Friday, 26 April 2013

Today, I like my milk brown

Okay, confession time.  I think I tried to eat every unhealthy thing in my house today.  Okay, I managed to scarf down some carrots...but other than that, it was a sad day for my body.  I didn't even want my milk white; it had to be brown.  Even now, I am taking inventory of the leftover Easter candy on the top shelf of the pantry.  It's one day.  When I go to bed at night and I just don't feel right, I will remember why I don't do that very often.  

I wanted to share some great recipes that I tried out from Pinterest this week.  I am not one to make lasagna but I found a slow cooker recipe that was so easy.  Everyone who ate it was very impressed so  this recipe is a keeper.  I found it on a website that six sisters put together to share recipes and information with each other. Could you imagine having five sisters!!! (I can't because I have never even had one.)  Who would even have time for friends?!  They have many fantastic recipes on their site, so check it out: Six Sisters Stuff

Molly, from Urban Nester pinned a great oatmeal and berry casserole.  She has it as gluten free but we just used regular oatmeal.  We didn't make it for breakfast either.  The two boys and I made it in the morning and enjoyed it for lunch (breakfast foods are much too good to just have at breakfast time).  I would recommend this for a brunch potluck.  

Did you know Mother's Day was coming up quickly?  Some of you may be counting down the days until you get that spa package you have been hinting about and some of you may be like me, totally oblivious to the day and then send a text with a picture of your mom's card to her so that she can get it on time.....okay, most of you are probably not like me (my poor mom).  This year I am resolving to remember.  Can someone remind me to send my mom a card this week? (not you Mom, that would be like the time you called me on your birthday to tell me it was your birthday....yeesh!) 

My dear friend Karina of Oohlala Photography is holding Mother's Day mini sessions in the Calgary area next week.  What a great idea for a Mother's Day gift or just a special keepsake.  In a couple of weeks I am going to have her give us tips on how to get the most out of your family photo shoot.  She has been doing our families photos since I was pregnant with our first born, and she just keeps getting better and wiser.  I know you will learn a lot from her.  If you are in the Calgary area and looking for a mini session-type photo shoot, give her a call. There are a few openings left. 

Tomorrow our family is headed to a funeral of Ryan's uncle, who died two weeks ago.  Sadly, its on the first anniversary of the death of Ryan's cousin.  It has been a deep and introspective week for our home.  How was your week?  Is there anything I can pray for?  Feel free to send a request.  
Bless you friend.  Talk to you soon. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

From boys to men: reposted

Since I was 5, I have loved boys.  I was a boy-crazy teenager, a serial dating college girl and a woman with a tonne-o baggage in my 20's.  God has done a lot of healing and restoring and has now blessed me with a group of boys to love well without baggage.  
I am grateful to have sons. I really couldn't see it any other way.  When I had my first son, I asked The Lord to help us to raise him to be a man of integrity, purity and character; a man of God.  I especially desire to raise boys who will know God's purpose for sex and that they would recognize the counterfeit.  My prayer is that they would truly have Jesus' heart for women and men and sexuality and that anything that is not good and pure would grieve their hearts.

My boys are 4, 2 and 5 months and I have already begun the fight.  When walking through the mall we came upon huge posters of lingerie models in poses that made me blush.  They are clearly NOT selling just underwear! I noticed Munch looking and said, "Buddy, what is that Mommy doing without her clothes on?  Could you imagine if I walked around the mall in just my underwear?" He looked horrified.  While I had his attention I explained that that is not the way God made women to be, to be showing their private parts out in public.   We talked about how God made girls beautiful but those posters made God sad because that is not what he had in mind for them.  We left it at that.  
Then I prayed.  Since then I have actually seen two incidences where Munch has turned his face from pictures where a woman was provocatively dressed.  I did not tell him to turn his face, he did that on his own. When I asked about it he told me that he did not like to see girls that way.  Wow!!  (I pray that once he gets teenaged hormones, he will do the same.) 
What do we do? It is everywhere! The battle for our boys' minds and hearts is fierce! I know I cannot lock my boys up so I must model and teach God's truth so that they can approach the topic prepared and equipped. I pray that they will have self-control and patience to wait for God's perfect timing.  I pray that they will treat girls and women with the same love and respect that Jesus did.  I pray that they will spur other men on to integrity and purity so that the women of their generation will have many good choices for husbands.  The battle for our boys is fierce but this Momma's gonna fight!! Watch out Goliath, you come with a sword, a spear and a javelin but I come in the name of The Lord! 


