Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Sun setting at our house tonight

This Week In My Kitchen

My camera has gone to the camera hospital for a cleaning so photos are a little scarce around here for a bit.   Hopefully you can imagine this bounty from our garden.

1.  Borscht - our favourite soup at this time of year.

2.  Nine more jars of zucchini relish - I think we have enough now.

3.  Five jars of raspberry jam.

4.  Frozen green beans.

5.  Three jars of dill pickles - a pleasant surprise!

6.  Cucumbers with cream sauce.

7.  More sliced tomatoes + 3 cups frozen.

8.  Applesauce - 16 2-cup containers frozen.

9.  Chocolate zucchini cupcakes.

10.  Cauliflower and cabbage taken to Naomi.  There are more heads of both that will be ready this week.

While Bob was gone I ate borscht and leftovers so it was another week with not much cooking.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gratitude Gifts Today

Summer is such a wonderful time of growing things and enjoying the outdoors.  Every day in August has brought warm temperatures and blooming flowers.  It's really quite hard to believe that the end of the month is upon us!   But the falling leaves (lots on the bike trail yesterday) and the golden grain speak of a season change and the sun is setting earlier every day.  There is so much every day that speaks of the Creator's goodness and His bounty.  I am reminded that He means for me to share what I have, both produce and most importantly His love.  

#2935 - #2965

- a gorgeous bride and a handsome groom, both of them smitten with each other
- fun and laughter while hearing about them growing up
- a stunning mother of the bride - so glad we are friends
- delicious Ukrainian food
- visiting with teaching friends

- stories from a successful hiking trip
- safety 
- bears that stayed away from people
- gorgeous views of God's creation
- cousins laughing together

- Sunday afternoon bike rides
- resident bike mechanic
- cuddling and talking to Maëlle as she coos
- Blake's words, coming often now
- Meadow sitting on my lap during church

- creative ideas and inspiration
- bouncing ideas off Bob and getting help with the details
- thrift store finds
- plans for birthday gifts
- anticipating his excitement

- handfuls of basil for pesto
- watermelon plants blooming (maybe producing in 2 years?)
- squash forming and stretching
- jars of raspberry jam
- marigolds blooming brightly

- storms that pass by 
- good news from far away
- lists and crossed off lists
- resting in God's care
- knowing that He cares about me!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thought of the Day

From Storypeople

Veteran Traveler
carries a lot of suitcases but all of them are empty because she's expecting to completely fill them with life by the end of this trip & then she'll come home & sort everything out & do it all again

Five on Friday

1.  Bob's gone hiking to Yoho National Park this weekend and I am loving being at home all by myself.  I have so many projects on my to-do list that I'm not sure three days will be enough to get them done!

Takkakaw Falls
(photo from Virtual

2.  Working on a new hairstyle these days.  It's getting longer than I've had it for quite sometime but I think(?) it works.   Sorry there's no picture to show :)

3.  Our book club met last night and discussed the book "Day After Night" by Anita Diamant (the author of The Red Tent).  It's a very good read about 4 young Jewish women, each with their own story of survival,  on their way to Palestine after World Way II.   I love the variety of books we read and the discussions we have!  (Thanks for the good read, good time, and good food, DM!)

4.  There's a batch of raspberry jam cooling on the counter and a roaster full of applesauce cooling on the stove.  .  I love filling jars up with good food from our garden :)  Tomorrow it will be batch #2 of zucchini relish.

5.  Overnight it seems that autumn is pushing her way into our lives.  The maple trees are showing their bright golden leaves and some tiny wild bushes have red tinges.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #34

Listography #34 - Things I Dream of Doing When the Day Turns Sour

1.  Going back to bed and starting again tomorrow

2.  Jetting far, far away

3.  Somehow, anyhow! making him see it from my point of view!

4.  Sending flowers to me

5.  Eating chocolate, lots of chocolate!

6.  Ringing the bell and calling the maid to deal with it

7.  Waving a magic wand and making it 'all better'

8.  Crying on my sister's shoulder

9.  Getting hugs from my kids

10.  Spending days and days with my grandchildren, no cares, no worries - just being like one of them :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gratitude Gifts Today

Really and truly Ann's writing at A Holy Experience is such a blessing!  Her thoughts today fit perfectly with yesterday's message at church about building on the firm foundation of God's love.  I am amazed at how God reinforces these thoughts so they are front and center for my daily living.

So I begin this week pondering these words of Ann's - and agreeing wholeheartedly with them!

