Tuesday, March 21, 2017

DIY Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

So easy. So good.

Here's what you'll need-

1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
¼ teaspoon each -
  • Celery salt
  • Onion salt
  • Garlic salt
Dash of black pepper

Whisk together and serve over your favorite green salad. Or use it to dip your raw veggies in.  

I always make a double batch for our family. We eat like rabbits. Only we prefer our raw foods slathered in good old Ranch. And even some cooked foods... like potato wedges and pizza. And I usually use two and one half cups of buttermilk to one and one half cups mayo as we prefer it thinner.

Knowing what's in your dressing is a lovely bonus.

So good. So easy.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Tribute to....A Chicken

Yes. You read that right. This particular chicken deserves recognition. 

The year was 2014. The place was Gap Mills, WV. My sister and her husband were living with my parents and wanted to have some good farm-fresh eggs. So they acquired chickens. Then they moved back to Texas, leaving the chickens behind.

The year was 2015. The place was Augusta, WV. Another sister and her husband wanted farm-fresh eggs. They moved said chickens to their property. When they later purchased 100 chickens they sent the small flock to us. 

On our little farm, chickens disappear. By night, with feather trails down to the woods. By day, with no trace left. And, by night, with carcasses left on the ground in the cage; heart eaten out. What gets the domestic birds? Oh, for a trail camera!

This small flock disappeared one by one, two by two, three by three....you get the picture. They disappeared. Except for this one. She survived an attack with only a patch of feathers off her back. After this she kept herself alive.

Since that day we have gotten a dozen chickens who again disappeared, one by one, two by two, etc. They all left; but this one remained. She knew how to stay alive. 

Last summer we got guinea keats- three of them. The day we let them out of their cage two went missing overnight. The third one was found in the woods in a terrible state of fear. He was shepherded back to his cage where he cowered in fear for awhile. He finally ventured out and he now knows how to keep himself alive.

Now we had two wise birds. We thought we should name them. The chicken especially had such a personality. She literally ruled the roost! Once she and the dog got in a fight over a ham bone and she nearly lost her life. She recovered and was a bit more dog wise.

But the dog and the cats knew their boundaries-- and those were---- not too close to the chicken. Recently Grandma Lapp brought the dog a pet bed. The chicken soon claimed it for her own. Ever see a chicken in a pet bed? Pampered bird!

I asked the boys what woman's name comes to their mind when I say words like "bossy, controlling, cantankerous, do-as-I-say, etc". Austin immediately replied, "Miranda". (Think Anne of Green Gables) We never did give the birds names. We thought of Henry & Henrietta.

Christopher enjoyed having the chicken sit on his arm while he stroked her and talked to her. He liked to introduce her to people.

The end of the story? This past week, the chicken became ill. She lasted about two days and succumbed. We didn't know how to help her or what was wrong. The younger boys claimed it was old age but old age doesn't kill one that quickly. I think she ate the wrong thing. Poor bird.

We miss her. RIP 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Reflecting... on a Sunday

Outside my window...
It is grey. It's been grey a lot this winter. Sunshine is very occasional and very welcome. A few snow flurries were on the air at times today.
I am thinking…

I need to write a mission statement. Something that can be a lens to look at all of life through.
I am thankful for…
My husband. Dear, kind, thoughtful, wise, godly.
From the learning rooms…
We just came through a grueling session of preparing for a culture fair. (More on that later, hopefully.)
From the kitchen…
Food as fast and frugal as possible these days. Lots of meals with potatoes because that's what is abundant in storage. If you like a menu plan ready-made for you, try out Eat at Home. For a break and some inspiration I purchased a month and was really pleased. Meals are frugal, your grocery list is all made out and even color coded by meals, and you get three months worth of meals for the price of one. We have enjoyed nearly every meal we tried. (Have I told you about this before?)
I am wearing…
A dark dress- olive? Brown? Some strange color. Ankle socks. Clogs.
I am creating…
A dress. When I have time.
I am going…
To a singing with a few other families this evening. For a song that should challenge you, listen to this one.
I am reading…
I am hoping… .
To get rid of 500 things by the end of January. My sister challenged me to this and it's been great. I'm at 355 by now. It's embarrassing how much I have that I don't need.
I am hearing…
Austin making popcorn. A hunting video the younger boys are watching.
Around the house…
A problem door was fixed recently by Austin. Yay! Now it latches.
One of my favorite things…
A few plans for the rest of the week…
Get back into our normal studies. Host Bible study Wed evening. Prepare for Thomas' sister's family who plan to visit over the weekend.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing….

