Friday, February 25, 2011

Hunkering Down

It was -25C (-13F) this morning when I left for the bus. With the wind chill it got as cold as -43C. (-45F)
It's warmed up a bit today and tomorrow is supposed to get up to -4C. (24F)
But, come Sunday. . .
Well. . . we're plunging back down into the deep freeze!
It's expected to stay at about -20C or so through the first two weeks in March.
Spring seems very, very far away.
It's been hard to get to excited about any new projects at the moment, so I've decided to hunker down, bask in the bright sunshine that showed up with the cold and  read, bake and dream until spring decides to make an appearance.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Family Day

It's Family Day in Alberta which means we get a day off.
Jesse and I also had Friday off because the school had a PD day.
Henry, Jesse and Jada went to the cabin for the weekend and met Bernie, Russ and Jada's friend Murpy. They went to do a little ice fishing. (Jada and Murpy just like to run around, wrestle, and chase rabbits.)
I've been putzing around the house giving it a good clean, reading, baking, crafting and going out with Ev to the fabric store.
It's also been a weekend for movies. Ev came over Friday night and we giggled and snorted our way through Johnny English.
The kids and  I (well, which ever kid happened to be around ) decided on a Lord Of The Rings marathon.
We've got one left to go but we're taking a bit of a break, so I'm going to plant my begonias and make a quick supper before we sit down again.
Happy Family Day!

Friday, February 18, 2011

This Is How We Shovel Snow On The Canadian Prairies


No piddly little snow shovels for us! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

When You See Yourself In Your Kids

*Well, I'm still not able to load pictures so this will be another word only post.

*2016 update. Jesse a few months earlier. Who doesn't play with the groceries??

Have you ever had a moment when you looked at your child, involved in some activity or another and realized "That kid is just like me!"

When you not only saw yourself, but saw yourself as others must see you?

I had a moment like that on Tuesday evening.

Our school doesn't do traditional valentine's day card boxes and what have you. Rather, the whole week is devoted to fun activities that help raise money for an orphanage in Kenya.
Wednesday was the day for the senior high students to have their Box Lunch Social.
This year the boys would be doing the cooking and the girls would be decorating the rooms to eat lunch in, as well as bidding on the 'boxed lunch'.

Jesse was pretty excited about this because he loves to cook. He got to planning his meal and scoffed at all those boys who complained that they couldn't do it.

He decided to serve a stir fry with chow mien noodles, Aunty Lisa's chocolate trifle for dessert and milkshakes to drink. "

"After all", he reminded me, " you've got lots of fruit left in the freezer and what could be better than a strawberry milkshake with local organic berries?"

You might think that was the moment.
Not quite.

He and a friend decided they would shop for groceries after catechism and Jesse would sleep over and help his friend with the meal.

"That's it!" you think.
Nope. Not yet. . .

He began to pack up what we had at home that he would need.

Broccoli, onions, peppers, strawberries, garlic, olive oil, herbs de Provence sea salt blend, garlic rosemary pepper blend, milk,a cutting board, my chef's knife, vegetable peeler, cast iron wok,wooden spoon, cooler, ice packs, plates, cutlery, glasses,  a flower vase, and  candles.

"Why in the world are you taking dishes along?? They have dishes at school."

He looks straight at me, shakes his head and says incredulously "But those are washed in school water!! (well water with a distinctly eggy smell) I'm not going to use those!"

That was the moment. He was dragging everything but the kitchen sink along and I saw myself doing countless catering jobs for school or throwing parties for family and friends.

It was the dishes however that made me see how others must see me.

A little over the top. . .

Jesse really takes after his dad in most things, especially in his mellow outlook on life.
But in some things he really does take after me.

And that makes me proud.

(In case you are wondering. . . Two girls went together to buy Jesse's lunch. They paid $130.00!
He also handed out a rose to each girl in his class. Yep, he also a romantic. That would be me again.
Henry just tells me to  buy myself some flowers. . . . ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Google Is Playing Around With Cloud Picker Again!

I had a fun post for this morning but when I went to load the pictures I got, Server rejected, o,r sign in to Cloud Picker, or, this service is unavailable.
This has happened to me before. Google Is trialing a new service and sometimes it interrupts my ability to load pictures.
As soon as I can I will be back with my original post.
From the freezing North. . . .

Monday, February 14, 2011

A New Direction

The last few years have been difficult for me.
My hormones seemed to be doing the Hokey Poky non stop.
I longed to get out of the city and get a little farm somewhere. The longing was so great that there were days driving through huge concrete construction zones seemed more than I could bear. And I spend a lot of time everyday doing just that.
Raging hormones triggered anxiety which then kicked into overdrive while driving my school bus. After all, I am driving many precious children in a very expensive piece of machinery all of which are my responsibility. And I am not mechanically inclined!
Prayers have become a tumultuous  river as I daily (or often enough, minute by minute) ask for all that I need to live each day joyfully.
But, joy has been elusive.
Guilt has not.
 After all, God has been raining down blessings on us, so how can I possibly not be filled with joy every minute of the day?!
A lovely home, great family, good friends, a job, a place to garden, a greenhouse, the ability to go out for dinner once in a while, or to visit my sisters, honestly, the list just goes on and on and when I think of how many people in the world are suffering, I feel ashamed that I have been struggling the way I have.
None the less, I have been struggling and the time has come to make some real changes around here.

I'm starting with a mission statement for me.
There have been lots of posts around blog land on coming up with a mission statement for your family. I thought long and hard about this, but I just couldn't seem to come up with anything that worked.

The I reread this text: Philippians 4 verses 4-9

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Now I have been trying to memorize verse 8 and 9 off and on for the past year and somehow it just wouldn't stick but when I reread it again it hit me that there couldn't be a better mission statement for me.

