Candy Canes and Turkeys. I’m here for it all.

I didn’t want to leave. The sun shone on our last day there, the warmest it shone all week long. It made the water look bluer and the sailboats whiter. I saw every island in sight, dotted with trees, some reached the water, while other trees stopped at the rocky edge. Even the pool seemed inviting as I stood on our hotel room patio, viewing the ocean.

The view from our hotel’s restaurant. Luckily, we had the same view from our room.

I wanted to walk the streets, lined with colorful buildings of all kinds, such as: coffee shops, ice cream shops, bookstores, souvenir shops, museums, restaurants, water sports and bike rentals. But we had a five hour drive down the cost to Bosten. We spent two wonderful days in Bar Harbor and saw all the beauty of Acadia National Park. Maine looked just like it does in the pictures, whimsical and breath taking,

Sadly, most of the activities had shut down for the season a few weeks before we visited. I would gladly go again when everything was in season, but I doubt we ever will. Most likely, we’ll travel to different places.

I want to show my husband the geysers at Yellowstone, the cliffs of the Grand Canyong. I have high hopes of traveling to Caramel by the Sea, California. I want to visit the Red Wood Forest, Yosemite National Park, I would even want to know the feeling of driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. One day, I want to land in Iceland and kayak on a still, crisp morning. I want to walk the Caribbean beaches with my husband; hear German spoken in its own country. (My first language is low-German.) I want to hear the lakes freeze and the see northern lights shimmer in Switzerland.

If we plan another far away trip, then I hope it’ll be somewhere new. Except for Hawaii. Ask me anytime and I’ll hastily travel there again.

But as far as Bar Harbor, Maine goes, it’s definitely worth the visit. We went in late October. The weather was doable, we still enjoyed ourselves, but it was cold, rainy and somewhat windy. Some of the leaves were starting to fall, leaving some trees bare. But for the most part, the leaves still held their marvelous colors.

I expected it to be very empty that late in the year, but it was surprisingly full. Not compared to what I hear it is during the summer. Compared to what I heard, it was empty.

Any hiking trail is beautiful, but my favorite was the precipice trail. We didn’t go up all the way, although I wish we would have. We started late and wanted to avoid the dark. Also, we doubted our ability to complete it. We heard the trail ends up being mostly iron steps up steep edges.

If you ever end up planning a trip to Acadia National Park, read blog post and watch YouTube videos. They’ll help you learn everything there is to do, what not to miss and what to avoid. And if you end up staying in Bar Harbor, eat at Blaze Bar and Grill. We ate at a different place every time and out of them all, this one was amazing.

Lastly, we stayed at the Harborside Hotel, and I highly recommend this place. The service was incredible. The entire place made me feel like I was on a cozy, dreamy vacation. Originally, we booked with Holiday Inn, because when we reserved our trip, Harborside was fully booked. But when we wanted to check into Holiday Inn, they said “we’re closing our hotel, so, we reserved you a room at Harborside.” This was s complete surprise, yet a truly welcomed one.

I think we would have been happy with Holiday Inn as well. Either way, there aren’t a crazy number of good hotels in Bar Harbor, but enough to ensure a good stay. So, make your pick, whichever one works best for you, but if you’re ever wondering, you won’t regret staying at Harborside.

Back to Now

Fall continues to linger into December. Yesterday was the first day that it truly felt like the Christmas season. The day before Willie and I played tennis in warm, sunny weather. Later we watched the Christmas parade, outside in windy, cold weather. (haha) That night it dropped to fourteen degrees Fahrenheit. Sometime this week, it’s supposed to creep up to the low sixties again

. Hopefully by Christmas the cold temperatures will have settled, and we’ll be knee deep in snow. Though, that might be wishful thinking. 🙂


We ate two Thanksgiving meals this year. (And there’s yet more turkey to be had on Christmas day at my in-law’s.) Both meals tasted great. At my parent’s house, my brother’s girlfriend brought a peakon pie that melted in one’s mouth. Absolutely delicious. My mom made all the yummy fixings, and I brought the turkey, I think next time I bake a turkey I will insert melted butter with all the seasoning into the turkey.

Or I might try a recipe from the Pioneer Woman’s cookbook. My friend did that when they had us over, and that turkey was probably the best turkey I have ever tasted.

With all the good food, our amazing family and awesome friends, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving. There truly is so much to be thankful for. Not just on Thanksgiving, but all year. God is good all the time.

Christmas in Full Swing

Willie and I set up the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving Day. After, I decorated the house with everything I found in my four boxes of Christmas decor. Now our three-bedroom trailer home reminds me of all the Christmas puzzles and calendars.

