Thursday, December 29, 2016

Busy time of year, but so nice

We did not get to go to Branson in October like we sometimes do to see the grandchildren there.  We had just been there in May and Jeff has gone to 5 classes and worked out of town twice in the last four months so there just wasn't time.  Plus he had used all his vacation.  I went to Kansas in December with Hannah.  She was able to visit Hardesty and see many of our old friends.  Hello Kay.  I wish I could of seen you too.

Anyway, here are some photos of our family this season
First is Kastyn and Jasper, Kaleena's children.  They look so sweet dressed and ready for church.  I think that is Jaspers first suit.

Last year for Jeff's birthday which is on December 24th we went to South Padre Island National Seashore, so we did it again this year.  Only this year it was a little warmer so the girls packed a picnic and we ate there.  We found the place where you can drive on the beach and just drove a little ways on there.  We had the pickup with 4 wheel drive so it was ok.  This is last years picture and this years picture at the National Seashore.  Joy made it into a collage.
I have been keeping busy crocheting.  This year I made three of the mermaid blankets and a few of the messy bun hats that became popular.  Now I am working on some baby blankets that I was commissioned to make.  They look like they will be very beautiful.
The girls are still here visiting until the first of the year, but yesterday they took off and went on a mini vacation to Fredericksburg.  They got a motel and did some shopping.  They will come home later today. 
 I will be making a lasagna for supper.  I will have to have them stop and pick up some garlic bread to go with it.  I will be cooking a pork roast all night in the crockpot because tomorrow we are going to a friends ranch to make tamales.  I have never made them before so it will be a learning experience.  I'll take some pictures to share.
I am going to try to update this blog at least once a week.  I didn't realize anyone really read it anymore but I found out that some dear old friends do read it, so I will do my best to keep up with it.
I hope you all have a great end of the year and that you find peace and joy in the Lord and have made him your savior.
Have a nice day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New benches

As you can see we need to trim and tack the lattice around the bottom of our new porch but this post is about my new benches.  I ordered four benches to be made by my Amish friends.  They didn't think they would have them done in time for Thanksgiving but I was able to pick them up today.  Just in time.

I am very pleased with them.
The picture shows two benches put together.  They are six feet each.  We now have plenty of seating on our new porch.

Have a happy thanksgiving y'all.

Monday, November 21, 2016


I am so thankful for God sending his son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins and yours.  All we have to do is ask him to come into our hearts and forgive us our sins.  We can then follow him and read the bible (I recommend the King James Version).  Life is so much better when you have his love.

I am thankful for family.  I love my family very much and wish we could spend time together more often.

I am thankful for friends.

I do wish people all over the world would quit fighting and just live.  Our country has gone haywire it seems.  Even after this last election people continue to riot and the president encourages it.  Why would he want that to be his legacy?  I don't remember people rioting when he took office. 

The world is so full of sin.  I just have to remember that I am not of this world and godless people will act like godless people.

I pray your Thanksgiving will be happy and blessed and that you will be able to spend it with loved ones and that the violence in our world today is not in your corner and that you are safe.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Virus pattern

I have been wanting to learn the virus crochet pattern for a while.  I tried it once and just couldn't figure it out.  I had some time a couple of weeks ago so I printed the instructions out and then watched a video and figured it out.  I figured a baby blanket would be a good small project to start with.

I ran out of yarn so while I waited to get more I started another blanket in lilac with yarn I had on hand.  In the mean time I found out that the variegated yarn I had used in the first afghan had been discontinued so I decided to finish it in pink.  Here is the finished pink and variegated baby afghan.  I should finish up the lilac one today.

The virus pattern also lends itself well to a shawl.  I may try one of those now that I have the pattern figured out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What I've been up to.

  • At the first of November I had meetings two days in a row that I brought food to.  The first one I made a breakfast casserole and breakfast burritos.  The second one I provided the main dish which was spaghetti.
  • The next day I went to the local annual Amish auction and had lunch.  I didn't get a number or buy anything except lunch.  There was a good crowd and it looked like there was a nice variety of items for sale. 
  • Jeff and I flew to Arizona for a training class Jeff was taking for work.  Everything was paid for except my plane ticket.  We were there for a week.  During the election so we voted early before we left.  I had not flown in 45 years so I was a bit apprehensive but obviously it turned out good because I'm still here.
  • While in Arizona I worked on some craft projects and had time with two different sister in laws and my mother in law.  Its always nice to spend time with them.  One sister in law and I took a road trip to a neat mining town and looked around.  It was neat.  The town is called Jerome.
  • I have mastered the virus stitch and am making a baby blanket.  I had been trying to get that pattern down and after printing the instructions out and watching and following along a you tube video I was able to figure it out.  I want to make a shawl one day with that pattern.
  • The weather apparently was cool, as in the 70's while we were gone.   It warmed right back up though as soon as we got home.
  • I managed to Skype with my phone every day I normally do with my grandson and great niece to listen to them read.
  • My Amish friend called my yesterday to see if I wanted a fresh turkey for thanksgiving.  I said yes of course.  I had thought it was too late to order one.  Yippie, fresh home grown turkey again this year.
  • That's all I can think of right now.  It doesn't seem like much when I write it down but I sure have been keeping busy.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Facebook would not allow me to post this paper my daughter wrote so Ill try to post it here.

