Archive for October, 2008

Photo Story Friday

Friday, October 31st, 2008

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

When our daughter Laura got married three years ago, she and her husband Darren moved east to Vermont, where grandson Diederick and granddaughter Carly were born. The times we saw one another were few and far between.

Just recently Laura, Darren and kiddos have moved to our ‘neck of the woods’, much to our joy. I’m enjoying the sweeties here and now.

During those three long years, how did we stay in touch?

By phone? Not much. Neither Laura nor I are big fans of spending time on the phone.

Writing letters? Beyond the birthday cards and gifts that crossed the country, No.

I’ll admit we did chat online, but that wasn’t the best of it.

During those years, I got to ‘see’ the daily goings-on of the little family, thanks to my daughter’s diligent posting on her blog. I would comment on the pictures and running commentary of their days, and Laura would read my blog as well, keeping track of the goings-on in her younger siblings’ lives. I was a ‘virtual’ gramma. Not quite the same as a gramma ‘in the flesh’, but still I know I was blessed.

Now that Laura and Darren and family are here, we enjoy our times together, but those blogs are still very important to us. We comment back and forth, and chronicle our days. It’s still a great way to keep in touch, on a level to which we have become accustomed.

The blogging buddies reunited


13 Things to Get Done Around the House

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

We have been living in our house for almost 20 years now. Over the course of that much time, it is easy to become used to clutter creeping in and staying. It’s also easy (for me, at least) to become so busy with the duties of the here and now that I don’t really take the time for deep cleaning. Here, for Thursday 13, are thirteen things I want to get done around the house:

  1. Recycle all magazines except perhaps the ones with lots of recipes in them.
  2. Take all the books off the shelves, dust them, and give away the ones we aren’t likely to read or lend out.

  1. I MUST make or purchase new curtains! Though I don’t have the time, I really want to sew them myself. We have simple tab top curtains that I love, but they are truly worn out.
  2. Take an honest look at everything in the closets, then give away/throw away items as needed.

  1. Take everything out of the kitchen and laundry room cupboards and drawers, wipe them down, and replace the usable items neatly. (Have you guessed yet that having an orderly environment helps me feel relaxed and happy?)
  2. Repot all my houseplants. Growth is slowing down for them, so this is an opportune time for that as well.

  1. Ask my husband to replace the windows that are damaged. The stained glass in the front door is damaged as well (Think: Lawn mower hits rock. Rock goes flying. Window is not quite the same afterward. This is why we don’t walk around outside while the lawn is being mowed!)
  2. Hmmm . . . I thought of another one for my husband, since I haven’t learned how to do this: Replace weather stripping around the doors. We get a powerful northeast wind here in the winter, so we have learned the value of weather stripping!
  3. Scrub the tile floors, including the grout. The Swiffer Wet Jet is great for keeping it looking good, but I want to clean it thoroughly.

  1. Dust all the ‘up high’ places I usually don’t look. We have log beams in the house. They give a really ‘homey’ look, and also collect dust!

  1. OK. I just thought of another one for my husband. (Wonder if he will read this post?) He has torn the carpet out of most of the house, after we learned that one of our daughters has a serious dust allergy. The carpet in our youngest son’s bedroom and in our bedroom still needs to be torn out, and glueless laminate installed. I’m not nagging, honestly. I know what a big, sweaty process this is. I’m just including it on the list for good measure.
  2. Get rid of any and all knick knacks that I don’t absolutely love. Down on dust collectors!
  3. Clean and polish all ‘supposed-to-be-shiny’ surfaces in the house such as windows, mirrors, French door panel panes, light fixtures, etc.


There. That should keep me out of trouble for a while. My husband, should he choose to accept this mission, will also be busy (busier than me, actually). It’s convenient that soccer season just ended. Maybe two of my daughters can be busy with me, too.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Hosted by Peggy

For Today…October 27, 2008

Outside my Window…I actually have a picture taken through the study window for you today. This was taken at about 4 o’clock this afternoon, after a relaxing stroll with my daughter Laura, her baby daughter Carly, and of course our old doggie Lassie.

I am thinking…what a good girl I am to have done so much paperwork this evening. I still need to pay property tax before the end of the month, but everything else is paid.

From the learning rooms…I need to reread some books from the Orca Current series, so that I can recommend them to some of the students with whom I work. These are high-interest, yet easy reads for reluctant readers, written by authors who know their subject matter, whether it be wilderness survival, downhill skiing, or the challenges of emigrating to a new country.

I am thankful for…all my husband’s hard work so that I can pay the bills!

