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Thursday, December 31, 2009

TUT: Being Intentional! 2010 Goals (Link Up!)

 A Google search of 'Tune Up' revealed the following definition:
An Adjustment for Better Functioning
A search of 'Adjustment' revealed the following:
A Small Change, A Minor Correction, A Modification

What is Tune-Up Tuesday? Find out more HERE!
I mentioned that this tiny little quote issued a big challenge to me.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Making it SMART

The idea of smart plans came from a review I did on an Epicure product. Who’d have thought it would have such an impact on me. A SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. In order to maximize our chances of success, each goal should cover most of these areas.

A Word

Tricia mentioned last year that she chooses a word for the year. After much thought, prayer and having come across this idea so much in the past few weeks, my word for 2010 is INTENTIONAL.
More specifically, being intentional about:
  • Growing in the Lord
  • Nurturing my marriage
  • Raising, training and teaching my tots
  • Reaching out to others with the gospel

A Verse

“And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God and toward men.” Acts 24:16
I discovered this verse a few months ago and it has crossed my mind so often! I want this to be the focus of 2010. As I have meditated on this verse, the Lord has brought many thoughts to my mind and reinforced that He has chosen this verse for me.
  • “And herein” – A declaration of intent! A statement that from this point on… or a resolve. This is a great way to start the year

  • “Do I exercise myself” – It won’t all come naturally. It will take work, determination, will-power, reliance on the Lord.

  • To have always” – Consistent!

  • “Conscience Void of Offence” – When you first read this, you may think about not offending God or man but the more I’ve thought about it the more firmly I realize that this verse isn’t about not offending men. It’s about having a conscience void of offense. When we are doing right, standing up for right and proclaiming right, someone is bound to take offense. But if my goal is to have a clear conscience, then I will strive to do the classic WWJD in all circumstances. Note: the more Christ-like we become, the more the Holy Spirit convicts and fine tunes us.

  • “Toward God and toward Men” – My primary and first goal is to be void of offense before God and a natural by-product of that will be that I will have one before most men as well. I know that often we can have the attitude, “I don’t care what other people think”  but I believe that while we can’t govern our actions by what others will think, their opinions of us are important! It should be Christ they see through us.

A Plan

SPIRITUAL: Since the Lord ought to be my first priority, He should be at the top of my list. I admit that sometimes it is easy for me to jumble priorities and when that happens, chaos ensues.
  • In 2010, I will strive to put him first in all areas, my day included. One of the books that I read this year and loved was Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. In it, they dispel the myth of “perfect” morning quiet/prayer time for those of us with littles, which was liberating to read. At the same time though, it shouldn’t keep us from striving for it, but rather free us from the guilt for those times that we can’t.
  • I have never read the whole bible through. It seems like everyone has but I haven’t. Though saved at a young age, it wasn’t until the Lord drew me back to his side (after a difficult miscarriage), that I really began to get serious about my walk with Him. Alas, losing Isaiah, then having Chloe, then John, I have to say that I never seem to have time. This year, I am going to read through the NT. I know that the whole bible is too large a goal for me but if I read two + books a month, the NT is a do-able goal for me!
MARRIAGE: is the next most important thing to me. And you know what, sometimes I get that mixed up too. When the littles are so, well, little, they require so much extra attention and sometimes I forget that DH needs my attention too. We do welcome daddy home (most days) but I need to do more. Our marriage is wonderful but filled with many areas that need a little work.
  • Miscommunication is something that I believe will always be a bit of a struggle. While we rarely ‘fight’, we certainly can get snappy at each other sometimes and most of the time it has to do with miscommunication. We have talked about it in the the past and agree that ‘subtle’ hints are not the way to go for us. We both need to clearly (and kindly) speak about what is on our minds, and what we are thinking. Listening more and talking less often may be the solution.
  • Expectation is another key area that goes hand in hand with communication. I’m not sure that DH struggles with this as I do but it is something to work on this year. In many cases, we need to lower our expectations of ourselves and our spouses. I know often I expect him to do something, know something or say something and he has no idea. This frustrates me and I feel like a need isn’t being met and I get grumpy or snappy.
  • If we can communicate expectations and listen more and clarify to help avoid misunderstandings, 2010 will be a great year for our marriage!
PARENTING: Loving, teaching, training and disciplining my tots is the third priority in my life and one that is filled with joy, delight, frustration and challenge. Though I could list a million areas that I need to work on in order to better raise my littles, keeping it simple and attainable, I’ll just list two:
  • Depending more on the Lord for PATIENCE to respond in a kind and loving tone when dealing with an attitude or action for yet the millionth time. Patience to explain when necessary, to love when I don’t feel loveable and to give myself wholly when it costs.
  • Being CONSISTANT in rules, consequences, discipline and in love.
FINANCES: are something I seldom touch on here at Beautiful Calling because I am in no way qualified. I will say that this year I read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and was amazed.
  • I hope to re-read it with my husband in the New Year and talk about how we can implement it into our lives.
  • As of January 1st, I will be an epicure consultant and hope to contribute to our finances through that.
  • I am thankful that we both share the same desire: me to be at home raising and training our littles. We are still learning to work as a team when it comes to finances and everything else.
COMMUNITY: I hope to be more involved in our community in the coming year.
  • The biggest thing that I want to work on is sharing the gospel. Sure, it is easy to share with someone who expresses an interest first but sharing my faith with someone I don’t know or who hasn’t brought it up first? Nope, that is scary. To just hand a tract to someone you don’t know? I’ve never done that. Ever. Door to door knocking to invite people to church? Never done that. Ever. This year, I want to try (Lord, give me courage) to be more bold for Him.
  • In 2007 I sent out quarterly letters to seniors and shut ins but 2008 just got so busy. I think I sent out one. I know that snail-mail is a fun surprise and can be a real blessing. It is also a super easy ministry to do with the littles. I want to sent out at least once card per month to someone who could use a snail-mail {hug}.
  • I also live very close to a nursing home. I often drive by it and think, “Oh, one day we’ll drop in and visit someone” but never do. Once the weather is warm again where we can walk that far without freezing, I would like to try get that visit in to some new friend just waiting to be met.
** Oh, and don’t forget the giveaway surprise I mentioned if you’re playing along! (If you don't have a blog, just share about your goal(s) for the year in the comments**
What is Tune-Up Tuesday? Find out more HERE!
Do you have a tune-up you are working on or completed? Link up (directly to your post) or share a comment! If you could mention TUT and link back so others can join in too, that would be appreciated!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Skating in Harmony Square


