Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cookie Recipe

Never Fail Sugar Cookies

2/3 c. shortening
3 T. milk
2 eggs (well beaten)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 c. sugar 1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar

Mix dry ingredients as for pie crust. Mix in shortening. Add remaining ingredients and roll out at least 1/2 inch thick. Cut and place sugar cookies on cookie sheet. Bake at 350* for 7-10 min. until lightly golden.

Buttery Decorator Icing
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
4 c. powdered sugar
2 to 4 tbls. milk

1. In large bowl, combine butter and shortening; beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and salt; mix well.

2. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in
enough milk at high speed until light and fluffy and of desired speading consistency.

Icing can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in tightly covered container in refrigerator. Bring to room temp. and rewhip before using.

Friday, December 5, 2008

This Week--- Recitals

Monday evening, Amber held her first piano recital for her students. She had worked really hard to make it an enjoyable time for those who attended and it paid off. There were between 45-50 there. The kids did such a great job! The cutest little guy, Zachary, won the trophy for most memorized pieces. A little Chinese girl, who was absolutely adorable, played "The Snowman". (If you upsize the group pic, you can see her in the blue checked jumper/pink blouse.) I doubt she could even reach the pedals, but she did such a fine job on her piece. Clayton has been taking lessons and is really enjoying it. He's a bit different than Amber; in that, she would become so nervous before recitals she would end up sick to her stomach. Clayton actually enjoyed it and said he wished he could have a recital every week.

Amber had made around 100 cookies in the shape of music notes to pass out. She placed two in each Christmas treat bag. The picture below was taken well after the fact, so the sugar is starting to melt, etc. Let me tell ya.... These cookies were SOOOOO good!!!! We have a friend who works at Cookies-by-Design and she would bring us cookies sometimes. I love their cookies, but I think these were very comparable to theirs. Amber made them thick, which I think really helped. She had several compliments the next day when she had lessons, so I know people enjoyed them too. She used the Buttery Decorator Icing from the Pillsbury book and it's very delicious!

Last night, we went to Cinci-OH area to attend the senior recital of David Harkopf Jr. He did an absolutely phenomenal job!! His accompanist was awesome too. It seems pretty amazing that when we moved here about 10 years ago, David was around 15. This year he is graduating with his masters from Miami University in Oxford, OH. We're thrilled at how God is using David's talents in some pretty big ways. It was also great to see fellow-blogger and friend, Melanie Kuhn Clemens! I kind of had to re-introduce her to my husband. Ha! Little girls have a way of growing up!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Happy Thanksgiving

We spent Thanksgiving Day with Dan's family. Here are a few pictures from the event.

1. Dan's Dad cutting the turkey.
2. Dan's parent's pomeranian
3. Dan's parents
4. Dan's brother, Don, and his two daughters
5. Dan's sister, Cheryl, and her son, Ryan
6. Dan's sister, Kathie, and her 4 kids
7. Our family
8. The grandkids

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Such a Time as This"

I have noticed that many blogging friends have been weighing in with post election topics. I've also noticed that nearly everyone has, in some way or another, turned back to the foundational truths of our faith... our hope is in God alone, our future is bright in Him and we will trust Him come what may. I've found comfort here!
I've been having such wonderful conversations with a Catholic lady for whom I work. (We were equally disappointed that proposal two was not defeated here in MI. It was a proposition for embryonic stem cells to be used for research in a number of ways.) As I understand it, she has only recently been permitted by the Catholic priests to read the Scriptures. So many things are coming to light for her. It's just wonderful! She says she wants to surround herself with all that is holy. Yesterday, we talked about these historic times and what it means to us as Americans. No one seems to deny the extraordinary events taking place today!
I'll admit to being a bit anxious as to what the future might hold; however, I was encouraged this morning when I read a devotional so pertinent for today. I was reminded that I was placed here "for such a time as this!!" I love the story of Queen Esther! I'm sure she had some misgivings about her tremendous tasks and unrevealed future, but she didn't cower to Satan and his tactics. She faced it with God on her side and she was an over comer!!

I'll leave you with an excerpt from the last paragraph of the devotional by Carol Hobbs:

"My life is not a fairy tale, but my story begins with "once upon a time" and ends with "they lived happily ever after." Between the "once upon a time," and the "happily ever after," there is a life to live and you and I are here "for such a time as this!"
The Christian's life on earth is "once upon a time" and heaven will be our "happily ever after."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Now--- The Waiting

Well, we've just settled in for the night and are waiting for results from the election. As I mentioned in my last post, I have been a Challenger today at precinct #10 in Rochester Hills. It was a great experience and for the most part everything went by in a smooth manner. I arrived around 1:00 and the line was long with probably a half hour waiting time for voters. It was very lengthy until 3:00 and then there was a much slower influx of people coming through. It remained slow until 5:00. There were 1, 375 registered voters in this precinct- 324 had already voted by absentee ballots. As of around 5:00 p.m. 741 voters had voted today. So we were having heavy turnout.

