May 31, 2013

One More Time

The children have done this once before.
The opportunity to do it again presented itself,
and I agreed to take them one more time.
Really, I don't fancy the idea of it becoming a habit.
I'm not at all in favour of them doing it for real.

Inside.  With harnesses.  And ropes.  And thick pads below.
That I can handle.  A few times ~ I think.  :)

They were unable to join us yesterday.
That's why only Fraser and Emma are featured in this post.
It was just me and them.  My two youngest.
Dear me.  How quickly they grow up.  

Emma was able to touch that blue rock at the tippy-top of the wall below.  :)

Fraser's in the striped shirt.

He made it to the top and rang the bell.  :)

There were places where they could free climb ~

 Fraser made it to the top of the wall in the photo below.

I happily kept my feet firmly planted on the floor,
while cheering my children on and snapping photos.  
It was the safest thing to do, wouldn't you agree?  :)

Happy Weekend!

May 29, 2013

Homemade English Muffins

Ever tried making your own English Muffins?
This was fun ~ I got the recipe from Mennonite Girls Can Cook.

They were not difficult to make and they tasted yummy.
Head on over to get the recipe and give them a try ~
I think you'll be pleased you did.  :)

The yeast I used was traditional,
and yes, there is only one rising time.
I baked them in my skillet at 325 degrees F ~
it took about 15 minutes per side to get them nicely browned.

I also made the leftover dough into a loaf of bread.
My family were very pleased that I did.  
There is nothing quite like bread warm from the oven ~
nothing quite like it at all!  :) 

Doesn't it all look yummy?
Go ahead...make some.  :)

Many Blessings,

May 28, 2013

Mum, Did you know Having a Budget is a Good Idea?

Our Fraser is a thinker and an asker of questions.
The other day he came out with this one ~
"Mum, did you know that having a budget is a good idea?
Do you and Dad have a budget?"

Too cute, don't you think?

It's a very good question, and one that required a good answer.
I trust that's what we gave him when we said yes, and explained why.
How about you?  Do you have a budget?

I cannot tell you how liberating it is to make one if you haven't already.

So liberating.  So freeing.  Not restrictive at all.  Well, not really.
In light of what is accomplished with a budget, it really isn't.
It's not difficult to get on track in this area.
There are many resources available to help you get started ~
that is, if you want to start at all.  :)
If you are going to begin, make sure to keep it simple.
And, don't be too hard on yourself at the beginning ~
things will become apparent and require adjusting
as you go along...that's normal.

Another great idea that we've implemented
around here is paying cash for things ~
especially for groceries.  It's been a wonderful thing.
And, it is true...we do spend less.

Just a little food for thought inspired

by my thought-provoking boy.  :)

Many Blessings,

**Image courtesy of Calvin ~ Thank you my love.  XO

May 27, 2013

A New Favourite and a Recipe

I have a new favourite around here.

I've always loved to read cookbooks and try new recipes.

Howie surprised me with a sweet cookbook that I spotted
in the cutest little kitchen shop a few years back.
It was right about the time when things were a little crazy in
my kitchen due to cooking so much new stuff for our precious oldest son.
This sweet book was set aside for awhile, but now, it's finally getting put to use.
I've made five things from it, and they have all turned out to be yummy.

Within its pages, you will find everything from starters to desserts, 

muffins, soups and main dishes ~ it's a keeper!  

**Goodness Gracious Cookbook ~ it would make a fabulous gift.
The illustrations are lovely and the recipes appear to be handwritten.
It's picture perfect ~ wonderful for a teacher's gift, Mother's Day,
Birthday, Christmas or *just because*.  It's just so pretty.  

One of my new favourites is found within its pages.

Skillet Dinner is one of the five new things I tried ~ have you ever made one before?
I hadn't.  It was easy and yummy and quick.  How can you miss?
It's not *gourmet*'s just *down-home-good* comfort food.

Here's what you do.

Take a pound of ground beef ~ I used the organic ground beef

from Costco which comes in 1.33 lb packs.  
Why do they do that, I wonder?
Consequently, I used the full package rather than just one pound.

Scramble fry the beef in your skillet until cooked.

