Friday, December 21, 2012

From Our Home to Yours...

JOY to the World, 
The LORD is Come! 

May you enjoy your time spent with family & friends as we remember and celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Never forgot that our LORD came for a seek and to save those who are lost.
During this season of gathering with friends & family, my prayer is that we will be given opportunities to share the Good News with those who have never heard and those who have never received Him.

Unless the Lord returns or takes us home....See you in 2013!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Just a quick update...

I haven 't been blogging much lately as we've been battling a nasty illness for the past few weeks. It feels like we have been sick all winter. Not sure what we have exactly, but it has been lingering on for quite some time. We've spent a lot of time at the doctor's office lately. Both kids have been on antibiotics, and Craig is on his 2nd round of them since he is not improving much. The kids seem to be better since taking the antibiotics, and their check-ups yesterday were good. Craig is still pretty sick, though, and doesn't seem to be getting much better. He coughs and coughs at night, and it just sounds horrible! It is some sort of sinus/chest/throat/ear thing...yep..that about covers it. Ha! I am also sick with the same sort of thing, but unlike the others, I have not had the fever or horrible coughing that goes with it. Thankfully, I seem to have the mildest case out of everyone and haven't even had to see the doctor yet.

I am just so thankful for our pediatrician here. I doubt there are many doctors out there who are as dedicated as he is. Just have to tell this story about him...
The other week Craig had to go to the walk-in because he was feeling horrendous and had a fever also. While he was gone, Elianna suddenly spiked a high fever and was miserable, so we decided it would be best to bring her to the walk-in also. It was crazy because when Craig got home, the walk-in clinic was closing in 20 minutes, so I quickly got her in the vehicle and got there with 10 minutes to spare. I knew it was a bit of a toss-up as to whether or not she would get in to see a Dr since they were closing in 10 minutes, but we decided to go anyway. We got there, and the receptionist said that there were too many patients left to see, so they wouldn't be able to fit her in that night. Completely understandable. I don't ever get upset over these types of things because doctor's have families to get home to, too.  Anyway, I went out to the boot room of the clinic and called Craig to let him know they were too full. When I got off the phone, the receptionist opened the door and told me to come in, that a doctor would see her. I go back inside, and there's our own pediatrician in the hall telling us to come in. Turns out that he was also working at the walk-in that night and he must have overheard me at the front desk asking if Elianna could see a doctor. Craig had seen a different doctor, so I didn't even know he was working that night until the receptionist let me back in the clinic. Even though there was no one else left in the clinic at that point except for the cleaning person, our pediatrician spent about 20 minutes with us, did a thorough exam and took the time to explain everything to the resident doctor (including her neutropenia history, bone marrow tests, etc.) That resident doctor is extremely fortunate to be learning from our pediatrician! He is professional yet friendly, decisive while never making you feel bad for asking questions, smart, thorough, and caring. And it is not that we get special treatment...I know of many people who have taken their kids to see him, and he goes above and beyond for all his patients.

Later on that week, Elianna was having an awful time taking her antibiotics, and we had tried every trick in the book for getting her to take it and hiding it in things. The 2nd night she threw it all up (after gagging), so I had to call him. He called me to discuss it, and then the next day, he called me again just to see how she was doing.

Anyway, I hadn't planned on writing all that about our pediatrician experience, but it just turned out that way :-)

Our church banquet is coming up soon, and Elianna is dressing up as a sheep and singing Away in a Manger with the 3-5 year olds. I'm supposed to be helping with the songs, so hopefully we will all be well enough to go!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Menu Plan

Here's what we will be eating this week:

Sunday: Threw in a frozen pizza for lunch

Monday: Chicken kabobs, stuffed potatoes, Caesar salad

Tuesday: Potato soup, grilled cheese

Wednesday: Burritos, carrot sticks

Thursday: Chicken and rice casserole, green beans

Friday: Firecracker salmon, rice, sweet potato fries

Saturday: leftovers

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Little Things

I serve a God who does big things. He can make the blind see, the lame walk, and heal the sick. My God does big things.  He spoke the heavens into existence and created the whole world. He restores broken marriages, broken relationships, and broken people. He forgives sin and gives people new hearts.

