Monday, March 31, 2008

And "Mom of the Year" Goes To...

Umm, not me --- not after missing the fact my young daughter nearly bit her own tongue clean through.

Last Wednesday I took the children to preschool gym at the Y to run off energy. For the most part, they each had a blast. At one point our 21-month old took a minor tumble and started to cry.

I scooped our daughter into my arms and snuggled her against my shoulder. She buried her face in my shirt and sobbed. After a few minutes another mom approached me and said, "She's bleeding quite a lot, you know..."

Sure enough, I pulled my daughter away and was shocked to find both our shirts covered in blood. I'm not one to panic at the sight of blood and I know a tiny mouth injury can often bleed like a geyser. I calmly found some tissues and mopped up the mess.

Our little girl stopped crying and assertively stated, "Go play now!" She toddled off and that was that. The trauma was over.

Or so I thought.

Fast forward to yesterday...

Our silly girl has quite a sense of humour and loves entertaining an audience. At lunch time she made a game of sticking out her tongue and making funny noises. I caught a glimpse of her cute little tongue and was shocked to see two deep tooth marks embedded in its surface. They looked like two huge craters.

How had I missed this for five days?

I knew my daughter had bitten her tongue that day at the Y. It never occurred to me to actually look for the damage in her mouth. (Seems like a fairly obvious first step, I know...) She stopped crying, ran off to play, and the issue was over.

Lesson learned: When a child is bleeding profusely it's usually best to seek out the source of the leak!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
March 31, 2008

Here is my proposed menu plan for the upcoming week:

Monday: No cooking! (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Creamy salmon pasta with peas (a hold over from last week), green salad
Wednesday: Slow cooker chicken in creamy sun-dried tomato sauce, brown rice, green salad
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Vegetable lasagna (from the freezer), garlic bread, green salad
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: No cooking! (supper with Ben's parents)

I you would like to check out other meal plans or recipes, please visit Menu Plan Monday on Org Junkie.
A Disclaimer

I would like to state for the record that I do not snore. Of this I am sure.

I have only been known to snore under the following rare and exceptional circumstances:

a) when I am great with child
b) when I am sick and congested
c) on Sunday afternoons

Otherwise, I never snore.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Countdown Begins

The moment is sneaking up on me. You know, the whole birth thing. In approximately four weeks our newest family member will exit my womb, one way or another.

In the past I could claim a minor obsession with natural childbirth. I devoured every birth story I could find on the web. Homebirth, hospital birth, even unassisted childbirth. I read it all. I slogged my way through Ina May Gaskin's psychedelic tome, Spiritual Midwifery. I read everything in the homebirth and midwifery section of the library. I formed my own (rather strong) opinions and prepared for my own empowered birth experiences.

This time around I have given the upcoming event very little thought. I'm not exactly sure why. I still strongly believe in natural childbirth and prefer homebirth with a midwife. I've not read any books on the topics of pregnancy or childbirth. I have indulged in Jenni's series of hilarious birth stories. (She is expecting her twelfth any day now.) However, my birth research over these past months has been incredibly limited.

Last week our midwife came over for my 36 week home visit. We talked about preparations for the birth. (A birth that could conceivable happen within the next couple of weeks.) Suddenly, everything became much more real. I realized I need to get ready! I need to prepare myself!

Physically, I feel pretty well set to go. I have washed the baby's clothes, set up the nursery, bought those teeny-tiny newborn diapers and gathered most of my birth supplies. I feel satisfied that everything is checked off my list.

Mentally and emotionally, however, I'm not sure how I feel. I find it hard to fathom the fact we will have a new little person in our family. Even more, I'm not sure how I feel about facing labour one more time. I've sort of pushed it to the back of my mind this pregnancy.

Praise God, I've been blessed with three easy labours and births in the past. (As easy as labour can be.) I've had three normal, natural, uncomplicated experiences. I truly believe God has designed my body to give birth beautifully. I must simply step aside when the time comes and let my body do its thing.

