Saturday, April 30, 2011

17 / 52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures: trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane -- 

whatever is unique to the week. 

Join me if you like.

** Well now! After two years and a few months, we finally figured out how to remove the glass on our fireplace and vacuum up all of those dead flies, ladybugs and other assorted thingies laying there in multitudes. Then, I was able to also give it a good cleaning on both sides before replacing it. Wasn't that easy? Nice.

** You'd never know not even two weeks ago, this was the scene outdoors on Palm Sunday afternoon. I forgot to post this photo, the aftermath of not one, but two blizzard white outs! We'll not forget waving our palms with snow falling on us, and then arriving home just in the nick of time to experience the second white out. What a very strange day that was!


** The color purple was all over the house during the days in Lent, even within the book stacks.

** Reviewing Salvation history during Lent was such a natural thing to do, especially while reflecting and walking the way of the cross to the joyous resurrection day, such a privilege to be sure. It is a "Great Adventure" isn't it?

Between palm crosses and the beaded reminder of the salvation historical timeline, it was wonderful to see the "white" bead and recalling the importance of the story unfolding during this time in the liturgical year.

** When a bracelets weren't visible to recall historical timeline periods, the doubled-sided bookmarks were on hand, the books of the bible colored markers were right where they belonged in sequential order, and/or the same represented colored ribbons were in place for the younger ones to note time periods in their bibles. These are such great visual resources for adults, let alone children. Love mine.

** Of crustless (carb free) quiches and Easter brunch menu items. Yes, I'm still revisiting old recipes from my wooden box, and happy to be able to find those that used to be beloved to me, though somehow forgotten in recent years. The one above is a spinach cream cheese quiche with a wheat germ crust. The other I made was a quick quiche able to sit in the fridge overnight. The whole wheat homemade croutons used for the latter added carbs to the other alternative on the table. I'm still smiling because all were consumed, not just that day, but also for breakfast the following day. Perfect. Here's the recipe for the one above;

Spinach Cream Cheese Quiche

- 10 oz spinach (I double it, sneakily adding greens into our diet)
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 tbsp. minced onion (I use fresh white onion or any onion I have, even dried)
- Dash nutmeg
- 6 eggs (beaten)
- Wheat germ
- 1/4 lb cheese slices (I grate approx 1 1/2 cups and sprinkle on top)
- Paprika
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 1 tsp. water
  • Steam spinach, drain and press out excess water. 
  • Soften cream cheese and add spinach, onion and nutmeg.
  • Beat 5 of the eggs, and stir into the spinach mix. 
  • Grease sides and bottom of pie plate, sprinkle with wheat germ and pour in spinach mix. 
  • Cover with cheese slices or grating, and sprinkle paprika over top to decorate :)  
  • Beat remaining egg with flour and water, then pour over cheese.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until top is lightly browned.
  • Serves 4-6. (freezes well and if you cut into bars when cold, it makes a great lunch inclusion)

** Of Ontario Skies in April! 

Which is your preference, pink or thunderous rainy gray?

"One of the most satisfying experiences I know if fully to appreciate an individual in the same way I appreciate a sunset.
When I look at the sunset...I don't find myself saying; 'soften the orange a little more on the right hand corner, and put a bit more purple along the base, and use a little more pink in the cloud color...'
I don't try to control a sunset. I watch it with awe as it unfolds."

~ Carl Rogers

** The bulk of last week's egg decorating was only unveiled on Easter Sunday, but here are a few photos of the younger two in action beforehand.

** No psanky for us this year, but this little device was quite popular around here. I must admit though, the eggs were decorated by loving hands, but not all were good sports for wanting to consume these artistic endeavors. 

Egg salad sandwiches came the following day. :)

** The dining room buffet still holds the large teatime glass picture and frame yet not hung since the furniture changes after the big piano moving recently.

Working around this unsightly bit, the only thing missing this year was the traditional family egg tree. I can't remember a year when we never had one on display to surprise the children on Easter morning, so the fresh flowers just had to do.  

** Hope filled our room with Kinder surprises aplenty. I've never had one of those little eggs before, so different than I thought. I can't help but think they are likened to those party hats at Christmas though with their silly little toys inside. Others here will differ with me on this, the teens to be exact. 

