Octoberish

Are you a procrastinator? Or would it sound better to say you are one who prefers to defer or delay action? That doesn’t sound too bad, really. It is good to think things through before jumping into something, correct?

I am unsure if I fit into the above description or not. Sometimes perhaps, but not always, for sure. If it is something that needs to be done, if it has a deadline of sorts, I will get it done on time. If it is something that I roll around in my mind, that would be good to do, in due time I will accomplish this said thing. If it is a project that I dislike, like painting, I’ll put it off until Jesus comes back to rescue me.

So am I a procrastinator? I don’t know. Why am I asking? Because I’ve been thinking about it and wondering.

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October showed off beautifully here and I do love a good October. If I have to endure the next five dreary months, I need a good and beautiful fall to get me through winter.

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October used to be my favorite time of the year, but less so the last few. I choose to find joy even amid the heaviness that it brings.

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Our church went camping, well we call it church camp, but it is technically not camping but very technically a good time anyway.  They had a big Candyland game for the kids and I got to help! It was fun.

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They played a lot of volleyball. Emphasis on “they” because it sure wasn’t me.

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This is an interesting thing I challenge you to do with your church sometime. Everyone was supposed to bring a photo of themselves from their toddler years. No names attached, they were hung here. It was a lot of fun to look through them and play the guessing game. Mine was no fun, everyone knew who I was because they said it looked just like all three of my girls, none of whom look like each other.

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Do you know your neighbors? We happened to be related to or go to church with a large percentage of ours but there are some we see only once a year at the neighborhood bean supper.  Mr. Gary invites everyone to bring a can of beans to dump in his big black pot, any kind will do, and he’ll grill hotdogs. You gather up whatever else you want to share and we have a picnic of beans, hot dogs and good fellowship.
Try it with the people around you.
Or move to our neighborhood.
Either one will work for a good time.

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We went to IN on the coldest weekend in October and roasted hot dogs with the gang.
Grandpa had the grand idea of everyone roasting their own lunch. It sounded like a good idea. There were a few burnt, a few cold, a few dirty, and a few good ones, but everyone had fun.

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Are you a marshmallow fan? Tell me if you are a mom and I’ll tell you if you are a fan of roasted messes. But they love them, so we let them.

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I was excited to read through this cookbook while I was there. I sent it to Mom when it came out and wanted to see it for myself after hearing her good reviews on it.
My advice, go to Amazon and buy one. It is beautiful and everything in it is worth making.

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If you stop in here, chances are you will get just a bit of drywall dust on you from somewhere in the house. We are under construction.

We added a room to the back of the house which will be the new living room and it will spill into the old dining room and the old living room will be the new dining room. Did ya follow all that?
It’s not a just a Saturday night project, it’s an every night project. One of these days, it will all be done… but will it? I always think if you are a homeowner there is always one more thing waiting to be done.

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We took a cake to the church carry in last week, not this one but another kind, and not one person asked if I made it.  hmmm  Wonder why they always think Madison bakes all the things.  – – Because she does.

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Madison and her friend Emily hosted a girls evening on our front porch. It was beautiful. It made me want to be one of the girls, minus sitting on the floor, of course.
I taught the youth girl’s Sunday school class the last year and enjoyed spending time with them very much. They’ve taught me a lot.

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“The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them. How much sorrow can I hold? That’s how much gratitude I can give. If I carry only grief, I’ll bend toward cynicism and despair. If I have only gratitude, I’ll become saccharine and won’t develop much compassion for other people’s suffering. Grief keeps the heart fluid and soft, which helps make compassion possible.”
Francis Weller

Crazy September

September! What a month.
Is this becoming a pattern?
One month of craziness following the next.

One would like to imagine cool tempts and crunchy leaves for the beginning of Fall. Well, there may be leaves crunching, but we are back to the warmth of summer.
I sent my crew outside to play for the afternoon. This one set up a hut for them and they had all the details from drying berries to … Um, I’m not sure what all.

The first weekend in September, I headed to MD, our old stomping grounds to photograph a wedding. It was beautiful driving through the mountains again, almost like coming home.

Miller Camp is history for another year. It was a good one, calm, relaxing, and a lot of conversations around all the games they played. And as always there was food, good, good food. Fresh tuna, steak, hot apple turnovers, grilled chicken and a whole lot more like that.

