Wednesday, June 26

A Bird Pooped On My Day

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil."  Ephesians 6:11 (to read the entire passage, click here: Ephesians 6:10-18)

There are good days, and there are rough days.  Yesterday, I had a rough day.

It started out with me finding two earwigs in the bathroom.  Over the past three days, I've been the one to find all of the earwigs that are apparently crawling around in our house: two in my craft room on Sunday, one on the bathroom counter on Monday, and two more in the bathroom yesterday.  Why I'm the one finding these disgusting little creatures, I don't know.  They are in my top three insects that I loathe, the first and second being spiders and house centipedes (the latter I never knew existed until we moved to our current location--*shudder*--if you don't know what they look like, feel free to look them up).  My husband has had streaks of finding spiders in the past, and I guess this is my streak right now.  I've always hated them--we had a LOT of them when I was growing up in mid-Michigan, and they freaked me out back then.  They tend to live in wet areas, and when they can't find water outside, they migrate to wherever water might be, and a bathroom is certainly the wettest place in the house.  Sigh.

Then, I received an e-mail from the person who purchased a notepad in my Etsy shop that morning saying that she changed her mind and wanted to cancel the order.  The first order I've had all month.  The ONLY order I've had all month.  I grudgingly granted her request, but not without some irritation.

I  had a doctor's appointment in the afternoon.  Before I left work, a trustee came in to do water samples in the bathrooms.  He told me that I could still use the toilet, and to make sure that I left the water running in the sink.  Since my doctor's office is about 40 minutes away from work, I wanted to use the facilities before I left.  I flushed the toilet and watched the water swirl, but not go down.  Bummer.  I waited a few minutes and tried again.  Got the same result.  Super-bummer.  I had to tell the trustee, with embarrassment, that the toilet hadn't flushed and to not look in the toilet.
The doctor's appointment was inconclusive.  The results of the various tests revealed that there was a lot of inflammation in my stomach, excess bile production, and an irregular pattern in the way my intestine was working where it was connected to my stomach, but they don't know why.  There also seemed to be some disconnect between the notes of the doctor who performed the tests and the nurse practitioner who was reading the results, which left me feeling annoyed and frustrated.  I'm still to remain on my current medications for the next month or so, and then stop and see how I feel.  I'm also going to have a breath test for both fructose and lactose intolerance.  I'm going to transfer to the local gastroenterologist as soon as I can get in.

When I finally got home, my husband pointed out to me more bird poop on the car.  Now, let me explain: no matter where I park at work, or at the store, or anywhere, I always get pooped on.   It's like I have a target on the top of my car that only birds can see.  And I'm not talking about little spots, I'm talking about the huge, seagull-sized bombs that eat away at the paint job on the vehicle, and I'm also talking about multiple bombing sites on the car.  Why my car gets hit like this, I just don't know.  But it just seemed par for the course yesterday, and when my husband said I had bird poop on the car, I felt it a fitting way to describe my day: a bird pooped on my day.
From Reddit: Gary Larson cartoon--"The Far Side"
All I had to say was, you won this one, Today.  We'll discuss this tomorrow.

Friday, June 21

A Few of My Favorite Summer Things

"Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you."--1 Samuel 12:24

It's been a busy week.  I've started longer hours at work because we are short-staffed for the summer, and it's been an admittedly hard adjustment for me.  Plus, we had some unexpected plans come up last weekend, which put me behind in housework and all of the other things that I normally take care of on the weekend, so I've been trying to catch up in the evenings during the week.  Today I feel exhausted, and struggled to get through my morning at work.  However, I enjoyed the drive in to work--I love the warm, muggy, hazy mornings that only occur in the summer, and this morning was perfect for that.  That inspired a list of my favorite things for the summer season.  What do you love about summer?

I love the smell in the air!  I love how fresh nature smells in the summer.  This is not as noticeable if you live in town, but the fragrance is intoxicating out in the country.  The smell of roses in bloom, freshly-cut grass, dew in the air...the smell of life and growth that is only experienced in warm months.

I love the heat!  I know that doesn't make me the most popular person in the world, but I enjoy it, because it makes me think of how much fun I had during the summer when I was young.  I don't necessarily want to be a kid again, but summer vacation was what I always looked forward to, because all I did was play outside.  I rode my bike around the neighborhood, roller skated (remember those?), played games with the neighbor kids, swam in the pools, and never wanted to bathe.  Maybe that's too much information, but I never wanted to come in at night and take a bath and have to go to bed.  It cut into my fun time too much.

I love to travel in the summer!  Seems like I do a lot of traveling in the summer, and always have.  You don't have to worry about snow and ice storms making the roads bad, and besides, there are just many more events to travel to in the summer, like festivals, beaches, cookouts, and tourist attractions.  I also just love sitting in a car with the sun shining in and the little air conditioning vents pointed right at me.  This usually lasts for about five minutes, and then I freeze, but I like it.  Just a great time of year to hit the road.

