Browsing the archives for the Marriage category.

Scrabble Fridge Magnets (& Even More Photies)

Crafty, Kids, Marriage

This was one of my extremely silly Christmas gifts this year. I saw this on Pinterest, and knew I had to do something with it. Originally, I saw it as ‘Carpe the hell out of this diem’, but that wasn’t serious enough for the friend I wanted to use it for. There are so many Scrabble tile crafts all over the web that I fell in love with and wanted to try so badly. So instead of buying a handful of them, I bought 398 Scrabble tiles! I have a bunch left over but I only did about half of the crafts I wanted to do with them.

I made some Scrabble tile pendants, using the initial of the person I made them for with multicoloured chains. I made other tile pendants from rando letters that I covered with super cute pictures and other images. We churned out some name plates for the kids’ teachers using tiles, charms and Scrabble tile holders. We even made Chrismtmas ornaments of our friend’s last names using ribbons and tiles. These magnets are just one example of what we were up to with them. Of course he can use these letters to spell out whatever else he can with this combo!

These were made with Scrabble tiles and magnetic tape. The adhesive on the tape wasn’t amazing so next time I’d add a drop of hot glue or crafty epoxy to it as well to keep it on just in case.

Sometimes, Seize the Day just wont cut it. Sometimes, we need to Seize the Fuck Out of This Day

Scrabble Magnets (in progress)
Scrabble Magnets

Naturally, you could do this for any saying you or the person you’re making it for loves. Or you can just do up a bunch of random letters to make a set, I did a little research and it seems that this is the most popular combo.

8 x A D I N O R S T
4 x B F G H K L M P Q U V W X Y Z
12 x E
6 x C
2 x J

We are still out of town doing some Christmas visiting. So much fun has been had this week! I will do my best to add any content I post about on the rest of the trip to the main site this week. These are my favourite photos taken since Christmas morning. I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family. <3

Wee One #3
Pink Boots
Christmas Kisses
Sibling Love
Christmasy May
Christmasy Love
Sleepy Wee One #1

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Deceptively Delicious Doughnuts and My New Canon Rebel

Healthy, Kids, Marriage, Small Town

In this post, I’m participating in Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table, Tuesday Night Supper Club, and Hearth ‘n Soul.

During the construction of the new site, I was still cooking and baking up a storm in my kitchen so I have about 5 months of recipes to show you! I wont show you all of them at once, don’t worry! I’m going to stick to one or two a day until I’m caught up. Today I posted the 10th recipe I’ve made from Deceptively Delicious! They are cute and tasty mini doughnuts with sweet potato and pumpkin snuck into them! So yummy! Here is the link to the recipe – Deceptively Delicious Doughnuts and here are a couple of photos:


Also during the redesign, just a couple of weeks ago actually, my amazing husband and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. I’ll spare you the painful squinting at my picture to guess how old I am (30) and I’ll save you the math (I was 19 when we got married). Recently my husband bough himself a car he has wanted for years and years and years so for my anniversary gift, he bought me the snazzy camera I have wanted for years and years and years – the Canon Rebel. Since I only got it two weeks ago, most of the upcoming recipes you’ll see photos of were taken with my point and shoot Samsung. I am so excited to share photos from the new camera but I don’t want to spoil surprises for new recipes. What’s an overexcited gal to do? Post pictures of my wee ones of course! Wee ones and silly indoor smores! I haven’t edited these photos in PS at all! They are just raw from the camera. Sooooo lovely. Best gift ever.

Wee One #1 needs a new nickname for the blog because he’s 10 now, and not so wee anymore. He is constantly taking pictures of me (trying to) take pictures of him. His iPod, by the way, he bought with his own money. I am always so proud of him for being such a great saver – but this is the most he has ever saved from allowance and he was so proud of himself when he went out with Dad to buy it. So rad!