I have seen my God do big things. 

I have also seen my God do little things. 

I have been praying for sleep, that my kids would sleep so that I could sleep. Many of you read my post For the Weary that speaks of how I have been struggling lately.  Last night my kids slept for 7 hours in a row. It has been months and months since I have not had to get up multiple times within 7 hours. A little miracle happened last night, and I am reminded how God cares about little things.

Praise the Lord who calms the storm, heals the sick, and sees each sparrow that falls. Praise the Lord who hears the prayers of a weary mama and gives her sleep when He knows she needs it.

Praise the Lord who does the big things and the little things.

2 Years Ago Today

November 16 is a date that stands out for our "anniversary" of sorts. It's the day our dear Elianna had her bone marrow test done. It's also the day we were told the results looked bad...very bad. Read my post 2 years ago here. That week was officially the hardest week of our lives to date. Living in the "unknown", thinking the worst case scenario (ie: your one year old daughter had a terminal illness), because you have just been told the worst is likely and now you have to wait for the "official" word. What a very, very, very hard week that was. It gave us only the tiniest of tiniest glimpses into what parents who have a child with a terminal illness might feel like.

The official word came about a week later when our pediatric hematologist called and said something very close to this, "Mrs. ____ I just wanted to ease your mind. Your daughter does not have cancer. When I first saw the results, I saw leukemia. She has a very high number of blast cells that indicated leukemia. That is why I called your husband right away. However, when we did the complete study, we did not find any cancerous cells. There is no cancer." Diagnosis: chronic benign neutropenia, though the high number of blast cells was unexplainable and something he had never seen before. What I wrote about the diagnosis. When we received this news, I scooped her up and danced around the house. I really did. We were told she had a very good chance of growing out of it sometime during childhood.

And she did. :-)

This past March (a year and a half after her initial diagnosis), a very late night run to the emergency room with Elianna due to her having a fever (standard procedure for her condition) turned out to be a night for celebrating and praising the Lord for healing her. After all the usual blood tests were done, we waited, anticipating an overnight stay in the hospital for monitoring. Instead, we were told her blood work was normal. Normal. We went home, praising the Lord the entire time. I'm sure no one ever walked out of that ER with grins as wide as ours. Our daughter was well again.

Elianna means "The Lord has answered."

He answered with "yes."

To God be the glory,

*Read the post I wrote  One Year Ago .

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

For the Weary ...

I have been feeling very unlike myself lately. Not every day, but many days. I am finding this particular season of life (especially the last 2 months or so) very difficult most days, and I feel guilty for the lack of enthusiasm I have lately. I feel like I am being a terrible witness because many days I am just so...I don't know what the word is exactly. Weary? Unmotivated? A bit depressed even, perhaps?

My children don't sleep. I don't sleep. It's driving me crazy. How pathetic is it when the first thing I think when my eyes open for the morning is...I can't wait until nap time...bed time..anytime... when I can just sleep. Lately I've been feeling like my brain is so tired that I can't even carry on a normal conversation with anyone; I nearly panic at the thought of going somewhere where I'll be forced to carry on a conversation since I feel too tired to even talk.

Do I desire to be a joyful Mom? Yes. Do I try to be a joyful Mom even when I don't feel like it? Yes. The truth is, though, that lately being a joyful, enthusiastic Mom is hard most days.

Today I was thinking about the passage from Isaiah...But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

They that wait upon the Lord...

Isn't it amazing how the Lord cares for us? I haven't been having much computer time lately because I am working on being less distracted and "being all here" for my family. There is no facebook or blog reading unless the kids are asleep. And lately when the kids are asleep, I am also trying to sleep rather than be on the internet. Yet, in my very limited time on the computer, I've read these few articles, which contain some great Bible passages regarding rest and sleep.

When you feel weary and tired: embracing God's sweet gift of sleep. 

I think the Lord knew I need to read this last night....

Permission to Rest

I also like this article I read awhile back: Caring For Yourself (The Me Time Myth Revisited). 

