Thursday, October 28, 2010

Swimming In Our Pyjamas!

Have you gone swimming in your pyjamas lately?

I am sure you have but you don't even know it.  Our sons have swimming on Thursday nights.  So naturally I wanted to make bedtime on that night easier.  My eldest son suggested that I dress them in their pyjamas.  What a great idea.  I guess he has gotten use to me bringing pyjamas with us when we go to parties, small groups - well anywhere.  So this has become our thing.  I am sure it isn't anything new to most of you.  but swimming in our pyjamas is phrase that I use when we have thought of something that saves us both time and aggravation.

How do you swim in your pyjamas?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sleeping Mommy & The Beast: Lessons Learned

I am a bit delayed in writing about how my week of sleep went.  Well I slept well for 5 out of the 7 days.  Most days I went to bed before the 11:00 deadline.  (Right now it is 10:51 PM so we will see if I make it tonight.)

What I discovered:

-more sleep equals greater memory
I didn't seem to forget things as much and I didn't have a million thoughts racing through my mind.  (Even though I had a million children racing through my house.)

-I didn't really get more done but I enjoyed what I was doing!
Usually I stay up to bake, blog or tidy.  I blogged less and didn't do much baking.  Even though I have felt a little down lately, it didn't feel as overwhelming as it normally would.  I could really "sleep off" some stress.  Now I know why my husband loves sleep so much!

-I actually had more motivation to do stuff WITH my children instead of doing stuff to or for them.  
We read a lot more books together.  We went for walks and outings.  It didn't seem like as much of a challenge.

Even though you could hear me yelling  talking to my kids from across the street  I could muster up some patience to speak to Cohen with out losing it.  (I'm still working on the other two.)

Well it is exactly 11:00 so I must click out!  See you in the morning!

How was your sleep?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Growing Faith @ Blissfully Domestic

I always imagine that children who grow up to serve God come from polished Christian homes and not my holding-it-together-with-a-safety-pin home. Life has been pretty tough for us lately.  I frequently wonder how this is affecting my kids.  I want to be the mom that can really display God working in her life to them.  But many times I fall short.  My tone, my voice, my impatience are all reminders of where I am and where God wants me to be.
Then the little one shocks me.  His big brown eyes shining with joy.  Out of nowhere he asks me about making Jesus his forever friend. I am giddy with so much excitement that I can hardly contain myself.  Where did he get the inspiration? Clearly not from our life, I think to myself. He’s traveled on this rocky road with us and he still wants to make Jesus his forever friend?
Read my post on Growing Faith in Your Children at Blissfully Domestic today!
To-the-TOP Tuesday

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sleeping Mommy & The Beast

Boy! I wish I could pass out like that!

It is surprising that almost all my friends are amazing sleepers.  These girls are not just getting to bed and getting their 8 hours, most of them actually get more.  Some (who will remain nameless- Libby)  have trained their children to play quietly while they sleep.  I am waiting for a tutorial on this one!  My best friend and I lived together during our university days and I can tell you I knew better than to disrupt her sleep.

For some reason I am not a good sleeper.  I stay up waaaaaay too late trying to get stuff done  blogging. and I can't seem to stay asleep past 6:00 AM.  What is wrong with me?  I do have one little pea on my mattress (my newborn) who can keep me up.  She really likes to cuddle in bed and I love it too.  So I am consulting the sleep experts and I am going on a sleep challenge for the week.  If it goes well this week I may try it for the month.

FYI- the real reason behind this challenge is to see if sleeping will make a big difference in my mood and irritability.  I usually blame those two beasts on my thyroid condition but let's face it - I am not getting enough sleep.  I also want to see if I will get just as much done with more sleep.  I can't imagine not pulling an all nighter every once in a while baking cupcakes, cleaning up, blogging, promoting the trade show etc..

So here are my sleeping rules:
1. Children in bed by 7:00.  I need some quiet time to unwind.
2. Mommy in bed by 11:00.  (I was going to start tonight but it is 11:18 and I am still typing this!  I know! I know!)
3. No computer past 10:00.  That is going to hurt.  How am I going to fit everything in?
4. Bedtime routine (Quiet reflective time, herbal tea, hit the sack! Hopefully without the baby.)

Wish me sweet dreams!

On another note check out my post about Growing Faith in Your Children at Blissfully Domestic today!


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Look What The Boys Are Getting for Christmas!

