Friday, October 9, 2015

Back! Hopefully...

This was definitely a very unplanned break from blogging. But life took a baseball bat and knocked me for six.

Moving/not moving? (So far as I can see? No, not now.)

Tried new things by way of canning - like peaches!  (Just a note - I will never blanch peaches again. EVER. I'll peel them, and use the peels for peach butter later.)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Randomness & Catch Up

wow, I skipped almost 2 whole months blogging. There have been several changes in my own and my family's lives in the past month. Plus, the changes in the world.

Random June sunset
For one, after growing up all my life in the same house, we are officially moving. I do mean all my life - parents moved here a month before I was born. Our landlord's kids have been more than generous with the time they've given us to move - over 6 months. Excited for a fresh start, nervous, a little freaked out all describe my emotions right now. Not to mention I'm a little stressed as it's now less than 6 months to go and we have done almost NO packing done!


Of course, I started a new job in March and went full time in late April. It is closer to my desired field.

Sunday Worship and Musings








Sorry for my all too long absence. A lot of stuff is happening at my house right now.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Belated Mother's Day post

Yesterday was Mother's Day.
Today I read this; Letter To Motherless Daughters and it reminded me once again to be thankful.

My Mom is a walking, talking, breathing miracle. According to medical science - she shouldn't be alive today. Her recovery was hard to watch - especially since I was too young to help her in any way
As a 5/6 year old girl, I watched her struggle for a time with small tasks... Writing, lifting even little things.

Seeing and experiencing that caused me to grow up much faster than most girls. I went through a severe rebellious stage from about 10 to 14. (God is still working to change my stubborn heart today - for which I'm thankful.) I became a 'little mother' to my younger brothers - not very successfully.


20 years have passed since then. Mom is still here and doing great. I sometimes forget how much of a miracle it is that she's alive and functioning. When I remember, my heart gets so full. Several of my own friends have lost a mother; some recently. By the grace of God and in His mercy, my own Mom is here still.

I love you, Mom.

taken 6-6-2010

Friday, April 24, 2015

What Is Spring?

*Copied from my personal Facebook note of May 2010*
Violets in Russian cobalt blue cup



Crocus from the neighbor's yard
Another neighbor's lilac
Spring is:

the first day going barefoot outside

Forsythia blooming

spring bird migration

the first night sleeping with the window open - and the cold that almost inevitably follows... :P

Planning the gardens for the year...

And planting them!

the sun waking me up earlier every morning

Thunderstorms rolling through

Listening to robins sing the sun to bed

Taking pictures of every conceivable object that tells me - spring

What is spring for you? 


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Happenings

Wow! What a crazy month it's been for me. I wrote in an earlier post that I started back at my restaurant job at the beginning of March and got hired at a warehouse close to home about a week later.

On the 13th of this month I was asked if I would like to come on full time at the warehouse. I said yes, but I need to give some notice to the restaurant. Talked with the manager there, and he said a week's notice (just work out what I was scheduled for) would be fine.

So, this past Monday I began full time work at the warehouse. My biggest challenge is going to be adjusting my sleep schedule to get enough, so as to not get sick all the time.

Along with that, I have a small yard work job that is kind of 'on the side' that I'm going to try to do at least once a week.

May 1st, a dear friend is getting married. I am going to be making fruit salad for her reception. Enough for 200 or so!
The daffs are about done. 


Tulips are in full swing though. My neighbor has some purple feather edged ones up right now.


Looking forward to May, excited for my friends, happy to see my beloved Nana again soon.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Down The Long Hills' Book Review

Down the Long Hills was written by Louis L'Amour and published in 1968.

*Warning - there is some ripe language at points in this book.*


Louis L'Amour was a prolific and extremely famous Western author who died in 1988.

This book deals with the harshness of the West as pioneers were crossing - or attempting to - the the "far-seeing lands".
I noticed on this read how differently the kids were trained back then. Parents did not shy from showing their kids how hard life was going to be. Pioneer children, particularly the boys, were taught almost before they could walk to be wary. Indians, accidents, unforgiving climate. Any number of things could happen - and usually did.