Wee One #1

As I have mentioned over and over since we moved out here last year, there is a lake literally across the street from our house. We moved here at the beginning of the fall, and while we’ve enjoyed the outdoors and all the wide open space we have to run around and play we hadn’t been able to play in the water – you know since it’s Canada and all. It’s been nice and warm for the past few weeks though and I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that we’ve been going to the lake pretty much everyday. The kids get off the school bus, run inside for bathing suits and another hit of sunscreen and off we go! We hang out at the water till just before supper, walk back, wash up and eat.

Off to the beach!


I have to be creative with evening meals now since I am at the beach when I’d usually be prepping. So I tend to prep in the afternoon and just assemble when we get home, or I do the whole meal the night before and just reheat when we get back. It’s no fun to have the oven on in the summer anyway. I am super excited our new house has central air conditioning, but I wont abuse it by cranking the oven on a super hot day. I’ll share some of these easy summery recipes after I’ve caught up with my back posts, I promise. Here is a fun dessert we ‘make’ with the kids! I’ll post the quick little how to this week. Indoor smores!!

Indoor Smores

Tomorrow is Work in Progress Wednesday and I have a new sock to show off! Maybe I’ll even have more of it knitted by then LOL.

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Marriage Monday (with chicken pot pie)

Churchy, Domestic, Kids, Marriage

In this blog post I am participating in Marriage Mondays, and on Wednesday I’ll add this link to Living Well Wednesdays

It’s Marriage Monday again! Last week, my Good Morning Girls group was talking about something Courtney had said in a recent blog post. Essentially, that if you bump a cup full of water, water will come out (duh lol) but that it’s the same with our hearts! If you have a heart full of frustration (or anger or resentment etc), that’s what will come out when you hit a bump! So if we work every day to fill our hearts with love and joy, that’s what will come out! I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week and it makes so much sense!

We are all human so it’s easy to do things that annoy the people around us, and it’s easy to let ourselves be annoyed. This morning, it is -37 with the wind chill and though I know I saw him wear it home on Friday, Wee One #1 could not find his hat as he was getting ready for the school bus – this bumped my cup. If I was already frustrated, (perhaps with him constantly losing tupperware at school), frustration would have spilled out and he would have taken off for the bus with a cloud over him and a chilly head. Instead I told him that he needed to keep track of his things, especially necessary things like that, and I gave him a spare hat! Had I reacted angrily or meanly, I may have ruined his day and likely mine too because I’d spend the rest of it feeling guilty!

My husband and I went to bed at 3:30 this morning because dear, dear friends we only get to spend time with once a year were here. When we went to bed he said he’d like to get up at 7:30 when I do – it is 10 and he is still sleeping. This doesn’t really bump my cup at the moment, but when he gets up in a few hours annoyed that I was unable to get him out of bed when he asked me to, I will not respond with anger or resentment for being the one that gets up early. I’ll make him and coffee and tell him playfully not to be so grumpy. When his Eeyore cloud passes I’ll be very happy that I didn’t incite an argument just because he can’t get by on as little sleep as I can.

I have tired to live like this since I noticed myself not paying attention to my reactions a couple of years ago and of course every day I can get better and better at it. I’m human so I’ll never totally get it right, but as long as everyone around me knows that I am trying, and if I get it right more often than not, it’s a win!

My husband works from home – we are incredibly blessed to be able to say that!! That means we are together pretty well all day, everyday. We each have things in our days that do not involve the other so we’re not as connected at the hip as that may sound, but being around each other this much could be horrible if we were not mindful of what’s in our cups!!

I’m ending Marriage Mondays now with my husband’s favorite recipe form the previous week. Last week it was Chicken Pot Pie!

This version of Chicken Pot Pie is the short of shortcut my Granny would take and then never tell anyone about. She was up making muffins almost every day at 5am for her family, so she could take as many shortcuts as she needed to in my book!

