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.


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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...