Waiting upon the Lord,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Homemade Flour Tortillas

I made these the other week and they turned out great. I had tried a different recipe for homemade tortillas that didn't work at all and needed butter to be cut in and things (kind of a pain), and they turned out more like tough flat pancakes. This recipe was much quicker and produced the type of soft flour tortilla I was hoping for. Sorry...I've been a bad blogger pictures this time. Maybe next time I make a batch!

Homemade Flour Tortillas - Yields 6

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup very hot water
3 tbsp oil

In a large bowl, combine flour,  salt, and baking powder. Stir in hot water and oil. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead 10-12 times, and add a little flour or water if needed until you have a smooth dough. Let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 6 portions. Lest rest a few more minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a fairly thin circle, about 1/4 inch thick. In a large greased skillet, cook tortillas over medium heat for approx 30 seconds on each side or until lightly browned. Keep warm.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

We are trying something new around here in an effort to become less distracted. No computer while the kids are awake. For the most part, no tv either. So, I'm whipping this blog post up Sunday night since the kids are in bed and then scheduling it to post tomorrow morning. Being less distracted has been good, but I am surprised at how little I'm still able to accomplish during the day. Sigh. Still struggling with little Ellie. Prayer needed. Thanks :-)

Sunday - Invited for lunch after church, Supper at my Mom & Dad's

Monday - Broccoli Cheese Soup & Oven Toasted Ham Sandwiches

Tuesday - Baked Penne with Marinara Sauce, Caesar Salad

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Beef Stir Fry over Jasmine Rice, Stir Fry Veggies, Egg Rolls

Friday - Italian Bread & Pizza, Veggies

Saturday - Leftovers

*Alternative Meal: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup & Biscuits

Monday, October 29, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Things are busy around here. Still trying to figure out a routine to get some structure to our days. I found some short free ebooks about Charlotte Mason homeschooling that I am looking forward to reading soon. This style of homeschooling interests me and it's the style presented in the preschool curriculum we are doing (Heart of Dakota - Little Hands to Heaven).

Thought for the past few days...It's God's kindness that leads us to repentance.

....oh how I am struggling these days with the whole disclipling/training a 3 year old. Just being honest :-). How to be firm, but kind...encouraging/requiring obedience, decreasing "attitude", trying to get her to quit harassing Nathanael....I'm at a bit of a loss, and I've read all the books, by the way :-). So much work to do, so much prayer needed....admittedly, much on my own heart & attitude. Parenting is a truly humbling ordeal. It is good for me. We took some time to dance around the house this evening. Elianna loved it...even my crazy chicken moves (it was Baby McDonald we were all watching). It was fun and we laughed a lot :-). Today, she looked out the window at the icicles on the garage and exclaimed, "MOM! Look at those cool HANG NAILS!" She had us in stitches over that one.

Sunday: Lunch: Invited to friends' house after church
            Supper: at Mom & Dad's

Monday: Lunch: Leftover pizza
             Supper: Veggies, tortilla chips & guacamole

