Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Let them in the kitchen!

Wouldn't it just be easier to send them off so you can get it done quickly?  I struggle with that so often...daily...okay, every meal.  My boys aren't into toys. They just want do what we are doing.  When it comes to cooking, they LOVE to help out.  Today, I gave in.  Munch cut carrots and Bubblegum learned how to peel. He was so proud of himself.  They prepared way more than I needed for supper but then I realized we have some ready to go for snacks now.  Yay!  They also helped with cooking the rice and enjoyed watching the meatball making, excitedly adding the sweet and sour sauce afterward.  I had a thought while we were teaming up on our supper. 
One day, these boys could be enjoying making a meal for the family on their own.  If I allow them to follow their love and interest for being in the kitchen, maybe it will stick and we will all be blessed by it in the future.  Also, a future wife may really appreciate it too
People keep telling me how quickly kids grow up.  I am really trying to hold onto that and enjoy the eagerness of the boys to be with me in everything I do. (Except going to the bathroom, I closed the door on that one).  Training doesn't start when they are 9; by then, it's too late.  If they are eager to learn about cooking and doing laundry and pruning shrubs now, then I am going to bite my tongue and take advantage of it...while they still care.  Maybe just maybe, I will be able to put my feet up and let these boys make a few meals for me.  For that I say, "Let them cook!" 

Speaking of carrots, I tried this Ginger Glazed Carrot recipe from  http://stephaniecooks.blogspot.ca/  Yum! 

6-7 carrots, peeled and sliced into even rings
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. crushed garlic and ginger (or 1 tbsp. each)
1.5 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tbsp. honey

1- Heat a large skillet with the oil over medium high heat.
2- Add the garlic and ginger, allow to heat for about 1-2 minutes.
3- Add the carrot rings. Cook for about 20 minutes, until tender, stirring frequently.
4- Once the carrots are tender, combine the butter and honey in a small bowl. Add the honey butter to the skillet, stirring to coat.
5- Season with salt, pepper, and parsley to taste

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Need a stress reliever

I don't know about you but I have had a stressful week. I looked in the mirror this evening and felt sorry for myself.  "You look exhausted, hon."  In trying to help Ryan get his mind off of the documentary (that is almost complete. Eeeee!), I read him those funny cards with funny sayings...and was laughing so hard that I couldn't read through the tears. It was exactly what I needed.  I felt SO much better.  Laughter truly is the best medicine.  I hope these make you giggle and de-stress as well.  

Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

From linens to crafts

Little tips like, "Why don't you hang up these frames already." and getting rid of the board games that we are sure will never actually get played....are what make Nichol from Nik's Knack the home organization expert!  Check out how she helped me clean out our linen closet, which will soon be a craft closet (need extra bedding and blankets? Come to our garage sale).  

The frames on the shelf are now up and the curtains are next.  Notice I held onto two board games...still hopeful.

This is what I hope the closet to look like next.  

Maybe the Christmas bags taking over the master walk-in closet can find a new home. 

 I think this is my favourite. 

Wow, that's a lot of sewing machines!  I love the idea of the lined tote boxes. 

This week we are tackling the older boys' closet, the craft/utility/dog food/anything else closet on the main floor. Ready to pull up my sleeves on these ones! The before will be embarrassing for me and maybe encouraging for you. 
Until then...

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Cleaning the closets

Want to feel a little less lighter and less stressed?  Have someone come and help purge your closets.  Nichol, from Nik's Knack Home Organizing dropped by this week and we spent three hours cleaning out our linen closet and Baby Goo's closet.  The one thing she discovered right away with us is that we don't have a home for things.  We have a renter so do not have the use of our basement for storage and we insist on using our garage for our vehicles.  Nichol was kindly and wonderfully ruthless...exactly what a person needs when purging.  I have a lot to give away and sell at the garage sale (which will help pay for new home organizing tools).  Here are the results:

The trouble with our closets are they are just the home builder standard, they don't meet our needs.  This is where the shopping comes in.  Once we removed all of the no longer needed clothes from Baby Goo's closet, we were left with a very clean slate to work with.  

