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Lord of the Rings Quilt

Lord of the Rings Quilt

By Allison Sharp, Jennifer’s sister

Several years ago, I decided to make my oldest niece a quilt to celebrate her wedding. As other nieces got married, I continued to make each of them a quilt big enough to fit a queen-size bed. I always asked what colors and patterns they liked, and while some of them didn’t care, others had very particular opinions. My first nephew got married in January, and imagine my surprise when he and his fiancé requested a Lord of the Rings quilt! (The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy written by J.R.R. Tolkien and…

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April 16, 2018  |  Quilting Bee  |  8 Comments

Peaches and Fuzz

Peaches and Fuzz

| By Richard Gappmayer, Jennifer’s dad |

My father had about five acres of peach trees of several varieties. Each spring, before the blossoms came out, we would prune the peach trees. They had to be pruned quite heavily each spring or they would not produce big peaches, and if not pruned regularly, they would grow so much foliage that the root system could not support the tree and it would die. 

When the blossoms came out, the bees would spread the pollen and the peaches would begin to grow. The little peaches could be like grapes on the limbs, or if there had…

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April 9, 2018  |  Family, Farming&Gardening  |  4 Comments

Chocolate Wonder

Chocolate Wonder

This is one of my favorite recipes, and I feature it in “A Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill” in “An Amish Christmas Kitchen.” Katie Rose makes it for Titus and then someone takes it from him! It’s a crowd pleaser anytime.


April 2, 2018  |  Cooking  |  3 Comments

Easter in an Egg Carton

Easter in an Egg Carton

Last year to help my grandchildren learn the Easter story, I made them “Easter in an Egg Carton.” The carton contains 12 plastic Easter eggs with a part of the Easter story and a token to go with each. I wanted to share it with you. Feel free to copy!

First I collected empty egg cartons. You can buy unused egg cartons at a farm or country store. I bought some plastic Easter eggs in a variety of colors and wrote the numbers 1 through 12 on the eggs with a Sharpie.

The eggs are opened one by one in order from 1…

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March 26, 2018  |  Author's Corner, Faith, Family  |  10 Comments

My (Sort of) Battle with a Skunk

My (Sort of) Battle with a Skunk

| By Alesha Thompson, Jennifer’s sister |

On our mini farm in Wisconsin, we have lots of critters. Mostly our awesome tomcat, Pippin, takes care of them—mice, chipmunks, and even rabbits. But there is one critter that even Pippin can’t defeat. We know this because we will periodically smell the strong scent of skunk on him, and we’ll know he’s lost another round with a skunk.

Anytime I see a skunk, it puts a deathly fear in my heart—this comes from a previous experience with a skunk and a two-year-old in a chicken coop, but that is a story for another day.


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March 12, 2018  |  Family, Farming&Gardening  |  1 Comment

Salted Caramel Layer Cake–Delicious!

Salted Caramel Layer Cake--Delicious!

by Nicole Thorpe, Jennifer’s daughter

It was my birthday last week! I made my own birthday dinner, and my own birthday cake, but my husband did 100% of the clean-up, so it was actually a sweet deal. I’ve always wanted to experiment with caramel flavors in a layer cake, but was always intimidated as caramel seems sort of “one note” to me. Well, this little beauty did not disappoint, and I’m excited to share it with you all.

It consists of cake, a sugared cream layer–I invented this when I messed up making caramel candies once. It’s actually a great textural and…

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March 5, 2018  |  Cooking, Family  |  2 Comments

The Reviews are In!

The Reviews are In!

I recently completed a blog tour for “A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill,” my latest Huckleberry Hill novel that came out on December 26. I was humbled and thrilled with the response to this book! Here is a small collection of the reviews from my blog tour. 

“Elsie and Sam were fun and sweet. It took them awhile, mostly due to their own stubbornness, to open up to each other. I enjoyed seeing their relationship blossom, as well as seeing Elsie put Sam in his place a time or two. Once again Ms. Beckstrand has made me wish that I lived on…

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February 26, 2018  |  Amish, Author's Corner, Romance  |  No Comments

Baby Elephant Quilt

Baby Elephant Quilt

By Allison Sharp: Jennifer’s sister

I am thrilled to announce that I have another grandchild! There is nothing in the world that is better than a grandchild, and her birth means, obviously, that I got to make a baby quilt! Her mother requested something purple, but the rest of the design decisions were mine. First, I decided to make the quilt out of flannel, and after spending a few hours in the fabric store, I found this darling elephant flannel print:

Even with the polka dots and bright colors, the shapes on this print are fairly simple: hearts, flowers, even the elephants…

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February 19, 2018  |  Family, Quilting Bee  |  9 Comments

The Elk Hunt

The Elk Hunt

By Richard Gappmayer, Jennifer’s father

In Utah permits to hunt elk were obtained by participating in a lottery. My father would pay the fee, enter the lottery, and hope to draw a permit. To my knowledge he went elk hunting only once. Here is what happened.

I was just old enough to go on this hunt along with my brother. The entourage included several of my father’s brothers, brothers-in-law, and others. The truck was loaded with horses and enough supplies for an army, and off we proceeded to the hunting area which was on Mount Nebo in central Utah. This mountain was…

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February 12, 2018  |  Family  |  No Comments

Valentine’s Dessert Skewers

Valentine's Dessert Skewers

By Nicole Thorpe: Jennifer’s daughter

I told you last year how much I love Valentine’s Day, and it’s still true. This year I’m having a Galentine’s Day Party (for some gals, on February 13th). I’m making a couple different treats and thought I would share this one with you all. It’s simple, and doesn’t require you to cook anything- assembly only! I usually use brownie pieces for these, but I wanted at least one treat that wasn’t saturated with milky, fudgy goodness, so for this rendition I used pound cake cubes. I did a trial run for my family. My kids…

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February 5, 2018  |  Cooking  |  2 Comments