Friday, January 30, 2009

billions and a way to have your debt paid

One billion seconds ago. . .I was 18. I was just graduating from high school and we were planning our wedding . . .that young buck and I.

With all the discussions of the billions of dollars being spent north and south of the Canadian and American border. . and not trusting my own math skills. . .I found the information in the calculations below. . . its amazing what you can find. . .

1 min = 60 seconds 1 hour = 60 min = 60 x 60 seconds = 3,600 seconds 1 day = 24 hours = 24 x 3,600 seconds = 86,400 seconds 1 year = 365 days = 365 x 86,400 seconds = 31,536,000 seconds To get the number of years for 1,000,000,000 seconds, we just divide 1,000,000,000 by 31,536,000 It should give us : 1,000,000,000 / 31,536,000 = 31.71 years

One billion seconds ago. . .we were one and a half years away from purchasing our first home for $47,000. We carefully budgeted for those mortgage payments and calculated that it would take us the first 25 years of our marriage to pay off that 1050 square foot basement entry home with an unfinished basement.

Since that time we've taken on more debt and our original mortgage seems a dream. Though we may have tacked on a few more zeros to our debt. . .we still intend to pay it off before we retire. . .or get tired.

If a billion seconds ago .. .I was engaged to be married. . .What was happening a billion minutes ago? . . .A billion minutes ago was about 108 AD. .. . not that long after Jesus walked this earth. A billion hours ago. . .was 114,000 years ago. Let us not even bother with a billion hours ago. . .I am beginning to grasp that a "billion". . . . is much more than a million.

Now. ..far be it from me to consider myself an economist or a good "budgeter" for that matter. . .but how long .. .will it take Canada to pay off the $ 4o billion. .. or the new American government to pay off their $900 billion that they hope will stimulate our economies. The lamentable conclusion is seemingly insurmountable. . .

And this. . .my dear ones. . is why I will stick to the simple things that bring me joy. . .for if I think too hard. . . .it hurts my head.

Simply speaking. . .I trust in God. . .and it would bode you well to follow suit. . . Trusting on things of this earth. . .seems precarious at best. Even if the economy and the wise men of the day. . . realize they are in deep doo doo troubles. . . they seem to have no wise answers.

I believe that the Bible (that predicted terrible troubles on this earth would happen) . . . .is true .. . and I believe that even though many people have chosen to believe that one elected man. . .has the ability to bring hope . . . . I will continue to believe in my heart that the only hope that we have is Jesus Christ. . .who loves me. . .and you. . . and has already paid all your debts.

Celebrating my year of Jubilee. . . .I calculate that I have about 30 coherent years left on this earth. . .and that is likely being generous. . considering how I often forget my pin numbers. . .

Things of this earth will continue to grow strangely dim. . .but eternity will become brighter and brighter. . and I will have life after death. . . . . . . oh that you could would have that kind of hope. (side note here. . .when our youngest was in kindergarten. . .his teacher asked if I would please quickly scribe a note to send home with the children asking the mothers to send treats for a party. . .I wrote. . ."Could you please send treats?".. . .she corrected me saying that of course they "could". . .all bring treats. . .but "would" they?

A verse that in the the Bible. . .written not that much more than a billion minutes ago. .still has the hope now that it had back then. . .

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son. . .that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. . .John 3:16

Will you please consider what I have said and take stock of what you believe. . .and the hope that your belief provides?

All for now. . .with love,

Thursday, January 29, 2009

the shape fit show

Since I'm having plenty of Grammie time this week. . .

(let's review. . .one child at a time is grammie time. .two children at a time is cousin camp)

and since I wanted to document for the lil' farm hand his patience level at 13 1/2 months. . .

You get two grammie posts instead of one. . .per week as I try to keep to.

Let's review. . .he can squat like his Daddy and his Grampie. . .

He calls .. .Daaaaaaaaaad to either. . .and runs to the gate which keeps him from the water park. . to see if Daaaaaaaad is coming in.

And now. . . bless his little heart. . .he has not my propensity to easily give up .. .

when at first I do not succeed.

Our grandgirlie is on her way. . .for grammie days . .

