Monday, December 31, 2007

Breakfast Visitors

We had four unexpected guests join our family for breakfast this morning. Three lovely does and and a small fawn spent several hours in our backyard. (The yard is not fenced. Our family shares a green strip with the other townhouses in our row.)

The deer were very tame and seemed undisturbed by our presence at the window. They lay down in the snow under our trees to nap. The deer rested for more than three hours before they quietly walked away.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Menu Plan Monday
December 31, 2007

Happy New Year to all my friends!

Here is my proposed meal plan for the upcoming week:

Monday: No cooking! (Supper with my parents)
Tuesday: (A special request birthday supper) waffles with berries and whipped cream, Canadian back bacon, scrambled eggs, Yoda birthday cake!
Wednesday: Southwestern corn chowder, homemade biscuits
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: No cooking! (Romantic getaway weekend in Banff!)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Eight years ago today I married my high school sweetheart. I cannot believe the time has flown past so quickly. Ben and I have already been married twice as long as we dated, and those first four years before marriage dragged on f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

Happy anniversary, Sweetheart! I'm definitely looking forward to our trip next weekend!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Baby Update

Our little bundle has been growing in my womb for almost 23 weeks now. Our waiting is more than half over! I often feel our baby kicking and rolling, especially when I am lying down in bed. I'd say his activity level is fairly average --- not too busy but moving around a healthy amount. Our little guy really likes to kick when Daddy rests his hand on Mommy's belly!

I'm feeling pretty good. This is the easy stage of pregnancy. I certainly have a baby belly these days but am not too big and bulky yet. My energy levels are fairly high as long as I take my daily naps!

We are preparing for a home birth again this pregnancy. I thoroughly enjoyed our daughter's water birth and hope to birth in the "fishy pool" again. Thankfully, God has blessed me with three healthy, fairly easy labours so far. We're praying for a fourth easy birth!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

Ben and I are so proud of our kids. They behaved exceptionally well this Christmas season, especially considering the string of late bedtimes these past few nights. The colds / croup / throat infections seem to be all cleared up as well. Finally, we have a house full of healthy children!

Our family was utterly blessed this Christmas. We enjoyed spending time with friends and relatives, and eating endless plates of delicious food. (I'm in desperate need of a trip to the Y!) The children were spoiled rotten by our families. It's a bit overwhelming but we feel blessed knowing our kids are well loved.

Today our family enjoyed some much-needed rest and routine. I cooked up a huge batch of turkey soup, thanks to my mother-in-law's Christmas dinner leftovers. Tomorrow I plan to make three or four turkey pies for the freezer. And I still have more leftovers to use after that!

Some favourite gifts ... The play kitchen is a huge hit with all three children. Our eldest son has been totally enthralled by his Star Wars chapter books and awesome picture book about the human body. Ben loves his new slippers. He has already finished reading C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. I'm looking forward to using my Thyme Maternity gift cards and love this new book.

Monday, December 24, 2007

"Caw Caw!"

A colourful birdie visited our house this Christmas. He built a comfy nest in our living room.

He decided to hatch some eggs.

The momentous occasion finally arrived and the birdie called out, "Come quick! Come quick! Mine eggs are hatching!"

Sure enough, the birdie stood up and our family admired his new babies.

He had hatched a litter of puppies.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

This Post is Not About Chicken

(Though I am feeling a bit chicken about beginning the Christmas season.)

The whirlwind of activity has begun. We have an event or family get-together scheduled for each of the next few days. Physically, all of my Christmas preparations are complete. The lists are all done. Each item is checked off. Emotionally, well, I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

I just need to take a deep breath.

The introvert in me is crying out for a quiet, routine day at home. A regular day with three healthy kids. A day without all the extra stuff, fluff and razz-matazz of the season.

My goodness, I need a hot bubble bath and an uninterrupted night's sleep.

Deep breath.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fall Into Reading 2007

Tomorrow marks the first day of winter and the official end of Fall Into Reading 2007. I've enjoyed participating in this terrific reading challenge. Thank you, Katrina, for doing a great job as hostess!

