This is one of my favorite childhood memories, camping at Webster Park and playing in the woods. It was a woods of tall, old pine trees planted years before by the boy scouts. The ground was open, shady, and covered with pine needles. It was a wonderful place to play on a hot summer day. One summer we learned to build houses of sticks and pine cones. The cones were like logs for the walls, held up by little sticks on either side. We would lays sticks over the walls when they were finished and "roof" the house with a layer of pine needles. We cleared an area for a yard and strung leaves on another stick and hung them to "dry" in the yard like tobacco. I believe this is the only photo we have of this wonderful game. Too bad Dad didn't have a digital camera back then, we could have had a lot of fun!
Sorry for leaving you out of the photo, Priscilla. I wanted a close up of the house.
After a beautiful weekend, we have had a few days of rain. The vegetables in my garden are loving it and so are the weeds. A garden reminds me of life because we just have to keep pulling out the worthless and tossing it aside in order to make room for what is good and necessary. We are enjoying some garden vegetables now, lettuce, spinach, radishes and beet greens, and soon there will be plenty of others to savor also. We love fresh salads and all of my kids are vegetable eaters, so it's a great thing to have a productive garden. I've never felt like I did a very good job growing things so this year has been very satisfying in that way.
This week I started watching two kids during the day. It is just a summer job so I won't have to worry about what to do come September and, hopefully, I will be able to put a little money aside to pay off some bills or put towards school books. It would be nice to know that our school books and supplies are paid for without having to bother James for the money. Getting used to two new kids in the house is proving to be a challenge even for my kids who are used to having things rather quiet. I think maybe the trickiest thing for me will be keeping them busy without having to be busy alongside them. I'm not used to that anymore either. Anyway, we are looking forward to some swimming adventures, some hiking trips, and maybe an outing or two to the park. God is good and He is able to keep us even when we aren't quite sure what to do ourselves.
This morning I decided that if I was to get any strawberries at all this year, today would have to be the day. I corralled Ben and Hannah and took them along to help. Josiah would have helped too but his work clothes were in the dryer and there wasn't time for him to run to the strawberry patch and back home again before work. It's a little late in the season to pick, so the berries weren't quite as big, but they weren't too bad. I'm planning on turning quite a few of them into jam. I love making jam in the middle of winter and giving the jars as holiday gifts. Mmmmm!!! Now I have my work cut out for me. I suppose that for most of the day I will be washing, hulling, and either cutting or crushing berries. No time to blog, I must get to work!
Later... I spent the entire afternoon on my back porch, just where I love to be. First I fixed a nice cup of some fancy coffee, Rainforest Supreme, from Wegaman's, then I started washing the berries. Once I had my giant Tupperware bowl full, I took my coffee and went out to the porch to relax and hull and cut berries. It really was a very nice afternoon and I love to sit on the back porch and do something productive. I now have five good sized bags of chopped strawberries for shortcake and two bags ready to make into strawberry jam whenever I'm ready.
Doing strawberries is always an all day kind of job but it only comes around once a year so I've set my mind to enjoy the work while I have it to do. The berries look, smell, and taste so yummy that it isn't hard to enjoy the job!
Here I am, waiting for someone to stop by and visit for the afternoon. I've made a big pitcher of iced tea and set the chairs out. Do you think we'll need some brownies for the children to munch while we sit and talk? Oh, why not? Brownies are wonderful little treats, and who can resist their chocolatey goodness? Yikes! Maybe I'd better not make any until I know you're on your way. I would have liked to have spent the afternoon at home but we were in need of cereal and pet food (along with a few other essentials), so we ventured out to the store late this morning and met James for lunch at the church. It feels like a great day to sit on the porch with a friend or two and enjoy both the summer heat and the occasional cool breeze. The kids have headed across the street for a swim and the house is silent, not such a rarity anymore but much enjoyed. Too bad there is so much cleaning to catch up with. I must get up and accomplish something here at home before the day is over. Now where did I put that box of brownie mix...
James and I went out for lunch yesterday afternoon and then took a walk on a nature trail. It was a nice walk and again brought back childhood memories of playing in the woods. It was a nice relaxing time out together, so relaxing that I was having a tough time staying awake on the way home.
I tried to take some opictures but the squirrels wouldn't hold still. Instead I found this cool vine. It's a Jumanji vine, I think.
Last night we had the family and some friends over for supper and fixed strawberry shortcake for Nate's birthday dessert. He has it every year and we never get tired of it!
