Sunday, April 30, 2017

Y ~ Yikes

  This afternoon my whole family went on a delightful little excursion to one of our favorite spots in the world. The breeze greeting us was very appreciated because it was hot outdoors and even with the breeze I was much too warm.

  Diane and I found many clumps of frog eggs in the water so we stopped to look at them. If you have never seen frog eggs you'll just have to take my word for it when I say that they look extremely disgusting. After we had gaped and gagged for a sufficient amount of time, we moved onward eagerly, awaiting all the other treasures we were sure to find on our walk.

  For the most part, Diane and I stuck to the tiny winding trail but we did take a detour when we spotted a giant lilac bush that we wanted to smell. After wading through knee high grass we arrived at the lilac bush. It smelled so good, delightful, and scrumptious, like the stuff a dream is made of.

  At the end of our trail we arrived at "The Elf's Mirror" (the name I gave to the rippling lake that resides beside the trail.) Diane and I paused and tried to catch the newts that were warming themselves at the shallow parts along the bank.

  We gave up on catching a newt after a few minutes and then we began a trek around the lake. We passed two beaver dams and chatted the whole way until I passed a little shrub growing in the water. Something shook the dry grass blades in that little shrub so Diane and I stopped to investigate. We noticed a few more newts but nothing in the shrub. I gave up on my search but a few seconds later it shook and rustled again. My curiosity was piqued. I bent down and shook the bush.

  A slimy, orange and brown snake popped it's head right out in my face. I don't remember what exactly Diane screamed, but whatever it was I joined her and we went shrieking away. I might be able to squish spiders, trap stink bugs, and crush snails without even flinching, but I absolutely do not claim any wits around snakes.

  Our walk ended soon after the snake episode and we all left with delightfully rosy complexions. (Also known as sunburns.)


Saturday, April 29, 2017

X ~ Xanthan Gum

  I'm supposing that after you read the title you must have thought something along these lines "Oy, a health post." Or maybe you thought something more like, "A heath post, goodie, let me go fetch my note book."  Whatever you might have thought, rest assured that I shall not spend hours and hundreds of paragraphs raving about the wondrous glories of xanthan gum, in fact, for that matter, I shan't even spend a second talking up xanthan gum, but rather I shall bash it most heartily.

  If you are a loyal user of xanthan gum then I apologize in advance for any offense I might inflict but I simply needed to let more people know about my discovery. Prepare yourself, for here I go, about to rant.

  My Mum agreed to join me for forty days (I wanted much more, but that was all she committed to) of an extreme health adventure, we ate absolutely no gluten, no soy, no sugar, you name it. What we did eat was many strange things, we used much oat flour, countless egg whites (I know they're not strange, I'm just listing things here) coconut flour, neufchatel cheese, kale, zucchini, coconut oil, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, and yes, xanthan gum. You name it, if it was "healthy", we were there. And amidst all of that crazed health pursuing, we became obsessed, it was pure insanity. We couldn't go a minute without thinking about food, and our bodies began to pay the price for such extreme "health". Our minds felt very fragile, like a single sharp poke could break us.

  Eventually my Mum and I got a major reality shock upon realizing that this wonderful life that God had given to us was being wasted, on obsessing over food. Reading scriptures brought to light how absolutely insane it was to concentrate so much on food, which is meant to be but just a trivial necessity in our lives, it doesn't hold a candle to the life God has planned for us.

  After that realization, my Mum and I converted back to eating food, real food. We ate gluten, we ate dairy, and we ate sugar. We enjoyed every bit of it and still do. My Mum and I discovered the absolute secret to eating for optimum health and happiness. You can eat absolutely everything (junk food is not that terrific though, so we avoid that, but that's just common sense) the only catch (and it's insanely easy, not really a catch at all) is that you must simply eat everything in small portions. Like our motto which is "Eat everything, just not everything of everything."

  Our happiness and zest for life returned with eating normally again. And best of all, obsessing over food is no longer in existence. We didn't realize just how much food had taken over our lives until we started eating anything again.

  I know that so many people have very many fads that they follow, (don't get me wrong, I don't think that all food studies are bad, though most are extreme) and my Mum and I followed them all, and we are taught by nutritionists everywhere that the fads we follow are for optimum health, but think on it. So many people say Stevia is good for you ( I'm sure I've really plunged into the deep end by bringing up this subject) but it's along the lines of serious drugs. If you ever research it a little you'll notice that people stopping Stevia had extreme withdrawal symptoms, but they say that it's so much better for you than sugar since it comes from a plant. Well, sugarcane is a plant. Now I will readily agree that raw sugar is most definitely better for you than just regular old sugar, but my point is that Stevia can no longer hold it's plant prowess over sugar.

  And more about Stevia. Many, many, many (I can't even stress how many people) think Stevia is the only way to go and they rave about it's weight loss benefits but I did a little research myself and it happens to be that Stevia DOES mess with you. Here is what I found, and I'm quoting it. "Our bodies don’t quite know what to do with these calorie-free sugar substitutes. Tricked by the sweet taste, the body activates the insulin response and ushers out glucose from the bloodstream to make room for the incoming sugar load…but no sugar ever enters. To stabilize blood sugar levels, the body then releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which set to work retrieving stored sugar (in the form of glycogen) from liver and muscle tissue.  When this process is continually activated, our adrenal glands burn out, our immune system is weakened, inflammation increases, and thyroid function is disturbed. If your body doesn’t have enough glycogen stored, it can’t convert the inactive thyroid hormone T4 into the active thyroid hormone T3. What happens when your thyroid function is out of whack? Weight gain…hair loss…and fatigue! In fact, numerous studies have shown that rather than contributing to weight loss, artificial sweeteners like stevia actually cause weight gain!"

