe some of you had been requesting. Salmon Wellington coming right up.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

R ~ Roadside Stand

    My aunt and uncle had the perfect little roadside stand. It was as near picture perfect as a roadside produce stand can be. I thought it was quite a shame they would use what would have made a lovely playhouse for selling fruits and vegetables and occasional baked goods.
    My cousins and I were instructed to stay out of it unless an adult accompanied us to it, so I only dreamed of playhouse possibilities from a distance.
    We moved to Pennsylvania a year or so later, and my parents planted several acres of strawberries and sweetcorn to sell. Now it was out turn to be taking care of a roadside stand. Only we didn't have a nice little building for it. Instead we used a folding table and put it under our big chestnut tree in the front yard to display any extra produce we had to sell.
     Grandma would come to help on our busiest strawberry picking days. We would bring her buckets of freshly picked berries. She would sort them into little quart sized baskets. Nice big ones would sell for one price, and smaller and oddly shaped ones were sold as jam berries for cheaper. She took care of any customers that stopped in as she sat there sorting berries. I was sure it would be much more fun keeping her company in the shade instead of having to pick berries with the hot sun shining on my tired back. But my help was needed in the strawberry patch.
    We had a roadside stand for a number of years until Dad's woodworking business grew large enough that we no longer had the time it took to grow and sell a lot of produce. I don't think any of us missed all that work, but we did miss the friends we made who had been regulars at our little stand beside the road.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Q ~ Quelf

    The letter Q doesn't have all that many options for blog post topics for me, this time around. So I'm turning to our game shelf again.
    There is this innocent looking game tucked toward the back of a high shelf  in hopes Steven doesn't notice it. Out of sight out of mind. Right?
    He loves it. I loathe it.
    I can play a lot of games I don't particularly care for, but Quelf is too much. It requires all sorts of humiliating, uncomfortable, and rude things to be done in order to advance your game piece on the board.
     None of the rest of the family likes it either, which means the only time Steven gets to play it is if I help him.
    I won't donate it yet, maybe never. I have contemplated saving it and giving it to his children if he ever has any and telling them their Daddy would love to help them play. The thought of watching him play it with his children is the only good thing I can think of for the game of Quelf.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

P ~ Pimples

    Pimples, acne, or what ever you want to call it gave me a lot of trouble during my teenage years.
    I tried quite a variety of things to try to get rid of them, some remedies more scary than others, but none of them seemed to make a difference.
    My parents tried to tell me my smile and friendliness would mask those pimples, and people would remember how I made them feel much more than any pimple I may have had.
     I tried to take their encouragement to heart, but glancing in the mirror before heading out the door and seeing another batch of pimples sprouting up to take the place of those that were fading never felt any better.
    Then one summer day my little three year old brother Raymond came running into the house all excited. "There's a pretty butterfly in the garden! It looks just like Mary Ann! It's all pimply, just like her!"
    His innocent excitement about a lovely butterfly that looked like me warmed my heart. I still heartily disliked my pimples, but seeing how happy he was to see the butterfly, and that he thought it was pretty helped. Every time I looked into the mirror after that until my acne finally cleared up I would always replay his happy words in my mind.

Friday, April 17, 2020

O ~ Onion Tops

    Rows and rows of onions marched across our garden. More than we would actually eat, but there was a use we had for them beyond that of food.
    As the days lengthened, we children used to love playing outdoors and as twilight wrapped us in its fading light the mosquitoes would increase their pestering of us.
     It was onion tops to the rescue. We'd select the plumpest top we could find without spending a lot of time searching and carefully split it open and rub the slimy insides on our arms and legs and go back to playing. Mosquitoes didn't seem to care for our new scent and would move on to something less onion-y.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

N ~ Notions

    I never understood why smaller sewing supplies and fun extras were called notions.
    I got the chance today to peruse the notions aisle at one of our local general stores this morning.
    Our governor mandated the use of face masks, which meant I needed to get a few things to make fabric ones.
    Elastic was impossible to find, but I was able to get bias tape and thread and I was on my way.
    My day was spent making masks. Rosie Mae had requests for the masks she needs for work. And plenty of them so she can change them out frequently between our laundry days. No time for everything I had previously planned for my day. Things such as making a blog post and having a Mom and Steven's day of fun. He didn't seem to mind that it got postponed a bit. He found the treadle sewing machine fascinating and stood next to me watching the entire time with lots of questions on how everything works.
    My day may not have been as I had envisioned, but I got to do a quick browse of the sewing notions aisle, so all's good.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