 Then I happened across this blog post and it really made sense to me as a way to go forward this year.

Do fewer things. Do them better.

Some of you may know this will be easier said than done for me! I tend to think big. It isn't always a good thing. . .

So these are the few things. . .
Growing food and flowers.
Cooking and preserving as much local food as possible.
Have adventures.
 Love my family and friends.

This year I am going to be where God places me and doing the things he sets before me,  focusing on the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

So here's the first step. . .
I'm retiring as a bus driver at the end of the year. As Jesse is graduating in June we will no longer have tuition payments and that gives me the ability to retire. I will likely find some type of paid part time work (so Henry and I can continue to enjoy our hobbies and have the odd adventure together) and at the moment I'm leaning towards waitressing a few nights a week. I've done it before and I rather enjoy it. If I can find work in a good restaurant I may also pick up some new recipes which would fit right into my goals for the year.

* When I was telling the boys about the plan, Morgan exclaimed that waitressing was a great idea! He felt I should try Denny's or Albert's. What?! Those are pancake restaurants! I was thinking more along the lines of Joey's or Moxies. He looked at me with pity, shook his head and said " Mom you're old! You have to be hot to work there!  You could try though. . . ."  Thankfully the girls had a different opinion!
We'll have to see who's right. . .

Now I'm off to bed.
Tomorrow my friend Nicole is coming over and we're going to celebrate her birthday.
My first adventure. . .

Happy Valentine's Day

I got some white dough going before I left for the bus this morning and when I got home I was inspired to do something a little fancier than just three loaves of bread.

In the end I made one loaf of bread, a dozen cinnamon buns and a dozen garlic cheese buns.
Of course the cinnamon buns meant I had to make icing so I decided to make a double batch and gift Henry with a valentines present at the same time.
Henry loves icing on homemade bread and the last time I made it he found all the extra containers I had hidden in the freezer and ate them all!
But his very favorite thing is chocolate icing which I never make because no one else likes it.

So, here it is, Henry's valentine's day present. . .

Because after all what better present is there than one made especially for you?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Henry's Idea Of The Perfect Day Off

A good fire, a pack of smokes and a deer head boiling on the barbecue.
What could be better??

Friday, February 11, 2011

What's For Dinner?

                                                                 Ham and Fries!
It probably would have looked a little more appetizing if I had taken the picture before Henry loaded it with ketchup. . .

You might wonder why I've added a picture of the fry basket handle. . .
Perhaps you've noticed it is covered with hockey tape.
You might find that quite odd.
Well it is odd.
Why is it covered with hockey tape????
Because once again I forgot to unfold the handle and put it outside the fryer before I heated up the oil.
I don't think too much of the melted plastic ended up on our fries. . . .

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's For Dinner?

Stampot and sausage.
The dried kale was from the garden as were the green pickled tomatoes. (not pictured)
Quick and easy.

Confessions Of A Speed Demon

So I got this phone call last night. . . .
"Do you know where you were on January 26 at 1:17pm?"
"Ummm. . . . No. Why?"
"Well one of us got a speeding ticket in a construction zone  that day and you know how expensive those are! Since three of us were doing a field trip miles away from the incident, it looks like it's either you or the other driver."
"What would I be doing there at that time of the day?? Oh. . . wait. . . that was the day we has those terrible icy roads and I had to do that field trip downtown that caused me so much trouble. . ."
"But Rosa, you never speed. We all joke about how pokey you drive. It's can't have be you!"
Flash forward to this morning when our head bus driver came to me with the copy of the ticket. It had a picture of the back of the offending bus. . .
It was me all right. No one else has a bus like this.
"Hello, my name is Rosa and I drove waaaay to fast through a construction zone."
It looks like I won't be buying a new dress for Steph's wedding after all. . .

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's For Dinner?

Jesse's stir fry!
And as you can see from the state of my stove, he prefers to 'flip' his food as opposed to stirring with a spoon. The spoon is there only because I helped stir while he chopped the ham.
No complaints though. I didn't have to cook!

Making Jam In The Middle Of Winter

I made many, many jars of jam last summer.
Peach raspberry, blue ribbon strawberry, vanilla bean strawberry (too runny) and low sugar strawberry.
We are starting to run low however .
How is that possible you might ask?
Henry loves to snack on peanut butter and jam toast.
If you saw how much jam he puts on his toast you would understand why this has happened. Opa Vandermolen would be horrified! He would be scraping that jam off and telling him that he could make three pieces of toast with that jam!
So last Saturday I decided to address the problem by making a batch of raspberry jam using the berries I froze last summer.

This should last for a while don't you think?

Or maybe not. . . .

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's For Dinner?

Homemade brown bread, eggs from an acquaintance's backyard flock (she always tries to put one green egg in with every dozen!) and some very processed ham.
What's for dinner?
Green eggs and ham!

Fresh Homegrown Leeks At The End Of January!

I've been trying a few veggie storage experiments.
Check this out!
Cool Hey?

Monday, February 7, 2011

What's For Dinner?

Chicken Potpie! Yum!

Happy Birthday!

My sisters, Tamara and Lisa. (Dragonflight Photography)
Yesterday was my sister Lisa's birthday.
She, of course, turned 29. . .
I was wracking my brains trying to come up with a post worthy of this special sister of mine.
I popped over to my other sister Tamara's blog while my brain was wracking and read this.
Now how in the world can I do any better than this when it comes to how I feel about Lisa?!
So Lisa, I'm going to take a page from Henry's book and just use the famous words he uttered after Rick' s thank you speech at our wedding .(Lisa and I had a double wedding. Rick is her husband. Henry's mine.)
I love you Lisa and pray that God grants us all many more years together!
© A Life of Whimsey