Browsing the archives for the family tag.

Making Your Home a Haven, Part #5

Churchy, Domestic, Healthy, Kids, Marriage

In this post, I am participating in Making Your Home a Haven, and Marriage Mondays.

I am so excited to get to this week’s challenge I want to breeze through last week, but I wont. 😛

So last week was about tenderness, and the suggestion was a serious pillow fight in the living room. We had a pillow fight, but in the interest of not breaking our TV, we had the pillow fight in the girls’ room – home to many pillow fights already! I gave back rubs to everyone and they all got into it and they were all giving back rubs to each other! Wee one #3 is in the ‘mimicking everything everyone does’ stage and was really, really into it. It was both heart warming and hilarious. I said last week that I don’t know how long the tenderness will last with the kids as they grow up, especially my son! You never know what the future holds, so for now I’ll take as many snuggled as he’ll give me!

This week’s challenge is to cook things that smell good. As anyone who has ever read my blog knows – I’ve got this locked down. I have considered cooking and baking to be art since I was a kid and first decorated cakes with my Mother and sugar cookies with my Granny. I cook every meal from scratch with the exception of lunch for the kids when they want something ‘fast and boring’. Even breakfast is pancakes or french toast or oatmeal (you know, the kind you actually cook in a pot and not the instant ‘just add boiling water’ kind).

Sometimes I fall in love with a recipe that uses store bought pre-made stuff, I’ll take it a step further (most of the time) and make as much of it from scratch as I can. It sounds a little crazy but I swear it’s never as much work as you think and the house smells so so so good!

These mummie hot dogs are a great example! The recipe I first saw used refrigerated crescent roll dough and hot dogs. While I am not above making my own sausages I do use regular hot dogs, but never pre-fab dough! So I took an extra 10 minutes (literally) and made some pizza dough to wrap around our hot dogs! 10-15 minutes in the oven at 350 and they were done. Even if you do use the pre made dough, the whole house will smell a lot yummier than it would if you just cook up some hot dogs and pop them in buns.


My kids are 10, 4 and 20 months and already I know they all associate me with the kitchen and yummy smells. I even started sneaking veggies into their treats a couple of years ago and no one noticed the chick peas in the chocolate chip cookies or the black beans in the brownies (thanks Gilly!!)

These candy corn cupcakes were made with apple sauce instead of oil and no one even notices!

I made these cakeballs as Halloween treats for the kids classmates and they are made using mashed bananas instead of oil. The orange pumpkin though, he’s 100% orange candy melt, no nutrition there. 😉



Of course there is a spiritual side to this too. The whole point of this challenge series is to make our homes more welcoming and inviting and full of love for our families. This only happens in the kitchen if you’re focusing on your family and your positive intentions while you’re in the cooking and baking. Have you ever seen an overstressed woman preparing a serious supper? It smells wonderful, but the moment a little one tries to cross the threshold into the kitchen, mama freaks out and wants the kids out of her way. It’s not about that, it’s not just the smell. It’s about the feeling of togetherness and warmth we’re creating, and coming from someone who is literally in the kitchen most of the day, I can say with certainty that sometimes it is a little stressful. But just like with everything else in life, when it gets too much for me, I give it up to God and feel a lot calmer. A kitchen that smells amazing is spoiled by a grouchy cook!

I am thankful that today’s post is food-focused so I can post about some of the fun treats I made and didn’t have a chance to post on Thursday and Friday. I’ll sneak in two more pics for this post! Chocolate coated and candy covered mini marshmallows!


There will be a handful of Halloween treats left that I’ll save for another foodie post tomorrow. 🙂


Making Your Home a Haven, Part #4

Churchy, Domestic, Kids, Marriage

In this post, I am participating in Making Your Home a Haven, and Marriage Mondays.

I am love, love, loving this challenge series! It occurred to me today that I will likely be begging Courtney to start another one when this one winds down! <3

So with my candle going and with softer music playing in the house (most of the time), I kept my mindfulness of being peaceful and kind to everyone in my home. Recapping last week, I tried to attack the mental clutter. Knitting, baking and cooking have helped a lot with that, as weird as that may sound because I have to focus my attention to the stitches or the ingredients and I can’t let my mind wander. While this is a decent quick fix it does not get to the root of the issue, so that every time I am not knitting or playing in the kitchen I am horribly distracted by hundreds of tiny thoughts that add up to a whole lot of mental clutter. So all week now, when I’ve noticed that it’s creeping in – these completely irrelevant thoughts, I’ve just turned them over to God and refused to make a big deal out of it. That’s not said lightly and yes it is difficult, but this week has been easier since I’ve been shelfing all the internal chatter. So far, so good.

As for the clutter in the house, we’ve been over this. I am very thankful to say there isn’t any, but of course that’s because I clean every day and not everyone has time for that. I wasn’t always this neat and I can honestly say that the overall feeling in a home when everything is put in it’s place is so much calmer and laid back than when there are piles everywhere and everyone is running late and where is that permission slip?!.

