Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lists of 2013 - #5 - Brave Things I've Done

Listography 2013 - #5 - Brave Things I've Done

1.  Retiring from my full-time teaching job

2.  Going back to university at age 38 to finish my education degree

3.  Sitting down in the tractor and learning to drive the forage cutter for grain silaging

4.  Quadding down the side of a mountain

5.  Settling into a kayak and paddling along the Nova Scotia coast

6.  Substitute teaching in junior high classrooms

7.  Driving the big tractor and feed mixer to feed beef cattle while Bob was away in Ottawa

8.  Quickly tagging baby calves while mama cows anxiously stood guard nearby

9.  Driving the big loader while towing the 2+2 tractor out of snowdrifts

10.  Gone down waterslides with our grandchildren

In The Kitchen

It's been a very long time since I baked cookies, especially because I was sick before Christmas and didn't even get many Christmas cookies baked.  So over the weekend I spent a little time baking a batch  for Darrin and Kelsey.  I got to use her Kitchen Aid stand mixer - and fell completely in love with it!   The way it creamed the butter and sugar and then combined the egg into this lovely golden batter was glorious.   That machine has been added to my wish list for sure!

Since it's so cold and snowy up here today, I thought you might like to try making a batch of these for your cookie jar so I'm going to share the recipe, which I found on the Tasty Kitchen blog.

Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These chocolatey-coconut delights are perfectly chewy and delicious. Beware, they will disappear from the cookie jar in a day, tops.
  • 1-¼ cup All-purpose Flour
  • ¼ cups (Rounded) Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ⅛ teaspoons Salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • ½ cups Granulated Sugar
  • ½ cups Light Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1 whole Large Egg
  • 1-½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla
  • 1 cup Shredded Coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips


    Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
    In an electric mixer, cream together the butter, coconut oil, and sugars. Scrape down the sides and then add the egg and vanilla; mix to combine. On a low speed, gradually add the flour and cocoa mixture, until incorporated. Add the shredded coconut and oats and mix. Add chocolate chips and mix until just folded in. The dough will be pretty solid. Form into balls about the size of a heaping tablespoon and place on a lined-baking sheet (with a Silpat or parchment paper).
    Bake at 350ºF for 11 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 2 minutes more on the sheet, then remove and place on a cooling rack, or on an opened brown paper bag. Eat to your heart’s content. They are delicious!

    Cooking Notes:
    I doubled the recipe and made 60 cookies. The dough was very stiff and I added 2 Tbsps. milk to help it bind together.   I used a melon baller to scoop out the dough and then flattened the tops slightly so they would bake through.  The cookies are chewy and tender and I will be making them often!

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Joy Dare



#170 - #251 (a random selection)

- morning winter light breaking over wind sculpted snowdrifts
- net ice fishing at Pigeon Lake this week
- my Grampa's 114th birthday would be this month!
- book club  reads, discussions, snacks, friendships
- card parties with friends

- jars of spaghetti sauce from summer's goodness
- mercy and grace from God my Father every day
- brilliant blue skies
- mailing a birthday gift
- chicken tortilla soup

- early (as in 5:59 a.m.!) snuggles with Helayna
- playdough creations with Silas
- visit to the swimming pool
- her going down the waterslide all by herself
- snacks after playing in the water

- cooing and playing in the bathtub
- Peyton imitating faces
- her clapping hands all by herself!
- seeing how much she's changed in 1 month
- reading books together

- baking cookies for them
- waffles, whipped cream and berries
- taking Peyton for a walk
- her talking and laughing while swinging
- the opportunities God gives me each day!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blast from the Past - Beauty

- in sunsets

- in pots of purple and orange pansies

- in the sounds of birds outside the window

- in the taste of fresh herbs

- in the smell of petunias blooming

- in the feel of spring rain showers

- in the freedom of racing quads

- in the friskiness of growing calves

- in the lush growth of grasses in the field

- in the emergence of tiny plants through the soil

- in the busy buzz of bees feeding in flowers

- in the warm sunshine of early morning


(from the summer of 2009)

Five on Friday

1.  Quote:

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.                            -Ralph Waldo Emerson

2.  Second Cup has a wonderful new Vanilla Bean Tea Latte that is so, so good!  I am a big Starbuck's fan but this variation is my new favourite.  I hope you can find a Second Cup shop near you but I think they might only be in Canada.

