Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  Have you ever spent time on a farm? Tell us a little bit about it. Have you ever grown your own pumpkin? Been on a hayride? Driven a tractor? Milked a cow?

  As far as I know, I have spent my entire life living on farms. I remember nothing about the first farm that I lived on, but the others are brimming with memories. I remember feeding a calf early one morning with a bottle. My dad told me that the calf would butt its head at the bottle so I would need to hold it firmly. Of course I tried, but then, as soon as its stubborn little head barrelled into me I lost my balance and fell backwards right into the big red milk bucket. Though I wasn't at the time, I am very amused at the memory now.

  I have never been on a hayride unless you count sliding off of a hay bale, I have never driven a tractor though I have rode on several, and I have never milked a cow.

2. What's something younger you would like about you now? 

  As a young girl I resolved that at fifteen years of age I would make my first meal which would be biscuits and gravy. Now as I look at that goal, I have to smile and think of how proud my young self would have been to know that now that I'm "a young lady" I know how to make a lot more than biscuits and gravy. Where instead of being scared about making a meal, I'm scared at the idea of making puff pastry. 

3. What are three things you'd like to do more often? Three things you'd like to do less often?

  I would love to read more often, not that I don't already read a lot but one can never read too much, then I would love to take more walks, and write, writing stories and books has slowed down dramatically over the summer. I would love very much if I didn't do Algebra as often, and awful as it sounds, French isn't that great either, then other than that I would love to do less dishes, the sad fact concerning dishes is that they never end. 

4. What's on your nachos?

  I love sour cream, then after that I don't really care. 

5. What's the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?

  The most random? Oh dear, I'm extremely random so this will be hard. But the most random thing in my purse is a bright red leaf. There is a story behind that leaf. I was wandering around all on my lonesome after being dismissed from some class. With no one to talk to I skipped around outdoors for ages, humming, singing french songs, talking to a dog named Abby,  pretending that I was in "The Sound of Music", and admiring all of the flora,  while walking past some bushes I spotted a brilliant red leaf laying on the ground, like me it was all by itself, but that didn't stop its color from shining forth. I picked it up and tucked it into my purse with a smile.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  As promised, I must tell you how my sourdough bread turned out. Let me say this, when I first opened the oven door and tapped the tops of the loaves I was horrified at how solid they were.
I turned them out of the pans with no small bit of trepidation, and was indescribably relieved when the bread turned out perfectly fine, but with a sturdy crust that would make any bread baker proud. The bread itself gets more and more sour with each passing day, a fact I love. My favorite way to eat it is toasted and topped with homemade butter. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Of Smelly Bread and Baker's Dread

  It is now officially Fall, and there is just something so completely magical about this time of the year, it seems that the smell of cinnamon wafts out from every kitchen, the sun shines more cheerfully than ever, the leaves twirl about, dancing on their way down to the ground, and young girls like me are inspired to bake as never before.

  Recently I got a lovely, and quite massive nutrition book from my dear Mum, punnily enough, I devoured it. I have learned so much from it and still am learning. It was finally a nutrition book that wasn't promoting some sort of a fad, it gave both sides of the nutrition coin, and left me to form my own opinions. Blabbering aside, I eagerly read the recipes in that book and jumped at every chance I got to make them. The one recipe that intrigued me above all others was a recipe for sourdough bread, which I would first have to make my own starter. Not a big deal I thought, it sounded fun.

  On day one of my starter making experiment, I simply mixed a cup of flour with a cup of cold water. It was easy peasy and rather fun. As my wooden spoon swirled around in the bowl I was already seeing gorgeous tall and proud loaves of the most delicious sourdough that ever was, and that would be made without an ounce of effort.

  It's such a sad thing I've learned that daydreams most often are beautiful, little, fluttery fancies that love to dance around people's minds when the people in question ought to be facing the facts, like me, when I should have expected that I, having never baked sourdough before, let alone made my own starter, that I would have a relatively high chance of a complete disaster.

  I believe it was two days later, perhaps only one, when my whole family noticed something odd about that starter, the smell was just a little more than off-putting, if you want an example of how awful the smell was, I shall give you one, ponder this, if you enjoyed the sensation of consciousness, then you wouldn't walk within two yards of that bowl of starter.

  It came to the point that each evening, as I approached that bowl of starter I quivered from the tip of my nose to the tops of my toes with dread. Yanking the cloth off the bowl was similar to walking into a creaking house deep in the woods, in the middle of the night, where you are certain that something horrible awaits you.

