Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Recipes

We had a few new things this year, and they were winners!! Cranberry Salsa, Methodist Potatoes, and A Cherry Danish. We had a lot of old favourites too...and we just had a LOT of good food all around, but these new recipes are worth trying. First up -


I saw this recipe on, and it looked delicious. Guess what? It is! It's easy to make and gorgeous to look at too:-) This is all it is - make fresh salsa, but instead of tomatoes, use fresh cranberries. It's really one of those life-changing wow moments, and I feel our holidays will never be the same. As with all fresh salsa's, you can alter the amounts of ingredients to suit your tastes, I loosely followed the recipe suggestions for my first attempt (mostly I eyeballed their approximate suggestions, but didn't actually measure)

Notes:  Feel free to adjust this basic recipe to taste. One recipe makes enough for 2 blocks of cream cheese.  Often I’ll just serve it over one block at a time and save the extra salsa for another night.

12 oz bag fresh cranberries, washed
2 jalapenos, minced (adjust according to taste)
1/2 cup sliced green onions, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar, more to taste if desired
2 8oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature

Place cranberries, jalapenos, green onions and cilantro in a food processor and process until fine.  Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in lime juice, salt, and sugar.  Chill in fridge for about 2 hours or more.  To serve, spread cream cheese evenly in a pie plate or other shallow serving dish.  Spread salsa on top and serve with crackers.

Wheat Thins are amazing with this, but other crackers or even corn chips would be fine too.


This recipe is a family recipe from our friends who joined us for Christmas this year. They are wonderful!!

1/2 C onions sautéed in 1/4 C butter
1 (2 lb) bag frozen potatoes (small diced potatoes - could use "fresh potatoes" too, I'd imagine)
1 can cream of chicken or celery soup
1 lrg pkg cheddar cheese, cubed
16 oz sour cream
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper

2C corn flakes
1/4 C butter

Mix everything together and place in casserole dish (9x13). Top with 2 C corn flakes coated in 1/4 C melted butter. Refrigerate, until ready to bake (can be made a day in advance). Bake at 350 for 40-50 mins, or until cooked through


This recipe is from Kraft, and it's an easy "make ahead" for Christmas brunch. It tastes like (only waaaay better) the danishes you buy at a grocery store bakery. You could substitute the cherry pie filling for another flavor too!

2 cans crescent dinner rolls
2 tubs (8oz ea) cream cheese spread (or use 8oz regular cream cheese)
1 1/2 C icing or powdered sugar, divided
1 egg white
1 t vanilla
1 can (21oz) cherry pie filling
1 to 2 T milk

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll one of the cans of crescent dough. Place in 9x13 baking pan; press into bottom of pan and press seams together to seal.

Beat cream cheese, 3/4C icing sugar, egg white, and vanilla with mixer on medium speed until well blended. Spread onto crust. Cover with pie filling. Unroll remaining can of crescent dough onto wax paper. Pat out dough to form 9x13 rectangle, pressing seams together to seal. Invert over pie filling to form top crust. Discard wax paper.

Bake 30-35 mins or until golden brown. Cool at least 20 min. Gradually add milk to remaining 3/4C icing sugar, beating well until blended and thick. Drizzle over warm dessert. Cut into 24 rectangles to serve. Store leftover dessert in the fridge.

Master Bathroom

Who doesn't tear into their bathroom on Christmas Adam? Well...probably most people. Naturally though, we are not most people, and decided to take advantage of the long weekend, and the Christmas bonus - so we're getting the master bathroom done! It looks like we will try to be on track for getting this house on the market for August-ish, so renovations will be plenteous in the days ahead!

Kenna: Uh, did you know Dad turned your bathroom into a pile of rocks?

