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Monday, August 31, 2009

I Can! You Can?

Photo by Chotda

Hello everyone! I have been a little quiet because summer is winding down. I've been decluttering, cleaning out, sorting, selling, giving away and lately, canning!!

This is my first year ever in attempting to preserve some of summer and fall's bounty to see us through. I am blessed to live in Southern Ontario where fresh produce and fruit is bountiful. A small drive in any direction leads to vegetable farms and orchards!

I've done some dill pickles, peaches, gherkin pickles and some peach chutney (which wasn't a great success and I have to take it out, modify and re-can it). Next week you can look forward to some pictures and recipes.

In the mean time, I was wondering if of you seasoned canner/preservers have some tips, recipes or thoughts to share? I'd sure love to hear them!!

With that being said, I will be taking a week off. I have many posts, reviews and some giveaways to get up but with such a short time left to get these things done (produce and such is winding down), my priorities are here in my home.

I do have a list of links to some great posts I've read...I'll put those up later today. Lots of great thought-provoking, interesting, encouraging or tasty reads!

Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

TUT: How’s Your Balance?

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!

Last week was the introduction to the Healthier You (Me!) Challenge. This post wasn’t the one that I had thought it would be. It was supposed to be on weight and our bodies. As I was contemplating what it means to be healthy, I realized that it has a lot to do with healthy thinking!
imagePhoto by Dia 

What does it mean to have a healthy attitude? I searched on Google but couldn’t find a definitive answer :( I found some sites that described a healthy attitude as optimistic, and though I think that is part of it, I don’t think that properly encompasses the idea. I think that a healthy attitude is all about BALANCE (as is everything in life!). When it comes to our self-image, balancing optimism, realism, contentment and discontentment are all essential!

Contentment and Discontentment
Each one of us has been blessed with certain aspects of ourselves that are unchangeable. God, in His infinite wisdom, made each of us different for a specific reason. To have a healthy attitude about ourselves, we need to be content with those unchangeable distinctions!
However, there are many things about me that I can change. I need to have a healthy amount of discontentment with those areas if I am to change them. If you and I are completely content where we are in all areas, there will be no growth, no change, nothing to strive for, nothing to gain and no motivation to be any healthier.

Optimism and Realism
I’m an optimist! Sometimes it drives my DH crazy. lol. But optimism cal also lead to trouble. It can set you up for failures and disappointments that need not have been there (I know!!). As we take steps to become healthier, we need to be optimistic AND realistic about outcome of the goals, changes and activities that you and I undertake. We need to step out of our comfort zones with optimism and try new things but we also need to be realistic and take into consideration who we are and what we specifically are capable of. We need to understand our strengths, weaknesses and limitations when it comes to physical appearance, weight and ability.

My Ulterior Motive
While I think a good self-image is important all on it’s own for general health and happiness, when I had my daughter, it suddenly became even more important to me to cultivate it. Why? Because my daughter is beautiful and healthy. I ask her, “Who is my beautiful girl?” and she giggles and yells, “Chloe"! Each morning she twirls and tells me she’s a ballerina. When she passes herself in the mirror she smiles. She is beautiful on the inside and out. She runs, leaps, twirls and plays. At 2 1/2, she has boundless energy. Her ideas what is beautiful and what is healthy are coming primarily from me because mommy’s have unbelievable influence on their daughters. There are too many beautiful young ladies out there who sullenly look in the mirror and hate what they see. They buy into the medias’ idea of what is beautiful but healthy doesn’t enter the picture. I don’t want my beautiful Chloe to ever think she is anything but beautiful.
I want to teach her that a beautiful woman is one who is content with herself, one who is strong and fit; with energy and vigor to meet each days’ challenges and ready, always ready with a smile and the energy for the next adventure.

To teach that, I need to BE that!  And it all starts with the attitude. I need to first evaluate my ideas of healthy and discard anything that doesn’t fit the bill. Then we need to turn our ‘wish’ list into a ‘to-do’ list by analyzing everything on our wish list. Is it practical? Is it beneficial? Is it really possible and within my ability? How does it affect my family? What will my family’s reaction be? You get the point!