Here are some of the interesting happenings of the day:

There were a few who came and were at the wrong place. One couple had already been to one precinct and had been directed to ours.... Ours wasn't the correct one either, so our Lead Poll Worker sent them on to another.... That would be frustrating!

One elderly lady came through the line and was going to vote, and when they looked her up they found that she had already voted absentee. She had someone with her who was wanting to help her with her ballot (had she received one). Fortunately, they had the record of her absentee... She just didn't remember voting.... That was interesting!

A man came in to vote with two large books for something to do while waiting in line. He came prepared, thinking there would be long lines.... When he came in, there was no one in line.... Kind of funny!

One man came in and there was a "red flag" with his name. He was transferred to the Lead Poll Worker and she found that he originally had not filled out the first question of his voter registration form. That question asked if he was a US citizen. He had to fill out another form, and then was able to vote, but he was not happy. I think he even told her that he was going to report her. She didn't care, because she knew she was doing the right thing.

Well, it's going to be a looooooooong night. We don't know the future, but I'm glad I know Who is in control of it all!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Worthwhile reading!

My cousin is a writer who can express her thoughts so very well through printed text. She just blogged concerning the election, and I only wish I would have thought of these things first!! Ha!! No, really, they were great! The Emporer's New Clothes analogy just put my thoughts and feelings into the perfect word picture! I'm linking to it here.

I'll be brutally honest, I e-mailed McCain's campaign way back before the primaries ever took off. I let him know that I would not be voting for him due to some issues that I won't delve into here. I have come around quite a bit since that time. Someone expressed to me their amusement about that... maybe they really knew it would happen all along, I don't know. It's a wonderful thing that we have the option of changing our minds. However, even if I hadn't "come around", after knowing all the issues at stake, there is no way I could have sat at home on election day. I will go to the polls to cast my ballot for McCain. A vote for Obama is a vote for so many things that we just can't allow to happen in our country. Hopefully, you have all taken the time to know about these issues. Click here for a website with a voter's guide.

I'm a volunteer with the Republican party, and received a call to be a challenger at the polls this year. I'm not sure what all will be involved with that. I have been a runner before, but never a challenger. From what I'm hearing, there's quite a bit more involved. So, it should be an interesting day tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Happy Pirate

Dave and Pattie Hartkopf had us over for pizza Halloween night, and Clayton dressed up like a pirate. He went trick or treating in their neighborhood. I knew that I didn't want to put much money into a costume. Pattie had suggested that he be a pirate. I went to the Dollar Store and found a kit that had the eye patch, ear ring, and a hook for him to hold in his hand. Then I bought the bandana and Amber figured out how to tie it to fit the occasion. He wore the white shirt and black pants, with a sword on his side. So all in all I only paid $2.00. Not bad! People seemed to like his costume. Some of the men would answer the door and say, "Aaargh!" He also received comments like, "Ahoy, Matey!", and "Here's a happy pirate." It was a fun night!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How Many Presidents Has Your Life Spanned?

This is for my Dad. We were leaving a restaurant last evening, and Dan was specifically naming the US Presidents in office since he was born in 1967. He counted 8. That's when Clayton spoke up, "Wow, Pap must have lived through 100 then!"

Love ya, Dad!

Happy Belated B-day!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

October Already?

Isn't it hard to believe? I just decorated today for Fall. Wasn't really sure if I was ready for that, but now that it's done I'm glad I did. Now, I'm anxious to go to our local Cider Mill. We have already purchased some of the honeycrisp apples. I'm not sure that these are available in other states, but they are the best!! We have been keeping very busy with school/work routine. Amber is in 11th grade this year and has 15 students in her piano teaching, so that keeps her very busy. Clayton is in 4th grade.

We are to have our Missionary Representatives, the Asburys, with us for a special service tomorrow. It's always great to have them here! I'm planning a traditional ham dinner. Bro. Asbury is gluten intolerant so I have fixed a black cherry jello salad and peanut butter cookies especially for him. I also usually have ice cream, because I know that's a dessert he can eat.

We have received news this past week that some dear friends, Harold & Chris Black, from our church will be moving away to St. Louis, MO. due to a job transfer. We will greatly miss them!

Next week is our area IHC Convention with Jim Plank and Don Bates Jr. We look forward to that.

That's all for now. Who knows? Next time I update, it may be Christmas! Hopefully, though, there will be time between now and then.

Amber just returned from spending a week in IN. She was a nanny to my sister's boys while she and her husband were away in California. She learned what it was like to be in charge of a household, which involved getting up to take my nephew to school each day, etc. It worked out really well. They were able to celebrate my Dad's b-day while she was there, which was a really fun time.

