Friday, July 9, 2021

Laughter

    There seems to be so much in life lately that simply is not funny. 

    First ...  my Mom was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and given only 8 - 12 weeks to live, and it is becoming quite obvious that they knew what they were talking about. I'm not ready to say good-bye yet, There is so much I still want to talk about with her. Time I want to spend at their house. I want her to meet her great-grandson, and the list goes on.

    Second ... we've been dealing with a poisonous spider bite on Steven's leg. The doctor prescribed several medications for it, and it is looking a lot better, but for a while there it was quite a sight, even while following doctor's orders.. Growing from the initial inflamed bite, to wrapping entirely around his leg and reaching from his ankle to an inch below his knee.

    But last night ... last night laughter rang through the house when LV was in hot pursuit of a pesky housefly. I was in the kitchen preparing a pizza. I had the toppings arranged nicely and was just ready to pop it in the oven when the fly came to check it out. LV tried to grab it with his hand. He missed the fly and sent the pizza toppings flying across the kitchen. Both our mouths dropped open, and then we dissolved in gales of laughter.

    I redid the pizza, and we ended up with little later, but still delicious supper. The slight delay was worth it though. It felt good to laugh again.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Processing Life

     Some day I may turn my thoughts and feeling into writing, but right now life feels too full to be able to do that.
    Baby T is doing well, and has brought so much joy into all our lives. We are so very thankful to God for his gift of life.
    There have been weddings, events, and extended family to spend time with.
    But ...
    Our world was rocked when my Mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I still believe in the power of prayer, having seen and experienced first hand how God still performs miracles. If you care to join me in prayer for healing for my much beloved mother, we would be most grateful.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Blueberry Ice Cream

     LV gave me a lovely ice cream machine for Christmas. I have enjoyed trying different recipes for ice cream and gelatos, but this week I decided I want to try my hand at creating my own recipe. I'm so glad I did. It just happened to become our favorite ice cream yet. 

    I jotted everything down as I did it, so I won't forget if I ever want to make it again. I 'm glad I did, because I already have requests to make it again. Since it was such a hit I decided to share it with you as well.

Blueberry Ice Cream

1¼ c wild blueberries (frozen is fine)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ c. sugar
Pinch of salt

Combine and bring to a boil. Stirring constantly. Boil for about a minute or so. Remove from heat and cool. Pour into a blender and blend.

In a medium size bowl beat:

1 egg

Add 
½ c sugar
½ Tbsp cornstarch

Mix well then add:

¾ c. whole milk
½ heavy cream
blended blueberries 

Heat in top of double boiler until thickened.

Cool and freeze according to your ice cream freezer instructions. Mine took about 30 minutes. Scoop into a container and tuck it in the freezer until ready to eat. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Currently

 Reading ... In the Bible I'm in the Psalms again. I love them so much. 

In fiction I'm not engrossed in any book for my own reading pleasure at the moment. Instead I'm in the middle of another read aloud with Steven. He's a voracious reader on his own, but he still enjoys our story times. So do I, even if the chapters I read are long enough to make my mouth dry by the time I'm done.

Watching ... the cats. They have have claimed a spot behind the house next to the entrance of a mouse hole. They stare at it watching for any activity and then try their best to catch it. So far they have not been successful.

Listening ... to the beautiful sound of a variety of birds singing in the trees here around the house.

Wearing ... a mint green dress. Not my favorite, but it's comfortable so that balances out the color for me.

Baking ... bread and cookies. Neither of which I'm pleased with the results. I used my mother-in-law's recipe for Cheesy Garlic Bread. I've made it many times already, but this time it didn't rise well at all, and now that it's cooling it feels super heavy. I'm almost afraid it may be doughy in the center. I guess we'll find out tonight.

The cookies were a new recipe from a fancy cookbook. I followed the instructions precisely but the first cookie sheet full turned out lacey. I added more flour to the rest of the dough and they're better, but I'm still not impressed. The flavors are good though so at least they have that going for them.

Cooking ... for supper I'm making mashed potatoes, fried beans, hamburgers, and a salad. 

Playing ... most recently Apples to Apples. It's always a fun time when we pull that game out to play.

Cleaning ... the lazy susans in the kitchen. I have four of them, and it seems they need regular maintenance.

Loving ... sharp knives. Rosie Mae knows a guy who sharpens knives so I sent most of my chef knives off to be professionally sharpened by him. They came back yesterday, super sharp. Today I wanted to cut up potatoes and grabbed one of the newly sharpened paring knives to use. Only I forgot it was newly sharpened. The knife went flying through the potato and came to a stop inside my thumb. Ouch! But what a dream to use. I'm really happy with them.