3.  As an older, slightly beat-up car very loudly passed us yesterday, Silas says: "That is a grumble car.  He sure has a problem with his engine!"  It was just the sweetest thing right out of the blue!

4.  Silas and I worked together to make banana muffins yesterday and once they were in the oven baking, I looked over to our work station - and saw the melted butter sitting there, waiting.  Yeah - not a brilliant move to create completely fat-free muffins.  Thankfully most of them have been eaten fresh.  We were having such a great time working together but not really paying attention, I guess.  ("Focus, Gramma, focus" is my new mantra!)

5.  Photo of the week:  (on hold until I am back home at my own computer)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lists of 2013 - #4 - Things I Would Like to Learn

Lists of 2013 - #4 - Things I Would Like to Learn

1.  To swim

2.  To play guitar

3.  To knit and crochet

4.  To make carrot pudding

5.  To long arm quilt

6.  To use an iPhone

7.  To master Photoshop Elements

8.  To easily digital scrapbook

9.  To play chess

10.  To catch a salmon

11.  To create and maintain a beautifully landscaped yard

12.  To care for bees and extract honey

13.  To downhill ski

A bucket list for sure!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2013 Joy Dare



#101 - #170 (a sampling)

- I am healthy and strong
- I am creative in many ways
- I invest time in people and relationships
- I am working hard to be hopeful
- I am saved  by Jesus!

- snowy day at home
- automatic washer and dryer
- leftovers
- raspberries and whipped cream
- red and green papers

- tall, warm winter boots
- mailing birthday cards
- pie from the freezer
- looking at Christmas pictures from last year
- time to read "Coppermine" for book club

- watching the little ones skiing
- walking behind Maelle, holding her harness as she skis down the bunny hill
- finding pumpkin, rhubarb, strawberries and beets ready to use in the freezer
- fresh sheets on the bed
- baked steelhead trout

- Maelle's yoga moves
- safety and protection on snowy winter roads
- sunshine + snow + warm temperatures = fun outside
- mailing packages
- ordering pictures

- completely surprising the grandchildren
- thrift store finds
- watching a movie together
- crafting with Meadow
- repaired coveralls

- Proverbs 4:20 - "My son, pay attention to what I say:
listen closely to my words."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Blast from the Past - Helayna

This is another little gem I found in my drafts folder last week!

I'm sure this was taken at Naomi's when she hosted a baby shower for Helayna and Heather, just weeks after Helayna was born.  And she turned 6 in October!!  What a treasure to find this!  I know both baby and mama will love seeing this photo too. 

Five on Friday

Quote of the Day
“Sometimes there is nothing you can do, and in those times, you must do something anyway.”
Garrison Keillor (born 1942);
author, radio personality

2.   I'm getting daily photo prompts in my inbox from Kristen at Capture Your 365 - and while I haven't done many of them, I love seeing the examples she posts every day.  If you are looking for reasons to use your camera, this could be the place to go!

3.  I used my food processor to make Pumpkin Scones (just like Starbuck's) this week - and they were so easy!  I love how it makes working with dough so simple.  I didn't do the glazes but they were still tasted so great.  I'll be doing many more of these, I know.

4.  It's been a week of snow, warm temperatures, ice, melting, cold temperatures - and around and around and around!  Tomorrow's high is predicted to be -17 C and then next week it's balmy again.  All of this makes for continually changing driving conditions.

