Monday, April 30, 2007

Menu Plan Monday
April 30, 2007

Our recent trip to Mexico was wonderfully relaxing. I did not cook a meal or clean up for an entire week! Our resort was all-inclusive, and to tell the truth, the buffet was almost overwhelming. So many choices! I think I ate more food in the last week than I normally would in a month. (Now all my clothes fit a little too tight. I'm not sure how that happened...)

Our holiday was terrific, but I am glad to be back to the normal routine this week. It is nice to have limited food options for every meal! I am also glad to return to my normal housework. For the most part, I like cooking and cleaning. I enjoyed being pampered for a week but I couldn't live such an indulgent lifestyle for the rest of my life.

A few weeks ago I received a nice ham as my "free gift" from Superstore. I saved the meat in the freezer. The ham is now thawing in the fridge, and I plan to use it for a couple of meals this week. I also found an excellent deal on frozen chicken breasts a few days ago. (I bought 8kg.) Our family will be enjoying chicken this week as well.

Monday: No cooking (supper at my parents')
Tuesday: Baked ham, scalloped potatoes, corn, Japanese cabbage salad
Wednesday: An encore performance
Thursday: Split pea soup, homemade brown bread, green salad
Friday: Honey-mustard chicken, brown rice, broccoli and cauliflower
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: BBQ chicken, potato and carrot foil packets, green peas, coleslaw


If you would like to find more delicious menu plans and recipes, please visit Org Junkie.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

An Innocent Query (Part 2)

Last night I shaved my legs.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

An Innocent Query

Tonight at bedtime my sister-in-law, Sarah, helped me prepare the kids for their baths. I popped the youngest two children in the tub. My four-year-old son sat on the bathroom floor and waited his turn.

Sarah was wearing a pretty, summery skirt. Our bathroom is very small, and as my son sat on the floor he reached out and gently touched his aunt's bare leg.

"Auntie Sarah," he asked in a sweet voice, "How come your legs don't feel like Mommy's?"

"What do you mean, Buddy?" she said.

"Well, your legs feel nice and soft ... Mommy's legs are all whiskery."

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I am still digging my way through a mountain of laundry and household tasks. I think I need a vacation to recover from my vacation! Here's to hoping I will find more time to spend online tomorrow...

Tonight I'll share a quick anecdote from our holiday.

Our four-year-old son's derma did not fare well on our trip to Mexico. He suffered through a nasty sunburn and several scraped knees. His skin is now in a lovely scaly stage and we've affectionately nicknamed him "lizard boy".

The other day my preschooler examined the half-healed scrape on his knee for several minutes. He poked at it with his finger and then made the following (somewhat disturbing) observation:

"Hey Mommy! My scab looks just like a piece of bacon!"

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Our Trip to Mexico (Cont'd)

Here are some more pictures of our vacation.

Our Trip to Mexico

Our family arrived safely home last night. The holiday was wonderful. I have plenty of stories to share. I'll post some pictures tonight and write more in the coming days.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mexico Here We Come!

Only seven hours until we leave for the airport! Our entire family is very excited. I'm not sure how I'll fall asleep tonight, even with the knowledge that 4am will come painfully early tomorrow morning!

The boys finally zonked out a few minutes ago. (They were very cute about it. Our two-year-old kept chattering on about "riding in a rocket" tomorrow. I think he meant the airplane.)

All our bags are finally packed and piled beside the front door. I think we did okay for a family with three preschoolers. We're bringing four suitcases, four carry-ons, two umbrella strollers and a playpen. (Now I just need to grow a few more arms to carry it all. And maybe some herculean muscles...)

I've been surfing our resort's website. Oh my, I can't imagine how wonderful it will be. They even have a family day trip where the kids can visit dolphins. I wonder if we might be able to pull that one off? We're going to have so much fun!

We hadn't intended to bring our computers, but finally decided that Ben will bring his notebook. He's not allowed to do any work, though! I am hoping to update my blog once or twice in the next week. Maybe I'll even be able to post some pictures of our holiday!

