Monday, October 10, 2016

100 things I’m thankful for:
11.       God – In him we live and move and have our being.  He made us, he loves us, he models love for us….1
22.       My parents – I’m so grateful for my parents.  They are so generous to me and to others.  I get to see them regularly.  They still teach me how to be the best person I can be by modeling their lives.2
33.       My children
a.       Rose:  I’m so thankful she’s living with me right now.  I’m really enjoying getting to know her as an adult.  It also means that I’m not alone; that I have company.3
b.      Bram:  It’s so good to visit with him; to find out what’s going on in his life; I’m looking forward to trying nanowrimo with him in November. 4
44.       My siblings 5
a.       Ruth: we do so much together. She’s my best friend.  It’s been wonderful sharing our lives with each other.6
b.      Nancy: I really enjoy cleaning with her monthly and catching up on her family.  I love playing cards with her.7
c.       Walter: he’s been so generous to me; I wouldn’t be where I am now without him.
d.      John: I enjoy visiting with him, solving problems with him; getting to know his family
e.       Randy:  He’s also so generous to me.  He came over and raked my front yard for me and trimmed trees just last week.8
f.        Robert:  He and his family are right near the top of my “God bless” list.  It’s so good to know that they’re doing better.9
g.       Glenda: I really enjoyed the cruise we went on together.  She’s so generous with her time.10
55.       I can’t talk about my siblings, without talking about my in-laws as well:11
a.       Walter – who looks after my 4-plex for me, and helps with so many of the day to day things for me.12
b.       Al – it’s so good to visit with him every month; 13
c.       Anna – who is so hospitable, and always likes to have us over14
d.       Melissa – who has got her plate full right now, but it’s so good to hear that her kids are doing better15
e.       Lynn – who I’ve been friends with for such a long time.16
f.        Robb and Arlene; Doug and Darlene, who have shared a large part of my life as well.17
66.       My church families - really there’s 5 of them; the Saskatoon church where I grew up, the Yellowknife church where I spent 20 years, the Northwest church that’s my current home, and the Gentle Road church, when I share in their ministry, and the greater world church, where I have friends.18
a.       Saskatoon church: I still keep in touch with many of the members through Facebook, and conversations with my parents and my siblings.  I was so blessed with such a strong foundation, such strong people of faith to mentor me when I was growing up.19
b.      Yellowknife church: Although it’s been years since I’ve been back, this congregation is where I grew in faith as an adult, and where I raised my children.  I’m so thankful for the many gifts they graced me with.20
c.       Northwest church: which has welcomed me from the beginning when I arrived here.  It has been such a blessing to me.21
d.      Gentle Road church: which has encouraged me to grow in faith and in trust.22
e.       The greater world church – where I have friends because of our brotherhood in Christ.23
77.       The many blessings I’ve been showered with24
88.       My business – which is just starting to pay its way; giving me an income.25
99.       My home – I love my location; I love being able to be hospitable; having lots of space; I love walking to work26
a.       My bedroom 27
1.          I love my bed; it’s comfortable and has so much storage, where it’s always warm28
2.          The fan, which keeps me so cool in summer – and the installation is, again, a present from my dad.29
3.          The size of it, so there’s room for my sewing table and machines, and all my clutter.30
                              b.            My private bathroom, so I don’t have to share31
                               c.            My big living room, where I can have lots of visitors; the big living room windows, where I can see out on the world.32
                              d.            The four bedrooms, so I can have lots of guests or boarders.33
                               e.            The weird closets: 1 and 2, so I have space for storage; and right now so there’s space for my canning and my produce.34
                                f.            My kitchen: 35
1.       I love my kitchen appliances, especially my ovens, my stove top, my all fridge and all freezer, my dishwasher.36