I included the following six books in my personal reading list:



Safely Home
by Randy Alcorn

On Every Side
by Karen Kingsbury

These High, Green Hills
by Jan Karon

For this challenge I compiled a shorter, more manageable list. I was able to finish reading every book. My oldest son started school this Fall and I am blessed to have an hour to rest, read or sleep each afternoon. In addition to my official reading list, I also finished the following books:

The Potty Training Answer Book
by Karen Deerwester

MaryJane's Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook
by MaryJane Butters

The 100-Mile Diet
by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon

Between Sundays
by Karen Kingsbury

by Karen Kingsbury

by Karen Kingsbury

The Parting
by Beverley Lewis

I am currently in the midst of reading the following two books:

Heaven ... Your Real Home
by Joni Eareckson Tada

Out to Canaan
by Jan Karon

The two book that greatly impacted my life this Fall were Randy Alcorn's Safely Home and Heaven. I am pleased to have found Randy Alcorn's work and look forward to reading more of his books. As well, I have started reading Joni Earekson Tada's books and appreciate her humour and gentle wisdom. I always enjoy Karen Kingsbury's and Jan Karon's fiction series. I am thankful Kingsbury and Karon are both prolific writers and I have many titles yet to read.

What have I learned from my Fall reading list? I learned a great deal about my heavenly home from Randy Alcorn's books. Heaven and Safely Home radically impacted my faith and renewed my love for Christ. I highly recommend Alcorn's writing. As well, Leil Lowndes How to Talk to Anyone taught me several conversational tools and is helping me on my journey toward becoming less shy. Lowndes' book taught me to be focused on others and to worry less about myself.

I was also impacted by Smith and MacKinnon's The 100-Mile Diet. This book was written by a Canadian couple from Vancouver. For one year Smith and MacKinnon ate only local foods produced within a 100-mile radius of their apartment. They chronicled their endeavour in an engaging journal-style book. The 100-Mile Diet has forced me to rethink my buying habits and when I visit the grocery store I continually ask, "Where did this really come from? Do I need to buy it?"

I am somewhat sad to see the Fall Into Reading challenge come to an end. I've enjoyed writing reviews and reading the thoughts of fellow bloggers. Many participants have compiled interesting and insightful book lists. I look forward to joining in future reading challenges and hope Katrina has plans to host a new challenge next Spring!

Please visit Callipider Days to browse through many other Fall Into Reading 2007 wrap-up posts. Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mama Hen

My husband oh-so tactfully pointed out that my last three posts have included a common theme...


And I now see that I must clarify my previous posts.

No, our "Little Chicken" is not the secret ingredient in the mystery chicken casserole. ;-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chicken Mystery Casserole

Here is the long-awaited recipe ;-).

I made this casserole tonight and my five-year-old son said it tasted "very yummy". We ate it over brown rice with a veggie on the side. I amalgamated two "mystery chicken" recipes, one from my mom and another from Ben's aunt.

3 C. cubed chicken, cooked
1 C. Chow Mien noodles
1/4 C. chopped red pepper
1/2 -- 1C. sliced or slivered almonds
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 C. sliced celery
2 cans condensed reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1/2 C. skim milk
1/2 C. dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp. melted butter

Combine first seven ingredients in a large casserole dish. Whisk together mushroom soup and milk. Pour soup mixture into casserole and gently combine. Stir melted butter into bread crumbs until moist and crumbly. Sprinkle over top of casserole. (Recipe can be made to this point and frozen.)

Bake uncovered at 350F for 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve over rice or noodles.


Monday, December 17, 2007

My Little Chicken

For more than a week my three-year-old son has been playing a sweet game. He pretends to be "Little Chicken" and I am his "Mama Hen". He emphatically insists I am not to call him by his real name.

My Little Chicken brings me offerings throughout the day --- small toys, imaginary objects, pretend food. His favourite snack to feed the Mama Hen is sandwiches.

Egg sandwiches.

I think there's something wrong with a Mama Hen dining on egg sandwiches ... even if they are only imaginary.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Menu Plan Monday
December 17, 2007

Here's my proposed menu for the upcoming week:

Monday: No cooking! (Supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Mystery chicken casserole (I still haven't made this), brown rice, green salad
Wednesday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, caesar salad
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Chicken and rice soup (from the freezer), homemade bread
Saturday: No cooking! (We will be attending a wedding)
Sunday: Potato and chickpea curry with rice, naan bread

The mystery chicken casserole is a mystery to me! I still haven't tried making it. (This recipe has been a hold over for the past few weeks.) I will try my best to post the recipe once I've given it a trial run. Basically, the casserole includes cubed chicken, chow mien noodles, water chestnuts, red pepper, celery and a cream sauce.