Our new chosen tiles. The flooring and two side walls of the shower stall will be the grey, and the back shower wall will be white (with light grey-ish marbled look to it), and the floor within the shower stall will be the cobblestones, to help with slippery-ness:-)

They go together well, we think (and hope!!)
The house had to be "jacked up" from the crawl space in the area of the bathroom door. The house had settled and it was discovered that the bathroom wall lies in between the joists underneath, instead of on one, so that allowed the weight of the wall/house to settle in that spot. There is a crack in that wall, and the door didn't close properly, so we knew the issue existed. This has to be dealt with before tile is laid, as any shift in the floor could crack the new tile. Thank goodness for Brian the handy-man! He can deal with these issues with relative ease.
The floor has to be sloped just a little bit, toward the drain

Taking a peek at the "look" and making sure all angles are right

Now the shower pan liner is down (heavy vinyl) and the next step is getting some tile on there!!
We checked out the plumbing supply place showroom on Boxing Day, and made our final fixture selections - we had picked out some "winners" online, but seeing in person is really the best way to go, for me anyway. We chose the Delta "Dryden" series, in brushed nickel. We got the plumbing parts for 'behind the wall' right away, and the fixtures should arrive in the mail on Tuesday.
This style, only this pic is showing it in stainless steel, not brushed nickel
The sink faucet - this pic is showing the brushed nickel colour
as far as the overall look of the bathroom - we are going for something like this:

We're switching it up a little - but the overall theme will be the same - simple, "easy", clean lines, to create a spacious feel. We are obviously not going 100% white everywhere, with grey floor tile, however, vanity, countertop and paint will all be white (while vanity and sink have not been 100% chosen out yet). So this inspiration is helping to keep us on track, even though we are changing it up just a little.

We have enough tile to do the floor in the main bathroom also, and that one will have a tub, so no cobblestones, but both bathrooms will have a similar feel, using the same tiles and fixtures.

Our theme for the inside of this house is/will be: grey, black and white. Partially because we love the look, but mostly because so does everyone else. Since we will be selling the house and not living in it, some of the choices we make are based on "mass appeal" and not personal preference. In fact, we've already had our mind changed (by others) on a few of our design choices/colour choices.

We'd really love to do a trough styled sink, which, with 2 faucets, would be the only way we'd be able to pull off a "double sink" in there due to also needing counterspace. So we are looking for something within our budget that is almost like the one above, only more narrow and long. We'll see what we can find!! Otherwise it's maybe opinion? What is yours? Do you go with 1 sink and have more counterspace, or 2 sinks and give up the majority of the counter?

Everyone keeps saying that 2 sinks in the master is pretty crucial, but I am of the opinion that counterspace in a master is also necessary for hair and makeup, so if it's gotta be one or the other, I'd take counterspace over the extra sink. What to do, what to do...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Gifts Thank You!

We had a wonderful Christmas, and this post will serve as a big THANK YOU note to all, especially those who were not present for the presents;-)

We celebrated this year with the Bolger family, everyone came into town, so that was really nice of course. Christmas Day, we also added our local friends-like-family, Tom and Chae, and Dale's parents to the mix, so we had a really full house and LOTS of presents to give and receive!

Brian's self portrait from a stocking stuffer gift from Mrs Kitty (Dale's mom)

Boxing Day fun. Grandpa is helping Grey build his Lego set - it was his gift from the Kennedy cousins gift exchange

New leggings and vest from Grandma B

Grey's big gift this year, from Mommy & Daddy - a brand new bike!! None of our kids have ever had a brand new bike before (always handmedown ones), so this was a pretty big deal for him!

A few favourite things - well, EVERYTHING is a favourite thing!! A "batting coach" (that long pole looking thing), Bey wheels, a football & stand for kicking it, and an apron!

Some family gifts. A Frozen themed "Sorry" game, and a Hippopotamus. We love the song "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas", so this will be our special Christmas stufftie. We named her Shirley, in honour of Shirley Temple, who sang the song, and who passed away this year. 

Kenna is wearing her apron, and holding a Frozen piggy bank, that lights up and sings the entire version of Let It Go when money is inserted (Thank you Uncle Dale;-). She is also holding a Tinkerbell fairy that actually flies.

I ordered one of these necklaces for my mom. I saw the style, and got her a K-13, as there are not many of this type of personalized jewelry that she can have that will fit everyone in her family! She has a larger more fancy style one with all the kids names on it, but when I saw this casual styled one, I thought it would be a nice variety for her. I mentioned to some of my sisters in law that I loved it and was tempted to also buy one for myself, but resisted. My brother Brent got me this beauty for Christmas. LOVE.

