Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 
1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-

Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?

The hardest one for me would be facing my fears head on. I don't even know how to go about facing my biggest fear. I also have a fear of heights, and I certainly don't see how climbing up high somewhere would help me get over that.

Finding the good in life is the one that is the easiest for me.

2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

I would probably use it towards buying shoes for the children. They love running in their bare feet when ever the weather is warm enough, but colder weather will be here before too long, hopefully.

3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.

We've been dealing with someone else's ego/power trip way too much these past few days. It's wearying.

Trip over your own two feet, is something I could spend numerous blog posts regaling you with embarrassing episodes of my super clumsy years. Thankfully they seem to be behind me.

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

Riding a bike, maybe. It would be nice being able to bike the trail with the rest of the family.

5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?
  • Swimming ..... no.
  • Ice cream cone .... no.
  • Summer blockbuster .... no.
  • Camping .... no. They very thought makes me feel itchy, tired, and grouchy.
  • Corn on the cob ..... yes.
  • Gardened .... no.
  • Unplugged ..... not exactly. Though more so than during the winter.
  • Watched a ballgame ..... yes.
  • Picked fruit of a vine ..... no, but we did pick fruit not growing on a vine.
  • Road trip .... no.
  • Read a book ..... yes, yes, yes! Love reading and I enjoyed some great ones so far this summer.
Not planning to do any of the no's on the list.

6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?

I detest political things. Any question I would have I wouldn't believe any of their answers anyway, so why bother asking?

7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?

My favorite song keeps changing, I honestly don't know what I've listened to the most this summer. Unless you count Rosebud's love of classical and instrumental pieces. She plays one multiple times a day, but I have no idea what it's called.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

We've been enjoying the outdoors and recently came across a geo cache. Geo caching is something that has intrigued me ever since I first heard of it. Now that we have accidently stumbled across one, I'm thinking even more that it might be a fun thing to do for our family.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Great Cookbook Challenge

I think I may have previously mentioned a little something about our cookbook challenge that the girls and I are doing. It all started when Rosebud decided one of her life goals was to make every single recipe in a cookbook.

She was thrilled that it was something she could start on right away. One recipe per week for however long it takes. She went through my collection of cookbooks carefully to make sure she chooses one that's not overwhelming, and yet has plenty of great recipes to try. She finally settled on one that will take around two years to get through. So far there was only one recipe that we know we don't want to make again. Most of them turned out delicious.


After week two of Rosebud's challenge Sunbeam and I decided we want to join. We each chose a cookbook we thought we would want.

I selected this one, and so far every recipe has been a winner. An added bonus is we get to enjoy a Mexican night every week.

 
Sunbeam chose to start the challenge with this recipe book. It didn't look overwhelming and the pictures inside looked good. It was a small recipe book that would only take her a little over a year to get through. The first recipe was .... eh. Not terrible, but not really good either. The next two recipes were no better. The one that followed was so awful each of us could only choke down one bite.

If you ever see this cookbook, walk away, do not buy it unless you enjoy dreadful recipes.

With that horrible luck we decided a new recipe book would be chosen for her. She settled on this one. After two weeks of delicious food she counted the recipes and discovered it would take her 14½ years to get through the book. That looked pretty much hopeless to her so once ago she chose another book.

There is nothing Amish about this cookbook other than the name. At least the recipes are great, and she has finally found the book that she will complete for this challenge.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 
1. Is your home air conditioned? If it's not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.

We don't have air conditioning in our home. I would love to change that, but for the most part it isn't too terrible with the windows open and plenty of fans in use.

When we were Amish and even fans weren't an option we used to get somewhat used to the heat. Being bare footed certainly helped, and on the hottest days the basement used to feel pleasantly cool if we needed some relief.

The hottest I have ever felt was when we were traveling through Texas one summer and stopped at a motel. It was 108ยบ outside, but when we opened the door to our motel room the heat that came rushing out was almost enough to knock you over.

We turned the air conditioning on high and went to do something else for an hour or so in hopes our room would be cooled down considerably by the time we got back.
 
2. What's something in your life right now that falls under the heading 'up in the air'?

Some decisions that have to be made. Not really something that's ready to be discussed here.

3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?

A Fruity Fluff Pudding. I haven't made it in years, but it used to be the perfect refreshing summer dessert.

4. When did you last feel like you were 'floating on air'?

This answer seems a little silly compared to some of the major life changing 'floating on air' experiences I have had, but I love the feeling I get when our next years supply of curriculum arrives.

5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead...which have you most recently encountered? Explain.

Going with airhead on this one, and not the candy version.

A certain person was trying to say that hunting for meat or raising your own for butchering was simply barbaric when you could simply go to a store to buy meat instead and no innocent animals would have to suffer.

It's amazing to me how out of touch with reality some people can be.

6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity...a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?

