Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Year

As I face another year, I'm thinking I need a little encouragement.  This year has had it's challenges and I look forward to "starting a new".

But I know the only way for me to have a better year, is to focus on the Lord.  I pray that God will guide and strengthen me to face what this next year might hold for me. And I pray for God's blessing of a good year.

I'm not going to make any resolutions this new year. Well, only to put my life in God's hands and do the best I can.

It makes me think of this bible verse;  (which I copied off my daughters blog.)

I pray for God's blessings on all of you in 2016. God Bless and happy New Year!

Monday, November 30, 2015


Yesterday marked the first Sunday of Advent.

Our church celebrates advent for the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas and also on Christmas Eve at our candle light service.

It is so good to keep advent in mind as we approach Christmas. It is our way to prepare our hearts to worship our Savior who's birth we celebrate and to keep our focus on what's important.

Advent simply means, , coming, as in Christ who came into the world as a baby to die for you and me and who is coming again to take us to Heaven.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Generally, to celebrate advent, we use a wreath and 5 candles of different colours.  Each week we read the advent reading and light a candle.

The wreath is a circle, with no beginning and no end, symbolizing God's love for us.

The first candle we lit yesterday was the purple candle, which is the Candle of Hope.

And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him." May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:12-13).

We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises He made to us. Our hope comes from God.

When I was a child we always had an advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas. I didn't think much of it then what it all meant.  But as our children use the same advent calendar I used as a child, I hope that Larry and I can show them daily how much God loves them. Enough to send His son to earth to die on a cross for their sins.  This can be a daily act of worship to God.

Here is our advent calendar all ready for tomorrow.  I bought halloween candy on sale to fill it.

God bless!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

DIY Burlap Bunting

There is something about burlap that seems so right. Especially during Fall.  I made some Fall burlap banners to sell at the market and wanted to share with you my process.

I just bought 2 small packages of burlap from the dollar store. Each $1.25 package made 2 banners. I also liked that this particular burlap is kind of stiff. So it works well for this project.

I used my straight edge and rotary cutter to cut the triangles.  I figured out from the angled lines and measurements on my straight edge how to get the size of triangle that I wanted.  It would be too hard for me to explain though. So just fool around until you think you have it.

Before I cut the triangles, I cut the burlap into strips. Then I cut the triangles from the strips.

Once I had the triangles cut, I painted the edges very thinly with glue to help them not to unravel.

For the letter stencils, I used Word and found a font I liked.  I made it bold and put the size at about 180. Then I printed it on card stock and then cut the letters out.  Using an exacto blade would have probably been easier, but I couldn't find mine. So, I poked a whole through the letter using a steak knife, then I got my scissors in that and cut out the letter.

I also printed a picture that would go in between the words. For the "Happy Fall" banner, I used a crow and for the "Give Thanks" banner, I used a maple leaf.

To stencil, I used those foamy paint brushes, because my hubby just bought a big bag of them, so I thought I'd try it. They worked really well.

For the letters like "p" and "a", remember to tape the center piece in place on the burlap, so that it has the whole where it should be.

Once all the triangles were stenciled, I glued them on a strand of twine using contact cement for glue.

I was using the paint bottles to hold the twine straight while the glue was drying. It wants to curl up.  I glued the triangles right on top of the twine and spaced them apart a bit.  I also left about 10 inches on either end and tied a loop on each end for hanging.

I just love how they turned out!

This post is linked up to;  Happy and Blessed Home

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Making Chalkboards

I have a new obsession.  I have been making chalkboards.

I keep my eyes open at the thrift store or garage sales for cheap picture frames.  Like these;

I bought these at a garage sale for $0.25 each.  Then I take them apart and clean them up a bit.  Next I spray paint the frame itself.  For these I chose white and light blue.

Then I make the chalkboard by spray painting the glass that comes with the frame.  I use spray-on black chalkboard spray.

You can see my spray paint area.  I use an old oven rack over newspaper.  It will take 2 or 3 coats to get the right coverage on the chalkboard.  Then I just put it all back together and have a great chalkboard.

The can of chalkboard spray paint only costs $7.00 and I have made 6 chalkboards so far, with lots left in the can.

I'm trying to find other items to experiment on. Such as an old wooden cutting board. I'll just have to keep my eyes open.

