Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Christmas In June

Bob's family didn't have a Christmas gathering last year and instead we made plans to have a summer camping weekend, where weather and bad roads wouldn't interfere with the fun.  So this was the weekend and we were busy visiting, eating, quadding, swimming, eating, playing games, biking, eating - you get the picture!!  Hopefully next year the missing family members can join us - it was definitely a good time!

The little second cousins had lots of fun playing on a hill and in the woods right adjacent to our campsite.  Silas really wanted to keep up to them!

Part of the hill included a spot that was perfect for sliding down and climbing back up.  Grampa put 2 pegs up so they could grab on and scale the cliff easily.  

Helayna's little speech was perfect - 
"Ladies and Gentlemen - Boys and Girls - 
Introducing - - -  The Climbing Lady!!"
 (all said in her best circus announcer's voice!)

Dish water bubbles are so intriguing!

Gathered together

Our niece, Chloe, is marvelous with the little ones!  She made a fishing game, using an old fridge drawer, complete with a magnet that caught things.  And then she shared lots of prizes with the kids - they were thrilled!  Thanks so much, C!

When no one has a lighter, you start the barbecue this way - and hope for the best!

The burgers were great - thanks, T & I!

He loves tools!

Lots of visiting

Little Miss N was so tired she conked out right after supper.

There was a little kitchen time.

Bob's parents, the oldest campers in their 80's

and little A, the youngest camper at 10 months.  It was definitely a multi-generational gathering!

Clean up duty - Andy's specialty, I think - he always does it cheerfully.

We rode bikes back and forth to the cabin where Bob's parents were staying.

And then later Mel went quadding for the very first time.  He got right into it!!

Ian, Tyneille and Mel with Bob riding the rear guard - and acting as camera man. 

And we even sang Happy Birthday and had cake for Heather, whose birthday will be later this week.

It was a great weekend, in a lovely spot - a very nice way to say "Merry Christmas"!

Friday, June 25, 2010


On our walk around the new county park with my sister and her husband earlier this week, we found this nest nestled in a few reeds at the edge of the pond.  We think it belongs to a loon who was swimming just a few feet away.  It was a treat to be so close to something so very special!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Simple Woman #93

For Today . . .  June 22, 2010

Outside my window . . . a mix of sun and clouds again and a temperature of +21 degrees C today.  It rained last night and threatened a few times today but the sun is shining right now.  The planted fields are showing rows of green now and the wild roses are in full bloom.  

I am thankful . . . for the gift of my children - each with their talents, their dreams and their cherished ones.

And I also am thankful . . .  for a week long subbing opportunity to end the school year.

I am praying . . . for a family that we know whose husband and father died very suddenly last week.  Such a huge loss for them all.

I am thinking . . .  about lesson plans for tomorrow morning.  We are having a fun day in the afternoon so that's easy.  

I am creating . . .   a great big long summer to-do list.

I am celebrating . . . my sister and brother-in-law's 25th wedding anniversary today.  We had supper with them last night and are so thankful for the special place they hold in our lives.   

From the kitchen . . .  supper is hamburgers and pasta with a veggie tomato sauce.  I cooked extra pasta with which to make a salad for supper later this week and quinoa to use in a salad when we go camping on the weekend.  I'm trying to be organized!

I am wearing . . .  white capris, a many shades of blue tshirt, turquoise shirt jacket and black sandals.  

I am reading . . .  John 4 - "Whoever drinks the water  I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him, a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
                          Mercy by Jodi Picoult - I just have a few pages to finish but haven't had much reading time lately.  

I am hoping . . .  to ride my bike while we are camping this weekend.

I am hearing . . .  the birds calling in the tree outside the kitchen window. 

I am going . . . to water plants in the greenhouse.

Around the house and yard . . .  some garden things are planted and others need to come out of the greenhouse this week, the grass needs cutting again and the floor desperately needs vacuuming.

One of my favourite things . . .  walking with my sister.  Yesterday at the end of the day, we walked around a reclaimed gravel pit that's been turned into a day use park.  It's such a calming way to end the day.  

A few plans for the rest of the week . . .  3 more days of subbing, a meeting in Edmonton, supper with Jerry and his family to celebrate his birthday and a weekend of camping with Bob's family (in lieu of our Christmas gathering).   