The hero of DTLH is such a boy. His mother is dead. His father has gone west to search out land for them. Now at 7, he's in the care of fellow pioneers who are taking him out to his surviving parent. Even at his young age he understands and comprehends responsibility. Which, though he doesn't know it at first, will help save his life and another.

A girl of 3 tags after him and kindly he takes care of her through all that follows. Their adult figures are killed by Indians, and it's only them and the horse that the young boy has been with from a colt.

Long, frightening and danger-filled are the days that follow for the little wanderers. Our hero knows that he must, "go west young man," to find his father and safety. Indians, storms, outlaws, weather and wild animals stand between them and safety.

Do they find shelter and the boy's father? Read for yourselves in this slim volume packed full of adventure.

Cheers for the books we read.
L

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Catch Up/New Things

Wow! Looked at the date of my last post and this month has simply flown by.

Long story short, I had to look for work that was more than just a few hours a week for Dad. So I started applying different places at the end of February.

I also emailed a plant warehouse that literally sits within a quarter mile of my house. When I'm down on the street by my car I can read the business sign. Upon initially contacting them, they weren't hiring. The lady said that she would keep my name in mind though.

So, I went back to work at my original job at the fast food restaurant (first week of March). Part time at that point. Didn't have the intestinal fortitude to go back full time.

Started on a Monday. That Wednesday I got an email from the warehouse. "We're hiring, please call." Called that morning, set up an interview for Friday afternoon and of course let my bosses at the restaurant know of the possibility of a second job.

Friday was an extremely busy day. Mom and myself had a Bible study to go to in the morning and I was babysitting some wonderful kiddos from church starting at 5. (They live about 45-55 minutes away.)

Between all the madness I went over and talked with one of the owners and her husband and son-in-law. And praise God, they hired me to start the following Monday. 7 to 3  2 days a week book-ending my work week at the restaurant.



This set of pictures are of a great uncle's set of old utensils. I used my not very good cell phone camera to capture these images. From my peering at them, they appear to be handmade. The spatula's in particular have this appearance.




Monday, March 2, 2015

My Method of Stock Making

The method whereby I make stock has changed pretty considerably from when I first dipped my toes into the waters.

I read many blogs, books and combined a few things along the way. And the journey continues evolving.

 Long Way On A Little - by Shannon Hayes opened my eyes to making stock with multiple kinds of meat bones, instead of just beef or chicken. She also recommends splashing vinegar into the water and letting it sit for a time before starting the cooking process. (This kinda blew my mind at first.)
Nourishing Traditions  - by Sally Fallon was another book that revolutionized my way of looking at stock.
Veggie Scrap Stock from the Alaskan blogger HeyWhatsForDinnerMom? talks about how to make vegetable stock from your veg trimmings. Light bulb moment for sure for me! Literally everything I could save went in - even to a few bell pepper hearts along with all the things described in the above post.

I saved 2 gallon bags of veggie scraps, 2 chicken frames, the ham bone from our split pea soup plus a few other assorted bones in the freezer, then started the stock Saturday morning.

First I got the beef soup bones oiled, salted and peppered. Then I popped them into the oven to roast a while. (2 hours by the clock.)
The whole lot got tossed into one of our big stockpots (I'm pretty sure it holds at least 4 gallons). 1 1/2 gallons of water was all that it could hold what with everything else in the pot. On top of all went a generous pour of vinegar.
The pot next to our little tea kettle

According to directions from both of the books, I let everything sit for a while after adding the vinegar. (20 minutes was all my impatient self could endure.) They recommend up to an hour's sitting time. Next time I will do that with the beef bones especially. A lot more gelatin could've been extracted if I'd been patient.

In a spice bag went 3 or so bay leaves with 10+ peppercorns and approx. 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary needles.
good and brown

This concoction was simmered from about noon to 11:30 that night. Put into the fridge until Monday and simmered for at least another 7 hours. Monday, before starting the cooking once more, I did skim off the considerable fat coagulated on top. That evening was spent in getting as many of the solids out of the pot as possible using a strainer that is normally used for getting something out of a fryer.