Tonight I made the sausage and kale soup from last week's menu. That recipe is a keeper! My husband had two helpings and our three-year-old pronounced his supper to be "delicious". I've never bought kale before. It is a beautiful, leafy winter vegetable. I bought the purple variety because the leaves were such a gorgeous colour. The resulting soup was quite pretty.

If you would like to browse other interesting menu plans, take a look at the Menu Plan Monday Mr. Linky hosted by Org Junkie.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Recommended Reading:

by Randy Alcorn

Heaven is an incredible book. I heartily recommend reading it. Other than the Bible itself, I believe this book has affected my Christian walk more than any other. It has strengthened my faith and fostered an intense hunger for my eternal home.

Randy Alcorn has based his book on sound Biblical research. He prefaces Heaven with an incredibly humble introduction. Alcorn promises to change future editions of the book if readers find any points that do not line up with Scripture. Heaven is solid and well-positioned, but also creative and fascinating to read.

This book is approximately 500 pages long and quite honestly, is a slow read. It took nine weeks for me to wade through Heaven. (I did not have time to finish the extensive appendices.) Heaven is a dense and thought-provoking book. I found I could only absorb a chapter or two at a time. I only wanted to read a chapter or two at a time. I felt the need to savour every idea and image. Alcorn paints a truly inspiring vision of our future home!

Heaven answers many common questions such as: Is heaven a physical place? Will we have bodies in heaven? Will we continue relationships with the people we love in this life? Where will we live in heaven? How will we spend our time? Will we have jobs and tasks? Will there be animals in heaven?

Without a doubt, this book is required reading for Christians. If only every follower of Christ shared a fresh, vibrant vision for eternity. Our Church would be a radically different body! I highly recommend Randy Alcorn's Heaven.

Please visit the Mr. Linky hosted by Callapidder Days to read other book reviews written by Fall Into Reading 2007 participants.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I finished making Ben's rocket wreath last night. It required five pounds of candy! I hope the guys at the office like their festive decoration ... and that they don't eat it until after Christmas.


Now I feel bad for poking fun at our son. Today he's developed a nasty case of croup. He wasn't feeling well yesterday.

Poor guy. He's been sick so often lately.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Koalas are NOT a Bear ...

The question begs to be asked. Why was our son cast as the koala in his school play? Does he often fall asleep in class?

I seriously thought he would drop off right in the middle of his play this afternoon.

I suppose he was simply staying in character.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thoughts From the Kitchen

These past couple weeks have completely thrown me out of my regular routine. I feel that I am just starting to get back on my feet. Thankfully, I finished preparing for Christmas early. I have only a little sewing left to complete before the Christmas season.

Yesterday I finally took the time to try my new mini muffin and mini loaf pans. I baked banana bread and muffins. I took a few banana loaves to my friend, but the rest of the batch has mysteriously disappeared ... I believe the mini muffin pan is a hit! The little muffins are just the perfect size for preschoolers. Next week I plan to bake mini pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for my son's junior kindergarten class.

In other news, our microwave has been on the fritz for a couple of weeks. The turntable stopped turning and food no longer cooks evenly. (Ben has banished me from using the microwave as he's scared it will short out and start a fire.) With all the craziness, we have not had a chance to shop for a new one. Cooking "the old fashioned way" has forced a change in my perspective. I can't simply zap our leftovers for a few minutes!

I am looking forward to buying a new microwave this weekend.

Finally, I'd like to share the following recipe for Turtle Brownies. I baked these a couple of weeks ago. They are decadent. (The recipe cheats a bit because it uses a mix. Shhhh. No one has to know.) I definitely recommend using a silicon 9x9" square pan for these. Cool and refrigerate the brownies before attempting to cut them. I also recommend using fewer caramels and less butter than the recipe calls for. The caramel layer is extremely gooey.

