Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas & New Years

Merry Christmas!  I trust you had a joyful Christmas!  We are also wishing you a very Happy New Year with health, happiness and time to enjoy life each day!

Here are some of my favorite photos to well and be brightly blessed!

Making paper snowflakes!

Awesome snow angels buddy!

A decoration named either Buddy or Henry!

The gingerbread house before it fell...

Our little family, big on love!

The plow with Earl's ice candles...lovely dear!

Cookie cutters, wax pencils in white and some cardboard or
 paper bags to make decorations and gift tags.

I'll be the Queen of the Crop with this rockin' scrap tote from Earl & Luke!

"Santa Parking Only" and yes we left hay for the reindeer!

Tubin' with cousin Julia!

Total fun with Grandpa!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Photos

We do family photos around Christmas time every year, and it does make me smile to see how we have all changed and grown since Luke came into our lives those five Christmases ago.

It can be a challenge though - finding something interesting for a theme, some suitable date with the right lighting and of course the mood has to be right. Cannot force either of my guys or the photos won't be spontaneous and fun.

Two days ago we went outside to play while it was lightly snowing and quite warm. Bundled up and playing with the dogs, Luke's joy at being a boy outside was so infectious! I couldn't stay inside and work! I grabbed my camera and my tripod, threw on a hoodie and fleece jacket and went outside to capture some of his spirited laughter and contagious fun!

We did get our family photos done, and I have four favorites of us three, plus a few treasured ones of Earl and Luke. A couple of good bloopers for scrapbooking too!

Enjoy, and share the links to your family Christmas photos or comment to share your ideas for great locations, poses and fun things that help get those wonderful photos we treasure so much!Bright blessings this Christmas season, and all year through!

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There is honour in dirt

There is honour in dirt, there is goodness in doing the dirty jobs.  Luke loves watching Dirty Jobs, he respects and admires workers in trades and in jobs like farmers.  Someone asked me what our hopes for him were - and my reply was, anything that makes him happy!  But being a bit 'old school' they had concerns that he would do a manual job or perhaps something that was hard or would be dirty.  I couldn't help but laugh!

Dirty as a problem?   Not likely, and as I got to thinking about it I really considered there is honour in dirt.  There is something about someone who is not afraid of dirt that makes me proud.  Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs, has some really great ideas on subjects like this, and he inspires us with his show.  For us it isn't always about the dirt in the job, but the people and their ingenuity.  Their spirit  and determination to make things happen, to get things done.

I've done some dirty jobs and I've done clean and tidy jobs.  Except for a few wish-I-could-forget moments I'd take the dirty ones any day!  Well almost any day! 

When I think about the future I think we'll have more of a need for people who can and will do the dirty jobs.  People who can literally muck their way through and be okay with it.  Growing food, fighting fires, tending animals, building structures, repairing and retrofitting.  When we have dirt on our hands we know we did something.  Maybe not earth shattering or Nobel Prize winning but something we can put our hands around, take a photo of, stand back from and say, "yep got that done." Even if it is only done for that moment or that day.

My family has a long history of dirt and I'm proud of it. Farmers, ranchers, builders, labourers, ship's captains and scoundrels.  Men, women and children who pioneered, invented and created with dirt on their hands.  So keep on getting dirty Mike, Andrew and the gang from Mythbusters. Keep on getting dirty farmers, fire fighters, Moms and Dads,  hydro men and women, miners and fishermen, vets and rescuers.  Keep on getting dirty, there is honour in that dirt!  (please wash your hands before eating!)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back in the Scrap

Oh yeah I've been getting back in the scrap and does it feel good? Oh Yeah! Went to a crop last Saturday, met some rockin' scrappers and am going next Friday.   Thanks Janelle for doing a great crop and Sharon I'm looking forward to yours, I'm bringing a friend and we are going to have a super time.  Last Saturday I did five layouts and made two chipboard albums.

I'll be posting some photos tomorrow...tonight I'm thinking about what my next layout project should be - and sadly  I know what it must be!  I have to finish pages that are languishing in albums, waiting for a final element, bit of journalling or even a photo.  No more new pages until those are done!

A few weeks ago Earl and I were working on a page of us enjoying a winter bonfire and we thought it needed marshmallow embellishments.  We used stickers of sticks and made our own dimensional marshmallow elements.  I've put the tutorial here for you - this would work to make snow men, snow balls, marshmallows or anything else!

Keep on scrapping!

How To Make Dimensional Marshmallow Elements

This is the method Earl came up with while helping me with a page.

