Friday, March 29, 2013

Five on Friday

Quote of the Week
A kind word is like a spring day.
~ Russian Proverb

2.  Listen to this cool recording that was made in Halifax, NS.  It will warm your heart!  Thanks to Kathie for sharing the link.

3.  It's been sunny and warm this week - and it actually feels like spring!  The  snow has been melting and it's even getting muddy in some places.

4.  I was adventurous in the kitchen this week!  Lots of good food cooked up and enjoyed :)  Today we are having chocolate cheesecake as a birthday cake for our son-in-law Jonathan and tomorrow I'm serving a carrot cake jelly roll.  I'll have lots of leftovers - if you'd like to drop over!

5.  Photo of the week:

Court Whist Party 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lists of 2013 - #11 - Best Blog Posts I've Written

Listography 2013 - #11 - Best Blog Posts I've Written

Well according to the stats on my blog, this Simple Woman post from December, 2008 has received the most view.  I'm not quite sure why!

And the next most viewed one, is this year's Pay It Forward post.  Interesting things, those stats!

But here are some of my favourites:

- the ones announcing our grandchildren -








- the ones about our travel adventures -



     South America


     New York City

- the ones about quadding trips with family

- and don't forget the weddings of our children!

I could go on and on!  It's been fun to step back and wander through the archives for a bit.  I found so many good memories and special thoughts tucked away.  So many of them would be lost and forgotten if I hadn't recorded them here - which one of the very best parts of blogging for me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

25 Happy Things

Marta shared her special list recently and as soon as I read the title I knew I wanted to make my own list!

1.  It's spring break :))

2.  I finished 2 scrapbooking projects that have been on my table for a very long time.  One of them has been languishing for more than a year but I am thrilled with the finished album.  Peeks coming soon.

3.  It's getting close to time to use the greenhouse again.

4.  There are the most interesting icicles around these days as the sun begins melting the mountains of snow.

5.  In one month we'll have visitors here from New Brunswick.

6.  Malachi started crawling - he's not a baby anymore.

7.  When I talked to Kelsey last week I could little Miss Peyton chattering in the background.  I could have listened to her all day!

8.  There are fresh clean sheets on our bed tonight.  I love crawling in to clean sheets.

9.  I have two vases of pussy willows in the house and they are just perfect!

10.  I have 8 dozen eggs waiting to be coloured with the grandkids this weekend.  Do you think that's enough?!

11.  We have to be at church at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning for the Easter sunrise service.  That's really early!

12.  I loved the online card class, Pattern Play, that I took last week - and I made 10 cards in one week!

13.  My winter dishes and mugs have all been packed away and the spring and summer ones are back in the cupboards.  I know it took a long time but really it does not seem like spring in these parts.

14.  But with the change to daylight saving time, it's now nearly 8:30 p.m. when it finally gets dark.    That makes for a really lovely long day.

15.  We are playing Court Whist with 5 other couples again this week.  It's been such a fun winter to gather every second week and play cards together.  Naomi says we sound like retired people when we talk about all our fun times - and then she said, "Wait - you are kind of retired people!"  It was so cute!

16.  There are over 16,000 pictures in my iPhoto library which makes me happy - and yes, it is slowing my computer down a lot.  So I'm on a mission to transfer them to the hard drive, which is a time-consuming process indeed.

17.  I tried to ignore my kitchen today - and was pretty successful but it doesn't look so great now.  Nonetheless, I had a very good day doing fun things.

18.  The Easter egg hunts will have to be in the house this year, I think.  And there are ever so many nooks and crannies in which to hide little eggs - it's going to be fun!

19.  Morning smoothies are part of our routine these days.  Coconut water + banana, + spinach or kale, + yogurt + frozen berries +  an orange or apple + chia seeds + hemp seeds = a great beverage to start the day.

20.  Have you tried the game '4 Pics 1 Word' on your iPhone?  It's free and it's fun!  They show 4 photos, give you the blanks and some letter tiles and you have to guess the word that's represented.  Try it - you'll like it, I'm sure :)

21.  There are a lot of great ideas using rice krispies and egg shapes on Pinterest these days.  I just might have to try some.

22.  I love the flowers and of spring - tulips, daffodils, hyacinths - doesn't matter.  They are all beautiful and smell divine.

23.  I've washed a few windows inside this week.  I love looking through those sparkling panes.

24.  What's your favourite Easter treat? My Dad loved the O Henry Easter eggs that you can only get for a few weeks in the spring.  And as soon as I see them in the stores I want to buy them and share them with him.

25.  Wishing we were on a jet plane to Vancouver Island this week.  It's my favourite place to go in spring break!

So - what would you put on your happy list today??

Monday, March 25, 2013

Five on Friday

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
John Muir (1838-1914);
naturalist, author

2.  How can a stormy, snowy day end with this beautiful sunset?  Only a mighty God can paint the sky like this!  News reports from the city yesterday said that this storm was the worst of the winter.

3.  Spring break in our school division starts today - yeah!!!  I only wish that we were going somewhere, preferably warm and sunny.

4.  My tomato seedlings are getting their second leaves already!  I am so pleasantly surprised by how quickly they are growing.  I guess it's time to start basil, peppers and some flowers.  Spring must be coming, right?!

5.  Photo of the week:

Snow shovelling together

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lists of 2013 - #10 - Things I've Given Up To God

Listography 2013 - #10 - Things I've Given Up To God

1.  My marriage

2.  My children and grandchildren

3.  Safety while driving, for all of us

4.  My health

5.  Our finances, always remembering that He asks us to tithe

6.  My job and when I will work, as well as each day that I work

7.  Trying to understand grief, loss and suffering

8.  Preparing roads to understanding and reconciliation in relationships

9.  Christmas and Easter (seeking to leave more and more of the commercialism behind)

10.  Growing crops and the weather

11.  Daily opportunities for service

12.  Trusting that He will provide all that I need for today and not worrying about tomorrow

13.  Daily prayer and Bible reading

2013 Joy Dare

Since I got my iPhone partway through February, I've been listing my gratitude gifts on the 1000 Gifts App.  It works great - easy to add a picture, easy to do a quick list, anywhere, anytime.  But - you knew that was coming, right?!  But - I haven't been doing a full page of each day's blessings, which is what provides my lists for blogging.   I want to do better at that part, for sure.  For now, from my iPhone:

#512 - #549

-3 gifts eaten:  raspberry-banana-kiwi-kale smoothie, noodles and sauce, chicken veggie stir-fry
- 3 gifts red: little red jackets to keep grandkids warm, red peppers, red dogwood branches in the snow
- a gift turned: pages as we sang in worship today
- a gift folded: napkins around the dinner table
- a gift hung:  pictures on our walls, loved ones and memories

- 3 gifts round:  candle, orange, mug
- a gift in wind:  branches sighing in whispers
- a gift in water:  fresh and clean to drink
- a gift in white:  cream to add to tomato sauce and shrimp
- a gift in grandchildren:  smiles and more smiles, some seen in person - some seen via emails - some heard in voices

- 3 gifts read:  names on seed packages, notes on Instagram photos, Daily Bible Audiobook reading to me
-  3 gifts in Christ: beauty all around in nature, quiet time to reflect and recharge, amazing love that gave us our salvation
- 3 gifts carved:  time carved out of busy days, carved drums to use in drum circle, carved wooden tray to hold Easter eggs
- 3 gifts loud:  Monday morning in grade 1, smoothies blending first thing in the morning, junior high drama class
- 3 gifts from the kitchen: waking up to clean dishes, no-peek chicken baking at 9 a.m., hard-cooked eggs for sandwiches

- a gift bent - apple branches starting to bud
- a gift broken - old teapot for a plant
- a gift beautiful - quiet day at home
- 3 gifts found: - old friends, old photos, old favourite books
- 3 gifts hard to give thanks for:  sore feet, funerals, dirty dishes


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Good Things to Eat

Last weekend my sister and I spent 24 hours together at a women's retreat just half an hour away from home.  "Beyond Our Borders" was a little look into life in the Congo, into what it means as a Christian to suffer, and what we do as our response.  The main presenter was a young woman who had spent a year on a mission trip in the Congo.  We made African angel ornaments on Friday evening and cooked some African-type foods for lunch on Saturday.  They were all very good but this one salad was absolutely delicious.  Everyone at the event loved it!