Straining this was difficult when it was partially cooled. The fat and half gelled stock clotted my cheesecloth horribly. (This was after scooping out most of the fat beforehand!)

But best of all - this time the cold stock gelled!!!! 7 quarts was my yield. Plus about 5-6 oz of beef that was from the soup bones. Saved and ate that.

We've since made soup with that stock and diluted it with 2 quarts water. WOW - still intensely flavored and delicious.

Tho' this is just me trying to record how things work for us, I hope this gives you some ideas!
Blessings,
Leah 

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Bad Habits

Sometimes I just shoot myself in the foot. I've struggled with being a procrastinator all my life. In some ways it's gotten better, especially regarding punctuality. But when it comes to important stuff like bills, or being an office manager, all too often that procrastination creeps back in.

Fuss, complain, drag my feet - days. Doing the paperwork I needed to do so Dad can spread everything took me.... 3 hours or less. *Face hits palm*

Keeps you from getting too confident that 'I'm doin' good'.

*Snorts*

Sunday, February 22, 2015

God's Little Miracles

It has been almost 3 years (pretty sure it's been) since I received my miracle Bible.

To make a long story short, I gave away the Bible I'd had​ since I was little to someone who needed it and went back to using a slimline KJV that I'd used in my solitary year in a private school. (3rd grade. I was 9 that year.) The Bible was showing its age. Leather was flaking off, some pages were getting torn, etc.

While with friends, I casually looked at the Bibles in a book store. But they were out of my price range.

I had just about decided that I would use colorful duct tape to recover my Bible. Then I came home one Sunday night from our youth Bible study and Mom told me someone had given me an anonymous gift. She kept emphasizing anonymous.

When I opened it, it was a brand new Bible. My name engraved down in the corner - in my style of writing!!! NJKV, which I had desired, and it was a study Bible.

I'm so tickled I could pop, even this long while later.



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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Ramblings and Split Pea Soup

Well, I managed to get a few things done today.Yesterday rather.

Made it to the gym for the first time in months. Ready to make it a habit again. Anyone reading this has permission to metaphorically kick me on my posterior if I don't go regularly!

Finished cooking up some black beans to freeze for future Mexican meals. yummy!

We finally made the split pea soup Dad's been craving for a while. Mostly we wait to make it until after there's a spiral ham bone in the freezer. I didn't even mash the split peas, instead letting the bubbling simmer break them up.

1 meaty ham bone with any juices from its cooking
1-2 bay leaves
2-4 cloves garlic, end trimmed off and cut partially through
3 quarts meat stock (I make stock to freeze and put it into quart size deli containers.)
4-5 carrots, peeled... 1 shredded, the others cut in rings
1 lb split peas - picked over (I would've put in more split peas, but we didn't have anymore.)
Onions, chopped (I cheated and used dried minced onion - tasted fine)
frozen sweet peas

Put the broth and bone into stock pot, simmer for 2 hours - or more depending on your time frame.
Add the bay leaf and garlic before 2 hours are up - like I did on accident.
After another hour or so, take out the bone and all the meat that may have fallen off.
Set aside to cool.
Add onion, split peas and some water if needed.
Simmer.
Close to the time you are ready to serve, add the carrots, frozen peas, the ham and some cracked black pepper.  Taste and check if you need salt before adding any. Our ham was salty enough that we didn't need any additional.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Smoked pork chops with gravy

Back at the beginning of January we were gifted with some smoked pork chops by my paternal grandfather, today we made them.
I knew I wanted some sauteed onion and as I was thinking the light bulb went on - "mushrooms!".

So Mom got a mixture of butter and bacon fat heating in the skillet while I diced the mushrooms.
(Yes, we're the crazies who save bacon drippings to cook with!) There's a little blue stone crock we keep in the fridge to grease potatoes, etc.
After sauteing the onions and mushrooms for a few minutes, I grated the apple into the mixture. When it had cooked a bit more, I put it out into a bowl and set the chops into the skillet with some more fat. A generous sprinkle of pepper on both sides of each chop and they were covered (on low heat) while Mom and I worked on the potatoes. 

