Sunday, January 31, 2010

Poetry for a Sunday

A Red, Red Rose

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
   That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
   That’s sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
   So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
   Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
   And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
   While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
   And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
   Though it were ten thousand mile.

(to celebrate Robbie Burns day which was earlier this week)

Best of 2009

December 22 Startup. What's a business that you found this year that you love? Who thought it up? What makes it special?
It's been a very long time since I was in a Camper's Village store but there's a new one on the south side of the city, which we explored a bit before going to Africa.  I got some travel clothes (a hoodie and a long sleeve shirt) while Bob picked up mitts and a headlamp, as well as other assorted necessities.  The store was packed with tons of good stuff at decent prices and it's very accessible for us.  Staff were knowledgable and helpful, while allowing individual browsing time.  Shopping for gifts for hikers, campers or outdoor enthusiasts is so easy at this store!  And a bonus was the very nice reusable bag in which they packed our purchases.
And I have to mention an old store that's become a new favourite for groceries!   Real Canadian Superstore is my 'go-to' place these days.  Heather recommended it and it really is the best place for great prices and lots of selection.  I like the choices between top quality and cheap prices, the wide selection of gluten-free foods they offer and the large produce aisle.  It's an hour drive to the nearest one so I try to get there once a month and stock up on good buys.  They also have great sales and bonus items if your purchase reaches certain levels.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Corners of My Home

Last night I got the motivation to clean off my scrapbook table!  With the commotion of Christmas cards and letters, creating a December Daily album and lots of entertaining (which means that assorted piles get moved to the studio) it was quite the mess.  Now everything pretty much has a home or is in the trash and the space is ready for creating again.  That's even a started layout sitting on the table, using a photo from 2007!   This is definitely a favourite corner of mine!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

One Thousand Two Hundred

According to the counter on my blog posts, today marks 1-2-0-0 for me!  That's one thousand two hundred, 1000 + 200 + 0 + 0.  However you slice it or dice it, that's a lot of posting!!  What a record of my life!  I spent some time tonight searching back through the archives and here's a little reflecting on my blogging journey.

My very first entry  The Edmonton Oilers were playing great that year but they are in the absolute basement of the NHL this year.

About halfway through, I found this entry  - Happy Mother's Day.  I absolutely had forgotten that I ever wrote this!  I'm delighted I found it and so glad I first wrote it!!

Documenting changes that we've experienced.

Shared our excitement and ongoing joy at being grandparents.

Documented lots of wonderful travel trips - in Asia, to Europe, South America, and Africa.

I am absolutely amazed at how much I've recorded - events, feelings and things that would otherwise be lost but are now preserved.  And a totally unexpected but wonderful blessing to blogging has been the online community of friends that I've grown to know and love.  I've only met Jill and some Albertan scrapbooking friends in real life but I know that one day I'll be blessed to meet and spend time with more of you scattered around the world.

To celebrate today's milestone, I'm going to send a little gift to one of my readers.  I'd love to hear how you found my blog!  And my most heartfelt thanks for continuing to read and share my blogging journey!  Here's to another 1200 posts - maybe sometime in 2014!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

These gifts filled my life today:

- hopping out of bed as soon as the alarm goes

- herbal toothpaste

- a new toothbrush

- hot water for tea

- lunch ready in the fridge

- cheese

- pink swirls in the morning sky

- a smile and cheery greeting from the school secretary

- "Let's send this to people in Haiti" from a three year old

- her confidence that Mama will find an address and her craft will be sent

- block 1 prep time

- my favourite morning hot drink (hot chocolate + coffee + flavoured creamer)

- self-paced computer learning

- enthusiasm

- explanations of pulleys, levers and gears that the students and I can understand

- boundless energy in phys ed class

- a new teacher excited to have a contract

- warm sweaters

- time to sit down and eat

- sharing ideas

- laughter around the lunchtime table

- sunshine on snow

- ideas and expertise shared by colleagues

- artwork in the hallway

- team teaching

- watching student-teacher interactions

- stories that WOW them

- fanning their interest in current affairs

- helping to verbalize questions

- positive words of encouragement

- mature behaviour by the most unlikely

- chocolate covered almonds

- healthy hearts active time

- paper shredder

- seeing former students and catching up on their lives

- parent 'hellos'

- colorful ski jackets and pants

- the colors of sunset

- the quiet of an empty building

- frosty trees

- a white winter wonderland

- bills paid

- the glimpse of an amaryllis with 9 huge pink blossoms

(photo by Eglantyne on Flickr)

- mail sorted and filed

- easy suppers of spaghetti and sauce

- candlelight as the day winds down

- the furnace blowing warm air

- tea in my favourite Polish mug

- time to ponder and reflect

- a hot bath

- the chance to create something for Haiti

holy experience

Monday, January 25, 2010

Simple Woman #73

For Today . . . January 25, 2010

Outside my window . . .  winter is back!  It snowed a few inches this weekend and the ice is now covered with a fluffy white blanket.  The temperature was -12 degrees C and it was a dull, grey day.  I left for school before the sun was up and the car lights made the snow crystals sparkle.

