Thursday, April 30, 2009


I keep getting these snaps:

mixed up with these snaps:

They are both sweet and I have both on my mind often these days.
And that is not my photo of the snapdragon. Mine are still babies and will be a long time before looking this pretty. However, those are my gingersnaps. And they are sweet and ready right now.

There is so much in this picture that I love.

The drips of molasses. I love molasses.

The smell. Can you smell it? Scratch your monitor. That might help.

My mixer. At the time I thought it was expensive, but I'm sure it's paid for itself in bread savings. And if my time is worth anything at all, the cookies are much quicker to make too.

But mostly, I love that the sun was shining.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... the reddish tulips are emerging from the soil in spite of the cold.

I am thinking... that Stuart McLean should never retire. I love the Vinyl Cafe and I'd miss Dave.

I am thankful for... warrantees and the AMA towing service.

From the kitchen... I need to start thinking of soccer snacks. Ten weeks of soccer games and practices starting tonight.

I am wearing... the everyday uniform of jeans.

I am reading... Crow Lake still, although I'll have to miss book club for the first time this year. Soccer starts to interfere with everything.

I am hoping... that the van repairs are all covered because I haven't worked much lately.

I am creating... THREE poodle skirts. Why do I do this to myself?

I am hearing... the furnace running when IT SHOULD BE SPRING!!

Around the house... we have another critter. Nibbles is about 20 days old and extremely cute, but camera-shy at the moment. He's the cutest little black gerbil.

One of my favorite things... soup. And it's one of my daily indulgences at lunchtime because at least one kid doesn't like it. I can make food just for me at lunch.

A few plans for the rest of the week... a meeting with about the community garden, soccer games and a CD debut concert.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

The way she was.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Double Digits

The sad thing about children is that they grow up. But that's the good thing as well.

On Friday, I took Beth out for lunch. She wanted a 1/2 and 1/2 cake for her birthday (cheesecake and baklava), so I did the next best thing to that impossible baking task. I took her out to a Greek restaurant for baklava and baked a cheesecake to eat with her friends.

She's getting to be such good company, contributing to conversations and making jokes. And she can eat like a teenager. Well, I told her that I'll have to give her away for the teenage years because she'll be impossible to keep fed.

Together we ate almost all of this food. When she was done, she sat back, looking full and satisfied. But she hadn't ordered the baklava yet.

It came with two forks because the waitress assumed we'd be sharing the massive piece of syrup-y goodness. That wasn't the Birthday Girl's plan actually, but she did need both forks to scoop it all up.

And then used a spoon to make sure none of the stray walnuts would be wasted, or the sticky honey.

There were no think-of-the-poor-children-in-Africa lectures to be had on Friday.

Friday, April 24, 2009


At this time of year there's a swear word we don't like to use. It start with "S" and ends with "Noooo!"

Sigh. This was the scene in my yard last year at this time: Beth's 9th outdoor birthday party.

It's not very green but there was no swearing either, and the whole party was held outside.

We'll be happy today regardless because it's Beth's 10th birthday!! Happy Birthday, my big girl! We pray for another happy year for you.

I can't believe she's 10 already.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


My husband's workplace is having a spring photo contest so I took a walk around the neighbourhood and found the following signs of spring.

Did anyone notice the shortage of green in these pictures?
I passed a sign at a garden centre a few weeks ago that said "Sweet William! Where the hellebore is Spring??" That still applies. It feels like it might snow tonight.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Dream

Rosa and I have a dream.
Our neighbourhood is just that -- a neighbourhood. There's really very little feeling of community here and no pride in where we live. In fact, over the last eight years I have continually told people that this is not the area I wanted to live at all. It was the only reasonable house on the market while we were looking and we bought it "in spite" of the neighbourhood.

This used to be a city unto itself, not just a fringe neighbourhood. Where did the community feeling go? The pride in our streets and houses? Or in the quality of our schools? Or in the quality of our neighbours for that matter?

Now that I've invested in the school and in my house and in my yard, I'm not leaving for a long time. I have great neighbours. I love the school and the people I've met here.

So here's our dream.

We want to start a community garden.

We'd like it to become a place where neighbours plant together, talk together, play and laugh together. Initially we may just share planting ideas, seeds and canning jars, but in time maybe we can learn from our neighbours things about their cultures, or bits of their language. Maybe we can share babysitting services or they can find out about free ESL classes. Maybe the homeless won't have to dig through the garbage at 7-11 if they can pick their own carrots from our shared community plot, at least for a few months of the year.

That's a lot of maybes. But there's one "maybe" that's looking closer to happening. Last night we met with some community social workers and some city employees who gave us hope that we may be able to start this year already!

I know, that's another maybe, but it's one I hadn't even considered until last night. I'll keep you posted. If anyone out there has experience with community gardens and setting one up, I'd love to hear from you.

In the meantime, I'm starting to dream even bigger about my own seedlings. I should start a few more tomato plants and buy the seeds for peas, beans, carrots and cut more big sticks for polebean supports and...and...

