Monday, March 31, 2008

the kite runner...

It wasn't exactly kite-flying weather around here this weekend. We have reverted to winter temperatures...winter clothing...and winter activities. That means we spent the weekend indoors.

On Saturday night we picked up the newly released screen version of "The Kite Runner". We had actually planned to watch it on the big screen at our local theatre earlier in the week, but it was sold out by the time we arrived. So we decided to throw our own little theatre party...and invited some friends to join us. The seats were comfy...the popcorn was free...we even had occasional commentary...the screen could have been a few feet larger (especially since a lot of the movie has sub-titles). But it was a good movie to actually puts you right there in Afghanistan!

The Kite Runner is the story of Amir and his childhood friend, Hassan...who fly kites together on the streets of Kabul in the 1970's and have an idyllic friendship. As Amir comes to realize that his friend is of a scorned ethnic group, he too rejects his best friend. After the Soviets invade Afghanistan, Amir flees to America with is father and here he attempts to build a successful life for himself. He can never forget the sins of his youth...and eventually chooses to risk his life to protect the helpless to make amends. Almost without exception, I enjoy the book better than the movie, and I was glad to have read The Kite Runner goes into so much more detail. But the movie was so well done...and it gave me a picture of life in Kabul before and after the Taliban. (Just don't rent this DVD if you are looking for something on the lighter side!)

And since it was a 'soupy' kind of weekend, I cooked up a pot of quick & easy tortellini soup, which I snagged from Trish's new blog. Check it out...lots of yummy recipes and musings from a busy gal with a knack for writing! I added a few spices to the soup...namely basil, oregano & cayenne and we quite enjoyed it.

Yesterday we met out-of-town family for lunch...had a wonderful meal together and eventually moved to the DQ for dessert. A wee bit of sun actually poked through the clouds for a bit in the afternoon...

...and I caught a few images of the weeping willow trees with their new foliage.

The cherry blossoms are just beginning to open...the flowers don't quite know what to make of the cool weather!

But who needs flowers when the leaves are so brilliant? I love the colours of spring!

The rain came down to end our day...but somewhere not too far away the sun was shining! This morning we have grey skies and wet roads...but that won't be stopping me from my morning walk, since I won't be walking alone today. There's nothing like good company to make the miles go by!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

no fear...

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears!
Psalm 34: 4

That wonderful verse is a reminder to give our fears over to God. Somehow we can move though the worst of circumstances with confidence when we are assured of His protection.

I have no idea what this week will hold...but no matter what happens, I know He will be faithful.

I will give Him my fears today...and again tomorrow.

Friday, March 28, 2008

lemon poppy seed cake...

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet,
but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

Who said that? I happen not to agree with Peter, Paul and Mary...because I love most anything with a bit of zesty lemon in it. Here's a quick and simple lemon cake...seems the right thing to be serving in spring (although it's been feeling more like winter around here the past few days).

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

1 Lemon Supreme cake mix
1 package (small) lemon instant pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
4 Tbsp. poppy seeds

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients...then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Pour into greased bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Invert onto serving plate & drizzle with lemon glaze while warm.

(Glaze...2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2/3 cups icing sugar)

We had our small group over last night...and it turned out to be smaller than if you want to come for lemon cake and coffee, there's plenty to go around!
I will be reading books this morning...nothing heavy like "A Thousand Splendid Suns' (which I'm wanting to get into). I'm letting Ranen pick her favorites...

...and she has many!

The sky was so beautiful this morning...I had to take one more picture of 'the view from my front porch'. I have many pictures taken from this same spot...but each morning is new, and not quite like any that have come before! Go and enjoy your day.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

smart shopper?

I like to think I'm a smart shopper...I buy in quantities to save dollars. Every couple of months (whenever I run low on coffee) I make the trek to Costco and stock up on a few of my favorite things. Their coffee is actually great...I buy the Kirkland 100% Colombian in the brown 3 lb. can. That's our everyday brand...occasionally I splurge on Starbucks beans!

And another of our Costco favorites is the Paisley Farm bean salad that I discovered a number of years ago. It's a quick side dish ..and I buy it by the case. I've learned that it is a seasonal product & they may not carry it in the winter I stockpile. There's usually a jar in the fridge...and I often throw a scoop or two of beans into our lunch salads.

