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Saturday, February 28, 2009


Participating in Spring Cleaning for Normal People over at Biblical Womanhood I tackled my kitchen.
I am somewhat embarrassed to show you before pictures. Before I show them to you let me emphasize that although the cupboards were unorganized - my kitchen is always clean and never looks like this. I pulled EVERYTHING out to do a super cleaning and that is the only reason my before pictures look like this - really!

It was shaping up to be a lazy Friday with a rainy drizzle. Scott was off so we went to McDonalds for breakfast and let Chloe play in the playland. We came home and I was thinking about tackling the kitchen as that is the focus for the week but I was lacking a motivation Just then the Tupperware Lady dropped off my order. That was the motivation I needed!! I love organizational things! I threw myself into the task wholeheartedly!
I have never ordered tupperware in my life because of the cost. Though it is quality stuff with a lifetime guarantee I just can't bring myself to spend the money. Anyway, I was at the market the other day buying chocolates when I saw the Tupperware lady there with a flyer. They had their storage containers 40-60% off!
As you can see form the before photos, my cupboards (especially my baking cupboard) was in dire need of some organization! When I opened the doors, literally everything fell out. The upside of that is that it is usually easy to find what I am looking because everything is lying on the floor in clear view LOL. Scott didn't feel the same way. :)
So, I have thoroughly cleaned my kitchen. I have a large kitchen so there are still a few cupboards I need to do but the bulk of them (which are also the worst of them) are all set to go....and now I will proudly reveal to you my clean kitchen!
*** TA DA ***

What are you 'spring cleaning' this week?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

MINI LOAF PANS: Make your Baking Go Further!

Some Good Reasons to Use Mini Loaf Pans for Desserts:
  • I get 6-10 Mini Loaf Desserts from a Recipe
  • I don't know about your house but at mine, we can eat a pan of brownies or whatever just because I baked it and it is there. By doing small loaves, we eat one or two and the rest go into the freezer.
  • or I can send a loaf to my parents or grandparents who live in the neighborhood.
  • It seems to make my baking go further
  • They are the perfect size to thaw fast (for unexpected company or the church fellowship you forgot about) rather than racing to the store to buy prepackaged which would cost more.
  • You can thaw out a couple different loaves so you have a good selection to compile a lovely dessert platter (see photo)
  • They slice up frozen because they're just the right size
  • They loaves are just cute!
I always used foil mini loaf pans from the dollar store and they worked well. However, at the suggestion of my good friend and Epicure Consultant, Carmen Locke, I bought the Epicure Silicone Mini Loaf Pans. She said they were great but she was wrong...they are awesome. They are easy to use, just the right size, no sticking issues while trying to get your baking out and of course they wash SO easily. If you want to purchase a set of these, they are affordable. Let me know and I will provide her contact information.

I have a couple recipes that are my favorites for using the mini loaf pan for. Over the next couple weeks I will share them with you. They are recipes that freeze well without changing texture too much and taste fresh when thawed. And of course they are absolutely delicious. They include Banana Bread, Frugal Carrot Cake, Orange Pound Cake and Brownies, just to name a be sure to check back!


And as is a picture of my fabulous Reitmans umbrella I mentioned here.
I really do love to shop at Reitmans.
Their clothing is affordable and they usually have sales and a mark-down rack for an extra deal. They also have a great selection of styles. I am generally a pretty conservative dresser and definitely a modest dresser. Though Reitmans has some things that I feel are too revealing, they still have a lot of clothing that meets my standards for dressing modestly. That is hard to come by nowadays.
The thing I love most about Reitmans is that the clothing fits me. "Designed for Real Life" not only applies to their styles but also their sizing. They have fashions that fit petites, regular, tall and plus.
I do find their dress selection limited and in the summer their sundresses seem to be geared more towards taller or slimmer people (not me!) and there are too many strapless or spaghetti straps for my tastes but overall...I couldn't be happier!
I would say that 90% of my clothing is from Reitmans because it is one of the few places that the quality, price, style and sizing all line up with my needs. Check them out today!
Sadly this is the most slimming picture I could get. Thank you to Reitmans for the umbrella and a big *thank you* to my DH who patiently took many photos so I could have a selection to choose from. For anyone following Tune-Up Tuesday - it's going really well so far!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Monday night my friend Becca and I were talking about what a big job mothering is. God has called us to do a whole lot! (See Proverbs 31). Home-making and mothering is a beautiful calling but it is also a big one!

