Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hello Winter

I'm visiting my family on the mainland this week, and I cannot believe how cold it is. I could hear my dad  scrapping frost off his car windows this morning before he headed off to work. The snow is lying low in the mountains and the girls and I nearly froze on the ferry ride over. Thankfully my parents home is toasty and warm and my girls have spent the majority of the morning running around like banshees. It is nice to have a break from trying to keep them quiet in the mornings (for our tenants sake). 

This week I am looking forward to catching up with friends, shopping at IKEA, taking the girls swimming, taking in a camera course with my girlfriend, reading  and enjoying the evenings with my parents. Last night we had a great discussion about the frustrations of raising children, disciplining, marriage and dealing with anger. I always value my parents opinions and advice on such topics.

Winter is on its way, which means Christmas season is on its way. I don't know about you, but I am REALLY excited about that fact. I am already starting to fantasize about where I am going to put my tree and all my Christmas decor. I would love to host a crafty night with a bunch of my new girlfriends and make some homemade Christmas cards, evergreen wreaths and eat gingerbread. *SIGH* What a glorious time of year.
Before I launch into Christmas fever I should take some time to tell you about our thanksgiving. To our delight, we had a full house. Namely, my parents, my brother and sister and their families and Nate's brother and is wife. We picked up the majority of our guests from the ferry on Saturday. Soon after they arrived the men took the children for a walk to the park while us girls did a little last minute grocery shopping. For dinner we enjoyed a big pot of homemade soup. In the evening we baked pumpkin spice whoopee pies, miniature apple pies (in muffin tins) and an apple gallette. Once the children were tucked into bed we gathered in the living room and watched The Avengers. When everyone had all finally settled in for the night, I marveled at the fact that we had eleven people sleeping comfortably under our roof

The next morning, we decided to forgo church and have our own service at home. My dad was more than happy to lead us in worship. It brought back some great memories.  Afterwards, we took some time to share those things that we were grateful for.

 I also encouraged people to also write down their sentiments on paper and hang them on my "thankful tree". I am so corny.

Afterwards, we went to a pumpkin patch in the country and enjoyed a dusty hay ride, a short walk through the corn maze, scratched some sleepy piglet bellies, and picked out several pumpkins.



We got home later then I expected and did not waste any time launching into the madness of last minute thanksgiving preparations (mashing potatoes, carving the turkey and ham, slathering vegetables with butter, making the stuffing... (ect). Thankfully we had a lot of extra hands. There is immense truth to the saying "many hands make light work". There is also something to say about the mess that ensues as a result. Wow, there is nothing like a turkey dinner to obliterate a kitchen. In any case is was DELICIOUS!


 I am a little embarrassed about the fact we had to use paper plates, but I only own four dinner plates. Hopefully, by this time next year, I will own a set of plates and serving dishes. It is hard to believe that in nine years of marriage, I have never  purchased dinnerware. I have certainly used and appreciated a lot of hand-me-downs. After we had stuffed ourselves, we retired to living room for some homemade apple cider (compliments of Jill), homemade pumpkin pie (Roxanne) and whoopee pies (me). 

 This is how we all felt at the end of the day. What a great day!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Exactly what I needed...


I am not ready for these long, dark days. Days spent dashing in and out of the car in a futile attempt to avoid getting wet. Days were my girls go nutty being indoors.  When it is cold and dark out all I want to do is put on some cozy clothes and curl up with a good book......  or bake. While cozy clothes are always an option, reading a book is not, (especially when I have two needy, children competing for attention). Needles to say, we (my daughters and I) do a lot of baking. Don't get me wrong, it is fun, but it makes a big mess and yields dangerous, delicious temptations. In the past two days we have made an apple crisp, pumpkin spice whoopee pies and chocolate chip cookies. Today I was toying with the idea of making some strudels with our leftover cranberry sauce. In an attempt to keep my consumption to a minimum I have been freezing 90% of it.

Today I was having a particularly cranky day when I heard a gentle knock on my door. To my delight, it was a friend, armed with bucket of green tomatoes from her garden. She had remembered a conversation we had over dinner about Nathaniel's penchant for "green ketchup". So thoughtful!

She invited us out for a walk with her family and I jumped at the opportunity to get out of the house. We stopped by Bocca (a place I have raved about before) and picked up some treats before we embarked on a stroll downtown. *SIGH*

The girls picked armloads of flowers at city hall while we chatted and nibbled on our goodies. At that point I felt my whole body sigh with relief. Nathaniel has been away on a camping trip with some guys and this sudden torrential downpour, combined with single parenting and sleep deprivation has left me weary and a little crazy. It felt SO good to spend time with a girlfriend, eat chocolate and breath some fresh air.
It was exactly what I needed.

Nicole is quickly becoming a treasured friend. While I have only known her a few months I would describe her as  being spontaneous, reassuring, fun, honest, spontaneous, educated,  quizzical,  and down to earth. She is intriguing and I always enjoy our conversations. Our girls are  enjoy each other's company and our husbands both enjoy gardening and hunting. Score!

I can't help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the friends that I have: the old as well as the new.

This tree made my heart flutter!

A fellow branch snapper.
 I am relived to know that I am not the only one that likes to take bits of the outdoors home with me. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012


(I'm the one with the strange expression standing between the Sheppard and the wise man)
I watched the Katy Perry documentary  called "Part of Me" last night and really enjoyed it. While I have never really been a fan of her music, especially after hearing her hit "I kissed a girl" years ago, I recently heard some of her newer material:  "Who am I living for" and "Pearl" and found my interest was piqued. What I found was a playful, hardworking young women with a history similar to mine. Like her, I grew up in a incredibly sheltered Christan bubble. While my parents were not travelling evangelical pastors, they were the backbone of our church.  I was home schooled for the majority of elementary school and my influences were strictly monitored. My siblings and I often joke about the time my dad banned a particular Christan tape  in our  home because it contained syncopated rhythm (which apparently they thought was  ungodly). We roar with laughter about it now and we often tease our parents with the song. My husband is often horrified by my complete and utter lack of knowledge pertaining  movies and music prior to 1994. The Goonies, Micheal Jackson..... who? That all changed when my parents decided to send me to public school. I still remember the day I went to my friend's house for lunch and watched Alanis Morrisett music video on MTV. I was transfixed. Captivated. It's funny to me that Alanis Morrisett was also Katy Perry's first induction to "secular music. I completely related with that aspect of her story.I remember the moment  I realized that there was a MUCH bigger and stranger world out there than I had previously known. That knowledge, combined with my hormone induced puberty resulted in some tough times. Sometimes I leaf through my journals from those years and I can't help but think "who was that girl"? Having two very different worlds collide is a shock to the system and it always interesting to see how people respond. Perhaps that is why I have been curiously following a series on television called breaking Amish. It is a documentary about Amish teens who choose to leave there faith and live the world of the "English". That transition is often painful, heartbreaking and full of surprises.
So while Katy and I had a similar upbringing and introduction to the world our choices have taken us down very different paths. I admit that I am very inspired by all that she has accomplished and all the lives that she has impacted and touched, I am immensely thankful for where my choices have lead me. I have no desire for fame or a career in music, but I do long to touch lives in a meaningful way, give people hope (Jesus), and be surrounded by those that love me. My heart broke watching her work so hard to keep her marriage intact while working hard to keep up with her demanding concert schedule. I am so thankful that my children are the only ones that deprive me of quality time with my husband.Yes, my life is simple and ordinary, but it is beautiful and it gives me immense joy. I am thankful that awkward, confused young girl transformed into a confident, mature, woman of God.

(Still working on my "outfit project")
My attempts usually look something like this.........

Friday, October 5, 2012

Preparing for thanksgiving.

I don't know about you, but I am getting mighty excited about brussel sprouts and candied yams. What are your favorite dishes at thanksgiving dinner?  Earlier today I picked up a decent sized turkey, a bone in ham and loads of vegetables. I feel as though it has been a few years since Nathaniel and I have hosted a big thanksgiving dinner and I am looking forward to it.

I often find the preparations almost as exciting as the event itself. The past couple of evenings I have been stringing up hand cut felt leaves, choosing recipes, making pie dough, name cards, sugar cookies, table centerpieces.... ect. I have not, however, prepared beds for my guests (all nine of them), cleaned the bathrooms, or planned out my meals. I am certain that I will need to make a dozen or more trips to our local grocery store over the next couple of days. I just remembered that I still need to buy cranberry sauce and marsh mellow cream for the filling in my pumpkin spice whoopie pies. Speaking of deserts, I finally broke down and bought a pumpkin pie last night and may or may not have eaten half of it. Oops.

So while, I am prepared in some ways, and most certainly not in others. I am learning that hosting a thanksgiving meal is not is not about having a spic and span house, an impressive menu or looking your best; rather, it is about tasty food,  making people feel welcome and being stikin thankful for ALL that I have been blessed with.