From the kitchen…We had a simple supper this evening, consisting of a homemade vegetable beef soup and garlic toast. I used a bit of left-over Swiss steak gravy to give extra flavor to the broth. It was nummy!

I am wearing…Pink and gray-striped short-sleeved polo shirt, olive green denim skirt, bare feet. (The house is warm; wood stove’s going.)

I am reading…an article from Modern Reformation magazine entitled, “Church is Family” by John N. Day. We were assigned this article to read by our elders, prior to their visit with our family, at which time we’ll discuss it with them.

I am hoping…our pastor and his family continue to have an enjoyable working vacation in Kauai, Hawaii. We miss them, though!

I am creating…a lovely blog post.

I am hearing…the hum of my husband’s computer. My laptop is in his office.

Around the house…not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse. I do believe the children are all in bed already, or are quietly reading in their rooms.

One of my favorite things…is getting a dreaded task done, and then feeling as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…Tomorrow I plan to get a more user-friendly cell phone for my elderly mom. Afterwards, I plan to do a Costco shopping, since I’ll be in town anyhow. They have the best coffee beans; don’t want to run out, you know!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…

Here I am on our walk today, asking daughter Laura to get a picture of the foothills beyond the trees.

Five Recent Movies We’ve Rented – Give Me 5 Monday

Monday, October 27th, 2008

The ‘Give Me Five’ Monday meme is designed to share fun information with each other in a simple short list! Here’s how it works. Each week, I will put out a random topic from my list of topics and you share 5 answers of your choice on the given topic and link back here! You can add photos, links or stories or just a simple list of your own of 5 things that relate to the topic as it pertains to you and your life experiences. It doesn’t have to be in any order of importance unless otherwise specified.
Sign up for weekly reminder emails @

This is the information provided by Becca of BeccA’s Buzz, the hostess of the Give Me Five Monday meme. Please play along with us! Here is my post for this week:

Give Me Five Recent Movies You’ve Rented:

  • Amazing Grace – the movie about William Wilberforce attempting to end British slave trade in the 1800s
  • Speed Racer
  • Charlie Bartlett – Our children are great fans of Robert Downey, Jr.
  • Iron Man – another Robert Downey, Jr. movie
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – the 1962 film based on the novel by Harper Lee, starring Gregory Peck. This isn’t a recent movie, but it is one we’ve recently rented that we like to watch every so often.

(All of the movie pictures are copied from the Internet Movie Database site, IMDb.)


Sunday Thoughts

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

My daughter Laura (of faithful blogging renown) tells me I should consider resigning from the Blog 365 group. Thinking of things to blog about daily (she tells me – and I know she’s right) does NOT count as actually blogging daily, which is what I said I would try to do when I joined the group. Ah, well. I won’t resign just yet, not today, anyway.

We’re enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon here. A gentle breeze, so common in the fall around here, is gently ruffling the variegated yellow/green leaves of the birch trees outside my window. The sky is a bright blue. It’s a day of rare beauty, and yet here we remain, quietly, in the house. A couple of our folks are napping before it’s time to return to church in the evening. One daughter is at the dining room table, working on a book of reminiscences that she and her best friend are creating together. I hear grandson Diederick asking his Mommy if he may, “Ea(t), ea(t)!”

I am especially thankful today. I’m thankful for the beautiful day, of course, and thankful for the health to be able to enjoy it. I’m thankful for the dear family in the quiet house, and thankful for another day of life to enjoy their fellowship. For these blessings, and many more, I thank the Lord this Sunday.

I’m thankful for dear grandchildren with whom to interact. Maybe I’m feeling more responsible to make things homey and good for the little ones, and this keeps me from the old blog?

Here, at any rate, are some pics of the cuties, for your enjoyment.

(P.S. – Laura took the pictures. My camera is dead. 🙁 )

Photostory Friday – Diaper Duty

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

In this photo, taken about 16 years ago, our twin daughters, Sarah and Laura, are about seven years old. Off camera to the left is our oldest child, 9 years old at that time, and Debra sitting on the cushion, about two years old. The girls are stacking cloth diapers for baby Rebecca, who is child number seven. That’s right; when my oldest child was 9 years old, we had seven children, and I must say, though we were all busy, we enjoyed ourselves very much.

I am full of a tumble of thoughts, wishing I could explain in very few words (so as not to bore you) exactly what it was like, and why the children were helpful, obedient, creative and kind to one another. It took a lot of planning, persistence and hard work on my husband and my parts to accomplish this, and yet we enjoyed the children ever so much.

