Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Herman's Farm Orchard and Apple Crumb Pies

can count the seeds
in an apple,
but only God
can count the number of apples
in a seed.
~Robert Schuller

It's Apple-Picking Pronoun Day, did you know? For on a recent Saturday we all went apple-picking, although the Boytes were two states away from us Dibbles, Stouders and Winchesters. 

I picked none.

Corey helped Kylie pick one(ENH! NOT used as a pronoun here!)

Melissa, our son-in-law Justin's mother, picked few.

Our Stouders picked some.

And a good time was had by all.

So how about an apple recipe or two?

This is my 2009 Guam kitchen.

Or make some One-Apple Crumb Pies?

Sweetly gifted in Asian steamers.

Secure it with seasonal ribbon, though,
during transport.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Laine's Letters: 14 September 1999

It is amazing how peaceful it is
to shut that one "servant" off
for just the morning hours in my day.
I am much more able
to stay focused on the tasks
that I must accomplish
in order to put God, my husband,
my children, and my home
in their proper priorities.

14 September 1999

Dear Sisters,

I wanted to write and thank you all for praying for me concerning my speaking engagement this past week. It went very well. God is so good! I have another speaking engagement tomorrow on the same subject. This is the first time in three years of speaking that I am not nervous beforehand with all sorts of physical signs of stress showing in my body. I thank you so much for your prayers. I am very excited to share from the Word of God tomorrow with my Sisters in Christ. I know without a doubt that this is a miracle from our Precious LORD. God is so good!

Here is what went on in my home this week:

1~ You know those cute towels that the older ladies make with a crocheted top and a button hole and button? Well, my cousin gave me one. My husband loves to have this towel tied to his chair in our kitchen. He has used it numerous times to quickly wipe his hands or our child's hands. And it is always within reach.
2~ My youngest is in first grade. This week I gave him a writing assignment. I had him write these sentences. Of course, he loves a story about himself. So that is what the story is about:

Sam made a pie.

Gabe made a really big pie.
Sam sat on Gabe's pie.

(This really made Gabe laugh.)

Gabe forgave Sam.

Oh, he didn't want to do this. He wanted to sit on Sam's pie. So we had a little talk about forgiveness. It was a fun writing assignment for him.

3~ I love to collect recipes that would be good should I ever run out of some necessary ingredients and want to make something special for tea. This recipe is an old one that is very unusual as it does not have eggs or oil in it. So I have it marked in my notebook, "No eggs! No oil!" I especially like it with a nice cup of hot tea. My mom likes it with a cup of coffee. It needs a hot cup of something or otherwise you might find it a bit too dry.

Aunt Rose's Spice Bars
1 cup raisins
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon instant coffee

Boil for 10 minutes and then let cool.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts

Add all to the above in a mixer and mix well. Spread in a greased 9" x 13" pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350ยบ.
4~ One of the ways I have been encouraging my children to read history and science books is to carry them with us in the car. I find that if I buy a book that I would like to read, generally, they would like to read it, too. I love history and science books with lots of pictures and explanations. There are so many good books available to us now, that it is not hard to find really good books in these subjects. Most of mine I find at the thrift shop.
5~ I wanted my son to read this particular fiction book. He was reading another book at the time, so I just put it in the bathroom. Soon I saw him coming out of the bathroom reading the book. Mission accomplished. ~Smile~
6~ The way I remember to water my indoor houseplants is to thoroughly water them all in one day. Monday is the day for me.
7~ One of the things I have learned is that I cannot do two things at once, especially if one of those things involves talking. So I shut my phone down early in the morning to get my morning chores and my homeschooling done. It is so nice to have a chat with a friend in the afternoon when most of my work is behind me. Or to take a nap, as well, with most of my work behind me. It is amazing how peaceful it is to shut that one "servant" off for just the morning hours in my day. I am much more able to stay focused on the tasks that I must accomplish in order to put God, my husband, my children, and my home in their proper priorities. I find that I am much more able to serve those that God brings my way when I have been following His priorities as taught in Titus 2 and 1 Timothy 5.
8~ My nine year old daughter Abbie loves to bake. I have been encouraging her in her baking since she was even younger. Now she can bake several recipes from start to finish on her own. Presently we are setting up a notebook for her with some recipes that she can bake all on her own. I am having her write these recipes in her own handwriting. I think that will be so special to her when she has her own daughter some day.
9~ I wanted to teach my oldest son how to make doughnuts. Today we made one of my favorite recipes together. Here it is:

Sweet-Sour Milk Doughnuts
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 of a third cup filled with oil (The original recipe was double this, so this is it halved.)

Mix well in a large bowl.

1 cup sour milk (1 Tablespoon vinegar added to sour the milk)
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix together and add to the above.

4 c. flour

Stir in the flour to make a dough easy to handle, but not too stiff. Pat out to 1/2 inch thick and cut with a doughnut cutter. Fry in hot oil, turning after 1 minute until nicely brown. (First try a donut hole to see if it floats and turns nicely brown in couple of minutes.)