Yesterday ... was a sleepy somewhat unproductive day. LV and I had spent all night out on the road, only getting home in time to hear the alarm go off signaling time to get up. We ignored it and went to bed anyway. I ended up with two hours of sleep, as a result I kind of stumbled through my day.

Later today ... I am hoping to get some Baby T snuggles in.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

W ~ Water Witching

     School work was laid aside for a while as the teacher allowed all of us to gather at the window and watch the man who was walking around the schoolyard carrying a forked stick.
    He held the ends of the forks in his hands and walked with slow measured steps back and forth across the schoolyard. Finally about ten feet from the west side of the schoolhouse the stick started turning in his hands. He stopped and counted the revolutions until it became still again.
    Taking a stake he had tucked in the side pocket of his pants, he pounded it into the ground. Water would be found at around 300 feet he said.
    The next week well drillers moved in and started drilling. The teacher wasn't nearly as excited about it as we were and pulled the blinds to keep us from being distracted from our work.
    Strangely enough water was struck at the depth the water witcher had said it would be found. 
    I don't understand how it worked, and haven't really delved into trying to understand either. I do have some opinions about the whole thing, but I'll save them for another day.

Monday, April 26, 2021

V ~ Vacuum

     Having a vacuum cleaner was a thing of immense interest to our children when we first got one.
    Kenneth really wanted to use it too, so I let him try. He did a great job on the living room. Nearly every day he would ask if he could run the vacuum.  Often more than once a day. He liked the lines it made on the carpet for his fields as he played with his farm toys.
    I didn't mind have a nice clean floor, until one day I noticed some smoke coming from the vacuum cleaner when he was done. I grabbed it and threw it out the door where it lay in the grass smoldering away.
    Kenneth watched me wide eyed, "I guess I shouldn't have vacuumed the ashes from the fireplace," he said.
    Somehow during our fire safety lessons, I had never thought it would be necessary to add the caution of never using a vacuum cleaner to remove ashes from a burning fireplace.
    We got a new one to replace the one that was ruined. Kenneth still enjoyed running it, but now only in the way it was meant to be used.
    

Thursday, April 22, 2021

S ~ Spring Snow

     After days of enjoying lovely warm weather, mowing the yard, and listening to the spring peepers it's a bit of an adjustment waking up to twenty degree weather and a layer of fresh snow on the ground.

    At least it melted already, but the flowers are still a little worse for the experience. They're still pretty though even as they shiver under their dusting of snow.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

R ~ Rooster

    We got new neighbors. They came complete with a noisy rooster.
    Waking up at two in the morning to a noisily crowing rooster is not my idea of a good time.  
    This particular rooster doesn't seem to get adequate rest. He crows at every opportunity he has.
    Lying in bed awake in the middle of the night, listening to him crowing away has me menu planning for the neighbor lady. I won't do it, but the thought of mailing recipes to her is a delightful little distraction as the crowing continues.
        Recipes would include:
        Rooster Pot Pie
        Rooster Noodle Soup
        Crispy Fried Rooster
        Rooster and Dumplings
        Sesame Crusted Rooster
        Rooster Tenders
    And the list could go on for a while.
    I've tried praying blessings on the neighbors and their rooster. But mostly he's just super annoying.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Q ~ Quiet

     Quiet, hush ... the baby sleeps.

    Meet our brand new grandson.  I'll refer to him as Baby T  here on my blog.

 


    I'm completely smitten with him, and so in love! Who knew being a Grandma could be this great?!!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

M ~ Meal Planning

     Every week I take a little time to plan out a menu before I make my grocery shopping list. I like how it prevents that block of wondering what I'm going to be cooking for supper. I also like how it helps me incorporate new recipes knowing that I'll have the necessary ingredients on hand. 
    I keep each week's menu in one of my "idea books" and I enjoy looking back over previous menus to see what our favorites had been.
    This week I had planned a different sort of menu because one of us was scheduled for oral surgery yesterday, and I wanted the food to still be able to be enjoyed by all.

Monday

Korean BBQ wraps
Purple Slaw

Tuesday

Chile Relleno Casserole
Salad

Wednesday

Cream of Chicken Soup (from scratch)
Dinner rolls
Pudding

Thursday

Creamy Potato Soup
Bread
Leftover pudding

Friday

Mashed Potatoes
Onion Fritters
Tuna Balls

Saturday

Sandwiches
Salad
Mangos and Cottage Cheese

Sunday


Rosie Mae cooks - surprise menu

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

L ~ Lamps

     Saturdays used to be the day to take care of all our lamps.
    I'd gather them from every room in the house and set them on the kitchen counter, remove the chimneys, and then take the bowls to the basement to top them off with kerosene.
    Once they were filled, I returned them to the kitchen and wash the outside with hot soapy water and trim the wicks. The chimneys were washed and dried until they gleamed and then they were returned to their proper places.
    I could always tell who stayed up the latest by the amount of kerosene that had been used that week.
    My lamp used to be up there at the top spot of kerosene use. 
    Even though the light from those lamps was dim I read many books, wrote countless letters, and jotted my days' events and thoughts in my journals by the cozy light my lamp provided.
    I wouldn't say I miss taking care of oil lamps every week, and I certainly don't miss the dim light, but I always enjoyed the weekly task of caring for the lamps.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