  So now that I've vented myself on that I shall actually get to the point of my post. Xanthan Gum. My Mum did research on it and came up with horrifying results. I'm sure a lot of you how black molded vegetables look. And the fact is that to make Xanthan Gum, the producers let just such mold grow on corn, and certain beans and scrape off the slime from underneath (also known as the feces from bacteria.) Then they dehydrate it, grind it into a powder and sell it labeled as a gluten free baking assistant and thickening agent sourced from plants. That bacteria isn't even good for you though and it's proven by how you aren't allowed to feed Xanthan gum to children as it may prove fatal, or at least inflict severe damage. I don't know about you but that was enough for me and I was left terrified because I had eaten a good bit of Xanthan gum, the fact that it was bacteria feces didn't help to settle my stomach either.

  So if you're wondering what my Mum and I did about the whole "gluten is horrible for you deal," well, we laughed in its face. One of my friends (who has a gluten intolerance) went to a doctor recently and he told her that for most people all a gluten intolerance is, is just a deficiency of magnesium and certain vitamins. With such deficiencies you can't digest gluten. The cure? You can reap healing, life changing results by simply eating a well balanced diet. Think the old-fashioned food pyramid. And adding missing vitamins.

  I had read an article written by a woman who claimed that the rising of gluten intolerance is because of hybridized grains. I couldn't believe how obvious the actual reason is. Think on it, in most cases gluten intolerance is merely a nutrient deficiency. That deficiency comes from not eating as God made us to. With so many crazy fads out there with whole swarms of naive people following them it's obvious that we have many many more deficiency possessed people who think they're doing themselves good by eating the way they do. With those deficiencies they can no longer digest grain because they have harmed their digestive system unbeknownst to them. So how could they fix those deficiencies? By healing their gut and eating as God made us to.

  Food is not complicated, God made it that way so we can follow him with a whole heart, soul, and mind. Savoring every bite will likewise let you savor every moment of life.

  Please know that I honestly, from the bottom of my heart did not mean offense to anyone at all, trust me, I've been there, done that, with fads. I just hope that I can open at least one person's eyes to the  greater picture in life. To go from dreaming to waking up and seeing all of your glorious surroundings. If I can do that to one person through this post, than I shall feel that my life's purpose has been fulfilled.  I had no intentions of rambling on for so long (and getting heated various times) so now I think it would be a wise time to bow out gracefully with a few scripture verses. (Please know that Jesus said the following words.)

  Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment.

  Mark 7:18-19 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into his belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.

There are more Bible verses, but this post is quite long enough. Maybe someday I'll share my Bible study on food, eating, and sickness.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

W ~ Wheels

  I'm sure my Mum will be ready to question my sanity after she reads this post of mine, because I freely admit that I desperately wanted a terrific adventure today, and we just had to end up having an almost normal day.

  This morning my Mum and I left to run over to the bank and pick up a few things for dinner. The errands sounded simple enough, and even dull, though executing them was anything but dull, or simple.

  We were driving peacefully down the road, happily discussing various lists we wanted to create, and some projects I was working on. The day was particularly gorgeous and birds were chirping and flying everywhere (I saw a dove for the first time in my entire life today), a squirrel scampered across the road, and our hearts were gloriously light. Spring does have a way of doing that. Then, all of a sudden we heard a strange clang, and then a steady thump-da-dump-thump-clack-a-dump-thump.

  If we would have been in a movie, that specific scene would have been in slow motion. Mum and I turned (in slow motion of course) and looked at each other and then craned our necks to look out our windows.

  A few minutes later, the thump-da-dump-thump-clack-a-dump-thumps were getting a lot more vigorous and even thumpier. Mum and I panicked in unison and we began to pray. It so seems that two of our tires were loose and having a jolly good time terrifying the two innocent females that were depending upon them.

  My Mum does not have a cell phone so our minds were extremely busy playing out scenes of our tires flying off and us having to climb out and walk to where my Dad was at work (a good many miles away) to get help. Mum was not enjoying herself at all, but for some completely absurd reason I was secretly hoping, or at least planning on not minding it at all if our tires did indeed pop right off, because I wanted a good adventure and goodness knows that having to walk for hours on end due to a "clack-happy" vehicle would not only count as a terrific adventure, but boy would it ever make a good blog post. (Yes, I do think of blogging throughout the day.)

  Anyways, when we got to the bank Mum parked, took care of her business and then upon returning to our minivan, she fished out a tire iron from the back and walked up to our front tires. Mum quickly discovered that our tires were very loose, that fact was readily proven when she easily turned the bolts in the tire.

  I felt very much like a helpless female as I stood by and watched my Mum twiddle around with the tire iron (Is it just me or does tire iron sound like a name given by a child?) Then we rode onward and Mum did drive over to my Dad's workplace so that he could tighten the tires for her. We thanked my dear Dad, and then the rest of our errand running was quite uneventful (unless you count the time when our cart gave us a good run, but, that's a story for another time.)

  That was the end to that whole affair and even now as I am writing this post late at night, I still can't help but wonder what could have been if our tires had actually flown off.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V ~ Vinegar

  Vinegar, the substance that is either treasured or despised. Usually the word is pronounced as "vinny-gur" but my family has a more appropriate way of saying it "vine-gar."

  Generally speaking my family uses vinegar for a terrific number of things, for example: we drink it diluted with water during cold seasons, we scrub windows with a solution containing it, it is used in facial masks, for unclogging drains, and much, much more.

  Now, I had no intentions of writing a post about an acid, but considering how it was either vinegar or vitameatavegamin I decided that vinegar was simply a lot better of an option, especially since I'm not sure just how many people actually know what vitameatvegamin is. (Just ask Ms McGillicuddy if you're clueless.) However, if you too are an old soul at heart, then yay for you!