Drain off the fat if necessary.
Add in 2 cups frozen corn kernels,
28 oz tin of diced tomatoes with juice,
2 cups fresh carrots chopped,
 1 cup shaped pasta, uncooked 
(use a little more for a more hearty end product) ~ 
I like using rice pasta in this recipe,
and a sprinkling of chili powder (approx. 1 tsp).

Bring to boil over medium heat ~ add water if it's sticking.

Reduce heat and simmer with lid slightly ajar, stirring occasionally,
until vegetables are tender and the pasta is cooked.
This will take about 20 minutes.
Add a little water as it cooks as needed ~
the end result is shown in the photo below.
I used some sea salt to season at the end of cooking ~
taste and see if it's necessary.
Sprinkle grated cheddar on each serving.  

Serves four generously.

This is on the menu this week ~ it's so easy and yummy.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Many Blessings,

*A note to my sister ~ Don't buy one of these cookbooks for yourself
or for any of our family as gifts...just sayin' ~ Love you!  XOXO

**I am not compensated in any way for my opinions...

I just enjoy sharing my finds with my friends. 

May 23, 2013

Another *L* in the Family

It's official ~ I'm getting old.  :)

Our Calvin has his learner's license ~
wasn't it just yesterday that he was our baby?
Time waits for no man, or, in this case ~ woman.
We must enjoy these seasons or we will forever be looking back
with fondness on days gone by all while missing out on today.

One day, I will look back fondly on these days ~ 
at least, I think I will.  *Wink*

As I advised when Austin got his learner's ~
Get out of the way!  :)

This is going to be an adventure.
Calvin's logged just over an hour ~ only 59 to go.
He must have an instructor (mostly me) with him for the first year and 60 hours ~
then, he will be able to challenge the road test for his *N* classification.
I'm in no hurry for this year to pass by ~ however, I do hope I survive it. 

On a side note ~ I have a little story to share about the 

vehicle we teach our children to drive in...
she's affectionately known as "Old Betsy".

When we acquired this family van, I was expecting Emma.
We were unable to fit another baby into our car, so a van was a necessity.
When we purchased her, Betsy was a new-to-us seven year old vehicle.
I casually mentioned to Howie that I thought she would be a
great van for the kids to learn to drive in ~ he laughed.
Austin was not quite seven years old at the time ~
when he would be old enough to drive, the van would be sixteen.

I smiled and secretly hoped I would be right.
And, I was.  Betsy is perfect.
And, she made it.  She's eighteen.

She's got a scratch or two already and
over 200,000 km on the odometer ~ a great provision, if you ask me.
Hang in there only have to last another six years ~
That would see us through to the end of Emma's year of learning.

What about you?  Have your children begun the adventure of driving?
Will you teach them to drive when the time comes?
If you do, please know that you have my greatest respect.  
It's certainly not for the faint of heart ~ or the weak of stomach. 
Let's cheer one another on...okay?  :)

Many Blessings,

May 22, 2013

Slow and Steady ~ An Update

The progress with Austin has been slow and steady.
Two steps forward and one step back at times, or so it would seem.
It's been quite a journey and one in which we find ourselves
looking to the Lord each step of the way ~ a good thing, really.
Isn't that how we always ought to live?
Day by day.  Moment by moment.  Step by step.

Yes, I believe it is.  

As a Christian, it's through these sorts of situations 
that we are taught this valuable lesson.
We will learn it until the day we go to be with our Saviour.
We will not arrive until we close our eyes in death.
How precious it is to know that He knows.
To know that He cares.  To know that He will carry us through.

Since our recent low point with Austin
two months ago, he has gained 18 pounds.
He now weighs in at 110 ~ he's nearly six feet tall.
Obviously, he is still underweight, but far better off than he was.
Needless to say, we were very concerned when his weight plummeted.

It was absolutely terrifying.

We prayed and asked the Lord what to do next and we waited.
A few days later Howie had a business meeting ~
the business person discovered some of our story
and loaned us a book which I subsequently devoured.
We were desperate and felt that the suggestion of
an elemental diet was the next step to take.
That's what we've been doing.

Austin was able to tolerate and receive the nutrition.
Day after day he grew stronger ~ very, very slowly.
His weight inched up ounce by ounce.
It's been an uphill battle these last two months.
There have been good days and bad ones,
but, overall the good outweighs the bad.

