Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sharing Christmas

Christmas Day at Gramma and Poppa's.

Christmas Eve storytime.... Twas the Night Before Christmas...
notice La Diva in her cap. She wanted curls for Christmas Day.

Story of Christmas from Luke, I think it's kinda cute that the Hero is reading
from his daughter's pink Bible.

The Pickle Finders for Christmas Eve 2008! They started working as teams last year and find it works to their advantage. They all enjoyed the pickle prize of Wii music.

Jesus' Birthday Cake. Turtle thinks Angel food is the best choice.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thick-Crusted Garlic Prime Rib

The Hero made this for Christmas Eve dinner. It was amazing so I thought I'd share the recipe.

3.15 kg (7 lb) prime rib premium beef oven roast

8 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers

30 ml (2 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

125 ml (1/2 cup) coarsely chopped fresh parsley

50 ml (1/4 cup) Dijon mustard

30 ml (2 tbsp) each herbes de Provence or dried thyme

30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

Shallot Gravy (recipe follows)

Cut shallow slits all over roast; insert garlic slivers into slits. Rub all over with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine parsley, mustard, herbes de Provence and oil. Set aside 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the mixture for Shallot Gravy, rubbing remainder all over roast.

Place roast, bones down, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert oven-safe meat thermometer into centre of roast. Roast, uncovered, in a 230 C (450 F) oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 140 C (275 F); roast until thermomenter reads 57 C (135 F) for medium-rare to medium, 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 hours.

Remove from oven. Cover loosely with foil and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes before carving. Drain all but 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the drippings from roasting pan to make gravy.

Shallot Gravy: Place roasting pan over medium heat; add 3 shallots (coarsely chopped) and reserved herb rub. Cook, stirring, until shallots soften. Stir in 500 ml (2 cups) beef broth and 45 ml (3 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce; simmer, stirring up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Combine 15 to 30 ml (1 to 2 tbsp) cornstarch with equal amounts cold water, making a smooth mixture. Gradually stir into broth; bring to a boil, stirring until thickened, about 3 minutes. Strain.

Makes 8 to 10 servings, with leftovers (about 18 Canada Food Guide servings).

Nutritional information per serving: 218 calories, 26 g protein, 10 g fat, 3 g carbohydrates.

Source: Beef Information Centre.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Know it all "fans" ??

We went to the Oiler's game last night. The Hero was given tickets as a thank you for a job well done from one of his colleagues. We took La Diva and Iceman as neither of them have been to a game this season. Iceman is a die hard Flames fan and was set to deck out in Flames gear, however they were playing the Predators not the Flames. We convinced him to borrow one of Kodiak's old jerseys, he then chose to go all out with a hat and tatooed his face with Oilers logos. He looked the part of a die hard fan. He was excited to be going and said he'd do his best to cheer on our favorite team. (by the end of the night he decided that Oilers were his second favorite team in the league... his BFF Jarome Iginala ;) will be crushed)

We dropped Turtle off for his sleepover, went to Red Robin for dinner and then headed to the game. We found close parking which was a bonus because I hate that usual 100 mile trek across the tundra to get to Rexall. Iceman was totally enthralled with the pre-game action. He thought it was especially cool that he could see the players that autographed Turtle's hat and one for his Auntie on the ice. He really got caught up in the whole night and it was awesome to see his face and watch him jump up with fists in air when they scored. The only damper on the evening were the 6 people sitting behind us. They obviously were season ticket holders and had gotten to know each other over the season or seasons. They were probably about 10+ years older than us (old enough to know better imho) and spent the entire game (non-stop yapping, even through the national anthem which had me ready to pop them in the nose from the get go) criticizing the Oilers from the coach down to every player that stepped on the ice. The bagged on them constantly and didn't stop even when a player they had been trashing scored mere seconds after the words came out of their mouths. The Oilers broke their losing streak against the Predators and I thought it was a good game, shots on goal were fairly even throughout, not a ton of power plays, even penalties for fighting for the most part, etc. These people were relentless and when they ran out of fodder for their own team they started in on young Tootoo from the Predators, the first ever kid from the NWT (aboriginal too) to ever make it to the NHL. He's a fiesty little guy and obviously fought hard just to play hockey as long as he did, let alone make it to and stay in the NHL without falling into the trap of too much money leading to a reckless lifestyle. The youth of the NWT have lower education levels and employment levels up into the early 20s are also very low. It's a challenge to stay on the straight and narrow and not fall into the trap of substance abuse and despair for many of his peers. When they commented that his playing skills must be due to all the caribou he ate I nearly came completely unglued. Next to me was a good looking young aboriginal man and his girlfriend and I was amazed and saddened when he didn't even flinch at the deragatory comments. I held my tongue because the tickets belonged to a colleague of T's and I had no idea what his relationship with those people may or may not be. Later T said I should have went for it because his friend and his wife are aboriginal as well.

I do not understand why you would chose to have season tickets to watch a team that you have not a single decent thing to say about. Why waste your money if it is so painful to watch them play? Why ruin the experience for those around you? Iceman even said afterwards that the game was awesome except he wanted to pop those people in the nose for being so rude during the whole game. What kind of life must they have when their whole source of entertainment is to ridicule and make fun of these atheletes? Sure they are overpaid for their skills and the whole professional sports industry is way out of control but you have a choice as to how much you chose to participate in furthering that industry. I wonder if they bag on the waitress or the grocery store clerk or anyone else they encounter the same way. I pray that they have never been involved in minor sports or other activities involving children. I cannot imagine the pressure people like that put on kids.

It was a great game and nice to spend some time with half the crew. We are relieved that those are not our season's tickets as I doubt that any of us could tolerate another evening with the jerk squad sitting behind us.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spoiled Rotten

We've been busy taking it easy since Christmas. We had an awesome Christmas Eve and an enjoyable day with our extended family. The crew have been enjoying their new Wii games and we've been watching some of the family movies they got. The Hero and Kodiak ventured out on boxing day as bigfoot aka Kodiak needed new bindings for his snowboard. They ended up coming home with bindings and a new board because they got a killer deal. I had predicted that they wouldn't stop at bindings. lol The Hero is taking up boarding this year so he will use the board when he's taking his lessons during the week. Then they will have to wrestle for it when they all go boarding. heh!

After weeks of feeling awesome I've had a few days of weariness. I guess all the stress and busyness caught up to me. Oh well, I'm thankful for those good days and am no where near where I once was. I'm hoping I can hold it together until Dr. X gets back from Chicago in the new year.