I made Country Ham Salad for supper last week and I thought you might like to try it too, especially as we are getting very close to spring and you might be looking to ramp up your recipe stash :)

Country Ham Salad

1/2 medium head green cabbage, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 English cucumber, chopped
1 cup ham, cut into slivers
1/2 - 3/4 cup peanuts

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. soya sauce
1 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt and pepper

Layer salad ingredients on plate or in bowl.  Drizzle with dressing.  Sprinkle peanuts on top.
Serves 4 as a side salad.

- I decreased the amount of oil from 1/2 cup because I don't like oily dressings and I think the peanut butter has its own oil.
- I used saskatoon vinegar - I think any fruity vinegars would work here.
- Taste the dressing and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
- You could add mushrooms, bean sprouts, or grated carrots too.
- I took leftovers in my lunch the next day and they tasted just as good.
- I think this would be an awesome summer salad, for hot days or picnics.

Thanks for sharing, Leigha!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Foodstuff and Homemaking Favourites

Today I am inspired by Becky to record some of the food and shopping choices that we are enjoying right now. 

From our garden and farm:
- free range chicken - still plenty in the freezer to get us through the summer
- Pigeon Lake whitefish - both fresh frozen and smoked
- garden peas, beans, corn and tomatoes
- saskatoons and raspberries from our bushes
- zucchini and beet relish, raspberry jam, rhubarb chutney, dill pickles, canned tomatoes, 4 kinds of salsa, sauerkraut and spaghetti sauce
- pumpkin and squash, still a few fresh ones hanging around
- potatoes, beets and carrots
- applesauce and apple pies

On the shelves of the pantry:
- canned peaches, pears and apricots from a trip to BC

In the freezer from Bob's BC fishing trip:
- a few packages of frozen halibut
- 2 salmon steaks

Items I bake or make from scratch:
- whole wheat buns
- squares, cakes and cookies
- granola

Purchased locally from farmers we know:
- beef
- pork

Purchased in bulk from Rancho Vignola:
- nuts including walnuts, pecans, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- coconut
- raisins and dried cranberries

Things I buy at Costco:
- Parmesan and jalapeno Havarti cheese
- steelhead trout
- hemp and chia seeds
- coconut water for smoothies
- coconut oil
- fresh spinach
- thin raisin bagels
- flour and sugar
- chocolate chips
- nacho chips and popcorn
- mixed salted nuts
- coffee

Groceries from Superstore or No Frills:
- most fresh produce, including lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, herbs, apples, oranges, bananas, grapes and lemons
- milk, cheeses and butter
- President's Choice Lemon Greek Yogurt
- canned goods
- frozen Cheemo perogies
- crackers
- mayonnaise and other condiments

Special treats from Safeway:
- fresh flowers
- organic carrots (when ours are used up)
- Stash teas
- ice cream

There it is - a little glimpse into where our food comes from these days!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Five on Friday

1.  Quote

2.  Here's an interesting list of the best selling books of the last 100 years in North America (according to Publishers Weekly).  How many have you read?  It's definitely interesting, especially by the authors represented.

3.  Winter has descended here again with more snow and very cold temperatures.  The forecast for the next 2 weeks is more of the same.  No point in getting too excited about planting things yet!

4.  Two and a half weeks ago I brought in some apple branches and this week they've burst into bloom.  I love the breath of spring that they bring to our home.

5.  Photo of the week:

Early morning walk with my sister
a rare treat!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lists of 2013 - #9 - In My Dream Home

Listography 2013 - #9 - In My Dream Home

1.  The bathroom would be pristine!  Extra long tub, built-in shower, lovely window, heated floor, tile and lots of color!

