Friday, July 19, 2024

Currently

Reading ... In the Bible I'm reading Isaiah. Starting that book always sends a little thrill through me and helps me relive that time in our life when we truly found Jesus. You can read that condensed story here, if you're interested.

In other books I found a delightful little book called Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster. It's about a young girl who grew up in an orphanage and was given the opportunity to attend college by a generous, but anonymous benefactor. The only terms were that she send letters to him in care of his secretary regarding her progress at school and details about her life as if she were writing to her parents.

The book is then filled with the letters she wrote. 

Such a fun little read. It's reminiscent of Anne of Green Gables, and yet not.

I was reading it while Steven was fishing and came upon a quote that I needed to scribble in my book of book quotes, but since it wasn't available I simply took a picture of it. Hang on a minute while I find it.

Okay, here we go.

Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh - I really think that requires spirit.

The truth of the quote resonated with me somehow.

Writing ... lists, lists, and more lists. There's something about writing lists that makes me thrive. And thriving, I am.

Watching ... a show about storm chasing and tornadoes etc. It's not my favorite, but fits in nicely with the Meteorology unit study by Campfire Curriculums that Steven had been doing.

Listening ... the hum of the dryer, a cow mooing persistently, and some kind of summer insects that I'm not sure what they're called. I only know they're not crickets or katydids.

Baking ... I made some Hot Fudge Pudding Cake today. It's been a while since I've made dessert and this has been one of our favorites ever since the first time I made it 25 years ago.

Cooking ... tonight was "haystack" night. Rice, beans, hamburger, and choice of toppings.

Feeling ... pleasantly busy. We're getting into a comfortable routine which is lovely for routine loving me.

Loving ... the nice rain shower we got. It's still quite dry here, but  we're so thankful for every drop of rain we received.

Playing ... today it was a game that Steven invented that involves a ball. He happened to think of it this morning and we played several rounds. He thought it was as much fun as he had remembered it to be, which is a nice thing. So often the things from our younger childhood seem to change as we grow older, but this game is standing the test of time.

Today ... I had an appointment to go to this morning.  I was driving through the part of town that has its speed limit posted at 15 MPH, I was half way chomping at the bit, because it always feels so painstakingly slow, but I kept it at 15.  Then I noticed an older gentleman walking on the sidewalk. He tripped on something and went stumble running, arms flailing, right out onto the road where he collapsed in front of my horrified eyes. I quickly stopped, very thankful I hadn't been driving any faster. 

Another lady had seen it happen too and also came running to help.  Other than a skinned elbow and knee he assured us he's fine. Once he was safely back on the sidewalk I continued on my way.

I'm thinking it will be a little while before that section of driving 15 MPH irritates me like it used to.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Earliest Church Memory

     Sitting comfortably in Mom's lap I was much more entertained by watching the squirming miserable little boy who had had enough of the long church service and was trying to escape his mother's lap, than by the little toy I was holding in my hands. 
    Mom took pity on both mother and son and reached into the satchel she always carried to church filled with things for me and produced a board book and handed it to the protesting tot. 
    He settled right down as his mother helped him look at all the different barnyard scenes. Her attention drifted from her now quiet child back to the sermon.
    Meanwhile I was completely interested in the goings on next to me and watched as he started picking at the red cloth binding that was holding the wooden pages of the book together. He managed to loosen a thread and kept pulling and picking. By the time church service was over for the day there was no longer a book. Only thin pieces of wood covered in pretty barnyard scenes.
    Mom tucked them back into the satchel and told Dad about it on the way home. He was quite indignant that another child had destroyed my book, but I felt quite indifferent about it. I had never been that fond of the book anyway, much preferring the ones Mom read to me at home instead of this "special" one that was saved for church.
    

Friday, July 5, 2024

Currently

Reading ... in the Bible I'm finishing up the Proverbs. In other books I am rereading the Anne of Green Gables series for the I don't know how many-eth time. It is so delightfully comfortable and sweet. It feels as if I were catching up with some dear old friend and I've been enjoying every minute of it.

Writing ... I've been writing out lesson plans for our new school year which will be starting on Monday. I'm getting exited about it. 

Watching ... mostly cooking shows, but earlier this week we got Gourmet Detective from the library and watched an episode. The first half we were ready to ditch it, but stuck it out and we ended up enjoying it quite a bit.

Listening ... we're at that point of the summer when the sound of singing birds, rustling leaves, and all the other nature-y sounds I love so much are drowned out by the sound of our window AC unit. In this heat I am very grateful for it even if it is all I hear.