I'm going to have trouble sleeping for a while now, I fear.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... a squirrel is climbing the stucco wall of the garage.

I am thinking... that I need to become a more frequent rider.

I am thankful for... the kind words of others and the beauty of my children's voices. Check this out.

We sang the indroit and anthem yesterday. Alice sings to her own tune, but that's why we love her. Throughout one song she repeated the chorus ("Jesus, Lammer God") regardless of what the rest of us did. Everyone loved it and we even got applause. In our Baptist church!

From the kitchen... I can look forward to soy-less veal cutlets. I love the Dutch deli and their knowledge of the products they make and sell.

I am wearing... Cheeto-orange tints on two fingertips, and the reason I need to ride the bike more often.

I am reading... Crow Lake by Mary Lawson again. The book club has been voting unintentionally for a lot of Canadiana.

I am hoping... that this scene:

will look like this again:

I am creating... nothing right now. I'm helping Laura make her own poodle skirt though.

I am hearing... the last few minutes of silence before the kids burst through the door, returning from school.

Around the house... there is so much to do that I avoid it altogether. I really need to move the clothes line this week.

One of my favorite things... hearing them yell out about the awesome things that happened at school. One of my least favourie things is to push them out the door in the morning while Alice complains about hating school. I have to videotape her happiness coming home and replay it to her in the morning.

A few plans for the rest of the week... work more hours than last month, set up the mini greenhouse, and join the community league.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Veggie Tales

Yesterday we were asked at our Bible study what our favourite vegetables were. And then to tell a story about that vegetable.

There was some discussion about whether tomatoes counted. We allowed it for this purpose.

The most disturbing story for me was about brocolli. I grew brocolli for the first time last year. It didn't taste like grocery-store brocolli and I loved the little trees that grew after the first head. I ate them almost daily from our three plants.

The story was this. One woman had carefully cleaned the brocolli from the garden and served it for supper to her husband. He was happily munching until he saw...HALF a worm as his next bite approached his mouth! Half a worm is much worse than a whole worm.

Here's my question then. Look at how much brocolli I was planning for this year. Do I plant them? How careful do I have to be when eating them? Or how do I keep the worms away?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I am thankful for...

... chocolate raspberry truffle velvet cheesecake
... 53 tulips so far
... hugs from sleepy children
... the sound of five beautiful girls' voices
... friendship
... the promise of spring every year
... date nights

Monday, April 13, 2009

How We Spent our Easter Weekend...

Puddle splashing and...

hearing glorious music by Pro Coro and...

learning to be a rock star and...

walking through the bull pen and...

mooing at cows and...

sewing Alice's Easter frock and ...

loving the little calf and ...

admiring the calf some more and ...

eating and...

welcoming the cello back and...

watching the sun go down on Easter.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Abba (click to listen)

Abba, Abba, like a whisper on the wind
I hear my name.
In a sound so like a sigh, again it came,
Your disciples gathered with You do not hear, Abba, Abba,
Yet the whisper of my name has reached my ear.

I am here, my Son, here in the upper room.
I hear the water gently splash,
I see the Servant King attending to His friends.
Here I am, here in the upper room.
But as You serve the bread and wine,
The broken body and the blood are Yours alone.

Abba, Abba, like a whisper on the wind I hear my name.
Abba, Abba, in a sound so like a sigh,
Again it came, Abba, Abba,
With a whisper that is heard by God alone,
Abba, Abba, my only Son begins His painful journey home.

Music by Craig Courtney
Lyrics by Susan Bentall Boersma

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Look

I've been playing with the blogger templates and ended up designing my own (based on a simple old template).

Everything you read about blogger says it's all so easy, but just adjusting the font sizes is hard, let alone finding the right margins to adjust or altering colors and stuff.

I've also lost some things I liked. I only had a few followers, but I liked that widget and will have to find out how to put it back. And I can label my posts, but haven't found the HTML code to allow you to choose posts by label. It's rumoured that not all of my faithful readers care one sausage about sewing. This allows them to skip the sewing posts.

For now, I'm happier with the look and I'm learning more about HTML than I thought I ever wanted to learn.

Can anyone help with the widgets and labels?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

White/Domestic Manual

I love this manual. This is the reason I bought my second old sewing machine and it's a lovely example of pre-computer publishing. It's full of typos and graphic images that are so representative of ... of... well, they must represent someone.
Every lady wears an apron, as if they've happily interupted their baking to sew a quick little dress. Maybe for the upcoming tea social.

And they are all so expressive. Look how happy this one is to have solved the problem with her skipped stiches.

And this one has either hit a home run or is taking up golf in her sewing room. I think she has higher dreams than what's going on at home. She should consider taking off her heels.

I'm not quite sure what this one is doing. The text says something about "relearing the pressure on the rheostat control". That doesn't help me at all. It looks like she's lost her tape measure or reaching to pick up a bassinet from the floor.

Besides their tiny waists and curvy figures, they all have one thing in common. They are all thrilled to be members of "the growing family of happy owners of the new E-Z-Adjust Stitch Regulator sewing machines".

And so am I.