Fully Enjoying the Seaon Day 20 a Basket Full of Fun

Week Three How to ENJOY Entertaining
Day 20 A Basket Full of Fun
Growing up we went through seasons where we played games, for instance I remember Yahtzee nights before my youngest three sisters came along. When the holidays rolled around I also remember that we often joined in to the card games and such. But there were large chunks of time when we really didn’t play games together. I think we missed out as a family on a prime opportunity for building reIationships. Now that I’ve got my own family, I realized you have to fight for it. One thing that has helped is that my hubby comes from a huge “game playing” family. The other thing that has helped that that I’ve tried hosting games nights with our friends. This way our kids see that it’s important and fun and worth making time for.
In our home, I’m in constant battle with the television. I continue to debate just having the cable disconnected, but we have extenuating factors that have prevented me from doing so just yet. In my efforts to cut down on the time used wasted watching the tube, I’ve tried to make other activities EASY to do.

One of them is having an easy to access to our family room closet which holds our games, card games and craft activities like this one.
If you don’t have the closet space you could just have a basket that you keep out in the open (and easily stash in a cupboard when you need the space) like this one.
…Or if you’ve been blessed to receive vintage boxed board games like we have, you can leave them on a book shelf in the open like these.

I also think it’s a great idea to leave a basket of books out in easy access to encourage reading over watching the tube.

You can even change them out by the season such as this Christmas Book Basket – but more on this later 馃檪

If you want to be really adventurous leave out a basket of craft supplies and see what happens!
Any which way you try, if you make it easier for your family to do things together, its most likely they will try and you will all reap the benefits of enjoying each other this fall.


Fully Enjoying the Seaon Day 19 Party Games

Week Three How to ENJOY Entertaining

Day 19 Party Games for All Ages

Easy Games for Fall Gatherings

Evening Gatherings like dinners or appetizers and drinks are always so much more fun when the people are busy doing something together. Getting them interacting even just with a simple game of cards is always a good idea. It’s a great idea to have simple board games or a deck of cards on hand for these social times. Here are a bunch of ideas that may help, even if it’s just to refresh our memories on what we can do.

Board Games and Cards

Apples to Apples, Cranium, Charades, Spoons, Dutch Blitz, Card Games, Dominoes

Have a Campfire

Host a Campfire (if bylaws permit) Campfires are fantastic in clear crisp fall evening. Campfires are great to play music by, relax and have a drink and of course roast marshmallows and make smores.

Because we love fall so much in our house, we have Harvest Party for all our friends and their families. Lots of games followed by a big Pot Luck dinner. I love to encourage families to play together since these days its too easy to just “watch” the kids play while we sit on the sidelines. Here are some great games which you can everyone on board for.

I encourage you, join in. It will create unforgettable memories for you and your kids when you actually have fun TOGETHER. 馃檪

Harvest Party Games

My Personal Favs are the old fashioned kind of games, they never go out of style in my opinion.
Leaf Pile Jump

Bobbing for Apples
Potato Sack Races
Donut on a String

Pumpkin Carving Contest
I also think these are great games to do with parents and kids.

Board Games and Cards

Apples to Apples, Cranium, Charades, Spoons, Dutch Blitz, Card Games

Have a Campfire

Host a Campfire (if bylaws permit) Campfires are fantastic in clear crisp fall evening. Campfires are great to play music by, relax and have a drink and of course roast marshmallows and make smores.

Broom Tag

All that Broom Tag requires in terms of equipment is a broom. Four or more players can play the game, which starts with the “It” wielding a broom, according to Gameskidsplay.net. The “It” runs around and tries to tap other players with the bristles of the broom, and if the “It” is successful, the person who was tagged becomes a member of the “It” team. That person can then grab other players and yell “Broom Chaser!” to convert more players to the “It” team. The game is over when only one player is left who is not a part of the “It” team.

Pumpkin and Broom Race

Seemingly simple in concept, this game is made more challenging since pumpkins do not roll easily. Give each person a medium-sized pumpkin and a stick or broom. Mark the start and finish lines. Have the players line up behind the start line with the pumpkin on the ground in front of them. Using the broom handle, participants try to be the first one to roll your pumpkin over the finish line. Make it more challenging by setting up obstacles to roll the pumpkin around. Play as a relay for large groups.

Capture the Flag

Capture the flag involves a lot of running. When you play this game in the fall, you are often able to play it for longer because of cooler weather. Divide the group into two teams, and designate an area of your yard for each team, with a neutral space in between. Give each team a flag, and tell the teams to hide the flag in their area. Once hidden, both teams begin searching for the opponent’s flag. If a player is caught in another team’s territory, he is put in “jail” until one of his teammates frees him by touching him. The team that finds the flag first wins.

Elbow Tag

Elbow tag offers a suspenseful twist on classic tag games. One “it” player must chase one free player while the remaining players stand in pairs with arms linked. Only “it” and the free player can move. The free player can designate a new target for “it” at any time by linking arms with one of the standing pairs. The player in the pair with whom the free player did not link arms becomes the new free player. That player must then run away from “it” or take shelter by linking arms with a new pair.

