Friday, May 17, 2019

Tuesday May 14

Today was a full and busy day. The two younger boys worked on some laundry this morning. Thomas and Matthew completed a construction job today that's been long and drawn out, fitted in between door jobs. Austin was out with the lawn crew.

I was up earlier than usual. After breakfast, I read with the boys until the midwife came. All seems to be going as a normal pregnancy should.

After my checkup, the boys had scattered. Melvin was mowing the lawn. Between mower breakdowns and rain, the lawn was looking pretty hairy. More hairy than pretty.

Christopher was watching chicks and trying to see how many hatched. He also emptied the dishwasher. (Click here to see a video of the chicks.)

I worked on making menus for the next couple weeks and getting a shopping list ready. Then I made a list of some food prep that could be done.

The last few months I've been using Eat at Home meal plans, simply because of pregnancy brain. It was too difficult to plan and Tiffany has all the thinking done for me. Actually, I did alternate my own meal ideas with hers but leaned heavily on her plans.

Now that I can think again to some degree, I decided to make my own plans for the next couple of weeks and see if I can whittle the grocery bill down.

Last year was not a real profitable garden year so my freezers and canned food shelves are quite empty. That does not help the grocery bill! Especially with six big eaters. My appetite has returned so that includes me.

After lunch we headed to school for program practice at 12:45. It's that time of year again. Practice every day this week and Friday evening is the performance. Next week we'll be FREE.

While the boys practiced (for an hour) I crawled into the back seat of the van, curled up and slept. If you've never tried pregnancy at age 46 you should! Ha ha. It is quite difficult.

After we were home and I rested a bit more, Christopher and I tackled some things in the kitchen. He started working on a breakfast casserole. Then he had to go do the milking early so Melvin finished the casserole.
I got a batch of bread mixed and rising, then worked on supper and other things. There were leftover mashed potatoes from Sunday that I reheated;
I fried burger, onions and cabbage together
and made a fruit salad with apples, canned pineapple, frozen blueberries and yogurt. Sweetened with a bit of maple syrup and flavored with vanilla.
The cow has really upped the milk production this spring. I turned a gallon of it into vanilla pudding, sweetened with Sucanat.
I want to make some freezer meals so I fried a couple packs of hamburger for that venture.
And a pound of bacon, baked for another potential breakfast casserole.
The fresh baked spelt bread.
It takes more bread with the guys getting their own breakfasts and lunches. With my poor coping skills at present, there are fewer leftovers as well for lunches. Plus Austin wants more finger foods to eat "on the run" with his lawn care job.

I felt pretty good about how much I accomplished single handedly. The boys were all gone to Kid's Club for the evening. But. ..if I do that much, it just kind of sets me back physically. One day up, the next day down. One step forward, two steps back.

Thomas spent the evening working on a chicken coop. The chickens have been in the fenced-in garden area but if we want to plant a garden they need to move. Plus the chicks need something with a "roof" so hawks and owls can't get them. AND we want something that we can move across the lawn or field to let them pasture feed.

The boys came home around nine o'clock, ate their supper and we called it a day. Kitchen cleanup waits till morning. That's the way we roll around here. Not the best way but hey, you can't always have the best, you know.

Thursday, April 25, 2019


The day has come to let you in on our surprises. I finally have enough energy to sit at the desk and enough clarity of mind to be able to write. The last few months have not been conducive to either.

Toward the end of December I began to suspicion that we were pregnant. I didn't know how that could be so I said nothing to Thomas and just kind of waited.

In January our church ladies' sewing group reorganizes and we vote in a new committee member. I was voted to take that position and agreed to it; but on second thought, I stopped by the Dollar General store and bought a pregnancy test.

Oh my! Those positive test lines turned pink so fast! Now what? I had lots of fear because I knew this either meant months of miserable pregnancy or else another loss. Of course, I dreaded the latter the most. After three losses I thought I just couldn't take ONE more.

The sewing committee position had to be turned down. Pregnancy really takes my energy away plus if it continued on to baby I knew I couldn't do both. It was distressing to me to have to inform people of my condition so early on but at my stage in life no one thinks twice that I might not be able to fulfill normal duties. 

The distress came from hearing their excitement and not sharing in it. How could I be excited when any week might mean a loss? I finally came to the conclusion that it's okay to anticipate and it will be okay to be hurt again. 

With so many people knowing my situation there were a lot of prayers covering me and the baby. My nutritionist has been "holding my hand" all along and keeping me pumped full of supplements. I still struggled/struggle with having enough energy to keep our house clean and food on the table.

The church sisters have been very gracious in the help they've extended to me. A meal brought in now and then. A pot of soup. My assignments for fellowship meals taken. Teaching Sunday school when it's my turn. A batch of granola. Or two. Help with church house cleaning. Washing my windows. 

