Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Old Buildings

Old buildings are fascinating so when we went on our Sunday drive a while back, we found this old schoolhouse and stopped to enjoy it. My parents both attended schools like this so I've heard some stories about their experiences. I thought "if only these walls could talk"!

These big windows faced out onto the schoolyard or playground. The grassy yard had a ball diamond and was surrounded with big trees. I'm sure many games were played out here at noon hours.

The other side with the main doors.

Imagine the traffic these doors have seen.

And the little house outback, a fixture at every one room schoolhouse!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Celebrating Me

Morning Glory and Lei's challenge last week was Celebrating Me. It took me a very long time to mull this one over and to get brave enough to post. Looking at oneself and writing about the good stuff is harder than it seems!

I am a child of God and He surrounds me with love, protection, forgiveness and more goodness than I can ever imagine. Without Him, everything pales and with Him, anything is possible. When I celebrate anything, I really must celebrate Him in my life and give thanks for all He has so abundantly provided for me.

I have always been an optimist. As situations develop, I am able look at both ends of the spectrum and consider what the very best and the very worst scenarios could be and then I find I can cope with anything in between. My faith, the goodness and blessings we are surrounded with, genuine people and this amazing world we live in are all such good things.

I remember Bob asking me, when our family was younger, what my goals were and where I wanted to be in 5 or 10 years. That really was a question I hadn't considered very much. I was content with what I was (and needed to be) doing and didn't feel I had to conquer the world. As our children got older, there were times I wondered if I was more than a wife, a mother and a farm partner but when I decided to finish my education degree, I really found my niche. I have loved teaching - the children, their energy and enthusiasm, the professional conversations and practices, colleagues who are really more like friends, and the caring and learning that go on in classrooms everyday. Many times I can remember thinking how I lucky I was to have this job as I drove the last block to the school.

Raising our children and being a participant in their lives has been one of the best parts of my life. I feel like they have become my friends now and we share so much joy, happiness, fun and life experience. I believe they know they are surrounded with my love and that I am available to listen, celebrate, cry and work alongside them. I love being with them and staying involved with them.

I am so happy with the passion I have for photography, memories and scrapbooking. I think I have developed my skills and a creative side that I didn't really think I had. I love capturing our life moments and preserving them. I love that our grandchildren and the generations to come will have some information and a sense of who we were. There are so many more things I want to do with this passion that I'm going to be busy for a very long time, which is a good thing.

So there are some things that I celebrate about myself. It's good stuff to think about sometimes.

Monday, May 28, 2007


These beauties are gracing my table today. Unfortunately they are not home-grown but still so lovely!

Yesterday my plants all got into their pots and I finished planting the garden tonight! The only thing left to do is the sweet peas, which are soaking tonight, and will be in the row tomorrow. Naomi and Jerry planted some potatoes here last week so I worked between the rows today before Bob took the rototiller off and put on the mower again. Now we can sit back and wait for everything to sprout and fill the spaces - hopefully before the weeds poke through again. I like the planting part but the weeding - not so much! I can just about taste the lettuce already - the package said 40 days to maturity, which means it will be about July 9th. Hopefully the weather cooperates and the bugs stay away. I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

New Trick

Heather told me about a little challenge she's set for herself to learn to use the techniques in the CK idea book, Computer Tricks for Scrapbooking. I've been wanting to learn more about Photoshop and she suggested I start by following some of the steps outlined in this book. So yesterday I took her advice and this is what I came up with!

This is a semi-transparent journaling block - pretty cool, don't you think?!! I also printed an oversized photo, another technique from the book, and I'm hoping to create a layout with it later today (after I finish the garden stuff!). Thanks for looking!!

What Kind of Sundae are You?

You Are a Banana Split

Fruity, flavorful, and diverse.
Who can beat a true superstar?

Just taking a break from Saturday stuff and planting seeds and flowers. The thought of ice cream on a warm day like today is a good one!

Baby Chicks

In my classroom at school we have been incubating chicken eggs and they hatched this week. It was great excitement for the whole school, I think! I've brought them home for the weekend and they'll go back for a few days next week so the kids can see the wing feathers begin to come in and realize how fast they grow. Naomi and Jerry came over with Meadow last night so I got to show them to her too.

Meadow loved just standing by the box and watching. Pretty soon her little leg was trying to crawl up the side and then she was leaning over and reaching down into the box. Then she banged on it to get the chick's attention.

Baby animals are so fascinating - should I touch it or not?

