Tuesday, January 31, 2012

| She'll Be His & He'll Be Hers...and We'll Party! |

I am excited to see February just around the corner...because that means March is THAT MUCH CLOSER.

In March, she'll be his and he'll be hers....and we'll party! 

Matt's sister, Naomi, is getting married to Ivo.  I was honored not only to be asked to be in the bridal party but also to design their wedding invitation and wedding program for the ceremony.

Naomi is not only gorgeous, she's a fiery woman of God; she's smart, savvy and an amazing business woman.  Asides the fact that her legs probably come up to my bust line (not jealous at all *grin*) she's had her own massage therapy clinic for years.  Recently, she invested herself into establishing and running a non-profit organization and now she has developed her own consulting business. She's the whole package...and it was going to take someone special to keep up with her.    

It was almost a year ago when I said to her, "when you're ready to let it all go, when there is room for someone to come in, then God will have a chance...." And somehow, as we all know, when we just lay our stuff down - even if that means we have nothing on our plates - God has a way of moving in and bringing us THE BEST gift....enter, Ivo.

It was shortly after than that Naomi met Ivo, and as they say, "it's was a done deal."

Ivo is the perfect complement to Naomi, and Naomi is the perfect complement to Ivo.  They strengthen each other and are better together than apart.  Ivo's life is a story full of God's faithfulness and goodness....making him the strong, courageous yet gentle man he is today.  Its so good, I have goose bumps!

As for keeping up with her?  Well, Ivo's a martial arts trainer and kite surfer....he can keep up with her no problem.  As a matter of fact, they got engaged after skydiving....how's that for keeping up?!?!

I'll be sure to share the finished version of the program after the wedding....so stay tuned for that and pictures of the big day.

I'm off to get my run on...this bridesmaid is on the countdown to tone up before wedding day.

Have a great Tuesday.

Monday, January 30, 2012

| Recipe Card | Mini Meatloaf

I originally found this recipe in a Kraft Canada magazine and have now adapted and tweaked it depending on what I have in the pantry.

These little meatloaves are a great go to meal that will please anyone...serve with mashed potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes and a fresh salad and dinner is on the table in a flash.

| Mini Meatloaf |

1 pound ground beef - or ground turkey works great too!
1 box of Stovetop Stuffing mix
1 C. water
Garlic Powder

BBQ sauce

* You can switch up the spices, sauce and cheese to give different flavours
(use Italian spices, marinara sauce and mozza cheese for an Italian inspired meatloaf)
(use taco spice, salsa and tex-mex cheese for a Mexican fiesta)
* If I don't have stuffing mix on hand I just through in some bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, one egg and some dried parsley & salt and pepper - and leave out the cup of water!

* Combine ground meat, dry stuffing mix, water and garlic powder. 
* Scoop into muffin tins - make sure mixture is well packed
* Make a small hole in the middle of each muffin - fill with BBQ sauce

* Bake at 350* for 25 minutes, remove from oven and top with cheese
* Return to oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted

These freeze well so you could certainly double the recipe and put half in the freezer for another dinner down the road, or even better, package them up and drop off dinner for a friend or neighbour.

Have a lovely Monday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

| Friday Fabulous |

Can you believe is Friday again already! Wow, I don't know about you, but this week flew by.  I hope you've had a few minutes to enjoy the precious and beautiful moments of sunshine we've had this week...ahhh, what a gift that sunshine is to getting motivated.

For today's Friday Fabulous post I wanted to feature an item in my closet I love that I use all the time and has lasted me well:

| Sweet Nothings Footless Tights |

I originally found these tights at the Wal-Mart in the USA and was a bit skeptical with the price tag being $15.  For a pair of tights???  I mean, I've had many o' times where I put my finger right through a pair of tights and into the garbage they go...what a waste.

But, I like the idea that these tights are shape wear as well...meaning, they have a hidden inside tummy control panel that keeps things (aka: your lumps and bumps!) held in nice and tight. :-)

So I gave them a whirl and I LOVE them. 

* They are nice and thick so they work perfectly with a tunic or a dress (and no one can see if you didn't shave your legs *wink*) 

* They are not 100% cotton so they don't fade after multiple washings

* They stay UP...because we've all had some sort of leg wear sagging our knees - NOT FUN!

* They come in black, grey and brown

You can click here for the link to the Wal-Mart web page to check 'em out.....if you really want the shape wear function then maybe go down a size...you don't want them too loose or they won't be holding anything in.

I love wearing a dress...its an easy peasy outfit to throw on before the start of a busy day...there is no pinching, pulling or sagging of pants or waistbands, no pant hems to worry about getting soaked if its pouring rain, and with these tights under any dress or skirt you've got a great outfit for any day of the week.

