Holiday Wrap Up

We've had such a wonderful and blessed Christmas Season.  I feel so sorry for the people who take their decorations down on the 26th and call Christmas over.  They seem to forget what the "Twelve Days of Christmas" is actually about.  Ella had so much fun helping Daddy get our outdoor Christmas lights up.  It was nearly Christmas, so Daddy didn't get creative, just up  :)

We headed to Scarborough Christmas Eve.  The weather was good and the heavy traffic was heading out of Toronto so that was good too.  Midnight Mass was beautiful.  Before Mass, there was a special carol service.  Just 12 women and a harp!  They were singing 14th and 15th century carols, most in old English/Anglo Saxon -it was the most amazing thing I've ever heard.  I wished Colin and Stefan had of come with us.  We left them at home with Ella -she was too tired/wired to try taking this year.  We had a very nice, relaxed Christmas morning at Auntie Belinda's new house.  We slept in until 8:30.  They spoiled us.
The three of us headed out around noon, made the mistake of telling Ella we'd eat lunch at McDonald's, little did we know they would be all closed.  We finally found a doughnut store that was open.  We met up with my girlfriend and her family for a brief visit.  We've been friends since before kindergarten.

Then it was over to Great Grandma's, just like every Christmas morning of most of my life.  Now that I'm married and live way up here, we only get down every other year.  We all got a wonderful present this year.  My cousin Bradley Brad came home from BC.  He's a fishing guide out there (perfect job for him) and doesn't get home much.  He had a surprise for us too, he has his hair cut for the first time since grade 8.  My youngest cousins don't even remember Brad with short hair.  I must admit I loved his long hair, he has such beautiful curls -I have to pay a lot to get my hair like that  :)  This is my Grandma, she was so happy to have Bradley, I mean Brad home again.

My Uncle Dennis gave Ella her favourite present.  Her own digital camera.  She actually took some good pictures.  I'll post a few when I get them loaded on the computer.  That's Uncle Stefan in the orange shirt, and Daddy of course.  It was hard to get a picture of Ella because she always wanted to take a picture at the same time -too cute.

As you know, we made the trip home ok.  The weather could have been nicer, but Daddy is a very good driver and our vehicle has 4-wheel drive.  This is Ella and Daddy playing with her favourite gift from Daddy and I.  We got a log building kit from Lehman's.  They are wood and nicely stained.  We got the big kit because I know Daddy will play with them as much as Ella does. 

Daddy's special gift this year was a scythe.  I know it seems a little odd, but Colin was very pleased.  Now he can get the grass and weeds that grow around the barns and greenhouse that are too inconvenient to use the gas trimmer.  He also thinks it will be helpful in the pumpkin patch.  We're lucky, Robbie, who is part of the OVFC has a scythe and is very informative.  He's actually very excited about Colin getting a scythe and has offered to help Colin get it set up and learn to care for it properly.  It's made of Austrian steel and not the large heavy American scythe that most people are familiar with.  If the handle were made my size, I would be able to use it comfortably.

We had a good time on the 27th at Colin's folks house.  Ella always has so much fun playing with her cousins Brittany and Jared.  This is a nice picture of Ella with Brittany and her Uncle Glenn (Colin's BIL).  Ella always takes a little while to 'warm up' to Glenn, she's like that with everyone that has any form of facial hair.  I don't know why??

We had the family over again on New Year's day.  At first Colin's sister Elizabeth wasn't going to be able to come, but things changed so we were all able to celebrate the start of a New Year.  Supper went well and I was able to use my new Kitchenaid dutch oven.  The rest of the Christmas season will be quiet and just time spent enjoying Ella and Colin, though Colin must work every day.

Living the Father's Will

You know what happens when you find something out about your past that is seemingly irrelevant, but so unexpected that it startles you?  It makes you seek God more, because it proves to me that there are things in and around my life right now that I cannot possibly know.  The influence I have on people may never be known.  It's just a fluke I happened to find this one out, and really, it's not that important, but you know what?  It could have been!  That really tells me that I need to focus not on what influence I might have on others, but what influence Christ can have through me on others.  Isn't that an amazing thought?

The thing is, in order for Christ to influence others through me, I have to be willing to let Him work in my life.  I have to be willing to see His will come to fruition in my life.  I have to be willing to want whatever He wants, even if I don't feel like wanting it.  That's not easy, and honestly, I struggle with it.  The only thing I can do is cry out to God.

Through His grace, I can find strength.  I know it seems an over-used phrase, but He has given me so much more than I could ever deserve!  It's so amazingly true!

God is great.  Let Him work in your life today.  You never know who's around the corner watching.