K ~ Knife Sharpening

     Every two weeks the knife sharpening guy would stop in to pick up all the knives and blades we used in our woodworking shop to have them sharpened, and drop off the ones he had picked up the previous week.
    After some time Mom wondered if they could also sharpen our kitchen knives. Daddy checked it out for her, and finding that they were willing to do them as well we sent half of our knives along.
    The joy of using them when they came back super sharp was great, and we sent the other half of our knives the next time he stopped in.
    From that day on we always had sharp knives. They did so much better at sharpening than we could do with our little whet stone.
    Every once in a while as I use one of my knives I'll think wistfully of that knife sharpening guy and wish I could send some of mine off to be professionally sharpened.

Monday, April 12, 2021

J ~ Jokes

    Several years ago Steven went through a phase where he loved making up knock - knock jokes. Only problem was that they were truly awful.
    After weeks of enduring the torture of listening to them, I grabbed a pen and started jotting them down. I decided to create a small book with them someday and gift it to him. It only seemed right that he gets to fully appreciate them someday.
    Last week as I was looking for something  in one of my idea books I found them again. Steven was with me so I started reading them to him.

    Me: Knock knock
    Steven: Who's there?
    Me: Grasshopper
    Steven: Grasshopper who?
    Me: Grasshopper book.

    Steven: Well that's not funny! It doesn't even make sense!
    Me: These are all jokes you made up when you were five or so. 

    We read them together and had to laugh at how terrible they were. This time around they weren't as painful though. Somehow time made the memory of those days sweet. I'm still planning on getting a little book made with them, complete with illustrations. Only now I think I may want to keep it instead of giving it to him.
    

Saturday, April 10, 2021

I ~ Ink Holes

     Sitting in my desk for the first time in a new school room filled with children I didn't know, I tried to busy myself to avoid meeting the curious stares.
    The new books were interesting, but what really caught my attention was the little hole in the top right hand corner of my desk.
    I decided it must have been designed as a clever way to dispose of my paper scraps and pencil shavings. I carefully designed a little basket out of construction paper and situated it beneath the hole to hold any trash I dropped through the hole.
    It wasn't until the following year when I lamented the fact that my new desk didn't come with the same trash hole feature that my desk in my previous grade had, that I found out they weren't designed for trash, but to hold little ink wells.
    I couldn't quite wrap my mind around having to use an ink well to write, and was glad I got to use it as a hole to pass my trash through instead of a hole to hold my ink.

Friday, April 9, 2021

H ~ Hiking

     I have traipsed over way more rugged terrain, hiked more trails, and seen more breathtaking views than I ever imagined I would. Thanks to LV and his love of the outdoors, and his love of having me enjoy it with him.
    Just between you and me ... I'm more of a houseplant and can happily spend my days at home. However I always end up really enjoying our hikes and time spent together outdoors.

    I don't think I'll ever get tired of views like these.



And then there are times when I'm glad I have a good zoom feature on my camera.



The waterfall at Moore's Cove was worth the hike back to it.







    Through all the seasons, when ever LV says, "Grab your camera, and let's go exploring." I get my camera and happily go with him, wondering what new adventures we'll experience this time, and what photo opportunities await me. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

G ~ Great is Thy Faithfulness

     Though I had always loved singing, my world of hymns really expanded once we left the Amish church. 
    One of the first hymns I learned after leaving was "Great is Thy Faithfulness" 
    Hearing it, or singing it always transports me back to a little Mennonite church in Missouri, and the feeling of overwhelming gratefulness at the goodness of God and how He had saved us.
    I was singing it today and on a whim decided to see if Youtube has a nice version to listen to.
    I tried several, but this one is my favorite.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

F ~ Forty Years

     We had traveled several hundred miles to the little Amish community where my paternal grandparents lived. Usually it was a joyous occasion when we went to see them, but this time was different. Everyone was gathered to say our final good-byes to Grandpa.
    The morning of the funeral arrived. There was a more somber air at the farm. All the fun the big group of us cousins had the day before was pushed aside as we focused on what this day held. Mom had woke us up early, and while she was getting my brothers ready for the day I slipped outside to use the "facilities" (This particular community did not allow indoor bathrooms)
    As I was ready to return to the house Grandma met me on the little path. "You're up early," she said.
    I agreed. The dew was still heavy on the grass and the first signs of a sunrise were just peaking over the eastern horizon.
    We stood side by side and watched the sunrise quietly. I wished with all my little ten year old self I would know what to say to her now that she no longer had Grandpa. But I didn't, so I simply stood there next to her in silence watching a new day dawn.
    Once the sun was up Grandma said, "Forty years."
    I looked at her, confused.
    She must have read the confusion on my face. "We were married for forty years," she clarified.
    "Oh," was my brilliant response.
    We parted then, and I went back into the house to get ready for the funeral.


