2010/12/23

Like Mary

Flight into Egypt by Carl Spitzweg

In the days leading up to Christmas we have been dipping into gospel passages during the dinner hour, following our devotional, En Route.

Reading Joseph and Mary's story had got me thinking lately, about how thoroughly their lives were turned upside down. And yet they never wavered. They just believed. They continued on, not complaining. Not disappointed that their lives were not going to turn out the way they thought they would.

I want to be that way. I want to accept. Believe. Continue on without complaining or crying. No matter where he leads us, no matter how rough the road gets.

I want to be like Mary. I want to humbly say with her, “I am the Lord’s servant."

And at the end of that road, may I sing a song as beautiful as Mary's Magnificat.

Back to...Normal...

Ugh. The flu. Who needs it? Apparently a number of family members took home the bug from a gathering we had on Saturday. I spent Monday in the bathroom and bed! Thankfully Daddy is home for the holidays, so he spent the day with the boys, and made pancakes for dinner, of course! Pajamas all day and pancakes for dinner? C-note was on cloud nine, I think.

It seemed that I was the only one in our house who would be suffering from this vile virus this year, which was fine by me! I wasn't going to make it to our church's Christmas program on Tuesday, since I was exhausted and still queasy from the day before, so Stu in C-note went by themselves. I got a phone call at 8:30 that evening and at first all I could hear was a wailing boy -of course immediately I imagined the worst- but them Stu's voice came in and asked me to get a bath ready for that little boy. Poor C-note didn't last the whole concert and ended up throwing up all over Daddy's shoulder! They made it out of the auditorium just in time, but what a state they were in when they got home...hair, clothes, coats, shoes, all needed washing. I hope the caretakers of the church will let us come back...

We've been enjoying some family time since Stu has finished his school year. Last week we went on a couple of family excursions. Going out as a family is always much more exciting, even doing groceries is fun! I hope to post pictures soon of our trip to the Hamilton Children's Museum and the Warplane Heritage Museum, as well as photos from our family gathering ((s) if I get some pictures from my sister...*ahem* hint, hint! ;))

Tonight I'm roasting a chicken for dinner! It will be a nice change from macaroni, frozen pizza and sandwiches. Wanna come over? Just don't look at the mess, k? ;)

2010/12/09

Nine Months

Our little redhead is now nine months old! One of his favorite activities is throwing things on the floor from his highchair and then gazing down innocently at the object, saying "Uh oh." I'm trying to get him to figure out how to drink from a cup, rather than blow bubbles into it. He shakes his head "no" if he dosen't want something...not sure where that came from. And like the rest of the family he loves books, especially lift the flap books. It's cute to watch him open flaps with his stubby little finger, squeal in delight at the picture underneath, and then carefully close it again. No other teeth have made their appearance, he still just has two little guys on the bottom.

Bouquet of Sunshine


C-note was quite taken with the beautiful daisies I recieved from a friend! Thanks, Jenn, for relieving a little of my cabin-fever-sick-of-sickness-grey-day blues!

2010/12/02

Four Loads of Laundry and a Box of Tissues

There is very little to love about taking care of sick little ones. The exhaustion, loss of patience, the feeling that nothing is getting done, and did I mention exhaustion?
The little there is to love, though, is heartwarming, and sometimes funny.

Brotherly love: C-note sitting on my footstool singing "ABCs" and "Jesus Loves Me" over and over while I am rocking his moaning, fevered brother. The moaning would cease during C-note's serenades!

Tissue box discovery: "Can I have a Kleenex? I have a snot!" "Mommy is busy, but do you see that box over there? You pull a Kleenex up from out of the box and wipe your nose with it, ok?" He gets a tissue. "OH! Look! It comes out again!"
Ah, the wonders of childhood!

Nighttime woes: "I can't sleep, I have too many coff-ehz in my mouth!"

Probably the best feeling during illness is the feeling of being needed. Especially when a wimpering baby clings to you when you try to put him down. A normally non-cuddly baby quietly resting on your chest as you soothe him to sleep...

Oh, the laundry? Yeah, I got loads of it on my couch, but at least it's clean. There's not much room for sitting. I guess I had better fold it. Maybe tomorrow. Right now I need to sleep...

2010/11/29

Music Monday - Great Are You


A song from my favorite band, Downhere.

Stop Using Plastic Bags!

