Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Preschoolerism

"Hey Mommy! Take a look at my new Lego magazine. It's so cool!!!"

"That's neat, Buddy."

"Yeah. Look at this page! It's all about Mission to Mars."

"Very nice."

"It's so awesome! Look at this, look at this! Here's a picture of the alien mother ship. And do you see this one here? It's the daddy ship!"

Monday, July 30, 2007

Still Painting, Painting, Painting

Almost finished :-).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

(In My Own Defence)

"So, Lindsay. Is there something you'd like to tell us?"

"Well, no. What do you mean?"

"Well, ummm. It just seems that you've been nesting an awful lot lately ..."

This weekend I was asked if I am "expecting" on three different occasions. My goodness! Can't a girl do a little re-decorating! (And sewing and cooking and cleaning and organizing.)

Sure, I'll admit I may have too many projects on the go right now. This weekend I finally cleared out the junk piled in our garage. I also re-organized the storage room and cleaned the closets. Tomorrow my mom is taking the kids for the day. I am planning to paint our bedroom. (A project I've been looking forward to for more than a year.)

I also have about a dozen crafty-good projects cooked up (ie. half finished).

Oh yes, and there's also that pile of books I've been trying to read.

And a block party to organize.

A music exam in August.

And several friends I've been meaning to meet for coffee.

Phew. I am generally not a high-energy person. I'd definitely classify myself as a "slow and steady wins the race" type of girl. This period of productivity is unusual for me, but I have a theory ...

I often joke that I am solar powered. My energy levels are much better through the sunny summer season. As well, my Baby Girl is quickly becoming a toddler. She's been sleeping through the night (and thus, so have I) for several months. Because I have been pregnant and/or nursing a small baby for several years straight, I think I simply accepted exhaustion and sleep deprivation as a given. Now that I am well-rested, I feel like Super Woman!

Ben and I would love to welcome a fourth Inkling into our family, but for the time being, God has not blessed us with another pregnancy. I must admit, I'm a bit surprised. This will be the largest spacing we've had between babies. At the same time, I am thoroughly enjoying my new-found energy!

In a way, I suppose I am nesting. I love cleaning and organizing and decorating. I enjoy making things with my hands. Come autumn, I suspect I may be exhausted, nauseous and lacking motivation. Part of me feels I must complete all my projects this summer, while I still have loads of energy. Make hay while the sun is shining, I say!

So tomorrow I hope to spend the day up to my elbows in paint. I plan to revel in my productivity. Maybe this week I'll even finish one or two more project on my plate.

And Benjie, enough teasing. You'll love our new room :-).

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Crayon Nibbles

I love this idea posted by Candace on Crafty Daisies. I have been on a cleaning / organizing spree for the past couple of days. Yesterday I found a huge tin of crayons in an old box of art supplies. I think my Pumpkin Pie will especially enjoy colouring with these beautiful, fat disks.
Hamster Love

A small, furry friend joined our family yesterday. Hazelnut the hamster has taken up residence in a posh pink cage in our living room. She is active and friendly. The children think their new hamster is neat, and I am happy to have a pet that doesn't require regular walks.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Our Family Vacation

Spotty Communication

"Mommy, how do you take care of a pimple?"

"Excuse me?" I sputtered as I choked on my orange juice.

"You know, a pimple. How do you take care of one?"

My son looked up at me with expectant eyes. I gathered my thoughts and replied, "Well, I guess you should wash your face every day. And if you have a pimple you shouldn't pick at it."

My little guy looked confused. "But Mommy," he continued, "What do you feed it?"

"Feed it?"

"Well, yeah. What do you feed a pimple?"

I slowly chewed my piece of toast. "Ummm ... well ... yes. No. I don't think I'm following you, Buddy."

"But Mommy. I want to get a pimple as a pet."

I digested his comment. "You want a pimple as a pet?" I clarified.

My four-year-old gave an exasperated sigh and slumped in his chair. "Yes, Mommy. You know, those cute pimple dogs."

"You don't mean a poodle, do you?"

My son's face brightened. "Oh yeah! That's what I mean. I love poodles!"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Home Again!

We returned home last night from our trip to Saskatchewan. It sure felt nice to sleep in our own beds. Today I have been chewing my way through a mountain of laundry. The boys have been playing Lego for hours, and my Sweetie Pie is catching up on her beauty sleep. It is good to be home.

Some highlights of our family vacation ...