M ~ Mugs

    I've lost count of how many mugs have come and gone over the years.
    We've received quite an assortment as gifts. We'll give them a try, but most often they get pushed toward the back of the shelf where we keep our mugs. When we go on a cleaning and decluttering spree it always seems as if the mugs multiplied. Somehow we always have mugs to donate, and still we have more than plenty left over.
    We each have a favorite mug or two. I have two favorites. One for hot beverages such as tea or hot chocolate, and one for cold drinks such as grape juice with my popcorn or milk with a freshly baked cookie.
    It may be only my imagination, but I think different mugs make things taste different. Has anyone else experienced that?
    As a young girl I had a favorite mug. It was a little smaller than a regular sized one, and had a blue striped pattern. I loved it.
    I still don't know what possessed me to do it, but one day I got the brilliant idea to take that mug and drop it down behind the kitchen counter. Our counter had been custom made for a different kitchen and had a space in the corner that had been specially made to accommodate some pipes or duct work in the original kitchen.
     Every once in a while something would drop down there and then we would go through a struggle to retrieve it with the aid of the stove poker and a lot of patience.
     I knew the mug would be an easy retrieval. All we would have to do is hook the curved end of the poker through the handle and I'd have my mug back. I didn't want that to happen though, so I took a yard stick and carefully pushed my mug out of sight underneath the counter.
     I thought it would be so much fun to get it back once we removed the counter to have Mom's new cabinetry installed. It would probably be a few years, but what fun once I could have my favorite mug again.
     Years passed, and I would think of that mug every once in a while. I was a little irritated at my past self to have done such a silly thing.
    Finally six weeks before LV and I got married, Mom got her dream kitchen cabinets. As they removed the old ones I looked for my mug. It was no where to be found! I'm still mystified by how it disappeared so completely.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  On a scale of 1-10 how excited would you be to find out there was karaoke happening at your next gathering/outing with friends? 10=gimme that microphone!, and 1=I suddenly remembered there’s somewhere else I need to be. Have you ever actually done karaoke? If you had to perform karaoke what would be your ‘go-to’song?

I would be a 1 on that scale. I have zero desire to sing in front of a crowd. I've never done karaoke, but I have participated in a special at church. That was a once in a lifetime experience.
If I had to perform karaoke I would probably choose to sing Forever by The Afters.

2. How do you listen to music these days? Favorite app or do you listen the old fashioned way? Do you have music playing often in your home? Is there still a CD player in your car?

I have the bluetooth speaker that used to belong to my brother Mahlon. I usually listen to music from Youtube with it. We don't even have a radio at our house, but we have music playing often. I think we have a CD player in our vehicle, but I haven't actually checked. We never use it though, as you probably guessed since I'm not 100% sure if it exists.

3. The Hodgepodge lands on US tax day this year. Or what used to be tax day before everything including filing your taxes was canceled, delayed, postponed or extended. FYI- filing your taxes has not been canceled, only delayed for a bit.

Besides staying away from anyone and everyone, what have you found taxing lately?

I have found it taxing to not be able to get everything on my grocery list from one store. I will only go out for groceries once a week, so if after checking several stores and not being able to get what I thought I needed, I find that what I thought I needed can wait for another week while I get creative in ways to make doing without, doable.

4. You’re without power so no oven, and you can’t open your refrigerator or freezer in order to keep what’s in there from spoiling. And you don’t have access to take out. What will you make us for dinner?

That would be a challenge for me since I have an electric stove, so I couldn't make anything hot. There's always the option of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a side of pork and beans.
I think I'll skip that meal, and now I should go reassess my options, because I'm sure one day I'll have to get creative like that, and I have no desire to eat what I just mentioned.

5.  I’ve seen this exercise going around Facebook and thought it would be a good one to include in the Hodgepodge...what are five things everybody seems to love and go crazy for that you personally don’t care for?

