Dec 31, 2011

Christmas come and gone - a New Year on the horizon





Christmas, has come - the gifts exchanged, excitement dealt and food enjoyed.





Littles enjoyed each and every experience, including the learning of many a Christmas carols and new traditions.  A happy four year old who receives - but what else - ♪ ♫ a hippopotamus for Christmas ♫ ♪ 

Hand made toys and less commercialism was our goal this year and I purchased this adorable hippo at a local craft show...though you can't really see it as it is clutched so lovingly in her hands.






And little sister got the joy of a homemade teddy from a woman and friend from our church.  It was loved so deeply that in a few short days it lost it's eyes.  Ah well, it is still great for hugs!





We were given this sweet cleaning set from a relative who picked it up new but second hand...if that makes sense - but yes, they said it was fine to give it to the kids for Christmas.  So after stashing it away for months it was finally unveiled that morning.


And thankfully much to the delight of my little ones and I'm sure they will be big helpers now!  Or at least they get a kick out of tickling each other with the duster.... *sigh!* :)







And ahh, a little kudos to myself next - for I had set a crazy goal of making dolls for the girls for Christmas.  I mean you know, being pregnant, having to make Christmas dinner for my large in-law family, shopping, cooking, baking, kitchen renovating...it just wasn't enough - so I set forth on a doll making adventure.



Let's just say...it's been a few years since I've sewn...and my latest 'sewing' endeavours have included such tasks as hemming curtains....where in I sorta just cut them.....then leave 'em that way....



*sheepish grin*




 But I did it!  Oh yes!  Only 10 legs, 9 arms, three bodies and four heads later, I completed my challenge!








Not too shabby for someone who hates all things math and measuring!!!!



And this momma was proud and overjoyed to see how it was love on first sight on our Christmas morning!





So dinners were enjoyed, family time indulged in and a whirl wind of days flew by.   We set new traditions, including the moving of our gift exchange off of the 25th and to another day...officially dubbed Giftmas! 

Thanks to you all who supported the idea - I appreciated the comments - it's nice to know I'm not complete off the edge.....yet!

;)






We continue to look at this season in new light each year - trying to figure out, for us, what the celebration of our Saviour's birth should look like.  But family, worship, love, peace of heart and the simple things are all a good place to start!






With all the business of the season, a sinus cold and a growing human in my body we have canceled our annual New Year's party.  It's a shame, I enjoying having people in and bringing old and new friends together but I had to let something go - I have the bad habbit of taking on the world and it's just too much!  So we got some munchies and a family movie and took the night to enjoy being alone together!

My hubby is putting the girls down now, so I stole some time to log in one last post for 2011. 


I look forward to the year ahead, to all the Lord will have for us - for the blessings and even the challenges....(feel free to remind me of that at a later date!)  I look forward to growing closer to Him and learning more about loving Him - as scary as that can be at times.

So I sit here at the dawn of a New Year and though we don't do resolutions and the such - who doesn't appreciate a fresh start?  My children are about settled in bed, a blessing grows in me and hope for all the next year has, is only hours away.

Whether or not I'm awake to see it come in....


 HAPPY NEW YEAR  AND GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU!



 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:11-13  





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Dec 19, 2011

Holiday Fun


So in between bouts of extreme tiredness - which is my main pregnancy symptom, (no morning sickness for me...so I can't really complain!)  -and a couple of small(ish) 'home improvement' projects, we have sneaked in a bit of time to take in some holiday fun!


First we spent a morning at my mother-in-law's, where the girls helped set up Granny's Christmas village.







 It is a fun little village, full of tiny houses, churches, stores and some of the buildings light up.  There are all kinds of people to place in the scene and accessories.  Oh and the cotton snow, the kids LOVE the cotton snow!





It was a nice relaxing day.  I got to sit back, watch the action unfold, sip a cup of tea and take a moment to slow down and enjoy the season.








Amidst our small(ish) home improvement project - which included my kitchen being semi out of commission; my dad came to bake cookies with the girls.  Because if you know me at all by now, you know a reno project never stops us!







My dad took care of all of it, so again I got to sit back and relax...and well, I'm okay with that! ;)







The girls had fun mixing and making messes!


 




My dad kneaded the dough and using a cookie press he purchased second hand over 30 years ago, he loaded sheet after sheet of delicious short bread.






The kids adorned each cookie with cherry bits and even managed to not squish them flat!











