Monday, February 28, 2011

Gratitude Gifts Today

Amidst all the cold and snow, we have been so blessed to spend time with three of our children and their families these past few days.  Sharing dreams, laughing together, watching the little ones grow up, marveling at all that each one can do now,  tickling, cuddling, cheering, listening - it's all been so good as we spend time (precious time!) with each one.

It makes me think about how very much God likes to spend time with us too.  Listening, cheering, dreaming, picking us up, encouraging - He does it all for us too.  And so I count on with the blessings, for in all that He gives me - the amazing and wonderful or the hard and uncertain - I feel Him close and I lean hard on Him.

#2145 - #2179

- God opening my eyes to a solution, so clearly right there

- icicles hanging from the eaves

- snow twinkling as the sun peeks between the clouds

- opening a container of little red summer jewels (frozen raspberries) and being reminded of warmth and growth and summer

- text messages

- online shopping

- days of subbing

- tuna waldorf salad

- inside supervision

- long visits with old friends

- driving home in the sun at 6 p.m.

-safety while driving on snowy, icy winter roads

- little girl playing hockey

- little boy falling asleep in my arms

- tucking little ones into bed

- putting supper in the crockpot

- conversation with loved ones

- their dreams

- listening as they discuss what to do next 

- little voice calling out "Good morning, Gramma!"

- apple pancakes

- turquoise blue placemats

- braiding little girl's hair

- two little ones sitting in the grocery cart

- our son's birthday (love you, D!)

- a full tank of gas

- thinking of the one who is far away (miss you, M!)

- warm quilts

- warmth in the fireplace

- looking forward to another day

- camera capturing moments

- laughing so hard

- His amazing goodness

- His grace, my thanks, our joy

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #8

Listography #8 - Things I Do Not Like

1.  Snakes

2.  Bad manners

3.  Herring

4.  Telemarketers

5.  Rodents like mice

6.  Paper blowing around (littering)

7.  Cigarette smoke

8.  Sarcasm

9.  Spelling Christmas with an X

10.  Farm accounting

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One Year Ago

Just a reminder to visit my #1500 post and leave me a comment so you'll be eligible for the giveaway!  (closes on Saturday)

It's nearly a year since we visited New York City and I thought it might be fun to take a little walk down memory lane!

We came in to the city the day after a big snowstorm had passed through.  There was a lot of snow but it melted really fast   For awhile there were lots of interesting snow scenes.  

Most of the row houses have steps leading up the main door entrance and the stairwells have interesting places where snow can pile up.  The door on the left in the bottom picture leads to the basement suite.

This was the street outside of the school where Mel and Tyler's church had Sunday morning services.  No jaywalking possible here!

Samuel was all tucked into the stroller so he could have a little nap - or so his Mama thought!  

The beautiful mural on the outside wall of the school.

Stroller parking inside the school.  True New Yorkers, most people walk or take the subway to get to church.  You can tell from this that there are lots of young families attending this church!

This little boy has grown up so much in the last year!!  Another good reason to look back so you can marvel at how much the grandchildren have changed!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Recipe Box Swap

Today's theme for Randi's Recipe Box Swap is "Your Favourite Recipe" so I've chosen to share this recipe that I made for supper tonight.  It was my first time making these scones but they are my favourite already.  They were so good that I know I will make them again and again.  I managed to tuck one away for my lunch tomorrow but the rest are gone.

(photo from Mennonite Girls Can Cook website -
ours were eaten before the camera came out!)

Low Fat Whole Wheat Scones

  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 tbsp butter, cold
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tbsp orange or lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  1. Stir together all dry ingredients. Cut in cold butter until the butter is very small chunks.
  2. Stir together the apple sauce, zest and butter milk. Pour over dry mixture and stir with a fork just until it all comes together. Do no over mix scones.
  3. Using your hands, gently work the berries into the dough.
  4. Place mounds of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 375ยบ for 12-15 minutes. Remove immediately to cooling rake. Best served warm. Add a dusting of powdered sugar for a finishing touch. Yields 8 large scones.                                                                                               Notes:  I used 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour and I decreased the sugar to 1 Tbsp., omitted the orange zest and blueberries to create more of a savoury scone.  Instead of making individual scones, I gently patted the dough into a circle and then used the pizza cutter to cut it into 8 wedges.  I increased the baking time to 20 minutes to allow the heat to penetrate to the center of the scone circle.  I love that these use just a bit of butter and then applesauce.  We couldn't taste the applesauce at all.   You might want to double the recipe if you have a family :)
Thanks to Mennonite Girls Can Cook for this recipe and picture.  I am anxiously waiting for their brand-new cookbook to arrive in my mailbox.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Celebrating 1500!