My Partial Wish List:
  • To be the same weight as I was when I got married isn’t practical and it isn’t healthy for me to try to get back there.
  • To lose 10% of my body weight is recommended by doctors as a great start to becoming healthier and can reduce your chances of heart problems.
  • To only eat food we grow ourselves organically may work for some, but for our family at this time, it isn’t practical since we grow absolutely nothing. (Big garden plans didn’t turn out this year…try again next year!)
  • To eat as fresh as possible is definitely attainable. We’ve been visiting the farmers’ market every week and incorporate lots of fruits and veggies.
  • To be able to run a mile or a marathon is far too ambitious for me, having not run in the past decade!
  • But to start, I’m walking twice a week with my neighbor. We’ll talk more about this next week though.

So in conclusion, a healthy self-image has little to do with what you weigh and a whole lot to do with choice. A choice to accept and be content with what you can’t change (and make the most of it!), a choice to take action to change those things which are in your power to, or a choice to do nothing!

No new concepts here, just some gentle reminders to us all, myself included!

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!

UVSkinz Winner:

UV Skinz Winner

Heather is our Winner!

For anyone who missed the review, you can read it here.

If you were thinking of trying UV Skinz, they have a Summer Clearance Special on so now is the perfect time! Head on over!!

Keeping Me Busy!

John turned one this month and has been keeping me busy! He is constantly into everything! I mentioned yesterday that king of the Castle was to be posted on Monday but that was "one of those days"! Well these are photos from 'that' day!

It started when Chloe had to go for an emergency potty during breakfast. While we were doing that, John who had been happily otherwise occupied, climbed up on the table to eat her breakfast.

Keeping Me Busy! 001

Keeping Me Busy! 002

As soon as he sees that I see him going up the stairs (again! *sigh*), he just boots it up!

Keeping Me Busy! 003

The day just progressed from there...with him constantly unsnapping his clothes and un-doing the Velcro on his diapers all the while happily exclaiming "uh-oh!"

 Keeping Me Busy! 005Keeping Me Busy! 004

JOhn Reads 004

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

King of Our Castle: Welcoming Daddy Home!

My fairy tale castle by B℮n.
Photo by Ben
At the Well last week we were challenged to think about:
  • How can we lay a welcome mat of love for our husbands after a long day of hard work?
  • How can we make our homes inviting places where Daddy longs to be at the end of a long day?
  • How can we involve our children in this process and teach them to show reverence to their Daddy?

Lisa's post had many great ideas, many of which we do (or strive to do) already in our home.

The husband is the head of the wife (Eph. 5:23) so loosely translated; he's the king of the castle (and that makes me queen). That head/kingship position was given to him by God and so you and I need to show love and respect to our husbands out of love and respect for them as well as God.

What are some practical ways that I try to show this?

Tidy his 'sore points': Before DH gets home, I try to have the front part of our home and the kitchen tidy. That is something that takes a few minutes but that makes an impression on him. Because we have 2 x 2 year olds and a 1 year old racing around it isn't ever perfect but it is picked up as best I can. I asked my husband a while back what he thought was a "messy house", what made him think the house was clean and which areas bothered him the most. His answers surprised me. DH doesn't care about dust but he likes clear (and clean!) counters in the kitchen. He doesn't care about a pile of laundry as long as there are clothes to wear the next day and clean underwear. My priorities were not his priorities so I have tried (and am trying) to change my priorities to his in order to please and honor him and in doing so, I honor the Lord!

Kiss Him! When he comes home, the first thing I (try) to do is put down whatever I am doing and go to the door to kiss him. Depending on what I am doing with the baby or the little ones it isn't always practical but I do since I believe this sends the message that I am happy to see him and that he is important to me!

Ask about His Day with the Right Motivation: This one is a little tricky for me and DH actually was the one who caught me in this! (How embarrassing!) He asked me one day if I asked him about his day simply so that I could start talking about mine. Eek. I think he was joking but the sad thing was, it was partially true. As a SAHM, I am blessed to have so many wonderful adventures with our littles each day and I am anxious to share but if I am not truly interested in how his day went, I am better off to not ask in the first place. Nothing shows disrespect and sends the message that "I'm not interested / I don't care" like asking a question but not actively listening to the answer!