The plastic bag is an accepted part of Canada’s shopping culture, but it shouldn’t be. Every year we use over 9 billion plastic shopping bags in Canada. That’s 17,000 bags a minute.

Here are 10 things you need to know about plastic bags:

  1. Canadians use 9-15 billion plastic shopping bags every year.
    Is that number too big to think about? Then picture this: if we tied 9 billion bags together they would circle the earth 55 times.
  2. Plastic bags are made from non-renewable resources
    Just 8.7 plastic shopping bags contain enough embodied petroleum energy to drive a car 1 km.
  3. Five minutes versus 1000 years
    The average plastic bag is used for five minutes to carry your purchases home, yet these single use plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to break down.
  4. Plastic bag recycling is inefficient
    The market price for recycled bags in Canada is $55 per tonne which is about 150,000 bags. The energy and funds required to collect and process plastic bags far exceeds the $55 market price after recycling. Recycling plastic bags just isn't worth it.
  5. Plastic bags kill birds, wildlife, and livestock
    Plastic bags are known to kill sea birds, sea mammals and fish. Turtles, dolphins, and whales can choke or starve by confusing plastic bags for jellyfish. On land, plastic bags kill birds, livestock, and deer.
  6. Plastic bags block drains, leading to flooding
    Plastic shopping bags have been banned in Mumbai, India, and in Bangladesh after they were blamed for clogging drains and sewers, leading to severe floods that killed over 1000 people in 2005.
  7. Every piece of plastic ever made still exists
    There are approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in each square mile of the world’s oceans. In some places there's more plastic than plankton. Plastic bags are in the top 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups.
  8. Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade
    Photodegradation is a chemical reaction between plastic and sunlight. It means that the plastic bags break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest them. Yuck!
  9. Canadian plastic bags have been found as far away as Scotland
    Because plastic bags are easily transported by wind and water they can travel great distances. Plastic bags are now common everywhere from Spitsbergen (78° North latitude) to the Falkland Islands (51° South latitude).
  10. Not all litter is deliberate
    Up to 47% of wind borne litter escaping from landfills is plastic, mainly plastic bags. These end up in our forests, grasslands, waterways, and oceans. Approximately 80% of marine trash is swept by wind and rain off highways, streets, and landfills, down streams and rivers, and out to sea.
  11. Reusable bags are the solution
    A sturdy, reusable bag will last for years, and only needs to be used 5 times to have a lower environmental impact. Buy a bag today! from http://www.greenerfootprints.com
A Greener Way

And on that note, I have recently discovered a company called A Greener Way. It's a Canadian business owned by a stay at home Mom trying to help households reduce waste and provide products that can be used and reused. Each of their reusable snack, lunch, and deli wrap bags have the potential to take the place of hundreds if not more than a 1,000 plastic bags in its lifetime. Not only does this save all of these plastic bags from the landfill you will start saving money too. It is estimated that a family of four could save as much as $3000 a year by avoiding disposable and single serving packaging!

Right now, A Greener Way is offering a 30% off discount with a coupon code in honour of Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Use coupon code AGW30 until midnight November 29, 2010.

Click here to shop online at A Greener Way!

2010/11/25

Green Friday

Black Friday is the biggest holiday shopping day of the year. Many retailers offer deep discounts in an effort to entice consumers to buy products which are often poorly made, disposable or otherwise not very eco-friendly. This year we encourage you to shop sustainably by joining us for Green Friday; an eco-alternative!

Lunapads.com, Reuseit.com, Bamboobino, Natural Pod, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Peacekeeper and Rockin' Green have all partnered up to offer 20% off orders placed online using discount code GREENFRIDAY. Use this discount code on any of the participating websites and save 20%!

Avoid the Black Friday fever, skip the mall, save your gas money and shop online with these fabulous retailers. We love their products and think you will too. Give your friends and family something that will stay out of the landfill this year!

OFFER ENDS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26TH AT MIDNIGHT PST.

From http://www.motherofadeal.com

Budding Artist

"Self Portrait," September 2010
"Ball Boy," November 2010

2010/11/22

Music Monday - Be Unto Your Name


A song from Brian Doerksen's "Holy God." The album concludes with a song called "Your Love Will Find Me" which is a rendition of Psalm 139. It's another favorite of mine from this album, and you can click on the title to hear it on youtube. Enjoy!

