Sunday, 29 March 2015

12 Good Signs your a Mom of Boys (to name a few)

1.Vacuuming is a game. Even after clean-up, there are little pieces of Lego to avoid and you don't want to suck them up because you know to which masterpiece they belong to
2.You can find your way through the house in the middle of the night because the glow in the dark toys guide you. 
3.Cleaning bathrooms includes wiping down walls, trash cans, cupboards and anything in spraying distance. 
4. Flatulance is a any moment of the day...and is always funny 
5. Your sofa cushions are on the floor more than on the actual sofa
6.Dead bugs...dead anything, really, is the cause of much excitement and discussion
7.You learn that all things can be a sword or a gun 
8.You've said, "get your hands out of your pants" in many situations 
9.You've been peed on...more than once. 
10.Jeans don't last long enough to pass down. 
11.Favourite Bible stories are David and Goliath and Samson and the Lion (not Delilah...the lion) 
12. Even the littlest playful hug is invitation for a wrestling match 

It's fun being a boy-mom! 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Hello Strangers! Welcome to our Family Movie Night

I've missed you. It has been way too long, hasn't it?  I am sure those of you who are on my Facebook page can understand why I have been too busy to write.  For those of you who were not aware, my dad passed away after a valiant 8 year battle with Cancer just two weeks away from my due date.  We nervously made the trek to my hometown for his funeral and made it back home with baby still in the belly.  Jakin Lewis was born shortly after on October 26 and well, life has been pretty hectic since.  My mom came shortly after and was blessed to have such four wonderful distractions.  We loved having her around.  I really never tire of that woman.  I again, struggled with breastfeeding and am finally starting to feel emotionally and physically better since the birth.  He is a great baby but it seems to take about 3 months to really figure out who they are what works for them.  I don't know what I would do without my husband home.  He drops off and picks up kids from school and is available if I need to sleep in or take a shower.  These passed few months have been difficult, painful, wonderful and exciting all in one and I am glad to be back.  

Okay, so there's catch up.  

My reason for writing today is share the blessings of a weekly family movie night. When Munch entered the world of full time school, it became apparent to me that we have less time to influence him.  As he is meeting more friends from all different backgrounds, we are also learning how our family rules and values are different, christian or not, from other families.   We have been using the phrase, "Yes, their family may do that but ours does not."  During the time this was coming to our attention, I read a great article about creating family identity.   The idea of a family game or movie night was one of the suggestions and from there we made it our thing.  Now instead of just saying, "Our family doesn't do that." We get to say, "Our family does this!" 

This introduces...

7  Reasons Why 
We Love 
Family Movie Night: 

1. We are getting the boys into the habit of carving out time for each other and looking forward to it.  Right now it is really about the movie and the popcorn but as time goes on I am confident the boys will appreciate their parents' commitment to the night. 

2. It helps me to limit their screen time. When they ask to watch movies throughout the week, I have something to point them to.  "No, we don't need to watch a movie, we can maybe watch that one on Friday night." It works.  

3. Watching movie with the kids allows us to screen the shows that they are watching and have conversations about them.  I had made the decision based on a review of the The Lego Movie, that they boys would not be seeing it.   It was mainly for our preschooler.  This last week, Ryan said he read another review and thought we could give it a try. This way we could address any undesirable behaviour that we were concerned with.  Well, surprise to me, I loved it!  If we didn't have this movie night, those boys may have missed out on a really fun movie (that totally inspired them with their Lego!) 

4. It is something to look forward to.  When it's Wednesday and we all feel in a rut, we can look forward to our fun night of a movie and snacks.  We can all do this together. 

5. Snuggles. When there's five people to snuggle with and life gets busy, sometimes people get missed. This is a time where I can give catch-up cuddles. 

6. Popcorn!  I love the snacks....but also... it helps when the kids are always asking for snacks throughout the week.  I can point them to Friday, where there will be a fun snack night!

7. We are creating family identity.  "Our family has movie night."  Maybe one night it will be a games night.  When our boys are nine, we will have movie night.  When they are sixteen, we will have a family night.  It is our family's thing-we look forward to it, we enjoy it and we are proud to be in this family and doing this special thing together.

Does your family have some traditions or activities that help create your unique identity?  Share them here and inspire other families.  

It's good to be back. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Slow Cooker Inspiration

As promised, here are some wonderful slow cooker recipes.  Honestly, if you have not been on Pinterest yet, you must check it out just for the recipe ideas.  These are all recipes that I have found on Pinterest.  
For those of you who just have no idea when it comes to slow cookers (and I know you exist because I have spoken to you), keep in mind that you can just throw pretty much any kind of meat in the slow cooker with some kind of sauce and it is a good meal.  Throw in a roast with some carrots and potatoes and a package of onion soup mix and you have a beautiful traditional roast beef dinner. Trust me, I am not a natural born cook (maybe I should add that to the blog title too!) but I can make a "fancy" dinner by throwing some ingredients in a hot pot for a few hours.  It can make that 4 o'clock dinner panic lessen each week. 
Let this be your inspiration for a whole new world of slow cooking.  Please share any recipes that you have enjoyed in the comments section.  Happy cooking!