And just a heads up, I've seen these tights on eBay too for a bit cheaper...so you could try there as well.

Here's to a Fabulous Friday.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

| Can I Have and Do it All, Please? | Chapter 2

This week at Women By Design we dove into chapter two of "Can I Have and Do It All, Please" which is entitled "All About Value."

This is my favourite quote of the entire chapter:

"If we don’t understand the value of something we will often mistreat, abuse and discard that thing.” – pg 36

Using this quote as our jumping off point we looked at how the world around us values women, how they are treated and what ideas and expectations are placed on women today:

* We talked about the horrible tortures of human trafficking

* We discussed how life experiences, trauma, words spoken over us and even poor examples of Godly women can affect how we see ourselves

* We recognized expectations society puts on us in terms of beauty and image

* We identified how we see ourselves and why?

(and here's the good stuff)

We wiped the slate clean and refilled it with all the things that God tells us to be true

* God created women on PURPOSE, by design

* Jesus valued women immensely, so much so that He included them in His ministry

* Jesus revealed Himself as the Christ - for the first time - to a Samaritan woman...someone that His culture and society would have dictated He never interact with

* We were created in the image and likeness of God - so who are we to mistreat and underestimate what God has made?!?

Genesis 2:18 says:
Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper meet (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him. (AMP).

* We looked at the idea of being a helper, not a slave or servant, but instead one who works together.  The Hebrew word for helper is "e'zer" which means "helper like unto God" and is used more than 19 times.  This is a significant helper - that's for sure!
* And finally, we were encouraged and reminded to keep on going:

"Because sometimes all it takes is believing that you are worth it.” – pg 44

When we understand the significance, value and purpose God has created us - as women - to have, we will begin to do even greater things.  How exciting is THAT?!?

| Penny Pinching |

I'll be back later today with my weekly recap of yesterday's class: Can I Have and Do it All, Please?!?! But I wanted to be sure to share a real DEAL with you:

Do you often re-negotiate contracts you have with service providers, such as cell phone, home phone, cable or internet? If you don't...you SHOULD.  Why? Well because your business is worth it, and most often your service providers want to KEEP YOU!

As we have been working through our New Year budget, renegotiating some of these things was at the top of our list to save us a few bucks this year.
We currently have services with Shaw Cable and through some lengthy conversations with a Telus customer care representative we were able to bundle our services and switch to Telus and save ourselves $100 per MONTH. 

You see, our cell phones are with Telus (and have been for some time)...they want us back as a full service customer and are willing to make it worth our while. 

We opted not to take any of the "free" electronics that are often used to suck you in....why...well because they never end up being "free" you end up paying a bit more each month for them.

So, with a few simple phone calls we've saved ourselves $1200 bucks this year already!  How's that for a great way to start the year!

So, maybe this is something that can put a bit of cash back in your 2012 budget! You never know, its worth a phone call, or two.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

| My Wee Man | God's Living Promise to Me

It's hard to believe that in one month {actually, one month yesterday} my, not so wee, Zachary James will be two years old.

Zachary means: the Lord remembers.

And yes HE does. Zachary is a living promise of the Lord remembering my hearts desires and so graciously giving me those desires at just the right time.

Our Zach-man has been the perfect completion to our little family.  He is a sweet little man who always has a sparkle in his eye and a smile on his face.


At almost two Zach is speaking clearly, putting words together and even making jokes. 

He has just started going pee on the potty and likes the cookie he gets as a reward if successful.

To say he LOVES his daddy is a gross understatement.

{"daddy tools, daddy fix" is his most commonly spoken phrase}

He loves his sisters, Emma and Mi-Mi, and knows just how to push their buttons.

He is tall.  Like taller than some 3 1/2 year olds we know.
Big surprise right!?!?! Not sure where he got that from ;-)

He actually doesn't like the snow - at all.  The only reason he has a huge smile on his face in the last picture is because he had daddy's shovel. 
{"daddy shovel, daddy scoop"...over and over and over again!}

He loves music and often goes into a hypnotic trance watching the drummer at church.

He has an easygoing nature but is by no means a pushover {like his dad}.

He knows he wants banana loaf at Starbucks.

He's mine.  And I love him to bits!

Monday, January 23, 2012

| Recipe Card | Crock-Pot Beef Stew & Baking Soda Biscuits

This past weekend was a bit of a slower one around our place...the kids have all had their turns being sick; the past few days its been our turn. So much so that hubs was home early on Friday and in bed before the kids....this is NOT a normal thing for my hubs.

