Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Here a Chick... There a Chick...

 My goodness! It's been nearly 3 months since I posted a Chicken Update. I'm sure you'd love to see how they've grown and catch up on all the hen-house gossip, wouldn't you?
You'll be glad to know the Girls continue to be happy and healthy. They are close to full grown now, and are pretty and friendly birds. Becky lets them out to forage in the backyard at least once a day. They are curious critters and will fly up on the roof of the hen-house to see what they can see.
 Cookie takes her job as Head of Ranch Security very seriously and watches them intently. Every now and then she'll try to herd them, but for the most part she leaves them alone.
 It's funny to watch them come down off the hen-house, because when one does, they all decide they need to. They do fly, but they aren't very graceful on the wing. Not that they are all that graceful on foot. Chickens just aren't.

 Much to our surprise, they started laying a couple weeks ago. I had read somewhere that it was usually about 6 months before they started laying, but I guess my information was wrong. Or maybe it said it could take "up to 6 months." Anyway, we weren't really watching for eggs yet.
Becky loves to go out a check for eggs several times a day now. We've been getting 1-3 a day. Once we get 4 in one day we'll know all four Girls are laying. For now we're not sure, because we can't quite tell which eggs belong to who. The white ones are obviously Daisy's (the White Leghorn), but the other three Girls are brown-egg layers. I expect Becky will figure it out before long.
 And then they pull stunts like this... while I'm trying to have my devotions on the deck. Silly Girls!
And here's the Head Chicken Keeper posing with Marigold (who was the one who happened to be the most cooperative at the moment).

...everywhere a chick-chick... E-I-E-I-O!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Workbasket (Installment #14)

Time for some more scans from my collection of vintage Workbasket magazines, this one from June 1953. (Which I guess I should have posted in June, huh?) Anyway, 60 years ago.
 "Here is a hat which will keep you looking cool on the warmest days and is a perfect match for those casual summer dresses." So, I'm supposed to believe that wearing one of these fetching little numbers will keep me cooler than wearing no hat at all? Oh, wait! It says "...keep you looking cool..." That's entirely different. I definitely want to look cool in my casual summer dresses. Better whip me up one or three.
This is apparently what they considered "Air-Conditioned Driving" 60 years ago, before real air-conditioning  was a standard option in most cars. "You'll drive cool as a breeze through the hottest summer months with Cool Rest at your back! And there'll be no more wet sticky clothing, either!" Bless their hearts!
 This "Surprise Package For The Non-expectant" is "real fun"! Can't you just see the 1953 housewives giggling over the cleverness of the idea?
 I'm sorry, but I can't imagine that a inflatable pool that's only 42 inches across and 8 inches deep would "hold up to 8 children comfortably" and no, I don't call that "GIANT" either. (However, they do offer larger sizes at the bottom.) The fine prints says: "A private swimming pool all their own for your kids to splash in. Endless fun with all the different ways they can play--cooling carefree frolic in the water plus the added joy of bouncing on the broad air-cushioned seat." Yeah, how "endless" do you think the fun would be with 8 kids bouncing on the sides of the thing? But... it does come with a "free maintenance kit" so I guess you can just keep repairing it every time it deflates, huh? For "only $2.98" what did you expect?
 Let me see... If I sell 9 tubes of wonderful Genevieve Bedford's Creme Shampoo... (Wonder who Genevieve Bedford was? A shampoo guru, I guess.) 89 cents each, I'd need to send in $8.01 for my aluminum pitcher "ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT COST." That seems kinda high to me at 1953 prices. But then, that does include all those tubes of shampoo, too. But I'd hafta get out and sell 'em to raise the money. Hmm... not sure I need a Cheerio pitcher that bad.
Speaking of 1953 prices, there's at least one thing that has amazingly not been hit by inflation over the years-- a ball point pen! The "sensational ball point pen" (with "actual photo") is an "unbelievable value! Not one--not three--but EIGHT Ball Point pens for $1." 

Guess what? I saw a package of not one-- not three-- not eight--but TEN ball point pens on sale at Wal-Mart just last week for $1! Better hurry over and stock up while they are still available at less than 1953 prices!
 This month's Women Who Make Cents column includes ideas for painting dog portraits on hankies, gluing "any bright colored feathers I have on hand" onto paper for stationery, and painting "different designs" on hand-made aprons. First of all, I don't think I could paint a dog portrait that anyone would want on their hanky... nor do I just happen to have bright colored feathers on hand. The apron thing? Well, maybe. If I liked to sew. Which I don't. So this month's suggestions to "add to the family income" are pretty worthless to me.
 I do like looking at the dainty dress patterns from long ago, though.

Hope you've enjoyed this bit of nostalgia. Which snippet did you like best?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Amateur Photographer

Another thing we did while my parents were here was to go on some photo shoots. My dad has a wonderful DSLR camera that he let me use. I had got to use it last fall when I went out to Oklahoma, so I was anxious to get to play around with it again.