I was royally spoiled by the Hero for Christmas. I'm still reeling at all the surprises that he was able to pull off. We had agreed that this year we would keep things simple and while I upheld my end of the bargain he went over the top. I feel like a Queen with all my lovely new things- from beautiful bling to my very own Macbook!!!! The Hero and I are going to take in some classes at Apple university so that I can learn all the tricks of my new toy.

We are so greatful for the many blessings that we have been given this year. The Hero's hard work and our sacrifice of his time these past few months paid off in early December with a big promotion and all that comes with it. We are not taking that blessing for granted considering the state of the economy. We are very thankful and were excited to be an even greater blessing to those who have less than we do this Christmas season. This year more than many before we were able to communicate the reason for the season to all of our children. It was awesome to watch them be more concerned about giving than getting. I hope that we can carry this spirit over through the new year with the crew and get involved in some projects throughout the year.

I'm not sure what our plans are for New Years. I think that we might fondue. We will likely stick close to home and keep it low key. We surely cherish our time together and are grateful that the Hero is essentially off work until the New Year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Hutch

We were asked to share our favorite Christmas memories by the Elementary school. When I asked the crew what they thought was the best Christmas they came up with the following:

The Hutch crew has spent many years living far from their family. During those years we were not always able to travel at Christmas and we only had family come to us a handful of times. We created many traditions to make the holidays special. When we asked the kids what their favorite Christmas memory was they said the times when we did not have to travel and could keep doing the things that are special to our family.

La Diva loves when Dad reads the story of the birth of Jesus from the Bible on Christmas Eve. The kids all crowd around to hear it and we have pictures of this special event from nearly every year. As they’ve grown older they take turns reading it or reading one of the books that have also become part of our traditions. We read “the Small One” and as a nod to Mom’s childhood we read her Hallmark Pop-up book of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. She also likes that we get to open our ornament present on Christmas Eve. Everyone looks forward to finding out what Mom and Dad have found for him or her to represent the year. They will have quite the collection when they leave home.

Iceman likes finding the pickle hidden on the Christmas tree. A Pickle on a Christmas tree may sound strange to some but we hide a glass pickle ornament on our tree. The child that finds it will get the first prayer of blessing from Dad and gets to open the pickle present. The pickle present is a gift that can be enjoyed by all the kids and is usually a book, a board game, a video game or a DVD. Isaac can’t wait to see what the pickle present is this year and hopes that he gets to find it.

Turtle said that he likes the birthday cake we make for Christmas Eve. We’ve had several kinds over the years but his favorite is angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. We light candles and sing “Happy Birthday to Jesus”.

Kodiak said his favorite part about staying home at Christmas is being able to stay in our pjs when we open presents on Christmas morning. His Grandma likes everyone to be dressed up in their Christmas best…. he’s a teenager and he doesn’t like getting up any earlier than necessary.

Other traditions at the Hutch during the Christmas season are for each child to do a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, to help our community in some way by being involved in their Christmas program in some way and giving to those who are not as blessed as we are. We also celebrate the season of Advent by making a wreath and lighting a candle and doing a devotional each Sunday. This year we have a new tradition that uses a homemade Advent Calendar to help us to focus on the important things during this busy time of year. Each day has activities for us to do that range from “being kind to someone we don’t like” to “making popcorn and watching a movie as a family”. Of course we love all the food, the decorating and opening presents too.

We hope you enjoyed a peek inside the crew's favorite memories of Christmas. We wish you a blessed Christmas and a New Year that is filled with life's richest blessings of love, peace and joy! Enjoy your time with those you love.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Top 10 favorite things of 2008

1. Our Keurig coffee maker. Love, love, love this thing. The only complaint is no Starbucks K-cups yet, blasted Tassimo people have them.

2. The Conair Infiniti Hot Air Styler. This has saved me so much pain in doing my hair with my fibro. I can dry and straighten at once and only need to lightly go over my hair with my flat iron. Love this tool!

3. Sahale Snacks Valdosta Pecans. They are delicious and so addicting. We found ours at Costco.

4. The Magic Bullet!!! Get your mind out of the gutter. LOL The Hero was a little confused when I said I was buying a magic bullet because Canadian Tire had them on sale. It's small, powerful and makes the best smoothies.

5. Curvetech tank tops from Mark's They have built in bras, hold up great when you wash and hang to dry. Are awesome for layering and keep the girls where they are supposed to be. The Denver Hayes yoga line is also very comfy.

6. The new socks that are infused with Vitamin E or Aloe. I have some fun stripey ones that are in cotton and not like those fuzzy spa ones you normally see. Mine came from Marks but I've seen the fuzzy spa ones at Avon, Bath and Body Works and other places. My feet get some TLC just by wearing socks.

7. Microfiber plush blankets. We love them. Each of the kids have them on their beds. The littles actually sleep on top of them instead of underneath them because they love the snuggly feeling so much. One of the frustrating symptoms of my torment is getting cold so I have a couple of these hidden away in our ottoman in the living room and we all snuggle up in them. We bought ours at Costco.

8. Sultan Flokenes mattress. We desperately needed a new mattress and with my fibro we wanted to get something that would insure I get the best chance at a good night's rest. We shopped around and tried everything from high end top of the line ones to these ones at IKEA. I found this IKEA mattress to be more comfortable than the doctor recommended one for fibro at a specialty mattress shop. Bonus is that it was a fraction of the cost. The Hero also likes it which is great because we are usually on opposite ends of the spectrum in what we want from a mattress.

9. The Shack. There has only been one other work of fiction that has impacted my life so greatly. I laughed, I wept, my heart broke into a million pieces and then was put back together again. I am so thankful for what happened in me through this book. I know there is a ton of controversy out there over this book and I admit that is partly why I wanted to read it for myself. Rev. Lang endorsed it and that alone gave me the courage to read it. I have the utmost respect for him and his family as I've seen them take a horrific tragedy and turn that pain into ministry. I'm so blessed that I made the choice to read this powerful book. God used it to move me in ways I have yet been able to put to paper.

10. Alternative medicine and a medical doctor who is open to me trying these things. I have found so much relief and healing by taking this path. I'm so thankful that there are alternatives to modern medicine that have helped me and my torment.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sort of a bucket list.....