Yesterday was my turn, I felt beyond ill when we got home from church, so hubs and the girls played Wii and Little Boy Baker and I napped...I knew it was my only chance to rest before Monday greeted us again and the week was in full gear.

I've been on a "use up the stuff in the deep freeze" kind'a kick. Part of getting the home refreshed and reset at the beginning of the New Year.

I'm sure I'm not the only one...but it's amazing how much you can accumulate in the freezer and the pantry.  The deep freeze can become an abyss in no time....so its great to be able to see the bottom ;-)

Crock pot beef stew has got to be one of the easiest and cheapest dinners to throw together, and, if you have stuff in your freezer and fridge that needs to be used up, its a great way to do just that!

I apologize for not having pics of the the assembly of the stew....hubs did it for me :-)

Crock-Pot Beef Stew

2 lbs stew meat (1" cubes) {this time we used up some flat steaks that had been in the freezer}

1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. beef broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic or chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. paprika
4 sliced carrots {no need to peel, just give them a good wash}
3 diced potatoes
1 stalk celery - diced

1. Put meat in the crock-pot
2. Mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika and add to meat - stir to cover
3. Add remaining ingredients and stir
4. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours or high for 4-6 hours
5. Stir well before serving

*you could easily experiment with adding different winter vegetables or adding tomatoes to make the stew more tomato based - possibilities are endless*

Serve with warm baking soda biscuits.

Baking Soda Biscuits

1 1/2 C. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C. shortening (or butter)
2/3 C. milk
Bake at 450* for 8-10 minutes

Combine flour, baking power & salt.

Cut in shortening or butter. I used a pastry cutter but a fork works great.

Stir in milk until just combined. Don't over mix or you'll get tough biscuits!

Gently kneed on floured surface.

Roll out to 3/4" thick and cut into circles.

Bake at 450* for 8-10 minutes.


Serve with piping hot stew or soup.  YUM.

Wishing you a wonderful Monday!

Friday, January 20, 2012

| Friday Fabulous |

Well we made it! Its FRIDAY...whoot hoot! I don't know about you but its been a long week around these parts...and today I am extra grateful for hot lunch day at school!
In honour of Friday I'm starting a "Friday Fabulous" series....where I'll feature one of my favourite items of the moment or one of my household staples.  Things that if I had to, I would put in my own "mom's tool box!"
And as thanks for coming back to check out my fourth post in one week.....a record for me, I'm sure....I'll feature four things, from four avenues of my life:

| Home |
I recently became an iPad owner (more on how I got it later!) and I have to admit I LOVE it. It has become a staple in my kitchen (maybe a strange place, but whatever!) and my home in general. Everything from listening to music or pod casts while I cook or clean, menu planning, grocery list organizing, family calendar, devotional, as well as acting as my recipe book.

| Beauty |

I am not a huge hair product girl, I usually will find what I like and stick with it...not venturing out from the norm unless I find its not working for me.  But when I heard about this great volumizer and saw the results I gave it a shot...and I love it!

Aquage Uplifting Foam
I got mine when I was down in the lovely USA one weekend, it can be a bit hard to find as Aquage products are not carried in all salons, but the search is worth it.  Check out the company web page at www.aquage.com to find a salon that carries it in your area.  And if all fails, order online ;-)

| Blogs |

I do enjoy reading a good blog....I have been following this one for some time and totally love it! www.thesmallthingsblog.com - by Kate Bryan. 

Kate is a hairdresser by trade and posts the most FABULOUS hair video tutorials.  I used her tutorials a number of times through the holiday season to help spice up my holiday hair-dos.  If you're not great with hair styling, or, you find yourself in a hair rut but don't know how to get out, then check her out.  She is a huge fan of Aquage Uplifting foam and I first saw the product on her blog.  She also has a great sense of humor and designs lovely jewelery with her sister.

| Home |

This was on my Christmas list so I was so happy when I found it under the tree on Christmas morning.  My dutch oven by Kitchen Aid is a fabulous addition to my kitchen.
I love that this can be used on the stove-top or in the oven, it distributes the heat evenly and can make a killer pot roast.  Apparently you can bake bread in it, I haven't yet, but I'm going to for sure!  I love that if well taken care of it can last for generations.

So that's it for my first "Friday Fabulous".....I hope you enjoyed. 

I'm a bit under the weather today so I'm off to grab these:

out of my "mom's tool box" and enjoy a hot drink while Little Boy Baker is still fast asleep.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Can I Have It All and Do It All, Please?

Doesn't that title just grab you and pull you in? I know it did for me the first time I read it.

I was instantly interested in reading this book to discover if I really could, have it all....