All for now. . .with love,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The last snowfall of the winter

Glossary of terms. . . .
Grands .. . our grandbabies

Cousin Camp. . . . two grands over at the same time

Grammie day. . .. one grand over for the day

soft flapping of the lips. . .with no vocal sounds and with shaking of head. . . a horse
soft flapping of the lips. . with vocal sounds. . .a car/truck

Some photos. . .require no explanation .. .
All for now. .. with love,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The eagles are sitting high in the trees in our back yard once again.

Waiting for mice perhaps. . . or. . . .

we keep a close eye on our 4 pound grandpup Tobee when he is over .. .

I would not enjoy explaining why and how he was carried off to the heavens . .

I've captured them flying by with pretty big loads in their claws. .

not something most of my audience would appreciate.

So .. . I'll just leave you with the more serene photos. ..imagine nature music. . .if you will.

All for now. . .with love,

Monday, January 26, 2009

why these things make me tick

No doubt, by now you have realized that I've been fiddling around with my blog again.

Oh the fun a girl can have making collages and then cropping them and putting text on them. . .and then reshuffling the pictures .. .and putting different text on them.

Though it is a tad early to decorate for Valentines season. . .and certainly far too early for Spring decor, I reasoned that I would rather look forward than backward. . . and I refuse to become stuck in a rut. It has been a bit tempting to pull up a new template from the many free templates that are offered out there. . .but I enjoy picking colors and taking pictures and making it authentically my own.

I reason that redecorating my blog is far less expensive than redecorating my house. . and perhaps that is why my beloved continues to encourage me in this endeavor. Without his continual interest and genuine pleasure in seeing my enjoyment of this hobby. . .it would have little appeal. I need not many words of affirmation. . .but I do need his.

My friend Marg gifted me with a book called What is a Family? by Edith Schaeffer. Edith Schaffer wrote the book for her husband Francis Schaffer and gave it to him on their 40th Wedding Anniversary in 1975.

Edith says "Creativity needs an audience, some appreciation, the response of another human being, as well as the freedom to be accomplished and some raw materials to work with." I have only begun to read this book, but I have a feeling that she will speak many truths into my life that perhaps I need to hear.

When I read that . . . .I thought. . .Yes, that is why I choose to share parts of my life with you. I could record it all privately and hope that someday my family would care to read it. . .but in the meantime I would be missing the blessing of your responses to my snap happy picture taking or the things that make me smirk. . .or just the things I ponder.

It is important for all of us to understand what makes us tick. . .how it is that we feel loved and appreciated. Though I love giving gifts to those I love, it is someone choosing to spend time with me that makes me feel loved. Words of affirmation follow closely. . . and once I understood this. . . it became clear to me that when someone that knows me cares to read my blog. . .I feel loved and affirmed. When someone in my family sends me a personal email, they will always get a response. . .because I care. Those in my family and my close friends that have blogs. . .know I read it. . .because it is such a simple way to show them that what happens in their life is important to me. A minute or two shaved off of my day. . will hardly keep me from accomplishing "great" thing in my home. . .

If this is how I feel. . .how wonderful must it be for God who created "me to be uniquely me". . .

to have me come before Him and give Him praise. . .and to tell Him again and again how much I love Him and how grateful I am that He sent His son Jesus to save the world. . .

He alone knows my heart. . .and knows why. . .these things make me tick.

All for now. . .with love,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Polly P Poinsettia . . please go now.

Is is just me that continues to recite the words to the Dr. Seuss board books in my head after the grands leave?
Marvin K. Mooney will you please go now. . . I hadn't forgotten the words from the first round of kids. . .and now I have them all rumbling around again.
At one year old. . .they aren't necessarily interested on how the book ends. . .so my brain isn't reciting the end every few minutes. . .but the beginning. . .oh my.
Have you all tossed your poinsettia's already, or are you dealing with the yearly poinsettia toss guilt syndrome?
I fixed my little guilt syndrome problem. . .at least in this one Christmas planter. .
I whispered sweet nothings to the planter as I took it outside for some "fresh air".
Once outdoors. . .I slipped the tablespoon out of my pocket. . .
and dug around the poinsettia, being careful not to alert it's bed mates that something was amiss. . . .
After removing the objectionable faded Poinsettia plants . . .I added a primrose and a small bunch of daffodils. . .
After we finished our "fresh air". . .we went back inside. . .red to yellow. . .
The other two slightly weary Poinsettia's were retired. . .they've earned their keep. . .
my years of watering them until the last leaf drops .. . are done.
All for now. . with love,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cake Testing

It won't be long and we'll be planning our little private Valentines menus for our loved ones. . won't we? I tried this cake the other day. . and now I suspect it could be on the menu for Valentines Day. It is made in a 5 inch Springform Pan enough to serve 4 or .. .2 today and 2 tomorrow.

