Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Sometimes they're just so charming......

Allen picked Peirce up from a birthday party on Saturday. These were emailed to me later by the birthday boy's mom.

I'm not sure I should let these guys out of the house....

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

What I'd Really Like To Do For Christmas

I've always wanted to do something like this but never had any idea how to go about it. Today on Facebook someone posted something that sounded curious so I checked it out. I'd love to do something like this with Allen and the kids! It's called Club Dust. Here is a bit about them:

Our Goal with Club Dust is:
Serve God's people in simple obedience to James 1:27, no ifs, ands, or "someday" - Just Do It! Club Dust members serve through the opportunity of building for extremely poor families in the border towns of Tijuana and Tecate, Mexico. We believe that this experience of service can be life changing for Christians and non-Christians alike.

Club Dust is different than typical mission trips. At Club dust you can look forward
to water balloon fights, whirlpools in the pool, fresh tacos and optional
camping in the ranch horse pasture. The people involved interact with each
other through morning bible talks, group discussions, singing & talent
shows. We have a high return rate with our summer trips reaching 300-350
participants and the winter trips averaging 200+ people.

Continued contributions have allowed us to cover the cost of the building materials.
This enables us to charge a very low $200.00 per person for the 4 days at
Club Dust. This includes transportation from San Diego Airport to work site and
ranch, lodging, meals, and an authentic Club Dust T-shirt. We hope that you too will catch the 'Vision' of spreading God's love by meeting His people's needs in a tangible way. Not just saying it - doing it, & having fun in the adventure of doing it!

We challenge our participants to spilt off into their own adventures after several trips with us. This allows for each group to form, run and serve in it's own unique style.
In this web site we have listed our contacts, schedules & lessons learned both good and bad!

God Bless,
Club Dust team

Monday, 28 September 2009


I was going through pictures on my camera and realized I hadn't posted about my peach canning day! September has been terribly terribly busy. I kept putting off canning my peaches. One afternoon I realized if I didn't do them that day I might never find the time - so in one afternoon I got to work and did 100 pounds of peaches! I worked feverishly all afternoon and into the evening and got them all done. It's so wonderful to fill my shelves with new canned peaches.

I also made a little peach crisp. I put in apples, peaches and a few blueberries. So good!!

If anyone wants to get me a new canner for Christmas present I'd be thrilled! I would like one that is a little taller. This one covers my peach jars...but just barely and it ends up meaning a lot of water boiling over and making a mess. A taller one would be so wonderful!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Peirce Reading

I tried to sneak in an take a video of Peirce reading to himself. He always reads out loud, and I think it's so cute. You can tell he knew I was listening because right away he asks me about a word.....and it's most unfortunate that you can't see the video...but you can hear how well he's doing with reading. I love listening to him read! Peirce LOVES the Fly Guy books.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Bento Lunch Boxes!

I often read a blog called Vegan Lunch Box. She posts pictures and descriptions of the lunches she makes her son each day. I set a goal this year to make really great lunches. I have found keeping a lunch "planning sheet" quite helpful. I really wanted to get some Bento Boxes like Jennifer McCann shows in her blog - but they seemed a little too expensive just for a lunch box. Well, today Allen called and said he was at Chapters and the Bento Boxes I'd been drooling over were on sale! They were still more than I've ever paid for a lunch box - but I'm so excited about them! Check them out!

Sunday is always a long day for Allen so I decided I'd make him a lunch to take with him in one of the new lunch boxes. I am going to love these lunch boxes! Green peppers and mushrooms, an apple, chicken salad, and pears as well as a water bottle.

Here's the lunch without the lids on.

A couple of the containers have lids......then it all closes up tight in the plastic box. There's also a water bottle that fits perfectly in the box, and a fork and spoon. I love it!

September Reading

Peirce and I are reading Hugo Cabaret right now. In the spirit of my dilemma on whether or not to head off to Conference next weekend to be able to attend a mission reunion at the home of one of my district leaders (oh what a dilemma!) Jill found some interesting reading - one of my mission notebooks! I had a notebook that I'd get people to write things in (kind of like a year book....only they'd write long paragraphs). Now that has been interesting reading for both of us! I don't think I've looked at that book for 20 years!

