Monthly Archives: September 2012

August Pinterest Challenge: Where are the PJ’s?

I mentioned recently that I spent some time last month finishing up my pinterest challenge by organizing the nursery a bit more. Specifically, I cleaned up how I was storing Ashley’s clothes.

My parents were here overnight a few weeks ago, and we had to unexpectedly leave Ashley with them. Ashley woke up in the middle of the night and needed clean PJs, but my mom couldn’t find them easily in her drawers (which by that point were one big mess of clothes- it wasn’t clear what was what).

The next day, I went out and got containers and cleaned it up.

Our drawers are organized using this method, but I hadn’t thought of it for Ashley. Then I saw this pin:

A trip to Ikea wasn’t on my calendar anytime soon, so I improvised with plastic shoebox containers. (Not as cute, but it got the job done)

 

While I was at it, I sorted all of Ashley’s clothes by size and emptied a closet to keep the containers in:

Finally, I bought a tension rod to make this:

I intended to hang the clothes on the wall like this, but didn’t have all of the stuff. So, I took a shelf out of the bookcase and made the bottom half of the bookcase a mini-closet. It works pretty well, unless I snag something and pull it all done at 9:00 at night. Not like that’s happened though

(I keep meaning to take a picture of the bookshelf closet, but never remember when Ashley is awake. In the interest of posting this august update before September is over, I’ll skip the photo!)

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“Real Life”

The 9Marks ejournal this month was about discipleship. In one of the articles, the author encourages us that: This “is our confidence: not that we have the perfect home and well-behaved children, but that in the muck and mire, God’s Spirit is at work.”

I came across a quote on this idea from another friend this week:

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own,” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life–the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination.” -C.S. Lewis

And then it hit me: I can’t wait until our life is “perfect” to live life! This IS my life, the days that God has given me. By waiting until it’s something that it’s not (and won’t ever be!) I’m wasting the opportunities that God is giving me now, today.

We had a friend over for dinner last week. When he came, there was flour all over the kitchen floor, dirty dishes in the sink, and toys spread from one end of the house to the other. Dinner wasn’t ready and my husband was tied up with a problem at work.

Rather than stressing out, though, I decided that I needed to embrace that this is our real life right now and that God has given it to us to steward well. So, when our friend came into the house, the first thing I said was: “Welcome to Real Life!” He looked a little confused at first, but quickly took the baby from us and made himself right at home.

As Mark and I have talked about it, one of the things he has reminded me of is that sometimes a less than perfect home can be more comfortable than a perfect one. He’s right, I think. Our homes should reflect our lives and the people that live in them. While we probably all want to project our perfection through our surroundings (who doesn’t want to be known as the person who’s on top of things, who can manage their home with a flick of the wrist, and have everyone admire them for that?), the reality is something different.

Am I concerned with a clean house, good food, well-behaved family because I’m concerned about the comforts of others or because my pride wants to be built up by people being impressed by me? Sadly, too often it’s the second motivation.

So, this past week, I’ve been repeating the phrase: “this is real life, this is real life,” to myself. It’s silly, but it’s been enough of a reminder to me that I don’t resent the interruptions, the unpredictability of daily life. I can enjoy what’s happening rather than worrying about the next thing on my list. It’s given me the freedom to live.

Welcome to Real Life The dishes may be dirty The beds may not be made The clothes might be a mountain The toys might be awry

But come right in and be at home We’d love to have you stay. We’ve found what is important: Our Savior, family, friends.

 

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clean socks

Oh expectations. You’re hard. You add stress to my everyday routine. Whose expectations are you, anyway?

Oh, yeah, you’re mine.

I’ve been thinking about expectations lately. On a regular basis (once or twice a day!), I find myself completely overwhelmed with my life. I look at my to do list (which usually helps me stay focused) and think of all of the things that aren’t on my list: becoming a professional photographer, becoming a mommy-blogger, being crafty, being a DIY expert, making dessert but having the willpower not to eat it, being a budget expert who clips coupons, knows exactly what’s on sale, and never goes over the grocery budget.

I am none of these things (and don’t necessarily even want to be!) and yet I feel physically stressed when I realize that I’m not.

Why is contentment such a battle? I had a coworker once who said she daydreamed of running through raspberry fields with her long hair streaming behind her as she ran. Except she had short, short hair and would quickly realize that it was not her reality.

I was reminded again of this tendency when I read a blog about priorities and being a godly wife/mother/homemaker:

As a new wife, I felt constrained by other’s applications for their families of general Bible principles. My husband finally had to tell me point blank, “Honey, I don’t NEED that.” I was stressed over color coordinated, organic meals when he just needed clean socks. I was greeting him in a state of anxious self-condemnation over the clutter in our home when he is actually more comfortable IN clutter than in a precisely organized room.

Wow. This little paragraph sums up so much. I have a wonderful life: an amazing, godly husband, a beautiful, delightful daughter, a silly cat, a comfortable home, a church family, wonderful extended family, salvation, and yet I routinely find myself in the raspberry bushes. I need to spend more in my present reality making sure I’m doing the important things.  I don’t need to be a photographer or a blogger, or a DIY expert. I need to focus on clean socks, feeding our baby, and basic meals. Mark would like it if I swept the floor once in a while too :).

So, I think I will edit my to-do lists and remind myself to forget about the raspberries and focus on the clean socks. And realize that I am in this season for only a season and that I need to enjoy every minute that I can.