Well, today is our 25th wedding anniversary. Our kids threw us a wonderful surprise party down at the park on Sunday afternoon. Imagine using Father's Day as a cover! Hey, it worked and the party was a success. Although I knew they were scheming, somehow their dad thought they had forgotten all about us. Even knowing something was up, I didn't expect it to be on Father's Day, so I was surprised too. We even got to see some old friends which made it a bigger surprise. I'm not sure how all these people ever kept the secret for so long.
Remember when everyone in the neighborhood rode a bicycle something like this? I had a green girl's bike that I got from my cousin, Pam. It was the best bicycle ever! How many people could you and your friends get on one bike? I remember riding triple on occasion (both the sissy bar and the handlebars helped out with that) but not farther than around the block. We usually came home woth bleeding knees and scraped up elbows. No wonder we crashed all the time and we had never even heard of a bicycle helmet.
My freind, Peggy, was about two years older than me and she would sit on the back of the seat with me in front of her. I would put my feet on top of hers on the pedals and we would feel like we were flying. These bikes held up great on trails through the woods or fields and were perfect for street riding too. Of course when we got a little older, we felt the need to trade the old bikes in for a ten- speed. Little did we know how much our old bicycles would be worth someday and how much we would miss them. I'm not sure my kids would be caught dead riding one, but we sure did love them. Give me a banana seat and a sissy bar anyday and we can all ride triple again. "Hey! Get your head out my way! I can't see where I'm going!"
1. Blogging helps get the thought out of your mind and into writing. 2. Requires a computer and working fingers. 3. Blogging enables one to visit another culture or country without leaving home. 4. It keeps me laughing. 5. Encourages me to think. 6. Blogging is a creative outlet. 7. Enables me to meet other people... 8. ... and gives me a little glimpse into someone else's world. 9. Could be a great family connection if everyone was involved. 10. Is a great place to post photographs. 11. Also a great way to keep updated on people who need prayer. 12. Can be very addicting... 13. ... and is "heaps" of fun!
I had fun sculpting these little figures yesterday. Unfortunately, when I went to bake them, they got tired, tipped over, and came out of the oven unable to stand up. Then I wasn't careful how I handled them and the big guy's head came off. So sad! I had to throw them in the garbage. Hopefully I learned something from the experience. Maybe I'll try again today...
I took the kids over to swim at Becky's this afternoon. While they took their "polar bear" swim (the waterwas only 71 degrees), I played with some polymer clay. I also brought along a book to read, a children's book, but found I had left my glasses at home. I don't know where because I was sure I had them along. I also took the camera, just in case anything interesting happened by. There is one lonely chicken over there, (too old to lay good eggs and too tough to eat) who seems to enjoy human company. It followed Ben around for a little bit reminding me of a song my father used to sing... " Please don't send my boy to prison, for there he shall never roam. My boy didn't steal that chicken, that chicken just followed him home."
Just a silly little project I've been working on (actually a requst from my mom). I really need some new paintbrushes. It's no wonder I don't paint anything anymore. I think every brush I own has turned into a rake brush, bristles sticking out every which way. It's bad enough that I have a tough time keeping a steady hand.
Reading about on the Blog has been somewhat informative lately. There are all kinds of discussions, questions, and regular conversations happening. From here in the US we can read the blogs of those in England or Australia, or anywhere else for that matter. There are theological debates, name the baby contests, and tips on where to find modest swimwear. Hmmm... What does make for an interesting blog? And just who do you want to connect with?
James and Nathan arrived home safe yesterday afternoon. This is a photo Nate took while they were out driving. The driver of this little truck was going the same speed as everyone else, apparently oblivious to the danger he might pose to any and everyone who crossed his path. I hope he wasn't going too far! Kinda reminds me of some of the crazy movies we used to watch in our younger days... We laughed at the stupidity of the movie characters never realizing that there were idiots out there who did that stuff for real.
Well, the weather seems to be warming up again and James is on his way home. He called last night from somewhere in South Carolina, so I expect he will get here sometime today. Whether it will be late afternoon or evening, I haven't a clue, but he is on the way.
My sunburn has healed to the point of peeling and it's time to mow the lawn again. I think I'll keep my shoulders covered this time. Not only are they still sensitive but it's not quite warm enough for me to wear a tank top out there today. Besides, I think maybe my shoulders got enough sun last week to last them the whole summer...
Today was rather chilly for being mid May. I looked at the newspaper online this morning and it said the temperature was 50 degrees with a "real feel" of 43. Brrrrrr! It was rainy, cold, and windy. Kind of reminded me of the "too nice" weather we had back in January. I knew it would catch up to us! The sunshine finally made its appearance round about noon and brought along some warmer temps. It was just warm enough for an outside picnic over at Priscilla's house. I think it will be rather cold again tonight, its down to 53 already. I hope my garden can handle it okay. I would be so sad to see all those yummy vegetable die.
