Monday, January 31, 2011

Gratitude Gifts Today

I am on chapter 4 in One Thousand Gifts (you can read the first chapter by following this link) by Ann Voskamp and I must tell you that it is absolutely amazing!  Last night I read about how she first started the list and felt that sometimes it seemed almost trivial.  (And I could really understand what she was thinking.)  But then she realized that God first named things as He created them and at the end of each day, "God saw that it was good."  And if He names the good, then why wouldn't we?  And when we name what is good in our days, we find our identity and God's identity.

"To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value that God gave it."  (Teresa of Avila as quoted in the book)

"God is in the details; God is in the moment."  (Ann Voskamp)

And God is in my living as I count His gifts to me.

- phone conversations with our children - still 4 of my favourite people in the whole wide world!

- creating with paper and fabric

- putting away the last of the Christmas things and savouring the memories

- this place we have that is our home

- rearranging little corners in the house

- Sunday's message to live "God's foolishness"

- a water well project to support

- Carrot Ginger Muffins - oh, my!

- sun shining on the snow

- being able to stay inside when the temperature plummets to -30 degrees C and lower

- a clean counter and dishes drying in the sink

- fresh ingredients for a stir-fry supper

- the rice cooker bubbling away

- winter world painted white with a fluffy brush

- fat red Peppermint Creme candle from Pier 1

- comfy fleece jacket

- sending mail

- finding photographs from last spring

- clean laundry, still warm from the dryer

- clean and organized spaces

- blocks of color all lined up

- fresh baked cakes

- my Bible stick and headphones

- feeling wrapped in God's goodness

- knowing that what seems foolish to the world - God's giving of His son - is my lifeline and my hope

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Poetry for a Sunday

Crystal Beauty

Gertrude Rudberg

The golden sun was shining
Upon a world of ice;
And for that crystal beauty
There was no offered price.

The trees encased in silver,
And some with golden hue,
Stood etched in brilliant diamonds
Against the sky of blue.

The fields, the lawns, the meadows,
The hedge and fencetops too,
Were all a frozen picture -
Of what God's hands can do.

(from an old Ideals Valentine book)

Pictures taken along our road yesterday

Friday, January 28, 2011


The weather is much cooler today and the temperature is supposed to fall even more by tomorrow.    The weatherman is saying that there will be a 30 degree drop in temperature within 36 hours!

This is the sign at the end of our driveway.  It's at least 3 feet off the ground and the snowbank has shrunk a fair bit in the last week.  At one point, after Bob had blown the snow off the driveway, it was buried under at least a foot of snow.

Here's the road with the snowbanks pushed well off now.

And look what I got!!  It came, just in time for weekend reading.  I'm very excited to read this and participate in the Bloom book club discussion starting next week.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #4

List #4 - Best Snacks

1.  Nachos with salsa and melted cheese - sometimes it's supper too :)

2.  Hummus with chips or on crackers or toast

3.  Cheese, crackers and pickles - a lunch kit staple

4.  Fresh fruit, especially berries of any kind but I love apples, bananas, oranges, cherries, grapes, kiwi, peaches . . . - all of them, really!

5.  Dips like shrimp dip, spinach dip or surprise spread with crackers but I only make them when we are having company.  Sometimes there are leftovers which are awesome on toast the next morning.

6.  Fresh vegetables from the garden (or farmer's market) with dill dip

7.  Nuts and bolts - homemade ones - I only make - and eat! - them at Christmas time

8.  Nuts - salted are best

9.  Chocolate chip cookies - seriously a big problem when I bake them, which is not often anymore.

10.  Poppycock - again, only in a 2 month window around Christmas time - but I look forward to it all year!

11. Popcorn

12.  Bagels - with lots of different toppings

13.  Celery or apple slices with cheez whiz or peanut butter

14.  Chocolate covered almonds - love 'em!

Check Mary, Heather and Rhonda's blogs to see what they listed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Listening: to Nicole C. Mullen's "Talk About It"

Drinking: Tuscany Pear Rooiboos Tea

Reading:  "Ever After" by Karen Kingsbury

Watching:  The Dragon's Den on CBC TV

Looking forward to: getting my copy of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts 
Amazon is being mightily slow with delivery on this one!