  It was like a horror movie (I am not truly qualified to tell you that since I have never watched a horror movie) as in, the situation only became more gruesome with each passing minute. When I removed that cloth, a scent, not so different from walrus vomit, punched me in the face. As I stood there, reeling about, trying to gather my senses, I noticed that the "hooch" ( a liquid, similar to alcohol that surfaces during the fermentation period, also drunk by miners that were desperate for alcohol back in the day) was a lurk-y sort of grayish black color and turned my stomach just to look at.

  That night I felt hopeless, I knew that my lovely loaves of bread were doomed. It was with a broken heart that I researched sourdough starters like crazy, it seems that in the first few days a sweaty sock like smell is not to be scared about, "however, if it smells like vomit, you're just better off throwing everything in the bin and starting over," at least that's what the experts said. The only bright side possible, was that my starter did not simply smell like vomit, it smelled like stewed vinegar and sardine blubber.

  I read a little more about starters and gave up after reading about some doctor who was so boastful of his masterful starter redeeming skills. I smacked down my tablet (a current tech device that is often overlooked in the pursuit of smartphones, not a pad of paper) and marched down to my bowl of starter, I was about to heal my starter, to pull it out of its pit of hopelessness.

  The first thing I did was drain off that horrible "hooch." I would have pinched my nose shut, but then I would have dropped the bowl, which in retrospect would have saved me a lot of work, then from that day on, I split my daily starter feedings into two feedings half the size of what my daily feeding usually was and took care to drain the hooch each time.

  Two days ago, I pulled the cloth off of my bowl, just like usual, and then went shrieking in the opposite direction. I know, you're probably thinking that the "hooch" returned and tried to grab me. But nope, my starter was a gorgeous tan color, it was frothy and bubbling and the soft and sweet smell of nutty and yeasty wine wafted from the bowl, just like they said a healthy starter would. I rushed to each of my family members and squealed with pride over my dear little starter. It was healed, it was healthy and beautiful and filled my heart with delight.

  Tomorrow is the last day that it has to ferment before I can bake it. So yes, there is a possibility that I shall end up with dough bricks smelling of wine, but I shall not fret about it for now, because for this moment I shall once again succumb to daydreams of gorgeous, tall, and proud loaves of the best sourdough bread ever.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Day I Almost Died

  Every single last person I am friends with has told me at one point in our friendship, that I'm dramatic, some have even said I'm overly dramatic, and would say so again with one glance at the title of my post, but no, this time I'm not simply being dramatic (at least not too much) last evening, I truly almost died, but, I'm here to tell the tale.

  I believe it was last Saturday when the fair came to town, and my family was properly excited about it for we have never gone before. We had originally planned to go this Monday but it was pouring down rain, so we postponed our visit till yesterday. We hustled to the fairgrounds which happened to be very muddy, and after getting our wrist bands, and parking, we began our trek around the premises.

  Since this was my first fair,  I was extraordinarily excited when I discovered that all the rides were free,  Diane and I, as well as Mum and Sean, all rode the Ferris Wheel, which was fun and definitely a good choice for our first ride. The couple that sat in the cart next to us was very busy, the girl was taking selfies, and the guy was smoking, which wasn't pleasant at all because at every turn of the Ferris Wheel I got a face full of his smoke. At the top of the wheel I could see all the other rides which looked pretty intense to my typically timid self. The one ride that scared me above all others was this great almost roller coaster like capsule that people buckled into and went flipping and spinning upside down in. I told myself that there was no way I'd do that ride, no way.

  After getting off the Ferris wheel my Mum and Sean went to my Dad who was reserving seats for us at the bull riding event/rodeo. Eldon stared up at the capsule of doom and declared he would never ride it, so instead we three made our way to the flying car ride, which wasn't the most fun.

  It was after that ride however that Eldon seemed to have found his adventurous side and declared that us girls would ride with him in the capsule of doom.  I won't say that I was against the idea completely but I shuddered at all the piercing screams that sounded every time the monstrous thing flipped. Diane and I shared one compartment, and Eldon sat right behind us, offering comforting words prior to the ride.