A quote for today . . .  

Do your little bit of good where you are;  
it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. 
-Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . . . I was experimenting with back lighting as Pioneer Woman described on her photography blog.  I love how this picture of the developing maple seeds turned out!

First Birthday

It was Blake's first birthday on the longest day of the year yesterday and we celebrated by going camping and spending a delightful weekend together.  How can it be that one whole year has gone by since Naomi called Melinda and I in Nova Scotia to say that she was going to the hospital?!!

And now here he is, trying so hard to keep up to big sister, taking his first steps, loving to eat any kind of fruit and melting my heart with every sweet, sweet smile!  He has this tender way of laying his head down on one's shoulder and cuddling right in, which is perfect with Gramma.  Happy Birthday, Little Man - you truly are a gem!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to this important man in my life.

My Dad and Mom with their youngest granddaughters

10 Things to Know About My Dad

1.  He is a man of faith and he lives it every day.

2.  He is a farmer to the very core.

3.  He loves kids - especially his grandkids and great-grandkids.

4.  He's a community minded person who has served countless hours volunteering.

5.  He has lots of green machinery - and even buys green (as in John Deere green) bicycles.

6.  He has a great big sweet tooth - and would have pie for dessert at every meal if he could, I think!

7.  He's really curious and is always asking questions and learning more about everything.

8.  He was crazy about playing softball for years and years.

9.  He's always got candies or nuts squirreled away for treats.

10.  He has lots of little sayings that he lives by.  Sayings like "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt" and "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right" and "Practice makes perfect" - and he passed those on to his kids.

 I'm really proud that he's my Dad.  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Lately I've been trying to get a handle on all the pictures I have in assorted envelopes, albums and stacks!  Then last week I read a post about mixing patterned papers  which made me want to try the suggestions.  And I've also been inspired by some of the summer postings regarding travel pictures.  So - - - all that added up to this layout that I made last night.  

I used papers and embellishments, including the transparency over the top left photo, from the "Ooh La La" kit  by My Mind's Eye that my sister gave me - thanks, E! Letters are Thickers by American Crafts.   The pictures are old, from a little road trip we took in 2003 and it feels very good to get them onto a page.  I think I'll do a few more layouts on this theme featuring other places that we've visited over the years.  

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

holy experience

The Fish Principle at A Holy Experience is an absolute must-read - and with that, my perspective is changed and  I continue adding to my list of goodness for this week.

- celebrating the start of new chapters in a life journey after the university diploma is earned, the engineer's ring is on his finger and the first two pay cheques have already been deposited!

- listening to them discuss plans for summer fun

- a patch of sunlight warming the exact spot where my feet fit onto our bed

- wild Alberta roses blooming at the end of the driveway

- dappled cranberry bush leaves outside of the studio window

- the start of 23 more lovely buds on the rosebush

- Beef Stroganoff in the crockpot

- a new tool

- on hands and knees, picking the chickweed from spinach and lettuce

- a reminder of being close to my Creator while on hands and knees

- another batch of homemade yogurt set

- tasks completed

- time to put together thoughts and pictures

- "The Living Prayer" sung by Allison Krauss

- droning of bees as they happily drink nectar 

- pollinated tomatoes

- friends

- frosty cold iced tea by the glassful

- smell of barbecuing chicken

- frozen saskatoons from the freezer

- wild chokecherry blossoms

- whole wheat bread baking - and filling the house with its aroma

- a very special day spent with just two little ones, as Mommy and Daddy were both at work

- the boundless imagination of an almost 4 year old

- sharing giggles - all 3 of us

- growing rows

- the world coming together to celebrate and play soccer

- pinwheels blowing in the wind

- daylight until after 10:30 p.m.

- sunset

- being reminded that this life is oh, so fleeting

- knowing deep within my soul that Heaven awaits

- being loved by a God who cares so much for me

Monday, June 14, 2010

Simple Woman #92

For Today . . .  June 14, 2010

Outside my window . . . a mix of sun and cloud, it only got to +16 today.   We had a gorgeous day yesterday with a temperature of +28 degrees C.  It felt like summer!!  Tomorrow's forecast is for showers and then the nice weather should be back.

