Thursday, December 31, 2009

the year in review ~ 2009

Can it really be soon? December 31st is a good time to pause...and look back on the road just travelled. The journey had it's highs and they all do...but as the year comes to an end...I am grateful for the many blessings of 2009.

January began with far as the eye could my corner of the world. We had major flooding in the Fraser Valley...the view above was that off my front porch.

In February we enjoyed a little family time at the hot pools of Harrison Resort...always a treat!

March saw a major fire just down the road...on a Saturday afternoon. When all was said and done...the barn was gone.

In April we enjoyed a family cruise in the Caribbean...seventeen of us in all. We may just do it again one was a good time!

May ~ the valley in bloom.

June ~ school ended for the summer with Emme & Spencer's class enjoying a hayride on the farm.

July ~ Baerg family reunion at Clayburn, BC.

We spent the first week of August touring Vancouver Island...from Victoria in the south to the most northerly point.

September 11, 2009 found us at the summit of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver...celebrating hubby's 60th birthday. It was a mountain-top experience!

In October we travelled to Palm Springs...where we were joined by some of our family for a week of fun in the sun.

But of course we were home by November 6th...when we welcomed our new grandson, Micah, into the family.

And then it was December...and Christmas...and with that the year was about to end once more.

But wait...there is one more event that needs to be recognized before we turn the page. Ryder Landon was born on December 31, 2005 and that calls for a celebration!

Poor Ryder picked an unfortunate date on which to be it seems most difficult to fit in one more big event over the holidays. But we know how to have a good time on New Year's Eve...and so we will join him for a bit of a family party this evening. He is such a caring and thoughtful is a delight to call him my grandson!

Wishing each of blogging friends...a very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

quillows all around...

What exactly is a quillow? Literally, it is a pillow that unfolds into a quilt. In my was pillows for the grands that unfold into fleecy blankees (sometimes called stadium blankets). Our last stop in the USA before returning home from vacation this fall was Joanne's Fabrics...just in case I might spot some fun fabric for a project or two. I found fleece in great retro prints that I couldn't resist...and came out with enough pieces to sew the grands each a quillow for Christmas. The ones for the girls had flowers and swirls (and ladybugs for Maelyn)...and for Ryder, what could be more perfect than bears and a camping theme?

And from the leftover strips...they all got scarves to match their quillows. They will always know which is their scarf!

I made the blankees 54 inches square...but they can be made in any size. I followed a tutorial I found here...the biggest job is cutting everything down to size. Once the reversible blanket is is folded and tucked into the pillow pocket.

I attempted the folding and tucking lessons on Christmas Eve...but we may have to give a refresher course one day.

Emme and Spencer got fleece blankets from my aunt (that would be their great-great Aunt Kay) for baby gifts...and they still treasure them to this day. But the fleecy softness has long since disappeared...and so now they can retire their old blankees and take quillows along for their travels.

So that was the project that was still on my sewing machine right before Christmas. Something always gets left until the last minute...and this year it was the quillows.

Have a great day...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

always peak season...

How nice to enjoy sunshine and blue skies over the Christmas season...and take in clear, unobstructed views of the peaks around us.

The snow-covered range in the background lies to the north of our place...and I would like to give you the names of a few the peaks...but I haven't a clue. They are part of B.C.'s majestic Coastal range...but putting names to peaks would require a little research on my part..

To our east is the Cheam range. From my vantage point at 'My Front Porch'...I see only Mt. I'm a little too close to see the adjacent peaks.

( l-r Cheam, Lady, Baby Munday and Stewart)

The first four peaks are often referred to as the Four Sisters...and are easy to see as one drives through the Fraser Valley. Cheam is a Sto:Lo name meaning 'a place of wild strawberries'. The Sto:Lo nation preferred to go goat hunting and berry picking on the lower portions of the mountain...and usually stayed away from the peak. Today...Mt. Cheam is a popular place to hike...and it's all about scaling the peak! I plan to do so again...sometime soon...maybe 2010.