Yet, I'm not as naive as I used to be. All my reading and research and experience has taught me that birth is a wondrously complex process. I also know that a certain level of pain is involved. It just is. Am I ready to face that pain one more time? To be swept along with the waves and to release my body to God and to the miraculous process He designed?

I will be honest. I'm not sure I am ready to do it all again. Part of me wishes I could skip ahead to the point of snuggling my beautiful newborn babe without all the pain and effort. What is my end goal? A healthy newborn baby. This time around I am less interested in how I get there.

And thus, my attitude scares me. Why do I feel so apathetic? This is something I must work out, and soon. I sincerely believe attitude plays an important role in outcome (in birth as in life) and I want to enter into this birth with a positive, God-honouring attitude. I still believe natural, midwife-assisted homebirth is the healthiest option for me and my family. I'm simply not as passionate about it all.

Nevertheless, in a few short weeks I will give birth. One way or another, this baby is coming into the world. I'm praying it will be a beautiful process once again. But most of all, I'm praying for a healthy, wonderful baby.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Slowly, but surely, I'm learning to knit. I've run into a bit of a snag, though. How am I supposed to keep track of my rows? How should I count them out? I'm sure experienced knitters have a bunch of cool tricks up their sleeves, but I've resorted to tying knots in a leftover strand of yarn. (Not especially glamorous, but it works.)

Today I stumbled across this idea. Sheer brilliance! I've been inspired by Denise's Row Counter Bracelet. What a simple, elegant solution. (The bracelet works like a simple abacus.) I will certainly craft one of these cool bracelets sometime in the near future.

Curious Bedtime Apparel

A terrible round of colds has been working through our household lately. (I believe our family is singlehandedly keeping the kleenex industry afloat...) We've had more than our fair share of coughing, sneezing, runny noses and sore throats.

As is often the case, our three-year-old has fared the worst of the bunch. His cold turned into a nasty ear infection. For a few days the poor little guy's cough was especially horrible. He coughed to the point of gagging and throwing up several times.

As a result, our three-year-old made a habit of taking his "bucket buddy" to bed at night. Just in case. The other night Ben and I went in to check on the boys before turning in ourselves. We found our son fast asleep, sporting the following headgear:

(Please excuse the picture quality. The room was dark.)

We're not exactly sure how he managed to fall asleep with a garbage can on his head. (No worries, it was clean and empty.) Our son was thoroughly unconscious. Perhaps Ben and I were somewhat overzealous with the powerful cold meds...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Book Review:

Deceptively Delicious
by Jessica Seinfeld

This is a very cool book. A very sneaky book. A book about getting vegetables into kids' bellies (without them even realizing it).

In a nut shell, Deceptively Delicious is a cookbook filled with creative versions of everyday recipes. Each recipe incorporates a sneaky veggie puree --- a hidden shot of fibre and vitamins. Some of the suggested recipes seem quite outlandish, but are intriguing nonetheless. I am itching to try them out. Some of Jessica Seinfeld's most interesting suggestions include:

  • Brownies (with carrot and spinach)
  • Chocolate chip cookies (with chickpeas)
  • Banana bread (with cauliflower)
  • Homemade ketchup (with carrot)
  • Macaroni and cheese (with butternut squash or cauliflower)
Jessica Seinfeld includes instruction for preparing and freezing vegetable purees. Some veggies are simple to prepare (like avocados) but others require a bit more work. I think I'll buy a few jars of organic baby food to try in some recipes before I commit to making my own purees. (Carrots, squash, sweet potato and peas are all easy to find in the baby food aisle.)

I also enjoyed Deceptively Delicious' vintage cutesy feel and gorgeous photography. Nearly every recipe is accompanied by a luscious photograph. (And cookbooks without pictures are just plain boring, aren't they?)