2010/11/16

2010/11/09

Our Family

We finally have a family photo, thanks to Mrs. Bob. Thanks! :)

Eight Months

A-team is now two thirds of a year old. He has two teeth on his bottom jaw, and drools more than ever. Although not officially crawling on hands and knees, he is still very mobile, getting around by pulling with his arms and pushing with his legs. He'll go from sitting position to crawling position, but not the other way around.
He dosen't like baby cereal, or my purees, but prefers big people food. He will eat blueberries, bits of cheese, sweet potato, cheerios, and bread, etc. He's a pretty content child, and usually can occupy himself with a few toys for quite a while. He loves to watch his big brother's silly antics, screeching with laughter!
He loves to play peekaboo, pulling a blanket or curtain over his face and yanking it back, saying "Aboo!" and giggling.

2010/11/08

Music Monday - The Servant Song

I was taught this song in grade school, and it recently came to mind after a conversation with a friend. I expressed to her that I always feel guilty after sharing my burdens, I think because I don't like to talk about myself. But she comforted me by saying that she was happy that I felt comfortable enough to share them with her. Thank you, dear friend, for holding your hand out to me.

Brother, let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant, too

We are pilgrims on a journey
We are brothers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load

I will hold the Christlight for you
In the night-time of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you
Speak the peace you long to hear

I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh I'll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through

When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony

Brother, let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.

2010/11/06

Two Stinkers

Oh sure, they look all cute and innocent...
...but they like to take Mommy's paper
...play with the furniture...(and get stuck in it, hence the helpless expression)
...and eat all the ice cream...
"ICE CREAM?? WHAT ICE CREAM?" *drip*
"Just you wait 'til I get outta here!"
Interrupting Daddy's important homework.

2010/11/04

Hope

Romans 5 verse 1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

I am currently reading Romans for my personal devotion. It is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It's so rich and full of assurance for us!

This text is so beautiful. Our hope, the hope of the glory of God, gives us the confidence that the purpose for which he created us will someday be realized. The glory that man had before the fall will again be attained through Christ. This blessed assurance of our future destiny is based on God's love, which is revealed to us through the Holy Spirit and demonstrated to us in the death of Christ.

Not only that, but we are reminded that the trials we face are not meaningless. Part of God's purpose is to produce character in his children. He lovingly refines, shapes and moulds us into the people he intends us to be. We can rejoice in our sufferings (not because of, but in) because we know it matures us, and makes us more complete, drawing us closer to him in the process. Suffering and grieving are not easy, but in our deepest valleys of hurt and pain, this blessed assurance gives us strength to endure.

2010/11/03

Play

Learning to share
Tackle time
The last chestnut harvest
Super soft eco dough!
Building towers
Construction site

2010/11/01

Music Monday - Beautiful Things



I came across this song through (in)courage.

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make me new, You are making me new

2010/10/21

Free Diaper Deal


Baby Bellhop is an on-line store specializing in cloth diapers and cloth diaper accessories. Based in Victoria, BC., they support Canadian families with their cloth diapering needs. Modern cloth is hip, fun and easy! They carry a wide range of cloth diapers in super cute patterns and colors, including all-in-ones, pocket diapers, one-size diapers, fitteds, prefolds and cloth diaper covers.

Baby Bellhop has a really great offer to celebrate their launch. When you spend $25 at their online store, they will include a FREE one-size diaper in your order. What a great deal! Maybe you're new to cloth diapering, or there's a diaper you've had your eye on but haven't tried yet. Either way, this is too good to pass up! Check out the details here: http://www.babybellhop.com/FreeDiaperDeal.html
This Canadian only offer expires November 20.

If you're new to cloth diapering, or feeling overwhelmed about where to start, the website offers plenty of information as well. The cloth diapering world is pretty overwhelming to a newcomer. Baby Bellhop is committed to support you as you navigate your way through it. Check out the Why Cloth? section as well as the Cloth 101 guide for all kinds of information. If you live in the Victoria area, you can attend one of their FREE cloth diapering workshops. You may also to call them or drop them an e-mail anytime with questions or concerns you may have.

