December 17, 2010

Family Time ~ Merry Christmas!

Over the next two weeks the plan is to

And to

We have the most Wonderful

HE came to live ~
in our place.

HE came to die ~

"For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life."

~ John 3:16 ~

May the LORD be the focus
of all your celebrating.
And may HE set you free indeed!

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 ~

Blessings to each of you ~
Merry CHRISTmas from our home to yours.
Many Blessings for 2011!

In His Love,

I *love* to hear from you ~
If you should choose to leave a comment,
please do not be alarmed at the length of time it
takes for me to post it.
My plan, Lord-willing,
is to be *offline* for the next two weeks,
and to post again early in the New Year.
I will look forward to catching up with all of you then!

December 16, 2010

Decadent and EASY!

Have you ever heard of a "pudding cake"?

Oh Y.U.M!

This was my
All. Time. Favourite.
dessert growing up ~
Little did I know it was SO easy to make!

It's great to whip up for those unexpected guests
or for your own family on an ordinary night
to make it extra special.

Dish up some

Your family will thank you...
ask me how I know. ;-)

Served warm straight from the oven with (or without)
a dollop of ice cream, it's ~


While it is baking the pudding forms
underneath and the cake rises to the top ~


~ Brownie Pudding Cake ~
Adapted from
"Better Homes and Gardens ~ New Cookbook"

~Cake Ingredients ~

1 cup Flour
3/4 cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 cup Milk
2 Tbsp Oil (I use Olive Oil)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Chopped Nuts (Walnuts or Pecans) ~
may be omitted

~ Sauce Ingredients ~

3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1 3/4 cup Freshly boiled Water

(*I like LOTS of sauce...if you are like me,
you might want to adjust the sauce amounts
as below)

1 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
2 1/3 cup Freshly boiled Water

~ Method ~

Measure first 5 ingredients into bowl.
Mix together with a wire whisk.
In separate bowl, mix together the milk,
oil, and vanilla.
Mix the wet ingredients into the
dry, and mix until smooth.
Stir in the nuts (if desired).

Spread into greased casserole dish (8x8) ~
use a larger pan if you are increasing the sauce.
This batter is VERY thick and difficult to spread...
that's normal.

Mix together the brown sugar and cocoa powder
for the sauce and sprinkle over the cake batter.
Pour hot water over all.

Bake at 350* F for 35 to 45 minutes ~
watch closely after the 30 minute mark to be sure you
don't burn it!

You can test the cake with a toothpick ~
it should come out clean.
The cake rises to the top and looks like it's
cracked and the pudding bubbles underneath.

I hope you like it as much as we do!
Just be is very


December 14, 2010

Deck the Halls!

Come on in!
Would you like a mug of hot cocoa
or hot apple cider?
Sit by the fire and I will
be right there. :)

I *love* candles ~
so warm and welcoming.
This candle is at the top of the stairs
as you enter our home.

The table candle ~
cheery and fun!

I just had to include a photo of the
upstairs bathroom ~
there are candles in there too.
Maybe I should tell you why.

My story about candles goes like this ~
A precious Aunt who has a *way* of making everything
beautiful, had us over to visit one evening long ago.

There were candles

It made such an impression on me!
I have not been the same ever since.
No matter how you decorate ~
fancy or simple...
Candles lit throughout the home will
make it very welcoming and cozy.

Enjoy these precious days as we remember the
Saviour's first coming.
HE is the Real Reason we celebrate!
I'm so glad you stopped by for a visit ~
come again soon!


December 12, 2010

Once Again...

I give thanks.
Once again...
It's a weekly habit.

A blessing.

Would you join us?
In a private journal,
on your blog,
or both?
I'd be thrilled if you would.

If you should choose to record your thanks,
I'm sure you will find it to be a blessing too...
give it a try?

Joining in this Monday with Ann.
Maybe next week you will be on her list too?

1023. Little hands that want to help

1024. The children decorated the tree and
I didn't rearrange it afterwards...

1025. A gift from a blogging friend far away ~
Thank you Linda!

1026. A *system* for wet outdoor clothes,
and a *mud room* to close the door on!

1027. A Dad who makes things for me ~
these are to cover the space around our dishwasher...

1028. A *problem* such as this to fix ~
Do you recall that we live in an older home?
It didn't have a dishwasher originally,
so a cupboard was removed by a previous owner to
accomodate one...they *hacked* out a space and
hung a bit of baseboard to hide the gap. :-/
Thankfully, my Dad is brilliant with his hands ~
he has been a great blessing to us around here! :)

1029. That I had the time to paint and
install these pieces and it worked!

1030. The dishwasher passes all the tests I put it through ~

December 10, 2010

Baking Anyone?

I am not panicking.
I am not worried.
Even though I have not done


of the *required* baking for

We are remembering the
REAL Reason
of this precious season
with our children each evening
during our Jesse Tree Devotionals.

We have decorated the tree.
We have (almost) cleaned the house.
We are shopping and wrapping
and enjoying.


No baking has been done.
Are you in this same boat?
Or am I alone?

