I'm so glad you could stop by. This is my personal blog of daily life and my journey through life. You will find a strong emphasis on family and friends as well as finding my ancestors through genealogy. Unlike my other blogs this blog is more of a catch-all so any topic is fair game.

Search This Blog:

Monday, December 31, 2007

Welcome 2008

Happy New Year snow globe

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blog Your Blessings 2007

blog your blessings Sunday

On this last Sunday on 2007 I can't help but reflect on our multitude of blessings over the year. It has been a year of turmoil, disruption and chaos all buffered each step of the way with a multitude of blessings. Some have been more discrete than others but all the same blessings. Each have been appreciated, valued and in some way we have learned from them.

I have to say one of my biggest blessing throughout this year has been my husband. Sometimes I can't even remember a time without him being there. He is just always there through thick and thin. Sorry guys but women go through this phase that guys just have to understand and he does. But he's been doing the understanding thing well before. He mellows me out sometimes having to play the role of the Energizer bunny but he is always there.

We started 2007 with a beautiful new grandbaby. We have had the great honour and privilege of watching her develop her own personality. She has mellowed us in ways only grandparents can understand. At the same time I've watched my own baby adjust to the new role of becoming a parent. It's not always as easy as it seems. But with the guidance of those who went before I'm confident these parents will do just fine.

One of our kids is waiting to immigrate to the US to get married. It's been stressful on one end but has been a true blessing for us. It's wonderful getting to know your child as an adult, to be able to enjoy their company. We are enjoying each and every moment!

This year we moved to the home that we will likely remain in until our kids cart us off to a home or worse. I can't begin to even put into words what this house means. The move was very stressful but well worth it. It is so peaceful both indoors and out that when combined with the beautiful view simply can't be beat. I honestly feel like a different person.

We've been blessed with the most awesome family and friends that you could ever imagine! Boy did they do overtime this year. Honestly we never would have got through this year without the blessings they bestowed on us. They mean so much to us! We have a beautiful roof over our heads and an abundance of food in the house. We have been very blessed in this regard. What some might not realize is we talk to our kids almost daily. There are very few days that go by that we don't speak with them. The pictures go back and forth by email as well. Such a close relationship is one of those blessings that is hard to describe but in many ways it is one of the most important.

Now I would be remiss not to mention the many blessings my online friends have brought. Those who visit my blogs, leave comments on my blogs and to my family and friends who visit my blogs daily. I'm blessed that anyone even thinks my blogs are worth reading. To have people from all over that visit daily is mind boggling so thank-you so much!

So many blessings!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Taking a Breather

frost on the branches
December 26, 2007

Our Christmas celebrations were wonderfully filled with family and lots of love. All the hustle and bustle paid off so we were able to avoid the last minute shopping thing. It was a lower keyed Christmas as far as gift giving with more gifts geared towards a need instead of a want. Just the way it should be. Grandbaby who is officially a year old kept us in stitches mimicking every move. Soon to be born grandbaby was anxious to get into the action so booted poor Mom several times and decided that high under the ribcage was a perfect place to be most of the time. We enjoyed a lot of good food as well. It was a most excellent Christmas!

The thing about the Christmas holiday season is it merges with the New Year's celebrations so for us there is usually something going on almost daily. We awoke on Boxing Day to a heavy fog that settled on the trees to form a nice layer of frost. It definitely was a photo opportunity! Now Boxing Day is apparently the day to shop but for us it is a "do nothing" day. That's kind of a misnomer but really it is a day we don't go anywhere unless absolutely necessary which it rarely is. We spend the day in pj's, check out our presents and welcome anyone who stops by. Meals consist of left overs so it is a pretty laid back day.