2010/10/20

Our Vacation

And now, the moment you all have been waiting for...
If you're still there...
We went away for a few days at the end of September to Sherkston Shores (hooray for off-season rates!) It was really windy on Friday and Saturday, which made the waves on the beach pretty high. C-note didn't seem to mind the wind this time, since he loved playing in the sand so much. Coat on, hood up, and bare feet was the norm for him all weekend. All he wanted to do was play on that beach...which was conveniently close to our trailer. We watched beautiful sunsets from our deck. The boardwalk staircase was a few steps from our place. It couldn't be more perfect! We didn't get to swim because it wasn't quite warm enough, but I don't think any of us minded too much. As we were packing up on Monday morning, I was missing the place already. I didn't want to leave! As we climbed the stairs after a last goodbye to the shore, the rain, which had held off all weekend despite the "predictions," started to fall. We sure felt blessed to have good weather in such an unpredictable season! We had a pretty quiet ride home. It must have been all that fresh air.
Thanks for letting me borrow your camera, Mom! I was pretty upset I had forgotten mine. I wouldn't have all these lovely photos otherwise! We loved "vacationing" with you and Dad too...let's do it again next year! :)

2010/10/12

Seven Months

Just as I was about to post this, I noticed a little tooth poking through on his bottom jaw. I will miss the gummy smiles! He touches things with his index finger and he's working on the pincer grasp. He rocks back and forth on his arms and knees, but still gets around by squirming, mostly backwards or in circles. This photo was taken the last weekend in September when we took our vacation. I'll post that next!

2010/10/05

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are often mislabeled as "Yams." You won't often find real yams here in North America. See the differences here. If it's smooth with a creamy orange colour and can fit in your hand, it's a sweet potato!

What you need


Two large sweet potatoes
1 onion
thyme
salt
olive oil

What to do

Peel and cube potatoes and onions. Put into a 9x13 baking dish. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with thyme (or your herb of choice) and salt. Toss to coat evenly. Roast in a 400 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. You want some good carmelization as it really brings out the flavour.
At this point you can serve as is, but sometimes I dump them into a bowl, add a scoop of butter and mash with a potato masher.

2010/10/04

Music Monday - Share the Well

It is Sunday morning in Lucknow, India. Two young sisters huddle near a well, each clutching an empty clay cup. There on the dusty ground they wait, thirsty, as morning gives way to the heat of late afternoon. Throughout the day, hundreds approach the well to fill their pots as the two children watch, holding their cups. Soon it becomes dark and still they are waiting…waiting for someone to share the well.

Folk-rock group Caedmon's Call has always had a heart for corners of the world such as this. Throughout their incredible twelve-year history, they've focused much of their ministry toward global causes, working to benefit such aid-giving organizations as Compassion International and India's Peace Gospel Ministries since the mid-nineties. In years past, band members have traveled to Bolivia, Ecuador, and Haiti, where they witnessed faith behind the eyes of poverty-stricken people and were changed.

Today, the group has followed this calling beyond their musical borders too, creating Share the Well, a culturally-influenced album they began while traveling to India, Ecuador, and Brazil in spring 2004.

In early 2003, lead vocalist Cliff Young met leaders from Dalit Freedom Network, a ministry to the severely demoralized Indian population called Dalits (meaning "oppressed"). Through their conversation, he discovered staggering facts about the Dalit people that he shared with the rest of the band. Victims of the caste system, Dalits are deemed the lowest class in India, referred to as the "untouchables," by their lack of worthiness. Stripped of their most basic human rights, they are forced into extreme poverty, treated as animals---tortured, beaten, and removed of their dignity, with no real hope of ever rising beyond their circumstances. Staggeringly, the 250 million Dalits in India exceeds the entire US population.

Soon after that meeting, Caedmon's Call began planning for a recording that infuses multi-cultural sounds and stories. With the help of Compassion and Dalit Freedom Network, they scheduled trips to meet the Dalits and others whose plights inspired them. The band also decided to title their project Share the Well when they learned that Dalits (many whom they met while traveling through rural India,) are not permitted to drink from wells unless an upper caste person draws the water for them. Many Dalits wait all day and are never given a drink. For the band, this reality came as a metaphor to those thirsting for hope and a savior. The title track's lyrics echo the group's resulting vision for the album:

Share the well, share with your brother
Share the well my friend
It takes a deeper well to love one another
Share the well my friend.

While journeying to some of the most deprived parts of India, Ecuador and Brazil, Caedmon's Call awoke to even more harsh realities. They encountered people living next to vast sewage dumps. They performed songs and puppet shows for village children, most who lived in huts with dirt floors. They met eager musicians who traveled for as long as three days in trains, standing up the entire trip, to come play for the band.