The kids were given led bed lamps for nighttime reading, and more Calvin & Hobbes collection books (their fave!). Grey got a much beloved Rescue Bot - Auto Bot - Dino Bot --- I am not entirely sure how that works or which one it is, but he loves it. Also foam swords and a candy cane hockey stick they got for advent

Brian got a flying helicopter, and he loves it!!

Lauren made us this "welcome" sign, and I love it! It means A Hundred Thousand Welcomes in Gaelic, and is pronounced "Cade Meal-eh Fault-eh" (we think! ;-)

I got the crèche for my Willow Tree nativity set. Oh my!! I love this set sooo much!! I think the only pc I am "missing" now, is a background row of stars. This is probably my favourite Christmas decoration.

Kenna bought this lovely sign for me at the Awana store;-) The kids did a wonderful job shopping for everyone at the store. Brian got a really heavy duty tape measure and 2 flashlights and a headlamp. Grey gave the flashlight and headlamp set, and gave Brian the wrapped gift saying "Here. You're going to like this one" :-) Grey gave me a $5 gift card to Dunkin Donuts, and I got a very nice travel coffee mug from Brooks (monogrammed randomly with a "W", lol!). He said, "Open it! There's something inside!" So I opened the mug, and there was a paper inside, so I pulled it out and read the "dishwashing etc" instructions on the made in China tag. :-D

Last years bird meets this years owl...and McD's furby from Grey. Haha
The kids are SOOOO excited to give the things they made and bought with their Awana points. When shopping at the Awana store, everything comes home wrapped and labeled, so I literally have no idea or input. The gifts are totally their choices, and it's really sweet to see how they think about what each person might like. Lauren has a little collection of windchimes hanging on her porch, and Kenna got her a really nice windchime to add to her collection. Sort of like last year, with the headless angel from Brooks (highlight moment of last year) "Here Mom, I got you this...but the head fell off". It was a 'willow tree styled' (knock off Willow Tree) angel to add to my nativity. Uhhh, unfortunately though, it didn't have a head :-D

Thank you all, friends and family near and far, for making our day full of fun and memories!

Monday, December 22, 2014


Well, I promised we wouldn't do it. But here we are with another exciting, family growing, announcement...

Can you guess?

Are you nervous?

I am!

I am definitely on my way to 40...but yet solidly in my 30's. So really - I'm young, right? RIGHT?! Please assure me!

I am definitely too young to be known as the crazy cat lady.

But here I am.

Yes - we got another cat. Have mercy!

I'd like to introduce you to Thatcher (Thatch & BT for short. In keeping with the Tom Sawyer theme for the kitties, we have named this little girl Becky Thatcher)

Can't see her? Haha!! Neither can we!

No...she's not imaginary.

Lil Thatch is the sister of Huck & Sawyer. They were born/lived in the industrial park where Brian works. Huck was caught at 6 weeks old, Sawyer was caught about a month later. Thatcher was caught on Thursday. She is 7 months old, and obviously extremely wild at this point. They were finally able to catch her in this large live trap, with a can of tuna fish.

She was taken to the vet immediately, and the vet couldn't even touch her. She had to be put to sleep to administer flea meds, and then while she was out, they spayed her and took care of all her other health needs.

It was decided that we would care for her, and attempt to tame her. This will be a lengthy process, no doubt. She came to our house immediately from the vet after she woke up. We opened the cage...and she's gone!

Well, not "gone". We are keeping her in the garage, but there are so many little nooks, crannies and "behind things" that she is extremely hard to get a peek at.

She is solid black, and looks just like Huck, only she has short/normal hair, not long hair (Huck's long hair is soooo gorgeous).

Step 1 - keep her in the garage, and don't try to catch her:-) We let Huck and Sawyer into the garage for lengthy periods of time, so hopefully, she'll start to get used to them, and think of the garage as home. We basically use the garage entrance as our front door, and our pantry, chest freezer and extra fridge are down there, so we are "around" without being threatening to her. She has been using the litter box we put down there, so that hurdle is already down:-)

Step 2 - we'll leave the garage to house door open, and let her come up into the house as she explores. Once she's in the house, we will attempt to "trap" (by closing the door) her in the master bedroom/bathroom. Again, by letting the other cats in there, but obviously we'll be around a lot more, so she can get used to people by being limited to a confined (but large enough) space.