Yesterday we had parent-teacher interviews. The best part is that Jill's teacher is a mom who understands the homework issues! Such a relief. She said that there won't be a folder with worksheets to come home and work on every day. No homework on weekends either. YAHOO! This month Jill's homework is to read. I can live with that! That's for sure! They're doing a read-a-thon. We're not doing the gather money bit for it....just the reading.

It's a beautiful thing.

Friday, 25 September 2009


I have the greatest husband. Four three days (yesterday, today and tomorrow) I'm working on a really crazy project. It means I am stuck to my computer while answering phone calls and calling in red flags to the project manager in England non-stop. Quite an interesting and intense project - but so busy!! Yesterday was a long day but it was okay because the kids were in school. Today they were off though and I was quite worried about how I'd manage. Allen decided to take the afternoon to hang out with them at the new mall near us. What a relief that was! They had a great time and I could just take calls, check messages, call England, and do it again and again and again. And then like magic, at 4:00 when the project hours were finished my phone stopped ringing. It's been crazy...and I don't think I would have made it through today without Allen's help!!

Here are the pictures they emailed me.

Isn't modern technology amazing??! I can work at home. And the kids can keep me in touch with the fun they're having while I'm doing my work. Really quite unbelievable.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

On Books....from Inkheart

I've been reading Inkheart, by Cornelia Funk, oh, for months now. I don't know why I've been so slow at it (well, yes I do - too busy!) It's really a great book though and I almost don't mind that it's taking me forever to read it because it's a book to be savored! I love how it is a story about stories. There are so many great quotes in that book I hate to put them all in one entry. I decided I'm going to pepper my blog with quotes from that book now and then.

Here's one. I love the analogy of books bringing familiarity. May we all have books in our lives that do this!

There was another reason why Maggie took her books whenever they went away. They were her home when she was somewhere strange. They were familiar voices, friends that never quarreled with her, clever, powerful friends - daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventurers who had traveled far and wide. Her
books cheered her when she was sad and kept her from being bored....

(page 15)

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Dying to Meet You (Kate and Sarah Klise)

I was really curious about this book after reading a review by 100 Scope Notes (which you should really go read by the way....very creative write up on that book!)

I didn't quite get to it very quickly after getting it from the library but Jill soon picked it up and had lots to tell me about how great it is. Today I took it with us to the pool and while the kids were swimming I read the whole thing. It's a quick read - and so fun! The story is all told through letters. The authors have done a great job of making this a book that will capture kid's attention for all sorts of reasons. I loved the character's names!


  • Anita Sale: real estate agent.

  • Paige Turner: publisher of children's books.

  • E. Gadds: lawyer.

  • Seymour Hope: the child who is one of the main characters.

  • Frank N. Beans: private investigator.

  • Professors Les and Diane Hope: Seymour's parents.

  • Olive C. Spense: house's resident ghost, and another main character.

  • Ignatius B. Grumply: another main character, a grumpy guy with a crusty heart

The book doesn't have chapters. It has letters and newspaper articles. There are a lot of funny little phrases in here that just made me giggle. I loved the tagline in the gossip newspaper articles: Your secrets are our business!

The story is about a young boy named Seymour and his best friend, a ghost, named Olive that live in an old wreck of a house. Seymour's parents leave him home for the summer because they're off lecturing about how ghosts aren't real (notice who their son's best friend is!) and having their son and his best friend ghost along with them certainly wouldn't give them much credibility.

Ignatius, the author, rents the house for a while to try get some peace and quiet while he works on his next book. Ignatius is very grumpy and has a bad case of writer's block. He discovers that he isn't living there alone and tries to get out of his lease agreement - but in the end is stuck. The story unfolds from there....and is really very entertaining!

They do learn to live together - provided they follow each other's rules:

Mr. Grumply’s Rules:
You will not bother me when I am writing
You will stay out of my bedroom and bathroom at all times.
You will not lurk in doorways or dark hallways.
You are not permitted on the second floor, which I have claimed as my own for the duration of the summer.

Seymour’s Rules:
You will not tell me what time I have to go to bed.
You will not tell me what to eat or when to eat it.
You will not play old man music on the stereo.
You’re not allowed on the third floor. No exceptions.

