January 30, 2013

Just 30 Minutes

I've found myself getting frustrated lately ~
I look around at all there is to be done in our home, 
and I'm finding that there are no big blocks of time in which to do it all.
This is where the *old* idea of taking it in small doses comes in!

It really is brilliant.  

I'm enjoying crossing things off my list. 
Little by little...those *extra* things are getting done. 
The frustration is being replaced with a feeling of satisfaction.

Do you realise what can be accomplished in small chunks of time?
Added up, those small chunks become big.
I've allocated 30 minutes a day to the task of addressing
some of those larger projects that just never seem to get done.
Little by little.  Day after day.  Just 30 minutes!

Do-able?  I think so!

How do you tackle those looming projects in your home?
Please share so we all can be inspired,
and be an encouragement to each other.

Let's tackle them together.
Ready?  Set.  GO!!  :)

Many Blessings, Camille

**Images in this post are of small *projects*

that have been staring at me for awhile now ~
they're finally getting attention.  Yippee!! 

January 29, 2013


The LORD's mercies truly are new every morning.
They are countless.  Numberless.  Infinite.
In light of all this, I'm starting fresh.

Perhaps it's the influence of a New Year.
A fresh calendar.  Fresh possibilities.
Maybe even a fresh perspective?

The numbering of my thanks has been a tremendous blessing to my soul.
Truly, numbering has been a balm. But, now, I'm leaving the numbering behind.
My plan is just to list ~ point by point.  Line by line ~ one after the next.

Join me?  I'd be thrilled!

If you do put up your own post, please alert me to the fact
that you are listing out your blessings, and I will seek to stop by for a visit.
Let's encourage one another!

"Many, O LORD my God, are Thy wonderful works which Thou hast done,

and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee:
if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered."
~ Psalm 40:5 ~

So, on this grey day in January, I list out my numberless thanks.

They are random and not necessarily logical,
but, they are precious nonetheless.

~ Memories of times like these...

~ That this young man could indulge...

~ It was a momentous occasion...

~ We all enjoyed watching him take that first satisfying bite!

~ Our Stanley Park walk that ended with a view of the city ~ isn't it beautiful?

There really are so many things to be thankful for!
May the LORD grant us eyes to see 
and hearts to rejoice in HIS many Good Gifts.

Recently, we were reminded in a sermon that 
the question should not be ~
"Why do bad things happen?" But, rather ~ "Why does anything good happen?"
True, isn't it?  We have our very breath because 
the Great God of Heaven gives it to us!!

With Love, Camille

**The last four images in this post courtesy of Calvin ~

Thank you my love!  XO

January 26, 2013

Seven Weeks ~ An Update

Just over seven weeks ago,
Austin's pacemaker was inserted.

At the ten day mark, we were at Children's for a check up.
It was determined at that appointment that Austin 
would be re-evaluated after two months ~ that will be mid February.
More information should be revealed at that time.
However, we are observing weekly improvements in our son.

Prior to the pacemaker being placed,
Austin was having trouble climbing stairs and walking around the block.
Since his surgery, there has been a slow, but steady, increase in his energy levels.

He was even able to walk the entire seawall 
at Stanley Park a few weeks ago!
We were able to complete the 5.5 mile (8.8 km) walk in about 1 3/4 hours ~
Austin even said that he could have kept going!
Please join with me in praising the LORD for His Goodness!!

He has done great things ~ we are thankful.

~ L to R: Emma, Austin, Fraser, and Calvin ~

We were at the pacemaker clinic in Vancouver yesterday
for our seven week post-op check-up.
All seems to be stable and the numbers are the same
as they were at our last visit to Children's.

We are so thankful!

Crohn's, however, has been unhappy for awhile now.
We are tweaking and testing and pursuing different things.
We see specialists at Children's for both DCM and Crohn's.
What a blessing it is to know that God is in control,
and that He is Faithful to give wisdom as we require it.
Our gracious God has always given insight so that we have
known the next step to take.

Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out,
but, the answers come and the path is made clear.
By His grace, it is a journey that He is leading us on.
It is His prescription for us.  How precious to rest in that!!

Through it all, Austin continues to have great grace.
And, the LORD gives him patience in this affliction.
We are so thankful that he has been blessed in this way.
God is Good.  Always.

If you want to read the entire story of Austin's journey

over the last year or so, please click here to begin. 

Thank you all, once again, for your kindness,

love, support, and prayers over these last many months.
God is Faithful.  He truly does all things well.
And, we are blessed.

