Saturday, November 28, 2009

Visiting Blogs

I thought you might enjoy some links to interesting places today.  November is nearly over and thoughts of Christmas are turning into action everywhere.  Enjoy these spots for new ideas, inspiration and help in celebrating Jesus this year.

Ann at Holy Experience never fails to share awesome spots to visit and Uncommon Grace is a wonderful spot to visit.  Today she shares children's book ideas for Christmas giving.

Christmas Change is a blog dedicated to changing the culture of commercialism and materialism that dominates our world and  this post on Santa Claus is so eloquent.  If you have small children and wonder about the place Santa should have in your celebrations, this is wonderful reading.

And yesterday Ann posted a link to a Bible Memory Stick that is a wonderful gift.  Her husband took his along in the tractor one night.    The Faith Comes From Hearing site also has a project for soldiers where they can receive the Military Bible Memory Stick  and another project where the Bible is sent to villages around the world, recorded in the native language and played on a solar charged player.  Awesome work in spreading the Good News!

Sew, Mama, Sew has daily ideas for gifts to make and excellent tutorials.   They even give nice things away sometimes :))

Maybe you are looking for ideas about making home decor items.  Bleubird made  this cute wreath that would be so cute to have!

Holiday card creating inspiration can always be found at the Hero Arts blog .  Little jeweled trees and hanging owls - so pretty on a card.  Everyone would appreciate getting something like that in the mail :))

There is so much goodness and so many inspiring bloggers out there.  Have fun exploring, creating and savouring this holiday season!  And celebrate Jesus this season!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ten on Friday - A Day Late

Maybe I should just change the title to Ten on Friday - permanently!

1.  While looking for a certain picture on my computer today, I found this instead!  I love looking at these glimpses into days gone bye.  This is one of Darrin and Kelsey's engagement pictures, taken by her mom.  I'm so glad they shared it with me!


2.  Did you see the weather south of Red Deer, up to Calgary today?  Winter has arrived!!  There was a 50 car pileup on the QE2 Highway, between Carstairs and Didsbury that closed all four lanes of traffic for a long time today.  I'm glad I don't have to go that way this weekend.  Hopefully all the football fans can get to Calgary safely.

3.  So - Saskatchewan Roughriders or Montreal Alouettes to win the Grey Cup????

4.  One more weather related thing - if the trend can hold, this will be the first November on record that the daytime high temperature has been above zero every single day for the whole month.  The forecast looks promising :))

5.  This sign was on our door when we came home from our October adventures.  Christmas came early when the floor elves worked so hard!  It was / is an awesome gift!

6.  Melinda phoned from Tennessee this morning, where they are spending Thanksgiving with Tyler's mom's family.  They were heading out for some shopping this afternoon and offered to check something out for me.  The bargains intrigue me - and the lineups send me running the other way!  It looked insane on the news tonight!

7.  I tried making Chicken Tenders for supper tonight - but I forgot to flatten them so they took longer to bake and the smaller, thinner ones are a bit overdone.  I'll have to refine that but the ground oatmeal and parmesan coating was good.

8.  The floor project today involved pulling the dishwasher out and one thing led to another and before you know it, I had this cupboard under the sink painted!  It feels so, so good to open that door to put the garbage away and be greeted by this perfect white paint!  Merry Christmas to me!

9.  Last year at this time I was busy working on Cathy Zielske's "Design Your Life" class.  It refined the way I scrapbook and I'm very glad I took it!

10.  I'm working on a big project - and I can't share a single bit of it!  One more month to Christmas :))

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Making a wedding card a few weeks ago led to using the same idea and creating 2 more cards.  The blue paper stands alone with its pattern and the circle paper proved to be more of a challenge on which to work.  Some days creating just this little bit of goodness makes me very happy!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends today!  May you enjoy friends, family and great food today!  We have so many reasons to give thanks.  Over at Shutter Sisters they posted this beautiful quote by Karen Krakoer Kaplan that says it so perfectly,

 "Gratitude is noticing the extraordinary in the ordinary.          And then taking the nanosecond to feel it."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gratitude Gifts Today

I am thankful for these gifts today:

- that even though the sun sets very early now, the sky is still so interesting - I always feel so close to God when I see sunrise and sunset