5.  Photo of the week:

Mater, with his tall trailer,
 pulling the tractor out of the ditch
by Blake

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lists of 2013 - #3 - Favourite Words

1.  I'm sorry

2.  I love you

3.  Please

4.  Thank you

5.  Would you like to come with us?

6.  I miss you!

7.  I'm looking for a sub

8.  HI, Gramma/Gram

9.  Can you stay for a sleepover?

10.  Let's go out for supper :)

11.  Come and play / Let's play a game

12.  Smile!

13.  Can you help me?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blast from the Past - Salzburg

Today I went into my blog archives to see what was languishing in the drafts folder.  And lo and behold, I found the most interesting things - including some unpublished posts from some of our travels!  I was ever so surprised - and quite delighted. 

Oh, the wonderful memories that I found from our trip to Poland, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic in September of 2007!  I decided they simply must be published - mostly for my sake. 

St. Rupert welcomed us to the first of many interesting sites in the Old Town of Salzburg. This square is surrounded by early 20th century Bauhaus style dorms for student monks.

On one side of this square is a restaurant where Charlemagne ate in AD 803, making it the oldest restaurant in Europe - according to the locals. Many restaurants in the city combine dinner with a concert, very appropriate for this city of music. We didn't get to take in one but will definitely do that next time.

This fountain was the first one we saw (after parking in a parkade inside the mountain!).

These mini-gardens and Renaissance style tombs hug the rock wall. This cemetary inspired the one in the Sound of Music where the Von Trapp family hid after the concert, on their way out of the country.

St. Peter's cemetary. In Austria, gravesites are rented, not owned. Every 10 years, a bill is sent to the family and if the fees are not paid, remains will actually be moved out!

Monschberg Mountain, above the Old Town, is the home of Hohensalzburg Fortress, a forbidding fortress that wasn't even used. Salzburg never was attacked until WWII but they did surrender to Napolean. We didn't get up here but would definitely make this a stop on our next visit.

The Prince-Archbishop who ruled here from 1587 - 1612 had grand plans to build Salzburg up as "Rome of the North". This square was going to be the centerpiece of his Baroque dream city. Salzburg has a series of inter-connecting squares that make a grand processional way, like nothing else we saw. This fountain is modelled after the Triton Fountain in Rome.

A detail of one of the horses supporting the fountain. Each of the 3 unique horses had water spouting from different places.

The Glockenspiel has a carillon of 35 bells from the 17th century that play 3 times daily (7 am, 11 am, and 6 pm). We heard them play for nearly 15 minutes twice while we were in the city. They play different music through the seasons. The sculpture on top of the tower is an upside down heart symbolizing that God loves all of creation. (Thanks to Rick Steves and his tour book for these amazing tidbits of information!)

Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart and this square is named Mozartplatz. You can also see his birthplace, residence and places where he spent the first 25 years of his life.

This shop had incredible displays of painted and decorated eggs! There were eggs for every special day of the year and then eggs in every color of the rainbow, not to mention all the special character ones or the fancy scroll decorated ones. We asked and they ARE real eggshells with the contents blown out. It was a simply amazing place!

This is another of my trip favourites!

As we left the city center, darkness was descending and the castle looked so beautiful.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Here are a few things that I am enjoying right now - 

1.  Loving this tea - and a bit of fresh lemon juice and honey makes it perfect!

2.  Even though Christmas is past, there are still a few shortbread cookies lingering (but they won't be around for long, I can tell you).

3.  Horse UNO was a gift for Helayna and it was lots of fun to play - the bigger the group, the more the fun!

4.  Still have a bit of this Bath and Body Works soap - it smells so yummy.  They have such wonderful scents in their products.  

5.  Burt's Bees is my go-to company for lip balm and they had some cool gift boxes out for Christmas.  I was lucky enough to score one of these on an after-Christmas clearance :)  I highly recommend them if you are looking for lip conditioner and just a smidgen of colour. 

For fa la la la la lips.