I’m half-way done with my shopping. Most of which I bought on black Friday. But I still have to finished shopping for Willie, and I have no idea what else to get him! I’m shopping for four men this year and all of them are hard to shop for. (haha)

In the three weeks until Christmas, I hope to sew one skirt, one dress. Bake Christmas goodies, give some of those away in neat packages to our friends and neighbors, go ice skating and drink many cups of hot coco. For the goodies, I hope to make kringel with my mom (a Russian Mennonite food), and some of the American seasonal sweets. Baking together around the holidays is something I always look forward to.


This week, I hope to at least sew the skirt. I want to clean the garage, and one day this week, I’m planning on helping my mother-in-law paint. With my routine house chores and my writing, I’m finding it hard to squeeze in extra work. I feel like I’m always saying, “oh, I’m not busy,” yet then I go down my list of things to do and I can’t seem to do them all. (haha)

I always want to make sure I leave time to spend with my husband and my family. Some time with the Lord, and some time for myself. Otherwise, I can’t imagine that I’d be a joy to hang out with. (haha)

I also need to figure out what I want to serve for our friends Christmas dinner. Willie and I are hosting this year, it’s over a week away, and I have no idea what I’m going to make . . .

The clock is ticking. Literally. It’s about to strike nine. It’s time I call it a night.

I will write to you in January. When the days are short, and the boredom seems everlasting. Unless we visit my family in Mexico. That’ll add some spice to the hibernating winter days. (haha) I would like to visit with relatives again. 🙂

Anyways . . . thank you allowing me to share what I’ve been up to. I’m grateful that you stopped by. I hope you have a joyful Christmas and that you feel God’s peace and love, especially during this season.

Wishing the best to all of you,

Maria 🙂

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Time for Puzzles and Coffee

The autumn wind has arrived. Until now, it had been very calm for Kansas, but today we’re dealing with forty-mile-an-hour wind gust. The wind tires everyone and everything out, but if that means cooler temperatures then I’m here for it. I love summer, but I am ready for fall.

My cell phone does not do this justice.

Yesterday was a full on summer day at the lake. (One last lake trip before autumn sets in.) But it was hot! I feel like I’d be happy to go hiking with boots and many layers. Come March, I know I’ll be itching to feel the warm sun beat down on my back, but now I’m patiently waiting for crisp fall air.

The autumn “feel” arrived weeks ago. But the heat is lingering. And still the plants are dying down. One would think that if the heat held up, the plants should too. But they’re weary. Their produce is dwindling. The plants are being pulled one by one. But the colors in the garden make it all okay. When the sun shines on the storm clouds, when it highlights the golden picket fence and the orange pumpkins, I could admire the view all evening.

I’m saving the corn stocks for porch decorating–if there will be any leaves left on the stocks, after these winds. After I’m done deep cleaning next week, I think I’ll decorate the front porch area. Deep cleaning usually only takes me five days. So, hopefully I’ll be able to reward myself with a cozy porch.

It’ll be my first time decorating the porch, ever. So, I’m excited. At first I thought I would have way to many pumpkins, but now, I’m doubting I’ll have enough.


I’m getting into the sewing mood again, now after I’ve been running around outside all summer. It’s fun to create useful things out of pretty fabric. Most of the time I sew clothes for myself, but occasionally I’ll sew curtains, or in this case I sewed napkins. I’m still wanting to sew a new apron out of the two pieces of fabric you see in the picture. They’re scraps that I now have laying around, so why not. My old apron is worn and torn.


We went camping a few weeks ago–oh it’s been a while, maybe a month ago. And goodness, one day it was hot and windy, the next it was cold and breezy. Seriously cold for August. The clouds looked like they could bring snow.

Later that day we hopped in the lake, like we never huddled around a fire and pulled blankets over our shoulders for warmth. We swam; we tubed behind the boat; the lake water splashed our bodies as the boat swerved over the waves and lifted it’s nose in the air.

Despite the unexpected weather and some unfortunate events, we had a good time.

Sitting in the front, looking at the deep waters, my head held high, my shoulders set straight, holding a towel around me for warmth, I felt like Tom Sewer himself.

This picture was taking on the lake, during the sunrise and before the snowy-cold weather came. As you can see, were trying to get some early morning fishing in.

Later on today, depending on if the wind slows down or not, I might get the Kioti tractor from the farm and turn the compost pile. I’m not supper good at keeping up with it like I should. One day I might get really into it, and do it correctly, but for now I just dump the scraps onto a pile of horse manure and any plant material I might have, then hope for the best.

