Friday, May 29, 2009

Caution: Gardening with Kids!

Kids should come with a warning label.
Such as - warning - we will say all sorts  of interesting things at all sorts of times. Loud enough for the neighbors to hear. In church. During prayer time. We will also repeat all sorts of things out of context. 
Since they don't come with the label attached, I've decided to try to remain... flexible.

Wednesday was a glorious sunshiney morning around here. The birds were singing. The breeze was just a breeze and not a prairie gale-force wind. All was well with the world. Insert song: Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World.

A kind friend had borrowed me her tiller and the girls and I had all sorts of fun prepping the garden for our veggies. 

And then, as I am yanking a few large weeds from the garden bed and tossing them aside I hear THIS from across the back yard...

Little M says (with a great amount of concern AND authority)...
Mommy. Your b.u.m. is bigger than the tiller!!

Stop the music. Stop the birds.
Such is gardening with kids!
I swear they're gonna give me a complex yet!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vacation Daze!

How can be it that it has already been well past a year since we spent 2 sun-drenched months in Florida!? The kids were so little (the sleep so scarce :(...) but we had so. much. fun. I flipped through my pictures (hundreds of 'em! - thank goodness for digital cameras!!!) and marveled at how memories grow even sweeter with time.

What were some highlights...
 - the glorious sunshine! Especially for us snow babies, not having to dress in layers just to walk in the garage to the family van was worth its weight in gold!!
 - the beaches. I am not much of a beach fanatic, but something about the ocean, the sunshine and warm sand equals = t.h.e.r.a.p.y. Ahhhh!
 - walking through the orange groves with the girls.
 - spending time with family.

Some of our greatest moments were at the Disney parks! We had a blast! I will never forget...

 - Cruising up to the Magic Kingdom on the monorail and watching Little M's eyes light up, or the squeals from our nieces who had come to visit, or the giddy way our parents lived out their childhood dreams.
 - Getting to know each other while waiting in lines. Oh, I know, waiting can be a challenge (I will rant about waiting in life another day!!), but really we had some hilarious moments just ... waiting.

 - The "let's do that a-GAIN!" after a fun attraction. What were some of our favs? ...
... Magic Kingdom - Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Peter Pan (of course!)
... EPCOT Centre - browsing through the exhibits, The Land, The Seas and Soarin' !
... Hollywood Studios - Rockin' Aerosmith, Hollywood Tower of Terror (sounds freaky doesn't it!) and of course, their great shows! 
... Animal Kingdom - A Bug's Life, Safari Expedition, Mt. Everest
 - J would say one of the funny parts of the day was actually the tram drivers that drove you around the parking lot! Not sure if it was because it was the end of a long day or what, but they were hilarious!!! Maybe we were just giddy after spending the day on our feet, out in the sunshine!

We've been to Florida three times in the last ten years, and we've often pre=booked our tickets. If you're interested in this you might wanna check out the best deals in Florida at discount Disney tickets. When you buy your tickets in advance, you often save quite a bit of cash AND you save time and hassles by avoiding long line-ups at the gates. 

We laughed and laughed and laughed. I would do it again in a heart beat (and once the children are a little bit older!!!!).

Sponsored by

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A new home for Katie...

Well, Katie found herself a new home this weekend. I've decided to invite her to greet our guests as they find themselves at our front door. 

I'm lovin' the tulips that have surprised me this spring (late is better than never!) since I couldn't remember what or where I'd planted last fall!!

The gardens are still looking very sparse, but temporarily weed-less (not weed-free, only less of them!!), so Katie is a welcome addition to our humble little plot :).

To paint or not to paint....

Awhile back, J and I were driving through the Manitoban prairies, talking about our plans for the summer. He suggested a long vacation away :). I suggested a short vacation away (without the babes!) to celebrate our 10-year anniversary AND that we use up the gallons and gallons of paint that are presently sitting in our basement!! I think my nomination won the vote (although the jury is still out on when and where exactly we will be headed!!) - but as I get closer to the re-paint-the-entire-house-project, I think of all the prep work that will be involved.

