November 30, 2009

Endless Gifts

Another week begins with additional reasons for giving thanks. 
See installments one and two here and here.
And so the journalling continues...with a grateful heart ~ by His grace.

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the 
Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 5:20

30. Dishwashers...

31. Quiet street for street hockey!

32. Boys who play street hockey!

33. Imaginitive play

34. A tree to play under

35. A girl that likes to imagine...

36. An artist in the making

37. "Free" art supplies that were gifted at the missing! :)

38. Little girl's journal

39. Grade Five Student hard at work

40. Calvin's piano fingers

41. New hot water heater ~ See # 20 from last week's installment to understand why! :)

42. Covered under "warranty"...not the labour, but the actual unit...we'll gratefully take it!

43. Hot water after a few days without!

44. Indoor plumbing ~ when you think about it...we really are spoiled! :)

Many Blessings,

November 27, 2009

Keeping Christ in Christmas

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: 
and the government shall be upon his shoulder: 
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, 
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

At this time of year it is so easy to get caught up in the frantic pace of collecting more 
and more stuff and going to more and more events. 
We can get trapped into thinking that we must do it all ~ have it all!

How can we find peace in the midst of the potential chaos?
Focus on THE ONE Reason for all the celebrating...
But, how do we keep Christ as the central focus?

The following ideas are a few of the things 
we try to implement in our home at this special time of year.

1. We gather at the end of each day and have a family devotional centered 
around the Bible passages pertaining to the miracle of the birth of Christ.

Each night of the four weeks preceeding Christmas,
we light candles in our advent wreath and we read and discuss the many passages 
of Scripture that speak of the Lord's first coming and birth, etc. 
We are not limited to the passage in Luke chapter two...far from it! 
It is amazing how much of Scripture is devoted to this wonderful 
account of God's provision to sinful man.
This is the article that I believe first inspired us with the idea to begin 
celebrating advent as one of our family's Christmas traditions.

2. We strive to keep things simple.

I have often told the children that they can expect three things under the tree from us ~ 
we call it the "Wise Men" principle. There were three gifts given to the Lord ~ 
three gifts will be given to them. The gifts may be very inexpensive, 
but attractively wrapped and given with love. 
Our children know what to expect on Christmas morning ~ 
we have found that this "Wise Men" principle helps to keep their imaginations in check!

3. We encourage our children to think of others.

Gifts are purchased for their siblings from their own savings. 
Cards are handmade. Thank you notes are written by each child for the gifts received.

4. We seek to limit the number of things on the calendar.

Many things will compete for a place in the agenda...
we have found that we must be careful what we commit to. 
We do not feel obligated to say yes to every invitation or agree to everything! 
It is not a bad thing to decline an invitation simply because it will not work 
for the peacefulness of our home and family.
We seek to honour God in all things ~ keep things in proper perspective.
After all, it is the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ
we are remembering and seeking to celebrate.

5. My goal each year is to be done shopping for gifts by the end of November.

This helps greatly in the stress department and 
limits the number of "spur of the moment" purchases. 
December can then be kept for the enjoyment of all that the Christmas season brings.

6. I try to limit the amount of baking I do.

 I keep it to our absolute favourites...who is going to eat it all anyway??
My goal is to work ahead as much as I can and ENJOY what I do ~ 
Then I fill my freezer for the coming parties and events.

7. Might I encourage you to develop some simple family traditions? 

Maybe it will be to walk through a festive neighbourhood ~ take a drive if it's too cold. 
Bake and decorate Gingerbread Men or Sugar cookies with 
your children or grandchildren...or your Sunday School class. 
Gather up some friends and go carolling. 
Have a few friends in for a night of singing by the fire. 
Invite unsaved friends over to join you as you celebrate Advent ~
 use it as an opportunity to share your faith in the 
True and Living God and all that He has done for us! 
Attend the Christmas Eve service at your church, or, have one at home. 

You will be amazed as you look back on the wonderful memories you have made. 
Often it seems that these are the things the children remember most. 
Long after the gifts are forgotten ~ the memories live on!

8. Please join me in seeking to set aside time each day for the Lord 
and time in His presence worshipping Him.

It is amazing how refocusing our attention on what really matters 
has a way of putting everything into proper perspective.

This is by no means an exhaustive list! 

It is meant to be an exhortation to each one of us (me included) 
at this very special time of year! I LOVE Christmas and desire for it to be a blessing...
not something we dread and feel the need to "get through".

Many Blessings, Camille

**Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section.

What do you do to keep the Lord as the central focus in your family's celebrations? 
Your comment may just be the encouragement someone else needs!