Peanut butter in baked things. Just no!
Steak. Another hard pass.
The beach. I won't go into all the whys of that, but it is not a place I would choose to go for a vacation. I've been to the beach several times. I like it less each time.
Selfies. More like self inflicted torture. I don't enjoy being in front of a camera.
Makeup. I can't stand how it feels. Even though the mirror may say I'm prettier, my skin is there yelling. "Wipe it off! Wipe it off! There's something on your face. It's gross, It's awful. Wipe it off!"
Maybe I was too old by the time I first tried to use make up that makes I can't stand it. I've done it myself. Had someone else do it. Allowed my girls to give me a  makeover. It's all the same whether it's done professionally or not. I can't stand wearing it, and so I don't.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I've been enjoying seeing the baby calves that are making their appearance. A sure sign of spring here on the farm.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

L ~ Lazy Susan

    Our kitchen may be small, but it includes four lazy susans in the corners of the kitchen cabinets. I have mixed feelings about them. On one hand I like that I can turn those shelves to find what I need. On the other hand I don't like how often something catches while I turn the shelves. It cause things to fall, and make a general mess of what ever shelf the thing that got caught was on.
   In the upper cabinets, my favorite lazy susan is the one that houses our fun baking supplies. Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Baking soda and powder as well as clear gel and tapioca all have their rightful spot in there. But what makes it so pretty is all the baking extras. The sanding sugars, cake decorating supplies, and cupcake liners. Rosie Mae used to make a lot of cupcakes and we had just replenished her supply of liners a little before she started her new job. Cupcakes are few and far between now, so those liners will last for a long time. At least they're pretty.

     The second lazy susan is where I keep all the spices I use for cooking. Including the blends I mix up and store in cute glass jars. The top shelf is boring with its multivitamins and handful of other supplements we use.
     The lazy susans in the bottom cabinets are much bigger. The one has all the bigger baking supplies such as flour, sugars, etc. as well as mixing bowls, colanders etc. And since the cabinetry was so small that there simply wasn't room for proper drawers, I bought a set of small plastic ones to set on the top shelf of this lazy susan as a place to keep my potholders.
     The last lazy susan I use more like a pantry for all the other things I need. Olive oil, vinegars, extra condiments, popcorn, and other pantry staples.
     Would I choose to add lazy susans to a kitchen if I were the one in charge of designing it? Probably not. But for now they're part of my kitchen, and since I love working in the kitchen I shall also love my lazy susans. At least I'll try.

Monday, April 13, 2020

K ~ Killdeer

    The long driveway that lead up to, and circled around the church house was kept neatly graveled. I always liked the sound the steel buggy wheels made as they drove over it as Dad guided our horse up to the porch along the front of the church house to let Mom and me get off the buggy.
    We had done it the same way every church Sunday for years, but this Sunday was different. As we approached the porch we noticed several pieces of rebar stuck into the middle of the driveway. Dad slowed our horse from a gentle trot, down to a slow walk as we approached. We turned out to drive on the grass to avoid hitting the rebar.
     Mom and I got off the buggy and walked the short extra distance to the porch steps. As we crossed the driveway we could see the reason for the rebar. A killdeer had decided to build its nest right there and four eggs were blending into their gravel nest.
     I'm sure it seemed like the perfect spot during the week with no activity happening nearby, but Sunday morning was quite another story. The poor bird fluttered and cried all morning until we all left after church services.
     Two weeks later there were little killdeer in the nest as we again all drove around it. The mother was not at all impressed with all the activity around her precious babies.
     By the next church Sunday the little family had moved on. The rebar had been removed, and normal driving up to the porch had resumed.
    Until the next summer when the killdeer was back for another round.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

