Saturday, October 30, 2010


There have been so many great pumpkin recipes everywhere I look lately so today I decided to make something special for dinner tomorrow.

I did some mixing -

and then some rising happened -

and a little frying -

and the result was Pumpkin Donuts (and Donut Holes)!  

I made a batch of cake donuts and a batch of yeast donuts, both using pumpkin puree.  It's the first time in a long, long while that I've made donuts and my day was full of memories of my Gramma Hetman and her boxes of donuts and of a local neighbor, Mrs. Neimann, who always used a full 20 lb. bag of flour when she baked these.  It seemed to take a whole day to fry a batch that size and every inch of counter space was filled!    Of course, one didn't have to do it again for a long while!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Welcome Home!

My friend, Linds, posted this awesome video commercial for T-Mobile!  It's brilliant and makes me smile so much!  Enjoy!!

And share your life!!

3 Things

On the Sew, Mama, Sew blog, they are featuring guest designer and author of The Practical Guide to Patchwork, Elizabeth Hartman.  As part of the interview, they asked her some questions and it was fun to read her answers.  I thought I'd answer the questions here - feel free to use them on your blog too!

3 jobs you’ve held
     - cashier at Woolworth's
     - summer staff with the 4-H branch of Alberta Agriculture
     - cashier at Safeway

3 things you loved as a child
     - reading
     - trips to the library on Saturday afternoon after piano lessons
     - summer holidays at Gramma and Grampa Hetman's

3 most recent books
     - Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
     - Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
     - World Without End by Ken Follett

3 favorite cookies
     - Chocolate Pinwheels
     - Gingersnaps
     - Chocolate Chip

3 favorite fabric collections (images from Green Fairy Quilts)
     - Bliss by Bonnie & Camille for Moda
     - Awesome by Sandy Gervais for Moda
     - Origins by Basic Grey for Moda

3 favorite things you’ve sewn
     - Christmas rag quilt for Heather
     - Pieces of Love wedding rag quilt for Ryan and Brittany
     - pyjamas for the grandchildren

3 places you want to visit
     - India
     - Greece
     - New Zealand

3 tips for quilters and wanna-be quilters
     - just start!
     - work with fabric and colors that you love
     - read blogs and magazines to find inspiration, tips and instructions
     - enjoy creating and sharing your projects

I didn't know that I would love quilting so very much but after making the second one as a gift, I really am excited to do more!  My friend, Lisa, is a great inspiration and the array of colors and patterns available to work with makes me so very happy.  If you haven't dived into quilting or sewing, I highly recommend it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ten on Thursday

1.  I was driving through Leduc, our closest big city, tonight and while stopped at a red light, this carload of high school girls started waving at me.  They were dressed as nuns - and were obviously celebrating Halloween early.  Oh, the enthusiasm of teenagers!

2.  I love this quilt, made by the wonderful seamstress at Bloom and Blossom who lives in New South Wales, Australia.  It's just gorgeous and is a variation of the rag quilts I've made.  So, so pretty!

(photo by Bloom and Blossom)

3.  If you are looking for some great Halloween dessert ideas, check this list at Better Homes and Gardens.  Scardey Cat Ice Cream Cake and Wicked Witch's Popcorn Hat caught my eye.

3.  The Nature of Things, David Suzuki's TV show, featured the Rift Valley in Africa tonight.  It was fascinating to see the geologic activity and explanations, especially after driving and actually seeing part of it last year.  The show also included a segment on Egypt and the all the building that happened because of the right kind of rock in the right place.  Many memories flooded back tonight!

4.  I'm on the hunt for pumpkin chai tea - and I found a David's Tea store located in 2 spots in Edmonton!!!    And I also discovered that there's a location in Nova Scotia - pretty close to where Melinda works :)  I can hardly wait to try this new drink.

5.  Our Bible study group is meeting tomorrow night for the first time after the summer break.  I'm really looking forward to it.

6.  The grocery store that I frequent had many staples on sale for 1/2 half today.  Bags of pears and apples, pasta and bread made their way into my basket.