Wearing: jeans and a burgundy turtleneck sweater that is at least 10 years old but still a favourite!

Feeling: inspired to write a letter to our Compassion child in Brazil

Eating: pork chops with sauerkraut and apples over mashed potatoes

Weather: a beautiful warm springlike day at +8 degrees C with sunshine and shrinking snowbanks - and freezing rain overnight

Wanting: to vacuum and wash floors tomorrow

Needing: to work at least one day this week (!)

Thinking: about making a Valentine banner for our house

Wondering: about the new baby that will soon join our family

Missing:  our 3 children that live far away

Enjoying: the memories of being with Blake and Meadow all day today

How is your day going?
Thanks to Leigh for this idea.  Feel free to share your version.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Recipe Box Swap

Over at Randi's blog, I Just Have To Say, she's hosting a recipe box swap today and the featured recipes are soups and stews.

Earlier this month I made the most delicious Cream of Mushroom Soup from scratch. It was so much better than what comes out of a can and it was an easy to do recipe too.  Partnered with some fresh hot buns, a few slices of cheese and some fresh veggies, it will make a delicious winter lunch or supper.  I do hope you will try it!

Cream of Mushroom Soup
(recipe from Looneyspoons cookbook)

1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped onions (or shallots)
4 cups sliced mushrooms (I used white button ones but you could mix it up with others too.)
2 cups chicken broth (try to use low-fat, low-sodium)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine (or apple juice)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream (half and half will work)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan (or you may just spray the pan with non-stick spray).
Add garlic and onions.  Cook and stir over medium heat for 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and continue to cook for 3 - 4 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth.  Mix remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth with flour until smooth.  Add to pot along with wine, Worcestershir sauce and basil.  Stir well.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At this point, you may process the soup in a blender or food processor and puree' it for a smooth soup.  I preferred to leave ours chunky this time.

Mix yogurt and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Add to soup along with milk and cream.  Don't allow soup to boil.  Stir until well blended and heated through, about 2 - 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

 Makes 4 servings.  (You can easily double or triple this recipe.)

swap blogpost

Gratitude Gifts Today

This morning in my reading from James 1, verses 16 - 18 really struck me.

"Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.   Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth  through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created."

He cares so much that He sends exactly the gifts I need.  Good and perfect ones, the kind that never change, the very best of all He has - it comes to me.  How very blessed I am as I count today's gifts!

- quiet time to contemplate His word and read on

- warm day beginning with a pink and purple sunrise

- finding little surprises

- clean water to drink

- fresh cranberry almond granola

- thoughts of Jill who first shared the recipe

- colors and lengths of fabric

- pictures of family gracing the walls and shelves

- text messages

- time to create

- eyesight so I can read

- bread rising

- meatloaf, mashed potatoes, creamed corn for supper

- snowshoe walks

- moon shining on snow

- a box packed, ready to mail

- a letter from our compassion child in Brazil!

- looking forward to Bible study

- worship songs that linger on

- the anticipation of finally getting Ann's book

- that He loves me and gives me grace every day

Monday, January 24, 2011


These little pretties are on my cutting table today :)

Finished projects coming soon!

In the meantime, you might enjoy looking at these beauties and planning your own creativity.

Kristie made this awesome quilt for her son's birthday.

All the way from Ireland, Karen created this gorgeous Dot and Dash Quilt for the Moda Bakeshop.

And for something good to eat, here are Valentine Rice Krispie Treats!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #3

List #3 - Quirks About Me

1.  I really dislike being wet when I have clothes on.  Water fights are not my idea of a fun time and wet socks drive me crazy!

