Friday, 5 December 2014

Sparkly Stars

 An easy re-cycled craft using toilet paper rolls, some paint and a little bit of wire. I hope to do something creative each year and this was something easy and its great to use up things at home!
 Start with just trimming half inch slices off the flattened end of the toilet paper roll. Cut half way through the middle of each sliced piece. With two pieces in opposite direction insert the small slices into each other, to form your star.
 Paint the star white (or whatever) then with glitter paint when dry.
 Loop a wire through to hang on the tree.

Twinkle twinkle little star

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

More with Cranberries

I have cranberries on my mind. Hence the juniper, cranberry arrangements I made in my last post. I love me a good scone emmm emm. Especially when they are dense and sweet. This one has all the above.
 ::Lemon Cranberry Scones::
Preheat oven to 375, and place oven rack on upper 3rd level of the oven
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1tbsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp salt
-Mix this all together in a large bowl-
Add 3/4 cup of chilled butter, cut up into small squares.
-Use a pastry blender to incorporate the butter to make a coarse meal consistency-
Stir in 1/2 cup of sliced (each in half) cranberries (I used frozen)
1tbsp of lemon juice, poured in a 1 cup measuring cup.
Add half and half to the measuring cup to fill it to measure 1 cup.
-Pour into your scone mixture and mix until clumps form then gather with you hands to form one solid lump, don't over mix. Divide in half and pat each into a 6 inch flat, round. Cut each into 6 triangles. Place on greased/ parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 min.-
Once the scones have cooled, make a glaze of
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
a dribble of lemon juice
and just enough milk to make a slightly runny icing (about 2 tbsp)
-Mix this up and drizzle it over your scones. Once this dries you can stack them up in your tin just fine.-

Now speaking of icing makes me think of what I saw outside early this morning...

The trees look like they were dipped in frosting.

Dusted with icing sugar

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What's going on here (?)

A little over a month ago now we were blessed to have moved out to an old farm. A little ways off from the area we first moved to when we relocated to western Canada but only to the next county SE from where we were. We really felt it was worth it for sure. So this beautiful location brings lots of trees in the immediate area surrounding our home, lots of land to explore, hills and coolies, barn cats, old buildings, quiet...
I really am so thankful for this new location.
The other week we got to see these beautiful birds which we found out are called Bohemian Waxwing. They come this way from colder regions, eating the berries on the trees.
This morning there was a beautiful hoar frost that covered everything.
This is the friendliest of all the barn cats. He was named Garfield.
Willow is a naturally outdoorsy dog. She is in Heaven out here.

I grabbed some juniper branches to stick in jars with some cranberries for my early Christmas decorations. It smells wonderful in the house now.
 So often I get to thinking why do things happen the way they do?
 I'll be honest to say that I was having a very hard time living in the area we just moved from. I was not used to the over-crowded living. Everything man made, and hardly able to enjoy nature or quiet and privacy.
 Then there is another part to this story I have been adapting to the fact that I've recently developed Epilepsy. Which has been kind of mind boggling for me. And a little less than a year ago I was told I can't drive until its under control. You want to talk about depressing and totally inconvenient! There was nothing I can do about it. I have gone through a lot of feelings that I felt were defining. But I am slowly coming to the realisation of what the truth is of these feelings. Satan wants me to feel defeated by this disorder, and let it undo me. 
 Not to mention there are other issues that have been growing within our family as well.
So as I write about this new venture of a place we now live it makes me ponder... maybe this place was made possible as a refuge of sorts. I've thought a many times -what were we thinking moving out to the country when I cant get to town?? But Its not really that much more inconvenient any way and I love it out here and the way I can spend my days. 
 So usually it takes me quite a while to see the big picture, but maybe the Lord has given me a chance to see this one earlier than usual.
 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. Job 11:18

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


I've never seen or thought about huckleberries before until I moved out here to western Canada. But I think that, that has got to be one of the best names for a berry! I saw an ad in the paper for a Huckleberry Festival and liked the way it sounded and so off we went on a two hour drive to this ski resort that was hosting the festival. It didn't look like the nicest day but checking the weather before hand I decided we would be ok with light sweaters and shorts and I even chose to wear sandals. When we arrived at the mountainous location it was six degrees. And everyone had on hiking boots, pants and lots of layers. But I was bound and determined to make the best of our huckleberry excursion. We got lift tickets some buckets and slowly, slowly got lifted to the top of the hill. The slow progression on the lift made it all the more cold while I endured all kinds of comments about the choice of my attire. Yes, thank you, I realize I made a bad decision with the sandals and shorts, I want to say as I smile, and gritting my teeth! 