And once we do some shopping, we can make his closet look like this. 

or this

Nichol recommended scheduling times in the year to sort through clothes.  I am going to try August and May, as those are seasonal changes for us. 
Next I will show the great purge of the linen closet, which will soon be transformed into the craft closet.  We sure worked up a sweat but in the end I know I am going to feel so much better about having a place for things...and having less things!  Thank you Nichol! 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

It's a dirty job

Well, the garden saga continues and continues....and...continues. It is quite amazing that those little seeds turn into such a bounty.  Phyllis left me a message a couple days ago saying she picked my beans for me because they were getting too big.  "I just picked them last week!"  Apparently, they need to be picked every second day.  Anyone need green beans? 
While digging up my wonderful carrots with my hands (because I forgot a spade!), I was thinking about the amount of work it takes for something so great.  Good stuff just doesn't come that easy most days, does it?  A marriage, even if it is good, requires work to maintain its goodness or make it even better.  A career, even if its your dream job takes sacrifice and determination. Parenting, even though rewarding, requires a lot of work from sun up to sun down.  My walk with Jesus is amazing but it also requires work, so that I can be more like him and share him with others.  When we see the results of our work we marvel and feel grateful and joyful.  In the moment though, we can be resentful and whiny.  Tonight, I got so dirty pulling those carrots out, pulling leaves off the beets and washing up the lettuce. It was overwhelming and there was so much more I thought I would rather be doing.  However, when I tasted that freshly washed carrot and savoured the roasted beets, I was oh so grateful for the work.  Maybe we need to think about those savour moments in the midst of our heavy work, tedious work, or even monotonous "easy" work.  
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 
If you are in the trenches right now, not yet seeing the goal; if you are begrudging your work or wondering what it's all for, keep going.  Hold on to the hope of a bountiful harvest.  One day you will be able to savour the results.  

Have a great week. 

Friday, 9 August 2013

Pinterest Bests

The boys went and saw Despicable Me 2 with their dad last weekend...3D even.  I can't believe Ryan convinced them to keep their glasses on.  Needless to say, they really enjoyed it.  Who doesn't love the minions?! Here is a fun minion craft/activity from my favourite fort lovin' blog All for the Boys.

Another great craft/activity I found was on Kids' Activities Blog.  This is a good tool to explain what "all your teeth" means! 

If you have any Pinterest activities you want to share email me at angelastockert@gmail.com.  

I can hardly wait for Nichol from Nik's Knack Home Organizing to come help out with my closets next week.  I look forward to sharing the outcome of her talent with you soon! 

Enjoy your weekend! 


Sunday, 4 August 2013

"Oh my, she's really religious." A rant.

It truly baffles me when I receive comments in regards to my seemingly fanatical relationship with Jesus.  It baffles me so much....I gotta rant. 
I did not join a church.  If it was about going to a building once a week to meet with a bunch of boring hypocrites to sing hymns about a mean God who made a book of rules that are impossible and not fun to follow I would have been gone on day 1.  I have been forgiven and set free from my sins, which include my selfishness, my insensitive ways, my insecurity, my bad habits and my self righteousness, to name a few.  Who can kid themselves and say they are good all the time in deed AND thought.  Sin is not a scale. You are either sin or you don't.  I sin.  God knew that and left His wonderful paradise to spend time with his creation, tell them He has a way and then made the way for us to be free from that sin.  When he looks at me, he sees Jesus...perfect, wonderful, never thought a hateful thought or uttered a bad word Jesus! hallelujah!  
If this was not the real deal I would have quit a long time ago.  I have had over 20 different jobs, lived in 4 different cities and 10 different homes, I get moments of pure genius ideas only to realize they were not well thought out or reasonable.  I can't leave Jesus.  He told the truth when he said he was THE way, THE truth and THE life.  I have overcome great tribulations, faced persecution and rejection, witnessed lives transformed in ways the world could not explain because God is real, He loves me and lives in me, through the Holy Spirit and I am a part of a, yes imperfect and growing, but vibrant community of Jesus lovers. 
Why do I need to share the gospel?  I believe that Jesus Christ has made the way for people to be reconciled back to their creator and that those who reject him will not be able to enter His kingdom when their time comes.  If I honestly believe that, would that be loving of me to not say something to you??  Even Penn from Penn and Teller (a well known atheist) says it would be rude for a true believing 
Christian to not evangelize to his friends and family.  I am not trying to get you to join the club. In fact, if its just a club you want, you came to the wrong place.  I want you to have more than what you think life is right now.  I want you to find freedom from the hurt in your life, from your own hang ups and from the deception of the world (things like where your value comes from and what your purpose in life is).  If you are okay with God or not needing "a God", you need not need be offended, right? 
I am fanatical...I should be. When you are in love with someone, all you want to do is talk about them.  Jesus has done more for me than any guy I loved, so yah, I am going to talk about him.  I am going to pray a lot...which means chat with him.  He is my friend, we spend time together.  I want to be more like him so I will do whatever it takes to do that; pray, listen to music about him, watch movies with great stories about him and his followers, and hang out with people who want to help me do that. 
I love Jesus Christ because he has proven to be the bestest friend there is.  He loves me, teaches me and shows me unthinkable things.  The God who made the mountains I marvel at knows my name and everything about me...and still likes me...LOVES ME.  And I don't have to worry about dying and being away from Him because he is preparing a place for me in His Kingdom...not a puffy cloud, but real place of great beauty, more beautiful than the Hawaiian sunsets and more marvellous than the Grand Canyon.  I get to go there and forever praise Him and thank Him along with all the other people who love Him too.  
fanatical, yes. and good reason to be. 
end rant. 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Getting Squiters!

One of the first actions our Baby Goo learns is warding off mosquitos..it was that serious! 
We have returned from the land of endless mosquitos.  It was a lovely time with boating, reminiscing by the fire, and lots of great food... but we will not miss the buzz of those blood sucking fun stealers.  They are here in Alberta as well but it seems they are a bit more bearable. For our repellent of choice, we settled happily with Off for family (still has Deet but a smaller amount) and had a coil at every door and an Off lantern under the outdoor table.
If you are looking for something a little more natural there are some great recipes out there.    I also heard that Scentsy has a coconut lemongrass lotion that supposedly does the trick and my mom and aunt swear by Bath and Body Works' Warm Vanilla Sugar lotion.

Here's a recipe that another one of my aunts is trying out.

15 drops lavender oil
3 Tbsp vanilla
10 drops of  citronella oil or lemon-eucalyptus oil
1/4 lemon juice

Combine all ingredients above and put in spray bottle. Fill the remainder of bottle with water/witch hazel mix.

One trick that helps best is to stay away from dark clothes.  While sitting around the fire,  it was amusing to witness those in dark clothing slapping and waving crazily while the others in light clothing were not being bothered at all.  
Even if we spray and put out a hundred citronella candles, those little guys will find a way to get you...like in between your third and fourth toe. Grrr.
If that's the case,  then relief is in order.  Again, we were happy with After Bite. The stuff works like a charm.  A girlfriend recommended Lavender Oil and last year we were happy with Tea Tree oil.  One suggestion that seems interesting is the pulpy inside of a banana peel.  That's cheaper than using a crushed up Aspirin, I would say.  Or you can always settle for the finger nail marked X (it only works for a second!).

Regardless of the mosquitos, I hope you are enjoying all that Summer brings.  We are excited for a sunny day to play at Riley Park...one of my favorite kiddie pools in Calgary.  Maybe we will see you there!
Happy Long Weekend!