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. 

Friday, 23 May 2014

Foto Friday

I love whoever invented Lego . It may be a pain to clean up but it provides hours of quiet entertainment. 

I am happy that these two are starting to warm up to each other. They are great fighters and huggers. 

We broke out the bouncy house on the front lawn this week. I learned that to avoid injury, it must be off by the time the big boys in the neighbourhood getout of school. 

This is why my phone needs to be out of the way during the day. Little Goose is starting to get the tech crazies!! 

The best way to keep the eyes water-free. 

Have a great weekend! 


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Dear Me,

 Dear Me, 

I know you have been struggling.  I can see it in your face.  You are feeling weary and hopeless.  I heard you when you grumbled under your breath about life "before".  I also heard you when you uttered to yourself about not being cut out for this.  
Remember that job you struggled through; that challenged you every minute, with every new and old task?  Remember how you grumbled about it and fantasized about leaving during meetings and remember how you had your mind made up that you just couldn't do it?  Yah, and then remember how you did quit and well, felt better for only a short time?  Remember how after you were gone, you looked back and realized the job wasn't as bad as it seemed at the time and how you really missed all the good things about it...and all the benefits to it? 
Well, this is kind of like that...but not.  You can't quit this job of parenting.  This isn't a career. This is a life calling.  You are right when you say you can't do it though.  You can't do it alone.  You are struggling right now because you are not relying on Jesus to carry you and teach you and humble you.  Just like that job and many other jobs you quit, you are resisting the discomfort and pain that bring growth and character.  However, if you just accepted the present discomfort; took joy in it because it is doing a work in you that is wonderful and eternal, then you would not be so weary.  
You see, you bought into the lie that life is supposed to be easy and care-free and pain-free. You of all people, should know life is not pain-free. Yet, in this area of parenting, you are really digging in your heals.  Girl, you got to let go of self.  You have little ones who are depending on your selflessness and sacrifice so that they can grow into selfless and strong adults one day.  You need to get over yourself, stop buying into the lie that life is about you.  Stop complaining, stop grumbling and for goodness sake, stop your pouting.  It's time to grow up little girl.  
I am not trying to be mean to you but tell you the truth in love.  The sooner you let go of your entitlement and selfishness, the happier and more fulfilled you will feel as a mom.  Once you take joy in cleaning up little dishes, wiping bums and kissing boo-boos, you will feel freer than you ever have.  Trust God with your desires.  His Word says that if you give them to Him, He will take care of them for you.  Admit that you are not capable of doing this job well on your own; but don't stop there.  That is just defeat.  There is victory in then asking the Lord for his help.  He is waiting to help you.  They are more his kids than yours. Don't you think he wants to give you all that you need to raise his kids up to love him and live for him well?  Lastly, trust him.  Trust that when you ask for his help that you have received it then walk in confidence.  If you make a mistake, which you will, remember that He is bigger than that and will make it work for your good and for the good of those who love Him.  
You are right. Being an adult is not what you imagined.  The responsibility is down right hard some days. Now that you have faced that, put on your big girl panties and make the best of it. People all around you are every day.  You can do it.  You can grow up right here.  It's never too late.  Okay? Okay.  I love you.  I believe in you.  We can do this Momma.  It's going to be alright.  


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Profile on an Expert Mom

Several months ago I featured my friend and sleep coach, Michelle Todd of Whisper Sweet Baby Sleep Consulting.  She has since relocated from Edmonton to Calgary and has been seeing great success in her sleep consulting business.  I know that you will enjoy learning more about her and all that she has to know about getting the littles to sleep.

Layla(3), Michelle, Paxton(5) and Brody

What did you do before Whisper Sweet and how did you get into sleep consulting?
Before Whisper Sweet I was an Application Specialist for Cardinal Health (not very exciting, I know).  I got into child sleep consulting after discovering first hand how life changing it is to go from being exhausted all the time to finally getting a full night's sleep. My own experience had let me to do a lot of research and I had a huge desire to share what I'd learned.  I found a great Sleep Consultant training program, and the rest is history!

What are your favourite sleep and parenting books? 
Good Night, Sleep tight by Kim West, The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg,  Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth and favorite parenting book would be "Kids Are Worth It" by Barbara Coloroso.