It's been almost 5 years and 1500 posts on this little blog of mine!  I never really thought about where I was heading when I started.  All I knew was that I loved reading the blogs my daughters wrote and the thought of sharing pictures and daily writing with them prompted me to jump in with both feet.  It's always fun to go back and read entries from long ago - and to contemplate what might be ahead.

Will I still be blogging 5 years from now??
How many posts will that make?
Is it time to get these years printed into real books?
Where will my writing go from here?
What would my readers like me to write about?
How can I be mindful of sharing what God puts into my heart?

I want to share a giveaway in honour of reaching this milestone so leave me a comment by noon on Saturday (Feb. 26th).  I'll pick a winner and mail off a package with some quilting fat quarters, a set of handmade cards, a favourite book of mine, some scrapbooking supplies and a bit of chocolate.

I have met the most wonderful friends along the way.  Scattered around the globe, some young, some older, some hilariously funny, some serious, some inspiring, some challenging and all making my life richer.  Thank you for sharing this journey with me!  I appreciate your visits and your comments so much.

Gratitude Gifts Today

Today marks 68 entries in my gratitude posts and my list has  2117 gifts on it so far!  I was astounded to count last week and find so many good things - some of which I had almost forgotten about.  I'm going to number the blessings from here on as a way to acknowledge how they go and on and on - just like His love.

This week we studied chapter three in Ann's book and this quote really stuck with me.

"The gift list is thinking upon His goodness - and this, this pleases Him most!  And most profits my own soul and I am beginning, only beginning, to know it.  If clinging to His goodness is the highest form of prayer, then this seeing His goodness with a pen, with a shutter, with a word of thanks, these really are the most sacred acts conceivable.  The ones anyone can conceive, anywhere, in the midst of anything.  Eucharisteo takes us into His love."

How He fills my moments with His goodness and I cling to them!!

#2118 - #2145

- a holiday celebrating families

- wind whipped snowdrifts

- sunlight streaming through stained glass windows

- guitars strumming hymns

- looking for the lost coin with the Sunday School kids

- celebrating that we have found Him and He always looks long and hard for us

- Bob fixing little things (like the bathroom faucet) around the house

- tractor and snowblower moving drifts again

- friends gathered around our table

- games of cards

- laughter shared together

- belated birthday cake

- just perfect gifts

- pot of bones simmering into new stock

- the wonderful smell as it simmers

- telephone tech support

- a plan to catch little animals that don't belong in certain places, even outside

- new star stamps

- chapter 4 in the book

- -4 degrees C on the thermometer

- sun shining

-  furnace pumping warm air on frosty nights

- full moon rising

- online library system

- words of wisdom shared

- walking with Bible stick reading words

- accepting God's grace with thanksgiving and living in joy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Best Conversation Ever

"If you could talk to anyone in the world, who would it be?"

That is the question is asking Canadians and you can enter their contest sponsored by Wind Mobile to win a conversation with that person.  But the part I'm more excited about is that you can support your favourite Canadian charity and its chance to win up to $50,000.  It's as simple as registering on the WIND site and voting once each day.  Of course my charity of choice is COMPASSION and currently they are in 8th place.  

Please, please, please if you are a Canadian, go over and vote and help change poverty in Jesus' name for children around the world!  There are less than 20 days left to vote - please help!


Lately I've had fun creating and stamping several different cards that I'm going to put together as little gift packs to share with others throughout the year.  It's part of my gifting philosophy of "more handmade" for 2011.

Putting together ideas using new stamps and lovely papers resulted in some cards that I really love.  I hope they will be sent and received with great joy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #7

Listography #7 - Films I Could Watch Over and Over

I am so not a movie person!  I forget who acted in them and when they were made and what happened.  I watch them, enjoy them, move on - and pretty much could watch most of them again in 6 months as if they were brand new!  But here are a few long time favourites - some of them are pretty old.

1.  Love Story - this was the first movie Bob and I ever saw together long, long ago.  About 25 years later he surprised me with a copy of it for Valentine's Day.  Pretty romantic for my husband - and a pretty sad, romantic movie to take a girl to on your first date!

2.  Sound of Music

3.  Count of Monte Cristo

4.  I Dreamed of Africa - especially after traveling there last year.

5.  The King and I - first saw this when I was just a child.

6.  Pretty Woman - or pretty much anything with Julia Roberts in it - she's a favourite of mine.

7.  Invictus - Nelson Mandela is amazing - as is Morgan Freeman who played him.

8.  Blood Diamond

9.  Hotel Rwanda - about a sad and horrific time.

10.  Schindler's List - another sad movie made very real by our visit to the actual factory when we were in Krakow, Poland a few years ago.   It was SO sobering to stand at the gates and then to walk up into Schindler's office.