  • The dinosaur museum (aka: The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller). I have seldom seen my boys more excited than they were when we stepped into the first museum gallery. That place is cool. (Even from an adult perspective.)
  • Catching frogs. (Just my Benjie and me.) We tramped through the bushes like two kids, barely able to see our own feet in the fading sunlight. I spotted a big leopard frog hopping along the lake shore and caught it with my bare hands.
  • The puppet show. I brought a few craft supplies to the lake. My young cousin made several popsicle stick puppets and she created an entire show for them. We draped an old table cloth across a bench and performed the show for the family.
  • Making smores. For two days our little family stayed in a cozy cabin near the lake. One night Ben lit a fire and we made smores with the boys. You'd thing they'd died and gone to heaven! Two sticky boys, dirty from head-to-toe.
  • Praying to Jesus. Our freshly-bathed four-year-old son snuggled with Daddy on the tiny love seat in our cozy cabin at the lake. He asked a million questions about God and Jesus. Then, of his own volition, our son invited Jesus to come and "live in his heart forever and ever". And the angels sang :-).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Gone Fishin'

We've had a busy couple of days down here at the ranch. It's well past midnight and I'm still slogging away at the last few tasks on my list. We leave for our six-day trip to Saskatchewan bright and early tomorrow morning. My husband is planning to take him computer along, so I'm hoping to keep in touch :-).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Book Review:

Quo Vadis
by Henryk Sienkiewicz

Every so often I will read a novel that changes my perspective on life. It opens my eyes and bolsters my faith. Some of my favourite authors, gifted writers like Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury, produce such books.

Quo Vadis is in a class all of its own. It is an extraordinary and inspiring work of fiction. Sienkiewicz wrote this masterpiece over one hundred years ago in Polish. The novel has since been translated into over 40 languages and Sienkiwicz was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905. I read a modern English translation by W.S. Kuniczak published in 1993.

Quo Vadis is "an epic saga of love, courage and devotion in Nero's time. (It) portrays the degenerate days leading to the fall of the Roman empire and the glory and the agony of early Christianity." Key characters include members of Nero's court, wealthy Roman citizens, persecuted members of the early church, and the apostles Peter and Paul.

This novel is graphic and intense. Sienkiewicz describes the extravagant depravity of Rome in vivid detail. Many scenes describe Nero's mad whims, his eccentric self-absorption and the wild debauchery of his royal court. The destruction of Rome and subsequent martyrdom of thousands of Christians are key plot points. Sienkiewicz's descriptions of these violent events are especially gruesome and disturbing.

This is the most graphic novel I have read, however, I did not feel the violence was gratuitous or unnecessary. Sienkiewicz's writing is built upon the foundation of meticulous research. Quo Vadis is based on actual historical events and many of the books characters are real historical figures. I believe Quo Vadis is a fairly accurate rendering of life during a dark and corrupt period of human history.

Further, Sienkiewicz brilliantly contrasts Christ's redeeming power and the glory of His death and resurrection against the depravity of the Roman Empire. Nero persecuted the early Christians with unimaginable terrors and horrific executions. Thousands of people perished. Quo Vadis places these key events of the Christian church within an historical context. This novel clearly highlights the saving grace of Christ against the fallen nature of man.

Quo Vadis is a brilliant work of literature, but without question, it is a challenging and difficult read. I believe it is an appropriate book for mature, adult Christians. This novel is a powerful, heart-changing work of fiction.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Rhubarb Freezer Jam

I snipped this recipe from the newspaper a couple of weeks ago. The jam smelled heavenly as it bubbled away on the stove this afternoon. The recipe was exceptionally easy to make (is it cheating to use jello powder?) and produced a generous three cups of finished jam.

4 C. sugar
1 pkg. cherry, raspberry or strawberry gelatin
4 C. finely chopped rhubarb

Mix rhubarb and sugar and store in the fridge. The next day, place ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil for 15 minutes. Remove from stove and add strawberry jello until the powder dissolves. Fill glass or plastic jars or containers (most ideal to prevent breakage), and leave a half-inch from the rim for expansion. Seal tightly and cool on counter. When cool, store in freezer. After 24 hours, the jam is ready to use. Keep refrigerated when thawed and use within three weeks.