2.  The whole place would be freshly painted regularly.  'Nuf said!

3.  The bedrooms would have new carpeting.

4.  The master bedroom would be spacious and have a built-in fireplace with a sitting area.

5.  The living room would have built-in lighting in many nooks and crannies.

6.  The entryway would be large with built-in shelves and boot racks.

7.  There would be a lovely big family room with lots of space for toys and activities for the grandchildren.

8.  The basement would be finished.

9.  I would never have to worry again about getting water in the basement.

10.  There would be a loft with extra bedrooms and lots of room for overnight guests.

11.  A gorgeous outdoor living space would include a fireplace, eating space, multi levels, and a fountain.

12.  The fireplace would be efficient and used all winter.

13.  There would be a lovely atrium with a hot tub, tall windows to let in the sunlight and many plants.

AND - - -

14.  Maid service would come by monthly to keep it all wonderfully clean and sparkling!

Ah, beautiful dreamer!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hello, Monday

Hello, Monday - the first day of a brand-new week!

Hello, daylight savings time - adjustment time again.

Hello, 2.5 days of subbing.

Hello, whist players - welcome to our home!

Hello, Lenten service and two Bible studies.

Hello, day of babysitting.

Hello, vacuum cleaner, dust rag and polishing cloth.

Hello, visit to my parents.

My Mom playing Jack Attack,
one of her favourite games

Hello, small group friends - welcome to our home!

Hello, little seeds in dirt - please poke your heads out!

Hello, special snacks and treats.

Hello, quick road trip.

Hello, middle of March - you just arrived, I blinked and now you are half over!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Five on Friday

1.  Quote:

2.  It's International Women's Day!  Here's a great photo tapestry that shows women around the world - what amazing pictures and there are links if you'd like to check the photographers.

3.  Do you know about Kiva?  It's a great place to support people around the world with micro-lending loans as they seek to provide for their families and alleviate poverty.  My daughter gave me a gift card to spend there last year for Mother's Day and I've been a big fan ever since.  Since then I've given several as gifts myself and the original loan that I made to a woman in Pakistan so she could buy a sewing machine, has already been partially repaid.  I invite you to check them out - they have received Charity Navigator's highest rating.

4.  So excited to be spending some time this weekend at a women's retreat with my sister!  It's been a long time since we had a full day and then some together, just the two of us.

5.  Photo of the week:

Light on the classroom floor
(using a filter from PicTapGo app)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Lists of 2013 - #8 - Memories of Our Son

Listography 2013 - #8 - Memories of Our Son

1.  When Darrin was born, we lived in a tiny 2-room house on the farm.  His crib was in our bedroom and he had one drawer for clothes in the bottom of our dresser.  He had a jolly jumper that hung over the door frame and his walker could make a complete circle of the floor space in about one minute!  We moved into our new, much bigger home on his first birthday.

2.  Someone had given us a wooden playpen and his first summer we spent hours outside.  There were  puppies on the farm and he loved to have one of them inside the playpen with him.  He's loved dogs from the very beginning.

3.  We milked cows and I usually did the evening milking so he would come with me and sit in the milking parlor in an old pram, playing with toys, having snacks and watching us milk.  He was 3 months old when that routine started.

4.  His first word was 'cows' - no surprise after reading #3!  Bob had a 1971 Dodge pickup and Darrin's carseat was in the middle.  We'd be driving home from church and every vehicle that passed us got the greeting of 'cows, cows!"

5.  The Fisher-Price farm set was one of his very favourite toys.  There was a horse and cart that pulled many of the little people around and around our living room.

6.  My Dad generously gave him many, many toy tractors and farm implements.  They provided hours and hours of playtime fun.

7.  Bob built many skating rinks on our front lawn and Darrin spent hours out there skating around pylons and carrying pucks on his hockey stick.  We'd eat breakfast after Bob came in from chores and then the two of them would lace up their skates and spend a big part of the morning out on the rink.

8.  Learning to ride his two-wheeled bike on the front lawn was such a milestone.  I remember thinking how this ability to travel faster and further would open up the world for him.

9.  He started to cut the grass, using our riding tractor, when he was 7.  Kids on the farm always learn to drive early and become excellent drivers from all the practice with small machines.  He is such a good driver now.