I'm sure I've missed something but oh my! They know how to make me feel loved and cared for. What I would do without the church we're a part of, I don't know.

Another good friend said she will raise garden produce for me this summer since I won't feel like bending over. I am so blessed to have such friends!

The boys have really stepped up to the plate as well. Helping more with cooking, cleaning and laundry than what they normally would. They've been getting their own breakfast. Even Thomas has perfected his egg frying skills.

People often ask, "What do the boys think about it? How do the boys feel about it?" They're excited. They were all so close together that they really don't have clear memories of babies. But here's a unique thing to have another sibling at their age.

They've been positive about it all along. When I was in doubt as to whether the pregnancy would continue, one of them would say, "This one will!"

Once when I was speaking of some event or situation in relation to the pregnancy, I said, "If this continues to baby". Melvin asked, "What else would it be? Tiger?"

Am I excited? I hardly know. I think about all the realities of the situation. Sleepless nights. Childhood illness. Child training. My age.

By the time this child is 14 Thomas and I will be 60 and Christopher our youngest will be 28. How's that for perspective??

But yes, I'm excited. This is God's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes. He will be (and has been!) with us every step of the way and He has a plan for this child!

Springtime and second trimester have given me back some energy. Life looks a lot brighter. Even though some days you would still see me in bed nearly all day. 

Just this week we got our 20 week ultrasound done and they tell us we're having a .....
Click here to see the reveal. Let me know in the comments if you are not able to go there. (I'm sorry the video is sideways. I don't know how that happened and don't know how to fix it!)

Saturday, February 9, 2019


Here's another simple recipe for those times you can't think what to cook at five o'clock in the evening.

Dump a bunch of cans of stuff in a kettle, heat it through and serve it up!
We called it goulash when I was growing up. My family really likes it. I served it with cheese slices, cornbread and applesauce the last time I made it. Toasted cheese sandwiches would be good if you're bread eaters.

Here's what you need... 
1 qt cooked pinto beans
1 qt tomato chunks
1 qt green beans
1 pack of hot dogs, cut in coins

That's the basic recipe. You can tweak it how you will. I used a can of baked beans plus the pinto beans. I also added a bit of leftover salsa. All because I didn't even have one qt of tomatoes.
Then I like meat that is a little more real than hot dogs so I used some uncured Polish sausage I found at the discount grocery store.
So there you have it. Plain and simple and oh so good!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Just Daily Doings

It must be a weekly thing right now to get an arctic blast. Today the temperature is 10° with a "real feel" of minus 5-14. Tomorrow's forecast says wind chills of -14. The guys went out and cut a load of firewood today. I guess they thought that would be a warmer job than door installation.

Plus Thomas is the man for the topic at Bible study this evening so he wanted some time to study for that. 

Austin and Matthew went this late afternoon to unload doors at the shop. Eight doors came in on this load. Melvin is busy with his hatchet at the cow's water trough. That's a sheet of ice he's thrown that you see between the rails.
I've been doing housework, reading and writing today. Fighting a headache so am not very active. Laundry and kitchen work are all I'm getting done.

The boys feel certain that their time for ice skating has come this week. If it weren't for Bible study this evening they would likely be on a pond somewhere. But maybe tomorrow evening or the next. It doesn't appear as though it will warm up until Saturday.

On Monday Thomas made a second trip to his mom's place in southern WV, taking Melvin with him. They didn't have quite as long a day as they did last week and feel certain that the water lines are repaired in the house now. The water source is a spring in a cave so they traced the lines back to the source and saw that there is a good bit of work to be done there yet. There are whole sections of the line missing. Which means yet another trip.

Thomas was thankful to be able to send Austin and Matthew out for a three door installation on Monday. They can do it on their own now which is a tremendous blessing.

Last evening the guys were all gone to Romney for another evening of work on the Kid's Club building. They report good progress. Will it be ready for Kid's Club to begin in March? 

A group from here, along with people from elsewhere, went to Honduras for a week of Bible school for the native children this week. This is the third year they've done it, I believe. 

In my last post I mentioned Melvin's thirst for reading. He gathered up the books he's read recently so he could record them. I snapped a picture of the stack. The fat book on the bottom is a (well read or used) Sherlock Holmes collection.
We ate a late breakfast today and a very late lunch so I made a peach cobbler for a light "meal" before Bible study. It's something quick and good. I don't know what they'll want to eat when they get home. I'm not going but even if I did, I wouldn't want to eat again when I got home. But they do! Long, hollow legs. Lol

My nose is running a lot today. Don't know if I'm fighting a cold? Or is it because I read of another mother's miscarriage? (That DID make my nose run sorely. I know that kind of loss too well.) Or because I cut up onions? Or maybe all of the above.

