Monday, December 30, 2013

Menu Plan Monday & Update

This next week is looking like it will be another busy one for us. We had a fun week last week with all of our family gatherings. We even used some of our Christmas/Birthday money to take a day trip to a near-by city for some family fun. Unfortunately, we have all been battling illness the past couple of weeks, but thankfully it is nothing too serious, just sore throat/sinus/head cold. Now that I'm nearly 34 weeks along, I am seeing my midwife more often. Last week I had another ultrasound, and we found out the gender of our baby. This was a real blessing as it has made this pregnancy seem a whole lot more real to me and has increased my excitement and anticipation, which is something I've kind of struggled with this time around. We are not planning on revealing the gender to anyone else, though :-).

 Panic is starting to set in a little bit since there are only a few more weeks to go and still so much left to do before the baby arrives. Here's what we are hoping to get done before baby's arrival in February:

* Switch Nathanael from his crib into a bed. Last night was the first night we followed through on this. It went fairly well, but he got up several times last night. He never made a peep though, so it was actually kind of cute when he toddled out of bed in a half-a-sleep state. Nap time today did not go quite a smoothly - I'm sure he got out at least 20 times before he finally crashed. This was a majorly frustrating process when we did this with Elianna, so I'm really hoping Nathanael's transition goes smoother...I think it will. They have quite different personalities ;-).
*Figure out room/bed arrangements for when baby arrives.(Right now we are hoping to temporarily move Nathanael into Elianna's room once he's learned to stay in his bed and then have the baby in our room for the first few weeks until we move baby into his/her own room (Currently Nathanael's room) until he/she sleeps through the night. After that, we will find more permanent arrangements, depending on baby's gender.)
*Freezer Meals, Massive Grocery Shopping Trip, & Menu Plans for January (& most of February)
*Purge & Organize Entire House- This is a big task we are trying to get done before baby's arrival. We have finished the main bathroom, cleaning closet, and most of the toys.
*Bring up the Baby Stuff (& Find Space for All of It)
*Decide on Baby Names - yep, running out of time and have barely even started this process.

This week we are getting cable tv hooked up (believe it or not, it's actually CHEAPER for us to get tv and have internet than to have just internet without tv. This is only because of a promo that is on right now. Doing this will save us approx $90 off our internet bill for the 6 months AND we will get free cable for 6 months because of the promo that's on right now. We will likely cancel cable after the 6 months are up (don't tell ;-) ). We are not big tv-watchers and usually just find things on the internet to watch, but we do like sports and will enjoy watching hockey while we have the channels.

 Tomorrow morning we are getting the cable hooked up, at lunch I have a midwife appointment & then in the afternoon I am getting a hair cut (I'm so excited to get my hair cut! It's been a LONG time since I've had a hair cut. I usually get mine done about twice a year.) We have a New Year's celebration happening in the evening. My family Christmas is this weekend since my brother and his wife are coming this week. I also need to book Nathanael to get his hair cut as it's getting long & shaggy. It will be a busy week.

Monday: Moroccan Lentil Soup for Lunch
           : Winger's Sticky Fingers copycat recipe, Fries, Salad for Supper (The sauce for the chicken fingers was SO good!)

Tuesday: Waldorf Salad & Tuna Sandwiches for Lunch
            : Leftover Morrocan Soup for Supper

Wednesday: Mac N' Cheese for Lunch, Carrot Sticks
                 Sweet & Sour Pork over Rice, Salad, Peas/Carrots

Thursday:  Leftovers for Lunch
                 Crockpot Curry Chicken & Rice, Steamed Broccoli

Friday: Leftovers for Lunch
           Family Supper

Saturday: Homemade Pizza & Salad

Sunday: Family Gathering

Monday, December 16, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

It's almost the time when I need to start filling my freezer full of meals for when the baby arrives. I plan to focus a lot more on freezer cooking after Christmas. I definitely found that having about 20 freezer meals or so on hand after Nathanael was born made my life a whole lot easier for the first 6 weeks.

Monday: Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole (make a large batch & freeze half), Salad

Tuesday: Special Homemade Pizza Night & Caesar Salad

Wednesday: Leftovers
                  *Make Cupcakes*

Thursday: Christmas Gathering

Friday: Easy Beef Taquitos, Veggies & Dip

SaturdayMoroccan Spiced Lentil Soup

Sunday: Christmas Gathering


Monday, December 9, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Lunch - Mac N' Cheese with Tomatoes, Beef on a Bun
             Supper - Spinach Lasagna (I assembled this last week, but we had more leftovers than I expected from other meals, so I kept it in the fridge to bake this week instead)

Tuesday: Lunch - Leftover Spinach Lasagna
              Supper - Borscht (using leftover roast beef given to us this weekend) & Biscuits

Wednesday: Lunch - Leftover Soup & Biscuits
                  Supper - Bean & Rice Burrito Bowls (This is a frugal meal I recently discovered, and my whole family really likes it. I don't exactly have a recipe for this, but basically this is what I do. I will make a pot of brown rice, thaw a container of black beans from the freezer from the big batch I made a few weeks ago, add salsa to the cooked rice and then let everyone add their own toppings. Toppings  include things like diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cilantro, lime juice, spices, sour cream, corn, cheese, diced avocado, etc. We just use whatever we happen to have on hand for toppings/flavour.)

Thursday: Lunch - Leftover Burrito Bowls
                Supper - Crockpot BBQ Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Veggies

Friday: Lunch - Leftovers or Grilled Cheese & Soup
          Supper - Leftover Buffet

Saturday: Lunch: Pancakes & Fruit
              Supper - Homemade Pizza, Veggies & Dip

Sunday: Loaded Nachos
            : Leftovers

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Help Me Find It - Sidewalk Prophets

When I turned on the internet radio today, this is the song that was playing. I had never heard it before, but the words express almost exactly what our family is going through and feeling right now. Of course it had this pregnant Mama bawling like a baby :-).

Monday, December 2, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

We did our huge monthly grocery trip this past weekend. This time my husband came along to help me, which made an exhausting 3 hours much more bearable. I am definitely finished with going alone for the rest of this pregnancy. Doing a monthly menu plan and a huge once a month trip is not really my preference, but it is saving us a lot of money in our grocery budget, so it will likely be the norm now.

Monday: Lunch -  Skillet Light Lasagna
             Supper - Cheeseburger Pie, Mashed Potatoes, Lettuce
*Brown extra ground beef for the freezer for Sunday's nachos*

Tuesday: Lunch - Sandwiches & Potato Soup
              Supper - Leftovers

Wednesday: Lunch - Tuna Sandwiches
                  Supper - Crockpot Curry Butter Chicken, Brown Rice, Mixed Veggies

Thursday: Lunch - Leftover Chicken Curry
               Supper - Spinach Lasagna (*make 2, 1 for freezer for after baby is born*) & Caesar Salad

Friday: Lunch - Leftovers
          Supper - Homemade Pizza, Carrots & Dip

Saturday: Lunch: Pancakes & Fruit
              Supper -  Leftover Pizza

Sunday: Loaded Nachos

Monday, November 25, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Steamed Carrots/Peas,

Tuesday: Leftovers &  Olive Garden Salad

Wednesday:  Moroccan Style Lentil & Chickpea Soup & Biscuits

Thursday:Chicken Stroganoff (adapting the recipe for the crockpot), Egg Noodles, Veggies

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Homemade Pizza & Salad

Sunday: Leftovers

On Friday night, I ended up making "Leftovers Soup" instead of pizza. I have really been trying to cut down on the amount of food thrown out, and on Friday night I had a bunch of random leftovers that needed to be used up. I had half a bag of expired (it had not gone bad yet) coleslaw mix, about 1/4 cup cooked taco meat, half of a cooked chicken breast, and about 1 cup of cooked brown rice. I had heard of others doing a similar thing and making soup with a bunch of random leftovers. So, I tossed that all together in a pot and added a can of diced tomatoes, spices, an onion, carrot, and a potato. It actually turned out really well and fed our family for 2 meals. It was nearly identical to hamburger vegetable soup, except it had a bit of chicken added as well. In the past, most of those leftovers would have likely been forgotten and tossed out.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

When There's Everything to Blog About....