I was gifted with MacFamily Tree, a genealogy program for Mac so I played with it for awhile. My main genealogy program is Legacy but it is Windows based so I have to reboot in Windows. With MacFamily Tree I imported the gedcom then can use that to check the dates, names etc while doing online searches on Mac something I can't do with Legacy because the Windows partion isn't allowed online due to security concerns. MacFamily Tree has some very nice features. I was also gifted with a 500 GB external hard drive for the Mac. Two of my kids helped set it up and showed me how to use it. Trust me between genealogy, pictures, Photoshop and scrapbooking I'll be able to fill that drive in no time flat. My kids knowing this helped me do a bit of computer housekeeping.

I took a breather today. It has been so busy the past few months I haven't done near as much genealogy as I should be doing and I'm lagging in learning more about Photoshop. The snowglobe from my last post and the soon to be posted New Year's post are my own creations using Photoshop then ImageReady to turn into animations. I've come a long way from this time last year! I'm now using Photoshop for digital scrapbooking so this morning I took the time to work through another tutorial for a reflection technique. This afternoon I turned my attention to genealogy once again chipping away at the brick walls. I uncovered one key little bit of information that may end up being nothing but it might be just what I need to crack that one line. So I'm pretty excited. It's always about the hunt with genealogy. Uncovering that one little key is a feeling that can't be described!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Countdown

purple martin house
Purple Martin House
December 16, 2007

Snowy days give lots of photo opportunities so I like keeping the camera handy. The snow coming over the water provided a lovely backdrop for the snow laden cedars. The Purple Martin house was an added bonus to the gardens. It needs a few minor repairs. Unfortunately, this bird house has been taken over by sparrows but I didn't have the heart to clean it out before the weather turned cold. This will be a job in the spring to get the bird house in condition for attracting Purple Martins.

We are on the countdown for holiday prep work today. I finished up my baking yesterday so while the oven was cleaning I started the spit & shine process. This afternoon we are going to an extended family event for a short time then my husband and I are taking a breather. We are eating out and will be enjoying a concert by one of my favourite performers this evening. A couple of the kids and grandbaby will be here when we get home tonight. Another couple will be arriving in the morning. The morning will be quite busy as we finish the prep for a large family get together we are hosting in the afternoon. Several will still be here after the main event leading to a smaller get together for dinner and visiting. Monday will be quite busy with last minute prep for our family Christmas meal. Normally we have it Christmas day but a couple of our kids has to be at three events that day so I suggested holding our dinner the night before so we can eat out Christmas meal as a family. Christmas Eve will be spent visiting with our kids after dinner and taking in Midnight Mass. All the kids will be here Christmas morning with most staying for the day so that will mean another large meal for dinner but also Christmas breakfast. I love Christmas breakfast and we go all out so I'll write more on that later. We will still have a full house for a few days after Christmas with family but we also have those that just stop in for a visit so it is a rather laid back time. So I think things are pretty much ready to meet the seasonal demands. Now the fun starts :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Crisis Days

Darke-eyed Junco
(Junco hyemalis)
December 19, 2007

Some days are just destined to be disasters. So it is today. My whole mistake this morning was waking up but given the alternative, that was likely a good thing. We spent a good portion of yesterday shopping which added nothing to my mood since there is still a lot of prep work and cooking to do before the weekend. I ended up picking up a couple of pre-made things for entertaining which really bummed me out as I take great pride in serving homemade foods from scratch. However, I'm getting down to a time crunch so need a couple of cheater items (miniature cinnamon rolls, refrigerator crescent rolls). The crescent rolls are for a veggie pizza appetizer and I simply don't have the time or patience to test out recipes to find a suitable substitute. Two projects that are important to me to have finished before Sunday are at a complete stand still. At the moment I'm emotionally numb and physically hurting so my creativity level is at an all time low! But enough about that. It's a beautiful day so I'm going to make the most of it.

Hopefully the bright sunshine and the antics of the Juncos will lift my spirits as I immerse myself in cooking today. There has been a lot of activity at the feeders this morning. The blue jays made their morning rounds as did the cardinals. Both have such vivid colours and the blue jays' personalities always make me smile. Today, smiling is a good thing! One smile leads to another and soon the my mood will lift.