This week now we turn our attention to physical tenderness in our quests to make our homes havens for our families. This is an important but sometimes neglected part of being a close family to a lot of people. We’re big on snuggled in our family, but I can sense that it gets harder to keep that up the older they get. My oldest is 10, and he’s always got a hug for me when he gets off the bus after school or when he’s on his way to bed – but will it be like that when he’s 15? I have my doubts lol. For now though, we generally watch movies together on Friday nights and sunggle up under a huge blanket on the big couch in the living room. We also do a whole lot of blanket forts, and that usually results in some close together time too.

I will be mindful of it though, and encourage a serious pillowfest in the living room. I give back rubs to my littlest and to my husband. This week I will be sure to also give some to wee ones #1 and #2, and ask them how they feel about this challenge. I always move the pillar candle form the kitchen counter to the table for supper and they have all seemed to enjoy that. When I was a kid we ate a formal supper in the dining room every night, with candles, linen placemats and napkins – the whole nine. My mother is a very classy lady, one day I’ll get there!


Making My Home a Haven – Week #1

Churchy, Domestic, Kids, Marriage

In this post, I am participating in Making Your Home a Haven, and Marriage Mondays.

I have been looking forward to this challenge!! When I mentioned it to my husband, we both thought how perfect a time it is for this challenge to enter our life, as we are just getting settled into our new house. We’ve been here for a month this weekend, and we’re all unpacked and solidifying our schedules and routines.

This week, we are to light an extra large candle and say a prayer for peace in our homes and families every time it catches our eye. I lit mine around 6:30 this morning, so I’ve already said a few prayers for peace. I have been pretty open on this blog about being a bit of a ‘self help junkie’ where I’m always pushing myself to be better, but it’s not that I ever think I’m perfect. So, so, so very far from it. I struggle with daily frustrations and obstacles. Maintaining my patience with my children when they are misbehaving and staying cheerful when my husband is feeling grumpy or stressed out are challenges I face daily. Those are two other things I will pray about when I see my kitchen candle throughout the day.

From an example on Courtney’s blog, I’m focusing on staying engaged with my family, smart in my time management, content with my life and to keep praying everyday. <3 These examples are some of the reasons we left the city for the woods!! It's only been a month, but I do feel that the slow down of our lives has helped our family already. Wish me luck with my patience this week!!

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Making Your Home a Haven

Churchy, Domestic, Kids, Marriage

This summer, I came across a blog called Women Living Well, and it quickly became one of my favourites. I have been striving to be a better than average wife and mother for the last five years and though there are a lot of lessons to learn along the way, it is clear that I am getting better all the time – and not from sitting on my butt hoping! 😉 The first post on Women Living Well that I read was about her summer marriage challenge, which I fell in love with and participated in. I know my husband was thankful and I really enjoyed it. Even if the challenges were things I was already doing or working on, it was nice to have an entire community of women all doing the same things right along with me!

This challenge, which focuses on making your home a nice welcoming place to come home to, could not happen at a better time because (as I endlessly keep posting about), we have just moved to a sweet house in the middle of nowhere and I am here literally all of the time – hoping to make it a welcoming home for my family.

As with the last challenge, tips and ideas are posted every Monday to be applied the following week. I am still doing most of what we started doing during the marriage challenge, so hopefully whatever I pick up from this will stay with me as well! Great idea Courtney!!

Week 1 we are to light an extra large candle every day, and to say a prayer for peace in our homes every time it catches our eye. Courtney mentioned she’ll be placing hers in a high traffic area in her home so it will catch her eye often and I think that’s the best way to go about it.

Week 2 focuses on setting the tone of the home with peaceful music and to remind our families to avoid harsh words, tattling, and general back talk. I listen to a lot of loud and maybe if I’m totally honest, aggressive music. Since we moved to the country, I have been collecting more ‘fitting’ music, but so far the only switch I’ve made has been to classic rock because that’s the radio station that comes in the best and I have a thing for radio. I will make the change to Glenn Miller and Bing Crosby, both remind me of my grandparents. 🙂

Week 3 turns attention to decluttering problem areas in our home and also in our spiritual lives. When we moved a few weeks ago, my husband had the genius idea to leave absolutely everything we do not use in a storage area in the basement, to avoid clutter in the living area. So far, so good.

Week 4 encourages us to keep up the activities of the first three weeks and to add in some tender family time and gives some ideas. Our family watches a lot of movies together, we go for walks to the shore a lot since moving to cottage country and baking has always been a serious family event around here. We are to ask our families what they think about this challenge so far during these tender times.

The last week of this challenge is to focus on the kitchen and cook meals that smell great, to involve the whole family in cooking. This one is very us as it is, lol. Anyone who reads this blog know my kids love to help in the kitchen and my husband is always around to lend a hand. In our new house his office is just around the corner from the kitchen so he passes through it all day!

