Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

From this Side of the Pond
 
1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

I was close to my maternal grandparents. They lived walking distance from us most of my childhood and then only about ten feet away the last few years before I got married. I have so many wonderful memories of them, but one I will cherish for always is how after they built their new house only a few feet from ours, I would go over every evening, often taking some kind of treat or a sample of a new recipe I had tried for Grandpa to eat. His health wasn't good, and his appetite almost non existent, but he always ate what ever I brought over. After he was finished eating he would launch into telling stories from his childhood, teenaged years, and their young married life. It was great seeing his transformation every evening from being tired, and shaky. To coming alive reliving the things he was sharing with me. He had a talent for story telling, and I was able to travel right down memory lane with him. I can't quite put to words how thankful I am that I have these precious memories, and how glad I am that I spent the last years of his life doing this.

2. What's an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

I loved my rag doll, Sally. I still have her tucked away in the attic.

3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

If I look out the window that is directly in front of me I look right into the big maple tree here in front of our house. It kind of blocks me from seeing anything else.


Other windows, I can see the forest, and more trees.

Figuratively, I think I do both. I know there are times when I'm focusing on little details that I have to remind myself of the bigger picture. (Though the big picture is made up of little details, isn't it?)

4. Do you like sour candies? Which of the 'sour' foods listed below would you say is your favorite?

grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 

Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What's your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?

I don't care for sour candies. I used to, but something has changed over the years and I prefer my candy to be sweet.

I love lemon and lime desserts. I have a grapefruit for breakfast occasionally, and I really like Greek yogurt. Not beats my mother-in-law's tart cherry pie. She makes the best filling. I've tried copying it often, even following her recipe to the "T" and it never comes out tasting like hers does.

Sauerkraut, buttermilk, and kumquats I can live happily without.

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it's going so far.

Fifteen words or less???

Our most eventful, filled with change, rollercoaster, stressful, busy, interesting, fun, insane, bureaucratic, year ever.

That about sums it up, but doesn't do justice to the past six months. Most of it has not been documented on my blog, and it's also largely to blame for my somewhat sporadic posting. Bear with me ... things should be slowing down, evening out, getting more normal soon. Hopefully. Maybe.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I'll be continuing my task at hand today. Stripping and refinishing our dining room furniture. My fingerprints are basically worn off my right hand already, but I'm not done. I'm at the point where I'm beginning to think of all sorts of unpleasant things I would rather do than strip another chair.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Bite Sized Pieces of my Life

   I usually get up an hour before anyone else. I wouldn't have to, but I enjoy the morning quiet of getting my day started. The only drawback to this is, I live with a family of non-morning people. They get up and stagger to the breakfast table and eat in complete silence, while I'm sitting there nearly bursting with all sorts of topics for conversation. The few times I do attempt conversation I do good if I get more than a grunt or two as a reply.
   Over time I have become quite good at simply thinking instead of trying to talk until they become awake enough to function as normal human beings. I can't even begin to tell you how many well thought out blog posts I have composed in my head during that time and the plot twists I've come up with for books that will very likely never materialize.
    This morning's pondered blog post was all about grass fed meat and milk ... and my opinions on it all. Will I ever sit down and actually write about it? There's a small chance. Would I actually hit the publish button after writing it. Probably not.

~~~

   We're all aware of the mystery of missing socks, I'm sure. Where they disappear to, no one has been able to answer, but lately other things have been disappearing as well, and it's becoming a bit frustrating.
    LV needed an important piece of paper laminated earlier this week. I went to get the laminator from it's storage spot, but it had disappeared. Vanished completely. We pulled apart the storage room looking for it, stormed through the attic, checked under beds, and behind doors and it is no where to be found! It makes zero sense to me, because we've always kept it in the same spot, so what happened with it? Other than joining the land of missing socks, we have no answer.

~~~

   The girls and I went to Wal-Mart yesterday. I know it's a popular store to claim to dislike, but I'm glad we have a big one nearby.
    For the first time though I had an uncomfortable experience while there.
    I was paying for the things we got when the customer right behind me got all up in my personal space, and watched hungrily as I counted out the money. He announced loudly to everyone around me that there's a lady paying with cash, and she still has plenty left over. I didn't bother telling him a few ones don't count as plenty.
     He poked me on my shoulder and said, "People no longer pay with cash unless they have something to hide." He made some other remarks as well and kept inching closer. Backing away didn't help, he just followed.
     I usually don't judge people by how they look, but this guy gave me the creeps. There was something seriously off about him.
     I marched us out to the mini van, which I had parked near the front for the first time ever. (Usually I prefer walking.) We hurried to get our cart unloaded and I may have left just a little faster than usual.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather..... is absolutely gorgeous right now. The sun is shining, making the dew drops glisten in the morning light. The sky is a clear blue with nary a cloud in sight.