More on the personal side, what is a family activity you enjoy? 
Day hikes in the mountains. 
Do your kids sleep? 
I got into this profession because of my first born - he gave us a run for our money! With my second I armed myself with a lot of research, to avoid making the same mistakes I made the first time. I wanted to do it "right" -  from the beginning. It was amazing. She was sleeping 12 hours a night before 3 months of age. They are both good sleepers now.

How do you sleep? 
I sleep well when I follow the rules of adult sleep hygiene (stick to the same bedtime/wake-up time, no t.v. before bed, etc.) I'm happy to offer advice to adults as well.

What is the common problem with children and sleep?
There are so many factors that affect sleep. A big one is children getting overtired. I advise parents to watch their children very closely for any signs of tiredness, whether that's yawning, rubbing their eyes, getting a 'glazed look', or many other indicators. If they can get their children down at night (and for naps!) before they get overtired the process will be much smoother. 
Once children are overtired they get a second wind and have a hard time falling asleep. Most children do well with a bedtime between 6:30 and 7:30 (sometimes later if the child is still having a good nap in the day). Parents should note that the bedroom should be very dark - especially this time of year when the sun is up for longer. Blackout blinds (or anything that effectively covers the windows) are a necessity. A dim night light is ok, only if the child seems to need it.
I might also add that 'tired signs' for babies are often confused with hunger, as babies will start to root and may suck ferociously on a soother when tired. That is one reason I always recommend feeding a baby right after their nap, so that tired and hungry cues don't get confused .

Another problem for parents of toddlers and older children is dealing with bedtime stalling and tantrums. It is helpful for parents to give lots of advanced warning before bedtime, and then to have a very consistent routine before bed. Do the same relaxing things every night to help prepare children for sleep. And have the routine always end in their room. Some examples of this are a bath, reading books, and talking about their day. Get that last drink of water and bathroom visit out of the way *before* they're in bed, to avoid the excuses. And stick to your routine - caving in to requests for extra stories, etc. encourages them to keep stalling any way they can.

What is the most common mistake parents make with their babies?
The easiest mistake to make with babies, and I did this too with my first, is to rock or feed them to sleep. It may seem help in the short term, and parents of really fussy babies may understandably feel they have no choice,  but it leads to lots of night waking and short naps. This is because sleep comes in cycles - which is true for children and adults. We wake several times a night without even noticing because we know how to fall back to sleep on our own. When children are fed or rocked to sleep, they wake in the night and don't know how to fall back to sleep. So they cry for mom and dad several times a night, and may only nap for 20 to 45 minutes during the day. For babies to learn independent sleep skills they must be put down drowsy, but awake. Of course it's not always that simple, but watching very closely for those tired signs will go along way to help.

If you would like to speak to Michelle further regarding sleep, you can find her website at . Or email her at 

Lastly, if you would like us to post a segment on adult sleep, please comment. We would love to have Michelle back again.  

Sweet Dreams! 

Friday, 28 March 2014

On a Roll...

It was just one of those days...we built a fort, we learned some phonics, new words and math...I did some laundry, washed the front of the cupboards...then we made cookie letters to spell out our names. 
You know those days? They don't happen often.  That day when you are just "on " and everyone is with you. 

The boys took their tasks seriously. Bubblegum used his muscles for mixin ! 

We even utilized the flour on the counter; writing out letters with our fingers. 

Today I learned that Bubblegum knows how to spell his name. Those middle kids pick up so much sitting alongside...

Munch wanted to try his own worked!! He had me write it out for next time...
While Munch did this, Bubblegum and I made concoctions; baking soda and vinegar, cornstarch and water. I enjoyed it as much as he fact I played with that cornstarch here and there all afternoon. 

Now, I am spent. The boys went to bed well and I am heading there soon as well. 
Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

10 Things I Learned about Parenting Through Potty Training

1. You can be the boss and your kids will be okay with it. In fact, they probably really like it.  I watched one episode of Nanny 911 last month on Netflix and it was profound.  In this day and age, where generations are so disconnected, I can see why that show does so well. Those ladies got some wisdom. Anyway, the episode I watched brought us through the journey with a mom who was afraid to be the boss becoming a loving yet firm and boundary-setting mom.  It was beautiful to see how her children responded to her confidence in authority.  I wasn't as bad as her but me being a "peace at all costs" kind of girl, I could see areas in my parenting where I did not stand up and be the boss my boys needed me to be. I applied this to potty training.  I did not do it (potty training) sooner because I feared the fight.  However, when I confidently put my foot down and said, "This IS what we are doing.  There will be no more diapers and that is that.", Bubblegum complied with no fuss and almost seemed to gain a whole new respect for me. Huh. Cool.

