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My life as I seek to offer Christian hospitality to both friends and strangers

9th April 2011

Loving our neighbours

We have been talking with the kids a lot about “Who is your neighbour?” We want them to understand that our neighbours are anybody that we come in contact with. But our oldest asked “Shouldn’t we get to know our own neighbours?” She had the idea that we make cookies or muffins and take them to the neighbours on our street so we can get to know them a little bit more. Excellent idea!

Several times she and I have made cookies or muffins, with the intention of passing them out. But we’ve ended up giving them away to friends with new babies, or people on bedrest, or eating a few ourselves. The end result being that we’ve never actually managed to give them to the people on our street!

Just now she said “Mom! Let’s do it now! Let’s make cookies and pass them out today before we forget!” Unfortunately I’m suffering from a horrible cold and am still in my pajamas so there is NO WAY I’m leaving the house today. However, I suggested that we bake them and package them so that she and her daddy can pass them out tomorrow. Then I had to steer her away from peanut butter cookies because of possible allergies.

I am applauding her determination to get this project done and I am trying hard to help her accomplish it. I’m also trying hard to help her understand that although we haven’t been doing it exactly the way she wanted, we have still been able to practice hospitality with our neighbours, just not the neighbours on our street.

posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

3rd April 2011

Menu Plan - Week of April 4, 2011

Week 1 of eating out of the pantry and freezer begins with us going out of town! Not quite the best timing, but it is what it is. We have NO money to be eating out so we will be taking our food with us and doing what we can, so a plan is imperative!

Green smoothies, bagels(gotta use up some fresh spinach before we leave)
Ravioli, green beans, broccoli (the last raviolis in the bag)
Quesadillas, carrot sticks, pears (right before we leave so we don’t need to eat on the road)

Breakfast provided by hotel
PB&J, carrots, boiled eggs
Baked potatoes in room microwave, peas! (I’m excited about this because I thought I was so clever when the idea came to me).

Breakfast provided by hotel
PB & apples, crackers
Meal out with a friend - we will be ordering only two adult meals and sharing with the kids. Jeremy and I can eat more when we get back to the hotel.

Breakfast provided by hotel
PB&J, fruit, cheese sticks
Dinner will be whatever we have left! I’m bringing frozen pizza and burritos for Jeremy’s lunches and other snacks, so kids won’t go hungry.

oatmeal w/ raisins and dried apricots
Chinese noodles (it’s what the girls called Top Ramen) with stir-fry vegetables
Homemade Pizza

Pancakes and smoothies
Corn fritters
Fish and chips, peas and green beans (made from a box of battered fish in the freezer)

Muffins, peach slices, yogurt
Homemade tomato soup and quesadillas
Hamburgers and potato wedges

The first week of a pantry/freezer challenge is always the easiest! :)

posted in Menu Plan, Kitchen stuff | 0 Comments

3rd April 2011

Eating out of the pantry and freezer for April

Last night we spent a while re-vamping our budget and getting Mvelopes up and going again. We know, without a doubt, that when we don’t track what we’re spending we overspend in areas that are unnecessary simply because we don’t have the information. Information is power! I have so much to say about that but it will have to wait for another time. Being self-employed means that we have to be even smarter about keeping track of our dollars.

As we worked out our budget and looked at our bills (mostly medical related) we realized that we actually don’t have enough money to pay all the bills, which is a really uncomfortable place to be after years of being debt-free. Getting laid off and having a baby in the NICU for three months can really put a kink in long-term plans! We used up our emergency fund and have to start over again. We had to make some plans on how to manage everything, making sure that the most important things are up-to-date and starting our debt snowball again.  Fortunately my husband is able to earn a good income but we simply are having to dig ourselves out of a hole which might take a few months. In the meantime I will do what I do best: shop and cook frugally! It’s really the only area of our budget that has any wiggle room. I would prefer to have a budget of $400 a month, but I wrote down $300 a month, and I’m pretty sure I can manage just $200 for the month of April.

I had a quick look in the freezer and pantry and jotted down a list of dinner meals that I can make from what we have on hand. The list included over 24 meals! I made a grocery list for the necessities that we would need for the month and it added up to about $120. It’s important to know that our grocery budget currently includes everything - food, paper products, diapers, formula, health and beauty, everything. I have enough diapers to last well into May. I have enough formula to get through at least half of April. I have $40 in Groupons for a local produce store. I am really going to challenge myself to stay under $200 for the entire month, even though we have two guests coming after Easter for a whole week.