  We were all supposed to pull a shoulder guard over our heads, and latch our seat belts, which we did. Unfortunately, my shoulder guard didn't lock, and I knew that when the capsule started flipping I'd be hanging upside down only by my seat belt. No words can describe the terror, and perhaps even the beginning of hysteria that took over me when the guy in charge flipped down the side gate to the capsule and started it up.
  I have always been really sensitive to motion sickness and I do believe that I might have barfed if I wasn't so busy being terrified out of my wits. The capsule started swinging up one side and then went down the other, it was a mild thing, like as if I was swinging. and then slowly I could feel us ascending and finally in a flash of speed we went hurtling up and up and the capsule starting flipping to the other side. Also known as a brief period of hanging upside down. Diane and I shrieked hysterically and as I hung up there kept from a plummet to my doom only by a measly seat belt, I knew, I just knew that this was it, I was going to die.

  Every time I watched a movie, and someone was about to die they seemed to fight for life, and in the comfort of my living room I thought that if I was ever in  a dire situation I'd just up and die, and spare me all the trouble of trying to stay alive. Not true.

  Over and over that horrendous capsule flipped and over and over I screamed and fought for my dear life , clinging to the rails and banging my wrists into the bars as I hung suspended by nothing other than my flimsy seat belt, the safety guard being utterly useless.. My flip flops constantly threatened to fall off and I'd only catch them when the capsule had finished a flip.

  There are many books out in the world, where the main characters are said to be Christians, and they pray only when they are about to die, I always thought it was ridiculous to save prayers for just those times, and while it is true that I still think along those lines, I myself, was praying fervently every time the capsule flipped so I shall not judge such books too harshly anymore.

  Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime of hanging, the capsule flipped a final time and stood suspended upside down for such a long period of time, that I thought for certain that the operator had no heart. Eventually the ride was over and I stumbled out with swollen knee caps and bruised wrists, and praying prayers of thanks for surviving that malfunctioning seat of horror. I'm not sure what all I was hitting during that awful ride, but I'm still sore this morning, and still have visible bruise marks from it.

  While it is true that the rest of the fair was absolutely splendid heaps of fun, and that I got to have more enjoyable rides, I shall never again ride such a thing again, especially not one with a faulty safety device, and I'm certain that roller coasters and I would not be friends.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather.....   It is with much sorry resignation that I say that Summer has pretty much come to a close now. It is chilly right now, and mizzling (which is a new word I just learned, I suppose I can't help but learn things what with school and all.)

Right now I am....  every single time I read this question I feel tempted to say that I'm writing a blog post, as if you didn't already know it. But I shall try to behave myself, I am ready to create a page in my collage journal, and potentially write a story that I'm pondering.

That it's been far too long since I've made a new post. I knew I was going to spend a lazy Summer, but it was so lazy in fact that I didn't even bother to think up an excuse for me not writing on my dear little blog.

On my reading pile....
I've had to split my reading pile into multiple stacks because it started to teeter and totter most dangerously. I love to read, and I am satisfied with the number of books that I've read this Summer.  I've been reading an odd assortment of books, a bunch of Christian fiction, Historical fiction, war diaries, classical books by Mark Twain, and Dickens, and even a Dave Dawson book that used to be my Dad's favorite when he was a boy.

On my TV..... We girls just finished the World of Dance season, I must say that it was a splendid show, my feelings on the winners won't be disclosed for I feel them to be too snarky for my blog.

Listening to..... It's an old song, "One Step at a Time" by Jordin Sparks. I recently rediscovered that song and listened to it almost daily since then. It's crazy to think that's it's been about a decade since it was produced.

Something fun to share.... Hm, this one requires thought, sometimes I think I can be deathly dull, and right at the moment, I am just one yawn short of deadening.  All seriousness aside, I talked on the phone yesterday, and that's not a big deal at all to anyone other than me, I am utterly terrified of talking on the phone, so when my cousin, whom I know very well called me, I almost fainted, it turns out that talking on the phone isn't that alarming after all, though I was sweating like a moose during it all.

Blog hopping (newly discovered blog)....
I haven't really been doing much of anything related to blogging lately, therefore I have not discovered a new blog.

On the menu for this week....
I definitely hope it's food, sadly every single restaurant I've ever been to had only words on the menu, sometimes, if I'm lucky, they'll have pictures.

On my to do list....
Recently (as in two days ago) I started a to do list again, and my, but it's long. A few of the things on it are very typical, just the usual household chores, and then a few little things like lighting a candle, or baking.

In the craft basket....
My crafting has taken over the space in my room, I have boxes filled with pictures and phrases that I use in my creative and collage journals, and so much yarn, lace, buttons, book cloth, and various other things that I love to use on a weekly basis.

