Post Thanksgiving musings

Well, it is the day after Thanksgiving, that day when so many people shop and refer to this holiday as Black Friday.  Me, I am not a shopper but did get out and go to my favorite shop in the world today.  Material Girl Quilt Shop in Centralia MO is a wonderful experience so I was excited to go there today.  I found some beautiful material that I just finished creating a pattern for that I saw a picture of and decided I could make a variation of.  Oh, my goodness, I am not sure I am going to be able to give this one away.  Sorry Shawna!  It is going to be made out of batik material and I can’t wait to finish it and post pictures pre-quilted and post quilted because Jan Forsee is amazing always with her quilting ideas for me.

And then because my husband doesn’t like leftovers and we cooked over 35 pounds of meat for his family’s thanksgiving dinner, I decided today to make some food and freeze it and take it to our local sheltered workshop that serves vulnerable adults in our community and gives them employment opportunities.  So we have turkey and noodles as well as turkey and stuffing frozen tonight for them.  I have almost a weeks worth of food for somewhere between 40-60 employees that eat at Kingdom Projects Inc.  We are trying to make our workshop more profitable and if I can help feed them for at least one meal, I am happy.  If you are interested in helping out, contact me and I can help you make contact with them.

This year instead of focusing on what I was thankful for, I decided to focus on the giving part.  I even talked to the children in our church about the importance of giving, even if it was just a hug to their parents.  So I have been trying to do more giving this month and it really makes me happy to see little things become so important to others.    I think I will continue to do this for the rest of the year and it may become my New Year’s Resolution.  I like it to be random and very few people to know about it.  Some times, it may just be as simple as a smile at someone who looks like they really need it, slipping a little present to someone or maybe making a meal for Kingdom Projects when I find myself with extra food.

So from our family, we are giving all of you a big hug today and may your life be a little brighter.

It has been a long time since I was on here and I have missed you all.

Let’s see what has happened.  DH had hip replacement in March and is doing awesome with it, now he has a knee that is bothering him.  At this rate by the time he is ready for retirement, he will be bionic!

Spring came and a huge garden, the kids and grandkids put the garden in with us this year.  Once again our tomatoes were superstars.  We quit taking 5 gallon buckets to the garden and used the wheelbarrow to take them to the produce table about every other day.  Peppers have done well, okra (which we never grew before) did awesome!  not so much for the cantaloupe, something kept eating it and I strongly suspect grashhoppers!, butter nut squash, Oh My Gosh.  I bet we have between 70 and 90 and they are still blooming!

Work is so busy and we have not slowed down since January but it is all good and something different every day.

Mr. B wrestled this winter (still don’t understand it), he played t-ball and did very well, hit several triples and doubles and made several outs.  Ms. A danced and was so cute, she has learned she loves to sing and knows all the words and motions to “Frozen”.  Mr. R is still a Papa’s boy and shadows him everywhere.  When Papa was in the hospital after surgery (that very night) R insisted that he get in bed with Papa and of course he was allowed to and laid right there next to Papa and was content!

Mowing the yard and church has been a challenge this year because we have had rain when we need it and between that, the garden and work for both of us, it has taken some pretty creative scheduling to keep everything looking good.

Most of my quilting has been put on the back burner because we have been so busy but with the weather cooling off, the garden and yard will slow down so I can get back to that.

It is time to start back to Kids For Jesus in about 10 days and I am excited to see all the littles again.  I have missed them this summer and I didn’t get to help with Vacation Bible School because of my work schedule so that makes me doubly excited to get back to work with these kids.  A heart bursting moment I guarantee you all, when you hear your grandchildren recite the Lord’s Prayer during Church service.  I guarantee it will make you cry with joy to know they are being trained up in God’s ways and Grace!  Plus they have awesome teachers at Church and a great babysitter.  Our church held VBS this year with a new preacher and according to the kids it was great.  They ended up with a camp out in the parking lot and breakfast the next morning.  Thanks so much Pastor Rebecca!  You are amazing.  She has a son that is 6 weeks younger than Mr. B and they have become great friends.