  A little while back my Mum and I tried a drink known to many people as Good Girl Moonshine.  It consisted of apple cider vinegar, ginger, and water. I absolutely hated it, I'm sure my Mum would have too if she hadn't spit it out as soon as she took a sip. I'm not bashing vinegar here, I"m just telling some very random bit of vinegar related history.

  On a related note, (to terrible drinks) I had tried another drink, it consisted of Oolong tea, ginger, and cayenne pepper. It was absolutely the worst tasting, throat scorching, belly burning, nasty, drink I had ever had in my entire life. And for some odd reason I felt quite like a viking woman as I drank it.

  Anyways, to get back on track, vinegar is either really awesome or really terrible. Try it and you might like it. Until tomorrow, and hopefully a better post idea, goodbye.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U ~ Up-and-Down

  Playing made up games has always been a specialty of all three of us older children in my family, and while we prided ourselves on our imagination, we always just assumed that our little brother Sean would simply be content with playing our games and so on. Never did we imagine though that he would invent his own game that everyone in our family has played at least a few times (though most of us have played it too many times to count.)

  This particularly popular game was invented by Sean when he was but a wee tot, and his favorite thing in the world was a ball. One random day he just happened upon the idea of playing with the ball "up-and-down" the stairs and as he played with Eldon, he added rules, and within an hour or so, he had invented the terrifying and super fun game, affectionately known as "up-and-down."

  I won't go into detail about it because I'm assuming most people are not looking for ways to throw a ball inside their house. If I'm wrong, feel free to let me know.

  Anyways, the point of this whole post was that I love Sean's creativity (not to forget the game he invented) and just wanted to let a few people know that yes, I do have siblings, and they're awesome.

Monday, April 24, 2017

T ~ Ten Things

  Yet again I am at the time in my life when I simply have to write a ten things post, and so I shall. My family is finally done with our school now for this term and I am absolutely ecstatic, because now, when I wake up at six in the morning I can quickly finish my chores and then have a glorious amount of time to craft, breathe, and enjoy life to it's very fullest. (Everyone knows that school is truly not that adored.)

  Today I shall be composing a list of ten things that I love to do in my free time, and I hope you will feel free to let me know what you like to do in your spare time.

  Now if this introduction failed to let you know what I'm about to blog about, then I'm sorry, but I even I can't help you there.

  My Favorite Past times

#1. Journalling. I love all kinds of journalling and look forward to discovering many more.

#2. I absolutely love to draw, and sketch, and paint, and scribble, you name it. I prefer just a regular old pencil, though I would never turn down a box of artist pencils.

#3. I love to bake, and cook, and create a jolly big mess in the kitchen.

#4. Reading. I couldn't believe my luck when I got to tote home a juicy stack of free classical novels last week. I can't wait to read Sherlock Holmes and all about Oliver Twist. (Though in my opinion, Charles Dickens was a very depressed writer and his life story just about broke my heart.)

#5. Spending an afternoon outdoors is such absolute fun. Especially after watching Beauty and the Beast. In fact, I really wanted to randomly run around the countryside singing songs at the top of my lungs today.

#6. Listening to music while working. Now don't get me wrong, listening to any old music doesn't cut  it with me, I have a particular taste and country music is simply not up to par.

#7. Watching craft tutorials and drawing tutorials. They're awesome.

#8. I love to write songs. I only write them very occasionally though because I need a muse, and most of the time I don't have one.

#9. Daydreaming. Who doesn't love day dreaming? Like I love to say "A dream is the night's soul."

#10. Writing. Oh how I love to write. It doesn't necessarily have to be a book. More times than not I like to organize my whole entire life with hundreds of lists and schedules. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

S ~ Smash Book/ Art Journal

  I have no idea why in the world I ever had an excuse to be bored in my life, when the art of keeping a smash book, or an art journal, for that matter, existed out there, somewhere, just waiting for me to discover yet another passion in my life.

  Just a few days ago I discovered an art journal for the first time. I came across a video on YouTube by Johanna Clough on how to make you own art journal, binding it and all. Now, since I am recently really into binding books, I was willing to give it a go, and now I am in love with art-journaling.

  The lady I mentioned is a very young stay at home wife and mother who spends late nights creating in her journals. In overall perspective I admire her greatly and know that if you watch her videos you'll love her too. Besides, she has an Australian accent, and I absolutely love such accents!

  So far I have created three journals and am working on my fourth. The first one I'm using, two of them are going to be gifts, and the one I'm working on right now will be my first real art journal. If you have ever art-journalled (I have no idea how to spell that, or if it is even a legitimate phrase) and you have any favorite tips or anything, please feel free to let me know what they are because I would appreciate them very much.

Friday, April 21, 2017

R ~ Recipe Box

  I have done a fair few "Favorite Things" posts (like, maybe four) and even though this following post may classify as a favorite thing (which would have been better suited for an "F" post), I still think it makes a smashing post for today.

  I absolutely love baking, in fact it is my life, my heart, you get the picture I'm sure. And honestly I'm not a very tidy baker, or cook, or anything of the sort in the kitchen. In fact, every time Sean helps me create something out in our little kitchen, I always manage to spill something all over the counters and across the cupboards and floors. And every time I do that Sean waves his little mixing spoon, shakes his head and laughs as he tells me I'm very mischievous. I love his definition of mischievous!

  But anyways, my point is that I'm not tidy at all with anything related to creating things in the kitchen, and that knack for messiness spreads even to all the many recipes I have scattered all over our home. I always have a good handful of current recipes stacked randomly on my Mum's counters, others stuck all over my room, a heap of them scattered around our computer desk, and, because I really tried to be organized, a few of those recipes ended up in one of my several recipe boxes.