7.  Have you heard about Darrah Parker's project "One Year:  One Family"?  As a photographer, she is visiting the same family once every month for one day and photographing them just living their lives.    It's fascinating and something I would love to try someday!

8.  So glad I'm not subbing tomorrow :)  It's the day of Halloween parties and probably my least favourite day of the year.  I always say that and then when the day ends, I'm reminded of how much fun it is for kids to dress up and pretend to be someone else, even if just for a few hours.

9.  This is one of the out-takes from the end of our day with Helayna and Silas!  So much reality in this photo!

10.  Bob spent the afternoon with Blake today while Naomi was the roster parent at Meadow's playschool party.  I'm glad he could help her and spend time with the youngest of our grandchildren.  A very good thing for a Grampa to do on a cool fall day, don't you think?!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Marta at the dear diary stories makes these wonderful mini-diaries and I asked her if I could use the journaling ideas for a blog post.  I am delighted that she graciously agreed - I know I'm going to enjoy using these every so often.  Thanks, M!!

October 27, 2010

I love the smell
of beef stew simmering in the crockpot all day long.

I love the sound
of Meadow and Blake giggling.

I love the taste
of carrot cake muffins with cream cheese icing.

I love the sight
of autumn colors
like pumpkins, chrysanthemums and leaves
decorating my home.

I love the feel
of baby cheeks as they snuggle with me.

(decorations hanging in Heather's house)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Year Ago

Just 365 days ago, we were  - 

flying alongside Mount Kilimanjaro -

meeting Bob and Clarence after their hike up the mountain and our cruise down the Nile -

basking at this beautiful resort in Zanzibar -

strolling along the beach of the Indian Ocean -

and relaxing in the saltwater pool!

What marvelous memories we have of that October in Africa!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

It was an exciting weekend, celebrating a birthday and seeing family that we have been missing.  And amidst all the good times, the weather changed and the gifts kept coming!  I am so very, very blessed!

- Helayna, our beautiful granddaughter

- memories of the last 4 years

- big smiles and great excitement

- little girl friends gathered

- little girl mamas who support each other

- "Can you stay for a sleepover?"

- early morning wakeup surprises

- potato pancakes

- homemade pizza

- "Mount Helayna" cake

- little packages full of goodness

- dress-up goodness

- one on one time with each of our grandchildren

- seeing D and K again

- reading stories together

- little ones who know the stories so well they can read to me

- re-purposing an old, old piece

- time outdoors before the weather changed

- full moon rising

- safe travels

- my parents who can still travel on their own

- my camera

- the entertainment a straw maze provided

- early Christmas shopping

- autumn flowers

- chai latte's

- using fabric from my stash

- snuggling together in bed

- strong little bodies and inquisitive minds

- the blessings of being a grandparent

- time spent in reading the Word

- sensing the purpose that God has given me

- the strong Rock that is my Saviour

holy experience

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Today We -

- shared good morning hugs

- waved good-bye to Daddy

- played with the firefighter hat and tools

- wrestled on the bed

- built a fort

- sat in the toy box

- ate peanut butter and jam on toast

- made orange juice

- mixed "my stuff"

- played doctor and nurse

- learned how to flush (you should have seen his grin!)

- brushed teeth

- gave out medals at the Olympics

- sang "O Canada"

- interviewed the winner of kayaking, snowboarding moguls, diving, aerials, hockey and biking

- folded - and unfolded! - laundry

- one napped with Bear and Alligator

- one was too busy to nap

- made the bed and jumped on it

- hiked to the top of "Kilimanjaro",  exactly one year after Grampa did it!

- found a good walking stick

- camped in the treehouse

- ate snacks in the woods

- learned that moss is soft to sleep on

- ate pasta with sauce

- shared Smarties and juice

- rode trikes and tractors

- climbed ladders

- read Amelia Bedelia and The Baby

- colored pumpkins

- crawled all over Gramma

- wrestled with Grampa

- had a great time together!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ten on Thursday

1.  I. am. tired. of. gardening!  I just want to work the whole thing down, never mind that there are some potatoes,  2 rows of carrots and a row of parsnips still in it.