In Christ's Life,
Sheila

Menu Plan Monday -28 December 09




We've had a lovely Christmas holiday so far.  For us, the Christmas season isn't over until Epiphany on January 6th.  Ella's getting a little snuffly and her cough is coming back.  After New Year's I'll have to talk to the RNP and see if we should get the x-ray (as she suggested before Christmas).  Things are fairly quiet this week.  May do some baking, I got some new cookbooks:  Heirloom Baking  and Food and Cooking of Russia  and Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Have you seen Julie and Julia?  It's a great movie, I hope to find it on sale tomorrow.

Monday:
hot dogs


bacon and eggs -my chickens are doing so well, I've got eggs stacking up in the fridge.  I need to find some new recipes that use lots of eggs.


Tuesday:
grocery day

stuffed chicken and roast potatoes

Wednesday:
pizza

quiche -potatoes, chives, cheese and ham 



Thursday:    New Year's Eve

pizza

beef fajitas -a new freezer recipe  update -my sweet husband took us out for supper to the local restaurant who we supply with bacon.  I have a very yummy chicken souvlaki and Colin had a herb-crusted half chicken -yum!



Friday:        New Year's Day
leftovers from last night and pb & h for anyone else  :)


beef bourguignon - we're having our parent's over, Colin's sister is working for friends so their family can't come.  This is a new recipe so I hope it's as yummy as it looks.  update:  Colin's sister is able to come after all!!  and now I have the rest of the menu planned:
garlic bread
Christmas cookies 



Saturday:
perogies 

buttermilk chicken thighs and garlic Parmesan bread sticks -also another new freezer meal  



Sunday:
French toast

leftover bourguignon 

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As I've mentioned before, I am kind of obsessed with finger foods, pot stickers, apps, dips and the like. So, naturally, I love New Year's Eve, the holiday most conducive to party foods. No heavy, formal meals at the dining room table...it's all about hand-held foods that you can graze on during dance breaks throughout the night.

We're going to a black tie potluck this New Year's Eve and so our house has become a sort of test kitchen over the past couple weeks, as I try to determine exactly what I'm going to bring.

Although this one didn't make the cut, I thought I would share it anyway because it's very easy to make and is great for snacking. The recipe is found here on Happy Herbivore. Give them a try if you're still searching for what to eat while you watch the ball drop!

Stick Figure Family at FreeFlashToys.com
Make your Stick Figure Family at FreeFlashToys.com

Just What I Figured...

http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/2009/12/09/2009-12-09_new_dockers_ad_campaign_for_soft_khakis_brings_charges_of_sexism_over_.html

 I wondered how long it would take the Feminists to get all worked up about the Dockers' ad.  They sure don't like it pointed out that there was a time that 'men were men' and maybe it's time they were men again.  It's so funny, the Feminists allegedly started so women could have the right to chose the life they want.  But really, they want ALL the world to be the way they wanted.  She-Devil type women, ruling over weak, child-like men - and heaven help the man or woman who thinks otherwise!!

Time to take society back!!!!!


We're home safe and sound after a few busy, fun-filled days.  The drive was ok, I'm certainly glad my wonderful husband was driving -I feel so safe in his hands.  It was rain/snow most of the way home, but not too bad.  The weather really took a turn between Bancroft and Denbigh, but I was asleep so that was ok too  :)  But boy, you can draw a line on the highway the moment you reach Renfrew County!!!  The roads here are a mess!  They look like they haven't been touched in days. 

We made it home by 6:30, really good time considering the conditions.  We were starving because all the restaurants were closed.  I forgot about it being a kind of holiday, so everywhere closed early.  We didn't have much in the house because I wasn't planning on making supper -everything's frozen.  Grandma took Ella home and I found some perishky in the freezer for Daddy and me. 

I'm making some dinner rolls for the Fletcher Christmas this afternoon and waiting for Ella and Grandma to come home.  Then we'll have fun and open our presents!  Only Santa came to Scarborough so there is quite a pile here still.  I can't wait, I really think I picked some good presents this year.

Merry Christmas!


Christmas was absolutely wonderful!  Plus that, our dogs were cute the whole time!  Funny that, since they always are...  Anyway, here are some fun pictures from the past few days, in no particular order!


We had company over last night for Christmas dinner, and so I grabbed the opportunity to get some nice family pictures to put by my bed at Bible School! 


 My Mum and I always have a ton of fun... notice half of Bunny in the air on the right?


 My Mum making faces at the dog while she shivers with excitement over the fact that she's about to be allowed to rip up old wrapping paper.  Tee hee!


My Mum with a giftie.  :-)


Christmas morning goodies!


Christmas Eve breakfast: Grittibanz!  Usually reserved for December 5th which is 'Sammi Claus Tag' in Switzerland, but this year we changed it up a bit.








Christmas Eve dinner: Beleigtebrotli, a family tradition on Christmas Eve, that in Switzerland is a year-round thing.  We're a bit crazy, we are!