Wednesday, 17 September 2014

School Schmool

Remember my post about being called to homeschool?  Yah, looks like it was for a year...for now.  What I love about my loving God is that He is not stagnant; He always has a plan but it is not predictable or boring.  I am wondering if He called me to keep Munch at home for one more year for specific reasons; things like, to spend more time with my dad whose health is failing right now or to learn more in regards to character building or maybe it was to protect Munch from something. We won't know until Heaven.  That being said, it was wonderful, difficult and a growing experience for both of us.
I don't plan to go into a lot of detail on our decision but I will say that I know God is in it and is providing for us.  Not only have I had to give up the idea of homeschooling for now but I was not able to get Munch into the school we had hoped for; the one where we had built strong friendships at.  I literally registered him at this present school not knowing of one single family who would be joining us there.  For a girl who knew every kid in every year of school, that was tough. I cried a lot.  BUT...God provided.  Munch has made great friends and I have met some wonderful moms and we love his teacher and his school.  I am wondering if he wouldn't love school so much if he hadn't experience homeschooling first.  He really seems to appreciate the independence, the competition of being in a class and the change of pace from home to school.  We have witnessed some wonderful growth in Munch and are starting to see him blossom into his own person.  There is the new struggle of dealing with a culture that is quite different from our homes'...things like celebrating zombies and Halloween but those are just great conversations to be had with Munch.  (God knows the battle and has prepared us prayerfully thus far.  We know that we cannot shelter our kids, I just like to lessen the battle as much as possible.). 
So, this is where we are at right now.  I love all ways of schooling...I think there is value and need for all of them.  I think that God knows what each family, or rather, what each child needs and will lead us accordingly.  I am grateful for that, even if it can be difficult and uncomfortable.  Next year could be altogether different.  How exciting!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Buying a house? Some things to think about if you have or plan to havekids....

I know it's fun but don't scratch the floors! 
When we bought our present home we had a three year-old and a one year-old.  Maybe it was that I had not yet recovered from baby brain or maybe it was that I was tired of looking at homes, but I look back now and say, "Angela, what were you thinking?"  This was our third home but I didn't have a say in the first one because Ryan built before we were together (I came along when he was picking out light fixtures) and the second home we knew was temporary so didn't care as much.  We had tile and lighter coloured cupboards in our first home, laminate and dark cupboards in our second.  I could give you pros and cons to both.  Then with this next home  I was totally cool with custom hardwood. Now I do remember seeing the deep scratches from the previous owners Rottweiler and thought, "Okay, that takes the pressure off to keep them perfect."  However, I never imagined the stress they would put on me as a mother.  So, if this can help anyone in what to look for, use it.  There will always be good and bad in every home and every person, family or household is different but here are some things I learned from owning a home and 3 1/2 children.

1. Flooring. I understand that our parents had linoleum when we were kids because laminate did not yet exist and hardwood was more expensive but it really was the wiser choice for families with kids. Yes, there was always the risk of putting a dent or chip in the linoleum but really it was pretty durable and could stand a little water.  I find as much as hardwood is nice to look at when it is clean, and that just doesn't happen often, it is horrible with kids and water. If you do get hard wood, try to find a brand that holds up to water well...if that exists.  Also, find a hardwood that has a variety of color to hide the dirt that is inevitable. Yesterday, I had 7 pairs of little feet running in and out after first running through chalky sidewalks and the floor was a mess! When we had tile, I complained it was cold but I think that that is what I would go with again.  It takes water and dropped toys and pots well.

2. Dark cupboards....who came up with that? I am glad it's on its way out, however we are not planning a renovation anytime soon.  It may be the stain or finish on the cupboards but they just don't seem to come clean.  They hold grease and dust and anything that we have prepared in the kitchen that day.  They are so nice when it's just the two of you and there is time to wipe up a splash but when there are kids running around, that yogurt may just stay a long time.  I have a friend who bought white cupboards from IKEA and says they are great for cleaning.  So, ask about how the cupboards clean, maybe even bring a tube of mustard and give it a try.  

3. Stainless steel appliances.  Aughh! When we buy a house we often buy thinking about the resale (my forward-thinking husband).  For that reason, unless the whole world wises up, we will have to put up with stinkin stainless steel because people seem to want it. They look all shiny and fabulous when they come out of the box, but most everyone would agree that they are the bain of one's existence soon after. Finger prints is one thing but what I find is sucky with kids is the scratches.  There are stainless steel appliances that are not those! In our second home, a thoughtful family member bought our one year-old a Leap Frog fridge toy.  She stuck it on the fridge for him, along with all the parts of the farm animals and Munch played for the longest time as happy as can be.  A day later....we saw them....the deep scratches that would forever scar our shiny stainless steel fridge forever.  I went on the Internet to find a secret to magically take the gouges away but it was what it was. You might want to ask yourself, is it worth it, really?

