Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Outstretched Hand | A Call for Prayer

I saw this on another blog I like to peruse by and was really touched by the authenticity that such a small post revealed.

In my heart I've been challenged to do the same, to reveal that, yes, there are times we have needs, spoken or unspoken.

At church we have a "red box" that we can write down prayer requests and place them in, the box gets prayed for by the congregation and at different prayer meetings, but sometimes life gets in the way and those needs don't always find their way to that red box.

So here I am, with my hand up, saying, I too have an unspoken prayer request and I'm asking you to please pray for me and for my family.

(Nothing to do with baby, all is well, just in case you're wondering!)

With thanks,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Must Bake | Anna Olson's Cranberry Orange Scone

I made this recipe yesterday for the first time, they were so easy and tasted so great I turned around a whipped up another batch - a double batch to be exact. It literally takes five minutes to mix this together, no kneading, just rolling, and whola...scones in the oven and smelling divine!
Anna Olson's Cranberry Orange Scone

1 1/2 C. flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp finely grated orange zest
1/4 tsp fine salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup half-and-half cream (plus extra for brushing)
2/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375* and grease baking sheet or line with parchment.
Place flour, sugar, baking powder and orange zest in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a coarse meal, then add the cream. Mix just until dough comes together.
Stir in the cranberries.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to an inch thick, fold in half and repeat again (this is the secret to a flaky scone). Roll out the dough a third time to a disc 1" thick and cut into six wedges. Place on baking sheet and brush with remaining cream.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until tops are nicely golden.

Makes six large scones (I would cut the scones smaller to get more out of the recipe)

**Slice open a cooled scone and layer with a couple slices of cheddar cheese - a great snack or fast lunch on the go**

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Summer Re-Cap | What NOT To Do When Visiting Your In-Laws!

What a better way to kick off September than with a long overdue summer re-cap! As I'm sure many of you would agree, summer has flown by, and, with a Pumpkin Spice Latte in hand (mmmmm) I am welcoming in fall with everything within me!

But, since summer has been a blog free one for me, I thought a summer recap would be in order.
Our summer started on a fantastic note. Right after school was done we headed out on a jet plane to the oh so tropical...drum roll please...Ontario!

And before you ask, nope, we're not crazy! "To the land of snow and ice," you ask? Well, since all Matt's family lives in that land of snow and ice (can you tell I'm BC girl through and through?) we thought it was time to go for a visit and in the process get some babysitting from Grandma and Grandpa B.

After only being there a few days I had a strange feeling that something was "up." While we were out doing some shopping I thought, ahhh, it can't hurt, and tossed a pregnancy test in the cart. Matt's reaction was hilarious, "what, you think you need that?!?!" (You see, I've done so many in the last while it's become slightly comical!) I couldn't wait once we got home and thought it was best to do it right away, get it out of my system and then forget about it.

This is where the "what NOT to do at your in-laws" would apply:
Don't pee on a stick in the downstair bathroom....because, when it comes up glowing POSITIVE there's no way you're going to be able to keep that secret and then you're going to have share the secret and in the process confess you went pee on a stick to your mother-in-law in her house and confess that you had S*X with her son in the last month!

Can you say W I E R D?!?!

Thankfully the excitement of a new grandbaby on the way soon overshadowed the wierd. The journey we've travelled the last year and a half all of the sudden ended and the faithful prayers of many (including yes, my MIL) were answered!

To me, in that one moment I knew so strongly why God had been telling me to let go of being in leadership at Women's Wednesday. He gives and takes away.....when I agreed to give up WW little did I know all He had in store.

So yes, baby number three is on the way and we are truly delighted. I am due at the end of February and looking forward to not going through another summer being fully pregnant.

More on Baby B to come soon!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mother's Day Minus Mom

| This post is late intentionally.....not out of negligence, only out of needing to get it "just right" and out of consideration for others, by no means do I ever want to dampen your joy and celebration of the wonderful women around you |

As much as a don't want to admit it, Mother's Day for me will now always be bittersweet. Twelve years ago my mom was in a coma, tired from the battle against the cancer that had developed in her brain, but at the same time waring to survive. Her faith never ceased and her hope never wandered from the Cross.

