Friday, August 31, 2007

Play Date with Meadow

When I got to the house this morning, Meadow was up and dressed in a tshirt and jeans, with her bathing suit bottoms on over top the jeans! Jerry said it was to avoid tears over getting dressed. Later in the day we ditched the jeans and put a different swimsuit on over top the shirt. She's going to be just like her mom when it comes to clothes - a definite mind of her own! We baked some buns and Meadow was my sit-on-the-counter helper. I remember our kids sitting beside me while I worked too. Good stuff!

Mom's onions are fascinating - they peel apart in layers!!

Back and forth on the swings.

Life's good when a girl's got cookies and water in her stroller on a hot day!

Just kicking back in the doll's stroller on a lazy summer afternoon!

This is My Life

Dealing with the mail!! Working hard on the one touch philosophy instead of piling everything up. The recycling bin in my kitchen is full every day, it seems! The letter opener in the center of the picture was a high school graduation gift from a dear friend. It's one of the best letter openers I've ever seen!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Instead . . . . .

of me going back to school tomorrow, Meadow and I'll

go for walks

and play with rocks

and take lots of pictures!!

Life is good!! And so begins my year long leave of absence from teaching. This totally feels right and I have absolutely no regrets at this point. I will be thinking of my dear friends and colleagues and wishing them a rewarding year - but it will only be fleeting, I know (said with a great big smile!).

This is My Life

as summer draws to a close and the fruits of the season hang on trees in front of our house.

This is My Life

Melody Ross, over at Melody's Sofa, has a new photo project going on called "This Is My Life". Her goal: "just put photos of everyday moments that make your life unique, that make it what it is…that make it yours." I love the pictures she shared (go check it out - and read about some stuff that's made her an amazing person!) so I've decided to take this challenge on. I love the concept!!

Yesterday was full moon and as I finished cutting our lawn, it was just rising. How beautiful! It makes me appreciate again the place we call home.

Tranquil fields where the cows enjoy a evening snack.

Using the night setting on my camera, taken just moments before (yes, before) the first picture. I like the effect of the dark sky but not the flash happening. Learning more about my camera - a huge part of my life today!

I invite you to share some photos of your life today! Let me know and I'll come visit your blog to see!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Woman to Woman

"Learning to Say No" is the topic Morning Glory and Lei chose for this week's Woman to Woman post. There is a lot I could say on this topic, all of it from personal experience. There are so many good causes, worthy groups, and great things deserving of one's help but the key word is I am only one person, with limited time, energy and resources.

With four children, I've been involved in helping with hockey, swimming, skating, track, PTA, band parents, church school and school sports. There were meetings, fund raising activities, chaperoning, events to work at and more bingos to work than I can count! All of these activities provided our family with amazing opportunities and many learning opportunities. But some days I was juggling schedules, commitments, and chores (we operated a dairy farm at the time most of this was happening) in a crazy way. Once I went to work fulltime, I quickly learned that some things had to give and I learned to be more selective about which activities I was going to commit to and be able to handle.

As a teacher, there is a never-ending list of projects, committees, events and causes that come along. Some things are must-dos, as part of my teaching assignment; some things are wonderful experiences for students; some things are professionally uplifting; some things are just fun! But if I try to do too many things, I've found out that my time inside my classroom and my students are bound to suffer. And that's the last thing that should give so I've had to consider carefully what the end result would be and who would benefit most before I agreed to do more. That was really hard to do sometimes!

As I've gotten older and wiser, it's been easier to say 'no' and not feel guilty about it. I've come to realize that my husband and my family need my best efforts and energy, not what I have left over after doing everything else. I've also realized that sometimes in groups we need to consider what we are doing in terms of people power and effectiveness. Doing a few things in a great way is much better than doing many things in a haphazard fashion in my thinking. Being constantly busy is not a good use of one's physical or mental energy either and the only person who can control that is me. So, I've learned to say "I can't right now" in a definite but pleasant way and leave it that.

So many others have expressed profound thoughts on this topic - make sure you go over to the host blogs and read those posts. There's alot to think about!

Happy Birthday, Curtis!

Happy Birthday, Curtis! We hope you enjoyed a special day and your year will be full of success, fun and many cakes!!

I always seem to miss the August birthdays and this year is no exception. Curtis is our nephew and this picture shows him on his wedding day last October. I think (!!) I'm caught up now!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Chloe

It was Chloe's birthday last week (she's the one on the left!)and I'm a little late with these wishes but they still come from our hearts. We hope you have a great year with lots of fun times (like skiing), good friends, great adventures and not too much homework!

Chloe is the youngest of our nieces in Bob's family and it's fun for us to watch her grow up. She's become a talented, kind and fun-to-be-with young woman.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

We had a Shower today

for this beautiful niece of ours! Tyneille and Ian are going to be married in 33 more days so we honored them today. It's always fun to gather with a bride-to-be and share in her excitement as she prepares for her wedding, a new home and a life shared with a man who she adores.

Tyneille with her mom, Carol, who is Bob's sister.

Cathy will be Tyneille's new mother-in-law. They have 5 sons, 3 married and 2 with fiancees, and one daughter.

Such cool gifts for new couples these days! Sarah and Kelly are Tyneille's bridesmaids and they had us play some cool games too. In the first one we had to identify different spices and herbs like basil, oregano,curry powder, rosemary, cloves, chili powder, sage, by smell only. (I got a dismal 2 out of 8!! I obviously do not have a great sense of smell, which has already been established in our family.) The second game was "Guess the Price" of 10 grocery items that were purchased at Walmart. Many people were within a dollar or two but I was $5. 75 over! The items included toothpaste, garbage bags, sponges, onion soup mix, Vim cleanser, dish soap, Milk-Bones (for Tyneille's dog), and green tea. The last one was "What do you know about Tyneille?" and I fared much better in this game, missing only one of the 14 questions.

Of course, delicious snacks were a great way to end the afternoon! Thanks to Norma, Andy and Chloe for hosting this party.

We are delighted for Tyneille, who is the oldest of our 5 godchildren and has a very special place in our hearts. We can only imagine what a radiant bride she will be on her wedding day and we wish her (and Ian!) a peaceful month as the days count down.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Quote of the Day

"In our life there is a single color - it is the color of love." Marc Chagall

Friday, August 24, 2007

They're Home . . .

from holidays in Minnesota and we are going over for supper tonight!!! It's been 2 weeks since we've visited and played and we are SOOOOOOOO excited to see all 3 of them again.

Isn't this just a perfect picture of a little girl and her Daddy? Jerry was coaching Meadow to run across the trampoline. a sign of much great coaching to come as she goes through life!

And cuddle time with Mom before bed is such a favourite time for Meadow. See you tomorrow with more pictures!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More Weekend Goodness

I thought you might like to see a few more pictures from our camping weekend. It really was fun for the 8 of us to be together again and enjoy a summer weekend.

Eating our breakfast of ham, eggs and cinnamon pull-aparts around the campfire.

Abraham Lake is in this area of Alberta but it was too hazy on this day to get a good look at it. As the clouds shifted, we saw a reflection of the sun off the water at one point but the rain clouds soon rolled in again. Getting closer to the lake is a goal for another trip!

A curious chipmunk came out and we shared some nuts from our afternoon snack bag with him. He loved the cashews and stuffed his cheeks so full - it was funny to watch him. He'd tunneled under these rocks and popped up in all sorts of places on the hill. Isn't it funny how chipmunks and squirrels can be so entertaining when you are out in nature?

Wild potentilla were blooming all over the top of the windswept hill.

I think this is just about my favourite shot of the weekend! Darrin and Kelsey walked across the creek (without getting their boots wet inside - unlike me!) and were studying the rocks and little waterfall. It was such a beautiful spot that Esther thought would look great imported into her yard at home! Definitely wishful thinking!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Alphabet Soup

Today's thoughts of gratitude are brought to you by the letter "F".
Thanks for the fun, Morning Glory!!

1. Faith in God and His all protecting presence in my life. How good He is to me.

2, Family - I am blessed with so many family members close by and we love to get together. The love and acceptance of family is a gift beyond measure.

3. Freedom - to come and go, speak or stay silent, read and think as I please, without fear or rebuke.

4. Friends - in real life or online, each one makes me smile, gives me reason to ponder and is a shining light in my life. Thank you to each of you :))

5. Farm - I have always lived on a farm, except when I was away at university, and I can't imagine living in a town or city. The open spaces, fresh air and solitude refresh my soul.

6. Food, glorious food (as Oliver said) - there are very few things I dislike and I am thankful for all the choices and tastes that I have.

7. Fun - so many good things to do, good places to visit and good people to share laughter with.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Weekend Trip

We were quadding in the foothills this weekend, west of Rocky Mountain House. We always have fun when we all get together and this trip was no exception. Good food, good stories, good scenery, good times!

It was so scenic along the way! Here the creek had altered its course so the quads shared the trail with the water.

To get out of the creek bed, we had to climb over a little but sharp rock wall. The guys stood by to help stabilize the machines.

While searching for Abraham Lake, we followed this trail to the top of the hill but still couldn't get over the ridge. It was quite a view from up here!

The trail was a dead end so we had to go back down this steep hill. Some of us had walked up and a few good quads got to the top. I love this view of the valley as Kelsey carefully descends the incline.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Listen to This

Little Somethings

Here is project #4 documenting my love of Starbuck's Chai Latte's!!

I love these little exercises in creativity that document some of the everyday things about me. These are tidbits of information and emotions that I'd love to know about anybody. Sometimes I think about Meadow and Helayna looking through these layouts when they are my age and the discoveries they will make about their grandmother! Plus it's just plain fun to play with paper and other stuff on a daily basis - AND it's fun to use some fo the yummy stuff that I have in my stash! Having said that, it's time to get real in my house today :)) Many, many things to do before we go to Poland in 2.5 weeks!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Alphabet Soup

Today's thoughts of gratitude are brought to you by the letter 'E'. And life was busy this week so I'm late but still extremely grateful.

1. Email - how I love seeing new messages from those I love and care about! Long or short, staying in touch so quickly with these messages just makes for good days.

2. Edmonton - the closest city to us, the place where I do my major shopping and where we go to concerts or sporting events. It has a beautiful river valley with many trails, golf courses and parks.

3. My wonderful sister, Esther. I am blessed to have such a caring, thoughtful, fun woman as my friend and my sister. She is always so generous with her time and expertise whenever any one of us needs something, including hugs. I love that we share so many interests and hobbies, including scrapbooking and quadding. Here we are at the top of the world near Grande Cache.

4. Evening - the quiet reflective time of my day.

5. Earth - the planet that sustains us and provides so many beautiful places and people to enjoy.

6. Eyes - with which to view the world and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

Thanks for the inspiration, Morning Glory!

Friday, August 17, 2007


I had a lovely overnight visit with these guys, who are packing up to move to a bigger place. Helayna will have her own bedroom - yeah!! In between our other tasks, we snapped a few pictures.

Just practising walking - over and over and over. She's pretty close to having it mastered!

This is just about my favourite place to be with Helayna - up close and personal! We were watching the neighbor's dog and then - -- -

Big time fascination with the neighbor's puppy and even through the fence she was able to pull a handful of hair out of this little guy!

Mother and daughter swing time

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Busy . . .

playing - - - eh, I mean helping Heather get ready to move! We're going for a walk while Mommy goes for a run now. Talk to you later!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


We are just home from the Josh Groban concert and it was FANTASTIC!!!! I would go again in a heartbeat. Such good, good music from an amazing singer!! I loved every minute of his show.

The video show backdrop was really well done, complimenting each song beautifully.

Josh talked about his experiences in Africa and the impact they made on his life. The video here showed images from the trip. My favourite song in this section was "Lullaby" that he worked on with Dave Matthews.

He played to both sides of the crowd using stairs on each side and for one song even started way up in the crowd.

Thanks to flickr for these images. I didn't think to take my cellphone to take pictures - next time I'll be prepared! If I was really smart, I'd link you to YouTube so you could hear a song but that's not happening yet.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Recipe Time!

I made this great grilled pork tonight so here's the recipe for you to try. It was super easy and very tasty. I didn't have a mango so substituted a peach and it was just delicious.

The Grill of My Dreams

3 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp. minced fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. liquid honey
1 tbsp. grated gingerroot
2 tsp. grated orange zest
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 lb. pork tenderloin
1 medium zucchini
3 large bell peppers (orange, yellow and green)
1 medium mango, peeled and sliced into wedges
baby spinach leaves, optional

Whisk marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Reserve 2 - 3 tbsp. marinade for basting and as a dressing(there's not too much marinade so just reserve a little bit). Place pork in a large, heavy-duty, resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and seal bag. Turn bag several times to coat with marinade. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high setting. Slice unpeeled zucchini lengthwise into four long strips. Seed peppers and cut each one in half. Place pork on a grill rack that has been coated with cooking spray or lightly brushed with oil. Grill meat until it's nicely browned on the outside and just slightly pink in the center, about 16 minutes. Be careful not to overcook pork. Add peppers and zuccchini for the last 8 minutes. Turn vegetables once to grill both sides and baste with some of the reserved marinade.

Remove pork and vegetables from grill and let pork rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile slice peppers into thick slices and cut zucchini strips in half. Place vegetables in a large bowl, and add mango, thinly sliced pork and a bit of reserved marinade. Toss well. Serve on a bed of baby spinach leaves, if desired. Top with freshly ground black pepper.

From Eat, Shrink and Be Merry by Janet and Greta Podleski
Sorry I don't have any pictures - I was in a rush to get to the book club organizational meeting!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Garden Goodness

Even though the weather's been much cooler this week, the garden is still thriving. These pictures take you on a little tour of what's keeping me busy these days. I haven't been much of a gardener in the past but I'm trying harder to keep ahead of the weeds and enjoy all the fresh local produce (free of charge now!) that a garden brings. It's a good feeling to know that only our energy is being used to produce this summer goodness.

Happy sunflowers that just make me feel happy when I see them!

The raspberry bushes have been loaded with beautiful berries. So far we've eaten most of what we've picked and we've shared some with our kids. Tomorrow's agenda includes making a batch of jam for winter enjoyment.

We have picked and picked and still there are berries ripening!

The green and yellow zucchini plants are doing great! So far I've managed to keep up with using or giving them away when they are just the right size (6 in.long)

Our potatoes are amazing this year - so many large tubers under each plant.