Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm leaving on a jet plane ....

I am off to visit my sister and her family and my mom and dad for a week! I am very excited, but this is the first time in 18 years I've ever traveled anywhere for more than a day without my husband and/or my girls. I am very excited to see my family and especially my niece, Alandria (5) and my new nephew, Xander (2 1/2 months). Baby cuddles and little kid chatter make my heart soar!
On the other hand, I am worried about my husband and kids at home. My husband has reassured me over and over again that they will be just fine ... but, I don't want them to be too fine! I want them to still need me! I never imagined that my heart would be so torn ....
I will enjoy my time away, but will look forward to being reunited with my own family in a week.
Here I go .....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Aerosol AND organic?

I saw this product at Wal-Mart today. Really?? Pancake and waffle batter in an aerosol can can be organic? To me, "aerosol" and "organic" shouldn't be in the same sentence!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

It's all about the coffee ...

Coffee is simply part of who I am. From the time I was a little girl, I can remember my mom waking me up for school and sharing her cup of coffee with me. Pretty soon, rather than share her cup, she would bring me my own cup of coffee. I remember being in grade 3 and opening up my thermos at lunchtime and in it was coffee. For most of my life, the coffee I enjoyed was instant coffee - Taster's Choice. However, in recent years, I have come to enjoy a much richer, fuller taste of coffee. It's no secret that my husband and I enjoy Starbucks, but we mostly brew it at home.

Last week, my husband was given a sum of money to buy us an espresso machine. Things have been very tight financially around our house and of all the things we really need, an espresso machine was not on the list! However, this money was specifically given for that purpose. We found the machine we wanted, found it on sale and then got an even better deal on it! We brought home our new "baby" ... "Collaboration with BMW Group DesignworksUSA and Saeco Italy Creates the New Starbucks® Sirena." We have spent the last few days, brewing over and over again until we've got it just about right ... the perfect espresso ... appreciating the layers ... the crema, the heart and the body.

I attended a Ladies Conference with my friend, Rhonda, last weekend and one of the points made at the conference involved coffee! We were encouraged to make our relationships worthy of a second cup of coffee. You see, we can all meet someone and enjoy one cup of coffee with them. We can bluff our way through one conversation ... our marriage is spectacular, our children are wonderful, we have all the self-confidence needed to conquer the world! An "instant coffee" relationship.

However, in actuality, people are looking for authenticity in relationships. We need to be honest with each other, admitting our faults, admitting our fears, sharing our discoveries, learning from each other, bearing one another's burdens. Once our conversations and relationships move to that second cup of coffee, it is much more difficult to hide. Honesty begins to show. Authenticity develops. Yes, this does take an investment of time and energy, however the dividends are immeasurable!

I'm lifting a glass of warm, rich espresso ... here's to you and your relationships ... may you take the time to invest in someone else ... enjoy that second cup of coffee with them ... allow yourself to be authentic.
May you enjoy the crema, heart and body of not only coffee, but of relationships as well!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Yum ....

We had company last weekend and I served this for dessert! Absolutely scrumptous! Definitely worth sharing the recipe ...

Prep Time:
15 min
Total Time:
3 hr 15 min

12 servings, 1 slice (103 g) each

What You Need!
2 cups orange sorbet or sherbet, softened
1 pkg. (250 g) PHILADELPHIA Brick Cream Cheese, softened
1 can (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup orange juice
3 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

Make It!
LINE 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil. Spread sorbet onto bottom of prepared pan to form even layer. Freeze 10 min.
MEANWHILE, beat cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Gradually add condensed milk and orange juice, beating until blended. Gently stir in Cool Whip. Spread over sorbet in pan.
FREEZE 3 hours. To unmold, invert pan onto plate; remove foil.

Saving money ...

As a 'stay-at-home' mom, it has always been my feeling that because I wasn't contributing to the household income, at least I could help save money by buying smart. I have always shopped according to the sales and made my meal plans with the weekly flyers in front of me. In the past I have been an avid coupon user and have recently started using them again.

Yesterday I got a great deal! 'Feminine products' were on sale at Shoppers Drug Mart for $1.99. I had a $2.00 off coupon!! All I had to pay were the taxes ... so the total was $0.40 for 4 packages!

However, my hubby headed to Canadian Tire to pick up some stuff for our van. He had a scratch and save coupon I had given him from the weekend flyers and ended up scratching "Save $5.00". Then he swiped his CT MasterCard and used his "money on the card" to cover the rest of the cost. His total ... $0.00!!
So, he won .... this time!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Are all your eggs in one basket?

So, over the course of the last several weeks, I have been concerned that my husband and I have 'put all our eggs in one basket' so to speak.

Wikipedia says ... "'Don't put all your eggs in one basket' is an idiomatic phrase meaning that one should not focus all one's resources on one hope, possibility or avenue of success."