What a blessing.

The road ahead is still a long one.
We must battle through one day at a time.
We know that wherever this road leads the Lord walks it with us.
He goes before us.  We have nothing to fear.
He has proven to be Faithful over and over and over again.

Currently, Austin continues to put on weight ~ however, 
he is growing weary of the way in which he must nourish his body.
It's not for the faint of heart or weak in spirit, that's for sure!

We so covet the prayers of God's people.
We are thankful for each one of you who has
written and inquired and prayed ~ you are a blessing!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
May the Lord's will continually be done.
May He give us the grace we need to seek Him first.

With Love,

May 20, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Life's been full of random things lately.
It's been busy and good.  Never a dull moment.
These are bits and pieces of our lives from recent days.

Howie had the rare opportunity to work on his R/C plane
and take it flying ~ he only broke one piece of it this time!  :)

Calvin is one brave boy when it comes to electronics ~
here he is attempting to replace a computer part.
In case you are wondering, it hasn't come together yet.  
Perhaps it will ~ time will tell.  
He has had success in the past, I'm sure it will happen again.  :)

Emma has quite the collection of Geronimo Stilton books ~
they are silly and colourful adventure stories.

I've been baking a few new things lately ~
this was one of those *new things*...YUM!  :)

Even though the weather on May 13th was cold,
Fraser and Emma braved the waters of the outdoor pool.
It was the opening day of the swim season ~
Emma's philosophy is that if it's open, we must not miss out.

Don't they look like they are having a good time? was too cold for me!

Mother's Day produced some of these ~ aren't they beautiful?

The *old* Austin continues to emerge ~ It's a wonderful thing!  :)

Fraser got his first *for pay* lawn cutting job
at a neighbour's house ~ it's to last for the season...what a blessing!

Calvin graciously went to help out ~ another blessing.

Howie tackled a plumbing job for me ~ 

now, that's love...don't you think?

Only one part was required for the job, and below is the bill ~
what a provision!  SO thankful we didn't have to hire a plumber.

Emma's taken to playing outside on a picnic blanket with
the neighbour girl ~ they play Monopoly, Uno, Life and Taboo.

What about you?  Are you treasuring up some memories?

It would be lovely if you would share them with us here.
Enjoy these days ~ each one is a gift from HIS Loving Hand.

Many Blessings,


May 11, 2013

A Little Quiet

Just taking a little break ~ A little quiet.
From this space ~ For a time.
Perhaps a week or more?

May the LORD bless you each one 
in the coming days ~
He truly is Wonderful and worthy of all our praise.
I will plan to reconnect after a little while ~
I appreciate your patience and understanding.
Thank you for your kind friendship ~
Each one of you is a sweet blessing to me.  :)

With Love,

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

May 7, 2013

The View From Here

I know that one day I will forget.
My memories will fade.
And, partly, that is why I blog.
I blog for many other reasons, but this journal
of life in the here and now is a very important part of it.

I remember when the kids were small,

I thought it would go on and on and on in the same way forever.
And, then things changed.  They changed.  Routines changed.
It snuck up on us slowly, rarely did it happen suddenly.
And then, things were different.

This is my way of preserving the here and now forever.
These days are sweet and full and will not return to us as they are.
Things will change.  We will change.  And life marches on.
So, today...I'm sharing the view from here ~
Because I know it won't be like this for long.

Emma's cousin let her borrow her doll (the blonde one)

complete with clothes and bed ~ SO sweet!
Thank you may never know what joy you've brought.

 Emma tenderly cares for these two as though they were 
a living and breathing part of her little family.

 See the attention to detail?

  It's been gorgeous lately ~
Howie pressure washed and set up the deck furniture last weekend.
The children have taken full advantage of it and migrated  
outside with their studies ~ some more benefits of homeschool.  :)

We cannot tell you how wonderful it is to see 
this young man resume his studies...

...and take up the violin once again!  :)

Howie's parents have been down-sizing.

Pieces of their home have been integrated into ours ~
it's bittersweet.

 This photo was the inspiration for the post title ~
it's the view from our back sundeck...looking to the left.

 This little miss is growing up so quickly ~
remember the last time I posted a photo like this?