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Joy Dare

I counted more than 2400 on my gratitude gifts / joy dare last year and I am so very amazed and thankful for every blessing that God bestows daily.  And this counting thing?  Oh, I am ever so much more able to see the good things all around me.  It takes me right away from the worry and the wishing.  I do less comparing and more thanking.  I'm so very glad that Ann wrote her book and shares so much on her blog.  What an encouragement she is!


And so for 2013,  I cannot stop - I must continue to record the blessings from Him.

#1 - #101    (a sampling of the last two weeks)
- grandchildren laughing and playing together
- gathered around the Christmas/New Year's table
- little girls playing Silent Night and Away In A Manger on the piano
- late night conversations, tears and hugs
- thoughtful Christmas gifts shared

- warm weather and dry roads for driving
- playing games with grandchildren while eating breakfast
- bike and scooter circling the basement
- having the perfect birthday gifts ready and waiting
- old friends dropping by unexpectedly

- rejoicing in memories while working on my December Daily album
- birthday cards to give away
- good books to read
- old and new friends
- Christmas card photos of friends and family

- homemade black cherry wine (thanks, D & D)
- toboggan hill sliding
- sisters
- twilight walks over the snow
- a husband who is a very good driver on winter roads

- defusing the tension with laughter, heaven sent at the right time
- text messages and phone pictures
- high school students who rise up and do amazing things
- getting to see the transformations and their pride
- rising sun spilling over the horizon 

- homemade envelopes from calendar pages
- a stack of winter books to read together
- snuggles, hugs and kisses from grandchildren
- adding logs to the fire
- candle glow reminding me Jesus is the light

- playing games
- pear cheddar pie from the freezer
- cheering from the stands at the arena
- Burt's Bees lipbalm - on sale!
- my Saviour, ever-present, ever-loving

(I am currently experiencing technical difficulties so adding pictures is on hold.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Five on Friday

1.  Quote -

 Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

2.  Did you know it's National Hot Tea Month?!  A question I saw online was 'what new tea do you plan to try this year'?  So I thought I'd share the new ones I've tried in the last few weeks.
     Merry Cranberry Green Tea by David's Tea - Cranberry, apple, green tea, mistletoe leaves, star anise, cinnamon, blackberry leaves, safflower.
     Alpine Punch Rooibos by David's Tea - Rooibos, coconut, apple, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, rose blossoms, almonds.
     Cocomint Cream Herbal Tea by David's Tea - apple, coconut and peppermint

3.  This piece, 10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Turns 10, is such a good read for all Mamas - no matter if your daughter is 1, 10 or 35!  I printed it and hung it so I can be reminded of how to encourage my daughters and granddaughters.  

4.  Can you believe that January is nearly half over?  It's officially true - time speeds up every year that you get older - there really is no other explanation!

5.  Photo of the week:

(with mashed sweet and white potatoes)
Meadow put one aside and we saved it as a 
'birthday cupcake' to use to surprise Grampa at his supper.
It worked - and the grandchildren were delighted!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lists of 2013 - #2 - Attitudes to Live By This Year

Listography 2013 - #2 - Attitudes to Live By This Year  (With God's Help)

1.  Hopeful - my One Little Word - my new mantra - working to have this attitude as my default for the year.

2.  Grateful - for every little grace given by God each moment.

3.  Happy - looking for moments that make me smile.

4.  Energetic - ready to be strong and eager to live.

5.  Committed - to making changes, to living big, to helping others.

6.  Adventurous - looking for new opportunities, places and people.

7.  Curious - asking why? and why not?  about many things as I learn more.

8.  Faithful - with my time, my talents, my possessions and all that I am given.

9.  Patient - thinking before responding with anger, frustration or worry.

10.  Creative - making, doing, being, and enjoying beauty, nature, handmade and original.  

I need to enlarge this, frame it and then hang it front and centre so I can see it all year long!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Some unexpected things that have happened so far this year:

- going to buy my husband a birthday gift (Ninja Master Prep Food and Drink Maker which he showed me in the flyer at a really great price) and coming home to discover that he'd gone earlier in the day and bought it for himself.  Who goes and buys a gift for himself on his birthday??!!  Nothing a girl can do but laugh about it - and enjoy the smoothies we've made so far.

