Monday, May 28, 2012

Just Life

The other day I got a MacBook Pro so I won't have to be trying to find time on my family computer anymore to write my blog posts.  I am really loving it right now.  I was able to spend all morning outside siting in a lawn chair drinking lemonade and working on editing my novel and listening to fun celtic music on Pandora.  The best part of it was that the temperature was comfortable with a  nice hearty breeze blowing through and birds were singing all around me and too my left and right I can see the corn waving gently in the breeze.  I have a nice short "To Do" list for today and my brothers are all gone on an insect trip (don't ask).  Maybe my mom, sisters and I will watch a "girl" movie or something.  Coming soon on my blog will probably be another blog post on a movie I watched the other evening so don't miss it.  Until then! :)

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Favorite Pie Recipes

A couple years ago I finally started making pies.  My favorite flavors to make are apple and peach.  These pies aren't too hard and they don't involve making complicated top crusts or difficult meringues that always veered me away from every wanting to make pies.  Hope you enjoy these recipes, I certainly do!

Perfect Peach Pie with a touch of Spice
Pastry for 9-inch pie crust and top crust of cookie cutter cut shapes
¾ cup sugar                                                      3 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon                     Dash of salt
5 cups sliced fresh peaches                              2 tablespoons butter 
Line 9-inch pie plate with pastry.  Combine sugar, flour, spice, and salt.  Add to peaches; mix lightly.  Fill pie shell.  Dot with butter.  Dash with extra spice if desired.  Roll out additional pie dough and cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Lay these shapes on top of your pie to form a crust.  Bake at 400˚ (375˚ if using glass pan) for 40-45 minutes.

Apple Crumb Pie
Mix together 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 5-6 apples and place in a crust lined pie pan.  Dot with 1T buter.
Crumb Topping:  Mix together 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup flour.  Sprinkle topping on pie.
Bake at 425˚ for 50-60 min.  If using glass pan bake at 400˚

Pie Crust
1 C flour          1/4 C vegetable oil
3/4 tsp. salt     2 1/2 T ice water
Sift together flour and salt.  Pour oil and cold water into measuring cup.  Do not stir.  Add all at once to flour mixture.  Stir lightly with a fork.  Form into a ball. Roll between two 12” squares of wax paper.  Peel off top sheet of waxed paper and fit dough, paper side up, into pie plate.  Remove paper.  Trim edge and flute by pressing dough with forefinger against wedge made by finger and thumb of other hand. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hardy Boys vs. Nancy Drew

I have to admit I have read ten times more Hardy boys books than Nancy Drew books but I have also heard other females agree with me when I say that even though I am a girl, I like the Hardy Boy books better.  It just always seemed to me that the Nancy Drew books just didn't have "it".   What that "it" is I really couldn't say however I always found the Hardy Boy books to have that "it".  Somehow the Nancy Drew books never worked for me and maybe it seriously was because she was a girl.  I know that sounds weird but let me try to explain what I mean.  Perhaps it worked better for me to see two boys (the Hardy Boys) getting in and out of scrapes because that is what boys do.  It is their natural habitat.  If you have brothers you know what I mean.  Girls though, while they do have that tomboy phase when they are younger (at least sometimes), aren't doing that when they are 18 years old (she is 18 right?).  That could just be me but it makes sense to me at least. :)  What are your thoughts?  Do you like Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew better and why?

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sunset in Kansas

The other evening my two younger brothers and I went for a walk across the river and past the woods out to the prairies about a mile from our house.  Our intent was to capture pictures of the sunset.  Unfortunately its was kind of cloudy but we still got some fairly good photos. 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Something Sweet

I can assume that I am not the only person who hits a point in the day (normally afternoon) when I am really craving something sweet.  Of course that something sweet is preferably something chocolate.  With it being so hot nowadays (in Kansas at least) whatever chocolaty something sweet you want is much preferred to be non-baked so you do not have to turn on the oven and roast all occupants in the house.  Therefore, the only logical solution considering the above criteria is ...

