Saturday, June 27, 2009

Let the Quilting Begin!

The top is now finished! I put on the wide border yesterday, sandwiched and basted and then it was time to get ready to go to VBS. Today we have a funeral to do, but after that, I am hoping I can get to do some quilting. I have to play with the quilting attachments to my Janome and see if they fit the Singer. If they don't, no biggie, I'll just set up quilting shop at the big table. It is easier to machine quilt with a larger space anyway.

Here is the top: (notice how those flying geese units in the narrow border give the illusion of the shoo fly blocks overlapping into the border. A nice effect, and very easy to do!)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When Does it Slow Down?

We have been very busy as usual, and there is no end in sight. Last Thursday my mom came out and we cooked a ton after she got here, then Friday morning we headed up north (about two hour drive) to visit my mother in law, and a couple of siblings of Dale's that were there. It was a fun day, and we got home late at night, as usual for such a trip for us. Saturday everyone slept in nicely and we just took it easy for most of the day, enjoying the time with my mom. Jerusha loves to be read to, and of course had Memere reading to her as much as she could!

The gardening has been keeping us busy, as well as the renovations to the kids' bedrooms. All is making progress. I am making good headway on the quilt. Here is a pic of the top without the borders:(sorry... I forgot to turn the pic before I uploaded it!)

Then I made flying geese units that were to go into the narrow border.

Here is is, with the narrow border with the flying geese units in it.

Today I plan to do the wide and final borders, then the top will be pieced! I am hoping by this weekend to have it sandwiched, basted, and at least ready to start quilting.

Also this week we have been trying to get to VBS at a sister church. We missed Monday night because of a doctor's appointment for Elizabeth. She has a bump under her kneecap and we wanted to have it checked out. The doctor couldn't tell us much, except that he didn't think it was serious, but of course, was withholding any diagnosis until she got an Xray, which she did Monday evening. We had our Fibers of Faith monthly meeting that night, so I couldn't take the kids to the VBS. Wednesday night we missed again because of prayer meeting at our own church.

Meanwhile, one of the elderly ladies that attended here for several years until she was put in a nursing home about a year ago, passed away. The family requested to have the funeral at our church, so we are getting ready for that on Saturday morning.

It has been good pool weather so we have been having fun splashing around. I play lifeguard and take care of Issac, and when Dale gets home I hand the baby to him and I get to go in for a quick dip before supper and getting ready for the night's activities. Dale isn't big on pool fun. However, if the weather is really bad and he has time, then I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the pool at some point.

This morning we have done laundry, some maintenance cleaning, and cooked potatoes and eggs for salad and made an antipasto salad. Now on to some sewing, and hopefully this afternoon we can enjoy cooling off in the pool.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Eggless Banana Bread

I'm probably the last person to figure this out, but this week we tried making banana bread without eggs. It wasn't a planned experiment, but we had about a bunch and a half of medium sized bananas that needed to be put into some muffins or bread or something. We decided on banana bread since we were in a time crunch of sorts, and it was less hands on time than muffins.

Benjamin and Esther were getting the batter mixed up when they realized that we were out of eggs. So I hopped on the computer to google any good substitutes for using eggs in baking. I found out you can use a flax seed and water mixture. Also, I read that bananas do basically the same thing eggs do in baking. How convenient, since we were making banana bread. We used the following recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook, and substituted the flax seed and water mixture.

Note: 1 TABLESPOON flax seed plus 3 TABLESPOONS water = 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350.
4 C. sugar
1 1/3 C. margarine or butter, softened
8 TBSP. flax seed + 12 TBSP water, combined in a separate small bowl
Almost two bunches of medium sized bananas, mushed
1 1/3 C. water
6 2/3 C. high gluten flour
1 TBSP + 1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
You can add nuts or raisins but we just did it plain.

Mix everything together, including the flax seed mixture. Cut out wax paper to fit the bottom of 4 bread pans. Fill pans evenly with batter. Bake for about an hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan, remove from pan, peel off wax paper from bottom of loaf.

