Merry Christmas Happy New Year Happy Hanukkah Joyous Kwanzaa Happy Festivus Season's Greetings Happy Holidays Merry Everything Happy Always Bah Humbug ....and whatever else.... I hope everyone had a great time celebrating whatever holiday you are celebrating and with whomever you are celebrating with even if you're celebrating a quiet night of watching tv with a glass of wine or a cold beer. Whatever floats your boat. I've got a nice week off of work so that gives me enough time to update this blog because apparently I did absolutely no blogging lately, and I still have to post my favourite things for 2015 as well as an update of what happened in my neck of the woods in 2015. And yes, finally I am going to make a long list of resolutions for 2016 and see if I can adhere to all or none of them! In the interim, I wish all who read this post, all the best!!
I thought I posted this yesterday but accidentally saved it as a draft so here it is for real this time!
I am thankful that when I awake to a new day, it is a chance to start fresh, to rejoice in the possibilities the day has to offer. I'm thankful I have a chance to correct a wrong I may have committed the day before. A chance to tell someone I love them one more time. A chance to smile at the cashier in the coffee shop and wish them well instead of just taking my coffee and walking away.
New beginnings are fresh each day. Each day is a gift to be thankful for.
I'm one of the folks looking forward to Christmas and the whole Christmas Holiday season to be exact. I love it. It's my favourite time of the year. I love how folks decorate, the traditions, the baking, the music too. I don't mind when folks say Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings because there's Chanukah, Kwanza and Christmas all being celebrated, it really doesn't phase me considering they are all going on around the same time, I just simply reply Merry Christmas and keep on smiling joyfully! I like the winter, the sunrises, the sunsets, and the in between.
I stumbled on this list of Christmas questions on a tumblr blog and figured I'd give it a go! Sorry, I failed to note who I pilfered this from.
Pardon the more than usual grammatical errors, I just copied & pasted then added my answers.
When I was a snot nose brat, I had this Christmas album, aka a vinyl record, that had The Little Drummer Boy song as the first song on the album. I think the song was by Harry Simeone Chorale. Now a days the song can be found on the Time Life Treasury Of Christmas album, or a single download on iTunes or Amazon for all I know!
I remember one Christmas, I took the album to a friends house, then on the way home I slipped and dropped it. The edge of the record chipped but it was still useable. Unfortunately, the chipped edge was right on a good portion of my favourite song. Well, back then it was my favourite but isn't anymore. I still love the song and it's meaningful words. I remember I was all distressed that I chipped the album. Mom was upset too and I got punished for it but thankfully I still didn't receive coal from Santa! Phew!
Whenever I hear this song, and especially when performed by Harry Simeone Chorale, my memories of childhood come rushing back to the time I chipped the record on that cold December afternoon.
I have the song on my iPod now. Yes, I am one of the few who listens to Christmas music periodically throughout November...but only AFTER Remembrance Day/Veterans Day.
Our church held a Harvest Party on October 31st. Yes that was Halloween night but what better time to harvest new followers to bring to Christ.
We spent Friday night decorating our church with Bible theme games that would entice kids to want to return at a later date and be part of our Oasis Kids Clubs that meet weekly on Friday evenings or to attend our church every Sunday for worship and study.
We decorated one room as a Noah's Ark and the game was set with two of a few animals that the child had to knock over in order to win a ticket. Tickets were collected by the child and later redeemed for a prize at the prize counter. All games were free of charge. That photo shows a few of us after decorating on Friday night. The blue whale was trying to eat us! The photo angle didn't get the whales body and tail in though. I'm the one in the back with the white shirt.
Another room was decorated with an ocean theme and we had a small blow up pool with a bit of water in it and plastic fish. Kids were to try to catch fish with the fishing rod and they'd get a ticket depending on how many fish they caught in one minute. That was the Fishers Of Men. The photo above shows two of our young helpers exhausted at the bottom of the sea. Cute!
On the night of the Harvest Party, we offered refreshments to folks who entered. They were not given out by the door! We encouraged folks to come in, look around, play some games with their kids and have a snack. There were cup cakes, muffins, cookies, fruit and cake....and candy too along with water, juice, coffee and tea.