Tell me, has this ever happened to you? I used the oven for about 2 hours and had just turned it off. I pulled a pan out and bumped the edge of the oven door slightly and WHAM!
I’m telling you the glass didn’t just drop and shatter, it bounced and flew also. The entire kitchen had sprinkles of glass and I’m still finding it three weeks later.

One camping weekend followed another. Look at us all bundled up in sweatshirts. One would think it was cool at that time. And so it was. The kids tried to swim and nearly lost a pound shivering.

More good food… does anyone wonder why I am always on a diet? Like Monday – Friday of every week I diet and then there is the weekend again and all the good foods. My willpower is level 0 so eat I do and deal with it later.

Homework. I tell you, by the time this child graduates from high school I am going to be able to walk the plank, I mean stage, right with her from all this studying we do.

And finally, the cutest little niece ever, Emma Beth, made her debut. She is so adorable and we all spent all weekend fighting for her. I really can’t believe that Kennedy was once that size. Where has my memory gone?

Well, we didn’t hold her quite all weekend because she didn’t attend the cabin sleepover like the rest of the grandcrew did.
12 kids vs 2 adults.
We lived to tell but our eyes were half closed the next day. For the next overnighter being planned, we are taking volunteers. If no one will raise their hand, we will be pulling names out of the hat.

They completely missed the memo that you sleep in on Saturday mornings! I declare that within 5 minutes of the first one opening one eye, everybody in the cabin was wide awake.
Grandma soon arrived with much-needed coffee, bacon for the fire, a hot egg casserole, and donut holes. We really loved her that morning.

Later that day this gang cooked apples and brown sugar and when that was all they started some persimmon stew. That endeavor stalled shortly after finding out how sour their fruit was.

And beautiful little Emma Beth.
Such sweetness that one really cannot believe it when her Mom says she actually cries.

Her proud Daddy! I’m pretty sure she’ll have a pink dirk bike before she can talk!

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Enjoy the rest of September!

 

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Of October’s Days

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October showed off in spectacular colors this year.
It was amazing to drive around and just fill your eyes with God’s finery.

October was also filled to the brim.
Birthdays, outings, parties, photo shoots, editing, school functions, a funeral, family get-togethers, traveling, and stress. And after all of that, add all the usual “mom things” to fill in the cracks and there were days when I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed.

But I made it, but here is hoping for a calm November.

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A reason to celebrate in the Hostetler family is when someone turns 60. If it is a sibling, the siblings and spouses all spend a few days together. If it is a sister-in-law, just the ladies get together for a few days.

Now you can all play the Mennonite game and say,
“Oh my word, I didn’t know you were related to them!” 🙂

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The one having the birthday is allowed to invite her daughters and in-laws, so we were privileged to spend a few grand days with them because it was our Mama Carol’s turn. We missed Melissa since she was unable to be with us.

Try this sometime.
Gather up your sisters and your Mom and spend a few days together doing a lot of nothing but eating and talking.
Or spend a few days with your Mom and her sisters.
Or even with your husband’s Mom and sister in laws. 🙂
It will be time well spent.

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We were in IN one weekend.
They say pictures never lie, well I should beg to differ, but doesn’t this look like the most well behaved little gang of grandkids you’ve ever seen? 🙂

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This little man is about as cute as they get!

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One morning we had Grandma’s specialty, sugar donuts as we call them, on the back porch. They were for special occasions when we were kids and now the grandkids still get them sometimes. Deep fried biscuits rolled in cinnamon-sugar, if you wondered.

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Tim, or rather Reagan, cooked a pot of ham and beans one night to go with our cornbread. She was in her element, as you can see.

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Not all little boys are privileged to have a Grandpa like this guy does.
They have a special bond.

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Our school children took a trip to an Amish farm last week.

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When I walked in and saw this,
I sank into a deep, dark depression
at the thought of all that canning.
I will never let them see my canning shelves.

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I don’t do a lot of selfies, but when you have a friend like this begging for one with you, you must simply oblige. And the light was bad and is making my hair much more colored than they actually are, just so you know.

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We saw and fed a lot of animals that day and the kids loved it.
This is kind and gentle Sammy and he will always be remembered by me. To make a wild story short, he was a little over-eager to get to his food and he managed to get his curled horn around my leg at one point. 10 days later, I still have a rather significant bruise in memory of him.

