Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SB. Day 8.

Day 8 of Spring Break. Already. Wow.

Our day: a sleep-over, followed by a morning-long playdate; pizza for lunch; bouncing with friends on the trampoline; a walk to the duck pond; slurpies from the corner store.

They have the life, those girlies. Such a good life.

Their Mama has a good life too. So many blessings. Which, as reminded recently by a sweet friend, need to be counted, not merely acknowledged. I am thankful. And continually counting.

Jonah chapter two was a bit of a challenging read this afternoon. The prophet praying in the belly of the great fish. Weeds wrapped around his head. Feeling like he was in prison. But as soon as he confessed that "salvation is of the Lord", God spoke to the fish and Jonah was vomited onto dry land. And as soon as we confess our sin and realize that God is the only One who can save us, He will.

No theological input today from the little ladies.

No pictures today, either. I left the camera in the van. Which spent the day at the office.

Tomorrow, however, the vehicle, the Canon, the girlies and I plan to be out and about.

Stay tuned for our Day 9 update!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SB. Day 7.

The discovery was made this morning that the girls have been "peeking" at the Fun Activities board. Little monkeys. But I guess at their age I'd probably have been up to the same sort of monkey business.

Today, compared to yesterday with all its cleaning and chores, was a fun day. We had an early lunch at Timmy's, where rolling up the rims was almost as exciting as drinking the hot chocolate itself. Miss Pris won herself a free coffee. Miss Lannie and I... nada.

Then we met up with some friends at the Wave Pool for a two-hour soak.

And yes, I had to don a swimsuit.
I know. Not my idea of public attire.
Mad dashes were made to and from the change rooms.
And the water and the waves helped to hide a multitude of sins.

But I did it for the sake of the kids, seven in all, who had a blast, running back and forth between the waterslides and the wave pool. My feeble attempt at photographing these excited and energetic creatures failed miserably. Hence the lack of pictures. But I'd say fun was had by all. Even the fat lady in the swimsuit, hiding in the pool.

I decided that, as well as doing fun activities with the girls, we could maybe read through the book of Jonah together. So we began this morning, reading through the first chapter, then discussing what we could learn from Jonah trying to run away from God. He wanted to hide because he disobeyed, didn't he? Thought the men on the ship would never know what he was up to. But God exposed him. And weren't the two little girlies in our house trying to hide the fact that they were peeking on the Activity Sheet? Aye-yi-yi. Disobedience, just like Jonah. Be sure your sin will find you out.

Then I tried to recall the song I was taught as a little girl about Jonah running away. Of course, I could only remember the chorus. I think it goes something like this:

"Run away, run away! Oh poor Jonah, you can never run away!
You'll be lost without a doubt, and your sin will find you out,
Oh poor Jonah, you can never run away!"

Little sister, if you know the words from the verses, email them to me. Pretty please.

There were also some interesting interpretations from our reading in chapter one. Pretty sure you won't find these in any of the expositional books written by well-respected Bible theologians.

"Casting lots" means to throw lots and lots of things into the water.
"A tempest" is the guy who owns the temple.

There you go. Hope you had a little laugh for the day.

SB. Day 6.

I made the choice to sleep in this morning, rather than waking up at 7 o'clock to drive Stew to work. So I remain vehicleless and housebound today.

The cards were drawn for the daily activities.
1.  Walk to the playground.
2.  Have lunch at Timmys.

But the obstinate rain drearily falling meant we had to skip the playground idea. We fully intended to make it to Tims for lunch, but sort of got side-tracked when we began this project.

Rearranging the girls' bedroom.

They've been asking for a while now to have their single beds bunked again. So, between the three of us, we did just that. Sustained a couple of injuries along the way, but nothing that warranted 911. We cleaned drawers, moved furniture, washed walls. Vacuumed those hidden corners that so often seem to get missed and over time collect all manner of debris. Then, while they played dolls on the upper bunk, I packed away all the winter clothes and neatly hung their spring collection in the closet.

The girls were thrilled with their bedroom makeover. They were not so thrilled, however, that they got jipped out of a Tims lunch.

So I promised them we'd go tomorrow instead.

Guess I'll be needing that van.

Friday, March 25, 2011

SB. Day 5.

Captain Kids Fun Centre.
Lunch with the in-laws.
Party preparations.
Big birthday celebration.