J ~ Jugs

    Empty gallon jugs were a precious commodity at our house while I was growing up. Since we didn't buy milk, collecting empty jugs was challenging and slow.
    Every time we finished a gallon of vinegar we would cut off the bottom, throw away the lid, and then slide the jug onto the rope where all the other empty jugs were hanging in the basement.
    Once spring arrived and it was time to plant the garden we would place these empty jugs over some of the less hardy plants. The added warmth gave them more of a greenhouse affect and helped them grow faster and stronger than the ones we didn't have jugs for.
    Once the plants were at the point of outgrowing their cozy shelter we would remove the jugs, wash them, and string them back on the rope in the basement. They would hang there waiting until the next spring with hopefully a few more jugs being added to the collection.
    The bottoms of those empty jugs were just as precious to me as a little girl, as the tops were to my Mom. They served as plates, bowls, and pie pans in my playhouse and the sandbox.
    Many sand pies were made in them, carefully decorated with pine needles and dandelions.
    Back then I never imagined the day would come where I'm throwing several gallon jugs away each week. Even after all this time I almost feel bad every time I discard one, but I have no use for them so into the trash they go. It's also just a little sad that my children never got to experience the feeling of thankfulness as another empty jug gets added to a slowly growing collection.

Friday, April 10, 2020

I ~ Intentional

   This is the first year I decided to do that thing where you choose a word to focus on for the year.
   I mulled over an assortment of words, but somehow the word, intentional, kept popping into my mind. So I decided to go with it.
   I'm finding it's been a good choice so far as I try to focus more on being intentional in what ever I do. Whether that be the relationships I have, the money I spend, the food I eat, or the things that occupy my time.

    This morning I'm intentionally looking for the bright side of the snow we're having. So far other than how pretty it looks clinging to every surface, all I've come up with is that I'm thankful I don't have to go outside.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

H ~ Hundreds of Bumps

    The excitement was palpable as we waited in the early morning darkness with only a dim oil lamp burning on the kitchen table. The suitcases were packed and waiting by the door. John and I kept running to the window to peer outside in hopes we could see the headlights of our driver's vehicle coming up the driveway.
    Mom and Dad were sitting calmly next to the table, but somehow even with our bouncing back and forth to the window, it was Dad who saw the first glimpse of our driver approaching. We hurried outside and were ready to load into the station wagon by the time it rolled to a stop.
    John and I got to sit on the back seat. We didn't have seat belts to wear, so as soon as it was light enough to see we knelt on the seat to look out the back window.
    The day wore on and some of the excitement of traveling a long distance to visit our other set of grandparents was wearing off. We were ready to be there. The station wagon was getting hot, and it was a bumpy ride sitting in the back seat.
     Bored of watching the traffic behind us, and moving too fast to fully enjoy the passing landscape and scenery like you could from a buggy we sat there for a while bumping along quietly. And then we started singing a little song we made up on the spot.

     Hundreds of bumps, hundreds of bumps
     Here comes another and then we'll fly
     Up to the ceiling, down to the ground
     Backwards and forwards round and round.

    We sang that little song with all the gusto our little four and six year old lungs could muster. Over and over and over again. Until we finally approached our grandparents and got excited again.
     The song and its catchy little tune stuck, and remains a family favorite for bumpy conditions.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

G ~ Guilt

        It started one summer when I was a teen. My uncle was the bishop and his duties kept him busy for long hours often away from home, especially since the care of another church in a neighboring state had been placed on his shoulders. His wife was pregnant and by all appearances due to have their baby at any time.
     He was once again called away to take care of some church matters, leaving his wife at home alone. I was sure it would be most unpleasant for her to have the baby while he was gone, and so I prayed. There was no prayer in the little black prayer book the Amish used for a situation like this so I stepped out on a limb and prayed my own prayer asking God to keep Anna from having her baby until her husband could be with her.
     Several weeks later they had the baby. A little boy who died during labor.
     I was devastated and absolutely certain it was all my fault. I had meddled where I ought not have, and had dared to talk to God without the use of that little prayer book, and now the baby died because of it.
     It was all so horrible that I couldn't tell anyone what I had done. I carried that guilt for years, before realizing it was not mine to bear. That my little prayer had nothing to do with their baby passing away. It was such a relief to finally realize that.
    Guilt, when misplaced and irrational is an awful thing to bear.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

F ~ Fruit Punch

     It's the simplest games that keep us coming back to play again and again.
     One such game is Fruit Punch. The first time we opened the box, and I saw the contents, I expected us to give it a good natured try, and most likely put it on the donate pile.
     It included this big squeaky toy in the shape of a banana, and fifty-six cards. I was impressed by the quality of the cards, and the box was nice and sturdy, so at least it had that going for it.
     We sat down, read the instructions, and commenced to play. At the end of the game we all looked at each other and said, "Let's play again!"
      And so we did. Again, and again, and again until bedtime had rolled around.
      The next day we played a few rounds, and the weeks and months that have followed have been peppered with Fruit Punch. Not every day, but still often.

