Monday, December 31, 2007

the year that was...

That's it for 2007...so I thought I'd take a quick look back at the year that was!

January...at Harrison Hotsprings with the grandkids.

February...memories of a weekend in Birch Bay with my sisters.

March...making 'little peeps' with Spencer and Emerson.

April...riding the lazy river in Palm Springs with good friends.

May...Jeremy, the kids and Chief walking home across the fields.

June...driving through a prairie storm in Manitoba.

July...Chilliwack Lake (one of many lakes we visited with our Swiss friends).

August...making hay while the sun shines.

September...celebrating dad's 85th birthday.

October...a wonderful family weekend at Alpine Meadows Resort.

November...trip to Grand Canyon and beyond!

December...celebrating Christmas with the family.

It was a year of many blessings...it is so good to pause and look back on occasion! Tomorrow we start the next chapter. Who knows what that will bring? What I do know, is that God will be faithful come what may!

And, it's hard to believe, but I am on the eve of my 100th post. I can't even begin to write about this experience today, but I've had a lot of fun playing with pictures and words (that's what blogging is, right?) So watch for the traditional '100 things about me' post tomorrow. I am giving away a calendar for the new year (garden pic's I took last year). So leave me a comment or send me an e-mail, and I will enter your name in the draw...winner to be determined on January 2, 2008.

Happy New Year to you all!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

We have this moment today...


Time...it slips by unnoticed! Another year is about to end...

did we accept each day as a gift from God? That is my resolve for the New Year...to enjoy the blessings of each day. Sometimes we are so driven by tomorrow or so caught up in the past, we don't notice what's happening around us.

These are the words to a song that I sang so often when my kids were little...great lyrics that often come back to remind me to enjoy the moment!

We have this moment to hold in our hands
And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand
Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come
But we have this moment, today.

Hold tight to the sound of the music of living
Happy sounds from the laughter of children at play
Hold my hand as we walk through the sweet fragrant meadows
Making memories of what was today.

Tiny voice that I hear is my little girl calling
For daddy to hear just what she has to say
My little boy running there by the hillside
May never be quite like today.

Tender words gentle touch and a good cup of coffee
And someone who loves me and wants me to stay
Hold them dear while they’re near don’t wait for tomorrow
To look back and wish for today.

Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come
but we have this moment, today.

Seize the day...enjoy what God has given us to enjoy and make memories that can never be made again!

(Lyrics by Bill & Gloria Gaither)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Years Fritters...it's that time!

I just thought I should remind you that the clock is ticking...only a few more days until the year is over. And at my house, we can't celebrate New Year's without having portzelky...a little deep-fried tidbit that is ever so yummy! It's a traditional Mennonite food...but our Dutch neighbours make them also (and they are every bit as good!) I'll even post the recipe for you, if you want to give them a try. Since I will be cooking a turkey dinner on New Year's Day this year, and couldn't quite figure out when the portzelky would fit into the time schedule, I've taken the easy route and have my order placed with Mrs. Kooeyman. She is one amazing lady who cooks up thousands of olliebollen (Dutch equivalent of portzelky) every December. My hubby figured out years ago, that he could have the delightful fritters more than once a year, if he stopped by her place on her cooking days.

Portzelky

2 Tbsp. yeast
¼ cup sugar
2 cups lukewarm milk
¼ cup melted butter
4 eggs, well beaten
2 cups raisins / 2 cups chopped apples
1 tsp salt
51/2 cups flour (approximately)

oil for deep frying
icing sugar for rolling

Prepare yeast as instructed on package. Scald milk and cool slightly. Add yeast and sugar to milk; slowly mix in eggs, butter, salt and flour and mix thoroughly. Add fruit (golden raisins and chopped apples). Allow to rise in a warm place until mixture is about twice it’s size (about an hour). Drop by small amounts (heaping teaspoonfuls) into hot oil. Turn when browned on one side. Remove with slotted spoon or tongs and sprinkle with icing sugar.



It’s a bit of a trick to have the oil at the right temperature…I find medium heat seems to work best and it takes me close to an hour to cook this recipe. (You want to make sure they are cooked through to the centre, not just browned on outside.) My mom in law always made them with a mixture of raisins and dried apricots (very yummy)…or you can use just raisins if you prefer. We like the apple/raisin combination.

So that's my recipe if you want to give it a try. As for me, I'll put it away until next year and we will have olliebollen to ring in 2008.

Enjoy the day...I know I will! I have three precious children coming shortly for the last sleepover of 2007!

Friday, December 28, 2007

a work in progress!

There it is...partially completed, an afghan lying on the couch that will one day be home, and somehow feeling like an albatross around my neck. Here's how it all began...

About four years ago, we were busy planning to build a new home. It was just after Christmas that year that I began work on a ‘fisherman’ afghan that I planned to complete before we moved in. I recall flying to Texas to visit my sister (Bev) that February and working on my afghan en route.
I actually got it finished, and it looked great on the couch once we were in our new house. That’s when I realized I had a problem! Hubby was used to spreading himself out on the couch and using whatever blanket was handy. We now had only a great room (no family room couch). What was I thinking…putting a cream coloured blanket on the sofa, and then telling him he couldn’t use it, unless he got out of his work clothes? I moved the new afghan to the window seat, where it still is today…

and we just go get it on occasion. But I promised I would make him an appropriate blanket to use when he wasn’t in his ‘Sunday best’ clothes.

So I got to work on a rag quilt, which turned out great! In fact, it looked really good on my other window seat, which I still had no cushion for…

so I decided it would just stay there until I got a proper window seat cushion made. But, that meant he still did not have the blankee I promised him. I would just crochet him another one…dark colours, big hook…that wouldn’t take long! But by then it was nearly summer and he really never needed an afghan (no couch time in the summer!)…so the next year I started his new blanket. It sort of got put on the back burner for a time, and last fall I knew I really had to finish the project. We took a road trip to the Kootenays last September, and in the evenings I would work on the afghan…while he read novels. It was more about finishing the job, then enjoying the task by this time! One evening I noticed my arm was getting quite sore, but I just propped up my elbow and kept hooking. The end was in sight! I finally opened up my huge project, and could not believe what I saw. I had just kept plugging along…row after row (never looking at the whole picture and never counting stitches), and my blanket had increased in size on every row. He thought it was just fine…really didn’t care if it was 4 feet wide at the start and six feet wide at other end! And maybe I should have just thrown the whole thing in the garbage (Vee would have!). But I spent the next day unraveling, and really didn’t feel like starting again. By the time we got home, I had a very sore arm. This continued for a long time…and I found out I had developed tennis elbow from working on that blanket. It got so bad, that I had a useless right arm for months. I couldn't open the door to the mall…or pick up a coffee mug with my right hand. That was one year ago, and it took months to heal.

So this fall I decided to pace myself, and work on the blanket on occasion…I did not want to wreck my arm again. I debated taking the project along on our road trip last month, but couldn't see myself working on the huge, warm blanket in the heat of Arizona, so abandoned that idea. Now I have had this work in progress sitting here in a basket, under the end table and next to the couch for months without ever touching it!

I thought if I left it out as a reminder, I might actually work on it once in awhile. It’s been really busy with Christmas preparations and all, so there just have not been any opportunities. But guess what I did yesterday? I finally pulled out the afghan project and it is now a few inches closer to completion. And barring any unforeseen circumstances, I’m thinking he may get his new afghan in 2008! Meanwhile, there are lots of old blankets he can use (just don’t leave them lying in the great room, because they don’t look so good!).

I'll let you know when my 'work in progress' is complete.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

my winter garden...

It's one of those grey days out here today. The ground is white, the clouds are low and you can't really tell where one stops and the other begins. So there's not much to see...or so I thought until I actually got out there!

The poor little birds (pictured at the feeder on my sidebar) have been neglected over Christmas...their feeder was empty. So I donned my lovely new GREEN boots, and went outside to fill up their feeder. Then I went back to grab the camera, because it was actually quite pretty once I took a closer look.
There are still a few oak leaves hanging on for dear life!

And my favorite hydrangeas aren't looking quite so happy these days...but now have a certain winter beauty!

The 'don juan' rose is still trying to put on a show!

Ryder will be happy to know, we still have raspberries!

I love raspberries...but am really happy we just have this one little row! I'm thinking of all the years that I spent all of January and February in the berry patch, tying raspberries. We had over 50 acres at one time...too many!

Here's the last of the season's grapes...I'm not into ice wine, so they'll have to go to the birds.

The spiders are busy, whatever the season.

Even the barren red twigs of the blueberry bushes look beautiful against the snow.

And the heather is peeking out from under the blanket.


So if things are looking grey and bleak today...take a closer look. It's amazing what beauty we are given to enjoy each day!

I think it's time to get back inside. These green boots were not meant for snow!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

that was christmas...2007


We had snow again on the weekend, it it was so pretty...
...but by Christmas Eve it had mostly disappeared. It didn't look like we would be having a white Christmas this year!
On Christmas Eve, we all went to the early church service...a family service, with the kids taking part in the program. Emme and Spencer were in the 'worship choir'...and even Ryder came up with the wee ones to sing 'Away in the Manger'. I love having the kids involved on Christmas Eve.
After church, we had the family over for appetizers and goodies. We missed having Kris, Lisa and Ranen join us, as they are spending Christmas with Lisa's grandparents in Saskatchewan this year.

The kids were so excited...one more sleep, and Christmas Day would be here!

This was the view off the front porch on Christmas morning. The kids came for brunch! Our menu is the same every year...Christmas morning wife saver casserole, croissants/rolls and fresh fruit salad.

And Grandpa Santa arrived right on schedule! Ryder just wasn't quite sure about that...and Santa had to remove his beard and moustache. With a little bribery, we even managed to get him to sit on Santa's lap...a Ford tractor did the trick!

After brunch, we all gathered in the living room to hear the Christmas story. Heidi read it to us this year, with a little help from the girls. Along with a few props from the nativity scene, we were transported back to that first Christmas in Bethlehem. This was a birthday party for Jesus!

But how fun that we get to open gifts today too! We open gifts in a very orderly fashion...the long-standing tradition is that we start with the youngest, and only one person at a time unwraps.

Ryder was really thrilled with his new firetruck...and we noticed that he had Baby Jesus riding in the front seat! How cute is that?

Now here was a gift he should have been really excited about...but he couldn't get past the fire truck! Tim and Heidi gave Ryder this beautiful hand carved rockin' Harley...Spencer demo'd it for us.

We gave the girls a dollhouse, which I'm sure they will have lots of fun with.

Here's my big girls modeling their Christmas scarves...and yes, I finished the one I started on the Coquihala Highway last week!

And we had a good laugh when Broni opened her gift from Heidi...fun green boots with hot pink lining. But why are they size 9? What...Heidi thought they were size 6! No amount of extra socks would look after all that spare room...so Heidi decided they must have been meant for herself!

Nope...they are too big on Heidi as well. It seems I am the proud owner of new green boots!

Once the last gift was unwrapped, we noticed Ryder had finally discovered his Harley! Sometimes it takes us awhile to 'really unwrap' the best gifts!

We had a wonderful time with the family...and we feel so blessed! We know how to give each other good gifts. How much more will our Father in heaven give us good gifts? There's so much more that happened this Christmas, that I can't share with you today. But maybe one day I will tell you 'the rest of the story'! This I know, that the Prince of Peace gave us His peace this Christmas season.

In the afternoon, the kids all left and we delivered a basket to a special person who so deserved a big thank-you yesterday. We dropped in at the emergency department of our local hospital to thank our family doctor who was voluntarily taking a shift on Christmas Day! The ER was humming...but we distracted Gord from his duties for a few moments. He was smiling as usual, and sent his greetings to the family...and brother Bill who was once his high school buddy.

As we left the hospital, we passed by this church...parishioners were leaving the Christmas mass.

It looked like the seagulls had also come 'en masse', and were sitting in a row along the peak.

We had a quiet evening...watched a great Christmas movie called "The Christmas Shoes" and also a Paul Brandt Christmas special which was filmed in Banff. And so ended Christmas Day 2007!

But not before the snow began to fall...

and we got our white Christmas after all!