April 29, 2013

Enid Blyton Novels

Emma and the boys have all enjoyed Enid Blyton novels ~
They are definitely for both boys and girls...how great is that?
Have you heard of this author before now? 
I learned about her when I married my Sweetie ~ his family is British.

Enid Blyton lived in England and wrote over 600 novels
for children and young people mainly during the 1940's and 50's.
Her novels often include adventure and mystery in which children do
the adventuring and mystery solving with minimal adult intervention.
They are *old-fashioned* and refreshing while transporting
the reader to a time of long ago.

Don't we all enjoy visiting other times and places and people
in the safety and comfort of our own home or back yard?

Emma has been devouring the adventure series 
of books ~ click on the link above to find them for purchase.
I often find Emma sneaking in a reading time over and above
what is required ~ she'll take a book with her to the 
yard, in the car, in the bath, or curled up in a cosy chair.
It's a joy to this Mama's heart.  :)

Happy Reading!

**Disclaimer ~ I am not compensated for my opinions, I just share what I like.

Please be aware that these books, being of the *old-fashioned* variety,
 sometimes contain things considered politically incorrect in our day.

April 26, 2013

Sun Starved

I'm sure I've said it before, but, it bears repeating ~
by this time of the year we are sun starved in our neck of the woods.
Absolutely and utterly sun starved.  We get a little giddy when we begin to
feel the warmth of its rays after a long winter of wet, rainy, grey days.

The line goes up (we take it down for the winter months due to 
the fact that it's attached way up high to a spindly tree that sways 
in the wind...I've lost more than one line to a wind storm),
the BBQ makes its d├ębut, and the tulips come into bloom.

It's time for us all to begin soakin' up some rays ~

And, boy oh boy, are we ready! 

I've been finding the two youngest outside reading lately ~
Fraser (in the first photo) opts for no blanket...
and Emma (below) prefers to use one.

 Sparkly shoes complete the ensemble...of course!  :)

Is it warming up where you live?  
What is your favourite thing about spring?

Many Blessings to you!

April 22, 2013

Yummy Oatmeal Muffins

In keeping with my recent buttermilk theme,
I'm going to share one of my favourite muffin recipes with you.
This particular recipe comes from the Canadian Heritage Cookbook ~
I think that's fitting since I am Canadian through and through.  :)

I've altered the method a little to allow for a soaking time for the oats.

Did you know that soaking grains is an important thing to do?
I didn't until just a few years ago. 
It's not difficult to incorporate soaking into the cooking process ~
it just requires a little planning ahead.

Before I share the recipe, I need to tell you about another favourite of mine.
These paper chef parchment paper muffin liners are the Best!
And, did you know that they can be re-used?
Even though they are more expensive than their bleached
or coloured counterparts, they are more economical if you 
use them twice instead of just once.
I've even made them last for three baking sessions.

Now, on to the recipe.
Here is my hand printed recipe...hope you can read it!
If not, just ask.  I'm getting lazy, aren't I?  :)

The oats I use are the rolled/old fashioned ones.

I use sea salt, and occasionally, I will substitute Sucanat 
(as pictured below) for the brown sugar. 
I use butter, not oil, and if I want to be extra good, 
I will use whole wheat flour instead of white.  :)

Mix buttermilk and oats in a large bowl ~
Cover with plastic wrap and leave on counter to soak overnight.
In the morning, mix brown sugar, egg, and melted butter into the oat mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sea salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until just moistened.
Spoon into muffin tins lined with papers ~
if you do not use paper liners, grease the tins.

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes ~

A toothpick will come out clean when they are done.
Mine are usually done in 20 minutes.
Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Makes about 10 to 12 large muffins.

The photo above shows the muffins prior to baking ~
I fill the cups right to the top.  
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.  :)

Many Blessings,

April 18, 2013

Buttermilk Pancakes

There is just something down-home-good
about buttermilk pancakes, don't you think?
And, a stack of them?  Hot off the griddle?
So much the better.