A few years ago our town tore down some dilapidated buildings and built Harmony Square downtown. It has an outdoor rink which is beautiful, well maintained and family friendly! Last year was the first year we tried it out. Chloe was 22 months last winter (2008). She was pretty wobbly but Uncle Keith, Aunty Jazzy and I took her out skating anyway. She couldn’t stand on her own without support but she sure had fun!


Nana bought Chloe new skates this year since her last years ones were too small. We headed out bright and early on Monday morning! GrrGrampa came with us. The weather was perfect; fluffy snow, not too cold and no wind! Chloe can stand without support and, as long as she has her skating aid, she can skate on her own. She’s kind of slow and much prefers a little “boost” from mommy. Chloe likes to go fast! John went out on the ice in just his boots. Boy, was he excited. Chloe’s skates from last year will actually fit him so I think next time we head to the rink, I’ll let him give skates a try. John is up for anything!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gratituesday: My Top Three

IMG_0722My sad attempt at a self-family picture :) 

  1. My Lord. His sacrifice and love for me. Unconditional Love!
  2. My husband. His love and support. I am learning more each day about this wonderful man God gave me!
  3. My Children. Oh, how the exasperate me at times and oh, how I love them. I thank God for them constantly and have never spent as much time at the throne of Grace as I have since becoming a mother.

Lord, I am so thankful for this family you have given me. Teach me, that I may be the wife and mother that you designed me to be. The one they need me to be!

The Lord has blessed our family richly in 2009.

He has supplied all our needs and exceeding abundantly more! We have family to love, food to eat, clothes to wear, a home to clean and so much more.

We celebrated Chloe’s 2nd birthday and John’s 1st birthday; what precious gifts we have been given to raise.

We had joy droplets amidst the tears when my Grandfather went home to be with the Lord. We praised God when Gram made it through chemo and a resulting pneumonia that was critical.

We took the leap and I officially became a stay-at-home mom.

Sometimes I stop and wonder, with tears in my eyes, why He chose to give me what He has. I don’t deserve it. None of it. Especially Hs love and attention. I am unworthy and worthless but because of Him, only because of Him, I am priceless!

You can read all my Gratituesdays here. What a blessing it has been each week to reflect on those things for which we are thankful for. We are to give thanks in all things. Thankfulness stems from a contented heart. May we cultivate both in 2010!