 At the top we take a few steps and my husband says to me so what do they look like, and I say I read that they look like a blueberry (what a boring name for a berry) so we look a bit and I found a little bush with burgundy leaves that had deep purply blue berries and I pick one. I eat it and fake a dramatic choke and then say well they are safe, these must be it. So we start picking tiny berries from soaking wet bushes on top of a mountain that must have been 3 degrees (IN AUGUST!!) ! And also I should mention they are pretty sparse little bushes.

 I'd say we endured about 15 min. only because our hands stopped functioning at around that point, and collected half a cup of berries. Good times, good times. 
 On the way down, as it was on the way up the lift we spotted deer walking by and this time they were walking even right beneath our chair! That was cool. The sights were awesome. The experience experience. And hey, I got to make some Huckleberry muffins after!

2 cups flour  1/2 tsp. salt  1 tb. baking powder  1 cup sugar
Sift these ingredients together. Stir in 1/2 cup huckleberries (or more if you could gather more:) or just plain old blueberries)
In a separate bowl mix
2 eggs  3/4 cup oil  1 1/4 cup greek yogurt  1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Gently stir this into the dry ingredients with 1/2 cup white chips
Plop into greased 12 cup muffin tin and bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 min.

 If its a typical August day sit outside and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
 So from all this I guess I should learn, always be prepared and don't have to many expectations!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Keep calm...the chives have sprouted!

 Keep calm...the chives have sprouted! It has been a hard spring for me, waiting for things to grow. When everything did finally start sprouting it almost seemed unreal. And I am still in awe at the growth. I thank the Lord for this simple thing...chives that grow and sprout early, even before the grass is all green. Yes so simple but the small things are usually what is real and is a blessing too. Because this small and simple thing can not be attributed to anyone else but God. There is no way for anyone here on earth to have manufactured a seed and make it grow. I can get so disheartened by all the big, fast things in this world because it makes me feel like I'm being silly paying such attention to a plant growing. But in truth I see so much beauty in a seeds growth and should not be ashamed by my simple amusements and wonders!
 Psalm 111:2 How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in Him should ponder them.
 (This is our new addition to the family, her name is Willow and is 5 months old, is a BALL of ENERGY, and apparently likes chives too!)
 So in celebration of the first harvest from my newly acquired garden allotment, I baked up these yummy cheddar and chive biscuits.
MIX: 1 3/4 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, 2 tbs. snipped chives, 1/2 tsp. dried thyme. CUT IN: 3 tbs. margarine, to resemble course crumbs. STIR IN: 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Then, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup yogurt. Dough will be sticky. Drop large tablespoonfuls on lined baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 12 min.
I cant remember if I mentioned that we really downsized on our living quarters inside and out, when we moved out here to the West this past year. It has been a challenge adjusting to the size or lack there of, of the yard. It may be temporary or not. Depending on where we sense the Lord leading us. But I have been working at making due with what we have. I've figured container gardening is the best for this year considering that the amount of yard we have is too small to tear up and plant veggies. So its a new adventure in trying this out. I'm thinking it'll be a bit more work making sure they get adequate water and food. On the positive I'm learning something new.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Fluffins

The fresh sent and colour of lemon makes me think of spring, spring makes me think of fresh starts. Every morning is fresh with new grace and possibilities. And the chance to stop trying and rely totally! on God. This simple thought is really what I have really been aiming for lately. Picture the word START and this being the acronym for Stop Trying And Rely Totally. This is good for anytime, there is a fresh start every moment. Christ is always waiting for us to turn away from our own trying, ambitions and efforts and to rely totally on Him.
Sometimes it is healthy to try to figure out why why why we do what we do. But I know for me lots of times I need to stop focusing on the bad choices, the flubs and just humble myself to say to God "I can't do this on my own God!" I think maybe even say it out loud...loudly. "And for crying out loud...I shouldn't even try!!" So stop and then START right again. Its ok, He knows me, He knows you. And He loves you and I just the same, no matter what.
These muffins are so yummy and fluffy
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
lemon zest of 1 lemon and the juice of 1/2 of it.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. poppy seeds
3/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 375 and line or grease muffin tin, I used a large 6 muffin tin. Beat in each wet ingredient, according to order listed. Sift the dry ingredients together in another bowl. Add dry ingredients to the wet alternately with the sour cream, in 3 additions. Spoon into pan and bake 20-25 min. or 25-30 for the large muffins.
Now you can have a tea with the left over lemon :)
2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Something Tasty in a Hurry