My blog posts have been reduced to mostly menu plans lately. This isn't because I have nothing else to blog about. In fact, I have more to blog about these days than ever before. It's just that I'm not quite sure I want to lay it all out there for the whole world to read, which is why I haven't been blogging much lately. So much of what I have swirling around in my brain is just far too complicated and personal to write about on here. And I might as well forget trying to formulate my jumbled up thoughts and feelings in a way that is coherent and concise! - That is simply beyond my pregnant self's brain capacity these days :-).

We are nearly the time when another major decision will have to be made. Family and friends have been very supportive, which we are incredibly grateful for. It is nearly impossible, however, to explain just how stressful this whole ordeal has been. Whichever decision we end up making will have huge consequences for our family, whether it be financially, personally, or professionally. The past 6 months have been a roller coaster ride of emotions. One day I'll feel optimistic and we have some sort of logical, plan and a sense of the Lord's direction. Then, the next day we receive some news that throws us for a curve ball... neither a "no" nor a "yes" but rather has us shaking us heads in confusion, wondering, "Huh? What does that mean? Is that a no or a yes? Now what?"

Frankly, I'm a a bit of a mess. Here I am at 28 weeks pregnant, and other than the glaring signs that I am indeed pregnant, I haven't even had a chance to really think about the fact that I'm growing a baby, much less enjoy the thought. We live in a community where gossip spreads quickly and most people know of most everybody. I dread going to the grocery store or to the doctor's office because I'm bound to run into someone I know, and I just feel so awkward talking to people these days. I feel strongly the Lord reminding me to think "day by day" rather than think too much about the future. Over and over I read things like "Give us this day our daily bread", "Do not worry about tomorrow". Thinking about the future, even 1 month from now, overwhelms and paralyzes me. Some days it excites me, but mostly it overwhelms me.

We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5 

I do not think I have yet learned how to truly glory in tribulations or rejoice in suffering. Regardless of my feelings in the moment, God's Word tells me that trials are good for me. Thus, I will choose to believe it. My heart may deceive me, but His Word is truth.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Here's what we plan on eating this week:

Monday: Shipwreck Casserole, Peas, Tossed Salad

Tuesday: Dijon Chicken (Been on the menu for a few weeks, but I still haven't made it yet...), Asparagus, Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday: Katcha Korma (NEW- in crockpot) with Rice, Mixed Veggies

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Pizza & Veggies/Dip

Saturday:  Leftovers

Sunday: Cheeseburger Soup

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Menu Plan This Week

Last week, my menu was changed up a little bit because my Dad came over and surprised us with a rotisserie chicken, which was so nice. So, I ended up making a huge batch of chicken noodle soup with the bones/scraps and then shredding the rest of the meat and saving it for later use. Mennonite style chicken noodle soup is my absolute favourite way to make it, seasoned with onion, carrots, celery, ginger, star anise, peppercorns, salt, and cloves served with lots of fine egg noodles. The sour cream noodle bake was just okay. I probably wouldn't make it again. The Pizza Hut copycat recipe was pretty good and made a very thick, golden crust, but I will likely stick to my simpler pizza dough recipe for the most part. In an effort to keep this pregnancy weight gain to 40- 55 pounds instead of 60-75 pounds, which is where I'm heading if things don't change, I am trying to eat a bit healthier and use a few Trim Healthy Mama (THM) principles throughout the day even though I'm still eating off-plan most of the time. I'm aiming for 1 or 2 on-plan meals a day (S, E, or cross-over) and then trying to choose healthier snacks instead of my typical junk food choices.

Here's the plan for this week:

Monday: Cheeseburger Pie, Mashed Potatoes, & Tossed Salad (This was my first time making this, and my husband really liked it. He was surprised when I told him it was a THM recipe. I skipped the mashed potatoes to keep it "S").

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Dijon Chicken, Brown Rice, Tossed Salad, Steamed Asparagus

Thursday: BLT Sandwiches & Potato Wedges

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: Potato Soup & Biscuits

Sunday: Leftovers

Monday, November 4, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

It looks like winter has officially arrived. I am sure I would not miss winter if it never came :-).
I finished my monthly shopping trip this past weekend. It's always a huge, exhausting ordeal, but I'm glad it's over with for the month, and it is nice to have lots of fresh fruits & veggies in the house again.

Here's what our menu looks like this week:


Monday: Sour Cream Noodle Bake & Steamed Carrots (NEW) (don't tell my husband what's in this casserole...pretty sure he won't notice the sour cream and cottage cheese, but we'll see :-D)

Tuesday:  Leftovers

Wednesday: BLT's & Potato Wedges

Thursday: Dijon Chicken (NEW), Herbed Rice, & Steamed Asparagus

Friday: Pizza Hut Copycat Pan Pizza (NEW) & Caesar Salad

Saturday: Potato Soup & Favourite Baking Powder Biscuits

Sunday: Leftovers

Lunches This Week
Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup (modified this recipe slightly)
Vegetable Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (eat this 2 times for lunch this week)
Tuna Salad Sandwiches & Fresh Fruit
Cheese Quesadillas & Fresh Fruit & Veggies
Mac N' Cheese with Mixed Veggies

We eat very simple breakfasts. The kids usually have toast & fruit or a fruit smoothie. On Sundays, they have cereal & milk. Hubby usually has bread with jam every morning. I am the only one who likes to mix it up a bit more. My typical breakfast choices are scrambled eggs & cheese in a whole wheat tortilla, toast & fruit, a yogurt fruit smoothie, or oatmeal. On Saturday mornings, I usually make pancakes for the whole family.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Our Stance on Halloween

We don't celebrate Halloween. We don't even really acknowledge it, to be honest.  I get that there are plenty of people who disagree with our decision. I've examined the issue a few times and read various opinions on why it might be okay, why it's not okay, maybe some of it's okay, etc. When I examine what the Bible says about these kinds of issues, our family is convinced that it is not okay for us to partake in, and it cannot be sugar-coated.

This article is one of the best articles I've read regarding the subject:

10 Reasons I Kissed Halloween Goodbye

You may disagree with the article's reasons (though be sure you are disagreeing with the article rather than Scripture :-) ). I hesitate to even post anything about it as I'd kind of rather ignore it in some ways as it is so controversial and touchy for most people, but I decided to post it anyway because the article's reasons are so closely aligned to our family's reasons. I don't really want to get into a huge debate over it, but this is our view in case you are interested. And if you disagree....I'll still love you, anyway :-).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Funny Things Toddlers Say

Nathanael shared a tender moment with the vacuum cleaner today. After I finished vacuuming and was getting ready to put it away, he went up to the vacuum cleaner, hugged it and whispered,  "I love you. Goodbye."

Love that little monkey :-)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Menu Plan & Weekly Goals

Thank you all for your kind words & prayers. They are much appreciated :-). I am feeling significantly better now since being on antibiotics, which I don't love to be on, but are sometimes necessary.

Here's what we plan on eating this week:

Monday: Crockpot Ginger Beef & Veggies (NEW) over Rice

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Fluffy Meatloaf (NEW meatloaf recipe I'm trying) & Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Veggies

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Chili & Cornbread

Saturday: Homemade Pizza Night (NEW copy cat Pizza Hut Pizza recipe), Salad

Sunday: Leftovers

A few goals for the week:

1) No-TV Week for the Kiddos. Since we have been sick so much lately, the kids have been watching far more tv than I prefer. We are aiming for a completely tv-free week for them, at least from Monday through Friday. Hubby & I will still watch some tv...we hardly watch any tv as it is, so I don't think a no-tv week is really necessary for us.

2) Get to Bed on Time! This is one we really need to work on...we are night owls, but the lack of sleep is catching up with us in a nasty way. The goal is in bed by 10:30, which could be a challenge since lately our bedtime has been more around 12:30 to 1 am the past few weeks. Yikes.