Makes 4 loaves. Enjoy!

Between the weather and our crazy busy schedule right now... the garden, the bedroom renovations, life in general.... my walking time has been very sporadic. When I do go, I like to pick wild flowers. Here is a sample of the latest bouquet:

Isaac is has been showing off his flexibility. I wish I was so flexible. I think I could do this, but I would never be able to walk again. LOL


Friday, June 12, 2009

Quilt Update

Here is a pic of the Shoo Fly block that will be going in the quilt for my niece. It was very easy and quick. It would have been quicker, but I accidentally made the half square triangles 1/4 of an inch to big, and spent a couple hours trimming them down and squaring them off. After that it was smooth sailing!

Next is to start piecing the rows. It will be made up checkerboard style of the two blocks, 15 of each.

Our peonies are in full bloom and the kids treated me to this bouquet one day in between rain showers.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Anniversary Dinner a la Chez Benjamin

Even though our Anniversary was Monday, Tuesday night the kids did a special dinner for us. Benjamin was the main Chef, and he had helpers and a clean up crew. Have you ever been to a resteraunt where there was free babysitting provided? Well, last night was a first for us. :) While we ate, the olders entertained the youngers. Okay, we cheated and did put in the "Cinderella" DVD, but it was still helpful for someone to keep Isaac happy while we ate. Oh, and apparently there is a dress code at their resteraunt. We were in the pool before supper, and I was asked what I was going to wear by one of the kids. I said "Actually, I was thinking about getting a quick shower and throwing my pj's on."

What an uproar at that! "No you have to dress nicely!" was the general out cry. Elizabeth was mortified. She said " You can't wear pj's to an anniversary dinner! You should dress up a little.. with earrings and everything!" LOL They made Dale change out of his work t-shirt and put on a polo shirt. Apparently "casual but nice" was required.

Here we are first entering the "resturaunt".

After our arrival the baby sitting service took care of Isaac for a while. Here is one of the fabulous helpers:

She had set the table nicely, and provided us with some chimes so we could ring for service if we needed them during the meal.

Here are the flowers Dale bought me. Aren't they pretty?

We had a menu and everything!

For appetizers we had Jolly Orange Boats and Deviled Eggs.

For the main entree, we had Roly Poly Porcupines.

We also had a fruit salad, and a choice of many beverages. We chose a simple iced water as it was quite warm and muggy.

For dessert we had Blueberry Cream Cake. Yes it was very delicious.

After we finished eating we retired to the living room to chat and relax while the clean up crew did dishes and kitchen clean up. Everything was tastey and presented well. My compliments to the Chef!

Monday, June 8, 2009

18 Years Ago...

I married my best friend! That's right, today is our 18th anniversary. Before you wonder what we are up to, let me just say we are a boring couple. No trips, no going out to eat. In fact, Dale is coming straight home from work so we can take all the kids to town and pick out carpet, paint, and fabric for window treatments in the bedrooms. And we will reveal who is sleeping where.

Aren't we lame? LOL. It's the usual for us, but with a few extra smooches thrown in. We agreed to get out to eat together at a later date, yet to be determined. I love where our marriage is right now.. we are comfortable with each other enough to say "Hey, things are wicked busy right now.. how about we wait a couple weeks until things slow down before we go out so we can enjoy it?" Dale is a wonderful, fantastic, solid man, spiritual, and patient (he'd have to be to put up with me for this long!) and a great example of what a husband, father, and pastor should be.

The occasion won't be going by totally unnoticed however. The kids are getting together to make us supper Tuesday night. They would have done it for tonight, but are missing some ingredients for their menu. I am letting them run with it. Benjamin is pretty good in the kitchen as long as he doesn't bite off more than he can chew (yeah, lame pun intended). The girls are getting pretty efficient as well. I have a pretty good idea of what they are doing. It should be interesting! But the thought and effort are sweet, and we appreciate it.