Here is how we got this great dimensional marshmallow element for our paper page, you can do it too!

Stamping Up (or other) Chalk set
Square punch
Thick white paper
Corner rounder
'stick' stickers or dimensional sticks
Popsicle stick or embossing tool
Round edged container (I used a wooden candle lid)
Large foam 'pop dot'

1:  Punch your squares, be sure they are to scale with what you are using for sticks on the layout
     Round the corners with your corner rounder

2:  Using dark brown chalk, chalk the top and side edges of your marshmallows
     smudge the brown about a 1/3 of the way in to the shape, getting lighter towards the bottom

3:  Using black chalk, chalk the edges on top and sides
     Randomly smudge some black (like scorch marks) on the top 3/4 of the marshmallow

4:  Place the edge of the marshmallow over your rounded object
     Using the popsicle stick or embossing tool, curve the edges downwards, all the way around

5:  Re-chalk any areas which need more brown or black (to look toasted)

6  Position your pop dot on the page, over your stick
    Adhere marshmallow without bending the edges flat again

TA! DA! You have a dimensional paper marshmallow for camping, bbq and fireside pages...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Object of my Affection

Object of My Affection

There are many 'things' that I've had in my life and lost - sometimes they wear out, sometimes we out grow them. Sometimes they get broken, stolen or just plain lost.  Sometimes when you are fleeing for your life and sanity you leave things behind.  They are, after all, just things.  Not all things can be replaced, and many will hold a close place in our hearts long after they are gone.

Holli challenged us on her blog, A Life Less Ordinary, to think about the 'object of my affection'. You should stop by and read about her friend, Fuzzy.  

I'm looking around my house, and there are many things with stories. Some grand. Some small. Some barely there. Some I've carried around through many moves, repaired, cleaned and cherished.  One of them is my Maneki Neki that I brought home from my first trip to Hawai'i when I was 13.

It now sits in my china cabinet, by the kitchen table. Next to my Celtic Angel and the Christmas dishes.  She didn't always have such a safe place to rest.  When I first got her I didn't realize she wasn't made of durable materials, her clay based form is quite fragile.  She traveled thousands of miles in a suitcase, in the somewhat careful hands of airline employees.  She lived on a shelf which was thought to be too high for the real cats to each.  

That perception was literally shattered one night as the crossed eyed peach point Persian, Paul Newman, crashed her off her shelf.  In her pieces on the floor she looked so sad.  I was heart broken. I was really angry.  That CAT wrecked my special cat.  I could have cried, but instead I went to find the glue.  I sat on the floor for over an hour gluing her back together.

Neki has moved with me nine times, and has so far, not only stayed together (good old Elmer's glue!) but has also been a constant object of my affection.  She has survived winter U-haul moves, a temporary abandonment and subsequent storage unit stay. She has been in cars, in trucks, on shelves and held in hands of all sizes.

If you look close you can see the cracks, you can see where her paint is a bit dull, the glitter a bit tattered but her upraised paw beckons still.  Her eyes still grace a feline smiling face.  She is still an object of my affection.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Nothing Better

What is my favorite sound?  Laughter!  From the belly and full of absolute joy.  We were playing on his slide and he wanted me to 'watch me Mama!' as he went down on his belly, as far as he could go and then would pop back up and laugh!  What fun to see how far down he could go.

There is, in my not so humble opinion, nothing better than genuine, soul deep laughter.  Nothing better than the gift of joy so simple and humble that a loving companion and a slide can make your day.  Nothing better than being blessed enough to be a part of the laughter.

Too many days have sadness and too many days have fears, anger and too many days we struggle.  We don't take enough time to find the joy in laughing with a child or playing in a homemade splash park.

How wonderful to be able to splash on a hot day! How wonderful to be able to share in the splashing!

Where is your joy going to take you today?  Where are you going to find laughter today?
Don't wait to find it! Don't wait to have someone make it happen!

Be well and be brightly blessed, always and in all ways...

I used this great kit by Vivayne, see her store and gallery at:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

House Keepers and the like

I was on my fourth Swiffer of the afternoon and was wondering about what makes a house a home - some families I know have spotless, shiny homes...everything has a place (and actually is in it!).  Others seem to be slowly fading away under dirt, hair and neglect.  But where is ours? Some would argue that we've been taken over by farm stuff, work stuff, Lego and other 'things' and that could be true.

The animals bring their own space, and trust me nothing shrinks a house quicker than four Border Collies and a hundred plus pound Great Pyrenees.  They bring dirt, dust and hair.