Step 3 - attempt (adults only) to touch her.

Step 4 - give her away - If we are able to successfully tame her, we will find her a new home, as I am not interested in another indoor cat. If she is unable to be tamed, we can keep her as an outdoor cat. I don't mind throwing food outside for her - just don't want another cat in the house 24/7.

So we'll see how this goes! The kids like to browse around the perimeter of the garage and see if they can spot her from a distance. Kenna is beyond thrilled that we now have 1 girl cat to go with the two boys. Because now the cats match the people.

Yaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy. :-)

Christmas Updates 2014

Merry Christmas to all!

I neglected to send out Christmas cards this year. Time literally got away from me! Apologies to all, but here is the "online version" I just whipped up for you. Imagine receiving it in the mail and hanging it on your fridge so you can look at us all year!

We've had a very full year, while at the same time, it's been very normal and sort of boring on the whole. We've enjoyed 1 full year now of living in Chesapeake. With our awesome outdoor space, we've hosted more large parties than ever before. It is not uncommon to have 20+ (or 30+!) people here on an almost monthly basis. 

Most of our days are occupied with homeschooling, baking cookies (my new hobby), chasing after our new kittens, Huck & Sawyer, and extra curricular activities like piano lessons and sports practices. I still watch Sonny (4) & May (3) every day, and they add smiles to our daily life also.

The kids "about me" pictures on the side bar of this blog will tell you a bit about their favourite things, if you want to check that out:-)

We didn't do much travel this year, but did make a "quick" (two week) trip up to the Toronto area for an extended family reunion, and some good visits with my Grandpa, my Mom (who flew in for the reunion), other extended family, and my sister Lauryn, who is a gracious host to us "crazy Americans". The 13 hour drive seems short(ish), now that the kids are older and much better at handling that much time in a vehicle, so we anticipate making that trip a fun summer-ly tradition.

Brian has been giving 110% to his job, as always. He's an excellent advocate for the guys that work for him, and the company has been seeing some good work come in, and positive changes occurring over all. The industry (commercial construction/contracting) seems to be stable, in general, which is good news, as they have plenty of work to bid on. He is honourable in a profession that is usually less-than, which often equals a burden that he must take on personally. When others fall short on responsibility, he is always there to pick up the slack. We are exceedingly proud of all he has accomplished in the 6 years he has been there.

Thank you all, friends and family near and far, for loving us, praying for us, and laughing with us. We are blessed, and thankful. We appreciate you all so much, and wish so much that words could adequately convey how grateful we are for each of you.

Enjoying the journey, 

Brian, Darla, Kenna, Brooks & Grey

To read our yearly edition of In Other Words, click here

For our yearly pictures, watch the video below

Thursday, December 18, 2014

All About Kenna

A brief Q & A with Kennedy, who is currently 8.5 years old

Favorite colour?: Blue, but I change it pretty much every day

Best Friend?: Ella, I guess. Sarah will probably be my best friend when she comes back, but that will be awhile from now
{friend Sarah & family are missionaries in Papua New Guinea}

Favourite Food & Drink?: Ramen Noodle Soup and Root Beer

Favourite Movie?: Big Hero Six, and not just 'cause it's new but because it's really funny

Favourite Subject?: Do we have any subjects in school with science in it? {uuuh, yah. Science} Ok, well, nevermind. I'd say, Map Skills

Favourite thing to do?: Maybe, read. And clean my room. And sometimes singing and dancing

Favourite app?: Netflix

What will your next birthday cake be?: Frozen

What do you want to be when you grow up?: A babysitter

What do you like best about your family?: They are funny, and we always do fun stuff

What is the best thing about having two brothers?: Nothing

What is the worst thing about having two brothers?: How they wake you up, and you always have to make breakfast for them, and they always do disgusting stuff

What is the most memorable moment of your life?: The time we went to Canada, and we were going to a house, and Brooks shouted out "Little House on the Prairie", 'cause it was on the prairie

