Friday, February 24, 2012

::: No More Moo-Moo :::

I've never had to give too much thought as to what I fed my children. We are (were) a completely allergy-free, intolerant-free home.
After our visit to the allergist last week, turns out Denay (with some doubts from my mothering instincts) has a whole slough of allgeries.
Without going into any great detail, I think, with the input of a bunch of family and friends, I've narrowed it down to dairy as the culprit for the reaction that keeps showing up on her lovely little face.
So now that task at hand - feeding her without dairy. Now, let me add that you are reading the blog of a girl raised on 100 acres of dairy farm and fresh cows milk every morning. So needless to say, it's a staple around here. Between yogurt, milk and cheese, we eat a lot of dairy.
Lunch and dinner were not so difficult, but it's breakfast that I've been needing to get creative.
I was cleaning out the fridge earlier this week and came across a half used-up zucchini, and had a lightbulb.
I searched around and found this recipe and after reading the reviews, made a few changes to make them a little healthier (since they would be a breakfast food).
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup splenda (optional)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup pureed banana or apple
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1. preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease or line two twelve cup muffin tins
2. in large bowl, beat eggs then beat in sugar and oil. add cocoa, vanilla and zucchini and mix well
3. stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt (I omitted all of the spices in the original recipe) and mix until moist
3. pour batter into prepared miffin tins filling 2/3 and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. remove from pan and let cool on wire rack
Yummy, yummy, yummerson.
My kids DEVOUR these and have no idea they have vegetables in them.
You could make then even healthier by using all whole wheat flour and omitting the oil altogether and adding a little more apple or banana puree to keep them moist. The original recipe called for 2 cups of white sugar, and I switched it up a little more with the half and half and splenda, but plenty of the reviews omitted half of the sugar completely.
Happy Breakfasting (and Friday)!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday ::: Valentine's Day ::: Gettin' Real

My day, yesterday.
The plan: getting up at 7:00am (preschool day), dropping off Denay, dropping off Paisley at a friends and heading to my hair appointment.
What happened: awoken to the phone ringing, rolled over and looked at the ID and didn't recognize it. Answered it with as an awake voice as I could muster and the person on the other line proceed to inform me that my hairstylist was home with her sick kids and couldn't make it in. Finishing the phone call, I rolled the other way, and, though squinting, panicked when I read the digits on my alarm clock, 7:55am.
I managed to get out of the house a little less than a half hour later and actually got Denay to school on time. The exception to that exceptional time, was that I didn't have anytime to do anything but throw on what I wore the night before and toss my hair in a pony.
So for sake of honesty and reality, I thought I'd share just what that looked like.
Paisley wanted in too.....
Worth a thousand words, no?
After PJ went down to nap, I decided to turn my day around. Since I didn't put any product in my hair on Monday after my shower (because I was supposed to be getting it cut), I spent a bit flat ironing it, then did my face, got dressed (with an emphasis on pink) and said a quick thank-you prayer for my day and the sunshine.
headband: Batavia by Sil
earrings: Foxy Originals
necklace: Punta Cana, DR
top: Walmart
belt: H&M
jeans: warehouse one
The rest of the day consisted of cleaning and laundry, picking Denay up, lunch, naps all around, making dinner at 3:30 for a girlfriend who just had a baby and then gone at 4:00 to get Denay to the allergist. Then since my mom was working, we popped by to surprise her and didn't get home until after 8:00.
Movie and bed.
The End.
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday, Monday

Good morning and Happy Monday ya'll!
Photobucket my Monday. I asked my girls to stand next to my massive laundry pile to give you an idea of just how big it is. So while the washer washes and Paisley naps, Denay and I are writing Valentine's for her preschool. They are very homemade and sugarless (which makes them free to make) but it's so fun watching her learn how to write her letters!
The top part had some help from me, but she wrote "happy" completely on her own (proud momma).
We're at home today, havin' some good ol' taco salad for dinner and then I'm off to a girlfriends to watchthebachelor *cough*.
I hope it's sunny where you are....I'm enjoying it while I have because there are some ugly clouds in the distance!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

He Initiates....