Every half hour, a show was performed inside the church auditorium. There was a puppet show singing Why Not Today to the tune of YMCA that everyone enjoyed and there was singing too. We had a lot of families enjoying the shows. I hope they listened to the words because all songs gave praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In the photo below you can see how families were enjoying the puppet show.
The games were a hit with the kids too! Photo below...the room was packed! Kids were lining up to fish.
I got caught in that photo with my blue tee shirt all volunteers were wearing. This was the Fisher of Men game.
Here kids lined up in the Noah's Ark game. The floor was taped to mark the distance depending on the child's age to keep it fair for all kids. See Spider-Man, fireman and rainbow fairy waiting to play the Noah's Ark game.
We did give out packs of candy as the kids left the church. We didn't want this to be about just collecting candy then running off to the next house. We wanted to reach out to our community and managed to talk to some of the parents and the kids did have fun. I got caught in that photo too! I was all over the place that night because this was the first year I volunteered for the Harvest Party and I was curious.
That was out prize counter where kids exchanged tickets for prizes when they left. We ran out of prizes just seconds before the end of the harvest party. The party was from 6-8pm. We even had the Montreal Fire Department stop by and hand out candy to kids! It was great... Big fire truck out front with lights and all, it really drew attention!
At the end of the night we closed with prayer. I'm back ther standing beside our Pastor who is hidden behind a volunteer. We were thankful it turned out a huge success. Hundreds of people passed through our church that night and to date, we got three new kids attending our kids cluc on Friday night so far, and I seen new faces this past Sunday at service so it was successful if even one life can be saved.
I'm always late with blog hop link ups and that's because ..... I don't have an excuse right now so I'm thankful that I wasn't compelled to tell a lie. :-) Welcome to Thankful Thursday, click or the image and it will link you up to our host Rebecca over at Knit By God's Hand.
I'm thankful for family.
My family is dysfunctional, I'm the first to admit to it but they are my family and a family without dysfunction is missing a lot of fun.
But seriously, my family, in many ways, good, bad and ugly, have helped shape me into who I am today. Through our joys, laughter, tears and spats, one way or another I came out of it all with something that lightened my heart, toughened my spine and bent my pride.
At one point I used to always say, 'Hey God, why did you put me with this family?'. He answered one day by taking some of them from me for a while. I felt hurt, lost and confused then I felt angry and annoyed, then I just let it go and let God know I understand that this was His way of answering my question, even though I always considered the question rhetorical!
Yes, I prayed.
Yes, I spoke to God daily and still asked questions when I shouldn't have.
Yes, I gave it all to God.... finally!
Yes, I gave thanks even when I felt like I was thrown under a bus.
So eventually He gave them back to me, but I had already learned to lean on God more and to take all my joys, sorrows and frustrations to God.
Our family experienced loss this week and it shook all of us to the core. I won't go into details on that but all I can say is, yes a loss reconnects extended family members but don't wait until it does to reach out to them now.
I'm thankful that my family knows God and I'm thankful that I have faith that God will get them through this difficult and heartbreaking time.
I'm also thankful that I am re-connecting with family in hopes that relationships can be rebuilt and that our fond memories can be rekindled. I'm reaching out to extended family members whom I may not have spoken with in years because we live in different cities or countries but thankfully, with the help of skype and other social media outlets, it can be done. Honestly, watching the next generation of family grow up, seeing our elders after years of no contact and now getting to know some more of our family history... sigh.... well that's just priceless I say.
I'm thankful I have the opportunity to let family into my life and thankful when they allow me into theirs.
I like to play candy crush because it's a challenging game once you get past level 100 or so. I'm currently on level 350 or somewhere near there.
I've got issues with this game though. I play it on the iPad app but I also play it on my laptop. The facebook version on the laptop gives more power ups than the app.
So, since the game cheats, I figured out a way to cheat too.... Most of my facebook friends gave up playing candy crush either because it got too difficult or too boring. Either way, without too many friends playing, it becomes difficult to get tickets to move on to the next section unless you pay a buck to the istore which I won't do. So.... I take the iPad and disable the wifi and play what they call quests. You get one quest a day and if you pass it, you wait 24 hours to get the next quest. Complete three quests and you propell forward to the next section without needing tickets from friends.
But who the heck wants to wait three days? Not me!
I forward the date in the iPad settings by 24 hours. Complete quest one then forward the time another 24 hours and am able to complete quest two, and then adjust the date again and complete the third and final quest. Then once I'm propelled ahead, play and complete the next level then connect the wifi and sync the candy crush app to facebook...then delete the app, adjust the iPad date back to the current date and reinstall the candy crush app and let it sync to Facebook again. Tada! Ya, adjusting the time ahead also gives you extra lives faster too then once you mess up the iPads date too much, sync, uninstall, adjust date then reinstall and re sync and there you go.
And that concludes today's cheat sheet. Please forgive me.
The thing I enjoy most about music is how it can trigger a memory or calm a busy mind. I started this evening out by listening to some jazz. Yes I love jazz music, from the instrumental jazz, to the vocal jazz, that genre simply relaxes and chills me out. I don't have much jazz on my ipod because I never know which artist to purchase but as I listen to the radio, I've been jotting down artists to look into purchasing for my pod. You can imagine my joy when I discovered CBC Radio2. I listen to that station on weeknights while at work, at 9pm (it may start earlier for all I know but that's when I tune in) they have a show called Tonic and it showcases all types of jazz, from instrumental to vocal. The great thing about that station is I got the app downloaded onto my ipad and when I'm home (with my trusty wi-fi) I listen to it online streaming, either with my Sony headphones (that have amazing sound) or through the bluetooth enabled Jam speaker (also, amazing sound!!). The great thing about the online station is you can either listen live radio streaming whatever show is on, or choose your favorite show... I like Tonic... amazing jazz up in there. I've always enjoyed music. I honestly never thought I'd branch out to various genres other than the usual Adult Contemporary, R&B, Motown and of course my absolute favorite...Classical. I know right, who'd have thought that Classical music would be my favorite! Ha! I remember a time back in the early to mid 1990s when my sister and I went to purchase a compact stereo in the local shopping mall. The sales rep was showing us a system and wanted to play our favorite music so we could get the feeling of the music. When he asked my sister what type of music was her favorite, she replied "Country"... he looked at her confused then asked me what mine was... I replied "Classical". I'm surprised the guy didn't collapse on the floor. He popped in some Mozart and I fell in love with that stereo system. I no longer have that stereo though, gave it to my eldest sister, but I still do love Classical music. I can't say exactly when I fell for Jazz, but I suspect that Diana Krall or Michael Bublé had a role in it, though most of Bublés music is more Big Band/Swing than Jazz, he's still a favorite of mine. I have music by both artists on my pod already. I can almost say that Jazz is starting to push Classical to second place but then all I need to do is put on some Classical music from anyone, and I'm lost, simply feeling the emotion in the music, the strings, the percussion, sigh. ...And just so we're clear, Contemporary Christian is what I turn to when I'm find myself feeling blue or overcome with fear or uncertainty, or when I'm just feeling annoyed by someone or something, it's just so uplifting and positive that after about two songs I feel a surge of positive energy and joy rush through me and all the negative feelings subside. The thing about Contemporary Christian music...it's not "your Grandma's church music" as one youth once put it. There are so many types of Christian music, from old Gospel to Reggae Gospel even Rap Gospel (Kirk Franklyn has some). If your not "into that type of music" then I suggest you seek out the gospel form of your favorite genre and you'll be hooked. Trust me. When I first heard Contemporary Christian (thanks to KLove Radio online streaming) I was floored. I'm not a fan of the old Gospel aside from Amazing Grace, Precious Memories, It Is Well With My Soul, most of the other songs make me feel depressed! I know right! who'd have thought that possible but it's true, they make me feel like I should be at a funeral. Contemporary Christian makes me smile, makes my heart and soul sing! So uplifting!! One thing I learned is there's no harm in branching out to different genres. I learned it when it comes to books, and I learned it when it comes to music. Sticking to what's considered your "favorite".... you're only cheating yourself. Feel the music! Smile! And chill out!!
I purchased an exercise step at Canadian Tire this weekend. I'm about to jump on a twenty eight day fitness kickstart challenge. I didn't officially join because I don't want to buy the ebook or follow a strict menu. I want to make lasting changes so on Loseit.com I joined the no junk November but I am one week away from the start of that so this week will have me focusing on 7 hours of sleep daily, 3 litres of water daily and getting used to my morning coffee without honey! I gave up added sugar and sweeteners a while back but used honey so now I'm ditching that too and it should also save me up to 120 calories a day.
I already walk 20-30 minutes on work days but on days I don't work I am lazy when it comes to exercise. Sure I have house work to do but I'm talking about fitness exercise not vacuuming exercise or mopping floors exercise, get what I mean?
So monday I measure, I weigh in and I get started. I need a new pair of ankle boots and a new purse. The cost of each is ten pounds of fat off my body so I better get cracking.
Friday Five Link Up..... Hosted by Eat Pray Run DC. Join in, discover new things, make new friends... blah blah blah... bottom line is it's really interesting and fun!! Alright so this week's topic in the Friday Five is FIVE THINGS I LOVE. Wow, that got me thinking. 1. I love going to church on Sunday morning. It's not just about hearing the word of God but talking to the other folks who attend weekly or introducing yourself to someone new or visiting. The smiles, the hugs, the older ladies calling me their adoptive child! The hugs I get from some of the kids. I always look forward offering a compliment to someone who may appear to be unhappy just to put a smile on their face and cheer them up a bit. I love the singing, and listening to the teaching too! 2. I love cotton lounging pants....similar to the ones in this photo. Yes they probably do come in women's version with cute butterflies and rainbows but I don't need that nonsense on my lounging pants, plain plaid will do! Mom picked me up a couple pairs the other day and I'm over the moon in love with them. When I'm home I pretty much am dressed like the man in that picture with a long sleeve tee and my lounging pants! I should be able to wear these outside like nurses wear their scrubs outside eh!! 3. I love oatmeal. Hot, cooked on the stove oatmeal. I always loved oatmeal since I was a kid. Mom used to fill our bellies up with that stuff every morning in the fall & winter months before scooting us off to school. I've tried that instant stuff and the cold stuff but nothing compares to hot cooked on the stove ... for me anyway, guess I'm just old school! 4. I love listening to CBC Radio 2. Most of the nights I work I listen to it (if I'm not listening to an audiobook). I pretty much know the schedule. Amazing jazz at 9pm (it may start earlier but that's when I usually tune in). At 10 to midnight is the Signal, lesser known artists are promoted during this show and the music is awesome! Then from midnight to 5am is Nightstream where adult contemporary music is played but a lot of it is from artists I've never heard of, possibly imported music but still well worth the listen. 5. I love crafts. (click the link and see what I made) I've been a lover of crafting ever since my Grandmother and I would exchange crafts through the mail. She's made me a pillow, a door hanger, mittens, ear muffler, knit sweater, knit socks, she's also made a small crochet sweater for my doll (that's going way back but I still have it). The first thing she ever made me was a red velvet Christmas socking... I still have all of these!!! I may have inherited her love of crafting and it's pretty much what consumes most of my time from October to the beginning of December though I craft all year long. I'm currently making Christmas ornaments for my family and for kids at church. I've gotten more creative with felt but still fighting with the sewing machine. And I'm looking into creating peg dolls too so that should keep me busy for a while. Crafting is a nice way to relax and unwind. It calms my busy mind. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that! Now go check out some of the posts linked up at Eat Pray Run DC
Another Thursday to be thankful for! Please do click on the little picture up there and link in to Thankful Thursday hosted by Rebecca over at Knit by God's Hand. This week... well, I'm thankful for plenty of things but today I'm going to be thankful for things I've really been complaining about... so here goes.
I'm bloated and retaining water,
had the munchies all week and pretty much ate everything I got my hands on.
I haven't really exercised because I'm just too tired all the time......
I've got the chills even though it's not really cold.
Having said that mouthful, you're probably wondering what's the deal right? Well, IN ALL THINGS, GIVE THANKS!
I'm bloated and retaining water BUT I AM THANKFUL that I have clean fresh water to drink. That I can just turn on a tap and there it is without having to walk miles with a pail to retrieve it from a water source and have it possibly be contaminated.
I had the munchies all week BUT I AM THANKFUL that I have plenty of food to eat, even if it was junk food. I have healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables too. I have easy access to fresh milk and bread and meat.
I'm tired all the time BUT I AM THANKFUL that I have a comfortable bed in a safe home where I can peacefully lay my head.
I've got the chills BUT I AM THANKFUL that I live in a country were medical care is relatively free (aka Canadian Medicare) whereby I can easily go to a clinic and see if I am ill and receive treatment.
I constantly tell myself to be thankful in all things, the good, the bad and the ugly. These past days I've been feeling real ugly so I had to take a few minutes to count my blessings. To turn my petty grievances into something to be thankful for.
It's time for Wednesday Hodgepodge, Hosted by Joyce at From This Side Of The Pond. Click on the link in the side bar and be transported to her blog where you too, can join in on the podge! I tried to link it directly with this graphic but I'm on the annoying Apple app right now and I can't figure it out. User problems most likely ... Ha!
8 questions with my 8 answers for this weeks hodgepodge!
1. October 21, 2015 is Back to the Future Day. Did you see the movie? The sequels? In the second film, Doc takes Marty into the future to prevent Marty's future son from making a mistake. They leave 1985 and land on a 'skyway' on October 21st, 2015. So tell us, what were you doing in the fall of 1985?
I recall seeing parts of the the first and part of the second movie but never the entire movies. We're there more than two made? Perhaps I should check it out this weekend.
In the fall of 1985, I was in the eleventh grade. It was the beginning of the new school year I was also part of the student council that year and on the graduating class fundraising committee. Here in Quebec, high school goes as far as the eleventh grade then you graduate and head off to college. I had a part time job at Burger King which I worked evenings and weekends.
2. If time travel were possible, would you want to go to the future? The past? Hmm..I would not want to go to the future but going back to the past I wouldn't mind. I've got tons of happy memories I'd love to relive. But if I get to go back in time to visit my younger self, I'd have lots of advice to give her! I doubt I'd change anything though because that road and those experiences have lead me to where I am now.
3. We're not flying cars, but some of the technology imagined in the 80's film has indeed come to pass in real life 2015-flat screen TVs on the wall, tablets, fingerprint recognition, video conferencing, online banking, 3-D movies, motion controlled video games, drone cameras, and smart glasses (Google glass). Do you worry technology is growing at a rate so fast we'll soon be unable to keep up with it's demands? Do you think the Internet does more harm than good?
I worry that people will become to dependant on technology that there will be even less personal & physical contact between people. Everyone's already overwhelmed by texts and email now, imagine if technology continues to grow at this rate, it'll be the end of real socializing.
I think people need to pause before posting quick responses in social media. Angry comments are never cute. The Internet has people believing that nobody really pays attention to the comments or that they are truly anonymous and online bullying is just out of hand. Nothing is every truly private on line and the Internet has become a breeding ground for hate. Sadly so.
4. Your favorite dish prepared in a slow-cooker? Your favorite fast food?
My favorite slow-cooker recipe is Apple sauce. I know it's truly simple but what can I say.
My favourite fast food is cheese pizza!
5. No time like the present, down time, face time, pressed for time, in the nick of time, make time, mark time or just in time...which timely saying most relates to your life right now?
Pressed for time is where I'm at now. Rushing to complete Christmas ornaments for family and friends and in November, I'll be teaching a group of kids how to cross stitch!
6. Tell us about a place you went as a child or younger person that's no longer there or is now something else. How does that make you feel?
Mom use to take us to The Snowdon Cinema to watch Disney movies, back in the late 1970s. The outside of the building today remains the same but it's no longer a cinema. I'm glad the outer facade remained the same because every time I see it I reminisce of when we seen The Cat From Outer Space! We sat in the front row nibbling on twizzlers.
7. Describe your comfort zone.
I have a spare bedroom that also doubles as a crafting room. I get total quiet when I'm in there, able to gather with my thoughts.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Canada just voted in a new Prime Minister. I'm eager to see where we go from here! FYI I'm in Montreal (Quebec), Canada.
I'm currently engulfed in two books right now. One, an ebook. The Broken by Tamar Cohen, that was recommended to me, I should have been finished a while ago but the ipad decided to delete it for whatever stupid apple reason. I had to reload it and figure out where I stopped. Annoyances aside, this book is pretty chilling... in a WTF type of way. I don't want to give anything way but let me say it's a book that up to this point, I'd say read it. It's not a long book but it's fast paced and it will make you yell out loud and grumble even but still... if you ever read The Girl on the Train, or Gone Girl.... well, it'll bug you like that but well worth it. The second book I'm into is an audiobook Missing You by Harlan Coben and the narrator is fantastic! The story is also fast paced but with multiple back stories running alongside one another it can be a bit annoying but I'm almost done it and I think I'm putting things together like the detective in the book! This is the second book by this author that I've read and I'm thinking it wont be the last!
My Etsy shop is open. I'm still thinking of it as a test hobby and not putting too much effort into it. This time of year, I'm busy with getting the Annual Family Christmas Ornament completed. I've got a few items in the shop and in all honesty, I just like knowing it's there! I haven't even thought about what happens if I make a sale!
That's a screen shot of the shop (it's also a link that will magically transport you to my shop!). I had a lot of extra bears half stitched from last year, and one extra ice skater so I completed them and put them up. These were once included as the Annual Family Christmas Ornament but I did cut out too many so I put six bears up for sale and I still have six more in the craft room. The brooches, I'm really almost ready to just keep them for myself honestly. When I took the photos, I fell in love with them on my coat. The ballet slippers....look great hung on the bedroom door but more suitable for a little girls room than a grown woman. But they came out so cute.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. I'm just happy today! Cue music by Pherrell.
This week the topic is Five Favorite Fall Recipes.... here's my five: 1. Apple pie!
I don't know what it is about the autumn season that makes me crave apple pie! On occasion I'll purchase one from the grocery store or the farmers market but nothing beats home baked pie from scratch... right down to the crust! I confess, most often I just use frozen pie crust but it still comes out tasting great... heated up a bit with a nice cup of tea. Heaven!
I always use the recipe over at Pillsbury and it comes out tasting great even when I add extra apples or brown sugar. 2. Beef Stew
My Mom always made beef stew when we were kids. It was probably something Mom's just know how to throw together, never quite measuring how much of this or that spice to add but watching her make it pretty much gave me the gist of it. Trial and error, I never seemed to get it quite right. I've been using this crock pot recipe from iowagirleats.com and just topped up with my own added spices. Comfort food at it's best! 3. Pumpkin Spice Muffin Cupcakes
When I discovered this recipe on Pinterest I was anxious to give it a try. I chose the Duncan Heinz Carrot Cake mix over the yellow or golden mix simply because it was carrot! I added the can of pumpkin pie mix (couldn't find the 100% pure pumpkin but it did the job just as well) I also added a tea spoon of pumpkin pie spice. Mix it all together, pop it into lined cup cake tin and bake.
They taste so good it's really difficult to not eat them all by my greedy self!
I first made lentil soup because I read that lentils are very high in fiber. Fiber is my bestest friend forever. I tried many recipes found on line but you know how it is when you finally get that one recipe that just makes your taste buds spark. Ya, well, this is it! I found it over at A Hint of Honey only I use spicy beef sausage and not Italian. I usually make a pretty big batch of this and freeze some and carry some to work for lunch in a mason jar. (I love mason jars!) 5.Bisquick Biscuits
My Mom usually makes biscuits from scratch in the fall and winter. I've got the recipe from her and tried it. I confess, the biscuits always seem to taste like something is missing. I think Mom has a secret ingredient she forgot to tell me about! But seriously, the recipe came from my Grandma's cookbook which I now have (thanks Mom!). I do make the biscuits occasionally but still, they don't taste like when Mom makes them. When I'm in the mood for a home baked biscuit, I usually turn to the trusty Bisquick mix by Betty Crocker and whip up a batch. I like that this recipe is quick and easy though it tastes nothing like the fresh ones my Mom makes.... but you know the saying... beggars can't be choosers! And there you have it! My Friday Five: Favorite Fall Foods. Please join in over at Eat Pray Run DC and link up with the Friday Five.