Cherish the days and moments and joys of life ~

they really are gifts to be thankful for.
May the LORD continually give us eyes to see
and hearts full of rejoicing in Him.
May He help us truly to enjoy the treasures of now.

Many Blessings to you!


May 5, 2013

Overwhelmed and Sinking?

Trials and troubles in this life can weigh us down.
Our focus can become blurred when we find ourselves 
overwhelmed with sorrows and difficult circumstances.

This ought not to be.

If we belong to the LORD, we have no reason for despair.
We have every reason to hope and to rejoice.  In Him.
But, how is it possible?  How can this rejoicing be ours?

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down 
at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners
against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
~ Hebrews 12:2-3 ~

Remember the time when Peter walked on the water to the Lord?
He was able to do it, as long as his eyes were fixed on his Saviour.
However, when he became distracted by the waves 
and his surroundings, he sank.

There are times when we find ourselves sinking, too.
How does it happen?

Most often, it's when we fail to look to our Saviour in all things.
We must battle to get our eyes off of self and circumstances,
and fill our minds with Truth ~ His Truth.
Fill our minds with our Lord Jesus Christ ~ Him alone.

We must remember where we are headed and remind ourselves
that this world, along with its sufferings, is only temporary.  
When things seem to be falling apart all around us, where do we turn?
How do we find peace in the midst of our trials?  
How is it possible to find peace at all?

Only by His strength and grace ~ 
Only in and through Him is any of it possible.
The God who calls provides.
The means are His provision.

What are those means?  Where do we begin?

We first must be sure that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Saviour.
When we are truly His, we are able to
fortify ourselves with the Word of God and Prayer ~ 
It's so simple, yet, so vitally important!

Simply reading Scripture and praying through it changes our outlook.
Our Precious Saviour meets us there and renews our vision.
Our perspective shifts from the temporal to the eternal.
Our minds fill with His greatness and all-sufficiency.

We become less.  He becomes more.

Listening to good sermons and attending services with other believers
is another means of grace that is a blessing in our Christian walk.
It's easy to neglect these most basic of practices,
but, if we do, we most surely will suffer in our souls.

It's the way we were made.  We need Him.

May God, by His grace, continually give eyes to see
and ears to hear.  May we follow Him and keep our eyes fixed.
Especially when the waves are high and the wind is fierce.
May we know without a doubt ~ He is in the storm.
May He cause us to worship Him in the midst of it all.

Much love,

**These thoughts are a result of the sermon our pastor preached this morning ~
Thank you Pastor B for faithfully expounding God's Word to us.
We are thankful to the Lord for you!  

**Photo courtesy of Emma ~ Thank you my little love!  XO

May 1, 2013

12.2 ~ An Update

We are so thankful for each of you who have been checking in with us
and praying for Austin ~ you bless our hearts!
It's been a few weeks since my last update, so it's time.
Thank you for your patience with us and for loving us through this season.

Things have slowly been going in the right direction.
Austin has gained weight ounce by ounce over the weeks.
He is coming back to us slowly.
And we live.  One day at a time.
How precious and precarious life is.

Through it all, we are conscious of the fact that

our God is Great and does all things well.

In the last nearly six weeks, Austin has gained

12.2 pounds ~ isn't that wonderful?
Please join with us in rejoicing over this answer to prayer.
Praise our Great God for His mercies ~ they are new every morning.
We are praying for a further gain of 15 to 20 pounds.
Although we ask for this, we seek to submit continually 
to our Loving Heavenly Father's will and timing in all of these things.

On another note ~ Austin's iron levels are too low.
The next step in this journey is to try yet another supplement
to avoid going the transfusion route.
Please pray along with us that this iron will be accepted
by Austin's body, and that it will improve his overall well-being.

We stay the course and plod along.
Grateful for every improvement and every advance ~
no matter how small or incremental.
Over time, they all add up to great strides forward.
We are thankful for each new day.  For each new grace given.
Thankful, too, that we do not walk this path alone.

It's been a journey.

It has not come to an end and it is not near its end.
How precious life is.  How blessed we are.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
It is amazing to belong to the Family of our Great God.
We will praise Him together forever ~ isn't that an incredible thought?

With love and grateful thanks,