I love garage sales!  These only happen in the warm months here, maybe only six months of the year, sometimes less.  I don't know what it is about shopping for stuff in someone else's garage that is just so fun, but it is--you really never know what you might find!

I love gardening!  Even though I call it my "practice garden", I still enjoy tending the garden beds.  It's great for learning what works and what doesn't; for instance, this year, broccoli didn't work.  It bolted before we could get anything harvestable.  No big deal, I'll try again when I have a large garden--I also think that I didn't have enough room for them to grow.  I'm getting potatoes already, so I'm pretty excited about harvesting those soon.  I seem to do well with lettuce, potatoes, tomatoes, and bush beans.  I'd love to grow carrots, strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb, and other things, but now's not the right time.  I look forward to having my dream garden someday!

Enjoy the hot summer weekend, everyone!  And thank you to everyone who checked out my turtle cookie recipe in the Little House Living recipe blog hop last week--it was the most-clicked-on link in the linkup!  I hope you enjoy the cookies as much as we do!

Monday, June 17

What's Important?

Over the past month or so, that question has been running through my mind a lot more than usual.  It's a result of several things going on in my life right now: work changes, health issues, a general realization of time not standing still.  My life goals seem to have changed in the last ten years, since I said good-bye to my college life and self and married my husband.  I think that as a result of where our marriage has led us, having lived in three states now, I would say that my desires in life have changed, or perhaps matured.  My old hopes for my life included a job in the design/architecture field, living in a large city (I had Chicago or Indianapolis in mind), having a big group of friends, having some pets, and someday getting married--things that seem unfulfilling to me now (except marriage, of course).  Since meeting my husband and getting married, I've been surprised at what has become important to me.  I think that my Christian faith has helped shape and mold my priorities.  I know a lot of women quote Proverbs 31 (10-31) as the ideal way to live as a Christian woman, and certainly I agree with that.  But there are other passages that women are supposed to follow as well, and I keep thinking about them too (Genesis 2:18, Ephesians 5:22-24, Titus 2:5, 1 Peter 3:1-4, etc).  I decided to really think about where my heart seems to be pulling me, and I thought I'd share them.  So, here are my new(ish) life goals:

1) I'd love to be a housewife--I've worked since I was 15 (wow, over half of my life!  And that doesn't include babysitting before entering the "real world") and I've had enough jobs to know that office life does not suit me.  At all.  I can't seem to balance my need to take care of my husband and home with the responsibilities of my job.  Plus, I find it difficult to live out the Biblical life that God intended for me as a wife.

2) A comfortable home out in the country, with lots of land--This one has developed in the past five years or so.  There have been far more bad neighbors than good in our past experiences, so the more space between us and the crazy people, the better.  Really, though, we would love to have enough land to live off of, if my hubby wants to hunt and I want to start growing fruits and veggies for us.  I wouldn't mind having a few animals, either--maybe chickens, a goat or two, a pig and cow for meat, and of course, a horse.  No farm should be without a horse.

3) A garden that would feed us throughout the year--This goes back to #2.  It's my way of providing for us, if I can grow and preserve food for us to eat all year long.  Good thing there's only two of us!

4) A return to simplicity--I hate modern technology, really.  I can honestly say that I can live without television (read a book!) and cell phones (write a letter!), but I am addicted to being able to access the internet.  I think it would be healthy for me to detox from cyberspace, but I wouldn't be able to do it unless I had to.  Hence, the need to return to simplicity.  Maybe one day, I'll just stop cold-turkey, and see how long that lasts and how well I do.  Maybe.

5) I want a dog--I had a great dog when I was growing up.  He was technically the family's dog, but we hung out together most of the time--going for walks, teaching him tricks, or just watching TV together.  It relaxed me to sit and pet him, and he liked being petted, so everyone came out a winner.  I still think about him fondly and miss him from time to time.  I think it would be great to have another pet companion to take for walks and have fun with.  It would also be nice to have a dog for the times when my husband has to travel for work, to take away from the loneliness of being at home alone.  Plus, dogs are great at chasing squirrels and other small animals (and some bigger ones, too!) away from your garden .

Why is the copyright on this picture so HUGE??  It's the same size as the bunny!

6) To live out my days with my husband and best friend--I want this more than everything else on the list.  I never thought I'd have such an amazing relationship with another person, let alone a relationship that keeps growing and deepening as time goes on.  It's such a different type of relationship than any other that I have in my life.  I want to live a peaceful, quiet life with him, sitting on our front porch watching the sunrises and sunsets (oh, who am I kidding--neither of us has ever been a morning person), with no one in the world caring at all about us.  I want us to be free to live our lives the way we want to, and are intended to live.  I want to take walks together through our garden.  I want to curl up under an old quilt with him in front of a roaring fire on a cold, snowy night.  I want to wake up every morning for the next sixty years looking at the same handsome face that I married almost ten years ago.  I want to never grow tired of hearing his stories or learning from him.  I want nothing to come between us for the rest of our days, and I want God to always be at the head of our marriage.