Since Becky's senior year is approaching I wanted to see if I could actually take some pictures of her that we could use as her senior pictures. She loves horses and cowboys, so I thought it would be neat to have a western theme for her pictures. When my parents heard of my plan, they offered to take her shopping for a cowboy hat for her 18th birthday so she could wear it for the pictures.

I asked some friends if we could use their place as a backdrop since they have horses. They were happy to agree. And so we set out...
Since I had never done this before, and my dad is also an amateur photographer, he got some advice from my sister who is a professional photographer. "Set the camera on Auto and just snap-snap-snap!"

And that's what I did.
I was pleased with the results. I would love to have a camera like that, but I guess I can probably borrow it just about any time I'm around my Dad. Because he's generous like that.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Denim 'n' Lace Quilt

The weeks of summer race by so fast that I'm too busy gettin'-out-and-doin' to take time to get it all blogged about. Time for some catch-up, I guess, huh?

A month or two ago I happened across a picture of a gorgeous totebag on Pinterest that gave me the idea for a quilt. My mother has been on a quilt-making "kick" for the past 3 or 4 years. Knowing she and Dad were coming out for a visit soon, I emailed her a link and a note: "Got any lace scraps? I got the denim!"

And... being the life-time, frugal, saver-of-everything-practical... sure enough, she did! Her reply: "That is beautiful!  And I just might have lace.  I got rid of a large box full at the yard sale, but I think there is still a sample book or two of lace still in the basement.  That would be perfect because the pieces would be large enough, yet varied."

The denim Lyle provided in the dozen or so pairs of jeans he had recently discarded, as being too worn for further wear as work pants. Taking a cue from my mother, I had hung on to them for just such a project.

Mother found her sample books of lace panels and packed them her suitcase. A day or two after they arrived, we set to work. 
After Mother figured out the pattern, I did most of the cutting and marking.
She did all of the sewing, of course.
And we marveled as it began to come together. The fun thing was both sides were finished as it was assembled because that's how the Cathedral Window pattern works.
The amount of denim and lace we had ended up being just enough for a nice back-of-the-couch throw.
We left the raw edges of the denim deliberately, just to give it a nice country feel. I haven't washed it yet, but when I do the edges should fringe a bit and fluff up nicely.

We think it turned out beautifully! Mother wants to make another one featuring fabric from some of Daddy's shirts. I can't wait to see how that turns out. Hopefully I can show you when she gets it done.

Monday, July 22, 2013


My parents have been visiting us for the past week, so we've been busy doing fun stuff in between working, and not taking time to blog.

One afternoon last week we went to Silverwood, our local theme park. It's only about 25 miles from where we live, but in all the years we've lived in this area we had never been. I guess theme parks just aren't our "thing" as a rule, mostly because they're so expensive. But Laura got a job there this summer, and she earns one free guest ticket for every 40 hours she works. She had saved up her tickets so we could all go while her grandparents were here, and we did have a lot of fun.
 The first order of business was to ride the train. It's a 3.6-mile "journey" through the forest surrounding the park... home to a herd of buffalo and "real fake" outlaws! There have even been Sasquatch sightings along the route.
 We boarded the train early and enjoyed sitting in the shade, people watching and chatting.
 "Emergency" stop at the silver mine! Oh, no! The train was held up by bandits and "robbed"! (All donations go to charity.) The Silverwood Stunt Team did a good job of entertaining us.
Becky said it was like being in a cowboy movie. And since she's a huge fan of old cowboy movies, she was thrilled.  So much so, that she and I and her grandparents rode the train again later that evening. Can you believe the bandits were still at the Silver Mine and we got held up again?
 She also had fun giving her grandparents a ride in the Antique Cars. PaPa told her it was an awfully bumpy ride, but I think he was helping the bumps along by bouncing up and down in the back seat.
 Lyle and Becky rode the Timber Terror roller coaster and got off with big smiles on their faces, so I guess they thought that was fun. Me? I think I'm too old for roller coasters, thank you.
And then the girls talked Grammy and me into riding Thunder Canyon. We got soaked, but I have to admit it was a lot of fun!

We didn't have time to try out everything we would have liked to that afternoon, but I expect we'll have a chance to go again later in the season, thanks to Laura.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Anomaly - review

Anomaly by Krista McGee is a fascinating sci-fi young adult novel. The publisher's synopsis (below) drew me in, so I was happy to have an opportunity to review this book. Stories like this stretch my imagination with all sorts of "what if" scenarios. How would you share the gospel with someone who had never even heard of God? The plot was intriguing to me and I especially appreciated the bigger message.

If you enjoy the dystopian genre, here's a more in-depth description of the book to whet your appetite like it did mine:

Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds left to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid. 