......we respond.
Isn't it amazing that we serve a God who draws us?
That even when we find ourselves stopping short and turning tail to run back into His arms, it was all His Spirit's drawing in the first place.
All we have to do is choose to hear Him, and then respond with "Yes Father. You're will and not mine own. May I decrease that you may increase."
We sung a beautiful new song this morning. I can't remember the artist or title but it was all about how God restores our soul, and the verses were some lines from Psalms 23.
As we sang the first chorus the second time, "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want", the Spirit quietly and ever so gently spoke to my heart
He challenged me to remember that I don't need to want. That the world will always tell me that I need a newer car, a bigger house, more stuff, nicer stuff, clothes, jewellery and the latest electronic gadgets. But true contentment comes from Him. True happiness, isn't happiness at all but joy from Him, that gives us strength. It's immense gratitude for what I have and allowing the wants to give-way to unrelenting thankfulness. That I am rich because I am in Him.
Then He reassured me that because I have him, I will never have to need. That He is my Jehovah Jireh, the Lord is my provider. That I don't need to worry about money and bills. That I just need to rest in Him and allow Him to lead me beside quiet waters and make me lie in green pastures.....and restore my soul. He chases away the lingering doubts and worries and stands Sovereign over all, above all, in all and through all.
I took some time to dust of our budget this week, and was convicted of my laissez-faire attitude towards our finances....AGAIN. It's a bad habit I've had for years and have be struggling with it for just as long. I tend to be irresponsible, impulsive and tend to be very good at justifying unnecessary purchases.
So with my husband's help, we've recommitted to tracking our spending, meal planning, shopping together and cutting out all "fun" spending after slipping back into our bad habits and poor spending choices.
And then I have my Father. My good Abba Father, who receives me again. Me, begging for forgiveness, again. Asking for help, again. Repenting of my irresponsiblity, again. Who welcomes me with open arms, and whispers in my ear, "My daughter, I love you. Forget all of that. Let it go. I have forgiven you. I will always forgive you and always love you. I will always provide for you and always take care of you, my child."
Valentine's Day is coming up this week. I'm going to spend my evening at the specialist with Denay, maybe watch a movie at home with the Mr. when the girls sleep. Nothing over-the-top, nothing sparkly, nothing extraordinary, no money spent. No balloon bouquets, no flowers or chocolate. But with ALL that I have already; a crazy-amazing husband with stable work, two perfect and healthy daughters, a beautiful home, a reliable vehicle, a kitchen full of food and a tap with clean running water, the Creator of all creation as my Father and Saviour, what more do I need to celebrate and be thankful for all the love in my life.
I would strongly encourage you to take 30 minutes of your time, and listen to this sermon from this morning, the continuation of last Sunday's sermon (that I talked about in my post this past week) on the book of Hosea.
If you need to be reminded of your romance with your Father, or reminded of just how much you are loved, this is for you. Listen to the sheer weight of just how much Christ loves us flood through my Pastor and choke him to tears more than once. Listen to the very heart of God.
It's the greatest love story ever told.
{Be blessed this week friends}

Friday, February 10, 2012

::: Derailed :::

