Saturday, April 18, 2009

ScrapFest 2009

This weekend was ScrapFest at the Aud in Kitchener. I sometimes hate to admit that I've gone...there are some strange people at these things!

As part of the admission, you are entered into a grand prize draw. And guess what...I won!!! What are the chances! I think there is well over $200 of product in the grand prize...I was so excited when I found out!

But besides winning the grand prize, I really did have a good time. I learned some new tricks to create some beautiful layouts..but ones that don't require tonnes of work. We took home some great "make-n-takes" and maybe a few more kits :)

A great show for anyone interested in paper crafting!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Beauty in Death

The last few weeks have been very emotional in our family. Two weeks ago, my grandma had a stroke. From that point on, she was unable to take any food or water. My aunts and uncles took turns being by her side...I'm not sure there was a moment when Grandma was by herself. Grandma passed away peacefully on Saturday afternoon surrounded by 8 of her 11 children.

I chose to visit my grandma in the last few days of her life...partly because I felt guilty that I hadn't visited her in over a year (she wasn't able to communicate with us anymore) and partly because I wanted to support my dad. I also wanted to be there to provide some closure. It wasn't easy to see a once vibrant woman lying still on her bed with very little sign of life other than the steady breathing. But there was also something beautiful about being surrounded by people who loved Grandma and seeing Grandma's eyes flicker when someone talked to her. Even though she couldn't speak to us, I know that Grandma heard us. And there was a sense of peace around her. I know how much Grandma loved God, and I know that peace came because she knew she would be with Jesus soon.

Today was the funeral for Grandma..and it was very emotional. Although she lived a long, healthy life, it still hurts to lose such an important role model in my life. I grieve for dad - I can't imagine what life would be like without parents around. I grieve for my children...they won't remember the loving, accepting person who helped shape the person I have become. But I loved seeing Grandma's family expressing their love for her...from her sister, to her nieces and nephews, her sons and daughters and her grandchildren. And I loved how you could feel God in the church through the 4-part harmony singing and through the words being read from Grandma's journal. I was moved by the pastor's comments talking about how appropriate it was that Grandma passed away as the dead of winter is giving way to the early blossoms of spring. Knowing how much Grandma loved nature, the timing seems so appropriate, and I will be reminded of her every spring as I see the first crocus peek through the ground.

So what are my memories of Grandma....

A wise woman who loved me unconditionally. She never judged me or asked me to be someone I'm not. She encouraged me in my faith both in words and just the way she lived her life.

I remember a woman who was passionate about gardening and all things about nature. She took the time to teach me about weeding, and had a lot of grace when I accidentally pulled out the plants instead of the weeds.

I remember the twinkle in her eye and her contagious laughter. And her love for life was displayed in all that she did..from her airy whistle in the morning, to her exclamations that "This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!"

The fun times we had playing games, her amazing cooking, cross country skiing in the bush, spending the night and waking up to a hearty breakfast accompanied by a daily dose of cod liver oil, and on and on I could go.

I don't think I ever told my grandma how important she was to me, but I hope she knows how much I loved her. I will miss her dearly.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday #16

I haven't been in much of a cooking mood lately, so I fell back on a traditional comfort food recipe for this week's What's Cooking Wednesday:

Tuna Cheese Chowder

2 medium carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1 can flaked tuna, drained
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a 3 qt saucepan, cook carrots and onions in butter until onion is tender but not brown. Blend in flour. Add milk and chicken broth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in tuna, celery seed, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Heat through. Add cheese; heat and stir until cheese is melted.

4 servings (I usually double the recipe as it freezes well)

So it might not look overly appetizing, but it is so good! Serve with a nice crusty bread for dipping!