Mollie O
ENG 102-W02
Ms. M
October 21st, 2016
Honor & Empowerment: The Wounded Warrior Project
Imagine reliving the worst, and scariest day of your life over and over again inside your mind.  Not only is the scene playing out before your eyes, but you can hear the sounds and smell the same smells as when the trauma first occurred. This is a constant battle that soldiers returning home from war have to face.  That is where the Wounded Warrior Project (W.W.P) comes in.  The Wounded Warrior Projects goal is to help veterans returning home from war heal, and become better adjusted to normal life again. Created in Roanoke Virginia, in 2003, the Wounded Warrior Project was founded by several veterans that wanted to help other vets by making their return home as easy as possible. These veterans understood how hard the average soldiers return home is, and the many struggles that they face on a daily basis.  They wanted to create a safe place where soldiers could go for help, and so began what is now the amazing organization known as the Wounded Warrior Project.  Not only do they help the physical wounds heal, but they also help with the emotional side of it.  Oftentimes the physical wounds heal, while the emotional scars may last years or even decades. Wounded Warriors Project aims to heal both sets of wounds entirely.
The first major goal of the Wounded Warriors Project is to offer help to soldiers returning back to their normal, civilian life.  Imagine how hard it would be coming home.  These soldiers have spent the last several months having to watch their back everywhere they went.  They have also had to hear terrible sounds all throughout the day and night. The scenes they witnessed, and participated in, haunt not just their dreams, but also their every thought. Now think about packing up and coming home.  That would be a hard transition for any soldier to have to face alone. Luckily, W.W.P is there to offer help and support.
They also assist with another important, and often times over looked aspect of soldiers returning home, their families waiting for them.  When soldiers come back from war with physical, or emotional wounds that can put a lot of new and unfamiliar stress on their families. Wounded Warrior Project offers counseling services and events for families to become a unit again. Many of the families have also had to deal with being a single parent.  When soldiers with kids and families get deployed they leave behind their significant other to play both roles in child rearing.  Often times, spouses are struggling on the inside with their significant other being gone, but on the outside they have to be strong for their children and others.  All of these different factors lead to the families of soldiers and veterans needing support too.  The Wounded Warrior Project does just that.
A key way to help soldiers return to a normal life is to help every soldier find a job after getting out of the military. Not only do they help returning soldiers fill out resumes, but they also offer job training, and interview prep help ( W.W.P partners with local organizations to connect soldiers with employers who are hiring, and help place them in fields they will enjoy. Connecting soldiers to job prospects is so important. A job provides not only financial support, but also stability in life, and opportunities to connect to other people and form lasting friendships. A job can provide a sense of worth and value in what may be a struggling vets life.
Returning home for many soldiers is often harder than the war itself.  They struggle with being able to function in the normal world again.  This may be partly because they feel like they are all alone when they return home.  That is why it is so important for veterans to have support systems when they return.  W.W.P works to connect veterans with either other returning soldiers, or retired vets to create a network of support for each other. A lot of people don’t realize that it is the duty, and responsibility of every American to help soldiers returning home. They have sacrificed in countless ways to protect our freedoms; it is only right we return the favor. Edward Tick, author of Warrior’s Return: Restoring the Soul After War wrote, “This is a major problem in society today, non-veterans are not taught what their responsibility’s is toward veterans who go off to fight their society’s battles” (Tick 121).
The second major goal of Wounded Warriors Project is to help returning soldiers deal with their emotional scars as a result of war.  According to the, as of August 1st of this year about 400,000 soldiers who have come home are currently struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  This is a problem that a lot of soldiers face, probably more than one realizes due to the fact that many vets do not seek treatment, or help of any kind which frequently creates several other issues in doing so.
PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. To be diagnosed with PTSD someone must first be in an “emotionally overwhelming traumatic event” (McDermott 10).  There are several different symptoms of this disorder.  The most common are night terrors, flashbacks, and becoming over-whelmed in a public setting.  Not every person that has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder suffers from severe night terrors or panic attacks in public. Most soldiers tend to see being diagnosed with PTSD, as being weak.  They may be afraid to get help for fear of how other people will see or judge them.  An alumni of the Wounded Warrior Project stated in his testimonial on their website that “I lied about my emotions, experiences, and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder when I separated from the military so I could get out without mental health issues on my records.  Trying to function as those symptoms only worsened was a nightmare” (  Another explanation for the lack of returning soldiers who seek treatment for PTSD, or any mental illness, may have to do with the stigma that society has placed on people that struggle with PTSD and mental illness. A stigma also surrounds the treatment therapy PTSD would require to help, or see any improvement.  In many cases, people think that soldiers who struggle with PTSD may become violent, or are easily irritable.  However, the reality of the situation is that no matter how violent, or big of a struggle soldiers have when they return home, they all need our help.