One thing I did check into was whether or not I should be concerned about asbestos as I work around the house. Not only for my sake, but also for the wee ones that live under our roof. As far as I can tell, we don't have any of the products that could be a potential issue...
  • Disturbing loose-fill vermiculite insulation which may contain asbestos
  • Removing deteriorating roofing shingles and siding containing asbestos, or tampering with roofing felt that contains asbestos
  • Ripping away old asbestos insulation from around a hot water tank
  • Sanding or scraping vinyl asbestos floor tiles
  • Breaking apart acoustical ceilings tiles containing asbestos
  • Sanding plaster containing asbestos, or sanding or disturbing acoustical plaster that gives ceilings and walls a soft, textured look
  • Sanding or scraping older water-based asbestos coatings such as roofing compounds, spackling, sealants, paint, putty, caulking or drywall
  • Sawing, drilling or smoothing rough edges of new or old asbestos materials
However, as I began to read - home-owners are not the only ones who are at risk for damage caused by this natural mineral. If you - or someone you love :) - works at (or even lives near!) a refinery, shipyard, mill, mine, farm, or construction site, for example, they may be at a great risk for developing either Mesothelioma (an extremely serious form of cancer) or Asbestosis (a chronic lung disease). Doctors are even recognizing these conditions from second-hand exposure (ie. a spouse laundering the clothes of someone who has been working in these conditions). If they are concerned about exposure, (or are struggling with present health conditions) encourage them to seek out further information (eg. Mesothelioma Lawyer). If you find yourself doing home renovations, contact nearby health departments to see if they can assess the risk of asbestos exposure. The problem area can usually be easily contained (or safely removed if need be). And better be safe than sorry, right!?

As the painting "fun" around here begins, I'll be sure to post pre and post pictures! Wish me luck :).

PS - anyone know how to remove tacky border paper as easily as possible!?


Monday, May 25, 2009

My life as a bathroom!!

Not sure if this is a compliment ... or not :P....

Overall, you are a healthy person. You enjoy taking care of yourself.
You are also quite attractive. Looking your best makes you feel your best.

You are conscientious and detailed oriented. You stay on top of things.
You are very honest and open. Privacy is not something you need a lot of.

Hmmm. I do enjoy a good soak in the tub (though haven't created much time for that lately -- shame!). I am a retreater, for sure, requiring solitude in order to gather my wits about me and tackle the day with intentionality. I do like to climb out of my jammies and lounge clothes every day, though I wouldn't consider myself a high-maintenance gal :). Though I'm not sure I would introduce myself as a "bathroom" to a stranger, I think it is far more accurate than "kitchen" :P!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Too good to be true!

I'm thrifty (a.k.a. cheapy skape :)!!). And for the last 5? years, I've been composting using large plastic garbage cans with holes drilled into them. It's functional - but not near as much fun as firing up the new composter I just got for my yard!!

I will post a pic once we've got it up and running. But I can't wait to continue to do good things for the environment, eliminate garbage AND create the best fertilizer for the garden :).

It's the little things in life, really :).....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Super quick, Super easy!

Um ... if you're like
moi ... then there are ... times (more than you'd care to admit!) ... that those must-bake-for-this-event moments sneak up on you. 

Not that I've ever forgotten to bring goodies when promised (sigh).
Or that I've ever accidentally brought a half EATEN casserole to a church potluck (don't even ask, I'm still mortified!!).
Or that I find myself getting ready to go somewhere and realize - with about an hour to spare - that I promised to bring food (which would not include a bag of microwaved popcorn!!).

So I think it's time to take action! 

I'm thinking of stocking up on these handy dandy items from 
Just think. Add water or milk. Shake shake shake. Pour. Voila. Picture pretty cupcakes without a single dish :). Well, except your muffin tins, but if you use lovely liners, even that is a snap!!

FYI - I also checked out their website. Not that I'm a super-freak about all things health related (although maybe I should be!!), but I like to know about things like sodium, carbs, fats, trans fats, etc. And guess what - the numbers are surprisingly low across the board! 

Sooo, next time I run into a snag (which, knowing me, won't be a long wait!!), I'm thinking of giving these a test run! 

Now I just have to make sure I give myself enough time to preheat the oven :)....


Picturesque pinwheels!

Ohhh. In this grey and dreary land of Manitoba, we are desperate for the splash of springtime color that is usually in full swing by now!

