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.

~~~

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!

~~~

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!

~~~

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.

~~~

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.”

~~~~

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! 🙂

~~~
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?

“Get to” Moments

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I saw this the other morning,
and I didn’t even read the post that went with it
because my mind was stuck on this!

“Get to” not “have to.”

Think of little things that are mundane, something we do every day,
all the time, routine, over and over, things we HAVE to do.
We shouldn’t call them a drudgery,
but sometimes we get in a rut of groaning
and it just gets so wearying to do it all again.

But what if we would see these things for the blessings they are.
We get to do them.
We are blessed to be able to do them.
Call it the privilege it is.
Why do I complain when it’s something to be grateful for,
something others wish they had?

I get to do those dishes again.
I am blessed with a family to feed and plenty of food to do so.

Picking up after the kids.
It means they are having fun, enjoying life, able to run.

One more load of dirty laundry.
We have clothes to wear. end of story!

Cooking yet another meal.
I get to!!
It means I have a husband and kids who are healthy and want to eat.

Getting up at 6am on a Saturday with Little One when all I want to do is sleep.
I have a daughter, one who enjoys mornings more then I, but I have a daughter.
What more do I need to say?

Packing lunches. one more day.
My kids are privileged to attend a Christian day school!
(and I don’t have to home school)

The list is endless.
Blessings that we want to grumble about.
Things we call mundane.
Privileges we take for granted.

Think “I get to” instead of “I have to” next time you want to groan.
I tried to put that into practice the last while,
especially when I was doing tasks that are less the pleasant.
I “get to” do this!

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After thinking about this for awhile,
I mentioned it when our church ladies were together the other night.
One of the others said something else I’ve been pondering since
that kind of goes along with this.

What about all those things we call little.
Little jobs, little tasks, mundane things we do,
thinking that we are doing little things,
waiting for God to ask us to do something great.
“Here I am,” we think, “being faithful in the little things,
waiting, waiting on something big!”

But if they aren’t really as little as we think?
Could these “little things” actually be big things?
A hug for your child.
A card for a friend.
Another meal for your family.
One more load of laundry.

These things we are doing that we call little,
they are actually something great, something big.
It means something for the one you do it for!

Why wait for the next thing we think will be great?
Why not realize these “get to” moments for the blessings they are
and love doing them instead of complaining.

Don’t wait for tomorrow, next week or next year,
for things you call great!
You are doing great things right here, right now.
Relish in your “get to” moments,
don’t dread them.

Now give me some examples of “get to” moments for you!

Meet Samson

Our family has increased by 1.
He’s a fuzzy wuzzy, black and furry,
jumping, barking, whining pup.

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Meet Samson.
aka: Sam, Sammy, Sam I Am,
or anything else I yell in the middle of the night.

(Sorry to disappoint ya if you were hoping for some other kind of announcement.)

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I am not overly fond of animals and would be happy to live without them,
but Eric’s been saying we need a dog for Dakota for a long time now.
Mr D was/is scared of dogs, dreadfully so,
and Eric thought having his own would help.

Thursday night this one was hand delivered,
and he was ours, whether we wanted him or not.
Well they all did, the Mother, not so much.

They promptly brought him in,
named him, and he had a home.

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{“Oh, I just love, love, love, his ears!” -Mr D}

Friday morning, they were all up with the birds,
to feed, water and care for this dog.
Ha.
The Mom knows how long that will last.

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{Watching the girls leave for school.}

Dakota spent all day outside with him.
I was happy to see him loving this dog
and I asked if he’s not scared of dogs anymore.
“Well, I’m not scared of this one, but he’s little. I don’t like big ones.”
The fact that Sam is going to get quite big will remain our secret.

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He would pen him up and let him loose,
go for a walk, drive a jeep and Sam would be right behind.

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They did a lot of exploring in the woods before the girls came home,
probably more then Dakota has done all summer.

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And then Reagan came home from school.
She loves this dog as much as Dakota and couldn’t wait to play with him.
She threw her things in the door and raced outside.
Much to her dismay,
Sam loved Dakota more than her.

It didn’t take Mr D long to figure out
that if he walked way, Sam would follow him.
Much to his delight, he could aggravate Reagan to no end with this.

And round and round they went.

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I finally got them playing together in the leaf pile
and they all had fun. I think.
Sam soon tired out and wanted to sleep.
Mr D wanted to cover him with leaves.
Reagan would not hear of that.
And round and round they went.

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Sam still has a few lessons to learn about nighttime behavior.
As in, sleeping all night with no crying.
There was a pillow over my head one night
and a trip outside the next.
You’d think we had a newborn!

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Many many years ago, I had a Sam of my own.
I think I’m about to have one again once the newness wears off.

By the way, has anyone seen our cat?
Last sighting here was a fast exit for the woods
with a black streak behind him.