Update: Yikes! This jam is sweet. I definitely should have used unsweetened strawberry gelatin.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Word of the Day

Macerate -- soften or break up (something, especially food) by soaking in a liquid. As in, combine blueberries, strawberries, and 2 tablespoons sugar, and let macerate until juicy.

You see, I did learn something from reading Martha Stewart magazines all afternoon. (My goodness, what else is there to do in this overwhelming heat?)

In fact, I put my new found knowledge into practice. I am currently macerating rhubarb (liberated from my mother's garden) in a generous quantity of sugar. The mixture will sit in a gigantic glass measuring cup in my refrigerator until tomorrow afternoon. When we return home from church I plan to cook up a tasty batch of strawberry rhubarb freezer jam.

It's a good thing.

Friday, July 13, 2007


In honour of the Calgary Stampede, and for my friend Alison. (Thank you again for the gorgeous sunflowers.)

Crock Pot Baked Beans

3 C. dried white navy beans, soaked and simmered until tender, following package directions
1 1/2 C. ketchup
1 1/2 C. water
1/4 C. molasses
1 large onion chopped
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon salt
6 slices of uncooked salt pork or bacon, diced
1 C. brown sugar

Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low. Stir a few times, if possible.

(I thought that my beans were a bit too crunchy. I soaked them overnight for about about 12 hours. Next time I will try simmering the beans on the stove to soften them up further.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Potato Puff Casserole

I almost feel embarrassed to be sharing this recipe. It is not organic or low in fat. The recipe uses several convenient short-cut ingredients. Not exactly healthy, made-from-scratch fine cuisine! At least it contains some veggies, and it's tasty and easy to prepare. I adapted this recipe from several I've seen on the internet. The kids love potato puffs, so I figure they're okay for an occasional treat. Serve this casserole with a large green salad to further increase the meal's the veggie content.

1 kg. lean ground beef
1 can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg. onion soup mix
2 C. frozen mixed vegetables
1, 1kg. bag frozen potato puffs

Brown meat in large skillet. Drain off fat. Combine cooked beef, mushroom soup, onion soup and frozen vegetables. Spread mixture evenly in a 9x13" glass baking dish. Arrange potato puffs neatly on top of beef mixture. Bake uncovered at 350F for 45 minutes, until potatoes are crispy and golden. Serves 6.

(Update: Potato puffs are "tater tots" or "mexi fries". They're those cylindrical, hashbrown-type fried potatoes.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Last night my husband methodically sorted through our book collection. He scanned the bar code on the back of each book and worked his way, shelf by shelf, across the wall. Ben is a talkative guy, so he kept up a steady stream of conversation as he went along.

About halfway across the room he paused in front of a tall shelf. He reached up and plucked a small plastic toy from on top of a book. The toy was a Lego mini figure.

"Hey, look what I found!" Ben exclaimed, "How did this little guy get way up there?" Without skipping a beat, my husband tossed the mini fig into the toy bin and commented, "Oh well. Good thing he was wearing his crash helmet."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Librarians Rock

Ben is currently scanning books into our personal library collection. (Being married to a geek is awesome. How many guys just happen to have a spare bar code scanner lying around?) While he tackles that mundane task, I have been surfing here.

Oh yeah, baby. Do library carts get any cooler? I especially enjoy the "Support Glitteracy" sign. Very clever. I'd love to make my own pimped out (I mean nicely decorated) library cart for our basement.

(Too bad my sons would use the cart to go on safari, blast off into space, race in the Indy 500 or take over a small country. I'd like my newly painted walls to remain undented for a while longer.)

Monday, July 09, 2007

"Diwty" Jokes

I heard my two-year-old talking through the closed door to his bedroom. Nap time was over. I quietly opened the door and stepped inside.

My son sat in the middle of his bed, facing toward the back wall. He had carefully arranged his stuffed monkey and two fuzzy bears along the edge of the head board. As though holding sway over an important meeting, my son talked to his stuffies.

"Oh man. Dat was a stinky one!" he exclaimed. He patted his monkey on the head.

I giggled and my two-year-old turned around.

"Hi Mommy!" he exclaimed. Then his bright expression fell. "I was telling diwty jokes," he confessed.

"Oh dear." I put on a stern expression. "Were you saying poopy jokes?"

He smiled, and with a mischievous look replied, "No, my monkey was doing fluffy jokes!"

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Domestic Diva

Need some cheering up? Check our Brini Maxwell's retro video podcasts for a healthy dose of vintage domestic kitsch.

Now why didn't you think of that?