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This night was just what I needed in the middle of everything else.
These kind friends blessed us with a concert and dinner.
This song spoke to me that night.

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Leaves, leaves and more leaves.
My neighbor man says to me, “I heard you blowing leaves more than once, you know that’s useless, right?” My reply to him, “If I wait until they are all down, we would never be able to get through them!”

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If you live in a flat, open, tree-less property and are pining away for a leaf or two, come on over and we’ll fill your cup!

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Get started writing your thankful list!
Good day to you!

Apple Puff Pastry

Autumn calls for all things apple in the desserts around here.

I have recently discovered puff pastry and how easy it is to use.

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It is found in the frozen section of your local grocery,
by the deserts and pie crusts.

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Let it thaw for about 40 minutes, spread it out on a floured surface and give it a slight roll to smooth the seams. If the seams break, use a little water and pinch them back together before rolling.

After you’ve smoothed and flattened it a bit, cut it down the center.

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Spoon your pie filling onto the center of one half and brush the edges with a beaten egg.
Place the second half on top and use a fork to press the edges to seal them.

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Brush the top with the rest of the beaten egg.
Cut about 4 small air vents in the top.
(which I forgot to do in the photo above)

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Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Cover with a glaze and eat them warm!

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Now, for the filling, you have two options.
The easy way or the hard way. 🙂

First choice, the easy way.
Go buy a can of apple pie filling and spoon it on.
Done.

The second choice is to make an apple filling.
It’s a lot more work, but goodness, I just wanted to eat all the filling
before I got the pastry rolled out.

You can use a filling recipe of your choice or the following recipe.

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Apple Puff Pastry

Apple  Filling

4 large apples
(app 4 cups, finely sliced)
8 TBS butter
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Melt the butter and dump sliced apples into the pan.
Stir until lightly browned.
Add cinnamon and sugar.
Simmer for about 15 minutes.

1 box Puff Pastry.
Thaw 40 minutes, roll out and cut down the center.
Place apple filling in the center of half.
Whip one egg and brush the edges of the pastry.
Top with the other half and use a fork to seal the edges.
Brush the top with remaining egg.
Cut 4 air vents in the top.
Bake at 400* for 15-17 minutes or until brown.

Cover generously with a powdered sugar glaze.
Serve warm and enjoy!

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Off to School

Finally.

Finally back to school.
Due to technical difficulties involving buildings, permits, and inspectors, school is starting two weeks later than we had originally planned.

Now I can finally sit at home all day and do nothing. ha.
More like, pick up all the work that I didn’t realize they did all summer.
Or, entertain the small fry that I wanted to leave at school for Preschool. 🙂
I thought she would do well here alone, less screaming for sure, but she is completely bored so far and has had only one question on her brain and that is,
“Is it lunch time yet?”
Once lunch was over we started with a new question,
“Is it time to go get the kids?”
No, but I do believe it’s nap time.

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We have one in 8th, 5th, and 1st grade.

They were actually very excited about school starting, whether they look like it or not. Reagan was excited, if for no other reason than to wear this dress.

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Does anyone else feel like they are too young to have children this age?
How does this happen, that of children aging faster than their parents?
I am stricken with thoughts like this every year at this time.

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We are blessed with wonderful teachers for these young minds.
Here’s to a good school year!

But first, completely off the beaten path from school, scroll back up please, and take a look at that fern on my steps. It may pale in comparison to yours, but I am here to tell you this is the first living and breathing green plant that I have kept alive. Not just alive, people, but alive, well and flourishing! It is completely noteworthy for this black thumb, non-gardening person when something like this happens.

I would love to be able to smile cheekily and tell you I have a wonderful secret for making this thing grow like this but really, I don’t. I only dribbled a little bit of water into it every day, or maybe every other day, or whenever. Pretty much, it just grew itself right up there nice and pretty and all without much help from me. I’m going to buy it’s brother and sister next year and try this again.

The end.

But not quite the end.
I must now go find my preschooler who ran off to hide when I told her it’s nap time.

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The Beauty of Fall

What happened to Fall?
Wasn’t it just yesterday it was 65* out?
It was a blustery 25* this morning.
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We did have a beautiful Fall this year.
I wanted to stop all the time while I was driving to take photos.
Once upon a time I stopped so long I had a buggy catch up with me.