    It may not be a lot, but it is now a memory I treasure.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

E ~ Email

     Sometime in 2020 I became aware that some emails weren't reaching me, when someone asked if I minded getting some info to them that they had asked for in an email they had sent.
    I checked my email. Nothing. I check the junk folder, the stuff I had deleted, and the blocked address list and still nothing. I asked Rosie Mae and Sharon to send me an email. Those didn't show up either.
    I went trouble shooting, and discovered that a lot of people using outlook/msn/live for their email were no longer receiving anything sent to them via gmail accounts. Super frustrating!
    I wondered how many people were waiting for a reply from me, and I had never received what they had sent. On gmail users end, they never get notified that their email was not delivered.
    If you're one of them. I'm so sorry! 
    Here is my new email address you can use. kinsingermaryann(at)gmail(dot)com

Monday, April 5, 2021

D ~ Daffodil Selfie

     Coming home from running some errands I stopped by one of our flowerbeds to take a picture of the happy little daffodils. The skies were so blue and the cows were laying in the field contently chewing their cud, so I decided to try to capture it all in the picture.
    As I lowered my phone into the flowers, the leaves of one of the daffodils touched the screen and switched it to selfie mode just as I took the picture.
    It amused me, which is why I'm sharing it today, even though selfies or appearing anywhere in front of a camera is way out of my comfort zone.
    Deep breaths ... here we go ... my very first daffodil selfie.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

C ~ Chickens

     Feeding the chickens and gathering eggs used to be one of my favorite things to do as a child.
    Mom would save stale bread and choice food scraps for us to feed them, but my favorite of all was feeding them wild grapes from the vines that twisted their way up the trees behind the barn. 
They were much too tangy for us to eat, but the chickens viewed them as the best treat.                                
    I would hold the corners of my apron while John and David would scramble up the tree to retrieve those tiny grapes and drop them down to me. Once we had what we deemed as a sufficient amount we'd run to the chicken pen and stand outside the fence. One by one we would throw the grapes in and watch the chickens race to get to it.
    Mom didn't want us to feed them too many in one day, so after we fed them everything we had harvested we'd find something else to do and leave the chickens to their regular food.
    I often wondered why we couldn't feed them as much as we wanted to, but then one year the neighbors cows got into a lot of ramps (spring onions/garlic) and it made their milk taste garlicky. They couldn't sell garlic flavored milk and asked us if we want it. We took a lot of it. Mom saved the cream and we fed the rest to our pigs and our calf.
    Once the butter was made we tried eating it, but the over powering garlic flavor proved to be too much. John and I were sent to feed it to the pigs, but we detoured and fed it to the chickens instead. They seemed super excited and pecked away at it until they had it cleaned up.
    We didn't tell Mom we opted to feed the chickens instead of the pigs, but then several days later the breakfast eggs tasted oddly of garlic. Mom was mystified until we told her we had fed the chickens all that garlicky butter.
    After that I understood why Mom didn't want us to feed an abundance of those tangy wild grapes to the chickens at one time.

Friday, April 2, 2021

B ~ Borrowing

    We used to live in walking distance to my grandparents and several aunts and uncles. It wasn't unusual for one of them to appear at our door to see if they could borrow something. A cup of sugar, a special kind of saw, the lawn mower when theirs broke down, anything they happened to need, and the most popular by far ... books.
    We were always happy to help them out if we could. They were always willing to return the favor.
    We had the same type of borrowing relationship with other nearby Amish families.
    Borrowing from neighbors is a thing of the past now for us. Some days I miss that.
    Days like today, when I had a sewing order I needed to complete to get in the mail, and my old faithful treadle sewing machine would not cooperate at all. 
    If it would have been twenty years ago I would have gathered up all my things and gone to my parents house and used my Mom's sewing machine. 
    I briefly thought of going to our closet Amish neighbors to see if I can use her machine and then laughed at that errant thought. I can only imagine how horrified she would have been to have someone they have to shun ask for something like that. Technically they're supposed to give us what ever we want or need, and never accept anything from us in return. But I wasn't about to put her into such an uncomfortable position. 
    Every once in a while I miss the simplicity and sense of community we used to have while we were Amish. Borrowing and lending is one of those things I do miss.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