I realized this morning that indeed, our 'eggs are all in one basket', but that basket belongs to God!! If 'all our eggs' are in HIS basket, what do we have to be concerned about!? Oh yeah ... I am focusing all my resources on one Hope, Possiblity and Avenue of Success!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Technology is Precious ....

Very early in 2009, during a phone conversation with my sister, I noticed some apprehension in her voice. When I questioned her, she just said she was scared. I questioned her further until I answered my own question, "You think you're pregant?" ... "No." ... "You KNOW you're pregnant!" ... "Yes."

Because of her medical history, getting pregnant for her was very risky. She had been warned that there could be problems with the baby or with her own body. She had been told that miscarriage was a very real possibility.

I was the first person she told that she was pregnant and together we began to believe for a healthy pregnancy resulting in a healthy baby. We held our breath as the first 3 months passed with no sign of miscarriage. Then we waited patiently for the ultrasound to show that the baby was perfect in every way!

Although she was scheduled for a C-section in 3 days, Charlene went into labour early yesterday morning. My mom called me and let me know that Charlene had been admitted into the hospital. I e-mailed my brother-in-law knowing he would get his e-mails on his blackberry. He replied with 2 words ... "in surgery". Just a few moments later, my mom called on her way to the hospital. She had her cell phone up to one ear talking to my brother-in-law and my dad's cell phone up to her other ear talking to me! The message was passed to me ... 7lb 7oz ... 21 inches long ... lots of black hair ... and then ... my mom put the two phones together so I could hear THIS ...
the beautiful cry of a newborn baby from 1400km away. What can I say except in situations like this, "Technology is Precious!"

Alexander L. Kloster (aka Xander)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

To Do List ...

For July and August ...
Things that are done:

-Finish schoolwork with my kids - didn't finish until the end of July, but they both are Honour Students!
-Make appointment for MacKenzie to get her wisdom teeth out
-Do some sewing ... mostly mending
-Go to Canada's Wonderland with our kids and their friends
-Clean the carpets in the school/playroom and the dining room
-Paint the school/play room
-Load in the school/playroom with only things the girls will need for highschool (gasp!)
-Sign Savannah up for a 3 week course in "Advanced Theatre and Acting for Teens"
-List old homeschooling materials on eBay
-Spend 4 days in Niagara Falls with our family, Andrew's sister's family and Andrew's mom and dad camping at the KOA (swimming, campfires, a few local activities and lots of good food)
-Organize my kitchen cupboards and drawers and give away anything I don't need
-Lose the last couple of pounds to make it 20 lbs lost and keep a regular work-out routine
-Freecycle old homeschooling stuff not worth selling on eBay
-Organize schoolwork for 2009/2010
-Read some good books
-Watch some favourite movies
-Give my blog a new look, update it and get back to writing on it ... even my DAD mentioned that I hadn't posted anything since April!

Things not yet done:

-Paint the downstairs bathroom
-Go to the Toronto Zoo
-Spend some time at Andrew's gramma's cottage
-Frame some photos
-Clean the family room carpet
-Go to the beach
So, what have YOU been up to??

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Wishes and Dreams ...

I have enjoyed reading a series of books by Robin Gunn Jones called "Sisterchicks". In each book a set of friends travel to a different part of the world and discover not only new cultures and scenery, but new truths about God. These are books that are light and fun to read, but full of reminders that God cares about the intricate details of our lives.

In the most recent edition, the Sisterchicks go to Britain and a paragraph near the end of the book stood out to me ...

"It seems that when a wish comes true, it's sweet and satisfying. And when it's over, that's it. But a dream is something that starts in the part of your heart where your passions lie. It doesn't go away."

What are your dreams? Maybe you've lost sight of them or burried them for so long that you don't even remember them. Start with discovering what you are passionate about and then let God lead you from there. I'm ready to begin the process ... want to join me? I've had lots of wishes come true, but dreams? Now that's a different story. Honestly, I have to start at the very beginning because I don't even know what my own dreams are! So, you've been invited to come along. We could have our own "Sisterchicks" adventure into dreams coming true!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Then Shall Live .....

Last week my husband, Andrew, had the opportunity to do the vocal producing for our friend, Tammy, as her dream of recording a CD came true. The next morning I was excited to listen to the final product, but one song in particular was highlighted to me. The lyrics seemed to jump into the air and grip me ... they challenged me more than anything, but also inspired me. May you be challenged and inspired today as well.

I Then Shall Live (written by Gloria Gaither)
I have put the words in bold that were highlighted to me ....

I then shall live as one who's been forgiven.
I'll walk with joy to know my debts are paid.

I know my name is clear before my Father;

I am His child and I am not afraid.
So, greatly pardoned, I'll forgive my brother;

The law of love I gladly will obey.

I then shall live as one who's learned compassion.

I've been so loved, that I'll risk loving too.

