Friday, December 31, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, New Years, and all that jazz! Thanks to all of our friends and family for being there for us in 2010!

Blessings for 2011!

Friday, December 24, 2010

9 & 12 Month Comparisons

Better late than never, right?

9 Months




12 Months




I think I make cute babies!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Um, hi.

Oh blog, I've neglected you again! It's not that I don't have anything to say. Honestly, I have about a dozen post ideas scribbled out in my notepad (you know, those old-fashioned paper things?). But it's just that life keeps getting in the way. We started home schooling this fall, and, yeah, there has been a severe lack of blogging. I have a feeling that the two might be related. That and facebook. Facebook is so quick and easy, and then I get so swept up in everyone else's lives and so many great articles, that you get left out. Again. I'm so sorry.

Just so you know, Ruthie is now 1, and she's walking and starting to talk and generally being all-grown-up-ish. I'm kind of sad that my "baby" is so big, this year went by so quickly, but I also love this stage so much! I know I need to post some new pics, but one thing at a time for now, ok? It's almost Christmas, and that's kind of a busy season, you know.

Speaking of Christmas, I basically did all home made gifts this year. Cheap, yes. Meaningful, oh yes. But also kind of a pain in the butt with 3 young children around. I can totally see why most people just go to a store and buy everything for everyone on their list. It would be SO. MUCH. EASIER. But oh well, I'm all done now, so I can relax. I did buy a lot for the kids though. Mostly home school supplies and arts & crafts to keep them busy all winter, wahahaha! This Christmas I basically only shopped at Michael's (I took in my 40%-50% off coupon every week starting at the beginning of Nov and slowly got everything! They have Melissa & Doug toys there too) and the dollar store. I actually got the kids WAY more gifts than usual, but still with the same budget. So I am calling Christmas 2010 the year of Michael's. Last year was the year of Kijiji, and the year before was the year of Etsy. I wonder what next year will be? Perhaps home made for all?

This Holiday Season was also the Season of Much Coffee.

Anyway, I wish everyone the best over the holidays and for 2011! I'd like to say that I promise to blog more, but we will just have to wait and see. I do have a few real goals for 2011 though. Ultimately, I want to get "myself" back. As of the end of February, I will have been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for 6 years straight. That has taken quite a toll on my body and mind and spirit. So I am going to focus on personal restoration, I know that everyone in my family would benefit from that. I am doing it for them just as much as for myself.

Here are my basic goals:

1. Keep exercising (I have been doing The Shred with a friend this month and it has been so great, and the kids have been doing it with me, they are so cute! I recently made a hula hoop, so I need to start hooping too, and going to the gym again).

2. Eat better (we will probably go gluten and sugar free for a while). My problem right now is I eat too much bread and sugar, because they are quick and convenient, and not enough protein and veggies.

3. See my naturopath, get all of my vitamin and mineral stores up, and hopefully restore my thyroid and adrenals. He will also be able to do lots of tests to see if anything else is dragging me down.

4. Go and see a great Christian counselor who is just a few blocks away from me.

5. And most of all try to actually get organized and in control of my life (which will be easier once I get everything previously listed underway), and make sure to have "me" time regularly.

I also want to be more creative, get more involved with the organizations I want to, and actually attend births. But I know I need to focus on the 5 things above, and then I can take on these things as I feel able. I'm burned out enough right now, and I don't want to keep doing this to myself. If things are going well by Christmas next year, then we might start trying for baby #4!

Thanks to everyone who still reads this despite my long absence! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 Favourite Facebook Statuses

(Click to view, sorry it's so small)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monthly Dinners

I wrote a post last spring about how I do meal plans. I have since been asked a few times what exactly I eat for dinner, since I make a different meal each night of the month. So, for fun, here is my list of meals from August (things got a little mixed up in Sept, I didn't end up following my meal plans exactly).

I just plan the protein and carb usually, then add whatever veggies/salad I feel like at the time to it.

1 - Chicken, veggie & rice stir-fry

2 - Turkey spaghetti & garlic cheese buns

3 - Tomato basil chicken breasts & baked potatoes

4 - Honey garlic salmon & rice

5 - Bison burgers (home made) & fries

6 - Slow-cooker pizza beans

7 - Pizza bean (leftovers) burritos

8 - Chicken burgers (home made) & sweet potato fries

9 - Chicken wraps

10 - Salmon mango wraps

11 - Breaded haddock, chicken fingers & baked potatoes

12 - Lasagna

13 - Slow-cooker venison & root veggie stew

14 - Margarita pizza (frozen)

15 - (out at a friend's house!)