Have his "____" Ready: For some it may be dinner, but since my DH gets home at 3pm and (you'll be green with envy) does a good portion of the cooking (because he enjoys it) dinner isn't something he is looking for. But my husband loves the mail! I joke with him sometimes that he is more excited to see the mail than me. lol. Since I know that is something that makes him happy. I generally try to have it picked up and waiting for him on the table.

A Special Something: I try to have a little snack of sorts for him when he gets home. Some days it is baked cookies, or other desserts I know he would like but this week it is bread. DH loves bread. I've been trying out several recipes (white bread, foccaccia, pita) seeing what works. Surprisingly it doesn't take much time in my day at all (but don't tell him that!) and I'll share more about that later. Anyway, I don't have something every single day but it makes me (and the littles!) happy to have something to show him we were thinking of him that day.

What about My Littles?

Talk it Up! Chloe is 2 and John is 1. Both are pretty little still but I talk about daddy's home-coming with excitement and anticipation. Excitement is contagious! Our children's attitudes and actions to their daddy is influenced greatly by our own attitudes and actions towards our husband, his headship, his home coming etc.

Freshen Up! I love my children unconditionally but (secretly) it is nicer to accept kisses, hugs and snuggles from a freshly washed, nice smelling child - does that make me a bad mother?!? Before daddy gets home, I do try to make sure everyone is washed up. It doesn't always work but I do try.

What makes Home a Haven for Daddy?

Obedience! I know this is one of the biggest things in having a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere in our home for DH. Obedience without fussing and crying is an area that we are still working on diligently. I ensure that I am dealing with discipline issues as the come up during the day as opposed to "daddy will deal with you...". I want my children to look forward to seeing their daddy, not dreading it all day. I also want him to be able to come home and enjoy his littles; to have him do as little discipline as possible and as much playing, reading and enjoying as possible. If I am consistently on top of obedience and discipline issues every day during his absence, this (in theory) will result in better behaved children and less time spent disciplining littles while daddy is home. This makes him happy!

What things do you do to honor your king and ultimately, your King?

(Side note: this was to be posted yesterday but it was a crazy day with a teething toddle, an emotional daughter and a plethora of other incidents. Since yesterday I greeted my husband in poor spirit wearing PJ bottoms, I felt it would be hypocritical to post this. While I can assure you that the above accurately reflects MOST of our days, bad days do happen too! lol!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Yummiest Spaghetti & Meatballs EVER

deconstructed spaghetti and meatballs by rachel is coconut&lime.

Photo by Rachel

My DH is a great cook, more so that I! But I am quickly catching up to him and have quite a few really good recipes under my belt. This meal is one that undoubtedly rivals anything he makes! Simple and delicious!

I make a large batch of the meatballs with sauce and freeze the remainder. It makes for a quick and delicious meal on pasta or as meatball sandwiches!


  • 2lb ground meat (beef, turkey, veal, pork or a combination)
  • 1 cup of homemade breadcrumbs (I dry bread ends and and stale pieces and run them through the food processor)
  • 2 TBSP Chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Oil


  • 1 TBSP Oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion/celery
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup stock
  • 28 oz can of tomatoes (or the equivalent in fresh/frozen)
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Combine meat, breadcrumbs, parsley, cheese, salt, pepper, egg, and 1/4 cup of warm water in a bowl with a fork. Lightly form the mixture into 2” balls. Makes approx. 16 balls.

Pour oil into a large skillet, about 1/4” and heat the oil. Over medium-low heat brown the meatballs on all sides. Do it in batches, do not over-crowd. It takes about 10 minutes. Take them out and place them on a cooling rack. Discard oil but use the same pan.

For the sauce, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery and sauté for approx. 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook a minute more. Add stock and cook on high scraping up brown bits. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and parsley. If you have used fresh tomatoes, you’ll want to simmer on lowest heat for 15 minutes or so before adding meatballs back in.

Put the meatballs back into the sauce, cover and summer on lowest heat for 30 minutes. Serve hot over spaghetti with freshly grated Parmesan.

This is on the menu at our house for Wednesday. I’ll take a photo and add it to this post for sure.