2. When I am not distracted with everything else, I really enjoy my kids. Having three full days of nothing but focusing on playing with the kids was great. The house work was not priority, the meals lacked creativity but my kids and I were connected.  I thought, "We should just do this all the time." Then reality set in; there were people to contact, groceries to buy, toilets to clean (especially now that are three peeing boys in the house) and laundry to be done.  So no, I can't play all day...but I can be more intentional a couple of afternoons a week and really connect with these amazing children. 

3. I love Mini Eggs.  That isn't really about parenting but it's a good fact. I secretly cheered when we went to the potty, not just for the accomplishment of putting one in the pot but also for the celebration egg we all got afterward! 

4. Favouritism hurts.  I think Ryan and I are pretty good at sharing the love in this home. We believe God when he tells us not to and then gives great testimonies of the danger of showing favouritism.  These last few days, Bubblegum has been getting a lot of accolades, hugs and mommy-daddy time and Munch, who is ordinarily a well-behaved kid was really struggling.  The whining and fighting was more than I could bare.  Ryan brought to my attention the fact that he may be feeling slighted as he too, loves encouragement and hugs.  So, I cut down on my, "This isn't about you." lectures and settled for a little more love his way and it's been good ever since.  

5. Sometimes, what we are afraid of does not really exist.  I have learned this in way harder circumstances but it was a good and gentle reminder.  I have mentioned a few times my expectation of the last three days but now sitting on the other side, I realize it was all in my head.  I am glad we pushed through. 

6. Boys are fascinated with the workings of their bodies.  Not just their bodies but others too.  Each potty time, there are spectators watching keenly.  No one is shamed there. Not at all. 

7. It is good to study and really get to know your child.  If it wasn't for Ryan and I praying and asking God to show us who Bubbs was and then really watching him, I don't think we would have been as successful.  I look forward to continuing to discover who God has made this little man to be.  In this process, I have become acquainted with the funniest, most passionate and most conscientious little boy and I love him more than ever. 

8. Maybe it is okay to wait until they are three. I am almost ready to take back what I said about how you shouldn't wait so long to potty train.  It seems that his ability to reason and communicate have been very helpful to the process.  However, I really don't know so that leaves me to say....

9. There isn't just one right way to train up a is different for each child.  That seems like a lot of work when you have a few children but it only makes sense, really.  

10. I still have so much to learn. I mean, the kid is only three.  This was just peeing in a toilet. We still have homework, chores, dating, learning to drive, personal hygiene, jobs....
I am glad I have a relationship with The One who made my little men, who knows how many hairs are on their heads and what the greatest and worst things they will do are already. I am so glad I can trust this God and can communicate with Him because Jesus Christ made a way.  I am so glad he tells me not to worry about tomorrow but just to accept his mercy for this morning and he will make my path straight.  I can just take a breath and move forward.  So thankful. 

I share my potty training story not because I am so narcissistic that I think you need to hear about my kids' toilet habits.  All my posts are to encourage you moms...or dads who just need a laugh, a reminder or some encouragement in your parenting walk.  I understand I also have a few kidless readers too...I hope this encourages you to your future as a parent (or scares you into celibacy) and helps you to laugh at and understand the weirdness of your parent friends.  
I hope our three days of potty training have served one of those purposes for you. If it has, please feel free to comment. I would love to hear from you.  

Oh yah, I didn't update you on Day Three....totally dry all night and all day.  I don't even think I can take any credit.  It has been a breeze.  It is a miracle that our boy who claimed to love diapers and walking around in his pee and poo is now saying he loves underwear and going to the potty.  Victory in The Natural Mom house! We celebrate....with MINI EGGS! Nom, nom, nom!!! 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Easy Pee-zee! Day 2 Potty Training

Someone asked about the picture of the toilet in the last post....NOT MY TOILET!!! My sons would never go the bathroom if that was ours. 