I am thankful . . . for knowing that "Day by Day" God's mercies attend me, as we sang yesterday at church.

And I also am thankful . . .  for a day spent with two of our grandchildren.  We had alot of fun :))

I am praying . . .  for fathers and the examples they set, especially the ones in my family, as we celebrate Father's Day on Sunday.

I am thinking . . .  about 1 year ago when I was in Nova Scotia with Melinda and little Samuel, enjoying Edward and Linda's hospitality.

I am creating . . . 
  some sewing projects.  I'll show you soon :))

I am celebrating . . . Naomi's birthday this week by going on a family camping trip.  This is the third year we've spent a June weekend together and it's a great way to kick off summer.  

From the kitchen . . .  leftover vegetable fried rice and brie and apple stuffed chicken breast, while supper is crockpot beef stroganoff with fresh buns.

I am wearing . . .  black yoga pants with a matching pink and black tshirt and hoodie.  Good clothes for playing in!

I am reading . . .  John 3: Jesus Teaches
                                      John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
                          Mercy by Jodi Picoult - A small community is rocked when a man confesses that he has killed his terminally ill wife out of mercy.  This author tackles contemporary ethical issues and always has twists and turns in the plot.  

I am hoping . . .  for great weather this weekend.

I am hearing . . .  the horns blowing at a World Cup soccer match!  What a hum they make!  

I am going . . . to bed!  Getting up at 6 a.m. is tiring!!

Around the house and yard . . .  the grass is mowed and trimmed, the patio pots are just starting to bloom, the cranberry bushes are blooming and the mother wren is sitting on her tiny eggs. 

One of my favourite things . . .  cinnamon buns with caramel sauce.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . .  babysitting Meadow and Blake today, subbing on a grade 1 fieldtrip to the bowling lanes and swimming pool, book club gathering, and camping on the weekend.  

A quote for today . . .  

Veteran Traveller
carries a lot of suitcases but all of them are empty because she's expecting to completely fill them with life by the end of this trip & then she'll come home & sort everything out & do it all again.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . . .  the tiny hearts on my bleeding heart plant always remind me of love and of my grandmother.  She loved all plants and this one was a special favourite.  I remember her showing us how the little hearts can be opened and closed. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010


edited to add one final photo

The Friday photo lesson at the Ella Publishing blog is about perspective.  In Noel's words, " I read once that if you take a photo from the same spot everyone else does, you'll get a photo that looks like every other photo you've seen. "  So the assignment this week was to "get low" and see what else you could photograph.  

#1 - standing on the lawn - yes, it's awful with dandelions this year and it rained all week so it's looking very, very bad today!

#2 - laying down

#3 - a little too much tilt!

#4 - up close and personal!

#5 - after mowing!

That was fun - go out and try it this weekend!  You probably have a better view than a field of dandelions to practice on!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Just a little card that I created for a birthday.  The sentiment inside says, "Creeping by to say Happy Birthday to You".  The little guy on the bottom was cut out of the paper, mounted on black cardstock and then pop-dotted up.  Thanks for looking :)

(paper - Sassafrass Lass, Hog Heaven; 
brads - Doodlebug Sugar Coated Brads, Beetle Black)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Memories of a Band Parent

This afternoon,  my subbing assignment was in grade six and I got to go with the students over to an orientation session at the high school, which they will move to in September.  

We started by spending time in the music room with the band teacher and the high school band played a few selections for us.  Then everyone got to try the instruments (which they loved) and I was reminded of all the good times and memories our girls had while they were in the band program.  

1.  Going on tour - especially to South Dakota and Toronto - Ottawa - Montreal, when I travelled with them.

2.  Band uniforms

3.  Fund raising - everything from cleaning ditches to dinners and silent auctions which paid for busses, uniforms, hotel rooms, instruments, music, etc. etc.

4.  Amazing band teachers who were great models and mentors - and have even become good friends now.

5.  Mastering an instrument - a completely new talent

6.  Learning to be part of a whole and contributing to the whole group by producing the best sound you could

7.  Setting up and tearing down after a performance

8.  Listening to practice sessions at home

9.  Band parents association meetings and all the support they gave

10.  "O Canada" - still my absolute favourite song the whole band ever played!