I have never been to the Alps, though it has been one of my dreams ever since I read Heidi as a little girl. I'm doubtful I will ever get to see them in person. If I were to go my preferred activity would be a gentle walk and a boat ride around one of the lakes.

7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered 'cool' when you were growing up?

You know, this is one I have no answer for. 'Cool' sayings were highly discouraged in our home. We were taught that we will one day have to give an account for every unnecessary word spoken. We didn't use sayings, phrases, or other words to strengthen statements.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

A little over a month ago we got several baby kittens. I could spend hours watching them play, and I'm not even a cat person.

One of the sweetest things is watching our dog, Gypsy, try to take a nap with three kittens snuggled up next to him. He tolerates them very well, until they want to start playing on top of him, or with his ears.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mrs. Gore's Diary

Every once in a while I come across a blog that I really, really love.

I don't remember how many years ago it was that I was introduced to Mrs. Gore's Diary, or who did the introducing, but I have been a huge fan ever since. A big thank-you to who ever it was that pointed me in her direction.

What do I love about this blog? Everything.

I love her writing style. I love the posts that make me laugh, the ones that make me think. Seeing her adorable children growing up.

Visiting her blog feels like visiting with a good friend, though she doesn't even know me.



She had me laughing all the way through her adventures of helping her children play on a Slip and Slide.
Her story of a certain bath time episode had me in stitches as I relived similar happenings when our children were  toddlers.
And her post about Momnesia, while funny, was just a tad bit comforting. It let me know I'm not the only one afflicted, and maybe almost doing the laundry using mouthwash instead of detergent wasn't so strange and disturbing after all.

Her posts that make me think. Love them. She so eloquently writes the things I think and feel and yet have never been able to put to words.

Her post about how fast childhood passes, brought a lump to my throat. It was so real, and the day I first read it I had just finished packing away some clothes Buddy had outgrown so it was even more emotional for me.

Her post about motherhood, and how sometimes it is good to be reminded that you signed up for this. And then her follow up post of the flip side.

Several more of my favorite, make you think posts from her are The Dollhouse Effect and one on Child Safety.

She throws the most amazing parties for her children, and recently she shared their vow renewals. If you have a minute or ten, please go check her blog out. It may become one of your favorites as well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 
1.July 15th is National Give Something Away Day.  What can you give away? Will you?

The past few weeks I dropped of quite a bit of things at the Goodwill, so as far as material things go, no, I won't be giving anything away.

A kind word, a smile, and a helping hand are a different story, and yes, I'll be doing plenty of that today. If that counts.

2. Do you have a mantra? Please share with the class if you feel comfortable doing so.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

3. Who does the grocery shopping in your house? How many times a week do you shop? Do you make a list or pray for inspiration in the produce aisle?

LV and I do the grocery shopping once a week. Getting groceries is the extent of our "date nights" so I enjoy the time we get together even though the actual shopping for groceries isn't too high on my lists of enjoyable chores.

I always make a list. The day before our weekly shopping trip I make our next weeks menu so I know exactly what I'll be needing.

4. Is there a TV show you're embarrassed to say you watch? You're going to tell us what it is, right?

Return to Amish. I really don't know why I continue watching it since it nearly breaks the cringe worthy meter. So much about it is fake. What really gets me is when the producers translate things they say in Pennsylvania Dutch and make it appear as if they said something different from what they actually said. Apparently they think no one will know any different, but hello! I can understand Pennsylvania Dutch perfectly. I can also read English, so they may want to think about being honest in their translations. Otherwise I might announce it to the world here on my blog about their discrepancy.

5. A recent article listed fifteen words we should eliminate from our (written) vocabulary in order to sound smarter-

that, went, honestly, absolutely, very, really, amazing, always, never, literally, just, maybe, stuff, things, and irregardless

Of the fifteen, which word is your most overused?

How did went make the list?

I don't enjoy hearing the word literally, most of the time it's not used correctly, and irregardless isn't even a real word, is it? Either way, I can't stand hearing it being used.

6. So apparently dying your hair gray (in your youth!) is a thing right now. It's called 'The Granny Hair' trend. Your thoughts?

Why ..... why? An excellent example of why following trends isn't smart.

7. A while back Buzz Feed asked members to share the most beautiful sentence they've read in a piece of literature. A hard thing to narrow down, at least for me, but let's try. What's one of the most beautiful sentences you've ever read in a piece of literature?

“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”   ~ Anne of Avonlea

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It's blueberry season! We've been picking when ever we can, and freezing them to make yummy pies and cobblers this winter.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Peddlers

We had quite a variety of peddlers that would make their rounds to all the Amish homes in our community.

There was one lady that loved going to yard sales and would stock up on pretty dishes, toys and games, books, and anything else she thought the Amish would be interested in. Once a month she would travel to all the Amish home displaying all the treasures she had found. I was always so excited to see everything she was selling, and Mom always bought a few things from her.