We have been sick.
I'm not talking snotty-noses-and-sneezing sick. I'm talking, well, how about I spare you the details and let you know it hasn't been pretty. This time last week my husband had been to work, come home an hour later and had yet to resurface and then was home again on Friday from work. We were good until Sunday night when my dear Denay was up until 2:30am throwing up an empty stomach. Then, yup, Tuesday night was my turn. Hit me out of nowhere and I honestly have never been sick like that in my life. I remember thinking two things: the first being that I really just wanted to die and the second being that I would rather go through my two homebirths again than what was happening at the time
So today I am still recovering. Still very weak from little food and water and still tired.
Thankfully, I completed this fun little project on Monday night, otherwise I'm pretty certain it wouldn't have gotten done!
My SIL Shawna posted last week about some cute decorating she did for Valentine's Day, and it looked so cute (and I could do it for free with stuff I had at home) I whipped up a gaggle of little pendants from scrapbooking paper, strung them on some gift wrapping twine I had and hung the banners up around the house.
It didn't seem like much when I was doing it but with the few other little details I added, it really feels celebratory!
::: kitchen window coffee filter wreath strung with a banner :::
::: kitchen sill with cute LOVE plaque (a gift from afore mentioned SIL) and a small vase filled with yummy cherry candies courtesy of Grammie :::
::: dining area wall with banner and fake flower decor (borrowed from the girls' bedroom) :::
::: corner hutch with "be mine" banner (done with scrapbooking chipboard letters) :::
::: small vase with fake gerbera daisies (again from girls' room) on coffee table :::
::: fireplace with banner and pot of fake pink mini-roses (girls' room) :::
There you have it!
Total cost - ZERO.
Sometime today Denay and I are going to make Valentine's for her classmates from, you guessed it, mommy's scrapbooking paper.
Happy Friday Friends!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

{Along The Road}

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen....Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Ephesians 4:29, 31-32

Couldn't be any more clear.

God's been doing some speaking to me lately, and I felt led to share and while I was thinking about what and how to write, He brought this verse to mind. Then, true to His nature, He proceeded to use the verse to further drive His point home and reassure me of what He is telling me.

During a sermon a couple of week ago, Pastor Mark (who is now halfway across the world in Wales for a five and a half month sabbatical) said something that cut straight through my heart.

"Everyone of us, if we peel back the veneer of our social difference, some of us are more educated, some less educated. Some live in a nice part of town, some in a less nice. Some of us are male, some of us are female, some of us are old, some of us are young some of us are middle aged, etc etc. Some of us pull in a quite extraordinary income and some of us are barely making due.....If you peel back all that veneer, educated in this place to this level, lives in this part of town, has this kind of a job. Peel back all the layers of social difference, and what you find in each and every one of us, is a wretch saved by grace. Everyone."

That homeless man you pass by every Sunday morning on your way to church, the one always sitting in the doorway of a closed business in a "less nice" part of town. Who you always make a less than loving comment toward.

That person who wronged you, hurt you, who you insist is completely at fault.

That CEO of your company who you secretly disdain because they make more money than you. And you are convinced if you had that job and made that much more money, you would be as happy as they always seem to be.

That stay-at-home-mom you may not respect because they got married and had kids and never educated themselves.

Or that working mom you make snide, "justified" comments about, who never seems to be with her own kids. Whose heart breaks every morning because they have to drop their kids off, one. more. time.

You, me. Your boss and coworkers. The members of your church congregation that you judge and make assumptions about based on what they drive, how they are dressed and how their kids are behaving.

You were like them. Them like you, when Christ found them. Like Mark said just a moment later in his sermon, "You know who you were, and where you were when Christ found you? You were like that man in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Your enemy had beat you up, stripped you naked, threw you in a ditch and left you to die. And the religious people of the world just kept walking by."

Is the picture getting clearer yet?

Then, this past Sunday we were singing one of my favourite hymns, "How deep the Father's love for us". Once again my heart was struck by one of the verses.