I am really looking forward to this challenge. I’ve been reading Sugar Pie Farmhouse a lot. I love that site so much. The point that is always driven home on that site is to play some uplifting music, put on an apron and pop a pie in the oven. It’s all about creating a happy home, so I’m ready to jump into this with both feet!

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My Granny

Crafty, Domestic

The first time I sat down to write this post, it opened with ‘my granny died 10 days ago’, and that was three weeks ago. I’m still not sure if I want to write about her just yet, but I do know that I want to write and I also know that I wont post anything else until I write about her because I can’t just ignore that she’s gone.

She was 87. 87! That is seriously old and she didn’t squander those years either. I don’t know if I can put it to words in a way that would do justice to her life, but I don’t want to cop out before I’ve started so I’m going to try. Just know that she was a force to be reckoned with.

Even her quick bio is a little awesome to me. She was born in 1923 – think about that for a minute! The town in Saskatchewan that she grew up in had a population of 600 – she even rode a horse to school and that horse’s name was…wait for it…Maude. If I was reading this blog and I didn’t know my family I might not believe that, but it’s true. Her mother died when she was a young girl and she moved with her sisters and brother to Winnipeg where she did most of the cooking and baking for the whole family. She joined the army at 18, was stationed in Montreal and eventually met my Grandfather as a result – he was also in the army and Montreal was his hometown.

After marrying my Grandfather, they had four children. My Uncle Bob was born in a hospital in Montreal in 1947, my father was born in a hospital in Toronto in 1949, and by 1952 my grandparents had moved to the middle of nowhere, on the northern tip of Lake Superior where my Granny gave birth to my Uncle Glenn in a cabin in the woods with no running water or electricity. A few years later they had moved back to Toronto and my Granny gave birth one more time, to my Aunt Wendy, at home in their apartment – so quietly that no one else in the building knew she had a baby!

Grandpa, Uncle Bob, Grandma and Daddy, 1950

She waitressesed her way through her 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, (with a brief break in her late 20s when they lived in nowhere land), and worked hard until she she retired. And even then, she was still up at dawn every single day. When my mother went back to work after I was born, she and my Grandpa not only took care of me and walked me back and forth to school but she taught me real life skills and lessons I may not otherwise know (I can make all the tricky stuff in the kitchen because of her). The very first pie she taught me to bake was Lemon Meringue, how convenient that would turn out to be one of my future husband’s favourite pies! We made a lot of bread, muffins and cakes and HEAPS and HEAPS of cookies. Man, she loved to bake cookies. To me pie represents what I think cookies must have represented to her – the ultimate domestic staple. I’ll even add bread to that catagory, if my house smells like either it just feels so right.

When my aunt and uncle bought a neighbourhood restaurant, she baked all the pies, tarts, muffins and other treats from scratch. Every inch the typical Granny in this way, she’d always go to bed by 10, when everyone else was still having fun and get up while it was still dark to do her baking before the rest of the house even woke up!

There are so many things about her that I aim to emulate, she hosted Sunday supper every weekend without fail from 1975 till the weekend before she passed (though to be fair, my aunt did all the actual work in the last few years because my Granny couldn’t). What a wonderful legacy! There are 35 years of weekly memories created because she wanted to be sure we all stayed connected to each other. It worked. We have always been, for better or worse, one of the tightest families I’ve ever met.

Grandma and Baby May, 1980

Rando facts that I find endearing:
-she loooooved Glenn Miller (so much that she and my Grandpa named one of my uncles after him) and Christmas music (year round)
-she hated wee one #3’s name when we picked it before she was born, and then she kept forgetting it after (but never forgot the names of the other two wee ones)
-from the time I was wee until I got married, we would go to Fabricland together and pick out patterns for dresses or skirts and heaps and heaps of placemats and napkins, I loved it
-she always buttered both crackers and bread before putting peanut butter on and when asked would always say ‘you can’t just put peanut butter directly onto the bread/dry cracker‘, and give a stink eye like you had 10 heads
-when I was a teenager, she’d send me to the store with way too much money and let me keep the change

I thought this would be easier but tears are trying to break through and it’s biting. I am so thankful for the time I had with her, but I am also so bummed with myself that I had even more opportunity to hang out with her that I didn’t take. It’s easy to say that I have a busy life, but it’s not right to use that as an excuse.

Grandma and 4 Year-Old May, 1984.

My eldest uncle passed this March, which I have no doubt had a serious effect on my Granny’s health, and I felt the same way after his funeral. So I’ve been proactive about it I think. I make sure I check in with my folks everyday and my aunts and uncles hear from me weekly. More importantly, I go hang out and insist they visit us as well. It’s important that I stay in touch, of course, but it’s just as important that my kids nurture the bonds they have with every member of our family. For that, naturally, we need face time. <3