Last Thursday I enjoyed a glorious day of out-and-about-ness all by my self! I could get used to that :). Of course, I couldn't resist snaggin' some goodies for my wee ones. Especially from Dollarama :).

I picked up a couple of pretty pinwheels for the youngsters to add to our garden. When I'd left the house in the morning, all my beautiful tulips had been bitten by Mr. Frost and weren't lookin' too great. What little color had sprouted seemed like it would die off in an instant! So, I thought Little M and Sweet K could each plant a pinwheel and we'd make the most of it until June and sunshine rolled around!

So, this was our contribution of color to the neighborhood.
Until today. When Little M decided to play "kick the pinwheel" and the little twirly thing went flying off. Sigh. A mother does what she can :).

However, on a positive note :P, my tulips have bounced back beautifully, and cheer us every day with their sunny little faces!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Hosts with Hospitality!!

Sheesh, these days if you don't have a cell phone and a blog and a page on facebook AND your own personal website - you may not have jumped into the technological revolution with both feet!

If you - or someone you love :) - is looking into setting up a webpage for personal and/or business purposes, you may wanna send them on over to  multiple domain web hosting. Here, with just a few clicks you can get reviews, monthly costs, features and lots of support regarding the set up of your own page. 

Out of a bazillion help topics, they cover things like:

Webpage creation information in one handy, dandy place :). Like a shopping mall - for webpages. 
Quick, simple, easy to use!
Now that's hospitality!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

As a mother, I hope to…

Last Sunday, in honor of Mother's Day, I was asked to share a little bit about the mother I hope to be. 

Man, that's a daunting task!! It's worse than creating a list of all your new years resolutions you've ever made EVER - because let's face it. There's potential here to miss the mark by a country mile!!

While there was much more to my sharing than this, here goes the TOP TEN finale!!

10. Maintain my sanity! Especially when lack of sleep is an issue, it doesn’t take too many children’s books before you are not only SPEAKING but THINKING in rhyme. Thank you great master, Dr. Seuss!!

 9. Recognize my limits. We’ve all got’em, but most of the time we live like we don’t. Consequently I get grumpy and snarly and not at all pretty. Inspired by the country music legend Kenny Rogers, you gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.

by the way, I was not aware that KR had an "essential" collection. I guess there are truly a few "essentials" I can live without!!!

 8. Laugh hysterically every chance I get. I am a huge fan of the Far Side, and if you are not aware of Gary Larson’s fabulous comics, you may have missed a few chuckles.

 7. Stay active with my kids. Sheesh – with all the work involved with taking kids out of the house, it’s surprisingly easy to become a hermit!! First you have to find the toques, mitts, scarves and other assorted outdoor gear. Then you actually have to DRESS everyone. And then - juuuust as you are about to step out the door - someone whispers --- I gotta go PEE!! However, every year we rediscover the joy of bike rides, playing at the park, romping around outside and simply dancing around the kitchen together. Last summer we bought a huge tent on sale at Canadian Tire, and look forward to lots of camping experiences together.

 6. Take time for myself. The other day I flipped through the calendar, only to discover that since December (and I’m not sure how long before that because that’s when the most recent calendar begins) I have only gotten out for the day by myself once. ONCE!! Friends, I tell you, this is not good! I nearly freaked out! In fact, one of the first things I said to Jon when he got home was that come rain or shine (the weather affects my baby-sitter options now that farming season is close at hand!) I was heading out next week. For the entire day, ideally, or only for the evening if that’s what it came to. Otherwise, it wasn’t gonna be pretty!!

Editor's Note :) - since Mothers Day, I DID treat myself to an e.n.t.i.r.e. day out. It was fabulous. My two main goals were - unhurried. uninterrupted. I am a much happier camper!

 5. Explore the beauty and wonder of creation. I am forever entertained by Little M’s questions – well that’s not entirely true. Often they are entertaining, but sometimes I ask her to just be quiet for a teenie tiny moment to give my ears a rest!! One day, while gardening, Little M leans over and asks – “Mommy, do worms have teeth?” Well, I’ve never thought about it before. I didn’t think they did, but how could I be sure? I researched it on the internet! I discovered a lot of cool things about worms that day, but I still won’t touch one with my bare hands! We often talk about the fact that God made some pretty cool creatures though.