11.  Doctor Zhivago - the film that first made me want to visit Russia.

12.  Chocolat

It appears that I have a bit of an African theme going on here!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1.  Winter has returned with snow, wind and -15 degrees C.  I liked yesterday better :)

2.  In the process of organizing / purging / cleaning up the basement, I added 2 glass baking pans, 2 mugs and 8 new water glasses to my kitchen today.  Love finding stuff in my gifting stash that I forgot I had!

3.  If you want to try a new recipe, here's a Vegan Chocolate Cake from Helena.  I found it at Tasty Kitchen on the Pioneer Woman's site.  Helena is writing a paper about the chemical reactions in the cake so she is looking for lots of people to test the recipe and give her feedback.  I love that you can make this cake even if you don't have any butter or eggs or milk in the fridge!  And it's really chocolate-y!

4.  Bob's been gluing and fixing some dresser drawers that were in sad shape.   I soon will have a space for my fabric stash - yeah!

5.  If you are looking for a good book to read, I'd like to recommend Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah. Oh, my - it's poignant and heartbreaking in some places!

6.  Daylight until 6:30 p.m. is a very welcome change!  Just a little more than a month until spring is officially here - yahoo!!

7.  I love going to the shelves downstairs or opening the deep freeze and finding vegetables from last summer's garden.  Tonight it was frozen baby beets.  These shelves are getting a bit emptier but there's still lots there.

8.  Leftover chocolate pudding + sliced bananas = yummy afternoon snack :)

9.  I ordered photos from our holiday to Fairmont and for the month of January - and I got in on the 10 cent per picture sale that Costco was having.  Never mind that it took me almost 5 hours to upload and complete the order!  The savings I got amounted to a wage of $3.00 per hour - cheap labour or what!

10.  I'm almost at 1500 posts on this little blog.  Watch for a special giveaway in a few days and thank you  for reading along with my ramblings.  I am humbled by your presence and so thankful that God (while using Melinda and Heather) led me to starting this blog nearly 5 years ago.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gratitude Gifts - Valentine's Edition

I'm on my through a second reading of the chapters in One Thousand Gifts and following discussion in the Bloom book club too.  This book is filled with so much to ponder and contemplate and adapt to my very own life.  In between thoughts on eucharisteo and soul holes, I pause to accept His grace to me, offer Him thanks, and live in joy!  Oh, what joy He brings!

And the gifts count on:

- warm temperatures

- melting snow

- sun shining

- soft, warm sheets

- freshly made granola

- Valentine cards

- birthdays celebrated today

- heart-shaped layer cakes

- red and pink hearts

- longer hours of daylight

- special recipes

- homemade chocolate pudding

- sending letters

- fixing broken furniture

- listening to friends talk about life

- texting a happy birthday message

- fresh tablecloth for the kitchen table

- candles to burn

- running water in the house

- leaving little notes to show him my love

- transportation for my journeys

- the smell of spring coming

- song of birds

- time to make things

- a creative spirit

- cookies left over from Christmas

- "a heartbreakingly beautiful novel"

- hearts on fabric

- knowing, just knowing, that He loves me

- knowing that my soul holes can be healed by giving Him thanks!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

February Greetings

Adeline Roseberg

All outdoors
Edged in lace,
Twigs and grasses. . . 
Beauteous grace.

Sunshine glows
Through snowy birches,
On frosty limb
A bluejay perches.

Thank you, Lord,
For heavenly art.
Your valentine
Has touched my heart.

(photo from

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Leibster Award

My friend, Lisa, at Scraps of Life very kindly sent me a Liebster Blog award this week - thanks, L!

The idea behind the award is to promote bloggers with fewer than 300 followers and to help draw attention to those we believe deserve some recognition.

I'm very happy to pass this award on to: 

Linds at Rocking Chair Reflections - writing with humour and great insight, living across the ocean, Linds inspires me and often makes me laugh out loud!

Leigh at to the full - a talented scrapbooker, fellow Canadian and mom of 3 who creates lovely projects on a regular basis.

Lindsay at Bales and Tales - a teacher living on an American ranch with 2 busy boys, who shares her faith, from a beautiful place in God's creation. 

