Saturday, May 31, 2008

Birth Pictures

This week my sister blessed me with a CD of our new baby's birth pictures. I can hardly believe our babe is already six weeks old and is officially past the newborn stage. (Where did the time go? Can it be my sweet baby is already growing up?)

Feel free to read Baby's birth story here. He was born at home on the morning of April 15th. We had a wonderful water birth, surrounded by loving family members. It was a beautiful experience.

Baby was born in the "fishy pool" in our kitchen. Our midwives, Kim and Cassie, are in the background of this photo.

Daddy and Mommy admire their new baby.

Daddy holds his new son for the first time. Baby was very cheesy!

The big brothers play on the clean and empty fishy pool.

Baby, Daddy and a big brother.

Uncle Patrick holds his littlest nephew.

Auntie Lori and the new baby.

Our precious little boy.

Grammy Marilou snuggles her new grandson.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Pictures! Hooray!

My technically-savvy, impulsive, irresistible, self-sacrificing, geeky and debonair husband (he made me say that) added a nifty Flickr badge to my sidebar. Click on over and check it out!
Crafty Goodness:

These books make me drool. I could slowly leaf through their pages all day long. Anna Williams' photography is fresh and inviting, beautifully illustrating Joelle Hoverson's talent for colour and design. Last-Minute Gifts are a treat for the senses.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lost in Translation

Hey Mommy! Did you know there are two kind of leopards in the world? There are scary ones that can eat you and there are leopards that are humans.

You know the leopards that are humans? They're called leopards because they have a disease called leprosy. That means they have lots of zits...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Hear that? The gentle whirring sound? You may mistake it for the gentle purr of a sewing machine ... but it is much more than that.

It's the sweet sound of productivity.

The small sewing desk in our bedroom is finally clean. This evening I diligently worked my way through the piles. What do I have to show for my labour? My son has two "new" pairs of shorts. My daughter has one as well. A sweater and a dress are now mended. My dear husband's shirts are ironed and neatly hung away.

I can finally enjoy my uncluttered desk in peace.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's Official!

We will be moving to our new house on July 2nd. Ahhhh!

The disaster was (narrowly) averted.

I just caught my eldest son on the verge of sending his two younger siblings on a ride down the stairs in my laundry basket.

I'm thinking most five-year-olds don't have the greatest sense of judgement. (Or fear of death...)

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Did you know a baby eel is called an elver?

(Neither did I.)

Menu Plan Monday
May 26, 2008

I can hardly believe we will move into our new house within six short weeks. (Coincidentally, our new baby is also nearly six weeks old.) When our baby was born, I was blessed with many meals for my freezer. This week I plan to begin clearing out our freezer in preparation for the move. I won't be doing much cooking! As well, I've somehow managed to accumulate three dozen eggs in my fridge. I think some omelets may be in our family's future...

In other news, last week's slow cooker lasagna turned out surprisingly well. (I was somewhat skeptical about the recipe.) The preparation was no different than for traditional lasagna, so I didn't save much time. Overall, I think I prefer baking lasagna in the oven. I can see two advantages to using the slow cooker, though:

1. In the summer I can make lasagna without turning on the oven and heating up the house.

2. If I plan to take lasagna to a pot luck supper, the slow cooker is transportable and keeps the food hot.

At any rate, here is my proposed menu plan for the upcoming week:

Monday: No cooking (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Salmon noodle casserole (from the freezer), spinach and orange salad
Wednesday: Encore performance
Thursday: Chili (from the freezer), broccoli slaw, cornmeal muffins
Friday: Mushroom omelets, homemade waffles, fruit salad
Saturday: No cooking (BBQ with friends)
Sunday: Leftover buffet

A big thank you to Org Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday each and every week!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Preschooler Logic

"Mommy, look at all the sunflowers!"

"Those aren't sunflowers, Buddy. Those are dandelions."

"Ohhhh. Daddy lions .... Do they have big teeth?"

Friday, May 23, 2008

Timely Advice

I just so happen to have a pile of holey jeans waiting patiently on my sewing table. My eldest son is literally down to his last pair, so methinks this weekend may include some patch action.

Imagine my delight in finding this little tutorial. It features my secret crush, no less. (Bre Pettis has nice hair.)

Ah, No

Today my impulsive husband is somewhat less irresistible, self-sacrificing, geeky and debonair (he made me say that). When I said my man possessed a balding pate, it was not an invitation for him to go completely bald. Certainly not. What was he thinking?

I nearly had a heart attack when I realized I had mistakenly married Lex Luther.

(As an aside --- Did you know they are thinking of renaming strokes brain attacks? Perhaps my dear husband was trying to give his frazzled wife a brain attack.)

Ben assures me his new look will grow on me.

I don't want the hair (or lack thereof) to grow on me. I want it to grow back on him.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


My dear husband is irresistible, self-sacrificing, geeky and debonair (he made me say that).

He also wears cool glasses.

And has a balding pate.

That is all.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cute As A Bug's Ear

Big, fat bumble bees are starting to appear outside.  Perhaps spring has finally arrived in The Great White North.  (One can only hope.)  I'd like to think we've seen the last of the snow.

Our kids had tons of fun chasing bees this past weekend.  It was a riot to watch the boys run after an unsuspecting bee, only to turn around and run away from said bee (shrieking wildly) in fear of its stinger.  It was a sort of love / hate relationship.

Best of all, the kids refused to call the insects bumble bees.  For whatever reason, our three eldest Inklings insisted the bees were called huckle bugs.

Huckle bugs?  I think I like the sound of that.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I can only guess what possessed our three-year-old to poop on the carpet this morning.  What a lovely way to start the day...

A gold star goes to my self-sacrificing, geeky and debonair husband (he made me say that) for cleaning up the toxic waste.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
May 19, 2008

Last week our family was blessed with an unexpected box of groceries. In an effort to use up the extra milk, fruit and veggies we received I've adapted my meal plan for the week.

Here's my proposed menu plan:

Monday: No cooking (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Chicken fajitas with veggie fixings, brown beans, Mexican rice
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Slow cooker lasagna, green salad
Saturday: Encore performance
Sunday:  Grilled salmon burgers, homemade oven fries, spinach salad  

For more great menu plans and ideas, please visit Org Junkie.  
Out There

I'm feeling pretty self-conscious these days. I am a reserved, introverted type of person. Contrary to popular belief, I do know how to talk, but I often have trouble making casual conversation. (Especially when I'm feeling tired).

Unfortunately, fatigue is a fairly constant companion these days. I'm certainly less exhausted that I was a few short weeks ago, but a month of disjointed nights are catching up with me. I feel my social skills have taken a real beating lately.

I like keeping a blog because I communicate more fluidly through text than speech.  I love the written word (and often wish my mouth came with a backspace key). When I'm too tired to talk, I usually have no problem expressing myself in writing. I've always enjoyed updating my blog.

Until now, that is.

I'll be very candid --- I'm feeling self conscious because many people have started reading this blog. When I started out a couple years ago my blog was a private passion. My family and a few friends knew it existed but for the most part I could be anonymous. Not many people from my "real life" read The Ink Spot.

Now it seems like everybody and their dogs read The Blog. (I know this really isn't true.) In a way I'm flattered. At the same time, I'm terrified.

My goodness, all my friends know the intimate details of my life. (I also know this really isn't true.) They even know what I'm cooking for supper each night! What a heavy burden of responsibility! I feel like I must deliver on what I write. Blogging is a great tool for accountability and self-examination, but I'm not sure you all need to know every time I serve my family pork chops.

This is quite a scary predicament for an introvert. I've got serious case of stage fright going on. However, I don't plan to give up blogging just yet. It wouldn't be right for me to run away in fear. 

That said, I need to make the following disclaimer:

I'm human. 
I'm FAR from perfect.  
My kids drive me nuts too often.
I can be anal and controlling.
I don't do well on little sleep.
I get angry.
I yell.
I gripe and complain.
I judge unfairly.
I'm horribly prideful.
I rarely follow my meal plans to the letter.
I'm a work in progress.  Thank God, I'm His work.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wired Again

After a long month unplugged, my trusty Apple Blossom is once again operational. My geeky and debonair husband (he made me say that) finally gave up on Apple Care and replaced the hard drive himself.

Sadly, I lost every speck of data on the old hard disk. (What? Take a backup? Are you mad?) I did not lose anything critically important, but am nonetheless mourning the loss of my personal files. It was a hard lesson learned.

From now on I intend to update my blog on a more regular basis. Life has settled down in Inksterland for the time being. Babe is rapidly moving beyond the newborn stage, our house is comfortably sold, and I don't intend to start packing for another good month. It's all smooth sailing for now.

Super-Duper Thankful!

Our littlest family member celebrated his one-month birthday yesterday and gave his Mommy a great gift. Our babe slept seven straight hours last night! A new record!

Our little guy hadn't been sleeping very well since the weekend. I enjoyed some spicy East Indian food for supper on Mother's Day. The curry agreed with my digestive system just fine. When it landed Baby's tummy a few hours later, it went over not so well.

Lesson learned. I'll lay off the curry for the next few weeks. (And for the particularly observant, yes, I did modify this week's menu plan.)

At any rate, our baby's bad night on Sunday resulted in a series of less-than-stellar sleeps. He seemingly forgot how to sleep in stretches longer than three hours.

Until last night!

Here's to hoping the trend continues this evening...

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I have lots of big things to be thankful for in my life. Here's a tribute to the precious little stuff that also makes life great...

Chubby babies
Spell check
Three or more consecutive hours of sleep (still hoping for this one)
The Grouchy Ladybug
A gift primarily composed of nylon stockings, a flowerpot and grass
Call display
My husband's debonair good looks (he made me say that)
Unexpected groceries
Little girls in summer dresses
A new magazine
Slow cookers

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Admit Defeat

I shouldn't start blogging after nine o'clock in the evening, when my brain is half-fried. Apparently, I lack the required horsepower. Posts that seemed brilliant at ten in the morning are considerably less wonderful from the other end of the clock.

I think I'll go to bed instead.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
May 12, 2008

I am stepping back on the menu planning bandwagon after several weeks. We've been blessed with many hot meals since Baby's arrival and our freezer is well-stocked with food. I haven't had to cook from scratch for nearly a month. It's been a wonderful break!

Here's my plan for the upcoming week:

Monday: Bubble and squeak (we'll clean out the fridge)
Tuesday: Slow-cooked ham and broccoli (with some adaptations, recipe from my new cookbook), steamed carrots, cabbage salad
Wednesday: Encore performance
Thursday: Beef curry (from the freezer), basmati rice, steamed cauliflower, green peas
Friday: Veggie lasagna (from the freezer), green salad
Saturday: Leftover buffet
Sunday: No cooking (supper with Ben's parents)

For more great recipes and menu planning tips, please visit Org Junkie.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I'm often amazed by the innate creativity and playful nature of children. Today I enjoyed a quiet morning with our two youngest kids. Our (almost) two-year-old daughter spent the better part of an hour playing with a teddy bear, a blanket, the laundry basket and an empty yogurt container. She was happy as a clam, not concerned that her toys were simple and inexpensive.

As I prepare for our upcoming move, I am thinking about purging and streamlining our family's belongings. In particular, I've begun sorting through the kids' toys. It seems toys have a crazy way of multiplying and taking over space. I believe toys need not be expensive or fancy to be fun. Some of the best toys are simple and everyday. Therefore, I plan to get rid of most of the kids "non-creative' toys --- especially the ones that require batteries, are made of cheap plastic, came with a restaurant meal, or are broken or damaged.

Further, in our new house Ben and I plan to rotate through the kids' toy collection. We will keep many toys in storage, bringing out only a small selection at a time. When our house was on the market we put many of the children's toys away anyway. The kids didn't seem to notice toys were missing. I was amazed how much easier clean-up time became with fewer toys. The play room in our new house will be slightly smaller than our current one, so I believe less toys will be a great benefit.

Here is a list of some of my favourite toys for children. These toys will definitely stay within our collection:
  • Wooden blocks
  • Wooden train set with tracks
  • Lego and duplo blocks
  • Tinker toys
  • Play kitchen with pretend food and dishes
  • Soft puppets
  • Dress up clothes
  • Little people
  • Potato heads
  • Stuffed animals (I often edit this collection)
  • Dolls with soft bodies and faces
  • Play dough and tools
  • Art supplies
  • Lacing toys (for older preschoolers)
  • Aqua doodle
  • Puzzles

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Life Is Good

Our house is now officially 100% sold. Babe slept six hours straight the other night. I received the latest issue of Craft in the mail today. And Ben and I are turning in early!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Life's Short

An aged turquoise minivan.

Four full car seats.

A trunk full of groceries.

Windows rolled down.

Speakers blaring Skillet.

(I see nothing wrong with this picture.)
Crafty Goodness:

Taste of Home: The New Slow Cooker

(Can a cookbook be classified as crafty goodness? Hey, why not?)

I possess a terrible weakness for comfort cooking. I love making soups, stews, casseroles and roasts. I'm into simple, homey recipes. As well, I am (more than a little) dependent on my slow cooker. It is one of my few kitchen appliances I could not do without. Lucky for me, comfort food and slow cookers go hand-in-hand!

I recently discovered the Taste of Home series of cookbooks and magazines. (The Taste of Home website is also worth a look.) I like many of their recipes and I especially enjoy all the beautiful pictures accompanying them! The New Slow Cooker is a gorgeous book, filled with over 200 tasty recipes. The book is conveniently divided into categories and even includes an extensive desserts section.

A few days ago, my good friend dropped off several meals for my freezer. The meals were simple, pre-prepared slow cooker dishes. A light bulb went off as I considered her gift. Many of the recipes within the pages of The New Slow Cooker could be adapted for the freezer. The slow cooker is already a time-saving appliance, but I can prepare simple slow cooker dishes and freeze them in advance! How easy is that?

I borrowed my current copy of The New Slow Cooker from our local library. I'm hoping to receive a copy of my very own for Mother's Day. (Hint, hint, hint.) I figure this book is an appropriate Mother's Day gift, as most moms spend a great deal of time in the kitchen!

Monday, May 05, 2008


Now that our house is conditionally sold I am allowing myself to feel excited about our new home. In two short months we're moving to a new house! A big house! With a big yard!

I've been thinking a lot about our new yard (and the wonderful soccer fields out our back gate). Here are some things I am looking forward to outside:
  • A compost bin. (I've wanted one for years and years, but we've never had a yard to call our own.)
  • Choosing a tree for the front yard. (I think a mountain ash is the front-runner at the moment.)
  • Shoveling the walk. (Yes. I do like shoveling. It's very therapeutic, don't you know.)
  • Having a place for the kids to run!
  • Our beautiful new two-level deck.
  • Inviting friends over for BBQs.
  • Having a place for the kids to run!
  • Starting a little vegetable garden. I'd like to plant some peppers and tomatoes and sunflowers (because they're just fun and could look cute along the back fence).
  • Planting some perennials in the front yard. Any low-maintenance suggestions?
  • Having a place for the kids to run!
And you know the best part? Those soccer field will be an awesome place to set the kids loose and let them run ;-).
Crafty Goodness:

Itty-Bitty Hats
by Susan B. Anderson

I like to joke about the fact I enjoy reading books about knitting more that I like the act of knitting itself. I think this is because I feel somewhat intimidated by the craft. Some knitting patterns are virtually indecipherable, and the choices of yarns and tools and projects are practically endless. It's all rather daunting.

I love Itty-Bitty Hats because it is accessible for newbie knitters. I learned a great deal from this book. Susan Anderson begins at the beginning and clearly explains knitting terms and techniques. As well, her baby hat patterns are actually understandable (and the projects are terribly cute)! Baby hats make great projects for newbies because they are easy to finish. A simple hat might require a mere hour or two of effort.

Anderson's book motivated me to take a leap of faith. I finally learned to knit continental style, thanks to Susan's clear illustrated instructions. (I originally learned to knit in the less-efficient english style.) I'm slow as a tortoise at this point, but am clinging to the hope that my change in technique will pay off in the long run.

I highly recommend Itty-Bitty Hats for newbie and wannabe knitters alike.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Crafty Goodness:

S.E.W. Sew Everything Workshop
by Diana Rupp

This year I'm working to improve my sewing skills. I'd classify myself as a "sort-of-experienced beginner" seamstress. I saw Diana Rupp's new book on the Craft blog and promptly borrowed the Sew Everything Workshop from the library.

I only wish such a cool text existed when I was studying home ec. in junior high! This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the basics of sewing. The projects are hip and fun, and Rupp includes tissue patterns for 10 projects right within the book. (I did not open the envelope, however, as my book was from the library.)

Rupp clearly explains sewing terms and techniques. She starts right from square one. Her book discusses tools, fabrics, notions, sewing machines, patterns and much more. The book even includes several quizzes to test readers' new-found sewing knowledge.

The Sew Everything Workshop is a comprehensive crafty guide. I'm planning to add a copy to my personal library.

And In Other News...

Yesterday Ben and I accepted an offer on our house. It is conditionally sold! Our realtor has slapped one of those wonderful C/S stickers on the sign in our front yard. Hopefully, that C/S will transform into a big, fat SOLD sticker by the end of the week!

God has been amazingly faithful to us through this entire process. A month ago I could not have imagined we would buy a new house and sell our current one. Our home was only on the market for 18 days. We had one showing and one open house. (I was feeling quite discouraged that no one was coming to look at our place!) Our realtor says it is a miracle we have sold so quickly, as the Calgary market is completely saturated and few houses are moving.

As well, our buyers would like to take possession two weeks after we take possession of our new house. We will have some grace to accomplish our move and clean up the house. Everything has fallen into place effortlessly, it seems.

Hooray and hallelujah! :-D

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Is This Meant To Be A Compliment?

We stood outside the classroom door, waiting for the school day to begin. My five-year-old son gently patted my belly and casually remarked, "Hey Mommy, your tummy is all soft and squishy now." He paused and then continued, "You know, now that you don't have a baby in it."

My son began tugging at my shirt, and before I could stop him, exposed my soft tummy to the other moms gathered in the hallway. "And look Mom!" he exclaimed, "Your belly button's not an outie any more!"