Loving This!

I found this cute local on-line (what a concept) store.  Little Ras makes the cutest children's clothing I just had to share.  We are getting these cute capes for Christmas presents for the boys.  You can order the exact colours you want.  We are going with green and blue capes with orange circles and brown trim.  I can't wait.  I considered getting pink and brown capes for the girls but they are a little young.  Truthfully I wanted one for myself but... the line has to be drawn somewhere.  Don't you love when you stumble across something so delicious?

Personalized Children's Cape
Don't you want one?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Making Hard Decisions

I was visiting over at The Faith Barista and I was awed by her discussion on making hard decisions.  Earlier this week I spoke about a period of sadness I am experiencing.  This sadness is fueled by a desire to make a choice.

When I am tormented by a decision it is because one of the choices agitates something I value.  I am tortured with the thought of valuing happiness (presumed happiness) over commitment.  I have had this discussion with dear and gracious friends who shed light and warmth on this for me.  At the end of the conversation I am faced with the question, "What are you going to do?".  Each time my throat tightens and I want to say, "I don't want to do anything."  Yet in the back of my mind there is a voice questioning this lack of action.  This voice urges me to think that there is something wrong with not acting and making decisions.

You have to understand that I have always enjoyed making decisions and following them through no matter how impossible.  I have done things that people told me I couldn't do or that would scare most people.  This is due to my willingness to just jump in, pick a side, and move forward.  So this place of in-action and indecision is new for me.

I am beginning to realize that this is where God might want me  to be.  After reading The Faith Barista's post I realized that God wants complete reliance on him.  Not on my ability to get the job done, make decisions in a flash or stick to the plan.  God wants me to rely on his grace to forgive and his word to guide.  It feels like I am opening my eyes for the first time in this area.  Like opening your eyes for the first time on a bright morning it stings a little.  It may take some time to get used to just waiting for God to speak or move in our lives.  My inability to make a decision is God's way of starting his job in this area of my life.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sitting with Sadness

A strange feeling came over me.  I felt sadness.  I rarely feel sad.  My emotions usually leap to anger.  Yet this Thanksgiving I struggled with this sadness.  It waited for me at most corners.  It lingered behind the sweet coos of my baby and the scenes of childhood in my home.  Tears would form little pools behind over sized sunglasses.  I have been pushing it away for months now.  Putting off the grieving and dealing with the trauma I endured.  I filled my summer days with outings galore, friends, girl's nights and activity.  I couldn't afford to stand still - even with a newborn.  Now I look around and I survey the damage and I feel the crash of sadness.

A friend pointed out to me that I laugh to hide pain.  I didn't agree at the time.  Laughter is just a part of me.  That big annoying cackle is just what I was born with.  Then sadness came and sat with me for a while.  I couldn't laugh anymore.  I missed it.  Every time I spoke to someone I wanted to laugh even while the words were aching.  It was tempting to lace my e-mails with humour even when I spoke of my sadness to my friends.  Even now I find it hard to focus on the pain I am soaking in.  I want to run to the quickest funny.  I learned this weekend that I love to laugh because I could put people at ease.  

My laughter never felt fake or put on to me.  It was as easy as breathing.  Showing the weight that I carried meant that I couldn't be enjoyed.  Sitting with my sadness out in the open made me uncomfortable.  I didn't want to burden anyone or ask too much.  I hate being the one that needed fixing or helping.  I wanted to make the people around me light not heavy with the load of my problems. This year has been especially hard because I have had to lean on a lot of people.  I feel this inner struggle to share but not to overwhelm or bring people down.  More importantly sadness seemed unchristian to me.  What does God do with my sadness anyway?

So now I am sitting with my sadness.  I am looking at it in the eye.   We have been skirting around each other for a while.  But the time is here for our first formal meeting.  I don't know how long I will be here.  I do know why I am here though.  The decisions that are weighing on me are calling me to wrestle with thoughts that I would much rather bury.  If you ask me how I am doing and I say not very good.  Please don't think you have to do anything.  If you can't sit with me where I am- wait for me where you are.  It will take a while but I hope to join you.

Have you ever had to sit with your sadness?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chicken Chowder- Freezer Style

Sweet Jeanette

Today I am visiting Sweet Jeannette.  I love this site because it makes me wish I was southern and who can resist recipes that hug your tummy and your appetite?