10.  It was a natural progression to move to driving farm machinery and when he was 10, Bob had him driving the swather and cutting hay.  I made many trips to the field to check and make sure everything was okay, give him snacks and break times.   The #1 rule was if anything went wrong, stop the machine and wait until someone came.  There were no cell phones in those days but later we did have CB radios so he could call for help.

11.  Darrin loved to sit beside me on the couch and read books while I nursed his little sisters.  We spent many hours with Hop on Pop; In a People House; Go, Dog, Go and 10 Apples Up On Top.  Later it was the Bearenstain Bear books and we soon had a complete collection of those.

12.  Our children often stayed with my parents and once, when he was about 5, he and my Dad found a  black terrier, named Candy, that became our family dog.  Those two were fast friends and Candy was so very protective of him (and the girls too).  There was no doubt that they loved each other.

13.  Playing hockey started in grade 1 when  the first hockey arena was built in our local town.  He continued to play hockey through his school years and then at university.  Hours and hours and hours were spent at arenas and travelling to games across Alberta.  Hockey camps and power skating schools were part of his summer holidays for years and years.

How quickly the time has passed!  And how many memories are tucked away!  I'm so happy to record these few today.  Love you, Son!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Dear February

Dear February,

You passed by in all your red finery with many white snow flurries and icy days.  The house was decorated with hearts and filled with love and laughter many times over.

These are the "loves" I want to remember in your 28 days:

- loved watching hockey games with Meadow and Blake

- loved wagon races with 3 hanging on tightly

- loved having 6.5 days of subbing, most of it in the high school

- loved Teacher's Convention and Family Day time off

- loved two sets of grandchildren coming, at different times, to spend time with us

- loved that the blocks and cars and books and play kitchen and dolls were scattered throughout

- loved making and sharing brunch with new friends

- loved a haircut and color - it was perfect this time!

- loved the weeks that Bob immersed himself in fish - pulling nets, cleaning fish, delivering smoked ones

- loved the bags of fresh catch that made their way into the freezer

- loved watching Grampa go skiing with the littles

- loved entertaining and discussing "Winter Garden" with book club friends

- loved gathering with family for turkey supper at my parents home

- loved evenings of whist with friends

- loved studying the Bible and our group discussions

And so, February, as you pass out the door on a quiet note, I must tell you that I hope you are taking all the windy, snow-blowing-across-the-roads-and-freezing-to-ice nonsense with you - we had far too much of it for my liking.  You flew by, as all of your counterparts seem to do, and I am quite happy that you brought more hours of daylight as you slipped away.


Monday, March 04, 2013

2013 Joy Dare

#436 - #512 (a random sampling)

- baking gingersnaps instead of banana bread
- painting with littles instead of having supper
- staying overnight instead of going home
- cauliflower soup
- new technology in a phone

- spaghetti sauce simmering when I got home
- grandchildren gathered around the table
- reading stories together
- tucking them in for a sleepover
- listening

- 3 gifts white: jugs of milk and cream, blank white paper, snow crystals on trees
- feeling like it will get done this week
- donuts from the bakery
- supper in the oven and playtime while it cooks
- new ski suits

- hours of playing in the swimming pool
- listening to audiobooks
- smoothies to start the morning
- learning something new every day
- new-to-me big green teapot

- finding frozen fruit in the freezer
- spinach salad + one extra for lunch tomorrow
- dinner ready in 40 minutes
- Russian Honey cake for book club
- Jesus words to us in scripture
- knowing they've gone home to heaven
- God's arms wrapped around me, supporting and loving

Five on Friday

1.  Quote


2.  What kitchen stories could you write?  This idea fascinates me - I think I need to let it incubate awhile.

3.  I love Nicole Johnson's message in this video - thanks to Ann for the link.

4.  Our faith community has had 3 deaths in the last week and today over 500 people filled our church to overflowing to say good-bye to a dear friend, who died tragically in a traffic accident just half a mile from her home.  Life is precious - hug those you love tonight.

5.  Photo of the week:

Winter Card Party 
(so enjoying these bi-weekly 
gatherings with friends)