  With such devotion to my recipes, I thought it only fitting to make a post about them and to share a picture of one of my explosions with you.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q ~ Quilling

  I absolutely love crafting, and anything at all creative, so when my Mum announced to me a week or so ago that I would be learning paper-quilling I was absolutely ecstatic. Now I have yet another excuse to fill my craft bag with even more deliciously fun stuff.

  I know that many people love to quill, and I envy them because to me, at this point in my life, it intimidates me a little but. I don't know if it's because origami and I aren't on the best terms, or perhaps it's just because I'm as mighty as a rabbit, but whatever it is, the idea of quilling simply intimidates me a touch.

  Honestly I have no idea what else to say about the whole quilling idea, because sadly I get to wait till our next school term (which starts in late July, or early August, I'm nor sure yet) to even try it out. But rest assured that as soon as I have completed some projects, that I'll be only too happy to post about them. I can hardly wait. I mean, who doesn't love bright pretty pieces of paper?!

  And now, since I was torn between writing about quilling, and making yet another post about quotes, I shall compromise and end off this post with one of my favorite quotes.

  Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~ Albert Einstein

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P ~ Pictures

  You know, sometimes I can not understand myself. Like today, when my Mum announced to us girls that we were supposed to have our yearbook pictures taken, all I wanted to do was scream and run the other direction.

  I don't have a very good history with posing for pictures, any look at our albums would prove that fact. I don't get it though, because, even though I look okay in the mirror, in pictures I look  terrifying.

  Even though I protested vehemently, my Mum got a picture, not only of my sister (who is very pretty) but of me as well. I wanted to share those pictures with you today, not because I'm proud of how I look, but because once again I didn't have any ideas for this blog post, saving the topic I'm writing about right now.

  The pictures are below, I added in pictures of all my siblings, because I love them all, and quite frankly, why not?

   This is of my very handsome older brother Eldon.

   This is of my very beautiful younger sister Diane.

  This is of my little brother Sean, who is obviously amused about something.

  And this one is of me. This was literally the only acceptable picture from my photo shoot today. I had posed holding a bouquet of daffodils but it looked as if I was in love with them, I had posed with a book but it stole my thunder, I had posed on my Dad's Peterbilt but almost fell off of the steps, and I posed in front of our flowering bush, but even though there were dozens of photos to chose from my facial expressions in every single one of them was weird, and that is why this is the only picture.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O ~ Outdoors

  Finally, gorgeous weather and beautiful flowers are springing up everywhere outside and I can't help but feel perfectly happy. As much as I love Summer and Fall, I love Spring with an undying passion too.

  This evening I hurried outside to take some pictures, I am no photographer in the least, so while I would be completely prepared to blame everything on poor lighting and shakiness from my near frozen knuckles, I have come clean and simply have to admit, I'm not good at taking pictures.

  Anyways, I went ahead and took pictures despite my lack in skill, and tonight you get to see how it looks right now outdoors in my own yard.

   My brother Eldon matter-of-factly pointed out that I have a brick in the background of this picture, "Who cares, it looks artisan" I told him.

   This is a picture of our chicken-less chicken coop with grapevines that climbed over it.

   Here is a picture of that fateful hamster wheel that gave my sister and I such an adventure. I have to smile every time I see it.

     This is a picture of an old stump that resides underneath our lilac bush. When I was much younger I loved perching on it and pretending to be a princess during early summer when the lilacs were blooming.

  This is a picture of our dear cat who's official name is Pepper, but everyone calls her kitty. She's very pregnant again, though the picture doesn't really do justice to how large her tummy is.  

   Here is another picture of our little chicken coop. I love how mighty and impressively tall the pine trees look. I always feel like a little dwarf beside them.

  And lastly here is a picture of our pretty yellow, flowery bush which I used to pretend belonged to nature fairies who used the petals to make sunshine.

Monday, April 17, 2017

N ~ New Year's Goals

    A while back (as in way back in January) I had posted a list of all the things I wanted to  accomplish this year, and I am so happy I composed that list because it has served to be such a source of motivation for me. I have tried my very best so far and hope to complete them all yet before the end of the year.

   I am making this post because I want to show you all an update on all of my goals. And just in case you haven't seen my list before, fret not, for I am sharing it below.

          New Year's Goals
  • learn to temper chocolate  ~ I still have not attempted this, I have read up a lot on it recently, but the thought of actually trying it scares me. Honestly I don't know why, no matter how it turns out, I'll end up with chocolate to eat!

  • have a proper high tea party ~ My sister Diane and I actually did this a while back and it was such fun, in fact just looking back on it makes me want to have another one quite soon.

  • complete my crochet afghan ~ I had been working on my afghan during scary movies, because obviously I'm genius when it comes to finding excuses for being too busy to watch a scary part. I had to stop crocheting though because I ended up running out of yarn, perhaps this week we have to pick up some more on our shopping trip.

  • start my own kitchen notebook (like Rachel Khoo) ~ Yay! I actually did start my own kitchen notebook and I love it. Now if I could only sketch and paint as well as she can....

  • blog much more frequently ~ If the A-Z challenge counts as it all, then I'd say I can check this off my list, if not, then I shall simply have to post a lot more frequently.

  • have excessive berry-ings ~ Our berry bushes are obviously not anywhere near ready for the picking so to speak, so I can't really let you know how it all went till I'm actually in berry season.

  • read 52 books ~ This is probably my favorite goal, so far I have only read fourteen books, I know I have a lot of reading to do, so I shall simply just have to hold my head high and charge into our book cupboards. Not literally though, that would be quite painful.

  • finish writing my book ~ One word, Oy! My book is not going so well, my villain is terribly charming, and the good guy is terribly horrid, whatever shall I do?! I'm starting to understand why so many authors just kill off all their characters.