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VanderPloeg Family Christmas 2009

Christmas Eve we had dinner at my parents. We ate too much, caroled too little and opened our Christmas Eve presents – which turned out to be matching PJ’s :) Hurray! Ever since I can remember, we always got new PJ’s for Christmas Eve. What a fun tradition.

We came home and put presents under the tree…and I added our Capture the Magic photo to Chloe’s stocking.


Chloe was up bright and early Christmas morning. She knew it was Jesus’ birthday but she had no idea what awaited her downstairs. Though we tried to keep our Christmas simple and we were able to keep spending to a minimum (hurray Kijiji!) while still joyfully giving; the tree was piled high as you can see.

A few of  Chloe’s favorite gifts:”Chloe Monkey” her sock monkey,  Melissa and Doug wooden food for her kitchen, ice skates, and her ‘princess’ bag (which she either packs food in for a “pik-pink” a.k.a. picnic or she wears it on her head as a hat).

A few of John’s favorites: “eggbert” his sock monkey, a tiger flashlight, big tonka dump truck, wooden train and toy Xylophone. John likes to flip his truck over and spin all the wheels. Littles are so easily entertained.

Both littles got sock monkeys and I wouldn’t have guessed how much they would love the simple, old fashion toy. But they do!

Daddy got a new scarf and mommy got a watch. We also got lots of yummies for our tummies!


Christmas morning we had pancakes and raspberries then headed off to church. We had sandwiches at my parents for lunch and came home for a much needed nap. Then we watched a movie that we had received for Christmas.

Daddy made a fantastic prime rib for dinner along with brussel sprouts, asparagus, mashed potatoes and gravy. Chloe, Mommy and John baked cupcakes to honor Jesus’ birthday. Baby Jesus didn’t come because he lives in “heavens”. He will come back some day. He’s all grown up now.

Both the littles were pretty tired and headed to bed at 6:30pm. We headed to bed early too. It was a beautiful, wonderful, peaceful day. A day with plenty of time to cherish family and reflect on His birth!

How was your Christmas? What was your favorite gift?


Chloe was not at all interested in posing for pictures. She just wanted to play. The result? No smiles! LOL. We look nice though.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Perfect Un-Perfect Christmas

(The second photo and last photo in the series is of our Jesse tree)

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I am sitting here typing and mulling over how I have failed to accomplish everything I had hoped. Last year I sent out well over 100 Christmas cards (many  hand made!) with photos. This year I barely got the basics out and all without photos since I just got them today! My rug cleaner sits in the downstairs hall, needing to be put away after cleaning up the accident this morning (a whole other story!) and a million other little things weigh on my mind.

I don’t know why but I thought I would have my home perfectly in order and everything done to perfection before Christmas arrived. Why? I don’t know. I’m good with unrealistic expectations of myself.

Tomorrow evening we will spend with my family as we always do. Caroling, good food, opening one gift (which always turns out to be PJ’s)…and while we usually have it at my house because we have the most space, this year it is at moms. Just one of the changes we’re embracing this year. Christmas Day we usually have DH’s family but this year we are simply opening presents, going to church, baking a birthday cake (for Jesus) and having a quiet dinner with just our family. Boxing Day we are hoping to head to the zoo for their Christmas treats walk and then Pizza at Nana’s. Since her apartment is downstairs, we don’t have far to go. I share all of this to say simply that there isn’t any real reason that my house needs to be perfectly in order – and with littles it really never will be.

It got me thinking about how Mary must have felt. Giving birth to the Lord Jesus, her first born son, in a stable, far from home with no family support save Joseph. It probably wasn’t everything she had envisioned yet it was perfect; exactly how God had planned and envisioned it.

I’m heading to bed now for a good night’s rest. Tomorrow will dawn bright and early. I’ll get the essentials done and enjoy this time with my family. Though everything isn’t checked off the to-do list I had, it will be a perfect Christmas because we’re celebrating Jesus’ Birthday! I don’t need to be perfect because HE is!

Some posts I was encouraged by:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Solution to “My Baby Smells Like Urine”


I first discovered Ottawa Cloth Diapers when I was setting up Set for a Sizzling Summer. Vicky is such a nice lady with a great online shop, tons of cloth-diapering knowledge and an economical shipping rate! Her shop is one of my favorites (and no, she didn’t pay to be on it or anything).