The beauty of homemade cake is not in the perfection of the cake itself as it is in the love that was poured into each mouthful.

I love looking through old recipe books and finding little gems that I've never tried. . .run on over to the Mennonite Girls Can Cook for the recipe.

All for now. . . with love,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

American History Lesson

Yesterday for entertainment and education purposes. . .
we watched the American Presidential Inauguration.
Snacks. . . .Cheerios
Beverages. . .milk
Cousin Camp will not remember this day. . .
but their Grammie has it documented. . . they were there.
It's another Grammie Day for me. . .
All for now. . .with love,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Apron # 1 and the sky shots

Normally when I sew. . .I love uninterrupted hours to sew and have standing breaks to press open seams and press. . to make it look better. However, with the technology that we enjoy today. . .my beloved has taken it as his personal responsibility to call me from the shop when he sees photo ops for my enjoyment.

On Friday, I had stopped sewing many times for different reasons and when I got the call to come outside with my camera... . I nearly didn't. He said. . ."you'll be sorry" . . . changed my mind. Why is it that we feel so compelled to finish tasks when God gives us opportunity to to rest. Not all rests need to be lengthy. . .some are just breaks. . .quick little gifts from above.

The apron still was completed . . . the rest was enjoyed. . . and the moment taken. This week seems to be full of many things to do. . .what should I attempt to accomplish. . .and what should I leave? Lord, give me wisdom to choose the things that matter most. ..and leave the rest for another time.

All for now. . .with love,

Monday, January 19, 2009

12 degrees C / 53 F degrees

Sunday was the best a girl could ever hope for in January in Canada. I took the liberty of converting Celsius to Fahrenheit for you. .. 12 degrees if you are in Canada. . .and 53 degrees for my American friends.

This caused quite a commotion here on the farm. . .the bungalow had it's windows opened and the TV was set to 70's music. . .and we dragged out the lawn chairs. There is something about listening to the music of the era when we were in high school. . . falling in love.

Sitting as close as possible to the house. . . it almost seemed like spring. We basked in the sunshine. . . and had ourselves a dose of Vitamin D to boot.

From time to time. . .we walked around the farm. . .nothing strenuous. . .just looking for signs of spring. . . .

. . . .and then we'd go back to our lawn chairs. . . and enjoy the far southern slant of the sun.

I did smile at the magnolia bush. . .it already has its fuzzy little buds reaching for the sun. I'm back in the sewing closet again today. . .perhaps tomorrow, I'll model my apron.

All for now. . .with love,

Friday, January 16, 2009

to the harrison

We were counting how many times we've traipsed off to the Harrison Hot Springs in the last few years. . .

We were not sure. . .but we are sure we will go again.

When we were a young family with young children and even with teen children, the nights away were few and far between. There is something quite delightful in having an empty nest.

Sitting outside in the hot pool with cold air and mountain backdrops with time to talk and plan for our future. . . it was wonderful.

Combine all that with a perfectly blue sky day. . . and a lovely lunch on the way .. .

a few appy's in the evening with cozy chairs and just us two. . .

it was wonderful.

Combine all that with .. . . the long way home. . .

and gorgeous scenery .. .and time to talk. .

and just us two. . .

it was wonderful.

We've decided that this my year of jubilee. . .we will celebrate, not just next month. . .when the date arrives. . .but all year. . .with little lunches. . .and friends for dinner. . .and a night here and there. . .

Not everyday of my life is stress free. . .or free from concern. . .but yesterday. . .it was blissful. A good marriage doesn't just happen. . . it takes time, planning. . . . and a bit of romance. I'm so thankful that we had enough alone moments over the years to build a relationship that would still be interesting once that we would be alone.