(I posted two of these pictures accidentally, honest!) Today is an in-the-house kind of day. I did see the sun peeking through the clouds once or twice but the threat of rain is too obvious. It has sprinkled just enough to make the grass wet and is too cold to be out in the dampness for long. Yes, it's a good day for doing laundry, washing dishes and vacuuming. I do need to get out to the grocery store but that is going to wait until this evening. Hannah has gone to stay overnight with a friend so, with Joe at work, it's just Ben and me this afternoon.
Before my dear husband left for sunny Florida, I promised my two youngest children that we would do something different while he was gone, something we don't normally do, like... maybe go for a bike ride together. I really felt like staying home today, but since it wasn't too hot and muggy, we decided it would be a good time to take the trip. It's supposed to rain tomorrow and I really didn't want to disappoint anyone. We got the bikes out, the kids donned their helmets, and we took off, destination- B. Foreman Park. I don't know how far away the park is, probably 2 1/2 or 3 miles, but it was a long way for a mom who hasn't been out for a bike ride in a couple of years. (That is an old picture.) I was tired by the time we got to the park and sat down to rest while Ben and Hannah threw rocks in the lake and walked along the shore. It was starting to rain when we headed for home. I told them not to worry about waiting for me, that I would get there eventually. By the time we got onto Salmon Creek, I was just about finished (I had only eaten cantalope this morning and I was starving!), but I couldn't stop. Ben, being the concerned gentleman, didn't want to leave me back there alone, and so he would either stop or go slow until I started to catch up. Maybe he thought I would collapse along the side of the road and no one would know who I was... I'm happy to say that, with a little bit of prayer and a push or two from the Lord, I did manage to make it back home. My legs felt like rubber and I dropped onto the couch where I stayed for the next couple of hours. I had a nice long nap while the kids watched Mr. Incredible on the computer. Now I am wondering what other kind of torture I can put myself through before James comes home...
Well, my garden is all planted and growing. Today I put in squash (butternut and buttercup), watermelon, and cantalope. Bethany tells me melons never grow but I am trying to disregard her pessimism. Instead I am looking forward to slicing into a nice juicy melon round about the end of August. My dad used to grow them so I figured I'd give it a whirl. Now the only thing left to put in are second plantings of corn, and maybe radishes or spinich toward the end of summer. I can't wait to go out and pick something yummy!
Last night I noticed that sunburned shoulders make for difficult sleeping. What was I thinking out there all day long with my white shoulders exposed to the full strength of the sun. My poor shoulders burned more last night than they did on Monday night. Ouch! Well, at least I'll have gotten rid of some of that old farmer's tan. Now I feel like Lobster Woman.
I am always in awe when God starts to move in my life, when he begins to stir things up and teach me something new. Initially it's hard to tell exactly what that new concept or lesson is but over time He makes it clear. He rarely throws something new at me, but rather gives me little bits and pieces, whetting my appetite for more.
As I have begun to look around and read other blogs, He has been teaching me about His grace and His provision in times of sorrow and tragedy. I have begun to pray for people, brothers and sisters in Christ, who I have never met. I have laughed with some and cried with others. I have felt just a tiny bit of their pain and rejoiced in their triumphs. I have been humbled by the strength afforded them by the Savior and encouraged by they way He is able to give comfort.
This week especially I have been astounded by the story of the accident involving several Taylor University students. Two young women in the accident were misidentified, one dead, the other hospitalized and in a coma. It wasn't until five weeks later, when the girl was coming out of the coma, that the mistake was discovered. One family sat at a bedside waiting for their daughter to wake up, only to discover that it wasn't their daughter at all. The other family held a funeral service, buried their daughter, and spent five weeks grieving her death to ultimately discover she was still living.
I cannot imagine the pain these families have experienced and are experiencing and yet their faith in Jesus shines through. Two families, who had never met, are now eternally bound together in an unimaginable turn of events. Where would the comfort, the courage, and the strength be if it weren't for our Savior? In the midst of the pain and sorrow of this and other tragedies, is an incredible chance to shine for Him as never before. Would I shine? Could I hold on? Only by the grace of God and the many, many prayers of His saints.
I spent the better part of today riding the lawn tractor. Since Nathan is in Florida with James and Josiah works all day, I figured it was up to me to get the lawn mowed this week. It was an all day job and now I am tired. I forgot how tiring bouncing around on a tractor all day can make you. As a reward for getting the job done, I now have a nice sunburn, even on my shoulders. (I'm trying to get rid of that farmer's tan.)