The ultimate test - it has to go in my mouth so I can truly experience it! She was so cute when she did this - Naomi and I both cracked up.


I am not sure exactly how it works, but this is amazingly accurate. Read the full description before looking at the picture.

The picture below has 2 identical dolphins in it. It was used in a case study on stress levels at St. Mary's Hospital. Look at both dolphins jumping out of the water. The dolphins are identical. A closely monitored, scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact that the dolphins are identical, a person under stress would find differences in the two dolphins. The more differences a person finds between the dolphins, the more stress that person is experiencing. Look at the photograph and if you find more than one or two differences you may want to take a vacation.


Morning Glory
shared this yesterday. You should go over there for a visit - she's always got something new going on - it's a fun place to check on.

Have a great weekend! Don't get too much sun :))

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thoughts on Reading

Winston Churchill once said,"If you cannot read all of your books, at any rate handle, or as it were fondle them - peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them at any rate be your acquaintance."
(Gilbar, 1990)- excerpted from Strategies That Work by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis

Waiting on my nightstand are:
The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy
The Pursuit of Happyness by Christ Gardner
Quiet Moments for Grandmothers by Kay Marshall Strom
The Song of Kahunsha by Anosh Irani
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

What's waiting for your attention and a rainy day?

The picture shows a stack of old German books from my grandparents that my Mom and Dad have on their bookshelf.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spring Flowers

The low fields and ditches are filled with marsh marigolds, blooming profusely, this spring.

I think all the rain and moisture this morning have provided great growing conditions - they are in every little hollow and damp spot that there is.

Such bright color - it just has to make you smile! It's become a Mother's Day tradition that Bob and/or the kids bring me a great big jar full of these to have on the kitchen table. This year he brought some for Kelsey to take back to her apartment too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sunday Scenes

One of the things we really like to do is get in the car and go for a Sunday afternoon drive, exploring this part of Alberta. I like to take a different route and wander through the countryside. Using the camera is another goal we have on the drives for this year so here's a little glimpse of what we saw this week. Stay tuned - we took lots of different pictures and I'll share a few at a time.

This grey and black pair were the first horses we spotted.

This is my favourite! There were 7 mares and each of them had a very young colt with her. They stayed so close together and were rather wary of this stranger with the strange black instrument.

This guy came to the fence as soon as we stopped and reminded me of Tonto, a horse our kids once had. We haven't had horses on our farm for quite some time, since the kids have been out of 4-H, so it's interesting that these caught our eye!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Going for a Walk

We went for a walk at the lake with Meadow, Naomi and Jerry last night. Meadow was all cozy in her new special stroller and we had a great time, visiting and enjoying the springtime air. We even saw a moose who ambled into the bush a little way and then stood watching us.

Riding right along in total comfort.

This is the way she ended up on the way home! Sitting in the stroller wasn't nearly exciting enough!

One Little Word

Over at One Little Word, the girls are "celebrating the power of words". I like the whole idea and I plan to play along. So the first challenge was to use the word "GO" and what it means to you as your focus.

This was my take on their challenge. Created last week when the weather was so beautiful and it looked like spring had finally arrived, I just wanted to capture some of the feelings and images of the day. I like the life art aspect of this piece - it represents a moment in my life. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Something Special

Heather made me 2 special items for Mother's Day and I love both of them! This is hanging on the side of my china cabinet for everyone to see.

Doesn't this bookmark just make you smile?!! Our daughters are all so clever and creative it just amazes me. I'm glad they got that from their Dad, although I am getting better after 30 years!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Little Trip

We took a little quad trip out to Medicine Lake, west of Rimbey, yesterday with our friends, Audrey and Aime'. It was a grey, drizzly kind of day but only actually rained while we were driving out there. When we were on the quads, there were a couple of times we thought it was going to start raining but it just drizzled a bit and then stopped. A provincial recreation area takes up one side of the lake and there are miles of quad trails surrounding it. By the time we loaded the quads up and left, there must have been more than 100 trailers and lots of different groups in the staging area. I'm sure it's a hopping good time out there today!

Our little group, marvelling at how industrious beavers can be! At this spot the dam they had built across the creek must have been nearly 75 feet long and 3 feet high.

When you're the leader, sometimes you get into problems that need a helping hand!

Aime' got stuck in the muskeg - maybe buried is a better way to describe it! - and needed to be winched out.

Good times on a long weekend! We decided this would be a good place to go back to with family and friends.

