Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Little Miss Kitchen Helper

Just when did she get so tall? My head took a second turn as I caught a glimpse of my young daughter wearing my apron. My apron! And it fit her not too, too badly at that! When did it happen that she grew this tall?

I wonder if two of our grand-daughters will notice their young auntie wearing the apron they made for me. No worries my little sweeties, she is ONLY borrowing it to help Grandpa work in the kitchen and create his new dishes for the family, the ones he learned all about on the FOOD channel recently. He is becoming a great chef and your young Auntie is a really big kitchen helper for her daddy.

Here are few things he's created lately, the ones he learned how to create while at the hospital during his stay there. Do they sound yummy to you too?

Warm tomato salad with spinach

Wild salmon and chopped scallop fish cake
with mango chutney and fresh green beans

Beef stroganoff
and it was sooooo yummy!

Coconut Curry Prawn Thai stir fry
on a bed of lettuce and couscous

Do you know what this is? It is called an orange pavlova, GREEK dessert and oh my goodness, so very yummy.

Pavlova with Grand Marnier whipping cream topping
Oh, maybe not for you kidlets, sorry.

What do you think? Will Grandpa be a great cook when you all come to visit us? Maybe he's practicing for that huh? And maybe you can wear an apron and help him in the kitchen when you are here too.

Love to all our grandbabes!
Kisses from Nana

The Twelve Chosen ones...progress

Lent Link-Up

Sneak previews of our children's progress on their
Lenten/Liturgical year crafty projects; those of making paper dolls to represent the Twelve Chosen Apostles, and story disks to represent Saints throughout the Liturgical year.

"The Twelve Apostles" story disks with their symbols

Our children are busy beavers, busily creating, cutting, gluing, and dressing their paper dolls. It has been a pleasure to watch how focused and all absorbed they become with regards to the detailing on each project, especially once they begin to clip, trim, choose colors and symbols to represent each paper doll.

St. Peter and two of his symbols
(Dangling keys are on their way to hang from his hand next)

St. James the Elder
(symbols forthcoming)

St. Philip
(with his loaf of bread symbol

More are almost complete, and this weekend the children exclaimed they forgot to make sandals for all of their feet. Oh my, what a dilemma!

They are also all finished their story disks, and the laminator will soon be toasty hot to protect them from this day forward.

Theme Saints and their symbols to use around the year
(story type disks to use for geography work on our large map)

***P.S. You can read my original blog post about the beginning of this project by clicking HERE f or - The twelve chosen ones

You can find many more Lenten activities, ideas and thoughts
by clicking HERE to Catholic Icing.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Feedburner & Google Reader

Recently I was alerted to the fact my Feedburner transfer from the Feedburner site to my Google account changed everything and people who regularly followed my blog had nothing but silence from any new posts here. I am so sorry to you all and want to assure you all is well, fixed, and ready to go if you wish to resubscribe, or follow me again. :-)

I've attempted to update several options if you are one of those who feel inclined to continue following our adventures here "in the east". First, you can subscribe to the Feedburner email system using two options; through an account you create with the site itself using the widget on the left sidebar here, an account which you sign in and check on when able. Secondly, if you prefer something more simple you can subscribe to having individual posts appear when posted right into your inbox instead. There is a live link above the first option widget mentioned above. Both options are below.

Lastly, I've just loaded a new widget if you prefer to "Follow" this blog using your Google reader account. Simple to use with a click of a button, you'll also find that option on the left sidebar near to the other Feedburner email ability options.

Thank you so much for all the kind private emails, comments and sweetness recently. All of your comments are treasures in our day, and uplifting to us.

God Bless;

Oh dear!

Oh dear! Are we really certain spring has come?

We woke up this morning to snow on the ground again, such a shock for all of us especially after experiencing nothing but sun for the past two weeks.

Hope it doesn't last long. We are more than ready to move on into the deeper recesses of all spring has to offer us.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Signs of warmer weather have me itching to get outdoors and begin some gardening on our new property.