Hmmm... is there anything else worth writing about? Well, my garden is growing! I am trying hard to keep it watered and so almost all of the seeds I planted have sprouted, beans (green and yellow), radishes, and I think the beets are just beginning to show too. It's hard to tell those tiny plants from the weeds but if I let them grow up together, I will soon know which are my vegetables and which are the imposters! Remind you of anything?
I couldn't sleep at all last night and when I did sleep it was at very short intervals. I must have woken up at least a gazillion times! I didn't know it was possible to wake up that many times in one night. I thought morning would never come but it did, just when I was falling into a good sleep.
As I pondered what could have messed up my slumber, I thought of the cup of French Vanilla I drank late in the afternoon, half cappucino/ half vanilla cream. Not much caffeine but a lot of sugar, and then there was the popcorn I made for Ben and Hannah. I wasn't going to eat any, but I did. I think the combination was just too much and so I tossed and turned all night long. Today I made up for it by taking an ever so long nap on the couch. I was wide awake in church tonight.
Well, it certainly has been a soggy day today. I could hear the rain outside my window when I went to bed last night and I think it must have rained most of the night. It wasn't pouring, just a steady, gentle rain. It is still overcast and somewhat gloomy. A good day, I think, to be inside.
Ben stayed overnight with Patrick at Dave's house last night and they showed up here this morning to drive Pat's go-cart around out on the orchard. The did the best they could, at first, to avoid the mud puddles, but it isn't programmed into a boy to actually stay clean. A boy is built for dirt. Well, they hit a few puddles and ended up covered with mud from head to toe. Needless to say they both needed a dry set of clothes and a shower. I think they were both a little bit concerned about how I might react. If it happened all the time I wouldn't have been happy, not that I was overjoyed or anything, but I decided to make the best of it. I even laughed at their appearance, (Ben's face and glasses were spattered with mud) but not when they were looking. I only wish I could show post a picture but the camera is in Florida with James...
Priscilla's blog has inspired today's Thursday Thirteen (even though it's Friday). I can't imagine growing up without ample reading and a good supply of children's books. So here is my list of Favorite Children's Books...
1. The Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown I brought this book home from a book order in kindergarten and have loved it ever since. The pictures are intriguing and I love the poetic way the story is written.
2. Curious George by H. A. Rey Who doesn't love the old Curious George books?
3. Disney's Uncle Remus (pre 1980's) This was one of our favorite books when we were kids. Dad had no trouble reading just like Brer Rabbit talked. I wish I could get my hands on an old copy. The newer ones have all been updated to be "politically correct". Too bad, they were wonderful just the way they were.
4. Alfie Gets in First by Shirley Hughes All of Shirley Hughes books are wonderful. I love the stories and I love the illustrations! The house is always a mess just like mine was when I had little people. Okay, maybe it's still that way.
5. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss I'm not really sure why I like Dr. Seuss books so much, I think it's the rhyming, sing-songy way they are written but there are also some good lesson to be learned from his books. "A person's a person no matter how small", "Christmas doesn't come from a store", and "an elephant's faithful one hundred percent".
6. Bread and Jam for Frances by Lillian Hoban Frances does so many kid-like things that it's hard to believe she's actually a hedgehog. I like her rhymes too and the way her parents patiently deal with her childlike ways.
7. Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter This was David's favorite book when he was small. I think he could relate to Peter in a way that I never had. I always felt terribly sorry for Peter when I was a little girl.
8. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson I think I was always intrigued not only by Harold's ability to draw but how he drew himself both into and out of trouble.
9. Huge Harold by Bill Peet I love almost all of Bill Peet's books too. He is both author and illustrator. His pictures are full of character and take me back to Uncle Joe's farm. The stories are great. We took these books out of the library over and over again.
10. The Three Billy Goats Gruff This was a great book to read to my kids when they were very small. I kept their attention by pretending to eat their ears whenever the big bad troll threatened to eat up the billy goats. This made one of my kids afraid of bridges. Guess he wasn't quite sure what might be living underneath.
11. Go, Dog, Go by P. D. Eastman This was Ben's favorite book. The dogs are wonderfully colorful and lots of fun. Our book got lost at a friend's when Hannah was born and I had to buy another copy.
12. Tales of Oliver Pig by Jean Van Leeuwen There is a whole series and we discovered these books when Ben and Hannah were still small enough to enjoy them, then bought them at a sale when the library cleaned out their collection. They are mini chapter books and the characters are piglets with lots of imagination. It reminds me of how we used to play when we were kids.
13. Buster, Come Home by Judith Lane This book is based on a true story about a woman who loses her dog and the little girl who helps find him. I like both the pictures and the story, but it was written by one of my old school friends and illustrated by her sister, so maybe I'm a little biased that way.
There are so many great children's books out there that I could never list them all. I have a huge collection just waiting for some little people that I can read to.