This post is linked up to;  The Dedicated House  I Gotta Create  Blooming Homestead  The Idea Room  I Should Be Mopping the Floor  Making it in the Mountains

Friday, September 4, 2015

Canning Peaches with Honey

I was fortunate enough to have some yummy BC peaches delivered to me this year.  I haven't canned peaches in a couple of years and was excited to add these to our pantry again.

Instead of using the traditional syrup method, I used honey as the sweetener. My neighbour told me this is how she cans her peaches and I remember seeing her year old peaches in her pantry.  They still looked delicious.

The recipe is;

Per pint;
1 Tbsp honey
packed peaches
hot water to fill

Then process in a hot water bath. I think I did mine for 15 mins.

Because I rarely have ice in the freezer to use in the ice bath, I used a couple of ice packs in cold water. They worked great!

I saved the skins and pits to make Jalapeno Peach Jelly again.  We all love it on bagels with cream cheese. SO GOOD.  You can find the recipe here.  I just put the skins and pits in the freezer until I have time to deal with them.

Thanks for visiting!

This post is linked up to;  Stoney Acres   Happy and Blessed Home

Friday, July 31, 2015

Why and How I Pollinate Our Pumpkin and Squash Plants

Our pumpkin patch is doing OK this year.  Some of the plants are so far behind, but I'm hoping they start to set fruit soon.

When I tell people I pollinate our pumpkin and squash plants by hand, they look at me like I'm talking a foreign language.  They tell me they never knew anything about squash pollination.

First, I'll you the reasons why I do this. Then I will show you how I do it.

Reason No. 1 -  I can't trust the bees to do it for me.  Have you ever noticed a squash or pumpkin get to be about 2 inches big, then shrivel up and fall off the vine?  That is because it wasn't pollinated.  We really don't have that many bees here and we have so many pumpkin plants that I don't think they can keep up.

Reason No. 2 - I don't want cross pollination on our heritage varieties.  For us, this really only applies to our zucchini and acorn squash right now.  All of our pumpkins are hybrids, so it doesn't matter for them.  When you have cross pollination, the seeds won't grow the same exact plant you got the seeds from.  I save our zucchini and acorn squash seeds and want to know what I'm planting.

Those are the the 2 most important reasons.  Now on to the technique.

First, I get outside in the morning, before it gets too hot.  The flowers only are open in the morning and I don't want to miss them.

Then I look for the female flowers.

You know it's a female flower, because it has a little fruit at the base of it.  They also usually grow along the bottom vines.
Here is the centre of the female flower.

Then, I look for a male flower.

The male has the long stamen in it with the pollen all along it.
I break the male flower off, leaving some of the stem.  Then I tear off all the petals, leaving just the stamen.  Then I rub the stamen all inside the female flower.

And that should do it.  All squash plants work the same way.

Although I go out every morning, I still don't see every female flower.  When I really start looking, I have found a few pumpkins that never got pollinated and have fallen off the vine.  I have also found a couple big pumpkins that the bees got to before me and I didn't even know they were growing.  I love it when the vines start to die and I find quite a few pumpkins that were sneakily growing with no one knowing.

Thanks for stopping by!

This post is linked up to;  The Homesteading Hippy  Raising Homemakers  Little Family Adventure
Pieced Pastimes

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Berry Patch - Deep Mulch

I am so leery of even blogging about this. It seems every time I do blog about something I am trying, it turns out in failure.  The idea of this seems good to me though and maybe some of you have some experience you can share with us as well.

I have been able to get a lot of wood chips from a very nice neighbour of ours. They have a deal with the tree clipping company to drop their tree mulch off at their house.  So, I wanted to mulch our berry patch very deeply to keep weeds at bay.

You can't tell, but the plants at the bottom of the above picture are blueberries and rhubarb.  There is a row of raspberries at the top.

Before I shoveled all the mulch out there, I laid down folded cardboard boxes and then topped those with about 4 inches of mulch.  I left 4 holes in between each row of fruit to plant all our squash plants. All the fruit are new transplants,so I knew there would still be room in between them for the squash.

Here are some pictures from today;

The rhubarb has grown, but the blueberries are still the same size.  The squash plants are doing very well in the holes I left for them.  I really like having them there, because it frees up space in our garden.  The raspberries at the top of the picture are bearing some fruit now.

I grabbed this headboard from the dump the other day and am using it for a support for some of our blackberries.
So far it is really easy to pull any weeds that grow through the mulch and I like how neat and tidy it looks.  Other than the blueberries, all the plants are thriving and there is so much moisture under the wood chips.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Unknown Local Attraction

Well, unknown to us.