Some days it seems overwhelming - especially when they are sick, or the baby has been up or little ones are just being downright naughty and you don't know why. A friend asked me today how I do what I do and the answer is simple: God enables me. (and just so you know - I don't really do that much.)

A few practical thoughts:

Tonight at church, Dr. Glowacki was speaking. In the message he said, "Whom the Lord calls, He equips." Many times I've heard preachers say that. He was talking about King David but I thought about how it applies to our every day lives as mothers. If the Lord gave us our spouses, children (however many we have!) and homes, then he has also given each of us the measure of endurance and energy (and anything else we'll need) to meet those challenges. The job isn't too big for us (even on the crazy days!) - we just need to ask for help the right way: On our knees

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Maybe he's broken but he sure is Cute!

Well, this morning I have to admit I didn't shower or dress until 10am! My sweet and wonderful John was up every hour last night! I don't know what is going on with him. He's getting over a cold so maybe he's still having trouble breathing? He's also putting everything in his mouth so maybe he's teething? Or perhaps he's just broken!

In any case this momma is Tired with a capital T. John just went to bed so hopefully he will sleep well tonight. He had a late night out with Aunty Sandy, Lucas and I - we went shopping at Reitmans and what fun we had trying on all sorts of clothing that weren't really what we would usually wear. I ended up with traditional 'jenn-wear' of jean skirt and button-down blouse (I know I am predictable and maybe in a rut?!) but Sandy sure found some 'hot mama' tops so we need some warmer weather so she can debut in her new outfits. Did I mention I won a Reitman's umbrella in a "You can Quote Me" contest? Reitmans has quite a few contests a year - sign up here for their newsletters! I'll try to post a picture of me and my fabulous umbrella tomorrow.

John had his 6 month doctor visit the other day. He's a whopping 20 lbs already. Big Boy! Chloe was 19.5 at a year! Speaking of Chloe, she had her two year visit and she is 27.5 lbs. There is only 7.5 lbs between the two of them! Crazy how different children can be. I am so amazed that I have such adorable children!!

Picture Explanations: The top is Toby pushing Lucas in Chloe's Doll Stroller! (under our careful supervision and it really was only for the the photo!) The second picture is my adorable John - he's always so happy. The third is little Chloe-Homemaker. She loves to help and thinks that scrubbing toilets is a real treat (don't anyone tell her different!) The picture is blurry because it is from our old camera as it was the closest one when I was looking for a camera fast. The last picture is John who worked diligently to roll himself over to the table where Chloe and Jaiden were eating lunch. Determined little fellow!

Well I am glad that my tiring Tuesday is over with. I am looking forward to a Wonderful Wednesday tomorrow.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


A google search of the word "Tune-Up" revealed the following definition:
An Adjustment for Better Functioning
A search for the definition of 'Adjustment' revealed the following:
A Small Change, A Minor Correction, A Modification
More on Tune-Up Tuesday

This week my focus will be on Food!
That area of my life needs a tune-up badly and let me share with you why:
I had a bouncing baby boy 6 months ago and lost 75% of my baby weight within the first 6-8 weeks...since then I have (eek!) stayed the same. I still have that 25% to lose. On top of that, many times I get busy doing this or that (anyone with little people can understand that!) and while the children always get their properly balanced meals, I don't always sit to eat myself. Next thing you know, it's evening and we're eating dinner - the first proper meal I've eaten all day. I do eat during the day but many times it is snack foods as opposed to real meals. I don't know if it is just me or if there are others out there who can relate but I know that this needs to change. Part of the tune-up challenge is that it is a small modification - a baby step.
There are many elements I need to deal with in this area but for this week I am setting an attainable goal: simply to ensure I sit down and eat something healthy for breakfast and lunch.
I think food - too much, too little, not the right type - is a struggle for many people and a lot of it comes down to self-control and self-discipline in this area. I, personally, need to exercise self-control when it comes to snacks and self-discipline & time managment to ensure that I sit and eat a meal to avoid reaching for snacks. By making a determination to do (or not to do) something and making that determination public; you are making yourself accountable to follow through. I am looking forward to seeing what the scale says after my week of "tuning up"!


