A few gals got together the other night for a girls night out with a creative focus. It was a night to simply get-together and work on a project of your choice. I decided to sew, although in truth I never got that far! I brought my machine, but somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it was a longshot that I'd get to the point where I'd actually start sewing with the project I'd chosen. A couple of years ago my Mom had given me a gift of cash and told me to spend it only on myself, and on something that I wouldn't necessarily go out and buy. There are a million things on my 'want but don't need' list. Well, on this particular day I was at a local quilt shop and saw this kit that I fell in love with. It was all red and cream flannels, with a wintry theme. I didn't show a picture of the pattern because it doesn't do the quilt justice. Long story short, I bought this kit ( I NEVER buy kits) and it's been sitting in my craft room ever since. It intimidated me, I read through the pattern when I bought it and thought, 'I can't do this!'. So, this was the project I tackled. I only got the cutting out done, but hey, 50 11" x 11" squares is no small feat for one evening...at least not for me. Not to mention that I had to iron every single piece of fabric that had sat in the bag for so long! It was a nice evening out with friends. Rhonda and Cindy worked on a block of the month quilt kit they had, Sarah worked on a cute purse for her daughter E., and Marcia, our gracious host, worked on shoes for some handmade dolls she had given her girls for Christmas. Thanks ladies..it was a fun night!
That's our Isaac! He loves to be outside. He spends a good majority of each day begging to go outside. Begging as in banging on the door while whining, bring me his shoes, and calling..'coat, coat'. If I say no then he proceeds to scream and lay down in front of the door crying and having a fit. Ahhh..these are the days. Luckily, last week the rains went away and we had a whole 7 days of NO RAIN!! It was so great to spend time outside each day. As soon as Isaac gets outside he has 3 things on his 'to do' list. 1. Head to the shop and see if 'Bumpa' (Grandpa) is here working on his old truck. Bumpa always has time for a visit with Isaac and there's always a snack to be had. They are best buddies when they are out in that shop together! 2. Head over to the 'Buppies' (puppies) to see if they can come out for a visit.3. Wander into the field and go as far as he can without looking back at mommy once. He will wander all the way to the end of the field without a care in the world.Isaac truly loves to be outside. He is happiest when he is outside. He loves to explore and touch everything. He wants to ride bikes and climb fences. Getting him inside is not a pretty process, but eventually it has to happen...it usually means me carrying a kicking and screaming little one allllll the way back through the field. I wish his Opa was still here to see this little boy. Rob and I have no doubt that they would have had a special bond. I can almost picture Opa patiently walking through the field explaining the farming life to Isaac....
All of them are cute, but only one is a real princess! I love this picture of Abby. It was taken way back in spring of 08, but I love seeing it flash on the screen saver every now and then. Abby is not a great sleeper. It takes her awhile to fall asleep, and once she does, she doesn't sleep very soundly. This is a classic Abby picture. This sweet girl has an amazing amount of energy to match an equally amazing imagination. When she's not outside, digging in the mud while singing at the top of her lungs, she is inside talking on her 'cell' and making sure all her dolls are where they need to be. In this particular picture she made sure EVERYONE was ready for bed. Oh, how I love this little girl who's growing up so fast. She can drive me crazy, but oh how I love her.
You can't open the doors, and there are no people"..but it's still a pretty little church! Kim and I got together yesterday to work on the next block in our Village Sampler Quilt by Cheryl Wall. These blocks are turning out to be huge! The finished measurements for the quilt are 69" x 83" ( which is approx 5.75' x 7'). The church block has a LOT of pieces in it...my rough count was 102 scraps of fabric...all sewn together to make a picture. It's a very satisfying project to do...but it has it's moments of frustration, like when my measurements don't quite match up etc. It's fun to see how the quilts are coming together. I still have to add the flowers to the 'grass' under the church. We have about 7 more blocks to go and then the borders go on and the quilting starts! We are having a great time doing this together. The music is on, the coffee is hot and the visiting is plenty. I love that I can be home with the kids for most of the week, having friends in our home and doing the things I love. The pictures show The Courthouse, The Schoolhouse, and now The Church. Stay tuned for the 'Park Block' next.