A few weeks ago I received my order from Ottawa Cloth Diapers. I ordered a couple new BumGenius3.0 to bump up my very small stash (I wash daily). I also bought BumGenius Bottom Cleaner. Now on a daily basis I use wipes cubes, dissolved in water, poured over a stack of baby facecloths from the dollar store and stored in an empty disposable wipes tub. I am very happy with this system (it’s cheap!) and use it on the go as well. You can read more about my cloth diapering essentials and system here.

Anyway, I was saying, I discovered BumGenius Bottom Cleaner and love it. During the day, changing frequently and giving him a little wipe each time, he doesn’t smell. Overnight is a different story. I find there is a very strong urine smell that clings to him that wipes can’t eliminate and he needs a little wash in the tub in the morning even if he has had a bath the night before. Wipes just don’t seem to cut it but a little spay of BumGenius Bottom Cleaner and it cuts through the odor leaving him smelling slightly citrusy but really not smelling like much at all. It is the perfect solution to our problem.

So if you have a little bit of a “baby smells like urine” trouble, BumGenius Bottom Cleaner may be the solution for you. Though I use cloth diapers, I imagine it would be a nice refresher even if you don’t use cloth.

So that is the latest discovery in my little cloth-diapering world.image

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa Clause is Coming…


I won a Capture the Magic photo from Tara’s View of the World. Thank you! I think Chloe is going to be excited on Christmas morning to see this photo “Santa” left her. I did have a tough time trying to figure out how big Santa should be though. LOL

IMG_1201 IMG_1244

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The New Year is Coming: Set Your 2010 Goals!


 A Google search of 'Tune Up' revealed the following definition:
An Adjustment for Better Functioning
A search of 'Adjustment' revealed the following:
A Small Change, A Minor Correction, A Modification

What is Tune-Up Tuesday? Find out more HERE!


Antoine de Saint-Exupery French writer (1900 - 1944) said,

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

It really spoke to me when I read it the other day. Not because there is anything wrong with wishing for something but because it reminded me about the importance of goals and plans. This thought has come across my path a lot this past year and again the other day at the Epicure meeting I was at, Carmen spoke about goals. This tiny little quote issued a big challenge to me. Now I am not a big “New Years Resolution” sort of person but this year I’m working on a list of goals for 2010 and establishing a plan to help me reach them.

Do you or your family as a whole set goals for the upcoming year?

If so, did you reach them in 2009? Have you already set your 2010 goals?

If not, what kind of goals do you have for 2010?

Areas to consider when setting goals:

  • Personal Challenges
  • Marriage-Related
  • Parenting
  • In Your Home
  • Financially
  • In the Community
  • Career-Related

The TUT on December 31st (and January 7th) will have my goals and a Mr. Linky for you to link up yours. If you don’t have a blog, just leave your thoughts in the comment section. What a great way to exchange ideas and encouragement for the start of the new year! I hope you’ll participate because one random participant will receive a great prize to help you on your way for 2010! And no, I will absolutely not give you a hint about what you could win!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Free $5.00 Coupon For Gymboree

Gymbo Code

I have this rewards certificate which is good for $5.00 off on any purchase through 12/26/09 in their online store (11L8K5N68633405) or in USA retail or outlet stores. It can only be used once so if you use it, please let me know so I can remove the post.

I live in Canada and am not planning to place an online order. If you live in the USA near a Gymboree – print it out and go buy something off the sale rack for $5.00 compliments of me!

Gymboree currently has 30% off everything as well as $5 Rush Shipping until December 20th!

Update: I believe that a reader has printed and used this coupon already. Hurray! I hate to let coupons go to waste :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

TUT: Cleaning Carpets and Packing Dishes

IMG_0802 IMG_0801

I have a lovely wood sideboard that contains beautiful hand painted dishes with gold edges that were hand crafted and brought back from African carefully, piece by piece. They were a gift from my mother-in-law to my DH long before I arrived on the scene. He had them displayed in a glass china cabinet but since we replaced that with solid wood Mennonite furniture, there really isn’t anywhere to display them. Since they are far too precious to use with two little tots right now, I decided to pack them up into Rubbermaid totes and store them. This frees up the sideboard for board games and Chloe’s learning material; a completely logical choice since both of those activities generally happen at the big dining room table. This has been something that I have been putting of and finally did. Let me tell you, it feels great! It didn’t take long at all but with that little tune-up completed, a weight has been lifted. Hurray!