For more ideas check here.
Enjoy the fall y’all!

Fully Enjoying the Seaon Day 18 Quick and Easy Food for Unexpected Company

Week Three How to ENJOY Entertaining

Day 18 Quick and Easy Food for Unexpected Company (or How to Turn any Occasion into a Party)
So you have friends over and you are all having such a great time, you don’t want it to end yet, but dinner is approaching and everyone is getting hungry…should you ask them to stay? Then your mind goes into a panic over what to serve… never fear, with some simple ingredients, it’s easy to throw something together to appeal to every appetite.
These are a few extremely easy things to always have on hand in your kitchen/ pantry so that you are always ready to entertain – any kind of crowd. The idea behind having these ingredients is that they will accent what’s already in your fridge or on the counter/stove. You can “dress things up” so that the food looks like you put some thought and serious effort into it, but really you didn’t. The added bonus is that your guests feel pretty special and everyone’s hunger is satisfied.
I’ve created this list based on the assumption that most of us at any given time will have veggies, bread, ingrediants for main dishes and the other staples needed to feed yourself or your family. These are a few extras I suggest keeping stocked even if you don’t use them every day because they can definitely take things up a notch.

1. Whole Grain Nachos
I love having these on hand to throw together any variety of nachos/Cheese tray. But they are also great to serve with a chunk soup or chilli. You also can crumble them to create a crunchy, salty topping for tuna melts or sandwiches.

2. Salsa

Salsa is another ingredient with many uses.
Of course its the primary topping for nachos,
but it can also be used as a topping on soups
or served as a condiment for meats and spicy dishes.

3. Variety of Cheeses

Certain cheeses freeze pretty well.
Old cheddars that are already crumbly or brie for example.
Any cheese you will most likely melt can also be frozen.
So stock up when your favs go on sale.
Others last quite a while in brine
– so buy feta in a bucket if possible.

Then you can serve a brie with salty crackers smothered in jelly or salsa.
Or you can sprinkle feta over anything from hot dishes to salad to fruit.
Or serve it fried up a bit drizzled with balsamic and olive oil.

4. Ice Wine Jelly (or hot jellies)

Yumminess in a jar.
You can spread this over crackers plain or with brie.
You can melt it down and serve as a sauce
over icecream or pie.
You can use it as a condiment for meat.
You can eat it straight – well, maybe not that.

5. Fresh Fruit – esp. Apples, Grapes and citrus

Not everyone keeps these on hand,
but they really should.
They are an easy snack to fancy up.
They can fancy up any dish really.
They can make a super easy dessert served
with ice cream or melted chocolate

6. Shrimp, Crab Meat, Smoked Salmon

Served alone, or even to fancy up dishes like
plain old mac and cheese.
Smoked salmon on toast with cream cheese and spinach.
Make a wrap or a dip or as an addition to salad.
Serve on crackers for an appetizer.
Serve in a dish with seafood sauce.
Serve in glass dessert bowls, like a cocktail.

7. Swedish Toasts or non-generic crackers (like rice crackers or paris toasts)

One of my personal favs.
They are great any time of day.
They can be made savory or sweet.

8. Canned Chickpeas

These are great to be thrown into a salad.
Or a hot dish like chili
Or mashed into a dip like hummus.
Or toasted in the oven with olive oil and eaten like nuts
Or Served with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper
Made spicy or plain.

9. Gingerale, Juices

This is great to have on hand to turn any drink
into a “sparkly drink”.
Its also great to serve with citrus slices served up
on the side of the glass.

Its also handy to have on hand for upset stomach.

10. A really good Olive Oil
and a Really Good Balsamic Vinegar
These are essential for salads
These are great to drizzle
on a plate and serve with crusty bread.
or over tomatoes and sprinkle with sea salt.
These can be used to make sauces for other dishes.

11. A variety of Pickles and Olives

Served alone with the bread and oil mentioned above.
Or to snazz up something like tuna salad.
Or to add to appetizers.

12. A variety of nuts and dried fruits
like cranberries, raisins, currants, etc

Served alone.
Toast them to add to dishes.
Used to spice up salads or veggie dishes.
Throw into melted chocolate to make bark.
Chop up and top desserts with them.
Glaze with brown sugar and butter, or spices.

13. Chocolate

Obviously always great to have on hand for desserts in them or melted on top of them.
Melt for a last minute fondue.
Add to stew, chili or other meat dishes for an exotic punch.
Grate it and use as a topping for desserts or coffee.

14. Ice Cream
I know its hard to keep on hand in some houses, but if you can bury one in the deep freeze, do it.
Easy to serve alone
Makes other desserts like pie, extra special.
Jazz up with fruit, melted chocolate or nuts.

15. Plain Cookies – shortbread, gingersnaps or wafers
These are easy to add to icecream or whipped cream
served with fruit and chocolate or caramel sauce
and make a simple dessert extra special.
I hope that give you a few ideas and peace of mind to be able to keep the party going with ease.