Now it is soccer season with the grandchildren, instructional of course, they are too young for anything else.  Makes me glad because another sport that Nanny and Papa know nothing about, luckily Caleb (Shawna’s boyfriend) does and plays with them!

I promise I won’t let it be so long next time and I promise I will be telling you all about Craft Day that is coming up in 3 weeks.  Oh gosh, now that really made me nervous, better get busy getting ready to have a pie baking marathon with the girls and slip some cornbread in there as well!!

Hope your spring/summer has been good.

Our grandkids always want us to make up stories to tell them. First question is fiction or non-fiction. Brock always wants a non-fiction story so I usually end up telling him a story about his mom and aunt growing up.
This is a story I haven’t told them and I believe it is a fiction story or at least I have never seen this happen.
So, as a fiction story starts, here goes…
Once upon a time, there was a husband and wife that lived together in the country. The wife loved to sew quilts in the winter time. She had been gathering quite a pile of quilt tops and material during the spring, summer and fall.
**Side note:a quilt top is just what you think it is, the top of the quilt, there has to be batting and a back quilted to the top for it to truly be a quilt. AND gathering quite a pile of material is called a stash or as the wife’s children call it “hoarding”.
One day on the weekend when the weather was bad as it seems to get sometime in Missouri winters, the wife decided to do a little stash busting (see the explanation above!!) and get those backs complete so she could send them to the quilter. See, most quilts take anywhere from 3-6 yards of material to properly cover the back and this wife likes to piece backs so they are not plain. It makes them more interesting and have more character. She explains to the hubby that she is trying to get rid of some of that material that just appeared over the summer in her sewing room. And she actually had 18 quilt tops to get ready. He said he would take care of the housework if she wanted to sew all weekend.
(This next part might or might not be the fiction part).
So the hubby, while doing house work, cleaning and doing dishes, decided he needed to wear an apron. The wife was a loving wife and didn’t take any pictures to share with the world so you just have to visualize it in your mind. Remember this guy is 6’2″ and weighs somewhere around 245 pounds! By taking care of the housework, the husband allowed the wife to stash bust almost 50 yards of material.

While most of this story is true, there are parts that are fiction but the hubby’s cousin thought it would be funny to write this story, so Kent Hanan, here is a story just for you.  Sorry there are no pictures but I am sure you can use your imagination.



To my mother! Today you are another year older. I wonder when you were a little girl growing up in town and visits to the big city was an adventure for you if you thought your life would take you on the journey you have been on.
Did you know you would raise 4 kids that are totally different but in some ways just alike? Did you know you would marry into a huge family and spend your life on a farm, learning all about that way of life that was so totally different from your childhood? Did you know those same in-laws would be more like brothers and sisters than you ever imagined possible?
I remember you telling us stories of growing up. Of course, you all may not have had much money, but you always had family around and cousins to play with and get in trouble with right? And you all still visit (sometimes only on facebook, but still visit!) to this day. Paper dolls and dollies seemed to be your toys of choice. I remember you talking about visiting Aunt Gin and Uncle Tom, what an amazing role model she was/is for you. The funniest story was of you and one of the cousins hiding in Grandpa’s dump truck and he found out just before his truck was loaded. I bet you gave him a few gray hairs that day and it has been a good story to pass along to your kids.
I know it is crazy to think about all the things you have seen change in your lifetime. Farming in the 60s is very different from now, we used to haul hay in a 3/4 ton pickup and you let us ride on the top of the load (taught us to be excellent at stacking!), going to Illinois to get peaches and yes they are still my favorite fruit, I think because my subconscious mind remembers all the fun times we had. You and Dad always worked together as a team and were an excellent example of what a marriage should be. When things got hard, you all never quit. There were lots of hard times during those years on the farm.
When Grandpa was so sick and in the hospital, you would go to see him everyday and he grew to expect those visits, you were his little girl to the very end. And then years later when Granny was diagnosed with cancer, you stepped up to the plate and took her home, put your job on hold to take care of her. She appreciated that so much and you were such a blessing to her.
Thanks for reminding me a couple of years ago that I love gardening and sharing my bounty with others. You love to spoil the grandkids and great grandkids and are the happiest when everyone is around. July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the highlights of your year because everyone tries to get home to see you all. Plus you always make a ton of food for everyone.
I know it sometimes slips other’s minds because your birthday is around Christmas but I wanted to be the first to wish you a very special day and I hope it is everything you hope for.
We love you.