BTW, if you've read this blog for any length of time you will know I'm a Corrie fan (Coronation Street). I watch it everyday during the week. Well it wasn't on last night because of a special but there is a back to back tonight. One whole hour of Corry is a sure mood lifter! Anyway it really looks like things are looking a lot bleaker for Tracey now that Dedre is starting to see the light. And then there is our Lee Ann. I would not have figured her for her new profession. She is such a pretty girl who is going to find out that this choice will bring nothing but heartache down the road. Tsk, tsk!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal
(Cardinalis cardinalis)
December 18, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On the Bird Front

sharp shinned hawk
Sharp Shinned Hawk
December 16, 2007

One of the things I love about living on the water is the ever changing scenery. Each day the view differs and brings something new to ponder. The mute swans visited today as did a large flock of Canadian geese. I puttered in the kitchen while watching them dive for food. There's a group of what I think are Bufflehead ducks out there now but I'm not trecking through the snow to get a closer look since I still haven't found my boots that somehow got lost in the move.

A Sharp Shinned Hawk visited our gardens Sunday. This is quite a welcomed honour as it is a good indicator a good balance has been reached. Predator species like the "sharpie" help to keep the rodent (mice, voles) in check as well as discourage grackles and cowbirds. I can tell when he is nearby as the feeders are suddenly vacated and all becomes still as they smaller birds flee to the safety of the conifers. The normal flittering and twittering in the conifers comes to an instant halt. It is impressive on many levels!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - Winter Storm

blog your blessings Sunday

winter storm
Winter Wonderland
December 16, 2007

Family has always been one of my cherished blessings. Knowing the kids would be traveling in snow storm last night really put me ill at ease. I was very relieved to get that phone call to say they were home safe and sound. Over night the storm turned everything to a winter wonderland. The thick blanket of snow was quite pretty despite the dull, heavy grey skies threatening more to come.

The water has taken on a cold, bluish grey cast and the snow is still coming down. The winds have picked up causing drifting. The visibility is greatly reduced as well so it is not the time to be out on the roads. As I went about taking pictures of the storm from the warmth and safety of our home, I was reminded how lucky I was to be able to enjoy such beauty. Even though the sun wasn't shining to reveal the multitude of snow diamonds, the view was still spectacular.

Our pantry is very well stocked so there is no need to go out for anything. I've spent the day so far cooking and doing a bit of catch-up for the holidays. The storm is not supposed to let up until tomorrow morning so my husband will work from home instead of going into the office. The electricity has so far remained on unlike our previous house where the power would have been out several times by now with this type of storm. The ability to stay tucked safely in our home during this storm is a blessing that I'm very thankful for.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Icy Waters

icy waters
Icy Waters
February 28, 2007

We are under a storm advisory warning from Environment Canada. A near crippling snow storm is fast approaching. By tomorrow night we should see upwards of 35 cm of snow. We are all set except the expectant kids (see ticker above) are down, traveling home tonight so of course the protective Mommy mode has kicked in. I will be doing the pacing thing until I know they are home safe and sound. I should mention we felt soon-to-be second grandbaby kick today! I affectionately referred to grandbaby as Herman but grandbaby's Mommy wasn't too keen on that name. Go figure! Hermy is a perfectly acceptable name for any baby, male or female.

They are calling for possible power outages with this storm. This is something that has always bothered me since we first bought our first home that heated by a magic button that controlled a thing called a furnace. Now mind you we were coming from using wood heat meaning if the power went out, we still had heat and a means for cooking. Plus, the wood heat was a nice, warm to the bone heat not like the new fangled furnace! The furnace was easy. Just press the button and on came the heat. It was natural gas but the fan is electrical. If the power goes out the furnace will work unless electronic ignite but the fan won't work meaning no heat. So one of my primary concerns has been finding a way to secure heat in the event we lost power during the winter. Ok so fast forward to this house. It too is heated by forced air but unlike our last house with its "oh there is a cloud in the sky" power outages this house is really stable as far as electricity. We also have a natural gas fireplace that my husband is sure will work even if the electricity is out. We haven't tested this but he said it is the same type of ignition clicker that the outdoor grill has so will work without electricity. I know, we should have tested this theory before any threat of winter storms but we didn't. Other than that we are very well prepared. So now we wait.