2.  Good manners are pretty important to me, especially when eating.  And my kids know what topics are off limits during dinner conversations!

3.  My closet is arranged by color too - just like Heather, Mary and Rhonda!  Apparently us creative types are all cleverly organized in this way.  And my SB supplies are pretty much organized by color too :) - thanks to Stacy Julian.

4.  Folding clean laundry must be done in a very particular way.

5.  I hate garbage or loose paper flying around outside.

6.  I sleep best on my right side - with the blankets pulled up nearly over my head - just like Heather.  I wonder where she got that from!

7.  I will stay in bed until the absolute last minute in the morning.  Once I'm up there's no problem with getting going on the day but if there's any chance of staying under the covers for another minute, I'll take it.

8. I like to save the icing on cake to eat last.  I'll eat the inside of the slice and leave a narrow rim of cake with icing  - the best for last.

9.  Throwing photographs away is almost impossible for me - even if they are awful.

10.  The cups, glasses and dishes in my cupboards are all lined up in rows.  No helter skelter in this part of my life!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Good Things - 2011

1.  Sewing and creating new things!  There are so many interesting projects on the inspiration boards online and I am having lots of fun making some of them.   This is a fleece sleep sac for Samuel, to keep him warm at night.  It was my first project sewing with stretch fleece - I'll need to practise more with this.

2.  Juicy navel oranges, at their prime right now.  I know they come from far away (no eating local when oranges are desired) but they are such a good source of Vitamin C through the winter.

3.  Cups of tea and visits with friends.

4.  Watching kids read - I love their enthusiasm and excitement!

5.  Valentine's Day project ideas like this one from Martha Stewart.

6.  Listening to high school students in Foods class as they plan menus and analyze their eating habits.  They know what they should be eating - even if they don't always carry through.

7.  Snow-plowed driveways and roads.

8.  Memories - like this one from our time in Fairmont!  All the cousins heading to the toboggan spot.  That's Blake up front on the snow-racer.  He was so cute, sitting there serious as could be, hanging onto the steering wheel all the way.  He loved every minute of the adventure - as did all of them!

9.  Photocopiers

10.  Tuna Waldorf Salad - a favourite for lunch. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gratitude Gifts Today

The fluffy snow piles up. 
 The snowdrifts build.  
The intersection corners are rounded.  
The oncoming traffic is hidden. 
 And all the world is smothered in white.  

And just as the world is blanketed, so my life is covered up with goodness.  It doesn't stop coming.  It covers every part of every day.  And I am so grateful for His coming and for His love and for all the blessings He gives.  

- the news that her book has shipped!

- the announcement that the  Bloom  book club will discuss her book in February - oh, my!

- watching snowflakes swirl and drift

- safe and warm inside the house

- teaching Sunday School

- the tiniest of voices echoing the prayer

- baked apples

- talking to far away loved ones

- sewing

- online inspiration

- a vacuum cleaner

- brightly decorated notepaper

- candlelight brightening the corners

- finished projects

- anticipating the smiles

- letters from my sister

- visiting and laughing with friends

- new recipes

- a challenge to cook simply with ingredients on-hand

- a car that starts

- getting out of the driveway 

- good lesson plans

- cooperative high school students

- warm towels

- special coasters that bring a smile (thanks, K!)

- new slippers

- the world of blogs

- leaving it all with Him in prayer

- reading words of encouragement in the Bible

(photo from photobucket)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow and More Snow

It's been a week of cold and almost constant snow.  Altogether we had more than 20 cm - another 8" - and it's really piling up again.  The forecast is for warmer weather by next weekend but meanwhile I spent a lovely day learning how to make bias tape for a sewing project.  Pictures coming later - like next month after the project is given away :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Some Days!

When I brought home a new 4L jug of milk the other day, I grabbed an empty quart jar that was on the cupboard and poured it full of the last bit of milk from the old jug.    Today I brewed a lovely pot of chai tea - a pick-me-up for the 4th day of gloomy, snowy cold weather that we're having.  I dropped some brown sugar into my favourite Polish mug, poured it full of chai and then added some warm milk to top it off.  All set to enjoy a lovely cup!