Good Eats: Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday
Weekly Focus
Bread Baking: Last week was a busy baking week for me. I made a simple white bread, focaccia and pita breads (which didn't turn out so well - boo hoo!) This week I am going to try a sour dough bread along with a whole wheat bread. After being inspired by so many other women baking their family's bread, I've been working on it too. It certainly makes the meal go further and it is mmmm, so good (most of the time!)


  • Oatmeal
  • Bacon & Eggs
  • Toast with Peanut Butter
  • Cereal (Raisin Bran, Rice Crispies, Corn Pops)

  • Hotdogs
  • Pasta with Epicure Pasta Seasoning
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


  • Menu: Corn on the Cob, Cucumber Salad and ???
  • Plans: John-John has a play date today with his friends :)
  • Blog: Menu Plan Monday, At the Well

  • Menu: Braised Beef, Vegetable Medley, Rice
  • Blog: Gratituesday - John-John is One! or Yummy Home-Made Meatballs Recipe
  • Menu: Home-Made Meatballs, Spaghetti, Freshly Crushed Tomatoes
  • Blog: WFMW Camping Edition


  • Menu: TBA since DH is away
  • Blog: Raising Rascals

Open season since DH is away Friday and Saturday. Sunday we have a wedding to attend. Fun, Fun. I am hoping to fit into my red polka dot sundress! I'll let you know how it goes. Perhaps I should change this weeks menu to bread and water...or wind pudding as Gram would say lol.

Visit Menu Plan Monday for more planning inspiration!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday so far...

As of 9am on Friday, the day is shaping up to be...errr...interesting!

I was frustrated and looking all over in the garage for a tote of snowsuits.
Chloe: "What wrong, Mommy?"
Me: "Mommy is looking for something."
Chloe: Looks around intently and says, "It not here, Mommy. Sorry."

Jaiden arrives and while I am preparing their breakfasts, I notice that our tent in the back yard is completely falling down. We had crazy weather here last night and there were 8 tornados touch down in southern Ontario. DH said he heard on the news that 180+ homes were damaged and a boy died in a tent last night during the storm. Anyway, I get the littles situated for their breakfasts, tell them to stay put and go out and fix the tent. There must have been 6 litres of water pooled on the top. Once I got it back up, I looked inside and there was even more water pooled inside. I came into the house to get towels and this is what I found:

Me: "Oh, My!"
Chloe: "What dah probem, Mommy? I get more beckfass."

Super! Thank goodness for handy cameras. lol!
So I did what any good mother would do: I tossed a towel over the whole mess, turned on the T.V. for the girls, then gathered up some towels to sop up the water in the tent. No sense in crying over spilled milk lol!

All fixed and the sun today should finish it up! It's going to be a day isn't it?!?

On a happier note, I have a clothesline that I made myself. It isn't quite what I had envisioned but it is functional and didn't cost anything. It's just a rope between the swing set (thanks again, Dad!) and the fence. Isn't it doing a great job? Hurray!!

I discovered that our double air mattress leaks. We'll take it to my parents pool, find the hole and patch it. With the single air mattress, it leaks for a different reason: We lent out our single air mattress last summer or the summer before (I can't remember), it was returned and put away. Last week was our camping adventure (more on that later) and that was the first time we used it. Turns out it is missing the cap. Sadly, my cobbled together solution of a baggie and an elastic didn't hold very well. Anyone have any ideas? If I seal it completely and permenently then I won't be able to blow it up with the air compresser...

So this wasn't the post on the agenda but sometimes life is like that isn't it?

Praise for Thermos!

A while back we had a review and giveaway by Thermos. John originally had one of their sippy cups but he's a big boy now and wants his own straw cup like Chloe. Toys R Us had them on sale a few weeks back and I picked him up a blue one. Somehow, I ended up losing the interior straw for it :(

On their website, it suggests calling Thermos for replacement parts. I gave them a call and the wonderful Representative sent me out not just one but two replacement parts for the cups!! FREE of charge!! Unbelievable! I am so impressed.
Prior to our Thermos cups, we used plastic insulated cups and I seriously spend a fortune on replacement valves since they were constantly wearing out from being washed all the time.