Fully Enjoying the Season – Day 17 – Is the Guest Room Ready?

Week Three How to ENJOY Entertaining

Day 17 Is the Guest Room Ready?
I”m posting this today with full knowledge that we probably will have guests this Christmas and also, having just said goodbye to a guest who was with us for a month. Upon starting to clean the room I discovered a mess of gigantic proportions, not from our guest but from an unwelcome problem that’s been growing in the wall!!! That’s right, we have a leak somewhere and mould is growing. Emergency measures have been taken, but now we’ve got to deal with this problem before I can even THINK of making the room nice again, or have guests with an anxiety free conscience. Anyways, I’ve included some ideas I’ve collected on what’d I do if I weren’t in emergency mode regarding the said guest room.
I love these Style at Home ideas.

Country Living
And I also love these ideas by Coral Nafie.

Country Living

The Best Bed Your Money Can Buy

Don’t give your guest the oldest, most saggy mattress you have. If you can’t afford a new or good used bed, think about getting a quality air mattress. They’re really quite comfortable and can be placed on top of a box spring, over a sofa bed mattress, or on the floor.

Bedding Upgrades

Beyond clean bedding, think about adding wonderful bed linens and comfort items often supplied by fine B&B’s: a featherbed mattress topper, a choice of pillows, a cozy down comforter, extra blankets, and freshly ironed pillowcases.

Fresh Linens

Always have an extra set of bed and bath linens available for your guests. Accidents DOhappen! Or you may have one of those wonderful guests who insists on changing the sheets when they leave. Let them do it! And thank them profusely!

A Place to Set Down a Suitcase

Clear a space to put a luggage rack or a small table or bench to set down a suitcase. No one likes to have to stoop over to the floor to pull out a clean pair of socks. Even a chair is better than nothing!

Clear the Decks

Resist the temptation to put your beautiful collection of dolls on the dresser or fill the closet with out-of-season clothes. In a guest room, less is more–more space, more comfortable, and more welcoming. Get rid of anything that you would not find in the room of a fine hotel. Keep only the most useful items in the room, like a clock and calendar.

A Comfy Place to Sit

Some people absolutely do not sit on a bed! And your guests shouldn’t have to. Place an upholstered armchair or side chair in the room with a table and lamp close by.

Good Lighting

It always amazes me when I walk into an otherwise nice hotel room and there’s no light to read by! It’s always nice to have a light control near the bed, so your guest won’t have to stumble around in the dark, just to turn a light on. If nothing else, provide a good reading light near a chair or over the bed. Another fixture or lamp near the desk would be great. A small night light is helpful and a lighted magnifying make-up mirror is a real luxury!

Hanging Clothes Storage

If your guest room shares space with a home office, clear at least a foot or two of pole space in the closet. Or purchase an inexpensive over-the-door hook that can accommodate some hanging clothes. Don’t forget a supply of 6 or 8 hangers. A simple hook on the wall or behind a closet door can hold a robe, coat, or a purse.

Drawer Space

If you have an extra chest of drawers, how perfect! But at least clear out one or two drawers for small items. Both you and your guest will feel better with odds and ends out of sight.

Simple Basics

I need to have a lighted clock next to my bed. An alarm clock or clock/radio is even better. Provide paper and pens or pencils, scissors, tape, tissue, and a hair dryer and have all the bases covered. If you don’t have an extra iron and ironing board to offer, be sure to tell your guest where they can find yours. A phone in the room will be a much-appreciated bonus item. How about a pre-paid phone card and instructions on how to use it?

Provide Privacy

You might know that the big maple tree just outside the window camouflages everything going on, but your guest won’t. Choose window coverings that not only add to the character of the room, but provide privacy and light control, as well. If you must keep it simple, a nice blind can offer works great. You can always add a beautiful valance or side panels later.

PS – THE STYLE AT HOME OCTOBER ISSUE IS OUT!!!!!!!!!! EEEK! So pretty. Every year I usually only buy the Nov-December issues of SAH because I love the rest of the year issues, I can get away with just reading them in the store, but the holiday ones need to come home and be read over and over- the ideas are so fun and so Canadian!!!

Fully Enjoying the Season – Day 15 – Week Three -How to ENJOY Entertaining

Week Three How to ENJOY Entertaining

Day 15 A well Stocked Pantry

I am a firm believer that the reason most of us don’t enjoy entertaining is because we don’t enjoy the “pressure” to entertain. For me, the moment I sense “pressure” to perform, is the moment I’d rather quit. If I don’t love the process, the people and what it produces, I don’t want any part of it. So, having my all or nothing attitude could result in me being quite the hermit. However, I love people too much so I learned as much as I could from people who loved to entertain, I took notes and put my own touches on it.

The result has been very rewarding. A community rich in creativity, in care, in love and in authentic relationships.

My version requires a little bit of pre-organization and lowering expectations.

