Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fun in Hawaii

     In January I was blessed to be able to travel to Maui with 8 other women.  We rented a condo for 8 nights and had a blast.  Our condo was right on the beach. The view was fabulous.
 
    Our daughter Amy and two of her friends were able to go with us.  Amy is 23 and was 22 at the time of the trip.  We did not see much of the three younger women during our stay.  They did go on a few outings with us though.  They spent most of their time at the condo hanging out at the pool or on the beach.  
    We rented three convertibles to ride in style.  I was the driver for the white Mustang.  The other two cars were Chryslers.  The Mustang had a lot more trunk room than the Chryslers.  

    We had some rainy days while we were there.  We spent our rainy days shopping farmer's markets and local flea markets.  The fresh produce grown there was delicious.  There are a lot of organic farms on Maui.  They provide produce to several of the restaurants.  
     On our first day there we encountered a large turtle enjoying the sun on the beach.  Hawaii is the only place in the world where the turtles sunbathe on the beaches.  They are not afraid of people either.  They just lay there and enjoy the sun even on a busy beach full of human sunbathers. 



    Amy and her friends joined us for a whale watch tour.  We decided to take a tour that took you out on a raft.  There were a lot of whales out there.  We stayed close to a Momma and her baby for a while.  They had a male protector staying by their side.  I did manage to get a few good pictures.  Most mornings we could whale watch from our lanai with our binoculars.


   Our condo was on the west side of Maui.  The sunsets were absolutely gorgeous.  We would go down to the restaurant/bar at happy hour and watch the sun set while enjoying our drinks.


    We were adventurous and went zip lining.  The zip line tour  had several lines.  We had a beautiful view of the west coast of Maui.  I have included a picture of our awesome zip line harness. LOL!


    You should not go to Maui without taking the Road to Hana.  It has over 600 curves and 58 one lane bridges within 60 miles.  The road is narrow with barely room to pass.  You have to stop before going around curves and honk your horn to let others know you are coming.   We decided we did not want to drive this road and hired a tour guide to take us around the Road to Hana.  The scenery was beautiful.  


    I love the islands and plan to return again.  I have been twice now.  I have stayed on the Big Island and Maui.  I want to return and stay on one to the other islands.  If you travel with a group and share condo expense it is very affordable.  It ended up costing me  around $300 for the entire 8 night stay. The most expensive part of my trip was the airline tickets.  



Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review



                                     An Amish Christmas: December in Lancaster County






I love Amish stories. They take you to a place of simple country living. By simple I do not mean easy. They live lives without all the distractions that we have in our lives. No, I would not want to do without my electricity.


These four stories tell tales of forgiveness and answered prayers. I love the way these stories show the awesome work of God in four families. Of course these stories take place at Christmas time. I love that time of year.

The great thing about novellas like these is that you can finish reading them in a short time. If you don't have much time to read with your busy schedule these are a great read for you.

The downside is that I barely got into the stories and they were over. I felt like my time with them was cut short.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to read Amish stories. These four stories brought tears to my eyes and laughter to my heart as I read.

I received this book free of charge through Thomas Nelson's Book Sneeze book review program.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sourdough Bread

 
    I recently ordered sourdough start from King Arthur Flour Company.  This is the old fashioned sourdough starter.  My starter is getting off to a good start as you can see from the picture.  I have starter that uses sugar and potato flakes to feed it. I wanted to get away from all the sugar that is in that one. Every time you feed it you add 3/4 C of sugar.  This starter only takes flour and water to feed it.  The key is to not use tap water. It has to be chlorine free water. 
 
    I tried my first batch of bread this past Monday and it turned out well.  Here is the recipe I used  with a little tweeking.  I added three T. of oil and one more T. of sugar. I also made mine into regular loaves.   It turned out very well and without the large amount of sugar that the other sourdough starter has in it.
 
 

Directions

1) Combine all of the ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough.
2) Allow the dough to rise, in a covered bowl, until it's doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
3) Gently divide the dough in half; it'll deflate somewhat.
4) Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves; or, for longer loaves, two 10" to 11" logs. Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
5) Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
6) Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
7) Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.
  