I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;

I'll dare to see another's point of view.

And when relationships demand commitment,

Then I'll be there to care and follow through.

Your Kingdom come around and through and in me;

Your power and glory, let them shine through me.

Your Hallowed Name, O may I bear with honor,

And may Your living Kingdom come in me.

The Bread of Life, O may I share with honor,

And may You feed a hungry world through me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Clean Laundry ...

Everyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with my clothesline. I LOVE hanging out clothes to dry and I even defied the cold this past weekend and dried my sheets on the line! My mom sent me this forward today and I thought it was worth sharing ...

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood.
The next morning while they are eating breakfast,
The young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
"That laundry is not very clean", she said.
"She doesn't know how to wash correctly.
Perhaps?she needs better laundry soap."

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry,
The young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a
Nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:

"Look, she has learned how to wash correctly.
I wonder who taught her this."

The husband said, "I got up early this morning and
Cleaned our windows."
And so it is with life. What we see when watching others
Depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

25 Random Things ...

This was something I did on Facebook, but not all my friends are on Facebook, so I'm adding this here as well. This is simply a list of 25 random things about me ...

1. This is hard to do because I very often define myself by what I am to other people ... mostly my husband and kids.
2. I have been married almost 17.5 years which is quite an accomplishment these days. We both are committed to working hard at staying married and we often have long, in-depth conversations about our feelings. I have only ever been in love with my husband.
3. I like to think I look young and act young, but inside I am very old-fashioned.
4. I have homeschooled my children for their entire education ... we're up to grade 10 and grade 8 now.
5. If I have the remote, I like to watch home-renovation shows or real estate shows (Divine Design, Sarah's House, House to Flip, House Hunters) ... HGTV and TLC for me.
6. I learned how to run sound so my husband wouldn't have to hire a sound person and so we could travel as a family and I am good at it.
7. I believe that if everyone would simply tell the truth, there would be far less trouble in the world. The truth does indeed set people free.
8. One thing that my husband really wanted me to do and I did not want to do, but now I'm glad I did was pierce my ears.
9. I am a control freak (but learning how to overcome this!)
10. I don't truly relax unless my house is tidy.
11. I am an insanely jealous wife.
12. I bite my fingernails ... yes, still.
13. I had a back injury 3 1/2 years ago and ended up spending 7 weeks in bed on heavy meds, but through God and common sense I was able to avoid surgery.
14. I am very close to my sister even though we live very far apart.
15. I am afraid of elevators (which is rooted in the fact that my sister got stuck in one when we were kids. Funny, she isn't afraid of elevators and I am!)
16. I live across the road from my in-laws and my gramma-in-law and I'm fine with that.
17. As I age, I hope to have the grace of my Gramma Cooling, the gentleness of my husband's Gramma Martin and the wisdom of them both.
18. It took me 3 tries to get my driver's licence (when I was 17), but I've never had a ticket or an accident!
19. My dad worked for the Bank of Montreal until I was 9 and then he started pastoring which he still does.
20. My mom knows how to give the best presents ever ... even the tiniest things have significant meanings.
21. My real lname is "Vicki", not "Victoria" and I am named after my Grampa ... William Victor Cooling.
22. I have a silly fear of being cold ... ask anyone who has visited in the winter and discovered how I keep my woodstove going! I NEED to know that my furnace has oil and my garage has a pile of wood.
23. When I am angry or stressed, I clean house.
24. I would rather drive an older vehicle, live in a "tired" house and have "tired" furniture than be in debt.
25. I truly and absolutely believe that God not only loves me, but that He cares about even the tiniest detail of my life. Every cell in my body loves God, but I am often confused by His "kids".

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The "not-so-fortunate" Fortune Cookie ...

Our family recently went out for Chinese food. Part of the experience is always getting a good laugh at the fortune cookies! We each opened ours, shared the 'wisdom', and then watched as Savannah's mouth dropped open! Her fortune cookie simply said ...

Fortune not found

Abort? Ignore? Retry?


It isn't fair ...

I have recently discovered a product that I really like, but it isn't fair that I have to use it!! Picture me stamping my feet and yelling, "IT ISN"T FAIR"!!

We should NOT have to fight wrinkles AND zits at the SAME TIME!!!!

It simply isn't fair ....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A video to share ....

It is a wonderful feeling to see our kids involved in something great! When my hubby was asked to be part of "A Season of Joy" (The Singing Christmas Tree) last year, our girls were invited to be part of the youth choreography team. What a joy to see them work hard, make great friends and perform so beautifully.

Each evening my husband shared a very brief testimony during the performance of one song. This clip shows that as well as the girls dancing. In this clip MacKenzie is the dancer seated directly beside Andrew and Savannah enters from the left side part way through. Enjoy!

ps. Lots more clips of Andrew can be seen on his Facebook Fanpage.