Friday, October 31, 2008

muffins and munchkins...

Apple crisps, cobblers, pies, cakes, sauces...and muffins! We've been having apple everything...

...and here's a quick and easy apple muffin recipe that I've been baking for as long as I can remember. The recipe came from Betty Crocker's cookbook...copyright of my all-time favorite cookbooks.

"Hot muffins to warm the inner man"...well, that's what the cookbook says. One of the nice things about making muffins mixer is required!

One dozen is hardly worth the I usually do a double or triple batch. And, although muffins are best served hot out of the oven, moist apple muffins are just fine warmed up later on...or the next day. So if you are looking for ways to use all those apples...may I suggest apple muffins.

This is also the day the little munchkins come calling! I'm preparing bags for my special little visitors...and we'll be joining our gang up the hill at Ranen's house tonight.

Have you noticed the birds are all heading south? We're thinking they have a good thing going...and are preparing to join them. There's lots to do!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

the shoebox project

If you have ever considered filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child...but it's just never happened...let me urge you to take part in the project this year.

The shoeboxes are filled with little gifts that bring hope and love to children in desperate situations around the world. Last year more than 661,000 shoeboxes left Canada to be distributed in over fifteen countries...each shoebox carrying the message of God's unconditional love.

I've been going shopping with my granddaughters the past few years...and they pick out things for a less fortunate child in a far away land...and have such a good time doing it. Yesterday was the day...and this year Ryder joined in the fun as well...and Heidi brought Maelyn.

First we did the shopping...

...which was a good time (as you can tell)...and then we went to Heidi's and packed up our boxes. I was thinking that Ryder might not want to part with some of the goodies he had such fun picking out...but he was a good sport. He even wondered if we could bring the box to Africa once it was all packed up.

Maelyn didn't really get into the spirit of the occasion...but she'll be back with more enthusiasm next year!

Operation Christmas Child focuses on the true meaning of Christmas – Jesus Christ – God’s greatest gift. Separate from the shoe box, Samaritan's Purse offers the children an illustrated Bible storybook called "The Greatest Gift of All" in the local language. Besides the impact these gifts can make in the lives of children overseas...this project fosters compassion in all who participate. My grandchildren are learning the value of giving to those who have so much less...that it is greater to give than to receive.

Operation Christmas Child will be collecting shoeboxes in your area in a few still have time to go shopping!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

to smoke...or not to smoke

I'm in favour! When the pile of branches...and wood scraps...and twine...and other burnable farm trash, becomes quite an eye-sore...

...I say 'light up'! Now that may have been a simple matter in days gone by...not so anymore. We may be farming, but happen to live in what is now a very urban area...and people aren't all that thrilled with smoke production in their neighbourhood. There is a total burning ban in our area for most of the year. However, for those who live on a farm...and wish to fork out the $25 for a burning air burning is permitted during October and November...providing the air quality index is good.

So today was the day...and our eye-sore went up in smoke! I was actually quite thankful for that smokey smell...since there were other far more unpleasant odours being produced in and about the farmyard today. The pits need to be emptied before winter...what can I say!

I spent my day preparing for the winter season as well...washing and storing patio furniture, cleaning windows, and retiring my patio planters for the season. It was absolutely gorgeous out..too warm to suspect that winter is around the corner!

I took many grape breaks...gotta love those sweet grapes at this time of the year.

And the raspberries have no clue that summer is over...they are still producing a bountiful harvest.

As the sun was sinking in the west...I noticed our fire over at the barn was still a-smoking. I'm sure there's a good reason we can't burn year-round...but I'm glad they are still allowing us to smoke a wee bit!

May you have a wonderful (& smokefree) day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

tropical and exotic

As the temperature drops...and the season marches on towards winter...we might just need a little touch of the tropics. And since it's not possible for all of us to catch that next plane to Hawaii...

...maybe an orchid would be a good consolation prize!

For years I have been stopping by a local greenhouse to buy roses. For the most part, they are wholesalers of roses for the floral industry...and there's nothing quite like buying them right from the grower. I stopped by there yesterday for a few roses to take to a friend.

But for the past while, they have also been growing orchids...if you want something really special, try Van den Bosch orchids!

For my sister-in-law's birthday, we ordered a green orchid...done up in a tall vase and it looked truly exotic.

We were given a little peek into the sauna-like growing rooms...where the harvest was just beginning. Each individual stem is trained to grow upright...there are tricks to every trade!

I quite like the green orchid...which is all the rage right now. And here's the best will last for six or seven weeks in your home. How special is that?

So if you are looking for something exotic and tropical as the days become shorter and darker...try an orchid. They are lovely!

Monday, October 27, 2008

antique extravaganza...

Granny and Grumpa have a bonanza of antiques housed on their farm...and until now it seems to have been a well kept secret.