Turtle Brownies

50 caramels (14 oz. package), unwrapped
2/3 C. evaporated milk
1 German chocolate cake mix
3/4 C. butter, melted
1 C. chocolate chips
1 C. chopped pecans

Combine cake mix with melted butter and 1/3 C. evaporated milk. Spread half of the batter in a slightly buttered pyrex lasagna-sized pan or equivalent. (Use a 9x9" silicon pan.) Bake for 8 minutes.

Melt caramels with 1/3 C. evaporated milk in a double boiler over barely simmering water or in the microwave (about 3-4 minutes --- check often and stir).

Remove cake base from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans. Drizzle melted caramel mixture over chips and nuts. Cover with remaining cake batter.

If the batter is difficult to spread, pat blobs of dough into zig-zag pieces to cover the chocolate chip and pecan covered base. Continue baking at 350F for 15-18 minutes. Cool before slicing.

Keep the brownies covered in the fridge as it makes slicing through the caramel layer easier. These brownies freeze well.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I am completely enamoured with Jeanne Williamson's work. From 1999 to 2005 she set out to create one small quilt per week. 365 quilts in total. Williamson used everyday materials such as plastic bags, cupcake wrappers, clothing tags, as well as paint, fabric and stitching.

Very cool. Very inspiring.

Check out the Uncommon Quilter website here. Jeanne's short You Tube video is also interesting.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Menu Plan Monday
December 10, 2007

We are hoping to return to a normal routine this week, though we do have several evening commitments to look forward to. Here is my proposed meal plan:

Monday: Hamburger soup (from the freezer), homemade bread. (Ben and I will be out at his office Christmas party.)
Tuesday: Chicken caccitore, whole wheat spaghetti, spinach salad.
Wednesday: Beef tacos (from the freezer), brown beans, corn.
Thursday: Chicken mystery casserole, brown rice, steamed green beans.
Friday: Leftovers. (Ben and I will be going to a Christmas party.)
Saturday: Sausage and kale soup, homemade bread.
Sunday: Leftovers. (Our family will be attending the church Christmas concert over supper time.)

Sausage and Kale Soup (from Everyday Cooking magazine)

This is a new recipe for our family.

In a large pot (6-8 quarts), heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Cook 1 diced onion until soft, stirring, 2-3 minutes. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 5 waxy potatoes (1 1/2 lbs.), peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks, and 3 cans (14.5 oz. each) reduced-sodium chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

In a blender, puree half the soup. Return to pot, add one bunch (12 oz.) kale, stemmed and shredded, and 12 oz. smoked chicken sausage, cut into 1/2" half-moons. Simmer until kale is wilted, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serves 4
Prep. time: 15 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes


Check out the Menu Plan Monday Mr. Linky at Org Junkie.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


This morning our Grandpa George died peacefully. We will miss having him here with us, but live with the hope that he is now laughing and singing joyfully with his Savior. We'll see Grandpa George again soon.

Our family is planning to leave for Saskatchewan very early tomorrow morning. We'll be away for the weekend.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hello, Little One!

It's a BOY!
Timothy Mitchell Inkster

We can't wait to meet you, Little Man.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A New Little Quilt

I've been meaning to post a picture of our new quilt for a while. I finished sewing it several weeks ago. Each of the children drew a picture (or scribbled) in one of the large squares. My photo doesn't do their artwork justice, but you can just make out our son's drawing of an anteater in the lower portion of the middle square. The finished quilt measures roughly 48" by 24". I basted a sleeve along the back and hung our quilt from a curtain rod. It beautifully brightens the space behind our kitchen table.

I would like to thank Soule Mama for providing inspiration for this project. I always enjoy reading Amanda's blog and look forward to buying her new book in the spring.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Weekend

Suffice it to say, we put the "bucket buddies" to good use this weekend. What an ordeal.

I think (hope, pray) this bug has finally worked its way through the entire family. We've all been sick over the past few days. I can honestly say I've never been so violently ill in all my life.

However, I am thankful.

Thankful Ben and I were not sick at exactly the same time. Thankful our eldest son has good aim. Thankful we were well-stocked with groceries. Thankful our carpet escaped unscathed. Thankful I'll be well enough to attend my ultrasound appointment tomorrow. Thankful our little girl was the least sick of us all. Thankful the baby is okay. Thankful we had a good excuse not to go out in this frigid weather!

Here's to hoping for a brighter week.