            The Wounded Warrior Project also aims to help with the physical side of the wounds soldiers receive.  According to the, over 50,000 soldiers returning home have some type of physical wound.  If the injuries are severe enough, it may require them to stay in hospitals or receive physical therapy.  The Wounded Warrior Project helps with all of that process including financial support and counseling. They support the soldiers, and their families, in their journey towards physical recovery.
Wounded Warrior project is an organization that has helped thousands of soldiers and vets since they were established.  According to, they have given out over nineteen thousand backpacks, and almost forty-five thousand transitional care packs to soldiers.  They have also helped hundreds of military families.  The W.W.P is constantly sponsoring activities and events to help aid vets in their recovery and adjustment to normal life. A great example of this is when they sponsored the 2007 disabled warrior’s sports project.  It was a yearlong event that included many different sports activities for the soldiers to participate in.  Kirk Bauer, Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA, said “Participating in sport is one very effective way to show them they can still lead an active and productive life” (pg.11).  This is a great way that soldiers can come together, and help each other begin to lead a normal life. It also introduces them to vets who are in the same situations they are in. It is helpful to connect with people who can relate to each other and have had similar experiences.
The Wounded Warrior Project does some amazing things for soldiers and their families, but they cannot do it alone.  That is where raising money through events and corporate sponsors comes in.  W.W.P has many corporate sponsors, but one of the biggest is Under Armor.  They sell clothing and other things with the organizations logo on it, and a portion of the proceeds go back to the Wounded Warrior Project. A few other well-known supporters of W.W.P are Amazon Smile, Survival Straps, Flag Outpost, Nissan, and Harley Davidson. They help in numerous ways including promotion, and charitable giving (
Various people have very strong opinions about this organization.  If one were to go out into public, and ask several people about this organization, I am sure one would hear many different opinions. Some people will be big supporters of the Wounded Warrior Project and think what they are doing with the soldiers is great.  On the other hand, some people will disagree and say that this organization is a fraud, and does not use the money they raise to help soldiers.
Before I started doing research on this organization I did not realize the amount of people, and websites claiming that the Wounded Warrior Project was a fraud.  As I began to do more research I typed in the organizations name, and many websites popped up bashing the Wounded Warrior Project.  I read through a few of the articles, and I was saddened that people would actually think this organization was not using their money correctly. The thing about people writing articles bashing the Wounded Warrior Project is one does not know whether to believe what they are writing or not. They may have some kind of personal past with the organization, or a person working there, and just want to do harm to the W.W. P’s reputation. The only real way to find out the truth is go to the founder or CEO of the organization and ask, even then though you might not get an honest answer.  After that it is up to each individual person to decide whether they will continue to support or decide not to. However, whether what they claim is true or not, I do not know, but I still think the Wounded Warrior Project is an amazing organization and should be supported. There will always be people of both opinions. One cannot please everyone, even where helping soldiers returning from war is concerned. In the end, I think it does not matter what organization it is there will always be people that do not support the group. 
After reading all of the heartfelt stories of soldiers on the Wounded Warrior Project’s website, it truly inspired me.  To see how hard many veterans struggled after returning home was very eye opening.  That is one of the many reasons I support the Wounded Warrior Project.  I am not in the military, but I have a very close friend that I grew up with whose husband is in the Air Force. I have personally witnessed the trauma and hardships that military families go through when loved ones are away, and when they return home, not always the same way they left. I one hundred percent agree that it is our responsibility as Americans to fully support anyone that is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.  Supporting this organization does not mean that you just have to send them money.  You can support them in many other ways such as buying clothing with their logo on it, or even just by getting the word out about all the wonderful things the Wounded Warrior Project does to help returning soldiers and their families. Out of every organization I could have chosen, I felt the most drawn to W.W.P and their cause. Helping wounded and troubled soldiers is a huge passion in my life, and the Wounded Warrior Project is a great organization that does just that.   
Works Cited
Chalmers, Greg. “2007 Wounded Warriors Disabled Sports Project” Palaestra 23.2 (2007): 11-12. Ebsco. Web.
McDermott, Walter F. Understanding Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland &Company, 2012. Book.
Philpott, Tom. “Military Update:  Wounded Warrior Project.” Military 12 March 2015. Web. 22 October 2016.
Tick, Edward. Warrior's Return: Restoring The Soul After War. Sounds True, 2014. Book.
Wounded Warrior Project. Wounded Warrior Project, October 2014. Web. 22 October 2016.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Its okay to throw out apple peels