Check out Jessica Seinfeld's website for more information about her book.

Here's to all you sneaky moms out there!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Where's the Baby in the Bubble?

I wish I knew!

My baby ticker widget has been broken for the past few days. Apparently, the site that serves it has gone down. I am sorely disappointed.

I will try to find a new baby ticker. In the mean time, my pregnancy is 35 weeks and 1 day along today. The baby's estimated due date is April 27th.

It's a date that's coming much too quickly...

Bias Tape Bliss

Have you ever been baffled by bias tape? I certainly have. I know how to sew bias tape with hand stitching, but I had never learned the proper way to do it by machine.

Bias tape is less baffling now that I have watched Amy's hilarious "no swear bias tape tutorial". Amy's blog, Angry Chicken, is definitely worth a visit as well.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
March 24, 2008

The upcoming week is turning out to be quite eventful. Our eldest son will be on his school vacation and Ben's younger sister will stay with us for several days. Ben and I are looking forward to attending Focus on the Family's After Happily Every After on Friday night. As well, on Saturday we are planning have some old friends over for supper.

Here is my proposed menu plan for this week:

Monday: Leftover night
Tuesday: Homemade soup (from the freezer), whole wheat rolls
Wednesday: Creamy salmon pasta with peas, tossed salad greens
Thursday: Stuffed pasta shells, cheese toast, garden salad
Friday: Pizza (from the freezer), fresh veggie crudites
Saturday: Lasagna, garlic bread, green salad, homemade cookies with frozen yogurt
Sunday: Leftover buffet

As always, thank you to Laura at Org Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday every week. Check out the Mr. Linky on Laura's site for other great meal plans and recipe ideas.
Brotherly Love

My husband overheard the following statement from our five-year-old son. Apparently, our son was (more than a little) annoyed with his younger brother. I'm not convinced our eldest son fully understood what he was saying...

"I'm five and you are three. You serve no purpose!"


A great weight has just lifted off my shoulders. Tonight I finished. Finished. Finally finished preparing our tax paperwork.

Because Ben is self-employed, our taxes are somewhat more complicated than the average family's. (This next statement is a bit embarrassing to admit.) I was an entire year behind on our home-based business bookkeeping. (Thank goodness I don't keep the books for the main business.) It was a daunting task to wade through all that old paperwork.

But it is done! Complete and off to the accountant!

I think I'll sleep well tonight.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

An Easter Blessing

I was desperate for a nap. Our two youngest children were asleep in their rooms and our five-year-old coloured quietly at the kitchen table.

"Honey," I mumbled, "Mommy is going to lie down on the couch for a few minutes."

"Okay," he replied, "I'm going to do my work!"

I was unconscious within seconds. An hour later I woke to discover my feet covered with a multitude of coloured papers. Groggy and half-asleep, I hauled myself off the couch.

"Hi Mommy!" exclaimed my son, "Come see what I did!"

Various pictures adorned the house. Jesus' cross was glued to the front door. A castle, complete with turrets and a moat, sat on the windowsill. God proudly surveyed the scene from the door of my china cabinet.

"You know why that picture is of God?" asked our son.

I studied the small drawing of a vaguely human form. "Um, no Buddy. Why is that a picture of God?"

"Because God is higher than the sun. And look! There's a picture of the sun!"

Sure enough, a cheery, yellow sun shone just below the drawing of God.

Sweetest of all were the many drawings of Jesus on the cross. Pages and pages of them. Our son had spent the better part of an hour contemplating God, Jesus and the Easter season. He'd quietly worked out his understanding of the story through paper and ink.

With simple, child-like faith.


At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
(Luke 10:21)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Reading Thing 2008

The weather in Calgary has been gorgeous this week. The snow has melted, the geese are returning north, and I've seen a few brown bunnies hopping around. Perhaps Spring is really on its way! It seems most of Canada is still buried under a mountain of snow, however, so I am not packing away our coats and boots just yet...

Once again, Katrina at Callipider Days is graciously hosting the Spring Reading Thing. I am looking forward to participating in her newest reading challenge. Because our family is expecting a little bundle of joy within a few short weeks, my reading list is quite modest. I've chosen to include six books.

Non Fiction:

Sew Everything Workshop
by Diana Rupp

The Riddle of Amish Culture
by Donald B. Kraybill

The Creative Family
by Amanda Blake Soule


by Randy Alcorn

Seventh Day
by Bodie and Brock Thoene

A New Song
by Jan Karon

If you would like to browse book lists of other Spring Reading Thing participants, please check out the Mr. Linky at Callipidder Days.

Happy reading! Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Martha Was Right

I just finished reading the February issue of Martha Stewart Living. (Thanks for the subscription, Lori!) A recipe from the magazine recommends serving chili topped with ripe avocado because the avocado is a healthy alternative to sour cream.

Oh man. What great advice. The creamy avocado tastes so good on chili.

Score one more for Martha!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Colour Theory

Our five-year-old son has been learning a bit of French in school. The other day he decided to review his colours en francais.

"Hey Mommy!" he said, "Did you know that the colour blue is bleu in French?"

"Yes, that's true," I replied.

Our son systematically named every blue object in the room.

"Hey Mommy! Did you know that the colour green is vert?"

He named every green object.

"Hey Mommy!" exclaimed our son, "Did you know that the colour red is rouge?"

Every red object.

"Hey Mommy! The colour pink is rose!"

Every pink object.

Our son paused and thought for a moment. "Mommy?" he asked, "How do you say yellow in French?"

"Yellow is jaune," I said.

"Juane! Juane! Juane!" he repeated gleefully.

Our son pointed to his younger brother's shirt. "Juane!" he exclaimed.

"Hey!" our three-year-old protested, "My name isn't John!"

Monday, March 17, 2008

Harmless Amusement

So our five-year-old son has invented a new game. He takes unreasonably great joy in pretending to be a fainting goat...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day! May the luck o' the Irish be with you!

I have a confession to make ... I have been utterly exhausted these past few days. My feet feel as though they are stuck in mud and my brain is moving in slow gear. I have entered the final tiring weeks of a long pregnancy.

Therefore, this weekend I surrendered and threw frugality out the window. My husband and I made a trip to M&M Meat Shops and bought several large frozen casseroles. I plan to basically give up cooking from scratch for the next few weeks. I simply don't have the energy available. This is a short season of life, and I am trying not to feel guilty about caving to convenience! Anyway, I figure it is less expensive to buy pre-made casseroles than to eat out at restaurants more often.

That said ... here is my proposed menu plan for the coming week:

Monday: No cooking! (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Shepherd's pie, tossed salad greens
Wednesday: Encore performance
Thursday: Spud special soup, whole wheat rolls
Good Friday: Fish fillets, whole grain rice, steamed green beans with almonds, cabbage salad
Saturday: Leftovers
Easter Sunday: Stuffed pasta shells, cheese toast, caesar salad

Special thanks to Laura for hosting Menu Plan Monday every week. Please check out Org Junkie for many other terrific menus and recipes.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Intrepid Traveller

"Hey Mommy, know what?"

"What Buddy?"

"When I'm a man I'm gonna drive all the way to the top of Canada!"

"That sounds cool."

"Yeah ... so, umm, do you think I could borrow your van?"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Pink Spot?

Waking up this morning with my eyes glued shut was not a pleasant experience.

Pink eye??! Yuck!

Here's some good news: Polysporin makes over-the-counter antibiotic eye drops, so I don't need to wait for a doctor's appointment. Relief is coming very, very soon.

I am just praying no one else in our family catches this!

Monday, March 10, 2008


I think the switch to Daylight Savings Time has thrown the kids off a bit. The boys have been in bed for more than an hour now, and they are still not asleep. A few minutes ago our eldest son called me into his room.