 3) "Tomato Stake" the kids....aka....spend more time with them rather than shooing them off to do their own thing.

4) Bake 6 Loaves of Bread

5) Plan Menu & Grocery List for November. This is a huge monthly task that takes almost a day to complete since I'm building up my monthly menus and ingredient lists slowly. Doing this is definitely saving us money, though, so the time is worth it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013



I decided I needed to see a doctor today because I was feeling so much worse again last night and couldn't sleep due to coughing so much and feeling miserable, crashed on the couch all day today. Thankfully, I did go in this evening and will hopefully feel better soon now that I'm on antibiotics.

I probably shouldn't be writing this blog post right about now... mainly because I have been feeling incredibly discouraged and frustrated lately. I'm having a hard time seeing how everything will work out...trying to trust the Lord that it WILL, but honestly my faith is weak right now and my body feels like it's been through the ringer these past several weeks. It feels like one thing after another, and the stress just keeps multiplying. It's all getting to be a bit much.

Prayer is appreciated. For health, strength, and most of all, for greater faith.

Paul's secret to contentment in every circumstance? Christ strengthening him, thus allowing Paul to do all things, including being content, come what may.

11Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.…

P.S. Sorry to be such a pessimist, but I'm trying to keep it real without laying it all out there. Yep, feeling a little rough today. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Menu Plan

Sickness hit us again this weekend when I came down with a nasty virus of some sort. Sore throat, all over body aches, exhaustion, etc. So, I ended up spending most of Sunday and today sleeping and  recovering in bed. I'm pretty sure I'm on my way to feeling better now, though. I think both the kids also have it, but it doesn't seem to have affected them too badly yet. I'm pretty thankful for having some freezer meals on hand for times like this when I have no energy to cook.

Here's the meal plan for this week:

Monday: Hamburger Vegetable Soup from the freezer
              : Picked up fast food for supper since I was still feeling pretty crummy

Tuesday: Lasagna (from freezer) & Caesar Salad

Wednesday:  Leftovers

Thursday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Mennonite Style.  (This should hopefully boost our immune systems a bit. So tired of all this sickness in our house.)

Friday:  Pizza Hut Copycat Pizza, Veggies & Dip, Salad

Saturday:  Leftovers

Sunday:  Simple Sunday...sandwiches & soup

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Menu Plan and Today's Plan

After Elianna came down with a  sore throat and fever (again!) last Friday (and at a birthday party with a bunch of kids, too ), I think we are finally all fever-free and relatively healthy, at least for this morning. HA.

Yep, it was 3 weeks straight of illness for our family. Glad we're getting a break from sickness at the moment. Immediately after realizing she was sick again on Friday, I booked her a doctor's appointment for today, just in case it was strep or something nasty setting in after her nasty 2 week virus. Thankfully, it seems to be just a minor cold or something, so no doctor's visit necessary today:-).

For Sunday School this past Sunday, my hubby was asked to share his testimony of what God has been doing in our family's life lately, especially with regards to him leaving his job in the health care field. It was a bit nerve-wracking as there were A LOT of people in Sunday School this past week, many of whom were guests. We were covering an extremely touchy & controversial subject, so it was a bit difficult. It has only been very recently that we have been ready & willing to go into the entire "why" of him leaving his job, so it was a bit stretching for us as well.

Tuesday's Plan:
*Finish laundry for the week (and put it away!!)  - Kids' laundry & Towels/Bedding
*Do some school with Elianna (this is a review week of A, B, C, & D). This year I'm doing an eclectic mix of a bit from Heart of Dakota's Little Hands to Heaven Book (We did half the book last year, so I'm skipping parts here and there), Easy Peasy Getting Ready 1 (free online curriculum that works well with HOD), and Rod & Staff Preschool Workbooks.
*Make a lasagna to put in the freezer
* Tidy up the  basement (it's disastrous, at the moment)
*Tidy up master bedroom (it's also disastrous and in desperate need of some organizing/purging/cleaning. THIS is my main project for the week...some serious work needed in here. Who am I kidding? My entire house is disastrously unorganized and in need of serious work). I had hopes of one room per day this week, but that's far too lofty of a goal. SO, I'm aiming for 1 room per week now.)
*Find 5 things to either sell or donate
*Spend at least 20 minutes outside playing with the kids
*30 minutes of exercise after kids are in bed
*Go to bed with the house more or less picked up
*Be in bed by 11 pm tonight. Take some time to relax, read my Bible, & read from another book

This week's menu plan is going to be very, very simple. I am hoping to get a few projects accomplished during the week, so I don't want to be spending too much time in the kitchen. Otherwise, it's guaranteed I won't get any of my little projects done.

Here's what we'll be eating this week:

Monday:     Lunch: Hamburger Vegetable Soup (I made a giant pot, so we can eat lots of leftovers this week and freeze some)
                    Supper: Homemade Pizza (Seriously, I cannot get enough pizza this pregnancy. One night at 11 pm I was craving pizza SO badly, but I managed to resist the craving.).

Tuesday:     Lunch:  Leftover Hamburger Vegetable Soup
                   Supper: Asian Salad with Salmon Cakes

Wednesday: Lunch: Greek Salad
                    Supper: Hamburger Vegetable Soup (again!)

Thursday:  Lunch: Omelets & Fruit
                 Supper: Simple Stir Fry Veggies & Rice

Friday:     Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches
                Supper: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Saturday: Lunch: Mac N' Cheese with Tomatoes
                 Supper: TBD

Sunday: TBD (possibly Potato Soup or picking up some fast food)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan

Monday: Easy Chicken & Rice Tacos

Tuesday: Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole & Steamed Carrots

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Crockpot Steak & Mushrooms, Mashed Potatoes, Salad

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Homemade Pizza

Sunday: Hamburger Vegetable Soup

Friday, October 4, 2013


After a trip to the ER on Tuesday when Elianna's fever reached 104.7 and she was in lots of pain, we were told she had a bacterial infection, possibly bladder or kidney, though the doctor wasn't sure. On Wednesday, she was still very sick and in lots of pain with a high fever. We took her to her pediatrician on Wednesday evening to follow-up, and he looked at her blood test results and examined her. He disagreed with what the ER doctor told us and thought the blood work pointed to a nasty virus with the small possibility of a bacterial infection (such as strep) just beginning. He advised that we wait until Thursday evening before starting antibiotics, and if she hadn't improved by then, then we would start antibiotics. Turns out that Thursday morning, she woke up with no fever! Today she is still doing well and seems to be over it. Unfortunately, Nathanael's fever started last night and he is now sick :-(. It's been a long 2 weeks of sickness in our house. I'm really hoping and praying that I do not catch this nasty virus as high fevers can be dangerous in pregnancy, and there isn't much you can take in pregnancy. I'm starting to feel nasty again and hoping it's just from being worn out taking care of sick kiddos for the past 2 weeks and not the start of this virus going around here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sick Little Girl

Please pray for Elianna. I wasn't planning on taking her to the doctor until today, but yesterday she worsened significantly and spiked a fever of 104.7 F and was in a lot of pain. So, we ended up taking her in yesterday and going through blood tests and things. The doctor couldn't find any visible signs of infection (no throat, ear, chest infection), but her blood tests showed there is definitely a bacterial infection somewhere in her body, along with a few other abnormalities in her blood. There's a small possibility of bladder or kidney infection, but they really don't know for sure. I'm plain old exhausted from the past 10 days of sickness in our household and have been up in the night with my poor sweetie every night. I am also very stressed. Seeing your kids in pain and being very sick is hard. Not having an answer yet and going on day 10 of fevers on and off and day 4 of constant high fevers is fairly concerning. My husband and I are both going on very, very little sleep these days. This evening she will see her pediatrician who will hopefully figure out what's going on with her and where the infection is. This morning, she didn't want to even walk, her legs were hurting so badly. She also is complaining of stomach pain.
Thanks for praying,

Monday, September 30, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

I thought the kids were over this crazy flu virus a few days ago, but then Elianna suddenly spiked a fever again Saturday night and coughed so hard she threw up twice :-(.  I felt very miserable last week but am definitely feeling much better today, thankfully. We debated whether or not to take Elianna to the doctor yesterday but decided to wait it out a few more days. I have a suspicion that she may have developed an ear infection or a secondary infection as she was healthy for a few days and then suddenly spiked a fever again. Today she still had a fever for part of the day, though she didn't really seem very sick other than complaining about her ear hurting and her legs hurting. I did book her an appointment with her pediatrician for later this week in case she isn't better in the next day or two. She has been sick on an off for over a week now. Having sick kiddos is always so hard to deal with, and I can't help but have the worst case scenario in the back of my mind any time Elianna is having fevers that come and go for over a week and is complaining about having pain. I'm so grateful for her doctor whom I trust and also knows her medical history.