Every year when I put up apples I try to find something to do with the peels besides compost or at least before composting them.  Last year I made several gallons of apple cider vinegar.  This year I decided to make apple scrap jelly, which is super good by the way.  I'll give the recipe later.

Anyway, I have been making jelly using all the scraps and am getting tired of making jelly but I don't need any more vinegar either.  Suddenly the thought came to me.  ITS OKAY TO THROW SOME OUT.  Wait, what?  Huh.  So I decided to count to see just how many jars of apple jelly I have made in the last two weeks and oh my.  I've made 65 jars and have enough juice in the fridge for 3 or 4 more batches.  I will be giving jelly to everyone, my friends, my family. my hairdresser, lol.

I made the realization that I can just bury the apple peels and cores in the garden without making something out of them first, I really can.  I think.  I'm going to try to do that anyway.  It goes against my frugal nature. But I'm going to try.

Here is how I make my spiced apple jelly.
As I use my apple peeler, corer, slicer I toss the peels and cores into my crockpot that I already have put a dozen or so whole cloves and a quart or so of water.  When the crockpot is full I arrange my apple slices on my dehydrator trays and hold the tray over the crockpot as I sprinkle cinnamon on.  I move the tray around as I sprinkle each part of it to try to get as much of the extra cinnamon as possible into the crockpot.  Then I add more water until its almost full, turn it on high put the lid on and let it cook for several hours.  When the cores are soft I drain the resulting juice into a large pitcher.  This juice is what I use to make my jelly.  I don't add any spices because it cooked with clove and cinnamon.

Jelly recipe
5 cups juice
1 to 1-1/2 packages of pectin ( I buy in bulk and use 1/2 c.)
7 cups sugar

Pour the juice into a large pan and set the stove to high.  Then take a large bowl and measure the sugar into it and add the pectin to the sugar.  I take a spoon and mix the pectin into the sugar.

Make sure you have your water bath canner or steam canner ready to go as well as clean jars and lids.  I put the lids (flats) into a little bit of water and warm them on the stove.

Once the juice starts to boil, stir in the sugar/pectin mixture and continue to stir.  Add a pat of butter at this time to help reduce the foam that builds up naturally.  It wont eliminate it but it sure cuts down on it.

Continue to stir occasionally and heat on high until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. This mean that when you stir it continues to boil really hard.  I stir and wait a little bit to make sure it really is boiling good.

Then I set my timer for 2 minutes.  I continue to cook and stir until the two minutes are up.  Then I turn off the stove and skim off the foam.  Its important to do this step because it helps your jelly look nice.  I save the foam in a bowl and eat it.  Its a sort of quality control, it also lets me know that this batch is going to set up good.

Next I take my canning funnel and fill the jars, one at a time.  I wipe the rims with a paper towel, put a flat and screw band on and place in my canner.  I use a steam canner.  I continue until all of the juice/jelly is in jars.  I leave about 1/4 inch head space.  Once your canner is boiling or in my case the steam is coming out at least 8 inches I begin to time.  The recipe says to process 10 minutes but I always process for 12 minutes for good measure.  When the time is up carefully remove the jars and place on a folded towel.  Do not touch or move them for 24 hours.  After 24 hours take the rings or screw bands off and wash in soapy water.  If the jar didn't seal place it in the fridge and eat soon.  Of the 65 jars I have made so far every one has sealed.  I had dabs left over on a few batches which I poured into jars and put into the fridge so they wouldn't go to waste.  I would just take the jar out of the fridge and add to it at the end of each batch.  Usually there would be a couple of tablespoons of jelly left in the pot.  These added up to 3 pints.  Waste not want not.

Once your jars are clean label them and put them in the pantry or give them to friends.

When I was canning peaches I made peach peel and pit jelly and it was very good too.  Next time I can pineapple I will make pineapple scrap jelly.  There is no sense in buying a new jug of juice and making jelly when you can make jelly with scraps.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Neat clippers
Calming Clipper Haircutting Kit for Sensory Sensitivity, 10 Piece

I first saw clippers like this advertised for dogs who don't like the sound of clippers.  I thought that these should work for people too.  They would be great for little kids who get jumpy at the sound of clippers and also there is no electricity required.  I think they would be an excellent addition to any household that has boys or men.