I spread that onto my garden soil last fall and I believe it helped this year. So, I’m wanting to do the same thing this fall. I want to spread a layer of straw over the compost and let it decay over winter. Next year, I plan to plant directly through the straw, the compost and into the soil. We’ll see if it’ll work.

The watermelons have been very good. Some not as good as others, but for growing them myself and the fact that watermelons are a hit and miss type of plant around here–I’m really happy with them. I’ve been making Rollkauken for dinner, served with watermelon and cantaloupe a lot lately.

“Rollkauken” is an old Russian Mennonite recipe. You roll out the dough, cut it into strips, twist the strips and fry them until they’re golden brown and fluffy. With sweet watermelon and salty, warm rollkauken–mmm, it taste so good!

I don’t make a lot of the old Russian Mennonite foods, but rollkauken is one of the view. I found that frying the “crullers” is a very tricky prosses. It took me a long time to learn. Because the oil can’t be to hot and it can’t be to cold, it has to be just right. Otherwise you’ll end up with doughy strips, or strips as hard and thin as crackers.

If you’re ever curious about the recipe, it can be found in the Malting Pot of Mennonite recipe book. The link’s in the title if you’re curious. The book has a lot about different Mennonite cultures as well. It has information about ten different Mennonite groups, such as: South German, Pennsylvania German, Netherlands, West Prussian, Russian and so on. My mom gave me one years ago, and I really love it.

Oh well, that’ll be it for me today. This week I’m hoping to work on my novel, clean the windows from the outside, do some extra work in the garden, do the weekly chores . . . and see whatever else comes up. I hope you all have a wonderful day. Thank you for hanging out with me. 🙂

Until next time,

Maria

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I tried baking bacon in the oven . . . it works!

The yellow glow of the the oven light shines on the kitchen floor, providing the only light in the house. A steaming pot of coffee and a rack of bacon sizzling in the oven should soon wake the household, letting them know morning has arrived. Until then, I will sit beside the dining room window, with a wilting vase of cream and yellow dahlias sitting on the kitchen table, writing.

This morning’s sun, letting us know it’s about to rise.

Now looking at the bacon, it appears it’ll be ready sooner than I thought. I still have to figure out what kind of breakfast to go along with the bacon, I can’t just serve bacon, right?

The gentle morning light looks favorably good against our still-somewhat-new picket fence. With the grass below it, and the tree tops behind it, it provides the perfect backdrop for my white clothesline.

One clothesline pole is beginning to lean. I know why too. Last summer-or the summer before-I ran into it with the lawn mower. I didn’t notice the roll bar on the mower was up, until it hit the horizontal part of the clothes line pole. The mower lifted up on it’s back two wheels. Instantly I looked back, expecting the pole to be ripped out of the ground, it wasn’t. My husband and my brother did a great job of cementing the poles into the ground. My laundry isn’t going any where.

The bacon’s ready now and I still don’t know what else to make. Maybe pancakes, or eggs. Something simple, so I think pancakes it will be.


I want to do some chores at home yet before I leave. I’m headed to a baby shower this afternoon. But us ladies, the ones who are setting up, are going to have lunch at church first. So, I’m deciding which chores to tackle first. Cut and freeze the bell peppers, fix my dress, so I can wear it later, start laundry or spray the gravel for weeds. The weeds behind the picket fence need to be sprayed as well . . .

I trimmed behind there last week. But when I heard a rattle snake, I decided to leave the snakes territory and wonder back to my own. Where I could see a snake if it came to visit, Although, I’ve fully thought out what I plan to do should a rattle snake visit, which is: load my husband’s shotgun, and aim toward the belly crawling creature. I don’t that I’d fire the gun, but I doubt I would have the nerve to walk close enough to the snake so the bullet could hit it.

Ah, who knows. 😀

But needless to say, I did not finish trimming the entire area. The weeds were so big I couldn’t see the creature, so I didn’t dare myself to continue working amongst two-feet high weeds.

Canning is mostly behind us. Tomorrow Mom and I are going to make strawberry jam and two months from now we’ll can pineapples, neither of which I plan to keep. I have a lot of jam and my husband and I don’t eat pineapples that much.

However, tomato canning has began. I’m making all things tomato every time I have enough tomatoes picked so it pays to get the canning supplies out. I did my first batch last week.

Last week Mom and I canned the last batch of pickles, beets, and froze enough corn to last us another year. Thursday I helped deep clean the church building; afterword I spent two hours in town, running every errand I’d pushed off for months. I also picked up a grocery order. That evening it rained one inch and thirty hundreds.

It’s was a busy week. But it ended with a slow, relaxing weekend.

