Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sunday Nov 15

For Today...
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV

Outside my window...
My window right now is the van window. I am observing the variations in Ohio and West Virginia landscapes.

I tried to catch a photo of the WV Capitol building as we went through Charleston (in the dark). I thought it turned out to be a rather unique photo.

I am thinking...
….about all the health problems I keep hearing about and how unhealthy the food is nowadays.

I am thankful…
...that in heaven we will never need to worry about contaminated air, water or food!

I am wearing...
The purple dress I made for Yvonne’s wedding last year.

I am creating...
I made the smaller one in the front first. Thomas thought it should be bigger so the second one is still a work in progress.

I am going... Gap Mills. We plan to be there tomorrow to help along a bit and get our truck. 

I am wondering...
….how many pies and sweet breads I'll need to bake this week. 

I am reading…
1 Timothy

I am hoping...
...To be encouraged and strengthened in the inner man this week. Revival meetings begin Tues eve and go through Sun eve.

I am learning...
...that other mothers of sons can sometimes get lonely too.

In my kitchen…
Everything is at a standstill as we travel and enjoy the good cooking of others. We had some good chicken, rice, beans, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa and chips for lunch.

In the homeschool room…
….on hold there too as we travel.

Christopher's doodling in his math workbook. He told me this was the numbers from 1 - 10. Can you find them?

One of my favorite things...
Lying down in my bed after a day of work.

A picture... or more.

BIG "bugs on a log" Hey, I was hungry!

Melvin & Christopher make all kinds of pouches & etc from old jeans.

The front of a "moccasin" Christopher made.

The back

A slung-over-the-shoulder pocket

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I have 101 things to do but I had an inspiration to write so I better take it! This outline from The Simple Woman's Daybook (not her exact outline) inspires me.
Outside my window…
 It is a wet, gray, chilly day. The leaves have collected thickly on the lawn. The younger boys have blown, raked and shoveled them into “fort” piles.

I am thinking…
…about how to organize my house and declutter. There is too much to see after. I need to simplify life. I would really like to know how and where to recycle- plastic, glass, books, foil, metal cans.

Just so you know my house CAN be quite a fright!

I am thankful for…
…a kind, considerate husband and five happy, healthy sons. It is a pleasure to work together as a family and learn life’s lessons.
From the learning rooms…
We are reading about slavery, the Alamo, Houdini, the Trail of Tears, wars for freedom, plant life, public speaking, bow hunting & etc. There is so much to learn about!

From the kitchen…
We are still baking sweet breads and pies for the market. An average gross income weekly is $200. The boys enjoy helping (or at least they make no complaint).
Last evening I made fried butternut squash. I sliced them fairly thin, cut the slices in half and fried them in plenty of coconut oil until they were nicely browned on both sides. Salted and peppered, they were a hit. The first time I’ve gotten the family to like fried butternuts. They really like the seed ends baked with a meatloaf filling and of course, they like pumpkin custard!
I should share with you a recipe I’ve made a couple times and have gotten “rave reviews” on. I chunk up peeled sweet potatoes to fill a 9 x 13 pan. Give them a good sprinkle of rosemary, either the leaves or the powder, then salt them with garlic salt and sprinkle black pepper over them. Pour a stick of melted butter over them, cover with foil and bake at 350 until tender. See if you like em. (I know that's rather vague instructions. What I call "Amish instructions". If you need to know more, comment below or reply to the email.)
I am wearing…
…a reworked dress of my sister’s. I have a good many cast-off dresses in my collection. You would think with 5 sons and no need to sew for daughters that I should have plenty of time to sew for myself. But somehow I don’t.
I am creating…
…order in the breezeway. Lol  Is that a creation?
This is the DIS-order!

I am going…
…to OH for a wedding this weekend, Lord willing. I hope to see my brother and my cousins in OH. Then from there we want to go to my parents to do some more helping with their move to our house.
I am reading…
 Anything I can set my eyes on or get my hands on, really.
I start way too many books
I am hoping… .
…that my brother and daughter make it safely up from Honduras. They are coming to help with my parents’ move also. I am also hoping that Thomas’ brother Caleb & his wife have a safe trip from Germany where they went for her father’s funeral. And that their further travels in the USA & to Haiti are successful.
I am hearing…
…Christopher singing. He is happy to be done with his Math lesson and going outside to play a bit.
Around the house…
Things were piling up on me drastically as I had a few weeks in a row of unrelenting activity. Thomas and the boys helped me on Sat with some cleaning and my mind feels free-er with some of the mess out of the way. Both of our dishwashers are on the blink now so the last few weeks when we were extra busy we ended up needing to do dishes by hand again. Then the one refrigerator gave up the ghost just after my big shopping trip when I needed all 3. (One holds gallons of milk from the milk cow.)

If you could take a peek into my house now this area would be much more orderly.