Found this on my friend LeAnn's blog and thought I'd do it while I wait for my cupcakes to bake.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a Praying Mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (not yet but will in 2010)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (another hope to when I'm in France)
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight 
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset 
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community (we don't have Amish where I live but I've been to a Hutterite colony)
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (money isn't where my satisfaction lays)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (hope to in 2010)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (not me but the Hero Last of the Dogmen with Tom Berenger)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt 
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (again, will do so in 2010)
77. Broken a bone 
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating 
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one 
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (as a legal assistant but not as someone being sued or suing lol)
98. Owned a cell phone 
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Visited Italy

**  This is obviously a US list.  I should make a Canada one and maybe I'd be more life experienced. LOL

Baking frenzy

I've been on a baking frenzy for the past couple of days. I've made Marshmallows, Eggnog Poundcake, Gingerbread Cupcakes, Banana Crunch Muffins and Orange Poundcake for Trifle for Christmas. I need to make Coconut Cupcakes, Viola's Chocolate Cupcakes, another batch of eggnog pound cake to give away and some more marshmallows, as we gifted the entire batch. I'm in charge of desserts for Christmas Dinner with the only request being trifle and something chocolate. I decided to do a variety of cupcakes which I'm freezing ahead of time and will ice on Christmas Eve.

Barefoot Contessa's Marshmallow Recipe

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
With the mixer on low speed slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

With a sieve, generously dust an 8 x 12-inch non-metal baking dish with confectioners' sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top** and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.

Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them in squares. dust them with more confectioners' sugar.

Yield: 20 to 40 marshmallows, depending on cut size
Recipe from: Barefoot Contessa Family-Style by Ina Garten (Clarkson N. Potter)
** sometimes we sprinkle with crushed candy canes and then dust with confectioners' sugar.

Eggnog Pound Cake

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup eggnog
Sift dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well
after each addition, then the vanilla.
Add flour mixture to bowl, alternating with eggnog.
Bake at 325° for about 65-75 minutes (in 2 loaf pans), 70-80 minutes (in a
Bundt) or about 22 minutes for mini-loaves.

*recipe from my friend Julya. It's been a huge hit with all the ladies on our message board this year.

Viola's Grandmother's Famous Chocolate Oil Cake


2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
3 cup flour
4 heaping tbsp. Hershey's cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cup boiling water


Combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

Sift dry ingredients and add to batter along with boiling water.

Pour batter into two 9-inch rounds (or into one 9 x 13 baking dish). Bake at 350° F for 30 to 35 minutes (rounds) or 35 to 45 minutes (sheet).

Ice as desired. I like to use a double dark fudge frosting like Duncan Hines, but a ganache is even more decadent!

***This is another famous recipe from a group of gals who met on Martha Stewart boards.  This is always the chocolate recipe I go back to.  I'll be making it into cupcakes this time.

Well I better get to it.  I need to run out this evening and finish up my Christmas shopping.  Still haven't got a thing for the Hero. ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fostering a sense of community....

This year our children's school has taken a different look at the holidays in their group activities. The concentration has been on having an old fashioned Christmas and focusing on the simpler things. One of the key lessons has been giving over receiving and that gifts can be as simple as a smile, a hug or doing something kind for your classmate. Instead of sending gifts for the teachers they had asked that the students make a donation to one of 2 projects- backpacks for the homeless or shoe boxes filled with stocking stuffers for someone within our own community. There was not a big concert production this year but a carol sing where families were invited to join with the students to sing carols, share memories of a favorite Christmas and have a time of fellowship with hot chocolate and cookies that had been baked by the teachers. The teachers felt that it was necessary to take the focus off of finding a fancy outfit to wear, knowing full well how much of a hardship that is for some of the families and just showing their students and our community what fun can be had by just being together. I've been involved in some fundraising activities this week that had me at the school more often than usual and around some of the parents. I overheard some complaining to a dear teacher that they were hugely disappointed that there would be no stage at this event, no opportunity to videotape their child, no reason to attend the event. *sigh* The teacher tried to explain that they were trying something new and that for some families this would be one of the few moments where they could be together doing something like this. This person went on and on about how she wouldn't waste her time and how could she expect her parents to travel from another town for this. The point of the evening was completely lost on her. It made me so sad that all she cared about was a production to tape her child at. She was well dressed, as were her children and the prospect of not having an event to shop for was probably causing her much grief as well. We attended the event and while it wasn't a packed house like it is when they have to hold 2 seperate concerts for the school it was a decent turn out. The kids were well behaved (except a few who ironically belong to people who consider themselves to be "all that") and they were really into the night. It went a little long but most things run late around here and they had some sound and video challenges. I don't know that it fostered a huge sense of community because this is a place where people stick to who they know. As members of parent council and PTA, Troy and I did our best to talk to people who seemed left out of the group. Our kids preferred it over the normal school productions. They will have assemblies this coming week with a couple of classes at a time performing for the rest of the school. I wonder how many of the video tapers will show up for that.

Today was the day they handed off their shoe boxes and backpacks to the people from Christmas Elves. I think they were proud of what they had accomplished and I hope that some of the more fortunate children learned a little bit about giving and how blessed they are. Maybe they can pass that knowledge onto their spoiled parents who want what they want.

This week also marked the kick off of the breakfast program for the school. This is a project that is near and dear to the Hero and I. We, along with some dear people, worked hard and pushed through a great deal of ridicule and adversity to pull this off. Today was the day when all that drama paid off in a huge way. Since Tuesday each of the children in the school have received some breakfast on their assigned assembly days. Today the entire school was given some healthy muffins baked especially for them by our local bakery and a milk. They learned how this program came to be and that thanks to the generosity of a local business they will continue to receive funds through the coming year to keep this program going for some time. They wanted to have breakfast for everyone at the beginning so that the stigma of it being just for those that were lacking was removed. The kids now know that if they are hungry they need to only ask their teacher and food will be provided for them. The Hero was choked up talking about the project and many of the teachers had tears freely flowing. It is a really great thing what our dear friends have pulled together and the need is only going to become greater as times get tougher for many in our community. It was a good end to a project that came with a great fight. I'm so glad that we all pushed through and saw it come to pass.

Monday, December 08, 2008

School Pics

They arrived last week and I forgot to post them. Here you go.... my grown up crew.

O Christmas Tree

This weekend we decorated our Christmas tree... finally... the poor thing has been sitting in the corner nekkid for way too long. We have a slim tree for our current home and we had too many ornaments to decorate it with. So we went with the ones with memories over the color coordination. I did manage to sneak in a few of my copper sprigs, sprays and beaded garland. Otherwise it is very much a tree of memories with the ornaments that the crew and the Hero receive each year. We have enough fire related decorations to do a whole tree and when we have room for more than one tree we will do that.

We also made cut out gingerbread babies (that is what Iceman and Turtle insisted on calling them after we read Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby) and sugar cookies. The crew had much fun decorating them. I'm pretty good on the making memories part but I'm not so great at capturing them on camera.

This week is a busy one so I don't know if I'll get on here very much. I'm trying a new treatment for my torment this morning... if I'm up to it after I'll let you know how it went.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Gah!!! or should I say Bah Humbug!