And then I took a drink - - -  and it tastes like garlic dill pickles!  Can you imagine?
 Chai tea + milk + brown sugar = extreme garlic pickle taste!

Apparently the jar I used was one from dill pickles and now the milk tastes like them too.  And these pickles were made with an extra, extra large clove of garlic fresh picked in BC in late August.  There's no hope for the milk that's in there.  Too bad I don't have any chickens - they'd be having a lovely late day snack of grain soaked in pickle milk!!  Lesson learned:  smell the jar before pouring anything into it.

I started over with a new batch of milk - and am quite enjoying my tea now :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #2

I was honored when Heather invited me to join the 2011 Lists Project that she and Mary have going.  I posted a big list of things to do last post so now I'm doing the projects list from last week.

List 2:  Projects for 2011

1.  Sew
2.  Stamp
3.  Scrapbook
4.  Move
5.  Write
6.  Camp
7.  Read
8.  Grow
9.  Cook
10.  Visit

and throughout all of them:  Take pictures!  That one is just a given :))

Hopefully there will be lots of this in the year ahead!

How about you?  What projects are on your radar for the weeks ahead?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #1

It's almost halfway into January of the new year already!  Heather and Mary are doing weekly lists on their blogs and the first one was creating a list of goals or resolutions for this year.  

Here is my list of things to do in 2011:

1.  Blog from my heart, following the Spirit's leading
2.  Read my Bible daily
3.  Participate in small group Bible study
4.  Move more
5.  Eat less, eat consciously
6.  Sew something every week
7.  Write daily
8.  Read for book club and for pleasure
9.  Grow tomato plants from seeds
10.  Finish painting the kitchen and living room
11.  Make some altered storybook notepads
12.  Sew 2 quilts
13.  Finish Silas' quilt
14.  Sew pillowcases for next Christams
15.  Frame 2 pictures from our travels
16.  Bake bread weekly
17.  Take a photo a day
18.  Organize fabric stash
19.  Move fabric stash into dresser
20.  Sort through and purge closet
21.  Give purged stuff to Second Glance
22.  Write 1 letter each week
23.  Write faithfully to Compassion children each month
24.  Cuddle our new grandchild :)
25.  Clean out bookshelf in studio
26.  Go to Millarville Christmas Market with Kelsey
27.  Get fruit in BC with Heather
28.  Can more salsa
29.  Make more sauerkraut
30.  Have a creative weekend with Esther
31.  Go to one of Silas and Helayna’s gymnastics classes
32.  Clean out the toybox
33.  Sew new kitchen curtains
34.  Take a class at the Apple store
35.  Stamp sets of cards to give as gifts
36.  Clean and organize Mel’s bedroom downstairs
37.  Phone Dakin monthly
38.  Go on a Lange quadding weekend
39.  Have our grandchildren for a sleepover
40.  Take One Little Word class at BPS
41.  Wash the fronts of the kitchen cupboards
42.  Listen to music more often
43.  Record our everyday moments in pictures
44.  Put old pictures of the kids in photo albums
45.  Write more blog posts about Africa
46.  Find new lampshades
47.  Visit my Aunt Helen to find out details about Uncle Herb
48.  Go to a movie with Devrah
49.  Host book club
50.  Share more baking with others
51.  Create one special scrapbook layout of a moment shared with each of our grandchildren
52.  De-clutter my night table area
53.  Have company for Easter dinner
54.  Celebrate our grandchildren’s birthdays with them
55.  Entertain friends and family in our home regularly
56.  Organize gmail messages archive

I've got a start going on some already - I am so happy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gratitude Gifts Today

The world is covered over with a thick blanket of pure white snow today and it's a reminder to me that no matter how deep my troubles seem or how unfaithful my life has been, God covered me over when He sent Jesus to be my Saviour.  My life is smoothed out, the beauty is restored, and when He shines on me I can have a new start.  It just amazes me that this is my daily gift from Him!  Every morning, without fail, without my asking, without any conditions - His grace comes to me again.  And if He gives grace without fail, then I serve Him by giving thanks without fail and so the counting continues.