With Love, Camille

January 17, 2013

Keep Blogging Burnout at Bay

Ever wonder how *they* do it all? 
How *they* manage their schedule
in such a way that everything gets done? 

A little secret. 

 *They* don't. Something has to give. 
Somewhere.  Sometime.  It's inevitable. 
 We all make choices.  Often, one thing gives way to another.
That's not necessarily a bad thing.
But, it is something to be reckoned with.

 Do I read to my child or blog? 
Do I make dinner or order something in?  Do I work and then play? 
Do I go for a run or lay down for a rest?
 There is a time to play, a time to blog, a time to run (or walk), 
a time to rest, and perhaps, even a time to order dinner in. 

Yes, it's true! 

 But, we ought to seek the LORD as to what He would have us to do. 
We make our plans, but He orders our steps. 
 We seek to live our lives surrendered to Him. 
By His grace.  In His strength.  For His glory.

 With nearly three and a half years of blogging 
and over 500 posts behind me (dear me!) ~ 
I have a few suggestions on how to manage this blogging life.  
However, I have not arrived, and I am still tweaking
and revising my own list of *do's* and *don'ts* ~
I suppose it's the way it is and, the way it will always be.

Ready for some suggestions to 
keep blogging burnout at bay?

Here they are...in no particular order.  :) 

Set aside a specific time to blog and stick to it! 
(Just so you know, I am not perfect in this area...I'm a work in progress). 
Do not allow yourself to feel obligated to blog.
(This one I am much better at...in case you hadn't noticed...LOL)!  

Perhaps time off is in order.  Give yourself that time and let your 
online friends know that you will be away from the screen for awhile.  
Or, just go *off grid* and *reconnect* when you are back!  
In my experience, the blog does not fall apart in my absence,
and time away helps to redefine the goals I have for blogging in the first place.
I have found this practice to be very beneficial!

The challenge with an online life is that it's *live* 24/7.  
And, often we can feel its pull.  Resisting that pull is key to remaining in control of it.  
In the early days I posted frequently, and I visited other blogs frequently as well.  

It was a learning curve.  

Sometimes the school of hard knocks is necessary.  It's the way it often is.  
Now, I visit others when I can.  I blog when I can.  I leave the rest.  
True friends will understand.  They really will.  
And, isn't that what we all want?  True friends who understand?  

Yes, I think so.  

If we expect understanding, we must also give it.  
Sometimes we need space.  Our friends will too.  
What a blessing it is that we can pick up 
where we left off and resume a true friendship at any time. 

Oh, the joy of it!  

Grace extended and received is a beautiful thing. 
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for extending it to me. 
May the LORD help us all to find the balance in all things ~
yes, even in blogging...for HIS glory alone.

Would you like to share your ideas on this topic with all of us?

It would be lovely to read your thoughts on how
to keep blogging in its proper place ~
Please feel free to share in the comments of this post.  

Blessings to you all!  
With Love, Camille

**Photo in this post courtesy of Calvin ~

Thank you my love!  XO

January 14, 2013

A-mazing Oatmeal Options!

How is your oatmeal repertoire?
Do you even eat oatmeal in your home?
Does it ever get boring to have plain old oatmeal every day?
No, really?  It does?  Yup, me too.
Get ready...because...
This, my oatmeal-weary friends, is the post for you!

Let me share with you some of my new finds ~
A-mazing Oatmeal Options!!
And, yes...they really are that good!!  :)  

 First up ~ Basic Chocolate Oatmeal originally posted by Katie
who writes the "Chocolate Covered Katie" blog.
Okay, is it even right to make your oatmeal into dessert?
Let's not even open up a debate on that one...agreed?  
Oh, and if you don't like chocolate, you won't like this.  :)

Here's what I did to make it mine.
This will make enough for about four ~
depending on hunger levels.  

5 cups Liquid ~ I used half water and half milk ~ 
(or, all of one or the other)
2 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats ~
(You could substitute Quick Cooking oats...
just reduce cooking time accordingly)
3/4 tsp Sea Salt

Put these three ingredients into a medium sized,
heavy-bottomed pot.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer partially covered
for about 8 to 10 minutes, until it gets creamy.

Stir in the following, and mix well ~
3 Tbsp Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
1/3 cup Sugar ~ I use dehydrated cane juice
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Cover with lid and let sit off the heat 
for about 5 minutes prior to serving.
Stir in more of your choice of liquid, if necessary.
Serve with a few chocolate chips sprinkled on top (yes, really!).
And, some chopped nuts ~ I like pecans.
Drizzle with milk or cream.

