Saturday, June 25

A New Venture!

Hello everyone!

Just a quick note to let you know that I've started a shop on Etsy.  It's called The Sunflower Tree, and you can view my listings here.  I'll be adding more items as time allows, so please check back often!  Right now, I have recipe cards and note cards listed.  I will be exploring the option of customizing items in the future.  If you have any ideas or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post.  Also, in the near future, I will be starting a website to sell my goods.  I'd appreciate your support, and there might even be something in it for you!  Watch Facebook for more details soon.  Thanks, and happy shopping!

Sunday, June 19

Birthday Weekapalooza!

Hubby's Birthday
Definitely homemade!
Well, it's here again--my husband's birthday!  Where has the year gone??  We try to have a week of fun when our birthdays roll around, which is usually a fun time.  So this week has been his Birthday Weekapalooza!  He requested a blueberry pie for his birthday, instead of a cake, so I was busy Friday baking.  I made the pie, and I also tried a new recipe for Strawberry Bread, which turned out very well.  It was a delicious recipe!  (Note: The link for the bread will take you to the recipe in my recipe blog.) I gave him his gift, and surprised him with a trip to the African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, Ohio.  You drive through a large, fenced-in area that holds deer, llama, bison, zebras, and giraffes, and you are allowed to feed them all!  As you enter the gates for your first trip through, you are given a cup of animal pellets, which is included in the admission price.  You are also able to buy carrots and more food, and feed the animals as much as you want--they come right up to the car and know exactly what you are going to do!  It was such fun.  We'd never done anything like that!  Check out the pictures below:
"Hey, you guys have air conditioning in here??"

"C'mon, guys, I just want a carrot..."
Quit using my car as a napkin!

No caption necessary.

After the trip through the safari, we went back to the park for some Naspig races at Pork Chop Downs.  Unfortunately, the battery in my camera died after the safari, and I didn't get any pictures of the pig races, but trust me, it was fun!  There were also animals in the park to see, and we spent a while walking around and just enjoying the beautiful day.  Hubby had a great time, and a great birthday!

Hail Is For Houses
We are finally getting somewhere with the hail damage claim.  On Tuesday, our insurance adjuster was finally able to come and inspect the damage.  We had our contractor there to meet with him as well, and the insurance adjuster agreed with most everything that was suggested.  We had an insurance check in our hands before he left that day!  I can't say that I've ever gotten to deposit a check that big before, but sadly, it will all be gone in time.  Oh well, easy come, easy go!  As of now, we have bundles of shingles and other roofing materials in our front yard, waiting to be installed.  We thought they would come Friday and replace the roof, but no one appeared, so it might be Monday or Tuesday of next week now.  We are still waiting to hear whether the siding can be matched or not.  The contractors we hired use Amish carpenters to do the work, so we know that it will be done well and correctly when it is completed. 

Missing couch
We gave away our couch and recliner chair last week.  Why, you ask?  We gave them to family members who needed some furniture, and we had been wanting to replace the couch for a while.  It worked out that they wanted them, and they were able to come and get them last week.  We did shop for and purchase a new couch, but we are waiting for it to arrive, and it could be several weeks yet before it appears.  In the meantime, we do have one chair and ottoman in our living room, and we pulled out a desk chair and footstool from our other rooms, and we have a somewhat comfortable temporary situation.  While we are waiting for the new couch, we plan to repaint some walls and do some redecorating, so that we will have a fresh new living room once everything is back to normal.  It will be nice to update a little--I tend to get a stagnant feeling when I can't or don't change things around every once in a while.  I'll try to remember to take a few pics and post them on here later!

Thursday, June 9

Dog Days Already?

Wow, I can't believe how quickly the weather seems to have changed.  We went from extremely wet and cool to August heat and a welcome dry spell.  There is a saying in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and I'm sure every other state that goes, " just wait five minutes and the weather will change".  Well, that's certainly been true lately!  I'm not complaining, though; I do like the hot, humid summer weather.  It reminds me of when I was young and loved to play outside during the summer vacation.  We didn't have central air, just a window air conditioner in the upstairs where the bedrooms were located, and that was turned on at night only when it was too uncomfortable to sleep.  What fun it was to spend all day outside playing with the neighborhood kids!  We'd ride bikes, roller skate, play games, swim, or play on the swing set in the back yard, and it never seemed to get old.  I never wanted to come inside for the night, and I couldn't wait to get outside again in the morning.  I was probably dubbed the "smelly kid" because I didn't even want to waste time bathing.  Just let me go out and play!  It's too bad that we tend to lose that playful nature as we mature, and the pressures of being grown-up seem to swallow what adventurousness we might have otherwise had if we were still carefree.  Happens to all of us, I know; but wouldn't it be great to have that back again?  If you had one week out of your life, where money, time, physical fitness, fear of the pain of injury, and all of the other concerns of an adult were just completely forgotten, what would you do with that blissful innocence?  I know what I would do--everything I am too old and out of shape to do now!  I would play on the jungle gym, and swing on the swings, and run through the sprinkler, and eat a tuna sandwich at the picnic table.  Then I would run around, and get a cramp from eating, and not let it bother me; I would go get the biggest, shiniest kite I could find and fly it all afternoon.  After that, I'd come back and have a grilled hamburger, because it's not summer if there is no grilled meat, and then I would jump in the pool that had been warmed all day by the sun and swim around until the mosquitoes were too much to bear and the fireflies were putting on a spectacular light show.  Only then would I resign myself to the confines of my home's four walls, although gladly would I fall exhausted into bed for the night.  Those would be the days!