Who screws up Butterscotch Confetti Squares?? They are nearly the easiest thing to make but I had nothing but trouble pulling this off today. gah! I'm so not into baking this Christmas. The crew are clamoring for some treats but I think I'm going to make the new home ec student (Kodiak) take charge and make some cookies. He has baked some really wonderful things so far this term. I figure it can't be worse than how I'm making out this year. I was going to make Madeleines but I must wait til I'm in a better baking groove. We've been lax on the goodies around here since I lost weight (yes, I punish them all for my lack of self-control....bwa hahahahaha) and I seem to have lost my baking mojo somewhere.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I finally did it, I made an advent calendar that we can use every year. I'm craft impaired but when the Hero came home with a boxful of Starbucks mittens from last years gift cards I knew I had to do something with them. I had this old frame with the glass broken out of that has been laying around begging to be re-purposed, so I wrapped the matte in Christmas paper, strung some mini garland for the mittens to hang off and stamped numbers on some scrapbooking embellishments... Viola... advent calendar. I planned to do some nicer inserts but ran out of time so I just tucked slips of paper with the instructions for the day on them. Our list of advent activities for this year are, in no particular order:

Sing a Christmas Carol

Write “I love you” notes to your parents and hide them under their pillows.

Ask a parent permission to make popcorn for your family and watch your favorite holiday movie.

Be nice to someone that you do not like a lot.

Offer to say grace at mealtime.

Clean your bedroom without being asked.

Make a Christmas Card for your favorite teacher and give it to them.

Hug everyone in your family today.

Read the Christmas story to your family.

Read Luke 2:1-20 with your family and then set up your Christmas crèche.

Take a drive to look at the pretty lights.

Read your favorite holiday story.

Do something nice for someone in honor of your mother.

Donate food to someone’s holiday meal.

Your Mom has a treat for you today.

Bake holiday treats and share them with someone.

Give service to someone by sweeping their walk or shoveling their snow.

Be secret Santa to someone and give them an anonymous gift.

Make a cup of Hot Cocoa and think about your blessings.

Write down 3 things you are thankful for.

Put spare change in a bell ringer’s bucket.

Tell someone you love them and are glad they are part of your life.

Do something nice for a brother or sister.

Say a prayer for the hungry people in the world.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A week in review....

Things have certainly run away from me lately. We've done some exciting things recently (well exciting for me anyway ;)) and I'd like to document them so bear with me while I ramble about our week.

Last weekend a colleague of the Hero's was in town for some meetings and brought his lovely wife along. The Hero has known him for many years but this is the first chance that I have had to meet his sweet wife. It was great to have some intelligent conversation and great company. We went out to dinner Friday night and then on Saturday attended an event with them.

Saturday night brought one of those moments that confirms many things that you know in your heart but are not sure if you are seeing things from out of your own love and appreciation for someone you love or out of something more unbiased. My heart was full of pride as I watched my Hero in his element. He has the respect of many in his industry and Saturday night made it so evident to me just how high they hold him in esteem. I'm so very proud of him and all that he has accomplished. He was asked to meet with the minister in charge of fire services for our province and make a presentation to other ministers. It was a wonderful social event and for those of us in Hazzard who aren't used to seeing firefighters shown gratitude and appreciation it was heart warming to know that it exists out there somewhere. Speaking of Hazzard, it was interesting to have confirmed, straight from the horses mouth so to speak, all we already knew about the situation with Cruella and her minions and their razing of our department. It brought me great joy to hear directly from the minister in charge of our heroes the direction that the fire service needs to be taking. It was not the least bit surprising to us to hear that everything that Cruella had pulled and claimed was true went completely against the direction our province is taking in regards to this area of service. I have to admit that after all our family has been through that it brought about some personal satisfaction but it also makes me even more fearful for those that we still care about that are on the department (they may be busy maligning the Hero and others like him but we still pray for their safety).

I can't remember if I told you all but I'm now on the executive for both the PTA and the Parent Council of our Elementary school. This past week was my first official meeting as such and with that came doing cookie dough orders and setting up another fundraising initiative for the school. It was good to feel useful and be around other people who genuinely care about the direction of our school. I'm looking forward to working with these women and the Hero (who is still Chair of PC). It looks like I will be administrating this new fundraising initiative for now and I hope that my body holds out for me and I have good days on those days that I need to work through all the paperwork. I'm also thankful for a sensible person to work alongside. We've lived in Hazzard for about the same amount of time and we've made about the same amount of friends here. LOL It's good to know it's the way of Hazzard rather than just me. She is a non-gossipy type person and a straight shooter so I think we will enjoy working together.

This weekend we got together with what is left of our fire department family. It was really great to see everyone again. I love that we still have such respect and warm hugs for each other. We had a fabulous dinner at a great restaurant and it was good to be in the company of dear ones again. We look forward to our next get together in the new year.

Today we are going to get the house set up for Christmas. We put the tree up yesterday to make sure all the lights worked and will get it decorated today. It's hard to get into the Christmas spirit as the weather has been unseasonably warm and we've yet to have snow that sticks. The crew is very excited about decking the halls and it should be a great family time together. The Hero jets off to the wet coast for a few days this week so it will be good to spend this day enjoying each other.

If you are still reading you are likely procrastinating something, are suffering from insomnia or are jacked up on caffiene. ;) I appreciate your visit to our life and hope that you take some time today to show those around you that they are appreciated. Do something that will bring you and those you love some JOY!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How good is your word?

Living with integrity means: 

Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. 
Asking for what you want and need from others. 
Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. 
Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. 
Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.

~Barbara de Angelis

Do you live a life of integrity?  Do you mean what you say and stand behind those things? Do you compromise yourself? Do you take a stand but then turn around and accept circumstances that are less than you deserve or go against what you have said you'd never do? Do you stand passionately and say things that start with the phrase "I will never" but then turn around and do the very thing you said you'd never do?  

I've recently discovered that there are very few people who mean what they say. When the chips are down many people really don't have the strength to stand by their convictions.  It's no wonder that so few people trust others when so many go back on their word.  Does anyone really respect someone who doesn't stand by their word and follow their convictions?  It really makes me sad that people are willing to compromise who they are. I wonder if they will ever truly have satisfaction or happiness as a result of their inability to stand up for what they believe in and be who they really are.