Shortcut Chicken Pot Pies
Makes 6 individual 6″ pies

2 1/2 cups mixed frozen veggies
2 cups (or more) chopped cooked and seasoned chicken
2 cups thickened chicken stock or cream of chicken soup
2 cup Bisquick
1 cup milk
2 egg

Preheat your oven to 400. Thicken your chicken stock by taking a little and mixing it with about 1 tbsp or so of cornstarch, then add that back into the rest of the chicken stock. The original recipe calls for cream of chicken soup, I’ve also seen it done with a can of gravy (!) but my husband likes it best with thickened chicken stock. 🙂

Mix 1 cup of the Bisquick, 1/2 cup of the milk and 1 egg together and pour that into the bottom of your pie pans (of course you could also just use a big pie pan), and bake for about 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, stir the veggies, chicken and thickened chicken stock (or soup or gravy) together. Once the bottom crusts are ready, pour this mixture over them. I made little fork indentations in the bottom crusts because they puff up a bit. The mix the rest of the Bisquick, milk and remaining egg and pour over top the veggie and chicken mixture.


Cook this for another 25-35 minutes, till puffy and golden on top and voila! Amazingly simple chicken pot pie without rolling any pie crust at all!


The original recipe just puts the veggies and chicken mix directly into the pan(s) with no bottom crust, so you only use half the Bisquick, milk and eggs but then you sacrifice having a bottom crust so it’s less a pie and more a savory cobbler situation.



Marriage Monday & A Chocolate Tart

Churchy, Domestic, Marriage, Small Town

In this blog post I am participating in Marriage Mondays, and on Wednesday I’ll add this link to Living Well Wednesdays

Today’s an exciting day because it’s the first day of the Good Morning Girls Bible study of the book of James and it’s also the day the first book for the Bloom / (In)Courage book club is announced. No lie, I will be picking up (or ordering) that book as soon as I know what it is!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to drone on and on about scripture (unless you’re interested – email me!), I’ll stick to the theme of marriage and family on Mondays.

I’m going to give you a recipe for a chocolate tart that my husband adored last week – in just a sec.

First a quick note on not freaking out over your husband taking the lead.

I have had a great start to 2011 in my teeny tiny little town. The teeny tiny little town in the woods that I never in a million, billion years would have chosen to move to. My husband has been trying to get me to move to the middle of nowhere for years, but since neither of us drove it wasn’t really feasible until the summer of 2009 (when he got his license and a car) and I really wasn’t feeling it. Up to this point I had handed most major decisions to my husband without any trace of weirdness but this decision just felt too much. It was crazy. I’m a through and though city kid. I took streetcars and buses to school! I loved walking everywhere. I have a real affinity for the Toronto Public Library system. Most of all, I’m a seriously social creature and most of my dear friends either live in Toronto or pass through it a couple times a year. If I’m totally honest, that last point is the one I held on to the longest.

Eventually, I started to see that he wanted to live in the woods even more than I wanted to stay in Toronto. Friends reading this probably don’t believe that, but it’s true. He was borderline miserable. And now? Now that we’ve been here for 4 months I feel like so much in my life is better than it was. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my friends and the ability to take the streetcar to the library (or, well, anywhere), but I don’t miss the reality of three kids on a packed streetcar AT ALL.

I have found something out here that I never would have found within my life in Toronto. I have found a new, deeper connection to my husband, I have found that my priorities were not at all in line with really nurturing my family and I have found…wait for it…a desire to slow down. I still do a million things in a day, but I used to do 2 million. Now, when I look out the window while in the middle of the day’s ‘to do’, I see nature and God’s creation everywhere! I know He’s present in Toronto too, but out my old kitchen window I saw a concrete backyard, a neighbour I longed to avoid and rows upon rows of similar houses with hardly a few feet between them. Out this back window, I see snow. Lots and lots and lots of snow, and some days it comes down in such huge beautiful flakes that I have to just stop. I stop and I take my coffee to the big patio doors and I just stand there and watch it fall. So there we have it. He was right, and to put that better, he knew something I didn’t know, something he never could have explained to me. I had to experience it to know that it was better.

And now, onto the chocolate tart! Hilariously, I the title of the blog post that introduced me to this tart is No Bake Chocolate Tart for a Happy Husband. Ha!! It’s a brilliant recipe because it only has three ingredients (unless you count the ingredients for the crust which is only another 6 anyway).

Pate Sucree (Sweet Tart Dough) – from The Art of Simple Food via Shoots & Roots

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (unbleached)

It’s pretty self-explanatory but here goes. Cream the butter, then add the sugar and beat till fluffy. Add the salt, vanilla & egg yolk, mix till combined. Now add flour and mix until the dough is crumbly and most of the flour is mixed in. Mix the rest by hand until the dough forms a ball. Pop it in the fridge for 4 hours before you roll it out. I’ll wait here.

Of course once you take it out of the fridge you’ve got to let it warm up a little, say 20 minutes or so before you roll it out between parchment paper (or on a floured surface if you must) and pinch it into a cute tart pan, or pie plate.


Chocolate Tart (for a Happy Husband) – also from The Art of Simple Food via Shoots & Roots

6 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
baked and cooled sweet tart crust

First, warm the cream in a stainless steel bowl (I set my bowl over a frying pan of simmering water but there are much fancier ways to do it), when it’s scalding add the chocolate. I took it off the frying pan of water for this part (because, as you probably know, water + chocolate = bad).


Once your chocolate is all melted and mixed in well with your scalding cream, pour it into your cooled tart shell. Pop it in the fridge and wait – forever. Ok, so technically it’s actually 2-3 hours, but when your husband is in the fridge every few minutes poking at it, it seems like forever.


Then, naturally, you take it out an hour early and have the first slice when it’s all gooey and not set up yet. Whoops! Yummy anyway! Hours later, once this treat is completely set, take another slice for photos and then eat that too. 😉



Peace on Earth Recap

Churchy, Kids, Marriage

In this blog post I am participating in Marriage Mondays, and on Wednesday I’ll add this link to Living Well Wednesdays

I looooooove Courtney’s blog and her challenges. She’s an inspiration to me and a lot of other like-minded wives and mommies out there. I have participated in three of her challenges, the last one, Peace on Earth, challenged us to stay focused on what was really important during the holidays. Not the cookies and the gifts, or even the gatherings or even our families – but our faith! That’s what it’s all based in, right? Anyhoo, I really took to heart the first two challenges, to take a night just for me to pamper myself a bit, and to take a night to go to bed early. I made taking care of myself a priority and I started going to bed a little earlier on a regular basis. Then, I dropped off the blogosphere all together!

I did do my challenges though. <3 The next one, (#3) was to make a hot drink - I went with green tea - and sit alone in the quiet dark with the twinkling Christmas tree and just be alone with God. I didn't fall asleep, I didn't really let my mind wander much, I just thought about God and life and all the ways I am so thankful and appreciative for all that I have. It was so nice I did it a few more times before we took the tree down. The fourth challenge was to get outside and be alone with God in nature. As you've read over and over on this blog, I live in the woods and have nature to spare! LOL So getting out and being in awe of all that He has created is a daily occurrence, but I did make sure to go out and with that in mind and just wander around the property for a while. I was greeted with blue jays, squirrels and chipmunks and the same day my husband was so lucky he got to drive (slowly) through a group of deer - they even ran with him for little, until he was going too fast. What a treat!! The newest challenge is actually hosted by her other site, Good Morning Girls, it’s a full out study on the book of James. I’ll be tackling this with my Good Morning Girls group, so I likely will not be posting my deets about that here. However, there is a new link up on Women Living Well, called Living Well Wednesdays. That’s a bit of an issue for me though because, of course, I’m doing Work in Prorgress Wednesdays now. I think I will stick with Marriage Mondays, and just post my Monday link in the Wednesday linky. 😉

I’ve blathered on quite a bit already, and I have a tart to make, but I want to share with you that I have been reading Come Have a Peace, the creator of Marriage Mondays, quite a bit in the last year or so and she’s taught me so much about being humble in marriage and taking a step back. A lot of people will tell you that if you have a servant’s heart and you work on being meek, it’ll come back to you tenfold. I tried several times in the past to make this work, but when I wasn’t met immediately with the response I had hoped for, I’d give up. Which was my mistake in the first place. I didn’t really have a servant’s heart if I was only giving of myself to get something back, was I?

So, when we moved out here in September, a lot of things changed. My husband’s home office is now on the main floor of our house when before it had always either been in the basement or tucked away in a spare bedroom. Now, the office is off the kitchen so I see him all day. Also, since my husband is the one who runs all the errands (his idea!), and now that we’re deep in the woods, there’s no way I could possibly go anywhere without him, he is on the same schedule as me and we are together all the time. Keeping that in mind, at the same time as this, I started really, honestly working towards having a servant’s heart. For about a month or so, we were pretty much the way we had always been – we had an amazing marriage but there were days of bickering, and heated moments (and not in the good way).

But then? After a month or so of this, something really amazing happened. There has been no bickering at all. Honest! Times when we’ve disagreed, if it’s been a subject that doesn’t actually affect us, we let it go, if it’s a decision that needs to be made, I have just given it to him and believe it or not, more than half the time my willingness to hand it over to him has opened him up to either rethinking my point of view and making a compromise or even making a full out concession. There is more joking and playfulness, there is a lot more time spent as a family. He even has taken a full out interest in my knitting and wants to play in the kitchen with me when I’m testing out new recipes. I hardly even need the tripod because he’s there lending a hand and making it even more fun.

Wait. I’m not gloating. I’m not going to air the dirty laundry of months and years prior with you either, but please know that our marriage was never this amazing, until I was willing to let go of myself and devote myself to it. Even the kids are turning a corner with my new approach because I’m not raising my voice to them anymore, I’m not short or rude when they forget their lunch bags at school or have a shower with the curtain on the outside of the tub <--that was a serious test, let me tell you. This has them reacting to me differently as well. But, it took at least a month (longer with the kids) of me modeling this behaviour before I saw it come back to me. So. Totally. Worth it. <3


Happy New Year!

Crafty, Domestic, Healthy, Kids, Marriage

There is so much going on here for the blog I hardly know where to start. Tomorrow is my first proper post of the year but I thought I’d outline a little of what I’m cooking up!

With my Uncle Bob passing last spring, my Granny last summer and then our big move in the fall, Cake Year 2010 did not go down as I had hoped. The official count for 2010 was 45 different cakes or cupcakes, but I did not do as well as Pie Year 2009 – when I made 57 different pies or tarts. Now that we’re settled into our new house and I’ve gotten comfortable in my new kitchen, I’m taking on two cookbooks, one with the kids help, and declaring 2011 to be Cookie Year. All of my long distance friends just got really excited because they know I’ll totally mail cookies.

I’m also going to make a separate gallery for my handmades because I knit more socks than I can keep track of!!

The first cookbook I’ll be baking from with the kids, the oldest two anyway. It’s called Baking With Kids and I’ll supervise them baking one thing from it every week – there are 53 recipes so we’ll double up one week. They’re really excited about this so I’m super looking forward to it!

Last year for Christmas my dear friend Brigitte got me Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food, the cookbook about hiding veggies in unusual places (like french toast and brownies). I’d see it on my counter and flip through it and think about cooking from it and now it’s been a year! This year, my aunt got me the next book, Double Delicious!: Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives and getting this second book was the kick in the butt I needed to really get into the first one! I’ll be making something from Deceptively Delicious slightly more often than once a week. Thankfully my husband is on board to try out these new recipes! He is getting a lot more adventurous in the kitchen (ever since I really mastered some recipes he’s been asking me to figure out), so that’s a win for us as a team for sure!

My adorable friend Sammie has asked me to help her pull together a little DIY cookbook for a good friend of hers who has had gestational diabetes in the past and is blessed with another wee one on the way! Good thinking on her part, to be proactive about it before it becomes a problem!

Between these two books, Cookie Year 2011, our light on the sugar project and all the random seasonal and holiday themed baking that is sure to fill in the gaps, this promises to be a busy year for my kitchen and I could not possibly be more excited!

I’ll leave you with that as I made a mad dash to my kitchen to get baking!!

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Sugary Citrus Twists

Domestic, Kids, Marriage

9 more sleeps till Christmas!! Which means there is about to be a serious baking explosion going down in my kitchen over the next week during the day, and a whole lot of knitting every night. Thank goodness for online shopping or I’d not have any actual gifts to give out!

I have a soft spot for the Robin Hood flour characters, Elizabeth and Andrew. They’re adorable and remind me, in reverse, of my Wee One #1 and Wee One #2. So I do a lot of their recipes and recently, Robin Hood came out with a new recipe booklet, The Love of Baking. Elizabeth and Andrew are painfully absent from the collection of recipes, but I can forgive them because there are a lot of fun recipes in here.

Citrus fruit and Christmas never really went together in my mind until I married into a family that always puts clementines in the stockings. I will openly admit my parents tucked a ridiculous amount of toys in our stockings as kids, sometimes candy but never clementines – or nuts or anything else like that. I mean, we always had that stuff out on trays and in bowls around the house – but it wasn’t a Christmas thing. So, since we’ve been married (11 years in the spring!), I have developed a connection between Christmas and citrus fruits (my mother-in-law puts clementines in my stocking too!) and my husband now eats clementines year round, though he still calls them Christmas oranges!

In the spirit of adopting this citurs = festive feeling, I made these for my husband and my in laws. Hopefully, they love them. If they do, I’ll make them every year!

Sugary Citrus Twists – from The Love of Baking

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
2 tbsp freshly grated lemon rind
2 eggs
+ sugar for sprinkling
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt

Beat sugar with butter and rind until fluffy, beat in the eggs, yolks and vanilla until well mixed. Add the flour and salt. Beat until blended.


Flour your counter a bit and knead the dough – but don’t over handle it! Shape the dough into two 10″ long logs. Mine were so long I couldn’t get a decent photo. Slice these into 12 pieces each and I found it worked best to roll each of those pieces into a little ball and set them aside till I was ready for them.

Then, working with one dough ball at a time cut it in half and roll each half into little ropes, about 4″. The Robin Hood recipe says to roll the whole thing into an 8″ rope and cut that in half, but I found this to be a lot easier.


Then make an X with the two ropes and twist them around each other! Simple and cute! Set it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and do the rest!


Sprinkle with sugar before you pop them in the oven – 8 minutes or so at 350.

*This recipe is great to make the day before decorating sugar or butter cookies, because you have 4 egg whites for the royal icing.*

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’m off to bake gingerbread cupcakes, craft with the kids and knit my little fingers off. <3

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Peace on Earth Challenge, Week #2

Churchy, Kids, Marriage, Pretty, Small Town

In this post, I’m participating in Peace on Earth and Marriage Mondays

Last week’s challenge was to read the story of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1, 2 and Luke 1,2 and to have a serious bubble bath. I opted for a serious pampering night instead, but with the same mission. Time to think about life and love and God and time to reflect on whole reason we celebrate Christmas!

This week’s challenge was amazing timing for me because my husband bought me a big box of goodies from Sephora so I had new gear to pamper myself with. I’m going to go on an unrelated rant for a quick minute here. As you know, we live in the woods, and I rarely leave the house. When I do it’s usually to the post office. My husband actually likes running errands (I know, he should be studied), so I never have to go to the grocery store or Walmart or anything like that unless I want to, which is pretty much never lol. Also, visitors are few and far between, the mail is dropped in the box at the end of our (ridiculously long) street, and the kids take the school bus to school. That’s all to say that for fairly long stretches of time, the only people that see me are my husband and our children. You can stretch that to include the bus driver waving to me as he drops the kids off and the lady at the post office every Tuesday when I pick up and drop off packages. And yet, every day since my Sephora package arrived, I’ve done a full face (with false lashes, no less) and not left the house. In part it is for my husband and kids, sure. I want them to see that their wife/mother hasn’t frumped out because that’s the easier thing to do. More than that though, getting all sparkly and dolled up just feels good. I think it’s wonderful that Courtney has included ‘me’ time in this challenge, of course to read your Bible and think about God and the meaning of Christmas, but also to just shut out the rest of the world and have a moment with yourself. I used my pamper time to blast away sore muscles, do my nails and think about how we can happily mix wish lists and Christmas parties with the birth of our Savior and how I can really instill that in my children.

Ok, rant over. Moving on. I recently came upon a blog that I am instantly in love with, A Holy Experience. They have made a beautiful Advent calendar with prayers and readings to count down to Christmas with – and it’s free. Amazing. Clearly a lot of work went into making it and I adore it. This, in addition to the introspection time I had on my pampering night has led me to look at Christmas a little differently this year and I think honestly, all of this thinking and reading has peppered my outlook on life in general.

I will still keep on baking my 300+ Christmas treats, but I will do so with the spirit of giving in my heart as I knead and roll and bake. My kids play in the kitchen with me quite a bit, but I will be sure to include them even more than I usually do when baking for others. This year, we’re also choosing a gift from the Samaritan’s Purse catalog for a child and their family in a developing country, in additional to our annual Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Generally, when we do shoeboxes we include more ‘hygiene items’ and school supplies than toys. As much as I’m sure they’d adore a little Winnie the Pooh toy set, having pencils, paper, a toothbrush, toothpaste and even underwear is far more treasured, you know?

If the idea of this appeals to you, but you don’t have time to pack a shoebox yourself, you can make a financial donation. Some of that money will go to pack more shoeboxes and some will go to the transportation costs involved in getting all our boxes to the children that need them!

Now, this week’s challenge is to schedule a night when we go to bed early! Take a few minutes to read your Bible and get a connection and then actually go to sleep early. This too is in good timing, as I started feeling sick on Saturday night and actually had a 3 hour nap after the kids were in bed. I woke up to a silent house, did some knitting and put myself back to bed again. I’m was still sick, but much better than if I hadn’t taken the rest when I could get it! I think I will make Thursday night my bed early night this week. What a great challenge!

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Peace on Earth – December Challenge

Churchy, Domestic, Kids, Marriage

Wow. When I skip a few days or a week of blogging for real life, I tend to totally ignore it and carry on like it never happened, bu I’ve been absent for two whole weeks. It’s not life, it’s Christmas! I’ve been very dedicated to staying on task with my to do this year and it’s been going well, but I’m knitting every night, not blogging. So here I am, on track for my favorite holiday ever and back on track for blogging as well.

When I sat down to write this I was afraid that I was a week behind for Courtney’s December challenge – thankfully, I am right on time for the first in the series! The one thing she mentioned to do last week was light an extra large candle everyday and to make a note on the calendar that says ‘I Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’ This passage has actually helped me quite a bit over the past couple of years so it’s familiar to me! As for the candle, I mentioned a few weeks ago that after the Making Your Home a Haven challenge was over, I kept on lighting my candle. I honestly feel that it has changed my attitude because I’m in the kitchen or in areas off the kitchen so much of the day and night that it catches my eye all the time, and at this point even when it’s not lit I still stop and take a moment.