 4. To embrace each day with the same enthusiasm my kids do. Sweet K usually enjoys a few quiet moments in her crib before officially greeting the day, but Little M has always bounced out of bed with exuberance that cannot be contained. After a nap one day, the first thing she said to me was not hello. Was not let’s play or anything like that. She said with great authority – “Mommy, spiders have eight legs, ladybugs have four and dolphins don’t have any.” I howled! Eventually I did correct her and say that in fact, ladybugs have six legs, however she was accurate with the other accounts.


 3. Be creative. There are some people who like art. Then there are people who do crafts. I am not the former J. Sometimes it feels like there is not enough energy to create something with my hands and my imagination, but I know that when I do, I am always invigorated. 

Or not. Sometimes I create “crafts” that turn out horribly – just ask dear J who’s patiently received more than one wonky, yet-ever-so-well-intentioned gift!

 2. Love, honor and respect those I walk this life together with. This isn’t always easy. I don’t know, maybe we’re weird, but we tend to have conflict in our home. And honestly, sometimes navigating through all the angst and habits and fatigue and emotion of every day life feels like a lot of …. work. But in that, and through that, we are given opportunities to grow in our abilities to relate, confront, forgive, connect.


 1. Seek God every day. He has, by His great grace, accepted me as the ruffian that I am, and only by this amazing grace He will help me become the mother I hope to be.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Journaling - Untangling the Knots

Bloggin' over at today...

As with any exercise, there are always obstacles. Same with journaling!

Monday, May 11, 2009

My inner shutter-bug!

I am not a stellar photographer.
No where near! 
I think you have to be able to pay attention to things like positioning, lighting and creative elements!!
HOWEVER, I LOVE taking pictures and I LOVE LOVE to flip through photography books, magazines, and blogs, inspired by what others are trying and learning and displaying!

If you're interested in this as well, you may want to visit Articles By Amy - a link I've posted on the left side of the page. Oodles of articles from the basics to the fun 'n fancy!!

Let me know what catches your eye!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The end of the day - the end of the "work week"!

I don't think a mamma's work week is every at an "end" - however, there is something about Friday that makes me feel like a "week-end" is in order.

Don't we get to sleep in on Saturdays!? :)

Well, enough about that.

Yesterday Little M made me laugh so hard I thought I was gonna bust. There are a few --- song lines --- that my mother used to sing when I was little. And you know that famous saying that "you're gonna sound just like your mother..." 

And it's true. :)

My mom used to always sing the line "I fall to peeeee-ceeeees" from Patsy Cline. I have no idea why she would sing that particular line, considering she had 4 kids under the age of 8 and we were all highly active, chatty, curious little things :).

Well, yesterday, I had a delightful, raging headache as a result of a "nap" that was actually 4 interruptions in a matter of 15 minutes. Some how, for some reason, I started singing the line from this song.

Little M looks at me and asks why my head was going to fall off.
I looked back and asked would my head fall off?
Because - says she - you said you were falling to pieces.


There ya have it. Humor from our household.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Since it was bath day ANYWAY, I thought to myself, why not paint the kids feet and make a craft :)?

Sounded like a great idea to them too, so this is what we created for Mothers Day...

We started off with some WASHABLE acrylic paint.

And then INTO THE PAINT went the feet. That part was so much fun. 
In a messy kinda way!

Then we made little feetie-print butterflies

After the paint dried, we added the final touches of course ... 
a body, antennae and googley eyes just for fun!

Then, in a flash of inspiration, I also hot glued magnets to the back so that our darling Grandmas have no excuse for misplacing these funky little flutters :).

And VOILA! Great Mothers Day cards for Grandma. Isn't that a fantastic way to kick off a rainy Thursday morning!? I thought so too!

Alas, one MUST give credit where credit is due. I got this idea from Just For Fun.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oh boy...

A couple of weeks ago, I received an invitation to share a bit in church on Mothers Day - on becoming the mother I hope to be. 

I agreed before I asked for the fine print (note to self: don't do that again!!). 
1) I assumed (incorrectly) that it would be short and sweet. No. 8-10 minutes or so will do. YIKES! I can talk a lot if I have no particular agenda, but ask me to share ALL THE HOPES OF MY HEART for TEN MINUTES in front of others and we have a dilemma on our hands! 