And I have to tell the truth - these pictures were taken by Audrey because I had 12 batteries along and none of them were charged! Yeah, that's one great photographer for you - man, I hate when that happens. I think I had to change batteries at school and then by the time I got home, I forgot about charging batteries. After a few minutes of kicking myself, I sat back and decided to "Just Be". It was trees, mud, quads, fun - picture taking will resume next time. Yeah, the battery charger is currently working!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

At the end of the week

"And life is what we make it,
always has been,
always will be."
Grandmother Moses

The "dreaded of all grade 3 test days" (to paraphrase a TV announcer from years back who always said "The Siberian High - the dreaded of all meteorological phenomenon!")
is over! Our students wrote their language arts writing tests and had 1 hour to write an interesting story using a picture prompt. It's such a hard task to do in such a short time. And I have a whole bunch of other thoughts on that topic but I won't share them here (don't want to scare you off!!) - enough said. I loved this quote when I found it - and I am reminded to be glad that I have students who can think, try their best and enjoy life!!

Go, Grade 3's - have a wonderful weekend!!
Go, Teachers - have a relaxing weekend!!
Go, Families - enjoy each other and the sun, while it lasts!!

The Smell . . .

Of spring is right outside our house and you can smell it across the yard too. What is it? It's the beautiful, tall white Mayday tree that is in its full glory. I took some pictures but Blogger Beta doesn't want to cooperate so I'll post them later. The tree is covered in blossoms

After I got home, I went out and cut the grass. It was getting pretty shaggy and very thick in some places. Love the smell of freshly mown grass too. Any other smells you ask? Oh, yeah - chocolate bars, coca cola, a baby just fresh from the bathtub, and cinnamon in baking.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

In Springtime . . .

the motorcycles and scooters come out, I've noticed in the last week. But nothing compares to what we saw in Taiwan this summer! They were everywhere and they were usually loaded right up. Once we saw a family of 2 parents and 2 teenage girls riding on 1 scooter! Often small children would stand in front of the driver on the scooters. It was amazing to see some of the loads they could pack onto these little vehicles. Another one of those "Only in Asia" remembrances!

Family Gatherings

We had a barbecue with my parents last night and of course I had to have the camera handy. We shared a delicious meal, some laughs and the latest news. Just before we came home, my sister played piano for awhile and my mom and I sang some old well-loved hymns. We've never done that before and it was so enjoyable. I loved hearing about each person's own favourites and the reminiscing about my grandparents.

3/5 of our family with my Mom - beside the oldest building on their farmyard

The two barbecue chefs - after the flames were extinguished!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

I am so blessed to be surrounded in my life with good women! Their presence, caring, examples and encouragement are so important and I thank God for each one of them. Today is a special day to honour two of them.

My mom is so amazing! She truly has been a partner with my Dad in their farming lives for more than 50 years. She's been there for milking cows, cooking meals, mending jeans, picking berries, doing the farm books and moving machinery. Many of the qualities that I have are a direct result of her example to us. She has a heart for people and God has used her to provide meals, rides, friendship and His love in her everyday life in her community. Our children have stayed many nights with them and are blessed to call her Gramma. No one bakes better pies or makes dill pickles quite as good as she does! Thanks, Mom, for caring for your family with love, generosity and God's spirit. We love you!

I have been blessed to have this woman as my mother-in-law. I am so thankful that she raised her son in a Christian home and that he has her gifts of listening and wisdom. As long as we have been married, she has been accepting, kind, generous and a wonderful model for me. We were lucky to live across the road from them for nearly 20 years and she was a huge part of our children's lives, which was a gift for us. Cooking secrets, animal husbandry, gardening, history and sewing are talents she still shares. No one makes better perogies or raises more strawberries than she does. All I know about being a mother-in-law, I have set on her example. We wish her good health and many blessings today. Love you, Mom!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Playing with Meadow - Again!!

On this Mother's Day Eve, I paused to go and play with one of our precious grand-daughters. Last weekend, it was Helayna - today it was Meadow! Life is good!

Full of smiles and energy, this spot on the sidewalk was where she decided to sit and experience a little bit of a very beautiful afternoon.

Ready to take off and explore the whole backyard

This little step was so fascinating, especially when she found some dead leaves

Climbing right over Mommy

Wearing Daddy's bike helmet

Happy Blog Anniversary!