I've mentioned these ladies before (read here for more info from a past post)...but here we are again. This time we headed back to a favourite lunch spot in Chilliwack called Apeldorn's. It is the most adorable tea house with yummy food to boot! We had a great time catching up and laughing. Laughter is so good for the soul. While we were there we were excited to see a fellow, famous blogger-lady. We saw one of the 'Menno Girls Can Cook' ladies out having lunch with all her daughters. I love their blog and use it all the time for inspiring recipes! I had the Dagwood sandwich and orange/cranberry tea, and a sugar cookie to top it all off! Sarah and I drove in together and made a stop at a fabric store on the way home...didn't buy a thing, but had a great visit! Apparently the next stop for the LWL will be in Ft. Langley...sounds good to me!
So a couple of weeks ago I was surfing the universal calendar at work, making sure I hadn't missed any important dates and such, and saw 2 eye catching words. 'Mark's Birthday'. Ahhh...who is Mark you ask? My boss. The Big Cheese. Now, Mark has a great sense of humour, it's one of the reasons we work so well together. Upon noticing this upcoming event, I quickly emailed the youth pastor and suggested that we do a little 'something special' to commemorate the day. Dan was in full agreement. All we had to do was find the perfect prank! We chatted back and forth, we could jack up his car and take off all the wheels, no wait, we could get a spare set of keys from his wife and 'steal' his car, nah, lame. We could transform his office into a far-out 70's theme. Better. No wait.....we could drywall off the hall to his office so he's forced to take the looooong way (involving lots of flights of stairs and locked doors) to his office all day. YES...that's it! So, we got a crew together (thanks College & Career..you guys rock) , met late the night before his b-day and away we went. Us girls ran to town and picked up wrapping paper to wrap the french doors that lead down the hallway to his office. We also picked up some chocolate and a gift card to soften the blow a little, just in case it was a huge flop. The guys stayed back, putting their construction skills to work. It's hard to tell by the pics, but in the end, upon opening the door to the hallway to his office the next day, Mark was surprised to find himself in a closet. A closet complete with 3 walls, a mounted clothing rod and a bunch of hanging choir robes. I somehow missed getting the final product picture, but here's the gist. I'm happy to report that the prank was well received and we were only pretend fired for the day. We had fun sending people down to his office all day, only to hear an awkward silence when they opened the door only to find themselves in a newly constructed closet. Mark got his exercise that day, and we all had a good laugh. We did have a card and cake too. Thanks for being such a great sport Mark. I think it would be wise at this point if Dan and I removed our birthdays from the master calendar....yah know, just in case. Oh, in case you're wondering...that's Dan sitting at MY desk, pretending to be me, and, not surprisingly, Mark fanning out the candles on his cake.
Here it is....the next block of the Village Sampler Quilt (designed by Cheryl Wall) that Kim and I started last week. Since we started the courthouse block last week, I added the steps, garden and lawn to the bottom of the courthouse, and started and finished the school house block! Kim and I got most of it done on Tuesday but I had some quiet time that evening and decided to finish the school house block so I could 'call it done' (other than finishing the flag at a later date). Next up is the church block. It's a cute little church with an ol' fashioned steeple, so stay tuned for that block next! Pop over here to visit Kim's progress on her blocks!
That's our Olivia. Olivia has always been such a sweet girl. She's soft spoken, gentle in nature and such a helper. I don't know what I'd do without her. She's creative and artsy, curious and clever, sensitive, and at times stubborn, but most of all, a beloved daughter. Rob and I were so pleased to get a call from Olivia's teacher a couple of weeks ago telling us that Olivia would be the recipient of a Student Of the Month Award. Olivia attends a traditional school. People always ask what this means...I describe King Traditional as a school that puts equal emphasis on morals and academics. The staff are committed to quality academic time and are able to carry it out by emphasizing respect and responsibility with the children. The kids are taught to be respectful of each other and their 'elders'. We personally chose King Traditional because we felt it was very much in line with what we want to teach our children here in our home. Each month the school focuses on a virtue of the month. It could be responsibility, justice, etc. The virtue of the month for December was kindness. The class is open to write out nominations of who they think is deserving of the award and they have to give a reason why. Olivia received several nominations for the award by fellow classmates. She received a prize, a picture with fellow award students, and a lovely card from her teacher, along with the written nominations from her peers. It was so special to see her receive an award and a commendation by her teacher. Way to go Olivia, we are so proud of you!