Today my husband and I scoured most areas of our back and front yard areas only to find the melting snow has given way to previewing many tree stumps, fallen trees and branches all requiring clearing.

The mushy brown rotting leaves that once graced all the hardwood trees gives way to showing us our land requires a good clean up and plenty of raking to expose the grass and bark mulch resting below the blanket of winter offerings.

The area we would like to have cleared of trees won't be as easy as we first thought with all the stumps in the way for future gardens and grassy meadow areas, so this week's list includes making telephone calls for stump grinding or pulling. This is definitely all new territory for us, but the end result will be worth the sweat on our brows. Guess what we'll be doing when my hubby returns to work and the sun is high in the sky? Oh yeah, let's all move our muscles on this new property! Let's all work as a team and get this done when the sun calls us to come on out and play.

Spring has definitely sprung around here as the sun has melted a vast majority of our snow around the property. Just two days ago we still had some three feet of snow at the back corners of our property, now measuring only about a foot. The trees will come down once it is almost bare, easier for the skidder to get back there and the other equipment necessary to do the job.

Meanwhile, with signs of spring about, and of course my huge love of anything flowers, I snapped the photos below to inspire me onward ho into this bright and cheery new season. They aren't in my garden, rather a large glass vase I took out to the deck for photo op purposes. (wink)

Tulips always remind me of Spring, usually at the end of March we can depend on plenty of colorful ones slowly opening into beautiful floral offerings.

Tulips also remind me of my mother in law, my husband's mother who celebrated her 83rd birthday this past week.

So, Mom B, these are for you; virtual flowers that evoke warm feelings and memories of you and thanking you for the continuous welcome you grant to me for being a member of your family over the years. Love to you! xx

Ten things I'm thankful for...

This regular fun photo "Thankful themed" post comes a little early, so close to my last post with the same title feature I know, however it just felt right to do it again - right now.

1 - I'm thankful for the end of my husband's Respiratory Rehabilitation Program where he remained as in hospital as an in-patient for the past seven weeks. He officially resided there longer than within our new home after a recent geographical family move to an unknown community. It's been a long, lonely, and most intense medical walk for him and for the rest of the family at home. Moving here included abilities to obtain better quality medical care which has surely resulted in head spinning expedited care (smile), and even at this fast and furious pace, we have to continually look at the bright side for all that it means for us in the future. So thankful!

2 - I'm thankful for angels amongst us. Two weeks ago my husband introduced himself to a man who usually sat quietly at the back of the room, a man who was also attending the same respiratory breathing exercise class as himself. He was a fellow patient, obviously also suffering a degenerative lung disease and his name was Bob. After small talk ensued, and each spoke of their health and families, it was surprising to discover Bob was actually Fr. Bob, a Roman Catholic priest.

The next morning my husband greeted him with "Hello Fr. Bob" and big smiles and unspoken appreciations grew, both happy to make each other's acquaintance. Even though they never saw one another again during the course of their own personalized schedule commitments each day, the blessings from their early morning greetings remained with them all day long. How's that for angels amongst us, especially during the "Lent of your life"?

3 - I'm thankful for life in the country and I hope never to return the noise of city life again! You could easily say I'm smitten with our ability to live on acreage in the country and I'm happy to say I'm now used to the sound of nothing but crickets during the night. The peace and tranquility of country life appeals to me and keeps my soul resting right where it should be....at peace.

4 - I'm thankful for flowers, the gift of the seasons when new ones appear pleasurable feelings are instantly evoked from admiring their simple presence in our lives. How beautiful it is to discover a new bud in a mound of dirt, and then the blessing of subsequent blossoms in various shades of vibrant colors thereafter. Lovely.

5 - I'm thankful for the presence of things requiring no words, happy pleasures that involve the breakout of a smile, positive happy-hearted thoughts and the reminder of the return back to work and something akin to normal for my hubby. Thank you to our oldest daughter for the book arriving this past week for her father, good stuff!

