Homemade Hamburgers

It's just about barbeque season again, and what better thing to throw on the grill than a big juicy burger?

1 pound groud beef
1/4 cup bread crumbs (use fresh if you can - throw a chunk of bread in a food processor and pulse until crummy)
1 egg
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 clove grated garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup finely chopped onion, or 1/2 Tbsp deydrated onion flakes

Mix spices and crumbs together in a big bowl.  Add egg and beef, mix with your hands until just combined.  Shape into four patties and cook on your preheated barbeque grill on medium-low heat until just cooked through.  Slap on some old cheddar and serve on split crusty buns with your favorite toppings.


Carrot Raisin Muffins

1 cup raisins
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
optional spices: cloves, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, 1/4-1 tsp each, depending on how adventurous you are!
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups shredded carrots (really pack it in the measuring cup)

Put the raisins in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let them soak while you prepare your other ingredients. This will prevent them from burning while in the oven.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. To save on washing dishes, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs and beat them gently. Add the oil and milk and mix all together until just moistened, then fold in the raisins and carrots. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees F for 20-22 minutes, until the muffins spring back when lightly touched.

Sausage and Pepper Pasta Dinner

1 pound (or so) fresh italian sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 sweet bell peppers, (red, green, yellow, whatever you like!) chopped
1 medium-sized onion, chopped (I like red)
2 large tomatoes, chopped (or 1 large can diced tomatoes with juice)
2 cups spinach, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregeno
1 pound cooked pasta

In a large skillet, sautee the sausage until browned. Add garlic, onion, peppers, herbs and cook until almost tender, about five minutes. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Add tomatoes, juice and all. Cover and simmer 5-8 minutes. Add to pasta and stir. Serve with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.


Consecrate - Matt Brouwer

"For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." -Hebrews 9:24-28 read the whole beautiful chapter here.


Springtime in Central Alberta

A cold and frrrosty morning.We've had some spring-ish weather, with frost in the mornings which would melt when the sun came up. The snow has been slowly melting, but then we'd get dumped on:
Sunday morning snowfall, which melted in the afternoon.
Thursday morning's snowfall, some of which melted in the afternoon.
Although the birds are probably confused, at least they're well insulated if they perch inside the tree. We still have lots of snow, and good packing snow too! Want to come over and make some snowmen/women/animals?
Watching it all...
Some wildlife behind our house...



Happy Birthday to my baby boy! Mr. independent turned two today. Don't ask him for help, because he'll say "No, I do it!" He is determined to do everything himself. Except potty train, apparently, but we'll work on that. He even very neatly puts toothpaste on his own toothbrush.

He knows shapes, colours (although gets mixed up sometimes) and speaks very well. He is just as silly as his brother, hamming it up with silly faces and noises. He loves climbing, dancing, and pretend play. He'll offer everyone cheeseburgers from under his highchair restaurant. He loves "driving" everything. As long as he can straddle it, it's "I'm driving a tractor/motorbike/car/truck!" Nothing is too big or too small to be used as a vehicle.

Cheeseburger? Here you go.This morning's entertainment was watching a grader and skid steer at work in front of our house.Then we baked a birthday cake.Talking to GrandmaYay, cake!What the? Fire?! Fire is bad!Yeah, you get it, big bro!Yay, cake!


They kept calling me to come and see them slide on the playhouse. So I abandoned my chores and to-do list, put on some boots and played outside! It was such a gorgeous day, brilliantly sunny, with loads of perfect packing snow to work with.

Very happy snowman.Hello snowkitty.


the only original hardwood is the stairs - old, but still good!
It's been a week since we've had possession of our new house! Last Thursday afternoon a friend and I headed over to see if it needed some cleaning. And did we ever have our work cut out for us! We were there for three hours and still didn't get everything done.

On Friday Stu and a friend moved over a bunch of boxes to clear out our storage room and make some space for more boxes that I was still packing. Friday night we attended a pro-life dinner in town. There was a great presentation, and it was nice to get away from the stress of moving for a bit. The speaker, Jojo Ruba, also did a presentation at the school, which from what I hear was also fantastic. If you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak, definitely take it!

Saturday was the big day. Everything else went out. I frantically packed the rest of the kitchen stuff while the guys went back and forth with the trucks. Another friend helped by cleaning the kitchen while we took the fridge and closet stuff over, then came back for the rest of the cleaning. Cleaning two houses in two days is tiring. Thankfully I had help, and we have been so thankful for our church community. I can't imagine not having the support system that we do!