Favourite sport?: Does cheerleading count as a sport? If not, then soccer

What is your best advice?: Don't lie, don't steal, don't...I got nothin' else. The reason is you'll get in trouble, and lying is wrong, well to be exact, they are both wrong

Height: 49 inches (in the 10th percentile)  Weight: 57 lbs (31st percentile)

To read her old "about me's" click here

All About Brooks

A brief Q & A with Brooks, who is currently 7.5 years old

Favorite colour?: Green, blue & pink

Best Friend?: The Parkers, The Buttons, and The Curtis' and Ella

Favourite Food & Drink?: I like the-sagna, and pizza, and I love BLT's too, and pasta. OH! And ravioli! With root beer

Favourite Movie?: Big Hero Six, I'm not copying Kenna, I really do like it

Favourite Subject?: Science, because I like to learn about animals and stuff

Favourite thing to do?: Play

Favourite app?: Angry Birds Star Wars, Angry Birds, Sonic Jump and Minion Rush, and the story book Bible one

What will your next birthday cake be?: Calvin & Hobbes

What is the best thing about your family?: That Dad loves me, and you Mom

What is the best thing about having a brother and a sister?: I like Kenna, sometimes she's nice, and Grey likes to play cars with me, and sometimes Wii and boardgames with me. And I also like that Kenna lets me play with her Playmobil

What is the most memorable moment of your life?: Finding a dollar on the sidewalk

What do you want to be when you grow up?: A worker like Daddy

Favourite sport?: All the ones I play, which is, basketball, football, soccer, baseball, and I do like tennis and golf. I really want to play table tennis though

What is your best advice?: Help people clean, help people rake the yard, help people pick up pine cones or gumballs because how 'bout if you go barefoot and you step on them. And always ride in a car, and not in a plane. How about if the plane runs out of gas, you'll fall from the sky to death, but if your car runs out of gas you just have to walk a mile

Height: 50 inches (in the 59th percentile)  Weight: 53 lbs (44th percentile)

To read Brooks old "about me's" click here

All About Grey

A brief Q & A with our Lleyton Grey, who is currently 4.5 years old

Favorite colour?: Green

Best Friend?: Abram & Giavanna

Favourite Food & Drink?: Pizza with pepperoni's and oh-ka cola

Favourite Movie?: Up

Favourite Subject?: Reading

Favourite thing to do?: Play with Sonny

Favourite app?: Minion Rush and Subway Surfer

What do you want to be when you grow up?: A worker

What is the best thing about your family?: I don't know! I don't know what that means!

What is the best thing about having a brother and a sister?: They help me

What will your next birthday cake be?: I want it to be all like, pretty, like smooth {fondant?} Yes. Fondant. {Ok, but what will it look like?} um, green

Favourite sport?: I mostly like soccer

What is your best advice?: I don't know. I don't have any

Height: 43 inches (in the 64th percentile)  Weight: 41 lbs (61st percentile)

To read Grey's old "about me's" click here

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gallery Wall

So, since moving to our Chesapeake house, I've really not done a ton of decorating. I hung a few random things on existing nails in the walls. That was pretty much it.

I had a ton of canvases stacked on the mantel, and when I cleared the mantel for Christmas decor, I was inspired to get things where they "belong". A gallery wall is step one.
A friend of mine helped me with an approximate layout on the floor, and then, using command hooks, I set off to work! This is how I left it:-)...because I ran out of command hooks. There is still some space to fill, But worry not, I've got tons to hang still. Pictures, art, and more B's...
More to hang!
I would like to do a few pictures in the hall, also, I think. And we've got some floating shelves I'd like to put up, Basically, this gallery wall has barely put a dent in decor stash ready and waiting. Oh Boy!

Anyway, I've never done such a "mish-mash" gallery before, and so I was a little nervous of how it would turn out, but I am really loving the results so far!

Who Would Have Dreamed

I get that Christmas is so overly "hyped" in the world at large, that people shy away from declaring it as their favourite celebration, because one might assume that all the commercialism goes along with it. But I do like Christmas a lot, and it just might be my favourite. Each holiday has it's own things to celebrate, but Christmas just seems a little extra special.