I can really appreciate having something ready and tasty to eat in a hurry for those times I'm not in the mood to prepare something or am really hungry. I'm almost always leaning towards something on the sweet side also. So in an effort to eat more green foods I found this idea of having ready made fruit and yogurt parfaits, great! Another great re-use for your left over jars too. So now your up-cycled jars are travelling parfait jars. You can easily grab one to go.
Simply put a layer of fruit and low fat Greek yogurt in jars or two layers of yogurt with the fruit in between is nice. I make up to 3 or 4 jars ready sitting in the fridge.
Have some easy to make granola on hand to sprinkle on top for when you pop the lid off and want to dig in.
This honey granola variation is so tasty, and easy:
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup of slivered almonds
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
~Mix all these ingredients together in a large bowl until the mixture is equally coated.
Then spread it out on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for about 15-20 min. or until golden colour. Once it is cooled you can store it in another re-purposed jar.
I'm really hooked on these parfaits. They are so yummy and I can feel good about eating them.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Eager for Green

There has been a string of warm + double digit days in the Celsius and that has gotten me pretty hyped up about this up coming spring. So I got inspired to bring some extra growing green things in the house, by making a terrarium. Its fun and easy to make and there is just something strangely neat about them. Its like your own little personal tropical forest ecosystem, that almost takes care of itself. I even added little plastic forest creatures to make it more fun. Its something easy for kids to make and take care of too. All you need is:

Need a jar? Just eat all the pickles up! Where to get the charcoal? Check out the pet section for fish tank supplies. This helps keep the environment fresh. Looking for stones? Look in the ditch...or dollar store. Thankfully here in Alberta there is a surplus of them in the streams beds.
Add your supplies like so...
Don't forget some decorations.
Lightly spray the plants and place the lid on. You don't need to water it that often because the water is recycled within the jar. If it looks too damp, leave the lid off for a while. But if its set up right you wont even need to water it after the initial watering.
Here is another idea for an eager gardener. Place the cut off bottom of a celery plant in a container with water. After a week or so it will start to grow wee little celery stalks. And garlic cloves will sprout bright green stems. Its nice to see bright green growth, this time of year.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18
I was thinking about how often I focus too much on the areas I need growth in and working hard at making that happen that I loose sight of what is most important. Or I guess I forgot what the whole purpose was. Its that I am meant to grow in the Lord. And that when I cultivate a closer relationship with the Lord, then growth in my life will happen as a result.
I'm so thankful that the Lord can use a little plant to remind me of  His grace and to help me re-focus.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Courage to be Me

I was at bible study this morning and the topic of courage came up. (Yay, my word of the year!) And it made me think about how I felt pretty good about some of my progress in courageous steps. I've been making a better effort to reach out to people, I've even been starting conversations with people I normally would not ever have the confidence to speak to, and so I know this is Christ in me. I have stepped out of my comfort zone to share an experience with my husband that I knew he would so enjoy...I shot a shot gun for the first time! So I was already getting complacent. I checked a few cool things off my list and was sorta thinking... ok, that's good for now. Oh no, the Lord was showing me this morning, that that was not it, He has so much more in store for me.
He has been bringing me to a spot, through the "Made to Crave" book study, that I need to have the courage to constantly put food in its place of only being nourishment of my physical health. It does not bring happiness or mean I am loving on myself when I get to eat yummy food. This verse really hit it home for me this morn. :
Isaiah 8:13 Make the Lord of Heaven's Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. (...not weight gain, or looking bad, being unpopular) That is what usually fuels weight loss, the shallow fears. Not the Lord. I want to have the courage to face the Lord each morning honestly and say to Him "I want to honor You with my life." He has given me the privilege to courageously do His will boldly because He has already given me the victory. I don't need to fear anything, I have every right to be me as He has made me, and in faith follow His leading. He is not done with me yet, and that's ok, because Christ died for me when He knew what I would be like. I fall but like a father with a new toddler on wobbly legs He lifts me up and encourages me to try again with His loving arms ready to catch me. Oh do I ever forget that He does take me as I am, and that I have to remember I can go to Him as I am. That's when He can truly shine through me, and show Himself.
I get so excited when I even just think back in my own life, and all the things the Lord has done. We are called Gods children because we can be courageous only through Him. Like a child to their Father we will always need to go to the Father and constantly ask Him what to do, ask for guidance, "check in", lean on Him, lament to Him, cry to Him, get comfort, tell him everything, ask for stuff... He is our daddy. He accepts me as I am, He wants me to have the courage to do the same. He loves me so much, that He refuses to leave me that way, and He wants me to have the courage to believe that and let Him work in and through me.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