"Mommy," he said, "I just need you to do something for me."

"What's that?"

"Well, you know, my tummy is really dry," he explained.

I didn't understand his point. "You mean the skin on your tummy is dry. Do you need some lotion?"

He gave an exasperated sigh. "No Mommy! The inside of my tummy is dry."

Of course, our son was angling for a drink of water. It was a classic bedtime stall tactic, to be sure, but I did bring him a tiny drink. I had to give the guy credit for creative communication!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
March 10, 2008

I am looking forward to this week. On Thursday I will celebrate my First Annual 29th Birthday, and Ben will cook supper for me. My sister is bringing over a decadent cheesecake for dessert that night, too! As well, my sweetie is taking me out to supper and a concert on Saturday. It is shaping up to be a fun week.

Here is my proposed menu plan:

Monday: Crock pot chili with cornmeal muffins (a hold over from last week)
Tuesday: Cheesy chicken vermicelli, green salad, steamed asparagus and garlic bread
Wednesday: Leftover night
Thursday: BBQ salmon burgers, baked beans, cabbage noodle salad and cheesecake!
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: No cooking! (supper out at a restaurant)
Sunday: Homemade lasagna, green salad and cheese toast

I am planning to make large batches of the chili and lasagna so I can freeze the extras. About a week ago I bought a sizable order of organic ground beef. The meat is exceptionally lean and tasty, and wonderful to cook with. Also, I would like to thank Tammy for providing two of my recipes this week!

Take a peek at Menu Plan Monday on Org Junkie if you are interested in browsing other delicious meal plans and recipes.

Happy cooking!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

We Have a Solution!

Ben thinks we should exchange our paper shredder for a goat.

Hmmm ... might not be a bad idea.

Goats probably have a good page consumption rate. And no one is likely to reconstruct a document once it's been through a goat.

Do you think the condo board will approve?

We'll just stay away from fainting goats. (They're almost as flaky as mail munchers.)

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

So maybe my new mail muncher isn't so sweet after all. We are on our third machine this week.

And this one is not working.

I am not amused.

I was willing to give our flaky paper shredder one more chance this afternoon. Ben came home from Staples with an extra $25 in his pocket because the machine went on sale today. When he exchanged our (second) broken one, the store refunded the difference in price. I was happy with our unexpected windfall and was (almost) willing to to forgive our mail muncher for breaking down.


That was until it completely stopped working again this evening.

I am willing to give the machine one more chance because I may have inadvertently tripped the overheat circuit. The manual says I should let the shredder cool down for half an hour. If the mail muncher isn't functioning normally by tomorrow morning ...

... it is going to that great big paper shredder dump in the sky.

And I am not bringing home another one.

Friday, March 07, 2008

A Man After My Own Heart

My Benjie must really love me. Last night he came home with a fancy new spatula and a matching ice cream scoop to go with it.

Now, if only he had remembered the ice cream to go with the scoop!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Farewell, Old Friend

I was nearly finished making a batch of peanut butter rice crispy squares. Carefully, I poured the cereal into the gooey peanut butter. I grabbed my spatula and quickly stirred the hot mixture.

Disaster struck.

My spatula. My favourite silicon spatula. Broke. Snapped right in half.

I nearly cried. I love that spatula and use it practically every day. I feel as though I've lost my culinary left arm.

Ah well. My birthday is coming up next week. And nothing says "I love you" like a spatula ... especially a fancy new silicon one. ;-)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Mail Muncher

I've been working my way through a stack of bookkeeping and paperwork in preparation for tax season. My goal was to have everything ready for our accountant by the end of February. (Unfortunately, that deadline has already flown past...) I'm nearly there, though. Just a couple more evenings to go.