  • make a proper pâte à choux ~ I have already accomplished this, I had so much fun with it too. I wanted to make it truly proper, so I beat at the dough with a wooden spoon till it was thick and glossy. I honestly have no idea why pastry chefs don't have huge biceps, my arms felt like they could fall off by the time I was done.

  • make a proper pastry cream  ~ This was also accomplished, I had made the pâte à choux into eclairs and filled them with pastry cream, and it was delicious.

  • broaden my french baking knowledge in general ~ Cough. I'm not doing so well in this area, but if reading a baking blog that's written strictly in all French counts, then by all means I'll take it. (Let's just ignore the fact I couldn't understand half of what was actually being said.)

  • break my bad habits (wouldn't you just love to know what they are) ~ This is actually hilarious now that I look at it, because I have absolutely no idea what the bad habits were that I had wanted to break.  

  • have a real picnic ~ I have not had a real picnic yet, but this upcoming week Diane and I are going to have a picnic romp on the cliff beside our waterfall to celebrate her Birthday.

  • become fluent in French ~ If any word could accurately describe all the torture I have gone through in studying French, then no one would even need to ask how my studies are going. But since I have no such word you shall just have to understand that right now I'm listening to a French song and if I was asked to interpret it I would tell you these are the lyrics " You left me yesterday, the end of the season, blah blah blah blah, and now all is finished." I'm sure you get the picture.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

M ~ Muesli

  My whole family knows I absolutely love all things British, in fact it is not uncommon for me to randomly speak with an English accent throughout the day. My love is so deep that I frequently try new foods that are known for being whole-heartedly English, like bangers and mash for example.

  I think it was a few months ago when I tried my first bowl of Bircher muesli and loved it so dearly that I ate it everyday for lunch for quite some time, and I relished every spoonful. Then a few days after I had discovered my passion for Bircher muesli, I came across a package of some healthy muesli in our local bulk food store. Surely you must be able to guess my excitement. I bought the package of muesli with the utmost confidence and prepared it to be enjoyed the next morning.

  That morning I woke up feeling excited and I hustled downstairs and pounced upon my bowl of muesli. I scooped up a spoonful of the surprisingly gelatinous gruel and moments later went shrieking in the other direction. I don't know if it was just the brand of muesli that I had purchased or what exactly it was, but the only way I can come even remotely close to describing the taste of the muesli is that it was reminiscent of walking out into a soggy cow pasture, picking up a rock, and scraping the underneath of the rock into a bowl, and sitting down to eat it.

  If you happen to know of a terrific muesli that you personally love, please let me know, anything is appreciated as long as it doesn't taste like cow pasture.

Friday, April 14, 2017

L ~ Life on the Farm

  Whenever we had gone to my Grandma's surprise birthday party/reunion, I got to play one of my favorite board games again, Life on the Farm.

  Now we do have the same game at home but I had not played it in a very long time because either I had forgotten how fun it was to play, or perhaps it was just fun playing it with cousins I didn't even know existed.

  Anyways, it was after the whole reunion that my Mum brought to light a very hilarious bit of information about my Grandpa concerning that good old fashioned game. It so seems that my Grandpa very dearly abhorred the expense cards that made you kill a cow, or have one run over or shot, etc. So much in fact that one day he took all of those cards out of the deck and stuck them in his pants pockets before playing the game. Then a few days later my Grandma had washed his pants, oblivious to the hidden nightmares inside, and those cards were destroyed never to plague anyone ever again.
 Maybe that is why it much more fun playing Life on the Farm at my grandparent's place.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

K ~ Keen (As in the Old-Fashioned Saying for Awesome)

    Now, the word keen is not by any means a word in my daily vocabulary, yet for some reason when it came time for me to go about making a blog post I panicked because I had no ideas jotted down for K. In my great distress I tacked on  the first word I could think of.

  Something I think that is very "keen" is the fact that my landlord dropped in today with a terrific treasure that he had brought for me, you might as well hurry and fetch a cup of tea because I'm ready to launch into a little story.

  For some reason all of my tales (or at least the last one I told) begin when I walk past our windows and note some form of suspicious activity on our premises, this one begins just like that.

  Several months ago our landlord promised me a vintage sewing machine and little chest of drawers that his mother used to own, I was ecstatic of course and couldn't wait till he delivered them. Well it turns out that I did indeed have to wait, and wait I did, for a good long time.

  This afternoon I walked past our window and saw his truck parked in front of our porch. I was curious and went outdoors to investigate, I relished the feel of my bare feet pattering against the wooden slats on our porch in the fresh spring air. I ducked my head a bit as I hurried under the rhododendron bush that curled over the stairs in a lovely little arch that is honestly better suited for hobbits. The cool squish of soft ground met my feet as I flew to the truck in sheer delight upon seeing how in the back of his truck he had tied my little vintage sewing machine and chest of drawers.

  In moments he had helped me carry various things into my house (he had brought a big tin of buttons, a bag of bows, and various other items including numerous good quality spools of thread. I was beaming with delight and thanked him profusely. He said he was happy to have made my day and then he left to work with Eldon up in the fields.

  Diane and I hurried and in about twenty minutes we had completely rearranged our room and now we both have our own desks because my little machine cabinet makes a perfect desk that I love. I must say that topped with one of my Grandma's crocheted doilies, my little desk looks as if it could fit perfectly into an Amish girl's room. I love my room even more now, and can't wait to go write in my diary tonight. Usually I would share a picture with you of whatever I yapped about but it's late tonight and I don't quite feel up to doing that task, perhaps on a later date you will all become acquainted with my desk, but till tomorrow, adieu.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J ~ Jen Turano

  Pretty much everyone I know, absolutely loves to read and I understand it completely because I myself absolutely love to read, it sparks the imagination and serves as such a delightful past time, and is definitely the hobby I indulge in on my schedule.