1A.  Amended to say that since I first wrote this at noon today, Bob went over the potatoes with the big tractor and the  cultivator and they are all dug up!  YEAH!!!!!!!!!  The weeds are gone, the field is worked, the potatoes are picked up - I am so thankful for his help with this project.  I dug one more row of carrots and hopefully will get the other one out yet today.  Funny how half an hour of help can change my perspective!

2.  Carrot French Fries anyone?  Maybe that's a way to use some of my carrots.

3.  I miss the colors of the leaves.  Everything is so empty and grey already.

4.  I'm working on a little birthday project for Miss Helayna.  I'll show you after the party.

5.  The temperature this afternoon reached +23 degrees C - it's just beautiful out there!  The forecast for Monday:  snow flurries.  I hope they are wrong!

6.  We had tuna with grated apple and grated cheese on sesame sprouted bread as our sandwiches for lunch today.  It was such a yummy mix of flavours - and so easy to do.

7.  How about these for a Halloween treat to give out to the kids?  Lots of possibilities for decorating them too.

8.  And while you are checking out that recipe, you can also preorder the Mennonite Girls Can Cook recipe book that's going to be released early in 2011.  It will be a great book, I'm sure.

9.  I bought a few Christmas scrapbook papers yesterday and I'm looking forward to creating the pages of my December Daily album, following Ali Edwards' philosophy.  Her 2009 book was featured in this December's issue of Scrapbooks Etc..  This will be the third year I've done this little project and I love looking back at the last 2 albums.

10.  One more photo of the autumn colors alongside a local road - I'm glad I took lots of pictures that day!  It was like driving up a golden road.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Summer's Worth of Jars

It's been quite the summer for me!  Preserving and capturing the tastes of summer has taken lots of my time - and a huge number of jars!

Here is the final tally:
Quart jars:
35 peaches
14 pears
7 plums
24 sauerkraut
5 applesauce
5 dill pickles

Pint jars:
30 tomatoes
10 peaches
15 applesauce
18 zucchini relish
15 salsa
9 beet relish
12 rhubarb chutney
8 peach chutney
14 raspberry jam

Plus there are lots of things in the freezer and some onions, carrots and potatoes for the cold room.  I am so very thankful that these food items are waiting to be shared and enjoyed by many this winter!  And now I am ready to do some other things.  Let it snow - wait, maybe that's a bit much!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

Now that the silaging is finished, the jars are filled and the growing has stopped, our lives are moving at a more gentle pace and we have time to enjoy the little moments of each day.  The counting continues -

- sunshine and warm mornings

- time to putter

- green grass

- full potato sacks

- flowers still blooming :)

- carrots all laid out

- watching combines move along

- full grain trucks

- smiles on faces in the field

- test driving

- built-in car seat - love it!

- a photobook of a summer's adventure

- my sister

- listening to my niece talk about her teaching position - she is a born teacher

- birthday countdown for this one

- oatmeal with cinnamon and saskatoons

- branches stripped bare and tree skeletons standing tall

- little finds in the fridge that make lunch

- laughter

- fresh sheets on the bed

- pumpkin scones - yum!

- just vacuumed floors

- breathtaking sunsets

- the responsibility to vote

- freedom to make my own choices

- the peace with which God's presence fills me

- the Creator who filled the world with so much beauty

holy experience

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Colorful Autumn Meal

Last week as we were having supper it struck me that our meal was very colorful and all homegrown!

Barbecued T-Bone Steak
Purple Potato with Yogurt, Cheese and Chives
Buttered Maple Syrup Carrots
Tomatoes and Sea Salt
Baked Apple with Ice Cream

This was our weekly 'special meal', celebrating the end of garden goodness and of silage season.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Decorating for Fall

These two little vignettes show the fall decorations in our home.  I've simplified the main area of our home, after we replaced the floors last winter,  and I love the little bits of color that go with this season.

When I looked around last week, I came to the conclusion that  photographs form the base of my decorating scheme - and that makes me very happy!  The smallest photo here shows our family at the San Diego Zoo in 1991!