                                                                    i.         My double ovens – where I can bake as much as I want; where I can have both of them full at the same time.37
                                                                   ii.         My stovetop, which is so easy to wipe down, and where things cook so quickly.38
                                                                 iii.         My all fridge, which has so much storage space.   I keep it pretty full, but it has so much room.39
                                                                 iv.         My all freezer, which also has a lot of storage space.  I love the ice maker in it, that my dad, once again, installed for me.40
                                                                   v.         My dishwasher, which makes my life so much easier; and is so quick to load and unload.41
2.       My washer and dryer: although I’m not thrilled with them being in my kitchen, it’s very convenient there, and they’re very quiet.  I love that I can have a load done in my washer in under 30 minutes.42
3.       That I have lots and lots of cupboards; I love my pull-out cupboard beside the stove top, I love the upper cupboards I put in above the washer and dryer, so I have room for my dishes there.  I love the “black cupboard” which doesn’t match anything else, but has space for my slow cookers, all my spices and baking supplies, and my cereals above it.43
                         g.                  My “down room” where we can send the kids and have an adult space and a child space.44
                        h.                  The dining room: where we have eaten so many meals, enjoying one another’s company; where there’s room for a table that seats 12, as well as a china cupboard.45
                          i.                  My front-hall closet: a Christmas present from my father, the first year I bought my house, and it holds so much.  There’s a huge bookcase on the backside for books, there’s lots of storage space in the closet and there’s two shelves above.46
                          j.                  The front entry: it’s so large; it has space for everyone’s shoes without intruding on the living room; 47
                         k.                  The carport – because if it was a garage, it would be full, but because it’s a carport, it means I have a protected space to park my car and I never have to scrape my windows.48
                          l.                  A paved driveway – such a luxury!49
                      m.                  A fenced backyard – a gift from my dad, again.50
                        n.                  Great neighbours – whom I visit with across the driveway all summer. 51
                        o.                  Lots of trees, which provide ample shade in the summer.52
                        p.                  The high ceilings throughout the house, which keeps it cooler in summer.53
                        q.                  That my house keeps me warm; it’s a real blessing not to have to worry about whether the furnace works.  It just does.54
110.   My garden – even though it didn’t produce much this year, it’s been so good having a garden, I love the feeling of promise in the spring when I planted, and the produce that it produces in the summer – and I still have tomatoes on the boxes in the front window in my living room!55
111.   Canning – my grandmother and my mother taught me to can.  I love having my cupboards full of canning that I made – that I can say, I did this!  I love being able to share the bounty with others.  I love not having to go to the store for things, because I’ve got it in my pantry.  I love carrying on the tradition, being resourceful, and thrifty.56
112.   My car – it’s not beautiful, it has several dents, but it gets me where I need to and it never gives me grief.57
113.   My sewing machines – yes, I have several. But this means that if I have trouble with one, I can just swap it out for another one.  I have spent so many joyful hours sewing.58
114.   My laptop – I spend many hours on it, and it’s so good to be able to be on Facebook, and see what my friends are doing; and to play mindless games on it, or to send email or the many other things I do with it.59
115.   The change in seasons:  it’s snowing out right now.  I love the way the seasons change – with the leaves falling in the autumn, the hot summer days; the adjustment to winter, with a bunch of cooler days interspersed with the warmer ones; the cold winter days to huddle indoors – it’s all good.60