- quiet days

- fresh baked buns with butter

- watching two little chickadees outside my kitchen window

- Christmas music with its message and inspiration, amidst beautiful instruments and vocals

- sewing little things like pencil cases for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes

- newly sharpened pencils - also for the shoeboxes

- applesauce with cinnamon and cream

- reading the whole book of James in my Bible

- a "Hello" via email

- a vacuum to use often as the floor project continues

- seeing our grandchildren growing and healthy

- candles burning as darkness falls

- Christmas scrapbooking papers

- a new spot for my spider plant and the plant stand

- finding T-bone steaks in the freezer

- wrapping Christmas presents

- cheese and tomato sandwiches on marble rye bread

- finding a shoebox of very old pictures, including Christmases past

Monday, November 23, 2009

Simple Woman #64

For Today . . . November 23, 2009

Outside my window. . . some snow on the ground but not too cold at -2 C and bright afternoon sun

I am thankful . . . for safety every single time I - or anyone in our family - drive somewhere.  And when you live in the country in Canada that's often!

And I am also thankful . . . for the expertise and help of friends.

I am praying . . .  that Melinda, Tyler and Samuel will have a great American Thanksgiving with Tyler's US family.

I am thinking . . . about how much I got accomplished today - what a great surprise!

I am celebrating . . . God's peace and presence in my life.

From the kitchen . . . t-bone steak, baked potatoes, tossed salad and apple crisp - at least that's the plan for tomorrow.  Today was an "on your own" day.

I am wearing . . . faded grey jeans, a printed purple shirt, olive green fleece jacket and crocs.

I am reading . . . the book of James in the New Testament.
                         For book club - The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly, a mystery set in Burma.
I got side tracked last week with The White Masai by Corinne Hofmann - it's the true story of a Swiss woman who fell in love with a Kenyan Masai warrior, moved to Africa, married him, had a daughter and after 4 years left and returned to Switzerland.  She had malaria several times and experienced a completely foreign culture.  I couldn't read very much at a time - it was so true to what we saw, heard about and experienced during our stay there.  I think the ages of my own daughters and nieces made me imagine them in this situation too.

I am hoping . . . to continue with my plan to send one gratitude note to someone each day from now until Christmas.

I am hearing . . . Michael W. Smith singing on his Christmas album - yes, I broke out the Christmas music!

I am creating . . . my 2010 December Daily album, as outlined by Ali Edwards.

Around the house and yard . . . work is progressing on the rest of the flooring project - yeah!!  The stairs are the current challenge.  And I wrapped some Christmas gifts on the weekend :))

One of my favourite things . . . finding cool projects online - and then collecting the supplies to do them myself.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . more creating, bread to bake, poppycock to make and bag, a day of subbing, and lots of dusting to do.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . . . I found this on my hard drive yesterday and it really made me smile!  Taken last summer while we were camping in the Kootenay Plains, near Banff National Park - Melinda, Tyler and Naomi bike riding one afternoon.

Thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman Daybook for inspiring me to do this weekly.

Always There

The Shutter Sisters assignment was to photograph something that's always there.

And stop signs are always there - even when you don't think of them or don't realize how they are absolutely necessary.

And then there are the sinks full of dishes - do they never end???   I'm notorious for not drying the dishes.  I much prefer air drying :))

I apologize for not linking to Shutter Sisters but their website is down for maintenance so I'll try to link tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Creating - In A New Way!

When I checked my email inbox this morning, I found a digital scrapbooking tutorial and free template from Jessica Sprague.  I've been wondering about how to do this stuff and Jessica is an amazing tutor so after watching her video, I started.  I had to watch the video about 10 more times as I was trying to do things but eventually I was successful and created this!!

I kind of wish I could change the title but that's not an option on this template.  Now I know to find that out before I begin - I might have chosen different pictures for the LO.   I am quite pleased with my results.  The real test will be if I can do it again all by myself!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas Giveaway

Today Randi at I Have to Say directed her readers over to the 12 Days of Christmas giveaways that Portobello Pixie  is sponsoring on her site.  You should race right over there and see the beautiful artists and their work that's being given away.  The ornaments, aprons and scarves featured so far are absolutely gorgeous!!  And it's only day 2 so there's lots more to come :))

Home Again

My camera has been away this week, safe in a bag but not at our house - and I've felt a little lost.  There have been countless times when I've reached for it, only to remember it's not here.  Now that I know it's back home, I have a sense of peace and eagerness.  It's almost like a long lost child has found his/her way home and I'm rejoicing.  Silly, isn't it?!  It's only a camera but it's like one of us - a part of who I am, an extension of family, a dear and real part of our life.

