Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Edition #5

Things I Like About Fall

Spring is my favorite season, but I love living in an area that has four distinct seasons because there are things to enjoy in every season! In the fall I enjoy...
  1. Mums. I have several flourishing mums in my planters right now... yellow, orange, burgundy. One plant came back from last year! I hope more survive this year.
  2. Pansies. Such happy little "faces"! I love to plant pansies in the fall because they live right through the winter and bloom again in the spring. I've been thinking about showing the girls how to press them and make laminated bookmarks or greeting cards.
  3. Apples. We live in apple country, near the orchards in Washington. Our family favorite is the Jonagold. We like to slice them and dip them in Martha's caramel dip.
  4. Colors. Our forests are predominantly pine, but I love seeing the gold and orange of the trees that do change against the forest green of the pine.
  5. The Pumpkin Parable. This is a children's picture book I discovered when my children were small. We enjoyed reading it every fall.
  6. Pumpkin Cheesecake. My favorite dessert with a harvest-time flavor.
  7. Weiner Roasts. Is there anything more fun on a crisp fall evening?
  8. Sunny Days. The weather is changing and more days are rainy, so sunny days are rare treasures to be enjoyed and appreciated.
  9. Crunchy Leaves on the Sidewalk. As long as I don't have to rake them! We had this humongous maple tree next to the last house we lived in. It was beautiful every fall but it didn't drop its leaves until well into December, so we'd have to go out to rake when it was past "comfortable" leaf-raking weather. Ugh! Soggy leaves.
  10. Fresh-pressed Sweet Cider. Either hot or icy cold.
  11. Candy Corn. I've always liked candy corn. I noticed this year that they have come out with Caramel Candy Corn. I'm thinking I need to get some!
  12. Popcorn. Well, popcorn is good anytime... but it just seems to go with other fall snacks and activities.
  13. Sweaters. Just cool enough to need a sweater to go outside... but not yet a bulky coat. I like wearing cardigans, which can be put on and taken off easily.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall Colors in the Columbia River Gorge

We took the trailer down to Oregon this past weekend for our last camping trip of the season. We stayed at Memaloose State Park in the Columbia River Gorge. The weather was cool and damp, so we didn't do much in the way of outside activities, but I thoroughly enjoyed the fall colors! We enjoyed some down time just playing games, reading, and talking. We also got to visit some friends in the area on Saturday evening, so it was a fun get-away!

Menu Plan Monday

I didn't totally stick to my plan last week, but that's okay... at least I had a plan... and that helped! One problem I'm having in my planning is that we are trying to avoid dairy products for one of the kids (hopefully temporarily) so it's a real challenge to come up with main dishes that don't include cream-of-something-soup, milk, sour cream, cheese, etc. I'm not being real strict about it, as it is not an allergy or anything, but when the item is particularly "creamy" or "cheesy" we are trying to avoid it. (Fortunately, on the pizza night she is satisfied with bread sticks and salad!) Any suggestions for simple non-dairy meals?

For this week I've come up with:
Monday: sloppy joes, tater tots, cole slaw
Tuesday: chicken cacciatore, green beans
Wednesday: pizza, bread sticks, salad
Thursday: sausage and rice casserole with mixed vegetables
Friday: taco soup, tortilla chips, salsa (we didn't have it last week)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Okay, I gotta get back in the habit of planning my supper menus. I'm driving myself crazy trying to think up and throw meals together 30 minutes before it's time to eat. You know what that usually means, dontcha? Yep! Fast food. Which is ridiculous because I have a lovely teenage daughter who is perfectly willing to do the cooking, if I just provide the groceries and tell her what to cook! Maybe I'll get motivated enough one of these days to take the time to sit down with her and let her help plan the menus. Then we'd probably have something more interesting than just the tried-and-true ol' standbys. But until then, at least I have a plan for this week...