What 'Tune-Up' are you working on this week? Do you have a successful "Tune-Up" accomplishment to share? Leave a comment or add a direct link to your blog post below to encourage and inspire others. Don't underestimate the power of accountability!

What is Tune-Up Tuesday?

A google search of the word 'Tune Up' revealed the following definition:
An Adjustment for Better Functioning

A search for the definition of 'Adjustment' revealed the following:
A Small Change, A Minor Correction, A Modification

Based on those definitions, there are many things in our lives, our hearts, minds, bodies, schedules, attitudes and finances that could use a little tune-up. In order to become the Christ-like wives, mothers and women God has called us to be, we must continue to evalate all areas of our lives and be willing to answer the call to come up higher.

Each week, or as often as you are able, I am challenging you to join me for Tune-Up Tuesday! Let's make it a day to focus on one small change that we can make to better ourselves, our homes and our testimonies for His Honor and Glory!!
You'll have the opportunity to comment or add a direct link to your blog post. As you join in - feel free to use the logo but please link it back here :) I can hardly wait!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Best Carrot Cake - and frugal too!

We were at the store the other day and I saw a deal I couldn't pass up. For some, maybe it wasn't a great deal but to me it was! I purchased 10 pounds of carrots for $2.99. Now what to do with them?!?
We had some with our dinners all week but my dh isn't that crazy about cooked carrots. I peeled a bunch and made carrot sticks ready for snacking but my two year old doesn't seem that interested :(

Now what?

Ina Garten (a.k.a. Barefoot Contessa") has a fabulous recipe in her cookbook for carrot cake cupcakes. Here is my adapted version. It is SO good! DH loves it!!!

Yummy! Carrot Cake Mini Loaves
Makes 6-8 mini loaves

1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/3 cups of oil (olive, vegetable or whatever you have)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
18 oz grated carrots
1 1/4 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the bottom of your loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
Beat the sugar, oil and eggs together in a bowl until light yellow. Add vanilla.
In another bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and then add the raisins, nuts and carrots.
Fill your mini loaf pan about 3/4 way full.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400 then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 35 +/- minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.

You can frost these with a basic cream cheese frosting but my husband prefers it plain. If you do not frost it, it's a delicious and frugal loaf to make if you get a greal deal on carrots!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ready for the Weekend!

I have donned my apron (see why here), put on some inspirational music and am ready to go!

Though my little ones are still sick, especially the baby, I hope to pull my home together today. No spring cleaning, just tidying, getting the laundry done and cobbling something up for dinner.
My husband is off tomorrow so I want to have the house in order! I always hate it when the weekend comes and for whatever reason the house is in disarray. Then rather than enjoying time with him, I am running around tidying. Sunday mornings my husband and I head out in different directions to church so in order for Sunday mornings to flow smoothly I need to be prepared and organized. If our home is, not perfect, but tidy and as it should be, then our weekend is so much nicer.

With that being said - off I go! I encourage everyone reading today to plan a *tidying blitz* today or tomorrow and get what needs to be in order done so that you can enjoy a relaxing weekend with your family too!
My Ambitions:
Bedrooms Tidied
Main Floor Tidied
Laundry Washed / Put Away
House Vacuumed
I could add so much more to this list but today isn't about cleaning - it's about pulling it together. My spring cleaning is on hold and will (Lord-willing!) start next week! For that - my mental list is about a mile long. lol.
Note: No before pictures today but I will post some after ones :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cupcakes Completed!

Well yesterday was a very busy day! I posted my blog entry and began praying about my day. As I mentioned yesterday, my spring cleaning was put on hold before it really started. Amazingly my sick, sweet John-John fell asleep in his jumper yesterday morning which enabled me to get started on those 145 cupcakes! What a blessing!

I got the kitchen tidied, the cupcakes baked, chicken stew with biscuites for dinner and my little ones looked after. I did fall in to bed exhausted last night but I was incredibly thankful that the Lord is faithful in enabling us to do the tasks we need to.

This morning started early (for me anyway) at 6am. It seemed to come earlier this morning as John had nursed a lot last night. With his poor little nose being all stuffy, it's hard for him.

Anyway, up at 6am I was able to get the cupcakes iced, packaged and had a shower before the little ones were up. Thankfully mom came over this morning and so they were able to visit with Nanny-Granny while I delivered the cupcakes.

A big sigh of relief - *sigh*.

Chloe had Kraft dinner for lunch and off for a nap went her and John. I don't usually nap and I am thinking about the laundry I was going to do today and all the other spring cleaning things I wanted to accomplish but I think I can best serve my family today by having a rest. I am sure I will be more productive after a brief nap. Afterall, the Lord gives his beloved sleep.
Thursday's Note: I didn't get the nap. John woke up and we spent 1/2 an hour in the shower trying to get the steam to clear his poor little nose!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spring Cleaning on Hold

Well I had intended on joining in the spring cleaning challenge at Biblical Womanhood but as the name reminds us - it is for normal people and normal people have interuptions.

Interuptions like sick and fussy little ones, a messy house because they have been sick for several days and a surprise order for 145 cupcakes for tomorrow. I can tell you there will be no spring cleaning here this week.

I'll settle for surviving this week! But you know, you can still bring glory to God in your "surviving".

So I thought I would share anyway to help motivate myself. Today I need to tidy the kitchen, bake my cupcakes, make chicken stew for dinner and care for my little ones. My baby just wants to be held so far and since he isn't light - it should be interesting!

Though today was laundry day - I'm sure it will still be there tomorrow to do! Tomorrow will also bring icing cupcakes, delivering them and then getting to that laundry! I am thankful for my mother who will watch my little ones tomorrow so I can deliver the cupcakes without sick babies!

As I gaze at my kitchen, look at my snooby-nosed toddler and smile at my wailing baby - I think about the cupcakes I need to bake and I realize that this is a good day to give the Lord the credit when I make it through! I'd best start out by praying.

For the Glory of God - Part 1

Why are we here?

Revelation 4:11 reminds us that He made us for his pleasure. Our lives need to bring glory and honour to him! Ecclesiastes 12:13 reminds us that our WHOLE duty is to love and obey God. Whole; with our entire life and not just something we do on Sundays or when it is convenient.
Since he created us all different we will each bring him honour and glory in different ways. At this season of my life, God has placed me in our home as a wife and a mother. He planted me here in my family, in this important position, because it was a position that he had created and designed me to fill.

Regardless of what he has called you to do today, it is what HE has called you to do and therefore it is your Beautiful Calling! Doing the everday "mundane" things with the right attitude is pleasing to him and brings him glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us to do all to His glory. It doesn't say the big things or the things others can says all things. Colossians 3:17 takes us a step further and tells us in word or deed we are to do all things with thanks.

When we bath our babies, feed our toddlers, clean our homes, do the ironing and greet our husbands today let us do it with an attitude of thanks - that we have our homes, our babies, our husbands to care for. Let us do it heartily; to the best of our ability as we do it for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Canadian Family Week at Swiss Chalet (Deal)

Note added Thursday February 19th:
Last night my family and I took advantage of this deal. We went to our local Swiss Chalet as a treat out with the money I earned from cupcake sales this week. My husband and I both ordered entrees, however he ordered a smaller meal than he would usually eat since we were getting a free kids meal with each entree and John is only 6 months so he didn't really eat his. John did nibble on a fry but daddy ate the bulk of his meal. John also got a Shirley Temple with his meal so mommy took care of that for him! Chloe had a quarter chicken dinner with a Zoo Juice. Quite generous! To complete the meal they were also given little treat bags which included some coupons, two magazines (a Lego catalogue and another magazine that I wouldn't recommend) along with treats (crispy minis, craisins, lypsol, bubble gum, goldfish and a mini Lindt chocolate bar). It really was quite a loot bag. We were also given a coupon book good through March and April.
Our meal came to $20.25 (chicken wrap & fries plus 3 quarter chicken meals and 3 drinks) so I'd like to say "Thank you Swiss Chalet!"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day: too commercial? Maybe...