I am thankful . . .   for groceries to replace the empty containers and spaces.

And I also am thankful . . .  for safety while driving on winter roads. 

I am praying . . .  
for the people of Haiti as they try to recover and move on after the last 2 weeks of chaos and heartbreak.  I'm also praying for the relief organizations who are trying to quickly and efficiently distribute food, water and supplies.

I am thinking . . .   about pictures I want to uphold, print and hang in our home.

I am creating . . . 
 order out of chaos in the basement :)

I am celebrating . . .
  my aunt's and Bob's sister's birthdays yesterday.

From the kitchen . . . I was working today so it was leftover Spanish Rice for lunch.  For supper we had baked salmon with peach chutney, perogies, and tossed lettuce salad.

 I am wearing . . .brown cords, brown turtleneck sweater, beige sweater vest, brown loafers and topaz earrings from Krakow, Poland.

I am reading . . . Matthew 18 - Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven. . . . Whoever welcomes in my name one such child, as this welcomes me.  Earlier I saw a news item on a local family who just welcomed their 2 adopted Haitian children - God's words in action, for sure!

I am hoping . . .  that the paperwork waiting will do itself :)))

I am hearing . . .  the whistle from my new electric kettle - our old one started leaking and died last week.

I am going . . .  to finish the dishes as soon as this is done.

Around the house and yard . . .
 not too much on the go this week.

One of my favourite things . . .
 phone calls to our family. 

A few plans for the rest of the week . . .  
2 more days of subbing, pyjamas to sew, friends for supper, Bible study, and our church's annual meeting.  

Here is a picture thought I am sharing . . . my fabric for the "On the Road to Spring Quilt-Along" coordinated by Randi at I Have to Say.  She is also the owner of Fresh Squeezed Fabrics.  Come over and join us!

You can join in by reading Peggy's Simple Woman Daybook and then writing your own post.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Poetry for a Sunday

Canadian Winter 

The snow came down and whirled around
and grew and grew and grew.
We scraped and blew and shovelled
but were helpless to undo.

The snow we cleared made piles
like a rocky mountain range;
And then it rained swift rivers -
nature thought we needed change.

The rain will wash away the snow,
was what we had in mind;
But slush was over boot tops -
nowhere to run could find.

The temperatures dropped and you could say
we were really in a rut;
More snow and freezing rain to come -
the weatherman's words did cut.

As long as my home is cozy-warm,
the weather I'll take on the chin;
For, after all, I'm Canadian
and bear winter with a grin.

©Joan Adams Burchell

Music for a Sunday

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Corners of My Home

Seen on the corner of the bench,
awaiting preshrinking and cutting :))

Friday, January 22, 2010


It's a cold and wintery day here - just the perfect day for soup!  If you mix up a batch of buns or a loaf of bread right now and make the soup this afternoon, you'll have a lovely supper ready without lots of fussing.   Or you could do it sometime this weekend - and that would leave you time for other creative, fun pursuits!  When I made this recipe last week, I missed the opportunity to take a photo so you'll just have to imagine what it looks like - creamy, thick and colorful!   Here are some of the raw ingredients:

Salmon Chowder

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 of a green pepper, chopped
Saute' for 5 minutes in a large pot.
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
3 cups chicken stock
Bring to a boil and cook at medium heat for 15 minutes(potatoes will not be quite cooked).

1 6 oz. can salmon , including juice (I take out the skin and bones.)

bay leaf
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups milk (may substitute evaporated milk or use a bit of cream for a richer soup)
Continue simmering.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Serves 2, with leftovers for one person's lunch.  This can easily be doubled for a larger crowd.
(I didn't start with a specific recipe - just did what I know works for soups.  If you like a thicker chowder, thicken with flour or cornstarch when adding the milk.  A can of creamed corn may also be added - which is a great extender if you suddenly have an extra person to feed!)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Best of 2009

Carrying on with the review of my year!

December 21 Project. What did you start this year that you're proud of?
We ripped out the carpet and lino that we've had in our house for the last 30+ years and replaced it with beautiful hardwood flooring.  It was quite a project and thankfully we had a ton of help!  And it looks marvelous - it almost seems like we have a whole new house.  Of course, doing that led to other related projects and those are still in the works.  It will take a few more months to get everything finished but we are definitely proud of it so far!

The quilt that I made Heather for Christmas is the other project of which I'm very proud.  I loved doing it and love how it turned out.  I think it convinced me  that I can quilt :))

Stay tuned for more news on quilting :))

Self Portrait

On Sunday afternoon, Helayna and Silas came in from playing in the sandbox and had to wash their hands.  As part of my photo a day / Project 12, I've decided I need to do a monthly self portrait so it just worked out that I captured this little gem!  I love the impromptu that works out so perfectly :))

Silas can just reach into the sink when he's standing on the little bench now and he LOVES to splash!

