Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lancaster County Amish

We had a wonderful day, driving around Lancaster county, taking in the beauty of the area and especially enjoying the Amish farms and people in the area.
Alan was such a good sport in driving us. Cheryl kept telling us to yell out "stop, stop. stop" when we saw something we wanted to take a picture of. I tried not to do that too often - we didn't want Alan to be totally sick of us when we left!

You'll never believe where we spotted this sign...

This open shed for horse and buggy parking was in the side lot of a Walmart store. There was room for several horses and buggies. 3 were parked there when we stopped.


It's so interesting to see the juxtaposition of the Amish lifestyle and modern life. Here is a commercial building with the buggies parked outside.


Most of the buggies we saw were the closed variety, but we saw several like this too.


I enjoyed seeing the large farms. We found it interesting that most of the barns are painted white, because in our area most of them are red.


The kids were my favorite things to see!



This is an old Amish schoolhouse. We saw several of them as we drove around.



The day we were there, an auction was taking place. This field was filled with canopies, under which were a large variety of goods. As you can see in the picture above, there were buggies being sold also.


This little boy was enjoying the auction too!


More beautiful farm scenes.


It was laundry day here!



We saw lots of people riding bikes. Did you notice that one of these boys has bare feet? There were also many stands with homemade breads and preserves.
During the day we stopped at a few antique stores, an Amish made furniture place and a spot that was filled with gift shops.
Tomorrow I'll share the special thing we did at night.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Meeting Cheryl!

Thursday finally arrived - the day we were able to meet Cheryl. We arrived at her house shortly before 9. Those of you who follow her blog know about her lovely garden, so before we left for the day we were able to see it in person.

This is the back of the yard. I just love the fence and the way the flowers look against it.


They have a grape arbor. Doesn't it look pretty with the sun shining and the green grapes hanging there?

After showing us around the yard and house we were ready to go. (I'm disappointed, because I took pictures in the house of some of Alan and Cheryl's son Chad's collections. He has the beginnings of a museum in his reptile collection. However - I accidentally deleted my pictures, so can't show them to you.)
Anyway - Cheryl's husband Alan took the day off to drive us around and show us Lancaster County. We started here:
This is Shady Maple Buffet. Do you see how far this goes? I've never seen a restaurant this big. It was very good too! The bottom level is a huge store, with all sorts of products.


This cross was on the wall at the restaurant. It's made of the names of God, with "I Am" in the center. We thought it was quite special.

We visited the Strassburg Train Station.
Here are Alan and Cheryl at the station. They were so kind to us, in spite of the fact that they weren't feeling very good.


This is the train station tower.

While we were there, one of the steam engines came in. I love seeing those old trains!


I like railroad tracks too!

We enjoyed looking at the homes in the area. There are a lot of well maintained older homes in the area.
Isn't this one interesting? I wonder how old it is?



This house was huge and really pretty. We noticed that most of the homes were landscaped beautifully too.
Alan and Cheryl really showed us a lot. I can't fit it all in one post! Tomorrow I'll show you the pictures I took in the Amish area of Lancaster County.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Beautiful Pennsylvania

I'm back from a wonderful trip to Pennsylvania! I went with my sister Cheri to meet our friend Cheryl. We left on Wednesday afternoon, hoping to get a good part of the drive behind us. We thought that way we would have time to see a few things on Thursday. The drive went smoothly for most of the trip. We were even blessed with a huge rainbow that lasted about 45 minutes. The trouble started when it was time to find a hotel. We had booked one for the rest of our time, but weren't sure how far we would get on Wednesday so I thought we would just find one on the way. You notice the I part of the last sentence? That's because Cheri suggested booking something. I should have listened to her!
Every place we checked was booked. We were near Pittsburgh and thought maybe there was something going on there, but we were told it was just business men. By 8:00 that night we decided to just stop and book one on the Internet, then drive to it. We found a Holiday Inn Express that was supposed to be about 25 minutes from us. The problem was that a road was out and the GPS kept trying to bring us back the same way. (You'll hear more about the GPS later this week) So - we were driving around a questionable part of town, trying to find our way to this hotel! We finally got there a little after 9. When we went to check in they said the Internet booking made a mistake and there were no non-smoking rooms! We were ready to take anything at that point, but they upgraded us to a big jacuzzi room instead. It was very nice after the trials of getting there.
The next day we planned to stop in Hershey. As we drove, we saw signs for Old Bedford Village and stopped to check it out.


This is an old homestead at the village. I love these old buildings.




There was also a covered bridge.



As we continued our drive to Hershey, the sky was getting pretty dark. It started to rain so hard, I had to pull off the road because I couldn't see. This is the view through the windshield!