Baking ... Sharon has been whipping up delectable treats in the kitchen when ever she is off work. Earlier this year she decided to try her hand at sourdough and the amount of beautiful tasty things she has produced has been appreciated by all of us. This week that happened to be sourdough hotdog buns and sourdough smores cookies. Both so, so good!

Cooking ... tonight it was only LV, Steven and I at home so I simply made up a batch of sloppy joe and served it on left over sourdough hot dog buns from yesterday. 

Feeling ... filled with anticipation for the kickoff of the new school year.

Disliking ... how dry it is becoming. Our waterfall has been reduced to barely a trickle and the grass in the yard hasn't need to be mowed for two weeks.

Loving ... late evening hikes. It's been too warm to go on long walks or hikes during the day, but when I suggested a quick hike at 9:00 last evening LV was happy to join me and we enjoyed a nice summer evening outing amid the fireflies.


Playing ... cornhole. I'm not very good at it, but that doesn't mean it's not fun. I shared this snap about it earlier today.


Cleaning ... I deep cleaned the bathroom earlier this week and today I took care of the desk in the school room. Rosie Mae is in the process of going through and packing all her things. The book shelf she used to have in her room is now empty and I'm looking forward to doing some rearranging in the school room and having it moved in there.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Stuff Shuffler

      I have come to the uncomfortable conclusion that I am a stuff shuffler. Over the past few years I have given a lot of things away, but somehow there's still a lot of stuff in our house that I shuffle from place to place.

    Back in 2010 we lived as extreme minimalists for six months, and I loved it. There was so much freedom, so much time for life and what we truly enjoyed, so much less work. 

     Coming back home and seeing all our things was great, but I went from having all this time to do life to having to spend a lot of time cleaning, taking care of things, shuffling things from one area of the house to the other.

    Part of me really wants to have the courage to embrace the minimalist life, because I know how it feels and I'm tired of being a stuff shuffler. But, I'm torn because there's another part of me who really likes our things.

    This week I've been shuffling stuff again, but this time a lot of it has been being shuffled out the door. I don't see myself becoming an extreme minimalist again, but I'm looking forward to having less things and more freedom.

    In the course of letting things go I have been taking some pictures of the stuff that has memories attached, including a big stack of impractical yarn potholders.

    On our annual trip to Canada to visit Grandma and the aunts when I was twelve or so, aunt Ella sat down and taught me how to make yarn potholders on a little loom she had. I was thrilled to learn and at the end of the visit she sent the loom home with me and over the next years I made countless sets of them to sell in my parents store.  But for all these years I had kept that first set I had made.


 
    Next up was a set made by my youngest brother when he was but a wee lad. My mom had helped him make the fancier version. It always sent warm fuzzies around my heart everytime I saw them, but being impractical I never used them. Simply shuffled them from here to there during spring and fall housecleaning and reorganizations.


    The girls were fascinated with these particular creations when they were younger and I pulled out my old loom and taught them how to make them and then also demonstrated the step to take them further to the fancier pom-pom like version. It was a fun time for all of us, and seeing these brought back those memories, but it's time they go. I've shuffled them long enough.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Flowers

     Is there an occasion when flowers aren't the answer?

     I've had flowers during times of celebration.

     Flowers in times of deep sorrow.

     During the highest highs, and some of the lowest lows, flowers had a way of showing up.

     Tonight my heart is too full for words, so I'll just plop a picture here of a few of the roses that are currently blooming so profusely in our yard.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Currently

Reading ...  after finishing up Job it seems delightful to be making my way though the Psalms once again.

In other books Steven and I are enjoying the first Warriors series. I'm enjoying it quite a bit more than I thought I would.

We differ though on our favorite characters. I quite like the main character, Fireheart. While Steven's favorite is Tigerclaw, the antagonist. We had an entire discussion where he explained to me that the author wants everyone to like the main character best, but the books would be quite boring without the antagonist. That whenever he is involved in the story it is much more interesting. 

I get where he's coming from, but I don't think the antagonist in a book will ever be my favorite character. 

When Sharon came home from work Steven asked her who her favorite character in the series is and she immediately replied, "Tigerclaw" and gave the same reasons he had.

I'm curious now if I'm the odd one, and do most people enjoy the antagonists the most when they read?

Writing ... this week nothing other than a few lists. A grocery list, and then one that I'm actually kind of excited about and plan to talk about in an upcoming blog post.

Watching ... we're still doing an episode of Little House on the Prairie everyday. Is it any surprise that Steven enjoys the episodes that have the Olsen play a bigger part the most?

