Friday, November 9, 2012


There was no school today.  So, as an afternoon project, this is what Kendra came up with.  (The flowers were based on an art project that Owen had done in Grade One the day before, so I or she can't take credit for those, although she did put her own spin on them!).  She took this quite seriously and wanted to display it where we would all be reminded of what Remembrance Day is all about.  So, front and center on the fridge.  So we don't forget.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A soggy Halloween

It rained tonight - not just a light drizzle - it poured! But honestly, I don't think the kids even noticed. We headed out for a little trick-or-treating and a good night was had by all! It really didn't seem to matter if feet were soaked or costumes were drenched, as long as the candy kept filling up the buckets, it was all good. Here are a few pictures of my little trick-or-treaters!
Kendra, the black panther.

Owen, the soccer player.

Jocelyn, the kitty cat.

They needed to practice so they rang our door bell!

The finished pumpkin creations.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An afterschool apple trip

I know that this beautiful fall weather we've been having is  going to eventually end so I figured I better get my apples before it gets cold and wet.  We have a 5  year old boy in our house who has to have applesauce on EVERYTHING that he eats for supper, so making my own applesauce is a bit of a no-brainer!
We headed out after school to Willowview Farms.  This is a wonderfully cute place to go with kids and a great way to spend the afternoon.  There is no admission fee, a petting zoo, a playground, a great little store and lots of different kinds of pumpkins and apples to choose from.
So, we grabbed a wagon and headed off to the orchard to find our apples.
Luckily, we had a great navigator.  Give him a map and he is happy for hours (kinda takes after his father that way!).  He quickly found the right aisles and we began to pick!

Once we loaded up with apples, we headed to the pumpkin section to pick out the perfect pumpkin.  They each found one to take home and carve out sometime in the next few weeks.

I really don't know how people get perfect pictures of all their kids smiling and looking at the camera.  At least in this one they are all looking in the same direction! :)
Finally, we went to the barn for awhile to check out the animals.  Some chickens, a few turkeys, a couple of goats and rabbits and pigs and 1 miniature horse.  This is probably as close as my kids will ever get to living on a farm!
All in all, a great few hours together, enjoying the last of the fall sunshine!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gratitude Journals

Last February I took the Summit Course of “Spirituality Through the Lens”.  I wanted to learn about a new way in which I could worship God – something that I could tie into my everyday life.  My life is not glamorous and maybe not even very exciting but it is my life.  I believe that this is the life that God has planned for me.  Right now I am the mom, the wife, the teacher, the baker, the cook, the nurse, the planner, the swing pusher, the board game player, the piano player, the scrap booker, the diaper changer (oh no, that one is finished J) and the list can go on and on.  How do I worship God in all of these facets of my life?  How do I fit that in?  But, I didn’t want to just “fit God in”   - I want him to be part of everything I do.  How can I consciously do that?

 In talking with a friend at this course, she started talking about the book “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  The author of this book looks into the action of gratefulness.  She wonders how she can live a full life, full of joy and grace and beauty, even in the midst of losses and the often seemingly monotonous tasks of daily life.  She begins by looking at the word “eucharisteo” which means “To give thanks”.  But this word “eucharisteo” also has the root words of “charis” in it meaning “grace” and “chara” meaning “joy”.    She wonders if true joy and grace could come from giving thanks.  She soon realizes that as long as thanks is possible, so is joy.   The three words of grace, thanksgiving and joy make up “eucharisteo”.  Could she begin to live out this word, living out thankfulness everyday?

We live in a world that is saturated with ungratefulness.  Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with something else we NEED, all the most beautiful places we NEED to see before we die, the latest gadget that our kids just HAVE to have!  HOW do we overcome our habit of ingratitude, because we do live in that kind of world?  Do we even see the beauty that is around us?  Are we even looking for it?  We need to DO something. 

Ann Voskamp is challenged one day to name one thousand blessings – one thousand gifts.  So she grabs a sheet of paper and starts to write down a few:

  1. morning shadows across the old floors
  2. jam piled high on the toast
  3. the cry of the blue jay from the spruce tree.
Common things that she didn’t even realize were gifts until she wrote them down.  Throughout the next days she continues to write down gifts:

  1. warm cookies
  2. crackle of the fire in the fireplace
  3. clean sheets on the clothesline
  4. hot oatmeal bubbling on the stove
She realizes that by naming things, she now calls them gifts, gifts from God.  She begins to do this feverishly. Everywhere she turned, there was something else. 

But then she comes to a point where she thinks “what is the purpose in all this?”  In the midst of laundry and kids and dishes in the sink, isn’t this kind of juvenile and common?  Isn’t it sort of silly to be writing down these things?  She had her whole life read the verse  “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.  She would nod and say, “I’m thankful for everything.”  But in slapping a brush of thanksgiving over everything in her life, she was left deeply thankful for very FEW things in her life.  Being specific and writing them down – this is a physical act of acknowledging each and every gift we are blessed with. 

But then, who has time for yet another ‘thing on the to-do” list?  Don’t we already have laundry and work and kids and meals and ministry and life in general that we need to have time for?  But I believe that we need to find that time.  It is God who gives us time but do we have time for God? Giving thanks for the gifts of God is an invitation to slow time down and give God our full attention.  To be in the present – where God is.  We don’t usually have a lack of time – it is usually a problem of using the time that we have.  And, I’m not saying that this is easy.  This practice of ‘eucharisteo’ is a discipline, it comes with practice.