No-Bake Cookies!!!
1 stick margarine or butter
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup milk
Bring to a boil.  Stirring continuously, boil for 2 minutes.  Take off heat and add 1/2 cup peanut butter, 3 cups oatmeal, 4 tablespoons cocoa, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Stir.  Drop onto wax paper and let cool.  Refrigerate.


Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Children and Children's Books

Today while at work (I am a student worker at a college library) I had the job of going through the junior fiction collection and weeding out all of the books that hadn't been checked out at all in the last three years.  This gave me a lot of food for thought and several points came up in my mind.

First off, I was shocked at how many great and oftentimes classic children's books had not been checked out even ONCE in the last three years.  For example: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Peter Pan, Anne of Green Gables, Pippi Longstocking, and The Wind in the Willows.  There were several more that I can't recall right now but you get my point.  The list is astounding.  This led my to my second thought.

I confirmed for myself my already formed opinion that children in America do not read very much at all anymore and when they do read they don't read the classics but instead whatever is the latest and greatest (but normally not the best).  I suppose that generalization doesn't apply to homeschool kids such as I but I think it is pretty fair.  I was disturbed at some books that staid on the shelves that all I had to do was read their backs to know they weren't nearly in the same class as those great and oftentimes classic books that I was removing.

My last thought was that I am very glad my parents were heavily involved in my education and my father gave me great books to read as a kid, helping me to develop my tastes for good books.  My home library consists of several thousand books (I do not joke) and I can confidently say that I have read at least a thousand of them, if not two thousand.  That is how much my father had me read as a kid and then, as I grew up, how much I made myself read.  Reading was and is an important part of my family's education and life and I am glad it is like that.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kids' Books and The Chronicles of Prydain

I am an unashamed re-reader of books that I read as a kid. There, its out.  Personally, I don't see why anyone thinks one shouldn't read those books just because now one is "grown up".  In part it is because I want to know what to give my future kids and also in part because those books are still just as good as they were when I was reading them for the first time ten or so years ago.  There is a reason some of those authors won awards... their books were good.

Anyways, I wanted to give that dissertation before writing what I set out to write this blog post on. :)

My little brother (one of the many) was talking to me about a series he was reading the other day that I had read when I was young (and have re-read far too many times to mention). As he got talking about them I decided I would really like to re-read them (again).  However, I don't know how many of y'all (my blog readers) have read them even thought I believe they are quite popular so I wanted to share about this fun series.  The Chronicals of Prydain are composed of five books: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Lyre, Taran Wanderer, and The High King.  They follow the adventures (and misadventures) of Taran who is an assistant pig keeper but a wannabe hero.  The chronicles are full of great characters including the strange creature Gurgi (who always wants "crunchings and muchings"), Fflweddur Fflam (who if he tells a lie or exaggerates one of his harp strings will break... they break a lot), and Eliowny (who has a fiery temper and whenever she unleashes it on Taran she declares "Taran, I'm not talking to you ever again).  The young AND the old will enjoy these engaging stories and you may find yourself smiling and realizing that you may just be like Taran... a wannabe hero.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spring Beauty

I seriously couldn't think of anything to post about so I started looking through what photos I had.  Apparently, my siblings took hundreds of photos of flowers, butterflies, sunsets and trees that are rather beautiful.  Therefore, my wonderful blog readers get to look at pictures of flowers, butterflies, sunsets and trees today. :) Enjoy!

Also, if you haven't noticed, I have a poll up on the side bar about how I can improve my blog.  Make sure you vote! 