Last week I spent a few evenings sorting and organizing our personal files. I purged. I colour-coded. I alphabetized and categorized. Our files are now a thing of beauty! Ben teased and accused me of "hardcore nesting". I reminded him that sorting through files was a far cry from "hardcore nesting" activities like renovating the house!

My purging and sorting resulted in a large box of unwanted papers. Sensitive papers. Papers I wouldn't feel comfortable simply tossing in the recycling bin. So this weekend I made a responsible technological purchase. I bought a paper shredder. A really cool paper shredder.

Our son has affectionately dubbed our new paper shredding wonder the Mail Muncher. He diligently helped me sort and shred hundreds of sheets this afternoon (under very close supervision). I think he especially enjoyed emptying the bin of shredded paper bits. Our son oohed and aahed every time coloured papers spiced up the mix.

Even with this afternoon's work, we still have most of the paper pile left to shred. I wouldn't want to burn out our handy new machine by shredding it all at once. We'll slowly work our way through the mountain, a bit each day.

I must say ... the Mail Muncher has earned a place among my favourite household machines. We'll put our new toy to good use in the coming days.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

O Canada

This afternoon our five-year-old found a lucky penny in a parking lot. He twirled the coin between his fingers and carefully examined its inscription.

"Ca-na-da," he carefully spelled out. "Canada! That's where we live!"

"Yup. Sure is, Buddy."

Our son climbed into the van and I buckled him into his seat. As I drove through traffic, he continued to examine his coin.

"You know, Mommy," he called from the back seat, "I know why they call it Canada."

"Oh really?" I asked, "Why is that?"

"Because nada means nothing, right Mommy?" he inquired.

"Well, yes. That's true," I agreed.

"But we live in Can-nada. In Can-nada we don't have nothing. We have everything!"

His five-year-old logic astounded me.

"You're absolutely right," I said, "We are very blessed to live in wonderful country like Can-nada."

Monday, March 03, 2008

"Just Call Me Your Majesty..."

Our children like to play make-believe (a pass time I heartily encourage). Some of the kids' favourite imaginary games include building elaborate space ships, going camping, and running a restaurant. As well, they often pretend to be royalty.

Kings. Queens. Noble knights. Princes and princesses.

This morning the game kicked into high gear soon after breakfast. Our five-year-old directed the action. He played the part of the king. I was assigned the role of queen, our three-year-old played the prince, and Little Sister was a lovely princess. The king set thrones (kitchen chairs) in the middle of the living room and wore a flowing black cape around his shoulders.

"Queen Mommy," he declared, "You must come and sit on your throne beside me."

"Uh, Buddy, I still have to clean up the breakfast dishes," I said.

"Queens do not do dishes!" he decreed.

"I'm afraid this one does," I replied.

The king turned his attention to the prince and princess. I hurried to finish tidying the kitchen.

"Queen Mommy?" asked the king," Now will you come and play with me?"

"Well, okay Buddy. For a few minutes," I said.

"Don't call me that!" objected the king, "You may only call me Your Majesty!"

And so it was. For the rest of the morning our five-year-old insisted on being addressed as Your Majesty.

Interestingly enough, the young royal was easily convinced to lay aside his persona in exchange for a plate of spaghetti at lunch time. He also spent most of the afternoon pretending to be a giraffe...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
March 3, 2008

(Note to self: wasabi peas are not a suitable snack for a pregnant woman. Remember this!)

Here's my proposed menu plan for the upcoming week. Next week's calendar is looking more full than I would like. I'm hoping the recipes I've chosen will produce plenty of leftovers and some fodder for my freezer.

Monday: No cooking (supper at my parents')
Tuesday: Thyme chicken with roasted winter vegetables (a hold over from last week's menu), spinach and orange salad
Wednesday: Encore performance
Thursday: Crock pot chili, cornmeal muffins
Friday: Spud special soup, leftover cornmeal muffins
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: No cooking (supper with Ben's parents)

Hop on over to Org Junkie to find other terrific Menu Plan Monday meals.