If You Would…

If you would follow me around the house you might see

  • Me sleeping on the couch. I still have some of those really tired days. Today was one of them.
  • Gingerbread men being pulled out of the oven. Mmmm, did they ever smell good!
  • Apples and mini pumpkins and candles and Indian corn and all that fun autumn-y décor. It’s still fall, folks! (Though I must admit, I am getting excited about decorating for Christmas)
  • Steamed up windows. It’s c-o-o-l-d out there.

If you would follow me on Pinterest you would see lots of…

  • Coffee bar ideas. That’s right. We’re remodeling our basement this winter and is it ever fun to dream and plan!
  • Pumpkiny and fall foods
  • Baby/nursery ideas

If you would peek at my recent reading stack you would see…

  • Eight Twenty Eight [Ian & Larissa Murphy] Giveaway coming soon!
  • Flory, a Miraculous Story of Survival [Flory A. Van Beek] The story of a Dutch Holocaust survivor.
  • The Wonder Within You [Carey Wickersham] Review coming soon on this week-by-week pregnancy related book.
  • I Will Build My Church [Val Yoder] I’m enjoying studying this book with a small group.
  • Let Me Die in Ireland [David Bercot] Fascinating look at the true story of the missionary Patrick. Inspiring!

If you would eat with me for a week…

  • You would be eating all the time. I get tired of eating so often!
  • These Belizean Garnachios are pretty high on my so-good-and-I-could-eat-them-every-day list right now.
  • Summer sausage or cheese is a quick I-gotta-have-food-now snack.
  • More burger recipes coming right up, thanks to the newly butchered young buck who is now filling my freezer with lots of burger. We were getting low so I was hording my last few packs of burger (til now) and making more chicken.
  • Homemade yogurt & granola. Mmmm!
  • Skinny chocolate. I made a bunch for my sister-in-law’s bridal shower, and sadly there was none left. I mean, I’m glad people liked it and all. ;) Chocolate in general is just delish. Does this mean we’re having a girl? :)
  • Soup. Any kind of soup. I could eat soup every day and not get tired of it! Something about that chilly weather outside… Current favorite kinds are White Chili, Autumn Squash Soup, and Cheeseburger.

What are you eating, reading, following on Pinterest, or doing in your house these days?IMG_5359

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Crockpot Apple Butter | Recipe

If you’re like me, I used to think of apple butter as this hard-to-make thing. I thought that you had to make in a huge pot over a fire, stirring with a big wooden spoon. :) Well, you certainly can do it that way. But you don’t have to! All you need is a crockpot and you can make apple butter too!

I did round 2 of applesauce canning this past Tuesday, and decided to make a batch of apple butter with some of the extra sauce. The next morning it smelled ah-mazing!! I found the recipe in a Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook.

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Dolores’ Apple Butter

3 quarts unsweetened applesauce

3 c. sugar (or sweeten to taste)

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in large slow cooker. Cover. Cook on low overnight, or approximately 16-20 hours. [I started it around 5 pm and cooked all night. When I got up in the morning, I took the lid off to help it thicken up. Stir & cook until it's to your liking, as far as thickening.] To can, process in a hot water bath canner for 5 minutes.

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Every fall I get in this baking fallish things mood. This week the results of that were a double batch of dinner rolls and of course, this apple butter. It’s quite fun to have on hand as hostess gifts, neighborly gifts, and I’m-glad-you’re-my-friend fall gifts. :D

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Monday chatter

It’s a sunshiney, windy crisp fall day. I’m attempting to up my protein in-take of the day {aka apples & peanut butter} in between cleaning, rescuing my poor mums from blowing off the porch, blogging, and supervising unbalanced washers that make awful shaking sounds. Dear hubby completely cleaned our water cistern out on Friday, so we have super clean, sparkling water.

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Around the neighborhood…

…Just as we settled into comfy positions last night in bed, there was a loud THUD, SQUEEAAAAAAAAALING of tires that went on and on. Then another THUD. Nothing like loud screeches to jolt you straight out of bed. Went running out to the living room and peered out the windows. Nothing. Everything looked calm and normal. No sirens ever went. We puzzled for awhile about what in the world had happened. The morning light revealed our across-the-road neighbors’ demolished mailbox. Sheesh, stay awake while driving, people. This is the second smashed mailbox in about 6 months time, and there is not much reason to hit a mailbox when the speed limit is 40 mph. [The last incident involved a truck losing control and careening through our back yard. Oy! And we live in the country?!]

…Our other neighbor lady like to make cake. We’ve been the recent lucky recipients of a pineapple upside down cake, and two slices of apple cake. I give them fresh applesauce and we are all happy. :)

Random chatter…

…Aren’t these just the most darling little flip flops ever? I just couldn’t leave them at the garage sale.

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…Last night I dreamed that I was lost in London! I woke up ravenously hungry at 4 am and still in Pennsylvania…

…Fun week coming right up. :)

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Where I’ve Been

And where exactly have I been for the last two months?

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Growing this little life. :D Yup, it’s true!

So far this has involved a lot of time on the couch and mucho food. Sometimes I feel like all I do is eat! 16 weeks down, 24 to go. :D We are very excited and feel so extremely blessed. (And this does not necessarily mean we’re having a girl — they were simply the only pair of baby shoes I had) ;)

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Canning when I can. (No pun intended, ha!) The pantry is filling up, and I’m almost out of pint jars! The latest projects were hot banana pepper rings + hot pepper jelly + applesauce.

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Good times with friends. In this particular instance, we were jeeping with Duane & Crissy up in northern PA.

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Complete with delicious mountain pies, of course. :D

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Went to hear the boy’s choir Libera in this huge cathedral in Washington D.C. AMAZINGNESS.

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And just a week & a half ago… a quick vacation to Colorado. We visited friends, did some sight seeing, took a very bumpy ride up a gravel mountain road, and saw some gorgeous aspen trees & wildlife. More pictures from that… sometime.

Lest it looks like we just traveled around and did fun things all summer… well, pictures can be deceiving. We stayed at home and worked, mostly. April-September were spent in PA, other than the evening D.C. concert. Of course there were some fun weekend things thrown in the mix!

I hope to be showing my face around here a little more. Have a super Wednesday!

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Interestingly Eventful

It’s been an interestingly eventful summer. Between close up encounters with bedbugs (NOT in our house, thankfully) and all that dealing with that entails, 4:30 am discoveries of a flood in our kitchen/basement, and a few other stressful situations, it hasn’t been dull.

It’s not all been a negative interesting… there have also been dates at Tomato Pie Cafe, lots of good talks over coffee, many hours spent in the garden, hosting fun friends for the weekend, homemade ice cream, dear friends starting new relationships, and fun times at the cabin. Annnnnd. I am ridiculously excited about my first ever visit to Washington DC to hear Libera next week.

Life is such a bittersweet mix of events and emotions.

It wouldn’t be life if it weren’t.

I’m thankful for the mix. The negative reminds me that we’re not home yet, and that sin and things going wrong are just an indication that we are living in a fallen world. The good happy things remind me that there is a purpose for us to be on earth and life IS worth living.

 Happy Wednesday!

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Pizza Nachos | Recipe Link

Go here and make this yummy creation.

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Yup, right now. You can’t lose with Pizza Nachos. Especially when Garlic Cream Sauce is involved.

You’re welcome. :D

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True Freedom

Happy Independence Day!

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I’ve been thinking about freedom lately, in the spiritual sense of knowing truth and being free in it. Jesus said it best,And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. [John 8:32]

I am grateful to live in the free country of America — how much more grateful should I be for the gift of freedom that Jesus offers us? Instead of living in the land of bondage and lies, He has made a way for us to live in the land of true freedom. Only through His shed blood and our acceptance of His gift, is this possible. He also sends His Spirit to guide us into all truth.

Have a fun day of fireworks, family, cookouts, fun, and celebrating freedom, both in this country and the far-away country that we are pilgriming towards!

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These Days

These days I usually get up early, as in 6 am or earlier. I’m discovering that the sun comes up way earlier in Pennsylvania than it does in Ohio, at least in the summer anyway. It’s hard to sleep through blazing sunlight coming  through your window — plus, garden work & weeding is much more bearable in the cool morning hours. (However, I *gasp* slept ’til 9 am today. One has to sleep off stress and late nights sometime, right?)

These days I faithfully water my wee little strawberry plants. The merciless 91+ degree sun dries them out so fast! I am determined they will survive. ;)

These days I thank God for friends. Friends that text verses, that call to see how we are, that care, and that sit out in their backyard with us and chat all evening long. :D They truly are God’s hands and feet.

These days I catch tractor rides with my favorite farmer. :D

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…and tramp through soybean fields.

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These days I browse Pinterest and find yummy looking recipes like this and this to try. Usually within an hour of lunchtime.

These days I thank God for His mercy and grace and peace. He is the Wonderful Healer and Comforter.

These days are perfect for cutting and arranging floral arrangements.

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These days I do piles and piles of laundry. If you get just a little behind… it’s hard to dig your way back out.

These days we have pea picking parties. And there are coffee breaks. And breakfast. And pea shelling parties on the porch. :D

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These days I remember those far away FREEZING cold winter days and how I longed for hot summer days. Well, they’re here now! (And I’m thankful for air conditioning – lol!)

These days I have the travel itch. All in time, my husband tells me.

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And someday I will look back on these days and smile and remember how good God was (and is!) to us.

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Calla Lilies & Hope

Hope is a reoccurring theme, it seems.

A friend sent this card last week, and as I was out snapping pictures a couple days ago…

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…the calla lilies caught my eye. They just started blooming in the past week, and I hadn’t photographed them yet. {Not many flowers go unphotographed around here — it’s still somewhat of a novelty that I am the one growing these flowers ;)}

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See — these callas weren’t supposed to be alive. We neglected to dig the bulbs last fall, and then winter set in. {Need I remind anyone how COLLLLLLLD and bitter it was?!?!} This spring, they didn’t come up. Surely they froze, we thought. Why, oh why, did we forget to dig them? we thought.

Well what do you know. They came up!!! Quite belatedly, but never mind that. They came up!!!

And it reminds me of hope.

From the frozen, snow-covered ground, a dormant bulb slowly arose and dared to poke its green shoots through the ground. And isn’t that how it is with us? If we dare to hang on, amidst the barren, frigid winter — spring will come. And with it, tiny green shoots of hope, eventually blossoming into a beautiful lily. God is faithful.

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

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Joy in the Ordinary

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Sometimes when life is heavy and hard, it seems like there isn’t much joy to be found. There might not be huge joyful events happening, but there are little things to rejoice in. :D Everywhere!

We found this little frog while picnicking on Sunday. Turns out there were dozens of these little guys hopping around. [And apparently when frogs are scared, they wet themselves. Teehee!]

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These yellow lilies are delighting me over and over. I was pretty sick last year when they bloomed, and didn’t remember what they even looked like. When we redid our flowerbeds, we decided to leave this plant and see what it was. Gorgeousness!! I’m so glad we left it. :D

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Might as well make your chicken pot pie look pretty, right? :D

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One of my hanging baskets… I’ve been so happy with how they’ve been growing and thriving.

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Apples + red checkered cloth + wooden bowl.

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More lilies + my purple butterfly bush.

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Polka dotted cupcakes.

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Stripey straws + mason jars. :D

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My favorite way to stay hydrated [mason jar] + favorite garden salad.

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Adorable succulents from Marlin & Rhoda’s wedding.

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Open your eyes. Joy is all around.

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