Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gratitude Gifts Today

Today I am grateful for these gifts:

- sun rising through the clouds

- early morning phone calls from loved ones - what a great way to start the day!

- hot chocolate mixed with coffee, topped with hazelnut coffee creamer

- slices of cheddar cheese

- the colors of autumn brightening the roadsides

- the curiosity of children

- watching independent projects develop according to interests and talents

- a school library

- hugs - great big ones!!

- developing rapport with students

- a well stocked pharmacy (I know I do take it for granted.)

- a great big spaghetti squash from our garden, baked and served with butter and Parmesan cheese

- eating supper together

- having the garden all put away for winter

- hearing my sister's voice

- my mom and dad

- chocolate covered almonds :))

- running water (Again - something I take for granted.)

- childhood memories of my grandparents

- my brother and his invitation for supper

- nieces and nephews and getting to know them as adults

- my favourite color lingering on in the garden

- fresh herbs

- email

- online scrapbooking classes

- a soft pillow, especially at the end of the day

holy experience

Monday, September 28, 2009

Simple Woman #60

For Today . . . September 28, 2009

Outside my window. . . summer has completely disappeared!  It was so cold and windy all day.  High of +6 with winds gusting to 70 km/hr - it felt like -15!!

I am thankful . . . for a husband who is working hard to prepare for new flooring.

And I am also thankful . . . for the bounty of food God has provided for us.

I am praying . . . for my Dad, who is fighting another kidney stone.

I am thinking . . . about purging the china cabinet.

I am celebrating . . . an empty garden!

From the kitchen . . . grilled steelhead trout with lemon and herbs served on multigrain toast with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers.

I am wearing . . . greenish-brown dress pants, a beige tshirt with orange and brown embroidery and a matching toile print tan shirt jacket.

I am reading . . . The Royal Handmaid by Gilbert Morris, a Christian novel about a group of missionaries whose ship crashed on the way to their mission.

I am hoping . . . that a whole afternoon of grade 5 science experiments goes well tomorrow.

I am hearing . . . CBC News on the TV.

I am creating . . . nothing, actually!

Around the house and yard . . . windows to wash, garbage to haul to the landfill, recycling to take to the bottle depot, and flowerpots to empty.

One of my favourite things . . . taco salad, made at my brother's request for the supper we had with them on Saturday night.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . 2 days of subbing, winterizing the rest of the yard, watching Meadow at her hockey initiation practice, and taking some garden produce to a friend.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . . . Helayna loves going for quad rides with Grampa and Silas got in on the action too.  He loved all the buttons!!

Thanks to Heather for taking the pictures :))

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The End

of gardening for this year!  I picked the spaghetti and acorn squash -

and the pumpkins.  Helayna and Meadow each took home a great big one too.

And the last 2 boxes of green tomatoes came off because the forecast is for frost at night now.  It really was a bountiful harvest and the growing season was a full two weeks longer than normal for us.  The credit for this garden really belongs to Bob who kept the weeds under control, watered regularly and was so keen about the whole project.  I would not have done all of this on my own!!

 The marigolds and nasturtiums with their brilliant oranges and yellows linger on - they always cheer me up!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

House Redo

If you know us, you'll know that we are not into home renovations!  Bob and his dad built our house 31 years ago and it's been a great place to raise our 4 children.  After redoing the shingles a few years ago, we knew the next project would have to be a new floor.  Insert a picture here of our kids nodding their heads vigourously and agreeing wholeheartedly :))   Earlier this spring we bought bamboo hardwood and it's been acclimatizing in the basement.  So - today we started the big project of removing the old carpet in the living room.  The first thing we had to do was find a place for all the furniture to rest.  Some went downstairs and  some went into the garage for now.  In the process, several bags of recycling were generated and a great many cords and a few outdated electronics were sent away.  Then the baseboards came out and the carpet was rolled up and moved out.  The underlay and wood tacking strips, in assorted pieces as we were able to remove them, were hauled to the dump.    Now Bob is fixing the squeaks and screwing down the subfloor.  The kitchen linoleum will also have to go, which is likely an even bigger project but  I am so happy with our progress today!  I'll keep you posted - hopefully it won't be too, too long before we have everything back together.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom

It's Bob's mom's 83rd birthday today.    She has been such a constant in our lives, always willing to help with anything we need and sharing her baking and garden produce at every visit.  She cares for their home, has a huge garden and entertains often.  Her winters are spent quilting and sewing blankets for great-grandchildren and charities.   She has been an amazing example of how to be a good mother-in-law and I hope that I've gained a little of her wisdom, common sense and faith.