I've been following the 31 Days of Autumn Bliss at The Inspired Room and am inspired to make little changes and improvements in our living spaces.  

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


We had a wedding to go to over the weekend and about two weeks before the date, while mulling over what we could give the couple as a gift, it suddenly dawned on me that a quilt would be perfect.  I guess in the busy-ness of summer with silaging and preserving keeping me occupied, I hadn't even thought of making one!  So, with two weeks to go, I started assembling fabric and cutting squares.

Ryan and Brittany, for whom I was making the quilt, are committed to recyling, reusing and reducing - in a big way! - so my goal was to use only fabric that I already had on hand.  

And here is the way it looked at 10:30 a.m. the morning of the wedding!  It still had to be washed and dried, and thankfully one of our neighbors offered to do that for me.  

I almost like the back as much as I like the front!  I was 10 squares short of solid fabric so I did some piecing of remnants, which adds lots of interest.  This side was not planned out at all!

You can see the random bits here.

Here it is, on a bed, all washed and dried, ready to be given - with lots of love!  This is only the second quilt I've made and I felt the same way with the first - do I really have to give it away?!    I think it will make a great picnic blanket or cover for guests to sleep under.  I'm so glad this was what we decided to give as our gift.   Now - who else would like a rag quilt?!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

This weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving and I list the gifts with much joy in my heart.

- the beauty of trees and leaves

- sun shining brightly

- that He would send His son for me

- wedding celebrations

- beautiful bride and handsome groom

- families gathered 

- friends who welcome us into their home

- visiting and listening 

- delicious food

- worship music

- autumn decorations

- jars of preserves as wedding favours

- a wedding feast featuring only locally grown food

- late nights around the dining room table

- playing a new game

- completed project

- giving a gift I created

- sitting in the sunshine

- amazing good news :)

- three days of family and friends

- more days of harvest

- apple spice hand soap and lotion

- pumpkin pie with whipped cream

- little bodies growing strong and tall 

- watching Meadow's excitement while doing an experiment

- kisses from Blake

- our home

- quiet evenings

- homemade tomato soup

- using the last of our tomatoes

- candle glow

- good health

- that God my Father has me safely in His care and keeping

holy experience

Friday, October 08, 2010


Words from Write. Click. Scrapbook this morning:

October gave a party, 
The leaves by hundreds came,
The Chestnuts, Oaks and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
--George Cooper

Pictures from our yard

Monday, October 04, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

A new month again and the gifts keep coming.  It is so amazing how God fills each day with His marvelous goodness.  Today I count -

- less rain than predicted

- long days of work accomplished in the fields

- days of light and sun - true Indian summer

- lingering blossoms

- color on the roads and driveways as the leaves have drifted downward

- sound of geese on the move

- watching the wild animals while I wait in the field

- reminders of one year ago!

- good friends who made the memories so sweet

- raw cookie dough :)

- visits with friends

- grade one art projects

- my cellphone

- a drive along gravel roads

- the first Christmas catalogue arriving in the mailbox

- online inspiration

- working with little ones

- Blake's amazing climbing abilities

- scrapbooking with Meadow

- phone conversations with our grandchildren

- clean countertops

- harvest progress throughout the area

- the Creator who provides it all

- eyes with which to see it all

- realigning my heart and head with His ways

holy experience

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Making Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut, a staple in Eastern European cooking,  is basically fermented cabbage.  Bob's mom is an expert in making it and she's always been generous and given us several jars each year.  After being married for 34 years, I decided it was something that I really should learn to make and Naomi wanted to learn too, so the 3 of us had a kraut making day.

We started with 16 heads of cabbage, 100 pounds in all.

After a whole lot of grating, using a grater that Bob's grandmother once used -

and lots of salting and mixing, by big hands and little hands, 

we had 2 - 5 gallon pails filled, ready to ferment and turn into delicious sauerkraut.  It should be finished fermenting in about 10 - 14 days and ready to use.  I hope to can most of it and we'll be ready for a feast of sauerkraut and pork hocks!  It seems so easy to do - hopefully it turns out - I'll keep you posted!