A ~ Add Water

     One of the first things I learned to do after LV and I got married was how to make coffee. 
     Having grown up in a family that didn't drink coffee I never had the opportunity to learn how before we were married.
    LV showed me how he liked his coffee and it became part of our daily breakfast. I found some degree of satisfaction being able to make it just how he liked it. Black and strong, and percolated the right amount of time to bring out all the flavor he enjoyed.
    Several months later we received our first overnight guests. I made the coffee as usual and the visiting lady requested to have hers black while others wanted cream and sugar for theirs.
    She took one sip and exclaimed the coffee is much too strong and asked if I can make a new pot for her. 
    I suggested she add some water to hers, to which she vehemently declared, "You DON'T add water to coffee!"
    I got up from the table to make a new and much weaker pot for her. Somehow I didn't have the courage to ask her what the main ingredient is in a cup of coffee.
    I don't remember much else of that visit, but I regularly think of her when I make coffee as I pour water into the pot.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 1. The Hodgepodge lands on the last day of March...in ten words or lest bid the month adieu. 

The highest of peaks and the lowest of lows ... good-bye.

2. March 31st is National Tater Day...your favorite way to have a potato? Given a choice would you opt for sweet, white, or red? How often are potatoes on your menu in one form or another? Ever been to Idaho? If not, is that a state you'd like to visit someday?

Potatoes have been appearing on our menu a little more regularly than they had for a while. At least once a week, sometimes more.

My favorite way to have regular potatoes is probably fried in my cast iron skillet the way my Mom used to make them. I hardly ever make them that way, but we all love when I do.

It's only been a year since I learned to really like sweet potatoes. I'll happily eat them anytime.

I have never been to Idaho, but hope to someday.

3. Last time someone or something 'rained on your parade'? Explain. 

LV and I had a lovely getaway planned, but yesterday we received an invitation to a wedding for the weekend we had planned to be gone.

It felt like rain on our parade. However we can reschedule a getaway, while the wedding will only happen once. So wedding it is.

4. Put all your eggs in one basket, get cracking, nest egg, bad egg, good egg, egg on, have egg on your face, or walk on eggshells...choose a phrase from the list that applies to something in your life currently and tell us how or why.

Get cracking seems appropriate for my life. There are so many things I want to get done and self imposed deadlines I need to meet, that every morning I tell myself I need to get cracking. At the end of the day there's always the satisfaction of seeing what all I've accomplished, but the mountain ahead of me doesn't look much smaller, and so I continue to get cracking.

5. If I visited your home would I find a lot of baskets there? Something you like to keep in a basket? 

No, you wouldn't find a lot of baskets. There's one in the bathroom closet that holds some toiletries, but that's the extent of baskets in our house.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

Tomorrow starts the month long April A-Z blogging challenge. Somehow I went ahead and signed up for it again this year.

I don't have a certain theme I'm going for this year. My notebook of ideas is about to spill over, so I'll simply choose a random topic every day.

I'm actually looking forward to getting back to blogging daily.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Bits and Pieces

