Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Wee Bit Greener

Our new compost bin is officially operational. (Thanks Sandra!) Ben put it together the other night and I've started adding soil and kitchen scraps to the bin. For the time being we've placed the composter beside our lower deck, near the patio doors. We'll see if smell becomes an issue. However, I plan to compost through the winter and Ben thought the bin should be near a door. (No need to trudge through the snow banks!)

I have grand plans for our yard next year. (Ha! We'll see what happens in the land of reality.) Maybe our little composter will help make the yard a bit greener.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Yesterday at the grocery store we stumbled across a dragon fruit. The kids begged to bring the fruit home so we bought one for our family. "It's good to try new things!" our five-year-old insisted.

This morning I sliced into the unusual fruit for breakfast. How beautiful! I was shocked by the dragon fruit's vibrant colour. The outer part was bright fushia, surrounding a white inner pulp full of tiny black seeds. The fruit was a little bit like kiwi, with a similar texture. The flavour was mildly sweet.

Our kids gobbled up the dragon fruit, leaving nothing for Daddy to sample :-(. Our two-year-old especially enjoyed her fruit.


Rice crispies and dragon fruit --- the breakfast of champions.

Inspired by the dragon-y goodness.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Baby's crying
and I'm dying
to soak my tired skin
in a long, hot bath.
How does he know when Mommy's exhausted?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dancin' Man

We've registered our five-year-old son for ballet classes. Some people think this is an unusual extra-curricular activity for a little boy but our son is super-excited about dancing. A couple weeks ago we bought his uniform (black exercise pants, a white t-shirt and black slippers). My goodness, that boy looks cute in his dance clothes. He's tried them on several times over the past few days, just because he's so eager.

Why ballet?

Our family is not terribly into sports. (Sorry Uncle Matt.) We're more interested in the arts. At the same time, we would like our kids to be involved in physical activities. Dance seemed like a good fit for us. It also doesn't hurt that dance lessons qualify for the government's active living tax exemption!

We've registered our son in a local Christian dance school. I am very cautious about enrolling our kids in a school that isn't faith-based, especially for the boys. We know we can trust the type of instruction our son will receive at the Christian studio. Modesty and strong character are stressed highly, and our son's masculinity will be affirmed. It also doesn't hurt that friends from church and school also have children enrolled in the same studio.

I think ballet provides an excellent foundation for physical development. (Much the same way I value piano lessons.) Do I expect our children to stick with ballet forever? Not really. I hope they enjoy the activity for a few years, gain some coordination and grace, get exercise, and hopefully develop a greater appreciation for the arts in general. I'd love for dance to be an activity our entire family will enjoy together.

With our son, Ben and I have stressed how male ballet dancers must be very strong and physically fit. Our little guy has really latched on to the concept. As we left the dance supply store a few days ago, his new ballet uniform in hand, he proudly marched over to the front door.

"Here Mommy," he exclaimed, "Let me open that door. I'm very, very strong you know!"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig

We returned yesterday from our long weekend in the mountains. The wedding was lovely. (A weekend without the kids, also lovely.) Re-entry into our normal busy routine today has been a bit of a shock.

The next few days will fly by. We leave again on Friday for another weekend trip to the mountains and have a million tasks to accomplish before then. Can it be that school really starts next week? When did that happen?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes

Today my three-year-old has been full of interesting statements...

I spent very little time on my personal appearance this morning. (I slapped my hair into a pony tail, threw on some clean clothes, and that's about it.) As I entered the boys' bedroom my three-year-old looked up at me with sleepy eyes and said:

"Oh no, Mommy. You don't look pretty anymore."

A few minutes later, after the kids were up and dressed, my son brought me his new toy. It was a big mess of a tangled spring.

"Mommy?" he asked, "Can you fix my flinky?"

After breakfast my sunny little guy bounced around the living room. He excitedly talked about his upcoming fourth birthday (the day's more than two months away) and about his big party plans. I only half-listened as he jabbered on.

"Hey, you know what?" he said, "I want a rat cake! A rat cake, Mommy!"