Right now I am.... writing a blog post while the girls are starting their chosen daily activities. I'm trying to ignore the floor which has still not received its morning vacuum run, but it will have to wait until after Steven wakes up.

Thinking.... how biting one's tongue occasionally, while not the most comfortable, is really the best thing to do. Or when it comes to Facebook ... just keep scrolling, just keep scrolling. Not everything needs my opinion added.

On my reading pile.... in my search for books and other materials for our country/cultural studies I found a new series that I'm loving. It delves into life in Botswana and I've been thoroughly intrigued.

Yes, they're fiction, but you can tell the author is knowledgeable about, and has a love for Africa and the country of Botswana.

The writing style, and subject matter are so different from anything I've ever read before, but I'm loving it.



On my TV..... nothing at the moment. Yesterday Rosie Mae and I watched a Hallmark movie (Love at First Glance). It was predictable as always, but this time also strangely unsatisfying. At the end we didn't care for either main character, and wished the girl with amnesia would have been able to reclaim her true love.

Favorite blog post last week.... unfortunately I haven't had a lot of time for reading blogs. The few I read last week were ones that had participated in the Wednesday Hodgepodge.

Something fun to share.... we've been going berry picking regularly. The freezer is filling up fast, and we're looking forward to many yummy treats.

On the menu for this week....

Monday ... Barbeque ham sandwiches and a garden salad
Tuesday ... Burgers with a mango Pico de Gallo
Wednesday ... Chicken enchiladas and a salad
Thursday ... Pizza and some kind of salad
Friday ... Breaded and baked pork chops and you guessed it, a salad.

On my to do list.... Go blueberry picking. Transplant some houseplants into bigger pots. Cancel a certain brand of office software subscription that has been nothing but a big headache. Work on more school scheduling and planning.

In the craft basket.... making a fitted sheet for an odd sized mattress.

Looking forward to this week.... getting our dining room furniture stripped of the old lacquer that gets soft and sticky every time the weather gets slightly humid. I'm not really looking forward to doing it, but I am looking forward to having it done.

Looking around the house.... everything is clean ... other than the floor that needs vacuumed.

From the camera.... we all love spending time outdoors. Our cameras are full of nature pictures.





What I'm wearing today.... a fuchsia shirt and a charcoal colored homemade skirt.

One of my simple pleasures.... wildflowers.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? Speaking of fireworks...do you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/or do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?
The best fireworks I have ever seen were six years ago following a Pittsburgh Pirates game at PNC Park.

There are a number of things that disgust, annoy, and frustrate me, but when I get out on the road and people drive in a way that put others in danger, well that tends to irritate me a lot. The last time my hot button was pushed was last week when a car was weaving all over the road and when I finally passed it I looked over to see the driver texting!!!

 2. Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?
I have not hosted or attended an outdoor party. I'm not much of a party person, and an outdoor party is something I'm fine with not being a part of.

 3. What does freedom mean to you?
With my Anabaptist heritage, and growing up hearing of how our ancestors were hunted, tortured, and killed in a variety of horrific ways because of their faith ... the first thought that comes to my mind when I think of freedom, is the freedom to worship God in the way we choose to.

 4. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits?
I find it annoying when people are attached to their cell phones so much that they ignore those around them. We were once invited to someone's house for dinner. The guy was on his phone 98% of the time. I don't get offended easily, but that experience was NOT fun.

 5. What's your current summer anthem?
I love music, but somehow I have not really had a song so far this summer that I've been listening to a lot. In fact, now that I stop and think we seem to be going through more of a non-music phase. I can't even remember the last time we listened to the radio while driving.

Sharon has been practicing the piano and playing Ode to Joy a lot. I love listening to it when she plays, so I guess I'll take it as my summer anthem.