I have found that the best tool for making doughnuts is a cast iron dutch oven. It retains the heat evenly while deep frying. I usually fill this a quarter full with oil to fry the doughnuts. This recipe makes a couple dozen. We roll them in sugar or cinnamon/sugar afterwards.
10~ In my home I have many unique collectibles. As many of you know, I am a collector from way back. ~Smile~ I remember when my aunt came to visit and saw that I had an old doll worth quite a bit of money. She told me not let my children play with the doll. I just couldn't let that beautiful doll sit there and not be enjoyed. So I made a rule. My children could play with the special doll only in my bedroom. This week was one of those weeks that my little ones had a good time playing with that doll. I am so glad that when they are older they will have good memories of their fun when they take that doll into their own home.
11~ Our friends were over for lunch this past Sunday. They gave me a wonderful tip! If you eat too much salsa and find your mouth burning, just put a dab of sugar on your tongue. Well, today my little guy touched one of my dried chilies thinking it was a dried tomato. In no time his tongue was burning. We got him a little sugar, and sure enough, he was fine. I was so tickled to get this tip.
12~ I found a big bag of assorted chilies at the market marked down to 99 cents a bag. I charred some of them, peeled them, and put them in the freezer for salsas. I dried the rest in my dehydrator.
13~ We had some more great fruit from our local fruit stand. I saved some of the cantaloupe and honeydew melon seeds. My son also grew some great eggplant, so I saved those seeds as well. I am going to save some chili seeds and some tomato seeds today. As I shared before, I just lay them on a paper towel until they dry, then store them in a plastic sealed bag with the type of seed marked on the front.
14~ Ooh, we had a bit of squabbling going on this morning on the way home from cleaning the church. So I told my little ones that they were going to each get a chore when they got home. I got my living room vacuumed and my garden watered. They got along much better after that. ~Smile~
15~ As I mentioned, I love to take my own photos to save money and just for the pure pleasure of it. I use mail-away labs to have my photos developed. Then if I like them, I have them blown up into an 8" x 10" or 5" x 7" by the same company. Today I mailed off two 24-exposure rolls (no postage required) for $5.40. I did not have double copies made. But I like this way of having my film done. I have always had my photos returned within a couple of weeks, and I don't have to go to a store and then back to a store again. Here is the address for York from the mailer I used today:

York Photo Lab Headquarters
Parkersburg, WV 26102-9803

I find that some mailers are more inexpensive than others. So I just wait and stock up on the mailers that are cheaper. I find them in magazines as well as mailers that arrive at my home.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Love, Laine

Monday, September 29, 2014

How to Make Kettle Corn

I am a big popcorn fanatic.
~Debbie Macomber

We are now HUGE kettle corn fans, all because of the thrift store.

Last year I bought a Felknor's stovetop popcorn popper at a Missouri Goodwill for $5. It was definitely used and possessed a tiny bit of scorching in the bottom. Never bothered me! I'm a popcorn fanatic, too!

This year (this month!) I bought a Whirley Pop popcorn popper at a Connecticut Goodwill for $5.99. It possessed no signs that it had been used even once.

Comparing the two stovetop popcorn poppers, here's my review:
-- The paddle and crank design of the Felknor's is better than the Whirley Pop... much better!
-- The pot size of the Whirley Pop popcorn popper may be bigger than the Felknor's. 

The first time I used the Whirley Pop, the bottom acquired some scorching. Mother remarked that baking soda can rid the pot of that, but I reminded her of what our popcorn popping pot looked like when she was raising four children. Again, never bothered me! I'm a popcorn fanatic!

Here's my recipe for popcorn, and here's how to make kettle corn.

1. Prepare everything
before the stove is even turned on.

Place in the pot:
-- equal parts oil and granulated sugar
We have experimented with 1/3 and 1/3 cups,
but 1/4 and 1/4 cups are just as delicious.
-- 3 or 4 popcorn kernels

I use three kernels of popcorn.

Yes, I use this "For Medium Heat" anyway!
Talk about buttery! OH!

Make certain the "teeth" on each end of the Whirley Pop popcorn popper "paddle" are UP, like this:


 not down like this:
|          |

{With the Felknor's popcorn popper, the paddle can only rest one way in the bottom of the pot, and it's a better paddle, too, not a glorified piece of wire like the Whirley Pop's. However, the Whirley Pop gets the job done just fine!}

Measure and place together in a bowl:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon heaping salt, NOT coarse

Also measure:
1/2 cup popcorn kernels

Ready near the stove

Set nearby a 13 x 9-inch cake pan or a very large round pizza pan for capturing the hot kettle corn. The kettle corn will also need to completely cool in this pan.

 Once everything is ready,
begin heating the popcorn pot
over medium-high heat.

Number 6 was perfect on both my mother's and mother-in-law's stoves.

The burner needs to be as close to the size of the pot as possible. 