Monday: chicken fried rice with stir-fry veggies
Tuesday: spaghetti, tossed salad, french bread
Wednesday: chili dogs, sliced cheese, cole slaw
Thursday: meat loaf, mashed potatoes, green beans
Friday: taco soup, tortilla chips, salsa

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Recipes for Fall

One of our favorite fall treats is the Harvest Blessing Mix made up of Bugles, pretzels, candy corn, Corn Nuts, raisins, m&m's, and peanuts. The Bugles look like miniature cornucopias. The pretzels represent arms folded in prayer. The candy corn and Corn Nuts remind us that the pilgrims supposedly only had 5 kernels of corn per person each day during that first hard winter. Raisins are dried fruit and remind us of a bountiful harvest. M&Ms stand for "many, many" blessings. The peanuts represent seeds which are a reminder of the potential of next year's harvest.

Some years we have made it up and divided it into little bags with gift tags explaining the significance of each ingredient, and then given them away to friends. Other years we just make up a big bowlful for a fun snack... great for family game time! Printable gift tags are available online (just Google "blessing mix") but I usually make up my own depending on what ingredients I include.

I also discovered a new-to-me recipe last week that I want to try, posted by Kathy at Highlights from Higher Ground. It is Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Gems. You mix a can of pumpkin with a cake mix and scoop dollops of the mixture into a miniature muffin tin, and then bake!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Edition #4

It's Thursday... time for another list of "13 things..." If you've never played, check out Each Thursday you make up a list with 13 things, whatever you want to tell. This is my fourth week to participate. And this week I am going to share...

13 Paying Jobs I've Had
(Where I actually earned money... I do a lot of things that earn intangible benefits!)
  1. In high school I worked as an office clerk in the local Girl Scout council office. I did exciting, fulfilling things like filing and making copies. ;-)
  2. The summer after my first year of college I worked as a nurse's aide at a nursing home. That quickly shattered my illusions about the glamorous life I would lead if I went on to become a nurse. Since then I have had no desire whatsoever to work in the medical field... which is kinda funny since one of my sisters has been a nurse for 20+ years and my other sister is currently in nursing school.
  3. Just before I got married I worked at a deli, making and serving sandwiches and dipping ice cream. That was a fun job!
  4. I have also worked as a receptionist at my brother-in-law's print shop...
  5. a sales clerk in a gift shop...
  6. a bank teller...
  7. a bank receptionist...
  8. a bookkeeper at a bank...
  9. a sales clerk at a Goodwill store...
  10. a child-care provider (before and right after my oldest child was born)...
  11. When my children were very small I had an evening job working as assistant children's librarian at the public library. I worked from 5:00 till 9:00 in the evening, which worked out well as my husband could be home with the children while I worked. I think this was my favorite of all the jobs I've ever had.
  12. Since 2000 I have been a Sonlight Curriculum Consultant. I have a booth for Sonlight Curriculum at various homeschool conventions throughout the northwest each spring and summer.
  13. I also currently work for Sonlight Curriculum as a Curriculum Advisor, answering phone calls and emails that the company receives regarding how to use the curriculum.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Feeling rather Eeyore-ish...

Typically, I'm not a pessimistic person... even though I often do enjoy spending time by myself. I don't consider myself a complainer. I hope others don't! And, to be truthful, I chose the answers on the quiz that I knew would come out to be Eeyore. (Then I went back and re-took the quiz, answering honestly, and came out to be Kanga! So, see? I'm not really an Eeyore!)

I was contemplating last night, though, whether I expect too much from those around me. Eeyore's a melancholy fella... mostly he seems to enjoy standing around feeling gloomy. He doesn't expect much from his friends and neighbors, but it seems to depress him. I think I need to have lower expectations... but I don't want to be depressed about it!

I find myself most frustrated when people disappoint me or don't live up to my expectations. Years ago I read Making Love Last Forever by Gary Smalley, and his advice is to lower your expectations and then you won't be disappointed. "The wider the gap between what we expect and the reality of what we experience, the greater the potential for discouragement and fatigue." Yep. Seems to be true. I know this... so why do I keep expecting things from people?