I believe that the expression is picked up in the small details, so I try to pay attention to a few of them at each opportunity be it a shower, a casual lunch, a kids party or a family holiday function. It shows up in just having a nice table set, napkins or place-cards, take home favours, a special activity or even my current study on “how to give a proper toast”. There’s always something new we can learn to make our home life reflect what’s going on in our “heart life”.

My Greek heritage as well as my late chef-father passed on a deep respect for the role of food in entertaining. My dad always liked to have a well stocked pantry, he loved to feed a number of people and there always had to be more than enough. He loved to keep the menu seasonal, and he loved to have everyone around enjoying life together.

He taught me that a well stocked pantry saves time, money and fuss.


When you don’t have to worry about ingredients not being available, you are always ready to create a menu or meal that will nourish and entertain. You will always have your tools ready to “create” something uniquely satisfying and personal and you won’t ever have to waste time worrying or rushing about. Also you can entertain unexpected guests, or last minute plans. I like to be able to entertain strangers in need – in case they are angels


When you buy things on sale and stock up, you can make simple recipes for as many people as you like without having to pay convenience store prices. You won’t have to skip recipes because you don’t have certain ingredients and you can host a crowd without breaking the bank, anytime.


My mom was amazing in the kitchen as well, and she was the best at instilling, more hands make less work. That people “connect” better when they are all involved in part of the meal prep, maybe just throwing the salad greens in, cutting the bread or helping plate or-d’oeuvres.

I found this article at the Food Network.ca – it pretty much was exactly what my dad told me to always have on hand. (my comments are in italics)

The Fall Pantry

Cold Weather Must-Haves

You’ll want to have these items close-by to whip up comforting, seasonal meals and drinks.

  • Canned soups (dad always told me to make a big pot of soup up on the weekend and serve it through the week, but we still had canned ones on hand too)
  • Canned broths and stocks
  • Instant hot chocolate
  • Instant oatmeal (I always have large flaked oats as well as steel cut oats too)
  • Tea bags (including herbal teas – especially Chai and holiday blends)
  • Apple cider
  • Baking powder and soda
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Dried fruit
  • Yeast
  • All-purpose and/or pastry flour
  • Brown sugar, White sugar, Icing Sugar
  • chutney
  • honey
  • horseradish
  • ketchup, mustard (regular & Dijon)
  • pickles (sweet, dill & relish)
  • salsa, sliced pimientos
  • soy sauce, Teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce

Super Sale Stock Ups

Keep an eye on your weekly flyers and when these all-year-round essential items go on sale make sure you’re the first in line to buy in bulk.

  • Dried pasta or rice
  • Pancake mix or general batter mix
  • Maple syrup
  • Canned beans
  • Canned tuna fish
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Box drinks
  • Peanut butter
  • Jam or jelly (have a few specialty ones too, that you can serve over brie or on crackers – like ice wine or hot pepper jelly – even better if you can your own)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Red wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar & balsamic too)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Microwave popcorn (or regular popcorn)
  • Tomato Sauce (or canned tomatoes – I grow and can my own)
  • Canned vegetables (esp. irregular ones that aren’t usually frozen like artichoke hearts and beets)
  • Canned Fruits like orange segments, cherries and pineapple

Think-Ahead Holiday Essentials

Be ready for impromptu guests this holiday season and keep these items ready to go for entertaining.

  • Canned cranberry sauce
  • Canned pumpkin or pie filling
  • Pie crusts
  • Salad dressing, mayo or miracle whip
  • Evaporated and/or sweetened condensed milk
  • Graham crackers
  • Instant puddings
  • Powdered gelatine mixes
  • Marshmallows
  • Instant stuffing
  • Baking chocolate
  • dried raisins, currants,dates
  • variety of “plain” cookies you can dress up like shortbread or tea cookies
  • molasses

Dried Herbs
anise seeds, basil leaves, bay leaves, caraway seeds, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cilantro, coriander, cumin (ground & seeds), curry powder, dillweed. fennel seeds, Herbes de Provence, marjoram, oregano, paprika, red peppers, rosemary, peppercorns (black & white), poppy seeds, sage, salt (regular & coarse), saffron, sesame seeds, Tabasco or hot sauce, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

cinnamon (ground & whole sticks), cloves (ground & whole), ground allspice, ground cardamon, ground ginger, ground mace, ground nutmeg

almond extract, pure vanilla extract, vanilla beans

marsala wine, port wine, red wine, white wine

Gourmet Items
artichoke hearts, capers, curry paste, pesto, roasted peppers
shrimp & crab boil, smoked oysters

Fresh Produce
fresh herbs (various), lemons & limes (a must for juice), garlic bulbs, onions (red & white)

Refrigerator or Freezer Staples
butter, cream (heavy or whipping), eggs, parmesan cheese (not grated but a chunk)
sour cream, various cheeses, various nuts


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Enjoying the Season Day 14 – Romancing the Season

Week 2 Autumn Traditions
Day 14 Make Time for Romance

“But there is still a better bed, full of divine odours. It is comforting when one has a sorrow abandoning all effort and all resistance, to lie in the warmth of one’s bed
and there, to bury even one’s head under the cover,
giving one’s self up to it completely,
It is our sweet, our profound, our impenetrable friendship,
moaning like branches in the autumn wind.