What will it take for me to achieve this?

  • Planning and lots of it. I will need to plan all our meals, including snacks.
  • Creativity. I will need to use all of our leftovers wisely and think outside the box to use up what is in the pantry and freezer.
  • Time. I have more time than money this month, so I will be using that time to make all our bread from scratch, cook dry beans, bake things for snacks and breakfasts.

I’m hoping to blog often what we’ve been eating and the state of our pantry and freezer! If I’m successful they should both be very, very empty by the end of the month!

posted in Kitchen stuff | 1 Comment

3rd April 2011

Come Out and Play Day 1-3

Day 1 - We met some new friends at the park and played for two hours outside. It was a warm day with a high of 86, so the kids walked home red-faced and sweaty. We had some gooood naps that day!

Day 2 - Yesterday was Saturday and Jeremy was home. I had been planning all week to go to some garage sales, so we decided to all go as a family. This involved a lot of getting kids in and out of the car, reminding them to look with their eyes and not their hands. We got lots of good books and found a small aquarium! The girls have really been wanting to get a fish so hopefully we can get the stuff to go inside it. After the garage sales we went to the local Mennonite festival where we walked and skipped and walked and hopped and walked. Again, lots of fresh air! And good sausages!

Day 3 - Today will be a challenge. It’s going to rain and not be nearly as warm, but I will be getting these kids outside, rain or shine!

This challenge is especially timely because our friends down the street, with whom the kids play almost every day, moved on Friday. Friday afternoon they were very droopy, sad that their friends were gone and not quite sure what to do. I will need to be much more purposeful about what we’re doing during that time and perhaps reschedule our day accordingly.

posted in Come Out and Play | 0 Comments

1st April 2011

Can You Come Out To Play?

I have chosen to take a challenge from a blogger: Play outside with my kids for 30 minutes every day in the month of April.

Now, my kids play outside every day, but it’s usually me shoving them out the door to play while I use the quiet inside to get a few things done. I can see the backyard very well from our kitchen/great room, so I  know what they’re up to. But this challenge is about getting outside with them.

Today we have a park play date, so that will be fun and easy. I imagine a lot of our days will be spent at the park, getting as much play time in as we can before the temperature tops 100. I look forward to doing some other fun things too, like taking a bike ride on one of the trails. Or maybe finding some roller skates?

Will you join me?

posted in Come Out and Play | 0 Comments

23rd March 2011

Using the space I have

Decorating is not my thing. Although I appreciate pretty things, I like things simple. A large kitchen island with no decorative things is much easier to keep clean. Not that mine ever is!

For a while now I’ve been wanting to do something with the master bathroom, particularly where the toilet is, which is a separate little room. Naturally, we spend a bit of time in the toilet room and why not make it pretty? So, this afternoon, just a few minutes ago in fact, I did this:


Just took a Sharpie and put up one of my new favorite verses. I figure, heck, only my family uses that room. And I can always cover over it with paint.

My next step is to get some colored Sharpies. I hope to be able to fill the walls with verses. But I’ve decided that I will avoid verses with the word ‘throne’ in them.

posted in my stuff | 10 Comments

8th November 2009

You’d think I’d know better

Why do I do this to myself? For some reason I have this insatiable desire to read blogs about people’s lives that are nothing like mine. Not only do they actually post PICTURES on their blogs but the pictures are of beautifully dressed children at colour-coordinated parties with lovely moms wearing HEELS, serving cake in their immaculately decorated homes.

People. That is not me. My daughters dress themselves and have since they were two. They pick out their own clothes and I’m happy for them to do it because it’s one less thing I need to do.  And okay, some days they are not at all colour coordinated. Generally I don’t care, but sometimes, like when I’m comparing my children with others, I do care. And do I even own a pair of heels? No. And yes, I wear Birkenstocks almost every day of the year and I really don’t care what anyone thinks about that. I’ve worn Birkenstocks since I was in college and I love them.

So as I read blogs about cutie-patootie baby showers and uber-decorated homes, I can start to feel bad about myself. Like, somehow, if I were more something I would be able to do all those things too. But the last week or so I have really started to evaluate who I am, what God has placed me here for, what does He want me to accomplish. And you know what? I’m pretty sure that God has not placed me here to have a home worthy of Better Homes and Gardens. And Martha Stewart certainly isn’t going to be coming by for a photo shoot unless it’s for a ‘before’ picture. She may, on the other hand, want some of my recipes :)

During this whole soul-searching process I am being required to give myself a break. Novel concept, eh? I am not superwoman. I will never be able to achieve perfection here on earth. I must focus on the things that have eternal significance. Right now, that’s my relationships with God, my marriage and my family. Everything else comes farther down the list.