Colorado Springs is a Great Place for a Mini Vacation With the Family

The week before last it rained a good amount so the family (Willie and I included) packed up our luggage and drove to Colorado Springs. We ziplined over streams and pine trees, in the most untouched area of the Rockies I have ever seen. We booked with Soaring Adventure Ziplines at Seven Falls. I highly recommend it, the view was amazing, the staff was supper helpful and friendly; overall it was the best ziplining I’d ever done. We also visited Cave of the Winds. Thirteen years ago, I visited with my family, but I don’t remember hardly anything from that trip.

We also visited Cave of the Winds. Thirteen years ago, I visited with my family, but I don’t remember hardly anything from that trip.

I can’t speak for my family-I know they like it-but I really enjoyed it. I hope to visit a lot more caves from now on. The whole time I marveled at God’s creation, pointing out almost every beautiful thing I saw.

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip. I cherish these moments with my husband, brother and parents. Life is so short, I want to take in every minute of it.


There’s so much I’d like to write about (haha) but no one wants to read that much. (haha) No, I better get on with my day. Hoping you all have a wonderful week.

Until next time,

-Maria 😀

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Enjoying Summer While it’s Here

Sometimes I find myself needing that little bit of “quiet time,” even though I’m by myself almost the entire day. Sometimes I just need that little bit of time to sit and rest my mind. I have a very busy mind. If I’m not thinking, I’m sleeping. And sometimes I’m simply not sleepy. (haha)

I can see my family and friends raising their eyebrows if they’re reading this. They assume I’m always sleepy. Because it happens quite a bit, but not as often as they think.

Every now and then I need to rest my mind and just enjoy the life God has given me. I don’t always allow myself to do this. I tell myself, if I’m not working, someone else is. Taking time to myself is a challenge I accepted, and this past week I allowed myself to do just that. Yesterday, I sat in the shade of our elm tree and literally watched the corn grow. I savored every cucumber bite from my Kansas cucumber salad, and relished in the flavor of my cucumber water. Then I read a book for ten minutes. After fifteen minutes, I felt rested and ready to go back to work. It doesn’t take a lot of time to feel rested-depending on how behind you are.

I’ve learned that sometimes we just need to take the time and rest.

And boy, those cucumbers were good! I’ll write out the ingredients, incase you’re also up to your knees in cucumbers and need a good way to use them.

Kansas Cucumbers

Recipe from Sandhill Favorites Recipe Book.

1 c. mayonnaise

4 T. Sugar

4 T. Vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

3-4 large fresh cucumbers, peeled and sliced

Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Pour over fresh cucumbers.

This recipe book is loaded with a bunch of good recipes. A lot of them are traditional Mennonite recipes, but there’s a bunch of other good ones too. Here’s a link to a publishing company I found that sells the recipe book online, incase you’re interested.

I went for a ride this morning with my horse, Scarlett. Usually, before breakfast I work on my novel, but this morning I really wanted to go for a ride. I had a feeling it would be a beautiful morning, and it was. The sun’s light glimmered through the cloud cracks, slowly peaking over the light blue clouds, that stretched along the eastern horizon. The corn stood still and the birds sang in the trees, as we walked along the road, carved into the earth after years of farm traffic. Scarlett snatched a few corn leaves, unable to resist the greenery, I don’t think she was impressed though. She didn’t go back for seconds. 😛

(Last time I mentioned how we don’t farm sweet corn; to clarify, the corn crop I’m talking about will be chopped while it’s still lush and green, for cattle feed during the winter. Also, it was planted late, so growing sweet corn in it was not an option.)

This picture was taken while I enjoyed my Kansas Cucumbers, a day after I groomed the dog.

The dog trimming was a success. For a first-timer, I think I did verily well. But goodness, to anyone who grooms animals for a living, y’all do hard work. After that, my back was spent. The dog walked into the house, plopped down on the kitchen floor, and acted like he was tired. He just stood on the porch steps, sitting occasionally. (Haha) He was a good boy though, he did a good job.

I had a good week, full of work, friends, and family. We didn’t get the corn freezing done, but I’m hoping we’ll get that done next week.

I also spent one afternoon at a coffee shop, laughing and talking with some amazing friends. One of these days I will take my laptop, order an ice coffee, find a cozy corner in our local coffee shop and work on my novel. Or I’ll read a book. That sounds like a vacation to me. 😀

One day . . .

I will talk to you all back here in a few weeks,

Have a good weekend guys,

Maria-

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Adventure Awaits

They said it wouldn’t freeze until November 5th, at least that’s what one weather station predicted. About five days ago, the light freeze darkened nearly all the plants. Good thing I prepared the days before. The other plants I didn’t care about, they had already produced all their vegetables, but the tomatoes and peppers still had a lot to give.