 
 
    This King Arthur recipe of sourdough bread makes good sandwich bread.    The starter has to be fed once a week.  I am anxious to try more sourdough recipes in the future. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

SOAP MAKING DAYS




     The winter season is my main soap making time. Yesterday I made vanilla bath soap(pictured above).  Today I made warm vanilla sugar lotion bars.  The soap I made yesterday came out of the mold and was placed on the curing shelf. It will  have to cure for 4 - 6 weeks before we can use it. I am hoping to get several more batches made.  
          I have started making hand and body lotion. I am no longer using chemical laden lotions on my skins. The lotion I make is made of oils we can consume. Our skin is our biggest organ and we daily bombard it with chemicals. I am trying to move away from that.  The hand and body lotion I made is like a whipped body butter and it spoils my skin.  The lotion bars I made today are solid. I have always used them on my feet.






     The other day I made some arthritis salve for the first time.  Now to find out if it works or not. I have plans to make my own sunscreen and bug repellent.  I'm hoping for good results.


Monday, December 31, 2012

YEAR'S END


     Winter is upon us. We have had more snow in the last week than we have for a few years.  The last deer season is ending this weekend. I am thankful for the hunters in our family. They provide meat for our family.  I have made jerky for the first time this year and was pleased with the results.
     Now to begin work on my winter projects now that Christmas is past.  I am excited to see what God brings forth in this new year. I have begun my winter reading list. I have some biographies  of some great Christians of the past on that list.
       I pray that we all end this year with thankfulness to God for all the blessing of the past year.  I want to begin the new year with thankfulness for the blessings to come.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall Days

Fall is the most beautiful time of the year.  When fall arrives I get in the baking mood.  I have compiled two recipes into one and come up with my own honey oatmeal bread.  It has quickly become a favorite around here. Here is my recipe.

 
   Honey Oatmeal Bread
 
 
11/2 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup butter
3 1/4 cup bread flour
3 1/4 cup fresh ground wheat( or whole wheat flour)
1 cup quick cooking oats
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages of active dry yeast
2 eggs
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
oatmeal
 
Place water, honey, and butter in small saucepan.  Heat over low heat until mixture is very warm.
 
First place oats, then 5 cups of flour, salt, and yeast in mixer bowl.  If you have a kitchenaid mixer with dough hook turn to speed 2 and mix for about 15 seconds.  If you do not have the mixer then mix by hand.  Continue on speed 2 gradually add warm mixture to flour mixture and mix about 1 minute.  Add eggs and mix about 1 minute longer.
 
Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix about 2 minutes or until dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl.  Knead on speed 2 for about 7 minutes longer.  Again if you don't have a mixer then knead by hand for about 10 minutes.
 
Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
 
Punch dough down and divide in half.  Roll 1/2 of dough out to about 9 x 14 inches.  Roll the dough, then pinch the seam and pinch the ends. Place the dough seam side down in greased loaf pan and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled.  
 
Beat egg white and water together with a fork.  Brush tops of loaves with mixture. Sprinkle with oatmeal.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes ( my oven takes about 25 minutes).  Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.
 
Fall days also put me in the mood to make soap.  I will be making soap in the days ahead.  I have ordered the oils I need to replenish my soap shelves and will begin making soap when they arrive. My son-n-laws love my handmade soap and I always try to have some made and cured in time for Christmas so that I can add it to their Christmas stockings.





Saturday, June 30, 2012

Praying For Rain

  This summer is a scorcher so far. We have not had rain for a long time now. I am hoping and praying for a shower today. They say we have a 30% chance. I am watering my garden once again. If we don't get rain soon the county will put restrictions on water use.
The almanac called for a cooler than normal, but dry summer. Well, they have the dry right, but were wrong on the cooler part. It has been a long time since June has seen these high temperatures.
     My garden is growing beautifully.  I am harvesting potatoes, squash, beets, some tomatoes, and a few green beans.  I am going to be gone for a week and when I get back my green beans will be loaded.
    Next week is Q.  Greg and I are headed to Olivet Nazarene University for Q.  There will be Bible quizzers gathered from all over the globe to quiz.  It will be exciting to meet these teens from all over the world. I will post about it when I get back home and have pictures.