The farm brings it's own goodies such as manure, dried good stuff from cows, horses and ducks, miscellaneous tools and repair supplies.

We love to create, read and play together so we have books scattered about in wild abandon, laundry doesn't always stay put, clean or dirty. Shoes migrate from one door to another.

Yes, the house isn't super clean, but we aren't going to be condemned either.  There is food for the table, there are linens on the beds and clothes in the closets.  We have high tech and low tech and all that is in between but I'd have to say the biggest thing that fills our house is:

Love! Laughter! Joy! Family! Sharing! Faith!

I wouldn't trade those for the cleanest house in the world, I wouldn't trade them for the biggest house in the world or anything else.  Those are the things that make a house a home!

So I'll be hanging this up where people can see it, and know that I'm not a great house keeper, my Grandma would most likely be ashamed.  Her lovely western end tables and coffee tables are perfect for Lego, reading, driving Matchbox and Hotwheels cars. They fit our little boy fine for snacks and activities.  They are loved.

I have dust, you can write in it if you wish, but please don't put down a date!  That is just so tacky.  I have dust bunnies, take some home, they are great quiet pets.  I have sand all sumer and snow melted puddles all winter and in the shoulder seasons we have great mixtures of mud, paw prints and boot tracks.

My windows have nose, paw and hand prints on them from watching birds, horses and cows.  So does the TV.  Everything has been cleaned, many many times, but it doesn't stay clean because our house is a lived in, worked on, played in and busy place.

I can only dream of a day when the dust fears me, when the dust bunnies flee in a tidy panic, when the dishes solemnly and obediently wash and dry themselves, when the clothes in an orderly fashion find their way down dirty and back up again clean.  Until then I know my wash machine will be a saw horse or paint table, that my stove top will serve to make cookies and snail bread with clouds of flour and splashes of waffle mix.  That my doors will store behind them all sorts of tools and stray project bits.

That's okay because this is where we live, love and laugh. This is where we pray, cry, sleep and share. This is our home, imperfect and not new, and it is okay by me. Come by sometime for a visit, the cups are clean and so are the spoons...we'll enjoy the sunroom or the deck.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Scrapping, Learning & Ranching

What a long time it has been since I shared with you here - many hundreds of photos, many scrapped pages and many many hours spent enjoying the arrival of spring.  We have been calving, fencing, planting flowers and garden, herbs and trees.

The humming birds are back, the orioles toured through and more will be here soon.  My sweet hummer girl is hovering just outside my window - it's so good to see her back this year!  We have two hammocks set up in the maple trees - one for me and one for Luke.  It sure has been nice to enjoy them, even Feathers likes to sleep in the hammock.

The calves are running, playing, scratching and sleeping - their mama's are slimming down and shedding their winter hair.  The grass is growing, the flowers are blooming and when it's not wet we are making puddles for the little man to play in.

I took some photos of my paper pages that I did yesterday, and I have more digital ones to post later.  I've been having lots of fun using different techniques and ideas to do pages.  I've been using more buttons, stickers and clusters of elements and strips of paper.  It's been working well and by doing some quick organizational steps I can pack a tub of goodies and go anywhere and do pages.

First steps are to pick the photos, grab two or three papers, elements and extras which might work, then grab the extras you always take to crops.  Then with your tools tucked away you are ready to scrap at a moment's notice - and lately I've needed every moment!  No time to leisurely select, sort and debate - it's scrap now or never it seems!  And the pressure is working.  

My new camera, for Mother's Day, is totally rocking.  It is a new model Nikon, a Coolpix L110.  It has the most awesome face seeker focus, does wonderful macro shots and is a hot red to boot!  Been taking tons of photos and loving the features - the sports one is a continuous shot that makes great stop action movies!  The sunset/sunrise and dusk settings totally kick it.

We've had the BEST long weekend - got so much done, spent time together and really enjoyed the moments.  It's a great way to be together...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Three Flower Afternoon

"I picked a yellow flower for your hair, Mama!" says Luke...

And for most days, I do get one lovely yellow flower - a dandelion picked by small hands, dirty and full of love.  He does love to see me wear a flower in my hair, and with the abundance of the 'yellow flowers' I usually go the whole spring, summer and into fall with a yellow adornment behind my ear.  

A yellow flower has been a special thing between the two of us since he could talk and pick flowers.  There is an inner hippie gene in him that thinks a girl with flowers in her hair is just so beautiful. There is enough of a girl in me that I want to be a beauty with flowers in her hair.