This is one of those recipes that I copied from
my Mom's recipe box when I was still in my teens.
It's a classic.  Want to know the recipe?
Of course, I will share...you knew I would, didn't you?  :)

~ Buttermilk Pancakes ~
(From my Mom's recipe box long, long ago)

2 cups Flour

1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 Tbsp Sugar 
2 Large Eggs
2 cups Buttermilk (full fat)
2 Tbsp Butter, melted

Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Combine eggs, buttermilk and butter in another bowl ~ whisk together.
Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to moisten with your whisk ~ 
don't worry about really little lumps.

Heat frying pan to 375-400 degrees ~ 
when it's hot enough a little water dropped on the
pan will dance and evaporate.

Melt a little butter in the pan and swirl around.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake onto the pan.
Cook until small bubbles form and pop ~ see photo above.
Flip to cook the other side ~ they are done when they are golden in colour.

Serve hot with butter and maple syrup ~ YUM!
This recipe makes 16 four inch pancakes.
In our opinion, they are better than any pancake mix around.
I'm sure you'll love 'em just like we do.  :)

Blessings to you,

April 15, 2013


Sixteen.  Our Calvin is sixteen!
He wants to learn to drive.
I'm not sure if I'm ready for what that entails ~ LOL.
How can my little *Bulldozer* be ready to take the keys?

It was with great joy that we welcomed our second

little boy into our lives sixteen years ago.
Calvin was born only six days after Austin's second birthday.
It was so exciting for Austin to have a little brother to grow up with.
Right from the start, Calvin made us smile.
He was always full of life and energy, and still is!

 Calvin, I remember when you were about three
years old, just before going to bed at night, you would cheerfully say ~
"When I wake up in the morning...I can have some food!"
You always said this little phrase while doing your characteristic
hopping step and wearing a big grin on your face.
Oh, how you made us laugh!

 The LORD has graciously saved you Calvin,
and has called you His own.
He is shaping you and moulding you into
a caring and compassionate young man.
We are so pleased to see how the LORD 
is working in your heart and life.
He is evident in you ~ at the end of the day,
that is all that really matters.

 Follow and serve Him all the days of your life ~
with all that you have and all that you are.
He will never fail you.  He will always be Faithful.
He will lead you and guide you as you seek Him for wisdom.
What a blessing it is to belong to Him!

What would we do if you were not in our family?
It just would not be the same. 
We are so very thankful that the LORD 
entrusted you to our care and placed you in our home.
We are blessed to be your parents.
We are so thankful that the Lord 
chose you to be our son.

With all our Love,

Dad and Mum XOXO

FYI ~ His birthday *cake* was not a cake at all ~

He requested Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream,
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (perhaps a future post?),
Homemade Chocolate Sauce and Smarties.  

April 12, 2013

7.6 Pounds ~ An Update

During Austin's recent crisis in his struggle with DCM and Crohn's,
we sought the LORD as to what He would have us do next.
Day by day, He leads.  Moment by moment, He is Faithful.
Where would we be without Him?

Last Friday, Howie and Austin visited with the 
Heart Failure Specialist at Children's Hospital.
This particular Cardiologist made it very clear that he 
does not expect Austin's heart to recover.
He only hopes that it will not get any worse.

Our Electrophysiologist, however, has a
conflicting opinion about Austin's prognosis ~ 
she believes his heart could recover some of its function.
Austin's pacemaker is therapeutic ~
its purpose is to facilitate improved heart function 
over time with ongoing treatment.
However, neither specialist knows the future for Austin.

We serve a Great God, and He alone holds the future.
Our hope does not lie in man or medicines or devices.
Our hope lies in the LORD of the Universe!
Whatever He deems best is what we seek after.
By His grace.  For His glory.
It's easy to demand what we want.
To dig our heels in and say we will accept nothing less than a miracle.
But, we do not command God.  
He is the Potter.  We are the clay.
We must submit to His way with us ~ it is best.
May we remember this.  Always.
Even when the valley is deep, the path long, 
and the sorrow nearly crushing.