     I enjoy cooking, planning menus, and working with food. 
    How ever I also really enjoy my day off on Sundays. Usually Rosie Mae will take over the kitchen then. Yesterday, Steven insisted he wants to cook for us.
    He had found a recipe he wanted to make, and with all the time he has spent in the kitchen helping me, we agreed he is capable and could be the one preparing the meal.
    He made a lovely, and super delicious risotto.
    Afterwards he told me he had not expected his arm to become so tired from all the stirring he had to do.
    I'm so happy he enjoys cooking, and my Mama's heart thrills in watching him take on challenges like this and succeeding.

~~~~~
    Our snow has melted, revealing all the twigs, branches, and other debris winter always seems to leave behind.
    The grass along the road is completely buried under tiny gravel and what ever it is the snowplows kept spreading on the road.
    I'm not looking forward to cleaning it up. I can almost feel blisters on my hands just thinking about all the effort it will take to restore the yard back to its pre-winter condition.
~~~~~
    On Saturday we had an interesting day. There were errands we had to run in the morning, and again in the afternoon. In-between, we got to attend the baby shower for Kenneth and Paige's eagerly awaited baby.
~~~~~
    I'm thinking of starting a small journal to document my ventures into Walmart. It seems something "interesting" always happens.
    Recently the cart sprayer/sanitizer guy ran after me and my cart. Apparently he hadn't gotten around to it yet and so he gave both it and my arms a quick spray.
    I was speechless, more than a little indignant, and immediately my arms itched horribly. I dashed off to the restroom to wash the stuff off.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The "Fig" Plant

     We didn't have a lot of houseplants while I was growing up. The ones we had been gifted died after a few months, except for the Christmas cactus. It didn't require the care that other plants did, and we managed to remember to water it just often enough that it remained alive, It bloomed beautifully every year.
    One day some old friends stopped by to visit. The lady presented Mom with a plant. "It's just a little "fig" plant," she said.
    Mom was thrilled at the prospect to someday have our own figs. For once a houseplant was doted upon. It was watered regularly. We were pleased with how nice it stayed. No blight or sickness was affecting it. We wondered how long it would need to grow before it would start producing figs. We thought it might take years since it certainly grew slowly enough.
    Then one day as Mom was watering it again she looked at it more carefully and discovered it was a fake plant, not a "fig" plant.
    After laughing about it heartily, we sadly threw our precious "fig" plant away. Our community didn't allow artificial flowers or plants, so it had to go.
    We never did try growing our own figs, but seeing fake plants always makes me think about them.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Currently

Reading ... in the Bible I'm somewhere in the desert/wilderness with the Israelites on their journey to Canaan. I also read Psalms 103 this morning. It's one of my favorites.

The Detective in the Dooryard
by Timothy Cotton is in my current reading pile. One of my friends on Facebook had mentioned it, and on a whim I requested it from the library. I'm so glad I did. His essay style writing is touched with humor, and keeps me wanting to read more. So far it's the best book I've read in 2021. I know we're only on week seven, but I'll let it claim the spot until another book takes its place.

I have a stack of books here to go with the state studies Steven and I embarked on. Currently the state happens to be Alabama. We have books on geography, facts, famous people from Alabama such as George Washington Carver, Rosa Parks, and Helen Keller. Some fiction books that are set in Alabama, a book of recipes, and another with crafts and projects all related to Alabama. It's a lot of fun, and I'm so glad Steven enjoys it as much as I do.

Watching ... we seem to be having a daily episode of Andy Griffith. 

Listening ... to the hum of the furnace blower as it disperses a comforting heat throughout the house, pages being turning and pencils walking across paper as Sharon and Steven do their school work, the loud tick tocks of the clock above the desk as it steadily counts down the hours of another day. I can also hear sirens in the distance. 

Wearing ... a brown maxi dress. 

Baking ... yesterday Rosie Mae and Steven made a batch of Cosmic brownies. They're so pretty! They're also pretty high on the decadence scale, which means a small bite is all I allow myself to enjoy at one time.

Cooking ... tonight we'll be having Chile Relleno Soup and dinner rolls. 

Yesterday Rosie Mae did the cooking. She loves working in the kitchen, and with Sunday being her only day off work she usually takes over the kitchen then. She made a full course meal that included Napa cabbage leaves lightly battered in a Korean pancake batter and fried in olive oil. It was so, so good!

Playing ... lots of Uno and Skip-bo lately. I don't know how many rounds of each we played this weekend, but I lost them all.

Wishing ... we had a snow blower. It would make the snow removal so much easier. We used to have a neighbor that opened the driveways for everyone in our neighborhood, but he moved last fall. Let's just say, shoveling snow gets old fast!

Cleaning ... besides the daily dozen, we are focusing on a bigger project every week. Last week that was the girls room. We washed the curtains, and basically spring cleaned the room even though spring has not yet arrived.

Disliking ... the weather forecast. Freezing rain is not my favorite. Apparently it is also the cows least favorite type of weather

They have free access to the barn and can enter and exit as they please. I find it interesting how they prefer being outdoors the majority of the time. It seems only freezing rain will get them to stay inside.

Monday, February 1, 2021

The "Pride" of Sharing

    One of the best things about our new home in Pennsylvania was that behind the house was a little playhouse. It was absolutely perfect to little eight year old me. It had three windows, shelves on the walls, and a darling little table in the center of the room. 
    Mom let me have the floral shower curtain that the previous owners had left in the house. A little folding and smoothing and it turned into the prettiest table cloth. The sand box beside the playhouse worked well when ever I needed something to whip up "food" in my house.