Just because Valentine's Day is viewed by some as silly and commercial doesn't mean that you can claim you don't "do" it and feel that you are some how exempt because you display your love all year long in practical ways. Valentine's Day does exist. Why don't you try something different: don't think of it as giving your spouse a Valentine's Day Gift and being part of the commercialism - think of it as giving them a Valentine's Day Blessing! It doesn't have to cost money...but it needs to show you care!

For some, like myself, when I hear Valentine's Day I think CHOCOLATE. If I am honest, I do have a chocolate addiction that I probably need to deal with...but now is not the time :)

So I have been thinking of how I can bless my husband without spending a cent. I decided to give him Ironed Shirts for a year (some restrictions apply!). While to some this sounds a bit funny, and to others it may sound appalling; for him it will be the Ultimate gift!

He wears a collared shirt every day including Saturdays. He wears a dress shirt on Sundays. All of these shirts he has ironed himself up until now (gasp!) every morning before he wears them. I know that some wonderful women iron their husbands shirts already but not me. I couldn't even iron (sucessfully) until recently. And I didn't really have a desire to learn. But in doing some thinking about how I could bless my husband - this idea came to me**.

Now since I have two and sometimes three little ones about - there will be some exceptions however I am going to try my hardest to get some shirts ironed each week for him.

Did I mention that I know it would be easier to go purchase some Butter Crunch from Laura Secord? But giving a gift isn't all about easy. I know that this is something that he will truly appriciate and it will last a lot longer.

I was thinking that a gift this size should also count as his anniversary, Easter and all other occassion gift too :) Haha!

So if you haven't already - try thinking of ways to surprise and bless your spouse on this silly commercial holiday.
You'll receive a blessing too - by being one!

If you need some ideas - google for some. Or you can head over to because she has a few links posted for free cards etc.
**It actually came to me for his birthday in January when I ironed all the shirts in his closet. Since he appriciated it so much and it made his mornings so much easier - I decided to continue it and have that be his Valentine's Day Blessing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A New Cloth Diaper

For those of you who don't know - Cloth diapering no longer has to include pins, folding and everything that it used to entail. They have come up with many new diapers - most of which fasten in some way with velcro. It is now easier than ever to use cloth.

Now, admittedly it is more of an investment at the onset however if you are commited and follow through - the savings certainly are great! it doesn't have to be an either/or situation. You can have the best of both worlds here AND save money.
With my daughter (my first born), I had all sorts of grand notions of using cloth diapers exclusively. We invested in Kushies cloth diapers. We purchased them at the Kushies Outlet (555 Barton Street, Stoney Creek, ON L8E 5S1 Phone 905 643-9118 ) and they were really inexpensive. We used them off and on however I found that they were bulky and when she wet - she had the wet cotton sitting on her skin until I changed her. They were a great introduction to cloth diapering, but for us - it wasn't a great success. I think it was partially due to the diaper but a lot to do with the fact that when it was just Chloe and I - we were out a lot visiting and I wasn't really that committed.
My son was born in August and I decided to give cloth diapers a try again. I recouped the money we spend on the Kushies by selling them on Kijiji and invested that in the BumGenius 3.0 diapers which I purchased from Mom and Baby Boutique. They have a wonderful retail store in Brantford or you can purchase them online. The diapers are pricey and a substantial investment so I only purchased 2 to try them out. They worked wonderfully so I purchased more! So far, cloth diapering with John has been a great success and I attribute a great deal of that to the fact that we are at home most of the time! If we do go out, I still use disposables but that amounts to only a few diapers a week versus a package+/- a week!!
About the bumGenius 3.0 Diapers:
It is a ONE SIZE diaper (10 lbs +/- up to 35 lbs)
It has snaps on the front which make adjusting the size a *snap*
(haha!) and has a soft outer shell which is still waterproof. The thing I like best is the terrycloth insert which seems to wick the wetness away and into the center so it isn't sitting next to baby's skin. It comes with two inserts, a baby and a toddler however you can use both together in the diaper if you have a heavy wetter. You can wash them in hot water and dry them in the dryer. It has some bulk to it but what diaper doesn't? John is wearing these however My daughter wore one to bed the other night and it fit her great and was absorbant enough for her. She just turned 2 and yes, she still goes to bed with a cup. So I believe that these are a great investment and I wish that we had used these with Chloe. I am sure that our cloth diapering would have been more of a success with her!