Yesterday a group of us went for an outing......on a beautiful sunny October Sunday (we've had a lot of those days this fall). We were blown away by the huge collection of vintage items that the Schweigerts have amassed in their retirement. Every barn and out building now houses antiques...and visitors are welcome most anytime...any day! And if they know you are coming...they are quite willing to put on the coffee pot...even bake a pie for you. You will receive a true old-fashioned welcome...and a guided tour.

For the past twenty years they have been collecting 'junk' (their words)...and having a ball doing it. What could be more fun than travelling to prairie auctions and estate sales? They are known to have the biggest collection of antiques in the valley...and probably in the province.

From china, lanterns, and dolls from every decade... radio flyer wagons and pedal cars, cameras, vintage tins, buttons, suitcases....and the list never ends.

An old D8 Cat...the largest piece of equipment used in the construction of the Alaska Highway...was parked outside. They had vintage cars, tractors and equipment...if there is anything old you are looking for, they are sure to have it.
And here's the's all for sale if you really want it! There are no prices marked on any items, but Grumpa is willing to part with most things at a very reasonable price. We found all kinds of wonderful treasures...

...from a tiny book purchased by one antique sewing machine by another... some wonderful treasures that will grace my walls as soon as I find the perfect spot! They are about 17-inch brass plaques...part of the Trafford Series featuring Old Masters paintings.

Blueboy has a bit of a flaw...
...but this little girl is quite perfect! She is entitled 'Simplicity'...painted by Reynolds 1723-1792. One always needs to bring home a souvenir from such outings...don't you think?

What a fun place to take a trip down memory lane! I'm so glad I met Granny & Grumpa...I'll be back to visit again sometime, with more friends in tow.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

mighty to save

One of my favorite worship songs is Mighty to Save by Laura Storey. It's just a wonderful reminder that although there are many problems that we cannot fix...the God who moves mountains can! When all else is gone...all that is left is faith in God...and that is powerful.

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing,
Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Savior,
The hope of nations.

Savior...He can move the mountain,
My God is mighty to save,
He is mighty to save.
Forever...Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as you find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.

I give my life to follow
Everything that I believe in
Now I surrender.

Shine your light and let the whole world see,
We're singing for the glory of the risen King.

My Savior, He can move the mountain,
My God is mighty to save,
He is mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave

I've been singing it all week...and I'm hoping we sing it in church this morning.

Have a blessed Sunday...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pro-D Day

So what exactly is Pro-D Day? In British Columbia, it is a day for the teachers to hone their skills at workshops...while students have the day off school. Yesterday happened to be one of those days...and I had three grands that wanted some skills honed as well.

Workshop #1 was the pumpkin-cookie-on-a-stick session. We baked up a batch of gingersnap cookies on lollipop sticks...

...and they had a fine time decorating them.
It was my chance to try out my new Pampered Chef icing tubes...the perfect way for kids to apply icing without smearing it everywhere.

Workshop #2 was all about improving small motor sills...a jewelry making session. Thanks to Bev's suggestion, they amused themselves for a long while...

...and came up with some wonderful creations. The pop-beads are available at Costco...come in a large jar for a reasonable price...and every Grammy should have some!

And that was Pro-D Day at Camp Grammy's!

They weren't the only ones who came by yesterday...I noticed a stork heron came as well. Was it the pumpkin cookies he was after? Who knows...but hubby is hoping he doesn't make our roof his favorite perch.

Have a fine weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

autumn front porches...

It seemed for awhile that front porches were a thing of the past...a reminder of a time when neighbours made social calls and screen doors kept flies out of houses. Then came backyard decks aplenty...but hardly a front porch to be seen. I'm happy to report that the front porch seems to have returned!

We went for a drive on Sunday afternoon and noticed many of the new homes have a front porch. One particular subdivision featured mainly heritage style homes...all with front porches. This porched community is known as Garrison Crossing...and was a military training camp a few short years ago. It features vintage homes, large mature trees,back lanes and garages...and gives the feeling of stepping back in time...a place where visitors are always welcome. So I made myself at home with my camera!
I thought I would take a few pic's of porches that were all decked out for fall...but soon realized, that we're not really big into decorating out here! I found a few that reflected the spirit of the season...and I'll share those with you.

My own front porch, looks rather bare as my neighbours, I don't do much decorating for fall.

I tossed most of my garden mums...and will soon be bringing in the wicker furniture. Where did porch season go?

I spent yesterday working outside...enjoying the fall sunshine and getting the garden ready for winter. The day was done before I was...but there's always tomorrow!

I'm sure this house had a front porch as well...but it was the silo that caught my attention. It looks quite lovely with the green vines of summer...but so much more striking on a sunny fall day.

Whether it's on your front porch...or out and about...enjoy the colours of autumn!