I spent a good part of the weekend developing  my menu plan for October, planning my grocery list, and going through the flyers in order to price match when I go grocery shopping. I was hoping to go tonight, but it just didn't work out. I'll get there in the next day or two, though. The once a month shopping thing is working fairly well, but I HAVE to go grocery shopping alone now without the kids along. There is just no way I can do a whole month's worth of shopping and fit 2 kids in the cart. Besides that, it's a 2 hour or more ordeal and completely tires me out by the end. I can't imagine how impatient and tired the kids would be after 2++ hours of grocery shopping :-).

On a side note, I actually exercised for the first time in a very, very long time today. It was only 30 minutes of brisk walking, but it's a start. I'd like to aim for 60 minutes a day of walking. I'm so very discouraged by the amount of weight I've already put on this pregnancy. I'm only 21 weeks along and I'm already at the weight I had hoped to be at when I will be 40 weeks. If things don't change, I will definitely be looking at 60-80 pounds to lose post-baby. No guarantee the exercise and attempt at eating better will help, but I will give it my best shot.

We have a busy weekend coming up with tons of extended family coming this way for a reunion / birthday celebration for my Grandpa's 80th birthday. I haven't seen many of my aunt, uncles, cousins for years, so it should be a busy, fun weekend. The kids will have lot of cousins to play with. I am really hoping we will all be completely over this flu bug by then.

Here's the plan for this week:

Monday: Crockpot Beef & Broccoli over Brown Jasmine Rice

Tuesday: Spaghetti & Meat Sauce, Caesar Salad

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Hamburger Vegetable Soup & Biscuits

Friday: Eating with family

Saturday: Eating with family

Sunday: Egg Salad Sandwiches

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Menu Plan for This Week

I'm a little late menu planning for this week. Better late than never :-). Like I predicted yesterday, our house has been hit with a cold/flu bug. Both kids were feeling pretty miserable in the night last night and are having a relaxing "movie" day today. Elianna is drinking plenty of honey lemon tea (her favourite!), and Nathanael had a 3 HOUR nap this afternoon (that is unheard of for him...poor guy must be worn out. Glad he's getting lots of rest, though!). I'm actually feeling pretty good today. Last night my throat was sore, but I drank a huge mug of tea and am feeling fine today. My latest pregnancy craving is FLAVOUR bland foods for me over here. I also have had a thing for rice this entire pregnancy.

Monday: Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala over Rice (a family fave, though this batch was pretty spicy, so I fed the kids some leftover beef we had in the fridge with rice and veggies). 

Tuesday: Greek Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing for Me
               Leftover Pizza from Lunch for Hubby (I packed him supper to take along this evening since he went to help with harvest after work before it rains tonight). (Kids are feeling miserable and don't have much of an appetite, so I kinda let them munch on snacks  and drink tea for the day. Elianna had cucumbers and dip for supper.)

Wednesday: Leftover Chicken Tikka Masala & Rice

Thursday: Potato & Ham Chowder in Bread Bowls

Friday: Homemade Pizza Night & Caesar Salad

Saturday: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies

Sunday: Leftovers

Monday, September 23, 2013

God's Hand of Protection, His Faithfulness, & Other Thoughts

For those of you who are wondering, the future is still very uncertain for us. Of course, we know the One who IS certain, and that does make a huge difference :-). My husband has a job that will take us through most of December, which we are very grateful for. We have absolutely no clue where we will be after that. Right now we are praying through whether or not my husband should leave his field of work behind completely or if he should perhaps still use his training/knowledge but just in a different area than what he was doing before. There are a few people who have heard the full story of "why" he left his job. Let me just say that there is a cost to being a Christian, and sometimes the Lord works in our hearts slowly over time to reveal something. We must hold everything with an open hand. At the immediate time of him leaving his job, we were not entirely ready or prepared to give the full story. Slowly, and as the Lord leads us, we are sharing how the Lord showed us over the past year that my husband needed to leave his career.

For those of you who are really wondering...a huge part of the decision was our strong pro-life beliefs.  (And for those of you who don't know our family personally,  NO he did not work in an abortion clinic or for Planned Parenthood or anything like that! There are several Christians in his field of work and the issue at hand has been hotly debated, even among Christian pro-lifers. We examined TONS of arguments, studies, and evidence from both sides, in addition to much prayer and seeking the Lord on the issue before being led to our decision.). When temptations and doubt come (and they certainly have), it is important for me to remember the many ways the Lord spoke so clearly before we made the huge decision. Going back to that helps me fight the temptations. Specifically, the billboard that we saw in the most unexpected way/ the most critical time in one of our discussions. It said "Protect the Rights of the Unborn." There is not a doubt in my mind that the Lord used that to speak to my husband and I. This was on a road we NEVER take, were not planning on taking, and the timing of it all was just incredible in light of the discussion my husband and I were having. I don't even remember seeing any other billboard on that road as I was focused on an intense discussion with my husband...not on looking out the window! (That is just one of the many ways the Lord spoke to us...of course much scripture was used, as well as many other ways).

 I am not going to pretend that life has been all roses lately because it certainly has had its challenges. I have been struggling with depression & doubt, and my faith is being stretched daily. I suppose I should really have expected trials & temptations to come following our decision. I can say I can honestly feel the spiritual attack many days. There are nights where I feel like I am drowning in tears. I have not experienced anything close to that since the trials we had when our daughter was seriously sick 3 years ago. My body feels like it's been falling apart lately as I have had tendinitis in my shoulders, pain in my back and hips, and horrible headaches (likely related to this pregnancy :-) ). I am about half-way through this pregnancy and am looking forward to the end and holding my sweet baby, though it seems to be so far away still!

 Last week, as I was walking with my kids, I was literally a few steps away from being struck by a speeding car at a pedestrian crossing. I had begun crossing the street with my two kids at a major pedestrian crosswalk with no cars in sight other a truck who was waiting for us to cross. When I was half-way through the crosswalk (in the middle of the road), a car came speeding right through the intersection, literally steps in front of me. It was a young person driving, and it looked to me like he/she had his/her head looking down, perhaps texting or doing something else....I really can't be sure. I am fairly certain she never even saw me at all, even after. Until you've had your life literally flash before your eyes, you don't really know what it feels like. Part of me feels like I stood in the middle of the road, watching that car approach for 5 minutes and the other part of me feels like it all happened in a split second. I found out later that a friend of my mother-in-law actually witnessed our near-miss (she was in the truck that was waiting for us to cross). I am incredibly thankful that I was holding my daughter's hand at the time and that she was not in front of me. I was also pulling my son in the wagon behind me instead of pushing him in a stroller like I usually do. Thank the Lord I was not pushing a stroller in front of me.. I do not even want to think about what could have been...Thank the LORD for His protection. He is truly sovereign and knows the beginning from the end.