  I'm sure a few of you know that my Mum is an author, and back when she was just releasing her books, her publishing company let her choose ten free books for every book that she published as an added perk to being part of their publishing house. Along with several other really good books, my Mum landed upon some absolutely terrific books, several of them which happened to be my very favorites, those books are written by Jen Turano and are apparently part of a series which I'm missing a book or two from.

  I absolutely love Jen Turano's writing style, I fell in love with her books from the second Arabella glared at Theodore ( I hadn't read them in order, whoops!) I don't know why but I found it so refreshing that finally a romance book was a comedy, that it was light and relatable (because truly I think we all have several people we'd love to throw onions at and give a good prod with our parasols.)

  I took several pictures of the books I have of hers so you can see what they are, I had issues with the camera so I'm sharing more than one picture so you can better see the one book that had been glaring at me in the light.
I so dearly want the next book which has kind of been working up throughout each of the first three books.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I ~ Inside My Craft Bag

I have no idea how, but a lot of my posts lately have mentioned how Diane and I have been spring cleaning our room and today has yet another one of those posts. But do not worry that I shall bore you with trivial jibber-jabber over how to most efficiently spring clean a room, because goodness knows I have yet to learn it myself.

  Every month (which seems to be when we spring clean our room, don't judge us, Diane and I are very messy, creatively...) when Diane and I spring clean our room, the first thing we do after walking into our room with huge grins on our faces, and twirling around, is that we march over to our tidy drawers and pull out all of our craft supplies and sit down to craft.

  These past few days I have devoted my spare time to crafting and what fun it is! I have recently begun dabbling in the art of book binding and book cover making, it has been a bit interesting to say the least, and with my profusion of craft supplies that I always seemed to need nearby, I came to the most wonderful idea ever, I grabbed one of my biggest (but not the least ugliest) traveling bag, and gathered all of my most used craft supplies, and a few minutes later I had created the most delightfully filled bag I have ever owned in my entire life.

  In fact, I love it so well that it now has a dominant residence beside my desk, Sean loves my crafty bag too, and he spent a good few hours today rummaging around in it, pulling out treasures and exclaiming over them, he then busily helped me paint today, his favorite part was mixing different paints on my palette to invent colors before he painted a picture in his idea book.

  With all of this yapping about my craft bag, I decided it would be completely unfair to have made you go through all of that verbige without even getting to see a picture of it. So here it is.

Monday, April 10, 2017

H ~ Happy Jar

  When I was probably thirteen I was really in that point in my life where I was certain I was having the best time ever, and that my golden years were upon me,  because of that I had wanted to save every single last memory and adventure by recording it through means of journals, diaries, and a certain invention of mine, the happy jar.

  I finally finished spring cleaning my room and while I was clearing out all of my old junk, I came across this little jar and knew it would be perfect for a blog post.

  The rules for this little jar were very simple, every time something brought a smile to my face, whether it was a certain scent, object, activity, etc. I would copy it onto a little piece of paper and fold it into an airplane before placing it into my little jar. The reason why I folded them into airplanes was because the shape made me very happy, and they were so cute!

  Here is my little jar.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

G ~ Good Housekeeping (1950's Style)

  I have had a love for the olden days - specifically the 20's through the 60's - since I was ten years old and that love has only grown if anything since last year, so much in fact that when I came across a 1950's schedule for the average housewife I fell in love and immediately printed it out onto card stock and keep it firmly stuck to my fridge and follow it's rules whole-heartedly and with a heap of delight, because somehow it makes me feel just a little closer to that beloved decade of mine. And the plus to it is that our home is cleaner than it has ever been before.

  I'm sure I'm not the only lover of delightful vintage schedules and because I'm terribly kindhearted, and quite frankly need a blog post made, I will share my schedule with you.

          Daily Schedule
  1.   Throw back covers
  2. Open curtains and windows (obviously I don't open the windows throughout winter)
  3. Freshen up
  4. Make and serve breakfast
  5. Clean up breakfast
  6. Complete a ten minute exercise regime
  7. Shower, do hair and makeup, get dressed
  8. Carry around a basket and as you clean throughout your house pick up items that don't belong in a certain room and distribute them to their places as you clean
  9. Pick up potential clutter, do a light dusting, fluff pillows, water plants
  10. Make beds
  11. Tidy bedroom, dust them lightly
  12. Hang up clean clothes, put dirty ones in the hamper
  13. Tidy bathroom, sweep, clean toilet, change trash, scrub mirrors and vanity
  14. Vacuum carpeting, sweep floors, shake rugs
  15. Review the menu, do any necessary prep
  16. Do long term prep for dinner (such as prepare a dessert, etc.)
  17. Wipe down kitchen surfaces
  18. Dispose garbage, and scraps
  19. Scald dish cloths, hang to dry
  20. Sweep or mop kitchen floor
  21. Handle errands (such as shopping) or indulge in a hobby
  22. Wash fresh veggies, store in the fridge (this is assuming you went and did some shopping)
  23. Have a quick lunch (I know, I almost died too when I realized all that had to be completed before lunch)
  24. Crisp veggies, thaw food, various prep for dinner
  25. Handle weekly chore for today
  26. Set table for dinner
  27. Arrange living room for evening enjoyment
  28. Sweep floors, clean entrance ways
  29. Prepare a special dish for dinner
  30. Freshen up
  31. Greet husband (in my case it's my Dad)
  32. Serve dinner
  33. Clear table, wash dishes
  34. Pour boiling water down the pipes to flush them out
  35. Set table for breakfast
  36. Do any make-ahead breakfast prep
  37. Prepare Husband's lunch
  38. Enjoy your well-earned evening

            Once-a-week Chores
  1. Clean and disinfect all kitchen appliances 
  2. Scald and disinfect breadboxes, garbage pails, etc
  3. Replace flowers with fresh bouquets
  4. Do laundry twice a week
  5. Mop all floors, wash windows
  6. Clean out the fridge, scrub the stove
  7. Dust and polish all furniture  
  I hope you all enjoyed this schedule as well as I do, I know that my family thinks I'm crazy that I would willingly follow this schedule just for the fun of it, but I know I have kindred spirits out their that completely understand it.