With these Thermos ones, they are designed really well and unless your child chews the straw off or you lose a piece (mommy's fault - oops!), I sincerely doubt that anything will wear out soon. These are quality cups. I think I mentioned before that I've got little chewers and we've been using these cups exclusively all summer and our straws are still great!

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you how excited I was to receive my free replacement parts in the mail today. (And no, the Representative I spoke with on the phone had no idea I had done a review or would blog about it....)

It just reinforces that not only do they have awesome, practical products that are built to last, but that they have great customer service to back it up!

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

TUT: Healthier You (Me!) Challenge


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!

So today, I am not so much sharing a tune-up I’ve completed but rather one that is going to start today! My sweet baby John-John is a year old this month and after I had him I lost 9lb 9oz + right away and that was about it! lol. With Chloe (my first) the weight dropped off so much faster! Anyone else having the same trouble? C'mon, surely I can’t be the only one wandering around with – ummm –" “more of me to love” than there used to be?

Well, it’s time to do something about it. Something drastic. I’m challenging you to take the “Healthier You” challenge with me! Over the next couple weeks we’ll talk about some of the things that I (and you too my friend?) struggle with and areas that we need to “tune-up” to be healthier.

Before we go any further, I think it is important to think about what “healthy” is. 

It isn’t just about losing weight and it isn’t just about exercise. To be a healthy person encompasses not only the body but also the mind (attitude) and the soul: it’s about balance.  Let me share with you some words that came up when I looked up the definition of healthy: secure, functioning well, showing good judgment, vigor, wholesome. Interestingly enough, the word “thin” did not appear at all. Now who wants to be thinner? Show of hands? I’m flapping both of mine over my head! (yes, I look ridiculous!) But if “thinner’ is our only goal and sole motivation then we may be doomed to failure before we start.

Healthy isn’t a passing fad; something you do for a few weeks. ‘Healthy’ comes slowly, over time, with much work and effort, one small step at a time that leads to permanent change. Healthy is a lifestyle choice!

Next week we’ll jump right into the fire with Part #1: Our Bodies!

So with all of that being said,this week I encourage you to think about what ‘healthy’ means to you. You can write a blog post about it any time this week and link back here (directly to your post please) or you can just share your thoughts in the comments.

Do you have a tune-up you are working on or completed? Link up or share a comment!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to have a Beautiful Life

I have a beautiful life! It's made up of so many facets of my God-given Beautiful Calling: to be His child, His ambassador, a wife and a mother.

Some days I struggle to view the daily tasks and responsibilities as a high and noble calling. I look around and feel discouraged and overwhelmed. Usually it is because I have fallen behind in some area (bible reading, prayer, laundry) and chances are it is lack of planning.

Planning Works for Me!

I love my planner. It is beautiful and functional and it helps me to simplify and organize my life. Telling my day where to go and doing things on purpose as opposed to letting things unfold and happen around me, running from task to task uncertain of my goal. Life is so much sweeter when you have your focus right, you have a goal and a plan to make it happen. Certainly life happens (a lot in our home lol) and we need to be flexible but in order to redeem our time, we must plan!

Planning Challenges
(with prizes)
Work for Me!

Yesterday I heard about a 28 day planner challenge at Handfuls of Purpose ! I was so sad to have missed the first part of it because it looks awesome!! Accountability, motivation and getting things done? Count me in! Whoo Hooo! And if that weren't enough to lure me in...there are PRIZES. You don’t need any special planing tools, though they have a great selection designed for home managers if you are in the market for some. Handfuls of Purpose (the GraceWorks blog) also offers a free ebook on how to start planning (or restart) so if you are looking for some encouragement make sure you request “Plan to Bless” from Tricia.

Following these 4 steps guarantees a great day
, a great week and a beautiful life! Definitely something else that Works for Me! This isn’t to say that I manage to balance each area perfectly each day but that I give it my best shot. Many days I fall short but His mercies are new every morning!
  • Pop over to We are THAT Family for more great Works for Me tips!

Our Daily Bread: Simple White

The littles had it with pasta for lunch and we ate it with a hearty stew for dinner

I had a very successful bread baking day yesterday. Just a basic white bread recipe but it turned out wonderfully. I don’t have a bread-maker and I don’t really want one either. I have enough gadgets. I want to simplify, to downsize, to go back to the basics.

