Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blog Worthy Activity

So I spent a good part of last week reading.
Wednesday I read two of Francine Rivers' newest books. 'Her Mother's Hope' and 'Her Daughter's Dream.' I started in the morning , read all day, stopping only when Henry dropped by for lunch and made like I had been busy all day, threw something together for supper and finished the second book at 3:30 in the morning.
You would think I had learned from that, but no, I read nearly as much the next day!
By Friday night I realized that I had better not even open a book until after dinner or there would be no blog worthy activity happening around here at all!
Saturday was fun with lots of baking and a family get together  at a park with a lake and a dog park.
Of course that meant we took Jada along and Henry wanted to let her run free while I wanted her leashed until she listened to me. I took her to the dog park area, took off her leash  and watched her bolt over to the truck looking for Henry. Then she spotted one the of many hot dogs scattered around the park (bait for the crayfish in the pond) and any kind of control was a lost cause. Which brought on an argument in front of Henry's  dad when he (Henry, not his dad) insisted she should be off leash anyway. I strongly suggested that was a terrible idea..
The end result was him taking her for a walk instead of me and letting her off leash as soon as they were out of sight! (As I told his dad he would!)
Ah well, once she got to stay next to Henry she quieted down a whole lot.
I did have some fun with a bouquet from the garden for my sister-in-law Dorothy's birthday

Dorothy's gift and handmade card

Very pretty ribbon and a handmade label
 as well as something neat for my secret sister.

Cherry cheesecake

Shhhhh! Don"t tell her it was me!
(don't worry she doesn't read this blog so I won't be giving anything away! Just make sure you don't give it away!)
This week has me canning peaches, making strawberry jam and going for a drive in my bus with the lady who is replacing me.
Friday I get to do something fun as well, but that is going to have to stay secret for a while.
Should the unthinkable happen and the blog goes silent, you will know that the responsible woman in me lost out ot the avid reader. . .
If that happens I give you all permission to hassle me without mercy . . .

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Not All Flower Gardens Require Weeding

Jada and I are still searching out new places to take our daily walk.
This morning I had to go the the grocery store and decided to hit my favorite IGA on 142 st. They have an excellent bakery and the butcher shop is wonderful as well. There is almost always a butcher available to talk to and they are happy to cut something custom for you which makes going a little out of my way to get there totally worth while.
So to be efficient (something new I'm trying. . .) I took Jada with me and we kept a close eye out for a likely walking spot.
We found a great one in  the Mckinnon Ravine. You get at in in an odd way but it was a lovely walk that led us right to the river's edge which thrilled Jada no end and she jumped in before I had time to stop her! (of course Henry and I had just given her a bath!)
The neatest part of the walk though, was all the wild flowers we saw.
You just have to love a flower garden that doesn't need weeding!

Another adventure on an unknown path!

I love rose hips and often use them when decorating for fall or Christmas.

For some reason my camera kept registering these flowers as a mountain scene, so they are a little out of focus.

One of my favorites, these little flowers are pale purple. I think they are a type of wild aster.

These flowers are so pretty but I have no idea what they might be.

From the look (and smell) of the leaves theses flowers are likely in the crysanthumum family. Oddly, what looks like the center of a flower, is the actual flower. Kind of cool. . .

These flowers were white and likely asters as well.
All in all, a lovely start to my day!

Friday, August 19, 2011


These are the kinds of things that go on in this house When Jada has a sleepover with her friend Diesel. . .

Sorry mom, there's no room left!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Jada and  I have been going for long walks in a historic neighbourhood that runs along the river. It only takes five minutes to drive there and is full of  'scope for the imagination' as Anne (of Green Gables) would say.
It's peaceful, and beautiful homes, gardens and large trees abound.
While walking Ravine Drive, we stopped to sit on a bench (well I did!) and enjoy the view.
When I got up again, I saw this plaque:

I loved this!
I went home and did my part to make life beautiful. . .

Set a pretty table
Local, pasture raised, roasted chicken with a garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, and crushed red pepper flake rub under then skin.

Add homegrown beans

Flowers from the garden, homemade applesauce and a good bottle of wine (or red brisk if, like Morgan, wine isn't your thing.)

Butter, locally made bacon for bacon bits and homemade bread on a serving plate I painted myself many (many!) years ago.
Life really is beautiful isn't it?
Of course, I could have set a pretty table and served spagetti and meatballs and it would have been just as lovely.
In the end it's about my attitude more than about what I have.
God has already given me the most precious gift there is.
The rest is just gravey. .  .

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Change Of Heart

I have decided not to go around the bend. ( literally or figuratively!)
Thinking about getting behind the wheel of a bus again , battling traffic, construction and the elements had a knot of anxiety growing larger and larger everyday.
And I hadn't even started driving yet!
Yet it was my duty to drive wasn't it???
Ev pointed out that just because we can say yes to something, doesn't mean that God expects us to say yes to it.
Sometimes the lesson to be learned is that we have to say no.
I just wish my no wasn't going to make so many other people's lives difficult.


Monday, August 15, 2011

A Bend In The Road

If there has to be a bend, I would choose this one!

Just when you think you know where you are headed, God changes directions on you. . .

I thought I had retired from bus driving when the school year was over!
Jesse graduated and that meant no more tuition.
I was looking ahead to quiet, relaxed mornings and long days full of  baking, cooking, visiting, helping, gardening, preserving, crafting, reading, walking and just loving my family.