So Old

I'm feeling grumpy. And old. Over the hill at the ripe age of twenty-eight. It's all a downward slide from here.

Last night Ben and I attended our ten-year high school reunion. How did it go? Ummm ... awkward would be a good word to describe the evening. Painfully, horribly awkward. I may need the rest of the week to recover from the experience.

I am a wall fly at the best of times. Last night I prayed to fade right away into the paint. To disappear. Thank God I married an outgoing sort of a guy. Ben kept up a steady stream of conversation with people we (at times, marginally) recognized. How does he do that? I have a hard time making conversation with people I know well. (My own family can attest to this sad fact.) My extroverted husband yammered on all evening.

I came away from the night feeling old, shy and inadequate. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth the entire evening. I was too intimidated to order anything stronger than water from the bar. My blouse was too cute, my nose was too big, and I had acne and crow's feet both at the same time. I felt old and frumpy.

(Grumble, groan, oh woe is me.)

Here's the thing that irks me the most: I wanted to have fun and enjoy my night. It's my own fault the experience turned out poorly. I could have gotten past my own prideful self consciousness and focused on the people around me. But I allowed myself to get overwhelmed by the noise and the crowd, and I retreated inside my safe little shell. I hid behind my husband and my drink.

Yes, the venue was noisy. None of our good friends were there. We recognized few of the faces and ended our evening early. However, life is what you make of it. I could have made a much better effort to be friendly. I am disappointed in myself.

Here's to hoping twenty years is better than ten.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to my "little" sister-in-law. She is celebrating her sweet-fifteenth birthday, and is the sweetest fifteen-year-old I know. :-)

My Brave Boy (Cont'd)

My poor little guy has had a rough go of it. He received two shots on Wednesday, had a fever yesterday, and then threw up three times this morning. (Our kids very rarely throw up. If they do vomit, we know they feel genuinely unwell.) I called the Health Link line and they agreed that his symptoms are probably side effects of the immunizations. Poor guy. I'm just thankful none of the other children are sick.

Thank God kids bounce back quickly, though. My son managed to keep down a huge lunch and played Lego all afternoon. He made several Lego ships containing roughly "a billion pieces". He also thought it was very cool to wear his underwear around the house all day (and nothing else). I even let him watch three videos while he rested on the couch.

(Sounds like an all-around okay kind of day, if you ask me!)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Too Cute

This morning my four-year-old informed me that he "simply could not eat a bite of cereal".

(I suspect he's feeling a bit under-the-weather because of yesterday's shots. He has a low-grade fever and asked if it was nap time at 11am. He's been fast asleep for the past hour.)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My Brave Boy

We took our eldest son for his immunizations this evening. He had a bad experience with his last shots, so I was apprehensive about tonight's appointment. In hopes of making things easier, we delayed telling him about the appointment until yesterday. As well, the whole family went out for a special "big boy" dinner tonight and we allowed our son to take his special blankie into the clinic.

I am very proud of my boy. He did cry a bit, but he took two needles in the same arm without squirming or screaming. He snuggled with his daddy and cuddled his blankie throughout the ordeal. Tonight's experience was considerably less traumatic than the last time.

When we arrived home tonight my son was like a heavy sack of potatoes. He was tired, droopy and ready for bed. I think the emotional tension caused by the immunizations wiped him right out. He could barely keep his eyes open. Here's to hoping he sleeps deeply tonight and has a restful day tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Knitted By Nanas

Check out this fabulous commercial. I've posted it in honor of Crafty Daisies' crochet tutorials. Enjoy!

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Grand Tour

Last night we entertained several members of Ben's family. His aunt, uncle and cousin were visiting Calgary from the UK, and they joined us for supper. We see these members of Ben's extended family once every year or two, and our children have only met them a couple of times. Their visit was a rare pleasure.

Our children were excited to have guests in the house. Our four-year-old son took it upon himself to give his auntie a grand tour. He guided her upstairs and showed off his bedroom. He then took her into the other bedrooms.

"This is my baby sister's room," he said.

"Oh, it's very nice," commented Ben's aunt.

"And here is Mommy's special rocking chair," he continued.

"Oh, yes," she replied.

"You know, Mommy has her own special chair because she's the only person in our family who has boobies with milk in them."

(Clearly, my son is used to having babies as younger siblings. In his mind, breastfeeding is a natural element of family life. He's so sweet and innocent.)