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Officially Finished... With Highschool That Is

After years of schooling, I am officially and finally finished with highschool.  Last Friday I walked across the stage at the TPA graduation ceremony and accepted my diploma from my father and my mother moved my tassel over from the right to the left.  Hopefully this time next year I will be writing excitedly about being accepted into Butler's nursing program.  That, though, is hours and hours of studying away but I know that is not an unrealistic hours and hours of studying away.  I am already almost there and I know that if God has foreordained that I will get there, I will.
So here is to the future- whatever God has predestined.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Highschool and Beyond: Reflecting on my Past, Present, and Future

Yesterday I went to the store and got a travel mug so this morning I was able to make a cup of tea and bring it with me to work, something I have wanted to do for the last semester.  So now I am sitting at the circulation desk, sipping my pleasantly hot chai tea, reflecting on the past and the future.
This evening I will graduate from high school.  It has taken me about fourteen years of schooling by two diligent parents for me to reach this point.  I can still remember my mom going over with me over and over again that "a" says ay or ah and about the magic e.  Now I have read several thousand books.  There were those days when I would labor into the evening finishing my math lesson, trying to figure out this whole multiplication thing.  Now I have taken Calculus.
I have come so far since then, farther than I ever could have dreamed as a little four year old just learning to read.  College seemed like a joke in those days; something very old people would go to, like teenagers.  Now college is a reality. 
I realize now how little control I have over the future.  Of course the decisions I make and my actions that follow will partly control it but as anyone knows, disruptions are always just around the corner.  No matter how much you can plan out a perfect future, something always tends to go wrong, sometimes disastrously wrong.  It gives me comfort, however, to know that even if something comes up that I didn't expect, it wasn't something that God didn't expect.  So whatever is in my next few years of life: fun, learning, pain, sorrow; I know God is in control.

"And right now, in the good times and bad, You are on Your throne, You are God alone."- Your are God Alone by Phillips, Craig, and Dean

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Only a Nerd

I never would have thought I would label myself a nerd.  However, one must face facts.  Why am I a nerd?  Well let's lay out those facts.

  1. Only a nerd when working out would think about what was going on in her muscles and then get so excited thinking about at that she would try and explain it to whoever is unfortunate enough to be within hearing range.
  2. Only a nerd would lie in her bed and think about her heart pumping blood and wondering if the ventricles were in systole or the atrium were.  Whichever one of them is not in systole, she will remind herself, must be in diastole.
  3. Only a nerd would touch things just to think about the whole process of a sensory nerve getting up to their brain and not forgetting that sensory nerves have three neurons, synapse twice and are in the posterior columns.
  4. Only a nerd would think about what hormone she must be using as she is feeling quite dehydrated.  Ah yes, Antidiuretic Hormone.
  5. Only a nerd would chew her food and tell everyone she was masticating or swallow her food and tell everyone she was deglutinating.  
  6. Only a nerd would think to herself, and then tell everyone else, as she eats her apples and carrots, "The liver must be happy as I am giving it an easy job today."
  7. Only a nerd would think about what enzymes her body was utilizing for whatever particular food she ate that day.
However, only I would tell my little brother that the orbicularis oris (the muscle around the mouth) is the kissing muscle...

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Trust and Obey

Years ago, when I was little... littlER, I was in one of my church's small groups that went through a book called Trusting God, Even When It Hurts by Jerry Bridges.  Our theme song for our group was of course the hymn Trust and Obey.  As I am getting ready to go into one of the hardest finals of my life, I remember that hymn and what it means.  There's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
This video is just insturmental without anyone singing but it does include onscreen lyrics.  I almost like it better just hearing the tune and following along the words and thinking about them as I read them.  I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did.

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Belfast Polka

I am not a big fan of Celtic Thunder but I really like this song preformed by them.  It is very catchy and very fun. Enjoy!

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An Awesome God

 "Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."- Psalm 23:6
As I become more and more stressed out with finals week just around the corner, that verse from the Word of God continually reminds me of His grace towards me and that I don't need to worry or be anxious for anything because my God is an awesome God (and I don't mean awesome like people use it today meaning "cool", I mean awesome as in AWE INSPIRING).
My God parted the Red Sea, fed his people in the wilderness, conquered nations, sent His only Son to earth where He healed the sick, fed five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish, raised Lazarus from the dead, died on the cross for our sins, rose again on the third day and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father where He is continually interceding for our sins. 
I don't think a few tests are going to be any problem for Him and even if I don't ace them, I know that He has a reason and that though I may not understand it, He does.  My God is an Awesome God!

Lois Johnson, avid writer, tea drinker, and reader but first and foremost, avid Christian.
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