Todays perserving

Today was busy in the apple preserving department.  I put up two gallon jars of dried cinnamon apple slices and refilled the dehydrators.  Then I put the peels and cores on to cook in the crock pots.  Today I also made 4 batches of spiced apple scrap jelly.  I will have enough juice to make several more batches of jelly before this is all said and done.  I'm almost ready to start my third and last box of apples.

This year I am only making dried cinnamon apples and jelly because I still have plenty of applesauce and apple pie filling in the pantry.  Next year I will see how those are still holding out and adjust my apple buying then.

Jeff asked me to buy another big Excalibur dehydrator and I happily complied.  I currently have a 4 tray and a 9 tray.  When I get the new 9 tray it will certainly speed up my apple drying adventures. 

I am storing the apples in gallon jars and using my pump n seal to seal the air out of them.  I am hoping they store well that way.  The last ones will probably go into gallon zip lock bags because I am getting close to the end of my gallon jars.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Its apple time again.

This is the third year I have bought apples by the box to put up.  I have plenty of apple sauce left and pie filling. Last year we ran out of dried cinnamon slices right away so I am doing a lot of those this year.  Now that I have two dehydrators I can do about three times as many at a time since my new dehydrator is so much larger.

I use my apple peeler, corer, slicer on the apples, then I drop them into a dish pan that has water and lemon juice in it.  I put the peels and cores right into my crock pot with a few whole cloves. When the dish pan is full, I take a few apples at a time out and place them on a tray.  I slice once down through the slices to separate the rings and place them on the drying trays.  I hold the tray over the crockpot and sprinkle cinnamon over them, moving the tray so that the extra cinnamon drops into the crockpot.  Once the dehydrators are full I set them to the correct temperature and add clean water to the peels and turn the crockpot to high. 

Its pretty humid where I live so it takes about 48 hours to dry the slices to my liking.  With the peels and cores in the crockpot set on high it only takes about 6-8 hours for them to become soft.  I turn my crockpot off and let it cool for a while.  Then I put a big strainer or colander over a large bowl and pour or ladle the apple scraps into it.  This sits for thirty minutes or so to drain.  I carefully discard the now used up peels by putting them into a container and placing them into the trash.  I may bury the rest in my garden in unused areas.

Then I use the resulting spiced apple juice to make spices apple jelly.

Last year I made several gallons of apple cider vinegar so I don't need any more right now.

I think I may also make some cinnamon spiced apple rings and can them.  I have been easing up on the quantities of my canning since there are fewer of us at home and I don't like to throw out old and spoiled food.

I hope you are having a productive fall.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stuff I dont understand

  • I don't understand why when someone asks you to do them a favor and you gladly do it for them at your own expense and then they don't even let you know that they received the items they asked for let alone a thank you.
  • I don't understand why when you help someone out financially they don't let you know they have received the money, let alone a thank you.
  • I don't understand why people say they will stop by your house later today, and then they don't show up, call or anything?  Is that not common courtesy?
  • I don't understand a whole lot of things and the older I get the less I understand.  I thought as a person got older that they would understand things better, I understand less and less.
  • These are just things that have happened within the last two weeks.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

New porch

I have wanted a screened in porch for a long time.  When I was a little girl we lived in a house with a small screened in front porch.  I remember sleeping out there.  I loved it.

This week I got my screened in porch.  Its huge.  20X20  My Amish friends built it for me.  They built it in two days.  The first day 10 men came and they barely got out of the vehicles before they had my old porch torn off, the carport moved and the new one started.  The first picture is the progress on the porch.  I took the picture while they were eating lunch.
The next picture is what it looked like after I took them all home at 5:00 pm the first day.
The second day only 5 men came and they finished the rest of it up by about 4:00pm.

We set the area up under the front carport for them to eat their lunches.  I am so thankful that Joy, Mollie and Hannah helped so much.  The second day they all did the entire meal for the men.  The guys said they would bring their own lunches but I wanted to feed them.  I know I could not of done it without the help of my girls.  Thank you girls.  You are a blessing.
Speaking of blessings.  The first day the ten men just picked up and scooted my huge carport over to the other side of the house.  When one of them was putting the stakes into the ground to keep it from moving he hit a water line.  Next thing we know there is water all over.  They dug out the place once I figured out how to turn the water off.  The water line was in a very strange spot right in the middle of the yard.  It looked like maybe someone had planned on putting a spigot in another part of the yard and just never got around to it.  Well the Amish guys said I could either cap it, repair it or put a spigot there.  I decided to put a  spigot there.  So I went to the lumber yard and bought the necessary supplies and next thing I know I have a new spigot in the yard.  It was in the perfect place too.  Right by the leg of the carport.  Isn't that a neat blessing?
I am pleased as punch with their work.  They did everything just as I asked them to.  We had planned on putting lattice around the bottom of the porch to hide the underside but the screen is almost invisible so we are going to go up two feet to the first rail.  The dogs already have tried to jump through it a few times.  So until I can get the lattice bought and installed we will have to keep the dogs in a different part of the yard.

Last night the girls and I went out there to sit and it is so very nice.  Its still too hot to really enjoy it much but I know that it will be something we use for years to come.

I am so happy with my Amish friends work.  The more time I spend with these people the more I like them. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Happy is the mother whose children come visit

I am enjoying this week with three of my five daughters.  It makes me happy when I have at least some of them here at the same time.  I don't know if I will ever have all five at once but I am happy with what I can get.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Worlds best pencil

Hannah and I were shopping for some school supplies.  She needed a few things for college and I buy those types of supplies this time of year because of the sales. 
I had heard about these pencils but had never tried them.  While we were shopping Hannah pointed them out to me because pencils were already on my list.  So I bought a package.  I got 30 pencils for $4.99.  Its pricey but if they really are the best pencils it will be worth it in the long run.
Ive already tried these pencils and I have to say I am impressed.  They seem to hold the point and they write quite nicely.  Have you ever used these pencils?  What is your feeling about them?

Monday, July 25, 2016

First Mema camp for Elijah

Yesterday we brought our grandson Elijah home with us for his first Mema camp by himself.  He has come to stay before with one of his siblings but we decided he was old enough at 5 to come by himself.  He had been wanting to.  We had hesitated only because his folks live 4 hours away and if he was unhappy here it would be a chore to take him home.

He was a good boy on the trip home sleeping most of the way, and chattering the rest of the way.

Last night he soaked up the attention.  I think he really enjoyed having Mema, Papa and Hannah plus the two dogs all to himself.  I know it gave us a chance to enjoy him more.

He only gets to stay two nights this time but I am sure we will be doing this again.

I gave him a hair cut before his bath last night.  He looks so cute.

Today we will be playing games and working in his workbook.  I made a few learning activities for him to do.  As a reward, Hannah downloaded a few learning games for him on my tablet.  At home he plays a lot of Mario Brothers but we don't have that here thankfully.  We seldom even turn on the TV.

I will post more pictures to this post later as we do things together.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dinner Tonight

Last evening, Hannah, Kaitlyn and I went to a cooking show called Dinner tonight.

 They featured a local chef from a fish restaurant and a food blogger.

 The chef, Jeremy Lee from Redfish Willie's Waterfront Grill made fish tacos, a sour cream avocado sauce, a mango salsa, rice and a watermelon pizza.  He was not very entertaining because he had made everything but the fish up ahead of time.  We thought he would demonstrate how each dish was made.  That's what they do at most cooking shows.  They chose from the audience 4 people to be taste testers.  We thought oh well until they brought out samples.  Our first sample dish was a fish taco with the mango salsa and sour cream avocado sauce on it and some rice.  It was a good size sample.

Next up was a local food blogger who did an excellent job showing how to make Cilantro-lime grilled shrimp, and Mexican street corn salad.  Her name is Vianney Rodriguez and her blog is

Our second sample plate was the watermelon pizza and the street corn salad.  Everything was so very good.  I had never had a fish taco but I sure will eat them now. 

Between demonstrations they had drawing for  items the venders had donated and I won a book by Vianney and a jar of Picklesmith watermelon-jalapeno jelly.  That's what we are making today.  It was so much fun.
The room was decorated very nice with cloth table cloths and beautiful table decorations.

We were also given a tote bag with recipes, a cutting board, measuring spoon, another tote bag, a silicone oven mitt among other things.
There were several venders there.  We had a great time and they said this was the first annual Dinner tonight event so we are hoping that they continue this.  It was great.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Weavers rapid warp loom

I have been saving my money for quite a while so that I could purchase the Weavers rapid warp loom.  June and July they have a sale going where shipping is free.  I finally had enough money saved and took the plunge.  My loom is being handmade right now.  I am very excited to begin my weaving journey.  I plan to take pictures and make videos once I get my loom and begin to learn to use it.  I want to make rugs for sure and who knows what else I will learn to make.

If you want to see the loom I am referring to here is a link.
Watch the video and see how easy it is to warp the loom.  That is the reason I bought this particular loom.  I knew I would not have the patience to warp a loom the regular way.

I will keep you all updated on my weaving progress.

Source for Amish supper plates

A commenter asked if I had found a source for the Amish plates and YES I sure have.

I was able to get a dozen more Amish supper plates from my Amish friend Simon.  He has a botanical company.  I know he ordered a few dozen more than the ones I bought.  You can write to him and ask him about the supper plates and or ask for his bulk herb and spices catalog here:

South Texas Botanicals
4156 Gaitan Lane
Beeville, Texas  78102

Being Amish he does not have internet or a phone.  I buy my bulk herbs from him because his prices beat anywhere else that I can buy certified organic that I have found.  Plus he is local to me and I can pick up my order.