4. A deck with no stairs.  By this time, you may think I hate my home or that I am superficial to be griping about my first-world problems.  I want to stress that I love our home, am grateful for it and recognize we are beyond blessed.  My point for these tips comes later.  I also want to use what I have learned to help other moms and dads choose wisely for their home and so I continue.  
Walk-outs are nice but I think most families would agree that a deck off of the kitchen is wonderful for both the kids and parents.  Your kids are more comfortable with going outside to play knowing that mom is close and you are less stressed knowing you can access them and SEE them if something goes wrong.  In all honesty, it is isn't easy or comfortable for "most" kids to run down the stairs to the basement to get out to the backyard.  In our circumstance, we had people living in the basement so it was not even a possibility.  I was frustrated that the boys had to go out the front and around to the back.  I would sit at the back window and wait for their little faces to appear and if not, would need to go out to see what side-tracked them along the way.  Luckily now, our older kids play in the front with the kids in the neighborhood on a street that is on the quieter side.  It is still stressful with the littles though.  

5. How many Cupboards. If you can help it, pick a house with a lot of cupboards.  I tired to tell myself I had too much stuff anyway and that if need be, I could buy a hutch. Yah, no....I lack cupboard space and I would consider myself a minimalist in the kitchen (with the exception of our one too many coffee making appliances that take up all of our counter space.). 

With all of this in mind,  I would simply ask you to consider what is more important: 
Is it worth going with the trends and risk being frustrated with your kids, your pets or your husband for just living?  Can you handle the sudsy water collecting under your child's chair as they joyfully help you wash dishes or are you going to ban them from the sinks because they may ruin your precious floors? Are you going to be able to maintain the look that these items first had when you resell or will it all need to be replaced anyway because they were well-worn.  Where do you want to spend the bulk of your time? What will allow your kids just to be kids and you to love that about them?  
Can this fancy stuff wait?  Will it be out of date soon anyway? 
Don't let the charm and beauty of a new home put you in a stupid trance that will have you marching around like a crazy lady screeching and wagging your finger at everyone in your family.  Be realistic, be practical or save up for one heck of a house cleaner!

If you have other great tips for new home buyers, please share.  These are just a few things I learned.  If we can help just one new mom from losing her mind, it will all be worth it. 

Have a great week! 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

I Washed my Pillows...

...and I am super excited! I know, I am a closet clean geek.  Maybe you knew that we can wash pillows...but I didn't.  Not only can you wash them but they can be made white again.  Eeee! Pinterest has taught me a lot of cleaning possibilities.  
So, here's the method I used.  It comes from One Good Thing by Jilly.  I didn't do before and after....but she did and my results were pretty much the same. Happy washing! 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Coming Back Small

It has been waaaay too long since I last posted.  Let me be frank and say that I have been in a bit of a slump.  Since my purpose in making this blog was to be real about being a mom, I need to say it has been a struggle these last six or so months.  I tend to struggle through the toddler years and Little Goose is in them full force.  The screaming and hitting between him and Bubblegum who is just coming out of the Terrible Threes (oh new moms, I know we say terrible two but hang on to your hats!), was overwhelming me beyond comprehension...then we found out I was pregnant! 
Now, I can't say I was too surprised because, as I learned with my other pregnancies, you can't be surprised when you aren't taking major preventative measures.  I find people who are writing a book on a particular subject tend to go through whatever they are writing about. Well, a few years back I used to teach abstinence based sex education where I repeatedly pounded into kids' heads that SEX MAKES BABIES and that sometimes there is just nothing that can get in the way of that fact.  I guess I am living out what I preach. Needless to say, we are excited for our fourth boy to join our family at the end of October.  
Anyway, my hormones have been crazy and I am very busy with these kids and it has left me...empty; not really feeling like I have much to give.  My confidence had been weakened by the constant battles with my boys. I thought, " give advice or encouragement to moms?"  I just needed some growing time, time to be ministered to by The Lord and time to rest.  Just in the last few days have I felt like I had something to write about.  I am going to start out small here. Hopefully this is the start of some good stuff.  

One thing I wanted to chat about was...
feelings of inadequacy in regards to housework in comparison to our moms

First off, I am just not my mom.  She loves housework. She actually does it  with a smile on her face and a glide in her step.  She says I came out more like her sister...messy and creative. So in that, I just have to realize that 1. Sometimes there is a personality difference there. 
A huge thing I realized though, while scrubbing the third toilet in our house is 
2. Most of our moms did not have to clean houses as big as ours! 

We lived in a mobile home with one bathroom until I was 12. That's one toilet, one main living room and one floor!  
Our generation and our ridiculous need for a bathroom for each family member, a room for sitting, a room for a t.v. and a room for playing plus double sinks, hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances has created this craziness!  No wonder my mother-in-law could get her housework done first thing in ONE morning! There wasn't as much to clean!  No wonder they could clean windows, curtains and baseboards...they were't swamped with too much clothing to wash and 5 sinks to scrub.  Get a smaller house or give yourself a bit of a break. You can't be your mom...she lived in another time...a simpler time.  

That's all I have today. It's good to be back. I missed you.  
Stay tuned for an inside look on another professional mom, my good friend and photographer, Karina Hiller of Oohlala Photography.