Oh, and the traditional Easter egg hunt was a smashing success. While I assigned two of the older ones to hide plastic filled eggs outdoors this year, I was hiding wee ones inside for the older ones to find. With baskets in hand, the younger ones pranced about all over the property (good job kids!), and found out seven were missing from their findings. Big brother saved the day when he went out to assist in recovering the rest. 

And then, it began all over again when they returned indoors, more eggs to first discover, and then hunt for. So much chocolate here! I was enjoying it right along with them. 

** More creativity abounded with children waltzing back and forth to the cookie decorating station set up on one kitchen counter for their visiting pleasures. No pressure this year to marathon some cookie fun, they came and went as they desired, taking much longer to ensure their works of art were just right. 

Colorful aren't they?

** Back to school after the Holy Week break...

** What a surprise at one of our favorite bakery/cafe places, to learn they were hosting their 40th anniversary, inviting guest to partake in a hot drink and a piece of cake - all free. And then they invited children to the cookie decorating area, to become bakery artists and when complete, to be able to take their creations home in the small boxes provided. Love that place!

 ** I just want to include a mention how beautiful this new CD on the Stations of the Cross is from the folks at  "Holy Heroes" (click here). It was a dynamic resource for bringing the dramatized narrating of each station to life, followed by prayers for all to recite together afterward.

So touching, I actually found myself choking up, sniffing and a bit teary at the emotion invoked within me during the 4th Station - "Jesus meets his Mother", and the 6th Station - "Veronica wipes His face". Oh my! 

This dramatized CD is a real gem, very special, and so perfect for families in general, in the car when on a journey, and for dear children to possibly try and grasp, or capture the depth of God's love for them. Even if I were a senior with children no longer living at home, I would still want this to remain as a beautiful personal resource for me to use in my much older age. 

If you're interested in this CD, or the coloring book that goes along with it, head on over to their website and check out "Holy Heroes" other Lenten resources.

** Such lovely weather visited us for a few days around tornado warnings (TRUE!) and torrential rain downfalls. Taking one such opportunity while friends waited in the wings, we were able to capture a few fun photos outdoors.

I can't believe I've raised eight children, and the "Honey the kids shrunk their mother" story is continuing to unfold. They will all be taller than me! And I have shoes on here, and so does hubby, but none of them do! Uh boy. (I'm sorry mom for always poking fun at how short you are.... smiling.)

** Here's the gang, present this day and super anxious to have a soccer match out yonder in the now quite a bit greener grass. 

Even the dogs were excited to find a ball being kicked around. They went stir crazy trying to steal it from the players, and so much exercise occurred unexpectedly for them too as an end result.  Tired out, finally all could play properly.

** I would be remiss if I omitted the following photos from this week...

I've mentioned often how we reside right smack in the center of a "boreal forest". If one doesn't take the initiative to ensure new growth is controlled, it tends to close in and grow over in no time at all.

This is the scene in one entire area of our property, brambly prickle bushes for all the wildlife living there to hide. I don't mind allowing some of the bramble to remain for their protection, however in the photo below, you'll see what has transpired to all of our hard work from last year when we forged trails in this same location to meander about the property over the summer. 

Can you see it?

Probably not because the forest closed in over winter...

Our poor dogs don't even recognize this path they used to run amuck on when trying to escape our watchful eyes to keep them safe from the current springtime (very hungry) coyote packs. 

While we have other areas on our property free from the prickles, some look like the ones above, with so many trees having grown in large skinny clumps. I like to call them my loonie/twonie trees. Eventually as has proven before, these will begin to choke each other out and produce some unhealthy growth. 

In progress is our part-two of the discernment of land clearing, and we only have about a three week open window before scads of hungry blood sucking monster mosquitoes begin to attack us while working in these same sections of the forest. 

So far, we've worked with hand saws and a young friend has assisted with his chain saw. After two entire days of pruning and clearing, it remains difficult to tell if we actually performed anything at all. Amazing! 

The thought of cutting trees isn't offering us much pleasure at all, however if you've done any studies in forestry at all, and if we are to have a reprieve from sudden falling trees with their resounding thugs on the ground during wind storms, it is crucial we clear the grub and thin the density of the forest. 