“This practice of giving thanks – this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes.  We don’t have to change what we see.  Only the way we see.”

We need to open our hands to receive the moments that God gives us – trusting that what is received is grace. 

To give thanks is an action – it is not an emotion.  While we may not always feel joy, God asks us to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy begins win the action of thanksgiving.

There is so much more in this book than what I’ve touched on.  It really will teach you things about living a full life, wherever you are in your life.

So then, I felt challenged with “what should I do with this idea of giving thanks?”  I decided that I wanted to do something with my kids over the summer, teaching them just how blessed they are with where they live and what they have.  I wanted them to see things in their lives, not just physical things, that they needed to be thankful for.  I knew that I also needed to learn this as much as I wanted them to learn it.  So, I decided to start a gratitude journal with them for the summer.  Everyday, we each had to come up with 1 thing that they were thankful for and at least 2 reasons why.  Then we would take a picture of that ‘thing’ and that would make up each page.  At first, it was the big things:
-         I’m thankful for my house. 
-         I’m thankful for my family.
-         I’m thankful for food. 
Eventually though, we had to think a little harder.  Rethink your day – what were you thankful for. 
-         ice-cream cones on a hot day.
-         A picnic at the park:  because it is fun to have lunch outside and then get to play on the playground when you are finished. 
-         Trees: because they give us oxygen and we can climb them.
-         A family day together. 
-         Enjoying a drink on the deck with my husband.

Even for myself, being more aware through-out the day of the small blessings, things that if they were taken away or I didn’t have them I would miss them.  Blessings and experiences that were gifts.  Recognizing moments and acknowledging  all these things as gifts from above.  Even on days that maybe weren’t so stellar and I would think,  “Today was a crappy day.  I don’t have anything to be thankful for.  My kids were rude, I was cranky, supper was a disaster, I have piles of laundry to fold, etc. etc. etc.  Then I would stop and think:  I am blessed that we have food to make supper with, I have an abundance of clothes to wear, even machines that wash and dry them, I have beds that I can put my kids into after a long day, I have a sunset to watch, I can enjoy a cup of tea or wine.”.  I was often forced to open my eyes and change the way that I was seeing so many things. 
I would say that this little project with my kids was a success.  They are quite proud of their journals and loved sharing what they had come up with for the day.  I will say that there were some days when there was some complaining about having to write but overall not too bad!  Here are a few excerpts from our journals!

Kendra:  "I'm thankful for my school because I learn new things, because I can play with friends."

Owen:  "Thanks for rock's!  they Are fun too throw in the water!"

Owen:  "thank-you god for roses because they Are Super Duper beautiful!  And the colors are beautiiiiful on tem, excespt green, brown and black."
 We did their journals for pretty much every day of the summer, starting the day after school ended and finishing the day before school started again in September.  On the final night, I told them to each go to a good writing spot and for their last entry to write about what they were most thankful for.  This is what they each came back with:

Owen:  "thank-you God for Jesus because He's Always gonna LOVE me And He's Never ever ever ever ever ever gonna Stop loveing me!"

Kendra:  "I'm thankful for Jesus Because he loves us. Because he died on the cross."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First day 2012

Today was finally the day again - the first day of school for these two!  No more sleeping in, no more lazy mornings in pajamas!   They were both quite excited to go and see their friends and just be back in school.  We are blessed that they love going every morning (although we'll see how Owen does with that after a while!) and we are blessed with a wonderful school that they go to.  They were both happy with the classes they were placed in and the teachers that they will have for the year. 
They were even quite willing to pose for some pictures this morning - just to keep mom happy of course!

Ready for Grade 1! 

Reade for Grade 2!

My little buddy, all grown up!

My crazy girl!  Ready to learn, learn, learn!
 And then I returned home with just my little Jocelyn at home.  What will we do with just the two of us everyday?  I'm sure we will be able to fill our days!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kid's room art

Another summer home project was switching the kids around in their rooms.  I will do a post on that when they are all finished.  (Kendra's room is just waiting for her desk to be made).  So, with new rooms, I decided it would be fun for the kids to make some new art to hang on their walls.  I have seen this art done before but had never tried it with the kids.  They thought it was quite fun and loved how they turned out.
Step 1:  I picked up a value pack of small canvas's (sp?) with my Michael's coupon.  Using painter's tape, they each taped off their own design on their canvas.  We made sure to wrap the tape all the way around the edge of the canvas. 

Step 2:  Once they were happy with the design, it was time to paint!  I used acryllic paint from the dollar store.  Each section was painted a different colour.

 I did the older two kids first while Jocelyn was napping but once she woke up, she got in on the action too.  I was quite happy that I did the kids somewhat separately!  It might have been a little crazy with all three  painting at the same time!!

 Step 3:  Once the paint was dry, they could carefully pull off the tape, making sure to pull off the pieces in the reverse order of how they were put down. 

 Step 4:  Hang the art on the wall and enjoy their masterpieces!

Basement bookcase

About 3 years ago we decided we needed some more room in the house so we took over the basement.  Last year, we ripped out the carpet and Kevin laid some new laminate flooring.  This is now more of his at home office.  One of the other projects that needed to be done here was a library wall.  Last summer, we just ran out of time so that was the first  project on the list this year.  It is now finished!  And yes, we (Kevin) have way too many books!!
The basement as it was after the floors were done and how it stayed for the following year. 

The shelves built and stained and ready for books!

And finally, the books on the shelves!