Friday, October 31, 2008

A Wonderful Visit

It's hard to imagine but Melissa's visit is nearly over. Sunday morning she will be heading home and oh how much we will miss her !
What a blessing it has been to have her here with us. So much fun hoping in the car each morning with my two girls and Mei-Ling for an adventure of some kind.
This afternoon, Melissa was sitting in the chair next to the wood stove, with the sun shining in the window. I grabbed the camera because the moment so captured her sweet nature.
" daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend."
~Author Unknown~
And how blessed I am to have two !

A Pumpkin Came to Visit !











A little pumpkin came to visit Grammie and Grandpa on her way to trick or treat at her daddys family . What fun I had taking lots of pictures.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

An Update

It's wonderful having Melissa here and we are having so much fun. Today Melanie, Melissa, Mei-Ling and I had a full day. Out for breakfast then on to the hospital where Mei-Ling had her pre-op exam. We "girls" stopped at Starbucks (in the hospital) for a treat after the visit to the Doctors. As this operation grows nearer, we are all feeling a bit more stressed.
Yesterday we found out Mei-Ling has another very bad infection. The culture taken last week, came back, telling of the serious nature of the infection. The strong antibiotic they put her on, is giving her bad stomach upsets but she remains sweet as can be.
Melissa was a big help to me today and gave the goats their shots. I never like giving them and she doesn't mind one bit.
More quilt blocks arrived yesterday and today and I hope tomorrow to take more pictures. We are all in awe of the beautiful blocks with the most loving sentiments attached to them.
Life is good.


Auntie Melissa Arrives With Baby Paints




Melissa arrived with Baby Paints, (non-toxic and washable of course) its the teacher in her...and sat down on the floor with the babies showing them how to have some fun with them. Mei-Ling has painted before, Melanie is really good about facilitating Mei-Ling creativity, but this was Elizabeth's first experience. She painted Melissa's hands, her own mouth and had such fun. What fun it was to watch the little ones paint ! Last night so reminded me of my own parenting times. Emery and I spent lots of hours in creative play with the girls. It was fun to watch Melanie, Casi and Melissa down on the floor, helping the babies explore their creative side and create confidence along with facilitating pre-writing skills.
"Adults look upon a child as something empty that is to be filled through their own efforts, as something inert and helpless for which they must do everything, as something lacking an inner guide and in constant need of inner direction. . . . An adult who acts in this way, even though he may be convinced that he is filled with zeal, love, and a spirit of sacrifice on behalf of his child, unconsciously suppresses the development of the child's own personality."
" Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."
~Maria Montessori~
“What is necessary to keep providing good care to nature has completely fallen into ignorance during the materialism era.”
Rudolf Steiner

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Whatever"




I had to turn my head and hide the laugh. Mei-Ling is really starting to talk a lot and she mimics everything she hears. Melanie asked her if she wanted some milk to drink and Mei-Ling was busy playing with her toys but responded with a rather blase', "whatever". Melanie reminded this sweet baby that a yes or no was the better answer, but Grammie just turned her head and laughed. I know Mei-Ling was not being fresh, just repeating what she had heard some time or another.
Forgot earlier to share some good news from today....Mei-Ling is nearly 30 inches tall and just about 23lbs now. We are so happy to have her go beyond the 20 lb mark ! And there is talk that the surgery they are doing next week may be able to be reversed in a couple years. What a miracle
that would be.
The Doctor also told Melanie that Mei-Ling is very advanced on all her verbal and motor skills which of course we already knew : )

Photos from the Fall Festival at the Japanese Gardens
Mei-Ling with her daddy
Mei-Ling and Melanie
and one tired little Mei-Ling

Amish Baked Apple Pancakes

By request, here is the recipe I use for Baked Apple Pancakes

Amish Baked Apple Pancakes
Ingredients: 1/4 cup (1/2 stick/2 oz./56g) butter

1 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices (I often use some of my canned apple pie filling in place of fresh apples, saves some time and adds a bit more flavor)
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Instructions:

preheat oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C.
Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over moderate heat, put 2 tablespoons to a mixing bowl. Add apple slices to skillet and cook, turning over once, until beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. While apple is cooking, add milk, flour, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt to butter in mixing bowl and blend until smooth. I use a whisk.
Pour batter over apple and transfer skillet to oven.
Bake in preheated oven until pancake is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes.
Dust with confectioners sugar or add a bit of maple syrup, then serve immediately.
Makes 2-4 servings.
Note: in order to get a nice looking pancake that puffs up on the sides, make certain the skillet is hot when you add the batter !

Melissa Arrives Tomorrow




We can't wait...we are so anxious for Melissa to arrive tomorrow. Snow is due in her area which we pray will not delay her flight in any way.
I drove Melanie and Mei-Ling to the Doctors today and during our drive our whole conversation centered around what we plan on doing while Melissa is here. Its a short visit due to her school schedule which will mean days packed with activities and late nights visiting.
I suspect there won't be a whole lot of blogging while Melissa is here. Some pictures and a few comments and that's about it.
Mei-Ling had 5 shots today. Poor baby ! She was a brave little girl as she always is. Her check up went well though.
The latest Shelter's catalog arrived today, which seemed to demand I sit a spell and thumb through it. There is a lavender glass kerosene lamp that has me trying to turn a want into a need. Justifying somehow that I NEED it for the guest room. At present there is no kerosene lamp in that room so.....
We had frost last night, a full month earlier than normal.
just some fall photos for the day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Our Little Haven




The faintest scent of wood smoke wafted through the trees and made its way to the milk barn. Its the first time I have smelled wood smoke this season and it mixed well with the smell of fall leaves carpeting the ground. My hands were cold and my nose felt that tingle that comes when the temperatures start to drop. So much on my mind...wood to bring in, fill the kindling bucket, pick the green tomatoes and give the goats some extra hay. Honestly, this kind of weather puts a little extra bounce in my step. I love the cold weather.
Our supper tonight was a simple one, a cold weather meal for us. Sweet potato pancakes. I had plans for baked dutch apple pancakes but we both wanted these instead. The wood stove was just the right temperature for making pancakes tonight.
Its a night for lamp light and quiet conversation while the copper flames shine through the glass door of the wood stove and light up the dark wooden floor. I count myself blessed to have such peace. There is no chaos in my life. There is a simple peace that has filled our lives. Maybe some of it comes from good choices along life's way. Maybe its just a mixture of learning the difference of want and need and finding contentment. I know that much of this peace in our lives comes from living by directions laid down long ago on how to live and not only trying to live by them, but WANTING to. There is a big difference.
In moments like tonight, when the world at large seems so distant to our little haven, that I long for more of a plain sort of life.
The Farm House
~Myrtle Vorst Sheppard~
Peace dwells here, and quiet security:
and love, stripped bare of selfishness,
makes homely tasks beneath this roof
true sacraments.
Here breaking of the
family bread, and story hours, and tucking
babes in bed are joyous highlights
of the day.
Within these walls a strong
man's gallant heart is fed. This is a
place apart, serene beneath the loving
hand of God:
a spot that travelers mark....
where yellow lamplight on the snow
becomes a beacon light to those who go,
uplifted, past in the dark.

Mail and Sewing


Just finished the hospital gowns for Mei-Ling, two are flannel and all three are open in the back with ties just like the "real" johnnies for the first couple of post op days. Can you guess why I chose the white flannel with the pastel print ????
Heard the mail truck so went out to greet the mail man and just look what he brought today !
Life is good.

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my Window...the leaves are ever so slightly changing color from the vibrant greens of summer to the fading shades that come just before the fall colors arrive

I am thinking...how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family and so many friends that make a community where help and support are always there for me.

From the learning rooms...a study on right side brain activity

I am thankful for...this simple life we have, where we feel so insulated from the hardships that come from bad choices in life.

From the kitchen...dutch apple pancakes for supper tonight.

I am wearing...a pink sweatshirt and a long flannel skirt and heavy wool knee socks

I am reading...Building Christian Character

I am hoping....for lots of snow this winter

I am creating...little hospital gowns for Mei-Ling to wear next week, made from cute fabrics

I am hearing...chickens clucking outside the window as they peck for bits of spilled bird seed

Around the house...there are toys scattered here and there since Melanie, Casi and Mei-Ling just went home and I said to just leave the toys and I would pick them up later.

One of my favorite things...the way the afternoon sun shines through a piece of ruby red crackle glass in the window

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...Melissa arrives on Wednesday morning, so all kinds of fun planned

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

My Morning

thought I would share what my morning looked like

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Fall Garden

Photo of our garden today. What a blessing it is to be able to have two gardens in one year.

Grammie and Grampa's Farm




Mei-Ling had such fun being outside with Emery and I this morning. She chased after the cat so she could pet her. She visited the goats. She played hide and seek on the bridge and she played in the dirt of the garden. After an hour or so, she was plum tuckered out and was more than happy to be in her crib for a nap, well that is after she walked to the refrigerator, pointed and said, "milk". She downed a big glass of milk in a matter of a couple minutes. Life is good.