January is always an inspiring time of year for me. I get this sudden urge to start spring cleaning early, clean out closets, wash draperies, etc. Last week I painted a room and it felt sooo good! One of my other 'urges' is to create. I start getting ideas about starting all these things that I want to make, instead of the latter half of the year when I make all the things I need to make, or things that will sell at craft sales. Kim and I each must have a list a mile long of projects we've always wanted to do for ourselves. Well, we did it...we chose one and started! This project is a quilt called "Village Sampler" by a local designer, Cheryl Wall. We love Cheryl! We've been to her house plenty of times and she's been to ours! It's so great to meet inspiring people! I love looking at Cheryl's wall where she begins the process of piecing a new pattern together. Anyway, this quilt is made up of all different blocks that make up the village. Kim and I are taking a block a week and we're going to do this thing! Last week we started with the court house and I was surprised at how big it is! I still have to add the stairs and grass before this block is finished. Today we're starting the schoolhouse block next to the courthouse. We try to do as much of the piece cutting as we can before we get together, otherwise we'd never get it done in a day! I love my creative days with Kim...we grab a good coffee, put the tunes on, and solve the world's problems while we sew;) I hope to post each block as we go and then, eventually, the finished product!
I have to admit it...I chose this bottle of wine almost entirely because of the label...I'm such a sucker! Ok, well now I'll defend myself and also say that I do love fruit wine, and I have been to the winery that makes this particular wine, but it was mostly for the label. There's something about the packaging that makes us buy stuff isn't there? I'm the kinda gal who appreciates an aesthetically pleasing item...in fact, I'm sure that if I did one of those tests that says what I'd be good at it would be something along these lines...maybe not wine bottles, but something. I read the back of this wine bottle and it says that the label was inspired by vintage fruit crate labels. Well, it's kind of a nothing post, but at least now I can always come back and look at this cute label without buying the wine again...because in all honesty...we thought it was so-so.
Hard to believe it's 2010 already...Rob and I were having a conversation about how 10 years ago we were welcoming in the new Millennium and it seems like it was just last week! We vividly remember that year....Dad and Rob were both concerned about what the change would bring in terms of our farm. Everything is computerized so would it all go crazy, would the power go out, would our generators start? Dad suggested we stay close to home and be prepared for any unexpected surprises. As we all know, it was all hype. Oh well, better to be safe than sorry. We've made up for new year's every year since, hanging out with friends or going out on the town, but for the last couple of years we've brought the party home. We had such a great time last year we decided to do it all again. We missed a few of our 'regulars' this time, but we had some 'rookie's' too! We started at 8 and went weelllll past midnight! We asked everyone to bring an appy and any games they may want to play. We were excited to have some friends down from Kelowna who were able to join the party...it felt like they'd never moved away. It was a great evening, we never did get around to games, we just visited all night! I put out a candy buffet, popped a few bottles of wine and away we went. It's so wonderful to welcome a new year in with friends from years past....God is good and has provided us with friends who are priceless. Happy New Year to all of you....may it be the best yet! Here in B.C. it's officially Olympic fever!
So I have this crazy group of friends from Chilliwack. Crazy, yes, best description I can think of. We're all in our 30's although some of us behave like we're in our teens. I'm not sure how we all came together as friends, but it really doesn't matter. The point is there's something in our chemistry that keeps us laughing and lunching together. We are all creative ladies, we spend equal times creating together as we do lunching together. We are in constant search of new and quaint tea houses to have lunch in. We usually meet for birthdays but every now and then we do lunch 'just because'. We have dubbed the name 'ladies who lunch'. We were published in a newspaper as having that name, although I caution the term 'ladies' should be used lightly;) Anyway, we got together at Christmas for a luncheon and gift exchange. Our gift exchange had to be something handmade. Everyone received beautiful results! I posted here about the gift I made for Sarah. Well my 'old' friend Cindy had my name and I was not let down! Cindy made me this adorable yo-yo covered pillow. Did she know that this fabric line is one of my faves? She accompanied the pillow with a nice length of coordinating fabric which I hope to use soon! I easily found a home for my new pillow. I LOVE it Cindy...so thanks! I will have to blog a little more about these gals the next time we get together...I always forget my camera!!!
