Saturday, August 30, 2008

creation calls...

I can't imagine driving through the Rockies...and stopping beside a cold mountain lake...and not feeling the urge to give praise to God.

Here's a hymn that calls us to praise the King of creation...words that were penned over 300 years ago.

Praise to the Lord, The Almighty

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee;
Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.

Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Friday, August 29, 2008


If you can't walk out the door without your's not long before you have more photos than you know what to do with!
I have bookshelves full of albums...boxes overflowing with prints...shelves of slide reels...and oodles of home-grown VHS tapes. With the advent of digital...I have been taking photos non-stop. The question is always...what do I do with them?

I found the answer..I found Shutterfly. A few years ago, I began uploading my photos to Shutterfly. Not only do they have excellent quality pictures...they have unlimited storage on their site. Once I have pictures uploaded...I order whatever prints I want...share the album on-line with anyone else who might be interested in ordering pictures...and the album will never disappear.

They have many wonderful features, but I'll just tell you of a few. I have made quite a number of photo's a quick alternative to scrapbooking. Although I have done a little scrapbooking...and have supplies to do a whole lot just never seems to happen! I have made books as birthday gifts...
...and have also ordered photo books of our last several several vacations. They are great coffee table books...and they don't take up a lot of storage space.

I put together an album of my dad's life story for his 85th birthday. He had handwritten about 50 pages of his family history and life happenings and asked me to type it up for him. Rather than returning it as a manuscript, I found pictures to go along with his story and presented him with a book. Dad was thrilled to have it in print...and we as a family each got our own copy.

Another item that I've had fun with, is their brag book. Rather than sticking photos in one of those inexpensive plastic folders, I made up a little album of some of my favorite pictures of the grandkids, and ordered the leather wallet to go with it.

It's perfect to carry in a purse...and the album can be removed and replaced whenever it needs updating.

I've quite enjoyed making up photobooks on Shutterfly...and recently made one which includes some of my favorite scenery pictures from around our neighbourhood.

Mt. view every morning from the front porch is featured on the cover. (I had intentions of letting you look through an on-line copy of the book, but I can't seem to link to it.) I'll be packing up a copy to send to someone who stops by My Front Porch on occasion and left me a comment this week.

And the winner of my 'one-year-blogiversary' giveaway is....

...Kath (someone I know as Kathryn). Kathryn lives in another little piece of paradise (so I hear) and has a private blog, where I learn all about life on the beach in Australia! Kathyrn just happens to be my niece and used to spend a lot of time in our home...even came on a house boating adventure with us many years ago. She married the love of her life and followed him to the ends of the earth...and so our paths don't cross too often these days. Hey, I'd love to send you a package of a few things that will remind you of 'home','s in the mail (almost)!

Thanks to all of you who left me comments and sent me e-mails this week. It was so good to hear from you all...some who I had no idea were visiting me on my blog. I feel like many of us are on a journey together, and company makes the trip so much more interesting. And so ends my first year of blogging...and we'll see what the next year brings!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

peck o' peppers...

It's time to harvest those peppers...around here they are harvested year-round, since we live in the greenhouse capital of the province and there are roadside stands with peppers on every country block.

I noticed a wonderful looking recipe for Mexican Stuffed Peppers on the Mennonite Girls Recipe Blog...and thought I would give it a try. So I went down the road to the nearest pepper stand...and came home with a brightly coloured 'peck o' peppers' (whatever that is).

When hubby discovered his favorite stuffed peppers were going to be of the Mexican variety this time, he thought that was too much of a departure from tradition...and requested the same old stuffed peppers he had always known and enjoyed. So I'm sure the Mexican ones are great...but we won't know this time around.

Mine were stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, rice, grated onion, grated potato, tomato soup, salt and pepper...and baked in tomato sauce.

I baked six for supper and froze the rest for the another day.