I am especially thankful that these “little people years” were home school years. Our schedule was unhurried. There was plenty of time for adequate sleep, for doing animal chores, for helping around the house, for playing outside, and for reading books together.

Here is a link to a little something I wrote when I first began blogging that explains some of my thoughts about interacting with the children. Here are some of my thoughts on encouraging creativity in children. As long as I’m at it, here are some things I appreciate about my family.



Thirteen Recipes I haven’t prepared in a long time, revisited

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

(This logo was designed by Hootin’ Anni.)

What a busy gal I’ve been this week. I suppose that shows in my blog, since my last post was done on Monday.

I missed Ten on Tuesday, with the great prompt, “What are ten of the best meals you’ve had?” I missed Three Word Wednesday. I didn’t even get to check what those prompts were. Now it’s Thursday 13 time, and I’m debating whether or not to do that meme. I contemplated submitting another recipe with thirteen ingredients, but that’s kinda funky. Then I thought I’d borrow the Ten on Tuesday idea by listing thirteen favorite family meals. That seemed a bit cumbersome, since I would want to include the recipes then. That’s just too big of a post.

OK. Got it.

Thirteen Recipes I haven’t prepared in a long time, but am going to prepare again:

  • High Protein Pancakes or Waffles (from the More With Less Cookbook)

    1 cup cream-style cottage cheese

    4 eggs

    ½ cup flour

    ¼ teaspoon salt

    ¼ cup vegetable oil

    ½ cup milk

    ½ teaspoon vanilla

    Whirl at high speed in blender for one minute. Bake on lightly greased griddle or waffle iron. Serves 3 as a main dish.

  • Baked beans from scratch (soaking the dried beans before cooking, etc.)
  • Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)
  • Corn Bread Dressing (from the More With Less Cookbook)

    Combine in large bowl:

        4 cups corn bread, crumbled

        1 ¾ cup croutons

    Melt in skillet:

        ¼ cup butter


        4 stalks celery, sliced

        1 large onion, chopped

        1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

        1 teaspoon celery seed

        2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

        Salt and pepper

    Sauté until tender and add to bread mixture.

    Brown in skillet:

        3 ounces pork sausage

    Add to bread mixture along with 1 cup chicken broth. Combine and turn into greased casserole. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.

  • Rice Pudding
  • Bread Pudding
  • Refrigerator Bran Muffins (from Set for Life cook book)

    1 cup hot water

    3 cups 100% bran cereal

    1 cup chopped dates or raisins

    1/3 to ½ cup vegetable oil

    2 eggs

    ½ cup sugar or honey

    2 cups buttermilk or nonfat yogurt

    2 ½ cups freshly ground whole wheat flour

    2 teaspoons baking soda

    ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt

    Pour hot water over cereal and dates in large bowl. Let stand while preparing other ingredients. In blender, combine oil, eggs, honey, and buttermilk. Pour into the bran mixture, and mix together. Combine flour, soda, and salt. Add to bran mixture, mixing just long enough to blend ingredients. Do not stir batter again. Drop by tablespoonfuls into nonstick muffin pans, filling 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. Yield: 3 dozen muffins.

  • Mexi-Corn Zucchini (from Set for Life cook book)

    ½ pound lean ground beef

    1 medium onion, chopped

    ½ green pepper, chopped

    3 cups sliced zucchini, ½ inch thick

    1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

    2 to 3 fresh tomatoes, chopped

    1 to 2 cups whole-kernel corn

    ½ teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon mild chili powder

    Brown ground beef, onion, and green pepper. Drain well. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Cook: 20 minutes Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • Fruit Smoothie (from Set for Life cook book)

    2 cups pineapple or orange juice

    1 apple, cored and sliced

    1 orange, peeled and sectioned

    2 bananas

    1 cup fresh or canned fruit, drained

    Ice cubes

    Place juice in blender. Add fruits and blend well. Drop in ice cubes one at a time until beverage reaches desired consistency. Frozen bananas, broken into small pieces, may be used to thicken beverage. Add more juice if desired. Yield: 6 servings

  • Scones
  • Dumplings (on top of stew or hearty soups)
  • Chicken Jambalaya
  • Hot German Potato Salad



Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Hosted by Peggy

For Today, October 20, 2008

Outside my Window…I’m writing this in the evening, so it’s dark outside. Just a little over an hour ago, though, it was glorious outside. As the sun was setting, an amber “storm light” lit up the colorful foliage of the trees, and I enjoyed a full rainbow my entire way home. The rainbow ended in our foothills, so “There’s gold in them thar hills!”