Making Jelly

Today my granddaughter Kaitlyn and I will be making jelly.  I hope to make two kinds of jelly, peach pit and watermelon.  Jeff bought two huge watermelons and then left to work out west.  There is no way we can eat that much watermelon so I will make jelly.  He loves his jelly so he will love this.  This is the recipe I will be using.

A couple of weeks ago I bought two cases of peaches from bountiful baskets.  The peaches looked great but about a third of them were bad.  I canned up as much as I could and saved the peels and pits from them to make jelly.  I saved two gallon zip lock bags of peels and pits.  I did not save anything from the peaches that were bad.  I just threw them away.
This is the recipe I will be using for the peach pit jelly.
I will try to remember to post pictures once we get the jelly made.  I wanted to save these recipes so I can easily find them after bit.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

RFID blocking wallet

I used this tutorial to make an RFID blocking wallet for my credit cards today.  Instead of using heavy duty aluminum foil I used Mylar.  I didn't have any pretty duct tape so my wallet is zebra striped.
As soon as I find some pretty duct tape I can make another one now that I know how to do it.  I used to carry my credit cards in an ugly mylar pouch in my billfold so this at least is an improvement.

Only God can judge me

It seems that everyone thinks that if they throw out the words don't judge me or only God can judge me that they can continue in what ever behavior they think they are being judged for.  I saw this on Facebook today and thought it was fitting.

Tinctures and infused oils

I've been making tinctures and infused oils for our own use.  From these I have made a few salves.  They are helpful to us. 

New table napkins

In my forever quest to save a few pennies and do things for myself, and avoid store bought I have made new table napkins.  The ones we were using had poinsettias on them.  I think it was time for some fresh new ones.  The last ones I had sewn, turned and topstitched.  They ended up being on the small size but we used them anyway.  This time I decided to just serge the edges and use only one layer of fabric hoping it wont hold in moisture.  And I wanted them a little bigger.  The first set I cut out ended up being more of a rectangle and made it harder to fold uniformly to fit in the napkin holder.  Finally I cut out 13 inch squares and serged them.  Ah, just right.  Now we have some bright colored new table napkins.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Making tortillas from scratch

I have been thinking about trying my hand at making tortillas again for a while.  So yesterday Hannah was off work and we had a little time so we decided to give it a go.

I mixed the ingredients up in my kitchen aid mixer.  We followed the directions and made the tortillas.

First we mixed and divided the balls of dough like the recipe said to.
After letting the dough rest and rolling them out Hannah fried them on a dry skillet like the directions said.

After frying the tortillas we put them between paper towels and placed them in a large zip lock bag.  We didn't close the bag until they were cool.
The tortillas we ate right off the grill were ok but kind of bland.  I decided to look at YouTube to figure out what I had don't wrong.
I found this video.
Not only does this lady know how to make great tortillas, she is funny.  She isn't trying to be funny I just found her to be funny.
After watching her video I realized I needed to use very hot water.  And her idea of saving part of the dough for the next day is great because then you can have fresh tortillas each day.  I am going to make them her way next time.

New bed sheets

We have not had new bed sheets for several years.  The last ones we had were when we bought our new mattress when we bought our house.  We didn't have a bed since we had been living in our 5th wheel for 2 years.  The bed was already in the camper.  Anyway we bought a new mattress and bedframe when we bought the house.  We also purchased a set of over priced Egyptian cotton sheets at the same time.  They were nice sheets but I never felt they were worth the high price.  They were soft but with having the high thread count it wasn't long  before they had holes worn in them.

Since I didn't want to pay that high price again for sheet I began searching for alternatives.  In the mean time a friend said she had several extra sets because her husband wore their sheets out in the feet area because of his long toe nails.  Anyway she gave me two sets of sheets which we used for about 3 years.  We finally wore those sheets out and it was just time.  I had to find new sheets.  All the previous sheets had been dark tan, light tan or blue.  I longed for a set of fresh white sheets.

Fast forward to now.  After looking online and in several stores for 100% cotton sheets I had about resigned myself to getting a cotton poly blend when low and behold, there was a set at Wal-Mart.  And the price at $43.?? was much lower than I was expecting to pay.  I only wanted 300 thread count because I had done much research and it was deemed to be softer and last longer.  So I bought a set of king size sheets and an extra pair of pillow cases because Jeff and I use two pillows each.

Jeff washed the sheets and we put them on the bed.  They look so nice and clean in all their whiteness.  I am so happy.  The best part is they are so very soft.  I expected a 300 count sheet to be at least a little stiff  but these were so soft.  I am quite pleased with my purchase.  Now if they hold up to being washed once a week and last at least a year I will be a very happy lady.