Since first reading it I have had the privilege of teaching a ladies Wednesday morning bible study based on this book. Not so much me teaching anything life changing, more me facilitating discussion based off what Christine Caine (Hillsongs church) has written.

And God....is His graciousness....speaks to my heart and challenges me, maybe more than anyone else in the classroom. Gotta love God's gracious and caring ways, hey?

This week I started my second class based on this book and I decided that some of the life truths were too good not to share. So, as a means of encouraging and inspiring YOU AND ME to push for "God's all" in our life I am going to post a weekly recap based on the class discussion.

This week we kicked into full gear discussing the infamous "All" we strive so hard for. What is this abstract idea of "all" and where do we get it from? What does it look like? How does it make its way into our personhood?

Its pretty clear that as a society we are bombarded with media imagery and ideas representing the flawless, well rounded, clean, organized, decorated, nice home kind'a life we should be living. The pressure is immense to "keep up with the Jones's" as some may say.

So we strive to make it all happen: loose weight, dress better, cook better, decorate great cakes, have well behaved kids, host birthday parties fit for the Queen, maintain the ideal marriage, be on the PAC, the prayer team and feed the homeless....all with excellence, grace and in your designer duds.

Truth be told, none of those things are wrong....(and if you have been waiting for the big IF, here it comes)...IF we are doing all of these things because they are the "ALL" that God has called us to and created us to be. If they aren't, we strive in our own strength and get no where.

In chapter one, Christine Caine writes:

"the “all” we should want to have and do is tied in to God Himself and His purposes for our lives.” – pg 23

Here is a great promise we need to claim and believe:

"For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), [a]recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the
good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. (Ephesians 2:10 - AMP)

What a promise! God has predestined a plan for you and me. If we only lay down the "all" we want to have and instead embrace the "all" He has for us.

Here we'll find such great freedom.

Christine Caine encourages us to lay down a super woman mentality and replace it with a super-natural mentality. With a supernatural mentality we can, and will, have and do it all....all the things God has created us for.

I love it! And I don't know about you, but I'm going for it....a supernatural life full of God's ALL.

Be blessed and encouraged today.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

| Word for 2012 |

For the last number of years I have asked the Lord to give me a word as I approach the New Year. This has become almost a New Year's tradition of sorts for many wonderful girls I know...a tradition that pushes us to listen to God's voice speaking to us, taking the time to hear Him and silence ourselves.

It signifies moving fully into the New Year with direction and confidence in where God wants us to go....and I LOVE it!

Last year my word was "identity." And true to His word, God was ever present in changing, shaping and reforming my identity. I feel like 2011 was a year of growth and refinement... anyone that knows anything about refining something knows it often takes pressure, heat and sometimes pain to refine something...but the end is oh so worth it.

As for this year, I am really excited and encouraged with the word I feel God has given me:
The word "promises" is the plural form of the word promise...according to the dictionary the word promise is defined as:

1. a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc., by one.

2. an express assurance on which expectation is to be based: promises that an enemy will not win.

3. something that has the effect of an express assurance; indication of what may be expected.

4. indication of future excellence or achievement.

5. something that is promised

There are many things I believe God has promised, things shown that have not yet come to pass, and things not yet seen that He promises through His word. I am filled with faith and looking forward to 2012 being a year of fulfillment.

Within days of God giving me such a great word I heard this song for the first time. For some of you it may be old news....but for me it was confirmation that yes, I did hear HIM right!?!

If you haven't asked God for your word for 2012 why don't you?!?! I'd love to hear what He shares with you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Year | New Word | New Blogging

Hello Blog-land! I am so glad to be back. It's been years - literally - since my last posting and so much has changed in our life. I have been debating resuming my blogging for quite some time...really assessing why I blog, why I don't and what kind of life I want represented on my blog if I did resume.
I am looking forward to sharing bits and pieces of our life's journey over the past year as well expanding the direction of my blog focus.

One of my most treasured items is a hand written recipe of my mom's, a special occasion recipe that I remember signifying love, comfort and mom. I love that its hand written, I love seeing her hand writing and I love the memories that resound for me each time I look at it. I want my blog to be the same type of thing for me and my family....a written note filled with faith that brings memories, love and comfort.

So as I venture back into the blog world I pray that faith would abound in my posts, encouragement would be found, memories would be preserved and creativity would bubble up.

I look forward to sharing with you my word for 2012, a few insights from the class I'm teaching at our women's bible study at church and even some recipes my family loves and some new ones I'm itching to try as I continue to try and bring healthy food to my kitchen table.
Here's to a fabulous and inspiring 2012!