Merry Christmas

If you have not received a Christmas letter from me by January 1st, I hope you can read this on here. Life has been a little crazy so yes I am very late getting my letter out. Promise to try to do better next year.
December 2013~~~Merry Christmas from Jimmy and Mylene. We hope your year has been as blessed as ours has. Jimmy is keeping busy with his job at Kingdom Telephone as well as all the other things he does, lawn care, gardening, helping out the neighbors when they call him, whatever he is doing it seems he is busy all the time. He recovered very nicely from shoulder surgery and the surgeon was amazed how well he has healed up. Mylene is busy with her job as well, teaching food classes throughout the county and has taught a couple of other “food related” classes as well, food dehydration and storage, emergency preparedness food storage and edible holiday gifts. She has really enjoyed this opportunity to help her friends become more prepared for the food markets to come. She also helped with a disaster preparedness exercise in July to help our citizens know what to do when and if there is an emergency.
We had a garden this year, only 32 tomato plants, 40 bell pepper plants, onions, lima beans, squash, jalapeños, Anaheim peppers and cantaloupe, everything grew very well and we were able to store food for the winter as well as share with others, providing some tomatoes and bell peppers for the Post Office Bar and Grill in Fulton. One of the neighbors provided us with sweet corn and Mylene’s brother gave her green beans and pears! Saying we are blessed in our community is an understatement. Everyone is always willing to help out.
We had so much snow last winter and it looks like we are going to have more this winter. Prayers that everyone stays safe when it is bad out. Then the summer was not as hot as last but it was still rather warm and dry again this summer.
Ryker James Stemme made his entrance on January 16th, 2013 at 1:07 am, which is Mylene’s Aunt’s birthday as well, one day after Mylene’s parents 53rd anniversary. He is such a sweet baby, walking at 10.5 months because he couldn’t let his sister and brother get away from him. They love him so much and it is fun to watch them interact with him. He is Papa’s boy and wants to be everywhere Papa is and will throw a fit if he can’t go.
Brock started kindergarten this year and has Mrs. Warbritton and loves school. I asked him last weekend if he still likes school and he said “What do you think, of course I do!”. He amazes me every time I see him how much he has learned, spelling, math, reading (although he says he can’t read really good yet but he is working on it). And he has lost two teeth, with two more loose. He is over 4 feet tall and weighs 70 lbs. He has just started wrestling practice with a meet soon. Good luck buddy, you are going to have to teach Nanny and Papa about wrestling because we know nothing about it.
Adrianna is the leader of the younger kids at Agnes’ house. She is going to school with Ms. Agnes according to her and loves working on it. She is in dance in Centralia and has a good time, learning to twirl a baton as well. Can’t wait to see how she does. She always wants to help in the kitchen, baking goodies as she says. She is so much like her mommy and Aunt Sha-Sha, sometimes it is like stepping back in time.
Blessings to you and yours during this holiday season and I hope each of you get to hear the wondrous story of Jesus’ birth sometime during Christmas. It is amazing and so special each time we hear it and want each of you to be blessed as well.

I have lots of pictures on Facebook to see how everyone is doing. We recently took a picture of the whole family at my parents house outside in the snow but the weather was nice.

Merry Christmas and happy new year from the Dunns.

Jimmy and Mylene

How many of you get junk mail on a daily basis? Or newspapers, bills you pay on-line, catalogs, magazines or any other thing that is made of paper and you can recycle? Junk mail drives me crazy as well as catalogs that I don’t request.  If I ordered your product on-line, why do you think I will look through a catalog that you send?  I don’t, they immediately go in the recycle bag.  When we get enough, we shred it and put it in the garden as a ground cover to keep weeds down and it breaks down rather quickly and helps the soil.  When we have more than we need for the garden, it will go in the compost pile.  Jimmy just made me a new (and BIG) compost area.  We have corn shucks, cobs, tomato cores, and other left overs from all the canning/dehydrating, freezing we have done from the garden, next will come leaves and chipped sticks/limbs and one day soon, we will have beautiful soil to add to the garden.