Next there were several different grocery trucks that made their monthly rounds. It was nice being able to stock up on the basics without having to leave our home.

Another peddler only came around twice a year, but we always eagerly awaited his coming. He sold cases of turkey meat, each case held only one of a kind cut, so we usually got three or four cases to get what we want to can, which was usually enough to last until the next time he came around.

During the winter an apple peddler made his monthly rounds selling apples. The summer months he could be counted on to have what ever fruit was in season and he would make his rounds when ever it ripened. Sometimes every week.

The cheese peddler always had such a tempting assortment and I always wished my parents would try something other than their usual big block of Colby.

There were other peddlers that came selling a wide variety of things: fabrics, housewares, books, and more. Mom always, always bought something. Not always a lot, but she wanted them to come back the next time they were making their rounds.

As a young bride I wasn't quite so concerned about them coming back, the basket man went his way without making a sale, as well as a number of others. But then a new peddler showed up. He was selling blankets. Brand new sealed in a cellophane package. We had only one blanket, and a scratchy one at that so I was interested. I looked at all the ones he was offering and chose two queen sized ones, a yellow and a blue one. Only ten dollars a piece. I was feeling pleased at the bargain I got and saving my husband money.

I happily carried them to the house, ripped the packaging open and went to put it on the bed. I opened it, and oh horrors! There was a giant hole right in the middle. I quickly opened the other blanket and it and a giant hole in the middle too. My happy thrifty feeling flew right out the window. I had just wasted twenty dollars!

The next Sunday in church this peddler was a topic of conversation. All those that had bought and opened their blankets had been greeted with giant holes. Those that had bought them to be used as future wedding gifts went home and opened them to discover the same thing.

I kept them, thinking that I would someday use them to make some sewing project, but sixteen years have passed and they're still the same. Except they're looking a little worn from the children using them as picnic blankets.

Maybe this winter they'll finally be transformed.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

 
1. When did you last 'swim against the tide'? Explain.

I don't know. Seems to me most of the time we're not swimming with the tide. We left the Amish nine years ago which was a huge swimming against the tide event. Basically everything after that pales in comparison.

2. What's the last self-help or self-improvement book you read?

I don't like calling the Bible a self-help book, because it is so much more. I don't read other self-help / self-improvement books though. We had been given one on marriage as a wedding gift and I think we may have read two chapters before calling it ridiculous and it's been banished to the attic ever since.

3"Tolerance is a tremendous virtue, but the immediate neighbors of tolerance are apathy and weakness." (Sir James Goldsmith) 

Agree or disagree? Discuss. With civility please, because I think we have a good thing going in our very diverse (in geography, age, religion, political persuasion, ethnicity, marital status, upbringing, and cooking abilities) neighborhood here on This Side of the Pond.

I agree, and I'll leave it at that. I've seen too many Facebook conversations spiral out of control over the past few weeks to elaborate any further.

4. What is one of your most vivid memories of the kitchen from your childhood?

We spent the majority of our time in our kitchen when I was a child. It was large and the only room on our main floor that we were allowed to be in. The other three rooms, one was my parents bedroom which was strictly off limits, and the other two had been turned into a store/showroom for our furniture shop and quilts. We weren't allowed to play in there, but could walk through it to get upstairs to our bedrooms.

The kitchen was such a happy place though, it had a sofa, desk, china cupboard, and a table where we did puzzles, played games, or any projects we were working on. The other part of the kitchen had a nice woodstove, an oil stove we used during the summer, two treadle sewing machines, a rocking chair, and our dining table and chairs. There was a nice blackboard on the one wall where we had tons of fun writing, drawing, and playing games.

Our counter tops were bright orange, a color I always detested. It was in this kitchen where I got my love of cooking and baking, learned how to sew, did tons of canning during the summer. It was where we entertained our guests. It was also where I was proposed to.

I never once heard my Mom complain how we basically lived in one room, It was a cheerful, happy place, thanks to her.

5. How did/do your own children's summers compare with your summers as a child? If you're not a parent, answer as it relates to what you've observed about the current generation of children vs. your own childhood.

My summers were busy preserving food for winter, but on days where there wasn't any canning to do I loved roaming the countryside with my brother. We would traipse through the woods, along the creeks, and anywhere our hearts desired. That is something our children don't do. Would it still be safe to walk over anyone's land? Maybe, but maybe not. At any rate it's something they're not allowed to do, that we used to.

6. Tell us what body of water you would most like to be on or near today, and why?

I would love to be at the beach on Prince Edward Island.

7.  Share a favorite song about water, or a favorite song with the word water in it's title, or a favorite song to listen to as you sit beside the water.

As I Went Down to the River to Pray by Alison Krauss

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It's raining again, much like it has almost everyday this summer. Looks like another day of writing, cooking, and some type of crafty project will be enjoyed at our house.