Toss it up with some ranch dressing...yield one quick and yummy salad. While I'm there I always grab a bag of their European style romaine...for just over three dollars, we can eat a lot of salads.

And if you ever see Mrs. Chudleigh's apple blossoms in the Costco freezer section with the desserts, be sure to try them. They are a flaky flower shaped pastry, filled with apples, wrapped up and topped with an apricot glaze and crunchy crumble topping. They are just yummy! I haven't actually found any there for some time...M & M Meats has individually wrapped ones, which are much the same (just a little pricier).

Another of my all-time favorite Costco purchases has to be these boxed greeting cards.

A box of 50 beautiful cards are around $17....but they were on special this time, so I came home with this box for $12.95.

The box itself is great for storing greeting cards...all filed according to occasion. I buy about one box a year...there's always a card handy when needed, and many are blank inside so I can write my own message.

When I see the price tag on a 'designer' card these days...I am quite happy with my Costco cards!

I made my Costco run last week...and I was quite pleased with my great buys. As usual, I found all kinds of things that I had no intention of buying...but the deals were too good to pass up. Is that smart shopping?

Here's a 'smart shopper' I met in the Safeway parking lot the other night. I couldn't resist a photo...just too cute! I'm thinking that is the car I should have for my Costco run...I couldn't get carried away.

I'm off to do some (no shopping today). Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

hockey...bags...and candy shops!

Whew...I'm home from the hockey game...but just barely! For someone who is a very occasional hockey fan...and knows none of the players by was a more than I had bargained on!

When the game should have been over, I was quite ready for my Timmy's coffee (maybe it was that red sign beckoning me from across the rink all evening). But that was not to be...since the game was tied 3-3! Being a play-off game, it went into sudden-death overtime. By now I was an avid Chilliwack Bruins fan...if they would just end this game, I would be forever grateful! Let's just say we got our money's worth. It was one of the longest games in hockey history, and was finally over just before the end of the 3rd overtime period...which was almost midnight. Unfortunately, the Giants came out on top after five hours of play. I also learned that not all Tim Horton's are open around the clock...and we had to visit two before we found someone willing to serve me that promised cup of coffee at that hour.

If you are looking for a quick & easy's one for you! While wiling away my time in the waiting room of the doctor's office, I usually flip through magazines...and often copy down a recipe or a pattern I plan to try out. I've had a pattern scribbled on the back of my checkbook for some I decided to give it a whirl. It whipped up in no I'll pass along the idea for anyone else who might want to give it a try!

It's made from a vintage pillowcase...cut in half and knotted at the top. After following my shorthand hieroglyphics, I found it on Martha's website with explicit instructions....check it out. It would make a handy beach bag, shopping bag, library bag...or maybe you could use it for bringing home the goodies from the candy store.

Speaking of which...I was invited to an after-Easter sale at the candy shop next door yesterday. Two little girls spent the morning setting up shop and sent out invitations for their afternoon sale. The ladder had been missing all morning, as they did not want their brother's help. He was banished to his 'pen' below.

But they needed the ladder in place for their prospective customers...and Ryder was the first one up.

When Grammy arrived, they were out on the deck...

...pointing to their OPEN sign and encouraging me to come shop.

Hmmm...all those sweets looked vaguely familiar! So I left with a bunch of exchange for a lot of coin. Smart girls...they know they'll see those treats again at Grammy's house and they had a bag of cash to show for their sales. What fun...but spring break has come to a crashing halt and today it's back to school!

Have a good day...whatever it may bring your way.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Monday reflections....

It felt like a holiday I just let it unfold as it happened! We had breakfast with Lynn (cousin) and John, who were in the area for Easter...and caught up on what was happening in their world. By the time I got home, the sun was threatening to shine...and duty called! The weeds have figured out it is spring, and so I tackled the flower beds. It was quite perfect out there, and I didn't mind my job one bit. There was no need to stop for lunch, since we had already covered that at we took a coffee break in the afternoon instead. About that time, we had some visitors...
...who came ATV'ing across the field. (Well, Spencer rode and Emme ran!)

It must be spring, since this is the first time I've seen them out and about on their quad. Daddy thought farm girls needed one of these to get around...and somehow talked Santa into bringing them one for Christmas! It looks like it might just come in handy to scoot across the fields and pay Grammy a visit this summer. Just one thing...I know Santa brought helmets too, and I don't see them!

They had no time to stay for coffee today...just a quick 'hi' and they were off! There were important things happening at the farm and I should stop by and take a look.

I didn't have to go near to see what was happening! The big pile was going up in smoke.

Once a year we take out a 'burning permit' (available for farms only)...and light the debris that has accumulated over the past twelve months. And once a year, someone calls the fire department and they pay us a visit...we assure them it's all legal, and life goes on! Yesterday being a holiday, it seems no one at the fire hall was to eager to tend to our we burned in peace. As our area becomes more urban every year, things we once took for granted (such as lighting fires) are no longer permitted.

We watched the bonfire for a spell...and then Emme and Spencer took me to the barn to see the new calves. We had twin heifer calves born just in time for Easter...and you won't believe what they are called!

You guessed it...Emme's is Emme...Spencer's is Spencer. And since they are females we'll likely be keeping them around for a long time. I'm thinking they might need nicknames to avoid confusion...although the cows are normally identified only by the numbers on their ear tags.

This morning we have sunshine (at least for the moment!)...and we had a few coyotes slinking around the house as we were eating breakfast. There seem to be a lot of them around this year!

I plan to clean farm bookkeeping...and go to a Bruins hockey game tonight. Enjoy your day.

Monday, March 24, 2008

puppy love...lost!

The Easter weekend is almost behind us...a weekend of happiness and celebration for the most part. But there was also a great sadness next door for two precious little girls.

It was six months ago that an Italian mastiff pup named Nora arrived at the farm, amidst great excitement. Emme and Spencer couldn't get enough of their cuddly wrinkles puppy!

But Nora was a pup...and a very large one in no time. She outgrew the lap-dog stage very quickly, and was rather rambunctious. Soon the kids were afraid to go outside unless Nora was in her she tended to bowl them over in her enthusiasm. She graduated from her first session at training classes...but seemed to have a little difficulty recalling her trained behaviors at times. No jumping...stay away from the not chase the cats...stay out of the chicken not take Grandpa's not drag the barn garbage all over the yard...too many rules for a young'un to remember! But despite her unruly ways, the girls loved their Nora!

And Nora loved life on the farm. She was somewhat like a tempest in the milking parlour, and wasn't allowed in...but spent a lot of time watching the cows being milked through the open window.

That was last week...she won't be back for milking anymore. A few days ago, she darted onto the road...was struck by a car, and instantly gone! I got a phone call from two little girls awhile later, telling me between sobs that Nora was dead. My heart went out to them...but I couldn't make it 'all better'. They came for a sleepover that night...we made Easter treats...and they drew pictures of Nora...and wrote stories about the good puppy that she was.

They had a good sleep and in the morning they came down the stairs with their 'comforters'.

The stuffies come and go, but those blankies never change. The fleece blankets were given to them as baby gifts by my aunt (she would be their great-great-aunt). Aunt Kay could never have known that six years later those blankies still go to bed with them every night. Small things bring great comfort...especially when a puppy you loved is gone forever.

Puppies are so hard to have...and so much harder to lose!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

He is Risen...
He is Risen Indeed!

The Easter Song by Keith Green

Hear the bells ringing
They're singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They're singing Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the word, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah

I'm looking forward to this morning's Easter's always so uplifting!

And I'm also looking forward to having the whole gang here this afternoon. What I had in mind looked sort of like this....

...but that was last year! And today we have rain...and it looks like we will have to abandon our plans to have our Easter egg hunt in the 'secret garden'. I'm thinking it may be an entirely indoor affair. As long as the Easter bunny delivers...the grandkids won't mind too much!

Sometimes the bunny brings a little more than Mommy can handle...

...and this is what happens when mommy says "enough already". I love being the Grammy at Easter!

Whether the sun is shining...or the rain is falling on your Easter parade...whatever the circumstances of your life...may you find joy in Him who is risen!

Easter blessings!

Friday, March 21, 2008

good friday...

Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.

Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Isaiah 53:1-7

Today is Good Friday...the commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus.
No tragedy...not even death...can overwhelm the love and grace of God.