16 - Corn on the cob, perogies & cinnamon buns (didn't feel much like cooking after making the cinnamon buns all day!)

17 - Turkey burgers (home made) & sweet potato fries

18 - Lemon pepper salmon & baked potatoes

19 - Honey garlic chicken breasts & rice

20 - Grilled cheese (cooked over a fire while camping)

21 - Baked beans and Zoodles (cooked over a fire while camping)

22 - BBQ Chicken, potato wedges and Caesar salad (on the way home from camping...)

23 - Panago Pizza (chicken, onions, green peppers, and mushrooms)

24 - Home made mac & cheese (haha, camping took a lot out of me)

25 - Loaded nachos (with black beans, tomatoes, green pepper, and green onions)

26 - Taco salad w/bison

27 - Veggie burgers (home made)

28 - Pizza (home made, same toppings as above plus pineapple and green olives)

29 - (out at a friend's house!)

30 - Lentil shepherd's pie

31 - Roasted whole chicken & roasted baby potatoes

So there you have it! It wasn't a "perfect" month, as camping and going to friend's houses saved me doing a big meal those nights. Also, you may have noticed that we aren't so vegetarian anymore. Sorry, my body has just been craving protein and the veggie sources have not been good enough.

Some other notable meals that didn't make the cut in August include:

~Chicken risotto
~Lentil soup
~Chicken noodle soup
~Butternut squash soup
~Mushroom soup
~Tomato soup (all of these soups home made, of course)
~Tortilla pizzas
~Venison roast/chops/steak
~Elk roast/chops/steak
~Roasted turkey
~Creamy lemon dill fish (any kind of white fish)
~Breaded and fried fish or chicken
~Tuna melts
~Falafel wraps
~Venison smokies
~Lamb burgers

If you want any of my recipes, feel free to ask and I will post them!

Plus there's always the random frozen things I occasionally pick up from the grocery store when I know I am going to have a busy day without time to really prepare something from scratch for dinner. There have also been lots of meals I have tried (mostly slow-cooker ones), but we didn't really like so we didn't add them to the roster. Dave also occasionally will cook, usually some kind of Asian food (which I am NOT good at!) or Italian pasta dish, or something random and new to me but delicious.

We are also thinking of trying to go gluten-free in the near future to see if it helps with some issues, so if you have any tips in regards to that, please enlighten me!

Anyone have any other favourite meals that they make that I should try?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Apple Oat Muffins

The other day I was given some apples, so we decided to make juice! We made 2L of apple juice, which also yielded 4.5 cups of apple puree. 2 cups of that was saved for Ruthie to eat. And my heart was set on making the other 2.5 cups into fabulous muffins.

I scoured the internet for a perfect recipe. I looked through lots of options, but nothing seemed 'just right'. Probably because I already had the recipe in my head, and really I was just searching for the internet to confirm it. I did pick up a few ideas during my search, and then decided just to wing it. While drinking delicious fresh apple juice.

First, I took 5 cups of plain Cheerios and ran them through the coffee grinder (or you could use a food processor) until it was a powder.

Then, in a bowl, I added the Cheerio powder and mixed together:

3 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp whole flax seeds (grind them in the coffee grinder/food processor just before adding to mixture)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda

I made a well with the dry ingredients, and in the center added:

2 1/2 cups apple puree (I left the skins on, it gives a nice texture)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 eggs

I mixed it all together until all of the dry ingredients were wet. The batter is very thick. I doled it out into muffin tins lined with paper cups (you could try just greasing the tin really well if you like), the batter filled 24 cups. I recommend filling the cups right up, as they don't rise very much. Then I sprinkled the top with pure maple sugar. Because I have access to that kind of delicacy. =)

I baked them in a 400 degree F oven for 20 mins.

They were seriously amazing, very moist and hearty, and were quickly consumed! They would also probably taste really good with other fruit (like raisins if you like that kind of vile thing...) or nuts added.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

7 Years

Today is our 7th wedding anniversary. It has been a wonderful 7 years, with 3 beautiful children joining us along the way. We are indeed very blessed, and very thankful.