One of my favorite things…
Reading a good book with no guilt. So often I should be doing something else. Sigh
A few plans for the rest of the week…
Today we need to bake sweet breads (6 pumpkin, 9 zucchini) and pies (3 peach, 5 apple) for the market. Tomorrow I hope to give our room and bathroom a long overdue cleaning. I need to get the boys’ rooms ready for my brother & daughter to overnight in Thursday (or rather Fri morning) also. The expired fridge still needs a bit of clean-out yet. We need to pack for the trip. I am having the boys do their own laundry this week, hopefully starting a new rhythm here. I haven’t been able to keep up with it so we’ll see if they can. And, of course, every day includes school. On Thurs we need to go for Christmas program practice at the church school.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing….
11 lbs of Provolone cheese ($2.59 @lb from Sharp Shopper)

Writing from this outline makes one think in interesting avenues. It has been fun.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


"Will you come to my house for lunch?" That is a welcome invitation for this mother of boys! Thomas' mother invited us to her house for lunch today. She fed us a delicious lunch of potatoes & burger, California blend & tossed salad. She said it was in celebration of Thomas' and my 20th wedding anniversary this coming Tuesday. 
An anniversary bouquet from Mom

We had a longer service at church this morning as we celebrated the death and suffering of Jesus (Communion). That sounds a bit odd to think of celebrating something awful. But the celebration part is because of what it means to us as we are now able to be a part of this wonderful family of God! I am reminded of the awful things that have happened in my life and how they can be causes of celebration as I realize what God works through them.

We couldn't sit long to visit after lunch because we went with the youth group to sing at a nursing home. Then it was time to come home to do the milking.

Stephen & Austin were in Gap Mills the last few days to help my parents with a baked goods stand at a festival in Clifton Forge, VA. They left here Thursday morning taking two of their girl cousins along, and came home this morning. They had to leave at 5:30 to be here in time for church. After we got home from singing, Stephen conked out on the couch. He had the responsibility of driving on the trip.

We harvested about 4 bushels of butternut squash. We gave some to my sister and family. The rest will need to be canned or frozen unless some of my readers can tell me how to keep them raw. We like the seed ends stuffed with meat loaf and baked. Seeds removed, of course.
Boxes of squash

The volunteer plant had the biggest squash

Apples are sitting here waiting to be sauced. 
Golden Delicious

York in sacks

There are also a number of peppers to pickle and be put into salsa. I actually bought some tomatoes to make salsa with.

And then I found a good number of quince. I don't know if the bush never bore any since we're here or whether I just never saw them before. This is something new for me. I had to research how to use them. They need lots of sugar to even be edible. 

So I feel a bit overwhelmed as I try to fit all this into our schedule of school and baking. We got 40 lbs of boneless turkey thighs canned this past week too. 

Produce from the market waiting to be turned into pies & bread

Here is what the boys love to use when they help with pies. It is an apple peeler, corer, slicer and it works well! Saves a lot of time and body wear.

It's cold! We actually turned the heat on in the house last night for the first time. We have occasionally had a fire in the wood stove out in the finished garage where we spend most of our time. The temperature hasn't gone above 45 today. We had a good frost this morning. I ran out to pull the sweet potato vines off before we left for church. Thankfully I had brought my potted plants inside overnight.

What do you use on a burn? I burned my hand on the wood stove this week. After trying a salve on the wound I finally wiped it off and instead put aloe vera juice on from one of my plants. It was so soothing but it was hard to keep the juice on so I finally cut a leaf in half and laid it on my hand. I kept it there for a few hours until the pain subsided. The burn never blistered and I had no more pain since. I highly recommend aloe vera for burns!
1st day
5th day

Aloe Vera -The plant that can be totally neglected but still has healing for you.

A new person entered our community this week on Friday. Gene & Dorcas Ropp had a baby girl, named Teagan (tee' gun) Jade. Third child second daughter. 

What is life like in the fall for you?

Are you doing any food preservation these days?

Has the cold weather come to visit you yet?

Monday, October 5, 2015

A new venture

My sister-in-law wondered if I know how to say, "No"? We started something new this past week to add to our already full schedule.A local market asked whether I would use their produce to bake pies and zucchini bread for them to sell. I was thrilled. The bread doesn't tempt me like the pie. Pie is my "fun" thing to bake.

Tuesday evening I helped Melvin & Christopher get started with some little painting-by-number cards. They got hooked and spent any extra time they had doing it. They would be at it early in the morning and late in the eve.

The market wanted me to put zucchini and peaches in the freezer so I can keep making bread and pies once these items are out of season. So that meant I needed to move the tomatoes out of the freezer that I had stored up this summer to make juice and soup.

So with a very rainy week we kept ourselves very occupied indoors.  

What did you do this past week while the rain fell?

Or maybe you had a dry, sunny week?