We live in a very selfish society. Most people are only willing to do and give and help when it's convenient for them. That bothers me, and I have tried to make a conscious effort to not be selfish. The hardest part about being unselfish, though, is not expecting recognition or anything in return. I find it easy to give and do for others if I know they will appreciate it or acknowledge my efforts. But that's not the point, is it?

Jesus said, "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly."

Just something else to be working on, as I learn and grow.

Thanks for noticin' me!

Click on the graphic above if you'd like to take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz just for fun!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Quilt project

For awhile I have been thinking of making a quilt to use as a bedspread in the trailer. We've had our trailer for a little over a year now... and I really like the interior decor. The upholstery and the window treatments and the bedspread are coordinating fabrics in shades of brown and tan with touches of sage.

Well, I decided that it might be a good idea to make a quilt for the bed to save on wear-and-tear on the bedspread. If we ever decided to sell the trailer it would be nice to still have the bedspread that matches to go with it. I was thinking that I would get some pretty fabric with a camping theme in coordinating colors. I hadn't really started looking for fabric yet, but I came across this great Route 66 themed fabric a few days ago at Ben Franklin's in a small town north of here. It was perfect! The right colors... plus we are actually more into road trips than we are camping (although we enjoy both). The fabric has blue and yellow in it (and touches of red) but lots of brown and green, too, so I think it looks very nice with the existing decor. And my cute little Mater throw pillow even coordinates! (He didn't really go with the theme before. I just liked him because he was silky and squishy and Mater!)

So... no, I haven't started the quilt yet. Right now I'm just enjoying looking at the fabric. I don't plan to cut it into blocks. I got 2 yards and I'm going to try to find some coordinating fabric to make a frame around it to make it big enough to cover the bed. Originally I had thought I would hand-quilt it... and I still may... but I'm leaning toward just tying it. That would be quicker and I would be more apt to get it done this winter.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Edition #3

Recently I was working on a scrapbook from my childhood. I made a page showing where we lived each year. We moved around a lot growing up. While going through my mother's notes I realized that I had lived in 5 places in 3 states by my first birthday! Thankfully, the rest of my life wasn't quite that hectic... but it seems like it took a few years for my parents to get settled. So for this week's Thursday Thirteen I thought I would list the 13 states I have lived in:
  1. Oklahoma. Okay, so my list of states-I've-lived-in actually "only" numbers 12... but since life begins at conception I guess I should count this one, as my parents lived there for a few months just before I was born! Mother grew up in Oklahoma.
  2. Louisiana. The state I was born in, lived there off-and-on for probably 2 years when I was very small, and then again for 4 years during late elementary and junior high school. My dad's parents live(d) there. My sisters (twins) were also born in Louisiana.
  3. Arkansas. Off-and-on some when I was very small, then again for 2 years when I first started school. This is where my mother's parents lived all my life. My "accent" seems to be a blend of Louisiana and Arkansas, with probably some of my mother's "Okie twang" thrown in.
  4. Iowa. For just a few months during my first year while Dad had some temporary work. This is the only state (besides Oklahoma, obviously) that I don't remember living in.
  5. Indiana. For a year or so during my preschool years. One of my brothers was born in Indiana. (I also later lived in Indiana for 1 year of Bible college.) From there we moved to...
  6. Michigan. For two years when I was 4 and 5. My youngest brother was born there. Then to...
  7. Tennessee. For 6 months just before I started school. Then back to Arkansas for 1st and 2nd grade, and to...
  8. Texas. For two years - 3rd and 4th grade. Then back to Louisiana for 5th - 8th grades...
  9. Ohio. For three years, in which I completed high school. Then to Indiana for Bible college and from there to...
  10. Missouri. My parents had moved again while I was at college and I lived at home for a year before I got married, when I moved to...
  11. Kansas. We lived there for the first few years we were married, with a 15-month "detour" to...
  12. California. Where my husband grew up. Then back to Kansas, and from there, in 1998 to...
  13. Idaho. Which is where we live now! As I was compiling this list I realized that I have now lived in Idaho for longer than I have continuously lived in any other state! I must be getting old!