Welcome Home, Little Camera!  I've missed you this week.  I'm eager to play with you tomorrow!
Love, Me

(the last picture I took with my Canon 350)

Ten on Thursday

1.  Today at school, the former maintenance worker stopped by and told us that his grandson has been chosen as one of 11 McDonald's Kid Champions from across Canada!!  There's one from each province and they will all go to the Olympics, stay in the Athlete's Village, go to some events and hang out with athletes.  What a cool way to recognize young people I (he's 12) for their athletic achievements and leadership skills!  He is going to have an absolutely amazing time - and his Grampa is really proud of him :))

2.  The geese are still flying around, trying to decide if cold weather is actually coming or not, I guess.

3.  I don't think you ever saw her in her Halloween costume, did you?!  She was one sweet elephant.

4.  Don't you just love when you go to buy something on sale - and it's even cheaper than the sale ticket says?!!  I scored on a new top today - bottom line was $18 instead of $54.

5.  Thrift store find + sandpaper + elbow grease + paint = cool Christmas present :))

6.  I bought some supplies to make poppycock and almond cranberry bark today.  That's one of my plans for the weekend.

7.  I wish I / we could go to New York to visit Samuel (and his parents) again.  He's 6 months old and started eating cereal this week, rolling over and is growing up so quickly.  You can read all about it on Melinda and Tyler's blog .

8.  This plum croissant was a wonderful breakfast treat in Zurich.  I wish we could find them around here.

9.  If you feel like baking something this weekend, go to Rhonda's blog and find the recipe for Banana Caramel Cake.  And then invite me over to have a piece with you, okay?!!  It looks delish!!  Rhonda's decided on a little goal of baking everything in the Martha Steward baking cookbook - and she is rocking it!

10.  Somehow I got assigned bus supervision tomorrow morning - at 8:10 a.m., no less!!  It's going to be a long, long day - I supervise before school, at morning recess, at noon hour, at Healthy Hearts in the afternoon, and at the busses again at the end of the day.  Can you tell that I'm the sub??!!  I am looking forward to Saturday morning :))

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Favourite Color

Some words of wisdom from a devotional I read today:

"Do all the good you can,
 by all the means you can,
 in all the ways you can,
 in all the places you can,
 at all the times you can,
 to all the people you can, 
as long as you ever can."    
John Wesley

Earlier this fall, a photo assignment from Shutter Sisters was to pick a favourite color and photograph it wherever you found it one day.   I found orange in a few places :))

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gratitude Gifts Today

Last night I was worrying about some stuff and trying to figure out how to solve things - and then it hit me.  These were not my things to worry about - these were not my responsibilities - these thoughts were taking me away from God.  And I was reminded again that in giving thanks for all that I have, my thoughts still and my heart gives it up to God and I breathe easier and my heart my mind are at peace.

It was then that I found the slip of paper tucked inside my pocket this week.  My scripture memory verse, written in code, just a few letters to help me memorize easier.  Why do I worry and fret when He is my Rock and He has good  things planned for me when I share what I have with others and put my complete trust in Him?  I am so childish sometimes, when I know better.  I need to do better now so I count my blessings, whisper my verse and trust in His abiding love.  He has never failed me and He won't start now!!

So my gratitude gifts, with thanks and a peaceful heart -

 - brilliant sunrises

- chai tea in my travel mug

- talk radio to hear new points of view and in depth stories

- juicy sweet oranges

- days of subbing and a job that allows me flexibility

- fresh new paint in a color I like

- nice tasting toothpaste

- hugs from my sister

- strategies for memorizing Scripture verses

- watching my nieces develop into amazing teachers

- Pumpkin Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganauche

- reading the name of a friend on a list of winners

- fresh carrot sticks

- helping students finish assignments

- time with Helayna and Silas to play and cuddle

- online research with an eager learner

- warm temperatures - +15.9 C today

- playing games in the gym

- photo albums packed with pictures and memories

- clean dishes (thanks, Mom K)

- new trim put around freshly painted doors

- messages from Meadow

- colorful, flowing scarves from Egypt

- a fluffy pillow

- visits with my aunt and uncle - and a chance for Helayna and Silas to play at their house

- food in our fridge

- making plans with friends

I am blessed and so thankful for God's goodness in my life!  I trust Him to continue to provide all that we need, and more besides.