I am thankful for physical bread (especially with butter) that provides physical nourishment but more so for the Bread of Life!

Basic White Bread

(adapted from a recipe in The Bread by Hand E-book)

Mix Together in a wooden or glass bowl:

  • 1/2 TBSP Active Dry Yeast
  • 375ml Warm Water
  • 1/2 TBSP Honey
  • 2 1/2 cups of Flour

Let stand for 10 minutes then add:

  • 2 TBSP Sugar
  • 1 or 2 TBSP Honey
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 Tbsp Butter

Mix well and then add an additional 1 3/4 cups of flour. Dump out onto a floured surface and work an additional 1/4 cup flour into the dough. You may need to add up to an additional 1/2 cup of flour depending on the humidity etc. but for today’s I needed less than 2 cups! Knead well then place in an oiled bowl (oil top of your dough too) and covered with a floured towel. Let rise for 1 hour. Give a few quick kneads and then pinch off into 2 loaves. Score top and let rise again for about an hour. Bake at 350 deg F for approx 30 minutes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Craft Time: Moose and Penguins

Magic Marker Monday

It’s Monday again and time to showcase one of our “caffs” from last week in Magic Marker Monday.

For those who missed the post, our VBS theme was Polar Extremes and I was teaching the littlest of the littles…those too young for VBS whose parents were working in VBS. Our biggest day we had 8 little ones; 2 x 3 year olds, 4 x 2 year olds, 1 x almost 1 year old and a baby about 5 months. What a busy and fun time we had! The following pictures show mommy’s sample craft and Chloe’s completed one. She is doing a really great job in her crafts! (Did you see our Polar Bear and Snowman last week?)

Crafts 003

 Egg Carton Penguin Craft Supplies: Egg Carton, Pipe Cleaner, Construction paper, Glue, Pompoms. (and lest you think I am very smart, I actually found the idea here). Because i was working with toddlers, I made the earmuffs, cut out the cartons and colored them before class. For the actual craft, we pasted the belly and face on, along with wings and put his earmuffs on. They thought it was wonderful!

For the record, this one was one of the trampled on ones who has no little wings and his ear muffs had to be repaired after someone pulled him apart. Chloe gave hers to Nana before I could take a picture and I gave mine to the little person who made this one because I had to bring him home to fix him.

Crafts 004

Paper Bag Moose Puppet Supplies: Paper bags, glue and the template. You can either go with color or B&W which is a nice feature. Again, not my idea but this was a huge hit with the littles since once they were done they chased each other around with it on their hands. lol.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Frugal Camping: It wasn’t my choice!

We had planned to go camping this weekend and have family out to our campsite for John-John’s first birthday party. In an effort to be frugal, I didn’t reserve a campsite for this weekend.

I guess I should have.

There are none available. Since Chloe is 2 and has only been camping once in her life (she was 6 months then) she won’t know the difference between the real deal and our special “back yard” campout that we are having instead.

Now instead of saving just the $10 reservation fee, I’ll also be saving the $30/night fee. We’ll have just as much fun in the back yard with the sprinkler, BBQ and sparkers I have lined up.

I am disappointed that we aren’t going to the campground but it certainly is a cost savings and given our tight budget right now…maybe this is an answer to prayer. We’re planning to try again in September so I guess this one will be our practice camping.

Do you have a great ‘camping with littles’  tip or fun camping activity? Love to hear it so please share!

See you on Wednesday for the next edition of Sizzling Summer where we will talk about camping!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

TUT: Ready for School!


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!

Craft Orgnaization 010

(Playing while I organize)

Since Chloe will be 3 in January, I thought we should have more structure to our days now. While we currently have a loose: breakfast, snack time, craft time, lunch time, naptime, snack time routine everything in between is sort of open. In September we are going to start “school”. Now right now we work on our learning poster or our colors/shapes with flash cards while we go potty but we’re going to step it up a notch. Nothing big (they are still only 2 after all) but we’re going to have a small window of “school time” at the table where we focus on something. I know they are going to love it the way they love their potty time learning!