But today the flowers are more than adornment, they are a peace offering.  Our first real one - because we had a bigger than usual frustration with each other today.  

He was tired, he was probably hungry and it was afternoon.  Not a recipe for a great "Just Me & My Mom" trip to town, but we did really well.  Good listeners, laughing, playing, enjoying each others company.  

Then it took a bit longer in the 'Thomas store', and a while more to listen at the pet store (buying some gold fish cause "Goldie is lonely") and then the melt down at a mall helicopter ride.  We had new fish, a new kazoo and a need to get nails for Daddy.

"Next time buddy okay?" 

"Nope Mama, I have a better plan, you don't have to make it go, I'll just sit a while and pretend."

"Please pal, we have one more stop before we go home and let Goldie meet her new fish friends."

Not smooth, but not catastrophic, bit of a kazoo misunderstanding (is there any other kind?) - got him loaded in the cart and out the door.  Across the street to the store of nails, lumber, tools and all kinds of wonders for building, making and 'stuff'.

We have to go in together, it's a rule.  Right there we butted heads  again.  I was feeling so badly!  

The thoughts running through my mind - Bad mama, bad day? Good mama, Bad day? What the heck is going on?

Deep sigh...deep breaths...

"Mama did not throw out your kazoo, it's right here (shows him), and we'll play it when we are done in the store, okay?"

Tears, wracking sobs and then silence, hoodie pulled up, sunglasses on resting in the wire basket of the cart.  I teasingly tell him I'll shush him like the dogs, do the closing mouth sign and we smile.  Him through his tears tracked through dirt, me through my flushed face.

Neither of us likes to be frustrated with each other.  We would rather be walking in love and laughing together.  We get the nails, a couple of ant traps, wasp and fly traps (generally bugs are okay except those who bite, sting and cause havoc...) and work our way to the door.


"Yes pal?"

"It's important to be a good listener isn't it?"

"Yes Luke, it is, very important for us to be good listeners."

"I'm sorry for frustrating and not being a good listener, Mama."

I hug him tight as I lift him up to his booster seat in the truck, "I'm sorry too pal, love you all the time."

We get home, he's asleep in the truck.  I let him sleep, and start to unload the truck.  We do some things and the flowers start to come, first one, then a pair and then two more.  One is put aside for the birds and the other three are put in my hair.  

Windblown, tangled and so dirty little hands, stained green and yellow...a smiling but still sad face..."Are we okay Mama?  I brought yellow flowers for your hair..."

Later his Daddy asks him if he said sorry for the frustration and hurtful words we exchanged...and his answer was, "Yes Daddy, I gave Mama lots of yellow flowers for her hair."

We also got to talk about how God forgives us, how we leave the past things behind and start the next day, the next moment fresh.  How we love each other no matter what, how we misunderstood and frustrated each other.  He cannot fall asleep and waits for our silence, then pat pats into our room.  The comfort of our bed, where the love lives.  

I put the three flowers in a shot glass of water, and I cherish each of their moments in my hair, in my kitchen, in my heart.  We love each other, our little family, and even when we frustrate each other and ourselves we end each day as we start it walking in love.

So if you see me sometime with a dandelion tucked behind my ear, know that it is no ordinary weed's bloom but a precious gift from my little best pal who thinks his Mama is beautiful with flowers in her hair, and the more flowers he picks the more he says his love is bigger than words.

Yes! Today was International Scrapbooking Day, and yes I have a ton of photos to scrapbook...but this afternoon I spent sometime making the memories in the late afternoon sun, watching the clouds and a little boy playing in his sand pile.  Today's memories and photos, tomorrow's layout and a remembrance of this moment for years to come.  Would love to see some of your layouts!  Share some links...will post mine as soon as they are done.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Time

Don’t worry – I’ve been in tighter spots than this.

This could be exactly what Feathers is saying...after all the Border Collie wants to be the one in charge - chasing cows, eyeing up the horses.  Not stuck in the middle between Belle, Luke's Mare, and Hot Donna, one of Luke's favorite cows.

I wish I had a video of this - Luke was walking the dogs with me checking the cows. Counting the calves, making sure everyone was fine.  He sat down with Feathers for a rest and Belle came to say, "HI".  She bent down and gave him a nuzzle and a sniff.  