The kids have left on their way to a smaller Christmas party. They will be on the roads heading towards home about 8:30 pm. The snow has started here but is still really light. Once we hear they are home safely we can relax and snuggle down while we watch the world around us turn into a winter wonderland.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Golden Glow

sunrise through the willow
Golden Glow
December 8, 2007

The winter skies are giving lovely photo opportunities. The kids along with second grandbaby are on their way home. They should arrive anytime. I have homemade pizza dough ready for the oven and made peanut brittle for when they get here. We are quite excited!

We are under an Environment Canada storm advisory. It doesn't matter much for ourselves as we will simply do a couple of days in but the kids are planning traveling late tomorrow night right in the midst of the storm. Those plans may have to change! I worry with them on the road like that in nasty weather. The bottom line is your driving skills mean absolutely nothing if the other driver is under par. You can be dead right when driving!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Shopping

the field in late fall
The Field
December 5, 2007

It's that time of year when there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. We are still working on getting all the Christmas lights and decorations up. This is proving to be a bit of a challenge because we really don't know what we want for this house for Christmas decorating. Lights and decorations that worked at the last house just aren't working here so we have to come up with a new plan. The weather has turned cold with bouts of freezing rain making outdoor decorating rather unpleasant. Even the indoor Christmas lights and decorations don't seem to fit here. Then there is the beautiful fieldstone fireplace with stone mantle that is begging to have stockings hanging but I haven't figured out a way to hang them.

I am not a shopper even at the best of times but this time of year, I really hate shopping! So I tend to put it off as long as possible. Any number of excuses will work for me just as long as I can avoid the stores. Yesterday I was frustrated with the Christmas decorating progress so went shopping. The day before I had broke a dinner plate so needed to pick up a setting for 8 and since I'm getting bored with the ones I have now it provided a bit of an incentive. On my list of things to by were Christmas stockings, extension cords, dishes, LED Christmas lights, a long grocery list and a few gifts. My husband dropped me off at my first stop intending to meet me at my second stop then go grocery shopping. I finished shopping at the first stop with a lot of goodies then stopped to say hello to friends next door. I was shocked to hear the news that he was recovering from a recent stroke! We had not heard the news. After a short visit with assurances he was on the mend I walked to the next destination. That shopping went well and I was in the process of ordering grandbaby's birthday cake when my husband caught up with me. Yes I know I should make the cake myself but the party is going to be a large one two days before Christmas and I'm already tuckered out. It was getting late so we decided to fore go grocery shopping as I could do it today. Wrong, it's lightly snowing and it's cold so I'm staying indoors other than filling the bird feeders.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Blog Your Blessings Sunday - A Great Weekend

blog your blessings Sunday

We've had so many wonderful blessings the past week it is hard to know where to begin. We are in the holiday prep mode so had the carpets cleaned on Wednesday. Since they were drying it gave us the opportunity to do a bit of Christmas shopping. I've been back and forth on the phone with one of my kids (always enjoyable) then got the news another of my kids was flying to Winnipeg for a 60 hr shoot. This is a major project for a young but very, very talented graphic designer who has already made a remarkable mark on the advertising/publishing community. We are very proud of this newest achievement! A true blessing indeed!

This weekend my husband was hosting his monthly games night. The kids were down with grandbaby. In the meantime the dear plumber who was installing the clean-out between the house and want to eliminate our wonderful flooding problem was supposed to come Thursday but then couldn't come until Saturday. The guys were outside in rather frigid weather all day helping the plumber and despite threatening forecasts, the weather co-operated. Another blessing!