Listening ... to the faint sound of the wind chimes on the front porch. The breeze right now is so gentle that it is barely chiming. The second hand is making its noisy journey around the clock tick-tocking off the fleeting time. A bird, of which I'm uncertain what kind it is, singing merrily in the big maple tree here in front of the house.

Baking ... I'm planning to bake some fresh dinner rolls to go with our supper tonight.

Cooking ... last night I made Honey Pepper Chicken, Ranch Potato Salad, and sweet corn. The potato salad is one of our favorites ever since I tried it as one of my new recipes earlier this year. It's quite easy. I simply bake three pounds of potatoes for an hour, once they're cold I peel and cut them into small chunks. I fry a pound of bacon, crumble it and add to the potatoes, then chop three stalks of celery. I pour enough ranch dressing over it all to make it nice and creamy but not soupy and it's ready to serve.

I had not expected it to be the hit that it is. but I certainly don't mind.

Feeling ... happy, but tired. There's so much going on it seems and it appears to be catching up with me. I could fall asleep almost any time I sit down for a few minutes.

Disliking ... all the many oversized loads going by our house daily. They're damaging the road. I only hope once they're done the road will get fixed, but I'm not holding my breath.

Loving ... the warmer temperature and the sunshine. I've been so cold the past few days so I'm trying to soak up some of this delightful heat from the sun.

Playing ... not much of anything this week so far other than some Uno.

Cleaning ... I'm not done deep cleaning our house yet. I always find it amazing how fast all the little corners and tucked away places can get dirty. 

Doing all this deep cleaning has me pondering, trying to decide if I have enough gumption to tackle refinishing some furniture. Especially my china cupboard. Time has not been kind to it. Several handles are missing from the bottom drawers and there are so many scuff marks from when little ones bumped things into it as they were running through the house. 

I'm thinking I'd like to paint it an off white of some kind. Right now it's a Washington Cherry wood. 

I think I'd like the update, but would I come to regret painting it?

Creating ... I have three pieces of lightweight upholstery fabric here that I want to use tomorrow to sew some fun projects. Rosie Mae wants a hanging bag contraption to use to keep her plastic grocery bags in.

 While I make one for her I'm going to go ahead and make one for me as well, in a different fabric. It will be nice to have a proper place for them instead of where I keep them stuffed now.

The third piece of fabric I want to use to recover the seat of our step stool/ high chair/ bar stool. Not sure exactly what to call it. The vinyl seat has seen better days so a new seat cover will give it a renewed life.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Currently

Reading ... In the Bible I finished the book of Ezra this morning. In other books I read First Lie Wins on a recommendation. I wasn't sure what to expect going into it, but ended up enjoying it quite a bit. The ending felt a bit rushed, as if the author tried to tie up all the loose ends in a few pages. But after not having any good books for a while this one filled that void quite nicely.

Writing ... addresses. Rosie Mae penned names on the envelopes of their wedding invitations in calligraphy, and I helped out by adding the addresses in non fancy hand writing.

Watching ... Steven and I have been watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie after lunch. It has been quite a few years since I last watched them, and I have a bit of mixed feelings this go round. I love Ma Ingalls and find her quite inspirational, but I have a hard time agreeing with almost anything Reverend Alden has to say.

Listening ... to the dryer clanking away in the laundry corner. It's almost 18 years old and has acquired some sounds it didn't have in the beginning.

Baking ... I want to try my hand at making a watermelon curd to use in filling donuts later this week.

Cooking ... tonight I'm keeping it simple and making fish with a seasoned panko coating, and a salad.

Feeling ... happy, energized, and ready to get things done.

Disliking ... coming across plastic bags with dog "litter" along trails when we're hiking. I get that people love their dogs and enjoy hiking with them. It's admirable that they are willing to pick up after their dogs. But really, it would be less litter if they allowed nature to take care of it, rather than wrapping it in plastic and leaving it beside the trail

Loving ... raindrops on flowers and other plant life.


Playing ... other than several rounds of air hockey, games haven't been played much this past week.

Cleaning ... I'm concentrating on doing a deep clean of the house. I'm hoping to get started on Steven's room tomorrow. His wardrobe needs an update while I'm at it. He's really been growing lately. It seems every time I turn around his clothes are already too small. 

Monday, May 27, 2024

What Would You Grab?