"A rat cake???"

"Yeah Mommy! You know, like Remy the rat!"

Ah yes. I think it's shaping up to be an entertaining day...
My husband tells me witch hazel is good for piles.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A One Track Mind

No, it's not what you think.

For whatever reason I've become totally infatuated with books. I'm developing a serious addiction. Not sure why, really. I've always loved to read but this week the obsession has gone a bit overboard. My stash no longer fits neatly within the basket beside our bed. The basket doth spilleth over and my library card is seeing some serious action.

I'm pretty sure I'll never find time to read them all.

At least the piles look pretty.

Here are two of my latest acquisitions:

Mmm. Circus freaks.

Because the Amish are cool. Totally.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Where is MPM?

I'm wingin' things this week. No menu planning for me! Ben and I are leaving this Thursday to attend a wedding on the weekend. (Without our three oldest kids!) Since I deviated from my plan for last week, I can recycle a few of the recipes. I'll need only a quick trip to the grocery store today for some essentials. Hooray!
Christmas in August!

This afternoon I pulled into the driveway and spotted a large parcel sitting on our front steps. A parcel! For us! Best of all, the hefty box was full of books. Does life get any better?

Our book club had a promotion last month so I placed a rather large order of yummy titles. Here are the great new books I'll be drooling over for the next few days:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Never Ending List

Don't get me wrong, I love our new house. It is a complete and unexpected gift from God. Every day Ben and I find something else in our home to be thankful for. For example, this week we were grateful for our west-east exposure. (This is something we never would have thought to look for in a house.) Our backyard faces east and by mid-afternoon it's nice and shady. The kids can play outside without frying in the hot weather.

However, our new home has come with a list. A long, long, long, long list of tasks. We've accomplished a great deal over the past seven weeks, it's true. But every day I feel like the list of unfinished tasks grows longer. The weeds in the yard stare me in the face. The poorly painted bathroom mocks me. The curtainless windows make me feel naked and exposed. The unstained fence seems shabby.

I know most people don't even notice these unfinished details, but the perfectionist in me constantly cringes. I want everything to be done. Finished. There are only so many hours in the day (and limited strength and energy). I hate the fact that I can't get everything accomplished.

As well, Ben and I try to live by the motto "people before things". Time spent with our family and friends (and one another) is time well spent. This is harder for me to live out than it is for my husband. He is a natural people person. Most days I'd rather paint the fence. (It's a selfish attitude, I know.) Without a doubt, we know God has blessed us with a gorgeous home so that we can bless other people. We want to practice hospitality. God is teaching me to be humble because I'd rather not invite people over until our house is "perfect". I'm quickly realizing that the "perfect" day will never come!

So, please forgive me if my yard looks unkept. Believe me, it bothers me more than it bothers you. I'll try to be gracious and not point out all the flaws in my house. This home is a gift from God. I know that. It's beautiful and gorgeous and spectacular. I must keep reminding myself of that fact when I become mired by the details of my never ending list.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The New Do

I recently cut and coloured my hair. For the past few years I'd been sporting a pretty boring look --- long, straight and natural --- and thought it was time to update my image. My next birthday involves a daunting zero, but my hairstyle hadn't changed much since high school. Time to step into the twenty-first century!

The stylist kept my hair long but she added lots of layers. She also put in some chunky blond highlights. The results are quite different! I'm still getting used to my new look, that's for sure.

As I prepared to go to my appointment yesterday, our son asked how I planned to change my hair. I told him the stylist would add some new colour. "What colour do you think would look nice?" I asked.

"Oh Mommy," our five-year-old replied, "I think pink hair would look beautiful!"

Sure enough, as soon as I returned home our son was quick to compliment my new look. "Wow Mommy!" he cried, "I love your stripe-y yellow hair!"

He paused for a moment and peered at the side of my head. "Mommy?" he asked, "Can you hear anything through all that hair?"

I guess our kids aren't used to seeing their mommy with such a fancy new do :-).
Extra Tasty

I couldn't resist buying this magazine in the check-out line yesterday. The new Taste of Home bake sale cookbook is awesome! The pages are full of great photographs and terrific recipes. Everything looks so good, I hardly know where to start. These recipes are great for bake sales, parties, or even holiday baking.


Friday, August 15, 2008


I received my new first issue of Taste of Home magazine in the mail yesterday. I was really excited to read it --- until I opened the magazine and an ad for the "Elvis Presley Jewel of Vegas" plate fell into my lap...

..."dazzling (plate) border overflows with hand-applied faux jewels chosen to match Elvis's famed peacock jumpsuit..."

I kid you not.

I quickly grew concerned about the type of publication to which I had subscribed.

Thankfully, Taste of Home cannot be judged by its advertisers. Many of the recipes look great. We've been entertaining quite a bit in our new home these days and I needed some fresh ideas for BBQs. My new magazine has presented plenty of inspiration in that department! Tomorrow we are having some friends over for supper and I plan to make Strawberry Cheesecake Pie for dessert. Yum.

I've run into one problem through --- Taste of Home is thoroughly fueling my recipe addiction. The magazine advertises the latest and greatest Taste of Home publications and I can't help but want to buy them all. I did cave and order Winning Recipes from our book club last week. I fear Cool & Creamy and the Busy Family Cookbook are soon to join my collection as well...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mr. Green Eyes

Our littlest Inkling will be four months old tomorrow. The past few months have been incredibly busy for our family and I can hardly believe my babe is no longer a newborn. No longer a newborn! He's not even a small baby anymore. He's huge! Our babies have all grown to be nice and chubby, but Mr. Timbit certainly takes the prize. I am very curious to find out his weight at our doctor's appointment tomorrow morning.

Our first three babies all had bright blue eyes. In particular, our second son's eyes continue to be a rather startling shade of blue. Our newest family member appears to have taken his cue from a different gene pool. His eyes are definitely darker than his siblings'. I feel fairly certain our timbit's eyes will turn out to be hazel, like his mommy's :-). I'm happy that at least one of our kids will share my eyes.

Mr. Green Eyes, can you stay small forever? Please? I think our family's days with a baby in the house are quickly slipping away. Some days I wish I could freeze time...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Peek at My Bookshelf

Would you like a sneak peek at some of my latest library finds? I haven't been reading as much as I'd like, unfortunately. The weather has been gorgeous outside and there seem to be a million things to do inside too. When I find a few minutes at the end of the day, here are some of the books I will reach for:

I greatly enjoyed Enger's first novel and am about half way through his second. I find myself completely entranced by Enger's poetic voice.

Amanda recommended Artist to Artist on her Soule Mama blog and our family immediately reserved it at the library. The children love leafing through the pictures and we've discovered several of the profiled illustrators' books on our shelves at home.

If I am to take the plunge into a new knitting project this fall, Baby Knits for Beginners is the book I'll use. This book has knitting patterns I can actually understand!

Pure eye candy. I simply love looking through the pictures in Yarn Play.

The only garment I've sewn for myself used a Built by Wendy pattern. I am curious to read Wendy's instructional book. (And even more curious to look through its included patterns!)

Reading Back on Blossom Street is a purely guilty pleasure. I reach for this novel when I want to relax and turn my brain off. The Blossom Street stories are sweet yarns about friendship and (what else these days?) knitting!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Great Books for Kids:

Desmond and the Naughty Bugs
by Linda Ashman

"Desmond was a sweet boy ... usually. But it's hard to be good when the naughty bugs show up..." The Sloggies sprinkle Desmond with dawdle dust. A Pesky bothers him in the grocery store. The Squirmies spritz Desmond with Fidgey Mist, and the Whineys settle in on a rainy day.

The Naughty Bugs is a fun book and has become favourite with our young family. The children enjoy reading about Squirmies, Snarlies and Grumblies. We've even started naming our family's own particular naughty bugs. An infestation of Whineys is less daunting when we imagine the colourful bugs behind the naughty behavior!