The Prayer Quilt for Mei-Ling

So many beautiful blocks have arrived already and I know many more are yet to arrive. The mail man joked with me about getting so many packages lately and when I told him what they were, he said he would pray for Mei-Ling too. I decided to lay out the blocks that have arrived so far and take a picture to share with you. It will be fun to put them all together and heart warming at the same time, knowing so many are praying for this little one that has endured so much, yet, remained so sweet and happy. I know that this quilt will be an amazing witness to the power of prayer and compassion.
I took off the shelf a book I have never done more than glance at by Kimberly Winston titled, "Fabric of Faith: A Guide to the Prayer Quilt Ministry" I actually forgot I had it until this very morning. Right off, I knew that it was there waiting to be read at the perfect moment and that moment was today.
Here is what I read...."There are so many opportunities to give. We can write a check. We can share our time. We can just hold a hand and tell someone we're there when the darkest of nights descends.
So why make a prayer quilt ? Why take the time to buy some fabric, cut it into intricate little pieces, sew them together, and sandwich it with batting ? Why spend all that energy to send something out into the world that won't feed anyone, clothe anyone, or change anyone's material circumstances ?
Because prayer quilts are more than blankets. They are the visible, tangible physical evidence of faith- faith in God, faith in love, and faith in prayer. But perhaps most importantly, they're also a symbol of our faith in one another."

My dear friends, you have given so much by making quilt blocks for Mei-Lings prayer quilt !
Thank you, thank you, thank you !

"He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not"


Our tiny farm girl came for a visit this morning, complete with her over-alls on. In true girl fashion, a sunflower became a game of "he loves me, he loves me not". I am sure Mei-Ling discovered that everyone loves her !

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Top is done !

The top is done on the flannel Christmas quilt. Now just need to put some sashing along the sides and get the backing on, then quilt it. Will machine quilt it. I do NOT like to hand quilt flannel : )

Christmas is coming, o.k. I am rushing it a bit




Yes, its not even November and yes, I have even written about how we rush the seasons, but I am a huge fan of Christmas and start thinking about the next Christmas on December 26th.
My shopping is all done. I have bags of presents lined up under my quilting frame. This week I shopped for some of the things my family loves during the holidays and for our annual Christmas party. Where will enjoy Glogg, JulMust (which we have already enjoyed a couple bottles of) and of course for the kiddos there will be a big bowl of Kinderpunsch while some of the adults will enjoy warm Glühwein. Lots of strudel, gingerbread men, Pfeffernüße, Stollen and more. There will be lots of Scandinavian treats too so that all the tomte around my house will be happy.
Speaking of Tomte, I found some cute tomte at World Market made of felted wool. They also had great wool christmas stockings that I fell in love with and they were made in Thailand which is kinda special to our family since Casi is Thai.
And since I was in the Christmas mood today, I started on a bold Christmas flannel quilt, with a nice bold pattern that will brighten up the winter months.
Almost feel like playing some Christmas music, but that really would be rushing it, wouldn't it !
Life is good.

Saturday Morning







It's quiet here this morning, the sun is still low in the eastern sky, just recently makings its debut of the day. It's golden this morning, like the crust of freshly baked bread. The air is crisp and clear as it should be in autumn. Walking outside on my way to the goat barn, I couldn't help but have a conversation with God about the beauty of it all. The beauty of nature is His ever present gift to us. It speaks of His love for us, but if we spend all our time inside or rushing to the car to get here or there, we miss so much of this gift. Sure we will see the big things, but not the tiny miracles of the things we have to look for, take time for, bend down to see kinds of things.
Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
We can understand God, even His invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, from the things He made ! So why would we not want to take the time to see the wonder of His creation. We often say we can know about an artist by studying his/her paintings....and how much more we can understand the brilliance of God by studying His works. By looking at how things all work together, and how beautiful the colors are, the entire splendor of nature.
I think as believers, folks ought to spend a bit of time each day outside, looking at what God not only created, but He decorated, then meditate and then bow ones head in profound gratitude for His unending love for mankind. Creation is more than just a working of things, it is an expression of what God thinks and feels. It seems nearly sinful to me to not want to experience this aspect of God's being. It is His gift to us, we should enjoy it.
I think that is why I love hanging up clothes and have opted to leave myself no other option, but to be outside doing this chore. Watching and hearing the birds, seeing the clouds float by or drinking in the color of the sky with my eyes. Seeing the wind bend the branches or feel the stillness of a summer day. I sometimes talk about how we don't have a clothes dryer for "Green" reasons, which is true but the bigger reason is because I want something to pull me outside, something to MAKE me look and see and not miss an opportunity to be outside, yes even in winter, for Gods masterpieces can be exceptionally beautiful in winter.
I have often thought that in the years to come, experts will discover that the kinds of food we eat are less important to our health than is exercise and fresh air. I think that some of the foods we eat become harmful because we don't do much physical labor, we stay inside like den dwelling creatures, acting more like we are hibernating than living fully.
Last week I was thinking it had been ages since I had knelt by my chair praying like I used to, then I remembered something, with the children all grown and gone, I have more time for moment to moment conversation with God. I talk to Him as I walk to the barn, as I do the dishes, as I sit knitting.

Emery's mother passed away yesterday. Her life one of hardships. When I read the Mennonite story book published by Rod and Staff, titled, "The Way She Chose" , I thought about my mother in law. Her Choices made early on, made her life hard and the life of her children difficult. Only now there is rest for her.