Simple Woman #63

For Today . . . November 16, 2009

Outside my window. . . a record setting warm day, +13 C with a warm breeze, and lots of sunshine.

I am thankful . . . to be healthy!

And I am also thankful . . . that my Dad is doing better after a bout of kidney stone trouble.

I am praying . . .  for a family dear to us as they make important decisions and trust God for everything.  

I am thinking . . . about Christmas gifts - I really need to get working on some things.

I am celebrating . . . African music - so energetic and rhythmic!

From the kitchen . . . Creamy Steak from the slow cooker, buttered beets, tomato slices and applesauce.

I am wearing . . . brown long sleeved tshirt, brown cords, and my favourite orange down-filled vest that I bought in Austria 3  years ago!

I am reading . . . The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly, a mystery set in Burma.

I am hoping . . . to get over to see Naomi's newly painted living room and to mail a parcel to Samuel this week.  Oh, and maybe make the first batch of this season's poppycock!

I am hearing . . . Christmas music on TV ads - I need to play some CDs to get the real music instead!

I am creating . . . a birthday card for a dear friend.

Around the house and yard . . . hallway painted, door frames painted, doors painted and now Bob's working on the trim.  I'm thinking this might be a good week to put some Christmas tree lights up outside - before it's freezing and blowing!

One of my favourite things . . . spending time in my scrapbook studio - it's been such a long time since I really worked / played in there.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . 3 more days of subbing, a visit with my sister and brother, an outing to the city and hopefully putting some parts of our house back together.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . . . a beautiful tree-lined canal leading to the river in Zurich.  We could have walked for hours in this lovely city!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Zurich

(rosebud nosegays on a table, 
 in front of a flower shop in Zurich, Switzerland)

“Beauty is an experience, nothing else. 
It is not a fixed pattern or an arrangement of features. 
It is something felt, a glow 
or a communicated sense of fineness.”

—D. H. Lawrence

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ten on Friday - A Day Late

1.  Compassion has sent a team of bloggers to El Salvador this week and the stories they have to tell are so poignant.  Kelly has such a great heart for kids and I guarantee that reading her thoughts will make you cry.  Please, please, please consider sponsoring a child - it will change their world - and yours!!

2.  At long last, the suitcases are emptied and put away!  This is always a mammoth task for me.  I do okay with getting the laundry out and the basics put away but then there's all the other stuff.

3.  Do you remember the old truck that I found last year during my walks at the lake?  It's still there - and it still makes a great photo op :))

4.  Lazy cabbage rolls + carrot cake = comfort food!

5.  The school division here had an extra long weekend of 5 days in a row this week.  No subbing as a result but it gave lots of people, staff and students families,  a chance to go away.

6.  Even though the great colors and all the growing things are gone outside, there are still great things to see and great photos to be taken.  I think this might be a new favourite picture.

7.   Bob's mom and dad celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this week.   That's a very long time to be married - twice as long as us, to be exact!  And another really cool thing is that all of their 6 original attendants are still alive!

8.  If you are looking for a way to help provide clean drinking water to people who desperately need it, check out charity: water - they are helping to drill water wells in many communities around the world.  The stories from people they've helped are so, so amazing!

9.  There is a layer of dust on everything in my living room and kitchen - see #10 below!

10.  The home renovations continue at our house!  The floor project looks great - thanks to Naomi, Jerry and Darrin who worked on it while we were away.  Of course one thing led to another and now we are painting walls, doors and trim.  I'm kind of enjoying painting - which I've never done before!  But the chaos - not so much :(

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Three Years Ago Today

Over at Shutter Sisters , the assignment today is to take a look back in the archives and see where you were one year ago.  So I plugged in my external hard drive, merrily went into the 2008 archives - and discovered that there are no pictures archived after September, 2008!  Ummmm- - - - - - wonder where they are??!!  My gut feeling about this is not good!  But carrying on with the assignment I went back a little further - and to my absolute delight, found these precious gems!!