See you soon!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Book Review:

Me, Myself and Bob
by Phil Vischer

"Mommy, you draw Bob and Larry for me?" my two-year-old sweetly asks.

"Look at me, Mom! I'm LARRYBOY!" my four-year-old son yells as he streaks past with an old sheet tied around his shoulders.

If your home is anything like ours, your children love Veggie Tales. What's not to like about Bob, Larry, Junior, and the rest of the veggie crew? They are cute, lovable characters who teach kids about the Bible. It also doesn't hurt that Veggie Tales videos are hilarious.

Phil Vischer is the mastermind behind the phenomenon that is Veggie Tales. He created Bob and Larry on a shoestring budget, hunched over a computer workstation in his spare bedroom. Veggie Tales and Big Idea Productions rode an amazing wave of success through the late 1990s and early years of this decade. Big Idea grew to employ hundreds of people, produce dozens of videos, and market a vast array of products. The company was worth tens of millions of dollars.

And then in 2003 it all came crashing to the ground.

Reading Me, Myself and Bob is a bit like stumbling upon the scene of a train wreck. Phil Vischer shares the gory details of his journey, and his autobiography is quite painful to read in light of Big Idea's unfortunate collapse. Me, Myself and Bob is a story about attaining big dreams and about falling hard.

What was it like to see a dream come to life so dramatically? And where was God when something so bad was happening to someone who only wanted to do good? The answers to these questions may change everything you believe about dreaming big, falling hard, and getting back up again.

Me, Myself and Bob was a difficult read. However, God can work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Phil Vischer's tale is a story about second chances. Veggies Tales did survive. Big Idea still exists. Phil Vischer is no longer intimately involved with the company he founded, but through his difficult loss he gained a deeper understanding of God, dreams and his life purpose.

In 2003, my dream died. And I discovered, once all the noise had faded away, what I had been missing all along. (p. 251)

Phil Vischer learned to let go of his dreams. He learned to fall into the loving arms of his Savior ... arms overflowing with abundant life. The journey was heartbreaking and painful, but God carried him through to the other side. Me, Myself and Bob offers a candid glimpse into the death of Phil Vischer's dream. (And the rebirth of his life.)

And There Goes an Hour ...

Well, I think I've been hooked. I opened a Facebook account yesterday. From what I can gather, Facebook is basically a networking site. You register for an account, post a profile and pictures, and connect with old and new friends. Your personal profile remains private until you give a friend permission to view it.

It's a neat place to make or renew friendships.

It's also an easy place to waste a lot of time.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about Facebook. I like connecting with old friends. I enjoy looking up my former high school classmates. At the same time, I'm not thrilled with the site's user interface. The search tool is a bit frustrating. As well, I'm leery of the site's address book search function.

At any rate, Facebook is an interesting concept. I suppose time will tell if I created a monster when I opened my account.

And just to clarify, this blog will always be my first (online) love :-).

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Books Galore

If you are interested in winning some great books, head on over to Callapidder Days. Katrina has ten books to give away in today's contest. The drawing is open to everyone --- Americans, Canadians or international residents. The contest deadline is Thursday, April 19. Simply take a look at the available books, and select the ones you find appealing!
Terrific Toesies

This afternoon I enjoyed a rare treat. I left the kids, the mountains of laundry, the piles of half-packed clothes, and went to the spa for a couple of hours. I received a wonderfully relaxing pedicure. (Thank you, Lori, for the gift certificate.) The spa chair massaged my back, the foot bath glowed with multicoloured lights, and the aesthetician gave me a bottle of polish as a gift. Pure bliss. It was the best pedicure I've ever had. (You know ... out of all three of them.)

When I returned home, my excited two-year-old greeted me at the door. "Mommy! You finish your painting?" he asked.

"You mean my painted toe nails? Come take a look, Buddy."

"Ooooh," he marveled, as he knelt down to admire my shimmering toe nails. "You like your painting?"

My four-year-old bounded around the corner. "Mommy!" he exclaimed, "Your toes are all red and shiny!" He knelt beside his brother. With careful fingers the boys gently stoked my toes.

