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Showing posts from December, 2010

Abundance in 2010

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Last year at this time I was thinking about my focus word for 2010. We were in a hard place - my husband had lost his job and started up a small company while continuing to look for work in his field. 
The word that kept coming to me, in my reading and thoughts, was "abundance." I listened and accepted. Throughout the year, I made a conscious effort to look for abundance in my life, although there were many times when I just complained. 
Abundant provision: *  Tim was hired into a new position in March. He loves his new job and there are all sorts of possibilities for the future. * We found renters for our house in Victoria and were able to purchase a new home here. * A new job for our eldest daughter 
Abundant sorrow: * the loss of my 29-year-old nephew Colin in July * the loss of a tiny still born great-nephew I never met in November * the loss of my aunt Irene in December
Abundant change: * moving away from family, friends, church, job
Abundant JOY: * Our youngest daughter's weddi…

It's not over yet!

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There's been laughter, tears, lots of conversation, dancing, more than enough food, games, presents, travels back and forth across the water and there's more to come! 
I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas week.

Merry Christmas!

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Presents are wrapped and under the tree. The freezer is full to overflowing with cookies, snacks and baking of all kinds. Today I'll tidy up the house and finish up a few last kitchen things.

Stockings are hung - not by the fire but along the stair rail. We had two new additions to our family this year - one by marriage, one by birth. These new stockings reflect my new, and somewhat unusual (for me) desire for a neutral, calm palette. They're made of canvas drop cloths and embellished with scraps of ribbon, buttons and rosettes - I didn't purchase a single thing.

The labels are stamped onto cotton, backed with fusible web, cut with pinking shears and ironed onto the stocking. Easy peasy. I had fun making these rosettes and I think more will be in my future.
Thank you to all my blogging friends for your encouragement and friendship over this past tumultuous year. I value each one of you. And my wish for you is that you will experience the love, joy, hope and peace brought to e…

Bûche de Noël

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Anything that can be done ahead gets a star in my book. This dessert is one of them. I found it in a Good Housekeeping magazine from the early 1990s I think. It's become a tradition in our household, usually for Christmas Eve.
This year, we're celebrating with the family on Boxing Day, December 26. And the rest of the meal is going to be very untraditional - paella will be the main course. 
Today was spent in the kitchen - Bûche de Noël, stuffed mushrooms, crostini, chex mix and more. My freezer is jammed full. It's a good feeling. Next week, there will be little need to cook. The week between Christmas and New Year's is a week of celebration and relaxation. It's going to be great!
Click on the links for the recipes.

Mosaic Monday - A Different Sort of Christmas

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What else could my mosaic this week be? Yawning, squawking, sleeping, stretching - our new little granddaughter enchants every which way.
Linking to Mosaic Monday at the Little Red House.

She's Here!

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It's been a whirlwind around here. We zipped down to Victoria (2 hours away) yesterday afternoon, had dinner with our youngest (September's bride) and her husband, and as we were finishing dessert the phone call came - Adria Natalia had made her appearance. 
We rushed over to the hospital to sit in the waiting room with other family members for a couple of hours until everyone was ready for visiting. Here's Tim holding the precious bundle.

We spent the night with our eldest daughter and her husband, and spent today alternately visiting at the hospital, shopping and lunching with our daughters and one son-in-law. Then back to the hospital to help with Adria's first car ride - home. Here's the new mommy and daddy dressing her. Travis is putting on a sweater knit for him by his paternal grandmother 27 years ago. 

And here she is, all dressed up and ready for the big world. She's wearing an elf hat knit for her by a friend of Katie's. And the blanket was crocheted…

Counting Down

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Each day passes and I hang a trinket on my grown-up girl's Advent calendar. Everything that needs to be done is getting done, other things happen if there's time. I have a list and everyday a few more items are ticked off, completed.
Exams are done and I have one more paper to complete. I'm having a hard time focusing on that...

because I think today's going to be a very special day! It might be the day our first grandchild will be born! Things are starting to happen! 


And on a different note: The lovely Tish of A Femme d'un certain âge asked me to take part in a series on giving gifts that cost nothing, zero, zilch. My contribution is being featured at her blog today. Tish writes with wit and charm touching on fashion, etiquette, life in France. Go for a visit, you'll love her too.