Craft Orgnaization 004  Craft Orgnaization 005

(Collecting items from bookstores, dollar stores and items that I made myself)

Anyway, the first step towards starting school in September for us is organization.

Craft Orgnaization 001  Craft Orgnaization 003

(Most of my craft supplies are from the dollar store, garage sales or Walmart)

So again from Organizing Junkie, I put everything craft/learning related onto the table, looked at what I had for eat category, put all the craft supplies into containers and everything fit nicely in the free organizing bin I got a while back! There are a few things that didn’t quite fit and so they are in a cupboard in the laundry room where our craft items are. Puzzles have their own bin.

This has been something that was hanging over my head and it was a huge step towards getting my personal desk organized and sorted. My biggest problem area in our home is my desk because it seems to accumulate everything! By eliminating the craft/school items from that area, it should help towards my bigger goal!

Craft Orgnaization 007  Craft Orgnaization 011

Books on the shelf, Puzzles in the bins and crafts into the storage area! Hurray!

Do you have a tune-up you are working on or completed? Link up or share a comment!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What is your Product’s Toxicity Rating?


This may be a lame WFMW post but I came across this site Skin Deep (thanks DH!) and was amazed (shocked, appalled) at the results of some of the ingredients and ratings of every day products we use such as lotions and shampoos.

I was very surprised to read that there are cancer-causing agents in my sunscreen and that often it causes skin damage! Now they do have a note that the benefits outweigh the risks and you should always wear sunscreen but wow! It really reinforces why I will try to keep my little ones covered as much as possible as an alternative to sunscreen!

For those who haven’t yet heard about them, check out UV Skinz clothing for the whole family. We also have a giveaway featuring them.

So when you have a minute today, head over to Skin Deep and see what your ratings are!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Irelynn: My Most Beautiful Niece!

I am so thankful for Irelynn's safe arrival. She is my first niece and she is darling!! When she was born my brother emailed that she weighed 3.37lbs. My heart stopped for a beat until I realized that in his crazy excitement, he meant to say kg. She really weighed in at 7lbs 6 oz!!
She is 5 weeks old and it's taken me this long to get her up on here - eek! So without further adieu, here is Irelynn:
If you look at this one with your eyes a little blurry, because of the bear on the towel,  it looks like she has a little spout on her head (think makka pakka from In the Night Garden). I love how bright her eyes are here. She is so beautiful!
This one is sort of like the “where’s Waldo?” pictures…lol…

Winner of “Loving God with All Your Mind

Loving God Winner

Beth at Not a Bow in Sight is our lucky blog hop winner! Hurray! I actually subscribe to her blog and truly enjoy it. Pop over and have a peek!

Elizabeth George is one of my favorite authors and she has written many books on being the woman, wife, mother and home-maker that God has designed you to be. If you have never read any of her books, I would recommend heading (right now!) to your local library to see if they have any! You’ll be encouraged and blessed!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Craft Time: Polar Bear & Snowman

Magic Marker Monday

It’s Monday again and time to showcase one of our “caffs” from last week in Magic Marker Monday.

For those who missed the post, our VBS theme was Polar Extremes and I was teaching the littlest of the littles…those too young for VBS whose parents were working in VBS. Our biggest day we had 8 little ones; 2 x 3 year olds, 4 x 2 year olds, 1 x almost 1 year old and a baby about 5 months. What a busy and fun time we had! The following pictures show mommy’s sample craft and Chloe’s completed one. She is doing a really great job in her crafts!

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Polar Bear Craft Supplies: Paper Plates, Construction Paper, Glue and either googly eyes or a marker. If you have it cut out ahead of time, it is such an easy craft for toddlers and preschoolers! You could even leave off the eyes and cut eye-holes so that it could be used as a polar bear mask!

Crafts 002

Snowman Craft Supplies: Paper Plates (or construction paper cut into circles), black and red felt (or construction paper again, glue or double sided tape (which makes it very easy and not too messy for little ones!)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sizzling Winners: Thermos!

I just want to reiterate the fact that I was really impressed with Thermos and their products! On Friday I purchased a blue straw bottle for my son since he spends a great deal of his time plotting to steal his sister's pink one. Toys R Us (in Canada) has then on sale for 14.99 right now!