And I have mentioned these potatoes before, but since they are a favorite, I will pass along the recipe for Crash Potatoes once again (thanks to Vee for introducing me to these some months ago). They go well with BBQ'd meats, but last night we had them with stuffed peppers...and I actually used some of those fresh herbs from my garden. And (for the record)...Tim and Heidi came for dinner, so we had help eating that pan full of potatoes!

It looks like it will be another 'in day' today...summer seems a distant memory.

Check back tomorrow afternoon...if you've left me a comment this week, you may just be receiving a small memento from 'My Front Porch' in the mail.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

in the garden...

Fall is definitely in the air...and the garden is reminding me that summer is all but over.

We picked the last few blueberries...and the foliage is already turning red.

My vegetable garden is rather miniature...a few garden boxes surrounded by a hydrangea hedge, is what I call my garden. It works just fine for me...not a whole lot of weeding! I grow carrots, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and herbs...and strawberries. And the boxes have a bench around the I could spend a lot of time sitting there (but I don't!). I was reminded what real vegetable gardens looked like when in Manitoba this summer....there's nothing miniature about them, and I'm sure there's no sitting in those gardens!

Brian Minter (our local garden expert) suggests that during the month of August we plant winter crops in our vegetable garden. So I made a trip to his garden shop, and stocked up on a few baskets of winter vegetables...and did some planting yesterday. This is definitely an experiment...and sometime down the road I'll let you know how my garden grows! I planted onions, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. What I didn't realize was that the baskets of cole crops were not labeled, and since they all look the same...I have no idea what I planted where. So it is a bit of a mystery garden!

The herb garden is doing beautifully...I have cut all the plants back to the ground several times and they just go wild. I must admit that I don't use a whole lot out of this garden...but it sure smells nice...and they are perennials, so they take a little break and come back early in spring.

The rain is coming down today...not much of a day for gardening, but there's lots of other things to be done.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

a grand camping trip!

If you don't find camping that exciting...try taking some grandchildren along! We have been taking Emme and Spencer camping every summer since they were wee little...they came complete with diapers, bottles and soothers the first time. I'm not sure what we were thinking!

They quite look forward to the annual camping trip...and with only one week left until school begins, it finally happened.
Their favorite spot to go is the Lynden's close to home and there's no place quite like it! Funny thing...we used to go there with our kids when they were young. Their dad has great memories of riding his BMX bike on the track...paddling about on the paddle boats...and swimming in the pool.
This year the girls loved riding their bikes around the campground. And they no longer needed floaties in the pool...although they still insisted Grammy come in the water with them. She had sort of planned to sit on the sidelines with all the other grammies and moms...but no way!

One of their first stops upon arrival was to check out the playground...and try a little synchronized swinging.

They had a fun time at the playground...and made fast friends with a little girl named Maizie. They had a fit of giggles as they recalled that Grandpa thought Maizie was a boy...Grandpa will have a hard time living that one down!

Playing a round of mini-golf is part of the routine. This year they actually knew what they were doing...and stuck with the game to the last hole!

Just as we were about to eat dinner, Spencer informed me that she had a loose tooth. She thought maybe I could pull it out...I thought maybe she could wait until she was home and mommy could pull it out. After a little negotiating...Grammy pulled out the tooth. It was swift and painless...and she never shed a tear! Eating corn on the cob with all those spaces proved to be somewhat of a challenge however. We left the tooth fairy a note...asking that she not come for the tooth until Spencer was back home, since she really wanted to show Mommy her tooth. The tooth fairy complied...and Spencer took her tooth home for show-and-tell.
If there's a campfire...Emme will be nearby. She loves nothing better than burning things...anything will do! Her marshmallows usually go up in flames...and she's OK with that.
On Saturday we drove out to the ocean...and spent the afternoon beachcombing at Birch Bay. We had fish and chips at a seaside cafe...collected buckets full of shells...and poked at crabs, jelly fish and a snake.

The girls heard the ice-cream truck from afar...