Marcel Proust

I blogged about this love story earlier today. 2 posts in one day – a first for me. I was inspired…

and now, on to the planned topic for today… creating some romance.

Not only for people in relationships, romance can also be just about your approach to life in general.

Romance is the pleasurable feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.

This post is meant for those in relationships, especially perhaps those that are “seasoned” which may need a bit of encouragement to stir it up. But if you are not in a “relationship” right now, you can certainly stir up your pleasurable feelings of excitement and mystery in your love of anything or anyone – be it the season, your family, friends, job, poetry, music, hobby, etc. Fall in love with the life you have, be grateful and walk in the light you have.

Back to the Couples… Turning “on” the light of Romance at home is pretty easy if your heart and mind are committed to it. Here are a few easy tips I found here. Check it out for more ideas.

1. Do something your partner wants to do, with your own “touch”. If it’s a football game and tailgating you want to do –

Be sure to bring a warm blanket for the two of you to snuggle under, and maybe a thermos-full of hot chocolate laced with coffee liqueur for half-time.

2. Regular old “games night” no way! make it a * High Stakes Board Game.* Take a traditional board game and make up your own rules. Yahtzee can become 鈥淪trip tease Yahtzee,鈥 by simply adding that for every three of a kind you roll your partner loses a piece of clothing. For every four of a kind you roll, you get a 鈥渨ish鈥: a kiss, a foot massage, etc. And for every Yahtzee, set the timer for 5 minutes (and only 5 minutes!) of 鈥渉igh scorer dominance.鈥 You can do something similar with Scrabble 鈥 earning extra points for sexy words, or Monopoly 鈥 paying for properties with 鈥渇avors鈥 rather than cash.

3. Add Some * Firelight. There鈥檚 nothing more inviting than the glow of a fireplace on a crisp Fall evening. Spread a blanket out in front of the fire, toss around a few fluffy pillows, and serve up some warm apple cider with cinnamon sticks. Relax and enjoy each other鈥檚 company. Soon you鈥檒l be toasting more than your tootsies!

4. * Dancing in the dark. Set up an impromptu dance floor in your bedroom. Light some candles, turn on the Harry Connick Jr CD and hold each other close. Dance the old-fashioned way, cheek-to-cheek, and whisper sweet nothings in his ear. Let the music move you, and melt into each others arms.

5. Want to make it interesting? When the weather鈥檚 crummy and he wants to spend the day watching sports on TV, make it interesting for both of you! Place bets on how many car commercials are shown in the next station break, which team鈥檚 cheerleaders get on camera next, how long it takes five minutes to REALLY play. Bet kisses, massages, sweet treats, etc.

6. Starry, starry nights. Get a pack of glow-in-the-dark stars to stick on the ceiling over your bed. Have them spell out a love note to your honey. When the lights go out, you can lie under the stars and cuddle.

7. Wash your cares away. How about a soothing bath for two? Make bath sachets by wrapping cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange peel in pieces of fabric and tying with a ribbon. Drop into a hot bath, add a few capfuls of almond oil. Indulge!

8. Tea for two. Take a little time-out with an afternoon tea party. De-stress over chamomile and banana bread, and take turns with the shoulder rubs.

9. Recipe for Romance. Cool Autumn breezes call for simmering stews. Spend time in the kitchen together chopping up herbs and veggies and create your own cold-weather feast! Serve with corn bread and your favorite wine.

10. Read Me a Story. Grimm鈥檚 Fairy Tales take on a whole new meaning when read aloud by the one you love. Curl up on the couch and revisit some of your favorites, and love happily ever after.


The season for enjoying the fullness of life — partaking of the harvest, sharing the harvest with others, and reinvesting and saving portions of the harvest for yet another season of growth.

Denis Waitley

Tam’s Fall Indulgence – Anne & Gilberts Love Story

Bear with me for a little romantic indulgence…

After yesterdays post and looking through the pics of Anne of Green Gables I was reminded of another reason why I love those books and movies so much. The timeless love story of Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe.

I don’t know if it’s because it’s a Canadian Story, or because I adore Prince Edward Island or because I had read the first book as a girl and then the movies were released on TV when I was 10. My dad recorded it for us on VHS (he had tremendous foresight) and my sisters and I watched that DVD until it wore out. Literally.

I’ve watched it several times since then too. I think in many circles it’s a rite of passage. In my teens I read the rest of the books in the series and since then I’ve read them over and over. I love Anne. To me, she’s almost real. Sincerely, when I read the books it’s like I’m visiting with an old friend.

Anyways, since fall is my favourite season, I tend to read more poetry, listen to more music and thus the romantic come out in me full force. Bear with me as I take you through the love story between Anne and Gil (heart)

First we meet Anne Shirley

She’s precocious, talkative, imaginative, gets into messes all the time but you just fall in love with her. She wins hearts – first those at Green Gables, then those in the town of Avonlea, then eventually the entire Island.