116.   For fresh snow – and that I’m not out in it.61
117.   For a day off work.  Holidays are wonderful.62
118.   For family gatherings.63
119.   For great food – Rachel’s sweet potato casserole was wonderful, but the rest of the meal, including the pumpkin pie (dairy free!), peach pie, apple pie and lemon pie (but I didn’t try the lemon pie) was also very good.64
220.   For good books to read.65
221.   For warm clothes – I really like having my thermostat set low and wearing more clothes. 66
222.   Hot tea – for when it’s cold out. 67
223.   Going for walks – and being healthy enough to do so.68
224.   Having a playground just across the street from my house.  I don’t go there that often, but it’s very nice that it’s so close when I have children visit.  69
225.   Having an extra parking lot right across the street from my house.  Again, I don’t use it, but when I have lots of guests, it gets used.70
226.   Also having extra parking in the back alley behind my house.  Usually there’s no option to park in a back alley, but because I’m right by the curve, people can park there without blocking the back alley.71
227.   Chokecherry bushes that grow just down the lane from my house – on city property, so it’s free to pick them.  I usually make chokecherry syrup every year from them – this year I made 3 batches! 72
228.   Having such good friends at church, such as Einar, who has me come and pick his apples and his grapes, so I can can them.  This year I made apple butter, apple pie filling, apple juice and grape jelly.73.
229.   Extended family – I’m so blessed with such a large extended family, with members who live all over the world.  I love checking my Facebook and seeing what they’re doing, and what’s going on in everyone’s life. 74
330.   When everyone goes home again.  I love having guests, but it’s so nice when they’re gone.  I’m thankful both ways.  75.
331.   Stores that are open, even when it’s a holiday. 76
332.   Having good health.  Rose and I went to Shoppers and checked our bp while we were there – and we’re very comparable; both of our bp’s are around 110/60. 77
333.   Having things cleaned up and the dishes done. 78
334.   Having turkey soup for tomorrow – and leftover turkey, of course. 79
335.   Because it’s cold enough out that even though there’s not enough fridge space for everything, I can keep things on my front step overnight. 80
336.   The beauty of a fresh snow fall. 81
337.   The way the Lord has blessed friends who have recently had serious health problems, and are now fine.  I’m thinking of both Walter P and Kevin V. 82
338.   Watching movies with my daughter. 83
339.   Clean clothes. 84
440.   A job (Rose suggested that one). 85
441.   Music – making music, listening to music, sharing music.  86
442.   Sleep – it’s so nice to go to sleep at the end of the day, I’m thankful that I can usually go to sleep easily and sleep well. 87
443.   Choices – right now, it’s choices for pie (maybe lemon? Peach? Pumpkin?) – but there are so many choices and open doors. 88
444.   The Party.  Ordinarily, it’s Monday night and I’d be just getting home from The Party; but, because it’s a holiday, we have the night off.  But I do love the kids and love the opportunity to help with it. (And I love the opportunity to stay home tonight, too.) 89
445.   The skills I have – typing, sewing, teaching, making music, etc. 90
446.   Even though so much of my family lives far away (Bram’s in YK, for example) – they’re only a phone call or a text or an email away.  91
447.   Toiletries – shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrush – we’re so much better smelling than without it. 92
448.   Regular routines – I like knowing what I’m doing tomorrow, and the next day. 93
449.   Holidays and days off.  I’m enjoying today off; and I have loved the holidays I’ve gone on recently. 94
550.   Our government – I am thankful for the people who are willing to serve in public office.  I see the election debates going on right now in the States – and I know we’re supposed to pray for our authorities, and it’s essential.  95
551.   Chores and responsibilities -it’s sort of like medicine; I may not like them at the time, but they’re good for me and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. 96
552.   A really good snow shovel – because it looks like I’ll need to use it this winter – maybe tomorrow.  97
553.   My Fitbit – it’s being charged right now; but I know that I try to get more exercise every day because I wear it.  98
554.   The comfort of prayer.  99