 
 Me, a present, and a cute puppy dog.  Awww, Bunny!


 
 My Mum was very clever, and got me boxes of little things I'll need or want at school, such as tape and rubber bands and tea and soup and a mug, and paper clips, and a nail clipper, and Gravol... yeah, it's fun.  :-)



All in all, it was a smashing Christmas.  I love my family, and I love the Lord.  He is so good!

"Give me ears to hear Your Spirit, Give me feet to follow through, Give me hands to touch the hurting, And the faith to follow You"  - 'I Will Go', from Steve Green

Hugs all,

Sheila



Hope your Christmas was full of vegan treats!
I can't comment too much on this flan because it was made by my mom for Christmas lunch...but it was too pretty to not take a picture of! Lentils, veggies and plenty of spices in a buckwheat pastry..yum! It is reminiscent of a quiche and so would make a great addition to any brunch spread. Thanks, Mom!



Our little family hopes you had a very merry Christmas.


A lovely Christmas Day was had by all. The living room looks like a bomb has hit it. But what's the fun of tidying up on Christmas Day? I love poinsettias and was happy I followed my last minute instinct to treat ourselves to one. Those plants say "Christmas" to me as much as a tree does.

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Just a brief note to wish everyone a very Merry Blessed Christmas.  We're celebrating with Mom's family this year and hope everyone is having a good time with loved ones.



Farmers See Baby Jesus


Merry Christmas!

Before all the chaos ensues, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your readership and wish those of you who celebrate the merriest of Christmases. Hope you enjoy all those tofurkys and other vegan delicacies and can rest your head while waiting for Santa tonight, knowing that you are truly contributing to peace on earth.

If you're still searching for last minute gifts, how about a donation to farmsanctuary.org, in hopes of a future full of respect and appreciation for the planet we live on and the creatures we share it with?

And finally, because the Muppets are awesome, here is a clip from "A Muppet Family Christmas" from 1987, one of my favourites as both a child and adult. In this clip, the Swedish Chef learns a lesson in compassion while attempting to cook Big Bird - and even forgoes plans to make a Christmas turkey in favour of a vegan-friendly meal. Although not on youtube because of copyright issues, if you get a chance to see it I highly recommend the newest Muppets Christmas movie, "Letters to Santa" (from 2008) - they even eat a tofu turkey in that one! Even muppets are learning the awesomeness that is veganism.



All the best to you and yours,

Mary
"This is Vegan"

Hurray for Dockers

Has anyone else seen this Dockers ad??  It's fabulous.  I'm surprised the Feminists haven't made them take it down.  They don't like it when people point out that it's time for men to be men again. 

Maybe us 'old fashioned' women are having an effect??
Once a year, on Christmas morning, our family likes to eat kedgeree for breakfast. It's very challenging to find the finnan haddie fish, but our local trusty Safeway has some in today!

Kedgeree became popular in the UK during the reign of Queen Victoria and was served at breakfast in the homes of the wealthy. The name of the dish may be Indian in origin, but it came initially from Scotland. The dish was taken to India by troops serving the British Raj and it is no doubt in India where the kedgeree gained its curry spices. The combination of smoked fish, rice, eggs and spices became popular amongst British colonials in India and made its way back to Britain. Since then, it has become a British classic.

Milk-poached finnan haddie, hard-boiled eggs, fresh chopped parsley, butter, cream, cayenne pepper and saffron are the ingredients I use. Oh and long grain white rice, too!

The British Raj contingent is alive and well in Gig Harbor, Washington.

A Christmas Feast



We have a little holiday tradition in our house, in that every year, the Sunday before Christmas, we crack a bottle of red and make a Christmas feast for two. When it comes to December 24-26 (this year, 27) we have dinners and parties galore and there is little time for celebrating the season at home. As such, a few years ago we decided to start doing our own little Christmas, just before the big show.

Since going veg this feast has always included a tofurky. Up until this year it was of the boxed variety, which is fine, but can hold no soy candle to homemade seitan roast (the same one we made at Thanksgiving). We also made a round of stuffing from a recipe on Fat Free Vegan and mashed potatoes with garlic and kale from How it All Vegan. I can't take credit for finding that potato recipe...my vegan cousins brought it to a family Christmas party we had a few weeks ago and has quickly become a staple in our house. Everything is smothered in miso mushroom gravy, also from How it All Vegan.

Paul also baked a pumpkin cheezecake for dessert, even though I begged him not to. I am going to be on a sugar high well into 2010.

The dinner was delicious but even better were the leftovers. Monday's lunchtime was met with seitan roast on 12 grain bagels with hummus and spinach!