I hope others have the same type of memories that I do.  It was great to have the freedom to have fun!  There are truly days where fun is a very elusive notion, and if I'm not careful, I'll find it to be a distant memory.  Every day is a gift from God Himself, and should be treated as such!  So why is it so easy to let life weigh down so heavily on our hearts that we lose the freedom our spirits long for?  As long as we look at the blessings that God gives us on a daily basis, we should find our hearts full of joy and gladness.  Blessings of family, love, stability, comfort, rest, relaxation--James 1:17 says perfectly what I'm describing: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  Not every gift is tangible, but every gift--every blessing--can be felt in our hearts.  What blessings are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, June 1

We're Baaaack!


Well, vacation is over now.  Very sad!  I wasn't able to keep up with the last blog post, but really, I did cover the most exciting things that we did.  The Henry Ford Museum was not as good as I remembered, and there was a large section closed off for remodeling and setting up a new exhibit.  There were what seemed like a million kids running amok everywhere.  (Scroll down to see a few pics from the Museum--click on the photos to see a full-sized image.)  We ate at the Weinermobile restaurant in the museum, and it rained the whole time we were in there (which made it a good day for touring a museum).  It rained hard until just north of Toledo, where it cleared up and became sunny and warmer, then the sky turned that dark blackish-blue color off to the west as we stayed just ahead of a very strong line of storms that was heading through the area.  We watched it build the whole way home, saying, "I'm glad we're going to miss that!"  But not long after we arrived home, the storms had built up to include our town, and we were inundated by very large hail, and some hail chunks were the size of tennis balls.  It destroyed the siding on the north side of our house, damaged our roof, broke a skylight in our shed, and took out a few landscape lights.  Thankfully, we had parked both vehicles in the garage, so there was not any damage to them.  After the storm, we ventured out and saw that we were among the fortunate--many homes had broken windows and torn screens, and any vehicle that was parked outside during the storm resembled a golf ball.  Many vehicles had shattered windshields and/or windows.  The storm was so astounding that I grabbed my camera and took video of the hail during the storm, but sadly, I can't get any of them to load onto the blog!  I think the files are too large.  So, I loaded them on YouTube--click here for the first video, then click here for the second video, taken a few minutes later.  The audio doesn't quite do it justice, but it gives you an idea of what it was like.  Neither of us has ever seen hail like that before, and hopefully we will never see it again.  Can you imagine what it was like in Old Testament Egypt during the plagues, when the hail was on fire??
Chair that Lincoln was assassinated in from Ford's Theater.

Wartime Correspondence from George Washington.

Dymaxion House.  Only two were built in the world, and both were used to rebuild this as a walk-through exhibit.  The entire structure is suspended from a central column, like the frame of an umbrella.  Remarkably stable!

Henry Ford believed that one day people would have their own private planes, just like they had their own private vehicles.  The plane was his prototype.

I can't help but wonder if this unbelievably wild weather we've had this spring is indicative of God's wrath.  I wonder if it is a sign of End Times, and I wonder if it is punishment for the way that America has turned her back on God and everything that our forefathers created this country to be--which includes being a nation under God.  We heard an interesting sermon on Sunday based out of the book of Micah, specifically Micah 3:1-12.  I don't think that I've ever read anything out of Micah until now, but wow, it sure seems to apply to today.  It's a lengthy passage, which is why I've chosen not to type it out, but if you want to read it, click on the link above and see the parallels of then and today.  Those of you reading this are probably of the same opinions on morals, principles and politics as I am, or at least similar; we didn't vote in the current administration.  But the majority did vote them in, and the majority is why we might well be considered no longer under God's providence and protection.  We seem to no longer be Israeli allies, and that has never been the case before!  Of course, you and I know the importance of having Israel as an ally.  Sadly, the rest of the world does not understand or care.  For this reason, we must pray without ceasing for God's forgiveness for this country, even though we (collectively as a country) are to blame now.  I think it's fairly certain that we have not seen the last of terrible storms, violent earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and so on--I really think that we are seeing the birth pains spoken about in Matthew 24:4-8: " Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains."  Thankfully, believers in Christ have nothing to fear!