Tuesday: Crockpot steak fajitas with all the fixings

Wednesday: Leftovers or toasted ham & cheese sandwiches

Thursday: Homemade chicken noodle soup & biscuits

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Homemade Pizza


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Random Post

  • Nathanael is almost walking. He walks around coffee tables, along window sills, etc. I've caught him standing with no hands a few times. He's 9 months old. Elianna walked at 10 months. My guess is he will definitely be walking by Christmas. We'll see.
  • We are on Day 2 of "official" homeschool preschool. Yep, we started late. Oh well :-). She's only 3! Elianna LOVES it...especially the music part and the poems with actions. So far I love the Little Hands to Heaven program. 30 minutes a day of super fun Bible-based learning. Fun & Fast. Love that.
  • We are also on Day 2 of our chore system. I was 100% sure I wanted to do chore packs until I went to Staples and discovered I had to buy like 25 of those clear name badge thingies for wayyy more money than I'm willing to invest right now. Plus what would I do with the other 24???  You can't buy just one. I checked. I decided to do a very simple, visual chart based VERY loosely on the Workbox concept. I'll try to take a picture of it and explain in more detail some other time. If it works well for us, we'll stick with it. If not, I might buy the Maxwell's chore book/system at the homeschooling conference next year. 
  • Elianna is listening to her Singing Bible cd right now and just yelled out "MOM! God made Adam and Eve too!!!" as she's dancing and clapping in her room. Love her :-)
  • I've been feeling very unlike myself lately. Not sure why. 
  • Anxiety, worry, and stress seem to be rearing their ugly heads lately. Maybe that's why.
  • I hope to use a similar concept to our chore charts to get a bit more routine to our day. Our mornings are a bit more structured now that we've started the chores system and preschool, and I'm liking it.
  • Obedience. We're working on obedience. All of us. 
  • We've been selling stuff like crazy lately. It's kind of fun, a lot of work, takes a lot of time, but I am excited about selling our "junk-to-us" for cash. 
  • We started a Save, Give, Spend system with Elianna in conjunction with the chores. She has "expected-to-do" chores and then also "paid" chores. She LOVES doing the chores! If only that would continue well into her teen years.....hehe.
  • Elianna loves doing crafts and making things. I am so not a craft person, so she's stretching me. Kids do that sometimes. Stretch their parents, I mean. :-)
  • I wish Nathanael would sleep through the night. I'll think we're close and then he'll be up 3 times the next night. 
  • Nathanael seems to cough. all.the.time. He always gets croup. This bout has lasted a month now and it's the 4th time he's had it since he was born. I feel bad for him and wish I knew what to do. The humidifier seems to help a bit.
  • My "little" brother got married last a very kind-hearted, beautiful, Christian girl. They were engaged for only 8 weeks and had over 200 people at the wedding. The bride baked the yummiest, cutest cookies for the wedding favours/in lieu of a wedding cake. The decor was kind of "country" with mason jars and wild flowers with wheat. It was ridiculously cute and beautiful.  Who says you need a long engagement to pull off a wedding?? Not me.  I am not a fan of long engagements.
  • I've been feeling rather "blah" lately, if that makes any sense. I'm trying to be "all there" but most of the time I think my mind is in another place. It's kind of driving me crazy, especially when I'm talking to people, but I'm not sure how to fix it. 
  • It snowed today. A lot. Elianna is SO excited about the snow. Where we adults think "scrape the windshield", kids think "SLEDDING!" To see the world through a child's eyes is a wonderful thing....:-)
Have a blessed day, 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Here`s what we plan on eating this week:

Sunday: Homemade Macaroni & Cheese with Tomatoes, Veggies & Dip

Monday: Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas & Guacamole

Wednesday:Hearty Beef & Vegetable Soup (making up my own recipe) & Biscuits

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Homemade Pizza & Salad or Veggies & Dip

Saturday: Leftovers

*Alternate Meals or Ideas for Next Week*
                      : French Onion Soup
                       : Chicken Fingers & Fries
                      Firecracker Salmon , Stir Fry Veggies & Rice

Monday, October 15, 2012

Flexi Clip Giveaway

There is a flexi clip giveaway going on at the Growing Home blog. Check it out here if you are interested. I have one of these and I love it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Choosing the Best Things

Sometime I drive myself crazy. I want to have it all, do it all.

Part of me wants to be able to cook gourmet meals, have a super organized, super clean, and nicely- decorated-according-to-the-season-house, have perfectly cheerful & obedient children, have a fantastic relationship with my husband, a growing relationship with the Lord, sleep 8 hours straight, run a 10k, sew my own clothes, make over furniture, craft, garden, knit, crochet, can all my gardening produce, read a dozen books in a year, extreme coupon, check facebook, play dates, blog, have my kids in soccer, violin, piano, and awana....

But I can't do it all.

I've been reading about time management lately. I am frustrated that I don't seem to get anything done in a day. Maybe the reason I don't seem to get anything done is because I'm trying to get everything done. My perfectionist tendencies drive. me. crazy. Pinterest feeds my supermom tendencies; according to Pinterest, I can have it all and do it all :-). Nope. Real life doesn't work that way.