3 small onions chopped (amount of chopped I would guess to be 1 cup total)
4 large white button mushrooms, diced - 1/2 cup approx.
1 small apple, peeled and grated 
Flour (Pretty sure if my eyeball measure was anywhere close to accurate that it was about 1/2 cup) Water to mix + some of the drippings from the pan
Generous grind of black pepper
(If you do this with smoked chops - do not put in any extra salt! I did and it was too salty.)

Mix the water/dripping and flour until smooth and free of lumps. Take chops out of pan and stir in flour mixture. Spoon in apple/'shroom/onion combo. Mix until smooth. Cook for 1-2 minutes,then add water to thin out the gravy. Put chops back in, cover pan and simmer on low until ready to serve. 

My brother said that the gravy would be good with roast beef and that the chops were to pork what corned beef is to regular beef. Which last sorta makes sense..... I think

Wish I knew why so many fruits have an affinity with pork. It does make deliciousness for sure.

Leah

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Worship and Musings




At church my pastor has been teaching for several weeks on 'Faith For The Times'. About how if you are a whosoever, you can have whatsoever you ask believing. The Divine Solution: Only Believe "There are terms and conditions in God's Word, but they are not in tiny print at the back. They are right next to the promises."

Today Pastor spoke about how we need to heed those little pricks of the Holy Spirit to our hearts. (As an example: 'You shouldn't have spoken to that person like that.') If we are not meeting the conditions laid out in the Bible for effective faith, then our faith will be weak and ineffective.

And then I came home and failed my Saviour. I fell into some old and hard to break sin habits. Man, it's so easy to do. When we try to be perfect/good/etc. in ourselves, We. Will. fail. Every. Time. Only when we cling to the Saviour, then we conquer. In weakness we are made strong in Him.



 


 

Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Monday, January 19, 2015

Elizabeth Enright; Children's Author Review

Elizabeth Enright (1909-1968)
Elizabeth Enright was the author of many children's books. Notably, 'Thimble Summer' which won a Newbery medal in 1938.

The book that started me on a quest to find more books by E.E. was called 'Gone-Away Lake'. it is an adventure story set in New York state sometime post WWII. (The book was published in 1957.)

When Portia and her little brother Foster go to visit their cousin Julian for the summer, they run into all sorts of adventures. Julian and Portia spend whole days wandering the woods around his home, and end up stumbling across a marsh that had once upon a time been a lake.

Ms. Enright had a real knack for creating characters that are well-rounded, and that feel like you would know them in real life. When she writes about older people, they are lively, young at heart, and always on the quirky side of the spectrum. Case in point - the elderly brother and sister who came back to live in the houses they remembered from their childhoods; now broken down from neglect and age. They talk, live and dress like they lived at the turn of the 20th century. But they display a quick sympathy and youthful zest for life, that makes you want to see more of them.

Young Foster is not neglected while his big sis goes on adventures. He finds a friend in the young next door neighbor, almost drowns in a bottomless portion of the marsh, and discovers a 'witchful' old house.

Well, I won't give away the ending of 'Gone Away', but tell you that even though I discovered the book and the author at 18 (if I remember rightly), I am still an enthusiastic re-reader of the Gone Away Lake duo of books as well as E.E.'s "Melendy Quartet". They are some of my favorite books, and always will have a place on my bookshelf.
  


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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nostalgia



I've been going through old pictures tonight (1/14/15). These were taken at the 2010 Glick Reunion.


Everyone's cups, clean, labeled and ready for the next use




It was held here http://www.friedenswald.org. No cellphone reception for anyone, no WiFi, none of the "ordinary" technical accoutrements of modern life.

As I recall, there wasn't even Air Conditioning! 


 And yet 60+ people from the ages of about 90 all the way down to 3 years had a rousing good time. We were even fortunate enough to have a cousin and her family attend the reunion from Norway! (They took the prize for coming the farthest.)