Third Advent Sunday - Gingerbread

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Preparation. Heart and home. Waiting.  On this third Sunday of Advent we enjoyed the company of our two daughters and their husbands. On Saturday we had dinner here - Roasted chicken with pears, roasted potatoes, broccoli, and for dessert Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Sauce. We then took a short excursion to see the Bethlehem Walk, an amazing production put on by the church we attend here that features the Nativity and the hamlet of Bethlehem. Home again for apple cider, popcorn and a movie - "While You Were Sleeping" - one of my favorites.
Another tradition we have is decorating gingerbread cookies. Years ago I wanted every gingerbread person perfectly outlined with neat eyes and buttons marching down the center of his jacket.
Tim would egg the children on to create all kinds of personas - pirates with patches and one leg, strange creatures, wonky characters. This year, everyone brought a batch of gingerbread cookies in their own shapes. Cristal and her husband made gingerbread …

There will be time

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It seems like a number of us out in blogland are feeling a wee bit pressured. I know that I am. There are things that I want to be doing and things that I have to do. And the list of things I'd like to do is not going to get accomplished this year. And I'm learning that that's okay. 
It's more important for me to enjoy the moments that I can, to take time to sit, visit with my husband, think about what's important in my life, focus on the birth of Jesus and prepare my heart than it is to bake more cookies.
Whenever I think about running out of time I think of these lines from my favorite poem by Al Purdy that I've shared before and do so again in the hopes that YOU will take the time to breathe, to focus and to enjoy this most beautiful of seasons. Meanwhile, I'm off to write a French Literature final exam. Then just one more essay (for an English class) and I'm taking a break from studies.
from On the Flood Plain
"Whatever I have not discovered and en…

A Christmas Meme

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I don't know if I've ever done a meme, but Vee had this one up on her blog and I thought it kind of festive. So here goes:
1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider? 2. Turkey or Ham?
3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?
4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
5. Snowball fights or sleddin’?
6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
7. Favorite Christmas song?
8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
10. Stockings before or after presents?
11. Go to someone else’s house or they come to you?
12. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
13. What do you do after presents and dinner?
14. What is your favorite holiday smell?
15. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
16. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?
17. Favorite Christmas memory?
18. Favorite Part about winter?
19. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?

(It's an easy copy and paste.)

1. Hot Cho…

Reflections

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We put up the Christmas tree last night. Always real. A Charlie Brown variety - no pesticides, locally grown. I turned the lights on the tree this morning to dispel some of the gloom of this wet, windy day and was struck by the reflections in the rain-spattered window.
Yesterday we received word that one of my aunts, my mom's sister, passed away, suddenly but not unexpectedly. And at the same time, we await news from our son and daughter-in-law about the impending birth of our grandchild. I am struck once again by the juxtaposition of life and death in this world we live in. One life diminishes, another begins. I am so thankful that I can put my hope and trust in the God who created heaven and earth, who counts each sparrow and who cares for each one of us.

Milner Gardens - Mosaic Monday

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Milner Gardens is just a few miles down the road from our house. When we moved here, Pondside encouraged me to read Veronica's Garden, which tells the story of Veronica Milner who loved this garden and developed it. It's a fascinating story with connections to royalty and a world that I know of only from books. After Veronica's death the gardens were given to Vancouver Island University. 
On Saturday night Tim and I bundled up and went for a stroll in the gardens. Christmas lights decorate the pathways to the gardener's cottage filled with teddy bears, to Santa's den, and to the main house, seen above. Built in the 1920s and renovated extensively in the 1960s, the house is charming. Not a mansion, but delightful. And it's where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip once spent a restful few days. Princess Diana and Prince Charles have also visited, to stroll on the lawns and relax in the drawing room during a busy Canadian tour. It was fun to wander through the house…

Second Sunday of Advent

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Advent - a time of preparation. In the heart and in the home, a time to prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth. What's most important is to ensure a balance - for me that means taking time to be quiet and still. And then to get on with the tasks I've planned. Stillness before activity works best for me.
Preparation around our house traditionally means lots of baking. Yes, it's just the two of us, but the children will be coming for visits and I like to have cookies and snacks on hand. I don't double the recipes as in years past, but there's still a good selection in the freezer.
My husband is one of the fortunate ones who hasn't gained a pound in over 30 years. And I do feed him well. But he has cookies everyday, so I bake year round. At Christmas I bring out special recipes, like this one. It's called Toasted Almond Chip Balls, but we call it Mary's grandmother's cookies because a friend of ours gave it to us and said it was from her grand…

Christmas Mantel

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Today a friend from Victoria came for a visit. It was a good excuse to clean the house. I know that it will soon be dusty again because as I write, Tim is pounding and sawing away on the hardwood. But walking through a clean and organized house is, for me, like taking a series of deep, slow breaths. I feel calmer, more peaceful, appreciative of the gleaming floors, the dust-free furniture, the shining taps. 

I had a few extra minutes before my friend arrived so I grabbed a bag and my clippers, went a little way down the street and picked up fir and cedar branches that were blown off the trees in our recent windstorms. 
After she left, I could have returned to my studies, but decided instead to turn on the Christmas music and do a little decorating. Just the mantel for now. I should be able to get to the dining room on the weekend. 
When Tim walked in from work I had the candles burning, the fireplace glowing, and a wreath on the door. He said it was beginning to look like "our"…