Remember the post about thieves? Perfectionism is perhaps one of my biggest thieves. Those who know me well and have known me a long time will likely agree. I do believe perfectionism to be sinful as it is relying on myself rather than on the Lord. It make a to-do list an idol.

Over the next few weeks, I will be praying and seeking the Lord's guidance as to how to better handle the time he has given me.  I will try to work out my priorities and how I can get the most important things done. I am going to start my Heart of Dakota preschool curriculum soon. My plan was after Thanksgiving, which is this weekend, but we will see.

One thing that struck me as I read this ebook from Money Saving Mom....
Sometimes the good things have to be given up so we can have time for the best things.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Do you have any thieves in your life? I do. Lots of them. Facebook, blogs, this blog, Pinterest, overscheduling, just to name a few. They steal my time. Too much of it. And it's only because I let them. There are other kinds of thieves, too. Maybe the same thief tends to creep up over & over again in your life. I know that's true in my own life. Maybe some of them rarely stop by. Maybe some only try to break in once in awhile, when your defences are weak. Maybe some of the aforementioned thieves mysteriously turn from a genuinely nice friend into a greedy thief after you let your guard down.

More examples of possible thieves...thieves of a different nature.

How about the thief of selfishness? Too much "me time", anyone? Do you feel "me time" is your "right"? Do you demand your own way all the time, stealing away the joy that comes from giving and laying down your life for others? It is better to give than to receive...

Anger? It is surprising how much energy it takes to stay angry. 

Covetousness? Do you wonder why you are never content? Perhaps the thief of covetousness has stolen your joy. 

Laziness? Does your slothfulness steal away projects that could be completed, things that never seem to get done?

If you are saved, you know that these other kinds of thieves are actually called sin. You know that Christians can have victory over these, too. We do not need to be defeated by them.

Perhaps you opened up your door to a thief, unaware of who he really was. Maybe he looked friendly at first. Many of them do. I know that's how many thieves get in my house. Perhaps the thief negotiated with you, giving you the pros & cons of why you should let him in until you finally, somewhat reluctantly, shrugged your shoulders and said, "okay, fine. You've convinced me. Come on in." Maybe the thief just barged on in knowing you wouldn't have the willpower to stand your ground and say "no." Maybe the thief knew you were without defence, not having put on the full armour of God. Without your shield of faith or sword of the Spirit you looked like an easy target.

It's time for me to take a firm stance against some of the thieves in my life. Time is precious. Time is short. I'm letting too many of my "hobbies" turn into thieves who are stealing time away from those who matter most to me and, more importantly, to the Lord. It's time to boot them out and tell them they are no longer welcome here. It's time to defend myself and defend my most treasured "earthly" possessions against these thieves...

Those of you who know me will know where to find me and how to reach me. Oh, and don't count on reaching me through facebook "in time" if you have an important message for me :-)

I'll likely be back...but only after I've beefed up my security :-)

Keep you heart toward heaven,

Note: I wrote this up several days ago, but today I read some related reading that addresses smashing down your idols (from a site called biblical homemaking.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Last week we didn't follow our menu plan. I ended up coming down with a case of mastitis, which kind of threw a monkey wrench into the plans. If anyone has had this, you know it's brutal. It's like the worst flu. Ever. Anyway, I am feeling a lot better, but I know I need to slooowww down and try to get a bit more rest. Mastitis tends to strike when I am run down, tired, and stressed. I had it with Elianna, but that time I waited until I had a fever of 105 F to get to the hospital. This time, I caught it early and went to the doctor straight away. We are kind of in crazy mode here. In a few short weeks we have made over the entry bathroom, painted the basement, and put up a new fence. Now hubby starts a 10 day stretch of work and we have 4 appointments in 2 days. After that it's time for my brother's wedding. I'm hoping I can breathe after Thanksgiving...:-)

This Sunday we spent a nice afternoon fellowshipping with some like-minded friends at our new church. It's so sweet when like-minded believers can get together and encourage each other.

Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday: Lunch at our friends' place. Seriously good food. And the coffee...the best I have ever had. No joke. Mine was Ethiopian something-or-other. Craig's was Guatemalan (I think?). These friends are coffee experts. As in, they roast their own "green" coffee beans in their own homemade roaster and what-not. After drinking this kind of coffee...the real deal...I might just need to learn their coffee ways.