    It became even more special after the attic was cleaned, and Mom let me have piles of old pots and pans, a wide variety of utensils, and best of all, two lovely old china plates with sprays of pink roses on them. They were so old they were lined with hundreds of little cracks in the glaze, but that didn't bother me. They were so beautiful. I carefully displayed them on one of my shelves and only rarely got them down to play with.
    That fall when school started again someone came up with the idea that we would be playing pioneers at recess.
    The girls had their little cabin among the trees at the edge of the playground. We had a lot of fun, but we were missing any dishes. 
    I got the brilliant idea to pack up my dishes from my playhouse to take along. I knew everyone would have a lot of fun with them.
    That evening I carefully packed everything into two paper grocery bags, and the next morning I got John to help me get them in my arms. 
    We set off to school. John carried both of our lunch boxes while I struggled under my burden. That mile walk to school took a particularly long time that morning. My arms grew ridiculously tired and I could barely see where I was walking. The thought of all the fun we would have kept me going and we finally arrived at school. I deposited my load in the "cabin" and ran to the school house managing to slip into my desk just in time.
    When recess came we had every bit as much fun as I thought we would. Several days later the teacher even came out to see what we were playing.
    But then she paid a visit to my parents. I was excited when I saw her drive in. I loved her, and having her stop by was beyond special. She and Mom went into another room to talk. I crept next to the door to listen to what they were saying.
    My stomach sank as I heard what she had to say. "I think Mary Ann should take the dishes home. Not every little girl has things like that to play with, especially not old Sunday dishes. No good can come of having them at school. It will only spark jealousy in the other girls and pride in Mary Ann."
    I heard enough, and ran upstairs to my room to cry. I had only wanted to share. I never meant to sin. I felt awful as I lay sobbing on my bed.
    The next morning Mom told me it was kind of me to want to share my things with the other girls, but I should probably bring them back home now. She didn't mention jealousy or pride, but I knew that's why she wanted me to bring them home.
    When first recess rolled around teacher told us girls to pack everything up. We did so sadly. Everyone had enjoyed playing with the dishes. As the pretty plates were tucked into the bag, the bag fell over and they broke.
    I was sad and wished I had ever brought them to school.
    Pride had never been an issue with those dishes, but the whole ordeal made me rethink sharing my things with anyone. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 1. Have you done more binge watching this past year than in 'normal' years? Any plans to break that habit in 2021? Tell us one or two shows you binged last year that you really liked. 

If anything, I think we watched less. 

And 2021 we hope to continue watching even less. There are so many things we really enjoy doing that it's not that difficult to choose 'doing' instead of watching. 

We didn't binge on any shows last year.

2. January 26th is Australia Day. Have you ever visited or lived in Australia? Have you ever tasted Vegemite, and if so what did you think?  Is a trip down under on your bucket list? We answered a question about travel three months ago (the October 21st Hodgepodge), but let's revisit now...where are you when it comes to planning or even imagining travel this year? 

I have never been to Australia, but I think it would be interesting to visit someday.

When it comes to planning travel this year, we will be staying in the U.S.  Even those plans hinge on how things will look by the time we're ready for a get-away. What's the fun of a vacation if restaurants and points of interest are closed?

3. Something that zaps your energy? Something that energizes you? 

Facebook ... I've been unfollowing so many people on there. We remain friends, but I no longer have their posts showing up in my newsfeed.  I don't care if your guy won or lost the election. I don't want to hear about it. I don't care if you believe every conspiracy theory out there, or don't believe any of them, I don't want to hear about it. I don't care if you are for or against vaccines, I don't want to hear about it. I don't care if you think everyone should wear a mask or that they're not worth wearing. I don't want to hear about it. It all makes me feel so very weary. All those wearisome topics almost make the MLM posts bearable.

Some things that energize me are reading the Bible, spending time with our family, drawing, painting, cooking, baking, and so many other things.

There is still so much to enjoy about life, I will not allow Facebook to rob me of my joy.

4. On a scale of 1-10 what are your eating habits like these days? (1=all junk food all the time and 10= juicing every green thing in the frig) Healthiest meal you've eaten in the last week or so? 

I'm probably around a seven or eight. I don't juice, but I love vegetables. I'm not eating junk food, though I did taste the frosting on the cake Sharon made yesterday. We tried a new recipe that was supposed to be light and fluffy, and not as sweet as regular butter cream frostings  It may have been just a tiny bit less sweet, but I didn't like it very well. We'll not be making it again.

The healthiest meal I've eaten recently consisted of baked salmon, broccoli, and a leafy salad.

5. What's your most often 'Back in my day....' thing to say? 

I try not to say a lot of back in my day things ... most of the time it involves something from our Amish days which is met with less than enthusiastic response from our children.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

The rock tumbler is done tumbling. The rocks have turned out so pretty, that it was almost worth all the noise we endured to get them to this point.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Winter's Fog

 The fog is heavy today, freezing onto every available surface. I'm assuming the barn is still somewhere behind that tree, but you can't tell due to the choking density of the fog. 

    It reminds me of a little scene that played out countless times during my growing up years.



    "Freezing fog will kill a dog," Mom would say as she looked out the window on foggy winter days.