I also had some spots on the carpet that were driving me crazy. We built our home before having littles and despite my mother’s cautionary tales, we put in light colored carpet. Anyway, after what seemed like a gazillion trips to the hardware store to rent a rug cleaner, DH bought me one. I’ve had it for a month or so and it has been such a blessing. John is delighted with it too!

Is there something small that you can do this week that will give you satisfaction once you can cross it off that to-do list?


What is Tune-Up Tuesday? Find out more HERE!

Do you have a tune-up you are working on or completed? Link up (directly to your post) or share a comment! If you could mention TUT and link back so others can join in too, that would be appreciated!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Beautiful Ergo Baby Carrier Arrived…


I was so excited when Hannah emailed me to say that an Ergo was on the way. I was so excited; did I say that already? LOL!  I’ve had limited baby-wearing experience (Snuggli, Hotslings, Bjorn) and up until now, it has been so-so; something I simply did when I needed the convenience of it but it wasn’t all that comfortable for long periods.

The day the Ergo Carrier arrived, I put it on immediately. I was concerned because it looked a little complicated but it is actually very easy to use. (Hurray of or the easy to follow instructions!) I wore John almost all afternoon and vacuumed the house among other things. I was amazed at how a few well it distributed the weight. My husband came home to my happy dance with John giggling behind me.

Over the next few weeks I will put the Ergo to use in our daily life. Watch for the official review where I share how it has worked for our family to help you decide if it is right for yours. I’ll also come back with some better pictures :) I’ve had this carrier a day and already my baby-wearing has gotten exponentially better!

SALE ALERT: I just became a Ergo Baby fan on facebook and found out that they offer gently used Ergo Carriers for sale at great discounts (888-416-4888). It isn’t on their website though. You have to call their office to inquire or order. They also have an auction section.


We Love Ice Cream!


Daddy had coupons for free ice-cream at McDonalds!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The First Day of Frost

IMG_0791 IMG_0789

I don’t think Chloe remembers snow from last year. It wasn’t even 8:00am and she was dressed and outside exploring the frost and exclaiming, “Snow! Snow!” She was so excited :)

Shortly there after she was back inside informing me that she was, “So Freezing!” Some breakfast and a blanket worked wonders.

Thank you Lord, for frosty days and warm fireplaces!


And John just stayed inside and entertained himself.


  • This post is linked to Gratituesday @ Heavenly Homemakers  and it definitely took less than 30 minutes to write. Join the 30 Minute Challenge here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Good Food, Great Memories: Home Made Pizza Crust

Growing up in a small town in Northern Ontario where a pizza cost a fortune, we made our own. I loved it because it was so fun “decorating” the pizza and mom always let us drink the pineapple juice. Here is the recipe from my childhood. It is even better eaten cold the next day. My DH doesn’t like the recipe as it is a very bready crust and not traditional at all but I just love it. We made it a few weeks ago when DH wasn’t going to be home for dinner. I invited my parents over. What a fun time. I’m thankful for good food and good memories of growing up!

Easy & Delicious Pizza

  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Water
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Onion Salt
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Toppings (onions, pepperoni, pineapple, mushrooms)
  1. 1 tsp sugar and 1 pkg of yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water - Dissolve and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix in 2 TBSP large, 2 TBSP sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp onion salt and 3/4 cups lukewarm water.
  3. Then add in 3 cups flour.
  4. Let rise for 30 minutes covered and away from draft.
  5. Knead a few times, shape into ball and cut in half. Spread each out on a cookie sheet creased with lard.
  6. Put on sauce and toppings. (We use pepperoni, onion, canned mushrooms and pineapple. Up north produce was expensive and we grew up only using canned mushrooms for the pizza. Living in southern Ontario now, we have an abundance of fresh produce but I still loved canned mushrooms on this pizza! I also like diced, not sliced pepperoni. Blame it all on my mother!)
  7. Bake at 400 deg F for 15-20 Minutes (could take longer depending on your pan and oven)
  8. Remove and add Mozzarella cheese and bake another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted nicely.

IMG_1003 (2)

We finished off the night with a story. I actually have a much better picture but mom is in it and I think she’s a bit camera shy so I thought I’d just put dad up instead. He won’t mind!

This post links to Gratituesday, Mouthwatering Mondays, Tasty Tuesday,and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday since it seems to go with them all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Robeez: Free Shipping, Sales and Helping K.I.D.S.