- snow sparkling in the bright sun

- deep, deep drifts piling up

- being snowbound

- snow days with no busses running

- cocooning, with great pleasure, on those days

- fresh bread baking

- the colors of fabric

- big cup of berry blossom white tea in my favourite Polish mug

- berries in the snow

- new notecards

- gently putting away the new things received for Christmas

- thoughts of each giver

- photo books

- treasures buried under the snow

- stacks of letters to mail

- corners of Christmas lingering

- the anticipation of book club tonight

- snowblower and a husband who works long outside in the deep

tracks made while snowshoeing

- His word

- a quiet telephone

- snow hanging over eaves

- icicles

- quiet

- prayers before bed and the utter calm they bring

-  winter sunset

- homemade mushroom soup

- last of Christmas cookies

- time to create

- phone calls with loved ones

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Milestone

So Bob had a birthday this weekend and we celebrated very quietly (for now!).  For his 50th birthday 10 years ago I made him a scrapbook - the first one I ever did.  It's hard to believe that I've been scrapbooking for that long - and it's hard to believe that my husband is 60 years old.  Life is good and we are indeed blessed!!

My husband has always had dreams and goals and one of the most recent was to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, in Africa, before he turned 60.  So last year that's what he did!  The last trek to the top eluded him when he got a lung infection but he got very close.

looking at Kili from Amboseli

Just last night during our little New York City movie marathon, he said how glad he was that we were able to visit the Big Apple.  

on the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty

And he is definitely enjoying being a grampa!

straw maze with Helayna and Silas

skating on Lake Invermere

drawing during family art time

He's developed an interest in woodworking and this year made the girls art boxes for Christmas.

He's an expert at towing people out of jams when we are quadding.

with Ian at Crimson Lake

He is the man who taught me how to dance, how to laugh more and to embrace new challenges.

dancing with Helayna at Darrin and Kelsey's wedding

I pray that the years ahead will be filled with family, friends, new adventures, and much happiness!

Happy Birthday, Bob!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

A Snowy Saturday

Outside the snow is softly falling, covering everything with white.  The wind is blowing and the drifts are piling up.  We got stuck in the driveway twice this morning on our way to Meadow's hockey game.  But as we finally made our way to the road, the phone rang and it was Naomi telling us that Meadow was sick and she wasn't playing today.  We drove down to the corner anyway, turned around and came back.  Then we got stuck again turning into the driveway!  Bob used his muscles once more and we crept back into the garage to spend the day at home.

Inside the bread machine is whirring, the dishwasher is humming, the furnace is pumping out warm air and I'm doing a little sewing again.  One of my goals for 2011 is to do more sewing during the winter and less next December!  So between pre-shrinking new fabrics and sewing some things that never got done before Christmas, I am right on schedule for the first week of the new year.

And we are finishing the day with a New York movie night - Rent,  Shall We Dance? and now My Great Big Fat Greek Wedding!  We love being able to pick out the NYC landmarks and the music has been awesome.  I hope you are having a warm and cozy day too!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Little Treat

My friend Lisa told me about a quilt shop that was close to Fairmont so the day we left I stopped by for a quick look.  It was an absolutely gorgeous shop with wonderful samples hanging everywhere!  I was in awe!

Everything in the store was on sale - how convenient!!  So I got a selection of Christmas flannels that will make a wonderful quilt,

a kit for a Christmas runner,

2 stacks of fat quarters for nothing particular yet (the color is off in this photo - it's really a combination of orange, green and tan),

and a Christmas idea book for inspiration.

Purcell Mountain Quilting Co. was a great quilt shop - I'll definitely be going back next time we are in the area!!