He got to wear this great outfit all day!
Well, my surprise and delight, day two of potty training was easy and fun.  There were literally NO accidents....okay, I take that back. One time he peed all over himself instead of into the toilet but... moms of boys get that and "it happens".
I am trying not to brag but I am just amazed at his response.  You have to understand that just two days ago, he was stomping his feet and screaming, "You have to go to the store and BUY MORE DIAPERS!!!"  On day one he put up a bit of a fight but when I firmly said this IS what is happening, he totally backed down.  (I think I have been giving this kid to much credit in the stubborn department, he is actually waaaay more relaxed than I thought!)
For the morning, I had to coax him onto the toilet "just to see".  Sitting on a toilet for no apparent reason to this three year old seems ludicrous.  However, when he witnessed that pee come out for the first time, it was like "WHAT??!! That is what happens?? That is so cool!"  After that, he was able to tell me when he "thought" he had to go.  Sometimes, I think he and his brother were just trying to get a "one for trying" Mini Egg, but at least we were going.
Soon enough, it was happening and he was the proudest three year old on the block.  One thing to note was that in recent months we had been trying to figure out his love language.  There had been some major behavioral issues that seemed to be caused by a lack of attention.  We soon discovered that he is a Words of Affirmation kid.  He thrives on encouragement and positive conversation and tone.  We used this in building him up toward potty training, knowing also that he is a perfectionist.  We would encourage him that we are potty training because we know that he is a big boy and CAN do it.  With each little stride, we encouraged him.  It seems that he had the confidence and trust in us to "try" this potty training deal and after each accomplishment, he grew more and more excited.  We even caught him drumming and singing about getting Mini Eggs.
I do realize that we have yet to leave the house.  That in itself is another struggle.  Both Bubblegum and I get highly distracted by the big world around us so this could all go south as soon as we step out these doors.  Once again, I am going to remain prayerfully optimistic.
Another exciting thing was that Baby Goose (we changed his name from Goo to Goose, in case you wondered), peed in the toilet too.  He caught on to the whole treat thing and insisted on giving it a go.  So, we may be closer than we thought!
Stay tuned for tomorrow where I will share the 10 things Potty Training Taught Me about Parenting.
Have a great day! 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Getting on the Pot

It was a big day in our household today. We finally put our foot down and told Bubblegum that he could no longer wear diapers.  Of course, we prepped him for the big day; counting down the size 5s that were left from the last purchased box, shopping for a comfortable potty seat and picking out special treats.  I think he thought we were teasing because he seemed quite shocked when I handed him the little Lego tighties this morning
  You know though, it hasn't been as bad as I anticipated.  There was way less screaming and resisting than I imagined.  There was a lot more outfit changes and puddle cleaning BUT it was the greatest celebration when he surprised himself with a big BM in the toilet bowl (I promise, that is as detailed as I will get).  
Our home will continue to be filled with rounds of gum balls, Mini eggs and extra loads of laundry.  I promise to share the result of Day 2, as I hear that can be a total nightmare. Once again, I hope to be surprised. 
One lesson I can leave you with tonight though is this: don't wait until your child is three and a half to potty train.  I thought it was hard at two and a half with Munch but really is easier when they are younger.  There is less explaining, arguing , coaxing and debating.  The older they get, the more complex their thinking is and the more independent they are.  It is just that more complicated. As much as this isn't horrible, it really could have been easier.  That being said, as soon as we are done with Bubblegum, Little Goose will be next.  He is already excited (he tried to push Bubbs off the pot today so he could try!). 
Good times at The Natural Mom household! Catch ya later! 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Very quick post with stuff to do

Are you stir-crazy yet? It is c-c-cold and I am sure most of you are planning on cuddling up to watch movies and drink warm drinks. However, if your kids are like mine, the movies lose their luster half way through the first one.  Here are some fun ideas that are easy. Enjoy!


And don't forget, if you have extra mitts and toques in your house, drop them off at your local shelter.  Stay warm and help others stay warm! 


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Two Books that are Rocking My World

Some areas where I have really been seeking God are in parenting a defiant three year old and being a better wife.  Now I know you all assumed that I was some dream wife (ha ha) but I am not.  I have been married before and with that experience comes the wisdom that problems don't follow you twice…you bring them.  I guess I can say that I have been blessed in this situation because it shows the common denominator in relationship issues…MOI!  Tough cookie to swallow.  Most of my learning and growing has come from praying, reading the Bible (the greatest instruction book EVER!) and seeking wisdom from a couple of confidents.  These two books have really shook my perspective and I believe, by the grace of God, are setting me on a great path to becoming a more loving mom and wife.

