Category Archives: Random Family Fun

Monday Monday…looking back and looking ahead <3

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Happy Monday!

Meet our newest family member. Yes, we are the proud owners of an Amish Friendship Bread starter and it has had babies and we have been texting friends and dropping off batches and loaves.

I had forgotten how incredibly irresistible this bread is and also how it’s like gaining a part time job with no benefits nor income. Ha!

BUT it is so fun to try and find someone who wants a batch and I have enjoyed this trip down memory lane when we passed these around back in my younger years.

I try not to think that the ingredients fermenting in ziplock bags on our counter may actually be the descendants of those bags I dealt with thirty years ago.

When I wasn’t baking massive quantities of caloric bread and trying to pawn it off on friends this weekend, we also had a wonderful Saturday with these two.

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Wish you could see their sweet faces. They were kind and concerned about exposure due to Sarah’s first official teaching with certification job. Bless her. She is in the classroom with real time students while also videoing for the remote learners.

We had a wonderful day with a hike on one of the local trails and lots of time out on the patio thanks to the Lord providing us with such warm temps and sunshine.

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We have upped our entertaining game by adding hand sanitizer to our patio parties..sigh.. still on point with my designer party set ups though.

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and this handsome fellow who loved sunning and dozing while we talked and ate.

He had such a good time, when they were leaving this was his attitude about getting in the car.

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We thought we were going to be adding a dog to our Amish Bread expansion, but when he saw Sarah start to move her own body in the car, he trotted right over and complied with leaving.

On Sunday, after an incredibly beautiful and powerful worship service at church (really a sermon everyone should hear, link at bottom) we took a bike ride with friends.

Probably the last one of the year…sigh.

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It was perfection.

Now it’s time to kick into gear for another week.

I plan to take advantage of the last nice day on the radar and bring all the flower pots in and put the Christmas lights out on the bushes in front.

Who am I even?

I usually wait until the coldest day in November to do that.

I might even start turning them on before Thanksgiving this year just to brighten things up now that the sun sets a couple of minutes after lunch.

I hope you had a great weekend and that you will have a productive and hope-filled Monday!

Link for Overflow service https://www.firstdecatur.org/messages/overflow/

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On winning and losing and how you play the game <3

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In the past couple of weeks I have had several opportunities to play games with Caroline. 

At three and extremely verbal, she has discovered a love for games and so she is either asking us to bring some of ours or dragging some of theirs out or both. Also at age three, she has grasped the general concept of a game without actually embracing the rules, strategy and point of each.

Half the fun for her is setting it up and you have to do it just so or we start over. Every time. She also gives constant commentary and direction. Tells you where the pieces or cards have to go, realigns them if you do it wrong, or takes the whole thing apart and hands it back so you can try again to get it right. 

On Tuesday she wanted to play Scrabble. The child can’t read and can’t even identify all the letters, but play we did. I had to turn all the tiles over and put them in rows with the rectangle shapes all in the same direction. This was rather time-consuming as she kept moving them as I tried to put them down. 

She also handed me a score sheet, pencil and the “constructions” so I could read how to play the game.  Finally we were ready to play and she, of course, went first because she always goes first. She laid three random tiles down  asking me to name them because, as we mentioned…child can’t read. 

As particular as she had been with the placement of the draw pile, her three letters were not lined up side by side but scattered more in a zig zag. Then she looked into my soul and told me it was my turn. 

I had the letters to make the word bait so I put them down on the board in a row, side by side, spelling each letter and then saying the word. She looked at me sympathetically and said we can only use three letters but she would let it go this time. 

I decided to get my act together and for the remainder of the game we alternated laying random letters down, helter skelter with me naming them and her grinning victoriously throughout the whole session. At some point she determined the game was over and so we put the items back in the box. 

Yesterday she wanted to play memory with our Macaroon set. Once again, setting out the pieces was done with precision and much rearranging to her liking. As we took our turns there were a variety of ways matches were dealt with:

If I made a match I was either greeted with enthusiastic applause, asked to give them to her so she could give them back to me or she would make a sigh and say she had wanted to make that match for me. 

Some matches were “Joely’s favorite macaroon” so a special pile of these was set aside in a place of honor for her big brother who had taken a pass on playing the game. 

When she would make a match, she would, with equal joy, distribute to my pile, her pile or Joel’s depending on the whim. 

Once the game was over she happily put the discs back in the box and grinned like she had just won the lottery despite the fact that no score was taken into account. 

I don’t know. She may be three and unable to read and oblivious to what the rules are but the child is most definitely one of the wisest people I encountered this past week.

She knows the point is that we were together and we had fun and the rest of it didn’t really matter. 

It’s good to be Caroline, as we say. 

Maybe we all could just forget to keep score today and look deep into the eyes of the ones we encounter, cheer them on, enjoy their presence and remember it’s not about winning or losing or even how you played the game. All that really matters is that you did. 

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Have a blessed weekend. Enjoy your people and remember…you are loved <3

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Fall Break <3

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First off, I want to acknowledge that we all have mixed feelings about travel these days. We have the information about the best knowledge available and we act on that with prayer and hopefully wisdom.

Russ and I operate on a system of understanding we can be exposed to Covid at the grocery or church as well as on the road, so we try and follow the best safety measures we can and trust God for the rest of it.

We have talked about trying to go somewhere for a while so took advantage of a few extra days tagged on the weekend and visited Galena. We packed our masks and some warm clothes and headed to the Farmer’s Guest House Bed and Breakfast.

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The hosts are taking numerous precautions to protect themselves and guests so we felt comfortable in our choice.

I am amazed constantly at the effort and creativity of small business owners in this pandemic. We were treated to all the amenities, but in safe and beautiful ways.

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Our food was delivered to our door with a knock and a pretty tray of deliciousness. We could eat in our room or carry down to a main dining room where tables were spaced well apart.

Since they are limiting their capacity to half occupancy and leaving rooms empty a full day for complete cleaning, there were few guests and so we usually had the place to ourselves.

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Little boxes contained a feast of a breakfast and they even were careful to use disposable items that are biodegradable. Praise God because we are currently overloading the landfills again with styrofoam…sigh…

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We wore masks in the hallway of the Inn as well as on Main Street, both inside and outside shops.

But thankfully we also enjoyed going hiking sans masks…

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The river walk was lovely tho a bit chilly…

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giving us a full view of this charming town nestled in the hills…

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We had some yummy dinners, again wearing masks in with appropriate distance between tables and the courtesy of the waiters standing back until we could get our masks in place each time they approached the table.

With the chilly temperatures and overcast skies we limited our time out on the Main Street of shops, and spent time reading and resting. We did visit and tour the Blaum Brothers Distillery, which was again a fascinating story of how entrepreneurs pursue their interests and apply various skills and knowledge and hard work.

The day we drove home, we saw ….

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Yes…snow.

And it was rather pretty, I must say.

It was good and yet so different to take a small vacation away from our every day life. The masks and the signs and the social distancing cast their own clouds over what normal life used to be, but always God reminds us…there is and always will be…

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As always, we are happy to be back home and thankful for the kindness of those who welcomed us to their community.

Travel has changed greatly and has taken on a strange tone, but the hospitality of this little town made us feel at home and we are thankful <3

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