Sunday, December 27, 2009


Well I'm a little behind on posting pregnancy updates and just updates in general. Time just seems to get away from me and despite the best intentions I just don't seem to get around to posting anything!

Life is ticking away like normal around here. We've been busy with renovations as we're finishing up the bathroom and starting on the nursery. Pictures of the bathroom will be coming soon(we were waiting for a long overdue counter top!) We've started on the nursery in the last couple weeks; Ben's been busy doing some electrical and patching the walls. We hope to get the walls primed and ready for paint this week! We ordered a new window for the room as well, so that should go in this week. After that we just have to buy and install new trim and we'll be all set!
We're right in the middle of the busy Christmas season and we're about halfway done our our family gatherings/parties. It's been a busy Christmas season, but we're so blessed with wonderful family and friends to celebrate this time of year with! Below are some pictures from our VMS family gathering.

Puzzles Ben made for Lauren and Leah.

Waiting anxiously!

Kara in the new pajamas I made for her!

And Joey in his new ones!

Monday, November 16, 2009

28 Weeks!

Third trimester here we come! The countdown is on: 12 more weeks(we're hoping anyways!)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Apple Pies

You want to know a way to enjoy apple pies all winter long? Make a huge batch and freeze 'em! That's what my mom and I did yesterday: we made 25 delicious apple pies. What do you need?
About 1 bushel of apples, lard, flour, salt, water, sugar, cornstarch, pie tins....and um... oh ya, lots of energy!

My mom worked in a bakery during some of her teenage years and very cleverly memorized the pie shell recipe and has been using it ever since. I can guarantee you'll not find a more tastly, flakey, melt-in-your-mouth pie crust than this one. It's very simple to make, but a little more tricky to perfect. The key is to handle the dough the least amount possible: the more you handle it, the tougher it gets. Ben was our faithful apple peeler while my mom and I made the dough and assembled the pies. We also made half a dozen empty shells for future use and over 80 tart shells(out of a slightly different dough). We pre-baked the pies as it makes for a better crust when you reheat them later on. Below are some pictures of our work and accomplishments. It sure does feel nice to have pies and shells stored away for the winter! Thanks for coming over and helping mom!

We couldn't wait for "winter" so we had a pie last night. All I can say is: YUMMY!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just because.....

...he's wonderful
Just because..... he's sweet
Just because..... he's caring
Just because..... he's forgiving
Just because..... he's gentle
Just because..... he's a Christian
Just because..... he's kind
Just because..... he puts up with me :P
Just because..... he fixes up our home
Just because..... he's handsome
Just because..... he loves me

Just because he's who he is.... that's why I love him!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

24 Weeks!

Well, I guess I've grown in the last four weeks. I didn't think I had gotten that much bigger, but looking at my previous pictures I realize how "skinny" I used to be. Only four more months of getting fatter and then I plan to loose most of it in one day :-)

I'm continuing to feel pretty well; the good ol' tiredness is starting to kick in, so I can really use a power nap in the afternoon. Junior/ette is pretty active these days and seems to enjoy stomping on my bladder. But, I'm nevertheless thankful for those kicks and stomps as they continue to remind us of the wonderful miracle of life. Ben felt the baby kick for first time last night which was very exciting!

We continue to accumulate items for the nursery and hope to get started on that soon! We (and I use that 'we' very loosely) are just finishing the upstairs bathroom as that is a slight priority given the continued growth of this baby and the continued pressure on my bladder in the middle of the night :-) After the bathroom is finished, the nursery just needs a few fixes before we can paint etc.

Below are some pictures of me at almost 24 weeks.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Making Salsa!

Last night my dear hubby and I decided to make salsa. We were given some yummy tomatoes (thanks Uncle Pete & Aunt Ludy!) and they needed to be processed ASAP. Having never made salsa by ourselves before, we were a little nervous; so.... we asked my mom (a canning guru) lots of questions, read the instructions twice, and hoped for the best. After lots of chopping, dicing, measuring, pouring, and stirring, we had a nice pot of salsa simmering. Boy, did it make my mouth water! After simmering for about two hours we were ready to pressure can it. An hour of hissing and steaming and pressurizing followed, and voila! we had twelve wonderful jars of salsa to enjoy!

Washing the dirty tomatoes.

We made a quadruple batch!

Yummy, spicy salsa to last us all winter long!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ultrasound Pictures!

Here are some pictures of our little babe! We may be a little biased, but we think he or she is the cutest baby we've ever seen :-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Well we're halfway there! So far I've been feeling pretty well besides a nasty cold that I've managed to attract. I go for my first ultrasound on Friday and we're really looking forward to seeing our babe kick and squirm! I thought I'd better post some pics for my far-away family so you have an idea of how fat I am :P:P

Friday, September 04, 2009

A Visit from a Dear Friend

Our dear friend, Corina, came from BC to spend two weeks with us. It was so great to have her here and we spent tons of time catching up since last year. Corina has come out every year since we've been married, so next year we're thinking we owe her and the rest of her family a visit to BC, along with our little one of course :-)

We spent a day going to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-lake. Ben and I had never been to NOTL, so we didn't really know what to expect. Even though it was a bit cloudy, it was a great day. We took some time walking by the falls and then went for a hike down the Niagara gorge; what beautiful creation we can enjoy!

On our way to NOTL, we stopped and had a tour of a winery. It was neat to see the winery up close and learn how to properly taste wine. NOTL is a really nice town with lots of cute shops and bakeries one of which we couldn't help but buy some goodies from. They were yummy!

We also went sailing with Joel & Lynnette on Lake Erie; it wasn't quite as windy as last year (for which I was thankful!) and we had a great sail!

Add Image

Thanks for coming Corina!! We miss you already!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


In July we went camping with some friends and family to Arrowhead Provincial Park. It's a great park just North of Huntsville and we had a great time! On the busiest day there were a total of 14 adults and 12 kids five years old and under! Yikes! that was a lot of kids, but it sure was entertaining :-) Below are some pictures of our week.

Our campsite. We really only used half of it :-)

On the hike to Stubb's falls.

Monday, August 03, 2009

We are expecting......

  • mood swings
  • new clothes
  • tons of new stuff
  • many new changes
  • new excitement
  • oh, and the reason for all this new stuff..... a baby!!
Yes, that's right! We're expecting a small (as least I'm hoping small!) addition to our family in early February. I'm currently 13 weeks and feeling great(thanks to a very small miracle pill!!) My mom didn't pass on the greatest non-morning sickness genes, so I was pretty miserable for a week or so before I started taking medication. Things are going well now and we hope will continue well for the rest of the pregnancy. Be sure to stay tuned for more updates and maybe some pictures.... :-)

Monday, July 06, 2009

The best way to have fresh veggies all summer.....

is to have your own garden, so we decided to put in our own small, modest veggie garden this year so we could reap (pardon the pun) the benefits all summer long. We had planned on making one last year and the year before, but as usual, life got in the way. Well this year my ambitious gardener who I'm proud to say is also my husband, tackled the job. Below are just a few pictures that I (as usual being the proud and support spectator took whilst the activities were going on.) **please note the bottom pictures are taken a few days and weeks later as, in fact, it does take some time for the seed to germinate.

The plot is selected.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

In Memory of Oma teBokkel

My Aunt Helena wrote this and read it at the funeral.

Two years ago in May at the age of 82, my mother wrote these words on the first page of a spiral notebook:

What do I want from life

What are my dreams

to love it to the fullest

to live in the moment

to appreciate other people

to grow in faith

to see the gold around the clouds, the sun is shining behind the cloud

to expand my horizon through interesting books, tapes, CD’s, maybe writing? In other words to keep growing, exploring, researching, studying

to smell the roses, appreciate life and live it abundantly

Some doors may be closed, but others could be opened.

Don’t give in, Do Not give up

Life is beautiful, wonderful

I’ll live it abundantly

Finish what you begin

Continue to walk in and with nature, with God as your guide.

So much of who she was is bound up in these words.

- a woman of determination and tenacity who was persistent in getting all she could from life despite the obstacles

- a woman who was creative and loved colour in all areas of her life

- a woman who loved God’s creation as she experienced it in her garden, camping and in every opportunity to walk outdoors

Life was to be embraced

The second of 5 children, she grew up known as the “dreamer”, the one who could be found with a book in hand up in a tree, drawing on scraps of paper or negotiating peace between her arguing siblings.

That creative, dreamer grew up through the depression and a war that was devastating to many - her family like many others struggled through a lack of food at the end of the war – eating tulip bulbs to survive.