Mt. Slesse is another peak in our area...not actually visible from our place...but lying to the south of us. There happens to be another mountain obstructing our view...but if I drive to our local mall this is the view of Slesse from the parking lot. The name Slesse means 'the fang'...for obvious reasons. I was four years old when an airplane carrying 62 people crashed into the pinnacle of Mt. Slesse, killing all on board. Pieces of the airplane were found the following year...but the area proved too rugged to recover much of the wreckage or any of the bodies. Because of this...the site is now protected by commemorative legislation making logging and souvenir hunting in the area illegal.

View of Slesse at sunrise from my friend's back by Linda

We had friends over last night...two couples who moved here from another country...and one who came from the Canadian prairies. They reminded us that the scenery we enjoy...should not be taken for granted. There's no where else quite like it. And so I thought I'd give you a peek at a few of my favorite peaks today!

It is an 'in day' today...with the workload in the office calling to me...but there is always time to steal an occasional peek at Mt. Cheam.

Have a great day...

Monday, December 28, 2009

and so this was Christmas...

Christmas looks a little different every year...though some things never change. It's always about family coming home......of going to church and celebrating the birth of Christ...of gathering around the table and eating far too much...of opening gifts...and of making wonderful memories for years to come.

This year there was no one missing...away or at work...and we all went to church together on Christmas Eve. How special to see the grands sing with the kids choir...and to join with the masses in singing Silent Night by candlelight.

We all came back to our house...for the usual Christmas Eve appetizers. What was not usual...

...was that the grands arrived to find 'Grandpa Santa' sitting next to the tree. He was a little early, it seemed...but had heard that some of the gifts were going to be opened on the 24th this year...and so he was very accommodating! Maelyn wasn't all that thrilled to sit on his lap...the others were more amused.

Micah woke up long enough for a picture...and then returned to 'visions of sugarplums' for the rest of the evening. The grands opened a few gifts on Christmas Eve and then ran off to play...

...while the guys had a Christmas Eve invitational ping pong tournament (no one else is actually is always just the three of them...and gets rather serious!). Soon it was far past everyone's bedtime...and they all left for home.

What was definitely a change this year...was to wake up to sunshine and blue skies on Christmas Day. A pleasant change! We have brunch at our house every year...which always includes Christmas Morning Wifesaver (a breakfast casserole)...some things are not allowed to change.

We were ready and waiting when they arrived...some in their pj's and all in good spirits. It was a leisurely time around the table...and we finally left pulled ourselves away to go open gifts.

Heidi seems quite delighted about something...while it appears that Tim is on his phone.

Small wonder that his daughter knew exactly what to do with her new Fisher-Price flip phone!

The big girls got pottery this year...they are always fun to buy for.

Once the gifts were unwrapped...there was so much to do. Ryder and Ranen had fun with their costumes from Cousin Maelyn. Doctor Ranen dispensed her good medicine...while Policeman Ryder arrested anyone and everyone in sight. The pantry became the jail...and it seems no one tried too hard to escape. They raided the treats and settled in for a good time.

And the guys? They were back in the bonus room...playing ping pong again. They take it quite seriously....and all have their own professional paddles. And before long...they are opening windows...and doors...and turning down the thermostat...while we are wondering why the house is so chilly!

The great room looked rather like a war zone...but it was all good.

Several hours later we found ourselves back at the table...finishing off the leftovers...and calling it lunch. Some had other family gatherings to attend that afternoon...some stayed until evening. It was relaxing...and fun...and good to have everyone together. That was Christmas at our home!

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Best Gift

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
II Corinthians 9:15

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son
...that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 KJV

And that is the unspeakable Gift
...a Gift that is beyond our ability to calculate the value of.
A Gift...ours for the taking.

As we give and receive gifts this Christmas
...let's not forget what Christmas really is.
Let's give thanks for the Unspeakable Gift!

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas in Heaven

Though Christmas is a joyous occasion...many are touched with sadness at this time of they think of loved ones who are not here to share this special time with them. Since the year 2000...we have lost both moms...a sister...and a granddaughter. Though we miss them dearly...we know they are celebrating Christmas in heaven. What does that look like? Are they kneeling with the shepherds...and singing with the angels? Can they reach out and touch His holy face? I wonder...what Christmas in heaven is like.