Please go and visit these three wonderful women!  And make their day extra-special by sharing a comment, okay?!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Winter Job

We have had so much snow this winter!  The way our farm is set up, there is a separate entrance to the working yard and the driveway to that drifted shut so we just left it for a few months.  Finally this was the day to open it up so that Bob can get the trucks in and out of there.  He has spent at least 10 hours on the garden tractor this winter, blowing snow out of our main driveway - and I have captured none of it.  So today while he was working in the daylight I ran out to grab some pictures of the snow of 2010 - 2011.

The snowblower is great for actually sending the snow away.

But in some places it was so deep that the
 poor little 39 horsepower tractor had to work very hard.

We've had this tractor forever!

And the job finished!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #6

Lists of 2011 - #6 - 10 Things I Love About My Son

Darrin is our only son and he is our firstborn.  Almost 34 years ago, his arrival made me a mom!  He was such an easy baby - he nursed well, he slept regularly, he walked early, he talked easily - thankfully, he took my inexperience and thrived anyway.  I think that being his mom first made it easy to fall in love with being a parent.  He is away from our home now, married with a wonderful wife, but I hope he will always  know just how much he is loved, just like he has been from the very first moment he arrived in our family.

1.  He is cool, calm and collected in nearly every situation.

2.  Organized could be his middle name - in everything from the way things are hung in the closet to the top of his desk.

3.  Confident in himself and his talents, he is capable in so many areas.  One thing I adore is how great he is with kids including his nieces and nephews and the kids of co-workers and friends.  He'll be an awesome dad someday :)

4.  A love of traveling is part of this child too!  I think our children must have all been born under a wandering star :)

5.  A natural athlete, he is an awesome hockey player, skier, golfer - every sport comes naturally, it seems.

6.  In gatherings, he can sit quietly and just smiles as the conversation flows, especially when his wife is telling stories.  (K is the best at telling stories!)

7.  Mechanical and logical, he is good at building and understanding how things work.  He likes projects and is often called on to fix things.

8.  He loves photography and together with Kelsey, they take great pictures.  He is always trying to learn more about his hobbies too.

9.  He takes great care of things, including his vehicles.  He's on top of the maintenance schedule, tire changes and vacuuming the interior.

10.  Being healthy is important to him and he eats accordingly.  When he was little, he wasn't much of a vegetable lover but he makes up for it now.  And junk food is not really on his radar - well, except for the odd chocolate dessert!

11.  When I look at him, I see so many reflections of my dad.  His calmness, his drive, his quiet way of warming up to conversations, his love of children, his quest for delicious food, his love of sports - there's lots of Grampa in him!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

January Sewing

One of my goals for this year, as written down on Listography 1, #6, was to sew something every week.  I am very happy to say that was accomplished, in several little ways, for the month of January.

This fleece sleep sac was for Samuel.  
It was my first experience sewing fleece.

Next up was a birthday banner for Melinda.

The cupcake fabric is so cute!

I saw this bag made from a pillowcase on Martha Stewart's site
and this one worked as a gift bag for Melinda.
I bought the pillowcase at the thrift shop for $1.00!

This set of heart pillowcases was a little Valentine gift for her and Tyler.
The fabric was "Party In Pink" by Henry Glass.
Meadow helped me sew this little heat pack and another one for herself.
She is such a little crafter!

And this pillowcase was my test one, 
using instructions from my favourite new quilt book.
I think it just might end up on my pillow :)

So there are the little projects from the first month of the year - and I am thrilled that my sewing machine and I spent some very happy times together.  

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Saturday Fun

If you've read my blog for awhile, you will know that my sister Esther is the event planner in our family.  She puts together the best gatherings, full of fun and activity.  So on Saturday we headed over there for a tobogganing party.  It's been years and years since I went down a hill on a little piece of board or plastic - and we had a ball, acting like kids again!  Darrin and Kelsey came and brought Kelsey's parents too, which meant a whole lot of fun for the 8 of us.

Top of the hill

at the bottom

Sometimes taking pictures got dangerous!

Lots of laughs - and screams!

A friendly push 

but once you got started, there was no stopping!

The GT snow racers definitely went the furthest

and getting back to the top was good exercise!

We also did a little snowmobiling,

including tricks -

and tumbles!

Lots of playing around, 

following the leader, 

and sometimes helping the leader get un-stuck!

The snow is very deep this year which makes for great -
 but challenging - driving conditions.

Bob and I -
February's shot for 2 people 12 times, 
a little monthly photographic exercise.

Heading across the fields,

stopping for a group picture

and then racing for home as the winds started to blow strong!

We spent a great winter afternoon outdoors with people we love!  Thanks, L & E for hosting - your hills and fields are awesome!!