Robeez has been a staple in our home since 2006 when we discovered we were expecting our first baby. Chloe was born in 2007 and John arrived in 2008. We have had over a dozen pair of Robeez since then. I’ve loved the cuteness of each pair, the quality and also the resale value. Yes, you heard me! I sell the ones that my tots outgrow and usually get 25 – 50% of what I paid for them back! (I wonder if that is acceptable to say in a review?) Quality and durability mean that even though my littles have logged miles and miles on their little shoes, there is still a ton of life left! Anyway, in our home we have all tile floors and especially during the winter months the littles need slippers on at all times. The floor is also really slippery in just socks if you are racing around at break-neck speed. Robeez are the only thing that fits the bill for our family!


I was excited to receive a beautiful pair of espresso loafers from Robeez. They couldn’t have been more perfect for our little man. The perfect blend of casual and dressy; he is able to wear them with jeans on Saturday to run errands and with his dress clothing on Sunday for church. Compared to other similar shoes, I would say these ones are generous in size. His other 12-18 loafers which I had purchased from another manufacturer earlier this fall are almost too small. These ones fit perfectly with some room yet to grow. Thanks to the classic heel design that Robeez is famous for, even with the room to grow, the fit him beautifully and stay on. The Velcro strap is designed in such a way that you can get a very good fit whether you need it looser for chubby baby feet or a little snugger for thinner feet. imageThe bottoms are flexible and easy for little feet to walk in, have a little bit of traction to ensure a stable walk and the insoles appear to be cushy and comfy. Overall, I was completely thrilled with this pair of shoes. This is my first experience with the mini shoes and I think they are awesome! If you’re a bargain hunter, be sure to watch their online sale section and sign up for their email newsletter in the bottom left corner of their site! There are often free shipping deals as well as significant discounts. The only thing better than fabulous shoes is fabulous shoes on sale!


As I mentioned above, we have had well over a dozen Robeez in our home. When you have two tots and purchase two or so each time they go up a size, it is very easy to do. Aimagenyway with every pair, though put to the ultimate test with my tots, they held up and exceeded my expectations. One of the things that first drew me to Robeez, aside from the whole ‘stay on’ promise,  was that they were made in Canada. At some point in the last year, I’m not entirely sure when, they stopped producing their soft soles in Canada and now manufacture them in China. I first heard about this in the summer and was suddenly concerned. Manufactured in Canada (to me!) was synonymous with quality. China? Not so much. But alas, what alternative was there? I’m a Robeez girl. Chloe and I sat down at the computer and picked out her new slippers. She chose the Mary Jane sparkles to replace her Pastel Pink Mary Jane's. She was very excited about them and who can blame her? Pink and sparkly? A winning combination! She, of course, wore them every day and raced around on our tile floor. About a month after they arrived, the elastic along the top of the heel let  IMG_0874 go rendering the one slipper useless. It wouldn't stay on. My first reaction was one of outrage and immediately I thought to myself, “China in no way compares to Canadian manufacturing!” But alas, when I calmed down, I reminded myself that it can happen regardless of how vigilant the quality assurance is and what country the items are manufactured in. It wasn’t even Robeez but the elastic itself, whoever the elastic supply company is. The important thing is how the company chooses to handle it and I would say Robeez handled it amazingly well. Though they have a 30 day return policy and this happened a few days past, they did exchange the slippers with their apologies. I did IMG_0441 receive a question about the amount of wear on the bottom for such a short period but I explained that we have tile floors and that seemed to satisfy them. We have not had any problems what so ever with the replacement pair! The only thing I sort of wondered about was that is seems that the leather on the soles of the slipper isn’t as thick as the slippers used to be but I can’t say for sure. It isn’t enough to stop me from continuing to use them though. As I am hyperlinking this review, I am debating on which pair to order for John. He needs 18-24 month slippers :) Such a big boy!

In Summary:

  • Mini shoes are perfect for beginning walkers.
  • Robeez has a great selection of styles in the mini shoes.
  • Mini shoes has the same kind of stay-on ability you would expect from Robeez originals.
  • The change in manufacturing location doesn’t seem to be an issue in regards to the soft sole.
  • Stellar customer service!
  • Sign up for the Robeez newsletters for exclusive promotions and shipping offers!

SALE ALERT: Robeez has Boys and Girls on sale for up to 30% off (some as low as $13.99CDN) along with Free Shipping until 12/14/09. You’ll also be helping K.I.D.S. 


Friday, December 11, 2009

Flirty Aprons Winner and Sale Reminder!