Oh....and for those who wondering, we like soup around here. A lot :-). My husband has made it very clear that he could eat soup nearly once a day. That's how much he loves it! 

Monday: Sausage Potato Soup

Tuesday: Leftovers

WednesdayGinger Beef marinated in beef marinade, Fried Rice, Egg Rolls Stir Fry Veggies

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday: Homemade Pizza & Caesar Salad

Saturday: Leftovers or Kommst Borscht & Baking Powder Cheese Biscuits

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Last week my husband was on holidays, and we got a few projects done around the house. Our entry bathroom got a fresh coat of paint and a mini makeover. I will try to share some pictures in the next few weeks. We also started on our new fence in the backyard and patched walls and started painting the basement. Our family also managed to get away for one day, which was mostly spent shopping for my brother's upcoming wedding. My sister, Mom, and I all managed to find dresses. I was very happy to find myself a maxi-dress on a great sale (regularly priced at $170 but on sale for only $35!). I love that it is something I will wear again, will be easy to nurse in, and is long, which I prefer. It can be worn in summer and winter with a sweater. It is always nice when a dress is versatile :-). We were really busy so we went out to eat...a lot. This week we will be getting back to our usual routine. This week I am hoping to get a few other house projects done too...a big batch of homemade baby food made, start cleaning windows (I need to get this done before the snow flies), and clear out a shelf in the hall closet for my homeschooling supplies. I also realize my blog header is in need of an update, though that is going to take some time to redesign one. Ah yes, so much to do and so little time to do it. Sound familiar? :-)

Sunday: Buttermilk Pancakes & Strawberries for lunch.
             Mom & Dad took us out for supper (thanks! :-) )

Monday: Pasta in Creamy Tomato Sauce (using this recipe as a guide, but making a few changes)

Tuesday: Crockpot Steak Fajitas (NEW) with Bean & Corn Salad (using this recipe as a guide)

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Kommst Borscht (using leftover roast beef in freezer) with Baking Powder Biscuits

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Homemade Pizza, Veggies & Dip

*Linking up to Menu Plan Monday*

Monday, September 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Here are a few meal ideas for this week. We'll likely be eating out a lot this week. Please continue to remember my family in prayer.

Buttermilk Chicken (NEW), Potatoes, Steamed Green Beans

Crockpot Steak Fajitas

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Prayer Request

Please pray for someone near and dear to me who is going through a hard time right now. Also, please remember my family in your prayers. Pray for wisdom and for the Lord to speak clearly. No more details, sorry, but prayers to the One who cares and loves us more than anyone ever could are so very much needed and appreciated right now.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Beware. These are seriously addicting! This is my favourite recipe for snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles - yields 3 dozen

1 cup softened butter (I very rarely use margarine in baking or cookies. Butter is better :-) )
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp white sugar
3 tsp cinnamon

Directions: Beat butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and eggs in a large bowl until smooth. In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture. Chill dough and 3 ungreased cookie sheets for about 15 minutes. Mix 3 tbsp sugar and 3 tsp cinnamon in small bowl. Scoop out dough with cookie scoop, roll in sugar mixture. Place on chilled ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes in preheated 350 F oven. Bake until slight cracks form on top of cookie. Promptly remove from cookie sheets and place on rack to cool.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday: Out for lunch,
             Supper was random leftovers

Monday: Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole, Tossed Salad

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas, Creamy Dilly Cucumber Salad

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: BBQ Meatballs & Rice, Steamed Veggies

Saturday: Leftovers

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cheeseburger Soup

This has become one of our new favourite soups.

Cheeseburger Soup - serves 4-5
1/2 lb ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parley
4 tbsp butter, divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups diced, peeled potatoes
1/4 cup flour
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt
dash of red pepper flakes or tabasco sauce, optional
pepper to taste

Brown ground beef. Drain and set aside. In a large saucepan, saute onion, celery, carrots, basil and parsley in 1 Tbsp butter until vegetables are tender. Add broth, potatoes, and beef. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining 3 Tbsp butter. Add flour, stir and cook for 3-5 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking away any lumps. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Once mixture is thickened, add shredded cheese and melt. Add cheese sauce to soup shortly before serving.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Finally...The Kitchen Reveal!

