August 19, 2014

Our Real Home

"Whatever kind of tribulation we may suffer, this should always be our goal:
to learn contempt for the present life, and thus 
to be led to meditate on the life to come.

Because the Lord well knows our readiness to embrace the world with 
blind and even brutish love, he uses the very best means 
to part us from it and to rouse us from our lethargy,
so as to free our hearts from so foolish an attachment."

"It is appalling to think that many who boast they are Christians,
instead of desiring death, dread it so much that the very mention
of it makes them quake, as if it were the worst misfortune that could befall them.

It is not surprising if we feel unsettled and distraught 
when we hear that our body must be parted from our soul.

However, it is unthinkable that a Christian heart should be 
so lacking in light that it cannot overcome its fear by turning
to a higher source of comfort.

If we reflect that this bodily tabernacle which is weak,
flawed, corruptible, transient and decaying is dissolved and 
well nigh destroyed, in order to be restored to a perfect,
assured, incorruptible and heavenly glory, does not faith compel us 
fervently to crave what nature shuns and abhors?

When we remember that death calls us away from a miserable exile 
to our real home in heaven, how can we not find a
precious consolation in that?"

Quotes from "A Guide to Christian Living" by John Calvin ~
Pages 87, 101 and 102

With Love, Camille

**Photo courtesy of Uncle Gordon ~ Thank you so much!  XO

August 18, 2014

Month Menu ~ An Update

I'm just in the planning stages of my second month-at-a-time menu.
The jury's out on the results for the first month.  I am pleased with the knowing.
But, the budget...did it fare better?  I am still trying to figure that out.

My plan is to start from scratch and make a menu
for the month of September.  Once I've followed it for 
an entire calendar month, I will make an assessment of its merits. 

My girl and I went to visit my sister, and while we were gone,
the boys went camping (with expensive food), and my sweetie
was stocked with frozen choices (homemade) and *extras*.
I think the budget took a hit due to our scatteredness (new word).

~ The boys' camping meal plan...dear me! ~

A few things I have learned (actually, they were confirmed) ~
eating out and eating boxed cereal will sabotage any budget.
So will exorbitant amounts of Nutella.  But, I digress.

On the positive side of things ~
incorporating beans and lentils and eggs as main
features of a meal will stretch the budget further.
So will cooking up whole chickens and making soup.
Can you think of other budget-friendly ideas?  I'd love to hear them.

Month number two will soon be on the docket.
I'll let you know how it goes.  Do you even want to know?
How about you?  Have you tried it yet?
September is nearly upon's a good time to begin.  :)

Happy Monday Y'all!
With Love, Camille

August 14, 2014

Summer Projects

Summer is the time for projects.
At least, that's the way it is around here.

We had a tree felled, which meant we had some wood to deal with.
Fraser and Calvin both took turns splitting logs.
The wood shed is full to overflowing now...just the way I like it.

Look at the size of those logs!  :)

The fence needed some attention.
We got Fraser and Emma going on it.

They got suited up and worked away.

It took two full days, but, they got it all done.

With a little bit of guidance, they did it all by themselves.
Doesn't it remind you a little of Tom Sawyer and the fence he
was required to whitewash?  Ah, those long summer days.
Perfect for painting fences...wouldn't you agree?

Calvin was put to work on the back deck railings and stairs.

He seemed to be happy about it (mostly, I think).
And, he did a great job (bonus).

Ah...the good life!  :)

Can you spot all three of them in this shot?

We are gearing up for another school year once again.
Summer is coming to an end, and so are the outdoor projects.
Do you do extra jobs around your home in the summer?
Or, do you save them up for the winter months 
when the weather is less agreeable?

We have both outdoor and indoor projects to do
on an ongoing basis, it seems.  
Next up around here is the basement hallway.  
The weather is still too nice to tackle it just yet.
I'm not even thinking about it.

Happy Weekend Y'all!
Many Blessings, Camille

August 12, 2014

To My People

To my people.  This is a true story.
It's a love story of sorts.  You'll understand why.
Especially if you make this cake.  And, taste it.  Dear me!

So, this is how it all came to be.
I flew out of this country and into the neighbouring one
for a quick trip with my girl to see my sister and her family.
We talk food when we are together.  We demo food.

This is where it gets good.

I hadn't long been inside the house (or the country), when I was told
that this cake would be on the menu at some point during our stay.
My sister reserved it for the day prior to our departure.
We had it for dessert that night and for breakfast the next morning.

(We are all grown up now, so...
dessert for breakfast is acceptable...right?)

Back to the cake.  It's a pound cake of sorts.  And, a bundt cake.
And, a berry cake.  And, a yogurt cake.  It truly is a-mazing!
Yesterday was a very hot day in our neck of the woods.
I turned the stove on to bake this.  But, it was worth it.  Absolutely.

Strawberry Yogurt Bundt Cake ~ with slight alterations.
Original recipe may be found by clicking here.

~ The Necessary Things ~

1 cup Butter ~ room temperature

2 cups granulated Sugar ~ I use evaporated cane juice

3 large Eggs ~ to be added one by one

3 to 4 Tbsp fresh squeezed Lemon Juice ~ I used Meyer lemons
(You will use 1 Tbsp for the cake and 2 to 3 Tbsp for the glaze)

Zest of one Lemon ~ use the small side of your grater for this

2 1/4 cup Flour plus another 1/4 cup Flour 
(The first portion goes into the cake batter and the 
second portion is used to coat the strawberries)

1/2 tsp Baking Soda and 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1 cup plain Greek Yogurt ~ I used full fat, but 0% fat could be used

1 lb (500 g or 16 oz) fresh Strawberries ~ cleaned and diced

Icing Sugar (Powdered Sugar) to make the glaze

First things first.  Use a little butter and grease a ten inch bundt cake pan.
Then, dust a little flour inside.  Tap it on all sides to spread the flour.
Remove the excess by tipping upside-down over a garbage can and lightly tapping.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Once the cake gets placed into the oven,
the heat is reduced to 325 F.  Don't miss this!  :)

Zest your lemon and then squeeze it to get the juice you need.
You may need two lemons to get enough juice.
Clean and cut up your strawberries and set aside.

Sift together the first portion of flour (2 1/4 cups) with the
baking soda and sea salt.  Stir in the lemon zest and set aside.
Measure the greek yogurt into a small bowl and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
(You will need some sort of mixer to help with this step.)
Add in the eggs one at a time and beat after each addition.
Stir in the 1 Tbsp of lemon juice.

Take the flour mixture and the greek yogurt and add
1/4 of the flour to the mixer and stir until just incorporated.
Then, add in 1/4 of the yogurt and stir.
Repeat these two steps until all the flour and yogurt are mixed in.

Now, stir the remaining 1/4 cup of flour into the strawberries 
and toss quickly to coat the berries.
Fold the berries and flour into the batter with a spatula.
Do not beat the batter at this point.  Treat it gently.

Scoop the batter into your prepared bundt pan and 
spread it evenly to the edges.
The oven has been preheated to 375 F ~ don't forget to reduce it for baking.
Bake at 325 F for 1 hour until a toothpick comes out from one
of the centre cracks of the cake.  I found this took 65 minutes.

Once cake is baked, set it in the pan on a wire rack to rest for 20 minutes.
Then, set your wire rack on top of the cake pan and turn it upside-down
to release the cake.  If it's stuck, use a knife to loosen it around the edges.
If your pan was greased and floured well, this should not be a problem.

Let cake cool completely before setting it on a cake plate and glazing it.
For the glaze, pour 2 to 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
into a bowl and whisk in enough icing sugar to make a pourable glaze.

If you want the glaze to soak into the cake, make it a little on the thin side.
If you want to make a drizzle pattern on the cake as you see in these
photos, make the glaze a little thicker.  Either way, it's fabulous!

Serve it up to some very fortunate people.
They will love you for it...promise.  :)

Happy Baking!
With Love, Camille

August 9, 2014

So We Left

The boys were booked to go camping.
With two friends.  Without parental supervision.
It was beginning to plague my mind ~ what were we thinking?
To allow two of our young men to travel right across the province
with two other young men ~ alone.  Craziness.

Yes, crazy.  But, also necessary.  And, good.

(Lest you think we've totally lost our minds,
one of those young men is an experienced outdoorsman
and the oldest in a family of ten children ~ he's very responsible.)

We cannot keep our young people from flying.
We just need to give them wings.  So, we do.
At least, we are seeking to ~ by God's grace alone.

Howie and I were walking on the beach awhile back,
and I got the idea that maybe I should run away with Emma.
Just for a week.  To my sister's house.  While the boys would be away.
What did he think?  He said yes.  So, I looked up flights.
They were on sale ~ of course!  Who goes to the desert in summer?
Hmmm...that would be us, I guess.  More craziness.  :)

So we left ~ just me and my girl.

We were high above Nevada in this shot, I think.
See how the clouds made shadows on the land below?

We landed in Palm Springs late in the afternoon and picked up our car.
It was HOT!  Note all the open doors.  I was inside trying to figure it all out.
We were given a Toyota Prius ~ a hybrid electric car.
What an interesting experience it was to drive that thing!

We drove up through the desert right past a wind farm ~
the windmills are lined up in rows and rows, and go for miles.

When we landed in the desert, the temperature was 110 F ~
as we drove it rose to 112 F.  It felt like standing over an open oven door.
By the time we arrived at my sister's home, after about 40 minutes
of driving, it was 91 F.  She had the A/C on for the Canadians
who were in danger of melting ~ what a relief!  

On Saturday, we drove over to Newport Beach.
Below, you can see Emma following her cousin and a friend
along the path.  See the line of path just in front of the clump 
of palm trees?  That was where we were heading.

The kids are at the end of the paved pathway in the photo below.
We were heading toward the white covered area at the top left.

Emma with her cousin ~ my sister and I each have one girl.

"Let's go fly a kite!"
What a great beach to fly kites at!  :)

Not quite brave enough to go all the way in ~ the shore seemed safest.

My sister's car was out of commission, so I drove.
The highways in CA are crazy!  
Here we are in the far left lane of a possible six or seven
(fyi...someone else took the photo...I'm not that crazy) ~ 
all of which were travelling in the same direction.

We met up with the men of the family for dinner ~
In-N-Out is a *must-do* when in California.

On the way to church on Sunday morning, Emma snapped this photo
of the crisscrossing overpasses as we drove under them.

We zipped over to Disneyland for one day.
Emma and I stayed two nights in a hotel since my sister
lives too far away for us to do it all in one day.

We had one meal out at a Mexican restaurant.
We had packed up a cooler full of food to keep us going for
the rest of the time.  It also helped that our hotel included breakfast.

A self-timer is a good thing to have on a camera.  :)

Emma talked me into going on the swinging ride.
I closed my eyes the entire time which worked out really well.
I was able to avoid motion sickness that way ~ yippee!

This photo is for my Dad ~ it's his all-time favourite thing to see at Disney.
The birds all come to life and sing.  It really is an amazing show.

Mid-day we took a break and went swimming and took a nap.
It's the only way to survive in the California heat!

I sat in the shade while Emma swam and swam and swam.

We went back into the parks for the evening.
See the roller coaster in the background?  We rode it five times.
Yes, my girl...she is crazy!  I was ready to be done after four.  ;-)

The castle is magical all lit up at night.
This photo was taken from the back end of the castle 
on our way out of the park.

We strolled out of the park slowly in order to enjoy
the sights and sounds of Main Street ~ so pretty!

As we left Disneyland, we walked toward the entrance
of California Adventure ~ everything was lit up beautifully.

The day we flew out, we connected with Howie's brother and family at In-N-Out...
it was our second meal at one of these restaurants on this trip.
We don't have In-N-Out in Canada, so it's a rare treat for us.  Yum!

The airport at Palm Springs is absolutely adorable!
Once through security, there is a pretty walkway that leads you to the gates.
It's such a tiny and friendly airport ~ what a wonderful experience.

Another self-timed shot.  :)

We watched our plane land, unload and load baggage,
and fuel up prior to our boarding.
Everything is so up-close and personal at this little airport.

See the round canopied building just ahead of the wing in this shot?
That's the airport we just left...too cute.

Coming in for a landing in Vancouver.
It's fun to go away, but, it's always good to be home.
We missed our family of men ~ it just wasn't the same without them.

So, our adventure came to an end.
Now, we just need to get our boys home safely and we will
all breathe a collective sigh of relief.

How about you?  Have you gone on any adventures
this summer?  Do tell...inquiring minds want to know.

Many Blessings,

**Photos in this post courtesy of both of us with
Emma's little point and shoot that's been dropped a few too many times.