This is a great book for teaching children to recognize bad attitudes in a fun and friendly way.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
August 11, 2008

This weekend has been very full and I am feeling completely knackered by the end of it. All I can think about is a hot bubble bath and a good book. If I don't plan our meals tonight I'll be totally (messed up) for the rest of the week, so here's my uninspired menu plan:


I'm tingling with excitement.

Monday: No cooking (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Slow cooker lasagna, green salad, cheese toast
Wednesday: Grilled salmon burgers, honey mustard potato salad, corn on the cob
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Curried chicken, basmati rice, steamed cauliflower, peas
Saturday: Encore performance
Sunday: No cooking (supper with Ben's parents)

For great meal plans and recipes, check out Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Quote of the Day

Our two-year-old daughter quietly played on the floor with her stuffed animals. She carefully selected a little turtle and held it up to my ear.

"Hey Mommy. Listen. You can hear the ocean!"

Friday, August 08, 2008

Thought for the Day

If humans can buy wasp bombs at Home Depot to take out the wasps, can wasps buy human bombs to take out the humans? (Do the wasps shop at Nest Depot?)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Sales Pitch

I waited at the grocery store checkout with all the kiddies in tow. Our five-year-old son wanted a treat (a tasty Kinder Surprise kind of a treat). He looked up at me with puppy dog eyes, clasped the egg gently in his hand, and in a serious voice declared...

"Mommy, you have to buy this chocolate egg. It will totally change your life."

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Too Cool

My geeky husband totally rocks. He set the Wonder Pets theme song as the ring tone for my cell phone!


My eldest son has informed me he intends to play with rip rap all morning.


"Baby Wheats" has become our kids' new favourite cereal. (Could that be Mini Wheats?) Between the three children who possess teeth in our family, they ate about half a box of it for breakfast this morning. Mmm. Gotta love high fibre cereal...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Spotty Performance

Ben commented the other day that I haven't been posting as much to the blog. I used to spend most evenings with my computer on my lap, working on the blog or reading articles. Since our baby boy was born (was it already three months ago?) and we moved to our new house, my nightly routine has changed a great deal. I try to catch a minute or two on the computer whenever I can but the blog updates haven't been nearly as consistent. Sometimes all I can manage is a quick quote or anecdote from the day.

That said --- I am painting the kitchen this week. I figure I should give fair warning that my computer will be gathering dust. I love painting, so this is no hardship in my mind! I think blogging will become more routine again once school starts in September. In the meantime, I apologize for my inconsistent performance ;-).

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
August 4, 2008

This week is shaping up to be quite eventful. On Saturday we are hosting a joint birthday party for our mothers. (Ben's mom and my mom share the same birthday. What are the chances of that?) As well, I am writing an exam on Saturday morning and will spend most of my spare time this week studying. As a result, I've kept our menu plan super-simple and have recycled a few items from last week.

Monday: Slow cooker chili, Japanese cabbage salad, cornmeal muffins
Tuesday: 5 minute southwest layered salad
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Tuna noodle casserole, steamed broccoli
Friday: Encore performance
Saturday: Homemade hamburgers, salads, raw veggie tray, fruit tray, goodie tray, birthday cake, various munchies and crunchies
Sunday: Party leftovers

Please visit Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie for more great recipes and meal planning ideas.

Friday, August 01, 2008

On the Cusp of Victory

I think we can very nearly (almost, so close, just about) claim to have a potty trained three-year-old. Hallelujah. I seriously thought we might never see the day. Our son has been out of pullups for almost two weeks now. This past week was virtually accident free! (He tried sleeping in underwear for a couple nights, but that resulted in a wet bed. I'm not terribly concerned about night training at this point.) I think we'll wait one more week before we claim complete and total victory. It's so close!

In related news, our two-year-old daughter is also potty training. Phew! It's been an eventful few weeks. She still wears diapers but is averaging three or four potty successes each day. I'll take anything we can get :-). The whole process of pooping is still a bit mysterious to her though, so we may have to wait on that aspect of potty training for a short while yet. I'd sure love to have two new potty training graduates by the end of the summer...