But today my heart is heavy. David is over 3000 kms away today. He went back home for the funeral of our best man. It is hard to be happy today, knowing that Brian's wife and sons, the oldest of whom is just a few months older than Judith, are grieving his sudden loss. He was only 30. It seems so unfair. His funeral was yesterday.

RIP Brian, we will miss you.

His oldest son with Judith, when they were babies.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Dance!

I finally got the DVD of Judith's dance performance. Judith is the one on the right, the taller of the blonde girls. This is a video of a video, so the quality is quite poor, but you get the idea.

EDIT - Sorry, Blogger seems to crop my videos and so Judith got cut out a lot in the video above! You can go HERE to see the full video.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Natural Birth

I have been meaning to do a post for a while on natural birth, especially what I learned at the Water Birth workshop with Barbara Harper.

There is SERIOUSLY so much I learned (and I thought I knew a lot already, I'm a bit of a birth junkie!), and I don't think I can begin to try and write it all out right now. Barbara Harper is an amazing woman, and I highly recommend that all expectant mothers at least read her book, Gentle Birth Choices, before they make their decisions about how they would like to birth. Natural birth certainly isn't for everyone in our culture, but for some mothers it can be amazing and is totally worth it. Interventions are great and necessary when they are warranted or wanted, but I have a feeling that a lot of women don't know that they even have options. And of course there are so many women that have unnecessary traumatic births, especialy with their first (and that leads them to actually find their options for their future babies).

Anyway, the thing that impacted me the most about the workshop is really seeing how birth works. That babies were designed to be born. That if you just keep your hands off, everything will most likely be fine. It's good to have skilled people there in case of problems, but the key is to only intervene when there actually are problems, and not to go causing them in the first place. I always knew this, but the workshop hit it home for me. Watching so many births where no one touched or bothered the mother and baby were so powerful. People in our culture are complete control freaks, and it seems to impact birthing in such a negative way. Birthing in the water is so natural, peaceful and beautiful. It was amazing to see the babies come out, and then "snap" into themselves, and be drawn out of the water on to their mother's chest (the "habitat"). It was so, so amazing. It was incredible to see that there is truly no rush (baby won't try to breathe until his skin feels air, and as long as the placenta is still attached he gets all of the oxygen he needs), and that the baby usually knows how to birth itself. Baby and mother are both programmed with reflexes to ensure a safe delivery, if only they are allowed to work together, unhindered, to get it done.

There is so much more I could write (and I know this isn't written very well, but I don't have much time for writing, or thinking, these days). I believed deeply in birth before, but now I have more faith than ever. I can't wait to be able to be there for women going through this awesome journey (no matter what they choose of course, every birth seems to move me, no matter how it happens, but there's just a different dimension to natural, water births for me).

Here is a video I just came across that I like. I especially love how no one pulls on the baby at all to get her out. Everything just happens perfectly. And YES, this is a birth video so there is nudity.

Also, preparingforbaby has a lot of great videos on YouTube (check out her playlists, especially the waterbirth one). Here is part 1 of 4 of that series:

Maybe some day I will be able to post more about what I learned, but in case I don't, I just wanted to get a quick little thing out there.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

4 & 6 Months

Whoops, I kind of missed a couple comparison shot posts!

I managed to get family portraits done when each baby was 4 months old.

April 2006

August 2008

April 2010

Awwww, we're so cute.

Now, here are the 6 month shots of each bebe.




Such sweet sweetness!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cinnamon Buns

This is how you do it!

~1 tsp white sugar
~1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
~1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in water, let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

~1/2 cup milk
~1/4 cup white sugar
~1/4 cup butter
~1 tsp salt

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in sugar, butter and salt, stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

~2 eggs, beaten
~4 cups all-purpose flour (I actually used 2 cups all-purpose flour and 2 cups whole wheat bread flour)

In a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl) combine yeast mixture, milk mixture, eggs and 1 1/2 cups flour, stir or mix well to combine. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes (or if you're me, let the stand mixer knead it for about 5 minutes).

~1 tbsp olive oil (approx)

Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl and turn to coat the dough with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

~3/4 cup butter
~3/4 cup brown sugar
~1/2 cup chopped pecans

While dough is rising, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Pour into greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle bottom of pan with pecans, set aside.

~1/4 cup butter
~3/4 cup brown sugar
~1 tbsp ground cinnamon
~1/2 cup chopped pecans
~1/2 cup raisins

Melt butter, set aside. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans and raisins in small bowl, set aside (do not combine with butter).