I've been reading a lot. Free Kindle books. G. A. Henty books. The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. Also On Sunday a friend gave me a magazine called Above Rubies. Very interesting family type stories/testimonies. She says the magazine is free.
Tell me about life in your world. Is it cold? Do you have animals to care for? Is your house warm? What challenges are you facing? 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Tuesday, January 22

Outside my window...
The world is frozen. An Arctic blast moved in and blew cold winds over us for hours. It pulled the heat right out of the house although the fire did wonders at fighting back. The ground is still white with snow. 
The pond is freezing enough that the boys are excited about skating. They would really like to go visit cousins in Maine this time of the year. They think that would mean lots of ice skating.
If the animals have extra fat they can surely use it now!
I am thinking…
Oh my! Do you want to know all my thoughts? Ha ha. Probably not.
We were to a seminar at Penn Valley a little over a week ago where we received encouragement in caring for parents. 
One of the speakers said how his mother-in-law is so lonely. People don't come visit her. Then he said she is very negative, very opinionated and has her own stories to tell. This just kind of shuts anyone up who comes to visit.
I've experienced people like that. Then I fear I'll become that way myself. I think a good way to combat that is to stay interested in others. 
A young man from our church is getting help for personal problems at Pure Life Ministries. We're told they emphasize working on pride and selfishness in one's life.
Two exercises one can do- 
1. Look for two people you can help in some way today.
2. Find five people you can pray for today.
In other words get the focus off yourself. So there are some of my thoughts.
I am thankful for…
...machines- dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, wood furnace, cook stove and oven, slow cooker and waffle iron. So many time saving devices. That way I can sit down and write. Oh, I'm thankful for a computer too!
From the learning rooms…
Thomas, Austin and Matthew continue to learn the door trade. This past week there have been some learning curves and slides that involved trucks and trailers in snow and ice. I'm thankful no one was hurt and they were able to dig themselves out of their predicaments.
Melvin is reading and reading, every spare minute he has. It's like he's making up for lost time. It blesses my soul to watch him. He and Christopher are also working on preparing for a Bible Fair with the church school. They care for the animals, help me with meal prep, house cleaning and laundry.
One of their obsessions the last few days is paper airplanes. From zippy little ones that do loops to big cargo planes that lumber across the room. They have used lots of Scotch tape.
Thomas and I were gone two weekends in a row. The boys got into games while we were gone- Monopoly, Ticket to Ride, Score Four.
Thomas & Christopher in a Score Four match while Melvin looks on. Christopher looks beat.

Christopher has taken an interest in art with oil pastels. He also completed a couple of color by sticker projects. 
We dream of gardening as we sit on our couches with seed magazines. How could anyone think of hot summer days at the present?
From the kitchen…
I've done it. The Eat at Home meal plans were on sale and I bit. Bought a yearly subscription. This gives me four years worth of menus actually because there are four different types of plans I have access to.
This is only the main meal of the day but it is helpful. Sometimes I get to feeling like I'm in a rut and this helps me out. We really like the recipes and they're quite common. Not a lot of exotic ingredients.
I am wearing…
Blue sweatshirt. Pale blue dress. Shoes and socks. Head covering.
I am creating…
Hmmm. I guess I'm just not being very creative the last while. I cleaned out some closets and bins and sent a whole bunch of clothing to CAM. It feels good to have that stuff out of the house! Hopefully it will help someone somewhere.
I am going…
Oh wow. I'm done going for a bit Lord willing. It wears me out to go places.
I am reading…
The Phases of Learning by Oliver and Rachel DeMille. And oh yes, thinking about thinking, I think about education a lot and how broken our way of education is. Don't get me started!
I am hoping… 
...and praying for relief for my friends who suffer- in their marriages, with law suits, with health issues, with losses.
I am hearing…
...the dryer running. I picked up some dryer balls at Walmart last week. I'm pleased with their performance. I hear them plunking around and the zippers and metal buttons of the jeans hitting the sides
Around the house…
Melvin put up curtain rods for me in the "crazy room". Now we have a shield from the morning sun. He also put some lights above the one set of doors. I had gotten them, thinking I could replace some others we have, but they didn't work for that purpose.

Melvin and Christopher replaced light bulbs on the patio, giving us light again where darkness had reigned for too long. 
Melvin also got the dishwasher repaired when it broke down recently. He is such a handy person to have around!
One of my favorite things…
I still really enjoy snail mail. Of special interest are circle letters and yearly letters with photos.
A few plans for the rest of the week…
The men folk are all planning to be gone this evening. Work has begun on another Kid's Club building in Romney. They sold out from under us last year. Thomas is overseeing the building of rooms in another building. They started last week and got a good many walls framed up. 
I'm working on getting the last of the family photos mailed out. If you don't get one and want one, send me your address at t (dot) rie (dot) n (dot) sons at 
Thomas and a couple of the boys plan to go repair some plumbing on his mom's house in southern WV. There are potential buyers but repairs need to be done before the sale can happen. Poor Thomas is stretched almost beyond what he can manage.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing….
Pacific coast

Monday, January 7, 2019

Meal Plans

A few people have said they get inspiration from my meal plans so I will continue to share them. 