Looking forward to this week....
Since I'm not so sure what our plans are for this week, the thing that I'm looking forward to is Friday, I guess school just does that to a person.

Looking around the house....
I see tidiness. I have no idea if you can technically see tidiness, but I will assume you can. My Mum's brother and his family stopped in for a visit this morning, and there's nothing like an unexpected visit from family to set a house to rights.

Bible verse, Devotional....
This is not just one verse, but rather two. I am just finishing up the book of Jeremiah as I work my way through the Bible, and I thought that this scripture was beautiful.
Jeremiah 17:7-8  Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when the heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

You can join all the fun over at The Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. We've reached edition number 315 here in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So tell us, what were you doing at 3:15 yesterday? Is that typical? On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being low and 10 being high) what's your energy level usually like at 3:15 PM?

  Yesterday, at precisely 3:15 I was reading a book. It was a diary about Pearl Harbor and the affects it had throughout the west coast. It was a very good book, though I didn't appreciate the ending. It seems that all the people I like the best end up dying! And though I do not always read in the afternoons, lately it has been typical. You should see the huge stack of books I have in my room, waiting for me to read, it's awe inspiring.

  Well, considering how I've been reading books lately during the afternoons, my energy level varies according to what book I'm reading. Yesterday my energy was probably a 6 because it was an exhausting book after all.

2. A frisbee, a tantrum, a towel, a party, a punch, or a curveball...which have you most recently thrown or had thrown at/for you? Elaborate.

  Hm, I have utterly no idea. Unless ...... I've thrown in the towel, to elaborate further on that statement, not only did I throw in the towel, but a bunch of socks, a few shirts, pajamas, and tea towels. Laundry is never fun.

3. What are three things that would help you right now. Tell us how or why.

  A cup of tea, a robe, and socks. In other words, I'm absolutely freezing! I have no idea what is wrong with Summer but right now it's 64 inside and since I'm used to 89 it's a terrible shock to me. I'm covered with goosebumps (which I used to think were called chicken pox when I was younger.)

4. Do you think you're strong? Why or why not? What makes you strong?

  Do I think I'm strong? Physically, that's hysterical, I would not view myself as strong, though I can beat an egg pretty fiercely. Mentally, I'm not so sure about that either. I holler at dumb book characters and laugh heartily at the weirdest things, and then turn around and tear up over other things. If that's classified as mentally sound, than I certainly am completely strong mentally.
  Now, what makes me strong otherwise is definitely my faith. It's hard to even imagine what my life would be like if I didn't have God walking with me every day and caring for me.

5. Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? What's your favorite book set sometime in the past?

  I cannot believe that I actually got asked this most splendid of questions! I absolutely love reading historical fiction and am currently reading a bunch of books by Julie Klassen and Jen Turano. As for my favorite book, I have no idea. It's so hard to choose from so many favorites. I really loved "The Tutor's Daughter" by Julie Klassen, and I know already that I can't give you a favorite because I have far too many loved books. It's like asking a mother whom her favorite child is!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

   It's really crazy, but this upcoming Monday will be the first day of school already! It's hard to believe that my summer has flown by so quickly! I've had a really good one though, I read a heap of books, wore pajamas every single morning, baked a huge batch of granola, ate mangoes, ran about outside, took long walks, gathered bouquets of wild flowers, listened to the birds singing, climbed the hay bales in the barns, drank tea, journaled, and held kittens. I'm sure that you can tell just how wondrous my summer was, but I can honestly say that I'm looking forward to starting school again. Fun in the sun is great and all, but school will always rule.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. When and where were the best fireworks you've ever seen? Speaking of you know your hot buttons? The things people can say and/or do to set you off? When was the last time someone pushed one of your hot buttons?

  I think I might have been either nine or ten when I last saw any fireworks. They had been at the Pirates Game in Pittsburgh. The funny thing is, the only thing I remember about that game is sitting in a very comfortable seat and feeling cozy with my water bottle in front of me. And I remember that one of the camera men walked up the side aisle close by me, and then of course the amazing fireworks display after the game.

  I don't get really annoyed often, but something that gets me every time is when people say mean things about others right behind their backs and then act nice to their faces. The last time I witnessed such a thing was probably a few months ago, and I was strikingly furious (not literally, I'm not a naturally violent person.)