"Unless we make it a habit to give thanks, we habitually give our family grief.
Unless we consistently speak praise, we consistently speak poison.
Unless we are intentional about giving God glory throughout the day, our days unintentionally give way to grumbling. "

And I need to hang them in every corner of my house and of my life that my living might give Him the glory!

#2910 - #2935

- vacuumed floor, first thing in the morning
- clean windows in the tractor
- bright tablecloth, a long ago gift from my aunt
- little vase brought home from Prague
- lavender and white sweet peas in that vase

- sweet scent of sweet peas that I grew
- how much they remind me of my Dad
- time off from fieldwork
- pictures and videos of our grandchildren
- fenceposts marching along the property line

- jars of relish put away on the pantry shelf
- dreaming of new quilts to make
- chocolate zucchini cake batter
- square bowl from my sister
- shelling peas

- wise messages that seem to be written just for me
- bounty from the garden and fields
- birds circling in the sky
- new worship songs
- washing machine and dryer, working away

- looking back through pictures
- cleaning off another corner of the kitchen counter
- praying as I drive
- seeking His strength and support
- building everyday with Him as the foundation

Monday, August 22, 2011

This Week In My Kitchen

Well there was a little less cooking and a lot more picking around here this week!  We did eat these good things that included produce from the garden:

1.  Raspberry Yogurt Dressing - delicious on a salad of mixed lettuce, raspberries, crumbled goat cheese and toasted pecans.

2.  Lasagne - with swiss chard added to the meat sauce.

3.  Zucchini Relish - 5 jars ready for the winter.

4.  Fresh cucumbers - just sliced and eaten like that.

5.  Raspberry Muffins - I only make these once a season but they are so good.

6.  Bacon, jalapeno harvarti cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwiches - on more than one occasion :)

7.  Raspberries with brown sugar and cream.

8.  Sugar snap  peas blanched and frozen for winter eating

9. Turkey Spanish Rice - with swiss chard and the last jar of 2010 canned tomatoes.

10.  Many fresh tomatoes eaten all by themselves - I've picked 92 already!  We have 10 plants of a variety called Moneymakers, started at the end of February by Bob's dad, and they are so uniform in size and shape, averaging 50 grams each.

And on deck for this week:
German Potato Salad - potatoes are already cooked, need to add sauerkraut from last year's stash (only 4 jars left)
Peas to blanch and freeze
Beans to blanch and freeze
Apples to cook into applesauce
Raspberry jam to make

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tales from the Tractor

Otherwise known as Five on Friday!

1.  Spending long days in the tractor gives one time to watch the changing skies.

2.  I've even had a chance to watch the moon rise!

3.  And I've listened to some interesting Bible teaching on The Light, 93 FM Radio.  It's like I've been at Bible Camp - which has been very good.

4.  The garden keeps producing too.  Today's basket looked like this.

5.  Today was World Photography Day - and this was one of the views outside my window.

Thanks to Heather, Mary and Rhonda for inspiration from their Foto Friday project.  I think they're posting based on the word 'window' this week.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #33

Listography #33 - 10 Things I'd Tell My 17-year-old Self

1.  Wear that bathing suit!  Wear it again and again - and don't worry about looking fat.  You will be fat one day but you aren't right now.  Trust me on this one!

2.  Those mini-skirts look great on you!  Way to go!

3.  Don't worry about fitting in with the party crew.  They will still be partying when they are 50 - is that what you want?

4.  Try everything!  Learn to ski, learn to swim, learn to play guitar.  You won't get good at anything if you never start it.

5.  Spend more time with your grandparents and write down some of their stories.  They will soon be gone.

6.  Pay attention to how Dad carves a chicken.  One day you may need to carve one in your own home!

7.  You really, really should go to France.  These chances only come once in a lifetime.

8.  You will be so glad that you learned to type.

9.  Don't worry about guys.  The really good ones will still be around when you are in your 20's.  Only go out with the ones that you'd like to be married to - don't waste your time on any others.

10.  Get rid of the sarcasm.  It doesn't do a thing for you or anyone else for that matter.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gratitude Gifts Today

There have been so many examples of God's love and His plan for my life this week that I am in awe and wonder.  How can it be that He continues to care for me and surround me with such good?  And then I read at Ann's and am reminded that He works all things for good and there is nothing that He cannot change into good.  And once again I rest in His unfailing love for me, sent with instructions "to go and do likewise" this week.   So I count on and wait on His instructions and His opportunities.