We made a short stop at Chocolate World. We didn't stay long because it was so crowded you couldn't walk. I think when the storm came, everyone left the amusement park and came inside!

We got to our hotel this time without trouble. Our room was on the 17th floor and had a beautiful view!
This is the view from our window at night.



We ended the night with room service. Cheri and I split this chocolate mousse and it was so good! Tomorrow I'll share our day with Cheryl and her husband Alan.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On the road again!

I'm off for a few days of fun! My sister Cheri and I are going to take a short trip, and we are really excited. We have an 11 hour drive to make and we are going to meet our blogging friend!


You may recognize this. It's the header of Cheryl's blog. We have always wanted to meet Cheryl and decided to make it happen! Originally we hoped to have our sister Terri and friend Ginger come along too, but that didn't work out. :(
Anyway - we are leaving Wednesday afternoon and will be coming back on Sunday, so I won't be around to visit your blogs. I'll be sure to take pictures to show you the fun we will have!
See you next week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

You're a grand old flag...

Do you see the flag in the picture below? It may look like an average flag, but it's special to us!


This home belongs to our neighbors, who are also friends from church. She walked over to our house this past week with a manila envelope in her hand. She told us that they had just gotten a new flag. They ordered it from our Congressman, and it was a flag that flew over the capitol. She said that they thought we would like the certificate that came with it.



The certificate says:
"This is to certify that the accompanying flag was flown over the United States Capitol on June 3, 2010.
At the request of the Honorable Peter Hoekstra, Member of Congress, this flag was flown for Andy Bruins in honor of currently serving our country."

Wasn't that a thoughtful thing to do? We were very touched.
Speaking of Andy, I have some news about him. He is currently stationed in Colorado Springs. He recently received word that he is going to be transferred. He will be going to Fort Campbell, which is in Kentucky. This will make it easier for us to see him - a 9 hour drive instead of a 19 hour drive!
He was happy to hear that although there are only 2 guys being sent from his unit, the other one is his best friend. These 2 have been stationed in Virginia, Korea and Colorado together. He will also be connected with the 101st Airborne Division, which is something he has wanted. He is still anticipating going to Afghanistan, but doesn't know when.
He will be spending the month of July in the dessert in California, doing training exercises. He plans to come home in September sometime, and will be going to the new base after that.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers Day

We had a nice day today. My Dad and step mom, brother, and Laura and Aaron came for dinner. We had a feast and decided we didn't need to eat again for a week!
Laura brought along this pretty flower arrangement she made.

The flowers all came from her gardens.

Bob got some nice things for Fathers Day, but I thought I would show you a funny gift. He had seen these before and told me he needed one, since he shaves his head. It's a visor with fake hair. I decided this was a good time to order it.

He had a good laugh when he opened it, and he modeled it for a picture.



Later in the day, he decided it needed to be worn backwards. I'm glad he has a good sense of humor! However, for those of you who know him, I wouldn't expect to see him wearing it in public!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Fathers Day


Happy Fathers Day to all the wonderful Dads out there, especially to the ones in my life. I've been blessed with a great husband who is such a good Dad, my own Dad who has been such a great example all his life and my husbands step dad, who married Bob's Mom and treats us and her wonderfully! Dad's are so important to us at any age, but are often taken for granted. I hope you treat the Dad's in your life extra special today!

Thanks to Rick from Organized Doodles for drawing and sharing the picture today!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The house that built me


Today I am joining Leigh from Tales from Bloggeritaville in a "The house that built me" party.
She and anyone who joins her will be sharing about how their childhood home "built"them.

So - are you wondering about the picture? No, I wasn't raised in a barn! However, I was raised on a farm and it made a big impact on my life.
I don't have a picture of the house I lived in or the barn that was next to it. The land it was on is now the setting for a health food store and an auto dealership. I'm just going to have to tell you about it.
The house I lived in was also the house my dad was born in. It was an old white farmhouse. I shared a bedroom upstairs with my 2 sisters until I was in 8th grade and we built a new house. It wasn't a problem to share because most everyone I knew shared a room and we had a lot of fun talking and goofing around when we were supposed to be sleeping. Under the double bed I shared with my sister Terri, was a register grate. Our furnace was a gravity furnace and there were no ducts to the upstairs, so this grate was open. We would crawl under the bed and watch what was going on in the kitchen below. This was especially handy when we had a babysitter. We would watch what she ate and listen to her talking on the phone. (What naughty kids) When we heard Mom and Dad come home, we would crawl into bed and pretend to be sleeping! We had an enclosed porch on the front where we spent a lot of time playing. We didn't like the basement. It was dark and it seemed there was always water on the floor. When there was a tornado warning we would have to go down there and we hated it. The kitchen was big, and Mom spent a lot of time canning and freezing there.
I posted the picture of the barn because it looks similar to the one we had. We had a lot of fun in that barn, climbing in the loft and playing in the hay. We had lots of land to run and play on. In the winter there were plenty of hills for sledding. There was a creek where we used to catch frogs, and of course there were cows and chickens to watch. I remember running through rows of corn and riding on the tractor with my Dad. I remember walking out to the fields to find where Dad was working and bringing him a snack. We even had a little building that our Dad cleaned out for us to play house in.
It was a wonderful place to grow up, but the physical attributes of it weren't the most important thing. We were raised in a Christian home, where we were expected to help with the work, do our best, respect and treat those around us well, and we always knew that we were loved.
When I think back to being a kid and my memories of my home, I am struck by the fact that it didn't matter that the house was old and not very big. The memories I have are colored by the fact that I knew I was loved as a child. I knew that no matter what had happened during the day, when I came home I was with my family who would always be there for me. I am reminded again of how blessed I am, not necessarily with material things, but with a God who saved me, a family who loves me and friends who care about me!