What a homecoming! I felt like a queen. My little boys ooohed and aaahed for nearly five minutes in the doorway. For the rest of the evening, my youngest son periodically stopped playing and ran to touch my toes.

I think I need to go for a pedicure more often. (Hint, hint.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Books! Books! Books!

The Spring Reading Thing continues, and I'm slowly working my way through my reading list. So far I've chewed through three titles. (Special thanks to Geoff and Karie-Ann for loaning Me, Myself and Bob to our family.) Our trip to Mexico is just days away. I'm looking forward to some lazy hours on the beach, stretched out with my bottle of sunscreen and several more good books!

Katrina at Callapidder Days is hosting an amazing book giveaway in honour of the Spring Reading Thing. She has over one hundred titles to randomly give away! Check out her site every Thursday and Saturday and throw your name into the hat. (Most of the draws will be open US residents only, but Canadians are allowed to enter today's contest.)

Slow Cooking Thursday

Last Christmas my mom gave me a terrific gift. I received a large, beautiful slow cooker. I love using it. My crock pot makes meal preparation much less stressful. Chaos always breaks out in our house at five o'clock in the afternoon, just as I am scrambling to cook supper. I find it easier to make supper in the morning, when I'm fresh and the children are less clingy. What's not to love about savoury aromas filling my home, along with the sweet knowledge that supper is taken care of?

This evening I was delighted to discover a new blog carnival hosted by Sandra at Diary of a SAHM. I'm looking forward to joining in on Slow Cooking Thursday in the coming weeks. I already took a peek at some of this week's recipe contributions. (And I may have saved one or two recipes in my file...)

I don't have my own recipe to share this week. However, I can recommend Club House's slow cooker flavour packets. They make several varieties, and include simple recipes on the outside of each package. Our family especially likes the BBQ pork on a bun.

If you're interested, check out Sandra's site and Slow Cooking Thursday. Better yet, join in on all the fun!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Purple Barrette

Our Baby Girl's hair is growing long and lustrous. (Or at least long enough to hold one small barrette.) Today she wore an oval-shaped, purple barrette in her hair.

My two-year-old son spotted his sister's hair accessory this morning and said:

"Mommy, her hair's got a purple peanut!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Menu Plan (Tuesday ... Oops!)

Have you ever had one of those weeks? You know, a week where you always feel a day behind? I think I'm in the midst of one of those weeks right now! Is it Tuesday already?

Our family leaves for Mexico in seven short days. Enough of this dreary snow and drizzle! I'm ready for a little tropical sun. Because I'll be busy with travel preparations this week, I've kept our menu very simple.

Monday: Leftover chili, whole wheat buns
Tuesday: Homemade chicken noodle soup (from the freezer), whole wheat toast, apple slices
Wednesday: My favourite chicken dish, mashed potatoes, steamed cauliflower, green beans
Thursday: Spaghetti pie, spinach and orange salad
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Daddy cooks (ie: pizza night)

Kids' Favorite Spaghetti Pie
(from Johanna Burkhard's Fast and Easy Cooking, p. 62)

Spaghetti pie is consistently a hit with our family. I always double this recipe and cook it in a 9x13" glass baking dish.

250g (8oz) Italian sausages, casings removed
2 C. sliced mushrooms (canned mushrooms work well)
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 C. tomato pasta sauce
2 C. small broccoli florets (frozen broccoli works well)
3 C. cooked spaghetti (I like whole wheat pasta)
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese (I use soy cheese for our family)

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, cook sausage meat, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 4 minutes or until no longer pink. Drain in sieve to remove any fat. Return to saucepan. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic and oregano; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add tomato pasta sauce; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Rinse broccoli; place in a covered casserole dish. Microwave at high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until bright green and almost tender. Rinse under cold water to chill; drain.

3. Arrange spaghetti in 9" or 10" pie plate. Spread with meat sauce. Top with broccoli and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges and serve.


Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Org Junkie. If you are interested in finding other meal plans and recipes, please visit Laura's site!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Jesus is Alive!

Happy Easter from our family to yours :-).

But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God's terms. It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's!