That scary experience was an incredible reminder of the Lord's sovereign hand in my life. Another positive thing that came out of that experience was a huge reminder as to my purpose here. Part of this depression thing is Satan trying to convince me that I have no real purpose, am a failure at everything, and am useless. That is a lie: I am here for my kids & for my husband, and ultimately, for the glory of God. Every day that He gives me breath is a gift. In an instant, He may call me home. One can never assume to be here on earth tomorrow or to have another chance to hug your loved ones. When lies come from Satan, I must fight them with the Word of God. Jesus is Lord of my life and HE is the reason I am serve Him...and right now, a huge part of serving Him is serving my family & raising my kids in His ways. That is a very important purpose, though the Devil has tried to convince me otherwise.

After what was a rather difficult week, we were greatly encouraged this past Sunday at church. I cannot tell you how grateful we are for the fellowship of believers.  It has been somewhat surprising to us that many people "get it"...why my husband left his job. I know there are still those who think we are just crazy and others who don't really get it (but are encouraging, nonetheless), but there are also those who truly do understand and support our decision. This past Sunday, one of our church elders and his wife shared some encouraging words with us regarding our recent decision. It was truly the encouragement we needed at the right time, and we thank God for using them to encourage us.

This week will be a busy one. I feel as though I'm coming down with a touch of the flu or something. I noticed Nathanael sounded very hoarse today, so I'm suspecting he may be coming down with something also. I had a rough start to the day today but ended it with reading plenty of books to my little ones, cuddled up on the couch with them. Nathanael has just started saying "I love you" and though he can be incredibly mischievous, he is one sweet little boy who loves giving hugs and kisses. I cannot believe how quickly Elianna is growing up. She is a delight to have around and always is coming up with things to keep me laughing. Her imagination is alive and well and she is also incredibly affectionate, still loving to come snuggle up with me.

I sometimes think of what our family is going through as a chapter in the story of our life (though that doesn't seem quite I know my life is not about MY story but about HIS story, the one already written. My life is for HIS glory, not my own.) I do not know what the next page will read. I don't even know how many pages are in this chapter or in the entire story. I do, however, know that God is faithful. That is written on every page, on every line, and if I would only open my eyes and trust Him for who He is, I wouldn't have to wait until the end of this chapter or the end of the story to read this.

It is not just that He WAS faithful (and He was!) or that He WILL be faithful (and He will!) is that He IS faithful. Today. In this moment. In this chapter in my life. On this page in my life. On this line.
Thank You Jesus for being faithful.

How truly blessed I am. I love my family more than words can say and I serve the living, faithful Savior. :-).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

I had a really great day today :-). It was our first official day of homeschooling, and despite not feeling "ready" to start, I jumped in anyway, and it turned out to be a very fun, productive day for our whole family. The last week was a bit of a rough one for me as I have been having trouble with my right shoulder. On Wednesday I couldn't even move my arm to brush my hair or do the very basic tasks, so I finally went to the doctor and found out I have tendinitis in my shoulder. I'm supposed to go to physiotherapy to improve it, but it has improved a bit since seeing the doctor, so I'm praying it will get better on it's own without physio. Pregnancy always seems to bring horrible headaches in my second trimester, and the last few days I have been fighting headaches verging on migraines. Today, though, I felt awesome and had no headache, which was a huge blessing, and helped me get many things accomplished today. I'm hoping the enthusiasm Elianna (and I!) had today will carry through the rest of the year. She is only K4 age, so "school" is really not overly serious or stressful. It feels a lot more like playing all day, which is what I think K4 should be like. We are really trying to get more into a routine/rhythm to help our days go more smoothly, though. I hope to post more on our homeschooling plans in the next week or two.

Here's our menu plan for this week:

Monday:      Lunch: Skillet Light Lasagna
                  Supper: Gaucho Casserole, Veggies & Dip

Tuesday:     Lunch: Leftovers
                 Supper: BLT's and Fries

Wednesday: Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches & Fruit
                  Supper: Crockpot Pomegranate Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Veggies

Thursday: Lunch: Mac N' Cheese & Tomatoes
               Supper: Leftovers

Friday:     Lunch:  Soup
                Supper: Pizza & Salad

Saturday: Lunch: Leftovers
               Supper: BBQ Steak, Baked Potatoes, Salad

Sunday:  Lunch: Frozen Dinners or Out to Eat
              Supper: Potato Soup & Biscuits

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hodge Podge of Things

Life has been "interesting" lately. I was going to type life has been "difficult" lately, but honestly "difficult" is such a relative term. "Difficult" compared to what it was like months ago, yes. Difficult compared to a family grieving the loss of a loved one, struggling to put a roof over their heads, etc., etc..., no. Moving on...

These days I feel like I'm just holding on by a thread. What frustrates me the most is that there is no apparent reason for this and I have not yet figured out the remedy. Definitely thankfulness for my blessings, prayer, and reading God's Word help me get through the day and keep me feeling hopeful, but I still haven't been able to completely "cure" the fragile feelings I've been dealing with lately. Certainly our family is in a time of transition, but things are not "that bad", so I'm finding myself frustrated with the fact that I feel so fragile these days. Our current situation is that we are still waiting to hear about a job my husband applied for way back in May. I have come to realize that I am not a very patient person. In the meantime, he is working on the farm for our parents. I am trying not to think too much about where we will be in the next few months as that is very much up in the air right now. The options right now range from getting this job we are waiting to hear about and staying where we are (most comfortable option), moving and going back to university (not quite so comfortable), getting a different job and moving *anywhere* in the country (completely uncomfortable option).

The summer is flying by, even though most days feel as though they are dragging on. It saddens me to think that I have spent most of my summer wasting time stressing instead of enjoying it to its fullest. This is partly why we are planning on taking the kids "camping" at our parents' farm for a night or two. I honestly need to get away from my house, the constant mess & stress, and take some time to just have fun with my kids...all without spending much money on an expensive trip.

I am now 15 weeks along and have my first midwife appointment this week. This pregnancy has been an "interesting" one for me as I feel ridiculously more emotional this time around. Also, my head is in a constant fog and I honestly would spend all day sleeping if I could. It seems as though my energy is completely gone. I am hoping that will improve soon as feeling constantly fatigued and sleepy is difficult with 2 young ones under foot. One of the things that comes along with pregnancy for me is very nasty headaches. I never, ever had a migraine until I was pregnant with Elianna. I rarely get headaches when I'm not pregnant, but now I have one nearly constantly. I have felt very unlike myself this time, and the only way I can seem to describe it to my husband is that I feel like I'm just a shell, wandering around. Sounds sad, I know, but that's the best way to describe this fog I feel like I'm constantly in. I have heard that the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy can sometimes cause depression and what not, so perhaps that, along with the stage of life we are in, is contributing to my "hanging on by a thread" feeling.

Despite the mess I feel like, I am grateful to still be able to smile and laugh throughout the day. Nathanael is talking so much more lately, and the most adorable thing in the world is when he says "okay, Mama". The kids seem to go through phases of fighting and getting along, but lately they have been playing well together overall and now that they can "communicate", it's really the sweetest thing to watch. Oh yes, there are moments of squabbles, but more often than not, they are loving on each other in the cutest way. Nathanael was sick this week, and Elianna kept talking about her "poor little friend" and asking him to come snuggle on the couch with her so she could watch a movie or "read" some books to him.

I still have hopes of starting Pre-K homeschool soon, but I really thought I'd be further along in getting my act together than I have been. I'm trying to show myself grace when I don't get as much done as I hope to these days.

I did have a stroke of genius today and saved myself a lot of time in the kitchen. With our stricter grocery budget comes more making things from scratch (baking, yogurt, etc.). I had planned on making bread, buns, and muffins this week. I was making my usual recipe for buns (makes about 5 dozen), which is a very easy recipe, when the thought occurred to me to make buns, bread, and cinnamon rolls from that one batch of dough. I really didn't need 5 dozen buns, so instead I made 2 dozen buns, one pan of cinnamon rolls, and 2 loaves of bread. Yes...I sure do love my convection oven - what a time saver! I wasn't sure exactly how they would all turn out, but everything turned out well except for one loaf of bread that fell a bit in the oven. I'm glad to have most of the baking over with for the week now, and muffins are very quick to whip up, without much mess involved.