"We recorded their music every place from a remote village in the middle of India to a room above a restaurant in Ecuador," remembers drummer Todd Bragg. "We would hear musicians that came to play their songs for us and in the process we would hear their stories."

Share the Well came from the band's personal desire to impact other cultures, but spreading awareness to their audience is another goal. A nationwide fall tour reunites the band with musicians from India, Brazil, and Ecuador, who will climb aboard tour buses along with the band. Fans will not only enjoy an unprecedented concert of ethnically-rich music, they'll hear personal accounts of life in a third-world country. And hopefully, they'll be inspired to get involved.

I have favorite artists, and favorite songs, but this is by far my favorite album. The songs make me laugh, weep, they make me want to dance, sing, worship. This is a definite recommend for anyone, as the variety of sounds and honest messages will appeal to most tastes. Listen to samples of the album here. Volcanoland, Wings of the Morning, and the title track can also be found on YouTube. But go buy the album, you won't be disappointed! :)

The track that always moves me most on the album is "All I Need," a simple folk song about the strong faith of a poor Ecuadorian woman. She feels the presence and peace of God despite her circumstances.

Tiny plot of land
Corn stored up in piles
Years it doesn't rain
They just stay hungry for a while
No fatted calf to kill
She made a feast of cuy and corn
She said, "Who else knew my name
Before the day that I was born?
Jesus is all I need
Jesus is all I need."

2010/10/02

Bronte Creek

This Labour Day we went to Bronte Creek Provincial Park. We had a free pass that expired on that day, so we couldn't let it slip by! C-note was very excited about having a picnic. I don't think he's experienced one yet. Except for a truck picnic, but that doesn't really compare to sitting on a blanket out in the open air! Even the usual fare is much more tasty outside.They have a hobby type farm on the property with different kinds of animals in various small barns. We saw a few rabbits, peacocks, goats and cows. And a very large hog. It's too bad it was so late in the season, otherwise we would have seen the some babies, I think!

There were plenty of trails for hiking and strolling. We got some good exercise that day. Wonderful views to take in, too.

The drive home...

Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Ingredients

1 tbsp oil
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 litre chicken stock
2 cups shredded old cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

Directions

Heat oil in soup pot and sautee onions until translucent. Add potato and continue cook for an additional minute. Add cauliflower and chicken stock, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are very tender. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add some milk until it's your preferred consistency.
Serve with crusty bread.

Chocolate Truffle Tart

Ingredients

Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup cold butter
1/3 cup 35% whipping cream

Filling:
1 2/3 cups 35% whipping cream
2 eggs
8 ounces (250 grams) dark chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vanilla

Method
  • Crust: Mix dry ingredients together and cut butter into mixture until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in whipping cream until dough clumps together. Transfer to a 10-inch tart pan and press the dough evenly on the bottom and up the sides. Prick all over with a fork; refrigerate for 15 minutes or until chilled.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake tart shell for about 25 minutes or until firm. Let cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make filling. In a saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium heat just until steaming; remove from heat. In a heatproof bowl, whisk eggs to blend. Gradually whisk in about half the cream in a thin stream; whisk egg mixture back into pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes (do not boil.) Remove from heat; stir in chocolate and vanilla until smooth. Pour into tart shell. Chill until set, about 2 hours.
  • Variations: Chocolate Cinnamon: Add 3/4 tsp cinnamon to the cream on the stove. For the Adventurous: Add 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder or 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper with cinnamon.

2010/10/01

Saying Goodbye



Have you ever had to say goodbye to someone, not knowing if you'll ever see them again? On Tuesday after a quick goodbye lunch, we had to do this. It happened so quickly there was no time for tears. Stu and I sat there, kind of stunned, I think, afterwards. I wondered why the bard said "Parting is such sweet sorrow." Why sweet?

Maybe because the times we did have were good. Perhaps because it isn't really final.

Goodbye, dear friends. And thanks for listening to my struggles when I needed someone to talk to, A.
Here's one for the guys! ;)

2010/09/22

August Photo Roundup

"But September's almost over!" you say. Yeah, I've been slacking. So here are some photos I always meant to post, but never got a round tuit. They're hard to come by lately. Now that I've found one, I can post these and get on with things.
C-note tolerating some digging fingers for about 60 seconds.
Bathtime fun!
Protective big brother.
Waiting for a friend.
A "callapidder."