Tuesday, March 29, 2011

First Spring Adventure

Here is the latest adventure my hubby went on with some friends and the kiddos. The trail is called V-Rock on the way to Sunrise Lake. A good time was had by all. . .and they all came back in one piece! ;)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In every situation, there is some saving grace, some positive to see.
Aside from Christ, this is my happy thought each and every morning. Yep, this is my coffee nook! Pathetic you say? Yes, but if you saw the rest of our house right now. . .
 This is the rest of the house. . .someone should have let me know that when my hubby has a brilliant idea. . .this is what it will turn out to be!!!
We couldn't find someone willing to get rid of the rest of the texture on our ceiling so our next option was take it all down. When I say the rest of the texture, that means I have taken into account the stuff that has just fallen down on its own (which is why we are in this mess in the first place!) as well as the stuff that my hubby and I have spent hours scraping off. . .only to realize that our small square meter means that is we continue at the rate we were going, I might have a working kitchen by 2015!

So after finding someone to do the ceiling for us, we were happy--adjust the budget. . .
Then we get the phone call. . .yah, the guy doesn't want to remove it, so we have to. Granted, they gave us 2 days notice!!! Thank you to Opa for some help, and thank you that we didn't run into any more problems, and that we got to move some light fixtures around since the attic was exposed. . .

And now we live in a plastic bubble for a while!
We are making our "home" in our basement. Shared with the furniture and extra things to store of course! So our main area of living is the playroom. We are doing breakfast and dinners there, playing there, dancing there, resting there. . .thank goodness for the improvement in weather and parents who live near by where we can eat lunch!

In all seriousness though, I am blessed. Please don't read this post as a complaint in any way, because this is blessing! Why? Because I have a house to live in and a bed to sleep in and a family to surround me and friends who offer to meet me at the park and yummy (and not-so-yummy) food to eat and the list could just go on and on. My heart is heavy for those in Japan right now and also for our little sponsor children, because I, in my unbelievably privileged and blessed life, have an itty-bitty minuscule of a fraction of an idea of what they are facing. And so we, as a family, are offering our prayers for them daily as we cuddle together in our playroom every morning and night.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Now that it is a month later. . .I figured it was about time to do a MPM again!
Monday- Crock Pot Chicken Wings, cut veggies, noodles
Tuesday- Tacos and fixings
Wednesday- Potato Soup, Cheesy Garlic Bread
Thursday (CP)- {out}
Friday-pizza or left-overs
Saturday's Snack- Cranberry White Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats (see below)
Sunday (BFS)- French Toast Casserole, fruit salad, ham steaks

Saturday's Snack-- Fancy Rice Krispies
My daughter has this way of smiling at people and making them melt. I think it is her age. And the fact that she knows she is a princess and uses this to her advantage. A week ago we were meeting Daddy for coffee, and the beloved coffee shop owner melted over Princess A and brought her this WONDERFUL treat. It was so simple, yet so good. (I may have snuck a bite or two). Rice Krispie Squares with added dried cranberries, chocolate chips, coconut, and walnuts. Mmmm. . .Her recipe is probably top secret, but I tried to reinvent it at home on my own.
My original recipe came from here. (Not tough when you know the basic rice krispies square recipe) and then I changed it up a little to suit our likes. . .


4 tablespoons butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 tablespoon good quality vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal or equal
3/4 cup dry cranberries
1/4 cup toasted coconut
a handful of walnuts (crushed if you'd like)
*If you don't like the last two ingredients, then just up the chocolate chips by 1/2 cup.

1. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
2. In a large pan on the stove top, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows. Stir until the mixture is melted, hot, and smooth. Add the vanilla.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir quickly (the chocolate chips will begin to melt!) until the cereal is uniformly combined with the marshmallow mixture.
4. Remove the mixture to the buttered pan. Evenly distribute the mixture and press it down into the pan with buttered fingers, a piece of waxed paper, or a spatula. Let cool and cut into squares.