We must remember.  He is Good.

In recent weeks we have employed another
set of means to help settle the Crohn's down.
It appears to be working well.
Austin has gained 7.6 pounds in three weeks.
He is encouraged.  So are we.  
The Lord has led us each step of this journey.
We look to Him to make these means a blessing to our son.

Reducing the heart medicines has also produced some good results.
We are so thankful that the Lord has gone before us in these things.
So thankful that He prepared the hearts and minds of the
physicians who care for Austin.

It's all such a blessing and an answer to prayer.

It seems that once again, the tide may be turning.
There still is a long way to go, but, the initial signs have been good.

Eleven months ago, we were rejoicing to see

our son thriving after nearly losing him.
How quickly the change was wrought in his physical body.
It was a glimpse of how life was prior to any of these challenges.
Only a few months later, however, a decline in Austin's health began.

It surely has been a roller-coaster, but, 

our Precious Saviour has carried us through at every turn.
I can testify to the fact that He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
Wherever He leads, He gives the grace and strength required for the journey.

How blessed we are to belong to Him!

Wherever this path ends up, we have confidence that
He will lead and guide for our good, and for His glory.
There really is nothing to fear and everything to hope.
Because He is Good.  Always.

Thank you so much for praying for our family.

We are thankful for all the loving care and concern shown to us.
May the LORD bless you each one.

With Love,

April 8, 2013


Today, Austin is eighteen.  Eighteen!!  
I'm not sure how that happened.
Wasn't it just yesterday that the Lord lovingly
placed him in our hearts and home?
How is it possible that we have been on this journey
of parenthood for eighteen years?
We cannot possibly be old enough...can we?  :)

 Just a year ago, we were celebrating the 

fact that Austin was able to come home from the hospital
in time for his special day.
Just days prior, we were not sure if he would 
even live to see his seventeenth birthday.
God graciously allowed him to ~ we are so thankful He did!

 Austin, the LORD has taught you much of Himself.
He has graciously saved you and called you His own.

He has taken you through some deep waters,
and you have come through them because of His grace.
We thank Him for the strength He gives.
We praise Him for His mercies.
What a wonderful blessing it is to know
that you are complete in Him.

How precious it has been to witness

your confidence in our Great God, 
while surrendering yourself to His will for you.
Even if that meant taking you Home to be with
Him while you were still in your teens.
We have been so encouraged to witness your faith in the LORD.
We are thankful that your trust is in Him. 

May the LORD grant that you would have

many more years to serve and follow Him.
May His hand continually be upon you, 
and may you know His leading in your life.
Follow Him wherever He leads.
Trust Him with all that you have.
There is nothing more noble than serving Him.
He alone is worthy.

We love you so very much,

and we count it an honour to have
been chosen to be your parents.
It is a blessing to call you our son.

All our Love,

Dad and Mum XOXO

April 6, 2013

Low Point ~ An Update

We are at a low point with Austin on 
Very low.  It's actually been frightening to watch him struggle.
His weight got to the lowest ever two weeks ago.
We continue to pray and seek the LORD at every turn.
There have been many bends in this road.
Humanly speaking, we are weary.  Very weary.

But, God's grace is sufficient in the midst of it all.

When Austin's weight reached its lowest point,

we took him to emergency expecting to admit him,
but, they felt he was well enough to go home with us.
We took him home and continued with the course
of treatment we were on.  We continued to pray.
In the last two weeks he has gained four pounds.
He is still far below his ideal weight,
but, we are grateful for any additional pounds.

We praise the LORD for His mercies!

Yesterday, Howie and Austin went up to
Children's Hospital to meet with the heart failure specialist.
The purpose of the meeting was to establish which
of the medicines could be eliminated or reduced.
He has been on four.  A cocktail.
It would appear that they may be interfering with
his progress on the Crohn's front.