I went into the archives today and realized that it was exactly one year ago that I started this whole blog journey!! Wow - it's been such fun and has challenged me to be creative, thoughtful and reflective. I have developed a passion for reading blogs and "meeting" new people from all over the world. It's been an incredible way to share our life with our families and to be in contact with them wherever they are. It's seriously one of the best things I've ever done and I've become a much better writer and photographer as a result. Celebrating life has become a habit and a real joy as a result.

So in honour of this day, I'm going to send a little token of thanks to each of you readers who stop by to say hello this weekend. I know there are a few of you lurking around too so don't be shy. Just post a "hi" in the comments section so I can acknowledge your support and interest. Thanks for taking time to share my adventures and celebrations!!

Happy Birthday, Tyneille!

I'm a couple of days late but the wishes are still just as big as ever, Tyneille! We hope you had a very special day, especially as you got your new house today!! May this be a wonderful year as you prepare for your wedding and begin an amazing new chapter in your life story. Much love to you, Dear Niece!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

More playing . . .

with Helayna!!

Grampa and Helayna had so much fun tickling and blowing after her bath. She got the biggest smile every time he put his head down and she thought he would tickle her!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I've had requests for these 2 favourites that I baked lately. I hope you get to try them soon - enjoy!!

Orange Carrot Bundt Cake

from Canadian Living magazine cover - May 2007

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. grated orange rind
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated carrots

Grease 10 cup Bundt pan and dust with flour.
In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy.
Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each.
Beat in orange rind and vanilla.
In separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
Stir into butter mixture alternately with sour cream.
Fold in carrots.
Scrape into prepared pan. Tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles.
Bake in centre of 350 degree F. oven about 1 hour, or until center is done.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to rack. Cool completely.


1 cup icing sugar
2+ Tbsp. orange juice

In small bowl mix icing sugar with orange juice until smooth. Mixture needs to be runny.
Brush over cake letting excess run down the sides.
May be garnished with chocolate curls and candied orange rind.

Makes 16 - 20 servings, about 294 calories each.

Flax Banana Muffins

from Anne Lindsay's Lighthearted Everyday Cooking

1 cup ground flax seeds (I use the coffee grinder to do this)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup raisins, dried cranberries or dried blueberries
1 cup buttermilk (put 1 Tbsp. vinegar in a cup and fill to 1 cup - let sit for 10 min.)
3 Tbsp. oil
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana

Combine dry ingredients and add raisins. Mix lightly. Add liquid ingredients. Stir just until mixed (15 - 20 strokes). Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake in 350 degree F. oven for 18 - 20 minutes until firm to touch.
Makes 12 large muffins. 257 calories each, 5 grams fibre, 9 grams total fat.

Bon Appetit!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

All on a Spring Day!

It turned out to be a beautiful spring weekend so we went to visit Helayna and her parents! I did not really want to come home. But - - - reality caught up to me!!

It was so awesome to go and visit these guys! I wish we could have stayed longer.

Going for a walk - Grampa pushed the stroller the whole hour long walk.

Swinging is one of Helayna's favourite things to do!

This was Helayna's first experience with barefeet on the grass! She was so cute as she tried to figure out what this prickly stuff was but it didn't bother her at all. She just sort of smiled as it tickled her.

Making music with Mommy's fingers

Kisses for Gramma - I could get these all day long!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

We interrupt . . .

our regularly scheduled programming to bring you the latest breaking news of - - - -

a spring storm! It's been raining for 2 days and there's water everywhere already!

Just around the corner on the road we use all the time, the ditch couldn't take the volume of water and it spilled across instead of going into the creek. It poured across here all day.

Our neighbor's cattle pasture is a huge lake.

I wanted to share these pictures with you last night but - the power went out at 9:30 p.m.. It's still out this morning and the utility company is saying it will be for most of the day because lines and poles are down in nearly a 50 mile radius. About 5 o'clock last night the rain turned to slushy sleet and then snow which made driving nearly impossible. Oh, the weather!!

Today the sun is shining and the water is running so hopefully the worst is over. Here are some pictures to cheer me up!

Meadow and I had a little chat and she explained to me that she can walk now so I just had to see her newfound talent!

She just looks like a trooper here, marching off!

Oh, Oh, maybe it's not going so good!
But she got her balance back without crashing.

When she got really close to Naomi, she'd almost dive right at her! It made it hard for her to capture good pictures!

We finished by having a little cuddle time so Meadow could look at my mini-album! She loved turning the pages - pretty soon we'll be able to create together, I think!