My children will probably never have cutie-patootie birthday parties, but they will have memorable birthdays (thanks to a dear friend that baked Precious a Barbie doll cake this year). My children don’t look like a Gymboree ad, but they do have freedom to be creative in what they wear. My home is not magazine ready, but the door is always open and you don’t even have to call in advance.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

31st October 2009

Sometimes Facebook just isn’t enough space

My blog has been seriously neglected the last year or so since I joined Facebook. I have found that Facebook allows as much interaction with friends as I desire and somehow I can manage a few three-liners a day but a real blog post just doesn’t seem to happen as quickly on a regular basis. However, FB doesn’t allow me to write more than a short paragraph and sometimes I have more to say than that. So I think that I will try to resurrect my blog, for my own purposes rather than that anyone might actually be reading it anymore.

I will still be on Facebook frequently but hopefully I can get over here a couple times a week and actually write something a bit more meaningful.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

25th August 2009

When Your Child Does Wrong

I have been a long time member of Bible Study Fellowship and am so grateful that my children have been attending since the time they were two. The biblical truths that they learn are absolutely right on and I credit BSF with teaching much of the faith that my older kids embrace.

One of the training tools that BSF provides is the Home Training Lesson. It’s affectionately called “The Pink Sheet” and gives practical ways for parents to apply the lessons learned that week. I always keep these and the other day was sorting through papers to decide which ones I would keep. I ended up keeping only a few and this one in particuar was important to me.

I can’t reproduce it for you because of copyrights, but in summary, this is what was covered on the Home Training Lesson entitled “When Your Child Does Wrong”:

 Ask yourself…

Why did my child act this way?
What does he need?
Was my child seeking attention?
Does he want power?
Does he lack confidence?
Is he angry or frustrated?

Make sure your child understands what he did wrong. Did he know the limits before he misbehaved?


Be prompt
Be consistent
Be just
Be compassionate
Utlize consequences
Be loving

I’m writing these things out so I can remember them (and then recycle the pink sheet!) and also because I think that lots of moms just don’t know where to start when it comes to disciplining and training their children. Referring to my previous post I know that it’s something that I have to be continually aware of and improving upon.

posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

25th August 2009

Mommy is the model

A friend wrote on her Facebook this morning about the scene she saw out her front window:

Mother walking 3 kids to school, youngest one screaming (he’s around 3) WHAK! Yank! not good–it’s only day 2! 

I haven’t stopped thinking about it all morning. There are times that I discipline my children when I’m angry and it probably looks a bit similar to what my friend saw - in a hurry, annoyed, just spank and keep walking.  Child doesn’t know exactly why they got a smack, just knows Mommy’s not happy about something. There is no talking about the bad behaviour and what the good behaviour looks like. No praying together, no hugs and kisses and forgiveness.

What am I teaching my kids? I watch them and watch how they interact with each other and I believe that what I’m seeing is the result of what they’re experiencing. And I’m starting to wonder - am I doing the right thing? Surely they shouldn’t be acting like this.

I’ve been spending a lot of time praying about this the last few weeks because I’m seeing behaviour in my children that I am not at all pleased with and I’m trying to figure out how to teach and train them in order to extinguish this behaviour. As I’ve prayed I’ve been reminded of a few things:

  1.  Every person ever born, except for Jesus Christ, is sinful.
  2. Even a 2, 3, or 5 year old, no matter how adorable, is sinful.
  3. Sin is when we choose to do things that are wrong. This can be a thought or action. When my children choose to disobey, they are sinning.
  5. As their mother and primary caregiver, they are learning how to behave from me. When they hear me yell, they are going to learn that yelling is how we talk to people when we’re upset. When I don’t follow through with something that I say I’m going to do, they learn that they can’t always trust people to do what they say they will do. When I don’t keep my bedroom tidy, they are learning that it’s not so important after all (ouch!!!)

So I know that God works in my children in spite of my failures. But I also know that God has called me to be their mother and they are my primary mission field. I never want my sin to be a barrier to them coming to know God’s extreme love for them.

God, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.

posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments