Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sleepy Time

We play a little game with our kids at bed time.  Ben and I give each child an imaginary "sleepy cookie" to send them off to dream land.  It's a silly little thing that sometimes morphs into a game.  We've doled out "sleepy salads", "sleepy tuna fish sandwiches" and "sleepy pizza".

Tonight we had a new request.  Our two-year-old would not lay down until she had received her nightly allotment of "sleepy mashed potatoes."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary :-)

Nine years ago today I married my high school sweetheart.  Happy Anniversary Benjie!

We have big plans for this evening ;-).  We will go to the Zoolights and then out for East Indian food.  The three oldest kids are sleeping over at my sister's and the littlest Inkling will tag along with Mommy and Daddy.

It will be a great day!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Gifts

Today was just about the perfect winter day.  Not too cold.  Snow in the morning.  The kids spent the day enjoying some much-loved Christmas gifts. 

This afternoon I took the boys out sledding on the little hill behind our house.  Our three eldest children received sleds and helmets for Christmas.  The boys have already been out a couple times with their new sleds this week.  They had a ball sliding down the hill and trudging back up this afternoon.  (They also discovered that the incline along the side of the house is a pretty sweet sliding spot.)  The weather for sledding was absolutely ideal and Mommy had a great time too!

Ben and I gave the children a little CD player and several Focus on the Family radio dramas for Christmas.  Our eldest son, in particular, loves listening to the CDs.  He set up a mini "radio theatre" in his bedroom, complete with chairs for the audience.  The kids have been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia in their new "theatre".

I think this was one of the first Christmases Ben and I didn't feel overwhelmed by gifts.  (Thank you, family!  We really appreciate you all.)  Our kids received some great things:  passes to the zoo and Heritage Park, sleds and skates, clothes, books, a few toys (none requiring batteries!), a small DVD player and some movies.  We gave our children the aforementioned CDs and a few new costumes for their dress-up box. Our kids were definitely blessed but Christmas wasn't over the top. 

We are very, very thankful!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

And Now I Feel Awful

We had some friends over for supper this evening.  They have two busy toddlers of their own, and combined with our four, the house was full of energy!  At one point in the evening my friend paused to show me her one-year-old daughter's cheeks.

"I felt so, so awful," related my friend, "I took my little girl out sledding on one of those really cold days.  We weren't out long...maybe 20 minutes...but when we came back inside her cheeks were bright red. They're still kind of reddish-purple now and my MIL (who is a nurse) says it is frostbite.  I know she's right, deep down I know, it really is frostbite..."

My heart sunk down to my boots.  I looked at my eight-month-old's cheeks.  They've been a weird reddish-purple colour the past few days. And I've wondered...ever since that really cold day I bundled him up to walk to his brother's school...the day his cheeks got really red.  Could he have frostbite too?

And just like my friend, I knew, deep down in my heart, that frostbite was the answer. 

I now feel awful.  Horribly awful.  My poor baby's cheeks are in even worse shape than my friend's.  They don't seem to hurt him, and I don't believe there is anything I can do to treat them.  Time will heal the damage eventually, I hope.  We'll always have to be vigilant with our son when it's cold out.

And even though our eldest son's school is right across the street, I have resolved that on really cold days we will now drive the van!

Friday, December 26, 2008

O Holy Night

The congregation stood in reverent silence.  The gentle glow of candlelight warmed the sanctuary as our pastor shared a Christmas message of hope.  

(Our children fidgeted and squirmed.)

The pastor continued to speak.  He spoke and spoke.  He spoke some more.  My husband and I tried to keep small fingers away from flickering candles.  The potential for singed eyebrows alarmed me.

"... at times," our pastor intoned, "We tend to live fraudulent lives..."

Our five-year-old grinned and loudly responded, "Well, at least we don't live flatulent lives!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Merry Christmas to all our family and friends!  We hope you have a wonderful holiday season.  

Love, hugs and prayers,

Ben, Lindsay and the Inklings :-)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
December 22, 2008

The Christmas week has arrived!  Here is my menu plan for the upcoming week:

Monday:  Coconut chicken (from the freezer), whole grain rice, asian salad
Tuesday:  Southwest roll-ups, green salad
Christmas Eve:  Seafood medley, linguine, caesar salad
Christmas Day: (brunch) Banana pancake snowmen, sausage, fruit salad, (dinner with my parents)
Friday:  Leftovers
Saturday:  Potato minestrone, homemade bread
Sunday:  Clean out the fridge!

This weekend I did a bit of holiday baking.  I love baking Christmas cookies but this year I cut back dramatically.  The kids and I made three (yummy) recipes:

Gingerbread men
Peanut butter rosebuds

The next few days we'll be staying close to home, cleaning the house, visiting with family and friends, and staying warm.  We're all set! Christmas here we come! 

For other great holiday menus, check out Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie.   

Sunday, December 21, 2008


This song never fails to send my boys into hysterics.  Enjoy!

The Mom Song from Northland Video on Vimeo

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Quote of the Day

My husband works in an office of geeks.  One of the guys (a bachelor) volunteered the following gem the other day...

Ben: Hey!  You look great!  You showered, you shaved...

Adam:  Yeah.  I even did my laundry.

Ben:  Whoa!  What happened?

Adam:  Well, honestly?  I did my laundry using a Tide pen and a bottle of Febreeze. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Silliness

Yes, We Changed Our Minds (Again)

We officially applied for our second-born son to attend kindergarten next fall.  (No, this was not our original plan.)  I think it is for the best, though.  At the end of the day practicality and convenience have won out.  

Our son will turn five next November.  He will be only four years old for the first two months of school.  We had planned to hold him back a year, but the truth is, he's a bright and gregarious little guy.  I think he'll do just fine in kindergarten next fall.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I am incredibly thankful for our family's good health these past months. Last year it seemed we were sick all fall and winter. (Admittedly, my memory may be coloured by last year's pregnancy fog.) This time around we've hardly caught more than the sniffles. Praise God!

I was worried our four-year-old, in particular, might be sick a lot this year. He seems to have a weaker immune system than his siblings. Whenever a cold goes through the family he catches the worst of it. Last winter the poor guy had a perpetually runny nose and several ear infections. I was a bit worried this fall because I figured our four-year-old would bring home all sorts of germs when he started preschool. I'm pleased to report this hasn't been the case! Our little guy had one cold with a nasty cough a couple weeks ago, but it cleared up quite quickly.

Why have we been so healthy? I don't know for certain but I have a few theories...

