Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday

I can't believe that today is already Thursday! The week has flown by so quickly already. Monday was Family Day here in Alberta and my hubby dearest had the day off. It also happens to have landed on a short work week, meaning that he has tomorrow off (he gets every second Friday off). I can't remember the last time that he had a three day work week. It means that we can tackle a few odd jobs around this house. Am I excited? Not really. Who likes decluttering while the kids take over the run of the house and constantly beg you for tv or food? I sure don't, but this is the sacrifice we decided would be part of our Lenten Journey this year. The basement, the furnace and utility room in particular has become a collecting ground for all sorts of unwanted, unneeded, maybe-someday needed things. We want to free ourselves of the bondages of stuff and must suffer the pains of letting go, chaos and frustration that comes with purging on a larger scale. So this weeks Thankful Thursday will be written before I purge as a reminder of all that I have.

This week I am thankful for:
  • three day work weeks
  • two long weekends in a row
  • quality time with my best friend and husband of 12, almost 13 years
  • worn out shoes and boots that have done their duties
  • baby clothes that have clothed little ones
  • throw rugs no longer needed, but served as beautiful feet warmers
  • clothes that no longer fit, are worn and have adorned us and our children
  • kitchen gadgets that are going to be useful to someone else
  • Christmas decorations
  • picture frames
  • German VHS video tapes that were watched many times and brought good times
  • homeschooling plans of days gone by
  • suitcases that brought all of our belongings to our home in Canada
  • momentos, pictures and memories
  • a house that we call home
  • a small backyard that is going to be converted to a potager garden
  • a husband that likes things tidy
  • kids who like things tidy in a place where they can find them
  • children who play while mommy and daddy de-clutter
  • music cd's that make working hard,seem like fun
  • a son who volunteers to bake bread when he sees that mom and dad might not get lunch on the table on time and wants to avoid eating a big pot of chili
  • a coffee maker that brews the coffee of sanity and the coffee pot that keeps it warm
  • kids who know how to change their little brother's bum
I sometimes complain about my life and my troubles, but in reality, I wouldn't want to exchange them with anyone elses troubles. I am a regular HGTV and DIY Network watcher and tend to get jealous of the young couples who buy houses that are 2600 sq ft for about $250,000 US. We paid around the same here for a house with 962 sq ft. We have a finished basement which makes the square footage closer to 1400 sq ft of useable space. In reality, I wouldn't want a house that big. Too much cleaning! How do you keep a house that big clean? I am truly thankful for a small house. There isn't much room for clutter. We don't make stupid purchases very often because space and storage is always an issue. Another reason that I am thankful for a small home is that the home improvement and renovation costs are kept to a minimum. How much does a new room on a huge house cost, or does it cost a furnace to heat a 2600 sq ft house? I believe that this is the house that God himself chose for us and how can I be anything less than thankful.

I am also thankful for my green thumb. I love gardening. Did I mention that the saint that chose to accompany me for a lifetime is St. Rose of Lima? She sewed and she gardened to help her family who didn't have much money. She has helped me begin a backyard oasis in a climate where gardening can be rather challenging. We live in zone 2b. I pray that she will help us build a backyard potager that will hopefull feed us throughout the summer and hopefully part of the winter. I am thankful for all of the FREE seed catalogues that I have been reading. I am also thankful that I have a husband who will help me make this dream become a reality. He is going to build raised beds, haul potting soil, mulch and gyra rocks to make the yard pretty and functional. I am also grateful for the points system on our Visa cards. We use our Visa cards like debit and carry a zero balance in order to reap the rewards. You get points for every dollar you spend and these points can be exchanged for gift cards for major department stores, home improvement stores and our favourite book store. We have racked up enough points to hopefully cover the cost of the lumber and the soil/mulch for the entire project.

Our Garden in August 2011 - right side of our property
Our Backyard in August 2011 - left side of our property
The patio area - to be removed and be made to hopefully look like this...
Well maybe not exactly like this, but similar.

I am thankful that you stopped by and read or skimmed my long thankful post.  God Bless.

Stash Bash - February 23rd

I have been following the Stash Bash posts by Tricia at Crunchy Catholic Momma. She has been busy using up her stash to make some new projects. I have a bit of a stash myself. I just love new material. I am quite thrify though. I try to only buy new fabric, yarn or other crafty stuff when it is really, really marked down. There is a bin at the local fabric store that sells bolt ends of every kind of fabric imaginable at the amazing price of buy one (which is usually already 50% off the original price) and get 2 free!!! That is how I get a good amount of material stashed up. I also love these fabric for kids sewing projects. If something doesn't work out, I don't worry too much because the fabric cost up pennies as opposed to big $$$.