Amanda from The Fundamental Home has been a big inspiration to me and I use her method of planning. She has blog posts explaining her method in detail. Recently she also made a video series with detailed instructions. 

She spends $65 a week for her family of six. But... their family dynamics are not nearly like mine so I haven't been able to spend that little. It has been a tool for me to know how to shop for the best prices though. 

Amanda says to make yourself a menu, like restaurants have, to help you with meal planning. For myself, I've used Google Docs to create lists of many foods we enjoy. Separate documents for salads, breakfasts, main dishes, soups, and etc. Meal planning is a breeze when consulting these lists.

Check the pantry, freezer and fridge to see what your inventory is. Look at the menus to see what you might make with the ingredients you have. If you need any additional items to make these meals, add them to your grocery list. After purchasing these items, look for things on sale. Try to incorporate these into your weekly plan. 

Oh, just go visit Amanda. She explains it very well.

Here is the menu for Jan 9 -13, 2019.

Hearty hamburger soup
Beef Roast
Mashed potatoes
Tomato soup
Hot dogs
Tuna salad
Potato bar
Lettuce Salad
Scrambled eggs
Re-fried beans
Fried eggs

You might notice that about every other meal is a soup dinner. We like soup. Winter is a great time to eat soup. It is also a very frugal option. 
More eggs are coming in from our chickens. So exciting!
A few breakfasts are missing. Thomas & I plan to be gone this coming weekend to a seminar at Penn Valley. The boys will get their own breakfast. Breakfasts will likely include another item such as fruit and/or yogurt besides what is listed.

We'll be gone Friday eve through Sunday noon, Lord willing, so I'll leave some meals ready for the boys (or are they men?). They know how to cook but they don't choose to when I'm gone. 

This past weekend we were gone to a seminar as well. The Marriage Enrichment seminar. Four couples from here went, leaving behind 16 children. 
A basket of goodies we found on our bed at the Marriage Enrichment seminar
I think all but one of the children got together at my sister's house for Sunday lunch. Melvin decided to make a large pan (equivalent to two 9 x 13 pans) of rhubarb crunch to take along. My sister and husband were gone too, so this was a bunch of young people. The oldest was 21 and the youngest 4.

A number of the recipes are linked to the ones I use or something similar. To thicken soup I use cornstarch instead of flour. Pancakes are made with buckwheat flour. Bread for hot dogs and tuna salad is made with spelt flour.

For the potato bar- Bake potatoes. Fry burger and season it with taco seasoning. Make a cheese sauce. Then layer the potato, meat and sauce on your plate and enjoy.

I linked the Caesar salad to the dressing I make.

Have a blessed week, feeding your hungry family.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Crazy Cat

This cat finds all the queerest places to sit or take a nap. Often he is found in a very strange position as well.
On the "top story" of Melvin's desk
On Matthew's desk
On Austin's desk
Same place, different position
Back on top of Melvin's desk
On top of the printer/copier
 On the Pictionary game
 On a book
 Under the rocker
On Matthew's desk
 Atop the drawer unit.
This boy is getting old. He's probably 12 years old. His name is Rascal.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Ham & Cheese Omelet Roll

I have occasionally listed omelet roll in my breakfast menu. I thought you might enjoy some step by step photos to see how I do that with ease.
Here's the recipe I use-
12 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
4 oz cream cheese 
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt 
Yellow mustard
2 cups shredded cheese
2 cups diced ham

Preheat the oven to 350° and line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
Put the first five ingredients in the blender pitcher and blend smooth. Pour into the pan
I use the butt end of a table knife to get the corners to square up in the pan. Put it in the oven and bake 20 minutes. Check to see if it's puffed and done. If so, remove it. If not, bake a little longer- not longer than ten more minutes.
I use any cut of ham. Sometimes I can find cubed or julienne cuts of ham at our thrift food store. Or I'll dice up leftover ham. Here's what I used this time. (You could use sausage or another meat if you wish.)
Cut the ham and shred the cheese while the eggs bake (if necessary.)
There! It's baked.
Squirt the desired amount of mustard over the top.
Sprinkle the ham over the top.
Then the cheese.
Starting on the short end, roll it up using the paper to help you.
There it is. Bake it a few minutes longer, then slice and enjoy.
One nice thing about this roll is that it can be made ahead and reheated in the morning.