Mean Girls Update

La Diva's teacher had another talk with the girls.  Friday night she was invited to see High School Musical 3 with a group of her classmates.  She also decided to attend the party on Saturday night.  She had a good time both nights.  The BFF was at the Friday night event and was moody and difficult, causing her hostess to cry.  La Diva is starting to see her for who she really is and has learned a hard lesson.  I pray that this is the beginning of less trying times for her.  Thanks for all of your prayers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mean Girls

I'm so sad right now.  La Diva is struggling so much with someone who was supposedly her BFF. They had a great summer together and even made a time capsule with a BFF scrapbook to bury and dig up in 5 or 10 years.  Since school started and La Diva was made a patrol captain, along with the supposed BFF and 2 other classmates.  It has been total drama.  BFF is on some power trip and has become bossy, rude, critical and just downright mean.  It's classic social/verbal bullying which seems to start earlier and earlier with girls as the years go by.  I tried talking to BFF's Mom but we don't share the same views so it was a conversation that lead to no resolution.  She thinks they need to be left to work it out but I think she was seeing me as some helicopter parent and not seeing the severity of the situation.  When my DD is coming home in tears nearly every day it's just not right.  I asked her this week if she wanted me to talk to her teacher or if she felt comfortable doing so.  We also did some research and found some tools for her to use to try to deflect this nonsense.  We found a great site which I've passed along to the teacher called It's a Girl's World.  

She decided to talk to her teacher and the teacher was awesome and had a special "health" class for just the girls that very day.  However, mere hours after the class the "BFF" was again critcizing La Diva for her apparent incorrect cutting of something.  La Diva told her to stop talking to her like that, that she couldn't take it anymore and then excused herself to go to the washroom because she was on the verge of tears. She came home after school and dissolved into a puddle of tears.  I was so angry and ready to call the BFF myself and tear a strip off her.  We finally decided that she should call Mrs. BFF and maybe if she heard from La Diva directly she would be more inclined to see that there was a problem.  She ended up crying on the phone, which I told her was fine.  BFF had been telling her Mom that everything was perfect between her and La Diva.  So I don't know if anything will come out of that but she felt better for doing it. She asked if Mrs. BFF could ask her DD to just not speak to her if all that she could do was cut her down and tell her how wrong everything she does is.  She was honest and raw, sobs were genuine.

I also wrote a note to her teacher thanking her for her prompt action and informing her of the continued criticism mere hours later.  Our next stop will be the principal.  I'm heartsick that my tender hearted DD has been singled out to be the object of this girls jealousy, criticism and ridicule.  It's such an obvious case of social bullying and the pain that it causes is so deep.  La Diva is one that always stands up for the underdog but unfortunately no one seems to be standing up for her.

What would you do if this was your DD?  I feel so helpless and my heart hurts so badly for my precious girl.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Leave it to the Hero

Only he can manage to get  on the blog of one of the most loved bloggers on the internetz. LOL.  Ree's story about Mike and the Firemen tugged at his heart strings.  I can't wait to hear about Mike's reaction.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Catch up

I'm in an upswing healthwise and with that comes playing catch up with my neglected house and jumping back into my family's busy life.  This past weekend we rearranged our living room, which involved shopping, building furniture (same piece twice- don't ask ;)), moving furniture, repurposing old furniture and making space for that repurpose required more cleaning.  Throw in a 4 day weekend, homework, cooking for Thanksgiving and you have a busy family.  We are pleased with our new set up and enjoyed our time together despite the busyness.

My RMT is still out and I've been seeing someone else in the wellness centre- it's a bit of a co-op situation with all of them having different takes on the way they offer healing to you.  I find myself doing spiritual battle with the lady I'm seeing now and I'm not finding the same level of healing through her hands. I look forward to having my therapist with her healing touch back soon.  I've been given a referral for a naturopathic doctor who has had some success with fibro.  As soon as I can figure out the Hero's schedule I will set up an appointment.

Iceman is having some challenges at school.  I met with his teachers last week.  I am pleased that they are on top of things early on and I hope that we can find a way to make this year a successful one for him.  He has some concentration issues, gets frustrated because everything is "so hard" and well... he is Iceman.    I'm proud of myself.  While I went right to beating myself up when I first got the meeting request I didn't let that consume me and am moving forward to do what I can to help Iceman succeed in school.

Kodiak and I are heading to Europe in 2010.  He is very excited about it and I figure it will be a great opportunity for both of us. I hope he's as enthusiastic about having his Mom tag along in 2 years.  He is already asking what kind of food they have in each country, what languages he should study, where can we find info about where we are going etc.  We will be visiting London, Paris and Barcelona.

La Diva has been having some girl drama in her life.  It really frustrates me and I hate to see her have to deal with this crap already.  She is a really compassionate child (and I'm not just saying that because she is my daughter) and hates to see people treating others badly.  Unfortunately that has made her a target and it is even coming from one she had considered her BFF.  I've done what I can and even had a meeting with the mom of her BFF.  Unfortunately it did little to ease my mind but gave me insight into this girls true character.  I don't have a problem with the family at all, in fact one of Kodiak's best buds is cousin and lives with them, however, our views on rearing children differ.  She thinks they need to learn that you won't be friend with people forever and I think that they are still children and need guidance in how to treat people you call BFF.  She basically said that if BFF can't see that La Diva is a good friend than maybe she needs to let her be on her own or with others so she can realize just how good she had it with La Diva.   I just hate seeing La Diva hurt and be a doormat for this kind of junk.  I'm trying to teach her that it's ok to be upset and to tell her friends when they hurt her, that she doesn't have to hold it all in and that she can, in a respectful way, express her feelings about how she is being treated.  She is used to everyone loving her and keeping the peace with all the drama queens.  *sigh*  We aren't even in Jr. High yet.  My heart hurts that she is enduring this already.

Turtle is loving school so much.  He is beyond thrilled that a classmate moved next door.  It's been such fun to watch him blossom from this shy little barnacle to a charasmatic leader.  He loves his teacher and is learning so much.

The Hero is in full swing of his super busy season.  Next week we lose him for the majority of the week to trips.  He is doing amazing and is finally getting some recognition from his company... looks like he'll be moving up the ladder again.  I'm so very proud of him.  He's becoming a bit of a "celebrity" in the industry as well. lol

The Hero's cousin was the first guy to be eliminated from SYTYCD-Canada last week.  I felt so badly for him, he was visibly shocked. I thought he did an amazing solo.  I did have a sinking feeling he might be ousted by default because I figured they'd keep the ballroom guy and knew Blake loved Dario. I am sure that Kevin will be richer for the experience and I am confident that he has great things in his future.  You can check out his journey here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

mmmmmm... Fall Stew

I was perusing the aisles of Extra Foods (a mini Superstore) in a neighboring town while La Diva had piano lessons. I rarely get to this store but have enjoyed several products from there in the past. This time I picked up the PC Memories of Burgundy Burgundy Beef Stew Spice & Recipe Kit. I thought I had most of the ingredients for the recipe at home and with the fall weather stew sounded like a great idea. I must admit that when it came time to making it I didn't have all the ingredients listed on the recipe so I made stew like I normall would but with the addition of these spices and the red wine of course. It was delicious.  The family wanted to know what was different about the stew. The smell was heavenly and I was drooling all day as it simmered in the crock pot. I will likely try some of the other spice combos available.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Almost Famous

The Hero's cousin made it into the top 20 for So You Think You Can Dance Canada. We haven't had much contact with him now that he is all grown up. His family was the first part of the Hero's family that I met when we started dating. Kevin was quite the little dancer back then. I know how big dancing was in his life as a child and remember him putting on a show at our wedding reception much to the delight of the little girls in attendance. I also remember watching him in competitions in Cowtown when we lived there. He has certainly come a long way and we wish him much success as he takes on this new challenge. You can check him out at SYTYCD-Canada

Hey he didn't get his cousin's gift of gab but the Hero didn't inherit any of those moves either. heh

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Turtle!

My baby is 6!!! 6!!!!!!!! I can't believe it. He has grown up so much this past year. It seems like not so long ago we were not so patiently waiting for him to arrive while he played "cry wolf" with us. I remember the days when he was so shy that he seemed to be a barnacle attached to my behind who hide from anyone he didn't know and often those he did. Now he has grown into Mr. Personality- my funny, charming, precocious little boy.

I was in really bad shape this year in the days leading up to his birthday and the prospect of throwing a party was not something I was feeling capable of at all. Thankfully the Hero saved the day with some well timed hockey tickets for a game the night before the Turtle's birthday. Not only did the Turtle get to go to a game with just his Daddy, he came home with a game puck and was apparently the good luck charm for the coaches of the opposing team (eeek!). The coaching staff all ruffled his curls as they came out to practice and it was them who gave him a puck. Nonetheless he enjoyed the pre-season game and it became his "party".

The next day he took mini muffins and juice to school and shared his birthday with both grade 1 classes. That night we had a family dinner with Turtle cake made by a worn out mom with the help of cake mix and canned frosting (sometimes a girl has to do what she can to get by). He thought it was great and was pleased with cake and presents. Mr. Music now has his own personal iPod shuffle, the boy is always dancing or singing so this was the perfect gift.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hanging by a thread

I've not been well.  My body is failing me in a big way.  My RMT with the healing hands is on medical leave for at least 2 weeks.  This was a blow that I am having a hard time coming to grips with.  I didn't realize how much I've counted on the relief she has given me to carry on.  I'm able to see someone else later this week but I'm worried about it for a variety of reasons.  I'm exhausted. I'm grumpy. I'm done.  I hesitate to even write this because there are people that read that don't know me or don't give a crap about me.  I just don't care anymore.  They can think what they like. This is my place.  I'm having a hard time.  I hurt.  So if I'm MIA from here or online or real life it's because I have nothing for anyone right now.  I can barely keep it together for me.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Princess and the Pea

Another rough night of sleeping that even lead to complaints from the Hero this morning about my restlessness and "moaning". *sigh* Usually my "moaning" is not so displeasing to the Hero ;). I could feel every wrinkle on the sheets, seam on my clothing, etc. I'm going onto over 2 weeks of suffering. I'm getting worn down. I'm really frustrated. My doctor is still on mat leave and I'm too stubborn to go back to see the other jack.... er... doctor in the clinic. My massage therapy has been helping but we have a lot of pain layers to work through. I go today and hope that I will have some relief. I'm also supposed to go to PT, according to the other doctor. I don't trust him and have yet to hear really positive things about PT with regards to my torment so I haven't made an appointment. If my other doctor gave me the script I'd be more inclined to trust her judgement and go. Maybe I'm just causing myself more torment but even my RMT said that unless you get a PT experienced in your pain condition they can push you too hard and then you are left suffering. She said you may have to gently remind them that it didn't take a day to get to this point and it won't be healed in a day. My not so forceful personality would just suffer through it and end up in a mess.

I'm finding that the changes in weather are really a trigger for me. I don't know if this is common but it sure seems to affect my body in drastic ways. I also have SAD so maybe this is why it slams me so hard. I've been doing plenty of research and recently read that fibro seems to affect more areas of your life than any other chronic pain condition. *sigh* I guess that makes me feel less like I'm failing and more that it's something beyond my control. It is hard to push through some days. My body is so exhausted. I'm trusting that I will learn something through this journey but I'm not liking it. I turn 40 this week and am feeling like 90 some days.

One may go a long way after one is tired. ~French Proverb

Friday, September 05, 2008

Fall is in the air.

The last flowery faces of summer around here are my Rudbeckia's.  With their arrival also comes the sign that summer is drawing to a close.  The weather has been cool and crisp in the evenings for a few weeks and while we have managed to avoid a frosty night I fear it is not far off.  This weekend will be the start of my preparation for winter outdoors.  There are many plants that need to be pulled, pots to clean and other plants to transplant and move indoors.  The apple tree is so full that I really must get serious about making crabapple jelly before the whole tree of apples are lying on the ground. Iceman, Turtle and Kodiak have been raking up a pile almost daily. I've baked crisps galore and Turtle took a bucket of apples to his teacher.

Anyone need some crabapples? Have any recipes to share?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Apples, Trees and A$$holes

Yesterday was the first full day of school and about 2:30 pm my phone rings... it's the Principal. I'm not kidding, essentially the first day of school and I'm already getting calls from the office. Anyone who has met my children probably has no trouble guessing who it was for. She wanted to let me know that one of my children would likely be upset when they arrived home today. That there was an incident on the playground that she was unable to get to the bottom of and that caused my child great upset when she was asking questions about it. She intended to speak with the children involved individually today and sort it all out. *sigh*

Children arrive home... everyone had an awesome day. "I love school" proclaims Turtle. Kodiak said he has the best class and is really looking forward to what is on the curriculum for the year. La Diva was still on safety patrol. Yeah... you guessed it right... Iceman. "Did you really have a great day Iceman?" He looks me square in the eye, you can see the wheels turning and then proceeds to spin a story. I knew he started off with some truths but then the tale started to spin in the dramatic fashion that is Iceman. I say "Is that what happened?" Sheepish look... eyes wide... "well.... not exactly... I tried to not get in the middle of it but the big kids were hurting the little kids.... then it turned into this situation:

grade 3 kid: tries to take Iceman's special firefighter hat that the Hero brought back from TO.

Iceman: That hat is from TO and it cost $100.00!! Don't touch it!

grade 3 kid: I don't care, goes to grab it again...

Iceman: pushes kid... says "Stop being such an asshole"!

grade 3 kid: I'm telling, you are going to get in trouble.

Iceman: I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that.

Then I'm assuming telling ensued, Iceman already beside himself has a meltdown with tears and then his story changes 3 times while he is trying to explain it. Sadly this is a trick he learned last year when "tattling" was frowned upon. Iceman could not process this rule and I told his teacher that on numerous occasions. He has always been a black and white kid, rules are rules and not made to be broken. As the "I'm sorry letters" stacked up last year from all the bullying, Iceman told on friends less and began to lie to cover their butts more. Now he has real struggles with the whole right and wrong thing. Is it wrong to tell on a friend? They of course tell him they won't play with him anymore or whatever and for a kid who is used to being loved and adored by everyone this is just not acceptable.

I'm not condoning my kid stooping to the level of the bullies but I also am a bit proud of him for standing up to an older kid who was picking on younger kids. It was wrong but part of me wishes I could get away with telling someone to "Stop being an asshole!" There are plenty of people who could stand to hear that kind of directive.

I made him write a letter to the Principal, explaining what took place. I told him that we will not tolerate his lies and that he is not to be lying to the Principal or teachers. I also told him, AGAIN, that I don't care what anyone says about tattling that if he thinks someone is doing something wrong that he is to tell a grown up. If the grown up does not deal with it then he is to come home and tell us. We will deal with the grown ups. Last year he didn't tell about a kid with a knife at school because he was only stabbing a snowball and not hurting anyone or himself and that was how he understood the stupid tattling rule his teacher had adopted. We heard about it over a week later from him.

Can't blame the kid for standing up for himself. He sees his Dad, who works from home, not take any crap from people. He sees that he is well respected at his job, in the community, etc. He wants to be him so if I'm going to fault the apple... I should also be getting after the tree. The Hero is a good man and for our son to grow up to be like him isn't a bad thing.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

WORD Wednesday

Those who are generous towards God and towards their neighbor find that they cannot outgive God in his generosity towards us. God blesses us with the priceless treasures of his kingdom – freedom from fear and the griping power of sin, selfishness and pride which block his love and grace in our lives; freedom from loneliness, isolation and rejection which keep his children from living together in love, peace, and unity; and freedom from hopelessness, despair, and disillusionment which blind our vision of God's power to heal every hurt, bind every wound, and remove every blemish which mar the image of God within us. God offers us treasure which money cannot buy. He alone can truly satisfy the deepest longing and desires of our heart. Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from seeking true joy with Jesus?

~ Don Schwager

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."

~ Epicurus

"Opportunity is missed by most people because is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

~ Thomas Edison

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Kodiak

Back to School

It's first day of school at the Hutch.  Summer seemed to alternately fly by and drag on for us.  The past couple of weeks have been a bit painful with boredom setting in for the older 2.  I think we were all ready for school to begin.  Summer was fun but our family does better on routine and organization that seems to come with fall. 

 I did really well with my baby heading to grade 1, not even a tear from either of us.  Turtle really loves school and I know he is ready to be there.    He was a bit worried as his two best buddies will not be in the same class this year.  However, I was happy to see some of the really great boys in his room and when the Principal's kids are in the same classroom you kind of put aside any doubts that his teacher will measure up.

Iceman went off to his class before I had Turtle settled. The Hero got sidetracked by the VP on our way into the school, the joys of being Parent Council Chair.  When we caught up with him he was giving us the thumbs up because he'd tied his shoes without trouble.  This was one of his big accomplishments this summer.  He's known to give up when things are "too hard" but pushed through this challenge so he could wear his cool new Adidas runners to school.  I think that his teachers will be a good fit for him this year.  He has had Mrs. L the past 2 years for music and last year Mrs. F was his teacher for the extra help he needed for reading.  He is comfortable with both of them and they are aware of his challenges.  I'm praying that he will not be saddled with the bullies from last year in his room.  When we left him there was no sign of either so far so I hope that means they will be in the other class (a male teacher in that room that puts up with no baloney).

La Diva is familiar with her grade 6 teacher as she had her for Math last year.  She is looking forward to being back at school and starting all her activities again.  She was getting very bored towards the end of the summer.  She likes the social aspect of school a lot and works hard at her studies as well.  She flipped her hair and waved goodbye before we got to the school doors.  I hope that she has a great year without the drama of the mean girls.
Kodiak was anxious to get back and has enjoyed the past week with all of his posse back in town.  He is glad to not be the bottom of the school this year and is looking forward to what grade 8 has in store for him.  He was back into routine this morning too with dog walking and dishwasher emptying done without a reminder.  The Hero and I were left scratching our heads because this was not something he seemed able to remember during the summer.  heh.  

It is only a half day today so it won't be long before they will be back and starving.  I guess I should plan some lunch.    

Perhaps my lack of sleep of late has made me numb to that fact that all my bunnies are out of the the Hutch all day this year. It could be that I'm finally ready for a new season in my life to begin.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Last weekend of summer

It's the last weekend of summer around here. The crew head back to school on the 2nd. We will keep this weekend busy as usual. Tonight and Sunday night the Hero and I are heading to the World Championship of Chuckwågons. Saturday we are taking the crew to the Fort if the weather holds out. Monday we will take it easy and make sure everyone is organized for school the next day.

Have a great long weekend!

*Photo by Kodiak July 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oh Lord It's Hard to Be Humble...

...... when you're perfect in every way. Or at least according to the old Mac Davis song it is.

heh. Yesterday I was accused of being 'perfect' which is laughable to me. I've lived a life filled with disappointing people. They had expectations and some perfect idea of who I should be, how I should act and what I should do with my life. I simply never measured up. I've spent most of my life fighting to be rid of the demands of perfection. To let go of the ideal that I had to act in such a way, keep my house in perfect order, dress to impress and bury how I felt in order to show the world a perfect facade. I loathe the word perfect because of my history.

So I asked why I was 'perfect' and was told that I have such wisdom to offer others, that I have the perfect marriage and that everything is always going my way. meh. Wouldn't that be something if that was in fact true.

I have wisdom to offer... sometimes I do but I hardly know all the answers. I've been blessed with the gift of discernment and the ability to see things that others don't necessarily see. I am an encourager by nature or gifts of the Spirit, call it what you may but it's a part of who I am. I do not always have that same ability when it comes to my own stuff and I can get buried in the stuff like anyone else. Sure I know what I should be doing to push through but that doesn't mean that I'm always able to do that. I struggle with life like anyone else.

My marriage is perfect. I won't lie, I am blessed in my marriage but it wasn't always this way. The Hero and I have walked through a lot of crap to get to where we are. Marriage is hard work, every, single day. Does the Hero drive me nuts some days, exasperate me, frustrate me and make me want to scream? Have you met him? heh. Of course he does, we are human (which means we are NOT perfect). However, I know that I can only control my reactions to him and I'm in charge of my actions. I chose not to hold onto hurts and let unforgiveness or disappointment take root in my heart. I chose to love, even when it's hard. I chose to edify, honor and respect. It's a choice, not always an easy one.

Everything is always going my way. HA! We have trials and storms like everyone. There are weeks when I am in pain, every, single day! There are times when I want to curl up in a ball and cry and sometimes I do just that. I yell at my kids when I shouldn't, I get hurt, I burn the cookies, I don't make my bed some days, I wish for things I don't have, I'm lonely, my Hero has to travel for work sometimes, my kids frustrate me, I feel like a failure, I have to sit in front of a blue light in the winter so I don't fall into a pit of despair, I have a hard relationship with my Mom, my MIL hates me so much that she tells people we are divorced, I miss my Gramma, I grieve the loss of a baby, I am furious with liars and injustice in my community, my country, the world. I could go on for pages and pages about all the storms, challenges and trials that life throws my way but what does that accomplish? Seriously, will whining about my troubles fix them? I don't think so. I'm careful with what I share and what I speak. I'd rather be thankful that God sees me through all these challenges and uses what was meant to tear me or us down and turns it around to be something that makes us stronger, builds our character, saves us from a greater tragedy. I trust that even when things don't look 'perfect' and it feels like the bottom will fall out any minute that God is in control. My feet are placed firmly on the Rock and He has a plan for me that is beyond my understanding and ultimately the best for my life, for our life. I chose to speak blessing into my life and not curses.

Am I perfect? Hardly. I am a sinner but through the only perfect one, Jesus, I am extended grace, mercy and love not because of what I do right but because of my willingness to confess my sins, ask for forgiveness and spend my life trying to walk in His light. I am nothing yet I am also a daughter of the Most High. I can be broken, I can make mistakes, I can be less than all those expectations yet I am still loved and precious in His eyes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

WORD Wednesday

I've subscribed to a daily devotion from Proverbs 31 Ministries and they have been such a blessing to me. Today's hit me right between the eyes and I thought it was a great post to share.

Worthy Words
Sharon Sloan – She Speaks Graduate

“…if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be My spokesperson.”
Jeremiah 15:19 (NIV)

Worthy words. Wow. In this passage of scripture, God was urging Jeremiah to repent so that God could restore him and thus he could serve God again. This particular verse of God’s spoken word to Jeremiah really penetrated my heart as I read it recently. Worthy, valuable, precious words. Words that honor Him and words that are encouraging, founded in His truth and love. He gives words their worth.

Our God allows us to be His spokesperson. How humbling. In His wisdom, He requires that, in order to be His spokesperson, our words must be worthy, not worthless. The King James Version says “precious” words. What an excellent, ageless standard He sets for us to maintain as His children in order that we could be His spokesperson. A spokesperson is someone who represents you and your character well. As this verse resonates in my heart, I ask myself, “Are my words worthy and precious? Am I representing God well and with excellence? Am I allowing Him to mold me so I reflect His character? Am I keeping the bar raised to His standard such that I may be His spokesperson?”

In our home, our rule has been that our words should be based in truth, spoken in love, necessary and kind. Add to this that they must be worthy and precious. How often do I utter words that are worthless and hold no value for anyone? Oh, how I think of the words I have wasted. If my words hold value and worth, they will reflect His character and minister His truth and grace to those around me. If I keep His standards and utter only worthy and precious words, He allows me to represent Him and be His spokesperson. What an awesome privilege and responsibility.

As you go through each day, allow your words, whether they be written, spoken or thought, to go through His filter of requiring worthy, precious words. If those around you have lowered the bar, raise it again to His standard. Humbly meet the challenge to utter only worthy words that represent Him well. You may be His spokesperson.

Faithful Father, by Your grace and in Your faithfulness, allow my words to be worthy and precious. May they be worthy such that I may be Your spokesperson and represent you with excellence. Thank You for Your standards and for Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Memorize Jeremiah 15:19 and use it as a standard for your words, whether written, spoken or thought.

Devote time each morning to seeking His face, soaking in His perfect written Word, and filling your heart with His love and desires for you.

Allow the Holy Spirit to control your heart and mind and, therefore, your speech.

Today I'm going to be meditating on these questions in Reflections. I ask you to join me. I know I've been really dropping the ball lately in some areas of my life. Being frustrated with children, dealing with chronic pain, a mixed up town and extended family stress does not bring out the best in me. I pray that I might write these words upon my heart and learn to guard my thoughts and words in a way that is glorifying to Him and befitting to my own heart. ~Ker

Are my words worthy and precious?

Am I living to His standard such that I qualify to be His spokesperson?

Power Verses:
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life…” Proverbs 10:11 (NIV)

“The lips of the righteous nourish many…” Proverbs 10:21

“Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt…” Col. 4:6 (NIV)

“…the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace…” Romans 8:6

Please go and check it out in it's entirety at Proverbs 31 Daily Devotions.

Have a blessed day dear ones!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nail Lady

I'm having a rough day and this always makes me laugh. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Do you know who you are?

Do you know who you are?  I'm so thankful that I've finally found myself.  It's taken nearly forty years and the road has been a rough one at times.  I finally feel secure in my self and my identity.  I am a child of the King of Kings, I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a lover, a help meet, a other half, a mother, a friend, a warrior, an intercessor, a cry baby, a grump, a worrier, a dreamer, a teacher, a follower, a leader, a chef, a maid, a chauffeur, a CEO, a student, a gardener, a writer, a reader, a red head, a blonde, a brunette, ;), a hard worker, a procrastinator, a go- getter, a lazy lump, a list maker, a note taker, an insomniac, a sleepy head, a woman in pain, victorious, prayerful, funny, crazy, serious, sad, optimistic, loving, confident, unworthy, graceful, clumsy, inspiring, frustrating, passionate, woeful, joyful...... I am all these things and so much more.  I am thankful that I'm sure of my identity in Christ and that I am constantly growing, changing and evolving.  I'm thankful that I've finally come to terms with the lies of my past and the knowledge that I am not the words, hurts or labels that others put upon me.  I am me- good, bad and ugly.  Praising God for finally being at that place where it's ok to be who I am.

Philippians 1:6 

 ...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

*photo taken by Kodiak July 31, 2008