"Behold, the man upon a cross. My sin upon his shoulders. Ashamed I hear my mocking voice, call out among the scoffers. It was my sin that held him there, until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life, I know that it is finished." What I felt God spoke to my heart the week before, was so affirmed when I sung those words. I had this picture of me in the crowd around Golgotha, sneering, jeering and spitting on the Son of God. I had this realization that every time I speak against one of God's own, every time I gossip, speak negatively and poorly about a fellow man, a fellow wretch (whether saved or not), I hurl cursing insults at my Saviour. Talk about being a wretch. Then Pastor Shane started preaching, and my eyes were even more opened to what it does to the heart of God, when I choose sin, pride and slander. Shane started a new sermon series on the book of Hosea, but opened with a glazing over of of the parable of the Prodigal son, but from the father's perspective. The humiliation he suffered when his son, by today's standards, told him he wished he were dead by asking for everything owed to him. We most often relate to the son, and don't take time to think about the feelings of the Father. Then he started into Hosea, whose life was a living manifestation of God's relationship with Israel at the time. He married a prostitute who bore him children but then left him and became an adulterous woman, just as God's people had turned away from him and pursued other gods. He spoke about the disgrace, shame and hurt that Hosea, and God, suffered under the adultery and idolatry of their bride.

I realized that I am that bride. And it made my heart hurt. No, it's not a pretty picture and it's not a nice thing to think about, but it's truth.

So I guess that's my sermon (that I certainly didn't intend to be so long). Maybe it will speak to you, maybe not. Here enters the verse from Ephesians, where the point was knocked out of the park with the first part of verse 29 and the second part it what you are reading now.

Be encouraged, be challenged.

Remember that you, me, are all wretches saved, by grace.