Months of work and now our kitchen is finally done. We are so pleased with how it turned out!

Here it is...

A good old before & after picture...



Another Before 

Progress??? At this point, I felt like the kitchen would never get finished and was greatly regretting ever starting!

Another Before (with pantry closet, which seems good in theory but was set up very inefficiently)

AFTER (we knocked out the closet, and our fridge is now where the closet used to be )

My tall built-in pantry on the left that replaces the closet pantry. My new pantry can hold way more :-)

Dining area. Paint colours are Left wall: Silver Fox, back left Stardust, right back Shaker Beige, and then right is Silver Fox again.

The cabinets are Ikea Lidingo in white. So far I'm very pleased with them! Our old kitchen had only 3 drawers, and one of them was broken. Our new kitchen has 13 fully extending, soft close drawers. I am so happy we went with as many drawers as possible. Our old counter top was also bubbled up and needed to be replaced. The old floor was peeling up in a few places and also had a few tears in it. We debated back and forth as to what exactly we should do in our kitchen - if we should just repaint cabinets and replace counter/floor, or re-do the whole thing. In the end, despite all the work (and it was a LOT of work!), we are happy we went for the total renovation. 

The counter top is Formica Perlato Granite laminate. Our lights are from Home Depot and are from the Alexa Collection. Our new table (the one in the before picture was actually my Mom & Dad's table and is now passed onto my sister) is solid wood with 2 toned stain and a glaze. We got a great deal on it (half price) on the Canada Day long weekend. It is by the company Winners Only and from the Quaint Retreat collection. I love the warmth it brings to the room. Paint colours are Benjamin Moore Silver Fox, Stardust (on Accent Wall), and Shaker Beige. 

P.S. I do plan to jazz up the space a bit with some window treatments and art on the wall. Just haven't gotten around to it yet :-). 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

We do eat a lot of leftovers around here. Thankfully, no one complains about it! :-)

Sunday: Visiting Family

Monday: BBQ Hamburgers

Tuesday:  Cheesy Lentil Bake (NEW), Cucumber Dill Salad

Wednesday:  Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole, Tossed Salad

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Company Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Veggies (probably green & yellow beans)

Saturday: Leftovers

*Linking up to Menu Plan Monday*

Thursday, August 16, 2012


 I think that word sums up the past few months for our family. Changes of all kinds. For the good, though! Changes like...
  • Different curtains in our living room (Gray Ikea ones to replace our taupe ones). I think our living room looks SO much better than it did a year ago. I MUCH prefer the Shaker Beige to the old Dorset Gold colour. It looks a little greener in the picture than it is in real life, in my opinion. It is one of my favourite "beiges". We also have different couches here since our first set had issues and needed to be refunded a year after we bought them. They were under warranty, though, and I am kind of glad of the problem with the first set because our current set is a lot comfier :-) The walls are a little bare still, but I'm still waiting to find the right artwork...

Here's what the living room looked like about a year ago. Oy. Can't stand that dorset gold now! Notice what else is "missing" in the above picture? The t.v. Yep, missing on purpose. We got rid of our upstairs tv many months ago, and it is one of the best decisions we ever made. Don't miss it one bit. The space is just so much more relaxing to me. Constant background tv noise is a pet peeve of mine, and I used to find myself 'always' turning the tv on if I sat down for a rest. It was just too convenient. Now, if I really want to watch tv or put a dvd on for the kids, we still have one downstairs. We likely will never go back to having a tv in the living room.