…and our hero Gilbert Blythe
of course he’s handsome, respectful, extremely intelligent (he becomes a doctor afterall) has many friends and all the girls like him.

Except Anne.

Because she’s not interested (and not like any other girl) of course he crushes on her by of course making fun of what He likes most about her, her red hair (which she is most sensitive about) – she cracks a slate over his head and reams him out something serious. We love her.
He crushes all the more.
They become competitors for school honours because she is also extremely intelligent. She continues to get in trouble with teachers and adults almost losing her best friend in the process… he pulls back a bit. She tries to get his attention again…

He rescues her from one of her “messes” and they call a truce. they tie coming in first place at school. He asks forgiveness they become cautious friends.
He is a friend to her, even when she is not in return. She tries to apologize, but it’s too late.
They leave for prep-college for a year. Competitors again… at the end of it, they tie for first again. Hoping to go to University on scholarship. Gilbert plans to teach and save up for college.
Anne’s adoptive father dies…at risk of losing Green Gables Gilbert Anne postpones college as well and takes a teaching job in a nearby town. Hearing this, Gilbert gives Anne his post and takes hers, saving her the daily drive and boarding expenses.

鈥淧erhaps, after all, romance did not come into one鈥檚 life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one鈥檚 side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music; perhaps . . . perhaps . . . love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.鈥
The story continues…
Two years have passed. Anne has become reclusive as she’s attempting to get a book she wrote published, but they keep getting rejected. She tells Gilbert who believes in her dream but he also is the one to tell Anne that her best friend has become engaged without her even noticing. Their “friendship” continues until he offers his honest opinion of her book which she does not accept.
Then she continues to avoid him because she suspects he cares for her. He is accepted into medical college and then at Diana’s engagement party they dance. He then he tries to propose to her. She won’t let him, she wants to remain friends because she thinks she wants some fine romance like in novels. At Diana’s wedding he tries again, but she again runs away. He promises to wait if he thought she cared…
He goes to medical school, she takes a teaching job at a private school in town called Kingsport. A year or so passes full of Anne-like adventures. The books have diverged paths with the movies long before this, but what happens is that Anne is caught up in a “romance” of sorts with wealthy gentleman…she eventually realizes she doesn’t need the pomp of novels, but the down to earth love she had been offered in Avonlea. But that love is seemingly been given to another.
They have a chance meeting in the rain in Kingsport. He encourages her to take up her writing again as she has given it up. She is so happy to see him, and he her. But he is betrothed to another… he gives her a note of congratulations, she runs to wave to him as he leaves on the train.
Several more months pass. She travels, continues working and has some success. She is offered a 5 year teaching contract which she declines as well as another proposal of marrirage which she also declines. She writes a book about life in Avonlea and it is published.
She returns home to Green Gables to find out that Gilbert is home. But he is ill, even near death. she prays for him and visits him on his sick bed. She tells him about her book, he tells her he called off his engagement…that there is no one for him but her.
He gets better, they go for a walk and profess their love for each other…
鈥淚 don’t want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want YOU…. Sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more `scope for imagination’ without them…..
Oh, dreams will be very sweet now.鈥
…then there are more lovely books including the wedding, the first year of wedded bliss and the family life which are just as romantic and funny as the first books. I think I love them more now because I have my own family.
Thank you for sharing my indulgence in Anne’s love story today. Perhaps it will spur on romantic thoughts for my next blog entry for day 14 in the 31 Days series – Romancing the Season 馃檪


Fully Enjoying the Season – Day 13 – Enjoying Friends and Family

Week 2 Autumn Traditions
Day 13 Enjoying Your Friends and Family

Count your garden by the flowers,
Never by the leaves that fall,
Count your days by the golden hours;
Don’t remember clouds at all.
Count your nights by stars,
not shadows.
Count your years with smiles,
not tears.
Count your blessings,
not your troubles.
Count your age by friends,
not years!

~ author unkown ~

I always find it interesting that as parents we tell our kids that nothing is more important in life, than the people that God puts in it…but then we go about our lives and rarely demonstrate our belief in that statement.

If we truly believed it, wouldn’t we would spend more “real” time with those very people already in our lives? Wouldn’t we would make a point to not let our days get away from us, and actually spend quality and quantity time with them? Not only this, but do demonstrate how to give true value to people in our example? When we are with friends and family are we fully present in the moment, or are we in a rush? Distracted? Self-centred?
If I were to take a look at my own life, I’d say I really want to work on this. When I’m with these people that I really do treasure… I want them to know it, beyond a shadow of a doubt. I want their lives to be BETTER because I’m in it. How can I do that?

1. I can Slow Down. I can whittle away the things in my life that make it go by too quickly. Too many expectations on what I need to have done every day. The house does not need to be immaculately clean. Tidy is fine. Every phone call/ email, etc does not need to be made today.