She also grew up in an era where as a woman you became what you were told to she ended up a teacher for a nursery school – a difficult thing for a dreamer to be told you could not pursue your dream of art school and nursing.

I think she might have made a great nurse as she demonstrated later in life by a love of taking care of the sick and elderly in our neighbourhood and a knack for telling everyone what they should be doing and how to “cure” all their ailments.

It was during her time as the principal of the a nursery/primary school that she met my father through a blind date set up by two colleagues.

Their first date was a walk to a sculpture show – the first of many shared walks and art exhibits. Although they were two very different people they quickly discovered many common interests:

Art and beauty whether it was found in paintings, sculpture, architecture, flowers and forests.

They both loved the adventure of travel and discovery

They both loved music and concerts (although their preferred music genres were different…Mom attended the London Symphony for over 40 years) They shared a common faith and a commitment to the work of the church

They shared a commitment to frugalness and distained for any unnecessary spending (although Dad had a weakness for Laura Secord ice-cream….any kind of ice-cream really)

Yet they were also generous in giving to the needs they encountered around them with time, money and advice.

My Dad – the extreme pragmatic, logical to a fault, stubborn adventurer, held onto this flighty, creative, dreamer and pulled her into his dream of emigrating.

When they met Dad was pursing opportunities around the world and after a number of possibilities the 2 final destinations were New Zealand or Canada…Mom was the deciding factor – she didn’t mind heading out on the adventure having her own love of travel but New Zealand was awfully far from home.

It was here in London that they settled in 1954. Working hard they built a home, built a family and built life long friendships with other young couples who also emigrated from the Netherlands around the same time.

After about 15 years in Canada – her kids well on their way through school… Mom went back to school herself – pursuing art classes through an adult learning program at Beal Secondary. Here and through her volunteer work at the Art Gallery as a docent, she developed a new group of friends, women who shared her love of art and creating. Over the years, she continued to meet with and paint with these women. These Relationships were very important to her and supported her in her passion to create and add to the beauty in God’s world.

Mom had always struggled with health issues – as we were growing up she napped every afternoon, getting up some time after we returned from school. Many of her struggles were precursors to the Lupus she fought in her later years. She was known to be rebellious when it came to medical advice but pursued a vast array of alternative approaches to better her health. Her tenacity in her health pursuits was a large part in her survival for so many years. Like the “Eveready” bunny…she would keep on going. She fought hard against the things that stopped her from enjoying life whether that be pain, lack of energy, the lupus or deteriorating vision.

One of her greatest loves was camping. We camped all over Ontario as a family growing up, she and Dad traveled all over with their home built trailer. After Dad died, Mom never missed a summer at the Pinery and in the last 10 years, my husband Brian would set her up with her little cabin trailer for two weeks every June and again in September. She didn’t like it but we’d make her call us daily so we’d know she was okay. At 83, last summer, it became clear to us that it was becoming too difficult and her camping days were coming to an end.

Mom was a woman who sought joy in her life – she set goals, dreamed dreams and walked her own path. She’d sometimes leave others with their heads shaking, wondering, but she continued to seek more out of life – even with her vision going and unable to paint anymore – she turned to fiber arts. Books on tape fed her desire to learn, and a walker allowed her to continue to get outside and experience the birth of one last spring.

84 years lived deeply and with intentionality.

She still had hope for a future

She still found delight and Joy in the simple things of life

May we all leave this place today rejoicing in the opportunity we still have to celebrate life.

Monday, April 13, 2009

He's just the best!

My dear husband brought some beautiful flowers home to me tonight.... just because:-) I can't believe how blessed I am to have such a sweet, thoughtful, and romantic husband. He's just the best!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How to have creative fun while renovating in 10 easy Steps!

Step 1: Find a uncompleted renovation project.

Step 2: Determine how long you want the fun to last. ie, if you want it to last for ever, do something permanent. If looking for a temporary bit of laughter, we suggest something that can be removed or changed once the fun has been worn out.

Step 3: Determine how creative you would like to be. (This is usually determined by the kind of mood you are in, and who is around to influence you. In this case, my dear mother was nearby to 'set the tone' for the level of creativity and general "funness".)

Step 4: Choose your necessary tools.

Step 5: Begin by being creative in the most obvious spot; none of this 'test the product in an inconspicuous spot first' stuff.

Step 6: Have fun; nothing dampens creativity more than a droll attitude or demeanour.