 The road going by the camp grounds was so completely deserted that you could've taken a nap in the middle of it without being disturbed.

 The front of the lodge in the setting sunlight.



 Thanks to all who stayed in the lodge, we had full access to a private beach where we could enjoy the water.



 We had a full Glick breakfast, thanks to my cousin Lali and her talent in cooking.

Kayaking with a hitchhiker on the back
There is always a Scrabble table set up at a Glick reunion. and another for puzzles.
scrabble

The nearby fen
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fen
Michigan DNR Bogs & Fens


 The ping pong table was quite used up over the weekend. I believe there is a trophy for the winner of the reunion tournament.

Another shot of the fen


The couch fort
 M. Y. somehow managed to get 2 or 3 couches shoved up against each other. He and L. B. had loads of fun playing in there. Oh the joys of being 3.  :)


swan grooming itself on the fenland
Last, a shot of the family making their way up to the dining hall for the last night's dinner.


I still think about that time. There were a few scary moments - like when my cousin N. fell of the back of a truck and ended up with a concussion and in the emergency room. But, thank God, he was fine.

There were funny moments, like other cousins and my brothers capsizing a boat on the lake. A cousin jumping in the lake - forgetting his phone was still in his pocket!!!! (Somehow he managed to get it working again too.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Catch up and confessions

I said I was going to try do better about blogging. Then I got knocked off my feet by one of the worst (flu?) bugs I've seen in a while.
 
one of of my faves  from this latest binge watch.
So I've been extremely lazy and watching a lot of Celtic Thunder videos, and I do mean a lot of 'em.

Seriously love this video.
  Yes, I know the lyrics are weird.


 sweet version of The Dance.

Thankfully I am getting better, listening to many audiobooks, trying to stay warm and cat-sitting again. He is a sweetie pie, though insistent about his lap time. And laying on my back when I'm sleeping on my stomach.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Imagination

Imagination.

I grew up with 2 brothers, honing that skill. We didn't have a TV for my youngest years, and when we did get one, it spent the majority of the time unplugged and put away.


Though home schooled, we didn't go a lot of places or do a lot of the activities that were offered. Our neighborhood was not conducive to forming friendships with the kids around us - except for 2 homeschooling families - 1 of whom lived rather far away for everyday visiting. My brothers and I had to come up with our own games.

We discovered that:
An old broomstick - minus the head - made a great walking stick or gun to scare off marauders.
Pillows - of all sizes - made really good grain sacks for playing we were pioneers on the way West.
A pop-up camper made a great boardinghouse (though that was mostly my own idea).
Our dad's propensity for camping supplies fired our minds to dream about how much food would be needed on a trip across the prairies. (As pioneers of course!)
Leaf filled bags became forts, chairs, houses and whatever else our minds could devise in fall time.

And since we had bunk beds in one room - we made lots of forts. And lucky us - Mom and Dad didn't mind if we left the fort up for days on end, as long as they could access the room. My brothers and I slept in them more than a few times.

I found out that a twin bed sheet and a long ribbon or bathrobe tie made a more than serviceable cloak for "nighttime" expeditions.
 Hanging clothes out on the line made it a time to pretend I was a servant. (Am trying to write that one out - it evolved considerably from that beginning.)
In the spring time, when maples bloomed, I made tiny landscapes with bark houses covered in moss and fallen maple twigs in bloom for 'trees'.

In short - we used our imaginations.
And a big help in that was our reading habits. (Especially me, as the oldest I tended to be a bossy pants.)
'The Boxcar Children'
'Encyclopedia Brown'
'The Bears Of Blue River'  were just a few of the books we dove into. I believe one brother and myself even pretended we were the characters from the 'My Side of the Mountain' sequel with Sam and his sister Alice.
We played we were part of the Underground Railroad, complete with many hidden rooms to hide the runaway slaves; and many tricks to fool the 'slave hunters'
The article, 'The Gift of Boredom' in the magazine below articulates my strong feelings about being too connected and busy. Boredom can be a good thing.
Winter 2014 Informer Homeschool Resource Magazine  



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