If you want a little inspiration...
the following links will get you to some of
our favourite recipes.


And remember...
less can really be more!

And through it all,
Remember HIM!

If you only have time to bake *just one batch* of something...
I would H.I.G.H.L.Y. recommend

Whipped Shortbread!!

A family favourite and a tradition from my childhood days...
they literally melt in your mouth!

Caramel Corn
as a teacher gift or for neighbours...
be sure to save some for your family too! :)

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
are perfect for the
chocolate people on your list.


My Dad always requests Chocolate Log Roll for his
birthday...three days before Christmas.
We plan to have it this year once again ~
it's a tradition!

Another cake that makes its way into our celebrations
is Flourless Chocolate Cake ~
Oh. Dear. Me!
Need I say more?


Warm CHRISTmas Blessings,

December 6, 2010

Climbing the Walls

Recently, we had the opportunity to
go on a field trip with other local
homeschool families to an
indoor rock climbing gym.

What an experience!

The children were all harnessed properly
by *real* rock climbers
in *real* gear.

They were prepped on the
*how to's* and the
*do not's* ~
and then they were set loose to climb!
Each child that opted to climb higher than
12 feet was linked to an instructor
by a rope through their harness.

Would I like to see my boys,
or Emma, for that matter,
do this for real...out in the *wild*?


But this *seemed* safe.
And it was Fun!

This Mum truly hopes with all her heart that
her children don't get bitten by this bug!

Here's Austin at the tippy top of one of the walls...
see the instructor waaay below holding the ropes?

Fraser at the top of the *beginner's* wall...
it was a gradual slope.

Calvin...going straight up!

Fraser *free-climbing*...
they were allowed to climb without the ropes
up to 12 feet off the floor.

This wall required a little muscle...
it sloped backward ~ Austin really had to grip with
his fingers and toes to climb it!

Emma getting a ride!

Fraser ~ smile for Mummy! :)

Emma repelling back down ~ Wheee!

A serious climber...

Austin and Calvin doing a little *free-climbing*...

Notice that there are no photos of me?

I kept my feet firmly planted on the ground
and enjoyed it very much.

Thankful this Monday for many things ~
some of which are listed below.

#1001 to #1022 on my list of endless gifts...the list of endless thanks ~

~ Homeschool families to do fun outings with

~ That most of the things I worry about never come to pass

~ That the children get to do field trips together!

~ New experiences for our family

~ Reading "A Christmas Carol" by Dickens aloud to the children...
and them asking me to "please, read just a little bit more!"

~ Slowly, but surely, getting things done

~ Most of the family is better from our recent illness

~ Howie is no longer needing to be in bed (sickest he's been in years)!

~ Howie is gaining back the weight he lost...
he didn't need to lose any!

~ For dry and clear roads for our recent journey South for a
Christmas gathering with family

~ For the border guard waving us through without requiring us to pay duty

~ For cheaper gas to fill up just before coming back into Canada

~ For a day of rest

~ For sweet Soren
(my cousin's one year old baby boy...adorable)

~ That Soren reached for me and gave me a BIG hug...

~ Aunts and cousins and a Grandpa who value family times

~ Clear skies and fresh snow on the mountains

~ Getting to the bottom of the laundry pile

~ Getting to the bottom of the ironing pile

~ Sorting out clothes to give away

~ New clothes to put away

~ Provisions...God is so good!

December 3, 2010

Whiter Than the Snow!

We had this season's first snow a few weeks ago.
I always enjoy the way the world looks with its fresh
blanket of white.

Everything seems hushed ~

Everything is clean ~

Is that what it's like when our soul is freshly
cleansed with the blood of the Lamb?
I think so.

Peace floods our hearts.
Beauty is in the world once again.
All is right.

~ Psalm 51:1-7 ~

"Have mercy upon me, O God,
according to thy lovingkindness:
according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies
blot out my transgressions.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions:
and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only,
have I sinned,
and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified when
thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity;
and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:
and in the hidden part thou shalt
make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop,
and I shall be clean:
wash me, and I shall be
whiter than snow."

What a picture!
Whiter than the snow!
Oh that the LORD would indeed do this miracle
in each one of our hearts this Christmas-time!
HE is able to!

"Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me."
~ Psalm 51:10 ~

If this is your heart's cry,
please know that the LORD hears those who come
to HIM in repentance.

HE is able to save you from
eternal destruction.
Cry unto HIM today.

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
~ John 6:37 ~

Click here
for an excellent article that will
point the WAY to HIM.
How precious to become HIS child at this most
wonderful time of the year!

Blessings to you each one!
In Him,

November 30, 2010

Pumpkin Leek Soup

This soup is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

Easy to make.
Yummy to eat!

Comfort food at its finest.

I tried it for the first time last night.
What a treat! A *hit* all around!
I found this wonderful recipe in
this pretty book ~ A favourite that I only
pull out during the Christmas Season.

Be sure to use a sweet pumpkin
such as the "Sugar Pie" variety.