Happy Birthday, Mom K!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ten on Thursday

1.  It's taken 3 days of steady work but the garden is pretty well empty!  Some pumpkins, spaghetti and acorn squash remain on the vines and the late tomatoes are still green as grass.    Today Heather and Naomi both helped - thank you SO, SO much!!

2.  Big huge thanks to my husband who dug all the potatoes.  That was a big job!

3.  These two have been so much fun this week!!  They were just standing by the toybox, giggling and jabbering away to each other yesterday afternoon.  Thanks to Heather for the picture and to House of 3 for the digital frame, which I remembered how to use :))


4.  The great 2009 crop of twisted carrots were quickly processed (thanks to Naomi and her food processor) and many bags of grated carrots are now in the deep freeze, waiting for winter baking and cooking.

5.  We were out in the sandbox by 9:00 a.m. this morning!  Later Meadow came over and together they "baked" strawberry pies.

6.  I had a vaccination in my left arm today and it hurts so much!  I can hardly move my arm!

7.  Do you ever go to your freezer, open the lid and just marvel at all the good food that's tucked away, waiting to be used inside?!   It's a pretty marvelous feeling - trust me!

8.  The bane of my existence these days are the flies!  There are so many of them and they keep finding their way into the house.  We've taken to vacuuming them off the ceiling every evening.  This warm weather is just what they need to stay active and continue to be a nuisance.  Anybody else having this same trouble?

9.  I bought a new swimsuit last week.  It was an "interesting / challenging / shaking my head / knew immediately it was the right one" kind of trip!  It's called a "Miraclesuit" - gotta love any suit with a label like that :))

10.  This little man loves his cars!  He spent a very long time on the patio this morning, going back and forth, back and forth.  He can go really fast and gets pretty impatient when he hits a wall or an obstacle.  He's going to be quite the driver some day!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


When Helayna comes to stay overnight with us, she sleeps in my scrapbook studio aka guest room.  Last night as she was getting ready for bed, I was grabbing a few things to bring out to the kitchen table to work on and she really wanted to scrapbook with Heather and I.  So before she went to bed, she punched and cut and glued and stickered and created something for Meadow!  It was so cute to watch her and Heather talking and creating together.  She loves scissors so she practiced for a bit with them too.

  When she was finally ready for bed Mommy decided she positively must go to bed, the promise was that it would all stay out on the kitchen table and she could create again.   So guess what's front and centre today?!  But we are very busy outside, emptying the garden so the creating is on hold for now.

Hopefully we can do something tonight :))

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Simple Woman #59

For Today . . . September 22, 2009

Outside my window. . . a very hot summer day but with golden leaves and combined fields!  It's +28 degrees C and the forecast is for +30 tomorrow.  This is not a typical September at all!!

I am thankful . . . for help with emptying the garden today!

And I am also thankful . . . for such a bounty of fresh produce that we can store up for winter eating.

I am praying . . . for good health and safety in the weeks ahead.

I am thinking . . . about things I can make with all the small and short carrots that we've dug out of the garden.

I am celebrating . . . the great pictures we got yesterday with four of our grandkids.  (We missed you, Samuel!)

From the kitchen . . . "The Thigh Who Loved Me" ( a chicken dish), baked potatoes, sauteed beets, corn on the cob and watermelon. - maybe some more applesauce and a fruit cobbler tonight.

I am wearing . . . blue capris, pink sleeveless tshirt and crocs.

I am reading . . . A Blade of Grass by Lewis DeSoto - still working on this.  It's quite a story!

I am hoping . . . that my visa will be delivered tomorrow!  I know it's in Edmonton now.

I am hearing . . . Helayna chatting as she draws "paths going up the big hills" in a little paper book that we made.  She's using "the very large crayons" and says "the white only dries out".  I love her conversations!

I am creating . . . a mini travel album - actually got a few pieces of paper cut for this!

Around the house and yard . . . beets, carrots and potatoes to pick up from the garden where they were dug out this morning - laundry to change up - and lots of toys scattered around as Helayna, Silas and Heather are visiting with us for a few days!