Baby Food, Car Washes Momma Notes

Last week I was studying James 1:2 and committed to "consider it pure joy when facing trials of many kinds".  Yesterday, in between a tantrum and squabble over crushing milk containers I was reminded of this verse.  I redirected the boys from their argument by inviting them to help me in the kitchen.  Minutes before I was shooing them out because I just wanted to be there on my own.  I was trying out a new recipe and did not want to be distracted (I have been known to make major technical errors due to distraction in the kitchen).  However, helping out in the kitchen was something that they could do individually and well.  As each boy pridefully executed his task, I stopped...and enjoyed.  

It was a deliberate decision to just look with complete enjoyment at my children.  I could feel the smile and it felt good.  I was grateful that the boys enjoyed being with me and they liked to help.  I told them, "I love being your mommy"  
Five minutes later there was a tantrum and chaos all over again...but for that moment there was pure joy.
Feeding Baby Goo has been a lot of fun.  He loves food!  It is so easy to feed a baby who will eat everything you give him.  I bought the book The Healthy Baby Meal Planner by Annabel Karmel when Bubblegum was a baby but he was too picky for the recipes.  This time around, I have been able to try many of the recipes on a very willing participant.  This is another one of those activities that the other boys have been involved in.  Munch enjoys cutting up the vegetables and Bubblegum likes scooping the puree into the ice cube trays.  Some of these recipes are so yummy that I have wanted to eat them myself.  One in particular is Potato and Leek puree.   She actually states in her book that with some spices, it can be made into a soup for the whole family.  Mmmmm. 

Activity for the Day 

I did not get this one off of Pinterest.  This was one of those activities that was a whim.  The boys were playing with their Hot Wheels and wanted to clean them.  We created our own car wash with a water bottle, cloth and baking dish (to contain the water mess).  The boys had a blast making their cars shiny.  Love those moments when something so simple becomes the greatest fun.  
In going through some behavioural challenges with Bubblegum, I have been looking for some resources and support from the "experts".  I remember this time with Munch and what was so wonderful for me was the assistance from Focus Helps.  Focus on the Family is an amazing ministry for the family.  I was surprised to learn that they offer counselling over the phone and immediately took up their offer.  A lovely lady called me at a certain time of the day, listened, offered great advice, prayed for me and followed up with free resources.  This ministry also offers counselling referrals for wherever you live, great articles on a variety of topics and several online forums for you to join.  It is not just for parenting.  I have recommended them for marriage problems and life issues as well.  

A new resource that I am going to check out this time around is Positive Parenting Solutions.  My girlfriend stumbled upon it and has really enjoyed the advice from this woman.  I have witnessed her using the tips suggested with much success.   

Lastly, Moms, I want you to think of a mom-friend that you can encourage today.  Send her a message, phone her, drop by with a meal or gift.  Tell her all the things you would like to hear.  Remind her that she is doing a fabulous job, give her a hug, let her talk, tell her she is wonderful, invaluable, a super hero!  It always seems to help me when I reach out to someone else.  I love this blog for that reason.  

Here is a start: 

Mom, do you know how amazing you are?  You chose to get up this morning and care for those little ones.  You already put others before yourself and the day just started.  It can be so hard to do, right...but you did it.  You know why your kids are driving you crazy?  They think you are the bestest friend ever and love to be around you.  There must be something wonderful you did to make them want to be around you all the time. Are your kids fed? Do they have clothes on (even if they are still pjs), are they playing?  Look at you!  You have provided for these little people.  Wow!  You did that!  I bet you didn’t even have to think about it either.  It was just natural for you.  I just need to say it again, mom.  You are amazing.  Keep going.  You can do this.  I am right there with you.  
Love, your Momma-friend, Angela   

Friday, 19 April 2013

A Prayerful Conversation

The boys and I tried the Clean Finger Painting from a previous post of mine and we came up with some pretty magnificent works of art.  I had some used canvases that were failed mod podge pictures so we used those with my acrylic paint (when do 2 year olds get, to paint with acrylics?).  We used old Ziploc bags as our plastic and duck tape (yes, we actually have a product called "duck" tape in our home.)   What is great about acrylic paint is you can get texture into the picture, that's what we enjoyed the most, I think.  However, I know that kids would love any type of paint.  Definitely a "will do again" activity.