I guess I am simple.  A new set of sheets makes me happy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Neck coolers

I have made these neck coolers for a few years now.  I even made a video for YouTube about it.  I will try to link the video if I can figure out how to.  Anyway, you soak these neck band things in cool water and the beads inside swell up, you then wrap it around your neck and as the water evaporates it helps you cool.
I need to make a new video because I've made some changes to the pattern.  I have noted these changes in the comments under the video.

Last year I made over a hundred of these for VBS.  Right now I am making some really cute tie dye ones.  Hannah dyed the fabric. 

I made several for people Hannah works with and embroidered their names on them.  Generally though I just make them with patterned fabric.

I use a product called Water sorb.  One thing I learned is it takes very little in each pocket.  The new pattern I'm using has 4 pockets instead of two and it takes less than 1/8 a teaspoon of the water sorb in each pocket.  You would not believe how much water they absorb.  If you put too much in they will actually seep out of the fabric and it looks pretty gross.  Plus they wont work properly.


Brenda's testimony

DATE: June 26, 2016
When God calls anyone to missions, the first question that crosses most minds is “WHY ME, LORD?”
In 1987, I was an unequipped, new baby Christian, who hardly knew any of God’s Word.
Those who know me well realize that I am a very practical person who appreciates practical answers in bullet format.
So God hit me between the eyes with exactly what He knew I needed to hear.
I clearly heard His voice (in my spirit) say:  “I will use your Agriculture, your Nursing, and your ability to rough it!”
I remember thinking, “That makes sense.  OK Lord, I’ll go!”  (And the matter was settled.)
For the Lord knew that when I give my word, I kept it.
I loved Jesus with everything in my being for He saving me from Hell.  To me, that meant I would do ANYTHING and GO ANYWHERE He asked me too.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that God dropped the “rest of the story” into my lap.
I was watching a DVD from Animal Planet called “The Last American Cowboy”.
It suddenly dawned on me that Cowboys and missionaries share much in common.  The traits that make a lifetime cowboy are the same as those that make a career missionary.
  I was blown away by this revelation, and wondered to myself why I never saw it before.  DUH????
Making this connection brought great JOY to my heart.
For I have always been a Texas Cowgirl at heart, and now I know why He sent me to manage a ranch for kids instead of horses.
On that DVD, they went to great lengths to film the reality of 3 modern American ranches, and the cowboys that work them.
Each ranch was run in a very different manner, yet all 3 families portrayed the same necessary traits that brought success to their ranches.
1.        Working long, hard hours to protect “their herd”, no matter what it took.  (Persistence and perseverance taken to the max.)
2.       Working in all kinds of weather, at great risk, to make sure “the herd” is safe.  (Sacrifice)
3.       Freely helping other ranchers when disaster struck with both emotional and financial support. (Empathy, generosity, and helps.)
4.       Each family stuck together through the toughest of times.  ( SHOWING FAITH in God, and never letting QUIT be an option).
5.       Made many tough decisions on a daily basis.  (Decisive) Able to make a decision and form a plan of action to make it happen.
6.        Using tough love to help their family and team members learn so they could reach their potential.   (Showing LOVE and respect through their actions as well as words.)
7.       Dealing with life and death of members of “the herd” on a daily basis.  (Empathy mixed with the emotional toughness needed to move on in order to help the survivors.)
8.       Giving “their word” to complete an assigned task.  That was better than a signed contract, for it was from the heart, and never broken if humanly possible.  (Honesty, Transparency, and Integrity)
9.       And last but not least, CHOOSING THAT LIFE, because they loved doing it.  (Choosing the tougher lifestyle, enjoying the challenges, even though many easier options for making a living were available to them.)
10.   God was evident in each ranch family’s life, even though it was obvious that not all knew the Lord.  Some did, and their love and patience with the others was very evident.
The “dedicated cowboy’s” actions to save “his herd” is a great example of how God wants all of us to persist in seeking out the lost and leading them to HIM.
These traits and many more were evident in Jesus’ life, and thus are a part of each believer.
You must choose to use them to follow HIS PLAN for your life if you truly want to find happiness.
Speaking from many years of experience living a life of “roughing it”, I can tell you that God’s plan for you will not be your easiest “life option”.
Are we expected to be perfect?  Always doing or saying the right thing?
  Hardly.  That is why He gave us REPENTANCE, which literally means to turn AWAY (from sin) and go in the opposite direction.
These lyrics from a great song sum up what I believe Jesus wants from all of us.
“For when it is all said and done, did you give your best for Jesus?”
For doing our best to follow HIS PLAN for each of us is all He asks.