I have a membership to the local fabric shop, which runs me $20 per annum. A great deal because this allows me to purchase most of my fabric for at least 50% off during special member sales. Notions are always at least 20% off with the membership. I make a lot of stuff myself, so I figure it is worth it.

This past weekend, I splurged and purchased some material for a dedicated project, a table runner that I had seen on Pinterest. Most of the material was $5/metre with 50% off, meaning that I only spent $2.50/m. I guessed at how much I needed and ended up with much too much. I wanted to have a table runner for Lent on my dining table. It now holds our money jar, some Lenten reflection books, and a prayer cube and a basket of missionary Rosary making supplies. During meals, I remove the above mentioned items and use it as a hotpad. Btw, from my own stash, I had the quilt batting and interfacing and some thread.

I used various colours of purple, obviously and I embroidered one strip to say, "pray, fast, give alms." The outer fabric was a red and purple batic. I chose this because it reminded me of the blood of Christ. I plan on using some of the fabric to make another one of these for a purple loving bride friend of mine, who happens to be having a bridal shower in March. She is a devout Catholic and I think she would like one of these, don't you? I will definitely take my time and get things a little straighter (please don't look at my sewing close up, it is very off). I am glad that I made this one first, so that my gift will have less glitches, hopefully.

I whipped up another quick project for myself yesterday. I made some faceclothes that are meant only for me. We use a lot of faceclothes in this house. We have a two year old and three boys for that matter. I also use homemade wipes for the little guy's bottom and I don't want to use those on my face. Although we have quite a few washclothes, I hate to use them because they are needed. Instead of buying more, I raided my stash and whipped up a few.

The ones on the left are made from an old flannel duvet cover that I hat already cut up for diaper making and the ones on the right were made from fabric bought in the "Buy 1 get 2 Free" bin. They are turned and topstiched 9" squares-ish. They look small because they are folded.

I am excited that I have my own washclothes. I almost never wash my fash (did I just say that)! I only wash my fash in the shower. I came across a method of facial cleansing that doesn't involve soap or facewash, both of which irritate my skin and leave it dry and itchy or extremely oily. I saw the "Oil-Cleansing Method" on Pinterest and thought that this might work. You wash your face with oil, heat a wash cloth, lay it on your face for a minute and then wipe off the excess oil. I figure it is worth a try, but I needed a few faceclothes for myself that hadn't been previously on a bum. Voila, now I can wash my face. That just sounded weird! Oh well, I bashed a bit of stash and it cost me an hour or so of my time.

Don't forget to stop buy Tricia's blog to see what she has done this week!

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Salmon Burgers

Ash Wednesday is here, Lent is here. Catholics around the world are called to fast and to abstain from meat. I hope to share a few of our favourite meatless dishes with you this Lenten season. Last week, we made some salmon burgers, measured our ingredients, wrote it down, and then lost the recipe. That was brilliant! So to the best of my ability, I will share with you our gluten-free, grain free version of our salmon burgers.

Salmon Burgers

3 cans of Red Sockeye Salmon (312g/can or 7.5 oz/can)
1/3 cup almond flour (alternatively use bread crumbs)
2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 medium eggs
1Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
pepper to tast

The salmon that use has skin and bones in it. I pick out the skin and bones if hubby is eating with us and leave them in if he isn't. I just crush up the salmon with a fork until the bones crush (they are ok to eat and add extra calcium) and skin and the salmon are one homogenous mixture. Next, mix in the rest of the ingredients. If you have fresh parsley and scallions, use them. I didn't have them on hand, as it was Friday, the end of the week (hence the empty fridge). Feel free to try your own mix of herbs and spices. A friend of mine adds cheese to her salmon burgers. I thought cheese and salmon was wierd until I tried it and was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted. So now, I always make my salmon burgers with cheese. I fried my burgers on the griddle at 350F. I wanted to fry up as many as possible, but you can fry them in a normal frying pan on medium if you would like. I used just a little oil on the griddle. Fry each side until golden brown. Flip only once if you can help it.  Here is what my burgers looked like while frying. The darker ones were already flipped.

We plan on making these today with a side of leftover Beet and Walnut salad and leftover mashed sweet potatoes. By the way, the Beet and Walnut salad is out of this world. I toasted the walnuts and the kids thought they tasted and smelled like popcorn, which was a good thing.

God Bless,

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Baby is 2!

I know it is cliche, but my does time fly when you are having fun. Where did the time go since my little munchkin was born? Can you believe it that on Shrove Tuesday, two years ago, my little Paddy was born.

He has accomplished so much these past two years. He is a little chatterbox. Much like his oldest brother, he was born a communicator. He can tell you exactly what he wants and uses real little sentences. He is curious about food and how it is prepared. He is interested more than his sibblingx ever were. He pulls a chair up to the counter as soon as meal prep begins.

He loves to learn and is persistant in being taught. He counts everything, especially stairs. Some days he counts in English and others he counts in German. The funny thing is, we hardly every speak German and I am not sure how he picked that up.

Another wonderful thing about Patrick is his love for prayers. I have sung the Hail Mary to him since he was a wee thing, especially when he was really fussy. I think I did this more for myself than for him. It helped me keep my sanity after hours and hours of crying, fussing, feeding, acid reflux etc. Now when he goes for a nap, he requests the Hail Mary as a lullaby. He also loves to sing the Our Father from the CD Good Morning, Jesus by Dana with me. I wish that I had sung these songs to my other kids at a young age.

Paddy, we love you more than ever and hope that you had a wonderful 2nd birthday!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday on a Monday

A few days early, a few days late, whichever way you look at it, today isn't Thursday! I am still thankful and wanted to share with you all.

Last week was a rough week. I got some kind of stomach bug and couldn't eat or drink anything significant for three days. I was in a lot of pain and was very concerned that my baby wasn't getting enough. I prayed and prayed. Luckily, my sonogram was scheduled for Friday. I was really hoping for the best, but was expecting the worst. I was pleasantly surprised that although I was only 13weeks +2 days, the baby was measuring at about 14 weeks.

So needless to say, I am thankful for a big healthy baby.

I am also thankful for...

* Hubby's three day weekend. His new job has him working 9 hour days so that he can have every second Friday off!

* Lot's of time to relax.

* Playing charades (is that how it is spelled?) with the kids.

* A working dishwasher.

* Doing some light garden work. I trimmed the berry bushes.

* Going to our old parish for Mass and visiting with an old friend.

* Lemon Zinger tea and honey.

* Gardening books from the library. This is my favourite.

* A good friend that I have known for years that managed to help me through last week from 1700 miles away.

* Seed catalogues.

* Dreams.

There are so many things to be thankful for. I had a really relaxing weekend and that meant the world to me. Life is good. God is good.

God Bless,

Lenten Calendar & Almsgiving Activity

In 2010, the year Patrick was born, we made a Lenten Calendar based on a suggestion that I had read somewhere. (I can't remember where, sorry). You were to write a common object on the calendar for each day of Lent. In the morning, after breakfast, the kids would count how many of that day's listed object we had in our home. Some days we were thoroughly surprised how many things that we have. For every object that they counted, they would put a penny in a jar. During Lent, we chose a charity to give the money to. At the end of Lent we gave our pennies to that charity. Our particular charity of choice loves receiving pennies. They use the pennies for postage to send rosaries to the missions. Postage is quite expensive, so they appreciate the pennies because they add up quickly.

On the weekend, I asked the kids to think about Lenten activities that we had done in the past and asked them their input about what we should do again and what we should perhaps tweek or eliminate. It was unanimous that we do the calendar activity again. The kids loved counting and adding pennies to the jar. I have to admit that I never have that many pennies around the house, so we used a combination of change and beans. We traded the beans for cash at the end of Lent. If you would like to join us, we would be thrilled. We put together a calendar for this upcoming Lent. Use beans or pennies, but just remember to take the cash and give alms. This activity truly let's us see how blessed we are. The kids helped me put together a list of items that most Catholic families have in their houses. If you want to change or substitute any items, go right ahead. You can print out the Calendar below.

LENTEN Calendar 2012(function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = ""; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

God Bless,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Candlemas Day

It is bright and sunny this candlemas morning. A mild and spring-like day. This would have been the perfect day to present Our Lord at the temple. According to an old proverb (and Balzac Billy the local groundhog), it means winter is to stay for another 6 weeks. I don't mind if the winter continues on as it has been so far this year. We have had a mild winter with the exception of two weeks where the weather was in the -30C's and -40C's.

As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and rain
Winter will be gone and not come again

The presentation of Our Lord is a special day in this house. Not only does is mark the last day of the Christmas season, it is also my dear husband's birthday. Today he turns 37! Where has the time gone? He was 23 when we first met.

This is a picture of his last birthday in Germany. That was five years ago.

This is his first birthday ever celebrated in Canada in 2008.
In 2009...
In 2010...
In 2011...

My dearest is working today, so I don't have a picture to share. He has requested brownies with whipped cream for his cake. I haven't decided whether or not we will adorn the cake brownies with candles or not. I will share with you where I got the recipe because it has become a family favourite. Don't be intimidated by the weird ingredients. It tastes really, really good and is pretty healthy.

Gluten-free Fudge Brownie Recipe
I wish you all a wonderful candlemas day. God Bless.

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