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Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Famous John

Cute Tot

Attention World!

Go and see my sweet John-John. He’s famous over at Cute Tots. I was so excited to discover his picture in my reader this morning. It’s going to be a fabulous day! I can tell already!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Get Results with Your Letter!


Suggestions for Contacting Companies:

In Writing. It’s always best to do it in writing. You are able to think about exactly what you want to say and how to word it. In my case, it comes out much more professional on paper than verbally.

Manners. The first part of being minding your manners when writing  is spelling and grammar. Run spell-check! Nothing says “I didn’t put a lot of effort into this” or “You’re not worth the time”  like poor spelling. The other obvious aspect of manners is language. Make sure that you address your letter politely.

Positive. Try to be upbeat and positive. If possible, start your letter in a positive manner. Is there something about the company/individual that you really like? Start with that. Once you have dealt with your grievance, then try to end on a positive note as well.

Be Non-Confrontational. Once you have said something nice, gently bring forth your grievance in a non-confrontational way. Unless you are just writing them to blow off steam and don’t actually want to work out a mutually agreeable solution, avoid saying things like “you’ve lost my business”. The only reason that a company would want to work with you to rectify any problems is to keep your current business and to maintain a good image in word-of-mouth advertising. Instead, try to phrase it in a way that encourages the company to work with you, such as “I’m unhappy with ___ . I am contacting you to give you the opportunity to rectify the situation.”

Make Suggestions. If you have some suggestions or ideas, politely include these in your letter as well. Many companies, anxious to please, will consider anything that you take the time to suggest, though do not be offended if you do not get the exact solution you proposed. (examples: The car seat cover is torn so perhaps you can send me a replacement? If the exact pattern is not available, a light brown would match as well.)

End in Expectation: Write as if you are sure that they too will be anxious to work with you. Closing with something such as “Thank you in advance for your willingness to work with me in this matter” will encourage agreement on their part.

Do you have a letter writing tip? Or a sure-fire way to get results? Please, Please Share!!

Related Posts: Success Stories: Free Repairs, Replacements and More

Free Repairs, Replacements and More

I have discovered a secret!

Most companies are interested in ensuring customer satisfaction even after the sale is complete! If you have products that are broken, or need parts, try contacting them! Often they will repair or replace for little or no cost! It is a Finer Thing when companies still stand behind their products!

I purchased a wonderful bible organizer and cover in pink a couple years ago. I love this set. On Sundays it houses my wallet, tissues, notebook, bible and anything else I need it too. And it’s pink! I love pink! Anyway, the other day one of the handles broke on it. I was crest-fallen. I emailed Zondervan and they responded shortly after. They confirmed the type of case it was and mailed me out a new one no charge. I had it within a week! I was over the moon about it. Zondervan is a company that really stands behind it’s products! My likelihood of purchasing their products in the future just increased  because my opinion of their company just dramatically rose!

book case

I have a Graco car seat and it had a tear in it under the edge at the top. I actually think that many of them tear due to the design and the sharp edge at the top. Anyway, I contacted Graco and explained the situation and they replaced it for me.

Chloe received TJ Bear for her 1st birthday from her grandparents. He’s a bear that “reads” to you and Chloe loves him. He stopped working just before her second birthday. I contacted Hasbro but unfortunately they don’t make him anymore however they were kind enough to send me out a free item of equivalent value. (And my dad was able to fix TJ bear anyway. No, I am not going to tell you what was wrong with it because then you would all wonder why I wasn’t smart enough to try changing the batteries. LOL)


I have several other letter writing success stories and my sister also has many success stories that she could share about the great customer service that some companies provide. Before you give up on something, contact the company!

Related Posts: Get Results with your Letter!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Celebrate Change


Photo by McMorr

I’ve mentioned already this week that the theme at the Ladies’ Retreat was “Celebrate Change”.

Change can be bad, scary, fun, good, easy, hard or any combination of these or others. There are a million things in life that cause changes. I myself am not always big on change. There is such comfort in sameness that sometimes I resent change.

I’ve given quite a bit of thought lately and there are a lot of changes that I need or want to make. Some personal and some right here at Beautiful Calling. I wanted to share with you a few things that are coming up:

Physical Changes: Beautiful Calling is in for a beautiful new look! April Showers will be working on Beautiful Calling in the next month or so.

Preparation: Thus far in my short blogging life, I have written posts off the cuff, day by day. In learning more about how to schedule and plan, it is my intention to prepare posts ahead of time, with more thought, preparation, prayer and planning. With the Lord guiding more of my words, I pray that most posts will be less rambling…though there are times when rambling works…and rambling is definitely a Jenn-trait!

Purpose: My posting will be taking a slight change of direction. The main purpose of my blog hasn’t changed; that is to bring glory to God. But in content, I aim to share more of what I know. That isn’t too much (LOL) but I’ve learned a few things. Stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing of my personal life will be hard at times but the Lord has been laying some things on my heart to share.

  • Next Friday will be the first post in Death Before Birth: A Miscarriage Series. It will be covering Miscarriage Basics, my personal story about Losing Isaiah, The Grief Process, Survival, and Helping Others. I encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences in this delicate series in hopes that it may help someone out there struggling like I was.
  • Set for a Sizzling Summer Series. What is this? It’s another new series that I know you are going to love; filled with super tips for packing your beach bag, sun safety, summer fun ideas, summer product reviews and of course, GIVEAWAYS! I know you will appreciate the practicality of this series, along with some great product reviews to help make your summer a super one! Watch for it starting next week!
  • Tune-Up Tuesdays will be appearing on Thursdays very shortly. As we learn and grow, we evaluate and adjust accordingly. I started Tune-Up Tuesdays right at the beginning of my blogging adventure. Since then, I have discovered Gratituesday (thanks Brianna!). Counting our blessings is a sure-fire way to keep the right focus, ensure right priorities and keep us thankful and humble. It is something that I want to participate in. So I am moving Tune-Up Tuesday to Thursdays so that I can.
  • Tune Up Tuesday will also have a new logo which incorporates a heart to better exemplify it’s purpose. It isn’t about tuning-up tasks (though you can) but rather about tuning up our hearts. Focusing on one small attitude, action or area of thought each week. The Ladies’ retreat this weekend provided a great reminder of all the changes that I still need to make and it is so easy to get overwhelmed. TUT is my own little way of focusing on one small area at a time with one small step at a time in order to make a permanent change with the goal of being confirmed to His image. I hope that when TUT returns, you will join in!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Could You Use A Chore Chart for Toddlers?

chore chart print screen

Chloe is two and this is her chore chart. This picture below is Chloe’s first attempt at setting the table. Pretty good if you ask me!


Chore Chart Tips:

  • Receive Chart via email by contacting me
  • Print it after changing the name (unless your daughter’s name is Chloe) and editing the chores to suit your family
  • Laminate it (some office stores charge a small fee for this) or you can use a page protector sheet from the dollar store
  • Put it on the fridge, high enough up that it requires help from mommy or daddy to fill it in
  • Use small magnets (Ebay, Dollar Store), dry erase markers or a combination of both
  • Head over to Simple Mom and Org Junkie for ideas on how to incorporate your little ones into daily activities and figuring out what they are capable of.

I made Chloe’s chart in MS Excel (it can also be opened with Open Office (a free program) so if you would like me to email you a chart for your own use, please contact me at beautifulcalling (at) gmail (dot) com.

Do you have a site you like for information on toddlers, chores and keeping house? Please leave the link in the comments. It would be much appreciated!

Wednesday WFM

Thank you to a number of sources for their clipart 

Related Topics: Learning Poster

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There’s Been a GREAT Change!

cross Photo by Jasmic

This past weekend I attended Faithway’s 20th Ladies’ Retreat. Each year, I am thankful that they put it on and that I am able to attend. This year, the theme was “Celebrate Change” and it has a variety of applications. The most important application being the change that comes with Salvation; a change of heart, a change of family, a change of master, a change of eternal destination. Of course, there is also continual change of sanctification as we submit and surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to conform us to His image.

In thankfulness of my salvation, I thought I would share with you my testimony in a nutshell:

I am thankful that I grew up in a Christian home with parents who truly love the Lord. It was through them, and my Sunday School teacher, that I came to Christ at a very young age.

Romans 10:9 says “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

At 3 years of age, I understood that I was a sinner in need of a Savior and, thanks to John 3:16, that famous Sunday School verse, I understood God’s amazing love for me! I am thankful that salvation is for all who call on Him (Romans 10:13) and that the Lord has made salvation so simple that even a child can come.

During my teenage years I drifted away from the Lord and went my own way. The Lord has given us all a free will and permits us to use it. I am thankful that he is merciful, longsuffering and, though he allowed me to go my own way for a season, he continued to keep His hand of protection on me. In His timing, he used circumstances and people to draw me back to him.

I am closer now to Him than I have ever been. I have come to learn that it is only through a right relationship with Him; when we love and serve Him; that we can experience a true inner peace, joy and happiness regardless of outward circumstances.

If you’re thankful for your Salvation, say ‘Amen’! And if you aren’t sure that are saved, or don’t know what Salvation is, please take a moment now to read God’s Simple Plan of Salvation.


Monday, May 25, 2009

JACK & LILY Review + Giveaway Announcement

may20 047 John is reading up on how to use his new shoes. I thought this was too cute!

This month, I have the privilege of reviewing couple of Jack and Lily products. Jack and Lily is a Canadian company that provides adorable, quality footwear for little ones. We will be reviewing a super cute pair of the ‘My Shoes’ Chocolate Brown Sandals for John and a pair of the originals for Chloe. When they arrived last week, Chloe was so excited about them. Adorable and comfy looking, she put them on immediately. John tried to eat his. Thankfully they appear to be a good quality, the leather is soft and the soles are a flexible rubber so I think that they can withstand a little nibble or two.           

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After a suitable testing period, I’ll post a review. There is nothing more disappointing that purchasing something, only to find it lacking in some way or not meeting your expectations. Regardless of the type or size of your purchase, reading some real-life product reviews, by people in no way affiliated with the company, is a great way to make sure that you are making a wise purchase.

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I should also mention that Jack and Lily have generously decided to sponsor a GIVEAWAY! That’s right! One of you lucky readers will have the opportunity to choose your style and size. I bet that you all have some adorable babies who would look darling in their styles. I’m also sure that you will have a tough time picking just one! They have, possibly, the best selection I’ve seen so far! Especially the girls :) I think there are few things in life cuter than baby feet (clean ones that is!) When the official review is posted, there will be the standard 5 chances to enter. How exciting so keep watching!

For all of you anxious to get started, go ahead and leave a comment in this post for a bonus entry! What should your comment say? How about telling me who you are hoping to win a pair for?

Days of the Week: May 25-30th

Monday Menu Plan



  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • Apples
  • Gherkin Pickles (Chloe loves these!)
  • Hard Boiled Eggs


  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Pork chop stew (one of my culinary '”Oopies” that turned out OK in the end)
  • Pasta
  • Stuffed Twice-baked Potatoes (M & M…cleaning out the freezer! These were something I liked when I was pregnant but you know how my husband feels about processed foods. He won’t eat them!)

Days of the Week Plan:


  • Menu: Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes & Asparagus (in season here!)
  • Plans: Bunwich lunch order to make and deliver. We are also off to the Brantford Expositor to pick up a 1/2 price gift card, go to Food Basics for some sale items needed and go to the farm for eggs.
  • Blog: MPM Post, Jack & Lily Announcement



  • Menu: Shepherds Pie. The meat is already made. I just need to use the left over mashed potatoes from Monday with some cut up veggies for a quick meal.
  • Plans: Bake Cookies: Christian School open house in place of Prayer Meeting
  • Blog: WFMW Chore Chart


  • Menu: Roast Chicken with seasonal Asparagus and rice. I’d like mashed potatoes but am not sure we have enough potatoes for three meals this week :)
  • Plans: None
  • Blog: Celebrate Change


  • Menu:  Pizza Out (when we go grocery shopping we stop at a little pizza bar. It’s 6.99 for a pizza and pop and it was one of our little ‘dates’ before the littles came along and now we still do it, though it isn’t quite as easy as it was before :)
  • Plans: Possibly visiting a friend with a surprise.
  • Blog: Is it Broken? and Introduction to Miscarriage

The Weekend: I have to make cupcakes for Sunday for our church picnic. How fun! Other than that, I don’t think we have any plans. A nice slow pace! I actually don’t plan meals for the weekend. Since my husband loves to cook and create, this is his opportunity to come up with culinary masterpieces. A few weekends ago he made the most divine home-made ice cream!! He's not a dedicated poster but be sure to check out his blog for interesting food experiences!

Join in on Menu-Plan Monday. Do a post and link to here. Don’t have a blog? That’s OK, just leave a comment!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ladies’ Retreat, Here I Come!


Photo by McMorr

Things have been pretty eventful around here.

First, I received an email from Jen @ Cherish the Moments. She was the winner of the apron giveaway here at Beautiful Calling. She posted about it with beautiful photos. Take a peek!

Also this week, I had no menu plan. Thankfully we had some pulled pork in the freezer from the party we had for Nana’s birthday last year so we thawed a big package and ate it every which way. We still have enough left for one more meal but my husband informed me this morning that he is not eating pork for dinner so the little ones and I will finish it up for lunch LOL.

I’ve not done much posting, and thank you for your patience. I’ve been working on a series of posts about an experience in my life that the Lord has been leading me to share. It took some time as it wasn’t something I felt I could rush through. The first post will be out next week, along with the regular posts.

Grampa is still in the hospital, overall, doing no better or worse as far as I know.

I spent 2 1/2 hours with very sick little ones at the walk in clinic earlier this week. It usually isn’t so busy but that night it was (Ahh!) Anyway, the doctor thinks they both have Scarlet Fever, which sounds bad but it  is just glorified strep throat with a rash. He gave us antibiotics and after 24 hours of medicine, they are apparently no longer contagious. Chloe doesn’t like her medicine. I give it to her three times a day and she cries the moment she sees me coming, telling me that “Dhoe no like mess-in” and covers her mouth. It is quite an ordeal but I am getting it into her. John is much more co operative and actually likes he medicine and is sad when the syringe is empty :) Funny little ones!

Today I am going through the house disinfecting everything!

Then I am packing because tomorrow I am off to FaithWay for the Annual Ladies Retreat. It is an overnight event and something that I look forward to every year. This year I wasn’t entirely sure I was going because in this season of little ones, I wondered if my place wasn’t at home caring for them. But at my husbands insistence, off I go! Hurray! I am so excited as it is always such an encouragement, a time for refreshment, a time to focus on the Lord and my relationship with him, and a time to visit with other ladies! Did I mention that we will be eating much junk food in our hotel room? Mmmm.

So have a great weekend and don’t forget to stop by Heart(h) Management on Saturday for some great reads!

Spring Cleaning for Normal People (Bathrooms)

Well earlier this month was a Spring Cleaning Party hosted by Simple Mom. I had every intention of joining in, however, life happened and I missed the boat so to speak. Thankfully she has an e-book entitled Spring Cleaning for Normal People and it’s affordable! I purchased it and am working through it now. Though I will not be posting pictures of everything (or at least I am not I am not planning to…) but these were taken on the one day (day 6) that I did join the party, I just hadn’t posted them.

Bathroom Cleaning! I have four bathrooms which can be a blessing and also, not so much :)

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This is Chloe & John’s bathroom. There are actually a couple cupboards and in addition to giving everything a good cleaning, i went through and sorted and organized everything in all the cupboards.

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This is our master bath. A lot of tile! I also moved all the additional supplies (toothpaste etc.) from the kids bathroom into ours. We had used their bathroom cupboards as storage before they came along. I had never cleaned it out before but now anything we would use is in ours and their stuff is in theirs. Imagine that!?! LOL.

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This is the bathroom off of Scott’s home office. It is also the ‘public’ bathroom upstairs. I have a rack and extra bar in there and generally use it for drying our clothes. I am really looking forward to a clothesline this year. Previously, there was a ban on them in our subdivision but it was lifted last year! Hurray! We also store our medicines in this bathroom. Everything is organized into baskets and labeled. Anything expired was thrown out.

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This is our powder room on the main floor. It doesn’t look like I’ve done much – except cleaned up Mr. John-John from the floor LOL. There isn’t much to this bathroom and I clean it on a regular basis anyway. It is also where our learning poster is because we spend a lot of time in here since we are still potty training. We also read our library books here. We generally visit the library every 3-4 weeks.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Free ECO Diaper Sample from Ecobotts

Ecobotts Disposable Diapers is offering a free sample pack of their diapers and all you need to do is pay $2.00 to cover the shipping.

While I use cloth diapers for John and cloth trainers for Chloe, I do find that there are times that disposables are more convenient. I just ordered my trial pack. I'll let you know what I think after they arrive!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garden Rock Critters Rock!

It was the simplest of ideas; cheap, easy to make, and lasting...

Rock Critters!

This is one of the last rock critters we have kicking around. I would say he's about 20+/- years old. He resides in moms garden. His eyes are missing so he just has rocks propped up on him. We used to have dozens of them but when you move clear across the province (a 23+/- hour drive), you can only transport so many rocks, regardless of sentimental value. At least that is what they told us when we were packing...I personally would have left the furniture and brought more rocks :)

How To Make a Rock Critter

  1. Choose your size rock and two smaller rocks for eyes. A rock about the size of a iron makes the best size I think but we made them smaller and larger and they looked fabulous set up as a little critter family!
  2. Paint the body a light color (or leave it natural if it is a light colored rock to begin with)
  3. Paint the spots a darker color (or use markers...not sure about crayons)
  4. Paint the smaller rocks black and glue on
  5. Paint on a mouth

My grampa helped us create these. We should have went into business I think. Growing up with Grandpa was such blessing! He's in the hospital right now and could use your prayers!

Who Won See Kai Run?

Mommy World is the winner of the See Kai Run Giveaway! I've sent you an email, please contact me within 48 hours.


Thank you to See Kai Run for sponsoring this giveaway. If you haven't already, make sure that you head over to their site to sign up for the newsletter. You don't want to miss the sales!

These shoes really are designed with toddlers in mind!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Growing up with Grandpa

Sioux 2

The Iron Bridge Back Home

I grew up in a little tiny town in Northern Ontario. We lived in “the country” as we say here in southern Ontario and “the bush” as we would have said back home. Our nearest neighbors were my grandparents who lived on the other side of the garden. It wasn’t until I was grown up that I realized how truly blessed we were by having them so close to us and involved in our lives.

Most Friday nights we would sleep at Gran & Gramp’s place. It was an occasion to look forward to! Gram would usually make popcorn and we would excitedly put on Grampa’s cotton undershirts to sleep in. He had blue, orange, brown…which to choose? Looking back…I sort of think “eeww”, but you know they were soft, big and roomy and it was like wearing a dress. It was so exciting. Though they did have a guest room, we always pulled out sleeping bags and crashed on the living room floor. Did I mention, we were allowed to stay up and watch TV as late as we wanted? LOL. The only stations that we had back then were TVO or CBC. Most nights we fell asleep reasonably early (despite Grampa’s LOUD snoring), but on those rare occasions that we did make it until midnight, we were able to witness those colorful vertical bars that show at midnight when the stations go off the air for the night. Oh, those were the days!

colorbars Saturday mornings we woke up to find Gram in the kitchen at the table reading her bible. She always beat us up in the morning (that sounds a little odd doesn’t it?). We would go in and wake Grampa up because it was time for our Reddy Fox Story. This may well have been one of the highlights of visiting Gramps, though there were many and it would be hard to narrow it down to just one. Anyway, Reddy fox was an curious (and sometimes naughty) little fox who went on all sorts of adventures. He always seemed to learn something on each escapade he went on. Lessons about friendship, telling the truth, sharing etc. Grandpa always had a new one each week and if you know Grampa, you will agree that he has a flair for story-telling.

Grampa would eat his breakfast in bed while telling the story and then he would get ready for the day, while we ate our breakfast. I am sure that we ate nutritious breakfasts there but at this moment I can only recall the times that Gram let me eat ice-cream for breakfast :) After breakfast was garbage run. What is that you may ask? Well, living in the country we didn’t have garbage pick up, we took our own to the dump. Upon arrival, we disposed of our the garbage we brought and Grampa always encouraged us to see if there were any ‘treasures” we might like to take home. I’m sure inwardly he was chuckling but you would be amazed at the wonderful finds we came home with. One time in particular stands out: the time I found a plug-in star for a Christmas tree. It had a light in it and the heat from the light made a plastic shade spin so it put brightly colored stars all over the walls and ceiling. Or in my case, it put half stars everywhere because it didn’t work quite right but i loved it. I plugged it in every night to go to bed! What a find! The other exciting thing about the dump was that grampa would speed around with the windows down in the tiny Toyota truck and my sister, brother and I taking turns hanging out the window as we chased down seagulls and attempted to catch them. Grampa was always certain that if we just went a little faster, tried a little harder and reached a little further that we would get it on the next try. Alas, we never did. There were also bears, bears everywhere. Sometimes one or two and other times there would be a dozen. Never a dull moment there!

After the dump came Gerties. Gertie was an unfriendly old lady who ran the local candy shop. She was always grumpy and impatient…I always got the impression that she didn’t like children and it seemed she was in the wrong profession. But regardless of whether or not I was fond of Gertie, I certainly was fond of treats! Grampa would give us a dollar and in we would go. For a dollar you could buy a whole lot…a pop and chips, or a myriad of sugary confections or delectable bulk chocolate. The options were endless but Gertie’s patience was not! We eventually decided upon our treats and off we went home. You would think by then that we had a full day however there was more still to come: baking with Grandma and building with Grampa.

In the sake of saving time, and because this post is really about Gramp – we’ll come back to the baking later.

Grampa had a garage with a workshop out back. He heated his garage with a barrel turned into a woodstove. This is an important thing, the heat I mean, because winters back home could be minus 40 or so! Providing we were careful, we were allowed to play in the fire (*gasp*). What great fun it was and really, is that any more dangerous than hanging out a window flying around at breakneck speed in the dump and a million other crazy things that Grampa and dad had us doing? Anyway, we could play in the fire, build things with scrap wood and nails and a variety of other projects. We made many many wonderful things in that shed throughout the years.


Gramp and Gram had a great big boat with a cabin and we spend many wonderful times fishing, camping, and swimming. Almost every childhood moment incorporated Gran and Gramp in some way.

I am so thankful for Grampa. There is so much more that I could write but this will have to suffice. For those who don’t know, Gramp is in the hospital right now. Please pray for him! And check back on Wednesday for WFMW-Frugal Garden Decoration compliments of Grandpa!


For More Childhood memories visit Girls in White Dresses

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Do you have a sweet little someone in your life, age 0-3 years, who wears shoes? Be sure to check out a review of the ever popular See Kai Run toddler shoes and enter the giveaway!

A Prayer Request for Grandpa


Grandpa, Gramma and Chloe (2007)

Right now my Grandpa is in the hospital. He went in last week for a surgery and should have been home within days, however, due to complications, he is going downhill fast as his body fails him. He is in a coma right now and it will only be by a miracle that he makes it.

Thankfully, the God we serve is in the miracle business! Though we were taken by surprise at this turn of events, He was not. Praise the Lord that He is still in control despite outward appearances and that because of Him, we have Hope!

Regardless of the outcome, He is in control. Please pray for Grandpa and for our family as we go through this hard time.

Next weeks Gratituesday post will be on my Grandpa. He has been like a second father to me and I am so thankful for the time I’ve had with him; and pray that the Lord grants me a little more!

A thank you to those who have commented or emailed in the past week. It is always a blessing and encouragement to receive both! I am sorry that I haven’t replied to many of you as of yet. I also thank you in advance, my dear readers, as I am not sure how frequently the posts will be going up in the coming week.

P0000084Back home in Sioux Lookout, ON 

URS: A Romantic Meal of Steak and Shrimp


Well, this week’s URS theme works out well for me since I actually happened to take photo’s of our meal from our anniversary last week. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of our cooked meal…oopsies!

Anyway, our meal was very easy to put together and in no way healthy or frugal. But it sure was yummy!

We had a porterhouse steak from Strodes but any steak can be done the same way; let it come to room temperature, salt, pepper and a little olive oil and grilled over high heat on a charcoal BBQ.

For the shrimp, we purchased frozen ones on sale (hey, there you go, a little frugalness!). We thawed them, grilled them and then immediately soaked them in melted butter. MMM.




For the cake…I almost hate to admit this because I really do all of our baking from scratch…except this! With the cost of coco it is actually cheaper for me to make a chocolate cake with Betty Crocker (on sale) than it is for me to use raw ingredients! I simply make a box cake mix in two circle pans, and let them cool. I whip up whip cream and add a little icing sugar. I slice up berries (any kind but we like strawberries best!) and put them in the middle with a layer of whip cream and then ice the top with the cream and berries. It is best to sit overnight in the fridge to let the inside berries soften but it is not necessary. This is one of Scott’s favorite cakes…and he has a very discerning palette so when he likes something, I know it must be good!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Home Made Yogurt: It’s Easy!

This week we have a guest post from a wonderful man, my husband, Scott! He is far more adventurous than I when it comes to making things like this from scratch. Though he has had a few things that…umm..maybe weren’t so great, the bulk of his attempts turn out fantastic. Yogurt is one of them!

“ My daughter loves Yop, the yoghourt drink.  It’s pretty pricy for the minuscule bottle, so I checked the ingredients and found skim milk, sugar, vanilla, active bacteria and some other stuff.  Since this sounded like skim milk yoghourt with sugar and vanilla I decided to make my own by mixing these ingredients with enough milk to make it look like a thin milkshake.

She didn’t seem to mind the changeup but I was still a little price sensitive and thought to make my own yoghourt and then I’m really just using my own raw ingredients.  I described the plan to my wife and she took it the same way she does all my raw ingredient experiments: not saying much and I believe not expecting much.

Searching the web for recipes and techniques proved to be enlightening: yoghourt (or yogurt or yoghurt) is dead easy.  You need any kind of milk, a large pot, thermometer, a small amount of yoghourt and sterilized containers.

I had a box of mason jars in the garage so I measured them up (1 gallon each) and boiled two in my large pot for ten minutes then left them to dry.  I then poured two gallons of 3.25% fat milk (a little under two litres) into the pot and set it on medium high heat, checking for 195 degrees F.  When it reached that I took it off the heat and watched until it dropped to 115 degrees F and then poured it into the two mason jars.  Next I added a big tablespoon of yoghourt to each jar, stirred it up and sealed the jars.

From here the milk and yoghourt mixture needs to ferment so there were a few suggestions: put the jars in the oven with the light on or wrap in towels and put in a cooler.  Either method recommended 8-12 hours of fermentation so I went with the oven since it seemed easier and we weren’t using it.

The next morning I took the jars out and had a nice consistently of home made yoghourt: not too thick or thin.  For eating and sauces I would like a firmer yoghourt so I could add whole milk powder before the yoghourt or just strain out the yoghourt.  For my daughter’s drinking pleasure I still need to add milk but it just feels great knowing I made that, all by myself (and twenty or so websites I read first).”

For more of his fabulous tips, check out his blog eBabble!

Wednesday WFM


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Simple Pleasures: Swinging in the Rain

Swinging 006

My daughter is two and loves to swing. We do not have a swing set. We debated on buying one but they are so expensive that we decided that she would just have to enjoy the swing at her grandparents or the park.

I am so thankful for my father; his willingness, helpfulness, resourcefulness and his love for me and my family!

He had some scrap wood which he spent his time sanding, staining and assembling. He hauled it over to my house and while we were away this weekend, he and mom assembled it. He did a beautiful job on it. It is perfect; it has two spots for regular swings and then a spot for John’s baby swing. Had I went to the store to buy one, I couldn’t have found one that would please me more!

Since Saturday, we’ve had a lot of rain. Even though it is drippy out, all Chloe wants to do is go outside and swing. She is positively delighted with her new swing!

I am thankful for the sweet simple-ness that is a part of childhood and I strive to regain some of that myself.

Thank you Lord, for loving fathers and the sweet simple pleasures in life!


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