New Every Morning

What more can we ask for when the Father is so faithful in His love, and His mercies. This is what every human being yearns for. Every being is crying out for unconditional love, and true acceptance. Just when we feel defeated the Father wants us to never forget, that His mercy never ends, its always new. This to me is so freeing. Satan wants us to never really "get" this. To feel ashamed to think we can have another do over. To get wrapped up in guilt that clouds Gods promises. We all have the right to be courageous and turn to the Lord for victory over our stumbling blocks, turn a deaf ear to Satan's lies that we are to be punished/punishing our selves. Christ already took our punishment, and He wants us to live a new life, a free life, in Him.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Red Neck Travel Mug

 I doubt I'm the only one that loves a coffee that is around for a sip here and there while going about in the house, that stays warm for when that time arises. So here is an all cozie, convenient, and fun(ny) way to help with those occasions.
 Keeping your mason jars makes for lots of handy uses. But this time its a red neck travel mug. The kind with a one piece lid, not a ring and snap seal top.
 The sock sleeve is what makes this- cozy and feasible. You just simply cannot handle a steaming beverage in a jar. Plus you cant use the traditional sleeve to hold this handy mug, because it'll slip and crash. You are going to have to make a snug sock cover. With, literally, a sock. Yup, just yank the one off of someones foot... well you can use another one or new one, if you have an issue with that.

 Grab your sock, turn it inside out, and measure how long it will need to be, leaving some room from the top, so your lip doesn't get fuzzies stuck on it, but there is enough for seam allowance.
 Trace the bottom of the jar onto the sock, for the bottom of the cozy.

 Pin the bottom edge of the tube with the edge of the circle, right sides facing. Zig-zag stitch about 2 or 3 times, to ensure it will not unravel. Use a tight, small stitch to hold it together. Turn it right side out, then stitch the fringe inside the cozy to the edge of the side, very close to the bottom. So you will end up seeing a seam on the outside of the cozy at the very bottom, but this will give extra durability and will better hold the shape of the tube.

Now I can savour a steaming cup of joe, warm my hands, and I get to enjoy the smell of my honeys feet wherever I take it!
Put the lid on and have another steaming sip in a bit.
I love it, and my kids each want their own! Gimme your socks guys!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

To Do:

So, courage is on the agenda for this year in our home. I wanted to pick a word that had to do with being positive or looking on the bright side (I have a tendency to be negative and complain...a lot) but I couldn't find one accurate enough to describe that. Courage I think can cover a lot of angles and circumstances. Courage to face new opportunities, a new day. Courage to see a good outcome. Courage to try even when I could fail. Courage to try another way than what I am used to . I think those can describe those first ideas.
I was reading in Numbers 13 about Gods people about to enter the promised land of Canaan. They were full of fear! But when we are courageous we live out our faith to the fullest. Faith in action. And when we fold over in fear and let it take us down we loose out on Gods blessings, like the Israelites!
He leads us the way, shows us the positive outcome, but we need to do our part in the end.
Take the first courageous step and follow through the rest of the journey in faith.
Lord help me to trust you in all life's circumstances, trust that you know the whole picture and will guide me on, when I am courageous enough to follow You. Amen.
Myself - to keep my mind focused I need constant encouragement in many forms, ie. written words, motivational pictures, friends to lean on, to keep me encouraged to reach my goals.
Here we go! Funny but it just might help!

To be real honest and specific, I need to trust God that His outcome is better than what I can think up, what is comfortable for me, and stop trying to control everything (like choices that family members make).
Too much comfort in this life leads me to believe that I have it all under control.
I, most of the time hate getting out of my comfort zone, and that can keep me real isolated, and in a position that doesn't nurture growth.
My first reaction to comfort myself is with food. I felt I could conquer that with loosing a bunch of weight. I want to believe that I can let my guard down and carry on in my own strength, then I'm back sliding before I know it.
When things get hard its easy for me to think I'm a failure and God will punish me. But I need to believe, He is a merciful God. If my initial thoughts were true, when would the punishing ever really stop? Thank you Jesus that you died for the penalty of my sins!
Lastly I want to stop comparing myself to others. I believe in the back of my scar-ed mind there is a totem pole and I need to never let my guard down because it might reveal I don't measure up. This one never seems to lighten up.
That's the nitty gritty of my daily struggles. But with the Lords help I can bring all these needs to him to be fulfilled, by having the courage to let go and trust the Lord to handle it all. :)

Monday, 10 February 2014

Love Sent in a Box

Cost of brownie ingredients...$6.