Bummi's Trainers:
They also make a training pant which isn't too bulky, has a comfortable, covered elastic waist & leg holes and is waterproof. Chloe is doing super with potty training however there are still occassional accidents - especially when she gets busy with something. These are the perfect solution. We use disposables when we go out since they are much more absorbent however at home - these are all we use. We tried a few others and these are the best! They are a real money saver since pullups cost more than diapers!

So if you are committed, spend most of your days at home and are able to invest a little up front - cloth diapering will pay for itself in savings quite quickly. If the initial investment is too much, try looking for an outlet in your area or if you have something like Kijiji or Craigslist perhaps you can get a deal there.
I recommend giving cloth diapering a try!

My Sweet John-John in his BumGenius3.0

The Symbol of a Beautiful Calling

I have discovered that I love aprons.

When I first got married my husband pointed out an apron in a kitchen store we were visiting. I think it was more of a joke since it said “Domestic Diva” and I certainly wasn’t domestic at all! I could hardly cook, had never ironed (successfully at least) and was lacking in so many areas. But the apron was pink and I like pink so we bought it.

Wearing an apron – I feel energized, motivated and domestic. It helps me to be a better keeper of my home, helps me to focus and reminds me to get things done! I also like to wear one since I can never find a dish towel to dry my hands in the kitchen and the pockets serve to carry tissue around to blow little noses. We’ve been married for almost 4 years and my apron collection has now increased as well as my knowledge of domestic things.

Some would view the word “apron” as a dismal word; a drudgery. To me, an apron is the symbol of a Beautiful Calling. Whether you stay at home or go out to work, as a wife and mother we are called to be keepers of the home. It is a God-given calling, a blessing and it can be a joy. It all depends on your attitude and how you view it. As silly as it sounds, wearing an apron helps me to keep the right attitude. Not all days :) but most days.

A friend pointed me in the direction of a great store in Simcoe, ON called Ann’s Gifts & “Sew Much More”. It’s a fabulous place for great and fun aprons. She has made aprons for Chloe, Jaiden, my nephews and I. I would be happy to provide you with her contact information - just ask! Her her items are high quality and made with love and attention to detail! You won't beleive her prices! It was Ann who passed this little saying on to me. I hope you enjoy it.

It has been said that it will be a long time before someone invents something that replaces the “old-time apron” that served so many purposes. I think they are right!

Grandma's Apron
(author unknown)

When I used to visit Grandma. I was very much impressed,
by her all-purpose apron, and the power it possessed.
For Grandma, it was everyday to choose one when she dressed.
The strings were tied and freshly washed, and maybe even pressed.
The simple apron that it was, you would never think about;
the things she used it for, that made it look worn out.
She used it for a basket, when she gathered up the eggs,
and flapped it as a weapon, when hens pecked her feet and legs.
She used it to carry kindling when she stoked the kitchen fire.
And to hold a load of laundry, or to wipe the clothesline wire.
She used it for a hot pad, to remove a steaming pan,
and when her brow was heated, she used it for a fan.
It dried our childish tears, when we'd scrape a knee and cry,
and made a hiding place when the little ones were shy.
Farm produce took in season, in the summer, spring and fall,
found its way into the kitchen from Grandma's carry all.
When Grandma went to heaven, God said she now could rest.
I'm sure the apron she chose that day, was her Sunday best.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pictures of Our Family

This is the first post on my very own blog! I have been following a few blogs for a year or so now but had never considered starting one until now. I'm too busy and who has time for a blog?!?
At the not-so-gentle nudging of my I am!

So let me introduce myself:
  • Scott and I married in 2005 in Italy and honeymooned there and in France. It my adventure of a lifetime!

  • I have a daughter named Chloe (2007) and a son named John (2008); both of which keep me very busy as a stay-at-home mommy.

  • I am trying to earn an income from home and am currently watching a little girl the same age as my daughter 3 days a week, I bake cupcakes for a local company once a month and am trying to so some lunch catering for local businesses as well.

  • I love to read, enjoy eating chocolate and love to be outside.

  • I enjoy expressing my opinion (in a nice way I think!) and that is why my husband was insistent that I needed to create a blog.

  • I love to wear an apron around the makes me feel domestic :)

  • I enjoy reading about home-making, child-rearing and becoming a better wife and mother. I want to be the wife and mother that God designed me to be...and I have quite a ways to go :) I want to Embrace the Beautiful Calling that God gave me.

This is me when I was expecting our daughter Chloe (Dec 2006).

This is Chloe and John a couple weeks ago. There is only 7lbs (and 18 months) between them!

This is Chloe waiting for her guests (cousins) to arrive for her Birthday Party.

So this is my little family and this concludes the end of my first post.

:) Jenn

Sunday, February 1, 2009

About Me


I'm a flawed and forgiven princess; a daughter of the King of kings. I'm a stay-at-home mommy seeking to love my husband, raise my littles, live a simpler, more abundant life and in all things honor HIM!

What is a Beautiful Calling?

When I chose the name for my blog, I was mostly thinking of my calling to be wife, mother and keeper of my home. Upon further reflection though, Beautiful Calling has another application. Any woman, of any age in any season, who is in the Will of God is fulfilling her Beautiful Calling.

A Little About Me:

A Little About My Blog:

I was domestically challenged when I first got married in 2005! This is a bit of an understatement :)

Since then, with the Lord's help, my desire is to answer my beautiful calling - which is not all about housework! I am learning to be the helper my husband needs; an example and a teacher to my children so that they will come to know, love and serve God. I want to Wait on the Lord with my life! With His help, I want to be keeper of my home and to be a good steward of the time, talents and resources that the Lord has entrusted me with.

This blog is an honest record of my successes, failures and lessons learned (and learning!) I pray that here you will find something helpful, encouraging or motivating! Read more here at Why Blog?


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Advertising & Reviews:

I love to try new things! I am currently accepting products for review. If you wish to have your product considered for review, or if you wish to inquire about advertising, please contact me at


All the reviews featured here at Beautiful Calling are products that have been sent to us at no cost for review, received as gifts or purchased by us for our family. I will disclose if it has been supplied free of charge. All opinions you read in the review are mine (or DH’s) and are honestly based on my experience with the product. I enjoy doing reviews and believe it or not, I depend on others’ reviews when I go to make a purchase myself.

I hope that my product reviews can introduce you to new products and help you determine if certain products will work for your family. I love it when the review sponsor also provides a giveaway product because that makes it even more fun!

If you, my dear reader, ever have any questions about a review I’ve done or about my policy in general, I do hope that you will contact me!

Thoughts As a Blog Reader:

  • I read blogs long before I became a writer of one.
  • I like giveaways but not ones that require you to subscribe or a million other requirements. I like them simple and if the content of the blog is good, I may subscribe but I don’t subscribe to enter giveaways. I try to make the  giveaways I host easy to enter.
  • I have found many great online stores and websites through blog promotion.
  • I have found out about some really great products because of reading a blog that the item was reviewed in.
  • I (generally) trust a review on a mommy blog much more than any commercial on TV and it influences me much more.
  • When I am looking to make a purchase, I look to some blogs that I read and trust for suggestions. A big one for me was cloth diapers. Depending on what you go with, it’s a sizeable investment. I wanted to know what worked for others before making my own purchase.
  • I do not always trust reviews of products from sites whose sole purpose is promoting products and is simply reiterating manufacturer information. You can tell when a site reviews every single thing that comes their way. I’m not saying that is wrong, simply that I personally do not want to do that.