Flirty Apron



Flirty Apron Comment



Thank you Flirty Aprons for hosting this giveaway. If you haven’t already, become a facebook fan so you don’t miss out on their monthly giveaways!

Sale alert: up to 30% off for the holidays. Makes an awesome gift!

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that Amy of Amy Loves It! is the Flirty Aprons winner! Thanks to all who entered and thank you to for making it easy to pick a winner :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Epicure Selections: A Healthier You Review

A table full of food

Quite some time ago my friend and super-star Epicure consultant, Carmen Locke, provided A Healthier You kit for review. I am excited to share it with you. Let’s make 2010 a great year and take a step in the right direction; one of healthy eating!

  • Do you want to be healthier? Feel better?
  • Are you looking for easy, healthy, creative and delicious meals?
  • Do you want to make healthful lifestyle changes?
  • Do you need help getting organized without spending loads of time doing it?

Then A Healthier You kit is definitely something you should check out! “A Healthier You is not a diet regimen – diets only lead to stress and guilt, not a healthier you!” It is a change of lifestyle!

A Healthier You

A Healthier You comes perfectly packaged in a decorative box containing everything you need for success:

  • A sturdy binder to hold all key information

  • A comprehensive welcome guide which covers meal planning, good health guidelines, tips for success, discussions on food choices, healthy snacking tips, sample weekly menu plan, tips for your tots along with information on calculating how much you need to eat to meet your dietary needs, discover your perfect weight and setting/tracing goals and progress.

  • A complete recipe package containing breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert recipes along with complete nutritional information including calories, fat, etc along with a breakdown of the number of servings per food group. It really is neat!

  • A work book package which has a short quiz to help you determine where you are, a complete outline of the program including a daily and once a week to-do list to guide you on your way. It talks about rewarding your successes and stages within the program. There is a big emphasis on balance. It talks about hunger and health, portion size, reading labels, food safety and food storage.

  • A SMART goal work page helps you focus: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Relevant, Timely.

  • A daily intake and activity tracker is designed to help you easily track your progress. The focus isn’t on points or calories but on eating from each of the food groups in proper portion sizes. It also includes a tracker for children and teens so the whole family can be involved.

  • A small dining out card that contains suggestions and reminders for keeping on track while eating out.

  • A Weekly Planner and a Grocery List, both on tear off pads mounted on a sturdy backing. Clear and easy to use.

  • A perfect portions plate and a pedometer

What I love most about this program is that the focus is on health and that weight loss can be a byproduct of healthful eating but that it isn’t the main focus. I have been focusing on the healthy eating, following the food groups, portion-size as well as identifying hunger and while I don’t want to share exact numbers with you, I will say there is 5% less of me right now that there was before! Whooo Hoo. In the nature of full disclosure I also follow weight watchers so I can’t attribute the entire weight loss to this program however they work really well hand in hand. The perfect portions plate actually lines up beautifully with the points system portions as well. Looking for new recipes? Try their recipe finder!

Another great feature? While all the recipes do call for Epicure ingredients, there is a simple substitution chart so you can make it regardless of what Epicure ingredients you are missing! Though I love epicure dips, mini loaf pans, and their chocolate chips, I don’t have many of the ingredients that the recipes call for but everything turned out just great.

If you are interested in purchasing this kit, it retails for $49.99 and can be purchased online here through Carmen Locke and shipped ANYWHERE in Canada! A great step in the right direction for 2010! It would also make a lovely gift! While you’re there, be sure to check out their fabulous selection of easy dips. Did you know you can make them with fat free or low fat sour cream, mayo or philly?

Carmen attended an Epicure party a few years ago, fell in love with the product and soared to new heights because of her passion. She will be featured in the Winter 2010 Epicure catalogue. She is completely knowledgeable and would be delighted to help you discover Epicure for yourself! carmen.locke[at]xplornet[dot]ca

I would also like to let you know that in the new year, I myself will be joining the Epicure team! Their products are really that good!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Family Traditions: Embracing Change


Photo by Zellaby

Years ago, when our family was experiencing some dramatic changes, my mother wrote this poem. As a young adult, almost out of my teens, I had dismissed it just mom’s ramblings (sorry mom!). But having come across it last week in my recipe box, I read it again; this time through the eyes of a grown daughter with children of my own and it suddenly had meaning for me.

In the beginning things were done, as we thought they ought to be.

Repeated twice they became, a part of our history.

Each year some change would  along, often very slight.

Another year we’d try a change, but it just wasn’t quite right.

Some changes did occur,that really caused a struggle.