The next thing I knew Hot Donna was coming over for a sniff too.  Poor Feathers was so not impressed but she knows not to charge or bark, especially when she is with Luke.  But Belle knew what to do, that cagey old mare,  she started to huff and snort.  She didn't move her body except for her head and neck and she made the cow back up enough for her and Feather's comfort.

Now before you get worried I was close enough to touch Luke and he was not in harm's way at all.  His horse would protect him, and that cow is one of the most gentle souls you'll ever meet.  They all really love the extra visits and attention around calving. 

The dogs enjoy the extra runs and spending time with us outside, after a long winter this is great fun for us all.

Today was a very special day for Abby because Earl brought her for a long walk with us and the rest of the Border Patrol.

Abby played in the water with Silver, she ran with Feathers, she had such a great time!  She sat down in the ditch full of water and watched a butterfly.  

We had a great walk with all the dogs, we sat down for a snack and to rest in the late afternoon sun.  Just out of the wind it was a perfect early spring afternoon.  Silver may not hear very well but he has no real fear of anything, including water, and man that pup can JUMP!

We went to the pond for a while, really a nice sandy beach and swimming hole.  Luke was hoping to see some water bugs but it's a bit chilly yet for them!

Sometimes life on a farm or ranch can be busy, full of stuff.  It can be messy, dirty, sticky, gooey and hard.  But there are days, like today, when it is so wonderful that all the other times are faded away like a newspaper left out in the sun.  Washed out, faded and just memories compared to a bright afternoon with three people who love each other, five dogs who have lives no one ever would have imagined and a faith in our Creator's touch that binds us together in love.

As we walk back to the yard, a small hand reaches inside mine.  We go a few steps and I hear this, Mama when we are walking in love we are walking in God's heart.

Did you get to spend some time walking in God's heart today too?  I pray that you did...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What a game!

You have to know that this is the first time that I've had time to really enjoy watching the Olympics for a long time...and last night I had a real treat.  I got to watch the Canadian Women's Team play Slovakia at the Slov team's first Olympics.  The score doesn't even come close to telling the whole story.

Yes records were broken all over the place - biggest shut-out, most goals scored by players and some others while the Canadian women flexed their Gold Medal muscles.  Slovakia came with their team to their first Olympics and while they did smoke the teams in qualifying they did face a huge challenge with the Canadians.

The whole story, though, wasn't on the Canadian line.  It was in the Slovak net with Zuzana Tomcikova - she was amazing.  She was WOW!  Yes the girls from Canada did put 18 in the net, but Zuzana faced a whopping 67 shots on net and stopped 49!  That's amazing...and she did it the whole game with style and with grace. She did her country proud, her school in Bemidji proud and everyone who watches hockey should have stood in awe of her.

Read Eric Stromgren's Blog, Up North Sports, for more on this amazing player and her Olympic debut in goal.

"Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game" 
-Slogan printed on the helmet of Slovakian goalie Zuzana Tomcikova.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Snow Day = Play Day

I love snow days!  When it warms up enough for us to go out and really play.  The dogs get to run, Luke gets to roll in the snow, be rescue hero and do snow angels.  This day had the cows being really ignorant - wanting to bust down the fences and of course we had to chase them a bit.  Some to teach them they couldn't just randomly wreck fences, and some to give the dogs some exercise and a chance to do their 'job' as Border Collies.

I love these goodies from Scrapgirls - the colors, the stitches and the wordart.  It fit so well with the photos (if you haven't yet - really try those settings on your digital camera especially the snow one!) and the colors worked so nicely.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Welcome to 2010

It is a brand new year, just a few days old, and although I've been a much less active blogger as of late I have also had much more time for family fun, work and enjoying life!  Look forward to seeing lots of photos of our homemade and handcrafted gifts, our baking treats, the development of Lego-Town and how our 'Border Patrol' has been having fun with the cows.  

The time we spent with family and friends over the holidays has been such a blessing - so many wonderful memories and many hundreds of photos taken.  Many more to edit and scrap, print or make into gifts for the coming year.  I love doing a hand crafted Christmas - it's much fun to create something.  The gifts we got were so special, the album my sister (hate to call her in-law) Jacklyn made me was so beautiful I hardly could see it through the tears in my eyes.  Her and Chris' wonderful photos will help me make some wonderful layouts!

Even with the very cold weather we've had a super time as a family - discovered garage hockey, Luke loves doing wood working with Earl, we've been baking treats and making ornaments for the tree.  Luke has been doing art work and doing lots of activities.

We have shared in so many bright blessings this season, and look forward to a year full of them...and wish you, and yours, the very brightest of the New Year!