Congratulations to our THERMOS GIVEAWAY Winners!

Carm (chrisncarm), Anna (sackriderannamsc) and ParkerMama

First winner has first choice, second has second choice and our third has her choice made for her :) Please respond to your emails promptly!

And don't forget there are many more giveaways happening in
Sizzling Summer. On right now is our UVSkinz Giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sizzling Giveaway: UV Skinz are Awesome!!

UVSkinz 002

One of the first topics covered in our Sizzling Summer Series was sun safety because it is one of the most important things to think when getting Set for a Sizzling Summer. The sun can be deadly! 

Darren was 27 when he began the battle with skin cancer and only 32 when it was finished. Left behind were his wife and three young sons! You think that these types of things happen to ‘other’ people but they happen to real people every day. But because of this tragedy and one woman’s courage, countless tragedies are prevented through research and education!

UV Skinz sent me a UV shirt and board shorts for John-John, who is a year old (today!)! As soon as I opened the package, I fell in love with them. I like the look, the colors and the feel of the material. This was huge for me! My sister used UV suits for her littles long before I had children and I have to admit, I was sort of turned off by the look of them. I didn’t like the fabric or the design and thought they looked silly. I immediately dismissed the idea, after all, my littles would always wear sunscreen.

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Then I had children with sensitive skin and eczema. I did find a sunscreen that works for our family however, if your littles are like mine – the less put on their skin the better! The more skinz they are wearing, the less chemicals I’m putting on my babies (and in the pool)! I came across this site a few days ago. You can look up the toxicity rating of products. I started looking up some of our lotions and sunscreens and some of the results were frightening! Sunscreen made with chemicals linked to cancer?!? Take a minute to look up your brand of sunscreen. you may be surprised at the results!  Now I am certainly not advocating that we discontinue using sunscreen BUT I am certainly on board with using as little as necessary and using products like the UV Skinz line to protect us instead!

Just the right amount of coverage, no reapplying (One application, all day protection*) I know that with sunscreen, we tend to under apply or not reapply often enough. The UV Skinz products provide fast, even coverage! A key word here is fast! Often, when we arrive at the pool, the littles want to dart off right away. Sunscreen needs time to work and takes time to apply. Getting them into their suits is so much easier on me!!

UVSkinz 011      UVSkinz 012

UV Skinz also has a great selection of sizes, styles and colors to suit every taste. I haven’t seen many choices out there for little littles or older ones. Most stores seem to carry products designed for a limited audience (4 to 7+/-) so I was thrilled to find a company who believes that the entire family should be protected. UV Skinz has great products for all ages, shirts, shorts, hats and more. Hurray! I should also mention that their sizing was right on!

UV Skinz products are comfortable, look nice, the fabric is light and not restrictive at all. A huge plus in my books. While sun safety is of course the big concern, you don’t want to be restricted in your movements for safety and fun’s sake!

UV Skinz are versatile! While originally I had it in my mind that it was his swimming outfit, I eventually (I’m a little slow at times!) figured out that it made a great outfit for playing in the back yard etc. It’s fabric is so lightweight and the style of it means that he can wear it for most summer activities! I love it when something has more than one use!!

UVSkinz 006

These were just some of my thoughts however you can visit their site for more reasons to use UV Skinz.

I’ve thought and thought about what improvements could be made or what I didn’t like about their products because I like to give constructive criticism to companies and I want to ensure I do a completely honest and balanced review. Well, in this case, I can’t think of anything that I wasn’t happy with. John will probably fit his set next year as well but Chloe will need one. I am completely smitten with this company plan to outfit Chloe with their products next year hopefully in an adorable ladybug style!

Right now is the perfect time to pick up your Skinz if you haven’t already…or you can buy next years because they have an End of Summer Clearance Section.clearance

Win It!

  1. UV Skinz has generously offered one reader their choice of UV Skinz Product!
  2. Leave a comment with your favorite UV Skinz product
  3. Subscribe to Beautiful Calling
  4. Blog about this giveaway
  5. Subscribe to UV Skinz newsletter (Upper left sidebar on their homepage!)
  6. Follow their blog
  • Open to all.
  • Ends August 21, 2009.
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