2) Sharing about all that I hope to do and be as a mother feels very much like reading an 8-10 minute list of all the goals I have for 2009. New Years Resolutions are made to be broken by, like, February right!? It's rattling to think that every aspect of motherhood that I long to grow in I seem to face opposition in every day. Patience, gentleness, attentiveness, Godliness. It's not even 10am - let's make it 9am! - and I'm praying for wisdom and grace in the midst of it all.

So, I'm not sure how this'll go. I want to share authentically but also realistically. Honest without getting to heavy. Light-hearted, but without those stale jokes that fall very very very flat!!!

What about you? What kind of person do you hope to be?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Totally glad it's Tuesday!

I am convinced that no matter what occupation you are in - astronaut, civil engineer, homemaker - a Monday is a M.O.N.D.A.Y.

See, the sunny optimist in me says that Mondays are for great beginnings, the start of a fresh calendar week (I am a calendar addict, but more about that issue another day!). It's about slow mornings, a lingering cup of coffee, and planning for the week ahead.

Yeah. Right.

Mondays around here are aka Meltdown Mondays. Wow. You'd think we were just getting over the weekend or something! We invited yet another therapist into our world of people that we are getting to know. Little M chose that exact moment to display her wide vocal talents (and her one-word vocabulary - no! No! NOOOO!). And let me tell ya. There's nothing like having a child development professional peering over your shoulder in your own home!! while you are disciplining to make you feel all those lovely inadequacies you inherited the moment you gave birth.

Yeah, can't you feel the glory of it all. 

Which is why I am so glad we have Tuesdays. Some people live for Fridays. Not me. I like Tuesdays. The sunny, bright, lovely day AFTER the day of recovery. Hmmm. I'm finding some life-parallel in there somewhere. The upheaval, the crisis fades, the recovery is past, and the day of new beginnings dawns. I like it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

O You, Mighty Little Earthworm!

With all the squeals of delight around here, you'd think it's Christmas ... or Birthday ... or someone bringing loads of candy. Or something.

Nope. Around here, all this excitement comes from the discovery of the ever-lovely EARTH WORM.

Ewww. Is all I can say.

I've been asked all sorts of questions about these squirmy little creations. Like...
Do earth worms have teeth?
What do earth worms eat?
Where do they live?
Why are they all brown and crunchy on our garage floor?

Uh. Biology and dissection seems like a reallllly long time ago (which is a good thing, I am thinking!) so here I am, online, seeking out real answers for my 3-year-old who not only asks good questions, but also has a fabulous memory (and I am motivated by the shudder of the thought of misinforming her, and then her sharing that misinformation with a classroom of kids 5-6 years down the line, and then all of them laughing hysterically over her less-than-educated mother!).

IN FACT, earth worms don't have teeth. Which is a GOOD THING TO KNOW if you are picking up an earth worm with your bare hands (which I d.o.  n.o.t.). It munches its food by sucking it in like a vacuum cleaner (great, so I may not get bit, but I might get a little hickey mark on my hand!).

What does it eat? Wellll, these are efficient little critters, eating - well, pretty much anything they can suck in! Not just dirt (which I told Little M), but garbage, poop and the like. Tasty. They eat pretty much non-stop too. Lovely.

Earth worms live in dirt (mostly!). They are found all over the world, and in a variety of habitats (soil, obviously, but also logs and bogs).

As for death and the cause of the dry crunchy worm, we've saved those conversations for another day, and I just say that the worm ran out of water so he's pretty dried up.

Also good to note (for when you realllly want to impress your youngsters!!) 
 - Earth worms have no lungs. They absorb oxygen through their system.
 - Earth worms produce their very own antifreeze. They curl up in a knot, produce their own antifreeze and voila! They sleep through winter!
 - They can make enough poop in one day to be the equivalent of their body weight!
 - Don't even get into the reproductive conversation. It's a little ... ewww. 

There you have it. Another example of  God's might fine creation at work. Fascinating, providing hours of endless entertainment, and something I don't dare touch without gloves. Or a lonnnnnng stick.

Thanks to Worm Watch for the abundant source of information!!


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