While the cookies baked and then cooled my dad was invited to read to my girls.  It's rare that anyone who comes for a visit gets to leave without reading at least one story.








And at the end of it all.....



Not my photo - this was taken by my friend Rebecca- good job Rebecca! ;)





This Christmas season has come upon us so fast.  Be it that I've been so tired, or that the weather has been so very unseasonably warm for us here or the fact that I'm getting older and time just moves so incredibly fast these days - whatever it may be, it's only a week to go now!


I love Christmas...I don't know if I can say it enough - for me it's such a wonderful and wondrous time of the year!  And though I realize we don't know the exact day our Saviour was actually born, I enjoying taking at least one day of the year to truly focus on that miraculous event!

For my husband and I, we keep trying to find more ways to make Him the focus.  To actually make Christmas a celebration of just that, Christ!  This year we have decided to move our actual gift opening day to a few days before Christmas...I'm thinking of calling it Giftmas day - in that it is the day we exchange gifts in representation of the ultimate gift God has given us.

I still have to run that name by my hubby....

No matter what we call it, having the gifts on a separate day will allow us to have more time to focus on Jesus, on the day that is suppose to be all about Him.  This year is especially nice as we will attend Church and worship Him with our Church family before enjoying the rest of the day with extended family.

We are constantly trying to focus our lives on God, making Him the center of all we are and not making Him fit into our lives.  It can be a challenge at times and the convictions that come with that are not always easy but they are, in the end, rewarding!

I'd love to hear how other people celebrate Christ at this special time of year.  Let me hear about your traditions, celebrations, convictions, etc.  We do best when we strengthen each other!

Now, I have to get to work on a load of things today...wrap presents, make food, finish some homemade gifts and maybe clean something.....maybe!

Anyways, in case I don't get back on here before Christmas, I say God bless you and have a safe and wonderful Christmas!







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Dec 9, 2011

December Days and A Special Gift


Oh how the days keep marching on!  November is long gone - and with me posting a measly three posts that month! :P  So in due fashion of blog slacking I am giving an update of our December so far and letting you all in on a special little gift.....oh the suspense....



So far our days have been bright and crisp....







with unseasonably warm days....







....followed by just enough snow to break out the winter gear and build a snowy friend.












And when you have been anticipating snow since October, any amount will do!


 






We have enjoyed visits with family and dear friends.  Play dates and park fun.  Oh and sweet drooly smiles from a darling nephew!








With pajama days and snow watching to get us in the Christmasy mood.....






..... we broke out the decorations and adorned the tree and most of the house, surrounded with sweet smells, joyful tunes, and festive food!







So we bask in this season.  A season of Peace, Joy and Love...at least under the King.  A time to reflect on all He has done for us, all He has given us and ohhh; all the ways He blesses us!




And so that brings me to our special little gift.  An early Christmas present...but one that cannot be 'opened' until June.  The miracle and blessing of another child.

*blushing, bashful smile*


We feel very blessed!


I don't care what's under the tree this year...we are already spoiled!





         
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17







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Nov 23, 2011

If you don't love cabbage, you will now!


Here is a super simple, inexpensive and DELICIOUS recipe for you!  This turned my cabbage hating husband into a real fan of this cheap, fall staple!  I'll often make this as a side to a nice grilled steak and we usually devour the cabbage first - and we are serious steak lovers....so I'm just saying - this is pretty darn good!


Roasted Cabbage Wedges

*One small green cabbage or half of one large cabbage
*Olive oil
*Kosher salt

*Pepper (optional)
*One lemon (or lemon juice, but fresh lemon is best)

Cut cabbage into wedges, keeping the core intact.  Should make about eight wedges.

Brush both sides with olive oil, (or use an oil mister if you have one) then and salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange onto a baking sheet laying each wedge on its side.
Roast, turn the wedges over half way, in pre-heated oven at 450
for 25-35 minutes, or until the edges are crispy and brown.
Remove from oven and squeeze lemon over wedges.  Serve and enjoy!


It may not look like much but the taste is fantastic and every time I serve this, people can't believe how simple yet tasty it is!


Well, we've finally gotten the first snow fall of the season, it's so pretty - makes me want to put up our tree, wrap presents, make Christmas cards, bake, snuggle with the kids....and well, all those things that fresh, Christmassy snow will make you want to do.  So I think I shall do at least the last two things mention there - bake something good and snuggle a couple of cuties.... that is, before they drag me out into this winter wonderland!