The last 2021 vegetable harvest.

I searched every tomato branch and picked every decent-size green tomato. I picked every decent-size sweet bell pepper, even a hand full of jalapenos. It brought enough sweet bell peppers for two chili ralleno meals and I think three half-pint jars of canned jalapenos.

Mom pre-fried and froze half of the sweet bell peppers. So, they’re ready whenever she decides to make chili rellenos again. I don’t make them. She usually makes some when we come over for lunch or she’ll bring me a few. And they are always really good! She fallows a memorized recipe she learned from her mom years ago. I have never had a chili relleno in a restaurant, but I imagine they taste very different, considering the dough we use is the same dough we use to make our own version of crepes.

Which is also very good! You make one crepe, set it aside, make another crepe, but leave it in the pan. Then spread whichever fruit you’d like onto the crepe in the pan, add sugar over the fruit, drizzle dough on the edge around the crepe, place the first crepe over the fruit, and ceil them together with the dough you drizzled around the edge.


Fall deep cleaning began on the last Monday in September, at dawn. That week, the men had a lot of alfalfa baling to do almost every morning, giving me the chance to start early. Because of that, I was able to take half of Wednesday off to have coffee with my mom and friend/brother’s girlfriend at the farm.

By Friday at five or six, I dumped the last bucket of water out and threw the last cleaning towels in the hamper. A few of my other chores got neglected, but it all worked out.

Now I just have to thoroughly clean the shop/garage. I’m waiting to do that until the first week of November. After our trip to Maine. Also, then my husband will have his Duramax finished and I won’t have to clean around it. I can back it out. That’s what I was waiting for.

On Saturday, after I finished deep cleaning, I did decorate the front porch area. On that day we had crisp, rainy weather and my husband didn’t have to work, so we went to the local coffee shop. We’d only done that once before, when the shop first opened, so it was a real treat. The atmosphere and the drinks . . . everything is so good there, I don’t know why we don’t go more often. You can definitely tell that the owners put a lot of thought and effort toward it.

I started decorating after the coffee shop trip. I’m happy with how the porch turned out. I’m definitely growing pumpkins again next year. It’s worth it, even if I just use them for decoration. I might try to make a puree out of them yet. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to do that though. Maybe around thanksgiving.

To celebrate . . . we went shopping!

We didn’t go crazy or anything, only walked out with a few bags. 😀 But I did buy a puzzle and a piece of fabric for a dress from Hobby Lobby. I asked my mom if she wanted to go to town with me. We had both just finished deep cleaning, and I thought as a treat, why not spend the afternoon browsing. So, that’s what we did. Of course, we had to get a coffee as well. (haha)

But I made the dress that next week yet. I also sewed a bunch of other things. At least I considered it a bunch. I tried making a t-shirt for the first time and it worked out. But I don’t think I used the right fabric. The apron I made, didn’t turn out like I thought it would, but it did work out and I’m using it all the time now. It might be my favorite.

Apple Pie. Recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.

Other than that, homemaking and writing keep me busy lately. The garden is cleaned up, all except the carrots, which I’m hoping to harvest as I need them, until the hard frost comes. A layer of manure is resting on the soil. Once we get back from Maine, I hope to spread straw over it yet. Then I can forget about gardening for five months. Except the occasional watering, to help breakdown the manure. Though, I’m hoping we get a lot of snow.

Hoping to Celebrate Three Years in Maine

My husband and I are flying to Boston, then driving up to Maine next week. Our third year anniversary is coming up. We love to take a trip around that time. Just a few days every year to get away, just the two of us and explore the country. In a few years, or so, we’re hoping to start traveling all over the world.

We did not know where to go this year! I think we thought of every corner of the U.S–for sure every corner, and so many places in between. But in the end, we decided on Acadia National Park.

I’m planning on packing a lot of layers. The weather stations predict fifty degree weather for the time we’ll be there. And we’ve been having seventy to eighty degree weather here. (It’s unusually warm, I think, for this time of year.) The temperature’s supposed to rise up to forty-four again at night next week, then rise thirty degrees by the afternoon.

Anyways, next month sometime, I’ll talk more about the trip. What we did and how it went. 🙂


Lazy Autumn Sunday at the lake.

I am going to go clean the Denali, maybe go to the bank yet, and then start dinner. Roasted Cornish hens are on the menu for tonight. Just thinking about it makes me hungry. (haha) But I better get on with my day.

Thank you for letting me share what I’ve been up to. 🙂

As always, I hope you all are having a good day, and I’ll talk to you next time.

Until then,

Maria

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