With the baking extravaganza over, my kitchen is now a disaster. My goal is to make a quick supper for me and the kiddos (probably just some pizza buns & veggies & dip) and then finish my cleaning/laundry marathon before the kiddos get to bed. I'm aiming for a quiet evening and an early bedtime tonight :-)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

We are really trying to avoid the grocery store as much as possible this month. I did one huge shopping trip at the beginning of the month and am pretty sure we will make it till the end of August with only one more small trip to pick up some more milk & eggs.

We are on a bit of an adventure right now as the job my husband had accepted (since leaving his career) didn't really work out. It just wasn't exactly as he was told it would be, so we thought it best to move on. Now he is working on the farm for his dad until we hear about one other job he had applied for back in May. The job process for that position is very long with multiple steps. He passed everything so far (essay, exam, interview), but we have no idea what his chances are or where he ranks in the process. We are praying we hear soon about that job as we would ideally like to start school this September if he doesn't get this job. Our preference is definitely NOT to go to school, but whether or not this is the Lord's plan for us is uncertain right now. Time is quickly running out...and yes, I am getting nervous about the possibility of huge changes in the next few weeks, but I'm just trying to be patient and trust the Lord.

Yesterday we heard a very challenging and encouraging message in church. It was definitely a message I needed to there is a cost in following the Lord and we need to be willing to hold everything with an open hand, should the Lord ask for it. This includes money, our job, our kids, and everything else. Though I still have moments of doubt and worry, I do know that it became clear the Lord asked my husband to give up his job.
It will be very interesting to see where we end up in September....

Here's our menu plan for the week:

Sunday: Lunch after church at my in-laws
           : Pancakes with fruit and whipped cream for supper (we were in a hurry!)

Monday: BLT's and fries

Tuesday: Fettuccine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken, Caesar Salad

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Fluffy Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies (from the garden)

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Homemade Pizza

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Huge Change #2

Snacking on rice & Bragg's soy sauce at 11:30 p.m.

Drinking lemonade slushies like there's no tomorrow.

Napping, napping, and more napping.

Keeping a giant peppermint stash in my purse...just in case.

Zucchini & chocolate chip cookies

Zucchini fries

Fried zucchini & onions.

Did I mention zucchini?

These things can only mean one thing, people.

Yep, I'm pregnant :-). 

Baby #3.... expected mid February 2014.

Now, please excuse me while I go make myself some coleslaw for a late-night snack :-).

Monday, July 29, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Menu planning is an important part of sticking to a grocery budget. August marks the beginning of a stricter grocery budget for our family, and I'm determined to figure out some ways to cut our grocery bill back.  I came across the blog Blissful and Domestic, which has lots of great frugal tips and menus. It sounds like once a month grocery shopping can help cut save quite a bit; I did try this in the past, but I didn't find that it worked very well for us. I am thinking about giving it another try, though. To make the once a month thing work, you freeze some of the produce and dairy and use up perishables in a strategic order. Right now I'm working on a month long menu plan for August to help me plan for my big grocery trip.

Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday: Lunch: Leftover Sweet & Sour Chicken & Rice
             Supper: Spaghetti with Mushrooms & Tomatoes in a Pesto Cream Sauce,  Homemade Artisan Bread

Monday: Chili & Cornbread
*Brown 3 pounds of hamburger: Use 2 lbs for chili & 1 lb to brown and  freeze for Shepherd's Pie later in the week*

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Spinach Lasagna & 5 Minute Artisan Bread

Thursday: Crockpot BBQ Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Veggies from the garden
*make extra chicken for pizza next week* *make extra potatoes for shepherd's pie*

Friday: Salmon Broccoli Loaf, Leftover Potatoes, Tossed Salad

Saturday: Shepherd's Pie, Tossed Salad, Artisan Bread

Many of these recipes are new. I'll try to add the ones that are keepers to my recipe index once I've tried them :-). Today is a big day for us since it's hubby's first day at his new job. First days are always nerve-wracking because you don't really know what to expect. Hopefully it goes well for him!  

*Linking up to Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

HUGE Changes for Our Family-Part 1

Life has been absolutely insane around here for the past few months. I haven't been able to blog much because all of our latest "news" has not been shared with anyone except for with our very close family. I will spare you some of the details, for privacy reasons, but I think it's safe for me to start sharing a bit of what's been happening in our life lately.

For those of you who know me in real life but haven't talked to me lately, the following news might come as a complete surprise to you.

After over a year of praying and waiting on the Lord for direction, it recently became very clear that it was time for my husband to leave his career in health care behind and do something new. This is BIG for our family as my husband had a pretty established career in the health field...he was in a specific field that was very competitive to get into for school and then took 5 years of intense university (my smart hubby finished in 5 years, but many take more). This change is going to affect our family in many ways, and the next year or so will be very interesting as the Lord works out the details of our "new normal."

Now to answer a few questions that I know you are likely asking...

Are you moving? Probably not in the near future.
What is he doing now? It's looking like he is going to be working for now at a completely different job from what he has been doing. Talk to me in person about this if you know me in real life. Then I can tell you exactly where he is working :-).

I wish I could share absolutely everything with you all, but I have to be wise and leave out some details for privacy reasons. With my husband's permission, I hope to explain a bit of the "why" he left his career in the next few months.

Times are exciting for us and a little bit scary...but mostly exciting. I have to admit that I do have moments of anxiety here and there, but the months leading up to the point of decision were far more stressful than what's happening right now.
There is no safer and no better place to be than in the will of God.
We are certain this is His will and have complete peace that He will work it all out. :-)

I just have to take a moment to share that my husband is beyond courageous for making this huge decision. From a worldly perspective, he is giving up a lot by leaving his career because the world would say we "had it all", so to speak. Many people are not going to understand. And in a worldly sense, this is the death of a dream for us...a dream that we now realize is not God's plan for us. For me, one of the hardest parts of all this was coming to terms with the fact that life is going to look different from what I thought it would look - I had thought we were "settled", if you know what I mean! Knowing how ridiculously hard my husband worked to get through and excel at his university studies... and now leaving that all behind... is perhaps the hardest part. This change is also a financial sacrifice. Frugality is going to become more of a necessity instead of a hobby for me :-). (I sure am glad I recently discovered price matching!).  Money and riches and a big fancy house are not biblical reasons/motivators to stay in something that the Lord is leading us away from.

So, our prayer is not for our selfish dreams to come true but that the Lord would put HIS desires within our heart so that HIS desires for our life would take over...would permeate our heart and become our desires...that we would be willing to sacrifice the fleeting things of this world for the treasures of heaven. Sometimes God may call us to do something...but it might only be for a season. Our job is simply to be faithful and obedient. I am unbelievably blessed to be married to a man who desires to follow the Lord no matter the cost and no matter what others may say.

In the next week or so, I will be sharing Part 2, which is another HUGE change for us...on top of all this. I am also considering sharing more details regarding how God made it clear what we were to do and a few more "whys" as to our decision.

Sometimes when crazy happens, it happens all at once...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Quick Update

Thank you for all your kind comments and understanding. Just checking in quickly to let you all know Elianna is feeling quite a bit better. I am still sick but feeling like I'm *hopefully* on the mend. Hubby feels a bit sick but is able to work still.

I had to take Nathanael back to the doctor today, even though he saw a walk-in doctor 5 days ago. Poor little guy has been miserable the last few days and his cough was absolutely awful and worsening. I was starting to get worried as he really didn't sound or look good. Thankfully, I could get him in to see his regular pediatrician tonight. Turns out he has pneunomia in both lungs. Hopefully he will get better quickly, now that he is on antibiotics.

Thanks for your concern & prayers, friends :-).

Saturday, May 25, 2013


....when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2

Friends, I have been feeling overwhelmed lately. 
This has been a rough week. Health-wise, I am sick with a nasty head/sinus cold. Elianna has tonsilitis, and Nathanael is coughing like crazy. Tomorrow I am in charge of the music at church and am not quite sure how that will work out with this awful sinus thing I have right now. 