 Decades before Thalli's birth, the world ended in a nuclear war. But life went on deep underground, thanks to a handful of scientists known as The Ten. Since then, they have genetically engineered humans to be free from emotions in the hopes that war won't threaten their lives again. 

 But Thalli was born with the ability to feel emotions and a sense of curiosity she can barely contain. She has survived so far thanks to her ability to hide those differences. But Thalli's secret is discovered when she is overwhelmed by the emotion in an ancient piece of music. 

 She is quickly scheduled for annihilation, but her childhood friend, Berk, convinces The Ten to postpone her death and study her instead. While in the scientists' Pod, Thalli and Berk form a dangerous alliance, one strictly forbidden by the constant surveillance in the pods. 

 As her life ticks away, she hears rumors of someone called the Designer---someone even more powerful than The Ten. What's more, the parts of her that have always been an anomaly could in fact be part of a much larger plan. And the parts of her that she has always guarded could be the answer she's been looking for all along. 

 Thalli must sort out what to believe and who she can trust, before her time runs out . . .

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity for providing me with a review copy.

Enter Today - 7/12 - 7/31!
Anomaly Krista McGee

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Camping on the River

Our camping season is off to a late start this year due to all the traveling we did in the spring, but we were finally able to get away for two nights this past weekend. We stayed at a lovely Forest Service campground on the Moyie River up near Bonners Ferry.
 Our campsite was right on the river. It was relaxing to just sit and listen to the water. We enjoyed cooking over the fire, playing games at the picnic table, and good conversation with friends. One afternoon we drove further up the mountain to pick huckleberries.
 Sometimes we just need these times of refreshing. Don't you agree?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Today's Gifts

Adding to the 1000 Gifts list I started yesterday. I will keep the ongoing, numbered list on a separate page which can be accessed with the "Joy Dare" tab at the top of my blog. I probably won't post it here every day, so if you're interested in following along you can check there.
  • A Gift in Weakness: Contact lenses.
  • A Second Gift in Weakness: A prescription for migraine medication.
  • A Third Gift in Weakness: A calculator.
  • A Gift Outside: Lilacs in May.
  • A Gift Inside: My antique bedroom set that once belonged to my grandparents.
  • A Gift on a Plate: Oatmeal cookies.
  • A Grace Overheard: Kudos to Laura from her supervisor. "Thank you for rockin' it on the 4th! Great job!"
  • A Second Grace Overheard: From Becky. "What can I help with today?"
  • A Third Grace Overheard:  From a customer. "Thanks for all the good service!"
  • A Gift Old: My mother's bridal veil which I wore on my own wedding day.
  • A Gift New: The hanging basket my family gave me for Mother's Day.
  • A Gift Blue: The Liberty Blue dishes Dad brought home from the grocery store where he worked when I was about 12 "for my hope chest." I still have a few pieces.
  • Something I'm Reading: 1000 Gifts.
  • Something I'm Making: A crocheted hoodie sweater.
  • Something I'm Seeing: Mountains in the distance.
  • One Thing in My Bag: My Kindle.
  • One Thing in My Fridge: A 5-pound block of Tillamook cheddar, Lyle's favorite.
  • One Thing in My Heart: Love for my family.
  • A Grace from Someone I Love: Lyle saying "I love you" as we drift off to sleep.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Joy Dare

Not too long ago I noticed that my friend Denise was sharing a list of blessings on Facebook as part of The Joy Dare. I thought that sounded kinda neat, and I wanted to look into it. About the same time I got an email asking if I would be interested in reviewing One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I had been hearing a lot about the book, and I thought it might be connected with The Joy Dare, so I agreed. My book came a few days ago, and I've started it... but I'm only in Chapter 3, so no review yet. However, I decided to go ahead and start The Joy Dare.

The idea is to make a list of "1000 Gifts" in 2013... a gratitude list. To make it easier, Ann provides a list of prompts to look for 3 gifts each day. Obviously, I'm very late in starting for 2013, but I decided I'd still like to try to do it. So I'm going to start with today's 3 prompts, and then go back to January's list and use the prompts there as well. I don't expect to post every day, so my lists will be longer on some days than others. And I don't know that I'll use all the prompts. I expect I'll just ad lib some of the time. But that's okay, don't you think? I'm looking forward to counting my blessings!

1. A Gift of Rhythm: The rhythmic clicking of the printing press that provides Lyle with work.
2. A Gift of Rhyme: Reading aloud The Llama Who Had No Pajama three times in one evening to the delight of my sweet little nieces last month.
3. A Gift of Reason: "He's the only Reason I live, but oh, what a Reason!"
4. A Gift Heard: Lyle's voice.
5. A Second Gift Heard: The laughter of my children.
6. A Third Gift Heard: Joe's guitar at Bible Study.