And after the hands were finally washed, Gramma washed the mirror and cleaned / dried the bathroom - and the littles had to change their clothes!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

It's been quite a day - one where looking at my blessings is even more important.
So I look and see where Heavenly Father gives me abundance and blessings more than I can imagine or ever deserve.

- a long night of sleep

- early rising

- a day of subbing

- safety

- excellent support staff

- hugs

- students on track and on task

- mental alertness

- using my brain again to remember factors and multiples

- French vocabulary

- sticky cinnamon buns

- my rolling pin :)

- great lesson plans

- friends

- listening

- my husband

- requests for subbing

- graphs

- recess breaks

- students proud of their efforts and work

- new Valentine books

- cutting out new fabric projects

- discussions about world affairs

- hard questions posed by students searching for meaning

- expressions of empathy for victims, especially in Haiti, from students

- taking learning out of the textbook and into their lives

- rides

- mailing letters

- new Olympic stamps

- phone messages

- understanding

- leftovers

- sun shining in the window and laying across the floor

- scarves (especially those from Egypt)

- memories as the Christmas decorations are packed away

- phone calls to our daughters and son

- Meadow's voice

- a clean pool table!

- books found

- piles of stuff to share with others

- a new rotary cutter and mat

- chai tea

- warm baths

- our cameras

- prayer

- feeling His arms wrapped around me

holy experience

Monday, January 18, 2010

Best of 2009

I am determined to complete Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 questions - I hope it doesn't take me all of 2010!
December 20 - New person. She came into your life and turned it upside down. He went out of his way to provide incredible customer service. Who is your unsung hero of 2009?
We welcomed two new grandsons into our family this year and while not turning our world upside down - yet! - they have definitely won our hearts already. 
 I saw Samuel twice in his first  3 months, which was great, but we are definitely feeling overdue for some time with him again.  Hopefully Melinda and Tyler will come to visit this spring and Samuel will get to meet all of his Alberta family.   It was wonderful to watch him opening Christmas presents via Skype on Christmas morning.  
Blake arrived while I was in Nova Scotia!  I had this feeling that might happen when I decided to go!  It is marvelous getting to see him and cuddle often.  He does this little thing where he lays his head on your chest and kind of burrows right in.  It's such a sweet cuddly thing - I love it!  
Both boys are starting to squirm and move around, getting up on their knees and rocking, rolling over and reaching for things.  By summer time we could be in for a crew of little men on the move, walking around and exploring.  I can just imagine what the next years will bring - tons of adventure and many boy games, I'm sure!

Simple Woman #72


For Today . . . January 18, 2010

Outside my window . . .  still sunny and warm - unseasonably so!  +5 degrees C, stubble showing through on the hilltops where the wind had already blown snow away, and longer evenings now that we are nearly a month away from the winter solstice.  Just two months until the first day of spring :

I am thankful . . .   for fresh water and a place to call home, especially after watching scenes from Haiti the last few days. 

And I also am thankful . . .  for safe traveling, near and far.

I am praying . . .  
for Austin as he recovers from a heart transplant.  (You can read his story here.)

I am thinking . . .  about a new quilting project!

I am creating . . .
some birthday cards - my stash is low :)

I am celebrating . . .
  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  The social justice changes he worked for did occur but there is still work to do and changes to make, even today.  You can go here to read one of his amazing speeches.

 From the kitchen . . .  leftover Salmon Chowder for lunch, Spaghetti with Pesto  and Greek Salad for supper, and Cinnamon Buns rising now.  I've only made them a few times ever so this is big for me :))

I am wearing . . .black track pants, blue and white striped tshirt,  green fleece jacket, red slippers (lots of color going on here today).

I am reading . . . Matthew 15 - Do I honour God with my lips or my life?
                     . . . The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks - " Sparks restores our belief in destiny - delivering a stunning tale about a man whose brushes with death lead him to the love of his life."  He always writes such heartfelt stories that I thought this would be a good one in between book club reads.  

I am hoping . . .  to get the Christmas tree down and decorations put away this week - it's time, I guess.

I am hearing . . .  the soundtrack from "Walk The Line" - oldies! 

I am going . . .  to find the sketch for my Project 12 layout so I can think about it some more.

Around the house and yard . . .
 clean counters and laundry caught up!  I do need to vacuum today. 

One of my favourite things . . .
 cutting into a new bolt of fabric and watching raw pieces of a project emerge.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . .  
3 days of subbing, book club gathering, photo a day to update,  birthday gifts to send off and hosting friends for supper.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing . .  . Heather, Helayna and Silas at the end of our weekend together.  It was marvelous to see them and enjoy time, visiting, playing and worshiping together.  

You can read more daybooks over at Peggy's Simple Woman site.