Is all of this too much to ask from life?  I like to think not. 

Friday, June 14

Addicted to Garage Sales

I love garage sales.  I make no apology for it.  There is something exciting about finding things that I need for an incredibly low price, even if it is used.  I've found some great things over the past few summers; among them were a large baking pan that works great for a granola recipe I picked up from a bed and breakfast last year, and a pair of pint-sized glass milk jugs that I keep on the counter for flowers.  Many times, going to garage sales results in no finds, but once in a while, I find real gems.  This past weekend was one of those weekends!

I think half of the fun is just spending time with my husband as we drive all over the town, and sometimes into the country.  I enjoy getting up on a Saturday and knowing that my hubby and I will be spending the morning together shopping...what girl wouldn't like that?  Shopping with her best friend!  Usually it leads to finding other fun things to do around town. 

Our garage sale quest led me to find three things that I had been looking for, after several weekends of driving home empty-handed: a cold frame for spring planting, a potato pitchfork, and three glass power pole insulators for a craft idea.  Score!  Grand total for everything? $21.  The cold frame was new in the box, never used, for $12.  The pitchfork, very much used, was $6.  The insulators were $3.  Finding what you were looking for at discount prices and spending time with the hubs: priceless.  :)

Happy hunting during this summer garage sale season!

Sunday, June 9

Gooey Delicious Turtle Cookies

I did some baking over the weekend.  It always seems like cool weather triggers the baking lobe in my brain, and since it was considerably cooler on Friday than it has been in a while, I felt like being in the kitchen.  I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and then went to work on creating a recipe for turtle cookies--one of my husband's favorites.  He absolutely loved this recipe, so I thought I'd share it here.  There is something great about knowing that your husband likes your cooking and baking.  Am I right??


1 stick butter, room temperature
1 heaping tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C flour
3/4 C lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 C white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (make your own!)
~1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
~1/2 C chopped pecans
~1/2 C chopped caramels, approximately 10 unwrapped pieces (not the baking caramel pieces)

Beat the butter and sugars on high until well mixed.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.  In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda, and gradually add to the wet ingredients, mixing until incorporated.  Add the chocolate chips, pecans, and caramels, and stir until well mixed.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  You (and your hubby) won't regret it!

Tuesday, June 4

Vintage Seed Packet Art

While in Gettysburg, we took the opportunity to do some antique shopping.  We found some really great things, but the prices were much higher than we had expected, so we didn't get much of anything.  However, I did find some really neat old seed packs, and thought that they would look great framed and hanging in the kitchen, just in time for the growing season.  I have no way to date them, because none of the packets have a year on them, but judging from the artwork, most date to the early half of the 20th century.  From now on, I'll keep my eyes peeled anytime we are antique shopping.  Check them out!
These were all the same size, so I framed them as one piece.  Candytuft & Turnip: 1920s.  Parsley: Early 1900s, based on similarities with this packet and the Kohl Rabi packet in the link.
These were all different sized, so they got individual frames.
1910s Nasturtiums Seed Packet

1920s Beet Packet

This was a box, but it's flattened in the frame.  1920s Peas Box.
This seed packet still had seeds in it, but I couldn't frame it without removing the seeds.  I do still have them, though.  1930s or '40s, notice the price is less on the one I have displayed vs. this one.

Sunday, June 2

Ready for Summer

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.--Genesis 2:9

I took a little time on Friday to work out in the back yard and garden.  Here are some pictures for your enjoyment!

I've been acclimating my tomato plants to the outdoors with every opportunity I could find, and they seemed to be doing really well when I would set them outside, so I felt that the time had come to get them into the garden for good.  Sorry that the picture doesn't show them very I used arrows!  If they all make it, I might have to learn how to can cherry tomatoes this year.
I also got my first patch of green beans in the dirt, and pulled up the last of my little radish patch.  I got a decent harvest of radishes this time around--a baggie full, enough to last for several salads.  These pictures don't do justice.

The potato plants are getting really big, with pleasant light purple blooms.
The broccoli plants are starting to grow heads. 
The lettuce looks good, and apparently not just to me--my husband found a small rabbit in our back yard, and he looked like he had his sights set on my lettuce patch, too.  I like rabbits, and I think they are cute, but not when they are turning my tiny garden beds into their personal buffet.  I mean, they have the whole world for food, so why go after my goodies?  That's nature, though. 
I also decided to do something different with one of my planters this year, turning it into a flower pot instead of using it for patio veggies or mosquito plants.  It's quite pretty, with all kinds of blooms--Gerbera daisies, fuschia, petunias, ivy, and other miscellaneous ground cover plants.  And as a bonus, we finally got some rain yesterday, so everything perked up nicely.  It's officially growing season, finally!  I love this time of year, but I think I say that about every season.

How is your garden doing so far?  Had any good harvests yet?