 6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Photobucket is actin up which makes the usual Wednesday Hodgepodge button unavailable. You can still visit Joyce's blog and the other's who have joined the fun by clicking here.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Becoming my Mother

   I always enjoyed unpacking and putting the groceries away when ever Mom went shopping. I would never know what new or unexpected thing I might find. Especially because she was afflicted with a certain shopping blindness that we all found amusing.
    Hardly a shopping trip passed without her coming home and discovering to her dismay, and our amusement that she had once again bought something she did not want. For example, a bag of regular all purpose flour mysteriously changed to self rising flour somewhere along the way home, because she was certain she had bought the right thing in the store. The pineapple chunks she had put in her cart were decidedly crushed when I removed them from the grocery bag. The dog food turned into kitty kibble. The list could go on for days, but you get the picture.
    Somehow I have mysteriously picked up this weird shopping blindness as well.
    Imagine my surprise to see this in the kitchen.


    I distinctly recall grabbing a pack of plain white paper towels at the store. How did they change to these ugly things on the way home?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Picture my Week

Sharon and Steven spent a lot of time playing with kittens. Steven will spend a lot of time holding the one he claimed as his own, he sings it to sleep and then sits there holding it quietly until it wakes up again.
 
The end of a rainbow was nearby. If I wouldn't have minded getting wet I would have been tempted to run up to the field and get someone to take a picture with me standing at the end of a rainbow.

 
Sharon and Steven had been practicing for several weeks, and finally invited us all outside to see the little show they put together. I'm usually not a fan of clowns, but Steven managed to change my mind on that.

 
They served popcorn, strawberry bars, and fruit punch to us to enjoy while we watched their show.

 

The parts for Kenneth's four wheeler arrived. He fixed it and then grabbed his camera and went on a quick trial run to see if everything works fine.

 
 The girls, Steven, and I did some berrying and hiking. It's the end of the wild strawberry season, but we managed to find a handful. The girls and I each enjoyed one and allowed Steven to have the rest. They're tiny, but packed with lots of flavor.

 
 The girls and I took the few old oversized calendars we had and after taking them apart we glued the pictures back to back and then covered them in clear contact paper. They make excellent writing mats, and we're looking forward to having new ones to use this school year.
 
One of the little papers in our 365 Day Fun Challenge directed us to blow up a balloon until it pops. It was a mixture of terror and fun. The terror part came with the anticipation of the pop that was sure to come once the balloon got this size, and then the actual screams that followed the gunshot like pop. The fun part was watching each other blow up a balloon and the laughter after the initial screams when it popped.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. The first day of summer rolls in today. What are ten things you'd put on your list of  quintessential summer activities? Will you try to manage all ten this summer?

Eat an ice cream cone, go berrying, take long walks in the woods, have watermelon, go on picnics, read, spend time on the porch while it rains, playing in the creek, listen to the wind chimes, watch fire works, and for me ... plan next year's school.

2. Do you collect seashells when you're at the beach? What do you do with them once you get them home? What's your favorite place to comb for seashells? How many of these 'best beaches for hunting seashells' have you visited? Which one would you most like to visit?

Calvert Cliffs State Park (Maryland), Jeffrey's Bay (South Africa), Sanibel Island (Florida), Shipwreck Beach (Lanai Hawaii), Ocracoke Island (North Carolina), Galveston Island (Texas) and The Bahamas

We have picked up seashells when we visited the beach. Once we get them home they get cleaned, and then the girls squirrel them away for craft projects and decorations for a later day.

I haven't been to any of those beaches.

3. At a snail's pace, shell out money, come out of your shell, go back into your shell, drop a bombshell, happy as a clam, clam up...which 'shell' phrase could most recently be applied to some event or circumstance in your life? Explain.

At a snails pace.

We're in the middle of red tape. Applying for permits, and other legal stuff and then waiting for all the important people to get their part done takes sooooo loooonnngg.

4. What summer activity do you dislike? Why?

Sitting around a campfire in the evening is something I don't enjoy at all. Bugs all seem to feast on me. Maybe if I were more selfless I wouldn't mind it so much, but I'm not there yet.

5. What's something you see as quickly becoming obsolete? Does that bother you?

Letter writing/pen pals. Technology seems to have taken over. While I do enjoy the convenience of email and texting, I do miss all the letters I used to receive. Mail time is much more fun when it includes letters from friends.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

The girls, Steven, and I have been enjoying hikes, and berrying lately. The wild strawberry season is basically over. We found only a handful yesterday. It will still be a while before the blueberries and blackberries are ripe.

Yesterday, this was part of our day.