Saturday night we were surrounded by a wonderful group of guys, our kids and grandbaby. What a wonderful time we had! I watch grandbaby during these events while being a good hostess which involves cooking. Grandbaby loves being in the kitchen especially the cupboards but the eye teeth are popping through. Grandbaby decided that Grandma was the comfort zone. Baby snuggles and being able to comfort a baby who needs it is a true blessing.

This morning we woke to freezing rain so the kids packed up early to travel home. Two car loads and I'm telling you I worried every minute until I got their one ringers. Thank-you angels! I was so exhausted since the guys didn't stop playing cards until about 6:30 this morning. We had to be at a Christmas party at lunchtime so keeping the eyelids open was a real challenge. It was a wonderfully laid back party with good food and fellowship. Afterwards we stopped at very good friends' house to chit chat and warm up with hot tea. It was so relaxing and a lovely way to end the weekend. As we travelled home I couldn't help but thinking how blessed we are.

What better blessings could we ask for? We were surrounded by family and good friends. Our kids are mainly settled, happy and healthy. They bring us love, joy, support and always amazement!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Road Trip in Michigan

helicopter landing
December 5, 2007

We had all the carpets cleaned bright and early yesterday morning. ''Tis the season for the spit and polish. When the cleaners were finished we headed out for a little Christmas shopping to allow a bit of drying time for the carpets. We go by this little airport quite often. Usually it is smaller aircraft landing or taking off but this time there was military helicopter doing landing maneuvers. We were able to get stopped on the side of the road to take a few pictures. Talk about a photo opportunity. It was quite impressive!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Footprints in the Sand

Footprints in the Sand
September 5, 2003

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ontario Weather

adverse highway conditions
Highway Conditions
December 2, 2007

We've had a couple of weeks dealing with plumbing problems that have resulted in our furnace room being flooded several times. It has been most frustrating but we are keeping a sense of humour. So when the opportunity to travel to visit a couple of our kids with spouses and grandbaby presented itself, I was quite excited. We headed out just after lunch time Saturday into the threatening skies but the roads remained dry so we made good time arriving at our first stop mid-afternoon. We were on babysitting duty for the evening so grandbaby helped me make a lovely loaf of raisin bread for Sunday's breakfast. The kids went to a Christmas party but were home early enough for us to watch Ocean's 13. By then it had already started snowing.

I forgot how early babies wake up and being an early riser myself normally this wouldn't be a problem except I woke with a horrid sinus attack. I should have expected it given the unsettled weather conditions but it really knocked me on the seat of my pants. Grandbaby, now age 11 months, was up bright and early getting stuffed into a really cute snow suit ready to go play in the 20 cm of snow. I managed to get a couple of good pictures from the window! They cleaned off all the cars but by the time they were coming in the freezing rain had started. So on came the weather channel and my husband made the executive decision to head home during daylight hours. This was disappointing as we were supposed to be traveling to another kid and spouse's house. They are expecting and while we have the first ultra sound pictures and talk a lot on the phone I haven't seen the little baby bulge yet. Anyway we quickly packed up and headed out.

Both of us were dressed in flannel pants for comfort but put the suitcase inside just in case we needed extra clothes. We knew it was going to be a long drive home and it was. The view pictured pretty much sums up the entire ride home except it did get a lot foggier as the temperature rose. Traffic was down to a stand still three times and very slow several times so the trip ended up taking a little over four hours in comparison to a normal trip of just under two and a half hours. The closer we got to home the cloudier it got and by the time we arrived home the rain was coming down in buckets.

We unloaded the car then checked the temporary pump. Welcome home, the furnace room was flooded once again!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday Funnies - The Shoe on the Other Foot

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen. "Careful," he said, "CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my gosh! You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my gosh! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to STICK! Careful. CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!" The wife stared at him. "What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?" The husband calmly replied, "I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving."