Monthly Archives: October 2010

No Running Water.

My next door neighbours are from St. Theresa Point, a remote Indian reserve accessible only by airplane and ice roads. They spend part of their year in the city and part of the year on the reserve. If I were to be totally truthful with you I would have to say that upon moving in to our home three years ago (tomorrow will mark three years for us) I was rather annoyed that we had them as our neighbours. Before you go thinking that I’m a horrible person, hear me out. There were random toys, bikes and furniture strewn all over their front and back lawns. Their actual garbage always spilled sloppily into the back lane. There were always tons of people coming and going and the kids did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. I ran out a few times to grab the same little girl off of the top of vehicles (right after it had rained) only to have her run right back and sit in the middle of the busy street. I thought that for sure one of them would get shmucked by a car. The boys would climb all over the tree in our back parking area and be up until all hours of the night (and these were little boys, not teenagers). My neighbours annoyed me and this is where my thinking stopped. I chose not to look further or harder or past stereotypes and generalities.

After James and I returned from Haiti I felt God challenge me to look at these kids differently. I was reminded of the Sunday school song, ‘This Little Light of Mine’ and how God tells us to be a light shining into peoples lives. If I’m telling Rhys to grow-up being a light into his community and I myself am not practicing it then there is little hope that he will take my words to heart. I started letting Rhys and Ammie play with them. I started opening our gate to the whole group so they could come in our yard to play tag, ride the bikes, use our sidewalk chalk and play soccer.  I started bringing out cookies and freezes after dinner and sitting on our front steps talking to the older kids. One of the little girls would mix her Cree and English so much that her older brother would sit and translate for me. After spending little moments getting to know these kids I started to like them. They started coming by and looking forward to the days where they’d get to sit and have homemade cookies and my heart started to hurt for how I’d looked at them before and my eyes were opened to their lives and situation. I started looking harder and further and I saw precious little people. Now when I walk past these kids in the hallways of Rhys’ school their faces light-up and they wave at me. One of the little boys comes and stands right in front of me and just smiles the biggest smile…he’s always happy that I know his name.

All of that was a build-up to this video. I don’t know much about the reserves that we have in Manitoba. I hear snippet’s here and there about different things going on but this is just shocking. It saddens me partially because I can put a face to some of the residents but mainly because it’s just wrong that people are living like this. Take a minute to watch. The community where we were staying in Haiti had running water (although not all of them do). Why is this happening in our own backyard?

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This Little Piggy.

(After having done ‘This Little Piggy’ a few times I decided it was Amelia’s turn to figure out what the pigs were up to…)

Bria: This little piggy…

Amelia: …had ice cream!

Bria:  And this little piggy…

Amelia: …had ice cream!

Bria: This little piggy…

Amelia: …had ice cream!

Bria: This little piggy…

Amelia: …had ice cream!

Bria: Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis little piggy…

Amelia: (pause)…had ice cream!

Bria: Really?

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The Magic Cookie.

 

This cookie is truly magical. Why is this seemingly straightforward and simple cookie magical? Well, other than having the perfect slightly crispy outer layer complimented by the soft chewy inside, it performs the most amazing disappearing act you’ve ever seen. No joke. I see a blur go through the kitchen and *WHAM-BAM-POOF* they’re gone! Incredible.

I spent years hunting down the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe and after exclusively using this recipe for quite some time it’s safe to say that I’ve found it. I’ve had numerous people comment on how perfectly delicious these cookies are…some even go as far as saying they’re the best (thanks Rhys and Ammie). I was on the fence for some time trying to decide if I should share the recipe on my blog and then I realized that something this good should not be held with a death grip. I love sharing my baked goods with people so why not take it a step further and share my favorite recipe, right? Here you go:

The ‘Magical’ Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter/margarine softened

(now, if you are planning on making these cookies ahead of time then by all means take your butter out and bring it to room temperature. I really do notice a difference with how the cookies perform when you have room temperature butter but it won’t ruin your cookies if you just soften it in the microwave)

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

3 cups flour

1/2 cup chocolate chips

  1. Cream white sugar, brown sugar and butter together in a large bowl. Add in eggs and vanilla (if I know that it will only be my nut-tolerant family consuming these cookies I will put a few drops of almond extract into the dough at this time…try it, I dare you! But don’t if there are nut allergies.) Mix until you have a nice smooth batter.
  2. In a separate bowl combine your baking soda, cinnamon, salt and flour.
  3. Add half of the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Mix well. Add the rest of the dry mixing well.
  4. Add chocolate chips, stirring to mix. (Chill for 20 minutes if dough is really really soft.)
  5. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake at 375. 11 minutes for the first tray and 10 minutes for all subsequent trays. Bake until there is the SLIGHTEST browning of the edges and remove to finish baking on the cookie sheet on top of the stove. This will ensure you have a nice chewy cookie. Take them out even if the middle looks like it could use another minute.
  7. Let cool and enjoy with a big glass of milk!

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you decide to give this recipe a try! Enjoy!

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I’m a Book Worm?

I’m not gonna lie, I hated reading books when I was growing-up. Obviously I enjoyed children’s books but once I hit a certain age (too old to be reading The Bernstein Bears) my idea of a “good read” started with Calvin and Hobbs and stopped with Archie comics. I’m sure part of this was due to the fact that my sister had her nose stuck in a book for most of her preteen and teenage life. It wasn’t fun for me. I just wanted to play and her obsessive reading habits seriously interfered with my play time. Once I started Jr. High and High School reading became a chore and a homework assignment…and really, who likes that! I couldn’t stand having a book shoved at me with the expectation that not only would I have to read it, but I would have to pay attention enough to write a book report and glean some sort of educational enlightenment from it (seriously, Fifth Business was quite possibly the worst thing to ever happen to me). I do have to mention that I loved reading Shakespeare and Poe because I was a theater junkie…but that’s about it.

{And how beautiful is this picture, hey? Nothing beats a bookshelf full of books!}

Anyways, all of that was a lead-up to me saying that I’ve slowly realized that I’ve gone through some sort of maturing process and I find myself in the exact opposite situation. Apparently I’m a book-worm. The pendulum has swung. Before I know what’s happened I find myself tightly packed into the corner of our couch wrapped in a cozy blanket, coffee in hand completely absorbed in my current read. It’s gotten so bad that for the past while my favorite date with James is grabbing a coffee and heading to a bookstore. I walk in and am immediately excited by all of the possibilities (similar to when I walk in to a fabric or craft store). Overwhelmed actually. So many books, such little time. I also have to monitor my trips to the thrift store considering there are so many random books to be bought for next to nothing. At least at Chapters and McNally Robinson you are somewhat limited due to the high prices…not so with the thrift store. My book hoarding has even spilled over into children’s literature for the kids. My bookshelves are overflowing, their bookshelves are overflowing. I’ve even asked James if we can do a whole wall in the basement as one huge built-in for all of our books.

Afternoon quiet-time reading, in-the-bath reading, before-bed reading, waiting-in-the-truck-for-James-to-be-done-in-the-hardware-store reading. It’s all wonderful. Just in the past few months I’ve read The Hobbit and the Lord Of The Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb (which I only read because it was similar to the name of my blog…I wouldn’t recommend it), Laughing At The Law by Bruce Day, Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller, Say You’re One Of Them by Uwem Akpan, and A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah. I’m currently reading The Professor by Charlotte Bronte and next-up is Emma by Jane Austen and Call Of the Wild by Jack London.

I supposed all of this has just been an elaborate drawn-out way to say sorry that it’s been a bit quiet around here…I’ve had my nose stuck in a book!

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A Study Of Movement.

or “I’m A Bit Dizzy Today”,

or “Why I’m Always Tired”,

or “I Have A Lot Of Blurry Pictures”,

or “I wish I had Her Energy”,

or “Why I Look Forward To Date Night At A Bookstore”,

or “Why Mothers Of Toddlers Deserve A Bottle Of Wine And A Box Of Chocolates In A Nice Hot Bubble Bath Followed By A Foot Massage (every day)”

OR “Why I Love Ammie”

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Read it.

I just finished reading this book.

I highly recommend you get your butt over to Chapters and pick up a copy.

Right. Now.

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Calming Cottage.

This weekend we were able to sneak away from the all the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving for an overnighter at the in-law’s cottage. It was lovely. The weather was just beautiful and I had such a relaxing time. It’s hard to come home and get back into the swing-of-things once you’ve finally calmed yourself down by sitting around drinking cider and chatting. But it’s well worth it. There’s something about the simplicity and slower pace of cottage life that gets me every time. I just don’t want to leave; the cozy couches, the clean air, the water, the fishing, it’s all so good for the soul.

 

I hope you all had a great long weekend eating lot’s of turkey and getting your fill of pumpkin pie. I’m off to finish making some Chili Con Carne Soup!

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