#2870 - #2910

- storm clouds that blew away
- freshly cut grass
- sweet peas in a vase
- empty countertop (thanks for the inspiration, N!)
-  raspberry smoothie from Tim Horton's

- a great big basket full of zucchini
- food processor to chop it all
- smell of relish cooking
- filled jars
- so much good food

- chains that keep turning
- husband-mechanic who keeps it all going
- long green rows being eaten up
- land that produces abundance
- great big machines

(there were two but one was very shy)

- hawks silently watching
- raindrops, tiny morsels of water
- birthday parties, months later
- big blue sky with puffy clouds
- surprise photo book arriving in the mail (thanks, M!)

- goldenrod flowers, harbingers of the next season
- young couple, full of enthusiasm,  heading out on a new adventure
- writing to our Compassion child in Ethiopia
- working alongside my Mom and Dad
- the generosity of others

- sharing faith across the table
- visiting on a summer afternoon
- watching a young woman grow in her faith
- praying together
- knowing that God has it all planned for His good (just like Ann said today!)

- sunset flaming pink, orange and purple
- supper with family to celebrate my parents' birthdays
- hearing the long-awaited news of a baby coming soon
- listening to my niece share stories of teaching on a missions trip to Zambia
- her love for missions and her willingness to go and do

- harvest season - in gardens and on fields
- a reminder to keep praying for a family who is dear to us
- God's messages of "this is a child of mine" and "don't ever give up" (Matt. 15: 10 - 28)
- to be counted as His child
- and that He never gives up on me!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

This Week In My Kitchen

This week Amanda Soule asked the question "What's happening in your kitchen?" and I'm happy to share that many of our meals have included vegetables and fruit from our garden.  This is what my basket looked like this morning :)

This week we've eaten:

1.  Crustless Zucchini Quiche

2.  Lots of fresh tomatoes on cheese sandwiches

3.  Spring Greens Soup (Better Homes and Garden, March, 2010)

4.  Raspberries with brown sugar and cream

5.  Stir-fries with snow peas

6.  Nova Scotia Hodge Podge

6.  Fettuccini Alfredo with Swiss Chard

7.  Caesar Salad

There are 4 big zucchinis waiting to be turned into relish and one lonely little cucumber that's almost ready too.  Good times in the summertime, for sure!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Five on Friday

1.  For the first time in my life, I am able to pick handfuls of fresh basil to use in the kitchen.  It's wonderful!  But then I remember the beautiful basil plants at the Farmer's Market in Fredericton - the leaves were humongous!

2.  When I was getting the picture of the basil, I found this picture also taken at the market.  This was Samuel's view while sitting in his stroller.  No wonder he wasn't happy in it!

3.  I judged culinary arts at a local fair today.  It's so nice to see people still entering their best products in the spirit of showmanship.  The best of show ribbon went to beautiful flaky and gooey butter tarts :)  And yes - I did have to taste them!

4.  Raspberries, raspberries, raspberries!  The story of my days right now.

5.  Have you seen this photography display called "Where Children Sleep"?  It's incredible!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #32

Listography #32 - Best Days So Far

1.  July 30 - the day I married Bob, thirty-five years ago

2.  March 1, July 2, February 6, June 19 - the days that each of our children were born

3.  June 8, 1994 - when I convocated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education degree (after starting it 20 years earlier!)

4.  February 13, 1995 - the day I was hired for a full-time teaching position

5.  June 30, October 25, September 5, May 13, June 21, April 15 - the days that each of our six grandchildren were born - so much excitement and so many prayers that they would arrive safely

6.  Christmas Eve and then whatever day(s) we celebrate Christmas with our family

7.  June 5, December 21, July 10, March 21 - the days our children were married and we added more special people to our family :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Flooding along the highway in northern Alberta
earlier this summer

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Sometime ago I showed a sneak peek of a sewing project and now that I've given it to our daughter-in-law, I can show you the whole thing!

I sewed this apron using 3 different patterns from the "Party In Pink" fabric line by Fresh Designs for Henry Glass.

I used an old apron as a pattern and just designed the ruffles and finishing details as I went along.

I really am happy with how it turned out - and I think K liked it too!

Gratitude Gifts Today

Summer continues to shine on here with blue skies, wonderful growing things and so many fun activities.  I am abundantly blessed by so many big and little things every day.   It's incredible that God makes all of this beauty and then gives it to me - and you - to enjoy unconditionally.  Our sermon message yesterday asked the question:  "Are you thankful to have God with you in all situations, especially those that fill you with fear OR do you fear and worry that God has let bad things happen to you?"