NOTE: so I was just checking over some things on my blog when I noticed I had posted this recipe before, like over a year ago, well...it's just that good.  Anyways....try it, I'm sure you will love it!  I'm totally making it for supper tonight! ;)




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Nov 16, 2011

Fabulous Fall Photos






Hey y'all.

I did it - finally finished!! Finished photo editing for the season! Yippee!!!!  It been busy these last few weeks but it's all behind me and I can now, truly, focus on the glorious season ahead - Christmas!

Sorry to my American readers, you still have Thanksgiving to celebrate, but I can't wait!  I'm getting the Christmas itch and me thinks the boxes of decorations shall be released from our basement later this week.

:)

If you care to check out any of my photography work and even some art (though that's sadly being neglected as of late) you can see it all here on my site:  http://www.kaitlinandrews.com - yes, shameless plug, especially before Christmas -but a girl likes to do her craft and think, unique Christmas gifts anyone?!?!?   I'm just saying....

;)


Since I have been so busy, I now have a visual feast of colour to catch up on for all of you.  Our season of fall seemed to peak over night and was gone in a weekend.  It was quite sad!  I had great plans of locations to visit and photograph with my 'new' camera this year but never got the opportunity.  But we were out for a walk the other day and I looked hard and did find some gorgeous colour to share with you - I did promise to keep up on my Spectrum of Light photos and help, not only you but me, to see the colour in the everyday!





It's now quite bleak around here, hence the need, desire to pull out the Christmas decorations but strangely enough it's been quite warm for our part of the globe - not that I'm complaining!  So even though the trees are bare and the days are getting darker - there is ample time to meander through leaf litter lawns and play in pretty parks due to our unbelievably warm weather!








This little grouping of colourful chairs made me smile!  A nod to summer past, of friends and family, good laughs and good food and to the stand that winter is not here yet and we shall enjoy each outdoor moment until it does arrive - that's how we do it in the North!  At least that's what I got from seeing these....or it could just be that they are like me and haven't gotten around to packing away the lawn furniture.....either or!










I love warty pumpkins!







And though nature is absolutely beautiful, man has made some pretty cool looking things too....








...especially when it's combined with beautiful scenery!   Though I am blown away by all the wires in this photo - I didn't really notice them when I took the picture but now I see them - the juxtaposition of this photo is something all of it's self!   Either way, that's one pretty tree and one lovely house!







More pretty!







And some kid cuteness! ;)







I love fall SO much, it's such a beautiful, colourful, perfect weatherful, time of year!






I am always amazed by the beauty God has created in this world - hard to imagine what Heaven will be like, if it is to be greater that what I see all around me.



 But thankfully God has a much better imagination then me!




;)





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Nov 3, 2011

Time


Okay, so I've been a little absent as of late.  I'm keeping busy but here are three truths to why I haven't been blogging for the past couple of weeks.

1.  I'm kinda behind on photo editing for my last (three) shoots so I have been working on those over blogging.

2.  I've been really tired lately, got a cold, it morphed into the flu (or something like that) and now back to a cold....so whine, whine, blah, blah - but it kinda steals the creativity out of me, not to mention my energy! :P

3.  I'm trying to relinquish my complete slight addiction to all things computer.  So that means, way, way less time on the computer - to the point now that there are days I don't even turn it on.  This may not sound like a big step for some of you, but for me it is! How sad eh!?! Anyways, it's going well.

I know that I spend too much time on the computer and online so I thought about where my husband and I hope to go with our family (Lord willing) with the idea (and you all know how we are such dreamers so don't put too much stalk into any of this, just bare with me! ) that someday we would like to have a small hobby farm, that I realized I would have even less time to be all up on the world of Facebook and the likes.  I just see that I'm not really interested in all the social mess it is and find that I don't need to check it every hour day. 

I also want to be grateful for the time given.  I've been thinking about this a lot lately and the point was driven to heart this previous week. We heard devastating news in church this past Sunday.  One of our members and a fast growing friend of ours, was diagnosed with ALS.  You can read more about that here. Just know that people who are diagnosed with ALS, usually only live 2 -5 years after the diagnosis. He's young, only mid 40's, with a lovely wife and two teenage daughters.  He is also a fairly new Christian, which is a blessing - but also heart breaking as he has such a passion for God and doing His work.  Pray please.

My husband and I have known for a while, but it was really hard to hear it out loud in front of everyone, making it more real and driving home the point that none of us know how long we have.