2. I can Schedule Less activities that do not nurture relationships. Most people/ families struggle with this. There’s a constant barrage of meetings and activities fighting for our time, including those of our children. I frequently look at my calendar and if I’ve got more than 3 nights of ongoing activities on there, I start to slash. No regrets, it must be done. You need to have at least 4 nights of “nothing” in order to have room for people. If I do decide to commit to an activity, I want to make sure there’s a beginning an end time to it. When the 3 months (or whatever) is passed, I can make sure I give it a few months before I repeat the committment, and in those months off- reconnect with people.

3. I can See People. I mean really “notice” them. Not just the obvious, like a new hairdo. but the subtle things that are showing, but seldom noticed or discussed. If people feel like you actually “see” them, they will open up to you. They will value your friendship because they know that they “matter” to you. How have they been lately, harried? Exhausted? Unkept or the reverse, suddenly taking more time to dress/ do their hair? Are they finally out of the “newborn” at home= no sleep stage? Is his hair thinning? Maybe he’s become insecure about it and needs a confidence boost. What makes their eyes light up? Do they have a new grandchild they’re over the moon about? Is a loved one ill and they’re the primary care giver? Sometimes we miss all kinds of things, because we don’t see the signs…

4.I can Really Listen. Similar to point 3, a lot of times we’re missing simple clues and hints that others are sharing because we are not really “listening”. We’re formulating what we want to say in our head and not really digesting what we’re hearing. There’s also the added element of picking up the tone in what they are sharing too. Are they telling you the same thing over and over? Ask yourself why – maybe the topic is something they are having a hard time dealing with and are “asking” for help towards closure. Or maybe they sense you aren’t really listening and so think you need to hear it again. It’s obviously important to them, so if they are important to you…listen.

5.I can Share. To do this right, it takes courage. If I am really interested (and I am) in a “real” relationship, where there are no pretences, then I just gotta do it. Know who you I am (and I do), what matters to me and be true to it. When you love yourself you know that the love that you have to give is a treasure and worth the time and faith of sharing it. I can share my time, my hearts and my soul. My gifts are the dreams, the inspirations, the Life inside me because of Jesus. I don’t think there’s any other way…

There is something to be said of true friendship.
It opens up pathways in your soul – your mind, will and emotions
It releases the floodgates of inspiration in your heart
It is a healing balm
It can be found in your flesh and blood family or outside it.
It is not limited by generations (and in fact is almost enriched by it)
It makes you grow, nourishes you
It brings great joy and depth, comfort, peace and hope.

I have read the Anne of Green Gables series almost every year since I was about 13, and one of my favourite parts of the series is the heroine Anne’s friendship with Diana Barry (among many others). Anytime she talked about “kindred spirits” or the “Race that knows Joseph” my heart give me a little nudge to “listen up”.

鈥淭rue friends are always together in spirit. (Anne Shirley)鈥

鈥淜indred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.鈥

“Yes. Cornelia divides all the folks in the world into two kinds– the race that knows Joseph and the race that don’t. If a person sorter sees eye to eye with you, and has pretty much the same ideas about things, and the same taste in jokes–why, then he belongs to the race that knows Joseph.”

I love reading about this fictional friendship that endured through the ups and downs of life. Of misunderstandings, of sorrows, of time, of distance, marriage and families. It fuels my faith in trying to nourish my own garden of friendships. I believe it’s possible for us to have the same kind of treasured friendships as the characters in these novels when we build them on a mutual acceptance of each other for who we are and a genuine affection for them. When we live a life that embraces LM Montgomery’s ideal…

鈥淚’d like to add some beauty to life,” said Anne dreamily. “I don’t exactly want to make people KNOW more… though I know that IS the noblest ambition… but I’d love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me… to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn’t been born.鈥
L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

The fall is a wonderful time to re-connect with friends. to sit long on a porch swing at dusk over coffee, to visit a park while the kids play in the last of the lovely weather. To sit at the table after dinner, awhile longer and visit. To play a couple hand of cards or scrabble. To take a walk in the brisk air with the leaves crunching underfoot. Write a letter, pick up the phone. We can all do, and make our lives as rich as the colours that surround us this time of year.

This post is dedicated to all of the “Race that knows Joseph” and especially to the sisterhood of friends in my garden…

the non sisters… Chris, Ryan, Alistair, Kirk, Brian, Dale, Steve, Martin, Jon, Bert, Paul and the fristers… Brenda, Jennette, Stephanie, Andrea, Rebecca, Jodi, Anne, Lisa, Lois, Fern, Melissa, Julie, Lauren, Leah, Laura, Estelle, Vanessa, Sheri, Alexandra, Marie, Vanessa, Valentina, Anna, Jacqueline, Pauline, Rachel, Monica, Sarah, Monique, Jessica, Moni, Tina, Donna, Angela, Franziska, Pamela, Tanya, JoEllen, Amanda, Charmaine, Christine, Christina, Diane, Davina, Roxanne, Debbie, Denise, Karen, Elizabeth,Maureen, Ineke, Ingrid, Irene, JoAnne, Emily, Jennie, Julia, Katherine, Kelly, Laila, Tracey, Mary, Nicole, Deborah, Susan, Chantal, Willow, Chani, Kim… the list goes on… you’ve shared a season or more of my heart with me…thank you and cheers to many more!

Fully Enjoying the Season – Day 12 – Get Out!

Week 2 Autumn Traditions
Day 12 Get Outside at Least Once Everyday

It’s better for your mental and physical health to get outside for 10 mins a day than not at all. It’s got to be “intentional” time outside.

Obviously optimal time outdoors would be 30+ mins. in the garden, hiking in the woods or on a trail. But if you don’t have the time for that, there are a few simple ways to get exposed to the fresh air and natural light.

Have your coffee or tea on the porch, the deck or on the balcony.

When you go to get your mail, walk around your yard, or if you don’t have one.

When you are waiting to pick up the kids, get out of the car, and wait.

There are many easy little things you can do to increase your outdoor exposure, but the trick is in what you do in those ten minutes.

Do not, play on your phone, or check email or social media sites.

Do not talk on the phone.

Do not run through a mental list of all that you still need to do this day or week.

Instead try doing the following.

Take several slow deep breaths.

Feel the sun or daylight on your skin.

Close your eyes, then open then and really see the world around you.

Take note of that which is beautiful

The shape of a cloud, the colours of trees or flowers, flocks or geese flying…

Think on something or someone good, a sweet memory, encouraging words or a scripture or poetic verse…

Whisper your gratitude

Repeat as often as necessary.

You can do this with someone else present, however they need to be doing the same thing and they must be comfortable with not filling up the moment with words.

I find it works best for me alone.

If you like to, it’s a great idea to begin your quiet/ journaling/ prayer times with this process.

You can do this wherever you are, any time of day. I find it quite helpful to ENJOY the space/ moment/ company/ season I’m in at any given time.

Godspeed toward finding your Autumn Bliss!


An Autumn Evening

Dark hills against a hollow crocus sky
Scarfed with its crimson pennons, and below
The dome of sunset long, hushed valleys lie
Cradling the twilight, where the lone winds blow
And wake among the harps of leafless trees
Fantastic runes and mournful melodies.

The chilly purple air is threaded through
With silver from the rising moon afar,
And from a gulf of clear, unfathomed blue
In the southwest glimmers a great gold star
Above the darkening druid glens of fir
Where beckoning boughs and elfin voices stir.

And so I wander through the shadows still,
And look and listen with a rapt delight,
Pausing again and yet again at will
To drink the elusive beauty of the night,
Until my soul is filled, as some deep cup,
That with divine enchantment is brimmed up.

LM Montgomery

Fully Enjoying the Season – Day 11 – Football and Fun

Week 2 Autumn Traditions

Day 11 Football and Other Fun Fall Stuff To Do

My husband goes through spurts. His is a lifelong Bills Fan, but they are an up and down team, so sometimes his football interests are on high, and sometimes they are non-existant. I kind of like it when he’s interested, just because I love football in the fall. I was a cheerleader in high school and developed a love for watching live games. Not so much on TV, but definitely live.
In Canada, it’s not as big a deal as south of the border, but sometimes I wish it was. I love how it pulls people together. I love the big fields, the big lights, the marching bands and cheer squads…
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 20 years since I was on a cheer team. I loved being 16. It was a good age for me. I spent most of the summer in Greece with my dad. I was in the school musical, I had lots of friends both at church and in youth group. I had a car and a job to pay for the gas… and the perfect summer job at a camp. It was idyllic. Football reminds me of that.
Though I wouldn’t trade what I have now for even a moment of that. That was good. This is better. I love discovering fall with my kids. I love watching my nephew get his first touchdown, via youtube… but i still love it, and hearing my sister yelling like a crazy football mom in the background. Love it!
I also love tailgating. Definitely a blast. Someday we’ll do it the best way – the American way – as a family. Until then, I live vicariously through my hubby’s exploits with his buddies (though they haven’t gone for a couple of years now). Great fun, great food, great past time. I also think it’s great fun to have inter-generational touch football games even in the back yard. There’s something so fun about an easy competition after dinner.
Maybe football is not your thing, but there are so many other fun things to do in the fall. Here’s a list of 10 that are relatively easy or if not easy, they’re different. As in not on your regular list of things to do…

1. Attend a school football game.

2. Visit a corn maze. Go on a hayride.

3. Take a hunters safety course and go hunting or take up archery.

4. Play in a pile of leaves.

5. Make a gravestone rubbing. Visit a historical site.

6. Tell a ghost story or Play a murder mystery game. Plan a fun filled trick with friends.

7. Write a note to a friend that is far away or write a thank you note to someone who has helped you.

8. Get your community’s events list for the fall and attend an event.

9. Go pumpkin picking and then carve one.

10. Learn how to make a favorite family recipe.

Anyways, follow your heart do something you do annually or try something new. Just get out there and enjoy the fall!