November, 2006

Nearly 5 months old - just about the same age her baby brother is now!

And to think - she enjoyed her first day at playschool today!!
It's absolutely incredible how much she's grownup in these 3 years -
and how much she still makes me smile!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

Thank you to the men and women who have served our country during wartime and on peacekeeping missions to all parts of the world.

And today we also remembered those currently serving in Afghanistan, especially our friend's son.

Beauty and Gratitude

Over at Holy Experience, Ann wrote about a Beauty Challenge and finding Beauty Inspiration in the everyday and mundane of our daily lives.  She always speaks to my soul and so I immediately gathered up a collection of vases and went outside in search of beauty on a chilly, windy autumn day.  And oh, I found beauty in the ending of a season as plants and the land prepare for the long rest of winter.

And these simple reminders grace our mantle, amidst the chaos of some house renovations, a calm vignette  of God's goodness and the beauty that only He can give to us.

These things fill my gratitude list today:

- the sun regally creeping over the horizon in a burst of fire to light the morning

- clouds tinted pink and yellow by the glow of sunrise

- empty branches of leafless trees reaching up to the sky, reminding me to reach upward too

- smooth, smooth roads

- water -  so much clean water to drink

- the smell of supper cooking

- books to read

- fresh color covering my walls

- the smiles of our grandchildren

- red poppies to remind me to remember

- young voices raised in choir singing of Flander's Fields

- hugs from a dear, dear friend

- book club discussions and the diversity of thinking

- a glimpse inside the thinking of a child as new math concepts and strategies are explored

- the service given by men and women in war times and through peace keeping

- pictures and the reminder of good times and new places

- fresh hot popcorn

- a favourite tea mug

- the intensity of evening skies

- the sound of geese gathering to migrate south - they seem so excited to meet up again

Consider joining the Gratitude Community and building your list of 1000 gifts with us.

holy experience

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Simple Woman #62

For Today . . . November 9, 2009

Outside my window. . . very cool, windy and definitely nearly winter!

I am thankful . . . for God's wide open arms that gather me in and care for me.

And I am also thankful . . . that our painting project is progressing smoothly.

I am praying . . . for Linds as she deals with lawyers, hospitals, doctors and bureaucracy.

I am thinking . . . about a trip evaluation that our travel agent asked us to do.

I am celebrating . . . with Melinda and Tyler as they move closer to the hospital where Tyler works - he won't have to ride the subway 70 minutes one way anymore.

From the kitchen . . . baked ham, beets, cucumber salad, carrot sticks, applesauce and ice cream.

I am wearing . . . jeans, a blue long-sleeved tshirt, orange down-filled vest,  polka dot scarf , and brown loafers.  It was Western day at school today.

I am reading . . . Welcome to the Departure Lounge (Adventures in Mothering Mother) by Meg Federico - the story of the author mothering her mother as she ages.  Our book club is discussing
this tomorrow night.

I am hoping . . . to help the grade 4's complete more of the work their teacher left for them tomorrow.

I am hearing . . . "In Flanders Fields" - a song the school choir will sing at tomorrow's assembly.

I am creating . . . a December Daily journal / mini-album, as described by Ali Edwards,  to record memories for the month before Christmas.

Around the house and yard . . . nothing much outside now that autumn is over but inside chaos continues to reign!  "This too shall pass" - right??!!

One of my favourite things . . . perusing Christmas catalogues and special sale flyers that come in the mail.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . subbing in grade 4 again, book club, Remembrance Day service, watching Meadow and Blake while Naomi does some painting, going to Jonathan's sister's wedding and helping with Helayna and Blake, writing to our Compassion child.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . . . a picture of our hotel room at the Mara Serena Lodge in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.  It was so unique and so tastefully designed and decorated.

I was standing on the balcony when I took this.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Study in Motion

Just a little glimpse of the Canada geese on a sunny autumn afternoon at the lake.  

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Ride On!

Helayna and Silas love to be outside riding around so we try to spend lots of time outdoors with them whenever we visit.  Currently the run - bike and the ride-on car are big favourites.

This little boy has the happiest smile ever!

And this little one is completely at home on her run - bike now!