How long we have to be surrounded with the ones we love, to enjoy the beauty of the world around us, to spread God's love, to enjoy homemade goodies,  to enjoy all things, big and small.  And though going to be in the glory of our Lord is the ultimate home and place of joy - we can't help but want to linger here on this earth.  Originally there was to be no death and so even though I know that this man's destination is far greater then this place, it still pains me.

So in realizing how ones life is so precious I have been trying to fill my time with more - more love, more family, more of God, more nature, more resting, more doing, more reading, more simple things.

I still plan on blogging and keeping up with the blogs I read but I just know that God wants me to have less in my life so that I can do more.





I know that time management has always been a struggle of mine and now I see it's also something God wants me to really work on.  I want to enjoy each day, (with a cold or not) each moment and feel the blessing of time.



Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16





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Oct 18, 2011

Proper Pumpkin Puree


Okay....so I digress....

I found a little tutorial here from Julia at Blissfully Content, about how she does pumpkin puree and I'm a changed woman!

First I must tell you how much I enjoy her blog.  It is chocked full of creative ideas, useful tips, amazing photography, delicious cooking and a good heart attitude - I just LOVE that her scripture verse posted above her photo is Philippians 4:11- I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content - ah, something I need to take to heart so, SO much more then I do!  But we'll talk about that another day! ;)

So anyways.  I picked up a few more pumpkins and gave her puree way a whirl.  And it's the best, hands down - beats my old, chop 'till you drop way - AND it doesn't take hours to bake - where do I get these crazy ideas, hours to bake a pumpkin, I tell you....?!?!

I found it easy and also the puree has much less moisture in it, then my 'old' way, which is a good thing!

Well, that's all, just wanted to let you know the change in pumpkin pureeing and oh, more muffins to share with you all.  Made with the new way of pumpkin pureeing.





Pumpkin, pecan, chocolate muffins - now if you haven't done chocolate with pumpkin - GET ON IT!  Seriously, why do people keep these things from me?!?


The only real thing I changed about the way Julia did hers and how I did mine, was that I still freeze my puree in one cup servings.  It just works better for me, my muffins use one cup and another recipe I love uses three cups of puree, so having one cup servings works well for me.  But serious check out Julia's blog, she has some amazing pumpkin puree use ideas below the tutorial - I really want to make the cinnamon buns! Yum! :D


Anyways, that's all, the weather was awfully stormy over the weekend and most of the trees have lost their leaves now, so my Spectrum of Light series may pose more of a challenge then I had anticipated....sure, first fall with a nice new camera and the season is over before I know it. 

Funny, I say nice new camera, but in the six and a half months I've had it, I've take over 15 000 photos!  Maybe not so new now?!?! ;)  But still nice!

Okay, okay....speaking of photos, I'm actually suppose to be editing photos from the last wedding I did- paying my sitter to watch my kids while I blog....maybe not the most practical idea.  *wink*

Man, I seem awfully rambly today....okay well, have a great one y'all ('cause I love a good, y'all!), get baking and enjoy fall because I'm itching to get the Christmas season under way!

;)



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Oct 13, 2011

Pictures of Thankfulness

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone for us here in the North.  But I have to say it was the most fabulous Thanksgiving weekend in a long time!  I mean the weather was out of this world, it was sunny, hot, breezy, sunny - to the point that we actually ate one (of our three!) Thanksgiving dinners out doors!

So we were blessed with much family, way to much food and amazing weather! 


I took copious photos this weekend and wish to share all my thankfulness in the form of a visual feast.  Get a cup of something hot, sit back, light a candle and come along and share in my weekend of Thanksgiving.






I am Thankful for....




...beautiful flowers...







 ...homemade red pepper jelly and crusty bread.  Small silly dogs and the people who love them!









....tomatoes still ripening on the vine in October and even more thankful for 'fresh from the vine', tomatoes, being served for supper.










 Little nephews!










Family from out of town.....








and the sweet treats they bring with them!







 And canned cranberries, that look just that!  ;)








I am Thankful for...




...dear friends who invite us to partake in their family feast.  For their faith and the sharing of it!









The faith of little children!









The blessing of setting a place for our children.








And friends who can always make you smile. :)








I am Thankful for....






....children at play.....










... and family games of ring toss.








Tire swings and the kid in all of us.







More games and more family.








Sweet smiles....








...and young love! ♥










All of God's creatures....well most of them.  ;)









And for all the beauty around me, even in my very own backyard.





Last, but most definitely not least.....





I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.
Psalm 118:21



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