As I have mentioned before, I love listening to Focus on the Family.  The author of this book, Nina Roesner, was featured in two segments and really spoke to my heart.  I have mentioned in past posts about the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs .  This book takes it deeper for the women's side of respecting her husband.  In this age of distorted feminism, I believe this book is timely.

Check out for more information.

Another great resource is not a book but a video series from Tim Kimmel's Grace Based Parenting.  There is a book, which I am positive I will purchase but I am really loving watching the videos of him teaching from his book.  His whole point is to have us come to a place where we love our kids like God loves us. I am not good at that!!!  I desire for my children to know God's love through my parenting and the way I love others.  This book is a good supplement to help us get there.  

Check out for more information.  

Any great books that you could suggest for women/moms?  Maybe your suggestion is another person's answer.  

Have a great day! 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Oatmeal Casserole

In attempts to keep the boys from asking for second and third helpings of cereal, I made this yummy oatmeal casserole.  In speaking to many moms, I understand that even when it's a hearty eggs and bacon breakfast, they still seem to be starving a half hour later.  However, I was looking for something more enjoyable for myself as well....and it worked. It was delicious! 

Funny thing, I followed a recipe that called for chocolate chips but used raisins instead, and the kids actually said they could taste chocolate. chocolate but tastes like chocolate (I think it was the buttery baked pecans). 

the recipe: 
2 cups of rolled oats 
1/3 cup brown sugar (I substituted with Organic Coconut Palm Sugar)
1 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 cup pecans or walnuts
1 cup berries (your choice)
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 Tlbs butter (melted)
1 tsp vanilla
1 banana, peeled and sliced 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 2 qt baking dish. 
In a large bowl mix together oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half of the nuts, half of the berries and half of the raisins. 

In another bowl mix milk, egg, butter and vanilla.  

Add oat mixture to baking dish.  Place the remaining nuts, berries and raisins on top of the mixture.  Place the banana slices on the mixture. 

Pour the milk mixture over top of the oat mixture and shake the dish so that the oats are all moistened. 

Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until the casserole is golden brown and the milk mixture has set.  


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Why I Chose to Homeschool

Maybe I have mentioned this before.  I am quite insecure in this homeschooling thing so have been hesitant to post anything about it. However, due to recent conversations with people who know me well, I figured there was some clearing up to do.
Now, really, I shouldn't care what people think of me but I do. Also, as a representative of Christ I always want people to know the truth on who I am and why I do what I do.  
That being said, let's just clear one thing up about my homeschooling decision.

I did not choose homeschooling because I hate traditional schools. 
 From what I have learned from my friends' experiences with school, it all depends on the administration of the school.  It seems it is very important to be involved and stay informed on who the principal is and what they are about. For one crazy example, there was a school in New York where the students shared that they watch movies almost the whole day and there was no gym or recess. When a parent was interviewed, they said they didn't even know who the principal was.  Okay, that was extreme but so crazy I had to share.
There are some good schools close to us and one I was very excited to enrol Munch in for kindergarten.  In spite of this, I felt God was calling me to homeschool.

I am not homeschooling because I am trying to keep my kids from the evil of this world. 
I am not trying to "shelter" my kids.  In our world, sheltering would require a move onto a self-sustaining acreage with no media and no personal contact. On another note, I would want a school that matched my values, not to keep my boys from "bad" kids. There are rotten kids in all kinds of schools. However, if that school is going to have authority over my kids I would want them to hold the same beliefs and values as us.  Again though, we have a perfectly great public school, that so also happens to hold Christian values, not too far from us.