When you really stop and think about the miracle of it all - it's a pretty big deal. And it's also entirely simple. Yet wrapped up in that simplicity are all the mysteries of the heavens. It's truly something full of awe.

And who would have dreamed, or ever foreseen
That we could hold God in our hands?
The Giver of Life is born in the night
Revealing God's glorious plan
To save the world

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Innkeeper - Short Story

This story is one worth listening to with your family this Christmas. I'll plan to have my family listen to it on the days leading up to Christmas, but I share it with you now, in case you'd like to also. ...better grab a tissue!

Begin watching at 00:50

If you are interested in downloading your own copy without the intro, click here

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tooth Fairy Mom

The tooth fairy tradition is proving to be quite a bit beyond my capabilities as a mom.

In my defense, the kids always seem to loose a tooth when I have no money on hand:-)

It is not uncommon for me to forget...So last Wednesday night, Daddy pulled out Brooks' 5th tooth!

I was admonished, excessively I might add, not to forget to place money under the pillow.

Naturally, come bedtime for me. I forgot. I've been harassed off and on every day since then. Kenna reminds us of the story of one of her teeth. I kept forgetting and one day, just handed her a dollar. She was glad for the dollar, but really wished it could have been done properly.

I feel guilty.

But not guilty enough to remember, obviously.

So last night, six days after the tooth fell out, when I went to check on him before I tucked myself in, I found this note by his head:

Needless to say, I busted out laughing, raided my purse for spare change, found 70c and put it in an envelope under his pillow.

Until the next tooth falls out... :-D

Missing Sam

We had a very sad week, last week. We heard the news through people/prayer chains at church on Monday evening - Samuel was hit by a car, and is being rushed to the hospital.

The rest of the news came shortly thereafter. Samuel died at 5pm on Monday December 1st.

Sam was 8 years old, in Kenna's class, and a friend of Brooks. His parents are Kenna's Sunday School teachers, and I am Molly's teacher (Sam's older sister). This is not to say that we are all best friends or anything, but we are certainly well enough connected to the family that this tragic accident makes a very big impact.

Sam was riding a Hot Wheels bike in his cul de sac on Monday afternoon at 3:30, when a neighbour, in a large van hit him. The police are saying it was just a complete accident and no charges were laid.

Don & Melynda, and their family - Hannah, Elijah, Molly, Nathan, Samuel (red tie), Noelle & Isaiah

Don, the Dad, is a medical doctor, and they decided a few years ago to become missionaries. They came to our church to attend the seminary that is there. and this picture is from his seminary graduation. They will be going to Bangladesh.

Sam's funeral was on Friday, and although very very sad, it was sweet too. My facebook status update from Friday perhaps says it best...

We sorrow, but not as those without hope. Sweet Sam is being laid to rest today. His funeral was a testimony to lives, rooted in faith, hope and love. Please continue to pray for Don & Melynda Curtis, as they walk the darkest of days a parent can face. Melynda, like a true mama, brave and strong, was sure to comfort my kids today, and make sure they were alright as they said goodbye to their friend. Sam is loved, and missed." Funerals are really not the best places for children - and it was very unfortunate that the first funeral my kids attended (that they will remember) was one of their friend. It was an open casket, and we opted not to take Grey for the viewing, but left it for a choice, with the other two. They choose to go, and I am glad they did.
Please pray with us for this family, and also the person who hit Sam - he is also going through a very dark time right now, and also for the other children that were outside playing and witnessed the accident. They seem to be extremely strong and living through grace, but with everything so new, and so many people involved, each grieving in their own way- there will be many hard times ahead as they face such a range of emotions.

Picture Video

Here are our family pictures from 2014, set to music. Can't believe another year has passed us by already!

Thursday, December 4, 2014


We had a wonderful "break from reality", also known as a little holiday/vacation. We had really had no plans, other than a Thanksgiving meal, for the holiday, since all our friends were out of town. Then about a month ago we were invited to spend Thanksgiving with our good friends, Sam & Heather. They were some of our very first friends here in Virginia, and they moved a few years ago, up to the Richmond area. So we set off to enjoy some time with them!

The drive to their new house is 2hrs, door to door, and took less than 1/2 a tank of gas. And we learned our Christmas playlist on the ipod is about 1 song shy of exactly two hours. Pretty painless! As we approached their neighbourhood, we drove by this house, which I am quite certain is visible from space shuttles, and the long lost planet Pluto. I have NEVER in all my life seen an entire house, the surface of the windows, the surface of the doors, the roof...completely covered in lights.

 It was so bright it gave me a headache just looking at it. They must have blackout curtains on the windows to be able to live there!

I did a bunch of instagram pics of our time there. Brian and Sam were back to all their old competitions within moments:-) They have a new puppy Bichon/Poodle mix (a Poochon), Murphy, and the kids adored him! They also loved Shivers, the hamster, and the turtles. Grey really loves animals, so he was sad to go and leave those turtles.

We stayed with them for two nights, and then on Friday afternoon it was off to Williamsburg for phase two of our getaway. A time share. One of Brian's coworkers owns a time share, and there was a "deal" for friends of time share holders ages ago, for a two nights stay for $100. We paid for it (doesn't expire), probably almost 2 yrs ago now. HAH! Finding the time to go...hard to do! We finally set the time for Thanksgiving weekend. I verified with the booking lady - will there be space on a holiday weekend? She assured me they were not booked and had plenty of space.

When we arrived to check in, they informed us at this moment that we'd been bumped to the Best Western Historic. Time share owners get first dibs. Not exactly what we planned on. The time share condos are 2 bdrms, 2 bath, full kitchen. The Best Western is 2 queens, in one room. The kids thought this was AMAZING fun. We thought it was not nearly as fun being quiet until they all fell asleep;-)

One of the houses we saw in Williamsburg, all pretty and decorated
There was a pool though, so that makes up for everything, right?! We enjoyed our day in Williamsburg on Saturday - Dale and Lauren came and joined us for the day, but decided not to stay the second night and just make the 45 min trip home and sleep in our own beds:-)

Sunday, we set up our Christmas tree. It was also about 75 degrees outside, but decided it was high time for a fire in our fireplace. By Sunday night, all the friends previously out of town had returned, so we hosted a Friends-giving, and had some fun.

When you don't live near family, you really come to count on friends in that same way - as if they were family. They sorta seem like it, anyway.

Sawyer & Huck. Our friend Elizabeth took these pics and posted them saying "Bolgers don't play when it comes to Christmas ornaments" :-)

As soon as we set up the tree, the cats claimed it! Mischief makers! All my delicate ornaments are on hiatus this year. They are obsessed with the tree, and sleep in it, fight in it, climb it all the way to the top, and bat at any ornaments they feel like.

We had to clean out the chimney from the roof before we could start our fire.

Here's a little video of the cats:-)

and here is a clip from Friends-giving. Have you ever played Mad Gab? One of our friends Josh is the BEST, because he can't hear any of the words and just says the same thing over and over. It's just so funny to know that we all know what he's saying, and even he doesn't know what he's saying:-) Super funny!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Quotes Archive 2014

I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me...Mother Teresa

I just wish people would realize that anything's possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try. Terry Fox

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. Theodore Roosevelt

All relational tension is the result of feeling like I need something from this person, and I am not getting it. So if everything I need and long for I already possess in Christ, I am now free to do everything for you, without needing anything from you. Pastor Tullian Tchividjian

Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die. Pierre Trudeau 

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong. Abraham Lincoln

Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman statesman 106 B.C. – 43 B.C. 

Lord, make my way prosperous, not that I achieve high station, but that my life be an exhibit to the value of knowing God. Jim Elliot

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time. Abraham Lincoln

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried. GK Chesterton

You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down. Mary Pickford

Monday, November 24, 2014

As Long As You Are Glorified

In America, we are about to start Thanksgiving "week" - this is a new favourite song of mine. Even if it's not Thanksgiving where you live, it's a good song for life. Our pastor preached today on the life of Job, and wow. I mean, the poor guy, really. Every time I read about/hear about/think about Job I am amazed at the magnitude of his story. As Pastor Daniel was saying today - the problem with Job wasn't that he doubted or had issue with the character of God-- His problem was with the government of God. God had to show him that suffering is ok for His people, and doesn't require an explanation. Job is my hero.

To read about a few of mine, here is a post from last year.