     Maybe someday I'll share the story behind how our game inventory grew (basically exploded). We know we don't need that many games, but we agreed we want to try all of them at least once to see if we want to keep it or donate it. Fruit Punch made the cut. It's a keeper.

Monday, April 6, 2020

E ~ Easily Entertained

    As a family we're easily entertained.
    For an example: A summer or two ago LV came home from work coated in dirt and paint particles from a sanding and polishing job he had been doing. We were all amused at the way he looked and had to take a picture of him.
    Afterwards someone zoomed in on his eyes, and once again we were amused how the dirt made them 'pop'. Sharon held the phone with the zoomed in eyes in front of her face and someone took a picture of her, and since that amused all of us we took turns holding it in front of our face for more pictures.

     With everything being the way it is in the world right now, we could use some easy entertainment. I think we'll pull out my phone later today, take pictures of each other and zoom in on our eyes and then proceed with more pictures and hopefully some laughter.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

D ~ Daily Dozen

    The daily dozen, a little phrase we always used while we were Amish. It referred to all the things you did around the house daily.
     As a young Mom with three preschoolers, if one of my friends asked me what I did the day before and I told them, 'the daily dozen', they would smile, nod, and understand. Being in the same boat with their little families and their own little daily dozens that they were thankful got completed by bedtime, they understood how full a day could be without having much to show for or talk about.
      There was/is no set list of things that belong on the daily dozen. Some moms might have had fewer than twelve things on their daily schedule, while others had more.
       Here is what my daily dozen looks like.

  • Cook three meals  
  • Do dishes and sweep kitchen floor after each meal  
  • Wipe down stove, and stove hood with vinegar solution 
  • Change out dish cloths and towels 
  • Sweep all rooms on main floor 
  • Clean bathroom, scrub toilet, wipe down vanity, clean mirror 
  • Make beds 
  • Change bags in trash cans 
  • Fix couches (covers and pillows) at least once 
  • General tidying: toys, mail, clothes etc 
     As a mother to young children that list expanded to include all the things that caring for them involved.
      We also used the phrase, 'the weekly seven' where there were other household chores that needed to be done weekly that we tried to incorporate one or two into each day in addition to our daily dozen. 
        That list included laundry, baking, washing windows, cleaning the oven, and a few other items to keep the house running smoothly.

Friday, April 3, 2020

C ~ Chocolate Gobs

    I haven't made many gobs over the years because I never liked the fillings, even though I tried a variety of different recipes. The pudding-like fillings were messy. Other fillings were too sweet, and I didn't want to simply use a regular buttercream frosting.
     When I discovered this recipe I had high hopes for it, and it didn't disappoint. I made a few small tweaks and it has become a new family favorite.

Chocolate Gobs

½ cup butter
½ cup butter flavored crisco
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tbsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix butter, crisco, and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.  Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add a third of it to your sugar and egg mixture and mix well. Add half of the milk and mix until incorporated. Add half of your remaining flour mixture and mix. Pour in the last cup of milk, mixing well, and finally your remaining flour mixture. Beat well.

Spoon dough into about two inch balls. (The dough is soft so actual ball shape was not achieved.) Drop on parchment paper lined cookie sheets about three inches apart. You will want to leave approximately 3 inches between each one. Bake at 350º for 10 - 11 minutes.

Gently slide entire parchment paper sheet, cookies and all onto a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before removing from parchment paper.

Marshmallow Filling

2 cups butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
16 oz. marshmallow fluff

Hand mix butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt until incorporated and then go ahead and beat. Add marshmallow fluff, mixing until everything is evenly nice and fluffy.

Spread a thick layer between two cookies.