At the time I was young, 18 to be exact. Never could I imagine the odd and wild things I would long to talk about with my mom in the years to come. Things that only become important later on in life's journey; getting married, babies, labor and delivery, stretch marks, health history, parenting, faith, death, family dramas, you get the gist.

This past week I was reminded again of mom as we submitted an application to top up some insurance. Cancer will be with me forever, a part of my history, a facet that pops up in the strangest parts of your days and in the most mundane of things - like insurance.

In no way would I sit back an idolize my mom simply because she's gone. No one is perfect, and neither was she, but on random days when the kids are wild and the house hasn't been cleaned and it's 5pm and you're still in your pj's sometimes there is deep longing in my heart to hear, "you're doing a great job & I'm really proud of the woman you've become." Sometimes hearing that from your mom can do wonders for you on days where you feel like crawling under a rock and sometime you don't know the importance of things like that until they're gone.

As I look back and think about my mom I realized I learnt a lot from her:
*The ability to have faith that never ceases
* Have fun and laugh
* A passion for Greek food | I (heart) it!
* Have a few good girlfriends to do life with - it makes a world of difference
* Value every moment
* Make sure to keep dreaming

On the downside, mom also so generously gave me:
* A round mid-section | no washboard for me
* A tendency towards stretch marks (joy!)
* A stubborn will power to do things on my own | this has potential to get me trouble

My world will never be the same and hopefully I'll be a better mom for the things I learnt and the things I wish I had had time to learn. Now being a mom to my own girls I hope and pray I can instill into them everything they'll need to be the best woman God designed them to be.

Sending love to all you mothers today and everyday. And if you read this, I hope you're inspired to take some time to encourage a mom around you...young, old or somewhere in between...you have no idea what it may do for their day.

| Photos |
From Left to Right

Madelyne & I at her Preschool Mother's Day tea | May 2009
Mom, Josh (bro) & I, our last photo together | a few weeks before she entered Heaven's gates
Mom & I back in the day | I was two!

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Raggamuffin' Garland ~ The Reveal

Alright, as I type this post I have awarded myself "the most negligent blogger" award of 2009! Seriously, life has just gotten away from me, and no offense, blogging has not been even remotely near the top of this girl's list. But, I'm back at 'em now and have a number of things I'm ready to blog about...so let the fun begin!

A while ago a did a post on my newest project - a Ragamuffin Garland - I saw on Nester's web-page. I loved this idea and thought it would be a perfect addition the girl's bedroom. Here are a few of the reason's I like this idea for a kid's room:
1. It's cheap
2. You can make it in less than a day = instant gratification
3. It's child friendly - even for the most meschevious of wee ones
4. It's so dang cute!

So, I made two garlands, the first one I ended up having to tweak at the end as I learnt a few things between the making of garland one and garland two. But in the end I love them....I did pick up a few embellishments to add a bit of bling and texture, as well as their initials (which I already had but you could buy at the dollar store and paint). They are up and I love the look of them, it fills up the space about their beds nicely and is easy to move or change as time allows.

If you're interested in making one of these and want some tips let me know, I'll gladly share what I learnt.

Keep checking back as I have another project complete that I will be posting on soon and one more future project in my garage that will be done this summer.

Be blessed my friends,
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Springin' Around

Well, here we are.....almost into Spring.....I will be glad to finally hear that there is NO CHANCE of more snow coming our way...as of right now, we may get another dusting tomorrow - geepers! At any rate, we're kickin' around this week - spring break - and hoping to see the sunshine at some point.

We were in the garage yesterday and all our rain boots were so neatly lined up I had to capture it.....Matt's are so big most of Emma's body could fit into one.....Emma's are so tiny you could barely get your hand inside them.

I hope you all have a lovely spring break.....wherever the days take you.
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Newest Project

I don't know about you but when Spring is just around the corner I get itch'n to move.....move furniture, rearrange, paint, redecorate, pack away the heaviness of winter and embrace the freshness of spring. Well, along with many of you, I'm "on a budget" and can't just whip of and pick up a handful of new diddies like I wish I could.