     My internal clock wakes me up at the same time every day, which means I rarely ever sleep in. When Saturdays roll around I  am up at my regular time while the others grab an hour or two of extra sleep.
    And so it happened that I was once again up early. I headed to the living room and my favorite chair, grabbed my laptop and got to work in the peaceful quietness.
    The sun came up, extra bright it seemed. The amount of dust motes dancing in the streams of light coming in through the window seemed extraordinarily heavy. I didn't pay much attention to them though as I focused on my task at hand.
    Before long Sharon came down the stairs. She poked her head into the living room. "Why does it smell like burnt honey nut cheerios?" she asked.
    It was then that I noted. The dust motes weren't dust motes at all, instead the air was filled with smoke and I had been so focused on my project I never even noticed, and without a sense of smell I didn't have that to alert me either.
    With the furnace off for the season, and nothing happening on the stove in the kitchen I knew there was something a bit scarier happening. I ran up the stairs to wake LV. He immediately smelled the smoke and said it's definitely something electrical. He flew down to the basement and shut off the power at the breaker box and then called for help.
    We tried to locate the source of the smoke, but couldn't. 
    We gathered up all our important papers and then surveyed the rest of the house helplessly. Should we start running things outside? Should we assume since the power is off now everything is okay? At what point will the smoke turn to flames? And why in the world is it taking so long for help to arrive?!
    When it finally did they clumped throughout the house looking at all the electrical outlets. They found several that needed to be replaced, but none that looked like they were the source of the smoke.
    Finally they turned the power back on and then we noticed. The one living room light was completely brown, Further investigation revealed charred bits in the ceiling behind the light.
    They removed it and we got it replaced. 
    The panicked helpless feeling though before we knew what was causing the smoke was awful. And other than important papers we still can't answer the question of what we would grab first if the house was on fire.
    Do you know what you would grab?

Monday, May 20, 2024

Currently

Reading ...  in the Bible I'm making my way through II Kings. In other reading I'm stalled out. So far this year I have reread several of my favorite series, but any other books I'm picking up are simply not holding my attention. It doesn't help that there seems to be a thousand and one other things begging for my attention

Watching ... Steven informed me that there is a spinoff series of Andy Griffith called Mayberry RFD, so I went ahead and requested it from the library. We have been watching an episode after lunch most days. It's decent, if you're okay having different main characters, and Millie doesn't get on your nerves too much.

Listening ... to happily singing birds, pleasant notes from the wind chimes as it sways in the gentle breeze, and voices in the other room.

Baking ... there are some chocolate chip cookies in the oven.

Cooking ... I have been trying a new recipe everyday so far this year. I have really been enjoying it and the family has not been complaining about it either. Two of our favorites so far have been recipes for honey pepper chicken and a creamy ravioli soup.

Feeling ... energetic and ready to tackle life with renewed vigor. 

Disliking ... the spiders that are beginning to create their webs in the corners of the windows.

Several years ago someone introduced us to some spray to to use outside windows and doors to keep spiders away. It worked beautifully. Prior to using it the outsides of our windows got dirty within a day or two of washing them because of all the spider activity. 

I didn't spray last year and now this year they seem to be returning so time to dig out the spray. I have searched both basement and attic and have been unable to find it. Unless I am able to find it in the next day or so we'll have to buy some more because I really don't want to have to do battle with spiders until winter rolls around.

Loving ... all the flowers that are blooming right now. I'm featuring two of my favorites here.

 


Playing ...  Skyjo is still one of my favorites, but House of Anubis has been making it to the table quite a bit lately and it's always a good time to be had by all when we play it.

Cleaning ... I washed some windows today, but decided to wait to do the rest until I locate the spray for the spiders.

Creating ... things for the upcoming wedding. 

Thinking ... I really want to get back to blogging more regularly.  I've missed it during my almost three month absence.

I've instructed myself to make at least one post per week for the rest of the year with occasional extras tossed in. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 1. February is coming to a close. Give us a two-word phrase that tells us something about how yours went.

Too fast

2. If you had to describe how you're feeling right now as an amusement park ride, what ride are you on? Explain. 


I've never been to an amusement park, so I'm not familiar with the ride options other than a roller coaster which would work for this answer with all the ups and downs, twists and turns.

3. What's something on your desk or a nearby wall that cheers you up when you see it or walk past? 

On our desk, well technically it's inside our desk, but since the roll top is open the majority of the time I see two recipe boxes that make me feel happy every time I see them. The girls and I had gone to Hobby Lobby where they saw these lemon design recipe boxes and asked if I'd fill them with our favorite recipes for them before they move out.

I've been enjoying working on them as I have time.

4.  Are you a salad eater? How many salads do you typically eat in a week? Your favorite kind of salad? 

I love salads! I try to have at least one salad per day, sometimes more. My favorite is a loaded salad we do with romaine lettuce, cheese, ham, dried cranberries, and  hard boiled eggs. With either my Mom's recipe for a white dressing or my homemade blue cheese dressing to finish it off.