I wrapped each gob individually to keep them from sticking together while stored.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

B ~ Bleeding Hearts

    I was first introduced to Bleeding Heart flowers the summer I was eight. We had moved to our new home earlier that year and when spring came our yard was transformed into a jungle of flowering plants.
     One of those plants happened to be a Bleeding Heart.
     I immediately fell in love with it. I loved the color, the shape, and really everything about this gorgeous plant. The shape of the flowers reminded me of the shape the prayer coverings my Lancaster girl cousins wore, complete with their flying strings that they never kept tied neatly under their chins as our community was required to do.
    The first time we went to see my grandparents after the Bleeding Hearts started blooming, I ran out to the plant and carefully plucked a few of those hearts off and tucked them into my pocket. Grandma loved flowers, and I was sure she had never seen anything quite so lovely before.
     By the time we arrived the poor flowers were warm and somewhat damaged. Grandma admired them though and said she would try to come see them in person before they were done blooming.
     I'm so glad we have a Bleeding Heart plant growing in front of our house. It makes my heart smile every time I see those sweet little flowers, and brings back a wave of warm nostalgia.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Has spring sprung in your part of the world? How can you tell? Did March come in like a lion where you live? Going out like a lamb or something more ferocious?

Spring seems to have sprung. All the spring flowers are beginning to bloom, the lilacs are budding, the birds are singing so cheerfully from all the trees around our house, and the spring peepers are serenading us at night. We're still having a lot of cloudy, overcast, and foggy days, but I'm enjoying all the little signs that brighter days are coming.

I can't remember how the weather was at the beginning of March, but yesterday was mild, cloudy, with occasional drizzle.

(Drizzle sounds so much prettier when you're talking about the icing on cinnamon rolls instead of describing the weather.)

2. The last thing that caused you to spring to your feet?

The last time I had to spring to my feet was when the smoke alarm went off while we were eating. That thing is so loud, and did a fine job of scaring me! No fire ... but at least we know the alarm still has the ability to work.

3. Do you have a spring clean to-do list? What's one chore on the list you've already managed to accomplish? What spring clean chore do you most dread?

We do spring house cleaning every year. I have been able to check off a few things already. The one I'm the happiest about having done already is shampooing all the carpeting on the main floor.

(Let it be known, if I were ever to build a house there would be no carpeted floors!)

4. Tell us something you've learned about yourself or the wider world as a result of social distancing/the virus crisis.

I have learned that I'm possibly not quite as much of an introvert as I thought I was.

5. Something you love that's the color pink?

I love Impatiens. I always fill our flowerbed under the big tree here in front of our house with Impatiens in shades of pinks.

I'm hoping I'll be able to visit the local greenhouses in early May to get the flowers I need. otherwise we may have empty flowerbeds this year.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I once again signed up to do the April A-Z blogging challenge. You can find my first post for it just before this one.

There's no set theme I'll be adhering to, to get me through the alphabet this year. I'll simply be sharing a mixture of memories, recipes, thoughts, present happenings, and what ever else might correspond with the letter of the day.

You're welcome to keep checking back to see if I'm able to successfully keep up and complete my goal.

A ~ Apples

    Coming home from school and seeing that the fall delivery of apples had come in that day was always exciting.
     We were allowed to try the different kinds, but then bushels and bushels of crisp Yellow Delicious apples were stored in the darker part of the basement where they would remain until spring.
     Mom would have several different kinds of apples to make applesauce. A mix of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious were turned into hundreds of quarts of sauce that filled a whole section of our canning shelves. Cortland and McIntosh made a lovely pink sauce. I wasn't the biggest fan of applesauce, but a lovely shade of pink made it much more appealing to me.
     Big roast pans filled with peeled apples were placed in the oven where they baked at a low heat for hours and were turned into apple butter.
     My favorite were the Yellow Delicious. Night after night we would head down to the basement to fill a bowl of apples. Mom would peel and slice them, and then we'd munch on them as she read a chapter or two from a book for our bedtimes stories.
     By spring the apples were beginning to get a little wrinkled and weren't as crisp and juicy, but we kept enjoying them until the last one was gone, and time for gardening had arrived once more.
    Spring and summer were great, but I always looked forward to fall and winter. The season of apples and bedtime stories.