As I write this I STILL have Christmas cards that haven't been mailed! I refuse to feel guilty...in this moment anyway! My mom has always been big on Christmas. She passed on a love for Christmas to me simply because of all the memories and traditions that we had when we were kids. I think that as I child I always knew how excited Mom was for Christmas and that carried through to me. It is one of the greatest, of many, gifts she has given me. My parents were always big on not having any presents under the tree until Christmas morning...and definitely NO opening any gifts from friends beforehand either! We believed in Santa for many years, although we knew all along that there was a far greater meaning to the occasion. Mom decorated beautifully, baked all kinds of goodies, played all kinds of Christmas music, and we would sing around the piano on Christmas eve. My mom has always loved giving, just like her mom, and she continues to find such great joy in giving us meaningful and fun gifts. Dad always hung the lights, drove us around to see other lights, and we helped him shop for the right gift for mom. Dad and I still head out every year in hopes of finding the perfect thing for him to give her for Christmas. This year was harder for mom as she had to work on Christmas eve and Christmas Day, boxing day and new years day. It made for a different Christmas, but by no means any less special. On Christmas Eve Mom got off work just in time to zip over to the church and for the last 15 minutes of the service and play the piano for a girls quartet that we both sang in. She had the bedding all ready for us when we arrived for our sleepover. On Christmas Day we all got up early, opened our stockings, then onto the pile of gifts! After that Mom went through instructions for dad and I to continue preparing the food that she had got ready in the days leading up to Christmas. I basted that Turkey like nobody's business!!! Dinner was a little later than usual, but just as special. I know that Mom felt like it made Christmas less special, but it didn't for us...it felt great to make it work as a family and enjoy it for what it had to be this year. We all got spoiled, as usual, and enjoyed a relaxing day together. Your desire to always make Christmas special for us is one of the most special gifts you give every year. Thanks Mom! PS...did you notice that after allllll that...there's no picture of mom? Apparently I didn't take one single picture of my mom this Christmas...sorry mom...I'll make it up to you!
The girls and I did lots of baking together this year to get ready for special events. I wasn't in my usual 'gotta bake everything and bake it perfect' mode this year. I had my times where I enjoyed making some trickier recipes that aren't so kid friendly, but I really enjoyed the time that I spent baking with the girls. It is so wonderful to see their sisterly bonds starting to show. Don't get me wrong, they still fight and all the normal kid stuff, but I've really noticed their desire to be friends lately. There is an age gap of almost 5 years between the girls so I feel as though there is an added challenge for them to find areas of common interest. But, both my girls love being in the kitchen, just like their mama! Abby especially enjoys it. We have a tradition, as do many of you, of making sugar cookies for the special seasons. We do the bunnies and eggs in spring, leaves and pumpkins in fall and bells and snowflakes at Christmas, just to mention a few. It took me years to find just the right sugar cookie recipe, and everyone has their favorite. I made my hubby's favourite jam-jam cookies this year. They are a boatload of work, but the smile on his face is worth the flour on mine! Good thing I made all that plum jam this fall! Plum jam works the best in these cookies as it's thicker and doesn't run out while baking. Even the icing is a labour of love! The freezer is well stocked and the next time I bake it will be plain ol' chocolate chip cookies or banana bread...we haven't seen those regulars in a looong time!
Every Christmas Eve we have a day to look forward too...as mentioned a couple of posts back we always do brunch with the Friesens in the morning. In the evening we always to to Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at our church, with the exception of last year when it was cancelled due to the heavy snow. This year was back on track and we went to the service and then over to Rob's Aunt Tina's for our traditional Christmas Eve Dinner. Our family had the honour of being asked to light the advent wreath on Christmas Eve. For four weeks leading up to Christmas a candle is lit on each Sunday. Each candle represents something meaningful as we reflect on the reason we have this season to celebrate. The first candle represents Bethlehem. It reminds us to prepare our hearts for the Saviour.The second candle represents Prophecy. It reminds us of the hope promised by God that a Saviour would be born.The third candle represents the Shepherds. It reminds us of the good news that the shepherds heard from the angels.The fourth candle represents the Angels. It reminds us of the joy of the heavenly choir of angels as they proclaimed that Jesus had indeed been born.The fifth candle was the candle our family lit. The fifth candle is located in the centre of the wreath and it is the candle of Christ. It reminds us that the centre of everything is Jesus Himself and that He is the light of the world.We went up on the stage as a family and Rob, Olivia and I took turns reading as we explained the meaning of the candle and read passages from the book of John.Some of those candles were a little stubborn, but made it through. After the service we headed over to Tina's for a wonderful meal. We didn't do our usual midnight stroll this year, we were too tired! After this we went to my parent's house for our annual Christmas Eve sleepover. Christmas Eve has always been 'magical' to me and I'm glad that our kids seem to feel it too. What could be more magical than a baby coming to save the world?