We moved to a new house this summer. (I don't know if our house has anything to do with anything.) Maybe our family is healthier because we're not living in such close quarters? Maybe we share fewer germs now that we have separate bathrooms?

The kids are napping more than ever before. Last year our eldest son attended jr. kindergarten for two hours every afternoon. He's a kid who needs a great deal of sleep but on school days he wouldn't get a nap. As well, the other children had their naps cut short every afternoon as we dashed to the preschool. (Oh, the tantrums!) This year our kindergartener has actually reverted back to napping on the days he is home. All the kids sleep for about two hours every afternoon. (Those are two hours of peaceful bliss!)

I am no longer volunteering at the YMCA. Last year I taught a preschool music class each week. Our (then) three-year-old attended the class with me and the other children played in the babysitting room. I am convinced the kids picked up tons of bugs from the Y. Though I have a great deal of respect for the Y's volunteer programs, it was always difficult to find last-minute teaching subs if the kids were sick. Many volunteer moms simply brought their sick kids into the babysitting room. There were no other options. I really enjoyed teaching the music class, however, I am very thankful the kids no longer visit the Y.

All that to say, I am grateful for our family's good health. It is not something we take for granted. Cold and flu season can feel like a marathon (especially come February...) and I will happily accept every healthy day God sends us.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Randomness

I feel like Christmas is rapidly sneaking up on me!  I can't believe the big day is only one week away.  The weather has been very cold and snowy here in Calgary, so it certainly feels Christmas-y outside.

Here are some of the random thoughts buzzing through my head this week:
  • I love checking the mail box at this time of year.  We received a lovely stack of cards today, and I especially enjoy when people enclose pictures with their cards.  Also, I'm thankful to have finally sent out our family's Christmas cards earlier this week!
  • I am officially finished my Christmas shopping.  (I suppose this isn't exactly something to brag about as Christmas is only one week away.)  I hope to get everything wrapped later tonight.
  • The kids and I made gingerbread cookies yesterday afternoon. My three "helpers" were incredibly cute. In particular, our four-year-old has decided he wants to be a chef when he grows up and he wore a white apron and hat for most of the day.  I also hadn't realized how many cookie cutters our family has amassed over the years.  (I think many have newly resurfaced since our move.) The kids had great fun making some rather creative gingerbread cookies.  (A stegosaurus is totally festive, right?)
  • I'm hoping to finish the rest of my Christmas baking within the next couple of days.
  • We'll be attending our five-year-old's school concert tonight.  I'm very much looking forward to it.
  • The roads are awfully slippery out there.  We took our van in for its winter check-up yesterday and were surprised to discover it needed new brakes.  I'm definitely thankful for the brakes (but less thankful for the unexpected bill).
  • This past weekend nearly did me in.  My outgoing husband kept inviting people over! Don't get me wrong, I love welcoming people into our home and I enjoy visiting with friends.  My introverted self just can't keep up!  It's taken until today for me to feel back to normal.  I imagine next weekend will be much the same, so I'm attempting to finished all my Christmas preparations before then.

Monday, December 15, 2008

You Know It's Still Freaky Cold When...

... you reach into your bag only to discover your diaper wipes have frozen into a solid block of ice. (That's when you vow to never again leave the diaper bag out in the van overnight.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You Know It's Freaky Cold When...

... the doors to your minivan freeze shut when the vehicle is parked inside the garage. 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Candy Cane

Our five-year-old son brought the following poem home from kindergarten yesterday.  (This is a small example of the many reasons why I'm thankful he attends a Christian school.)

Look at a candy cane,
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for me!
White for my Savior,
Who's sinless and pure!
"J" is for Jesus,
My Lord that's for sure!
Turn it around
And a staff you will see ---
Jesus, my shepherd,
Is coming for me!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Hey!  Don't touch the Christmas tree!"

"We weren't touching the tree.  We were touching the decorations."

Thursday, December 11, 2008


My husband is a geek.  The guys who work for him?  Uber-geeks.  Ben's office is most certainly the epicenter of all geekiness.  The place reeks of it.  (Or maybe that's just the week-old pizza...)

Check out the office water cooler.  (Yes, those are hard drive magnets taped to the side of the bottle.)  Hey, times are tough after all.  Kudos to Adam for dreaming up a way to keep the company afloat.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Grammar Geek

Do you care about grammar?  Would you like to write more effectively? Check out The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words

(And there was much rejoicing.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Budding Scientist

This afternoon our five-year-old announced he planned to discover the substance of the Milky Way Galaxy.  When I questioned how he would go about making such a discovery he replied:

"I'm not really sure, Mommy, but I'll definitely have to use my orange play dough to do it."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
December 8, 2008

When I feel stressed I clean the house.  Clutter makes me anxious.  I organize and purge and wash and vacuum whenever life goes topsy-turvy.  An orderly home helps me feel in control.

I guess I feel a bit anxious about the upcoming week.  Instead of writing my menu plan I've spent the past hour re-organizing the kitchen pantry. (Seeing all those neat and tidy stacks of canned goods brings me great pleasure.)  

Working through mindless tasks is actually very therapeutic, though. As I tidied my pantry, I thought about buying groceries and mentally planned our meals for the next week.  I now have a fairly clear picture of my menu plan!

Here's my proposed menu for the upcoming week:

Monday:  No cooking!  (Supper with my parents)
Tuesday:  Holiday tortellini soup, grapes, multigrain bread
Wednesday:  Leftovers
Thursday:  Beef taco skillet, corn, sliced avocado
Friday:  Veggie frittata, fruit salad, whole wheat toast  
Saturday:  Leftovers
Sunday:  No cooking!  (Supper with Ben's parents)

If you enjoy reading about recipes and meal planning, check out Menu Plan Monday hosted by Org Junkie.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Mail Call

I handed a letter to our four-year-old son as we stepped out the door. "Here you go, Buddy," I said, "You put this in the slot when we get to the mailbox."

He studied the stamp in the corner of the envelope.  "Mommy?" he asked, "Is this a picture of Grandma?"

Our son thought for a moment longer and then continued, "Mommy?  Is this a picture of Grandma when she was a mailman?"

I laughed and replied, "No silly.  That's a picture of the queen."

"Oh!" he exclaimed as understanding dawned, "Is this a picture of the queen when she was a mailman?"

Friday, December 05, 2008

Kindergarten Comedy

"What do you call a mouse's language?"

"Squeak speak!"

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thought for the Day

Putting pajamas on an uncooperative toddler is like trying to wrestle an octopus.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I Am Slowly Going Crazy...

I have listened to this approximately three billion times today.  

Our four-year-old even created an original dance to go along with the song.  It involved a lot of bum wiggling (mostly in his older brother's face).  Appropriately enough, our son named his move the "Backwards Ninja". 

Monday, December 01, 2008

Creative Problem Solving

I am seriously considering buying our children a toy lawnmower for Christmas.

You know the huge soccer field behind our house?  When one of the kids starts driving me bonkers I'll hand him the lawnmower.  

(He can come back when he's finished mowing the field.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
December 1, 2008

Here's my proposed menu plan for the upcoming week:

Monday:  No cooking! (supper with my parents)
Tuesday:  Beef curry, basmati rice, steamed broccoli, peas
Wednesday:  Leftover night
Thursday:  Roasted chicken, accordion potatoes, honey glazed carrots, corn
Friday:  Veggie frittata, whole wheat toast, fruit salad
Saturday:  Leftover night
Sunday:  No cooking!  (supper with Ben's parents)

This week I will also choose my Christmas cookie recipes!  I love baking Christmas cookies, but in the spirit of keeping life simple, I am limiting my choices this year.  Four types of cookies should be plenty.  I'll share my recipes next weekend.

Visit Org Junkie for other menu plans and recipe ideas.  Laura hosts Menu Plan Monday each and every week! 
Quote of the Day

"Mommy, you know how I want to be a doctor when I grow up?  Well ... do you think it would be okay if I just got a paper route first?"

(Words from an ambitious five-year-old.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bedtime Prayers

Dear God.  

Thank you for my day.  Thank you for my family.  Please help me to have no scary dreams tonight.  And please help me not to be eaten by a dinosaur.


Friday, November 28, 2008


Our son would like to share this fascinating bit of information:

He is eating a sticky orange for a snack.

That would be an orange.  

On a stick.
Parent Teacher Interviews (Part 2)

We learned two interesting things during our son's PT interview yesterday:
  • The kindergarten kids play a game called (something like) "Counting Bones" in their classroom. The object of the game is to count dog biscuits and place them in bowls. Apparently, over the course of time, some of the dog bones mysteriously went missing. Care to guess who's child was eating the dog biscuits?
  • Our five-year-old son has found the girl he plans to marry. They hold hands in class and give one another rides on the tire swing at recess. The kindergarten teacher says the children are quite inseparable. Our son freely admits to having a "girlfriend" but has run into a small stumbling block. Yesterday he said, "Mommy, I want to marry my girlfriend and I need to buy her a ring.  But I don't have enough allowance yet!" 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Parent Teacher Interviews

When did we suddenly arrive at this place in life?  Do we truly have school-age children in our house?  Where have the preschool years flown off to?

Our kindergartener brought home his first report card last week, and this afternoon Ben and I attended our first official parent teacher conference.  It was an interesting experience.  The teacher said lots of nice things and offered some constructive criticism.  I thought her comments were bang on.  It's only been three months and already she has our son well pegged.

But I still can't get over the fact we actually have children old enough to attend school.  If I could grab time by the tail and reign it in, truly I would.  Before I know it our sweet baby boy will be trotting off to kindergarten and I'll be alone with myself all day.

What will that be like?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quote of the Day

We have a small flaw in our kitchen floor.  There's a 1/4 inch gap between two of the hardwood pieces.  This morning our two-year-old got down on her hands and knees, pressed her nose to the kitchen floor, and wailed in great distress:

"Oh no, Mommy!  This house is broken!"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
November 24, 2008

I am running a bit behind with the menu planning this week.  Here it is, already Monday evening.  Oh well.  Such is life.  This week I'm not going to submit much of a plan, to tell the truth.  I have lots of meals saved up in the freezer.  We'll be eating some of the soups, casseroles and burritos I have saved.  Our plan is to keep life simple as the weeks march on toward Christmas.

This morning I did my routine trip to the grocery store.  We stocked up on the basics --- milk, bread, fruits and veggies.  It was refreshing to have a relatively light shopping trip!  Again, we're trying to keep things simple (in order to have a little extra to splurge on Christmas).

Like everyone else, Ben and I have been carefully looking at our budget in light of the economic downturn.  We've been thinking about ways to cut our expenses.  To tell the truth, living on a potentially tight budget doesn't really scare us at this point.  The "early poverty days" of our marriage are still too fresh in our minds!  We know God is our provider, and come what may, He'll help us to hang in there.  In a lot of ways, this economic season is less scary than our family's tight times were a few years ago. Yes, we now have a mortgage and four kids, but we also have greater resources and experience.  Our "early poverty days" taught us how to save, how to stretch dollars, and how to cook with beans.  (I have lots more bean recipes to draw on now!) 

Ben and I have been tossing around the idea of planting a vegetable garden in our backyard next summer.  (This is something I think will become a popular trend.  It's the whole urban farmer thing.)  We have practically no gardening experience between us, so it should be an interesting experiment.  (To put it mildly ... I have no illusions regarding the work involved in caring for a garden.) I'm into canning, and we have a big freezer in the basement, so a garden could be a very good thing.  Through the cold winter months we will read The Calgary Gardener books.  Maybe we'll learn at thing or two...

In other news, last week's coconut chicken recipe was less-than stellar.  We were disappointed but I think the recipe has great potential.  When I try it again I will add more spice, garlic and cayenne pepper.  The dish simply needed more zip and deserves a second chance.  I did love how easily the recipe came together in my crock pot.  

As well, the grilled turkey wraps were a surprise hit.  (Though I will admit, grilling them in the waffle iron was a bit weird.  The grid marks were unusual but they did taste great.)  We used sliced turkey breast, mozzarella cheese, fresh spinach, honey mustard and green spinach tortillas.  Yum!

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura over at Org Junkie.  Head on over to Laura's place to check it out!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Surviving Christmas Chaos

This week I was feeling a wee bit anxious about the approaching Christmas season.  I just read a great article in the newest Focus on the Family magazine, and I'm slowly starting to feel better.

Swallow.  Gulp.  We will survive Christmas this year.  We can do it!

This weekend our family placed the nativity scene out on our fireplace mantle.  The reality of Christmas, the blessedness of the season, became more real in our home.  We're unapologetically slowing down for the next few weeks and carefully selecting our commitments (respectfully saying "no" to most things) so our family can focus on the true meaning of Christmas.  Jesus Christ.    

Here's my favourite excerpt from the Focus magazine article.  It hit very close to home, as though it was written especially for our family:

Our family used to wish Christmas was over; now we embrace the season with anticipation.  Instead of only focusing on the "to-dos" of the holidays, we're learning to take on every task as an act of worship, doing all things for His honour and glory.

Will Christmas ever be perfect?  With four spirited kids and two imperfect parents, it's not likely.  But the important thing is that Christ is at the centre of our home and holidays --- and we plan to keep Him there.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just a Spoonful of Sugar...

This is a tip I read in Canadian Living last week --- and it really works! (It's especially helpful for all my pregnant mommy friends who can't take medication for colds.)

If you feel a tickle in the back of your throat eat some very dark chocolate, one composed of at least 70% cocoa. (I am not making this up.) The chocolate contains an active ingredient called theobromine which suppresses nerve sensitivity in the throat and reduces the urge to cough. According to the article "two ounces of dark chocolate pack the same punch as a dose of strong cough medication".

Ben and I both tried this remedy a few days ago and it totally worked.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Big Brother

Following my previous post, I feel the need to redeem our eldest son's reputation! He's a sweet, caring, helpful boy. Here's a cute video of our five-year-old feeding his baby brother. (He did a surprisingly terrific job. Most of the baby food actually ended up down the hatch! Feeding the baby may quickly become our big boy's responsibility.)

Anger Management

Our five-year-old son has a temper. A fierce temper. He can be a sweet, sensitive, caring boy 99% of the time.  However, if you catch him in a grumpy mood watch out! His anger can be volcanic. The temper tantrums are legendary.

(This is something we are continually working on, and our son's self control has improved dramatically over the past year.)

Last night I rushed to buckle the kids into the van. It was supper time and we were running late. (Translation: It was supper time and the kids were hungry.) Our eldest was feeling particularly moody.  He was in fine form and everything Mommy said was wrong, wrong, wrong.

"Just do up your seat belt!" I finally demanded, totally exasperated. Our five-year-old worked to fasten the buckle.  A snail could move faster. I sighed and complained, "No, not like that. The strap has to go under the arm rest."

Our boy looked at me.  He looked at the seat belt.  And he snapped.

"Mommy!"  he exclaimed, "I'm going to take you out with a weed whacker!" 

A look of horror immediately crossed my son's face.  His expression clearly said: I can't believe that just came out of my mouth.  I'm in BIG trouble now.

I stifled a laugh and put on my sternest face.  "We'll talk about this when your Daddy gets home.  You do not say mean words to Mommy."

Our son, being the sensitive kid that he is, was extremely remorseful once the words were out. Impulse control is something he still needs to work on.  (And let's face it, it's something he'll probably always need to work on.)

But a weed whacker?  My goodness.  At least I've got to give the kid points for creativity.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Our two-year-old has an adventurous palate. None of our kids are particularly picky eaters, but our little girl will taste almost anything. She's quite something. Some of the edibles she's tried lately (willingly, without tears) include:
  • Sashimi (as in the raw sushi)
  • Jalapeno peppers (several bites!)
  • Espresso (a small taste)
  • Pureed peas (stolen from her baby brother's dish)
Our two-year-old especially loves coffee. Ben actually has to guard his mug whenever our daughter's around, otherwise she will sneak sips! She also loves curry, chili and strong flavours. We can hardly believe the foods our girl is willing to taste. I'm praying our daughter keeps her adventurous spirit and willingness to try new things long after she grows beyond the preschool years.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
November 17, 2008

Here I sit on Sunday night, looking forward to a new week. Last week's menu plan worked out quite well. In particular, the southwestern bean soup was a great hit. I will definitely add the recipe to our repertoire of family favourites.

Southwestern Bean Soup

(adapted from Taste of Home)

1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
dash cayenne pepper
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 can (19 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (19 oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (19 oz.) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (15 oz. each) spicy diced tomatoes, undrained
4 C. chicken broth
1 1/2 C. fresh or frozen corn

In dutch oven or soup kettle, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add cumin, chili powder, cayenne and cook for one minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for five minutes or until heated through. Makes 12 servings.


This week I'm planning to try a couple new things. The coconut chicken is a new recipe, one I found tonight through Org Junkie. As well, our family has fallen in love with the grilled wraps at the mall. I don't have a panini press at home but I'm going to use my waffle iron to make them instead. (Our wraps will have grids all over them!)

Here's my proposed menu plan for the upcoming week:

Monday: No cooking! (Supper at my sister's new house)
Tuesday: Beef barley soup, homemade bread
Wednesday: Coconut crockpot chicken, basmati rice, steamed cauliflower
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Grilled turkey wraps, fruit salad
Saturday: Clean out the fridge
Sunday: No cooking! (Supper with Ben's family)

Check out Org Junkie for further menu planning goodness.
Quote of the Day

"You know Mommy, I can't balance 61 coconuts on my head."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Make Saturday Morning

Daddy decided today was a good day for his boys to practice soldering. You never know when you might need to repair a faulty circuit, after all. The boys used a cold heat soldering gun, so there was little chance of them burning themselves.

Rewiring (or unwiring) a floppy drive.

Soldering gun in one hand, blankie in the other. Every four-year-old should learn basic electronics.
Contemplating Christmas Again

Okay. If I truly examine my feelings I actually do like Christmas. Shopping at craft sales was fun today. I enjoyed spending time with my mom and sister, and the holiday displays were quite pretty. For the first time this year I actually started looking forward to Christmas.

Here are a few things I like about the season:
  • Festive light displays
  • Baking cookies and treats
  • My nativity set
  • Homemade gifts (to give or receive)
  • Country cottage-type decorations
  • The scent of evergreens
  • Singing carols
  • Dressing the children in cute clothes
  • Christmas candles
  • Visiting with family we don't see often
  • Receiving cards, letters and pictures in the mail
I think if I can keep my lists under control I'll be okay. I plan on avoiding the mall. Today I realized this will be the first Christmas in a long time where I'm not pregnant or nursing a small baby. My energy levels are quite good these days. Perhaps this Christmas will feel less exhausting! I also remembered that last December was very hard for our family --- we all caught a vicious flu and then my grandfather died before we were completely recovered. The Christmas season was sad and overwhelming last year. I think this year will be different.

Ben and I may even buy a real evergreen tree this year. (I saw some gorgeous quilted tree skirts at the craft sales today.) Today I started to feel excited about decorating our new home for the holidays. I have a beautiful Willow Tree nativity set. This summer our local Christian bookstore went out of business and I bought all the extra pieces for my nativity scene. I'm looking forward to arranging everything along the fireplace mantle.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Contemplating Christmas

Christmas is sneaking up on me this year. To date I've done very little to prepare for the season. Tomorrow my mom, sister and I will be perusing the craft sales, and I must finally acknowledge that Christmas is right around the corner. I need to start planning.

That said, I feel I must share my true feelings (and I'm very sorry if this offends the people I love). I don't like Christmas. The season totally stresses me out. The gifts and events and glitter and busyness of Christmas leave me feeling overwhelmed. I find it all utterly exhausting. If Ben and I could whisk our family away to a tropical island for the last week of December, we would do it. We would totally escape the season.

Christmas feels so artificial to me, and I become more acutely aware of the blatant consumerism every year. It seems like Christmas is simply a grand marketing scheme designed to drive retail sales. Where can we find the true meaning of the season? Baby Jesus is lost at the mall somewhere, apparently. He's hiding under all the tinsel and fluff and fake plastic snow. Christmas has become all about stuff, stuff, stuff. It makes me feel horribly guilty to live in gluttonous North America.

Have I always felt this way? No. Strangely enough, I think my aversion to Christmas began when Ben and I started having children. The season became so much more stressful once babies joined our family. The stuff of Christmas got out of control. The expectations and anticipation of the season were blown out of proportion. (I am trying to tread lightly here. Please don't take this the wrong way.) Our children are very blessed because our extended families are very generous. The gifts our children receive are lovely and well-meaning. We are thankful, truly. But the stuff is overwhelming. Four children times dozens of gifts is a lot to digest. We don't need it all. We don't have space for all. The children get confused about the true meaning of the season (and Jesus sometimes gets lost in the shuffle).

Christmas is a busy time of year. We have Christmas concerts, church parties, family get-togethers, work functions, social obligations. The calendar fills up at an alarming rate. Our children are small and it's all quite tiring. Our family has been blessed with excellent health his fall. I'd love to keep everyone well-rested and healthy, and simply stick close to home. Last year our family was very sick through most of the winter. I think last year's exhausting trial has coloured my perception of this year.

Thus, at the moment I am feeling incredibly "bah humbug" about Christmas. I honestly wish we could skip forward to January. So far I've only purchased a few gifts for our children. I need to compile a more detailed shopping list, but am at a complete loss. I need to think about food and cards and decorations. What will we do for our extended family this year? How will we include the children? What will be meaningful and appreciated?

Ultimately, I want to keep Christ at the centre of Christmas. For the time being, all I feel is guilt over my crummy attitude. (Guilt and apprehension. My gut is full of rocks when I think about the looming season.) How can our family celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way? How can we create lovely memories and traditions for our children? How can we bless others during this season? How can we avoid getting caught up in hype and consumerism?

I don't really have any answers tonight, but I do feel better for getting my feelings out in the open.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


How do you like the new look? (Thanks for the link, Wendy!) I am feeling very proud of my html prowess at the moment. I changed everything on my own, without a speck of help from my computer genius husband. (To be perfectly honest though, Blogger's new layouts page makes redecorating pretty easy.)
A Momentous Day

Today we marked a milestone for our family. Our oldest son read his first book all on his own! The book was called A Big Dog.

And with that small step, the journey begins...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Big Brother, Little Brother

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Middle C

I love how our second-born son is starting to become his own person. I often feel he gets lost in the shadow of his big brother. Our Middle C is now coming into his own and starting to shine in his own right.

Our big boy loves to draw. He often (as in several times each day) just has to draw something. Beetles are a favourite subject at the moment. For the most part, he is still at the stage of drawing people with large heads and randomly sprouting limbs. I love that. Our big boy is also learning to write some letters. I am amazed by how much he has learned in preschool after only a few short months.

Our second-born certainly has an imaginative, artistic bent. He loves to dance. Sometimes he spontaneously starts to move and groove and just can't sit still! The music is inside and bursting to come out. Our four-year-old is anxious to begin ballet like his big brother. I think it's cool how our boys see nothing wrong with taking dance. I love how our Middle C has a sensitive, artistic nature.  He's a special little boy, to be sure.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Are We Going Vegetarian?

Mmmm. Farty food. Our family has been eating a lot of it lately. Beans and lentils. Peppers and broccoli. All that good green stuff.

Contrary to popular belief (or my dear husband's complaining) we do eat meat from time to time. The truth of the matter is, we're simply eating less meat than we used to. This hasn't been a conscious decision, though. Our eating habits are slowly evolving and changing.

Why are we eating less meat? I think the change is partially due to the fact that I mostly try to buy antibiotic-free, "natural" meat. The meat I buy is not certified organic (but that's essentially what it is). Quite frankly, it's expensive. Meat is becoming more of a treat. A good piece of chicken is not something we take for granted anymore. Roast beef is a real extravagance. Pork is totally off the radar. We don't even buy it because I haven't found a good supplier.

When we eat rich food, we eat rich food. This is especially true of our family dinners on Sunday and Monday nights. Our moms spoil us. After all that good home cooking we're set for the week. Sometimes it feels like we need a few days of simple, meatless meals to recover from the overindulgence.

Also, our family does eat out fairly regularly. If I'm honest, it's at least once a week. We're not talking about gourmet restaurants, though. Pizza Delight is about as fancy as we get. Wendy's is another favourite. If we're going to spent our money (and caloric allotments) on fast food we need to make up the difference somehow. We eat a lot of beans for our other meals.

I'm also really into soup lately, for whatever reason, and am especially drawn to meatless recipes. Vegetarian soups are easy, healthy and economical. Our kids will eat almost anything and they seem to like the beans. I love simmering soups in my crock pot on cold, blustery days.

So, no, we're not going completely veggie. Ben and I will continue to enjoy eating meat. Everything in balance. Everything in moderation. Some meat is very good. (And some beans are even better.)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
November 10, 2008

Here's is my menu plan for the upcoming week:

Monday: No cooking! (My sister's birthday supper at our parents' house)
Tuesday: Southwestern bean soup, avocado, cornmeal muffins
Wednesday: Slow cooker spaghetti, green salad
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Vegetarian chili (from the freezer), honey wheat bread
Saturday: Homemade pizza
Sunday: No cooking (Supper with Ben's parents)

Last week Wendy asked for my recipe for tomato sauce ... and I have a confession to make. The big batch of sauce I made back in August was awful. It's still edible, and our family is slowly working through it, but it tastes pretty bad. The sauce scorched on the bottom of the pot and the entire batch tastes pretty smokey. It's gross.

Usually I make spaghetti sauce the easy way. I brown some ground beef and saute an onion. Then, I add a bottle of pre-made tomato sauce. (It's totally cheating.)

Wendy also asked how I make homemade chicken broth. I do it one of two ways:
  1. Place one leftover chicken or turkey carcass in a large stock pot. Add about 16 C. of water, a couple bay leaves, 1 tsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. salt. Bring the water to a boil. Let the stock simmer for at least two hours (but all day is even better). Remove the pot from heat. Pour the liquid through a strainer and into a separate pot. Let the broth cool (in the fridge) and skim off the fat.

  2. Place one whole, cut up chicken in a large slow cooker. Add enough water to fill the pot and a couple of bay leaves. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. (I like to cook the chicken overnight.) Pour the liquid through a strainer and into a separate pot. Let the meat cool and pick out all the bones and fatty bits. Freeze the meat for soups or casseroles. Let the broth cool (in the fridge) and skim off the fat. Add salt to taste.
Laura hosts Menu Plan Monday each week. Check it out!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Growing Bigger Every Day

Next week our little guy will be seven months old. Seven months old! He's huge! Before I know it we will be sending him off to kindergarten. Here are a few of things our big boy has been up to:

Timbit's been eating solids for three weeks now. He's tried rice cereal, avocado, pears, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and peas. So far I believe sweet potatoes are his favourite. It took me four children to learn this, but pears are a really effortless first food. If I let the pears get very ripe and mushy they're super-easy to mash up with a fork. (Always learning something new.)

Our big boy is babbling up a storm. He says "ba" and "ga" and a whole lot of "aaaaaa". Every once in a while he'll throw in a "da" just to keep things interesting. He's also learned to blow raspberries (and thinks it's particularly funny to do so when eating the aforementioned sweet potatoes).

Our baby is not sitting up on his own yet. All of our kids have been late-bloomers when it comes to gross motor skills. (Our daughter didn't walk until she was eighteen months.) Timbit's happy to kick and flap and roll from side to side. One of these days I'm going to blink and he'll surprise me by being across the room. I'm enjoying his lack of mobility for the time being!

I am trying to savour every moment with a baby in the house as this will be our last. I can hardly bear the thought of leaving behind the baby years. Cute chubby cheeks to kiss, warm little bodies to snuggle, soft baby skin and rolls and dimples. Our timbit is so sweet and growing up much too quickly.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Bedtime Prayers

Our kindergartner might be a budding astronaut. This afternoon he came home inspired by today's "alphabet guest" at school. (The guest was an engineer for the letter "E".) Our son raided the recycling bins and built a jet pack out of an old cereal box, toilet paper tubes, and reams of masking tape. He also made a "space hat" from tissue paper and constructed a computer keyboard from cardboard. Tomorrow our intrepid five-year-old is planning an epic mission.

Our four-year-old was intrigued by his brother's space adventure. He decided to get in on the action as well, and ventured into the garage to scavenge his own building materials. This was a very brave step for our young preschooler. (Our second-born is convinced scary creatures live in the garage.)

This evening our family prayer time was marked by a couple of gems. Here are the earnest prayers of our two young boys:

"Dear God. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my day. Please help me to have a good mission to Mars tomorrow. In Jesus name, Amen."


"Dear Lord Jesus. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my day. Thank you that Thomas the train lives at our house. And thank you that there are no scary monsters in the garage. Amen."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Keeping Up

Yesterday I read a magazine article about over-scheduled, overworked, stressed-out kids. Our society is continually on the run. We go, go, go from one activity to the next. Like rats in a maze, our families continually race after the next piece of cheese and our kids suffer the inevitable fallout from the crazed frenzy of busyness.  

Why do we do it? What's the purpose of it all?

I hate to say, but I've especially noticed this competitive striving at our son's new school. Since September I've been shocked to see the blatant competition between parents.  Totally shocked. In particular, I am surprised by the thinly veiled battle for "alpha mom" status among a few of the women:

My son is taking swimming lessons on Monday. He does soccer on Tuesdays, followed by piano in the evening, karate on Wednesdays, and he attends Kumon every Friday. Yes, it's a bit rushed but he just loves it all. He catches a nap in the van between soccer and piano...

Did your child receive the treat bags I made for the class? It was nothing, really. Just a little something I whipped up at the last minute. My son's birthday is coming up quite soon, so keep your eyes open for his birthday invitations. We'll be renting a terrific bouncy house for the party...

Praise the Lord and pass the alka-seltzer. Are these women for real? Our children are in kindergarten, for Pete's sake.  Kids do not need a million activities to pad their elementary resumes.  They don't care about who's mom makes the nicest treats for the class.  They need plenty of unstructured time to play and explore.  They need space to think and to rest. 

And so do their moms and dads, apparently. 

Ben and I try very hard not to over-schedule our kids. We are not involved in a million things. At the moment, ballet is our family's only extra-curricular activity. (One class per week.) We recognize it's still early in the game, but we plan to keep our family's pace slow and centered around the home. Our kids will not be shuttled from one activity to the next. 

Further, I will not enter the competition to be "alpha mom". In my past life I got caught up in being the top of the class, aiming for perfection, involving myself in a host of activities. It was unhealthy and destructive. I do not plan to relive that life through my children today. I don't need to feather my "mom cap" with all my kids' accomplishments. 

We will slow down. Relax. Take time to breathe. What's the hurry?

Ben and I plan to let our kids just be kids. Childhood is precious and short. Our kids will bloom in their own time, when they have had opportunity to grow and learn. Our children are blessed. They have fun siblings to play with, toys and games and puzzles and crayons, books to read, a huge field to play in.  It's more than enough.

No rat race for us.  We don't live next door to the Jones'.   

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


It's not that I'm in a bad mood today. I'm not. Really. I've simply been thinking about all the little things that drive me crazy. I've encountered each of these items at least once today. (I may or may not be going slightly crazy as a result.)
  • Lousy customer service
  • Spelling mistakes
  • Sticky spots on my kitchen floor
  • Whiny kids
  • Whiny adults
  • Incessant telemarketing
  • Tailgaters
  • Dog poop in the middle of the sidewalk
  • Dog poop on my stroller wheels
  • Warped snow shovels
What am I going to do about it?

I'm going to send all the telemarketers to Nunavut, equipped with only a pile of dictionaries to keep them company through the cold, dark winter. I'll force the tailgaters to wash my kitchen floor and entertain my whiny kids. The whiny adults can venture out into the urban jungle to scoop poop with warped shovels. And when the whiny adults try to exchange said defective shovels, they will encounter the worst customer service ever.

So there.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Quote of the Day

"You know, it would take a lot of band-aids to cover up a dinosaur."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
November 3, 2008

Here's my proposed menu for the upcoming week:

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Favourite sloppy joes, whole wheat buns, bean salad, raw veggies
Wednesday: Encore performance
Thursday: No-fuss potato soup, homemade multigrain bread
Friday: Indonesian chicken in peanut sauce, brown rice, steamed cauliflower
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: No cooking (supper with Ben's parents)

This week Wendy is hosting a recipe contest. She's asked us to share our best "from scratch" family favourites. Here's my contribution to the recipe pool. (Unfortunately, I've been somewhat unoriginal. I first shared this recipe a few weeks ago in September.) Prizes are involved, so head on over to Wendy's site to join in the fun!

Red Pepper, Tomato and Chicken Pilaf

1 2/3 C. quick-cooking brown rice
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" pieces
(I use 2 C. of cooked chicken from my crock pot)
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
(I use homemade broth)
1 (7 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
(I use one or two homemade roasted red peppers)
1 sm. onion, chopped
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. frozen peas

1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a 2-quart casserole dish combine rice, chicken, tomatoes, broth, red peppers, onion, oil, bay leaf, paprika, oregano, pepper and salt. Stir well and cover. Bake 40 minutes.

2. Stir in peas. Bake, uncovered, until broth is absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Makes 6 servings.


Laura hosts Menu Plan Monday each and every week. Check it out here.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Birthday Four-Year-Old!

Our big boy is very (very, very) excited to celebrate his fourth birthday today! He's looking forward to the super-fun birthday bash this evening. We're still not sure how to pull off the requested "rat cake" though...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thought for the Day

Sugar-charged preschoolers are a scary sight, indeed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Victory is (Fairly) Sweet

I think the baby cereal before bed is working its magic. Our timbit finally slept all the way through the night until 8am. Hooray! Here's to hoping he keeps it up.

I think I've grown accustomed to functioning in a sleep-deprived state. Last night was the first time in a long time I slept eight uninterrupted hours ... and still woke up exhausted! I feel like my feet have been dragging through mud all morning. My body is getting greedy for sleep.

Babe was fussy until about 10:30pm last night before finally dropping off. (We first put him to bed at 7:30pm.) It was quite out of character and I think he may be cutting those top two teeth. His mouth seemed sore. Poor little guy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Victory and Defeat

Some days are filled with both highs and lows. Today was a real mixed bag in Inksterland. At some points of the day the kids' behavior drove me crazy. At other times, however, I marveled at how quickly they are growing and maturing.

The victory: Our baby boy is finally catching on to the mysterious process of eating. He's learned how to swallow food (rather than push it out with his tongue). Most of his supper actually ended up down the pipe instead of splattered on the bib! Here's to hoping the solids help him sleep through the night.

The defeat: Today was not great in the potty training department. Our toddler had three accidents --- two of them in her car seat. (Thankfully, I had lined the seat with a plastic bag and old towels.) I am baffled by her repeated setbacks. She sits on the potty regularly, produces, and still has many accidents.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In the Park

A huge chinook arch covered our city in a canopy of clouds today. The weather was warm. A perfect fall day! We took advantage of the mild weather (because who knows when the snow might fly) went for a walk in Fish Creek Park.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
October 27, 2008

This week I've had a few random thoughts regarding food:
  • Candied salmon is heavenly.
  • My baby likes mashed avocado. He's not too crazy about rice cereal.
  • I am falling in love with Mighty Leaf tea.
Here's my proposed menu plan for the upcoming week:

Monday: No cooking! (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Hamburger soup, homemade bread
Thursday: Lentil curry (from the freezer), brown rice, steamed cauliflower
Friday: No cooking! (Party with my parents)
Saturday: A special boy's birthday! Waffles, bacon, fruit salad, "rat" cake
Sunday: Chili, cornmeal muffins, avocado, raw carrots and celery

Laura hosts Menu Plan Monday each and every week. Check it out!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Notes from the Trenches

A few days ago a friend sent me a very kind email. (She's a new mom who I enjoy spending time with and see far too seldom.) My friend wondered if we had any parenting wisdom to share with her and her husband.

My goodness! Ben and I have been parents for a grand total of five years. We've barely scratched the surface of this adventure called parenting! Our kids constantly throw us curve balls and test our limited abilities. We feel ill-equipped to offer any sort of parenting advice.

Therefore, I'll share my thoughts with the following disclaimer: Ben and I are far from perfect and our kids are not angels. We make plenty of mistakes. We definitely don't have this parenting gig completely figured out!

Here are a few things we've learned from our journey thus far:
  • Hungry kids + Tired kids = Meltdown city. (The same applies to hungry and tired parents.) Regular meals and good sleep can prevent tons of aggravation.
  • Routine is wonderful. Our kids thrive on it. We're not strict about keeping a minute-by-minute schedule but our days do have a predictable flow.
  • Ben and I intentionally choose to socialize with families we admire. We're learning to make friends with parents of terrific teens. (We figure they have a lot to teach us. The proof is in the pudding!)
  • Focus on the Family has hugely influenced our marriage and parenting. I often visit their website and we subscribe to the Canadian magazine. The FOTF podcasts are great too.
  • Consistency is key. Ben and I always try to follow up our words with actions. (For example, no means no.) We don't cave to whining, complaining or manipulation. Giving in only reinforces poor behavior.
  • Our kids need lots of hugs, kisses, snuggles and tickles every day.
  • We try to keep our home clean and uncluttered. I'm naturally a neat freak, but I also think a tidy home helps kids feel peaceful and secure.
More to come...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Crafty Goodness:
Pop-ups Rock

Check out at this awesome video about pop-up books. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea looks terrific.

Our family's favourite pop-up book (hands down) is Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy. The book is a mind boggling feat of paper engineering. We also like Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art. I find it totally fascinating to learn how illustrators (and paper engineers) engage in their craft.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Husband is Handy
(I Think I'll Keep Him)

Yesterday our furnace gave out. (Thank God the calendar says October and not February.) We have a programmable thermostat that turns off at night and warms the house again early in the morning. Tuesday morning our house never warmed up. We sat at a chilly 16C through most of the day.

Ask my husband to fix a computer and he will get the job done. Fixing things around the house is another story. Ben is no Bob Villa but he's slowly gaining handyman skills through trial and error. Last night my beloved pried the cover off our broken furnace, found a flashy error light, and did some serious Googling.

One helpful forum suggested giving the furnace circuit board a "sophisticated tap" with a screwdriver. My handy husband figured the advice couldn't hurt, so he tapped away (in a completely sophisticated manner). Sure enough, the furnace fired up and has been running beautifully ever since.