The best part is that this is the first in a series! I haven't read a lot of books that I can continue to follow as new books in the series come out. This is definitely one I'll watch for!

And I found a You-Tube Video!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Day 1 Seclusion Time

We decided to call our quiet time "seclusion time". I really preferred "solitude time" but everyone else said 'seclusion' was much cooler (sounds like jail to me....but what do I know!)

So this morning we all had our "seclusion time" alone. It was so wonderful! Jill came out of her room with a big smile on her face and said, "This is going to change my life."

I'm so glad!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Priorities and a little quiet time

We had a great FHE tonight. Funny thing was it wasn't even planned - but it ended up great in the end.

At the dinner table Jill was reduced to tears over her stressful life. It drives her crazy that she doesn't seem to ever have time to lay around and read for hours at a time. As we talked about it we came to the conclusion that school is really what's in the way! Unfortunately it's not really optional right now, so we had to figure out a solution.

Peirce soon joined in on the song to complain that he never gets to watch TV anymore. I said we could quit swimming, and then we'd have more time after school - but they weren't willing to do that.

We talked about it for a while and Jill decided to figure out all the things we normally do in a day and figure out how much time that stuff takes. Then she was left with a block of time that we couldn't figure out what it's used for. This seguayed into a great discussion about using time wisely and we talked about how we could make better use of our time in the morning and in the evening so that we could all have a little quiet time to read or study or watch TV or whatever we want to do. Its was quite an answer to prayer because the kids have been driving us crazy in the mornings lately! Getting them to quickly get ready for the day is more like pushing a rope. Impossible!

We wrote down the things they needed to do in the mornings, and then figured out how long they take (they actually went and got their backpacks ready, laid out clothes for tomorrow, washed their face and brushed teeth, etc.) and we timed each step to see how long it takes. Turns out they could probably get ready for school in 15 minutes in the morning if they did about 10 minutes worth of getting ready the night before. Faces were much brighter after that realization. We figure if they get up and get ready right away, then we have breakfast, then everyone can do their own thing from 7:30 - 8:00. At 8:00 we always read scriptures together for about 15 minutes and then go to the bus.

Tomorrow we're going to give it a try. I'm really excited about the idea!! Imagine.....30 minutes to myself every morning for quiet reading, study, prayer, or whatever I want!! In the evening we're going to all go into our rooms at 8:00. At 8:30 Peirce's lights will be out, and at 9:00 Jill's light will be out - but for that time they can read or play with lego, or whatever they want - as long as it's quiet and in their rooms. They were as excited about the idea as I was! :0)

Thanks Jill for prompting a great FHE lesson tonight! She even came up with a great scripture that applied to it all. Mosiah 4:27

27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he
should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things
must be done in order.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Happy Birthday Allen!

My dear husband turned 39 today! We celebrated with a rice krispie cake dessert since he can't have wheat flour. Happy birthday to the best husband and best dad around!!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Food Drive

I just have to share the experience we had this weekend. The past five years all the stakes in Calgary have helped the Food Bank here by having a food drive. I wrote about it on my blog last year here. It seems like our familiy has had a role in it for our ward for many of the years we did it. I was the Activities Chair and helped with it when I had that calling. This year Allen has been the High Counsellor over it for our stake. I find the whole thing very inspiring and amazed at how everyone's little bit of work makes such a difference. It's really an example of how through small and simple things, great things happen.

Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness
in me; but behold I say unto you, that by
small and simple things are great
things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the
wise. (Alma 37:6)

Every ward delivers flyers to every house in their ward. We deliver a flyer and a bag and ask the people to leave a bag of food on the step Saturday morning. We then drive around our route and pick up the bags of food and take them to the stake center we live closest to. They have semi trucks there and they fill them up with food.

Before we started doing this the food bank had to borrow money every fall to make it to Christmas when they get a lot of money and food donations. They don't have to borrow money anymore. It's amazing to me. Last year we set a guiness book world record with the amount of food collected. This year the donations were less than last year - probably largely a factor of the recession. The interesting thing to me is that it isn't that much work. Every family delivers the flyers, then picks up the food. The missionaries are at the stake centers helping receive and pack the food in the semis. We probably spent 4 hours on it as a family (our kids were terribly slow with delivering flyers....ugh)....but everyone's small effort produces an amazing difference for the food bank. They figured we picked up close to $700,000 worth of food. Unbelievable!