2. Have you hosted any outdoor summer parties this year? Attended any? What makes for a great outdoor party?

  I have not hosted an outdoor party but I have attended one, it was a graduation party and I wouldn't say it was utterly fantastic, it wasn't horrible, don't get me wrong, but it had been 86 degrees so I was sweltering, and I was sitting on tree roots while eating lunch and was terrorized by giant ants.

  What makes for a great outdoor party is nice weather, good food, and fun people.

3. What does freedom mean to you?

  Freedom means a lot to me, both spiritually and physically. I think that as a Christian, even though our rights are being diminished, absolutely no one can destroy our freedom to serve God, to love Him, and to worship Him.

  Physically though, freedom means not wearing shoes, or socks. I always think that my feet are suffocating when I have to wear socks, and shoes are simply added torture.

4. July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month...what annoys you most about people's cell phone habits?

  Oh my, I have a long list of these, but to keep it short... I hate it when I'm making a true effort to talk to someone and they're so busy on their phones that they ignore me completely. And I don't like it when people think that phones can be part of the conversation, or even the subject of a conversation. Also, I think it is only good manners to respond to a text as soon as you get it, or an email, or anything of the sort. It annoys me terribly when I work hard on responding to someone, and then they don't or send a one word reply.

5. What's your current summer anthem?

  I do not have a Summer Anthem. Unless you count the sound of the birds singing, timers ringing, laughter, shrieks of terror (in games like tag, and water fights) the sound of the fans humming, trucks whizzing down the road, kittens meowing, I'm sure you get it.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  Once again it has been such a while since I've blogged. But I think you might like to know that I am indeed living the Summer of my dreams. I get to wear pajamas while eating granola, and journal, read, and have a blast, just by being lazy (only in part, Summer doesn't eliminate chores.)

Join other Hodgepodgers here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

For the Love of Books

  It's no secret (anymore) that I would much rather read a book at parties and so on than have to pretend I'm interested by the people that surround me. It sounds absolutely scandalous once it's written out but perhaps I need to be brutally honest at times.

  I don't have enough words in my vocabulary to describe to you how well I love books but I'm assuming that everybody already knows the depths of my love for reading. Books really are strange, like portable adventures...but to get back on track I decided that I was going to share some of my reading quirks with you today, plus a video that I found personally hilarious and accurate when it comes to a book lover's life.

  I believe that I've already told you how I have to be perfectly comfortable when I read, but here are a lot more things about me when it comes to reading.

  •   I can't stand noise when I'm reading. Except for the sounds of birds singing, or wind blowing through the trees.
  •  I know that a lot of people curl up in a corner or something but I love to kneel beside my bed and read my book propped on the mattress. My Dad saw me like that once and wondered if I was okay.  
  • Something I find terribly annoying, even though other people might love it, is drinking something or munching happily away on a snack of some kind when reading, it serves to be a distraction, and I'm perfectly petrified about soiling a book, which to me is a serious crime and worthy to be punished.
  • Another thing is that I've always wanted to have a book that was scary enough to need to be shoved into my freezer (it can't get me there) the only problem is that I've only ever read one book that was deemed nerve wracking enough but it was my book out of a gorgeous series that I'd been gifted and by no means did I want to maim it in any form, even by sticking it into the freezer.
  • I also have been known to holler out loud at certain characters that really get on my nerves, either because they're being too stubborn, idiotic, or just plain mean. 
  • Diane knows that I get really pulled into whatever I'm reading, so when I was reading Divergent the one time, she hollered "boo" at my face. I fell right off the bed and landed on my book, much to her delight.
  • I always think that a book has to have a perfect ending. Otherwise I dislike the books completely for they have wronged me. One of those books was Allegiant, I hated it.
  • One thing that is strange about me is that books do not easily amuse me. Sure I can think something is funny but I never laugh. I only laughed (genuinely) once, and Diane had thought something was wrong. 
  • And another thing, I constantly refer to book characters as being real, it doesn't annoy anyone though it can be confusing at times. 
  • I've been known to tell my diary all about my thoughts concerning whatever book I'm reading at the time. I'm considering starting a book journal just for my thoughts and so on.
  • I've been known to make really lame jokes concerning book characters. For example, (from The Hunger Games) I had fried up a bunch of pita breads the other week and Diane said she loved a good "Peeta" which put me into "Gales" of laughter. My family all looked horrified at my extraordinarily lame joke.  

  And now onto the video like I promised earlier.