Sunday, January 22, 2017


What happens when you clean out 70 some years worth of storage? One happens across unique items.

This puzzle was one of those unique items in the things that collected in my parents' home over the years.

The box. Look at the original price.

The address on the back tells us that it was from many years ago.

Oddly shaped pieces make a bigger challenge.

The finished treasure is worth all the work (a.k.a.fun).

And after 40+ years... the pieces are actually all there!

(Edith Troyer- my birth mother- would have been 79 years old this month had she lived.)

Do a Google search for the Nyangombe Falls. Or just click that link.

I'm addicted to puzzles. 

What is your take on them?

Joy...and Faith

A huge topic.

Here are some thoughts I'm gleaning.

Joy is a choice.

Forgive, forgive and forgive.

We choose to be hurt.

Talk and think about good things.

Brothers and sisters, think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8 paraphrased)

Does God instruct us to think about ANYTHING negative?

Smile! 😀 It makes you happy.

Celebrate victories. Your own and others. Don't think big. Tell yourself what you did right. Tell your partner what you like about him/her. Tell your child what they did right.

Think of the person you do not like. Is there one good thing about this person? Think about this thing only.

We likely grew up in a family or church or school where you were only told what you did wrong. You have the mentality that you are not enough.

Do you say things like-

"I didn't get enough sleep last night."

"Money doesn't grow on trees!"

"There's way too much to do."

"I can never do it right!"

"Maybe I'm good for something after all."

"I don't have time for that."

There's not enough space."

What do all these statements say?

"Not enough." 

"There's a scarcity."

Truly? Is the ocean only a few drops of water? Is the air you breathe nearly gone? Is the sky about to fall on you?

No! A thousand times NO!

Live with an abundance mentality.

We have an abundant God.

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. Psalm 50:10

He wants to give us the kingdom.

Fear not, little flock: for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

He says ask and I'll give it to you.

For everyone that asketh receiveth... Luke 11:10

He promises rest. (Yes, on earth!)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:2

Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. Hebrews 4:11

He says he'll give us feet like deer, wings like eagles, strength like youth.

Habakkuk 3:19; Isaiah 40:31

He wants us to be a joyful people.

In thy presence is fulness of joy...Psalm 16:11

And it all boils down to a choice.


I get to choose these things?


We see... hear.... get -

What we look for. What we want. What we believe in.

Do you believe God when He says He is for you? 

If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

Do you believe everything is against you?

You get what you believe.

Where is your faith today?

What are you expecting?

Are you choosing joy?

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Psalm 67:3 & 5

Monday, December 5, 2016

Simple Yummy Breakfast

Would you like a new recipe? Yeah, me too. This one has been a recent hit with our family.

1 lb sausage (or other burger)
1 cup salsa
6 (or more) eggs

This is a very adjustable recipe. The main idea is to brown the sausage in a skillet, stir in the salsa, crack the eggs over the mess, put a lid on and let it cook about three minutes. You've got yourself a delicious breakfast just like that!

I found this recipe at Lexi's Clean Kitchen and I'm certain you are welcome to go there to find many more yummy things. She has lots of recipes for people with diet restrictions.

Thought for the day- Choose to love housework because that is God's gift to you!

Picture for the day- the mug I painted at Polka Dot Pot.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble and he knoweth them that trust in him. Nahum 1:7

God is good, all the time: All the time, God is good.