Cost of shipping packaged Brownies...$19.37

Family being able to enjoy Grandmas baking over 3000 km away...priceless

We can so feel the love. Thanks Mom. We love you and miss you!

And you didn't forget the recipe :)

Man-Catcher Brownies
30 Kraft caramels, unwrapped
2/3 cup evaporated milk
15.25-ounce package German chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

-Heat oven to 350° F and line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment. Melt caramels with 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk in a small saucepan, stirring mixture occasionally; set sauce aside.
-Stir together cake mix, melted butter, and remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk to form a dough. Press 1 1/3 cups of the dough into the pan in an even layer. Bake until puffed but not cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and pour caramel sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle chocolate chips over caramel in an even layer.
-Top with remaining dough, crumbled into bits and scattered. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and return to the oven. Bake until brownies are puffy and set, 10 to 11 minutes more. Cool completely and cut into squares.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Isaiah 45:3


I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness- secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.

I was intrigued by the context of this verse. I found that this is what the Lord told King Cyrus because he was obeying the Lord. King Cyrus agreed, with having nothing in return to allow the rebuilding of God's city Jerusalem and set the exiles free. He was chosen by God to carry this task out.
The Lord set it all up that when Cyrus carried out this task everything he needed would be set in place. And you know, even though God set things in place for him to carry out the task with ease, these were necessary but huge perks! God would empower him! Before Cyrus, mighty kings would be paralysed with fear! Their fortress gates would be opened!... And among all this, these were not even King Cyrus' rewards! God rewarded him with treasures hidden in the darkness- secret riches.
So what does this mean to me? God is always there empowering us when we will accept His leading, strategically placing all we need, right in front of us. And these are blessings in themselves! Healthy food to eat, leads me to gain better health. Exercise brings energy and so on. All this and that isn't even the reward! We will in the end have peace with God, feel whole and fulfilled. All the while giving glory to God to further His Kingdom!
Can I get an Amen?

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Gevulde Boterkoek

Gevulde Boterkoek (Butter cake with Almond Paste)
I remember the first time I made a version of this recipe, I was a teen and hanging out with a friend who also happened to be half dutch and she showed me how to make it. I was surprised at how easy it was, yet so yummy. This is a great traditional Dutch treat. Eaten in moderation, of course ;) This version is filled with almond paste so you don't even use almond extract. This was adapted from a recipe book, "The Netherlands Cookbook"
For the dough, knead the 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, and pinch of salt. Divide the dough into two and press one half into a buttered 8 " pie pan. 
(you may notice how my pan looks nice, clean and clear...forgot to butter the pan :( and so my cake stuck real good. No worries though, it was still easily eaten up!) 

Make the filling with 1 cup of ground almonds, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, grated peel of half a lemon. After the ingredients are blended, place the almond paste on top of the dough layer and smoosh flat to cover most of the dough. Press the other half of the dough on top of the almond paste to cover completely. It helps to press the dough out a bit flat on the counter before you put in the pan.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool and then cut into wedges.

This cake always gives me home-y feelings.

The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:3-6
I was thinking about feeling home-y and came across this verse and it feels so good for me to hear this right now. I have recently been told by my doctor, that I can no longer drive due to having epilepsy. I was diagnosed with epilepsy about a year ago. I find this so hard to accept. To be honest, I have cried a lot over it. I've told myself there are so many other things that are much worse. Yet I feel I need to mourn the loss of this freedom and convenience. I am grateful to the Lord for so many things, first I'm grateful that the Lord has been leading me to a place of being confident to face things that are scary and difficult. He has been teaching me to have a better attitude and be optimistic, looking on the bright side of things. I realise again and again, that He does things at perfect timing.
I'm grateful that I can and have been all along, able to walk my kids to school. No inconvenience there. I am grateful that I don't work out side of the home, no extra inconvenience there either. I am grateful that I am not too far from a few stores.
I was told by a friend: "I wonder how the Lord is going to use this. Its gunna be something big". Awesome! Thank you Lord for what hope I have in you! And Lord willing this isn't a forever thing. Lord willing I can find the right medication to stop the seizures. I Do Know for Sure, I am Not alone in this season of my life, or any time.
I have this truth to take with me in my times of shedding tears, if I allow God to use me, He will turn them into shouts of Joy as I come home.
Gods word gives me home-y feelings.... more.