All for now. . .with love,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'll let you know

Yesterday. . .I had a surprise. . .I heard my beloved on the phone. . .and after he got off. . .he said. . pack your bag. . .we're going to go away for one night. . . This is where we are. . at this very moment. . I'll take a picture of this very spot and let you know what it looks like in the dead of a British Columbian Coastal winter. .
Fortunately .. .I had a post planned for the Mennonite Girls Can Cook .. .Smoked Salmon on Flatbread. . .go ahead and get it started and I'll be back on Friday or maybe Monday .. .with a picture of two. .of our get away.

All for now. . .with love,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cousin Camp sick boy

First thing in the morning grandgirlie arrived for the day. . .soon after the lil' farm hand pulled up with his mommy. . . .bathed in his morning breakfast. . . .repeated. . .if you get my meaning.

His mommy began the task of cleaning up the car seat. . .while I began laundry .. .while keeping the cousins from greeting each other with kisses. Not knowing whether the tummy upset was from tummy troubles that are going around. . .I thought it best to call up grandgirlie's Nana. . .for a rescue. Nana came and rescued grandgirlie from possible tummy trouble and the lil' farm hand bathed and fresh. . .felt just fine. . .

In the afternoon. .. Grandpa went out to the rapidly melting glacier in the back yard. . .and dug out a cave .. . still the tummy held its Cheerios. . . and Pedialite .. .

As I sit and write this during nap time. . . I smile at the resilience of children. . .
Had that been me. . .bathed in my breakfast .. . I'd still be calling in sick ..
Today, I aim to finish the first apron that I started on Monday . . .
All for now. . .with love,

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

oddly ambitious

The oddest thing has happened. I have a sudden spurt of energy.
Perhaps the promises we hear of energy from daily walking has finally sunk in. . . or perhaps my creative juices have taken a side street. . .or perhaps the constant drizzle outdoors have altered my brain waves.
Writing this yesterday. . .I couldn't find enough moments in the day to accomplish all that I felt inclined to begin.
1. Dinner to start for cousin camp. . . .(parents love to smell dinner when they walk in the door)
2. Fabric to purchase for the aprons I suddenly feel compelled to sew.
3. A sewing room that needs a quick tidy before new projects are started.
4. Emails to return from dear friends who have sent such fun chats my way.
5. Blog posts to think on. . .and schedule for days that I have "wee" precious time.
6. Lunch to begin .. . and coffee to make. . .(is it 2 pm already?)
7. Pictures to download for the cooking blog.
I know that many of you run circles around me in all that you do in a day .. .
but isn't it nice to once in awhile. . .feel ambitious to even get started?
I'm off to make a pot of coffee and pause to chat with my farmer. . .and then,
I'll cut that first apron out. . .before dinner is begun.
All for now. . .with love,

Monday, January 12, 2009

We're floored. . .a tutorial

From time to time, I get emails from people that have glimpsed our floors and wonder what they are all about. When folks come to visit, they most often assume that the floors are the original.
Our bungalow was built in the 60's and was moved onto our property in the 70's. . .we think.
I was looking for photos of our renovation and maybe soon I'll show some more of them. . .

I am going to give step by step instructions on how Terry did this so that the next time someone asks. . .I can refer them to this post. We had some friends who had done Pine flooring in their kitchen that I really liked.

Now, I must say first of all, that we don't think that our floors are the nicest or the best. . .Perhaps some day we will lay down reclaimed barn wood in a bungalow that is a bit bigger for our family when we all come together. We decided to do this floor in this house because it was economical and it will not show the wear and tear that a solid prefinished hard wood floor would show. . .the way we use ours. Our grands ride their cars over the floor and when a scuff appears. . .it is hardly noticed.

When we did our own floor I didn't even think to take pictures of the process so the picture above and below is of our youngest son's and daughter by love's home. We also put tongue and groove pine flooring in our eldest son's first house. It was wider 6 inch boards and because it was pine, it had a knotty pine rustic appearance. ..that I quite liked. Pine is softer yet than fir and so the distressing that I will tell you about was even more important. Fir is not a hard wood but is the hardest of the soft woods.