We won't even discuss forest fire concerns from all the debris and trees laying on the ground we hope to rid our forest floor of at this time, but we can assure you we've placed a call into the big guys, the ones who come with something called a "bush hog" to clear and mulch the cuttings for this purpose.


Two full days of forest clearing and it's difficult to see the clearing yet.

One thing stands out though, the tremendous amounts of white trillium flowers are now beginning to sprout on the forest floor. They are so lovely!

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; 
that is where they should be. 
Now put foundations under them."

~ Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, April 23, 2011

16 / 52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures: trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane -- 

whatever is unique to the week. 

Join me if you like.

Holy Week Edition...

** Daily reminders; daily prayer, Lenten readings and walking the way of the cross...

** Palm Sunday reminders for assisting to keep our focus on "The Light of the World".

** Gentle blessings on Holy Thursday at dusk, shortly before mass...

** The Way of the Cross, more gentle reminders of the most selfless sacrifice, offered freely for the benefit of all mankind...

Our last Way of the Cross this Lent, prayed together as a family on Good Friday evening. 
"Father forgive them, for they know NOT what they do."

** As the cock crows, one wonders - have I denied HIM three times... or more? 

** During the entire month of April, we were able to view this lovely page on the family calendar in the kitchen.

** My purple penitential rosary made from the loving hands of my dear friend Barbara has offered me (over and over again) the richest of meanings during this Lenten season and all of Holy Week.


** The view from our window, a sweeping and telltale reminder of the "Passionate" storm that once fell upon the world after HIS last breath...

** Reminder of "The Story of Salvation" - John 3:16

** Looking rather colorful while preparing for the greatest depth of joy that lay shortly ahead for us this Easter.  

** Empty eggs not yet filled for the traditional family egg hunt for Easter Sunday afternoon. Even the adult children love to take part in this.

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the

As today is the "5th anniversary" of my humble blogging efforts here "In the East", I am also going to just go ahead and announce; 
I will be taking a leave from the blogging world, sticking to only one weekly post until the conclusion of my completed "2011 - "52 Weeks"
I hope you will excuse me as I begin spending large chunks of my time performing a myriad of personal projects which are calling my name over the coming seasons.  
After 1611 posts to be exact, I will attempt to blend in the final bits of my 13 draft posts as once promised, into the 52 weeks themed posts ahead. 
  • The projects I'm been dreaming of will begin with the final publishing of all my blogging efforts of the entire posts written, all made into hard copy books. 
  • There are other similar goals I have which will consume much time while deep in the boxes of family photos, in the selection of colorful pens strewn on the table near the multitudes of family scrapbooks I have let fall into an abyss of nothingness the past while. 
  • I am thrilled to obtain a new device for transferring all our family VHS to DVD, to transfer our old slides and negatives onto disks, and to fulfill the wisest of duties of preserving the "story" of "us" for all our future progeny and the generations to come.
    As our family's story largely depends on me and has always been a passion of mine to tell and to unfold in a timeline chronicle, I want to take more time for disappearing into the midst of my memorable photos, to tend to them and not just rely on my online blogging which only tells a very tiny part of our day to day real life family story. 
      •  I will continue to work alongside my husband, to post occasionally on our other blog for "Mounier-Kuhn Syndrome awareness", holding his hand, as we both involuntarily inch forward along the health journey path that lingers on like a bad dream. Rest assured all is well at this point in time. At some point soon though, we'll have to accept and realize the full extent of both a permanent health disability leave from work. 
      Like the incredible benefits of a soothing and most prayerful uplifting one might happen to experience upon the conclusion of attending a mini retreat, I'm feeling deeply convicted to retreat from much of my online presence about now
      • I will always maintain a huge depth of gratitude for the beauty of life's simplest pleasures, humbly appreciate all the blessings showered unto me, and hope to keep in touch with you all somehow via my weekly posts ahead. If a post doesn't happen to appear one week, there will be a combined one the next. I promise. :)
      For sure, every mother knows it's easy to come dead last on the family priority totem pole, so many people need us - all. of. the. time..... often just accepting that as the natural depth requirement and substance held within the vocation of motherhood at its prime.