 

 

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August Pinterest Challenge: On a Roll

I’ve been on a roll with pinterest challenges lately! For some reason, it just happened that I could work them pretty seamlessly into what I’m doing anyway.  But- I haven’t had time to blog about them. Anyway, here’s a quick summary of just a few more that rounded out my August pinterest challenge:

Baking bread in the crockpot:

Using the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes recipe (here), the creators of this method tried baking the loaf in the crockpot. Advantages: you don’t have to let it rise, it’s easy, and doesn’t heat up the house. Basically, take a 1lb piece of the bread dough, put it in the crockpot on parchment paper and cook it for an hour on low (i ended up cooking mine for 1.5 hours?). then transfer to the oven if desired to crisp the top. (I did that, with the parchment paper, and ended up with a smokey kitchen :(.  ). Still, the bread is good! It has a different texture than when it is baked in the oven (it’s softer and a bit spongier), but still really good! (it seemed to stay fresher for the 2nd day too).

(I thought I took a picture, but can’t find it..oops! Mark can vouch that I did it though! :)…)

Baked Zucchini Sticks (and here)

So, after the last zucchini-related pinterest idea, I still had a lot of zucchini left. One night, I had some extra time while making dinner, so I tried baked zucchini sticks (We love to get the fried ones when we’re out, but they’re expensive and bad for you, and I haven’t had much luck frying stuff at home). Enter baked zucchini sticks. Mark liked them; I thought they were a bit bland. But better than my fried attempts at stuff!

Boston Baked Beans

I’ve been craving Grandma Brown’s baked beans all summer. You can only get them in New York (or on Amazon!). I seriously almost ordered a case of 12 cans before Mark told me no

So, I’ve been on a hunt for a homemade boston baked bean recipe. I found this one. I tried it a few weeks ago and have mixed feelings about it. The flavor is almost right, but there’s a funny taste underneath the initial taste that I don’t like. I probably won’t make them again with this recipe, but would try another recipe (maybe with fewer onions and no cloves?).

Individual Peach Cobblers

It’s peach season here in Ontario, and I bought an 11 quart box of peaches (yikes)! I didn’t realize how many peaches that was. No fear, I froze about half, we ate half, and I used some of the eating ones to try to make dessert.

Major fail. SO SAD. This recipe should be fantastic, but combine 2 really tired new parents, an upset baby and a late Saturday night, and baking shouldn’t be on the top of our to-do list :(.

Basically, you mix some butter, batter, and peaches in muffin tins and bake. Seems easy, right?

The first time we made it, we had most of the tarts assembled (butter+batter+peaches), when Mark realized he didn’t add sugar. Fail. We dumped everything into a colander and washed the batter + butter off the peaches (I didn’t want to waste them). We tried again. This time, we got the sugar in. Mark went to try to rock ashley and I took over halfway through. I didn’t realize that he was using a 1/2 cup measuring cup to measure 1 cup of flour (my brain wasn’t engaged at this point!). I thought the batter looked thin, but i figured it was because of the sugar (again, no brain engagement). It wasn’t until I took them out of the oven (as a soggy mess) that I realized my mistake.

ok- well, at this point, I’m really mad. I taste a spoonful of my mess and it’s fabulous. So, I figure, i’ll dump it in a pan and make peach crisp out of it. I’m lazy and tired at this point, so I try to make a crisp topping by instinct, no recipe. Not so much. after I put that on and realized it was awful, I scraped it off, got out the cookbook and made a real crisp topping. Of course, the topping didn’t really go with the filling- they were both too sweet. But, but the next day at church, it wasn’t too bad.

I will conquer this recipe! I have peaches in the freezer and I will make it work.

(I have several house-related challenges that I completed as well. Hopefully I’ll have time to get them posted in the next week or two. I think my pinterest challenge for september will be to catch up on documenting all of my august challenges! )

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Five Months Old!

Oh my. I feel like I just wrote four months old and was overwhelmed by how fast time was flying. And now we have another month under our belt.

Ashley Joy, aka Bumblebee, is five months old. One month short of six months old, aka 1/2 a year. Yikes! Where, oh where has this half a year gone. Six months since I left my job at Truth For Life. Over a year since I got pregnant. All of a sudden, I looked up, and six months is staring me in the face.

I’m not ready for it. I’m not ready for her to eat solids (although I tempt her with them all the time and can’t wait to introduce her to yummy food). I’m not ready for her to crawl, walk, stop nursing (or even nurse less frequently).  Or go to kindergarten. I would like her to talk, though :).

Enough about me though :); here’s what our little girl is up to these days. (click through to see some recent videos!)

1) Sitting

2) Splashing

She went to the splash pad with Daddy at our family labor (labour) day picnic:

3) Talking (to a bumblebee!)

4) Composing

She’s been enjoying the keyboard we recently set up:

Here’s one of her first compositions: Ode to Ashley Joy

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6) Petting

She LOVES maggie. Loves her. Can’t get enough of her. Their new favorite game is to sit and stare at each other. Tonight, Ashley started whining when Maggie left the room. Ashley likes to pet maggie too. Maggie is really patient with her, even when Ashley grabs her fur because she’s so excited.

 

8) Shrieking

Ashley learned how to shriek last week. At our labor day picnic, she screamed and shrieked at her cousins all day long. She’s brought the habit home!

9) Kissing

If you watch closely, you can see and hear her give kisses

Ashley continues to be an amazingly sweet, beautiful girl. Her smile is infectious and her laugh contagious.

 

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