Thoughts As a Blog Writer:

  • I only review products that are relevant to my life and what I perceive to be relevant to my readers. I have declined offers.
  • I only accept products which I am interested in and are something that I would quite possibly buy anyway.
  • I review products that I have bought myself – they aren’t always free.
  • I always have a “suitable test period” (about a month). I want to give as accurate an idea of how things work as I can. I want my readers to know that I am not simply promoting this to get a free product but that I am really putting it to the test.
  • I do an honest review of them. If I have suggestions for the product, I would (and have) included them in my review.
  • Though I generally receive a product to review and usually keep said product, I am not in any other way compensated for the reviews. I am not saying it is wrong for bloggers to be compensated, simply that I am not.
  • I am not just looking for free stuff. I love trying new things but don’t want to accumulate more ‘stuff’.  I am trying to de-clutter my life. If I don’t believe it to be useful or worthwhile, you won’t see it here.
  • I do try to include a giveaway with the reviews.
  • In Set for a Sizzling Summer, there were many products and giveaways. I didn’t write the series for the products but rather the products and giveaways enhanced the series and make it fun for readers who followed it. I hope it helped them find new products that would work for them or a retailer that they may not otherwise have found.

A sponsor asked me the other day how readers know that they can trust my reviews. That answer is what prompted this post.



The following shops are ones that  I earn a little bit when you shop through the following links. Purchasing through the links below supports Beautiful Calling; something I greatly appreciate.

Epicure Selections
A fantastic range of products to simplify your life in the kitchen. Epicure carries a vast range of spices, dip mixes, rubs and more to make cooking fast, healthy and above all, delicious! They also carry cleaning supplies and kitchenware. Shop online today to be shipped anywhere in Canada and use Jennifer VanderPloeg as your consultant at checkout!

If you would like to book a party, I would be thrilled to help you earn free products (Brantford, Paris, Hamilton, Simcoe area). It's easy, fun and I would be beyond thrilled!

I also want to mention that 20% of my profts will be given to missions through our church.

A-Bookstore for USA Friends
You can visit my Amazon Book Store for some personal suggestions and favorites as well as to browse their usual selections. Purchases made through this link benefit Beautiful Calling. Thank you!

Flirty Aprons Gift Shop
Looking for a great gift idea? Flirty Aprons has great aprons for everyone! You can read my flirty apron review here. Purchases made through this link benefit Beautiful Calling. We appreciate it!

Coming Soon:
  • Art Holders (Made by Me!)

Favorite Sites

Great Blogs:

Great Online Shops:

The Baby Boutique is a fabulous shop in Kitchener, Ontario. It is owned by Julie and Mark, parents of a now 2 year old. Their company was born out of a desire for baby essentials that they couldn’t find elsewhere for their own little bundle of joy. They carry a variety of unique and practical baby essentials as well as some really cool non-essentials! I purchased items in their retail store as well as through their online shop and it was a wonderful experience each way. Prompt, friendly and highly recommended. My Favorite Product? Splat Mat.  Simply use coupon code “Boutique” and save yourself 10% online or in store!

"Raising Rascals an Online Baby and Children's Store. We have a selection of Trendy and Unique products for Mom and Dad. Stylish but practical solutions for everyday. Raising Rascals will provide you with information to help you make the right choices." my experience with Coreen was fantastic, both as a review sponsor as a retailer.My Favorite Product?  Dimpleskins Line.  Be sure to use coupon code “beautifulcalling” to receive 10% off!

Ottawa Cloth Diaper LogoVicky, of Ottawa Cloth Diapers, is super knowledgeable and friendly. She can help with all your cloth diapering dilemmas.  The store is chock full of fabulous essentials and not so essentials! Her shipping is also very reasonable. If you are on a budget, she has a gently used and sale section. My Favorite Products? Jamtots wet bag, BumGenius 3.0, Monkeydoodlez wipes cubes.

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