Not all of the boxes are unpacked yet and things are still a little disorderly, but we're getting there. I've gotten over most of the initial panic and anxiety of wondering where everything should go, what I should do first, how I'm going to get everything done, etc... I think I burned myself out with all the stress over the move as I can't seem to get over the exhaustion! I'll just have to keep going to bed early to catch up. :)

And now, I look around and I'm amazed at how much we have. There is so much space, a large deck for lounging, and a wonderful backyard for the boys to play in. And trees! (I love trees. :)) God has blessed us with everything we need and so much more!



"C-note, would you like your banana sliced, and put on your peanut butter sandwich just like Daddy likes it?"
"Yeah? You're sure? You'd like me to slice up the banana and put it on your peanut butter bread?"
"Ok...just to be sure...(you can never be too sure) you want banana on your bread with peanut butter?
I make a peanut butter and banana sandwich and place it in front of him. He looks at it.

"I don't like that."

(It took him twice as long as usual to eat, but eventually it got eaten.)Meanwhile...
*munch munch* "Eyes!!"
*munch munch* "Owl! Hoo-hoo!"


Happy Birthday, Oma!

My Oma celebrated her 92nd birthday on Sunday. These pictures are from when we visited her in June, before we moved out here. Although her eyesight is deteriorating, it is such a blessing that she still lives in her own little apartment. I can only pray that I live as long and healthy life so I can see my great-grandchildren!
Before leaving, she gave me a ceramic Christmas tree I had always admired throughout my childhood. As I put it on our desk this Christmas, it sure brightened up our dark-at-three-thirty-already livingroom! Every winter it will be a reminder of my lovely Oma.


He Remains Faithful

I picked up the magazine that I brought home from the mailbox and looked at the front cover. And let it drop to the floor...

The photo on the front was of a new pastor being ordained in a church we had visited extensively during the candidacy. One we had gotten a lot of positive vibes and felt it was a potential home for us.

The memory of time served at seminary, the time that took up so much of our lives came rushing to the surface. The frustration of waiting and the grief of the loss of something we never had crushes me once again.

I don't know if it ever go away. The unanswered questions, the bafflement, the sorrow will rise again from the back of my mind. It's why it is hard seeing images like this, or hearing about what's going on in church politics.

But what I don't know will always be trumped but what I do know. He remains faithful. I can't see the Big Picture that God has painted for us. It may include grief, struggles, questions... And he uses our trials to lead us to a place of deeper dependence on him and his promises.


Hot Chocolate / Hot Cocoa Recipe

We received some hot chocolate packets in a gift basket last month. It's been a long time since we've had hot chocolate, because I don't buy mixes, and I never think to try figuring out how to make it "from scratch." So here's my attempt. I think it turned out pretty tasty!
Hot Cocoa/Hot Chocolate

2 cups milk
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and heat until steaming. Pour into mugs and enjoy! You can also use the microwave. Try adding peppermint extract for a peppermint-patty flavour.



Questions for a New Year’s Eve Reflection from incourage

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

Getting a fresh start in our lives.

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

Deciding which teaching opportunity presented suited best my husbands' gifts and talents.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

Not only that moving wasn't as hard as I expected, but seeing my husband loving his new career path was a great joy!

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

Relearning patience - again....in a new place!

5. Pick three words to describe 2011.

Stressful, hopeful... Fulfillment.

6. What were the best books you read this year?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Made to Crave - Satisfying our Deepest Desires with God, not Food by Lysa TerKurst, Ragman by Walter Wangerin Jr., The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones.

7. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

My husband to keep me sane, my children to keep me focused, and two wonderful girlfriends I got to know even better this past year.

8. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

Stepping out of that comfort zone.

9. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

I learned to rely less on people, and more on God.

10. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

Every year seems to bring me closer to Him, especially after trials.

11. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

Through the realization that I am emotionally attached to food, I finally decided it was time to work on it.

12. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

Teaching (and still teaching) C-note how to read.

13. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

Still feeling uprooted, without a home. And with the busyness of a new school year, not having my husband "present" as much as before. Making decisions still is tough for me, as well.

14. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?


15. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

Organizing a women's retreat! Learning about and raising two boys.

16. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

What God has led us through the last couple of years prepared and grew us so that we were ready for a big change.

17. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.

Waiting on the Lord may take years, but he always fulfills his promises.