So, I was perusing through some blogs and found a great blog that I'm sure you've checked out before...I know SL has mentioned it....Nesting Place....this girl is full of so many GREAT ideas for decorating for free or little to nothin'.

I loved the "Ragamuffin Garland" she created and posted on, now she also sells
some in her Etsy store.

I decided to create my own, as I knew this would be a great addition to my girls' room...
and it would add a little something fresh above their beds.

Step 1:
Gather fabric...search through cupboards, linen closets, clothes that may be heading to the VV boutique....anything!

I dug out some old bandannas from a b-day party, the ends of drapes I cut off when I had to hem them, fabric remnants from baby blankets that never got finished, old receiving blankets that I would have just gave away, then I popped into a local store to check out their remnant section...luckily they were selling off old 12 x 12 fabric swatches so I got a handful that had the same colors that are in the girl's duvets (pale greens, yellow & coral).

Cut the fabric into strips, I'd say about 1" wide and 12" long.

Here's a snap of a couple fabrics and some I already cut into strips:

Step 2:
Next, find some embellishments, pieces of ribbon, lace, tassels, glittered chipboard pieces
from scrap booking, pictures, mementos, anything you want!
Step 3:
Get yourself some drapery rings...I had some stashed away from a rod set
that I bought but didn't use the rings:

Step 4: Assembly:
Cut a piece of ribbon the length of your arm span, attach a ring to each end
so you don't loose the ends and you have something to attach it to the wall with.

I also attached a few rings along the ribbon so I could clip on extra things
like embellishments, pictures, baby booties, initials, etc.

Then start tying on your fabric and ribbons...and just keep tying.
You will think it's done and then you hold it up and it needs more...so keep going.
This is a good project to do while watching a movie.

I'm not done yet, but when both are done and in the girl's room I'll show you.

Thanks again to Nesting Place for amazingly cheap or almost free decorating ideas!

Hope you have a wonderfully creative day,
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'm Still Alive

Believe it or not I'm still alive.......by my lack of blog posts you would wonder....but I'm here. Getting organized and preparing in advance for all that February will bring with it.

I'm taking on a whole new set of challenges for the month of February as I'm working full time at CLA as the assistant to the Director of Women's ministry and Hospitality. So, Sunday to Thursday I'm full speed ahead, wreaking havoc on the oh so quiet glass cubical world so many CLA'ers call home :-) I am by far one of the loudest...except for JR of course! I'm also most opinionated and have to learn to bite my tongue.....I'm trying hard, but sometimes I still say things in my outside voice.

I'm having a great time and the girls are adjusting well to mom being away, actually, I walked in the door today and Madelyne said, "oh mom, go away!" I guess she was having too much fun with our great babysitter MK.

So, in preparation for being gone all day Matt and I did a mass cook the other weekend. Needless to say dinners have been a snap.....this is what's on the menu this week for us Bakers:

Sunday - Matt's on duty (chicken in red wine with mashed potatoes & veg) - it was delish!
Monday - Chicken Tetrazini with garlic bread
Tuesday - Steamed Rice and Hawaiian Chicken
Wednesday - Taco Salad with Ground Turkey and All the Fixin's
Thursday - Crock-pot beef stew with homemade baking soda biscuits
Friday - Pizza (with a good helping of salad on the side for mommy!)
Saturday - Mini meatloaf with roasted potatoes and salad

I'm always on the hunt for great new recipes...if you've got any favorites or tried out a new one that you love and want to share let me know - it's always great to mix it up a bit!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Clean Easy, Clean Fast!

Hey Girls,

Have you heard about Norwex? Click here to go to the Norwex web page...I was introduced to them a while ago via my aunt (okay, my hubs aunt, same diff!!!) at a home party she did down here on the coast (she lives in Kelowna) for a friend of hers. They have some AMAZING products that make cleaning your home (or office) a snap, but best of all you don't need to use chemicals. They lessen the time you spend cleaning and give you a safer, healthier, chemical fee home.