The kids love this time of the year too.
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Every year when it starts cooling off, they ask about a leaf pile.
Playing in the leaf pile is one of the top actives of Fall,
who care about the pretty leaves.
This year one even went out to play in it with her pajamas on.
I know, I know. We need help.
Madison was less the amused with their antics and hid
under her green “tarp” with the Little One.

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Little One hated the leaf pile.
Cried and fussed every time her feet hit the ground.
They solved the problem by putting her into this little wagon.
As long as the dog stayed away, all was well.

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The pajama girl got hot and went to change.
Madison was still trying to protect her hair at this point.
Mr D is in there trying to dig an igloo. Wrong season buddy.

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The long version of this would be called
“Tackle Madison and stuff leaves all over her.”
I think she gave up staying clean after this.

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2 little happies! Love to see them play together.

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When the igloo of leaves failed, he took up swimming in them.
This was a running dive with the dog bounding in behind.

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And they all yelled, “Happy Fall.”
This was only the first time blowing leaves.
It takes quite a few times here in the woods to collect them all.

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In the middle of this beauty is the spot we call home.
Our road, I know, such lovely patching they do here.

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When we pull into the lane, Little One starts saying, “Home, home.”

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My question of the day I have been pondering the last while.

Why do I want my prayers to be answered?

For my benefit?

Or to bring glory to God?

What are your thoughts?

This Week and More

Of course on the day when I have 1000 things to do,
I have 100 blog ideas roaming around in my brain.
When I have a house full of company coming for the weekend,
starting today, I have no time to be sitting and writing,
yet here I sit.
I prefer to call it resting, but I think
it should be called procrastination at it’s best.

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(do you see the bug?)

What have we been up to?
Other then cleaning and cooking?
Cooking and cleaning.
Things never look bad on the surface,
but dig a little deeper in your house
and you find things that resemble Halloween.
It’s frightening, I tell you.

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One night after supper while her family was otherwise occupied
she helped herself to the leftover cheese.

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And a few minutes after getting her away from the cheese,
she helped herself to the ranch dip!
Doesn’t she look a little guilty?

Most days I feel like I’m spinning my wheels with her.
If she isn’t ripping through the living room with an egg in her hand,
she’s hiding behind the couch playing with my phone.
The dog causes her much grief
and she thinks she is unable to go outside for even a minute
without being held.

The dog causes this mother much grief also.
Everything you can imagine gets chewed and drug across the lawn.
The cat who hasn’t been seen for a week made an appearance today
only to quickly be chased across the lawn with much yapping.

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Fall popped in for a little visit and then was soon gone.
As short as it was, we appreciated the little visit it gave us.
It is quite ugly and looking wintery around here compared to this
a few weeks ago.

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Remember awhile ago this Mother mentioned spell check
being one of her best friends.
Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I figured out #4 and #8 but I’m not sure about #6.
Too bad they don’t have spell check in their school books.

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We hit up the bike path the other night.
This particular one is a favorite because of the train parked along side it.
We met some family there and then
stopped at their place for popcorn and apples on the way home.
Good times!

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Once upon a time
the lady of this house saw an empty spot on her wall
and decided a few shelves would look nice.
In her mind it was easy peasy.
Buy the stuff, slap it up.
Or rather, kindly ask Mr Husband to slap it up.

An important little fact she forgot was that Mr Husband
doesn’t slap anything up.
He measures, straightens, makes the boards,
paints them, and then checks into the walls and studs.
Finding things were not in the proper place after he started,
he waits a day, stops at Lowes for more items
and proceeds to spend mucho time
“doing it right.”

She putters here and there while he works,
feeling kind of bad that he’s spending so much time
on a Sat doing this for her.
But he keeps working without complaining.

Once it was done, she slapped a few things up,
in her usual style and called it good.

A few days later he mentioned
that these shelves might be blog worthy
and she told him she will, as soon as she gets time!
And so here it is, and she’s likes it muchly.

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If you want nice shelves, just ask! 🙂

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It seems the nephews that are coming rarely travel,
since they asked their mom where they will sleep
and if they can shower when they stay here.

And to the sisters of that Mom,
things will probably be a little less then calm, cool and collected
around here this weekend.
Excitement is running high at the prospect of family company
and the dog just came in the house through the door
that was left standing wide open.
What a weekend it will be.
Don’t you wish you were our family?