(Romans 8: 9-11, The Message)

Saturday, April 07, 2007


With great sadness, our family bid farewell to a beloved pet. Percival J. Worthington III died peacefully in her sleep last night. She lived a long, full hedgie life.

Percival joined our household five-and-a-half years ago. She was a unique, unassuming pet. (Miss Percival received her name before we fully understood the intricacies of hedgehog anatomy.) She enjoyed eating peanut butter, swimming in the bathtub, and running around in circles.

We will miss Percival's playful chirps and squeaks. At times, her personality could be rather prickly. She was shy. Her face was adorable, however, and her furry belly was soft and smooth.

Goodbye, sweet hedgehog. We will miss you.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Where Did That Come From?

Our four-year-old son has a bizarre sense of humour. He came up with the following comment this evening:

"You know, I wish I was a dinosaur ... or maybe a camel. Then I could chew on Q-tips."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Two Peas in a Pod

Baby Girl and my Big Boy both love their thumbs. I took this photo tonight as they snuggled together on the couch.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mmmm ... Spicy!

It started as a simple project. (A simple project that took six weeks to complete.) Hooray and hallelujah, my little spice rack is finally finished.

Originally, I had planned to make magnetic spice jars and attach them to the side of the fridge. The space above our kitchen sink looked a bit forlorn, though, so I eventually ditched the magnetic jars idea.

Instead, I bought two unpainted 16-inch wooden shelves from Ikea ($4.95 each), two small bottles of acrylic craft paint ($0.89 each) and a can of silver spray paint ($5.95). I also re-purposed twelve clean baby food jars.

I really like contemporary country craft decor, and hoped to create a weathered, hand-painted look. I primed the wooden shelves in a rusty red shade and then applied a couple of thin top coats in ivory. The clean jar lids received several thin coats of silver spray paint.

I buy most of our spices in bulk, so I arranged my twelve favourites on my new rack. I especially enjoy the spices' rich greens, golds and reds against the backdrop of my sage walls and golden oak cupboards.

Here is the finished result:

For more great Tackle It Tuesday projects, please visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Menu Plan Monday
April 2, 2007

This week is shaping up to be quite busy for our little family. I feel like we have a million items on our plate. (Pun intended.) As such, I have kept this week's menu simple. Our family will be eating a lot of leftovers!

Monday: No cooking. (Supper at my parents'.)
Tuesday: Pork chops with mushrooms, brown rice, peas, carrots.
Wednesday: Leftovers.
Thursday: Leftovers.
Friday: Squash and bean chili, whole wheat rolls, green salad, veggies and dip, carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icing. (Supper for a crowd.)
Saturday: Leftovers.
Sunday: Easter dinner at my parents'.

Squash and Bean Chili

This chili recipe is vegan (when you use vegetable broth). Our kids really like squash and beans. The chili tastes great with buns, brown rice or fresh corn meal muffins. It is especially delicious the second day. I originally cut this recipe from the Calgary Herald.

1 tbsp. oil
2 C. chopped onions
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I use only 1 clove)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (I omit this)
1, 28oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 C. vegetable or chicken broth
2 C. peeled, cubed butternut squash
1 C. diced green pepper
1 C. diced red pepper
3, 19oz. cans mixed beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 C. fresh cilantro (I omit this)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add next 6 ingredients (tomatoes through beans).

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Chili may be prepared to this point and chilled for 24 hours.

Return chili to Dutch oven and heat to serving temperature. Stir in cilantro just before serving. Serves 4 to 6.


If you are interested in finding other inspiring menu plans and recipes, please visit Org Junkie.


I would like to wish my blog a happy birthday. The Ink Spot turns one year old today. :-)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Baby Girl is Growing Up ...

Our little princess is getting so big. She's already 9 1/2 months old. This month she grew two tiny teeth and mastered a new trick; she has learned to roll onto her tummy. Baby Girl hasn't shown much interest in crawling yet. However, now that she likes to spend time on her tummy I'm sure locomotion is soon to follow.

She's the sweetest baby in the world. (I'm not even slightly biased.)