Giveaway

How do you feel about winning an $80 gift certificate? Sounds like a good thing, right?
My friend Joanna, at The Fifty Factor is having a giveaway at her blog. Anyone with a blog can sign up to win an $80 gift certificate to CSN Stores. So - stop over at her place and sign up!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cooking Thursday

Thursday means it's time for another recipe. To see more, stop over at Sandra's place!
These are one of our favorites. And you know how I like to share easy but good recipes? This is one of them. So easy - but I'm frequently asked for the recipe. Enjoy!


Crescent Bars

2 cans crescent rolls (I use the recipe variation, without the perforations)
2 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chips

Spread a pkg of crescent rolls in 9x13 pan, and press into corners.
Mix cream cheese and sugar; spread over crescents in pan.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over cream cheese.
Place remaining crescents between 2 sheets of wax paper and roll to fit pan. Place over chocolate chips.
Sprinkle sugar over top for a nice finish.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Works for me Wednesday


Kristen at We are THAT Family is hosting Works for me Wednesday again. Stop at her blog to see the tips her readers are sharing this week.



My tip for today is to shop locally. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut of always going to the same big box stores, when there may be a place that is a hidden treasure right near by!
This past week I needed a birthday gift for Bob's great nephew, who was turning one. I went to a toy store in my town and found this adorable little puppy pull toy. The ears flap and the head moves when it's pulled. Better than that, it's a high quality toy and will last for years, or through several kids!
For those of you who live near me, the store I'm talking about is Learn and Play House, which is located on 68th ave just north of Lake Michigan Drive, in Allendale. It's full of creative, educational, high quality toys. It also has lots of fun and unusual games for all ages, puzzles and books. You won't find these kinds of products at the mall.
Sandy, who is the owner is always available to give idea's or show you the latest thing that has come in.
Stop in - I know you'll find something great, and I bet you'll go back again! And - don't forget to check out other local stores.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Take time to smell the roses

I love flowers! It's so fun to wander around the yard and see what is in bloom. I thought I'd show you a few things in my yard.

This is the front walk. The glass globe was a gift to me from Aaron, Laura and Heather for Mother's Day this year. I really enjoy seeing it when I pull in the driveway.
~~~

This bench sits near Bob's workshop in our side yard. He made the bench several years ago and it looks so inviting with the day lilies blooming.
~~~


This is in our back yard. The climbing roses are really thriving, and I love seeing that color when I look out the window.
There is a quote that says; "The earth laughs in flowers".
I know that looking at flowers makes me smile!

*Disclaimer - I do not have a green thumb! These flowers are Bob's work. My only contribution is the input I offer when we buy them, and my admiration as they grow!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Surprise!


I had a nice surprise last week. A box arrived from Arizona! My friend Sandra, of Diary of a SAHM sent me an Arizona themed box of goodies.
There was an oven mit, a hot pad, a magnet, bubble gum, an Arizona spoon, a plate, a key chain and some strawberry, prickly pear preserves. I'm anxious to try those preserves. I've never had anything like that before.
Thanks Sandra. It's nice to get something beside bills and junk mail!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Peonies


Peonies are one of my favorite flowers. These are in our backyard. I am always amazed by how quickly they change. These pictures are each taken 1 day apart. The sad part is, this also means they don't stay around long, so I have to enjoy them while I can!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cooking Thursday


It's time for another recipe! Stop and visit Sandra from Diary of a SAHM to check out more.

My recipe for today is for Key Lime Pie. This is the easiest recipe, and is a nice refreshing dessert in the summer. Enjoy!



Key Lime Pie
5 egg yolks, beaten
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lime juice
1 drop green food coloring
1 prepared graham cracker pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together egg yolks and condensed milk. Stir in lime juice and food coloring. Poor into prepared pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.