The meeting was productive.
However, the doctor informed both Howie and Austin
that they are experimenting with our son.
They do not really know what will work for him
and what won't.  Trial and error. 
He admitted that Austin's case is a challenging one.

This confirms to us how imperative it is
that we are actively involved in the decision making process.
For that, we need much wisdom and strength.
Our gracious LORD promises to give it. 
Step by step.  Day by day.  Moment by moment.
Throughout this most recent struggle,
we have been encouraged by the following verse ~

“…neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” 
~ 2 Chronicles 20:12 ~

He has been Faithful.  He continues to lead us so gently along.
How wonderful it is to rest in the fact that our Loving
Heavenly Father is the Great Physician!
We continually lay our son at His feet and trust Him for the outcome.
He always does all things well.

Austin loves the LORD.  His sins are forgiven.
He rejoices in his Saviour.  We are thankful for these mercies.
Such mercies!  This has been such a comfort to our hearts.
We rejoice that truly, our times are in HIS hands.

Thank you to each one of you who have prayed for our family
over the past many months ~ you have blessed us greatly.
We appreciate all the loving care and concern shown
to us ~ each one of you has been such an encouragement.

If the LORD should bring us to mind,
would you please pray that Austin would put on weight
and that the adjustment to his medications would be
of benefit to his body?  Please also pray that whatever the 
outcome should be, we would still praise HIM.
Thank you so very much!

May the LORD have His way in this whirlwind.
And, may we come forth as gold ~ tried, but not consumed.
He alone is worthy of all our praise.

With Much Love,

April 3, 2013

Benefits of Homeschool

This morning, right after breakfast 
and quiet time, we tackled math.
We were both still in our PJ's and 
matching pink housecoats.

These are some of the benefits of homeschool.

 While we were at it, I noticed Buddy was a little lonesome.

 So, Emma scooped him up and snuggled him during her math lesson.

Truly, these are the benefits of homeschool...

wouldn't you agree?  :)

Blessings to you!

April 1, 2013

Yippee for Spring!

Here on the West Coast of Canada,
we are a little sun-starved by the time spring arrives.
It's wonderful to finally feel its warmth on our faces,
and to get out into the sunshine after many months indoors.

This past Saturday, we were able to get some work
done outside, and when we were finished, 
we ate supper at the picnic table in the yard ~
Yippee for Spring!

I had the camera handy to capture life 
as it happened, and these are the results.
Bits and pieces of our day...

~ Fraser's hat on the picnic table

~ Hockey sticks set in the corner, just inside the front gate,
waiting to be used by the boys in a street hockey game

~ Three of my men...working hard!

~ Calvin got in the way of Howie's shovel  :)

~ The finished drain in the back lane

~ Looks like a job well done

~ Emma...my gardener

~ She's a natural

~ Nourishment for our boy...what a blessing!

(Austin's missing in our photos these days due to the fact 
that he's not been feeling well at all ~ 
Consequently, he has not been *out and about*).

~ Clothes ready to pass along

~ The view from the sliding door on the deck
looking into our home toward the front room window

~ The view looking from inside the open sliding door
out the back ~ see the sheets on the line?
Mmmm...I *love* sheets fresh off the line.

~ My Sweetie at the front door

~ Calvin and Howie heading off on their bikes together ~
they were on their way to the airport to watch planes and cycle

~ Our ornamental cherry tree ready to burst out in colour

What a blessing it is to experience the seasons
and the changes they bring.

I *love* the freshness and smell of spring.
I *love* the long days, warmth and change of pace of summer.
I *love* the colours and coolness of Fall.
I *love* the cosiness that winter brings with its
dark nights and fires in the fireplace.

I *love* the seasons.

"To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die:
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace."

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ~

May the LORD give us wisdom to know what
to do with the seasons HE gives.
For HIS glory alone.

Many Blessings,