And here's what it looked like with the horrid purple verticals that came with the house. Wasn't sorry to see those go, either.
  • Nathanael crawling (a bit of a belly crawl, but a definite crawl nonetheless. That boy can MOVE!
  • Nathanael starting "real" food (and loving the rice cereal, sweet potatoes, and carrots so far)
  • A different church fellowship (For reasons I won't go into on this blog, it was time to move on from our former church family.) We temporarily home churched for several weeks but through various circumstances the Lord heard our prayers and led us to another fellowship where we've been growing and have been meeting people for the past couple months. It's a bit of a drive, but we have not minded so far. We have been enjoying such wonderful Christian fellowship with like-minded believers. This church does not have a head pastor but is rather elder-led with different men in the church gifted in preaching taking turns. 
  • Elianna drawing pictures that actually resemble things...she draws people (with arms & legs to boot!), oceans, and kites. So cute!
  • A new family member joining the family soon (no, I'm not pregnant!!). My brother got engaged to a very sweet girl! SO excited for their wedding in a few weeks!
  • A new dining room table (we got a GREAT deal on Canada Day weekend). I am SUPER pleased with it (kind of a modern cottage look??) other than the fact that the butterfly leaf doesn't work properly and we have to get it fixed...grrr. I tell ya, after doing this kitchen reno, I've sure realized that things are build SO poorly these days. We had to send back TWO stoves before we got the 3rd one that wasn't all scratched up on the cook top. We've also had our fair share of issues with the lights, too. Crooked semi-flush mounts, anyone?. Thankfully, my hubby is a bit of a creative genius when it comes to fixing things and shimmed it so that you can't even tell, so that I didn't have to send back the light that I waited like 2 months to get. Yes, that was a night that I pretty much cried in frustration for over an hour until we came up with a genius solution. Then I was laughing. Literally. 
  • A new exercise routine. I am finally facing the facts that if I have any hope of dropping the last 10 lbs of baby weight, I'm going to have to get serious about exercising. I'm still not super on board or committed to the idea, but it's the cold hard truth. I started jogging on the treadmill again during the kids naps. I miss my nap time but alas it's a proven fact exercise increases energy, so I'm holding onto that hope. Now to stick with it... Sigh....

Yes, pictures of the kitchen reno to come...we just need to get up the dining room light and we are done. Decided to nix the back splash for now. Don't really need it/miss it, and I like a simple look anyway. Many pictures of kitchens I like do not have a back splash.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Something About Rainy Days

There's something about cool, rainy days that makes me feel like snuggling down with my babies with a good book while taking in the aroma of something delicious baking in the oven.
A tall mug of coffee pairs well with rainy days.

There's something about rainy days that reminds me to be grateful that I can stay home, all cozied up and doing what I love to do. Homemaking.

There's something about rainy days that makes me get all teary-eyed as I'm keenly aware that my babies are growing far too quickly. Far too quickly.... Oh, what an enormous task I have, raising these little babes for the glory of God. And for such a very short time...

I came across this verse today. "He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted." - Job 9:10
What an awesome God we serve.

Have your heart on things above,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday: Sandwiches and fruit for lunch
            : Family's house for supper

Monday: Roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, roasted veggies

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Cheesy lentil bake (NEW), tossed salad

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit salad, veggies & dip

Saturday: Pizza & salad

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Green Onion Tip

Saw this online somewhere and thought I'd try it. Pure genius. Am I the only one who didn't know this?

Sure, green onions are cheap at the store and free in your garden, but in the winter this is going to come in really handy. I often want to throw in some green onions into dishes for a little flavour but usually don't have them on hand since they go wilty so quickly.

Here's what you do:

After using your green onions, keep the roots & white parts (with a little green still), stick them in a glass of water in a sunny place and watch them grow. You can snip them any time and they'll just keep coming back. Change the water occasionally. I've had mine going and using it here and there for about a month now! They grow back super quickly, too!

Growing Home

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chef's Salad

This is a delicious, healthy salad. It makes a fantastic lunch and can easily be adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand.

Chef's Salad - serves 1 as a main

6 romaine leaves (sub in any greens you like)
6 baby carrots, cut into match sticks
1/4 cup cooked cold peas
1 hard boiled egg, sliced
handful of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp chopped green onions
2-3 slices of deli turkey breast, diced

Dressing: (makes more than you need)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp minced chives or green onions
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Whisk together. Add 1-2 tbsp to salad and toss. Save extra in fridge for up to 1 week.

Growing Home
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