November 25, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

Make this in a pot and don't drain...turns out like a "from scratch" version of Kraft Dinner...without the guilt! is SO EASY!! :)

~ Macaroni and Cheese ~

2 cups water
2 cups macaroni noodles
1 cup milk (I use skim)
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup minced onion

Melt butter in medium sized pot and fry onions until turning translucent. Add in remaining ingredients turn heat to medium. Stir frequently until the liquid is absorbed and the noodles are softened. (Approximately 15 minutes)

Add in 2 cups grated cheddar cheese and a few shakes of parmesan cheese. Stir until melted and serve. This makes about 3 adult-sized portions.

**Adapted from the Kraft Kitchens**

November 23, 2009

Multitude Monday

The Thankfulness Journal and its will find the reason for the numbering here. I begin another week with consciously giving thanks to the Giver of all gifts. Might you consider joining in?

16. Spontaneous reading by my newest bookworm...

17. Children enjoying "Google Earth"

18. Little hands that willingly and joyfully help

19. Two finding pleasure in one another's company

20. Thankful that we were home when this happened!
~ Hot Water Heater leaking

21. Homemade mac and cheese...yum!

22. Husband who faithfully leads Family Worship

23. Children with open Bibles before the fire

24. Sibling friendship

25. Crinkly yumminess!

26. Medical miracles ~ Austin's yearly heart monitoring

27. Sharing a favourite story

28. Sunlight after the storm

29. Morning muffins...freshly baked!

Many Blessings to you!
In Him,

November 21, 2009

In Sickness and In Health...

While we walked the beach one morning with the children I saw something that provoked a thought or two on this subject. A married couple walked past ~ slowly traveling in the opposite direction.

Both appeared to be in their early sixties.

He walked straight and tall, strong and sure. She, on the other hand, was visibly marred ~ possibly the victim of a stroke. It was such a beautiful picture to me of his love for her...she leaned on him and held his arm. He remained steadfast in his commitment ~ immovable in his devotion.

Where had they come from? What had they gone through in their lives together?

Who were they both leaning on for strength?

Our hope is in God and His all-sustaining power.
What do people do who don't have the Lord to lean on in such times?

I thought of the vows we made on our wedding day. Did we realize the deep things we were committing to? Vowing to do? We were young and idealistic...did we really believe we would we ever have difficulties and challenges? On that day it seemed unlikely ~ but what would our future hold?

What a blessing to know WHO holds the future...we do not need to fear what lies ahead. As long as we are walking with the ONE Who has it all in HIS Sovereign and complete control. As long as we are children of THE KING of kings! Day by day and moment by moment, we have discovered that HE gives the strength and grace to face even the unthinkable.

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Philippians 4:13

November 19, 2009

Hamburger Soup

This was a staple soup in my growing up years, so naturally I took it with me into marriage. In the early years I would make just one recipe which filled my "big" pot to the brim and yielded enough leftovers to freeze for many days after!

Now that I have four children who ALL have very HEALTHY appetites that "big" pot no longer fits the bill...I use it for "leftovers" and reheating what will be devoured through the course of one meal! What you see here is a 16 quart stock pot with a double batch simmering inside it. At supper we polished off about 1/3 of it!! Here is the recipe...hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

**One request...if any of you know of a way to make your own condensed tomato soup, would you mind sharing the recipe? I am trying to get away from using the mass produced stuff. Thanks!

**Update ~ My friend Terri posted the answer to my is her post on homemade condensed soup...thanks Terri! I hope to try her recipes soon. :)

Hamburger Soup

2 lb lean ground beef
2 medium onions, chopped
2 ~ 28 oz tin tomatoes, diced
4 cups water
6 cups beef broth
2 ~ 10 oz tins condensed tomato soup
8 carrots, chopped
8 celery sticks, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 cup pearl barley ~ rinsed before adding
pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

Brown beef and onions ~ drain fat.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 2 hours ~ Stirring often.
Check for seasoning...may need more salt.


**This soup freezes very well**

November 17, 2009

The Art of Sewing

My friend Christa has dedicated an entire post to the art of sewing on her blog ~ Country Hearts at Home. Her article is full of comments from many ladies who have been blessed with the ability to sew. Their stories often include the mention of a gift of time invested in their lives by someone older and wiser who patiently taught them this dying art form. I agree with Christa ~ We must never let it die! Hop on over and enjoy an encouraging journey through the stories will be blessed. The heirloom quilt you see pictured above is there along with its story ~ ENJOY!

November 16, 2009

Thankfulness Journal

The challenge is to find 1000 "gifts" to thank God for.
And, this is the first installment of my list ~
I hope to add many more items as the days go by.
Everything may not be photographed and
the list may end up simply being recorded and numbered ~
we will see how it all takes shape!

One thing I have found is that as I consciously give thanks,
funny enough, I am more thankful!

Amazing, isn't it?

Might you want to join in?
If you don't have a blog,
a spiral bound notebook is a wonderful place
to record your "1000 things".
May this exercise bring Glory to God,
which is our ultimate purpose in this life.

It says in the Bible the following ~
"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and
the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 5:20

1. God's Word ~ The Bible

2. Our wedding rings ~ Our marriage

3. Finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross ~ John 3:16

4. Handwritten note from Emma

5. Diligent grade nine student

6. Calvin's vacuuming!

7. Warm and dry house on a rainy day

8. Fraser's piano fingers

9. Little girl that still loves a bath with toys!

10. Filtered water "on tap"...a new feature of our home

11. Four wet children...just back from a blustery "beach walk"

12. Makings of a welcome hot honey and lemon drink for a cold

13. Greetings from dear ones both near and far

14. "Home"...such a precious word!

15. Faded flowers from the hand of a child

16. Display of God's handiwork...

Many Blessings to each of you!
In His Love, Camille

**Disclaimer post may be found by

November 14, 2009

It Is Well With My Soul

**Photo by Camille ~ Ferry trip between Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia**

This hymn was born out of deep grief. Its composer had received word that his four daughters were tragically drowned at sea while his wife alone was saved. While travelling to join her he penned this wonderful hymn. Such an amazing testimony of the Grace of God in the life of His child! Under such circumstances would I have had such a faith? How awesome our Great God is ~ He is able to do exceedingly above what we ask or think!

It is Well With My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul."

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well
With my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well
With my soul.

My sin ~ oh, the bliss of this glorious thought ~
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well
With my soul.

And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend!
Even so ~ it is well with my soul!

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well
With my soul.

Horatio G. Spafford (1828-1888)

November 12, 2009

Rooibos Tea ~ Red Bush Tea

Our dear Auntie from England introduced us to this wonderful tea! Rooibos or Red Bush Tea (as it is also known) is unlike "regular" tea in many ways, yet it tastes so yummy and has many health benefits. Check out the abundant information on it and you may just be inspired to pick some up the next time you are shopping. There are a variety of brands available and it can easily be found in "regular" grocery stores right alongside the many other teas. My children all love it and even my husband, who doesn't like tea, will enjoy a cup! It's naturally sweet ~ serve with or without a spash of milk...and ENJOY!

November 11, 2009

Lest We Forget...

This music video was inspired by a true event. A Pittance of Time is one man's plea for us all to remember those that have fought for the freedoms we enjoy. Take a moment to reflect and thank God for those who have fallen. November 11th...May We Remember Them!

**Disclaimer ~ I am not familiar with this artist's work other than this piece...I am not "endorsing" him or his music, but I do feel that the message he portrays in this song is particularly appropriate for each one of us on this day.

November 10, 2009

Chicken Noodle Soup

Hot steaming bowl of nourishing soup...yummy goodness!

The pot of soup ready for the noodles to be added in...

Last step...noodles!

Recently my friend from Bible School days shared this recipe with me ~ thanks Heather! 
Specific measurements weren't provided ~ just the "secret" ingredients...
below you will see what I did with that info! 
Since she shared it with me I have made it...over and over again! 
One last sure to have homemade stock on makes all the difference!!

Chicken Noodle Soup

12 cups Homemade chicken stock
2 tsp. Garlic powder (or use fresh cloves ~ finely minced)
2 tsp. Italian seasoning (secret ingredient)
1 Tbsp Sea Salt (less if you use bouillon cubes)
3 large Carrots ~ finely chopped
3 stalks Celery ~ finely chopped
1 Onion ~ minced
2 to 3 cups diced Chicken Meat (cooked) ~ 
Approximately half the meat from a four pound chicken.

Fry onions and celery in a small amount of oil (I use olive oil) in the bottom of your stock pot.
When the onions are turning translucent add in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes (until vegetables are tender). 
Add in half a package of fine egg noodles 
(375 gram size...that would be about 2 cups of noodles) 
and simmer for 5 minutes longer.  Enjoy!

~This is as easy as it can get and yet it gets rave reviews...
at least that's the story around here!~

Many Blessings,