Enjoy this collage of pictures from our busy day.

Best friends... and so happy to be together again!

Pretty faces.


Takin' a breather.

White Spot luncheon crew.

Daddie's birthday cake. Serious numbers, eh?

He's still got a lotta puff. And no girlfriends.

The finale of the night.
Which I could well have gone without.
But I didn't.
Guess it's double time on the treadmill tomorrow.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

SB. Day 4.

The girlies woke up feeling lazy today.

Actually, so did mama.

They appeared in the kitchen at 9 o'clock, their first real Spring-Break sleep-in.
They didn't feel like baking with me, or dressing up for a photo shoot.
So they vedged.

Actually, so did mama.

Brewed a pot of coffee, and yakked away on the phone and skype.
Made me miss my family.
And John's fresh-brewed caffe lattes.

When I finally got off the couch, I found some yeast in my disastrously disorganized pantry. Should have immediately tackled the mess in there, but I noticed the best before date on the yeast was next month. So, rather than toss it, decided to challenge myself with a yeast recipe. Problem is, though, yeast and I don't typically get along. Every time I attempt a bread recipe with yeast, it turns out like a loaf of cement.

But hey, today I decided to experiment again.

So I found a recipe on the Pioneer Woman's blog for Homemade Cinnamon Bread.

Bent and determined to follow the recipe exactly to a tee, I hoped that maybe, just this once, I would end up with a perfectly risen, light and fluffy, home-baked cinnamon loaf.

If you've ever made yeast recipes before, you'll know they take all day. So, during the rising sessions, I baked some good old wheaten bread. A no-fail recipe for me, since it doesn't require that delusional yeast. Not quite as delicious as my mother's, but turns out fairly good, nonetheless. And it gets eaten up pretty quickly around here... confirmation that it must not taste like cement.

Here's the Cinnamon Bread in the first stages, being dough-hooked to death in my forest green KitchenAid mixer. A wedding present from two of my favorite people. Remember now, Joanne?

Then I put together Stew's birthday cake dessert. But you'll have to wait till tomorrow to see that.

After the first two-hour rise, two cute little helpers appeared in my kitchen, willingly buttering my pan and mixing up cinnamon sugar.

Left for another two hours, then finally baked for 40 minutes. And tada.. the finished product. Looks kinda pretty, doesn't it?

Has a sweet bread texture, but is definitely the most palatable yeast food I've produced so far.

All ready for tomorrow's breakfast.
I'm gonna toast a slice, smother it in butter. Have a coffee.

Saturday's breakfast might just be Cinnamon French Toast. Can you come?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SB. Day 3.

We enjoyed a sunny walk by the river this morning.
Then high-tea'd it at a cute bakery in Fort Langley, compliments of a kind friend.

Pedicures followed, then some mall shopping.

A lot of out-and-about excitement for one day. And tonight, this old girl is tired!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

SB. Day 2.

The girls were up early, eager and anxious to discover today's fun activities.

I know, they look a little rough first thing in the morning, don't they.

Let me just say this.
It's a good thing no-one's snapping pictures of me as I crawl outta bed.

Making Bunnie Buckets.

Alana with her finished product.

Headed off to the duck pond. With a bag of birdseed for our feathered friends!

Another lady, also visiting the park with a toddler, ripped into me when the girls began throwing birdseed to the ducks. "You shouldn't be feeding the ducks, lady, can't you read the sign?". Hiss, hiss, spit. When it seemed she was done, judging by her broken sentences that perhaps English was not her first language, I politely informed her that the sign clearly stated, "Don't feed bread to the ducks." She glared at me. Grunted a harumpf. No apology whatsoever. Pfftt. Some people.

We were singing Sunday School songs on the way home. A favorite, about the woman who came to fill her water pot. I asked Kayleigh where the woman got her water from. The well, said she, looking at me like I was dumb. But, I replied, the song says she got water that wasn't from the well. Oh yeah, she self-corrected, she got her water from Jesus. What kind of water did she get from Him, I asked. Holy water, she said. Huh-hmm. Bible Stories revisit time!

It rained on and off during our walk, but the sun blinked through a couple of times. Just briefly. Enough that we could see our shadows, and take a picture to prove it.

Three groundhogs, excited to see their shadows.

Come on, Spring! Where are you, anyway?

Spring Break Activities.

This Spring Break, we're a stay-at-home family. Unlike some of our fanciful friends who are off travelling to various vacation hot spots. Would be nice to be chillin' by a pool somewhere, catching some warm rays, but honestly, I'm quite happy to spend two weeks at home. There's no shortage of things to be tackled around here. Like organize closets. Guess we'll see how many of those I get to!

But I felt the need to come up with some fun activities for the girls to do each day. Try to make their break a little more exciting than helping Mom clean out closets.

So, I created a Spring Break Activity Board.

Two activities per week day. Cards are drawn only by well-behaved children. As explained by the officer in charge, bad behaviour mandates the very severe punishment of losing your draw for the day. Yikes. Let's hope that's a no-go zone.

So bright and early... on this dull, grey morning... the draws were made.

Painting. Something I rarely permit, it makes so much mess. Were they ever excited. Not only did they paint a huge picture, but they painted on and off all day long, pretty much. Some abstract art is up for grabs. Originals, too. Anyone?

We took a break after lunch and headed to the coffee shop. In the rain. We live in Vancouver. But we had umbrellas. Yeah. We live in Vancouver.

Treats abounded in the form of hot chocolates, brownies and lemon cake. Then we bonded over Chinese Checkers and Spoons. Some of us didn't bond so well because it's hard when you don't win. Still trying to come to grips with that concept.

On the way home, we spied some crocuses pushing their way into our dreary world. Could it be that Spring is just around the corner?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Dance!

Three reasons why it's a Happy Dance day for me:

1. It's officially Spring Break!
Woo hoo! I finished work yesterday. Girls are off to school this morning for one more day of classes, then they'll join me for a two week hol-i-day-ay-ay!

2. I have the van!
Freedom! Now that we're a one-vehicle family again, we cast lots on who gets to drive. Just kidding. Stew is the daily propane-user while us females get around on foot. But I managed to drag myself out of bed early enough this morning so that I could drop him off at work and be the one to blow the gas today.

3. The bathroom scales are making me do subtraction math!
Thank goodness they're not making me do long division. What do you get when you take 9 away from... oh wait, I can't tell you that! But what I've just told you is... I've lost 9 lbs! Yippee!

Anyways, I'm happily off and running. Or driving, I should say.

Happy Spring Break to all of you, wherever you are!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Newborn Nostalgia.

A&K:    Mom, can you please have a baby?
ME:      No.
A&K:    Pleeeeease, Mom... we'd be really good babysitters.
ME:      Nope.
A&K:    Why not?
ME:      Too old.
A&K:    Well, you and Daddie could adopt a baby. Like, one from Nicaragua.
ME:      Nope.
A&K:    Why not?
ME:      Too old.
A&K:    Arrrgh... sigh... pout. Hey Mom?
ME:      Yup?
A&K:    When are Cam and Jess going to have a baby?

So, Friday night we went to visit a friend.
Who just had a baby.
A sweet, adorable, two-weeks-old little bundle of cuteness.
Silas. Love his name. Love him.
All night long, the girls took turns with him... holding, rocking, cooing, kissing.
Got their fill, I think.
Good thing.
Because I checked out of that department about eight years ago.
And certainly ain't planning on any more newborns.
So, um.... Cam and Jess??
Just kidding.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Faith. One little word that can change so much.

Faith in the God of heaven will not only change your life, but your eternal destiny.

FAITH (Hebrews 11)

Faith is our hope in the things unforeseen, and the record in Hebrews eleven,
Tell us of those who were faithful to God, and are now safely with Him in heaven.

The witness of Abel’s faith so long ago when he willingly offered to God,
A sacrifice that was much better by far than his brother Cain’s fruit from the sod.
As blood from that lamb, so carefully chosen, spilled on the altar of stone,
It pointed in faith to the Lamb who would come, for the sins of mankind to atone.

In faith Enoch steadfastly walked with the Lord, and the lesson that I must discern,
Is that daily communion with my Heavenly Father should be my highest concern.
In his day-to-day life Enoch so pleased the Lord, that on earth as he drew his last breath,
He passed from this world to his heavenly home, without the experience of death!

Noah was fearful and faithful to God, while sin all around him was rife,
Selfishness, malice and ungodliness had no part at all in his life.
When God’s warning came for the judgement of sin and subsequent great devastation,
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord and the ark was his certain salvation.