Saturday we had another pastor and his family over for a picnic lunch. It was very good to get to know them better! They have 10 children with another on the way. I'm not sure I have all the names straight yet. We have been meaning to get together for almost 3 years, so it was long overdue. Thankfully, the weather was perfect for being outside, so we set up a couple tables from church and some folding chairs in the shade and everyone ate their fill of hot dogs, baked beans, watermelon, chips, corn, and ice cream for dessert.

All the children seemed to enjoy themselves. There was volleyball, rides on the old mower without the engine, sardine tag, regular tag, swing set fun, tree fort fun, bike riding, playing in the sand box, and a few other things that I can't remember right now.

After our guests left, the children were putting on quite the display of "Oh, I am SO hot from running around.. can we go in the pool?" Okay, so I gave in. Everyone got changed and we got in. Yes, it was cold, but as long as we kept moving it wasn't too bad. We did the whirl pool effect several times, with me dragging/carrying Jerusha who had more courage about the water when she found out she could stand up easily. My back is still stiff though, from hanging onto that Kling-on. And, as a true litmus test to their gene pool (yup.. another lame pun.. I really need to get more sleep) after a little while they were all shivering so they could barely talk, lips turning purple, but saying "Oh no, Mama... we're fine... we can stay in a lot longer!" Ring a bell with any of the grandparents??? LOL.

We had a nice restful day yesterday, very much needed. Today it is back to the busyness.

FOR TODAY:June 8th

Outside my window... It is a sunny, beautiful morning.

I am thinking... about the odds and end type of tasks I need to do today and hoping I can get through them quickly.

I am thankful for... My husband.

From the learning rooms... We finished the PASS tests, so I need to send them out today.

From the kitchen... The twins are getting breakfast ready.

I am wearing... Pj's and Dale's bathrobe. I overslept this morning, thanks to a certain little man who though 4 a.m. was a perfectly good time to be up and wide awake for a while.

I am creating... a quilt for my niece.

I am going... to town this evening with the family.

I am reading... Isaiah, and listening to "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" on CD.

I am hoping... for a nap this afternoon, but not holding my breath.

I am hearing... Jerusha chattering a bit, and the birds outside chattering a lot.

Around the house... Laundry, some general picking up, making up the menu for this week, and shopping lists for tonight.

One of my favorite things... Waking up Saturday morning and realizing that there is some extra snuggle time with Dale.

A few plans for the rest of the week: getting the old carpet up in the boys room so we can paint, stacking wood, and of course.. sewing like crazy!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Three Ring Circus

Everyday I have wanted to sit down and do some blogging but the time isn't there. I haven't posted much because it is the same things basically... sewing, gardening, wood stacking, and now we have started renovating the boys' room. It started by removing all the small stuff from their room. All the clothes, games, toys, books, blankets, etc. We got the beds dismantled and taken out. The only things left are the big dressers, minus the drawers of clothes. After the rest of the furniture is out, we will tear up the rug and replace it. It really needs new carpet. It is stretched out of shape so that there are annoying ripples in it, and it is just worn. It needed replacing when we moved in 3 1/2 years ago, but we couldn't do it then. Now is the time! After the carpet is up, the new occupants of the room will get to pick the color for the walls, trim and fabric for new window treatments.

Stuff is coming up nicely in the garden, and so far we have been able to keep up with the weeds pretty well. I am hoping the manure we spread will do wonderful things for the corn this year. I was out hoeing this morning before lunch and Elizabeth and I were discussing and wondering how many of the peas will actually make it into the freezer. We love fresh, raw peas! It is habit for little hands to help themselves to the peas while they are outside. House rules... it is okay for the peas and green beans. Everything else they have to ask first. And no trampling the other veggies to get to them.

Dale brought me some soil so I can start some of my seedling lavender and flowers that I didn't have room for in the garden. I have lots of starter pots, so I figured I'd get them going and then transplant them in the garden when the peas are done. Elizabeth wants us to make lavender satchels to put in closets, cupboards and drawers. Ambitious, isn't she?