Everyone knows there are seasons of life where one starts to feel overwhelmed. Day-to-day activities just don't seem to go well, and though I am busy every minute of the day, there seems to be little to show for it. For example, yesterday I started making pizza for supper. What normally would take me only 20 minutes or so of prep time ended up taking 1 1/2 hours. Supper was rather late and I was rather exhausted by the time all was said and done. There just seems to be a lot going on right now.

While writing these things, I am keenly aware, however, of how minuscule my "problems" are compared to those of many people. I am suddenly convicted that my "problems" are actually things for which to give thanks. 


Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. From 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Perhaps what I need most of all is an attitude adjustment. 

I know you will understand that I need to take a break from the blog for awhile while I sort things out on the home-front :-)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Menu Plan, Spring Projects, What's New

We are currently working on lots of little projects around the house and yard.

The other week we (and by "we", I really mean my husband...I keep the kidlets occupied!) got a big chunk of our fence stained and stained the deck. There is just a small part of our fence left to stain. A few summers ago, we put one coat of stain on our fence but didn't get around to doing the second coat until now.

Our main bathroom is also getting a small facelift. We took part of the medicine cabinet out, sanded it down as it was rusty inside and gave it a fresh coat of paint. We are also getting ready to paint it Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. It is currently a neutral beige-y colour, and it will soon be turning gray :-). I think some black accents will look good in it once it's repainted.

Our other project currently on the go is painting our garage. My husband finished scraping and priming one side already, and we work on it here and there in the evenings while the kids play outside. We hope to get it finished in the next couple of weeks.

This year we are going to focus our attention more on our front yard landscaping. I am one awful this will be a steep learning curve for me. Our front flower beds look quite pathetic and need a lot of help. Hopefully I will be flower shopping in the next couple of weeks. I honestly know next-to-nothing when it comes to flowers & gardening.

Yesterday we roto tilled our garden area, and today Elianna and I planted our garden. I forgot to start tomato & pepper plants (again!), so I will have to wait until I can buy a few plants at the garden centre in the next week or so. I planted peas, green beans, corn, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, and lettuce. I left room to add roma & cherry tomato plants and maybe a pepper plant or two. Hopefully I'll be more diligent about weeding it and freezing the produce this time around.

With all the spring projects going on lately, there is little time for blogging, it seems. I have, however, been into reading books a lot more lately. I finished Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot today. Wow... one of the best I've read. I really enjoy missionary/Christian biography-type books. I'm definitely a non-fiction gal. This book contained several journal entries from the 5 men who went to Ecuador to reach the Auca (they are no longer referred to as "Auca" tribe with the gospel in the 1950s. The 5 young men were killed by the members of the Auca tribe. Some of the killers actually converted a couple years later...amazing, amazing story that only God could work. This is a must-read, in my opinion. It will challenge you, I guarantee it.

I've switched our days over to "theme" days, which is working well. Mondays - laundry, Tuesdays - kitchen, etc. I haven't quite got it all figured out with regard to our daily routines, though. I am kind of hit and miss on the chore chart thing with Elianna. I just need to get more organized and stick to it....and beat the clutter monster....ugh.

Here is what our menu looks like for this week:

Monday: Crockpot Mongolian Beef, Rice, Broccoli/Mushrooms

Tuesday: Pancakes topped with strawberries, turkey bacon, & omelets

Wednesday: Leftover Mongolian beef, rice, veggies

Thursday: Crockpot Steak Fajitas  (we will eat them in pitas since that's what I have on hand)

Friday: Homemade Pizza, Veggies & Dip

Saturday: Leftovers or Easy Homemade Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Sunday: to be determined...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Menu Plan

I'm a little late posting my menu plan this week. We have been enjoying the nice weather SO much this week. The kids are loving being outside, and I am happy to sit on my deck sipping a homemade frappe. Soon it will be time for us to plant our garden. I also need to do a bit of work on our flower beds. I am not much of a gardener....I wish I was :-)

Sunday: Barbecued Hamburgers

Monday: Perogie Casserole (with leftover ham in freezer) & Green Salad

Tuesday: BLT's & Veggies/Dip

Wednesday: Crockpot Whole Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Veggies

Thursday: Sweet & Tangy BBQ Chicken Coleslaw Wraps (using leftover chicken)

Friday: Parmesan Tilapia (still haven't gotten around to making this!), Rice, Salad

Saturday: Homemade Pizza

Sunday: Leftovers

Friday, May 3, 2013

THM - Week 4

I am leaving my THM ways least for awhile. I did my 4 week trial period and only lost 1.8 lbs.  I still really want to read the book to read the 600+ pages of nutrition/hormone information. However, the truth is that at this point in my life, following this specialized way of eating is just not a priority for me. I am so happy for those who have had great success with the program and are not feeling deprived. I get that it works when followed; that doesn't surprise me. That is fantastic! I am not speaking against THM - I've just decided not to make THM way of eating a priority for me right now.

I am still applying a few THM principles to my eating habits, but most meals from now on are going to be crossovers. For the most part, I will not worry about keeping fats & carbs separate. I will allow myself to eat anything I want but try to do it in moderation and focus on nutrient-rich foods. I *need* to start exercising regularly again. I also plan to keep a food/exercise journal for awhile...not calorie counting, but just seeing that I'm eating a balanced diet and not a bunch of junk food. That is what worked for me to get to a healthy weight in the past and maintain it for well over a year before I got pregnant with Nathanael.
Moderation is something I can do long-term and apply in any situation.
I happily ate a scoop of ice cream with strawberries last night. I had a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and honey for breakfast and the cottage berry whip for a late morning "snack" this morning. Wow...I sure did miss my pb & honey toast :-).
Best of luck to my THM friends - I may come back to follow the plan in the future; it certainly intrigues me. However, I think I need to at least wait until I get the book or see a decline in my health before I give it a go again.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - THM Friendly

Wow....what a blessed weekend we had! The weather was beautiful and we had a busy, but fun-filled weekend spent with friends and family. On Friday, a friend called and came over for lunch and spent the afternoon here with her three little girls. We chatted away while our kiddos played together outside in our backyard. It was so refreshing and nice to have a relaxing afternoon visiting in the beautiful weather, chatting about home schooling and things.

On Saturday we attended a surprise 50th birthday party for a family friend and were able to catch up with some old friends we don't get to see very often. We had a good meal and then enjoyed eating cake, which my sister-in-law had decorated so nicely (she is very talented at cake decorating and party planning!)

Then Sunday we went to Sunday School and attended church. After church, we had lunch and an afternoon of fellowship with some friends, and we played Settlers of Catan (my first time playing it). We then came home for the evening and had our  friends/family over for a few rounds of Rook (card game) and munchies.

It was such an awesome weekend! I am SO excited for more weekends like these now that the nasty winter/roads are hopefully finished.

*As I finish writing this up Tuesday morning, it is currently snowing. sigh.*

Here's our menu plan for this week. I am going to attempt to keep my S & E meals on separate days. I will be eating lots of leftovers/similar meals, though, to keep it simple. Last week was not so great THM-wise. I haven't really lost any weight since the very first week I started, so I'm going to try my best to stick very much on plan this week and try full S days and full E days.

Sunday: Friends' house for lunch, out for supper

Monday: B - Steel Cut Oats & Cottage Berry Whip (E)
               L - Veggie Pizza on Artisan Bread (E) Cottage Berry Whip for dessert
               S - Leftover Artisan Pizza (I also made a "normal" pizza for rest of family). I had some Greek lemon yogurt and a few off-plan tortilla chips & salsa for snack)

Tuesday: B - 3 Eggs (S)
                L - Low Carb Pancakes topped with whipped cream and strawberries (try adding 1 tsp flax meal and 1 tsp baking powder to recipe) (S)...these were just okay...prob wouldn't make again. I didn't care for the cream cheese taste in the pancakes.
                S - Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole with steamed broccoli (S)
                Dessert - 37 Calorie Brownies (FP, I think ?)