Christmastime


And here I am, to make a post.  Finally!  I'm so sorry my posting has been so... non-existant.  Except for a couple tests posts, that is.  See, my internet access will be very lmimited at school, and I wanted to make sure my roundabout ways of email posting and so on actually worked.  :-)  In any case, on to more exciting things!

First off, my lack of posting hasn't been due to lack of things to post about!  It's just I honestly haven't felt like sitting down to do it.  So, here's an overview of the last week or so.  It's Christmastime!  I can't believe yesterday was the first of advent already, it's so wonderful to be celebrating Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, and all because of our blessed Saviour.  He is so amazing.



The tree is well-decorated, and we're enjoying its beauty.

 

I'm enjoying spending time with my family and hugging them lots and lots, because I won't get to when I'm away.  I'll miss them terribly.  (This is my Daddy and I)



The night before my Mum's birthday, we went to a local reenactment of Bethlehem the night Christ was born, and it was beautiful.  It was the only time we've had any snow at all this year, and it lasted probably a total of 12 hours.  But here is me in the line-up, enjoying the falling flakes and feeling Christmas-y!

 

The morning of my Mum's birthday (you can see the remnant of snow outside), she came out to find that I had covered the livingroom floor with balloons!  She really enjoyed that.  I had also stayed up until 1:40am the night before, baking a birthday cake for her!

Thursday was my last day of work, and I enjoyed it a lot.  The children are such a joy, and I will really miss them.  I'm so glad for those opportunities.


And now I'm going to go listen to more lectures for Bible School, and do a bit of reading in Isaiah.  Who knows, maybe some crocheting is in order?

Hugs,
Sheila

Christmas Fairy Tale

First she asked for brand new dresses

Then she asked for new-do tresses

The wings she sports are new and red

Don't tell I said this: she's an airhead

Last, not least, a brand new wand

Her every wish is my command


I'm hoping to get on Santa's Poetry Go-Kart. This is my first attempt at writing verse after some excellent reading suggestions and encouragement from Titus the Dog.

So ... now Christmas Fairy has some nice new poinsettia-red wings. She likes her hair tousled. She wouldn't let me anywhere near her with the glue gun to fix those ringlets. She's on strike as you can see. She's lolling on a branch of our pretty Christmas tree, eyes not wide open, with that hand in the air. Yes Ms. Fairy, I will create a new wand for you. I just need the Musician Son to let me have an old guitar string so I can fashion the bit that you like to have through your magic hand. Ouch! A bit of cardboard cut into a star and covered with tinfoil and attached to the guitar string will be how I do this little job for you. This will be major work for me as you know very well that sort of crafting isn't really my thing. But I love you and so a new wand you shall have before Christmas Eve. How's that for a promise to keep?

Fairy has let me know, in no uncertain terms, that she has already noticed that the director's chair ornament has been placed on the tree in honor of Santa and The Director Husband. She is not well pleased with me for being so slack about the wand. Believe me, we are both looking forward to her being the star on top of our tree.





I finally remembered to take a picture of our Advent table.  It's hard to see our Advent tree.  Ella has really enjoyed putting on a decoration every day.   Yesterday she realized there is only 4 decorations left.








Here's my beautiful girl enjoying supper by candlelight.   She is getting so excited.  Everyday I get told "it's almost CHRISTMAS EVE!!!!!!"  And the face that accompanies the exclamation is pricesless.  She's so happy to be heading to Auntie Belinda and Uncle Stefan's for Christmas.  I'm happy because we will be able to go to St Mary Magdalene (my church) for Midnight Mass (if this cold doesn't get any worse).  I love to go to Midnight Mass, it feels so special.  I hope Ella can get through the service.  I'm planning on taking Daddy and Uncle Stefan with us, so if Ella gets too fidgety, I'm sure they will be more than happy to take her out for a walk around the block -neither are big church goers, but both admit that my church makes it more interesting.

We're taking it easy today.  Maybe a little house cleaning, but not too much.  I don't think Ella's feeling well today, she's very clingy/snuggly.  Maybe we'll just sit, snuggle and read Christmas books until Grandma comes.  Then I'll let Grandma take over snuggle duty and then get some work done.


We're really getting close now.

Monday:
sandwiches

ribs -I didn't make them the other day
 

Tuesday:
hot dogs

chicken cacciatore and roast potatoes

 

Wednesday:
soup -not sure what kind

sloppy joes -from freezer


Thursday:  Christmas Eve

heading to Scarborough as early in the morning as possible.  Hopefully no later than 10.
 

Friday:  Christmas!!!!



Saturday: St. Stephen's day/ Boxing Day

home again after a brief stop at my Dad's as we drive by.

spaghetti for supper 



Sunday:
french toast

Christmas supper at Grandma and Grandpa Fletcher's home


See what I'm an Organizing Junkie has planned for the holidays.
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