...and talked Grandpa into buying them some ice-cream treats.

Soon we were on our way home.

The annual camping trip was far too short...there was no time for paddle boats...and why didn't we hike in the forest this year? Hmmm...I guess we'll have to go again next year!

And next year, there'll be no leaving Ryder behind. He sobbed his little heart out when he got left behind...and told Mommy he was having a 'bad day' many times while his sisters were away.

He was a quite pleased with his consolation prize, however...he got to go to Dinotown with cousin Ranen. His troubles were forgotten for a time!

If you want to add magic to a camping trip to the KOA...take some enthusiasm along (in the form of two six-year-olds). It was a fun time...just a little too short.

Monday, August 25, 2008


This week I have reached a major milestone...well, several actually.

It has been one year since I first began to blog. It was not something I had ever planned to days are never long enough for the projects I have on the go, so I wasn't looking for anything else that would consume huge amounts of time! It was purely by accident that I found a few blogs which were a source of encouragement to me. Before long I began to consider that a blog might be a way for me to be a positive influence in the life of others as I record the happenings (however mundane) of my life. It took a lot lot of courage to publish that very first post...and I had no idea where that would lead.

Blogging has been an amazing experience! I have met the most wonderful people this past year...some who will likely remain cyber friends and others whom I have had the opportunity to meet in person. I have re-connected with old friends...and been introduced to new ones. They have encouraged me to try things I have never cook dishes that were not on my read books I wouldn't have known about...and to truly appreciate the blessings of my everyday life!

I will also be publishing my 300th post this week. I had no idea I would have that much to say...and maybe one of these days I will be out of words. But there will always be another picture to share! I've always enjoyed taking pictures...and a blog is the perfect way to share them. My friends and family are no longer deluged with e-mailed photos of our latest celebration or adventure...they now check into My Front Porch for the latest updates.

Over the past few years I have been collecting stones from many of the places I have visited...stones from the Grand Canyon, and from Yellowstone, and from Death Valley. They are souvenirs of my visit. I think of my blog in much the same way...the posts are 'stone markers' of remind me where I have been. So many things have happened this past year...some I would rather not have blogged about...but God has always been faithful! My desire is to encourage others as I share my experiences.

As for vistors to "My Front Porch"...I will be welcoming my 30,000th guest this week. How incredible is that? A few months after I began to blog, I added a sitemeter...thinking I would see if anyone actually read my blog...and have been constantly amazed that so many would stop by. I have had vistors from around the globe (India, Korea, Slovenia, Paraguay, Finland, name a few) and from next door. Unlike some blogs out there...mine has never been a secret! If my friends and family are interested in reading it, they are more than welcome. Some do on occasion leave me a comment...some send me an e-mail...and others have told me in person that they read my blog, and encouraged me to keep writing. Then there are all those who have become my friends...who come back on a regular basis.

Thanks to all of you who have who have made my first year of blogging such a great experience. In honour of this milestone, I would love to send a little something from "My Front Porch" to your front porch. I will be drawing a name at random from all those who leave me a comment this week...draw to be made on Friday afternoon.

Tomorrow, I'll be back to tell you all about our fun end-of-summer camping weekend. And now I must go clean out the motorhome once again.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

great is Thy faithfulness...

Morning by morning, new mercies I see!

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.

Lamentations 3: 23-24

Thursday, August 21, 2008

green bean soup

Green bean soup was my favorite soup as a kid...and I still quite like it! Yesterday being a rather soupy kind of day (we broke some August rainfall records)...I decided to cook up a large batch of bean soup. It's one of those soups that I've never had a recipe I'll do my best at guessing amounts...and you can feel free to add a little more or less of any ingredient suit yourself.

Green Bean Soup

2-3 qts. soup stock (made with ham of farmer sausage)
3 or 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
3 carrots, sliced
6 cups beans, cut in pieces
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
fresh summer savory (small handful)
fresh parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Add vegetables to soup stock in large pot.
Simmer until tender...about one hour.