555.   That I have everything I need – the Lord has blessed me so very much and continues to do so.  100!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I don't know how we missed this salad

We don't make this salad really frequently but we really like it.  It's just that it's a bit picky to make, and it makes a lot - so we usually reserve it for potlucks and things like that.


1 1/2 cups prepared chicken broth
1 1/2 cups couscous (or if you're going gluten-free, use quinoa)
Combine and cook couscous in broth.  Let stand while you get other things ready.

Cook 1 cup lentils in a separate pot and let cool.

Combine in another bowl:
Mayonnaise Mixture
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup each chopped fresh mint and parsley
2 TLB liquid honey
1 TLB ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Mix together 1/2 of the mayonnaise mixture with the lentils and couscous.

Layer the following ingredients in the order given:

Mayonnaise mixture
2 cups thinly sliced carrots
2 cups sliced English cucumber
2 cups cherry tomatoes
Mayonnaise mixture

Top with 1/2 cup each of dried apricot (sliced smaller), dried cranberries and seeds or nuts.

Serve with lettuce if desired.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Three recipes

We tried a new salad Mother's Day - and I think it's a good one that we'll make again.  This was a cucumber pasta salad - and because Rose is with me right now, we made it gluten-free.  The recipe was originally from a Walmart flyer- but of course we changed it and made it our own.

Asian Cucumber Pasta Salad
1 package (400 g) rice vermicelli
2 English cucumbers, sliced thinly (or cut into chunks)
1 green onion, sliced diagonally (we were out of green onion so we used finely diced onion)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped finely
1/2 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup gluten-free soya sauce
3 TLB apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 TLB sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 TLB grated ginger
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 TLB lime juice

Pour boiling water over the rice vermicelli and let it stand while you cut up the cucumbers.  When the noodles are softened, drain the water, cut the vermicelli into smaller pieces, then add the cucumbers, onion, cilantro and peanuts.

Combine all the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad.

Now I normally don't like cilantro - I think it tastes like soap; but it was ok in this recipe.  It's still not something I'd voluntarily buy (it was in the clearance section at the grocery store in a bag, and I thought I was buying parsley).

I also learned how to make iced tea so it's not too strong, not too weak and not too bitter; with just the right amount of sugar.  Here you go:

Iced Tea
8 cups boiling water
5 tea bags
2 -3 TLB sugar syrup*

When the water comes to a boil, turn it off, add the tea bags and let it steep 5 minutes.  Remove the tea bags.  Add the sugar syrup.  Serve it over ice.

First of all, it does make a difference what brand of lemon juice you buy.  The stuff from the dollar store is horrible; RealLemon is much, much better.

for 1 cup of lemonade:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar syrup*
3/4 cup cold water

Serve over ice again.

You can adjust for strength and sweetness, but that's the basic proportions.

*I make my sugar syrup by putting equal amounts of water and sugar in a jar and zapping it in the microwave until the sugar is totally dissolved.  I then keep it in the fridge and use it to make lemonade or iced tea.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Reaching back in time

I was in Saskatoon for a couple days this past week. Rose had laser surgery done on her eyes and is now seeing without glasses, and I was the parental support.  Anyway, while I was there, I asked my mother about her grandparents.  I have often mused that memories seem to stop at about four generations - or at about my great-grandparents.  On any side of the family that I care to track back, the memories tend to stop about there.

In any case, my parents, Harold and Mary Ruth (Lidbury) Orr - who have eight children, 22 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren at this point in time - which makes for a real crowd when we get together.  Because this is the family I grew up in, I can tell lots of stories about all of the members.  For most of their life, they have lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Then, my mother's parents, Edward James (Jim) and Pearl Etta (Head) Lidbury - who had three children.  I can also tell lots of stories about this family - both personal stories, and stories that have been related to me, or that have been written down and I have read.  For most of their life, they lived in southern Saskatchewan, at Harptree, then at Stony Beach, then at Moose Jaw and finally in Saskatoon; but my grandmother is buried in Denison, Texas, while my grandfather is buried in Saskatoon.

Then, my mother's mother's parents, Benton McMillan Head and Mary Florence (or May)(Osgatharp) Head - who had 12 children (my grandmother was the oldest).  I remember visiting my great aunts in Texas many times, and I can tell a few stories about them, and I have heard a few stories about my great grandparents.  Although they were born in Clay County, Tennessee, they moved by covered wagon to Texas - first to west Texas, then because of drought conditions, to east Texas, and lived just south of the Oklahoma border.  They were third cousins - related on the Plumlee side, and Benton was enough taller than May that if he stretched out his arm from his shoulder, she could stand right underneath it.  They were farmers.

But generally, that's where the memories stop.  However, I asked my mother some questions, and then did some searching on the internet, and I have a little bit more than just names for my mother's mother's mother's parents, Erasmus Gaw Osgatharp and Rachel (or Rachael) Presovia (Plumlee) Osgatharp.  I found two photos, and a bit of a history.  He was a logger, as was his father before him.  They lived all of their lives in Clay County, Tennessee, and they had 11 children.  They were big families back then!