      I might have had trouble admitting this before, but now I realize there is value in engaging the boomerang effect, to recognize, and acknowledge the simple need for a largely overdue and very purposeful renewal. God bless my loved ones who have been trying to lay hints and had to practically point out that I am so very guilty of often neglecting my own needs (it's a mother thing) while always offering a sacrifice on behalf of tending firstly to all my cherished loved ones in my big beautiful family.
      • As it is spring, I plan to dive into taking better care of my own personal health, just because, and to get outdoors as often as possible; for a hike, a bike ride, a paddle on the bay and to those canoe day trips I've signed up for, to obviously exercise way more, to concentrate on the school year end and encourage more nature appreciation on our own property, and get myself right back to the water's edge - a particularly favorite place of mine to reflect on life as it is. 
      I'm still planning on paying special visits to my dear virtual blogging friends via your own blogs through my google reader. I invite you to reciprocate by keeping in touch with me as I'm only a telephone call, an email, a weekly blog post com box, or Facebook message away. Thank you in advance everyone for understanding...xox

      Happy Easter to all my family and friends!
      God bless;

      Saturday, April 16, 2011

      15 / 52 weeks

      52 weeks of daily life in pictures: trials and celebrations,
      the extraordinary and mundane -- 

      whatever is unique to the week. 

      Join me if you like.

      This post is dedicated to all things "Spring"... so in the spirit of this themed topic thought, here are some places to begin this week;

      Spring is going back to the water's edge, finding the snow mounds on the sand now melted, but seeing the iceberg hills out yonder still offering reminders of the winter thaw. 

      Nevertheless, the sun was shining this day, and beginning to set over the horizon just in time for a front row seating to saluting and bidding it goodnight.

      When I declare a front row seating, in past posts it's usually been while we were seated in our beach chairs, on a log somewhere or at home on our back deck in our Adirondack chairs. This day was obviously a wee bit different, for our front row seating was using our 4x4 to drive right up into the sand dunes of the water's edge, and gloriously taking it all in from the windshield of the truck...perfect when the wind was high and the temperatures were still low.

      Cold temperatures aren't always my man's best friend, but in the interior of the truck, he was nice and cozy from the warmth of the sun, beaming from the action over the water before him. Yes, this was our first celebrated sunset of spring 2011. 

      Hubby has been home from work this week, on vacation and it's amazing how fast it always zooms by. A few small detail items were accomplished, a lunch out together, a date night for younger ones with their dad while mom was afforded a lovely dinner catch up with a long distance friend, canoe and kayak club night meeting, attending children's activities and daughter's driving lesson running, a few appointments to attend, a few personal goals, and some overdue and well deserved major R. and R. time.

      ** Spring is.... the reality of no more deicing of the windshield, but having to keep it clean from other surprising organic materials falling very suddenly from the sky. 

      The spring return of birdville has been so welcomed, Canada geese in their v-formations each day, squawking and happy to be back in their native land (smile). Even the nesting around our property has doubled in just two weeks, amazing really to think such changes are so drastic while living in eastern colder climates. Bird poop is here to stay folks, so stock up on the windshield fluid again for the seasons ahead. :)

      Spring is.... a time for thinking of all things outdoors. 

      I never realized how much I was looking forward to getting not only outdoors this spring and summer, but the reality of our family being members of the local canoe and kayak club has now formally sunk in and I'm PUMPED! I'm ready to get out there on the water for a paddle and my almost fourteen year old son will become my canoe companion for a few day trips with the club over the summer months.

      After this week's general meeting, there was an open tour in the basement of the club's facilities, and there were all the club's assets in full view! An abundance of items were available for all members usage, free of charge for their yearly nominal membership fee. 

      Since the club is family oriented in nature, club supplies are available for infants to senior seniors, and that my friend is very exciting in itself. I can picture being out on the water more often this year, the entire family in one of the voyageur canoes for instance, or in separate kayaks while out on an evening sunset paddle. clap,clap,clap....