- finding cold-pressed virgin coconut oil at Winners, of all places!

- two full days of subbing and school's only been back for 2 days - so thankful for this!

- watching students that I taught in grade 3 singing, dancing and acting in "Rock of Ages', a high school theatrical production.  It was absolutely amazing and so very cool to see these kids in character, on stage, shining!  I was so very proud of every. single. person!  And I'm just the sub - imagine how proud they've made their teachers!

- time to scrapbook and nearly completing last year's December Daily project.  Thank goodness I kept good notes and lots of memorabilia.  Now I have this year's to tackle - definitely committing to doing it sooner, rather than later!  And blog posts are a huge help when it comes to remembering details.

- seeing treasures from the local thrift shops in our small town.  I am so going to check those places out!

- realizing that the grade one student who was working beside me had climbed right on to my lap!  We ended up sharing the chair instead :)

- it's January 8th - and I've written 8 blog posts so far this year!  I am impressed - and still inspired!

That makes something extra interesting that's happened to me every day so far this year!  It's going to be one very amazing year based on the way it's started.

Monday, January 07, 2013

A Prayer for Epiphany

source via Pinterest

Almighty and ever-living God,
you revealed the incarnation of your Son
by the brilliance of a star.
Shine the light of your justice
in our hearts and over all lands.
Accept our lives as the treasure 
that we bring to offer to this new king.  
We offer now our prayer and praise
in gratitude of Jesus the Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit
one God now and forever,
(ELCIC prayer of the day)

Saturday, January 05, 2013

One Little Word 2013

I thought about it - I prayed about it - I watched for it - and then it came to me!

"Hope" will be my word for 2013 and "Hopeful" will be my attitude.

I am an optimist but I'm not so much of a dreamer and sometimes I'm more "doubtful' than "hopeful".  In the last month it's been impressed on my heart that I need to live the dream, not the doubt.  So here goes to a year of "Hopeful" living!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Five on Friday

Quote of the Day
“The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today's work superbly well. ”
Sir William Osler (1849-1919);
Canadian physician, founding professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital

2.  This wonderful machine came gift wrapped from all of my family this Christmas!  Thank-you so much!  

We are busy getting acquainted after I watched the 2 hr. video explaining how to use it and showing recipes that could be created.  Stay tuned!

3.  It's still the Christmas holidays at our house!  Late nights, good food, time with friends, games to play, relaxing days - it's all very good.

4.  Looking for something fun this month?  Take this animal spirit quiz and find out what animal you are most like.  It's kind of fun :)

5.  Photo of the week:

Happy New Year!

2013 Creative Pay-It-Forward

My friend, Linds in the United Kingdom, had a marvelous idea on her blog today!  I love the whole idea and am happy to participate!

"‎2013 creative pay it forward ....

The first 5 people that comment on this blog post will receive from me, sometime in the next calendar year, a random gift - perhaps a book, baked goodies ,candle, or surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood strikes me. The catch??? Those five people must make the same offer in their own blog  or Facebook post."

That's right. The first FIVE people to comment will receive, at some time during 2013, a gift for me. My timing, my choice, my delight. The catch being that those five people must do the same thing on their blog, or their Facebook status in 2013. Got it?? I have no idea who started this off, but I got it from a friend, and I love the whole idea of passing it on. Whoever it was, thank you so, so much!

Now isn't that the best idea to start the year? Spreading some happiness? I can't wait to come up with some surprises! 

If you are in the first five, please email me your home address, with 2013 Pay-It-Forward in the address line, so I can actually get my gift to your doorstep!  ( Just think - so many of us could be the recipient of surprise gifts in 2013. And that really does bring a huge amount of joy to my heart. 