I think of them...when I hear the beautiful song...Christmas In Heaven ...sung by Sarah Schieber...whose husband died suddenly last year while the two were running the Boston Marathon. She hopes the song will bring comfort to others who are missing loved ones this Christmas. (Click to take a listen.)

Christmas in Heaven

December hasn’t changed
This town looks the same
They still light that tree in the city square
There’s red, white, and green shining everywhere
And I wish you were here
And I wonder . . .

Is the snow falling down on the streets of gold?
Are the mansions all covered in white?
Are you singing with angels Silent Night?
I wonder . . . what Christmas in Heaven is like

There’s a little manger scene
Down on Third and Main
I must have walked right by it a thousand times
But I see it now in a different light
Cause I know you are there
And I wonder . . .

Are you kneeling with shepherds before Him now?
Can you reach out and touch His face?
Are you part of that glorious holy night?
I wonder . . . .what Christmas in Heaven is like

2008 words and music by Jeremy Johnson and Paul Marino

Blessings to you on Christmas Eve...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

the king pin comes of age...

It was a white Christmas...and a most joyous my home back in 1965. Late in the evening of December 23rd... ...we five sisters were told we had a brother. He came with a most regal name...William Edward...the King Pin!

I happen to have a few cards that my mom saved from back in the day...

...and thought I'd share this one. Smile.

With five sisters to dote on him (he might have seen it differently)...he hardly needed a mother. We all enjoyed having a brother...and spoiled him rotten. He didn't take a whole lot of advice from any of us...was an independent thinker then and now...but was the best brother we could have wished for. We don't see a whole lot of him these days...since he lives in another country (that would be the USA) a faraway state...with his lovely wife and family.

We six siblings were on a cruise together earlier this year...and decided we should have a family photo for the archives. How the photographer persuaded Bill to recline on the chaise lounge is still a mystery...but seemingly appropriate.

From all of us (l-r Dot, Kathy, Bev, Judy and Mary Ellen) to our favorite brother...Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

flavours of the season...

Peppermint...gingerbread...and cranberries...all belong to the holidays.

While flipping through an old Christmas magazine the other day...I came across a fun and easy surprise topping for hot chocolate or coffee...peppermint whip. Use your food processor or coffee grinder to pulverize several peppermint candy canes. Fold a few spoonfuls of the powder into freshly whipped cream...about three tablespoons of powder per cup of cream. Spoon dollops of the pink cream on hot beverages...or dessert. It is finger lickin' might just want to have it instead of dessert!

If you are still in the baking might want to try Cranberry Bliss Bars...a rich and delightful bar that I posted the recipe for last year. And if you like will like this moist loaf with cream cheese frosting that we have been enjoying this year. It is a recipe I found at RecipeZaar...with a few changes.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
  • 1 cup applesauce

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 teaspoons lemon juice (or use milk if you prefer)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F Grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Dissolve baking soda into applesauce and mix into creamed butter. Add flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
  4. Pour the batter into a loaf pan.
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out just slightly sticky. (Be careful not to over bake, for this cake can dry out easily. Just remember that the toothpick shouldn't come out clean, but a little sticky).
  6. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Frost the loaf when it is completely cooled.

The best of the season to you...

Monday, December 21, 2009

the holiday train rides again...

We went last year...we returned again on Friday the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolled into Agassiz on one of it's last stops on the 2009 tour.

We took the grands now they knew that Santa would be singing with a rock-n-roll band and joining CP in their effort to raise funds for the local food bank. In the past decade...the Holiday Train has helped raise $4 million and 2 million pounds of food for local food banks.

Since November 26 of this year...the train has stopped in more than 130 communities in eight states and six provinces. Hunger seems to be a growing problem during these tough economic times...and we applaud CP's effort to make a difference.

Santa came over and posed with our three troopers...and troopers they were, to stand out in the rain for the duration of the concert. I thought I might fool you with the photos...since they make it look as though the snow is falling as the train pulls into town on a pre-Christmas evening...but it wasn't quite that perfect! We all got very damp...and cold...but our hearts were warm and we went for a bite to eat later.

And before the evening ended...the grands came over to bake peppernuts...and sample a little here and a little there. They left for home with a bucket of these tasty little Christmas morsels...and visions of peppernuts dancing in their heads.

Ah...the delights of the season!