    Dad would laugh and correct her. "The saying is, 'winter's fog will freeze a dog.'"

    They would both laugh as Mom shook her head, "I thought for sure I said it right this time," she'd say.

    But always, always, she'd get it wrong. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 1. When were you last a guest at an event or in someone's home? Tell us about it. Do you enjoy having guests in your own home? 

Last summer we stayed at my sister-in-laws home. She's always a gracious and welcoming hostess. This time the circumstances of our visit weren't that pleasant, but she opened her home to us to stay the night before LV's mother's funeral.

I enjoy having guests in our home. It doesn't happen nearly as much as it did in our home while I was growing up though. It's one of those things that changed when we left the culture we grew up in.

2. What has you 'tied up in knots' currently or recently? Are you any good at tying actual knots? 

There are a number of different things I could get tied up in knots about, but I'm choosing to not allow that happen. One of which is LV's upcoming doctor visit. We are rapidly approaching the one year anniversary of the explosion that had injured him, and the visit is simply to check on his progress. It should be uneventful, I keep telling myself.

I can tie several basic knots, but I'll probably be learning some new ones before long. Steven has a knot tying kit here, and he enjoys 'working' together to learn new things.

3. What's something you've been wanting to do and have decided 2021 will be the year you 'take the plunge'? 

My list of things I would like to do is huge. The item I plucked from it to concentrate on in 2021 is having my next book published. Currently I'm exploring indie options, though all the self promotion scares me a bit. I'm not good at trying to promote something I sell, at all! It's why you hardly ever see me mentioning my book series. 

4. Something in your home that's old? Something new? Something borrowed? Something blue? 

Old ... We have an old family heirloom clock that has been handed down through generations. Currently it is wrapped up in the attic.
New ... a delightful teapot Rosie Mae gifted me for Christmas. It's still considered new, right? Even though I've been using it everyday since I got it.
Borrowed ... a box full of library books. We love books and I'm thankful we have a library to borrow books from. Currently we can't browse the shelves, thanks to Covid, but we're able to request books online and pick them up at their drive through window.
Blue ... the carpeting on the floor. May I just say I would never willingly choose to have carpeting in a house.

5. Share a favorite quote, a verse of scripture, and/or a bit of wisdom for couples getting married in this challenging and seemingly unpredictable season we're currently/still experiencing. 

Look for things your spouse does 'right'. 

I could delve into this quite a bit. I may come back to it later in another blog post. Maybe. Does 20+ years of being happily married qualify me to share things on marriage? I'm not sure. I still feel too young to give advice.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

The sunrise this morning was absolutely beautiful. My camera didn't do the greatest job of capturing the beauty of it, but I was too cold to stand outside fiddling with the settings to try to improve it.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Currently

 Reading ... in the Bible I'm making my way through Genesis. I'm also throwing in a few chapters of Psalms and something from the New Testament every week instead of only reading the Old Testament for weeks on end.

In fiction I'm attempting to enjoy a children's book by Edith Nesbit called Five Children and It. So far it does not strike me as a book that will become a favorite. It has giant paragraphs that often take up an entire page or more, and fail at capturing my attention for anything other than their sheer size. I'll continue reading for a chapter or two yet, but the prospect of abandoning it is becoming more and more tempting.

In non fiction I'm loving a few holiday cookbooks. 

Watching ... a nature show all about plants and wildlife from South Africa. It's stunningly beautiful, and the narrator's voice is the best. I think I could listen to him talk about anything and enjoy it simply because of his voice.

Listening ... to the sound of Steven's rock tumbler/polisher. He loves rocks and for Christmas we thought he would enjoy getting to polish his own rocks. What we didn't realize, it takes 30 days to do a small batch of rocks. And that the tumbler is loud.

I'd like to say I'm getting used to the sound, but even though we have passed the half way point, I'm still not enjoying the noise. It's basically all you can hear. Washing machine, dryer, and noisy furnace all fade away. Who knows if they're even running somewhere behind the noise of the tumbler?

Wearing ... a brown dress. It's one of my favorite dresses I have. I still really like brown, though this one isn't loved as much as the first brown dress I had as a young girl.

Baking ... most recently, cookies. Since Kenneth got married cookies last a long time at our house and were getting stale before we got them eaten. We have now started to make a batch of dough, baking a dozen cookies, and then freezing the rest of the dough until we're ready for more. It works well

Cooking ... tonight's dinner will consist of potatoes, salad, and burgers made with our new favorite recipe. For dessert, instead of something baked we'll be splitting two oranges among those of us who enjoy them.

Playing ... we've been playing Fruit Punch quite often these past few days. And when there's time for a longer game Steven's go to has been Life on the Farm. It's one of our oldest games, and one we all enjoy. 

Wishing ... change was more comfortable. I'm not a big fan of changes even though I know I'll be glad those changes were made.

Crafting ... various paper crafts with Steven, mostly found on Pinterest.

Cleaning ... today we're finally taking the tree down, cleaning and packing away the ornaments, and getting things back to their pre-Christmas state. This is the longest we've ever kept our tree up.

Disliking ... how our big beautiful pine trees beside our house appear to have contracted whatever disease is afflicting and killing pine trees though out our area. It almost hurts just looking at them and seeing how more and more of their branches are losing their needles. 

Loving ... a darling little teapot I use everyday. I love it so much I think it deserves its own blog post some day soon.