 Enjoy this song and think about all the trials you've experienced, each one, being undertaken by the One who draws you in, and holds you there.

As Long As You Are Glorified - by Mark Altrogge

Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

Are You good only when I prosper
And true only when I'm filled
Are You King only when I'm carefree
And God only when I'm well
You are good when I'm poor and needy
You are true when I'm parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You're still God in the darkest night

Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified

So quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart in You

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Risotto - Recipe

I tried a new to me recipe this week - I got it awhile back from my sister, and never got around to making it. Big mistake. It is versatile, SIMPLE and delicious. My kids were all kinds of suspicious as I was preparing it, because I told them it was new...

Kenna: I hope this is one of your good recipes {because I always make them terrible food, right? ;-)}
Me: Well, I think it's pretty good, it's Auntie Lauryn's recipe and you like her cooking
Brooks: Is it as good as Uncle Mark's pancakes?
Me: uuuuuhhh, probably not, because there is no syrup involved
Brooks: awww, he makes good pancakes
Kenna: I ate eight!

So it might not stand up against pancakes, but everyone liked it, even Brian:-)


1 can mushroom soup
3/4 C water
1/2 C milk
1/4 C parmesan cheese
3/4 C white rice, uncooked
2 C spinach, raw leaves (can omit if you don't have any)
1 C red pepper, chopped (or use green, yellow etc)
1 t thyme
3/4 lb cubed chicken, raw (I use 2 large boneless skinless breasts cut up for a double recipe)

1 T parsely (optional as garnish)

- Mix soup, water, milk and cheese in a shallow 2 L casserole dish (bigger if you are doubling of course). A 9X13 works fine
- Add all remaining ingredients, stir and cover
- Bake at 400 F for 35 min (covered)
- Stir, and then bake for 15 min (uncovered) - *or until rice is hot and tender (I find this usually requires an extra 10 minutes or so for a double recipe)
- Sprinkle with parsley
Let stand for 5 min before serving

What makes it easy is that it's all in one dish, chicken can still be semi-frozen (thawed enough to cube up, but not thawed all the way), is definitely an "eye ball it" recipe, as far as chicken and veggies go (add more, or less, and it'll be fine) and it doesn't take forever to cook!

This one is a winner, and perfect for the 'throw together' type of last minute dinner. I don't know about you, but I stock all these ingredients (maybe except the spinach) in my pantry/fridge at all times. Easy Peasy!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Picture Day Prep

Well, picture day came and went...with no pictures! We got all ready for the day with haircuts
Grey: Before

My friend Elizabeth cuts hair - she gave up her salon job, and comes to your house. SOLLLLLD! She does all our hair now, conveniently for me - whenever it suits us:-) 
Grey: After! We got Brooks trimmed up too, from his cut last July
But on the day, it was WAY too cold to get pics taken, without full winter gear on. So we had to postpone. Boooooo. But next weekend the weather will be better:-)

On the way home from soccer, I saw this really picturesque place - and decided I'd like pics here someday! It's on a golf course, I wonder if we can get in! But pretty gorgeous...maybe next year.

Soccer Grey

Saturday was technically the last soccer game...though due to rainouts earlier in the season, they added another game on the end of the season, next week. But kept the trophy the same as it would have been. Grey is confused by this. He was also confused by the fact that I made him wear pants (pictured) over his soccer socks, and his shirt over top of his winter jacket.

It was the fault of a "polar vortex" apparently blowing was COLD. Like 45 for the high of the day, cold.

I was putting his shirt on, over his coat, and this convo occurs:

Brooks: What are you doing?
Mom: Putting his shirt on, so you can see what team he's on
Brooks: Why?
Mom: Because it's freezing out! I used to do this to you when you played, don't you remember?
Brooks: Uh, yah, but I was always really embarrassed
(Grey's face was already like "are we sure this is kosher" and now transitions to "I'm going to die, this is ridiculous")
Mom: Seriously? Why would you say that when you know he obviously has to do it?

He got his medal!

He looks like Brooks here to me!
Next weekend it should be back in the mid 60's, which is normal for around here this time of year. Whew. Our thin blood can't handle these sudden temperature drops!