Who knew? Perhaps my beloved really is a handy guy after all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Our sons recently started a new game. Basically, the boys have systematically covered every available surface in the house with dozens of tiny stickers. (Not my favourite activity, to be sure, but they're not hurting anything. I choose to pick my battles.)

This morning I found two shiny new stickers on my knife block in the kitchen. I'm always amused by our five-year-old's growing understanding of letters and words. Appropriately enough, the stickers both read:


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
October 20, 2008

We have a full week on our plates so I'm taking things easy in the kitchen. Here's my proposed menu plan:

Monday: No cooking (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Thanksgiving soup (from the freezer), homemade bread (from the bread machine)
Wednesday: Daddy date!
Thursday: Lentil curry (from the freezer), brown rice, spinach salad
Friday: Beef and veggie tortillas, bean salad, melon cubes
Saturday: Clean out the fridge
Sunday: Whole wheat spaghetti, meat sauce (from the freezer), salad greens

Laura at Org Junkie hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. Check it out here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crafty Goodness:

Warm Fuzzies
by Betz White

Few things in life are sweeter than cupcakes and ice cream, however, Betz White's tasty new book takes the cake. Warm Fuzzies is chock full of quirky, cute and delicious crafty goodness. My favourite projects include a soft felted baby blanket, an ice cream cone tape measure, and of course, White's signature cupcake pincushions.

Warm Fuzzies is an absolute pleasure to devour. The photography is delectable and each project is creative and cute. I personally love White's material of choice --- recycled felted sweaters. Her tips and tricks for felting old wool sweaters are invaluable and I look forward to experimenting with some of my own projects very soon.

Truly, anyone who loves food, felt and crafty fun will enjoy Warm Fuzzies. Yum.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Baby Birdie

Our baby boy loves to flap. He happily flap, flap, flaps his arms all day long.

Daddy's home! Flap, flap, flap.

Time for my nap! Flap, flap, flap.

My brothers are silly! Flap, flap, flap.

I'll have to keep my eye on our little guy. One of these days he just may take off.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Very Merry Un-Birthday!

I suddenly realized that yesterday our littlest family member attained a big milestone. He turned six months old! How did that escape my notice?

I can hardly believe how much our baby has grown over the past six months:

He has two sharp new teeth.
He smiles and giggles all the time.
He loves to babble.
He "plays" with his older brothers and sisters.
He's grown out of the swing and can sit in the exersaucer.
He's chubby and cute and totally adorable!

Our timbit is a wonderful little guy. I'm sure the next six months will fly past even more quickly!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Potty Training Diaries: Week One Recap

Our big girl is now wearing panties full-time through the day! Yesterday she abandoned wearing pull-ups for treks outside of the house and so far hasn't had an accident. (I did lay an old towel in the car seat just in case.) Our potty trainee still wears a diaper to sleep, though. I am not worried about night training at this point.

Unfortunately, our daughter is batting about .300 for pooping in the potty. She's had several accidents in that regard. Any suggestions? She's very good at telling me when when she feels to poop but it's usually too late to run to the potty.

All in all, I'm very pleased with our big girl's accomplishment. We've never had a child potty train so early. Now that I've experienced it both ways, I definitely agree girls are easier to train than boys. (Our first son was nearly three when he trained. Our easy-going second-born was almost four. Our daughter turned 28 months this week.)

I'm feeling practically giddy --- only one child wears diapers in our house!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Nearly every morning at 9:20am (give or take a few minutes) our phone rings.

"Hello," says the computer generated voice, "This is the Calgary Public Library holds and overdue notification system with a message for (pause) Lindsay Marie Iiiinkster. You have (pause) one item being held at this time..."

At least that's the message 99.99% of the time. A couple weeks ago I was surprised to pick up the phone and hear:

"This is the Calgary Public Library holds and overdue notification system with a message for (pause) Benjamin Mitchell Iiiinkster. You have (pause) one overdue item..."

My beloved is also a devoted bibliophile. He's not so much a library geek, though. He'll borrow library books now and then but rarely has more than one or two out at a time.

"Man," I thought to myself, "Can't that guy keep track of his own library book? It's not like he has dozens piled up on the shelves. Now I'll have to go hunting for the stupid book because I'm sure he's completely forgotten. Why can't he ever keep track of is own stuff? I'll bet he can't even remember what book it was!"

In a huff, I mentioned the phone call to Ben when he returned home that evening. Within a few minutes we both promptly forgot about it.

This morning I picked up our mail from the box on the corner. Inside, I found a letter from the Calgary Public Library. It was addressed to my dearly beloved.

"Oh great," I inwardly groaned, "He still hasn't returned the stupid book. When will that guy get his act together?" I tore open the notice and read through the page.

Wait a minute.

Ben's overdue book was the Taste of Home Baking Book???

That clearly wasn't my husband's book.

It was mine.

I suddenly remembered a night a couple months ago when I was too tired to go to the library. Ben kindly offered to pick up my book on his way home from work. He checked the book out on his own card.

And I had totally forgotten about it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


We are now into Day 4 of Daddy's business trip. Ben will return home sometime tomorrow afternoon. I think things are going exceptionally well, really. The kids have been good and Ben's teenage sister has come to stay for the weekend. The extra set of hands were a great asset last night when I had to run out to the store!

Potty training is going fairly well. We had two puddles yesterday, sadly, but today our big girl has been completely dry. I even took the children to the zoo for a couple hours this morning. Our H. Bear wore pull-ups and refused to use the public washroom. She waited until we returned home and then used her potty. Our big girl received a big marshmallow for that feat!

Last night I realized that after almost nine years of marriage Ben and I have never been apart for so long. I really miss him. The bed has been cold and I've taken to wearing flannel pajamas and thick socks. I hope he's enjoying the weather in sunny California...

Our littlest family member is still working on tooth #2. I wish that thing would finally poke through! He's been up two or three times every night lately. (Oh how I pray my baby will sleep 12 hours again!) I also suspect our timbit is ready to start solid foods. He will be six months old next week and is a fairly big boy. I think he's getting hungry in the night.

Yesterday we slept in and I kept our three-year-old home from school. (Our kindergartener had a PD day.) I am feeling quite guilty about skipping preschool. Our son doesn't really understand he missed school, at least. I was simply too tired to load up all the kids first thing in the morning. Yes, I'm feeling horribly guilty.

All that to say, I'm looking forward to Ben's return tomorrow. I've been so grateful for our caring friends and family. I can't count how many people have offered to help. Thank you so much!