Friday, April 7, 2017

F ~ Fun

  When my family and I went to our reunion/ my Grandma's surprise birthday party, I learned something really important about Amish (ex-Amish included) people, is that they truly have the best, most wholesome fun ever.

  Upon arriving at my Grandparent's place (after a six hour drive) I patiently waited for my other relatives to arrive and finally once everyone got there we clustered around in excited groups and the whole group took a collective intake of breath when my Aunt announced that my Grandma's driver had just pulled into the driveway. We heard the door opening and as soon as her face appeared everyone shouted surprise and happy birthday. First off my Grandma screamed (it was always a favorite past time of all her grandchildren to startle her since it was so easy) and then she was speechless for the longest time. It was so fun watching my Grandma surrounded by all of her family. Quite frankly I felt very proud of my extended family and for some strange reason it delighted me very much how we had our own audience, everyone laughed at the same time, murmured at the same time, etc.

  Anyways, (still persistent here with the use of the word anyways) afterwards all my cousins and I spent the whole day playing board games, volley ball, dutch blitz, verbal games, you name it, I was absolutely delighted with how I was finally surrounded by a bunch of people who knew how to have honest to goodness fun without the help of any technology.

  I left the reunion feeling very happy, tired, and extraordinarily determined to play dutch blitz frequently when I got home, because I honestly didn't know the definition of speed till I played games with them.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

E ~ Eve

  I think we all know that I go to home school group therefore, I shall  not elaborate further on that particular point, but what I do want to talk more about is the absolutely terrific fact that this May is when we have our play, I can't wait!

  I was very fortunate with my character and I got to be Eve. I was absolutely delighted, who doesn't want to be Eve (despite the whole forbidden fruit ordeal)?! My friend Wade plays the part of Adam, and all of my best friends play all the other roles closest to me, surely you must know how very fortunate I feel.

  Anyways, (Ryder tried to tell me that anyways is not a word, but I'm stubbornly persistent) I did not come here to ramble on and on about complete nonsense, I'll save that for later, no, my intent for today was to tell you the very best part about being Eve.

  I was absolutely ecstatic when one of my greatest dreams ever came true a few days ago, and it just happened to be relevant to my being Eve. The whole event began at that certain perfect moment that occurs occasionally in a person's life when nothing fantastic is happening but you're feeling completely content nonetheless.

  I had just finished walking past our front door when I glimpsed a flash of orange, some completely random dude was walking right across our porch seemingly intent upon reaching the door, naturally I freaked out, duh, I'm pretty skitterish (I think I invented that word) when random humans wander into my life. My leisurely meander past the door turned into a frantic rush to inform my Mum that some item of mortality was present on our porch. My Mum was properly alarmed, which I felt quite proud of, and we both minced towards the front door where that particular orange-clad young man was waiting impatiently, in fact, he might even have been tapping his foot. My Mum opened our peeling, white painted door and stepped out to greet the man. It was then that I realized he was holding a package and a ledger, apparently he was a man from a National Mail System, and Mum had to sign for a package from England, (that wasn't my dream but was pretty terrific nonetheless) and once he left I was in a complete tizzy when Mum announced I had gotten the dress I needed to play Eve.

  My feet flew down our narrow hallway as I rushed to try on my new dress. My breath left with a mesmerized whoosh as I pulled my dress out from its package. Yards of shimmery white velvet glimmered in the light as I uncovered my dream, a medieval gown. My heart sighed (if that's possible) when I discovered long lengths of chiffon that spilled out over the sleeves, a silken corded tassle served as the belt for the dress and I felt like an absolute princess as I glided out to show my Mum how it looked to be clothed in a dream.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

D ~ Dear Diary

  I am well aware of how late I am getting this post made, and I apologize for that, but life just occupied most of my time today and between having plumbing issues, spending hours spring cleaning Diane's and my room, doing school etc, it's no wonder I'm getting to my post late in the day.

  I'm sure a good few of you are aware of what my Awk+Awe posts are, and I have just recently had my single most embarrassing moment in my entire life, which I recorded affectionately with many a grimace in my diary. And lucky for you, not only do you get to read my diary, but you get to learn about an awkwardly embarrassing moment in a person's life that you most likely don't even know. (I know for a fact I love random awkward stories from complete strangers.)

  My experience was as follows:

Dear Anne,

  Oh why did I have to have such a very Rose day?!
  The event I had to live through (unfortunately,) happened at my home school group when we were playing jeopardy. It was my turn to walk up and take my seat, I marched over to  my chair, my hand was readied to slap onto my buzzer, I sized up my opponents and felt ready to tackle the world.
  The category my friend Ryder chose was "Capitals" I awaited eagerly for the question, which turned out to be "What is the capital of Hawaii?" Oh, that was an easy question, I was so ready and totally had the answer in the bag, I smacked down on my buzzer with the adrenaline that rushed through me, this was terrific!
  I was the first out of a chain of buzzer thumps and I felt utterly victorious, then all of a sudden my brain blanked, it felt like time was ticking insanely loudly as I frantically hurried through the vast barrenness that was my mind, searching desperately for anything at all that was related to Hawaii.
  The time was ticking, I could feel the tension in the room, then at long last my brain latched onto something Hawaiian and feeling utterly confident I yelled the fateful word into the air.
  Heads turned and shrieks of disbelief clouded the air, as raucous laughter followed my statement. My mind clouded with confusion, and then the word that I had shouted registered in my mind, into the silence I had hollered "Aloha!!"
  Instant death by a lightning strike would have been welcome, my cheeks glowed as red as the lava in a Hawaiian volcano, no one believed me when I said I knew it was Honolulu. Oh Anne! I fear I shall forever be remembered as the Aloha girl!