Dig in ~ I dare you!!  ;-)

 Next up ~ Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oatmeal originally
posted on the "Real Mom Kitchen" blog.

A little less dessert-ish, but, completely yummy-ish ~
This recipe fits the bill for a great crock pot breakfast that
can be prepared the night before.
Who does not like to have the morning's work done ahead of time?
And, what could be better than waking up to a cinnamon-y,
apple-ish-ously smelling home in the morning?
Nothing.  That's what!

This recipe will serve six to eight hungry adults.
If you like creamy rice pudding, you will like this.
Yum.  Yum!

One more thing...I found it necessary to fill my
large crock pot half full with water and then I used a 2.5 Litre (2.5 Quart)
casserole dish to hold the recipe ingredients.
I placed this dish into the water and then put the crock pot
lid on the whole thing.
The first time I made this recipe it burned...
perhaps I just have a weird crock pot...
could very well be!

Whatever the reason, it was not pleasant.
Only half the oatmeal was salvageable.
However, the second time I made this, 
I did the insert thing and it worked beautifully!
No burned stuff to scrape off.
And, every last bit of this yummy oatmeal 
was ready to gobble down.


3 Gala apples cored and chopped ~ skin on
3 cups Milk
2 cups Water
1 cup Apple Juice ~ I like organic, fresh-pressed
2 cups **Steel Cut Oats ~ uncooked
**(Don't use regular oatmeal in this recipe...
it will become too mushy!)
1/4 cup Maple Syrup 
2 Tbsp Butter ~ cut into little pieces
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon ~ ground

Butter your casserole dish.
Mix all ingredients together and carefully pour 
into the casserole dish.
It will come nearly to the top.
Stir well.

Place into your crock pot. Put the lid on.
Turn the heat to low and set on the counter
to cook while you sleep.
This will take about 7 to 8 hours.

Mine burned after about 5 hours on my first try,
when I cooked it directly in the crock pot.
No fun!  I woke up at about 4:30 am to the smell of burnt sugar.
Take my advice, and use the casserole set-up
and there will be no issues.
It is so worth it!!

In the morning, remove your casserole dish
from the crock pot and stir the oatmeal prior to dishing it out.
Serve with chopped pecans, raisins,
a little more brown sugar and milk or cream.
Enjoy!!  And...do let me know what you think!  :)

Many Blessings,

January 11, 2013

It's a Tradition

Every year (for quite some time now), we make an effort to 
go to Burnaby Village Museum one evening prior to Christmas Day.
It's a tradition.  And, a wonderful one at that!  :)

We ran into friends on our way in.  
In fact, these are the friends who
originally told us about this fabulous museum.
How fun is that?

We enjoyed going through much of it together.
And, when we parted company, we reconnected throughout the evening.
We couldn't have planned it better if we had tried!  

Since Calvin is our family photographer,
Howie and I get into more photos together.  It's a new thing.

We're Canadian...can you tell?

Our sweet friends rode with us on 
the restored carousel.
And, Calvin took photos.  In the photo below ~
Fraser and I are standing on the left of the carousel,
Austin, Emma and Howie are seated on their mounts!  :)

Even Austin was able to join in!  
What a blessing!!

Here's our favourite house on this site.
It's in its original location ~ built about 100 years ago.
Yes, in Canada, that is old enough to be in a museum!  

Want to come in for some hot chocolate 
or hot apple cider?
Emma and I would enjoy hosting you here! 

Ah...there's Calvin!!
He did a self-timed photo and jumped into
it so we could all be together.  :)

We like to end the evening with a stop
at Krispy Kreme on the way home.
Dear me!  It's a dangerous thing to do!!

What are some of the special traditions you have
with your family in the days around Christmas?
It would be lovely if you would share!  :)

Many Blessings,

**Photos in this post courtesy of Calvin ~
Thank you my love!  XO

January 9, 2013

After Ten Years...

After ten years of cutting Emma's hair exclusively,
I finally took her to the hairdresser.  The boys are a different story.
No one has ever cut their hair but me.
Up until yesterday, I could say the same for my Li'l Em.

In the spring, after the wedding,
Emma asked to have her hair bobbed.  I complied.
However, it was challenging to do, and I was forever *correcting* it!
She was planning to grow out her bangs at the same time.
And, that's what she's been doing.

All good, until now.
It needed a little (or, a big) professional touch.
And, that was where this idea came in.