I know there are some of you who read but don't comment on my blog - this would be a great time to put fingers to keyboard and leave me a comment :)

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Lists of 2013 - #1 - Things to Look Forward to This Year

Listography 2013 - #1 - Things to Look Forward to This Year

1.  Birthdays of our grandchildren - always fun and two of them will turn 1 this year so that's even more special.

2.  My Mom's 80th birthday in August.

3.  My sister will mark a very important birthday in June.

4.  More chickens coming earlier.

5.  Time to actually sew a quilt or two.

6.  Learning how to use and enjoy my new food processor.

7.  Lots of good books to read for book club discussions.

8.  The wedding of a very special friend and his sweet fiancee in July.

9.  Grandchildren coming for sleepovers and play dates.

10.  Our son-in-law finishing his medical residency and writing his licensing exam.

11.  Watching our nieces and nephews begin new chapters in their lives.

12.  Snowshoeing this winter and biking this summer.

13.  New technology and classes for learning more new things.

I've put together a new list of prompts and I'm looking forward to continuing this weekly list project.  I'd love to have some friends join me - just ask and I'll be glad to send my ideas for weekly writing!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Our Christmas 2012

We waited until New Year's Day to gather with our children and their families and then we had a wonderful time together.   Cousins got reacquainted and played together - after big hugs on arrival!  Good food was eaten as we gathered around the table.

Some gifts were exchanged.  Kids went sledding at the playground.  More food was eaten.  A few photos were taken.  And then hugs were exchanged again and good-byes were said.

One of the best things we did this year was to spend time during the Christmas holidays with each family in their own home.  We got to enjoy each group of grandchildren in a small intimate setting.  We gave them a few thoughtfully chosen (and sometimes created) gifts and got to watch them enjoy those gifts.  I love it when we all are gathered together but I loved this quiet, purposeful time too.

We are so very blessed by these families, their love and their presence in our lives!  It was a very good Christmas!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Reflecting and Resolving

Just some random thoughts as 2012 ends and a new year begins.

1.  Top 100 Recipes for 2012 according to Fave Healthy Recipes

2.  Favourite blogs:
     A Holy Experience - oh, she makes faith so real!
     To the full - creative inspiration in every post
     Averie Cooks - good food and good food photography
     Bales and Tales - life on a ranch in Oregon, written by a teacher wife
     Simple As That - great ideas and tips for awesome photography

3.  Books to look forward to:
     Cutting with Stone
     The Dogs of Winter
     The Testament of Mary
     The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns

4.  Bucket list for the year coming:
     Trip to the mountains
     Camping this summer
     Summer road trip with college friends
     Quad trip
     Fruit gathering road trip with Bob

5.  For good health:
     Snowshoe in the winter, walks in the summer
     Drink more water regularly
     Continue to reduce wheat products
     Remove sugar
     Eight hours of sleep (at least sometimes!)

6.  Favourite clothes of the year:
     Banana Republic eggplant cardigan (bought at the thrift shop)
     Grey and pink sweater (for Christmas)
     White, grey and yellow scarf
     Pink hoodie
     Rust tshirt and heather grey hoodie

7.  Big events of our year:
     Peyton Mae's birth
     Malachi John's birth
     Meadow and Helayna started grade 1
     The Greens came to Alberta for 3 weeks
     Bob's parents sold their home and moved to a condo
     Maëlle turned 1
     Our growing year was awesome

8. Favourite drinks:
    Eggnog chai @ Starbucks
    Pepsi Lime
    Merry Christmas green tea from David's Tea
    Water with fresh lime
    Hot chocolate with the grandkids

9.  Favourite gift:
    A brand new Cuisinart 12L food processor - thanks, family!

10.  Best thing about today:
    Having all of our Alberta family gathered and sitting around the dinner table, playing games, opening presents, playing and enjoying each other!!

Happy, Happy 2013 to you - and you - and you!!