I am thinking…of the awful (true) story I heard today of Vlad III Tepes (1431-1476), ruler of Walachia (Transylvania), whose recreation was wantonly killing his own people (20,000 men, women and children). He was the inspiration for the fictional character Dracula. I am thankful that the Lord will avenge the blood of the innocent. I am sorry that Adam and Eve ever sinned against God, bringing such evil into the world.

From the learning rooms…Our two-year old grandson is learning to sit still during family worship. He has learned that it’s OK to make a lot of noise while we sing a psalm, so he joins in heartily, singing his own words!

I am thankful for…safety in our land, so that we don’t need to fear authorities randomly executing us, without provocation. Though there is much “wickedness in high places” in our land, I am praying that the Lord would bless us in the upcoming presidential election.

From the kitchen…nothing much happened. I took my elderly mom to an appointment when I got home from school, went grocery shopping, and then, feeling tired and knowing the children would be HUNGRY after soccer and football practices, picked up two Papa Murphy’s pepperoni pizzas and breadsticks for dinner. We all enjoyed it!

I am wearing…Burnt orange horizontally striped “hoodie” and black peasant skirt, with cozy black leggings. So comfortable, and passably dressy for working at the middle school.

I am reading… Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney. This is the book some of us ladies at church are reading and discussing together about twice a month. It is the best of the be-a-godly-woman genre books I’ve read so far. The author seems to be genuine and humble and reliant on God’s grace (not her own magnificent strong will).

I am hoping…to still pay some bills this evening. This blog post came first!

I am creating…(working on would be a better term) good relationships with each member of my family. I’m including dear grandchildren, Diederick (2 years old) and Carly (almost 5 months old) who I’m seeing quite a bit of lately. That’s something for which I’m thankful, too!

I am hearing…Carly making her complaining noises. She tends to be unhappy this time in the evening, no matter what.

Around the house…All is fairly quiet just now. The children are doing schoolwork. Our daughter Laura is caring for her daughter, little Carly. That bundle of energy, Diederick, fell asleep early. Soon it will be time for family worship.

One of my favorite things…is what I’m doing right now: Writing a post for my blog.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…I’m helping my friend Sue serve a church “Family Night” dinner this Wednesday evening. My assignment is DESSERT. At this point I’m planning on making lots of Apple Crumb Cake and lots of Cocoa Brownies.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…

This image is from Snapshots of Joy.

Give Me 5 Monday – Favorite Fall Foods

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Give Me Five fave fall time foods with or without recipes.

  • Hmmm . . . As the days become shorter, and there’s a definite nip in the air, our family really enjoys a hearty, chowder-type soup, such as Cheddar Chowder.
  • I usually serve this soup with homemade Cornbread.
  • A dessert made with molasses, such as Plantation Cake, is a favorite fall food.
  • Another autumn dessert we enjoy is Pumpkin Yum.
  • Anything made with apples is a favorite around here. This is a recipe for Apple Crumb Cake.

    ½ cup shortening

    ½ cup brown sugar

    1 egg

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 cup buttermilk

    2 cups flour

    1 ½ to 2 cups fresh apple, some tart variety, chopped into ½” pieces

    1 teaspoon vanilla


    Cream together sugar, shortening, and egg. Add soda and buttermilk, alternating with flour. Stir in chopped apples and vanilla.


    Topping (sprinkle on before baking):


    ½ cup white sugar

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    1 Tablespoon butter


    Cut butter into sugar and cinnamon until coarse crumbs are formed.

    Bake at 350 degrees in greased 9 x 13-inch pan for 30 to 40 minutes.

Becca of BeccA’s Buzz is the hostess of this meme. She says:

The ‘Give Me Five’ Monday meme is designed to share fun information with each other in a simple short list! Here’s how it works. Each week, I will put out a random topic from my list of topics and you share 5 answers of your choice on the given topic and link back here! You can add photos, links or stories or just a simple list of your own of 5 things that relate to the topic as it pertains to you and your life experiences. It doesn’t have to be in any order of importance unless otherwise specified.
Sign up for weekly reminder emails @

One Single Impression – Golden

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Thanks to Gemma Wiseman of Gemma’s Greyscale Territory – Poetic Songlines for the One Single Impression prompt of GOLD.

Love your enemies;

Show kindness where none’s been done.

“Do unto others

As you’d have it done to you.”

The Golden Rule’s not easy.


Love your family,

Laying aside selfishness.

Do what’s truly good

To those you hold near and dear.

Golden Rule: yes. Easy: no.