One of my favourite things . . . sitting outside on the patio on warm evenings as the stars come out.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . major garden digging, windows to wash, laundry and mending to take care of, lots of playing with grandchidren, a haircut and appointment in the city.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . . . taken by Jonathan as seven of them hiked from Moraine Lake to Lake O'Hara on Saturday.   They crossed a glacier along the 20 km trail and have many stories to share.  Bob has been out on the trails alot this year!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gratitude Gifts Today

These things brought me joy today -

- early morning laundry started

- clean shirts hanging ready to go back in the closet

- containers filled with applesauce moved to the freezer

- a letter in the mailbox from our niece

- an appointment to pick up precious documents

- fresh multigrain bread coated in sesame seeds

- bright berries hanging heavy on the branch

- poutine - one of my favourite treats of all time!

- conversation with friends

- visits from our grandchildren

- photo opportunities outdoors in the brightly colored leaves

- 3 generations gathered around the kitchen table at suppertime

- arms wrapped tight to give hugs

- little monkeys jumping on our bed

- Death by Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

- our daughter who cleaned up the kitchen after supper

- the sun shining through colored leaves

holy experience- fresh applesauce, still warm, served with cinnamon and cream

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Smells of Autumn

Do you associate the seasons with certain smells?  If you stepped into my kitchen today, I think you would say it smells like autumn!  And that's because I have a pot full of apples, from one of the three trees in our garden, simmering away on the stove, well on their way to becoming applesauce.

Today I'm using some Parkland apples which make a lighter colored sauce but the Rescue crabapples give a beautiful pink color when they are cooked.

Melinda and I had a little chat this afternoon and she told me about a recipe that Bob's Auntie Irma published in her family heirloom cookbook, that makes applesauce in the oven.  I had never heard of such a recipe or such a technique!!  Unfortunately Mel's recipe book is packed away in a box in Nova Scotia but I googled and found this great looking applesauce and apple butter .  I think I'll try it on another batch as soon as this one is finished.

I have a foodmill that I use to press the apples through after they are completely cooked.  I only use it at this time of the year and it's perfect for crabapples because you don't have to peel them first.

Mixed with a little brown sugar and cinnamon, it's a perfect dessert for the first day of fall!

Other smells that I associate with this time of year are the damp smell of leaves and pumpkin pie.  What smells trigger thoughts of autumn for you?  

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Autumn on the Farm

Harvesting of grain is nearly finished here but some canola is still laying in the fields, drying down.  There was so much late green growth, due to poor germination this spring, that now harvesting is delayed.  The yields are greatly reduced - a complete reversal from last year's bumper crop.  Hay crops are a fraction of what is needed to get animals through the coming winter and lots of grain crops in our area have gone into greenfeed or silage.  Pastures are pretty well grazed off and some people are starting to feed their cattle already.  This has not been a good year for farmers!

I like driving through the countryside at this time of year, especially in the early evening.   As the sun sets, everything takes on a lovely golden hue and the sky is always interesting.  The leaves are slow to change color this year and I don't think we're going to see the bright reds  that we got last year.     Daytime temperatures are still in the mid-20's and we haven't had any frost yet!  Hopefully this warm weather will continue for a few more weeks.


Today . . . I made breakfast and ate at home (the first time this week!).

Today . . . the changing leaves provided a beautiful background while I drove.

Today . . . I bought a few groceries at a different small town shop - and was pleasantly surprised by the prices.

Today . . . I saw Meadow and Blake, for the first time in 2 weeks.

Today . . . I cuddled Blake and got lots of smiles and cooing.

Today . . . I was reminded how quickly babies grow up.

Today . . . Meadow gave me the biggest hugs :))

Today . . . she and I had a glorious day together - our first one in 3 months.

Today . . . my daughter and her 2 sister-in-laws went for lunch and a 10 km bike ride, with only 1 child instead of the 7 that usually accompany them!

Today . . . I canned 14 jars of tomatoes.

Today . . . we found a wonderful new market garden and bought more tomatoes, cucumbers, dill and the last raspberries.

Today . . . we turned the car around and went back to watch five goats.

Today . . . we jumped on the trampoline and Meadow taught Gramma how to do "bummers"!

Today . . . Murray brought us a piece of lemon meringue pie.

Today . . . we had a dip in the hot tub.

Today . . . Meadow asked for stories about "when you was a little girl".

Today . . . Bob and Clarence drove to the mountains for the last hike of the season in the Rockies.