#2840 - #2870

- sunshine, glorious sunshine
- blue sky and fluffy white clouds
- cool evenings
- sun's rays shining through the leaves
- crabapples beginning to turn pink

(photo taken by Helayna!)

- Sunday afternoon drives along new trails
- pina colada soft ice cream
- meals shared with friends and family
- finishing 2 (!) jobs that have been dragging on
- empty countertops (inspired by Naomi - thanks!)

- a new book to read
- memories of Manaus and the Amazon River
- books that link to places we have visited
- phone calls from our grandchildren
- the wonderful fragrance of our sweetpeas

- tomatoes ripe on the vine
- bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches
- first zucchini picked and used
- new potatoes dug from the garden
- my Mom and Dad's birthdays

- grandchildren comfortable swimming in the lake
- little ones waking us first thing in the morning
- surprise phone calls
- home all alone
- berries with brown sugar and fresh cream

- shopping for fabric at the quilt store
- pruning tomatoes in the greenhouse
- more raspberries picked
- menu planning - and good food available to me
- that God provides so much for me

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Five on Friday

1.  On Monday, I picked 3 ripe tomatoes.
     On Thursday, I picked 1 ripe tomato.
     Today there are 7 ripe tomatoes.
     How did that happen so quickly?!!

2.  We've been picking raspberries and saskatoons like mad for the last two weeks.  Today I made a batch of my favourite "Super Lemon Blueberry Muffins" from the Best of the Best of Bridge cookbooks.  And I totally forgot to add the sugar!  I realized it as I licked my finger after filling the last muffin cup and it was too late to do anything about it.  So we are eating super healthy no-sugar muffins today.  I did remember everything else in the recipe without opening the cookbook!

3.  I love the idea of a basket for carrying vegetables in from the garden so tonight I found this one in my cupboard.  It was perfect for bringing in the first zucchini and a bunch of red leaf lettuce.  I'm on the lookout for a basket that's been made by a woman in a developing country.

4.  Helayna and Silas had fun taking pictures with my point-and-shoot camera this week while I watered the plants in the greenhouse.  I thought this was a pretty cool capture!

5.   Sidewalk chalk provided some fun too and here's the heart Helayna drew for us.  It makes me smile every time I walk out the door!  Having the grandchildren here provides us with so much enjoyment.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #31

Listography #31 - Favourite Websites
                             ( I focussed on blogs)

1.  Faith - A Holy Experience

2.  Photography - Becky Novacek

3.  Inspiration - Enjoying the Small Things

4.  Scrapbooking - Ali Edwards

5.  Cooking - Mennonite Girls Can Cook

6.  Travel - Ottsworld

7.  Farming - Bales and Tales

8.  Quilting - Moda Bake Shop

9.  Sewing - Anna Maria Horner

10.  Home and Family - Soule Mama

I could go on and on!!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Gratitude Gifts Today

I was sitting in the quiet on a bench at the lake yesterday, cuddling Blake while he had an afternoon nap, and it came to me how very blessed I was to have the lapping waves, big blue sky and rustling green leaves put in my world by the Creator.  Surrounded by quiet and a breeze, watching a sailboat and hearing grandchildren play behind me, it seemed to me that this might be just what heaven will be like.  Counting on brings me into the presence of the One who gives me goodness and grace through every moment of every day.  

#2805 - #2840

- a day in Drumheller
- surprising Helayna and Silas
- fields of grain, so much grain
- stacks of fresh fluffy towels
- salmon burgers for lunch

- two granddaughters on my knee during church
- sweet, contented Maëlle
- little boys in the water
- lunch and supper prepared by someone else
- first tomatoes picked and eaten still warm from the vine

- a letter from one of our Compassion sponsored girls
- our anniversary
- homemade mushroom soup
- pails of saskatoons and raspberries
- little helpers watering in the greenhouse

- a weiner roast
- cobs of corn grilled on the barbecue
- taking 400+ photos for "A Week in My Life" project
- special phone calls in the middle of the day
- a full rainbow stretching across the sky

- my gratitude journal
- a message for couples at church
- toasted marshmallows
- chocolate chip cookies
- fresh flowers from our friends

- Grampas who carve secret paths through the willow and carragana hedge for little fairies and princesses
- saskatoon bushes, heavy and blue with fruit
- sitting by the lake with a grandson sleeping on my shoulder
- daughter who vacuums the floor
- five cousins spending a whole day together