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, roll into and 18x14 inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tbsp melted butter, leaving 1/2 inch border uncovered. Sprinkle with the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Starting at the long side, tightly roll up dough, pinching seam to seal. Brush outside with butter. With a serrated knife, cut roll into 15 pieces (I actually made 16). Place rolls in prepared 9x13 pan, face up. Brush tops of rolls with remaining butter. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes, then invert onto serving platter. Scrape remaining filling from pan onto the rolls.


(In retrospect, I would also make up another batch of the butter-sugar mixture, and add that to the top and sides of the rolls as soon as they came out of the oven, before flipping them out, because some of the edge rolls were a bit dry. They were still delicious though!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sitting Up

Have I mentioned yet that Ruthie is sitting up on her own now? Time is going by so quickly! She starting sitting on her own just around the 7 month mark.

She's very proud of herself, and is now trying to figure out crawling. She can go from a sitting to crawling position just fine (and practices that a lot), but hasn't quite figured out the coordination yet to move forward. But soon, I suspect, I will have a crawler. The baby gates are going up!

Monday, July 26, 2010


A few weeks ago we went camping (we hope to go a few more times before the summer is over, we love it! And by 'we' I mean all but Ruthie, but she is out-voted so too bad).

Eating in the tent the first night due to rain.

Yummy food cooked with fire!

Mmmm, breakfast!

Beach wasn't all that fun in the rain.

We had to keep the princess dry.

We gave up on the outdoors and hung out in the van for a while.

Then went into town and found some treats.

Then played some mini-golf.

Finally the rain stopped so we could make s'mores!

The next day was finally beautiful! So we got up bright and early.

And headed to the beach while Daddy and Ruthie packed up to go home (I hear Ruthie deemed herself foreman, so she just watched and then ordered him around now and then).

Gideon kept making little mounds of dirt, then calling them "Thomas!"

I'm glad that all the kids love road trips and adventures (I'm sure Ruthie will get over sleeping in a tent eventually).

So the moral of the story is: Even though sometimes trying to do stuff with kids, especially with bad weather thrown in, can be a pain in the butt, just have a good attitude and be willing to go with the flow and VOILA! Super fun family times. Honestly I think it's good when things get tough, because it's an opportunity to show our kids how to react properly, and also that in life, things don't always go our way, but we can still make the best of it and we don't have to give up. I want my kids to know that things aren't always easy, and that's ok. I can't see an easy life being a very fulfilling one.

P.S. I almost forgot to post the great video I got of Gideon telling his joke while we were camping!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Home Made Deodorant

On Father's Day, I gave Dave a big hug, and then decided, immediately, that this would be the day I finally made deodorant. I had read a recipe on the Passionate Homemaker, and really wanted to try it. Deodorant isn't that big of a deal for me, I hardly sweat, and only usually smell for the first few months of breastfeeding. Any of the natural (and regular) deodorants I have tried have worked for me, and never caused any problems.

My husband, however, is a different story. Regular deodorants irritated his skin, and none of the natural ones worked. He is a roofer, and a big guy in general, so we were hoping to find something that worked. He would be a great test subject for our home made stuff.

I made the deodorant according to the recipe, and it took no time at all. In a small bowl I just put in 1/4 cup of aluminum-free baking soda (that I got from a local health food store), and 1/4 cup arrowroot powder (also from the health food store, or you could substitute corn starch). Then I added a few tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil (in solid form), and mixed it up. I kept adding the oil until the mixture resembled a thick cake batter. It was a hot day when I made it, and I would recommend mixing it up in a warm environment for sure. On cooler days it solidifies up nicely. Anyway, the recipe calls for 6-8 tbsp of coconut oil. I also added about 5 drops of tea tree oil. You could add whatever essential oils you like, or skip it completely.

I put the mixture in a small, 1 cup (250 ml) size mason jar. I put it in the fridge at first to firm it up. Now we store it on our bathroom counter, and as long as it isn't terribly hot, it keeps just fine there. We apply it with our fingers, it's nice on the hands too.

Here is the great instructional video:

We are both extremely impressed with how well it works! It is so simple yet effective, even for a roofer in the summer! So now we get the protection we need, without worrying about what chemicals are seeping into our skin. It may not totally prevent us from sweating, but it does prevent the smell, which is the important part.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Open Letter to my Husband

Dear David

I just want to write something here to let everyone know how much I love and appreciate you.