Here's a new interest Clayton has... card stacking. I thought it was pretty cool!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Revival with the Millers

It was such a delight to have Rev. & Mrs. Henry & Jan Miller with us last week in Revival at our church. Their sweet spirit in ministry was an awesome welcome to our church congregation. On Friday night, Bro. Miller told his life story of his amish background and how God led his parents into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. On Sunday morning he preached a "Masterpiece " of a sermon from the title, "We have an altar". They sing so beautifully and with such ease. Some may not know of Jan's musical background. She is so talented, with an ear for music, as well as an education from Cincinnati Conservatory.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Our Vacation

We left on Labor Day for Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area for vacation. My sister's family and my parents joined us there. We had booked a cabin last December and had waited a long time for this day to arrive. There were three full days for us to be there, so each family planned and prepared the meals for one day. Actually, it seemed my mom ended up being involved in every meal in one way or another. I tried to tell her to go relax, but she has such a servant's heart, so I guess it just comes natural.

We had a wonderful time staying up in the mountains. The cabin where we stayed was very nice and had an air hockey table, arcade games, and a tree house. The kids certainly had plenty to do. We took Pit, Dutch Blitz, and Mad Gab. Those were a lot of fun!

One of the highlights for us was going to Tony Gore's BBQ Restaurant. We missed seeing Kirk Talley. He had worked the day before. Tony Gore was there though. We had such a sweet older lady as our waitress. She was a lot of fun to get to know. The signed photos of southern gospel artists on the wall were really neat. The southern gospel music playing throughout the restaurant was refreshing! The food was very tasty! I had bbq ribs, baked beans, and cole slaw. The caramel, chocolate cheesecake was very scrumptious! I told Tony, "there's a knack for making that kind of food". He said that they work very hard at it. I would definitely go back if I was in the area again.

We took the kids to ride go-carts. We also played Lazertag for the first time ever. Talk about feeling young again! I was running through those mazes as though the devil was on my trail.

I really want to go back down there when we have more time. I know we missed a lot of the attractions I would have liked to have seen. Time just flew by, and we wanted to enjoy the cabin and being together. We basically just went out once a day and did something we wanted to do, and then spent the rest of the time at the cabin.

Below are just random pics. I don't really have time to put them in order or make comments on them. We're in Revival this week at our church, so I will try to post more later.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Amber!!

Amber turned 17 this past Monday. She had some friends in from Indiana over the weekend. We had Dan's sister, Cheryl, and nephew, Ryan, here also. We did have a blast!! I tell ya, these teens will keep you hoppin'! Saturday we played volleyball. Sunday night, we had Dave & Pattie, Wes & Jen, David and Jessica Hartkopf after church. The kids played Swap. Monday we played PIT. Have you ever seen an adrenaline rush in action??? I got so tickled, watching Ryan, my nephew. Whenever he almost had a "corner" in Pit, his face would get red and he would start to talk louder and louder. It was hilarious!!

Many thanks to Wes and Jen for reviving the ancient game of Pit. They picked the game up for us at an amish store up north. I hadn't played it in years.

We had Amber's actual b-day dinner Monday evening. I had found some simple firefly decor, which we used for the theme.

With all the hoopla, I didn't get as many pictures of everyone as I would have liked, but we certainly do have memories to last a lifetime!

Here's Amber with her gift from her "special someone". If you look closely you can see the "Indianapolis Colts" chain around its neck. It's so adorable... If only she can keep our dog, Buddy, away from it. He acted like he thought it was a toy for himself. That didn't go over very well, as you can imagine.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. Mine is busy. I have taken on several housecleaning jobs. We've been enjoying wonderful Michigan weather, and are looking forward to a family vacation to Gatlinburg in about 3 weeks.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Third Licensed Driver in the House!

I can hardly believe I have a daughter old enough to have her license!

She has had her permit for quite awhile. There is such a process anymore in going through 2 segments of driver's ed, documenting driving times (daytime and nighttime), etc. Last week she took the test and then we headed to the Secretary of State's office. We were excited for her. It was kind of funny as we all walked up to the desk to present the final documents and to pay the fee... One of the ladies who worked there asked the lady who was waiting on us if we were all together. The lady working with us jokingly answered, "Yeah, we're going to do a family photo here in a bit." I think Clayton's just as excited as she is about it. I believe it was three- four days later before she actually drove anywhere by herself. Clayton likes to go with her. He makes a good "sidekick" I'm sure.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer Days... Raspberry Pie!

About a month ago now, I took on some house cleaning jobs. It's been interesting and enjoyable meeting new people and entering their homes in such a way.

One lady has several acres of land and probably at least 5-6 extravagant flower gardens, a bountiful vegetable garden, and a long row of black raspberry bushes on the south side of her property. She had told me recently that I was welcome to pick them when they became ripe enough. She mentioned that the birds and deer usually get to them first.

Just today I was amazed at how many had ripened since I was there just over a week ago. They weren't very big, but the did seem to be ripe. We (Amber and Clayton helped too) picked several today, and I had thought of how wonderful it would be to make a raspberry pie. It's been years since I've had one.

I guess I'll just go ahead and admit, it's been awhile since I've done anything so.... fulfilling to my culinary ambitions. (*smile) I make several types of cream pies, but I don't "do" fruit pies. My Mom makes an awesome apple pie, usually mainly for Amber- I think. Amber fell in love with it several years ago now. There will probably never be an apple pie like Mamaw's apple pie. Anyways, back to the raspberries... I wasn't even sure we had picked enough to make an 8" pie. I got them home, spent about 15 minutes looking each one of them over to make sure they were completely clean, rinsed them, and prepared them to cook. I even kind of felt good about my raspberry stained fingers and scratched arms! I cooked the raspberry filling and then had to let it cool for about an hour. What a process!! I felt like I was back in the olden days! Finally, it was all put together and I was able to bake it. And yes, I've been the only one to try to it so far!!! Dan didn't care for a piece. He's kind of a creature of habit, and raspberry pie isn't a habit. Ha! Clayton was a bit "iffy" about trying it. Oh well, this "Mother Hen" just ate a piece of homemade raspberry pie topped with ice cream, and it was absolutely scrumptious!!! Amber was on the phone and so I shared a bite of mine with her and she seemed to really enjoy it. I'm just hoping someone will come along for which I can share it, because I certainly don't need the whole pie!! Ha!

Here are some pictures. Don't let your mouth water too much. Ha!
I'm sure you won't when you see my fancy lattice work.
But, hey, I'm not well versed at this.

I really could have doubled the recipe for the raspberry filling, because there would have been room in my pie crust for another portion.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pilgrim Youth Camp 2008

The highlight of my summer is still Pilgrim Youth Camp. It's a tradition I hope to pass on for many more generations. The past couple of years Pilgrim Youth Camp has been growing in number. Last year we broke our record and had 176 campers.

On a personal level, I'm involved in taking photos throughout the week. I have them developed nearly every day and then sell them to the campers. It seems to be something they really enjoy. I believe this year we sold about 200 pictures. The night of the banquet can be a bit overwhelming with trying to take so many pictures in a short period of time, but it's a lot of fun! I am usually involved with Bible Bowl too. This year I was a quizmaster. The experience is amazing... to see kids who have studied so hard get so involved! Our staff, specifically Ruth Nichols, has been on the cutting edge of adapting Bible Bowl to still be fun and relevant, even after many years of using this game among our youth. In recent years we have started inserting bonus questions from the evangelist's evening messages. These kids really are intent upon listening and then being able to answer the questions, sometimes even before the full question is given. Amber studied hard this year, but we had no idea she would be at the top of the list as far as points earned in Bible Bowl. I knew her good friend, Amber Petty, was certainly earning a lot of points for her team. So whenever President Zeigler announced the 2nd place winner as.... Amber--- I just automatically assumed it was Amber Petty. Anyways, we were pleasantly surprised to find out Amber Plemmons had come in second place, receiving a gift certificate to Wal-mart. And we were very excited that Amber Petty came in 1st, as Amber Petty is 19 and this is her last year.

More than any of these things, was the awesome sense of God's presence among our young people, many who are street kids who are in need of so much love and attention. The Tuesday night service has been talked about a lot, as it lasted around 4 hours. Some serious conversions took place. It was great to see some of them back at Family Camp testifying to how they had gone home and witnessed to their unsaved family members.

This year was extra special to me because my sister brought her son, Carson, to join us for the week of youth camp. He is only 11, so wasn't able to be a camper this year, but I thought it would kind of prepare him for if he was able to come next year. We had so much fun with him. He's such a good kid!! He really enjoyed himself.

Here are a few photos of my family. There will be many others available for viewing on the Pilgrim website.

1. Amber and the annual first night tug-of-war. 2. Clayton and Carson with those classic Pixie Sticks. 3. It was pretty cool, Carson and Clayton were asked to show the campers how to do this afterglow event of holding a ball between their arms without touching it with their hands. It was a relay activity. 4. Carson, Ryan Burley and Clayton 5. With Amber 6. Carson and Clayton, ready for the banquet set up for the "staff's kids". 7. Amber trying to get out an answer for Bible Bowl (Brandon Petty on right.) 8. Bro. Zeigler and Amber 9. Amber with her date (Seth Fish) for the banquet