      Dozens of vessels are there for anyone to use;
      • Canoes (moving water and flatwater - I personally didn't know there was a difference, did you?)
      • Kayaks (sea kayaks, white water kayaks, tandem or single, and even kayaks for kids)
      • Paddles for everyone (light as a feather to heavier wooded native carved originals)
      • Life jackets for all ages
      • Tents, barrels for keeping supplies dry, and other aids for multi-day and overnight trips 
      • Voyageur canoes (there are two grand ones to borrow which can fit up to twelve people)
      • ... and hundreds of members plus their families who freely offer their expertise to teach, mentor, offer courses and plan group trips everyone is welcomed to join for FREE, all using the club's equipment.  Such a deal! 

      ** Spring is...fresh food, and pretty greens with cucumber wrapping. A great nutritional health perk is also the many farmer's markets now very slowly returning to the area. Isn't this a pretty salad with the dressing on the side?  

      I accompanied my hubby for a luncheon this week, trying a new place together. The selected restaurant was such a great choice! And yes, this was the salad was served to me there, a great selection with the pat of goat cheese to accompany it. Yum!

      ** Spring is... blessed beginnings with great Alleluias awaiting in the wings

      The purple shrouded reminders last weekend are a visible reminder, all offering the splendor of hopeful and heavenly promises to come. That in and of itself is one very wonderful reason to wave our palms about this weekend, celebrating once more the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and begin to buckle up for Holy Week ahead, while becoming ever mindful of the greatest sacrifice ever known to man - offered freely and solely on our behalf.  

      Dare we become so bold as to not even acknowledge this fact? 

      And as it was once asked;
      "Won't you stay awake awhile?"

      Other things in our week;

      ** We are having incredible issues with internet abilities at home over the past three months. I placed a formal complaint out to our provider and at last this past week we've been informed the cell tower transmitting to our network is overloaded and in need of updating. 

      It's been several months of mounting frustration without a solution, and having to continue using the local library or my iphone as an alternative to even offer a reply via emails. I'm getting very close to being fit to be tied with this backwoods and lousy internet ability, confirmation there is no fiber optics located in our one mile square area, and already having to change providers just a few months ago so my hubby can work from home when necessary. 

      Someone offered a suggestion to visit the municipal hall and speak directly to our newly elected Mayor over the matter, something boldly noted on my agenda for next week to inquire about possible solutions to this ongoing issue our entire neighborhood is attempting to cope with. 
      Working at home for many has been a challenging concern. 

      Oh, and apparently we now own our former provider's satellite dish and modem system, completely paid for in our contract, so it's now (like I need this right?) up for sale. Anyone ever sold one of these before?

      ** Our youngest son and I moved our solid oak piano from the family room to the dining room, in an attempt to switch things up a bit. All was successful for a grand move, even the antique upright buffet is now in the kitchen near the backdoor. It was the scratch on the wooden floor my hubby wasn't happy about, an upsetting thing for everyone considering the lengths we went to for prevention of this very thing happening in the first place. boohoo... (not a great photo above, the camera battery died in the middle of trying to get a better photo)


      ** Thinking and offering love and prayers to our newest grandbaby who will be baptized this weekend over in the west. This is our third baptism for a new grandbaby we have been unable to attend, a very tough thing to be sure for all of us here. We will be there in spirit though, yes we will. 

      It was such an honor and privilege (even at this geographical divided distance) to feel a part of this wee sweet babe's first sacrament, by being asked to borrow the family baptismal gown for her to wear on her special day. 

      It was a great "Nana pride moment" when I lovingly began to launder and press the gown and slip, attaching fresh new white silk ribbons with teeny bows where the others had been before, and then fold in a special way before wrapping all up in tissue for its journey to the westcoast.

      With the love touch beaming brightly from my hands, offering a prayer and a blown kiss before sealing the package for travel, I reluctantly entrusted all to the postmistress. "Irreplaceable" was what I think I muttered to her as she took it from my almost white knuckled grip before setting it down to weigh it on the scale. 

      I'm pleased and feeling encouraged at least knowing when it's returned back to me, there will be another lovely little name along with baptismal date to embroider onto the bottom of the slip as time rolls onward and this wee gown becomes a family heritage memorable treasure. 

      Dear sweet "Paige";
      Welcome into the Christian community dear one. 

      We love you!   

      Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the

      P.S. my daughter told me I sounded rather harsh on my last post using the word "Seriously" for the married couple tip. I was actually smiling when I typed it, really I was and no blunt or anger tones were meant. Sorry folks...