If any of you have or have had a two year old,  you will understand the week I have had.  Actually Mom's of two year olds? I am not sure if anyone had told you (no one told me until after) that three can be just as hard.  Bubblegum has always been a handful.  I thought we had gone through the "terrible" stage but it seems we have taken a new turn.  The thing is, every child is different, so you can't necessarily apply the same tactics that you did with your first; at least that is what we are finding.  I know that I need to get on my knees and get to work all while remembering that it doesn't last forever.  I look at Munch now and cannot believe the battles we used to have with him.
Here is a prayerful conversation I had after a rough day with "two".

Hiding out in the office with a handful of the kids' chocolate easter eggs, a twisty pony tail made by a 4 year old boy on the side of my head and a heavy heart.  "Where did I go wrong?" I open up another foiled egg.  I thought the day could end at 7:30 when I put them to bed with the last bit of fight I had.  "Lord, help me to finish well."  I can still hear them thumping and planning above me.  I just know they are devising the best plan to throw me right over the edge.  The day started out well.  They even slept in.  Somehow though, it just progressively got worse and worse and worse.  Midday, we all lost it, baby and Daddy included, and I packed them all up and took them to the library (smart place to take misbehaving kids, hah!).  That was a nice hour. Then we returned to our home. There was battle over toys, over lunch, over clothes, over diaper changes, over supper, over movies, bedtime snacks, toothpaste, bedtime stories, prayer.  I was slapped, kicked, and had a stool thrown at me. "I cast all spirits of violence out of this 2 year old, in Jesus' name." (come on, we've all done it).
 What was it?  Too much sugar, not enough attention, too much attention, not enough sleep, not enough fresh air, too many "no's". not enough?  "Come on experts! Tell me what I did wrong today?!"  Breathe.
Consider it pure joy, when you face many trials. For you know when your faith is tested your endurance will surely grow. (a)
Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.(b)
And surely, I am with you always, even to very end of the age. (1)
"Jesus, I am tired.  I can't do this.  I am so tired."
Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. (2)
"What is wrong with this child? Is it just two?  Is he deficient in something?  Has he ingested too much yellow dye #5?"
Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you? (3)
"Why me? Why now?"
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. (4)
"I don't know what to do.  What will work with this one.  I am at a loss."
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (5)
"I can't do it."
No, in all these things we are more than conquers through him who loved us. (6)
You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (7)
"But...I don't even like him right now."
Love your enemies. (8)
"Forgive me for even saying that. Uggghhh."
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (8)
"No seriously, how could you ever forgive me for saying such a thing? I feel so bad."
As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (9)
"Wow.  Teach me how to love like you do"
God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  (10)
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and of self-control.(11)
We love because he first loved us.(12)
"Thank you."
 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion", says my soul. "Therefore, I will hope in him." (13)

(a)James 1:2,(b)Galations 6:9(1)Matthew 28:20,(2)Matthew 11:28,(3)1Peter 5:7,(4)Proverbs 3:5(5)James 1:5,(6)Romans 8:37,(7)Philippians 4:13,(8)Matthew 5:44,(9)Psalm 103:12,(10)Romans 5:5,(12)1John 4:19,(13)Lamentations 3:22-24 English Standard Version. Holy Bible 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Box- a kid's best toy:Take Two

I realized that the buttons for the blogs I have below did not actually link to anything.  New blogger mistake.  It's now fixed, enjoy your perusal.
Our family has been blessed with an abundance of food from various people this week.  Living in faith of the Lord's provision can be both scary and exciting at times.  This week has been mostly exciting.  We are actually running out of room and sent a bag of food home with one of our church families.  I love showing our boys how God loves us through these generous offerings from His people.  That being said, we have a pile of boxes in our hallway and the boys have been busy!  I thought I would make that this week's Pinterest Best Activity of the Week.  A box.  Get a box or two, put them out where your kids frequent and see what they do.  We have had boats, cars, garages, drawing tables and oversized hats.

I have mentioned a few of the blogs that I follow here and there and thought I would share the links to some of my favourites.  Warning: If you haven't become a blog addict already, this may take you there. It's a tangled web that easily to get caught up into.  The majority of my email is filled with blog updates.  I love it!  Everyone has a different gift represented and all of them have great wisdom and encouragement.  One thing,  if you find a few favourites, don't forget about me. (smile)

I share this one a lot. She speaks straight to my heart. 

Home with the Boys- need encouragement in fitness (particularly running) and faith? She is also a big reader has great recommendations on books.

This wonder of a woman just had her eighth baby!  She is a wealth of wisdom in parenting, homeschooling and all that goes with it. She has also lost a baby and is a great encourager for those who are grieving the loss of a child. 

  I love this girl's style.  She does this great feature on Wednesday's called What I Wore Wednesday.  It has challenged me to get out of my sweats and "try" more often. 

Awesome ideas for activities and party themes.  Their family loves forts just as much as ours.  Fort Fridays!!

Urban Nester- I am sure I find Molly's blog through Pinterest.  I appreciate her sense of style and admire her ministry to college students in Utah. 

I haven't even looked at this yet but found it on the Urban Nester blog while making this post.  Looks interesting! 

If you can get over the jealousy of this surfer mom living in Hawaii, then you will surely enjoy her wisdom and stories of raising four boys (groms).  

Modern Parents Messy Kids All around great blog for home organization, recipes and activities.  

There are more, which I can share another time.  I honestly don't read them every day but when I have a moment while nursing or enjoying a coffee, these are a nice treat.  It's like sitting down with a friend for a warm and encouraging chit chat.  I hope that you feel the same when you take the time to read my blog.  Have any ideas of topics you would like me to cover?  I would love to hear from you. 

Have a great day! 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

My Favourites for this Friday

In honour of my favorite blog writer, Rachel Martin, from Finding Joy, I am writing a post about some of my favourite things. She posts her favourite things every week along with some beautiful photos. What a great way to start a weekend.  Enjoy!

Trips to the zoo
We are grateful to grandparents for our zoo passes; we can go for an hour or three, we can be outside or in, we can see gorillas one day and giraffes the next and we get exercise and learning time. 

 Basketball at all times of the day, in all weather
 Bubblegum loves sports, especially basketball (proof it is not just nurture)  I love this picture of him in his pyjamas and rubber boots. 

I took our old diaper boxes and made garages and tunnels for the boys' Hot Wheels.  Instead of playing, Munch took the scraps and built ramps for him and his little brother. He is so his dad. I love how their minds work.

I am on a pancake kick right now.  In the last two weeks we have had  coconut pancakes with lime drizzle, banana pancakes, blueberry pancakes and just plain 'ol yummy pancakes with maple syrup. 

Watching Ryan do what he home
Ryan is almost done with the filming and is presently working on teaser trailers. I love when he invites me into his office to show me his work. From what I have seen already, this film is going to be amazing (maybe I am a little biased).
We are so spoiled to have him working from home. We really notice it with Baby Goo, he could take either of us when he's fussy.

Oatmeal with yogurt and fruit
When I discovered that I could put the oatmeal in milk overnight and I would have soft, ready-to-eat oatmeal, it became my regular breakfast meal. I often add Greek yogurt, fresh fruit and/or honey. Yum!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

It's a Good Morning

I have an exercise for you.  Lets start the week out right.  Put on the coffee/tea and while its brewing/steeping, play this song and make it your anthem.  Sing your heart out, dance your face off and have fun.  Whenever I hear this song I cannot help but feel hopeful and happy.  Enjoy! 
...don't forget to turn it up! 

-Mandisa, Sparrow Records 

Wondering where the Pinterest Best Activity? Here is some ideas for those friends who have the busy toddler.  I haven't had many ideas for the 12-24 month old so this is just for you.  I am sure Bubblegum could still enjoy them but I think they will most likely be filed away for Baby Goo.
This is a toddler's fine motor skill activity from Wives Unscripted.  One of those great activities that contains everything you will find your home on any given day.
 This one I actually did with the boys and their 10 year old nephew when I was trying to get their minds off of technology.  To make it more interesting for the older ones I timed them while they raced the track.  This one is from Activity Mom.

I said I was going to recite chapters 1 and 2 from Ephesians this week. Let me tell you, I have been working hard and I am almost there...with chapter one.  I forgot how much I struggle with Paul's writing.  In chapter one, he basically says the same thing over and over in different ways in a ridiculously long run-on sentence.  So difficult. Seriously, check it out. What he is saying is profound and beautiful, it's just really...hard to memorize. Ephesians 1.  I have memorized whole theatrical scripts more easily.  I am hoping I can be ready in two more days.
Okay now, lets go dance!  It's a good morning!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Wordless Wednesday-a look into our day

This is a little of our day today. Hope you enjoy Wordless Wednesday!

Showing off my Easter centrepiece 
Two of our favorite "younger" friends over for second breakfast

Munch lovin life!

Discipleship training 

Which Momma let her 2 year old eat a bowl full of frozen blueberries? 

This one! Oh wait, I forgot to aim the camera lens at my face.  

The happiest and hungriest baby in the house

Have a happy day!