Wednesday: B - Lemon Greek Yogurt (FP)
                      L - Caesar Salad (no croutons) & Spaghetti Squash with Butter (S), Cottage Berry Whip
                      S - Leftover Casserole (S)

Thursday:      B -  Greek Yogurt & Strawberries (FP)
                      L - Leftover Pizza (if it hasn't been eaten by then) or Moroccan Lentil Soup & Artisan  Bread (E)
                      S-  Leftover soup (E)

Friday:     B - Eggs (S)
                 L - Hamburgers on Oopsie Rolls (S)
                 S - Leftovers (S)

Saturday:  Not sure yet...possibly BBQ steak if the weather is nice for Asian steak salad

Friday, April 26, 2013

THM - Week 3 Progress (or lack thereof...)

Well this was an interesting week food-wise. I veered off the THM path a bit too much these past few days. Yesterday was especially bad - I pretty much just lost it. Not good. Let's just say it consisted of hot dogs, tortilla chips, guacamole, and coca-cola and a few other little goodies thrown in the mix. Not exactly a winner of a day food-wise. And yes, I felt horrible after.  For hours. Not worth it. Yuck.

Moving on...

I'm up 0.2 lbs from last week. No surprise, really. I need to be more disciplined to see if the plan really "works", which it most definitely does for those are are actually following it. When I follow the plan, I definitely feel better overall, which is encouraging.

Exercise needs to become a priority for me. It's a matter of figuring out how to best fit it in my day. I definitely cannot leave exercise time to the evening or later afternoon. It just doesn't happen. Once 4 o clock rolls around (aka crazy hour), I am pretty much toast energy/motivation wise. Yes, overall THM has most definitely helped my energy level (when I follow the plan!), but it just seems like 4 o clock is one crazy time around here. Don't ask me why. I think I remember Michelle Duggar talking about that crazy hour in her house, so at least I'm not the only one! :-). I'm thinking right now that I may fit exercise in at 11 a.m. and allow the kids to either exercise with me/play (if it's an exercise dvd) or watch a decent dvd or television show while I jog on the treadmill. Since spring has *finally* arrived around these parts, exercise is going to consist more of lots of after-supper walks and backyard soccer games, too.

I'm 3 weeks in with 1 week to go in my THM challenge. No, I haven't followed it perfectly. No, I likely never will. Yes, I am actually seeing this as a possible lifestyle change, though, and I'm LOVING some of the THM-friendly recipes I've tried. Who knew that cottage cheese, xylitol, stevia, and frozen berries blended together until smooth could taste SO good? It can almost....almost...pass for my ice cream substitute. I'm not kidding. I also made these amazing low-fat oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. They weren't exactly THM-friendly because I used white sugar instead of a plan-approved sugar. I would maybe try using honey or maple syrup next time to make it a bit healthier but still okay for my kids & hubby....BUT the carb/fat counts of it still fit it within an E parameter. It used applesauce and only 2 tbsp of butter. My entire family loved this recipe, too. It's a keeper for sure. Then today, I tried this lemon yogurt for a FP snack, and it was crazy, crazy good. Before THM, I ate sweetened store-bought, full fat yogurt every morning. I really dislike the fat free and sweetened with sucralose or aspartame. But....plain 0% Greek yogurt with real lemon juice, vanilla, and stevia is where it's at. I am so pumped to actually really like some of these new foods.

Onto Week 4...and as crazy as it sounds...this little "challenge" might just continue on past Week 4. I am thinking about experimenting with alternating E & S days to shake things up a bit.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Good Read!

I recently finished reading Large Family Logistics. I LOVE this book. I got it from the library as I really don't like to spend money on books since most of the time they are only read once, but this is one I will seriously consider buying in the future. It is one of the most helpful Christian home management books I have read. The book is written by a busy homeschooling mom of 9 kids living on a farm. It has been SO helpful for me in trying to figure out a daily "system" for our family. (for example...when to fit in homeschooling, chore time, rest time, exercise, hospitality, meal & table routines, how to include kids in chore time, office-type work, running errands efficiently, cleaning routines & laundry, etc.).  I still feel like I haven't found my groove after having 2 kids, but I think Large Family Logistics will help me find my way. This book is beneficial whether you have 2 kids or 10 kids. If you already have a good system in place that's working wonderfully for you, or if you don't plan on homeschooling, you probably won't benefit as much from this book as I am. For me, though, it has been very helpful since my previous cleaning/laundry system wasn't working for me anymore and we are homeschooling. I am currently in the process of slowly implementing several of her ideas. As things have been rather disastrous and random around here, it will take some time to get everything in place, but the small changes we have made in the last few days have really been encouraging.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - THM Friendly

This THM thing is quite easy to do at home. It is an entirely different story when going out to eat or visiting....I do allow myself to go off plan a bit when out and about. Of course, if I was really disciplined I could bring (and eat) my own THM snacks...but...gotta live a little!

Sunday: 6 inch turkey sub on whole wheat for lunch (this was a crossover...but a healthy one!)
           : Quinoa, chicken, and fruit salad for supper (E)
           : Off-plan snacks when visiting. I even had an ice cream cone. It was delicious.

Monday: Breakfast: Steel Cut Oats with Cinnamon & a drizzle of maple syrup, watermelon (E)
             : Lunch: Spicy Chicken Waldorf Salad (I will go easy on the apple to keep this in "S" territory)
             :Supper: Stuffed Peppers (no rice for me), Salad with creamy dressing (S)

Tuesday: Spaghetti & Meat Sauce, Caesar Salad (over spaghetti squash for me and no croutons) (S)

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Moroccan Lentil Soup with Artisan Bread (E)

Friday: Homemade Pizza (Cauliflower crust for me), Veggies & Dip (S)

Saturday: Leftovers

*Linking up to Menu Plan Monday hosted by*

Friday, April 19, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama - Week 2 Report

I'm up 1 lb this week, which brings me to 2.8 lbs lost since starting the plan. I cheated a couple of times this week (twice I had a few tortilla chips, which are a no-no and definitely my biggest weakness. No way will I ever be giving them up totally, anyway!). The cheating a few times might be to blame, but I'm also realizing that, realistically, I may be closer to my ideal weight than I originally thought. I may have to let go of the idea that I can get back to where I was after I had Elianna.

One week ago I felt like there was no way I could ever stick with this lifestyle....and that is still true, if it means following a strict THM plan. However, after Week 2 I am feeling like this actually might be a lifestyle shift for me. Not a complete change, but a improvement. Even if it's just a shift toward eating more complex carbs, more protein and less simple sugar in order to treat my blood sugar better. I am learning so much and trying out many new recipes, which I'm truly enjoying. It was FUN to make over my hubby's favourite Chicken Tikka Masala and make it THM-friendly (used fat-free Greek yogurt, left out the oil, cornstarch & heavy cream). He still LOVED it and didn't even really notice the difference :-D. I had mine over cauliflower "rice" and it was delicious. I honestly didn't even miss the basmati rice as much as I thought I would. The rest of the family still had rice.

My kids & hubby are not following this plan. They don't need to, and the plan isn't meant for growing kids who need their calories. If you know my bean-pole kids...they definitely need their calories ;-), especially Miss Muffet who barely eats enough to begin with. Low-fat foods are not allowed for them! It's been surprisingly easy for me to eat this way even though the rest of my family isn't.

 I only managed to do the 30 Day Shred 3 times last week; I really want to find a way to fit more exercise into my day. I have an athlete stuck somewhere inside of me, but I am still trying to figure out how to bring her back :-). I know that when I did get down to my ideal weight after I had Elianna, I was definitely exercising more than I am now and in great shape fitness-wise. That may or may not be realistic in this different stage of life I'm in now...

I'm feeling good about going into Week 3. The plan is to stick mostly on-plan, though veering slightly off-plan once in awhile is still okay with me :-).

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