Hi everyone, I am so happy to visit this yummy part of blog world.  Here is a little about my self.  I am a former elementary school teacher who has decided to stay home to raise my 4 children (5 and under).  Our life is very busy and has it's share of ups and downs.  I try to sweeten it by giving my children meaningful experiences that don't cost much and a decent meal made with my own loud-sometimes-messy-always-willing-to-try-something-new kind of love.  Hope you enjoy the recipe!

I love having dishes in the freezer for those days of shopping for the holidays and busy weeks with the kids.  It is nice to know you have a meal ready to go that everyone will enjoy.  We recently made this for our Kitchen Club at church. One of the members called the next day to say how much the family enjoyed it.  I try to put as many vegetables as I can for the kids.

Pretty isn't it?  I love it when food looks this good!

You can use any kind of chicken you want.  We used thighs at the Kitchen Club.

I thought about making a Chicken Chowder and then a Chicken Pot Pie.  I use the Chicken Chowder recipe to make my chicken pot pie.  Now I have more 'splaining to do because usually I cook/bake from scratch, but sometimes I use a base for my chowder.  (Also, they were on sale.)  I hope you enjoy making them.

The Soup
3 tablespoons of butter
1 large Shallot minced
2 medium carrots diced
1/2 head of broccoli
4 fresh corn (cut)
1 cup of fresh peas
3 cans of clam chowder (buy a good quality one)
2 cups of milk
sprinkle of celery seed (or you can use 2 celery sticks if you like)
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 large garlic clove minced
4 Chicken legs or Two chicken breasts

The Pie Part
2 cups of Bisquick mix (I make my own in bulk.  I use it for bisquicks, my cowgirl casserole, and pancakes.)
1 cup of milk
3/4 cup of grated cheese
1/4 cup of flour

Put butter in a large heavy pot and melt over medium heat.  Add shallots, carrots, corn, broccoli, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until tender.  Add clam chowder, milk, garlic, celery, fresh peas and chicken.  Cook until it has thickened a bit and the chicken is cooked.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken and cut it up.  Return the chicken to the pot and stir.

Divide the soup into two containers.  Serve some of the soup as it is and reserve some for freezing. 

Pot Pie Part

Mix the Bisquick mix, flour and grated cheese together.  Make a well in the middle and add the milk.  Stir with a fork and form it into a ball.  If it is very sticky add a little more floor.  It should feel soft and  a little sticky not wet.  Turn dough onto a work surface and shape into the shape of your dish making sure it is not more than 1/2 an inch. 

Use a sharp knife (it will make them rise higher) to cut the dough into diamonds.  Place the dough on the dish.  

Your pot pie is ready for freezing. There are several options when it comes time to bake your pot pie.  You can just place the dish in the freezer as is.  If you want your dough to rise higher you can half bake them and then freeze. Or you can bake the whole thing and freeze it and reheat.  

Let the pot pie defrost in the refrigerator. Don't forget to brush with some melted butter. Place in a very hot oven (425) and bake for 15-18 minutes (until the tops are golden brown.)

From our kitchen to your table.

Heard around the table...
"Mom you are the best maker." Kiran 3 years old
"Amazing." Greg 40 somehting
"Can I have some more biscuits please?" Cohen 5 years old
"Yummy, Yummy for my tummy!" Kiran 
Pin drops, crickets chirping, pregnant pauses. Hannah 2 years old (Think she liked it!)

Thanks for the visit Jeanette!
Myrtle from Myrtle's Turtles

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Day Book


Outside my window... It is dark and quiet because it is 3:51 AM.  Great time of the day to get things done.  The air is a lot cooler.   

I am thinking... about my new trade show, She Made It!  I can't wait for all these talented women to get together and show the world what they are made of!

I am thankful for...a smooth operation yesterday.  I was nervous about this because their is always risk no matter how routine.  My kids were well taken care of by their grandma and the doctors were awesome.

From the learning rooms...We are still working on the number 5 at Home Sweet School.  On Monday we went to the library and the gym.  Exercise is so good for our son.  He really needs it!  When we got back we sat down to do some science (watching our avocado see grow), he was very focussed.  We have had some bumpy bits in the last week but I pray that he will settle down and I will learn to sit with his inability to sit.

From the kitchen...On Saturday our Kitchen Club met at church for the first time.  We made about 42 meals for under 360.00 dollars!  We worked really well together and got a lot done.   I was so grateful for this time.  Even though I didn't plan it, the cooking session came in handy because I was able to use one of the meals for dinner after the surgery.    

I am creating...a new vision for our Christmas Breakfast.  I love planning stuff like this.  My inspiration is Elizabeth and Mary (and Jesus of course!) and fruit.  Can't wait for all the ideas to start flowing.

I am hoping...that  I can seriously pray for change in my heart.  I really want God to help me breath and live the lessons I am trying to teach our children.  (I posted this last time... and I am still there.  Please pray for me.)

A few plans for the rest of the week: Tomorrow is my favourite day because we have MOPS. A great time where mothers meet and share.  My two sons also have AWANA in the evening.  On Friday we meet up with our homeschool group.

Here is a picture for sharing:


Weird Fact About Us:  Our children know that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy aren't real.  My 5 year old son has had some interesting debates.  He has been instructed to respect differing opinions. 

Join in the fun!  Share your day with The Simple Woman's Day Book.
"Would you like to linger on the simple things...then join me and many others in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those who are focusing on of the everyday moments. "

tyle="TEXT-ALIGN: center">

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Seasoned Friend: Join me at Blissfully Domestic

Our friendship survived university (apart), marriages and my first child.  Then she was gone.  No harsh words were exchanged.  No uncomfortable moments were sliced between us.  The friendship just dissolved like ice into lukewarm water.  I wanted to know, what I did to create this divide.

My lost friend story stood out like a badge of shame.  Women are not supposed to lose friendships.  Our whole identity is wrapped up in the fact that we are nurtures and caretakers of relationships.  We shake our head at men because they could learn so much from us about friendships.  

Join me at Blissfully Domestic while I share what happens when your friendships dissolve.

You can also join the discussion and share your stories of friendships lost.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Faith Holds

A few months ago my friend Cam sent me a link to a great website.  I immediately fell in love with the encouraging posts and soothing images.  I was new at this blogging thing and thought that I could "live" in this "beach-house" for a while.  I submitted my request to write for them.  I waited and waited... and nothing happened.  So I went around living life and holding on to the hope of writing for this awe-inspiring site.

Sometime in August I received the e-mail about guest posting for (In)courage.  I screamed my typical 13 year old squeal and tried not to wake the baby.  I was so humbled by the opportunity to write for this site.  The opportunity to share a very personal story with a group of women who would embrace it with care was as Lisa-Jo put it - couch jump worthy!

As soon as I got the news about this great posting opportunity I knew what God wanted me to write about. It was a story I carried in my heart and had written on my mind.  I knew one day I would be given the right time to share.  Please join me at (In)courage as I share a story of how my faith held our family during one of the most horrific times in our lives.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Did I Mention I Just Had a Baby?

Recently I launched my website Marmee's Circle.  I loved creating this website and imagining how I could inspire and be inspired by women, their products and their stories.  I set out working on the website late at night while everyone slept and smiled with excitement (to myself).  Did I mention that I had just had a baby?

I didn't stop there.  I wanted a launch party where I would bring some of these awe-inspiring women together.  We had a blast looking at the fruits of our labour.  We savoured beautiful lip balms, hair pieces, paper art, knitwear and more!  I should have just sat back and savoured the taste of our efforts at connecting and sharing.  I didn't.  Instead I was inspired to have a trade show.  That is how She Made It! was born.  I wanted everyone to see what I saw and experience the talents of our little town.  Did I mention that I had just had a baby?

Then I started a second blog about homeschooling.  Oh yeah I forgot to mention, at around the same time as the baby, website, launch, and trade show decision - I made the decision to home school our son!  Wouldn't it be fun to record my trials and joys of homeschooling my "energetic" kindergartner?  Oh yeah! By now you know that I just had a baby!

Recently I sat back and I thought, "What is wrong with you?  Can't you just sit still and be bored for a while?  You know, watch your new born's hair grow, chose nail polish colours, read a magazine, brush your hair... nap... you know...just breath?"  Apparently that concept doesn't sit well with me.  For some reason God created me with a desire to create.  Whether it is a concept, website, meals, or a trade show, I was made to create.

When I feel anxious, angry, sad or frustrated, I write.  When life overwhelms me with chaos and confusion I plan events and outings.  It soothes me in a way I can't explain and brings me closer to the people I love.

Tomorrow Join me at (In)courage as a I share how God helped our family during a traumatic time.