Abraham journeyed to many strange places, lived most of his life in a tent,
Called to a country that he would inherit, he moved, knowing not where he went.
He looked for a city with lasting foundations, whose builder and maker is God,
His faith clearly seen by his focus on heaven, as life’s daily journey he trod.

Isaac was promised his seed would be countless - much more than the stars in the sky,
And childless he silently waited God’s promise, not questioning how, when or why.
Do unanswered prayers cause me grief and distress? In fear do I face the unknown?
Or like Isaac did, do I boldly trust in the One who is still on the throne?

Jacob, intent on the birthright and blessing, with pottage and goatskin he schemed,
And in fear ran to Bethel, laid down on a stone, where of ladder to heaven he dreamed.
When Jacob awoke from his vision that morning, discerning God was in this place,
In the One who had promised to bless him and lead him, he utterly rested his faith.

Joseph was taunted and tempted and troubled, his faith often tested and tried,
But the laughing and luring and languishing didn’t deter him - on God he relied.
Scorned by his brothers and thrown in a pit, wrongly indicted and jailed,
Living so far from the father who loved him - but faith in the Lord never failed.

Moses grew up in the palace of Pharaoh - abundance of wealth, jurisdiction,
But refusing the pleasures of sin for a time, he chose God and a life of affliction.
Since life here on earth is but fleeting and brief, it appears and departs like a vapour,
I will love not the world with its lust and its pride, but love and serve only my Saviour.

Appointed by God as the leader of Israel, Joshua heeded His word,
To march six days once around Jericho’s walls, the rams’ horns the only noise heard.
Seven times on the seventh day they marched around, and when a loud shout was recorded,
The city walls crumbled, the victory was won, and Joshua’s faith was rewarded.

Rahab in faith turned to Israel’s God, as in peace she received both the spies,
And they promised, when Jericho fell into ruin, to save her from certain demise.
The token was given, and out of her window she dangled that bright scarlet cord,
In confidence waiting and knowing for certain that salvation is of the Lord.

So many faithful whose names aren't recorded, of whom this vain world had no worth;
They suffered through torment; were scourged and afflicted; wandered in caves of the earth;
Withstood fiery furnaces; stopped mouths of lions; yet all noted in this dossier,
Obtained good report for their faith in the One Who was with them each step of the way.

My friend, have you thought about life after death, put your faith in the One Who was given
To suffer God’s wrath for your sin so that you may live with Him forever in heaven?
Or do you choose rather to set faith aside - live for self, and reject His salvation?
May I gently remind you, the scriptures are clear - your end is eternal damnation.

My faith and my hope are in things unforeseen, in a Saviour Who died for my sin.
In each trial in life I will trust only God, for I’ll soon be in heaven with Him.

Friday, March 4, 2011

March Fourth.

Today is March 4th.

Today is National Grammar Day in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. But we, their northern fellow-countrymen do not celebrate it here in Canada. Guess we'd rather not be reminded about our horrific written grammar. Texting grammar seems to rule these days over the good old English. A shame, in my humble opinion.

And today, 56 years ago, the first radio facsimile was transmitted across the North American continent. The "fax", as it became more commonly known. Now it's definitely an antequated form of technology for us grammarless chatspeakers, who text non-stop from our iPhones and other what-nots, 24/7.

And today, 87 years ago, Chicago-based Claydon Summy Ltd first published the lyrics to the birthday song. In perfect grammar, might I add. The familiar "Happy Birthday to you", that we so often sing to that special someone when it's their day to blow out the candles on the cake. Which, at my age, requires a few extra blows, and leaves the air reeking of smoke when the deed is done. 'Nuff said.

Speaking of candles on a cake, today is also another special day.

On this day, and I'm not tellin' how many years ago, two very special people were born. Twin sisters, whom I am blessed to know and with whom I have enjoyed such a wonderful friendship over the years. A friendship that has taken us through many adventures, where we've survived encounters with sheep dip, fears of dogs falling over cliffs, the fortuitous Johnny-on-the-spot, and ice-rinks francais dense. We've been through the thick and thin together. Although I do wish "thin" would stick around more.

So... to Vicky and Maria... the very happiest of birthdays to you both!

PS... can you tell who's who in this photo?