It's so interesting to find a photo of my ancestors, who lived over 100 years ago, who were alive during the American Civil war!

Monday, May 11, 2015

A new salad recipe! Beet Salad

Last year Ruth and I helped at the Russian Pavilion for Mosaic.  We got to try all the food - and we really enjoyed the beet salad.  The other day when I was at the grocery store; they had some discounted beets - which I promptly purchased.  But, it's too hot out for borscht right now; so I contacted Anna and told her I wanted the recipe for Beet Salad.  We made it on Saturday - and it was just as good as I remember.
So... here's the recipe:

3 medium beets - cooked and diced
3 medium potatoes - cooked in a separate pot and diced
3 medium carrots - cooked in a separate pot and diced
1/3 to 1/2 cup sauerkraut
1 small bunch fresh dill - finely chopped
1 small onion - finely chopped

2 TLB oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar

OK, I've tried to upload a photo and it doesn't like me today - so you don't get a photo.  Suffice it to say that the salad's yummy

Sunday, May 3, 2015


It's a routine that I know from my childhood.  There are people coming over, get things tidied up.  Start at one room; sweep the floor, pick up the clutter, put things away.  Move to the next room.

I'm planning "the crowd" for Sunday dinner today.  That means whoever we can invite - likely somewhere between 20 and 30 people.  There will be kids and adults spread throughout the house.  My boarder, who's shy about such things, will hide in his room.  I'm planning on making kid-friendly food - chili dogs, coleslaw, mixed green salad, hash brown patties, juice, dessert. I made two batches of chili; one batch is regular Canadian strength; the other has the judicious application of hot sauce.

So, I'm nearly ready.   Dishes are done; dishwasher is running.   I've got the clean tablecloth on the table; paper plates and cups are set out.  The chili and hot dogs are in the 3-pot slow cooker, with the buns beside.  The coleslaw's in the fridge; cake's in the oven.  The hash browns will be heated in the oven and green salad will be mixed together when I get home from service.  I have checked the ingredients on everything for people with allergies (and need to run past the grocery store for more juice and plastic cups on my way to church).  Ice cream is in the outside freezer, the dairy-free topping for those who can't do ice cream is in the fridge.  I still need to carry the garbage out.

In a way, the straightening up, tidying up is a form of prayer.  May the Lord bless you as I practice hospitality.  Bless you as I prepare for your visit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

OK, it has been forever since I've posted - I know it.  However, Ruth and I have still been cooking together and I have new recipes to post.

First of all - I made a "new to me" salad - although Aunt Alice informs me that Grandma Orr made it all the time.  It's really good though; and very easy.  The warehouse store had a 5 kg bag of coarsely grated carrot on half price; so I've been experimenting with ways to use it up.

One of the big successes, was this Carrot Apple Salad

Combine together:
3 cups coarsely grated carrot
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup raisins
2 large apples, diced and turned in  1/2 cup lemon juice to prevent browning.

Use the leftover lemon juice to thin 1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing.
Toss to combine with salad.

Nearly every salad Ruth and I make we make a vinaigrette dressing to go over it; so it was very nice to have a mayonnaise dressing instead.  This is a really pretty salad and it keeps quite well.

Next... Bram came home with a purple cabbage that needed to be used.  So Ruth introduced me to Bigos.  This is a traditional Polish stew; made with cabbage and garlic sausage, and whatever is on hand (such as grated carrot).  It makes up extremely quickly - as in it's ready in under 15 minutes, and is delicious!

Fry together:
2-3 sausages, cut into small pieces OR 2-3 pieces of bacon, cut into small pieces
about 3-4 inches of garlic sausage, cut into small chunks
2-3 cups grated cabbage
1 cup grated or finely chopped carrot
1 diced onion
any other leftover vegetables in the fridge
1 cup sauerkraut

It's the sauerkraut that really makes this - it gives it a real tang.

Next to make with the grated carrot?  Carrot cake and meatloaf.... another day though