We have been enjoying some rain. Yes, enjoying! Our garden is rocky and so it drains quickly and needs lots of watering if it doesn't fall from the sky. The nearby creek looks much better after a few good rain showers as well.

We are chipping away at the wood pile, trying to get as much done before the really hot weather hits. Speaking of weather, it is has been gorgeous... upper 60', low 70's during the day and 40's or under at night. One night we even had to cover the tomato and pepper plants because of a frost warning. It was supposed to be in the 20's that night! That was last Sunday. I don't think we got the frost, as we are usually a few degrees above what they predict. Either way, the plants and flowers all fared well. Of course, this cooler weather is wonderful for me, but the kids aren't that happy with it as it is too cool to enjoy the pool, that is all set up and waiting for them. What a tease!

Another I like the rainy days is I can get more sewing done. I have completed all the Ohio Star blocks, 15 in all. Next is cutting out and assembling the Shoo Fly blocks. Lord willing, I'll get to work on that tonight.

Isaac continues to grow daily it seems. He is getting quite vocal with coos, but now with the higher pitched "surprised" sounds that crack us up. He likes to practice each new sound as he discovers them. I wonder if he'll be a big chatter. If he can get a word in edgewise around here! He also has rolled over for the first time by himself. I am glad for him, but oh, does the time go by quickly! Here is a pic of his first roll from back to front: He looks like he is saying :" Okay... now what?"

I was amused yesterday at a few of my children. They were "playing" school. Elizabeth was the teacher, and she had work for Caleb and Jerusha. Last night while she was waiting for Dale to go in and pray with her before bed, she was making up more seat work for Caleb and Jerusha. She's better at this than I am! LOL

In the evening I like to go for a walk, weather permitting. We had our first bouquet for the year. Actually it is the second one. The first one we dropped off the home of a couple that comes to church. They are an older couple, and the husband hasn't been well and is very frail. It was along our route, so we dropped it off. Then we just picked more daisies on the way home.

Same old same old here... busy, but also taking time to enjoy the simple things. I can't wait to go and pick out paint and fabric with the new occupants of the boys room. They don't know who is ending up where yet. I love surprising them and keeping them guessing. Benjamin has been mulling it over and actually has it all figured out correctly, but I didn't let on yet.

By the way, any out of state grandparents reading this, we aren't too busy to enjoy a visit. We will also be able to make room around temporary residents downstairs.

Not to hint or anything. :D

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For today, June 1st~

Outside my window... It is clouzy but a tad breezy, in the 70's, and the laundry lines are full!

I am thinking... About the quilt I am working on, and trying figure out how I can get more time in to work on it.

I am thankful for... Sundays and days where we can relax and recharge for another round of activity and productivity.

From the learning rooms... Our official term is over, but I need to administer the PASS tests this week, do up the 4th quarter grades, and send those in with an IHIP form for next term. I also need to make up our Rod and Staff order.

From the kitchen... Amish friendship cake in the oven now, and smelling goooood!

I am wearing...Jean skirt, red nursing top with little cow embellishments. Hardy har har.

I am creating... The quilt for my neice's wedding next month.

I am going... No where this week, thankfully!

I am reading... "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", actually listening to it on CD, and the book of Isaiah.

I am hoping... It won't rain on my drying laundry!

I am hearing... A few children out in the garden weeding, Benjamin playing with Isaac, and Jerusha and Caleb chatting nicely together at the table while they color.

Around the house... A couple MAJOR projects. One is renovating the kids bedrooms, then rotating residences in said room to accomodate our numbers better.

One of my favorite things... The relaxing time at the end of the day when a lot of work is done, and we are all sitting around chatting, while I do some knitting or sewing.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Getting the boys moved out of their room so we can get the old rug up and start painting. Also we will be gardening and working on stacking the new wood.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

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