6 - I'm thankful for the continued reminder of the color purple and how it represents the way of the cross during this Lenten season. I'm thankful for the immense joy up ahead, the joy awaiting us when Easter Sunday greets us and the grand Alleluia returns for all to sing.

7 - I'm thankful for sweet reminders of seasonal landscape changes and blooming days ahead when EVERYTHING will become colorful outdoors, multitudes of birds will nest and sing, and cloud watching soon becomes a normal pastime again while laying on a blanket outdoors.

8 - I'm thankful for my *simple* motto, fully adopted before our move here, one that I live and breathe every day! It rests in a place where I can glance at it daily and just seems to keep my head right where it should be, not fretting about the complexity of life and assisting in keeping my wits about me most often.

9 - I'm thankful for children who love working on artsy and crafty projects, who revel in working with their hands while creating treasures to cherish for life.

10 - I'm thankful for the gift of friendships; the ones that continue to keep me grounded, pick me up when I'm down, and help me to retain plenty of laughter in my days, those friends who accept me for who I am without attempting to remould my character or my personhood in any way. Basically, in a nutshell, I am so blessed and love all my friends to bits!

I especially want to thank my girlfriends Herta and Justine today for the love and laughter appearing in my mailbox this past week. Love you both!!! xx

Only from Canada folks, & the Goat Mountain Soap Co.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Discharge pending....

It's been a long, long seven weeks for our family as my husband remained in the hospital as an in-patient for the duration of those weeks. Just got word from him he is being formally discharged "for sure" tomorrow! The term for such a respiratory rehabilitation program is "GRADUATION" folks, and gives us great reason to sound off the fireworks and fill the air with good cheer. Yahooey!

As with all good things, there are conditions pending for this formal discharge to happen however, yes promises made and promises to keep. My husband must return at least twice weekly to continue with the physiotherapy portion of the course because the medical staff feel he is not yet ready to be totally independent of them just yet. He's made good strides the past two weeks, though requires much more walking and treadmill work. Since we have a treadmill at home and have had for a few years now, along with various necessary exercise equipment to assist in the continuation of his commitment at home in between, this is the sole exception for his discharge at this time. Our exercise room is ready. He just needs to come home now...

Tomorrow, his suitcase comes through the door with dirty laundry one last time. The residuals of this program however remain for a lifetime. The disciplines necessary to continue with some form of basic health and wellness will never end after graduation, as monthly assessments and yearly 3-6 week tuneups living back in hospital will now become part of our family's lifestyle.

Indeed he has come a long, long way though! And with some physical strength gathered and the education particulars so he can learn to cope and adjust to life while living with his continuing degenerative lung disease, we are so thankful for the hospital and staff who all made this whole experience possible.

When we moved three months ago, we adopted a new Bible verse, though we will certainly keep Jeremiah 29:11 always. Now, after our move just three months ago, we are trusting in this promise below...

Our family's new verse is;

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified;

do not be discouraged,

for the Lord your God will be with you

wherever you go.

~ Joshua 1:9-10


Looking out the front window at the
warm glow shining through our trees...


Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of sliver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy coat the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

~ Walter de la Mare

and then noticing our moon beamed road below

Penmanship mommy style

When all else fails, create something from nothing. Certain to last a lifetime if when complete, it is tucked away for use during baking moments in the kitchen along the way...

Isn't this how we obtain all of our special family recipes, one copy session at a time? Surely with all our little projects in progress, my laminating machine is going to be working overtime this week folks! Oh yeah!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Twelve Chosen Ones

Lent Link-Up

Each year during Lent we try to review again, and find out more about the 12 Apostles, those who were handpicked and chosen by Jesus himself, those who remained closest to him during his entry into Jerusalem and beyond sent to go forth and spread the "Good News".

We tend to lean towards repeated learning with a nifty mix of witty crafting sporadically scheduled during our days within our Lenten journey.

We like to re-watch our "Jesus of Nazareth" VHS videos, always managing to snicker slightly over the portrayal of St. Peter's temperament, his hot head at times - mainly because some in our family can relate to how easy he flips out.

One of our favorite books on the 12 Apostles

We like to reread our book called "The Twelve Apostles" by Marianna Mayer, always appreciating the beautiful plethora of exquisite artwork throughout its hard covers. One feels as though they know each chosen apostle more and more each year, even just for a review of the men, their backgrounds and where they were when called by Jesus himself.

We love to reference their geographical journeys, where they went to evangelize the gospels, using our fingers (and soon to have story disks below) for geography work on our biblical outline maps.

Spectacular and beautiful
artwork graces every other page!

Oh yes, this is such exciting and oh so - "real life" learning folks. The reality of remembering this is a TRUE story, a story about twelve men which certainly gives me goosebumps each year, even just to remember this is a small blip within our rich historical spiritual heritage. It's similar to perusing through the family album upon occasion, knowing, wondering and beholding all the memories represented there.

To enjoy such an endeavor with our children is special to me, even at my age, it never grows old because although I'm supposed to know all this stuff by now, I catch a new wisdom nugget every year. I find these liturgical studies so very rewarding as we continue to review, repeat and rewatch and add to our favorite tradition of learning more on the lives of these twelve chosen ones.

Saint Symbol Stickers and Apostle Symbols

This year we are working on recollecting not only the names and symbols of the 12 (and other usual and newly highlighted Saints over the year) we are going to use our Illuminated Ink's stickers to create our very own "story disks" after all the coloring is complete and the laminator heats up. These will become known as our own "Saint Symbol Story Disks" from now on.

Somehow we weren't all in agreements over what color to use as backgrounds, thinking at first red for martyrdom, but we ended up choosing a mossy green color in the end. The reason? Easy. The Saint symbol stickers from Illuminated Ink featured many Saints and not just Apostles' for year round liturgical fun. (Oh can you just imagine how we can use our story disks for these???? Ohhh la la).

Using the color green can encompass days in ordinary time on the liturgical calendar, or maybe another thought was to layer another larger punched color using a larger hole punch for highlighting what time during the liturgical year OR historical timeline period these Saints feast days occurred in or when they lived on earth.

My cogs are turning round and round.
What are you thinking out there?
Send me your thoughts please... smile

Our collection of paper doll templates are spread out, and our twelve apostle paper dolls for our historical/liturgical collection are coming along just fine.

I just love the one paper doll featured above because my young daughter couldn't find a proper light gray and used a light blue for hair. So fun!

Saint Symbol Story Disks in progress

One son's chosen project was to also create "Saint Symbols Story Disks"for each of the 12 Apostles, including St. Paul as he is the Pope's chosen Saint for the universal church this year. He wanted to work on white circular story disks, drawing an outline of a shield and symbol inside of them, just like those in our Apostle Symbol cards (found on eBay many years ago, believe it or not) and try to replicate their individual symbols from them onto his disks himself.

It's also a work in progress, tedious he says, from working on such small circles. But just you wait until everything is laminated in my handy dandy laminating machine and we get to see a finished product.

Tedious work on small circular disks

The twelve Apostles and Saint Paul truly go together in a wonderful way, at least I think so. I found this below and it all clicked for me...
What amazes you seems quite natural to me. God has sought you out right in the middle of your work. That is how he sought the first, Peter and Andrew, John and James, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the customhouse.

And wonder of wonders - Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seeds of Christianity!
Actually, as pokey as our Lenten review has been happening for us this year, I am excited to work with the younger children and their craft projects, observe them while they produce works of art and add to the family liturgical treasures.

In the end, our Lenten observances have seen our share of emotions as a family, and hopefully rewards will be many for at least attempting to keep the holy in the mundane day by day.

As our crafty work periods continue and remain in progress during our Lenten learning days, no doubt when each project is complete, it will be time to celebrate as we will be, yet again, lucky new owners of more liturgical manipulatives to use again and again during the years to come.

Just as our older adult children have reaped the rewards each year of revisiting their projects from the past during liturgical time periods, so too will this younger bunch have that ability.

Certainly if time permits, we may just double up our efforts and make another set for a young hopechest treasures, liturgical items to bring with them into the future, no matter what their vocations will be. Single or married callings, they will still celebrate the liturgical year, right?

And just for your information if you are so inclined to add this type of project to your homes, here is a WEBSITE with similar information to our Apostle Symbol cards above, out of print long ago.

If you can print off the information there in its entirety and you are currently including Montessori learning into your learning, these make great two part learning cards for matching name and symbol together. Have fun and don't forget to share your thoughts and ideas with me, okay?

God Bless your Lent.
~ Renee

P.S. You can read about our progress on this lenten project by clicking to another blog post HERE - The twelve chosen ones...progress

Check out the Lent linking party over at Catholic Icing to find many wonderful ideas on Lenten ideas and projects.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Real life mud slinging

Thanks to our daughter's horse riding instructor, our teens were introduced to her boys and enjoyed a wonderful night around a bonfire this weekend, invited to meet and celebrate her son's birthday.

The evening proved to be a huge success with parents, grandparents, a few friends and the family dogs hanging around the huge fire. As typical as life in the country can be, a few old trucks were backed up towards the fire, tailgates down, people sitting on them and cowboy boots dangling from their feet. All except for our teens, they had tennis shoes on, you know, regular teen footwear.

As the music sounded in the air, both our teens realized these were serious country music fans, and one of ours had a hard time handling the variety of twang and farmish style beats, ya know, two stepping kind of toe tapping music. *smile*

At the end of the day, it was a social hit, and a few very nice local teens/young adults were now fast becoming neighborhood friends. An older crowd for our gang, they both commented on how mature all these folks were, the hard work expected for those living on a farm with their family commitments ahead. Many times over our son was offered jobs for the coming months, crop time field work, something to consider I reckon.

City slickers gathering new country experiences

The real life mud slinging invitation arrived, something folks do FOR FUN around these parts, but our teens were not really country savvy and had no real clue what might await them at their own expense. Shoot, they are still city slickers for the most part, but are fast becoming wiser no doubt.

Away they went....

The next invitation came to get some quad riding in around the horse trails on the horse instructor's farm. Within the 100 acres, there are miles of trail riding and several of the young folks were wanting to break in our gang after finding out they had never been part of this so called; Fun? The two brothers drove up to our home a block or so away to pick up our gang, next stop was for helmets at our insistance. Naturally, they were all smiles heading out.

The sun was shining but the air was cold, and I had hoped our teens were dressed warm enough for the experience ahead. They assured me they were so I stopped my mothering nags and let them be on their way. My oh my, what nice boys these two were, such nice gentlemanly and well mannered boys at that.

When we heard the rumble of engines outside, not only did we find out what really happened on these "quad riding" expeditions, we roared with laughter when we saw the results of the experience right before our eyes! Mud from head to toe! Laughing and cold, they announced they could hardly wait to try it all again! Was I hearing right? LOL

Check them out - Mud from head to toe!

They rode these machines alright at a nice easy speed until they got the hang of it all. And then the stakes grew higher when everyone began to race around the thawed water area out back on their property, attempting to spray one another with the muck and guck under the water's surface. Waves of the stuff whooshed across both units and I wonder if you can tell who was splattered with a bull's eye most often in the photo below. Oh, and getting stuck in three feet of mud was supposed to be fun too, just ask our teens.

Forced to partially disrobe in the garage, both were still
muddy after shaking off all of their excess splatterings.

When in the east and living in the country, get all those rare new experiences you can right? Oh my! Real life mud slinging! And they loved it! Who would have thunk it? LOL

Spring is round the corner...unofficially of course

Spring is when you feel like whistling
even with a shoe full of slush.

~ Doug Larson