The email we got said the Food Bank is very pleased with our efforts for the Drive. Their warehouse was empty now it's full. That's what matters.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Deal of the Week

We went to the Superstore Warehouse on Barlow and 32nd. Got 3 kg of summer sausage for $9.99 and 3 kg of pepperoni for $9.00! I sliced it up nice and thin with my meat slicer and put it in baggies in the freezer so that a baggie would be good for about a day's worth of sandwiches for everyone in the family.

I was in Superstore the other day and saw they had 2 kg of the same kind of sausage for $18.99. SO! If I'd bought that sameamount in the Superstore store itself I would have had to spend $56.97. Instead I spent $18.00

....and I haven't even started to try to figure out how much it would have cost if I had bought the little packages of sandwich meat individually to add up to 6 kg of sandwich meat.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Sorry Skinny Girls!

I read an interesting post over at Catty Unleashed. Apparently I'm going to live forever, thanks to my more than 60 cm thighs. Yea! Thanks Globe and Mail.

Thin thighs may equal a shorter life
New research finds that women with slimmer legs are at greater risk of heart disease and premature death

Could many of those fashion models with ultra thin legs be marching to an early grave?

Danish researchers have found that women and men whose thighs
are less than 60 centimetres in circumference appear to be at an elevated risk of developing heart disease and suffering a premature death.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Yea Coach Dave!

Tonight was the kick off for the 2009/2010 swim season. We had a bar-b-que while everyone got registered. The best part was Coach Dave gave a little speech and mentioned that we should feed our kids lots and get them to bed early as they're going to be working hard. Tonight was the easiest 'get to bed' night we've had in two months! My kids take what Coach Dave says as gospel. Yea for Coach Dave!!

Family Pix!

Well, we're not fancy - but we're fun!

The parents
The grandkids

The whole motley crew
I think Allen and I look kind of crazed in this picture
Probably because we had to stand by Neil.
He had gas.
Some things never change.

Oh, and thank you to the random customer that came along and helped us with our poses (cause you at Superstore can be a real crap shoot). You were really great....until you brought up the "Go Oilers" bit.
Sorry for booing you out of the store.
I mean.... sorry for scaring your children as we booed you out of the store..

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Family Dinner

Family dinner and everyone is hard at work.....

Well, almost everyone. We gave Uncle Clifford and Aunt Marvelle a break. :0)
Okay...the kids weren't that helpful either.....
Nor was Neil.....(but he builds a mean shed!) He was really the reason for the season...the prodigal son came home :0)
Back in the kitchen....Mom and Gaylene trying to make enough potatoes to satisfy Duane
Duane the Turkey thief.....
Allen and Jill
Syd and Hailey
Ryan, Ava, Taylor, Gaylene and Axel
Allen and Aunt Marvelle
Taylor and Axel
Grandma and Axel
Cleaning up after dinner....Brad holds up the cupboard well Duane gets his towel ready.....

I think this was over Duane's opportunism towards Brad and the pot with the knob......
This doesn't make sense to anyone but those that were there....but it was as good as I could get given how hard I was laughing over Duane and mom's dare to get the knob....

And Chico was so good!! He might even get invited again.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Cardboard Alley

Neil and Duane got roped into building a shed for Dad. It was one of those cool 'build it in two hours' kits that really takes all day. Neil and Duane did a remarkable job of turning it into a 2 day project.

The kids had a great time with the boxes! They built a Cardboard Alley. Great entertainment for two straight days!

Uncle Allen figured he wasn't too much help with building the shed...but he is pretty good at cardboard houses!

Of course, he might have been helpful in helping them read the instructions. They did finally figure out they were trying to read the French side though.

Poor Taylor. She gave up her boxes for the little kids and this is all she was left with. It's rough being the oldest.

And of course there was dancing....

Gee I was terrible at videos this weekend.....oh well!