But, it seems God has something else in mind.  . .
I learned on Saturday that my job has yet to be filled. . .

Would I consider. . .????

So, for the the time being, I will once again be driving kids to school everyday.
While this is not the direction I thought my days were heading, it's comforting to know that it's all in God's hands and He works everything for my good.

Who knows what might be around that bend in the road. . .

Now I'm off to find some cool window stickers for the bus.
I do love to decorate my bus for the kids! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Reveal

As promised, I am going to reveal how the front entrance makeover turned out. . .
We went from this. . .

Before the door had an old metal screen door and an odd extra decorative metal piece to the left of the door that went  up to the eave.

The screen was replaced with a new white one. I do regret not paying the extra $100 to have gotten a black one but it just wasn't in the budget!

Time to replace the old hardware. It was tarnished and rather beaten up

To this. . .

We ( well by 'we' I mean my lovely brother-in law W ) removed the metal rails so I could spray paint them and then left off the extra odd piece for a more updated look.

There is no reason to have an ugly Beware of Dog sign!

New brushed nickle hardware. I painted out the unused peephole as I felt that hanging the new doorknocker to cover the peephole  made the knocker too low. I couldn't figure out how to fill the large hole I would be left with if I took the peephole ou,t so I went the (ahem) 'creative' route and painted it out instead

Taking the odd metal bit off, left the brick looking unbalanced, so my fabulous brother-in-law also hung this metal basket I painted black to even things out a bit. This will be a great place to add seasonal elements!

The old address sign had seen better days, so I put this new one up instead. Unfortunately, I put the vinyl numbers on upside down, making it impossible to hang the way it was meant to. Thankfully W is also 'creative' and just used great gobs of construction adhesive to put it up! I also put up a new mailbox as the old one had been painted several times and the paint was bubbling. The whole thing had also rusted quite badly. Finding a mailbox I liked that didn't cost over $100 proved quite a challenge and in the end I chose this plastic one for $16 . It fit the budget and was in the simple style I was looking for.
I love how it turned out. It's not perfect but then, what is???

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Dark Side Of Organic Broccoli

Our family loves broccoli.
Steamed, with cheese sauce, roasted with garlic and olive oil, it's all good to us.
That makes having access to organically grown broccoli in your own back yard a huge bonus.
We can eat all I can grow. And I only grow organically.
But. . .
There is a dark side to organically grown broccoli.
It rears it's ugly head when you are eating your delicious, garlicky, roasted broccoli, savouring every bite, when your horrified gaze beholds one of these. . . . .!!!

Only instead of being green, plump and squirmy, he's crispy, curled, and roasted!
And he's on your fork!!!
Thankfully, Henry and Jesse just shrugged and said " Oh well, it's just extra protein."
It could have been so much worse. . .
Had Crystal been over for dinner last night, her shrieks would have been heard around the globe!
Mom's would likely have joined her.
Please don't tell either one of them about this or they may never come for dinner again!

And now I'm off with a big plastic container and garden gloves for a lengthy caterpillar picking session.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Technical Difficulties

We've been experiencing technical difficulties for the last few months.
Internet connection has been very spotty and when I could get on line, it often took a very long time to load various pages, making blogging next to impossible!
After spending two hours on hold I finally managed to get our cable company to come out. Tomorrow they will be replacing our overhead cable line which should solve the problem for good.

You might be thinking I've just been hanging out, enjoying lovely, lazy, summer days with no blogging to do. . .
Jesse tells me I don't know how to have a lovely, lazy day and it's possible that he's right.  At least while I am at home. 
Somehow, something always needs doing.
Ev would probably disagree with me, as she is always doing something fun with her girls (sometimes she even lets her husband come along. . !)
It's odd, but somehow now that my kids are ( mostly) grown up, I don't make time for festivals and what have you the way I used to. It's not quite the same when you don't have small kids of your own to go with.
What I do find time for, are things like freezing thirty pounds of strawberries with vanilla been to use in strawberry short cake all winter long, painting and refreshing my outside front entry and, of course, gardening! ( Most of which Ev is doing on top of having fun with her family!)
So, to fill you in on what's been happening, I figured I would tell it in pictures rather than words. . . (Okay, okay, there are some words. I have to have some words!)

Driving Jesse and friends to summer camp were they were counsellors for devolpmentally challenged adults

A baby gift for my sister-in-law. I am trying hard to add special touches to gifts.

A handmade card

Jada and I are trying to be more adventurous in where we walk

On this day we walked in an old beautiful neighbourhood. I love walls covered in vines!

Looking for ideas I can use on my small home

Jada loves it when I share my snack with her!

Annabell hydrangea in the front garden

An ant on 'John Cabot'

Winnipeg Parks in the front garden

My friend Joyce and I take time out to visit Fort Edmonton

I check out gardens were ever I go!!

Jada LOVES icecream and Jesse HATES the cone. A good deal for for both of them!

Sliced strawberries with vanilla bean (seeds) Yum! Not local though. . . too much rain made for a poor crop this year.

A gift from the garden

The 'special' touch

I love daisy's!

A new project begins. . .

Front door before. . .

Minus knob and lock.
Stay tuned for the reveal in a future post!

Walking in the river valley
© A Life of Whimsey