The challenge for this week is to schedule a bubble bath. I’m not a bath sort of gal, but I will schedule an extra long pamper session for myself. My dear friend Lindsay, who I met in kindergarten and my still fairly new friend Jade who I met in January, always look their best and have really encouraged me to make the time to make that a priority if that’s important to me – and it really, really is. So far, so good. It is time consuming though, especially with my lifestyle (read: changing diapers, doing dishes, scrubbing corners, baking, etc) so time has to be taken every night to fix or change nail polish, take off make up, moisturize like you’d never think is necessary (‘your skin is thirsty May!’) and all that stuff. I have found that forcing myself to make time to ‘get pretty’ as I playfully call it, has helped me center myself too! I’m not really in that bathroom focusing on taking off my eyeliner or sugar scrubbing my knees and elbows – because really, what is there to think about? I’m in there letting my mind wander, thinking about the sort of things I’d never allow myself time to think about otherwise. You all know I’m a pretty thankful person as it is, but as I was changing my nail polish a few days ago, I thought about how amazing it is that I get to wake up everyday here in Canada and not in Haiti or Burma or somewhere I have never heard of that has equally scary situations going on. I think about how amazing it is that we have the cash for me to even have this ridiculous collection of nail polish or that I can somehow get away with wearing plastic jewelry at 30. I think about my babies and how none of them are technically babies at all anymore – about how healthy they all are!! Most of all though, I think about my husband and our marriage and I sigh. Not only are we still friends, but ever since we moved to the woods he’s gone above and beyond to make me fee happy here because he knows how much I miss Toronto.

Anyhoo, the second part of this challenge is to read about the birth of Jesus. You know, the whole reason December is a big deal in the first place? 😉 Matthew 1, 2 and Luke 1,2 are on my list to read and re-read this week. I am feeling much more churchy than usual, and I don’t know if it’s because of Christmas or if it’s just that He is using this time of year to make my heart feel three sizes too big for my chest, but it does. It really, really does.

*I just read this post over at Inspired to Action and stopped in my tracks because it’s exactly why I get up so early every morning for alone time. Some days I actually get all the way out of bed and read my Bible with a coffee. Some days I just read in bed, and some days I just lay there and think and steal an extra snuggle with my husband – always thankful for this life.*

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Peanut Butter Bon Bons

Domestic, Marriage

I recently mentioned that this year for my Christmas baking, I am only going to use recipes from all the cookbooks and food magazines I’ve collected over the years. All foodies have stacks of Martha Stewart Living books and magazines, piles of Gourmet magazine, Everyday Food, maybe even Bon Appetit, Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle (and if you live in Ontario you’ve got a collection of Food & Drink magazines as well!)

This recipe is no different, and comes from one of my all time favorite cookbooks – Betty Crocker’s Best Christmas Cookbook, this one is an oldie but goodie. It came out in 1999 and was one of the first gifts my husband gave me. I knew he ‘got’ me when he gave it to me, I have used it all year long for 11 years now, but there are some extra Christmasy recipes in it that I tend to use just at Christmas.

Peanut Butter Bon Bons – from Betty Crocker’s Best Christmas Cookbook (p.262)

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix the icing sugar and the graham cracker crumbs together. Then in a small pot, melt the butter with the peanut butter – and pour that onto the crumb mixture!

Rolling them into balls requires wet hands and a little time. I have three kids and a stack of Christmas knitting taller than my third child. Soooooo, I used a deep tablespoon and scooped out perfect little balls without any mess or issue – I saved a whole lot of time too I’d imagine.

Next, naturally, you melt down some chocolate and dip! Easiest and neatest way to do this also makes them look as pro as possible. Put your peanut butter ball on a fork, hold it over your bowl of melted chocolate and use a big spoon to pour the chocolate over it. Give it a second to drip off, slide the excess off the bottom of your fork with a butter knife and then slide the bon bon off the fork.

Then, eat eleventy billion of them because ps, they’re only about 95 calories each!

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