Today . . . I had nachos for supper :))

Today . . . was a very good day!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gratitude Gifts Today

These are my gifts today:

- bluejays flying from the mountain ash tree

- sun rising behind the trees

- gold and green on the trees

- smiling faces

- colleagues

- a job to go to

- fresh from the garden, crunchy carrots

- warm autumn days

- students noticing the subtle changes of weather

- new (to me) books to read

- the last of the tomatoes put into jars

- grated zucchini to use for baking

- pulling beets from the garden

- onions drying for winter

- the joy of anticipation

- pears and cheese for a snack

- plans coming together

- the colors of autumn

holy experience


Seriously - this working all day is interfering with finishing my canning, blogging, taking pictures, phoning people and even reading my email!! Tomorrow is the last day of the week for classes here so hopefully I'll be able to get a few things accomplished over the weekend.

All that being said, I have really enjoyed my time at this school with kids from grade 1 all the way through to grade 5. And the weather has been marvelous - warm and sunny - so even supervision has been fun!

Monday, September 14, 2009

For Today . . . September 14, 2009

Outside my window. . . a beautiful Indian summer day with bright sunshine, a bit of a breeze and warm temperatures.

I am thankful . . . that I can easily call our children and talk to them frequently.

And I am also thankful . . . for evening bike rides along the shore of the lake.

I am praying . . . that we can have patience to understand God's leading and His will.

I am thinking . . . about the social and science lessons that I have to teach tomorrow.

I am celebrating . . . because I got a new scalloped border punch from Stampin' Up! Now if only I had time to use it!

From the kitchen . . . pasta beef casserole, corn on the cob and peaches with cream.

I am wearing . . . brown capris, yellow striped tshirt and Skechers.

I am reading . . . A Blade of Grass by Lewis DeSoto. Set on the border between South Africa and an unnamed country, it's the story of 2 women, 1 black and 1 white, and their friendship amidst war. This book provides perspective on what it means to be black and white in a country where freedom is precious and often tragic.

I am hoping . . . to get my visa problem corrected - quickly!

I am hearing . . . the clock ticking.

I am creating . . . a mini travel album but it's going very, very slowly. All this gardening and canning is seriously interfering with my creative time :(

Around the house and yard . . . a few more tomatoes to can, dusting desperately needing to be done and more crabapples to pick.

One of my favourite things . . . fresh cinnamon buns.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . more subbing, filled jars to be wiped and put away, chocolate zucchini cake to bake and a playdate with Meadow (it's been a long time since we've had a day to just ourselves!).

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you . . . teacher resource manuals open on my temporary desk at school.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Autumn Quadding Adventure

Sunny September afternoon + temperature of 28 degrees C + good friends + 4 quads + being outdoors = a great time!

We headed to the Brazeau Dam area with our friends, Audrey and Aime' and this is what we did:

someone got stuck in a water hole

surveyed the river and the reservoir

someone else got stuck in the muskeg

drove along grassy trails

enjoyed the leaves changing color, the brilliant blue skies and each other! A very fine way to spend a Saturday :))

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Grass Green and Still Growing

Our garden is still growing like crazy! That probably has alot to do with the water we've been giving it regularly. I think the watering is going to stop so we can finish some things up.

These tomatoes were planted really late and they are just starting to set fruit now. They were extras from Naomi and we rescued them but they will need until Christmas before they make much fruit. And at the back you can see the corn which should be ready now that we've had 3 hot days in a row.

This is my first attempt at growing acorn squash.

The pumpkins are great.

Most of these zucchini were made into relish.

And I left this one growing! I think it's going to grow into a complete circle!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Signs of Autumn

Even though the weather has been warm and we haven't had any frost yet, the signs of autumn are starting to make themselves evident. The last few days have been Indian summer warm and the usual rainy first week of school didn't happen. The leaves are slow to change color this year so perhaps we will be very lucky and have a long autumn.

I was reminiscing this morning about the happenings of 2001 in New York City. I distinctly remember hearing the news and even the exact spot where I was at on the road, as I drove home from an early morning walk with my friend, Audrey. Then upon arriving at school, how everyone - staff and students - were clustered in the library and watching coverage in between classes, all day long. Where were you 8 years ago? I know so many families were personally affected that day with the loss of family members. I want to acknowledge that today is a day of remembrance across the USA and around the world.