This past week has been wonderful! The men were home most of the week, getting projects done around here. We took off from academic studies. It was a relaxing week in a lot of ways even though it was busy.
A sign in the pottery shop
Our shop with an open porch is now a larger shop because there are walls built around the porch. Usually the men would enclose the porch with plastic for the winter to have space to work but now there are real walls. They are doing a major renovation on the interior of the building also, to make it more usable. 

The yard has had its fall cleanup- the last mowing and leaf pick-up. It looks so nice!

One day the men cut up six bushels of apples for me which I made into sauce. They helped to turn it through the strainer also. We got around 63 quarts. We like a thicker sauce so I poured a lot of liquid away. Most of the sauce went into the freezer. I canned seven quarts.

That same day, we three teachers of our class at Kid's Club took five of the girls out for the evening to Polka Dot Pot in downtown Winchester. PDP is a pottery shop. You can book a party and paint pottery. We each did a mug except one girl did an ice cream cone trinket "box".

Thanksgiving Day didn't seem like it . Okay that sounds weird. But I was hoping for family time, playing games, etc. We just each went our own way, doing whatever and waiting for the evening when others were coming. Thomas' mom, my parents, my sister Verina and family and my sister Joanna from NC came for a 6:30 supper. Of course it was a very short evening. Gobble up the turkey and be stuffed. Ha.

Joanna stayed for the rest of the week and left today. We enjoyed having her with us for a few days. Last weekend my sister Rachel was here with "her very own boyfriend" (as my five year old niece put it.) And in Oct my brother LeRoy and his friend Darek from Poland visited awhile. What a privilege to have family visit us!
And friends! Nathaniel came to visit.
My parents have spent the last few weeks in Gap Mills, making fruitcakes and helping along with the bakery. 
Toward the beginning of the month the younger boys and I had the privilege of visiting different artists. They set up a tour for people to come watch them work and/or see their handiwork. The things the boys enjoyed most were stained glass art and wood turning.
Melvin's art work. The boys enjoy artistic things.
The boys also enjoyed a field day with the church school and a school in Bittinger, MD. It is an annual thing they do, getting together to see who can jump the farthest, run the fastest etc & etc. It's a fun day for all. At least for all of mine.
These things were lying close to one another on the coffee table one day and I couldn't resist the photo. Melvin made the axe.
That day was very unusual for me, being home by myself most of the day. What did I do of the one hundred one things I could have done? Read! Actually I did more than that but I did take some time to enjoy the luxury.
Puzzles are my weakness and this one was especially fun!
Then I had another while to be alone when Thomas and all the boys but Stephen went on a hiking trip with friends for two days and two nights. They were out there when a strong wind came up with rain and sleet, followed by cold temperatures. The precipitation let up but the wind continued. The men were in my thoughts a lot as I wondered how they were able to stay dry and warm. The next day I discovered that they had relocated to a cabin for the night... so.... all was well!
Thanksgiving week is over. Some people say the Christmas season begins. Not knowing that bondage is very wonderful. An elderly lady who attends our church regularly was once asking me some questions about Christmas. I don't remember exactly how our conversation went. In response to my saying that I don't believe it has anything to do with Jesus but it has become a Christian holiday to many people, she decidedly shook her head and said, "No, I wouldn't think it is Christian." And she "religiously" observes Christmas, knowing it is no Christian holiday.
Mama's Christmas cactus
When one of the church ladies went to a store to purchase Thanksgiving themed things, she was told that once they clear out Halloween things they move on to Christmas. Two pagan holidays. Christians try hard to make something godly out of Christmas but what a failure! Go back in history to discover where this all came from and you will begin to see that Christmas is about family traditions that make one feel good but have zero to do with Jesus. Traditions have a way of blinding us.

Are you caught up in "the Christmas spirit"? 

Why or why not?

I don't want to judge you but challenge you to look deeper. Read Colossians 2:16. And I Thessalonians 5:21.

Excuse the random photos. :)

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