I put the summer savory and parsley in a spice ball and add along with vegetables.

Summer savory is the can't skip it!
I grow it in the garden specifically for this soup...
it also freezes well.

(Use about 2 teaspoons of dried summer savory if fresh is not an option.)

Serve with fresh bread...
and call it a meal!

Traditionally we added milk or cream to this I prefer it as is.

Since the weatherman has promised us two days without precipitation, we are taking a quick end-of-the-summer camping trip with Emme and Spencer. The RV is packed...and we're ready to go. We loaded the girls bikes and Ryder came with his trike...saying, "Me too! Me too!" He sobbed his little heart out...and has no understanding why he can't go along. I think Grammy would be willing to take him...but his sisters would not be too thrilled. Maybe next time, Ryder!

Have a good weekend...

here and now....

Vancouver is definitely to be has won a much coveted spot on the new Monopoly-Here and Now-World Edition.

Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal will all be included in Hasbro's international version of their famous board game.

You may or may not recall that on February 16th I encouraged you all to cast your vote for my favorite city (Vancouver, of course)...and now I just want to thank you for all coming through for me. The cities that made it onto the board...and their positions...are a result of the votes cast by 5 million Monopoly fans. Montreal will be occupying the most expensive position (known as Boardwalk on the old version)...and let's just say that Vancouver is a step-up from Toronto. We like it like that! The game goes on sale in September. So thanks for helping put Vancouver on the board.

And also in the 'here and now'...the most expensive movie ever to be shot in Canada is being made here in our province right now. It is called Farewell Atlantis, and is based on a Mayan legend that the world will undergo a catastrophe in 2012 and come to an end. We met with a friend last night who is working on the movie...he builds models used in the shoots. He has been out to lunch with Danny Glover and John Cusack, who will be starring in the movie. Filming is set to begin shortly...look for the movie in theatres next summer.

Today looks like a good day to cook soup and bake bread! What happened to our summer? We have two little girls next door who are waiting to go camping with grammy and grandpa before school starts...and we're waiting for a few nice days.

Have a nice day...I'm off to cook soup!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ladder Golf

Now this is my kind of golf! We saw this game being played at an RV Park in Iowa a few years ago...then it began popping up here and there. We found all the information we needed on the great world wide web to make our own game...and we've had a lot of fun with it. It's a great game for picnics...camping trips...or just to play in your own backyard.

So as is all the info you need to DIY!

Step One...Ladder: Pick up the required 3/4 inch PVC pipe and connectors. All uprights are 12 inch lengths...and horizontals are 24 inch pieces. Cut and assemble as per photo or plans found here or here. We never glued the upright portion of the ladder into the base...which makes it easily transported to your favorite location.

Step Two...Bolos: Buy golf balls...six of each colour. Drill 1/4 inch hole through the centre of each ball...balls are attached on either end of a nylon rope (about 13 inches of rope between the balls). We knotted the ends...countersunk the knot...and then melted the rope above the knot with a flame.

Play ladder golf...again and again! The rules are simple. The first team to score 21 is the winner!

As you can tell...we took our ladder golf on the road. After introducing our camping cohorts to the game...they went home and made their own.

So there you have it. It's a game that can be played on lawn, gravel or pave. We've had a lot of fun with it these past few summers...and I'm sure you would too!

It's another dark and damp day we won't be playing bolo golf (or ladder golf, or redneck golf, or any other name it goes by) today.
But I do have a little something to brighten up a grey day... wisteria is sporting some lovely lavender blooms! I'm thinking it must be a little confused...don't wisteria bloom only in spring?

We have been coaxing the vines over the arbour for a few years now...and had yet to see a bloom. Now as summer is nearing an end, the wisteria decided to surprise me!

I'm off to take the car for an appointment...and then I shall be without wheels for the day.

Enjoy your day!