First of all. . .buy tongue and groove unfinished fir. Our flooring is 4 inch. We removed all the old flooring from the bungalow. There were multiple layers of old linoleum, tile and vinyl flooring. Next, very heavy black tar paper was laid down and stapled in place. This might not be necessary but we have a dirt crawl space under our floor and it was used for additional insulation. Then, starting in the hallway, a straight line was chalked in order to keep the flooring straight. We then worked our way across the living room towards the north wall. . .and then Terry cut tongues to insert in the groove on the opposite side and then we could continue to the south wall.

The floor was nailed using a nailing gun. The wood was 3/4 inch thick and we used double that length in nails. The boards were nailed on the tongue and then also on the top at each end purposely to be seen.

Once the entire floor was nailed, the uneven boards were planed and sanded to avoid splinters.
Then the distressing began. You will certainly be tempted to avoid distressing the wood floor since it looks so smooth and perfect. Why would anyone purpose to scratch and dent a wood floor.
We are so glad that we didn't eliminate this step. When we accidentally scratch or drop something on our floor, we simply use a cotton swab and a bit of stain to touch up the exposed wood. Most often, the varathane isn't even scratched and so the floor continues to have additional wear marks. . .that makes it unique.

To distress the wood, we brought in a large bucket of crushed gravel and dumped it on the floor in a area that could be covered with a sheet of plywood. The two of us. . . .did every dance move we knew and pretended to know to basically grind the rocks into the floor for maybe 10 seconds. Do a small test area in a place that is less conspicuous. Then, we would sweep the gravel over and repeat until the whole floor had been scratched and dented with the gravel.
The next step was scratching it in a few conspicuous spots with something sharp that would crease the wood. Terry used the end of a large plier. Next came a large chain that was dropped here and there for yet additional distressed looks.

Once we finished distressing, we together worked to stain the floor. We used Benjamin Moore Wiping Stain in Special Walnut. We worked together. Terry wiped the stain on with a large car washing mit with rubber gloves inside of the mit .. . and I came behind 30 seconds to a minute later, wiping the excess off.
Again, it would be wise to test an area and even test various kinds of stain and colors to find what you like best.

After allowing the stain to dry for 24 hours. Terry began to varathane the floor. The first coat we used was a gloss. We were told that this would give better depth. The next day we followed with Satin Varathane. We put three coats of satin Varathane over the single coat of gloss. In between each coat of varathane, Terry gave a very light sanding and used a tack cloth to remove every bit of dust.

This picture is a close up of the floor in a traffic area. You can see a scratch that was original from the distressing. You can see the nail marks that were put there intentionally to make the floor look old and original to the house. You can also see new marks that only add to the floors unique and one of a kind finish.
You can also see the difference in the different grain that fir floor has. When you buy your fir, look at the grain. If lots of the wood has large grain, the floor will have more distinct grain when it is stained. The wood that is top center has larger grain and the piece underneath had very fine grain.

This picture has a good view of the rock smashing that we did with the plywood. This floor was initially a bit of work. We lived in the house when we did the floor renovation. We moved everything from room to room . . . sleeping here and there and everywhere. I didn't have a kitchen for over a month. . . but I had a sink in the laundry room and a hot plate and the fridge was plugged in where ever there was room for it.
I hope that this tutorial is helpful. If you have further questions, I'll try to answer them and put the into the post to add additional information.
The wonderful thing about this floor, is that it does not give me grief. I never worry that someone will damage my floor. . it is after all just a floor, meant to be walked on. Every week, I vacuum and give a light water water mop. . . .in the traffic areas and I'm done. We put the flooring in five years ago and have found that the traffic areas are becoming shinier and have lost the satin look. We plan to give the floor a light sanding soon. . .and give those area a new coat of satin. I asked Terry if he had anything to add. . .he said that you should not start the project with bad knees or a bad back .. .
I've been in a closet and drawer cleaning frenzy again .. .oh it is so good to declutter. Today's job is the filing cabinet. . . .which is close to my computer. . .so, I'll try to pop by some of my favorite blog friends.
All for now .. . .with love,