I decided to try a couple things and I ordered the dusting mit (for ALL my slat blinds) as well as the microfiber cloths. Needless to say I love them!!! I have one for the bathroom, one for the kitchen and one for misc items/dusting through the house. I also have a window polishing cloth that makes windows, mirrors and glass shower doors shine beautifully.

I will say that the products are a bit more expensive to start off with, but if you add up what you spend on swiffers, swiffer refills, cleaners, paper towels, mops, cleaning cloths, etc......you will spend less (who doesn't like to save cash?!?!?) overall.

What's the difference between a Norwex cloth and a cloth from the dollar store? Well, Norwex cloths have silver - a known natural antibacterial agent, used in space by NASA - woven into them. This is what works to kill the germs you pick up while cleaning. The fiber in these cloths is 1/100th the size of a human hair - most dollar store microfiber cloths are only 1/3.

At the party I was at, my aunt, Esther, took a glob of butter and smeared it on a glass window. Then she took a damp cloth and wiped it off - the window was cleaner than when she started and the microfiber had basically "eaten" up the butter. She passed the cloth around and there was no way you could see or feel or smell where the butter was in the cloth. It was crazy!!!

Here's a few other products they have that are fabulous:
The Wet/Dry Mop - way better than any swiffer

Personal Products - bathrobes, towels, spa socks

Natural based home essentials - hand soap, carpet stain buster, cleaning/polishing paste, mattress cleaner / descaler (for hard water build-up on shower doors), laundry and dish soap

Fresh wash - cleaner for fruits and veg

If you want to clean faster, clean easier and clean healthier then Norwex is for you!!!! If you are interested in Norwex products, would like to learn more or see a catalogue, let me know, I am hosting a catelogue party and will be accepting orders until January 28th.

Happy Cleaning!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A New Family Member

Okay, so today was a typical Saturday for us....a hodge-podge of household chores, a birthday party thrown in for good measure and some baking to finish off the day.

Part way through the day Madelyne is telling me about her baby - this week its a soft and cuddly stuffed cat that she got ages ago, but, it's THE buddy this week so it goes everywhere. Okay fine, she's playing with her buddy and tells me her baby has a name....this is quite unlike Miss M because even with a real pet - her fish - she refused to name him.....this is how the conversation went:

Madelyne: "come on Pissy, let's go for a walk..."

Mom: "pardon-me?"

Madelyne: "mom, I'm taking my cat Pissy for a walk"

Mom: (laughing so hard I almost wet my pants! - which isn't hard to do after having two ten pound babies!!!)

Mom: "Pissy, hey?!?!"

Madelyne: "Yep, Pissy, isn't she pretty?!?!?"

So yes, the newest family member is a toy cat...fondly and most innocently named Pissy.

'nough said :-)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Year...New ???

Well, 2009 is well on it's way and it seems like the calendar is quickly filling up. Over the past couple weeks I've really been pondering what I want this new year to look like. Not that it's
completely in my control, but, as God speaks to me I really want to heed His words and shape this year to be the best it can be for me, for my family and for my God.

Something I'm going to really choose to focus on this year is "prioritizing" which first and foremost means putting me back at the top of my priority list. I don't know about your house, but in mine mommy is the last to get ready, the last to eat and the first to clean-up!!! God has really been speaking to my heart about how important I am as a wife and mother. How I have been designed to be the hub of the wheel of my family. Nothing will work properly if I am out of line, I will effect - both positively and negatively - the rest of my family and the dynamics of my household. So, to be the best I can be, to have a happy house and and a thriving family, I need to make myself a priority.

It's not a new concept, I know, but I think we just trudge along for so long doing all that NEEDS to be done without really taking the time to stop and make conscious changes.

With that said, we have scratched some activities from the calendar (at least for a short season) in order to ease my days and my running to and fro. I have designated specific "at home days" to allow myself and my kids to rest & and Matt and I have set some specific goals we'd like to reach together.

So with this New Year what's New for you???? What does your calendar look like and what's your focus going to be. If you haven't thought about it yet, I encourage you to ask God what He wants for you this year, and if you have thought about it, I'd love to hear where you see 2009 taking you.