I did not choose homeschooling because I think I can do a better job. Although I have witnessed students getting lost and let down by the current school system and have been educated of the homeschool vs. traditional debate, I also know I loved my school of 500, my husband liked his school of, like, 5000 or something crazy (and frankly terrifying sounding), and we turned out fine, many of our friends have and many smart, gifted and well-accomplished people have.  The school debate is as overwhelming and frustrating as the immunization debate with both great points on both sides.
 We all have our own convictions and mine was to homeschool.
 I have teacher friends; they have a gift. I do not possess such gift.  I am sure I will not be as creative as Miss Grade Four Teacher and maybe I won't find a way to teach my boys to looooove math like Mr. Garinger (who didn't actually teach me to love it, just to appreciate it and the people who are crazy enough to looooove it).
The point is that if God called me to it, He will do it and help me in it.  Anyone who knows any story from the Old Testament knows that God called people to some pretty impossible stuff but they accomplished it, and not just accomplished it but accomplished it well (David and Goliath anyone? Moses parting the sea?).  So if teaching three wild boys reading writing and 'rithmatic is my Red Sea then get me my staff (the stick kind of staff, in case there was some confusion).

In my time as a newbie homeschooler, I have learned some great things that have supported my current decision; some statistics, some testimonies and some simple positives like being able to take a holiday whenever we wanted and staying in on wintery days.   Even as I have come to love the idea and blessing of homeschooling, the main reason for my doing so remains.
 I felt God called me to it. 
 Many wise homeschooling friends said, "Take it year by year."  For Munch's Kindergarten year, I was confident The Lord told me to keep him home.  For this following year, I am listening.  I will continue to seek The One who loves us and knows how many are our days.  Whatever He tells me to do, I will do.  Regardless of what He calls me to and my supporting reasons why, I will do it.
I will do it because I was called to it. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A Peek into our Craziness

We were so happy to hear that the boys behaved so well for their grandparents while we were in New York. Yet, at the same time, I couldn't get why they couldn't behave that well when they were with us. Many theories...but all in all we say it's better they are at their best with others. 
I missed these hour from our return to Calgary. (You can gufah all you want but I needed a break and loved every minute of it.) Once I could feel the Alberta air shrivelling up my skin again, I longed to hold these minchies! 

Is anyone else concerned that we are creating little narcissists with our iPhone craziness? Baby G loves getting his picture taken then checking it out and Munch is all about the selfie. 
He hasn't landed "the pose" yet though. 

Around Christmas I was growing weary of my relationship with Facebook; not the people on it but my self-focus because of it. I had a big post planned explaining why I was "stepping back" from FB but then someone beat me to it. Then I heard on a news show in New York that droves of teens and twenty-somes are leaving Facebook. Apparently, my feelings were not at all unique. 
Then I decided to post one picture of our first night in New York and bang, I was hooked again. What can I say? I liked the attention. (It really does annoy me that I think of life events in terms of a Facebook status.)

When all is out of control and yucky...make a fort. It always works. This is how I got them to sit and do bookwork this morning. Then it was where they took quiet time, snack time and...I stopped it at bedtime. 

My dear husband had come to the end of "sharing me" with the world this week. (As an extrovert, I need to learn to calm down and focus on my family more often.) We really enjoyed a dinner, just us two, at Maze by Gordon Ramsay and a delightfully long stroll down Fifth and Madison Avenues back to our hotel.  We won't wait so long for a date night again! 

This one little guy does everything this other little but bigger guy does. Unfortunately, it all started when the three year old was at his peak of badness. Now he has come out as the sweetest, most sensitive and yielding little man. However, he has left behind a spitting, screaming, pinching and hair pulling toddler. I repeat over and over throughout the day, "this too shall pass..." It's a good thing he's got cute chubby cheeks and an infectious laugh (even if it is because he's pulling your hair). 

Have a great week! 

Friday, 3 January 2014

A Sick New Years...and not the cool sick

We were so excited to spend New Years Eve with a great group of friends but as the hours approached, it was becoming less and less likely. By noon that day, with 4 fevers out of 5, we made the decision to stay home. Did I mope? Nope. In between fevery hot flashes and body aches, the boys and I gathered together leftover decorations and put our own party together. Enjoy a few snapshots of The Sickest New Year Party 2013! 

Yes, that's a coffee filter. 
Sparkling water for all! Baby Goose didn't think it felt nice on his tongue. 

A couple games, some salty chips and in bed by 7. 
"There's two mommies. There and there," says Munch. What a card! 
Ryan and I sat our achy bodies down with a glass of wine and enjoyed a movie...and in bed by 10...
...only to have this little guy and his baby brother keep us up for the next 2 hours with coughing and crying. At least we got to ring in the New Year! 

Even if it wasn't what we planned and even if we missed seeing our friends, I know we will look back at this New Years as one of the most memorable. A good night overall...despite the flu.