5. Without telling us the category give us your top five ______________. 

Seafood
Salad
Pasta
Chicken
Vegetables

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Our day started off with a boom-banging thunderstorm that has now settled into a gentle rain. I love rainy days, they make the perfect backdrop for fun projects and baking.

I want to bake some bars and maybe some cookies. My plans for the day had included baking the bars, but I'm adding cookies since my Dad called a few minutes ago saying that he's in the area today and would like to stop in for a few minutes. 

I want to have his favorite cookies ready for him when he gets here.

Friday, February 9, 2024

When Sharing Goes Wrong

     Stocking the pantry with all the basics after we got married took a little while, and it was a few weeks before I had everything I needed to finally be able to bake something good.
    The cake had turned out beautifully and was waiting on the countertop to be enjoyed for dessert with supper. 
    I heard the door open and the sound of LVs feet running up the stairs. I went to greet him at the kitchen door, but he was in a hurry. "Is the cake ready?" he asked.
    I had told him my plans for baking earlier as we ate lunch.
    I turned to get him a piece, when he asked if I could package some up for the guy who did our feed rations.
    I was surprised, but went ahead and wrapped some up and he hurried back outside with it.
    Later that evening we talked about it.
    He was used to sharing fresh baked goods with anyone who came up to the farm. It was something he hoped we would continue doing.
    It was all new to me. I couldn't imagine how much food we would have given out had we shared something with everyone who stopped in at our woodworking shop when I was growing up, but if this was what he wanted to do I would certainly do my part.
    Over the next years I lost track of all the things I baked that we never got to eat because someone stopped by. Bread, cookies, cake, pie, and more made their way out of the kitchen and into someone else's hands.
    And then one day LV had to go deliver a load of hay. I had just finished baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies when I looked out the window and saw a vehicle pull up to the barn. A guy got out and entered the doors to the milkhouse.
    By now I was used to making sure no one left empty handed. I quickly packed up some still warm cookies, and went outside to see what he wanted and send the cookies home with him.
    It was the milk inspector. He surveyed my offering of cookies and told me that trying to bribe him will not work.
    I was stunned, I had never thought of trying to bribe him, had never met the milk inspector before so I had no idea that was who he was until that moment. He must have seen the confusion and dismay because he ended up accepting them as I told him they weren't a bribe, but that we give everyone baked goods when they come to the farm.
    I never offered to give an inspector anything ever again, and it took a while for the uncomfortable sting of it all to diminish.
    Thankfully I can somewhat laugh at my naiveness now.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Currently

Reading ... I just finished reading Kinfolk by Sean Dietrich. Several months ago I read The Incredible Winston Browne by him as well and absolutely loved it. Kinfolk certainly felt like it was written by the same person, and I really liked it, but it was a bit heavier read. A book that probably should come with trigger warnings. Even so it gave me plenty of chuckles along the way, and the story will be sticking with me for a while.

Watching ... the flooding creek and raging waterfall. All the snow we had received melted rapidly causing quite a bit of flooding. Our gurgling little creek turned into more of a lake/river. It's interesting to watch, but it was nice to see the waters begin receding.

On Saturday we went to Ohiopyle to see how those falls are doing. The main falls were thundering, but interesting enough Cucumber Falls, and the Slides weren't any more impressive than usual.


Listening ... to mechanic talk. LV has Kenneth on speakerphone and they're discussing various problems and solutions in their work life.

Baking ... Sharon made a batch of cookies this afternoon using Steven's recipe that has been dubbed Geronimo Cookies. They're chocolate chip cookies, and so far the best recipe we have found. Tomorrow I have plans to make an Ube Chiffon cake. 

Cooking ... tonight we had a Korean meatloaf which was delicious and a Santa Fe salad that everyone enjoyed as well.

Feeling ... all sorts of feelings tangled up into one. Tired, happy, sad, hopeful, concerned, satisfied, yearning, dreaming, letting go, pursuing, content, it's all there and more.

Disliking ... the mud that has come in wake of all the melting snow.

Loving ... watching the activity around the birdfeeder outside the kitchen window.

Playing ... quite a variety of games with Steven. In addition to playing whatever we want to we decided to work our way through the alphabet and each day play a game beginning with the letter for the day. Today was letter "F". We played Fishing Camp for it. 

Lately my favorite game has been Skyjo. I think the rest of the family may be getting kind of tired of it by now, but I'm not at that point yet.

Cleaning ... tomorrow I'm tackling the laundry corner. Dubbed that because it's where the washer and dryer are, but I'll be focused on the cupboard and shelves that hold our school supplies and kitchen items.