When we met, I knew there was something different about you. I've always known that there was something different about me, so I guess we are a good match. I have also always loved a good challenge, and you love to challenge everything. I truly believe that God put us together for a reason. A bigger reason even than the fact that somehow our genes combined make the most incredibly cute kids.

I know that, right now, things are hard, and life isn't as exciting as we'd hoped that it would be. Right now we are living the normal life, struggling at times, and happy at times. But I want you to know that I appreciate how you get up every day and go out in order to provide for us. This stage of life is hard, but I think you are doing a great job. What I appreciate most is how you haven't given up. You are still dreaming and planning, and always learning new things and challenging yourself. You are also not allowing me to settle, and always challenging me as well to be better and keep going. You may not be Mr. Nice Guy, but you do know when to extend grace to me when I truly need it, and when to give me a little push when I need that instead. Even though it sometimes sucks at the time, I appreciate that you keep the big picture in mind, and don't let me fall into complacency. Even before I met you, I knew I never wanted to settle for the status quo, and you have helped me to continue pressing on.

It's mostly because of you that our children were born peacefully and naturally, and are being raised with healthy attachment, gentleness, and freedom. You were there for me through Judith's birth when I didn't think I could go on, and you encouraged me to persevere when we endured so many problems with breastfeeding. You have gathered information about every aspect of parenting and together we have made informed decisions for our children, whether those decisions are popular or not. You have helped me to believe in myself, have confidence, and stand up for myself. And when I haven't had the strength, you have stood up for me. I feel safe knowing that you will protect us, and want the best for us.

I respect you so much for your desire to know the truth. I love your ability to see through the lies and deceit, and not be caught up in what simply looks or sounds nice. I appreciate your ability to challenge everything, and how you put things out there just to see what response you will get, desperately hoping to engage with someone, even if you are not 100% convinced of your own opinion. I love that you love to learn, and to glean whatever you can from others, no matter who they are. I think it's great that you don't care who people think they are, but you look at everyone on a level playing field. And I love how your opinion of someone doesn't affect how you interact with them, you take everyone's ideas as valid, but also aren't afraid to pick them apart, while also not letting someone's ideas and opinions change how you treat or respect them. Not many people can be friends with others of such differing opinions, and are able to set opposing views aside to have a genuinely good time together.

It's also respectable how you are willing to change your opinion if and when you are presented with something you can't refute. So many people just don't care about important issues, are too proud to change when confronted with the truth, and would rather just never think. It means a lot to me that you are the way you are. I don't think I would be very fulfilled in life if I married someone who was happy to simply stay where he is. I'm glad that you don't really care what other people think of you, you only care about what's real and true. I have learned and grown a lot from simply living with you.

Most of all, I think I love your heart the best. You are passionate about God, and pursuing what He has for you. You have gone through so much healing, and are always striving for wisdom. You don't accept theology simply because it is popular or commonly preached, but you have to always read the Bible and study for yourself. You are constantly listening to vastly different teachers and Bible studies, I like how you don't just pick which stream you want to follow and blindly go, but you try to see all of the different angles, and discern the truth from the fluff in all of them. I am thankful for your spiritual leadership over our family, how you don't lord it over us, but are always encouraging me to discern for myself, and wanting my ideas and opinions on everything. I am a valued, equal partner to you on our journey together.

I love how we are always talking, and never grow tired of each other. I know that we will never run out of things to talk about, and when we are old, we will still be the best of friends. This makes me feel safe and happy, and know that nothing else really matters. I love how you don't mind my awkwardness or quirkiness, and always make me feel beautiful and important. I don't know how I would be able to deal with life without you. You push me to independence, and I would not be nearly as capable and self-sufficient if it weren't for you, but at the same time you are my rock, and I'm not sure if I would be able to be fully myself without you.

Anyway, I'm sure there is a lot more that I could say, but I think I got out what was on my heart. I am writing this to you on your adoption day, July 20. I meant to do it on your birthday, July 12, but never got a chance, so this will have to do. I am so thankful that your birth mother was brave enough to carry you, give birth to you, and then give you up to a great family. I am even more thankful for your wonderful parents who managed to raise you well and have let you be who you are. Most of all I am thankful that God brought us together. I don't know where I would be without you, and I love you so very, very much.

Love, Kelly

P.S. Happy Birthday!