Monday, February 6, 2012

{storage wars - making it all fit}

So. There's no denying it, I live in a pretty small house.
There are four of us and as our family has gotten bigger, our house (much to my dismay) hasn't. It's no small task, as curator of this joint, making it all fit.
We have two sheds (one in the front and one in the back) with outside stuff and seasonal stuff.
It's a constant, daily and ongoing shuffle to keep up the level of tidy and organized that I like to live in.
I enjoy a good reorganize and purge and a big bag of stuff being dropped off where it can be sold to better my community.
I'm not going to show you my kitchen cupboards or upstairs hall closet, because those are things we all have. What I'm focusing on are ways, above and beyond the standard storage spaces, to make those spaces work for what I need and ways to create space, within my space.
(and sorry about the crappy photos. I took them in a hurry and edited them in a hurry too)
:: downstairs hall closet ::
the addition of six small stacking bins has allowed me space for coloring stuff, hats and mittens, some shoe care, lightbulbs and one full of around the house odds and ends (rubber bands, adhesive strips, 3M hooks etc)
as denay got older, it became less and less practical to keep all of her shoes upstairs (especially when they come in dirty) so this basket, albeit super messy, is a contained way to keep all her footwear downstairs with ours.
just a run of the mill shoe rack. this closet is our only one downstairs so it has to fit a lot of stuff. it's sort of an unwritten rule around here that if you get a pair of shoes, a pair has to go because we ain't got room for no more!
:: downstairs powder room ::
this is fairly new to us shelf and we got it for cheap-cheap from Home Depot. there isn't a whole lot to it but it's been awesome at giving us some much needed space in thise very small and much used room. up top is where the vacuum cleaner goes, the middle shelf is for laundry products (that used to be crammed in the under sink cabinet and cabinet above the toilet). the other middle shelf is for cat food and litter and the bottom is for the cat box. tucked in behind is my drying rack, ironing board, swiffer-vac, broom and steam mop. i also moved the drapes that used to hang on the sliding glass door in the living room so it's all neatly hidden away.
:: living room ::
this is an Ikea coffee table-turned-uber-storage. i found six baskets that fit the cubbie's perfectly and I keep our remotes, wires/chargers/cables and some DVD's. i have actually organized to the point of having a few of these empty. but one day, when there's another baby around here, they'll get filled up once again!
i'll just come out and say it, this set-up isn't my favourite. it's inconvienient and awkward. but the alternative, well, there isn't one so we make it work. what you are seeing on right, is a wall and on the left in my couch. inbetween is our TV cabinet. let's just say it's better that when they were UNDER the couch.
:: dining area ::
this cabinet was a steal from London Drugs and not only serves as a tiny bit of pantry storage, but I can put pretty things on it!
and this. my. "crafting room". since I took this photo it has been relocated and is pushed under the countertop overhang (in the right side of the photo). it's not pretty (it's a hot-darn mess) but it's much easier for me. instead of hauling everything out of various closets and crannies, it's all in one spot, together and i'm much more motivated to scrapbook.
:: upstairs bathroom ::
this little cabinet replaced the older and more unsightly one that was there when we moved it. it house all (yup ladies, that's it) of our deoderant, face wash, hair products, moisturizers and lotions for all four of us. it's also place to keep some extra hand towls.
underneath the sink is where everything else it kept. sunscreen, nailpolish, toilet paper, hair appliances (straighter and a dryer that I've never used), some bulk toothbrushes and extra toothpastes. i've found using plastic baskets (on the left) keeps things contained and keeps everything tidy. the addition of the white plastic rack has also made life so much easier, and allowed me to access some unused space on top, creating more space, in the space i had.
:: bedroom ::
bedside tables. these guys were a serious downsize from the ones we had before we made the switch to a king-sized bed but they were cheap and only served to help me pass along the stuff I didn't need and keep the stuff I did. the top drawer (and this is my side of the bed) contains books, vitamins, a few pens, my sleep mask, a bookmark or two. the middle has my bible and the bottom drawer, has, other stuff in it.
just so you know, that laundry sat there for another two days after this photo was taken.....and had already been on there for one before it was taken. we got this guy for around $60 from Canadian tire. it's been awesome not only for storage but for somewhere to sit, other than my rather high bed.
i keep my lovely purple snuggie in there, as well as some completely (and not worth mentioning) random stuff. it used to be one of the four spots i kept my scraping stuff as well.
three words friends - under. your. bed. it's a wealth of under (no pun intended) used space. it is hard to see, but there are three of the white lidded, low-profile bins tucked under there. i've got all of my maternity clothes in one, purses and totes in another and excess home decor in the last one. the decor bin is full, so I got lazy and just stuffed the overflow under without looking :)
under my side of the bed are two, larger but low-profile bins full of DVD's and all of my wrapping/gift bag stuff. i also kept some of my scrapbooking stuff (and when i say "kept" i mean "stuff until you can't anymore") under here.
i will also say that we have all of our christmas decor, infant gear and extra winter stuff in about seven huge bins over at Oma and Opa's storage center (thanks mum and dad). i so wish i could have it all here but in this house, it isn't an option.
it's been a five year process of sorting, recycling, donating, tossing, and reconfiguring to get it all to fit and have a "spot"......then rinse and repeat. it's taught me to learn to live with less, think twice before I buy and lead a very practical life.
so there you have it!
I would love (like really a lot) to hear some of your space saving ideas and organizational tips!
::: Laura, please contact me about your soap nuts! Hit the email me button over on right column. I'll give you until Friday this week before I'll draw another name :::

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Lucky Winner (of a bag of nuts) Is.....

After listing out all your names in random order, each name was assigned a number (again, in random order) and then I used and random number generator and Laura, you were lucky #13!
Please email me your address and I will get your soap nuts sent out to you.
Thanks to everyone who took part and for bearing with me on my crazy ramblings. Remember to check out Katie's Cleaner Planet site to check out where you can get your own soaps nuts. They are only $10.00 at Thrifty's (even on the mainland ladies!) They are honestly amazing, and for 80-100 loads out of a bag, WAY cheaper than what most of us spend on detergent.
Katie does recommend using an oxygen-based bleach for your colors and whites to keep them white and bright, and Nellie's sells an all natural one!
And if you can't get past the fact that your clothes won't "smell good", here are a couple products I use. After not using fabric softener (or dryer sheets) for years, I've discovered this awesome fabric softener that isn't scented with harsh and toxic chemicals, and leaves my clothes soft with a very gentle lavender scent. It's by a company called Live For Tomorrow, based out of Port Moody. They sell their product all over the Vancouver and the lower mainland and the island. And I LOVE that when you return your glass bottle, you are refunded $1 and the company REUSES it. I also use Nellie's Dryer Balls with her all natural citrus fragrance stick (next time I will actually read the label and get the lavender scent sticks instead) that you put inside and it releases natural scent in your dryer as well.
I've also just been introduced to a company called Chartreuse that sells a huge line of organic home care, make up, and facial care that sells a reusable dryer sheet that you can put a couple of drops of essential oil on to gently and naturally scent your clothes and kill static!
Thanks for reading, thanks for visiting.
Be Blessed.
Happy Friday Friends!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


.....been keeping me.
We have had a busy last weekend and last few days. Dinners with friends, church functions, and two straight days of photographing the creation of two display cakes has left me with little blogging time.
I've also been working on a few last details around my downstairs.
I had been keep my nose to the ground for some new throw pillows for my couch and love seat. The one I had were original and dated and, let's call a spade a spade, BORING. Along with age, I seem to have developed an affinity for pattern!
I refused to make an entire day out of driving two hours both ways out of town just to find new pillows, but after searching every store in town, I marched into our local Fabricland, spent a half hour humming and hawing, and asking total strangers their opinion, and walked out with four different designs. Then I found an awesome (and SUPER easy to the point of being dummy proof) tutorial on YouTube for envelope pillow covers. And even though I had orignially planned to ask a girlfriend to sew the covers, I thought I'd give it a go myself.
So on Tuesday, when I was finished all my cake photography, and while my girlfriend was whipping icing, she let me use her machine, and after about an hour of sewing, my pillows went from this......
Photobucket this.....
The black and white pillow were store bought but all the others are the beige pillows with my covers on them.
I'll be honest - I'm pretty dang-gum proud of myself.
I got up the next morning and the first thing I did (yes, before kiss and hug my children) was head downstairs, just to admire them.
I will say, that life full of patterns is FUN and it makes my house feel happy.
Be sure to check back here at 10:00am on the dot tomorrow morning for the big annoucement of the soap nuts giveaway winner!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

::: What I Wore Wednesday (and Thursday) :::

Well, isn't this your lucky day!
You clicked over to my blog hoping to reading something enriching, funny, informative, practical, learn about a great new product or see some cute photos of my darling children.
Nope, none of the above.
Today all you get, is me - dressed.
Like I said, lucky day right?
:: this was my last week Wednesday outfit. We had a playdate in the morning and weren't out of the house until the evening for a course at church ::
top - american eagle (from winners)
jeans - not sure of the brand but they were free!
:: I wanted to post this outfit because I'm so excited about this top! I was having a quick browse at our local Bibles For Missions thrift shop for a small table lamp to refurbish and something caught my eye. Without even trying it on, I walked out of the store with this diddy for only $3.31 ::
top - BFM
long white tee - jacob
jeans - wearhouse one
scarf - SheBella accessories
And to answer the two questions you are asking:
#1 - YES! I am still loooving my new hair color. Usually when I do something like that, it's a good week before I feel like I can stop looking in the mirror 20 times an hour to enjoy the new look but it's only been a few days and I already feel like I've had this hair color for years.
#2 - Yes, I am wearing black flats with white socks. But no, I don't wear my choes in the house. I bought the shoes at Walmart for $9 for Cranberry Creek as a switch out pair for when my feet needed a break. I got every cent of my $9 out of wear out of them, because they are scuffed and stretched and not any good for wearing out. So rather than tossing them, I've adopted them as my hardsoled slippers. They don't quite keep my feet as warm as my fuzzy ones but I prefer wearing them.
And don't forget, if you haven't entered to win a free package of Cleaner Planet Soap Nuts, you only have until tonight at midnight to leave a comment!
Enter HERE.
Happy Hump Day!