We have discovered an outdoor gem today.  We have lived in this area for 9 years and only heard about Discovery Canyon in Red Deer, Alberta last year.  Our neighbour told us there is an outdoor man made, but quite natural, water "slide" with a little pool at the end only 45 minutes from our house.  And the great thing about it, is it's free!

I had to look it up online, because I really knew nothing about it.  It looked awesome on the Internet and we made plans with our neighbour to go today.  We got there at 11 am and were the first people there. It was cloudy all morning and cleared up right when we got there.  It was great for about 45 minutes, having the whole place to ourselves.

The kids had so much fun going down the slide all day.  I only wish we knew of it a few years ago.

Here are some pictures;

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Stampede Time Again

We always look forward to our local stampede.  There are so many activities to take in and we love the exciting atmosphere.

This year, Rebekah and I actually worked at the stampede grounds cleaning in the bucking shoots and infield where all the action is at.  We had a blast! We worked together as a team and I so enjoyed out time together. She is so awesome and I just enjoy her company so much.

Here are some pictures of our time;

Our stampede always starts with a parade and this is our church's float advertising our upcoming VBS.

This was such a cute mini horse!

While we were cleaning in the back field, the chuck wagon races were going on. It was so exciting to be this close!

Part of our job was collecting all water bottles and cans. We noticed lots down in the bucking shoots and Rebekah was brave enough to go in there and get them all.

There was always time to make new friends.

Larry's parents were with us during stampede as well. We absolutely cherished our time with them. We were so grateful they were still able to make the 13 hour journey in their motor home, pulling their van.

That wraps up stampede week here. Now it's back to weeding!

Monday, May 25, 2015

No Bake THM Chocolate Cookies - A Revised Recipe

Since I started Trim Healthy Mama a year and a half ago, I haven't found too many desserts I like.
I adapted my favorite sponge cake to THM and you can find the recipe here.  But, I wanted something easy and quick for summer snacking.  I know there is a recipe out there for these no bake cookies, but because I didn't have heavy cream on hand, I changed it a bit.  Here is my recipe;

1/4 c butter
2 TBSP cocoa powder
1/4 c water
1/2 c xylitol
2 Tbsp whey protein powder

Mix together in a saucepan and bring to a boil for one minute. Then add;

1/4 c natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 c oats
1 c coconut

I used a 2 Tbsp cookie scoop to make into cookies and placed them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Then place in refrigerator until chilled.  I made 16 cookies.  Adding the coconut, I think, makes it more an S than just oatmeal like the original recipe I found.  I did a rough check on the carbs and think there is about 3.5 net carbs per cookie. So that would make 2 a serving.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Small Town Excitement

Living in a small town, we don't get loads of exciting events taking place. So, when one does, we go out and enjoy it. This happened this past weekend, when our brand new John Deere building had it's grand opening. I know! How awesome is that? They made it so fun for the entire family. They had delicious barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, pedal race track, bouncy house and an inviting atmosphere for the adults to sit, drink coffee and visit with one another.

We were there for 3 hours and enjoyed every minute of it!

Here are some pictures;

Ben on the pedal race track

Even Rebekah took a turn on the race track.

Jacob racing

Milking a "cow"

I'm sure this wasn't by far the biggest tractor there, but you can see how big it is. The tires must be 6 feet tall.

Hanging out

What a totally awesome afternoon!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Makeables

I have been busy making cute things to sell at some upcoming spring markets in our area and thought I would share some with you.

A little hanging bird's nest.

I made this bird's nest using old rusty tart pans, a little store bought bird's nest, rusty wire, small tags and eggs cut off an Easter wreath from the dollar store.  I glued the eggs in the nest, fashioned the wire as a hanger and stamped "spring" on the tag. I tied the tag on with some twine and glued it in place.

Decorated jars

I get a lot of my craft supplies off Ebay from China.  I bought 300 little tags for $1 and 200 little metal keys, on the "dream" bottle, for $1.25 all with free shipping.  I like getting things delivered right to my home, so that I have less things to shop for when we do make it to the big city.

Framed keys on burlap background.

Rebekah wood burned garden markers. I hope she doesn't sell them all, because I'd like to buy some.

That is a little sample of the things I've made.

This post is linked up to: Vintage Charm   The Everyday Home