Mmm. . .
Check out more MPM at http://www.orgjunkie.com/!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Old Chairs

Our kids have really grown to love some neighbors on our street. They love walking through their gardens and talking to the elderly man about birds and flowers. During the Christmas season the kids were invited in the house to check out their extensive Christmas village and train set. (By extensive, I mean it probably spanned two or three sheets of plywood, and there was more in another area of the house! It was absolutely beautiful!

The kids have really grown to love these neighbors and I think they have grown to love our kids as well! A week ago, we got a phone call asking if we wanted some child-sized chairs. So we popped on by to pick them up. This elderly couple was just ready to get rid of them as their kids and grand kids had outgrown them, but wanted to check if our kids could use them before donating them elsewhere. They had one at their house, and got the other one from their daughter's place, who also brought over a wooden rocking chair because she knew they were going to be given to our kids.

The story behind these chairs. . .they were made in the early 60s by prisoners in one of BC's local-ish prisons. This man also has some big garden urns that were made by these inmates as some of their work-projects as well. Not a story we are going to share with our kiddos just yet, but interesting anyway!

I wish I had a "before" picture. But just imagine the dust and build up of sitting around in a basement or garage for some time. Here is my "after" pictures. We had a sunny morning this week, so I took them outside and started the big clean-up! Here they are sitting on my driveway after a first clean.
I know--as if you wanted to see the bottoms of these chairs! But I was so impressed with how well they were made--and how long they have lasted!!! There are a few tears here or there, but nothing major or really noticeable unless you look closely. (Doesn't the colour just remind you of your old fridge?!?!)
Here is the bit on the back of the rocking chair. . .I'm no antique person, but I've watched my share of Pawn Stars (boring TV my hubby watches!) to know that these labels are important! :)
And here are my kids enjoying the finished product. Having a cozy chat in front of the fireplace (Old chairs and an old fireplace!).

Our "new" chairs. . . thank you neighbors!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Written on Cardboard. . .

At church this past Sunday, a bunch of members presented a version of the above video.
It was pretty powerful--so much in fact that I thought it was definitely worth blogging about.

The first time I saw one of these videos was in a devotional setting. After that, in response, we were encouraged to write our own "cardboard testimony" on an index card. I think the things that struck me most about that entire activity was first, how I sat in awe and wonder of all that God had done for the people in the video shown. It welled up in me an emotion that just wanted to praise God for all He can do--and does do every day--shown to me in a brief 5-8 minutes. Second, it focused me on all that God had changed and made right in my own life. Whether my testimony was great or small, God did it--and only God could have done it, through His grace and love.

YouTube is filled with variations and versions of this, so watch to your hearts' content. But whether you watch one or watch many, the powerful message of Christ's ability to work in a person's life--to work out His grace and His renewal--that shines in each person's life is evident in the testimonies written on cardboard. These messages serve as a reminder to me that the God I serve is a God who can and does work in the lives of every-day people and He changes them! All because of His great love for us.

What would your cardboard testimony be?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cake Mix Brownies

A bit back (as in Valentine's Day!) I needed a quick recipe, and I just wanted brownies. (I wanted to have something for our church's women's group as well as a treat for my hubby's work--without being too frilly for obvious reasons. Cupcakes were kinda out of the question! Brownies would definitely do.)

I had heard someone on TV talk about brownies using a cake mix, so I thought I would give it a try.

After a bit of searching fora recipe in which I had the ingredients on hand, here is what I came up with:

No Fail Easy Cake Mix Brownies

Don't let the title trick you. . .because mine didn't actually turn out "no fail" in my humble opinion. If you look below at the photo (if you can see) the middle kind of sunk down. I like consistently flat better. Did they suit the purpose? Yes. Easy? YES!

Take 1/2 c. butter, 1/3 (or 1/4) c. brown sugar, 1/4 c. water, 2 eggs, 1 t. vanilla, and 3/4 c. chocolate chips or chocolate pieces, and mix all of that with your cake mix. Dump it all in a greased 9x13. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, and there you go. Easy? Definitely!

And I shouldn't complain too much about the fact that it sunk a bit, because that was easy enough to cover with some chocolate caramel icing and a red-hot to make it valentine-ish-y, so. . .there you go. An easy snack that everyone enjoyed.

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