~ Pumpkin Leek Soup ~

Adapted from Mary Englebreit's
"Let the Merrymaking Begin ~
Christmas Volume One

~ Serves 3 or 4 ~
I made a double recipe for the six of us...
Next time I will make FOUR times the recipe to have leftovers!

~ Ingredients ~

2 Tbsp Butter

2 Medium Leeks ~
white part only, rinsed well and thinly sliced

1 Small Onion ~ diced

4 Cups 1/2 inch diced sweet pumpkin (I used Sugar Pie) ~
about the size of a small non-regulation soccer ball.
LOL ~ is it obvious that there are boys in our home?

* Skin the pumpkin with a carrot peeler,
cut in half, scoop out stringy flesh and seeds.
Save the seeds to toast and discard the stringy flesh.

4 to 6 Cups Chicken Stock (I used 4)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/2 Cup toasted and coarsely chopped pumpkin seeds for garnish

* To toast ~ wash the seeds and place on a
parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Generously salt and place in a 350*F oven.

Check and stir after 10 minutes,
continue checking a stirring every 5 minutes thereafter until crunchy.
They will quickly go from "just right" to burnt, so do be careful!

~ Instructions ~

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat and cook leeks
and onions until transparent and limp.

Add in the pumpkin and stir to coat with butter.

Pour the chicken stock over all until the pumpkin
is covered by about one inch.

Bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes ~
until the pumpkin is very tender.

Use your immersion (hand) blender and puree directly in the pot.

If you do not have one of these handy contraptions,
hint that you would like one for Christmas (smile)
and proceed to blend until smooth in your blender.

Return to pot and adjust seasonings.
Sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds
over each individual serving.

~ Y.U.M.M.Y. ~

Do Enjoy!

November 26, 2010

Reaching 1000 ~ A Milestone

When I began all this counting,
it was unclear to me how it would take shape.
I was not sure how long I would keep it up.
I had no idea how long it would take.
I was unprepared for how it would change me.

Little by little.

Reaching One Thousand Gifts was the goal.
Numbering each of them ~

One by one.

I have given extra thought to this post.
This *milestone* journal entry.
It is just that...a milestone, something to note,
but then life continues on...I press on.

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling
of God in Christ Jesus."
~ Philippians 3:13-14 ~

The form of the journal as it took shape ~
week after week and month after month ~
changed and it began to become easier to give thanks.

It became a part of who I am.

Some journal entries were elaborate and
some were simple.
But they all contained bits and pieces of us,
of our family ~ our life.

Real life.

There are times we are called to be thankful
even in difficult circumstances.
We are not called to understand.
We are called to give thanks.
In the midst of the everyday and the messy.
In the midst of chaos and trials.
In the midst of joys and sorrows.
When it seems impossible.
Even then.

It is the mark of a Christian.
The mark of one purchased.
I am not my own.
I have been bought with a price.
I belong to HIM.

It is to HIM I give the thanks.
To the ONE from WHOM all blessings flow.
By HIS grace and for HIS glory.
This day, and the next, and the next and the next.
Until HE takes me home.

The numbering helps.
BUT, it is only a tool.
The purpose is to develop
the habit of
The habit of

Will I continue?
Yes, by the grace of GOD.
Day after day, week after week,
month after month.
As long as HE gives me strength.

Will it always be in this format?
I cannot say.
But for now it is.
For now, I continue.

Numbering gifts ~
To 1000 and beyond.
As I count the last few up to 1000,
the ONE I want you to see is the LORD.
My PRECIOUS Saviour.
Without HIM life is not worth living.

After all, it really is ALL about HIM!

978. He has given us HIS WORD!

979. He is PATIENT!

980. He gives me HIS peace that passes all understanding

981. He is LOVING and KIND


983. He is ALL KNOWING

984. He is ALL SEEING


986. He is PRESENT everywhere all at once

987. He is PERFECT

988. He is WISE and JUST

989. His MERCY extended to me...even while I was yet a sinner

990. His GRACE extended to me each and every day

991. His KEEPING power over my life


993. He HEARS me when I pray!

994. He LEADS me so gently along

995. He GIVES all I need and more!

996. He CARES about all the details

997. He SHOWS me the way to go

998. He PROMISES never to leave me nor forsake me!

999. He is my SHEPHERD

1000. And I am HIS sheep!

**Photo kindly shared with me by my friend Christa ~ So sweet! :)

Oh there is SO much to be told about HIS infinite LOVE and MERCY.
If you belong to the LORD, that is WONDERFUL!
If you do not know HIM yet,
please prayerfully consider this article.

Where will you spend eternity?
Waste no time ~
None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow.

Please prayerfully consider this truth.
Many blessings to each and every one of you!

In His Love,

November 24, 2010

First Snow!


We are in for more, so they say.
Last winter we hardly had any snow at all.
But this year it's supposed to be different.
The word is that it's going to be the worst winter our area
has seen in thirty years or more!

We will make the most of it.
And buy winter tires ~ a first for us!

Here are some photos of our first "snow day" ~
Saturday, November 20th.
The day after one of the most frightening
drives I've ever had!

I was
to be home!

Oh, the joys of childhood!