We have shredded almost 8 huge bags for the garden alone this year and it has also helped with holding moisture in the ground instead of it evaporating.  That has been a huge deal this summer while it has been significantly dry once again.

What is the recycling saying, “Turning trash to cash”, well that is what we are doing because our grocery bill has been reduced greatly this summer and I have tons of food dehydrated, waiting for cooler weather cooking.

So the next time you complain about junk mail, save it, take it somewhere that has a cross-cut shredder and enhance your soil or check your office to see if they are trying to get rid of shredded paper.  You might be surprised how much it helps your garden, whether it is vegetable or flower.  One word of caution, if it has colored ink, sometimes it contains metals, which if you add manure (especially poultry) it will break down the metals and make it safe for your vegetable garden.

Happy composting everyone.

It has been a busy summer

As the “last” weekend of summer has arrived, I realize it has been a while since I posted. It has been one of the most busy summers I can remember. It has also been kind of odd summer as well. August came in with beautiful cool weather (well, 70s and 80s are very cool for August here), but the last two weeks were brutal with highs hovering close to 100 degrees with heat advisories most days. It has also been very dry once again this year. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago we had more rain in the summers than we wanted. Irrigation lakes are being pumped way down once again this year and the winter prediction from the Farmer’s Almanac says another snowy winter. I am praying they are wrong.
I started teaching a food dehydrating class and have many fruits and veggies dehydrated and have enjoyed the bounty of our garden this year once again. We have been supplying a local restaurant with tomatoes and I have almost 3 gallons of dried tomatoes that will taste wonderful this winter/spring when there is not a good tomato to be found locally. Neighbors have been very generous with sweet corn as well. We never plant it in the garden because so many of the neighbors plant a patch in their field and share. This is the first year we have grown bell peppers with any success. On Tuesday of this past week, Jimmy picked 10 gallons of bell peppers and helped me slice all of them and into the dehydrator they went.
The grandkids have kept us busy, Brock was on a competitive swim team this year and loved it. He started kindergarten this fall and is doing well. He is also talking about wrestling so that will be fun to watch and will be something new for us. Adrianna is the dancer/singer/entertainer in the family, she is always making us sit and watch her performances. She made a deal with Nanny and Papa that she will help around our house so she can earn money for her dance classes. She is going to Centralia to take these classes this year so she will be making lots of new friends. Ryker is 7 1/2 months old and is crawling everywhere and pulling up and walking around things. Don’t think he is going to wait to walk. He has too many things to do, like keeping up with everyone else. He is such a sweet baby, happy most of the time but doesn’t like to sleep, I think he is afraid he is going to miss something!
Jimmy and I keep ourselves busy at our jobs and after work. Most of the time we don’t get in the house until dark because we are working on the yard or in the garden. Not mowing much right now because it is so dry, but other things keep us busy. We build a new compost pile and are trying to keep it going with all the scraps from the produce from the garden. The squirrels have found it and love to come steal their supper. Brock told them to go ahead and steal that food because they will be food for us this winter. I think he has plans to learn to shoot!
KFJ starts this Wednesday and I am excited to see all the little ones again, some have moved up from our class and will be in the 4-year-old class (like Adrianna), but we will get new ones to get to know better and lead them to learn about God and Jesus and their love for children and how they should act. It is always fun to see them grow in God’s love. So if you are in the neighborhood (or don’t mind driving to Hatton every Wednesday), and have kids between 2-18, bring them to Pleasant Grove at 6:00 pm for a wonderful couple of hours that includes supper. Thanks to all the ladies and men that help prepare supper for these kids and teachers, we appreciate you more than you know.
Hope your summer has been a good one and make we have a beautiful fall season and safe harvest.


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