11.  Making their own recording and producing a cassette tape

12.  Knowing and absolutely seeing that "music makes you smarter"

Ah, the sweet, sweet memories!!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

holy experience

I have noticed so many tiny little things to be grateful for today!

- the chirping of a little wren

- the little wren's nest in a birdhouse on our patio

- raindrops hanging

- bright little thank you cards ready to mail

- new stamps

- cinnamon

- the just-formed little flowers of the bleeding heart

- finding tiny trucks that are still out of the toybox, some 2 weeks after the little boys have returned home

- a card for $5 off my next pedicure

- watching baby calves frolic in the pasture

- new little roots on a spider plant cutting

- the lovely green of oak leaves

- cinnamon buns with caramel sauce

- empty hangers from a purged section of closet

- sharing good reads with friends

- lilacs

- a jar of chai latte' waiting in the fridge

- finishing a book

- little tiny bird stickers

- stamped images ready for the front of a card

- rhubarb stalks fresh picked from the garden

- the blossoms of the cranberry bush alongside a few of last year's dried berries

- a cheery little piece of patterned paper fashioned into a birthday card

- seeds

- hearing little voices in the background of telephone conversations

- a special mug from Poland (thanks, M & T!)

- growing tips on the spruce trees

- wandering outside and marveling at the Creator of all this

- knowing that God watches over all this and me too!

Simple Woman #91

For Today . . .  June 7, 2010

Outside my window . . . a grey day with showers and temperatures at about +10 degrees C.  The forecast is for showers through most of this week and the moisture is very welcome for growing things.

I am thankful . . . for God's promises that I read in the Bible.

And I also am thankful . . .  for special days like birthdays and anniversaries, times to honour and think about those we love.

I am praying . . . for our daughter who will return to work next week, after a year of maternity leave.  I know she loves her job but I know it's hard to juggle at home too.  And I pray that during her daily commute she will be safe. 

I am thinking . . .  about the proposed new Alberta Health Act that is being presented for feedback this month.

I am creating . . . 
  a layout, based on Layle Koncar's advice over at ellapublishing about mixing patterned paper.  The lightbulb is shining brightly for me!

I am celebrating . . . Farmer's Day on Friday.  Our county still observes this as a holiday so the schools are closed and many communities have pancake breakfasts, picnics, games and weiner roasts. 

From the kitchen . . .  there's a beef roast in the crockpot and we are having Beef on a Bun for supper.  For lunch I had tuna waldorf salad, eaten  gulped down in 5 minutes after reteaching a lesson on perpendicular - parallel - intersecting lines that a couple of grade 5 students needed again.  

I am wearing . . .  light beige capri pants, a striped orange tshirt and sport sandals.  This is the first day I've worn summer clothes - and by 11 a.m. it was drizzling! 

I am reading . . .  Luke 23 - The Resurrection and Ascension 
                                     And now I start to read the book of John on my quest through the New Testament.
                          Shanghai Girls by Lisa See - just finished this awesome read!  I highly recommend it!  It's another great story about women, this time 2 sisters that are 'sold' to American Chinese husbands during the late 1930s, relocated to Los Angeles and live through WWII in America.  Lisa See is an amazing author!
I am hoping . . . to send some pictures for printing this week.

I am hearing . . .  "The Best New Praise and Worship Songs . . . Ever!" 

I am going . . . to enjoy this day!

Around the house and yard . . .  the patio pots are just ready to burst into bloom, the rose has had 9 blooms and there are 12 more blossoms developing and the lawn is once again covered in dandelions!  

One of my favourite things . . .  fresh rhubarb sauce on vanilla ice cream.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . .  another 1.5 days of subbing, some baking to restock the freezer, making Stacy Julian's Banana Brownies and sharing them as a birthday present, hoeing throw the rows of potatoes, cutting the lawn, a barbecue to honour our nephew who just graduated as a mechanical engineer and maybe the first weiner roast of the season.  

A quote for today . . .  

“Joy is prayer - Joy is strength - Joy is love - 
Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. 
She gives most who gives with Joy.”
—Mother Teresa
(1910-1997); Founder Of The Missionaries Of Charity

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . . . little droplets of rain collected on the grass - and a chance to play with my camera.