With the lids down, crank the pot a couple of times and listen for the three kernels to 1. Pop! 2. Pop! 3. Pop! I always count them aloud.

Immediately add
the sugar-salt mixture.
Put the lid down and
crank it a couple of times.

Immediately lift the lid again
and add the measured popcorn.

Close the lid and slowly crank the popper.

You will think it's never going to pop,
but keep slowly cranking the pot.
When it begins to pop,
and you absolutely
turn the crank another turn,
immediately remove it from the heat,
let it finish popping
(you can lift the lid-flap up-down,
up-down a couple of times),
then open one lid-flap and let 'er fly!
Pop open the other half of the lid
and shake all the popcorn out.
Carefully use clean fingers
to get it all out.

NOTE: Kettle corn will not fall out of the popper
like regular popcorn. It's heavier and clumped together
because it's been "candied" by the sugar.
Put any kernels that landed on the counter into the pan.

Immediately put the popcorn pot into the sink and run cool water into it. 

Add a drop of dish soap
and let everything soak.

Meanwhile, with dry fingers or a spoon, carefully spread out the kettle corn; do not press or crush.

When the kettle corn has completely cooled, use the handle of a wooden spoon to gently break up any especially large chunks of candied kettle corn. When it's completely cooled, bag the kettle corn in a food/bread bag. {You can buy these in the plastic wrap and zip-top bags aisle.) Close up with a wire twist tie, just like you see at fairs, farmers markets and Downtown Disney.

Hint: Want to make another pot? I've found that starting with a clean, dry, cold popcorn popper (and an empty kettle corn collecting pan) yields fewer old maids, AKA unpopped kernels.

At your next fall festival,
sell your kettle corn for $5 per bag!

WARNING: Don't even open the bag. If you start eating delicious kettle corn, it's over.

Friday, September 26, 2014

This Week with My Luggage

Home wasn't a set house
or a single town on a map.
It was wherever
the people who loved you were,
whenever you were together.
Not a place, but a moment,
then another,
building on each other like bricks
to create a solid shelter
that you take with you your entire life,
wherever you may go.
~Sarah Dessen

Time is winding up in more ways than one around here. Here's what happened recently in and around my luggage.

Archie took a walk with Grams.

I finished my 2014 fam photo dress.

In the rental car, of course

Dana has been crossing things off her To-Do list. She prepped some jars she'll fill at Christmastime with goodies, kerchiefed on the outside as snowmen. 

Fall candle jars

A Daddy-daughter project was this coffee table made with a free suitcase she'd gotten last year at garage sale.


Didn't it turn out cute?!


The Firstborn's been focused recently on her living room, a work in progress. It's been a pleasure to behold her visions as they become reality. Look at these wall art pieces she made with coconut husks she requested from Guam, silk orchids and pallet wood.


Several weeks ago I bought a 1950 World Atlas at a flea market, and I told her she could have a world map for another living room project. She'll use more pallet wood and Mod Podge and add a great quote. Push-pins will indicate where in the world she and her hubby have been.

My brother Jim's middle son Zach
took a wife last Saturday.

left Jim, Zach the groom, Caleb the baby, and Blake the firstborn

Zach sees his bride.

We welcome our sweet Shannon to the family. As you can see, it was a lovely wedding indeed when the engineer took a doctor for a wife.

See that flower-tower? It crashed to the floor
just after Zach said, "I do."
We were all grateful that didn't happen on the bride's side!

AMBER UPDATE: We visited Amber Sullivan Todd on the final evening of her stay in the hospital where she gave birth by Cesarean section more than one month ago before undergoing a liver transplant.

Amber admitted she was very nervous about moving to another hospital in another part of the state for rehab.

What does that mean?
What lies ahead?
What can I expect?
I'm afraid.  

We assured Amber that the Lord had brought her thus far and that He will certainly help her endure whatever obstacles lie ahead on her journey to a full recovery. "You have a wonderful support system, Amber. Your husband, your family, and thousands pray for you around the world. You're going to do great, honey!"

I want there to be a smile on your face, so I have to insert this cutie-pie image from last month when the Boytes took possession of their first house.

August 2014

Michaelmas (MICK-l-muss) Day is Monday, and the Michaelmas daisies (asters) we put on the Firstborn's front porch attract big fat bumble bees, our son-in-law Justin told us, and gorgeous monarch butterflies.

Unless they already have, monarchs will soon take their flight south to Mexico. I shall never forget-- it was the early '90s-- happening under a great kaleidoscope of these delicate creatures as they silently migrated south. Oh! How I wish we'd had iPhone cameras back then! We were stopped at a stoplight that Sunday after church and the warm sunshine cast a brilliant glow upon hundreds of thousands of black and golden wings fluttering their way to Mexico. Hey! We're with you, monarch butterflies! The leaves are changing color around these parts. Get us outta here!

Tomorrow we're going apple-picking, so on our last Saturday in the US Midwest, I wish you a fabulous weekend!