More to come...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

My "About Me" Page

Lately I've been working on updating certain sections of my blog. Last week I spruced up my blog header. Today, I worked on my About Me page. Most of you probably know as much about me as you care to... especially if you've been reading my blog for awhile. But for newcomers who might be interested, I thought I'd add a short bio. Obviously, you could click on the About Me tab at the top of the page, but I'll make it easy for you and copy-and-paste it here for you. (And I'm sure my Fan Club-- a.k.a. my husband, kids, and parents-- will be the most interested, even though there's nothing new here for them to learn!) Enjoy!


Hi! I'm Karla, and I'm so happy you've wandered onto my blog where I'm likely to ramble about anything that catches my interest. I'm an avid reader, life-long learner, and most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ. Over the years my plans have not always turned out the way I expected them to, but I've found life to be a joyful adventure.

I have been married to my college sweetheart, Lyle, since 1985. He is my best friend and favorite driver. We love to go on road trips whenever we can. We both think we'd love to just live on the road, but so far that hasn't worked out. Instead, we make our home in the panhandle of Idaho, where gorgeous scenery and miles of back roads are within a half days' drive in any direction.
We've been blessed with two beautiful daughters, Laura and Becky, who bring much joy into our lives every day. We are currently in the Golden Years of Parenting, when our children are pretty much all grown up, but still living at home. I have been privileged to homeschool the girls from the very beginning. Laura graduated in 2011, and Becky will graduate in 2014. Then it will be on to a new season of life for me.
If you had asked me 20 years ago what I thought I would be interested in doing once the kids were grown, it's likely I would have said, "Go back to school." Instead, I find myself with a completely different goal. I have aspirations of writing a novel. I'm working on a coming-of-age story set in Oklahoma during the Great Depression, inspired by my Grandmother's letters and diary. For 18 years I published a monthly newsletter for my extended family, as well as two family cookbooks. I have always enjoyed researching my family history and collecting our stories.
I am the oldest of five preacher's kids. Our family moved around quite a bit, as Dad pastored several different churches during our growing up years. I've been privileged to live in 11 different states, and I've been in 39 of the 50. I always thought it was fun to move. Maybe that's why I think it would be cool to be full-time RVers. So many places yet to visit.
For the present, I travel every chance I get... and read voraciously... and write as much as I can. I've been blogging since early 2002, sometimes more than others. I don't know that I have a specific goal for my blogging, like "they" say you should... but I've found it a very satisfying way to record my thoughts, and share my experiences with others.

I'm honored that you are interested in what I've shared. I hope you'll stop by again frequently!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Blog Header Makeover

I've been thinking for awhile that my blog needed a face-lift. I've had the same theme and blog header since 2008, which is actually quite awhile when it comes to internet trends. After looking through lots of different blog templates, and visiting many other blogs just for ideas, I decided I still like the basic sage green and forest roads theme I had, so no point in making major changes. 

I thought I would at least re-design my blog header, though. Where to start? Some of the cartoony or artsy water-color headers out there are fabulous, but that style is outside my design capability. Besides, it doesn't really fit with my theme. After thinking about it for awhile, I made a list of design elements I wanted to incorporate and then scoured the public-domain graphics sites looking for images I could use. I downloaded several free fonts to play around with, and then just re-worked my existing blog header.

Here's what it looked like before... 
...and you can see what it looks like now, above. You probably wouldn't have even noticed, if I hadn't pointed it out to you, right? Still, I'm happy with how it freshens up my blog for now.

I'm especially fond of the library card-catalog card I incorporated (using a "card" I generated at I know it's impossible to actually read in the header, but here is the original image-- just for fun!
I'd love to know what you think!

Small Town Girl - review

Small Town Girl by Ann H. Gabhart is a gripping love story set in, as you might assume from the title, a small American town during the early days of World War II. While it probably would be considered a romance novel, the story had a little more depth to it than your typical romance. I loved the characters and found the plot to be engaging and believable. Here's the publisher's synopsis:
In the autumn of 1941, rumors of war whisper through Rosey Corner. The town waits in anticipation as if holding its breath. But for Kate Merritt, it seems life is letting out a prolonged sigh. As Kate watches her sister marry the man Kate has loved since she was fifteen, her heart is silently breaking. And even the attentions of handsome best man Jay Tanner can’t draw her interest.
Then suddenly, Pearl Harbor changes everything. Kate’s friends are rushing to get married before the boys go off to war. The newspapers talk of women making airplanes and bombs. Everyone in town begins rolling bandages, planting victory gardens and collecting scrap metal. Kate finds herself drawn to Jay in surprising ways, and when he enlists she can hardly breathe worrying about him getting killed. Could she truly be in love with him? And if she is, will she ever see him again?
Thank you to Revell for providing me with a review copy.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Drive

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.
{Verse 2 of My Country 'Tis of Thee by Samuel Francis Smith}