  Surely my fellow bloggers, you must understand the true courage it took for me to bare such an atrocity of my past with you, but, till tomorrow, Aloha.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

C ~ Cookie Crisp Cereal

  A while back I had posted a picture of a certain kind of cereal I had made and though I had been planning on sharing the recipe a few days afterwards, I never got around to it and now that I'm sitting here at my computer facing the task of making my third A-Z post, I think it's as good a time as ever to share the recipe with you now.

  The reason I made this cereal in the first place is because one day after Diane was tired of always seeing me sitting down to the breakfast table with a bowl of my homemade cereal every morning she asked me if I would make homemade cereal for her too. I was only too happy to oblige since at that point in time I was really into spending hours in the kitchen making tedious foods that disappeared a hundred times faster than what they were made in.

  Anyway, to get back on track, here is the recipe I was left with after tweaking the original to meet my supplies and need for sanity (I was sane enough to dislike spending three hours rolling out tiny little balls of cereal so the following takes only about half an hour to an hour prep.)

Cookie Crisp Cereal

1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cup vanilla cake mix
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup)
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking oil (I used parchment.)
Whisk together the flour, cake mix, and soda. In another bowl cream the butter, add sugars and beat well. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, just a quick note, depending on the cake mix that you use you might have to add a splash or two of milk to the mix to get the dough to be smooth, homemade cake mix is drier which made it necessary for me to use a little milk. Stir in the chocolate chips. Using a 1/4 tsp measuring spoon, scoop out little balls of dough and press lightly onto the baking sheet. The original recipe said to chill it in the fridge for an hour, but it was late already when I had started making the cereal so I skipped the step and it turned out fine.  Bake them for 10 minutes.

Cool and store in an airtight container. Serve as any normal cold breakfast cereal, or if you like you can grab a handful and eat them plain. Either option is delicious.

Monday, April 3, 2017

B ~ Bits and Bobs

  I do realize that I haven't been blogging as much as I had been wanting to recently, and obviously that's all about to change since I am participating in the A-Z challenge, I always look forward to the challenge with an excited sort of apprehension because I have hopes of getting into the habit of blogging frequently.

  I have been very busy lately, busier than usual, and because of that I thought it would be perfect to make a post today on all the little things that have been going on in my life right now.

  On Saturday I woke up at around 3 in the morning because we had to go to my Grandma's surprise birthday party, I had such an amazing time there, it was a reunion because all of my Grandma's children and grandchildren were there, it was very noisy and busy but a whole bunch of fun.  We played games all day and the thing I found humbling was that all of my cousins are so much better at playing Dutch Blitz than I am, I had thought that my family played quickly, ha!

  I spent pretty much all of my evening yesterday reading up on bullet journals, even though I already have so many different kinds of journals I want to add a bullet journal to my list, it sounds very useful both in organizing my life and using up my art supplies. Now I just need good artist pens....

  I've been revamping my music playlist, I found some new songs (two) that I love and have been listening to them nonstop as I write out all of my posts. The one I really love is "Start Over" by Flame Ft. NF.

  My Mum, Diane, and I have been spring cleaning our storeroom and it's always a delightful discovery of treasures every time we clean it. For example, just today I found my favorite ruby ring of my childhood playtime that I had lost years ago, it fits perfectly now!

  One thing that might actually be thought of as strange by the average person is the fact that I love housecleaning so well that I actually went and designed a 50's inspired housecleaning schedule for myself. Everyday I go by the rules I feel deep respect and awe over how hard the housewife in general had to work all day long just in daily life.

  Diane has another piano lesson tonight, she always comes home and stomps away at the keyboard with renewed vigor. Okay, she probably won't appreciate that I wrote that, she's actually quite good at the piano now, and rapidly progressing, I had wanted to learn to play piano too but it's not really happening at the moment, what can I say, I would much rather clean, bake, and journal, even blog.

 Till the morrow.....

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A ~ Art

  You all know I have a deep affinity for art, I love painting, sketching, crafting, you name it.  I have so many different sketch books, but for some reason my passion for creating art kind of went still for a little while until recently when one of my great friends showed her art book to me and we formed a mutual art tips and critiques club of sorts. Seeing all of her beautiful pieces moved me to pick up my pencils again and pour out my soul onto paper.

  Obviously I had to page through my old art books and I found several of my favorite sketches that I want to share with you today.

  My Mum had ordered our new school curriculum for next term this fall and it arrived today. I was unbelievably delighted when I discovered two gorgeously splendid art books that my Mum bought I absolutely can't wait to start drawing again, besides, I know I want to get a lot better at it all.

   I can't precisely pin point what it is that I love so dearly about art, perhaps it's the streaks of lead and charcoal that cover my fingers, perhaps it's that feeling of falling deeply in love with what ever I'm drawing, it might be that feeling of hope that springs forth when a picture slowly starts to form on paper, maybe it's the fact that a bit of my mind, heart, and soul become visible throughout the process, or it might be because I love that feeling of clarity as I spend hours listening to instrumentals, doing incessant comparisons and forgetting to eat meals in between drawing. Actually I think it's all of them together that make it all worth it.

  Because of all of the above I was motivated to share some of the pictures with you.
  I love to pour myself into the eyes of the people I draw, like Sam here.
  For school one week I had to draw birds of various sorts.

  Hopefully the next time I make a post on art, I'll have improved!