At those times we’d weight the cost, to justify the trouble.

Often things could not be helped; the change had to be embraced.

Accept the change, repeat it twice, tradition now replaced.

Sometimes the change seemed threatening, uncomfortable at start.

Tradition roots run deep within; those memories of the heart.

Times in our lives we had to let go and tearfully move on,

Cherishing those special memories of times that are now gone.

Memories remembered, are added to the new,

For they are part of who we are and what we say or do.

Looking through the years of time tradition inevitably changes,

Yet history in the family continues through the ages.

Searching through the history to find what is the same,

Knowing it is precious; trying to find the name.

So many memories to ponder, and lovingly restore:

Good food, fun times and blessings so many times before.

The answer so apparent: it’s the Love of Christ you see!

Bigger than all traditions, He’s the bond in family!


This year we have several things that will be different. With my grandfather passing, my grandmother’s health, changes in relationships with siblings (especially since Keith is now in Australia!); there are so many things that won’t be done “like we always do it!” I don’t like change! But if I am to have joy, I need to embrace inevitable changes. Praise the Lord that HE never changes!


The Challenge? Embrace new traditions this year! What changes have you been resisting for the sake of tradition? Is there something that you need to stop resisting and embrace?


What is Tune-Up Tuesday? Find out more HERE!

Do you have a tune-up you are working on or completed? Link up (directly to your post) or share a comment! If you could mention TUT and link back so others can join in too, that would be appreciated!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chicken Journey: Roast Breast with Scrumptious Winter Veggies


So far we have learned How to Break Down a Chicken and we’ve roasted the backs, collected back meat for a future meal, saved drippings for gravy and saved the fat for some unknown use!

Today we roasted a couple of breasts and boy are they yummy!

Chopped potatoes, parsnips, onion and carrot and placed in pan with salt, pepper and rosemary. Then spoon some chicken fat onto the vegetables and spread it around (ooh, a chicken fat use! LOL) and cook for 45 minutes at 375 deg F. The add the breasts which are simply salt and peppered. Bake for approx 1 hour longer or until done. Let me tell you, the veggies are absolutely mouthwatering and the chicken is oh, so moist! Add a salad and some bread and you’re set to go!

Any left over meat makes for really wonderful sandwiches.

Surprisingly Simple and Delightfully Delicious!


  • This post was a joint effort by my DH who blogs at ebabble and of course me!
  • This post links to Mouthwatering Mondays, Tasty Tuesday,and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday since it seems to go with them all.

  • Sunday, December 6, 2009

    Work in Progress

    SIngapore Under Construction Sign by hellochris.


    I am excited to announce that the talented April of April Showers Blog Design is working on my site. The preview I saw is awesome and I am so happy {insert happy dance here}. I wasn’t sure exactly what look I wanted but when the preview arrived in my inbox – it was just what I didn’t know I wanted! Whoo Hoo!

    Please be patient while I get things set up just so :)

    Read and Share Toddler Bible Review


    When I had the opportunity to review the Read and Share Toddler Bible for Thomas Nelson Publishing, I was thrilled!

    It arrived and we started into it right away. The stories are short and simple which is great since at this age, attention spans are short. If your tot is up for more, simply read another story! It is such a great start and reinforces the belief that they are never too young! Though it says ages 1-4, Chloe is 3 and I think she is ready for something a bit more substantial now.

    The pictures are colorful and engaging. Little ones are very visual so this is perfect. I also love that there are scriptural references as well. I think it is so important to be able to back up what we say we know and believe with scriptural references. Reinforcing that at a young age is important to our family. It also means that older siblings can help look up the story themselves.

    We haven’t done much in the way of the activity ideas however always use them for a little discussion. They are there to further reinforce the story and help your tot to remember what they have learned.

    This book also comes with a bonus DVD of bible stories. We don’t watch a lot of TV and I’ll admit, this will probably not be watched but it is nice to have. Maybe once the cold weather is here and we’re more house-bound.

    Chloe and John both love stories but Chloe especially. I often hear, “Mommy, tell me a story about Jesus.” Sometimes it is when I am washing dishes, or maybe she’s curled up on my lap and other times it is while I am driving or we’re at the grocery store. I am thankful for her love of books and stories as well as her budding love for Jesus. This book is helping her to learn and foster her knowledge in a way that she can understand. I would recommend Read and Share Toddler Bible for sure!

    • Thank you to Thomas Nelson for supplying the book for review
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