It may be another ten years before we do this again,
so, I thought it necessary to capture the experience in photos.
Our hairdresser kindly consented.
And, she even agreed to let me post them on this blog.

She also taught me ~ A LOT!!
When it came time to pay, she told me the cut was free,
but, that I would have to pay for the lesson.
Wasn't it sweet of her to teach me?  I didn't even ask!  :)

Many of the photos captured the hairdresser's hands
flying about...they were blurry so often!  
MUCH quicker than mine when I do Emma's hair ~
Just ask her about it sometime!  ;-)

They both look like they had an 
enjoyable time, don't you think?
Two lovely ladies.  :)

Now, if I can just remember what I learned,
it will be a very good thing.  

Many Blessings,

January 7, 2013

Money Matters

Let's talk money.
Cash.  Credit.  Plastic.  Budget.
Because it matters.

My husband and I were both raised with conservative
money management ideals.
The credit card was to be completely paid in full each and every month.
That's what we were taught.  That's what we've always done.

We've lived with a budget for years.
But, I felt there was room for improvement.
And boy, was I right!  

Recently, I challenged myself to use cash 
to see if there would be a difference in my shopping habits.
And, to my surprise, and delight, it has been successful!

I have not done the *Dave Ramsey* course.
But, I've read enough about it to make me sit up and take notice.
Cash envelopes.  No credit card use.  Budget.  Emergency Fund.
These were some of the things mulling about in my brain.

Would it really make a difference to use cash?
Would I really spend less?
After all...we were using credit like cash, weren't we?

Apparently not. 

The concept is simple.

Set a budget.
Decide what you are willing to spend
in the month and set that money aside for specifics.
Give each dollar a job to do.  Savings, spending, food, rent, giving, etc.
Determine ahead of time what is reasonable.
Do your best to stick to it!

There will be bumps along the way.
If you've never budgeted before, you may have no clue where your money goes.
That's okay.  You'll soon find out!  :)
It can take a few months to get into the swing of things with a budget.

Tweaking is allowed.  In fact, it's encouraged.

I'm not going to get into the specifics here.

But, this one thing I will say ~ absolutely (without a doubt!),
paying with cash helps keep me on track.
It helps to keep me accountable.
At least, that's been my experience!

And...the money?  
It goes further.  

Oh, and one more thing.

I'm in control of it, and not the other way around.
It's very liberating.  Freeing.
Try it!  I'm sure you'll be glad you did! 
I can't believe we didn't do this sooner.  :)

Many Blessings,

**Image in this post courtesy of Calvin ~

Thank you my love!  XO

January 5, 2013

Going Digital

I've been living in the dark ages.
Technology and I have often been at odds.
The *old* ways are often the most comfortable.

And, so it is.

I got the biggest calendar I could get my hands on.
With the biggest squares.  It lived in my drawer.
It's how it's been for years.  Until recently.

I couldn't take it any more.

Too many things got moved, cancelled, rescheduled ~ a mess ensued.
In case you don't already know this about me ~
I like things to be orderly and neat.  Even my calendar.
And, it was anything but!  It was time for a change.

Welcome to my life Google Calendar!
I think I'm gonna *love* you!  :)

I think I can breathe.
Finally, I am up to date ~ at least in this area.
How about you?  Paper or digital?
Do tell.  Inquiring minds want to know.  :)

Blessings to you!

January 4, 2013

Slow Down

A theme for the New Year?
A word?  A thought?

These are all popular notions ~ popular ideas.
I'm not much into making resolutions
of the material sort ~
lose weight, exercise more, etc.
Not that these things are wrong,
I'm just not in the habit of doing it.

But, thought ought to be given routinely
to the direction our lives are going in.
The path on which we tread.
Yes.  Often.  Not just on January first.
And, so, in light of this ~ a thought.

Quietly mulling around in my mind
is this one thought ~ Slow Down.

Slow Down and rest in HIM.
Slow Down to read and meditate in HIS Word.
And, hide it in my heart.
Slow Down in order to 
spend more time with HIM in prayer and quiet.

Slow Down and really live each moment for HIM.
Enter fully into the moments HE gives.
And, invest in the lives HE has given.
Every. Single. Day.

Is that not enough?
What else is there??

May the LORD help me to truly
slow down and live.
For HIS glory.  By HIS grace.
In HIS strength.

"So teach us to number our days,

that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
~ Psalm 90:12 ~

May the LORD bless each one of you

in this coming year!

With Love,